Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Question)

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Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

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Last week, our hero and his partner in P.I.  put silver-studded arm restraints on a werewolf.  ‘Cause that’s how we roll around here.

I’m skipping over a some interrogation and Tom’s building worry over his brother and frustration with the wolf’s fairly smug non-answers, so while Tom’s action is brutal, it isn’t as cold-blooded as it seems when read in context.

Promise.

Question

 

The thug eyed me. “What the hell are you?” he said in a hoarse voice.

“Out of patience,” I said, firing a bullet through his kneecap.

He gritted his teeth and huffed out a few breaths. Wolves could take a lot of punishment, but mostly because the pain didn’t last long—unless something stopped the healing process, like, say, a small fortune in silver studs pressed into bare skin. They must have stung like hell, all by themselves.

“You’re. The message,” he said, panting.

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I have a question about tenses (Chip, this is your fault for making me think about why I’m doing what I’m doing):

I’m not used to writing in first person in fiction, and while the story is set in the past,  my inclination is to put certain sentences in present tense, because that’s how we all tell our own stories when we’re speaking directly to our audience and make statements that are still in effect.

Like this:

Grandma shouted at the cabdriver to follow that car and floor it, sonny.  When he stared at her, she  started waving around the hundred dollar bill she keeps in her bra for luck, the one she swears she won from Dean Martin in a pinochle game at the Sands—the bill, not the bra, which please god has no interesting story attached to it and never will—even though she won’t let anyone look at the series date or the treasurer’s name.

The taxi driver took off like a bat out of Hoboken, even though my sister kept screaming at him to pull over . . .

Grandma (not actually one of mine, by the way, I made her up just now) still has that bill in her bra (yerk), so even though the rest of the story would be told in the past tense, that’s in present.

So since Tom is telling his story to you people, my first draft of the above snippet reads like this:

“Out of patience,” I said, firing a bullet through his kneecap.

Wolves can take a lot of punishment, mostly because the pain doesn’t last long—unless something stops the healing process, like, say, a small fortune in silver studs pressed into bare skin.

They must have stung like hell, all by themselves.

Does this tense shift from past to present and back again seem natural to you, or does it bug you as a reader?  Do you prefer this one, or the revised all-past-tense one at the top of what has become a ridiculously long post?

Just wondering . . .

Random Thursday: Weird Sights and Odd Favorites

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Just what it says on the tin.

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Who vs. Groot

I saw Guardians of the Galaxy this past Friday.

I laughed.  I groaned.  I cried. I laughed.  I LOVED.

I’ve been talking about it, quoting from it,
and obsessing about Lee Pace’s chronic lack of blink rate ever since
and telling all my friend that they Must See This Movie,
if only to witness the deep bromance
between a sentient Tree and his enhanced Raccoon.

One of those friends countered with this
and a brief statement claiming primary dibs on Karen Gillian:

Guardians Who

Her argument is valid.

But so is mine.

(I wouldn’t stand in line for three days to see this, Vonnie—I’d use a TARDIS)

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Janie’s iPod Wallpaper

Unipotato

I was afraid to ask.

So I didn’t.

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Doorigami!

My husband found this video and has landed himself a new DYI project!

Pocket doors are so 19th Century . . . .

As an aside, Klemens Torggler, the company, is now on my list of Best Names Ever.

And not just bcause it sounds like what you do when a key gets stuck in a lock.

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Meet Shoe Shoot?

What does this unsuspecting man on an elevator

Escalator Dragon2

And this wide-eyed dragon

Escalator Dragon1

Have in common?

Click over to Dave Merc’s MercWorks to find out.

And then stay a while and enjoy the wacky weltschmerz!

(thanks, caitlin—you were right!)

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Sunny’s Favorite Video

My baby is a DC girl.

I don’t know where I went wrong.

This is still pretty funny, though.

