Merry Christmas + Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 50

Even though today is Christmas, it’s still a Tuesday, so it’s time to post the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week: 

12/19 – His uncanny skill with languages earned him a spot on the 1st manned trip to Mars, but screams were the only discourse Martians needed.
12/20 – Her views on breastfeeding are disputatious, but her son deserves a healthy start – even tho he can now reach her boobs without a chair.
12/21 – Bob chases his spam with cheap beer and wife sneers: “Why can’t you be a bon vivant?” “Who has time for wine when I’m drowning in whine?”
12/22 – Her mom’s apathy toward Christmas made Sue overcompensate with her kids. She worked extra to pay for electricity, but it was worth it.
12/23 – Ty’s evergreen faith in Santa after his friends stopped believing was cute at first, but now the mall Santa snickers at the 25 year old.
12/24 – He thought an extravagant Christmas would be a propitious welcome for his new wife’s kids. They resented him trying to buy their love.
12/25 – Rip open their presents with gust. Barbie for her; basketball for him. Realizing Santa had too much eggnog, they switch with a laugh.
#15 Minute Tweet Tales Christmas
I’m sure people are too busy spending time with family and friends, eating delicious food, and opening presents to bother reading blog posts today, but just in case you stop by, I want to wish you and yours a very merry and happy holiday season!!
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 49

15 Minute Tweet TalesSince I’m keeping busy with holiday preparations, today is another quick and dirty addition to the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for this past week. Hope everyone is getting the halls decked and presents purchased with a minimum of fuss!

12/12 - Excited at 1st, now Emma is bored by Tim's quotidian declarations of love. Besides, Chad is cute and his mom always packs extra cookies.
12/13 - The taciturn director made the actors rely on the furrow of his brow to know if they were on the right track or not. Lazy or brilliant?
12/14 - Frank rehearsed his breakup speech, but the words are stymied when she uncrosses her legs, revealing a startling absence of panties.
12/15 - She overheard their plans to prank Jan and wanted to warn her, but her pusillanimous side made her keep quiet lest she be the next target.
12/16 - She was so starved for love, she glommed onto any man who smiled at her, tho those smiles always seemed to mask unpleasant thoughts.
12/17 - When she failed, she tearfully begged for a do-over, but 30 years of working at the DMV had left him without even a soupçon of mercy.
12/18 - He revels in carpe diem, which seems selfish to everyone else. Too late he learns life's pleasures are tough to enjoy when all alone.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Unspoken – Read-n-Feed

For today’s Read-n-Feed, I’m featuring a novel by an author who cracked me up two years in a row at YALLFest:

Category: Young Adult
Genre(s): Gothic mystery/fantasy
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (2012)
Pages: 370
Amazon Description: 
Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.
I saw Sarah Rees Brennan speak on the History & Mystery panel, and (like last year) she was also the judge of the YA Smackdown. And she was hilarious. I knew anyone able to fire off zingers on the spot with an entire auditorium staring at her would be especially funny on the page with plenty of time to ponder each word. Turns out Unspoken wasn’t just funny, it was witty and clever, with dialog that had me leaning closer to the page with a smile on my face anticipating what the characters would say next.
I honestly think Unspoken should be on every aspiring YA writer’s list of books to read to see “the craft” in action. First of all, Sarah created a fascinating protagonist in Kami, and any teen who looks up to Bella Swan should be tied down and forced to read this book. Kami is independent and brave, but not in an obnoxious, eye-roll-worthy way. While Kami is in a “love triangle” (with the potential for more shapes to emerge), she doesn’t exist solely to be a point in a geometric figure. She’s more interested in her future as a journalist and solving a mystery than picking a boy. And through all the craziness, she maintains her sense of fun, so she’s not a dour character to hang out with (waves at Katniss).
With so much focus on creating such a dynamic protagonist, it would have been easy to let the secondary characters slide through the cracks. But Sarah brings the rest of the characters to life in interesting and quirky ways. Kami’s friends and family are so fully realized, they could each waltz off into his/her own starring role in another novel. They aren’t there just to drive plot points - they help make the entire world feel real. Which made it that much worse when book one came to a jarring end, leaving me howling for the release of the book two, which is still too far away.
I guess it’s obvious I’m a big fan of Unspoken, but it really hit my sweet spot: a mystery/thriller with angsty romance and lots of humor. In fact, that’s how I describe my own WIP, except mine doesn’t have the supernatural elements like Unspoken. One of my love interests even has a scar on his face, like one of Kami’s love interests, although now I think I’m going to de-scar my guy since Sarah has already done it so well. And as I circle in on finishing this (hopefully!) last major rewrite of my WIP, I’ll definitely use Sarah's writing as inspiration for making sure ALL my characters are three dimensional and compelling.  
If you’ve read Unspoken, what did you think? Do you make sure your secondary characters are as dymamic as your protagonist? What books have you read that inspired how you write your characters? 

