Show, Don’t Tell Lesson Pt II

81ImYB6fptL__SL1500_Two days ago, I posted an excerpt from R.S.Guthrie’s writing help book Ink. Yesterday, I shared a section of one of my Works In Progress. Today, I break it down, and I hope you tell me whether you think I succeeded in showing you what happened, or if I told you what happened.

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I stole along the hallway that lead to my former cell as I had when I escaped. I still didn’t know why it had been switched from the one closer to the arena, but didn’t really care either. Cool air from an unseen opening to the outside blew gently across my face. I soon found myself at the intersection from my previous journey through here. I wondered if I should continue forward towards the source of the breeze, or to my left and into the darkness. After several moments of indecisiveness, I resorted to eenie-meenie-miney-moe. I went left, into the darkness, with some trepidation. I had no idea what was down here. I was bothered by the fact that I hadn’t heard anything since I left Weijia on the elevator, and the dark silence was kind of spooky the way it seemed to lay heavily on me. As I walked, the air seemed to grow thicker, heavier and more ominous. Oddly enough, even though there was no light in the hallway, it appeared to get gradually darker. Just ahead of me, I heard a little boy giggle suddenly. I froze, the hairs on my body all standing at attention, goose bumps running over my body. The sound stopped with no echoes. I drew the sword I had gotten from a clan Silverhame smith. I was glad to have its weight in my hand.

I wanted to show Carter’s worry, and nervousness about being in this location again. I also wanted to show something was hunting him.

I resumed walking, and then I heard footsteps behind me. I whirled around, bringing the longsword up in a defensive posture. When I halted, the footsteps also stopped. I held my breath, straining my ears for any sounds, but there were none. I reluctantly began to walk again, but this time I heard nothing except my own heartbeat which had ramped up remarkably. The silence didn’t remain for long, however. Just ahead of me, I heard a baby begin to cry. I began to hurry, the fear in that young voice spurring my steps. The crying baby changed to a young girl shrieking, then a young woman screaming, then an old woman choking, then stopped. I admit, my nerves were now completely shot. I stumbled to a halt again, and simply leaned against a stone wall, trembling like I had a cold.

Here, I wanted to show that though Carter is scared, he’s willing to push past to help someone in need. And, I wanted to build the tension.

After I had caught my breath again, and regained my composure, I pushed against the wall, intending to go upright. Instead, I felt the hardness of the stone give way to the soft yielding of flesh. At the same time, I felt a long, wet tongue slide up the side of my face. I screamed in revulsion and disgust and thrust my sword at who, or whatever had just licked me. The only resistance my sword felt was when it impacted the far wall of the hallway. Malevolent laughter echoed through the darkness.

Here, I wanted to show his hunter’s power, and ability to get into Carter’s head.

A sinister voice whispered near my right ear, “If you do not study…”

Then, it moved to just in front of me and thundered,

“YOU! SHALL NOT!! PAAASSSSS!!!!”

As the booming of the abrupt shout died away, I started laughing aloud.

“Really?” I said, wiping tears of mirth from my eyes. “Are you really misquoting Lord of the Rings at me?!”

Here, I wanted to give the reader a small break from the tension with a little humor. I also wanted the reader and Carter to relax a bit.

There was no response. Still chuckling a bit, I resumed walking. I gradually became aware that I could faintly see the stone walls and floor of the hallway again. I walked further, and the light grew only a little brighter. I soon realized it was due to a mist that somehow hung in the air. After another five minutes of travel, it was like I was in an ethereal realm. I moved to touch the wall on my right hand so I wouldn’t get turned around, and my hand met nothing. I stumbled forward into the mist and landed on my stomach, knocking the wind from myself.

I took a couple of minutes to recover, not fully noticing the moisture that was sinking into my clothing. I finally stood, and when my clothing clung to me, swore. ‘Just what I fucking need: my clothes to be wet,’ I thought. I trudged across the sodden, muddy ground, grimacing with disgust with each step. I really hated the feel of wet deerskin against my flesh. Thunder rumbled off to my right, causing me to wonder if I had wandered outside somehow. A warm rain began to fall on me. Finding it infinitely better than the cold dampness that had already surrounded me, I paused to enjoy it. I tilted my head back to better enjoy the feel of the rain. I soon caught whiff of a familiar, coppery scent. I opened my eyes. Sure enough, blood was falling from the sky like rain. I heaved a sigh and trudged onwards. Ten feet later, I tripped over a stone block. I rolled onto my back, clutching my injured shin and swearing like a sailor.

With this section, I wanted to build the tension up in a hurry. At the same time, I wanted to gross out the reader a bit. 

Something made me roll rapidly to my right. The world imploded around me. I smelled ozone an instant before a shockwave sent me rolling further away. When the world ceased spinning, I sat up and opened my eyes. The mist cleared enough for me to see a blackened crater where I had been laying just moments before. ‘Okay, somebody doesn’t want me to continue. I must be going the right way,’ I thought. Curiosity had me check out the stone I tripped over earlier. I picked up my dropped sword as I approached it.

