Book Three. Book Three. Book Three.

PrinceFitted.Bazinga Mitches. lol.  So I figured I would give an update on what has been going on in my literary world.  I have been lazily at work creating Blood On The Throne.  I love that title btw.  Rambling thought in 3,2,… the original idea for the title was actually going to be Coldplay (A Rush of Blood to the head) and Jay Z/Kanye Watch the Throne). or A Rush of Blood to the Throne instead of the Jay Z/Kanye (Watch the Throne) and Micheal Jackson (Blood on the Dance Floor) mix.  The reason I changed it was because my beta reader said that unless there was in fact mass amounts of death happening in this book that having the title be a Rush of Blood wouldn’t be accurate or more importantly slightly misleading.

The reason I bring this up is because I think I have killed off maybe 20 characters in the first two books combined. Granted the majority of them were off camera but dead is dead in Action Figure land. Currently the death toll in Blood On the Throne stands at, and this is off the top of my head not quite an accurate count,drum roll please… 17.

I am a third of the way through writing this book and I have nearly equaled my kill count for books 1 and 2 combined.  I guess A Rush of Blood might have been accurate. And there is a lot more to come. At least two major characters are going to kick the bucket before the ink dries on this one.

As I have said in older posts I let my characters tell me what is going to happen but all the signs are pointing to the deaths of some of my favorite characters.  There is one in particular that I really don’t want to kill but it  is getting more and more likely the further I go. As I was writing this thinking about who was going to live and who was going to die another major character told me that they were not going to survive.  In order to stop making myself sad that I have to kill these people I am going to just list my current chapter titles for your perusal.  Thoughts are always welcome.

I. Crash And Burn

2. Me, Myself And I

3. Carmen

4. Love and War

5. I Went Down to Virginia

6. Letter Home

7. Mistaken Identity

8. If I Didn’t Know Better

9. Rearview

10. Dirty Laundry

11. The Black Widow

12. Breathe Stretch Shake

Those are the first twelve.  Ironically half of the chapters do not include my main protagonist Lee.

UPDATE. That character recently decided he did in fact want to live.  Currently about half way done with book 3.

Writer’s block: “Mental Leg Day”

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Writer’s Block:

Personally I believe that phrase is a giant misnomer.  Yes there are times when we as writers find it more difficult to come up with an interesting plot point or a witty turn of phrase but to think of these times as a block is to give them more power and more longevity than they need or deserve.

As a writer in the scifi and fantasy genre, I like to think of writing in terms of a super power.  To be honest if we even thought of it as a push up, my point would still work  All super heroes get to a point where they can’t use any more of their abilities without recharging.  Green Lantern for example can only use his ring for so long without having to go get his Lantern, say his words and recharge the battery (literally) on his ring.  The Rock can only do so many push ups before his arms grow sore and he must stop, get a protein shake and move onto legs or cardio.  Why should writing be any different.  It is after all just mental exercise.  And whether you are creating new worlds and bending space and time to your whim or simply exercising your mental thesaurus, it takes it’s toll on your brain.

Keep in mind your brain is doing a bajillion things while you create and explore the world of your characters including analyzing and chronicling YOUR world.  There comes a time in every writers creative process where they just have to stop. Your brain can’t fully flesh out the nuances of your imaginary world and perform all the vital functions it needs to in order to keep you alive and a aware of the real world.  This is when it’s time to go ‘Recharge Your Ring’.

Personally, what I do when I get to that point is two fold.  I take a couple of days away from whatever it is I am working on (currently book 3 Blood on the Throne) and I find other things to do.  I go for walks, I go to the movies,I get caught up on my favorite tv shows, I read other books, or whatever it is that makes me happy and relaxed.  The entire idea of the SMFTM Singles was born out of one of the breaks I took while writing Pandemonium Justified.  It was essentially my ‘Mental Leg Day’.

The burst of energy I received when I first started writing book 3 has fizzled at this point and I am maxed out.  The thing I want to stress is that it is important to know yourself and your process well enough to know when you have maxed out.  Otherwise, you risk hurting yourself (during physical exercise) or your characters and their world.  It’s ok for today to be Leg Day and it’s ok for today to be Cheat Day.  Your brain is a muscle, Treat it like one.  So for me today is ‘Mental Leg Day’ and like Winter in Westeros it lasts as long as it lasts and I am ok with that.  Hope you are too.

-Manny L. Birch

SMFTM Singles- Exit

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Exit

 

Ryan walked into the lunch room with Jade and Alice flanking her.  They made it about halfway before the music began to play through the loud speakers. 

 

          “Ugh another one, I’m gonna kill him.  He’s got all these kids thinking it’s cool to declare their feelings through song.  I’m not Mr. Shue, and this is not Glee.  I’m going to Haynes next period.  This is crazy,” Steve said to me as we sat together on lunch duty. 

