Monthly Archives: May 2015

Where Olivia Receives an Invitation

Because I have no clue what I’m actually doing, I like to just start winging it with my writing. Which almost always leads to a brick wall. So then I go back and start looking at the structure, the bones. This isn’t a horrible thing – at least for me. There’s nothing I love more than that free writing. Nothing.

And it gives me a chance to get to know my characters better than all the questionnaire’s do.

I’m an odd duck like that.

Anyway. Here is another bit I cut out of my current project (still without title):

Several hours later, Olivia paced the length of her room, a slip of creamy vellum clutched in her hand. The scratches of red made no sense to her, despite being able to read in her dreams. Frustration coursed through her. She wanted to know if this was the invitation she so desperately wanted – needed – it to be.

A sense of euphoria shot through her slight frame at the possibility. I smiled as her excitement jolted through me, and I had not smiled in such a long time. But what else could possibly have been written in that note except an invitation? Her acceptance was a given after all, was it not?

Olivia stopped pacing just long enough to give a short tug on the bell rope hanging next to her bed. She needed Rebecca, her maid, to read the note to her. Sweet, naive Olivia never even questioned if she could trust the one in whom she confided so much.

Now, Olivia’s birth falls toward the end of spring in the month of May but the year of her twenty-first birthday was a cold one. Winter still held the Empire firmly in her icy grasp, though Spring was starting to stake a claim. Most of the snow had melted, revealing a new growth of green grass. Small buds graced the trees, some of which had even started flowering.

A chill hung in the air, yet sweat dripped into Olivia’s eyes. More deliciously wicked curses flew from her lips as she named herself a fool for closing the windows again once Mrs. Jackson left. The room was too hot, stifling.

Olivia raced to open a lone window on each wall. She gave the bell pull another sharp tug as she passed it.  Moments later, she gave it a third tug, this one slightly sharper than the one before.

Brittle winds swept through the open window casements, tangling the skirts of Olivia’s dressing gown around bare ankles. She threw herself onto the bed, giving one last, frantic pull at the rope. Where is that damned maid, she wondered.

Also, it’s #FirstLineFriday, so here’s that (with added bonus of the next sentence):

But Olivia needed encouragement and support, not the crippling doubt that comes from being an object of pity. Doubt slithers in, undermines everything until one is not sure if up is backward or left is forward.

Are Epilogues Necessary?

Here’s a good discussion on Epilogues. What’s your opinion?

Johnny Reads

There once was a time in which I wouldn’t even read epilogues. I think it was probably high school. And then one day I decided to continue reading after the last chapter. I have no idea why I never read them in the first place or why I suddenly started reading them later on.

But when I really think about them, are they really necessary? I would guess that more than 90 percent of the books I read have no epilogue at all. Because generally speaking, in crime fiction the case has been solved. And if it’s a case that’ll span multiple books, then there’s still no reason to have an epilogue. I’ve seen authors include the opening chapters of their next books more often than I’ve seen epilogues.

I mean, tell me what an epilogue accomplishes that can’t be accomplished with the final chapter. I guess if it’s something…

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Where did that week go?

I hope you had a good Memorial Day. I spent it with my family, and a good time was had by all. Not a day goes by that I do not think of my dearest friend, Jeremiah Costello, lost in Iraq much too soon. A friend of a friend also posted pictures of our mutual friend Melissa Mudd. She was not lost to the war, but she did serve before cancer cut her life too short. Again, not a day goes by. In boarding school, she was like my best friend.

On a lighter note, I honestly cannot believe the time has gone by so quickly. It feels like just yesterday was Tidbit Tuesday, but here it is again.

I don’t have much going on. I’m adding some structure to my Fairy Tale, revisioning Cinderella to have more oomph. That sort of thing. Here’s some of the more recent material from the tale, which still does not have a name… Ugh. Just seriously. #Ugh.

Do you wish me to have them killed now, my Queen?” Iphigenia pushed up from the ground. The fire of a chastised acolyte ready to prove their worth lit her eyes ablaze.

Adaline dismissed this with the wave of a hand. “It is too late now. Had you done it right away, the families would have accepted it. Now, it would cause…dissent amongst the Nobles.”

