• Story Excerpts

    I break on the word

    Another in the long string of examples of my being mean to my characters:

    “She’s gone,” I break on the word. “They killed her. I tried, I tried to save her, but I wasn’t fast enough, and I barely got away myself. They shot me with one of their blasters. They killed her.” I’m shaking. I didn’t want to, didn’t mean to, but the tears burst through. Swaying, I realize my feet won’t hold me against this and lower myself to the floor, lean my head against the palm of my left hand and close my eyes.

  • Story Excerpts

    To do…something

    I have various tricks to help me not lose my flow when writing. If I’m going to reference a statistic that I haven’t looked up yet, if I can only think of a word sort of like the one I’m after, or I haven’t named a character yet, I put a descriptor of some sort in brackets. For example:

    The next days are an indistinct mass of noise. First there are the numbers. [521] dead. [23] missing and presumed dead. [314] wounded. Only [137] of us escaped unscathed. No, no. Physically unscathed. 

    Those numbers aren’t real world statistics I need to look up, I just need to double check that all the related numbers I mention throughout the novel make sense given the progression of events.

    Today, in looking back at a story I never finished, I found this and it made me laugh:

    We are going to [place] to do [something].

    In my defense, this is all the way at the end and is going to illustrate that my character has overcome the terrible things I inflicted on her and is ready for another adventure.

  • Story Excerpts

    A flailing arm

    I’ve been noticing similarities in my stories from high school and my more recent writings. It’s only the first two sentences here, but they still reminded me strongly of my novel:

    It was a scream that woke me.  A hoarse, panicked scream.  Followed by a flailing arm smacking my face.  And then a series of desperate sobs and the dull sound of hands and feet striking out against sheet and mattress.

    As a reminder, here’s the first paragraph of my novel:

    The scream is agonized. It cuts the cold air, the walls, the closed door, fierce like a siren, too loud and too close. It echoes in the chill that tickles my spine, in the shiver that embraces me. 

  • Story Excerpts

    Projecting my desire for solitude

    From a scene that ended up turning into a different scene, one this didn’t fit into:

    Buttoning my gray coat and turning the collar up against the wind, I walk parallel to the water, projecting my desire for solitude. Not in a way that will intrude on thoughts or conversation, but enough that anyone forming a telepathic link with me would understand. I want to be left alone.

  • Story Excerpts

    Clumps of glue holding things together

    The hole in him is gaping, so large I think I could see it half a world away. Fractured pieces are what remain and they haven’t been put back together right. Close, but not close enough. There are jagged edges, clumps of glue holding things together. He’s destroyed, maybe so much that the whole he’ll construct when he comes out of this darkness won’t have all the smoothness of before.

  • Story Excerpts

    Only one of them is Carson

    It’s probably obvious that I’ve spent a bit of time reviewing all the material I have related to my novel. Here’s the beginning of yet another scene that was never in the novel itself:

    There are five people in the living room when I come home. Only one of them is Carson. Not a profound statement, I know, but true.

    “Only one of them is Carson” makes me laugh. The photo above also makes me laugh. What is that? A stock photo of the Doctor with psychic paper?

  • Story Excerpts

    You’re coming with us

    Here’s an entire scene that never made it into my novel. Not even close. How not close? Paul was never a named character in any draft of it.

    The doorbell rings just after 1100. Discounting Dante and my followers, we don’t often get visitors. I set aside the book I’m reading and go to the front door to peer through the peep hole. It’s the man from the stabbing.

    <Carson, the guy you saved is here to see you.>

    I open the door, smiling out of politeness. “Good morning. It’s good to see you up and about.”

    <Okay. I just got out of the shower, I’ll be out in a few minutes.>

    “Hey. Good morning,” he extends a hand. “I’m Paul.”

    Shaking his hand, I step aside and gesture him in. “Eyan.”

    “Er… Thanks,” he stutters.

    “Please sit down,” I lead him into the living room.

    He lowers himself onto the couch. “So… I managed to get your names and address. I hope you don’t mind. I just wanted to thank you.”

