Welcome to RossRoads

One girl's journey with her first novel.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Prince Charming and Other Wedding Horror Stories

Disclaimer on this story: the tone of annoyance is mostly falsified.

I once watched a movie titled, “Wedding Daze,” it was a hilarious account of three sisters who all ended up getting married on the same day. While none of my sisters are currently getting married, I feel like I am stuck in just that, a wedding daze.

If you did not catch it, this is a play off of wedding “day” with an added element of insanity, and that is where I am.

I have six friends, close friends, who will be getting engaged/married in the next year, and really, the number may go up before the year is out.

I’m stuck in the middle of wedding plans (which happens to be one of my passions in life, even if I have yet to experience it for myself) and “when will he propose” worries and I am so happy to be a part of the love that all my friends are currently experiencing but seriously…this is getting ridiculous!

The majority of my conversations over the last seven days have consisted of wedding colors and if they want dresses with buttons or ties down the back. But the weird thing is, I’m right there with them. I know my color scheme and every time they are looking at dresses on davidsbridal.com I am picking out my favorites. I even found a picture of my dream wedding-vale and saved it to the desktop of my computer! (Did I mention I am single thus this has no relevance to my life?)

This cannot be healthy.

Why is it then, that as little girls we grow up dreaming of our wedding? I mean, we plan Barbie’s wedding at age six which, by age twelve, has translated to exactly what we want for ourselves in ten years – because God forbid we not be walking down the aisle by twenty-two.

No wonder men freak out. Us girls have their entire lives planned out in “blush and bashful” colors and minute details before we even meet them. It makes perfect sense that they would avoid us all together. There is no way they can live up to this dream/romance novel idea that we have in our heads. Not just anyone can be Ken and Prince Charming all at once.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Simple Expectancy

This past Wednesday I attended a college youth group that has just started up in the town I go to school in. Yes, if you didn’t know, I believe in Jesus! Anyway, I went to this youth group and, though it was my first time to attend, I basically new everyone there because they are all students at my university. Never the less, I walked in and experienced maybe the most surreal feeling I have ever felt in my life.

I felt like I was in high school again. Like I had just jumped back in time five years and it was just another Wednesday night youth meeting. It wasn’t just a feeling either, it was everything. There were people playing basketball and talking and flirty before we went in the sanctuary, and the sanctuary was a light show, cement floor, and folding chairs just like the old days. It was crazy, like I said, most surreal thing ever! But anyway, to get to my point…

I realized something, sitting there feeling like I was back in time, church used to be so much different for me back then. There was this feeling of excitement and expectancy that I just haven’t felt in awhile. A feeling of standing in a room full of people but it still just being me and God, accompanied with the feeling that He was fully there in that room with me.

I don’t know what it was about being a teenager in a place like that. I think it was what I said earlier, expectancy. You just walked in expecting God to do something because there was nothing else to expect, He was going to do something. And for me, I was there to worship and connect with Him and not there to prove myself or tell anyone who I was but somehow being that way was showing them all who I was.

This may sound backwards, believe me it does to me too as I type it. I mean, high school is when we are supposed to be unsure of who we are and how to be that around other people and have a hard time, say, just worshipping in public, because we are afraid of what others might think.

But really it was easier then. Life hadn’t gotten in the way. And for all the crying I did over how “hard” my life was back then, it wasn’t. It was just me and God and I really didn’t have that much that had messed that up. I hadn’t chosen to run away from who He was in my life or just let everything around me distract me from what He was trying to do in me.

It was just simple. Simple expectancy.

That is something I miss, and need to get back, because God will still move and meet me wherever I am.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Story Starter

Sarah’s alarm went off early that morning, 6:00am. She stretched one hand out from under the covers shivering as the cold air rushed into her previously snuggly warm blankets. She slammed her hand down on the alarm clock to stop the incessant, if not completely depressing, beeping sound and pulled her arm back under the covers. It was near the end of fall when the air gets crisp and cold overnight but warms just enough by mid morning to be comfortable in a sweater. But being that it was so early, her room was filled with the sweet cold air that comes just before winter and Sarah revealed in it.

