Friday, December 30, 2011

Wherein it's 2am and Charis can't sleep but she wanted to post something.

I don't trust myself to post something productive because I'm fairly sure that it will only be a terrible run-on sentence and now I'm afraid I've already gone and done it so here's a video to distract you from this 43-word catastrophe.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It also bothers me when "After the Holidays" sales start on December 26th.

There's something about having the phrase 'Happy Holidays' relayed to me at every store check-out that bothers me. I could never put my finger on why, until this year.

I celebrate the Christmas that remembers the birth of Jesus, who I believe to be God and man joined in flesh.

But that isn't why 'Happy Holidays' bothers me. I don't expect a stranger to see me and say, "You look like a Christian. Enjoy remembering the birth of Jesus!"

'Happy Holidays' bothers me because it has become a neutral paint in our culture, a grey-area greeting. Jewish? Buddhist? Christian? Atheist? 'Happy Holidays' makes us all feel equally non-unique.

But the thing is, there is no grey area at this time of the year. Either you're celebrating a very specific holiday, or you're not. Most people do. And whatever it is, it has a name, traditions, cultural ties and it means something special to us.

Some people don't celebrate a specific holiday. But it doesn't make them a mean person, so they may choose to say "Happy Holidays" when they wish someone well. And that is the only time when that phrase is used correctly.

So why does everyone else have to use a seasonal greeting that doesn't represent their beliefs? Because we as a society have become so afraid of offending someone with a "Happy Hanukkah," "Merry Christmas," or "Happy Kwanzaa," that we've changed our language. We use generic words at a very personal time of the year so that no one gets upset at our difference in beliefs.


(Image courtesy of PostSecret)

I don't know about anyone else, but nothing magical happens to me in December that makes me forget that not everyone shares my beliefs.

You and I are different. It's very unlikely that our beliefs are identical. And that's okay.

I know some of you can wish someone else a heart-felt "Happy Holidays." And if that's you, then by all means, keep on doing what you're doing. But if you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas or something else, start wishing people that. At best, you'll spark a great conversation with someone different from yourself. At worst, you'll upset someone. And if the latter happens, that's okay. Odds are that if someone gets angry because you didn't wish them the right holiday, they already make their lives tougher than it is.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Facebook Timeline

I've started to set up my Facebook Timeline. This layout is taking creeping to a whole new level. Man, everything is on display. Old boyfriends, terrible photos, bad poems, status updates that just say 'is crying', oh yeah. It's all there. Thank goodness they give you a week to go through and clean this stuff up.

In other news, I've got a few interesting blog posts boiling in my head. Expect those sometime.

Probably sometime after I delete every "I wuv you so much!!!!!" post from my wall. Elch.

*EDIT* Wow, I was an air-headed, vain, little snob at 18.

**EDIT** I'm deleting most of the posts that I'm finding. Including this one, "not throwing away pictures, poems or presents. She is not erasing memories. She is cherishing the past, respecting the future."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

ttyl c u @ 2

I’m only 23, but sometimes I worry about the younger generation. The average teenager sends over 100 text messages every day. Most of them use abbreviations so much that it creates a language filled with three letter words. The only single letter words in the English language are ‘A’ and ‘I’. When I receive a text filled with single letters and numbers that replace words…. I want to send them back to elementary school English class.

Never mind trying to get teens to read a book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a teenager squeal about a movie series and how they “Can wait to find out how it ends!” Meanwhile, they seem unaware that the movie they loved was based off a novel series. I can’t help but wonder why they haven’t read the books.

The Hunger Games is a series like that. By the end of March, you can bet there will be scads of teens excited for the second movie, eager to find out what happens next, but not willing to pick up a book. And I’ll hopelessly hang my head. Authors no longer face the challenge of keeping their reader out of other books and in theirs. They have to keep them away from the TV, computer, movie theater, game console and cell phone. It’s a daunting task. Most of the time, at least.

I was grocery shopping a few days ago when I overheard a daughter talking with her father. She looked about 15 years old. They were talking about the upcoming Hunger Games movie. “Please, Dad? I want to read it.” “Why? I thought they were making it into a movie.” “I know, but I want to read it.”

I was so happy to hear a young person excited about a book that I almost stopped to thank her. I hope there are more kids out there who also value reading books and knowing the difference between to, two and too.