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 48

15 Minute Tweet TalesFor the past few weeks, my 15 Minute Tweet Tales posts have been jam-packed with extras, but today it’s ‘just the tweets, ma’am.’ 

12/5 - Primogeniture meant her brother would rule despite his low IQ. She was the clever 1. Clever enough to make his death look accidental.
12/6 - Tom didn't need to be a shamus to figure out his wife was cheating on him,but it sure was helpful in framing her lover for her murder.
12/7 - Cindy ran to her dad giddy about the ribbons she'd won, but since none were 1st place blue, he treated them as de minimis decorations.
12/8 - Kim watched the zombie's lackadaisical progress up to her, then lodged her ax in his head. Tearfully, she whispered, "Goodbye, Daddy."
12/9 - The squirrel's cupidity causes the homeowner to remove the bird feeder. The birds retaliate by snatching all the fur from his tail.
12/10 - Every morning she listens to his prolix complaints about her shortcomings & imagines the day she stabs him to death. Is today the day?
12/11 - "You screwed my brother." "I'd never--” I hold up the diamond girandoles I'd had made for her. "Found these in his bed." She laughs.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?

The Book of Blood and Shadow – Read-n-Feed

First of all, thank you to everyone who left a comment with an embarrassing boy-related story as part of The Boy Project giveaway – they all made me cringe vicariously. And the winner is . . . Janelle! Congratulations! I hope you enjoy Kami’s book as much as I did!

