• 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

The Impenetrable Forest

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Greetings and Salutations Insightful readers of the blog,

Sorry about the interruption last week. I hope the zombies didn’t eat too many of you as you made your way here. The muses only rounded up 20 of our missing zombies last week. Mischievous is meeting with the producers of The Walking Dead today. He will try to appease them after we shorted the order by 5 zombies. The muses got distracted when they were searching around Dreamer Dwarf’s cottage. It seems the pretty flowers she grows do more than provide a colorful backdrop. Some of them can be ingested for medicinal purposes. The muses aren’t sick mind you, unless using Dreamer’s flowers for recreational use is an illness. In short, last weeks search was abandoned by the muses for more nefarious motives.

Today we will be embarking on a dangerous excursion through the Impenetrable Forest to seek the assistance of the Werewolf Monks. They live in the monastery on the other side of the forest. I hope their extensive library and knowledge can help us with the zombies. Who currently have The Swamp surrounded. They’re scaring away visitors and eating everything in sight.

While in the forest keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. In the event we lose cabin pressure a mask will drop down from the overhead compartment, place the mask over your nose and mouth and… sorry wrong script.

15 YARDS TO THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST TURN BACK NOW

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Pay no attention to that sign. it’s there to scare you away.

10 YARDS TO THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST YOU ARE IN IMMINENT DANGER

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Stay close together now. If you get separated from the group blow the whistle that I handed out earlier.

5 YARDS TO THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST YOUR DEATH AWAITS

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Stay alert it is mating season for the Piranha Hummingbirds, they are especially hungry during this time of year. When the Piranha Hummingbirds attack the only way to identify your remains is through dental records. They pick your skeleton completely clean.

WELCOME TO THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST

WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR BRIEF VISIT

HAVE A NICE DAY

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It is most important to be silent as we venture in. The Killer Koalas are vicious, but slow. We will stay in a tight formation. Hold hands with your neighbor. Don’t scream under any circumstances. Human screams drive the Giant Vampire Tarantulas crazy. Does everyone have a partner? Good.

Any questions? Listen up people, the question is, what happens if Killer Koalas attack? If you’re attacked by Killer Koalas, trip the person next to you and run like hell. Don’t Scream.

Next. Don’t worry about The Piranha Hummingbirds. They are to busy finding mates, they shouldn’t be a problem.

All right one more, then we’ve got to go before it’s gets dark. What if someone screams?  Good question. Get down on the forest floor, tuck your head between your legs, and kiss your butt goodbye. If your remains are ever found, a dry husk will be all that’s left. Giant Vampire Tarantulas drain every last drop of moisture from you. Then they use your dried carcass to build there nests. Nothing gets wasted in nature.

Let’s review the rules. Don’t scream. Stay together. Don’t scream. Watch for Piranha Hummingbirds . Don’t scream.

Let’s go I’ll see you all on the other side.

One last thing, this weeks quote, it may be the last.

This one come from Tom Waits. The song Mr. Siegal

“Where they live hard, die young
And have a good lookin’ corpse every time”

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf AKA Dave Benneman

 

 

Free Range Organic Zombies Abound

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Greetings and Salutations most reputable readers of the blog,

(deep, intimidating voice of announcer) Eerie’s message has been preempted for this important announcement from Dave Benneman.

If you are a returning visitor to The 7 Evil Dwarves blog site you are accustomed to the chaos the reigns supreme here. We are a critique group from various backgrounds and experiences. We started our joint blog several years ago on a whim. The idea is to keep fresh content up 7 days a week. The fly in the soup is of course that we have no rules. So on any given week you find discussions about honing the craft, or someone sharing a recent experience at a conference, or it may not be related to writing at all. Our content is as diverse as our group. I say this here to encourage you to keep coming back because I’m certain you will find something for you.

My day is Friday. On Fridays you will join Eerie Dwarf and his ragtag band of misfits on a variety of adventures. This is always written off the cuff with much tongue in cheek, strictly for entertainment. Friday is about getting in touch with the my creative brain and your inner child. I hope you get a an opportunity to laugh out loud at Eerie’s antics. It is all in fun.

Sunday is the day we update Swamp Tales, which is a round robin style story where each writer picks up where the last writer left off. It is total chaos with 7 different styles and voices all steering the story for a few paragraphs. Sometimes we will feature guests who want to toss in their two cents. To check it out, click on the Swamp Tales tab.

