Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quick Update

It's a Saturday night, and getting late. I don't want to be sleepy for church in the morning, so I'll make this quick!

As of now, it is in the hands of my primary editor, being edited for the final time! It's so strange.... It's hard to believe that I'm on the last round of editing! It takes my breath away!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Stories and Tales- All Fiction

So, I'm still in this English 202 class at Ivy Tech, right? So, every time I go into that class, I am so elated! I'm doing so terribly in my other three classes that it is a relief to know that there is something that I can do right. I love the teacher- I actually finish some of his sentences, and I hope that doesn't bother him- but the content is awesome! I've written several fiction pieces, which will be collected into a portfolio I'll make up at the end of the year. I'll probably add it to the portfolio I already have collected of my short works that I've done for my previous classes. It's so amazing to look back over the years and see how much you've learned, grown, succeeded in, and failed at. I can't wait to add what I've written!

The things I've written in this class are by far and away the most different I have written. I feel inspired to write differently, to stretch my view beyond fiction and fantasy. The first short piece I posted was a chapter from a book that I've already written, so that was no challenge at all. However, since then, I've written short pieces on a couple people being on the moon, a girl with a nose like a banana, and a homeless person who was given a man's last dollar bill in the form of a eulogy.... kind of.... That's the thing, my teacher says, "you have to write such-and-such about such-and-such," but he's very flexible with how we write it and what we write about. It's awesome! It opens a WORLD of possibilities. The last assignment (which I didn't do because I didn't have to and I didn't have the time) we were supposed to write a short story about a blind person and there was a inanimate body in the room. One person wrote about an elderly, blind man whose guide dog died, another person about a psycho-dillusional person who gouged out their own eyes with a pin and murdered their father.... I'm telling you, the possibilities with this one were endless.

Other things we do in the class are read short stories by professionals and write responses to them. For instance, we read Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. Wow. I had never read it before, and since the paper I printed it off on already had stuff printed on it, it was difficult to read. But trust me, I managed. The story was so totally engrossing that I couldn't help but cock my head, squint my eyes and hold the page closer to my nose just to be able to read it. After that, I wrote my response. So far, I think my teacher has liked my replies. He's at least given me full credit for the assignments, so that's something. But in all of his replies to my responses, he's given some positive feedback, so I'm excited.

In other news, the first draft of my book is getting closer and closer to completion! One of my editors finished with it a few weeks ago, and my Mother wanted to read it again, so that's where it is right now. I want my brother to read it, but sooner or later, I'll need to send it to my primary editor. His notes won't be so detailed as last time (which I totally understand), but I need to get it to him asap. At the same time, this is all still too freaky to be real.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Okay! So, I've been in the English 202 class for a couple weeks now and, although some of the stories are pretty bad, I've really enjoyed learning how to write better in the sense of grammar, mechanics, style, form, and all the wonderful facets of creative writing! My teacher, Christopher Roberts, is hilarious! He likes poetry more than fiction, but goes both ways. He has a funny way of swearing and the hardest time finding the right word to express what he's trying to say. I catch myself finishing his sentences when he trails off into thought of the right word. I hope I'm not being annoying =P I do try to restrain myself more.

As for the class itself, I was thrilled when he pointed out that I did something right! It may be a small thing, but I'm so glad that God is shaping my writing and I'm actually improving! In one of my peer responses to someone's paper, I mentioned the concept of "Show, don't Tell," which my editor explained to me. He pointed this out in class, then elaborated on what that concept looks like in action. I'm so excited!

As for the writing itself, I hope to post my latest writing assignment here. It's an excellent time of fun! I didn't think I would have time to write it completely and turn it in by the deadline, and low and behold, I had it finished and submitted in an hour. And it is one of my favorite pieces yet!

So over all, this class has fulfilled my expectations of an enjoyable english class! I'm so thrilled!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A New Developement

Today I officially signed up for an English 202 class at Ivy Tech. I'm not sure if this will be extremely difficult or applicable to my major (at this time, I'm considering double-majoring in professional writing and creative writing), but I do know that my book says, "Imaginitive Writing" as the title- and I'm SURE to like a book titled that. =D

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fighting in Fantasy

My co-worker, Sarah Hoss, is a romance novelist. She is in the process of getting her own works published, and I enjoy the numerous conversations I have with her concerning writing. One of these conversations actually gave me pause for thought. She told me about writing classes I can take to improve my writing. One she took was called "Pitch like a Pro," explaining the ins and outs of presenting your novel to an agent and publisher. She told me about several classes that I found quite interesting, but the one that caught my attention the most was about how to write better fight scenes.

