All posts by nhluedke

The impact of a good story

Most of the writers I know are also avid readers. Why? I don’t know about them, but good stories make me feel more, think more, about things I might not ever get to experience in my own tiny part of the world. I am always grateful to those who have the talent to share their imaginations with powerful, quiet, passionate, subtle and deadly words that spark a reaction in my brain and allow me to come along for the ride.

Speaking of writers and storytelling, a friend posted more links on her personal journal about story crafting:

good one on description

good one on properly using backstory

how to fix plot holes

devising conflict between protagonists

I was so impressed by the author of the backstory link (Lisa Cron) that I looked her up and found this great TED talk: “Wired for Story.”

She pretty much sums up why I love storytelling: it can teach, reach, preach, etc. Good or bad, stories have impact, and we’re hardwired to respond.

If you have anything to share, about reading, writing or stories, please do. I’d love to hear it.

Cover art, word count and sequels

My first post of the year and January is almost gone…this means I have been working hard, and that’s a good thing.

The novel is completed and in the hands of several reviewers while I 1) do the fourth rendition of the cover, 2) create a query to send to agents (just for fun as I will still self-publish this year), and 3) work on the sequel.

Though I have heard back from two reviewers with positive assurances, I’m not holding my breath as I wait for the rest to reply. It’s a long book. The word count was 117k. Okay, that seemed long until I compared it to the word lengths of other literary works.

Fourth cover? Why yes. It’s almost done, I promise. This time, I am using a better medium.

Sequel? Yes again. It seems Sara, Vishi and Miles still have stories to share.

Hopefully I can take breaks and work on some short stories to complete another anthology like this one. And work on finishing the other novel in progress.

In the meantime, I wish anyone who visits this quiet little corner good fortune in finishing your own works or reading wonderful novels you discover online or in a bookstore.

Happy new year!

 

 

First chapter of new book

So the sequel and the novella are in the process of being merged into a book. I promised I would post the first chapter here (when I was happy with it) and so I shall. This is original work. Enjoy responsibly.

Chapter one – The Trip

I was in a dark room lit by a single thick beam of light from above. Standing in that illumination was a tall, somewhat light-complected woman with sparkling skin and very long, braided blue hair. She was dressed in a black sports bra and dark jeans with boots. Her arms were toned and strong, and her visible stomach muscles flexed as they moved a bit, giving her a graceful, dangerous feel. Her upper face was mostly covered by a black mask but her blue eyes, surrounded by sparkling blue eye shadow, were clearly visible through two large holes. As I studied her, those blue eyes began to change and glow until it seemed they were lit from within by bright candle flames. She wore an enigmatic smile on her pale cold lips, with no teeth showing. I stepped toward her and the gold light glowing behind her eyes brightened considerably. Since eyes are not normal if they glow like candle flames, I realized I was asleep and shook myself awake.

The scenery passing by my side of the small car hadn’t changed much. It was still a beautiful view of the stark winter landscapes prevalent in this part of the country. Today was Saturday, December 20. Next week I would celebrate my fourth Christmas in these parts and I still had not tired of it as it was so unlike the state where I was born. I enjoyed seeing the seasons in all their glory, from leafless and cold to brilliantly clothed in green and back again.

I glanced at the woman behind the wheel of the vehicle and grinned ruefully as I adjusted my tired slouch to a more comfortable upright position.

“Sorry about that. Hope I didn’t drool on your car.”

Vishi laughed merrily. “Considering I fell asleep not once, not twice, but three times while you were driving, I think I can understand a little drool. I didn’t understand what you said, though. Something about a tutor? Don’t tell me you need a tutor in one of your classes. You’re the one making the perfect grades, Sara, not me.”

“I said what? Tutor?”

“Yes, in your sleep.”

“Huh.” I rubbed my jaw and twisted my long braid of brown hair around in my fingers while I considered. “I don’t remember saying anything. You were talking to me and then I saw something strange that made me believe I was dreaming, so I woke up.”

My roommate, Vishi, is a sharp-eyed, sharp-tempered little thing. Half Italian and half Mexican heritage, her feisty side is hard to reckon with at times, but she more than makes up for it by being one of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Her only true downside is her cooking ability, which doesn’t really exist, but I’m happy to do all the cooking with her pitching in for half the groceries and the cleaning duties. We live in a little house in a little city where she goes to a university full time while I work pretty much full time and go to a community college two days a week. It’s a good situation; we get along pretty well, having met in high school where we became friends. If she said I was talking about a tutor in my sleep, then I was, as she is also one of the most honest souls I know. Funny thing is, I hadn’t realized I was worried about my grades. I have other things to be concerned with, though I wasn’t going to let her know that.

The strange dream was one of them, and it wasn’t the first time I had experienced it.

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