Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Tropes: The Meaningful Echo

Without dialogue, characters would have a hard time speaking to each other, but what happens when a seemingly unimportant line is repeated later in the story? All of a sudden, it has a deeper meaning ...

The Meaningful Echo - A line of dialogue that is repeated later on in the story, often used to give more impact to an ordinary line. Some heartwarming, emotional, or awesomeness typically ensues when executed well.

Did you know this trope has made its way into just about everything, and yet it never gets old? Typically a villain will say it first, repeated by the hero when he's about to win the day. That's almost cliché, these days.

This can also be a great trope to use if it is your intention to make your audience cry. Just be mindful of the cheese factory you may inadvertently open.

*Reaches for a tissue*

And if you are a fan of Christopher Nolan films, you'll know that he uses this trope to the extreme, often by repeating multiple lines within the same movie. They're used so effectively, however, it works every time!

This repeated line can be said by the same person or by someone else, but the context works best when the speaker of the original line is present, or it becomes an inside reference that the audience knows, while other characters go, "what's that supposed to mean?"

I admit this trope has found its way into a lot of my writings, but not to the extreme, and only when it works. Do this well and you'll turn a bland line into one that will be remembered long after the story is over.

What are some of your favorite Meaningful Echoes you've heard? Ever played with this trope yourself?

I'm David, and I'm David ... Didn't I just say that? ...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Post: Dreams, Office Moves, & Members!


I like sleep. Just lying there, resting my head, closing my eyes, allowing the mind to wander. This month has to be some kind of record for disturbing/motivating dreams. This time concerning rejected queries.

It came in the mail, a yellow envelope, and I thought, I already got back what I mailed months ago, and I never sent an SASE. So I open it. I didn't recognize the name, but the agency rang a bell. Now, there's this thing about not being unable to read in dreams. For some reason, I can, and the letter went something like this:

Dear Mr. King,


      *however* You have an interesting premise. I would like to see what you can do with a little polish. I printed out the first chapter and offered notes for improvement. Do this for your whole MS and send it to me to me to ...


     Dream Agent

I woke up nervous, excited, and laughing. 

An agent, sending me notes? Who does that?

Even though it was a dream, I'm glad my inner agent thinks it's worth the time, so back to work I go.

Speaking of agents, I'm happy to announce my good blogging buds Cassie Mae and Donna Hosie were agent-swept last week. Congratulations to you both! Head over and congratulate them, if you haven't yet.

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I'm moving! Not house moving. I did that last year and am not looking forward to that any time soon. I don't often talk about work (HIPPA would be on my case if I did), but due to changes and stuff, I've been asked to move into an office. With a window. By myself.

How totally unexpected! I've never had personal office space before. Not sure if this is a reward for good behavior, but I'll take it! By doing so, I have to relocate all my personal and work relateds. Might take a while.

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If you missed my 700 Giveaway Winner Announcement, you can find it here. Otherwise, please welcome the brave souls who recently joined our cosmic ranks!


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Update: Enough of this dragging-my-feet business. I said Woven revisions would be done in August and I mean it. On a cool note, my sister, who is ultra picky when it comes to books (in a good way) finished the first half and said, "Send me the rest. Stat!"

What a great motivator. I'm on it, sis!

There's a lot to be had on the blog this week, so check back often. There will be tropes, reviews, randomness and advice that you won't want to miss.

I'm David, and these boxes are heavy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

700: "The Magnificent Seven" Winners!

What an incredible turnout! Seriously, guys. This giveaway might run me dry, but I'm good for it.

I spent the last week going through all 700 of you. Not an easy task, but it was worth visiting and reacquainting with each of you. There may come a time when this won't be possible for me anymore, but I'm glad to do it while I can. And if I missed you (some had no links), I apologize. Shout at me and I'll head to your place.

And now, the winners!


Out of 97 comments, we have 14 lucky recipients. Each of them can chose one of these prizes:

A) Any eBook of your choice (up to $10)
B) A chapter critique, for any chapter, (or)
C) A query evaluation from The Query Doctor:

And the following prizes go to ...

