The Domingo Montoya Syndrome

I'm having a Domingo Montoya moment. Or maybe it's a phase.

You might remember from "The Princess Bride", Inigo Montoya sought the six fingered man, to kill him.

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." 

I don't know how many times I've said that very line.

Domingo was a master sword maker and rarely did any work in his later years. He was so skilled that found the craft was no longer challenging. 

Then the six fingered man appeared and commissioned him to make a blade. This would be the ultimate challenge to his skill. The blade would require special balance to match the six fingered man's ability.

The book spends several pages on the making of the blade. But what I refer to now is how, at one moment, Domingo would be euphoric in his skill and achievement, and in the next, despairing over his ignorance and inability.

If you have never read the book, but enjoyed the movie, you really need to put this onto your reading list. The movie did a great job, but it's too short. There is so much more in the book.

After a November of knocking out 100k words in a month, and December of making my first pass through "Fly Paper Boy", editing it in less than a month, I was feeling pretty good about myself as a writer.

Then I downloaded three books from Audible, two by Brandon Sanderson and one by Tim Powers. Both of these authors are masters at "Showing and not telling". Their writing is immersive and takes you to the author's world in the first lines of their stories.

After writing a short story for an anthology in January, I returned to "Fly Paper Boy" for a serious edit, preparing it for the LDStory Makers Conference where I will use it in a publication workshop.

I am now at the Domingo Montoya low. 

I feel like my prose are swill and I'm looking at 95K words of 'sow's ear' I need to turn into a silk purse in the next month and a half.

Brandon Sanderson and Tim Powers are masters at the craft. Granted, I've been at this for only five years and haven't had the training and experience of either of these writers, but still, it looks like a steep hill to climb if I'm ever to get a story completed that a publisher would want to buy.

Anyway, for the next six weeks I'll be slogging through, changing thousands of words of 'telling' into 'showing'. Maybe at the end of it I'll feel more like I did at the end of December.

Roaches and Horrors

I've hated cockroaches for a long time.

I think I was twelve years old when we visited our cousins in Las Vegas. They had a huge backyard with a pool, garden, and a three story wooden fort. We were playing in the fort and pulled a roll of carpet from under a table. The thing swarmed with roaches, and those white ones, the ones which had just shed their skin looked like cockroach ghosts. I had see nothing scarier in my few short years of life.

Eight years later I was a missionary in South Africa, specifically, in Durban. Hot, humid, subtropical and loaded with bugs. The boarding we stayed in  was in a large room below the main house and would get so stuffy during the day that we left doors open on both sides of the room at night, to let the air blow through.

The cockroaches flew. We would hear them fly over our beds at hit the walls, I could barely stand it.

I didn't want to let these six legged demons take over my life, so I took the offensive. In the evening when we would come back to the boarding, I would grab my fly swatter and position myself in the middle of the room and give the word to turn on the lights. I would chase the little beasts around the room until, after a few weeks, there were no more waiting for me inside the boarding.

I hunted them down outside. I would hang around drain pipes and gutters with my fly swatter and flash light swatting my retribution on any unfortunate enough to get within reach.

I no longer fear them. Three years in Hawaii eased me of my last few 'willies'.

I now know more about them and their behavior than ever before. Not form up close and personal contact, but because I wrote a short story where my two main characters are cockroaches. That story is done, at about 5200 words and has been submitted to an anthology. We'll see where that goes.

Right now, before I begin my major rework of 'Fly Paper Boy', I am rewriting an old horror story I wrote for the Great Hites podcast, about four years ago. It's for the 100th episode of The Horror Addicts Podcast 100th episode. Emz has asked those of us who have participated in various ways to do a five minute recording of the scariest thing we could think of.

"The 23rd Horror" gave me the willies back when I first wrote it. I'm editing it down to just five minutes and changing the POV to First Person Past. This way the narrative move must faster than the original story and we get a stronger emotional response from the main character. You'll be able to find it at when their 100 episode is released. There you'll hear my voice and benefit from vocal emphasis that I feel when I'm writing but am unable to put into the story carry completely with written words.

Anyway, a few weeks later, I'll post the story here.

A magic portal under my sink?

My wife and I watched the first Narnia movie the other night. I've thought for years how cool it would be to have a portal take you somewhere fascinating. I remember as a teenager annoying girl friends talking about such things; like walking through the woods and finding yourself in a prehistoric world. But it was always fascinating or interesting places I would go. Well, here's an alternative.

From the editors that brought you, A Method To The Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil, comes the official book of stories for all those magic portals to places you might not really want to visit.

So this project looks to be right up my alley.

Brandon Sanderson said that anyone wanting to be a published writer should put out two novels and two short stories per year. This will be my first short story for this year.

Here's the link if you're interested in submitting to it as well: