Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why I hate zombies, vampires and the like.

Yes, it’s true. My secret is out; I’m sharing too much of the truth. I write for young adults, but there are few half-human creatures I can stand. Throw stones if you will, but it’s my own personal taste. I’ll not judge you if you DO like them. I will, however, give you some of my reasons for hating their resurgence into pop culture:
  • First and second graders now talk about vamps like it’s cool to date one. (I wonder what sort of fantasies are being discussed at home, hmmm?)
  • I’ve spent time explaining why biologically none of these creatures can exist to children, specifically my own children. Specifically in the middle of the night when I’d rather be sleeping.
  • I’ve also had the long philosophical question whether vampires are good or bad. To both my kids and adults. More Stoker-style or Meyer-style, is generally where the adult conversation turns.
  • If I tell anyone I write for teens and tweens the first comment is, “oh so, like vampires and stuff?” No, that’s not what everyone writes… at least not me and not many of you.
  • The forbidden love of a man-beast (like Edward) has ruined good women I know for real men. (I swear loving a book character really is their problem. In some cases of people I'm close to.)
  • Is it just me or are the quiet, sweet middle grade books not getting the attention they deserve more and more? For argument’s sake, I’ll blame vamps, werewolves, and zombies. They are just too attractive for their own good.
  • And lastly, I saw these at the store while picking out an 8 year old birthday gift. Yeah, zombie barbies. Hot stuff, I tell you.

NOTE: This post was not meant to offend anyone who does like urban and paranormal fantasy genres. Sorry if it did. It was only intended to be a tongue-in-cheek laugh for your long weekend.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Vignettes: Resurrectionist

My accusers say I would have dug up my own mother. Little do they know I kept flour sacks on hand to cover up the faces. I did not want or need to know the identity of my subjects. In all likelihood I would not have recognized my mother besides. No, I did it not for the grim satisfaction of disturbing the dead. It was all for the living. My interest was only in the corpse itself and what I could find within it. All my efforts were in the name of science. In the name of a cure. ~ Dr. Thomas Sewell, Journal Entry, 1819

I’m teaching myself how to pique interest in the shortest possible writing. So Friday’s new feature is going to be reoccurring posts of flash fiction. Please feel free to come up with your own for each picture I post. (And let me know if the story has sparked even the tiniest interest in you.) Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What I know about character building I learned from an Anne Geddes photo

Sometimes I think Anne Geddes photography is inventive, sometimes I think it’s creepy. She takes a newborn and makes it look like flower. She wraps a peanut-sized baby into an afghan and makes it look like… well… a peanut. We look at her pictures and know we are looking at a baby, but we also see how it reflects a flowering pot (or whatever they are dressed up as). In writing fiction characters, we also give the illusion that the person we’ve created is more than it appears. We dress it up until the smoke of our imagination resembles a real person. Then we take that smoke and blow it in the direction of our readers, hoping they’ll see through the dress-up, but mostly hope they’ll see themselves in what we’ve created enough to relate to the book.

So to all you writers out there who are struggling as much as I am with good characterizations, good luck with dressing up your smoke. That flower pot hat is worth the beautiful snap shot you’ll get. :o)

P.S. I thought this blog post by Shannon Hale about rating books on Goodreads and Amazon before they are published is hilarious. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

LIFE: Check!

Some days I fly by the seat of my pants, some days I stick to a checklist. Most days I wonder where the day went. Anybody else feel that way?
Today is a checklist day. But I’m breaking free of it to stop in and say hi. I needed friends today. I needed to take a deep breath and remember life is good, especially because of the people in my life. (Meaning: YOU!)
And in case you are wondering what’s been on my checklists, here are some fun facts:
1. My friends and I are up to 47 (count them!) school bags for the Humanitarian Aid project. Hopefully by September 1st I’ll reach my 127 goal.
2. I’ve been a single mom a lot lately. In the last four months my poor husband has been to 6 countries and about 6 states. I can count on my hand how many nights he’s been home, bless his hard-working heart. Thankfully the travel is ending for awhile. (Added bonus: my writing time won’t suffer as much!)
3. Speaking of writing, I have a hope-story for those out in Queryland. Sometimes submissions you think have grown cold, aren’t. This business is very, VERY slow. For example, I had an agent request a full thirteen months ago and have just now heard from her that she’s reading it. Moral of the story: remember to exercise patience when subbing. (And never give up.)
4. My oldest baby just turned 8 yesterday! I went through all her old pictures to make a presentation for her big party this weekend and got a little sad how fast she's growing up. (My youngest will be 2 in a few months, which astounds me as well.)
5. Spring cleaning. Boy has the house needed a deep clean!
6. Gardening. Still working on getting a big garden in this year….
7. Revising (read: rewriting) three books and writing a new book. All are clamoring for attention. All have very loud voices. A big thank you to my critique partners who are so patient with me.

So that’s it for me. What have you all been up to? Checklists, pantsy-activities, or something entirely different?