Crystal Fox
Michael Offutt

Congratulations! To redeem your prize, send me your chapter or query (in the body of the email) or the email I should send your eBook to by contacting me here.

And for those who spread the word (17), one of you can either do lunch with me or claim a signed copy of Paranormalcy or The False Prince. And that goes to:

That's so totally rad! Contact me to claim your prize!

Again, I extend my appreciation for making this giveaway possible. You guys are seriously my biggest fans. Ever! More awesomeness is coming soon in starship loads, so look up and be on your toes.

I'm David, and have a "Super" weekend ...

Monday, July 23, 2012

700: "The Magnificent Seven" Giveaway!

Credit: ESO/VLT
(This giveaway is brought to you by RXJ1856, brightest of the "Magnificent Seven" pulsars in Corona Australis)

An amazing milestone was reached this week, made possible by L. Diane Wolfe, Adam Timmins, Joy Ciaffoni, D. L. Hammons, David List, T. C. Mckee, and  Murees DupĂ©, for joining this blog (and everyone who is still on board here). You're all sorts of incredible. Thank you!

A celebration is in order, don't you think?

Here's what's happening. To enter, comment on this post. I'll keep it up all this week so I can visit ALL of my 700 awesome members. On Saturday the 28th, I'll randomly "scramble" the order of the comments made and give a prize to every SEVENTH commenter.

That's right - EVERY seventh commenter.

And the best part? You get to choose:

A) Any eBook of your choice (up to $10)
B) A chapter critique, for any chapter, (or)
C) A query evaluation from The Query Doctor.

You do not have to follow this blog to participate and this giveaway is open to the world. Bring it on!

Think you're lucky enough? Spread the word! If you tweet or blog about this giveaway (be sure to tag me so I can add you to the lottery), you will also qualify for:

A) A lunch with me, or (if you're outside of Utah - although if you're willing to fly me out, that's cool too),
B) A signed copy of Paranormalcy or The False Prince.

Sound good? Then let the awesomeness begin!

Thank you again for making this blogging experience a treasure. I can never fully give back what you all have done for me. Keep on writing. Keep on smiling.

I'm David, and the dice has been cast!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aspiring Advice: Withstanding Offense

I had a dream the other night. Or should I say, more of a nightmare?

I was inside a writer's conference. Hundreds of people in attendance, everyone set in groups for an exercise. I missed the details since I entered the scene late, so I ended up at a table that would present last. It would take an hour before we had our turn, so I went somewhere quiet and rested in a chair for a while.

That's when I slipped into a dream within a dream, filled with all sorts of high fantasy awesomeness. There was magic, dragons, and Skittle-eating fairies. Rock on!

Then a dwarf told me to wake up. And I did.

It was one of my group mates. She was in a state of panic, her eyes intense. "We're up next!" she said.

Up next for what, I wondered. We ran back and sat down, just as someone at the table next to us finished speaking. It was our turn. My group looked at me. The giant conference room went silent. What's going on, I ask, to which they all say, "We appointed you as our group leader, remember? You are to present for us!"

I give them a blank stare. "What am I presenting?"


I gulped. This crowd was expecting awesomeness, but I had no idea what we were doing here. I had missed out on the exercise. I tried to make something up, to wing it. No matter what I said, everyone started to boo. Half the room got up and left. My group mates glared at me. A panel of guest agents shook their heads. A couple of them pulled out their "black lists" and took notes.

Then I was confronted by a mop of angry faces, faces I knew well from the blogging community. And they were vehement. "How could you abandon us?" they cried, just before one of them socked me in the gut.

Trippy dream, huh?

I woke up, literally winded. Turns out The Girl sneaked into our bed in the middle of the night, only to kick me in the abdomen. It took a second to readjust to reality.

When I finally did, I felt like a chump ...

I've always had this impression that dreams are one of two things: a regurgitation of information or stimuli that is stored in the brain or a representation of unconscious, deep-seeded anxiety (or something that has been on your mind for a while, whether you knew it or not).

