Friday, March 12, 2010

Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That

Can I just tell you hard it is to write a riddle? A really GOOD riddle? One that rhymes as well? There are plenty of helpful websites out there that try to guide you through it, but apparently they aren't enough help for me. You would think with my background in poetry (though Mr. Barone never allowed our poems to rhyme) and my creativity as a writer (SHOW don't tell, again Mr. Barone), that riddles wouldn't trouble me so. They are truly, truly the bane of my existence right now. This would be why they are an integrel part of my story, right? Of course, I had to come up with riddles that my character has to solve to find the items that she needs to save the day in the end. The stubborn part of me won't let go of the riddles because they fit the story so well. They just go. You know what I'm talking about. When you brainstorm and you feel that puzzle piece just fit. These riddles are the corner pieces. They hold the story together, the guts in. It's incomplete without them. I cannot give them up no matter how hard they are to write.

In all honesty, it started out as only one riddle. One simple riddle written to perfection dad. Thanks dad! But as the story grew, the need for more riddles grew. I couldn't go back and ask my father "hey, I'm writing a book, you wouldn't mind writing me another three riddles, would you? I need one for each element." Instead, I took his one perfectly written riddle and tried to venture off onto my own. Okay, that's not entirely true. I did ask Dad for more riddles and he told me to write them and he would "tweak" them. The first problem: my dad is a great riddle writer. Awesome, even. "Like, oh my god, gag me with a spoon" good (for those of us who appreciate 80s references). He set the bar really, really high. I have had a hard time vaulting up even close enough to brush that bar with my long, hot pink fingernails. It's almost embarrassing. I'M the one with the writing degree. He's the one with the Masters in Business Management. He has something like seven college degrees (addicted to learning much, dad?) and not one of them is in anything close to a creative field. Yet, he can write riddles better than his daughter who had 13 poems published before she graduated high school. Imagine what an ego blow that is to me. Which further intimidates me. Still, I managed to write two more on my own and he only had to tweak one of them (I think). Now, I am on the last riddle. The very last and most important riddle of them all. For over a month now...two lines. Can't get past that no matter how much I try.

Why does this matter now? I jumped into Laini Taylor's writing challenge eagerly. It's been fun setting small goals and reaching them with other writers. However, my goal for this week is leading me dangerously closer to said riddle. I either have to write the damn thing already or find a way to tiptoe around it in my first 'exploratory' draft. It's daunting. I feel like the riddle is the elephant in the room. It's not just in the room, it takes up the whole room. The cats can barely get to the furniture. Lily can't move around without bumping into the thing. We can't live with this elephant much longer. I have to get this thing written and get that colossal beast out of my life! Elephants belong in the wild, not in our living rooms. And writers should be able to write one simple, six lined riddle. Wish me luck.

(That's a picture of my dad, the Riddle Writer, on a hike we did at Mt. Rainier a few years ago.)

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