About Writing

Suddenly

I’ve seen it around writing communities that you should never use “suddenly” or it’s synonyms to describe something happening abruptly — instead you should just jump in and have it happen.

ROCKS FALL AND EVERYONE DIES!!!!111one

I strongly disagree.

As a writer, you are telling your story to an audience.

While events might take the characters by surprise, sometimes it’s more polite to refrain from punching the reader in the face with a jarring transition.

Words like, “suddenly,” “unexpectedly,” “abruptly,” etc, slow down the transition into the new event, and make it easier to mentally process. So, when you think that the new event comes on too roughly, go ahead and throw those words in. Don’t let random people on the internet tell you otherwise.

Use your own judgment.

Picture not remotely related.
Alice and the Warden, Stories

Gud Riting

Outside, Damon kicked something or other and threw a major fit, picking up a lawn gnome and hefting it over the fence.

Miranda asserted, “Calm down! We can use this to our advantage!”

“No, we’re going to drop it,” Damon explained. “We don’t have a case.”

“What do you mean?” Miranda inquired.

“I kissed her first,” Damon confessed.

~OR~

Having egressed from the abode, Damon sulkily perambulated about the premises, seeking to obviate himself of his indignation, and finding outlet in his frustration through the act of kicking some object or other before truculently hefting a hapless garden gnome through the air with an ungainly heave of his torso.

Miranda ejaculated, “Calm down! We can use this disadvantage to our advantage!”

“I’m afraid that I must disagree,” Damon countered obstinately, “There are major show stoppers preventing us from leveraging the turnabout successfully.”

“I need your hot, throbbing elucidation,” Miranda desperately entreated the roguish dandy, her bosom heaving breathlessly.

“I must woefully confess that my passions overcame my better judgement,” Damon confessed woefully, “I kissed her before she kissed me.”


An explanation: I had a particularly stressful day, so I was too frazzled to think when I sat down to write. Instead, I jotted down the lamest thing I could think up.

When I shared it with my husband, his response was along the lines of, “Hold my beer.” He wrote #2.

Alice and the Warden

Random notes about AatW

  • I feel like I’m writing the baby too much like a prop. I’m always mindful to make sure that she’s present and accounted for (instead of simply not being there for some unexplained reason), and newborns really do spend most of their time sleeping, but I want to throw in more descriptions of her to make her feel more like a character.
  • I want to flesh out the friendship between Kate and Gertie. I know how they’d interact, but I can’t quite figure out how to slip it into the story. My brain is being totally blah about this.
  • Because I originally intended this to be a novelette, I’ve been typing it on the laptop. Right now, I’m really missing the ability to scribble notes in the margins. I have no clue if LibreOffice has a similar feature, because I never bothered to learn anything beyond the bare basics.
  • I’m also really terrified of my laptop crashing and losing everything.
  • I wrote a really sexy scene, and now I don’t know what to do with it. What’s this story rated anyway?
  • I need to describe pretty much everything better, and figure out what the heck that English thing is. You have no idea how mortifying it is to publicly post a first draft.
  • Nobody’s reading it anyway (except for you, of course).
  • I’m starting to worry that the pacing is too slow, and I need to get on with it already. But, given the speed of the rest of the story, doing that might make the ending feel unpleasantly rushed.

About Me

Personal Note

I got a million things to do.

At the end of the day, I consider myself to be an author and not a blogger. So when something’s gotta take a hit, it’s going to be my blogging instead of my fiction writing. I like to fantasize that all of my visitors are here to enjoy the fruits of my imagination rather than my incoherent babbling, and would prefer that I maintain my fiction updates.

Side note: I didn’t sleep last night.

Anyway, the gist is that I’m tired and busy and I don’t feel like blogging — I’d much rather spend my free time working on Alice and the Warden. And napping. I’m also having anxiety about Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but we don’t need to get into that.

So, Alice and the Warden will continue to be updated every Monday.

But I’ll only check in when I feel like it.

Observations

9/8

Dark and windy.

The crickets are giving a steady chirp, punctuated by wind chimes and rustling leaves. The roar of motorcycle engines pass by in the distance, and a dog begins to bark. A cat yowls.

The light from the neighbor’s porch is blaring in my eyes, and the haze of smoke is holding the city glow in the air. The street is empty, and no one is sitting out on their porches despite the pleasant coolness of the night.

The cat’s voice sounds almost human, and it’s easy to imagine why they were once thought of as witches’ companions.

The dust in the wind is triggering my allergies.

Occasionally the wind stops, leaving an eerie silence filled only with crickets, followed by an even stronger gust.

I need to find that cat.

Alice and the Warden

AatW – Behind the Scenes

I started writing Alice and the Warden back in February, when I was about halfway through my pregnancy with baby #5. Naturally, I was having *a lot* of dreams about pregnancy and babies at the time.

One in particular really stuck with me, about a young woman living alone in a tower, and I found myself thinking about it more and more. The pieces of a story started to come together in my mind, so I decided “what the hey” and went with it. Given the circumstances of my life at the time, I figured that it was going to be a “purely for fun” side project.

Aaaand seven months later, I’m 40,000 words in with a 3-month-old baby.

A little bit of trivia is that in the original dream, Alice had a brother who was friends with Damon. When Alice texted a picture of her baby to her brother, Damon saw it and put the pieces together that he was the father. However, once I started writing, I realized that the brother would function more as a prop than a character, so I cut him out.

