Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Words of Curse

Another South Park reference! (There are three shows I constantly reference and in order to have a decent conversation with me you must watch the following: Family Guy, South Park and 30 Rock)

OK! Swearing! In my own life I swear like a sailor. However in my fiction nary a character drops the F*bomb. In fact, they don't swear a lot at all. Obviously I don't mind swearing. I've read books where every other word was fuck. Layer Cake is linguistic genius, full of British slang and tons of swearing. I swear a lot on my Live Journal but it is near absent in my fiction.

There is very little in Tea Times Three and I carefully consider my choices when characters do swear and what words they use. So far not much cursing has happened in T3 but there are has been a bit.

My friend Sunny has some very firm opinions on swearing in books. That very often a lot of gratuitous swearing will alienate certain readers. I'd like to add that I think a lot of swearing becomes back ground noise. Which is fine if you are writing Layer Cake which is all about drug dealing Londoners. But ask yourself this: does the swearing have a purpose? Does it add to the characters? Reflect their socio-economic back ground? Show a culture or sub-culture they take part in? Or is it just bad habit (as is my case...) :) which could make a nice character trait especially, if like me again, they are trying to curb their potty mouth.

In a weird reversal of this I was recently reading an urban fantasy where all the characters used 'fantasy' swears throughout the book peppered with the usual mid-level swears of 'shit' and 'damn' . So when I came to the one and only 'fuck' in the entire book it was glaring and felt very inappropriate.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A clean work space is a productive work space...

I work in chaos because I don't clean things. Not really. Not often. That holds true for my desk as well.

So, this is where the magic happens!!

You can see pages of Tea Times Three there. The loose leaf paper. I think it's pages 229-231 or so.
Still hovering at 2/3 complete. I hope I make my word count!

Friday, August 20, 2010


I was on Absolute Write the forum yesterday and noticed that one of my comments in a thread had been deleted. The reason for deletion was not given although I have come up with two possibilities. 1- I dared mention a middle grade book in the novel section, or 2- I talk about my damn WIP too much and it's tarting to look like blatant self promotion.

Thing is, it's not. More like I'm so happy to have found a community of author and writer that I'm dying for some kind of acceptance of me and my work. Like the new kid bragging about all the cool stuff they have at home in the hopes that someone will take an interest and be their friend.

But I've never been good at making friends so history is just repeating. Let me wallow for a moment. I'm sure I'll piss of everyone on the board and they will all hate me and then I'll never get published because everyone thinks I'm stoopid. People can probably smell the desperate for friends odor coming off me even through their modems and are going to steer well clear. I think I have 'trying to hard' stamped on my forehead.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Sarcasmbot and Miserable Bitchs

I have been reading WAY to much lately! I am full of ideas and have been reading as a form of research (along with research-research) and what I have discovered are two things I'm getting tired of. All in the same book no less! Which will remain nameless for the purposes of not shooting myself in the foot. But these character traits show up a lot in various forms across all genres (though lately urban fantasy is particularly guilty).

The two things I hate right now in characters are:

1- The Sarcasmbot. This is when a character is snarky for the sake of snark, and or, to show off how clever and witty the author is by using sarcastic acrobatics mid-sentence, every sentence. Since when is sarcasm a substitute for an actual personality? These characters often have only one other character trait and that is being Miserable Bitches. They have no sense of humor (aside from constant snark) and it doesn't make them well rounded or interesting.

2- The Miserable Bitch. This often goes hand in hand with the Sarcasmbot and acts as the Sarcasmbot's secondary personality trait. These characters are joyless and quite frankly boring. Just because your character is a miserable pathos ridden bitch who the universe has decided to shit upon repeatedly, doesn't mean I have to care. Too often the sad sack only engenders feelings of annoyance because that much misery becomes only so much irritating white noise.

Now the theory is that the author has set up some kind of back story for the character where in the Miserable Bitch was happy for about 5 minutes before something ubertragic happens and it's all swept away in a wave of tears and sadness. The problem is that often only one or two chapters deals with the character being happy before it's all taken away so the reader never gets to live in the characters happiness. Handing me a character in chapter one that has a happy family and then killing the family in chapter two hasn't given the reader time to like any of the characters involved and therefore when 'oh-so-sad!' the characters die, no ones cares!

