29 days to DragonCon, and counting

29DaysI’ve only named one of the dragons I’m taking to the con, because the other I’m giving to the auction. She’s got four toes on each hand, and glorious gold wings, and someone will be taking her home after she spent her first summer soaking up the vibes in my office, listening to the click clack of keys and splashing of the fountain.

I’m up to chapter six in my summer WIP, SKINS. My page count is at 55, and I’m a little embarrassed to still be introducing characters, but it is here that we finally meet Victoria, one of antagonists and a ghost from Fenix’s past.

Again, I break my goal of trying to start with dialog. We’re in a ways into the story, and that gives me a little more flexibility, and dialog begins in the one after this. It is admittedly description heavy, but I’m describing something that no one has ever seen, and I’m hopeful that keeps the reader refreshed and reading even as I drop in hints as to where we are. I’ve also used a technique where I start the paragraph with one feeling, (a lyrical description with long sentences that float) and ending it with a vulgar word to shock the reader and wake him or her up, not with the word itself, but in that it follows such lyrical sentences. This technique also gives the reader a good indication of the character herself, lyrical, but inclined to be blunt.


The right shade of blue didn’t exist in her palette, no matter how much or little red she mixed in. Victoria knew to the bottom of her soul what color an updraft had, but duplicating it with earth-based pigments was impossible. The swirls of differentiating air masses over London were stunning from her high-rise office, from the cool river holding a hint of sinking red to the breath-stealing, almost transparent white streaming up from the sun-soaked buildings. That she couldn’t properly capture it was an ever-present thorn. Frowning, Victoria added a tinge of white to make it passable, but as she layered it on the canvas, she still thought it looked like shit.

There you have it. Now show me the first paragraph of the chapter you’re working on. I’ve been enjoying seeing your work!



Filed under Drama Box

38 responses to “29 days to DragonCon, and counting

  1. Diane S

    sorry I am not going to Dragon con. I can’t travel or bid on your dragon.

    what the heck Never show my musings,,, be brutal Kim

    Megan Hunter was 5 years old when she predicted her parent’s death. Tears rolled down the slightly plump cheeks of a pretty five year old with dark brown grief filled eyes. Why had it not changed the outcome? Megan had told her parents that they could not, should not go to the dinner party. It would happen, she told them for the tenth time that morning. After two days of listening to Megan go on and on about the party, her father, Jeff Hunter was ready to tear his hair out. Carol, Megan’s mother and Jeff’s wife thought maybe it would be better if they just stayed home. After a half hour conversation they agreed to walk to the party that was only a few blocks away anyway so they would be safe from a car accident…

    • This is a great start, Diane. Never be afraid to show your work.

      You said be brutal, but really, it stands alone pretty good. I will admit that the shift from the first sentence, which is in the past, (she was) to the second, which feels like present, was a bit jarring. Maybe you could rework with starting with the second sentence, and get all the info in the first sentence worked in after?

    • Diane S

      I see where your going and agree it can use a reworking to get into the water and not jump right in. Thinking back I was trying to hook the reader. May have slammed them over the head instead. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Angie McPherson

    “Why are you standing in the middle of the hallway?”

    The voice startled Rachel out of her inner thoughts and back to reality.

    Rachel stared at Monsignor Rhodes and flashed him a tense smile as she slid a fallen lock of mahogany-colored hair behind her ear. She wasn’t ready! The trip outside – and her subsequent fall, including her time with Dominick – did nothing to ease her nerves.

    But the older priest looked at his open door down the hall and raised his brows. “I assume you have come to see me.”

    “Yes, Monsignor, I have.” The paper crinkled in her hands, and she quickly held it out to him.

  3. I took your advice and rewrote the beginning of Ch. 1 to show more of Odin’s character. I added in more conversation but also made Tora more of an active participant in terms of admiring the table.

    “This has got to be your room,” I said to Odin while my eyes traveled about the opulent room layered in gold and jewels. He simply gave a slight smile.

    A stunning gold chaise was against a red and gold-swirled wall with a luxurious gold canopy draped above. My eyes were drawn across the room to an intricately carved oak and cherry table with matching chairs for four. I went over and knelt down to inspect one of the table legs. My fingers brushed the wood as I studied the scenes depicting naked men thrusting swords into each other as naked women cried out in woe, while a large serpent wove about in between the men and women; it was horrific yet hauntingly beautiful at the same time.

    “Where did you find this?” I asked.

    “I had it commissioned. Unfortunately, four supposedly brilliantly talented craftsmen had to die while attempting to create it.”

    Eyes wide, I looked at him while my heart quickened in fear. “Had to die? Why?”

    “Because it wasn’t on par with what I considered brilliantly talented. However, as you can see for yourself,” he nodded to the table, “the fifth one lived.”

