Emergency (Part 2)

Everyone talked over each other, panicked under the weight of the darkness, and the unknown.

The tiny brunette, Adena, sighed, and stood up. She held her lit cell phone up to show her face. “Alright everyone, quiet down.”

Everyone except for the man with the piercing green eyes ignored her. He leaned forward in his arm-chair, and let out a shrill whistle, instantly silencing everyone, most cringing away from him.

Adena turned to smile at him, “Thank you, Eli.”

He shrugged, and leaned back in his chair.

Marianna, a thin latina of average height, crossed her arms and scowled from her place on the sofa, with Diana and Damon. “What the fuck was that, Axle?”

Eli gestured lazily at Adena, “She’s trying to talk.”

Mari and the rest turned their attention to Adena. Mari tilted her head towards the smaller girl. “What’s up, Tiny?”

Adena frowned, and brushed her hands down the front of her skirt. “I really wish you wouldn’t call me that, Mari.”

A tall pale blonde shifted around on the lap of a brunette male wearing glasses and in a wheelchair, “But you’re so cute and tiny, like I could keep you in my pocket.” The others laughed, cutting the tension in the room.

Adena huffed, and shook her head, but chose not to respond to Samantha’s comment. “Anyways, I believe we should do as the man said, and make sure the doors and windows are all locked. We should also gather flashlights and candles together, so we don’t waste our cell phone batteries, we don’t know when, or if, the power will come back on.”

A few of the lights cast by said devices, cut off at the reminder, making the room darker.

“We should also gather pillows and blankets. It would probably be best for all of us to sleep here in the livingroom,” Adena continued, “We should partner up, and get as many tasks done as possible.”

Everyone shifted around, looking at the shadows of each other in the dark.

Adena rolled her eyes, and crouched down to light a large candle on the coffee table with the matches she always kept in the draw. It added a warm glow to the room, and seemed to help abate some of the uneasiness.

“Ben,” the young man in the wheel chair inclined his head, “you and Sam,” the blonde smiled and kissed Ben’s cheek, “will stay here in the living room.” Adena walked to the bookshelf on the left side of the television, and grabbed a small radio. She moved back to the others, and set it on the coffee table in front of Ben and Sam. “This radio is battery operated, you and Sam will use it to see if you can get anymore news.”

“Sure thing, Adena.” Ben nodded and adjusted his glasses.

“Mari,” the latina tilted her head, “you and Derek will go into the kitchen, the cabinet to the right of the ones under the sink holds all of my spare candles, and extra matches, please bring them all in here. There is also a flashlight in the cabinet above the fridge, oh and a first aid kit.”

Derek, a broad-shouldered blonde with bright eyes and an easy smile, nodded, “Don’t worry, we got it.”

“Diana,” the delicate blonde turned her piercing gaze to Adena, making her nervous for a moment, “you and Damon will go around the downstairs, make sure all of the doors and windows are locked, and all of the blinds and curtains are closed.”

Damon, shorter than average, and broad-shouldered with well muscled arms, thick, dark curls, and dark eyes, could not look more different from his twin sister. He leaned, and bumped his shoulder into Diana’s making her smile.

Adena turned to face the couple cuddled together on the remaining arm-chair. “Matt,” a tall man with spiked up dark hair looked up, “Amy,” a young asian woman with long dark hair, streaked with blue, smiled, “you both can go around collecting pillows and blankets for everyone. Check the linen closet around the corner, next to the bathroom, first.”

The couple nodded in unison.

Adena crinkled her nose. “How are you two so cute?”

Amy laughed and Matt ducked his head, hiding his face in Amy’s hair.

Adena turned to Eli, “You and I will go upstairs, and make sure all the windows are locked up there, and that the blinds and curtains are all closed.”

Eli shrugged, “Whatever you say, Princess.”

She ignored him, and turned back to the others. “Why are you all still sitting there? Go on.”

Everyone, but Sam and Ben left the room, using their phones for light. Ben leaned over Sam and picked up the radio from the coffee table, turning it on, and wincing when the loud sound of static filled the room.

Sam clapped her hands to her ears.

Adena flinched backward, into Eli, who steadied her with a large hand on her shoulder. “Careful there, Princess.”

“Sorry, guys,” Ben grumbled as he turned the sound on the radio down.

Eli patted Adena’s shoulder, when she titled her head up and smiled at him. “Come on.”

Adena walked out of the living room, Eli right behind her, and around the corner, passing Matt and Amy digging in the linen closet, and up the stairs.

The first room on the right was a guest room, with one window above the head of the bed, and one in the bathroom.

Adena scrambled up onto the bed, “I’ll get this one, you get the other.”

Eli smirked, as he watched Adena climb up onto the bed, then stand on it to check the lock and close the blinds.

“Elijah!”

The irritated huff had him shaking his head, “Yea.”

