Tag Archives: creativity

Novel Update: A Comedy of Errors

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Novel Update: A Comedy of Errors

It isn’t pretty, it is sort of puzzling, and it it looks strangely like something else I’ve written before…. I just can’t decide what.

That, in a nutshell, describes my feelings about the second (and third) books in what I planned to be the Riesa Grimshaw series. The first book went well, and I’ve gotten good enough reviews on the Kindle version that I’ve finally decided to bite to bullet and publish the hard copy. But then my overly eager friends (who really liked my book, and not just because they are my friends) became very excited and started saying things like “You can do a book signing! You should get in touch with Barnes and Noble, and the Campus Bookstore, and *insert yada yada yada* and let them host your debut! I want the first signed copy!”

“. . .” I reply.

The very idea of having the gall to go and talk to these people and say, “Hi! You don’t know me from Adam, but I’m a self-published Indie Author and I’d like to take up your valuable business space and shamelessly plug my book during your open hours” fills me with utter terror.

But that is another story. The first story, actually. The one that is already written, edited, rewritten, re-edited, previewed, beta read, and published. The one that is FINISHED. This post is about the second (and third) story. I’ve outlined, plotted, erased scenes, added scenes, and massaged much, though that’s been interspersed throughout the last couple of years. The ending effect is something resembling the bones of my original idea put through the Van Gogh-inator, a la Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz  of Phineas and Ferb fame, and then eaten and subsequently spit back out by a malfunctioning Chaos Engine. It is like my ugly child… I love it, care for it, and would never abandon it… but I really don’t want to look at it.

It has made me reevaluate what I want. Do I want this to be a trilogy? A series? Should I let the first book just be a Stand-alone and move on to something else? And then I got to thinking about endings. Did my first book wrap things up enough? Will my main character ever escape her fate? Will she ever resolve her relationship with the male protagonist, and if so, how? Will the evil powers lurking within her prevail, or will the goodness? How many characters must I kill off in order to sate the needs of the Plot Gods? Why is a platypus even a thing?

I just don’t know.

So what do you think? If you’ve read my book, would you like to see a continuation? If so, what would you like to see happen? If you haven’t read my book, do you think I should move on, or should I buckle down and work until this comedy of errors reaches it’s conclusion?

Writing Prompt #3

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“The dictionary atop your shelf has more than 200,000 words defined. Why don’t you blow off some of the dust on its cover and randomly pick out ten words? Don’t look at the meanings; just concentrate on the words. Write down your chosen words on a (blank) sheet of paper. Now you’re going to have fun creating meanings for those words. What do the words make you think of? What do you think they should mean?”

Capsicum – (ADJ.) If something is capsicum, it is on the precipice of reaching its peak, or being at the top of its game. CAPPED, one might say. An example use of this: After a capsicum career, the sanitation worker could think of nothing more than getting out as soon as possible. Alternatively: (N.) The highest point of fulfillment. Example: The Sewer had finally reached the capsicum of excrement.

Boanthropy – The brotherhood of boyfriends. Related, boanthropology, the study of boyfriends, has existed since the dawn of the human relationship, though it is colloquially known as “gossip”, and is greatly practiced in many female circles. The prefix is derived from the old term for boyfriend, “Beau”.

Euneirophrenia – A mental disorder in which one believes himself to be a reborn and reformed version of Emperor Nero. Such individuals tend to have acute fears or aversions to Fiddles or Fire.

Groak – A sound between a groan and a croak. Alternatively, “Groak” is also the name of a pixie like creature that lives in the swamplands of Louisiana. The lure their favorite food, frogs, with imitations of their various mating calls, giving the Groak its signature sound and name.

Preantepenultimate – before the beginning of almost the ultimate ending of everything. Subscribers to the theory of the Butterfly Effect could say that the wind causing the butterfly to flap its wings was a preantepenultimate occurrence.

Timmynoggy – this is an indelicate drink created by the Snarflewoggins as a means of celebrating the Carflookle of Snogsburgs birthday. Since no one liked the Carflookle of Snogsburg, the drink tends to taste like the mix of a Fliggy’s toe jam and the musk of a cogsnerg. The actual ingredients are far worse.

Zarf – This rare creature is found only in the most alien of places. So alien, in fact, that the Zarf is in fact extraterrestrial. Being roughly the size of a mastiff hound, the Zarf is a florescent green color and has a large proboscis, roughly two feet in length. It stands on two legs, and has wing-like protrusions from its shoulders instead of arms. The proboscis is used as the main method of manipulation of items. The Zarf, though flightless, can manage to remain airborne for approximately 10 yards, given a good enough running start. The wings can also be used to soften the falls from the numerous cliffs of its native landscape.

Quisquilian – A creature that has sharp quill-like protrusions that seem to quizzically serve no purpose.

Scroop – The technical name for anything found on the underside of a shoe.

Rasceta – A delectable dish made from antelope cheese and noodles processed from rare varieties of gluten-free, calorie-free, carbohydrate-free monomolecular wheat particles. It is often garnished with leaves adorned with the first dew of spring, cryogenically frozen to preserve freshness.

