July 17, 2010

Officially, I'm Just Too Pregnant.

I've officially made it to the 8-month mark and boy, do I feel it. My mental stamina is about as low as my physical stamina, so I'm officially taking "maternity leave" from this blog. I'll still post, just not as regularly until things return to normal.

Thanks to all of you who have been reading. I'll be back ASAP. You guys are great.

July 15, 2010

Classic Fairy Tale: Part 2

Rachelle is sitting on her bed, facing the window. I clear my throat to get her attention. She whirls around. Her eyes a puffy, but I pretend not to notice. She eyes my clothes. "Who are you? What do you want?"

I give my best curtsy. "Your mother has asked that I go on this quest with you... my lady."

She buys it.

It's not long before Rachelle (who, I learned is one of three princesses in the royal family. No princes.) and I are on our way. I tell her that my clothes are "special traveling clothes" so I don't get caught in one of those thick brown dresses with long skirts. I'd break my neck in that. "So... what are we looking for exactly... my lady?"

Rachelle scoffs and shakes her head, starting down the dusty path leading away from the castle. "I don't even know. No one does."

"Ah." How helpful.

Rachelle raises an eyebrow in my direction. "Did no one tell you anything?" She doesn't say it in a mean way. All I do is shrug and try not to look like a total idiot. Rachelle flings her braids behind her so they bounce against her lower back. "My father believes we haven't had rain this year because of some magic. A quest is the only way to fix that problem, in his mind."

Great. We need to make it rain. This could take a while.

Rachelle sighs. "I have half a mind to just disappear. You're welcome to leave me at any time, but I'm afraid you won't be able to go back to the castle. They'd hang you for leaving me alone."

I try to laugh. "Is that all?"

I don't think she got my joke.

I clear my throat and try to stand up straighter. "So you're just going to give up?"

She shrugs, which I realize doesn't look very princess-like, once you see a real princess do it. "Let my sisters handle it. They're more excited about the quest than I am."

I can't wait around here for everyone to realize Rachelle isn't coming back and THEN send the second princess. If my knowledge of fairy tales is any good at all, the second princess will fail, too. The third is the one who'll figure out something useful. We're talking several years of me being stuck in this lame fairy tale.

I throw my shoulders back and look at Rachelle. I give her the look my mom gives when she's trying to get me pumped up before a game. "Princess, you're better than that."

She lifts her chin and eyes me warily. I don't think she was expecting to hear any complaints from the girl in funny clothes. She's probably not used to being questioned, either. Bummer.

"You deserve to solve this. It's your right."

Apparently, this is the same argument her mother or someone made earlier, because Rachelle just rolls her eyes and shakes her head.

I exhale, biting my lower lip. Maybe I need a less direct approach.

Before I can think of a better argument, we see an old lady on the side of the road. Her frail body leans to one side and the hollows of her cheeks are deep enough to store plums. When we get closer, she wriggles her long fingernails at us. Well, at the princess. “Come here, young lady."

Rachelle wrinkles her nose and crosses to the opposite side of the street. But I know what this is. I grab her arm and whisper in her ear. "My lady, if you're going to live outside the walls of your father's house, you need to learn to behave differently."

She lifts her head slightly, listening to my every word.

"Outside the palace, young ladies are expected to be kind to old ladies." Old, creepy, leering hags, too.

The princess pauses and glances at the old woman's tattered clothes and bare feet. But she nods her head once and approaches. "Yes, can I help you with something?"

The old woman looks at Rachelle's feet. "My old feet are so tired and I have no shoes."

I nudge Rachelle, hoping she won't think too much about it. "You can have mine," I whisper.

Rachelle glances at my sneakers and her lower lip trembles, but she takes off her shoes.

The old lady snatches the shoes from the princess and grins so wide, we can see several gaps in her rotting mouth. "Thank you, my dear." She hobbles off.

That's when the rain starts. As the images around me start to fade, I take off my shoes. I'd feel awful if I left Rachelle out here alone, in the rain, without shoes. I manage to kick off my sneakers before my bedroom appears around me.

It's not until later, when I'm getting ready for school, that I realize my sneakers are missing from the closet.

July 14, 2010

Writing with Romance

So... I posted this on time, just not on the right blog. Sorry for the delay. Pregnancy is taking over my life, I'm afraid.

Character relations are important; we all know that. A romantic relationship can make or break a novel (especially in YA). So how do you write romance?

YA author Gail Carson Levine gives some tips on how to write Un-Sappy Romance.