Because we are writers and insecure by nature please click like if something tickles you. If you’re really moved leave a comment. When you find yourself dumbstruck, tell your friends. If any of these things happens regularly you might want to become a follower. This is the only way we can learn what you like.

(Announcer, a little less intimidating this time) Now returning to the regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.

“I’m coming as fast as I can Mischievous, not all of us were born with wings you know.”

“Not only do you not have wings, you were short-changed in the leg department too. If I were you I’d hire C.Rock Adile to sue for Legligence.” Mischievous flies into a tree he’s laughing so hard. “Ouch, that smarts.”

“It serves you right for making fun of my stature.” Eerie looks up to see his guests have finally arrived. “Oh hello folks. Give us a few minutes there seems to problem with our herd of zombies.”

“Hurry, you can see the corral from here.” Mischievous hops up and down pointing.

Eerie stops in his tracks. “What happened here? Where are the Zombies?”

“I don’t know. They were here last night. This morning I found the gate unlocked.”

“This is terrible.”

“I know I have an order to ship tomorrow for The Walking Dead. Where am I going to get 25 Free Range Organic Zombies (registered Trademark) in time to ship tomorrow.”

“I think your missing the bigger picture. When did you feed them last?”

“Yesterday, why?”

“So we have how many hungry Zombies wandering around.”

“There were 97  yesterday.”

RESERVATIONS SUGGESTED

RESERVATIONS SUGGESTED

“This is bad. This really bad. Go check that new Zombie restaurant that opened last week. If they’re hungry, maybe we’ll catch them there.”

“And what do you propose I do if I find them. Now that they’ve tasted freedom, so to speak, I don’t think they’ll come back because I ask them nicely.”

“You keep an eye on them. I’ll gather the muses. If anyone can get them back in the cages it’s them. Now go. What are you waiting for.”

“Your not getting HER too, are you?” Mischievous’ voice shakes.

“Of course, if Wicked can spare her. Don’t worry, she was kidding about needing a new feather pillow.”

“Maybe the zombies will get the best of her, then I won’t have worry at all. Although I bet she’s too tough for our Free Range Organic Zombies taste.”

“Stop stalling, the sooner we get them back where they belong the better.” Mischievous alights in a rustle of ebony. “As you can see folks we’re kind of busy today. I’ll issue you all free passes to return next week. In the mean time, be careful on your way home. Zombies abound.”

As is our custom on Friday, I leave you with a quote. (some weeks it may be the only thing worth showing up for).

“Let’s do what you fear most
. That from which you recoil
, but which still makes your eyes moist”  Lou Reed

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf AKA Dave Benneman

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Swamp

Greetings and Salutations Discerning Readers of the blog,

My sidekick Mischievous Raven said he would join today , but alas, he is either late or not coming. Not unlike his moniker, which he comes by honestly, I’m sure he’s up to no good wherever he is. I thought we’d take a moment and meet some of the other colorful residents of The Swamp. On the right where all the packing boxes are stacked up is the shack of Wicked Dwarf, (whispers conspiratorially) she moves often. I wouldn’t mention it to her though she’s sensitive about her gypsy blood. When she’s not packing or unpacking, she’s chasing down the Prankster Duo, keeping the Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor in check, or writing.

As Jami Gray her Kyn Chronicles will take you behind the curtain where you will discover your sharing the planet with some pretty foreboding creatures. And you thought it was all fairy tales. Shifters, Witches, Fey, and yes, even Demons are walking amongst us. (Even Demons, that’s kind of catchy. But I digress.) Not all of them are good sharers, and that’s where the trouble begins. Within this unsavory group there is an elite squad of Wraiths who police the Kyn community and keep us barely drooling humans safe. When her muse comes calling we generally clear out of the neighborhood. Mischievous is especially frightened of her.

A sudden rustle of wind and a flash of ebony. “Did I hear my name mentioned.”

Ahh, Mischievous, good of you to join us. We’re just doing a little tour.

“Is Her Deadliness here?” He points one quaking wing at Wicked’s door.

No, I don’t think so. Wicked is taking a short break. I’m sure her muse is off sharpening her knives and swords.

“Oh yes, one must keep the tools of the trade sharp, even if that trade is killing things.”

I’m sure you exaggerate.

“I think not, do you remember when she commented on what a lovely black feather boa I would make. Or that time on Troll mountain when she suggested raven stew for dinner.”

