Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thanks and Things

The charming Nicole Ducleroir was kind enough to give me the Blogger Buddie Award. (Thank you, again. It's very sweet.) If you've never been, you should run over and check her blog out.

I'm not sure how this award usually works, so I'm going to follow Nicole by stating five real things about my life.

1) When I'm on the computer, I put on movies I've already seen to play behind whatever I'm doing. I'm into background noise. I blame the schools I went to as a kid. Those places were never silent. (In the background right now -- War Inc.)

2) I'm keeping track of all the books I read this year for my goal of 50 books this year. I spend so much time reading articles or excerpted chapters that I don't feel like I read real books anymore. (The last book on the list -- Gang Leader for a Day.)

3) Right next to my feet is a post office box containing my To Read books. Currently, it's filling me with guilt, because I'm not getting through it as quickly as I would have hoped. (Thickest book in the box: The Crimson Petal and the White which I picked up from my hometown Used Book and Record Exchange.)

4) The other thing guilting me at the moment is my white-on board above my desk, which bears, at the moment, a completely inaccurate schedule, among other things. I swear I'm going to update that thing when I finish typing this post. I swear. (The only thing likely to stay: the quote from Douglas Adams "Don't Panic" on the top in purple).

5) What should I probably do when I finish typing this post? Read more of Great Expectations. And I will definitely do that, but I have a feeling I'm going to need another mug of tea before curling up with that. (How long will I get in Great Expectations before it sends me into another nap: hopefully, hopefully I'll make it 20 pages. Not to say I think this isn't a great book, because it's actually quite good, but sometimes it puts me to sleep.)

Now, it's my pleasure to pass this award onto others:
1) Susan Mills at A Walk in My Shoes
2)Lisa and Laura of Lisa and Laura Write fame.
3) Lady Glamis from The Innocent Flower
4) Roni Griffin the premier * Fiction Groupie *
5) The Girl with One Eye from A Squirrel Among Lions

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pick-Up Lines

Once, a cousin and I joked about creating A quick glance way to see if someone's line was as cheesy and awful as you really thought it was. (Hey, sometimes a little perspective helps). The way I see it, we could have created a whole new list of wing man responsibilities. Right before someone makes a move, the wingman could bump up the stats on the line. ("Hey, I was gonna call you cheesy and reject you, but apparently that wasn't so bad.)

We never did create the site. It's probably for the best. Maybe we don't want to be giving people any ideas about really hideous pick up lines. Though that idea never quite took off, pick up lines can still provide a bit of humor in everyone's lives.

Here are some good pick-up line rejections:

Woman: Haven't I seen you someplace before?
Man: Yes, that's why I don't go there anymore.

Man: Your place or mine?
Woman: Both. You go to yours, and I'll go to mine.

Woman: Is this seat empty?
Man: Yes, and this one will be if you sit down.

Man: Hey baby, what's your sign?
Woman: Do not enter.

Do you have a personal favorite pick-up line or line-block?

Friday, February 26, 2010


Okay, this is going to sound really strange, and I don't even know how I managed to do this, but I somehow managed to miss the anniversary of starting this blog.

February 8th, 2009, I started the blog. (Don't go back and look for the old post. They're not that interesting. I'm not kidding. Don't.) I'm not exactly sure why I did, except maybe the idea that the Create a Blog button on blogger seemed to be taunted me.

It definitely took me a while to get into the swing of things in the blogging universe. I didn't even figure out what this blog was going to be about until March 11th. So, maybe that would be a more accurate blogiversary. Well, I'm at a halfway point betwixt those dates; I can depart the field and call it a win.

Anyway, it's been an interesting year. I've learned a lot about myself, writing, and blogging. I've discovered a ton of interesting and nice people in the blogosphere. Y'all are great. I just wanted to let you know.

