“Difficult” scenes

Owen Collins

Owen Collins

I just finished a difficult scene in my book that involved the death of a child. It left me feeling heart broken and a little sick, but with an odd sense of satisfaction. I think the satisfaction is due to finishing it in a way that I feel does honor to the little fictional boy’s spirit. No matter that this is the only scene he’s in, and at that briefly. I didn’t want it to be a cheap thing thrown in for shock value, I don’t do that, not even to fictional little boys.

 
I thought up this scene months ago, but didn’t actually write it till now. I wasn’t even sure it was going to be a boy or a girl. I think perhaps I finally chose a little boy due to the tragedy that has unfolded right here in my town. The short of it is (as we know it right now, the autopsy isn’t back yet) some idiot mom and her boyfriend accidentally killed her 3 yr old son with either drugs or meth cooking. They then tried to hide the body and ended up throwing it into the woods and setting it on fire. Happily they didn’t get away with it. Sadly this sweet little boy is no longer among us.

 
When I was still playing with dolls I killed off my first character (yes my dolls were characters, with back story and props). I cried for days, had a funeral for her, and even though I reused the doll, all the props that were “her” were never used again. I couldn’t even tell my mom why I was so sad…. She just wouldn’t have understood.

 
Have you ever written something emotionally hard? What motivated you to do it? Are you happy with how it turned out? Did your readers react the way you hoped they would? Or did you get slack from it?

 
Did you cry? (Physically or just on the inside?)

~Mia
1/22/2015

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Beta readers wanted for Tabeth

Hello,
I am at the point in my novel Tabeth where I think I could really use a beta reader or five. There are a few places I’m stuck and I need any help I can get.

If you like proofreading, I need that.
If you like finding inconsistencies and such, I need that.
If you just like reading and want to give me your overall impression with any notes you feel the need to give, I NEED THAT TOO.

The book is about 40,000 words and is the first in a planned trilogy. Genre is Horror/Paranormal/Vampire with graphic violence but no sex. This will be my first published novel, but it has been through several edits and a few alpha readers.
I haven’t really managed to write a synopsis yet… ah well… I’ll give it a shot.
Tabeth wakes up not remembering anything, in fact it takes her a bit to realize she’s dead. Her instincts are to kill and feed, but after the rush goes away she’s horrified by what she is. However she isn’t one to just lay down and die (again), so she tries to make do. Her attempts to control the hunger don’t always work out, and it’s all complicated by the fact that she likes to kill and that she likes this human man who happens to be a cop.
Kris sees Tabeth at her worse on the night she woke up, in fact she killed his partner and quite a few others from his squad, but he still can’t stop thinking about her. Who is she? What is she? Is she really dead? Haunted by her eyes he gives up everything to find her.
Will Tabeth be able to control the animal inside her? Will Kris find what he’s truly looking for?
(Does that sound as cheesy as it does to me? Sigh… I need to work on that.)

If you are interested in helping in any way (even if you only want the first 5 chapters or so) please email me at mymind@miarich.com
Thanks again,
~Mia

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Vampire Introductions

I was reading a discussion thread over on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2057974-provocative-pnr—the-psychology-of-vampirism which pointed to this article on the psychology of vampirism. http://www.vampirebibliographica.com/vampire-philosophies/the-psychology-of-vampirism/

Which I thought was a bit misleading because it didn’t really talk about the technical psychology of it, but the author’s look at her own personal psychology of her own liking of vampires. The goodreads thread asks: “…what is it about vampires that makes you all weak in the knees? Confession time… Who was the first vampire to bite you and suck you into the sub-genre?” soooo…. here I go.

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My first real taste of vampires (outside of The Count on Sesame Street) wasn’t centered on the male vampire in the movie at all, but on the females. I didn’t want to be dominated by a vampire, I wanted to BE the vampire! The movie was an old one that you don’t hear about much called “Twins of Evil” (1971). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twins_of_Evil I watched it in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s.

