Monday, November 30, 2009
I knew there was something I'd forgotten last post. I blame it on the holiday frazzleness.
The lovely Shannon Messenger and Frankie Mallis both gifted me with blog awards! Good heavens, all this love is going to go straight to my head. I might start thinking people like me or something. You all know how that goes. First the delusions of grandeur, then the delusion-inspired plots of world domination. I'm thinking of starting in Ireland, working my way south, then turning the entire world into a pirate-themed amusement park. All in favor say ARGH!
But seriously, thanks, Shannon and Frankie. Awards make me happy :)
On with the rest of the A's to your Q's!
From KM Walton: Who would be your ideal guy & why?
There are a number of ways I could answer this question. I will choose the most writerly by describing my ideal guy in terms of literary characters. So, my ideal guy would have Kartik's loyalty (Gemma Doyle Trilogy), Sam's romance (Shiver), Nate's sweetness (Eyes Like Stars), Oscar's selflessness (Candor), and Justin's devotion (Dark Moon Defender -- I know most people haven't heard of this book, as it's fantasy not YA, but you should read it. The entire series, actually. A.Maz.Ing). Also, I have been going through a romance song obsession, so my ideal guy would also see the world like this and this. Everyone together now: awww.
From Natalie: Why are you so awesome?
I have one more chromosome than most people. They call it the awesome chromosome. There is no cure.
Also, what's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you?
Oh gosh. I am absolutely horrible at remembering specific instances when people ask questions like this. I'm sure I'll come up with something in a few days, but right now my mind is blank. I can tell you a joke though. Jokes are funny.
Q: What's black and white and black and white and black and white?
A: A penguin rolling down a hill.
Q: What's black and white and laughing?
A: The penguin that pushed him.
Let that joke sink in. I laughed for a good five minutes.
From Candice: Why are Columbus and Cincinnati awesome and Dayton... well Dayton is just sort of not awesome. Am I missing something here as a new Dayton resident?
Firstly, you're in Dayton now? Yay! Another easternly writer person! I foresee a get-together in our future. But you're right. Dayton is sort of not awesome. Though, since the city I live in is the epitomy of OHMYGODBORING, Dayton often seems far more awesome to me than it is. But when compared with Cincy or C-bus, it is very dull. It has a Barnes and Noble though! And Tropical Smoothie! Tropical Smoothie alone is reason to love Dayton. I swear they put crack in their smoothies. Addictive.
From VS: Why pirates?
There's something about the age of pirates that's very poetic to me. They were some of the last real explorers. In their time, the world was all but discovered; the "blank edges of the map" were all but filled in (just watched POTC 2. Sorry). They clung to the last bit of magic the world had in defying the "discovered" world and pursuing the undiscovered, the parts of the world that people still did not want to traverse. I'm a big advocate of clinging to magic. Too often does it get squished in the name of advancement.
From Adam: This question has been bothering me since I was little. Maybe you can help. Whose bright idea was it to put "Kansas" right next to "Arkansas" and then pronounce the two completely differently? (note to readers: I'm aware they are not strictly "right next" to each other, but as a child growing up in California, they might as well have been)
Dude. I never realized that! Wow. You're totally right though; that is horrifically annoying. Gotta love the English language, eh?
From Mariah: Have you ever seen the old show WKRP Chicago? There's a guy on there (Travis) that look's like that he could be Phillip Winchester's father. And there is feathered hair.
I have not seen that show, but I have now spent a good half hour googling it. Anyone who looks like Philip Winchester is good in my book.
From Shannon: Did you know that Jake Gyllenhaal was Billy Crystal's son in City Slickers, and can you believe such incredible hotness came from such a geeky looking kid?
I did realize that! It was on TV awhile ago and seeing little Jakey made me chuckle. How does that happen, exactly? All these dorky little kids grow up to melt movie screens. Not that I'm complaining. If being a dorky little kid helps them be hot, by all means, may they continue to be dorky.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Happy Beginning of the Holiday Season, everyone! In celebration, I bring you the answers to the first half of the super awesome questions ya'll left on Tuesday.
From Cat Clarke: Would you rather have squirrels for hands or muffins for feet?
Well, I'm very certain that I could live without feet, but no hands? Not being able to type or write or pick up a book? Couldn't do it. Muffins for feet, thank you.
From Dara at inthewritemind: I must be a scrooge since I cannot stand to hear Christmas music BEFORE Thanksgiving...wondering--how do you feel about it? :P
I'm kind of indifferent about it actually. At my work, we decorated for Christmas last Saturday. I love decorating for Christmas and listening to Christmas music, so it only slightly perturbed me that it was before Thanksgiving. What did perturb me was that on the DAY of Halloween, I went into Walmart to get an eye patch, and all of the Halloween stuff had been replaced by Christmas stuff. ON Halloween. That was too much.
From L&L: Will you always stay in Ohio or do you think you'll move around once you've graduated?
I used to think I'd move around, but now I'm not so sure. My future is kind of up in the air, and I'm open to whatever happens. I do know that I will move out of the city I live in now, though. No way could I ever live here forever. It kills your soul.
From Valerie: When are you going to see New Moon?
I already saw it! Last Sunday, actually. It was surprisingly better than Twilight, and had plenty of steamy Jacob scenes to satisfy me. Though I must say, I do think I'm semi-Team Mike.
From Jade: Why did you switch majors? Seriously? Now I'm alone in the Lara Croft/J.K Rowling box.
I...don't know. I've always loved history, and that was originally why I got into archaeology. But the archaeology in this area isn't the kind of history I'm interested in, thus I switched to straight-up history. I promise this will be my last major switch. Promise.
Serious questions...hmmm...oh, queries! Since you have a cool agent, one assumes that you wrote an epically awesome query letter. I'm just wondering if you did it by yourself or did you post it online somewhere to be shredded?
I'm pretty sure I posted my query on the AW forums (that was a year ago, though, and my brain's a little fuzzy). I know I sent it to friends and such to be ripped apart. Query-writing was always one of the most difficult things for me to do, until I found out that it works so much better if I write the query-summary BEFORE I start writing the book. That way I don't have all those pesky subplots clouding the main story thread in my mind.
Have you read 'The Dust of 100 Dogs' by A.S. King?
