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My reading list grows exponentially. Everytime I read a book, it'll mention three other books I feel I have to read. It's like a particularly relentless series of pop-up ads.
-A.J. Jacobs

Friday, February 5, 2010

HALLELUJAH!

Hallelujah because it's Friday. Hallelujah because it's an early release day. Hallelujah because I have a window in my classroom and no longer a flimsy wooden board that practically flashed with large neon letters, "WELCOME. ENTER ME!" Hallelujah because they fenced off the roof where the little suckers climbed up in the first place. (I suggested putting some sort of electrical current through the fence, just in case. They did not follow my advice.) Hallelujah because I say so. Oh, yeah and hallelujah because I AM FINISHED WITH MY MANUSCRIPT!! Which is relative, because is it ever finished? I mean, I have written, edited, revised, added, deleted, rinsed, and repeated a trillion times and I'm sure before it's all said and done, it'll be through that process another trillion times.

The great news about being "done" is that I will be hitting the submit button on Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Competition tomorrow. (Because, let's face it, I plan on spending every spare second reviewing it again, just to make sure it's for sure, 100% ready to go. And even then, it won't be.)

This is the first year that the competition has been opened up to YA novels, so I am super stoked. If I make it through the first round, which would mean that I would have to WOW the judges with my pitch, which I am not sure if I will be successful or not considering it's the first pitch I've ever written, then I will be notified on February 25. I'm already having heart palpitations and sweating bullets as the sharks swim in my stomach gnawing at my intestines. But, I'm only a little nervous. A little nervous energy never hurt anyone, right? Right? Right. Thanks for the support! (As I bite off my bottom lip)

This also means that I am "ready" to start sending out query letters. While I've been on a one track mind of writing, I've also been doing tons of research on who I will send a query to. Also, so that it wouldn't seem so horrible once I was done with the manuscript, I began writing my query letter a while back. I think it's done. I hope it's done. I mean, it IS done. So, this also marks the moment in time, where I will be embarking on the journey to find an awesome agent to represent my work. It is not an easy process and it's one that is full of rejection and heart break. But, I'm up for it. I'm ready to see where it leads me.

So, since I am entering this in, I figured I would post an excerpt from the beginning of my novel. It is titled VISIONS and is completed at 65,219 words. Not that I'm counting. Enjoy and I'd love to hear your thoughts! (Please, I'm begging you.)

Prologue

The first memory of it happening to me was when I was eleven years old. I will never forget the date. It was December 4, 2001. My family all relaxed in the living room watching a bizarre movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. The fireplace was blazing in the background and the Christmas tree lights twinkled. It was during the good ole’ days, back when my family was complete and everything made sense. My brother, Barret, watched eagerly to see what was going to happen next and Emerson kept burying her face in Dad’s shirt any time a scary part (to a six year old) came on. I leaned up against my mother and laid my head down on her shoulder as she began carefully stroking my hair. Unexpectedly, I fell into a strong and vivid dream.

All of the sudden it was Christmas Day. Red and green wrapping paper flew all over the room, littering the wood floors as Winter Wonderland played softly in the background.

There was Barret, smiling a big goofy grin, clutching Combat Mission: Beyond, a video game he had been holding out for. Dork.

Emerson was jumping up and down after receiving Holiday Barbie which she’d thrown countless temper tantrums over all year long.

Then, I saw myself carefully unwrapping a small box wrapped in red shiny paper flecked with gold speckles. Lifting the lid to the box slowly, I peered inside and pulled out a sterling silver James Avery necklace with a small cross hanging from the end of the chain. I watched myself as I looked up to my mom and dad beaming, knowing they had given me the perfect gift. I looked back over to myself and noticed my eyes beginning to water as my mouth formed a small smile. The smile was a sincere one, showing that there was nothing I wanted more in the world.

Without warning, my eyes opened and I was back on the couch in the living room. The dream had been so clear, like it had really happened. It was the weirdest sensation. Honestly, I believed that it was a half dream, half will of power, trying to imagine myself opening up the exact present I had so badly wanted that year.

But then, when Christmas day came, and the exact moment happened again, almost in slow motion, the scene unfolding exactly as it had in my mind weeks before, it was a little harder to ignore. It was eerie knowing what was about to happen; like an out of body experience.

Still, I tried to disregard it and didn’t tell anyone about it, thinking that if I did, they might think I was crazy or just making it up. That’s what was so hard about being a middle child. Everything I did or said was constantly being scrutinized and blamed on the fact that I was the deprived middle child, begging for attention. So instead, I wrote it off as déjà vu. It seemed to be a pretty close match anyway.

As the years passed, it seemed that the visions, or whatever they were, grew more and more frequent. And now, in high school, it seemed like they were impossible to escape. Not that any of the visions were anything life changing. Most of them included things like who was going to win the football game on Friday or who would become homecoming queen, or the best ones for me, what the questions were going to be on a history test. But most of the time, they are completely useless pieces of information that for some reason I manage to get a pre-recording of. Never do I ask for these visions to come to me. Most of the time now, it happens when I am not paying attention and I accidentally bump into someone in the line at lunch or brush shoulders with a friend in the hallway. They always come into my mind and play like a murky movie in my head, usually only for a few moments, until I can shake it off. And with nearly 1,400 students attending my school, it is practically unavoidable to not run into someone at least once a day and get a glimpse of their future.

