Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Fun Two Days

Writing is the last thing on my mind over the past two days. You know those mornings when you wake up and realize you slept on your neck oddly, and it's going to be stiff all day? Well my morning neck pain turned into a two day muscle spasm radiating from my lower back down through my leg and up to the middle of my back. Can you say yay? Because it was just wonderful walking a half mile back to my dorm with that pain. I guess getting the Christmas tree off the truck without the help of my dad for the first time was not so successful. Woops.

So a night spent at home lying down, a quicky doctor appointment to determine it was in fact a muscle spasm, and then I got lovely lovely medication that makes me drowsy and loopy but miraculously pain free!

On the up side, all that time spent horizontally meant I got to read a lot. There's a silver lining to every spazzing cloud.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Holidays

This is almost every students' favorite time of year. We get a break for Thanksgiving, and less than a month later we're off for 3 weeks for winter break. I know I love it! Two weeks and it's back to the house to watch Christmas movies by the bucket load, hope and pray for snow, and to help decorate the tree.

This is my favorite time of year. My family always does Christmas in a big way. Actually, holidays in general are big for us. For my two weeks here I have a string of lights wrapped around the bottom of my lofted bed, a wire tree with a gold star, 2 mini stockings, and a gel-stick penguin with snowflakes on the window.

One unfortunate thing about the holidays though is that it promotes laziness in this writer. Sleeping, reading, eating, and watching movies is almost the only thing I'm good for during this season. I don't know what it is. Perhaps it's the clouds that seem so gray. Perhaps it's my way of procrastinating on work. But I think the most likely reason of all, is that it's just such a contenting month.

When I write, often it's because I'm unhappy with the way life is going around me, and writing is a way to slip into another world for a while. Other times I write because I'm restless and the work calms me down. But during the holiday season, I'm very very, scarily, content.

I guess all of this was to say that I love the holidays, even though it makes my WIPs suffer.

What interferes most with your writing?

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Little Delayed

So even though I finished NaNoWriMo on day ten, I haven't been able to post my winner badge. For those of you out there who participate in WriMo, you know we can't validate our novels till the 25th. So I'm here with my little gold star!

Hehe! It took me so long to get off my butt (metaphorically of course) and write the sequel to GS. And I'm so glad I did, because it got my somewhat dormant creative juices flowing again.

News on the new novel front: I'm still working on my synopsis and hope to finish it today and get a few pages written. What with classes and homework and Turkey Day (mmm pie) I haven't had a whole lot of free time. But now, with two days to relax before heading back to the grindstone, I plan to write and read until my eyes blur.

To all you other Nanoers out there, good luck on reaching 50k, and to those of you who have already reached that goal - you rock!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What is TOO implausible?

I'm thinking mostly in reference to fairy tales. I am a self-acclaimed Disney princess addict. No, not even a Disney addict, just a princess addict. So it stands to reason that the external drive that I brought to University with only movies on it has a good number of princess movies.

Yesterday, while I was procrastinating on writing my 9th essay of the quarter (I'm losing count), I watched The Princess and the Frog. I LOVE the music, so I naturally was belting out Down in New Orleans loud enough that it probably annoyed by male neighbors.

But anywho. I was thinking about it later that day, and I realized just how insulting Naveen is to Tiana when they first become frogs. And I thought "I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near him after that." And of course I know they come to know each other and fall in love, but that guy was truly insulting. But you love him in the end.

Is it because he was a frog when he was insulting? The two main characters are animals for a large portion of the movie. Do we end up forgiving Naveen for his insults because he was unaccountable for them somehow when he was a frog?

This is what I was thinking of when I wrote the title of this post. How far can a character go in being a jerk before they have passed the point of no return? In some teen lit I've read, there's always the mean popular girl who is actually misunderstood, and the boy who is cruel to the protagonist (genders can be swapped here) before they end up together.