Also, in the dream Alice and Damon broke up with a nasty fight after Damon replaced her with another girl. Again, a new girlfriend seemed more like a superfluous prop rather than a character, so I dropped that idea as well. Having her be flat out abandoned worked better with Alice’s neurosis, since she was still too “controlled” to suddenly blow up at Damon at that point in time.

Hackett was Hackett — basically no changes there. He fell in love with Alice the moment he caught her stealing his books with the intention of actually reading them.

There you have it, the origins of Alice and the Warden.

Observations

8/22

Waiting in the car. The air conditioner is blasting loudly at full speed, and the 8 year old has control of the music. She’s skipping through songs like there’s no tomorrow.

The 2 year old is crying for daddy, but he’s getting the food for our picnic. I remind her to be patient.

There’s so much smoke in the air, the mountains are obscured by a white haze despite it being a sunny day.

There’s a line of green trees to my right. The pine is my favorite, because it has a lovely shape against all the deciduous trees.

A scuffed up truck with a missing back window is driving backwards through the parking lot. It pulls halfway into a stall, idles for a minute, then exits onto the road.

My husband knocks on the car window. I help him with 2his the drinks and bag of food.

There’s a couple making out under a tree at the park, but the place otherwise empty. My husband asks is we want to find a different spot.

I reply, “Nah. Let’s show up with our gazillion kids, and let them see what they have to look forward to.”

Alice and the Warden

Alice Leigh

Since I did a post on Hackett…

The title character from Alice and the Warden.

Rebel Alice

The story starts after she’s already begun her redemption process, so this phase is only referenced/flashbacks. Funny enough, this is also the phase that I’ve had the most brainstorming sessions with my husband about.

Chin-length hair, dyed vivid pink. Lots and lots of black eyeliner and mascara. Goes out of her way to look like a rebellious, sexy, motorcycle chick. Cusses a lot.

However, her lifestyle is harsh on her. She’s malnourished, waxy and pale, and is usually too out of it to think for herself.

Her boyfriend, Damon, managed her use of drugs and alcohol to keep her malleable, but he never gave her any of the scary stuff.

Redeemed Alice

Her natural hair is growing out, so the top half is brown while the bottom is still bleached. Chocolate brown eyes. A healthy diet, lots of rest, and pregnancy, has helped her fill out and given her a much softer appearance.

More than anything, she wants to keep her baby and be a good mother, so she’s been doing everything in her power to change herself. Her isolation has enabled her to do a lot of introspection, and she has admitted a lot of hard truths to herself. She’s cleaned up her mannerisms considerably.

However, she still struggles with self-esteem and views herself as permanently damaged because of her past.

Anyway, it’s both hot AND humid today, which has me feeling totally miserable, so I’m gonna call this good.

About Writing

Basil Hackett

WordPress finally forced me over to the block editor, and now I know why everyone complains about it. It strikes me as something that a bunch of tech geeks thought would be AWESOME, and they completely forgot that a lot of us users have skills that are more in line with typing up articles in Word.

But le sigh, I will have to learn it anyway.

Or I’ll start copy-n-pasting, and bypass this change all together. Everything keeps popping around and disappearing too much for my tastes.

Back to our originally scheduled program…

Basil Hackett.

For those who don’t know, he’s my fictional character from Alice and the Warden

It’s taken quite some time for me to get a clear mental picture of him, so thus far he hasn’t been properly described. This is the sort of thing that I usually add in while working on the second draft, but that will be awhile. My current goal is to write about 1000 words a week, which is comfortably steady and works well with where I’m at in real life right now, but it’s definitely not fast.

So we’ll go ahead and describe him now.

Physically, he lifts weights a few times a week (lunch break in the prison gym sort of thing), but he also has some extra padding from never saying ‘no’ to dessert. He’s bulky, but not “beefcake.”

His hair is short, combed back, mid-brown with a few gray strands at the sides. He’s always clean-shaven.

His eyes are the one thing that I do describe, a striking hazel-green that can make you forget what you were saying if you look too closely at them.

The impression he gives is being like a boulder, impassive and unmovable. The part that Alice never sees is that, as the warden, he likes to run a tight ship to ensure the safety of everyone in the prison (guards and inmates alike). He takes his job very seriously, doles out discipline when necessary, utilizes psychological methods to promote good behavior, and provides lots of training and resources to help inmates transition to the “outside” world.

Of course, the story mostly portrays Hackett behind the scenes in his private life.

Those are most of my non-spoiler thoughts about him. Honestly, it’s a little weird to be openly writing about characterization with an unfinished story, but hey, first time for everything.

About Me

Accidentally writing a novel

I’ve hit 30,000 words with Alice and the Warden. While I had originally intended it to be a cutesy little side project, I just keep having more ideas. Thus, the story is still ongoing, and I haven’t even proven who the real murderer is yet.

At this point, I’ve realized that if I properly fleshed out the descriptions and gave it a (very) solid round of editing, I could publish it as a novel. Insert philosophy about additive writing, blah blah blah, etc. Basically, with my writing process, I metaphorically paint in broad strokes with the first draft then go back and add the details in later. That means that 30,000 words is going to end up being longer in the final version just from adding in details.

Not right now, though. Right now it’s July. My brain is melting out of my ears, and I’m having weird dreams about my children eating moldy cabbage. Like they’d ever willingly touch cabbage. I do not handle this part of summer all that well.

Anyway, it is kind of funny that my little romantic story has taken on such a life of its own.

I haven’t even gotten the two of them laid yet. XD