The stone looked to be ordinary granite. It was largely white with striations of grey and black. It was also polished to a high sheen. From the angle I approached it from, I couldn’t make anything else out. I walked around and froze, my heart in my throat. Claws had gouged out a name and two dates.

CARTER MARCUS BLAKE

10/9/20XX – 5/6/20XX

I must admit: seeing that freaked me out. For one, I never use my middle name. I can’t stand it. For another, I had an inkling that the second date was today. I heard a sliding step as if someone was attempting to sneak up on me. I whirled, sword up in a ready defensive position. There was no one there. I cautiously made my way passed the stone with my name on it and began to move faster, something telling me that time was running out.

With this section, I wanted to show the demon hunting Carter was a master of psychological warfare. I want it to seem like the demon has a way in the reader’s mind, too.

A large dark shape plummeted to the ground in front of me. I leaped backward instinctively. Lightning flashed rapidly, illuminating the newcomer in staccato bursts. It was one of the largest demons I had ever seen. It was crouched in front of me, black wings furled over its massive muscled back. It had four long, thick arms, the lower two of which were planted on the ground and two hugely muscled legs, coiled and ready to launch it into action. It had long and sharp looking horns sticking out of its skull-like head. An elongated, heavy tail swished back and forth like a cat’s. It watched me with glowing silvery orange eyes, licking its face occasionally. Its wings unfurled and began to lazily flap, stirring up a surprisingly pleasant breeze. The wings were black near the demon’s shoulders and gradually faded to red near the primary feathers. There was a stripe of yellow at delineating the covert feathers. Keeping its eyes on me, the demon slowly raised one of its arms from the ground, carefully moved it forward, and then lowered it. This movement was followed promptly by a matching step forward by its opposite leg. ‘This thing is stalking me,’ I thought with wonder.

Trying to show that I wouldn’t be intimidated, I twirled my sword before me, then snapped it down to my right. Outwardly, I was bold, ready to fight. Inwardly, I was nervous and scared as hell. The demon lowered its body, ready to pounce. I dropped my right foot behind me, turning to that I would present a smaller target and so that I could put more power behind my first swing. I brought my sword up into my left hand and gripped it lightly, yet firmly. The demon took another slow step forward, this time moving the opposite arm and leg from last time.

The demon launched into its attack. My swinging sword was tore from my grasp. Sword flew in one direction, I in another. I rolled a few feet, and lunged upright. The demon was on me in an instant, ripping and clawing at my flesh. I frantically threw up my forearms and knees to block its unrelenting assault. After four frantic minutes, I saw an opening and took ruthless advantage. It swung both of its right arms at my head. I ducked under the upper fist, blocked the lower one with my forearms and launched my right knee up into its jaw, staggering the monster. It roared in frustration and swung both its left arms. I landed in a crouch. When both left fists whistled through the air over my head, I slammed my left elbow into its right knee. The demon’s knee buckled as it bellowed in pain. It crashed to the ground. I rose to my feet and raced for my sword.

I want to show that just because Carter knows how to fight, due to his time in the arena, he’s not invincible.

I reached it, and took it gladly into my hands once more. I turned to the demon, ready to resume the battle on more equal terms. Moving faster that I thought possible, the demon charged. When it reached me, I found myself lifted in the air. The demon had each of my limbs in one of its colossal hands. It roared in my face and then flung me. I flew on a short, hard trajectory and crashed into a wall. My skull bounced against it, sending sparkles of light shooting across my sight. The impact knocked the wind from me and caused my vision to go blurry. My ears rang, and I felt nauseous. I wasn’t sure of where I was, or what had happened to me. I slowly pushed myself upright and saw two four-armed demons charging at me. I tried to get to my feet, but couldn’t seem to get my limbs to work together. The demon yanked me up and slammed me against the wall again. It began to batter me with its free fists. My body twitched and swung from the thud of its fists. It was interesting: I was able to feel the impacts, but I felt no pain.

I wanted the reader to know that Carter’s skull bouncing off the wall gave him a concussion.

The demon flung me away from it again. My flight was once more short, and remarkably, pleasant. The landing, a lot less so. Fortunately, the jarring landing served to clear the cobwebs from my mind. I rolled to my feet just as the demon landed hard where I had just been lying. Instinct had me rocketing my fist up to explode against its jaw as I shoved my feet against the ground to provide extra force. The demon’s head snapped back, and it crashed to the ground. Pain raced up from my damaged hand, grabbed a dance partner in my shoulder and did the tango in my skull to the tune of a throbbing headache. I tasted copper in my mouth and spat to one side. Blood and a tooth hit the ground.

“You bastard,” I said.

I looked at the demon which was just getting to its hands and knees. I ran up and punted the demon in its head as if I were trying to kick the winning fifty yard field goal at the Super Bowl with the entire New England Patriots defensive line attempting to stop me. The arch of my foot caught it on its jaw. My knee caught the side of its horn. The demon collapsed, semi-conscious. I collapsed, clutching my knee. I rolled around for a couple of minutes until the demon let out a gasping snore, reminding me of its presence. I got up, hobbled over to where I last saw my sword and picked it up, swearing under my breath. I balanced on my non-bruised leg and kicked the other one out a few times, trying to work the pain out. I gingerly set my foot back down and tested my weight on it. When it held up, I turned and limped back to where the demon was just beginning to stir.

