Pondering the WiP

I haven’t written a word today. Just one of those days. And I don’t feel well enough to force myself to write.

But I’ve been pondering my protagonist’s character profile. He has a thing for art and exercise. I haven’t shown either in the WiP so far. I’ve just told it, breaking the cardinal rule of showing and not telling. They’re important enough to the character a part of me thinks they need to be shown.

Neither of those passions of the character are important to the character are important to the plot. So I need to find some very subtle way to work it in.

I just haven’t figured out a way to work it in.

Friday Flash: The Honored Hemorphidite

Gentle reader, I was present at the Olde Circle yesterday evening when an astonishing thing happened.

“2900! 2900! Who wants to go for 3000? 3000, people. Going once, going twice, gone! The gentleman in the yellow hat has won the antique robot!” A small woman whispered in the auctioneer’s ear. “Ah! Forgive me, I meant to say, the honored hemorphidite in the yellow hat has won the antique robot.”

A shocked titter begin in the upper gallery and spread down to the peons in the lower seats. Who could blame them? No one has seen a hemorphidite in such marvelous surroundings in, well, decades.

A brightly dressed, tall hemorphidite descended from the upper gallery and walked to the stage. But before – she? he? it? – could reach the stage, a woman handed him a trolly with the robot on it, staring sightless ahead. The robots’ power switch was turned to off.

It, we shall say, offered the woman a card; it was a black card, but I regret I was not close enough to see which credit company it preferred.

The honored hemorphidite, gentle reader, gathered the trolly to its impressive bosom and made off with it.

No one knows where it went. All I know, gentle reader, is that somewhere in this city is a hemorphidite with an old robot.

Perhaps it decided to assuage its loneliness with the stark, broken lights of a robot.

When do you Create Character Profiles?

On Twitter I asked advice about what to do about minor, inconsistent characters.

A Twitter friend said I should write down everything I know about them and that can become a reference. That sounds like a character profile to me.

I haven’t created character profiles for the WiP yet. I could have, especially for the main character and the secondary characters I knew about. But I wanted to get on with it, you know? I didn’t want to stop and fiddle with an excel file or a word file for the characters. Instead, if I forget the eye color or something, I go back and look it up.

I need to create character profiles now. I’ll probably wait until the WiP is done or create it now. I haven’t made up my mind. I do know I’ll be using OneNote app on my tablet. I want to try it out and it seems perfect for this. Better than either excel or word.

Is doing it this way a bit weird? At least this way I’ll have a list of all characters that need a profile.

And I’ll know what kind of things I keep looking up: physical characteristics, descriptions of surroundings and stuff like that.

Also, the more nebulous, personal stuff that I know is changing right now from appearance to appearance for minor characters, the stuff that makes a character a character, and that stuff that needs to especially consistent. (Unless something happens to a character that makes them change, things that don’t usually happen to minor characters.)

It feels a little backward, to create them at the end of a novel instead of the beginning. Who else creates character profiles at the tail end of a WiP?

Forever: 6 A.M.

I watched forever yesterday. It was about a song stolen from a musician and murder.

The song is 6 A.M. – is that a real song? I don’t know enough about jazz to say, but I think it’s probably made up.

But the thing that sticks in my mind is the discussion between father and son. The idea that jazz is a new type of music is funny. Funnier still is Henry going all, the music you kids listen to these days!

And the son is actually – in real life, not the show – decades older is strange. All this brought home that Henry really is the father. Strange as it looks.

Teaser Tuesday: Night Broken

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I’m doing a reread of Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

My teaser:

“I only like a little bit mean,” Adam confided in a low-husky voice that made my heartbeat pick up. “Withholding cookies is world-class mean.”

- Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

NOS4A2 by Joey Hill

GoodReads Blurb:

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

NOS4A2 was my first horror book ever. Well, the first horror book that I actually read as horror (I’ve read other books from the horror shelves that felt urban fantasy to me.)

The first interesting thing is the misspelling of nosferatu in the title. Based on the title, I was expecting a Dracula like vampire. That’s not what I got.

Instead, the main character is this creepy, anti-Santa, emotion-sucking nosferatu. There are emotion-sucking vampires in other books, yes, but this particular vampire is not like them.

The best part of NOS4A2 is the epilogue. It is sweet and touching and really beautiful.

I am not sure I know what is the worse part. Maybe the middle. I was really ready to be done halfway through the book. It just seemed to go on and on and on. It was almost an effort to make myself read, until things got good again.

The second annoying/interesting part is the same part: chapter headings. Sometimes a chapter ends, but the sentence continues into the next chapter as the title.

