A Condom for Your Words


Vintage "Akron Tourist Tubes" Tin

Vintage “Akron Tourist Tubes” Tin

Requests to check out more of Phreak Show have necessitated a means to that end.

Authonomy is my cure.

With my first two novels, I played the rankings game over there: chat & spam & and claw for 1 of the 5 coveted spots “on the desk”. Translation: work your ass off, burn a ridiculous amount of hours, harass the other members, needlessly obsess over rankings. And all to be listed in the -Top 5- on the last day of the month. The prize: a review from an Editor—apparently only quasi-helpful and arriving 6 months later. Authors who fight for and snag that golden ring end up  a little disappointed, it seems.

It’s a shiny carrot which isn’t worth chasing. Thankfully, there is a lot more to the site than that single aspect.

If you get caught up in the rankings and campaigning, you’ll miss the beauty of Authonomy. That beauty flashes in three facets: an amazing writing community, thoughtful feedback, and a public forum to steer interested readers to your work.

Virtual Betas & CP’s are awesome. I have gleaned some of the most useful, insightful feedback from amazing folks I’ve never met face-to-face. But it phreaks me out a little to email my manuscript to someone I don’t know. Not because I fear they’ll hate it or say heart-wrenching things. I’m cool with that. What scares me is that they have ALL MY WORDS. A stranger—one who may or may not be the same in real life as online—can enjoy my words, or gank them. Steal them.

These are the things I worry about: A ‘find-and-replace’ could instantly change out the characters’ names. Phineas becomes Barnum, Tera becomes Rachel. A quick re-titling, and my creation could be self-pubbed, online, in minutes. Phreak Show becomes Sideshow Nightmare. And I would have no idea. It’s akin to a kidnapping, dying the kid’s hair, moving her to a new city, and calling her Juniper Smith  instead of Erica.

I believe most people are honest in their cores. Generally, I trust strangers. I’m the weirdo who talks to people in elevators. I pick up hitchhikers. I couchsurf and sleep in strangers’ homes. But there is a part of me that understands that some folks smile while fingering the dagger in their pocket.

As creators, we must protect what is ours.

Thus, Authonomy.

I’m sure there are conniving, magical ways around it, but [CTRL C] doesn’t work on Authonomy. Also, I only post portions of my novels. NEVER the whole thing. This is my solution for minimizing the risk while engaging in risky behavior. It’s like a condom for your words. Is it failsafe? Of course not. Is it 99.98% effective? I hope so.

Gosh, this post sounds like I’m all paranoid and shit. I’m not really. It’s just that, you see, I invest all of me into my art. And the possibility of having that outpouring abused makes me want to guard the youngling like a tiny child clueless of the dangers all around him. Maybe I’m an overprotective parent. That doesn’t bother me one bit, because I want my kid to play and make friends, but I don’t want his naivety to get him hurt. You know, like a good Daddy.

So, guaranteed ALIVE AND BREATHING, on display for all to see, the first 7 chapters of Phreak Show.
http://authonomy.com/books/52485/phreak-show/read-book/#chapter
[Update: Due to some overhauling edits,  the excerpt is in timeout.]

Please enjoy. Comment. Or don’t. Love it. Hate it. Cringe, cry, smile, wonder, giggle, dream, root, scream, lust, beg for more. Any or all of those things. Just know, a mindful, cautious Daddy’s is sitting over there on that bench making sure you play nice.

Dang it was difficult for me to decide on an accompanying image for this post. Do you know how many AMAZING risque pics I could have selected? Oodles. Ah, but to push things a little without going too far… Welcome to the world of self-editing an online presence, Lucas.

I Like My Sleeves


PhreakShowSubmissionsChart

Because I love charts and data and spreadsheets.

Also because, why the hell not? Transparency is a trait of mine.

Sometimes that characteristic gets me in trouble, but it is an undeniable part of me. Often, I’m told, it is refreshing. Either way, it’s who I am. And I am a proud phreak who has learned to be comfortable in his own skin.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’ve thought of maybe changing to metaphorical tank tops—-or even going shirtless. Alas, I like my sleeves, and I like to leave my vulnerability dangling out there for everyone to see and prod. So, yeah. I feel better now. Huzzah for catharsis via confessional graphics.

