This is Gerald. He likes to eat people, as evidenced by his speech balloon that reads "People, they are so tasty! Om nom nom nom!" And he means it because he ends his sentences with exclamation marks.
Gerald, however, can't eat people because there is popcorn in his way. (Obviously he is some kind of winged, tailed, tiny-footed demon who can be warded off with popcorn. That popcorn is saving our lives.)
Gerald was born at the I Didn't Read The Book Club for Rachel Hartman's Seraphina, hosted by the Toronto Public Library and Mabel's Fables. Yeah, Work, I totally cheated on you with the library. I'm sorry. A friend made me do it. It was peer pressure. Can we hug it out? (They had Kelley Armstrong, whom I haven't seen—through my own fault—since RT Teen Day 2011.) I will give you my drawing of Gerald, Work, if you want. (But not the popcorn. I ate it.)
This post should be about how wonderful Kelley and Rachel were, but I'm hoping other bloggers will take care of that. Really this is a post about how I'm a cheater. Not just on work by going to an event at the library, but how it's not really fair to read something you write out loud to a room full of people when you're probably the only other person in the room who's been published and your head's been in rewriting an outline for the past three days. I'm a jerk and I probably shouldn't have read, because I think it discouraged anyone else from reading.
It's not really fair to do that. I may have killed an entire room full of dreams tonight. I am such a jerk. For that reason and because I peer pressured someone else into reading her really great paragraph.
Rachel gave us an exercise to write from the perspective of something non-human and describe humanity. I'm a cheater because I've done that in every manuscript I've written. Unfair advantage: Practice. Lots of it.
This is what I read:
Someone had told him people burned brighter, because they had less time to glow. But they didn't. Instead their emotions flickered like glowbugs—too fast to take upon the tongue and roll around the taste buds. Sorrow colliding with joy so quickly it soured and muddied, left him empty, unsatisfied.
Humans, he thought, were always in the middle of going somewhere, of coming back, of forming an opinion, of deciding what to feel. Indecision was the word for them—or was that too unkind, too limited. But things with only one form, one way to see where limited—stuck. He had never been stuck.
This is not about Gerald. Gerald's paragraph would've been "MOVE THIS DAMNABLE POPCORN SO THAT I MIGHT FEAST UPON THE TASTY INNARDS OF PEOPLE." Which isn't a paragraph, but you can't tell Gerald anything. He won't listen; he's not very receptive to constructive criticism. His character arc is to learn empathy, which might decrease his desire to eat people.
This would be an amazing picture book, not just because it's a pen on lined paper stick demon who wants to eat people, but he could talk about his first underworld problems of how pants don't come with holes in them for his tail and how he has to stuff tissue in the toes of his shoes to accommodate his cloven hooves. He would teach people to appreciate what they have, which is a good lesson.
Tomorrow, I'm totally giving him Andrew Garfield hair.
Finally: Please read Seraphina, it's very good.
(And I'm kidding about being a jerk.)