Paper Trail

paper nest

I seem to have developed a latent cleaning compulsion as a response to stress and/or writing avoidance—I’m as surprised as you are—and spent the weekend cleaning and rearranging my desk and going through my overstuffed file cabinet.*

So far, I’ve found research for abandoned and active stories, clippings, half-written first chapters, short stories, shipwrecks, dialogue chunks, outlines, plot bunny droppings, frankendrafts,** essays, extremely questionable poetry, and various other scribbles of a fictional nature.***

Some of the fiction writing dates back to my college days and some is older. There are dot matrix printouts in there, wide-ruled notebook paper written in pencil, floppy disks^ and a lot of adolescent angst.

So, I’ve been hauling this stuff around since I was at least thirteen,^^  keeping it as close as Smaug did Erebor’s net domestic product and defending it with as much sanity as Thorin hoping to uncover a publishable Arkenstone—or a certain protoHobbit searching for his birthday present.

This hoard of mismatched wordsmithing is my work.  It’s my precious.

But, you know . . .

Those drawers are packed so full that they’re useless, and it’s getting to the point that . . .

It might be time to. . .

I mean, it’s possible that some of this stuff isn’t . . .

And it’s not like I really believe I’m ever going to finish that story about the . . .

I don’t even remember writing that scene and it’s just a single loose sheet of paper so there’s no context for it, so there’s no point in . . .

But what if I need it . . .

It’s been more difficult than I thought to pare it all down—it’s painful.

Because I have four drawers (and several cartons and binders) full of clinkers and clunkers

Coal Scuttle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

but I can’t help seeing each one as a you-know-what in the rough

Rough_diamond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that might, if I just applied myself, turn into something fantastic.

Diamond Ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Except that’s not true.

There may be a few diamonds among the dross, but only a few—and as time passes, they tend to disappear.

I’m not the same person I was when I started making stuff up and putting it down. I don’t think the same way, feel the same way, or express myself in the same ways. My imagination may be a tad slower, but it has a lot more raw material to work with.

And these drawers and cartons full of words and thoughts,  ink and flattened fiber pulp were instrumental in that development.  They aren’t failures or wasted potential—but their work here is done and they’re blocking my way.  Literally and literarily.

They’re a collection of dull, abandoned, heavy carapaces from a series of scintillating insects that flew off a long time ago.

And to be honest, some of ‘em need to be shredded before anyone else can get a good look.  Especially the children.

So I’m taking it a folder at a time.   Reading, recognizing, wondering, wincing, saving, shredding.

Acknowledging. Honoring.  Releasing.

I’ve done a desk shelf and two and a half drawer.  So far, my Keeper stack is smaller than my recycling pile.

It still hurts a little to let go, but I think I have the hang of it now.

I’m still planning on sedation, though, when the time comes to tackle my bookshelves . . .

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*Ever see one of those commercials where a pile of folded sweaters approximately the height of Hasheem Thabeet is crammed into a plastic bag and vacuum-sealed down to the width of Giselle Bundchen?  It’s the same principle, except I used wooden drawers and brute force.

**You know—the drafts cobbled together out of typed and handwritten pages, scrap paper, envelopes, post-its, napkins, images, and digital files saved . . . somewhere.

*** Along with ancient and presumably paid bills, medical assessments, paycheck stubs from a job I left twenty years, school papers and deathless art generated by my kids, not to mention my old IQ tests from ages 6 and 11 which were, in my opinion, a tad optimistic.

^The 3½” ones, thank you, so you can keep your age-related technology jokes to yourself. We who were born before the invention of the Internet and entered the workforce when ASCII was king do not appreciate them. Mouse dependent whippersnappers . . .

^^Though some of it had been archived for decades in my childhood home, until it was dumped on passed back to me by Dad during one of my folks’ U-haul-themed Thanksgiving visits.

 

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Image of the coal scuttle by Lajsikonik is shared under creative commons license via Wikimedia Commons.

 Image of the rough diamond is from the United Stated Geological Survey and is in the public domain.

