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ROW80-1 -25/2/18 -Choices

Right now my problem is too many stories to choose from. I'd like to find an agent, but which of my five drafts do I focus on? 

I have:

  • Agnes of Grimm - fairy tale folk brought to life in modern times, trying to recapture their magic yet blend in. I like the characters in this one, they are fun.
  • Ghost in the Machine - a woman trapped in 'the cloud' after she dies, leaving husband and daughter behind, finds others in there too. Does she find a new goal in life? I haven't settled on the POV in this - the dead wife or the husband she left. 
  • The Portal - Mary has a husband, nice country home, new baby - but it's not enough. She misses the edgy life she once had. She's looking for some adventure and finds it through a mysterious door. It's like Medieval Earth, but with magic, and her doppelganger.  With a young female Merlin thrown in. This needs more historical research. 
  • The Managed - A retired revolutionary is drawn into a plot to manage and control everyone via implanted ID chips. They started as medical sensors, then data recorders, then control devices. This is pretty dystopian. 
  • The Game - Lonely teen just wants to determine how to fit into life like others do and regain the love of his father. Fitting in includes hiding his weird ability to dream the future. He discovers that The Game is more than career planning, it's also a live or die selection process for fighters against aliens. Will he risk revealing and using his ability? Sort of a Hunger Games meets the Last Starfighter. This is my last one, not finished at NaNoWriMo 2017, as I stalled after lots of planning and outlining.   

  My plan is to do a longer summary of each one, maybe three pages, and solicit some beta readers to give feedback as to which ones look to have the best potential for a good story and which ones seem the most marketable. Hopefully those two sets overlap. 

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ROW80-1 21/02/18 -Heroes

Wikipedia says "A hero (masculine) or heroine (feminine) is a person or main character of a literary work who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through feats of ingenuity, bravery or strength, often sacrificing their own personal concerns for a greater good."

I just watched the movie Thor, and am also reading the novel American Gods. Both works are littered with heroic characters, some of them gods, some of them just people exhibiting unusual courage or nobility of character. And I think that's the key - it needs to be out of the ordinary. A gym teacher trying to shield students from a killer - a hero. A woman working selflessly in the jungle to cure native children - a hero. A soldier racing into battle - surrounded by hundreds of others doing the same thing - a hero?  A president visits a hospital of wounded for a thumbs-up photo-op - not a hero. We write these characters into our novels, but need to remember that for an exception to be seen, there needs to be a contrast. Our hero can be the one gem shining against a cast of relatively plain characters, god like with bulging muscles and a devil may care attitude. But the ancient gods had their flaws too. Better to give your hero their own internal challenges to overcome, an arc to follow, so that the reader can see some of themselves in there. Maybe even have the antagonist, your nasty villain, do something heroic in their own way, show courage in a particularly evil act. 

My own life, since I last checked in, has been not especially heroic. But, I did get some writerly things done, some roads covered in Russia, some beers shared with friends. A good week. 

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From Epic Poem to Haiku

PlayfulPuppiesMy ROW80 writing group set another writing challenge last week. We were to incorporate the sense of stillness - without the words 'stillness' or 'still' - and a puppy. And we had to do it as poetry, whether as free verse, sonnet, haiku, or dirty limerick (okay, I added that last category). I was intrigued by the idea of writing a story as free verse, a style similar to prose, but with more attention to word choices and rhythms and cadences. 

I did a great story outline, but managed to bog myself down in characters and motivations and a line by line design.  So I did a haiku. Two actually, but I prefer the first one. I'll save the story outline for another day. (Photo credit Microsoft Windows theme) 

My hyper puppy 
Collapsed in sleep on my lap
Not even a twitch
Wee placid puppy
So innocent in your sleep
Who ate my slipper? 

ROW80-1 02/11 - Books to the Bar

I sold a couple of books this week, at my local. Let this be a reminder to always have copies with you, just in case. I throw some in my shoulder bag. Or man purse, as some call it, in an attempt at humour. Do mention to new friends you are a writer - they will usually be fascinated. Then casually refer to the published books - available from Amazon, Chapter, etc. Or, from you, right there, on sale and signed. And for your old friends, talk about your latest writing triumph/disaster, just like 9-5 worker-bees go on about their jobs. Say that it's nice to finally sell the finished product. No pressure, just hints. 

I've not done a lot a lot of check-ins lately, but not a lot of writing either. However, selling two copies of my first book (Kirk's Landing) reminded me that I was a writer, and do enjoy other's reactions. Especially when cash is involved. So - I finally did another Flash Fiction, for the ROW80 challenge. Mine is Too Many Bodies.  

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