Wednesday, July 3, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Bad Trucks, IWSG, & Links

Today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday is just a funny sign I drove by (for some reason, my cell phone tinges photos blue, like the Moonshine Express photo last week):

Yes, please, those of you driving trucks, do try to avoid the sidewalks...

Today is also the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh!

While I have plenty of insecurities, the one I was most worried about this month was a love scene I had written, my first ever. For a week, I refused to turn it into my critique group, but finally closed my eyes and sent away. The feedback I got was great, and I feel better about it now! I find sex/love scenes to be the scariest thing to write, and have avoided them until now.

However, I'm still feeling insecure as to whether I'll be keeping the scene in. If not, I'll have to save it for a more opportune time. I'm just not certain about having a love scene in the second chapter. I didn't plan on putting it there, but it just happened. Events seemed to naturally lead to the scene. The character other than my MC actually doesn't show up in the rest of the book (except maybe at the end, which is not yet written), so I'm questioning the point of the scene, and whether I should remove it, keep things as is, or bring the other character more thoroughly into the story (which has been requested by my critique group!).

Decisions, decisions, decisions. What do you think? Is the 2nd chapter too early for a love scene in an urban fantasy?

Thank you to the co-hosts today:  Nancy Thompson, Mark Koopmans, and Heather Gardner!

And now, for links.

Accepting Submissions:

Burial Day Books is seeking short stories set in one of the following places: cemetery, funeral home, morgue, haunted house, active or abandoned hospital/mental institution, active or abandoned juvenile or adult correctional facility/prison. These stories will be in a Gothic Blue Book, similar to the follow-up to chapbooks back in the day. Deadline July 19. $25 token payment and 2 contributor copies.

Long Hidden is a speculative fiction anthology being funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. They're still seeking short stories through July 31. They welcome writing from anyone, but are especially interested in writing from those in marginalized groups. Pays 5 cents per word.

Dark Opus Press is seeking short fiction submissions based on Grimm's Fairy Tales for their Tell Me A Fable anthology. Pays 1 cent per word, plus a contributor copy. Deadline July 31.

Alban Lake Publishing is seeking submissions for their quarterly MG magazine, FrostFire Worlds. Open submissions throughout the year. Pays $15 for original stories, $3 for original poems, $6 for illustrations, $10 for articles.

Mantle Lane Press is seeking fiction from authors in the East Midlands area, or with an East Midlands setting. Pays in scaled royalty. Deadline July 15.


Kazka Press's 713 Flash Contest is now in its July open window. Deadline July 20. The current theme is Sax & Violins (and Other Tales of Music). Pays $10 per story.

Fleeting Books and Wrecking Ball Press are holding the No Cheap Tricks: Rules for Writers Competition. They're looking for a one-line rule for writers. If your rule wins, you'll be in their book, plus win 100 pounds.


The Writer's Digest Conference is being held September 27-29, in Los Angeles. Early Bird registration ends July 19, at which time the price will increase by $50.

Of Interest:

You can view the Write Brain workshop (about 90 minutes long) presented for Pikes Peak Writers this month by Jennifer Lovett on Facebook and Twitter for Authors for free! If you like what she has to say, you might want to check out her website featuring PR, writing, and marketing tips for authors.

For you Trekkies out there, how about 4 Things Star Trek Can Teach Us About Writing.

Anything you're interested in? How early is too early for a love/sex scene? Anything to add?

May you find your Muse.


  1. That sign is so funny! And I could write love scenes all day. It's that pesky stuff that gets the couples together that's hard to write :)

  2. Hmm, maybe you should take what's "expected" and do the opposite? If the story feels like it's going naturally toward a love scene, your readers will expect that, so why not give your readers a fight scene instead?

    This obviously depends on your story, but I think you know what I mean. :)

  3. Got to love that sign! I stick my little toe in romance every now and then, and always come back feeling that I'm as romantic as a rock. But somehow, others find it great. Strange.
    As to the 2nd chapter - it depends on the story. If it's needed to move the plot along, help understand a character or motivation - sure, why not? But if you're questioning whether it does anything for moving the story forward, then maybe it's better to leave it out. I'm learning it's better to trust that gut feeling.
    I'm sure you'll figure it out :)

  4. Oh heavens. Writing my first romantic scene was definitely a blush-fest also. I didn't want anyone to see it so I protected it with a password.

    Course now, after writing several steamy passages, I want to go back to the first one. But...yeah, you guessed it. I can't remember the password. :P
    CD Coffelt ponders at Spirit Called
    And critiques at UnicornBell

  5. If it's an important part of your story, go for it! But I know your reluctance. Writing love scenes takes practice, as does all writing, but trying to keep it loving and not salacious is the key. At least for me, some folks like the salacious, I prefer the more loving. But you have to be honest to your vision!
    Good luck!

  6. I don't think that's too early for a love scene. If it feels right to put it there, then it must belong :)

  7. First, if your book is a romance, it's not too early. I've had my critique group request more of a character too, and the bully has taken on a life of his own.

    Funny sign and great links! One of these days I'll have to submit something.

  8. My hubby puts plant pots along our lawn to stop lorries from driving over it!

    The best advice I can give is not to worry, get it all written, put away your MS for at least a month and then when you come back to it you will see if it fits better than if you agonise over it all now.

  9. That sign is ridiculous!
    I struggled to write a kissing scene. Can't imagine a sex scene. I don't think the second chapter is too soon though.

