Posted in Fiction, Stories, Writing

The Underground

This is the start of a short story…

The rope burned against my wrists. My skin was rubbed raw I tried to wriggle free of it again. I bit my lip, the blindfold falling further over my eyes. The room was so loud I couldn’t make out what anyone was saying. Chatter was ramped. Lots of were people walking around me, laughing and yelling. I was stuck to a rough wooden pole. I jerked away from it again, my vest jingling slightly. Then I felt another hand grab my chin and turn my head up and away from my shoulder. It had been useless to fight against this tug before so this time I went along with it. I grimaced at the long cold fingers that grabbed me.

My heart pounded in my throat. I was usually able to keep my cool but not today, not here. Struggling against the ropes again, I heard a shout in my direction. I went limp and pulled my head away from the stranger’s hands. The fingers left me and I heard him walk away. There were people all around me. I knew it would be impossible to escape but I couldn’t just give up. Another hand found me, but this one didn’t go right to grab my head, it was on my shoulder. This grip was softer but with a large hand. He nudged me back against the post. More loud talking, right in front of me. Then the hand left me.

The blindfold was tugged off my face. Right in front of me were bright gray eyes that studied me. He smiled at me as I blinked and tried to focus on him so close to me. The man, just a little older than me, maybe 25, pulled away from me and turned say something to the person beside him. I still didn’t understand what he said. I looked around him. Other kids, gaged, blindfolded and attached to pillars stretched the length of the room.

Walking up and down the line of children were men in large dark clothes right out of the gothic era. They were all talking loudly as some crowded around kids and looked at them. The young man looked back at me, and this time when he grinned I could see his fangs. It had been just what I feared, a vampire den. The man brushed whips of hair out of my face. He leaned forward, getting closer and closer to me. His eyes drifted to my neck and I went stiff. I tried to burrow my head into my shoulders. The vampire pulled back slightly and looked at me.

His hand found the side of my face. He studied me.

“The more you relax, the less this will hurt.” His English was smothered with a thick vamprish accent.

I had never heard a vampire speak English. He was going to suck my blood, whether I let him or not. Every inch of my skin crawled. I wanted him away from me, dead in a ditch so he couldn’t devour any more of my friends. But here I was, stuck in front of him at his mercy. I closed my eyes. I would die with honor, not fear.

Straightening my head and relaxing my shoulders, I kept my eyes closed. He gently brushed more hair out of the way. I could feel him get close to me and his teeth brushed up against my neck. My whole body got tense and my hands immediately turned to fists. Something of a fine point, like that of a nail or a needle, broke my skin near my jaw. Then, before his other fang even touched me, he pulled away.

“What am I thinking.” He laughed and looked at the seller. “Were you just going to let me eat him and not pay for him first?”

A wave of conversation washed over me. I could suddenly understand everyone. The vampire before me, in a vest with a black button down, took out a wallet and handed over some cash money to the person beside me. Then he looked back at me, looking up and down my body.

“What’s all this you have on you?” He asked.

I looked down at myself, the guns and knives and crosses that were supposed to be tucked away in my pockets were now hanging by their chains. My bag of garlic was missing as were the wooden stake crosses I should have had strapped to my back.

“Go ahead, speak.” He said.

I opened my mouth but my body was still in shock from being bitten. My vocal chords won’t work, not to mention I didn’t speak any of the vampiric languages.

“You’re a hunter, aren’t you?” He spoke coldly. “Can I play a game with you? Since you can’t speak just listen. I’ll cut your rope and you can do one of two things. One: you may run. The exit is just down this far hall and you take a left at the fork. Or two: you can submit to me by falling to your knees and not get up.” I glared at him as he smiled. “Do you think you can get past all these vampires unscathed? Let’s begin.”

He took the knife that was dangling from my side and slashed the rope behind my back. I lost my balance with the sudden release of strain on my hands. On my knees, I slowly raised my head and looked at him. Taking a deep breath, I shut my eyes. Then I stood up and bolted straight down the hall, past him and all the other vampires. I broke my hands out of the last of the rope and shook them. Rubbing the trickle of blood off my neck, I looked at my hand and smirked.

