Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Again with the Persephone

So now I'm thinking about writing Persephone. With someone totally hot as Lord of the Underground or whatever. "Mind the gap!" I can see it now.

It would be contemporary, light paranormal (Goddess of Spring and all), and probably a little snarky. (/gasp/ - no!) Persephone would definitely have a dark side.

Her arc would be moving from someone living in her mother's shadow - essentially a child, all primary colors and nursery rhymes - to adulthood with its shades of gray and complex bass lines.

Meanwhile the first 30 pages of FOOL ME TWICE go off to Meg the agent tomorrow, and the revised first 50 to the Golden Opportunity contest by Friday. I won't hear about whether or not I won those other two until Atlanta (but thanks for asking!).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Persephone myth

So I've been reading about Persephone, and the thing that strikes me in most Internet versions of the myth is that she's shown as someone who is duped into eating the pomegranate seeds, rather than making a conscious decision to do so.

I think that's more interesting. What if she came to like it, down there with Hades? Sure, he's dark and stern and probably sort of unhealthy - I mean, Lord of the Underworld and all - but I'm sure he had his own dark charm.

Maybe it called to her dark side. You can't be all Princess of Spring all the time, you know. Maybe she found Hell a relief. She didn't have to be all sweetness and light, and her hair didn't have to be perfect all the time, either. And bonus - she got a break from the family business. Maybe it was worth it.

In my version, she would be given a choice. She would enter into it knowingly.

Friday, June 23, 2006

RX for frustrated novelists

Check out the snowflake method. (Thanks to Katy on the Cherry Forums for the link!)

If you're writing a novel and feeling overwhelmed, this might be helpful. If writing that first sentence stops you in your tracks, though, stop right there and go do something healthy and fun. There are many roads to Oz.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Patchwork post

Currently reading Isabel's Daughter by Judith Ryan Hendricks, which is a true joy. It just came out; go find it. It's set in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and it tells the story of a foundling. I love everything Hendricks writes - it's so tactile, and her characters are a dream, flawed and pissy and human. I can't recommend it enough.

Also currently doing a final scrub of chapters 1-3 to send them to Meg, Jenny's agent in NYC, who requested them. Pray for me; last night I dreamt that doing the blow-by-blow sequence and scene analysis would kill me. Truly. I woke up and thought that my husband C had turned into the witch from Hendricks' novel, and that he would kill me once I started. It took a while to talk myself down from that.

Still: I have high hopes about Meg. She seems like such a lovely person, and if she likes Jenny's writing, she might like mine, too. We have similar styles.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Attention Seattle writers

Diane Reverand from St. Martin's Press is giving a talk and taking pitches tonight at Hugo House on Capital Hill - the ramshackle Victorian on 11th that looks like a halfway house.

From 7-8, Ms. Reverand's going to speak about the agent/editor relationship - and then from 8-9, she's taking pitches from writers. So if you have a completed novel or a nonfiction proposal that you want to get in front of the keen minds at SMP, now's your chance.

I'll be taking tickets (and trying to look like a good bet for publication), and Becky will probably proctor the pitch sessons. Bring a copy of her book and I bet she'd sign it for you. Come on down!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

On the bus

Every time I ride the bus, I want to write about witches. And I ride a relatively witch-free route.

Here's what I wrote this morning. (It's not FMT, although I did write a killer new scene this morning, thanks to an excellent critique from Heidi.)

I like this because it's setting up the hero and heroine for a central emotional conflict: she retreats from the world, and he puts his cap on and goes after it. She destroys things (those plants'll kill you if you let them) and he builds things. She's part of the wild, and he's building the civilization that will pave it over.

I tell you, riding the bus is a very good thing. Here's what I wrote:

She plants digitalis and monkshood, pennyroyal and jimson weed. She seeks out the toxic, the harming, the poisonous, then nurtures it for just in case. Even the birds avoid her house, all of them except the crows, who have adopted the splintery, dark little house as their own. The burly little birds strut across the unfinished porch rail like they own the place, and sometimes she thinks they do.

They certainly have the run of the yard, picking off worms from the garden and making off with the sandwiches of the workmen across the street. The only time she stops them is when she sees them bullying smaller birds, tipping over wrens' nests just for the fun of it, and torturing baby bunnies from across the road. The rabbits are coming out of the woodwork now that the forest is being torn up to make room for a house, flushed out of their homes by encroaching humans. Those crows are a nuisance and she knows it, but they're her nuisance. She would rather deal with crows than people, these days. Crows, she can control.

Now, for instance, one of the men who's building the house across the road is looking up at the roof of her house and shaking his head. He's one of the carpenters, she thinks, and he's just had his sandwich stolen by a crow. He pulls his baseball cap down low over his eyes and sets off across the road to get it back.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

In which I get a grip

The thing about writing in the morning is that it is the morning, which means I am almost always sleepy and cranky.

I am so, so, so over the mopiness. This friend of mine who's critiquing my novel has so nailed the problems I've been facing. It's like she crawled into the frightened (terrified) part of my writing brain and started throwing shit out at me. The right shit! The shit that needs to be thrown!

Sorry for that visual, but that's the crude truth. She's laying my story bare and helping me make a much better job of it. Or, well, that's step 2, getting rid of the crap I don't need and focusing more on the crap I do need.

Like for instance my subplot, which is daunting and has stopped me in my tracks about midway through my book, in both Draft 4s and now in Draft 5.

I'm letting the subplot stop me when the plot itself is getting away. Languishing over in a corner, doing nothing. The book is not about antiquities theft. The book is about this woman and her relationships with her father, her sister, and the man she falls in love with. It's about finally seeing the world for what it is, mending what you can and casting off what you can't.

That's hard to write but it's a helluva lot easier than figuring out police procedural when it comes to a non-enforced crime like the antiquities trade.

Whiny, mopey and sad

This keeps up, I'll have a whole stable of dwarves on my blog. I just need Grumpy and Klepto and I'll have the whole set.

I am MOPING, damn it. Writing a book is HARD, particularly when you luck into a critiquer who knows exactly where you have buried the bodies and insists you fucking dig them up.

"But I just got a manicure!" you cry. She hands you a spade.

Not even a good spade, either. A crappy tin spade that you made yourself in the fourth grade, a spade only a mother could love.

I'm going to stop now before embarrassing myself further. But now you will know, if you see me on the street, why I am dragging my feet and making the pouty face.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Wiener, take two

I swear I only entered three writing contests, and I know I didn't make the finals in one of them.

But now I've finalled in two.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I may already be a weiner!

So I just got word that I am a finalist in the Chicago RWA's Fire and Ice competition! It's a writing contest - you send in the first however many pages of your novel, and then you wait and wait and gnaw your hand for three months, and then they either email you or they don't.

And they did!

So now some poor bastard - Leah Hultenschmidt, an editor from Dorchester, in fact - will now have to slog through my first however many pages and then find a way to pronounce it dreck as kindly as possible.

I keed. She won't be kind; she's an editor.

Oh! But I keed again. Editors are my favorites! I heart editors! And anyway I'm pretty much flying, so you can't really trust what I say. Yay me!

And yay, yay, yay to all of you, particularly those of you who have read the thing and provided comments. Thank you!