 

          “She dealt with it already.  Students have to submit a written copy of the song, the music and schedule it three days in advance.  Haven’t you noticed they stopped happening during class time after the third incident,” I replied. 

 

          “…Action Figure Misses…”

 

          “Is Ryan about to sing?  Oh god what did my son do now? Johnny what did you do?”

 

          “I am my father’s son. PS. you don’t even go here,” Lee replied smiling.

 

         “…3 little words and you got me, but you couldn’t say it no not Johnny. Got them hoes looking at me sidepiece, no it’s time for you to go…” Ryan started singing with Jade and Alice dancing and providing minimal dance moves to go with it.

 

          “Oh.  Damn I guess it’s a break up,” Steve said. 

 

Ryan model walked over to where Keira was sitting with a few of her friends and continued to sing.

 

“…Look at me now, check your last chick, we don’t compare I’m not some side trick, and I’m done speaking on that bitch…” She said pointedly staring over at Keira before flipping her hair to face Lee again; Jade and Alice once again flanking her.  

 

Diva ran over to us with Salem trotting behind him. 

 

“Yes! I love when I’m here for these things.  I wish high school was like this,” Diva commented. “I wonder if Sabrina is going to respond.  I know he didn’t know because when the music started he was like ‘I wonder who is singing’.  Hair flip to the rest of them hoes. Ha . Amazing!”

 

“…You ain’t no Prince to me…” She continued.

 

“Yeah he is going to respond to that.” Salem added.

 

“…To all my girls that done dealt wit some dumb ish. Tell that Figure take his ass through the exit. Let that boy know you onto the next hit,

 

Flick him off girl straight to the exit, to the next bitch, to the exit,

 

Where ever he go let ‘em know you ain’t wit it…” Jade glared at Ford every time she pointed at the exit.

 

          “Not gonna lie this song is kinda hot though,” Diva replied.

 

          “…Here baby you might need this tissue, now that you only get to touch you.  Thought you loved me but I guess it’s not true…”

 

“D’oh,” Diva chimed in. 

 

“And there it is.  Guess that’s why she’s mad,” Steve replied.

 

“I thought he loved her too,” I replied.

 

“Thank God he doesn’t James.  My father would either come himself or call your brother to come collect Johnny until College.  That or make him a Cherub,”  Steve shuddered at that. 

 

“Cupids have too many words.   Y’all always turning somebody into something,” Diva replied.

 

“…Not me not now Johnny, I’m not your next casualty…” Ryan sang moving to stand in front of Lee.

 

“…Tell that Figure take his ass through the exit…” Lee tapped Ford and Nicky and got up and started to walk away. 

 

“He’s actually going to let it go?” Salem asked surprised.

 

“No, he’s going to dance.  He got up for room,” Steve replied resigned.

 

They got about 5 feet before they all tuned around and Lee shook his head.  The boys started to bounce to the beat.    

 

“…Oh my, she tried one two punch me. But I got good Kung Fu honey, so no marks on this guy, like a fitted in NY I’m still fly…”

 

“I hate him.  And I’m stealing that line,” Diva responded laughing.

 

“…You opened the door for the next chick, So go head and use it cus this here my…”  He circled his finger in the air indicating the school itself.   

 

“…I gave you a chance baby, but look at this trick,” 

 

“What song is this originally?” Salem asked.

 

“You’ll have to ask my son when he is done,” Steve replied.

 

“…But she’ll be back soon. I know you’ll come back for this heh. But for now there go the exit, XoXo Your Prince…” His signature fitted hat with the Prince emblem and similar ones for Ford and Nicky appeared on their heads.  Ford’s bearing the Kanji for the verb ford on it; Nicky’s bearing his mother’s tribal symbol.

 

“…So all my dudes who done dealt with this dumb ish.  Let her know you the wrong man mess with. Take that noise over there to the next kid. If you wanna, go ahead and use that exit..”

 

“Damn, he did love her.  But it looks like he got her to break up with him, so maybe I don’t have to send my son back to Virginia or Cali by himself.”

 

          “Why would you send him away?”

 

          “Little boy Cupids who fall in love with pretty girls who love them back make new little boy Cupids.”

 

          “I thought y’all had like super control over that.  Isn’t that the Cupid man claim to fame?  Sleep with me baby no kids no bugs,” Diva chirped.

 

“Our claim to fame is we are just better at it than everyone else.  But there is a learning curve to everything,” Steve replied.

 

“Damn.” Salem noted.

 

          “Yeah,” I agreed.

 

“…But keep my number baby you know you gonna need it. Let me know girl cus about to visit that trick. Yeah that one, I throw daggers just like you did…”

 

“Is he really just making this up on the spot?”  Diva asked. “I feel like this is that episode of Futurama.”