Also, a shout out to my 62 followers, thanks so much for sticking around and for reading my thoughts. Thanks for sharing your views and helping me grow a bit in the process. You guys rock.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back to Basics

A while ago, I read a post on someone's blog (I don't remember whose, unfortunately. If you have any idea, feel free to tell me) about getting back to the basics of one's story. I think the post was about remembering what the story was about as you write it.

I think this is very important. One has to remember what the story is really about, what tale one is actually trying to tell, or there's a pretty good chance the story is going to run all over the place and look like a half-baked version of four or five things. That's not what we want. I'm not disputing that there can be more than one story going on at once, but we'd like everything to be fully baked, wouldn't we.

I've come up to think problem myself. Working on The Thief Book, I realized that one of the reasons I really didn't like the ending I'd written was because it looked like a whole different story. I'd somehow lost track of the story I'd been telling -- which I really liked -- and accidentally got into some weird other sort of thing. I knew I needed to get back to the basics of the story and work from there.

I think that getting back to the basics of the story, the real kernel of it all, is very helpful. If you sense you're floundering in the story or don't know where to go from where you're at, ask yourself what you basic story is, what tale you're trying to tell. Use those basics to get a handle on where you are. This will allow you to focus on the one idea at a time and not going wandering off into the misty marshes of randomness.

Caveat: If you're a panster, you're probably not going to know what the basics are until you've got your first draft to work with, or maybe until you're pretty well into the draft. But, when you're re-figuring your story with what you've got, knowing your basic point can still be very helpful.

How do you feel about the basics of your story? Do you attempt to keep in line with the basics? Do you spend a lot of time trying to get back to those basics?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh, the Interwebs

A while ago, I read a post on Roni Griffin's page about web presence. And, naturally, that got me thinking about, well, web presence.

I do not have a very large web presence. I feel secure enough in myself to admit that. ;-) This blog, this one right here, that you are looking at right now, this is my web presence. I don't twitter. I don't have another blog. I have a livejournal I created to look at something and now just links back to this blog. I don't have my own personal website. I am not splashed all over the Internet.

And, you know what, I am okay with that.

Because this blog takes time. Any form of web presence takes time. So, if I wanted to add anything else to the list of things I do on the Internet every day, I'd have to take some of that time away from here. I'm not okay with that.

See, even if I occasionally have a bad week or so, I like to think that I'm bringing my A-game to these posts. I don't want to write meaningless drivel that wastes your time and mine. And, something tells me, if I take up twittering, I might not have enough time and energy to give this my top notch stuff. Not okay.

That's my web presence.

How about you? What's your web presence? Big? Small? Are you considering changing its size? Why?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not the Most Coolest Thing Since Sliced Bread

Hi all.

I know. I know. I've been a sort of lazy blogger lately.

But, I have a good reason. Well, a good one for me, anyway. I told a friend of mine I would help tech for a show she was working. Not a big tech role, just working moving set pieces around. It was loads of fun. It was a good show and a good production of it. Not to mention I got to be surrounded by the loads of awesome theater people involved. (Thespians are awesome people, in case I didn't tell you before. And techies, in my humble opinion, are salt of the Earth. But I might be biased.)

But, to relate this back to writing, because that should be done, at some point, on this blog, anyway...

My friend, who was the MC of this particular production, came to the realization about the second night of the show, "My character isn't funny. I'm supposed to be the main character here, and I don't get any laughs. None."

This wasn't entirely true, but, yes, in that particular production, most of the jokes and laughs were for the extras and the minor and supporting characters. The others got scripted jokes, not to mention some really hilarious improv material.

This isn't to say that the MC and Love Interest didn't have really great scenes, fun songs, or wonderful moments. They were great, really. They just didn't get to be the hilarious ones. They were just themselves.

They weren't the most awesome things since sliced bread. Some people might not think that's acceptable in an MC. Some people prefer the MCs to be 'big,' in a way. To have some things that they do better than anyone else in the book. And there are a lot of kick-butt-take-names MCs out there. Not to mention the ones who are funny, witty, smart, and understanding. Some even like bicylcing together and taking long, moonlit walks on the beach.

