Posted in Uncategorized

Outtakes from the Cutting Room Floor

Movies are great. And you know what’s better than movies? The outtake reel at the end.  Even in our digital age, when nothing is physically cut any longer, we still get to see these gems. But in books, when something is cut, it’s gone forever.

So, why are there no pages of removed scenes at the end of books? Is it because readers would hate them? As a reader, I don’t think so. I wonder how many gems have been cut from my favorite books. I bet I’d like them.

Even in my infancy as a writer, I’ve noticed that there seems to be two types of writers: Those who don’t want to cut any full scenes, and those who cut mercilessly as edits suggest it. So far, I’ve cut mercilessly. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t value what I’ve cut. It just means the scenes didn’t fit well in my work.

So now here’s my own outtake, a rough draft of a short story within my novel that didn’t make the cut. I hope you enjoy it:

There were once two sisters, who grew twice the size of regular girls.Their mother tried her best to take care of them, and she managed until they could walk. By the time they were five, they no longer fit in their mother’s house, so they camped outside. By ten, they ‘d run through the town, pushing over buildings and eating entire gardens.
Finally, the women of the town went to the mother and told her the sisters had to leave. They were no longer welcome. The mother sat her large girls down and explained to them that they had grown too big for their home, and their village. She told them adventure stories of the forest, and reassured them that they’d have more fun playing in the trees
Excited, the girls scooped up their mother and carried her to the forest. Once they reached the edge, their mother ordered them to put her down. She wasn’t going with them.
The girls cried and begged her to come. She refused and told them that she was too old to live in the woods, but promised she would visit them on Sundays. Reluctantly, the girls told their mother goodbye and set out through the wilderness.
Every Sunday, their mother would meet them at the edge of the forest, bringing snacks and stories from town. The girls made her lovely gifts out of tree branches, flowers, and other things they found in the forest. This went on for years, until the mother fell ill and was too weak to walk to the forest.
That Sunday, the girls came to the edge of the forest and waited. Their mother never came. The sat on a grassy knoll next to the forest and waited until it was dark. They cried and called out for their mother. Silence answered them. One of them thought she could remember her way to the town. They walked and walked, but never found their mother’s house.
The sister came back to the knoll and sobbed for their mother. A windstorm came, blowing dust and mud all over them. The girls held hands and remained, waiting on their mother. The sun dried the mud, caking it to their skin. The girls continued to wait. Storms and sun cycled through, each time hardening the girls more and more.
When the mother was well enough, she asked a friend to help her to the forest. She wanted one last visit with her daughters. She crest the knoll and saw her girls sitting perfectly still, holding hands. The mother called out to them and neither moved. When she reached them she touched the smooth sandstone that had become their skin and fell to her knees. The girls had completely turned to stone.

Posted in Uncategorized

Is This Thing On?

As a new to-be author with a blog, I usually feel like I’m walking in an unfamiliar place with my glasses off. For anyone who isn’t nearsighted, drive to an unfamiliar park and walk around wearing sunglasses smeared with Vaseline. You’ll get the idea. 🙂

I wrote a novel, roughly 80,000 words to be exact, on a Word document on my iPad. Constant email to my sisters, my mom, and a friend resulted in “Why don’t you publish this? It’s a good story.”

I responded with a very enthusiastic, “Sure! Why not? I’ve already written it. How hard could it be?”

It’s been a learning curve ever since. Maybe more of a circle. Every time I get a task on my “How to be an Author” list complete, a well meaning citizen asks me, “Have you considered X?”

To be honest, until someone asked me, I’ve never really heard of most of the things I do now. And I’m not sure If I’m doing many of them right. Blogging, for instance. This blog was meant to be a central place where readers could learn about me in one place.

So far, I have more Twitter followers than anything, and more people have visited my Facebook page than here. Is that bad? Well, I’m new here, so I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know: For every one blog out there explaining something about writing, publishing, or marketing, there are at least a thousand people looking for their advice.  Does this mean I’m going to start advice posts? Haha! NO.

But this can be a place that other new and aspiring writers can come, read my experience, and relate. If they have a sense of humor, they might even laugh. Lord, I hope they laugh.

Now I’m off for more social media, to learn what a Mailchimp is, and find out how many  bananas he eats in a day.

Happy Sunday!

Posted in Beasts and Savages, The Beastly Series

Official Date for Publication: October 1st, 2015 (And why it’s been changed.)

Back when I was young and dumb (three months ago), I listened to anxious, well-meaning friends and family ask me when Beasts and Savages would be published.

It was already written. All I needed to do was go back, check my spelling and grammar, and send it off to eBook haven, right? I could definitely have my book ready by September 15.I told anyone who would listen to me that I had set my date.

Boy, was I wrong.

I read in an article somewhere that self-published authors should have someone (not related to them) look over their work. So, I Googled editors.  Professional editorial pages advertised quick and sound work, for a cost. As in I would have to sell 800 books to make back the money paid to them. Let’s be honest.I work in public safety, I don’t have that kind of cash lying around, waiting to be used.

I did find, however, a wonderful edit trading site. It was free and easy to use. What happened next was the biggest learning experience of my writing career.  I read some other’s work, gave some suggestions, and timidly posted my first chapter. My first real feed back was 573 words long. For those of you who don’t speak “word-countese”, this post is 483 words long. I felt like a little kid who had brought her scribbles to an art museum and asked the curator to hang it next to Van Gogh.

After 9 revisions, I received an edit that was over 1,500 words. That’s half the length of the chapter. Right now, I’m at my 20th, and final, revision.

So, Emma, you got someone to read and edit your book, right? So why can’t you get it on Amazon by September 15th?

Because when editing is free, it takes time. There’s give and take. I’ve made lots of writer friends, and we trade work. I’m still editing. Editing my work, editing other author’s work: editing, editing, editing.

I already hear a certain someone out there huffing, “Same ‘ole Emma, procrastinating perfectionist.” And I see your eye roll. If I wanted to procrastinate, I wouldn’t have set a date in the first place. I also hear the concerned writer friend: “If you postpone now, won’t you lose your fan base?” To this, I can’t help but laugh. What fan base? I’m a new aspiring author. No one knows me yet. But they will.

So, could I publish Beasts and Savages on September 15th? Well, yes. It is written, after all. Would it be my very best, what you, my readers, family and friends, deserve? No, it honestly wouldn’t. Will it be great on October 1st? Yes, yes it will. I’ve already exceeded my editing expectations for this week.

To anyone waiting expectantly for this work, who now has to wait a few more weeks, please accept my humble apology. Chalk it up to a novice writer’s mistake.