Monthly Archives: December 2014

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave When Sloppy Writing We Conceive

Have you ever written the ultimate scene so exciting that you found yourself on the edge of your seat until the story’s climax? Only now has your cardiac and respiratory functions begun to retugnomern to normal?

It doesn’t matter the genre or sub-genre you write in; whether a battle on the dying world of Kroth or a horse race where the underdog wins by a nose or maybe a heroine is rescued in the nick… no, in half the nick of time.

Or perhaps the garden gnomes smash the heads of all the cute and cuddly bunnies as the precious little cottontails methodically destroy each plant in turn. You may find this murderous rampage a bit over the top, but consider the family’s hard work as they toiled in their garden to provide food for the upcoming year. Now, because of the selfish cute and cuddly bunnies, mommy, daddy and all six children have nothing but dirt to eat. They’re separated and placed in foster homes around the world. Due to a strange turn of events, they are united 12.7 years later. They form a national chain of restaurants that serve cute and cuddly fricasseed bunny rabbit exclusively. The youngest girl shunned the cute and cuddly bunny rabbit restaurant business and became a mercenary. Her specialty: tracking poison dart frogs in South America and under the cover of darkness assassinating them with poison darts.

Once the excitement of that perfectly penned sequence is over; your heart is no longer pounding; and your respiration is at an acceptable level, you pick up where you left off.  It was at this point that I learned a very valuable lesson. I learned this lesson because I did something really stupid. Through three-quarters of the book the pace was good, it kept your attention, it flowed well, had plenty of excitement and then it happened…that sudden attack of stupid.  The group of people I had just plunged into the muck and mire, through page after page of life-threatening situations, barely escaping by the skin of a scraped frog’s fang, emerged hardly unscathed, unbeaten and yes, victorious.

Then, I take these soldiers (male and female), chosen by God, while the reader is chomping at the bit for more action; the masses chanting (in my mind), “What next? What next? What next?

What next?” and I answer that question by taking these champions and placing them back on their safe ship (here’s where it gets really embarrassing) and have them talk over plans and make sandwiches.

Now, here’s where it gets really, really, unbelievably embarrassing. As ashamed as I am to share the details, I feel as though I must to prevent a travesty such as this from ever happening again.

These brave warriors talked and ate the aforementioned sandwiches for nearly 40 pages, and the sad part was that I didn’t realize what I was doing until it was, too, late. In all actuality, it was past, too, late. It had to be brought to my attention…Oh, if I could only flog myself.

My editor came close to having me committed, but settled for a complete psychiatric examination before allowing me to write another word.

Don’t let this become you. Oh, I know you’ve made mistakes, glommed up plots, destroyed story lines and shredded entire manuscripts just to achieve what physically equates to killing a character in the writing world.

I implore you to keep your characters in the moment. Don’t let that burly man slip away and slide into a pair of pantyhose. Crack the whip from the first word until the last.

And most importantly never forget that friends don’t let friends write stupid.

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Punctuation Punctuation Such a Foreign Word to Me

When you re writing do you ever have trouble with punctuation   I ll have to admit that on occasion it gives me a bit of a tussle   punctuationKind of like a pebble in your shoe   an itch you can’t quite reach   a grand piano falling at a rate of 32 feet per second per second until reaching terminal velocity the moment it impacts your head

You could probably say that grammatically I know sentences from start to finish   They start with a capital letter and end with a period   And before you say anything I never write a sentence that asks a question or in any way implies excitement

In all honesty I do alright with the basics but the other day I ran into something called a dangling participle grappling between a minus A coalesced and fragmentalized through the infinite sum of 2+2 equals the vernal equinox squared twice

Allow me to sum up my thoughts and feelings of punctuation in a poem I have entitled   please beat me with a baseball bat

There once was an author named Lynn
who wrote books with paper and pen
punctuate when you write said his peers with delight
else you re done before you begin

