The Novelist and the Not-Quite-Happy Ending

I hate how the smell of coffee can permeate one’s clothing in under thirty seconds. Especially if one happens to be a tea drinker. I spent a couple hours in Starbucks writing this morning, and even after a shower I still stink. Yuck. And in case anyone was wondering, the tea at the old Bucks of Star leaves pretty much everything to be desired. What they lack in taste they make up for in central locations, I guess.

Anyways. Between Saturday and this morning, I pounded out another 3k on Seraphine and am hurtling myself towards the ending (at least I think so). Made an important discovery about the plot today, and am feeling kinda smug about how clever I’m being. Don’t worry, that’s sure to evaporate as soon as I go back and read this thing. 🙂 Also, there’s no way out of my tragic ending. I’m such a hypocrite about endings. Happy endings with a tinge of bittersweet are my favorite kind to read, with plain old happy endings a close second. I hate sad endings. I don’t know why I write them. Just following the demands of the story, I suppose.

Speaking of which, I was up until nearly one this morning finishing Shannon Hale’s The Actor and the Housewife, which, incidentally, never quite made it over to my “Currently Reading” tab. The book follows the quirky friendship of Mormon housewife Becky Jack and famous British actor Felix Calahan. It’s hilarious, and sad (I cried. Shannon Hale made me cry. We’re talking Kleenex, here.), and didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but the way it probably should, even though I’m not sure I want to admit that. Ms. Hale’s writing is bright and bouncy and lyrical all at the same time, and she’s penned some of the most witty dialogue in the history of prose. All told, an enormously touching book. *sniffle*

And now, for this week’s goal: finish Seraphine by Wednesday.
And this week’s incentive: ordering my NaNoWriMo t-shirt.

October looms nigh. Which means November is right around the corner. Which means I really need to figure out what’s happening at the end of my novel.

After Wednesday, of course.

Here an Update, there an Update and another little Update

Happy Friday, peeps! As the title promises, here are some updates:

Seraphine is up to 10,036 words, and I’m ready to be finished with it but I’m not yet. 😛 How quickly the romance dies! I still like the story and I think it could be good, one day, after lots of editing, but I’m really feeling the lack of outline and wondering if it’s turning out anything like the original idea. But I am glad I’m doing it, and I do think the story has merit, and I’m gonna finish it!! I’m hoping I can wrap it up in another 5k and be done by the end of the month. We’ll see. Incidentally, what does one call a story that’s 15,000 words long? Certainly not a short story and nowhere near novel (or even novella length). Hmmm. This is why I’ve been calling it a not-so-short story; guess that will have to do!

The partial of Whale and the Tree was rejected yesterday. 😦 Sad, but the agent was very nice and the letter left me feeling ever-so-slightly encouraged. Maybe because I’m irrepressibly hopeful, but you’ll have that. Still waiting to hear back from the full. Trying not to hope too much on that one, but… I definitely am. 😛 I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for all your comments regarding the Roen/Wren post from Wednesday. I’ve decided I’m definitely keeping Wren’s name, so hooray!

Rose Queen edits didn’t get very far this week. I think I worked through part of a chapter on Tuesday, making a few very minor word-choice changes. So pretty epic fail on progress there.

And the elusive ending for this year’s NaNo? Still elusive, though I feel like I’m *this* close to figuring it out. Here’s hoping!!

Book Review: The Winter Prince

First published in 1993 (Was that really sixteen years ago???), The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth E. Wein, tells the story of Medraut, eldest—and illigetimate—son of Artos, high king of Britain, as he struggles to come to terms with his jealousy of his younger half-brother, heir to the throne.

This is a gripping, powerful book, at times disturbing and dark, but always beautiful and elegantly told. The story, the characters, the setting, the history—all are marvelously drawn. The writing itself is exquisite. We’re talking Charlotte Bronte-level gorgeousness of prose, here:

We rode through a tangle of dripping trees, then burst into a cloudy brown clearing, silvered over with mist, to see the rusty deer bright bounding through the winter bracken.

Sentences like that make me my little INFP heart soar. Dripping trees! Cloudy brown clearing! Silvered mist! Rusty deer bright bounding through the winter bracken! I want to marry this sentence!

Um, at any rate, this is a beautiful story told by a fabulously talented writer, and I highly recommend it.

