So Much Has Changed
Djerassi Artists’ Residency Program’s first workshop for YA authors was transformative for me and for this story. I learned more than I could have imagined about the genre and this craft of novel writing. I confess, I am not versed in YA beyond my own fangirldom. Surely, that is enough? Yes and no. The enthusiasm of the ten other authors workshopping, and the precision of their writing were both a great inspiration and a hugely helpful lesson for me. I felt honored, humbled, and more able to take the story where it needs to go.
Nova Ren Suma was beautiful, kind, and able to see directly into the heart of each story workshopped. She guided us to see it too. She guided us to tell each other how to pull that heart out from what is always a confusion in writing early drafts.
Melusine started as a gothic horror, moved into being a historical mystery with a fantasy twist, and finally found itself as a YA fantasy. Its beginnings confuse it, but lend it elements it would never have had otherwise.
This story is always in a state of beginning and beginning again. Just when I’m sure I’ve moved into its center, I find I must delete large swaths of the thing. If starting again with a clearer vision and voice is being in the center, then I am, at last there.
Djerassi Young Adult Fiction Workshop with Nova Ren Suma
I am elated to be attending the Djerassi Young Adult Fiction Workshop and Writing Retreat this February with Nova Ren Suma! I have come to a place in which I really, truly believe in this story and I am eager to take it to the next level.
In the meantime: NaNoWriMo!
I like to write about objects. Slowly and carefully. I think I might get more written if I limit my daily word count goal to 500.
Here is what I wrote today:
The collection is in terrible condition. I am finding very little sense in how it is organized. Although the pieces are lovely, some quite rare and valuable I think, many are common and thrown haphazardly about. There are several redundancies, some of which have been treated as if they were unique: carefully wrapped or displayed in a grand manner.
I have been looking for metaphors, wondering if there is some sense to this that I cannot yet see. Here is an arrangement I have tried to decipher: On a shelf lie several dried leaves as if they had been blown in by a wind and landed there, never to be cleared off. On top of and through this bed of leaves runs a string of wooden beads, once a rosary perhaps? At first glance, this is all I saw, but I was frustrated at this point, ready to begin cleaning out some of the mess that is taking over the collection. However, when my hand was an inch or two above the leaves, a jolt like electricity ran through it, up my fingers and out the center of my palm. It seemed to me the leaves rustled just a little at that moment, though I knew that could not be. I quickly drew back my hand and looked more closely at the little pile of leaves. Was something there I had not noticed? I did not at first discern anything, but I held my gaze until my eyes shifted and something extraordinary came into focus. The beads are individually carved and each one is a miniscule diorama. Shepherds and their herds, an old man in repose, a barn, a fortress, a couple embracing transformed the surface of the leaves into textured landscapes. Even the dust that had gathered in the creases became water, earth, stones. I gasped at what I saw and in doing so lost the vision, but I knew better than to touch it then, to assume it was only what it appeared to be.
No, that is not sensible, not possible. Was it only my imagination?
Here is another: five boxes with hinged lids sit in a row. The inside upper lids of each one are lined with a dense, white linen. Seven rectangles of paper, each intricately cut and pierced by someone’s hand lie in each box, totalling thirty-five in all. The inside bottoms of the boxes are at a slight angle to the floor of each box. There are seven slits cut at equal distances along the rise of the floor. I decided these must be some kind of shadow boxes and began placing the sheets of paper into the slits so they were held upright. It was easy to order them as they are sized so that the tallest sheet of paper is placed at the front of the box where the angled floor is lowest, the shortest fits at the back, and all sheets rise to the same level when in place. When I placed my lantern in front of each box to see what shadows were projected, the flickering images playing on the linen lids, although lively and lovely, were not clear enough to describe anything I can understand. I memorized what I could of the lines and spaces drawn by the combinations of five sets of seven sheets, replaced them all, and closed the lids again.
Anonymous asked: You can beat nano! All of tumblr believes in you!:)
Word Count: 27,810
I am not winning NaNoWriMo again this year. I am a slow writer. I write a sentence and then stop. And think. And try to think, but can’t. Then re-read the last sentence. What next? What next? Still, there is nothing wrong with chipping away. One. Word. At. A. Time.