Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group, Critique

Time again for the ISWG post, created by Alex J. Cavanuah. To read what others  have posted go here.

I'm not feeling insecure at the moment, but I am feeling a little frustrated. I've been trying to find quality critique partners for some time. My health is finally on the mend enough to allow me to concentrate on my writing and my art for book covers. Critique is an integral part of writing.

What is critique? You may ask.

There are two kinds of critique, maybe more.

Line critique which generally checks for grammar and spelling.

Story critique which checks for the following:
Back story
POV shift
Show don't tell
Hook
Description
Pacing
Plot and more.

I'm very good at the latter.

It is very important that when you send your writing to a critique partner that you first re-read what you have written more than once and correct as much as you can. Our time is valuable, to send off your rough draft is rude.

How to read your critique:
It's important to remember that all critique is opinion. However, much of it is educated opinion. 99% of the time it will be spot on, so consider revising what has been recommended. However, if you really disagree with the comment you shouldn't revise it. If your critique partner didn't understand something, there's a good chance the reader won't either.

So now you've written your story, you've had it critiqued, do you need a beta reader. Not really. Do you need an editor? Absolutely. Especially for those of you who are self publishing. Hire and editor. I know several if you need a reference.

So, that's it for now.

Come and join me for the Write...Edit...Publish challenge later this month. Title: Changing Faces. Go here to learn more.

Nancy

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wriite, Edit, Publish, Taking Chances

Time for another story for Write...Edit...Publish. Brain child of Denise Covey. to participate or read other stories go here

Taking Chances

Louise avoided black cats and ladders along with Friday the 13th. In fact, Louise avoided most everything. Why take a chance that something would go wrong?

Why then had Frank left her? She knew the answer. It was precisely because she avoided life. Frank was a dare devil. He had jumped from a plane, leapt from a rock wall with a bungee cord, and climbed a mountain alone. Yes, Frank loved adventure. Louise supposed he thought he could change her. She’d tried to change him. Neither was successful.

“Come on.” Paula whined. “It will be fun.”

Louise doubted that the local dance club would be fun. Just the thought of the loud music gave her a headache. But…thoughts of Frank sneering at her lack of adventure made her consider what others thought of her.

“Okay,’ Louise said.
*
7 P.M. came much sooner than Louise thought possible. She did have one party dress, about five years old, but a dress that she hoped was suitable. Listen to me, she thought. Why should I care?

Paula rang the bell and laughed at Louise’s hot pink shift.
“What’s wrong?” Louise asked.

“Nothing,” Paula said. “I just never imagined you in hot pink. You look great.”

Louise tucked a strand of her auburn hair into the single braid she had managed to create.  

*
The night club was just as loud and boisterous as Louise had imagined. Couples jostled for position on the dance floor. Liquor was passed between friends. Feeling nauseated, Louise ran the bathroom were she discovered a young girl sniffing cocaine. That was the last straw. Louise escaped through the front door to the crisp Colorado night air and debated if she should go back in to tell Paula and her other co-workers that she was going home.

“Not the right scene for you?” A man said.

Louise spun around and found herself face to face with a red haired playboy. He had a white cotton shirt on and dark blue jeans with a dark belt around his waist. Red cowboy boots completed his outfit.

He trust out his hand. “I’m Brad.”

“Louise,” she said, and shook his hand.

“Not my thing either,” Brad said. “I much prefer sunshine and horseback riding in the mountains.”

Another dare devil, Louise thought, but then she thought that of every man she met.

“Can I offer you a ride home?” Brad said.

Risky. Louise knew better than to go with someone she’d just met. “No.”

“I won’t bite, I promise.”

“I think Ted Bundy might have said that before he murdered a dozen young girls,” Louise said.

Brad chuckled. The sound was like the wind through aspen leaves. Louise felt more at ease with this man, perhaps, perhaps, if only she could take a chance.

“If not a ride home than how about coffee at the place across the street?” Brad asked.

Louise turned to see a restaurant with glass windows displaying numerous happy patrons. Safe enough. “Sure.”

Brad extended his arm and they crossed the street. Inside, the warm atmosphere helped to ease Louise’s nerves. They were seated in a booth toward the back of the restaurant.

“Do you mind if I eat something?” Louise said. “I haven’t had dinner.”

“No problem, I’m hungry too.”

“What can I get for you?” The waitress asked.

