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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back Cover Excerpt

I have to say, taking a few days off from the writing process has felt wonderful! I fell asleep last night so fast that I don't even remember tossing and turning at all. But I am anxious to get on with my revisions, as well. Anyhow, I took a few minutes this afternoon to tweak the back cover excerpt. I'm not thrilled with this, and it's really too long to go on the back cover, but it's a take off of what I wrote before I actually started writing the novel itself. So, I thought I'd share what I came up with. Feedback is most welcome. What actually ends up on the book should be similar to this:

One year has gone by since Darcy Pennington’s life changed forever. A year ago she’d thought that magic only existed in fairy tales. A year ago the existence of parallel realms would have seemed preposterous to her. A year ago she’d had no real friends. Now all that had changed.

It is the summer before freshman year and a return to Cedar Cove Family Camp also means a return to Alitheia for Darcy and her five friends. Remembrances of Alitheia are bittersweet for Darcy, however, as her elusive purpose and uncertain future in the magical realm continues to evade her. Egged on by the boy she is supposed to someday marry, Darcy petitions the Oracle, a mysterious entity that can answer any question, and finds herself sucked into a journey that she did not intend to take. Darcy soon comes to realize that her journey to the Oracle has thrown the outcome of the prophecy itself into question, and endangered both new friends and old. Uncertainties continue to mount between Darcy and her companions, and an unwelcome visitor from Cedar Cove adds a layer of mystery that none of them were prepared for.

When Darcy reaches the end of her journey, it is to find herself with more questions than she started out with. And there is a cost associated with every answer that the Oracle gives... a cost that may be far greater than Darcy is willing to pay.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reflections on being DONE!

I reach a point in every book that I'm reading (okay, if it's any good) where I simply can't put it down. I love that feeling of just HAVING to finish it, no matter how many hours you have to sit on your duff. Well, I reached that point in writing this weekend, which is rather more brain-exhausting than reading, but it was a similar feeling nonetheless. I wrote eight pages Sunday afternoon and, because I did not reach my requisite ten pages before my children woke up from their naps, I sat back down after they went to bed to write another two. Well, two turned into ten, turned into twenty, and before I knew it, I was staring at the clock on my laptop reading 3:38AM and thinking to myself, "I'm going to finish this, I just HAVE to!" And so I made myself some coffee, replaced my contacts for my glasses, and dug in. Part of the reason that I needed to get it done so bad was that I had just finished writing the climax of the story. (This included pacing back and forth across my living room at 2 in the morning with my journal and a pencil trying to write a poem for the climax chapter). Having gotten through that part, the downward slide increased (as it were... see blog post "Like Walking Downhill")and I couldn't shake the sense that I was basically finished with the story, even with thirty more pages to write. Thirty pages really isn't much, however, in story-land, so I also had to condense and cut to keep the book around 380 pages. Now, don't get upset! If, when revising my draft, I decide that the end feels rushed, I will add back in some of the elements that I cut out. (I easily had enough material planned for this book to take it to 450 pages.) I think that it will be effective as is, however, and that some of the cuts I made actually add to the mystery of the ending and will give me more things to build off of in the third book. Anyhow... so I finished the last chapter at 8:30 in the morning, by which time my two small children were squawking like baby birds to be let out of their beds, and so I reluctantly tried to accept that the epilogue was not going to get written at that time. But, I just couldn't, just COULDN'T, leave it like that! So after feeding my children breakfast, I put the laptop up on a shelf in my living room (out of the reach of grasping, sticky fingers) and typed the six-page epilogue while my boys hung on my legs (literally). You might think that makes me a bad mother, and I don't blame you, but it's not every day that you finish a novel, and I figured that it wasn't going to kill them if Mommy ignored them for a half hour. And now I'm able to give them so much better attention that the hard part of the process is over. Hey, I slept for over eight hours last night for the first time since I started writing The Oracle. That's something to rejoice about all on its own!

Okay, so rough draft of The Oracle? Check! Commence revisions...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to Write a Fight

So, I'm a girl, obviously. The most intimidating thing for me to write is a fight sequence. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I am a Lord of the Rings officianado, and I have watched ALL the special features on ALL three extended director's cut dvds. Anyhow, where I'm going with this is that in those special features, Peter Jackson mentioned that he never wanted to write "kissing scenes," and so he would just write in "and they kiss" on the script and hand it over to the women to fill in. Likewise, the women didn't want to write fight scenes, so they would write in "and they fight" and hand it back to the men. I couldn't help but think about this over the last couple days as I knew I had this imminent fight to write. I'm always intimidated by writing fights because I worry that I won't be able to make it realistic or exciting. But then I got to thinking... I am NOT a sissy girl. I would rather watch Terminator any day over When Harry Met Sally, and I have seen more action movies than your average teenage boy. Of course I can write a fight scene! And it's not like I don't have any existing fight scenes to reference for help, so I took out a few of my favorite fantasy novels and re-read some fights to see how others have done it. All things considered, it was quite a process just to psych myself up to get this one chapter written, but I think the outcome has been pretty successful. I wrote it VERY late last night, and I love it! But I guess the jury will be out until the book is published and read by others. SO, the chapter is called "Magician and Mayhem," and I look forward to hearing from you all whether I wrote it successfully or not.

