Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

So, whatcha writin’ in that NaNoWriMo thing, anyway? July 11, 2013

In November, when I was actually on track with my NaNo writing, I had a few gems that still make me happy. This book is now with the editor (who has gone to Europe for 2 weeks, and abandoned me!) Thought I’d share this with you, in the hopes that it will inspire today’s Camp NaNo efforts to get more than 500 words a day, which is all I’ve been managing so far! (Arg). Enjoy.

Shawn L. Bird

Thought you might like to see what’s coming along.  Ben is now at University of Calgary with his friends Paul and Ryan.  (Craigie Hall is the music building). Grace is living in the Shuswap with her Auntie Bright.  If you’re new to the story, you should know that Grace and Ben are connected telepathically.  Ben is the earthly realm form of the demi-god Orpheus.  He’s narrating.

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I was walking down a corridor in Craigie Hall when a stab of pain crashed into my head.  I staggered into the wall, and grabbed for support.

A girl rushed over to me, “Are you okay?”

I shook my head, gasping, and she guided me to a bench.  I dropped my head between my knees.  “I’ll be okay.  It’s fine.”  The pain wasn’t mine, it was reverberating from Grace.  She didn’t know yet how to completely control her side of our connection.  Her…

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living dangerously- the latest NaNo snippet November 28, 2012

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:42 pm
Tags: , , ,

Things are heating up!

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I don’t care how nice her shoes are, she’s stupid.” Tanis said, clenching her teeth as she set her cafeteria tray down on the table.

“I’m sure she doesn’t mean anything by it,” Georgia said, sliding in beside her.

Tanis’s eyes flashed.  “I think she definitely means something by it.”  She glared at Georgia, “You should be worried.  It is your boyfriend she was just making out with.”

Georgia shrugged.

“Ryan is no Ben, Georgia.  He was kissing her back.  You understand that, don’t you.”

Paul looked at me, but I just shrugged.  I wasn’t wading into the middle of this debate.

I looked around for Grace, but there was no sign of her.  I sat down beside Paul.

“I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation, Tanis.  Ryan isn’t stupid.”

Tanis snorted.

Georgia inhaled and looked over at me.  “Tell them, Ben.”

“Why do you think I know something?”

“You always seem to have an inside track.  People talk around you.  So?  What do you know?”

I shrugged.  “I have no idea what is going on with Misty.”

“It’s like she’s turned into someone else,” muttered Paul.  “Some crazy nymphomaniac or something.”

I lifted a brow at that.  There were certainly draughts and spells that could do that.  Who would be behind it, though?

“You’re thinking love potion, perhaps?” Tanis said, rolling her eyes.

Ryan slid onto the seat next to Paul and leaned across the table to Georgia, “Now before you condemn me, hear me out.”

Tanis gave him a ‘let me scrap you off the bottom of my shoe, first’ look.

He was focused on Georgia, as if the rest of us weren’t there.

“I don’t have a thing for Misty.”

“You’ll make out with anything with breasts, you pig,” said Tanis.

Georgia scowled at her.

“Maybe even without breasts,” Paul observed nonchalantly.

Ryan scowled at him, then turned back to Georgia.  “I don’t know what happened.  I was just minding my own business, and suddenly there was a tongue in my mouth!”

Tanis scoffed.  “Right.  Like that’s possible.”

I coughed, “Actually…”

Tanis shook her head.  “You saw him.  He was kissing her back.”

“I couldn’t help it!” Ryan exclaimed, wide-eyed.  “I did it automatically.  It’s not as if I like her or anything!”

“You are so dead,” muttered Paul with a whistle.

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NaNoWriMo day 28: 3006 words  (November total: 44,012)

NaNoWriMo day 29: 3002 words (November total: 47,014)

This is a ridiculous pace!  Working all day and writing for 4 or 5 hours off and on all evening is exhausting!  Only 2986 tomorrow to finish the challenge though!  Yay! 🙂

 

Another Orpheus visit to the Other Realm November 27, 2012

Here’s a chunk from today’s NaNoWriMo scribblings.  I confess that I have lost a bit of inspiration about what’s going on in Grace Awakening Destiny, (Book 4) I’ve decided that any novel writing counts, so long as it’s new writing.  I have some holes I want to patch in Grace Awakening Myth, (Book 3)  and here is a patch for your entertainment:

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“ARES! I shouted.  “Get out here, you coward!”  I stomped in a circle around a foggy clearing, trying to force it into something less ethereal.

