Monday, March 5, 2012

Odds and Ends

I'm still not back on a regular writing schedule. Sorry, I know every writer should write regularly, every day, etc., but how many of those writers are still in college? Technically, I do write every day, just not always creatively. But I'll spare you the boring accounts of my in-class responses to Eliot and Woolf and my class participation paragraphs for media effects. Instead, I'll talk a little about the bits and pieces I have been writing.

For starters, I've slid a few actually fun pieces of revision into my "kill all the adverbs" spree in Nightshade. It's amazing how fixing one scene can develop the characters and make the plot more exciting. I'm not great at pacing, but I think I managed to fix it in one area. There was a scene I realized I was telling, not showing. Ian's brain is sleep deprived and I made the mistake of telling what happened. This week I went back in and wrote the scene as if I were seeing it. Here's the first part:

Dad was wrong. During the first half of the day my mind kept flashing images of the murder dream and I couldn’t focus on anything. Ethan had to grab my arm and guide me to History – it was like it was my first time in the school, or I was blind. He led me to my desk and I spent the first few minutes of class with my hands over my eyes. The lights were too bright; they were making my head ache.

Through my haze I heard Mrs. Debors walk in and say, “Everyone pass in your short essays, and when you’re done with that we can learn what really caused the War of 1812.”

Mrs. Debors was a good-natured teacher, never cruel, but the snickering that erupted after her reference to my stupid answer was like red-hot caffeine to my system. Before I could stop to think, I shouted, “We’re all entitled to our opinions.”

The laughing got louder. Why? What was so funny? I looked around the classroom and the number of students doubled. My head ached, and my heart pounded with rage. I stood up, swaying, and shoved my papers off the desk.

“Ian! What are you doing?” Ethan hissed from his seat behind me.

“I can’t take this. I need to get out of here.” This wasn’t right. This wasn’t me. What was happening? Something was controlling me. I stumbled past rows of desks, past Mrs. Debors, and out the door.

A desk moved inside the room and I heard Ethan say, “Food poisoning.” Then there were footsteps behind me. Ethan was following me.

It didn’t matter what he did. I needed to get away from the anger and the thing that controlled me. I closed my eyes and a picture of Claire, murdered, flashed through my mind. I gasped and opened them. The lights. The lights were too bright. They were moving, wiggling back and forth.

There's more where that came from. I go on to show Ethan catching up with Ian and helping him. Also an improvement: in the last draft Ethan allowed Ian to tell him to go away. Ethan's a better friend than that. He won't abandon Ian when Ian's crazy with sleep deprivation.

This may be a long post, because another thing I did was write a summary of The Shifting for a school thing. I'm going to post it in 3, 2, 1....

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Flinn lives in a world of cell phones, physics, and magic. Most people can channel a force that allows them to move objects without touching them, cast simple illusions, and make minor adjustments to the technology they use. Sarah, however, is not one of these people. She lacks the dominant gene for magic, making her a “double recessive” and disabled in a society that relies on magic to function. Because of this, Sarah is excluded from normal teenage life and does not expect much of her future.

Meanwhile, twenty-six-year-old Thomas Carter has more magic than he knows what to do with. Born a double recessive, Thomas had an accident ten years before in Yellowstone Park that gifted him with a wilder, more powerful type of magic than humans have, known as Midsummer magic. He also is granted Sight into the realm of dragons and gnomes such magic comes from. As the only human with this gift, Thomas is considered crazy by his wife’s colleagues.

Their stories become one when Thomas’s wife disappears without a trace and Sarah’s double dominant, magically gifted friend Ryan casts a spell that begins to merge the human world with the Other Realm Thomas sees. As the human and otherworldly magic collide, chaos erupts that threatens to destroy both worlds. To end the spell and free Ryan from the evil that possesses him, Sarah, Thomas, and Ryan travel across a much wilder, more magical United States than they are used to, filled with skinwalkers, jackalopes, and thunderbirds. Their destination is a hub of incredibly powerful Midsummer magic: Yellowstone Park.

There is no going back. The world is changing and Sarah and Thomas must come to terms with who they are and what their places are in a world in flux.

It's not a query, just a summary. I didn't say how it ends because it's irrelevant for the assignment and I do want people to read my book. If you were wondering what The Shifting is about, now you know. Read it when it's published.

Until next week!

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