Thursday, May 19, 2016

Listen to SINCE ALL IS PASSING

Oh my goodness, something wonderful has happened. Will Hughes, an amazing Voice Over artist, has produced a narrated excerpt of my book SINCE ALL IS PASSING. It gives me shivers just to listen to it.

Please take a few minutes to check it out yourself:

http://www.willhughesvoiceover.com/story-time-since-all-is-passing-ep-018/

Awesome, isn't it?


Monday, May 02, 2016

A-Z Blog Challenge is Over

The A-Z Blog Challenge is over at last, and I made it through. Yay! It was difficult, but I enjoyed it. Bringing Tarot cards together with the writing process made me think harder about not only my writing, but also the meaning(s) of the cards and how they could relate to my writing.

I hope everyone who checked out one, a few or all of my A-Z entries enjoyed them.

Also, I'd like to thank Kate at Aeclectic Tarot for graciously allowing me to use card images from her wonderful site. Please check out Aeclectic Tarot and tell Kate I sent you!

Here's my badge for finishing:





Cool, eh?

Now your regular programming will resume. :-D

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Guest Blogger: Author Guy Ogan

Please help me welcome Guy Ogan, author of IMMORTAL RELATIONS COMING OUT.





Blurb: IMMORTAL RELATIONS COMING OUT, third in the series by G. D. Ogan, continues to rock the foundation upon which typical vampire novels are based. Such stories, where vampires safeguard humans, are rare indeed. These vampires do their utmost to save humans and animals from not only evil vampires, but evil humans.

Ogan's insights into the powers of the immortal vampires, along with fresh takes on the complex inner workings of their existence, provide an intriguing experience for readers. In this story, a novice shape-shifter wolf meets a beautiful hybrid vampire. Good vampires set up a new coven in Southern Canada to monitor a regime intent on changing America into a dictatorship. Marxist thugs, not realizing who they are dealing with, still believe the group was partly responsible for the defeat of Communists intent on stealing oil, gold and mineral reserves from Russia; so, Washington retaliates with violence. A great deal of effort is required by the vampires to keep Canadian citizens safe. There is a vampire wedding with a handsome human; then, dangers from outer-space suddenly appear to threaten the entire earth. Can such threats be stopped?

A reader of IMMORTAL RELATIONS COMING OUT said: "Being a bit of a vampire-phile, I find myself constantly searching for the next vampire series to reach out and grab, or, more appropriately, bite me. I believe I have found my holy grail of vampire novels..."

Excerpt: Vlad Dracula is talking with one of his newest vampire friends, Gary Logan. Vlad has explained how he and other of the oldest vampires have progressed to the point where they need little if any blood. Gary has asked why the out-of-control vampires continue to attack humans.

Vlad replies (through thought transference) “They get a thrill from the hunt and then, as the life drains from their victims, it provides a rush from the feeling of power over the living.”

Gary: “If I may be so bold, have you had such feelings in the past?”

Vlad smiled and nodded slowly, "It was a very, very long time ago Gary. We were fighting what you would call 'an asymmetrical war' against Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror and his Muslim invaders who outnumbered us at least three to one. I was looking for anything to slow them down. I guess you would say I used psychological warfare by building the 'forest' of impaled enemy soldiers we had defeated in previous battles. While we had numerous successes against units of the invaders we unfortunately were unable to hold off so large an invading army. It was about this time I was changed into what I am today. I was always in the front lines of battle and routinely soaked in blood. Perhaps that is what changed me into a vampire. One of my own Generals saw me surrounded by enemies and saw blood spurting up in the air. Thinking it was my blood he sent word that I'd been killed. My dear wife was distraught and threw herself from the heights of our Poenari Castle into the Arges River below.

Then my second cousin, Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, from whom I had sought help in prosecuting the war, imprisoned me. Locked away, I soon became crazed with the desire for blood I would have otherwise found on the battlefield. Many fellow prisoners died because of it and after my escape I was a plague on the land. It took all too long before I regained some sense of my lost humanity.”

