Today I’m off to Seattle for Spring Break. I get to spend the week relaxing in the rainy state, hanging out with my friend, and looking for jobs and apartments (I’m moving up here once I graduate). Today has been a good day as a prelude for a hopefully good week.
This morning, Weber State University’s literary journal, Metaphor, hosted the High School Editors Conference. We had sixty junior high students come. They were a good bunch of kids, though. I taught sessions on Intro to Publishing, Dialogue, and Conquering Writer’s Block. Of course, being a group of junior high students rather than the high school students we had originally planned for, I got a lot of blank stares and disinterest from the six students that came to Intro to Publishing.
Things rapidly improved as I went to my maxed-out class for dialogue. Passing on a few tricks of the trade I’ve picked up over the years (the key tip I gave them: SHUT UP AND LISTEN—then go home and imitate what you hear), I set them to writing a short scene where one person wanted something from the other but didn’t come right out and ask for it. We shared some favorite lines of dialogue from movies, TV shows, and books. Most came from Doctor Who, of course. I shared with them the bit of Stealing the Crown where the advisor is talking Ethan into searching out the princess. I’ll share that at the end with you as well. At the end of the session, with ten minutes left, I asked them if there were any questions, or what else they wanted to talk about. I got a request to read more of my book. Warm fuzzies for me.
After dialogue, I moved on to teach conquering writer’s block. The cool junior high teacher even attended that one. Though the main point I stressed to them was not to let writer’s block win, that if they keep writing and plow through it soon they’ll be past it, everyone’s favorite part of the session were the writing dares. Writing dares are things unique to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in November, where you write 50,000 words in one month) in order to encourage each other and to give ideas to continue on. Most of them are nonsense and will probably be edited out after the initial draft, but they’re fun and keep you moving. If you’re interested in seeing some of these yourself, go to writingdares.blogspot.com. They’re amusing writing prompts, I promise. With titles like “Ugly Pineapple,” “He’s dead. Or gay,” and “Here, let me help you kill me,” how can you not want to check them out?
Once we were finished with the High School Editor’s Conference, I took off to run some errands. My favorite errand of the day was picking up my graduation announcements. Though they’re a bit different than what I was picturing, they’re gorgeous and I can’t wait until those I sent them to receive them. Hopefully some family will send money in return!
Announcement mailing was followed by a few rounds of Country Rockband with my roommate, completion of my Writing March Madness goal for the day, two reruns of Bones, and dinner at Applebees. We had chocolate lava cake for desert, and a hot waiter taking care of us through the meal. In the words of my roommate, good dinner and a better show! I didn’t have too bad of a wait at the airport, and the flight I was on was pretty darn comfortable.
All in all, today was a stellar day. I can’t wait to see how the rest of spring break turns out! I didn’t bring any homework. It’s just going to be me, my novel that needs working on, a murder mystery, and the occasional stint on the town with my friend. Wish me luck and fantastic rainy weather, readers, and I hope your spring break/vacation/week-that-is-fantastic-as-you-want-to-make-it goes as well as mine.
P.S. I mentioned earlier that I would give you a bit of dialogue from Stealing the Crown between Ethan and the king’s advisor. Enjoy.
To say I was a little miffed about having the table reversed and being told what to do would be an understatement. I stood staunchly by the door, checking the walls for escape routes.
He looked at me before sitting down. “Suit yourself. But that wound cannot make it comfortable to stand.”
“It’s not comfortable in any position. Courtesy of your guards.”
“I think you got off easy compared to them.” Our eyes locked for a moment before he turned back to his papers. “I could summon the medic for you.”
“And have the medic alert the guards on his way out? That isn’t going to happen.”
He scoffed, picking up a glass of whatever he had been drinking before my escapades interrupted him. “If we wished to capture you, they would have already been called.”
“I’m supposed to believe you’re just going to let me walk out of here?”
He pursed his lips. “You did threaten our king. And there is the small matter of murdering six guards.”
“Fodder to the twelve people you killed yesterday.”
“Whatever this notion you have in your head, you must desist. Accusing the king of dispatching his personal force to eliminate such a trivial threat as your guild will not help you. We have proof of your hand in the deaths of those guards. There is no battle to fight.”
My hands tightened into fists as he brushed off the lives of my family. “If you have proof, what do you need me for?”
He leaned back in his chair, keeping his eyes on me. “This is not the first time we’ve heard your name, Ethan.” How the hell did he know who I was just by sitting there?
I shuddered as I became aware of the stone nestled beneath my tunic. It felt hot against my chest. I rubbed at it, looking up in just enough time to catch his frown. “You’ve built up quite a reputation for your age. You can get information on things others cannot. You can steal practically anything.”
I watched him warily. The only way to know what he’d want out of me was for him to tell me. I wasn’t going to volunteer anything.
“We are offering a reward on any information that leads to the reclamation of the princess. Should you assist the investigation, you will be rewarded one thousand hearts.”
I know he didn’t miss my look of surprise. “Don’t you have your own spies and whatnot?”
He pinched the bridge of his nose. “They have a network of information. The culprit seems to be beyond that. None of them have anything useful. We need someone who works in the criminal back-alleys, someone that would hear rumors of a prisoner being kept. And wouldn’t you like to clear the name of your group from the implication of kidnap?”
I moved forward until I could lean over the arm of the chair, lowering my face close to his. “Clearing their names would do no good. They’re dead, and nothing you or I do can bring them back. What do they care what they’re implicated in? They’re dead.” I stifled the tiny bit of satisfaction that came from the surprise on his face. I leaned away again and downed the rest of his drink that had been sitting on the table. “But the money you’re offering could come in handy. You’ll get a lot of false information once others find out, hoping to claim the reward.”