He stood tall against the assault
by golly it s not all his fault
these colons and commas and questionable marks
are determined to beat him right down to his heart

But these cads shall not prevail
my simple solution shant fail
they’ll be no more the wiser when I sneaks up behinds em
and deal the death blow were the sunshine don’t show

And now on the street its high noon
a show downs beginning to loom
the question mark laughs the commas just sneer
each one not knowing their end is so near

Then our hero Lynn makes a stand
with a number two pencil firmly in hand
he erases each line leaving nothing behind
the desperate struggle etched deep in his mind

As he saunters away in the midday sun he sees a small dot attempting to run
he picks the dot up and thinks in advance he shoves the black period into his pants
every beginning needs an end so i ll hold on to this and use it again
as for the rest of you guys you re just dust in the wind

So check out this post it s really quite weird I did the whole thing with just one period.

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New Feature, Short Stories

Dear Followers and Readers,

I want to thank you for your support. I have a collection of short stories I’d like to post for your perusal. On my normal blog  at the top of the page to the right there is a tab to view these short stories. I will post one every four to six weeks and give you a heads up when I do.

Thanks again.

Lynn

 

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The Arts: See Them In a Different Light As You Never Have Before or Ever Will Again…Probably…Maybe; but Maybe Not

Imagine the excitement an artist experiences when staring at a blank canvas. What to create; oh, what to create this time? Every color of the palette flashes through his mind. A landscape? A portrait? Something surreal, traditional or a young lady with two heads, four boobs, and three toes on all six feet? “Anything I wish,” he giddily, whisperers.carving stone

Then, there’s the sculptor. He inspects a large ball of rock (unfortunately, there’s no other way to say it) hard as stone staring back at him. Once the artisan decides upon the subject of his masterpiece, he knows all he must do is remove the material that does not look like the finished product. “Much easier said than done,” he muses.

Deciding upon his point of attack, a disastrous twist enters the recesses of his mind. In no way do I intend to detract from the painters unique skills: however, if the sculptor slips, his piece could be ruined after months of work. Whereas, the man of paint (I should think) would have much less trouble, initiating repair.

On the other hand… Wait a minute, I already used both hands… I’ll start over.

On the other foot, we have the author. Some spend a great deal of preliminary time forming the plot, developing characters, and outlining the entire book from beginning to end.

Others study diligently (forensics, espionage or military weapons and strategies) to ensure their novels are accurate and true to form for their readers.

I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I stare at the blank page with a vague idea and begin writing. I seldom know what lies ahead as I write in real-time. I’m like a parasite attached to my character’s brain, and wired into the nervous system. I see, hear, feel and make decisions in tandem as we move along. (My psychiatrist says I should be sporting no more than a dozen or so personalities by the first of the year.)

Writing adventure, science fiction, fantasy and the like doesn’t require much preliminary study to ensure accuracy. What I don’t have, I concoct, and accuracy is what I deem it to be.

Of course, there are instances from the world we live in that coincide with the world I write in (a dimensional crossroad if you will) that require that I bounce down to the library to assure continuity in my book.

And what author wouldn’t be proud to have one of their readers quote a statement or incident from one of their novels using that same novel to back up their quote as fact?

All this talk about the arts has set my mind to wondering (like that’s some kind of revelation).

But you have to admit that slinging a brush full of pigment across a tight piece of canvas conjures images of Tom Sawyer suckering the neighborhood kids into slapping white wash against an old picket fence.

This in turn brings about thoughts of P. T. Barnum uttering that famous line, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

I immediately find myself sailing toward the Midwest during the spring in tornado alley. It was here during the 1996 movie, “Twister,” that Dusty coined the phrase, “the suck zone.”

So by my reasoning (something you should avoid) if you dabble in the fine art of painting you will inevitably end up hanging in a tree, stripped naked by an F5 tornado, somewhere in Oklahoma.

