Monday, January 23, 2017

Techincal Difficulties // your readers should need shock blankets

I live! So school has been eating my life away, more or less. I could give you all the normal, but unfortunately true, excuses for my absence.

 Did You Miss Me? #Moriarty #Sherlock Series three just ended and I already can't wait for series 4!!!!!!

 But let's not dwell on my absence and instead talk about writing.

Because writing rocks.

["Ashley, what the heck is your title doing?!"
What makes you think I know? I certainly didn't put that there. . .
Yeah, okay, I did. *Moriarty shrug*
Just go with it.]

Let's think about those scenes wherein the character is startled by something. A thing happens without forewarning. You know, suddenly. I often see the surprise given away through the wording.
Like this

Before Darcy could reach the door, it opened and slammed her in the face.

Or worse

Darcy was about to open the door when it opened of its own accord and slammed into her face. 

The words "Before Darcy could" clearly indicates that SOMETHING is going to stop her. And whenever you read a sentence worded with "[someone] was about to [do something]," you know that the character will not go through with what they are "about to do," or else the writer would've had the character "do it" instead of "about to do it." Something is going to interrupt the character, good or bad, small or big, funny or scary. The unexpected is going to happen.

"Ashley, why does that matter so much?"

Well, now we're expecting it. And if we're expecting it, it's not so unexpected anymore, is it? 

"Okay, yeah, but we don't want to jolt the readers."

 Darcy reached for the door. The knob turned by itself, and slam! Darcy staggered back and cried out. Tears blurred her vision and pain throbbed in her nose.

 Literally me. Between 26 seconds of new Sherlock last night, finding nearly naked Hiddleston pics from Only Lovers Left Alive, and the upcoming announcement tomorrow regarding the New Doctor, I'm a fangirl mess!

Why not shock or "jolt" the readers?
[I hate that word, "jolt." But it's commonly used by writers. Whyyyy?]

If you want to give the reader the POV character's experience, then why warn the reader? You're not going to warn the character. If the character is shocked, then shock the reader. Sure, they'll experience some confusion at first, but then so will the character. And as things clear for the character, things will, or should, clear for the reader too.

It's okay to jolt your reader, to take them off guard. If your intent is to have them experience the story firsthand like your characters, then do it. Especially if you're writing close POV. 

Just make the surprise happen like surprises always happen. Without preamble. 


Mildly related to this, be wary of using "suddenly" often. [It's a small pet peeve of mine. So I'm totally not biased.] If something happens suddenly, then there ought to be no time to say "suddenly." Using "suddenly" is a bit like telling us how it happened instead of showing us how it happened. You know?

But as always, there's two sides to this. Maybe you don't want to give the reader the POV character's immediate experience. Maybe you're writing in omniscient POV. Maybe you want to distance your reader from the character. Maybe you want the reader to observe the character's disorientation with full knowledge of what's going on. 


In such cases, giving the readers warning signals might work to your advantage. 

It's not about the right way to write, it's about the right way to write your story. [Which is how we should view most writing "rules." You know, if you ask my small opinion.]

In my last post, I considered writing about the advice I usually give when beta-reading. But instead of writing some post with an odd number of points on it, I could just break it up into multiple posts. You know, and have a writing tips series titled Technical Difficulties because I have no idea why other than it sounds cool. So yeah, this is that. Hope you liked it! Good day. 

I have this insane desire to get an orange blanket to wrap myself in while I watch The Empty Hearse for the first time. I think I will need it...:

What do you think? Is it okay to surprise the reader in some cases? What you do you regularly do to warn the reader or not warn the reader? Any tips?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Infinity Dream Award // tag time

Where these awards get their names?

Thank you Gennifer @ Ready, Set, Read! for tagging me! I love tags. As you all know, that's what I'm best at. I'm also not answering the questions because 1) I do what I want, 2) I have to give 11 facts and then answer 11 questions! People, that's just too much. Do you know how long a list that makes? *counts on fingers* *needs toes* *and elbows* I'd run out of appendages if this list was much longer, let's just put it that way.

The Facts

1) So I'm trying to be chill and all, but did you know that Sherlock is finally coming out in two days?

 Best Martin Freeman gif possibly ever...... I pinned this already?! *pins again*

But who am I kidding? TWO DAYS!

 Sherlock excited (gif) @Jim Schachterle Schachterle Moriarty  My Dear Jim why do you not have this one yet?

Do you know what it feels like?

My reaction to seeing a new photo of Sherlock

Is it time for a Sherlock marathon, or is it time for a Sherlock marathon? Come on, now. Smile everyone! [And if you know where that quote's from, I'll give you a death frisbee.] 

randomly smiling at the wall, you know, like when you're thinking about a scene you're about to write and your character's facial expressions come across your own face
[This is probably my favorite gif ever.]

2) Apparently, there's a difference between "a while" and "awhile." But I've always found it overbearing and mildly convoluted.

 Sherlock Sign of Three It Is

So I've never bothered to remember the difference.

