Posts Tagged ‘writing’

The Light Side of the Moon Deleted Scenes: The Ferryman

The Light Side of the Moon FinalEver wonder what happens when a book goes through a full rewrite? A lot of deleted scenes. Some of the scenes were deleted for length and pacing. Some were cut because I realized they confused my main plot line, such as the one below.

When I wrote this “Ferryman” scene, I was trying to show the poverty that the average person faced and how love had nothing to do with their marriages. HOWEVER, I realized the scene needed to be cut, because though the ferryman is willing to marry an under-aged girl, I did not write him as a villain nor consider the ferryman a bad man. Notice: he isn’t trying to screw her over, he is trying to find an honest marriage arrangement. I actually imagined him having this conversation at least a few other times with girls/women he ferries across the river until someone agrees to marry him. He has no money or family to arrange a marriage for him. He’s doing the best he can in a world that doesn’t care about him. But that confused the greater conflict.

NOTE: This was not edited by anyone, but me.

LISTENING FOR WATER, ELLIE EDGED towards Missoula proper until she found the river. Not sure where to go, she wandered eastwards until she found a sign reading: FERRY 2 CREDITS in front a wide flat-bottom boat tied to the shore. The ship didn’t moving at night, so she hid on the leeward side of a fishing shack. As it did every day, dawn lightened the sky as the sun rose over the Rocky Mountains. She waited in her hiding place until she saw the ferryman stretching out of his blankets.

“Excuse me, I don’t have any money, but I’ll clean the deck if you get me across the river to the mills,” Ellie said.

“Girl, get yourself back home.”

“Look, I heard there were jobs at the mills. I need a way across the river.” 

“You’re about to get my boot,” he snarled, but he didn’t lift his foot.

Deciding the ferryman wasn’t likely to call to police or the convent, Ellie stood her ground. “I’ll run an errand if that’s what you need.”

The ferryman narrowed his eyes. Then glanced at his torn cuff. “You know how to sew?”

“Yes, sir, but I haven’t any needle or thread.”

“I keep some line and needles in the tool kit. I want my jacket mended and my boots shined. Do a good job, and when I have another customer, I’ll ferry you across.”

“Thank you.” She put her hands together and bowed in respect.

Grumbling, the man repeated the gesture towards her and pushed his toolbox with his foot.

Ellie’s fingers ached in the cold, but she sat beside his chair and mended the rip with fishing line. She took a rag out of the man’s tool kit and shined his boots. It would have been easier if he hadn’t been wearing them.

He opened his thermos. The smell of fish broth made her stomach growl. “You hungry, girl?”

Ellie nodded. He poured her a bit of broth in the thermos top. It was hot. Though her lips stung from the salt, Ellie drank the soup greedily.

“So how long have you been homeless?”

Licking the salt from her lips, she said, “Only a few days. My mama died. Papa died a few years ago.”

The ferryman nodded. “Yeah, you don’t seem the type. They just beg.” 

“I’ll find a job and never have to beg.”

“Times are hard. People might not be willing to chance a job on an untested girl. Why don’t you be my wife?”

She pressed her legs together and pulled her sweater tighter around her. “I’m only fourteen,” she lied. “I need a ride.”

“You are? Shit, I thought you were older,” The man frowned. “Well, now, your mama’s dead, no one will mind. Better than being homeless anyway.”

Ellie looked closely at the man’s face. His beard was brown scraggly, windswept, but his brow and cheeks were unlined. In fact, if it wasn’t for the beard, she guessed he was about Peter’s age. He was just a lonely guy with a newly mended jacket and hardly any gift in cooking. If she married him, it would be her own choice, but she wouldn’t get to the moon. Still she found herself asking, “Do you have a house?”

“Nope, just the boat.”

“I’ve never cooked a fish before. Only rabbits and eggs. I don’t know if I’d be a good wife for you,” Ellie said.

He shrugged. He pulled out a narrow fishing rod as long as he was tall. “You couldn’t be any worse of a cook than me.”

“I’d poison you if you ever beat me or our children if we had ‘em.”

“Your pa hit you, did he? Hit your ma?”

Her throat tensed. She refused to show emotion so she didn’t answer him.

