Monthly Archives: December 2011

When They Make “War’s End” Into A Movie…

When They Make “War’s End” Into A Movie…

I will have a woman sing an acoustic version of The Decemberists’ “This is Why We Fight” in it.

Think of the small town that Kevin Costner goes to in “The Postman.” They all gather at the Foster’s Freeze and eat and sing and dance.

As for me, my song will be “This is Why We Fight” – somehow I’ll work it into the damned contract.

Come the war, come the avarice
Come the war, come hell

Come attrition, come the reek of bones
Come attrition, come hell

This is why, why we fight, why we lie awake
This is why, this is why we fight

And when we die, we will die with our arms unbound
And this is why , this is why we fight, come hell

Bride of quiet, bride of all unquiet things
Bride of quiet, bride of hell

Come the archers, come the infantry
Come the archers of hell

This is why why we fight why we lie awake
This is why this is why we fight

And when we die,  we will die with our arms unbound
And this is why , this is why we fight

Come hell, come hell

This is why why we fight, why we lie awake
This is why, this is why we fight

And when we die, we will die with our arms unbound
And this is why, this is why we fight

Come to me, come to me now, lay your arms around me
This is why, this is why we fight

Come hell, come hell, come hell, come hell

Yeah. That’s the song.

I don’t dream small…

Young Adult Fiction – Not What I Thought It Was

Young Adult Fiction – Not What I Thought It Was

A year or more ago, my dad suggested I try getting my fictional book, War’s End published in the Young Adult fiction arena. I figured it would take such a massive re-write, including leaving out key parts of the book, that it simply would not be worth it.

I’m thinking twice about this after having finished the Hunger Games trilogy – which is billed as Young Adult fiction.

According to Wikipedia…

Beginning in the 1920s, it was said that “this was the first time when it became clear that the young were a separate generation” (Cart 43); but multiple novels that fit into the YA category had been published long before. In the nineteenth century there are several early examples that appealed to young readers (Garland 1998, p. 6) including The Swiss Family Robinson (1812), Waverley (1814), Oliver Twist (1838), The Count of Monte Cristo (1844), Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857), Great Expectations (1860), Alice in Wonderland (1865), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Kidnapped (1886), The Jungle Book (1894) and Moonfleet (1898).

A few other novels that were published around the turn of the century include Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, Heidi, by Johanna Spyri, and Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. In 1937 The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien, was published, and Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943) also is a beloved by adolescents today. Some claim that the first real young adult novel was The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, and that it opened up a whole new eye to what types of texts adolescent readers read. Following this novel, other classic texts such as Harper Lee‘s, To Kill a Mockingbird; Maya Angelou‘s novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; and Toni Morrison‘s, The Bluest Eye all entered the genre of Young Adult Literature as well, along with many others.

Most of these classics I read unabridged, without a school requiring it, and before the age of twelve (as if anyone had any questions about how much I love reading). But the fact that I recognize nearly all of these, and have read most of them, is just the very reason why my image of young adult fiction is so skewed.

I have read classics and the very definition of classic is that it stands the test of time. So all the stuff that has been coming out in the Young Adult arena recently, isn’t a classic yet. Most of YA fiction of today are taut, supernatural, love-obsessed thrillers.

Recently though, I’ve picked up quite a few series written under the “YA” heading. All of them have had one thing in common – at some point during my reading I have closed the book and looked at the spine, yep, it’s considered Young Adult.

Which made me realize that War’s End, although it contains some pretty serious violence, is considered Young Adult…with a few tweaks.

Mainly it seems that the topic of sexual intimacy is danced around and/or implied more than there are any graphic details. The other is that swearing is frowned upon.

Well heck, I can fix that about War’s End! And so that is exactly what I have begun to do.

Contest at Amazon

Contest at Amazon

So I’m re-doing the beginning of War’s End and will be submitting the entire manuscript to a contest soon. The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is for unpublished and self-published authors.

Originally, when I read about the contest I thought of the Chronicles of Liv Rowan – unfortunately, it is far from finished, so I just ruled out entering the contest and sent an email to my dad and my eldest, telling them about the contest.

Dad wrote back, “I hope you are planning on submitting War’s End, if not, you really should.”

I thought about some of the feedback I have received from the book and about the possible slight revision I had come up with after hearing how hard it was to read the first two chapters for some people.

Now, many people will advise you to not revise without editorial order. And that is all well and good, if you actually HAVE an editor, which I do not.

I want this book published – without compromising the storyline. And if that means removing some of the ‘in your face’ violence, then I will do that. After all, I can always infer the violence, which is often better in any case.

One person who read the story said, “If I hadn’t already known you, and simply picked this up in a bookstore, I would have put the book back down in that first chapter and not bought it.”

And that had me worried.

