Archive | Scenes RSS feed for this section

A Sick LTS Snippet

4 Sep

I am a pathetic sick person. I usually just lay around in bed and watch netflix, perhaps switch to a book once in a while. Most of the time  I don’t even want to get out of bed to go get food, or a drink, or anything. Its kind of sad really.

So why am I writing a post while I cough all over the keyboard? Because I need to do something! I’m one of those people who must be doing something at all times (when I’m not sick) and being sick makes me a little bit crazy! I get to feeling cagey which doesn’t help my sneezing fits. To demonstrate, so far today I’ve:

watched a documentary on James Town (I’m a geek I know)

colored a picture in my dusty sketchbook (gee when was the last time I drew anything?)

watched Astro Boy (God, what am I 5? haha) I’m a sucker for Disney

Started feeling cagey

Ate some toast with jelly.

Drew a picture of Pascal from Tangled (That lizard is too cute)

Checked my WordPress (five times)

Checked my email (twice even though I know there won’t be anything new)

felt more cagey

Drank some vitamin water

stared at ceiling

get even more cagey

Decided to write this post before I exploded.

And so after this I fear I will have nothing to do. I’m debating whether writing while sneezing is conducive to the creative processes or if I will just end up with:

she walked down the *sneeze* block and then saw *sneeze* her *sneeze* *sneeze* brother was *ACHHOOOO*

and then give up.

So, since I’m useless today I decided to review my writing from yesterday. My little pause is over, and I’ve decided to start “A Light That Shatters”. For your viewing pleasure I give you a little snippet from the first chapter! Enjoy…. or not (if you’re not enjoying it, I don’t want to know about it. Tell me when I won’t go into a sneezing fit):

I wonder what it’s like to hug someone. I don’t know what that feels like. What it’s like for someone to squeeze you so tightly that you can almost quantify their love in the circle of their arms. I’ve seen a thousand embraces, but I don’t ever remember having the feeling myself. Perhaps I did, before I was taken, but I was so young, if anyone’s arms had looped around me I won’t have remembered even the ghost of the feeling. Maybe it’s better that way. I won’t have the feeling to miss. Or maybe no one had ever loved me at all. There is no way of knowing.

(c) Ally Sestito at

I suppose I’m off to try to write something. How are your projects going?


A Prompt: Nightmare Shards + A HINT

5 Jul

Hey I’m here again with another original prompt on Novel Ideas. Please don’t hesitate to join in the fun and participate. (Be sure to comment or ping-back your response!) And stay tuned for a Hint about BTE ( Draft 2)!

Today’s prompt:

Dreams can tell us a lot about what’s going on in our characters subconscious. What they’re most scared of, what they feel even when they won’t reveal it themselves. Write a reoccurring dream that your character has, it can be a good dream, or a nightmare, just make sure to reveal something about your characters inner most feelings/thoughts.

Today I’ll be using my character Violet (again name change soon to be en-acted ha-ha)

I am running. I am always running in this dream. My feet pound inside the metal grooves of the tunnel floor. My breath is heavy, burning in my lungs. I don’t know where they are. I can feel the panic in my stomach rising into my throat, hot and acidic.

I need to find them, I have to, or else… I don’t know what will happen. That makes me run even faster. I feel the echo of my foot steps buzz off the concrete walls. The sound is bouncing off in all directions. I am consumed by the darkness of the tunnel stretching forever into blackness.

Suddenly all I am is that blackness. I can no longer feel the metal below my feet. I can’t hear the smooth whoosh of air that moves past my ears as I run. There is nothing, and the panic rises, sending bile shooting up my wind pipe. Where are they? Where is my brother Marcus?

Then, in the distance, I see something. A white dot, like a ghost in the blackness.

Rania comes into focus. She is all white and colorless. Her pale skin neon against the dark velvet of the tunnels. Platinum wisps’ of hair  are floating around her, strange against her cloudy blue eyes.

“Where is my brother?” I yell, but my voice is empty and distorted, as if I’ve yelled it underwater.

