Personal Note: I am nagging you again. That poor SocialVibe badge to your left has been stuck at 57 minutes for a long time. Do another acitivy, if you don't mind taking three minutes. I think I'd actually rather you do the activity than read this post.

Today, after this post I’m going to write a post about how I see villains. And tension. But you won’t see this post until tomorrow, because I’m telling Blogger not to release it into the wild until then. Yeah, I know; I’m diabolical and crap*, as my friend Matt might say.

But first! An update about what’s going on here in Amethyst is Learning to be a Writer Land.

Top of the list, I have two extra humans to guide through homework and such in the afternoons, bringing my total to four students (and a toddler). The toddler isn’t slacking on needing my attention, though. He’s learning to use a potty, so he requires my attention every fifteen minutes or so. It almost killed me yesterday. Mondays generally have a lot of homework for all four older children, and this one was true to form.

Next, I’ve been reading. A lot. Because when the aforementioned favorite cousin came to visit, we (oh, unwise, unwise we) went into a bookstore (on a side note, if cash is a little tighter, but you have to see to your book thirst, I suggest heading into the Middle Grade section of your bookstore. Most paperbacks are under ten bucks there, and either those MG authors have stepped it up or the world at large has realized people in their early teens aren’t just elementary kids with things budding and sprouting—in other words, not idiots—and there are some really fantastic MG stand-alones and series to choose from). So far I've loved Lisa McMann’s Fade (have a total crush on her character "Cabel"), am having a little trouble getting into Pride and Predjudice and Zombies, not because I don't like it, or it isn't good, but because I am such a cannon loyalist. The book is different, and interesting, sure, but it's not catching me. I also really like Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky, sequel to his The Wee Free Men.

But. The cake-takers so far have been Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, and Catching Fire. These books are the first two in a trilogy, and I've been putting off reading them because I knew even before I bought one, after I'd read them, I'd be hit in the face just how much work I have to do on plot, tension points, and cliffhangers. Collins is a pro when it comes to these things. I can't say how surprised I've been while I read the books, because I knew so much going in, but even knowing what would happen I found myself flipping pages like crazy just to get the answers I needed. On the surface it all seems simple, when you describe it. Post-apocalyptic girl, fighting for her life and the lives of her loved ones. Easy, right? Noooo. Not easy, because Collins has made us all wonder just how girl is going to pull it off. We're all pretty sure we know where we're ending up, but getting there is just so amazing.

Anyway, I am once again convicted of my need to think ahead. I, too, am writing a trilogy. I'm studying writers who have totally nailed cliff-hangers, taking notes when I catch my breath, asking myself what about a certain feature or passage makes my brain go, "No! No, don't stop there, I have to know what happens!". Yes, the project feels enormous again. I knew it would. That's okay. I've got time. It's like I tell all those boys while I'm overseeing their homework: I'd rather take a little time and do it right now, than have to waste all that time having to RE-do it because it wasn't right in the first place.

Get ready to hold your breath. I plan on taking it away.

*Okay, so technically Matt would probably not use the word 'crap', but I'm editing his language in this hypothetical situation.


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