CONTEST WINNERS !

We have a winner of the ULTIMATE BLOG INTERVIEW CONTEST! Held to celebrate reaching 100(+!) followers, the contest is a pay-it-forward kinda deal, since bloggers helping bloggers is what brought in all of my friendly, awesome follower-friends. Thanks!!! The grand prize? Being interviewed rightchere on this blog and snagging a gold flash drive. Everyone who commented on the poll's post also got entered to win a $10 BN.com e-gift card, so 'twas fun all around.

Picking the winner wasn't easy, since there was a TIE (of course of all the blog contests, mine would have the freakin' tie) between (drum rolls) Jessica Bell at The Alliterative Allomorph and Roland Yeomans at Writing In The Crosshairs. (Great questions, guys!)

But I had to pick just one, y'all. One.

Since everyone thought they had the two best interview questions, giving each 14% of the vote, I decided to go flip a coin


over at Random.org. And I'm proud to announce the winner of the Ultimate Blog Interview Contest is
who asked,  
"Have you ever gotten sexually excited after writing a love scene and then acted upon it?"


Otherwise known as The Alliterative Allomorph, or That Chick Who Asks Really Freakin Intense Questions, Jessica will be featured on this blog in a guest interview, in which she'll be asked THAT QUESTION (we're all blushing!!) along with the other top five questions. Jessica also wins that nifty golden flash drive so she can back-up her AB-so-lute-ly golden WIP (laws, I hope that sucker gets here from China soon :/) Anyway, congrats, Jessica! Send me your email address at zoe (dot) courtman (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll respond with the six questions (so you can be prepared) and so we can figure out when to post your interview :D

And, lest we forget, we ALSO have a commenter winner who gets the $10 BN.com e-gift card, which ALSO helps us pay it forward since we're keeping the book lurve going to whatever author the winner lurves. Chosen by my list of commenter names and Random.org, THAT lucky winner is:
w00t!
That thar novel over on the left is how Alex rocks the sci-fi genre, in addition to being a gamer and guitarist to boot. Check him out at www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com. Congrats, dude!

Thanks also to everyone for following my blog, no matter how incoherent, and participating. Y'all make it easier to be a writer. Thanks! So much fun, y'all!

Pick a Winner, Win Something Yourself :D

YOU'RE 
 IN THE HOT SEAT.
Choose wisely, my friends.


Time's UP! Pencils (and, yanno, guns) down. All of the interview questions are in - and, BOY, y'all are an imaginative bunch. Below are all of the most intriguing interview questions y'all could think of, and  
you, yes YOU, have to pick the winner.
but, uh...no fair picking your own question. Then we'd have no real winner. :/

Using my handy dandy poll below, just pick the question you like the most - and you can only pick one.When voting's done (11:59 p.m. on May 28 - that's tomorrow, folks, watch me-I move quick!), we'll see which six were the most popular. The person whose question gets the most votes wins a nifty blog interview rightchere, folks, courtesy of the six questions (all linked to the people who axed 'em, natch) along with a golden flash drive.
This one:
Plus-plus-plus, one comment on THIS POST wins a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card. (Extra entry if you RT this post, too; put your RT link in your comment.)
Random.org picks, you win.
Cuz I'm awesome like that.
 
So are you ready? Then:
VOTE!!


Photograph at top of post by amuse at Deviantart

Now that you're done, Kaizers Orchestra will play us out. Hands down, this Norwegian band's got the best absinthe-and-dirty-fingernails sound I've ever heard. Or, yanno, the ONLY absinthe-and-dirty-fingernails sound I've ever heard. But it's the perfect hey-I'm-writing-demons music. Hit it, guys!!

Take on THIS A-Ha Moment!

This is kind of a sprawling post. But if you stick with it, there's a reward at the end :D

So, it's my turn to take on the a-ha! moment (see Laura, Danyelle and Lydia's answers, too). And you know I can't take on an a-ha! moment without THIS, y'all:



That's my a-ha! moment. No, I'm serious. See, I'm kinda burned out on online writing advice. Cuz it's like a sandstorm. Which, aside from, yanno, blinding a sista, tends to scour my hide (ouch, dammit!).

See, all those glittery bits of writing insight make sense. They do make a point. But those points are sharp, and they tend to callus a sista, which blunts their effect over the long term (kind of how I'm bludgeoning this point to death rightchere). Truly, we don't need any more advice, cuz we already know what to do (no, we do!).

Maybe that's my a-ha! moment. That your own advice is all you need; it's the spark behind your endeavors. But before you can heed it, you need to understand how your particular spark burns in the first place.