In this section, I wanted this to show that sometimes, an act of desperation can win a fight.

‘Hey, I’m Dr. Gregory House,’ I thought randomly. The demon had pushed itself back up to it hands and knees once more. I poised near its shoulders, my sword held tightly in my hands. I held it above its neck and paused, waiting for it to come further up. As it did, I brought the sharp blade down with all my might. A scream of fury issued from my lungs as the longsword impacted, then sliced through, the demons thick neck. Crimson blood shot up from the stump like a geyser. It slashed against me, hot and delicious. I stood over the demon corpse, savoring my victory. My chest heaved as I thrust my bloody sword in the air and bellowed my triumph to the sky.

With this section, I wanted a bit of humor to give the reader a break from the tension, and at the same time, to show that Carter’s still affected by the head injury. With the last three lines, I want the reader to feel the same exhilaration that he did.

Well, folks, did I succeed here? Let me know in the comments below. If I did, thank R.S.Guthrie by purchasing his book over at Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. If I didn’t, blame me.

 

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Show, Don’t Tell Lesson Pt I

81ImYB6fptL__SL1500_Yesterday, I posted an excerpt from R.S.Guthrie’s book Ink. The section I chose was about Showing the reader the events of the story, rather han telling them what happened. When you show the events, it serves to draw your reader further into your story. Conversely, when you tell, you pull them out. I think I learned the lesson (am probably wrong), and I’m going to use a scene from my Work In Progress Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake, Book I to illustrate. I’ll post the section, then tomorrow, I’ll break down what I was trying to show. It’s up to you to decide whether I showed you, or if I told you. Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

I stole along the hallway that lead to my former cell as I had when I escaped. I still didn’t know why it had been switched from the one closer to the arena, but didn’t really care either. Cool air from an unseen opening to the outside blew gently across my face. I soon found myself at the intersection from my previous journey through here. I wondered if I should continue forward towards the source of the breeze, or to my left and into the darkness. After several moments of indecisiveness, I resorted to eenie-meenie-miney-moe. I went left, into the darkness, with some trepidation. I had no idea what was down here. I was bothered by the fact that I hadn’t heard anything since I left Weijia on the elevator, and the dark silence was kind of spooky the way it seemed to lay heavily on me. As I walked, the air seemed to grow thicker, heavier and more ominous. Oddly enough, even though there was no light in the hallway, it appeared to get gradually darker. Just ahead of me, I heard a little boy giggle suddenly. I froze, the hairs on my body all standing at attention, goose bumps running over my body. The sound stopped with no echoes. I drew the sword I had gotten from a clan Silverhame smith. I was glad to have its weight in my hand.

I resumed walking, and then I heard footsteps behind me. I whirled around, bringing the longsword up in a defensive posture. When I halted, the footsteps also stopped. I held my breath, straining my ears for any sounds, but there were none. I reluctantly began to walk again, but this time I heard nothing except my own heartbeat which had ramped up remarkably. The silence didn’t remain for long, however. Just ahead of me, I heard a baby begin to cry. I began to hurry, the fear in that young voice spurring my steps. The crying baby changed to a young girl shrieking, then a young woman screaming, then an old woman choking, then stopped. I admit, my nerves were now completely shot. I stumbled to a halt again, and simply leaned against a stone wall, trembling like I had a cold.

After I had caught my breath again, and regained my composure, I pushed against the wall, intending to go upright. Instead, I felt the hardness of the stone give way to the soft yielding of flesh. At the same time, I felt a long, wet tongue slide up the side of my face. I screamed in revulsion and disgust and thrust my sword at who, or whatever had just licked me. The only resistance my sword felt was went it impacted the far wall of the hallway. Malevolent laughter echoed through the darkness.

A sinister voice whispered near my right ear, “If you do not study…”

Then, it moved to just in front of me and thundered,

“YOU! SHALL NOT!! PAAASSSSS!!!!”

As the booming of the abrupt shout died away, I started laughing aloud.

“Really?” I said, wiping tears of mirth from my eyes. “Are you really misquoting Lord of the Rings at me?!”

There was no response. Still chuckling a bit, I resumed walking. I gradually became aware that I could faintly see the stone walls and floor of the hallway again. I walked further, and the light grew only a little brighter. I soon realized it was due to a mist that somehow hung in the air. After another five minutes of travel, it was like I was in an ethereal realm. I moved to touch the wall on my right hand so I wouldn’t get turned around, and my hand met nothing. I stumbled forward into the mist and landed on my stomach, knocking the wind from myself.

I took a couple of minutes to recover, not fully noticing the moisture that was sinking into my clothing. I finally stood, and when my clothing clung to me, swore. ‘Just what I fucking need: my clothes to be wet,’ I thought. I trudged across the sodden, muddy ground, grimacing with disgust with each step. I really hated the feel of wet deerskin against my flesh. Thunder rumbled off to my right, causing me to wonder if I had wandered outside somehow. A warm rain began to fall on me. Finding it infinitely better than the cold dampness that had already surrounded me, I paused to enjoy it. I tilted my head back to better enjoy the feel of the rain. I soon caught whiff of a familiar, coppery scent. I opened my eyes. Sure enough, blood was falling from the sky like rain. I heaved a sigh and trudged onwards. Ten feet later, I tripped over a stone block. I rolled onto my back, clutching my injured shin and swearing like a sailor.

