Saturday, August 27, 2011

I stink at poker

***EDIT: My friend Bill was using my phone last night during poker. I won. He was just jealous.***

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Synopsis for my first novel, "Demon"

Daemar, the sole survivor of an attack on his village, has waited five years for someone to find him. He’s waited for someone like himself, someone who has horns and possesses powers even magic can’t explain. Daemar is a Demon, and he’s desperate.

When he’s rescued by a convict on the run, Titus, Daemar is faced with a terrible choice. He can stay hidden, ignore his debt, shame his race, and let Titus die. Or he can honor Titus’ terms and lead him to safety, but be passed over by any Demons looking for survivors.

The next morning, still undecided, Daemar runs into Titus’ pursuer. After an exchange, Daemar makes his choice. He’ll help Titus’ escape and return home as soon as he can.

Daemar and Titus run. They quickly meet a woman named Vi, whose beauty equals her mysterious past. Together they steal, bribe, deceive, and discover terrible truths. Daemar vows to avenge the deaths of his people, but is he capable of murder? Will he rise to be the man within, or will the darkest parts of his soul prevail and unleash the feared Demon?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Prologues in a Novel

It’s been coming up a lot lately, and I can’t let the topic die. Especially since YA/Fantasy authors seem to love them so much.

All good books have a promising premise and interesting, fallible characters. However, if you pick up a novel that starts with a prologue, nine times out of ten it’s a sure sign of several things.

When you’re writing a story, you always start at the beginning. Problem is, a prologue isn’t the beginning. Chapter One is the beginning. Nearly every prologue can be summarized as one or more of the following—

The Background Prologue. “20 years ago, in a land far, far away…” This is almost always the story of the main character’s (here forth MC) birth or some other event they don’t remember. It can also be used to give you the background information on an important item or battle. Was the Chassis of Invulnerability lost after the blood bath battle of Garfendurst? Of course it was. And you can find that battle, the Chassis and flat, doomed-to-die characters in the prologue. This author knows that the beginning starts in Chapter One, they’re just convinced you’re too stupid to figure anything out unless they spoon feed it to you. This novel will be predictable. Love will conquer. Nearly no one will die.

The Most Tragic Event in MC’s Life Prologue. “The day everything changed.” Think of the worst thing that has ever happened to you. Think of the event that has most fundamentally changed who you are. I’ll give you a minute. Got it? Now imagine you told that full story to everyone you met. It was the first thing out of your mouth to the bank teller, your new boss, the grocery cashier. Not a pretty picture, is it? It’s the same with a MC. We need to care about this person before we’re willing to listen to the ugliest parts of their past. The author with a Most Tragic Event prologue thinks you won’t find the MC’s unexplained fears intriguing, you’ll just be confused and give up. They have deprived you of a meaningful connection to the MC.

My Character has Emotions. Emotions! See how Emotional He/She is Prologue?!“He sighed and looked longingly at the couple holding hands on the park bench.” It’s a given with every novel that there will be a hero, a heroine and they will fall in love. There will be reasons why their love is forbidden or isn’t working out. It will all be very over-dramatic and not at all heart wrenching. For the rest of this book, you will read the difficulties of this love. He likes Coke, she likes Pepsi. He’s moving three hours away. Some jerk (who is so obviously inferior to our hero that if the heroine can’t spot Jerk’s flaws, maybe she doesn’t deserve hero to begin with) is also courting her. This novel is going to be full of things like “I love you,” he said lovingly. Or, “I’m so mad at you!” she yelled angrily. If you don’t stop reading this novel, your eyes will eventually begin to bleed.

Overall, if a novel has a prologue, the author has essentially vomited on your face. Wipe and ignore at your own risk.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ben Folds

I've really fallen in love with Ben Folds music. His voice and lyrics are always unexpected and beautiful. "Cigarette" is one of his simplest songs, yet touching.

Fred Jones was worn out from caring for his often screaming and crying wife during the day. But he couldn't sleep at night for fear that, in a stupor from the drugs that didn't ease the pain, would set the house ablaze with a cigarette.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Writing Update

I'm working an average of six hours a day on the first book of my novel series. Sometimes I can type three pages in an hour. That is impressive because the material I'm typing was written a year ago, and hasn't been glanced at since. Sometimes I only get one sentence in an hour. That is depressing, because it is one lonely sentence.

But I took a picture of the work I have ahead/behind me.

April '11

This is where I was four short months ago. That's pretty hard to believe.

Earlier this afternoon

I've made a fair amount of progress. The papers on the left is all the writing I've gone through and either typed or discarded. The center pile is what still needs to be typed. The pile on the right is all the typing I've done so far, all 36 pages. :) That center pile can be really intimidating.

Typing Schedule

It's strenuous. One chapter every three days. This is proving to be even more difficult than I thought.

Editing Schedule

Sometimes this one makes me laugh. Not just because it's bleeding optimism, but I've given myself eleven days to edit a book three times, the last one expanding only two days.

The very scary future.

Typing is tough, but it's showing me what I'm missing. Sometimes it's small inconsistencies in a sub-plot. Sometimes it's glaring oversights in the plot that are the size of a Guatemalan sink hole. I've got at least four more new chapters to write. Then type. Then edit and edit and edit.

Will it ever end? :)

I considered Tahiti or London but...

In July, I was called and selected for jury duty. The defense attorney asked us relevant questions and irrelevant ones, such as “Who’s your favorite comedian?” and “If you could live anywhere, where would you go?” The latter caught me off guard, and I tried to think of where I would move; only I couldn’t. When I recounted this to my husband, he was just as shocked as I was. Iowa has muggy summers and bitter cold winters, two things I don’t do well in. But we have a toddler, the school system here is amazing, we love our church and our friends are like family.

If I could live anywhere, I’d live right here.