Monday, March 28, 2011
More like String Bridge
Eager to show off my short story Adventures with Crash and Mars, I met with Edmonton Public Library writer-in-residence Marty Chan this weekend.
I admit, my palms felt a little sweaty at the prospect of putting my work "out there" and in front of such a celebrity author. Marty has published many books, and when the kids aren't lining up to hear him speak, a large contingent of writerly hopefuls are looking for advice.
"Who are these Crash and Mars characters?" he asked, as I settled in at his makeshift desk.
I pointed to my 102.3 Now Radio pals, leaned close and dropped my voice to a whisper. "These two here."
"Do they have last names?"
I shifted uncomfortably in my chair. "Do they need to? I mean, there's Madonna. Beyonce. Prince."
Marty wrinkled his nose. "Yeah, you're going to want to change that. I'm not feeling the celebrity vibe here."
Inhaling a deep breath of courage, I stretched my lips into a smile. "Ok. I'll change the names." I jotted on my notebook, mentally disagreeing with Mr. Writer-In-Residence. Why would I change their names? "Anything else?"
"What's the plot?" he asked. "Where's the action?"
"Well, we've been to Galaxyland," I said. "Went on a few rides."
Marty pressed his lips into a grimace. "I see. Did anyone die?"
"Well, er, no, but..."
"Well, Mars did scream on the roller coaster," I said, remembering how her voice scratched against my ears as we looped around one of the ride's giant circles.
Marty jotted something on his pad of paper. "That's a start. How about romance?"
"We went on a hot air balloon ride," I said, excitement causing my voice to reverberate. "That was romantic."
I threw my hands upward in a Victory V. "And, we went through the haunted house. That was scary, right?"
"Predictable," Marty corrected.
"Your characters are too cardboard cut-out," he began.
"Two coroplast cut-outs," I amended.
"And your plot is flat," he said, ignoring my correction. "Two dimensional. Use your five senses! I want to smell the action...
"I want to feel your character's emotions," Marty went on, jotting furiously on a notepad. "Where's the passion? The great writing? The..."
I glanced away from the intensity, locking eyes with Crash and Mars. Two-dimensional? Flat story line? Emotionless? The kiss of death for a writer.
You were supposed to be my muse, I mouthed at Crash.
"Dawn," Marty said, placing a comforting hand across mine. "You're just not there yet. If only you could be more like..."
"Like who?" I asked, a myriad of names flashing across my eyes. Stephen King? Nora Roberts? Sandra Brown?
"... more like Jessica Bell."
Indeed, if only I could be more like the incredibly talented and amazingly beautiful Jessica Bell. Congratulations to a very good friend and amazing writer for launching the trailer to String Bridge, Jessica's debut novel to be published by Lucky Press this November. Super proud of you, hon! To watch the trailer (where Jessica SINGS her own songs) and to learn more about Jessica, click here.
PS - Want to win an autographed book by Marty Chan - who is actually amazing, talented, and not at all mean? Check out the Young Alberta Book Society website and send me a "fact" about Marty for a chance to win a copy of True Story.