It got me thinking ... have I abandoned anyone? Have I offended them by doing so? I know for certain I'm not one who goes out of his way to troll people, living the "golden rule" life, yet with my good intentions, or lack of attention, who is to say I haven't put anyone off?

Totally irrational, I know. But still, how does one deal with feelings like this?

The simple truth: some will always find a reason to be offended by something. I've even worked with people who wanted to be offended, so they could have a valid reason to gripe about something. And there are those who enjoy offending, just to stir things up. It's like having a sadist and a masochist in the same room ...

10 points if you get the joke!
Having said that, no matter what you're writing, for whatever reason, someone won't like it. Someone might even get offended by it. And maybe the book isn't the problem, but you, the author, because of your religion, lifestyle, or political opinions. It is going to happen.

If offense was not intended, no worries. You're just being you. If someone has a problem with that, then that's their problem. Not yours. Let them own it.

Still, it never hurts to give an apology when it feels warranted. I haven't exactly been the most stalwart blogger in the last couple of months, and I continue to receive more visits and comments than I'm currently able to reciprocate, but as an open letter to the blogosphere, you should know I appreciate you.

I aim to do better. Thank you for your support.

Please don't punch me at the next conference?

Unless it's this kind of punch, cause that's good stuff!

This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. Do your best, be who you are or want to become and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You're good enough, smart enough, and goshdarn it, people like you!

Has the idea of offending others worried you? Is this something to be concerned about as an author?

I'm David, and I'm watching Batman!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

inkPageant: July Giveaway Details


Hey, guys! This month, we're keeping things simple by giving away a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. Neat-o!

Every post submitted will be counted as an entry. We'll announce the winners in the first week of August.

Thank you again to all who have shared their posts on our website. The more posts we host, the greater the resource inkPageant will become for other writers.

If you haven't signed up yet, you can do so here.

I'm David, and a happy belated Birthday, Tesla!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tropes: The Shoulder Grab

Touch is a mightily important sense, and with it comes all sorts of nonverbal communication. Few sensations are as enduring, controversial, or diverse as reaching out and grabbing somebody by their shoulder.


The Shoulder Grab - The act of placing one's hand (or both) on the shoulder(s) of another, usually to enhance the mood of a scene, no matter the context of it.

This trope is a suitable way for characters to depart before a serious situation is about to go down (as Will Smith demonstrates). The fun doesn't stop there!

The Shoulder Grab can also be used to gain someone's attention during a moment of panic, usually resulting in a scene of awkward MG physical contact.

Sometimes a character is about to hear news that is too difficult to bear. Interestingly enough, the bearer of this bad news tends to double as the shoulder grabber.

The Shoulder Grab can be used in a many variety of ways, from the serious, comical, or romantic angles. And if the shoulder grab is unwanted by the recipient, it can open a few unexpected doors of tension for any character (perfect for awkward creeper moments).

The most common usage of this trope is to show endearment, to give support, and to let the other character know that everything's gonna be all right.

It is also a popular choice for a man to show affection to another man - if they are not the hugging type ...

Who hasn't used The Shoulder Grab? Did it enhance the mood of your scene? Has this ever happened to you?

I'm David, and let's hunt some orc!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Post: Road Trip Highlights & Members!


How awesome is it that we can get into a car and go just about anywhere? Even better, at your own pace? Such were my thoughts on our road trip to Illinois. Quite a few unexpected adventures met us on the road (excluding zombies and car trouble, thankfully), and we came back, survived, with horizons broadened. And now, here are the top five highlights from this year's road trip:

#1: Octane Cocktails.

Is it possible for cars to get a little tipsy? We think so. Most drivers have one favorite fill up station, right?  On the road, we don't always have much of a choice. With different octane levels at each stop, some with 10% ethanol, our beetle hiccuped a few times and never had consistent mileage (although it seemed to improve).

#2: Seeing the Face of Fear.

Roadkill can be gross. Contributing to it changes a man. We're driving along, see a couple of vultures feasting on something on the other side of the road, and they take off as we near. One went one way. The other? Right at us! We slowed as much as we could, but the huge bird found its destiny in our windshield. The look of horror in its eye is one that I will never forget. RIP, buddy.

