Double Meanings – Bench Pressing Strong Verbs

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Double Meanings

I intend to become a better writer, using strong verbs, making a little game out of it:  Today’s strong word are explode, outline, present, explore, expound, impose, exhibit, instigate, represent, and refine.

Read about Tammy’s meeting with the Count.

Tammy stumbled on the front steps, just catching herself on the railing. She was panting, and her heart was pounding so hard she thought it might explode at any moment.

Clutching the rail, she outlined the just concluded meeting with the Count. When he presented her with the gift, it was the last thing she expected. She pushed her hair back and let her mind wander, to explore her thoughts.

The Count had not expounded on the reason for the gift. By giving it, did he seek to impose his will on her, by establishing some obligation on her part? Did he intend that she exhibit gratitude, as one person to another, or, perhaps, as an employee to an employer?

She searched her mind, trying to understand his motives, to discern what she might have done to drawn his attention? All she tried to do, was her job, in the best way she could. Never, in all her time at the Chateau had she meant to instigate a relationship with him.

She looked at the money, again. In his eyes, it might represent nothing. On the other hand, it might signify much. She knew that, before she saw him next, she needed to refine her thoughts, to understand her hopes and fears.

Too many times, her expectations had vanished like a mirage. So, too, at other times, events left her wordless when she could have gained much, all because she had not readied herself for other eventualities.

Releasing her death grip on the rail, she tugged down her jacket, and smoothed her skirt. With a quick peek behind her, she turned and walked down the street as quickly as the three-inch heels would let her.

Read About Tammy’s Next Day At Work.

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part Four

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part Four

My next area of study is plotting.  I am using James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure as a companion piece.  I am plotting a new project, Scepter’s Sacrifice, and hope to use some of his techniques in finalizing the overall story.  His fourth chapter, Beginning Strong, includes five exercises at the end of the chapter.  I will bravely post my answers.

You can see my answers to Part Three.
01 consideringEXERCISE ONE: Go over the opening chapter of your work in progress (or write one now). What techniques will you use to grab the reader from the very first paragraph? Are you establishing a feeling of motion? If not, rewrite it using the techniques you have learned in this chapter.

I have a true confession to make.  Until I got to this exercise, I had no first chapter of my story, Scepter’s Sacrifice.  In fact, beyond a bunch of Scapple diagrams, I haven’t quite got a story yet.  This exercise forced me to write my opening.

Only time will tell if my opening sentence draws a reader further in:

Pure whiteness seared Deheya’s eyes, burning away any hint of darkness or doubt.

Continuing in the first paragraph, I want the reader to experience a powerful thunderstorm, through my character.

Holding her breath, she cradled her swollen belly. Counting heartbeats, she reached seven before the crashing sound shook the smoky glass, straining to escape the lead linings.  She waited for the little panes to shatter on the hard, unforgiving stone floor.  Tiny feet kicked in her belly, demanding her attention.  She murmured wordless phrases, soothing the unborn, willing it to quiet, to wait. It’s time had not yet come.

In my first writing, I chose the storm as a foretelling of conflict to come.  I knew this violated one of the ‘rules’ of successful fiction – don’t write about the weather.  It evokes, “It was a dark and stormy night…”

I tried to avoid this when Deheya reacts to the violence of the storm.  And, her unborn child is also frightened by it.  Does this put her in motion?  While, not literally, I hope it places her in her world, and the reader with her. Continue reading

Plotting To Be Scene – Part Three

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part Three

My next area of study is plotting.  I am using James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure as a companion piece.  I am plotting a new project, Scepter’s Sacrifice, and hope to use some of his techniques in finalizing the overall story.  His third chapter, How to Explode with Plot Ideas, includes five exercises at the end of the chapter.  I will bravely post my answers.

You can see my answers to Part Two.
01 consideringEXERCISE ONE – Chose two ways to get ideas. Set aside at least one hour of writing time for each of them.

I picked a title for each of Blake Snyder’s genres.  You can read about them, here, if you wish.

In a separate exercise, I played WHAT-IF, starting with what-if a Native American leader wed his daughter to a European aristocrat so they could have a son and end the wars between their two Peoples. The idea developed into the general concept for Scepter’s Sacrifice, a project I have considered for over a month.

EXERCISE TWO – Pick the idea you like the best from the previous exercise, and give it a hook, line and sinker.

Hook: Native American culture collides with European culture, in a time similar to the Fourteenth Century, without gun-powder.

Line:  When someone murders the Duke, Deheya fights for peace, and their son’s future, only to discover that her brother-in-law threatens her and the Heir’s lives.

Sinker:
This general story line, the noble Native American’s and the slightly more advanced European civilization, is not unique, but a Native American leader is willing to gamble on permanent peace by wedding his daughter to the leader of the Europeans. Continue reading

Plotting To Be Scene – Part Two

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part Two

My next area of study is plotting.  I am using James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure as a companion piece.  I am plotting a new project, Scepter’s Sacrifice, and hope to use some of his techniques in finalizing the overall story.  His second chapter, Structure – What Holds Your Plot Together, includes three exercises at the back of the book.  I will bravely post my answers.

