Monday, 30 April 2012

Once Upon A Time, Episode 20, "The Stranger" or "August Reveals His Wood-y Nature"

August puts a medieval looking lock on Mary Margaret's door just in case the Mayor decides to plant fake murder evidence in her apartment again. He smiles at Emma and tells her he took wood shop in grade eight. Really? I made a spice rack. Emma announces that she's going to fight the Mayor for custody of Henry with help from Mr. Gold.

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Before Mary Margaret can convince her that Mr. Gold is the last person to be giving legal advice, Emma gets a walkie talkie call about 'Operation Cobra.' Emma rushes over to the pub/diner/laundromat to meet with him. I can't help but notice how all the shop windows on Storybrooke's Main street are boarded up.

Well, of course they are! Granny has a monopoly on the town business.

August follows along like a puppy asking Emma to go on a field trip with him, promising to show her what she's looking for. He tells her the only way to beat the Mayor is by seeing the 'big picture'.

Emma declines and finds Henry all by himself in a booth, studying the storybook. He shows Emma that someone added a new story near the end. A new story about *drum roll* Pinocchio!

*cough* I knew it *cough*

Beach combing in fairytale land
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A raft manned by Gepetto and a living wooden Pinocchio is being tossed in an angry sea. Gepetto wakes up on a beach in Vancouver (Yay! Canada). He stumbles across the sand and finds Pinocchio face down in the water. He hugs the lifeless puppet wishing he could have saved him.

The Blue fairy shows up, and for once she actually grants someones wish! Now, no longer made of wood, Pinocchio is finally a REAL BOY! The fairy tells him to be brave, truthful, and unselfish. That way he'll always be a real boy. What about being sloppy, scratching yourself, and the inability to sit still?

August calls Mr. Gold and says they need to discuss Emma and their plan to make her a believer. Before he can make it out the apartment, August is seized by a painful cramp and pulls off his pants to reveal a woody *clears throat* I mean leg. He has a wooden leg. 

Mary Margaret returns to her job at the school and the Mayor is there. Cat fight! Mary Margaret makes it clear she knows what the Mayor did but ends up forgiving her. She says she feels sorry for her because she has a giant hole in her heart. And that it must be truly miserable to only feel happiness by destroying others.

Whoa! Snap!

Henry comes along and adds his two cents by calling her the Evil Queen, and that the curse will soon be broken. Yeah, sometimes is sucks being the villain.

August goes to Mr. Gold's shop and sees Gepetto. He takes a cuckoo clock from the counter promising to fix it. August is visibly stressed but says nothing to Gepetto. Mr. Gold arches his eyebrow and asks him what he's so afraid of telling his own father.

Hmm. I would think Mr. Gold would have a soft spot for the estranged son/father thing. Well, I guess that episode was a whole seven days ago. *rolls eyes*

Mr. Gold promises to steer Emma toward August so he can show her the 'big picture' and if that doesn't work, he'll show her his woody leg. His wooden leg

Gepetto and Pinocchio work on the cuckoo clock in fairytale land. But Jiminy Cricket has been tied up inside as a joke by Pinocchio. What a mischievous boy! I wonder how that attribute will affect the rest of the story?

The Blue Fairy arrives and warns them about the Evil Queen's curse and how Snow White's baby will save them all. She asks Gepetto to build a magic wardrobe as a gateway to a new world for Snow White and Prince Charming. *cough* knew it *cough* click here *cough*

Mr. Gold advises Emma she's facing years of emotionally draining and expensive court battles if she wants custody of Henry. Emma is upset by his change in plans and automatically goes to August. Yeah, because that's logical. Emma asks him to help her see the 'big picture'. *insert wooden leg joke here*

The Mayor's car breaks down just as David is coming around the corner. I guess the animal shelter is close by. He gives her a lift home and she invites in for lasagna. I'm sorry but isn't this the woman who framed his true love? He's so stupid!!! He's so, so...clueless.

The Mayor gives him a sob story about Henry not wanting to spend time at home anymore. David feels sorry for her because he really is clueless. And since he's so charming clueless he stays for lasagna.

The Blue Fairy shows Pinocchio and Gepetto the very last magic tree in fairytale land. Wow! I wonder if it was planted with the very last magic bean. What is it with the very-last-magic everything in this series?

The tree has enough magic to let two go through. Gepetto realizes that Pinocchio will turn back into a wooden puppet when the curse arrives. He agrees to build the wardrobe if Pinocchio can take one of the spots, thereby staying human.

Jiminy tries to convince him otherwise but Gepetto shuts him down. He reminds Jiminy owes him since he was responsible for the death of his parents (remember the creepy dolls in Mr. Gold's shop?) No? Click here for that recap.

The Blue Fairy agrees to his request and tells Snow White and Prince Clueless that only one of them can go through the magic door. It's obvious a pregnant Snow White will have to go through.

August takes Emma on his motorcycle and they leave Storybrooke.

The Mayor and Clueless David talk about the day she found him unconscious on the side of the road. If she hadn't found him, she says wide eyed, he would have died fifteen minutes later.

Really? Like fifteen minutes, exactly? Not sixteen minutes or say, fourteen minutes and thirty-two seconds?

David says it's almost like the Universe wanted her to find him. The Mayor takes advantage of his clueless nature and leans in for a kiss like he's the Sheriff.