 

“What?”

 

“Never mind, I’ll Youtube it for you later.”

 

“…I see the next chick, and the next chick, one them’ll probably follow through that exit.  There’s the exit, here’s where you fit, let me know if she should sit where you sit. Tell me baby are you gonna make your exit?..”  Lee finished. 

 

“Damn, dad might need a call after all.  Hope she’s as bitchy as the boys say she is.  Cus a bruised enough ego could keep her away,” Steve said.

 

“Can’t you just be a normal dad and I don’t know police him more?” Diva asked.

 

“Come on, be real. When you were 17, you didn’t know how to plan your day around your parents so you could get some?  This kid is a FBI trained telepath.  He can spot any of us coming before we thought about going.  And she is no slouch herself.  Women don’t get put on the ‘lists’ if they aren’t powerful enough or special enough to handle the power.  That girl is not just on the list she is number 1 on the list.  Think about what it would take to make her a better candidate than not only every girl in here but every girl between 14 and 21 in the country.  So no, policing will not work.  It’s separation or Cherubing,” Steve concluded grimly.

 

“What exactly is a Cherub?” Salem asked. 

 

“Basically, your sex drive gets killed for a few years.  The guy or girl, usually guy, loses the urge to have sex,” Steve started.

 

“Yeah we got that part, is that-?” Diva cut in.

 

“A good time to cut me off? No.  Cherubs become really really intense at something. Some of them get damn near witchy concerning one aspect of their abilities.  Some become great artists or scholars-”

 

“Were you Cherubbed Steve?” I asked teasing.

 

“No, we are Dragons, my brothers and I are naturally inclined to academia and scholarly pursuits.  But it’s not all good.  Occasionally Cherubs don’t survive the un-Cherubing process, let me finish the statement before you ask the question.  Damn do I know your mother?  Are you my fault? Cus you act way too much like my son,” Steve said holding his hand up to halt Diva’s question. “If they choose an interest that doesn’t have a physical component to it, than when all that pent up sexual energy is allowed to flow again, they can spontaneously combust.  I heard one guy grew like 5 feet and turned green before he died. His grandmother had Cherubbed him as a boy and then got Alzheimer’s and forgot to undue it.  He stayed that way until she died when he was damn near 30. It was like ‘Roid rage times a million.”

 

“So what would happen to Lee if he got Cherubbed?”

 

“Most likely he would discover the secrets of the universe, solve the world hunger issue, cure cancer, then undo the Cherubbing himself, just in time to graduate high school.  Or he could turn into a serial killer.  Who knows.”

 

“Are you serious?”

 

“Pent up sexual energy in someone that smart; Serial killer actually seems more likely to me,” Salem responded.

 

“Which is why I suggested sending him back to Virginia with you guys.  I’d rather not see him than see him become like Elise.”

 

“But she wasn’t a Cupid.”

 

“But she is a serial killer.”

 

“Damn, better tell Big Poppa we may be heading back home,” Diva said turning to Salem.

 

“Yeah, I liked it here too.”   

Exit by Sonyae Elise of Platinum Hit

-Manny L. Birch 

mannybirch.wix.com/manny-l-birch

 

 

SMFTM Singles- Beemer Benz or Bentley

Beemer Benz or Bentley

“…I’m Fresh, I’m fly, I’m…” Lee looked over to see his father eyeing him in the rearview mirror. “…with this guy.  Bout to have all them horses courtesy of that guy…” he sang from the back seat Ford sitting next to him laughing out the window.  Paolo was enjoying the comforts of the passenger seat.  Steve winked over at his brother as he noticed Lee’s eyes perk up as they drove past the Mercedes dealership. 

“…whether Beemer, Benz or Bentley, I be moving I be moving, making movies Tom Cruising, If its action then I’m shooting, papa cosigned that wit uncle Paolo out here cruising, my car fox dot com connect told me Mexicans brought that new ish. and you know I’m bout to get it so let’s go introduce him, got a girl wit a car but its time to get  a new chick, got a black chick that love music and a red head on her Lucy, gotta watch her cus she special call me Ricky trick is stupid. But she always ready to give me that Becky. Last line was so good Ford had to grab his belly…”  Ford burst out laughing in earnest in the back seat.  Tears began to stream down his face.  Paolo chuckled in the passenger seat as well. 

“You know your father used to do that too when we were young.  But back then the guys rapped a lot slower.  I don’t know if he could keep up with you at this point.  You got some skills kid.  We may have to put yo ass out on the corner make you earn your keep. “

“I’m not a slut. I’m not a slut.” As they stopped at the light in front of the BMW dealer.

“…Roxanne…” Ford sang from beside him.   

