Thursday, December 6, 2012

Feeling Shiny



Adding my name and book title would require
a level of technical savvy I do not possess.
Item #1: I won the NaNoWriMo challenge! With a whopping 50,006 words during the month of November. Hoorah! In case you’re wondering, the novel I worked on is different from last year’s and different from Eye of the Beholder (the “Beauty and the Beast” project you probably hear about ad nauseum if you ever ask about how my writing is going). In the past I always wondered how you could turn a fairy tale retelling into a series. You retell the fairy tale once. Done. But I wonder no longer. In trying to decide what to write this year, it just sort of happened: This year’s project, currently titled The Price of Sight or maybe The Price of Looking (but most likely eventually titled something completely different), is a sequel to Eye of the Beholder. Sort of, anyway. It’s set about twenty years after Eye, and it’s about Isabel and the Beast’s daughter, Min. It’s not a fairy tale retelling, just a young adult fantasy novel with a little adventure, a little murder, a little dancing, a little romance, and a lot of magic. And no, it’s not finished. And no, you can’t read it yet. Seriously, people. When I tell you something is a rough draft, it’s really really (really) rough.

Item #2: I took second place in a little Mormon Mommy Writers competition. And okay, yes, the prize is $5. But it also includes publication (even if the publication is tiny). Essentially it’s just fun to have someone outside my family and friends say, “Hey, I think this girl’s submission is shiny.” Although they probably didn’t say “shiny.” But that’s okay, because I’m feeling shiny! In case you’re wondering what I wrote, it was mostly this blog post, with a little less snottiness. Thanks to my fabulous brother Makani for liking the post enough to make me wonder if it might appeal to others!

Item #3: Creative deadline #347 is long-since passed. I intended to have several drafts of Eye complete this year. Ha! What a joke. Onto #378, which is this: My writing buddy Meghan and I both intend to have a finished first draft of our novels finished by the end of February. Stay tuned for the moment when I watch that deadline zoom by too.


And now I’m wondering. All those people I challenged to a NaNoWriMo adventure, it’s time to report! (Oh, and sorry I didn’t cheer you on better. Sigh. But I do think you’re awesome.) Did you accomplish your goal? Only some of it? A tiny, tiny speck of it? Good work, now go do some more!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Cinderella Plan


Author’s note (yes, the author would be me): Heres a bit of lighthearted frippery I wrote a while back, supposed to be short (less than 750 words!) and sweet and perhaps a little ridiculous. Hope you enjoy.

I watched as the archduke approached, gingerly carrying a ridiculously impractical glass slipper across the room. Soon he would ask me to try it on. This was my moment. Feigning clumsiness as he presented it to me, I jostled his wrist and gasped as the slipper crashed to the floor.

At first he only stared in shock at the scattered shards, but then he began to weep. Poor man. “Don’t cry,” I told him, reaching into my apron pocket. “I have the other one.” His eyes darted to the shoe I held out, and he began to smile again.

Trust a man not to notice the glaring size difference between the original slipper and mine.

“Thank you for finding me!” I threw my arms around him and wailed. A little melodrama couldn’t hurt. “I’ve missed my prince so desperately!”

He escorted me out to the carriage. And just like that, I was on my way to the palace and my betrothal.

***

I’d resisted my parents’ suggested brides for years. The fiscal irresponsibility of the parties they dreamed of throwing for my nuptials was almost a greater deterrent than the brides themselves.

Almost.

Apparently their only requirement for my wife was that she sport the latest hairstyle. A brain was unnecessary. And a bit of common sense was quite undesirable. They didn’t want someone who would actually agree with my budgets and projections. At this rate, by the time the kingdom became mine, it would be destroyed.

As my parents increased the pressure to marry—increasing the costs of their wife-finding extravaganzas as well—I finally came up with a desperate plan. A fake mystery woman. A whirlwind romance. An impossibly tiny glass slipper that would never fit anyone. I would gain months of peace if I could convince my parents I was heartbroken when the archduke couldn’t find my true love.

***

Of course I wasn’t the girl from the ball. She didn’t exist. I was just a girl with a few unorthodox ideas, a penchant for eavesdropping on secret plans, and an unhealthy love of meddling. But no one listens to the ideas of an unimportant glassblower’s niece, no matter how marvelous. As the prince’s new fiancée, however, I had a chance.

