Posts Tagged 'Absolutely Mad'

One Step At A Time

Shane Reading Backstage during The Letter

Last night, I had a decision to make:  go to bed?  Or write?

A while back I decided that yes.  Yes I am invested in The Sin Series, but if I publish, I want to publish a one-shot book before trying to market a series.  Because The Sin Series is like… my life… I don’t want to pitch that one to agents and have it turned down and be forced to self-publish, if I publish at all.  If I’m going to be turned down, I want it to be with a one-shot, so I can learn and improve and use any feedback I get in also expanding The Sin Series.  That left me with two options:  ‘Tweens or Absolutely Mad.

Absolutely Mad is a book that draws on the verse of Alice in Wonderland.  Since Lewis Carrol’s canon is no longer under copyright, I am free to do whatever I want with the characters and the world.  The main character, Yvette Hatter, is cynical and sarcastic, but curious enough and has an imagination, so it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith for her to believe that she has been pushed into a magical looking glass into the world of Wonderland, where a half-crazed Cheshire Cat is making himself dictator of the land.  It’s very much a distopian novel, but it’s out of all my usual conventions.  Absolutely Mad is written in the first person, to begin.  The story is also only told by one character, Yvette, which is also out of my norm.  Because this story is so far out of the normal for me, I don’t want this one to be the first one I venture into.

The other option is ‘Tweens‘Tweens was inspired by several things, from a comment made by one of Bryan’s roommates (“Everyone knows that covers are impenetrable to monsters!”) to an episode of Charmed (season two, I think) to someone telling me that I was good at writing children’s voice (gee, thanks!).  ‘Tweens starts in the real world (allowing me allusions, thank goodness) but there are ‘tweens all over the real world during which people, especially children, are susceptible to the Land Between.  Things like dreams and doorways, where children and those who still are a child at heart are liable to be scooped up by creatures of the ‘Tween and taken into their world.  Lucy Brown is seven years old, and her parents think that she is prone to nightmares and will have nothing of her complaints.  Her older brother, Timothy remembers the Land Between and is there to help her when he can, but he’s also a college student and is beginning to get tired of his little sister crying to him constantly.  He doesn’t have much of a choice, though, when Lucy is snatched away into the Land Between, and the only person who knows enough to go after her is Timothy himself.

So.  To tie in the first sentence, last night I had a choice:  go to bed, or write.  I compromised.  I wrote 1000 words in ‘Tweens.  In fact, I made good progress in Timothy’s voice, bringing him into the the Land Between in his recurring dream.  I was really pleased with myself.  I think that ‘Tweens is going to need a few good drafts before I will even think about querying (and that’s after finishing the manuscript) but I am always pleased whenever I am able to sit down and get something done like that.  Even if it’s only 1000 words (which takes me about an hour), it’s something.

On a side note, I noticed on Miss Rosemary’s blog, she has her specific story goals in the sidebar.  I think that is something I should consider doing myself.  I’ve never been one for due-dates, but if I manage to get published, I will be working on deadlines, and it’s something I should get used to.  Besides.  Left to my own devices, I get nothing done.

Right now?  Right now I am going to go read another 25 pages in Alabi’s World for school and then I am going to sit down and push my way through ‘Tweens until I need to leave for work at  4:30.  Sounds like a good, productive plan to me.

Flash Fiction Thursday: When in Rome

Photograph by makiwara on deviantART
Apparently, there’s something called “Flash Fiction Thursday”.  And nobody told me?  D’aw.  Well.  It’s Thursday, and I like writing, so here we are!

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When In Rome

Yvette sat down at the table and looked at her peculiar fellow diners.  Some were tall, some stout, and there was one man at the head of the table with a tall emerald hat on.  Eevee tucked her hair behind her ears and put her cap on her lap.  She was more inclined to look at the china teacup and saucer in front of her, with it’s tiny painted roses.  If she could avoid looking at her strange company, perhaps she could imagine she was at a practically normal tea party.

“Delightful, isn’t it?”  Eric Cheshire slid into the cozy armchair beside her and slicked his hand back through his greasy blonde hair.  The long day of travel had him slightly off his usual attractive appearance.  Yvette sniffed disapprovingly at his optimism, and raised her hands, jigging the metal cuffs that Ches clasped on her in order to keep her her from “exploring”.

