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WIP wednesday

    Blog, For Writers, WIP Wednesday

    Using Weather to Set the Tone in your Writing (WIP Wednesday)

    It’s time once again for Work In Progress Wednesday, the weekly link-up where we talk about our stories! This week’s theme is: Some Weather We’re Having! 

    What’s the weather like in your fictional world? Show us snippets of your best sunsets, your most temperamental thunderstorms; mood boards of your constellations or cloudy skies!

    I definitely use weather to set the mood and tone for my story. There are so many ways you can use a stormy sky or sunny day or sudden influx of toaster-oven-sized-hail in a scene.

    Weather can be used to reflect a character’s current mood.

    Use weather as a mirror. Weather can reflect a character’s mood, whether they’re grumpy, or scattered, or raging, or indecisive. Think of how many movies set their final scenes in a gushing rainstorm or blackest night that, once the villain has been defeated, recedes so the sun can shine down once again. (Literally, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Harry’s defeat of Voldemort in Deathly Hallows all come to mind.)

    Or, weather can be used as a tool, to warn the reader about what’s coming next.

    Something unique I’m trying to do with my MS is that, if it’s raining during a scene, you can’t trust the conclusion the character’s coming to. Someone is lying, or they’re operating under a falsehood, or their perceptions of what’s going on are just not quite right.

    The ominous rolling of thunder clouds in the distance can alert a reader that something terrible lurks on their horizon.

    Weather can also provide extra details to flesh out a scene.

    Stormy skies don’t always have to be symbolic or reflective of your character’s tumultuous inner state; sometimes, your characters just need to have some squelching socks they need to deal with.

    Think about how many scenes in Harry Potter are accompanied by rainy, drippy conditions on the Hogwarts grounds. Harry tracking mud through the castle. His robes sodden. That Quidditch game where it rained so badly he couldn’t see through his glasses. Weather brings Hogwarts to life, and the little ways in which the pouring rain or gusting windstorms affect the characters are details that make the story tactile and vibrant.

    Anyway, them’s my thoughts on using weather. Let’s get to the snippets!

    Read more…

    Blog, WIP Wednesday

    Danger in my WIP #WIPWednesday

    This week’s WIP Wednesday theme is about danger in your WIP. Here’s the official prompt:

    Show us a character in danger. (Doesn’t have to be physical danger, maybe they’re in danger of revealing a secret, or falling in love, or flunking a big test because they were out all night being a werewolf, howling at the moon!)

    So, in my fantasy WIP, The Other Side, my characters a stressful amount of time in life-or-death threatening situations. Here’s a few snippets from one of them, a Nightmare attack (a savage thunderstorm that plays with reality to torture whoever it happens to fall on) taking place in a treetop city:

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    dangermood

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    Blog, WIP Wednesday

    “He jogged … but only when the urge struck him to get somewhere very quickly.” Travel in my WIP!

    This week’s WIP Wednesday theme is all about traveling. Here’s the official prompt:

    Unless your WIP takes place in a single room (which, how intense! is your character stuck in that room? Isn’t there a window they could break?? How has this happened?!!) , chances are, your characters are going to be traveling at some point, from some place to the next. Let’s talk about traveling! Share snippets of your characters sloshing through the mud, link us to a Pinterest board of the breezy mountains or smoke-choked cities your characters are footing it through, or post images of the horse-carts, pick-up trucks, or spaceships your characters use for transportation.

    In my fantasy WIP, The Other Side, my characters spend a lot of time on the road. And in forests. And climbing through mountains. And ducking into the occasional underground cave. They’re on an expedition to return a stolen thingamajig, and seem to encounter every possible obstacle along the way.

     

    wipwed_travel_mood

    Sources for all images can be found through my Pinterest board.

    So, let’s get into it! Snippets that have to do with traveling from my WIP!

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    Blog, WIP Wednesday

    3 Tips For Writing a Bookish Character

    3 Tips for Writing a Bookish Character

    I’m afraid I completely forgot to submit to last week’s WIP Wednesday (we’re deep in puppy preparations over here, people. My seven year old golden retriever Riggs should be getting a new baby brother by the end of the week… If you’re wondering what that noise is, it’s probably me, excitedly and incessantly squealing.) So, I thought I would double-up this week and talk about both themes: Characters Who Read, and Characters Who Write.

    I’m definitely guilty of making my characters as bookish as possible. One of my characters is a professional writer (travel books that help explain his encyclopedic knowledge of the WIP’s fantasy world), but I think almost all of my main characters are shown, at some point, with either a book or a pen in their hands. Showing your characters reading or writing can be difficult to fit into your story — after all, a story is about plot and forward momentum, and if your character is taking a break to lounge on the couch with a novel, then they’re not exactly running around saving the world, are they?

