Monday, June 25, 2012

Coup de Grâce

Mangled Manuscript Monday

When I was in high school, a friend of mine liked to dress up like Dracula. He’d stand on his front lawn, wait until a car passed, then strike a pose, raising his fist to the sky.

One time, just as a car slowed to witness the spectacle a lightning bolt struck a nearby tree. The driver raced away. Probably because of the psycho on the lawn rather than the supernatural fireworks.

One of the Dracula-wannabe’s favorite word combinations was ‘coup de grâce’. He pronounced it ‘coop de gracee’ but that only added to the favor of the moment.

Coup de grâce means to end suffering by administering a final blow. Or an execution. To kill a wounded enemy or animal.

When I start out writing a new story, I don’t think about killing off a character. It just seems to happen. Like it is either an accident or a conclusion that I didn’t foresee. Oddly, even though these are only voices in my head, still I can get a little misty eyed when they die.

Very odd. Not as odd as a seventeen-year-old man dressing up like a vampire but strange nonetheless.

How do you kill off your characters? Is it premeditated or do they ask for it? And are you saddened by their death?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Death of a Genre

Mangled Manuscript Monday

I got the sad news today. My favorite genre, urban fantasy is dead.

How can this be? I read and write nothing else. I didn’t even know it was ailing.

But there it is for all to see. Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary says editors and agents have reached the saturation point of UF submissions. She recommends epic fantasy as next big-time seller.

Well yeah. If only I had one tucked away in my Word docs I’d submit it…hm, there is the 5000 word Epic that I started three years ago. It was background noise for the URBAN FANTASY I WROTE.

*shakes self* Pardon. I got lost in the rejection heap of ‘what ifs’.

By the time I finish the Epic, maybe Urban will come back to life.

Or then again, maybe I’ll change the genre to ‘Speculative Fiction’ and call it new.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Music of My Youth

Songs Sunday

Whether it’s stepping on the treadmill or re-finishing a wood table, the right kind of music gets me going.

Nickelback is good for those times. Adam Lambert, Finger Eleven, and Shinedown are fine choices also.

For writing, ES Posthumus or the soundtrack from Harry Potter.

But today I am talking retro, the music from my youth.

Beach Boys.

This fabulous band has a new (Yes. I. Said. NEW) album out called That’s Why God Made the Radio.

The soft sounds and interwoven melodies that Brian Wilson and Mike Love put together in this album remind me of why they owned the sixties.

Now, fifty years later, they rule the radio waves again. Or, in this case, my mp3.

Maybe you didn’t listen to Surfer Girl on the loudspeakers at the swimming pool. Or hear Good Vibrations for the first time on a transistor radio.

But if intricate melodies and smooth voices that flow like warm honey are what you love, check out the Beach Boys.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gut Wadding

Mangled Manuscript Monday

Gut Wadding. A colloquial term invented over fifty years ago by a busy farmwoman during gardening season. As in: “I could get something done around here if I didn’t have to stop and fix gut wadding for the men.”

My version of ‘gut wadding’ set me back on my wip. Blogging went by the wayside as well. Because of my inattention, I haven’t visited my blogger-buddies as I should. I apologize.

But Life and major repairs to the house took over nearly every second of the day. Up at 3:30 am and asleep by eight in the evening. Trips to town to get the paint I didn’t know we’d need and the trim that I didn’t know I had to buy.

Re-modeling. Going from a two-step kitchen (one step, hit the fridge; another step, hit the stove) to a massive family room and lots of cabinet space. Never again will I have to store my pans and pottery in the garage or laundry room. A revelation, to be sure.

And a shower. The flooring under our nearly hundred-year-old tub was gone. I mean one leg was hanging over empty space. Termites and water damage was about to drop our first story bath into the basement. Quite a sinking feeling.

I love old houses and the neat cast iron sink and tub. But at some point, there must be a reckoning with age and the damage done in those years. Time to go from 1919 to 2012 in a hurry.

At some point, I’ll clean up the plaster dust on my computer table and get back to normal. Until then, find a tall glass of tea and a good book.

As Ahhnold said, “I’ll be back.”

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Two Fer Tuesday

Need a Crit?

I want to give back to the writing community that has given me so much. 

Tuesdays are my Two Fers, your chance for a critique of your query, first page, dialogue, or a scene.

I will take the first two that leave a comment and give a thorough critique regarding style, hook, and what works for me.

Send your query or 250 – 300 word excerpt to beccoff(at)nwmo(dot(net


Keep On Truckin’

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mangled Manuscript Monday

What genre do agents want most?

According to QueryTracker the answer is YA with Fantasy coming in second.

Many agents rep only YA. The queries flood the market with the force of Niagara.

Speaking of The Force, YA contests and writer’s blogs are like a swarm of Death Star fighters, crowding and jostling to get to the head of the line.

What is a writer of adult to do when another genre grabs all the attention?

Should they follow the market as some agents suggest and change their adult manuscript to YA? Or stay true and soldier on with their overlooked novel?

It is a quandary.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Songs Sunday

I break music into two categories. 

One, the kind that gets moves me like Lady Gaga, Shinedown, Nickelback, and Daughtry. Treadmill music actually.

Two, a playlist I named, My Writing Music

For writing, I need instrumental in various tempos according to what my characters are doing at the time.

In the gentle scenes, the oddly contrasting soundtracks from True Blood or Pride and Prejudice help me see the MC weep. Or imagine the kiss.

For combat/fight scenes, high drama or experiencing great fear, I go with 30 Seconds to Mars.

Their album, This is War, helps me envision the hall where swordplay breaks out. When the wizard raises his arms and calls down Hellfire. Or as my MC dies by the hand of her foe.

Plus it drowns out the TV when the hubby is watching ESPN.
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