Tag Archives: Short story

An Example of Nailing the Setting

I recently picked up a historical novella to clear my head between longer novels.  Terri Rochenski wrote a short story in the Make Believe anthology that I really enjoyed, so I reached for her newest work “Alone No More”.

From the title, you get the gist.  Our MC is alone in love, and at the end she gets her man.  Romance never has a surprise ending, does it?  It’s probably the only genre where this is completely acceptable.  It’s the journey to the couple getting together that is the fun.

So, let’s talk about the setting.  Rochenski has a way of drawing you into her world in the first few pages, and never letting go.  Be it the costumes, technology, language, or just the general feel of a world or time period, Rochenski nails it.

Normally for me, this would be a drag.  I hate too much detail, but Rochenski is one of those authors who has figured out how to gently weave in the important parts of the world without slapping you in the face with laundry lists of details.  You envision a character walking through a room and noticing things around her, or you travel down a dirt road in a swaying cart. The details are interspersed inside the action.  Very well done. I like to read works like this on hopes that some of that setting flair rubs off on me.

If you are looking for a short, quiet historical I would highly recommend this.  Adrenaline junkies would find the middle of  “Alone No More” a bit long and uneventful, but this does happen in love sometimes… especially in an authentic historical setting.  I would recommend this book for the setting in itself.

Pick up a copy of “Alone No More” for some quiet holiday reading (Only $1.49 on sale at the White Rose Web Site.)  Everyone loves a sale this time of year!

AMAZON   /  The Wild Rose Press

JenniFer_EatonF

Write a Story With me #68 – Anmol “You have to understand!”

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Here’s this week’s excerpt.  We hope you enjoy!

#68 Anmol (howanxious.wordpress.com)

While the confused father Yoran was trying to figure out his next course of action, his daughters were swooning over their newborn brother. Natalia was looking at them adoringly when Morath interrupted her thoughts, “I need to talk to you, Natalia.”

“The danger hasn’t yet gone. The war is going to aggravate soon.”

“I can understand. I am worried about Yoran. Will he be alright?” Natalia was genuinely concerned about her husband whom she immensely loved.

“He will be fine. What I am worried about is your own safety and that of the children. I suggest you take them to a safe place. I can have some one take you all there.”

“No… no…,” she voiced her opinion, “I can’t go. My husband is here. You have to understand.”

Morath ignored her plea and spoke in her authoritarian voice, “What about your girls and the young boy? I do not want them to be hurt.” Her eyes had gone red and Natalia shivered, looking at this powerful image. All the Fae around had gone white in the face as well.

“But after all, they are your children. You must decide what you want to do,” she continued, keeping her emotions in check and moved away from the frightened mother.

She was suspicious of Yoran. She was not sure, whether she should believe him or not. As a leader, she would have to do something that would surprise even him. It was time to incarnate the fighter in her.

Want to read more?  See below for past excerpts.

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Parts One – Fifty Click Here

Part Fifty-One – Joe Owens

Part Fifty-Two – Shayla Kwiatkowski

Part Fifty-Three – Jennifer Eaton

Part Fifty-Four – Shan Jeniah Burton

Part Fifty-Five – Jenny Keller Ford

Part Fifty-Six – Susan Rocan

Part Fifty-Seven – Susan Roebuck

Part Fifty-Eight – Elin Gregory

Part Fifty-Nine – Nicky Wells

Part Sixty - Vanessa-Jane Chapman

Part Sixty-One – Ravena Guron

Part Sixty-Two – Julie Catherine

Part Sixty-Three – Kai Damian

Part Sixty-Four – Richard Leonard

Part Sixty-Five – Danielle Ackley McPhail

Part Sixty-Six – Joe Owens

Part Sixty-Seven – Shayla Kwiatkowski

Part Sixty-Eight – Anmol

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

Norah Jansen — TAG!  You are “It”

Write a Story With Me Contributors

shayla kwiatkowski gryphonboy Jennifer M. Eaton Vanessa Chapman
Siv Maria Sharon Manship shanjeniah Vikki (The View Outside)
Danielle Ackley-McPhail Richard Leonard susanroebuck Jenny Keller Ford
aparnauteur kaidamian Eileen Snyder Elin Gregory
Joe Owens anelephantcant mysocalledDutchlife Nicky Wells
norahdeayjansen Julie Catherine Ravena Guron
Anmol     jiltaroo 4amWriter mywithershins

