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screenwriting time!

This is one of the screenplays I wrote for class this term. I got an A so it can’t be too bad. Some of it is a bit vague, but I’m working on it. I’m thinking about turning this into a regular short story. What do ya’ll think?

The format is off for this because I’m copying out of a pdf… but you should get the jist of it:

Dark Hearts
By
Sherri Jordan-Asble

EXT. CASTLE NIGHT
A massive castle reaches up into the darkening sky.

INT. KITCHEN NIGHT
A huge old fashioned kitchen is empty in the dark. The
floors and counters are stone and a huge chandelier hangs
above. There is a doorway on one side and an old wooden door
on the other. The door creaks open to a descending stair
case. PENELOPE slowly walks up the stairs to the kitchen and
looks around. She is wearing a long dress with a tight
bodice. Her hair is blond curls. She looks like a doll.

PENELOPE
James? James? Where is my
breakfast?

CAMERON appears as a dark figure in the opposite doorway.
Then, his figure solidifies as he steps into the kitchen. He
is wearing riding boots that end at his knees and a buttoned
up shirt, open at the collar, tucked in to leather pants.
His eyes and hair are dark, and the look on his face is
angry and heated.

PENELOPE
Cameron! How did you get here.

As Cameron becomes more visible and steps closer to
Penelope, blood can be seen on his face and hands.

PENELOPE
Bastard! What did you to to James?

CAMERON
(laughing)
I’ve come for you, sister.

Penelope grabs a knife from a counter and lunges toward
Cameron. He dodges out of her way easily and grabs her.
Penelope fights him, but he throws her to the stone floor.
He is on top of her and then he leans up, baring fangs as if
he is going to bight her.

Penelope looks over his shoulder to the chandelier above. It
starts to shake, and then crashes on them. Penelope
immediately shoves Cameron off of her, the chandelier pieces
shatter on the floor. She struggles to her feet and runs
through the doorway he had come through.

Cameron stands up, brushing glass from his clothing and then
chases after her with a wicked smile on his face.

INT. BALL ROOM NIGHT
Penelope races into the ballroom. It is lit only with a few
candles posted around the room and in wall sconces. The
light of the moon shines in through windows at the top of
tall walls that stretch into an arching dome overhead. The
center of the room is a wooden dance floor. Along the edges
of the room, carpeted areas wrap around the floor. Chairs
line the outer edges of the room.

Penelope grabs one of the chairs and turns to slam it into
Cameron just as he is grabbing for her. Cameron barely
flinches, but the chair crumbles, leaving pieces of it in
her hands that now resemble stakes. Cameron steps back from
her, as Penelope swings the wildly at Cameron.

CAMERON
You are going to hurt yourself with
those.

PENELOPE
No, I’m going to kill you.
Penelope lunges in with a stake, stabbing at Cameron. She
manages to hit him with the stake, but it is far from a
crippling blow. Cameron grabs the stakes, throwing them away
and back hands Penelope. She flies across the room and into
the wall.

CAMERON
This house and everything in it are
mine. That includes you, and you
know it. Why keep fighting it?
She shakes herself off and runs down another hallway.

Cameron again follows after her.

EXT. A LONG BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO SECTIONS OF THE CASTLE
The drop off from the bridge is massive. The moon is high
over head. Penelope is running across the bridge.

CAMERON
Stop. I mean it. The more you fight
me the harder this is going to
be… on you.

Penelope stops and turns to face Cameron. They are on either
side of the bridge.

PENELOPE
Brother, evil posses you. Have you
no heart left? Why can’t you just
leave me alone. I’ll never serve
you.

CAMERON
My heart? Evil? Morals and laws are
meant for lessor beings, sister.
The do not apply to me.

Penelope runs toward Cameron, faster than before, she’s
almost a blur. She slams her shoulder into him and he falls
back. She grabs him and shoves him over the side of the
bridge. The railing crumbles as she watches him fall. Her
shoulders and body visibly relax.

