Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Silver Flower

I've been writing for years. Little stories, poems, papers for school. But through it all, one piece of writing has always been in the background. A novel I've been working on for eight to ten years. Its been so long I can't even remember.

It used to be called The Mystery on Pendant Island, shortened MOPI, but after my first draft I realized I couldn't keep that title; the story was not a mystery. So after a while a new title was decided upon: The Silver Flower.

It starts off with a fairy princess fleeing for her life because the castle is being attacked. She has to go stay on the Ponka Islands to wait out the war, but she was not going alone. One of the castle's employees, Jesse, the stable boy, is going with to be her body guard. But the run into a little trouble along the way; the Dark Fairy kidnaps the princess, twice. There are secrete passages, an exploding volcano, subplots, secrets, a magical flower with a dark history, and more.

But I can never seem satisfied with the story. I feel as if I'm in a perpetual state of editing, for there is always something more I want to change, add, take out, rephrase... this last week, for instance, I deleted the last third of the story. I wanted something particular to happen, and it couldn't if this certain character showed up- so I had to rewrite everything.

I've been re-writing like this for at least four fifths of the time I've been working on this story. Honestly, if you compared the first draft to my current one, they are practically two different stories.

Today has been a good day, I think. I wrote just under 2,000 words. Two days ago I hardly wrote anything. I'd been in the editing process so long I didn't even know how to think up a new storyline. It was hard going, at first, but once I started I couldn't stop. Now all my spare time is used to work on my short story. Who knows? I might decide to get an agent someday...

Monday, February 22, 2010

i had a Thought

Rather than finding a new poem to share today, I thought it would be interesting to hear from you.

What poems do you enjoy? Do you have a favorite?
Maybe you came across an interesting one these past few weeks and would like to share.
If you've posted it on your blog, feel free to share the link.

Here is your chance!

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Surrender All

Judson W. Van DeVenter 1896

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him, I
n His presence daily live.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to Thee my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken.
Take me Jesus take me now.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to Thee my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender
Make me, Savior, wholly Tine;
Let me feel the Holy Sprit
Truly know that Thou art mine.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to Thee my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee
Fill me with Thy love and power
Let they blessing fall on me.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to Thee my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame
O the joy of full salvation!
Flroty, glory to His name.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to Thee my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Luke 18:28

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson~ blog tour

Yesterday I promised you an interview. But I have something even better for you: an interview with N.D. Wilson, AND original writing of his about a cupboard left unexplored in the books. Like I said yesterday, you are in for a treat. First, here is the description of cupboard #23 that N.D. Wilson wrote, and after that you can read the interview.


First, I saw you sneaking out of my room. Don’t ever go into my room again, or Uncle Caleb’s dogs will snack on you in the night.

Second, I know you put this journal on my pillow. Stop being such a creep. The fact that you even touched my pillow means that I’ll have to burn it immediately. Did you think any of this would impress me? Sneaking around writing about yourself? Could you be weirder?

Third, I don’t believe any of it.

Fourth, if you want to impress me, change. Don’t be you anymore. Don’t be the Richard Hutchins who calls himself Richard Hutchins. I’ve seen you wear pink sweatpants, and I won’t ever forget it. But if you want me to try, start playing baseball. Be normal. Don’t notice if you get hurt. Never, ever, ever whine to me or anyone else about anything again. That would be a start.

Fifth, I don’t care that you’ve been stabbed and (if you’re not lying) hit with a broom and scratched on the ankle and bruised on the face and pinched by crabs. I just read your stupid journal and that was worse than anything you’ve ever gone through.

Sixth, you’re a chump and a sneak and a weasel and an annoying Math tutor. If you died, I probably would be a little sad for you. But I’m sure I wouldn’t notice for a very long time.

Don’t talk to me tomorrow.



P.S. If you still feel like pretending to be brave, I picked out another cupboard for you from this journal:

#23. Collected 1900. Tin-plated drawer. Single pull. First report: Ireland. Local innkeeper with a sealed room. Cursed, he said, with vipers. Seven guests killed in a week. Locked up since. Wouldn’t let me into the room. After dark, broke in and located the drawer easily (noticeable hissing when opened). Pried it loose and bagged it quickly. Left before morning.

That one should be fun for you. And if I never see you again, at least I’ll know how you died.

Now, before I show you the interview, there are some other cool things I want you to know about. First off, I am part of a book tour, so each day a new person blogs about The Chestnut King. So I think you should check out these other blogs: CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE BLOG THAT COMES BEFORE ME IN THE TOUR. And the NEXT BLOG ON THE TOUR AFTER MYSELF IS HERE. Also, you could check out N.D. Wilson's own page. And now for the interview!

