The Bi-Advantage: You Get to Ask Twice

Bi Flag

“Um, Lance?”
He looked up from where he’d been pretending to do some actual work.
“Hannah, erm…” she was standing awkwardly in the doorway to the classroom, her top dragged down slightly showing more cleavage than she probably wanted. He swiftly turned his gaze back to her face and resettled the glasses on his nose, “come in please.”
“Thanks,” she said shutting the door behind her.
She clapped her hands together once as she approached his desk.
“Lance, I need a favour. I’m supposed to be covering Bethany’s Spanish afterschool class but-” He already didn’t like where this was going.
He was the go to guy if someone needed a lesson covering. Having spent his teenage years horribly wimpy, preferring the company of orcs and elves to actual people, he’d grown up to become a rather meek thirty year old, just a doormat.
But Hannah was usually nice enough. She seemed to like him and one day he might even pluck up the courage to ask her out.
“-I’ve got this date-” or maybe not, “-he can’t do tomorrow now so it would be great if you could-”
“I’ll cover it Hannah, it’s fine.”
She smiled. It was a nice smile, but a nice smile thinking about someone else.
“Thanks, I’ll make it up to you.”

***

“So what if she has a date? She’s not seeing him is she?”
Lance drank the rest of his wine and offered the glass back to Andrew to refill.
“Don’t know, probably. She wouldn’t be interested in me anyway.”
Andrew handed him back a full glass and he began to drink again.
“Nah fuck that mate, sometimes you just have to…” Andrew balled up his fist in a display of manliness that Lance could never pull off, “you know?”
He didn’t. Andrew and him had been in the same boat of awkward teens until Andrew had found a second home at the gym, his first being the flat they shared together. Overnight the chubby cheeks and double chin had gone, leaving him looking more like the kind of boys who would call him piggy when he walked home from school. Lance thought that was why he did it, some sort of revenge to just say: I can be just as good looking as you and still have room left over for a personality.
And he did look good, he had had a strong chin under all that fat which now had brown stubble growing around his smirking lips and across his stronger jawline and down-Lance was staring and quickly became very interested in his red wine, readjusting his glasses.
“Sometimes you just have to ask a girl if you wanna have sex.”
Lance scoffed, drinking the rest of his wine…again.
“I don’t think we’re allowed to anymore.”
“Well ask nicely like…oh I don’t know…”
“Do you think we could have sex sometime?”
Andrew snorted, “yeah that does sound stupid doesn’t it?”
Lance knew he could back down now, just laugh it off like some joke. He should have. But he was drunk and frustrated. And sometimes you just have to ask a guy if he wanted to have sex. So he kept looking straight at Andrew until he noticed.
“What?” Andrew said finally, his eyes flickering down to Lance’s lips.
‘This is a bad idea.’
“I said,” he started slowly, “do you think we could have sex sometime? Tonight-if you’re free?”
Andrew laughed breathily, “mate you better not be using me as a replacement for this girl.”
That wasn’t a no. Lance smiled and took off his glasses.
“I think it’s the other way around.”

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Book Blogger Tip Thursday #21

Writing reviews of books doesn’t have to be something you post. Getting your thoughts down on what you liked and disliked can help you deconstruct the plot and help you improve in your own writing.

pile-of-books

Editing: Overwriting

Introduction

I will be the first to admit, I am an over-writer, as it stands my own book is standing at 160k when I’m meant to be aiming for 120k. So quite frankly I need this advice as much you might.

 

Taking out drifting plot lines

We’re all been there: in the middle night you get this great idea and you begin to plan it, storming to write it down. But in a couple of days the subplot becomes tangled amongst everything else and fizzles. It’s difficult sometimes to let go of ideas even half-finished ones, but they are the fools that drag your work down.

 

Get rid of unnecessary scenes

Your book is your baby, but you need to STEP BACK and look at your scenes in relation to your overall plot and ask yourself: is this necessary? Of course, you think it is, but ask yourself: why? And be honest with yourself, you’re not going to become a great writer if you delude yourself.

