Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Trials

By Heather Simone

As I looked around the bare one room courthouse, built specially to house my hearing and the others that were surely to follow, I couldn’t help but to be reminded of the Salem Witch Trials. It had been a long journey up to this point. My lawyer had promised he would have me out in a matter of days when I was first arrested. Arrested on charges of sorcery. In this day and age I would never have thought that possible. But it had happened. To me and eleven others.

They were calling us “The Witchy Dozen.” A play on words of the old movie “The Dirty Dozen.” It was a horrible, silly name if you asked me. But no one ever asked me anything. No, people were afraid of me. Strange things had been happening in our little town and soon people began talking. Stories ran amuck that witches were in town and before long fear ran everyone’s thought process. So much so, that I had been rounded up with others who were not mainstream and dubbed a witch. We were charged with using sorcery.

There was even an emergency vote against sorcery nationwide. It was now a crime to use any type of sorcery. I, like the others, was placed in a white padded cell that was claimed to be a “sorcery free” zone. They tried us together in the first trial. It was soon decided that was a bad idea. All electronics in the building went haywire. People claiming to be experts insisted that we were separated and sent back to our cells. We were proclaimed guilty without the trial taking place.

Now, a year and a half after I was first arrested we were in a one-room, electronic-free, wooden courthouse in the middle of a corn field in Middle America. My lawyer had been successful in getting me a retrial. This place was built just for this occasion. I hoped he was as good a lawyer as he seemed.

“Your honor the defendant pleads, not guilty.” My lawyer was standing next to me sweating like a pitcher of lemonade in a Texas July. Funny. It was only in the mid-seventies today. The windows were open and a light breeze was floating through the windows to my right and exiting the ones on my left.

“Your honor if we may? I would like to have an expert examine the defendant before we proceed. I would like to make sure no one in the court is at danger.” Nice, the prosecutor was already beginning to place doubt in the minds of the jurors. They looked just as nervous as my lawyer.

“Denied. The defendant was already inspected before being transported to the court. The prosecution will begin their opening comments.” The judge looked nervously between the prosecutor and me.

Clearly, things were not going to go well for me. It was going to take a miracle for me to escape this. Or perhaps a little “sorcery.” …

All rights reserved. © Heather H. Simone 6/10/2010

This Short story was written for a contest with Writer's Digest.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quote of the Week #2

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Character Development

I thought since yesterday I talked about point of view I would talk a little about my character development today. Something about writing about point of view reminded me of the whole character issue. My two main characters came to me easy. It was the rest of them that have taken a little longer to develop. Some it has taken almost the whole book to develop.

Naturally my main female character meets a guy she likes, but there has to be a tug of war between the new interest and another one. I decided that there would already be a guy who was in her orbit. Writing dialog for this guy was a little more difficult than writing it for the main male character. I had an idea of what he was like, but he just had not developed into his own voice in my head, yet. About chapter 15 he came through loud and clear. As a result I had to rewrite for him. Starting clear back at chapter 2.

He is not the only character that I have had difficulties writing for. I started out with a group of friends that my main female interacts with. Some characters just did not appear like I had intended them to. Even then other characters who were merely supposed to be just extreme peripheral characters came into her close orbit. One character was only supposed to be discussed, but not really a friend of my main characters, but now she is one of her best friends.

Some of the characters that I have who are side characters in this book I have intended to become more important characters in future books in this series. Yes, I have decided that this will be the first book in a series. I have ideas for th next two books, but I have yet to figure out what exactly will happen in them or how they will unfold. Yes, I also know exactly what will happen to my main two characters in the end. I am not sure how many books I will stretch it out for, though.

One way I have found to work on my character development is to write short stories from these other characters perspectives. I mostly have short stories for my main guy, because the book is not from his perspective. But there are others from the other side characters. It's nice for me to see how they perceive what is taking place. This technique has also helped me to refine my story.

