Thursday, September 19, 2013

Conversations with Fictional Characters

Sipping my coffee, I spent the morning studying the scene that rambled out from my fingertips last night at 1:00 a.m. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected to be, given the hour and the fact that I was hastily thumbing it out on a smartphone so I didn't have to get out of bed. When I got to the final flourish of my male MC's thinly veiled unkindness towards my fictional princess, the following exchange played out in my head.

PRINCESS: "Why do we find it so hot when he's mean?"

ME: "I don't know. Clearly, we have issues."

PRINCESS: (rationally) "Well, my issues are your issues. So really, this is your fault."

ME: "I know. I spend a lot of time worrying that these books are going to be used someday as the basis for the wrong kind of class."

PRINCESS: (raises eyebrow inquiringly.)

ME: "Psych 101, not Literature."

PRINCESS: "Yeah, you probably should be."

Original image found here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writing Tip: Beware of Saggy Hats

As a child, my favorite book was “Go, Dog, Go,” by P.D. Eastman. The reveal in which the poodle appears in his spectacularly tall hat decked with spiders and pin wheels and all manner of random and fabulous things will live in my memory as a great moment in literature. 

And yet, when it comes to plots, sometimes adding that many flourishes makes the fabulous hat sag. When you get enamored with your own twists, or start piling on subplots with reckless abandon, or it requires half the book just to explain why a character would do what you want them to do, suddenly, you’re not a poodle that has won over a dubious Labrador with your amazing sense of style. You’re just a dork in a bent hat with a bunch of crap stuck to it.

Don’t make the hat sag.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

An Excerpt from THE HUMBLE ABODE

Here is a brief excerpt from chapter two of THE HUMBLE ABODE, in which Evyn and Jior find themselves in trouble while trying to rescue Chit from the ghouls of the Lost Wood.

Evyn grabbed the Phlelf as Jior started to hurry forward to help her. "Don't move," he hissed.
"Why?" Jior blinked.
"Because, you ninny, we're now surrounded by banshees. And if you walk through the one in front of us, you will die before you come out of the other side. And if you provoke them, they will scream. Not even the lantern could protect us from that sound."
Jior peered around them. He could just make out thin, filmy gray shapes ringing them round, red eyes glowing maliciously as they peered back at him. "What happens if they scream?"
"We die."
"And if we just stand here?"
"Eventually they'll get bored and scream."
“We die."
"Hmm. What if we make a break for it?"
"I told you, we'd pass through them."
"And die?"
"It does seem to be the trend."
Jior pursed his lips a second. "And Chit can't help us with the spirit lantern?"
"I told you, it doesn't block out the screams. It would just keep them from touching us."
"And Chit has twisted her ankle," the girl interjected shortly. "So Chit can't even get up."
"Chit's in the circle of the lantern, so Chit should shut up and be grateful," Evyn snapped.
Chit snorted at that and went back to spitting the residue of the ghoul slime on the ground.
"So..." Jior looked around at the looming banshees. "We're going to die."
"Looks like it."
"Any last words?" Jior asked hopefully.

Evyn sighed. "Shut up."

Original image found here.