Don’t Be Afraid to Leave Dialogue on The Cutting Room Floor; You Can Use It Later

Okay, so you know how you end up writing several pages whether it’s your character’s inner dialogue or between two or more characters, only to find that you need to cut, cut, and cut some more? But what if some of that dialogue is important either to the storyline or the development of the character? I’ve come across this issue in the past, and I am dealing with it as I write chapter 8 of Game of Power.  What I found out is that sometimes certain scenes, detail, or dialogue is unnecessary for what the storyline calls for at the moment. Having too much text that doesn’t further along anything at the time can weigh the momentum of the story down. However, the same informational dialogue could be essential for your character’s development. I’ve often had to cut it and add it later either by presenting it differently through the same person, giving the lines to someone else or inserting it in a different chapter. Be careful when adding back in specific details or text so that it doesn’t seem unnatural. Make sure it still flows and doesn’t look out of the ordinary or just placed there for filler purposes.

For example, in my first story Reagan Leeds: Run The World (I won’t give any spoilers away for those who haven’t read it) it was very dialogue heavy and a lot of the chapters were lengthy. Towards the end, there were important conversations that needed to be held between Reagan and other characters that were essential to her story, not just that but required for their development. I had to cut some of Reagan’s inner thoughts and turn them into a conversation she had with someone. Because how would this person know what was on her mind as she was struggling with a family crisis? If I let Reagan drone on and on for an entire page, it would’ve slowed down the pace, but have her openly express her thoughts with others allowed for meaningful banter and things she was able to absorb and reflect on.

I admit many of my chapters could’ve been more heavily edited, but as I grew as a writer, I learned to do these tricks and tips, so the story didn’t come to a complete halt when we got inside Reagan’s head or even some of the other characters who had their POVs.

More recently, in GOP chapter 1.2 The Games Begin when Rico is telling his assistant Cressida about the sexual harassment scandal with Grazier Technology, initially, that was all apart of his inner dialogue and he was only talking to the audience. I needed a way to pull that out and show his relationship as a boss with an employee who’s more than just an employee. Cressida is his go-to person; she knows Rico so well. It also established what Cressida’s role was at Thomas Global Strategies and we can see how things work a bit in their work environment.

I know this was a long post, but I was inclined to write it as I think about the editing process once I’m done with my chapter 8 draft. I’m not in a rush to push the speed of Bella’s story, and her relationships with her family don’t need to be detailed entirely right away. I can give the reader an idea of the Vega family dynamic without dragging out the scene unnecessarily. I hope you enjoy chapter 8.

Thanks and Happy Writing!

-Camille

Kao Sanders and The Art of War: Conceal Your Intentions & Crush All Enemies

  

Kao has the Creativity Aspiration

Kao’s traits are: Ambitious, Self-Assured, and Music Lover

“a prince should have no other object, no any other thought, nor take anything as his art but that of war and its orders and discipline; for that is the only art which is of concern to one who commands.” – The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Kao Sanders is the son of DM Sanders, the slain cartel leader of San Myshuno who was executed by unnamed assailants two years ago. Kao and his father had a major falling out some years before his father was murdered, though the circumstances aren’t clear. Kao was last seen by his father’s old crew at his funeral, since then his whereabouts have been unknown.

At one point, Kao was being groomed to take over his father’s business. He would’ve been a capable boss due to his intelligence and natural leadership skills. Some suspect that one of the many reasons Kao and DM fell out was because the former wanted to legitimize all the Sanders family businesses in the future. After DM died, his second in command, Lamar McQueen became the successor, many Sanders loyalists didn’t agree with this and left to form their own factions.  Although several members of the former Sanders cartel broke off, the majority would come back and welcome Kao as the new boss and depose Lamar.

If Kao were to return no one can be sure what his move would be or if he’s even about this life any longer. No one fears his potential return more than Lamar, for he knows the day Kao claims what is rightfully his, is the day he would lose his reign as the cartel leader.

Marquez “Meech” Flex was a Sanders loyalist, but he works under McQueen. He has his own designs on taking over from Lamar due to the latter’s ineffectual rule. Marquez was cool with Kao, and they got along but were never close.

