Writing — The Craft

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Well, after a fairly long dry spell, I seem to have regained my mojo. I can’t really call it writer’s block because for some reason I couldn’t get motivated to even sit down and try to write, but recently I’ve returned to writing the third book in the Verado series – Blood Moon, and remembered why I loved writing so much.

As a writer, the characters we create become like family. You know them inside out and as they develop you come to love them more and more. In fact when the book/series ends it’s almost impossible to let them go completely.

One of the main things I love writing is conversation. Before I start I usually have a set image in my mind of the characters, where they are, what they are doing etc before commencing their conversation. I don’t, however, have much of an idea about where the conversation is going. I guess it’s just like life. I can know roughly what my characters are going to talk about and then they end up having an argument which changes the whole scene. Hopefully this makes for a better, more realistic story. After all, the worlds we create are designed to ignite the imagination and inspire the reader.

It’s been said that writing is like exercising a muscle. To be the best you can be, you need to write a little everyday and keep that muscle toned.

Happy writing 🙂

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And relax …

So I finally put the final touches to the first person edit of Véradó – The Workers (see page on the right.)

Months ago the suggestion was made that the story might be better told from the first person point of view as it would add a certain depth that it perhaps lacked at the time.

I won’t deny that it’s been a pretty hard slog and I’ve not managed a single pov as the story has to be told from several different angles so it’s now in multi pov.

I’m really pleased with the way it’s turned out though, it reads so much better now and the characters seem to have been brought to life so I feel they were a few month’s well spent.

In Mourning for Summer

I can no longer deny that the summer I so longed for is coming to an end. The heat I craved has gone, and clouds have taken up residence in the sky threatening to keep the sun hidden for the foreseeable future.

Okay, so it wasn’t a great summer here in the UK, but let’s face it, it rarely is.

There’s something special about autumn though. The natural beauty that takes us through those early stages, the leaves turning stunning shades of gold, red and brown. The cool blue of the sky (when it’s not blanketed in cloud that is.) Misty sunsets and the way the sun keeps to a lower path lighting the sky as a ball of fire.

I think everyone agrees that there is nothing quite like listening to the wind and rain buffet against the window-panes as we sit beside a crackling fire, all warm and cozy. Mmm bliss.

I always find it more difficult to get inspired in the summer. Perhaps the light nights and warmth do little for my chosen genre, or perhaps it’s because I just want to sit in the garden and lap up those rays. The extra time and darkness of autumn and winter seem to fulfill my creative requirements and get those juices flowing.

These pleasures may be short-lived as the season moves on and we tire of being cold and rained on, but it is certainly enough to keep me going for now.

The Storm

Walking along the white frothy shoreline, the breeze played her ebony hair like the languid branches of a weeping willow. As the storm clouds began to threaten, she turned towards the ocean. Raw, icy water lapped over her toes, numbing her bare skin. The air was heavily laced with salt, its caustic flavour filling her nose and mouth with each inward breath. The sun was almost completely hidden now, snared behind dense, steely clouds. Her eyes were drawn to her left hand, to the solid gold band occupying her fourth finger. The ring had resided there for ten long years. Its once bright, honey cast, dulled tawny by time. Slowly she eased it off, caressing the mark left behind. She drew it to her lips, where the warm metal rested for a brief moment before she kissed it and tossed it far out into the sombre waters.

“Goodbye, my love.” Her words were lost on the harsh ocean wind. Taking a few steps back, she sat down on the cool grey sand, filtering its rough grains through her fingers. The first drops of rain began to fall with a soft thudding, as the perfect round droplets burst open on the soft ground. Silently she sat staring at the waves as they abraded the rugged, Irish coastline. The rain came harder now, the sporadic thudding turned to the rolling of a snare drum. For an instant, the clouds lit up in a sea of brilliant white, outlining their erratic forms. Electricity pulsed through the atmosphere skimming her skin and causing the tiny hairs to stand up. She wrapped her arms protectively around her body, her wet clothes clung to her and goose-bumps were beginning to form. Standing up, she took one last look out at the desolate seascape.

“Rest easy, my Jonathan. Though the ocean has claimed you, I shall see you again. Some day, when my time comes I will join you, and while your soul burns in my heart, we shall remain together.” She pictured her husband, a tall rugged man, wiry black hair shot through with silver flecks and his skin toughened by a harsh life at sea.

