The Literary Horse

The Literary Horse

I’m writing this when it’s past my bed time and my brain is filled with all kinds of nostalgia and creative angst.  Reason?  I am writing again.  Not blog writing (although that will continue), but writing writing.  Prose writing.  Fiction writing.  Novel writing.

And it’s terrifying.

To distract myself from the task at hand, I started reading my creative writing pieces from my first college class, ENG 287 – Intro to Creative Writing.  To summarize, back then I was pretty damn full of myself (still am), pretty damn proud of smoking and being broody (smoking is bad, mmmm’kay?) and extremely snobby.  Fun trip down memory lane!

I did find this piece, which I decided was blog worthy.  It’s the beginnings of a short story where the stereotypical horse obsessed buys “her perfect horse” which really turns out to be an evil bitchy mare.  Of course our main character only sees the best in her chestnut beauty, and takes her to a horse show where bad things happen.  I guess I didn’t like it much, because I stopped writing before the bad things started happening!

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 Still, the intro made me chuckle a little and I figured I would share it with y’all.

            Young people living in modern day society face an onsloght of problems that generations prior did not have to deal with, including a culture compelled to hold up unrealistic standards of beauty and continuining abuse of both recreational drugs and alcohol.  While these issues are undoubtedly responsible for contributing to the decline of western civilization, there is another force that lurks in the background.  It is one that cripples vast percentages of American women between the ages of three and thirty, and though this issue has been around for even longer than some issues, its damaging effects on America’s youth have never been examined.  Equus Callabus, the subspecies of the genus equus and commonly referred to as horse, pony, hay burner, shit head, or ‘Daddy I want one!’,  has been stealing the hearts of girls since the year 2000 BC when man first decided that he would be better off desperately clinging to the back of the wild beast than he would be hunting it down for dinner (Although the French eventually decided that horses just weren’t worth all the effort, and were better suited to trick the Americans as another ‘gourmet’ dish).

Equus Callabus is well equipped in its task of bringing down the fall of mankind.  In winter, the normally thin skinned horse grows a coat to rival that of a sasquatch, with hair that is weather coated not only with mud but also caked with manure (of which the average sized horse will produce about 50 lbs per day, much to the joy of the less than average sized twelve year old).  The horse’s long limbs are designed to quickly and easily cover all sorts of various terrain, with large hindquarters that provide the animal a powerful jump over any obstacle that may come in its path.  These noble attributes have led to the animal to be prominently featured in literature and film throughout the ages, which is where an unfortunate little girl, Caroline, got the first glimpse of her dream pony.

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Had she ever been given any perspective on the animal, Caroline might have wished for something safer… perhaps a wolverine or an anaconda.  But to her, the cream colored pony for sale at the barn down the road is a mythical being that lives off of glittering dreams and good intentions.  Its manure is merely drops of sunshine, and all the knowledge of the world is captivated in those large, beautiful eyes clouded with cataracts from old age and poor health.  Caroline asks her parents, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and when all other possibilities have been exhausted – God, for a pony, but to no avail.  She is enrolled in dance class, but practices prancing instead of pirouettes.  She joins the soccer team, but likes to watch the horses in the pasture next to the field instead of running around after the ball.  On road trips, she imagines herself sitting a top a majestic black stallion, and watches the changing landscape outside her window, picturing her beautiful horse jumping over every hedge, mailbox, and sub-division sign.  By the time she is actually behind the wheel of the car herself, she’s driving to odd jobs just to add a few hundred dollars to the measly sum she’s set aside to buy her dream horse.