When rumors begin to circulate that Kao has intentions of returning, he’ll be in the middle of one of the deadliest cartel wars San Myshuno has seen in decades. He makes a lot of people nervous, and he’ll need to keep a lookout for those who mean to take him out in fear of the support undoubtedly the son of DM Sanders would gain on family recognition alone. Kao could gain control over San Myshuno and the coveted four boroughs of the city: Uptown, Fashion Row, The Spice District, and Art of the City.

McQueen, the Noriegas, the Ukranian Ivanovs cartel over Windenburg, The Costas of Willow Creek, and Bobby Wilds of Oasis Springs are keeping their ear to the ground, and many won’t hesitate to attempt to take out Kao if he were to set foot in San Myshuno again.

Kao has his reasons for a possible move back to San Myshuno, but he prefers to keep a low profile in the meanwhile. There are times when you play a game of power and challenged by an unexpected and most skilled player who comes out of nowhere and moves to checkmate your king. Play the game wisely; always expect the unexpected.

****Author’s Note to get caught up with Marquez and McQueen check out the character biography index and All Harm All Foul 

****The title I made up for Kao’s bio is inspired by Machiavellian philosophy and The Laws of Power, thus my loose interpretation of them in relation to Kao’s background. 

Thank you, 

Camille

Go Rogue Go Raw or Go Home

Okay, big words as I sit here typing this with a glass a cabernet at just ten after eleven on a Tuesday night protected in my self-made gilded cage. Part of me realizes that writing takes me out of that cage and open to exploring people and topics I am otherwise uncomfortable with when hiding out when I was too scared in the past to allow things that tested my conscience and my faith. As a writer, I know we want to be heard and connect with our audience, at least that’s what I’ve always been told. Yes, I think you should know your audience and appealing to them is certainly a part of the overall “guiding light” to be a great writer. I don’t think we should get so hung up on creating stories or characters we think the masses will flock to. As I began my new project Reign: A Game of Power I knew out the gate I was writing a story I felt an intense desire to tell. I created characters that I felt were realistic and complex like real humans. Not everyone in this world is likable, no one is perfect, and sometimes we do some really messed up things to ourselves and others, myself included. I felt like I had an obligation to be as real and raw as possible. Did I expect people to dislike some of my characters, yes I did, but I didn’t want to sugar coat anything. Do I expect to get backlash for some of my future storylines and subject matter? Yes, I do, and that’s okay because I’m doing a disservice not only to myself but my readers if the only material I put out contains characters and plots that are Disney-perfect. It underestimates the intelligence of the reader when you try to handle the serious subject matter with kid gloves.

I implore anyone who reads this not to get caught up in making characters that are always likable, above reproach and darn near perfect. Do the opposite of what’s expected. Maybe the star of your novel is a sex-crazed foul mouth bitch who sleeps with other women’s husbands, but she’s a really good detective  trying to solve her brother’s murder (shameless plug see my character Bella’s bio here), Or maybe your protagonist is a major power player who will sacrifice his scruples to get what he wants. Sure, some of my characters are more likable than others, and some are entirely vile, I know this, and I’m the one writing it, but what I like about each one is that they’re all human with many layers. We’re hypocritical, we’re liars, we step on the little people to get ahead, we can be ruthlessly pragmatic, and sometimes we have sex people for some material gain; maybe we’re not on the street corner doing it, but the exchange can go down in many ways. However, even if some of us are all those things and some of my characters are all those things, the possibility of goodness is not automatically or eternally erased. I write this all to say if you’re not going to be honest in your writing, what’s the point in doing it? Don’t be afraid of harsh criticism or potential backlash. Be raw, be bold, but don’t be scared to put yourself out there because it makes you uncomfortable.

Okay, that’s it for this collection of rambling thoughts. I’m not quite done with my cab and I want to pull up Netflix and watch my favorite snobs Frasier and Niles. ‘Until we talk again.

-Camille.