“Gonna take these things off, now?” she scowled, but before Ches had the chance (or inclination) to answer, the man in the green hat at the head of the table stood and tapped the sugar spoon against his teacup.

“Attention please!” the crowd silenced, but for good measure, he tapped his teacup harder and repeated “Attention please!”  He smiled and dropped his teacup on the table, where it crashed, spilling tea and chips of china on the lacy tablecloth. “It is now four o clock, and the time is going tickity tockity!”  he giggled and tugged one of his oversized earlobes.  “Well, what are you waiting for?  Have some tea!”

The hare went first, lifting his own ivory-coloured chica teacup and smashing it delightedly against his saucer.  An echo of clattering followed, and all together, the rest of the company smashed their own teacups.  Eevee looked down at her own teacup and considered how much money and how much it must have cost and how her mother never let her play with the china when she was having tea parties at as a child because it might break.

Suddenly she felt a hundred multi-coloured eyes fall upon her shoulders as the fifty guests, all still and silent, closed in on her.  Their green-hatted host climbed on the long table and his big feet sunk into the shard.  He left bloody footprints on the table, but nobody seemed to notice expect for Eevee.  Ches nudged her, and she looked at him.  He nodded his blue eyes toward the teacup and slowly Eevee reached her chained hands toward the china.

Well, she thought to herself, when in Rome….

She lifted her teacup and let it fall through her fingers on to the table.  The handle broke off and fell to the side, but the rest of the teacup remained intact.  Still, it seemed enough to please the host, but he stopped in front of her, his scuffed black shoes only a millimeter away from the bread and butter.  “Delightful!”  he chortled, and he jumped on the table.  It groaned beneath his weight and china shuttered.  Yvette forced a smile and the host raised his hands above his head and shouted “Move right!”

Yvette was nearly trampled by the guest moving seats, and as she struggled to move with the crowd, Ches whispered in her ear, “I hope you like him, peanut, he’s going to teach you his trade.”

As Eevee fell into a three-legged chair, she gasped, “You mean he’s…”

“The Mad Hatter? Mais oui.

The shattering of the china resumed, and with wide brown eyes, Eevee looked at her host again and the reality of her situation sunk in.  She would be spending the next twelve months with a madman.

Sane

The melting snow.

Dirt had caked itself into every crease on my hands, like chocolate frosting, only more disgusting.  I cringed and looked up at the empty ceiling, and the hole I had been thrown through.  My only little bit of sunlight.

The walls were caked with dirt, but when I felt madness creeping over me like an old friend, I would  scratch away the layers of grime until it began to crumble away on its own, burying itself beneath my once-manicured nails and revealing time-aged paintings and etchings on the walls.  I think by some fleeting hope I was expecting an escape to be hidden under that dirty mess.  I must’ve been half-mad to even think I had any hope of escape.

Most the time, I just lay on the floor and stare into the light.  My hair clumped together, coated in grease, and spiders would crawl over my fingertips.  It didn’t matter anymore, though, because I wasn’t the girl who was afraid of spiders, or the girl who needed to look pretty.  I didn’t listen to U2 and live for the next episode of The Hills.  I didn’t even know who that girl was anymore.

In that hole, I became somebody else.  I grew a protective outer shell, like a turtle, and I could hide within it whenever I needed.  I could bury myself in my emotional shell and I was safe there, and my body could interact with the environment however it wanted.  I wasn’t mad.  There is no such thing as madness in Wonderland.  I learned to protect myself in the only way I could.

I hid behind a shield of mental instability.  It was the only place that I felt sane.

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Word: Identity.  ||  Time: 8 minutes.  ||  Character: Yvette Hatter.

Down With the Bloody Big Pen!

Ashley busy in Creative Writing

I often find myself frustrated with writing.  I feel like the market is so competitive, nobody will ever read my works.  I won’t become a national phenomenon, and I’ll never meet amazing authors like J.K. Rowling and Tamora Pierce.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing, granted, but every once and a while, I get depressed about it.  I want to see the paperback artwork for my book… instead of just pixels on my computer screen.

These times are the times when I stop writing.  Why?  Because I feel like I have so little freedom any way, why should I waste it doing something that isn’t going to get me anywhere.  It’s a long jump from the girl sitting on the old stone wall, a tattered paperback in her hand, breathing in the words as though she could live in the magical world she was reading about.

