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A Short About Editing

Besides being a writer, I do a large amount of editing (which is part of the reason this blog goes into stealth mode for long periods of time).  And through the years, I have worked for a lot of companies, editing everything from novels to dissertations (in every style imaginable).  Recently, I came across one company: Paper True.  They seem like a great company, and to begin working for them, one of the requirements is posting a short post on my blog.

Paper true, found at https://www.papertrue.com, is a proofreading services that serves almost everyone.  In the past, I have enjoyed editing for companies like these.  Finding a wide array of people and working on all different kinds of projects is exciting.  I’ve read about mobile services in Indonesia and stock index comparisons in China and a 19th century British art collector.  The best thing about sites like paper true, at least from an editor’s perspective, is the range of work you can read through.

But it is not only the range of work that makes me excited for working at a place like paper true, it is just the editing itself.  As a writer, I have come to love (and in most cases need) pulling stories from my head and making them come to life.  As an editor, I have the chance to do this, and even a bit more.  I get to see others’ ideas, mold them, shape them, form the sentences to fit the messages, and tidy up the work.  As the writer, I throw everything out there and hope for the best.  As the editor, I pick up everything the writer tossed out and shape it into something wonder.  And truly, there is no better feeling.

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Writer’s Voice Contest

Query:

Dear Whoever Reads This,

Twenty-eight people have vanished in Greenton in the last two days. Normally, John would just watch the news with the rest of the city. But he won’t. Not with his mom being one of those twenty-eight missing persons.

But as John begins the search for her in a forest outside of Greenton, breaking laws and curfews, he discovers more than just missing people. John finds a classmate, possessed and covered in black smoke. Trying to escape from the possessed boy, John is attacked by a shadow person. He thinks he is done for, and as the shadow person’s tentacles are about to plunge into John, mysterious ice creeps over the ground, killing the shadow person.

But the ice isn’t there when John is in the car with his best friend, when another shadow person kills John.

John doesn’t stay dead long. He is reborn as an ancient, magic-wielding Lighbound. The other Lightbound tell him the shadow people and the missing persons are connected. Possessions aren’t uncommon.  But this many?  The leader of the Lightbound, Charles, tells John something big is happening, and if he wants to save his mom, he’ll have to control his magic, find the missing people, and stop the darkness before it kills the missing persons, the town, and even the world.

Lightning’s Rise (87,000) is a YA fantasy that incorporates elements of myth and legend (shadow people) and turns them into something unique and frighteningly real.  Lightning’s Rise is similar to Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising in that they share the supernatural elements in a real world setting and play with the themes of light and dark.

First 250

John pressed his back into the tree, the bark burrowed into his back, but he didn’t care about the painful itchiness.  He stared straight ahead and waited.  The ground rumbled as the National Guard trucks passed along the nearby stretch of highway.  There were five trucks in total, filled with men and woman who could stop in the nearby field, comb into the woods, and find John.  And then what would he do?  The rumbling grew louder.  He imagined them, camouflaged uniforms, rifles slung around their backs, dozens of them pouring into the forest.  His heart ticked faster.  John told himself they were only here to help, only here to help find the missing people, but it didn’t stop him from digging his fingernails into the tree, shoving bark bits under his fingernails.

But the trucks kept going, and John let out a sigh when the ground stilled.  He slid down the tree, his thing sweatshirt riding up and letting some of the wood rub against his lower back.  The leaves, a swirling array of orange and red and yellow, fanned in front of the blue skies, and John could almost forget there were twenty-eight people missing for two days.  He could almost forget the lack of sleep.  He could almost forget the hunger gnawing his stomach. He could almost forget the void he felt, the pure nothingness somewhere between terror and hopelessness he had had felt since the police came to his door and told him that his mom was one of the twenty-eight.

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Music and Writing

This is a post I think no one saw, so I thought it would be fun for everyone to have another look!

Living in Other Worlds: The Life of a Fantasy Writer

I think I mentioned I would talk about writing here, and I might not have gotten to it on the first post, but here I go!

 

 

 

Music and writing.  Do the two go together?  Is there some other catchy question I could throw in here? (DOES MUSIC GIVE YOU CANCER, FIND OUT AT 11!!!).

 

Simply put, I love listening to music when writing.  It drowns out any distractions (save for the music itself), but it also serves a purpose.  Certain music, certain beats and rhythms, give different feelings.  Try listening to a classical piece and a new Taylor Swift song, you are probably feeling different emotions, thinking different ideas.  For me, some songs just scream of a certain character.  I see that character with the song, and when I listen to the music, I can jump inside the character’s mind and really understand him or her…

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The Joys (and sorrows) of Finishing a Novel

For those following this blog, you may have noticed my lack of frequent posts. And if you look up at the title of this post, or hell, just keep on reading, you’ll see why. Yesterday I finished writing another novel (hurray me), and that has kept me away from blog posting. But now I’m back and it’s hard to say if that is for better or worse. Anyways, enough with the news part, let’s get to the main subject of this post: finishing novels.