All my good weapons were gone. I pulled the gun from my waist and held it tightly by me. I snatched that hat off of someone I passed. Putting it on my head I realized It was not a good enough disguise. I could see heads turning as I rushed by. Up ahead I could see a dead end. Breathing as carefully as possible while running for my life, I saw a door off to the side. I threw it open and ran inside. The first vampire on the other side of the door got smacked over the head with my gun. He stumbled back and stared at me.

I felt a cold hand wrap around my wrist. It was pulling my inside where kids lay dead all around my feet. I jerked away from it and tried to get myself back out into the hall. Someone tripped me and grabbed my arms to pull me into a group of three hungry jaws. I could see fangs closing in on me from all angles. My gun dryfired, they had taken all the bullets too. Accepting the last moment of my life, I was calmed by the thought that I had fought up to the very end. The gang hopefully would find resolve in knowing, or at least believe that.

Then I felt a tug on my neck. I fell out of the grasps of the three men who had surrounded me. A gentle arm was placed around my collarbone. The vampire with gray eyes bent down beside my head. I felt a cloth wrap it’s way around my neck.

“Sorry boys, this one’s taken.” He said and kissed my hairline.

He finished wrapping my neck with the transparent cloth and a light glowed from my neck for an instant. I could see, in the reflection of a large button on the cloak of the man in front of me that a black symbol somewhat like the outline of a forest had appeared right over the wound on my neck. The vampire then turned me around by using his arm as leverage and started walking me back the way we came.

I pulled away from him, ducking out from under his arm. As I tried to run, my head whipped back. The vampire was holding my hood and he was pulling me down the dark hall. His glowing eyes cast a gaze at me that I could only read as ‘where do you think you’re going?’ And I turned around to walk beside him. His instructions to get to the exit had been accurate and it occurred to me that if I had done what he said I might have been able to escape.

He shoved the door open and we were out of the auction room and in the cold night air. I looked up at the sky. There was still a lot of black smoke in the air, blocking out the sun. It couldn’t have been very long since I was kidnapped. The darkness the vampire’s polluted the sky with only lasted 13 days. I had been kidnapped on the fourth day of darkness.

“Have you found your voice yet?” He asked as we stood just outside of the building.

I shook my head no, not even wanting to try.

“That on your neck will keep any other vampire from snacking on you.” He said and then reached down and put a leather bracelet on my wrist. “This will force you to obey me. No, you can not take it off.”

I jerked my hand away and tried to find the clip but it had disappeared. In its place was the same tree outline thing that was on my neck. He watched me studying it. Then, before I was done trying to figure out what it was, his hand touched my chin. I looked up at him quickly.

“You’re very cute.” He said.

I pulled away from him, blushing slightly.

“What is your name?”

I kept my eyes off him and looked at the cracked cement. He knew I couldn’t answer but still he looked at me.

“Did they bite you, the others? Is that why your voice is still gone?”

I turned over my wrist to show him a long bloody gash. He made a face and grabbed my hand. I watched with wide eyes as he dropped to one knee and kissed the blood on my hand. Jerking my hand away, I watched him lick his lips and stand up. He took a small bandage from his pocket and held it out to me. I gently took it and wrapped my wound. My stomach was turning over and I felt cold.

“You look quite pale.” He said and placed his hand on top of my head. “You’re taking to this badly.”

I looked to him, my knees shaking beneath me. The world was fuzzy and I felt like I could have fallen over at any moment. The vampire turned his back to me and knelt down.

“I’ll carry you home.” He said and looked back at me. “Some kids just don’t take well to being bitten.”

I gently reached out and touched his back, if only to stabilize myself. Then I felt myself give out and I fell into him. I couldn’t even keep my head up as he lifted me up onto his back. Resting my head on my arm, I couldn’t see where he was taking me. I tried to hold on, afraid he would drop me if I didn’t. But my mind slipped into black.

I work up in bed and sat straight up. It was still dark out. My heart was racing. I grabbed my shirt and held it just to make sure I was really awake. As I looked around I quickly realized I was not in my room. I got up and went to the door immediately. It was unlocked. I started into a hallway and up some stairs, as quiet as I could. At the top I could see a living room and a big door. I knew that was the front door, and it was right there, no more that ten feet away from me.

The vampire was sitting on the couch with his back to the door. It looked like he was reading a newspaper or something. All I had to do was walk silently behind him to the door and then run for my life and there would be no way he could find me. I started creeping across the carpet, my eyes glued to him.

He didn’t move a muscle but said. “Good morning.”