A deep rumbling resonated around her, drawing her back to the present. Turning around she smiled at the faces that awaited her, two young children had been holding back whilst their mother said her final goodbyes to her husband, their father lost to the depths during the last storm of this nature.

Copyright J Lawrence 2011

A lunchtime Short; Something a little different.

Slamming the door of the patrol car, Officer Mitchell keenly stated, “This is definitely the right place, Taylor. Look, that’s Webber’s truck parked out front. I recognize the plate.” Gesturing to a door partially hidden by conifers he continued, “I’ll take the front door, and you head around the back. We can’t give him the chance to escape this time.” The two officers split up dividing their manpower as far as possible. Mitchell peered in through the obscured glass of the front door and pressed his thumb hard against the bell push. He listened for the faint sound of a doorbell emanating from somewhere within the dark, dingy semi. “Come on answer, you son of a …”

“Mitch … Mitch, I can see him, he’s in the kitchen and he’s got the kid with him.” Officer Taylor called with excitement.

“That’s it … I’m going in.” Mitchell threw all his weight against the front door. It didn’t shift. Once again he planted his body into the glass, with a loud cracking sound, the wood frame gave, and Mitchell was stumbling into the opening. “I’m in,” he called to his colleague. His heartbeat thumped hard in his ears as adrenalin raced through his system. He could hear the sobbing of a child and followed the heart wrenching sound. “Webber, it’s over.” Mitchell shouted as he ran down the hallway to towards the kitchen. Webber stood frozen, the girl was within his reach. Mitchell stopped for a millisecond to assess the situation before springing for the child. Webber grabbed her and pulled her into him. He turned and made for the back door. “No chance, you asshole, we’ve got you covered. Now give the girl to me.”

“You’re not taking her. She’s mine.” Webber fumbled blindly behind him with his free hand, locating a dirty carving knife resting in the sink. He grabbed it and held it to the girl’s throat. “Come any closer and she’s gonna die.”

“You know you’re not going to kill her, Webber. What you did to your wife is one thing. I don’t know, maybe she deserved it, but I know you won’t harm a defenseless little girl, your own flesh and blood. Even you can’t be capable of that.”

The girls sobs became hysterical “I want my mummy, please Daddy, please don’t hurt me.”

“Taylor, get in here. Now!” Mitchell cried.

“I’m right behind you.”

“If I can’t have her no one can.” Webber pressed the knife into the soft skin just above the neckline of his daughter’s pretty floral sundress.

“For God’s sake shoot him, Taylor.”

The sound of the gunshot echoed around the kitchen, blood exploded onto the window and covered the sink and drainer. Webber slunk to his knees; his weight dragged the girl beneath his bloody remains.

“Quick, we have to get her out of there,” said Mitchell as he heaved the dead man’s body off of the little girl. “I think she’s okay, I’ll get her outside, and you can deal with this mess.”

The sound of sirens confirmed backup was once again, just a little bit too late.

Major Point of View Change.

I know it’s been a while since I posted, but I’ve been busy giving Véradó – The Workers a major overhaul. I am currently working on changing the third person point of view into first person. Slightly easier said than done, as this novel is not from just one characters perspective. I think it will have to be told from three characters pov’s as there doesn’t seem to be any other way around it, other than to leave it in the third person.  My reason for attempting this drastic change is that it had been suggested that my characters were too distant from the story and to really get to know them would be to become them, so that’s what I’ve been attempting to do.

Okay so here is an example of before:

As she spoke, the tall dark haired man advanced across the courtyard towards them. He moved quickly, his long dark hair billowed behind him with the momentum of his pace. He kept his eyes firmly fixed on this stranger who’d infiltrated his clandestine organisation. Nicole was unnerved by his staunch approach. His frame was muscular and foreboding, she felt threatened, there was nothing subtle about him. His expression was cast defensively as he continued to glare at this stranger. Nicole held her breath as he approached.

“Anna… you haven’t introduced us.” His voice was deep but more gentle than Nicole had anticipated, his accent was beautiful; it sounded somewhat local, Mediterranean at the very least, and he spoke with urgency, so as not to give Nicole a chance to walk away.

“I was about to…” Anna gestured towards her friend, “This is Nicole. She came out here several weeks ago and we’ve been spending a lot of time together.” His eyes narrowed as he heeded the state of Anna, he reached out and brushed the wound on her face with the back of his hand. “Who did this to you?” he seethed. Anna didn’t respond, she turned to Nicole, a weak smile clinging to her lips. She held Nicole’s hand in an attempt to comfort her in the presence of such an immensely intimidating character.

