Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Semi-Obligatory Flatland Reference

This is for everyone who had to read Flatland in high school. Because, quite frankly, since I had to read the book (which, in my view, sounded much better in description -- "A book about the government of 2D shapes" -- than it did in practice or when I had to write an essay about it), I feel like I should reference it when possible. Don't ask me why. (For expansion, click the image.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

An Obligatory Icarian Reference

Once upon a time, I attended a theater festival and spent an afternoon watching plays written by teen aspiring playwrights. These were actually some very incredible pieces. However, of the four presented, three had an Icarus and Daedalus streak a mile wide in them. Maybe one of the judges for the selected works had a thing for Greek myths, but even Greek myth loving me found that a tad surprising. Honestly, most teens I know aren't into Greek myths. Still, I can now no longer see an Icarus reference without thinking of Lincoln, Nebraska. (Go, Cornhuskers!)

Still, even if you've never set foot in a square state, this should amuse you. Especially if you've got a thing for Greek mythology. (Admit it, secretly, you do. Athena is your home girl. You know it.)
I promise I have never done this to anyone. That I know of.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm Worried

Okay, not super worried or anxious or anything like that. Just a little worried, you know. Because I'm working on Cordamant's Heir, and I'm about 21k in and inching closer to being done draft #1 in a Little Engine That Could sort of way, and I already know it's not good. I mean, there are a lot of things I really like about it, and I still love the plot and the setting and the characters.

But, it's got problems. I can see them already. There's slow pacing in parts, and I'm sure some of these scenes are superfluous, and I'm starting to think I don't know my characters as much as I thought I did.

I don't want to stop. I want to keep going, to keep seeing where this story takes me. But I've been really studying up on craft lately, and it's getting me thinking about the problems this book has and how much revision it might need, and sometimes that just makes me a little sad.

But, then again, this could just be the midnight talking. I'll probably feel better in the morning.

So, how are you guys doing? Have any fabulous weekend plans? Get any good news lately?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who ARE You?

Once upon a time, about nine months ago, I started watching a new television show that had become quite popular. After observing one of the characters for several episodes, I came to a simple conclusion: If I hadn't gone to high school with that guy, I wouldn't have believed him as a human being.

Now, I didn't go to high school with the actor nor the fictional character. When I went to high school, I very much believed that young man as a human being, albeit a human being in a v-neck t-shirt. However, watching that T.V. show, I came to the conclusion that without that friend from high school, I'd have decided that T.V. character was absolutely ridiculous. I checked with some mutual friends, and we'd all had a very similar reaction.

I do believe that there are a great many true things in this world that no one would believe if they didn't see it in person. (I'm not claiming there's any sort of realism criterion for this. It seems to be at random. True things I've seen people not believe: My cousin once taught a student named Dragon Boat; Canada is not a barren wasteland; Hawaii is a part of the US. False things I've seen people believe: Canada just changed from the 25-hour clock to a 24-hour clock; everyone in Canada travels by dogsled; my sister and I speak 5 languages.) However, I do know for sure, one must make sure that people who aren't you and don't have your background believe your characters.

Ask yourself, is your character believable to a regular audience. How about that character who speaks with a British accent for no explicable reason? Or the character whose parents tricked him into thinking they were going on vacation in China for years when they were actually moving there? And the character who responds compulsively to certain sentences in a language they don't actually understand?

Will a reader believe any of these people? That's the question you've got to ask yourself. Because even if you've met a person just like that in your actual life, (and I've met all the aforementioned people), if that's the kind of person no one really believes exists, you're going to run into a problem.

Have you ever written a character people didn't believe? Have you ever run into such characters in books or T.V.? Have you ever met a person you almost couldn't believe?

Sunday, June 20, 2010


The charming Tessa from Tessa's Blurb was kind enough to think of me for the Versatile Blogger award. Thank you, dearie. :)

For the award, I'm supposed to post 7 true things about myself. I hope they amuse you.

