This quote was posted on The Writer’s Circle, a group that posts about writing stuff on Facebook (click the picture to go to their page). It inspired a conversation among my writer friends, in which one friend told me about a “what if?” writer’s conference she attended. The speaker gave them the following writing prompt:
- In 12 words or less, starting with “what if” , charismatically describe your book so everyone will want to buy and and read it.
Sounds simple enough. But here’s the funny bit-it’s not.
Here is what I came up with for The Gatestone Chronicles: Fayling
- What if you were the only person who could fix magic?
It isn’t a bad sentence, but would it sell my book? It doesn’t really hit at the real story, does it?
Okay, let’s try again.
- What if a human could save the universe from fairies?
Hmm. I like that one better. Closer to what the book is about, but it vilifies the fay a bit too much.
One more time.
- What if saving one life could magically alter the course of fate?
Okay, well it isn’t perfect, but to be fair I have to keep it to twelve words, so it will do.
What about you reader? Tell me what you came up with in the comments below. Happy Writing!
Ah, to romance, or not to romance? That is the question I have been presented with this week.
You see, I was aiming at a urban fantasy without any lovey dovey stuff. Partly because I was afraid my attempt at literary smootchy-smootchy would end up super cheesy, but also because I wanted to focus on Jeremy-my leading fellow- and not who he is kissing. I have invented a politically unstable world, and thus far I have focused heavily on that. But as you may know, writers invent characters, and then those characters seem to do whatever the heck they want to do, regardless of your original intentions. So now I find myself battling the seemingly natural progression of a budding relationship between two of my people.
I took the issue to several of my writing buddies, and a funny thing happened. None of them had an issue with an underlying romance. Nobody thought it was cheesy. Most of them didn’t know why I was even asking, thinking I’d done it on purpose. Do you know what did happen? I got pretty divided camps on who Jeremy should end up with.
As it it turns out, I have written myself a bit of a love triangle, without realizing I had done it. So I had a choice. Let it work itself out as I go along, or try and snuff it out. When I talked to my hubby about destroying the bit of romance, he protested. Loudly. I got a stern, “what does it matter if there is romance in it?” lecture. Oh, and he tried to say he didn’t care which girl Jeremy ended up with, but he had a lot more positive things to say about the witch. . .
Sooooo. . .
Apparently the romance stays. But I am going to blow some stuff up. You know, just to compensate. =)
Adjacent to Miss Badalla’s Curseology class in room 405, is Mr. Theyorie’s Art History class in room 406. Mr. Theyorie wears a carefully preserved tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, beige corduroy pants, and an olive green paisley print tie. In his jacket pocket is a yellowed handkerchief that he uses frequently to wipe snot from his scruffy grey moustache throughout the course of his lectures. His monotone voice drones on about the masters throughout the ages at exactly the right pitch to lull an unsuspecting student to sleep, often resulting in a banging noise as the student’s forehead meets the desk in front of them.
The most exciting part of Mr. Theyorie’s class is when the Curseology students next door get too rambunctious. Mr. Theyorie will halt mid-drone in order to bang on the wall shouting, “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”
If any student of his dares to laugh, Mr. Theyorie will level a scowl at them so fierce the student will shrink in their seat, rendered completely silent.
Once, several years ago, someone asked Mr. Theyorie why he gets so angry about the noise next door. Mr. Theories proceeded to shout for thirty solid minutes about the uselessness of learning such made-up bologna.
When Miss Badalla was nominated by the student body for teacher of the year, Mr. Theyorie promptly lost what was left of his hair. When the newspaper arrived to cover the presentation of the award, Mr. Theyorie had to lie down.
In apology for being significantly more popular than Mr. Theyorie, Miss Badalla made him an amulet to protect against high blood Pressure. Mr Theyorie threw it away.
The following semester Mr. Theyorie had only two students in his Art History Class. When he confronted Miss Badalla for cursing him, she politely reminded him he didn’t believe in curses.
If you are looking through the course catalog of your local college, you will find your typical classes offered; English 101, Algebra, Pottery, Nutrition, that sort of thing. But if you flip to the back of the catalog, under the miscellaneous heading that most people don’t read, you will find a class not offered by most colleges. This class is Curseology 101, taught by Miss Badalla.
When you enter the classroom it looks like any other. Rows of tables and chairs to the left and right of a center walkway. The front of the class has a green chalkboards and a podium, where Miss Badalla scatters her various notes and articles to reference in her lectures. She runs the class much like any other teacher; there are vocabulary lists and chapters of assigned reading from the Curseology 101 textbook. But that is where the similarities to everyday learning stop.
Miss Badalla teaches her students about curses. How to use them, what they are, and how to defend from others cursing you. She peeks out from a halo of frizzy salt and pepper hair, tied back by a scarf embroidered with silver suns and moons. Her hands are laden with numerous rings, all interesting stones like turquoise and Jasper. She wears charms around her wrists, ankles, and neck, each one with a special defensive purpose she teaches about in her advanced class, Amulet Crafting. She wears brightly colored wispy fabrics, and a gray shawl that looks as though it has been dragged down the street by a trash truck, and then hung to dry. Her brown sandals have been patched and mended, and are the only pair of shoes she ever wears. She calls out her lessons in a sing-song voice, wafting the spicy aroma of incense as she passes between each desk. She answers criticism and doubt with the certainty of someone who has seen the effects of the curses she explains.
Curseology will not likely help you achieve your major. Indeed, nobody is even sure if there is credit for taking Miss Badalla’s class. But the experience is well worth the price of one semester of your time.
Lesson of the day: How to handle minor curses
Method 1: Think of puppies. Curses are based on negative energy. A minor curse, such as Drabulize, can be counteracted by the adorably positive energy of a cute, fluffy, wiggly tailed pup. This method is sometimes difficult, because thinking of puppies while someone is cursing you can be distracting.
Method 2: the counter-curse. While this will not prevent you from being cursed, at least you force your curser into a similar predicament. There is a chance they will lift the curse if you agree to do the same. Curse mediation is sometimes necessary to negotiate these situations.
Method 3: Deflection. This method is safest for you, but very unsafe for unsuspecting bystanders.
This will also be on the quiz