“Shouting is so immature, Orpheus,” declared a bored feminine voice, manifesting a throne behind her..  “Aren’t you a little old for such theatrics?”  She looked down her elegant nose and then added, “But of course, you’re all about the theatre, aren’t you?”

“Hera.  Isn’t Ares a little old to be sending his mommy out to fight his battles?”

She smiled, but it was a dangerous thing, like the tantalizing blossom of a poisonous plant.  “My son is busy right now.  Unlike you, he has important things to do.”

“Your definition of important and mine are rather different.  What is he doing?  Is he fueling some holy war or training up Middle Eastern terrorists?  Doesn’t the Earthly Realm deserve a break from war?”

“The humans don’t want a break from war, silly boy.  Giving up war would mean giving up their quest for wealth and power.  Humans are all about power.  They all want to be in control.  They get it by buying favour.  They get it by killing little men, so they can crawl on their backs, to attain what the little men don’t even dare to dream about.  Their glory is being trodden upon by those climbing over their pathetic lives.  They’re just ants, Orpheus.  And if Ares wants to play with his magnifying glass, why should anyone stop him?  It’s all humans are good for, after all, entertaining us.”  She shrugged, dismissing the entire human race with the slightest of movements of her shoulder.

“My wife isn’t an ant.  My friends aren’t ants.”  I said.

“Wife?” she laughed.  “Now you imagine that she’s your wife?  I seem to recall that she is the prize of whoever wins this challenge, and victory is very unlikely to be yours.  She is not ever going to be your wife again.”  She stepped closer to me, and stared with eyes of ice.  “My son is a god of war, Orpheus,” she spat.  “He is not one of your pathetic little musician friends.  He is not a dancing girl like those Graces.”  She curled her lips and snarled.  “He is powerful, and you will not defeat him.  Now go!  Return to those pathetic creatures and their pathetic lives.  You are not worthy to be in this realm.”

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NaNoWriMo Day 27 total: 4118  (November total 41,006)

Writing furiously this evening, after a raff of medical appointments today.

 

inspirational kids October 10, 2012

Filed under: Commentary,Grace Awakening Myth — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:11 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve already told you that I occasionally use the names of my students (with their permission, of course) in my stories.   The characters are not representations of their namesakes; they have their own adventures, conflicts, and personalities which are completely distinct.  Still, sometimes the fictional and real have the odd thing in common.

For example, in Grace Awakening Myth there’s a character called J-Roy.   You learned the other day that J-Roy dances, is athletic, and looks great in a unitard.

The real J-Roy is also pretty tough.  Look who’s a head-liner in a local mixed martial arts fight? Uh huh.  Ben desperately needs all the help he can get.  I wonder if J. Roy will give him fighting lessons? 😉

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HELP! Which start is your favourite? October 7, 2012

I’m unhappy with the opening to Grace Awakening Myth.  I need something strong , intriguing and compelling.

I’m brainstorming, and would appreciate some feedback from you!  Here are six versions of the first 100 words or so.  Version one is the original.  Which do you think is the strongest option?  Can you identify why it appeals to you?  Would you mix components of a couple of the options?  Please leave your observations in the comment section below.   (Though I see many of you are using Facebook, and that’s all right as well).  Thanks for your help!

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Version 6:

Aphrodite’s words exploded in my head like a missile shot from a catapult, leaving me dizzy and stunned.

I stared at her  as the words ricocheted through my head, smashing through my consciousness, crushing my hopes, and destroying my future.

Finally, I sputtered, “What did you say?”  It couldn’t be true.  She couldn’t have said what I heard.

Aphrodite stood, her back to the temple columns, watching me solemnly.  “Oh, Orpheus,” she sighed.  “I said, ‘This is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.’”

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Version 5:

Aphrodite’s words exploded in my head like the sound of crashing swords, leaving me dizzy and stunned.

Finally, I gasped, “What did you say?”

Aphrodite stood, her back to the templecolumns, watching me solemnly.  “Oh, Orpheus,” she sighed.  “I said, ‘This is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.’”