It seems perfectly logical to me that if one ponders an ashtray masterpiece being carved from a 50 ton granite boulder, their next thought would certainly gravitate toward the first carver of stone.

The picture begins to fade and blur then refocuses on a primeval setting. Strange animal grunts and growls, active volcanoes, and huge fern trees dot the landscape.

Amidst the noise a small sound cuts through unscathed. Tink, tink, tink…Tink, tink, tink…Tink, tink, tink, tink, tink. Why it’s none other than Grog fashioning the first wheel from (who would have thunk it) a 50 ton chunk of granite.

“Hold on there, Grog. It seems you left the bottom of your wheel flat… It won’t roll like that.”

Tink, tin… “What you mean, ‘no roll?’”

“It’s got to be round its entire circumference.”

“What you mean, ‘cumfense?’”

“Never mind, you big dumb ape, it just won’t roll.”

Thus, the first stone carver changed vocations becoming the first serial killer, something about instant gratification.

And now (I’ve said this before but evidently it bears repeating since I don’t seem to be listening to myself. Do not begin a sentence with ‘and’) we begin the ending of this storied tale.

I am working on my fifth book. One has been published. I decided to forgo dealing with the publisher myself and attempt to acquire an agent.

“How’s that coming?” you ask.

Well, I guess it depends on how you want to look at. Agents receive as many as 500 query’s each week. They accept less than 1%. I figure I have more of a chance being struck by lightning while riding in a plane. The jet continues on safely, as I am the only one ejected over the ocean, still smoldering when I take the plunge. I am plucked from the water by a sport fishing club who specializes in catching Great Whites. The one negative, they’re out of bait.

But that only strengthens (once again do not begin sentence with “but”) my resolve not to give up. Because you never know when that slightly quirky agent forgets their medication one day, picks up my query and realizes a bipolar Dr. Seuss is exactly what they’ve been looking for all these years.

When that day comes, they’ll call me, “eccentric.”

Until then, I’m just crazy Lynn.

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Ho, Ho, Ho!

I have a friend who’s been after me to write a children’s Christmas story… I don’t know. Most of my characters have unusual attributes that wouldn’t easily lend themselves to a children’s story. nativityMaybe if that child were the spawn of two maniacal beings?

For this particular friend (who happens to be one of my best buds) I will give it a try, but I ain’t sure she’s gonna like it.

While we’re on the subject of Christmas… are you ready? We’re only about 2 ½ weeks away… Well, of course, you’re not.

Is the sky the limit? Or do you approach the holiday more conservatively? Is it cash on the barrel or “Charrrrge it!”

Are you making that large four-wheel purchase this year or possibly surprising that special someone with that ring finger rock that signals future nuptials?

Just remember, that diamond you’re encouraged to pay three months’ salary for is worth about a dime-a-dozen. The diamond industry is so regulated that they can turn a common gemstone into a rare commodity.

Here’s a suggestion:

  • Bash the bottom out of an old soft drink bottle.
  • Shape the selected piece on a grinder.
  • Polish alternatingly with finer grits of emery cloth until the desired sheen is achieved.
  • Cut a piece of pipe corresponding to the size of the intended’s left ring finger (this may be taken from any type of tubing, copper, brass, etc).

Once complete, you’ll have a ring every bit as valuable as its counterpart and maybe more so due to the originality factor. Then, just to reinforce your lack of conformity, slide the ring on her finger and lick her right square on the jaw after she says, “Yes.”

Marketing, marketing, marketing. I need to get a diamond marketing executive working on my book. Each piece of literature will come with a one-of-a-kind engagement ring of my design. I already have the slogan, “Every lick begins with Lynn.” …Nuff said.

Certainly, you have your decorating complete by now. Your Christmas tree trimmed and flashing in chorus with a massive display of exterior illumination. Together, they transmit a beacon to surrounding counties alerting them to your holiday presence.

