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Posts Tagged ‘Gryphon’

  1. My Writing Process Blog Tour

    May 13, 2014 by Kiersi

    Well, I was tagged in this blog challenge by not one, but two lovely ladies: Amber J. Keyser, my oft-partner-in-crime and a devilishly talented writer, and Lauren Spieller, a recently-agented author and spectacular friend. So, without further ado:

    1. What am I working on?

    For reasons, I am revisiting my middle grade novel, Gryphon. Gryphon is an epic fantasy starring a princess, an orphan, gryphons, and even a dragon. It’s that kind of book!

    I’m also in the trenches plotting a new novel, but I’m not ready to talk about it just yet. However, I can tell you it will be YA (I’m returning to my roots!) and it’ll have a retro 1920s sci-fi feel. The mood of the story really captured me and I’m so psyched to start telling it! (more…)


  2. Overwriting: It’s Totally A Thing

    September 23, 2013 by Kiersi

    Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Cave of the Two Lovers

    I didn’t think overwriting would happen in my book. I’m a re-writer, not a reviser, so instead of trimming the fat and beveling the edges and picking at each word until it’s perfect, I usually just scrap a scene completely and start over if it’s just not cutting it for me. That strategy’s worked pretty well so far; it’s like losing a document in a computer crash before you’ve saved it, but then the second time around is obviously better than the first now that your brain has had some time to work through it.

    Or maybe I just think that’s the case, and I’m actually overwriting this book to death.

    It’s a problem of setup. In this novel, an agonizingly specific set of events need to occur in order to send the two heroes off on their journey, and the difficulty lies in A) introducing the status quo naturally and as quickly as possible, B) getting the order of events right that change the status quo, and C) making the actions of each character leading to the next event completely believable and inevitable. All of this has proven far more complicated than I anticipated when I began planning this novel. As my friend Amber Keyser put it, “It needs to be like a raging river carrying you along, unstoppable.” (Yes, it does make me feel better to know other writers–very talented writers–also struggle with setups.) (more…)


  3. I Hate Editing

    January 8, 2013 by Kiersi

    I have no idea what this is, but it is awesome

    "Crazy Frog" by moffoys - Who even cares what it is, it is perfect

    There are some superstar authors who don’t hate editing or revising. I spend a lot of my revision time envying them, instead of doing what I’m supposed to be doing, because that’s how I roll. And that’s probably also why I still haven’t finished a revision of my middle-grade book, Gryphon. Because I hate revising.

    I do love writing, though.

    So, over time I’ve been building up my resolve, and packing it together like a mud pie from lots of little shredded pieces of sanity (they fall off now and again, and must be collected in a handmade wicker basket). The following bullet points have occurred to me:

    -Print it all out, to stop the ever-present I must change this word right now, this isn’t right, and now I am so hung up on this one stupid line that I am so frustrated with myself and I wish this had all never happened at all goodbye world. (more…)


  4. The Art of Story Fermentation

    December 21, 2012 by Kiersi

    The moldiest thing I've ever eaten by Jer Thorp

    "The moldiest thing I've ever eaten" by Jer Thorp - flickr

    The Art of Story Fermentation,
    or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Set an Idea Aside

    I’m back from my quest and coming to terms with an uncomfortable realization: the manuscript I had intended to query agents with is just not the one. Now I am slowly accepting the fact that the first manuscript isn’t ready yet. And that’s OK.

    So. Story fermentation. What the heck does that mean, and why am I writing a whole blog post about it?

    I use story fermentation to refer to the process of letting a concept, plot, idea or story just… sit. When you push it to the back of your mind, let it gather some mold and dust, let it age and change and grow as you work on other, more prescient things.

    Another term I’ve come to use a lot lately is the idea pipeline. Let’s say you have a great idea. You wake up, having just had the most incredible dream, and you know it has to become a story. A short story, a manuscript, whatever. You start to work out the characters, the premise, the point A and point B (A referring to where a story begins, and B referring to where you want it to end). Once the idea has fully formed, like some kind of chicken fetus, it breaks from the shell and you give it life on the keyboard. (more…)


  5. Vision Quest 2012: The big city, a new book

    December 13, 2012 by Kiersi

    The epic Golden Gate Bridge. Taken during the Bay Cruise on a peculiarly calm, un-blustery winter day.

    This post has two parts: first, my adventure south to San Francisco, where I met up with some friends and experienced the city for a weekend. Second, an update on the Vision Quest, and other bookly-things. I’ll be reviewing Stephenie Meyer’s The Host tomorrow, so please check back for a review that will probably surprise the hell out of you.

    So, on to part one: I love San Francisco. Not in the way I love Portland (for its culture, art scene, and greenness), and not in the way I love Los Angeles (drivers I actually understand, beautiful people, also Venice Beach). I love San Francisco because it is insane. (more…)


  6. Vision Quest 2012: My Protectors

    December 6, 2012 by Kiersi

    On Tuesday, I managed to get my butt in the driver’s seat around 10 a.m. (only an hour after expected departure–that’s a pretty good record for me) and did the 11-hour drive down to Bodega in one fell swoop.

    It rained–the entire drive. The great and the terrible thing about inclement weather on a long trip is that it requires constant attention and alertness. No way to fall asleep, but no way to relax, either. And I have to admit that Stephenie Meyer’s The Host is not nearly as bad as I’d been expecting. The premise is brilliant and very creative, even if it feels like a bit of an Animorphs rip-off. The romance scenes are over-the-top and gag-worthy, not unlike Meyer’s past projects, but the rest of it is rather… well-written? Does that sound crazy? It does. But I think it’s true. Except for the part where this book is 600 pages long and really doesn’t need to be. For all the things right in The Host, including a protagonist who is fascinating and lovable and utterly strange (with an equally strange and yet totally delightful backstory), this book moves at an agonizingly slow pace. Meyer has gone right on past “reasonable amounts of detail” into “who the hell cares” territory and it is almost physically painful. (more…)


  7. Vision Quest 2012: The Mission

    December 3, 2012 by Kiersi

    Three-way goat fight!