If you’re feeling like, perhaps, there is more to the story, you are correct. Sometimes, even transparency has is limits, and a little opacity is required. If you’re reading this Invisible Ink, I ❤ your face. Wear your hearts on your sleeves, you bunch of phreaks. 

Agents Stalk Us Too


SneakyBurglar

All querying writers research potential agents.
Oh? You don’t? tsk tsk
What a naughty, naughty writer.

Submission guidelines and genre preferences are important, but we should totally research, investigate, and weigh our findings against our own personality and professional goals. By learning as much as we can, writers can focus our search on lit agents who would truly make a great fit. There is a lot more to an Author/Agent relationship than simply querying and finding rep. We’re entering into a business partnership. We’re committing to what hopefully will be an LTR. Sure, agents choose wisely. But the writer must also choose that potential partner carefully.

Agency websites give an overview, but they don’t provide the whole picture.  We are responsible for digging deeper: interviews, current clients’ websites, recent deals, rights’ management experience, Twitter feeds, interns’ blogs, etc. Writers can’t just scratch the surface and call it a day. I mean, we can, but if we do, we’re stupid. We should discover all we possibly can and connect the dots. Read between the lines. Make an informed judgment which goes beyond, “OMFG! S/he likes [x]. I write [x]. S/he’s open to submissions. Must.query.now.”

We believe most agents research potential clients, right? Recently I discovered this is, indeed, not an urban legend. It is truth. You know how we writers joke about stalking agents online? Well, the road runs both ways. And I’m not just talking about agents checking out blogs/websites and Twitter feeds. If an agent has genuine interest, that fact-finding can expand into indepth, hardcore, hours-long, all-hands-on-deck, digital tunneling, Googling, and breadcrumb following.

Recently, an agent mentioned a part of my web presence which I had totally forgotten about—Authonomy. I posted portions of my first two novels on the site, but Phreak Show doesn’t even exist over there. This agent also mentioned online info which has nothing to do with my writing—business websites, for instance. It didn’t creep me out or make me nervous. What it did do, was enlighten me to the fact that a great agent will be concerned about an author’s public image beyond just his/her writing. A great agent will look for anything and everything a potential reader or publisher could find.

A great agent will stalk you. 

Sobering? Scary? Are you ready for that? How long has it been since you Googled yourself?

Phreak Show Idiolect Glossary


The pulleys and gears in the gadget known as “SPELL-CHECK” kinked up and ground to a halt when encountering a number of colloquialisms and lexiconical creations in the novel Phreak Show. In many cases, the words are clearly part of the modern vernacular, yet they were summarily rejected. As a result, The Council of Indispensable Words has compiled this Phreak Show Idiolect Glossary