Something made me roll rapidly to my right. The world imploded around me. I smelled ozone an instant before a shockwave sent me rolling further away. When the world ceased spinning, I sat up and opened my eyes. The mist cleared enough for me to see a blackened crater where I had been laying just moments before. ‘Okay, somebody doesn’t want me to continue. I must be going the right way,’ I thought. Curiosity had me check out the stone I tripped over earlier. I picked up my dropped sword as I approached it.

The stone looked to be ordinary granite. It was largely white with striations of grey and black. It was also polished to a high sheen. From the angle I approached it from, I couldn’t make anything else out. I walked around and froze, my heart in my throat. Claws had gouged out a name and two dates.

CARTER MARCUS BLAKE

10/9/20XX – 5/6/20XX

I must admit: seeing that freaked me out. For one, I never use my middle name. I can’t stand it. For another, I had an inkling that the second date was today. I heard a sliding step as if someone was attempting to sneak up on me. I whirled, sword up in a ready defensive position. There was no one there. I cautiously made my way passed the stone with my name on it and began to move faster, something telling me that time was running out.

A large dark shape plummeted to the ground in front of me. I leaped backward instinctively. Lightning flashed rapidly, illuminating the newcomer in staccato bursts. It was one of the largest demons I had ever seen. It was crouched in front of me, black wings furled over its massive muscled back. It had four long, thick arms, the lower two of which were planted on the ground and two hugely muscled legs, coiled and ready to launch it into action. It had long and sharp looking horns sticking out of its skull-like head. An elongated, heavy tail swished back and forth like a cat’s. It watched me with glowing silvery orange eyes, licking its face occasionally. Its wings unfurled and began to lazily flap, stirring up a surprisingly pleasant breeze. The wings were black near the demon’s shoulders and gradually faded to red near the primary feathers. There was a stripe of yellow at delineating the covert feathers. Keeping its eyes on me, the demon slowly raised one of its arms from the ground, carefully moved it forward, and then lowered it. This movement was followed promptly by a matching step forward by its opposite leg. ‘This thing is stalking me,’ I thought with wonder.

Trying to show that I wouldn’t be intimidated, I twirled my sword before me, then snapped it down to my right. Outwardly, I was bold, ready to fight. Inwardly, I was nervous and scared as hell. The demon lowered its body, ready to pounce. I dropped my right foot behind me, turning to that I would present a smaller target and so that I could put more power behind my first swing. I brought my sword up into my left hand and gripped it lightly, yet firmly. The demon took another slow step forward, this time moving the opposite arm and leg from last time.

The demon launched into its attack. My swinging sword was tore from my grasp. Sword flew in one direction, I in another. I rolled a few feet, and lunged upright. The demon was on me in an instant, ripping and clawing at my flesh. I frantically threw up my forearms and knees to block its unrelenting assault. After four frantic minutes, I saw an opening and took ruthless advantage. It swung both of its right arms at my head. I ducked under the upper fist, blocked the lower one with my forearms and launched my right knee up into its jaw, staggering the monster. It roared in frustration and swung both its left arms. I landed in a crouch. When both left fists whistled through the air over my head, I slammed my left elbow into its right knee. The demon’s knee buckled as it bellowed in pain. It crashed to the ground.  I rose to my feet and raced for my sword.

I reached it, and took it gladly into my hands once more. I turned to the demon, ready to resume the battle on more equal terms. Moving faster that I thought possible, the demon charged. When it reached me, I found myself lifted in the air. The demon had each of my limbs in one of its colossal hands. It roared in my face and then flung me. I flew on a short, hard trajectory and crashed into a wall. My skull bounced against it, sending sparkles of light shooting across my sight. The impact knocked the wind from me and caused my vision to go blurry. My ears rang, and I felt nauseous. I wasn’t sure of where I was, or what had happened to me. I slowly pushed myself upright and saw two four-armed demons charging at me. I tried to get to my feet, but couldn’t seem to get my limbs to work together. The demon yanked me up and slammed me against the wall again. It began to batter me with its free fists. My body twitched and swung from the thud of its fists. It was interesting: I was able to feel the impacts, but I felt no pain.

The demon flung me away from it again. My flight was once more short, and remarkably, pleasant. The landing, a lot less so. Fortunately, the jarring landing served to clear the cobwebs from my mind. I rolled to my feet just as the demon landed hard where I had just been lying. Instinct had me rocketing my fist up to explode against its jaw as I shoved my feet against the ground to provide extra force. The demon’s head snapped back, and it crashed to the ground. Pain raced up from my damaged hand, grabbed a dance partner in my shoulder and did the tango in my skull to the tune of a throbbing headache. I tasted copper in my mouth and spat to one side. Blood and a tooth hit the ground.

“You bastard,” I said.