I have reached page 286 and I think that I could possibly finish this book over the weekend. It sure would be nice to be able to sleep again!

My three-year-old is watching Phineas and Ferb right now and Phineas just said, "Ferb, I think we just stopped, and/or started, an alien invasion!" Lol. I love that show.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Like Walking Downhill

Well, I can happily say that I have reached the halfway point in The Oracle. I am on page 190 and, like I already said, I want the novel to be about 375 pages. So I guess you could say that I am a little over halfway. Yay! Writing the second half of a novel is a little bit like what Treebeard said about going south: it's like walking downhill. I took the time tonight after my husband went to bed to read over the last fifty pages that I wrote, and I'm very pleased with it. I wrote a chapter today in which I introduced seven new characters. Let me just say that I had a lot of fun with naming these characters, and anybody who likes to look for deeper meanings in things should look them up after the book comes out. :O) It's very late, I'm very tired, and I'm going to bed now.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I have managed to turn out over fifty pages this week, which is great. I feel like, okay, I can do this! I am now on page 118 and have a good chunk of the main plot introduced, all though I haven't really gotten to the meat and potatoes of the book yet, which is, of course, the journey to the oracle. I'm feeling okay about that, though, because I can't treat this story like it exists in a vacuum. I have elements from the first book that have to be incorporated and expanded upon, and I have to think about the four books that will follow this one. SO, while the Oracle is the main point of this book, it is only a part of the overall story, so it's okay if I spend some time on other things. Really what I see before me right now are three sub-conflicts: One that is internal for Darcy, one that she and Tellius will tackle together, and one between the Six and Colin Mackaby that they will hash out together with Rubidius. And all of these have to play court to the overall conflict of getting rid of Tselloch and closing the gateways to his world. I need to acknowledge, too, that there will probably be further sub-conflicts that will emerge as the story goes on. SO much to keep straight! It's fun, though, it really is, and every time I have a eureka moment about how to piece things together, I feel really good about myself. (That sounds rather self-absorbed, doesn't it? Oh well). I'm going to do my best to keep my momentum up, and I think I can really get this thing done by early August. My husband is going to read through the first couple chapters tomorrow and give me some much-needed feedback. Looking forward to that!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Getting Back on Track

Okay, so I've had a few delays this summer with my writing schedule. My boys were sick the first week of June, and then we took a family road trip the third week and I, unfortunately, did not get any real work done on The Oracle while we were visiting family in MN. (We did have a lot of fun, though). Driving 17 hours, and through the night nonetheless, does give one plenty of time to ponder plot, however, so I did get quite a bit of brainstorming done. I think it was sometime mid-Missouri in the middle of the night while all my boys (husband included) were sleeping that I figured out some pretty juicy details. My brain has always worked well late at night (or early in the morning, however you want to look at it), I often have a hard time falling asleep because my brain is so active after dark, so it was actually a pretty productive time for me. I also had the presence of mind to write down everything I came up with once we arrived at our friends' house. Aside from that, however, work on my book on the trip was nil. Okay, so taking stock of everything, I had about fifty pages completed when we left. In the five days that we've been home I have really put my nose to the grindstone to get back on track and I managed to write 28 pages. Unfortunately, that's not enough, so I have to pick up the pace. I figured out the math that if I am shooting for another 375 page novel, I need to write roughly 10 pages a day to finish by August 2nd when my teacher in-service begins. I could push the deadline back to finishing by the time school starts, though, which still puts me at about 7 pages a day. So let's just average things out to 7-10 pages a day. That's a little daunting, but I'll get it done. I'm through the most difficult portion of the writing, I think. My main characters are back in Alitheia and almost everything that needed to be re-introduced has been. I've also introduced a couple new characters that I'm pretty excited about and everything seems to be falling into place nicely for me to build to the real conflict of the story. I wrote a description of Tellius today, as he is at age 12, and, well, let's just say that adolescence is not always friendly. I should know, as I teach adolescents, and I get to observe their physical transformations. Some of them breeze through it, but it is really rough on others. I do have to say, though, sometimes the kids that look the most awkward through their adolescent years turn out to be the most attractive people in the end. *wink*