She’s probably teasing.

“Uh huh. and the pope wears a spinner beanie. When she teases you about making you less of a man, with that gleam in her eye, while she slides her finger along a shiny blade and then licks blood from the cut, (Mischievous takes a deep breath) Call me. I want to be there.”

Okay I get it. Relax. Say hi to our visitors.

“Hi, have any of you seen a cranky crocodile moping around?” Turning his head 180 degrees he looks back.

What have you done to C.Rock Adile, now?

“Someone had to shut him up. I was at the Slice your own Deli for breakfast and he was going on about how important he is, having worked for the crown and all that. You know what a blowhard he is.”

Yes, but you can’t expect the whole world to be quiet because you were hung over.

“It wasn’t even noon yet. Something had to done, so I slipped a laxative in his Swamp Juice. He suddenly had to go, and go, and go. Hahaha.”

I hope he doesn’t figure out what happened, for your sake.

“He’s always grouching at someone. Speaking of the Deli, today’s dinner special is Toad Tacos.”

We best go then you know how crowded it gets. I guess we’ll continue the tour nest week. Your welcome to join us at the deli for dinner. The Toad Tacos are one of their specialties.

If you’re looking for something to read this summer Check out www.Jami Gray.com

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If you have slogged through all this, may I direct your attention to the SWAMP TALES tab above. Each of the Evil 7 writes a piece of a story picking up where someone else left off.

This weeks quote comes from Jungleland, By Bruce Sringsteen

“And the poets down here
Don’t write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be”

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf AKA Dave Benneman

Song writers and poets

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Greetings and Salutations,

I’ve been away for a while and I must say I didn’t really miss you. When I travel I do my best to leave the usual behind and immerse myself in the country I’m visiting. Costa Rica is beautiful and fun. While it’s not the most exotic place I’ve visited, it is the kind of place that takes you out of yourself. Now on to todays topic.

As a writer I crave that perfect turn-of-phrase. I yearn to write that one memorable line that will stop a reader for the second it takes to sigh or chuckle. In a novel of 100,000 words that will occur. The of averages almost guarantee it.

When I read poetry or listen to music, I’m ashamed. Poets and song writers do this with at regular intervals in a page or two.  Without further ado, I will pay homage to these word smiths today.We’ll start with song writers.

Bruce Springsteen, from Thunder Road

There were ghosts in the eyes

Of all the boys you sent away

They haunt this dusty beach road

In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets 

Bob Dylan, from A Simple Twist Of Fate

A saxophone someplace far off played 

As she was walking on by the arcade 

As the light bust through a beat up shade 

Where he was waking up. She dropped a coin into the cup of a blind man at the gate 

And forgot about a simple twist of fate.

Gordon Lightfoot, from The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound

and a wave broke over the bow

And every man knew

As the captain did too

T’was the witch of November come stealin’

Tom Waits, from A New Coat Of Paint

All your scribbled love dreams, are lost or thrown away,

Here amidst the shuffle of an overflowing day

Tom Waits, from Mr. Siegal 

you got to tell me brave captain,

why are the wicked so strong,

how do the angels get to sleep, when the

devil leaves the porch light on.

POETS

David Whyte, form Self-Portrait 

I want to know if you are willing  

to live day by day, with the consequence of love  

and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard even the gods speak of God

Mary Oliver, from Have You Ever Tried To Enter The Long Black Branches?  

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it life

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult

than wakening from a little sleep

Billy Collins, from In The Moment

I could feel the day offering itself to me,

and I wanted nothing more

than to be in the moment–but which moment?

Not that one, or that one, or that one,

Charles Bukowski, from Regrets Of Sorts

 but I do like the music of language

 the curl of the unexpected word

the sensation of a tasty almost never-used

near-virgin word

I’m certain you all have your own favorites, and  you are surely aghast because I left them out. I urge you to go now and pull that book of poetry off the shelf, or that song from wherever you store your music and enjoy it for the art that it is and the joy it brings you.

As for me, I’m going to try harder to raise my game. As always I’ll leave you with a quote which may seem ridiculous at this point, but there are so many.

