May 17th!

a rose by any other name

Best news! I’ve got a publication date for my novel! The novel isn’t The Fairy Tale Asylum. It’s a novel I wrote a long time ago–The Blue Jar. But I’ve got a lovely UK publisher and now a publication date. October 12th. That just after my chemo treatments should be over and just before my birthday.

And I did write something today.

Nurse Meredith was still outside when the Asylum flooded with light. She cursed. Her failure was found out. Either they knew the boy was missing or they’d discovered the intruder.

She wished she hadn’t cut the rope now because she might be the one needing an escape. She ran to the back door. It was locked, so she decided the intruder must still be outside. Inside they had to be looking for the boy.

Once she unlocked the door and stepped inside, she was grabbed and thrown to the floor. “Stop!” came a rough voice. “She’s a nurse.”

She was pulled to her feet but light shined in her eyes. She couldn’t see who she was facing, and she knew that was a good thing. “I’m Nurse Meredith.”

“I know. What are you doing here? Why aren’t you on your rounds?”

This wasn’t a question she expected. “There were two young men visiting here earlier. I was just checking that they were taken care of properly.”

“Did you see anything suspicious outside, nurse?”

Meredith weighed her options. The truth could get her into as much trouble as a lie. Did they know about the intruder? They couldn’t. They had to be wondering about the boy. “No,” she said. Once the visitors were seen to, all was as usual.”

“You’re lying,” the voice said.

“Why would I?” she asked even though she knew arguing with him was useless. “What do you think I saw?”

“The question is why you have conspired against the place that has looked after you all these years.”

Meredith groaned inwardly. The intruder. They didn’t know about the boy. “I’d never conspire.”

“The individual you assisted is somewhere in the Asylum. What is your plan? Do you think that you have any power here?”

“I have no powers above my station,” she said in what she hoped was a meek voice.

“You will be questioned further.”

Nurse Meredith found herself dragged down the hall to the officer. She dreaded what waited for her there.

The Writer Games

In front of a live audience, write until you drop dead. The last one writing gets a book deal.

What do you think?

Have you read The Hunger Games? I don’t want to link to it lest I end up with too many people over here. Seriously.

I haven’t read it or seen the film. I’ve decided to read the books, but doubt I’ll see the movie. The idea of the story is depressing enough without adding visuals.

Anyway, I don’t know why I care, but there is this argument going around the Internet that I find annoying. A friend of mine recently stated that he wasn’t going to see The Hunger Games because it was a copy of Battle Royale. Copied? Was it? Well, I had to know more about that. We (as in we writers) try so hard to be original, it is maddening to see someone copy and end up with a best seller.

So I search for reviews, interviews, and whatever else. But after reading several pieces about the stories, I have to say I don’t believe Suzanne Collins copied the Japanese movie. If you disagree, please keep insults to yourself.

But I find I’m really, really irritated about this whole brouhaha over nothing.

I’ve seen comments that go something like this, “I haven’t read The Hunger Games, but I’ve heard it’s a rip off of Battle Royale, so I’m not going to.” Yes, letting hearsay form your opinions is always a good idea.

And this, “Battle Royale came out ten years ago–before The Hunger Games.” Okay. Valid observation. But Collins says she never heard of Battle Royale. Is she lying? One friend said, “People will say anything for fame and money.” Sure. But Collins dislikes media attention and there’s nothing about her lifestyle to indicate she’s all about the money. And not to point out the obvious, but if you’re all about money, writing a YA novel may not be the best choice. And I don’t call people liars without proof.

And until the other day I hadn’t even heard of Battle Royale. Well, it’s Japanese and had a limited release here in the States. I’m not sure why people assume Collins has heard of it. It’s not exactly like she’s said she didn’t know they’d made a movie of Titanic.

I also fail to see what is so amazingly unique about Battle Royale that someone else couldn’t come up with a similar idea all on her own. Am I to believe that in the whole of the world and history, only one person can come up with the idea of young people killing each other for sport? Anyone with a passing knowledge of Greek myth, Lord of the Flies, and reality TV would have a chance of imagining just such a plot. People come up with similar story ideas every single day. Anyone who writes should know this. You write something, and then–presto!–you come across something that is basically your idea. Was it stolen? No. I guess, it’s unfortunate Joseph Campbell isn’t around to ask about myth and collective storytelling.

