Monday, July 30, 2007

Plans within Plans...and Packing for the Great Migration

I've been off the blogosphere for a few days because I've been packing. That's right. The autumnal migration of Bri has begun once again. Today, I reduced my life to five cardboard boxes, a laundry basket and a few rugs. I still have to sort through my art stuff, but everything else is packed.

While Sven is a (still) a complete jerk, I have kept ahead of the word count and made some wonderful discoveries in the story.

  1. My protagonist, a cool guy, has become doubly cool because of some responsibilities and goals I gave him. I was delighted when I realized how awesomely awesome he could be by changing just a few things.
  2. I've also introduced this dashing and sort of gruff highlander who becomes the heroine's right hand. He might be (slightly) in love with her, but I'm enjoying him so much I don't see much problem with it.
  3. I'm having a little bit of trouble with POV and exactly who should have those scenes and who can do without. Generally I work around about four POV characters (in limited third person), but if I have another one or two every now and then, I'm not sure it will hurt.
  4. I've also been considering my heroine's half of the story. As the hero's sister, she has to be pretty rocking awesome to compete. Quite unexpectedly, her story has become as cool, if not cooler, than her brother's. We'll have to work on this.
  5. The End of the Series is working itself out...
Which leads me to say that tomorrow, I'll begin posts on how handling my own series' various storylines and subplots (Tuesday), POV and character development (Wednesday), and theme and brainstorming methods (Thursday).

Otherwise, life is good. I'll post a video of the before and after shots of my packing rampage and probably a sketch or two from designs I've been working on for the past few weeks. Anyway, sorry I haven't been around much! I'll be around to say hi and comment later tonight, promise.

So say we all.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Snippet: 36 Hours After the End of the World

Alright. This week, we meet Iris Garrick, Dell's estranged long-time friend. She has no way of knowing she (and quite a few others) missed the end of the world. Hope you enjoy! Let me know and leave a link to your own snippets! Also, if you want to catch up, links to past snippets are listed in the left sidebar under Dispatches.

Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. Etc.

The sun set low below the South Carolina hills and the world gleamed amber and ghost-blue. Iris Garrick stood in her studio doorframe, watching the stars burn through the cloudbanks piled up from the coast. She tossed her towel into the golden shadows of the glassed in room. She locked the door and took the winding side path down the hill toward town.

The last summer heat pushed down like the hand of God and Iris pulled her long burnt auburn curls into a fitful bun. Long strands escaped, but most of it tangled and stayed once the she wrapped the elastic band in a near-Gordian knot. Almost thirty-six hours before, the power had gone out. No downed traffic lines, no problem at the plant.

Cell phones all over town were dead and the landlines crackled with static. More strange was what happened when she tried to crank her car. The engine wouldn’t even stir. Iris knew there was no hope for the library’s desktops because of the power outage. But two things worried her more than anything. First, not even the battery power on her laptop would bring the thing to life. Second, the power outage and the death of every automobile in town occurred simultaneously, as near as she could figure.

As she came around the curve, she stepped carefully through the debris of one many wrecks strewn across the highways. She cringed from that thought. Those who wrecked their dead cars in town were lucky. But those on the country roads – those she heard from her studio – those drivers could not be saved. No ambulance. No helicopter. No phone to call for help. Nothing.

She wouldn’t think about that now. She couldn’t.

Passing the tree line, she saw the town’s baseball diamond and shielded her eyes against the sun. Children’s voices and the crack of a bat. The catcher leaned back on his heels as the ball arced high. Iris raised her hand and smiled. She palmed it out of the air. The catcher, a child of maybe ten, threw off…her mask, planting small fists on her hips.

A mop of black wavy hair spilled over her ears and plastered her forehead under the catcher’s mask. Iris almost choked. The girl’s frown and the jut of her chin brought life to memories Iris thought were six years dead. It was her face. Dell’s face. And that was when Iris made her decision. She would talk to Andrew. She tossed the ball back and ran.