And now for today’s Read-n-Feed, I’m talking about another book written by an author who impressed me at YALLFest:
Category: Young Adult
Genre(s): Mystery/historical
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (2012)
Pages: 432
Amazon Description: 
It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. 
But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.
Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
I saw Robin Wasserman speak on both the YA Coffee Shop Collective and History & Mystery panels. She was so quick-witted and funny that I couldn’t wait to read The Book of Blood and Shadow. It would be easy to say that what I learned as a writer was how to seamlessly mesh history and imagination because Robin is a master at that. It’s especially inspiring when you read on her website about the actual historical figures – the way Robin tied events from their lives into her story took considerable skill. But as impressive as it is, it’s not a tool I’m likely to add to my toolbox. I’m painfully aware of my shortcomings, and I’m just not patient and diligent enough for the massive amount of research needed to successfully write something so influenced by history.
For me, the thing from her book that really struck me as a writer were two paragraphs:
“That was the strange thing about translation, speaking someone else’s words in a voice that somehow was and wasn’t your own. You could fool yourself into believing you understood the meaning behind the words, but—as my father had explained long before I was old enough to get it—words and meaning were inseparable. Language shapes thought; I speak, therefore I think, therefore I am. In this case, Elizabeth’s letters, written in a language that died centuries before she was born, were already at some remove from her life. Transforming them, word by dictionary-approved word, into modern English meant there would inevitably be a little of me in Elizabeth. It didn’t mean there was any of her in me.” (page 25)
“Latin had always made sense when nothing else did. That was the point of it, for me. Language as mathematical equation, slotting one word in for another, shifting positions, adding, subtracting, substituting, applying one rigorous rule after another, until eventually, from the jumble of letters, a single, true meaning emerged. One meaning, hidden beneath all the mistakes and wrong turns. One puzzle, one solution. Latin was a question that supplied its own answer.” (page 366)
The protagonist Nora is extremely skilled at translating Latin, which not only drives the plot, but also helps define her character. Although I took two years of Latin in high school and a year in college*, it wasn’t Nora’s feelings about translating that grabbed me, but that her thoughts about translating perfectly capture how I feel about writing.
Writing is not just telling your story - it’s finding the right words to tell your story the right way. It’s speaking for your characters in a voice that both is and is not your own. Creating a story is beautiful and freeing, but it’s also messy. The rules of language and writing help control the chaos. Moving and substituting the words like logical pieces in a mathematical equation can turn any ol' story into something special.
I returned to these two paragraphs multiple times, thinking about how they applied to me, and I just hope someday I write passages that speak so directly to a reader that it stops her in her tracks and makes her think.
*Why did I do something so impractical like "waste" my time learning a dead language? Back then, I thought I was going to be a doctor, not because I wanted to be one, but because I thought that’s what students who excelled in school were supposed to do. How could I have ever guessed that learning those Latin words, which are the root of much of our language, would contribute to my journey to becoming a writer by fleshing out my vocabulary and my love of words? 
If you’ve read The Book of Blood and Shadow, what did you think? What language did you study in school and did you enjoy translating? Do these passages about translating speak to your experience as a writer?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 47 + A Busy Week

Whew, this week has been crazy! This Boob Tube Junkie was so busy I didn’t watch TV for seven whole days. I know! Surely that means there are now some demons downstairs doing triple axels in sparkly costumes. So what kept me from my beloved boob tube?

For one, my short film Saying Goodbye screened in the Unofficial Google+ Film Festival this past weekend. It’s a very cool way for people to enjoy some of the film festival experience from home and for us to share our film with an international audience. Frustratingly, I had technical difficulties and couldn’t join in on the live Q&A (you should have seen me shrieking at my computer), but luckily my brother was able to represent us. Hopefully we can be part of the lineup next year with High Heels & Hoodoo!
The other big event was the Twitter Fiction Festival, and I participated in two different ways. The company Page 27 makes a storytelling game app, and for the festival they invited fifteen writers to participate in a collaborative storytelling event called Once Upon a Line. We’d get a text when it was our turn and have an hour to write the next part in 1-2 tweets. It was an interesting experiment as we tried to find the balance between improvisation and creating a well-plotted story, as well as the balance between a cohesive storytelling style versus each writer showing off their best flowery prose. As a genre reader/writer, the result wasn’t really my kind of story (not enough murder and mayhem!), but it was great fun to play along and see what our collective creative brains produced, plus I met some new talented writers. You can read the whole story here, and if you want to see what my contributions were, you can click the tweets by day tab and look for my smiling face. Huge thanks to Page 27 for asking me to participate!
The other way I participated was by animating one of the #15tt tweet tales from each day of the festival (except for one day because of more technical difficulties – I think I need a new computer!). The little movies are silly (especially with the horrible voice “acting”), but I had a TON of fun making them. However, each one took waaaay longer than I was anticipating (hence no TV and really no sleep either), so I was pretty drained by the end. But it was so enjoyable that I plan to keep doing them occasionally, especially if I can spread the time out rather than trying to get it all done in one night.  
Here’s the first one – I was very nervous about animating someone else’s story for the first time, but thankfully I got a thumbs up from the author.
I think this second one turned out to be my favorite. Growing up with a brother, I have felt like this on more than one occasion.