And finally, am I to agree that only one version of any story can exist? If that is the case, then a lot of people better put down their pens. Battle Royale has a male lead (from what I’ve read about the plot). It is Japanese. So that’s it? No one else can tell their perspective on such a story? You know what, Romeo and Juliet has been written, so please, no more star-crossed romances. What else. Oh, no more stories aliens invading earth. No more assassination stories. No more war stories. No more man vs nature stories. Sorry. Been done. We should have a Only-One Rule. That would save us all a lot of trouble.

Have you ever known anyone who loves a particular band until that bands gets popular. Suddenly they don’t like that band anymore. They accuse the band of selling out. Or they look down at those Johnny-come-latelies as not real fans. Some smug nonsense in that. I hear a similar tone in some comments–they’re so cool as to know Battle Royale before the rabble, anything else pales in comparison. I’ve seen a few comments by people who love BR and are angry that only is it getting more distribution here in the States. Can they be pleased that THG has given their film some attention? No.

You could also read this post about the whole kerfuffle. I found it level-headed.

I’ve been trying to understand why this issue bothers me so much when I’ve no vested interest in either. Maybe I’m worried (hopeful!) it could be me. Maybe the novel sitting in my hard drive has already been done and I don’t know it. I’d like not to be raked across coals by people who don’t know anything about my work or me.

What sort of literary ruckus do you care about?

Validation Drug Trip

I’d love to say that I need no outside validation for my writing…but then I’d be lying. However, validation seems like a drug. Every time you need a little bit more than last time to get that lift.

Fairly soon I’m going to have to resort to a cheap compliment fishing expedition to get the validation I crave, even though that kind of validation is never as good as a pure freely-given compliment.

HOw much do you rely on others to tell you your writing is any good?

Inundated, overwhelmed, and out of my mind. You?

My son's "Are you crazy?!" look.

I’ve got a stack of novels and short stories I’ve written and a folder stuffed with rejections. I think I fumbled (to put it politely) my last effort at getting an agent. But self-publishing doesn’t appeal to me either.

You know those hoarding shows where you can see people surrounded, no, overwhelmed by the dross and remains of their lives? I feel like that except instead of pizza boxes and newspapers and cats, it written words and all the talismans that cling to them. I don’t even know where to begin.

Some days I think I can do anything I put my to. Other days…I wonder much I could carry to the dumpster before my mind clears.

Ever think of just throwing all those words away?

Magic Pixie Dust & Other Ways to Act like a Grown-up

My next art show is January 20th. My spring semester starts January 9th. I’m not prepared for either.

If I could give up washing dishes, laundry, walking the dog, and parenting, I might feel okay with these dates–and I might not have this headache.

But no pixie is going to sprinkle my apartment with magic dust and announce, “You now have the gift of extra time!”

Bills will not pay themselves. (Shocking, isn’t it?)

I don’t need to live in a spotless apartment (please, never stop by unannounced), but I do rather like eating off clean plates and wearing clothes that don’t smell. (I’m a conformist.)

The thing I’ve learned about art shows (at least, my art shows) is that they do not pay for themselves. From a budget perspective they are foolish endeavors… why go through all the bother?

I know plenty of people who when deciding where to live and what to study and what job to take look at the money. They have a lifestyle they want (above the basic food-and-shelter), and they act accordingly. Often these people have lovely houses in nice neighborhoods and they do things like take trips and go shopping for new clothes.

When I’m in these people’s houses I feel I’m from another planet and my brain is incapable of figuring out how these people manage it. They have matching furniture in the living room!

Okay, I’m rambling when I’ve got plenty of work to do.

If you know how to juggle everything and live like a grown up, please let me in on the secret.

Surprise!

Maybe I am just too used to rejections, but I thought this wee story had been rejected by this nifty little online journal. But here I was, late at night, being silly by googling my name, and, lo! here it is. My 50 word (or thereabouts) story–Drifting through Space.

Wow. That’s two stories out in the world! That’s crazy.

(If you want to go and leave a comment, that’d be nice.)