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A Spitfire for Christmas

Merry day-after-Christmas!  I hope you were able to spend time with the ones you love.  Last year, I gave you a passage with a birth, but today I have one with a death.  What follows is the first chapter of Spitfire, only edited for spelling and continuity.  I'm not sold on the format yet, so I'd love to hear opinions.  Enjoy!

Smoke filled her nostrils.  Eunice sucked in a deep, deep breath, clicked her teeth together to make a spark, then let out one last fiery blast.  The final ceiling beam came alight.  She cradled the few valuables small enough to carry that she had gathered from the first floor in her apron. "I think that should be sufficient," Lavinia told her, pressing the master's face further into the cushion.  He was no longer struggling.   "The Wilkinson's will be able to see it presently," Eunice said, surveying their handiwork.  She looked at the master on the floor.  "We must leave tonight, mustn't we?" "It is a pit…

Editing: Week 1

Hello friends, it's Friday and I am at home sick.  I hope you had a better night than me!  All that to say, I don't have the entirety of Week 1 completed from The 90-day Rewrite.  But I have done the outline for my story and I plan to begin re-reading with intention to start marking up once I feel better.  
Here's my outline for Act 1 of Om Nom Nombies: ACT ONE
Opening/False Belief We meet the roommates as they are prepping for the zombie apocalypse Dilemma Our roommates believe that their training and preparations would allow them to survive should such an event occur Inciting Incident Caleb goes nuts at the grocery store Opposing Argument The remaining three roommates discuss their approach to the situation, both tactically and psychologically Hero Makes a Decision When they finally leave their apartment, the roommates are faced with an infected neighbor who effectively tests their resolve.
To read the outline in its entirety (SPOILERS!!!) you can click here.
Next week, for Christmas…

Editing: Week 0

Howdy girls and boys, it's Friday once again.

I have decided to use the book The 90 Day Rewrite by Alan Watt that I won last year at my region's TGIO NaNo party to edit Om Nom Nombies.  Today's post is not a review of the book, I trust if you're interested in one of those that you know how to use a search engine.  And I'll be able to give a much better review of the book once I've used it.  No, today I'm covering the "pre-week" that I did this week.
The book is divided into 3 sections, the first covering some basics on stories before the book actually gets into the 90 day day-by-day section, specifically dilemmas, story structure, and technical matters.

Dilemmas are problems inherent to the story.  (The ones that are supposed to be there that your characters have to overcome.)  They're really important for traditional three-act stories because they're kind of the whole point.  The dilemma is a two-pronged problem composed of a strong desi…

NaNo Wrap Up and The Scent of Things To Come

Sorry, I really suck at titles sometimes.  A title so pretentious and still so vague should somehow self destruct before it makes it's way out into the world.

Anyway, welcome back friends!  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and got to spend time with the ones that you care about.  I elected to do so instead of write and ended NaNoWriMo with 34,960 words.  That's a fair bit short of 50,000.
I decided to spend time with my brand new nephew and my in-laws.  I knew this was going to happen before I stopped writing, and I struggled with it.  There were two or three days in the middle of the month where I had difficulty writing despite skipping chores and eating an inordinate amount of junk food.  I knew I wasn't going to make the goal and I subconsciously stonewalled my own writing before I could come to terms with it.  I cried a little bit.  I hate not following through on something I have committed to.  But I don't regret for a second the time I spent with my family.  S…

Writing is Like ... EMS

Happy Friday friends!  My current wordcount is 30,928.  Yep, behind.

Today I'm posting the last of my extended metaphor series, and ending with my job as a metaphor for my hobby.  Does that sound a little weird to you?  Me too.  Yes, I know there's another week in November, but I'll be with my family next week, so I'm choosing them over you.  No post next week.  I think you'll live.
You never know what you'll have until you get there.
It's not always stupid calls,  Sometimes we get called out for things that sound stupid and we realize that it's hit the fan when we get there.  Or that we were called out for chest pain and it's really an anxiety attack or back pain or muscle spasm because of dehydration.  The point being, we have to be ready for the most serious and most un-serious at all times.
I've kind of already alluded to this this month, but it bears bending for the sake of repeating.  All kinds of unexpected things can happen in the throes…

Writing is Like ... Cooking

Hey!  It's Friday.  There's supposed to be a blog post.  My current word count is 19,926.  Behind, I know.

For more on the extended metaphor, today, writing is like cooking.

That's a pretty good start.  We'll go with that.