    There are ways to put across that your character is delightfully bookish, though, without having to hit pause on your story:

    1. Show That They Own Books, At the Very Least

    One technique I’ve found effective is to slide into the story hints at the characters’ reading habits. For instance, while my main character is snooping around another character’s bedroom, he notices a pile of books:

    He gravitated towards the table cluttered with papers. Many of these were unfurled maps and half-finished correspondence. There were books, too, a guidebook and a mystery novel, and a red leather-bound volume with thick waxy pages that stood out from the rest.

    I’ve also had him root through another character’s bag (he … doesn’t have many boundaries when it comes to personal belongings, I’m realizing as I type this…) and a quick reference there tells us this character also keeps books on them at all times:

    The inside of Ol’s bag was far deeper and wider than it looked from the outside, expanded by some force of nature, or Fog, or Gallifreyan technology at least. Charley shoved aside books and sweaters and cans of green beans. He dug through a layer of boxer shorts; pushed past what must’ve been a dozen sheathed knives […]

    If it doesn’t serve your story, you don’t have to show a character sitting down to read. Showing that they have books in their living space, in their bags, having them hold a book as they walk into a scene, or snap a book closed as another character comes in to talk can all demonstrate to the reader your character’s bookishness without slowing things down.

    Read more…

    Blog, WIP Wednesday

    Nibbles & Nosh: Descriptions of Food in my WIP

    I talk about food A LOT in my WIP. Food is one of my favorite aspects of writing, and especially in writing fantasy, for so many reasons. Incorporating food into your writing lets you:

    1. Feed and energize your characters, explaining how and why they can go on so many strenuous adventures or spend so much time running for their lives
    2. Write succulent, drool-producing, stomach-growlingly vibrant descriptions of scrumptious feasts.
    3. Deepen your characters. How your characters interact with food can add so much characterization. What are their favorite eats? Are there foods they avoid for specific, painful reasons? Do they squirrel away uneaten food to save for later? Do they gorge themselves at every meal because they don’t know when the next one is coming?
    4. Worldbuild. You can add so much depth and life to your fantasy world, especially, through its food. How and when do people sit down for meals? Does every area or culture eat something different? Do they eat over campfires? Do they feast on dragon meat? Do they live in the trees and eat roast birds and mashed acorns?

    On that last point, if you want to read a really cool examination of food and culture in Harry Potter: Butterbeer, Cauldron Cakes, and Fizzing Whizzbees: Food in J.K. Rowling ‘s Harry Potter series is a fantastic dissertation on the topic.

    Anyway, let’s get down to it. This week’s WIP Wednesday is all about Food, Glorious Food, and it’s a chance to share scrumptious snippets from our works in progress. The link-up is here if anyone would like to join in!

    Descriptions of Food In My WIP

    Cakes chocolate drizzle WIP quote

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      Pears and WIP quote

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    Are you hungry yet? I am! What are some of your favorite fictional foods? If you’re a writer, do you ever have your characters snack, or feast, or guzzle, or engorge themselves? Consider joining the WIP Wednesday link-up and post your favorite snippets of food in your stories! 

     

    Blog, WIP Wednesday

    My Favorite Character I’ve Ever Written

    This post is part of the brand new WIP Wednesday Link-up For Writers. The theme this week is “My Favorite Character I’ve Ever Written.” Join the link-up and show off your current projects! 

    My Favorite Character I’ve Ever Written

    Confession: You know when people debate whether an author is a character-driven or plot-driven writer? I’m definitely character driven. I have a nasty habit of accumulating stockpiles of characters that I love to bits and then finding myself utterly incapable of thinking up a story to put any of them in.

    My writing process is basically:

    1. think up character
    2. profess undying love and adoration for said character
    3. mentally catalogue every conceivable detail about the character, including strengths and weaknesses
    4. figure out how to ruthlessly exploit those weaknesses within a story (example: this girl has fear of loneliness? HOW CAN I ISOLATE HER FROM EVERYONE SHE LOVES??)
    5. begrudgingly brainstorm how I might use the character’s strengths in moments of triumph, because I guess they have to win sometimes. 
    6. retroactively find a way to thread all these pieces into a coherent plot

    Read more…

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    What Projects Am I Working On?

    This post is part of the brand new WIP Wednesday Link-up For Writers. The theme this week is “What Projects Are You Working On?” Join the link-up and show off your current projects! 

    This year has been a scattered one for me, writing-wise, but the last couple weeks have done wonders for my motivation. My goal for this year is to write everyday, to stay focused on what’s important for the story instead of getting mired in fiddling edits, and to actually finish my work.