“I won’t hit you,” he said. “But I expect a faithful and hardworking wife. I need help cooking and mending. Sometimes there’s work around the boat, but I’ll catch and clean the fish. The money from passengers keeps the boat afloat. Sometimes I catch enough to trade for bread and eggs.” The ferryman threaded the end of his fishing line through his hook, and wrapped it four times.

“But you don’t have extra for a bride price,” she said.

“No, I don’t. But you obviously don’t have any money either, so I figure we could help each other out. Two people work better than one. I’ll even put your name on the title of the boat.” He fed the end of his fishing line back through the looped hook and pulled it tight. He pulled out a dark wriggling worm from a small cup. Ellie looked away as he pierced the worm with his hook then attached three pieces of rusted metal to his line above his bait. Then he cocked back the rod, pushed the button on his spinner, and when he pointed it back to the water, he released the button to cast his line into the dark water.

Fingering the map in her pocket, her mind spun with worry. What if I can’t make it any farther? What if I get arrested and taken to the convent again? “Do you catch fish everyday?” she asked softly.

“Nearly,” he replied. Then leaned back and shoved his hands in his pockets. 

“Have you gone hungry?”

The ferryman studied her. “No. And I’d be damned before I let my wife or kids go hungry. And I know it looks rickety, but the shelter is pretty warm at night.”

If I married someone else, my brothers and betrothed wouldn’t ever come after me. Ellie bit her lip. “I’ll expect a faithful and hardworking husband, so I’ll think about it. I still want to see if I can get a job.”

He shrugged. “Your life, but if that doesn’t work out, come back. My offer will stand ‘til I find someone else.”

They sat in silence as he fished. He looked over his shoulder as a young couple with a baby asked if they could be ferried across. The ferryman gestured at the payment pad. The man pressed his hand on to it. Four credits were charged, two for each adult passenger. The family took a seat on the cracked polymer bench under the shelter. The ferryman pumped a lever, which opened a slot in the engine panel. He turned another cylinder. Methane belched out of the pipe as the ferry jolted off the dock.

Ellie’s stomach lurched as the water grew deeper and faster moving underneath the boat. Though the dark water underneath the hull frightened her, she wondered if the ferryman’s proposal was genuine. He didn’t seem like a bad man.

Thirty minutes later, she was across the river. The ferryman was happy to see five people waiting to cross back to the other side.

As she disembarked, he tipped his hat towards her. “Remember what I said.” 

“I’ll remember, and thank you.” Ellie pressed her palms together and inclined her head. She followed the couple towards the city center. She hugged to the outskirts of the mill to the eastbound trucking lane. Glad she had mittens, she put out her thumb.

If you liked this, check the rest of the deleted scenes here.  http://other-systems.com/dscenes.html

Advertisements

Meet Ellie Sethdottier: Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon

Who wants to see the character dossier of Ellie Sethdottier: Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon?

Ellie at age 11

Ellie at age 11, Digital painting by me, Elizabeth Guizzetti. All Rights Reserved.

Ella (Ellie) Settdottier was four-years-old when the Kiposians came. While she and her brothers were too young to immigrate to Kipos and witnessed a violent argument between her parents, which ended with her mother battered. She never saw her father again. She does not know if he abandoned them for opportunities on Kipos or was possibly killed at the gates. She doesn’t want to know.

Parents: Jia Rao and Seth Keithson

Two Brothers: Daniel (+4 years) and James (+3 years)

Virtues: Though her life has been hard, she was protected from the worst of their poverty by her older brothers, thus she is strong-willed and hopeful things will get better. (Her brothers have long given up on life.) She loves to read and collect knowledge.

Vices: She has grown up so fast, she does not listen to reason. She is slow to trust.

Helpful Vice: She is a risktaker, but terrified of “getting in trouble” in an unforgivable way. She doesn’t really understand what is unforgivable, but has an idea that she needs to not get pregnant or catch an uncurable STI, so during her teen years she stays away from boys and drugs.

Age in novel: 4 – 18

Description excerpts

Age 4

More harshly than was wise, Alexander snapped, “She’s four and lost her father. Who said, ‘Suffer the little children…’ ”

With the hope Ella would settle down and Sister Diego might witness the vision of an innocent in pain, he pulled her onto his lap. After all, a four-year-old has no designs except to be loved, fed, safe, and warm. When she wasn’t screaming, Ella was as sweet looking as Jia had been at four: large round brown eyes, soft lengths of black hair escaping from two messy braids. Sister Diego could see her in her brothers’ hand-me-down green sweater and old patched trousers. No sign of sinful disease.