I find that it is very important to be able to describe my characters as thorough as possible. I want my readers to be able to get a good sense of what kind of person they are reading about. I know when I read I like to be able to picture the characters I am reading about. Therefore, I want to make this possible for my readers. Of course, I am finding that I have to go over and revise to make this happen in some cases.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Point of View

Another little hiccup I have found is whose point of view I wanted to write from.

I have two main characters; love interests - of course. At first my plan was to write from both of their perspectives in each chapter. I even thought of adding in a third perspective occasionally to add another side dimension so my readers would see more of what is happening on the peripheral.

That did not last long. I started my novel, but soon found that I was having difficulties linking the two. I was doing back story on one character and then current perspective on the other. Not working! I gave up and threw out the secondary main character's point of view; the guy.

I began writing from the girls point of view only in first person. About five chapters in and I decided that I wanted to use third person. Possibly because I was reading a book which was written in the third person at the time. I went back over the entire five chapters and changed everything to third person. Let me tell you: Time Consuming! That was only the beginning. After I read all five chapters in third person I cringed. It was not right at all. I had to revise everything again to return my work to first person. Had I only kept copies of the originals? Argh!

Currently I have 18 chapters almost complete all in first person from the perspective of one character. I did not throw any of the first person sections I wrote previously from the second main character. I have revised them and created several short stories from his perspective on his back story from these. Hopefully I will get my book published and then I may publish a book of short stories from his perspective and maybe others. We'll see.

Looking back I'm glad I went with the first person from only one character's perspective. I think it works better for me and the story. Although, other characters in the novel are trying to get themselves out onto the paper. I'm working on that; slowly but surely.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Picture #1

The best style is the style you don’t notice. ~Somerset Maugham

The Character

I thought I would discuss my characters for today’s post. I started out with two main characters and their abilities almost instantly when I came up with my plot idea. They both came into their own fairly easily. It was the supporting characters that have taken a little longer to come into their own.

So I started writing my novel with a rough idea about these characters. As I’ve written they have evolved and shown their true colors. Originally it was just my main girl and guy swirling around in my head. Not anymore. They are all beginning to speak. Some louder than others.

I read a piece in a book last year by one of my favorite authors. She talked about the characters in her series that I so love talking to her and being in her mind. Mind you this was before I started writing my own novel. At the time I thought she was a little off her rocker. Now I totally get what she means. Not that they talk to me, but they are there in my mind and very real to me.

I see these characters in my mind going about their own business. I can see how they react in different situations. When I finish my novel I will do one more big revision to it. I will go over it to make sure I have everything the way I want it before trying to publish it and one of those items is characters. I’m sure they will all be coming over loud and clear in my mind by then.

I’m almost to that point right now. To help me a little better I have started character sheets. I have all of the information I need on each character written down to help make sure everything is straight in the novel for that last revise.

I almost can’t wait for that to come. :)

I’m working on a photo to upload this weekend. I want to bring some more color and life to my blog. Have a good weekend.

The Outline

So I started my novel over a year ago, but it seems like forever ago. In that time I have researched tips on how to write a novel. One thing most of these websites have in common is that you need to have an idea and create an outline of some sort.

I have my idea!

I have my outline!

I’m changing my outline.

And changing it again.

And yet again.

The further I get the more I seem to change. My outline is something that I now like to call a fluid outline. It changes as my characters evolve and the plot unfoldds. I have scrapped the first 6 chapters at least three times each. I have either reworked them to fit a new turn in the plot or rewritten them entirely.

When I first started my main character was seventeen, now she is twenty-one. Characters were there and now they’re gone. New characters have popped up. Point A and Point B have stayed the same it’s just the path by which they have followed that has changed.

I like the idea of having an outline, but for me it has to be fluid. I had a hard time at first dealing with the idea of straying from my outline. I thought I had to make it work. Now the outline changes as new ideas pop up. The further I get the more clear things become. Hence, I am now reworking chapters 2-8. Maybe my next novel will begin in the middle and then I’ll start the beginning after the ending is all figured out. Eventually I’ll get this all under control.

Give me a break, this is my first novel.

Quote of the Week #1

I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”
— Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)