PENELOPE
That’s way too much evil for one
man.

Beneath the bridge, there is movement. Something dark is
swirling around. A massive cloud of bats flies up out of the
darkness. They have Cameron at their center. They swirl
around him, and he rises into the air, higher than the
bridge. Penelope watches, astonished, as Cameron and the
bats become one. His laughter rings out in the night, and
then he lands on the bridge, Penelope turns and watches. The
bats fly toward the moon and disappear into the night sky.
He is taller than before and his eyes are glowing red.

CAMERON
I am not so easily killed. I have
more power than you can imagine,
Penelope.

PENELOPE
I see.

Penelope falls to her knees, her skirt wrapping around her
legs. She puts her hands on her lap, palms up.

PENELOPE
I give up.

CAMERON
I knew you would. I knew you would
give in when you saw just how
powerful I am. You can’t run. You
can’t fight this. You’re mine now,
sister.

PENELOPE
Yes. Yes, Cameron. I’m yours. You
were right.

Penelope lifts her arms slightly, inviting him to her.
Cameron takes the few steps to close the distance and grabs
her, lifting her to her feet. He leans in and kisses her. He
kisses down her neck, touching her hair. He is lost in her
for the moment.

Penelope bares fangs and sinks them into Cameron’s neck. He
screams, but she has a strong hold on him. As she drains
him, she becomes stronger and he becomes weaker until she is
holding him up. Blood is squirting out and down her dress.
She finally pulls back and looks at him. Cameron is now just
a husk.

PENELOPE
Yes. That is too much power for
someone as weak as you. You can’t
handle it.

CAMERON
(barely able to speak)
Why?

PENELOPE
I can handle it, because I know
that with that kind of power comes
responsibility. It is morals and laws that
keep us sane.

Penelope reaches out a hand and a long piece of wood appears
in it. She stabs Cameron in the chest. This time her aim is
perfect and he dissolves to dust.

Penelope slides back to the ground. Blood and tears cover
her face.

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Defamiliarization?

My fiction class has been fun and educational! One of the best workshops was about de-familiarization. This is all about taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary. It’s kind of like when you are driving on an east bound road at sunrise, and suddenly the back sides of the street signs are transformed into something you have never seen before, bathed in an ethereal orange glow. Here’s my shot at it! Enjoy!

Ink Magic

“Kaydan, Kaydan, move,” The Zoran’s voice pulled Kaydan out of her trance and she sat up, pushing her hair out of her eyes.

“What?”

The Zoran chuckled. “Kaydan, here move,” she said as her hands repositioned Kaydan’s shoulder and legs. “Ready?” she asked holding up the tattoo machine. The machine started buzzing, and the Zoran touched the needle to Kaydan’s shoulder. She squeezed her eyes shut against the pain and took a shallow breath inhaling the earthy smell of the incense burning around her, and let it out slowly through her nose. She let the pressure of the needle, the heat from the lamp on her skin and the buzz of the machine lull her back into a trance. Kaydan searched her memories to help her get through the tattooing.

She thought about how she had escaped from the army before finally making it to the Zoran’s village. The big man they called Hamlin had left her alone in his musty tent. She sat on the canvas floor, and took a long deep breath. She needed to reassess her situation, the mission was too important to give up or panic.

Hamlin had done nothing more than scream obscenities at her, as if that would get her to confess secret information. What she could tell him would mean nothing to him even if she did spill it. The coded message for the Zoran didn’t mean much to her either.
Kaydan needed to focus on escaping. She called her power to her and felt it glowing inside her chest. She pictured heat radiating down her arm and out to her fingertips and into a consolidated flame. She sent cool, wet wind down her other arm. She touched the tiny flame to back of the tent, while using the cool wet wind to keep the fire focused and controlled. It only took seconds, and then she ran through the dark forest. She called her power one more time and sent comforting warmth over her entire body, willing the power to turn eyes from her, so she would not be seen. The power would only last a few minutes, but she would need it to get past the sentries.
They had surprised her in the forest when she first came upon the army. She had not seen them in their suites covering them in the dark green of forest shadow then, but she picked them out now as she ran by them, protected by magic.