He went into the bathroom, and checked the window. Locked, he looked out the window, but could see nothing but darkness. He sighed and closed the blinds.

Eli closed the bathroom door behind him, and watched as Adena tugged the comforter off the bed, and then turned and dropped it outside the door, where the pillows were already stacked.

Adena noticed his quirked eyebrow. “To make it easier on Matt and Amy.”

They left the first guest room, and closed the door behind them, and went to the one across the hall, repeating the same process.

At the end of the hall, was Adena’s master bedroom, with large windows to the left, and the bathroom to the right, with a single window above the large tub.

Adena walked to the windows, and looked out. “Isn’t it strange?”

Eli walked up behind her. “What?”

“That there’s nothing,” she squinted out into the darkness, “not a single sign of life, no light, from any of the neighbors.”

“So?”

Adena made an unimpressed face, “It’s still fairly early, especially for a Friday night. We should see something, flashlights, candles, movement, something, from any of the other houses. There’s nothing.”

“Maybe they did the same thing, and have their blinds and curtains closed.”

She sighed, “Yea, maybe,” and began to turn away, but something in the distance caught her attention, “what’s that?” She whipped back around to face the window.

“What?” Eli leaned over Adena’s shoulder to get a closer look.

Adena pointed into the distance, and a flickering brightness.

Eli’s brow furrowed. “It looks like… a fire?”

They both stood watching the flickering in the distance, the only light in the dark.

To be continued…

 

 

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Updated: Taking A Workshop

Hello everyone. Just to let you know, this post will be ridiculously short. I am letting everyone know that I am taking a writer’s workshop, and joined a writer’s group, on Facebook, called the Plotting Workshop, and the Ninja Writers, respectively. It was started by the woman that I got the idea for the plot board from, Shaunta Grimes Alburger. It’s been interesting so far. I’ll do another post later, with more information. If you’re interested in joining me, look it up.

I’m adding a link for a contest for the workshop. If you click on the link, I get more entries for a chance to win free entry into a full writing course. If you click it, you will also be enrolled in the Plotting Workshop for free. If you’re interested, please click the link below.

http://www.whatisaplot.com/giveaways/a-novel-idea-giveaway/?lucky=40

 

How to Start Your Novel

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I love to read.

I have easily read hundreds of books, not that I have actually counted. I have read great books, good books, decent books, okay books, and have even tried to tough out reading terrible books.

I, like a lot of readers, can usually tell if we want to keep reading a book by the end of the first page, usually even sooner than that.

A reader’s time is limited, and precious, if they cannot get past that first page, why in the world would they want to risk wasting any more time on your book, when there are thousands upon thousands of other books they can be reading?

It does not matter how amazing you think your story is, if you cannot hook your reader on the first page -not just the first page, but the first sentence.

That is where we will be starting. At the beginning.

If you want to draw in a reader, and ultimately a publisher so that your story will even get out to readers, you need a great first sentence. A hook. Something that will grab their attention so that they keep reading, and don’t want to stop.

A hook should invoke curiosity, why is this happening? Why is the person, or people, in this position? A good hook will make people want to keep reading to have those questions, or others like them, answered.

A hook should also present conflict, what will happen because of what was introduced in the hook?

It should also be an introduction for the action to come. Things should flow smoothly from there. If you have a great hook, you do not want the action to drop off after that. The suspense should only build higher from this point.

Below I have compiled some of the most well known hooks. Why are the well known? Why do they such a good job hooking the reader?

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed. -Stephen King, The Gunslinger

  •  This hook invokes curiosity. Why is the Man in Black fleeing? Why is the Gunslinger  following? Who is the Man in Black? Who is the Gunslinger?
  • There is conflict. What will happen once the Gunslinger catches the Man in Black?
  • The hook itself already has action: fled, followed, but there is a lot of potential for more. Where is the Man in Black going?

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  – J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit

  • What is a hobbit?
  • Why is he/she in a hole?
  • What will happen when a hobbit leaves their hole?

It was a pleasure to burn. -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

  • Why is something burning?
  • What is a pleasure to burn?
  • What will happen after the fire goes out?

The three hooks above are three well known lines, and there are so many more examples out there, that I could continue making posts just about them, but I don’t have that much time or patience.

So, if you’re writing a novel, do you have your hook?

What are some of your favorite hooks? Why do they work so well? Share below!

Leave me your thoughts, opinions, questions, what have you, below. I love to hear from you guys.

Introducing…

Amara. p_20160131_214012_1.jpg

Amara is the protagonist in my, yet unnamed, novel-in-progress. Her name has multiple meanings, depending on the language: in German in means eternal or steadfast, in Greek it means eternal or unfading, in Igbo it means grace, in Sanskrit it means eternal, and in Latin it means everlasting or beloved. The meanings I was most drawn to were the German for steadfast, and the Latin beloved. She was beloved by her parents, who named her, and being steadfast is a facet of her personality.