aethern. ever-present ionized vapor; materializes as a purple-green borealis similar to the Northern Lights; can be harnessed as a sustainable energy source; a select few, known as MAESTROS, can wield its power
aintv. [slang] is not; spoken by the uneducated, or by the educated for dramatic effect
amazeballsadj. [slang] amazing or phenomenal
b.o.n. [abbreviation] body odor
batshitadj. [origin unknown] ridiculously; unbelievably; often paired with “crazy”
bazillionairen. person possessing a ridiculous amount of wealth
blimpingv. swelling; quickly filling with air or matter
blippingn. this stupid, jacked up, empathy thing which totally effs up Tera’s life
blippon. mispronunciation of BLIPPING
boyband hairadj. longish-shortish, perfectly styled tresses
braniacn. extremely intelligent person; prone to using perspicacious words
butthurtadj. [condescending phrase] whiny or overly defensive response to a petty issue
carniesn. [derogatory] carnival performers and those of their ilk; stereotyped as uneducated, unscrupulous characters with more criminal convictions than teeth
clankyadj. emitting a sharp, rattling, mechanical sound
coochn. [slang] a lady’s nether regions; term used by cads and trollops
coozen. [derogatory] combination of “cootie” and “ooze”; a mean person, usually female
creepoadj. creepy; weird
crossgenderadj. expressing gender outside the binary terms of male and female
dollbabyn. [origin: older southern women] baby doll; may refer to child’s toy or a cute boy or girl resembling such a toy
dookiedv. doo-dooed
eekingv. squeezing out a painfully small amount at a time
effed, effin, effed-upadj. or v. [diet cusswords] non-vulgar forms of the base word “f%@#”
fatgirln. self-effacing term for an overweight girl
fatsuitn. a greasy covering of globs of fat and cellulite
fishbellyn. or adj. pale and tender skin; similar to the soft belly of a fish
flippinadj. [diet cussword] see: EFFIN
framingn. the correct term for BLIPPING; power wielded by a MAESTRO in which he or she manipulates the AETHER to both experience and physically manifest another person’s inner faults and fears
freakmeister – n. master of freaks
ghettomobilen. see: HOOPTY
gigv. [southern U.S. origin] give someone the finger; flip the bird; one finger salute
glowsticksn. plastic cylinders that contain two liquids that temporarily create light using chemiluminescence
hooptyn. automobile in an unattractive, depressing state of repair; identified by continual breakdowns, rust, a horrible half-done paintjob, patches of duct tape, etc.
hottien. a sexually attractive person
inkroomn. private room in a tattoo parlor designated for tattooing
janky, janked-upadj. messed up; out of whack; twisted
jerkholen. [diet cussword] a jerk; non-vulgar version of the word “a$$hole”
kajillionadj. a hell of a lot; an almost infinite number
lurvev. [slang] decidedly feminine way of expressing the word “love”
manipulatoryadj. controlling by artful, unfair, or insidious means
microcephalicn. or adj. neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a tiny head; microcephalics were sometimes sold to freak shows in the 19th and early 20th centuries, where they were known by the name “pinheads”
munchern. one who places his or her mouth upon an object in a munching fashion
muumuuedadj. dressed in a loose-fitting garment of floral-print polyester; rarely found outside the female, octogenarian population
nerdfightern. person who is proud to be nerdy and intelligent, and fights to increase awesome and decrease Worldsuck
nerdtimen. celebration of cerebrality
noonern. mid-day teaser performance of The Last American Phreak Show
normalsn. see: RUBES
nutjobn. [term of endearment] goofy, funny, silly, crazy person; [derogatory] psychopath
ooeyadj. viscid; sticky
orgasmicallyadv. happening in a pleasurable or rapturous manner
pecsn. pectoralis muscles; firm, sexy chest muscles on a male
pervn. short for “pervert”; person who drools over or treats another in an unwelcome, sexual manner
pervyadj. being a total PERV
phreakn. member of a troupe of teen misfits enslaved in a sideshow by their warped self-images; anyone who has left the realm of the RUBES by embracing his or her inner phreakiness
phreakazoidn. see: PHREAK
phreakiest, phreakified, phreakiness, phreakish, phreako, phreaky  – adj. of, resembling, or possessing the characteristics of a phreak
pippedv. spoke in a high-pitched, annoyingly squeaky voice
pissyadj. having the color, consistency, or smell of urine; a bad attitude
poofyadj. overly puffy
puppetmastern. controlling person gifted with the power of persuasion through either mundane or magical means
razoredv. sliced; cut open in a quick, excruciating manner
rubesn. outsiders; townies; those oblivious to the underlying mysteries and ways of the Phreak Show
sapiosexualn. a form of sexual orientation characterized by a strong attraction to intelligence in others, often regardless of gender and/or conventional attractiveness
scoochedv. slid or scooted
scroggedadj. messed up; jacked up; see: EFFED
sexyfiedadj. looking hot, desirable, and perhaps a little trampy
shammien. amazingly absorbent cotton cloth
showbilln. flyer announcing an act or performance. adj. font or script used to advertise plays, carnivals, circuses, etc
showmastern. leader of a performing troupe in a carnival, circus, or sideshow; MAESTRO
showmomn. mother who lives vicariously through her child by forcing him or her to extremes in public performance
shrimpyadj. tiny; miniscule
Skinbookn. low-brow name for the Versipilles
slenderfiedadj. skinny or thin
slickstern. person who uses slippery words and circular reasoning to convince others; see: used car salesman
snarkedv. spoke with sarcasm, bile, or bite
spazzedv. jerked, either physically or mentally,  in a spastic manner
squeedv. [past-tense] produced a high-pitched, exuberant squeal of excitement
steampunkn. subculture which explores the concept of retro-futurism; addresses what the past would look and be like if the future had happened sooner; often embraces a Victorian-era aesthetic meshed with modern technology
studlyadj. manly; possessing the characteristics of a virile male
swaggedadj. draped with cloth
tattooeen. the brave soul receiving permanent ink rammed into his or her dermis
taxidermiedadj. post-living creature whose pelt has been tanned, stuffed, and mounted
tendriledadj. resembling, or actually having, tendrils or tentacles
toadien. a bad guy’s lame sidekick; see: “A Christmas Story”
uncataloguedadj. absent from official records; see: THIS ENTIRE GLOSSARY
unibrown. one continuous eyebrow instead of two distinct ones; easily remedied by shaving or waxing
Versipillesn. an ancient book bound in human skin; contains arcane knowledge about alchemy, cosmology, science, botany, magic, and other esoteric topics
wangn. a gentleman’s nether regions; the fifth limb; term used by strumpets and scoundrels
weirdosn. misfits, phreaks, oddballs; individuals who are misunderstood and/or judged for their uniqueness
whackjobn. see: NUTJOB
wootingv. hootin’ and hollerin’
yadan. nothing of importance; usually spoken in repetition; similar to “blah”