Kaydan opened her eyes to the Zoran patting her shoulder with a soft towel. Kadan looked up at her, “Why are you stopping?”

“I think you’ve had enough for one sitting. You need a break.”

“No, no. We have to get this done. I’m fine.”

“Kaydan, your magic started to flare; that’s dangerous.”

Kaydan shook her head. “The memory held magic. I won’t pick one like that again. I’m sorry, but that army is too close. We have to get this done.”

The Zoran sighed. “Ok. Let’s go.” She repositioned Kaydan on the table, and the buzzing began.

Gem grunted and grabbed Kaydan’s upper arm and pulled her up the last flight of stairs and into a candlelit room. The Headmaster sat behind a large oak desk. Kaydan folded her hands behind her back and stood very still.

The old man opened his mouth, “Ahh, there you are.”

“Yes sir.” Kaydan gave a small curtsy.

“I’m sure you are wondering why you are here.”

“Yes sir.”

“Gem tells me that your training has advanced nicely since you decided to start taking it seriously, and stop causing trouble. Can I safely assume that you are indeed taking this seriously and not planning some major plan to over throw the establishment?”

“No, sir, I mean yes sir. I mean, I am taking it seriously.”

The old man nodded and took a moment to truly look at Kaydan, causing Kaydan to become all the more nervous and uncertain. “Well, Gem, you are right, we have no choice.” The old man gave a nod to Gem, and Gem nodded back then turned to Kaydan.

“We have a mission that we must send you on.”

“What?”

“You are to leave now and travel until you reach Brampton village.”

Kayden interrupted, “What? Leave the school?”

“This is important, listen. War is imminent. We cannot afford to risk the school.”
Kayden shook her head. What Gem said did not make any sense. But still, Gem continued. “This is important,” she said firmly, slamming her hand palm down on the Headmaster’s desk. “You have to take this message to the Zoran.”

Kaydan jumped and opened her eyes.

“What?” The Zoran asked.

Kaydan shook her head. “It’s the memory. This last one seemed very real.”

“Hmm. That can happen. It means the magic will be strong. We need strong.” She turned Kaydan around. “I need to do your chest now for the head. This part will take a while, it will be painful, but it is very important.”

They put a gun to her head, the click echoed as the soldier readied the weapon. Dark green, almost black garments wrapped the soldiers from head to toe. They faded into the shadows of the trees, hidden. Others materialized, calling to each other; Blake, Scooter, Trent, Rylie. Take her to Hamlin. Is she one of them? Cut the chatter. Who bagged her? Cipher. He’s quick on the draw. I said cut it. Hamlin wants her. They shoved her around, hands pulling her through the woods, leaves crunching kicking up damp smells, knees pushed into the damp dirt, a tall figure looming over. He pulled his head gear off, eyes like cutting diamonds. What is it? You smell like witch. Witch, spy, slut, dog, beneath me, waste of time. We can just kill her now. Hamlin said no, take her to his tent. He leaned in toward Kaydan. She could smell garlic on his breath and sweat. How could he smell her through that? How did a witch smell like worse than that? She didn’t ask; she knew better. Cipher pulled her away and shoved her in the tent. He warned her with a look.

The Zoran gently shook her awake. “I’m done.”

Kaydan sat up and wiped sleep from her eyes. “I fell asleep.”

“Should I have stopped?”

“No. Is it really done?”

The Zoran nodded and handed Kaydan a mirror. She looked into it at the dragon head asleep on her chest. The green of the scales shimmered in the light as she moved; perfect. Kadan stood and used the mirror along with another hanging on the wall to see most of the back. The dragon wrapped around her shoulders, down her spine, and curled around her legs. The wings rested along her spine. “Wow.”