With downcast eyes Vlad thought, “Which is where the myths, legends and stories about me started – I’m afraid I earned them all.”

I reached over and patted him on the arm saying, “I’m sorry I brought up a topic that has induced clearly painful memories for you.”

Vlad smiled at me, “No, it is alright. If you haven’t heard the story before I think you need to know the type of vampire you follow. I hope it won’t detract from our relationship.”

“Never fear of my continued admiration and respect for you. You were a great leader fighting to free your people from an oppressive invader. Since you had no one to guide you after you were changed, as a ‘newborn’ vampire you did what came naturally. However, it begs the question, how did you stop?”

“I married again and she helped me overcome the constant thirst, giving me some of her own blood, and she brought me back to God.”

With tears in my eyes I thought, in reply to Vlad, “Women are clearly the superior gender, without them we men would be little better than wild beasts. “

Purchase links:

Book #1: http://amazon.com/dp/B006ZCBT6G
Book #2: http://amazon.com/dp/B00A4IEHL6
Book #3: http://amazon.com/dp/B00G5BQS18

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zest

I thought about saying, Z is for Zombies, figuring that's a big deal right now. ;-) But zombies don't work with my theme.

So I am finishing up the challenge with Z is for Zest. Zest as in gusto, hearty enjoyment, immense satisfaction. That's exactly the feeling you want your reader to have when he/she has read the last word on the last page of your book and put it down with a satisfied sigh. Because if your reader has that feeling of zest, he/she will be on the lookout for your next book, and the next after that.

Today's Tarot deck is The Goddess Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from this deck:

1 

8 

Card images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked the cards what kind of element is most important in the ending to my book, and how to entice a reader into buying my next book. The card I drew was  the Nine of Staves. This card indicates a task that's almost finished. So near, and yet so far! There's still much to accomplish before I'm through. 

This tells me I need to keep the suspense going until the last scene, last paragraph. The reader must be in some doubt about whether there will be a "happily ever after" ending or not right up until the end. That will leave my readers saying "Wow! That was an awesome book! Can't wait to read her next one."

I hope you've enjoyed this series of posts about using Tarot to develop your writing. I've had fun doing it. Try the Tarot with your writing...you'll be amazed at what you get!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for You're in Charge

As we approach the end of the A-Z Challenge, the letter Y reminds us that YOU are in charge of your writing. You may have heard lots of rules, telling you never to do this, and always do that. And in general, those "rules" are there because they work well.

But...for every rule, there's an exception. Or a rule-breaker! If you've written a passage, chapter or book and are being told to change things, think hard and long. If you read what the experts say and still feel your rule-breaker works, then go with it. That's how stand-out stories come about!

Today's Tarot deck is The Tarot of Durer. Here are a couple of sample card images:

durtemp 

duraces 
Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked which aspect of my story is most likely to benefit from bending, if not breaking, a rule or two. The card I drew is the Six of Wands. It indicates the part of the book where the hero/heroine is about to succeed in overcoming their difficulties and reaching their goals. Perhaps the method of success is different than usual; or maybe the choice of partner or companion. In any case, the road to success should be paved with broken rules!

Dianne Noble, Guest Author

Please help me welcome today's guest author, Dianne Noble! Tell us a little about yourself and your book, OUTCAST.





The first time I ever went to Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) was over half a century ago. I knew nothing then of the infamous Black Hole where British people were imprisoned in a tiny dungeon by the Nawab of Bengal and, allegedly, 123 died by suffocation. Or of the Calcutta Cup which is awarded to the winner of the Scotland/England game in the Six Nations Rugby. It started in India and the trophy was made there with melted down silver rupees and decorated with an elephant and cobras.

I sailed to Singapore with my family when I was seven and the first place we stopped was Port Said in Egypt where there were snake charmers and men wearing what looked like nightgowns. Coming from the grey deprivation of post-war Britain the hot sunshine and vivid colours were intoxicating, and I was beside myself with excitement when we travelled along the Suez Canal. Walls of sand on both sides of us,  and men in robes riding camels. We stayed a while in Yemen and also Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) but there were no calls at Indian ports.

