We knew pretty much everything about our character, Brook, before we ever set words to a page. She was a lot like us, or people we've known. She was the pretty girl we went to high school with, the nice one that had a smile for everybody. Brook was born and raised not far from where we live. We liked her. She was a Kansas girl. But before the readers even got the chance to know and appreciate her quiet strength, her kind nature, or her particular circumstances, we started being very mean to her. Right from the start of the novel, Betrayed, we put her into a dangerous situation with horrific consequences. The question is; isn't it hard to hurt a character you like? And the answer is yes. Sometimes it is hard.
There were points along the way when one of us would say to the other, "Oh, that's really bad. We have to pull back on that." And we did. Our manuscript underwent massive changes along the way. Brook was not hurt as badly by the final draft as she had been in the beginning. Still, she was grossly mistreated. We like to think we made it up to her later; but were she real, she would probably not agree.
Many times an author treats a character in unbelievably cruel ways, puts him or her into nightmare situations. It's part of the story. When writers grow fond of their characters, this can present a dilemma. To stick with the storyline, sometimes we must harm our favorite imaginary people. While we can blame the abusers in the book for Brook's suffering, we realize if we are honest with ourselves, that it's really all our fault. The abusers did what we told them to do, the pigs. But they're bad guys, and bad guys are…well, bad.
We are not comparing our writing to that of Tolkien, but imagine if he had caved to sympathy for Frodo. It wouldn't have been the same story. Frodo might have tossed the ring aside, said no to an extended jaunt through dangerous lands, and simply remained at Bag End eating crumpets and drinking tea. It would hardly have filled one book, let alone three. And no movie would have come of it. We can all be thankful the author did not take it easy on Frodo.
So, Brook and many other characters in other books have had to endure great hardship. Not only that, but their torment has come at the very hands of those who care about them the most, the authors. To writers everywhere who know what this feels like, remember not to love your characters so much that you can't hurt them. And if you have to hurt them, try to give them something back in return. It helps.
Wodke Hawkinson now has a page at Amazon's Author Central. Come on over and visit our page! Also, our new website now has more books on the book lists. Wander over and check it out: Find A Good Book To Read. Authors are welcome to submit their own book titles, and readers can peruse the fiction or nonfiction sections to discover books they might otherwise not find. Be sure to check back regularly as we are adding more books every few days.
Other news: Our second collection of short stories, Blue, is in the review stage and will soon be released. It's a bit edgier than Catch Her in the Rye, but offers the same multi-genre reading experience with its variety of tales.
We have another website to promote our books. It's called Find A Good Book To Read. An interesting feature of this website is that we offer book lists, and are asking authors to participate by sending us information on their books so they can be included in the lists. If you are looking for a good read, check out the lists.
If you are an author and would like to have your book listed, please contact us. We really need more nonfiction books.
Take a moment to visit our new site at http://findagoodbooktoread.yolasite.com/
Don't forget, we still have our author site at wodke-hawkinson.com
Our first collection of short stories is now available on Kindle. Catch Her in the Rye is being offered at the very reasonable price of only 99 cents as a means of introducing readers to our writing. The book includes a variety of genres, something for every reader.
Catch Her in the Rye by Wodke Hawkinson is now available and is simply bursting with short stories! Get your copy. Get your mom a copy. Get one for a gift, or to add to your burgeoning library! Take one on a road trip, read it while waiting on your doctor's appointment, or in bed at night before you fall asleep. Take it to the circus or the mall. Take it out to eat or for a nice ride in the country. There is no end to the fun you can have with our book! It makes a great companion, always there for you, never argues with you, and doesn't eat anything. It's quiet, attractive, and won't offend your relatives with tactless remarks. It's not demanding or intrusive. It never uses all the hot water before you are ready to take your shower, or puts grimy fingerprints on your things. In fact, it won't bother your things. It won't dig through your purse, chew the last piece of gum, or leave the toilet seat up. It won't borrow your tools, wreck your car, or get mad at you if you go fishing.