But can a character go so far that the reader goes "NO, RUN AWAY!" when the inevitable finally happens? Have you read any books like that? What were they? 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Back with More Pep

My last post was rather...brief. It's been a rough week in that I've had so little to do, it leaves me with no other option but to crave sleep. Of the 10 sessions of class I have a week, 3 of them were canceled. It was amazing and sort of sad. My one teacher has pneumonia and the other is suffering backlash from some odd virus in her lungs.

In writerly news, I'm working (slowly) on a new book called WATER DANCE AND FIRE CRACKLE. Rather long name, and I'll probably change it down the line, but for now this is it. I'm dabbling in the genre that I read the most, which in hindsight I probably should have started doing in the first place: young adult fantasy.

Right now I'm doing something I've only ever done once before, and outlining and world building as much as possible before I get too far in the story. This is my first time creating an entire world, and I want to do it right. Well, I guess that's a lie. I made up the world that Sarah and Jonathan live in, but they spent so much time on the ocean that the actual formation of land didn't matter. This time, it definitely will.

Do you outliner or a pantser? Why do you think that is?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Round 4

Well, tonight was my fourth publishing class.

I'm sorry if I'm not as perky as usual. I'm so tired for no reason.

We talked about marketing platforms and I got to hear the older people in the class ask how to use Facebook. And WriterHelper said she liked my query (woot!).

Then I walked home in the rain through very deep puddles and shivered a lot.

I'm going to go watch Finding Nemo and sleep.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Little Things

Today was such a lovely day. And I don't mean weather-wise to all you Frank Sinatra fans out there. It was a little like being in the eye of a storm, with everything and everyone whirling around you as if the devil himself were on their heels, while you sit and relax.

For starters, I got almost 12 hours of sleep. It was wonderful. Then I got to laze around until I was fully awake and then took a shower (yay for being clean!). Following that my one class of the day got canceled so I got to do my laundry which had been piling up. Now I can settle in to doing my homework, aka finishing reading As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, writing up some questions about the book, finishing the reading for my history class, and starting the essay that is due on Sunday.

Yes indeed, it has been a lovely day.

How does this connect in any way to writing you ask? Good question. Well, sometimes I feel as if our characters can't catch a break. Take my main character Sarah for instance - she's shipped off to marry a man ten years older than herself, then the ship is attacked by pirates, her parents are killed, and she has to spend the next two years among men who plan to kill her when she turns 16. Not the happiest way to spend a childhood.

I've also noticed this in books like The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and any of the four books by Christopher Paolini. The characters fall from one terrible plight into the next. Why do we, as authors, do this to our protagonists? You'd think we'd like them, having spent so much time with them. Why do we insist on throwing these people into life or death situations where their poor nerves are continuously tried.

Personally I think I'll be sending Sarah on a vacation after her story is all edited and completed. Perhaps I'll write a short story about her lounging on a beach with servants bringing her heaps of chocolate and crab cakes. Sort of like my apology for putting her through so much. Poor kid.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Does Writing Ruin Reading?

I just started listening to Inheritance, the final book in the quartet by Christopher Paolini. Now part of the reason I'm reading this (via ipod) is so I can say I've finished the series. I have so much time invested in these books and I just want to know who dies and who lives in the end.

To be upfront, I was not a fan of Brisingr. I thought it dragged on and was completely preparation for the fourth book. And I'm hoping Inheritance redeems it.

Which comes to the topic of today's blog post: Do you think that, on some level, writing ruins reading for authors? Do you automatically edit in your head, thinking "Oh, I would have said this instead" or "Dear me, he/she could have left that out to reduce the word count"? I do. It's become an unfortunate habit since I started editing GS over a year ago.

Does this happen to you? Do you think it effects how enjoyable reading is?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Big News

Well, folks, it's been one heck of a week. I finished reading Fire by Kristin Cashore (highly recommend it), and kept on top of my reading for school (an amazing feat in itself). I got a solid A on my one in-class midterm, and 100% on one of my papers for history. And if that weren't enough to send me through the roof with happiness, it's a three day weekend which I will be spending with my family, relaxing and hopefully writing away happily.

