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

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

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Pesky Internal Voices

Here’s the deal with diving into your next work in progress after spending an incredible amount of time editing your last piece–your inner critic refuses to shut the hell up!

We’ll refer to mine as VON (voice of my nightmares).

Von showed no fear when I threaten to take her out and dump her in the hole I dug out back in the swamp just last week for such an occassion.  Oh no, she kept right on.  “Don’t tell me, show me!” 

Show her?  Ohhh, I could show her all sorts of cutting repartees that will leave lasting impressions.  Instead, I gritted my teeth and tried to drown her under the pounding melodies of Seether and Nickleback.  When that didn’t work, I brought out the big guns–Korn and the greatest of them all…Trent Reznor.  But still, Von’s venemous whispers wafting through my mind.

I was in the midst of getting Xander back to her partner and a dead body in book 3, when Von broke through.

“That is not going to work. Who told them about the body? Who found it? How come the Pack knows, but no human is involved? And where’s Warrick?”

Really? I refrained from slamming my head into the wooden surface of the table next to my laptop by the barest fraction.  Wouldn’t do to upset my baristas, besides I might spill my drink.  Gritting my teeth, I went back an re-read what I had written.  Damn it…Von’s right…so I went back and rewrote. 

For awhile Von was placated with frappacinnos and coffee cake, while Xander and I worked through a few challenges.  Yes, some of them involving the alpha of the Northwest Pack, but still, we were getting there.  Then Von butted in…

“Why?”

Stumped by the strange question that contained no extranous commentary, I sat there blinking.  “Huh?”

“Why? Why kill this one?  What does his death do to the pack?”

Umm, okay, because…and I explained to her-again-why we were doing this.  She hummed under breathe and sipped her frappacinno.  “Okay, that should work, but we’ll have to see..”

Here’s the thing with Von. As exhausting as she is to work with when I’m writing, she’s an even bigger pest as I’ve been trying to figure out the cover of Shadow’s Soul.  Last week, I asked for feedback on Shadow’s Edge cover over at Cover Art Review blog and got exactly what I asked for.  Don’t mistake me, I’m actually really happy with what I got back.  There were no rave reviews, but the actual feedback was helpful.  However, it did give Von some serious ammunition as she peeked in on what I was considering for Shadow’s Soul.  I have a feeling that until I hit the big leagues or discover some unknown artistic genius residing deep inside me, I’m going to have to make what I have access to for cover art–work.

As for Von–I’ve tried luring her over to Eerie and Mischevious’s neck of the woods, but short of tranqualizing, blindfolding, and trucking her out that way, she seems determined to stick around and torment me.  Even making her play darts with the Muses doesn’t seem to do anything except make her more crabby!  Maybe if I turn up my music, she’ll get bored and go pester Snarky!  With my luck she’ll have a twin or hell, be part of triplets, and then all three of them can torment the rest of the Evil 7 and drive us all insane!

–Wicked

Let me show you what I mean…

I promised to share the agony of editing with you, so sit down, strap in and hang on.  We’re now heading into the treacherous world of show-don’t-tell. You all know this pit of despairing darkness, it’s the one where someone reads your work then says, “Why are you telling me this, why can’t you just show me?”  Every writer faces this harsh enemy armed only with a small writing instrument and sheer guts.  Some carry a broader defense in the form of a laptop, but still the enemy is fierce and determined to leave you shuddering in its wake. 

There are thousands (seriously google it) of articles out there on how to work through the challenges of showing versus telling, but I’m an orbitally fixated person (see previous blog) so I’m just going to share an example of enlightment that was seared into my brain.

Here’s the original:

Raine moved like lightening to catch the little black remote before it hit the ground. Eden gave a frustrated shriek and went after Ryder’s face with her long nails, scoring three long scratches before her could stop her.

 Ryder cursed, yanking the doctor’s arms behind her back, forcing her to face forward.  Raine didn’t spare Eden a glance, but moved in to the cell. She could feel Cheveyo coming up behind her. Using her magic, Raine called up a small illuminating ball of light to chase back the darkness from the cell.

Huddled in the corner was a naked Gavin. Fresh cuts, seeping burns, and trickles of blood mixed with sweat-drenched, tangled hair made macabre abstracts over the shaking arms, wrapped around drawn up legs.

The enlightened minds of my editors pointed out the following issues with this small passage. For example in the very first line, saying she moved like lightening is telling, not showing.  Then on to the usage of verbs. Picking the right verb makes a world of difference. Action scenes demand strong verbs, use them but don’t -ing them (will face this little critter in the next blog).  With the light of knowledge searing my brain, here is the re-write:

Raine sprang forward and caught the little black remote before it hit the ground. Eden shrieked and  raked Ryder’s face with her long nails, scoring three long gashes before he could stop her.

He cursed and yanked her  arms behind her back, forcing her to face forward. Without sparing her a glance, Raine dashed into the cell with Cheveyo right behind her. She summoned a small ball of light to chase back the darkness from the cell.

Gavin was huddled in the corner, naked. Fresh cuts, seeping burns, and trickles of blood, mixed with sweat-drenched, tangled hair threw macabre abstracts over his shaking arms, which were wrapped around his drawn-up legs.

See how much better that reads? Plus it paints a more vivid picture of what’s happening for the reader.  This is the beauty of showing versus telling. It’s worth every drop of blood you sweat as you transfer those voices in your head to paper. 

So next week, I’ll move on to passive versus active.  Oh ye old English lessons. Dust them off, it’s time to go back to school!

Wicked

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