Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Years Eve

Well, 2009 is just about over. So, some thoughts.

It's been a pretty good year. A few interesting things happened in my world.
  1. I started a blog. On the list of things I never anticipated doing, that would probably have made the list. Then again, I never thought I'd do something interesting enough to merit writing a blog. And I never thought I'd actually start writing. So, I guess this is a long list of things I never thought would happen. (Ooh, I feel a philosophical thought coming on. One moment. That will pass. Okay, back to normal now.)
  2. I dipped my toe briefly in the world of agents and publishing before realizing 'Jeez, girl, you are so not ready.' Still, a foray is nice.
  3. I finished an MS. Not for NaNoWriMo, because I wrote it mainly in August, but that was an interesting proposition. Oh, The Thief Book, we'll always have Paris. A nice experience, and I learned a lot.
  4. I got a surprising way into Miss Snitch, MS #3. So far, it's been a lot of fun, and I think it will continue in a similar manner. Fingers crossed. ^_^
Also, I hit 47 Followers. (Now, let's take a moment's pause so that I can cackle and feel like a mad dictator. :D Okay, I'm back to normal now. Resuming....) Now, I don't say this enough, but y'all are awesome people. It's true. You write interesting and amusing posts and leave great comments, which always make me happy. So, even though I don't say it often enough, thanks for following and for being fabulous. Yes, you're that good. :D

Happy (Almost) New Year, Folks!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Sound in Silence

Yeah, there's been radio silence on my end for a while now. I meant for that to happen, but I'm starting to feel like a negligent bum letting the blog go down for more than a week.

So, to fill the void, some updates and musings. Sorry, this isn't a super-serious post, because I'm just that inadequate, but c'est la vie. Anywho...

I've broken 50k on Miss Snitch. Yep. I've made it all the way through my goal for the month. So, I guess I get to feel spiffy about that. ^_^ (I really wish emoticons here expressed more emotion, or just looked more like faces. Because sometimes, I'd like to give a little peak at my expression, and :D doesn't always seem to cut it.)

Anyway, I've got about 6k or so to go on this draft, I figure. But, then again, history has shown that I have exactly no skill at predetermining word counts, so we'll see how this one goes. But, that shouldn't take another lifetime.

In other news, I've determined that I need to shelve The Thief Book. Quite frankly, taking the time to get some space just showed me that while I knew what it would take to fix up the beginning and middle into decent shape, I still didn't know what to do to get myself happy with the ending. And, well, I'm not sure how I feel about sinking a month or more into a project I know I'm not going to be happy with. Maybe, one day, I'll figure out what ending I want, and then I'll revisit it. But, for the time being, it's on hold.

How about you guys? Any progress on the WIP front? How are the revisions and such coming? Any good news out there in the blogosphere?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

To all those who celebrate the holiday, I wish you a very merry Christmas.

I hope you and your love ones are quite well and that you are smiling, wherever you are.

As Tiny Tim said, "God bless us, every one."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Just a Kiss

The ever unique Girl With One Eye had the interesting idea for people to post a kiss scene from their one of their books for the 21st. Normally, I don't post excerpts but today, I though, "Well, why not? Just this once."

So, without further ado, an excerpt from Miss Snitch.

“Have I said Happy New Year yet?” I whispered.

“No, I don’t think you have,” he answered with a smile.

“Well, Happy New Year, then,” I told him. Inside, we could hear people counting down to midnight. Ten … Nine … Eight… Our eyes met, and suddenly all there was was him, me, the moon and stars, and the sound of oncoming midnight. Three… Two… One… Happy New Year! I smiled at him. I wanted to speak, but somehow my voice didn’t seem to work anymore.

I don’t know what I expected, except that as we stood there, I prayed he wouldn’t back away.

He didn’t. Instead, he leaned in closer. We were almost chest to chest. I could feel his breath hot on my cheeks. And then it happened.

He kissed me.

It wasn’t a long kiss. At least, I don’t think it was. It felt like it lasted days, but it probably only lasted a few seconds. It wasn’t impassioned either, and I doubt it looked anything like a kiss from a movie.

Still, it felt like the whole universe, the instant his lips touched mine, dissolved into the two of us, and suddenly I couldn’t feel the cold anymore or hear the sounds from the party inside. Somewhere, deep, in the farthest recesses of my mind, one thought occurred. ‘Wow.’

Good Yule

Good Yule, to those who celebrate it.

To one and all I send to you,
Blessings on this day.
Wishing joy and merriment,
May it always come your way.

Blessed Be.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Happy Hiatus

In light of my intention to spend the upcoming holiday season surrounding my family, friends, and a great deal of food, I will not be following my regular posting schedule. I intend to continue reading and commenting on blogs, but I shall not be posting.

I hope that during this holiday season you are all very well and just where you would wish to be at this point in time.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chapter Fifteen

I'm kind of excited about how well Miss Snitch has been going so far. I'm in the middle of Chapter 15, and I can't wait for the second half of it. My MC is about to start really acting for herself, and it's going to be an interesting scene to write. I'm smiling just thinking about it.