Yep, flames again. Cuz I love 'em. 

To do this, just think back to that one a-ha! moment you had as a teenager back in high school. It was that faint glimmer you spotted within yourself that day in the cafeteria, in the band room, on the athletic field. The one that whispered to you, THIS is who I am. Guess what? It's the same spark that burns there now.

You just gotta spot it, and then follow it.
That's it. Seriously. It will show you the way.

I was reminded of the color of my spark this morning, actually.  Two posts -  the Alliterative Allomorph's and Elana & Co.'s What Writers Read - got me talking about Clive Barker's IMAJICA and the impact it had on me.

(And by impact, I mean impact: the title of that sucker's tattooed on my right bicep).


My teenaged a-ha! moment was that my spark is obsidian black, sure. But if you peer at it with off-kilter eyes, you'll see that my flame also dances with color. Maybe cerulean. And it's IMAJICA's fault.


Because IMAJICA  made me understand that my fiction sensibilities lie in that smoky, tangled, atmospheric wood where darkness also scampers alongside the fantastic. True, you never saw me in a high school corridor without a big ol' Stephen King book (gah, I remember carting around THE STAND like it was a freakin' weapon. 'Tho, truly, at 800+ pages, it coulda bludgeoned a sucka) tucked under my arm.
And THIS is the cover of the sucka I toted around with me.

But the author that left a permanent mark on me (see: tattoo) was Barker. It's how I know I'm not a splatterpunk horror kind of chick. True, you'll find darkness, death and evil in IMAJICA, but it's shot through with the wicked perfume of the fantastic, which lends grace to my particular blend of darkness.

And I need grace - even if it's twisted. Which is why it's my favorite book of all time. So go pick it up. Immerse yourself in it. You might find your own a-ha moment in its pages. And if you don't, that's also cool. Cuz that might be your moment, too.

Ya with me? 'Course not; you're with YOU. So go with it, homes. Take your advice. You know what to do.

P.S. Hey, you made it! Thanks for reading this long post. 
Here's Reward #1:

Now you can SMELL like literary greatness! 

And here's Reward #2:
"It was the pivotal teaching of Pluthero Quexos, the most celebrated dramatist of the Second Dominion, that in any fiction, no matter how ambitious its scope or profound its theme, there was only ever room for three players."

 It's the opening line of IMAJICA. And below is some of Barker's art.
Don't say I never did anything fuh ya :D



Caturday Wisdom

A friendly reminder to myself:


Don't choke your story with too many subplots, just for the sake of drama. Cuz it could become melodrama, and no one wants any of that (trust me). Raise the stakes, sure - just raise 'em responsibly :D
That is all.

A Blogfest For Me Berfday

EDIT: Blogfest now canceled due to some voracious, snarling creatures that have begun to close ranks around me...

As usual, when it came to the decision to host a blogfest, I was of two minds. One, I wanted to do something fun for zee berfday, which happens to be June 28. And B, I remember being intrigued by the idea of a cognitive dissonance (don't panic, the explanation is below) blogfest. I think, somehow, that Roland was involved in this conversation. Anyway, being of two minds, the natural answer was to present ye olde:


and do it just in time for my birthday. Rules iz simple, yo:
  1. Sign your name across my heart below in the linky widget by June 28th.
  2. Tell somebody about it, if you're so inspired. Dudes. I love link lurve!
  3. Write your cognitive dissonance scene - I toldya, the explanation is beneath the linky thing.
  4. Post your scene on June 28th, remembering to link back here in said scene post.
  5. Hop your twisted minds back here on June 28th to read and comment on everyone's entries.
  6. Make like Lady MacBeth and wash your hands to rid yourselves of all that cog diss anxiety :)







    Wait - what's that, you ask? What in tarnation is cognitive dissonance? Oh, that's easy. It's just the "discomfort when self-image collides with reality." Like, you tell a lie but believe you're basically an honest person and now you're all skeeved out. Or you want something you'll never have - and have anxiety over it.

    Or, say you're like me, a commie liberal. Say you're also, like me, a freelance writer/editor who does press kits for a coupla Simon & Schuster and Little, Brown imprints.

    One day, you're asked to write up a press kit for a right wing pastor who basically calls Obama the Anti-Christ. You don't want to be a sell-out. But you value your clients and your raging objectivity. So you do a BANG. UP. FREAKIN. JOB. on the kit, and now must live with the little fishtail of anxiety that wiggles in your stomach. Yep, m'dears, that's cognitive dissonance. FUN STUFF, right?

