Writing Update

Greg and I have had two, hour-long writing sessions. The first night, we managed 725 words. Last night, we added another 602 words. In total, we’ve written 1327, and we’ve completed the prologue!

Our writing style seems to be that one of us uses brute strength and forced words just to get the story down, then the other goes back and polishes the language into something that seems natural and acceptable. We flip-flop these rolls and it’s working really well for us so far. There hasn’t been any yelling, and neither of us has any extra bruises or experienced blood loss–always a good sign!

Greg's the one with the ponytail. Illustration by David Saracino
Greg’s the one with the ponytail.
Illustration by David Saracino

The Handmaid’s Tale: A Review

The Handmaid’s Tale is probably Margaret Atwood’s most popular book. It is been labelled as dystopic, speculative, science fiction, and many other things. But at its heart, it is a horrific look at a future dominated by patriarchy and twisted religious beliefs—but the meaning and conversation can go so much deeper than that. I could write an entire thesis on the reasons why the patriarchy set up in Handmaid could only exist through the compliance and support of women, but I won’t. A book review is no place for such thorough analysis. I give you this rudimentary review so that you will possibly be inspired to go out, read this book, and do the deep thinking on your own.

handmaidsThe main character of Handmaid is essentially nameless. She in known only as Offred (“Of-Fred”—Fred being her patron). The book is a recounting of her life and experiences. It is non-chronological, and it told in a more stream-of-thought manner, which makes more sense when you realize that she is dictating her story in an audio format. Her experiences become a futuristic slave-narrative-like story.

Offred is a handmaid, which means she has been proven to be fertile by having a child previously. She is put into this breeding caste and given to higher-ranking family units who want to have a baby, but are unable to do so. The blame for the mass infertility affecting the society is placed solely on women. Sex becomes ceremony, and a strange one at that. It would make most any person squirm at the awkwardness and wrongness of it. If after a stint with a family, the handmaid does not produce a child, she is sent to another household. She only has so many chances before she is sent off and deemed “unwoman.”

The narrative switches back and forth from her story and history as a handmaid to life before the fall of government, and even to random points in between. Luckily, the jumps in time and story aren’t confusing and the reader is able to figure out what is happening when with little difficulty.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that most everyone should read at least once in their life, as it serves as a poignant warning of what not to let happen.

5/5 Stars

A Couple of Updates

Yes, I am behind on my book reviews. Thank you for noticing! I still need to write-up and post reviews for The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Book of Earth (Diadem #5) by John Peel, and *deep breath* Welsh Folk-Lore: A Collection of the Folk-Tales and Legends of North Wales by Elias Owen. But I have good reason for being so far behind. If you follow my blog, you know that the husband (Greg) and I have been working on a book. That’s been taking up much of my precious at-home evening time. Well, I have a big update on the writing front–We have completed our outline! Yessireebob, We have our book all plotted out and it is ready to be written.

Now comes the fun part–real, honest story writing.

nanowrimocaution

Raven Cliff Falls Hike

The Raven Cliff Falls hike was unfortunately lacking ravens; however, the falls made up for it. No seriously–I fell down on my bum twice. Anyhoo, the hike was nice, although there were too many people and too many campers (leaving behind too much litter–Seriously, there was toilet paper EVERYWHERE!) to be able to fully enjoy the marvelous natural beauty of the area.

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You can actually hike to the top of the cliffs. Greg and I decided against it. Climbing up wouldn’t have been an issue. The tumbling that would have happened on the climb down, though…Let’s just say that the falling I did on the regular trail was enough to screw up my hip, and I didn’t want to tempt the fates further.

NaNoWriMo Preparation Update

We’ve had unseasonably cold weather here in the North Georgia Mountains. We’ve had ice and multiple frosts now. Luckily, it makes for good cozy activities, such as sipping warm mulled wine and curling up on the couch with a quilt armed with a good book. In the case of Greg and me, we’re honing our research skills and studying up on fairy legends and mythos of the British isles and Scandinavia. The research has proven to be most helpful, and we continue uncovering loads of super interesting stories and legends, and even just small things that will add to our over-all world-building.

The book outline is shaping up nicely, and each day we are able to work on the story, we get more and more excited.

Here’s a random factoid for you: the Welsh plural for Corgi is Corgwn (pronounced “corgen” like “oxen”)–you can bet your teeth that we’re using that one.

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Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are you doing, if anything, to prepare?

Wednesday Writing Prompt #8

Use the following items in a short-story, poem, or descriptive narrative:

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Blackberry Jam
  • Pocket Knife
  • Safety Goggles
  • Extension Cord

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The Very Angry Magician

By April Loebick

It all started with some turquoise-colored rubber gloves and a pair of clear safety goggles. A fun new game started forming in his head. Mikey, or Little Mikey as his family loved to torture him with the nickname, searched the entire house to find what would be the rest of his attire. He found an old white apron in the closet. His mother gave him an old tattered yellow bath towel, which she expertly pinned to his shoulders.

Now he was ready to begin. While no one was looking, he stole away into the kitchen and yoinked a half eaten jar of blackberry jelly, whispering “yoink” as he did. With a ninja-like expertise, Mikey snuck back out of the kitchen, bobbing and weaving behind furniture, and into his room. He shut the door softly, so as not to make the slightest noise and make anyone suspicious.

Mikey turned to his partner in crime. “Well Mr. Booger, I have everything that we need. Did you get the extension cord?” The extension cord was placed in the teddy bear’s lap, just where Mikey had put it earlier. “Good, good,” he said, taking the cord. Out of his pocket, the little boy pulled out a small pocket knife that his father had secretly given him on his last birthday.

He snapped the goggles on over his eyes and set to work.  His tongue stuck out as he maneuvered the knife.  Occasionally, he stopped to admire his handy work. And then finally, he was ready.

Minutes later there was a snap and a scream heard from Mikey’s room. His mother dropped the plate that she had been drying. Luckily it was one of those chip-free plates, so when it hit the ground it only bounced and rolled underneath the dining room table. She ran to her little boy’s room and swung open the door.

The sight sent her bursting into laughter. Little Mikey was standing in the middle of the room. In one hand he held an expertly stripped electrical cord (she was going to have to talk to his father about that). And in the other hand was an almost empty jar of blackberry jelly. The rest of the jelly was covering the walls of the room and the body of her little boy. Even the boy’s beloved Mr. Booger did not escape the mess. He was covered from fuzzy ears to fluffy feet with globs of the dark purple goo.

“Well aren’t you just the messiest mad scientist I’ve ever seen,” his mother laughed.

Mikey looked up at her with an annoyed look on his face. “I’m not a mad scientist, mom. I am a very angry magician.”

His mother was in tears because she was laughing so hard. Mikey simply stared at her as a glob of jelly fell off of his cheek onto the floor.  Once she caught her breath she motioned to her son. “Come on; let’s get you and Mr. Booger cleaned up.”