Saturday, May 30, 2009

Something special for all you authors out there

And gun enthusiasts as well.....

My target from today's shooting practice. Do you love it, or what?



Monday, May 25, 2009

Buy this book!

Dear Bratty Friends,

A shameless plug follows. --- BTW, she had me at "naughty masturbation in a public restroom!" :)


It's Raining Men by Crystal Jordan

She loves them too much to change them. Until they turn the tables on her…

Every one of Candy’s werewolf instincts tells her that Michael is her mate. He’s a lawyer—smart, sophisticated, and handsome. The catch? He’s gay. There is no way she’s going to try to change who he is. Then she meets his lover Stephen, a seductive Fae-siren jazz singer, and she’s positive she’s got a screw loose somewhere. Mates with not one, but two gay men?

She’s definitely doomed to be single forever.

Michael and Stephen know that their unexpectedly flirtatious advances have thrown Candy for a loop. But there’s method to their madness—they’re both serious about her. And they plan to make sure she never spends another birthday alone.

Warning: Nekked men doing dirty, dirty things to each other and a very lucky woman, sexy biting of mates, seductive siren singing and a naughty masturbation in a public restroom. Hey, a girl has to do what a girl has to do!

Buy it here!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

WOTR Notes: Donald Maass #2

And here are my notes from Donald Maass's other WOTR seminar, Writing the Breakout Novel:

Does that sound like a Clearsil commercial to anybody else? Just sayin'.

Notes on Donald Maass -
Writing the Breakout Novel workshop
May 17th, 2009 at Write on the River, Wenatchee, WA

Studies have shown there are two main reasons people buy a particular book.
1. fan of the author – a branded sale.
2. personal recommendations – word of mouth.

How do you find readers via word of mouth? You tell a darn good story!

Let’s look at some things you can do with Character Development to create memorable characters.

Creating Protagonists
1. Who is your personal hero or heroine? Somebody you admire or that had an impact on you?
2. What is it that this individual did that most inspired you?
3. When in life did you become aware of them and experience the inspiration? Where were you when it happened? When was this? What was the setting like? What details do you recall?
4. What aspect of what was said or done was most inspiring and you remember it the best or was it the way it was said or done? The circumstances?
5. How would you sum up the quality this individual has that makes them a hero or heroine to you?

Can your Protagonist have that hero quality too?

Work out how the Protagonist can show us this quality within the first 5 pages. This will help the reader care about the Protagonist and bond with them. Write it down.

What is the Protagonist’s defining quality? Their most prominent personality trait? He’s a ______________. How would people sum them up? What’s the short take on them? Write it down.

Now, write down what is the exact opposite of that. ___________________

Create a passage in which the Protagonist demonstrates the opposite of what they usually are.

Find other sides of the Protagonist to explore. An imperfection in a character makes them more human. Shows us another side or a conflicting side. Don’t let the Protagonist remain one thing during the course of the entire story. You need variety for the character to be three dimensional. Keep the reader off balance and intrigued.
It’s okay to do this because the reader will cling to the heroic quality and keep reading!

Working with Protagonist’s Goals

Write down the sum of what the Protagonist most wants their dream or goal, for the story.

Write down the opposite of that.

Can the Protagonist want both of these things simultaneously? If so –
1. What is the first moment that the Protagonist becomes aware that they want the opposite of what they most want?
2. What triggers it? That feeling of being torn?
3. When do they feel that and why?
4. How do they become aware of it?
5. Can the trigger be made something external and observable?

Now, what is the second moment he becomes aware?

What does the Protagonist do to go the other way? What does he say or do to indicate to the reader that they want the opposite at this moment?

What is the third moment when the Protagonist wants to let go of what they most wanted and go the other way? What provokes that feeling? When does the Protagonist get disgusted and it no longer seems worth it to fight for the original goal anymore?
1. What do they say or do
2. What is the external, observable indicator?

Now, what is the final moment when the Protagonist so strongly rejects what they most wanted that they walk away for good?
1. What makes them say, I quite, I’m done?
2. What do they say or do as a result?
3. What bridges do they burn forever to make a permanent break with no chance of going back?

Be dramatic!

The reader also wants to know where they are going from here.

On creating more Conflict

Don’t let the story go from A to B and let there be no surprises. Be willing to go to places that are uncomfortable. Create inner conflict for the Protagonist by having them want 2 things that are mutually exclusive.