I stood there praying that someone else would answer. He could have been on the phone or maybe there was someone I couldn’t see in the room or some pet. No one else said anything but I didn’t dare to move.

“Don’t make me chase you down and kill you.” He said and then set down the newspaper and looked over his shoulder at me. “Come over here and sit down.”

I looked at the door and then slowly walked over to the couch and sat on the ottoman. He smiled at me and nodded. My heart was not pounding as quickly now but I was still staring down the door.

“The primary reason I got you was to snack on you.”

My eyes snapped back to him. “I-”

I had nothing to hold over him, no bargaining cards, nothing to offer him or take away from him. Taking a deep breath I looked right into his cold gray eyes.

“I have a request. Please kill me. I couldn’t stand eating other humans so please don’t turn me.”

His face twisted into a smile. He laughed quietly.

“Don’t worry, you won’t be dead for a long time.” He stood up and walked over to the window to look out over the black town. “I’ll just drink a little from you every now and again. That’s the way it used to be, harvesting blood from a few humans instead of culling hundreds.”

“So-” I looked at him standing there. “So I’m going to be a cow? A sheep? A tortured soul who you torment for years?”

“I sure hope not.” He turned around and smiled at me. “I’d like it if you willingly let me drink from you. And I’ll try to keep you happy.”

I shook my head and took a step back. A loud bang came from outside and I jolted looking out the window by the door.

“It’s just some kids playing with there food.” He said. “You know how they’ll eat just about anything they can catch.”

 

 

Thank you for reading! If this post gets 15 likes I’ll post part 2!

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Posted in Writing

A Note on How to Write Gay Fiction

I have found that people are most interested in the things they know the least about. One of my most popular posts is ‘How to write characters with dyslexia’ in which I try to help people better understand what dyslexia effects in my life. It was not until just a moment ago that I realized I had another type of character that people were still fascinated by… Gay ones. So here we go, this is my number one and most important tip.

It is exactly the same as writing straight fiction.

When you are writing the actual romance, falling in love is the same for all types of people.

What is different is how the world reacts.

Once upon a time, I wrote a gay romance and the person who read it misread all the pronouns to make the main character a girl. It works for me, they liked the novel they just weren’t open enough to LGBT ideas for me to correct them.

So that is my footnote on how I suggest you write gay fiction- the same way as everything else.

Posted in Writing

Why Writers Need a Three Color Notebook

My most trusted notebook has three different colored pages, and it is my most valuable writing tool. Pink, purple, and blue each represent something very specific and it keeps my writing crisp and fresh. It is my most valuable guide, character developer, plot generator and the one thing I used to write all three of my novels.

The Blue Pages: Characters

In the very front of my book is a list of character traits I like reading. They are all positive and I try to incorporate at lease one into each of my character, even the villain. This is followed by a breakdown of my favorite characters good and bad traits. I underline the ones that come up the most. Then I have the same thing for real life people. The best part about this is every person gets to make their own list and write for those styles.

That’s followed by all of my characters on their own page. I have their name, book, what their goals are and what their personality is. Then I have what they want most, what they are trying to accomplish and one thing they would never say, never do, and never think. This allows me to reference my characters easily and develop their worst fears while I’m writing. I can force them to do the opposite of their goal, say something completely out of character, and display human emotion. I can also reference all my characters and make sure I’m not writing the same person twice.

The Pink Pages: Plots

I want all of my plots to be very original. Whenever I draft an idea I always write it’s tag line in the book followed by a synopsis and notes. This lets me keep everything jotted down for later so I won’t forget that story idea or reuse it. This is particularly important for me because I need to keep everything in order. It is also my bank when I’m working on a new idea. I mix and mash old thoughts together until I create the perfect plot.

The Purple Pages: Forget-me-nots

When I try to jump into a piece after a long time or I’m switching into it from another project it’s easy to forget the subtleties of each project. So I have a page dedicated to things I need to put in later, whether that is symbols, subplot, recurring images, scenes to put in or edits to make in the future, it all go’s on one page. During edits, I reference this to make sure nothing is forgotten.

I hope this can help you keep organized in some way! Have a great day.

Posted in Fiction, Writing

Writing Characters With Dyslexia Part 2!

Last year I wrote my most viewed article, Writing characters with dyslexia. Today I’ve come back to clarify and expand on writing these quirky characters. Keep in mind, this is how my dyslexia affects me and it might not be the same for others.

