I just finished THIS MONSTROUS THING by Mackenzi Lee. What an absolutely incredible novel.
It is, above all things, profound. As a reader, I was drawn in to the protagonist’s decision making process, trying to will him into making the choices I would make. Then I was forced to face judgment on my own decisions. It gave me a horrifying glimpse inside my own mind.
After all, am I good or am I clever?
The novel isn’t filled with flowery phrases or expansive vocabulary. It’s clear, concise, and to the point. The characters are not good or evil, simply human.
As I closed the book, all I could think was, “I wish I could write like that. I wish I could make people feel things like that. I wish I could create characters that come to life.”
I don’t know if I ever will be able to. But I feel a renewed determination to try.
Mark your calendar!
Steve Fraser (Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency) is coming to town!
Hear his speech at BYU on February 24, 2016. It will be at 6:30 pm.
Room # to come.
Also, only a few morning spots left at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. (www.wifyr.com)
We have lots of classes to choose from in the afternoons and we’re excited about our faculty this year, like the AMAZING Trent Reedy.
Some of you may have heard him when he came to WIFYR a few years back. He was our keynote.
He and I were in the same graduating class at Vermont College and I love him. He’s smart, passionate, and he and I had a session or two of slow saunters around campus, talking books.
I’ll call this one “Sisyphus and His Rock”:
I just read a heart-breaking story about a college fellow who decided, finally, to share his novel with a trusted friend and able writing mentor. The student gave him a beautiful, thick, leather binder with tabs for each of many chapters. He sat on the student’s bed and read the first chapter, getting more and more excited, because — though long (34 pages) — it was good: opened well; had great visuals; pacing and language were both accessible. And the reader LOVED the characters. Excited, he turned, finally, to chapter 2.
Twenty pages of blank paper. Ditto for the other 18 tabbed sections.
The mentor said he thought this fellow “had been working on his story for rather a long time.” “Eleven years this February,” he answered.
And the entire time was spent writing, revising, rewriting the first chapter until it was “perfect.” The mentor compared the work to Sisyphus’ trying to push a rock up the mountain only to have it tumble down again, where he would start over.
I’m neither that good, nor that bad, I suppose: but I’m embarrassed to say I have 13 novels in various stages of “not-done.” Some are quite long. Some, not much more than a chapter or the barest essentials of an MC or two, and a couple of incidents to be fleshed out. I’m not like that college kid: I stop when something else catches my eye (or interest). . . “squirrel!” . . . And I may not get back to “it” (which ever “it” it may be) for months and months. Or even years.
How many “ROCKS” do YOU have? Are our rocks doomed to bury us, bring us down? Fortunately, my most complicated of stories (YEARS old by now, and heavily researched) has finally caught my interest again, and I’m trying to capitalize on the excitement which has re-entered my heart in its behalf.
I’ll go to my “next biggest” rock, as soon as I get through pushing this one to the peak. And I’m wearin’ my runnin’ shoes.