Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

 The Official Six Sentence Sunday for 4-1-12 is upon us!  April, already!!  :-)  Showers and flowers, and sixsunday for another month.

This week, I return to Aaydan's Tale.  It will be in the hands of the publisher by the end of the month.  

In this snippet, a glimpse at the complex and flawed man--Deamante.  The ruler is viewed as savior by some, an oppressive demon by others. 

At a meeting with his security council, he announced a higher level of official intolerance of the Albainns.  There are even darker plans in the works, though. Intolerance is not enough. Elimination is the covert focus.

"There are always sympathizers who will view this as an extreme and unnecessary measure.”

The aide said, without a hint of emotion, “If all is managed properly, the blame in the eyes of those same sympathizers will not lie upon your doorstep.”

Deamante dismissed the aide with a flip of his hand, then turned and walked over to the wide windows where he could see glistening red and pink rocks in the midday star-shine.

Harsh decisions were his job, and in reality, nothing about this decision made him feel good, save the one small benefit…the one animal that he could do without. 

But, inside of him, well-hidden, a tiny part cried. A tiny part that wondered how it had ever gone so wrong, and if there truly were blood to him—in that face that did not resemble his own in any way."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday for 3-25-12. Snippet from "Aaydan's Tale"

 Six Sentence Sunday for March 25, 2012 linky-list.

In this scene, Brendyn-- the great nephew of Deamante--the sitting ruler of the Dominion, is attending a meeting of  The Delegations. He was given no choice about attending. Deamante claims no children, and Brendyn has become next in line to rule--of which he wants no part.. 

"Unable to focus any longer on Deamante’s hate-filled words, Brendyn’s mind wondered, taking him to a place, and a boyhood friendship formed during his summers on a world that eschewed hatred. The spiritual folks who ran it had stressed tolerance, and saw to fostering a deep understanding within the young summer-visitors.

He pictured the face of Aaydan, and recalled how many times pain had been the expression...the pain of emotions he faced while being taught the reality in the rest of the Dominion.  The teachers had been straightforward with all of the children, and Aaydan knew that the future waiting on him was one of rejection, perhaps even physical threat. 

When looking at Aaydan, Brendyn had only ever seen the face of a friend; there had never been the face of evil.  But evil was the face that Deamante saw when he looked at an Albainn..."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lucky Seven Meme

I have been tagged by Kate Warren in the Lucky Seven Meme.  What is a meme? (Okay, not everybody knows--I didn't) *smiling*. From Merriam Webster.com : : an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. 

Although this is a fun idea, those whom I tag need not feel compelled to participate; I know we all have such busy lives.  But...you DO get to post a snippet of your WIP...and connect with other bloggers via this exercise :-)

The rules, straight from Karen's blog:

Once you are tagged:
*go to page 77 of your current WIP
*go to line 7
*copy down the next 7 lines/sentences as written and post them on your blog or website
*tag 7 other authors
*let them know they've been tagged

The seven I am tagging are:
Daniela at Idiots & Earthquakes A Writer's Blog
Tanya at Life's Like That
Jay at Jay Squires' Septugenarian Journey
Danielle at Philosophies of a Young Heart
Alison at Fresh Pot of Tea
Connie at Life in the Realm of Fantasy
Ashley at Ashley Barron
Wonderful writers, all!

When I am done here, I am heading back to the links on Kate's blog to visit the other Lucky seven participants.

And without further ado...

WIP--I am working on today:     Fractured     Scifi/fantasy

One would think that when considering the physiology of uprights... of bipeds, there would be an unfathomable number of blood types in the universe.  How unlikely that a woman of unknown origin, speaking a previously unheard language... would have a blood type in our library.”  

His assistant agreed, “It is a thing of marvel. It seems that the likelihood is much higher than common reason would allow.”

“The chromosome match is what is astounding to me--that her genome has already been mapped and is in our database.”