W. B. Yeats, from A Prayer For Old Age

God guard me from those thoughts men think

In the mind alone;

He that sings a lasting song

Thinks in the marrow bone

Write On,

Dave Benneman

Fright-day Welcomes the first lady of Horror, Mary Shelly

banner1revisedGreetings and Salutations,

I see some of the other dwarves have awoken from their hibernation, be sure to send them some encouragement, Snarky’s is reminding us that NANOMO is rearing its ugly head again. And Dreamer is considering the possibility that sometimes less is more. A most interesting paradox. Wicked is hopping around the ether so fast I’m getting dizzy.

Let’s get right to todays guest because she has a lot to tell us. She, is a woman of great controversy. In her lifetime she was taken quite seriously as a writer. She was a play write, a biographer, an editor, short story writer and novelist. Her liberal life style was considered scandalous and is well documented by the plethora of letters written by and to her. Today she is best known as the wife of Percy Shelly and the author of Frankenstein. Please welcome the first lady of  Horror, Mary Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Shelly.

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MS; Thank you all, for that warm greeting, please call me Mary.

Thank you for joining us Mary, please pull up a tombstone and make yourself at home. Shall we begin with the amazing story of how Frankenstein came to be?

MS; You’re are referring to the year without summer at Lord Byron’s Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva. We had dreadful weather, and were forced to stay inside. After dinner, we read ghost stories aloud, by the fire light. I’m sure it was Lord Byron, who suggested a friendly competition to see who among us could write the most frightful supernatural tale.

While today the story of Victor Frankenstein and his creation are pigeon holed as Horror. Because of the scientific approach, Frankenstein took and the apparatus he constructed to reanimate his creation it should actually be Science Fiction.

MS; While, that maybe true the real horror is the abandonment of the creation by Victor and the absolute isolation and loneliness of the creation. Examine the lengths to which the creation or monster, if you like, went to convince Frankenstein to create a mate for him. The poor wretch was miserable. When his efforts failed he turned to exacting revenge on Frankenstein. How would you feel if your parents brought you in to this world and then turned their back to let you make your way in a hostile world? The world is harsh and unforgiving, stealing happiness at every chance. The wealthy, lord over the poor. Men, lord over women. The hypocritical righteous, lord over progressive thinkers. There is no hope for humanity. Which is the commentary under my novel The Last Man.

Yes, we’ll get to that if we have time. What of the supposed dream where the story came to you?

MS; It was a waking dream in which I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy,half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

Very nice. After all these years you can still turn a phrase.

MS; Do not be impudent young man. I still have my wits about me. I see by the standards of todays world I may be the only one who does. The Last Man may yet turn out to be prophetic. Humanity has learned nothing in the one hundred sixty-two years since my death.If anything man has become less enlightened if that were possible.

Since you brought it up again, let’s talk about The Last Man. Certainly Science Fiction apocalyptic in nature. It tells of a future world ravaged by a plague that wipes out everyone on the planet with the exception of Lionel Verney. It has been suggested Verney is auto-biagraphical.Do you see yourself as the Last Man Standing?

MS; I think that is preposterous. Every writer includes bits and pieces of those closest to her, including herself. The idea that Verney is representative of me, is silly. 

I find it interesting that you place this futuristic novel in the my life time. With the insights from the other side, should I be worried?

MS; You most certainly should be worried. Not because of anything I may know from beyond. Open your eyes, scientists are creating life just as Frankenstein does. They have created viruses, invented chemical warfare, split the atom and even have an engine of some sort that they hope will recreate creation itself. You young man you are on a fast coach to hell. What shore will you swim to in 2100.

If I’m still swimming it won’t matter. We’re running short of time, is there anything you’d like to add?

MS; You do not have enough time for me to tell you what I want to say. You must have me back, that’s all there is to it.

I’ll have my people call your people.

WHOOOOOOOSSH

There for a moment I thought she’d never leave. Once again the serenading portion of the program has been pushed, so I’ll leave you with this quotation from Young Frankenstein; Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: For the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts must be enlarged.

Inga: In other vords: his veins, his feet, his hands, his organs vould all have to be increased in size.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Exactly.

Inga: He vould have an enormous schwanzstucker.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: That goes without saying.

Inga: Voof.

Igor: He’s going to be very popular.

Write on

Dave Benneman AKA Eerie Dwarf

FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS

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Greetings and Salutations,

I’m still getting used to the changes around here. The Swamp isn’t as murky as it used to be. The air is less rancid and my fellow residents seem less surly. Something’s a foot. I’ll have to keep a sharp eye on any other changes.

Back to the topic at hand, characters and what about them endears them to you reader specifically?