3) The first book that scared me when I was a kid was There's a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Suess. . . Come on, don't tell me that Bofa on the sofa didn't make you nervous. And I always flipped the page with the Vug under the rug very fast. [In case he jumped out of the book to live under my rug. Oh, no. That wouldn't happen on my watch.

4) I want a Coca-Cola T-shirt. . .

5) Me after being social: "I did it! I actually talked to people, and LIVED!"

I get absurdly proud of myself; it's pathetic.

6) I love this Switchfoot song.

Oh, and this one too.

7) I'm awful at make- up. Sometimes I think, "Why bother? I can't put it on right, so just skip it." And other days I think, "But if I want to get better at it, I guess, I need the practice. Just not at eight in the morning."

basically me, in the early morning, aka 8am, yes that's early

Sometimes I put make-up on after coming home. Which is strangely more fun and relaxing than doing so before leaving. I could be nerdy and speculate why that is, but I'll spare you.

8) Sometimes I tell my self that one day I'll learn how to do my make-up with the perfect "smoke eye" [seriously, make-up trends have such odd names] But then I trade my make-up skills for the finer things in life like good books, good music, and good naps.

10) There's also a difference between the usage of "which" and "that." And do I bother to remember yet another highhanded, useless rule?


11) I might write this post titled If I Beta-Read for You. It would basically list most of the things I tell people when I beta-read. [Who woulda thunk?] But I'm still wondering if this is a strange and possibly pretentious topic. I'm not trying to be pretentious. I just want to put out useful information. You know, instead of being great at tags

So if you're interested in such a post, let me and I'll make it happen.

I shall tag people. But of course, if you want to thieve the questions and tag, have at it.

Skye @ Ink Castles
Emily @ Ink Inc.
Carly @ Books and Etc.

Here's the questions for your choosing.

1) What is the first book that scared you when you were younger?

2) What is your favorite snack?

3) What quote is your go-to quote and why?

4) What is the more recent book that left you smiling at the end?

5) What were you obsessed with when you were a kid?

6) Do you like French fries?

7) What does your favorite shirt look like?

8) What is your favorite breakfast?

9) If you could live in any era, when would you choose and why?

10) If you were to cosplay a favorite character of yours, who would you choose?

11) What is your current favorite song?

That's fun...but just sad too

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Around the Circiut World // Music Monday

 Currently, I'm at my parents for Christmas break. And it's rather nice. I have various friends to visit while I'm here. [Strangely, I do have non-internet friends.] But I also have things to get straightened out for spring semester, so not everything's fun and games, folks.

Today I'm linking up with Lauren @ Always Me for Music Monday. I recently discovered the Divergent movie score. I didn't really like the movie much? I mean, it wasn't awful. . . My loyalties lie with the book, okay? The score though is fantastic! Why didn't I listen to it sooner?

 A collection of posts

The fabulous Cait @ Paper Fury tells us about Australian bloggers and their habits. She also has a tutorial for origami stars! Lots of pictures [my kind of tutorial]. And I actually made one! Yes, one star and some mangled pentagons.

The Penslayer as usual is very helpful in offering this Simple Guide to Being Impossibly Awesome. Oh, and this other post about characters and prayer.

If you're into grammar, better yet, if you're not into grammar here's some grammar videos about various rules and breaking them. I love this guy and his articles. He's hilarious and against-the-grain.


This one by Nadine is about believing. I love how she chose a word to explore for the year instead of making a new years resolution.

I love, love Liz's @ Out of Coffee, Out of Mind post about a typical day during NaNoWriMo. If you only click on one link, make it this one. She also gives some awesome writing advice.

Miriam's I choose to be the moon is great and I love her various conversations with strangers.

Of course, I'm going to hand you another down by the willows post. How could I not?

And this book review by Emily @ Ink, Inc.? I really want to read The Secret History by Donna Tartt, guys.

Your friend here is only mostly dead:
[This is my new fav pin. If I randomly start giggling, it's probably because I'm thinking of this.]

Here's a thing I made from a series of photos for a bookstagram challenge. The prompt was candy canes and books, but I needed only one photo. So I thought I'd do something with the rest of the photos.

So recently, my brother wanted me to watch this movie called Prestige with him, and I loved it more than I thought I would. It's about magicians and REVENGE. [Don't look at me like. Revenge is a good theme.] Great stuff that. And now I kinda want to write a story about a magician.

 The Prestige Print By Anton Lundin:

And I recently saw the new Pete's Dragon which is so adorable! Just go watch it.

Oh, and I've been drawing lately. You know, because I took a drawing class this semester. I should've taken more photos of my portfolio for you, but I didn't think about it. 

 These shoes are from my sketchbook, but I drew a larger version for finals.

Sorry this one's so hard to see. I drew the kid with balloons after I finished finals. And I had more fun with it because I wasn't doing it for a grade. [Our professor was kinda harsh. . .]

So what have you been up to lately? Anything new with you? What have you been reading? Are you enjoying Christmas?