    I hope so. And in case you didn't click on my Terence Trent D'Arby link above, you must now be subjected to his 80s loveliness as punishment for your disobedience. What, you like Terence but feel guilty because you have an image to maintain? Ah, yes. Cog diss, man. Cog diss.

    Watch Me Tip Withoutcha!

    LOVE that line (my blog post title) because it's all about doin' your thang no matter who's watching. Also dig that line because it's from "Tightrope," a new single by this future soul artist I'm diggin' on at the moment, Janelle Monae.

    And doin' my thang I am indeed. So while I'm busy tippin' on it this week, I'll leave you with Ms. Monae's kick-ASS video. Along with this comPLETEly unrelated link--since it's Donald Maass waxing knowledgeable about writing and such, I just had to include it.



    If you're like me, just watching other artists burn it up in their respective disciplines is inspiring as hell. So, I'ma do my best to burn up that word count. After all, it's

    Write Like You're On FIRE Week!

    And here's my word count for today:


    I'm on FAHR, y'all! FAHR! Cuz that looks suspiciously like the home stretch to me. Anyway, how are you doing on your goals this week? Be on fire, y'all, and keep on tippin' without 'em!

    A Mental Retreat

    Happy Monday, y'all. How did it go, this beginning of the week thing? Did you feel productive, ready to start a new week of work and writing? Oh, boy did I ever. But I'll tell you 'bout that in a sec.

    First: don't forget to enter my 100 Follower Contest! All ya gotta do is put an interesting/off-the-wall interview question in the comments of that post (link's below the image). Winner gets featured in said interview on my blog, and gets a nifty golden flash drive! (Contest ends May 27th)


    Second: I'm going largely unplugged this week on account of my handy-dandy

    Write Like You're On FIRE Week!

    I'm taking a little mental writer's retreat and working daily like them finga's iz on FAHR! My goal is to get this WIP as close to "The End" as possible by Friday. The rules of this mental writer's retreat?

    1. WRITE FAST
    Pretty self-explanatory, right?

    2. WRITE FORWARD
    No peeking at past chapters or revising while writing. All forward momentum, babay.

    That's it! Simple - and effective. See?




    That thar's my word count for today, up about a grand since last count. I might plug back in just to post my progress; we'll see. But while I'm gone, have a chuckle with Doug Clegg's awesome little e-book:

    20 Tips for Writers by Douglas Clegg

    So, what about you? Got any big production plans this week?





    Flirt Scene Blog Fest

    First, don't forget to put your most interesting interview question you can think of in the comments of my 100th Follower Contest post. Winner gets featured in said interview on my blog, and gets a nifty golden flash drive :)

    But now it's

    Blog Fest Time! 

    Here's my entry for Critique This WIP's Flirt Scene Blogfest. Pop on over and read the other entries, whydoncha -- they're hot! Below is just a lil som'thin som'thin I put together for this little event:
    ###

    Karen crashed her way inside the hauler, fingers already clawing the neck strap of her firesuit away from her throat. After her noisy clamber up the metal steps, the silence drew her up short. She curled her fingers into the padding of her helmet, dangling it from her fingertips like her crew chief's name dangled from her lips. "Lude?" Karen said. "What's going on?"

    Silence curled around her like the gloom of the racing hauler. And that's when she became aware of his eyes--and the warning in them. Lude had backed up against the bathroom door at the opposite end of the vehicle, nearly lost in the shadows that yawned around him. But she could see his eyes. They flickered from her to another point in the darkness and back again. She turned, saw Claire, Lude's 10-year-old daughter, the lower half of her pale face covered with the brown fingers of Karen's assistant. They both crouched between the leather couch and the small dining table.

    Karen stared at her assistant. "Terri?"  But the woman only allowed the barest movement of her head, nodded at something behind Karen. Karen squinted at her, not understanding. Then she felt a pair of hands draw her backwards; she snapped her head around to see Gordon Walker, the reporter from The State. He put a finger to his lips and drew her against him. His heart was a trip-hammer against her back.

    "Quiet," he murmured, his voice a warm tremor in her ear. "Look." Gordon eased the trailer door open an inch. The early Thursday morning light drew a silver rectangle around the door. Outside, Pit Row was just coming to life--they'd made it a point to pull into Darlington at o'dark-thirty so Karen Lemmings could whip up some much-needed mojo before qualifiers on Friday. She'd just started to feel it coming back, Lude's new suspension like genius on wheels, when the first black circle had appeared.

