Tag Archives: Random Story

The Beach Salvage (tension, part two)

Building tension is one thing. You can craft all the craziness you want, and ramp up the stakes in every conversation, but it’ll mean nothing if you don’t create a satisfying climax.

The other week, a string of storms blew several large, 30-40 ft sailboats onto one of the beaches here. I just so happened to be playing volleyball on the next sunny day when a crew of men were trying to pull one of the boats out of the sand. This boat was buried. Really, really buried. The keel probably shot 10 feet or so into the ground and wet sand filled the cabin.

The crew had decided to loop a chain around the base of the keel. The chain was connected to a tow truck that was in the beach’s parking lot. Of course my friends and I headed over to check things out. A bunch of other spectators had gathered around the boat with cameras and frowns and lots of curiosity. As people crowded to closer to watch and whisper, a security car showed up to keep things under control.

“Stand back!” one of the crew guys shouted. “When the tow truck pulls, this whole boat’s gonna blow up!”

We were stoked. What a cool afternoon!

“Stand farther back!” the crew guy and the security car told us. “The debris might fly fifty feet, and you don’t wanna get hit with any of it.”

Wow. Danger? Possible death? We moved back, but not too far.

As the tow truck started up, the crowd hushed. This was it. The boat was going to blow! The crew gave the signal and the tow truck shifted into gear. The chain made a grinding noise against the keel —

Then —

Silence.

Lots of silence.

And then the security car drove up and told us to go home; the crew was giving up and the fun was over.

Lamest story ever?

Yes, I’m sorry I put you through it, but it proves the point.

When you make your book sing with tension, you’d better deliver. Build to a satisfying climax that tests your characters’ strengths and changes them forever. Don’t just wrap things up with a couple of hugs — or, in this case, a “just kidding”.

Maybe this seems obvious, but I can think of several books that ended with a huge anticlimax — okay, mainly the fourth Twilight book — and it can be tempting to reach the end of your book and just want to be done. Don’t do that. First blow up the boat, scatter some debris, and make the evening headlines. Then pack up and go home.

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The Analogy Machine, the-call-part-five, and other stories

Just to keep you waiting, other stories come first:

I sprained my ankle this weekend. Rock climbing. I fell off the wall and my ankle went snap. Now I am officially The Invalid. It’s kind of nice because my friends are very helpful. But it’s not nice at all because the health center is closed so I have no crutches — and I’m not sure how I’m going to get to my 8 am class. Bright side? Suddenly I have lots of time to revise.

Now for the Analogy Machine: There’s nothing like having an agent.

fireworks 5

Once upon a time, I submitted my TI query letter for the Kidlit contest. The next day, I got an email in my inbox from someone named Ammi-Joan Paquette. She’s an associate agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency and she really liked the sound of my query letter. One week later she’d read my full manuscript and fallen in love with it. The rest was history.

She’s awesome. She’s determined, passionate about my book, super cool. She’s been an agent since last April and she’s already a pro — I talked with some of her clients and they had nothing but wonderful things to say about her. And I am still walking on the clouds, pinching myself every now and then because I dreamed about this for ages — and it’s finally reality!

The scoop right now: we’re working on some revisions and then — I’ll keep you all updated! We both have high hopes…

(Tomorrow… will be awesome. Come back.)

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The Call (part four): Be careful what you wish for

Because…

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The fireworks just won’t stop. Luckily I have lots of July 4th-esque pictures on my computer, so no sign of running out yet. But really, be careful what you wish for. I always thought it would be the coolest thing ever to have two agents want my book — and it is cool. Really really cool. But my fantasies forgot the stressful part.

Writers want agents who are:

  • passionate about the book!
  • convinced it will sell
  • knowledgeable about the market/industry
  • willing to spend lots of time marketing the book to editors, so —
  • passionate about the book!

What if two agents don’t just meet the requirements, but blow them away?

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Well, yes. Fireworks.

Lots of time thinking, too. Researching. Thinking.

Will keep you updated. Off to think.

***

PS: I have to tell this Halloween story:

We were walking downtown on Saturday night, all cold and kind of creeped out because of Sketchy People (yes, capital letters!) — when this homeless man JUMPED out at us and yelled —

“BOOOGIE — WOOOGIE — WOOOGIE!”

And as we were screaming and running away, he was like (in a smoker-gravelly voice) —

“Well hey, it’s Halloween…”

And it made my day. What a great guy. It was, after all, Halloween, and kudos to him for scaring us to death.

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Teaser Tuesday

Happy Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday is going to be short for no particular reason. But first I would like to tell you a story. It is a true story about a conversation I had with a boy sometime last week. Last week was very hot — maybe in the two hundreds? I died. Anyway (this takes place at dinner and I had juuuust met this boy at the start of the meal) —

All of us: The showers in [our dorm last year] were so much better.

Me: I haven’t tried the showers yet.

(Side note: it was actually the SECOND day of being here. Classes hadn’t even started yet.)

Boy: You haven’t taken a shower yet????

Me: Um…

Boy: I took like three showers today.

And… that was the end of the conversation. We are not friends currently. I think he’s afraid of me? But I promise I’ve taken LOTS of showers since then. (And it’s a true fact: our showers last year were so much better.)

[Teaser snipped]

beach walk

beach walk at sunset

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