Monthly Archives: November 2013

Writing

A Savage Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt from a work in progress.  It’s still rough and subject to change.  And I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent.  V, a girl, is suffering a bit of memory loss, hence the Huh, what? vibe.  R and H are boys.  You get to guess which one is the bad boy with a heart of gold. 🙂

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fence

photo credit: amanky via photopin cc

V swayed as she waited for R to come through. The ache at the back of her head now felt like someone hitting her with a mallet. The last time she’d tried to use her power for this long, she’d collapsed. But that time she’d been focussed on dozens of people, not just one.

“Can I stop?” she asked.

“Whoa.” R stepped up beside her. “Are you still using your power?”

“You told me not to stop.”

“Jeez, yeah, stop.”

She let her power fade away. It left a funny buzzing in the back of her head, like she’d spent the night at a noisy concert. Her eyelids drooped. R pulled her arm over his shoulders, which was ridiculous, considering the height difference. She should push him away. And she totally would, if she wasn’t about to pass out. His other arm slipped around her waist, and she caught his hand—stopping it, in case it drifted higher.

“Come on.” His voice caressed her ear, and she shivered. “Don’t wuss out on me.”

V managed a tight laugh and put one foot in front of the other.

“Any trace of the others?” R asked over her head.

“Long gone.” H fell into step on V’s other side.

“And the guard?”

“Do you seriously want me to stop and check?”

R grunted. “Nah, forget it.”

“How far to the car?”

“Ten minutes.”

The damp ground soaked V’s canvas shoes, and a chill clawed its way under her skin. She shivered again, from the cold this time.

“You think she’ll make it?” H asked.

V wanted to point out that it was rude to talk about her like she wasn’t there, but she kind of felt like she wasn’t all there.

“I’ll carry her if I have to.”

H snorted.

“We couldn’t have done it without her.” R’s words came out sharp. “I won’t leave her behind.”

“Bro, what’s got into you?”

“Nothing. Shut up.”

“Did something happen while—”

R lunged sideways, slamming a fist into his brother’s shoulder. V tripped over him and plummeted towards the ground. She twisted as she fell, bracing for impact, but R caught her before she hit the dirt.

“Shit. Sorry.”

V hung there, in the safe circle of his arms, like they’d been dancing a quickstep and he’d dipped her. One arm clung to his neck, her fingers grazing the remnants of soft fuzz at the bottom of his hairline. Her other hand gripped his bicep. She stared at her fingers and willed them not to move, not to stroke his muscle as it flexed to hold her.

She flicked her gaze up to meet his. He stared at her with a lost kind of yearning. What did that mean? The thumping in her head wasn’t helping her figure things out.

“Do you mind?” she asked.

“Sorry,” he said again, his eyes dropping. With a quick twist he set her back on her feet and his hands fell away. Without another word he stalked towards the road.

 

Writing

What goes on in my brain

A couple of months ago I was watching Once Upon a Time and was quite intrigued by the character of Hook.  Not because he’s a total hotty (which he is) but because he’s a “bad guy” who seemed to do “good things” that should’ve been out of character, but somehow fit.  Wow, a bad boy with a heart of gold, I wonder why that piqued my interest.  (You can probably hear me rolling my eyes.)  Anyway, I wondered what it would be like to write a character who is a bad guy, but mixed in with the good guys, and this is the scene that immediately played on the movie screen in my head.

Imagine if you will, a dungeon of a castle belonging to some sort of despotic ruler, aka a big bad guy (this may have been influenced by too much Game of Thrones).  The cells of the dungeon are full of good people who have been unfairly imprisoned.

A kerfuffle breaks out above as an army of good guys storms the castle to overthrow the despotic ruler.  A few come down into the dungeon to free the prisoners.  One of the prisoners is a stranger (ie. not one of the villagers who live around the castle – I hadn’t worked out the details) but the good guys free him too, because they’re good guys, it’s what they do.

dungeon

photo credit: Pensiero
via photopin cc

Now, this stranger is our bad boy with a heart of gold.  He’s grateful for the rescue, of course, but his first priority is still to look out for himself.  And if push came to shove, he wouldn’t feel any loyalty to the good guys who rescued him … except he finds himself falling for one of the girls in the group.  And he’s torn between doing what he’s always done – trusting no one and looking out only for himself – or letting this girl in.

End scene. 🙂

Don’t ask me why it come out with a high fantasy (or possibly Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) feel.  I can’t really control what goes on in my brain.  But the idea stuck.  So I tweaked it.  Ditched the high fantasy for a modern setting, made the bad boy with the heart of gold and his rescuer-slash-romantic interest both teenagers, and decided it actually fitted quite nicely into the series with the punny titles.  Then I sat down and wrote 20000 words.

That’s when I know an idea has the potential to become a story – when I write longhand and fill up an entire 1B5 exercise book.  I have other ideas that might turn into one page, or a few pages, and only occasionally will I write the entire plot almost nonstop.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very much in the skeletal stages, and since it’s #3 in the series with the punny titles, I have to finish #1 and #2 before it will ever see the light of day, but I’m having a lot of fun writing it.

Confession Time

That book you love

Okay, confession time.  I don’t really like reading literature.  It’s not something I do for fun.

What makes this pronouncement even more startling is the fact I have an English degree, so spent three years studying literature.  Or maybe that explains why I don’t like it.

Now, I know there’s some fantastic literature out there.  I will never regret reading Heart of Darkness or Tess of the d’Urbervilles.  And there are plenty of books that I feel I should read.  Just when I try, I don’t get pulled in and can’t be bothered finishing them.  If it hadn’t been required reading for one of my courses, I would’ve chucked Wuthering Heights against the wall at the first opportunity.

So then, what do I like?  I like a story that sucks me in.  I like a story that is emotionally charged, and if it makes me cry, even better (but then I’m an easy-cry so that isn’t exactly hard).  I like a story where the protagonist goes through something and comes out the other side a better person.

But finding  a story that ticks all my personal boxes is hard.  Sure you can judge a book by its cover to find something that looks like the right genre, and you can read the first few pages to see if you like the style, but you never really know how it’s going to go until you just sit down and read it.

So, what was the last book that really got me?  A book that I read in a six-hour stretch one night because I couldn’t put it down?  A book that I read again the next night because it was so damn good?  A book I read five times (!) in that first week, and many times subsequently?

Drum roll please …

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

I first found Storm and Spark in my local library (yay libraries!).  I don’t get a lot of time to browse the shelves because I’ve pretty much always got my kids with me, so I try to scan quickly to find something I like.  I spotted those beautiful Australian covers and plucked them off the shelf.  The blurbs on the back sounded right up my alley.  Four brothers with supernatural powers and a girl stuck in the middle.  I read the first page of Storm and it was well-written and engaging.  Awesome.

Elemental SeriesI read Storm over about three days and really enjoyed it.  And then I started Spark and couldn’t stop.  It was fan-fricken-tastic.  Everything I could want in a book.  Bad boy with a heart of gold.  Emotional turmoil.  Action.  Romance.  I was an instant fangirl.  I went out and bought a copy.

And now it is my go-to book.

When my youngest had to spend a couple of nights in hospital a few months ago my husband got some supplies from home.  The book he brought me … Spark.

I was really tired after work one day so I crawled into bed and my eldest came to check on me.  She thought I might want something to read.  The book she plucked off the shelf … Spark.

So there you go, that book I love.