I looked at the demon which was just getting to its hands and knees. I ran up and punted the demon in its head as if I were trying to kick the winning fifty yard field goal at the Super Bowl with the entire New England Patriots defensive line attempting to stop me. The arch of my foot caught it on its jaw. My knee caught the side of its horn. The demon collapsed, semi-conscious. I collapsed, clutching my knee. I rolled around for a couple of minutes until the demon let out a gasping snore, reminding me of its presence. I got up, hobbled over to where I last saw my sword and picked it up, swearing under my breath. I balanced on my non-bruised leg and kicked the other one out a few times, trying to work the pain out. I gingerly set my foot back down and tested my weight on it. When it held up, I turned and limped back to where the demon was just beginning to stir.

‘Hey, I’m Dr. Gregory House,’ I thought randomly. The demon had pushed itself back up to it hands and knees once more. I poised near its shoulders, my sword held tightly in my hands. I held it above its neck and paused, waiting for it to come further up. As it did, I brought the sharp blade down with all my might. A scream of fury issued from my lungs as the longsword impacted, then sliced though, the demons thick neck. Crimson blood shot up from the stump like a geyser. It slashed against me, hot and delicious. I stood over the demon corpse, savoring my victory. My chest heaved as I thrust my bloody sword in the air and bellowed my triumph to the sky.

Tomorrow, I’ll break it down for you.

Ink by R.S.Guthrie & Something I Learned From It

Not too long ago, R.S.Guthrie released a new book called Ink. It’s about the craft of writing, and how to get better at it. I wrote a review about it here. Look for “R.w.Foster”.
I got in touch with Rob the other day and requested to post an excerpt from it and, using my writing, demonstrate what I learned from it. Why am I wanting to do this, you ask? A couple of reasons. One, I like Rob Guthrie and want to promote his stuff. I promote what I like. 2) I want to help others become better writers, as I struggle with the same (it’s in the blog tagline). The more writing we have in the world, the better the world is, in my opinion. But, enough of me blathering. You want the excerpt. It follows the jump.

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Show, Don’t Tell

This is THE RULE. All the other rules are subservient to this one. The other rules are tools to help your writing show the reader. Here’s an exercise: Remember “Show and Tell” in grammar school? You know, once a week or once a month each student would bring in something about which they could show AND tell. Now I want you to imagine this simple scene. Little Susie Frockmaker has just walked into a hushed classroom of twenty-something first-graders. She’s wearing her cutest pink dress; her mother has done her blonde hair all especially curly before she went to school; she is smiling like the goat that ate the tractor tire. And she’s carrying, in a meshed-metal cage, a huge white rabbit. Its alive, you Horror writers. Twitching, munching on some carrots. The bottom of the cage has cardboard and there’s fresh grass Susie’s dad put in there just for such an occasion. Little Susie Frockmaker takes the cage and, still smiling wide (  you didn’t know that goats that finish off tires are irrepressibly happy creatures), places the caged, gorgeous rabbit on a small table at the front of the room. There is an audible, “ooooh” as she does so, little Susie Frockmaker, nor the teacher, nor any other student having said a single word. Has Susie shown anything yet? Oh, I know the point of the “Show” part for little persons is when the rabbit is let out of the cage and they get to hold him and feel the soft tufts of fur and worry about him biting them and all manner of enjoyment, but my question still stands: Has Susie shown anything yet? I say she has, without one single word. Remember the smile and the fresh-laid grass and the cage itself? I’ll give you three choices as to what the other young children might be thinking they’ve already seen, without being told a thing:
1.      It’s rabbit stew for lunch.
2.      Little Susie Frockmaker just gave birth to a clean, live rabbit in the hallway just before class.
3.      On the way to school, the rabbits that rule the world played a cruel trick on one of their own and caged him, forcing him to attend Show and Tell at Mockery Elementary School.
4.      Susie Frockmaker has a new pet rabbit.
Now I’ll admit, I’ve grown up in some pretty small places like Iowa or Wyoming where there probably was some kid in the back happy as frog excrement that they were having rabbit for lunch (and in fact did end up having rabbit for dinner. Again.). But with that smile, beaming of pride, her nicest dress, the curls her mother did special for this day? Yeah, it’s corny (no Iowa pun intended), but it’s also true, isn’t it? Now that doesn’t mean Tell is off the books altogether. She can tell us his name. But that brat-shit Tommy Dipstick could blurt out, “RASCAL. You got him for your birthday.” (Because Tommy, of course, was an unwanted guest at the farm when Susie received her present—just as Tommy’s an unwanted guest most everywhere he shows up.)  You could argue, but I’d call Tommy’s outburst showing. In fact, I didn’t even have to Tell you that Tommy was there because you likely already figured out something to that effect—and the story can later confirm or deny what guess you made, but either way, you didn’t have to be told anything. You see, that’s how you have to start thinking. In what ways can I deliver information to the reader through interesting twists in the story? Imagine how loudly little Susie Frockmaker is going to BAWL in horror when she realizes the whole surprise she’s been practically wetting herself over has been ruined by that little Dipstick. That is the simplest example of showing and not telling I could come up with. Apologies all around for making it more of a children’s tale, but I tried to give it legs just a small bit. Not very Chekhovian.