“I got him Paolo. Bring that beat back,” Steve said chuckling to himself.   Paolo pressed skip on the cd changer and the same beat came back on a little slower.  “…Nissan Honda Chevy, Nissan Honda Chevy, Nissan Honda Chevy one of these is what you getting.    In a hoopty that’s for certain. My pockets who I’m serving.  Been driving, l mean swerving public menace put some work in.  No you boys will not be flirting, don’t cry daddy did us dirty.  So when you go see a girl park up the block or walk in person…”

“…Nissan Honda Chevy…”  Paolo laughed out loud as he turned and slapped Lee on the leg.

“…Beemer Benz or Bentley hell no you broke. ..”  Steve finished as they pulled into Nissan dealership. 

 

To Be Continued   

Beemer Benz or Bentley- Lloyd Banks ft Juelz Santana

Nissan Honda Chevy-Joelle Ortiz

-Manny L Birch 

Mannybirch.wix.com/manny-L-Birch

So it’s about that time, I am in the proofing stage of Book 2 and I am currently working on creating a cover for the book. I have had several ideas floating in my head, but then I decided to go be a over achiever and google photo editing websites and software. The one I found ,Picmonkey.com, is kinda my new bestie.  So I will post the top four contestants for the Pandemonium Jusitified cover.  I would absolutely LOVE/NEED feedback on which is the fan favorite. My family has already weighed in but I would also like an outside opinion.  Please and thank you.  ImageImageImageImageb

Plotting Vs Organic Writing.

I recently read another authors blog post about whether he meticulously plots out the events of his work (he does) or lets it flow naturally.  He stated that he has experimented with both styles and decided that Plotting worked better for him.  I find myself to be a more organic writer.

When I really began to consider ‘The MisEducation of A Minor‘ a serious project, I sat down and outlined the events of the story. At the time the project was titled ‘Legacy’ and was intended to be a one-off engagement.  I went through the chapters that I had written and meticulously outlined exactly what actually happened, taking care to highlight what I found to be the poignant moments.  Then life happened and I ended up taking a break from both Legacy and writing in general.

Last year the untimely death of my computer and the miraculous salvation of my hard drive, prompted me to get back into writing and Legacy.  I reread what was written and then checked with my trusty road map (read outline) to see where I intended for the story to go and I attempted to start writing again.  As a person I was in a much different place than I was when I started working on it and immediately my writing started to reflect that.  For me it was very clear while reading to pin point where I had stopped in the previous endeavor and where I  had attempted to dive back in.  Hopefully after a few editing miracles, it wont be so obvious to everyone else.

I also noticed that although my outline had everything happening in One story, there was just too much adventure and too much emotion to convey for  it to be tied up neatly at the end of any book that didn’t border on the love child of the King James’ version of of the bible and War and Peace, ie clearly not one book, so I began to adjust my outline to reflect the new nature of the project.  And that was about the time when the outline lost all purpose as a writing tool for me.

My characters started to really speak to me and tell me about events in their lives that they felt needed to be told and people that needed to be a part of the story.  Three characters in particular from the very first chapter of the first book were not intended to be seen again.  They were each meant to be a simple one dimensional look at Lee’s past.  Just a footnote in his history.  While each of these characters plays a much more substantial role in Lee’s life, one character in particular has proven themselves to be so important that the entire world and possibly the universe must stand up and take notice of the repercussions.   In the first book alone, several very prominent characters were created after my hiatus.  Ford, for all who have read the book, being the most note worthy.  His appearance has literally changed the entire outlook of the series.

I find that every time I attempt to plan out the events of the upcoming chapters, even in little ways like picking the title, I almost never seem capable of following that plan.  Back in late January early February, I noted that I had written myself into a corner regarding book 2, I solved the problem but it wasn’t until I started writing this that I realized the issue was that I tried to plot.  I had a direction I wanted a specific character to go in and an arc I wanted him to follow and he essentially told me to ‘shut up, go sit in THAT corner and write’.  And so I did and several new characters arose to rectify my perceived pickle.

One of my Content Editors was severely T’Oed when she read the wall I ran into.  And luckily completely relieved and intrigued by my solution.  But there most definitely is an evil underbelly to forgoing plotting.   When you  are running full steam ahead while trying to wall paper the room as you go occasionally you miss a spot.  That is why I am so lucky to have such a great editing team.  They ask me questions about things that I wouldn’t have seen as being even the slightest bit unclear.  For instance, during the series Ford buys a birthday present for Lee.  Quite simply during the course of writing the chapter, i never got around to deciding what the present actually was.  During our discussion she helped clarify how quite divergent inferences could be gathered from that simple exchange.

So I guess when it comes to writing I am team ‘Go Green!’.  when it comes to foods I’d rather save the dollar and acknowledge that whatever damage inorganic food was going to do to my body was done already when I was in my more formative years.