OK, I'm going to add a third character I don't like to this list.

3- Ubertragic Melancholy Pityme. When a character goes on and on about how terrible there life is and how nothing ever works out for them, and how put upon they are. Just staple the back of your hand to your forehead and find a fainting couch to drape yourself across because I don't care you joyless sack of crap. Telling me how miserable you are all the time does not foster sympathy

Basically my message is this; you the author can't just TELL me how tragic your character is and magically make me the reader, care. That's not how it works. There has to be more to it. Throwing already emotionally fucked up characters with miserable lives into miserable circumstances loses all contrast! If the character is already miserable in the beginning and nothing improves how do we tell the character has learned anything or grown at all?

And snark does NOT equal personality! It does not equal spunk, it does not equal wit, and it does NOT equal anything close to a multi-dimensional character.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

2/3 of the way done!

That's if my math is correct. I have realized, at this date I didn't write in anything about the two shops which neighbor the tea shop that the witches opened. Surely the owners must have something to say about three witches next door!! I can't believe I didn't think of that before! I have written in two new shops, Pickett's Antique Mall and One Pearl, Two the knitting and fabric store.

At least the way T3 is written I can go back to the very beginning and add a an arc for the neighboring proprietors. I think I will also be able to work Geoffry, owner of Callister's Dry Goods in more along with the other business owners.

That can wait until draft two thankfully. Until then it's onward and upward!!

I'm researching an idea for a middle grade book and as further research I have checked out a bunch of MG from the library. I think I've sunk myself a little, I have too many books to read!! Oh my!

Lately I have had so many ideas for books I can't believe it! I'm getting down what I can without actually starting another book! Bad Che! No starting new book until one is done! I hit upon an idea for a YA horror novel. Very early Thomas Ligotti, a little bit Lovecraft, and a teeny bit Sights Unseen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I have added a number of books about tea to my Amazon wish list. I also discovered that Amazon accepts debit cards. This is a deadly combination but I'm going to have to break down at some point and get my knowledge on. I have been faking the tea parts in Tea Times Three. I have a scene where Brulee makes the perfect cup of Earl Grey and I just cobbled it together from guesses and a tea tasting in San Francisco's Chinatown I went to a few years ago.

I have a list of interesting research and web crawling I need to do during the first edit. I have been following the maxim of 'Forward! Ever forward!' with this book and it's actually getting the book written!

I'm also very proud of myself for hitting the halfway mark and NOT starting another novel! I think there is some self destructive urge in writers to shoot ourselves in the foot and start new projects in the middle of other projects. That doesn't mean that I'm not RESEARCHING another book however. But it's secret right now! We'll see if I wimp out on it too...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How many WIPs can I juggle?

I have decided to crack down on myself and write full time! A I it here on the Internet still in my PJ's. (Arg!)

I am writing two things currently. I have an idea for a fantasy novel which is well researched but not plotted, and an idea for a MG book that is a seedling at best and needs research. The ever growing R.F.N. which I work on on and off as inspiration strikes. The main work Tea Times Three which is now 106 pgs handwritten (yay) and a few other odds and ends.

I fear losing focus and failing to get T3 done. But I want to write, more and more. More quantity. If I can get something DONE surely at least one project will net me the ever coveted Agent. I'm hoping it will T3 honestly but I worry a bit about how much T3 does NOT fit into a tidy genre nook.

But if I can up the quantity of my production and finish projects then maybe I will be on to something.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Tea Shop!

I finally scanned in the floor plan of Tea Times Three, the titular title of my book. It isn't really in scale... And I think it needs more tables. But this is the basic idea. I hope you like it! I may upload a larger version to my deviant art gallery which if you've never been is here

I know that this is FAR in the future, (and up to the publisher if and when I get one) but I would like to include a map of the town, something like the maps in the Mitford series. The first couple of Mitford books also have chapter illustration which I think is really cool for a literary book. All books should have pictures in my opinion!

At some point I will also need to begin working on the recipes which I hope the publisher will also include.