She sprinted to the library instead of her little rent house squashed between two suburban monsters. The library doors and windows were shut: a sure sign Andrew was gone for the day. After the heat sweltered over them last night, he took scissors to his honey-colored locks this morning. That was a mistake she wouldn’t let him make again. His hair stuck out in shaggy spikes. No doubt, he wouldn’t stay in a library without open air.

With the day dying, Iris didn’t reach his home until after moonrise. She saw him before he saw her. Crossing the yard, a stack of books under his arm, Andrew paused. Moonlight dusted his blond hair and sweat-darkened shirt. He saw her standing in the road and waved. She smiled helplessly. He came up close and she clenched her fists. She couldn’t stop now.

“I need to ask a favor, Drew,” Iris said. “I’m tired of waiting for news. We all know something’s happened. So I’m going to Ashville. And I need a horse.”
So say we all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Throwing up Road Blocks to the Creep of Apathy

For those of you who commented on the MFA post - thanks so much! It was very encouraging :) I gave a few answers to some of the questions you asked, at the end if this post. Also - thanks to Jess at Tudor's Desk for the Rocking Girl Blogger nomination!

In an episode of panic early in May, I feared my novel and series lost forever to the Charybdis and Scylla of Writing. Apathy and cynicism struck such a blow that I questioned the very validity of my story, my characters - even why I ever thought I wanted to write.

Since getting over that and plunging back into the novel's world, I've found my story and my characters again. I figured I should probably understand how I did it - in case it ever happens again. I'll start a series of posts on this after my Friday Snippet this week.

Also, sweating with Sven - I'll post more about that probably later today or tomorrow. It's fun. :)

I have a horrible habit of collecting beautiful notebooks and then becoming so intensely intimidated by their beauty that I never write in them. They sit on my shelf and regard me mournfully. They seem to say, Bri! Don't you love us? Don't you want to put pretty words on these pretty pages? Bri! And I shake my head and mutter something about being sorry.

And then, Joce, my long-time friend from VA, has a brilliant idea. We'll send each other our lovely notebooks, filled with poetry, newspaper clippings, critique and ramblings. They'll fill up with strange collages and we'll exchange them. Celebrate, you lovely notebooks! You are no longer empty! You are no longer devoid of purpose! Celebrate!

I know some of you have probably seen this, but I finid it absolutely beautiful and so decided to post it here. I've noticed there have been dozens of trailers for "children's fantasy" movies in the past few years, but this is the series I've been hoping they would adapt to the screen. It makes me wish I had an armored polar bear...that could talk.

Yes, I read up on Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. It is on my list for applications. Thanks for the heads up!

Yes, I am considering teaching creative writing. Currently, I work at the university during the school year helping students with papers and other creative writing projects. Luffs my job.

So say we all.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What it Means to Choose Wisely OR The MFA Debate

Sweating for Sven has not gone so well these past few days, and I'm not really sure why. I've had the time to write and I've had the ideas, but every time I sat down, I just stared at the screen.

One of the reasons for this is that I have been feverishly collecting information on graduate schools. Very soon I will apply to begin my MFA in creative writing in Fall of 2009. The fact that this will lead to the rest of my life and my career and my ability to live as an adult is nerve-wracking. I found about ten schools which fit the bill, but then I discovered something horrific.

I discovered that many MFA programs look down on genre writing: science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, horror, noir, metafiction, etc. (read: everything I adore about writing). Most encourage writing in the literary vein. My blood settled down like sludge and I thought maybe my heart was sitting on the bottom of the ocean floor.

But that was when I started thinking.

I realized my MFA was about more than my creative process or what I would/wouldn't be allowed to write for the next three years. Much more. My MFA was about me finding a job to sustain myself so that I could pursue my creative ideas - for the rest of my life.

I realized I shouldn't see the MFA as something that could possibly crush me or my desire to write. Rather I should see it as something that could be a step toward the life I want. I saw it as something that could help me were I need help and reinforce my strengths.