Image of the diamond ring by TQ Diamonds  is shared under creative commons license via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Cuffs)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

_______________________

Last week had a bit of Turner wit and also a Three Little Pigs pun.

I’m skipping over a few lines of taunting and growling between that and this. I also added a semi-colon so I could get in the last sentence.  Tom is fond of short stinger lines, which are fun, but sometimes difficult to fit into the limit.

Arm Binder 2

Turner came back around and helped buckle the thick, silver-studded leather binders to the thug’s forearms, securing them together from elbow to wrist. The reinforcements and the awkward angle would keep him from ripping them apart, and even if the silver content wasn’t enough to stop him from changing, the pain would—Canidae aren’t built to have their front legs bound back along their spines.

Bryan had taught me that.

“Want the legs, too?” Turner said.

I got to my feet and backed away. “Don’t bother. Pick him up.”

Wolves were heavy for their size, even in human form, but Turner pulled the guy up and sat him in the client chair without any visible effort; he was a handy guy to have around.

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Before y’all think I’ve taken this book in a new direction—I’d say “totally unexpected”, but I know a few of you better than that by now and vice (pun intended) versa—it’s really more of an ode to the memory’s junk yard and how it can stick random stuff together in odd ways.

So. Used to be a fan of Ann Rice waaaaay back in the day, and in one of her books-East of Eden, I think, since I don’t remember much of the far less interesting Sleeping Beauty trilogy—a character was put in a set of leather arm binders that laced together in the back.

I also have a friend who was the seneschal of a local SCA kingdom when I met her.  Her husband fights melee-style and I picked up all sorts of things about medieval armor, some of which is made of leather with metal plates riveted in, making the leather look studded on the outside–decorative and practical.

Years later, I asked myself how  someone would cuff a person who was not only strong enough to break most of the usual wrist restraints, but also had a legendary allergy to silver.

Scene kind of wrote itself.

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Image provided by nycleather1022 via eBay, where you can find all sorts of interesting things about your fellow human beings if you type Leather Arm Binders into Google Images.  Viewer discretion is crucial.

Random Thursday: Like Lambs to the Random

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

My whole attitude this week can be summed up in one word:  Baaaaaah.

So I went with it.

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Hipster Sheeple or Sheepish Hipster?

Hurts so good.

Hipster Sheeple

True story:

One day, during my brief sojourn as a music major, I was studying in my dorm room to Pachelbel’s Canon—actually, I was studying the Canon itself, for Theory class.

I wasn’t wearing headphones, and the door was open.

My RA stuck her head into the room in passing and asked me why on earth I was playing the GE Soft Light commercial over and over.

When I told her the original music had been composed around 1693,
she looked at me like I’d just won the trophy for Champion Freshman Idiot and said,
“Oh, please. Lightbulbs weren’t even invented back then.”

She wasn’t wrong.  Entirely.

(Thanks, Tina—I’d forgotten!)

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Rocking the Oxymoron

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Others, I give to you the song “No Stress”,
as sung by a musician named Wolf
to images from Shaun the Sheep.

Feel the awesome.

(Not that I didn’t appreciate the . . . effort . . . it must have take to create that other sheep vid you sent, me, Kev, but I like this one better)

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The Bathgate Conspiracy

According to Reddit, a sheepherder in Bathgate, Scotland, (safely) had been dying his sheep in bright colors for several years in order to entertain passing motorists.

This is the pretty picture that usually accompanies this announcement.

Dyed Sheep

But if you look at the comments, a resident of Bathgate (Mayor_Goldie_Wilson) says that this isn’t quite right

The image s/he offers of the Real Bathgate Sheep™ is a bit less . . . Easter best.

Real Dyed Sheep

But dark purple sheep?  Are still totally cool, y’all.

(I can’t remember who first shared the above image on Facebook, as nearly everyone did, but thanks! )

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A Small Amount of Sheep is Not Zero

And that is exactly what this video provides.

So there.

And remember, at any given time, you are never more than 12,750 km away from a sheep.

I find this oddly comforting in a really disturbing way.