 

Cut down scenes

Maybe a scene is important, it contains pieces that are necessary to the plot. But is the rest of the scene just filler? This is when you may need to combine scenes, where one element is important and therefore can be moved anywhere, cutting down that word count.

Also, a scene as a whole maybe very important but does it drag between those important parts. If it doesn’t need to be that long; cut it.

writing (1)

Just tell for once

We’re always told to show don’t tell but showing takes time and honestly, we don’t always need a half page essay on the description of someone walking across a room. Being able to take out unnecessary flowery language when simple actions will do will take swathes of words off your manuscript.

 

Stop listing

This is a small one but an effective one: stop listing. Or at least stop making long lists of examples of food or colours or people, it isn’t necessary, and no one will miss it.

 

Get rid of redundancies

Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. Do you have descriptions that go on and on? Cut it. Do you find yourself describing the long trip from the kitchen to the living room? Cut it. Have sentences that do nothing but make the word count annoyingly large? Cut it!

 

Conclusion

Sometimes it’s really hard to cut down on those words, (I’m very aware of that) but you just need to keep going at it. Good Luck Xx

Only Speaking for the Dead

Morgue

“No.”
He’d said the word of denial so much in the past two days, it had lost meaning. Yet he’d forgotten what other words sounded like. He’d didn’t want to speak again as to speak was to imply that everything was right with the world, that something as normal as conversation could occur.
“Please, this is important to our inquiry.”
His hands shook on the metal table. It was ice cold, his fingers numbing as he clenched down. He nodded and the sheet was removed. He didn’t want to look and yet his eyes were not his to control anymore. He looked over her, so small and vulnerable where she was laid.
Words did not want to come to him again. Breathing seemed too wrong to do now where she couldn’t.
He nodded again.
“Sir, for the tape please.”
“Yes,” he heard someone say (it had to be him didn’t it?) “that’s my daughter…she’s dead.”

The Dog Went to the Farm

Corgi

“So…Skye had to go away to a farm.”
“You can’t tell her that, she’ll see right through it.”
“Skye…found her real parents?”
“She’s nine not two.”
“Fine! She ran away because we were terrible owners!”
“You said it not me.”
“Well what can I tell her? I can’t tell her we ran over our own dog!”
“What!?”
“…”
“Oh shit.”

Editing: Overwriting

Introduction

I am an overwriter which is its own kind of hell, but it makes me very good at giving advice on how to write more and so much more. Don’t take all my advice or you’ll start overwriting yourself.

 

Subplots

The best way to bump up your word count by double is by including a subplot. To thing to do is not to just add a subplot for the sake of adding one but rather ask yourself if anything in your story can be expanded on.

Is there a romance you barely hint at or a mystery you solve too quickly?

 

Immerse the reader

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before, but seriously, show don’t tell. Because usually showing uses much more words than telling does and immerses the reader more within your story. On that point, also set the scene and physical describe the characters before you dive straight in. Again, this ups the word count but also brings the reader closer to your settings and your characters.

editing (1)

Add the little things

This advice is less for story writers and more for copy writers. If you’re just a few words shy of your word count then simply get rid of your apostrophes, add a word to your description and to your lists.

 

She said, he said

It’s really easy to stick with ‘said’ for every piece of dialogue, which is good but if you have page upon page of characters just talking, your readers are just going to glazing over if there is no variation. You need to add description and movement between your dialogue. You don’t just stand, nose to nose with someone and talk: you move and you react.

 

What’s missing

Now comes the rest of it. Read over your work and see if there is anything immediately springs to mind as missing. Perhaps a character who deserves more time devoted to them or a plot point that may need development.

 

Conclusion

Just remember your book may already be the length it needs to be. Don’t ever feel put down because its not the ‘right’ size. Good Luck Xx

 

The Train Ride from Work

Train

There’s two boys looking over concert tickets, another is squished against the train window hurriedly speaking in another language into his phone. A little girl stomps up and down the aisle in red shoes while her mother half-heartedly tries to make her sit back down.

Everyone minds themselves, tucked away in their own little lives in their train seats. But everyone is going somewhere, everyone has a reason to be travelling this rail.

And I think that’s exciting…just a little bit.