Some would say that I should find a school that allows me to write in my specific genre. Some would call what my decision a betrayal of my writing. Or a compromise.

I call it practicality. I call it reality. I also call it branching out.

So it doesn't really matter what "some" say. What matters most is that I'm no longer hounded by a sense of feral panic. I chose for me. And I think I chose wisely.

Only today has the urge to continue with Sven returned. I'll be caught up by tonight, but I hate getting behind.

So say we all.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Snippet: From the Mouths of Babes

This week's Friday Snippet picks up with Dell in the wasted city of Columbia, Missouri. Her friend Daniel is dead. After her apartment collapsed and killed the family who lived above her, Dell has taken the last Tailor child, Caleb, under her care. This one is a little longer than the others, but it reads quickly with a lot of dialog. I wanted to get through this section so that we could meet Iris next week. Enjoy!

Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. You know. Etc.

Dell hooked her arms more firmly under Caleb’s knees and paused in the center of a cratered street. The boy lolled against her back. Behind them, the mushroom cloud still clawed skyward. Dell was sure her lungs were full of ash and the dead. Caleb’s legs gave out two hours back and since she had carried him.

She wasn’t so concerned about that as the sense of vertigo that grew with every step and every squish of blood in her shoe. But she knew she couldn’t very well stop with the nuclear winds behind her.

That was when she heard the crackle of radio. She slid down the lichen-crusted side of a deep drainage ditch. Laying Caleb in the cool curve of a concrete pipe, she hunched in the shadows and listened. A jeep rumbled overhead and stopped just at the other side. She heard only snatches.

“Get out of this hellhole….fallout…not just here…St. Louis, Shreveport….Columbus, Richmond, D.C.” She slumped down beside the boy. Corleone curled against her and Dell heard her heart beat hollow in her chest. Surveying her two pillowcases, she made her decision.

No way could she take care of a child in her condition. There was not enough food. Not enough water. Not enough of anything. But she wasn’t going to a refugee camp. She wanted to settle accounts, here at the end of the world. She smirked at the melodrama.

The boy would get medical attention and food if she left him with FEMA or the National Guard. She bowed her head, covering her face with her hands. Crouching, she emptied the pillowcases on the dry walkway of the drain tunnel. She divided out the water and the food and what little medication she had. When she was satisfied that she would have enough to get where she was going, she packed the rest and set it aside for the boy. Her pile, she wrapped up and slung into the sheet with Corleone.

Dell woke the boy and forced him to sit up on the ledge. She pushed his sleeve up above his elbow. After fishing in her pockets, she found a permanent marker and uncapped it with her teeth. On his arm, she wrote his full name and address in capital letters.

“How old are you Caleb?”

“I’ll be nine on November 4,” he said. Dell added his date of birth and his home phone number. That was ridiculous, she knew, but it was instinct. She took his right arm, writing furiously now. Above, the engine rumbled to life.

“How many brothers and sisters do you have, Caleb?” She was careful to keep it in the present tense.


“And your dad makes seven to your family right?”

“We don’t count him,” Caleb said, dragging his nose across his sleeve. “But yeah." Dell scrawled 2/7. She capped the pen after adding a few more lines.

“What’s all that mean?” He was crying again. “You’re going to leave me aren’t you? I'll be all alone!”

"You're not alone," she said. She took the boy’s face in her hands and forced him to look at her. And then she lied. She hated herself for it, but she knew he could not crumble now in a drainage ditch. She needed him to listen. So she lied.

"I saw Joshua," she said. "I saw your brother. When the National Guard asks you, you say that you saw him. You tell them you're not alone. They'll try to find him. Understand?"

"He's alive?"


"Joshua's alive," he smiled, swallowing the lie and giving it back to her. Dell's chest ached with guilt.

“I need you to listen now,” she said forcing back bile at what she'd just done. She pointed to 7 MILES – SSE – G-ZERO. “This means you were seven miles south-southeast from where the bomb hit. Show this to the soldiers, and they’ll know how much medicine to give you.” She pointed to the O at his wrist.