Get yours today @ http://www.amazon.com/Catch-Selected-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00526O3VY/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346186826&sr=1-2&keywords=catch+her+in+the+rye and https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/70099
Holy Smokes! I have a web-page and blog. I was messing around on the web and stumbled on my name; well, the name of me and my co-author. What’s this? I wondered. Clicking on the link took me to a very interesting web page; www.wodke-hawkinson.com. Here I found all sorts of links to stories we have written, stories we are trying to publish, and general info on ourselves.
Wow! How did I forget this? And then, there on one of the pages of the site, was another link. This one took me to a blog www.wodke-hawkinson.com/blog1/. It seemed abandoned. I felt sad for the blog. Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning (which I know about first hand since my house was struck by lightning this past Saturday), it hit me that I (and my co-author) were the ones neglecting this lonely blog. What to do, what to do?
Bam! Pow! Wham! I was hit by the notion that I should try to keep the blog (and website) up-to-date. What a notion! I was very proud of myself and am here now to remedy these mistreated, no, ignored sites.
Look through the blog for the new and exciting ‘Wodke Ruminates’ on ‘Forgotten’.
Wodke Hawkinson believes a reader should never be tricked into buying a book of short stories believing it is a full-length novel. Some authors unfortunately title their short story collections in a way that obscures the fact that they are indeed stories and not a single book-length work.
That said, short story collections are an ideal reading alternative, and come in handy in certain circumstances. In fact, they are at times preferable to longer works.
Waiting: Whether spending time in a waiting room for an appointment or simply waiting for someone to arrive, short stories can fill the gap. A story is relatively quick to finish and doesn’t require the investment in time and uninterrupted attention that some full-length books do. It’s like a literary snack that fills empty spaces of time and can stave off the appetite for fiction until there is enough time to devote to reading a novel.
Reading in bed: For those of us who like to read to get drowsy, short stories are a wonderful alternative to the novel. A reader can usually hold his eyes open long enough to get to the end of a short story. On the other hand, a novel does not offer this same advantage. If a novel is very engaging, the reader might find himself actually fighting sleep to see what happens next, thereby defeating the purpose.
Between novels: Sometimes grabbing a short story or two makes a nice transition between longer works. It allows a little time to ‘clear the palate’ and fill the small gap before tackling another novel or book.
Sampling an author: Short stories offer a way of finding out if you like an author’s style, without committing time and resources to an in-depth reading project only to discover you and the author do not mesh. It’s not an absolute guarantee, but chances are good that if you like the short story, you will probably also enjoy the author’s full-length works, too. Sometimes authors produce singles for their readers. A mere preview does not allow the reader to see how a writer handles the execution of the plot and brings around the conclusion. A short story can give the reader a glimpse into the author’s complete writing style in a way that a preview simply cannot.
What are your reasons and/or motivations for reading short stories or short story collections? Have you any favorites?
Mount Bromo, a volcano in Indonesia, is spewing plumes of smoke and ash into the air. Not only is the volcano causing pollution and disrupting flight schedules due to visibility issues, it has refused to work with negotiators or mitigate its behavior in any way.
The EPA has sent officers to confront the volcano and arrests are expected soon. When asked how the volcano will be remanded into custody, the EPA officials were baffled. "We don't exactly have that part figured out yet," one anonymous source told this reporter, "but we can't disregard this blatant criminal action on the part of any natural element. Next thing you know, rivers will go where they want and winds will blow where they may. No, we've got to nip this in the bud right now. This volcano is just simply being rude." Questions of whether an arrest was the best approach to the problem met with this snippy response, "Well, we can't exactly pull its panties down and spank it, can we?"
I then asked if he thought the volcano was contributing to environmental concerns, and he rolled his eyes. "Of course! You're probably too young to remember, but eruptions such as these used to lead to global cooling. Then they led to global warming, you know. Now they mainly lead to climate change. But no matter what you call it, it's destructive and it's a demonstration of poor manners on the part of the volcano."
"How about rehabilitation programs?" I queried.
"Not in this case," he fumed. "Statistics show that doesn't work."
When questioned about jurisdictional problems that might arise from the arrest of the volcano by the USA's EPA, he refused to answer. More on this story as it develops.
Filed by: Ima Lyer, freelance reporter