“I apologize, my Queen. You have found the defective one?”

Adaline hissed. Her fist clenched at her side, though she did not throw a fireball this time. “The zyviola eludes me. The raven cannot trace her heartbeat in Above.”

“If she is not Above, my Queen, then there is only one place she can be.”

Adaline spun away from the holographic projection. Grabbing an empty bottle from the table next to her, she threw it across the room with a curse. Through gritted teeth, she growled one word, “Below.”

Iphigenia nodded, the spark in her eye shining brighter as she thought of the hunt to come. “Yes, my Queen. The Below.”

A heavy sigh escaped Adaline’s pursed lips. “I cannot go Below, my sabaka. You will have to go in my stead. You will be my eyes, ears, and sword.”

“Yes, my Queen. I live to serve,” Iphigenia said with a small bow.

Adaline snorted indelicately. “Disappoint me again, and you will not.”

Tyranny Falls

It’s Tidbit Thursday over here in Nopelandia. Yeah. That’s a thing now. Thanks forgotten meme from Facebook (which likely originated on Reddit, let’s be honest with each other).

ANYWAY.

It’s Tidbit Tuesday and instead of sharing my own work, I’m totally sharing a tidbit from a wonderful writer I’m blessed to know. OK, it’s not so much a tidbit as a whole poem, but it really resonates with me and I wanted you to love it as much as I do…

So, check it out:
Tyranny Falls.

Question Time

Boy, I’m really tired. OK. Not just a little tired. I am about cross-eyed I’m so tired. Ugh. But I had two questions I posted in my Writing Group today. So far, we have not come to any conclusive answer so I bring them to you.

1. Can you successfully blend First Person POV with Third Omniscient?
– See, I’m writing this Fairy Tale type serial now. And Fairy Tales have narrators. There I am, writing along, really getting the hang of this 3rd omni and BAM! my narrator starts talking in the first person. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot much? But so far, it’s working. I think. We’ll see what everyone else thinks when this episode is done.

Episode? What?

Yes. You heard me correctly. It’s a serial, remember? And that leads us right into our next question…

B. Can you break down the steps of the character arc into the episodes of a longer work?
– Don’t tell me you cannot because I’m sure as hell going to try. I’ve already identified the five steps, the basic action that must occur within each episode, plus the moral to be gleaned from the episode – and for shits and giggles, I’m adding at least one Fairy Tale trope to each episode.

I might be as mad as the White Queen, but I’m having fun. I really enjoy writing – it exorcises the angels, right?

Side note: My mind totally just wandered off for like 20 minutes, and I’ve no idea where I was going now that I’m back. So. Let me leave you with this, my favorite bit of today’s writing:

No matter the cost of the silk trappings, a cow is still a pig. No. That isn’t right. You cannot make a silk purse with a… oh, never mind. Lady Woolverton was gauche, and no amount of education since her elevation from tart to married tart would change that.

You guys! You guys!

Oi! Good news, guys.

The narrator. She revealed herself. I was, quite frankly, shocked. And I’m being completely serious here – I had no idea who the narrator was.

But see, it’s #ThesaurusThursday over in Writer Grouplandia. And, as usual, I was trying to force the words into my daily writing – into the story itself. And frankly, it just doesn’t work like that. So I stopped, gathered my thoughts and BAM, I had it.

Here you go:

From the sepulchral prison of my room, two levels below the basement kitchens, I had watched this one child grow from babe to woman. Could this be the invitation she desperately needed? Jubilation coursed hot through my veins. Of course it was the invitation – what else could it be?

All too soon, my Olivia would find herself a part of the glittering court, a favorite of the Blood Queen, that damnable usurper to my throne. With time, the Queen will realize what I have known all along – only Olivia is worthy of my throne.

And on the day she ascends that throne, surely I will know true joy.

Poor Victoria. She recognizes that elusive something in Olivia, though she knows not what it is. She uses her incredible magicks not to free herself but to unleash retribution. In her mind, Olivia will prevail because Olivia has to prevail. She never stops to think how Adaline will react to the threat of Olivia.