Three years later the canal was closed and we made the journey back to England, in December, on a Hermes propeller plane. It took almost three days with stops at virtually every country on the way for re-fuelling. There was an emergency landing in Italy because the wings had iced over and the additional weight was dangerous. Compared to today when I can fly direct to India from a local airport in great comfort other than being a bit cramped, air travel in the 1950s was basic. Cabins were not pressurised, the engine noise was deafening and flights were at low altitudes which meant no escape from turbulence. We were supplied with sick bags made from heavy duty paper and they got a lot of use.

One of our stops was Calcutta, at Dum Dum Airport, so called because it was the birthplace of the infamous bullets which spread on impact to cause maximum damage. It was night time and hot, the humid air thick with whirring insects. We were offered black sausage and fried eggs for supper but few were able to stomach it. My kid brother, only three, screamed in fright when he was taken to a hole in the floor toilet and held over it. He – and I – found our bladders totally unable to co-operate.

Many years later, as an adult, I went back to Kolkata and spent several months teaching English to the children who lived on the streets. The place had changed so little in all that time, other than to fall into further dilapidation. When I was first in India, in 1957, India had been independent for just ten years and most of the infrastructure had been intact. Now, many of the city’s buildings crumble like stale cake, neon lights reflect on lakes of sewage, the roads and railways are at breaking point but there’s still something magical about Kolkata – and all of India – which keeps me coming back.

EXCERPT
     A week passed and although her thoughts often flew to Priyanka she tried to concentrate on the remaining girls. The fuzz on their scalps was developing into hair, giving their little faces an elfin look. She could see them now as individuals. Sanghita and Aanya were very alike with pretty faces and long lashes. Khusboo, skin much darker than the others, remained withdrawn. Pinky, the cheeky one, was of a sturdier build than the others and with a manner which Rose’s Irish grandmother would have called bold.
     Rose and Maria had a routine now, took it in turns to teach writing in the mornings, while the other shopped, went to the Internet Café or the ATM for cash. At lunchtime they shared the cooking and afterwards, while the girls slept, they swept the floors and did the washing in a bucket, before pegging it out round the back. It always dried before dusk but smelt of exhaust fumes and worse. Rose missed the sound of washing snapping on the line in a good wind, and the fresh, outdoors smell when she brought it in. When the girls woke it was talking time, reciting parrot fashion - ‘Never did me any harm,’ said Maria – numbers, colours, parts of the body, animals from badly drawn pictures.
     ‘Pity I couldn’t grab the books from the orphanage,’ said Maria with a sigh. ‘Wasn’t fast enough.’
And then it was playtime. Maria showed them how to throw the tennis balls against the wall and catch them. Rose cut off a length of rope and demonstrated skipping.
     ‘My God,’ she said, gasping for breath, ‘didn’t realise how unfit I was.’ She stopped, bent over, while the girls giggled. ‘OK,’ she said. ‘You try.’ She cut the rest of the rope in sections and watched as they tripped, fell, cried, sulked, until with shrieks of joy they mastered it.
     ‘Look, Aunty, look!’
All except Pinky who didn’t seem to have any idea of rhythm. She stamped away and kicked a ball up and down the room.
Rose sank to the floor and wiped her face.
     ‘Is it me, or is it hotter today?’
     ‘Middle of Feb and coming out of winter - it’ll get warmer every day now. And I’ve only got three weeks visa left which means you must have five.’
Rose nodded slowly. If she planned on remaining in Kolkata, overstaying her visa, she’d have to make a trip home fairly soon.
     ‘The next volunteer,’ she said, ‘when’s she coming?’
     ‘A couple of days before I leave, so we can do a handover. Have you thought what you’re going to do, Rose?’
     ‘I’m stopping here.’ She didn’t know she’d decided until the words left her mouth, then felt relief. ‘Yes. I’ll go to the airline office tomorrow. A week at home will be enough, sort things out with Hannah, set up a contract for her…’
     ‘What about Ellie?’
Rose shrugged.
    ‘When I got that email about Finola being pregnant I told her she’d have to make the best of it.’ She sighed. ‘She’s twenty and a mother to be. She’ll have to sort herself out.’
     ‘You’ll want to see your first grandchild, though.’
Maria’s voice was gentle and tears pricked behind Rose’s eyes.
     ‘Of course…but I can’t do both.’
     ‘So you’ve chosen the girls?’
     ‘It seems so. Wasn’t a conscious decision, it just appeared.’
***
     She lay awake that night, making plans, too excited now to sleep. Even with the café overheads and Hannah’s wages the takings would be more than enough to fund this place. And maybe, in the summer when the income rocketed, maybe she’d be able to find better premises here, have a fridge and more rooms. And when she came back from her trip home, she’d bring posters, flash cards, books and a radio for the girls so they could dance. It would have to be a wind up one because of the erratic power but she’d find one. Her mind was so full that the grey light of dawn was beginning to filter through the shutters when she at last fell asleep.
     Woken by a knock at the door. She jerked upright on her mat, pulled away the net shrouding her face and looked around. No sign of anyone, all the mats neatly rolled away. The sound of splashing from the bathroom then Maria’s head appeared.
     ‘Good morning at last. Thought you’d died.’ With a sunny smile she waved towards the door. ‘It’ll be the man for the rent.’
Rose scrambled to her feet, retrieved her money belt from beneath the mat and staggered to the door, pushing her hair out of her eyes, yawning hugely. The wood felt hot from the sun beating down on it. She opened it and heat rushed in, wrapped itself round her bare legs. Nobody there. Tutting, she squinted up the alley one way and then the other. The usual traffic, people, a motor bike. As she began to close the door she heard a mewling sound, like a cat. Looked down to see a baby girl at her feet, red and naked.

