• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Ideaifying Pt 3: The Expandening

Last week we explored a few ideas around a word that we picked in Pt 1. That word is Evanesce. This week I’m going to take an idea and expand upon it, starting to coalesce (another fantastic word, btw) into a story idea.

Last week, two things stuck in my mind. Fade away, and Angels. I’d like to use these two words to come up with a story idea.

What is is about angels that fade away? My first thought is they just got killed. This has a double bonus of giving us some conflict right off the bat. Why did they get killed? What killed them? Can angels really be killed or just sent back to the heavens? So many questions flooding my mind from this and I do like where it’s going, but let’s stop and go back to the other phrase: Fade away.

Angels fading away doesn’t seem as violent, at least compared to what we were just thinking about, instead it has more of a “It’s a Wonderful Life” quality to it. Angels can fade away for a couple reasons, one being they are killed, or forced. Another is that they are no longer needed here and are fading away to head back to their home.

My next thought is…Okay, how do we know that angels fade away? Are they visible by all humans, or only some? If the latter, then why? Also, what are angels doing here on earth? Are they good or bad angels? I say let’s stick with good angels. And maybe they do normal angel things, like help people out, nudge people out of dangerous situations, and overall protect the population.

So what if we have a main character that can see angels? Let’s say that he is the only one that can see them. Why? Maybe he’s half angel, product of an angel and a human copulating. I don’t write romance, so I will leave that up to other writers on this blog to flesh that story out. I’m the Dreary Dwarf for a reason, so let’s take a sadder storyline.

I feel like my protagonist should have a bit of a biblical name in keeping with the angels theme, let’s call him Peter. Peter is sixteen years old and has been able to see angels wandering around the Earth his whole life. One day he wakes up and they are gone…no…no…they Evanesce. Peter is waiting on the subway one dreary morning when all the angels around him suddenly evanesce into mist. They all disappear.

This is when Peter realizes something has gone terribly wrong. Maybe someone gets hit by the subway train since an angel wasn’t there anymore to save him. (I am Dreary Dwarf btw, so yes. I can/will go there.)

So what do we have so far?

We have a protagonist, Peter. He’s 16 and he can see angels.

One morning while waiting for the subway, all the angels world-wide suddenly fade away.

Peter is the only one that notices this happening. Suddenly, bad things are happening all around the world and no one knows why. Death and accident rates skyrockets, as does crime, plunging the world into a gritty, grim-dark world.

Wait, pause! These ideas, while cool, could fill a book. We could explore Peter going on an epic journey to make his way to the land of angels to find out where they all went, and somehow bring them back. We could have this as simply backstory to a world plunged into death and depravity—a world without angels to protect us anymore. We would find out where they went, and, more importantly, why. Was it God that pulled them back, if so, why? More importantly, can Peter do anything about it? Perhaps the devil came in, or some other cosmic entity or event. Like I said, these ideas could fill a book, or more, depending on how grand you want your story.

I’m not really interested, at least with this exercise, to write a book. I was shooting for more of a short story (and content for the blog). Next week we will take these expanded ideas and solidify them into a core conflict that needs to be addressed in the confines of a short story. Spoiler: I’m leaning toward angels disappearing being part of the backstory to Peter’s life and this opens up a whole host of things that could be smaller conflicts in Peter’s life.

Digging for Gold? Idea dumping can help.

At a recent write-in, a couple of us needed to work on world building. In my case, I was working on names for magic ceremonies, events in the past, that sort of thing. One technique that worked well for us was what I call idea dumping (aka brainstorming).

I’m not talking about the old style of brainstorming: grabbing a pen and staring at a blank page for an hour until the perfect idea comes. I’m talking about dumping all the ideas out of your mind−good, bad and ugly—until you find what fits. We pulled up a thesaurus, and I wrote down everything that was said. My paper was a mess, cramped full of notes.

I can’t lie and say magic poured out of our mouths, but as we batted around ideas they morphed into something great. So when you’re searching for that perfect name for your next goblin or handsome hunk remember a couple of things:

*Write every idea that comes to mind, even the crappy ones.

*Write at least ten if not twenty. I find my first three ideas are generic, and middle five to ten suck. Yesterday, it was not until at least twenty or more names had floated around until I found one I loved.

*Keep the list for a little bit, percolation helps sometimes. One dwarf thought she had a name, but it wasn’t until we moved on and were talking about something else did she realize the perfect one hit.

 Idea Dumping can be used for book names, magic systems, upcoming plot twists, and more. Sometimes our creativity is laying on the service and other times we have to dig a little for that golden nugget.