Now Amazon’s contest has two categories – Young Adult and General Fiction. Due to the violent content, which will be there in some degree or another, regardless of edits, I am thinking that I should submit under the General Fiction category.

However, I’m not entirely sure. After all, Jess is fifteen/sixteen – definitely young adult age. Also, I think of the recent writing coming out for young adults – the Twilight series, the Hunger Games series, and much, much more. It is far more ‘adult’ than what I had ever considered ‘young adult’ to be.

Something to think about as I finish editing through the manuscript.

Now the last time I asked for feedback or thoughts, I got some damned spam for a penis enlargement. Having neither a penis, nor wanting a penile enlargement, I pressed the Spam Comment button, which I do a lot on this site.

However, I would like to hear opinions – should I submit it as general fiction or as young adult?

When Living Inspires the Writing

When Living Inspires the Writing

I don’t suppose it is any great surprise that everything, including the daily mundane, inspire my writing.

I was at my computer this morning when Emily called to me, “Mama, come find me!”

Predictably, she was in my bed, under the covers. She was wiggling, and I patted her rump. “How do you always find me?” she asked, almost indignantly.

I just laughed, because she is so incredibly predictable at this age. And simply said, “I just do. I’ll always find you.”

I realized I had a scene, right there, and went back to my computer to write the following, to appear in the chapter “Collision”…

Jacob suddenly remembered being five and hiding from his mom. “Come and find me!” he had called while huddled under the blankets.

He had heard his mother’s steps on the floor, she stood for a moment by the bed and then reached out and patted him, her voice had a playful lilt as she said, “Ah, there you are, kiddo!”

“How do you always know where to find me?” Jacob had demanded.

Jess had suppressed a smile. After all, he always hid in the same places, over and over, and she had smiled at him and said, “I just do.” Her smile faltered for a moment, probably thinking of all of those she had lost, “I’ll always find you. I’ll always come for you. You can depend on that.” How many times through the years had she told him that? Not just when he was playing hide and seek, but when he had gotten separated from her at the town picnic a year later, or when he had wandered off in the woods? She had always found him. And when she did, she would wrap her arms around him, kiss the top of his head and say the same thing, “I’ll always find you, Jacob, how could I not?”

The wound on his head from where Cooper had struck him was aching painfully. Jacob felt tears coursing down his cheeks. He closed his eyes, repeating silently, over and over, “Please come find me, Mom. Please.”

 

Gliese…NEXT

Gliese…NEXT

Yeah, I have been reading through my story so far on Gliese 581.

I’m in love.

With my own writing.

Is that bad?

It makes me realize that Gliese 581 is definitely next on my writing project list. I can barely wait to get started!

The dialogue is funny, the scene setups rock, and I think I’ve really got a winner on my hands – one that I can definitely find a publisher for.

I need to also think about possible short stories that connect with it, that I could possibly enter into the Writers of the Future contest.

Putzing…But Still Making Progress

Putzing…But Still Making Progress

I woke up this morning at 5am thinking, “Cool! I’m up early, I’ve got at least two, possibly three hours of writing I can get done!

It is now almost 7am and I haven’t written a word.

I did get “The Face of Evil” chapter finished yesterday, though.

Total word count for the book: 39,339

So, almost 1,200 words written yesterday. Not bad when you intersperse a complete double-check of the Master Character list and War’s End character list – correcting nearly every character’s birth date in the Master list (since it hadn’t been updated since my last major date change prior to publishing WE1)

At this point I have 35 chapters identified, 13 of them written completely, and 4 in progress.

Next on the list? “First Summer”

 

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m struggling with uncertainty. At least when it comes to War’s End and writing Book 2.

I am resisting the urge to completely re-write the beginning of Book 1 after hearing several comments like, “It was really hard to read the first two chapters. I almost stopped several times” or “Talk about dark, how about black? The book just slams you into the darkest part of human nature. It was hard to continue reading.”

[sigh]

I have this image of how I would re-write it and the few people I mentioned it to nodded and agreed that it might provide a easier entrance into the book.

Several times I have almost convinced myself to stop writing Book 2 and work on other projects. I have so many, and I believe they are just as, if not more, promising than War’s End.

But whenever I think of stopping, of walking away and not finishing this story that I have written, I just freeze up.

Do I admit defeat? Give up? Leave the story unfinished?

I can’t seem to do it. So I figure that my only option is this: Finish the story. Write Book 2. Finish explaining ‘what happens next’ in the world that I have created and use the experience to move on…to Plague Tales, Gliese 581, and more.

I am reminded of some author who wrote FOURTEEN books before he was finally published.

And if that is what it takes…well…then I guess I’ll have to do that.

Organizing, Being Distracted, It’s All the Same Thing, Right?

Organizing, Being Distracted, It’s All the Same Thing, Right?