Shoshannah Carter Executes a Masterful Plan for Power

Shoshannah has the Family Aspiration

Shoshannah’s traits are: Art Lover, Insider, and Snob

Shoshannah Carter was born into a life of privilege being apart of one of the most prominent black families in the south and the DMV area. As the daughter of a former Secretary of the Interior in the president’s cabinet and a judge who sits on the second most powerful court in the country, she operates in some of the most exclusive social circles of DC society.

She went to undergrad at Jefferson State, the most prestigious HBCU in the country. By senior year, Shoshannah was president of her sorority Sigma Alpha Phi and went onto receive her masters from Harvard where she dated Rico Thomas throughout most of her time there.

Currently, she splits her time between San Myshuno and DC as the co-chair of her father’s charitable organization The Corliss Carter Heritage Foundation. She’s also a director of the local John & Jenn organization and regularly hosts fundraisers and galas to benefit her family’s charities.

Not officially raised in the south (though many would argue that DC is part of it) Shoshannah came out to society in South Carolina, where her family’s roots date back to slavery. Through her mother’s line, their descendants now own the very plantation their ancestors born and died. The Carmichaels turned the old Johnson plantations into museums to preserve their heritage and history.

For a social climber, merely being born into privilege is not enough. Shoshannah wants to seen, acknowledged and revered by her peers. Her pedigree is very impressive, and she has no problem letting people know it. Due to her mother, Clara’s insistence she marries well, Shoshannah has made it her goal since freshman year in college to find a suitable match. She’s in love with Rico, not only is he handsome and intelligent, but he comes from a wealthy old money family and old money ties. Rico doesn’t, unfortunately, share her desire to marry and settle down into the role of the next great “Barack and Michelle.” But if her mother has taught her anything, defeat is not an option. For unknown reasons to Shoshannah, there is a select group of people who would greatly benefit from such an alliance.

There are many games of power we play every day. Shoshannah must skillfully play them all, especially the one of “love and marriage” for if she’s victorious, she’ll gain more than a husband, but the influence of Rico’s connections among the upper echelon of elite high society, the wealthy over the rich.

If Shoshannah wants to come out a game of power as the victor, she needs to play her cards right, for she’ll face many worthy skilled opponents, even those close to her. What foolish games we play against the ones we love.

****Be sure to check out Shoshannah’s family biography and background information on the prestigious John & Jenn organization

Thank you, 

Camille

Quarterback Colin Stone Takes on the Upper Echelon of Power in the NFL

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Colin has the Fortune Aspiration

Colin’s traits are: Active, Materialistic, and Bro

Colin Stone is the star quarterback for the San Myshuno Panthers. Being a star athlete gave Colin and his family access to a life they could only dream about when he was growing up. His father, Aubrey made good money from his tattoo chain and online business, but he did the bare minimum when it came to being in Colin’s life. Malika, his mother, received a substantial amount of child support from Colin’s father but often had to use it to care for her other kids.

Colin always felt like he got the short end of the stick in comparison to his father’s other children and some ways his siblings he grew up with as well; until his family saw he had a natural gift with a football. From the time he was a freshman in high school, picking which college he would play for, and until the NFL draft, Malika relentlessly pushed her son to become a highly paid athlete. She knew her son was their ticket to get out from a life of struggle and scorn she faced at the hands of her family. Now the entire weight of the world is on Colin as he takes care of his mother and younger siblings.

He languishes in the party lifestyle befitting a famous athlete. Colin works hard in the NFL and likes to indulge in the many pleasures and luxuries only a certain amount of income can afford. His primary concern has always been about his money and caring for his family, as he refuses to bend over backward to help extended family members who shunned him, his mother, and siblings.

As someone who never cared for school or much else besides games and girls, Colin never had to think about life outside of having a successful career in football. He faces a battle as he renegotiates his contract and endorsement deals as the NFL landscape begins to mix entertainment and politics for many players.

Colin is thrust into the national spotlight, and everyone has an opinion on what choice he should make. He’s at a delicate point in his career when making the “wrong” move could anger TPTB (The powers that be) and cost him millions of dollars in the years to come. He seeks the advice from a powerful associate who tells him that sometimes one must “play by the rules until he’s in a position to change the rules.” Colin would love to own an NFL franchise one day affording him not only status and money, but power and influence over a game he dearly loves.

