Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Zzzz...SNOOZE - A to Z CHALLENGED

Z is for Zzzzz ....
snooze.
Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.
When he gets to Castle Haw, 
Hal can sleep too.














Z is for zzzzz snoozing. It could be that after a month of trying to get around all 2,000 linked blogs, I’m ready for some serious sleep. But, no! Z is for Zzzz because when I find a book I LOVE I forget I’m supposed to include sleep in my life.

I love being so engrossed in a book I can’t put it down. This has been so since back in the day when I sat on the window ledge, in my bedroom, reading by street light to my new spot on the sofa when the house is all quiet… except the creaking.

Books I lost sleep over:
Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Harry Potter – all of them - JK Rowling
The Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
Angels and Demons and Deception Point – Dan Brown
Glass Houses – Rachel Caine
The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
Game of Thrones – all of them – George RR Martin
The Twilights and The Host - Stephenie Meyer 
The Tale of the Body Thief – Anne Rice
Divergent – Veronica Roth

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH
Edith’s tightened her lips. She was quiet for a moment. “The crusader asked Lord Courtney to free you from his service.”
Hal shivered, his head ached.
“All tall and brave, the crusader stood by the fireplace.” She grinned as she stepped back a pace. She planted her feet wide, chin high, placed her hands on her wide hips. In a few moves she transformed from a kitchen maid to the very image of something much more powerful. She looked nothing like Sir Ralf de Moreville, Lord of Ravendale, but Hal could see how the knight must have looked. “I made a promise to those who died so I could live!”
Even playing the character, Edith shook her head when Hal did. They both knew Lord Courtney wouldn’t be interested in promises made to dead men.
“It is a debt of honour,” she said, raising her hand until her finger pointed to the heavens. “I promised the men who saved my life that I would find and train their sons.” She deepened her voice and continued, “I must make them my pages.”

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!
   Or sleep ;)

FOR Z, I CHOSE Zzzz AND CHANGED IT TO Zzzzz anyway ;) WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR Z POST?

Monday, 29 April 2013

YELLING - A to Z CHALLENGED

Y is for YELLING,
and how to punctuated it.

Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.  

I'd yell if someone
made me wear that hat.






















Y is for Yelling and how to punctuate it.

There are a variety of words to say someone shouted but if you have already put an exclamation mark (!) it is telling the reader the character shouted.

Most of the time, if the speaker is obvious, it is fine to omit the redundant word: screamed, shouted, bawled, bellowed, hollered, howled, roared, whooped, yelled etc.

These words are useful if the speaker is screaming a question.

“You want me to put your food on a silver plate?” shouted Hal. “If I find one, I’ll be happy to do that. And,  drop it on your head!”

The exclamation mark is not used for sarcasm. It is not used in the narrative either (eg All day, the wind had cut through the courtyard and bitten at Hal until hands were red and raw!) This is author intrusion. Yelling only takes place in dialogue.

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           year in, year out
•           you can bet your last penny
•           you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink
•           you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
•           you can’t teach an old dog new tricks
•           you can’t win ‘em all
•           you could have knocked me down with a feather
•           you pays your money and takes your choice
•           your guess is as good as mine
•           you’re only young once

FOR Y, I CHOSE YELLING AND ITS RELATED PUNCTUATION. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR Y POST?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS - 8 SENTENCES ON SUNDAY

If you are interested in follow this link: WWR

As I am a weekend-only writer of romance, Hale is still having trouble with Darrah. 

This section continues on from last week. Hale has been observing Darrah since she pinned him to the ground to teach him a lesson - to prove she could fight him without causing herself harm. But once she had him pinned she kissed him. Darrah initiated skin contact? The experience has left Hale intoxicated and raw.


Her relief was obvious as she relaxed when she identified the man who stood behind her. Observing this, he experienced what felt like a skewer snake burrowing into his flesh, but was probably something more barbed instead. Envy? Need? Hunger?
Hale needed no breeze to carry the warm scent of her to him. After all this time, stranded on this world, allowing the chemicals that created the aroma of her aura to flood his open pores was intoxicating. She was woodland and ripe fruit and sweet, sweet sugar.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X-TREME EDITING - A to Z CHALLENGED

X is for X-TREME EDITING
with a big red X

Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.  

Hard work around the house
 was the first x-treme sport ;)










X is for X-TREME EDITING. For the editor (and the teacher in me) who prints out a final copy and uses red pen and large Xs to remind me which sections I need to re-write.

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH
There have been a lot of different versions of the hook for this book.
1st VERSION:
Hal hid in the shadows by the stable door. He hoped no one would notice him standing back from the competition. He didn’t know why the challenge had been called but everyone knew that the knight, de Moreville, had named the prize.

2nd VERSION:
Hal hid in the shadows by the stable door when everyone else crowded forward to get a better view. He chewed on his grubby fingernail. He rubbed the top of the short nail against a tooth. It scraped and clicked and filled his head with noise.