This was fun. I had not shared much of this one yet.  The ms. is not yet complete...and there are two that will be published ahead of this one.  I am currently editing "Aaydan's Tale" for FIBP, and trying to finish "Whistle Pig Hill".  But, today, "Fractured" is my WIP while I take a break from editing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Weight of Words

I think of this often; I wonder if most writer's do--or if it is a cause and effect thing?  Is there a catalyst that brings this concept to mind: we write the words, we release the words for public viewing...then we reap what the words have sown.

When I was younger, I gave little thought to the impact of my words, let alone those of anyone else.  I believed that my words had impact only if I intended it to be so. Naive...ignorant...a little of both, or maybe even a lot of both.

Age has brought many things with it; an inescapable caution about my words is one of them.

Sometimes, when I am ready to click "publish" right here on this blog, I waver.  Should I? Should I not?

There is no bringing them back once they are cast to the virtual universe.  And...I don't want to go the fight with people who disagree with me-- and have limited word skills when it comes to "voicing" their disagreement. Perhaps, once so naive and ignorant, I am just now older and tired? :-)  <-----  That smile was not a typo.

But...that is a small risk in compare to having written words that offend people.  The weight of words...  And offense is small in compare to lowering someone's self-esteem, or to have them view themselves in a bad light--over something a writer has released to the public.

We can't always avoid our words being harsh--sometimes harsh is needed, but not often. We can't help but occasionally offend people, or caus them to have a bad day.  It happens.  Sometimes the words are a needed wake-up call.  But, it is a pretty good practice--to weigh and measure the words we choose to  wake up people.  You do get better mileage out of other ways, other words. 

I have a hard copy of the manuscript of the very first book I ever wrote. It is on a shelf, wrapped up in brown paper, unopened since the day I sent off its twin via media-mail to a publisher.  I also saved the rejection letter that soon enough followed the nearly ceremonious mailing--well, it felt sort of ceremonious to me.

That was five years ago.  I think I might never open it...so ashamed I am of the writing quality.  I hope that editor didn't write my name somewhere, or enter it into a file that reads "Reject any ms. sent from Teresa Cypher."   The weight of words...

Those words were awfully heavy.  I made so many rookie mistakes.  By the time I mailed it off, I had been polishing it for two years. I was pretty sure that it was a showpiece.  Little did I know...

I was just standing at the threshold of enlightenment...the weight of words.

Since then, I have spent five years learning the craft of writing, and have learned so much I could write a book about it *attempt at humor*. Of all the things I treasure from my years of learning, practicing, reading, writing--and the opportunity given to me by that wake-up call a wise editor sent to me under the guise of a rejection letter, is this:  I think I understand the weight of words.

Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, essay, poetry, emails, facebook posts, tweets, and the list goes on and on and on...all words. And the words all have weight.

Where are you on this path to literary enlightenment--do you have a good grip on  the weight of your words?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Official Six Sentence Sunday for 3-11-12

This is the linky-list for this week's Six Sentence Sunday 3-11-12

W.I.P I am currently editing. Book I of the Flesh Trilogy.

And like so many people who--in the silence of pre-sleep, cannot keep the ghosts of the past from appearing to them, his ghost came…he saw her.

She was beautiful…but…it had to be. He could not have lived with that abomination born of her body. And all could clearly see there had been a betrayal...there must have been a betrayal. Few things made him feel emotions that he could not control, but her ghost, the ghost of the only woman he had ever loved, made wave after wave of sorrow wash over him. For, rather than nurture their love...he had done just the opposite.

Reading With Which Eye?

The right eye? The left?

Nah. Not what I meant at all, even though the blog title produces just such a visual.

I refer to a writer's eye, or a reader's eye.

Just this morning, I had a conversation with my son and his girlfriend; it produced the question.  And, thank heaven, they don't run when the conversation turns to writing, reading and the ever-changing publishing landscape. They patiently listen and then offer their own thoughts and ideas.  Thank heaven--because I so enjoy and appreciate gaining a glimpse through a reader's eye.

My daughter, Zigzee, who does some writing, has a degree in English.  When she first began to read my work, she commented to me that she had a tough time shutting off her "writer's eye".  The grammar and punctuation mistakes were glaring to her.