When I read this one, I got excited since I knew the animation software had Santa and elves. Turns out it only has female elves and only in these skimpy outfits. The feminist side of me was a tad offended, but *shrug* it’s all in good fun.
One of the long-time #15tt regulars really wanted one of his tweet tales animated, and since I’d told him the software was very limited as to what I could animate, he craftily wrote this tweet as a sequel (prequel?) to the tweet from the day before to ensure he’d meet all the prop/setting/costume/action limitations of the software.

Stay tuned for future #15tt animations, and play along some days – your tweet tale just might be the next to get the animation experience!
On top of all that, I had company in town, and there were lots of events happening on the blog. I ended up posting every weekday for the first time since the A to Z challenge. Don’t forget – I’m giving away a signed copy of Kami Kinard’s The Boy Project. It’s super easy to enter in several ways, so get your entry in before 11:59 Wednesday night!!
And if you’ve stuck with me through all that, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:
11/28 – Tom beams at his neophyte’s success. She might be small, but her passion gives her strength. He buries the pieces of the missing man.
11/29 - Her tempestuous wails send him scurrying. The shoes were too tasty to resist. He peeks at her with extra sad eyes. She sighs, then smiles.
11/30 - With one hopeful breath, I send dandelion fluff floating across the sky. My wish? That my womb will soon pullulate like that wildflower.
15 Minute Tweet Tales12/1 - A blizzard of words overwhelms her as he tries to convince her tp stay. It just reminds her why she's leaving: he talks too damned much.
12/2 – My dog wouldn't acquiesce to my commands, so I took him to the vet. She told me he was a cat. I think I might need glasses.
12/3 - "Do you want to go up to the roof to see my dovecote?" I hate birds but say "yes" hoping the city view will inspire our first kiss.
12/4 - I know our marriage is over when he starts wearing flamboyant ties to work - a flourish of fun from a man who no longer smiles at me.
And now I’m off for some much needed rest that will include catching up on some of my favorite TV shows!
Did you participate in the Twitter Fiction Festival in any way? Have you ever done any collaborative storytelling? Should I win an Academy Award for my awesome voiceover work? (I think my Santa was particularly inspired.) Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Cover Reveal for World of Shell and Bone

How lucky am I that two days in a row I get to pimp one of my kick-butt writer friends? Today I’m honored to be a part of the cover reveal for Adriana Ryan’s World of Shell and Bone.

I met Adriana last year when she came to a few meetings of my local kid-lit critique group. Sadly for us, she decided to stop attending in order to focus on her adult writing instead (check out that racy cover – ooh la la!); but she’s still an honorary member, so we hang out sometimes to drink coffee/wine and write. Not only is she a super-sweet, enthusiastic cheerleader, she is a crackerjack critique partner. So even though I’m currently on a YA kick, I can’t wait to read World of Shell and Bone, coming December 7th, 2012.

Behold the beautiful cover!

World of Shell and Bone

Kudos to James Helps for creating such a striking cover!

So what’s this book all about? Here’s the blurb:

In a world ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Vika Cannon knows there are no guarantees: no guarantees of safety, no guarantees that your neighbor is not actually a spy for the government, and no guarantees you’ll be allowed to emigrate to a new life in Asia.

New Amana is dying. Food and water are scarce, and people suffering from radiation-caused mutations—the Nukeheads—are the new class of homeless.

Vika has just one purpose: to produce healthy progeny using a Husband assigned by the Match Clinic. Unhealthy children are carted away to Asylums to be experimented on, just as Vika’s little sister Ceres was, eight years ago. Parents incapable of producing healthy progeny are put to death in gas chambers.

When she’s assigned a Husband shortly after her twentieth birthday, Vika expects him to be complacent and obedient. But Shale Underwood has a secret. He is a member of the Radicals, the terrorist group intent on overthrowing the government. And Shale has information about Ceres.