Aw, *sniff* I miss Schmexy.

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David does the jazz square back-step so quick even I feel sorry for her. They do the embarrassing post-almost-kiss thing where they look at each others shoes and mumble stuff. He takes off speedy quick and she smashes her wine glass against the wall.

Listen, I know it hurts to be rejected, but you never, NEVER waste wine.

The Blue Fairy interrupts Gepetto as he's putting the finishing details on the magic wardrobe. She frantically tells him Snow White's baby is about to be born! This means Snow White will have to take Pinocchio's ticket.

The Blue Fairy tells Gepetto he must relay this to Snow White. She'd do it but unfortunately she has to bunker down with the other fairies or some other lame excuse.

Gepetto decides to stick with his original plan. He tells Pinocchio that sometimes it's okay to lie to protect the one you love. It's also okay to lie to a friend when she asks you if her jeans make her look fat.

Pinocchio is now responsible to guard the baby and that in twenty-eight years—hold on.

Dear ABC,

Why twenty-eight years? Is it because no one wanted to watch a show where the heroine is over thirty?

So little Pinocchio not only has to raise an infant in a non-magical world, but he also has to make sure she believes in fairytale land and saves them all. He takes the challenge. Hooray! Jiminy gives him a pep talk about temptation in the new world, which is probably a bit over the head of a little kid.

Gepetto sends Pinocchio through the door and cries.

August takes Emma to the roadside diner where she was found as a baby. She's furious that he tricked her. That plus the fact she now has helmet head, instead of her huge awesome usual hairdo. He pulls out an old newspaper article and tells her he was the little boy who found her that day.

There's nothing finer than a roadside diner!
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A hole blasts out of a tree and Pinocchio stumbles into the real world. He cowers as an airplane flies overhead. He blacks out and his life flashes before his eyes. When he wakes up, he brushes off his lederhosen, ready for his new life as protector of 'the savior'.

A baby cries and he finds little Emma inside the tree. He cradles her in his arms and looks around the forest totally scared...just like any new mother.

August takes Emma back into the woods behind the diner, and shows her the tree they came through. He tells her he's Pinocchio and that he added pages to Henry's book. She asks him how it ends and he tells her the only way it can end is if she believes.

Emma looks like she's going to throw up. She walks away but turns back when August trips and clutches his shin. He pulls on his jeans to show her proof. Emma looks at his exposed woody—sorry—but she only sees a real leg, not the mahogany grain we know is really there.

Oh, right, she's a non-believer. August pleads that she is the key to defeating the curse. Lives depend on her finally believing. Emma freaks out that she has to save everyone and says he's crazy. He tells her she's their only hope.

Doesn't this sound familiar? I believe she and the Mad Hatter had the same conversation. Anyway, at least she's consistent. Emma walks away with her flattened, limp hair barely making a swish.

Pinocchio leans over a crib to console a crying baby Emma. The orphanage is complete with grey walls and a mean handy man. One of the other orphans takes Pinocchio aside and shows him a wad of cash he stole. A bunch of kids are making a break for it and plan on catching the next bus out of 'Bleak House.' But here's the catch, baby Emma will have to stay behind.

After two seconds Pinocchio leaves little Emma for the open road. Huh?

Dear ABC,


August goes to Gepetto's workshop/garage. The conversation naturally involves sons and fathers and broken promises—oh yeah, and guilt. This, of course, is how most strangers greet each other. Then Gepetto adds a little pearl about trying to fix a mistake after you've messed up makes everything better...or something like that. Funny, no one mentions true love's kiss.

August offers to help Gepetto at the workshop/garage and the camera pans back in what looks like a beer commercial or at least a Father's Day Hallmark advertisement.

Emma calls Henry on the walkie talkie. She's waiting outside his house in her little yellow bug. They have a heart to heart and she asks if he's ready to live with her. He says, heck yeah! And then they drive off into the night!


What horrible thing will the Mayor do next?

And if Pinocchio and Emma made it though to the real world but returned to Storybrooke, what the heck is taking Bellfire so long to show up?


Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Best Place To Start Your Story

Let's start at the very beginning...
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In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews said it best, “Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”

Sounds easy, right? But the most common mistake among new writers is to put waaaaay too much back story in the first few paragraphs.


That's valuable real estate. Let go of the notion your MC won't be interesting unless we know all about them on the first page.


Stephen King says, “Good books don't give up their secrets at once.”

And neither should your character. Let us learn about your MC slowly, as the story progresses.

Let's say your MC is stuck in traffic.

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Lenny pulled on the steering wheel and leaned forward. He craned his neck, trying to see around the cab in front of him. He checked his watch and swore under his breath, then began to jab the stereo buttons, changing the radio channels.

Then you fill in the space with the fact he's a hit man—make that newly retired hit man, soon to be engaged to his high school sweetheart—but he's breaking his promise to his girlfriend by doing this one last job.

But when he finally arrives at the location of the assassination, his stomach drops. The only way to get to the penthouse is by taking the glass elevator that runs up the side of the one hundred story plus building. Lenny's last hit will be one of the city's most notorious mob bosses. This one will pay off big time, and Lenny needs the dough. He has to hire a big shot lawyer to help him get custody of his kid from his ex-wife and her alcoholic boyfriend...blah, blah, blah.

