Saturday, April 28, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - All That Glitters #4

This snippet is from my work in progress, ALL THAT GLITTERS. (Other snippets from this story can be found here.)

Introduction to these sentences: This excerpt follows directly after my last SSS post. Driving on country roads for the first time, Annie loses control of her truck and drives into a ditch. Quinn sees her accident, so he stops to help. Both Annie and her truck are fine, but when she tries to get out of the truck, her door hits the steep slope of the ditch. She can't open the door wide enough to squeeze through - she's trapped. Quinn has just told her he'll pull her truck out of the ditch, and Annie has decided she wants out of the truck first. Quinn's suggested she crawl through the window, assuring her he'll make sure she doesn't fall.  Last time, when her foot gets caught on something, Annie looks down and realizes that her position, crawling on the seat toward him, is displaying her cleavage to Quinn. 

Here are the six:

          Her hand flew to her chest to clutch her shirt closed - albeit belatedly - as she kicked her foot to free it.  When the passenger side seatbelt flung against the far door with a clunk, Annie spared a glance at Quinn.  His gaze fixed on hers, as if he was struggling not to look lower.  His brown eyes were darker than a moment ago and he was grinning - yep, he'd seen straight down her shirt.  Some part of her was immensely relieved she'd grabbed her lacy bra that morning instead of the frayed sports one she usually wore. 
          The other part wished she'd worn a turtleneck.

Annie isn't out of the truck yet!  I think I'll post more excerpts from this scene over the next couple of Sundays, at least until Annie has two feet on the ground!

*****

Thank you for stopping by to read my Six Sentence Sunday post.  You are all wonderful!  I appreciate everyone's comments and ideas, so let me know what you think! :)

Thank you also to everyone who tracked down my post last week!  A little blogger glitch foiled my scheduling plans, so my post was up late.  Sorry! 

Check out the Six Sentence Sunday website to find links to more author blogs and snippets!  The other writers who participate in this are fabulous and talented too - so check them out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award Nominee

How exciting!   I'm honored to have been nominated by the lovely Chantel Rhondeau for the Kreativ Blogger Award.  Thank you, Chantel, for thinking of me! So, everyone, please check out her blog!  I've been following Chantel's Six Sentence Sunday posts for a while now - I love her characters and story. 
Isn't this logo pretty?

According to the Kreative Blogger rules, as a nominee, I have to:
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated me for the award and provide a link back to their blog.
  2. List 7 things about myself that reader might find interesting.
  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers, provide links to their blogs and let them know. 

7 things about me:
  1. I tend to name my cats after literary characters: Sherlock, Moriarty, Duncan (okay, so this one was partly historical inspiration and partly from Macbeth), and Darcy. I did not name our little black cat - the poor girl is named after an NHL goalie.
  2. I participated in an archaeological dig in Tuscany during my undergrad.  I returned to North America drinking red wine, eating black olives, and thinking rabbit was rather tasty. 
  3. No one at work can read my handwriting, so I feel badly for my critique partners, who have to decipher my scribbles on their pages. Sometimes I re-write comments - trying very hard to be conscientious of my letters - and they are still illegible. (My elementary school language arts teacher would be mortified.)
  4. I jumped out of a plane... once.  Yes, I had a parachute.  I was fine when it happened, but woke up in the middle of the night about a month later with one loud and vivid thought: "What the hell was I thinking?"
  5. I used to sit at my kitchen table to write, staring blindly out the big picture window as I typed. I'd become lost in my character's world and often didn't see my neighbors when they waved at me. I'm pretty sure they thought I was spying on them.
  6. I wrote most of my university essays with Mozart's Requiem playing in the background. That CD can still get me focused more quickly than anything else, and I use it occasionally when writing fiction to jump-start my brain.
  7. I have recently realized that I'm more of a Star Trek nerd than most people I know.  I had no idea until I started following George Takei on Facebook and tried sharing his posts with other people - it is just no fun when you have to explain why something is funny.  Then again, those same people give me a similar look when I talk about Harry Potter jokes.  Hmmm...

7 other bloggers I'd like to nominate:
  1. Kate Warren, writer
  2. Zee Monodee, writer
  3. Carmen DeSousa, writer
  4. Wildcat's Wife, writer
  5. Lea Griffith, writer
  6. Donna Cummings, writer
  7. Teresa Cypher, writer
Thanks again, Chantel!  I hope my nominees are as excited to participate as I was!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - All That Glitters #3

This snippet is from my work in progress, ALL THAT GLITTERS. (Other snippets from this story can be found here.)

Introduction to these sentences: This excerpt follows shortly after my last SSS post, where we meet Annie's sexy hero Quinn for the first time.  Driving on country roads for the first time, Annie loses control of her truck and drives into a ditch. Quinn sees her accident, so he stops to help.  Both Annie and her truck are fine, but when she tries to get out of the truck, her door hits the steep slope of the ditch. She can't open the door wide enough to squeeze through - she's trapped.  Quinn has just told her he'll pull her truck out of the ditch, and Annie has decided she wants out of the truck first.  Quinn's suggested she crawl through the window, assuring her he'll make sure she doesn't fall.

