Eight Sentence Sunday #11

I present to you Eight Sentence Sunday, a blog hop hosted by Weekend Writing Warriors. Here are some sentences I cut out from an old novel of mine. I don’t like taking out perfectly good words, but sometimes a story needs to be shaken up before everything fits into place.

He started off on his shopping list, camping store first.

After walking around on the wall for a while he realized two things. First he had no idea where any of the stores he wanted to go to were. He couldn’t figure out where they were from the mall map at all. The stores were ones he had never heard of before such as FluffyBunny, NachoCheese, or MoonBeams. He didn’t even know what MoonBeams were. How did he know what they were selling there and above all which one was the camping store?

The second problem was how he was going to get off of the wall and into said stores, a grappling hook perhaps?

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F is for Foil (A literary device. Not aluminum foil.)

This post is a part of the A to Z Challenge. Every day (minus Sunday’s) during April in 2015 I will be making a post related to a literary device which starts with a particular letter of the alphabet. I have a general idea that these posts will be describing the same characters as they go through their lives, but I haven’t written all the posts yet so no promises!

Foil – is a character that shows qualities that are in contrast with the qualities of another character with the objective to highlight the traits of the other character. The term foil, though generally being applied for a contrasting character, may also be used for any comparison that is drawn to portray a difference between two things.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an ideal example of foil since it’s simple; Jekyll’s foil is his other half Hyde. In the book the transformation between the two shows the battle between good v bad in all humans. That’s one of the main pluses of using a foil. It emphasizes one or more themes within ones story. A truly fantastic literary device when used correctly.

In my novel Moon Murder my detective character has a foil in the arm implant Genie (or G3N13). Their interactions show the constant struggles between humans and robots, the traditional v new age, and the detail oriented v the carefree. It wonderfully highlights my novels main themes, which is why every round of edits ends with me adding more interactions between these characters. As they build their relationship the story gets more meat because the themes are getting ever more engrained in the world.

Self-Editing and Critiquing #4

I’ve been reading some friends beginning pages and finding them not to my taste. I wondered what agents were looking for, particularly in the first pages of a novel, and the novel as a whole as well. The results of research were helpful in giving my friends feedback.

Three things that will make an agent discard a manuscript:

1) Starting with a dream.

2) Starting with a person going through their daily routine.

3) Starting with the weather.

Three things that will make an agent keep reading:

1) Starting with action.

2) Consistent pacing.

3) A satisfying ending.

One of many good resources on the subject: http://darleyandersonblog.com/2013/07/31/11-ways-not-to-start-your-novel-5/

Self-Editing and Critiquing #2

This week I have been focusing on list making.

1)      Missing scenes.

2)      Good scenes or ideas, as specified by myself or my beta reader.

3)      Forgotten subplots.

These lists have already been useful in determining what scenes need to be added, and what content they should have. I am already seeing places where my forgotten subplots will fit into a missing scene nicely to show character and plot development. The good scenes/ideas help direct where these new scenes should go. For example many of the good scenes involve my main characters talking arm implant being sarcastic. Because of this I plan to add more scenes with him.

How do I determine missing scenes?

The easiest is when I type in big bold letters FINISH THIS SCENE. Or ADD HOW THEY FOUND THE BODY HERE. If I was writing leisurely I probably wouldn’t have these outbursts, but this novel was written during NaNoWriMo, and with time being word count the novel had to go on.

My novel has two main characters, the detective mother and her daughter. I try to have every scene switch between their points of view. If I have a long chapter staring one without the other I am probably missing a scene.

If I’m reading and something seems to have come out of the blue. This is tricky because I wrote this novel out of order and it’s not completely in order yet. Therefore I might have just put a scene where it is not supposed to be instead of missing scene. In this case I write down what I think is the missing scene but with a question mark next to it, so that I know to look into it more after reader further into my novel.

Elantris

I read a pep talk from published author Brandon Sanderson for the NaNo community. It contained a link to his first book which I happened to click on, and then I started to read the sample on Amazon, thinking that I would like to know if his books would be worth reading after November. Well hours later I realized that I was half way through an excellent book and that perhaps it needed to be finished before I continued to write my NaNo novel, leaving me a little behind. So far I’m at 35k, while I should be at 40k. I have finally realized what my major red herring is while spending 1000 words talking about how my aliens read peoples thoughts in color, and overall have been having a great time with this story. Coming up for air now, I’ll start making weekly posts again after November.

10 Books That Changed My Life

1) The Hardy Boys Series

2) Artemis Fowl

3) Tinker by Wen Spencer

4) The Scarlet Letter

5) 1984

6) The Giver

7) The Outsiders

8) Kodocha

9) Saiyuki

10) The Fault in Our Stars

A couple notes:

The scarlet letter I did not enjoy as a book. I learned a lot from it due to an amazing high school teacher who taught that book. She was the only teacher that really made me take apart a book in it’s separate elements and really explain why characters were doing what they did when. Her teachings stuck with me, and thus the reason that The Scarlet Letter is important in my life, though it could have been any book taught thoroughly.

8+9 are manga series, Japanese comic books, yet they effected me so greatly that I would be remiss to not include them in this list. I still own the full series for both.

The rest are pretty normal. All books I read at the right age for them to effect me in a positive way. The Hardy Boys was the first series that really made me want to read. Artemis Fowl had the first MC I really identified with plus some fantasy elements I enjoyed. Tinker was a great book, and showed me that a book could get published for a good story even if the writing could have used another edit.