A character must create emotion in the reader. This is not optional. If the reader loses interest in my characters they will wonder why they should bother turning the page. Once the reader starts wondering anything except, “what an unbelievable asshole” my character is I’ve failed. My wonderful work of fiction becomes a replacement for that broken leg on grandma’s favorite chair.

What attracts readers to a character? Let’s take the underdog for instance. The reader identifies with a well-meaning character who is on the wrong side of every door. This will hold them for five or ten pages. In those five or ten pages I must give my character a personality, a goal, and an obstacle. The reader has to hurt for this poor schlep.

Once the reader feels his pain you have set the hook. Now you can spin a subplot or two. You can overcome an obstacle only to be confronted by a larger one dead ahead. You can have his heart-broken by a demanding woman. ( some might say a demanding woman is redundant, but I digress.)

One of my favorite fictional characters is Judas Coyne, from Joe Hill’s novel A Heart Shaped Box. Judas is an aging ex-rocker, he is a self-absorbed survivor of an industry that promotes live hard and die young. He managed the former and escaped the later with his ego mostly intact. BUT, I care what happens to Jude, by the time I got to page five I felt his pain. I wanted to ease his burden. I read until my eyes bled that night.

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Tell me about your own favorite characters. Who are they and why do you remember them. Have you gone back to read the novel again or was once enough. I’ll post your comments here and we’ll have some fun.

Next week I’ll share the first paragraph of my work in progress to see if the character comes to life for any you.

In the mean time as is our custom here I’ll leave you with a Quotation.

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
― Marilyn Monroe

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf

FRIDAYS ARE BACK

Greetings and Salutations,

I am back from my hiatus. I missed you all. I hope the feeling is mutual. If you didn’t miss me, lie to me. I’m sensitive after all.

The Swamp looks pretty much the same with the exception of the new interview facility constructed to accommodate Wicked’s endless cavalcade of authors who have taken time from their busy schedule to let the warm muck ooze between their toes. A visit to the swamp is a real stress reliever until the questions start. Wicked’s inexhaustible catalogue of questions is enough to raise the zombies hypertension. And that my friends isn’t easy since, they are already dead.

Many thanks to Elle Kennedy for stopping by this week. She seemed a little squeamish about strange creatures. I wonder what she made of the shambling horde of zombies we maintain to keep the trolls fat and happy? As if a troll is ever happy.

Let’s get started. Writing, is something almost everyone does. We write lists, memos, letters, cards, emails, blogs, reports, journals, notes and things I haven’t thought of. So, when you declare to a friend that you’re a writer, you get this quizzical look. So, who isn’t?

Story tellers is a better description of what writers do. We tell stories in the hope of entertaining someone. Of course we write these stories down, which is where the confusion comes in, but we do much more than write.

Writers create characters, who readers will love or hate, luke-warm is the death knell for a character. Writers create worlds where these characters must endear themselves to the reader. Worlds of endless sidetracks and total derailments to keep the character fighting for, honor, glory, God and country, or the girl.

In my humble opinion, character driven stories are the most compelling. No matter how rich and diverse your world, what turns the pages for me when I’m reading, is the characters that populate that world.

In the coming weeks we’ll discuss what makes a character likable or unlikable. What is it that compels you to read long after your logical brain tells you to put the book down, because you have to get up early. What gives your characters a distinctive voice or do they all sound the same? Are they conflicted? Do they even know what they want? Do they want what the reader wants for them? Are they motivated or just doing what’s expected?

What do you think? Are characters important to you when you read? Or do you prefer a verbal description of a landscape or a bowl of wax fruit when you pick up a book?

I’ll leave you with this little gem from Elmore Leonard. “Psychopaths… people who know the differences between right and wrong, but don’t give a shit. That’s what most of my characters are like.”

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf

WORD CHOICES, Humdrum or Imaginative?

Greetings and Salutations loyal readers of the blog,

Troll Mountain

Troll Mountain

Sorry about missing our appointment last week I was called away.  It seems the Trolls are experiencing unusually cold weather on the mountain and are migrating south. The problem is The Swamp lies due south of Troll Mountain and once they cross the bridge there is nothing to keep them away from here.  The Muses called me in to see if I could help.  I fired off some riddles shivered and whined a lot.  I wasn’t much help until I got sick.  The coup de grace came when and I threw-up all over the Trolls feet.  Nothing like a little projectile vomiting to turn unwanted company away from your door.