BLURB
Rose leaves her Cornwall café to search for her daughter in the sweltering slums of Kolkata, India.
In the daily struggle for survival, she is often brought to her knees, but finds strength to overcome the poverty and disease, grows to love the Dalit community she helps.
But then there are deaths, and she fears for her own safety.
Her café at home is at risk of being torched, and finally, she has to make the terrible choice between her daughter and the Indian children.
Buy links:
Amazon (universal link): http://mybook.to/outcast

 

BIO

I think I became a reader before I could walk. While other people had childhood memories, I amassed a vocabulary. I was born into a service family and at the tender age of seven found myself on the Dunera, a troopship, sailing for a three year posting to Singapore. So began a lifetime of wandering – and fifteen different schools. Teen years living in Cyprus, before partition, when the country was swarming with handsome UN soldiers, and then marriage to a Civil Engineer who whisked me away to the Arabian Gulf.

Most of the following years were spent as a single parent with an employment history which ranged from the British Embassy in Bahrain to a goods picker, complete with steel toe-capped boots, in an Argos warehouse. In between I earned my keep as a cashier in Barclays, a radio presenter and a café proprietor on the sea front in Penzance.

Ten years ago I flew to Kolkata, West Bengal as a volunteer to teach English to street children in the slums. I stayed for several months and kept a journal, primarily so that I could download the horrors I saw daily. A kind of de-briefing. Not that it was all bad, the children had a huge capacity for happiness which was truly humbling.

It was this diary that grew into a novel and I was thrilled when Tirgearr Publishing brought it out as an ebook March 2016. It has already attracted a number of five star reviews. ‘A richly told tale, emotive and evocative.’ ‘Has it all – humour, pathos, spirituality.’

I have two further novels in the pipeline, Oppression, which is set in Cairo, Egypt and tells the story of a forced marriage and One Hundred Hands Outstretched, again based in India.

My website www.dianneanoble.com promises ‘Atmospheric Settings, Women under Pressure’ and this is what I try to deliver. If you are a fan of books by Victoria Hislop or Rosie Thomas you’ll probably like mine.

My travels have taken me to China, Egypt, Israel, Guatemala, Russia, Morocco, Belize and my favourite place, India. I keep copious notes and constantly dip into them to ensure my settings are authentic.