Maybe these kids aren’t as bad as I thought.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bear Pit

Anyone that has known me for more than a day probably knows that my all-time favorite actor is Alan Rickman. You might know him as Hans Gruber from the original Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.

You probably don't know him as David Weinberg from Dark Harbor because nearly no one has seen that film and my nigh-maniacal ravings of that movie aren't swaying anyone.

But Alan Rickman has been working on something new. He's been working on a Broadway play. And I'm going to see it!


Alan Rickman plays a mentor to four young and aspiring novelists. And he teaches them just how awful they really are. In that video he says, "I mean, you're throwing yourself into a bear pit, being a writer. And I think anybody that wants to do it professionally has to be aware of that."

To say that I am excited or looking forward to this is a gross understatement. November 30th can't come soon enough!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A medal? Trophy? Meh, I'll settle for a nap

Chapter 9 is finally done. I just finished it. And I am drained.

Every writer has times when their story hits a lull, even a small one. To remedy this, some will add a character or kill one off. Some will start an argument or weave in a new subplot. All of these are valid and great ways to keep a reader reading.

Me? I have people throw each other into things. Walls. Floors. Ship masts. Anything solid will do.

And you know what? I'm good with that. I can be the writer with violently outbursting characters. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A childish primal human predilection for pleasure and novelty which can never be excised from the soul.

200 words into my aforementioned montage, I decided I was doing awesome. Thus I deserved a break. And then I found this.


A book to write? Whaaaat? Who would ever procrastinate from writing a book?

Oh, and my next procrastination will be to get on my Kindle and buy this book.

We're gonna need a montage!

I'm in Chapter 9 right now. And it requires a small, 300-500 word montage.

It may prove to be the death of me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'd Rather do a Double Stitch

Tonight I'm fighting my 'Shoulds' against my 'Wants'. My word count for the week leaves quite a bit to be desired. I know I have my work cut out for me tonight. But that doesn't stop my inner procrastinator from procrastinating.

Yeah... I printed out a procrastinator award and taped it above my desk.




That is from Hyperbole and a Half, which is absolutely amazing. Plus, 'X all the Y' is one of my favorite memes ever.

I made a list of all the things I'd like to get done tonight.
-Tidy the house
-Fold some laundry
-Unload dishwasher
-Meet my word count goal
-Write a blog post
-Stop wallowing in sleepiness
-Go to bed early
-Figure out what's wrong with my head
-Bring in stuff from the car
-Put it away or whatever

But I'm a procrastinator, so I know those first three won't get done tonight. Mostly because they aren't fun. I really hate doing anything that isn't fun. I'm optimistic about my word count. And obviously I accomplished the blog post. (To be fair, I often use blogging as a procrastination crutch.) I won't go to bed early. Probably after 2. Hopefully before 3. I've had a six day headache, but it's gone down a lot today. I probably shouldn't research this, but if I get distracted from writing, I will. There's a giant box of diapers and a few bags of non-perishable goods in my car. Al;l of those things are heavy or bulky and not fun. I actually wrote 'or whatever' on my list. In Charis speak, that translates to dropping it in the entryway and dealing with it tomorrow.

Those are the things I should do. Many of them feel like work tonight, and that makes my soul sad. Really, all I want to do tonight is curl up on the couch with the TV on and crochet a scarf. But that's not going to happen.

Last night, someone asked me, "How do you write a book?" On nights like tonight, you write it one begrudging word at a time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

¡Feliz CumpleaƱos!

'Demon' will turn 21 tonight. 21,000 typed words, that is. I feel like I should buy my main character (Daemar) a shot of tequila or something.

I had another one of those game-changing revelations tonight. Thankfully, this one will not require me to re-write everything. It will affect my editing, but it's one of those character back-story things that doesn't come up until much further down the road. I'm not positive this change will be permanent, but I did have a very clear "This is what I'm missing" moment.

Life is about to take a turn for the busy. Matt was forced into an extra 4 hours today. He's also working 12 hour shifts on Saturday and Sunday. And then he's still working until Wednesday next week. My mom and Grum (Grandmother) are coming to visit for our upcoming birthdays. I hope I have the discipline to pump out my word count. That would be a big accomplishment.

On a fashionable note, my shoe club promoted me to an Elite member yesterday. I get a free watch and special perks. Plus I get to call them on a special Elite phone line. Oh yeah. Be jealous. Expect pictures. They're coming.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Strep Tease

I'm on a blogging hiatus for the next few days. 'Demon' is coming along nicely. I had a long day of work on Friday.

