The Makings of a Pro

Writing novels is not for the faint of heart. There’s the idea sorting, and planning, and then submitting, and then publishing… and then the bad reviews. After all the hours poured into the novel, and then in promoting and publishing it, you have to watch or read as someone tells you it’s not perfect, and then points out everything wrong with your masterpiece. Taking this well, especially on your first book, is very hard. But that’s what Griffin Keener did when I gave him a review that was less than kind (see “Waters of Iwingee”). He even took the time to write an article saying how much he appreciated the feedback. I thought that was so cool, I thought I’d share it with everyone.


The Writer

 Ashley repositioned the bag on her shoulder as she walked though the woods. Her combat boots sunk into the soft mud, leaving defined footprints behind her. Rain drops fell from the trees onto her bare arms. More than once she had to duck to avoid wet spiderwebs. Ashley crawled over rotting logs and ducked under low hanging branches. She passed a fallen bird’s nest, bright blue flowers, and blueberry bushes without a second glance.

When Ashley reached an old Macintosh apple tree, she stopped. The tree was over twenty feet tall with thick branches covered in reddish-green apples and bright green leaves. She ran her hands over the rough bark, smiling, before pulling off her socks and shoes. Ashley gripped the branches with her hands and jumped. Her bare feet landed the lowest branch. Higher and higher she climbed, wrapping her arms and legs around the thickest branches, not looking down. She didn’t stop until she was halfway to the top of the tree. Ashley sat down on a wide branch and picked an apple, peering out from behind the leafy canopy. The cloud covering was beginning to part, revealing deep blue sky. A hawk flew out of the tree tops, silhouetted against the sun for a brief moment before diving back down to Earth. Ashley smiled and pulled a notebook out of her bag, covered in duct tape and filled with dog-eared pages. She fishes a dark blue fountain pen out of one of the side pockets and opened to a clean page. Ashley took a bite of the apple, and began to write.

I Can’t Make This Sh*t Up! 2.0

Here are some more crazy quotes from my life.

“Twerk it!” (A friend. Not directed at me. I don’t twerk)

“A: Do you have abs?

B: No.

A: I have abs!

B: Good for you.

Me: (hysterical laughter)” (a conversation between a friend and an acquaintance.  Don’t remember how this happened exactly.)

“That accent was Ozzy Osbourne visiting Scotland with a German Visa.” ( by a chorus director. The accent really kind of was.)

“If Jesus wasn’t the son of God and all that, he’d be a frickin’ babe!” (from a friend. No comment)

“Brittani, I can’t marry you because I’m pregnant with Jacob’s baby!” ( me, playing a game of ‘Curses’ with both Brittani and Jacob. You’ll get it if you’ve played the game. If you haven’t played the game, you really should.)

“And my mom gave me a belt- which was actually a good present because my old one smelled like fish and I don’t know why.” (a friend, telling me about his Christmas gifts)

“Hey, remember that time I blew up a potato?” (I never got the full story on this, unfortunately.)

If these quotes don’t make you laugh, then they’ll at least make you wonder about the mental stability of the people I hang out with.

Fun fact: Today is the two year anniversary of Ink And Paper! For that I’m putting this picture:

The Library Tunnel (Original Short)

The Bucksport Library is that favorite place of mine that I rarely remember unless I’m walking by it or I want a certain book that I’m not willing to pay money for. It’s how I think all libraries should be; quiet and almost completely devoid of life. Over a hundred and fifty years old, the tiny library still used the card system and had only two computers. You could check out as many books as you could carry out to your car, or you could just sit down in an aisle and read. The library would stay open as long as someone was reading.

It was a place where Twilight was considered an adult book, and the YA bookshelves were decorated in cobwebs, but for some reason, that just seemed to add to its charm.

I had graduated high school only a few minutes before, and for old times’ sake, I went to the YA section, fingering the spines of my favorite books over the years. I paused, finding a book I had never seen before. As far as I knew, the only additions to the library in the last twenty years were all popular bestsellers that everyone had already seen the movie of. But this book was a simple leather-bound book, barely an inch thick. It had no title, and I wondered if someone had forgotten their journal and the librarian had mistaken it for a fallen book.

