Theater Masks

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Company of L...

I tried reading Company of Liars by Karen Maitland. I wanted to like it. I really did. In fact, I even ENJOYED reading it - but after two weeks and only being on page 120, feeling like I'd been reading FOREVER, I had to make the choice - plough through for the next month and a half (at the pace I was going) or give it up.

I just couldn't bring myself to dedicate that kind of time because I just didn't care enough.

To be fair, I think the publishers did the book a disservice - the print in the book was single spaced and perhaps a 10 point font. The 450 pages was in actuality closer to 900 pages in most regular books, and as a result I felt like I was slogging through rather than really getting anywhere. If the book was double spaced and a normal font, I would have known more what I was getting into and probably would have enjoyed the journey more. Strange, isn't it?

Anyway, if anyone has read it and wants to spill the secrets at the end, let me know.
If not, I guess it will just have to remain a mystery for me...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another day...

Another day, another rejection. Still hurts, still sucks, still left with no clue why.
I've said it before, but just a hint of what was wrong would be better than just left hanging out with no idea.

I started two stories - one that I'm not really sure where it's going about a girl who has magic tied into NYC, and one based on the story of how two friends we met on our cruise met each other. We'll see if either is worth anything in the end....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thoughts on my book

It's now been over a year since I finished my novel. I've sent out to agents, been rejected by some, and been ignored by some. I have my book out to a couple right now. Who knows how they'll respond. The strange part to me, though, is that to me the book just FEELS complete. To me, the characters seem so real, and the story like a favorite story I've known all my life. I think in a way that's what makes the process of finding an agent so damned frustrating. They get, at best, a glimpse of the book. I do wonder though if it would hurt more or less to get rejected on the whole thing -- though on the flip side I feel like I can't do justice to the story in the tiny blurb the agents want.

I mean, how do I give justice to a story that includes philosophical ideas on life and death; teenagers coping with growing up, taking their parents' place and paying for the sins of their parents; history that stretches back generations - and the impact of the past on the present; euthenasia, and our very beliefs in religion. All that is dealt with in (what I hope) is an exciting adventure story that will appeal to teenagers and make them think about some of these issues without bludgeoning them over the head with it. These are issues I know I thought about as a teen, and I do think many kids today think about them as well.

In my agent letters I focus on the more "pedestrian" parts of the story - the characters and basic plot- because any attempt I've made at summarizing the story that includes a reference to these things just comes off as overbearing or too intellectual for mass consumption (believe me, the story isn't). So, I'm kind of stuck in limbo. I need an agent to actually READ the book and see what I've done, but how do I get them to read it when my story is about a prince on a search for a magic basket with the help of a witch, a dragon, and a demon-fairy?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another story done

I finished my submission for the Carnival issue of Emerald Tales - well, at least the rough draft. Caitie gave me her approval, which is a good sign. I like the story a lot - I do think it let me try something I've never done before in terms of story structure. I've found that for me the way I tell the story is just as, if not more important, than the story itself.

I'm also intrigued by the fact that the story ended in a different way from how I planned it. I had the whole idea in my head and knew where the story was going. As it turned out, I didn't like one of my main characters. I even said to Caitie as I was writing it that I couldn't stand one of the characters. She thought that was kind of funny. The way I had originally planned it, I didn't like him right through to the end. Instead, I gave him a kind of reprieve. I'm not sure I'm totally satisfied with that at this point - I may try writing it the way I originally planned, though I do realize that would make the story a bit longer. I guess in the end that's one of the things I love about writing - the story gets to be what I want it to be. If I don't like the way it's going, I can change it. Life doesn't always work that way, so it's nice to have control like that at least in some small way!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Time travels

Since I'm so interested in time in my stories, I decided to try something completely different with my new story. The story is reality-based (though set in the near future during a fictional event) but told in shifting time periods. The story jumps around a bit, and I find it interesting seeing how writing the story this way affects the way the story plays out, as well as how I write it. I think the time element definitely makes the story that much more interesting...at least, I hope it does...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bragging

My "great" enrichment class has come up with a brilliant idea for their parts of speech podcast. The parts of speech are making a movie called "The Sentence: The Movie." The kids are going to create a faux documentary about the making of the movie. The movie itself is more or less irrelevant, but what matters is that each role is going to be played by a part of speech - so the noun and verb are the main characters who are fighting for control. Adjective and Adverb are supporting players, each of whom have chosen their own side of the arguments. Preposition is the paparazzi obsessed with Noun, Interjection is a film historian commenting on the movie, Pronoun is (what else?) Noun's stunt double, and Conjunction is the director who just wants to bring everything together. The movie production was fraught with problems - big egos on the part of Noun and Verb, Commas that kept getting in the way, and Period who just wanted to put an end to the whole thing.

I was impressed with how clever the kids were - I did help with some of the ideas, but a lot of it was them. Now the tricky part - actually WRITING the thing!