Me, though, I'm okay with a less than awesome MC. Because, well, some people aren't the most fabulous/funny/interesting you've ever met. In fact, I'd venture most people aren't the most awesome person you know. Some people are just ordinary people who are placed in interesting and unusual situations. I'm perfectly okay with MCs being ordinary people.

How do you feel about MCs not being the 'biggest' characters in their own stories? Can you think of good examples either way?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Tickled My Funny Bone

This is the true story of George Phillips of Meridian, Mississippi, who was going to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the shed. George opened the door to go turn off the light but saw there were people in the shed in the process of stealing things.

He immediately phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and George said no and explained the situation. Then they explained that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be there when available.

George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again.

"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I've just shot them all."

Then he hung up. Within five minutes three squad cars, an Armed Response unit, and an ambulance showed up. Of course, the police caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"

George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Some Things of That Might Interest

Stephanie Thorton is having a contest over at her blog. You outta go check that out, all.

An agent's thoughts on quoting rejection letters in a query.

Kiersten White has had an interesting Query Week. Definitely worth reading, even if you aren't querying at the moment.

The Intern shares some good marketing advice. Most of it, I think, applies to any time you have to sell youself, even in the blogosphere. Especially the advice about skydiving.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Editing = Inescapable

I'd like to apologize upfront for the state of the logic in this post. Sleep, as it turns out, is important to brain function. I just chose not to remember that this week. It's worth it, though. I'm mostly sure.

It turns out, even when I'm not working on my MS, there's always editing to be done. (Why can I not be perfect the first time around? Come on, Universe. I'm not asking to be perfect at everything. Just the writing. Is that too much to ask?) Even if it's not fiction writing, I'm still working on things that need to be revised a hecka lot.

Editing my fiction, though, opened my eyes to some flaws in my writing that occur whether I'm writing fiction or non-fiction. Redundancy seems to be a consistent feature across the board. I will have to work on that one, I know.

When I remarked to The Other One that I would need to trust my reader, she replied, "Honey, just try to remember you're writing for a human being, not a goldfish."

Okay, here goes: I do solemnly swear to remember that my readers are human beings and are therefore capable of remembering things over a period of more than five seconds. **crosses heart**

Do you do much editing outside of your fiction? Have you noticed a trend in your editing or writing? Any good advice you've gotten or been given lately you'd like to share.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Supersitions and Other Things We Pretend Not to Believe In

In my life, I've spent quite a while doing theater. And, in case you didn't know this, theater comes with a lot of superstitions.

1) Never say good luck to a performer on a show night. You say 'Break a leg.'
2) Never put an actor in blue. This is bad luck, unless you have silver to contradict it.
3) Never, ever, say the name of The Scottish Play in a theater. If you do, you must go outside the theater, turn around three times, spit, curse, and then knock on the door to be let back in.

I could go on and on. Over the years, I became a font of superstitious knowledge, from what the superstition was, to where it came from, to how to counter the jinx.

To me, the superstitions were amusing. Something everyone could laugh at and joke over, and also a little ritual we could all share. And, let's face it, superstitions have an eerie habit of coming true.

Once, a member of the company said the name of The Scottish Play backstage during a show. Not an act later, our curtain ripped, something not easily fixed and definitely a problem in the middle of a show.

A year or so later, the next time someone accidentally said it, the following day, a mic broke. We all had the same thought, "No one wants to say it, but it's the curse." Actually, I believe the phrasing was, "Okay, no one wants to say it, but Jesus Christ [Name deleted to shield the innocent].Why'd you say the name?" In our minds, the correlation was clear. Scottish Play = Ridiculously bad luck. (Okay, it's still in my mind. People could say the name nowhere near a theater, and I still knock on wood. True story.)

