Monday, April 9, 2012

Writing Prompt #5: Body Parts Like Something Something

And away we gooooooooooo!!!

Writing Prompt #5

No matter who or what our characters are, no matter if they're alien or human or little shiny toasters, we have to give our readers some descriptors on what our heroes and villains look like. Thing is, a lot of writers (and I'm counting myself in this group as well) fall back on the typical physical targets for our cliche metaphors and similes. We tend to talk about the hair, the mouth, the eyes. I'm just going to go ahead and say that if we never again read about eyes described as pools of water we'll all probably have better lives. And live longer. And have awesome sex.

Seriously. Let's stretch that descriptor muscle (Um, this could be one of the physical body parts worthy of describing...). What about the earlobes? What about the shape of the moles up your heroine's inner wrist? What about the strange, stunted nub on the Tractyl Minister from Alpha-574?

Here's the deal: Dream up a character and write a paragraph describing their physical condition without resorting to the boring standbys of lips as red as blood or biceps bulging out of a ringer tee. Characters have more body parts than that. I swear I've seen more than eyes, noses and lips on people (though those might be the only parts of a Tractyl. I can't readily say.). Pick some of the other body parts and work on describing them with substance and attention to physical detail. It's sure to make your writing more dynamic and unique. Or at the very least, it'll wake up readers when you wax poetic about webbed toes and goiters.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Writing Prompt #4: Four Letter Words

Last Monday I was sick so there wasn't a writing prompt. I bet you missed having one. So I'm giving you one about swearing to make up for my absence. Hooray!

Writing Prompt #4

Swear words add a lot to writing. And life. And they're fun. A lot of them are four letters in length. This apparently has a lot to do with the Anglo-Saxons conquering the isle of Albion. So not only did they bring over a taste for sauerkraut (honestly, this is probably not even true) but they also brought over rocking things to scream out when you stub your toes.

Today we're going to create our own four letter word. The rules are simple. First, it needs to be four letters. Second, it needs to mean something naughty. You can do the first thing first or the second thing first. You can come up with some sordid definition and then produce the word or come up with a word like larm and then decide what exactly that means.

Then SHARE! I know there are those of you out there they actually do my writing prompts. And honestly, I need some new four letter words. I'm really exhausting all the ones I already have in my arsenal.

Happy swearing!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

You Will Be Rejected!

I'm on my second book. I have a 160,000 word first book waiting for a very thorough edit. I have some short stories I'd like to shop around and one that needs to get the last 3,000 or so words plopped on it to make worth something. I've been writing poetry; it's a lot of emotional, diction play. I'm doing my damnedest to blog.

I'm writing. Sort of.

But I've also been thinking lately about taking that plunge into publishing. Gasp! Eek! Yeah. I do those two things all the time. Because from what I understand, the odds of me getting my work published are close to the odds of me spontaneously looking down between my legs and discovering I've become a man.

Okay, maybe the odds aren't that much against my favor, but they ain't looking too good neither.

I've been reading books on how to get published. Man, there are a lot books on how to get published. I think my odds of getting published would skyrocket if I would just write a book about how to get books published. Except then people would be all, "So what have you published." And I'd be all, "I've published this book on how to publish books."

Besides, I'm not really into nonfiction writing. My fantasy worlds are vastly more interesting than my own relative reality.

The book I'm currently reading is titled, 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected. I'm sort of mad at the book, because honestly I haven't even submitted a book for rejection yet, but apparently its already happened. It's been rejected. I guess this book is saving me having to go to all the trouble of actually trying to get published. Okay, no, this book is helping me be lazier. Thanks book.

I actually dig the book. I really do. Except for the little fact that according to the author, Mike Nappa (a dude that has written more than this one book on how to publish books), if an editor runs out of detangler for their unmanageable hair the day your book proposal comes through their inbox you're pretty much screwed. Or if you bore them with your title. Or if the VP of Marketing thinks that your unsellable because you don't have 3000 friends on Facebook and an in with Oprah.

Sad thing is, Mike Nappa, you're probably right.

So I've got to get a plan, dear readers. I've got to have a bomb story, perfect grammar and spelling, proper etiquette, a million social media friends, be best friends with Paris Hilton (oh God...), have a plot that fits into the current trends but doesn't fit the current trends TOO much, develop a "sales" history, do the editors job before they even lay hands on my manuscript, and become perfect.

And THEN my book will only be rejected if one of the gatekeepers stepped in dog crap that morning or just doesn't like my name. Erica Crockett? What kind of name is that, they'll think. And then the rubber stamp with the red ink will come down on the paper. REJECTED! (I bet that stamp exists and someone out there uses it on newbie writers...)

Or I'll just write what I like, tell the stories that matter to me, do what I do, so to speak, and then see what's shaking with those powers that be once I'm ready to roll. And maybe, just maybe, someone will say, "hey, this ain't too bad" (yes, this editor will use the word ain't) and I'll see my stuff somewhere besides my laptop screen.

It could happen. I'm willing to bet it might even happen before I spontaneously change genders. Oh, damn. I'm feeling lucky.