Don't bore you reader
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Still here? You don't have to lose all that stuff, but instead slowly add the elements of Lenny's story as the story unfolds. Make the reader wonder why, instead of telling them right off the bat.

Get out your WIP and go to your favorite part of the first few chapters. Now start the story from there. Yes, right there! The stuff you had at the beginning can be threaded into the later chapters or chucked out all together.

Deep breaths. It's all about playing with words, relax. It's not brain surgery, that's easy compared to writing.

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Let's check back in with Lenny. By this time he's entered the building and started to take the elevator. Why not the stairs, you ask. Duh—over a hundred flights!

Lenny made sure the elevator was empty before he stepped inside and pressed the button to the penthouse. When the doors closed behind him, it was as quiet as a tomb, then there was a jolt. Lenny felt himself being lifted up, but the ground fell away so smoothly it seemed like he was still, and it was the earth that was moving instead.

He breathed in through his nose and focused on the horizon, just like his shrink told him. And it worked—for the first ten floors, then Lenny made the mistake of looking down.

His stomach knotted painfully and his balls tried to crawl up inside his gut. Lenny swallowed, setting off a series of painful spasms down his throat. His gloved hands gripped on the brass handrail.

Lenny froze, afraid to move even a step, hyper aware of how reactive the elevator was to his weight. His eyes traced up the panel, all the way to the one hundred button, then finally the top one labelled PH—penthouse. At least he made sure to put on the gloves before he pressed it. First rule; leave no fingerprints. Lenny stared at those two letters, trying to focus, he needed to get a grip.

Isn't that a better beginning compared to Lenny driving in the car thinking about EVERYTHING in his past, present and future?

Keep your reader guessing. Give little tidbits and hints about Lenny a bit at a time. Why the heck is this guy taking a glass elevator to the penthouse if he's so afraid of heights? Also, the mention of the fingerprints hints to something illegal, and therefore more interesting than a trip to the dentist.

And why is he afraid of heights? Is there a childhood trauma you can start to thread into the story? How has it affected his character? How does it affect the choices he makes in his life?

Donald Maas, President of the Donald Maas Literary Agency, regularly tweets tips on writing. Check this one out, What's the big thing your MC must do at the end? Make it the one thing he/she has sworn never to do.

Another reason a good beginning is essential to any story—is because it also helps with the ending. Since we've established Lenny is afraid of heights, we can use that for the finale.

What if Lenny botched the hit in the penthouse because his fear of heights incapacitated his ability to follow through with the job? And what if that set off a violent series of events leading to the mob bosses rise to power, taking innocent lives along the way—including Lenny's girlfriend?

This nicely sets up a confrontation scene between Lenny and the mob boss. Put them on the scaffolding of an unfinished skyscraper. What will it take for Lenny to win? What has Lenny learnt about himself that will help him defeat his own fears?

I hope this helps your writing.

For kicks and giggles, leave the first few sentences of your WIP in the comments!

Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.


Monday, 23 April 2012

Once Upon A Time Episode 19, "The Return" or "David Is Such A Loser"

August thrashes in his bed, getting tangled in the sheets. He then falls out and stumbles to his typewriter like Storybrooke is having an earthquake. Obviously, he's not a morning person. On the phone, he tells someone things are taking too long and he has to accelerate the plan.

He always tells the truth except when he's snooping.
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Henry and August hatch a scheme—I guess that's who he was talking with. Henry goes into Mr. Gold's shop, cheerily looking for a gift for his favorite teacher, Mary Margaret, to celebrate her release from jail.

Meanwhile, August sneaks in the back of the shop and begins searching the cluttered shelves. Mr. Gold catches him, but August does a song and dance about looking for maps and gets away.

Hold on—I thought he always told the truth. ABC! *shakes fist at TV*

Emma goes to the hospital and questions a recovering Catherine. She remembers the car accident, but then blacked out and came to in a basement. The Doctor, the only medical staff in Storybrooke apparently, tells Emma there were traces of drugs in Catherine's system.

Is this blood test as reliable as the DNA on her heart? *rolls eyes*

Adding to the mystery, Catherine says she didn't escape but woke up one morning in a field and walked into town. Emma does some brilliant detective work and says the DNA test must have been faked.

Gee! Ya think?

Quidditch anyone?
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The Mayor and Mr. Gold argue at his shop. He holds a leather ball that looks like a quaffle.

Ten points for a Harry Potter reference!

She's mad that he broke their deal. He glares back at her and says he's only broken one deal, and unfortunately it wasn't this one. She demands to know why he came up with the curse to bring them here if he's not helping her now?

Good question. Also, why is it so easy to break into the hospital lab?

On a muddy road, boys are playing with Mr. Gold's quaffle ball. A horse drawn waggon almost runs over them. An angry villager scolds the boy for playing on the road, then he recognizes Rumpelstiltskin's son, Bellfire. He backs away, clearly frightened. And he should be. Rumpelstiltskin hears the arguing and turns the frantically apologetic villager in to a snail, and then crushes him. WOW! Just like that.

David visits Catherine because he's a confused guy trying to remember who he's in love with. Hello? Your true love just got sprung from jail! *taps TV screen* 

Catherine forgives him for all the crap he put her through—I guess being kidnapped and held in a basement puts things in perspective. They agree to not be miserable married people anymore. He calls her amazing, and then kisses her on the forehead. But no magic happens because it's a 'true friend's kiss' not the 'true love' kind.