What would the Protagonist say is the main problem in the course of the story? What is the state of being they want to arrive at? The problem for my Protagonist is __________________.

Write down new answers to this question: What would make this problem matter more? Make it more personal? More profound? Why him? Why him more than anybody else? What aspect of the problem bothers them the most? Why is it painful for them? What does the Protagonist see in the problem that other people don’t? How does it stir a sense of injustice? Hate?

How can this problem matter even more than that? What makes this problem THE problem for the Protagonist? What makes it the one thing he/she will NOT let go? Why must they solve it? Who or how was hurt by this problem? How does it get to the very core of the Protagonist? What makes it so wrong for them?

What makes it fundamental to how they are? Make a connection to childhood somehow with the problem. Raise the personal stakes in the story.

Raise the public stakes. How would the problem relate to everybody? Is there an outward expression of it?

Write down 3 new ways in which the problem itself can get worse. How can the problem grow? Affect more people? Gain strength? Is there a time element? Can a new dimension to the problem open up? Can it also hurt or affect somebody else?

Just how bad can this problem get?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WOTR notes: Donald Maass, the Fire in Fiction

Dear Bratty Friends,

Here, for your perusal, are my notes from the Write on the River seminar the Fire in Fiction by NYC agent Donald Maass.

Notes on Donald Maass -
The Fire in Fiction workshop
May 17th, 2009 at Write on the River, Wenatchee, WA

Issue: Scenes that don't do much of anything

Examples of scenes that often go wrong
1.traveling scenes – character travels from one place to another
2.Investigative scenes – interrogating witnesses, etc.
3.Violence scenes

Making the scene one that is vital to the story and can't be cut:

First, determine the start and end of the scene. What is the discreet unit of time that it covers? Write it down.

What is the change that will take place during the scene? What will be different for the character at the end of the scene? Identify it, and write it down.

When is the actual moment that things change or turn in this scene? What is the precise moment? Or, where does the character become aware that he or she has changed? Write it down.

Now, let's work with this Turning Point. Go back in time to a place 10 minutes or so before the change occurs. Ask the character these questions:

1.Who are you right now?
2.How are things with you?
3.How do you see yourself?
Write it down.

Now, let's go beyond the Turning Point after the change. Ask your character these questions:

1.Who are you now?
2.How do you see your self?
3.What has changed?
Write it down.

The POV character has changed during the scene in some internal way. If you can put that inner Turning Point in the scene, it will be a stronger, more vital scene.

Now, let's work with the scene's environment. What do most readers skim most often? Description. It is necessary but inactive part of the scene. Your challenge is to do it in a way that isn't skimmable. Here's a suggestion:

1. Use oblique details

Write down 3 things that the POV character would notice about the setting if they had the time, that nobody else would immediately see. Little, less obvious details. Stuff that's not immediately noticeable by everybody.

-visually fresh items
-can also be used as metaphors within the story or scene

2.Give a sense of a large and complex world.

*Define the place, town, region, world or milieu

*What does the character love the most about this world? Be specific.

*What does the character hate the most about this world or milieu? What makes them frustrated or fosters a sense of injustice in them? What is just plain wrong or painful and ugly about it to the character?

*What is the greatest mystery about this world that cannot be explained? What bothers this character about it? Maybe something that is odd, coincidental, or unlikely.

*What is the thing about this place that disappoints the character or makes them bitter about it? What lets them down about it?

*What is the most famous or infamous thing that has ever happened there? Or maybe the most significant thing that everybody remembers? An event or happening that people would remember if you stopped them on the street? What defines the place?

*What is the most magical or mysterious part of this place? A special location where things happen, or a room where strange or wonderful or the most memorable things take place?

*What is the place that people take pictures of? What inspires them or makes them fearful? A view?

*What is the most important way the place has shaped the character? If you asked them, what would they tell you? How has it made them who they are or affected them?

It may be worth looking at one place and deciding if the majority if the important events could all happen there. Could any events in the story be moved to that place? Can you make the story more interesting or enrich the story deliberately by using that place?


What is the Protagonist's goal going into the scene? What do they believe or think they are here to do? To avoid? To get? What do they want the outcome to be? Is it an internal or external goal? Here to do what or get what?
Write it down.

Protagonist will either attain goal or not. As scene progresses, there will be indicators that tell readers whether or not they will achieve their goal.

Write down 3 things that happen or are said that mark progress towards or away from the goal. Keep in mind indicators could be misleading – could lead reader to believe Protagonist will achieve goal, only to have it snatched away at the end of the scene. Either way, the sense of progress towards or away from a goal gives the scene shape.