From Ink by R.S.Guthrie, pub March, 2013.

Pretty interesting, eh? Tomorrow, I’ll show you how I implemented this lesson in my own work.

Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Cater Blake, Book 1 (raw update)

It’s been a while since I posted anything about my upcoming first novel. So, here is an excerpt:

I ran from the room, debris falling from the ceiling as another resounding boom shook the fortress. I encountered Lady Orwen running towards me. I shook my head before she could ask me any questions. She skidded to a stop and hurried after me. I felt her warm hand take my icy one. The images I’d seen flickered past my mind’s eye as the two of us raced to catch up with Durrgedenn and Weijia.

I saw the two straining to open the heavy door, and decided not to slow. Adora’s feet in perfect time with me, as she too, must have decided not to slow. Durrgedenn glanced over his shoulder in time to see first me, and then the Princess slam into the heavy portal. The sudden impact knocked the air from my chest, but I continued to push at the door, and soon we made it out. The stone slab closed behind us with an echoing thud.

The four of us pounded down the dirt tunnel, swinging through twists and turns until we at last drew to a halt at the bottom of the ladder which lead to the surface. We leaned over to catch our breath. Durrgedenn slumped against the bottommost rung of the ladder, his face streaked with tear tracks. His beard, was missed swatches. Trickles of blood oozed from the raw places where he’d torn his facial hair out. Lady Orwen slide down the wall to sit with her head resting on her knees. Weijia was bent at the waist, her hands on her mid-thighs. I squatted, my hands resting on top of my head. Sweat rolled down my cheeks as I tried to slow my breathing.

A few minutes later, I rose, and beckoned for the others to come upright as well. “We can’t rest for long. We need to find some allies, and avenge our fallen.”

“Avenge? Have you become a Dwarf, then?”

“No, Your Highness. I’ve always been a believer in vengeance. I never had cause for it before.”

Lady Orwen’s cute nose wrinkled. “Always?”

I nodded. “Indeed. I think it stems from my childhood.”

“Would you speak more of this?” She leaned forward.

“Perhaps later, Milady. As I said earlier, we can’t stop for long.” I glanced to Durrgedenn. “You should take the lead. You’re stronger than me, so you’ll be able to better aid the ladies.”

Weijia cleared her throat. “Are you forgetting that I am half dragon, Carter? I think I’m stronger than the Dwarf.”

Durrgedenn straightened, ready to object.

“Ordinarily, I might agree with you, Weijia. However, he has not been physically tortured for the last few months. I don’t want to risk your safety, nor that of anyone else if you’re not fully healed. Alright?”

“Yes.” Her voice was subdued.

“I don’t think less of you for what you went through.” I tapped my collar. “I went through the same thing.”

Lady Orwen came over and examined it. “Carter, what is this?”

“It’s a shock collar. It was placed on me by L’Arc demons. It was used to control and punish me.”

“Why isn’t it being used now?”

“I don’t know. It worries me. Belial is up to something, but I don’t know what.”

“He’s probably tracking you,” Durrgedenn growled.

“That’s comforting.”

He snorted laughter at my words, turned, and scrambled up the ladder.

 

3 Friends pt 3

continued from here

Jean (leans forward): Tell us more?

Elise: Yes, please?

Danielle: You guys remember how Jason broke my heart?

Elise: (rolls her eyes) Oh my god, yes! I thought you’d never shut up about him.

Jean: Elise! Swats her shoulder. Tact! it is our friend.

Danielle: She’s right, Jeanie.

Elise: See? (disbelieving) Wait, what?

Danielle (chuckles): Yeah, I was too hung up on the guy that took my virginity. Or, rather, that I gave it to.

Jean: Don’t let Elise fool you. She and I went through the same thing.

Elise (impatient): Yeah, yeah, old news. Tell us about Emma. Where’d y’all meet?

Danielle: We met in Tampa last month when I was down there for work. After a stressful round of meetings, I decided to hit a club. I was also hoping for a one-nighter to see if that would push Jason out of my mind. None of the guys that night caught my interest. Just as I was about to give up, she walked in. Her flame red hair caught my attention from the moment she entered the place.

Elise (impatient): Tell us: How is she as a lover?

Danielle (laughs): She’s between your guys, ladies. Our first two times together, it was slow, and tender. Our third, was wild and intense.

Jean: More details, please?

Danielle: No. I’d rather not.

Elise: Why not?

Danielle I’m shy. And it’s private.

Jean: Fair enough.

Elise (incredulous) What? How is that, Jeannie? She got to hear our tales, but we don’t get to hear hers?

Jean: That’s right. We respect each other’s choices, remember?

Elise (sighs): Yes. I’m sorry, Danni.

Danielle: It’s okay. Do you want to hear about our first date?

Jean & Elise: Yes!

Danielle: It was fun, and romantic. She handed me a present and said that it was for our date. It was too soft for jewelry, and too small for an outfit. I tore open the paper to discover a bag of balloons. Emma then told me I had five minutes to “ammo up”. We had ourselves a fun little water balloon fight. It’s a lot of hard work picking up the remnants of a thousand balloons.