Colin must consider if the opportunity to grow wealth, influence, and power is more important than appeasing the faceless people on social media who wouldn’t choose what they’re demanding of him if the shoe were on the other foot. The lesson in learning how to play a game of power could be knowing when to pass, throw, or change the play altogether when you’re the one holding the ball.

****If you want to read about Colin’s parents, Malika and Aubrey, you can check out his auntie Briah’s story in the Expanded Universe of Reagan Leeds: Run The World.

Billionaire Philanthropist Harrison Edward Has Mastered The Game of Power

Harrison has the Knowledge Aspiration

Harrison’s traits are: Ambitious, Self-Assured, and Bookworm

Carl Icahn, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Niccolò Machiavelli. What do these men have in common? They understood the practical uses of power. Much like the former, Harrison Edward understands the levels of power, how to use it, and where it can be found.

Acquiring power isn’t easily attainable. One must me be pragmatic and practical in one’s ventures and plan their moves according to the reality that is before them.

Harrison Edward is an American businessman, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. As the founder and controlling shareholder of Edward Enterprises L.P. a multinational diversified holdings conglomerate, he keeps offices in New York City, San Myshuno, Dubai, and London.

Harrison and his businesses are featured in Fortune magazine on a regular basis. His mastery of business politics, executing boardroom coup d’etats, and building wealth have given him a life and the kind of power very few people will ever know. There’s a difference between people who believe they’re powerful and those who actually are.

Having a lot of money, doesn’t make one rich, being rich doesn’t make one wealthy or powerful. However, there are ways to turn riches into wealth and in turn power. You will see the Edward name on hospital wings, university libraries, museums, and bridges. Take a look at the list of the board of directors of many influential and honored institutes of the arts, education, and business; you find the same. Having your own shoe line is not power. Owning bridges, hospitals, and banks is not only wealth, but it is also power; there’s a difference. Unfortunately, most people don’t know the distinction, and they’re the same people who will never hold any real power.

Harrison is a family friend and mentor to Rico Thomas and taught him everything about how to play the game of power. Even as someone who’s mastered it, the attacks never stop. Daily, there is someone who seeks to destroy his reign. Harrison is a skilled chess player, and like chess masters, he never tires of the game, for its second nature to employ strategy and checkmate the opposing king.

If you ever want to step into the ring with a master of the games, you better know what you’re doing. For the one who calls the challenge, will be answered.

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Lupita Noriega Drives Up the Stakes for Power During The Cartel Wars

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Lupita has the Deviance Aspiration

Lupita’s traits are: Ambitious, Hot-Headed, and Materialistic

Lupita Noriega is the daughter of the ruthless and notorious leader of the Noriega Cartel that runs New Crest. She is second in command to her father, Carmine and is favored by him over her siblings, including her older more experienced brothers.

Since her father’s arrest and while he awaits trial, Lupita has been given the task of running The Noriega’s multi-state operations. It’s a demanding task for anyone, but Carmine has full confidence in his daughter’s abilities. Lupita is highly intelligent, speaks multiple languages,  and very business savvy. Born in Miami; she was educated at some of the best European boarding schools. Once she graduated early, she returned to the US and received a bachelor’s in Political Science from Yale University at 20 years old.

Lupita is extremely beautiful, charming and witty, but don’t let outward appearances fool you. She is as cutthroat and ruthless as her father and won’t hesitate to cut down anyone who presents as an enemy to the Noriegas. Lupita is known as Bonita Perra, and even men older than her are terrified of what she would do if they were to cross her. She has reason to be so protective of her family. When Lupita was in elementary school, she watched as assailants meant for her father stormed into their vacation home and shot down her mother, Griselda Reyes in cold blood.

The underworld has been in chaos for some time, ever since the events leading to the execution of San Myshuno boss, D.M. Sanders, everyone has been eager to take over the city and destroy the newly formed McQueen cartel that has claimed the four boroughs (Uptown, The Spice District, Fashion Row, and Art of the City) of San Myshuno.