I’m so happy we got that out of the way.  Today let’s talk a little about writing.  Writing is often about word choices.  The proper word choice can often turn the mundane into something entertaining.  It can’t do the impossible and make said mundane, exciting, but a unique word choice can keep the reader turning pages until the blood-letting begins.   I have an example:  Before I begin, everyone knows how to make a cup of with a tea bag, correct.  You fling a the bag into a cup, making sure not to lose the attached string, slop in an appropriate amount of scalding water, wait until it turns the color of bourbon and gulp it down.  What follows is from a tea package I tore open when I was sick last week.

Entice fresh water to a boil and pour over a sachet of Ruby Chai.  Steep four to six minutes.  Sip and revel in this herbal’s warm and spicy rendezvous.”  (quoted from Numi Ruby Chai tea)

So when you entice water to boil do you have to coax it?  “Come on water, you can do it.”  I’m kidding, point is while entice is not the first word that comes to mind when setting a kettle to boil, it is an interesting word choice.  It kept me reading the directions even though I know how to make a cup of tea.  Sachet is such a classy word for the little sack of tea dangling from a string, so even in my sickened state, I pushed on.  Revel, now this something we all do too little of.  I reveled at taking out the trash last night. (bad example, how about) Completing the edits in my chapter I reveled at a job well done.  (a little better)  And then closing out with rendezvous, I mean when was the last time you reveled with a mustard hot-dog’s smokey and spicy epicurean rendezvous.

You see word choice can make all the difference if you’re trying to entertain your reader.  It is the little things that take the unremarkable to an extraordinary  echelon.  So the next time you’re describing a character in the cold think about it.  How cold is it?  Is it chilly or frigid? Nippy or raw?  Cool or biting, bone-chilling, arctic, freezing.  You get the picture.  (just a reminder, one adjective should be enough)

So when it comes time to choose your words make an effort, don’t go on autopilot, engage your brain and choose carefully.  When you do, your reader will stay engaged and not go on autopilot either.

As writers we do what we do because we love it and we can’t not do it.  And when we’re done we want others to enjoy our work.  With that in mind, todays quote comes from C.S.Lewis. 

“Our joy is not complete until we share it.” 

Write On,

Eerie

Ripping Apart Your Story…

It’s been a busy holiday here at the Swamp.  I did manage to finish my first draft of Shadow’s Moon, wrangled some interviews with really cool peeps (check out the Guest Post tab), clean out the pits known as the Prankster Duo’s rooms, and took a small breather from the job that pays the bills.  Now  as I wait to finalize guest post dates and prepare for the Bloggers Book Fair in February, I’m reading back through Shadow’s Moon and utilizing my red ink scalpel to finesse my creation before sending it out into the big, bad publishing world.  Currently I’m hiding out in my office of solitude, now graced with a gorgeous shiny 27 inch Apple, while Nerf bullets fly throughout our humble shack.  Knight in Slight Muddy Armor is holed up reveling in the adventures of a high school teacher who chooses to engage in a “questionable” job opportunity.  Even the  Garden Gnomes are hiding in their garden from the heated exchange of foam bullets wielded by five preteen males. Ah, yes, the year is off to a rousing start!

I’ve been asked a few time what my editing process is–the simplest answer: BRUTAL.  It never fails, I finish a story, type END and then feel like a limp dishrag.  I set it aside for a couple of weeks while I recover my strength and confidence.  I’m not sure about every writer out there, but I know that once I finish a story I’m suddenly plagued by insecurities.  Will anyone really like this story? Are my characters deep enough, real enough for readers to connect to? Does my plot resemble a colander, leaking story elements into the ether? Did I add extra arms/legs/body parts where they weren’t needed? The worries are endless and tend to get stuck on a mental loop that make that blindly bright white jacket with buckles look oh so inviting.

When I finally come back to the story, I sit down and read it from beginning to end, armed with my red ink scalpel and begin to answer all of those questions.  Add here. Slash there. Rewrite there because there’s no way in hell that character would EVER say that.  For almost two solid weeks I’ll immerse myself in the story, smoothing the edges, filling the holes until it shines.  Then I send it out.  Once my editor gets ahold of it, she sends it through at least three more brutal rounds in the editing ring.  Bloody and beaten, it will triumph, in the end unbowed but oh so much stronger than when it stepped into the ring.  I honestly don’t think a writer ever feels like a story is ever “perfect”.  Even if it’s out there, being consumed by readers, I know that if I sat down to read Shadow’s Edge or Shadow’s Soul now, I would change things.  Not that they need it, but because writers are constantly honing their skills.  That’s why you shouldn’t go back to what’s out there, but put those skills to work in what’s ahead or currently in front of you.