I’m in that place right now.  I could write, but I feel no motivation to write my fiction.  So when I do write, I am spending my time writing non-fiction:  my life, my memories, my thoughts.  In other words, blogging.  Is blogging dangerous to my writing life?  Or is it just frosting to fill in the cracks until my muse returns from her vacation in the Bahamas?  I can’t tell.  Both, I think, sometimes.  For example, I am sitting here, writing this blog entry, when I very well could be writing my flash fiction of the day.  That’s what I should be doing; I’m supposed to do it every day.  But I don’t do it often.  In fact, I rarely do it at all, lately.  Simultaneously, I am also aware that there have been days in the past where I’ve written four flashes because I just didn’t want to stop.  I wrote twenty pages in a day when I started working on Absolutely Mad.  Now that was fun.  I was so incredibly proud of myself.  Eric and Yvette were imprinted in my mind and they felt more alive to me than any of the Sin Series characters have in a long time.

Through writing at school (during class, occasionally), I have learned that I have the capacity to be an incredibly prolific writer.  I often do as many as 500 words in a mere blog entry, and I don’t have a terribly difficult time writing 2000 words a day, when properly inspired.  If I remember correctly, Stephen King says he does 2000 words a day in On Writing. He considers himself a prolific writer.  So I should be proud of myself.

Only, it’s making myself do it.  I blame my muse, often.  It’s so frustrating to sit in front of my computer screen and listen to it hum and have the bright white pop out until my eyes water up, but have my fingers frozen on the keys as though they were superglued there.  I blame the economy, writer’s block, my muse, all of it, but that’s all lies.  See, I have ideas in my head to write about.  Sometimes, I even have paragraphs prepared.  But in the end, they’re all just in my head, and they never end up down on paper.  I wish I could say why.

In order to attempt to redeem myself, I am going to go attempt to write a flash.  What do you do when you know you should be writing, but you just can’t?  And does blogging count as “writing” in the sense of it being an art form, even if I am just pouring out my thoughts?  And what do you think:  is blogging a distraction from “real writing”?

Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmatic.

Amanda reading the program for "The Letter" in the Green Room.

“I’m so excited / and I just can’t hide it. / I’m about to lose control / and I think I like it.” ~ I’m So Excited by the Pointer Sisters.

There is something about that song that disturbs me.  Every time I read the lines above, I relate it to something different.  At the moment, the image in my mind is that of a hyper-active puppy meeting an apple-red fire hydrant.  That image, naturally, is not the one I want to convey; the song always gets into my head when I am thinking about something I am excited for.

I am excited for tomorrow.  Tomorrow is Saturday.  That in itself should be enough of a perk.  I am not working tomorrow, which, despite my lack-of-paycheck this last week, is still a nice respite.  I will also be seeing Sammy tomorrow, which, in this case, I am excited for.  See, we have plans.  We are going to be writing (unless something changes).  I am bringing my typewriter (erm, and my laptop) and I am going to finish editing chapter four of Fate.  For real this time.  Maybe.

I haven’t written properly in a while.  Every once and a while, I’ll pump out a piece of flash fiction, but hardly anything worth noting.  I think I’m burnt out from writing, which is terribly, but I’m finding every excuse not to do it.  Really.  Every excuse.  I feel like I’m in elementary school again, fighting with myself to do homework.  The only way I could summon up enough willpower to do my math homework in elementary and middle school was to tell myself that if I did five problems, I could read five pages of insert-Tamora-Pierce-novel-here.  After about an hour, the math homework would usually be complete.  It was an intricate rewards system that is no longer effective now that I am in college.

Seriously, though.  Writing feels like work.  I blame my writing classes.  My college writing classes haven’t been useless, per se.  The teachers have all been very helpful.  But the students are all just like me (or the have as much enthusiasm as me, at any rate).  We’re all tired.  We did the work, just barely, so now can we go back to bed?  It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I worked five hours at my other job today, then I had three classes, and I was up until three am trying to get homework done and I’m just not used to putting this much stress on my body.  So much to do, so little motivation.

Tomorrow, I am telling myself, will be different.  I will finish edits on chapter four of Fate.  My brother is watching Alice in Wonderland right now; maybe I’ll go join him and get motivated for Absolutely Mad.  I have a million options; all I need to do is sit in front of my computer and write (not go online).  I think Sammy will help me keep focused, and maybe I can help her keep focused.

Or, at least, amuse her with the typewriter.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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