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Showing posts from February, 2013

The dreaded Chapter one

Chapter One:
It's what draws readers in, or turns them away. It's what sets the tone and voice for the entirety of your book. And, probably most frightening (at least for me) is that it's what will snag you an agent, or get you tossed in the slush pile.  
But what makes a good chapter one? I may not be a published author, (just yet. Give it a year) but I'm one of the pickiest readers you'll ever have the pleasure of knowing. Whenever I walk into a book store or library, I read the jacket sure, but I also read the first few pages of chapter one. Why? Because I'm not going to a buy a book that doesn't snap my attention quick and hold it fast. Being a writer makes style really important to me as well.

So again, what makes a good chapter one? In this year's addition of Writer's market, Guide to Literary Agents, there's a chapter called, "8 Ways to Write A Great Chapter One" by Elizabeth Sims. And she puts it nicely.
"As an aspiring a…

Birthday 23. How many more to go?

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Ironic that this proceeds the former post about never growing up isn't it? Never the less, here I am, a mere twenty three years into life and already I can see the future of my dreams coming to reality. After all, I'm further along than I've ever been and it seems every new person I meet, be it on a bus into West Hartford, or someone new comes into work, seems to be just the kind of person I need to help me along.

Some people like gifts on their birthdays. Money and cake, and all sorts of little things to make them feel special. My dad had a small potted plant waiting for me when I got home, sitting at my computer desk where he'd know I'd find it with a card reading,
"Remember the first time I saw you, I can still feel that jolt of love and amazement at what a miracle you were. And now here you are, just a quick blur of birthdays latter, All grown-up and still a miracle.
I loved watching you discover your talents and grow into your gifts... sharing with the world  the li…

Neverland

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"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this...."

I didn't grow up on Peter pan. My parents never sat me down and read the book, and I don't remember loving  the Disney animation so much as I loved... lets say, Aladdin, or Beauty and the Beast. And yet as I age, I find it becoming an intricately connected part the whole that is me.

Peter Pan. The boy who will not grow up. Recently I watched the live action movie, and not a single motion picture can make me grin so hard, can so completely enthrall me... yet make me so sad at the same time. It's not a pitying sadness. Or a longing, but a deep, jagged aching that tears at me inside. It'll be at little moments. Flying with the fairies, or fencing with pirates while soaring through the air and zipping through the trees. Maybe longing is closer. Maybe home sickness for a land where there's no seam between the ocean and a star studded sky.

But it's…

The strange phenomena revolving around your bed

It look inconspicuous enough from a distance, but it's a crafty imp I tell you. By day break it calls to you.
 'Come, lay down for a minute or two, your work can wait. It's just for a little while. Sleep. Rest. Relax.'

When you do, it's the most comfortable place in the world. Even if you have a cheap two hundred dollar nothing like I do. It's like laying on cool clouds by summer, and a pile of warm wool by winter. So you sleep, and you rest, and the sun sets. Your day is gone, and it's tricks have only just begun.

Nightfall. That's when it really reaches it's stride. There's a force-field around it. Don't try to see it because it's far too crafty to be that obvious about it, and it operates just as subtly. Whenever you get near it, it turns you away. There'll just be a thought in your head. Something like, 'I should get this done before I turn in.' And off you go.

The clock ticks away.

You come back, pull down the sheets. Oh…

On Characters and Contradictions

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Your book is nothing, absolutely nothing, without characters. Good, strong, believable, multidimensional, characters. Now a days that especially hold true for antagonists. You might be able to pull off a good old fashions, evil just for the sake of being evil villain. If it's done right, but readers want to connect. They want to understand these characters inside and out.

I have a friend who introduced me to a series called, The Dresden Files, by Jim butcher. We read them together, and gush over them together. The hero, Harry Dresden, lives in Chicago.  The thing is, Jim Butcher's characters have such presence in the novels that when my friend went to Chicago for a few days, she told me how she expected to see them walking in the streets. If you ever want a fun read and a good study of character voice and development, I think this series is one of the best.