Until I can catch you guys up properly, enjoy the piece I wrote this spring about our trip to Acapulco.



Saturday- Day 1


Landed in Acapulco. Got our rental car. Looked for hotel. No luck. Got stuck in traffic for two hours while the gas light was on E. Parked in Wal-Mart's loading dock. Went inside. Got pesos at the ATM. Discovered English isn't as common here as the internet made it sound. Car got trapped in loading dock. Gate finally opened. Got gas with new pesos. Drove back to car rental to ask for a map. Found the hotel. Credit card declined b/c we're in Mexico. Called CC company to sort it out, was charged a $100 for a minute and a half phone call. Haggled them into putting the hotel onto the debit card. Staff was not, and still isn't, pleased with us. Got to room. Walked a mile downhill to the hotel restaurant. Host told us Matt had to wear slacks, not shorts. Matt called a hotel jeep, rode up to the room, changed, and returned. We're both exhausted and grumpy at this point. Ate the most pretentious dinner of my life. Didn't know if prices were in dollars or pesos. Stressed about money. Tried to look happy when they took our picture. Went back to room in another hotel jeep. Found out a peso is 1/12 of a dollar. Found out the $100 phone call was only $8. Set a budget. No longer stressed about money. Enjoyed the view of the bay. Saw a cat. Saw a chupacabra. Cuddled in bed. Went to sleep.



Sunday- Day 2


Woke up. Breakfast came in our little breakfast box. Ate outside. Drank the included wine. Got a little woozy. Fed the stray cat. Named her Devi. Matt went swimming. The pool was cold. Got showered. Drove to town. Ran a red light we're not sure was red. Cops pulled us over. Cop started to give us a ticket, then he asked how much money was in our wallet. Matt- “A thousand pesos.” Cop- “Okay, thousand pesos make this go away. No ticket for thousand pesos.” Not sure if we bribed him or if he blackmailed/robbed us. Drove around town. Saw a lot of advertisements for strip clubs. Saw one strip club advertising “Strep Tease”. Saw a lot of local cops. Watched our speed and the lights carefully. Went to different Wal-Mart for the ATM. (Wal-Mart is our safety zone) Matt didn't have his debit card. Went back up to the hotel for it. Matt found it... in his wallet all along. Went back to Wal-Mart. Got pesos. Had lunch at VIPS, a Mexican Denny's. Back to Wal-Mart. Bought food and supplies for the hotel room. Went back to the hotel, unloaded car. Took a siesta. Ate dinner in room. Hung out in the room and alcove. Did some reading. Went to bed.



Monday- Day 3


Got up. No wine with breakfast. :( New cat came by, named her Fela. Devi showed up later and hung out all afternoon. Sunbathed on the chaise. Swam in the pool. Got room service for lunch. Meh. Overpriced. Siesta. Showered. Went to town. Got stuck in traffic. Traffic was from a bunch of SWAT looking, AK47 carrying, black mask wearing, federal cops, pulling over trucks. Extremely intimidating. Did not make eye contact. Parked the car at Wal-Mart. (See a theme developing here?) Walked around town. Bought Gabrielle a gift at Senor Frogs. We miss her. Walked around town. Got close to the beach, but it's surrounded by buildings and roped off. Walked back towards the car. Got hot. Stopped at a restaurant to eat. The staff gawked at me. Matt stared them down. (Though previously unmentioned, this is also a reoccurring theme of the trip) Pretty good seafood. Paid and left. Saw more SWAT looking federal cops pull over another truck. Still intimidated. Made it back to the car. Bought a few more things in Wal-Mart. Went back to the hotel. Ate some pistache and sat outside. Enjoyed the view. Came inside, went to bed.



Tuesday Day 4-


Woke up. Ate breakfast. Fed Devi and Fela. Got in the car to drive to hotel's private beach. Found said "beach" about an hour later. Most beautiful place here yet. Sunbathed. Swam in salt water. Matt got burned. Went back to room. Showered. Went to town. Ate dinner at Planet Hollwood, Matt had never been. Came back. Read some more Wise Man's Fear. Smiled a lot. Went to bed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

17,000 Down...

...And an unknown number to go.