I did read it. AS King has an AMAZING voice and writing style and imagination (and hello? Pirates!). But what I loved most oddly enough wasn't even in the book. Someone actually got a tattoo based on D100D. That seems like a huge gesture of appreciation/awesomeness to me. And the tattoo looks freaking cool too.
From Hayley: How do you know which ideas to use? And if the characters are in a situation you are completely unfamiliar with, how do you figure out how they'd react? Research only goes so far.
I use whichever idea speaks the loudest. For instance, I have both Max's story and Crystal's story in my head. I love both of them, but Max, for whatever reason, appealed more. I think it just comes down to whatever character wants his/her story told the most. I will get to Crystal eventually, though; she's quite loud too.
As for unfamiliar situations, it usually takes me a few tries to figure out how the characters would react. I don't so much do research for those situations as I do trial-and-error. If a scene doesn't feel right, I start over. Still doesn't feel right, I start over. On and on until I find the one that makes me go YES.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
(I know the title doesn't translate right, but it has the whole alliteration thing going for it, so I'm leaving it. Try to stop me.)
Because it is Thanksgiving, I'm going to rip a vlogbrother's video and do 50 things I'm thankful for. You don't have to read all of them, but they'll be funny and/or clever. Promise.
I'll be back on Saturday with answers to all of your amazing questions. Keep 'em coming! Until then, have an AMAZING holiday!
What are some things that make you guys thankful?
1) 2009. It has been by far better than 2008.
2) My puppy. She may be whiny and freakishly human, but I love that cute little mug.
3) My writer friends. Never have I met more amazing, imaginative, supportive people that I have never actually met. You guys rock :D
4) My family. Had to throw that one in, of course.
5) My super agent. 'nuff said.
6) My book. Some things just make me happy no matter what.
7) On that note: pirates.
8) On that note: Johnny Depp.
9) On that note: Philip Winchester.
10) This picture of Philip Winchester.
11) Tudor England.
12) Henry VIII. Weird? Yes. But that dude is INTERESTING.
13) History in general. It's one big story, and it all rocks.
14) When Pippa runs and barks in her sleep. Cutest thing ever.
15) An extension of #4: mi prima. She writes too. It makes me smile.
16) Hair color. Particularly red hair color.
17) My job. I may hate it most of the time, but the people I work with are freakishly cool.
18) The Vitamin String Quartet.
19) The 10th Kingdom mini-series.
20) All movies. Even the sucky ones.
21) Books that promote healthy, functional relationships.
22) Books that promote healthy, functional relationships. (I'm so thankful, it had to be said twice.)
24) On that note: Marie Antoinette.
25) On that note: the French Revolution. Again, weird? Yes. But it was INTERESTING, people. They made a new calendar! And new clocks!
26) All pirate memorabilia.
27) The American Girl Doll collection. Especially Felicity (and Ben. *swoon*).
28) Writing until 1AM even though I know Pippa will wake me up at 6AM.
29) Disney crossover YouTube videos.
30) All cartoon movies. Especially the ones with songs like this and this.
31) Coming home to Pippa and seeing her little tail-less backside waggle with excitement.
32) Listening to people tell me really exciting news.
33) Chatting with fun people.
34) Decorating stuff.
36) My non-writing friends. They keep me balanced.
37) Talking with people about books.
38) Talking with people about my/their books.
39) Talking with people about my/their characters as though they're real people. Then giggling when we realize we've been talking about our characters like they're real people.
40) Getting emails.
41) Cinnamon TicTacs. Cinnamon candles. Cinnamon in general.
42) My glasses that I got three years ago, stopped wearing after two months, and just found three days ago. My eyes feel SO MUCH BETTER.
43) Ireland and New Zealand.
44) Boys with copper skin. Mmm.
45) Characters/books that inspire me to be a better person.
46) Stories. Real stories, life stories, imagined stories, any stories.
48) The publishing industry.
49) Having the opportunity to make my dreams come true.
50) Being able to come up with 50 things that I'm thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving :D
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I figured it was that time again. Give me your funny questions, your intellectual quandaries, your dire dilemmas. Give me questions to make me scratch my head and ponder life. Give me questions to make me giggle, chortle, or even snort. Or serious questions. Those work too.
Leave your questions in the comment box!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Anyway, I can't think of anything snappy to blog about (er, anything snappier than "wippet"), so I decided to post a snippet of my currently-paused WIP White Like Ashes. I still love this story idea, but don't think I'll get to finish it any time soon. It's now been pushed to #4 in my story queue, which, if I was a novel-writing fiend like Natalie, wouldn't be a problem. But I'm not. In fact, since the quarter ended, I've written a grand total of 0 words. Yup. Go me.
But to encourage myself to FREAKIN' WRITE while I have oodles of homework-less time, I'm going to post a chunk from White Like Ashes so you all can tell me to keep FREAKIN' WRITING. This scene is pretty self-explanatory, but a bit of background: Evan is going to her bridesmaid's dress fitting for her mother's wedding. Her father died last year, and Evan isn't at all pleased with her mother's decision to move on so quickly.
The door dinged above me, setting a tone of cheesy-wedding-gore that ricocheted throughout the entire shop. Rows of designer wedding gowns in clear plastic garment bags lined the right wall while the left mirrored it except with bridesmaids gowns. The floor, walls, and checkout counter all reflected the same shade of nauseating pastel pink to enhance the fact that weddings made most people sick.
The owner, Barbara Stevens, waggled her hands in the air as she scurried toward me. She wouldn’t be so stupid as to hug me. We’d only met once, two months ago, at the first fitting. Casual acquaintances don’t hug the daughters of clients–
Nope. Apparently they do.
Barbara’s perfume even smelled pink. “Your party’s this way! I can’t wait to see you in that dress, Evan; you’ll glow!”
There were so many things wrong with those two sentences that all I could do was follow her in a stupefied daze.
She led me to the back of the store where the pink carpet forked around a mirror-encased pedestal with a hall of fitting rooms on either side. The only “party” in the store sat in a semi-circle of pink upholstered chairs around the pedestal, giggling over glasses of champagne.
“Ladies! Another bridesmaid has arrived!”
The five women swung around at the same time, confusion linking their movements. Other bridesmaid? Oh, that’s right. That daughter-thing Madeleine has.