First, The science

So when you think synapses are fired in your brain. That triggers another one to fire and the chain is what creates the way you process the world around you. (At least that’s my understanding.) So when someone who is dyslexic thinks the same thought, different synapses fire and it takes longer for us to figure out the same information.

This also means we can come up with ideas others never would!

We think about each idea longer and think about it differently that normal people would. This ends up in us coming up with out of the box ideas and odd ways of doing things. For instance, my dad and I are picking up pinecones, he holds open the bag and tosses them inside. I go find a box and put the trash bag inside it to act as a trash can outdoors, my way is much easier. This principle is also true for concepts. Someone reviewed a novel I plotted out and told me the idea was too complex for normal people to fallow.

Dyslexics are usually called 3D thinkers.

I can imagine what a room looks like from any angle without walking there. I can figure out what it would look like to be shorter, taller, on the ceiling, upside down, all while sitting in one place. I never get lost walking around Chicago. When I leave a building my mind always forms a mental map of how to get back home. I can never give anyone directions though. When I try to figure out how to get somewhere, I start at the place I want to be and work my way street by street backward to my current location.

Memory

I have a great memory for places, textures, and objects but I will not remember your face. I am just enough on the autism scale that I hate looking into people’s eyes. At 19 I still find it hard to look in my parent’s eyes. I wouldn’t make full, sustained eye contact with my boyfriend until I had been dating him for upward of three months. So when I meet someone new I am much more likely to remember their shoes that the color of the hair or what they looked like at all.

I can’t make eye contact with myself in the mirror

 When you meet me you will think I look like a train wreck, my hair will be messy, I might have something on my face and my hands will by stained with dirt and paint. The reason for this is I hate mirrors. I can not look myself in he eye. The first time I remember doing so was middle school. So I don’t look in the mirror when I brush my hair, I won’t wash my face unless I’m in the shower. I don’t even like washing my hands because of the mirror.

I hope this look into my life helps you understand how to write dyslexic characters better. As you can see, it’s much more than just the reading, writing and math parts I covered last time. If you have any questions or want me to expand further, feel free to tell me in the comments!

You can also check out the things that still trip me up after years of tutoring Here.

Posted in Writing

Writing in Character Voice; Tips and Tricks

Maintaining character voice is one of the trickiest things in writing but I feel creating a distinct character voice could be trickier. Overall, character voice is often neglected in the writing community. Lots of people write all their character all in the same voice, that’s what I’m here to remedy today.

Font

Yes, font! You might think this is an odd way to write in different character voices and it is. One of the first things I do when opening a blank document is find a font that matches the was I think the character handwriting would look. This is a visual reminder that I should be writing in their voice. When I switch to a different story I’ll remember my style based on that font.

Length of Sentences

Some people ramble, some people don’t have much to say. I pause a lot to think about what I’m going to say, some of my friends don’t have any kind of filter. Try to picture the wheels turning in that person’s head, are they well greased or slowly falling apart?  How long it takes someone to express and idea is very indicative of character.

Word Choice and Dialect

This is a pretty common one. Some characters grew up educated, others are children, some speak English as a second language. Even just having a character from the south with one from Chicago will show you some very different results. Think through your characters past, where they were raised, who the hung out with, and what they know. Some characters will drop a ‘g’ off of ‘ing’ others won’t. These are the little differences that make characters distinct.

Mixed Speech Styles

Many great books use high class, ten cent words, but the funniest ones mix in character defining words.

“I can’t remember why the gods cast me down to Earth but I have continued to believe that they had a reason despite my recent fuck ups.”

I bet one art of that stands out to you. It really gives a sense of the character despite only hearing one sentence of narration from them.  I believe using mixed dictation makes characters seem more alive.

Now Pay Attention

As you go around day to day, listen to all the different people you meet and how they choose to organize their words. Even very similar people will phrase things differently. Try to learn from real life rather than films as those are often inaccurate. People often forget that a very simple writing tool is to listen.

I hope this helped you in some way. I think these are some of my best tips for making character distinct and interesting! Have a great day.

Posted in Writing

What Does ‘Write What you Want to Read’ Really Mean?