Both for his own comfort and hers, Alexander rocked her. Ella calmed as she snuggled into his shoulder, but Sister Diego’s face remained without compassion.

*

Age 11

[Alexander] considered as the afternoon sun bounced off Ella’s black hair how much she resembled Jia at that age, but her normally bronzed skin, looked grayish. Daniel and Jamie looked worse, covered in flour. The girl was on some invisible tether, bouncing with childish energy, but matching her brothers’ sluggish pace. Neither boy should be broken in adolescence.

The Light Side of the Moon Final The Light Side of the Moon will be available on paperback and ebook for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and IBooks.

Meet Ian Whitlatch: Secondary Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon

Ian

Ian at graduation. Digital Painting by me.

Ian Marcus Weaver Whitlatch is the only child of a doctor and the manager of a charity soup kitchen in Salisbury. Dad helps everyone whether they can pay or not. Mum doesn’t take a salary for her work instead donates her time to feed the impoverished.At the beginning of the novel, his parents employ two domestics: Ian’s tutor Mr. McKay and Ms. Blacksmith the housekeeper and cook.

Note: For the Other System’s Universe, they are upper middle class, however, their lifestyle for the average family in today’s world, they would be lower-middle class.
For example: like most people on Earth at this time, they don’t own a car. Since Dad’s clinic and Mum’s Soup Kitchen is across the back garden, they also generally have no need of one.

Virtues: Respects every person, doesn’t believe in violence, hard worker, kind-hearted

Virtue that hurts him: Unfaltering idealism which presents as pretentiousness

Vices: Judges by outer beauty, doesn’t always get along with his parents, can be self-absorbed

Parents: Grace Alice Teague. Weaver, Royce Xavier Langly Whitlatch  No Siblings.

Education: Home Tutor until age fifteen, then Oxford undergraduate studies and Oxford Medical School

Description Excerpt

Age 13

Ian yanked off his apron and washed his hands. The cut was deep, but not bad enough to show Dad. Pressing a handkerchief to the wound, he scrutinized himself in the mirror and tucked in his shirt. An angry pimple had formed between his nostril and cheek. Ugh. Even when his skin was clear, his nose was too big. Mum always said he had Dad’s handsome looks. That was unfortunate for them both.

*

Age 21

Ellie jumped for it. Knowing momentum might carry her in medium gravity, she forced herself to fall and hit the decking. Her legs burned as she skidded the last four meters, but the luggage stopped moving. She pressed her lips together and blinked back tears. 

“Vous allez bien, mademoiselle?”

Light created a halo from his straight hair, but when her eyes cleared, she looked past his nose into his deep green eyes, filled with concern.

Without thinking she answered back in English. “Yes, thank you, sir.”

He wore an officer’s uniform, but she recoiled from the soft, delicate hand that reached for her. He was probably going to yell at her like everyone else did.

“You’re an Englishwoman?” he asked helping her to her feet. 

“I speak English. I’m from Seattle. My name is Ellie Sethdottier. How do you do?” She curtsied though she wore pants.

“I’m Dr. Ian Whitlatch, and I’m just fine, but that looked like a nasty spill you took.”

Coming this Summer

The Light Side of the Moon Final

New grammar addiction: the word “then”

This is just a short post and this post has a moral: Listen to your editors.

While editing The Light Side of the Moon, I have found, or more appropriately, my editor has found that I have a new grammar addiction: “then”

Merriam-Webster defines then : at that time : at the time mentioned

—used to indicate what happened or happens next 

—used to indicate what should be done next

You might remember, that when I was going through editing of Other Systems,  my poor editor (someone else) found and cut at least fifty semicolons. I am not exaggerating. In the second round of edits, I overused the word “as.”

Apparently I needed a new way to combine sentences–so I moved on to “then.”

For some logical reason, I thought it looked cooler to use “then” to combine sentences instead of the almost invisible “and”. I have no idea why, but thankfully my editor caught it and conducted an intervention.

 

 

 

I need advice for The Light Side of the Moon!

Author buddies, folks who just love reading, and even people who go to author events, I need advice.