    I leave first thing in the morning tomorrow for my friend’s ranch in northern California. As seen above, there are goats, which I will be herding and milking in exchange for my room and board. I’ll be living in a grounded boat on the property with no internet connection and very little phone service, if any.

    The perfect place to write. (more…)


  8. 50,000 Words? Check. NaNoWriMo? Check.

    November 29, 2012 by Kiersi

    This was my first year doing National Novel Writing Month and it was a wild success. I just finished the last keystroke of my 50,497th word and I feel like I could walk on the sun in my bare feet and come away with the perfect tan.

    Since I hit the 50k-word mark for a middle grade novel titled Gryphon, I am now supposedly a “winner,” though anyone who completes this feat of caffeine and bruised fingertips counts as a “winner.” And, in reality, 50,000 words is short even for a middle grade book.  Nonetheless I’ve entered the third act of the story, a.k.a., the sprinting stage, where all the really big “oh no you di’int” stuff goes down; from here I know every twist that comes next, and it’s just a matter of time (much like a train wreck) until the end arrives.

    As a writer, I’ll often map out big twists or moments in advance, and then anticipate (and also visualize, often on endless repeat like your kid watching Lion King ten million times) a particularly important scene for days and sometimes weeks. Here’s one from the second act. I was pretty gratified to finally put this baby down on the word processor:

    He didn’t push her away, and for that, she was grateful. It was awkward at first; their lips trying to find purchase against the other, their hands unsure of where they should go, but nevertheless it felt perfect, more perfect than any other thing Rheya had ever done. It was right, if a little strange.

    Then she realized she couldn’t breathe and broke away, and the two of them sat there, panting, staring only at each other as if the entire world around them had vanished into the dark. And who would have minded? If the world were gone, and only these two left, everything would probably be as it should.

    A prickle of light poked its head over the distant hills. It was dawn. But neither of the two children could let the other go.


  9. Day 13: On Productivity and Escapism

    November 13, 2012 by Kiersi

    I finally surged past the target word count yesterday, as illustrated by the Screenshot of Pride shown above. NaNoWriMo (for those of you just joining us–this stands for National Novel Writing Month) is chugging along, and as we near the halfway mark, I’m keeping one eye focused squarely on the prize: a finished, 65,000-word first draft of my middle-grade novel, Gryphon. (This is also my excuse for the radio silence lately. Take it or leave it.)

    I have to say, though, that I couldn’t have made it this far without one thing:

    Oh, man. The ABC drama Once Upon A Time has totally and completely captured my heart (or was it Prince Charming/David Nolan/Josh Dallas? UGH WHO KNOWS.) And is that any surprise, since it comes from some of the same people who were involved with LostI think not.

    Writers seem to have mixed reactions to the concept of multi-tasking–but when I’ve reached a roadblock, or when I’m simply tired of banging the keyboard all day and want to sit back and think for a while, it helps me to dive into some escapism. I wrote at least 2k last night while Prince Charming romanced Snow White in the background. There are fake tears and angst and evil queens–what more could you ask for?

    Oh my god look at that face.

    As promised, here is a brief blurb from Gryphon as we near the halfway mark. ONWARD, MY FRIENDS.

    “We don’t have to worry about you getting recognized,” she said, thumbing through his hair thoughtfully. “But me—clearly they recognized me. So I need you to do something, Frost.”

    He swallowed. Rheya handed him a dagger, wound up her hair into a fist over her head, and turned her back to him.

    “Cut it off.”

    “All of it?” he asked.

    “All of it.”

    Slowly he took the hair from her and pulled it tight, tight enough he could start sawing at it with the dagger. Huge chunks of black hair began to separate from her head, and something felt so wrong, so sad, about removing those shining, curling locks. They were a part of her, and when he was finished, he couldn’t help thinking she looked naked without them.

    Tune in next time for more mischief! And Rumplestiltskin.


  10. NaNoWriMo, Day 6: 9k, and The Moment

    November 6, 2012 by Kiersi

    National Novel Writing Month is in full swing and I think I’m getting along well enough. The weekend was tough, what with travel and work and all those grown-up things, but I’m back in the saddle and up to 9,000 words so far. A little below expected for Day 6, but I expect to catch up quickly.

    Nothing else to report, other than an unfortunate misstep this morning/last night where I randomly switched point of view from third person to first. Easy enough to fix, but a little disconcerting nonetheless.

    Here is an excerpt from chapter five of Gryphon. Both Rheya and Frost are coming along nicely. Even better, I’m almost at the inciting incident–though it could be said the below is the beginning of the end.

    “You are human, Frost. You can’t stay here forever. I certainly can’t stay here forever.”

    “Why?”

    She ran the fur over her head again. “Because I have to get back what’s mine. What he stole from me.”

    “Thoreus?”

    Rheya nodded.

    “And I need your help, Frost.”

    It was hard to tell what was going on behind those white-blue eyes, but his hands stiffened at his sides.

    “I can’t help,” he said. “I am… I am…” He searched the cloud of words he didn’t know yet and for the first time, he was getting frustrated with all the things he was missing. “Rheya, I am… I am nothing.”

    That wasn’t what she’d expected.

    “Nothing?”

    “Hands,” he said, wiggling his fingers. “Feet. Mouth.” He moved each one in turn. “Not claw. Not paw. Not beak. No help. No help to you.”

    She blinked. So that was it. He had an inferiority complex, did he?

    She could use that.