“This is Marshall.” Her eyes flickered up towards him as she spoke his name.

And after:

As Anna spoke, my eyes were drawn towards the tall dark haired man, as he began to advance across the courtyard towards us. He moved quickly, his long dark hair billowing behind him with the momentum of his pace. I can’t say what it was about him that ripped through me but I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and he kept his eyes firmly fixed on me. I guess he saw me as a threat, a stranger who’d infiltrated his clandestine organisation. His frame was muscular and foreboding, I can’t deny that felt threatened; there was nothing subtle about him. His expression was cast defensively as he continued to glare at me and I held my breath as he approached.

“Anna… you haven’t introduced us.” His voice was deep but more gentle than I would have anticipated, his accent was beautiful; it sounded local, Mediterranean at the very least, and he spoke with urgency, so as not to give me a chance to walk away.

“I was about to…” Anna gestured towards me, “This is my friend, Nicole. She came out here several weeks ago and we’ve been spending a lot of time together.” Anna smiled as she spoke, but I could tell it was purely for my benefit. The man’s eyes narrowed as he heeded the state of Anna, he reached out and brushed the wound on her face with the back of his hand.

“Who did this to you?” he seethed. Anna didn’t respond, she turned to me; the weak smile clinging to her lips. She held my hand in an attempt to comfort me in the presence of such an immensely intimidating character.

“This is Marshall.” Her eyes flickered up towards him as she spoke his name.

Better?

The Craft – An Exercise in Writing.

Okay, so as an exercise I’ve been asked to write a short scene showing character through dialogue and action. This is my result. I’ve based it on the first Verado novel and may actually slot it in there somewhere.

Nicole stood with her back against the dry stone wall. She smiled and looked into Marshall’s onyx eyes where her own reflection stared back at her. Without a moment’s hesitation he clasped his pale hands around her tiny waist and lifted her up onto the rough stone ledge. The light breeze grazed her skin and carried with it the sound and salty flavour of the ocean. She leaned forward, twisting strands of his long dark hair around her fingers.

“What do you see when you look at me?” she asked, curious of Marshall’s perception of a simple mortal.

“Beauty and innocence, you are like a child to me.”

“I don’t mean physically. I mean when you look inside of me, inside my mind and my soul … what is it that you see?”

As he smiled, his icy teeth peeked through his pale lips. “I see life, vivacity, I see a warmth and passion that I’d long forgotten existed. You make me feel mortal again, which is something that I never dared hope for.” He lifted her chin and caught her eyes with his. “Please, would you tell me the colour of your eyes? I believe they must be blue or green because of their pretty pallor but I cannot discern their actual colour.”

“They’re blue, Marshall. Are you colour-blind?

“Yes. Since my transformation I’ve led my life in black and white. The only colour I can clearly see is red.”

“Red? That doesn’t make sense.”

The vampire’s eyes narrowed and his gaze fell from Nicole, a look of shame dulled his expression.

“Oh,” she said as the reason behind his impairment became all too clear. “I’m sorry, Marshall, I think I still have a lot to learn about you.”

“I know you do and I have told you before that I will willingly give you the answers if you give me the questions.”

“And I have so many questions,” Nicole breathed as she glanced around the spellbinding courtyard, the lanterns adorning the tree gently swayed back and forth with the breeze. She spotted Marshall’s family and her gaze rested on his brothers “Why are you’re so different to your brothers?”

“The twins are not my true brothers, Nicole. They are my family but not my blood. Joshua and Joel are from Norway, their long blond hair and fair skin tell of their origins. I was born in Turkey, likewise my dark hair and eyes are testament to my nationality.”

“And what about Katya?” Nicole couldn’t hide her unease at Marshall’s closeness to this stunning being. “She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Tell me Marshall … do you love her?”

“Of course I love her, I always will, but as my sister and nothing more. Katya came from Hungary, she was chosen for this life for her appearance. Her long black hair, white skin and piercing eyes were her creator’s preference. All of the vampires he made look just like her.”

“She’s so beautiful, I can’t help wishing I looked like her.” Nicole instantly felt ashamed of her shallow words.

“She may be beautiful but that has always been Katya’s curse.”