Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Love Thanksgiving!

This time of year really makes you think. It's hard to be sad when you're reading all these blogs listing what everyone is thankful for. I love that! It is so uplifting and heartfelt and it has made my day (which, incidentally has started off on the harder side). So here is my list!

1. I am so grateful for my boys and my husband. Not to sound trite, but they are the light of my life, my sunshine, my everything. To relate this to writing, they are my support system. The little ones don't even realize it yet, but they are. They inspire me every day to write things I would feel comfortable with them reading.

2. Angie and Mercedes. Sadie, thank you for convincing me to do nano a year ago. Thank you for being there to brainstorm. You are such a good friend! Angie, you gave me my first critiques and have helped me whenever I've needed it. You've taught me so much and I'm so grateful for you!

3. I'm grateful for NaNoWriMo and all the encouraging writely websites out there.

4. I'm also so thankful for all of the informative blogs and all the bloggers I've been able to meet as I've delved into this new world! You are all amazing and I love that I get to be a part of a community that is so kind and helpful and encouraging.

5. Talent. I'm thankful the Lord has blessed me with this love and ability and the desire to grow and become better at it.

6. I love music and I'm so grateful that I can put the emotions I feel when I listen to it into lyrical passages on paper.

7. I'm so glad that I have this outlet and rallystorm to post my progress and hold me accountable.

8. I am extremely grateful for critiques and honesty! It does make me better and that's what I want to be.

9. The story I'm working on has been on replay since my college days. How thankful I am that I get to lay the story out for everyone to enjoy.

10. I'm thankful for fantasy. Sometimes it's just nice to escape reality for a little while and explore new cultures and meet new people. I love it. I'm so grateful for the genre!

I'm sure there are a million other blessings I could post, but I'll leave it at ten. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your holiday will be filled with fun, family and food!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Taste of the Touch Series

I am not sure I've ever posted a snippet of my novel on my blog so I thought I'd start the week out with a hint of the story I just finished. It needs a lot of revisions still, of course, and I'm so excited to get to them. Please, feel free to leave your thoughts. The genre is fantasy. Straight-up. Sorry, nothing urban or paranormal here. I'm just a traditional kind of gal. Enjoy!

Power pressed itself against the thief’s skin, gripping him tightly; it was as tangible and cool as an autumn wind. The brisk wave rushed though him and poured into every particle of his body from flesh to soul. It increased his awareness, slowed his heartbeat, quickened his reactions, heightened his senses in every aspect and filled him completely for the first time. He had only just caressed this kind of power before, now he kissed it, became one with it. It was heady and dizzying.

All doubts in his mind were decimated with one violent slash. He pulled his silver blades free from the sinews of his victim and wiped them clean of the blood. The touch of power held him firmly now and he knew that all he wanted, in good time, would be his. He could be patient. He had been patient.

The power, or Godgift as some would rather call it, had first been given consciousness around the age of eight. That was when he realized who he was and what he could do. It seized control of him many times since then, but now they were one in purpose. Now he could control it. When the world was still, it called him by name and whispered its ideals. It hadn't always been so, but now they were his ideals as well. He had always known the power; had been comfortable with it residing inside of him, but, like the wind, had never seen it.

Now he viewed it with open eyes. He hungered for it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Authenticity to What Extent?

Here are just a couple of questions to start off this blog post. What makes reality and authenticity so important and how far should we take it as writers? Obviously, a reader can only suspend belief so far before the illusion is shattered and interest is lost. I do believe Tom Clancy when he said “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense”. So when creating a world or adding a magical aspect to the one we live in, you do have to answer the whats and whys. Why does your magic do that and what is the consequence? What is the political system and why? What about culture? Asking questions is the most important thing any writer can ever do so if you're not a logical person, I would suggest you find someone who is so that they can help you know which questions need to be asked and how to answer them. I am a pretty common sense kind of person. I can ask the questions, but I can't always find plausible answers. I get to turn to my husband to sort out a lot of details. He's so good at finding realistic solutions to my questions. He can sort out a complicated situation like nobody's business! It's amazing!

But this isn't really the point of my post, however. It leads me to my next question. How far do you take it to make it authentic? I've seen a lot of discussions lately about swearing in writing. Do they have a proper place in young adult novels? (Especially the worst one which I hate even referring to with the letter F. Poor letter F...) I would ask if they have a place in any novel. The one thing that keeps me from enjoying any book is a lack of tact where virtues are concerned and here's why I think swearing in general should be used with the utmost of care and in as few circumstances as possible.

1. Desensitization - When a word is overused, any word, it loses its powerful meaning and its dramatic affect.

2. The world is an ugly place at times. Do we really need to use foul language to prove that? As authors, we have the ability to use words more powerful than expletive. We get to use these wonderful words to show how decrepit and low people can be, not to just tell.

3. Cussing is the number one reason I won't buy and read a book. If I know it's in there, I'm not interested. Obviously, this doesn't affect the authors. I'm just one person, but I have a feeling that I'm not the only one who won't purchase a novel riddled with offensive language.

4. Virtue - I'm going to go back to desensitization from a different angle. The more exposed to filth you are, the less you realize you're rolling in it. If we want good things for all, we have to spread good things. There is enough mud for all of us to wallow in, but so few pure springs to wash us off. I can't say it any better than Mary N. Cook "Why is our being virtuous so important...Virtue brings peace, strength of character, and happiness in this life."

5. One more thing. People seem to want to expose teenagers to the "real" world through the use of this kind of language. Really? That's the "real" world? Only because we make it such. I want to make it better and I believe we can!

So when writing out what your character or the narrator says, pause for just a moment and ask yourself how necessary it really is and how does it heighten your story. If the answer is that it has no purpose (and my guess would be that this included about 80-90% of all cussing), take it out. Please, take it out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

November Neglect

Okay, so I don't just neglect this blog in November. It happens quite often. I suppose that because, while I feel that a lot has happened, the steps I take seem infinitesimal when I sit down to write them out. The revisions on Power's Touch are coming along well despite my inactivity in the blogosphere.

Also, NaNoWriMo is sucking up all my energy. Well, my kids actually do must of the work, but then nano finishes me off by 9:00. I am really enjoying my second year of it. My novel is titled Seasoned Words. I'm sure it will change a thousand times before it's done. I can't seem to be satisfied with anything I come up with. Titles for song lyrics are so much easier! Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

This year's nano is about how paradise isn't always what it seems. I wrote 10k in three days and now I'm stuck. I'm sure I'll get out of it soon. I know what I want to do and where I'm going. It's just a matter of getting there. How are your novels coming along? I would love to hear how you're doing!