Oh, he wouldn’t be pleased at first (men always think their plans are the only way to do something), but I was exactly what he needed.

***

The herald approached my parents’ thrones and announced, “The archduke has returned, victorious in his search for the slipper’s owner!”

“What?” I sputtered. “He wasn’t supposed to—” Mother shot me a surprised look. “I mean . . . I’m so thrilled he’s back. I just thought the journey would take longer.” I pasted on a smile of delight. “Bring her in!” Then I would decide how to get rid of the impostor. No gold-digging piece of fluff was going to trick her way into marrying me.

***

I sallied into the throne room wearing last year’s gown. The queen had looked excited when I entered, but now she cringed. I smiled. She’d change her mind soon enough, but first I had to convince the prince to hear me out.

“Darling! I feared we’d be parted forever!” I ran to him and threw my arms around his neck—the perfect position for secret conversation. Plus it couldn’t hurt to waft a little lilac scent over the poor man.

“Who are you?” he hissed into my ear.

“Your fiancée, of course,” I whispered back.

“Whatever you want, you’re not getting it.”

Straight to the point, then. “I want to help you. You’ve been going about things with your parents all wrong. Spreadsheets will never convince them to change.”

“Oh? And what will?”

I smiled wickedly. “Fashion, my dear.”

He pulled back, aghast. “Fashion?”

“Yes,” I told him firmly. “Retro-minimalist fashion, to be exact. Bring back the stuff that’s been sitting in the attic for starters. I made some charts for you to look at.”

File:Cinderella (1865).pdf“You did?” He perked up. I knew the prince couldn’t resist a good chart.

“Yes. But first we have to convince them this is real.”

“How?”

“Kiss me, of course.” I winked.

***

Could her plan possibly work? She smiled warmly, and I thought it might be worth a try. I’d have to consult her charts to decide for sure, but maybe my fortunes—and my kingdom’s—were turning around. So I leaned down to kiss my new ally. My new fiancée.

Now I just had to find out her name. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On the Eve of November



This is my fourth attempt at writing something meaningful and clear and interesting here. So far it hasn’t worked. So let me lay it out straight, incomplete, and unpretty:

When I wrote up my November challenge, I was happy to see that several people had things they really did want to do and might actually be encouraged to work on in November (list below). But I also realized that I hadn’t defined the idea well enough or broadly enough. Some people have crazy, insane dreams like publishing novels. Some people don’t. This is all perfectly well and good. Quite frankly, I am actually kind of jealous of people whose dreams are more domestic (this is a topic for later, one I haven’t really fleshed out or fully understood yet). So if you don’t have a huge November project, maybe you could have some “smaller” things to work on (small perhaps in physical scope but not in effect or level of personal importance). Or maybe you are already living and doing the things that are really important to you. If so, congrats! That’s awesome. I’m really jealous of you too. I struggle on a daily basis to do the writing I want to do (if I did as much as I meant to, you’d be hearing from me a lot more often). I struggle on a daily basis to do the mothering I want to do (if I did, my children would be a lot happier, be cleaner and better fed, and feel more loved).
So whatever it is that brings you joy and brings you closer to who you are meant to be, do a little more of that this month! Or just do what you already told me you might do…

Dawn: Finish up 30 days’ worth of sewing projects! I’m already excited to see everything you make.

Kem: Write a racecar game (step 1 in a plan that I think sounds supercool).

Kirsa: Start painting her Giant Canvas of Doom (or, you know, just a giant canvas without any 
doom).

Marci: Work on her art projects, fifteen minutes a day. (Granted, I haven’t heard how Hurricane Sandy treated her family--in New York--so she may have more urgent matters to attend to in November.)

Marneen: Decide which of her awesome ideas would make her feel happiest at the end of the month. Then do that one! :)

Meghan: Write a novel, baby!

Michael: Write a novel (a different one from Meghan’s)! :)

Michelle: Finish that tree skirt—just in time for Christmas!

I suppose I should also toss in my plans for November, in case you’d forgotten (not likely, I know, given the amount of time I spend talking about it). Fifty thousand words! A novel! Craziness! Cashing in all my wifey points! Avoiding Facebook like the plague! And also avoiding blogs and email too! And tossing in a few exclamation points, just for good measure!!! These are the things I have planned for November.

Okay, people, go and do! And keep me updated! And take pictures so we can all revel in our awesomeness at the end of the month!