    A series of strange, metallic pops now ruptured the silence of the track -- a silence Karen hadn't noticed when she zoomed into Pit Row with panic trailing her like a tattered caution flag. From the corner of her eye, she'd spotted the second enormous circle as she rode the high bank of the turn, the grass collapsing in on itself to create a thirty-foot O of darkness beyond the fencing of the RV camping area. She'd wiggled from the number 12 Lady Gillette car, shoved through most of her confused pit crew and clambered up into the hauler, Lude's name on her lips.

    But now, she felt Gordon's fingers tighten around her upper arms as another giant circle fell away in the center of the track. Cries went up like a flock of startled birds. Karen pushed her back against Gordon's chest, forcing him backward. The door swung shut. The gray light curdled the darkness of the trailer, and she had to wait for her eyes to adjust. But she felt Gordon, felt his heart, came aware of the stacked muscles of his chest in a primordial way--the solidness of the man behind her spoke to the vaporous panic escaping from her. "And here I was thinking there were earthquakes last night," he murmured against her hair.

    When her eyes adjusted, she found Lude's glance locked onto hers. His terrified expression told her that he'd seen the circles appearing, too - but the flatness in his eyes told her he'd seen what she'd done with Gordon the night before. "Are you serious?" Karen whispered. "You're flirting with me now?"

    Gordon's stubbly chin grizzled against her cheek. "When it comes to you, I'm always serious," he murmured. "Even with some crazy shit going on."

    "What is going on?" This from Lude, who, either spurred by the chaos outside or the chaos in his heart, had advanced part way up the hall toward them.

    "Where are your cans?" Karen hissed at Lude, pointing at her ears. "See if you can hear what's going on."

    "I know where your cans are," Gordon chuckled.

    "If you don't stop right now--" Karen whispered. But her hips, on fire under the heat of his palms, held no such protest.

    The Ultimate Interview Contest!!

    OMG, y'all! Lookit! *points to Follower widget thingie* That's 100 followers! On the nose!

    Dudes. From Laura Diamond's ultra-awesomeness, which was how I really got on my way (thanks, Laura!) to my blog chain chicas (Laura, Lydia & Danyelle), to friends like CipherQueen who gave me my first award and lovelies like Jaydee Morgan who gave me my most recent (below), reaching 100 followers has been a total hug-fest. First off, a big

    THANK YOU!!!

     
    Next, we have Jaydee's award. Look! This must mean I get to sit at the cool kids' table!! Thanks, Jaydee!


    And finally, you just can't reach 100 followers without a contest. So I introduce you to:



    Since I'm all about the networking and support, the contest is all about featuring the winner on my blog in a guest interview (you also get this nifty golden flash drive):

    The reasons I chose this partick'lar contest? 1) Most of us are aspiring authors, so we need practice at this blog interview stuff. 2) I hate reading author interviews that always ask the same lame-o questions (seriously? "Where do you get your ideas?" Blergh.) and 3) Your work is golden - you TOTALLY need a golden flash drive. Wait - you are remembering to back up your work, right? Riigghht??

    EDIT: I've been reading some really great posts on contests lately, some of which hint at bloggers getting "follow" fatigue. So, how bout we make this easier? No follow or RT requirements. Just:

    1. Leave the most imaginative/interesting interview question you can think of in the comments
    2. Together, we'll pick the six most awesome questions
    3. From those, Random.org will pick the winner
    4. Winner gets featured and interviewed here via the remaining 5 questions (each linked to the blogger who asked it) along with the shiny shiny (a.k.a. the golden flash drive. Ooh! I feel like Willy Wonka!!!)

    So, let's hear the questions you've always wished someone would ask your favorite author (I've always wanted to ask Stephen King how you pronounce "ayuh." 'Course, when I actually met the man, I froze up and then cried all over him. Ahem. So if anyone out there's from Maine, help a sista out?) Here's to more interesting interviewing - and spreading the networking lurve. Contest ends May 27th. Thanks to all my followers and good luck!

    Tips from What I'm Reading - The 50,000-ft. View

    First, check out Lydia Kang's a-ha! moment as part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog chain :) Missed last week's? Then mosey over to Laura Diamond's blog to see her response.



    Now. I just finished Douglas Clegg's NEVERLAND. Oh boy. Wow. Resonant. Atmospheric as hell.

     Ain't heard of no Gull Island in Georgia? Turns out, you don't hafta, on account of Clegg's evocative-as-hell writing. Not only will you have visited it thoroughly when you're done reading, you'll know that damned island as if it were you and not Beau who summered there.

