Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Bedtime Story

Once upon a time in a place far above the clouds and somewhere else, there played a little boy and girl.

When they did not play, they waited until it was their turn to join the world of bodies, marshmallows, and Santa Clause.

One day a special wind tickled the ears of the little boy and girl, and they heard a song about a thing called Mother.

"That's lovely," said the girl.

"Yes," said the boy, listening to the rest of the song. "And we shall have the same mother."

They looked down upon the dazzling world below and saw their mother, her eyes closed, and a smile on her lips.

"Oh dear," pouted the girl. "I'm afraid she is dead."

"No, she only sleeps!" said the boy, who was older and wiser by a trifling 200 years.

"A sleeping mother is a dreadful thing!" said the girl.

So they swore on the moon and starshine that once they reunited they would do everything in their power to be sure the mother never slept again.

And then my son was born.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Winner!

Without watching the video, you may deduce that it is one of two people because:

1) I was wrong and not many people do have an end-of-the-world novel deep down inside of them.
2) People are offended by poo-shaped chocolate.
3) Candice's entry was so brilliant that only the very brave (Jessica) ventured to compete. (And btw, Jessica, your prose was beautiful and your ending so depressing. Loved it.)
4) Oops, I guess I just gave away the winner with #3.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Win a Cowpie!

If that title didn't get you here, I don't know what else will. Today is my one year blog-versary, and after the tradition of many others I blog with I am running a contest to celebrate.

But FIRST, I get to talk about my year. It was a BIG year for me. I did three things this year I have never done in my life! And many of you were on the journey with me. I...(in the order of awesomeness)

1) HAD A BABY GIRL
2) WROTE A BOOK
3) VISITED EUROPE

(Yes, writing a book is less awesome than having a baby, but actually more awesome than visiting Europe.)

Okay, they are not all writing related, but they were big things and I had to share. As for other (writing) milestones for this year...(not in order of awesomeness)

I started my blog.
I met all of you!
I joined my critique group.
I went to my first writer's conference.

Okay, enough about me...now about this contest.

No random numbers for me. This is a contest purely dependent on my whims and opinions. As Untelling the Maya is about the end of the world, I have decided that is my theme for this contest. Everyone has an end-of-the-world novel somewhere deep inside of them.

I want you to write the last paragraph of your end-of-the-world novel, whether the world really does end and everyone with it or your characters end the victors or they are just barely hanging onto life, the only survivors. I'm running this contest until Sunday midnight.

The prize?

Well, what else does a girl from Kansas divvy out as prizes but cowpies? Since real cowpies don't mail well, I am going to have to settle for a fudge cowpie from Chips Chocolate Factory.



(Blogger only wants me to post huge cowpie pictures, but it is even bigger in real-life. Yum.)

Chips does not ship cowpies, real or fudge, over the ocean unless you live in the Federated States of Micronesia or Guam. Therefore, if you have the misfortune (yea right) of living in some exotic land far, far away...well, sorry.

Let the END of the END OF WORLD novel contest begin...

Monday, January 18, 2010

To Sleep or to Write?

It's often a toss-up between the two, and lately sleep has won. However, I've found in order to evade sleep deprivation, I am only inviting writing deprivation. I've neglected my writing, and I am paying the price. Oddly enough, I am finding that the symptoms for writing deprivation closely resemble those of sleep deprivation.

You may recognize a few or all of the following:

IRRITABILITY:
As writing is time YOU take for YOURSELF, you find yourself a LITTLE MORE IRATE if you do not take this time. IN FACT, YOU MAY TAKE TO BLOGGING IN ALL CAPS.

INABILITY TO CONCENTRATE:
Being out of writing practice, you find it difficult to concentrate on your manuscript, and instead you turn to blogging, Facebook, and Twitter for inspiration.

IMPAIRED MEMORY:
When you return to writing after so long, you find you have forgotten a few essentials, peppering your manuscript with adverbs and tagging everything spoken.

DEPRESSION:
Everyday you see your laptop sitting neglected and unopened, you feel sad.

HEART DISEASE:
You start to feel a little heartsick because you miss your make-believe friends, especially as their very existence depends on you.

HYPERTENSION:
Stressed-induced hypertension may occur because you wanted to get your manuscript out to agents months ago. I mean, if only you would STOP SLEEPING, you would be sitting on the next NYT bestseller, right?

SLURRED SPEECH:
Whole passages of dialogue come to you, but you put off writing them down. As a result of consciously suppressing these voices, your beloved characters' speech may begin to slur just before falling silent.

TREMORS:
Your typing fingeres have lain idle much too long, and sometimes your fingers begin to twitch as you start to type thoughts and ideas into space. These twitches are often mistaken for tremors.

HALLUCINATIONS:
Sometimes your characters come to you. They are mad. Very mad. Stop talking to me.

I have concluded since all above symptoms of writing deprivation so closely match those of sleep deprivation, EVERYTHING must be considered. Therefore, when I read the experts' report that sleep deprivation can actually be fatal (determined by a bunch of very tired, now-dead mice) I decided to find a better balance between sleeping and writing. Yes, if you stop writing, it may kill you. And I choose life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's a Family Affair

A father, a mother, a sister, a brother?

Is there a method to the making of the families we write into our books?

I've been merciless in ripping apart Tess's family. She started out with two parents and a brother. On a whim I thought she'd like two more brothers, but when I decided the brothers were taking up space, Paul, Abe, and Will were deleted.

Then that dad of hers. He's wonderful. Really, he's too wonderful to be alive. So I wrote him into a tragic car accident three years ago. Poor, poor Tess.

What are we influenced by most when inventing these family ties? An older sister keeps popping up in my other (unfinished) books. Although she comes in different names, colors, and sizes, I usually write her the same without meaning to, and she has a lot in common with my own older sister.

What about the family structure? I come from a large family, but writing large families gets complicated. Again, I feel like I'm just filling space. I can handle two siblings. More than that and my head begins to spin.

Is there a rhyme and a reason to the creation of your families? How much do they change in the evolution of your novel? Do all the family members have a purpose? What from your personal life has influenced your novel's families?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello 2010!

I have been thinking about this blog post for awhile, as it is my first post after so long. However, my brain resembles the spit-up and poop I have been cleaning up the last few weeks. In the end, I thought I'd go down the same avenue as everyone else and discuss goals for 2010.

I guess I'm about four days late. And to be honest, most of my goals are spiritual and family oriented. I did have one crazy writing goal of having my rewrite done by Valentine's Day. See, Valentine's Day one year ago was the day I had my Idea. (Although technically it was not Valentine's Day because my husband and I celebrate Valentine's Day a week early every year to beat the crowds. Very unromantic, but roses are so much cheaper.)

After a few days, I realized just how not possible it was for me to achieve this goal. So I sat back and evaluated my manuscript in search of a better goal. And then I was inspired. I will have the same goal as my MC, Tess. What better way to empathize with the character I have created? So here it is:

Save the world.

Wish me luck.