Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bree Didn't Live Happily Ever After

Have you ever read a book knowing that the end only meant death?

In Stephenie Meyer's novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Bree's second life is, in fact, very short. I read the book anticipating the demise of the protagonist, and my expectations were not disappointed. (Okay, I may have entertained the hope that Meyer had found a loophole that made it possible to save Bree in the end. She didn't.)

I suppose death works in this novel because of who the author is and what universe this story belongs to. But could this work in another novel? Would we typically invest our time reading a story that ends with the protagonist's death?

Bree wins in other ways (which I won't be so mean to spoil in this post, but you can read the novella by clicking on the link above). But in preserving her life (her second life...) she fails.

What drives us to read a book if it's not the idea that when we are through, the protagonist (whom we've grown to care about), will continue on thriving in the fictional world? I guess we have to ask if we read a story for the end or for the journey...or both.

Stephenie Meyer begins the novella with a lengthy intro, stating she'd like us to know Bree's perspective. I did come away knowing more about newborn vampires and the Twilight world, and so I won't say I'm disappointed in having read it. I did echo Meyer's wish when she stated...

The closer I got to the inevitable end, the more I wished I'd concluded Eclipse just slightly differently.

(I did consider that if Bree lived and joined the Cullen's coven, it may have spiced things up a little. I think she would have had a tragic crush on Edward, and maybe bit Bella herself.)

Can you think of another book in which the protagonist dies? Would you typically read a book that ended this way? Which is more important for you: the journey of reading the book or a happy ending?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Winners!

I had 35 entries! (38 if you count the extra entries for those who spread the word.) The problem is that 33 people didn't win, but I hope you still like me...and my blog...even if I write cryptic analogies about garlic in your manuscript.

Winner of my first prize...

JACKEE!

And Jackee, since you said you were dying of Oreo envy, I will give you the choice of having Gourmet Oreos AND a B&N gift card of lower value.

(Jackee's currently in the midst of Flagstaff forest fires, and we pray that she won't have to evacuate! I hope this prize cheers you up. (I promise that random.org didn't know about the forest fires.))

Winner of my second prize...

STEPHANIE THORNTON!

You can email me at Jessica L Oliveros (at) gmail (dot) com!

And for the rest of you that are child-bearing women, I'd like to share something you may need to know. IF you are trying NOT to lose the last 8 to 10 pounds of baby weight, I have the perfect tested solution. Every night make a smoothie with ice, frozen bananas, LOTS of peanut butter, WHOLE milk, and Nestle Quick. Totally. Works. I haven't shed a pound since I started this nightly ritual.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Strong Flavors

Writing is a lot like cooking. I write with specific ingredients that need to be mixed and diced just right so my story tastes good.

But sometimes as I write, BIG ideas will creep into my mind, ideas that reek of Garlic or Onion. And I feel I must decide NOW whether to add these ingredients or not.

Because although I can revise (unlike cooks), these BIG ideas, once added, flavor the entire manuscript. I know that if I change my mind, I don't have to throw the ruined dish away and start all over. However, if the idea is Lemon or Tarragon or Salt, it will take a lot of work to undo.

Do you have trouble revising out BIG ideas?

(Two more days to enter mine and Janet's 101 Followers Contest!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

101 Followers Contest

Having both hit 101 followers, Janet Johnson and I are running a 101 Follower Contest. (Actually, since Janet is more popular than me, she hit 101 fourteen people ago, but kindly waited for me to catch up.)

So...you must be a follower of BOTH our blogs to enter. Just comment on this post (and her post!), and we'll use random.org to draw winners. We'll both be giving away prizes.

MY prizes are...

Prize #1

A SIGNED COPY OF MY UNFINISHED MANUSCRIPT!!!!




Just kidding...

A $25 BARNES AND NOBLE GIFT CARD!!!

**********************************************

Prize #2

In the flavor of Kansas City, you have a choice of...

CHIPS CHOCOLATE FACTORY GOURMET OREOS

(life-size picture not intentional but according to Blogger unavoidable)

OR

OKLAHOMA JOE'S COWTOWN BBQ SAUCE
(I couldn't upload a picture, but looks like BBQ sauce.)


Just follow and comment. Easy as that. The contest will run for a week, closing Tuesday, June 22, at midnight.