Elise and Jean laugh and share a glance, causing them to laugh harder.

Danielle: We then went to De Grassi’s for a candlelight dinner. Between the appetizer, and entrée, she paid the pianist to play Clair de lune, then she pulled me to my feet for a dance. After dinner, we walked through the surf in the moonlight. (smiles)

Elise: Awwww. That’s so awesome.

Jean: I’m envious.

Danielle: Your turn, Elise. Tell us about your first date.

3 Friends pt 2

Continued from here.

Danielle: What about me?

Jean: Tell us about your new man.

Danielle: Woman.

Jean: (surprised) Ye- wait, what?

Danielle: (shrugs) I’m bisexual.

Elise: (smiles) More options, right, Jeannie?

Jean: (laughs) Yes, indeed. So, will you tell us about her?

Danielle: (softly) You don’t hate me?

Elise: Why the hell would we hate you, silly?

Danielle: Because I’m attracted to women.

Jean: News flash, Danni: Elise and I were college lovers.

Elise: Yeah. Only thing you have to worry about is if my little brother finds out.

Danielle: (puzzled) Why is that?

Elise: The worm already has a crush on you. If he learns you are attracted to women too, he’d probably be asking you to marry him. (laughs)

Danielle: I’m not promiscuous. Nor am I into three ways.

Jean: Hey, no knocking the three-way. They are awesome. Drains her glass And no one said anything about you being promiscuous. Elise just said her brother might want to marry you. Anyway, you’re dodging the question. Don’t you want to tell us about your new lover?

Danielle: Not particularly.

Elise: Awww.

Jean: Fair enough. I guess it falls to me to keep the convo going. Matt is simply the greatest lover I’ve never had full sex with.

Danielle gets up and gets another bottle of wine. Elise gets a handful of cheese curls and offers the rest to Jean. Jean shakes her head.

Elise: What does that mean?

Jean: (deep breath) It means we’ve not had actual sex. You know, his dick in me?

Danielle: Why the hell not?

Jean: He says that anticipation makes it so much better.

Elise: It does.

Danielle: (nods) Yes, indeed. How has he built the anticipation?

Jean: Well, he teases me.

Elise: (loudly) Details, wench!

Jean: (laughs) Well- A text comes through her cell. She looks at it. Take this for example: He just sent me a text saying, “Imagine me trailing feathery kisses over your belly and down to your waist.” I read that, and felt myself get a little moist.

Danielle: Really? What else?

Jean: He sent me an e-mail this morning describing how he’d slowly peel my clothes off, kissing every part of me that is revealed. When I was nude, he’d trail his fingertips down my body, then kiss his way back up. Finishes her wine, and refills her glass. Her hands are unsteady. He knows I have a vampire kink, and in that e-mail said that he’d also bite my neck like he needed my blood.

Danielle: (Hand to her throat) Oh my.

Elise: (shifts in her seat) That’s hot.

Jean: It continues. He said that he wants me to imagine him tracing the outline of my sex through my panties. And then, he will slide his finger up, over me, and then slip it into my underwear.

Elise: Are you willing to loan him out on occasion, Jeannie?

Jean: (laughs) What about your “masterful” guy?

Elise: (grins) He’s great for hard & fast, but sometimes, slow and tender is the way to go.

Danielle: True. That’s why I started dating Emma.

To be continued…

3 Friends pt 1

Scene: A library in a house. Books line ceiling-to-floor shelves. A dead fireplace is on the north wall. Three recliners sit around an oak coffee table. Wine glasses are near all of them. An empty wine bottle lies on its side on the table next to a bowl of cheese curls. Another is half empty near a bowl of peanuts. A stack of napkins is between the bowls. Three women come in, giggling, and sit in the chairs. Two pick up glasses while the third scoops a handful of nuts out of the bowl. One of the two with the glasses picks up the bottle and tops both off.

Danielle: How fun is it that we all are dating again?

Jean (with mouth full): Ish womerful.

Elise: Ewww, Jeannie! Swallow before you try to talk!

Danielle: That’s what he said!

Elise and Jean laugh, causing Jean to spray a bit of chewed peanuts on the table. She covers her mouth and turns red. Danielle takes a drink of wine.

Elise: Well, now we know she spits.

Danielle spits wine, coughs.

Elise: You, too, Danni? Jeeze. Am I the only lady here?

Jean (grins): You’re no lady, Elise. She cleans up her mess with a napkin. Remember the Spring Formal Beach Bash?

Danielle: Yeah. With Ricky Bobby?

Elise: Oy vey. Will you two eva stop kvetching about that? Just because your boyfriends got too drunk to perform…

All three giggle loudly.

Jean: So tell us about your new guy, Elise.

Elise: Mmm. Where do I start?

Danielle: With the beginning, of course! What does he look like?

Elise (bites her lip): He’s six-three, and works out. He has shoulder length blonde hair, broad shoulders, and a narrow waist. He has the most arresting grey eyes I’ve ever seen, luscious lips, and big hands. When he holds me, I feel so tiny and delicate.