Whether you are reading or writing novels, finishing them is a joyful sorrow. On the one hand, you have been reading or writing just to get to the end and see what happens. You’ve been waiting so long, so very very long to get that satisfying (or sometimes not) conclusion. But then you get that conclusion and there are no more words left. The characters you have grown to love are gone. Now what? This would be where the sorrow sets in.

This is a funny dilemma that happens in all sorts of media, from books and writing to movies to even the end of a favorite comic strip. We grow to love our characters (they aren’t just the creator’s characters, they become OUR characters as we live out their actions and pains and joys with them) and don’t want to see them go. What is a person to do? That’s a tough one. Sometimes I want to mourn their passing, other times I want to forget they even existed, but there is one method that I always find works well: move on. Find another book, movie, whatever it is, and dive into it. Find some new characters, new personalities, new dilemmas. You’ll be on the edge of your seat again, enjoying the ride while casually reminiscing about those other characters you almost forgot. And don’t feel bad, don’t feel like you have betrayed those old characters, because after all, it’s what they would have wanted.

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Part 3

Here’s the final part to the story we have been seeing. I guess it will be time to actually write some new content after this, the horror!

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The man stood by a candy kiosk, oblivious to the world around him. His eyes darted from the bright light pouring out of the ceiling to the shops filled with gaudy displays. He glanced at a small girl, who was even more oblivious to the world than the man. She grasped for the light like it was a butterfly just out of her reach. When her hand produced nothing, she stomped the ground in a fit of selfish rage and went over to a nearby window.
The girl stared in the window, possibly waiting for something, possibly lost in thoughts of teacups and unicorns. The man stared at nothing, most likely lost in thoughts of sex and everything but unicorns. They were almost one in the same, both space cadets on a tour of duty, except it was an acceptable job for a little girl, not a grown man.
A woman with a handful of bags and phone in one hand, and babe in the other stepped onto the escalator. She was staring at a shop near the top, her eyes filled with hunger and lust. There was nothing else in her world. At the bottom of the escalator, the little girl stared up at her mother. She danced from one foot to the other as though she had to go visit the little girl’s room. Her faced twisted into a writhing mess of confusion and pitiful fear. Behind her, the man’s eyes could only follow the mother and her swaying breasts. A line of people were gathering behind the escalator. Their bellies lumbered to a stop and their snorts, sounding from near pushed up noses, showed their displeasure. Some shoved and pushed, others tapped their almost cloven feet, while one was content stuffing his face with a pretzel.
A shriek, one that could have come from a small monkey, pierced the air. The mother finally realized her girl wasn’t with her, and at this point should have realized her chances at mother of the year were quickly fading. The little girl stared up at her mother with woefully big eyes. Tears dribbled down her cheeks. The man stood there, maybe not even realizing what was happening. His face contained a silly grin, one better suited on a dumbstruck teenage boy.
The mother came back down the stairs, stumbling over the steps as though she was drunk, though the odds of her being drunk were only in the 40-50% range. The girl reached up to her mother while the man ran his hand through his oily, dark hair. It was an olympic feat for the mother, in flip flops, to hop down the steps and reach the girl—or would have been an olympic feat if bad parenting and stupidity was an event. She was almost to her child, reaching out to her. The child reached back. The man stared at the woman’s cleavage.
A crash and cry echoed through the mall. The child, with her back on the escalator, screamed and cried as the metal stairs churned up and up. Her hair inched towards the gears, towards relief from her current, tormented cries. For a moment, her mother stood there staring at her, a dull, emotionless look on her face. The man had almost the same look, but this one appearing more like the dunce who had just been called to answer a question in school. The DUUHHHH was almost heard.
The woman reached down to pick up her child. The people behind watched, eyes wide, spectators waiting for the glorious blood. As the escalator kept churning, kept bringing the pitiful child’s hair closer and closer to the side, the man took a step forward, turned his head, and stopped. The mother finally reached down and lifted up the screaming urchin. She rubbed her head, the mother went back to staring at the shop, and the man stepped onto the escalator, eyes still glued on the mother. Just a day in the life.

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Part 2

After a little bit to digest the first part of the story, here is part 2.