#3: The Steering Wheel Wave.

When driving the back roads and open state highways, be prepared for The Steering Wheel Wave, a one or two finger or a full palm, raised briefly, from oncoming drivers. Such good natured hospitality in the country!

#4: Shooting Stuff.

What would a survival practice be without target practice? Some of my relatives know how to keep a sweet arsenal, but my favorite is my father's recurve bow. It didn't take long to reacquaint with it and land a bull's eye from 50 yards. Eat your heart out, Katniss.

#5: Fireworks Over Water.

Until this 4th of July, I've never seen fireworks over water. It was gorgeous. The water's reflection made the darkness go away. It's good to have new experiences. But more important than all of this, I spent time with all my family, some of which I haven't seen in over two years. It was an epic reunion, which bears repeating.

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Three new members have found us! Here's an epic Shout-Out for you all. Welcome to The Cosmic Laire!

(Sup, brother!)

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Update: My imagination is fueled for this zombie novel, but first, finish Woven revisions. Ten chapters to go! Here's to tackling two or a few of them this week.

Did you guys survive the fires while I was gone? What's the highlight of your summer so far?

I'm David, and this is a Nebraska sunrise.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Post: Change Of Plan and New Members!

Stuff happens, right? Stuff that falls outside of our control? Yeah. That's why I failed to have a post up last Friday and why I have to take the rest of this week off. Being in a different state didn't exactly help, but it's going to make for an outrageous story. Bear with me while I get my gears in place. Which way is North?

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Welcome, newest members! Glad to have you on board!


We're really close to 700. There's a giveaway on the horizon. Who thinks we can make it by next week?

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Update: Enjoyed a nice vacation with family, so nothing more than a few quick edits this week. No Zombies feasted on us, thankfully - but the mosquitoes sure did.

I took more notes than anything else. And pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. You'll see the full report next week.

How's your summer coming along? Anyone been more productive than me? Tell me about it!

I'm David, and a friend of mine helped make this!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The 4th Of July: Happy Birthday, America!

I'm taking a break from the usual blog routine to wish my country a happy birthday. We celebrate what has come since that time and my ancestors who did their part in making this country what it is today (as far back as the pilgrims, actually). There's still a long way to go, and plenty of disagreements and political tiffs to sift through, but in the long run, we'll stay on the right track, so long as we strive to uphold the right to be free.

We can ignore the past, divided, or embrace the future, together. I say let's keep working at it, my friends.

Happy Birthday, America!

I'm David, and what do you love about your country?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Tropes: Drawing Straws

Decisions are made every day. Some easy, others hard, and few are unthinkable. When a daunting task appears or a selection needs to be made, this trope offers a solution when no volunteers step up to the plate.

Drawing Straws - a method for a group of characters to make a decision, usually to select someone in the group to complete a task when no one wants to do it.

Not to be confused with The Lottery of Doom, this trope can be done using a variety of items. How did young Oliver Twist get suckered into asking for "more" gruel? He drew the long straw. In the long run, it was the best thing that could happen.

Drawing Straws may not be limited to "straws only." They could be sticks, matchsticks (a popular choice, as used in the film Clue and Stephen King's IT), pickled eggs (as seen in The Simpsons), rocks in a sack, or folded pieces of paper with a mark on one of them.

Straw's the limit.

Use whatever variation you'd like, to accomplish whatever task that needs to be done, or you can be a rebel and volunteer after the fact ... even in space!

Ever used this or a variation of Drawing Straws in your writing? What did you use? What was the outcome?

I'm David, and pick a straw .. any straw!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Post: The Most Astounding Fact

You guys know who Neil DeGrasse Tyson is, right? He's one of the coolest astrophysicists alive today (arguably, the most awesome of all time). Come to find out, he was once asked, "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?" His answer may just blow your mind. Click the video and enjoy.

What do you think? Do you agree with Dr. Tyson? What else is cooking out there in the universe?

I'm David, and which star are you from?