I live alone, when not travelling, in a small Leicestershire village. A happy life for me is writing or reading – with breaks for chocolate and mugs of tea – and occasional visits to the theatre.

Links:
*****
GIVEAWAY!
Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/dianne-noble/
Enter here: Rafflecopter 



Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for Excess Words

Okay, "excess" doesn't really start with an X, but it sounds like it does! Close enough?

One issue many beginning writers seem to have (as well as some experienced writers!) is using two words when one will do; ten where two will do, etc. For instance, consider this sentence:


"She rose from her chair to a stand, then walked out the door of the room." It works much better as, "She rose and walked out the door." We don't need "from her chair" because, if the author has done his job right, we already know she's sitting in a chair, not on the floor or a bed, so the only place she can rise from is that chair. Similarly, "to a stand" is unnecessary because it's the only thing you can rise to from a seated position. And "of the room" isn't needed, since it's implied in "walked out the door."

Other ways to avoid wordiness include using contractions, streamline descriptions, use your thesaurus to find the one word that says what you mean, make your action segments tight with a minimum of description that slows down the pace.

Today's Tarot deck is the Cosmic Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck:

10hermit 

10lovers 
Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked when I was most likely to get wordy; in other words, what type of scene would make me babble? The card I drew was The Hermit, and luckily enough, I was able to post a picture of that card above. 

The Hermit indicates isolation and solitude, which I'd take to mean I'm most likely to get wordy when I'm writing alone, with no one to proofread and call me on too many words. But it also can mean wisdom, and with that wisdom can come a feeling of cleverness, thinking you're smarter than everyone else.  Believing your own writing is exquisite is probably the most likely time I'm wordy! So I'll have to work on being humble.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for Wants and Desires

I've decided W stands for wants and desires...in other words, Goals.

Your characters must have goals they are working toward. They can't just sit around watching life go by. They must want something, and be willing to do whatever it takes to get it. The tension and excitement comes in when one character's goal doesn't mesh with another character's goal.

Your villain must have goals also, just as the hero and heroine do. Even secondary characters should have goals, though not as prominent as the more important characters.

Today's Tarot deck is the Ramses: Tarot of Eternity deck. Here are a couple of cards from this deck.

ramfool 

rammoon 

I asked what goals my heroine was working toward, especially those that could come in conflict with either the hero's goals or the villain's. The card I drew is the Seven of Wands.  The card is about protecting one's rights or material goods. There is a possibility of theft or fraud. Since the heroine is a real estate rep, as per A is for Action and G is for Genre, she is worried about some type of fraud. Perhaps on the part of her employer, or someone who's selling his/her home or purchasing one. It may be that she wants to avoid blame, but someone is framing her. Perhaps the hero is the law enforcement guy who is investigating. That should provide some good conflict between the two!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for Villain

We've done a post on the hero and heroine of your book. Now it's time to take a look at the villain.

There are many kinds of villains, ranging from an accidental villain who simply falls in with the wrong crowd, to the amoral sociopath who lets nothing get in his way.

How do you choose the villain for your story? In general, the anxiety level the villain causes should match the tone of your story. You don't want that sociopath in a romantic comedy; nor do you want the accidental teen villain in a gritty murder mystery. You also need to be sure your heroine and hero are able to take on the villain and eventually succeed against him/her, though it may be quite difficult. Thus they must be fairly closely matched in intelligence.

Today's deck is the Prediction Tarot. This was the first tarot deck I ever bought, and though it wasn't the best choice for a beginner, I have fond feelings about it. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck.

predtower 

preddeath 
Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked what the villain in my work in progress should be like. The card I drew is the Two of Coins. This card indicates to me the villain has gone through a recent breakup, either at work or at home. This person has no ability to deal with the situation, no patience, and thus strikes out at everyone, taking his/her rage out on whomever crosses his/her path. What's your villain like?

U is for Understand Your Audience

I've heard more than once that writers should "write to the market." While it's important to know what's popular now and what isn't, which trends are rising and which trends are falling, "write to the market" implies twisting your writing around to match what's selling.