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Sara squinted at the light, smiling and trying to grab the rays with chubby, squat fingers. For a second, she thought she had grabbed a ray. Lifting it to her mouth and stuffing the ray inside, she munched on it while moving it from one side of her mouth to the other. It was not delicious, not exactly what she had been hoping for. She frowned and stomped the ground, turning her head away from the brightness with a huff.
She felt like she was in a jungle then. Sara glanced from place to place, hearing the constant murmur and noise like a thousand birds calling back to each other. She liked the jungle, liked being in the heart of it. Letting out a screech, she called back to the birds. There was no reply. She waited for a little bit, staring at the clothes hanging in one window. Sara glanced at some of the other shops in the mall, waiting for that elusive sound. There was still no reply. She huffed again, spun around, and ran to catch up with her mother.
Before her stood a monster. The jungle had produced a horror. Sara stared at the grinning beast. It was a snake, constantly moving upwards, spikes coming out of its back. She stopped at the edge of it and watched her mother step onto its back. Up she went, riding on the creature’s back. Sara shivered, her skirt shaking with her.
Sara wondered how her mother could step onto such a thing. Did she know it? Had they made some kind of deal? What would be the price of stepping on its back? Surely a creature like that would require a toll just like the troll under the bridge. Her face contorted into a giant O. Sara thought the toll might be little girls. The creature looked hungry; all that moving must make it really, really hungry. She took a step back, not wanting to be eaten up by the creature. Sara yelled for her mother, tried to tell her to get off the evil thing.
Her mom noticed her and began waving, urging her to step onto one of its spiked ridges. Sara was frozen. She couldn’t imagine stepping onto such a thing. Turning her head around, she noticed a man standing behind her. He was short and thin and had a silly look on his face. Sara wondered if he was scared too, after all, his eyes were glued on the escalator.
Sara turned her head around to see her mother coming back down the creature’s back. She was coming to save her! Juggling her bags, Sara’s baby sister, and that glowing box, her mother had a difficult time going against the creature’s will. She reached out her hand, Sara reached back. Her mother took a step down, and Sara took a step back.
The world spun around Sara for a brief instant before a writhing, splitting pain overtook her whole head. She screamed, reaching for the back of her head. The creature had gotten her! It had used one of its spikes to hurt her, and now, it was going to swallow her whole. But she couldn’t stand, didn’t even have time to think about the creature and its twisted plans for her. The pain was too much to bear. It blinded her, blotted out the noise of the jungle.
Sara saw the man behind her. He took a step forward. He stopped, turned his head to the side, and stared at her. Sara screamed even louder. The pain punched every part of her body and she knew soon the creature would eat her. A strong hand reached under her, pulled her up, and stood her on one of the spiked ridges. Sara, still crying and screaming, rubbed her head and knew she would hop up the stairs from now on.

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Back to the stories?

Seeing as how I have been pressed for time as of late (I find myself writing a lot, which I can’t say is really a bad thing as a writer), it’s time to back to the stories!  Here is a three part exercise turned story.  We’ll do part 1 today and the rest later.

 

 

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It was bright.  Sam squinted even though he was indoors.  From all the shops and their windows reflecting the bouncing rays to the vaulted ceiling that let in more light than a greenhouse in an arboretum, the mall was near blinding.  Sam blinked a couple times, wondered why it had to be so bright, and stepped up to the escalator.

A constant noise, the hushed murmur found during early afternoon on a weekday, echoed over the area like the sound of a distant highway.  Sam liked the quiet.  It wasn’t the same ear splitting noise that was usually there during the weekends.  There was still an occasional banshee like squeal from a little child, piercing the air and walls and humans.  As he stopped and looked at the kiosks while waiting for the people in front of him to step onto the escalator, he heard one of those screams.  His skin crawled, bubbling up and falling down like he was the vat of a witches’ brew.

In front of him, a small child and mother were just stepping onto the escalator.  The mother was young and thin.  Strands of slightly curled black hair cascaded around her shoulders.  Her face was narrow, pointed, discerning.  She was holding an infant in one hand, a cell phone and shopping bags in the other, all while trying to coax along the kid, something which was much like trying to get a cautious doe to take a couple steps forward.

Sam gazed at her for a moment, thoughts of a fun night, real fun night going through his mind.  He thought he saw her wink at him.  His mind did summersaults as he wondered what his next step should be.  Sam ran his hand over his head, fluffing his brown hair into place before taking another step forward.

He stopped just as he was about to step onto the escalator.  The small child was still at the bottom, unwilling to take the final step.  Sam could hear the complaints from behind and he could visualize the line snaking through the mall.  The woman was already ascending, oblivious that her kid was at the bottom and not coming up with her.

When the kid cried, an ear splitting noise, the mother turned around and noticed the problem.  She waved her arms as though she was a mix between a traffic cop and a crazed person standing on a corner screaming about the end times.  She tried yelling, tried more waving, but none of it worked.  Sam watched, more the woman than the child standing right in front of him.  She finally descended the stairs, working double time to fight the escalator.  The woman reached out her hand; the kid reached back.  She took a step down and the kid took a step up.

A crash echoed over the area.  Just as the woman stepped down, the child stepped up and tripped on her mother’s foot.  She tumbled backwards on the escalator, head smacking into the metal, teeth like points on the edge of the stairs.  A scream pierced the mall.  Sam watched as her hair dangled dangerously close to the side, to a near certain doom if her black pony tail was pulled into the churning gears underneath.

The mother danced on the steps.  She tried her best to pull up the child, but it was hard with no free hands.  The kid was still screaming, and still within a couple feet of Sam.  He watched.  The thought of helping passed through his mind.  Sam turned his head to the side, took a step forward, and waited for the mother to pick up the girl.  When the kid was safely standing on the stairs, sobbing and rubbing her head, Sam shrugged, thought about the possible wink again, and stepped onto the escalator.

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