Last month I set a goal to have my entire manuscript typed by the end of October. Well, it's the tenth and I am not a third of the way done. More like a sixth. I think this means with daily dedication (minimal three hours) I should have a typed manuscript by Christmas. It would be really nice if 2012 was the Year of the Revisions. 2012 is actually The Year of the Dragon, so hopefully that's a good sign.

I'm writing longhand one day and typing it the next. I know a lot of you are thinking, "Why don't you type it to start with?" It's not good for my *creative process. I either A) fall straight into editing mode and end up with five shining paragraphs instead of nine pages of work or B) end up spending large amounts of time on Facebook. Never good.

I have a lot to get done. Five sixths of a book, in some respects. I did a quick in-my-head tally when I couldn't sleep the other night. I have 24 sub-plots. A lot of the "finished" longhand stuff I have is at least a year old. One downside to this new-writer-learning-curve... I can't look at anything more than four months old without thinking, "Good heavens I was hopeless back then!" So that 12+months old material? Well, we'll see.

Moral of the story, I understand that I have no real idea exactly how much work is ahead of me. but I'm still plugging away. There's something to be said for climbing a mountain of an unknown height. Though my friends can probably expect to see less of me. :(



*attention span

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This is also how my brain feels.

Life exploded and all the debris landed on my desk.


That tiny, 4"x6" empty space in the middle? That's what I have left. The rest is a chaotic combustion of projects and writing inspirations. (Note: Phantom of the Opera and the candle which I only bought because it was called Hawthorne.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ACFW-- One Week Later

I'm more than a week out from ACFW 2011, and I think I can officially say I've beaten the post conference blues. I've dedicated myself to writing everyday and it's really helped. In 2010, I came away from my first conference with two very strong impressions. One, I had a lot of work ahead of me. Two, that I was 21, talented, and if I kept pushing myself, there was no way I couldn't succeed. The latter was actually a depressing realization. Writing an epic fantasy series had gone from being a lofty, almost unattainable goal and changed into something I couldn't imagine living without. Chasing after a dream has a lot of romance to it. That first conference was a dose of needed and heavy reality.

I think I'll be caught up with everything by the end of this week. All the e-mails, friending, business cards, thank-you's.... It's tough to balance being a full time wife and mom while starting a career that I could easily put 60 hours into a week.

One of my personal writing rules for a chapter is that it must advance the main plot and at least one sub-plot. They should also be similar enough so that if I title the chapter "Running" it refers to one character emotionally running from his past and another character physically running away from someone else. I'm really big on layers and planting plots a reader won't notice until they go to re-read books one, two and three for the fourth book. Right now I'm doing some work in Chapter 7, trying to decide if I should graze a character with a bullet. I am fully aware that these characters aren't real, but I spend so much time with them, they're sort of my friends.

It's very difficult to explain to the "normals" what that process looks like. "Sometimes I think about shooting my imaginary friends," I could say. And the Normal will respond "..What?" "Not kill them! Just a little injury. Enough to make them limp, but no lasting damage." "....I think you need meds."

I shudder to reflect on the times when I wanted to be normal. Oh, and I found another heart song this morning!

Guster-- "Rocketship"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Brief Musical Interlude

Tonight I began the process of sorting through all my ACFW papers and business cards. I recieved a few submission invitations but I'm not ready yet. Hopefully thank-you cards will be going out next week. I promise I will finish my ACFW Overview blogs soon. The creativity is pouring out of me tonight, so I'll be working on the book. (The perfect ending to book 1 just fell into my head)

I'm doing all I can to keep those post-conference writers blues away. After QCCWC this spring, I stopped writing for two or three months. I won't let that happen again.

I enjoy music while I write. I especially enjoy Bond.

Bond-- Explosive

I would love to create a playlist to go along with Demon. I also find Ben Folds and The Xx to be creative favorites.

Ben Folds-- Gracie

The Xx-- Islands

Ludo is one of my favorite bands ever. If you love the weirder things in life, you'll probably love Ludo. (A warning, the following song is very serial-killer-esque.)

Ludo-- The Horror of Our Love


Skydiving

The tiny plane rose higher and higher into the sky. I hunched over on the floor, sandwiched between the pilot and small door. My instructor, Dennis, sat in front of me. Only the pilot had a seat. Too late to go back now.

I pressed a finger to my carotid artery. My heart pumped stronger, but no faster, than usual. I fought the urge to fiddle with the chest straps on my harness. Are these tight enough? I looked at the pack on Dennis’ back. I check my altitude bracelet. The needle danced at 9,000 feet.