Marie: What is your favorite color?

N.D. Wilson: Pompous Answer: The color of the world after a storm (field, forest, or sea), when the sun drops below the clouds. True Answer: I don’t know, but whatever it is, it isn’t puce. Or mauve.

Marie: Pepsi or Coke?

N.D. Wilson: Caffeine. And when I’m simply drinking for pleasure . . . Diet Dr. Pepper.

Marie: How long did it take you to write 'The Chestnut King'?

N.D. Wilson: In the neighborhood of four months for the first draft.

Marie: Are any of the characters in your book based off people you know?

N.D. Wilson: Sure. Uncle Frank is well-known to me by a different name (simply aged, and exported to another world). Growing up, my little sister taught me a lot about being spunky, small, and female. But that’s just me rooting around for similarities. I haven’t intentionally based any characters on specific people from my life.

Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?

N.D. Wilson: Indeed I do. But I had to train myself to. I wrote Leepike Ridge and the 100 Cupboards series with my kids frolicking in the background. Headphones were a necessity. Now, the setting for my writing has changed (I have an office, and the older kids are in school), but the music has become a habit. But not just any music. You have to find the right stuff for the feel of a book. There’s always a chance that it will start influencing your mood or descriptions.

Marie: Where did you get your inspiration for ‘The Chestnut King'?

N.D. Wilson: There were a lot of little inspirations and influences along the way, but the critical moment (without which, I would have written a different book) came a couple years ago after collecting chestnuts with my kids. We were in our own front yard, and they were all messing around in the late afternoon warmth. My son came over to me with a length of white electrical wire he had found. Since I had a chestnut in my hand, I speared it with the wire and bent the whole thing into a necklace. Then I hooked it around my son’s neck and told him that he had become The Chestnut King. He still has the necklace.

Marie: How long after living in your Grandparent's attic did you come up with the idea for the 100 Cupboards series?

N.D. Wilson: Woof. Hard to be exact. A solid eight years.

Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?

N.D. Wilson: Mental barriers are no fun at all, and my solutions vary. Sometimes, I’ll end up walking, or taking off for a country drive, or heading to the gym to break a sweat. Other times, I’ll take a break for a day or two and read something completely out of genre (P.D. James, for example). All of those things can get my juices going again. But most often, when I’ve hit a solid barrier, it means that I’m exhausted and have been working too hard for too long. In which case the best solution is also the easiest—I play with my kids and go to sleep.

Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?

N.D. Wilson: There is nothing I would rather be doing. There are, however, things I would like to be doing in addition to all this writing (and not simply other variations on storytelling). I love getting blisters and working with my hands—building, digging holes, etc. I love traveling and exploring (my wife and I took the kids on a minibus fieldtrip of Europe last Spring, and I just finished another whirlwind of my own). I love staring at the ocean, and I would like to stare at it more often. And I want my own blimp—an RV in the sky. Does that answer your question?

Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

N.D. Wilson: My shark whistle. My 1911 lucky penny (currently missing). My cowboy hat. Reasons: leaving an island on a shark’s back would be way more interesting than simply wishing for a chopper, a yacht, or a cell phone with GPS locator and coverage. It would be nice to have my penny back, and I hate having a sunburned face.

Marie: What question have I not asked that I should, and what is the answer?

N.D. Wilson: Oh, I don’t know. Who am I to judge you? But if you really want one more question, how about “Can you tell us about any future projects?” Answer: no. I’m not at liberty to discuss those. Okay, fine. There’s a little series I’m working on called “The Ashtown Burials”. In the first book (The Dragon’s Tooth), readers will get to know a fella by the name of Cyrus Smith, and his sister Antigone. The story kicks off in a roadside motel outside of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Expect great things. I’ll say no more.

Thanks N.D. Wilson for your time and wonderful answers! Thanks to Random House, too, for this opportunity and the ARC

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh, The Excitement!

Tomorrow, you are in for a treat.

I mean it.

See, N.D. Wilson wrote these books called 'the 100 Cupboard Series', 100 Cupboards; Dandelion Fire; and The Chestnut King. I was lucky enough to get an Advanced Readers Copy of the third and final book. You may remember me blogging about this a while back? Anyway, I got my interview questions back today- and each question had an answer. From N.D. Wilson. I've just finished reading through it, and thats why I'm excited for you.

Come back tomorrow, it'll be quite a treat.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Elf and the Dormouse

by Oliver Herford

Under a toadstool
Crept a wee Elf,
Out of the rain
To shelter himself

Under the toadstool,
Sound asleep,
Sat a big Dormouse
All in a heap.

