Tag Archives: News

Teaser Tuesday

After griping for a couple weeks, I’ve settled on a new work-in-progress. I wrote up an outline last week and a pitch paragraph this weekend, so it’s live and official.

Genre: YA urban fantasy
Word count:
almost non-existent at 1,500 words

Why I can’t wait to write this story: it’s set in my lovely Seattle
Which makes me all kinds of excited; I’ve never written a story that’s set in a place that I know, truly know like Seattle. That old adage, “write what you know”? Eh, not so true. Except now.

Why I am terrified: It’s about fire. We Californians know too well the power of fire — I know it more intimately than I ever wanted to. In the aftermath of the wildfires I’ve been through, I’ve avoided writing, thinking, or dwelling on the topic of fire as much as possible. But it’s been months now since the last fire and I want to tease out my thoughts through fiction. The idea makes my palms sweaty — but I’m going to go through with it. See, fire has two parts: the horrifying red and orange part that destroys and damages — and the period afterward, which brings green and gold and new growth and regeneration.

Without further ado, here’s FELL.

After the apartment fire, Birch sees and smells smoke everywhere — until Harley starts riding her city bus route. He’s more country hick than she is city girl, a mystery boy with nowhere to stay whose presence somehow banishes her recurring fire dreams. As his self-appointed tour-guide, Birch lets him into her city — and into her ashy memories. But Harley’s running from his own fiery past. He’s more country than boy, more wild than human. And the inhuman creatures stalking him through the city threaten to consume Birch, too. If she lets Harley go, the fire dreams come back. But if she lets herself fall for this boy with a thousand secrets, her future might go up in flames with his.

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TIB Newsflash

You know those mornings when you wake up kind of confused, mostly sleepy, and really sad about going to class, work, or anywhere else that isn’t bed?

That was Thursday morning. Until…

I opened up my email and bam the whole day changed. My awesome agent had delightful news: THE INBETWEEN was officially. out. on. submission. with a stunning list of editors that made my stomach flip-flop.

Happy dance!

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RTW: What books do you love that no one else has ever heard of?

These kinds of books are the absolute best. They’re personal indulgences, secret affairs, delightful little refuges that only YOU know about. Now mine will be less secret, as I’m going to tell you all about it, but it will still be my very own secret pleasure, a book I’ve grown up loving and will love until I’m way too old for it (or can you ever get too old for books like these?).

It’s so unheard-of (at least, I think it is?) that I couldn’t find a cover on Google images that matches the one I own. So unheard-of that I didn’t even know there was a sequel until today.

The Tower of Geburah tells the story of three siblings who discover three old television sets in their uncle’s attic during a snowstorm. And the televisions are actually portals to a fantasy world called Anthropos. Anthropos is in deep trouble: King Kardia is in prison and an evil sorcerer, Hocoino, is oppressing everyone else. Only the children can save Anthropos by journeying to the Tower of Geburah. And battling all sorts of evil creatures and befriending the coolest wolves, dwarves, and magical people.

John White’s narrator-voice reminds me of CS Lewis’s voice. He tells the story with the same gentle grace, same benevolent tone as Lewis, and makes many similar allegorical connections. I cry every time I read this book — not only at the sad parts, but at the good parts too because they’re just so good.

Plus one of the main character’s names is Wesley, and I love any book with a character named Wesley.

Now, since it’s thunder-ing and raining and hailing outside, I totally feel like curling up with The Tower of Geburah and transporting myself back to my childhood. Too bad I have class…

***

By the way, I joined the Twitter train yesterday. I loitered around the sign-up page for at least two weeks before taking the plunge — and happily got six followers in about six minutes. How exciting! I’m not really sure how to best use it yet, and I also don’t know the lingo (tweet? retweet? list? what?) but hopefully I’ll get the hang of it. Helpful blog post: http://lisa-schroeder.blogspot.com/

Come visit me at twitter.com/kirstenjoyrice

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Tomorrow: AW Exposed Interview #3 with Phaeal

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The Analogy Machine: Jigsaw Puzzles

First up: Got this email from Mary Kole over at Kidlit in my inbox this weekend:

Congratulations! I’m thrilled to let you know that I’ve picked you as my first place winner for the query contest.

Hurray! The post isn’t up yet over there, but it should appear sometime today. I won a critique of the first 20 pages of my manuscript by Mary Kole herself, who’s an agent with Andrea Brown. It’ll be interesting to hear what she says especially since I’m heading into revision-land right now.

Speaking of revisions, I love doing jigsaw puzzles. Sometimes my family would go skiing in Canada over winter vacations and we’d spend all our non-skiing time playing games. Or doing jigsaw puzzles. Let me tell you: jigsaw puzzles are highly addicting. Not sure why; they’re kind of annoying, too. But there’s something magical about them. The picture only works one way — one single way — and once you graduate to 5000 piece puzzles it literally takes magic to fit everything together.

Revisions are like jigsaw puzzles. Writing in general is like a jigsaw puzzle. Example: I wrote three major drafts of THE INBETWEEN. I mean, major drafts. Each one (althought they kept the same major characters and basic premise) had a vastly (HUGELY CRAZILY) different plot line. And with each one, I’d get to the end (or almost the end or pretty close to the end) and realize that nothing was right. Nothing. The picture wasn’t clear, wasn’t coherent, wasn’t perfect.

So I’d scrap. Think. Begin again.

Problem is, works-in-progress don’t have box-pictures to show the way. You gotta make up the picture as you go and hope it all fits together in the end.

In the end, THE INBETWEEN fit together. I found the right picture and finally dropped the last piece into place. (Some pieces are still kind of loose and sketchy so the puzzle isn’t quite complete. But it’s close.) Still, I’d rather avoid the whole scrap-begin-again process next time. How?

  • Make your own box-picture. (I don’t know what else to call the box-picture. The picture on the box? The jigsaw map? Anyway, you know what I mean). Look big-picture. Try an outline. Or (if you’re anti-outline), at least make some character maps. Sketch out some scenes. Know where you’re going so you don’t end up throwing your jigsaw puzzle out the window into the snow. This is also called —
  • Start with the framework. Remember how you always start jigsaw puzzles with the edges? They’re easy to find. Begin with the pieces that are easy to find: your premise, your main character and his/her motivation. Then see where those take you — hopefully they’ll lead to the center of the puzzle.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment — or backtrack if pieces don’t fit. Really, you are working with jigsaw-like plot pieces when you write. Sometimes you have to fool around. Test things out. Try to link up pieces that may or may not fit together. If nothing seems to be going right, if the picture isn’t shaping up, take things apart again. You can always put them back together.
  • Watch out for missing pieces, a.k.a. plot holes. Get someone else to look over your work — or talk out your ideas with them as you go along. New eyes will spot things your mind automatically skips over. And the worst thing ever is almost finishing only to realize that the final few pieces have disappeared into the couch.

Try this! Show off your jigsaw skill on this super-cool virtual puzzle (impossible to lose the pieces!). My time was 7:03 (because I got distracted half way through) — can you beat me? It’s really satisfying to hear the puzzle pieces click together just like they’ll click together in your book.

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