An empty chair waited for me next to Patricia Kingswood. She, Mary Anne Hayward, and Rebecca Shockton made up the three bridesmaids from my mother’s country club. The remaining two, Goldie Lewis and Hannah Rice, were distant friends from my mother’s college days. Though not from Fintan, they belonged to their own country club somewhere else in Pennsylvania, so they didn’t have the least bit of trouble sipping champagne and gibbering about flower arrangements.
“Your mom’s trying on her gown first, dear.” Patricia patted my knee as though I looked concerned as to my mother’s whereabouts. I lifted my eyebrows in acknowledgement, releasing her from any further entertainment duties by plugging into my iPod.
Barbara moved down the right-side set of dressing rooms. A moment passed, and she ran right back out. I didn’t need to hear her to know that she was squeaking about my mother’s approach.
Sure enough, five seconds later my mother turned the corner and ascended the pedestal. The other bridesmaids leapt up and flocked around her, a flurry of waving hands and carefully lifted champagne glasses. Their ooes and awes drowned out my iPod.
“You’re positively breathtaking, Maddy!” It had to be either Hannah or Goldie; only people from mom’s past called her Maddy. My father had called her Maddy.
“The veil isn’t too much, is it? I love the length,” my mom fussed. Her hands popped up above the assault of bridesmaids, holding a strand of tulle in the air.
“Take it off and I’ll kill you!” someone squealed. “It’s perfect!”
“Oh, Madeleine Rockford!”
I didn’t have enough brain function to even try to guess who squeaked that. My mother’s name on Stewart’s last name slammed into me, and I was a few seconds away from grabbing the three glasses of champagne that had been left by the chairs.
I jumped. The bridesmaids had parted down the middle, all staring at me in a strange sort of forced silence, like they would pop if they didn’t let out a squeal or two in the next minute. My mother, half-turned toward me, waited.
“Evan? What do you think?” she asked, or more like mouthed, as my iPod didn’t have trouble drowning out normal speech.
My mouth went dry and I pulled an earbud out. But all those eyes on me – chugging champagne would never go unnoticed.
The gown my mother had chosen was traditional yet modern. Strapless, satin, princess-ball-gown skirt, with tight silver beading along the bodice and down into the waistline. Her sheer veil tumbled down her back, brushing the floor, the edge rimmed with the same silver beading as the bodice. She was beautiful, of course; she was always beautiful. But she wasn’t glowing. She didn’t have the same irresistible shine around her that she’d had in the videos of her and my father’s wedding. She wasn’t – happy.
“No one will even know, will they?”
My words froze her face one muscle at a time. The bridesmaids tightened, too, and looked awkwardly at the pink floor.
I’d broken our unspoken agreement. I’d talked about what we’d never, ever talked about.
“Excuse me?” My mother squinted, hoping she’d heard wrong.
The words tumbled out, a year of silence blasting through my lips. “No one will ever know how happy Connor Gorecki used to make you, will they? No one will ever know you used to love the disgraced BM Industries employee.”
Her blue eyes darkened. “Not now, Evan. This is hardly the place.” There will never be a place. We will never talk about this. Ever.
“Oh, don’t worry; after the wedding they’ll never know I was the offspring of the crazy scientist and his perfect Stepford wife. I won’t exist either.”
I shoved myself up from the chair, ignored Barbara’s protests that I hadn’t tried my dress on yet. I ignored the other bridesmaids’ looks of concern and sympathy. I ignored my mother’s continued icy glare. I ignored everything. Like mother like daughter.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I went through some old blog posts and"cleaned house," so to speak. Which makes this my "real" 200th blog post. This doesn't really mean much to you; just thought you should know. In case you feel like celebrating.
I've been thinking a lot lately. Dangerous, I know, but it's like watching YouTube videos. You only mean to watch one, but then that other video that pops up on the Related Videos thread looks good too, so you watch it, but then, oh wait, the next video on the Related Videos thread was supposed to be REALLY funny, and before you know it it's 2AM and your fingers have gone numb from being crouched over the mouse since 10PM. Just. Can't. Stop.
(Guess what I've been doing since the end of the quarter? If you guessed YouTube video-watching, you're wrong. If you guessed YouTube video-MASTERING, you're right.)
Anyway, thinking. I've been thinking about bricks. Yes, bricks. Red bricks, stone bricks, brown bricks, square bricks.
(I'm TIRED. Give me a break. My jokes will suck today. And may involve a lot of parenthetical statements.)
But seriously: I've been thinking about life-bricks. You know, those individual moments in time that build one atop the other to make you into who you are. Those moments that, when you look back, are the moments when everything "began." You may not have realized it at the time, but they become those moments that make you shiver and get all giggly later.
I don't know about you, but the writer in me is CONSTANTLY trying to guess where/when/if I'm having a life-brick moment. I'm going to admit one of my greatest sekrit shames in saying that I frequently step back from myself and imagine what it would be like if a movie opened on *insert random point in my day.* What would happen next? Why would this brick be important? What could happen to make this brick even MORE important?
I love that I do this, even if it usually results in me being disappointed that that random moment didn't become the awesomely epic life-brick I had imagined. But in flicking through hundreds of scenarios each day, searching searching searching for excitement, I'm constantly flicking through stories. And every so often, one makes me stop and go "Woa. That would make a WICKED book."
So even if it's exhausting to incessantly search for life-bricks in my own life (and rarely, if ever, spot them), even if it makes my imagined life seem far more exciting than my real life, good does come from my little sekrit shame. I guess this is just a long-winded and strange way of saying: good can come from even the silliest, stupidest, weirdest things. Don't stop looking for good.
One last YouTube video. I have no idea what Philip Winchester is saying, but he can keep right on saying it as long as he keeps looking at the screen so...intently...
(PS: Did anyone watch the POTC video I linked to? Did anyone else notice the lyrics of that song? Did anyone else squeal as loudly as I did? A SONG about PIRATES and PRINCESSES. And some chick named Courtney. What's she doing in there? Never mind. PIRATES. PRINCESSES. In one song. *love*)
Thursday, November 19, 2009
What the heck is the plural of "synopsis"?! I got stuck in a "synopsiseseses" circle and couldn't get out! Argh!
Okay, it's "synopses". Whew. Glad we got that ironed out.