Dennis turned around. He joined our harnesses so that my back touched his chest. He checked a bunch of clasps I couldn’t identify. His right hand extended over my shoulder and gave me goggles. “Are you ready to jump out of a fully functioning airplane?”

I’m not sure if I nodded or said yes. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a ‘No’.

He twisted the handle, and the plane door popped open. At that height, there’s almost no way to conceive how fast you’re going. I remembered the instructions he gave me on the ground. He’ll put his right foot onto the step. My right foot goes outside his. Then I’ll move my left foot onto the step. He’ll pull back on my head and count into my ear. Then we’ll jump. While in freefall, I only need to let my arms and legs relax. He’ll do the rest.

I moved closer to the doorway. Something in my body railed against this. In that moment, I knew I should be afraid of falling. I laughed in my head. That’s why I’m here! And the fear was gone. I looked down and saw his right foot on the step. I guided my foot to the place it should be. Or I tried. The wind was so strong that it blows my whole leg around like a flag. I don’t remember how my left foot ended up outside of the plane. Neither of them ever touched the step.

Dennis spoke and counted. Then we fell, twisted and flipped in the air. My body was not relaxed and concave. I had pulled a ‘Superman’; my legs and arms were stiffer than a sheet of plywood. I felt his ankles wrap around mine and yank them back. We steadied out. His hands gripped my biceps and cracked them into the proper position. I felt something snap on my left shoulder. My arm had come out of socket and he pushed it back in.

The rest of the flight was smooth. At 6,000 feet, I pulled my own parachute. We landed to the cheers of friends. It wasn’t like the drop on a rollercoaster, but it was definitely fun.


My right foot reminds me of when God asks something of us and we obey without commitment. On the ground, Dennis said “I have a vested interest in your safety. We’re strapped together with one parachute. I want to live. You’re going to be fine.” It put my mind at ease. I knew I didn’t really have to try very hard. Dennis would fix it. When we obey God’s original call to action but do not follow it through with the actions He requires of us, we’re bound to get hurt. It is important to put your right foot onto the step, but a lack of commitment will have you in an uncontrolled freefall and your endeavor will not bear fruit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oooops

I have fallen off my blogging bandwagon tonight. I played cards and conversed with some fellow writers. Meeting other minds that enjoy the fantastical genre (and yes, it is fantastic) has been incredibly refreshing. Hence why it's past 3am, and I have just now returned to my hotel room.

My brain is too tired to recount my full day, so I'll leave you with this. If I ever become a James Bond girl, my name will Candy. Caramel Candy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

ACFW Day 2 Overview

What a day! I haven't hit a breaking point yet, but there is no way I could do this for four days. I really enjoyed my three classes today. One of them was about writing humor. My series certainly doesn't fall into the comedic genre. It has parts that are dark and face the problems of being broken, dirty and ugly. Humor is a nice way to keep a reader energized and remind them of that light at the end of the tunnel.

I ate lunch with a publisher/editor I really like and other writers who proudly wave their geek flags. Geeks are the best. Where else is "That's so weird!" a giant compliment? Geekland, that's where.

I also had my first chapter critique today. It went really well. My criticizer (I'm not positive that's the word I want) made two assumptions about me based on my work. One, that I was a college grad and two, that this manuscript was not my first writing project. Neither of these are true, and it was pretty awesome to hear from someone in the publishing world.

The following is her evaluation sheet. :)


She complimented my synopsis. I had never written one before, and all my research had outlined was a required length that varied from two paragraphs up to five pages. It needed a few more things, but since this was my first attempt, I'm proud of what I accomplished.


I could actually bask in this. Even the low point, "Most of the dialogue is flawless," is awesome. I've never had a single class on dialogue, and I know it's not nearly as strong as my action writing. She told me the tension I build is fantastic and at some point she got chills, even though this isn't her usual genre. Even you could see me right now, I might actually be glowing with happiness.


It wouldn't be fair if I posted all the things that were great about my first chapter, and then excluded the weaker points. I've done a decent job forcing myself out of passive voice, but there's always room to improve. My progress is even showing in my longhand. I'm honestly surprised with how much trouble I have conveying emotions to my readers. Relating to people is not something I struggle with in real life. It baffles me a little that I can lack that strength in my writing.