 Wow, this took a shit-ton of work to create. But, in the end, I hope you find it useful as an interesting translation tool.

Compendium of Synopsis Writing Wisdom


LucasCompendium

I am not a synopsis guru, nor the son of one.
But a few agents in my god-tier require them.

So, I am posed with the choice:
A) Whine & lazily avoid composing a synopsis, thus eliminating any chance of representation by those amazing agents – OR –
B) Research, work hard, and enjoy the synopsis element of a process which will help me see my publishing goals realized.

Last night, I chose Option B. I whipped out a damn good synopsis in about two hours. The process went uber-smoothly compared to my attempts with previous novels, and I believe I know why. I may draw friendly fire for this next statement…

If you find it difficult to summarize your story in synopsis form,
your story may be inherently flawed.

Once again, I am no guru, but a synopsis is basically an outline of your novel in paragraph form. If that outline is not clear, if the quintessential arc is more of a wriggly squiggle, if the tension doesn’t mount until cresting at a point of inevitable release–then, perhaps, you have discovered the reason a synopsis seems insufferable.

Of course, none of us deals with issues such as those…

So, what to do if you’re positive your story is as strong as it can be, yet the synopsis is still kicking your ass? Well, quit whining and make it happen! Also, research. There are tons of how-to guides and advice articles to scoot you on your way. Congealing & gleaning highlights from a few of these, I will add my non-guru voice to the chorus.

Lucas’s Compendium of Synopsis Writing Wisdom

– First, there are no hard & fast rules, but a few guidelines can make synopsis creation easier.

– Before you dive in, keep the touchpoints of motivation, emotion, and conflict in the forefront of your mind.

– Write in third-person, present-tense.

– The standard synopsis length seems to be 1-2 pages. Squeeze it into 1 short page if possible.

– Use strong verbs and adjectives (not too many!) to effectively express the plot points in the fewest words possible.

– Hit these key points: Hook, Stakes, Intro of the MC, Inciting Incident, Midpoint Twist, Climax, Resolution. (Some sources suggest allotting a single paragraph to each of these elements.)

– Ensure your characters are presented with personality and come across as sympathetic.

– An economy of words is key. Only include the true essentials. Wisely select only the most necessary of subplots–if any.

– Yes, the synopsis should give away the ending.

– The writing shouldn’t be flowery, but shouldn’t bore the poor agent/editor to tears either. Strike a balance somewhere between a technical manual and a book report.

– Just as with a novel or query, revise, revise, revise.

– Run your synopsis by your betas & CPs. Ask them to point out clarity issues or extraneous info.

– Embrace the process. Dreading and whining will only make it harder.

– Keep your end goal in mind! Compared to drafting & revising an entire novel, creating the synopsis is a straight-up, cupcake endeavor.

I couldn’t see it before, but now I totally understand why some agents require a synopsis. By comparing the end result of my latest attempt with previous ones, I can clearly see the strengths in my current story. I didn’t stumble over defining the essential stakes, core conflicts, etc. These items rang out crystal clear. And, so, I draw the conclusion that this novel is far tighter than my previous ones, and contains the elements a great, marketable novel should.

But hey, what do I know? Like I said, I aint no guru.

Nevertheless, the creation of this synopsis didn’t hurt. Not even a tiny bit. Maybe my Compendium will help your process flow along as smooth as silk.