Trembled the wee Elf,
Frightened , and yet
Fearing to fly away
Lest he get wet,

To the next shelter-
Maybe a mile!
Sudden the wee elf
Smiled a wee smile,

Tugged till the toadstool
Toppled in two.
Holding it over him
Gaily he flew.

Soon he was home
Dry as could be.
Soon woke the Dormouse-
"Good gracious me!

Where is my toadstool?"
Loud he lamented.
-And that's how umbrellas
First were invented.

I was flipping through "Favorite Poems Old and New" looking for a poem to post today. I'd never heard this one before, and as soon as I began to read it I liked it. Try saying it out loud- the words fall right out of your mouth fitting perfectly together with each other. Also, if you look at the fifth stanza you will see an example of alliteration (where the same sound/ kind of sound is repeated. In this case: t). In my opinion, these make good tongue twisters. The only thing that bugs me about this poem is the transition between the third and fourth stanzas; its doesn't seem very smooth to me, and makes it hard to read.

Did you notice any of these or any other things in this poem? What do you think about this poem?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Bible Blurb

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I took an absurd amount of notes this last week, if you combine notes from classes and spring revival. Pages and pages and pages. And that much writing can get tedious.

Early classes where I write notes.
Back to the dorm.
Write homework.
More classes.
A break of a couple hours.
Writing notes from revival.

So I began paying more attention to my handwriting. The first half page of notes is usually neat- at least by comparison. After that, I begin to get a little lazier. Cursive and print intertwine in each sentence, in each word. Letters and words are not as crisp, or clear. By the middle of the second page my handwriting resembles a dirt patch after a dozen chickens ran around in a panic.

After months of writing like this, the amount of space at the top of the page that is unavoidably legible begins to shrink until there is none left. As the months wind on, chicken scratch consumes more and more of the page. At this point, to save my readability, I switch entirely to cursive. This lasts for about a week. When I revert back to print, the solid, crisp letters and words push the chicken scratch off the page completely. For a couple weeks, anyway.

At revival I tilted my college-ruled notebook slightly to the left, so that the black spiral binding is closer to myself, and wrote that way for the evening. The result was a perpetual italic. It was different than how I had been writing all last semester and the few weeks we've had at this semester that I decided to write in perpetual italics all the next day.

By the time evening revial rolled around again I was tired of the new 'font', so I decided to experiment again.

In Anti-Italics.

I am not sure if that's even a term, but that is what I wrote in. I put the paper square in front of me, perpendicular to the table... and I wrote. The letters tilted drastically to the left, and I was pleased with the change. The next several days I took notes alternating between normal, italics, and the 'aint-italics'.

Do you have any quirky or interesting writing or handwriting habits?

Friday, February 05, 2010

This Is the Day

This Is the Day
by Les Garrett, 1967

This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.
We willl rejoice, we will rejoice, we will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made.

I like this hymn partially because of its simplicity. It comes straight from Psalm 118:24 which states that 'this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.'
No matter what day it is when you read this Psalm or sing this hymn, it is a day that the Lord made. Because He made this day and has allowed us to live in it we ought to rejoice in God and through our day and be glad throughout the day.

God created today, so rejoice!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

January Record!

In January, I beat a personal record- the number of books I can listen to/read in one month. I am not sure what it was before this last month, but it has been raised to 10 books. Wow! I never thought that would have been possible to me! Here is a list of all the books I've read this month, as well as the number of stars I rate them with:

  • Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (reread)*****
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ***
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (reread)*****
  • Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll **
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*****
  • The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson (ARC)***
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine(reread) ****
  • Hardy Boys: Secret of the Old Mill ****
  • Hardy Boys: House on the Cliff****
  • A Wind in the Door by Madeline L' Engel ***
-three were rereads.
-6 were parts of series', and one more has a sequel.
-two I have been meaning to read for a long time, and only just recently got around to it.
-four were read at the end of Christmas break, before school started up again.
-one was an advanced readers copy (the book tour is this month!!!).
-two were not at ALL what I was expecting, and a third- well, I guess I should have known it wouldn't be what I was expecting.
-I read five, and listened to the other five


'to make old or obsolete'


-most of the sentences I saw talked about antiquated ideas and concepts- like that the earth is the center of the universe...

Before I had googled 'fun words to say', I had never known of the word 'antiquate'. In the next seven days, I want to try saying it as often as it makes sense- I'll let you know about any funny stories...

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Land of Story Books

The Land of Story Books by Robert Louis Stevenson

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

Thre, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of story books.