Anyways, the point being that, yes the story is good, but it wouldn't be as good without Harry Dresden and all his fr…

Writing and Art

Sometimes I feel that people forget writing is an art form. Throughout school, I was in a number of art classes. I drew nude models, painted, dabbled in photography, loved all sorts of crafts. So, when I tell people I'm an artist, the see a paint smeared girl in a pair of denim overalls and not a stereotypical author, hunched over the computer in a pair a sweatpants and a mess of tea, or coffee stained scraps of paper crammed with notes taking up the every inch of the desk.

Guys, authors are artists too. Just the same as dancers, and musicians and painters and sculptures. People have told me, "Well anyone can write." That's true. Anyone can draw too. Anyone can dance, or sculpt or splatter some paint on a canvas, but only a select few people have what it takes to chase this career to the bitter end. Just like any artists, the job takes:
Dedication.Tough skinPatienceProbably a little bit of a masochistic mind state, and a god complex.  (I'm convinced God is an auth…

Tarot card readings at Tisane

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There's a restaurant in West Hartford CT called Tisane, which I go to exclusively for the atmosphere, the tea, and the turkey burger. (Also the chocolate fondue) It's a fun place, and attracts my kind of crowd, and it's also a lesbian bar on some nights as it turns out. But on Monday nights, between 8:00PM and 10:00 There's a man there, who sets up shop at one of the small tables and gives out tarot and card, and palm readings for ten dollars.

 I've always been a spiritual person, and sensitive to the energies around me. So when I see people like this, I get really cautious. I need to be sure this person can tell me something that I can't figure out on my own. After interviewing this poor man for a few minutes, I sat down and got a reading.

To be honest he told me many things that I suspected, but I couldn't be sure of. After all if I'm suspecting them about myself how do I know it's not all in my head? But if a stranger that never knew me until tha…

Puzzle

Sometimes, it seems like life is a puzzle you just dumped out of the box. You know what the end picture is, at least what you want it to be, but your left with all these fragments of images, events and experiences. This puzzle is a little different from the one's you buy at the store.

It's big. Bigger than any table you own, and the image keeps changing on the box front. Sometimes all you want is for it to hold still so you can jump to the end, the finished result, but that's not what life is about. So you sit, hunched on the floor trying to work all the little pieces into place.

Every so often you get too caught up on this one section of the puzzle. You get obsessive about finding that one piece in the massive pile around you. Days. Months. Years go by, and your still no further along than when you started. It's like you forgot there are other parts of the puzzle to work on, to slim the pile, to further the greater picture, because you got too caught up in the one par…

Show VS Tell

It wasn't until I read the book, "Self Editing for Fiction Writers" by Renni Browne and Dave King, that I really noticed it, and how much of an impact it cane make on your writing. Seriously. It makes it turn from dull and lengthy to strong and action packed.

You can get it cheep on Amazon.

Chapter one of the book is what I want to focus on, and it's called....(drum roll) Show and Tell.

While back in the day, telling an entire book was the norm, now a days readers strive to feel part of the action, and you can only accomplish that through showing with scenes. (I think it has something to do with all the motions pictures out there)  I'll use a bit of my work for an example. 

Here is a scene from the first draft of my current novel, The Cursed Prince. 
 With another roar of thunder, the prince stood from his seat in the dark room and placed solid block paper weight in the corner of the paper fluttering in the breath from the storm. There were muffled voices outside h…

This is me

Well, here I am, speaking to the world from the tinny room of a two story apartment. I've lived in it for...seven, no eight years now? And I think it's the longest I've ever lived in one place.

So who am I? And how did I get here, creating a blog when I have no idea what to do with one.

I'm a writer is the long and short of it. Unpublished, but it'll change by the end of this year if I believe it strong enough and work my a** off. It's already written. The first in the trilogy at least, though that might change since there seems to be an awful lot of those going around lately. I'm in the final stages so to speak. Editing and revising. Query letters and agent hunting. I even have some beta readers. (One of them being my new friend Aaron Browder) I work two jobs and I've been paying rent since about tenth grade in high school. I'm twenty two, as I sit and write this, but in a few weeks time, on the twenty sixth, I'll be twenty three. (a lot of twe…