While the other bosses of Willow Creek, Windenburg, and Oasis Springs are making moves to take out McQueen’s hold on San Myshuno, Lupita knows it’s a delicate time for her father’s operations. He is being charged with multiple federal and state crimes and he’s wanted in several countries. The other bosses know she’s vulnerable right now.

Lupita walks a fine line between upsetting other outfit leaders and keeping the Noriegas in control of New Crest. Don’t be mistaken, Lupita may not be jumping on the bandwagon to join the ensuing cartel wars yet, but she won’t hesitate to spill blood if her enemies get too close to home. She is waiting for just the right time to make her move on McQueen and his underbosses. She intends to play nice for now, for they won’t see her coming. The stakes are ever high, but Lupita is waiting on the sidelines until it’s time for her take her full position in the arena. All those in the underworld better get prepared because Lupita is a master at playing the game of power and she doesn’t like to lose.

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Officer Colton Johnson Is an Unwilling Player in The Game of Power

 

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Officer Colton Johnson

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Colton has the Jungle Explorer/Nature Aspiration

Colton’s traits are: Athletic, Dog Lover, and Loves Outdoors

Colton Johnson has been a patrol officer with the San Myshuno Police Department for the last four years. He previously served in the US Army, completed two tours in Afghanistan and was honorably discharged after six years of service.

As an Army veteran and officer of the law, Colton believes in honor and duty to his country and those he was sworn to protect and serve. His family comprises of several military and law enforcement members.

Coming out of the academy, Colton looked forward to serving communities and ridding neighborhoods of crime. As a patrol officer, he interacts with the community he serves every day and believes he can make a positive impact in the lives of the citizens of San Myshuno. His immediate goal is to obtain the rank of sergeant, but from there Colton doesn’t have a clear idea of where he wants his career to go. His father, Carl is a high ranking member in the department with aspirations for his son and plans to direct him into a leadership position one day, but he’s never shared his father’s ambition and thirst for power.

In the blink of an eye, Colton’s life changes forever, and he’s thrown into a game he’s never had any real ambition to play. How can one compete in a game if they no desire to play? Others have thrust their ambitions onto him either for their desires, agendas, or the wills of others.

Now that Colton is in the lion’s den, not of his choosing, he may have to do others bidding when it’s never been something he’s wanted for himself. Will the game ultimately destroy him or will he find a way to play even it means giving up his dreams?

****Author’s Note: As you can probably tell, this character biography has less information and is shorter than some of my others. Although I believe the detailed biographies of Bash, Bella, Rico, and Ayana were fine, I did edit some of the information on Marquez out because I didn’t want to give too much of his storyline away. I am doing the same with Colton. Depending on the characters and what they all contribute to GOP, some of their biographies may be more or less detailed than others. I know for a fact, some will have more background information on them, but others I plan on keeping condensed to general information.****

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Marquez “Big Meech” Flex Makes a Power Play to Win the Cartel Wars

 Marquez “Big Meech” Flex

Marquez had the Deviance Aspiration

Marquez’s traits are: Ambitious, Insider, and Romantic

Marquez “Big Meech” Flex is a mid-level underboss in the newly formed McQueen cartel. Ever since the execution of former boss D.M. Sanders by unknown assailants, there’s been a power grab over territory within the four boroughs in San Myshuno: The Spice District, Uptown, Fashion Row, and Art of the City. Not only are smaller factions on the rise and seeking to take over, but the bosses from the surrounding cities know that San Myshuno is ripe for the pickings.

Outside cartels threaten Lamar McQueen’s reign as the new boss. Meech and his crew; The Thetas report directly to McQueen. Pressure is starting to build within the organization as there are many including the Thetas who feel disenfranchised by McQueen’s erratic actions and increasingly ineffective operations.

Lamar was a mentor to Marquez and showed him the ropes of the business when he was a lowly street hustler. But Lamar has made questionable decisions in the last several months that have resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in product across the region, not to mention choices that have cost the lives of loyal members and those Marquez considered family.

 

You have to crawl before you can walk. Marquez is all about his paper and power and will use any and all means to cut down the competition in the cartel wars. They won’t see him coming for Marquez knows all too well how to play the game of power.

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