As she learns more about the Rads’s plan, Vika finds herself drawn to Shale in ways she’d never imagined. When freedom calls in the way of a healthy pregnancy, will she betray her government and risk death for Shale and Ceres?

And here’s Adriana’s bio for good measure: Adriana Ryan lives and writes in Charleston, SC. She is currently at work on a dystopian and an urban fantasy series. A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, she enjoys alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards. Adriana Ryan is a member of the Romance Writer’s Association (RWA). Contact her via email, facebook, or twitter.

Congrats, Adriana, on the debut of a gorgeous and intriguing cover!

What do you think about the cover?  Are you intrigued by the synopsis?

The Boy Project – Read-n-Feed

For the resurrection of my Read-n-Feed posts, I’m actually cheating just a bit. I am kicking it off with an author from YALLFest, but since Kami’s a friend, I actually read The Boy Project when it came out early this year. But I think spreading the word about a friend’s awesome book is the best way to restart Read-n-Feed.

I met Kami a few years ago at a SCBWI conference in Charlotte, NC. Since we’re both from the Lowcountry region of SC, we quickly became conference buddies. Kami was further along in her journey to publication, and via her entertaining dry sense of humor, she generously shared advice and even a few war stories. She’s continued to demonstrate this generous spirit by sending me ideas to spread the word about Saying Goodbye, and even interviewing me on her blog (possibly the coolest idea ever for a blog: Nerdy Chicks Rule). I'm thrilled to have a chance to return the favor.
Author: Kami Kinard
Category: Middle Grade
Genre(s): Contemporary
Publisher: Scholastic Press (2012)
Pages: 253
Amazon Description: 
For anyone who's ever felt that boys were a different species....
Wildly creative seventh grader Kara McAllister just had her best idea yet. She's going to take notes on all of the boys in her grade (and a few elsewhere) in order to answer a seemingly simple question: How can she get a boyfriend?
But Kara's project turns out to be a lot more complicated than she imagined. Soon there are secrets, lies, and an embarrassing incident in the boy's bathroom. Plus, Kara has to deal with mean girls, her slightly spacey BFF, and some surprising uses for duct tape. Still, if Kara's research leads her to the right boy, everything may just be worth it. . . .
Full of charts and graphs, heart and humor, this hilarious debut will resonate with tweens everywhere.
The writing lesson I learned from The Boy Project can be summed up in one word: FUN! Kara is a witty character that makes it fun to spend time in her head. The premise of melding her science fair project with her search for a boyfriend is fun. The situations that result are extremely funny. Even the way the story is presented is fun – a journal with extras like charts and graphs and doodles and index cards. Reading this book was fun, and it seemed like writing it was . . . an absolute blast! (You thought I was going to say fun, didn’t you?)
Now we all know writing is hard work. I think the quote goes something like, “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.” And sometimes it definitely feels that way. But it should never feel that way to the reader. Kami does an excellent job of making it look effortless, like she was just sitting at her computer cracking herself up all day long. But I know Kami takes her craft very seriously, she even teaches writing, so a lot of technique went into making everything so entertaining. 
Kara’s lively voice and the predicaments she finds herself in could have stood on their own for a very amusing tale, but Kami takes things even further by adding extras in the journal. From the emails from BeBeTrueLove about finding a soul mate to a faux death certificate to bar graphs made of smiley faces, each extra item was another opportunity for a chuckle.
And we can look forward to more misadventures while studying boys because Kami just announced that Scholastic will be publishing The Boy Project Too in 2014 - hooray!
While writing, it’s important to think outside the box and really push the bounds of your creativity. If it looks like you’re having fun, then your readers will have fun, too.
To celebrate the resurrection of Read-n-Feed and Kami’s awesome book, I’m giving away a The Boy Project prize pack, which includes a signed copy of the book and a TBP swag bag with things like a bookmark, a bracelet, and tattoos. 
Since Kara experiences many embarrassing moments in her quest to understand the male species, you can enter the giveaway by leaving a comment sharing an embarrassing boy-related moment. 
Kami was kind enough to share one of her embasrrassing moments to get everyone started: "One time a boy from my church asked me to go to a dance at his school. I didn't like him enough to go, so I turned him down. Then I immediately fell down the front steps of the church, wearing a dress, of course. The poor guy rushed down the stairs and helped me up. I was dying of embarrassment, but after witnessing that graceful move he was probably pretty thankful not to have me for a dance partner!"
And to be fair, I’ll share one of mine, too: I had a crush on my lab partner in Chemistry (oh my God, how cliché!), and I was so busy trying to work up the nerve to flirt with him that I wasn’t paying attention and knocked a beaker of boiling water towards him. Luckily he jumped out of the way, but since I lunged for it, I ended up burning my face on the side of the Bunsen burner. It wasn’t serious, just humiliating. 
So if you’re willing, leave a comment sharing a moment that made you blush in front of a boy. There are also other social media related ways to enter – just add your entries to the Rafflecopter form, and I'll use it to pick a random winner.
The giveaway is now over - congratulations to Janelle for winning!
I’m willing to ship internationally, so this is open to everyone. The giveaway will be open for a week, and I’ll announce the winner next Thursday, December 6th. Good luck!