I always heard the advice ‘write what you want to read’ whenever I scoured the internet for inspiration. It wasn’t until recently that I really understood what that meant. I was at a writers conference talking with a creative writing teacher and I brought up this idea to him. When I think of writing what I want to read it stressed me out because it would need to be really well done and extraordinarily interesting (I’m quite a picky reader). I could never combine all the things I like into one book. Then he told me the meaning behind that statement.

If You Don’t Write What You Want to Read You Won’t Write Well

Thus the book you write doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to combine your interests. I have tried to write about things I don’t like before and those parts always end up uninteresting, short, or unfinished. So for that reason, I will write what I find most interesting in this world and I there are others out there who are also looking to read it. Knowing this took a lot of stress off my shoulders when developing ideas and I hope it helps you too!

Posted in Writing

Do I Recommend Lynda.com to Writers?

We’ve all seen the ads for lynda.com where you learn skills for a small fee but I recently had the opportunity to try it out for free. My main goal when reading on there was to learn writing skills. When I went on there for the first time…

I was Initially Disappointed

When I saw the writing classes most of them appeared to be for nonfiction, like for resumes, speeches, and business. Now the ones I have gotten all the way through were very useful!

The Quality of the Videos is Great

There are a lot of good quality editing tips and a few story videos that particularly helped me. But because of the length of the series, I found it hard for me to get through them and often had to do it in more than one sitting. That isn’t the way I learn but…

I DO Recommend Lynda But Not for the Reason You Think

When I was searching for other writing videos I found tons of other resources which I think will help the other aspects of my career such as blogging courses and google analytics tutorials that I wouldn’t have know to seek out if it weren’t for that site. So if you are looking to expand your horizons when it comes to selling your work, then yes I would check out at least the 10-day free trial. If you are going there for the writing specifically, though, I wouldn’t hand over any money.

But That’s Just My Opinion

I am in no way sponsored Lynda.com and made this because I always wondered if I should sign up for the classes. I hope this helped you. Have a great day!

Posted in Fiction, Writing

How I Write Lovable Characters

Here are my experiences and how I write characters I love as well as the mistakes I’ve made. I hope this helps in some way and Happy Valentines Day!

I’ve written many different stories with many different narrators and I know a good narrator will keep me writing. The very first book I tried to write featured a main character who had no faults. I originally thought that this would make the character so much better but as I tried to write it, I started hating the character more and more. It seemed impossible for me to relate to the character and made all the tension dissipate before there was really any action.

        So I abandoned that project and started on another one. This time I was sure to give my character actual human characteristics and flaws. In fact, my main character was enemy number one when it came to the world she lived in but was the hero as far as the book went. This book actually got completed but I kept reworking it. 12 drafts later I was making the character more empathetic and less cold towards everyone. So I learned that even if a character is evil they still have to be likable.

        Not too much later I started writing a character who had lost their memory. This is when I first noticed that half of a character was just what motivated him. It didn’t even need to be on the page as long as I knew what past thing the character had that was affecting the way he reacted now. That is to say, my character was passive and dull because there was nothing motivating his actions. I ended up not writing the most interesting parts of the story because I couldn’t imagine why the character was doing what was supposed to happen.

        Not long after that, I finally started writing characters who the readers enjoyed and who helped push the plot forward. The secret to these characters was giving them emotion and reason. They were no longer a puppet with one general concept making them up but were dynamic and relatable. Sometimes these characters would change to plot just because they started moving on their own.

From then on I started building my characters from the emotion up. I’d begun a book by thinking of a situation that would cause a highly emotional response and then create the two characters who would react in the most interesting way in response to said stimuli. Before even writing the story I’d come up with past events, fears, things they hated. By fleshing them out in every aspect I could, I could understand them better and relate to them more.

Another thing I found key was to make characters have strong beliefs. If a character wasn’t either super outgoing or super shy then they were boring. But if I worked with a shy character and put them in situations where they had to be outgoing, that was interesting. I listened to what others said about why characters were good or bad and I found some interesting distinctions. Characters who were emotionally not ready to take on the climax often came across as overly dramatic and a scaredy cat. Their counterparts who were held back by past memories were perceived as strong and compelling.

The thing that makes a character seem the most alive to me then, is responding to the plot in consistent ways that are unique to the character. If they respond differently every time then I can’t relate to or understand the character. If they respond the same way as everyone else the fall flat and become boring, unoriginal, and paper thin. It is their responses that keep the plot engaging and moving forward.