    It's loaded with sentences like this: He had mood swings the way Uncle Ralph had cans of beer: one after the other, no matter the time of day.

    And this: I remember summers on Gull Island as being all begrudging mornings and afternoons that went on forever like a school day: hot and sticky and smelling like a stagnant pond. Ooh, lovely, right?

    But the one that struck me was a plain one. This: The rest of the island was in a state of panic.

    As readers, we're buzzing around Gull Island with the main character, 10-year-old Beau, in scenes like that from which the above line was taken. As Beau moves through this particular scene, he's overwhelmed by an onslaught of sensations - slashing rain, igniting trees, relatives squabbling, family secrets popping open like gas-bloated corpses - which place us squarely within his experience. And it's awesome.

    But while we're being shelled by Beau's sensory bombs, Clegg also rears back to give us the 50,000-ft. view of the scene - to show what's going on around it, and away from it.
    Yeah, it was a minor lightbulb moment for me, so? I tend to come late to obvious things. Sue me.

    It just reminded me to pull back--pull back whydoncha--and do a flyover of the terrain of a scene as I wade through it. See, I tend to go deep POV when I'm writing. And while it allows for some great immediacy, it also presents some serious tunnel vision.

    So, thanks NEVERLAND for reminding me to pull back--pull back whydoncha--every so often to see the 50,000-ft view of the scene's terrain. Mind, I'm not talking about the plot line or the book as a whole (we all need to back up so's we can see that whole thing). I'm talking about pulling back to see the larger whole of the scene's environs.

    Next time you're writing, say, a scene in a house, pull back and think about what's going on outside. Out on the highway. Upstairs in the attic. Out in the side yard. What's going on with that truck parked down the hill. The hissed argument between the girls on the swing. You don't have to include all of this, but still think about it. Consider what's going on while your character is moving inside the house.

    Not only does it give some good context, but taking a look at the larger environs of a scene might also offer up some additional story seeds that can germinate in later chapters.

    Plastic or Paper?

    Y'all. I sniff pages like hedge-fund managers sniff money. You've seen me. I'm that person tucked away in Borders' (teeny little freaking) horror section, casting a furtive sniff over newly-opened pages. Inhaling that bookey smell over in the lit fic. Trailing my fingers across the dust-jackets fanned out on the New Release tables. Deftly applying the first thumb prints to the shiny shiny covers. Sighing at the chock a book makes when it slides home on the shelf.

    You know, holding the books. Feeling their heft. 
    Touching a tangible literary product.

    And I may not be able to stop. Hi, my name's Zoe, and I can't stop touching the booksies. (Hi, Zoe.)

    Which is a problem in this looming age of Kindles, Nooks and iPads. Not wanting to be a literary Luddite forever, I marched right up to an ereader in that self-same Borders and played with it. Oohed. Huh-ed. Flicked digital pages. Pursed my lips and raised my eyebrows in that enh-okay-so-it's-not-so-bad thing I do.

    And promptly left the device where it was, called back into the stacks by those smells. Those sounds. All that, yanno, weight. Which makes me wonder at the product-ness of books today. There's something about a stack of my printed pages that make me feel all gooey and productive. And as that stack grows, my sense of satisfaction grows. But when there are no pages to watch--? Will I feel the same way? Will it be as cool to see my work all backlit and digital on an iPad as it will be to hold the thing in my hands?

    The discussion went back and forth in my head, kind of like this:



    And I'm still not sure, dammit. So what about you? Which would give you more satisfaction in terms of seeing your finished product? Or would it come in equal measure from a Nook as from, yanno, a physical book?

    Back in Black

    The doldrums. I haz them.

    Although it's a pretty normal state for me - one somewhere between Soul Crushing Melancholia, Population: Me and the Black Saturnine Wastes of Existence, Population: Me - it's also a state that happens to be completely detrimental to things like writing. Or, yanno, blogging (did you miss me?)

    Or functioning in any recognizable way.

    BUT. Luckily for me, there exist two things:

    1) First, this lovely piece by the GaGa, who'll play us in:

    Listen! GaGa Is Full Of emLove/em

    2) And second: The lovely, life-saving phenomenon of Those Posts Which Have Been Created Sorta In Advance. Which, now that GaGa has played us in, I shall commence (and, being dark in nature, it fits with my rather churlish mood):

    #SEGUEFAIL

    Yanno, the ways in which we purposely thwart ourselves amazes me. Take me, for example. I read recently that people generally find blogs with dark backgrounds harsh on the eyes (though, thanks to my friend Lisa, I realized that's mainly when the contrasting text is, like, lime green or, worse, gray). So I changed mine, found a happy, cheerful, bright template and went with it.