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Rule #8 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever

Writing_A_Great_Novel

I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #8

8: Show, don’t tell. Much vaunted advice, yet rarely heeded. An example: expressing emotion indirectly. Is your preferred reader intelligent? Yes? Then treat them accordingly. Tears were streaming down Lila’s face. She was very sad. Can the second sentence be inferred from the first? In context, let’s hope so. So cut it. If you want to engage your readers, don’t explain everything to them. Show them what’s happening and allow their intelligence to do the rest. And there’s a bonus to this approach. Because movies, of necessity, show rather than tell, this approach to your writing will help when it’s time to begin work on the screenplay adaptation of your novel!

I have to admit that I am guilty of this, and when I’m writing, I don’t even realize it.  I KNOW not to do this, and I can pick it out in someone else’s novel in a second.

So why is it in my own?  I’m not really sure, to be honest, but when a beta reader points it out, I always scratch my head and say, “How the heck did that get in there?”

Let’s reiterate SHOW DON’T TELL.  For instance:

Tell:  The vicious dog barked at the fence

Show: The dog’s lip curled up as he snarled, his teeth biting through the chain link fencing.

In the second example, we don’t come out and say he is vicious.  If you’ve done your job well enough, your reader should be able to figure that out.  Also, you will notice, there is quite a different emotional reaction in the second sentence, isn’t there?  That’s the magic of show rather than tell.  The shown image sinks in and resonates with the reader.

Pluck out a telly sentence from your own novel and try to change it up.  How did you do?

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

A Review of “Dipping in a Toe” By Linda Carroll-Bradd @lcarrollbradd

I was just floored by this short story.  This little tidbit did everything it was meant to do.  It wet my appetite, and left me screaming for more.

Normally, I don’t like shorts, because I always feel like there is more to the story that I have not been told.  To an extent, this is no exception to that. However, this was so superbly written that I was left feeling satisfied with the ending, and not wanting to chuck my E-reader at the wall.

This is a very simple story about a single mother being attracted to her kid’s much younger swim coach, and what happens when he returns her attention.

While this is a very sweet story. (Not even any kissing) I found myself submersed in the heat between these two characters, and feeling every sensory perception relayed by the author.

My only fault is how short it is (I read it in two nights, but I could have gobbled it in one sitting if I wanted to)  I would love to read more about this new couple, and if there is a part two, I am reaching for it.

In general, I like fantasy or chase novels, and romance bores me.  This story, though, just blew my socks off without any TNT.  For the first time in a long time, I am looking up an author to see what else she’s written.

I can’t find any reason in this book not to give it five stars.  This is sweet romance at its utter and complete best.

Do you have a second to see if this works?

This is going to be a tad longer than a normal Sunday Snippet.  Sorry, but I need a few last-minute set of eyes.

Fire in the Woods is days from being done, and I decided I needed to add a little something, and I don’t want to send the work out to query without another few opinions on this.

I am adding a phone call/message from Dad.  A beta mentioned that if their daughter were missing that they would be ringing her cell phone off the hook.  I added a ringing phone, but I now decided to add a message, and I need to know if it’s believable.

Here’s the set-up:  You are a Dad, and a Major in the Army.  Your daughter just took off with Public Enemy Number One.  There is a huge manhunt going on. She’s not answering her phone. Does this sound like a believable message to leave on her cell phone? (From Jess’s point of view)

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My fingers tightened on my phone as I began to slip it into my pocket.  The thought of the message from unavailable tightened my chest.  What if it was Dad?

“David, hold on for a second.”

I leaned against the back of the building and turned on my phone. David propped himself beside me and grabbed a banana from the bag.  He perused each end, and I quickly opened it for him.

He smiled.  “Thanks.”

I moved past Maggie’s message, touched unavailable, and brought my phone to my ear.

My father’s sigh tore my soul in two.

“I guess I can’t blame you for not answering.” A slight hum vibrated the casing against my cheek. “I saw the surveillance footage, and it’s pretty obvious you’re not a hostage. I can only imagine what he told you to make you trust him.” I glanced at David as he chewed his banana.  Dad’s voice quavered. “Sweetheart, you need to understand that he is a soldier, wounded behind enemy lines. He is not above lying to a seventeen-year-old girl to get what he wants.” I could imagine Dad pacing the floor, rubbing his hand across his tightly cropped head.  “Jess, you’ve always been like your mother, and I know there’s no changing your mind once you’ve made it up, so I’m not going to bother asking you to turn him in.”

