Saturday, December 31, 2011

Indecisive..........and BAMM..............Inspiration

If the dictionary had a definition by person of the above word, it would be me. I am the most indecisive person when it comes to everything! There are too many choices, too many second guesses, too many scenarios to analyze, and re-analyze until I give myself a freaking migraine. So when it comes to my book, I am equally annoying and long-standing wishy-washy with all of my decisions. To self publish, or not to self-publish, to edit this or edit that. To keep this name or change it, its a cycle of endless crazy-ass Ashley.




So it might come as a surprise to me, my friends and family, whenever I make a concrete decision and stick with it. It always comes as a shock to me personally, when I can put my foot down firmly and not second guess myself. So-far in this writing process it's only happened a handful of times.

1. When I finally found my schtick, the little twisted mythology that tied my protagonist in with the scary man-beast hounds. It was one of those ahhh-haaa moments, where the stars aline and the world just sings around me. I was ecstatic when I found the myth, beyond happy. And I still am, it made the story, it brought it all together like butter on a skillet. (I'm feeling particularly metaphory today, apologies in advance.)

2. After finding the Myth, or maybe it was before, really it's hard to keep track of research. Anyways, I came across information, and a poem about The Wild Hunt. The description was dark, and creepy, a little fairy-tale-esque, and I fell in love. I needed a title for my story, something better than all of the other craptastic title's I'd tried out. And so The Wild Hunt, was christianed, and I never once looked back. It was another one of those decisions that were strangely easy to make.

3. For a while now I've fought with myself, about whether or not I should scrap the prologue and just make it a Chapter. It's horrifyingly long in prologue standards, most are only a few pages, maybe even just a paragraph, and here mine was going on fourteen pages. FOURTEEN. That's not a prologue, its a damn chapter. But I didn't have a prologue. I had a poem, a simple, not horribly wonderful little poem, but a poem is not a prologue. The prologue needed to say something about the story, and the protagonist. It needed to pull the reader in, and make them want to stay for a while, make them want to find the secret, open the door, breathe in my world. For the last few months I tried, again, and again to write a new prologue. I failed, miserably, horribly, every word felt wrong, fake, forced and ugly, nothing fit. Nothing felt right. So imagine my surprise when two days ago, like the Maltynos, and The Wild Hunt, the prologue finally came. Like lightening it struck bammm, and it was beautiful. I'm hoping this lightening trend is the secret to my muse, because I never question it. It's always right.


So to make a long horribly boring story short. I have a new prologue, a short, three paragraph, feww word prologue. I'm ecstatic, it feels fantastic, and I hope that you, the reader, will love it as well.



The Wild Hunt


Prologue

~Imaginary~




When I was a little girl, I had an imaginary friend. I called her Jillie. She was my silent companion when I played dress up and pretended to sip tea. Every day Jillie walked silently beside me to the school bus. She was always there at the end of the day to listen as I whispered my secrets. Jillie was probably the best friend I had for most of my childhood. After my sixth birthday my father decided I was too old for imaginary friends. He told me my friend wasn’t real, that no-one could see her, and my childish games had gone on long enough.

For two years my father punished me every time I played with my invisible friend. Through his punishments I learned my first lesson in defiance. I grew proud of the marks that lined my skin; every mark was a snub in my father’s direction. Every welt was a helpful reminder of my father’s true face.

One day my mother begged me to forget about Jillie, and never mention her again. The funny thing was my mother looked at my imaginary friend. Not in some small way of pacifying me either. Her pale green eyes scanned across Jillie’s blood splattered dress and dirty knees, and smiled with understanding. Like she too once had an imaginary friend. I still see Jillie sometimes. A childhood ailment I never truly outgrew. But the little girl who was my imaginary friend, was never really imaginary, Jillie was……is…… a ghost.








Monday, December 19, 2011

My very short list of do's and don'ts

DO's

1. Limit the words that end in ly

2. Check word frequency, to many shrugs, and rolled eyes can be annoying.

3. Make every scene take the story forward if it doesn't scrap it, only things that move can stay, otherwise it's fluff, and unnecessary.