Before I get all into discussing synopses (okay, that still sounds wrong. It sounds exactly the same as "synopsis"! What are you doing to me, Webster?), I have a link to share that I got from the lovely Pam Bachorz's blog. Just finished reading CANDOR by the way, and may I take a moment to say that you must, must read it if you have any interest at all in conspiracies, subliminal messages, or hot boys.
But anyway, here's the link. Apparently there's an artist who takes books and turns them into PURSES. Some of my favorites: Robinson Crusoe, HG Wells, and Arabian Nights. Apparently you can special order book purses with books of your choice (how Bachorz got her CANDOR book purse). Can you say "BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR A WRITER EVER"? Can you imagine how stupidly amazing it would be to have a PURSE of your BOOK? Want.
On to the synopsis discussion:
So yesterday I set to work writing a synopsis for the STREAM PIRATE-sequel-that-was-a-trilogy-that-is-now-a-sequel. Writing the synopsis was a very good thing for a number of reasons, one of which was that before I wrote it, the sequel was just this big unsorted glob of idea in my Word story folder. But even after piecing it all into a cohesive form, I found that that cohesive form was still -- a mess. A three-page-long mess of "Lu did this, then did this, while this was happening." Bland and dry and so list-like I felt the next paragraph should start with "Eggs, butter, milk, and toilet paper."
Basically: my synopsis-writing skills suck.
Luckily, mi prima is amazing at writing synopses and agreed to tear mine to shreds. So after a few rounds of emails and drafts, we came up with a one-pager that kicked my three-pages of mess to the curb, got them a taxi, and sent them on their merry way.
My question then for you all is: how do you write your synopses? Do you loathe writing them like I do? Or, like mi prima, can you look at a mess of story goo and with just a few mouse-clicks and screen-glares get all the organization and information you need? Or do you have someone you send your synopses to tear to pieces?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
1) Archaeology final today. DONE WITH FALL QUARTER. *dances*
2) Brain empty of super inspiring posts. I know; you sad. Me sad too.
3) Brain only want look at pretty things right now. Brain stuck on Prince of Persia trailer. To make brain happy, me collect many pretty pictures of pretty Prince of Persia star. Mmm, Jakey.
Pictures of Jakey.
You're welcome, Brain. You're welcome.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Firstly: I'm usually a pretty against-the-grain kind of gal. I resisted the HP craze when everyone was all OHMYGAWD-WHAT-WILL-I-DO-WITH-MY-LIFE-AFTER-DEATHLY-HALLOWS-COMES-OUT. I refused to get involved with the Twilight buzz (refused, but eventually broke down. What can I say? Romance is my weakness). I never really got the whole Star Wars thing (I mean, I saw the movies, but I'm not by any means a Star Wars fanatic. It's not like I know the difference between a Wookiee and an Ewok or anything. One looks like a Build-A-Bear, right?). I'll admit I latched on long and hard to the Lord of the Rings movies, but I wasn't so diehard that I read the books (barely made it through the Two Towers). I only got Facebook once my college friends hounded me so much I got one just so they'd shut up. I started blogging because, you know, bloggers are awesome.
But really, the grain and me don't exactly flow the same way. Hence the reason I never got a Twitter account.
That's right. As if you hadn't gotten enough of my incessant banter about Philip Winchester, my sick obsession with all things piratic, or my strange need to group things in three's, now you can follow me in 140 characters or less. Win.
Secondly: I'm in a thoroughly romantic mood after spending a good deal of the evening watching this video on YouTube. I have an obsession. I think I have an obsession with having obsessions. But this video got me thinking about Gemma and Kartik. And Kartik. And Kartik's pretty pretty olive skin...
Ahem. What were we talking about? Oh yes. Gemma and Kartik.
Of the three books in that trilogy, The Sweet, Far Thing was by far my favorite. Every line in that book felt like something I wanted to scribble on a piece of paper and tack to my bulletin board for little bursts of inspiration. But my most favorite, the one that makes me tingly and heartbroken and awed all at once was one of Kartik's lines.
"To each his own magic."
When I first read it, it made me giggle (considering the context, which, if you haven't read it, I shan't want to spoil it for you. But it is VERY giggle-inducing). The more I think about it, even two-ish years after I read it, the more it resonates in me. To each his own magic. In a romantic context, it is powerfully beautiful. And in any other context -- powerfully statement-making.
To each his own magic. (To each his own way of loving.)
To each his own magic. (To each his own way of believing.)
To each his own magic. (To each his own method of happiness.)
I don't know if Libba intended for that one phrase to be so powerful. But to me, it is the banner I want plastered on my life. To each his own magic. Basically: do whatever the hell makes you happy. If it makes you smile, do it. If it makes you certain of your place in the world, believe in it. If it fills you with so much joy and so much ecstasy and so much strength that you just have to LIVE, put your life into it.
There is a lot in this world that tries to put restraints on magic. Believing in A is right, but believing in B is wrong. Following C is right, but following D is wrong. Being E is right, but being F is wrong. Who is to say such things? Who has so much knowledge of the world that they can say EXACTLY what can or can't make someone truly happy? I can't. I know I can't. I just know that some people seem to have a type of magic that makes them glow, even if that type of magic isn't a type of magic I'd want. But I don't want them to stop chasing after that magic just because it isn't mine.
To each his own magic.
It is my greatest aspiration to someday write something as simply powerful as those five words.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The first is a movie based on a game. I wish they'd make more of these; there are so many kick-a** video games with AMAZING story lines that would be so, so much better than much of what graces our cinema screens nowadays. Could this be the start of an incredible new trend in movie making? Let us hope so.
But -- Jake Gyllenaal? When I first saw he'd be playing the lead, I was concerned. But then I saw some of his facial expressions in the trailer. I'm in love.
The next trailer was suggested by Steph last trailer go-around. The more I watch this trailer, the more excited I get. Seeing directors/actors bold enough to make a movie in favor of evolution, that deals with the criticisms, and shows that Darwin was a HUMAN BEING makes me all squee-y. This is a subject that is borderline offensive to many, but from the trailer, I think they dealt with it beautifully.
And...Paul Bettany. This movie is going to ROCK.
The third movie makes me all giggly. I still remember when the very first one came out on VHS (ah, VHS tapes. How old you make me feel). And now: #3? Gosh. They grow up so fast...
