My critique group goes to work!

If you write, join a critique group: other writers who read and critique your writing. Yesterday, my critique group liked the conclusion of “The Criminal Cupid!” (click to read it) I’ll share their comments. (And I will likely do that again for future critiques.)

One newer lady had said this was the first story I’d turned in where she could easily visualize what was happening. She said I had a little more description that slowed down the action and let her keep up. (I still have concerns that I skimp on description.) An older lady who wrote wonderful prose-poetry said, “This is slower?”

My methhead description felt awkward. (I agree.)

One writer said the Billy Jack banter felt flat and did not contribute to the story progress. Another writer really liked it. (That bit is there because Bennie is delaying the arrow girl so Holly has a chance to break free, and so I can take a shot at Billy Jack. I’ll rewrite it to show the former.)

Late 60s Bennie the cop needed to resist 25-year-old Holly more lest he come off as creepy. (I am putting more effort into Bennie holding off love-arrow-smitten Holly. I must make sure the reader knows what Bennie is thinking: Holly needs to back off and get back to police work! It’ll make for better, funnier conflict.) And as a corollary, a writer also said the badge cam felt creepy. (The camera stays! All the cops wear them! I will foreshadow the camera earlier, Holly will also wear one for her day on the police force.)

When Holly struggled against her bonds, followed by her dialog, one writer did not know who was speaking. (I have erased dialog tags too often! Readers MUST know who says what! I will tag that.)

I stole a line from Time Bandits when the villain is about to cast a spell: “Half-warthog? Half-donkey? Half-oyster? Half-carrot?” Arrow girl says, “Half hippie. Half hipster. Half commie. Half socialist. Half angry poet. Half stoned rock star. Half vegan. Half beatnik. Half tie-dyed anti-war protestor. And no cop!” One writer said, “That’s a lot of halves.” (I added a Bennie wisecrack about the girl being bad at math.)

One write gave me the line “untidily bowled over” for the shattered toilet knocking people down. (I took it!)

A writer wants a better description of the arrows. (I will describe earlier in the story, maybe Holly can say superpowered exposition stuff?

A writer liked the collard greens joke and the mocha brown face and Holly’s pale Swedish face gag, but did not get Holly’s beaky nose as deadly weapon. Also said the fascist references seemed to refer to our current government. (Actually, that came from annoying Marx worshippers I met decades ago in college. They’re likely tea-partiers now, wimps who always stuff their little pea brains into a comforting ideology. “Ew, this capitalism sandwich tastes like crap! I’ll hoark down this communism sandwich in one swallow, I don’t need to smell or taste it, it must be good cuz the other is bad!” The epitome of willful stupidity!)

P.S. Ugh, the story is up to 7000 words, that is TOO MUCH! But I have the middle and beginning to rewrite, and a big scene to cut out, so I hope to get it to the ideal length of just over 5000 words. Ideal in not too long, and maybe can be split into 2500 parts for shorter audio files.

My audio story, The Malevolent Mystery Meat, is online!

Click the Carry The Light picture to the left, or click here, to hear my audio short story: The Malevolent Mystery Meat! It stars the grade-schoolers Tucker and Wrigley, the two brothers with super doggie powers who save Super Holly Hansson from the evil lunch ladies. Super doggie car chase! Icky mystery meat! Licky doggie tongues! Go, Puppy Brothers, go! BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK!!!

Click here to read the text version, if you like reading along with my dramatic narration. I used the William Tell Overture (royalty free on YouTube) as the background music. Remember The Lone Ranger? Hi yo, puppies, away!

4 years of Trump? Maybe I can make a buck!

I can write (and maybe sell) more stories where my superheroine Holly Hansson battles Money Man, my Trump-based supervillain. He eats money: the larger the denomination, the more powerful he gets. One idea: put Trump’s grabby misogyny into Money Man instead of just greed and a dash of racism. Another idea: Money Man’s wife can be a beautiful android or Martian, and likely the brains of the outfit because Money Man is dumb. In the comics, Martians (and perhaps sexbots) aren’t. (Hmm, I might have to tweak Money Man’s name if it is in use.)

Trump and his rallies remind of this scene in I, Claudius. Except Trump is more vocal than Sejanus (a young Patrick Stewart!) when his rallies get punchy.

The Trumping of a supervillain!

trumpFor an upcoming anthology from the South Bay Writers Club, I wrote a short story with a new supervillain: Money Man. On the advice of a couple of friends, I made him a Donald Trump clone: xenophobic, money eating, orange haired bully. He gives Super Holly a tough fight, but she clobbers him GOOD! (Holly hates bullies.)

I’ll write Money Man into another story, he was fun to write. And he needs to lying lie like Trump lying lies. Like when Trump said “That makes me smart” in the debate when Hillary said he wasn’t paying his taxes, and then Trump said the lying lie “I never said that” one short hour later. Because Trump has the attention span of a 9-Year old with ADHD (according to the ghostwriter of The Art of the Deal), Trump thinks everyone else won’t remember when his big blabbery lips moved? Ooo, that would drive Super Holly nuts!