“The club sandwich for me with French onion soup and iced tea,” Louise said.

“The all American grilled burger, French fries and coffee,” Brad said.

Typical, Louise thought.

“Tell me about yourself,” Brad said.

Hunger made Louise’s stomach protest. “Not much to tell,” she said.

“Come on, where do you work?”

“Downtown.”

“What do you do?”

“Stuff.”

Brad chuckled again. Louise felt a quiver rumble through her body.

“Well mystery Lady, I’m not as shy about my job. I drive a forklift for Stevens Construction.”

“What’s with the cowboy boots?” Louise asked, he’d surprised her.

“My inner child wants to be a cattleman.”

“Oh.”

“I’m saving up to buy a ranch. A man’s got to dream.”

“I guess. Have you ever jumped off a cliff or strapped yourself to a para-sail?”

Brad grinned, Louise was hopeful.

“Nope, never did either and I don’t ride the roller coaster. Not much of a risk taker. I prefer the sure thing.”

Their food came and Louise found herself relaxing. Brad began to tell her about cattle and the different breeds. Horses came next, she’d never learned so much before this.

“An Arabian makes a good race horse but not so good at herding cattle,” Brad said, in answer to her question.

An hour later, their plates cleared, her tea gone and his third cup of coffee found them both simply gazing at each other and smiling.

“My I call on you again?” Brad asked.

“Yes,” Louise said.

“Tomorrow night, how about a movie and dinner?”

“Depends on the movie,” Louise said.

“We’ll decide together. May I take you home now?”

“Yes,” Louise said.

*
Three years later on a ranch in Wyoming, Louise held her newborn baby boy with a tuff of red hair and smiled at her husband. She’d taken a chance on Brad and it was the best decision of her life.

Word count: 865

I hope you enjoyed this tale. I’m sure there are faeries on the ranch but they haven’t told me their stories yet.

Nancy

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group, Plot

Greetings everyone. It's time for the ISWG post, created by Alex J. Cavanauh. Great idea don't you think? If you would like to read what others have written in this insecure bloghop click here.

For my submission I'm going to talk about plot.

Oh yeah, plot.

I have never liked the word 'plot.' Sorry but it sounds too much like plop.  So what do you do? Do you plop down a plot? I mean, really. Couldn't we find a more descriptive word to discuss and use to replace the word plot?

What about the word structure? Doesn't a good story have structure? Every detail in it's place. Mapped out to perfection, or at least an attempt at perfection?

Or how about the word framework? When you build a house it must have the frame in place before you can put up the walls, paint it, clean it and arrange furniture.

I recently received a critique about a story I wrote that said I didn't have a plot. It's a romance. You know, boy meets girl, love and marriage. Isn't that the plot of a romance? I don't know. I don't usually write romance. 

I had a book on plot and I wanted to re-read it, but we have moved so many times in the last four years that I fear it has been lost or packed away in a mysterious box. So for now I will just ask the questions above.

Advice is welcome. What do you think?
Nancy

I am looking for experienced critique partners. I have more than 25 years of experience to offer you. Let me know in the comments if you're interested.

If you would like to read my epic fantasy, 'The Treasure of Carmelidrium,' click the link on the right hand side below the book cover. A reveiw is appreciated.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Write...Edit...Publish, Photo Me

Time for another Write...Edit...Publish flash fiction post. To read more excellent stories go here.

So sorry I'm late in posting. I hope you enjoy my story.

Photo Me

“I’m in the picture! Whatever will I do?” Tulip said, brushing aside her golden hair that had streaks of peach coloring running from the green tips at her roots.

     “What do you mean, you’re in the picture?” Lily asked, a frown squished her delicate brown and caused her faerie eyebrows to almost look human.

     “Picture! Do you mean the humans have a picture of you?” Daffodil asked, her yellow hair drooped past her shoulders.

     “I was curious,” Tulip said. “When I heard them talking about taking the woman’s picture in front of her garden I wanted to see, so I peeked out from within the tulip I was tending. The picture shows me and my wings. Now the woman is trying to find me with a magnifying glass. I had to hide under the dandelion.”

     “That’s not good, that’s not good at all.” Lily stomped her foot.

     “If the fae council learns of this you’re---“Daffodil began.

     “I know!” Tulip said.

     “There’s only one thing to do,” Lily said. “We’ll have to break into the woman’s house and steal the picture.”

     “Do you think we can?” Tulip felt hopeful.