Or, perhaps she does know and no longer cares. Perhaps the Queen has gone mad after all.

The Fourth Wall

I guess you’ve heard the news by now that I have put Midnight Garnets to the side – for the time being. We need some space. We aren’t breaking up per se, but we sure as hell aren’t hanging out right now. Like Ross, I found someone new. Oh wait. No, they were on an actual break. I just said we didn’t break up. Well. This is awkward.

Anyway, I am playing around with a Fairy Tale right now. In my usual fashion, I am ignoring all the rules and twisting things around. I believe they call that a Fractured Fairy Tale. I call it Laura being Laura.

Why am I doing this? Because I can?? Oh, still not a good enough reason. OK. Because I am playing with the 3rd Person Omniscient POV. Think I explained that one already. Whatevs.

And let us be honest with each other – Fairy Tales are made for a 3rd Omni POV. They scream for it. But that narrator becomes a new character, takes on a life of their own. They have to – in order to have an authentic voice, that is. So I wondered – how do you get to know the narrator of your story? Do you fill out a character questionnaire?

I recently watched Mirror, Mirror. I am a Snow White junkie, and this was a good fix. I L-O-V-E-D it. For reals. If you’ve seen it, you know that the Evil Stepmother is the Narrator. If you haven’t – oops, spoilers.

Well, I’m not writing Snow White. So, who should narrate this tale? I don’t know, but I like her already. Here’s a tiny tidbit of what I’ve written so far:

The night before her twenty-first birthday, Olivia fell into bed, visions of a different future dancing through her head. She dreamt of soaring through the clouds, high above amber fields and green pastures. She dreamt, as one may do, of a life in which she was free of the shackles of her sightlessness. Of a life in which she did not bump into furniture spitefully moved in the middle of the night. A life where she had purpose. One where she was not just that “poor blind child,” abandoned and unwanted. Unworthy. Unloved.

The dreams were all the same. From the safety of her tiny bed, tucked away under the eaves of the attic, Olivia swept aside the walls of her prison, escaping into the air on iridescent wings. In these dreams, she drank in all the colors reality denied her as her travels took her to the farthest reaches of the Empire.

Her dreams on this night were no different. She was at peace, and hoped the dream would never end. Unfortunately for Olivia, everyone must wake up – even sleepy Aurora broke free of her dreams. But that is another story, is it not?

For Olivia, the illusions built by her slumbering imagination were shattered by the shriek of another great beast roaming the night skies. One moment, she was wafting through a cloud, the next she had bolted upright, a dazzling flash of light obscuring her vision. She rubbed the sleep from the corner of her eyes, expecting the light to fade to the familiar darkness.

It did not. Instead, the light remained, growing brighter with each beat of her heart. Olivia knew she must still be dreaming. Her chest tightened as she fought for control of her frozen mind.

She screwed her eyes shut, just as she had so many times before, pinching at the skin of her forearm. She knew that if she could just wake up, all would be right again. The light faded as darkness crept in, but her mind would not be comforted.

The darkness is gone, it screamed. Olivia pulled her knees to her chest, burying her face in the crevice. A bead of sweat trickled down her back. She knew, in the way one just knows these things, that this brilliant light could mean only one thing: she could see. After twenty long years of darkness, she could finally see.

She gave voice to a small yelp of excitement. She could see – the one thing she wished for more than any other thing had finally come true while she slept. And she knew something else, knew it with a clarity typically reserved for day-after regrets: nothing good would come of this revelation.

Stuck to the feather tick mattress of her cot, Olivia rocked slightly, hands clenched together under bare legs. She cursed, relishing every unladylike word that tumbled from her lips. She gave in to the terror of the moment, mourning the loss of the familiar – exactly as would you or I.

Let’s hope…

I’m downloading a book onto my Kindle app. There are several books ahead of it in the to-be-read pile, including the first two I plan on reviewing here. 

BUT. Always one of those, isn’t there. But, it does not bode well for your book when your blurb has your heroine railing against her Victorian society while the hero reels from the pain of war because it’s being categorized as a Regency. 

So is it a Victorian or a Regency? 

Let’s hope the writing is better than the blurb. I’ll let you know.