“Do you remember last Christmas, when you got sick?” she said. "You needed blood and I gave some because our blood matched. This O means you have O kind of blood. Alright?”

“Alright. What’s the 2 slash 7 mean?”

“You don’t worry about those. The soldiers will know what they’re for.” She wrapped his fingers around the knot of the heavier pillowcase. “This is all the food I can give you, Caleb. You don’t give this away to anybody, you understand?”

“What if a grown-up asks for it?”


“What if they tell me–!”


“But I don’t want you to go," he choked. "I want to go with you. What if I don’t remember all that stuff you just said?” The car above was moving off. If she was going to do this, she had to do it now.

Next week, we pick up with Iris, Dell's estranged friend, 1500 miles to the east. Let me know what you think and be sure to leave your own link for me to read your Friday Snippet!

So say we all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Writing in Shades of Grey...With a Hat

After reaching today's word count, I wrote out some theme ideas and how to work them into the story. My characters use violence or pacifism - depending on their morals and what would better serve their causes. So, I've got a theme of creation v. destruction.

Most of these characters make these decisions based on their personal backgrounds. The protagonist will not always chose "creation" and the antagonist will not always chose "destruction." They will chose like any "real" person would - based on background, personal experience, and circumstance.

If they didn't, they would be typecast as "heroes" or "villains." And everyone knows that while villains are tons of fun to write, heroes can be boring and predictable. I generally detest the idea of writing a villain who is evil, only for evil's sake, or a hero who does good...only because it's the right thing to do. I know I sound like a cynic, but hear me out.

I enjoy characters who make these decisions based on human need, who are interesting flawed. I don't like characters who are motivated by high-minded ideals or gutter-deep depravity - at least not at first. I don't mind if eventually the protagonist gains higher goals or motivation, or the villain darker intentions and plots. I love the characters who deal with the conflicts as humans. Not as characters.

Obviously, both types of "good" and "bad are necessary - I just prefer one over the other in what I read.

  • Protagonists: Equality 7-2521 in Anthem, Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop, Howl in Howl's Moving Castle, Han Solo in Star Wars, Mal Reynolds in Firefly
  • Heroes: Robin Hood, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Superman, Captain America, Luke Skywalker
  • Antagonists: Jaime Lannister in A Song of Ice and Fire, Denethor in The Lord of the Rings, Deth in The Riddlemaster, Vicious in Cowboy Bebop
  • Villains: Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, the Borg in Star Trek, the Agents in The Matrix Trilogy, the blue-handed men in Firefly

So say we all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And I Saw That It Was Good...and I Was Glad

70 Days of Sweat - Progress!
Through this 70 Day Challenge, I've fleshed out my characters and developed a much stronger overall plot for the series. I've also gained a serious understanding of my fantasy world and found my voice fairly early in the draft. And seeing that, I peeked at the ending. And I was glad.

After getting ahead of my word count goal today, I examined what I wrote and saw that it was good. And I was glad.
Scene 1, in which violence and intense emotion lead to much greater conflict later in the novel!
Scene 2, in which where my heroine shows her true strength for the first time!
Scene 3, from which there is no going back, the point of no return
Ending a Series...
I've been considering Joely's post on series endings today. So, of course, I've thought more and more about the ending of my five-book series, XIII. I try to keep my calm when it comes to the ending. I've a long way to go before I get there.

But for the first time today, I dared to think of the ultimate end of the series - and I allowed myself moment to be completely psyched out about it. And I was glad.

The Beatles+Musical+ Vietnam+Free Love = The Lovely Clip Below! See Before You Go!

So say we all.

P.S. I have to get glasses because of eye strain. I was not glad. But it's ok.