Is it just me, or does grown-up Andy have really pretty eyes?
Last but most certainly NOT least: my beloved Philip is in yet another scrumptious-looking TV series (or should I say he looks scrumptious in another TV series?).
I wasn't a fan of Tin Man. Ow! Who threw that rock? Sorry, sorry, but I just can't do that trippy-artsy stuff. I'll watch Alice, but only because of Philip. I wish they'd do more mini-series like the 10th Kingdom. THAT was a mini-series.
Any super-awesome trailers I missed?
Friday, November 13, 2009
So, this industry. It's all about dreams, right? Dreams to be published, dreams to write a great book, dreams to get an agent, dreams to get *insert writing dream here*. They're our dreams. Ours. No one else nurtures these dreams and strives towards them. No one else takes care of them when they wake up at 2AM with a really, really great plot idea. Yes, there are people who encourage the snot out of us. But they didn't MAKE these dreams, and they won't be the ones to decide whether or not these dreams come true. We are. It is, ultimately, up to us. Right?
Wait -- what? Sara, you're wrong. It is up to me! It's MY dream! If I can dream it, I can do it!
Well, you're both right and wrong there. Because while it is GREAT to have a dream you are chug-chug-chugging towards, what happens when that dream gets a bit -- dull? What happens when you're up at 2AM, again, taking care of your dream, again, and start wondering why you're doing it? And what if, instead of a resounding chorus of "Because it's the greatest thing EVER!!", you get this odd, depressing cricket silence in response? What if you still WANT that dream, but when you look down at it in the wee hours of the night, you find you don't have that same spark you did when you first thought of it? Does that mean your dream won't come true, now that you find yourself less passionate about it?
While the whole Believe In Yourself motion can be amazingly inspirational and is the fuel for many a dream, it has one downfall: we have been somewhat conditioned to believe that we HAVE to believe in something in order for it to happen. For instance, we HAVE to believe that our book will get published. If we stop believing that, who else will? The book publishing forces will sense our lack of belief and refuse our request. We have to WANT it all the time. 24/7. We can never stop believing in ourselves.
But it's exhausting. And sometimes, quite honestly, I don't believe in myself. Sometimes I look at published authors and wonder how I ever thought I could be in their ranks. Sometimes I look at my dreams and think I should start over. But does that brief moment of disbelief mean things WON'T happen for me? If I went through months of disbelief, does that mean my dreams would fizzle out and kind of fade to nothing?
See, we don't HAVE to believe in things for them to happen. Some things just -- happen. Yes, it's a great motivation for us to believe in ourselves. But those moments of disbelief don't set us back. And even in the midst of our lowest moments of doubt, our dreams don't just decide not to come true. Because our dreams don't really need us to believe in them. They're magical enough on their own.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The answers to yesterday's questions made me all kinds of giggly. Especially how many people admitted to being pirate fans, considering how dangerous it is to admit to being a pirate fan. Ninjas are not enemies you want. I appreciate your bravery.
I have something uber-special to share with you all today. See, there's been a problem cavorting through the writing world. Or my writing world, at least. See (I start too many sentences with "See." But as long as I recognize this problem, it's okay), I like listening to music while I write. But most of the time, no matter how FREAKISHLY AWESOME a song is in regards to whatever scene I'm writing, the lyrics always get tangled with the story words in my head and neither can get out of my fingers because there's just this big, infected knot of word jumble lodged in my arteries. Sounds healthy, yes? Not really. It's a difficult medical condition to treat.
BUT I HAVE A METHOD OF PREVENTION. And I am stupidly excited about this method of prevention.
It is called: The Vitamin String Quartet.
See? It even SOUNDS healthy. Vitamin. Yum.
This GODSEND of a group takes modern songs (such as U2's "With or Without You" and Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" and on and on) and turns them into INSTRUMENTAL ARRANGEMENTS. And they are BRILLIANT.
DO MY CAPITALIZED LETTERS SHOW MY LOVE OF THEM ENOUGH YET?
But don't take my CAPITALIZED LETTERS at their word. See for yourself.
This first one is my favorite. Absolute favorite. I don't even really like the original song, but this version makes me all teary. Not to mention someone took this amazing song and put it to a video about Gemma and Kartik (spoilers if you haven't read the books. And if you haven't read the books, shame on you! Go read them! Now!). Just hearing the names "Gemma and Kartik" makes me sniffle.
"With or Without You"
For all you Coldplayers: "Viva la Vida"
Linkin Park's "What I've Done"
The list goes on and on. And on. And on. If there's a song you're particularly hoping they've converted to instrumental, google it. I'm sure the Vitamin String Quartet has done it. Because they're amazing, and I love them.
So protect your arteries from being clogged with infected, knotted word jumble, and start listening to the Vitamin String Quartet. You'll be glad you did. I am.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I fear doing any kind of blog post now will be a repeat of yesterday's and the day before. Editing. Woe. Tragedy. Eyesight loss. Been there, done that, aye?
I considered doing a Q&A session again, as it's been a few weeks since I did one, but I feel that would be too easy of an out. Instead, for being such loyal reader people through my days of editing FIENDISH-ness, I shall stage a Q&A about YOU! People who stick around through incoherent posts and whining about an editing-induced lack of nutrients must be some seriously awesome people. And I want to know more about seriously awesome people.
So here are some questions. Answer whichever ones you feel compelled to answer. While I wait for your super awesome responses, I'll be over there. Editing. Still. And oh yeah, studying for finals and stuff. Not like that's important.
1) Pirates or Ninjas? I had to ask. My position is obvious (though Ninjas are undeniably AWESOME too).
2) Outline or no outline? I think I've asked something similar before. It's still interesting to see the divide.
3) An army of penguins is heading your way. You have an ice cannon, a well-fortified refrigerator, and an ice cream truck. How do you fight them off?
4) Will you see the New Moon movie? I plan on seeing it. Don't judge.
5) Why do you think most dog treats consist of the same ingredients as human cookies? Why wouldn't we just give our dogs human cookies instead of making specialized "dog cookies" if they're exactly the same? One of the great quandaries of our time.
6) You're on an island. A desert island. You can choose one character from any novel/work of literature to be with you on that island. Choice?