Synopsis-hungry god-tier agents, here I come.

 

What say ye? Do you avoid querying agents who require a synopsis? Does the mere thought of synopsis writing make you cringe? Have you found a structure which works for you? What tips would you pass on to fellow writers?

Pitch Madness vs The God Tier


god-tier

Phreak Show is having it’s coming out party. Maybe.

Hot off the presses, it’s up for the grabby hands of the self-identified Slush Zombies over at #PitchMadness. If you’re oblivious, check it out here:  http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/

The announcements for the pitches which level-up to Round 2 won’t be made until 3/26. In the meantime, I’ll query an EXTREMELY small selection of god-tier agents. I’m doing a short-window-exclusive-of-sorts during this time. Then, should the need arise, I will step down to the next rung of the Echeladder. [If you get the god-tier & Echeladder references, I totally heart your face.] Also, there is this magical nexus where PM & the GT converge…

For more info on Phreak Show:

  • Check out it’s dedicated tab right here on the blog.
  • Like its Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PhreakShowNovel
  • Peruse its Pinterest Boards: http://pinterest.com/gypsyluc/
  • Peep in on the #PhreakShow hashtag.

Peeling Back Phreak Show’s Skin


Civer - Phrenology

Finally, Phreak Show is done!

Its creation veered off the usual path I take when writing a novel. Which, I kind of liked. I’m a creature of habit. Not OCD level, but I prefer clear plans, order, and steady movement towards the goals I set. I’m an outliner, a spreadsheet junkie, a list maker. I like to track things and see their progress over time.

All of those tools (and a few more) were involved in the making of Phreak Show, but the process didn’t move swiftly from A to B. Leave it to the phreaky story to be the one to shuck my norm.

Since I like to track things…Here’s a breakdown of the process I used this time around and how it strayed. For the hell of it (because such things make me happy) I’ll use a pair of symbols to denote which components are [N]ormal for my process, and which ones are a little [P]hreaky. And, yes, I’m busting out the bullet points.

  • [N] Idea – A line, a character, a conflict. I kick it around in my head. Weigh it for worthiness & flesh it out while showering, driving, falling to sleep. I may scribble down a few gems so I don’t forget them, but it’s mainly a mental process. For PS, it was the setting of a Sideshow with teenage freaks being enslaved by their own warped self-images, and having those personal fears manifested in physical form.
  • [P] Tagline -In the past, boiling the story down to a single line has been a hellish project which comes after the novel is complete. With PS, it punched me in the face very early in the process. Being a phreak isn’t about looks, it’s a frame of mind.
  • [P] Plotting – I go hard and detailed on this aspect. I don’t play. For PS, I used some elements as usual, but wielded them differently. I added some new steps. I use OneNote to organize ideas, settings, characters, specific lines. I drop in links and tidbits found during the research stage. This time, I didn’t copy & paste / type an official  outline in Word. I printed the OneNote pages, cut out the strips, and visually sorted and arranged them on my plotting wall. Also, I used 4-Part Story Structure as the framework. (<–This is a genius tool!) Everything fell into place like clockwork.
  • [P] Query Letter – I’m pretty good with them, I believe. But many, many wildly different versions are usually needed before I hone it down to the true, delectable meat of the story. Freeborn had at least 35 versions…With PS, I decided to write the query BEFORE drafting. Ummm, amazing way to do it. Reason: the basic concepts are vivid, but all the nitty-gritty goodness isn’t fleshed out yet. The process was streamlined because the writing jewels & subplots I’d be tempted to embellish the query with later, didn’t exist yet.
  • [P] Research – This is an [N], but it could have been a [P]. No, wait. I’m changing it. Definitely a [P]. I always research, but it’s usually 95% internet-based. This time involved a lot of that, of course, but it went to a deeper level. I read 2 non-fiction books on the history of the sideshow: Carny Folk: The World’s Weirdest Sideshow ActsFreak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit. I also read Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. I remembered the movie (1983) from when I was a kid. Some of the imagery is burned in my skull. So, I wanted to be careful not to gank any of it–to make sure my ideas were my own. Two movies also gave me some great background: Tod Browning’s cult classic “Freaks”  (1932) and a documentary “Sideshow: Alive on the Inside”.  All of this gave me a feel for the imagery, terminology & world. But, it also provided an added layer that became key to Phreak Show: the emotions & motivations of real-life sideshow performers in their heyday. Golden. Absolutely golden.
  • [P] Bonus Features – Phreak Show got pimped out in this department. There is the mandatory Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/PhreakShowNovel. With 9 dedicated Boards, Pinterest played a huge part in image collection this time: http://pinterest.com/gypsyluc/. The one I’m most proud of contains a set of Victorian Cabinet Cards I created just for the characters: http://pinterest.com/gypsyluc/phreak-show-cast-steampunk/ [I still owe Douggie his…]
  • [P] Drafting – Usually, this is hardcore, front-to-back, full-tilt, beginning-to-end with no pauses in between. PS came in 5 major spurts. I hammered out the first 2 pages so I could share them at an SCBWI conference. (Rave reviews!) Then I paused again, waiting for NaNoWriMo to begin. After NaNo, the hiatus between sections 2 & 3 was six weeks long. I can’t really explain the reason why that happened. I never lost the passion for the story, but simply needed it to chill, and rest, and mellow. Or something. Idk? This was a new one for me. Then, with the story so close to done I could taste it, I stopped short of the final two chapters. It was uber-important that I got them right. The first time. Those two chapters took about 10 days to draft, which is insanely slow for me. Alas, the outcome convinces me it was well worth slowing the pace and nailing the perfect ending.
  • [P] Revision – I always edit little bits and pieces as I go. You know, read back over the previous section to keep the continuity and voice. Because of the lulls in drafting, I edited each section piece-by-piece. That was part of the holding pattern at the end of Chapter 23. I completely revised the whole thing–looking for holes, resolving dangling things, building the tension, back-filling, cross-checking, characterization, removing ridiculousness–before drafting those final two chapters. I will make a few more passes to double-check everything and make sure, but any further changes are merely cosmetic, obsessive tweaking.

