Friday, June 29, 2012

Towel 42 and Bad Grammar

We have a mishmash of a post today.


I got this nifty towel, which I won from the Crash Plan Facebook contest. You can see all the entries here. Towel Day, which is celebrated every May 25th, commemorates the life of author Douglas Adams, of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame.


Recently Grammar Girl posted about "Bad Grammar, Good Fiction." If you're not familiar with Grammar Girl, please go to her page, find her podcasts on iTunes, and check out one of her books, such as The Ultimate Writing Guide for Students. Her real name is Mignon Fogarty. Her post on "Bad Grammar, Good Fiction" was spot on. She points out how, " of fiction, can benefit from throwing the so-called rules out the door."

I find that to be true. Though I adore learning about proper grammar, I've found that most of my characters (like most people) do not always speak correctly. When I create a character who speaks correctly all the time, and uses highfalutin words--like the pink unicorn does in my WIP--it says something her, just as old-west slang says something about another character in that WIP.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Trailer and an E-Book Coupon

I'm so giddy, I'm at a loss for words. The magnificent Rhonda Kay has finished the book trailer for my urban fantasy novel SYZYGY. Rhonda's a machinima wizard. She wrote a screenplay with the scenes that capture the essence of my silly little novel, did some fancy computery work (which I'll never wrap my brain around), gathered amazing voice talent and music, and put together an exceptional animated trailer.

I'm so unworthy!

When the leader of Finn's clan orders him to kidnap Bea Jones, Finn falls crazy in love. He risks his life by betraying his clan to protect her. Finn Wilde is a computer-nerd trapped in a super strong body. He's one of the Fir Na Gealaí, whose strength and speed surpass those of ordinary men. The story is told by an alternately pensive then manic patient in a mental hospital. He claims the story's true, but is it?                                 

If you're interested in the machinima movie making process (or orphaned baby birds) please visit her site, Do Little Say Much.

Take a gander at the trailer she created for SYZYGY.
(Content warning--Some images may be disturbing to little kids.)

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Syzygy, click the link on my sidebar or go to Smashwords (where you can get SYZYGY in a variety of e-reader formats or Amazon Kindle.

Until July 4th, use this Smashwords coupon code DF93K at checkout to get Syzygy for half off.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Lesson in Story Structure or A Book Review of Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy isn't only for science fiction and fantasy writers. It's the go-to book for learning about story structure.

You probably have heard/read about his MICE quotient. They talked about it on Writing Excuses podcast-found here.

The MICE quotient states that there are basically four story types: Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event. Most stories, especially novel length, have more than one element, but one will dominate.


Milieu stories, such as Alice in Wonderland and Gulliver's Travels, are mostly concerned about the setting.

Idea stories are about finding out information, such as in a mystery.

Character stories follow the transformation of a character.

Event stories are about a world out of order, such as a monster's appearance, as in Beowulf.

Decide which kind of story you're writing, and you'll know at what points to begin and end that story. The guidance O.S.C. gives in this area is what makes the book remarkable. Here's a brief rundown:

The milieu story begins when the character arrives in the new place and ends when he leaves or decides to make his home there.

Idea stories begin close to the point where the big question is raised and end right after it's answered.

A character story begins when the main character becomes so unhappy in his present role that he begins to change. It ends when he settles into his new role or gives up the struggle and remains in the old role.

The Event story begins when the important character (the one whose actions are most crucial to establishing the new order) gets involved in the struggle. It ends when new order is established, or less often, when the old order is restored or the world descends into chaos.

O.S.C. details these all out, of course. So, you best grab a copy of the book. On a side note, I think it's an important part of the writing process to write yourself into a story, get to know the characters and setting. But as I've heard it said many times, you'll probably want to cut your first chapter. It wasn't a waste. You needed to write it, but the reader wants to get right into the important bits. Remember, "late in-early out." In my WIP I chopped off the beginning scene of my MC doing laundry and contemplating her life. That scene was a darling of mine, but it wasn't doing enough. Information I needed to convey, I put someplace else.

O.S.C. also wrote tips on viewpoint character, hero, and main character (which may be three separate characters!) and so much more. But this post is getting long. I encourage you to read How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy even if you write some other genre. This book holds amazing advice for every fiction writer.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bloodletting, The Death Strike, and Hello Kitty Zombies

Get over to  Tea at Trianon today to check out her post on the history of bloodletting, a practice thought to have begun in ancient Egypt. I hadn't realized it dated so far back. History is cool!

Then pop over to The Word is My Oyster and learn about the death strike. That's when you get thwacked in the chest and die. But it's not that simple, so go read about it. Maybe get some ideas for your next novel.

Am I being too icky today. Sorry! ;)

To make up for it I'll give you a link to some cute Hello Kitty things at Hello Kitty Forever!
Okay, so I directed you to the zombie post.  LOL  I love that site!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Random Quirks

Howdy. A critique partner of mine was instructed to give her character a quirk. I found for her a NPC Generator. That's a non-player character, in role playing speak. But it could be useful, or at least fun, for fiction writers.

It will provide you with names, nicknames, interests, quirks, and more. For instance, it just popped up a character for me named Fastger Konr. He's pushy, resentful, and astonishingly hairless. I think I knew a guy like that once.

Here's the link to James's NPG Generator. Enjoy!
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