She lay in her bed blinking her sleepy eyes and trying to get her mind around the day ahead. It was early yes, but she was eagerly awaiting her day and could scarcely contain the excitement she felt. “Lord,” she prayed barely out loud, “I give you this day and all it has in it, may it go as You have designed. Amen.”

After just a few seconds of enjoying the peace and chilled stillness she popped out of bed and quickly ran across the room to the adjoining bathroom that waited with space heater and a hot shower. She showered quickly, dressed for the day and was out of the house just before seven with a bagel between her teeth and two thermoses of hot coffee.

Monday, September 13, 2010

When life gives you a problem, consult Jane Austen

Problem: You just started dating this boy, I mean just. You walked from the front porch where he asked you out into your mom’s room and she practically has you married to him and moved off to Ray, Wyoming.

Problem #2: One of my friends comes to me the other day with a story: So this boy walks into my class, and I’ve never seen him before in my life, and he’s cute and he starts asking me questions and stuff, and he’s cute, and I just wanted to marry him right then and there. I mean I wanted to text someone and say, “I think I just fell in love.” And I don’t even know his name.

Answer: “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, love to matrimony, in a moment.”

- Pride and Prejudice

Problem: Horrid English assignment in which there is a requirement of eight full length novels, this means over 100 pages each – oh no!

Answer: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid!"

- Northanger Abbey

Problem: Your best friend likes a boy who is the sweetest thing ever one day, and makes her cry for hours the next. (I hope you are in high school if this is happening, if you’re out, RUN AWAY!)

Answer: "I cannot think well of a man who sports with any woman’s feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a stander-by can judge of."

- Mansfield Park

Year 2010-2011 Begins

Well, it's the start of a new year and a new set of mandatory blog posts! This may sound like protest, put it's a facade, I really do like blogging, though I generally forget I have to do it!

This year I hope to turn this blog into...well, I don't know really. The novel is out - at least for the time being - so I'm sort of at a loss as to what to do. I know that I want to keep the name RossRoads, though the blog is no longer about my journey through a novel.

My friends say I like the name because one day when I marry a man my best friend has picked out for me - who happens to have a last name resembling roads - it will fit perfectly. But, just so you know, that isn't going to happen, but they like to laugh about it.

Anyway, the point is, new year, new blog and what that will bring I'm not sure at this point. I would like to build a readership, even if it is a small one, but who wants to read my random ramblings really? Also, I think a blog should be useful for something, and by that I mean more than just getting a grade in class.

For now I'm still at a stalemate, but be ready for some random!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Random Story

So this has absolutely nothing to do with my novel I was just in a writing mood and this story popped into my head. I'm not sure if I'm going to add more to it but just for know her it is!

It was the first day of my sophomore year of high school. In my school, for some strange reason, freshman where still in with the seventh and eighth graders in the mid-high so tenth grade year was my first year in "the big high school." I was always the sort of nerdy girl who was friends with lots of people but wasn't really anything much to anyone around so I had, of course, decided that this was going to be a new start for me. I was going to "re-en-vent" myself as it where. Yes well, re-en-veiting oneself really only works in novels and made for TV teen dramas so that plan pretty much failed the second I walked through the big yellow doors that lead into the high school. My perfectly quaffed hair fell flat from the crazy Oklahoma heat and I walked into the school to face a crowd of people who had known me forever and new I was nothing like what I hoped they would now see in me. So instead of being the cute new girl wearing a barely dress code white tank and jeans I stayed the lame girl who was freezing in class and wore a wrinkled sweater over her tank top after pulling it from her backpack. And instead of being talkative and whitey I barely said a word to anyone because I was to consumed with the fact that I had failed my attempt to be a completely new person or at least and alter ego of myself.

After scuffing my feet and being all but impressed with myself through an entire day I came to my last class of the day. As I walked into sophomore Biology 1, the slacker on-level science class which I really should not have been taking because I was much more capable in the field of genetics and all things biology but knowing it meant no Chemistry in my entire high school career - a fact I am very proud of to this day, I took a seat in the front row at least two full rows in front of all the other kids who had already arrived.