Word Count So Far: 45k.
Words per day until deadline: 385

I must say, I'm not always sure how I feel about Chapter 16. I shook up the end of Chapter 15 when I worried that my MC wasn't taking an active enough role in her own life. But, I think I've got enough time left to muse on that a bit and still finish it up in time for my deadline.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Here's An Idea

So, last night, instead of sleeping, I listened to a youtube post of an old George Carlin stand up. Yes, I like George Carlin. I've said it before and had people not believe me, but it's true. I might not always agree with everything he says, but he's certainly good for a laugh. And if a guy can get me to laugh even as I disagree with him, then he's certainly funny. Even if I sometimes wonder if he kisses his mother with that mouth.

Anyway, he made an interesting point. When discussing kids and all the issues that they have, he said, "I think every day all children should have three hours of day dreaming. Just day dreaming. And you [adults] could use a little of it yourselves. Just sit at the window, stare at the clouds. It's good for you."

I, personally, concur. I don't think people spend enough time letting their minds wander and find ideas that wouldn't have occurred to them on their rational, linear thought stream. Did you know that research shows that people's minds are more active when daydreaming than when they're thinking linearly?

Kids don't day dream anymore. They're not learning how to have strange ideas. And what are we going to do when people forget how to hope for impossible things? That will be a sad day.

Me, I daydream. About a lot of stuff, really. Sometimes about stories I'd like to write some day. Sometimes about people I know and what we used to do together. Sometimes about things that are more fun than what I'm doing or not doing when I'm daydreaming. I love daydreaming.

How about you, are you pro-daydreaming? What do you daydream about?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jane

Today is Jane Austen's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Ms. Austen!

While she didn't achieve best seller status in her own lifetime, I still bow down before her awesomeness. I could only ever dream of being as good as she.

My favorite of her novels is Pride and Prejudice. What can I say, my heart belongs to Mr. Darcy. How about you? Do you have a favorite Austen novel or character?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quirks Make the World Go Round

Not so long ago, when I was young and foolish (pretty darn foolish, actually), I heard people talking about building character depth. Somehow, and I'm not sure how this happened, I thought they meant that to make a complete, realistic character, I had to make them flawed.

I didn't like that idea. What, was I supposed to give every character some sort of personality or physical flaw so that people would believe them? That didn't seem like fun. Why would I want every character in my book to have issues? It also didn't seem that realistic. After all, I knew plenty of people that seemed believable enough (heck, they were real, so they ought to be pretty darn believable) and I didn't think they were flawed people.

Then I realized something very important -- I was wrong. What my characters needed were quirks. They needed to have character traits. Things that would make them different from other people in some way. The reader should be able to figure out who this person is.

For example, one guy I know is, well, pretty much perfect. Near as I can tell, he doesn't lie, cheat, swear, or even blaspheme a little bit. I could list his good qualities, but that would get boring after a while. The point is, he isn't chock full of flaws, but he's still a very interesting person. If you asked me to, I could write a page about him, and I wouldn't have to go on about his virtues. He fences but doesn't compete, is Jewish and observant, and sings. Those things make him different from other people I know.

The trick is to know a lot about your character. You don't need to just know what might be wrong with them (I'm not getting down on having characters with deep issues, because there are people like that, so there should be characters like that), or what's right with them (because not everyone has tons of problems). You should know what makes them unique. Does he always wear the color blue somewhere on his person? Does she have a little good luck ritual that she does every morning?

How do you show your character's individuality?

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's to You

Warning: Post includes spoilers. Text spoiled: Le Mur (The Wall) by Sartre.

So, lately I've been reading some criticism of Le Mur by Sartre -- trust me, the reason why is not interesting -- and I have now read about five times , "Well, since the narrator is telling the story, he obviously didn't die."

Okay, maybe it's just me, but I DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING. True, I didn't spend a ton of time thinking of what the end of the story would be, but even if I had, I doubt my thoughts would have included the words, "Oh, well, he's narrating, so he's obviously got to live through this." My mind just doesn't work this way.

On the other hand, I can't fault the logic there either. After all, someone had to be telling the story.

So, my question is, and I'm very interested in the varieties of answers you guys come up with, can there be posthumous narration?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Have Been Remiss

It would seem yesterday was Agent Appreciation Day.
So, to all Agents out there, I hope your day was charming.

Happy Chanukah

To all those celebrating, I wish you a happy Festival of Lights.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Know You're Crazy When...