So there you have it. Probably waaay more details about my process than you ever cared to know. When I look at that list, I see all but one [P]. That tells me that my process changed drastically from Freeborn to Phreak Show. I predict that this will translate into a much different outcome for Phreak Show, as well.

I know that once a new novel is complete, we all think THIS IS THE ONE! And, perhaps, that’s where Phreak Show stands. But, if I’m honest with myself: I know better. Laugh if you like, but this is, I strongly believe, the one. Not only am I uber-organized, but I’m also an excellent student. I learned so much from my first two novels. All that ‘practice’, the successes & failures, the things I did correctly & the dumbass mistakes I made–I channeled the lessons learned & wisdom gained into the creation of Phreak Show.

The contentment I feel isn’t merely about having completed my third novel. It is about this one, finally, being worthy of signing my name to it. And, time will time, maybe even signing my name on a contract.

“If you judge them by appearance alone, you will miss the truth buried beneath their skin, behind their wet eyes. A truth which, if you dare search it out, lurks within your own heart. Being a phreak isn’t about looks. It’s a frame of mind.”

Word Clouds


Oh yeah…

I had forgotten all about the cool Wordle tool until a visitor recently commented on this old post with Capritare’s word cloud: https://johnlucashargis.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/novel-word-cloud/

That made me think, I never created one for Freeborn.

So I did.

WordCloud-Freeborn

And, I also got all curious about what the rough draft of Phreak Show would look like.

I scratched that itch, too.

WordCloud-PhreakShow

So there you have it; two of my novels in their visual nutshells.

What do yours look like?

Making Flash Fiction Your Bitch


Get it? "Flash" punching a dude into submission? :: ahem :: Anyway...

Get it? “Flash” punching a dude into submission? :: ahem :: Anyway…

Ever on the lookout for blogging inspiration–no matter what bush it peeks out of–this Facebook exchange with my writerly friend, Brittany Larson, has a good feel to it. Blog-worthy, I believe. From a random interaction amongst the social media bushes: Making Flash Fiction Your Bitch.

Brittany: HEY! I need some advice on some writing!

Lucas: Ok. I’ve got a few minutes. What’s up?

