Somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10, I had a bracelet. Well, to be honest, my oldest sister had the bracelet. I just borrowed it on occasion. It was a cuff-type bracelet; about two inches wide in faux silver finish and open in the back so you could squeeze your wrist into it. Whenever I managed to get my grubby childhood paws on the bracelet, this magical thing would happen where I would throw my arms out and spin in place in a circle. And then, miraculously, I could stop bullets with that bracelet. And hop into a jet that no one else could see and fly away to rescue mankind.
I have a rich inner world. A treasure chest of stories in my head. A personal copy of a “1001 Arabian Nights”-type book in which I write all the tales. No big deal, right? I’m a writer. All writers have thriving imaginations. It’s what makes us able to create the stories people want to read.
And I supposed that’s how everyone’s inner life worked. We create great works of fiction – sometimes contemporary, sometimes sci-fi or fantasy (mine are nearly all sci-fi and fantasy…) – in our heads. Everyone amuses themselves with reimagined movie plots, book retellings, and original stories when they have time to think aimlessly, right? I assumed as much, until I had a discussion about it with my husband one night.
Many, many months ago, I picked up a box of Tazo tea at the grocery store and read the label, expecting to find a simple and succinct write-up on the ingredients. This is what it said:
So I did it. I finally tried a bit of flash fiction for an online contest. The prompt was the line, “Take a chance on me.” Below is the result:
A Chance by DM Domosea
(submitted for the August 28 Operation Awesome Flash Fiction #19 contest. No winner selected for that round.)
Her lips part, soft and beckoning.
“Take a chance on me.”
Her call surrounds you and lifts you from a deep sleep. You open your eyes. It’s late. The full moon drenches your room in blue light. Within it, you watch yourself dress, a detached observer. You walk out your door, down the staircase and across the empty lobby to the heavy wood doors.
“Take a chance on me.”
Yes, I am coming.
Dear Important Minor POV Character,
It has come to my attention that, despite the epic fantasy genre of my latest work, it is not advisable to have more point-of-view characters than George R. R. Martin has dead ones. In an effort to bring my POV character count down to a more respectable and manageable number, I must enact austere measures. After careful review of all characters who have provided their viewpoints in various sections of my manuscript, I regret to inform you that I will be cutting your position as a POV character.
Vacation was officially over.
“Papa, there’s a ‘bout in the driveway.” A young girl peered out the kitchen window as she handed a plate dripping with suds and water to the girl next to her.
“And it has the Imperial Guard emblem on the doors,” the second girl added, drying the plate with a towel before placing it in the cupboard next to her. She was identical to the first girl: the same soft brown hair and thick eyebrows that furrowed over sky-blue eyes. They both looked distressed over the rideabout’s appearance outside.
Tolman Bootka emitted a raspy sigh through his nose. A twelve-week leave of absence apparently didn’t entail a full ninety days of being left alone. One of the few benefits of serving in the Imperial Guards was that it allowed Tolman to take extended periods of leave to spend with his children on Dometia Lesser while earning a full-time salary. His career choice didn’t make him rich, but it provided a good, modest life on the vacation continent for his family. He planned to retire here after the obligatory twenty years of service to run a water glider shack on the beach and chase grandkids around on the black sand shores. If guard service remained the uneventful career it proved to be thus far, only eight more lackluster years lay ahead of him.
Last week, I bombarded you with a mega-ton of angst over the title of my Young Adult fantasy manuscript. The bottom line on that post? In its querying stage, the importance of a clever book title is insignificant compared to other aspects of the project (i.e., is the plot interesting and fresh? Is it well-written?), but a catchy, solid title can impart confidence to the querying writer in the marketability of their project. It might also show prospective agents and editors that the writer knows the category/genre well enough to choose a title that’s in line with market trends.
Now, about those trends…
or, When Every Other Book Title in the World Seems Better Than Mine
Hi. My name is D.M. Domosea. I’m a young adult fiction author, and I suffer from book title envy.
There, I said it. An ugly part of my writer’s soul has been laid bare, naked and plain for all to see. Now I know jealousy is neither a healthy nor admired trait in the publishing community, but it’s there nonetheless. I often fall in lust with other writers’ clever book titles, while my own impart an overall sense of meh. Their titles: wondrous, witty and intelligent! My titles: blah, yawn-inducing, and whatever. I envy that quaint knack some authors possess for creating attention-grabbing titles. I wants that ability. I needs it. Crafting that perfect book title is the precious.
If you’ve spent time combing through the wealth of writing and editing advice for aspiring authors, you’ve no doubt come across this valuable nugget:
“Read in the category/genre in which you want to write.”
And what valuable advice it is. Reading in-category and in-genre familiarizes you with the styles, themes, and moods that dominate those fields and are pertinent to your writing interests. I’ve followed this advice and followed it well. Before I continue, indulge me in a quick bit of history:
Okay, so it’s nothing like the ice bucket challenge, unless you choose to dump a bucket of ice over your head as you post your goods. But since my computer has a palpable dislike of all things wet, I am forgoing the optional “ice” part. So this is how the Twitter-born 7x7x7x7 challenge works:
Step 1: Scroll to the 7th page of your work-in-progress (WIP) or the story you entered into the lovely PitchWars.
Step 2: Go down to the 7th line.
Step 3: Post the next 7 lines.
Step 4: Tag 7 writer friends.
Too easy, right? And a lot more fun than dumping ice over yourself while someone films your “aaaaiiiiiieeeee!” face, but at least that brings awareness to a worthy cause (ALS). This challenge, on the other hand, will just bring awareness to the unlimited talent of the PitchWars writing community. I am posting from my WIP, which is actually Book II of the MS I submitted to PitchWars. Enjoy!