“Yes, wow, but now you need to rest for real. This must have taken a lot out of you.”

Kaydan started to protest, but Gem had drilled health and mental awareness so often; she could not ignore her exhaustion. She nodded. “You’re right.”

“Glad you finally realize that.” She laughed gently as she spoke, and Kaydan couldn’t help but smile.

Yelling woke her, and then she smelled smoke, burning. Someone screamed. It sounded like the Zoran, and Kaydan ran for the front door. Hamlin stood in the road looking down at the Zoran, who had been shoved down in front of him. One of his men hit her with the butt of his gun and she fell to the ground. Kaydan ran to her. “No!”

“Ah, here is the little witch-dog that got away. Cipher can finish you off, now.”

Kaydan looked up at the smug look on Hamlin’s face. Someone grabbed her by the arm pulling her away from the Zoran. She tried to struggle away from the man, tried to call her magic. She wanted revenge. They should never have touched the Zoran; she is sacred.

Hamlin laughed. “You are not getting away this time witch. Your magic will not help with a bullet in your head.” Kaydan glared at him. His eyebrows pinched together and he leaned forward. “I’m going to slaughter you and every dog like you. I’m going to wipe out all the scum-witches. Put her on the ground.” The soldier shoved her down and Hamlin started pulling his gun around from his back.

Kadan stilled herself, took a breath. She couldn’t do it for revenge or spite or even her own personal protection, but she could do it to save her people. She suffered hours under the needle for one reason, this reason. The message she gave the Zoran was not a coded warning, it was a prophecy. Kaydan would fulfill that prophecy for her people. She called her magic to her and pushed it into the creature on her back and chest. The power pushed her forward as the dragon pulled off her back. The tail slid around her leg and the wings pushed off of her shoulder. She looked up and watched her beast beating leathery wings into the sky.

The soldiers shot their weapons at it, but bullets cannot hurt what is made of pure magic and will. The dragon banked and soared toward them. Kaydan covered her head and felt the heat of fire the dragon breathed over the army. Hamlin, Cipher and the others ran, but Kaydan watched the green flames of her beast take them down.

Afterwards, the dragon found her and rested again across her back. She looked down to see the dragon’s head resting on her chest again. A small drop of blood dripped from his mouth.

She could pay this price.

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School Update

Finally, the last week of class… I really enjoyed British Literature. The class was not what I expected. There was a theme of revolution through the years, and we read literature related to that theme. We read Dickens, of course, but we also read Wollstonecraft and others that I would not have ever read on my own. Yes, I finished with an ‘A’.  But, I feel like I got a lot more out of it than just a grade.  I’m a school-nerd!

So, now I have 2 weeks until my next class starts and I’ve been looking forward to the break. The only problem is that we have so much reading for the next class (American Literature) that I’ll have to do as much as I can during the break.

I also plan on spending 4 solid days during the break on editing Summer Blood, my novel that was supposed to be done by now…. Hopefully, I’ll get it done by the end of the year. Stay tuned…

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50 Shades of what?

I just read a blog on how well the “50 Shades of Gray” books are faring… very well I might add.  http://thatfantasyblog.com/2012/06/18/erotic-book-beats-potter-to-be-fastest-selling-paperback/

After reading this blog and spending the last two weeks hearing about the Gray book from all of my friends and co-workers who just HAD to read it, I’m wondering what it says for all of us struggling writers. Is it hope? Is it frustration? Jealousy? Inspiration?  Do we have to write smut books (or mummy porn as the other blog says) in order to get our books to sell? [not that there is anything wrong with that – a lot of my all time favorite books are smutty and favorite authors write them]  Aside of the sex and the curiosity factor, why has this book done so well?

Ok – I have not read the book. I don’t know if it is well written, if it is intriguing, if it is complete crap, or what. I have to think if it sold 100,000 last week alone that it can’t be all crap. There has to be something more than sex here.  Is it timing/luck/well written and a bit of elbow grease all rolled into one mega-success-pack?

Don’t you just love blogs that ask all the questions, but don’t provide any answers?

I don’t have any.  If I did, I would have written and published a 50 Shades of Book Sells already myself!

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Beta-reading Bliss!

Here’s part 2 of Facebook Lives… I just finished beta-reading a novel by another one of the Authors Critique Group writers. He is also in the process of beta-reading my novel, Summer Blood. I can’t wait for the feedback! In the meantime, I thought I should write a bit about his story.

It was an inventive look at wizards called Foundling Wizard. The first in a 3 part series, I believe. The author is James Eggebeen. James is a software designer from San Diego, California who has turned to designing books.

Foundling Wizard, to be released soon, is about a young wizard’s journey and how he learns and grows. He not only learns to use his powers, but also learns about life and responsibility. The journey is exciting and fraught with danger. The wizard comes to know himself and others in his journey, and yes, he has a mentor, a snarky old wizard that doesn’t always tell him everything he needs to know.

I also got a sneak-peek at the book cover which is startlingly beautiful. With the great cover and fresh writing, Foundling Wizard stands to be a success, so keep your eyes out for it!

For more on Foundling Wizard: http://www.jameseggebeen.com/

Follow James Eggebeen at:  @JamesEggebeen

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Facebook Lives!

I had all but given up on Facebook. I don’t like the changes they made and I was beginning to think it was useless. Perhaps I felt like it just wasn’t moving fast enough. Twitter is like Facebook on steroids – right!!~?!@?  So, I was hardly ever on Facebook and when I was on, I just checked on family and close friends, which is great, but I like to use my on-line time to network with other writers and to try to promote my own writing. So, Facebook was feeling pretty dead for me. But, the salvation was right before my eyes! Woot!

Do I sound excited? Well, I got very excited when I realized that one of my Twitter friends, Patti Roberts, was hosting a Facebook page for writers. So, I checked it out.  So glad I did! Patti and another writer, Lenore Wolfe, do a fabulous job on this awesome site:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/ParaYourAbnormalAuthors/

This is an Authors Critique Group where authors can help each other. The object is stated as: “We’re trying to catch typos, plot holes, all the things that readers pick up on.” 

What a great way to share your work and get help from others doing the same thing. I really needed this and hope I can get some great advice. 

The other great thing about this is that spending time reviewing the work of others helps writers review their own work. I know from past experience that my work improves when I’m regularly critiquing others. I used to belong to another online group www.critters.org.  This is still an active site, and I’m sure it is fabulous. I just never had enough time to do enough reviews to keep my ratings up high enough long enough to get my work reviewed (yeah – that is a mouthful).  They have too many writers now so it takes forever to get your work up in the queue and meanwhile, you have to keep your review rate up. It became too much work for too little pay back for me. But, the advice I received was fabulous, and the reviews I did helped me as well. So, if you have the time, this is a great group.

Patti and Lenore’s group is a lot more loosely based and relies on reciprocity of the writers. So, I’m in… I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/lenore.wolfe1

http://www.facebook.com/#!/PattiParadox

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Are you relevant?

Apparently, I’m not. What?! How can that be, you ask! Well, I have no idea. How does someone just starting out become relevant? Further, don’t you lose your relevance if you are trying to be relevant? That’s like an oxymoron or something, right?!

I think that I’d much rather write what interests me, than to try to be something I’m not. If I cross the line over to relevant somewhere along the way, good on me! If not, I’m not sure I’m going to be overly concerned. Afterall, I think there are a lot of people out there like me that want to be entertained or read something they are interested in, maybe check out a new perspective, and I don’t think they are concerned about whether it’s relevant.

If you’re looking for relevant, maybe check out some political sites. I’m going more for, uh, you know…  fun!

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cover art

What do you think? I have a new ebook coming out soon, and I’m trying to get the cover done. So, I’m going to give you a sneak-peak. I can’t decide which way to go. Tell me what you think.