Emma throws Mary Margaret a party. Henry gives her a bell wrapped in a pretty silver box. Is anyone else thinking about The Polar Express? David arrives looking for more foreheads to kiss, but Emma stops him at the door. He whimpers something stupid and then leaves.

Mr. Gold watches them from the corner. Emma crosses her arms in front of her chest and accuses him of kidnapping Catherine. Emma needs to brush up on her hostess skills. Mr. Gold doesn't even flinch—he's so cool. Instead he motions toward August and asks what she knows about him. Emma realizes she's clueless about August. Mr. Gold tells her he must be using a pseudonym, which is different than an acronym but has the same suffix.

Rumpelstiltskin enters the cottage with his son, Bellfire, and begins to heal his skinned knee with magic. The boy wants none of it and gets the mid-evil first aid kit (also known as the BlackSmith Special). Bellfire confronts his father about his lust for power and how evil he's become. Rumpelstiltskin refutes that his powers ended the Ogre war, saving thousands of children from being soldiers.

But his son is adamant. Rumpelstiltskin shows him the dagger with his name etched into the blade and says he's owned by the magic for life—or until someone else kills him with the dagger.

Two hours of homework=one hour on Minecraft
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Their maid/cook/laundry girl walks in and they drop the conversation. Obviously they've been watching Downton Abbey. The first rule is to never talk about curses with the help around. Bellfire makes Rumpelstiltskin promise to figure out how to get rid of his powers, and they shake on the deal.

Mr. Gold snoops around August's room and finds a tiny wooden carving of a dog. Hmm, tiny wooden carving. Whoa! Jackpot! AND a perfect drawing of the dagger.

At the dinner/pub/laundromat Emma confronts Sydney about bugging her office. Sydney makes it clear he's on the Mayor's side. Emma looks disgusted. She stomps away with her amazing golden hair flowing behind her and promises to find the basement where Catherine was kept. She's determined to find any clue that will link him AND the Mayor to the set up.

Bellfire is sad because none of the other kids will play with him—you know 'cause his dad might turn them into a snails, too. A young girl comes out from behind a tree (the forest gets so much air time every episode!) She's kind and describes what a hero his father was the day he stopped the Ogre Wars. He tells her the power has become a curse. She offers him hope and mentions a rumor she heard on the battle field of an original magic that was more powerful than the Dark One.

Rumpelstiltskin breaks up the scene and the girl hurries away. Bellfire notices his father's bloodied boots. Rumpelstiltskin defends his actions, saying the maid was mute but she could still draw a picture of the dagger. Geez. Harsh much?

Mr. Gold follows August and watches as he meets with the Head Nun (aka Blue Fairy). It's hard to recognize her without her blue bustier and jellyfish skirt. Apparently August has found his long lost father but isn't sure how to reveal the truth...yet.

Bellfire goes into the woods and summons the original power. Instead of the huge, creepy thing I'm imagining, the Blue Fairy appears. Bellfire explains his father is the Dark One. She says her magic can't take away his powers. However, he can go to a place where magic doesn't exist, and that will save them both.

She gives him a magic bean, and tells him to use it wisely because it is the very, last magic bean. The. Very. Last.

David chases Mary Margaret down the street and tries to apologize—AGAIN! His excuse for being a spineless twit was all the mounting evidence against her. He's worse at apologizing as Emma is at hosting parties.

Mary Margaret sighs and says something powerful is trying to keep them apart. He apologizes again, saying that he loves her, and then they both end up crying. OH. MY. GOD. They've had this conversation a billion times.

Dear ABC,

Why are they even in this episode?

Rumpelstiltskin is spinning gold when Bellfire comes in and tries to sell him on the idea of leaving fairytale land to live in a place where absolutely nothing magical could ever happen—Wal-mart. Rumpelstiltskin can't refuse his son. They shake hands and make a deal. Um...didn't we just see that?

Feeling particularly chatty and helpless (never a good combination), Mr. Gold pays a visit to Dr. Hopper and talks about his long lost son and their somewhat complicated relationship. Dr. Hopper advises he should ask his son for forgiveness, because there's no other way.

I'm shocked someone actually had a real answer instead of the usual, true love's kiss idea. Yay! Dr. Hopper.

Mr. Gold meets August in the woods (hi, trees!). August calls him Papa. For proof, rearrange the letters in August Wayne Booth. You'll discover they spell out, the writer is Rumpelstiltskin's son and he had this magic bean that was the very last magic bean in fairytale land.

See? It's so obvious. I feel like such a dummy.

Bellfire plants the bean and it forms a green tornado as a porthole to Wal-mart. Rumpelstiltskin suddenly gets cold feet and tries to pull his son back, yelling that he can't give up the power. His grip slips and Bellfire disappears into the vortex. Seconds later the ground covers over. Realizing he made the wrong choice, Rumpelstiltskin claws at the dirt.

Mr. Gold admits his cowardice to August, but that every waking moment since that night he's been looking for him. He then asks for forgiveness, and I must say, David could take a few pointers. Together they unearth the dagger Mr. Gold buried shortly after Emma arrived in Storybrooke. He hands it to August telling him to destroy it—he doesn't need magic anymore now that he's found his son. August takes the dagger and points it at his father and demands control the Dark One.