That was my day! Overall, it was excellent. Tomorrow I have class on dialogue. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that. I also have a mentor appointment lined up as well as an agent appointment. No, I'm not pitching Demon. Not yet. The appointment was part of the conference fee. I'm confident my manuscript will be strong enough for publication this time next year. I figured I may as well sit down with an agent and ask some questions that will benefit me when the time is right.

The conference has been great so far. I even met a few gals who live in Bettendorf! Imagine that! Right now, I want to finish my homework, soak my feet in hot water, and get to bed!

Fog

The fog is rolling in thick today!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

ACFW Day 1 Overview

I had a great first day. Things got lonely in the beginning. I headed over to the conference hotel three hours early, figuring I would register and go back to my room and write for a while. I got outside, and it was drizzling.


And those pants turn sheer when wet. Luckily, the rain was nearly nothing. After I registered, I looked out the window and the drizzle had turned into a downpour. So I was stuck there and didn't know anyone. Thankfully I had my Kindle in that giant bag.

My day turned brighter after that. I started meeting people, mostly women who were dying to know where I had gotten my shoes and/or earrings. I honestly got at least thirty compliments on my shoes today. I hope ACFW has an award for best heels. I would totally win that.

I also had a publisher comment on them. He then stated that running in them would be impossible. I said I could hit a brisk jog, which he then invited me to demonstrate. And I did. That's right. Not even a full day into the conference and I'm making some very unforgettable first impressions by running across a room in 5 inch stilettos.

I also attended a class called "A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss." I didn't realize that this was a class for Christian romance writers. The advice was helpful to an extent. The principles can apply with some tweaking, sort of how a vaccination is a watered-down virus. A fiction novel just isn't going to have the same stylized passion scenes as a romance novel. Though, at some point I had to restrain my laughter. Apparently a wife's neglige strap slipping off her shoulder is considered very risque and using words like throb simply will not fly.

Tomorrow I have my critique at 3pm. I'm very excited to get feedback and learn how I can improve.

A Journey to St. Louis

I made the drive to St. Louis for ACFW yesterday. The drive wasn't too bad. I stopped at a diner for lunch.


This sign was hanging in my booth. "No tinkers taken in." Pat Rothfuss would not approve.


At the end of my meal, the waitress brought me a complimentary cheesecake in a jar. Too adorable.

I arrived in St. Louis and checked into the hotel. I knew my room was a King parlor suite, but I didn't expect to have an entire living room. The view isn't too shabby either.



That was taken out of my living room window.

After settling in, I drove out to West County Mall. H&M taunted me with sweaters that were too boxy and dresses that were far too short. Oh well. I got a few cute accessories which will polish off my conference outfits nicely.

Today I'll check in at the ACFW booth. I originally planned to go to the aquarium this morning, but I think I might come back to the room and do some writing. Seems like a good way to start a Fiction Writers conference. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Disasters

We've had a lot of natural disasters here in the US lately. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Floods. Some people will tell you it's Mother Nature. Others will say it's God's judgement and a sign of the end times.

What do I think?

I think we can blame this.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Circles

Tonight Pandora suggested some Florence and the Machine. Pandora knows me so well.



I've been feeling like waving the white flag. My writing has dropped off and its got me feeling down. I have plenty to do. Most of the book is written in longhand. I have a hand full of chapters typed that need edited. I still have several (Five? Six?) chapters that need to be created. Creation takes time. When a new subplot reveals itself to me, it's a vague jumble of essential information. I have to let it simmer on the back burner of my brain for a while while the details fall into place.

Few people understand how taxing that can be.

I've hit a molehill that feels like a mountain. I've gone as far into typing as I can go before I need to create again. I'm adding in a new character, which means there are several existing chapters that need moderate to severe re-writes. I could skip ahead and let this new character simmer, but I only have a few chapters of longhand material before I hit another sub-plot that I haven't written yet. Plus if I type chapter 10 without writing chapter 7 and editing 8 and 9, I'm wasting my time.

Writing a novel is not an action with forward motion; You spin in circles until you're so dizzy you could hurl, and you hope you end up better than where you started. You also hope you don't ruin your shoes with vomit.

I can't force something that doesn't exist yet, but I really want to be working. The goal of typing everything was to have manuscript that I could sit down and edit from start to finish. Right now everything is riddled with holes and I don't know how to start patching.