4. Make your character's relatable, no one is infallible

5. Cussing, limit if you must, but if it is a character trait, it obviously can't be avoided.

6. Use said whenever possible, it's clean and to the point.

7. Show don't tell, this is a little harder to explain, but instead of saying something like
         "Robert hated fish,"

say instead:
          "The pungent salty smell hit Robert's sense's and he paused. He knew that smell, could see the cold empty dead eyes in his mind."

I'm hoping that was a good example, but because I sometimes have a hard time with it, you might as well. So it's a good tip.

8. Tie up loose ends, make sure any yarn you start gets explained, or at least continued.

9. Throw out your thesaurus, I know that with the Twilight craze people believe using big words in place of small one is a Do, it ISN'T some of the best known authors, like King for instance, suggest that often the best word is the simplest one. If you can use a one syllable word in place of a three syllable do it. Pretty words are just that, pretty, they don't do anything but make a reader stutter, or break out the dictionary.

10. Do read out loud to yourself, you'll find problems with flow that way, and get rid of those silly large syllable words.


DON'T's

1. Over describe, description is necessary but as a reader I can't tell you how many times I've jumped a paragraph because it bored me to tears describing every outfit, or color in a painting. I don't need to know what the character ate for breakfast lunch and dinner, I don't need to know that they brush their teeth twice a day. Only add in meals where something happens, dialogue that drives the story forward, or action.

2. Under-describe. As a writer, we believe the reader has the same knowledge as us, and sometimes forget when they do not. Make sure you explain why someone hates such and such, especially if the hate is a core element to the story, the reader will be turned off.

3. Have too many story threads going at once, not everyone can write like J.K. Rowling, or should try to. If you can't keep your story threads straight, how can the reader, simplify. If it isn't necessary to get from point A to B then just skip to C, B needs to be important to the character development or the story evolving.

4. Use cliches, avoid them whenever possible.





Good luck!!

To edit or not to edit.......

So like anything else, anytime I write, I edit, if I'm just re-reading a particularly sticky passage I edit. When I'm thinking about the story while I cook dinner, or frost cookies, I edit. So the question isn't really do I edit, or when should I, since I do it in an obsessive controlling way anyway, it's more about should I edit names or titles.

Most of the names that I have now I picked back when the book was still a fledgling YA novel. Now that the YA part has been tossed, and the first draft burned, I wonder about some of those first names and titles.

The first few book title's were awful, and I actually really love The Wild Hunt, but now I'm left wondering if I should scrap the Series name Hounds of God, and just go with the first books title. Call it The Wild Hunt Series, it rolls, but is it right? Because I'm just a writer and not a marketing expert, editor, book designer, or publisher, I don't have the answers, I only have my gut, and it's twisted and unsure about EVERYTHING.

The writing is the easy part, it's everything else that scares the hell out of me. If I decide to self publish, (another of the many unmade decisions left to be made) then I have to make these decisions wisely. Other authors have suggestions, and blogs thankfully that help..........

The writing is easy.........I never ever thought I'd say that. I guess being as close to the ending as I've ever been has mellowed me.

The farther I get the more relaxed I become, I'm starting to let the words come without holding back or making it as perfect, as I used to stress about in the beginning. Granted I'll edit the bitch a hundred times over before I'll ever let someone read it. The perfectionist in me knows that I a writer/non-editor cannot make it perfect, but I will try like hell to do so. I've come across so many helpful pieces of advice on writing that I'm going to make a little list of all those tid-bits and compile them here, for you guys out there that might stumble across my blog, and for  me, because I'll need it for the next one.

I like what one author wrote about editing, that nothing, until the book goes to press is set in stone, everything can be changed, and a good writer, is willing to change anything to make the story better. I'll do it, I'll take that leap. But what about the Series name??????? LOL to keep it, or not to keep it, someday I'll make those big decisions, but until then I'll live by that writers wise words, nothing is set in stone, until the book goes to press!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inspiration Hits

So today, the day after I wrote a blog about procrastination, I sat down at my computer and typed out around 10,000 words. I don't know where this lovely inspiration came from but it's here and I'm loving the muse. Maybe admitting my short comings was like opening the flood gates. Ten thousand words.........I haven't written like that in months.
I just wanted to share my lovely news with the world. I couldn't contain it. It's been so long since I've written anything this big. Maybe that December deadline is gone, but a new one, in perhaps March, is possible. I don't want to get my hopes up, or fail again, but after a day like today. It feels like anything is possible.