I didn't mind the front. I'm sort of blind so I can see better and then I didn't have to see the faces of all the kids starring at me when the teacher announced I got the highest grade on the pop quiz he'd given the day before and so there would only be a one point curve. Granted I could feel their lazier beam hate eyes searing into the back of my skull, but at least I didn't have to look at their faces.

As soon as I took my seat it dawned on me. If I was trying to change my image why in the world had i sat in the front row in everyone of my classes that day? I could have kicked myself and I was really bad at this whole "re-en-venting myself" thing. I of course began wrestling with myself as to weather I could move to a farther back seat inconspicuously enough that I wouldn't look like an idiot. By the time I almost had enough courage to move back a seat or two while whispering a very well thought out script to the people in the seats around me that went, "why did I sit in the front that was lame," and maybe an additional something about having heard the teacher spit when he got excited about the reproductive system of giraffes I looked up to realize the classroom was almost entirely full except for the seat next to me which really wouldn't do me any good. I continued to be disappointed in myself while Mr. Stewart, the Biology teacher, called role. I had a glimmer of hope when I realized I could switch to a different seat tomorrow if Mr. Stewart was one of those cool teachers who don't believe in seating charts. Just as I started to get excited about this fact I heard Mr. Stewart announce, "This will be your seating chart for the entire semester. That way I can learn your names easier." My heart sank and I resigned myself to be the nerdy smart girl with flat hair who sits in the front row for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Fail Continues

Well, not much to report today. I still haven't done much at all writing wise. I have been way busy working on a big project for school and it has taken over my life! However, I will be done in two days and life can go back to normal!

Oh I almost forgot, I met a publisher last week. A real legit publisher! He has an online publishing company that publishes only electronic stuff but it is mostly things no one else would publish which is really cool! Also, he may be a teacher here at my school which would be wonderful because it was obvious with talking to him that he knows what he is doing and he has knowledge in an area that will really help me in what I would like to do.

He gave me some advice about writing which I would like to pass on to you:

Read great books! Don't read good books. Read great books!

So...read great books! Maybe one day one of mine will be one of those great books!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The One With No Title

I'm going to be honest here, I am in epic fail mode when it comes to this book. For those of you non-OKWU students or anyone else who doesn't know, epic fail basically means I am failing so badly that really I shouldn't ever be able to come back from the failure.

Okay, that was a little dramatic but you get the point, which is of course: I have done absolutely nothing! I haven't even done a very good job of writing this blog (which is also a grade for a class I have)!

Though I am in epic fail mode I did have a small epiphany a few weeks ago regarding my novel, and my life. It seems that my life this semester is very...slow, for lack of a better word, school wise. You would think being in my second semester of my junior year of college I would be busy...but no! Anyway, the point of the epiphany was that my free time means really I should be working on my book! Which I'm not but I should.

In conclusion, I have nothing of significance to share because I am a looser who does not use my time wisely! However, I make myself laugh because it is probably to late at night for me to take myself seriously!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The New Process

Well, the challenge for last week was that I would write every day for thirty minutes...it didn't happen. However, I wrote more than the week before, which is good.

This week I also came up with a great new tactic to help me write more.I got an ipod for Christmas and it has a voice recorder on it. So instead of typing out the story first I speak it into my ipod. Sometimes I delete it after and start over, sometimes I edit it as I go but so far it has been a very helpful tool. After I've recorded it I can then go back and listen to it and write it down and add or subtract as I want to.

I am hoping this will help me write more and just like last week I am setting a goal of writing at least thirty minutes everyday.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Solution

Don't worry the crisis has been officially solved!

Okay, you might not have been worried but I was! I know have what I hope is an official "cast list" of sorts. I decided to make the redheads name Ryane. Then the blonde who was named Ryane is now named Kara. (Please tell me what you think of this.) And Emmie's name I changed to Brooke. I was sort of on the fence with this name but I knew Alex,the man she falls in love with, and Emmie wasn't going to work for me so I'm hoping Brooke and Alex will work!