Monday, July 16, 2007

90K for Sven: Of Writing, Canine Rage, and the Net

Because Sven Says!
Sweating with Sven has been one of the greater experiences for my writing. In revising XIII, I have found a stronger voice and much more enjoyable characters. Needless to say, I am pleasantly surprised. The word count is just enough every day that I don't feel rushed and can be incredibly proud of my prose this round of revision.

And I Will Show You Something Different...
A Handful of Dust is also coming along nicely. It's not part of the Sweat challenge, but I am serializing it every week through Friday Snippets (which, btw, are all collected and numbered in the left sidebar under Dispatches). So far, everyone seems to enjoy the story and I enjoy (read: have amazing amounts of fun) researching. This Friday, I'll leave Dell in a particularly difficult situation and next week Iris will be introduced. I hope you guys like her as much as Dell.

On the Miracles of Law Enforcement
In real life, I've had to call the cops on my neighbor's dog. Now before you say, "Oh, Bri, that's so horrible. Don't you like dogs?" listen to this. It barked constantly. Every. Single. Night. It barked from 1:30 AM to 8:00 AM. Talking to the owner did no good, so I resorted to desperate measures. And for the past two nights since the cops visited him, I've had solid sleep. Whoorah.

The Net is Vast and Infinite Lonely
I've gotten to know quite a few of the writer-bloggers in this little area of the net and had a blast. So, this weekend I tried to find a few other fantasy and science fiction writer-bloggers. Strangely, I could find very few who kept consistent blogs or who responded to conversation in their comments. Can anyone point me toward a blogger community of these sorts? Or are we it? The last stronghold of fantasy, science fiction and romantic writers in all the vastness of the Net? :D

So say we all.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Snippet: The Atomic Weight of Aluminum

After joining up with Sven to sweat for the next 70 days, this Friday Snippet almost slipped my mind. Without further ado, here is the Friday Snippet. We rejoin Dell in the back alley lot with Mrs. Tailor and Caleb after a nuclear blast has laid waste to Columbia, Missouri.

Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. You know. Etc.

Dell helped the older woman down to the ground and dropped to the dirt beside her. Before she could stand, Mrs. Tailor had her by the shoulders, fingernails biting through her jersey.

“Where are my children?” Her eyes were wild and bloodshot. Tears tracked white streaks down her ash-smeared face. Dell disentangled herself. Panic was infectious.

“I’m not sure,” Dell said. She gripped the mother’s wrists, forcing her to focus. “I’ll stay and look for them. But you can’t keep Caleb here too long. You need to get out of the city! Find a FEMA station or the National Guard. They’ll take care of you.”

“My children!”

“Look! If he stays here, he will die. You have to help him. You have to get him out.”

“You take him,” she said. She shoved her son toward Dell. “I have to stay and look for my children!”

She staggered toward the sagging apartment. Caleb buried his wet face against Dell’s stomach, his sobs muffled. She stood helpless, her hands at her sides. She choked for just a moment, and scrambled back from the fear creeping up in her chest. As she gripped the boy’s arm, her expression hardened. The apartment shuddered. She dragged Caleb after her, his fist pounding against her ribs. He screamed.

Daniel lay in the grass, his blood like paint splattered on the green stalks. His eyes mirrored a mercury sky. The fires crept closer and dying embers flared like cold stars.

Dell took the baseball bat from Daniel’s hand. The aluminum was still warm from his grip as she slung it through her belt loop. Her pants leg was heavy with her own blood. Fire lanced up her leg.

A few sharp cracks, like bones breaking, tore the air and Dell heard the east wall of the apartment cave. She slung Caleb in front of her, shielding him against her. The apartment collapsed in a roar of rolling dust and debris. Dell felt the boy’s heartbeat through his back.

She closed her eyes, breathed. She stood and the pain in her foot hissed. The boy clutched her hand, his fingers clamped on her wrist. Corleone mewed and the pillowcases swung heavy from her shoulder. In a haze of shock, Dell stumbled through the ruined streets toward wailing sirens. The boy on her arm followed, choking back his sobs with ragged hiccups.

