Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Be A Vengeful God

Emotion. From seething anger, to quiet rage. From laughter and joy to tears of pain. Triumph and loss. Or maybe empty triumph and heroic loss.

You are the writer, the author, the creator. For your story, you are a god. Be a vengeful god.

They want that one something so badly.... Don't give it to them. See what happens. They need x and y to win...so they have to go out prove themselves worthy of it before they can collect x an y. What did they have to give up to gain it--and how did they feel about doing so? What matters most to them? What if attaining the goal means sacrificing that thing? Can they do it? Can they not? Emotions at odds with the goal grow your characters like nothing else, and believe me, your characters must be fully emotionally invested in the plot you are crafting if you want your readers to get emotionally invested.

For example, we hear about how good balance and justice and calmness is, but the news is predominantly focused on the world's injustices, fearmongering, and celebrity gossip. Why? Because the stories we want to know more simply about aren't pretty and kind and gentle.

So draw lines, ye vengeful god. Let your character believe it when they say: "I won't... I'll never... I can't..." Put that cheese on their emotional traps, then force your minions characters over that line. Give them a reason to feel, see how they hurt, how they seethe, how they change their minds, how resourceful, territorial, and relentless they can get.

Like I did here....


EXCERPT: FATAL CIRCLE
SET UP: On the shores of Lake Erie, the not-so-sweet fairie royalty and their army have come at dawn to kill Menessos and thereby rid themselves of their binding to him once and for all. But that would mean they are free to do awful things to this world. So the witches and waerewolves have gathered to strike at the fey while Persephone works a magic to seal them out of this world forever. But things have gone wrong...her boyfriend and waerewolf Johnny has been injured and is possibly drowning in the Lake. The fey leader Fax Torris is wielding a beam of light hot enough to turn the sands of the shore into glass, and those who would stop the fey are being slain before they can even confront the enemy...

{On his knees within the circle she had drawn in the sand,} Menessos put the willow wand into my hands. “The sacrifices you have made, you made only to see that things are done right,” he said. He aimed the tip of the wand at his chest. “Do this,” he said. “It is the right thing, for the right reason.”
“No.” Horrified, I backpedaled. Limp fingers let the wand fall to the sand.
“There isn’t time to debate, Persephone! I cannot call her to this circle. This is the only option left to us is to sever the bonds so you can seal the gateway.”

“No,” I whispered.
Menessos staggered to his feet.
My legs were jelly. He had placed the wand—a stake!—into my limp hands, and curled my fingers around it. “Let’s give her what she wants. Free her. Let her go home and take her madness with her.”
“Menessos.” I drew a breath. My words came back to haunt me. When have I not accepted the responsibility thrust upon me? When have I drawn the line and said 'No, this is too much?' “No. No. Here, at this, I’m drawing the line,” I said. “This is too much.”
“You are my master, Persephone. I accept what that means. The good and the bad.” He stood straighter. “For you, I will experience death.” He opened his shirt and bared his chest.
I beheld Arthur. My hero and king.
I thought of Seven. She’d chosen love over destiny, and believed herself a failure for her choice. Johnny might be dead already. And Menessos was telling me to kill him, as well. Destiny sucked.
“Take pity, Persephone, do not draw this out.”
I nodded, once.
But I couldn’t do it.
I grabbed him into my arms and I pressed my lips to his. A rush of heat blossomed around me. Was it Menessos’s heat or the charm redirecting something dangerous?
The charm.
Screams erupted to my right. I broke the kiss to see two witches taken by the {super heated}beam, reduced to less than ash in an instant. They had been trying to stop Fax Torris, drawing the beam away. But she was back on target.

Menessos whispered, “In signum amoris.” {Means: A sign of love.}
Staring into his eyes, I drew on our bond, just enough. I held him in my mind because I could not hold him in my arms.
“By your hand, let it be done.”
My heart thudded once and my world slowed as battle-heightened senses went dull. I heard only my own tardy heartbeat in my ears, the shift of fabric as I drew back my arm.
Johnny. And now Menessos.
Seven was right: there's no romance in war.
I accept the good and the bad.
I staked Menessos.

I didn’t look away from his eyes, even to see his crimson life leaking away. The drops splattered warm across my hand, and spilled down his chest in a gush that should not have been possible. I felt the life leaving him, fleeing him almost as if his heart had seized up, forcing all his blood out at once to make a quick end. He made no sound. He drew no breath, let none escape. But his set jaw slackened.

I knew a choking thick darkness was swallowing him.
His knees gave. But his gray eyes never left mine.
All the threads that held us were taut; stretching, threatening to snap. I felt the cords grow thin, frayed with his dying. The friction of my will against this inevitable death grew white hot. All at once it snapped.
My hands shot out, fisting in his shirt, clutching his body. I went down on my knees, too . . . and still he was slowly slumping away from me. I pulled him back into my arms. I will not let go.

His head fell forward to rest on my shoulder. Clinging to him, I wept.

I will not let go.
Wiping my hand across my face, my tears mixed with the blood on my fingertips. I drew the five-pointed star on his forehead. A witch’s symbol. “You are mine.”
Even with my lids shut tight, I could not dam the flow of more tears.
“Element of Earth! I call you to my circle.” My voice cracked and I choked. “Element of Air! I call you to my circle. Element of Fire! I call you to my circle. Element of Water! I call you to my circle.” My words were bitter, mumbled sobs, as I gave in to the grief and cradled Menessos to me.
Such a long, long life, and so devastating that it should end this way, over fairies he had only sought in desperation to find the end of his curse. A curse that made him all he now was. I was bringing to fruition the ending Ezreniel intended from the start.
Eyes still shut—I could not look at him—I raised my head high and cried out, “Goddess! Hear me!” My voice was clear and defiant.
   This guarantee, sealed by me,
     by your blood and by my tears.
   This guarantee, sealed by me,
    the promise of many more years!
I yanked the wand from his chest. On my end of our severed bond, frayed edges became taloned claws. Mine.

The claws surged into the receding dark, grasping for the threads. Mine. I willed more strength down the line, to coil about the cords and refasten them, stronger than before. Mine!

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