I've never subscribed to that theory. If you try to write something you don't love, just because it's popular, your prose is bound to suffer. Instead, I think you need to write what makes your heart beat faster and time whiz by when you're working on your novel.

But...and this is a big but...once you know what you want to write, you have to determine what genre your story is, and then study your audience. What are the conventions for that genre? What will readers expect? What do you have to include, and what can you get away with when stretching the boundaries?

For instance, a romance novel can have a female/male couple, a female/female couple, or a male/male couple. They can live anywhere, work at any job. But the couple must be together by book's end...in other words, there must be an HEA, or Happily Ever After.

Today's Tarot deck is the Universal Waite Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from this deck.

7 

3 
Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked what I needed to know about my audience for the current work in progress. The card I drew was the Two of Wands. This card tells me my audience is mature, bold and courageous. This group has clear-cut goals and needs, and they won't hesitate to pursue them. They will expect to see a heroine and hero with these same strong suits, and won't have patience for a wilting flower. The characters may make mistakes, but they will charge ahead and eventually succeed.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

T is for Tension

Tension is a vital part of any novel, regardless of genre. An online dictionary defines tension as:
"mental or emotional strain; intense, suppressed suspense, anxiety, or excitement."
 
This anxiety, excitement and suspense is paramount to make your reader keep reading. Like my post on "Q is for Question at Chapter's End," you want to leave something unanswered, something hanging, at the end of most, if not all, chapters. But tension is good within a chapter or scene, also.
 
Example: your hero and heroine have an argument and it looks like they may break up. This isn't the end of the chapter or scene...perhaps the hero's mother arrives, or the heroine's child comes home from school, so continuing the argument must wait until later. But the reader will still feel the suspense and emotional strain of wondering if they will get past this roadblock--if you've done your job right!
 
Today's Tarot deck is the Viking Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck:
 
vikhiero 
 
vikqcupd 
Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot
 
I asked what I could do to up the tension in my manuscript. The card I drew was the Knight of Swords. This card indicates courage, but also anger and destruction. I interpret this as meaning one way to up the tension is to have something destroyed. It could be physical destruction and unintended, like the heroine has an accident while driving the hero's car. It could be physical destruction and intentional, such as the villain smashing the windows in the heroine's home. Or it could be emotional destruction, like when the hero thinks he's lost the heroine and he is devastated by his perceived loss.
 
Anything that ups the tension in the story will keep your reader avidly turning page after page!

Friday, April 22, 2016

S is for Setting

S is indeed for setting. Ordinarily, that would be one of the first things you decide on, but with this A-Z format, "S" comes close to the end. ;-)

Setting is vital, so it doesn't seem your characters are existing in a vacuum. But this is an area where less is more. A well-chosen sentence or two that describe a few important details is better than a page full of unimportant details. Your reader needs to "see" the setting in his/her mind, but they don't want a listing of every pencil and dust bunny in the room. They prefer to put their own spin on it.

Today's Tarot deck is the Paulina Tarot. Here are a couple of sample images from the deck:

2 

6 
Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked the Tarot what setting would work best for the story I'm working on. The card I drew was the Six of Wands. It shows a boy riding what looks like a dragon, while penguins watch from the ground. Yet it's clearly not the region where you'd find penguins. I'm going to interpret this as meaning my setting should be incongruous...somewhere you wouldn't ordinarily expect the story to take place.  For instance, a rodeo in New Jersey. Or it could be a setting that doesn't mesh with the main character, i.e. a surfer in Montana. This will add an extra fun touch to the story and make it a little different than the norm.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R is for Revision

R is for that dreaded word, Revision. Sure, once you have a publisher for your work, you'll have an editor who will work with you to make your book the best it can be. But before you even submit to a publisher, YOU have to revise, revise, revise until the book is as good as YOU can make it.

Revising takes a different kind of skill than writing. You have to be able to look at your work objectively. You can't fall under the spell of your prose but forget to check if you've spelled things right, punctuated properly, avoided repetition of your favorite phrases, etc. Not to mention making sure the story line makes sense, the dialogue is realistic, the hero and heroine not perfect but compelling.