 

ACTUAL Definitions (via google):

Capsicum –  noun – a tropical American pepper plant of the nightshade family with fruits containing many seeds. Many cultivated varieties with edible, pungent fruits have been developed.

 Boanthropy is a psychological disorder in which a human being believes himself to be a Bovine.

Euneirophrenia” is a peaceful state of mind that occurs after experiencing a pleasant dream.

Groak – to watch people eat hoping that they will offer you some of their food

Preantepenultimate (Latin prae-, before) is one step further back still, making it the fourth from the end of the series, the last but three.

Timmynoggy – a device the saves time and labor

zarf (plural: zarfs, zuruuf, zarves) is a holder, usually of ornamental metal, for a coffee cup without a handle (demitasse or fincan).

Quisquilian – consisting of trash and rubbish.

Scroop – rustle of silk.

Rasceta – creases on the inside of the wrist

… I think I like my definitions better.

Writing Prompt Challenge #1: Black Box

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So, I found a website that has over three hundred writing prompts on it. I’ve decided to challenge myself! I will write something for every prompt. J

So here I go!

Writing Prompt: Close your eyes briefly. Think of one object that’s in the room and focus on it. Without opening your eyes, recall as much detail as you can about it. After three minutes or so, open your eyes and write about that objects without looking at it.

And here is what I came up with:

BLACK BOX

About six weeks before my husband was scheduled to return home from Afganistan, he sent home a rather large black Tuff box. When he told me that he was sending a box home, I didn’t truly appreciate HOW large the box was going to be. In my opinion, it was gargantuan, imposing even, and it sat in my living room, securely locked for several days, serving as the world’s most intimidating coffee table. I believe that all three of my little girls could have fit into it with ease.

So engrossed with curiosity was I to learn what was inside the box, that I often fantasized and had nightmares about the items that my husband might have sent home. The plan had been for my husband to send the keys to the box ahead of time via post, but unfortunately, the box arrived first. Menacing, taunting, and driving me to the outer limits of curiosity. I waited by the mailbox daily, eagerly looking forward to the day that the letter containing the keys would arrive.

I waited in vain. Two weeks, I waited, hearing neither word from my husband, nor receiving the aforementioned letter. I speculated. Perhaps my husband was still adjusting to his new duty station, or perhaps they simply did not have working internet yet? Those were the most innocent of thoughts, forcibly screamed through my brain to shut out the more horrible and terrifying of imaginings. With the lack of word from my husband, and the lack of the keys, the box became more and more of an obsession to me as the days progressed.

I walked past the box constantly throughout the day, staring at it from the corner of my eye. I became irate with my children, admonishing them for climbing on top of the box, leaving toys on top of it, or even simply touching the locks. Even I sometimes had ideas about how out of character I was acting, but it was not something I could help.

Finally, it happened. The rain pounded outside, slamming into the windows in thick thumps as it was blown sideways by the howling wind. It had been six weeks since the box’s arrival. On this particular day, I had sent the children to my mother’s house so that I could have some alone time. It was just me and the box. It had three grooves on the top, with unknown purposes. It was rough to the touch. It smelled of hot plastic up close. It was sealed tight with three master key locks. The page sized packing label was secured to the side with clear packing tape that was beginning to peal from the edges. It was also extremely heavy. I had a hard time dragging it from the living room to the utility room.

I’d had enough. I needed to know what was in the box. I broke the screwdriver trying to open the locks, both by trying to pick them, and then by trying to use it like a lever. The crowbar didn’t really work either. I wasn’t sure if it was my lack of strength, or the metal’s resilience. I pouted, and thought hard for another option. Finally, I spotted the chainsaw.

I bit my lip. It was possible. If I could cut at an angle, I could cut the lip before the lock. I wouldn’t even have to go through any metal. It took me a couple false starts, and one trip to Google to get the chain saw started, but I managed. I even managed to lift it.

Finally, with the smell of gasoline and burnt plastic filling the utility room I had succeeded. The box was no longer secured. Putting the chainsaw down, I smirked while I wiped the sweat from my forehead. Lifting the chainsaw had been harder then I had thought it would be. I approached the box and smiled, ready to finally lift the lid. The stray thought entered my head that I might have just destroyed government property, but I wasn’t sure I cared. I HAD to know what was in the box! Then, I heard the phone ring. I paused, with my hands on the lid. I briefly contemplated not answering the phone, but what if it was my husband? I hadn’t heard from him in weeks, and missing his call would kill me worse than not knowing what was in the box.

With a sigh, I left the box, unopened, and rushed back into the house to get my phone.

 

“Hello?”

Static answered me. “… me? … lo?”

It sounded like my husband from what did come though. My heart skipped a beat. “I’m here! Don’t hang up! Can you hear me?”

More static, but then, “ …me? Don… pen… the box!” Click. Beep, Beep, Beep. The call was disconnected.

Uh, oh.

What do I do now?