CURRENT:

Hal hid in the shadows by the stable door when everyone else crowded forward to get a better view. He was as quick, and thin as a hungry rat, and ready to dart back inside if anyone came to find him. 

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

I don’t have a lot – my xiphias gladius clichés are thin

•           X-rated

I PRINT OFF A RED PEN COPY FOR MY FINAL EDIT. FOR X-TREME EDITING, I CHOOSE THE X  for not good enough – AND USE IT, A LOT, TO DRAW ATTENTION TO SECTIONS THAT NEED WORK. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR X POST?

Friday, 26 April 2013

WORK and WONDER - A to Z CHALLENGED

W is for WORK
and WONDER

Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself. 

Writing is a different kind
of labour intensive work.











W is for Work because, although it's great fun, I would be delighted to consider writing as work too. That would be a new and novel experience. W is also for Wonder because when I read my head is full of questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? And, How?

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH
The knight’s arrival made the castle folk move back , and quickly, as he strode up to the stable door. The light and air didn’t last long. White and billowing, his cloak settled into folds near his boots. The knight reached out his hand. “Arise, Henry. You are now a page entrusted to the house of de Moreville.”
Hal shook his head. That was life! After all that work, the crusader had won himself the wrong boy. Embarrassed, Hal turned towards the stables. His disappointment made him desperate. He had to hide.
Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           warts and all
•           well-earned rest
•           wheels within wheels
•           when the going gets tough (the tough get going)
•           with all due respect
•           with bated breath
•           with malice aforethought
•           without a shadow of a doubt
•           wonders will never cease
•           work my fingers to the bone, I

FOR W, I CHOSE WORK AND WONDER. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR W POST?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

VOICE - A to Z CHALLENGED


Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.
V is for VOICE

Communication involves tone,
gesture and eye contact;
the writing has a lot to get across
















V is for Voice which is – theoretically – a representation of how you would normally speak. My normal mode of speech involves a lot of gestures, eye contact, body position and TEETH. It’s a struggle to get that onto the paper in a form my MG/YA readers could follow ;) The foundation of writing is communication. All the best advice is to keep the writing simple.

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH
“I see you’re keeping out of the way.”
“Edith!” he said, quickly. He darted a look around. He hadn’t heard the kitchen maid arriving over the noise in the castle courtyard. “I don’t want to watch.”
She smiled. “Delicious food and a warm bed instead of leftovers and straw in the stable – I’d settle for worries like that.”
“All I know is how to work horses.”
“Sure. And, that will come in handy.”
“Maybe.” Hal gripped his sore thumb inside his fist.
“If I were you, and a boy, and a knight wanted to make me a page in his household, I’d be interested enough to see if it happened.”

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           vanish into thin air
•           variety is the spice of life
•           vested interest
•           vicious circle
•           vote with their feet

FOR V, I CHOSE VOICE. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR V POST?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

UNRESOLVED ISSUES - A to Z CHALLENGED

U is for 
UNRESOLVED 
ISSUES
Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself. 

For pages learning the art of 
combat, training works best when 
both students were evenly matched.













U is for Unresolved Issues although all the main elements of the plot must be satisfactorily resolved some threads could be left frayed because the reader – using their imagination, and the clues you have sown - can be trusted to see how these might work out.

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH
Hal lingered by the stable. He wondered if his stay in the castle was going to end. No one had noticed the day the Master of the Horse brought him in. It seemed everyone was going to notice him now, whether he stayed or left.

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           unavoidable delay
•           unconscionable liar
•           under a cloud
•           under the weather
•           unequal task
•           university of life
•           unsung heroes
•           untimely end
•           untold wealth
•           up to scratch/not up to scratch

FOR U, I CHOSE UNRESOLVED ISSUES. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR U POST?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

TENSION - A to Z CHALLENGED


T is for TENSION
Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.  

Generally, it takes two to create tension
 but three is even better.















T is for Tension because without it the reader turns pages. Every scene needs a source of tension. Tension is created when the sentences are short. The dialogue is confrontational. And, when time is running out.

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH

Down in the courtyard, the weary warrior was replaced by a steely soldier. After gripping his chest and bending his head, the knight prepared to take his shot. What must it feel like to be a knight… to know the arrow you fire could hurt another person? Hal shivered. The knight was ready, his arm bent back behind him. The bow tensed. As a light breeze shifted the edge of his white cloak, the knight remained still.

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           take it with a grain of salt
•           thankful for small mercies, be
•           that’s life
•           tighten our/your belts
•           time flies
•           time waits for no man
•           tired and emotional
•           tomorrow is another day
•           torrential rain
•           trials and tribulations

FOR T, I CHOSE TENSION. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR T POST?

Monday, 22 April 2013

SUSPENSE - A to Z CHALLENGED


Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.
A squire looked after
the knight's sword
and shield.

