Today Stefan and Mila had the moment below. Really enjoyed this. They did get a lot of information revealed to them which helped them. Stefan showed himself to the town as the King of the Lycaens, and the way he takes his responsibility for that to heart. It was just a brief moment, really, but I liked that it came about. Because often in these stories, those every day moments don’t come up. Those tiny things which we often overlook (as a writer and a reader) but that really bring the story to life.
I know that’s one reason I have discovered Stephen King draws me in so much. It’s because of those tiny details. Many times when I was really focusing on learning to improve my work (I still do, it’s just that those first few years I spent every last minute of free time studying) I’d come across articles and people who’d been in the story world for less than ten years, telling writers to trim down a lot of that. As in, skip the person drinking their coffee and cut it down for intensity. For speed. For this and that. But then go back to grab a book by Stephen King and you will see those are the fine details he includes. He doesn’t cut down sentences a lot for speed and impact. He doesn’t work over time on culling paragraphs just for speed readers.
Because that’s really what that is. Cut the book from 100K words down to 90K or 80K because then it’s more impactful. Well, in the Dark Illusions series, that was exactly what I did. Now I go back and I’m all, “wow, I took the life out of this story.” That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t weed out little details that go on and on and aren’t important to the story, but if you also cut out someone living their life, what’s happening is the setting is cut out. Those details of someone going up the stairs past that fading wallpaper? That’s a story. That’s saying that the person is going UP the stairs so it’s not in a one-floored home, or building. That fading wallpaper is saying that the place isn’t being taken care of for a reason. Maybe it’s saying the person is doesn’t have time. Maybe they don’t have the funds. Maybe it’s not their home to change.
All those tiny details that many might tell you remove, might also tell a story. That’s why it’s important to be discerning with everything. Don’t read a sentence like she walked up the stairs and past the fading wallpaper and think it should be removed. Sometimes, as Chuck Palahniuk points out, the better story comes from unpacking the sentence. To bring that story to life, one can instead say, as she ascended the stairs, the wood creaking beneath her boots that had seen better days, her finger slid over the fading wallpaper. Once that wallpaper portrayed a scene of a meadow and now it was mostly nothing more than a worn down piece of paper turning brown.
Off the top of my head so I could always make it better. But if you noticed, the word count increased, it didn’t decrease. It takes practice. Practice means writing, editing, publishing, repeating. One can always go back over old stories (as I’m doing with the Dark Illusions series) but it’s far better to finish the work to the best of your ability and then come back later on. Not hold onto that one story, write it, rewrite it, and five years later you’re still working on that one story. You haven’t been practicing how to write. How to get better. You’re spending time on how to rewrite and edit a story, which isn’t teaching you anything about how to tell a story.
It’s not teaching you when to cut a sentence and when to expand a sentence for more impact. Same as taking advice from those folks online who haven’t had multitudes of books published and are way down the line. I’m not saying that there aren’t exceptions or that you should even take my advice. I’ve been publishing books for five years now, or six? I’ve been writing much longer. But I’m still learning. Though that is one thing I have seen consistently from experienced writers. Those who’ve been at it for more than ten years (the only ones I take advice from) know that to write well and learn to write good stories?
Practice means writing and editing, then publishing that thing. Then doing it again and again and again. I couldn’t tell you half the stories I’ve told and I have more in my drawers. And under my bed. lol
It’d be like a basketball player only ever trying to shoot a basket in the small hoop at home. Never trying to get farther away, never trying trick shots. Just that one hoop, that one shot, and then telling people who played pro, how to do it right. He’s not stretching himself or attempting to practice more and more and get in front of people which also helps one practice. Not because critiquers are telling him how to do it, but because he’s learning far more in the process, which helps his game. His game too. Not someone else’s.
