Friday, December 14, 2012

The Christmas Plot Prop

Holidays as plot device? Dunno. But holiday baking will play a starring role in this short blog post. Does that count? See, because I have an oven the size of a bread box, and no temperature control (the fire is on or the fire is off) I have to creep into someone's land-based kitchen in order to do any holiday baking at all. Mom volunteered hers this year and here I am. Doing a two day binge on the cookies, breads and sundries that my family and I associate with the holidays. I have a batch of clove snap cookies in the oven right now. I have until the ding of the oven timer to tell you that I'm not usually much on holiday themed books. Or movies. Or TV shows.
Why? Because, like my husband's favorite Chocolate Covered Cherry cookies, Christmas themed stories are usually just too sweet for my palatte. Cloying, even. I prefer less over powering sugar - hence things like the Clove Snaps - lots of spice, a hint of bite and only slightly sweet. Which means that one of the holiday themed movies I DO like is Scrooged - the Bill Murray comedy. It has dark overtones. Sure there's a happy ending, but it's not like everyrthing is all peachy-keen, golly-gee how sweet at the end. I guess I'm saying I want my sweet tempered by a bit of bloodshed. I'm sure there's a drug that could help me overcome that tendancy.
Does this mean I'd never write a holiday themed story? Used to be I'd say yes, then Jeffe prodded me last year into submitting a holiday themed scifi story to Carina Press. I did. It was summarily rejected, with excellent reason, I might add. It sucked. And the sweet, syrupy-icky ending made my stomach curl. The story hadn't been intended to be a holiday story in the first place and it certainly wasn't designed for a nicely wrapped and beribboned ending. My bad for trying to shoe horn it into the holiday theme. I got the rejection notice, shrugged and went back to working on something else. That's when it happened. The perfect holiday themed scifi story snuck up behind me and walloped me over the head with it's sack of toys. Or maybe it was coal. Given what I might have said at the time, I'm suspecting the latter.
Not going to give away my perfect holiday theme for two reasons. 1. I'm working on it, but not for this year (I'm on deadline for a pair of newly contracted urban fantasy novels for Berkley's e-only imprint Intermix.) 2. The concept sounds simple - the execution, I'm finding, takes a good deal more research. That said, this holiday story will see the light of day as a novella. It will be ready for the holiday season of 2013 Assuming the world doesn't end and make this all moot come 12/21/12.

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