Thankfulness, Day 17

Where does the time go? We’re already almost done with the month, which means almost the end of the year (and the birthday of my husband and I). Today, I’m going ot come right out and say it: I’m thankful for stories.

I’m a sucker for a well-crafted story. I will stay up all night reading, I’ve been so in love with books that I’ll forget to eat, take them with me to use the rest room and all manner of devotions. But the thing I love about them most, is the way they stick with me.

Romeo and Juliet. Pride and Prejudice. Warm Bodies. Twilight. The Vampire Diaries. Sherlock. iZombie. Cinder. A Game of Thrones. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. F-R-I-E-N-D-S. 

I can tell you how each of these impacted my life, my outlook in some way or another and this is only the stuff I came up with in the first thirty seconds of thinking. Because I can come up with loads more. I promise.

A good story makes you remember what it’s like to be yourself while being someone else. A good story makes you forget yourself in order to be someone else. A good story makes you feel emotions that aren’t yours, recall details from the past which may or may not be “real” and makes you connect. But it is a great story that makes you do all those things while getting you to forget that all of that is found in the pages of a book.

Reading transforms you. You are no longer hunched in a chair, sipping on coffee. You aren’t even turning the pages. You’re witnessing heroic feats from the back of dragons, taking refreshment at an exclusive estate. You’re a willing participant in the greatest theater of all: your own mind. Because in the end, opening a great book is something that sticks with you. It makes you read just one more chapter even though you needed to get to sleep hours ago. 

And if I’m going on and on about books, why did I include TV shows and adaptations?

Because those have the possibility to alter your reality too. A great movie/TV show knows when to harbor secrets and when to pull out all the stops. A great movie/show will get you hooked with one liners and insider jokes. A great movie/show will cause you to forget that you have things to do, because you get to find out what happened to the characters at the end of the next episode (unless you’re waiting to find out what happened to Glenn, and then you’ll probably need to bathe and eat because it’s going to take a while). A great movie/ show will lead you to fall in love with that one character, and even though you know it’s a fictional character, if you ever met them in real life, they’d be your soul-mate, for sure. And just as you think you’ve seen it all, you watch that scene. You know, that scene and your world crashes down around you. You don’t understand how it is that anything will ever be the same and you think you might just have to give up watching it because it wouldn’t be right. But you come back anyway, because you just have to know what happens next.

And as the credits roll, the last paragraph on the last page comes to an end, it’s like saying goodbye. You know that you could alwyas go back to the beginning, but you know too much, you already know what’s going to happen. But you can’t live without the thrill of a good read/show/movie and you start over. You notice things that you didn’t before. Things that make you scream out SO THAT’S WHAT THAT WAS. And it’s like living the moments for the first time all over again.

It is those shows/books/movies that I refer to today. And I am fairly certain that without them, the world would be a much lonelier, boring place.

Advertisements

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like A Novel

I’ve been hard at work on my NaNoNovel and there are some really amazing things which have occured. 

First, I’ve crossed the 16k word mark (32% done with NaNoWriMo 2015)

Second, I have a working title: The Queen of Souls.

Third, what started out as a YA Fantasy has now evolved into a ParaRom (something I NEVER expected)

And in honor of all that, for you week 2 spoiler, I have a working synopsis. It may change, but I’m confident that the main bits will remain (however, within 9 days I switched genres, so who knows where we will be by the end!)

Katerina Alkaevna has suffered through everything: losing her family to a fire as a child, an abusive boyfriend and being kidnapped. The only thing she’s never had a chance to do is fall in love. Upon meeting a tall, dark and steamy barista in her local town, she realizes that love might actually be the worst thing to ever happen to her-and that’s after she dies.

 Fighting to end a decades long war between the monarchs and the wasps and bring not only herself, but also her lover back from the dead, Katerina must embrace her destiny or lose everything she’s worked for. A crime of passion put her in this position and it will take nothing less to get her untangled from the threads of fate.

Chapter 5

So today, I’ve been madly noveling, and although I am glad to have a break from homework, it’s interesting that I never really escape it. Today’s thankfulness comes from being 1/6 of the way to where I was before. But the thing is, I’m writing an entirely new book, and so I think I’m really only about a tenth of the way there, which is even more exciting to me. Anyway, what I’m truly thankful for is inspiration. For me, it comes from life, coffee and great playlists. I think that’s really great, and there’s something quite amazing about taking a blank page, a nothing, and creating an idea, a something. So, in honor of that, I’m going to offer a small segment of my WIP (work in progress) and go back to work. I chose this because it’s one of those scenes I can’t descide how to rework. [This is part of Chapter FIVE, the main character Kat is reading from an old book called The Love of the Queen of Souls. It’s the scene I just finished, and it’s easily the flimsiest but it serves a purpose and well, PLOT TWIST.]