And here's something gawk at:
That's my beloved Philip Winchester and his Crusoe co-star Tongayi Chirisa. And you thought Philip Winchester was the only pretty person in Crusoe. That show's a one-two punch, my friends.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Editing-burn-out hit me hard yesterday, my friends. I was going strong. 2.5 days of editing straight. I thought I could press on to the end. And everything was peachy.
Until about 4PM yesterday afternoon. Right smack dab, of course, in the middle of my archaeology class. At that point, I realized two things. Firstly, archaeology just isn't interesting when your eyes are so fuzzled from staring at a laptop that you can't see the projector screen at the front of the classroom. Secondly, I hadn't eaten anything since 10AM that morning. Left over Chinese food and Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses just don't satisfy one's appetite all day.
So don't expect a super snappy blog post (I'm still suffering editing-hangover). The title is as snappy as I plan on getting. In fact, I'm going to steal snappy things from other people.
First stolen snap: My beloved cousin received a good bout of my editing-burn-out complaining yesterday and redirected me to Libba Bray's post: Writing a Novel, a Love Story. Not only do I love Libba Bray to pieces, but re-reading that post gave me a new burst of hope. It's okay to hate my novel with the fire of a thousand toasters (gotta keep the toast analogy going). I'd say I'm somehwere between The Revision, On Deadline and The Revision, Near the End. Though I'm not on a deadline (yet. *gulp*). I'm caught in that weird limbo of OHMYGODIHATEYOUIHATEYOU and When I'm not Working on You, You're Actually Quite Pretty. I did make one revision today that I liked. One. Out of how many? *whimpers*
Second stolen snap: Last night I had the immense pleasure of attending a NaNoWriMo Write-In (they didn't throw me out for doing NaNoRevisMo! Yay!) where I got to chat it up writing-style with Dara Sorensen over at Tales From the Writing Front. For a long time it felt like all my writer people were way out west. I was quite lonely, here in my corniness. But then I found out Dara was not only in the same area of the corn belt as me but was also doing NaNo (back when I was, ahem, doing NaNo), and I got really excited. Yay, Eastern Cornbelt Writers! Woot woot!
AND as if she wasn't awesome enough, she nominated me for a blog award! If my brain wasn't so fuzzled (I already used the word "fuzzled" to describe myself, didn't I?), I would nominate people, but I fear my nominating judgement is clouded.
(And I just realized that other people have nominated me for blog awards in the past too...and I think I may have forgotten to acknowledge how warm and fuzzy that made me feel! Fuzzy, mind you, not fuzzled. Big difference. But my brain fuzzled-ness is preventing me from remembering if I acknowledged the other blog awards...if I didn't, YOU GUYS ROCK!! If I did, well, YOU GUYS STILL ROCK!!)
To sum up: Libba Bray is a goddess, Dara Sorensen is super fun and totally the kind of big sis I would want (the write-offs she has with her sister are INTENSE, ya'll; if I could get my little sis to WRITE, let alone have a write-off with me, I think the world would implode), and leaving your brain in the toaster for too long makes it way too crispy. And crispy brains make for poor judgement calls. Like eating half a bag of Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses. Ow.
Monday, November 9, 2009
That was supposed to be all slang-like for "no more." I think I spelled it wrong. Oh well; I never claimed to be "down with it."
Some of you may have noticed the disappearance of my NaNo sidebar thingamajig. Yes, this means what you think it means: I have stopped doing NaNo.
Now listen! *ducks* Stop throwing red pens at me! I have a good reason!
I've been sucked back into the world of Stream Pirate. All your support during ISPAW helped with that, as did a few minor (*coughcoughNOTreallyminorcoughcough*) revelations. Thus I set aside my beloved Max (don't worry, dear Maxie; you will get your day) to partake instead of NaNoRevisMo.
And let me tell you, I am an editing FIEND. This is not a good thing.
See, when I edit, I get it into my head that I have to do it all NOW. Or ASAP. Thus I spend day after day hunched over my laptop until midnight at which point I sit up, stretch, and realize I haven't eaten since breakfast (my next book idea: The Editing Diet: How to Trim the Pounds While Trimming the Words). This is not healthy, for the obvious reasons. But it is also not healthy because NO ONE CAN EDIT A BOOK IN ONE SITTING.
(I capitalized that for my benefit.)
I guess I should specify: No one can edit a book WELL in one sitting. Whatever little voice in my head that thinks otherwise is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And this is why, in timeline form:
10AM: This is GREAT! Wow, these changes are working so well. Everything's clicking! Like one of those 500 piece puzzles!
12PM: Gosh, it's already been two hours? I swear it should still be 10:30AM!
2:30PM: This is going so well. But -- I can't feel my legs.
4:00PM: I only looked away from my laptop for a second, but WOW. I don't remember outside being so bright.
5:00PM: What's that buzzing sound? Uhoh. Arm's asleep now.
6:30PM: But if I don't edit this to fit with that, I'll lose the mojo! One more paragraph!
8:00PM: Eyes. Burning. Can't. Stop. One more! One more page, I swear I'll stop after that!
10:00PM: Words. Floating. Why does my body hurt? OW! The moon is so BRIGHT! Make it stop, make it stop!
(The "..." represents an inability to form coherent sentences. Because after 12+ hours of editing, all words, no matter how BRILLIANT, lose their meaning. You start saying things like "The puppy's bed is the room living in!" and you just CANNOT figure out why that sentence doesn't sound right. It's infuriating.)
So, take it from me. Edit in moderation.
If now excuse you'll me, I have to bed go.
But here we are again. You and me. Me and You. Us and we. You were always my favorite, y'know? You came after such a nice, long break that I always felt ready to tackle anything you could throw at me. I was refreshed, rejuvenated. Nay; I was EAGER. Not to mention you take place during my favorite season. Watching all the leaves change on campus -- beautiful. Wearing cute little sweaters and scarves and boots -- comfy. Ah, Fall Quarter, we had some good times, you and I.
It is then with a heavy, um, fingers that I type this letter to you. I know your intentions were good. I know you only meant to entice me with your weekly papers, your brain-melting articles, your three-hour-long lectures. I know you only meant to shape me into a brighter, smarter student. Believe me, I get that. I really do. But this -- this just isn't working for me.