Raina smiles her thin lips opening into a gaping maw. Sharp teeth jut out of her mouth, and suddenly she is not Raina, but a giant white cave fish, cloudy eyes fixed hungrily on me, “You will not find him…” she hisses, and then she chargers at me. Mouth open. I scream.

The dream shatters around me, like broken glass, the shards falling around me as I cry out into darkness, trying to ward the falling pieces away, but they cut into my flesh; horrid and fresh, like always. Each piece of the dream coming back to me, broken, but there. I see the images flash across my mind, and whimper, my stomach feeling hollow. Marcus is here, he’s safe, I tell myself. We are all safe…. I hope.

I hope you enjoyed today’s prompt. On another topic, I’ve decided to do “hints” for BTE (D2) by showing you all a picture that either (Literally or metaphorically has something to do with the book). Enjoy today’s pic! And I hope to see your prompt responses soon!

Hint #1:

Nice view huh? haha

Current Music: Rainy Girl by Pete RG

Rookie Mistakes ~ Opening Scenes

4 Jul

We’ve all committed these terrible atrocities at one time or another, I figure it’s good to get them out into the open. Todays “Rookie Mistake”?

Opening Scenes

1. The Dream sequence.

How many novels have you read that opened with a dream sequence? How many have you written? Don’t lie, we’ve all done it. But, there is a reason novelist steer clear from dream sequences (in the beginning at least). For one, they usually (if they are being used properly which, I might add, they usually aren’t!) are there to give us foreshadowing or to hint at something that is troubling the character, and with dreams it usually comes in the form of something abstract, and completely intangible to the reader.

At the beginning of a novel readers have no basis from which to care about your MC. So the abstract construction is a set up for failure. Your readers know nothing about your characters inner turmoil’s, readers want instantaneous gratification for picking up a novel, and far more often than not a dream sequence does not provide that. Not only is it cliché, but it also can become confusing for the reader leaving them feeling cheated. Bottom line, avoid the dream sequence beginning if at all possible.

2. The Mundane Mornings

Naturally are minds begin at the beginning and go to the end. Thus, it makes sense that we would automatically want to start writing our stories at the beginning of a day with are character, they wake up, note a large zit they have, eat breakfast, blah blah BLAH! Guys I could cry telling you about all the novels I’ve seen (and embarrassingly enough have started) this way.

NO ONE CARES that your character woke up. There is no purpose in the “morning scenes”. All I can say is DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE begin your novel with the “Mundane Morning” routine of your character. It will save your beta readers, a lot of headaches.

3. Character Description

Bangs-head-against-wall! UGH. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this in critiquing work. It kills me. You get a whole paragraph of description in the first couple of pages. WHY!? Where is the action? the hook?

All I’m seeing is a rather boring speech about “Mary Sues” Cherry read lips and lean figure. Not enticing. NOT WORTH READING! Character description should be sprinkled SPARINGLY and precisely through out the novel. We do not need a full paragraph of description; it serves no purpose other than to bore us!

4. Info dump

Shoot me now. Even worse than a lengthy character description is that of an info dump in the first chapter. If you don’t know what an info dump is, then let me tell you. It’s basically a huge amount of information dumped on the reader, usually in a summary using passive voice. It sucks, it makes your eyes bleed….


5. NO Direction

Every scene in a novel needs direction, has to have a point all leading up to your climax. Even if your first chapter doesn’t have 1-4 you still may have to rewrite it. Even if it’s amazing; has suspense, and tension, and great flashbacks. Why? If it is not starting your character on a quest it needs cut.

        I’m not saying there needs to be an immediate trigger that flings your character into the heart of the conflict. I’m saying that the first chapter should be leading into that trigger it should have some foreshadowing or SOMETHING to show what the main conflict will be, whether it be a flashback, a bit of dialogue, whatever, it needs to show us where we are headed.

I hope you enjoyed me babbling about bad beginnings, I have made ALL of theses mistakes, so don’t feel too bad when you discover you have too.  Did I miss anything?