That’s the other thing. A writer has to find their voice. Not the random person online sticking to a template. Learn that template. Learn proper grammar. Learn proper storytelling. Then? Throw out the junk that doesn’t give you a voice. Your voice is in your text messages. Your voice is in your emails. Your voice is in comments online. That voice? That’s the voice readers want. Not a default template of some random person online. I don’t care if they make millions. You won’t (nor will I) make it if we continue to only follow their voice. Because it’s theirs, not ours. That boils down to how we tell a story, the grammar we use, and every rule that a critiquer will scream at you for. And trust me. No matter how hard you perfect your story. No matter how much work you put into the grammar, or a thousand editors do. Even these new “sensitivity readers” who make zero sense to me.
Even after all that? Someone will hate it and you. Just because. Or because the grammar they know doesn’t follow the rule you chose. Or the way they describe certain actions doesn’t fit how you do. Or because you have green eyes and they have blue. Not even kidding. I’m sure someone out there will be like that. At least one person (more than likely a good percentage of people) will not like your book, you, how you tell the story, and will say it’s wrong, you’re wrong, shall I continue this run-on sentence to make a point? 🙂
If you annoy people? If you have haters? If someone dislikes what you do? Good. You’re doing something worthwhile.
By the way. Someone will read the above sentence too? And tell me all the reasons it’s wrong. As in, no if someone hates you because you hit so and so? They have a reason and you’re not doing anything worthwhile. Taking what I said and only reading it how they want to, and in turn making it wrong on my part. See what I mean? NOTHING will be perfect to someone. Nothing. Get used to it.
Anyhoo, here is a great excerpt about the story I’ve been telling today. Love these two now that they’re able to be together. Twin flames indeed.
Stefan settled her into the booth, leaning in front of her face. Her eyes searched the scruff along his jaw, the beautiful mouth far too close for kissing, and just couldn’t resist the temptation. Mila slid her hand over his beard, the coarse hair scraping against her palm, then eased her hand back toward her, bringing his mouth to hers.
Beside her, Bianca cleared her throat and left them alone. Stefan kissed her so deeply it made Mila purr in satisfaction. It wasn’t just that the man could kiss. Though there was most definitely that. When they kissed after it’d been a while, it was like taking a deep breath or slipping into a warm bath. The feeling of coming home after a long vacation.
Kissing him simply made sense. In his arms was where she belonged. So when she kissed him after not having been so close in so long, they shared a breath and it restored her very soul.
“Never stop kissing me,” she whispered when he pulled away.
With a seductively firm tone, he asked, “You trying to seduce me little witch?”
Mila couldn’t help the huge smile that broke out. Her cheeks warmed beneath his hunger to devour her. This beast was all hers. “Always.”
Stefan’s attention caressed every inch of her face, taking it in with great pleasure and claiming it for his own all over again. “My beautiful girl. Seduce me any time. It’ll always work.”
“Mmm,” she purred. “I understand that too well.”
An innocent eyebrow quirked up. “I have that effect on you?” The faux shock made her laugh.
“Terrible. He’s just terrible.”
The laugh did him in and he kissed her until her body forgot it had been on the floor a minute ago with a massive headache. All she wanted was to take him home and spend the rest of their lives worshipping one another’s body.
When Stefan pulled away, he said, “I am,” with a deep rumble of the beast. “I can tell the thoughts in your head. I’m always up for that.”
Mila hated having to do it, but she pressed a palm to his chest, gathering space. “If we don’t focus, this café is going to throw us out.”
Stefan took in Bianca and Beth. They were attending the little things. Refilling the salt and pepper, napkins, and all the while pretending they weren’t watching Stefan and Mila. Which they were. Bianca smirked and turned her back to the two of them.
“I don’t see them doing so.”
“That’s because you’re mister sexy pants and they wanna gawk,” Mila pointed out. Mila took a deep breath, further pushing Stefan back. He obeyed and sat down on the other side of the both. She grabbed a napkin, attempting to use it as a fan. Stefan appeared too pleased with himself.
Today’s word count for Discovery of an Enchantress
Started today at – 14,794
Ended today at – 16,798
Total word count for today – 2,004