In the past, I was able to put my life on hold, so to speak, for you, Fall Quarter, and everyone else in your family. I was able to set aside my writing aspirations and social life in exchange for hours of studying and paper-writing and lecture-listening. Why the change, then? Why do I suddenly find myself merely glancing at lecture material the night before a test? Why do I suddenly find myself hastily scribbling down a 4-page paper the day it's due? Why do I suddenly find myself not at all caring what you think of me?
No, I'm really asking you. I was hoping you'd know. Did you get boring all of a sudden? I thought I saw some extra pounds sneak into those textbooks. You've stopped going to the on-campus gym, haven't you?
Never mind. It's over. I wash my hands of you, Fall Quarter. I have something better in my life now. I don't need YOU and YOUR time constraints and YOUR nagging and YOUR homework and YOUR paper-writing. I have my own stuff now, uh-huh. Yeah. And it's BETTER than you. I'm happy. Me and my story revisions? We're happy. They're the only deadlines I need.
Sorry I had to break this to you online. It hurts, I know. But hey, you totally embarrassed me when I had to read one of my horrifically and hurriedly written papers aloud. Payback is a b-touting witch, my friend.
Don't bother writing back. If you do have anything to say to me, say it through Winter Quarter. He was always so much better at buffering things than you.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
It's a win-win situation.
On an un-Philip related note, there are a number of REALLY AWESOME contests floating through the blogosphere. Observe:
Lisa and Laura over at Lisa and Laura Write just got a book deal. With Sourcebooks. I know, right? It needs to be said twice: Lisa and Laura just got a BOOK DEAL WITH SOURCEBOOKS.
Let that sink in.
Once that has thoroughly sunken, check out their FREAKISHLY AWESOME GIVEAWAY.
They're giving away a KINDLE.
Now, I'm decidedly anti-this-whole-electronic-book-thing, mainly because I like my books to be paper. But it's a Kindle. For FREE. And just because one has a Kindle doesn't mean one has to give up buying "real" books, right? Right. So go enter. Now. Do it. And don't forget to congratulate the snot out of them.
The second SUPER AWESOME CONTEST is over at Frankie Writes. She's giving away an ARC of Fallen by Lauren Kate. ARC contests make me giggle, because there's something extra awesome about having an ARC. No one else has this book yet. It feels all secretive and uber-special, like you're part of some top-secret book-reviewing club.
Not to mention this book has a kick-butt book trailer.
Last but most certainly not least: Go to Natalie Whipple's blog. Now.
Do it. I'll wait.
I KNOW right?! It's just-- and their embrace-- and Yazoo-- and WOW. I'm speechless. Speech.less. I mean, I knew Natalie was an amazing artist. But SEEING them like that is just -- wow. Needless to say, I'm giddy.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Secondly, this contest was difficult to judge. Partly because ya'll are so funny, and partly because Yazoo doesn't really smile very much even when things are funny. The only person he ever really smiles for is Lu, and even then it's usually smiling AT Lu, not WITH Lu, because chances are she's done something that has inadvertently made everyone smile in a my-god-is-she-really-THAT-ditzy way.
Yazoo: But don't call her ditzy. She doesn't like that.
I am very much aware of that. Remember the great story-halt of '08? I know not to mess with her. Too often.
Yazoo: So, I suppose you'd like me to pick a winner?
That would go nicely with the blog post title, yes.
Yazoo: What were the entries again?
All the entries or just the finalists?
Yazoo: The finalists. Lu's dragging me to some ball thing later tomorrow. I need time to hide.
All righty then, the finalists, as chosen by the fact that they actually made Yazoo chuckle a bit:
Adam Heine's unfortunate situation for Peat: Being the guy who relays the captain's orders to the crew.
Cap'n: Storm's coming. All hands, batten the hatches!
Peat: All hands, storm the hatches!
Cap'n: Don't fire at 'em 'til you see the whites of their eyes!
Peat: Fire at the whites of their eyes!
Yazoo: It only made me chuckle because it HAPPENED. You try being stuck in the middle of a river-fight with CTD officers on every side and crocpeople tearing holes in your hull. Then add a crew member who likes to repeat your orders LOUDLY and INCORRECTLY, and suddenly a simple command like "Fire all! Keep them away from the hull!" becomes "Keep them all from the fire!" Luckily the rest of my crew has learned how to semi-interpret Peat's disjointed shouts.
Okay, so still just chuckle-worthy on that one?
Yazoo: Only if you can find something funny about crocpeople ripping my hull apart. Dam river beasties...
Renee's very thought-provoking statement: "I wonder what happened when poor young Peat got the "birds and the bees" talk."
Yazoo: Again, it's only funny because it HAPPENED. I'd explain, but the conversation isn't exactly blog-appropriate. Suffice to say one of Peat's favorite phrases to find in other people's conversations is now "Let me go down your dock!" We had to use a lot of river-analogies...
So you admit that Renee's entry was funny? Is that a smile I see?
(again, a little imagination is needed. Eye patch. Right eye.)
On a completely unrelated note, I have a new life dream. Want to hear it?
Well, I look through a lot of pictures of Philip Winchester. Er, that sounds stalkerish. I look at a completely normal, non-obsessive amount of pictures of Philip Winchester. Every time I see that man I get all bubbly-excited and go "Yazoo! It's Yazoo!" at which point Lu gets really confused because her Yazoo is missing his right eye.
So I've decided that my life dream is to get Philip Winchester to take a picture with an eye patch on his right eye. (See The Lofty Philip Winchester Wish in the sidebar)
A lofty dream? Yes. But I figure if my lowly blog can get onto Google when you search his name (I've been bumped down to the FOURTH PAGE! Infidels!), then maybe if he Googles himself (who doesn't Google themselves?) he'll see my lowly blog, and my lofty dream, and email me a photo of himself with an eye patch on his right eye.
Hey, laugh all you want. But when I post that picture of Philip Winchester with his eye patch, you'll be sorry you chuckled.
Though you probably won't be sorry you get to look at Philip Winchester. I mean, who could ever be sorry they looked at this?
Okay, this IS bordering on stalkerish now. Stay tuned for another post sometime Saturday afternoon. I promise it will be less-stalkerish, and more about contests and one last super-awesome Stream Pirate ISPAW surprise.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Two things, actually.