It doesn't help that ACFW is in 10 days. I really wanted to be able to say "Yes, I have a finished, 94,000 word manuscript." But then my uncontrollable creative side kicked in and threw a giant wrench into that. These new subplots will add a lot of depth, and at least two of them will come full circle by book 4. I really love it when things come full circle.

For now, things are at a standstill; I need some direction.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ripped

I hate it when this happens. I just tore out the previous page. Then I see this. It's from chapter six, and this is my only draft so far. A survey of my loose papers, but didn't find a match. Drat.


Writing Update

I submitted my synopsis and first chapter of Demon for a critique at ACFW this year. September 21st is getting closer and I'm my nerves are growing. I'm excited to see St. Louis. Something about this conference has me feeling like I'm really branching out into the writing industry.

In other news, I'm going skydiving with a few friends this weekend. I'm getting pumped for that! Hopefully I don't have any joints pop out of socket!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I stink at poker

***EDIT: My friend Bill was using my phone last night during poker. I won. He was just jealous.***

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Synopsis for my first novel, "Demon"

Daemar, the sole survivor of an attack on his village, has waited five years for someone to find him. He’s waited for someone like himself, someone who has horns and possesses powers even magic can’t explain. Daemar is a Demon, and he’s desperate.

When he’s rescued by a convict on the run, Titus, Daemar is faced with a terrible choice. He can stay hidden, ignore his debt, shame his race, and let Titus die. Or he can honor Titus’ terms and lead him to safety, but be passed over by any Demons looking for survivors.

The next morning, still undecided, Daemar runs into Titus’ pursuer. After an exchange, Daemar makes his choice. He’ll help Titus’ escape and return home as soon as he can.

Daemar and Titus run. They quickly meet a woman named Vi, whose beauty equals her mysterious past. Together they steal, bribe, deceive, and discover terrible truths. Daemar vows to avenge the deaths of his people, but is he capable of murder? Will he rise to be the man within, or will the darkest parts of his soul prevail and unleash the feared Demon?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Prologues in a Novel

It’s been coming up a lot lately, and I can’t let the topic die. Especially since YA/Fantasy authors seem to love them so much.


All good books have a promising premise and interesting, fallible characters. However, if you pick up a novel that starts with a prologue, nine times out of ten it’s a sure sign of several things.


When you’re writing a story, you always start at the beginning. Problem is, a prologue isn’t the beginning. Chapter One is the beginning. Nearly every prologue can be summarized as one or more of the following—


The Background Prologue. “20 years ago, in a land far, far away…” This is almost always the story of the main character’s (here forth MC) birth or some other event they don’t remember. It can also be used to give you the background information on an important item or battle. Was the Chassis of Invulnerability lost after the blood bath battle of Garfendurst? Of course it was. And you can find that battle, the Chassis and flat, doomed-to-die characters in the prologue. This author knows that the beginning starts in Chapter One, they’re just convinced you’re too stupid to figure anything out unless they spoon feed it to you. This novel will be predictable. Love will conquer. Nearly no one will die.


The Most Tragic Event in MC’s Life Prologue. “The day everything changed.” Think of the worst thing that has ever happened to you. Think of the event that has most fundamentally changed who you are. I’ll give you a minute. Got it? Now imagine you told that full story to everyone you met. It was the first thing out of your mouth to the bank teller, your new boss, the grocery cashier. Not a pretty picture, is it? It’s the same with a MC. We need to care about this person before we’re willing to listen to the ugliest parts of their past. The author with a Most Tragic Event prologue thinks you won’t find the MC’s unexplained fears intriguing, you’ll just be confused and give up. They have deprived you of a meaningful connection to the MC.


My Character has Emotions. Emotions! See how Emotional He/She is Prologue?!“He sighed and looked longingly at the couple holding hands on the park bench.” It’s a given with every novel that there will be a hero, a heroine and they will fall in love. There will be reasons why their love is forbidden or isn’t working out. It will all be very over-dramatic and not at all heart wrenching. For the rest of this book, you will read the difficulties of this love. He likes Coke, she likes Pepsi. He’s moving three hours away. Some jerk (who is so obviously inferior to our hero that if the heroine can’t spot Jerk’s flaws, maybe she doesn’t deserve hero to begin with) is also courting her. This novel is going to be full of things like “I love you,” he said lovingly. Or, “I’m so mad at you!” she yelled angrily. If you don’t stop reading this novel, your eyes will eventually begin to bleed.