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Version 4:

Aphrodite was watching me with a solemnly pitying expression as I came over the hill.  She leaned languidly against a pillar, golden hair flowing around her in waves, waiting.

She made me nervous.  I bowed low.  “You wished to speak to me?”

She nodded, stepping forward and straightening into a formal posture. “I am to inform you, that this is the girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.”

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Version 3.

Aphrodite leaned against the temple column and watched me warily.  “Did you hear what I said, Orpheus?”

I bowed respectfully, shaking my head.  I had heard, but I wished fervently that I hadn’t.

“I said, this is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.”

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Version 2:

Aphrodite’s words sliced into me like a sword and I wheezed, feeling the blood rush from my face as the pain of them slashed through me.  “What did you say?”

Aphrodite stood, her back to the templecolumns, watching me solemnly.  “Oh, Orpheus,” she sighed.  “I said, ‘This is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.’”

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 Version 1:

“Orpheus!  Come here.  I need to talk to you.”  Aphrodite stood, her back to the templecolumns, watching me solemnly.

I didn’t like the expression on her face.  I bowed respectfully, “Yes?”

“This is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.”

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(FYI- this is what follows the above…)

That girl.  She tossed the words like Grace was of no consequence.  The girl I had followed through time, the girl who made my life complete, and gave me music.  The girl who could save all that was good in the world.  The girl I was waiting for.  My heart started to pound.  “Where is she?”

She shook her head.  “I’m not allowed to say; you know that.”

“I was told Canada.  In Calgary.”

Her eyes widened and she tilted her head, but she made no comment.

The eyes were enough confirmation.  At least I didn’t have to scan the entire population of the planet.  I only needed to find Grace among the million or so residents of Calgary.  I’d come to the city a couple of years before on a tip, and had settled myself into high school there.  My informant had assured me that Grace would show up there eventually, but I had reached my final year in high school without any sign of her.  I’d begun to doubt, but Aphrodite’s alarmed surprise was enough evidence that I was in the right place.  I would try to be patient.

 

heat in the band room June 14, 2012

The latest snippet from Grace Awakening Myth

Things are heating up in the band room!  (Ben is narrating).

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Ryan came in.  “Did you see Tanis?”   His eyes were wild.

“When?”

“Today.  She’s wearing something.”

“I should hope so.  Otherwise she’d be arrested.”

He shook his head, as if to shake out an image, “No, I mean, she’s wearing some…thing.  Ahhh.”  He shook harder, then hissed, “Look!”

Tanis sauntered in.  She was definitely wearing ‘something,’ all right.  Skin tight.  Mini-dress.  Black leather.

Ryan cast a frantic look over to Mr. J.  Mr. J glanced back and raised an eye brow.

Paul came in, grinning.

Tanis glanced over her shoulder and then bent over.

Paul sucked in his breath.

Ryan gulped.  Loudly.  Like he had swallowed his tongue.

“Tanis,” Mr. J called.  “I need to see you over here, please.”

She grinned at us, our jaws hovering somewhere around our navels, and gave a little shoulder wiggle as she passed us.

Mr. J spoke to her quietly.

She shrugged and left the room.

He came over to us.  “For whose benefit was that display, gentlemen?”

“I…uh…well…” Ryan stuttered.

Paul twitched, but didn’t seem to have the capacity of speech anymore.

I inhaled.  “It’s complicated, sir.”

 

sewing with words June 10, 2012

Filed under: Grace Awakening Myth,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:20 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

When I write, I craft individual scenes.  When I have enough of them, I sort them out and put them in order, then I write the ‘in betweens’ that fill out the plot and ensure comfortable transitions, proper development of tension, etc.  After than comes the editing and additional padding or trimming that make things tidy.

It’s a bit like making a quilt of words.   First are the blocks, individual chunks, that are arranged into an attractive pattern.  They don’t stay together, though until they’re backed, and stitched down.

So, I’m quilting the final stitches in the third book of the series, Grace Awakening Myth today.  I think I’ll be done by bedtime.   Then off it will go to the first round of beta readers who will see if they find any holes in the structure and composition.  I’ll darn up what I need to, and then it will head off to the editor, who will trace the pattern for the final quilting.  When it’s all done, the next adventure will begin!

Another couple thousand words to stitch, and this word quilt will be done.

 

 
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