I remember one year stringing thousands upon thousands of lights. My front yard looked like a passel of demented one legged spiders had descended, attempting to spin one bad web between them. Needless to say, they failed miserably. I believe it was around Easter before the lights were down and tucked away. Once again…nuff said.

Stockings on the mantle, Nutcrackers line the shelves, representations of practically every Santa Claus around the world and a few off  planet variations arespread about the house.

A Christmas village fills the entire fireplace hearth. Ceramic houses, angel hair snow, and pine trees add color to the white landscape.

I saved the best for last…

A large nativity scene outside and several smaller ones inside our home depict the very beginnings of a Gift. A Gift that would endure the cross, conquer the grave, and span the ages.

Merry Christmas!

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Dig’er up, Bob and Don’t Let it Bite Ya

Dinosaur_bones_kidImagine if you will, a world ruled by prehistoric dinosaur skeletons; the bones having removed themselves from the very stone that held them fast for eons.

In fact, the bone structure has undergone a dramatic change. Through the millennia, decaying bone material has been replaced with minerals causing petrification.

Personally, I prefer, “the Medusa effect,” but regardless of what you call it, turned to stone is turned to stone.

Had it not been for the daft paleontologist leaving an entire box of duct tape at the velociraptor dig, none of this reanimation could have happened.

As dense as dinosaurs can be, everything knows the endless uses of a roll of duct tape. The foot stone connected to the leg stone, then wrapped firmly with the versatile product. Repeat procedure until tape supply is exhausted. After that, pillage every hardware store of their stash and the rest of the story… well, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

See, that’s what you get when you start your back matter with, “imagine if you will.” This worn out phrase has the power to reveal the ending of your newly released novel without having to turn a single page.

What if… Hold the phones. Here we go again.

“What if,” is just as bad, if not worse, than, “Imagine if you will.” If you begin your back matter with, “Imagine if you will,” just the inclusion of the three words, “if you will,” exempts all the lazy people simply by giving them a choice.

“What if,” exempts no one, incurring a flood of readers who have determined the end, or something worse, from the back matter and see no reason to purchase the book.

As I am usually eager to do, I will offer an example to further explain my position that will hopefully quell any accusations of stupidity on my part. Sometimes this task becomes quite difficult so, please, bear with me.

What if an unusually large tarantula, a funnel web spider, and a black widow participated in a ménage-a-trios? Of course, the black widow would drag her undersized hubby to the event; not only for his little swimmers but as a shared meal for her female cohorts. You see, arachnids don’t smoke, but after a twenty-four leg free-for-all, ingesting male brain cells certainly fill the bill.

What if the product of this little sex-ca-pade ravages through the jungle, killing, eating and imbibing other creature’s bodily juices at will? Each time this creature feeds, it grows larger and more menacing.

What if this beast continues on a pattern of eat and grow larger every day? Maybe even twice or thrice a day? What will you do; what will you do?

What if this abomination were trampling through the woods searching for its next victim? There you are, sitting on a rock; rubbing your feet. A mouth opens, organic hypodermics extend, a single drop of certain death glistens as it falls from a fang point to the woodland floor.

What if a feeling of dread grips you in its steely embrace? The mouth clamps down bringing with it a crushing finality.

What if a ladybug lifts into the air happily munching on the arachnid mush filling her mouth? The same eight legged creature that could have given you an itchy bump had it bitten you?

Come on man, you can’t ask that many questions! We’re writing a novel not a puzzle book for the literary challenged.

It’s plain and simple, cut and dried, only one way out.  It’s like that itch down deep in your ear and simultaneously in your jaw that’s impossible to satisfy.

You either follow my wise advice and enjoy a successful literary career or dismiss my rants as the ramblings of a madman. It’s up to you. You hold the key.

Now, if you will excuse me, the first crop of lead paint chips is ready to harvest. Mustn’t be late, no, no that wouldn’t do. The Queen of Pismoania would give me such a smack.

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