I thought this post by Beth Revis was so inspiring. I'd never given much thought to Love Triangles and what makes one good/bad, but she (and her readers) really nailed it. Make sure to read the comments!

JJ on Uncreated Conscience has a different veiw on romance. She's not into sappy or cliches. Here's what's made an impact on her.

For adult romance, the Knight Agency has a guest post on Loving a Love Scene, for those of you who have trouble with sex scenes.

And finally, Apryl Duncan tells writers how to avoid common, blase description when describing romantic feelings in Emotional Rollercoaster: Writing Love.

July 8, 2010

Classic Fairy Tale: Part 1

I wake up on silk sheets. I’m sunk deep into a bed that feels more like a down pillow than a mattress. As tempted as I am to roll over and go back to sleep, experience has taught me to always be aware of my surroundings in these fairy tales. You never know when a guard or witch will round the corner.

I roll out of the bed onto all fours. My knees clunk against a thin rug over stone floors. Ouch. I fall back on my butt and rub my knees until they stop throbbing.

There’s shouting just outside the room. A group of people walk past the heavy wooden door. I catch the word “quest” and fall back on my hands. Quests take forever.

I trudge to the door and open it in time to see some flowing trains round the corner of a hallway. I follow, staying just around the corner so they can’t hear me, but close enough that I can hear most of the conversation.

“Mother, I should go first. I have been waiting for an opportunity to venture out for so long.”

The next voice, I assume, is the mother. “We will do things in the proper order. You will wait your turn and take the quest only after your sisters have their chance.”
A quiet voice murmurs something. I can’t understand. Hope it wasn’t important.

The mother pshaws. I’ve never actually heard anyone do that before. “I’ll not have my daughters dictate the affairs of my husband’s kingdom. Rachelle, your father has decided that you will go first. I suggest you prepare yourself for a long journey.”

A door bumps shut and the sound of footsteps echo down the hallway. I let them fade away. I’m assuming Rachelle is in her room. And I’m assuming I should probably talk to her.

Part 2/2 of Ivy in "Classic Fairy Tale"

July 3, 2010

Writing Every Day vs. Everything Else

Fourth of July is like Christmas with my family, so I'm... preoccupied. Actually, I've been distracted from my writing all week. Knowing I most likely won't finish finish the first draft of my WIP before the baby is born has lulled me into complacency. I've been doing other things with my time. Mostly reading. (I'm also developing an addiction to couponing. Is that sad?)

In all seriousness, I'm a little afraid of burnout if I push myself to much. I want to be excited to return to my book when the baby learns to sleep (or maybe before).

So, in your world, when is okay to not "write every day"?

July 1, 2010

Snow White and Ivy Thorn: Part 3

Unfortunately for Miss Queen, Snow White is the fairest one of all. This is a big shocker because Snow White is supposed to be dead. After she gets told by the mirror, Miss Queen storms out of the room, muttering about some wuss of a huntsman. I tiptoe after her.

She hurries down the hallway, down a flight of stairs, and into a bedroom. Sorry. Bed chamber. There's a bed with all this fabric draped over it, a desk, a bookshelf, and a huge oak table with some knick knacks on it.

Miss Queen rips books from the shelves and throws them on the bed. I lean against the doorway until she turns around. "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

I push myself off the wall and stroll over to her. "You know, there are better ways of handling Snow White than just killing her," I say. "Not that that plan would work anyway."

What can I say? I got dropped near the castle, I'm going to help the queen. If the powers that be had put me at Snow White's doorstep, maybe I would've just told her not to eat the apple.

Miss Queen puts her hand on her heart, like suggesting she wants to kill Snow White is appalling. The books on her bed tell a different story: Death by Hexes; Curses for that Special Someone; How to Destroy Your Enemies in a Fortnight or Less.

"Look," I say. "Why don't you take that potion you're about to make for yourself--you know, the one that's going to turn you into some old ugly hag--and put it to better use?" Her plan isn't a bad one, it just lacks focus.

The queen stares at me, her mouth parted, which is very un-queenly.

I roll my eyes. She apparently needs a little more help. "Why not give it to Snow White instead? That way, she'll be ugly and you don't have to go ALL the way down to the dwarf's cottage."

Miss Queen's eyes widen and then move to look at the pile of deranged reading material on the bed. Then she puts a delicate finger to her lips and smiles.

Then she disappears. The bedchamber disintegrates, everything.

And I'm back in my room. The clock reads 4:21 AM, so I go back to sleep.
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