I didn't understand, at first.  But after nearly a decade of studying the craft, and writing, writing, writing, I too have developed the "writer's eye".  But, thankfully, my writer's eye is not so dominant that I can't still see out of my reader's eye. I think that helps me to read work that has been less than professionally edited.

Online, I interact with a lot of writers and authors, sharing opinions, ideas, and views.  But to me, this personal interaction--like this morning, is even more telling--and arguably even more important: the view of readers. And when you get readers to talk with you--people who look at books using their "reader's" eye, you hear opinions that are rather different than having someone share their thoughts while looking through their writer's eye. After all, the readers are the end users of a writer's product. And if they aren't happy with the product, then they aren't buying it.

When this morning's conversation got to specifics, it turned to bad ebooks.  And we proceeded to dissect just what makes an ebook (or any book for that matter), a disappointment, or a "would never recommend" book.  What makes us decide that it is not very good?

My son's girlfriend, Bobbi--who reads tons and tons of books, told me that it is the sense of story that she values most. It is not punctuation errors that influence her opinion--with the exception of books that contain so many that they become a distraction.  She said that if a story is good, she will read it. But she does read excerpts--to check the nuts and bolts of the writing.

Then my son added that he reads excerpts of books when deciding whether to buy, too.  But, he is looking for a story. Not looking to see if mistakes were made in the writing.

POV...unless it is blatant head-hopping with shallowly developed characters, it does not bother Bobbi, either.

Then the discussion delved into punctuation, mostly.

I shared my experience of interacting with frustrated authors who aren't sure how to find their way out of the ebook glut--many written to a lower standard.  This was specific to grammar and punctuation, by the way.

During the course of discussing different books that we liked or didn't like, we had to admit that some of them included less than stellar punctuation, and a few even had misspelled words.

But, it came back to the story. Did it grip us?  Did the characters resonate with us?  Punctuation be damned (to an extent) <smiling> , we would even buy sequels by the same author.

Even so, for the errors to not become distracting, we both said that we required the author  to have a certain  level of proficiency in written English.

But...just what is that "certain" level?

A conundrum?


Perhaps not.

Our conclusion was this: writers who are well-educated in proper grammar usage, proper punctuation, and all other elements of our written language, are the most likely to hold in disdain, writing of lesser proficiency.  And we wondered if a side effect of that education and then increased practice of the craft, created a "writer's eye"?

Disclaimer: I don't write this with any kind of judgement of those writers.  How could I judge them?  I learn from them all and am quite grateful for that. I bow to their knowledge--and the hard work it took for them to acquire it.

Nor do I judge any writer--I like to think that we all write to the best of our ability.  And if we are lacking, we constantly strive to educate ourselves...to enable ourselves to produce better and better writing. There is always an audience to be found. The karma is this: the size of that audience is likely determined by just how well we write.  But, it seems that "how well we write" might be judged just as much by the story itself, as it is by the vocabulary, sentence structure, and punctuation.

Above, I freely admitted that I don't buy books or read books containing so many errors that they are distracting to me.  And to those who hone their writing craft to perfection, perhaps, while viewing with a writer's eye-- the work of other writers, they are just as distracted by the mistake that writers such as myself-- and other less proficient writers, make.

The answer we came up with this morning is this: we rarely notice the mistakes of those more proficient than we are.  We aren't educated to a comprehension of when a mistake is even a mistake.  I really don't mean for this to sound like a tongue-twister.  To be thorough, The mistakes of those less proficient in proper writing... jump out at us. We see them because we comprehend them.

Now, to extrapolate from that,  it might help us when we are frustrated--to consider our audience.  The vast majority of readers, book consumers, and those who determine the popularity of any given book or author, are not holding degrees in English.

Thus, the difference in the eye one reads with.  Writers who read, readers who write, and flat-out readers with their wonderful reading eyes might all see things differently.

I know it hurts to accept that with the changing market due to ebooks surging, a lesser quality of writing (speaking of grammar and punctuation) might become the new norm.  But ultimately, the consumer drives the market.  Your thoughts?