  4. Daegan sat in the chair behind his desk with a glass of his best scotch in hand and stared at the male sitting across from him. He didn’t want to take him to the condo. He didn’t trust him enough for that yet. Something just seemed…off about him.

    “So, just where have ye been all this time…Rourke. That is what she called ye, aye?”

    Rourke gave him a smirk as he leaned back against the chair. “Yes, that is my name…Dad.” He grinned wider as he saw Daegan flinch. “Yes, whether you like it or not I guess I am your son,” Rourke said as he looked around the office. “If I had known you were this well off, I should have tried to find you sooner. But…I just assumed you were dead. I mean…if my mother couldn’t be bothered to come find me, at least my father should have been trying…unless he was no longer part of the living.”

    • Oops…I copied the wrong chapter. That was the last one I posted. LOL Here’s the new one:

      At nightfall, a few days later, Daegan popped over to see Ember and the young. They were nestled in the den with Luna close by. The white wolf growled when he came into the room.

      “Easy, lass. I’m just here tae see Leo and the young.” Luna laid her chin on her front paws, those blue eyes of hers trained on him as if daring him to make one wrong move. “I think Kael was right. No one is going to mess with you with her around.”

      “Not a chance. She’s very protective of me and the cubs. What brings you by? Everything okay?”

      “Aye and nay. Has Ahnya been here?”

      “No. Was she supposed to?”

      Deagan sighed and ran a shaky hand through his hair. “It’s a complicated story.”

    • I like what you’ve got, Anya. You get into the action pretty fast.

  5. Hi Kim

    I didn’t realize you were on WordPress, I love your Hollows Series, it’s the perfect urban fantasy series that I look to for inspiration all the time!

    Hope its alright to share my WIP here it’s actually the first paragraph of my query!

    “All Zachary Nothing wants is to earn enough cash to impress his childhood crush Celia. But peddling his small-time magic skills for lowlifes and drug dealers brings him to the attention of some big-time crooks who want him to do something a little more serious: summon a demon. Before he knows it, Zachary finds himself caught in a war between good and evil that will force him to choose between embracing the dark side of his magic and losing Celia’s love, or joining the right side of the fight and letting Celia die.”

    • This really isn’t part of the exercise, Thomas, but if you’d like to play along, try rewriting it and lose a quarter of your words to make it more succinct. You’re going to want to keep your query down to one page, and you need room for the rest of the stuff on there, too, such as who is your target, how long it is, and what it is compared too. Just in a quick look, I can see several things you can lose and not short-change yourself. Have fun!

    • Hi Kim, sorry for being naughty with the exercise, I think I just got a bit excited and jumped the gun! Really appreciate you having a look and replying, most of what you said needs to happen to the whole manuscript too so I’m a long way from done, but I’l get there hook or crook. Thanks!

    • Just keep at it, Thomas.

  6. chellypike

    “How the hell am I supposed to collect my favor if I can’t find you?” Quinn hissed, her voice a tight whisper, her flashlight cutting a wide slice of landscape from the moon-silvered dark. She inched forward and hesitated, cringing at the crunch and pop of leaf litter beneath her thick-soled boots.

  7. kellcolb

    I cannot wait to see you at Dragon Con! Dead Witch Walking is my go to when someone asks me for a recommendation.

    Chapter Six of Tarbin’s False Prophet WIP

    “The wind threw Talia’s hood from her head. One of these days, she’d pay a tailor a small fortune to invent a hood that would stay when she needed its protection, which was often when the wind blew the hardest. The chill of the air off the water in late spring cooled the heat from the Light’s Daughter, but at night it chilled to the bone.”

    • That will be very cool to see you at Con, Kell. Be sure to remind me you took part in the first-paragraph madness so I can put two and two together.
      I like the description you start with here. I can feel the cold and her annoyance.

  8. Amber

    I wish I could go to the con! Just reading what you’ve written has given me some thoughts – like I often (almost always!) start my chapters with descriptions. I think I need to change things up!

    Chapter 6

    Jess watched the Beast as he left the hearth to stand by the door, shifting his weight as he seemed to waver between returning to his seat or to leaving the room in its entirety. “Follow me, if you will,” he said in a low, quiet voice. With a brief glance at Jess, he left the room. Tilting her head, Jess watched his retreating form before realizing that he’d meant for her to follow him. With a frown spreading across her face, she climbed out of the warm chair and trailed him. The knowledge that she didn’t know where he was leading her made her tension rise as she fell in step behind his massive form. Her innate curiosity drove her forward and helped banish most of the fear that lingered.

  9. Vampyre

    Have a great time at the con. May your dragon find a good home(lair?)

    I made some tea last night and drank about half a galleon of it. It was pretty good and strong I guess. I am finally about sleepy enough to go to bed.