Scripting Change and my first Kindle publish!

HOLLY COVER Reviz 3I finally pushed my first short story to Kindle. Two Stories in One: Super Bad Hair Day, and The Poet and the Supersplainer! Two stories for a dollar, such a deal! Take a look, buy, read, and write a good review. (I’d rather be compared to Stan Lee than Hemingway.)

And Scripting Change 2016 has the story “The Terror of the Twisted Tonguester!” Former supervillain the Karate Queen defends her girlfriend from superheroine Holly Hansson, who has fallen under the spell of the vile Byle Boole (boo, hiss!).

I am now more than an aspiring writer. I am a published author, both self-pubbed and pubbed by local clubs. Bask in my glory.

 

Watch me pull a DC reboot outta my hat!

DC Comics is rebooting its universe again. Back to the roots. Lowered prices, twice-monthly comics. And starting them over at #1 again. Rumored to be cancelled: Midnighter (gay hero) and Starfire (fun superheroine). Sigh. I guess roots are kinda white male.

A little advice to DC Comics. To sell comic books, write good stories. I love Harley Quinn and Starfire (my usual taking the pulse of super heroines): fun writing! Why is Deadpool funny? Not because of the violence, or the sexual innuendo, or the swearing. It’s because the script is damn funny! (Yeah, I know, Hollywood won’t believe me.)

I’m tired of weathering comic book universe reboot storms and waiting for the storylines to settle down. What does the repeated reboot trick remind me of? Presto!

A flash fiction Holly story

A couple of items:

TWO STORIES COMING! My story about Holly being possessed (the theme: transform) will go into Fault Zone, an anthology that the Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) prints once a year. Their standards are high, at least for me. Also, I sent a story to Scripting Change (my third), Holly’s second encounter with the Karate Queen (the theme: recovering from domestic violence). So I’ll be posting links when they are available. I am slowly becoming an author. (Still have to put a couple stories on Kindle that are ready to go.)

FLASH FICTION! A week ago, at the Fremont CWC, we had a flash fiction exercise with the first line:

As I came out of the coffee shop, there he was again. The stocky grey-haired man. Was he following me?

And below is what I wrote. (I edited and added a little after the exercise.)

Did he have a death wish, like those pervy paparazzi whose telephoto lenses keep zooming in on my butt whenever the slightest breeze brushes my red cape aside? There were still those who tried zooming in on my super-bosom. Usually one growl from me and they retreated, fearful of a telephoto suppository.

No. He did not look the type. He wore a plain grey suit. White shirt. Grey tie. Grey eyes. He was older, but healthy-looking. He walked like a retired linebacker, firmly but gently stomping toward me.

Was he a supervillain? If so, he was certainly not stealthy. And against me, the mightiest of the superheroes, or should I say superheroine, he’d need a lot of muscle. His hands were thick, callused, nails cracked. Many decades of manual labor in those hands. Reminded me of growing up, and meeting the farmers who never ever seemed to stop working. I was still getting used to being a superheroine, getting the call to come to the rescue butting into my life. Remembering the farmers helped me put things into perspective, helped me see what real labor was. Sort of. I STILL hated having to leave half an iced mocha and an early draft of my next graphic novel to go punch out those annoying members of the super man-up club, GOD I hate those guys, most rudely stupidly macho morons ever!

But this guy. He stared at me. But he did not ogle me. And he came closer, closer. And I set my e-bracelet to call Cal the Intellectual just in case. And he stopped in front of me.

“Are you Miss Holly Hansson?” He rolled his Rs with a thick accent from some ancient slavic country. And really, I was in my blue supersuit and red cape. My cape and my long blonde hair were blowing in the wind. He must not watch the news very often.

“Yes,” I said.

He reached into his jacket. I remembered Michael Corleone protecting his (God)father with the same exact motion. I tensed, but remembered I was bulletproof.

He pulled out a graphic novel. “My granddaughter in the old country. She vants your autograph.”

“Certainly, I’d love to.” Ah, another fangirl. I’d have to give him my card so she could contact Kittygirl and maybe join my fanclub. Kittygirl loved to meet new fans. Even if she could only email them.

I opened the book, usually I signed the inside front cover. Then I noticed that I would not be the first person to scribble in this book. All the word balloons had writing near them. He must have translated the entire story into his native tongue. The penmanship was strong, legible, all capital letters. He’d even translated the sound effects words. A dog bark was BOFF instead of WOOF.

I took another look at his hands. They had a constant, slight tremor. Every joint was swollen. Arthritis. Advanced. I turned through the hundreds of pages of the graphic novel. Every last word, translated. Every. last. painful. word. I looked into his deep, grey eyes set in a weather wrinkled face.

He smiled, very apologetic. “Sorry I had to vrite in your book. My granddaughter does not know English.”

I gently held his hand. “You should be the one wearing the cape here.”

He chuckled. “Me? In da clingy supersuit? Dat vould look silly!”