Thursday, August 26, 2010

Static Tale vs. Story Variations

In a folklore class I took in college, my instructor told me something that I have never been able to forget. He stated that a healthy story is one that is retold not only many times, but in many variations. It is only when a tale becomes static and conforms to one storyline alone that it runs into the danger of being lost.

Would Atlantis or Camelot still hold the same mystique if their rise and falls hadn't been captured in ink by so many pens? Would Cinderella be half as glamorous if she hadn't lost so many slippers at different balls? I wonder.

I believe the allure of the story retelling or spin off is that it starts with a place/premise beloved to readers, but then takes them on a brand new journey. The Child-like Empress knew this when she entrusted Bastian with her kingdom's last grain of sand so that he could rediscover and "rescape" Fantasia with the power of his own imagination. *(Read Michael Ende's The Neverending Story)

Story variations not only allow, they encourage the expansion of horizons that people sometimes forget still have worlds of room to grow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Off the page

This is one of my favorite writing exercises because it is so spontaneous. If you are having trouble with a character, take them off the page. What I mean is, introduce them to external stimuli and scenarios.

For example, how would your character react if you dropped him/her in the mall? What kind of shops would they visit first, the tattoo parlor or the Build-a-Bear workshop? What clothing stores would they prefer? Or maybe your character is not a mall rat and would find him/herself perfectly miserable. Good. Bombarding your character with external stimuli helps to develop and reveal their tastes and personalities.

Besides, it's fun!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I've decided to combat the "like,um, ya know" grind with a weekly dose of splendiferous syllables. Here is my personal all-time favorite adjective (besides splendiferous, of course):

1. SIDEREAL, meaning "of or pertaining to the stars."

*Check out this article by Jess Sheidlower to get some interesting statistics on word count/origin of the English language.

Please, feel free to send me your favorite words. The more, the merrier!

Work cited Retrieved August 15, 2010 from:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Giftwish & Catchfire

Today I want to talk about two of the most captivating fantasy books I've ever read, Giftwish and Catchfire by Graham Dunstan Martin.

Now, I'd like to preface my gushing review by acknowledging that both books are brimming over with so much descriptive imagery that sometimes I found them a bit difficult to follow. Yet that is precisely part of their charm! Martin twists syllables into strangely fantastic sentences and metaphors that I would never think of in a million years. One of my favorites is the description of the wizard Hoodwill, who is said to smile "like a knife" (In Catchfire, p. 6).

I would dearly like to see such a smile.

And then there's the story itself. All the best elements of fantasy included: Wizards, a dragon, a peasant lad forced to play the role of champion, and a witch girl with the double soul of a princess.

In a creative writing class I took in college, a few were of the opinion that fantasy tales are often the same. Personally, I believe the fantasy genre is more like a game board with new rules and pieces for each game, and Martin plays it better than most!

Work cited:

Martin, Graham Dunstan. Catchfire. Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I am very pleased to announce that I have accepted an offer of representation from Natalie M. Fischer of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

I just want to say to all my fellow writers still agent-hunting, NEVER GIVE UP! Keep writing and revising. It pays off in time. For some, perhaps after a short while, for others, longer. It took me about four years of serious scribbling, research and revision to come to this point in my writing career, with oodles of rejections along the way. But here I am. I can't believe it myself!

Now for further revisions and editor-hunting . . .

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Global Guinea Pig Reader Appreciation Day

I have decided to proclaim August 1st Global Guinea Pig Reader Appreciation Day. By guinea pig reader, I mean those wonderful, long-suffering souls we scribblers afflict with multiple drafts and barrage with endless plot questions. After all, why wait for publication and the acknowledgements page?

So, without further ado, thank you! Anandi (for saucer eyes, popcorn, and scissors), Becci (for arguing me into writing a better story), Mary Alice (for threatening bodily harm if I don't finish my drafts), Tonya (for clapping when I run out of pixie dust), Misty(for your keen observations & anticipation), Mary, Savannah & Rhet (for the most awesome road trip critique), Trang (for believing when I didn't), Letty (for the best email encouragement EVER), Audrey (for all the fairies). Special thanks to my college creative writing instructors, including Neil Newel, Dr. Dean Hughes, Dr. Patrick Madden, & Brandon Sanderson, and the multifarious individuals in my life whose advice, instruction, and encouragement helps me to press my dreams into syllables. Always, all my thanks to Bonnie, who in the brief iridescent years as my mother taught me to seek the ink inside.

Please accept my mickle gratitude. Yeah, mickle. It's a truly marvelous little word that should be used more often. Benjamin Franklin did in Poor Richard's Almanack. Consult the Google and oracles and be enlightened!