    I was binge watching a show called SALVATION, on CBS. It’s about a guy that detects a rogue asteroid that will wipe out all life on Earth in 186 days.

  10. Retaliation -Chapter Six

    Ody stared at the door to her old bedroom in the Underground. With black paint and a small brush, she drew a large flower covering the entire wooden door. There were three leaves on the stem each with a name. Elek, her brother. Briac, her father. Neala, her mother. These were the first words she read in over a decade and the words she stopped to see every single time she came home as a teenager. How could she have forgotten her flower?
    “No one wanted to erase it.” Freya put her arm around Ody’s shoulder and she leaned into the woman trying to stop the tears.

  11. Cale H

    Morrigan was the first of us, the first hunter of the supernatural. Ironic, considering she was something of the supernatual herself. Morrigan was ageless, and also was considered by many to be a witch. You ever hear of King Arthur and Morgan Le Fay? Yeah, that was her. Morrigan had “gifts”, or depending on what kind of day she was having, you might get told they were more akin to “curses”, according to her. When asked why she hunted the supernatural, she would just give you a look and walk away. A look that said to never ask again, a look that made you regret asking in the first place. She never held it against you, but it was a subject that was off limits, to anyone.

    (Written today, or rather yesterday depending on the time zone, while at work during a slow moment between customers. I carry a small notepad in my pocket at work for when “ideas” pop into my head. Half the time I don’t know where they end up leading but that’s part of the fun. I am thrilled you are doing these exercises)

  12. Jennifer Vanderkamp

    Alastor’s POV
    If I didn’t know better, I’d think Adara was sent here to punish me. I can’t believe she tricked me, and went snooping in my book. Into my past. Okay, maybe I can believe it, she did follow me through the gates of Hell, but it’s still infuriating. And they say curiosity killed the cat. At this rate she better hope for nine lives.

    “How did she even know about the books in the Library of Life? Or that I, a demon made by Lucifer not born as one, would have one? And, where to find it? Or what my full name is?” My hand tightens on my horn as a more unsettling thought arises. “If I’m not careful, it will be my life that will ceace to exist.”

  13. Jhen Fry

    I’m having so much fun with this. It’s challenging me to really look at the beginning of each chapter and tailor it to best tell the story. Your feedback is invaluable, and validating. Thank you for taking the time to help us tell the best stories possible, and for taking the time to really share your process with us.

    Chapter 6

    I’m on koi number nine, a pure white one with pink eyes, Who I decide is now named ‘Isanagi’, when I catch the scent.
    It’s nothing growing in the garden. It’s a recent scent, warm skin and something heady and exotic. For me, it’s a completely unique scent. I have never, even in passing, caught this one before.
    I bow to the fish I’ve been naming.
    Why not.
    When I straighten, I slide my katana through my obi on my left side and secure it with a slight shift of weight, trying to focus in on the scent.
    For a moment it’s obscured by the smell of burning paper and tobacco.
    A cigarette.
    I turn and start walking across the bridge towards it. I follow it until I come to the forest of night blooming trumpet flowers. Poisonous as all hell, but they smell incredible.

    Why is it that the wickedly beautiful ones are always poisonous?

  14. SO EXCITED to see you at Dragon Con! I found out last weekend that I’ll be speaking on a fan-led panel there for Charlain Harris’ Midnight, Texas series (and on my birthday, no less!), and I can’t wait!

    For the line of my chapter I’m working on in my current WIP:
    “Get it out!” Emma Jane shrieked. “ Get it out now!” She skittered forward, frantically flailing her arms.
    Heart racing, I darted into the room to see what had caused her frightened reaction. Something the size of a cat and covered with feathers hurtled toward us, and I grabbed Emma Jane’s arm to pull her aside as it scrambled past. Wild chickens were common on the island of Kauai, but I had rarely seen one wander onto the resort—let alone find its way into one of the bungalows.

    • This is a wonderful first paragraph, Anne! Starting with action and dialog is hard to go wrong with. I like the hint of tension you end it with at the end.

  15. Ch6-Gordy
    The agency meetings are generally informal and quick and this one with Tate, Jimmy, Drew and myself is no different. Drew wired me rather than have it done at the police station so Tori wouldn’t wonder about my brief disappearance. Before we discussed details I mentioned I saw a baseball bat, a possible weapon even though Tori said she had no martial arts training. I also voiced my concern regarding Tori knowing nothing about the entire situation, unfair in my opinion and I’m sure there will be repercussions. Tate replied it was a police decision and will be their bust, in part due to her choosing a police department parking lot for her transaction.

    “Seriously, they still have their panties in a bunch over our collaboration with Iowa’s BCI?” Jimmy asked, shaking his head. “Also, she isn’t lying; she doesn’t need training to play whack-a-asshole with a baseball bat.”

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