Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WIP Wednesday: Reading with My Kids

Owen is in first grade, mired in learning to read. He brings home a few new books each night, and we spend a chunk of the evening sounding out words. Last night, we read:

Horror-writer dad jumps up and yells "hooray!"

The Boogly came out of the swamp. Chased a kid into his room. The last page:

...and then I woke up.

(dagger to the heart)

Great for a kids' book, but ouch. The one-ending-that-is-never-okay-in-horror-fiction. We read another book (Spooky and the Wizard's Bats) about a wizard who sent bats to torment a poor black cat (Spooky) every night. The cat's former owner, a witch, was delighted, saying she wanted to see the kitty cry. That particular book was pretty scary. Of course Spooky wins in the end, stealing the wizard's wand (which is subsequently tossed in a fire by Spooky's new owner).

So we went 50/50 on sweetly creepy books for kids last night. Here's my NaNoWriMo moment of the day: make sure the ending works. Don't cheat your readers. *shakes fist at The Boogly*

I finished another short with a title nod to Joe R. Lansdale: "The Night they Went to the Horror Show". It didn't turn out like I planned in my head...which has been happening a good bit of late.

Gwen shoved him. “You’re a weirdo, Grant. W-E-I-R-D-O.”

The insult was lost in the slamming of his door. Grant knelt and peered in the window. “Stay here. I’ll be right back.” He tapped the flashlight and started for the dark wall of trees at cemetery’s edge. The old fence was still there, hanging loose on gnarled posts. He tightened his grip on the light, feeling the rubber grooves of the handle press into his hand. His feet scratched through rough grass as he walked. Gwen mumbled and cursed him from the car, but the yellow beam of light in front held him on course. She was eight years too late for that night, for the path, the pond, the old boat…

I'm going to start editing Loathsome again. I promise. (I think I thought of the missing piece.)


Jamie Eyberg said...

My daughter is also learning to read and I really don't like talking animals at this point. Or Tinkerbell.

Katey said...

Oh man, kids are people too-- and way awesomer than the grown-up ones. It's so not fair to cheat them like that!

A little detour from editing for short fiction is ALWAYS an acceptable one. Looks like good fun!

Aaron Polson said...

*shakes fist at Tinkerbell*

Katey - Yeah, I didn't want to jade the poor little guy too much, but I suppose books like The Boogly when we were young make "it was all a dream" endings even more bitter.

Cassandra Buckley said...

Check out the last story.

BT said...

Boo to the Boogly, and for shame on the agent and publishing house that let it through!

Not kewl!

Nice way to lead into a good writing tip for NaNoers (and everyone else) though ;c)

Congrats on finishing another one and good luck on Loathsome. I'd offer to help, but you know how unlikely that is at the moment.

Aaron Polson said...

;) Ms Buckley...well continue this tomorrow.

BT - It is one of those books churned out by an academic mill. I guess quality isn't an issue for the publisher as long as the reading is "on level". Seems silly, though.

Danielle Birch said...

And Boogly was such a promising title.

BT said...

Shakes head - what? Are authors incapable of producing a good story that is 'on level'?

Maybe there is a niche there that we could exploit?

Aaron Polson said...

Danielle - :)

BT - Good point. Maybe somebody still thinks "it was all a dream" is a nice, twisty ending.

Cate Gardner said...

I think we should write to the publishers and demand The Boogly be rewritten. Then again, maybe that's why there's a BOO in the title.

Aaron Polson said...

Cate - Well said.

K.C. Shaw said...

What a lame ending to The Boogly! Those on-level readers are always pretty bad, though. At least that one looks like it had good illustrations.

I loved the snippet you posted! Your sensory details are masterful. Those are the things I have to go back in on the fifth or sixth edit and shove in so readers don't think my characters are drifting through a formless dreamscape.