Of the two sisters I identified with ‘the good one’ but wanted to BE ‘the bad one’. Perhaps it was because I was raised in a very conservative Christian household, but I sooo wanted to break free like the ‘bad’ sister did! In fact, the entire act of watching the movie was a rebellion, as we (my sister and I) were not allowed to watch scary movies. We snuck this old black and white movie on my sister’s very small old TV in her room.

I remember loving the bad sisters courage and boldness, but shaking my head at her mistakes. It was clear to me even back then that if you were going to be a bad girl you had to be smarter than the stuffy old “good” guy! Of the Count I don’t remember too much, I was aware that he was supposed to be very handsome, but I was very young and I don’t think I was much effected by handsome men yet. The sight of her blood stained lips gave me a thrill though, and I wanted to know what that tasted like.

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I was always a curious and imaginative girl. I was the one who introduced demons into my sister and I’s Barbie play. (My sister is 4 years older than me.) We got into trouble for that one when mom found out because my sister got nightmares from it. When the church put out tracks warning of Occults (this was the 80s mind you), I kept them and studied the occult symbols they put in it. Yet on the outside I was the ‘good girl’… perhaps I was just smarter at hiding my evil ways??

Now, as an adult, I still tend to root for the vampire instead of the ‘hunter’. I loved Anne Rice’s vampire books not only because they portrayed bad vampires, but because they were from the perspective of those bad vampires! I would watch movies about vampire hunters like Blade, but my favorite part was when he bit the leading lady and drank her blood!

I was NOT impressed by Twilight, but if I was 16 when it came out instead of 37 I might have thought differently. Then again… maybe not. Writing my own vampire showed me just were my loyalties lie; Tabeth (http://www.miarich.com/?page_id=181 ) is a strong lady vamp who takes great pleasure in ripping people to shreds. She tries to not kill innocence like children, but targets ‘bad guys’ like drug dealers and killers. Capable of love and other emotions she is still a monster.

~Mia

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Short Story FUN!

I got into a discussion over at Google+ with +Max Saunders about tarantulas. Anyone who knows me knows I’m an odd ball who loves the creepy crawlies! Max suggested I write some horror story about them and I commented that I guess I don’t because I don’t find them scary!  However he noted that even if I don’t, clearly other people do, and I should give it a try. I remembered then that I wrote a short story a few years ago from the POV of a house spider. So here it is! My odd little ditty about a :

Drug House Spider

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The patient day was done and the humans stirred from their rest. They always seem to rise with the setting sun, as cousin wolf spider does. I consume some web that was ruined by my last catch, preparing to spin new, as they stumble about resembling spiderlings just into their full legs. Their nest is full of discarded pieces of meals, randomly dropped after their manner of eating. I don’t know why they do not discard the refuse outside their nest, but the fly’s the smell brings in makes for fine meals.

The female causes the water to fall in the next room, and I move to the hole in the wall that makes my far border. Through the void comes a fine mist that settles on my webs. I clean the moisture off the webs for my drink. I am very glad the female, at least, desires to clean herself in the falling waters, else I would have to leave my safe home to search for it.

After I have had my fill, I clean my chelicerae, fangs and fore-feet. I know that if I allow them to dirty they will no longer serve me, and I will die. I would have cleaned my other feet, but the humans were moving around and I caught the scent of anger. The large male, strutting around like a cock sparrow, pushes a smaller male out the entrance. I scurry back to the deep web as he is inclined to stomp and throw things at the walls when angered.

Sparrows eat spiders with a relish; I have watched them when I lived last season in the outside. Cock sparrows strut and fight for the more docile females, making much noise for the notice of them. The females however, are the ones you must concern yourself with, for they do not worry themselves with show, but only with the feeding of the offspring. Pausing only briefly in their search for food to glance at the blustering males.

The human male changes in tone of voice and manner when some other females enter the house. I come out to see, and once again witness, a strange sort of mating dance the large male does when strange females come to the house. They make sounds to one another, posture in ways I assume they find attractive, touch one another, and exchange gifts. Then the females leave. I don’t understand why the females keep coming back to him, performing this odd ritual, and then leave without completing the mating. Perhaps he does something to displease them, but why then come back to an unsatisfactory male? Humans confuse me.

