Friday, December 14, 2007

Books that make me cry

Have you ever read a book that is so moving that, when you finished it, you had to close it slowly, place it gently on the table nearest you, and just sit quietly for the next several moments? That's what makes me fall in love with a book.

A lot of books are great for their entertainment value. I like exciting stories with fascinating characters and lots of action. But a truly great book goes a little further, making me feel invested in the characters' lives. Great books almost always have something in them that make me want to shake their author and say, "How could you do this? How could you make this happen to the character I've grown to love?" But every great book I read has this in common: When I reach the end, whether the ending is sad, happy, or a little of both, I just have to sit and let it all soak in.

And that is the book I want to write. I want to write a powerful, gripping story that will have its readers crying, or sighing, or both.

Here are a few books that have affected me that way:

The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse
Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale
The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau
The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M. Auel

So that is my goal for my newest novel-in-progress, my novel in verse (which has about seven pages so far, by the way). It starts out rather tragic, yet hopeful. I showed the first four lines to my twelve-year old and she said that those lines alone make her want to read the rest of the story.

Maybe I'm onto something.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

sticky ideas

I lay in bed at around 11:00pm, my mind racing as it often does when I'm trying to get to sleep. I was thinking about the novel in verse that I have been reading, and how I've always wanted to write one myself. Then this image popped into my mind. A girl, running--escaping--from something terrible. A visual story unfolded in my mind almost as if I were watching it with my very eyes. I thought to myself, "I should write this down."

But my husband lay sleeping next to me, and I knew that if I turned on the light and rummaged through the drawer to find a pen and notebook, he'd wake up. That, and it was darn cold in my room! So I offered a silent prayer: "God, help me remember this when I wake up."

I knew that if the idea was worth pursuing, it would be there when I woke.

And it was.

And it has stuck with me all day.

I even jotted down the first four lines while chatting with Corey about our next collaboration.

So, I guess I have my next big project. Thalen's Mirror will have to wait.