A Prompt: Free and Trapped

30 Jun

Hi all, I am back with another character prompt today. This one courtesy of myself (please hold all applause till the end lol) Today’s prompt is another for character developement since that is what I am working on in editing. I hope you all participate, and again do not hesitate to reply via the comments below or on your own blog where I would be über grateful to receive a ping-back so I can see what you’ve come up with.

Here we go:

What is the most beautiful thing your character has ever seen? Use a flashback or have  them think about it, Why was it so beautiful to them? What made it stick with them?

 I’ll be using my MC Skye for this one.

Again for those of you feeling in the mood here is the theme music for this prompt:

Skyler turned the corner, the slick gray rain, drizzling now, turning every crumbling wall into a smooth blur. She’d been wondering for hours… still nothing. After being turned out of the Orph she’d looked for food, or a dry house, but all the buildings with intact roofing had been inhabited by grungy looking people who ran her of their steps spitting and cursing about the “little theiven’ orphie” that dared amble up their decrepit stairs.

Stumbling now, she came to a square in the city, long forgotten. The tiles jutting up at all corners, densely packed rubble piled up around most of the open area. Then she saw it, there, in the middle of the square was a green crumbling structure. She took a step forward approaching the mass cautiously.

As she came closer she realized what it was…. a statue. Her eyes widened at the delicate carving of a woman that sat upon a bronze base. It had turned green with age and weather, but it was beautiful.

The most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.

It wasn’t that the woman was beautiful, she wasn’t. Her face and hands were weathered down to smooth hills, her eyes were to small for her face, and she was too skinny to be healthy, but there was something about the expression on her face. The way she knelt down on the block hands thrown out wide, reaching for the clouds. Her upturned face smiled, as if shed been frozen in mid-laugh. Laughing at the sky, laughing at the world because she could…

Skye had never felt like that.  Never been free, like that. That’s why the woman was beautiful…

She was free.

A Prompt: Archer and the Pendant

28 Jun

I’ve started editing BTE and in a desperate (and pathetic) attempt to multi-task and accomplish blogging and “force” editing/writing. I’m going to blog a few writing exercises for BTE today. I hope you all will participate in the comments or on your own blog!

So courtesy of I give you today’s prompt:

Is there anything that makes your character feel safe? Something comforting? Describe what it is and why it makes them feel safe?

I’ll be using my Antagonist Archer (name soon to be changed… I know it’s bad ugh…) for this one. Also to get some brain juice flowing in the writing direction I’ll be doing it in fictional context. Enjoy!

(here is the music I used to write this, click play if you feel in the mood):

He pulled out the drawer, releasing the smell of moth balls, and old wood. He stared into the dark, hesitating. He hadn’t brought it out in so long, but seeing Skye made him think of her… he needed to see it, just to make sure that it was still there. That Skye wasn’t her, or she wasn’t Skye. Sometimes he couldn’t tell the difference. He reached in, deft hands brushing over warbling coins, and buttons, until he found it, his fingers brushing smooth metal. He pulled out the necklace watching the steel chain twist against the pendant. It was an old symbol, one that had lost any real meaning other than her name.

The pendant was a simple t shape with thin etchings of flowers curling up its front. Cold iron in his hands, not how he remembered it. Without the warmth of her seeping into the steel, it seemed only half there, as if he could pass his hand right through it if he tried. But it was all he had left of her. It was the only real thing left, the only thing that seemed certain and safe. The only thing that still held him together.

Gee… that doesn’t read much like a bad guy. I’m bad at making people “hate-able” :/

PLEASE post your responses here or link to your blog response! Thanks for reading 😀

© Alexandra Sestito


2 Jun

I don’t do this often but I’ve decided to share a little snippet of BTE with you all, seeing as I’m getting down to the wire with the first draft, and am feeling pretty darn good about the project as a whole. So, I give you a sneak peek of BEFORE THIS ENDS, as it now lies. (Forgive any nasty “Make your eyes bleed” typos or general gross prose, as this is first draft material)

Que Mood music:

And… action:

Irona is so much bigger than I remember. Sharper somehow, like my childhood has been stripped off its towers, leaving them bare and trembling in the air. The buildings sharper and harder, the soft edges of innocence suddenly gone. I haven’t been back since that day we were taken, a day when the sky was dark and open. Empty. A day when the towers seemed squashed under the oppression of the clouds, and the screams of my Mother and Alec.