Here are the six:

          Annie bit her lip as she pivoted toward the open window, toward him.  She couldn't meet his gaze -- he was too close, too much to handle at this proximity -- but she knew he was watching as she knelt on the driver's seat.  When she tried to crawl forward, her foot became tangled on something.  God, now what?  Annie glanced down --
          Cleavage! 

Quinn's had quite the view. ;)  Poor Annie, though, is too conservative to be anything but embarrassed.

*****

Thank you for stopping by to read my Six Sentence Sunday post! I appreciate everyone's comments and ideas, so let me know what you think! :)

Check out the Six Sentence Sunday website to find links to more author blogs and snippets!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - All That Glitters #2

This snippet is from my work in progress, ALL THAT GLITTERS.  (Other snippets from this story can be found here.)  

Introduction to these sentences: This is the first time Annie sees Quinn, the hero of the story.  Driving on country roads for the first time, Annie loses control of her truck and drives into the ditch.  Quinn sees her accident, so he stops to help.  She is physically fine, and takes a minute to evaluate her would-be rescuer.

Here are the six:

          Annie assessed the man standing on the road in a quick beat - his baseball cap had probably been in service for the last fifteen years, his faded jeans fit snugly over lean hips, and the creases around his eyes suggested he'd spent his life squinting into the sun.  He was one of the sexiest men she'd ever seen outside of movies.

          And now he was focused on her. 

          When the corner of his mouth kicked up in a lopsided grin, heat rolled over her skin as if he'd caressed her.  Annie swallowed and looked away, mortified by her immediate heated response to him. 

          Maybe she was going through an early menopause.



Poor Annie!  Hoping for menopause instead of a sexual attraction.  ;)


*****


Thank you for stopping by to read my Six Sentence Sunday post!  I appreciate everyone's comments and ideas, so let me know what you think!  :)   

Check out the Six Sentence Sunday website to find links to more author blogs and snippets!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

First Line as Dialogue: My Example

Just like your day,
your story needs a good start. :)
(Image: © Demid | Dreamstime.com)
Last year I took the first scene of my work in progress All That Glitters (God, I suck at coming up with titles) to a writing meeting.  We sat in a big circle and read our first page aloud, then received feedback.  The goal was to bring something you knew needed improvement and brainstorm some ideas with the other participants. 

My first paragraph was:

          The floor creaked at the top of the stairs.  Someone was coming down.  Annie straightened her shoulders but didn't look up.  She had almost positioned the Santa and reindeer on the top of the paper house, the last detail of her Christmas village. 

When I finished reading, the first question I was asked was "What genre are you writing?" 

Apparently, with the floor creaking and the mysterious person coming down the stairs, it felt ominous and mysterious to the others.  It was interesting to me, because I hadn't thought about it like that (ah, the benefits of getting crits). 

So, we chatted about a a few options and we came up with an alternate first paragraph, which is:

          "Annalisa?" 

That's it.  A name and a question mark in quotations.

I'm still debating this.  I see the problems with my first opening, but I also see problems with the second one. 

In the first option, the setting is introduced.  You see the character, her activity and a bit of her behavior.  You know someone else is coming.  Does it raise questions?  A few I suppose, but, based on the feedback, not the right questions. 

In the second option, we do not know who is speaking (male, female, child, adult, etc).  We do not know where they are.  We know next to nothing.  But, it is also very short, so perhaps a reader would be willing to stick it out and read the next line to find out a bit more information.  On the other hand, the story is all about Annalisa - or Annie, as she prefers to be called - so in some ways, the opening line may be appropriate. 

For reference, here are the first six sentences (so that bit of dialogue and the next 5 sentences):

          "Annalisa?"
          Annie bit her lip.  She didn't have to answer to 'Annalisa' any more.  Nope - she was just plain old Annie.
          Crap, he was coming downstairs. What did he want? 

How do you feel about dialogue as the first line? 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: All That Glitters #1

In the spirit of Easter, I dug up six sentences about the holiday.  This excerpt is very different from my last Six Sentence Sunday posts!   I hope you enjoy them.  :)

This snippet is from my work in progress, ALL THAT GLITTERS. Annie, the main character, is a perfectionist, who always strives to make her holiday celebrations something even Martha Stewart would envy.  Over the course of the story, Annie's various relatives move into her house, disrupting her perfect little world. 

This scene takes place on Easter morning between Annie and her uncle:

          "Who are the masters?"
          Milt shook his head as if he couldn't believe her question, but he stayed focused on his task of pushing the couch until it sat directly in front of the television.  "The Masters, you know, golf."
          "Are you saying you invited the bar crowd to watch golf here today, Easter Sunday?"
          Milt shrugged as he nudged one of the chairs closer to the couch.  "Is that a problem?"