Firstly, be sure to keep a careful eye on Natalie Whipple's blog tomorrow. I'll make mention of when said exciting post pops up, but until then...just, keep an eye on it. It's been known to do some awesome stuff.
Secondly, I composed a short video to cap off this week's festivities. As today (November 6th) is my dearly beloved Stream Pirate's actual birthday, I felt a special present for it was in store. Er, well, for Yazoo particularly. But he's who ya'll want to see anyway, right? Need I post that mock-up picture of Philip Winchester again?
BUT before I get to the special birthday video, I believe I have a WINNER to announce!
The winner of their very own super awesome copy of Mythology by Edith Hamilton is commenter #8, Hayley! Yay, Hayley!! Shoot me your address and I'll get it in the post for ya!
Without further ado: a tribute to Yazoo Oxbow. (I used clips from my newly acquired Crusoe DVDs. Obviously, Crusoe is not missing his right eye; Yazoo is. So imagine Crusoe-playing-Yazoo with an eye patch on his right eye.)
Happy ISPAW, everyone! Thanks for making International Stream Pirate Appreciation Week a success :)
I'll be back tomorrow with the winner of the hand-crafted notebook as well as Nat-nat's super cool Stream Pirate surprise! There's still time to get your entries into the notebook contest; you have until Friday night at 8:43PM EST!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
You get the picture.
Throughout the writing of Stream Pirate, there were two books I could not, not, NOT have written without. Two books that I referenced so often and used for inspiration so frequently that they look very worn and quite sad. Two books that I am positive were never intended to be reference books for a YA story about rivers and sediment and pirates.
The first I highly recommend to anyone, not just people who write stuff or are interested in pirates. I can't say enough good things about this book; it's exciting and riveting and informative and gasp-inducing. And it's NONFICTION, which continues to blow my mind, as college has made me come to associate nonfiction books with OHMYGODMYBRAINISMELTING. But this book is the exception to that phenomenon.
The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard
Mouthful? Yes. Boring? Absolutely not. This book expertly sums up the history of the real live pirates of the Caribbean with more than just "Henry Avery sailed for this many years. Edward Thatch sailed for this many years." There are battles and allegiances and family drama and heartache and hardship and mutiny. I picked it up because I wanted some frame of reference for my own pirates. What I got was a book that tells history in a way that makes it feel like a story. Which is how I believe history should be portrayed; not as a bunch of dates and facts and boring chunks of information in textbooks. But as love and pain and adventure and cannon fire and smoke. They were PEOPLE who lived and felt just as we live and feel. I think modern day history teachings tend to forget that.
There's a blog rant in the making. On to the second book:
The second book is another that I think many people, writing and non-writing, could benefit from though it is more reference-y and less read-for-fun-y. I first came across it in high school. It was quite literally love at first sight, and I haven't been without a copy since.
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
It's a mythology buff's handbook. It sums up most every myth (focusing on the Greek/Roman myths, but with a few Norse thrown in), from Jason to Perseus to the Gods. Instant inspiration; more than a few Stream Pirate characters popped out of its pages. It's great if you need some weird and random character trait or if you're in the market for Greek names. A must for every bookshelf, just because it's so awesome.
Now that I've made you realize your life is not complete without these books, what kind of ISPAW host would I be if I didn't give away at least one of them? For your winning pleasure I have a fresh copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology (it's in much better condition than my copy. Fear not). You want it? Do ya do ya do ya?
This contest will be easy: Leave a comment by 11:00 PM EST Thursday, at which point I will enroll the aid of the trusty Random Number Generator to pick a winner, who will be announced on Friday's ISPAW post.
BUT don't forget about my OTHER ISPAW contest. The deadline for that one isn't until Friday at 8:43 PM EST, so you have a bit longer to think of a really awkward situation for Peat, the poor guy who's cursed to only speak when repeating what others have already said (and he often repeats the things incorrectly). You can win Arachne's super awesome handcrafted notebook.
Mythology books. Notebooks. You lucky devils, you.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Danny's still trying to come up with a possible prize (which, in Danny terms, means not to hold your breath), but Arachne has graciously donated an embroidered notebook she crafted herself. Observe:
Yeah. Pretty wicked sweet. And trust me, anything Arachne makes is always freakishly amazing. Just ask Yazoo.
But before I get to the rules and such regarding how to win this lovely notebook (which looks surprisingly similar to one I just bought at the Mall of India...weird), I realized a few introductions got lost yesterday in all the chaos. It's nearly impossible to get the crew together like that without some kind of bickering match though, so suffice to say each member of Yazoo's crew is colorful in his or her own way.
Yazoo: That's a polite way of putting it.
Lu: What she meant to say was "Each member is skilled at driving everyone bonkers in his or her own way."
Well, if you'd like to explain in greater detail, be my guest.
Lu: I thought all the bloggers were our guests.
They are our guests. It's a figure of speech.
Yazoo: Sure it is.
Lu: Someone should at least explain Peat's problem. You teased our poor guests yesterday, but never told them what's wrong with him.
Yazoo: There's nothing wrong with Peat! Oh, don't give me that look.
Lu: Oh, no, you're absolutely right. There's not a thing wrong with someone who was cursed only to speak when repeating what someone else has already said. Not to mention he has the brain of an overexcited puppy.
Yazoo: He's -- a great conversation starter.
Lu: He CAN'T start conversations!
Yazoo: He's a great conversation piece.
Lu: Now that I'll agree with. He's great at parties. Totally rocks the game Telephone.
Yazoo: And MadGab. But never, ever watch a movie with him. He misquotes the entire thing.
Lu: True. The end of Titanic became "JACK! LET GO!"
That's it! In order to win Arachne's handcrafted notebook, come up with situations that would be really unfortunate for poor Peat. Awkward conversations, annoying interludes. Anything that you wouldn't want someone to repeat -- and not only that, but repeat incorrectly. Leave your situations in the comments section.
Lu: Can I pick the deadline?
Lu: Okay...deadline: Friday. 8:43PM EST. Exactly.
8:43PM? Why 8:43PM?
Lu: Why not?
Works for me. Deadline to win Arachne's notebook: Friday, November 6, at 8:43PM EST. Get your piratic brains a-pumping and give me your silliest, most embarassing Peat situations! Multiple entries encouraged. The one that makes Yazoo crack a smile wins.