Okay, so first an update on Book 2…

Current word count: 38,140

Number of chapters: 35 (Yeah…I added two more…SUE me)

Chapters Written: 12 (in other words, over 1/3 of the book has been written!)

Chapters in Progress: 4 (these have either been started, are almost done, or need some editing)

And don’t even get me started on the short stories I would like to write on the War’s End series and post here on the website under Snippets. Let’s just leave it at this – I’ve started a file with lots of notes, titles of stories, and a spot for ‘date completed’ when I finally get around to writing and posting it.

Now I’ve mentioned before the idea that I have several very different storylines and genres all connected within the same universe, right?

If we were to lay them all in order, they would look something like this…

  • Schicksal Turnpike – 1950’s through 1960’s
  • Chronicles of Liv Rowan – 1980 through 2010
  • War’s End – 2012 through 2030
  • Plague Tale – 2099 through 2128
  • Gliese 581 – 2130 through ???

It seems that for every word I type, a thousand more projects and side shoots spring up. It’s like a plant growing out of control!

Right now, I am going through the Master Character list, which is neither complete nor accurate, and adding new characters from the War’s End character list to the Master list. Why? Because it helps keep all of the dates and facts straight. There’s nothing I hate more than to be inaccurate, especially since I’ve advanced the timelines of several of my stories several times in order to accommodate War’s End and when it should start versus when it was published in the real world.

Confused?

Try standing in my shoes.

Back to organizing…and writing.

Open Seas…

Open Seas…

I spent most of this week writing at every free moment I could find…on the blogs, that is.

I’ve been watching the stats closely, as well. It’s very interesting to see what people tune into. My dad’s guest post on TDN brought in quite a few extra readers, and my post on HA about an aspect of the book NurtureShock and the Inverse Power of Praise was also a big draw.

In any case, I’ve cobbled together ten posts, five for TDN and five for HA for next week and dutifully scheduled them.

And now, it is open seas from now until Saturday morning for…fiction writing!

I woke this morning at 4:08, told myself it was too early and managed to fall back asleep until 4:58. My deal with myself is that, if it is 5 a.m. I can get up, but if it is earlier, I need to try and sleep. With just two minutes to go, I called it time to get up.

As I got my coffee and a slice of yummy banana bread and butter, I thought, I really really need to work on War’s End. But if I get to a point where I’m stuck, I will work on Gliese 581 or CLR or something rather than do nothing.

As I got myself comfortable and checked my emails I added, And NO writing on the blogs this week! If I think of a post I’ll add it to my Google Docs – Ongoing Blog Post file.

Yep, them’s the rules.

The coming week is a busy one….

Monday – big cleaning and possibly going to a Savers 50% off sale in the morning if my cleaning ends up being in the afternoon.

Tuesday – I’m teaching a class at the house, that means I need to clean the house

Wednesday – WIDE OPEN!

Thursday – big cleaning in morning

Friday – big cleaning in morning

So, let’s see, I’m calculating…

At least 14 hours of writing time. And that’s not counting today and tomorrow (I’m hoping to send kidkin off to stay at her grandmother’s for the night tonight). So…maybe 20 hours total? I’d best get to it!

Current word count on WE2: 36,194

Time to turn that number up and move the story along!

Update: Well, it is now 11am and I’ve managed to push that word count up to 36,526. I will admit, I went off on tangents that included how to make your own vinegar, whether or not hard-boiled eggs are shelf-stable or not, and ‘fixing’ issues with my Character Descriptions file.

I can spin my wheels with the best of them.

BUT…I figured out what to do with Scott Cooper, and believe me, that was a biggie. Where does Scott Cooper go after the disastrous failure of the raiding party/kidnapping of Liza? What does he do for the next 5-9 years?

Well folks, that is exactly what I figured out. And I had been struggling with it for quite a while.

Now it is time to write the chapter “The Face of Evil”

NO Christine, No New Projects!

NO Christine, No New Projects!

On Tuesday, as I was cleaning a client’s house I started mentally ticking off the lessons I have learned as a business owner, in particular, that of the cleaning biz, and thought, I should put together an e-book, with the top 15 tips, as a lead in to a full book on the subject.

No, no I shouldn’t. What I should do is write Book 2 of War’s End, get it DONE, and move on to my other major projects, like the Chronicles of Liv Rowan, Gliese 581, the Plague Tale, and more.

Why oh why, must I be so endlessly distracted?

Brainstorm!

Brainstorm!

I just thought of it, and feel silly I didn’t think of it sooner. During the edits of War’s End, I had to leave out some chapters to help the story along. I’ve also been thinking of short side stories that would never have been part of Book 1, but could help explain some of the things I know, that you, the reader does not. Unless you have found a way to crawl inside my brain…

So I’m going to create a new page, “Snippets” and add them in. This will help explain the background of War’s End a little more. Stay tuned, and keep checking back for updates!