Author Archives: allycondie

my last post: or, the girl who sucked at life

Hi everyone.

So one of the big changes Carol mentioned in her Monday post is this: I won’t be posting on Throwing Up Words anymore.

It’s been a great few months, but as the new year rolled around and Carol told me about some of the big things she had in mind for the blog (more writing exercises, guest posts, etc.) I realized that I was going to fail miserably at delivering. I can barely keep up on my own blog and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to put together awesome writing exercises, etc., and then I would be ashamed.

So Carol and Ann Dee and Kyra were very gracious and let me quit and they weren’t grumpy to me at all. Never mind that my reasons (family! writing!) are things that they have in their lives too. Never mind that they still manage to do it all and more with grace. They were still lovely about it.

They are very good friends.

My excuse is this: I suck at life. My husband and I use this quote all the time. When we lived in the sorority we overheard lots of awesome conversations, but one of our all-time favorites was one we overheard between two of the girls at dinnertime. One was telling the other about all the ways her weekend had gone wrong. She asked the second girl, “What is wrong with me?” And then the second girl paused for a moment, and then said very honestly and kindly, “Anna, you suck at life.”

(Name has been changed.)

So when Scott and I do something dumb we like to say that we sucked at life that day. It’s such a good explanation.

This last year has been amazing, and to be honest, wonderful. I have been writing for a long time and to have a book get the kind of response MATCHED did was a dream come true and not something I ever imagined would happen to me. But. As the new year came around I realized that the pace we were keeping at my house was not sustainable. Especially since some new things happened in the last year that added to the load. So I am trying to figure out what I can do to make 1) my family happy 2) my writing something worth reading.

Those two things, for me at least, take a LOT of time. My kids are very small. Only one is in school. I am a slow writer even though I write every stinking day (except Sunday). And now I have to learn all about Cub Scouts. That will be a learning curve for sure.

Anyway. I hope to be back for a guest post now and then if Ann Dee and Carol and Kyra will have me, and I am still going to be stalking this blog the way I did before I got to post here.

I wish you all happy families and happy writing in 2011!



And, for old time’s sake, here is an awesome picture that I was saving to post someday:

I know, right? You’re really going to miss this kind of quality blogging.


Filed under Ally Condie

guest post by catherine fisher (and win a book!)

Today I have a guest post by Catherine Fisher, the author of INCARCERON and SAPPHIQUE! And a chance to win a copy of SAPPHIQUE (which is highly anticipated and just released). So please read on…

The Key, the Glove and the Stars.

I like symbols. Metaphors are the heart of poetry, and of stories too. Often when I write a book I have a magic object at its centre, an object that can not only do amazing things, but which holds a secret symbolism just because of what it is. The major symbol in my novel INCARCERON was pretty clear to me from the start. The one object you would never find in a prison is a key. So when Finn comes across the crystal ‘artifact’ he is the only one who knows what it is. A key is the ultimate symbol of escape. Of unlocking, opening up. Getting out.

In the sequel, SAPPHIQUE, I needed a new object, something that could be worn. I settled on a glove, because I’ve always found gloves rather sinister. Collapsible hands that you put your own hand into. I once wrote a short story about a pair of red opera gloves with a murderous mind of their own.So the Glove that was once the Prison’s, and then Sapphique’s, becomes the way of joining them both again. The other image that glitters through both books is that of the stars. For the inmates of the prison, the stars mean everything good, remote, unreachable. They’ve forgotten what the stars look like, only knowing they are Outside, and they shine. When Finn sees them he is overwhelmed with joy.

I borrowed this symbol from Dante’s stunning poem The Divine Comedy. For him the stars are the ultimate symbol of love and good. He ends each of his three parts – Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso with the word ‘stellae’- stars. Which is why I ended Sapphique (almost!) with that word. And why I quote Dante’s final line at the front of SAPPHIQUE.

After all, even writers should pay their debts.

Thanks for the great guest post, Catherine! And for a chance to win a hardcover copy of SAPPHIQUE, please click here to leave a comment.

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continuing the trend

Carol and Ann Dee had so many great ideas about getting ideas that I wanted to jump on the bandwagon too. Here is my contribution:

1. Exercise. (You guys, do you know how many awesome pictures there are out there of cats exercising? But I restrained myself.) I find that my mind doesn’t work as well when I’m not getting out and running or at least walking around the block or something. I’m not saying that I finish running and a vision descends upon me and I descend to the basement to type. Sometimes I do get ideas when I’m running or walking. But usually it just clears my mind so the ideas can come. I need my brain to work and this helps it. (I should also add that I should take my own advice and try to exercise every day instead of just 3x a week. But I’m also not sleeping much so I like to pretend that’s an excuse.)

2. Have an interesting life. By this I mean interesting to you. I think a lot of people might find my life pretty uninteresting. I’m a stay at home mom of three little kids. But I think my life is really interesting to me. And I feel like all the things that have happened before–going to college (SO much material there), moving to NY and far away from family, living in the sorority, etc., were interesting to me. Interesting does not equal easy all of the time, but I think nothing can be substituted for having experiences that intrigued and challenged you and made you grow. (Remind me of this when you see me because right now my toddler is waking up literally 13x per night and I am not enjoying the “challenge.”)

3. Travel. It doesn’t have to be far. Drive up the canyon! Go out to the desert! Drive to the next town and walk around in a store! Getting out of your little niche and nook and corner of the world makes you see things differently. Makes you uncomfortable, in good and bad ways. Makes you think. The summer of 2009, I was trying to get MATCHED ready to send out on submission and my dad had arranged this family reunion in Capitol Reef (pictured above)  and I was like, “I can’t go! I don’t have time!” but of course I went because I’m crazy about my family. And while I was there, in that landscape that I remembered from childhood but hadn’t visited in years, I had a great time. And I had this completely unexpected side benefit in that when I sat down to write CROSSED I knew the setting.

4. Come home. This can be as hard and as eye-opening as traveling, but first you have to leave.

And those are my ideas about ideas. I hope they’re coherent. The sleep deprivation is really getting to me…but hopefully, soon, the exhaustion will result in an excellent hallucinatory writing experience and I can then post about that.


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tweeting all over myself

So let’s talk social media.

Why did you all suddenly get headaches and run away? Because you know that I am the worst person ever to be talking about social media?

I didn’t get on Facebook until 2009. Then Deseret Book had this little class we all went to (it was a good class!) on marketing and networking and they said we should get on Facebook so I did, and I’m embarrassed for myself every time I update my status.

Then I heard it would be good to tweet and so now I do.

And I’ve been blogging since 2007. Once, I lied and said 2006 because I was adding wrong, so ignore that.

People always say not to do these social networky things unless you love them or it will show.

I don’t know that I LOVE doing them but I can see how they are important to connect with readers, and I DO love connecting with readers.

So, can’t I be the girl that came to the social networking dance and stood there looking hopeful? And was awkward when she danced BUT AT LEAST SHE WAS THERE? And so what if her posts/tweets sometimes sounded like Information Tourretts. She was there, trying, and earnest.

Can that be endearing?

Or is it just sad?

Other authors/hopeful authors: how do you feel about social networking (blogging, twitter, Facebook)? What kind of online presence do you have/plan to have?


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