I pulled it out and then the wall opened up,revealing a dark and narrow tunnel that seemed to go on forever. I ran inside just as the wall slid shut behind me. There wasn’t any way to go but forward. So I grinned and started jogging.

The tunnel behind me lit up,showing pictures and stories. Heartbreaks, victories, and lazy days listening to the Beatles. But the tunnel in front of me remained dark, except for the next step in front of me.

Several times the tunnel split into forks and I turned, choosing on an impulse. I kept running into the unknown, memories lighting up brighter than stars behind me.

At the end of the tunnel was a door, old and well-worn by hands and weather. I pushed it open and came out on a deserted highway. There was a lone sign telling me where I was, covered in dirt and partially hidden by evergreens: Leaving Bucksport. I stepped forward, my choice already made. I touched the sign for good luck and ran out of Bucksport, into the dark unknown, my path illuminated behind me.

Fiction vs. Fact: Rules of Reality

I got into a debate with some of my friends over the Maximum Ride series. They didn’t like it because the science is totally unrealistic. I tried to argue that that didn’t matter because Maximum is so awesome and that’s why it was so good, but they couldn’t see past the science. Look, I know the story is unrealistic. I mean, it’s about kids with wings. And gills. And the ability to not collapse under extreme physical pressure, among other things. And I guess the physics and biology are stretched a bit. But this doesn’t mean the stories aren’t bad. The action’s good, the characters are hysterical, and I still think it’s amazing how well Patterson can write the voice of a fourteen year old girl. Isn’t that enough to look past unrealistic biology and and physics? It is for me, anyway. After all, it’s a story.  Fiction goes by a different set of rules than reality. Glee, Veronica Mars, and Degrassi are not realistic high school experiences, but that doesn’t mean teenagers don’t like them. We don’t turn to fiction for reality, we turn for fantasy, whether that’s magic and dragons, car chases and guns, or Mr. Darcy. So where is the line of reality drawn? For me, it’s when the story contradicts itself. For instance if a book says vampire die from sunlight, but then four chapters later a vampire is walking around in the sunshine and there’s no explanation for it. Or with movies based off books. The book already sets the reality. For the movie to be good it has to follow the same rules of reality. Should we get the facts right, even if it might compromise the story, or ignore facts and write the tale?

Writing Challenge: Vampires

It’s not a bad story and the first half is pretty darn fun, in a YA-adult romance crossover kind of way. What really killed me was that it pulled a bait-and-switch on me. It promised and delivered me a strong heroine, and then took her away just as things got moving. Meena hangs back. Meena gets rescued. Meena’s heart breaks (a lot). Meena gets held hostage.- The Canary Review

This is a review from The Canary Review, one of my favorite places to turn to for good reads. I had already had Insatiable on my reading list because I love Meg Cabot but the review by the canaries made me bump the book up to number one. Knowing Meg Cabot, I thought it might have been an exaggeration, but they actually had it pretty dead-on. The first half was great, especially when they made fun of Twilight. And I could even forgive Meena when she fell in love with Lucien and got a little brainwashed by him because, hey, he’s a vampire, it’s sort of his thing. Also, hanging back in the middle of a vampire war, getting rescued, etc. etc. is also forgivable because she’s a soap opera writer, not a warrior. However, her calling Lucien in the middle of a battle just to hear his voice and whisper sweet nothings does take it a bit far, and she was naive with Dimitri. Meena, for the most part, was a strong character, but she did have some weird anomalies during the later part of the book. But I do a have some hope for the rest of the series- maybe working with (spoilers!) the Palantine Guard will toughen her up. (By the way, this is my guess, but knowing Cabot, Lucien isn’t who she’s going to get together with in the end.) I recommend reading the review by the canaries for a better idea of the book.

But as I was reading the review, and then the book, I was wondering if it is possible to write a good vampire romance- one that’s unmockable, and doesn’t have any of the cliches or usual objections of this particular storyline. So I’m issuing a challenge to all the writers out there to try and write a good vampire romance. Is it possible?

Here are some of the objections:

-age difference

– weak heroine

– sap

– love at first sight

– the fact that the love interest wants to kill the heroine

– sparkles