*Gasp* TWIST!

Mr. Gold points a finger at his son's impostor. He overtakes the weak August and demands answers. August confesses to being from fairytale land, but he's sick and was trying to get 'the Savior' to help him—but she's such a non-believer, that Emma.

Mr. Gold sneers down at him, telling him to keep trying. And since he's spared his life, August now owes Mr. Gold a favor.

Rumpelstiltskin summons the Blue Fairy and asks how he can follow his son. The fairy says he had his chance, however (there's always a however) a powerful curse can create the same vortex. He vows to find this powerful magic and will do nothing else, and love nothing else until he gets his son back. Well, except maybe that chick who comes to clean his castle and breaks the china cup...but other than her, nothing else!

The Mayor sits in the Sheriff's office and watches as Syndey confess to setting up Mary Margaret. He says he wanted to be the one to find her and be the hero. He would write an exclusive for the paper and get his job back. Emma is absolutely not buying any of it. She takes the Mayor into the hallway and lays it all out on the table—she's had enough of the Mayor's crazy schemes. Emma vows to never stop fighting her, and finally...FINALLY declares to fight for custody of Henry.

Whoo-hoo! Cat Fight!

So, August is still a mystery, unless you haven't figured out he's really Pinocchio. Click here for details.

Will David ever get some charm? And what about the animal shelter? And please, somebody go wake up Sleeping Beauty, she's missing all the fun!


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Cover reveal for CHANGED

CHANGED is the second book of Jennifer Snyder's MARKED series. She is all kinds of fabulous and then some. Check out her blog here.

This BEAUTIFUL cover was created by the SUPER talented Stephanie Mooney of Mooney Designs.

Would you fight to the death to prove you are worthy to stand beside the one you loved?
Eighteen-year-old Tessa Morganton’s life has flipped upside down. After learning Jace’s secret and discovering the man she’d thought all her life was her father isn’t, she must also cope with the reality of what she’s now become—a werewolf.
Tessa tries to maintain her normal life while her body changes more and more each night as the full moon grows closer, but when Shelby comes back to pay her a visit, Tessa soon realizes turning into a wolf may not be the only dilemma she will have to overcome.
As the Wolf Moon draws near, Tessa uncovers some things about Jace and Shelby’s relationship and exactly what Pack Law entails in the untraditional situation Jace has created for them all.

Mark your calendar folks, Official Release Date for CHANGED is May 21


An itch began to spread slowly from my bite mark and across my entire body. It never seemed to be satisfied, and I worried that if I continued to scratch it the way that I was, I might draw blood. My eyes flickered toward my bedroom window while I anxiously awaited Jace’s tapping. When was he going to be here? I didn’t want to change in my bedroom!
And then he was there—his smiling face filled with excitement, staring at me through the glass. I pushed the window open, but didn’t smile in return.
“Ready?” he asked, his amber eyes twinkling in my bedroom light as he removed the screen from my window.
I shook my head. “No, I’m not feeling so well.”
“You’ll be all right; it’ll go away shortly. Trust me, Tessa, come outside,” he whispered into the night, his gaze shifting toward the full moon.
Even though my legs were trembling beneath me, I still managed to climb out my window without falling on my face thanks to Jace. The cool night air gently swept across my skin, cooling my itch upon contact. Jace took my hand in his and slowly we began walking away from my house and out into my darkened backyard.
I took in a few deep, measured breaths while we walked and didn’t glance over my shoulder once to see if my mother was watching for me. I didn’t care if she saw me; it was the least of my problems at the moment.
The beautiful full moon caught my attention as we neared the edge of my yard, and I stared at it, mesmerized. My pulse quickened. I could feel it pulsating in my fingertips and wondered if it was as loud to Jace’s ears as it was to mine.
“Let’s go back a little farther tonight,” Jace insisted.
I nodded, grateful for the first time in my life that my parents and I lived on three acres of land. Stepping over twigs and weaving through branches, we made our way farther into the wooded lot. I found it extremely easy to see where I was going. My eyesight had grown amazingly clear.
When Jace finally came to a stop, I shifted my gaze to his face and marveled in the look of childlike excitement etched into his features. I wished I could feel even a tiny portion of that right now. Instead, all I felt was a crippling fear eating away at me.
“You’re shaking. You okay?” Jace asked, gripping both of my clammy hands in his and looking directly in my eyes.
A tiny hysterical giggle escaped me. “No, I’m not okay. I’m scared to death right now. I’m so freaking scared that this is going to hurt just as badly as being bitten did.”
His face softened, his excitement washing away at my words to become replaced by an intense look of guilt. “It won’t, not if you don’t fight it. You’ll be all right. I promise. I’ll be here with you the whole time.”
My lips formed into a hesitant smile as I looked deeply into his eyes. The smile was more for show than anything. Don’t fight it? How did you not fight something like this?

I love a girl who isn't afraid of the dark. What do you think? I can't wait for the transformation scene.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

You Know You're A Writer When...

1. You have the ability to carry on a conversation while secretly day dreaming about your characters.

2. When you're alone, you sometimes have arguments with your characters when they insist on the plot going the WRONG way.

