Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Product of Procrastination (With Summaries and Cover Art)

In the name of being completely unproductive and not getting a word closer to wrapping up my sad excuse of an ending, I've spent most of the last 24 hours scouring Google and fiddling with Photoshop in an attempt to create a book cover for my WIP. After all, procrastination is the key to success in whatever goal you're pursuing for the express purpose of not doing something else. In other words, I wound up with two pretty pictures that I'm momentarily happy with.

And to go along with my pretty pictures I've spewed out a summary, which is really quite overdue. I've been yammering for months about this mysterious WIP, commonly known as The 200K Monstrosity. This summary is a tad misrepresentative, as it leaves out rather large parts of the plot and makes things sound cooler than they actually are (which may not be saying much). Anyhow, any attempt to explain my WIP accurately resulted in an obscenely long synop, so I settled for this. I'm beginning to think I might have the right idea with the synopsis - as in, maybe I should cut the parts I'm not mentioning and tweak things to be more like they appear to be in the summary. But I digress!

Without further ado, I introduce you to my big-boned WIP, FIRE AND ICE (working title).

Fifteen year-old Mina Iglacious has lived a sheltered life. She has never felt the effects of war, even though her country has been warring against its neighbours for the past twelve years. Isolated on the northern tip of the Peninsula, her village has been safe from the bombs, famine, and draft notices that destroy the people living inland.

But all good things must come to an end.

When their enemies ally with an adjacent nation and launch a fleet of warships to attack the country's unprotected northern front, Mina's home becomes a battleground and her own country's military become a threat. After over a decade of savage warfare, the army is desperate for new recruits. They will take anyone - elderly men, women, children. Mina.

Flung into the frontline fighting, Mina's only chance for survival rests in the hands of a young captain with a catching smile and knack for dodging bullets. But he also has a tendency to say things that shouldn't be said - things that could get him shot for treason if the wrong people heard. His officers say it's only talk; he's been in the fighting for a long time, he's lost a lot of people, his head isn't on quite straight anymore.

But eventually it begins to look like more than just talk and Mina has to figure out which side everyone is really on - and which side she's on.

Duh duh dummm! And there it is. A summary that is almost as flawed as the book itself. And my first cover seems to have lost its bluish tinge. But c'est la vie! I'm still quite fond of it. And writing this summary has given my muse an energy boost! I had best run off and write before it gets lazy again!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


After reading Sumayyah's blog post and completely agreeing to the point of wanting to amass a non-angry-but-rather-enlightened-and-empowered mob to march through the streets shouting the message, I started to get a vague little idea.

Valentine's Day, for all its misleading marketing schemes, is not a bad thing. I mean, it causes stores to be flooded with very yummy chocolate, which, theoretically, will all be discounted by Monday. Who can complain about cheap chocolate?

Also, it's a time to tell people how much you love and care about them. These people should not be and are not limited to one's significant other, but also include siblings and BFFs and parents and grandparents and so on and so forth -- all those people who have been with you through thick and thin, who have taken care of you through sickness and in health, who have given you pocket money and let you mooch off them when you had none.

Go give those people a hug and, if you haven't eaten it already, maybe some chocolate. They deserve it. :)

And that brings me to the point of this post. By combining these two parts of Valentine's Day (the yummy chocolate and the idea of telling someone they're appreciated), I have come up with this:

The ILYCYAAYB Award! (Which stands for the I Love You 'Cause You're Awesome and You Blog Award.)

Now, I have no idea if I'm allowed to do this -- make up my own random awards, that is. But I'm darn well going to try!

I hereby declare it shall be awarded to 5 people who I love 'cause they're awesome and they blog. And then, ideally, those 5 people are free to and encouraged to give it to 5 people they each love 'cause they're awesome and they blog, and so on and so forth, forming a big web of luvvles and fuzziness in the blogosphere.

And so, without further ado and in no particular order, I hereby force the ILYCYAAYB award upon the following 6 people (because I just invented a new rule that says you can give it to SIX people on Valentine's Day, 'cause I kinda couldn't narrow it down to five. *shifty eyes*):

Sumayyah! Because, you know, her post gave me this idea and she makes really pretty banners and cover art for other people's awesome blogs and books.

Amna! Because she writes awesomely hilarious books about really smexy Huldus and leaves so much warm fuzziness on my babbling blog posts.

Parametric! Because she is the madly-skilled all-knowing TWFT ninja, and she writes such delightfully dark teasers.

Race! Because she posts awesome videos on Random Day and writes about guys who are not only hawwwt but genuinely sweet and oh-so-lovable.

Emilia! Because she writes awesome books and actually comments on my mindless babbling and she makes really awesome cartoons.

Choco! Because she makes such awesomely shiny e-magazines filled with awesome twiftie writing and she read seven books in a week, some of which were really long.

New Rule: you must explain why you love each person and that explanation should, if at all possible, contain some variation of the word 'awesome'.

And there we have it!

Happy Heart Day, everyone!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Characters Who Lie

Are such a pain!!!

(This refers to the secondary characters and love interests who lie to the MC, not the MCs with dishonest streaks, since the latter can be a great deal of fun.)

Anyhow, when writing a first person POV, facts presented by other characters typically have to be taken at face value. Unless the MC/reader has already seen/heard something that contradicts what the other character is saying, or unless that character is a notorious liar, the things they say are pretty much accepted as truths.

On the one hand, this can be used to create some shocking plot twists. On the other hand, if you knock the reader's feet out from under them too many times, they're going to get annoyed. Even if you only do it once, if a shocking plot twist had no foreshadowing - a couple of events/bits of dialogue the reader can look back on and think, "Oh, now I get it!" - I think we run the risk of jarring readers out of the story and perhaps into closing the book.

And yet, if the foreshadowing spells out that Character B was lying to Character A, to the point where the reader is banging their head against the wall, shouting, "Why haven't you clued in, Character A!?!?" that's not good either.

Surely the possibility of a happy medium exists, but I find it can be very hard to achieve. We, as the authors, know everything. Sometimes it's hard to gauge what a clue or bit of foreshadowing will tell the reader. Is it enough? Is it too much? And then there's always the problem: would this actually happen?

Would Character B actually slip up and say something to make Character A suspicious? Would they leave the mysterious note lying around where Character A could find it? Would they be creeping around, going about their mysterious business outside Character A's window late at night?

In plenty of cases, yes, they might.

But personally, I've found myself having to say no a lot of the time. This is because, in my WIP, I'm dealing with not one but two very good liars. I've got one ex-Intel agent who was trained in the art of deception, and one military captain who's been lying to people like my ex-Intel agent almost constantly for the past seven years. Furthermore, both their lives are on the line, so they're going to be darn careful about what they say and do.

It's had me really quite stuck for a while, and it doesn't help that my MC isn't the brightest crayon in the box, so she doesn't question things too much. Which might drive my future betas insane - I really can't tell -- but anyway!

There was a point to all that ranting and babbling. Honestly, there was!

I want to know what you think of all this. What sort of hints do you give your readers about the things other characters are hiding? What sort of hints do you want as a reader? How clear/obscure do you like things to be, how long can you tolerate mysteriousness dragging on, and/or how badly annoyed are you when an author rips a plot line out from beneath you and turns it around in the opposite direction?

Let me know! I'm curious. :)