1) The Other One and I once convinced the younger brother of a close friend that we had a triplet named Elizabeth. We took turns pretending to be Elizabeth, ourselves, and each other, which I'm sure didn't make it any easier for him to figure us out. We kept the charade going for a month and a half until he was about to introduce me to other people as Elizabeth. Then we decided it might be going a tad far.

2) Once, in my younger days, I put a friend in a locker and helped put some other people in lockers as well. Including The Other One. And my best friend. And school librarian. Twice. And the vice principle. (It's not as heinous as it sounds, I promise. It was part of a tradition. And I hopped into a locker myself while this was all going on. What can I say, we geeks at my Junior High were a little strange.)

3) I discovered earlier this month through a link someone sent The Other One online that we might secretly be Canadian citizens. I don't know for sure, because that would involve forms and documents and getting the government to look into things, but that greatly amuses me.

4) I have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the first four Harry Potter books (did you know the first word Harry actually says in the series is 'Nearly'? yeah, I'm that geeky) and the first four seasons of The West Wing. And I'm getting there with the first four seasons of Bones. (Okay, what is it with me and the number four?)

5) I honestly do not remember the last time I got more than two inches cut off my hair. I have a feeling it was more than 3.5 years ago but less than 6, but any more specific time approximation alludes me. This fact does not prevent people from asking me for that information on a semi-regular basis.

6) I don't watch movies. I mean, I go to the cinema with my family when we're all together or with friends if we all have spare time, but left to my own devices, I tend not to seek movies out. I do not have a Top 250 movies list. I couldn't name 250 movies if someone paid me to.

7) On the other hand, if someone paid me to, I could recite all 50 US states in under 5 minutes. In alphabetical order. Yep, I've got skills.

Now, it's my pleasure to pass this award on to some other charming people.

1) Natalie Whipple at Between Fact and Fiction
2) Davin Malasarn, Scott Bailey, and Michelle Argyle at The Literary Lab
3)Dana Elemdorff at A Squirrel Among Lions
4)Tamara Heiner at Chasing Dreams
5)Elena Johnson at Elana Johnson
6)Stephanie Thornton at Hatshepsut
7)Kiersten White at Kiersten Writes
8)Lisa and Lauren Roecker at Lisa and Laura Write
9)xoxo at Making it up as I go...
10) Nicole Ducleroir at One Significant Moment at Time
11) Anne Gallagher at Piedmont Writer
12) Tiana Smith at Tiana Smith
13) Jenna Wallace at Writing in the Dream State
14) Beth Revise at writing it out
15) Roni Griffin at * Fiction Groupie *

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This Amused Me

Until recently, my answer, when asked if I've ever read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was, "I slept through half of it." See, my first exposure to the trilogy occurred when I watched the movies. Then, after that, my parents bought the books on CD, and we listened to them during a drive to Canada. (In case you didn't know, drives to Canada can take a while and get boring. And we did them a lot.) Well, I have a habit of sleeping in cars. So, I missed things.

Anyway, to rectify that situation, I've located those CDs and am now working my way through the books. It's been an interesting experience, especially considering the parts that weren't in my memory and which I believe I had a REM cycle through.

So, when my friend sent me a LOTR related joke, it made me laugh. It made me laugh, so I'm affixing it. Enjoy. (For better viewing, click here.)

For the record, while I'd love to be this impressive, I'd never be able to pull this off for one of my books. Still, as far as I'm concerned, that's mad awesome. :-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wait, That's Mine?

You ever hear those stories about writers accidentally putting a lot of their personal lives or personal histories into their works? Or that adage about writing what you know?

Well, from time to time, I think about my work and realize I pretty well tossed those things out the window. A lot of what I write doesn't bear a strong resemblance to my own life. More often than not, I'd say any resemblance is pretty weak. Sometimes, I look back on something I wrote and think, "Where in the center of the world did that come from?"