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When the day finally comes for Caroline to meet a horse she could afford to buy, she sees the animal as nothing short of the manifestation of heaven itself.  To ordinary eyes, the gangly brown mare named Duchess is nothing but an old race horse, broken and sway backed from foaling too many failed colts, but to Caroline, the horse is a sturdy show jumper ready to tackle any fence on any occasion.  Duchess is a genetic mistake – too slow for the racetrack and too ornery for anything else, but regardless of her talent, the animal idly munches hay in its $450 a month stall until Caroline can take a break from her busy work schedule in order to ride.  Long practices of schlepping around in the mud while keeping hands impossibly still, making legs stay put in one spot instead of flailing like helicopter propellers, and cantering around while trying to hide the face of sheer panic while the mare runs like hell back towards the barn all lead up to the culmination of every equestrian’s dream – the horse show.

So… any writers out there  have any tips to help get me through this madness they call a first novel?

15 thoughts on “The Literary Horse

  1. Write to write. Even if the majority of it is just brain drivel seeping out your ears, there are gems hidden in the shit. I am very lucky I wrote with a carefree abandon every insipid thought I had in my head from highschool to college because it gave me a lot of material to work with for my 15 pages of samples for grad school.

  2. No suggestions, just a comment.

    This is my favorite line:
    But to her, the cream colored pony for sale at the barn down the road is a mythical being that lives off of glittering dreams and good intentions. Its manure is merely drops of sunshine…

  3. Just write. If you analyze everything as it comes out of your pen (or keyboard) you’ll never get anywhere. Write about what you love, write to learn, and write because you enjoy it.

    I completed my first novel about two years back and plan to publish it this year. I’ve also been using NanoWrimo’s writing months to get the sequel out onto paper. You can visit my blog at

    http://kmariecreativity.wordpress.com/

    I love your style, by the way. Keep it up! And feel free to get in touch 🙂

  4. Hi Lauren, I’ve been a reader of your blog for a while (really enjoy your posts!) and, coincidentally, we share an acquaintance here in Austin. Your friend Jen, who rides Paddy, uses my trainer for show coaching! She and I rode in a clinic together earlier this year.

    In any case, I wanted to let you know that I am an editor and would love to work with you on your book (if/when you’re ready to work with an editor)! I am currently building my freelance business while working for Greenleaf Book Group. I am a voracious reader of equine fiction, including the good, the bad, and the ugly, and have a ton of professional publishing and editorial experience! I can offer help in many regards, when it comes to writing a book.

    If you’re curious about me, you can find a few blog posts on http://austineventing.wordpress.com/blog/ or we can be facebook friends!

    Best of luck with your writing and riding! Simon is such a cutie–you’re a lucky girl!

    1. Wow what a nice offer!

      Great you are writing again Lauren. I too write…it’s hard for me to find the time, looking forward to reading more.

  5. I’ve only experienced novel writing vicariously through my sister so I don’t really have any advice other than just give yourself a realistic word count to make each day and just keep writing!

  6. Good for you! I’ve been pulling out my old projects and been trying to get the juices flowing again. I know what you need to do is just write, write and write some more but it’s so hard. Good luck!

  7. I just edited my friend’s first book, and my advice to her was ‘more story, less descriptions’. She describes every. single. thing. in the book, down to the wallpaper pattern on the walls, but lacked plot. Come up with a good storyline, and then fill in the holes around it.

  8. omg, I loved it!! Good luck with the novel… I intend to write one one day, but most likely never will. It’s difficult, I hear.

  9. The most useful piece of advice I picked up (from Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’) was the comment, “The first million words are practice.” For me, that just put into perspective how much time you have so spend writing before you feel like you know what you’re doing. Of course quality is the ultimate goal, but quantity is a hugely important aspect of getting there. I’m at about a million and a quarter words. I still have so much to learn, but I’m getting somewhere. 🙂

  10. No advice for you here, only commiseration. I’ve been mid first novel for, oh, about ten or so years now. I have a love/hate relationship with it (love because I adore being immersed in the story, hate because of the aforementioned nostalgia and creative angst.) Good luck! Keep writing!

  11. Please just spell it correctly. It’s Equus caballus (not Equus callabus – as in looking for public mass transit.)

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