Hmmm... I think Annie's stress level just spiked. 

*****
Thank you to everyone for stopping by and commenting on my post again last week! I appreciate it!  I may not get to everyone's blogs on Sunday, but I'll visit them next week.  Happy Easter!  :)

To find out more about Six Sentence Sunday go to  http://www.sixsunday.com/. On that website, you'll also find links to many talented writers and their great snippets! 

If you haven't tried SSS and are thinking about it, go for it!  Everyone is wonderful and supportive.  I've only been participating for a few weeks and I've met some fabulous people already!  Zee Monodee, Teresa Cypher, and Kate Warren in particular have been very welcoming! 
*****

I'd love to hear from you about this excerpt! What would you do if you found out Easter morning you'd be entertaining a group of strangers from the pub?





Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beginnings: Prologues

Ready! Set! Go!
(Image: © Gualtiero Boffi | Dreamstime.com)
When I was contemplating this topic, I did an image search for the words "start" and "beginning."  I found thousands of photos showing people crouched down in the starting position, but, unlike track and field sprinting, there are many different ways to start a story.    

That is what makes it so tricky.

In my Six Sentence Sunday postings, I recently posted three excerpts (First, Second, Third) from one of my works in progress, Unavoidable Legacies.  I finished a rough draft of this story several years ago, but I saw that it needed some major rewriting.  So, I decided to let the story simmer for a while while I moved on to new projects.  Every once in a while, though, I'd remember that story and think I should take a stab at revising it.  The SSS was a first step. 


The snippets I posted for SSS were all from a prologue that I wasn't sure would make the final draft.  I love that prologue. It includes the first scene that came to me when I started to write that story, and the rest of the story evolved from that one scene.  But, it has a few challenges. 

I've identified the following challenges with my prologue
  1. First, it is a prologue, which right from the start can be a problem.  It is a bit like a false start.  I personally enjoy prologues - any chance to find out more about the characters and the story is a good thing to me - but not everyone does. Several of my friends skip the prologue, and I don't think they are unusual. 
  2. The prologue is about two secondary characters.  The main characters do not make an appearance.  So, as a reader, do we even care about these characters? 
  3. Both secondary characters are dead by the end of the prologue.  Another opportunity to ask: why would a reader care?  In this instance, I think the prologue is handy because their deaths set the rest of the book in motion, aka the inciting incident.  However, as a writer, have I risked alienating the reader by killing all the characters I've introduced?
  4. The scenes that comprise the prologue are very intense - there are hearts being broken, faces being slapped, cars plunging into icy lakes, and characters dying.  This is one of my biggest difficulties with the prologue.   According to Nancy Kress in Beginnings, Middles and Ends, the beginning of the book makes a promise to the reader that is developed in the middle and resolved by the end. This promise extends beyond the characters' goals and motivations, it encompasses the entirety of the book, including the tone.  So, with my prologue being so intense, what implications does that have for the remainder of the book?  Is it possible to carry that intensity forward?  And, the climax will need to be even that much bigger and more intense...
I probably won't be able to make a decision about the fate of my prologue until I get through the first wave of revisions (or later).  In the meantime, though, I'm curious...

How do you feel about prologues?  Do you love 'em or do you skip 'em? 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - Unavoidable Legacies #3

These six sentences are also from the prologue of the same Work in Progress, Unavoidable Legacies, as the last two SSS postings.  As I mentioned last week and the week before, this scene involves secondary characters, whose activities set the rest of the book in motion.  This excerpt follows last week's, where John was feeling guilty about Grace's car accident.  He is still standing on the side of the road, watching the emergency crews look for Grace in the lake.
*****
         


           They all believed Grace was dead, that her delicate body was suspended somewhere beyond their reach. God, please let them find her before she was blue and bloated with a ghastly open-mouthed yawn.
           A cry from one of the boats broke across the water – someone had found...something. John watched without blinking as the crew pulled her lifeless body out of the lake. Crisp grief speared through him, sending hot pain down his left arm and a tight ache across his chest. Welcoming it, he slid to the frozen earth in silence. 

*****
One of my rewrite options has John and Grace return as ghosts to play matchmakers for their grown children. I have to play with that idea some more and see how that might work...

This might be the last excerpt from this WIP for a while. I've decided this story needs a lot of revision, so that'll take some time. Also, I think it might be time to switch up my SSS to something that isn't quite so sombre.



Thank you to everyone for stopping by and commenting on my post again last week! I appreciate it! Your comments have me thinking about my rewrites and directions for moving forward. Also, a huge thank you to the Six Sentence Sunday organizers - I think you are rockstars for coming up with this idea and generously sharing the opportunity with others. :)

To find out more about Six Sentence Sunday and the other fabulous participants go to http://www.sixsunday.com/. There are some great snippets!


*****

I'd love to hear from you about this excerpt! What do you think?