A is for Apex, C is for Checkerboarding


I’ve been thinking about this A to Z Blogging Challenge, but I’m too busy for that, so I figured I’d let my characters do it for me. And, contrarian that I am, I decided that since the rules say you’re not supposed to post on Sunday, that’s when I’d start. My characters know a lot about cars and racing, and that’s what my books are about, so I thought I’d let them introduce you to some terms in those categories. I don’t know if they’ll make it through the whole alphabet, and I can guarantee they aren’t going to post every day. But you never know. They might surprise me.

The first character is Alex, the protagonist of Dead Heat. I don’t know his last name. He didn’t tell me. His dad’s this real hard-ass who beats the hell out of him, so he doesn’t let anybody know who he really is or where he lives. He can’t handle the idea of his dad tracking down the people he cares about and hurting them.

A,B and C, by Alex:

So here’s the deal. I don’t know why this chick’s asking me to write a blog post for her. Hell, I can’t hardly read. But she sorta has ultimate control over my world (like, she killed my best friend on the first page of my story) so I figure I better do what she says. Here goes.

“A” is for apex. That’s the lowest point your car comes to the inside of the track when you’re going through a corner. It’s the place you gotta aim for when you’re making your turn. Mostly, you’re gonna want to hit a pretty late apex so you can get on the throttle hard coming out on the backstretch, but sometimes that don’t work so good. If your car’s pushing (that means it don’t turn good) you gotta stay out by the wall as long as you can, then dive in hard and hit a late apex. But if your car’s loose (that means the ass-end wants to come out from under you) you gotta go in low, hit an early apex, turn again in the middle of the corner, and hit a second apex. I know that probably makes about as much sense to you as reading does to me, so I’ll draw you some pictures. Just keep in mind, I ain’t much better at drawing than I am at reading. It’s that other guy, Race, who’s the artist. At least—well, that ain’t my story to tell.

 

 

 

“B” is for … okay, let’s come back to “B” later.

“C” is for checkerboarding. That’s when a person looks in his mirror and tries to block the guy behind him. It ain’t real sportsmanlike. You oughta just be paying attention to what your car’s doing and trying to get around the track as fast as you can. If the guy behind you is faster, you got no business messing with him. On the other hand, there ain’t nothing wrong with using up as much of the race track as you can. If the car back there’s just a little faster, or it’s pretty evenly matched, you can drive a slightly higher line through the corners. You don’t leave enough room for him to squeeze underneath, but you make it real hard for him to pass on the outside. And you don’t weave back and forth to block him cuz that’s just wrong.

All right, back to “B”. “B” is for bumping. That’s pretty much like it sounds. Some slow car won’t get outta your way, and you gotta let him know you’re back there. Bumping is what’s gonna happen to the guy who’s doing the checkerboarding if he keeps it up.

Okay, there. I done it. I wrote your stupid blog post. I don’t guess you’re gonna give me my friend back now, are ya?

Sorry, Alex. Your book is a ghost story. I kind of need a ghost for that.

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26 Responses to A is for Apex, C is for Checkerboarding

  1. Beth says:

    Whoa. I thought I knew some of the terminology, but I always learn something new. Good post. (I’ve been toying with the A to Z thing, but I won’t be starting at the beginning of the month, if I do it all. Something needs to light a fire under me. I guess if Alex can write your stupid blog post I can write one of my own.)

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      It’s much easier if you make your characters do it. Beth. Good thing Alex doesn’t know what I have waiting for him in chapter 18, or he might just tell me to piss off. I’ve got to wonder what he’s going to come up with for the letter “E”. “D” and “F” are easy, but “E”s kind of tough.

      Like

  2. Kathie says:

    Can’t do the A-Z thing either. Nice to hear from ya, Alex. Sorry about your buddy.

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Kathie, you have so many characters, you could to the alphabet twice. 🙂 It’s nice that Alex can get some sympathy from you because I’m sure not cutting him any slack. Not that I don’t feel for him.

      Like

  3. Oooh, Alex, writers are cruel to their characters. Best you learned this on page one, I suppose.

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      As opposed to learning it on the last page, like your characters did, Pat? 🙂 BTW, your comment cracked my husband up.