Most of my friends could tell you that I have a ridiculous love for Ender's Game. I just think it's that good, and I could tell you some stories about that, which you probably wouldn't want to hear. Though, as I'm crazy as all get out, I saw some comics about Ender Games and they actually made me laugh aloud. So, I'm copying one in and linking to the other, in case they can have a similar effect on you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bookless and Sad

To my great sadness, I've finished all the fiction books I had stockpiled for my reading. This makes me very sad, especially since I don't currently have plans in place for remedying that fact. Stupid bookstore being a stupidly cold walk from where I live. Getting books should not be this hard. **scowls**

But, as always, I'm excited to hear about any good books there are out there. I'm curious, what are you guys all reading? Anything good? What kinds of books do you really enjoy reading?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Once A Witch

This weekend, I considered sleeping and getting productive work done. Instead, I read Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough. (And this, my friends, is why I don't keep fiction around me. I never get anything done when I have books on hand.)

Anyway, I really liked this book. I'm not sure how many stars I'd give it, because I'm not usually inclined to giving reviews, so I don't actually have a star system worked out in my head. Suffice it to say, I would definitely recommend the book to a friend. Which is why I'm posting about it over here. It was that good.

Over all thoughts: I found the story compelling. There were times when I wasn't thinking, 'This is fantastic,' but I somehow still couldn't make myself put the book down. Heck, it over road my desire to sleep, and that is quite a feat. The romantic aspects were sweet and not overdone. The characters were colorful and believable. Even the magic made sense and worked well in the story.

Age considerations: This book seems pretty female oriented and falls under the heading of YA. It still works for those somewhat older than YA and somewhat younger than YA, as well. I don't think it necessarily has gender crossover, but I've read girlier books, and I've seen guys read girlier things, as well.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Day That Will Live in Infamy

Once, when I was a kid, I made a comment to my parents that if I could change any event in history, I would stop the attack on Pearl Harbor. In hindsight, I'm not sure exactly how I came to the conclusion that that was the key day to save the world, but that's what I'd decided. My dad informed me that if I had changed that, then my grandparents would never have met, and I wouldn't be alive. There was so much then I didn't understand.

Today is December 7, 2009, the 68th anniversary of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. President Franklin Roosevelt declared it a date that would live in infamy. It was a day that changed the course of history forever.

I take this moment to remember those who died that day, and those who died as a result of it, and to honor those who served their country so bravely then and since.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can I Get a Rating Over Here?

One thing I'm noticing as I work on Miss Snitch is that there's cussing in this book. This is a change for me. A lot of my previous stuff was swear-free, or at least, our-kind-of-swearing-free. I haven't changed the age group, just the setting. Though my other stuff has been YA as well, this is contemporary .

Now, at least 98% of the teens I know cuss a bit. Maybe they don't all do it loads -- though I know people who have used a cuss word in every verb tense you can name -- but teens pretty much all curse a little bit. So it makes sense to me that there'd be some swearing in the book. There's just more than I expected.

Oddly enough, the character doing the most of it is my MC. Most of my major characters in previous work didn't swear, usually because it wasn't appropriate. But teen girls these days swear sometimes, in their heads, even if not aloud. Maybe that's why I've so much cursing now, so much internal time. It's easier to cuss loads in your head, because people don't rag on that.

I'm careful with it. I try not to do any of it gratuitously, and for the most part it's all pretty moderate. There's no use of the dreaded f-word, but a certain word beginning with B makes numerous appearances in most of its parts of speech forms (noun, verbs, some adjective, though not adverbially, thankfully).

If it came down to it, I'm probably circling a PG-13 rating, though I couldn't find any more specific guidance on the interweb, dash it all. All I know is that I still have both my f-words left before I have to be an R.

Now I'm beginning to worry that it's just a bit too much. I know I curse too much, less than some but certainly more than I'd like to. And, I think, maybe it's that the swearing has become enough of my vocabulary so that it just doesn't sound weird to me.

How do you feel about swearing in books? How much is too much?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Me, Myself, and I

When I started working on Miss Snitch, I got about 100 words in before I decided that what I was doing wasn't going to work. What I usually do is 3rd person POV. It just felt too distant, too out of my MC's head. I needed to shift into 1st person.

I don't usually work in 1st person. Actually, this is the farthest I've ever gotten in something that wasn't 3rd person. I don't really know why I favor the 3rd person, since a lot of books I love have been 1st person stories. Maybe it's because I tend to see the stories I'm writing from the perspective of a observer, watching it play out instead of acting in it myself.

I think this has been a growing experience for me. It's certainly forcing me to rethink the way I narrate stories. I feel as though I use the word 'I' too much. If I were writing 'Jenny' instead, I know it wouldn't feel half so awkward.

I'm not sure I've got the handle on it yet, but I'm working on it.

What POV do you favor?

Any tips for working in 1st person?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No More NaNo, For Now

Well, it's finally December. A perfectly good month, even if it does get too cold to be reasonable where I live. November has come to an end. NanoWriMo is over. Or NoNoRevisMo, or whatever else you had going on.

I know there were a lot of different goals floating around this November. How did everyone's month go?

I met my modified goal of 25k, so I get to feel semi-smug/pleased with myself. A big change from the norm, as wel all know. My plan is to round out the rest of the 50k by the end of December. I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen just yet, but full steam ahead, regardless.