3. When you see a gorgeous dress in a magazine, you picture your MC wearing it for her BIG DATE.

nothing says YA like a make over
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4. You talk about your characters like they're real people.

5. You choose writing instead of sleeping—every time.

6. Just for kicks, you search Google for your title, to see if anyone else has a book by that name.

7. When you see a guy at your local coffee shop who looks exactly like your novel's heart-throb, it totally freaks you out.

Who needs windows?
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8. You dream about owning a huge library with one of those sliding ladders.

9. You obsess over commas for long periods of time. You also like to make terrible puns.

10. You find typos in everything you read.

Do any of these sound familiar? What are your writer quirks?

Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.


Monday, 16 April 2012

The Ten Commandments For Writers

Have you lost sight of your plot? Are your characters being oppositional? Is the blank page mocking you?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it's time to regroup and rejuvenate those writerly cells of yours. I know writerly isn't a word, but it's cute.

Thanks, Charlton. I'll take it from here.
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 1. Thou shall not use the passive voice. Think action. Don't give the object all the attention, this story is about your characters, damn it!

2. Thou shall not complain about agents/editors on twitter or facebook. Seriously, save the spitting for the coffee shop with your friends. All your public whining makes you sound—well whinny.

3. Thou shall not bore the reader to death with unnecessary description. Why spend three paragraphs describing how your character got from the bedroom to the kitchen? Just write, She went to down the hall to the kitchen.  

4. Thou shall not make characters stare into a mirror and narrate what they look like. The use of dialogue and mannerisms conveys more about the character than their eye color.

5. Thou shall not use stereotypes to create one dimensional characters. "The bad guy" could be any of us on a certain day. Like in real life, everyone sees themselves as the star of their own story. Be aware of this motivation for all of your chacaters.

6. Thou shall not make a love triangle purely to move the plot forward. It's more interesting when the reader has no idea who the author wants to hook up.

7. Thou shall not have everything work out for your MC. Stop being so nice. I know you love them, but it's super boring to read about a character who always has a best friend to help her out. Make her suffer! Kick her while she's down, and then make her clean up the mess.

8. Thou shall not be afraid to use the "C" word. Yup, that's right. CONFLICT. See above.

9. Thou shall not GIVE UP. Overnight success is the result of years of hard work. Writing as a serious business, you have to grow a thick skin and learn to be patient, otherwise you'll be disappointed.

10. Go back and read number nine again, it's worth repeating.

 Any other wise sayings to add?


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Top Five Methods To Help You Reach Your Word Count

You have an idea. Great!
You get the laptop ready. Great!
You write the first three sentences. And man oh man, they are awesome. Great!

Then you stare at the monitor for the next half hour trying to decide if that comma should be a semicolon.

Does this look familiar?
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The phone book, not exactly as shown
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Come on!

The world is waiting for your super fantastic story. Hurry up!

I know...I know, easier said than done.

But don't despair, follow these tips and soon you'll be on your way to penning the next War and Peace.

                            Top Five Methods To Help You Reach Your Word Count...

1. No Internet! You're reading this because you were on twitter, which means you're not writing. How's that working for you? If you need to do research, save it for later, it's too tempting to pop over and see what's new on Pinterest. Seriously, get off line.

2. Set a reasonable word count for each writing session. You want to set yourself up for success, not failure. The feeling of accomplishment will fuel your motivation for the next goal. Start small then gradually increase the word count.

3. Reward yourself each time you reach a goal. Preferably something that will get you moving or at least outside. Like say...a walk to the candy store. And if you don't live near a candy store, that's really sad.

4. Tell someone about your goal. Accountability increases your chances of following through. Lots of writers use twitter to give word count updates on their latest WIP. This helps motivate other authors as well.

5. Get unplugged. If you know your laptop only has a battery life of one hour, you'll write faster. No really, you will.

Now go set the world on fire with your awesomeness. I can't wait to read your book!

By the way, this blog was over 250 words. See how easy that was. Now it's time to reward myself with some left over Easter chocolate.


Monday, 9 April 2012

Once Upon A Time, The Writer Is Actually None Other Than...

Since there was no episode of Once Upon A Time this week, I had extra time to mull over Mr. August Wayne Booth. As 'the writer' he's the only character, other than Emma and Henry, who's a CFA (come from away). Everyone else is from fairytale land.

He always tells the truth and always wears that frickin' red bandana

So who is this guy, and what is his connection with Emma, Henry and Storybrooke?

Since ABC took the time to give him a middle name, I'm assuming it's important. I played around with the letters and came up with the following anagrams
Gateway to hobu. This makes no sense, unless HoBu is a new hip district in Manhattan.

A one way ubo ghost. Brilliant, if there was such a thing as an 'ubo ghost'.

A beauty sought won. Okay, it's a little clumsy but I can work with this.

Don't forget Belle is stuck in the basement of the hospital. Once someone *cough* Mr. Gold *cough* finds her, voila the spell will be broken. The Evil Queen will be defeated, and maybe *fingers crossed* Schmexy will emerge from the woods clad in his leather hunting outfit. You have to admit, he was pretty hot that last episode.

Sorry, back to August. Since the anagram is a far reach, I decided to next concentrate on his personality. He talks a lot about faith, and says he always tells the truth. And that as a writer, he's open to all kinds of possibilities. Some people wonder if he might be Pinocchio. It's possible. Geppetto built the magic tree/door. He could have sneaked him through with the book under his arm.