I’m trying to decide which chapter should be my free excerpt for conventions and appearances. It must be full of gut wrenching emotions, plus introduce Ellie. It must make people think “What to know what happens next?”

I want to know what you’d rather read?

Chapter 2:
4-year-old Ellie is watching her parents argue which culminates in her father attacking her mother and abandoning the family for a new planet.
Cons:

  • its incredibly violent and features a few swear words.
  • Ellie is not shown to be strong.

Pros:

  • I’ve read this chapter at events before and it always gets a “OMG, what happen’s next? What! I have to wait till the book comes out?” response.

or

Chapter 6:
Ellie, age 11, disobediently hanging outside with some corrupt androids while her brothers are at work. She goes back inside and finds her mother dead from the flu. She and her brothers must dispose of the body without getting caught.
Con:

  • its Chapter 6.
  • I’ve never read it in front of an audience, so I don’t know how people will react.
  • Ellie is not a “perfect child,” rather she is shown disobedient.

Pro:

  • Not violent, but sets up Ellie’s family’s poverty and the environment better.
  • It has androids!
  • Ellie obviously has a mind of her own.

Chapter 1, 3, 4, and 5 are from someone else’s POV. The back cover copy features Ellie as the protagonist. I must introduce Ellie and make people care about her.

If anyone wants to read the chapters, please message me or comment and I’ll send them to you.

Elizabeth Guizzetti appearing at Issaquah Library AuthorFest

May 1 @ 6:00 am – 9:00 pm | Free

In collaboration with Downtown Issaquah Association’s May “Wine Walk”, the Issaquah Library and Pacific Northwest Writers Association are hosting the first annual “Author Fest” on Friday, May 1st.

Activities will include:

Panel discussions with local authors!
6:00pm panel will feature authors who write for kids: Lois Brandt, Dori Butler, & TJ (Tim) Spencer and Elizabeth Guizzetti
7:15pm panel will feature authors who write for adults: Alan Bauer, Robert Dugoni, Mike Lawson, Pam Binder and Elizabeth Guizzetti. (I’m a double feature!)

Afterwards there will be time for one-on-one author chats and a chance to purchase an autographed copy!

Hope to see you there

Why I believe in diversity in science fiction: an answer to the counter-arguments.

A number of people in the science fiction community are screaming about diversity in books and films. Either they want to bring back the good ole days, or they want to see characters that look how the world looks now. It saddens me that this argument has gotten very nasty. The 2015 Hugo Award Nominations are just the visual tip of the anger iceberg.

266d732dd0258d460ee8444a45892cc0

I saw this on PinInterst, Originally found on yahighway.tumblr.com

Anyone who follows my blog knows how much I love StarTrek. I’m going to explain why I think diversity is important for the sci-fi community, but how there is room for all of our visions. I was a young teen with TNG and in highschool, early college with DS9. I loved those show’s wide open universe with all those planets and races. The meme is getting popular now, but I remember the first time I heard Whoopie Goldberg’s story about how she and Gene Rodenberry spoke about how before the original StarTrek there were no black people in sci-fi and how Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols during 1966 to 1969, was a trailblazing role for African-Americans.

When I heard the story, it reminded me of being a kid and watching GI Joe, Thunder Cats, or almost every other show and wanting there to be more than one token girl or woman character. That’s when I realized “the girl” was a type, just like “the black guy” or whoever. And I didn’t want to write “types,” I wanted to write characters. I want to tell their stories. I still do.

StarTrek and Ms. Goldberg’s story encouraged me to always look at my “cast” and make sure that there was a fairly even split of men and women–and if there wasn’t, it needed to make sense why. That if there were “colors” of skin in my book’s universe that they are shown–and not just in the background. That sexual diversity was shown.

The cry for diversity rings loudly. Readers want characters that look like them, that they can relate to, but I don’t think anyone is really saying, “Every protagonist needs to look like me!” Though a few vocal white, cis-gender, heterosexual males are certainly coming close to that.

I believe in listening to people, which means I also believe it is also important to answer the (sometimes-bitter) counter arguments with kindness and generosity of spirit.

Counter Argument #1: So you are saying that I shouldn’t write all white or all male books? Maybe that’s my vision!

People should write what they want to write. Just don’t be surprised when the market makes the final call. I would also add no matter what type of characters you write, you may find you end up with a different market than expected.