S is for SUSPENSE,
squire, sword and shield






















S is for Suspense. You don’t have to reveal everything at once. The reader’s empathy for the MC is the basis of suspense but, they only know what the character knows so write intense action, and real danger to heighten the emotional connection. You can offer insights through foreshadowing or withhold details by contrasting the action with what the MC appears to be thinking at that time.

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH
Hal gripped the ladder and dug his fingers into the space between the blocks of stone. He held his breath. What could the knight do that was better than Lord Courtney’s shot? “Please,” Hal whispered. Even though he had no idea what he was hoping for. “Please.” He shook his head.

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           safe and sound
•           salt of the earth
•           see how the land lies
•           shape or form, in any
•           share and share alike
•           simmering hatred
•           skin of his teeth
•           slowly but surely
•           so far so good
•           strike while the iron’s hot

FOR S, I CHOSE SUSPENSE. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR S POST?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS - 8 SENTENCES ON SUNDAY

If you are interested in follow this link: WWR


As I am a weekend-only writer of romance, Darrah is still having trouble ignoring Hale.

Balanced on an outcrop on the ridge, some distance away, the overlapping tiles on the soles of his shoes curving to provide effective grip, Hale watched Darrah track through the trees.
Like a natural predator, she moved swiftly, stealthily, without disturbing the habitat. Had she always been this skilled in the forest? Was this the area of her training she had excelled at?  Is this why they had selected her to find heir apparent, Erishden?
He wondered at the easy finger that stroked the bark of the tree, and he smiled at the dexterity of her friend who jumped away when she spun to face him raising her short bow and deadly arrow in one deliciously smooth action. He heard her Factor whispered, “Koman, Darrah? Is something wrong?”

Saturday, 20 April 2013

READING - A to Z CHALLENGED


Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.
Merlin, probably making sure
he is written into the tales of
King Arthur and the
Knights of the Round Table ;)
R is for READING

















R is for Reading! 

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”      

both quotes from Stephen King

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH
Hal hid in the shadows by the stable door when everyone else crowded forward to get a better view. He was quick, and thin as a whippet, and ready to dart back inside if anyone came to find him.
All day, the wind had cut through the courtyard and bitten at Hal until hands were red and raw. When shaking didn’t work, he cupped his hands and blew to warm his fingers. Then he chewed on his a nail, rubbing the jagged edge against his tooth.
“I see you’re keeping out of the way.”
“Edith!” he said, quickly. He looked around. There was no one else there. He guessed he hadn’t heard the kitchen maid arriving over the noise in the castle courtyard. “I can't watch.”

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           raining cats and dogs (and hailing taxis)
•           read my lips
•           reinventing the wheel
•           resounding silence
•           right as rain
•           rings true
•           risk life and limb
•           rotten apple in a barrel, one
•           ruffled feathers
•           ruled with a rod of iron

FOR R, I CHOSE READING. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR R POST?

Friday, 19 April 2013

QUEST - A to Z CHALLENGED

Q is for QUEST

Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.
A destrier was the best-known
warhorse in the middle ages


















Q is for the Quest because where heroes come in different genders, shapes, and sizes, but the quest remains constant whether the journey takes place in a world we recognise or one we discover along with the MC.

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH

Hal’s hand tightened in the mane of the small horse. The grey pony stamped at the straw scattered over the cobble-stoned yard. His heart thumped. When he grabbed them up, his hands slipped on the supple leather reins. He had seen the knight, de Moreville, and his party arrive but he’d paid more attention to black destrier.

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           quality of life
•           queen for the day
•           queer the pitch
•           quick and the dead
•           quiet as a mouse
•           quid pro quo
•           quiet before the storm, the
•           quit horsing around
•           quit while you’re ahead

FOR Q, I CHOSE QUEST. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR Q POST?

Thursday, 18 April 2013

PLOT - A to Z CHALLENGED


Each post for the A to Z Challenge is the challenge I set for myself.
P is for PLOT

Characters, conflict and
complications are present whenever
there's more than one
person in the novel.

















P is for Plot because all you have to do is control the key elements of character, conflict, complications, climax and consolidation to write the perfect novel ;)

HAL LONGLEAT AND THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH
Dizzy, Hal slid down the ladder. His nerveless fingers couldn’t grip. His feet slid from the rung as if it had been coated in grease like the Maypole on the feast day. 
He landed at the bottom of the steps. Digging in his heels, he pushed himself back through the straw and dust. Fear beat at him, a stinging pain, he thought he would be sick.

Could YOU have been gifted with the ability to identify and eliminate weak and brittle phrases from your work? To the uninitiated, these interlopers look like quality imagery.

CLICHÉ RAIDERS: REWRITE!

•           pale into insignificance
•           pecking order
•           plain as a pikestaff
•           point of no return
•           practice makes perfect
•           press on regardless
•           pride and joy
•           put two and two together
•           put your foot down
•           put your nose out of joint

FOR P, I CHOSE PLOT. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR P POST?