Charlotte, my MC from The Thief Book, is a staunch Catholic. So is Leo, her love interest, and Alessia, her mentor. I've known a lot of Catholics in my life, but I am not one. That's why, now that I think about it, I'm a little surprised about how much Catholicism there is in the text. I'm really not the most religious of people, and most people I know aren't overly observant, yet I somehow wrote a character who considers her faith one of the central and unshakable aspects of her life. That, in hindsight, does surprise me. I'm almost wondering where this girl came from in my mind.

Do you ever have such realizations about your work? Do you ever write something into your story and not feel wholly sure how that idea became part of your subconscious?

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Am Not A Luddite

Before I tell the story I'm about to tell you, I want to clear up that I am not a luddite. I am in no way afraid of technology or irrationally opposed to it. Just because I think 3-D TVs are ridiculous and a major step too far doesn't mean I have issues. Anyway....

This weekend, I popped into a certain store known as a purveyor of electronic gadgets and paraphernalia to buy a Disc-man. Yes, that's right, I purchased a portable CD player, and I refuse to be ashamed of that fact.

Anyway, as I was checking out, the sales rep playfully teased me. 'Do you want a warranty in case you ever decide to upgrade to an mp3?' 'You know we have mp3 players right over there, right?' -- and this one made my day -- 'I don't remember the last time I sold one of these.'

Well, I'm always glad to be original. Also, you know what, sometimes you just need to listen to a CD on the go. Admittedly, I don't do that all the time but right now, yes, I need to listen to some CDs on the go (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on disc, if you must know). Plus, there's the slight joy of feeling oh-so-90s with a Disc-man in my hand.

But, all that aside, this got me thinking. Will there come a day when some kid walks into a store, grabs a book off the shelf, and gets teased by the employee with the words, 'Woah, a tree-book. I can't remember the last time someone actually bought one of these. You know we have the audiofile chips over there, right?'?

For the moment, I remain partial to tree-books, but I know that e-books aren't going the way of the dodo any time soon. So, one day, I'll probably get teased by a sales person because, you know, sometimes you just need to hold the book in your hand and not an e-reader. And when that happens, I know, it'll be deja-vu all over again.

How about you? Fan of the e-reader? Fan of the tree-book? Fan of the portable CD player? What's your deal?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm Back, With A New Blogging Schedule

Hi all, I'm back from Chicago (which I will never call Chi-town, because quite frankly, I don't understand that). I had a good time. I got to see The Other One and even Captain Film Major. (He, by the way, introduced me to a restaurant called Epic Burger. While I'm not much for burgers, that's not a bad burger, and they serve some mean fries. So, yes, my whole eating healthy thing got pretty well shot to hell.)

While in Chicago, I also got some good reading in -- I highly recommend I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter -- and some serious progress on Cordamant's Heir. I'm still in the first act, but things are coming along nicely. (So far, analeptic kisses: 1, analeptic tales of battle: about 3, murders:0 -- for now.)

Sadly, I didn't bring y'all souvenir's from Chicago. Not because I don't love you, I promise.

But, I have realized, since I went away, that it is probably time to adjust my blogging schedule. It's sunny out now, and I'm writing a first draft again, both of which are things that make me disinclined to blog. So, I'll be stick around the blogosphere and reading all your lovely posts, but I'll be posting fewer of my own ramblings. Probably 3, maybe 4, a week, on whichever days I see fit. (Yes, I still refused to be tied to specific days on that, since I'm a rebel like that.)

I hope y'all had a great weekend. How are you all doing this fine day?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I'm in Awe of My Friends

I'm pretty in awe of some of my friends. See, one of my friends is studying to be a director. So, what did he do last year? He convinced one of my other friends to translate The Seagull for him, he persuaded a mutual friend to help him make 1930s costumes, he cast some actors -- including The Other One! -- and he made the movie. From what I've seen, it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself, though I might just be 50-75% biased. Either way, I'm wicked impressed with him.