Most thespians have a couple stories about a superstition and things going wrong. If you know any, ask 'em. It'll probably be interesting for you.

But, lately, when I started thinking about thespian superstitions, I wondered if there were any for writers. Well, I tried Google, but I came up with zilch. Sad for me. It seems past authors have had a lot to say about superstitions, but they haven't made any headway in actually creating any.

Now, I wouldn't say that we should all go out of our way to create some official writerly superstitions. That would be unsporting, not as much fun, and potentially cruel to those who come after us. (If you let blue ink touch your manuscript, ever, it will never be published. tehe.) But it does seem unusual to me that there are none.

Does anyone have any writing superstitions or know of any? Are you superstitious at all?

Monday, February 15, 2010


I have been remiss. Due to being temporarily distracted by the universe and a sudden loss of ability to manage my schedule, I missed the holidays.

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you all had a blast.

Also, a Happy Lunar New Year. Best of luck in the new year. Welcome to the Year of the Tiger.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Falen is having a contest over at her blog to celebrate making it to 50 followers. Why don't y'all go over and say congrats. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's Your Bag?

A while ago, probably when she realized that I'd given up sleeping to read some semi-addicting fanfiction (yes, I used to read that), my sister (a.k.a. The Other One) informed me that if someone wrote a series, I could be addicted to it.

Much as it generally pains me to admit it, The Other One wasn't wrong. I tend to read books that come in series, and I tend to read the whole series. I've read all of -- The Twilight Saga; Harry Potter; Midnighters; The Pit Dragon Trilogy; The Uglies Trilogy; the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy. I've also read the first three Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, with the fourth and fifth in my To Read stack, and 4/5 of the Wicked Series, which I thought was a tetrology (weird story that).

I think we can establish that that's my 'type,' as it were. Hello, I'm Me, and I am a Series addict. Maybe it's because I don't like to see the characters I loved go. Maybe it's because I can't bear the fact there's a part of the story that I'm missing (I do so hate not to be in the know on things). Either way, I think I've found a real trend here.

How about you? What's your 'type' in the book world? Do you have a 'type' irrespective of genre?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How Are You Doing?

This week I've been having trouble squeezing in actual writing time. As it turns out, and I'd forgotten this, writing takes more time and typing up quick edits, dash it all. But, I will do this thing. I will do it, gosh darn it.

But, enough about me. How are your WIPs going? You are where you'd hoped to be and getting done what you'd hoped?

Are you having fun with your project?

Any new Ideas lately?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Again, But This Time In Song

One day, a friend told me that if I liked Harry Potter, I absolutely had to watch the Very Potter Musical. (I actually linked to it a while ago on the blog, if you want to watch. I recommend it.)

Well, the Very Potter Musical is a fan musical, but it's certainly not the only musical that's been based on a books. There's, of course, the incredibly famous Wicked which is based, though not too closely, on a book of the same name. There is also Little Women: The Musical, which I have previously mentioned on the blog, not to mention a musical based on Jekyll and Hyde.

While many people have opinions on books becoming movies, most people don't consider the possibility that their book might become a musical.

I'm not sure how I'd take something like that. I'd certainly be flattered to have someone express that sort of interest in anything I wrote, but on the other hand, I'm not sure how I'd react to the changes the creators would doubtless have to make to suit the medium. Though, I won't lie, I'd be interested to see what kind of songs my characters would get.

How would you feel about someone turning your work into a musical? How do you feel about musicals (or, you know, straight up plays) based on books?

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Rejection Muscle

I recently remarked to a friend that I had become inured to rejection. I claimed it didn't hurt anymore.

She remarked that it was either a good thing, because it meant any rejection I received wouldn't hurt me, or a bad thing, because it meant to reach this state, I'd probably been rejected a lot.

Both of us were reasonably correct.