With one problem under the belt it is now time to face the next one. I feel like this is going to be an ongoing thing. One problem, one solution, followed by another problem. The next problem which is actually a continual problem, is NOT WRITING. I for some reason just never stop and write and I really need to. But no worries I have a hopeful solution: set a goal.

GOAL: Write for at least thirty minutes every day for a week.

That is the goal. I will let you know how it goes this time next Sunday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The 1st Delemma

The 1st Dilemma – Character Names

I have reached my first problem! I have the four female characters nailed down as to who they are and what God is going to teach them throughout the novel the problem is their names. I had names picked out but I want to change some of them now and I’m not sure what to change them to.

Here are the characters and their current names I’m having problems with:

Abigail (Abbey) Kessler – She is a red head who loves architecture and literature. She is a dreamer who hasn’t thought a lot about her future and is sort of the type of person who just goes with the flow and doesn’t plan much ahead of time. She is very independent. The “lesson” God teaches her is that she needs to rely on Him not just herself and also the people He has put around her who love her and want to help her.

Emmaline Hammon (Emmie) – She wants to be a missionary and doesn’t really understand why God brought her to a place with a bunch of Christians that is in the US when she knows she is meant to go over seas. She has sandy blonde hair and is what my friends and I call “granola.” This is hard to explain so some characteristics are: likes coffee, wears lots of earth tones, Chaco’s are the shoe of choice, likes the outdoors, likes soft jazzy music and stuff like Jack Johnson and John Mayer. Emmie is sort of quiet but loves people and is really sweet. She is going to be working in a coffee shop in the novel.

Ryane Shannon – Yes this is a girl! She is the character I’ve had the hardest time with and I still don’t like her name. She is sort of the “blonde bomb shell” type. She is ambitious and hardworking, maybe overly so. She is a journalist and gets a job at the local paper in the novel. She sort of does what she wants and doesn’t listen to anyone else most of the time. Her struggle in the novel is with faith. Her faith in God is just slipping because she is just doing her own thing. Also being a journalist she is very involved in the worldliness of media and it is starting to affect her.

Now you know the characters so here are the problems with their names:
I really want Abbey’s name to be Ryane. Maybe because she is a redhead and the r and r thing is really cool! (I should know that is how my name is.) Also I just feel it fits her better. But then Ryane needs a new name, which I have no idea what to name her.

Then Emmaline (Emmie) Hammon, the problem here is I have three names that end in the “ey” sound. Jackie, Abbey, and Emmie. I know I want to keep Jackie but the other two I am fine with ditching! Also the boy Emmie falls in love with is named Alex and Alex and Emmie reminds me too much of “Alex and Emma” the movie. And I also really want to keep Alex’s name so that would mean we need to change Emmie’s.

So that’s the problem. Comment if you have any ideas!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Beginning - Here goes nothing!

My name is Rachel, I am a twenty-one-year-old college student and I am writing my first novel and my first blog simultaneously.

The novel idea started about a year ago but I have wanted to be a writer since I was little. (I know it’s a weird dream for a kid!) I grew up with a mom who was a great storyteller. She would spend hours at night telling stories about a boy and his dog or about a traveling sales man and his family. They were wonderful stories and somehow that, along with an avid love for reading, it translated into me wanting to be a writer. I have tried several times to start novels with little success. I currently have a few short stories, a very bad one-act play, and the beginnings of a screenplay under my belt but none of that compares to the journey I am about to embark on.

As I said, this is my first novel. To be honest I really don’t think I’m a very good writer but we will see if that’s true! With this blog (an assignment from one of my teachers) I am hoping to catalog my progress on the novel as well as get a grade for class! To me, this is an opportunity to force myself to write and maybe, if I’m lucky, get some feedback from anyone who might read this. I will be posting my struggles and some excerpts from the novel. If you’re reading this please comment and let me know what you think. I am new to the criticism thing but I believe it is helpful especially because of my inexperience in this area.
Well, that is the plan! Oh I think you should know, the novel doesn’t have a title yet. Thus the reason I keep saying “the novel.” It also only has nine pages so far! So this really is the beginning.