Next week will probably be the last section with Dell for a while. We'll have a scene of Iris and Dell in college, and then we'll jump to Iris in the present, a few days after Doomsday. Let me know what you think! Also, if you're doing Friday Snippets, leave a link and I'll check it out!

So say we all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Post-Apocalyptica Magazine Reveals New Fashions!

My good friend Joce drew these for me last night and this morning. She's been keeping up with the Friday Snippets and has offered amazing input for Iris' character. The story A Handful of Dust focuses on the estranged friendship of these two characters and I draw on my real life friendship with Joce to write those moments when they are happy and how it might feel to lose that.

Also: I got out of jury duty. They picked all the jurors they needed from yesterday's pool, so my services were not required. Three cheers for the justice system.

Dell O'Sullivan
So far, I've only introduced you guys to Dell O'Sullivan, the baseball-loving nuke-dodging heroine who eventually travels across the wastelands of the US to find her friend and find a place to call home on the coast. Joce got everything into this pic - Dell's looks, outfit, (notebook, pencil, mail bag, baseball bat, WWII helmet and the cutest haircut ever). Yay! Dell in a rationalist, a minimalist and someone focused on survival.

Iris Garrick
Joce also drew up a sketch for Iris Garrick - the more artistic of the two friends. Iris comes to embody the "mother-nuturer" in the story and is much more focused on living - not just suriving. That is a 12 gauge flare gun she's holding, and Joce drew her perfectly. Nice coat too. I'm a little jealous. Iris doesn't have as much survivalist gear as Dell because she doesn't travel much. She stays in Ashville and Greenville in North and South Carolina, holding together her small community. Hence the not so minimalist approach.

So say we all.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Horror, The Horror

Thanks to MerylF for the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award! It's pretty, don't you think? I'll tag Annie (I'll answer the other four random things you tagged me with later this week!), Joce, Pam, Staci and Joely!

The Horror, The Horror!
I always get high-strung during this part of the summer: I feel like I should pack, that I shouldn't get too comfortable here at home. In just a few weeks, I'll move me and mine back up to Little Rock for another school year. With classes and thesis, applications to grad schools and the GRE, as well as my job at the Writing Center, this looks to be a busy year.

Designed for Living in the Writing World!
In the writing world, I've been working on a couple of projects at once, building up word count and coming up with some pretty cool ideas. I've had the urge to turn one of my sci-fi short stories into a novella or comic. My novel,XIII,needs to be revised with the addition of fifteen more scenes and I'll definitely continue A Handful of Dust for a possible short story.

PSA: Don't Use It As A Knapsack Or Pillow!
Today, I've been digging into what someone would need to do to survive a nuclear disaster. Surprisingly, if you know what you're doing, your odds of survival don't suck so bad (not that they're very good in the first place). If the initial blast doesn't get you, odds are, you'll survive.

What will get you is living in a world with fallout and radiation poisoning, where rule of law has failed and where meds, ammo, food, fuel and water are scarce.

I think what's most frightening in these "post-apocalyptic" books and movies is that, sure the environment is hostile and resources are low, but what we have most to fear is each other. Remember that scene in 28 Days Later when our zombie slayers meet up with "law and order"? I knew that while the infected were psychotic red-eyed rage-machines, the military men were infinitely more dangerous.

Same thing applies in Cormac McCarthy's The Road. You would think meeting other men, other sentient life, in a devastated world would be a good thing. But the most horrifying moments in that book (emphasis on horrifying), are those when the father and son encounter various bands of men roving the wasted countryside.

Speaking of Horrifying!
I've got jury duty on Tuesday.

So say we all.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday Snippet: Calm Like a Bomb

In this week's Friday Snippet, we continue the adventures of Dell. The story finds her in the back alley lot after the nuclear blast she narrowly avoided by calling in sick to work. Daniel's fate still hangs in the balance. Hope you enjoy! Let me know!

Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. You know. Etc.
She choked on heat and death when her first breath after the bomb rattled in her chest. Rolling onto her stomach, she clutched her screams in her fists. Grit groaned in her mouth, muddy with blood and sand. She wretched, quivering as she wiped her mouth on her soot-blackened sleeve. She hooked her fingers through the chain link fence, pulling herself to stand. Her bones ached and blood squelched in her left shoe.

But it didn’t matter. All that mattered was the smoke swallowing up the sun and sky, and the buildings like skeletons staggering through the flames. She couldn’t hear. She saw the flames and the crumbling buildings, but all was silent as a snow-dusted sky.

Water gushed from a broken main in the street near her apartment and the walls slumped in as though exhausted. Debris blocked the door. On the balcony, Dell saw Caleb Tailor howling. His mother rocked him, but her face was empty. Up the drainpipe and over the wrought iron railing, Dell climbed. She crouched beside them, but neither looked at her. She shivered. Stumbling through their apartment, she couldn’t seem to keep her balance.

Out in the hall, she used the wall for support. A dull ache throbbed behind her eyes and thick white dust coated everything. Blood tickled her temple and sweat stung her eyes. Each step was a cranberry smear along the floor. It was difficult to think, difficult to breath. She was vaguely aware of the panic hissing just behind the pain.

When she found her apartment door jammed, she shouldered her way through. The place reeled like a drunken nightmare; all the angles leaned just enough to add to her vertigo. She reached for Daniel’s pack and saw the ash and blood on her jeans. Her knuckles clinched white on the doorframe.

Corleone meowed, crouching where she left him asleep near the fridge. She knew she was in shock but it was a distant thing. The cat stretched: dust drifted off him like a cocaine cloud. The apartment moaned. In splintered frames, the windowpanes squealed and shattered.

Dell blinked. And then she moved. She slung her pillows from their cases, threw open the cabinet, and swept the canned goods into the first pillowcase. Snatching up the second, she threw in bread and what was left of the bottled water from the fridge. Knotting the two cases together, she slung them over her shoulder. With her sheet and blanket bundled under her arm, she ducked into the hall. Corleone followed.

Up the stairs and through the Tailor’s toy-strewn apartment, she hobbled. On the balcony, Caleb still whimpered. Dell tied Corleone against her with the sheet; he squirmed, but she ignored him. Kneeling, she gripped the eight-year-old’s arms and in her best shut-the-hell-up voice, snapped at him to be quiet.

The balcony trembled and Caleb screamed. When Dell pointed to the drainpipe, the boy shimmied to the ground without question. Fear quickened in her blood. Biting her lip, she waited until he was well out of sight. When she slapped Mrs. Tailor, the woman’s head rocked back as though on a hinge. Color rushed back into her clammy face and her breath came in a gust. She stared up at Dell, actually seeing her for the first time. Dell smiled.

So say we all.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

SOS - Doing Swimmingly Well - SOS

Yes, that picture is of me. I made it when the loa of the net decided to turn against me. And yes, that link does lead to an article on Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy because the two subjects are related.

Anyway, on Friday CableOne cut off our internet (read: civilization), even though we paid them six months in advance. Now it's back, and I have returned from the wilds. Rejoice!

To the actual post:
My hands hurt very badly. I think it's a combination of this horrificaly wierd weather and too much typing. Texas, most of the Tri-State area and the Okies are living/swimming in the Second Flood and still the clouds pile up in angry smoke-blue mountains. But! Other than witnessing a spectacular lightning show with earth-splitting thunder in hi-def surround sound, I finished the first draft of XIII!

And now I'm a little overwhelmed. I've established the fifteen most important scenes to the story, but now that I'm revising, I sort of want to curl up in a fetal position. Generally, I work by creating a long list of scenes I want to see in the story. Then I summarize, asking specific important questions. After that, I write the scenes out until I have a workable story line and prose draft. Anybody have any revision techniques or ideas?

Probably by Friday, I'll have a few pictures I've sketched up for the story and I'll post them.

So say we all.