     “What do you mean ‘we?’” Daffodil asked.

     “It’ll take all three of us,” Lily said.

     “When? I mean when should we do it?”

     “The sooner the better. Don’t give her time to show a lot of people.” Lily sat at the table in her parent’s bungalow and proceeded to draw a map of the woman’s home.

     “What is this?” Daffodil asked.

     “Really Daffodil, have you never peeked in the window?” Tulip asked.

     “You mean this is the woman’s home? Oh my great grandfae!”

*
The plan was simple. They’d wait until the human turned off her lights and went to bed and then slip through the dryer vent. Tension spread through Tulip as she waited.

     “Do all humans stay up so late?” Tulip asked. “We have to do this before the others show up to tend the garden.”

     “I’m going to pee my socks,” Daffodil said.

     “I’d like to see that,” Lily said. Daffodil punched her in the arm.

     “Quiet you two,” Tulip said. “She’s walking by the window.”

     The faerie girls held their breath and fluttered as low as possible into the evergreen bush.

     “She’s going to bed,” Daffodil said.

     “Finally,” Lily said.

     All three flew toward the dryer vent, entered and used their wands to light the way through the dark tunnel. At the dryer door Lily used her wand to magically open the door. It shot out and banged against the dryer.

     Daffodil jumped and covered her sensitive fae ears. “Owe.”

     “Oh no, that will surely wake her,” Tulip said.

Before they could fly out of the dryer a big scruffy cat leapt up on the machines door. His eyes turned amber as he surveyed the three.

     “Scoot,” Lily said and sent a flash of colored sparks at the cat. “Meow.” The cat fell over backwards as the girls flew from the dryer.

     “It’s fallowing us,” Tulip warned. Sure enough the cat wasn't far behind.

     “Where is this picture?” Daffodil asked.

     “She had it out on the table the last time I saw,” Tulip said.

     “It’s not there now,” Lily said. “What now? Should we ask the cat?”

     “As if we could,” Tulip said. “We’ll have to search.”

     Daffodil and Lily went into the living room and began to search through the bookcase. Tulip investigated the kitchen. The cat decided to follow Tulip and jumped on the counter watching her open the drawers with a flick of her wand. He growled whenever the faerie dust came close to his nose. Tulip felt a little nervous with the animal close so she kept watch on his movements.

     “We found it,” Lily called from the living room.

     Tulip flew toward the girls.

     “Nice picture,” Lily said and held up the photo that was nearly as big as she was.

     Tulip saw herself emerging from the flower just behind the woman’s smiling face.

     “You’re really very pretty,” Daffodil said.
     “Thanks,” Tulip said.
     “Now what? It’s kind of heavy,” Lily said, her wings fluttered wildly as she tried to hold the photo.
     “Put the picture down face up on the table,” Tulip said.

     Lily did. Tulip hovered above the likeness of herself, pointed her wand, screwed up her face in a mask of frowns and shot out a violent blast the swooped the photo off the table, caused it to spin in the air violently, hit the cat on the back before landing on the floor. The cat howled and ran from the room.

     Lily went to inspect the image. “There’s a bright spot where you used to be.”

     All three girls studied the photo, nothing of Tulip remained.

     “Time to leave before the others show up,” Tulip said.

      All three headed back to the dryer, shot through the vent and landed in the evergreen bush.

     “Ugh,” Lily said removing a twig from her hair. “I hate these bushes.”

     “Don’t let Spruce her you say that,” Daffodil said.

     “I won’t,” Lily said.

     “Let’s get out of here,” Tulip said. She flicked the portal between the human world and the fae open and all three flew home, their adventure over.

Word Count: 869
I think I will expand on this when I have more time. Hope you enjoyed it.

Nancy

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I won! So excited.

I won the Write...Edit...Publish challenge hosted by Denise Covey for my flash fiction story, Romancing Wisteria. If you'd like to read it just scroll down one post.

I have a prize coming as well. A $10.00 gift card to Amazon. Oh, which books should I buy? I know of one for sure to fulfill a promise made and so any of you have books out as well just waiting for my Kindle Fire. Leave me a comment with the link to your book and I'll check it out. I promise to leave a review after I'm done reading.

Happy dance!
Nancy

PS.. In case you are new to my blog, I have many flash fiction stories you can read. Just remember, everything is copyrighted.

To read other stories from this bloghop go here.