    And promptly spasmed into an anxiety of hellish proportions. Because, dudes. If the preamble to this post didn't alertcha, I have to let you know that I'm dark.

    I'M DARK AS HELL.

    Seriously? As I recalled to some friends recently, I used to tell my Goth peeps that I didn't need to wear black clothes because my SOUL (spoken in Alan Rickman's voice, natch) was black enough.

     If I were any darker, and had that cool-ass voice, and was, yanno, a dude, I'd be Snape.

    Did I also mention that I'm unusually, weirdly sensitive to my environment? I am. Let the sun slice just so through a Tuesday afternoon and I'm jacked for the entire day.

    You know why these guys are so freakin GRIM? It's the weird fucking sun.I'm telling you. No one could be smiley with that sallow ocher awfulness behind them.

    Nope, I'm not kidding and yep, it's weird. Turns out, that environment also includes my blog. Which is back to reflecting me in all my dark loveliness. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some life-draining lugubriousness to attend to...*slinks away into shadow*

    A Balloon. A Circus. Of Freaks.

    In the spirit of this mad-clown-and-devouring-balloon-style post, I'll let pulchra lead us off:

     
    Because what I've learned lately is this:

    Mis-writing a chapter is like tearing a hole in your plot balloon.

    You can move forward at first, even explosively so, but then you notice with some alarm that the rubber ceiling above you begins to sag. Yet you continue on until you realize, with something close to outright panic, that the balloon's fabric has begun to pool in great reams around your feet and press down against your head, because the air's seeped out, see?



    It's gone, man, and you can't even see your way out. You have to pull at the rubber and rifle through its folds until you find the hole. Then you have to climb through it and torch the whole mess like you're the evil clown.


    Still with me? We're talking about mis-writing one chapter, one that - like Will Elliott's psychotic clowns twisting J.J.'s arms - can force your story into doing horrible things and create one big MESS of a plot.

    Unless you realize your plot misstep and correct it.

    If you don't, if you ignore the plot signs and press ahead anyway, you could stumble into unholy places - the dark, airless vaults of bad story. The ones that contain a whole CREW of evilly sadistic mega-clowns who (instead of devouring your protag's goofy sidekick and providing some page-turning character development as planned) turn on the big top of your plot itself, taking a chain-saw to the tent posts, dismantling your story's trajectory as surely as the Langoliers Pac-Manned their way through yesterday's reality.*


    *No, there were no clowns involved in the 1995 television adaptation of Stephen King's short story. But with Balky a.k.a. Craig Toomy's shaky, sweaty little paper ripping thing, it was a zany creepfest of a bad joke, which, I argue, is about the same as an evil clown.

    But with all that big top talk, maybe incorrectly writing a chapter is more like a circus. A Pilo Family Circus.


    Okay, sure. Elliott's clowns have NOTHING on Pennywise. But go on, release their dreadful calliope carnage into your MS and see what happens. Dare you.


    All of this to say, I just realized where my plot mis-step took place. It was only when the pace began to slow and the story sagged in great big drifts that I knew I'd punctured the momentum of the story. The sharp point? An earlier chapter mistake that revealed something way too early and knocked the wind out of the story.

    Send in the clowns, yo.


    A Cunning Word Choice - What's Yours?

    So here I am, a-struggle to get some darkness down on the page, make this tight little scene set in this tight little corridor as off-kilter, as claustrophobic, as possible. Just need a certain atmosphere, see? Oh, come on, come up the stairs with me and have a look. *flaps hand impatiently* Come on. I know it's dark up here, but it's nifty, I swear.

    Here, take this. Now shine the beam there. No, there. At the end of the corridor.

    See that tiny black closet set into the diagonal wall? Almost unnoticeable, right? Yeah. My heroine didn't notice it, either - until she did (much too late, I might add).

    Anyway. This closet at the outset - is it unobtrusive? No. Deftly-designed? Hurm. Shadowy? No. This closet? I think it's


    Ah, yes. Cunning little closet. We haz detonation of the teensiest little atmosphere bomb ever. And I can sleep easier. As one does after a rousing bout of flatulence. But before I digress so...pungently, what word, DJ-like, saved your day this weekend?

    Oh, and post-detonation, the following momentum did ensue:

    55139 / 85000 words. 65% done!