Why Do I Love YA?

Beth Revis giveawayI love the movie Grease. I remember watching it as a wee lass and being utterly captivated by the singing and dancing and romance and friendships and excitement (even if I didn’t understand some of the more risqué elements). I was bitterly disappointed to find out high school wasn’t really like that. For some reason, I could never convince my friends to spontaneously burst into a carefully coordinated song-n-dance routine. 

So what does my love of Grease have to do with my love of YA? For me, reading YA novels evokes that same sense of hope/nostalgia for the possibility of a fun adventure that at the same time could never actually happen. When I was a teen reading YA, all the romances, mysteries, adventures the characters my age were having seemed like something that might…possibly…hopefully…doubtfully...happen to me. And now that I’m an adult reading YA, it brings back those same feelings – those adventures could have happened to me, even though they didn’t. 
It’s a weird mix of hope and nostalgia (hopestalgia?) – wishing to experience those heightened emotions and escapades while knowing it will never be. I might use the term wistful to describe the feeling reading YA evokes, but without the undertones of melancholy; since it’s always an enjoyable experience, even for those stories that make me cry like a baby. 
I don’t know if any of that actually makes sense, but it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. Anyway, that’s why I love YA. Of course the hot boys and tummy-fluttering romances don’t hurt either. :-)
So what prompted this post? While it dovetails nicely with my resolve to read more YA, it’s actually because of Beth Revis (who was actually a panelest YALLFest for the second time). She’s having a bonkers giveaway: she’s giving one lucky winner almost fifty YA novels signed by their authors, and sharing why I love YA earns me a bunch of entries. Whoo hoo! Go check it out - meanwhile, I’ll be sitting here with all my fingers and toes crossed!
Why do you love YA? Have you entered Beth’s contest? If so, include the link to you YA love post so I can read it.

Twitter Fiction Festival + Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 46

15 Minute Tweet TalesHave you heard about the Twitter Fiction Festival? From Wednesday, November 28th through Sunday, December 2nd, Twitter is hosting a celebration of storytelling at the hashtag #twitterfiction. They asked writers from around the world to submit proposals to be included in the festival, so I screwed up my courage and sent in an idea.