           There was once a summer princess who longed for the chill kiss of winter. She craved the balance and poetry of the cold and the warmth. Her heart was met each day by the warmth of the sun and she could take it no longer. On the evening of her twenty seventh year, she ran from her life and met a stranger in the woods. He was just the frost she’d waited for and she invited him to accompany her to back to her home and immediately fell in love with him.

           They were forbidden to be together, but the summer princess could not forbid her heart from feeling and she secretly married the stranger in the woods. They were very happy, each completing the other in ways they had never known before. They were warned about growing hostilities because of their love, but the summer princess had more news: she was with child. Still, their union did not make everyone happy and the forces of summer and winter, ever at odds, went to war.

           By the time the princess gave birth to not one child, but a pair of twins, the winter and summer courts were rapidly running through their supplies and soldiers and a truce could not be found. The summer princess and her stranger in the woods were betrayed by a most beloved friend and were forced to give up their children, a son and a daughter, in order to spare their lives. As the children were taken away, the summer princess sacrificed her life so that her children would have a chance. A great fire was set to their home and trapped within, the stranger in the woods and the summer princess became spirits, collecting the souls of the winter and summer folk who could not pass on. In a final act of desperation, the summer princess offered the sky people, who ruled the earth and all those within, her life forever in exchange for her babies, that they might be free.

           But the sky people were a vengeful sort, and did not suffer the summer princess lightly, as they blamed her for disrupting the harmony they had created. A curse was placed on her daughter, that she might never find happiness until the war between summer and winter was over. Her son was not cursed, but was stripped of his memories and destined to return to the winter, who would betray him. One of the sky people, a young mother herself, took pity on the children, knowing that all that had happened was because of love, and they were the product of good intentions. She knew that the curse of the daughter and the fate of the son would be what came to pass, but in the event that they found each other, a great alliance would be formed, one that would cause peace to regain control.

           For their unwillingness to compromise, both the summer and winter were forced to live out their lives and fight their wars amongst the humans. They would never be allowed to return to the sky people and their homes, nor could they pass on to the land of souls until the princess and prince are reunited and the war is ended.

           
Katerina came to the end of the story and looked up. Natalia’s eyes were glassy with tears and she couldn’t look at Kat. At the end of the story was a page that looked like it had been added in, but Katerina couldn’t read it. It was in some sort of loopy lettering in some language that she’d never seen. 

Things, Excitement!

A little while ago I wrote about how my computer crashed and sent all my things-including the story I had been working on for over a year-to the abyss. I wrote about how I had an early edition on paper and that from the ashes I would rebuild. I’ve found that my scenario is the best thing that could ever happen to my creative license. 

As I look over the words that I wrote before, I can see what the editors and publishers saw. I can laugh about the mistakes I made in an eager attempt to get it done, the amateur manner in which my characters behaved. That was not the story I should have written. It was a mess.

So today, instead of fervishly trying to copy down the words that I had written to produce a terrible tragedy of a book, I scrapped the project for real. Not just starting over, but an entirely new story. Sure, the key points are still the same, and my ideas are really similar-but the presentation is completely different. I have new desires and so do my characters.

It will be darker, more believeable, more like the story I wanted to write but failed to before. What’s more, I will be able to say that I’m writing an entirely new story for this NaNoWriMo, because I will be. This time around, I won’t be hanging on to over-used lines and stereotypes but jumping into unknown territory with characters that feel as real to me as people I went to high school with. 

I think this is a great metaphor for my own life. I have a predetermined plan in my head, where I follow a plan that I made ages ago, saying the words that I have heard over and over before. I know that there are options out there, and that I have complete freedom to reach out and take hold of the new and the bold, but I’m so attached to the story I’ve already made. Believe me, I cried so hard when my manuscript disappeared. And I think that’s an entirely acceptable metaphor for life. I fight so hard to keep the outdated parts of me, just for the sake of saying “But see? I did this!” when what I really need to say is “But see? I’m making new paths!” I never like the change that is imposed upon me: graduating, moving, starting new jobs, making new friends, but in the end those changes are the exact reason I want to keep revising my chapters, my life.

So goodbye first draft, it’s been really nice getting to know you, but it’s time for a serious revision.

Hello new draft, I can’t wait to dig in and see where this story leads.