I did lie a little bit when I said it didn't hurt anymore. (Yes, my bravado strikes again.) Rejection still hurts a bit, and sometimes, when rejection blocks me from something I really wanted, the ice cream I've been denying myself starts to look really good. But, on the other hand, it doesn't hurt nearly as much as it used to.

I have been rejected a lot. It's one of those things that happens when you're interested in theater and cannot act well, or you want a higher level position than you've previously worked, but don't have as many skills as others in the same field. Or, you know, when you attempt to publish a novel that's nowhere near ready, because your a publishing-world neophyte with an insatiable urge to act like a total noob.

But, I don't like to think of myself as much-rejected. I prefer to think of myself as possessing a highly toned muscle. A rejection muscle.

Getting rejected, especially if it's something you really want or is really important to you, often feels, in my humble opinion, rather like a sucker punch. Or, you know, a general beating in some slightly less specified capacity. But, then again, so does a hard core work out. It hurts, sometimes a lot, but it'll make you stronger for the next time around.

Hone the muscle with continued use (and we've all selected an industry where this muscle gets continued use) and exercising it won't hurt so much anymore. In any function.

How do you feel about rejection? Do you think it gets easier to handle with time?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

To Give and Recieve

I just thought y'all might like to know, the lovely Miss Beth Revis is having a blog contest. I'd recommend going over and checking it out.

In other news, two very kind fellow bloggers were kind enough to think of me with the Over the Top Award. Thank you Piedmont Writer and Hatshepsut. Thank you both for thinking of me. I'm not going to post the answers to the questions again, but if you're interested in seeing 'em, you can click here.

Miss Ronni Griffin
was kind enough to give me the Superior Scribbler Award. Thanks Ronni. :) Now, I'm not sure if I've got the rules quite right, but I believe I now pass this blog on to five other bloggers. Here goes:

1) Susan Mills of A Walk in My Shoes. (She's probably forgotten more interesting footwear than I'll ever see in my life.)
2) Lisa and Laura of Lisa and Laura Write fame.
3) L.T. Elliot who Dreams of Quills and Ink
4)Roni Griffin the premier * Fiction Groupie *
5) Miss Natalie Whipple in Between Fact and Fiction

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Happy Catchup Time

As you might remember, I got behind in my goals for the week. And I just couldn't let that stand.

So, yesterday, I grabbed my edits on The Thief Book and typed and fixed, and I made it all the way up to where I would have been if life hadn't interfered with my process. Which means, only 6 more pages to go, and I'll have finished getting in all my line edits on Part 1.

Now, I won't consider this portion of the book 'set' until I've gone back and inserted the Ideas I had while editing. Yes, there were a few nice thought bubbles that formed during my editing process, so now the fronts of both parts are bedecked with post-its. Now, I just need to slip them in where they belong.

Still, I'm willing to call Friday's work a victory. Really, it's a bit of a tie, from what I'd hoped to get done, but all things considered, I feel comfortable departing the field and calling it a win.

I hope everyone else is having a smashing weekend and fabulous Saturday.

How are your writing goals/life goals coming along? Any plans nearer to fruition? Any nice thought bubbles lately or good news?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Woah There. That Was Fast

Hey all. Sorry about my temporary absence from the blogosphere. Did you miss me? ;)

Life chose this week to come at me fast. I guess it's only fair, because it came at me rather slow in January, and the balance had to be restored.

It's a long story, but it involves maths, applications, and trying to sell myself (in the least prostitutional way), none of which I am particularly good with. Brilliant qualities in a potential querier, I know.

Interesting thing about life coming at you fast is that you learn very quickly what your priorities are. To make the deadlines and manage the unshiftable pieces of my life whilst getting enough sleep to keep up the brain function, I had to drop a few things.
  1. Exercise. Yep. That'll be coming back today, but I let that slide. And I don't feel too guilty about that one. Guess that's why it went first.
  2. Blogging. The interweb, it turns out, takes up a surprisingly huge portion of my day, and I had to redirect that to other areas. Not that I don't love y'all loads, but something had to give.
  3. Writing. Tragically, and this I do actually feel bad about, I let my writing and revising goals go to make time for the other stuff. I fully intend to make up all the time I lost though. It will be done. **Makes face of intense determination**
It was an intense week involving some careful schedule planning, but, I made it out alive, which is always a major plus.