So one chapter ends like so:

There was only her breath and roaring, raging static, that endless waterfall of sound, rising in volume, building to a maddening intensity and then building some more until she wanted to cry out for it to stop, the word coming to her lips, stop, stop it, her lungs gathering air to shout, and that was when the bike thudded back down in

This is an amazingly long sentence, 62 words, but it’s not finished and I will admit, the first time I saw a sentence like this, I thought my copy was damaged. But the next page is the first page of the next chapter and it is entitled:

Haverhill, Massachusetts

This method of chapter titles was confusing the first few times I saw it, but I got used to it.

 

Vic is the main character. She has the power to create a Shorter Way Bridge. This power wrecks her life. If she hadn’t had it, she would never have encountered the evil anti-Santa vampire without it. Perhaps I should say meeting the villain ruined her life. (But villains do that, don’t they? The ruin lives.)

He kidnaps her and she escapes. But she’s haunted by phone calls from the other children he’d kidnapped ever since.

It makes her a bad mate for the hero of the book: Lou. He’s over weight, loves bikes and Vic both. He deserves someone better, someone able to be with him.

But they have a child together and when he’s in danger, Vic is amazing. That’s when the story really gets going. I wish it had happened earlier. I mean, amazing. She finally gets her stuff together.

If it wasn’t for the epilogue, I don’t think I would like the ending. The epilogue saves it.

 

NOS4A2 wasn’t especially scary. It didn’t give me nightmares. Maybe that means it isn’t horror. I don’t know.

Except for the nosferatu, I am not even sure what horror elements are present in NOS4A2. Maybe it is very unusual horror? I don’t know enough about the genre to say.

 

Would I read this again? No.

But it is a decent read. Not great – it needed to be about 200 pages shorter – but decent.

Foreign Words

Last year, I read a short story by Juan Diaz. It had a few Spanish words in it.

I thought the words were explained by context. To a degree, they were. But not completely.

I found this out when a word I thought was a random curse word turned out to be not so random. It was a derogatory word for gay people. I didn’t know and I was very surprised when the character in question turned out to be gay. (The Spanish guy who told me was all, of course he is gay! Obviously!)

If Bollywood movies include English sentences, sometimes they will repeat it in Hindi. Sometimes, not always.

So . . . how do you use non-English words in fiction written in English? Is a general understanding of the word okay? Like when I knew it was a Spanish curse word and nothing else?

Or does not knowing the exact meaning of the word harm your understanding of the story?

Tired of National Blog Posting Month

Today’s the 15th; I am only half way through the month and I am already of it.  Blogging every day is a lot harder than it looks like and a lot more time consuming, too.

I have not quite run out of topics but there is nothing on my short list of blogging topics that excites me.

Is this what they call blogger’s block? Hopefully it will be gone by tomorrow.

Or maybe I’ll just post pictures. Maybe pictures of my idea of Eve Dallas. I could spend a pleasant hour doing that. (This idea is not on my short list of blogging topics. I should add it.)

Friday Flash: Punching Bag

It wasn’t true. It couldn’t be.

We lied. We’re married.

She circled the punching bag to the right and jabbed at it. Step, hit, step, step, hit.

We knew you wouldn’t approve so we lied. But we both want you, we really do.

Sweat beaded down her face and under her tank top. She threw a punch at the bag. It rocked back.

It’s not cheating. You have to understand.

She stripped off her gloves and threw them at the bag. They thudded on the wooden floor.

We both love you.

She screamed. Loud and high, her voice exploded from her.

“Baby?”

She turned. They both stood by the door, anxious and eager. Mark and Eric, black and blond, looked as different as day and night.

Her boyfriend, floppy black hair, earnest brown eyes, tried to smile at her. His husband – husband! Not best friend! – stood mute next to him.

“How could you?” Her voice broke. “How could you?”

“We are sorry.” Her boyfriend hugged her tight.

Eric closed his arms around them both. “Please forgive us. Please.”

Finished Reading a Truly Excellent Soap Opera

You know that feeling you get when you read a truly good book? The sense of completeness, feeling like emerging from a dark room out into garden drenched with sunlight?

That’s how I feel right now. I’ve just finished A Talent for War by Jack McDevitt. It’s fantastic. More like an Indiana Jones movie than Star Wars, it’s engrossing and engaging and all that. It manages that with hardly any action at all and very few battles. Very few the main character is engaged in anyway; others are described to him.

I wish it wasn’t over. There are other books in this series, but I cannot imagine what it will involve. This story is over.