Daily Archives: May 12, 2011

A Book Review of White Cat and a Writing Exercise

Note to Readers: Lauren Call was in the second class I ever taught at BYU. She’s beautiful, smart, and a writer. When I asked her to send me a post for the blog–and about White Cat (she loved it, too!), she didn’t even hesitate.

White Cat by Holly Black

With a bouncing baby and a precocious preschooler, I have very little time for reading. If I don’t love, love, love a book within the first five pages, I send it right back to the library. But Holly Black got me reading and rereading her new Curse Worker series while I should have being making baby food or teaching what sound the letter ‘P’ makes.

In White Cat, we’re introduced to the world of curse workers—a reality much like our own, but with people who can cause their victims to have luck, to forget, to fall in love, to dream, or to die with just a touch of a bare hand. As the only non-worker in a long line of curse workers, Cassel Sharpe has perfected his innate gift to con in order to survive in a family of criminals.

After a night of sleep walking nearly kills him, Cassel must unravel the mystery of a white cat who is not only in his dreams, but who has also shown up on his doorstep. He has the unnerving feeling the cat is somehow connected to his strange memory of killing his best friend, Lila. To get the truth, Cassel must pull the biggest con of his life by tricking his mobster brothers into revealing the truth about what really happened that night.

White Cat has a frank and seductive feel in a world full of double crosses, deception, magic, and murder. The ending will leave you craving more curses. But good news! The second book Red Glove is already out. Make sure your curse charms are well hidden, brace yourself for the blowback, and follow the white cat into Cassel’s vivid and gritty life.

Writing exercise by Carol

So yesterday, a good friend happened by (she moved to Mapleton a few months before we found our house). Dianne was looking for us, kind of wondering where we lived, when I pulled up in the car. The sky was a bit overcast, and our grass, overgrown because a neighbor has our lawnmower, dipped with an afternoon breeze. Now I have to tell you something about this woman–she is the most faithful, sweet, good-hearted person. She’s done the hard stuff and is amazing. She is always neat and clean, her hair is always fixed, she’s always smiling, she always wears make up. I am in awe of her. Her strength reminds me of my bestie friend Cheri Pearlie Early.

So Dianne strolls up and I have to show her the house which is TORN UP. Way worse than normal for moving in mess. No one has done anything (except me–I am the slave AND the martyr) so things are looking not only like we just moved in, but also like we have a troop of one-armed invalid aliens living here. I try to ignore the catastrophe, but I can hear it in her voice that things ain’t looking so rosy in the Williams household.

We sit down for a minute to talk and I offer her water and she drinks from the glass and we see, both of us, maybe at the same time, that the glass is dirty.

I grab the glass, rush away, wash it by hand, bring it back, hand it to her and Dianne drinks one obligatory swallow. See what I mean? See what a good heart she has? (Once I went to a friend’s house for lunch [where the potatoes were way undercooked] and found a dog hair in my food. When that friend left the room to answer the phone, I got up and threw all the food away. I didn’t have a sweetheart’s heart. My heart was black and disgusted, the same as Dianne’s should have been.) I apologize profusely. As I walk her to the door (she probably hates my guts now) I think, I am too exhausted to even be horrified.

So here’s the deal– Write out, in detail, three horrifying or embarrassing experiences. Now look them over. Can you use one in your WIP? Yes, you’re gonna have to change things up this way and that to make it fit–kinda like putting on a girdle–but borrowing scenes from real life–scenes that are nipped and tucked, to be sure, can add depth to a story.

BTW–I hope to have a house warming party after the conference. And I swear all the plastic cups will be clean.
Also BTW–there’s something wrong with the dishwasher. It’s not using hot water when a load goes through. That’s why the glass was dirty. Anyone know what I should do?

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