(I'll give you an extra entry for spreading the word (and letting me know) and one more entry for solving world hunger.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cases of Disappearing THINGS

As it takes me days to draft one scene, I often find myself forgetting THINGS. I try to be mindful of character and place consistency, but THINGS are harder to remember. As I've read (and re-read (and re-read)) my manuscript, I find that THINGS have a tendency to disappear...

The mango and croissant Tess was eating? I definitely did not give her enough time to finish breakfast before she ran into the beach house to change. (Unless she ate it very fast.)

That water bottle she carried as she crossed through the rainforest with Quinn? Well, it ceased to exist when she grabbed a hold of the rope to climb a ruin. (Did she litter? Bad, bad Tess.)

What about the oars they used to beat a path through the island jungle? They really do need them to kayak back to shore, but suddenly Quinn finds his hands conveniently unburdened when he pulls out his camera.

Now the spear. (Oh the spear.) When I chose a fifteenth-century Spanish soldier as one of my heroes, I didn't consider that he'd be toting a spear half the time. He just rescued a small boy, and the spear happily vanished when he needed to lift the child off the ground.

Do you have trouble keeping tabs on all your literary props?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scriptococcus Publius

This is a highly contagious bacteria that, if you are reading this blog, you've most likely contracted yourself.

Scriptococcus publius-the unsatiable desire to write with an eye toward one day being published

(You should be aware of a mutated strain of this bacteria called Publiococcus scriptus, which is the unsatiable desire to be published with an eye toward one day writing a book.)

If you are infected, please be careful.

The mode of transmission is still under much debate. An infected person needs only speak of their current writing ambition, and the symptoms (sleeplessness, daydreaming, hearing voices) begin occurring among friends and family. This has led many to believe it is airborne.

However, it's also been discovered that those who consume abnormally high amounts of chocolate are infected, persuading others that it is a foodborne illness. (This may only be a confounding variable.)

If you believe that you or a loved one has contracted this illness...

There Is No Cure.

Prognosis? You (and those you have infected) are doomed to live out the rest of your days obsessed with ink and ideas.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ants in my Rants

They have invaded my home, my peace of mind, and even my COMPUTER.

Those nastly little bugs. I feel them crawling on me even when they are not. (And just as I wrote that sentence, a FLYING ant landed on my arm. They've sprouted wings. Wings are cute on faeries, NOT ANTS.)

Today I sprayed the entire perimeter of my house. I have planted poison bait along their trails. Yet, they still found my pantry. So, I sealed all the loose items in my pantry and wiped down all my shelves. This is war. Seriously.

The worse part. Remember this? Well, apparently there are still traces of that Italian Ice in my computer (lemon-flavored (very important that you know that)) because they won't leave my computer alone. Ewe gross. I have so much ant-anger in my heart right now. I can't even write without ANTS.

If I was not so mad right now, I'd think of a very clever analogy about ants and writing. But I'm mad and drained of wit. You must think of one for me.

What? Three posts in four days? Very unlike me, I know.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

FIL-ial affection

This weekend, my visiting father-in-law wanted the Internet, and I gladly let him use my computer. However, I did not consider the two open word documents, one being my book.

(suspenseful blogging moment)

No, he did not accidently erase my book. He did something much worse.

He read the other open word document, thinking it was my book.

This little document was, however, a mess of word vomit I wrote while attempting to get my backstory out. It uses phrases such as:

there lived...
it was as if...
in the meantime...
actually quite...
as it was...

He told me it was very good. Oh dear.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Small post, Small goal

I have a new fool-proof word goal: One word per day.

I'm really going for a no pressure goal here. Of course, at one word per day a 70,000 word novel will take approximately 192 years. The good news is that this will free up LOTS of time to discover extreme longevity.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Spell in Kansas

Tonight I met Aprilynne Pike, young adult author of Wings and Spells. If any of you read her blog, I assure you she is even more adorable in person. (But much taller than she is on her blog, which is only about one inch.)

Aprilynne stressed how success in writing is about the work, not the luck. She said when she set out to write a book, she had no idea how much work it would take. She reported many years of work, 3 1/2 books, and over 100 rejections before she landed a publishing contract. This, I think, is hopeful.

I finished Spells just a couple hours before I met Aprilynne. (I have to finish a book before an author signs it because it's cheating if I don't.) Aprilynne writes beautifully, and her ideas are so creative. What I really love is the stress on family in her novels. There is boy-love, but then there is family-love. And that I love.