She is about 26, but she doesn’t know her exact birthday, one, because it isn’t relevant to the story, and two, she was born in a post-apocalyptic world, so her parents’ main concern was keeping themselves, and her, alive, so they weren’t really focused on keep track of the date after things went bad. All she knows, is that she was born some time in the fall, shortly after the leaves had started turning colors.

She has gray eyes like her father did, but auburn hair like her mother. She keeps it cut short, about to her chin, for practicality’s, and safety’s, sake. It’s easier to take care of it, at chin length, things don’t get stuck in it. Plus, it’s a lot harder for someone to grab short hair than long. She’s about 5’5″, give or take, because she ended up being close to the same height as her mother, and that’s how tall she had been. She’s on the thin side, not by choice, food is hard to come by, so it is religiously guarded, and rationed. Her skin is well tanned, due to spending vast amounts of time outdoors, mostly because of a lack of safe shelter.

She has an old, beat-up, backpack she always wears, that was her mother’s, and a machete that was her father’s. She also carries both of their rings on a chain around her neck.

Amara tends to be quiet and reserved, only speaking when she feels like it is needed. This is due in part to being taught to be super cautious around people, spending a majority of her life only with her parents, and then the remaining portion of it alone. She is very logical, and has a hard time processing emotion, so she comes across as uncomfortable, and awkward in emotional situations. She can become easily annoyed with people, especially if she feels they are being illogical, and can often times be to blunt, again, due to limited social interaction. She does have a dry, or sarcastic, sense of humor, which can often be taken negatively.

Due to having a hard time understanding, and handling, emotion, she has an extremely hard time speaking about it. Trying to do so, often times, has her shutting down. That does not mean that she is emotionless, and does not care. In fact, she can care very deeply, and shows it by doing things for whomever she cares for, whether that be giving the last bit of a food item to them, because she knows it’s their favorite, or taking first watch, because the person did not sleep well the night before.

Well, that is Amara.

What does everyone think?

My next post will focus on another character. So look out for that.

 

My Plot Board 3

So, I’ve done as much as I can for now, but I wouldn’t call it finished. Things will probably get shifted, added, and removed as I actually write. How it is now will act as a road map, keeping me on track. Now I can really get writing again, and I am so excited.

image

In my next post, I will be introducing my main character. So, look out for that.

Has anyone else started/been plotting? How’s it going?

Don’t forget to like, and comment below. I love hearing from you guys.

Sub-Plots

For this post, I am taking the time to mention sub-plot. Below is a couple of links about sub-plot, and why it is important.

http://writerswrite.co.za/the-subplot-not-second-place-but-side-by-side

The link above gives some good reasons as to why sub-plots are a good idea to add to your novel.

https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/450/a-writers-toolkit/story-and-plot/

The above article also explains why sub-plots are a good addition to your novel.

I am currently working out the sub-plots for my novel on my plot board. So far, I have two, and I think they’ll add enough to the story, not to need more.

I am doing my best to make sure that the sub-plots add to the main plot, help move it along, without feeling out of place, or forced. It’s a delicate balance, but I think I have it figured out.

If you’re writing a story, or have written a story, will/did you have sub-plots?

Do you feel they are important?

Don’t hesitate to let me know what you guys think. I will always do my best to respond.

My Plot Board 2

Here’s an updated version of my plot board. WIN_20160119_170932 I’ve moved some things around, and added things. I’ve done some sub-plotting. I’ve also wrote down facts needed to keep at least some of my story accurate.

The big green notes are major points for the story.

The blue notes are certain actions that are important, ones that generally lead up to, or stem from, the green notes.

The yellow is dialogue that I want to remember for certain parts.

The pale pink is facts that I want to remember, to keep myself straight.

The purple and orange are two sub-plots.

So, what do you guys think?

Do you think a plot board could be a useful tool for you as well?

My Plot Board

All right, so I posted about plot boards earlier. I decided to give it a go. This is how it looks so far. WIN_20160116_222400There will be more added to it, but my brain has decided to clock out for the night. So, I’m sharing what I have, and I’ll take more pictures as I add more to it. So far, the process does seem to be working for me. It has helped me figure out some key points in my story, so, yay!

Plot Board

I saw this pin on Pinterest. It’s about creating a plot board. Check it out if you’re interested.

http://pin.it/fIioHTg

It seems like a good way to get organized. I think I may give it a try. I need to find some way to get myself good to go. The fact that you use sticky notes, so you can move things around, is what really drew me to it. Has anyone else done something like this before? How do you keep yourself organized? I have seen things like binders, notebooks, spread sheets. I may use another method in tandem, the binder method possibly, to test them out, try and find out if one will work better than the other.

Thoughts?