    Here’s a taste of the projects I’m currently working on:

    The Other Side – A Novel Series

    TOSboard

    Ah, TOS. My work perpetually in progress. The Other Side is my pet project, a funny, adventurous, at times heart-breaking fantasy series with a moving Door, a magical bracelet, a corrupt and xenophobic government, murder, kidnappings, LGBT protagonists and several different center-stage queer romances that is very dear to my heart.

    I’m trying to edit Books One and Two together into a single bookOnce I’m done, I think it’ll be a much stronger novel with an exciting, satisfying ending — but it means I’m dismantling almost 190,000 words of fiction and cutting up two narrative arcs to create one cohesive, coherent story. And that is proving really, really difficult. Feel free to send cookies and Twizzlers.

    Snippet:

    Lightning cracked overhead, turning the world a harsh, unnatural white. Another crack and it was black again, the rain sheeting down, and how was he supposed to see to escape, and why in the world, or why in this world, did he keep getting himself into situations that mandated he run for his life?

    There came the slight rustle then, of the bracelet to Charley’s wrist, and he had to agree — it had to have something to do with the Object. One man alone could not generate this amount of bad luck.


    My NaNoWriMo Novel: A Fantasy Forest Adventure

    ForestMoodBoard

    For NaNoWriMo this year, I’m going to take a break from my perpetual TOS edits and work on a silly idea I’ve been nursing for a few months: a fantasy adventure novel about a quest through a magical forest. There’s a deadly plague ravaging a village, necromancers bringing the corpses back to life, a princely hero hoping to find a cure amongst faerie magic before his boyfriend dies of the plague, an asexual wizard who can shoot fireballs out of her hands (and keeps accidentally burning things down), and the scrappy kleptomaniac thief who runs into them both as he’s escaping into the forest with some stolen something, and decides he’ll tag along on their noble quest as it seems as good an alibi as any. This’ll be so much fun to write.

    Snippet:

    “On a walk, indeed. Do you see his clothes? He’s a hoodlum, on the run.”

    “And what’s wrong with that? I’m a hoodlum, too, technically. On the run.”

    James’ chin snapped in her direction. “Are you really?”

    “Did I not mention that?”

    “Who are you on the run from?”

    “Um.” With a flick of her fingers, Ash formed a spark in her palm. She rolled the flame up and down her knuckles with an air of nonchalance. “Do you know that fire, back in the village? That small little thing that had everyone … screaming and running around fetching buckets?”

    James slowed to a stop. “The fire that burned down six houses. And killed about a dozen pigs. And irreparably damaged the mill–”

    “All right, you’ve made your point, you’ve heard of it–”

    “You started that?”

    Unintentionally.”

    “Is that why you agreed to take me through the forest?” James was shouting now, though he hardly realized it. “You’re on the run. You’re–” He laughed, breathlessly, and feeling no great amount of good humor. “I’m aiding and abetting a criminal.”

    Hopper’s head appeared from over the rise. “Oi, who you calling a criminal?”

    Her,” said James, voice cracking as he pointed at Ash, “I’m calling her a criminal. We’re not even talking about you.”


    Super Hero Short Storymoodboard_bolt

    I’m on a bit of a time crunch here. Meerkat Press is open for submissions for a super hero anthology, and I’ve got the scraps of a story that might fit their collection. It’s about a guy with pretty terrible luck who gets electrocuted several times in quick succession and finds himself able to conduct and control electricity. He’s trying to find a way to use his powers — to help people, sure, but at his boyfriend’s behest he also finds himself starting a twitter, a blog, designing a logo… The pressure to self-brand is strong with this one, but how is he supposed to market his super power if he can’t even figure out anything super to do with it? Because, well. He can jumpstart cars. And could maybe be helpful in a blackout. Otherwise … shooting electric bolts out of his hands isa skill proving difficult to monetize.

    Another silly, fun story that I’m hoping to finish before the anthology’s September 15th deadline. Fingers crossed!

    Snippet:

    “What the hell happened in here?” were Zack’s first words as he shouldered into the apartment late that afternoon, his arms overloaded with notebooks and loose papers he had brought home to grade. A worksheet slipped free of the bundle and wafted, feather-like, to the ground which was, dumpster-like, covered in blackened and charred rubble.

    Jake would’ve lied and said they had been robbed, but even the stickiest-fingered of thieves were polite enough not to burn down coffee tables and leave scorch marks gouged into the walls.

    “Okay, I want you to forget for a second that our security deposit is definitely forfeit,” he said, kicking through the wreckage. (“Why does it smell like burnt pennies in here?” said Zack.) “Instead, I need you to—to just watch.”


    There you have it, the projects I’m working on! If you’re a writer out there, I hope you decide to do the link-up and show off your stories. : )