      Like

  4. alberta ross says:

    you just can’t trust authors – it’s like you say – keep your eye on the checkboarder – they bump you off

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Hi Alberta, thanks for stopping by! I’ve got to say, if I was one of my characters, I wouldn’t trust me, either. 🙂

      Like

  5. Karen C says:

    Economy run? End plate? ECM? Entrance fee? Errors in judgement? Electric slide? Exit pill-bottling? Elevational elipters? Okay…now I’m just making stuff up. Hahahahaha. At least I’m entertaining myself. 🙂 Which, for people who are up at 3:27am, is an important thing.

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Wow, you’re creative with those, Karen. If you want to entertain yourself, you should listen to the conversations my characters have with each other in my head when I’m taking a walk. You should never let the characters from one book talk to the characters from another book. They’re bound to compare all the bad things you’ve done to them and start ganging up on you.

      Like

      • Karen C says:

        🙂 Thanks, Lisa. And I agree with you…cross-book-character-talking could get pretty overwhelming. Especially since most of your character are strong, smart-alecy types. LOL

        Like

  6. Roxie says:

    A ghost story? I didn’t know that! Wayyy cool!!

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Didn’t I tell you, Roxie? Huh. Well, you might think it’s cool, but Alex thinks it sucks to live inside a ghost story.

      Like

  7. Great post, Alex! Sorry about your friend. That Lisa…you gotta watch her. It’s all about the story with her. Bound to be casualties.

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Oh, sure, Chris. Like you’ve never done anything harsh to your characters. Or your readers, for that matter. I remember one scene in Tallulah Falls that knocked the wind out of me. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. 🙂

      Like

  8. Beth says:

    Dear Alex, are you the guy that never comes to school? Even if you can’t read very well, I can see you are intelligent, and using some of Karen’s ideas for “E,” I’m sure you could do a great post. I’m thinking of doing this A to Z thing on my author’s blog, Renaissance Chick. My boyfriend, my aunt and even my mom might help out. Our author IS such a renaissance chick that she tries to do too many things and never seems to have time for us anymore, or for her blog. It’s been languishing for eight or so months. But I guess if you can do it, so can I.

    Your friend, Noelle

    PS: I’m soooo sorry about your friend.

    Like

    • moma escriva says:

      My condolences to yer friend.

      Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Hey, Noelle, nice of you to stop by. I’ll pass your message on to Alex. Don’t be too hard on Beth. I left Alex languishing in chapter 15 for six weeks. My advice to you is to go for the blogging thing. It will really help her out. And it will let you work out some of your frustrations. Trust me, I’ve gotten an earful from Alex and Cody. Fortunately, Race is too nice a guy to cuss me for what I’ve done to him.

      Like

  9. Alice Lynn says:

    Gee, Alex, you’re way ahead of me. I never even heard of an A-Z challenge, and will do my best to forget it. And yes, Lisa’s been mean to you, but she also got you a cool chick. As for the “e” thing, whisper in her ear about Cody Everett. There’s a E she can manipulate. 🙂

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Alice, as a matter of fact I had a nice conversation with Cody while I was taking my walk this evening. Trouble is, he wants to be a smartass about the whole blogging thing. Who’d have thunk it? Alex will be doing another post later this week, but then I’ll make Cody take his turn.

      Like

  10. Well, I learned something new. Checkboarding seems like a tactic I would do a lot. I’m just evil like that.
    Alex sounds like an interesting character to write. I’ve never written an abuse victim.

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      McKenzie, Alex has been an interesting character for a lot of reasons. His limited vocabulary makes telling his story difficult at times, and his trouble with reading has given me some real plotting challenges. One of the most interesting things about him is that he doesn’t feel sorry for himself, in spite of the crap he’s had to deal with. Sure, he’s complaining, here, but you can hardly blame him after what I did to him.

      Like

  11. I knew you would fit in the racing/car lingo into the ABC challenge!

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      You know, Rose, it just seemed like such a natural thing. A lot of authors I follow are blogging about writing terms, but I’m starting to steer my blog more toward the readers of my books, rather than other writers. This seemed like a good opportunity to do that.

      Like

  12. EJ Wesley says:

    I feel like I’m ready for NASCAR now! 🙂

    Like

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