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Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy’

 Today, before I begin working on my November novel, YA Urban Fantasy, I glance out the window. I expect the arrival of this year’s Gunpowder Review any day now, and I don’t want to miss the delivery person. I pick up last year’s issue with a water lily photo on the front cover from writer, photographer, and 2012 Balticon chair, Patti Kinlock. I flip through the pages, pausing every now and again to glance at a favorite piece of work.

As the editor, I know every word between these covers. And a year after the 2010 issue appeared, every error that I didn’t catch when proof-reading jumps off the page at me. I sigh, and hope that our wonderful designer, Katie, or I have spotted and corrected all errors in the 2011 issue. But there are gremlins hiding everywhere – so mistakes do happen.

 I turn The Gunpowder Review 2010 face down, determined to write another 2,000 words on my November novel today. But can’t help admiring one last time, the fabulous artwork & photos from Mary Lou Lanci, Mary Stevens, Wendy Stevens, and Kristin Stephens Crist that grace the magazine’s back cover. As impatient as I am for the 2011 Review to arrive, I’m also a little sad to see this fine collection of women’s work put on the “back issue” shelf.

Now (if the gremlins will stay away from my computer), back to the rats, pigeons, and goblins of my YA Urban Fantasy.  Now, where was I? Oh, yes: “A hand grabbed Roni from behind as she walked past an alley on her way from Casa Rosa to the subway entrance…”

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November is officially here – which means it’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

This year, I’m going to see how many words I can complete on a YA novel I’ve been planning for some time. In addition to keeping you up to date on the progress of YA Urban Fantasy, as the novel will be known until I’m certain of a title, I’ll be blogging about other tidbits in this writer’s life.

Firstly, I needed to take a few deep breaths, relax, and get in the novel-writing mood. To read more about what I find stressful in my writing life and how I deal with that stress, check out my guest blog at Amber Polo’s Relaxing the Writerhttp://tinyurl.com/relaxing-interview  And I’ll give you a hint – the recent pre- Halloween snow hasn’t helped with my outside gardening time!

Once I was a little more relaxed, it was time to put fingers to keyboard, and begin to write my YA Urban Fantasy. My report on Day 1’s results: I managed to get 2,000 words down in reasonably good shape. It’s a long way from my goal of 60,000 or more words – but it’s a start!

Secondly, and this has nothing to do with writing, but it sure was fun & relaxing – I baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies in preparation for hosting a pre-Thanksgiving family gathering at Woods’ Edge.  Of course, some cookies were consumed, but a plastic container of the treats were popped into the freezer. Now, if only I can ignore them for 3 weeks!

And lastly, I submitted a poem to a “ship” themed issue of an online magazine. We’ll see if the editor likes Penelope well-enough to publish the poem.

So wish me luck – and I send good wishes out into the ether for all those other brave writers who’ve decided to write a novel this November.

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mermaid Reincarnation is defined as the “rebirth of the soul in successive bodies” (Standard College Dictionary).  But rather than the rebirth of a soul, I’d like to discuss the rebirth of an idea in successive bodies!  By now, some of you are scratching your head and wondering what in the world I’m talking about.  Let me explain.

Often, I begin writing with an idea like: “there’s a real mermaid not far from a jetty off of Ocean City’s shore.”  Hmm.  I decide I spot the mermaid while walking along the beach.  When I see her, I admire her beauty and allure.  Then, I worry about what would happen if my sons came under her spell.  Would they follow her into the water, perhaps to their deaths?  I write a poem about that dark mermaid moment called Ocean Lure.

Next, I decide to write a story about a woman under an umbrella on the beach who watches her husband and children playing in the ocean.  She both admires and fears the deep water, warned by her own mother that the sea will take someone she loves.  On the day written about in Pacific, the woman’s children return to her from the water.  In an uneasy ending, from the safety of the sand, the family watches dolphins leaping from the water like question marks.

Next, I consider swimming in the ocean and write the poem, Water: “Water is the mirror we sink into/ slip to the other side of…” where we “dream of the drowned/ whose bones rock on the bottom/ wear away to sand./ Sand that catches in clothing,/ hides between skinfolds,/ and comes with us/ when we come out of water.”

Another poem follows called Sea Children.  It is written as a series of cinquain (a 5-lined form of poem) that undulates down the page concluding with: “high tide/ cold, hungry green/ swashing the sunbathers/ shivering, we flee its sharp teeth/ sharkwave.// water/ salty moonchild/ rushing from birth to death/ our blood answers when she beckons/ Mother!”  Full poem was printed by SeaStories, and can be read on my website: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com

Finally, filled with appropriate amounts of wonder, magic, and darkness — I consider how I’d feel if a merman came on shore to carry away my daughter.  Horrified was my initial response, but what if going with the merman was for the best?  What are the circumstances that would make if the right choice for a daughter to go with the merman to the bottom of the ocean?  And that’s where I began when I started to write story, Sideshow by the Sea, published in Volume 5 Issue 3 of “Tales of the Talisman” http://www.talesofthetalisman.com and later as an eShort.

That first idea of something beautiful and seductive lurking in the Atlantic has been reincarnated in several bodies.  Whether the idea wore the skin of a free-verse poem, a poem written as a series of cinquain, a short story with a touch of magic, or an urban fantasy — it was still the same idea.  And I suspect, I’ll reincarnate that idea again.

But I am not alone.  If you examine the stories and verse of many authors and poets, there are certain ideas and themes that they repeat in their work.  And by discovering what ideas and themes a writer returns to again and again, a reader can better understand the person behind writing.

Update: Pacific was revised and re-titled, Shoreside, and appears in my book, The Greener Forest. Updated versions of both the poem, Ocean Lure, and the story, Sideshow by the Sea, appear in my book Owl Light.

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