Danielle: Wow. Sounds sexy.

Elise: And he’s so masterful. After our first date, he told me he was going to fuck my brains out. I nearly came on the spot.

Jean & Danielle: Mmm. Wow.

Jean: Then what happened?

Elise: We went back to his place. As we rode the elevator to his penthouse, he was all over me, kissing me like he couldn’t get enough, and shoving his hands up my skirt. When he encountered my panties, he ripped them right off. I did come then.

Danielle: Let me guess: You jumped him on the elevator.

Elise (giggles): You’re damned right I did.

Danielle (laughs) I knew it! Then what?

Elise: He led me down the hall. I was trying to straighten my skirt when he unlocked the door, scooped me in his arms, carried me in and kicked the door shut behind us. He carried me through to his bedroom, tossed me on the bed and ripped my dress off.

Jean and Danielle gasp.

Elise (smiling broadly): Oh, I was just as rough with his clothes. He then proceeded to do as he promised. I went to sleep smiling for the first time in a very long time. When I woke up, there was a note on the pillow saying he was looking forward to seeing me for dinner, and I could call for someone to buy me another dress. I stretched, and my legs were sore. How about you, Danni?

To be continued

A Conversation With A Well-Meaning Friend

The other day, I had the following conversation with a friend, who I will call WMF. Wait, that doesn’t look right in type. I’ll call her Jennifer. No, that’s not her real name, I just like saying, and typing it. Jennifer. 😀 Okay, I’m attracted to a Jennifer, and I think she knows it. Anyway, let’s get to the convo before I get too distracted with my thoughts of the lovely Jennifer…

Jennifer: My girlfriend came out to me yesterday. I have two gay friends! Yay!

Me: You’re cheering that you have two gay friends? Why?

Jennifer: Because it’s awesome! It means I’ve grown enough as a person to be able to accept their sexuality, and they trust me. Don’t you have any gay friends?

Me: (shrug) I don’t know. (I do, but you’ll see why I didn’t say so)

Jennifer: How can you not know? Haven’t they told you?

Me: It’s possible. Even probable. If so, I forgot.

Jennifer: (aghast) How could you forget something like that?!

Me: It’s irrelevant.

Jennifer: No. It’s not. It’s an important part of who they are!

Me: No. It’s a tiny aspect of who they are. To me, they aren’t a gay guy, or gal. They are friends. I have no interest in their sexuality. Their sex life is not relevant to me. I’m not my gay friend’s – if I have any – type.

Jennifer: What about their causes?

Me: What about them?

Jennifer: Don’t you support gay marriage?

Me: Yup. Gay folks have just as much right to be miserable as everyone else.

Jennifer: (laughs) That’s mean.

Me: Okay, not miserable. But, they do deserve to get married if that’ll make them happier. They deserve to be treated with as much respect and dignity as anyone else.

Jennifer: Then how can you say you don’t care if you have gay friends?

Me: Because that is what acceptance is. Not caring about their sex lives. Not identifying people based on who, or what, they are attracted to. I care about two qualities in people: Their intelligence, and their sense of humor. The way I look at life is: As long as no one gets hurt, do what you want.

Jennifer: Oh. That makes sense.

Lichgates Review!

I must admit: Lichgates is not my usual type of read. However, I made a commitment to read and review because I want to get the word out about new writers. I don’t think we can have too many new authors. That being said, I’m glad I made the commitment. Ms. Boyce has created a wonderful world that is rich, and vibrant. Ourea is a world I’d love to explore and learn the more of the history of. Kara is a strong character without being too strong, a Mary Sue, if you will. That happens a lot, unfortunately in indy novels. Heck, it’s something I’m trying to avoid in my own novels.
I like the character of Deirdre. I think she may even be my favorite. I kind of like bad girls, what can I say. I do have one nit pick with the beginning of the novel, though: I couldn’t figure out for the life of me, why Kara would go off the trail, and onto the path that lead her to Ourea. When I read that, I was thinking, ‘What the hell is wrong with you, girl? Don’t you think?’ Then again, that may have been the exact reaction Ms. Boyce was going for. Dude.
If you like epic fantasies, do yourself a favor, and go buy this book. It’s on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. You won’t regret it. Especially as it’s free. Probably for a limited time.

Lichgates is FREE

Download your copy now!

Praise for Lichgates

Wow, the world building on this one was breathtaking. The world of Ourea is just full of so many things. Surprises are around every corner.

~Alexia P.

From the first few pages into this story, it was obvious that Boyce has a way with words.

~Author Becca Campbell

Author S.M. Boyce

International Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga.

S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries.

Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Contact

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/25/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tomorrow, I Will Post My Review of This New Book. Stay Tuned.

Tour Schedule

Lichgates

Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things–Ourea.

Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict–a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.

Lichgates is FREE

Download your copy now!

Praise for Lichgates

Wow, the world building on this one was breathtaking. The world of Ourea is just full of so many things. Surprises are around every corner.

~Alexia P.

From the first few pages into this story, it was obvious that Boyce has a way with words.

~Author Becca Campbell

Author S.M. Boyce

International Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga.

S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries.

Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Contact

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/25/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway