Friday, March 30, 2012

Houston, We've Been Tagged...

I've been "tagged", which, from what I can tell, is basically the same thing as a blog award, minus the creepy picture (remember Mrs. Sparkly?).

So, thank you to the lovely Sarah, of Comfy Sweaters, Writing, and Fish, who tagged me. On to the details.

Part one: Rules

  • You must post the rules
  • Post 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the questions set for you by the tagger in their post, and then create 11 new questions to ask the people you tag. 
  • Tag 11 bloggers, however, you can break this rule and tag fewer people if you want. Make sure to hyperlink their names/blogs. 
  • Let them know you've tagged them! 
  • Have fun!
Part two: The eleven facts about me.
  1. I spelled "eleven" up there as "elven" the first time. 
  2. I like to cook and to garden.
  3. I like to cook with the things that come out of the garden.
  4. I like peacocks. 
  5. I have this thing for rocks and fossils. As in there are at least three big buckets of rocks hanging around my yard. 
  6. I also have a thing for glitter, but I don't have big buckets of glitter hanging around.  Only small buckets.
  7. I make some of my own jewelry, which is why I have way too many pairs of earrings. 
  8. I like country music. 
  9. I prefer shorts/pants over skirts/dresses.
  10. Last year I made my own prom dress.
  11. If you had told me six months ago that I would write a novel in a month, I would have thought you were crazy.
Part three: Answering the taggers questions
  1. Are you allergic to anything?  What?  Nail polish, actually. I think it's the acetone I'm allergic to. 
  2. Favorite book, album, and television show?  Oh, what a hard question.  Well, television show is easy:  Doctor Who.'s a toss up between the Inheritance Cycle and Harry Potter. Okay, that's multiple books.  Whatever.  Album: Toss up between Taylor Swift's Speak Now and Celtic Woman's New Journey. 
  3. What are your thoughts on teddy bears?  Eh, I'm more of a baby doll girl.  Stuffed sheep dolls, on the other hand, are very nice. 
  4. Your favorite art form(s) to create? That you love to read/look at/ evaluate? To create: stories.  To look at: fancy gardens.
  5. In 5 words, describe your relationship with cereal.  It's okay, not my favorite. 
  6. What were you wearing yesterday afternoon? Um...I think it was jean shorts and a pink shirt with a weird floral pattern. 
  7. Boy bands? Angry Punk girl bands? I quite like Chameleon Circuit, who plays music based on Doctor Who.  I don't know any angry punk girl bands. 
  8. Where is the nearest window to where you are sitting and what can you see out of it?  To my right, and I can see the flower garden and the bird feeders. 
  9. Pens or pencils? I like pencils, because my hand writing is terrible and I can correct my mistakes.
  10. If you made a mix CD for your best friend what would one or two of the songs in it be?  I don't know.  We don't listen to the same kind of music.
  11. Excellent band name that never was, hasn't been , and should be? Sonic Sardoodledom. For more, see this post.
Part four: My questions
  1. What are your feelings on confetti?
  2. Chickens: with or without hairdos? 
  3. Dragons or sea monsters?
  4. The moon or the sun?
  5. Favorite song?
  6. Favorite word?
  7. Carmel or fudge?
  8. Buttons or snaps?
  9. What's your favorite piece of furniture?
  10. If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
  11. If you had to move to a different planet, which would it be?
Part five: People I tagged

The Word Asylum

Hmm.  That seems to be the only blog I read that hasn't been tagged yet.  Oh well, I'm off to notify her now!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Taking the Axe to Juliet

I've decided to cut out almost all the romance in my novel.   I can just hear my friend Beryllium Potassium (not her real name) gasping in horror.  Don't worry, Beryllium Dearest, it's not gone for good.  It will come back. Most likely.  If not, I promise to write you a romance in the future. 

My motives are thus: as is, Lizzie (my main character)'s relationship with her boyfriend can't move forward without them getting engaged (which would mess things up). It will be much better if I start them out as good friends, and slowly progress them toward boyfriend/girlfriend.  This will add more to the plot and to character development.  Plus, the boyfriend, Jim, is REALLY boring.  And he doesn't really have a good place in the story. He's basically there just to be Lizzie's boyfriend.  It's kinda like the Doctor Who episode where Donna gets "saved" into the big computer thing in the Library, and her "children" tell her "when you're not here, it's like we just...stop."  That's what happens to Jim.  If Lizzie isn't with him or thinking about him (which, come to think of it, she doesn't really. I'll need to fix that), Jim just stops existing.   The guy needs a life of his own, and this way it will be easier for me to give it to him.
I could have their relationship move backward, make them fight, miscommunicate, etc.  But who wants to read a story where the characters are so insecure they won't just break up already? Or accept/work out their problems and move on?  Not I, my friends, not I.  Plus, since I intend to make this novel the first of a series, I will have loads of time to develop the characters and progress the romance. And the longer I take to make them romantic, the more time I have to have my own romantic experiences (that's a scary thought) and therefore I will know what I'm talking about.

I am somewhat saddened to see the romance go, but am mostly relieved.  The romance was the most awkward thing in the novel, and everything will be better if the romance goes on vacation.  And, for some reason, now that I have something to remove, editing doesn't seem so bad now.  I think what bugged me about it before was that I was just rereading, and I had no exact purpose.  Now I have a purpose.  A mission. A dragon to slay.  Scratch that, I like dragons.  Anyway, editing isn't so daunting anymore. 

Enjoy your day, and if anyone sees Editors Block, tell him his days are numbered.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Drabble Day: Cheese

Drabble Day is a weekly meme from The Writeaholic's Blog.  Click here to get to this week's prompt post.

I have to admit, I was very happy to see that cheese was this week's prompt.  I love cheese.  Irrationally so.  Except for Swiss and blue.  I can't bring myself to like those.  Anyway, here's my drabble:

Madelyn clomped up the stairs of her apartment building.   Her boyfriend had dumped her, her family wasn’t speaking to her, and she was close to losing her job. Her life was not going where she wanted.  There was only one thing that could make her feel better.  Cheese.  The first thing she did when she got home was fling open the door of her lime green refrigerator.  Sitting on the top shelf was a wheel of brie, the queen of cheeses.  Madelyn sank into her couch and took a bite.  The creamy goodness calmed her nerves, and told here everything would be okay.

This is not really any good, and I do admit a bit...well, cheesy.  It sounds kinda like a commercial for brie. Oh, well.  It was a writing exercise, and I wrote, and that's all that matters.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Inspirational Music

I love the internet.  You can find almost anything on it.  Including your favorite song from Doctor Who.  Which is what I did.  Below is my favorite piece of music from season 5. 

Aren't those violins wonderful?  This piece is my favorite. Second only to the theme song.  (Doctor #10's theme song.  I don't like #11's theme song.) 

This piece speaks to me of battles to be fought, and plans to be made, characters to implement the plans and fight the battles, and of the buzz I get from writing all of it.  *Contented sigh*

Enjoy your day! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Drabble Day: Game

Thanks to Sarah over at Comfy Sweaters, Writing, and Fish I have discovered a new writing meme: Drabble Day.  Drabble Day is a weekly(ish) meme from The Writeaholic's Blog.   Here's how Drabble Day works: every week there is a one word prompt (this week's prompt is "game") and you write a 100 word (give or take five words) paragraph based on the prompt.  Click here for the link to this week's Drabble Day post over at Writeaholic's.

Here's my drabble:

I looked Linwood in the eye.  “Deal.”
He smiled.  “Vincent!” he shouted to the little man on the dais.  “The game is on.”  Vincent nodded, the scar on his cheek glowing in the filtered light.  Linwood stood and offered me his arm in an attempt to look chivalrous.  I stood and ignored the gesture.   If he had been chivalrous, he wouldn’t have put me in this situation. 
        “Let’s get this over with,” I said.  We walked to the dais, where an assortment of weapons had been laid out.   I picked up a sword, ready to "play" to the death. 

Not my best,  but fun. 

Also, thanks to the lovely folks on the Go Teen Writers Facebook group, I just found free writing courses/exercises things here.  I'll have a post about today's exercise up sometime in the possibly near future.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Joys of Pinterest as a Writing Resource

This weekend I did two things that I never thought I'd do:  shop for goth clothing and use Pinterest as "homework" for writing.

Pinterest is an online "pin board", where you can pin pictures of stuff onto your "boards".  The down side?  You have to have either a Facebook or a Twitter account to join.  Pinterest is the only reason I'm on Twitter.

Anyway, this weekend I created two new boards, Character Clothing and Writing Inspiration.  (You can click on those words if you want to see the boards.  You do not have to have an account to view them.)  I "went shopping" for goth clothing for one of my characters who's a goth.  Let me tell you, there's something a little disconcerting in finding something you would wear amongst clothing you wouldn't be caught dead in.  But now I have pictures of goth clothing I think that my character would wear, and I can go to that board if I'm ever in need of inspiration for her.  The writing inspiration board doesn't have much in it yet, but anytime I see a picture of a place I think would make a good setting for a story, I have a place to put it.

Before I wrap this post up, I have a quick rant on finding clothing for characters that are comfortable in jeans. Go ahead and skip it if you want.  I CAN'T FIND ANY GOOD PICTURES! It is very vexing.  I have found loads of fashionable clothes, goth clothes, clothes I wouldn't put on a monkey for the shame, but NO good pictures of normal people in casual clothes.  The same goes for guy's clothes. All I can find is pictures of suits. And shoes. And really weird t-shirts. Very annoying.

Ah, much better.  Hope you all have a great day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

An Interview With a Graffiti Artist

Today is my turn to post for the Teens Can Write, Too! March blog chain.  This month's prompt is: Choose your favorite of any of your characters.  Conduct a ten question interview with him or her.

Oh, this is going to be fun!

The character I chose is Chad Kintz, from my Lizzie Evans story.  Chad is Lizzie's brother's best friend, and a graffiti artist.  You'll find out more about him in a minute.

For this interview, I decided to set up a situation in which Chad is being interviewed by Albert Fishguy, a reporter from the local newspaper, for an article about teen artists.

Albert Fishguy: *Pulls out notebook and pencil* For starters, tell me a little about yourself. 

Chad Kintz: I'm Chad Kintz, Outdoor Art Wizard Specializing in Aerosol Borne Pigment...

AF: Excuse me?

CK: It's my title.

AF:  Okay...

CK: I'm in 11th grade, and I attend school at my kitchen table.

AF: What?

CK: I'm a homeschooled Junior. 

AF: Oh.  

CK:  I do all the posters and artwork for the local band Sonic Sardoodledom. I think that color is underrated, and that most common graffiti is an insult to the world of artistic expression.

AF: That actually brings up my next question.  One of the other kids I interviewed said you don't consider your art to be graffiti. Is this true?

CK: Yes.  Graffiti and what I do are similar, but different.  Graffiti is words and weird scribblings on abandoned buildings and train cars, and is generally an eye sore.  I do that too, but my words actually mean something. I don't write "Jenny heart's Reginald" or "Kitty Katz R Kute".  I quote Shakespeare.  I paint really out-there words like "Graviloquence", "Hymnicide" and "Whifflery" and include the definitions. If I can find a good spot, sometimes I'll do a really colorful mural.  Like the one I did of the ship The Anteloper.  My art is not an eyesore.

AF: What's an example of some of your best work?

CK:  The dragon I painted on the water tower, hands down.

AF:  That was you?  

CK: Yep.  I meant to make the scales glow-in-the-dark, but... something came up.

AF: What is your favorite medium?

CK: Spray paint.  That's why my title says "Specializing In Aerosol Borne Pigment".  Old stop signs are good too.  Like the ones that have been hit by semi. Those are fun.

AF: Where do you get your inspiration from?

CK: Various places.  Sometimes a lyric in a song will inspire an image, sometimes I'll find a new word.  Facebook is a good place for inspiration too. And sometimes even homework is inspiring.

AF: What else did you do besides graff-- I meant art? 

CK:  Well, I do lots of homework, I hang out with my friends, *thinks "I answer stupid questions"*, the usual.

AF: *Closes notebook* Thank you for your time, Chad.  I'll let you know when the article is published. *He leaves*

CK: *Pulls out cellphone and texts to best friend "Interview over.  Next mural will be of a clown fish with a notebook."*

Do you have a question for Chad?  Don't hesitate to ask!  (Thanks, Oliver Dahl for this idea!)

Do you wish to follow this chain of awesomeness?  Here's a schedule of where it goes!

March 5 — — Kirsten Writes!
March 6 — – Struggles Of A (Maybe) Teen Author
March 7 — –This Page Intentionally Left Blank
March 8 — – The Dreamers Adventures
March 9 — — Lily’s Notes in the Margins
March 10 — – A Box of Letters and a Cup of English Tea
March 11– –From My Head
March 12 — –The Word Asylum
March 13 — –Oh Yeah, Write!
March 14 — – A Farewell To Sanity
March 15 — — Novel Journeys
March 16 — — Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish
March 17 — – Oops Was That Loud?
March 18 — — Here’s To Us
March 19 — — The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
March 20 — –Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

Also, this was my 25th post. Yay!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is covers.

Covers are lots of fun.  This is one Top Ten Tuesday where I will go over the limit.

1-3. The covers of Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series:

Via Wikipedia
I seriously cannot wait until Endlessly comes out in July.

4-7.  The covers of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle:
From Wikipedia

Dragons are just awesome.

8-13.  The covers of Michael Scott's Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series:

From Wikipedia

There are two other books, but I didn't find a picture of all six together, and was too lazy to put them in.  Number 6 comes out in May.

14-16.  The covers of the Dark Mirror novels by M. J. Putney:

Photo from Goodreads
From Amazon
From Goodreads

 Again, I can't wait for the last one, Dark Destiny to come out in July.

Be sure to check out The Broke and the Bookish for more TTT posts!

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

    Good Critisism vs. Meh Critisism

    Both my sister and I participated in a 100 word free write challenge last week.  This is the second time I have participated in a 100 word challenge, and the second time I didn't make it to the top twenty.  The upside to not making it is that I get feedback from the judges, which is great.  I mean, a published author actually read something I wrote, and told me what was wrong with it, how cool is that?

    The two pieces of feedback I've gotten are very different in helpfulness.  The first one is very helpful, and the second one isn't.  At all.  Below are my paragraphs and corresponding feedback.

    Paragraph one:  Submitted for the "Alex has somewhere to go" prompt.

    Alex knew that if he wanted to reach the castle, he was going to have to do something dangerous, and most likely stupid.   He estimated that there were at least twenty guards to get through outside the castle, and he knew there were many more inside the castle guarding the girl in the stone.   All he had was a broken bow, a rusty dagger, a bag of the old inventor’s explosives, and his wit.  The rest of his unit had been captured, so he was on his own.  He smiled.  He was going to have fun.
    Feedback:  I love the idea of your first sentence, but it could use some tightening. Like, “If Alex wanted to reach the castle, it would require something dangerous. And likely stupid.” By removing the “was” and the “Alex knew,” it feels more like we’re inside Alex’s head, rather than just watching him. Same with the next line where there’s “he estimated” and “he knew.” If you instead say, “It looked as though there were at least twenty guards” then it, again, feels like we’re inside his head. Very good concept, just pull the reader in tighter.

    I love this advice!  This is something I can do.  I usually write in first person, so getting this feed back for third person is really helpful.  

    Second paragraph:  Submitted for the free write.

    “More depends upon that sheep pasture than you will ever realize.” Martha’s prophetic words came back to me as I stood in that very pasture, looking over my burning village. She had been right, mostly.  Now I knew most of what depended upon that rocky piece of land.  Even with the knowledge I possessed, it was still hard to believe that the fate of the village, the country, and possibly the world depended on a sheep paddock. But I am getting ahead of myself. I need to start on the day that the coroner came to town.

    Feedback:  I think this is a creative idea, and I’m curious about why the sheep pasture is so vital. Those last lines about needing to back up the story have been overdone, I think. Both in literature ... and in this contest : )

    Um, okay.   So basically I got axed because the judge didn't like it that the paragraph was a obvious hook.  I came up with that paragraph on a whim, and though I don't know how the story ends or who's in it or even what the main plot is, I know that the part after that opening would be kinda slow.  The reason that backing up the story is done is to let the reader know that something interesting is going to happen and that it's worth reading through the slowish beginning. It's been "overused" because it makes for a good hook, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    So those are my views, what do you think?  Also, if you would like to give me more feedback on my paragraphs, I'd love to hear it.  If you do, just know that one of the criteria for both challenges was that they needed to read like the opening to a story.