Wednesday, December 30, 2009


This is the worst part. Beginnings are easy, endings are easy. The devil, and drudgery, are in the details. I know what needs to happen, I've written the whole darn thing already. But cleaning it up, nothing seems to flow smoothly. Chapters 1-4 polished up really nicely. Chapters 5-8 are a hot, steaming pile. One character is bipolar about her love interest, and the love interest is bipolar about everything.

Writing is lying, and polishing the lie til it shines. To quote a truism about lying, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive." I'm hoping to turn this tangled web into a diamond. But after that tangled metaphor, I'm just hoping to make the darn thing make sense!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Yesterday at Barnes & Noble I picked up maybe eight YA books and just read the opening page or so. It was a learning experience because, for all the books I've read, I don't know if I could list off exactly how they started on more than a handful of them. I'm sure the openings sucked me in, and that's what got me to read the whole book, but my own idea of what an opening should be was somewhat vague.

It was quite instructive. The ones that didn't grab me in the first couple of paragraph I put back immediately. After all, I want to read writing that speaks to me. Ideally, what I learn from these openings will help me speak to other people in a way that hooks them in the navel and pulls.

Here are a handful of some great opening lines (that I didn't read last night):

"I dreamed I went to Manderly again." -Rebecca

"Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed." -The Magicians

"Therewas a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. " - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possessionof a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." - Pride and Prejudice

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

So I've been chewing on my first chapter for a week or so. Maybe I will come across that really excellent, all-telling/all-concealing line for my opening. Maybe not. Either way, looking at openings has definitely been helpful. After all, other than the query letter, it's the first thing the agent reads. And, should the powers that be allow, the first thing that potential readers will look at.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Novel Completion Schedule

So Edit 1 is pretty much done, now that I've come to the realization that the ending is totally obselete.

I want to start querying in February. I'm itching to do it now, but I know full well that this is not a good time (at least for the agents I'm after) and that I have to polish/revise/groom the beast. My greatest fear is that if I don't get it all done now, I'll keep rewriting until I have a completely different--but equally incoherent--story.

On a completely different note, I think my cat is Bunnicula. He's a cat, you say? He can't be Bunnicula?

Lemme explain.

He's our new cat. We've had Panther since she was a kitten. Months after he moved in, she still hisses at him, out of the blue. I know, normal teratorial cat behavior, you say. He is not vicious at all; that's more Panther's thing. He's cuddly, sweet, completely disarming, and purrs at the drop of a dime. He never reacts when she attacks him. Except for when he did, leaving two marks in her neck and a missing chunk of hair.

The weirdest part is that I'm afraid to tell my family, like that might make it come true. I might really have a vampire cat, and some night, when he curls up next to my neck, will be my last.

His name is Cuddles, but I'm beginning to think we should have named him Cuddicula.