Oh, yeah, and I finished NaNoWriMo! Funnily enough, since I had already started WIND CHASER last year, having about 20k in random scenes and an opening chapter, the first draft of my second novel is now complete. Wow. I feel....odd. I thought at first that these books would be a trilogy, that I would need another novel to finish the maturation of Sarah and Jonathan. But when I wrote the final scene, I realized I didn't need that last book.

Both of these characters has changed so much from the people I thought they would be, and from the people they were at the beginning of GRIFFIN'S SONG. I've grown up with them, experimented with their emotions, and put them through literal hell.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce that the first draft of WIND CHASER is complete at 70,000 words. Of course later will come the editing and adding of scenes, and cutting of bad scenes. But that's later, and right now I'm just celebrating.

This is one small step for books, one big leap for this college writer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Round Three

Well holy chips it's been a busier week than I thought it would be. Completely forgot I had Friday off for Veteran's Day, and it seems my teachers are just piling on the reading. Of course I might just be feeling that way since I have to read Faulkner... I have discovered that I do not like stream of consciousness writing.

On a happier note, I've hit 42,000 words. I was hoping to be finished by today, but all that reading sort of got in the way. But I'm hoping to finish tomorrow night since it isn't a school night, and if that doesn't work I'm going to a Write-In on Friday, so it's all covered.

Tonight also happened to be the third of six of my publishing classes. And we finally got into talking about agents and all the different stuff publishers do. It was fascinating. I loved learning about the acquiring editor and the publicity team versus the marketing team versus so many other different people. We also read our back of the book summary and were given a short critique of it. Except for being told to tighten up one sentence, WriterHelper loved it. Homework: write a query letter.

I must admit I had to look at the table not to blush at this one, considering I have sent out about 10 queries WAY before I should have. But oh well, there's a learning curve with this thing. And I felt proud at knowing all the websites she suggested for finding agents, several of which are in the "links" page of my blog.

Have a wonderful night, everyone, and good luck with your books!

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's One of Those Happy Day Things

Well, folks, today I'm in a fine and dandy mood. Even though it's Monday, even though I have reading to do up the wazoo, even though it's cold and foggy outside, I am happy. Why is she happy, you ask? Good question. I spent the weekend with my parents, baking cookies and showering in consistently hot water and sleeping in a room with only my old stuffed animals for company. Then I went back my dorm loaded down with delicious food, received a care package from the store I worked at which means CHOCOLATE. Ahem. Anyways.

I also wrote two essays that I'm reasonably satisfied with and drained my creativity for two days. I finished editing my critique partner's book, and wrote over 13,000 words for Nano, bringing my current total (today's work excluded) up to 33k! I am very pleased. Goal for today: complete all of my reading for English class (eep) and reach 40k for Nano.

Since I foresee Nano as being short for me this year because I have had the sequel to GS swimming around in my head for close to a year, I plan on redoing it. That's right, my goal is to do 50k twice, either by completely finishing the draft of WC, or starting something new.

I'm really not as busy as I sound. I just like to have something to do, always.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Icon Association

If I said I had Justin Beiber's hair, Angelina Jolie's lips, and as many kids as Kate Gosselin, you would probably know what I meant. Why is that? Why do we assign traits to stars, whether they are deserving of the title or not, that live on for years? Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart are some of the most famous romantic icons. Hugh Hefner is the Playboy.

Do we do this in our reading and writing? This question is twofold. When you read, do you picture a person you know or have seen on TV or in a movie, even if that person does not totally fit the description the author gives you? I know I do. It's unintentional. And I think I know why I do it - because I have seen them and can fill in the gaps the book does not give me. As time progresses, we chop character descriptions down to the minimum (hair, eye color, height, angular or soft features). But if we have a model in our minds, we can have an entire image.

Then there is the second part. When we write do we base our characters off of real people? Or perhaps other characters we love? I know the dog in WIND CHASER is based off my own pup in everything except size. Is it easier to write a character if we have an entire picture in our heads, or maybe even taken from the internet?

I've given you move questions than answers. But it's something to think about. Our pop culture affects our lives, whether we consciously decide to let it, or not.

