Monday, November 23, 2009

In Which a Young V Writes Awful Poetry and Wants Desperately to be Taken Seriously.

So, over the next few days I’m going to talk about how I got to where I am. I’ll get to agents and editors and all that, but first I want to take you back to the beginning, because it is hysterically bad, in the way things NEED to be bad. It's the kind of hysterically bad that comes from TRYING and FAILING spectacularly a few times.

I started writing when I was 15 or so.

I wrote a pretty awful short story about two brother angels, one good, in charge of life, and one bad, in charge of death, and the bad one felt villainized so he lashed out, so the good one locked the bad one away, but then the bad one staged a hostile takeover of the silver city where both brothers had ruled, and he killed the good angel, but the bad one couldn't live without the good one and so everything fell apart. If you want to actually READ some of the heinousness that was the first ever attempt at fiction, GO HERE

Then, if that wasn't bad enough, I *tried* to write a HORRIBLE OVER-WROUGHT METAPHORICAL FANTASY. There was this principle in the world I created called “The forest and the meadow theory” and it basically meant that the worlds of magic and mundane couldn't overlap and still retain their identity, in the same way that a forest is no longer a forest if it merges with the meadow, and a meadow is no longer a meadow if it merges with the forest. I clearly wanted to be taken seriously at 17. THANKFULLY, that project sits unfinished somewhere, and will serve as a LESSON. The sad thing is that tiny bits and pieces of it were half decent, but alas.

Mostly, I wrote pretty awful poetry. I even had a Xanga, and you can go scope out some of my teenage angst RIGHT HERE. The farther you go back, oh the worse it gets.

Later, I went through a period of writing children's origin story poems, in rhyme. Originally I was going to illustrate them for my college thesis.

Perhaps the moon is in the sea
reflecting up against the sky
as night beams bathe
in ocean waves
and all the stars
swim by.

"Night Shadow"

In the dark my shadow grows,
No longer branching from my toes
But spreading out from every part
No end but every inch a start,
And in the vast and wondrous night
My shadow plays the part of light
Filling every crease and crack,
Unrestrained, abundant black,
Or plays the shadow to the sky,
Whose height and breadth cast long and wide
A silhouette across the land,
And what was once my shadowed hand
Is now the blanket on the sea
Where blue and red and green
Are fast asleep in shades of gray
Until my shadow in the day is mine again
Pushing up against my skin
To linger in my company
And wait until no one can see
Or no one tries, for in the eve
We assume all shadows take their leave.
Night is but a shadow grown.

"On How Things Come Apart"

Before anything else,
The trees and the plains,
Before the valleys and mountains,
The draught and the rains
Before you and I had forms and minds,
And life grew and became,
Then the Sea was of the Sky,
Both one, and the same.

On the ceiling overhead,
Laced in whites and blues
The two forms, as fingers, intertwined
And from each other grew.
The Sea and Sky both swelled in size,
The world began to shift
Until at last the weight surpassed
What Air itself could lift.

And then a Storm was bred and born
That severed every strand
Held Sky at bay, thrust Sea away
In heavy drops to land
And filled the world with water
To the brimming line between
And thus was the Horizon,
The unforgiving seam.
And when Sky looks longing down to Sea
Across the sun-filled moat
The Storm must come and shed the rain
To keep the Sky afloat.

The Brink

There’s a valley that sits and stretches and yawns
Between the mountains of dusk and the mountains of dawn
Before a forest, thick with moss and with shade
Where canopies cover and smooth paths have been laid
The day dissolves and here all that remains
Are the field and forest and its wondrous games

A stream of fog in the meadow slips silently in
Like covers drawn cozy and up to your chin
And the mountains all fade into curtains of mist
And the sky above shimmers, a thousand times kissed
It glitters and flitters and flutters and smiles
Glowing and going for miles and miles.

Enter these woods at peace and at ease
Magic worlds wait among the canopied trees
Fear not this new place, its shadows don’t bite
They comfort as pillows in the soft twilight
So find your way in the fog to the silvery seam
Between the valley of rest and the forest of dream

And should you be wary of the waning daylight
Remember, dreams are born in the canopied night.

HOWEVER, writing a lot of bad poetry eventually led to some better poetry, which then led to a sense of rhythm and syllable structure that I still use in my fiction.

And in an interesting twist, one of my children’s poems became part of my first finished book.

Up next, PART TWO: And then came THE SHADOW MILE.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Contest Winners!

Thanks everyone for playing!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Bookshelf Share Contest!!