A Naming Conundrum

Okay, so I’ve a question regarding character names. Let me ‘splain.

My yet-to-be-penned 2009 NaNoWriMo novel is a sort-of sequel to two earlier novels (written in 2005 and 2007, respectively), and has a few characters who carry over. One of these is a rockin’ female named Roen, and although she isn’t the main character, she’s quite important and is present throughout most of the novel. I’m also introducing a new female character (she’s not the MC, either, but is also important) who wants to be named Wren. Question is this: Roen and Wren are really similar-sounding names. Are they too much alike? Should I call Wren something else even though the name seems to fit her? Or is it enough that the names look different on the page? What do you think?

And on a related note, I still can’t figure out my ending. ARGH!!!

And on an unrelated note, the greater Phoenix area totally got gypped in terms of a monsoon season this year. No rain for me. Just sun. Forever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever…

I Don’t Know Half of You Half as Well as I’d Like…

Well, first off, a great big Happy Birthday to these guys:

(Yes, I’m one of those.)

Second off, my whale bag came yesterday!!! It’s super cute, and today will be its first official outing:

And lastly, because, really, this post should have something to do with writing, I give you my Writing Goals for the Week:

  1. Write as much as possible on Seraphine, and hopefully start edging towards the ending
  2. Keep brainstorming for this year’s NaNoWriMo novel, and hopefully figure out what exactly happens at the end!!
  3. Keep editing The Rose Queen.
  4. Try not to have a miniature heart attack every time I check my email. Er, I mean… Wait patiently to hear back from agents.

And there you have it. Hope everybody’s week is off to a fabulous start! Don’t forget to eat some cake for Bilbo and Frodo today! 🙂

Update Friday

Okay, so thought I’d jot off a quick update.

First off (and most important ;-)), thanks for all your input about the Adorable Whale Bag of Adorableness! I decided, after much thought, to go with the messenger bag, with possible purchase of the pocketed one to follow at a later date. I can NOT wait for it to arrive!! Wa-hoooo!! 🙂 🙂

Both of my status queries garnered very very nice responses—one hoping to have an answer by the end of the month, the other hoping to have an answer soon. I’m not exactly sure what this means, beyond the simple fact that both agents are exceptionally nice people and I get to wait some more. 😛 / 🙂

Seraphine is up to 7,027 words, and I’ve definitely reached the middle because I feel like it’s started to flounder a bit. Still, I think I can press through and wrangle this thing on to the end. I think. Next task is to make my characters fall in love, reveal pertinent backstory, and then zap ’em with my beautiful but tragic ending. Sounds easy, right?

Finished reading Skin Hunger the other night, and I liked it pretty well. One of those stories that sort of starts out quietly and slowly builds up to something profound, but is written well enough to keep your interest. Except…

Let’s talk about trilogies for a minute. You know how in most trilogies, the individual volumes, although very intricately connected to each other, have their own story arc? Build-up, conflict, at least partial resolution to the conflict, leading to a semi (or perhaps full-blown) cliffhanger ending. Right? You know those?

Skin Hunger didn’t follow this pattern. It was starting to get really, really interesting when it stopped. Just… stopped. No ending whatsoever. And I know it’s part of a series and that the second book is out (and I’ve reserved it at the library), but it left me feeling a bit cheated, because it didn’t really feel like a complete book. It didn’t resolve anything. But then maybe that was the point. I don’t know.

What do you think? Should books that are part of a series be able to—at least partly—stand alone?

I’ll leave you with a link to book editor Cheryl Klein’s thoughts on what makes writing good.

The Adorable Whale Bag of Adorableness

So, ever since I penned The Whale and the Tree, I’ve been irrevocably drawn to purchase adorable things with whales on them. So far, I have a t-shirt, and that’s about it. And then, on two separate occasions, I saw people wandering around in public with the most fantastic whale tote bag that was an absolute must-have (if you’re me). So I googled it, and found it, except there’s a problem. There’s more than one version.

The adorable tote with pockets:

The adorable messenger bag:

My problem? Which one do I want??? It’s cruel to be forced to make this kind of decision.

What’s your vote?

P. S.  Aren’t they ADORABLE???

P. P. S. The bags are made by Bungalow360, and you can purchase them on Amazon if you really wanna nick my style! 😉

P. P. P. S. What? Writing? Um, yeah, I’ll get to that later. Promise.