Really? You gotta be kidding me.

“But what I do want is for you to get away from him. Just wait for him to be distracted and run as fast as you can.” I could almost sense him gritting his teeth.  “We will find him, Jess. And you know that I’m not going to sleep until you’re safe.” Muffled voices spoke in the background behind my father’s steady breathing.  “Please come back.  I can’t lose you, too.”

The call ended, and I powered down my phone.  I stared at the blank screen as my father’s words bled into me.

I can’t lose you, too.

I’d never considered the possibility of anything bad actually happening to me. I was safe with David, wasn’t I?

David popped the last of the banana into his mouth and tossed the rest into the trash beside a loading dock. What would happen if the Army cornered us?  Would there be shooting? Would David protect me, or use me as a shield?

David slipped his hands into his pockets as he strolled back to me, his smile easing any uncertainty.

My conscience fought to call Dad— to let him know everything would be all right, but I knew he’d just try to convince me to come home. I slipped the phone into my pocket.

“Are you all right?” David asked.

I nodded, biting my lip as Dad’s voice haunted me. You know that I’m not going to sleep until you’re safe.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.  Sorry, Dad.

“We need to find a place to hide for the night.”


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The Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop is on!

Want to join up? Click here for the rules, and leave a comment to have your name added to the list.  The more the merrier!swish swivel squiggle 2

Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!

Note:  Those who have not been participating have been removed to save on critiquer’s “click” time.

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

http://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

http://ashortaday.wordpress.com

http://mandyevebarnett.com/

http://www.michellezieglerauthor.com

http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/

Writer’s Retreat! and Sunday Snippets Critique Hop

Hello from the woods!  Okay, that’s a lie.  There’s no internet where I am, I scheduled this ahead.

I’m out on a writer’s retreat this weekend making some serious word-count damage to my new novel Optimal Red.  Three days of uninterrupted writing bliss!  Yahoooo!

I’m not available to critique this week, but that doesn’t mean everyone else can’t play.  Check out these great writers below to see if they posted this week, and I’ll see you on Monday.  :-)

 

Sunday_SnippetsOh Yeah!

It’s the Sunday Snippets

Critique Blog Hop!

.

In this hop, participants post 250 words of their work in progress to be critiqued.  Then everyone hops around to critique others.  Don’t have a post of your own?  We’d love a critique anyway!  And next time you can sign up yourself (see below)

swish swivel squiggle 2

The Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop is on!

Want to join up? Click here for the rules, and leave a comment to have your name added to the list.  The more the merrier!swish swivel squiggle 2

Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!

Note:  Those who have not been participating have been removed.

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

http://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

http://ashortaday.wordpress.com

http://mandyevebarnett.com/

http://www.michellezieglerauthor.com

http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/

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Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop: The Second (x2) 250 Words of my New Novel, OPTIMAL RED

Sunday_SnippetsOh Yeah!

It’s the Sunday Snippets

Critique Blog Hop!

.

In this hop, participants post 250 words of their work in progress to be critiqued.  Then everyone hops around to critique others.  Don’t have a post of your own?  We’d love a critique anyway!  And next time you can sign up yourself (see below)

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Here we have the revised second page of my new novel Optimal Red, which is the sequel to LAST WINTER RED from the Make Believe Anthology.

I added a little imagery since last posting it.  Does it help to pull you deeper into Henry’s world?

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Henry took a deep breath and took in the room around him. The unembellished gray walls had always provided a sense of comfort and security. The thought of leaving this safe haven sent a whisper of butterflies through his stomach.  How long would it be before he would see this room again, before he’d see his mother and siblings again?  Weeks? Months?

A stiff jerk tested his posture as his mother gave a final tug on his shirt.  “There.  Your wife will be pleased.”

He brushed his lips against her forehead.  “I will make you proud, mother.”

She nodded, walking him to the door.  “Be sure that you do.”

The finality of leaving his childhood home tingled in the air as the door slid shut behind him. Longs days of carefully structured lessons and exercise had prepared him for this day. But fear, rather than excitement had greeted him as first light woke him this morning.