And for the record, my grown out pixie will stop resembling Beiber hair in less than a month. And I don't have Jolie lips or 8 kids. Just the hair.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Wonderfully Wonderful Finish

Can you hear the angels singing? Do you know why they are? Because it's FRIDAY! It took a long time to get here, but finally it did. It was a hectic week. Lots of papers to write and reading to do. Then doing my pleasure writing and reading.

In the case of writing, I have some exciting news! The new material I have for WIND CHASER is at over 20,000 words. I feel almost mentally drained. Maybe I'll be able to get out another thousand before turning in for the night, but who knows. Have I mentioned how exciting it is to be writing again? And what's even more exciting is that I'm home for the weekend. It's been a few weeks, and I really enjoyed the idea of taking a shower without needing to wear flip flops. So here I am!

On the reading front I've dived into Fire by Kristin Cashore after finishing up Mastiff. I also had to read a few Sherlock Holmes stories for English, which is a-okay with me. I'm also finishing up reading my critique partner's book, which is exciting.

I know I've kinda been babbling about my own life lately instead of literary things, so I have some literary babbling for you tonight for a change.

Endings. I've finished one book. It was the start of a series, so I wanted it to be good. I thought I did a pretty good job, followed the traditional rules. No cliffhanger, but a sense of a story left unresolved. And then I read Mastiff. Now I'm biased because I love Tamora Pierce's work and have loved watching the writing evolve. By the end of that book though, I was amazed. I had cried - not an easy thing - and been uplifted. I was sad the story was over to the point that I was in a grumpy mood for at least an hour.

I want to write an ending like that. One that is emotional not only to the characters, but for the reader. That is what I aspire to in my writing.

What was your favorite ending of a book?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Second Round

Tonight's blog post title refers to two things. First of all, it's the second day of NaNoWriMo, and as promised I'm going to fill you guys in on where I'm at with my writing and word count. I'm pleased to say I'm still going strong in WIND CHASER and am at 10k as of these evening. I would try to make it to 11k, but I have a history paper due tomorrow night and I don't want to break my streak of "A"s (Two now!). It's been fantastic writing this much. Over the summer I blogged about writer's block, and how I spent more time editing GRIFFIN'S SONG - then titled Deceptor, than I did doing any serious writing. Well I'm back in the game folks. How I missed this. Not writing an introduction with body paragraphs and a conclusion. Now I'm writing something with a plot, rather than a thesis.

The second meaning of my post title is that tonight was the second meeting of my publishing class. We have moved on from genre and examining the different types of publishing, to book proposals, synopses, and query letters. Cue the scary music. Luckily I pitched a short summary to WriterHelper, and she liked it. The only suggestion she had was that I clarify this takes place in an alternate world. And then a genre was attributed to my book that I'm not sure why. Steampunk. Now for those of you who know my plot, and to those people who have actually read the novel, does these seem right? It was only mentioned once, but I was wondering if I've been deluding myself in thinking GS is a YA adventure novel.

All in all it was a pretty good night. A bit wet, as there was lots of standing water and rain as I walked back to my room. Lucky me, I had remembered an umbrella, but unfortunately had forgotten to use my rain boots. Oh well, at least my head is dry, even if my feet are not.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNo Beginnings

And so it begins! This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's National Novel Writing Month) and I am very excited. I've been sitting on the idea for a sequel to Griffin's Song for...well since I started writing the first book. But I could always find a reason not to write it. Well of course, I should be editing the first one before jumping into the second!

But I made myself have a deadline - November 30th. Today was the beginning of NaNo, and since I only have one class today, I was able to make some serious headway. In the way of 5500 words. Woot! I'm hoping to get to 6k by bedtime (which is still pretty early considering I'm a college kid).

And I realized why I'm enjoying it so much. I'm not editing as I go on. I am not afraid to write something that is, excuse my french, shit. What matters is that I'm getting the words on the page.

I shall keep ya'll updated on my word count throughout the month, and have a wonderful night!

Are you doing NaNo? What's your NaNo book about?