Thursday, February 23, 2012

Critique me, Baby!

One thing I really like about writing stuff is getting a good critique on what I've written. I don't have to like some of the honest answers that I get (yah, it stings a little when someone hates your work), but I tend to brush it off pretty quickly.

That being said, I'm having fun over at Authoress' blog 'cause I'm in one of her contests. It's the First Line Grabber contest, in which we aspiring authors submitted the very first line of our book-in-progress. The community members (you!) get to vote on your favorite submissions. Sunday morning, winners with the most votes will be announced and then its on to round two!

I'd love to be in round two. So far, I'm getting mixed reviews on my first line. More good than bad, and I'm getting some great perspective on what people can read into that one little line!!!!

Wanna vote? Come on over. I'm #18 and would love your input.
Inspiration: Part One

I first had the idea for my work-in-progress, 'Heat Rising', about eight years ago. I was sitting at a state conference on methamphetamine use in our state and how it had such a huge impact on children. Ironically, I had my first daughter with me, only two months old, contentedly sitting in her car seat as the presenter talked about the horrible abuses children were suffering at the hands of meth-addicted parents.

See, meth users don't just take one or two hits of the drug. No, they 'tweak' it constantly, always chasing the next big high. By tweaking, I mean they either consistently take a higher dose; a more frequent dose, or they combine meth with another drug, like cocaine, and take them together. Some tweakers mix more than one other drug with meth to create an entirely new substance. All in an effort to obtain a high unlike any they've had before.

The presenter told a story about a little boy who was looking forward to his classroom Halloween party. He was a kindergartner and this was the very first time he'd ever dressed up for Halloween (thanks to his meth-addicted parents). His teacher borrowed him a cow costume. He put it on the day of the party, sat out on the curb to wait for the bus. And waited...waited. Waited some more.

What he didn't know is that when the family had moved to a new apartment a week before, the parents never bothered to tell anyone. The bus driver didn't know they'd moved. No one at school knew. This little boy dressed in his cow costume every day for seven days, sitting each morning at the curb, patiently waiting all day for the bus to come. Finally a neighbor called police to report this unusual behavior. The police came.

Inside the family's apartment, they found the boy's mother had died. A four month old baby was in the crib, soiled, nearly starved to death and the father was no where to be found. The five year old boy had survived on bread and water. Pieces of bread were found in the 4-month old's crib; police think the little boy tried to feed her when she cried, but being so young, it was hard for her to manage.

The story idea hit me as I sat there, crying right along with the other 100 emergency medical technicians in that room. I thought, what kind of drug could be so worth it that you'd neglect your children and leave them to certain injury and death?

What kind of high were these people chasing? Just how strong was this addiction?

Fast forward two more years when I had the chance to visit an exhibit on Egyptians and their ancient myths and beliefs in magic. They craved immortality, in fact, went to great lengths to try and find a way to make the body and soul immortal. Embalming was one way; however, it lacked actual animation and life. Sure, you've got a leathery, wrapped up body that will last 1,000 years, but it can only lie there. In a sarcophagus. Like a dead body is want to do.

No, the Egyptians wanted more. They wanted life to remain in a body that wouldn't age and they sought it, greatly, through magic, potions, spells and pacts with their Gods. It didn't work.

That is, until I created a recipe combining ancient ingredients for immortality with highly potent modern day elicit drugs.

Oh, I combined them alright. And all hell broke loose, too.

Part two, coming soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Breaking the Slate

I have to admit, I'm not much for a clean slate. While I do like to mold something from nothing, I do so much better when there is already a little something started. I'm much more motivated if I think I've already started. I write the same way. I have notebooks, literally filled cover to cover, with ideas and names for characters and random scene sketches; I have no idea if these random things will ever amount to anything. But, they make great kick-starters for other writing projects! That's what this first, totally random, post is all about. It's a kick starter so I don't feel like I'm completely starting from scratch the next time I create a post. I've already been here; a mark has already been left. So there, blank Blogger blog. You have now been marked, dirtied, used, created on. The next time we meet, my post will be much more meaningful. Promise.