My most recent short story is now available on-line at Urban Fantasy Magazine. It’s called “The Button Witch,” and is urban fantasy in the original mode – that is a fantasy story that not only takes place in a contemporary urban setting, but in which the fact that the
setting is urban is somehow important to the story.
“The Button Witch” does not feature vampires, werewolves, or somewhat generic “fey folk.” It is not a thinly disguised romance story. It’s a story about what happens when a young woman named Penn decides to seek out an urban myth called the Button Witch and ask for a button wish.
But does the Button Witch even exist? And what the heck is a button wish?
Well, I wrote the story to find out… Now you can, too. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy what you discover.
Keep your eyes open. You never know what you might see.
Wandering off to another point entirely…
Last Sunday, when my gaming group was settling down, Dominique looked at me and said: “Oh! Jane’s wearing her shirt.”
She then paused, laughed and said, “Wow! Does that ever show how important emphasis is!”
Here’s some backstory for those of you who are now wondering if I usually run my games topless.
What Dominique actually said was: “Oh! Jane’s wearing her shirt.”
This was a reference to the week before, when Jim had been wearing a really interesting tye-dye tee shirt in which the pattern resembles the lovely marbled paper you sometimes see inside the covers of old books. Jim’s shirt is predominantly blue, with white and black marbling.
When he was complimented on it, he mentioned that he’d gotten me a similar shirt except that the colors are light purples, marbling into blue and pink. I decided to show it off the following week, thus Dominque’s comment.
The emphasis indicated that I was wearing my version of the shirt that Jim had worn the week before: Her shirt, rather than his shirt.
Anyhow, Dominique’s comment led to general silliness. “Jane is wearing her shirt” would seem to indicate that usually I do something else with shirts. (Wave them around my head, maybe?)
“Jane is wearing her shirt” would indicate that Jane usually doesn’t, in fact, wear a shirt, rather like those toddlers who decide that pants are optional. I suppose that would be one way to distract my gamers.
“Jane is wearing her shirt” would indicate that the wearing of the given shirt is something that is done by a variety of people. In this case, the “her” would probably refer to another person whose shirt has somehow become common currency.
This raises a question that writers often face… What to do if a sentence leaves unclear where the emphasis should go. Happily, most of the time context will provide the clarification. However, there are times that it does not.
Certainly, one thing a writer can do is use italics to indicate which word should be emphasized. I usually reserve this for those times when rephrasing would be awkward or clunky. Too many italicized words in a sentence, or even paragraph, create a weird cadence, like Valley Girl speak, where words are stretched and elongated for emphasis.
My usual preference is to rephrase. If I was putting Dominique’s comment into a story, I’d probably write something like, “Oh! Jane’s wearing the marbleized shirt Jim gave her.” Since, presumably the readers of the story would recall the prior discussion and know which shirt this was. If there could be any doubt, I might have her add something like “I like the purple and blue, but I think Jim’s was better for him.”
There you are… And just to make perfectly clear, I do wear a shirt when I’m running a game. I don’t need special effects to put my players off-balance!