I had issues coming up with what to write about today, I will admit. I’m also sounding like Yoda, which is never a good start for my mental process. Or a good sign.
So rather than try to write something insightful about writing, I thought I would share a snippet of 2011’s NaNoWriMo with you and share a contest that I do believe a good portion of people would be interested in. First, the novel…
It’s from the novel entitled Battery Pack and takes place in our modern world, in Germany. Heidelberg, to be exact. The idea for this tale came about two days before November 1st, but I knew it was one that I wanted to set in Heidelberg. Having spent 6 months living there, it was a city I felt I could portray well in a book. Not only were landmarks an important part to get correct, but also small nuances, like how people react to non-Germans, or how shop-keepers respond to customers. Even tourists play a part in the overarching feeling of a city.
These are all things to get right in a book that takes place in a real world time period and place, or people will get the feeling that something is off, even if they aren’t sure what. This excerpt shows, I hope, a little insight into what Heidelberg is like.
After a stop off at the apothecary museum within the castle walls itself and a purchase of utterly pointless but amusing “Smile Pills” (Guaranteed to make you smile!), I headed out of Heidelberg Castle. Taking the roadway this time, I came across a park that had a slide that went from one level of switchbacks to the other. With a grin and a shout of glee at the discovery, I took a trip down it, and nearly fell flat to my arse at the end. After climbing a complicated rigging of walkways, ropes and ladders three more times, I grew serious again, trying to figure out what was going on after catching the top of the Heiligenberg at the edges of my vision.
Guiltily, I started back down the mountain, the going easier than I had expected, though it was still hard to keep an even gait at some points. I came to Hauptstrasse at one of the large open areas and I paused for a moment, looking at what had once been a marketplace. The Church of the Holy Ghost had stalls all around it, though they were selling souvenirs rather than grain, fruits, or fish. The City Hall was still where it had been centuries ago, even if the building wasn’t that old itself.
Heidelberg was a town of living history.
I wondered how people could live in a place full of constant reminders of the past and not only recognize them, but celebrate them as well. There were so many times that I would want to change something that had happened, my choices regarding Beelzebub being but one. “Maybe” and “what if” was a word that haunted me, and something that I tried to hold off through the day until the last second before I went to sleep when it tried to consume me.
I bought an ice cream for eighty cents to distract me from my macabre thoughts and wandered until I eventually made my way back to the student cafeteria almost directly on the river. Jim was seated on a picnic table outside, sipping a glass bottle of soda through a straw. “Find out anything?” I asked him as I took a seat across from him.
Everything that relates to Heidelberg in those paragraphs are true, but none of them are clearly spelled out. There are no clear cut, spoon-fed instances of what exactly something looks like, but it’s enough to give a feeling of what it might be. The nuances, I think, are what make it though. A glass soda bottle, something not often found here in the states. A church’s name and souvenir stalls, but no time taken to describe what they look like. A quick nod to city hall, missing steps going down a mountain… they all speak of landscapes and people without coming out and saying it.
I guess my setting in this tale is more that of experiences patched together to create a quilt than pictures cut up out of a magazine to make a collage.
For my news, Amazon is putting on their yearly contest: the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. There are two categories in which you can enter your over 50,000 word novel, and a winner comes from each. The winner gets 15,000 and a publishing contract with Penguin books, a pretty nice deal if I say so. I tried it last year, but didn’t make it past the first round. But you do get a letter (okay…email) if you don’t make it past, which basically equates to a rejection letter. And everyone knows that you can be a real author after you start getting rejection letters!
Entries start being accepted on January 23rd, so start editing and polishing them now! If you want to read rules, regulations, and what makes up an entry, take a click here: https://www.createspace.com/abna?ref=478921&utm_id=5957