Where would he live? Would his wife be pleased with him? What would he say when they were introduced? He rubbed his temples and steadied himself. His questions could only be answered by living the life he’d been born for.

The stark gray hallway echoed with his solitary footsteps.  Any other day he would have walked toward the right, to the common rooms and study areas.  Only once before had he taken the left passage, walking the long, seldom-traveled hallway that lead to the lower regions of Terra.  He’d accompanied his father that day, seeing him off to his new assignment in the agricultural center.  Henry had bubbled with excitement, not knowing that his father would never return.

Luckily for the family, his father had the chance to validate himself eight times before his death.  While hardly a large family, eight children, all rated Red, was still an agreeable showing for the council.

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The Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop is on!

Want to join up? Click here for the rules, and leave a comment to have your name added to the list.  The more the merrier!swish swivel squiggle 2

Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!

Note:  Those who have not been participating have been removed.

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

http://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

http://ashortaday.wordpress.com

http://mandyevebarnett.com/

http://www.michellezieglerauthor.com

http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/

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Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop: The Second 250 Words of my New Novel, OPTIMAL RED

Sunday_SnippetsOh Yeah!

It’s the Sunday Snippets

Critique Blog Hop!

.

In this hop, participants post 250 words of their work in progress to be critiqued.  Then everyone hops around to critique others.  Don’t have a post of your own?  We’d love a critique anyway!  And next time you can sign up yourself (see below)

swish swivel squiggle 2

Here we have the second 250 words of my new novel Optimal Red, which is the sequel to LAST WINTER RED from the Make Believe Anthology.

Like the first set, this has not been proofed.  I have not gone back to it since I first wrote it, so slash away!  What’s missing?  What do I need to expand upon?  Are you connecting with the characters?

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Henry took a deep breath and took in the room around him.  How long would it be before he would see this room again, before he’d see his mother and siblings again?  Weeks? Months?

A stiff jerk tested his posture as his mother gave a final tug on his shirt and plastered it against his waist.  “There.  Your wife will be pleased.”

He brushed his lips against her forehead.  “I will make you proud, mother.”

She nodded, walking him to the door.  “Be sure that you do.”

The stark gray hallways echoed with his solitary footsteps.  Any other day he would have walked toward the right, to the common rooms and study areas.  Only once before had he walked to the left, taking the long gray hallway toward the unknown. It had been to see off his father when he’d been asked to work in the agricultural center—the last day they’d seen before news of the terrible accident.

As Henry approached the lifts, a woman with sandy blonde hair stood from her desk and greeted him with a brilliant smile.  “Good morning, Sir.” She held out a smoky glass pad.  “Identification, please.”

Henry reluctantly placed his hand on the pad.  Before today, he’d been considered a minor, and one of his parents gave their identification.  He’d never placed his own palm on one of the devices.  A tone sounded, and he drew his hand back.

“Happy birthday, Sir,” The woman said. “One moment please, and I will fetch a car to Sigma Central.”

“Do you know what I should do when I get there?”

“There will be another guide to meet you when you step out.  No worries, Sir.”

swish swivel squiggle 2

The Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop is on!

Want to join up? Click here for the rules, and leave a comment to have your name added to the list.  The more the merrier!swish swivel squiggle 2

Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!

Note:  Those who have not been participating have been removed.

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

http://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

http://ashortaday.wordpress.com

http://mandyevebarnett.com/

http://www.michellezieglerauthor.com

http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/

Writing Madly to a Deadline, and then NOT submitting

I recently jumped into the running for another anthology, which means writing to a tight deadline.  I tripped up my schedule for a few weeks, finalizing my novel for the Amazon Break Through Novel Contest, and was two-weeks behind schedule. I DID finish in time (barely), but now I sit here the day before the deadline, with a completed manuscript in my hands, second guessing myself.

Do I think it’s not good enough?  No.  The opposite.  It’s tight. It’s precise….

And if you could have seen the look on my son’s face after reading it— Dang.  I haven’t seen him this excited about something since finishing the Hunger Games (Not that mine is even remotely like the Hunger Games)

So what’s the problem?  Submit the dern thing!