You can see my answers to Part One.
01 considering

EXERCISE ONE – Analyze Burn Notice a view toward understanding their three-act structure. Specifically note:

(a)  When is there a disturbance to the Lead’s ordinary routine?

A disturbance happens in the first scene after the Prolog, where part of the team is going off to do another job.

(b)  What changes happen early on?

The next scene has the other team getting ready to do a job, assigned to protect potential victims.  They establish the stakes.

(c)  At what point is the Lead thrust into the conflict? At what point can he not return to normal?

The lead, Mike, is thrust into the conflict immediately after Plot Point One, when he must come in to save a member of his team and one of the victims.

(d)  When is there a major clue, crisis, or setback that makes the climax inevitable?

The team member being held is ready to break out, and Michael finds out where the kidnap victim is being held. From there, it is just a case of knocking the pins down.

If you’re bored, ask yourself why. Look to see if the LOCK elements or three-act structure is weak.

This episode moved along very rapidly, as do all the Burn Notice episodes.

Continue reading

Waiting For Jigsaw

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Please accept my submission for Friday Fictioneers for 9 May 2014.  Had to look close for my clue.

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Waiting For Jigsaw

 

shopping cartHunger followed me, aching, emptiness. People walked past, never seeing. Until Crossword. Soft words soothed me. His sandwich filled me.

He finished his crossword puzzle. A man with nothing but time, he inspected his cart. Ripped duffel bags and straining plastic bags jostled with a stained sleeping bag and a decades old boom box.

He smiled, and whistled. I trotted along. Someone loved me again.

Men shouted, then took his crossword. Kicked, I hid. Crossword didn’t get up. Tired, white coated men came. They took Crossword away.

I lay beside the cart. I will wait until Crossword comes back.

 

 

Plotting To Be Scene – Part One

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part One

My next area of study is plotting.  I am using James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure as a companion piece.  I am plotting a new project, Scepter’s Sacrifice, and hope to use some of his techniques in finalizing the overall story.  His first chapter, What’s A Plot Anyway,includes three exercises at the back of the book.  I will bravely post my answers.
01 consideringEXERCISE ONE – ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(a)  When reader read my novels, I want them to feel the way I feel about the characters, and their journey. I want them to feel the joy, the sorrow, the tension, grief, and the final triumphs. I want them to feel as if they lived it, and became part of the adventure at the end. That’s because, to me, novels are stories that take me out of myself. I might still be in my present circumstance, but I really want to go somewhere else, to meet new people, to do something meaningful. And, if I am with a Main Character that does that, if I can feel what they feel, if I can see what they see, if I can do what they do, the writing entertains me. I want to know that the Main Character has meaning, that their struggles are important, and that they reach down inside themselves to preserver. Along the way, I want it to be fun. I am a happy-ever-after kind of person, and those are the books I like to read. I like to discover new things about myself, but I do not like to be preached too. I don’t have a lot of time, so I want the novel I am reading to be well written, will constructed, with clever twists.

(b)  What kind of plotter does this make me? I am a wanna-be plotter. But, I do like twists and flights of fancy. They system I use needs to be flexible enough to allow me to explore, but still give me the tools to bring everything back on track, and get to the ending.

(c)  How would my writing be strengthened by plotting?  Of course, as long as I can keep the originality and spark of spontaneity that comes with free form writing. And, to be honest, if I have any hope of being published, and getting people to read my book, I must write well enough to engage them, yet give them a framework they are comfortable with, and let them kick back and enjoy the story without being pulled out of it by clever tricks or spectacular word choices.

EXERCISE TWO: Take one of your favorite novels off the shelf and analyze them using the LOCK system. See how each element is at work in the books you love. Use these questions to help you,

(a)  What is it about the Lead character that captures you?  Rand al’Thor from The Wheel of Time. Rand tries to be an ordinary guy, wants to go through the coming-of-age journey that all boys entering manhood must take. He is honest, uncomplicated, and mysterious. We get hints that his father is not his birth father, and he is far from the Three Rivers Country.

(b)  What is it the Lead is trying to get or get away from?  Rand flees for his life when mysterious people chase him, and equally suspicious people help him. He needs time to discover the special forces and powers within him, and master them before the evil people kill him. Continue reading

Silent’s April Adventures

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Silent’s April Adventures

reportSadness.

Reflection.

I moved on with my life.  My grief faded, but I still miss my cat.  When I go in the bedroom, I expect to see him curled up on the bed; In the living room, looking out his window on the sofa;  I have his ashes and will mix them in with a tree I intend to plant outside his window.  He always wanted to go outside, now he will be able to, yet still be.

Continue reading