Sunday, January 22, 2012

Breaking the Rules

Also known as editor pet peeves and reader déjà vu. You know the ones I'm talking about, usually to be found in the opening of the story.  Like where the heroine's studying her appearance in the mirror, describing her golden tresses and baby blue eyes to herself, or opening with the weather ala 'It was a dark and stormy night' or that dreaded dream sequence... Uh, oh!! I didn't...did I?

Um, but in my defence, I never intended to keep it. This is how the story came to me, everything, from the characters to the plot to the ending, it all started with this dream. So, I told myself, I'll write it down for reference and delete it later. But the time was never right... I'll just keep it there a little longer, and then I shrugged and told myself my editor was sure to put a bold red line through, I'll leave the hard work up to her. To my surprise, and secret delight, my little dream stayed untouched and I became that author, the one who broke the rules and got away with it :)

So... what are your pet peeves and are there exceptions where you've seen (or made) it work? Or maybe never even realised it was a pet peeve, you were so caught up in the story, and only thought about it later?

Here's a peek at my little streak of rebellion...

There must have been a hundred of them. Black-hearted Kerrs with mud-streaked cheekbones, matted braids falling down naked chests dark from dirt and sun and hair. But the eyes. Black as night, black as their hearts, black as the devil’s soul.
Breghan ran faster, tearing through the summer-thick foliage. She could hear them rapidly closing in. The high-pitched grunt was neither human nor animal.
Branches rustled at her left, then at her right. Stubby fingers reached for her, scratching, clawing, poking, until all that remained of her gown was shredded ruins.
And then they went for her hair and face.
“No,” she screamed, swatting in every direction before she fell to her knees and covered her face with her arms. “Leave me be. Please, please… let me be.”
The cruel fingers fell away.
The grunts stilled.
Breghan swallowed her sobs, slowly lifting one arm, then the other, afraid to look and afraid not to.
The leader of the pack stood there.
A shudder trembled through her. The stories were all true. He stood at least seven feet tall, blocking out the sun with his width. What she could see of his face was horribly disfigured, the skin puckered and mottled red. This one’s eyes were not black. No, the Kerr’s eyes were blood-red and burning bright with the wild rage of a fire-spitting demon. Only one of his names was the Devil of Jedburgh.

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