One of them slams the back entrance plug and my wall shutters from the impact. I freeze instinctively, my senses alert to danger. Why do they always make so much noise? Do they think they are so big that predators won’t come for them? I am glad I have a house, even occupied by humans; the outside is filled with dangers.

Near the darkest part of the night, there came such a noise that I had never heard before. The high pitched sound came through the walls of the house and vibrated my webs as if a large thing was caught in them. I rushed out to see what it was. The sound continued and the human’s were in a panic, the female making angry sounds at the men. The scent of fear filled the room, stronger than any prey I have caught. The large male shouted out the main entrance, and the female screamed. I could not see, but I felt a BOOM! then several more BOOM BOOM! The cock sparrow man fell down and the smell of fresh blood came to me.

The other humans called loudly to each other and ran in all directions as strange humans came running in from both entrances. Like hatchlings they swarmed all over the house, taking the house-humans with them. I hid in my deep-web until it was quiet. I know to be cautious around my brethren, because a hungry spider will not hesitate to eat her sibling. I had not known that humans were the same.

In the stillness of the dawn, a fly, fat on spilled blood, blunders into my web. A quick bite and a wrapping of silk holds it for later eating. I am not hungry, this is a good house, but one never knows when the next meal will appear. Perhaps the next humans will be quieter.

Copywrite Maria Rich 2011

Interested in seeing my tarantulas past and present? Check out my Tarantulas Via Flicker

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Dreaded Holidays

With the dreaded holidays fast approaching, I was thrilled to see Special Holiday Music over at the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. Check it out!

 

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“Inverted” Genres

My daughter visited us from Utah and we watched a great anime together (she’s big on anime, and I like them from time to time). She picked a good one; Petema Inverted by Yasuhiro Yoshiura. I went into it totally blind, I had no idea what to expect, and the whole time I was trying to figure out where this one fit in. Was it sci-fi? Coming of Age YA? Fantasy with who knows what types of weirdness that the Japanese like to throw at you sometimes? Would horrible monsters come in to kill everyone the cute little girl loved?
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We were both thinking sci-fi as there was mechanical things and modern like buildings, also they talked about how “their scientists tried to harness the energy of gravity itself” leading towards a sci-fi theme. We had a running theory that they were really on a space colony and that there was no actual planet at all. That the people had all forgotten this and somehow messed up the anti-grav. However (and I won’t spoiler anyone here) the ending just kind of threw that whole theory out the window!!

 
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After watching it, like any good item of art, it left me thinking about it for days. (See… I’m still thinking about it!) So off to the net I go and find that it is listed as a fantasy! Which got me thinking about a post I read on genres and the cleaver mixing of them that goes on in the creative minds of authors in all mediums.

 
A book series I have loved for a long time, which also confused me on genre, is Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. I started with Dragonflight and assumed, because of the dragons, that it was a fantasy. I read that one, and the next one Dragonquest still believing this was a fantasy series even though it said sci-fi right on the spine. I already knew that people had a tendency to lump sci-fi, fantasy, and horror all together for some reason. It wasn’t till The White Dragon that I conceded that, ok, this was a sci-fi, and pretty much gave up the argument when Dragonsdawn came out. However, I still think of these books as crossover books, ones that blur the lines of genre and mix them together.

 
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Another long and winding series that likes to throw genre to the wind is Terry Brooks’ Shannara Series. I have not read them all, but they are favorites of my husband so I know much about them. There’s nothing like walking through a wonderful fantasy world with elves and magic only to stumble upon a modern world wreck! Your brain goes “WHAAAAAAAT?” and your heart gets all thumpy because….. if there can be magic in a modern world….. then perhaps there is magic here right now!!! Which of course is what every true fantasy buff dreams about!

 
Another all-time favorite of mine is the late, great Andre Norton and her Witchworld series. OH what I wouldn’t give to find one of her GATES!!!!
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Often I have wondered why people have such trouble with genre; if there’s magic its fantasy, if there’s science its sci-fi, if there’s monsters its horror, until I wrote my first novel and realized I have no clue what genre it should be in! It can certainly be thrown in Young Adult, as the main character is a teen, but even I don’t know the root cause of her main woe, so how am I to know where to put it? The more I think about the possibilities the more I don’t want to decide!

“Genres are defined by their themes and how they present the narrative. What, ultimately, is the goal of the book? What is the message being conveyed? What is it the book is trying to achieve? THIS is how you define genre, not whether or not your protagonist is a half-fairy/half-dragon whose best friend is a robot that is reincarnated from an ancient shaman.”
~ Writing Clinic: Defining Genre by Julie Ann Daws

Is that how these other authors ended up with such confusing genres? Or did they mix them on purpose? We authors often start a story with ‘what if’ and we readers often say ‘yeah and?’ so there is a clear market for crossovers. Figuring out what genre a book or movie belongs in is really a moot point anyway. The true power lies in the story and the execution of that story. Yet as humans we constantly want to know where things lie in the scheme of things it seems, so we keep trying to fit that star into the square hole when no star holes present themselves.

 
• If you’re an author, do you write crossovers? On purpose or on accident?
• If you’re a reader of crossovers, do you like them? Seek them out on purpose? Or are you a genre purist?

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Totally Totally TRUE!

I just have to repost this awesome illustration! Soooo true!

SOOOO TRUE!

 

 

 

 

 

I found this little gem from Google+ Writing Resources group. The post is about how to avoid cliches and it is also totally true, but the illustration is what killed me. I have felt each and every ONE of those, only I would add another one right at the top left: “I love this!”

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terribleminds

In my pursuit of a better novel, I have often played The Google Game and searched out questions. Like: “writing tips for horror” and “how to write a novel synopsis” and “proper formatting of dialog” and the latest “how to show point of view changes in a novel”. Some of these searches were more productive and others, and usually take up a good chunk of my time reading through all the possibles. At the best of times I have hit on some really good writing resources through these random searches. One of these is the blog of Chuck Wendig; terribleminds. Chuck is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He also has an awesome, quirky sense of humor I find refreshing after reading several webpages full of dry advice for wanabe writers such as myself. And…. AND… his information is on point and sincere.

Some of the posts I have so far found informative and gratifying are:

I have yet to buy one of his books. This will change. My next ‘how to’ book will most definitely be one of his! In the meantime I will be working my way through his bog. You should be too!

My kind of ‘how to’ book!

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Question…

Is it vain to say that you LOVE your own story? Wrong to think that your own novel is just the best thing to grace a page? (Especially as it hasn’t yet become a ‘page’?) Every time I go through a section to rewrite, make a change, or just refresh my memory on what it is I’m writing about; I fall in love with it again.

I think I’ve managed to change my ‘romance part’ into something closer to romantic and farther from cheese ball. Been working out inconsistencies like what someone was wearing, or what a place was called. Getting all the details in like place names and minor character names… All of which takes time and isn’t all that fun. Yet it keeps reminding me why I started writing this in the first place.

This person in my head, this character and her world…. I want it to come alive in all its horror and grace. And I want other people to read it and GET what it is I SAW.

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Tabeth

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Poet AND Writer?

April is National Poetry Month, which got me thinking about how I started out (way back in 6th grade!) writing poetry. That was a tough year for me and poetry really started speaking to me. My teacher encouraged us to write poetry and so I started writing for myself. It was always the short poems, or pieces of poems that I clung to, so that is what I wrote.

For example I loved Phyllis McGinley’s poem “A Choice of Weapons” being an angsty teen at the time.

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Sticks and stones are hard on bones.

Aimed with angry art.

Words can sting like anything

But silence breaks the Heart.

 

 

 

Yet I was still young , idealistic, and loved nature so I wrote:

Like a whisper,

The Wind

Lightly blows through the forest.

Are you listening?

 

I always thought of myself as ‘a poet’ never as ‘a writer’ until I kind of fell into novel writing around 2001. As my first book poured out of me I was shocked! I had played around with writing short stories but never even gave a thought to writing novels!

So here I am a poet, working on another novel that I would really like to publish, and wondering if anyone else out there does both. Are there other writers that also write poetry?

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