Tag Archive for 'smallville'

YA Scavenger Hunt (winter edition)

Welcome to the Winter 2012 YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way for readers to get exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors… and a chance to win some awesome prizes! In this hunt, you not only have access to exclusive content from each author, you also get clues at each stop for the scavenger hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive signed books from authors on the hunt in my team! But play fast: This contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or both! I am a part of the RED TEAM–but there is also a Blue Team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, including links to all the participating authors and a full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

 

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altered fluid writing retreat 2012

For the last five(!) years, my writing group, Altered Fluid, has been going on group retreats to the wilds of New York and Pennsylvania for reflection, relaxation, shared creativity, and and lots of dedicated writing time. We usually have 8-13 writers in one big house for four or five days, which sounds like the perfect setup for a reality TV show. It is, but what happens on the Altered Fluid retreat stays there… we hope.

To my great sorrow, I missed last year’s outing due to Major Life Events, but I was able to make it this weekend, and it was all the more welcome because I don’t get to see these guys all that often anymore, except through the always unreliable magic of Skype and Google Hangout.

It was a great way to celebrate finishing revisions on Quantum Coin last week, but the reward for writing is more writing. I mostly focused on catching up on interview requests, many of which will appear in the coming weeks on an internet near you. Also e-mails, and website updates, and lots of other things. The manuscript for my next book went untouched, but that wasn’t entirely unexpected.

Also, I finally read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and I’m still recovering. It’s terrific, but emotionally exhausting. Fiction rarely elicits such sustained sadness in me, and a book that can affect readers so deeply is a true gift. The unexpected benefit of waiting until after I was done with revisions to read it is that I can’t second guess everything in my own book. I write very different books, so far, but amazing writing does make me more self-conscious about my own.

Anyway, some images from the retreat:

As tradition dictates on our retreats, there was snow. A lot of it.

But we didn’t get trapped this time around, as warmer weather made the snow vanish like some wonderful dream. I have never felt more like I was on Smallville than I did walking toward this barn. If I had heat vision and didn’t want to lose our deposit, I would have burned a giant S into the side.

There were chickens at the barn. We were promised eggs. A lie.

There were also chickens inside the house. Everywhere. We spent a lot of time in this kitchen.

The decor was terrific. Except for this creepy Howdy Doody painting that watches you in one of the bathrooms. His smile! It haunts me still.

Even when you’re writing your work of staggering genius, hygiene is important. This is one of the coolest showers I have ever seen.

This was the shower in my bathroom. Doesn’t it remind you of the Kryptonian chamber in the Fortress of Solitude that robs Superman of his powers in Superman II? Doesn’t it? It’s just me, isn’t it? Okay.

We found these outside. Inspired by Wall*E? Or did someone just leave their boots outside for a really long time?

I emerged from the house after a few days and went on a walk. Here I’m thinking, “What’s that bright thing in the sky?”

As I head back to my day job today, I already miss my friends and am looking forward to next year’s retreat. Do you go on writing retreats? Do you find them productive?

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how is a writing career like Smallville?

No doubt some of you shuddered in horror at the title of this post, but bear with me for a moment.

Last Friday, the series Smallville ended its record-breaking ten year run on the CW. As I prepared to watch the finale with friends this weekend, I reflected on that improbable incredible milestone and realized that it closely parallels a milestone of my own: I’ve been writing for publication for ten years, the entire time that show has been on the air. I wrote, revised, and submitted my first short story–which really wasn’t very short at all, nor publishable–only a few months before Smallville premiered in October of 2001.

And like young Clark Kent, I’ve come a long way since then. Here are some of the strange similarities I came up with:

  • Like Smallville, my stories usually start with unimaginative, single-word titles.
  • Like Clark’s love life, I had to deal with a lot of rejection before my first story was published.
  • I wrote some of my worst stories during the absolute worst year of the show, season 4. And that’s when I considered giving up on both the show and my writing career.
  • But then I graduated from Clarion West, and my writing improved greatly–just like the seasons after Clark graduated from Smallville High.
  • As Clark began to involve himself in a bourgeoning Justice League, I joined my own team of superheroes, the writers in Altered Fluid.
  • I set way too many of my stories in New York City, and far too much happens in Metropolis on the show.
  • In the last year, as Clark finally learned to be Superman, I sold my first novel! (There was even a subplot this season that has some resonance with Fair Coin, but I won’t get into that now.)
  • And… I’ve been planning my own wedding alongside Lois & Clark.

Eerie, isn’t it?

For all the show’s faults, and there were many of them, I’m glad I stuck with it for all these years, just as I stayed on the long road to publication. It’s even possible that the show somehow influenced my own work, since I was always critical of its meandering plot arcs, cliches, and poor dialogue–and hey, I am writing young adult fiction now, so all that high school drama counted for something. To take this post to an even more ludicrous level, the gradual way Clark added to his arsenal of superpowers over the years and learned to control each new ability is similar to the way writers must learn new skills and practice them, always pushing themselves to try new things in their fiction. The only thing keeping us from flying is our own fear of heights.

At the end of Smallville, another phase of Clark’s journey is just beginning, with its own challenges and rewards, and I’m eager to move on to the next stage of my career as I prepare for my first novel to come out. Up, up, and away!

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