Happy writing everyone, I'm going to get back too it!!



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Art of Procrastination

This month I have found that the best way to be a dirty little procrastinator is to blame my lack of writing  on anything and everything. The holidays, the strange school schedule, my inability to sit still and stare at the screen without wanting to kill myself. It's been one hell of an almost half of the month. I might have written a thousand words in the last two weeks, maybe, if I'm being nice to myself and lying, or trying out denial. So yes, I've been a bad bad girl. Wish the badness had been a whole lot more fun. I'm not even going to talk about the deadline I gave myself because it sure as hell isn't happening now.

After all of the good feedback, and a few good chapters, I'm still way way behind. So I'm going to try not to feel too horribly bad about it. I really hope the next book goes easier. But even if it doesn't taking a couple years to finish a book might just be my thing. Not all of us can pump them out every few months. Now I'm just whining so I'll apologize. Sorry. Seriously. With a big fat I. O. U. for this month not being done, maybe I'll insert a little snippet, out of shame. Actually that's not a half bad idea. So let's see, what about a great kill scene, or maybe a dream? Or maybe even a flashback?

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

There the time ticks by. Without further ado here's a few paragraphs of The Wild Hunt. This is a scene between Lorelei, and one of the Agent's investigating the No-Names disappearance. It is from Chapter Ten titled Hit and Run.................Enjoy!



The sun was warm on my skin and I sighed, closed my eyes, and pointed my face towards the light. I could hear the pleasant sound of children laughing behind me, and I relaxed into the bench. Maybe I could nap for a few minutes while Duncan was busy. It felt so good in the sunlight; surely it wouldn’t be a bad thing. My lack of sleep made me yawn, and I lay down gently on the bench curling my feet up behind me. I was so relaxed that I started to drift off to sleep. The dark warm embrace beckoned me closer. My body shook with a sigh of pleasure. The sound of footsteps drew near and I crinkled my nose in annoyance. Duncan shouldn’t be back so quickly. I just wanted a good ten minutes in the heat, just a few minutes to rest my eyes.

“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” Fear swelled in my stomach and my eyes flew open. Agent Brody’s voice was as clear and cocky as I remembered it.

“You shouldn’t sleep on street benches; someone might mistake you for trash. No wait; in your case it would be true.” His words were laced with venom.

I glanced past him into the window of the business across the street. Duncan was still out of sight, and Agent Brody was alone. Fear trickled down my spine but I swallowed it and smiled.

“Why Brody, don’t you know I’m a sucker for a compliment.” I said sarcastically.

Brody paled. “You should stay away from places where you could get hurt, and disappear. No one would even know you were missing at first. Weeks could go by before you were even found. Your body so abused by the elements they wouldn’t even recognize you. I would have thought the Benandanti would teach you better, being such an expert on the subject. Where is he anyway I can still smell him.” Brody sniffed the air and his face twisted in disgust. He narrowed his milky dead eyes in my direction and I shivered. I hated that I was afraid of him.

“Oh that’s more like it, I love your fear, you’re practically marinating in it.” Brody took a step closer, his legs rubbing against my knees.

“Tasty.” He practically purred the word.
I sat as far back on the bench as I could go. Something about him was terrifying, and the stubborn smart ass in me couldn’t get past it. Inside I was screaming but nothing I did could force my sarcastic comebacks to the surface. I was silent and locked in place.
“What no snide remark. Where’s the girl with fire under her skin, where’s that delicious little temper?” Brody leaned forward and breathed in the scent of my hair.
His own smell washed over me and I choked, he reeked of earth and sweat. I glanced defiantly into his face and thrust my chin out, daring him to touch me. He reached out one finger and drew a line down my cheek. A cold tendril of fear washed over me, but I refused to look away.
“It’s such a shame you were marked up by the Benandanti, such a waste, he’s a fool.” Brody’s fowl breath was inches from my face.

I sucked in my own and held it, forcing myself to be silent. A loud and angry growl cut through the air behind Brody, and he went still as a statue, his demeanor changing instantly from predator to prey. I could see the edge of Duncan behind Brody. A soft whine left Brody’s lips, and he turned. Duncan picked him up and hurled him into the street. And just like that I was moving. I jumped from the bench and ran down the cobbled sidewalk.


There was an error in this gadget