They were supposed to announce the selected authors last Monday, but I still haven’t heard anything. For a while I maintained hope because (as I learned from obsessively googling and checking Twitter) no one else had heard anything either – not a single peep of celebration from anyone. But since the festival starts tomorrow and you’d think people would have to know if they were officially participating, I sadly have to assume I’m not one of the chosen ones.
Edit: They posted the official selection list around 2:00pm, and as I suspected, my name is nowhere to be found. *sad face*
But never fear! I’ve decided since I’ve already prepped for it (and it’s really just a souped up version of my regular 15 Minute Tweet Tales), I’m going to participate anyway in an unofficial capacity. And to explain what I’ll be doing, I’m copying a chunk from my festival application:
What's your proposal? Describe the story you'd like to tell... how would you tell it... what are the Twitter accounts you'd use?
For the past year, I’ve been running a daily Twitter fiction challenge called 15 Minute Tweet Tales using the hashtag #15tt. I have a word-a-day calendar, and each day as I uncover the new erudite word, I give myself fifteen minutes to come up with a story using that word. It’s great exercise for my writing muscles and has the added bonus of boosting my vocabulary. The full explanation can be found here.
The best part is that other people in the Twitter-verse also play along, so each day there are many diverse stories inspired by the same word. Touching, funny, horrific, sad, lyrical – the variety of tales told each day guarantees there will be something for everyone to enjoy. 
My proposal for the Twitter Fiction Festival is to continue what I have been doing: provide a word each day for all participants to create their own masterpieces of Twitter fiction. I would use my Twitter account (@JocelynRish) to post the word and my own tweet tale, and then anyone else who wants to participate would tweet tales from their Twitter accounts with the hashtag #15tt.
I know there are others out there running similar fiction challenges, so I propose to take mine a step further. In the world of novels, many bestsellers end up being made into movies, so each day of the festival, I will turn one of the 15 Minute Tweet Tales into a short animated film. 
I will usually select the tweet tale with the most retweets as the one to animate, but since the animation software I use is relatively limited, I’ll have to use my own discretion as to what I can accomplish on screen. 
Just like Twitter condenses a story into 140 characters, Twitter will also be used to condense the lifecycle of a novel-to-screen adaption into 24 hours. The stories will be published, become bestsellers by the number of retweets, and be turned into movies to then be shared via Twitter the next day.
I hope the #15tt regulars will join in on the fun, and if you haven’t played along yet, now’s a great time to jump in since your tweet tale has a chance to be animated. Although I have to stress again how limited the animation software is (not to mention my skills using it), so each day I’ll be picking the one with the most retweets that I’m also able to animate.  Things to keep in mind to increase the chances of your #15tt getting animated: 
  1. The software cannot animate animals or children.
  2. The choices for props, settings, and costumes are very limited so keep it simple.
  3. Actions are easier to animate that thoughts or feelings.
  4. But it's not like intricate stuntman actions are available.
And here’s an example of what it will look like:
As you can see, it has amazing production values. And the voice-over actors are particularly Oscar worthy. :-)  It’s just a silly bit of fun, so I hope y’all will dust off your storytelling skills and play along!
Also make sure you check out the #twitterfiction hashtag during the five days of the Twitter Fiction Festival to see all the creative storytelling experiments taking place.
And at looong last, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:
11/21 - I should never have come to this hermitage by myself to write. Especially not a horror novel. I jump at every sound. Wait, what's tha—
11/22 - The newest senior class scapegrace is extremely good looking. Principal Jones licks her lips as she imagines ways to rehabilitate him.
11/23 - She dozed as the lawyer went over the jabberwocky in the prenup. Big mistake since her husband ran off with the maid 6 months later.
11/24 - Kim's in a preprandial frenzy finalizing the meal she made for her vile mother-in-law: the arsenic sauce only goes on one of the plates.
11/25 - After he proposes on the jumbotron, he mafficks around the stadium, not knowing she only said YES to not embarrass him on national TV.
11/26 - The professor's lectures are abstruse, but she's getting an A. She'd gone to his office to "beg" on her knees and saw Tom got there 1st.
11/27 - The scarecrow likes gossiping with the crows, but the farmer threatens to literally fire him if he doesn't fulfill his corvine duties.
Are you planning to check out the Twitter Fiction Festival? Do you think you’ll write any #15tt tweet tales during the festival? Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?