Here is cover #1

This was fun to make using clip art and color.

I like the girl’s hair with the streaks of red because it matches my main character.

The draw back on this one is that I don’t think it is professional enough and I couldn’t get my name right.

This is cover #2:

I like the play with colors on this one and cutting down to just her eyes. I’ve seen a lot of covers with just wolf eyes over looking a girl or guy, so this is that idea revised. I like to do things different.

This still keeps the coloring of the girl’s hair, but using just the eyes makes it a bit more interesting.

This is cover #3:

This is almost the same as cover #2 only I move the eyes to black and white, but still a darker shade than the wolf. I tried one the same shade as the wolf, but then the entire cover kind of disappears. So, I like this one.

I put a bit of shadow around the picture of the eyes too.

I’m not sure, but I think this is my favorite. I keep going back and forth.

Here’s the last one #4:

This one is almost the same as #3, but I didn’t skew the picture of the eyes. I left them straight on. 

So, which one do you like best and why?  I’m not good enough with Photoshop to do much else, but I want to come up with something that looks decent. I don’t want to feel like I’m just ending up with what I can get away with, but I don’t have the funds to purchase anything either.

The ebook is a novella, and I plan to put it out for $2.99, so keep an eye out for it.  Here’s the description:

Selena competes for much more than the alpha spot during her summer spent in her favorite game. Science Fiction and fantasy combine together in this shape shifting tale of intrigue and dominance.

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I did it… OMG!

After so many hours of searching online for the perfect writing program… hours and hours! I finally settled on the program I wanted to do AND applied for it. I officially applied for the MA degree in creative writing online at the Southern New Hampshire University!

I’m really excited. I have everything completed that I need, and now I have to wait. I’ve done my FAFSA, submitted my writing samples, and requested my transcripts. Now, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best!

I haven’t been in school for a while, but I love writing and I’m hoping that this program will help me improve my writing and maybe help me move my career in a more creative direction.

I’ve been unsure of what I wanted to do for a while now. I’ve been sitting in a crossroads, if you will. I could move forward with pursuing my doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (sound interesting, huh?)… OR… writing. I’ve been leaning towards the writing. I think it was just a matter of finding the right program. I think this is a good one!

http://www.snhu.edu/English-and-Creative-Writing-Fiction-MA.asp

Once I finish this, I’ll have three Masters degrees ~wild, huh?!?! Well, maybe I’ll consider a doctorate afterwards, but right now my life is all about writing, and this program will be a good boost in the right direction. Woot!

Ya’ll cross your fingers for me too!!

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Who are you?

One of the most frustrating things I’m facing in my writing journey is naming my characters. I want the names to fit the character. Some times it comes to me quickly during my outlining stages. At other times, I’m frustrated.  The perfect name doesn’t want to come to me. I think this happens when I’m trying to write the story quicker than my brain wants to process.

In any event, here is a link to a blog with five tips for picking names. They are really good pointers to keep in mind:

http://voices.yahoo.com/five-tips-naming-characters-fiction-228710.html

Here is a slightly different take on naming that is entertaining to read. This one uses some great examples to emphasise important points and perhaps some inspiration can be gleaned:

http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/write18.htm

Finally, Writing World offers these tips. I particularly like the one about not using names that end in S. Also, there are some good points about considering how your character might translate on the back cover.

http://www.writing-world.com/romance/names.shtml

This last article also spells out some differences in naming in genre stories. I think that is important. I tend to write dark fantasy or urban fantasy and some of it is futuristic. You can have a lot more leeway in naming, but if the name is too far out, it isn’t effective within the story. There is a purpose to a name and whether the story is in modern-day real life setting or a futuristic alternate universe or another planet, it has to work in the story.

Ultimately, I want a name that fits the character, flows well, doesn’t end in S, and is just otherwise perfect for the story.

Yeah… easier said than done.  Time to put on my thinking cap and get creative.

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