(The main contest is over on LJ (veschwab). I'm re-posting here in case anyone cannot or does not want to comment over there. But you should check out that thread, because it's great to see all the entries!)

It's time for a Vlog!

AND my first contest!

First, the vlog:

The Contest!

Rules are simple.

1. Watch the video.
2. Marvel at my selective anal-retentiveness regarding book order in my room.
3. Pick a book you'd like to have.
4. Leave a comment, telling me which book.
5. Spread the word for an extra entry!

Contest ends Friday at noon. That afternoon I will put names into a hat (yes, a REAL hat) and draw a winner. If there are enough entries, I will draw more winners.

The point: Sharing is caring.

A few of the books in the video: Beautiful Creatures, Forest of Hands and Teeth, Cracked Up to Be, Lament, Ballad, Maze Runner, Wicked Lovely, Strange Angels, Deliverance Dane, American Gods, Soon I Will Be Invincible, Prophecy of the Sisters, Wake, Evermore, Neverwhere, The Book Thief, Blue is for Nightmares, Tithe, and many more!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


FACT: I am not a Twitter Quitter. I made it the whole week! I don't know about you all, but this was a surprise to me!

FACT: I got 10k written during my Twittercation. Just saying.

FACT: I read 4 books this week. City of Ashes, Strange Angels, Wicked Lovely, The Magician's Elephant.

FACT: I am taking over the internets, bit by bit.

So my website won't launch until the new year, in honor of all the fun we're going to have in 2010! But in the meantime, I've begun my slow and steady journey of taking over the internets! [insert malicious laugh]

FACT: I missed Twitter!

FACT: This is not a fact but I didn't want to ruin the motif. I don't do linkage often, but I really, really want to link this blog post by Courtney Summers called On Mean Girls & Writing Some Girls Are.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I did it! I survived Twittercation! Wait...

What do you mean Twittercation is only half over???


In other news:

-Reading Strange Angels, and really enjoying it so far!

-NaNoWriMo is going surprisingly well! Even though I ditched my outline temporarily and started writing the scenes I wanted to write, even if they're not important for twenty, or fifty, or a hundred pages :p

-I am fighting a cold with all I've got. So far I've managed to skirt it and avoid the worst, but it makes me think of zombies. Namely, that being the only healthy person in cold and flu season is a lot like being the only living person during a zombie apocalypse. I feel like I should be armed.

-WIP Wednesday. I'll share just a few brief bits of BOSS (Book of Sparkly Stuff) from NaNoWriMo:

"Hyde School is green. Green makes you think fresh. Makes you think new. But here the green is a top coat of paint on the dusty grays, rusted reds, and dead browns. Beneath layers of ivy, Hyde school is a web of old stones and mortar and earth. According to the brochure, it’s even got a hedge maze."

"When I was young we lived in a house with a white marble floor. I spilled something dark and acidic, grape juice, I think, onto the marble on morning. I tried to clean it up, as quickly as possible, but it has already eaten away at the white, had already left a stain. That’s how I feel. Like the red that splashed onto me at the end of my summer was strong enough to eat right into my marble finish. Like I'll never be clean again."

Monday, November 2, 2009


So, a confession.

I am (so much more than) addicted to Twitter.

So Nova Ren Suma and Suzanne Young (I don't know which one started it) decided to do a Twitter vacation, where they left Twitter for a week, Nov. 1st-7th. And lo and behold, people followed, myself included.

Someone recently complimented me on my level of productivity, and my response was that I couldn't bear to consider how much MORE productive I would be if I didn't live on Twitter. Well, here's a chance to find out.

So, a little over a day in, and I must admit it's much harder than I expected. I use Twitter as my break between bouts of writing. I use it to catch up on the lives of my friends, of authors, and of the publishing industry. I use it because I like sharing random and most likely inane things, and commenting on other people's random (and sometimes inane) things, and commenting on/complaining about/"offering insight" into the writing process :p I use it to waste time, and I fully accept the fact I'm wasting time.

It's hard not being on Twitter. I won't say it's not productive. I wrote right around 2,000 words yesterday, and hoping to hit the 5,000 mark (total) today. But it definitely requires a level of discipline I don't believe I possess. So am I giving up? Nope. Not yet, anyway. If my edits arrive, and I need to turn to my twitter-friends for support, I most certainly will. But right now I will not surrender! Because I have applications to finish, and books to read, and books to WRITE, and none of those things are (technically) dependent on Twitter.

I will admit, however, that I have basically hooked up a feeding tube to my inbox, and am harassing many of my friends mightily in Twitter's absence. But hey, I can't give up EVERYTHING.