It took me a good while to catch up on all the blogs I missed while going radio-silent. Turns out I follow A LOT of blogs (72, if you must know). So even two days turns into enough posts to fell a water buffalo.

I'm also glad to see a few new followers. Hello, guys and gals. Welcome to the blog. :D

That's all for now folks. Have to go back to managing the real world. A shame, I know. Have a fabulous Friday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Faith in Equal Powers

Okay, everyone, repeat after me: My reader is not an idiot.

The readers of books are intelligent, rational beings (you know, in general. I'm allowing for a certain degree of wingnuttery in counting as rational). They aren't idiots. And we shouldn't treat them like they are.

Since reader's are a clever bunch, they get what the writer is telling them. Often the first time around. Sometimes, it bears repeating, especially if it's a complex point or one that's been building up over multiple scenes, or is really important. But, by the third time, the reader's pretty much got it.

We've got to trust our reader's to know what we're saying. If we don't trust them, they'll be able to tell, and they'll just upset, chuck the book on the floor, and read something else that treats them with a little more respect. The repetition makes a reader want to say, "Yep, got it. Not an idiot over here. Move it along." It's not nice to treat people like they aren't smart enough to understand.

I'm super-guilty of this. I'm looking back over the Thief Book, and I think I repeated the basic point (not a very important one, mind you. Just a bit of info I intend to reference later) about 9 times in the first 5 chapters. Even I wanted to say, "People aren't stupid. They get it." So there's plenty of crossings out on those marks.

I'm not claiming that every reader is a rocket scientist/neurosurgeon/creator of literary masterpieces the likes of which I cannot fathom capable of comprehending incredibly complicated schemes the first time through with only minor explanations. But, I am saying that you should treat the reader like your intellectual equal. Have faith that they can grasp things as well as you can.

Things should be explained in relationship to their level of complexity (at least once, most of the time), repeated often as necessary (one rinse and repeat often doesn't hurt), and summed up neatly if the occasion warrants it (which, if you're schemes been put together over several scenes, might bed the case).

For more discussion on trusting your reader, click here.

Do you trust your reader? Do you feel you sometimes don't put enough faith in the reader? Do you put too much faith in them?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Scrabble is the New Heroin

I come from a family of confirmed logophiles. We play Scrabble at family reunions and do an annual puzzle based of the meanings of obscure words. (Did you know that embolalia is the use of... um... virtually meaningless filler words, phrases, or... er... stammerings (or so-called hesitation-forms) in speech, whether as... uh... unconscious utterings while arranging one's thoughts or as... like... a vacuous, inexpressive... you know... mannerism.) This manifested itself in the expected form: Books everywhere.

But, it also took some rather interesting forms. My sister, The Other One, took to playing Scrabble online when none of us could play with her as much as she'd like. That turned into just about an addiction, which gave rise to the expression in my family: "Scrabble is the new heroin." Yeah, she played Scrabble a lot.

I'm never became nearly as addicted to Scrabble as The Other One, but if you ever want to develop Super Anagram powers, I suggest hanging out with a Scrabble junkie.

But, this week, a friend introduced me to the game Bananagrams. It's like Scrabble, only without the board, and your goal is to use all the tiles before anyone else. It's an awesome game, and possibly my new ... well, I'm going to make the drug comparison, but it's actually that addictive.

And, as it turns out, I know some serious weird words. At least, I've been told their weird. (I, for the record, maintain that ell is a perfectly reasonable word.) Well, long live the logophiles. :D

What forms, other than a love of writing, has your logophilia taken? Any Scrabble junkies present?