    Considering how well known Carson is, his finding our address is not a feat to be wondered at. I settle across from Paul, on a lazy chair. “It’s my friend, Carson, you want to thank. He’s the one who saved your life. I was just with him.”

    Paul’s eyebrows go up momentarily. “I wasn’t unconscious the whole time. I remember both of you.”

    Yes, but you didn’t hear the silent conversation that proceeded my help. “Carson is really

  • The Way of Attrition concept image
    Story Excerpts

    The Way of Attrition: Chapter Three

    Happy New Year!

    Today I’m posting Chapter 3 of my novel. Here are Chapters 1 and 2.

    I’m continuing to have issues getting my chapters to load well in the blog so please let me know if you notice any issues.


    Chapter 3

    I’m awake by 0600. Rolling onto my stomach, I pull a tablet out of the top drawer of my right nightstand. Powering it up, I log on to the Filument, a vast network of computers connected by Lyril technology. All Chosen computers and mobile devices have seamless Filument and Internet access.

    <Access news,> I instruct. A list of recent unread items maximizes under the heading Chosen News. The top one is a reminder about the semi-annual artponere, asking everyone who is participating to contact the organizer. This event brings Chosen from all over the world to the San Francisco Shelter for an exhibition of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and an evening of music, theater shorts, and various artistic endeavors.

    <Send artponere reminder to Carson.> A list of Carsons appear under the heading, ‘Did you mean…’ None are Carson Wilde. An account must not have been set up for him. Knowing Davonte to be an early riser, I contact her. She agrees to my request, as expected. I’m out and back before Carson emerges from his room at 0702. He’s shaved. A simple change that does worlds to distance him from the Chair I found him in.

    <Here,> I say, handing Carson a telamp. It’s a

  • Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    Seems like you could use a few more lessons yourself

    Having watched Harry Potter movies 3, 4, 5, and 6 over the weekend has left me rereading some of my favorite Harry Potter fanfiction. There are stories I liked enough to turn into ebooks to read on my Kindle. They’re very different from the series and a couple of my absolute favorites include novel length takes on Snape adopting Harry. It sounds completely insane but it involves Snape being a better person than he actually was (and not being in love with Harry’s mom) and some stories pull it off in a really entertaining way.

    Anyway, I’ll be getting back to rereading Harry Potter fanfic after posting this conversation that never ended up in any draft of my novel:

    <You’ve lost your mind.>

    <You’re just full of hate and fear. No harm’s been done.>

    <That’s just because you were lucky. If it had worked you would have handed them more tools to use against us.>

    <If it had worked they would be like us.>

    <It takes more than just our abilities to make people like us. It’s everything else we were taught too.>

    <Compassion? Respect for all people and their cultures? Seems like you could use a few more lessons yourself.>

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    So far underground

    The Christmas presents are wrapped and I’m mostly packed for my long weekend in Fresno with my family. Well, as much as I can be when it’s Thursday night and I’m leaving on Saturday morning. Tomorrow, I’m having a pre-Christmas with a Sacramento friend. We’re also going to see Mary Poppins Returns, which I’m excited about.

    So the upside is that I’ve gotten things done that needing doing. The downside is that I haven’t worked on my novel today at all, and now it’s time to wind down for bed.

    Taking a break from novel related snippets, here’s a First Sentence:

    It’s gone all wrong. If we continue our ‘rescue’ they’ll kill all the prisoners before we can get to them. They’re ruthless, and why not? They’ve already demonstrated the manacled men and women are nothing more than chattel to them. What’s the harm in slaughtering chattel? It’s disgusting.

    Gallek’s stilled his fire, realizing the only outcome of pushing this stalemate, but the others haven’t.

    “Stop,” I say. I single command, not shouted, but they’re well trained. The shots cease, leaving us to the laughing jeers of the Sect as they kick the bodies of the prisoners they’ve already murdered.

    Jaled’s face lights up, following the sound of my voice. He can’t see me through the darkness and trees but he looks right at me as if he could. There are bruises all up and down his arms. His face is pale and drawn. His steel entrapped hands shake. It’s