It's not the ingredients, it's the skill in combination.
The Expectations vs. Reality memes have pretty well borne out this argument.  The explosion of domestic blogs and Pinterest have both set the incredibly high bar for the at-home cook.  Let's face it, we all want to be clever, and sometimes, we have to settle for storebought because of how un-clever we turned out to be.
I kind of already made this argument in a previous post, so click through to that here.

Sometimes substitutions are OK.  Sometimes they aren't.
So, that is a chart for substituting a greek yogurt for fattier dairy products in cooking.  You see the tiny tip down at the bottom that says if you're adding it to something hot, do it at the end and take the pan off th…

Writing is Like ... Weight Lifting

For me, anyway.  Current word count:10,011, so as long as I can get some writing done today I'll be on track!
Disclaimer:  the views expressed on the sites where I get my photos for this post are not necessarily (and sometimes, definitely not) views I agree with or represent.  Be advised, the internet is awash with bro science on the gym in general and weight lifting specifically.

As I discussed last week, I am a fan of extended metaphors.  This week I'm comparing writing with another one of my interests:  Weight Lifting.  Reading this post will not give you traps like Tom Hardy, but it won't make your sore either.
I started lifting in April of 2011.  I'm 5'6" and was about 115 lb at the time.  I was hired on with an EMS service and knew that I had to be able to move patients safely.  Our service requires that we be able to lift 100 lb by ourselves, but that's being optimistic about the weight of our patients.  Texas is 12th in the nation for obese resident…

'Twas the Night Before NaNo

Happy Halloween!  To get you (and me) in the "spirit" I'll tell you a little about the inspiration for this year's costume before highlighting what you can expect throughout the month of November.  Also NaNo memes because the internet.

This Halloween I have decided to dress up as Brighid, celtic goddess/Catholic saint.  Yes, really.
There are a few awesome stories about her, but my favorite one is when she pulled out her own eye to avoid being told she was beautiful so that people would stop giving her grief about not getting married.
She is associated with fire, the hearth, the forge, medicine, animal husbandry, poetry, motherhood, arts and crafts, sacred wells, spring, high places, lilies, the color white... basically if you can think of it I'm sure there's a way she relates to it.  I think she is a great muse to channel as I start on Spitfire tonight at 12:01 am, so I'll be dressed as her for our NaNoWriMo party.  I'll post a pic in the comments i…

Non-Traditional Plot Structure

Happy Friday friends!  This post is about plot:  what we traditionally think of as plot, and what other options exist in the world.

For starters, let's define the difference between plot and narrative structure.  Plot is (loosely) the events that happen in the story.  Narrative structure is the order readers experience the story events.  Ingrid Sundberg does a good job of differentiating the two here.  (May as well open that up in a new tab and leave it open, I'm going to be referencing her blog a lot today.  She's pretty much already done what I wanted to do with this post.)

If your public education was like mine, you were probably introduced to a figure similar to this somewhere in your English classes:
This is the standard plot that we can fit most stories into.  This describes a plot centered around conflict that follows a traditional three-act structure.  It's very popular.  In the Middle reviews a book that discusses using this structure as a form for your story, an…

Psych and Psyche

Happy Friday!  You still have until midnight 10/17/14 to enter the giveaway here.  The blog cleared 5k views this week!  Yay!

I've been prepping more for Spitfire, though not as much as I'd like.  Check out this awesome cover I made to motivate myself!
I used the wonderful resource of morgueFile, which lets you utilize photos for free on the condition that you edit them and give credit to the source (thanks superchappie for taking and uploading the original!).

 I've been focusing more on my characters.  There are tons of character questionnaires out there, most are either too superficial or too long for my taste.  One that's pretty down-the-middle is this one from the nice folks at NaNoWriMo.  I like to fill out questionnaires like I'm interviewing my characters before the story starts.  I try and get a feel for their personalities and temperaments by listening to them answering my questions.  (Although I think several of my characters this year wouldn't give…

Birthday Party

(It is night.  You are standing in front of a house.  The porch light is on.  You approach the door and ring the bell.
The door opens.  Madeline is standing on the other side of the doorway.  She is holding a tray of funny hats.  You can see other people inside the house milling about, each wearing some type of hat.)

MADELINE:  Hello!  I'm so glad you could come!  Here, pick a hat and I'll let you in.

(She holds the tray out in front of you.  There are six hats to choose from.)

(You select one and enter the house.
In the front room you see several people, some talking in pairs or small groups, others holding down the floor alone with their tiny plates of party food in hand.)
MADELINE:  It's quite a good turnout.  It's mostly writing buddies, but there's some of my family over there (she waves) and some friends of friends have come as well.  There's even a few people that found their way here from the other side of the planet.  (She laughs.)  That's the inte…