Monday, April 25, 2011

Time Travel and Alternate Realities

Lately I've been spending a lot of time thinking about things that could be. These are mostly things for this current revision of Evangeline, but they occasionally extend to my real life.

Sometimes these decisions are small: Would I have beat all this traffic if I would have just left the house a few minutes earlier?

Others are large: Would we have enough for a down payment on a house now if we'd started saving earlier?

My characters make decisions, too, large and small, that have an effect on the outcome of the story. During this re-write, I'm trying to make my characters take a more active role in the plot. Because it's a time-travel story, it's as if they are creating an alternate history, erasing what used to be, and changing the space-time continuum. Yes, I am a dork. Do I need Doc Brown and a chalkboard timeline to demonstrate? ;)

It's all so clear now!

So, while you might think that rewriting from scratch is time-consuming, I'm actually finding it quite liberating to begin again, to simplify my plot-lines, eliminate the superfluous and focus on things like mood and tone and character development.

Even though I'm the one rewriting my novel, with the nature of the story it feels like my characters are the ones making all the changes, taking their destinies (or densities, whichever) into their own hands. Pretty deep, eh? So I'll leave you with a quote I think about sums up the way I'm approaching the rewrite. And life in general.

What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now.” – Unknown

Anyone else out there in revision hell? I'm making daiquiries!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Liar Society Giveaway!

Today's the day! I've debated keeping this super awesome book—signed by LiLa!!!—but you know how I can't keep a good thing to myself, and I do have a nook edition... but it is signed... Hmmm, maybe we don't need to do a giveaway after all...

Just kidding!

All you have to do to enter is comment!
But there's a chance for more entries if you REALLY want it, and I think some of you do...

Old followers= +3
New followers= +1
Blog about this contest= +3
Add link to sidebar= +2
Twitter= +1
Tell me a the worst lie you ever told anyone= +5

I'll get us started:

The worst lie I ever told was the one that got me grounded for the first and only time in my life. I was sixteen, I was meeting a guy and I was going to stay over at his house (oooooh!!), but I told my Dad and stepmom I was going to a football game and sleeping over at my friends' house. I didn't do either of those things. My Dad dropped me off at school and I walked to the guy's house.

Of course, I didn't think ahead enough to let my friend in on the secret, so she called my house, and I think you can imagine what happened then. (Learn from my mistakes, kids!) My dad was sooooo disappointed in me. But I think I only wound up being grounded for like a weekend. See, I was the good kid. Or at least, I never got caught. :)

Contest will be open for entries until 12 AM EST April 30. I'll announce the winner on May 2nd.

Good luck, y'all!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You know you want it...

Yup. It's a signed copy of The Liar Society.

Tune in Friday to see how you could win!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

All Things Considered. Well, Some Things...

 What is it about your favorite genre that draws you in, that satisfies?

If it's fantasy, is it the magic? The ability to break the rules of physics and nature, stretch the boundaries of your imagination?

If you like your books realistic, what is it that makes you keep reading? The voice of the main character? The high emotion and angst?

Sure, everyone wants to write an original story. But I'm not sure readers want stories that are too far outside the familiar tropes of their favorite genres. I mean, isn't that why we keep coming back to the same sections in the bookstore, chasing the elusive reader's high we got when we first read our favorite books?

When I think about what makes my favorite books so great, it's usually the characters that spring to mind first. Their witty repartee, or bravery in the face of almost certain doom. The emotions the author made me feel when I was in their head.

It's a pretty universal part of story-telling, that the story is seen through the eyes of someone we sympathize with. Which explains why we remember a quirk like the fact that the character always eats ketchup on their eggs, while it's more of a stretch to recall how they escaped the clutches of the evil overlord.

I'm finally starting to realize the importance of getting deep into a character's point of view. But it's not one of my strengths. Sensory descriptions seem to come easy, but the emotional/visceral ones are still a challenge for me. It always sound clichéed, or overdone, full of too many pounding hearts, clenching fists, and tight throats.

This is where it's difficult for me to be original. I can write you fantastic plots until the cows come home, and eventually get my characters out of a world of trouble, but I can't seem to write how my pov characters are reacting to this trouble without feeling like I've read those words before. Either in my own writing, or worse, someone else's.

How do you keep your writing unique? Can it be learned, or do you think that it's just another element of personal style? What part of novel writing do you feel you need to work on? I'd love to hear it!