Author How-To: Setting as Character… or Not?

Someone recently told me they believe the setting in my upcoming novel, Cleaning House, serves as a character, and I agree…probably more than I should. A setting, especially a detailed one like the Appalachian Mountains, can seem like a character in its own right. I agree with this, but is it really? If you Google this topic, you’ll find lots of conflicting advice.

K.M. Weiland over at Helping Writers Become Authors firmly states that, “(u)timately, setting is not character. Characters are personalities, which means they are persons.” Sure, that works if your setting is static. Weiland goes on to say that we should consider how cultured and educated the setting is. In other words, the grounds of Oxford University would be a cultured, educated setting, but it’d lack personality so it can’t be considered a character.

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#CleaningHouseNovel #1lineWed Empty

Here’s another short-‘n-sweet #1lineWed post. The theme is empty.

She left the courtroom much like she’d entered it, her head down, her hands in her empty pockets.

“Find a job, Miss Rhodes, and repay your debts. I know you’re taking care of your Great Aunt, but there’s no reason you can’t work as well.”

#amwriting #WIP #1lineWed

#CleaningHouseNovel #WIPpet Wednesday #WIPitWed 7/18/18 Four Thieves

(Looks up from her work) Oh, hi! Is it Wednesday already? Where’s the time gotten off to?

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday*. I’m sharing again from Cleaning House, which will soon lose its WIP (work-in-progress) status.

Here’s my WIPpet math for 7/18/18 – I’m taking the seven for seven paragraphs from Cleaning House. Yes, I know this is actually non-math, but so goes it.

The setup: Cent’s thrown a spell bottle at Pyre because they’ve become a little too aggressive.

The first line, in yellow, comes from last week’s WIPpet.

     The last of Pyre disappeared in a puff of angry black smoke that slid out the window.

     “You got ’em good!” Birdie’s laugh drifted from the corner.

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#CleaningHouseNovel #PoetTues – A Wedding Blessing and Prayer (Special Excerpt)

Plucked from the content of Cleaning House comes a wedding blessing and a prayer,  one that I had rolling around in my head when I married my love a few years back but didn’t put into word form until this novel. Who knew it’d take an elemental and a human together to coax it out of me?

“Fire powers this blessing.” Stowne lit the smudge from the bonfire. “Earth softens our path.” They tossed a handful of dirt into the air so it fell through the smudge’s smoke. “Wind cools our backs.” Stowne fanned the smudge so it burned brighter. “Water eases our way.” They dipped their fingers into the water bowl beside their stack-stone throne, flicking their fingers so the smudge steamed.

Light the way

Soften our path

Cool our journey

Ease the way

We ask of thee, Mother and Father.

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The Elevator Pitch – So What’s Your Book About?

Writing an elevator pitch should be easy, right? It’s just one sentence, maybe two, the gist, the… For me, it’s the process of condensing 115,000 words into a handful of meaningful, plot-hinging terms. Eek!

But wait, let’s back up. What’s an elevator pitch, you ask? It’s a marketing term used to relay an idea in less than sixty seconds, generally spoken. It’s for when you’re stuck with an agent or publisher in an elevator and have about sixty seconds to sell yourself and your work. That’s the generic reason to have a good pitch, anyway, the reason they told me to have one in grad school. But here’s the thing: I don’t live in New York, L.A,, or London, or anywhere else impressive, and the only elevator I ride in with any regularity is the one going up to the third floor of a medical office building to see my rheumatologist. I won’t be running into a publisher or agent there. So why do I need an elevator pitch? Well, here’s a list.

Someone might ask you…

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#CleaningHouseNovel #RainbowSnippets Fifty-Five 7/14: A Pack of Smokes

Welcome to this week’s installment of Rainbowsnippets*! This one is uniquely mine, but there are lots of other great snippets to read, so after you finish here click the FB link at the bottom of the post to discover other great LGBTQIA authors and their works.

I’m sharing again from Cleaning House. The novel is an Appalachian-set Contemporary/ Paranormal Fantasy where the past and the present are blended with a healthy dose of granny magic. The mountains are alive, and a little moonshine can cure what ails you. It’s a little more than two weeks until the release, and I’m stoked!

The Setup: It’s early, and Cent’s run into her friend Betty on the front stoop of their apartment.

     “What is it, six months now?” Cent stood on the bottom step and peered down the street.

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