The writer (maybe) note the red necktie.
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I have two theories.
I believe August is the person who wrote the book in the first place. Not only that, but everything he writes ends up happening. While he cleaned up the book, I think he added a few extra chapters.

The next theory is a bit of a stretch. I wonder if August is Henry all grown up and visiting *cue the synthesizer* from the future!

Why not? These are the people who created Lost! A visit from the future is perfectly reasonable. Perhaps he's come back to help his Mom (Emma) fix what she messed up the first time, or something like that. Ouch. Time travel talk gives me a headache.

And what about Catherine? I'm guessing Emma will uncover that the Mayor botched the DNA results to hasten the murder charges against Mary Margaret. I'd hate that. There should be a better reason. And...somehow Schmexy should come back too.

So, who do you think August really is?

And whose heart was in the box that Ruby found?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

What Every Villain Needs

As writers we're sometimes so preoccupied with making our protagonist tangible enough to jump off the page that we forget about the antagonist. Villains create conflict, therefore they are essential to any good story, and deserve to be fleshed out as much as your hero.

There's nothing more unsatisfying than reading about a bad guy whose only purpose is to be...well bad. Even though he-who-must-not-be-named was truly evil, J.K. Rowling made sure to show how his past explained his cruelty.

So, does your evil doer have the right stuff? Scroll down to see what every villain needs.

1. A diabolical plan. There has to be a reason for their nastiness—being mean isn't enough.

Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians
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2. A mysterious past. People aren't born evil, they're made.

Count Dracula
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3. A slimy sidekick. Usually with dependency issues. However, it's more interesting if their loyalty is from fear, and consequently unreliable.

Scabbers aka Peter Pettigrew with baby Lord Voldemort
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4. An arch nemesis. It's the hero of the story who represents what the villain secretly fears the most.

White Witch from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe
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5. High tech gadgets/special powers. Okay, not totally necessary. It's cool and it helps raise the stakes against the hero.

The Joker from Batman, The Dark Knight
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6. An irresistible charm. A cool demeanor coupled with a handsome figure always helps.

Mrs. Coulter from The Golden Compass
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There you have it, now go make some bad guys and watch your story explode!

Who are your favorite villains? Cheers!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Once Upon A Time, Episode 18, The Stable Boy or Never Trust The Cute Little Kid

The Mayor, not exactly as shown
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The episode opens with the Mayor kissing a ring like Gollum in Lord Of The Rings. Mr. Gold walks in, startling her. She pushes the ring away, pretending they were just talking and not making out.

He asks her for a favor. Remember the florist he beat with a cane? It's too long to explain, just click here. In return, Mr. Gold propositions a scheme to frame Mary Margaret, and they discuss making Catherine disappear.

Riding horseback and wearing a lovely turquoise colored jacket is the Evil Queen. Her father laughs and claps as she jumps off to hug him. Hmm? What happened to make Regina give up the colorful wardrobe?

Enter Barbara Hershey, aka, the crazy mother with magical powers. Regina tries to stand up to her constant insults but she is no match for her mother's cutting tongue and cruel spells. Henry, the doomed Daddy, stands by uselessly, so Regina runs off to the stable...and into the stable boy's arms. His name is Daniel, and he looks an awful lot like David Bowie.

Stable Boy
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David Bowie
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Coincidence? Of course not! David Bowie is everywhere.

Emma pulls her hair into the longest ponytail in history and is cornered by David. He begs her to let him see Mary Margaret. Emma tells him his words of encouragement are the last thing Mary Margaret needs, and only one thing can help her now—a miracle. Amen to that, sister.

Mary Margaret wakes up in her cell and finds the Mayor staring back at her. Emma hasn't made it into work yet, and since no one guards the jail, like at all, anyone can walk in. The Mayor tries to convince her to confess to Catherine's murder since it would be easier on everyone. And I don't even know why the heck this scene was put in. *rubs temples*

Regina-the-colorful secretly meets Daniel, but warns him that she can't miss her tea time. I didn't know she played golf.

Barbara Hershey playing Darth Vader
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Obviously, Mommy Dearest would flip if she knew about their romance. Daniel tries to convince her their love is a powerful magic that not even her mother could defeat. Regina takes great comfort in his words and calms down. He's very stable...that stable boy.

A scream breaks up their tender moment. A girl on a horseback rides out of control through the valley. Regina goes 911 and takes off on her own horse, and saves the little girl's life. She says her name is Snow White. *cue the gasp* 

Mr. Gold explains to Mary Margaret a pre-trial session with the DA may be her best chance. He says her character as an elementary school teacher, and her willingness to cooperate, will do more to convince the jury then any kind of evidence. *sigh*

Mr. Glass shows up with a vase of tulips for Emma. They meet in her office and he tells her his super investigation skills have found nothing. So, why did he show up?

The DA arrives with the Mayor. Wow, things happen fast around Storybrooke! But Mr. Gold soon realizes the interview wasn't the smartest idea as the DA manages to get Mary Margaret so upset that she admits she had wanted Catherine out of the way. Oops.

But then again, so did I. She brought nothing to the story. Does that make me a suspect too?

