I’M MOVING TO www.traceyambrose.com

Hi everyone, I’ve finally beaten my husband into submission and gotten him to instal a self-managed wordpress blog on my domain @ traceyambrose.com.

I’ve transferred all my posts and comments over to it and I’m going to attempt to transfer everyone’s subscriptions to. I hope you will all stay connected at my new home.

What needs work?

 journal

Today’s journal post is about what I believe I need to work on, in regards to writing. Right now the two major issues that come up for me are
a) Finishing a piece of writing, and
b) Characters

I’m pretty good at coming up with scenes, first chapters or even several chapters (or 60,000 words of a novel) but I suck at actually pulling those initial ideas into a cohesive whole. I’ve written basically one short story in my life. It was around 7000 words, it was written in the last few months, it had a beginning  middle and end (mostly), but after the initial excitement they whole piece just sort of limped along.

Sometimes I have an idea where a story is going, but then I just can’t figure out how to get there, how to build an entire story with a believable plot and characters that are interesting and grow, along with figuring out what other characters I need and who the Dickens they are. Which leads to my B-side. I feel that I know how to write one character, that’s it, just one, and she’s based a great deal on myself (fact and fiction).

I’ve decided, or at least mostly decided, that I’d like to try and spend the next few weeks working on writing characters that are nothing like me. I’m possibly going to base them on Myer Briggs personality types to get a basis for the character. Perhaps even write a male and female version of each character, maybe even different age versions of the characters to try an develop them further.

I’m hoping this will also force me to write characters I don’t like, another area I tend to struggle with. If I read a book that has chapters from the bad guys POV, I may actually skim or skip the entire chapter. I just don’t like the bad guys. Oh crap… I think I may have to make my first character assignment a bad guy.

Ok, that’s it then. June is going to be character exploration month, usual blogging routines from this past month will be altered or suspended to accommodate.

*meep*

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Flash Fiction Friday – Stallion

flash fiction

Her lip was split, right arm almost definitely broken, and her body generally battered and bruised. Mud, leaves, grass and twigs cackled one side if her head where she had slid along the ground a few paces before finally stopping, face down in the dirt of the meadow.

The stallion snorted, tossing his head and poring the ground with his hoof, looking rather pleased with himself.

The morning had started off beautifully. The new horses had arrived the previous evening, and everyone was excited to see them. Not even the threatening grey clouds heading across the hills could dissuade the whole family from coming out to the stables to ogle.

The stallion had looked so magnificent towering over everything. With his sleek midnight coat and long mane flowing down that silky neck. She ached to slid her hand across those thick muscles. He was by far the most beautiful horse she had ever seen.

“I’ll have him.” She’d told her father, green eyes shining with desire. He laughed, as though she’d told him a good joke.

“He’s too much beast for even you my girl. No, that ones not for riding, all fire and no brains he is. But, he’ll make a fine enough sire.”

He really should have known better, nobody told her, she couldn’t handle something, wasn’t big enough, strong enough or even smart enough. Not unless they wanted to see her try.

Brushing herself off as best she could one handed, she regained a small measure of composure. Gritting her teeth against the throbbing pain in her right arm, she walked calmly over to the beast that had taken it upon himself to teach her to fly. Forcing herself to remain calm and in control, careful not to show the damned animal any measure of fear, she took hold of the dangling reins with her left hand. The manor house was about an hours walk away. Resolutely she focused on placing one foot in front of the other, wincing as the movement caused her body to point out all its badges of ill treatment experienced upon it today. One foot, no fear, one foot, no fear. She repeated the mantra over and over again as she walked. Flatly refusing to think about how her parents would react when they saw her.

No, what would be worse, far worse then her injuries or the riotous anger from her father, would be that look of worry and fear in the princes eyes when he saw her. The one that would stare at her unspoken. She had the right to test herself however she saw fit, that didn’t mean he had to like it, but he would never say so. Never let anyone think he disapproved of her in any way, never go out of his way to bring her to task for her stupidity. But it would all be there, in his eyes, in the stollen embrace that evening, in the way he would kiss her ever so gently like a piece of fine porcelain he expected to crumble at his touch.

Damn him, damn the horse and damn her own stubborn stupidity, she kicked at the ground with the toe of a riding boot, hitting a buried rock and regretted the abuse as a new pain surged through her foot. The rain began to fall in earnest.

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Best first paragraphs

I want to write lines like these:

“As I left the Kenya Beanstalk capsule he was right on my heels. He followed me through the door leading to Customs, Health, and Immigration. As the door contracted behind him I killed him.”
Friday, Heinlein.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”.
Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austin

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.

“All children, except one, grow up.”
Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien.

Scribophile

Scribophile, the online writing group for serious writers

Yesterday I signed up to Scribophile. It’s a very well made social network for writers that allows you to offer your work up to other members for critique in exchange for you critiquing the work of others.

You can open a free account which allows you to post two pieces of work at once but it costs you 1 karma point to enter any competitions. A paid account ($65 a year or $9/month) allows you to upload unlimited stories, costs nothing to enter competitions and a bunch of other extra features including extra details to critiques of your work, ability to save the critiques you’re working on for others etc. I’m already starting to think that the $65 would be a great investment.

The key to this site is the karma points. You have to earn them through critiquing peoples work or get them given to you by others when they ‘like’ your critiques. You have to earn 5 karma points for each piece you want to publish on the site. You can also win karma in some of the offered writing contests.

I’ve already submitted two critiques of my own and earned enough ‘karma’ points to offer one of my pieces for review. I chose to put up Rider and have received three very useful reviews in less then 24 hours. I’ve spent a few hours this morning working on this piece based on the feedback I received.

Competitions seem to be run regularly, with the current one focussing on ‘The character driven tale.‘ The prizes are really decent (IMHO).

Deadline: April 30

Fee: Free

1st Prize: A fifty-page manuscript review from acclaimed author David Corbett (worth $350!), a copy of The Art of Character (winners outside the US receive a digital copy), Prize $100 cash via PayPal
2nd Prize: A copy of The Art of Character(winners outside the US receive a digital copy), Prize $75 cash via PayPal
3rd Prize: A copy of The Art of Character(winners outside the US receive a digital copy), Prize $50 cash via PayPal

There are also forums and topic dedicated groups to join. I can see these as being both useful and time wasting – but that’s, as always, up to you to find the balance.

Check it out and see what you think – I’m off to find food, drink and power for the laptop.
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