Overall, if a novel has a prologue, the author has essentially vomited on your face. Wipe and ignore at your own risk.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ben Folds


I've really fallen in love with Ben Folds music. His voice and lyrics are always unexpected and beautiful. "Cigarette" is one of his simplest songs, yet touching.


Fred Jones was worn out from caring for his often screaming and crying wife during the day. But he couldn't sleep at night for fear that, in a stupor from the drugs that didn't ease the pain, would set the house ablaze with a cigarette.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Writing Update

I'm working an average of six hours a day on the first book of my novel series. Sometimes I can type three pages in an hour. That is impressive because the material I'm typing was written a year ago, and hasn't been glanced at since. Sometimes I only get one sentence in an hour. That is depressing, because it is one lonely sentence.

But I took a picture of the work I have ahead/behind me.

April '11

This is where I was four short months ago. That's pretty hard to believe.


Earlier this afternoon

I've made a fair amount of progress. The papers on the left is all the writing I've gone through and either typed or discarded. The center pile is what still needs to be typed. The pile on the right is all the typing I've done so far, all 36 pages. :) That center pile can be really intimidating.

Typing Schedule

It's strenuous. One chapter every three days. This is proving to be even more difficult than I thought.

Editing Schedule

Sometimes this one makes me laugh. Not just because it's bleeding optimism, but I've given myself eleven days to edit a book three times, the last one expanding only two days.

The very scary future.

Typing is tough, but it's showing me what I'm missing. Sometimes it's small inconsistencies in a sub-plot. Sometimes it's glaring oversights in the plot that are the size of a Guatemalan sink hole. I've got at least four more new chapters to write. Then type. Then edit and edit and edit.

Will it ever end? :)



I considered Tahiti or London but...

In July, I was called and selected for jury duty. The defense attorney asked us relevant questions and irrelevant ones, such as “Who’s your favorite comedian?” and “If you could live anywhere, where would you go?” The latter caught me off guard, and I tried to think of where I would move; only I couldn’t. When I recounted this to my husband, he was just as shocked as I was. Iowa has muggy summers and bitter cold winters, two things I don’t do well in. But we have a toddler, the school system here is amazing, we love our church and our friends are like family.

If I could live anywhere, I’d live right here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Iowa Has More than Cornfields

Our neighbors have a helicopter in their backyard. If it uses diesel, I bet the mileage is amazing. No explanation has been provided.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pottermore

Pottermore is as mysterious as the Department of Mysteries. JK Rowling defined her new website to be "An online reading experience" and "the same story with a few crucial additions".

But what does that mean? To me, this is a child born from Harry Potter, YouTube, 4Chan and the Kindle. it sounds to me like a website where you can read the Harry Potter books (for a fee?) and watch animated content. Jo described it as a "digital generation you'll enjoy" and a "unique experience built around the books". She also said she'll be sharing information about the Harry Potter world that she's been holding onto for years.

I have to admit, I'm not overly psyched for this new information. I want it to be awesome scenes with Snape being brave and chivalrous, but the odds are against that. More likely, it will be as important as "Quidditch Through the Ages".

The animated content could be pretty awesome. It eliminates the need for child (awful) actors, and your characters age when you decide they should. Seriously, how old is Dan Radcliffe? I'm guessing here, but it sounds like users will be able to add videos, too. Exciting for people who have that skill!

JKR also announced The Harry Potter books will be available in e-book form. However, she didn't list any specific platforms.

Pottermore will be open sometime in October. A lucky few will have a chance to get in early, you just need to check back on July 31 to find out how.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Facebook is a Vicious Circle--A Seven Sentence Example

On Facebook, Mary did her laundry, Johnny is ‘Getting Ready 4 A Seriously Sick Night!’ and David posted a link about the new season of Survivor.

This reminds me that I’m too busy to watch the premier live, so I grab the remote and DVR all new episodes.

At my convenience, I watch the first few episodes, laugh at Russell and wonder if Phillip Shepherd is really so self-unaware.

I Google him on my smart phone, but while surfing CBS’ page, I accidentally touch an ad for JustFab.com.

JustFab loads and this website’s shoes are so fabulous I join and buy a pair of heels on the spot.

The shoes are amazing, and JustFab offers rewards points that turn into store credit when members they make a purchase or refer a friend.
So I post the link on Facebook.