  10. Movies often start with them, so it's hard to say what's too early.

  11. It's only too early if the characters just met Shannon and thanks for the laughs!
    - Maurice Mitchell

    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr

  12. I also find that its polite to avoid sidewalks when driving a car too.

  13. I find love scenes hard, too. They're getting slightly easier. Misha Gericke [my digital cp] kindly pointed out what it needed to get better. So my sad 2 paragraph scene blossomed into 2 pages. Thank you, Misha.

    The scene is only too early if it doesn't move your character. If it's part of the story, it needs to stay. :)

  14. I'm with your CPs. 2nd chapter is not too soon. Just flesh it out more fully. It'll get your readers' juices flowing early on and keep them there.

  15. I've never written a love scene...and I'm not in a hurry to try! :)

  16. Writing love scenes...hmmmm...a good time is when the characters are ready and if by chapter two, their lead up is established...then perhaps it's time. Then again if it's all over in chapter two...

    Funny sign!!!

    Sue CollectInTexasGal~Today's Post~
    My Name Is America

  17. When a critique partner says she's looking forward to seeing more of a character and I have no intention of writing more about him or her -- I usually eliminate that character or render him less noticeable. But I can't think of a way to make a lover less noticeable. Interesting problem, and a creative challenge. This is a character you might want to do more with.

  18. You all rock! Thank you for the feedback on this.

    J.A., that stuff is tricky for certain. Romance vs. sex.

    Madeline, I DO know what you mean.

    T., good advice!

    CD, oh, that's funny! Hahaha!

    Yolanda, well put.

    Laura, thanks!

    Sher, interesting, thank you.

    Madeleine, valid method!

    Alex, thank you, and yes, the sign is goofy!

    Andrew, good point! I didn't think about it that way.

    Maurice, they've known each other quite awhile. Thank you for that viewpoint!

    Rachel, yes, it seems rather biased to just demand it of the trucks.

    Mary, CP's rock, don't they?

    Nancy, okay, thanks!

    DL, it makes me feel awkward. Though apparently I'm not terrible at it, LOL!

    Sue, that's the tricky part!

    Jan, great feedback, thanks!

  19. Romantic scene!
    I never tried!
    Keep narrating!
    To the satisfaction of your readers!!
    Keep going
    I too joined in at A J C's IWSG

  20. I think things that appear within the first few chapters set the tone or feel of the book. If I encounter a steamy love/sex scene in chapter two, I would expect others to follow. I've yet to write one of those myself. Thankfully, they're not a requirement in epic fantasy. :)

  21. Hey Shannon,

    Please, can I have bonus points for commenting at nearly three in the morning? Thanks and hey, thank you for being part of the neato "IWSG" aka "I Was Seeking Gary". I'm seeing mention of me, yes me, shy and humble me, all over the place. Gosh!

    Shannon, never to early for a love scene. Relax and go with what feels best. And yes, I'm meaning your story :)

    Look at all these contest links and flashing contests and writing competitions. Nice one for all those links.

    And happy Fourth to America, y'all.

    Your starstruck fan,


  22. Please, trucks, for the sake of us all! Haven't written many steamy scenes myself; maybe I should get crackin'. Thanks for the links. Heading over to Jennifer's site next.

  23. Thanks for all the links. Interesting question. Is the love scene between the two main characters? Is it something you'd want to save to make people anticipate it more?

    Please share what you decide and why. I had a couple of betas tell me they didn't want my characters to even kiss in book 1. Not even kiss. I took their advice, so people will have to wait until book 2. ;-)

    My IWSG Post

  24. The fact that this phenomenon has occurred enough times to warrant a sign is worrisome -- are the truck drivers trying to rack up pedestrian points? If your love scene naturally played out in the second chapter, I'd let it stay. Thanks for the submission links!

  25. GAH! Love scenes? No thanks... Destroy ALL the loves *stab stab stab* My stories were devoid of any romance at the beginning, but some kind of barged their way in. Never written a love scene, though. I'd imagine it can be nerve wracking.

    Even harder for you as your focus is Horror. Will readers understand this guy is laying pipe between a secretly mutant alien woman's twin peaks? How will they react when tentacles burst forth from her nipples and puts the MC's man-bits in a death grip, while getting freaky?!


    As for being "too soon" that all really depends. If I ever do a love scene I think I want to make sure it shows/says something about one or more (many more? *wink wink nudge nudge* say no more say no more) of the characters.

    Like in a James Bond novel it would make complete sense. In fact, I may be completely baffled it doesn't open with a sex scene.

    But in Twilight (which I haven't read, but am assuming) I guess it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. Not that it would be worse (or better) if one was "inserted" two chapters in, mind you.

    I'd say follow your gut. I find it interesting you said it just happened. Formed and barged in (okay I said barged above, but you implied it I think). That seems to be stating the story is semi-taking control a bit and demanding something, so maybe there is something in your subconscious believing it has it's place in the story?

    I hope you share what's decided! Perhaps you shared in the next post...

    P.S. Glad I drive a tiny Hyundai. I be all up on the sidewalks n shit. Not like... defecating on the sidewalk like a dog... but like... you know what... I'll just drive around with a baggy.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

  26. Re: the love scene - I think that, if it feels right to you, it's in the right place. (Unless someone offering you a LOT of money to publish your book says otherwise.) ;-) (J/K - I feel very strongly about the artist knowing her creation best.)
    Some Dark Romantic