I guess when I am trying to keep a positive attitude on my annoying secret, I look at a couple of positives. Number one: It only happens when I make physical contact with someone. Number two: It doesn’t happen every time I touch someone, just when the vision decides to show itself to me. The thing that’s the worst for me though, is that depending on the strength of the vision, I end up with a head splitting migraine afterwards.

After my first vision, I started keeping track of them in a journal. I took comfort in storing the information and tracking how long it took from having the vision, to it actually happening. It was a way for me to express myself without ever having to tell a soul. I would write the date and the vision and then leave a couple of blank pages behind it in order to find out when the visions actually happened. Usually, I'd find a lesson of some sort and jot that down as well. The paper listened and absorbed my words without ever judging or criticizing me. The journal was my confidant which allowed me to feel like I wasn’t completely holding secrets from all of the people who loved me.

But like I said, none of my visions are monumental and most of the time they are just bothersome, especially since I made the decision to neither alter or fix the future. And usually the pettiness of the visions I receive only land me with a mild headache that can generally be warded off with a couple Ibuprofen and butt-load of caffeine. There’s only been one time that the vision was so strong, it caused me to go back to bed, in my dark cave of a room, allowing no sound, smells, or lights to intrude. That same vision is also the one and only time I tried to change things, in which I was utterly unsuccessful.

It was the one time that it had been life changing and I was unable to stop the outcome from happening. And now, my whole family suffers because of it. To say I feel guilty is an understatement. And carrying the burden with me is completely unbearable.


HAPPY FRIDAY!

10 brilliant remarks:

Shannon Messenger said...

Hi Tiffany!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment. I really enjoyed reading some of your posts and I'm glad I can be one of your early followers. Congrats on finishing the manuscript--that's a HUGE accomplishment.

I'm not sure if you'll be following my blog or not, but either way I can't wait to get to know you a little better. I love connecting with other writers. I follow a lot of blogs and I'm in heavy revision right now so I don't always have time to comment, but I'm an excellent blurker (that's my word for blog lurker) so if you don't see a comment that doesn't mean I'm not out there. Muwhahahaha!

Tina Lynn said...

Wow! Very intriguing prologue! Congrats on finishing your manuscript. I have one in "the drawer" and I am actively working on another. Then there are the countless (9) others:) Anyhoo, thanks for stopping by my blog, and...you are so right. Us writerly types have GOT to stick together. Happy blogging. From your lucky number 13. (I'm your 13th follower. Good thing I don't have triskaidekaphobia:)

Katie Ganshert said...

Hi Tiffany! Thanks for stopping by my blog. A fellow mother, teacher, and writer! I love finding people like you. :) It's a busy, crazy life, isn't it? But well-worth living. I look forward to getting to know you better.

Best wishes on the contest!
Katie

Michele Emrath said...

Hi, tiffany! Thank you for joining my site! You were the 100th Mystery Lover and I have a prize waiting for you at today's award post because of it.

Also, congratulations on your finished MS! I created an award for writers who finish their manuscripts, so tomorrow I will post that for you...Make sure to check in then as well.

Looking forward to future blogosphere friendship!

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

miller2744 said...

Wow!! I LOVE the excerpt from your book. I wanted to read more and more. I will be following you closely. Can't wait to learn more and watch you on your journey. You have the entire Miller family's support. Go get 'em!!

Kris

Kimberly Franklin said...

OMG... this so weird. I live in Watauga. How crazy is that??? Umm.. yeah, pretty nuts!

Thanks for finding me. I love crazy writers! They're the best kind!

Oh, and I loved your Prologue!!! Can't wait to read more (because you're not going to leave us all hanging like that right??)!!! : )

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Hi Tiffany, Im glad you found my blog and I'm happy to follow. I love connecting with other writers too and sharing the journey to publication. Thanks so much for stopping and can't wait to get to know you better. Congrats on being ready to enter---Im like I hope a month away from Query Wars. So its an exciting time. Good luck entering the contest!

Jen said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! Congratulations on your manuscript!!! I love finding other writers, and I've only been on the blogging world officially for about a month and the blogosphere is amazing! Supportive and fantastic!!!

Good Luck entering the contest!!! Oh and I love all of my blog stalkers :)

Christine Danek said...

Hi Tiffany,
Can't wait to read more. It is so nice to meet other writers to discuss our highs and lows. Congrats on being finished. I am just completing my first draft so revising and all that goes with it is waiting for me. I hope to post something from my WIP soon. Take Care!

Anissa said...

Your Orea balls are making me so hungry! I couldn't find the comment button on that post, so I'm doing it down here.

I followed you over from Jade's. Nice to cyber-meet you. :)