Brittany: Well I have this story idea swirling around my head about the 3 Archangels Micheal (The Angel Of Mercy) Gabriel (The Messenger Angel) And Azrael (The Angel of Death) And they are all fallen. And Iwas thinking Gabriel and Micheal stay faithful to God while Azreal goes rogue. He makes a deal with the devil that’s simple Bring me Rachel (My girl protagonist) and I will make you more powerful than God. God appears to Micheal and Gabriel and says stop him and you’re back in heaven. And I am thinking that Micheal will be my main male protagonist (Gabriel more as support) so what happens when Micheal falls in love with Rachel and doesn’t wanna go back to Heaven. Something along those lines. So the first question is: sound good? And also I don’t know if I wanna just start writing now or save it for NaNo.

Lucas: Is this a story you will try to market to agents/publishers? I only ask because a few months back many were groaning about the massive amount of “Angel” stories: fallen ones falling in love with a human. There are a lot of those on the market already. So, it’s a trope the pros don’t much care for anymore.

Brittany: Yeah…see I am not too sure. I am thinking. Truly I have never made it even far enough to think about sending it to publishers.

Lucas: A twist would be good. Can they be fallen gods instead of angels? And love triangles are always sellable. Maybe one naughty god in love with your mortal, Rachel, but a second god in love with the first & fighting the matchup? Or, make them aliens, or zombies, or any other creature. Then you could go with the same basic plot without stepping into the Angels theme. If you’re not going to shop it, then just go with whatever the heck makes you happy as a writer!

Brittany: True…true. That would be interesting. And yeah…see I am still debating whether to just write it or save it for NaNo…because I mean I have it written down so I don’t forget it.

Lucas: You’ll have more ideas before Nano! It’s always good to keep writing. Like flexing your muscles to make you stronger.

Brittany: True true. And I sure hope so. This is the Biggest Aha! Moment I have had in a while. My Nano idea wasn’t this solid.

Lucas: Here’s a cool trick for discovering ideas that are novel worthy: just start with a flash fiction of your story. Write out a key scene in 1000 words or less. Focus on using as little words as possible to convey setting, character, conflict.

Brittany: Thanks That really helps

Lucas: Still have the story arc of intro, conflict, climax, closure. This helps me weed out ideas as either long-running or short lived. If the idea feels “done” or exorcised, then cool. You have a flash fiction story. But, if you find the character’s voice and keep thinking about his/her life, then it’s time to plot for a longer work: short story, novella, novel.

Brittany: Yeah. Thanks for the advice

Lucas: You’re welcome, yo. Mind if I post this interaction on my blog in a few days? “I’d rather not” is an acceptable response. 😉

Brittany: Oh that’s fine. I really don’t care…I mean it wasn’t personal or anything:)

Lucas: I can keep you anonymous or remove/summarize your novel idea if you’d like.

Brittany: No it’s fine…put in as much detail as you’d like. I’m not shy.

Lucas: Done! Do you have a blog or Twitter account I can link to? Such things often bring you new followers.

Brittany: https://twitter.com/thegirlonfire16

So, let’s get Brittany some new followers.

And, let’s get to using Flash Fiction as a test-run for those awesome ideas we keep coming up with. It tests their mettle, and keeps us flexing those writing muscles. Better to weed out the losers before we invest a half a novel’s worth of time before discovering they suck. Also, our writerly friends are awesome sounding boards for our new concepts. They can often spot holes, provide useful feedback, and tune us in to stuff they’ve stumbled upon in the publishing world but we have not.

Now, you know one of the secret tools I use to tame my overzealous ideas. What do you think? Is it worth slipping into your own bag of tricks?

Reporting from the bushes, this is Lucas, signing off.

Get With It, Boy Wonder


BatmanSlappingRobin

Not that I’m gonna start jam-packing my blog with memes & gifs, but I was somehow moved to create this dandy yesterday.

Apparently, the slap from the caped crusader worked. Yesterday, the writer in me stretched and yawned and came out of hibernation. I read through the last 3 chapters I had written for Phreak Show to get the style/voice/continuity back. Here’s what I found:

1) The story is still rockin’. Even if I hadn’t written it, I would totally read it.
2) It is so so so so difficult to simply read a draft and not edit. Despite my best efforts, I absolutely had to scribble a couple minor notes…
3) I was able to jump right back into the rhythm. Even after stepping away for 6 weeks. So, another chapter is written and the final few will quickly follow.

The seal on the writing cave has been [re]opened.

Because, after all, the damn novel can’t write itself.

Alfred, go get me some more coffee.