Reworking scenes – SCENE REBOOT

Now, write down a new Last Sentence for the scene. What is the punctuation point at the end of the scene? It should reflect what has happened in the course of the scene.

Now, write down a new First Line for the scene. What is the right opening image that will start or enact the change?

Now, rewrite the scene with the new first and last lines, the 3 indicators, and the 3 oblique details. Watch the setting and the importance of place.

Does the scene feel or sound better?


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Write on the River 2009

Dear Bratty Friends,

Some of you I saw this weekend! :)

Write on the River 2009 is over and everybody is heading home. Met some interesting folks and loved the presenters. Saw Donald Maass twice and Brian McDonald twice. Took lots of notes. Will post them soon!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Awesome 50-book giveaway!

Enter to win up to 50 FREE Ebooks here:

Good luck! Hope you find some new yummy authors to peruse!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Seen on Mission Street

And you, yeah you, with your ice cream hands.

You, yeah you, are my friend.

Anybody else love Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians?


Review: Spock Must Die!

Dear Bratty Friends,

Since it is almost Star Trek release day, how about a dip into ST's past - way back to 1970 to be exact (hey, I was 5!). The book: Spock Must Die! by James Blish.

Can I kill him (Blish) now if he's not dead already? Oh please!

If one can wade through the obvious heavy-handed usage of dialect that he sabotages Scotty's character with (he's a character assassin!) to make it to page 26, you may just throw the book across the room anyway.


First, the dialect samples:

"And thot's nae a haggle, it's a haggis," Scott said hotly. "Look ye, Doc, yon soul's immortal by definition. If it exists, it canna be destroyed-"

"Well, ah dinna been fashin' mysel' over the moral part of it, either. But I got to thinkin' it was a vurra pretty technical problem, an' what I've come up with the noo seems to have a bearin' on our present situation."

"D'ye ken what tachyons are?"

I have a suspicion that Blish, being English, harbored a secret English-style superiority complex towards the Scots in general, but it canna be proved. On another note, I recently heard it said (or perhaps read it somewhere) that Mark Twain was the only writer who could get away with writing dialect.

I would have to agree.

But, then on page 26 the story is SO dated that it made me want to laugh, cry, tear my hair out, and rip Blish a new a-hole. Why? Here, I'll let you read it for yourself:

"To his decision, however, Kirk had to allow two exceptions. One was Yeoman Janice Rand....The other was Christine Chapel, McCoy's head nurse...

Both were highly professional career women, coequal with male crewmen of the same rank during duty hours and expected to deliver the same level of efficient performance. Neither, however, was able to suppress a certain gleam of anticipation on being told that there were now two Spocks aboard the Starship USS Enterprise.

With Yeoman Rand, this was only normal and natural. She practiced a protective, freewheeling interest in men in general to keep herself and the Captain from becoming dangerously involved with each other. Kirk was, however, surprised to see it in Nurse Chapel. She came as close to being a professional confidant as the irascible McCoy was ever likely to find; acting both as a bond between them and a preventative against its transgressing onto the personal was the fact that she, too, was the veteran of a broken romance, and from it had apparently found a measure of contentment in a Starfleet Service.

What was the source of the oddly overt response that women of all ages and degrees of experience seemed to feel toward Spock? Kirk had no answer, but he had two theories, switching from one to the other according to his mood. One was that it was a simple challenge-and-response situation: he may be cold and unresponsive to other women, but if I had the chance, I could get through to him! The other, more complex theory seemed more plausible to Kirk only in his moments of depression: that most white crewwomen, still the inheritors after two centuries of vestiges of the shameful racial prejudices of their largely Anglo-American forebears, saw in the Vulcan half-breed - who after all had not sprung from any Earthly colored stock - a "safe" way of breaking with those vestigial prejudices - and at the same time, perhaps, satisfying the sexual curiosity which had probably been at the bottom of them from the beginning."

Then we get treated to McCoy's theories, which I won't even go into here.

But what I will point out, is that in 1970, Blish found it necessary to point out that working women were as efficient as men, though to be thought so, apparently, they also had to be sexually aggressive, or the (celibate) product of a failed relationship. And both were responsible for preventing the men's attraction to them from getting out of hand. Did you happen to catch that?

And on top of that, Blish had to throw in the race card.


Would Bantam Books have published this sort of twaddle today? I surely hope not.