We are on the city’s very edge now. The curling ends of blacktop marking it’s beginning. My end.

Jett seems uneasy, shifting with the slightest blow of the wind, which has become stronger now, while Samson strides far ahead of us, almost in opposition to Jett’s unease. I feel as if I’m tethered to him, yanked along behind him without consent.

The simple brush of his arms, and fingers; trails of warmth I’d taken for granted only a few days ago have been swept away with a new coldness, an indifference that radiates off him like heat off asphalt.

Suddenly I realize that I miss him, as if I ever had him, I think almost choking on a laugh that squeezes up between a tight throat. I am bitter with this new void in my heart that he has created. A hole carved out just long enough to hurt me before this ends.

I hope you all enjoyed that! Wish me luck on my writing binge that is scheduled to go down at 6:30 tonight! Hope your manuscripts, and general writerly endeavors are going well. 😉

Writing the steam ;)

28 Apr

You know what I’m talking about friends… That’s right “the steam” of a novel. Most current YA literature and the majority of adult literature have a little romance going on.

Lets face it though, writing “the steam” isn’t always fun or easy… Infact it can be amazingly difficult, and awkward. After all it can be really hard to gage how well a kiss is working on a reader, and how far you can push the “cheese factor” before something breaks.

Infact a lot of authors (ones you wouldn’t even expect) have tried to avoid this all together, Maggie Stiefvater for instance. You know NYT bestseller of Shiver, Linger, and Lament? Yes her. Infact Maggie has said that, originally her editor had to BEG her to write in just one kissing scene in Lament! She had refused to do so in her original submission.

So, this makes me feel a whole lot better about putting off writing my kissing scene. Yes… I’ll admit it I’ve pushed it off a little bit. I suppose I just haven’t known how to attack it. You see my MC and her Interest have a very tense love/hate relationship, and balancing their personalities with how the plot needs to flow is difficult, and I’m not going to lie, I hate writing kissing scenes. I’d much rather write gothic violence, or a heated argument. Kissing… not exactly my forte.

The question now is how you balance the “cheese factor” while giving the reader what they want. After all pushing a kiss too far back, or even worse not giving one at all, could make a reader feel cheated, and that’s the last thing you want to do right?

First off, know your characters. I feel like I say this a lot in my explanations of how to create better work but it’s so true. Knowing who your characters are, and how they work will drastically change how anything and everything runs in your book. A shy character likely will not impulsively kiss someone in an argument, while a flighty hostile one might. In contrast that shy character might completely “shut down” in an argument and be pushed farther away from a love interest.

Second: Knowing where the “Cheese Line” is.

I feel like this is the most difficult to explain, understanding where to draw the line for cheesy to cute is hard, but here are a few ground rules:

1. If you scene contains any clichés kiss it goodbye (i.e. a kiss sweeter than honey etc.)

2. If you don’t think that someone would say this in real life don’t put it in there. Be honest with yourself after you kiss someone are you going to slap them in the face, or throw yourself into hysterics? Probably not…. Unless you’re Scarlet from Gone with the Wind  (O… and no, you are not her)

3. Go with your gut, if it feels okay, it usually is.

My Final point:

Don’t be afraid of the steam. Avoiding it will do a lot more damage to your novel (or short story) than facing it head on. Try to remember that this is NOT ABOUT YOU! Yes, I said it, it’s NOT ABOUT YOU, it’s about your characters. If your character would kiss this person right now write it! How you feel about the steam is totally inconsequential. In order to create a “reality” for readers you need to give into your characters and let the steam fog up some mirrors!


PS I am so sorry for not being on top of posting lately, it’s so unlike me! Thanks for being so patient all, I’ll try to clear out more of my schedule for Novel Ideas this week!