Snarky shared this awesome post this week with me.  It’s from one of my favorite writers, Chuck Wendig and his Terrible Minds blog.  When you have the time, check it out. It’s worth reading.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a quote from his post: How Chuck Wendig Edits a Novel:

“Writing is when we make words.  Editing is when we make the words not shitty.”

Until next week!

–Wicked

WHERE DO WRITERS GET INSPIRATION?

Greetings and Salutations loyal blog readers,

This week we’re going to talk about the creative aspect of writing.  But first let me catch you up on the happenings around the Swamp.  I’ve been very busy with my free range organic zombie business.  Since Zombies are in big demand for films and scientific study I’m doing well in that part of my life.  It pays the bills.  Sadly my writing has dropped off because there aren’t enough hours in the day.  Just last week I filled an order for three thousands units for the new season of The Walking Dead.

I put Mischievous Raven in charge of marketing for Blue Moon Zombies, so he’s been traveling about getting orders.  I have to say his gift for talking has finally found its niche.  I will have to talk to him about his expense account when he returns however.

Miss G. Anna Conda sent us a post card from Brazil where she is currently starring in a documentary about the worlds deadliest snakes.  I think Anna likes the attention, but she too complained of not having any time to pursue her first love, which is painting for her. 

The leeches are boycotting because of our so-called political incorrectness and the use of clichés like “That guy is a blood sucking leech.”  They claim the media treats them badly.  And they  want the word parasite removed from the dictionary.  I mean really, what’s next.

Well let’s move on to our topic.  Where do those ideas come from?  I’m going to start with an excerpt from a short story called Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King.

“…creative people aren’t always in charge.  And when they do their best work, they’re hardly ever in charge.  They’re just sort of rolling along with their eyes shut, yelling Wheeee.”

That is the perfect explanation of how my stories get written.  And it doesn’t take long for horrific things to start happening.  But every story needs a place to start.  A seed to germinate in the writer’s mind.  For me that could be an image, a photo or a drawing.  Sometimes it’s a news story from which I draw out the smallest of threads.

I heard about a trans-continental train getting stranded in the Canadian Rockies.  That was the only fact I heard, and from that I put together an idea for a novel that I haven’t yet started working on.  This minuscule fact could lead in so many different directions.  The possibilities are infinite.  If ten people started to write a story from this kernel it could be a man against the elements, it could be a terrorist thriller, or a romance, a werewolf story, or even a romantic werwolf story.  Unrequited love and all that.

The point here is this.  Ideas are floating around at your fingertips every moment of everyday, and if you’re a writer, all you have to do is grasp one and plant it in your brain.  Ideas are mundane in the wrong hands.  Two non writers talking: 1st guy “Hey,did you here about the train that was stuck in the Canadian Rockies?” 2nd guy “Yeah, I wonder if they ran out of Champagne.”  They chuckle and move on.

It is the job of the writer to turn that into something interesting or horrific.  If like me that’s where your mind tends to go.  In a creative writing class we were given a random page from a magazine and twenty minutes to write a story based on the image.  To my surprise the room filled with groans.  I had a photo of a mid teens boy and girl.  It was probably selling the clothes they were wearing.  I wrote a story of siblings forced to pose for a photo while their separate  groups of friends looked on.

Dictionary definition of Writing: the activity or skill of making coherent words on paper and composing text:  

It is so much more than that.  Writing gives me the freedom to take my characters anywhere and everywhere.  To place them in impossible situations, and let them crack jokes about it after they find a way out.  The idea is the seed.  Characters grow the seed, they water it, prune it, stomp it into the ground and nurture back to life.  Living breathing characters take your mundane idea and scare the wax right out of your ears.  (No Q-tips required).

Since we are on a roll here, next Friday we’ll talk about characters and maybe the Horror genre.  Today I’ll leave you with an excerpt from a poem by Charles Bukowski.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you

in spite of everything,

don’t do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your mouth

and your gut,

don’t do it.

Until next week, Write On,

Eerie Dwarf

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