Here's the trailer.

The Seagull from David Crowley on Vimeo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mini Disappearance

Hi guys,

Just popping in to say that today I schlepped myself out of bed at the hideous hour of 4:45 am to catch a plain to Chicago to visit The Other One. Honestly, I don't know if I love her that much. (Just kidding, dearie, if you're reading this. But, I do love my sleep, so take my getting up this early as a testament of my love for you.)

Because I'll be traveling there and back and visiting while I'm there, I'm not going to be active in the blogosphere for the next few days. If I read any blogs, I probably won't be commenting, and there probably won't be postings over here.

Have a fabulous weekend, lovelies. ^_^

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Location, Location, Location

When I'm writing, I try not to scamper off aimlessly. I try to have some sort of advance plan for a scene before diving into it so that I don't send my characters footling around through space. But, well, sometimes they go where my fingers take them without my quite knowing.

Yesterday, as my character footled around, because I was a tad short on plans for that scene, she passed through the garden -- because Amira loves gardens, apparently -- and found herself in the library where she finally got around to running into that character I wanted her to run into. Then, as they were about to leave the library, something occurred to me, "I've just introduced the library. I can use that later!" That made me very happy.

I think on some level I would prefer to limit the number of settings I use in my book. Maybe it's because I don't want to confuse the reader by tossing in a lot of rooms and places that aren't important for them to remember. Maybe I don't want to keep track. Maybe it's the theater.

I tend to create stories similar to the way plays are created. In a play, there cannot be too many settings, because there is not room for many sets. The wings would fill up with the periaktoi or flats or whatever else you're using for your sets, and then there wouldn't be room for actors and actresses, and then you've got a problem with your play as there's no one to perform it. So, maybe the manner in which I tell a story has been impacted by the time I've spent working in theater.

But, regardless of the cause, I think it's true that I tend to limit the number of settings I use.

Anyway, since I've introduced the library as a setting, it now means that I can go back to it in other scenes. I can say, "Hey, remember that time Amira was in that place with that one person. Well, now these other people are there doing this thing. So you don't need to get distracted by the walls, just go look at the thing. No, seriously, go look at the thing. It's interesting, I promise." It will save me the trouble of introducing a new place to the reader, and it will save the reader the trouble of having to remember another location.

So, now I can add the library to my list. This makes me very happy indeed.

Do you like to use a lot of settings? Are you very specific about where your scenes take place?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Do your characters ever change on you, especially in ways you didn't expect? Do they ever just throw your plans for them out the window? Well, mine certainly like to.

Okay, in all honesty, they rarely take the plot places I didn't expect it to go or am not okay with it going. They can usually take direction. But, then again, there are times when I call that actor in from the wings, and they're definitely not who I thought they were.

I'm about 7 pages into Cordamant's Heir, and both my Female Lead and Male Lead have already surprised me. I just looked at my original character sheets and discovered they'd change a great deal.

My MC, Amira, was supposed to bed pale, thin, with green eyes. Now, she has dusky skin, thick black hair, light brown eyes, and, the way I see her, she's got some jam in her jelly. I like her better that way. It feel real to the character. I'm just surprised at how she changed.

The Male Lead, Azra, took a big internal change. He's still the same at his soul, but, according to my original notes, he was going to be an orphan who an uncle who tries to control his life. About three days ago, his parents came back into existence.So, internal changes. That fact also changes his position politically, which also adds some new flavor to his position in the book.

During my first draft of the Thief Book, a character named Anna-Maria appeared. She was originally described as having 'the personality of a porcupine.' Then, well, it turned out she had a good reason to be a porcupine, and she became involved in a subplot in the story, one that grew increasingly important in the revisions. I didn't see that coming when I introduced her into the story.

I'm looking forward to even more surprises as I work on Cordamant's Heir. I'm sure it'll keep things interesting.

Do you ever get surprised by your characters? Do they ever turn out not to be who you thought they were?