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For all of my dear writer friends out there, and all my lovely followers, I want to share a little post-nan0wrimo wisdom with you. YOU AREN’T FINISHED! (insert maniacal laughter here)

writer tree

So true. So very, very true. I am still a student in the way of the writer, myself, but this bit of author humor seems to strike a certain chord with me. I’m working on book two of my Riesa Grimshaw series, but after the flurry that was November, I had to take a break from my novel. I had to step back and breath for a moment. I had to read someone elses words for a while. I had to forget what I wrote so that I could go after it again with fresh eyes.

And that is the story of how I managed to read seven harlequin romance novels in nine days. It’s my guilty pleasure, what can I say.

Admittedly, I did keep a running notepad of ideas while I was taking my “break”. The better to edit with, my dear.

Time to go back to work, I guess!

NaNoWriMo, the twilight hours.

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Phew! After thirty days of struggling with time and motivation, I’ve finally validated the rough rough rough draft of Ghost of a Chance. Clocking in at barely 50,500 words, it still needs an ending and a lot of polishing! And trust me, “a lot” is an understatement. 🙂

But, I am still proud of myself for sticking it out, and I am proud of all of you fellow nanowers too! Whether you won or just got started, you all created something. 🙂 ain’t it nice?

I look forward to reading your books!

-Tamara

 

100 Word Challenge #40- 9:15

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I missed last week’s Challenge, so, here is the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups, going on Week #40  =)

Since this is the 40th week of the 100WC4GU, Julia chose our promt to be “Ruby”. We can do whatever we like as far as genre is concerned and the only rules are that it is only 100 words long and is suitable for a PG certificate. =)

My kids inspired me this week, particularly my toddler. If you don’t know what “Max and Ruby” is, it is a children’s cartoon that comes on PBS Kids. =)

And without further ado…

9:15

“I WANNA WATCH MAX ‘N RUBY NOW!” the Monster of Sheffield Lane bellowed. I huffed and put my hands on my hips, assuming the “assertive” stance.

“It’s not on right now, so pick something else,” I said as evenly as I could manage. I think that I’m good with kids, but after five minutes of being Mindy’s sitter I was ready to throw in the towel. Shoes don’t buy themselves, however.

She dissolved into a temper tantrum just as phone rang. I picked up the cordless and walked out. “Hello, Lafayette Residence.”

“Nine – Fifteen,” a male voice intoned, then disconnected.

We’re going on a field trip!

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Hello, blog peeps!

My muse has been very fickle today. She wouldn’t let me work on my short story, and she barely let me do some edits to Devil in the Details. She didn’t want me to work on my outline for my upcoming Camp NaNoWriMo submission, or the outline for the second Riesa Grimshaw book. What she did want me to do, however, was edit a friend’s novel, and write the following snippet from the second chapter of “Taerne”, a fantasy novel that encompasses both the “normal” realm of existence, and realm of Taerne; a land filled with magic, dragons, and mayhem. This is also where our main characters are going in the following short scene:

The next day, Card finished the last bit of packing, stuffing a few necessities into the side pocket of his vinyl backpack. He took a step back and stared at the bulging zippers with a frown. He wasn’t even sure that he would need any of the things that he had packed. Someone knocked on his bedroom door. “It’s open,” he called out still scowling at the bag.

Brianna opened the door and walked in, putting a small, seemingly handmade bag down on the bed beside his back pack. It looked like a burlap purse. She cocked an eyebrow at Card’s backpack and pointed to it while giving him a pointedly amused look. “Really, Card? We are going to a completely different world, filled with wizards, magic, and God knows what else, and you are going to take that?”

Card shrugged. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Its florescent orange, for crying out loud. You might as well tattoo ‘I’m outta this world’ on your forehead.”

Now my muse is demanding a klondike bar, and is refusing to let me do anything else productive.

In closing, I’d like to ask a question: What would you pack if you had a heads up that you were about to leave your current realm of existence, and why would you pack that?

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

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It has arived once again! The 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups, going on Week #38  =)

I loved this weeks idea! The prompt was to write a sonnet: abab cdcd efef format, at least 14 lines, around 100 words, in honor of the Great Shakespeare! But the Twist, oh the twist… To incorporate this wonderful painting, entitled “St. George and the Dragon”

St. George and the Dragon, Painted by Raphael

 

I couldn’t get over that horse’s expression! So, here is my horrible Shakespearean Knock-off, For the…

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

St. Georgie-Boy, I knew him well,
That true and loyal soul!
But woe befell with sudden yell,
A dragon in the hole.

Dear faithful maid, with virtue sure
At least as Georgie knew,
Sat by and watched with motive pure,
Her captor runneth through.

But unbeknownst to George or Maid
The truth quite hidden sly,
The dragon wasn’t quite as bad,
As one beknownst to I.

A right old beast, was dragon, true.
Of this I don’t refute,
But as Georgie-Boy was sure to rue
The woman’s tongue acute.

Remember this, my beamish boy,
When faced with beast or maid,
The woman hides her fiendish way,
While the beast is plainly laid.