An example of a terrific all male cast is John Carpenter’s 1982 version of The Thing. They are twelve guys in a small science station in Antarctica so they are cut off from the world. Sexual diversity is not mentioned. However, there is some racial diversity in the cast with Keith David as Childs and T.K. Carter as Nauls. All in all the cast did a great job.

So if for whatever reason, if a non-diverse cast works, go with it. I think your collection of work shows your heart more than a single work.

Counter Argument #2 Authors are just adding this stuff so they can be edgy.

Really, you think authors care about being edgy? I don’t speak for every author, but I care about writing characters that make readers care and I care about finding readers. That’s it.

Counter Argument #3: White people shouldn’t write/explore other cultures because either white people can’t understand it or it is cultural appropriation.

For me this one is insidious, because I want to be an ally to others. To listen and tell stories. How do I get around this? First of all, I admit I’m a white American, cisgender, and heterosexual. I’m mixed European ancestry, a large chunk of that being Italian. This means I grew up with white privilege. This means there are things that happen I will simply not understand, I own up to that.

Then I figure out what I do know. While I never feared the police would racial profile me, I know what if feels like to be afraid. While I don’t know what it is like for a homosexual young man to want to kiss a boy when all your life you are told you can only kiss girls, but I can imagine what that first kiss is like. Love, pain and isolation are part of the human condition.

By admitting my ignorance of certain aspects of culture and then using my own experiences, I can research with an open mind. We all have the Internet at our disposal and we can take the time to do interviews. So, authors, no matter what your background, don’t fear writing about other cultures, but its important to research and write from a place of respect. Don’t rush the details, don’t force teachable moments, just do the work.

Counter Argument #4: What’s the point of writing diversely, the cover artist is just going to make them white?

So far, I’ve always done my own covers, so this hasn’t been a problem for me, but authors have agents and lawyers for a reason.
Authors, make sure you have some authority in your cover. And if you don’t. Guess what we all have blogs. Use them, show your character sketch. Be proactive.
Fans, if you want diverse covers, write, tweet, email publishers.

And the Counter-Counter Sad Puppy Argument to #4.
Why can’t a book with a spaceship on the cover just be about space adventure? Why does it always have to be out race or feminism or…?

Science fiction authors have a long history about putting “second stories” into their worlds. George Orwell and Margret Atwood outwardly wrote/writes social science fiction, but Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, and Joe Halderman also delved into issues with their stories. So I don’t know when these readers thought science fiction only focused on escapism. That being said, there are escapist stories. Just look for them. I’m sure a google search of “escapist science fiction” will give you somewhere to look. In the bookstore, ask the bookseller, don’t just look at the pretty picture on the cover, flip the book over and read the blurb. Open the book and glance at the first chapter. Online, Check out the reviews. Look at the sub genres.

Authors create worlds. Sometimes the author will delve deep into the political or sociological issues of that universe, other times, not so much. I personally love to delve into issues with my writing, but not all my writing is about how I view the world.

In closing, I think there is room for all types of science fiction and all types of science fiction fans. I don’t need to like every single book to be a fan, nor do you. We can have conviction and still be respectful. Please remember, that we’re are a community and behind every avatar is a person wanting their voice to be heard.

Novel News Network

Bringing you news on my favorite novels.

The Eclectic World of Christina

Author Christina Thompson

Elan Mudrow

Smidgens

James Harrington's Blog of Geek and Writing

All Things Writing and Geek, in one neat little blog!

Ajoobacats Blog

Non-profit prolific reader, reviewer and blogger of books and occasionally life

World of Horror

A cozy cottage for writers and book lovers

abooknation

Book reviews, recommendations and more

Sienna Saint-Cyr

Author~Editor~Publisher~Speaker

Corey Truax

Husband | Father | Veteran | Author

Horror Novel Reviews

Honesty in the Terror

Heartstring Eulogies

Conjured by Sarah Doughty

Wanderess Bibliophile

“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”

Three Unwise Men

A con in a podcast

poetryshack

This site is totally poetry...

MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape

A little about me, a lot about books, and a dash of something else

Planetary Defense Command

Defending the planet from bad science fiction

A Narcissist Writes Letters, To Himself

A Hopefully Formerly Depressed Human Vows To Practice Self-Approval

chandleur

Bagatelle