What would a town from hell be like? It wouldn’t be a good vacation spot for sure. In my YA supernatural/horror book, Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell, Winthrop is the town from hell. It’s a fictional town in the middle of the desert where the book’s protagonist couple go on vacation, and their experience is far from pleasant. For fun, I used a 6- by 6-inch watercolor pad and created a picture book of Winthrop. I’ll post the fake picture book in three consecutive blogs.
What’s living in Winthrop? More than visitors realize…
The sound of an owl hooting is amazing—it’s almost like they’re saying “who.” When it comes to writing, however, who’s can leave you as wide-eyed as an owl.
Who Are You Again?
Critique group tip: If several chapters of a manuscript, whether very rough or highly polished, have been read, the reader should be able to answer “Who is the protagonist” by naming them—without hesitation. If they can’t remember the name or it takes them a while to answer, it’s time to adjust your manuscript. Once the reader has a connection with a book’s character, the name will be etched in their memory.
Writing in First Person
If the protagonist is also the narrator, the task of getting his or her name in the text is a bit more challenging than with third person. Writers using first person are often concerned with the “I…I…I…” syndrome, or removing a bunch of I’s from a paragraph but also end up with a “who” problem. Getting a protagonist’s name in front of the reader is a trickier when the manuscript doesn’t have many secondary characters.
Too Many Characters
Readers, especially readers with the superpower to get you a contract, invest in a book’s characters. If the manuscript has protagonist overload, the “who” factor could exist, especially if characters aren’t distinct or not enough dialogue tags exist.
Because you have spent a lot of time creating your book’s characters, you know them inside and out. Yet, readers won’t have any knowledge of your character beyond the back cover if the book is a standalone or the first in a series. Your job as an author is to give readers substance about your characters so they can grow to like or dislike them. Removing the “who” factor is a good place to start.
Cupid’s Book-Lover Tag
Copy and Paste the following in your blog to participate in this tag.
1. Tag the creator (AbbieLu @ Cafe Book Bean) 2. Have fun answering the questions. 3. Tag 5-10 people to join in the fun. 4. Thank & link those who tag you. 5. Don’t worry about the rules!
You don’t need to be tagged to participate.
Love is in the air!
1) Favorite Love-Story book?
I couldn’t come up with one. That’s pretty sad.
2) Share your best Valentine’s Day memory?
My husband proposed to me on Valentine’s Day.
3) Favorite fictional hero/heroine?
For movies: Superhero would be Thor, otherwise Indiana Jones
4). What story has the best most memorable romantic moment; kiss, proposal, etc.?
Not sure on this one.
5) What is your all time favorite Romantic movie?
The Princess Bride followed by Pretty Woman
6) You can go anywhere for a romantic getaway (fiction or non-fiction,) where do you go?
Any of these places
7) Who do you want to be your valentine?
8) Chocolate or flowers?
Dark chocolate or living or cut flowers…not picky about that
9) Novels: Romance or Adventure?
10) What fictional villain, do you secretly love?
I wouldn’t say love, but Jack Sparrow is interesting…is he really a villain?
Let the tagging begin:
Francois l’Olonnais, a 1600s French buccaneer, has long since gone off to a different realm, but he didn’t leave pirating behind. Being a ghost is merely a speed bump on an already dark and potholed road to hell. Along the way, he decides to become a mentor so his legacy will continue…”Or something stupid like that” as Tommy Klopt his protégé says in the adventure Pirates Off the Wall.
With the ghost lingering around and getting them into more trouble, Tommy Klopt and the rest of his family, Captain Hoody (his dad), and brothers Connor and Dillon have a hard time retiring from the pirating business.
The ghost has an ever-watchful eye on the Klopts, and sometimes, he uses his persuasive charm to ward off threats made to them:
L’Olonnais pulled his cutlass from its sheath. “Oui, Capitaine Hoods’ list of wrongdoings is quite long, but so is my cutlass. ‘Tis long and sharp. I’d say it could dispense with your head in one swipe…possibly deux.” He sneered. “And don’t even think about shooting me. I am already dead.”
When negotiating doesn’t work, such as with ghost pirate, Captain Mignard, he’s ready to duel.
Lost in Translation
Most of the time, the ghost lets the Klopts find their own way out of sticky situations—at times because he can’t help given his ghostly restrictions. The French pirate’s warnings aren’t always crystal clear and are a constant source of frustration for Tommy and especially Connor.
“’Tis not what I desire, but what you desire that I bear news about.”
“Beware of the living, not the driftwood.”
“You can trick people into believing you are who you tell them you are.”
Connor sums up l’Olonnais in his own special way: “He’s a nut case, and we don’t need him screwing up our already screwed-up lives again.”
Captains Don’t See Eye to Eye
Hoody is not intimidated by l’Olonnais although the pirate used him as shark bait, lost him in a card game, and sent him on a one-way cruise to Iceland. L’Olonnais refers to Hoody as l’idiot. He uses threats, but they bounce off Hoody such as:
L’Olonnais’ nostrils flared, and he gritted his teeth. “Oui, I have my cutlass, and ‘tis sharp enough to cut your head off.” His dark eyes were intently fixed on Hoody.
Hoody remains mild-mannered and gets right to the point when he deals with the ghost:
Hoody shook his head. “Speaking of things that aren’t obvious, why are you back? You have your cutlass. Shouldn’t you be lounging around on your ship waiting to terrorize unsuspecting children?”
Pirates and Sea Witches Can’t Be Trusted
The sea witch Volange adds to the Klopts’ problems. She’s beautiful, spiteful and powerful, which makes l’Olonnais avoid her and Mignard sorry he ever crossed her. Volange turned Mignard’s redhaired girlfriend, Cosette, into a ship’s figurehead for 100 years.
Tommy strikes a bargain with the aqua-eyed sea witch to save Cosette, despite his disdain for Mignard. This actually pleases Volange, but it doesn’t mean she plays fair.
The sea witch grinned. “Yes, I will bring Cosette to life again. I promise.”
That guarantee definitely came with fine print. As Tommy learns, a deal is a deal no matter how screwed up it is. The deal with Volange sends the Klopts on their way to Scotland with Cosette. She may not be a ship’s figurehead, at least for the time being, but she’s not quite her normal self. The Klopts success in Scotland will determine her fate.