Today's Tarot deck is the Winged Spirit Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck:

winstemp 

winschar 
Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked the Tarot to show me the area I'm most likely to need to revise. The card I drew is the King of Wands. This card represents creativity and imagination, a dynamic artistic nature. I interpret this to mean the biggest problem I may find in my writing and need to revise is my lovely prose. Just like K is for Kill Your Darlings, I'm likely to get carried away with the beauty of my words, the mellifluous sound of the prose, to the point of overdoing it. I need to make sure the beauty advances the story line, not just my ego!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q is for Question at Chapter's End

I'm pleased to have come up with something for Q! So, Q is for a Question at Chapter's End. In other words, leaving something up in the air at the end of the chapter, something that leaves the reader wanting to know the answer. Sounds good, right?

If you watch soaps, you'll see they do this at the end of virtually every scene. For example, here are three ways to end a chapter or scene:

1) "Will you marry me?" John asked Denise.

"Yes!" said Denise.

2) "Will you marry me?" John asked Denise.

3) John had a question to ask Denise.

Version #1 works only if it's the end of the book. After all, since Denise said "Yes," there's no suspense. No reason to keep reading.

Version #3 doesn't work because it's too general. We have no idea what he's going to ask, so there's no real interest in whatever her answer is.

Version #2 works the best. John has asked the question, and not yet received an answer. We'll want to keep reading to find out if she says "Yes" or "No."

Today's Tarot deck is the Ghost Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck.

Ghost-Tarot-2 

Ghost-Tarot-8 

Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked what kind of question for a chapter's end would be most likely to keep the reader reading. The card I drew was the 6 of Pentacles. And luckily enough, Aeclectic Tarot has a picture of that card:

Ghost-Tarot-7 

This card indicates a painful separation, loss of a loved one, remembering a happier time. I'd interpret this to mean the man and woman in my romance novel have broken up and are both facing loneliness but don't know how to win the other back. I'd leave the question hanging of, will they find a way to get back together, or not?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P is for POV

The most obvious "P" item is POV, or Point of View. If you've been writing for any length of time at all, you'll have heard advice about POV in a couple of ways. First is how the character's thoughts, dialogue and activity are presented. You have the choice of First Person:

I went to the cupboard, but it was bare. "But I'm starving!" I moaned,

Or Third Person:

Sue went to the cupboard, but it was bare. "But I'm starving!" she moaned.

Most books use third person, because first person not only reads as if the reader were the actual character in the book, but it also makes it difficult or impossible to show any other character's POV than the narrator's. But some writers go with first person as they feel it brings the reader closer.

The second type of POV is figuring out which character in a particular scene is the narrator of that scene; in other words, the one telling what happens in that scene. Examples:

Sue went to the cupboard, but it was bare. In fact, she saw nothing edible in the kitchen at all.

"But I'm hungry!" Jane whined.

Sue rolled her eyes. Jane was such a baby.

In the above passage, we're hearing Sue narrate what's happening. We hear and see only what she hears and sees. Thus we don't know what Jane thinks, only what she says. If you do this:

Sue went to the cupboard, but it was bare. In fact, she saw nothing edible in the kitchen at all.

"But I'm hungry!" Jane whined. She just knew Sue was hiding food somewhere.

Sue rolled her eyes. Jane was such a baby.

Now you're "head-hopping," i.e. moving from one character's thoughts to another. Don't do that! At least, not within a single scene. It's okay to change narrators when you change scenes.

I'm going to ask the tarot today to help me choose a main narrator for my story. Today's tarot deck is the Nigel Jackson Tarot--one of my favorites. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck:

njtemp 

njlove 

Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

The card I drew is the Hanged Man. This card tells me my main narrator should be someone seeking wisdom, who is going to go through a trial before achieving his/her goal. Self-sacrifice and a reversal of attitude will come about before the narrator achieves serenity.

So it sounds like my narrator will have quite an obstacle to overcome. What about yours?