Here’s my problem… It’s too long.  I did not make the word count.  I contacted the publisher, and they said they would consider it at the higher word count, but it definitely would have to be cut down by 1500 words for publication in the anthology (If it were chosen)

I searched for those 1500 words, and found a possible 500 to cut, but editing out those 500 would have affected the “mood” of the story.  And if another 1000 words were cut after that, the whole story would seem rushed.

If my son had said “Meh, it’s okay.  I’ve read better.” (Which he has done to me in the past) I would have sliced and diced the 1500 words out of the story and sent it in.

But he didn’t say that.  He asked for more.  My kid the voracious reader said:  “It was really great.  I’ve never read anything like that before.  When will you write another one?”

I thought about what those forced changes would do, and decided to take the creative high road.  I am passing on the anthology, and am now embarking on a search for a publisher of Young Adult Paranormal Short/Novellas.

Ugh!  I hate passing up an opportunity, but I think this particular story needs to find a more suitable home than the confines of an anthology.

I am all for editing… all stories need to be edited, but I don’t want to “cut” just for the sake of “cutting”.  I’d rather have words cut because they don’t belong there… not because there is a stipulation on word count.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this?

If not, do you think you’d submit anyway, or search for a new home?

_JenniFer____EatoN

Write a Story with Me # 33 – What? OH NO! She didn’t! by Danielle Ackley McPhail

Last week Janelle took off — literally, leaving the old lady with Mommy bleeding to death and in a ton of trouble.  What’s gonna happen?  Here’s Danielle Ackley McPhail’s first contribution to our story!

33- Danielle Ackley McPhail – Wait, she’s who?  What?  OH NO!  She didn’t!

Morana watched her unsuspecting daughter go, her lips tightly set and her eyes sad. She remembered more than a time before the faeries were looked on as vermin…she remembered when they had been kin with humans. When all kind were linked and not separate.

How dark and grim the world had become since that time.

With a sigh she turned back to her patient. Poor Natalia, forsaken by all and sundry; all but Morana, and now that the last witness was gone it was time to see to mother and babe.

Queen Morath of the fae shed the weight of her borrowed years, shed her human form, the aches and pains and the blurring of her eyes. All fell away like flakes of skin to dust leaving the most beautiful and powerful of fae standing over the human woman, who sprawled upon the floor in her own blood, the babe’s cord still trailing from her body, wet and glistening.

“tsk…let’s clean you up, my lovely, shall we?” Nearer to human height than the diminutive size the fae had become in the after-time, Morath bent gracefully down, folded the delicate membranes of her wings back and safely away from the mess on the floor before reaching out one ivory-pale hand to trail through Natalia’s hair and down the curve of her back. Magic sparkled in the air at the touch as like recognized like deep within the two races now drastically different. Queen of life and death as well as fae, Morath ordered the woman’s lifeblood back within the confines of her veins and wicked away both sweat and blood normal to the birthing of children, and with it the memory of that night’s ordeal…all of it. Natalia remain unconscious—blessedly so—as the faerie queen scooped up the woman’s son to cradle in immortal arms.

The child cooed and burbled, making the faerie queen laugh before she grew somber once more. “Come, Verval. For your own safety and theirs, you need be the price for my healing.”
And Morath rose in a cloud of glittering motes, secreting the foretold boy away before any harm might come to him or his parents for bearing him.

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part Eight — Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan mywithershins

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston  AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twelve — Julie Catherine

Part Thirteen — Kai Damian

Part Fourteen — Richard Leonard

Part Fifteen — Sharon Manship

Part Sixteen – Shannon Blue Christensen

Part Seventeen — Bryn Jones

Part Eighteen — Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Nineteen — Shannon Burton

Part Twenty — J.Keller Ford

Part Twenty-One — Susan Roebuck

Part Twenty-Two — Elin Gregory

Part Twenty-Three — Aparnauteur

Part Twenty-Four — Vanessa Chapman

Part Twenty-Five — Ravena Guron

Part Twenty Six — Susan Rocan

Part Twenty Seven — Kate Johnson AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twenty Eight – Julie Catherine

Part Twenty Nine — Kai Damian

Part Thirty — Richard Leonard

Part Thirty-One —Sharon Manship

Part Thirty-Two — Shannon Christensen

Part Thirty-Three — Danielle Ackley McPhail

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

Siv Maria Ottem— TAG!  You are “It”