By Author Mike Arusaga
Have you ever written a novel or short story wherein it a character starts out with one eye color and ends with another? “That’s what editors are for,” I hear as a retort from some. Unless you are wielding a best seller, that excuse doesn’t have much traction. If the author doesn’t care enough to make a best effort for the work to be as perfect as possible, no editor or publisher will.
So how do I do it? My method is to jot notes on characters and story events. Character features and personalities are the tip of the ice berg. The far greater challenge comes with what I call avoiding the Plot Paradox. This happens to me when my brain writes a scene faster than my hands do. In an early draft of “SUBSPECIES” main character Jim White, a vampire, transformed into a hairy wolf-like beastie. I forgot Samantha (Sam) the female lead was the lycan. Not until the final galley did I clear up the final ambiguity regarding Sam’s birthday.
The solution is careful reading after writing. Fortunately, I have a built in Editor in Chief, my wife Cynthia, who is pretty good at catching inconsistencies. Actually, it works both ways, as I perform similar grooming services for her work. I believe the objective review from another person is the best cure.
A subset of the Plot Paradox is the Plot Impossibility, usually occurring during the narrative part of a scene. This is when the action creates a situation that is simply can’t believably happen. In the novel “My Life as a Dog”, co-written by Cynthia and I, is a good example. Main character Drake Martin is a shape shifter who transforms into an eight pound Yorkshire terrier. Adopted by Kady Hartley who knows nothing of his ability, he falls in love with her. She is, however, attracted to the man Drake Martin.
With all of this in mind there is a scene where they are at her apartment. He is Drake when Kady suddenly wonders where Precious is. She calls after the little dog, becoming anxious at receiving no response. Drake suggests they split up to search the apartment. Alone in the spare bedroom he morphs into Precious, trots out to Kady, solving the problem. Then she calls out after Drake. The dog bolts back to the room and returns to Drake.
The scene presented the following challenges. When morphing from Drake to Precious, what happened to Drake’s clothes? He had the foresight to go through the change in the bath room, wedging the door open beforehand so six inch tall Precious could get out and return. When Kady sought Drake after Precious presented himself, Drake was naked in the bath room, frantically redressing. He told Kady he was using the facilities and reassured her Precious was in the room with him. Cynthia and I read that scene at least a dozen times to take all the technical and credibility details into account. Still, the editor caught a minor one.
The best advice I can offer is take notes, read carefully several times, and have someone else read it before presenting it to an editor. I will say, in closing complicated scenes, crafted in the tradition of intricate comedy routine from masters like Charlie Chaplin, are worth the effort.
About author Mike Arusaga:
Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mike completed careers in the United States Navy Submarine Force and the Transportation Security Administration. He lives in Orlando Florida with wife and Editor in Chief Cynthia, daughter Jennifer, six year old granddaughter Larrna and partner in crime Thumper, a Yorkshire terrier.
Mike’s extensive travels in the Navy took him to throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, providing accurate and vivid settings for his stories. He has a five book series under contract with Muse It Hot Publishing. All are installments to The Subspecies series. The first, “SUBSPECIES’ released in May. “Subspecies, Inc. comes out September 2011. The third, “Children of Subspecies”, comes to life in December, followed by “The Tenth Legion” and the concluding installment “Lagrange Point” in February and May 2012 respectively.
The five books trace the evolution of lycans and vampires from being nature’s most reviled creation to its finest. They progress from lives of hiding in the shadows, hunting, and sensual but fruitless mating to become the key to saving humanity. In the process, they experience salvation and redemption, explore space, colonize Mars, travel in time, and learn the grand design of Creation.
Mike also co-wrote “My Life as a Dog” with his wife, published by Secret Cravings Publishing. MLAAD is a lighter hearted tale of a very special shape shifter and his quest for true love. Drak Martin’s animal persona is an eight pound Yorkie, of little use in a scrape but irresistable to women.
Author of Award Winning novel “Subspecies”, a paranormal and sexy romance about a deep love between two special beings. Released May 6, 2011 from MuseItHotPublishing
Co-Author of “My Life as a Dog”, a shape-shifter paranormal sexy romance released March 7, 2011 from Secret Cravings Publishing
Check out the full synopsis and an excerpts of all stories at http://mikearsuaga.weebly.com or http://cynthiaarsuaga.weebly.com
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Drake Martin—private investigator, ladies’ man, shape-shifter—Yorkshire terrier, named Precious. Enter six-year-old Kady Hartley and life changes.
Years later, they meet again. Still a PI, she’s FBI. Follow them on an adventure tracking the Russian mob involving human trafficking through the streets of New Orleans and watch the fur fly.
Following Kady to New Orleans where she is on assignment he knows it will be easier to watch over her if he stays in the shadows, keeping his shifter abilities hidden. He hooks up with the local Sufi, head of the shifter family clan, but eventually engages in a bloody battle with the Russians. But, there is another enemy in their midst, one who won’t rest until he destroys their chance at everlasting love…
Drake has fallen in love. Can Kady love him for who he really is, or will she
leave him upon discovering the truth about him?