Regina is paid a visit by the King (Little Snow's dad), and Barbara Hershey couldn't be happier. He comes to say thank you, then mentions his dead wife, and that no one he has ever courted has shown an interest in his daughter. *awkward*

To Regina's shock, he then proposes. But before she can say she already plans to runaway with a stable boy who looks like David Bowie, that evil Barbara Hershey accepts on her behalf.

Regina runs to the stable and proposes to Daniel, telling him they must leave right away. He says he wants to do things the proper way.

Who cares! The mother is a witch, just get on the horse and go!

Luckily, he happens to have a ring already tucked away in the saddle. Oh my goodness folks, it's the same ring the Mayor was making out with in the beginning. “Here,” he says, and places it on her finger.

I guess that's the proper way to get married—Martha Stewart would have a fit.

Little Snow walks in on them. Crying, she runs away to tell Daddy that her new Mommy comes with a boyfriend. Regina catches up and tries to explain that she will not be her new mother. And here comes the line about true love and how it's so awesome and magical, and...oh yeah, the most powerful magic of all.
Little Snow smiles and gives her blessing on the marriage to the stable boy. I have to say, Little Snow is quite articulate for a kid. Shouldn't there be a temper tantrum or something?

Regina tells her it's very important to keep it a secret and she must never tell anyone, especially her Mother. Did we all hear that? Tell no one, especially her MOTHER.

Never trust a little kid, no matter how cute.
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Little Snow promises to keep the secret because she has bonded so well with Regina. Also, she only wants the happiness of others, and nothing for herself.
Yup, typical behavior for a pre-teen princess.

Emma reads Henry's storybook by the dock. August shows up and starts talking about writer's block. He says that the more he writes, the more his perspective changes. He gives her the idea to approach the investigation into Catherine's death differently. She decides to visit the scene of the crime, and accepts a ride on August's motorcycle to Troll/Toll Bridge. August has a weird, almost painful reaction to the area. I'm guessing he's part troll or something.

Emma turns over one rock and finds a piece of a shovel that must have broken off when the person framing Mary Margaret buried the heart. Of course. *rolls eyes* Maybe Emma is part wolf like Ruby, with those convenient tracking skills?

With Henry's help on the walkie talkie, Emma and August, break into the Mayor's shed. And just like at the beach, within seconds she finds what she's looking for—a broken shovel.

Little Snow is cornered by Barbara Hershey. She sweetly asks the little girl why her daughter has pulled away from her.

Seriously? She's a kid.

Then she gives a speech about how mothers and daughters should never be separated from each other. This strikes a chord with Little Snow whose mother died years ago. She tears up and says Regina shouldn't marry her father, the King, but her true love, Daniel. And that no one should ever lose their mother. I have to admit, the kid seemed super creepy when she said this.

Emma hands the Mayor a search warrant for her shed. She doesn't even try to fake a search, but heads straight for the shovel. The perfect, brand new, in no way broken, shovel.

Emma accuses August of helping the Mayor. He begins his usual ambiguous talk about her lack of faith and that he never lies. She says that's exactly what a liar would say. *SNAP*

The Mayor visits the jail and promises to make Mary Margaret pay for all the lives she's destroyed. She goes on and on again about how she took away the thing she loved the most. *holds head*

We've heard this from the very first episode. She's said this speech so many times I dubbed it 'The Regina Monologues'.

Regina and Daniel prepare to leave. Finally! Barbara Hershey shows up and does her best impersonation of Mrs. White from Carrie. Regina pleads her case about love and magic and all that stuff. But her mother will hear none of it, telling Regina, and us, that she's had to make too many deals to get them out of poverty (what is it with people in fairytale land making deals? It never turns out well!)

Barbara Hershey, demented with visions of a palace in her daughter's future, pulls out Daniel's heart and then crushes it to dust. Love is a weakness, she says to Regina, it's just an illusion, it fades and you're left with nothing—but power stays (so does herpes, but that's another story).

Regina stands blank faced as she's being fitted for her wedding dress. Little Snow skips in and tells her how beautiful she looks for her marriage to Daniel. Unaware of Regina's building nausea, Little Snow tells her she's so lucky to have a wonderful mother who would do anything for her happiness.

Regina realizes that Little Snow told her mother about Daniel. She regains her composure quickly and enlightens Little Snow that she's marrying her father, the King. She lies saying Daniel was only an infatuation and that he runaway without her.

She brings Little Snow into a hug and talks about being a family. You can actually see the wheels turning to begin her life long plan of revenge. Regina leaves the room mumbling she should have let her die on that horse.

Emma confronts Mr. Gold that his plan for the meeting with the DA didn't go so great. He tells her not to worry and gives her some line about magic. Emma's had enough talk about magic and throws the vase of tulips against the wall...and finds a bug. Not the kind with legs and eight billion eyeballs, but the listening device kind.

She meets up with August and tells him about Mr. Glass' trickery. Don't beat yourself up, he consoles, it's hard to see what's right in front of us. Like a guy who talks a lot but never really says anything?

Ruby comes into the street screaming about somebody in the alley. Hey, she's wearing pants!

Emma runs around the corner and sees a body. She turns them over and finds Catherine—alive.

*Mind explodes*

They better not pull the identical twin story again. Also, I'm guessing Barbara Hershey is the elephant thing that passes for the Queen of Hearts. Anyone else?
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