Delve into your Dark Side

All Hallows Eve is quickly approaching. Demon children will be scattered in the streets demanding to be fed. Jack-o-lanterns, representing the souls of the deceased, are screaming to be cut and burned from the inside. As you’re feeding miniature devils the marrow of life (aka chocolate), don’t forget to set aside some time to feed your own demons. Delve into your dark side to create a truly horrific tale of zombies and vampires that will haunt us all the way to Thanksgiving. Below are some ghosts captured in photos to inspire you. You can decide whether they are real or not. But I must warn you, look to hard and they may never leave.

It was November, 1905. Shropshire, England. A fire raged out of control burning Wem Town Hall to the ground. During the fire, onlooker Tony O’Rahil, captured these photos. No people or firefighters recalled seeing a girl at the scene.

This was taken in a small abandoned cemetery, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in the Chicago area. The Ghost Research Society took this picture in 1991. There was no woman present when they took the photo.

Michael Meehan and James Courtney were killed on board the SS Watertown in 1927. In route between Panama and New York, the men were buried at sea. Days later, the men were recognized. Their faces sticking up out of the water. The captain took these pictures.

manila-ghost

This picture was taken in Manilla in 2000. This was a digital camera so no chance of double exposure. Neither of the girls reported any person being nearby. Or at least any living person nearby.

Color Me

highlighterWhen editing, I find highlighters are a great tool. They help me look at my writing in a different way. Highlighting helps me to focus on one specific correction, and help improve it. Here are a couple ways to color your manuscript.

 1. Verbs

Lately I have been focusing on using stronger verbs and avoiding the all too common “was” or “is”. When I highlight them, I get a bigger picture of my verbs usage. Then I go back and know what sections to strengthen.

2. Show Don’t Tell

Highlight every time you find an adjective (smart, funny, sexy) or a feeling (envy, bored, hate). If you see too many highlighted words in one section, go investigate. If you take the word out, will you still have conveyed the message through action or description?

 You can use this method to focus on any area you wish to improve. Whether setting or verb tense, looking at your story in a different light—literally—can help you identify its pitfalls. So, grab some colors, and get to work.

 

Going to Jail

Kelly’s hands went numb. Painful tingling spread down her arms.   “What does that mean?”

For the first time in the years they’d worked together, her lawyer avoided her gaze. “You got ten years.”

“T—Te—Ten…”

“Put your head between your legs.” But he didn’t give her time to reply; instead, he shoved her head between her knees.

Her breath came in sharp, painful gasps. The numbness had spread to her arms, which lay like spaghetti-noodles at her side.

When her breathing finally slowed, he released the back of her head.

She sat up, her view shifting from her ten dollar shoes to the merciless courtroom. “But I’m innocent.”

Brian turned to her, his ruthless lawyer mask gone. “I’m so sorry. But… we knew this could be a possibility. That’s why I suggested taking the plea deal.”

“Counselor?” A smile touched one corner of the judge’s mouth. “Does your client need another moment?”

“Yes, thank you.”

Brian turned back to her. “They’re going to take you in a minute.”

But Kelly wasn’t looking at him. All she could see was the twinkle in the judge’s eyes. This was not a man who thought he’d given a fair ruling. No, this was a man who’d been paid quite nicely to lock her away.

Anger clenched Kelly’s gut. She couldn’t let this happen. No, she wouldn’t let this happen.

Guards came, cuffing her hands in front of her. They led her towards the side door, but she moved slowly, never breaking eye contact with the judge. “Tell Johnny this isn’t over.”

His eyes narrowed. “Wait.”

The guards looked confused, but obeyed.

The judge came to stand a hand’s length in front of her. His sleek black hair looked wet. His nose was as red as a drunk’s, and she caught the unmistakable scent of whiskey.

He motioned the guards away, then leaned towards her and sneered. “I wonder if you’ll still think you’re too good for Johnny’s bed by the time you get out.”

She flashed him a smile. Her cold hand clenched his sickly-thin wrist. In a flash, the world spun and shifted.

“Back off!” The guards hauled her away.

No, not her, but the judge.

The body she now wore ached with age, smelled of body odor and liquor, and felt weak and uncomfortable. But as she watched the judge finally realizing what she’d done, his eyes widening and his mouth dragging open, a feeling of immense satisfaction filled her.

The door closed on his shouts.

Now, to find that son-of-a-bitch, Johnny, and make him pay.

****************************************************************************************************************************************

Sometimes the best thing a writer can do is pick a topic and write a quick short story about it.  I think it gives me a chance to stretch my creativity, without committing to anything.  The temptation to obsessively go back through this, improving it until it is perfect, rears its ugly head.  But, I’m not going to do that.

I’d love some other topics though.  Any suggestions?

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