I knew I didn't have time to take a month or so class on how to write a better fight scene. But it bothered me because I knew that my fight scenes NEEDED HELP.... major help.... So what did I do? I went to the next best thing: Google. I typed in "How to write a good fight scene," and a link called "Fight Scenes 101" popped up #2 on the list. It's written by something/someone called "Hive Mind" in 2003, but it was helpful. I know I did not reap nearly as much from it as I could from a formal class, but as of now I'm taking all the help I can get.

This site was so helpful! I didn't realize how great it would be by simply checking the internet! Here are the things I liked so much about it....

1. Location- They said that location "sets the scene"- no duh. I knew that. But they brought in factors I hadn't really thought about. For instance, is the scene taking place in doors? If so, consider the floor surface. If it's hard wood, things could get a bit slippery. As for the ceiling, if it's low, a sword may be difficult to use, if not impossible. Then there are obstacles to consider. Are there chairs? Couches? Rugs? Lamps? All obstacles to move around or dash to bits during the fight. They suggested drawing a lay-out for the scene so you can see where your characters are moving as you move them.

2. Weaponry- They were planning on creating a "Weapons Log" or something on the sight I was using, but it's not there. However, they did have some interesting things to say. "This category includes bottles, books, handfuls of dirt, chairs, tables... in fact, anything that isn't nailed to the floor can be used as a weapon." I never really thought about the creativity I can utilize in finding different weapons!

3. Language- This was broken down into two categories. 1) Dialogue- Are my characters sassy or cocky? They would have short, biting dialogue. But if talking a lot is uncharacteristic of them, the fight scene may play out more like one with Jason Bourne: kill first, ask later. 2) Descriptions- Don't weigh down the scene with descriptions. This was probably the best piece of advice I took from the site I went to. They began with saying how visual a fight scene is, whether it's one-on-one or a massive battle with ginormous armies. Either way, they emphasized the importance of getting straight to the action with small words, short sentences, and even fragmented sentences to give it a snap.

4. The Oddes (1 vs. 2 or more)- I found it rather shocking that they claimed that the odds of your main character winning are when they're outnumbered because your main character doesn't have to worry so much about hurting someone in his/her own group. The funniest part was when the writers said that you just have to remember to kill them all. An audience may not notice if you only kill 28 out of 30 guys, but they most definitely will if you only kill 3 out of 4. They suggested literally keeping a tally of all your bad guys and crossing out the ones you killed as you killed them.

5. Big Battles (Free for All)- This was a tough one for me. There were two different ways that they said you could do this. 1) Omnicient- this had updsides and downsides. first, it didn't break the flow of content. The only problem was that it would get confusing as to who was who and who was doing what and who killed who and whatnot. 2) Limited (One person's perspective or First Person)- This gets the audience in on the action because the view is more centralized and focused in one area, but it also gets complicated. In order for you to view everything that's going on during the battle, the main character has to step back and take a breather to look around. This, however, creates an organized break-down of all the scenes, making them several one-on-one duels instead of a big clump of battles.

So yes! those were some things I thought extremely helpful! Please let me know what you think! Is there anything missing? Do you know of a better source? What do you like to see in a fight scene????

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Perspective Changes Things... a lot...

This evening, I had the honor to watch a movie with some of the funnest ladies I know. The movie was called "Lost in Austen," a hilarious movie for any Jane Austen fans out there (much like myself). The film was over-loaded with crass remarks, one too many inappropriate scenes, and some worthless content. However, I didn't really notice much of this until after the movie was over. I was too involved in the plot.

A young woman, Amanda Price by name, loves the novel, Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen. Her image of the most perfect gentleman on earth is Mr. Darcy. But when she gets pulled into the world of the Bennett family through a mysterious doorway linking our worlds, everything changes. She screws everything up! No one marries who they're supposed to, and you're kept guessing with twists and turns the entire movie up until the very last thirty seconds.

So yes. The idea was fantastic. But one of my favorite parts was the way she took it all. When she found that Mr. Bingley was falling in love with her instead of Jane, all she could say was, "You're supposed to marry Jane!" Then later, when Mr. Darcy falls in love with her, "You're supposed to marry Elizabeth!" But the entire idea behind all of this is that the characters were different because she was looking at them from a different perspective. She was disappointed because they weren't the beautiful characters she imagined. Mr. Darcy was the biggest jerk for most the movie, Bingley was an air-head, Mr. Collins was... well... Mr. Collins... And Mr. Whickham ended up being a good guy- ALL because she was amongst the characters and looking at it all from their angle. Grant it, it didn't change the characters themselves, she just saw different parts of them that she couldn't see from the view of ink on a page. It all became alive and real.

I don't want to make everything outrageously confusing twisted. I just want to be able to see my characters from more than one angle. In my original first draft, I peeked in on the thoughts and impressions of several of the characters. This gave me ideas of what they all thought of the same character, but not different aspects of the character herself. Fortunatley, this problem was obstructed because I had to ex-nay the whole "divided perspective" I had. Honestly, it's much easier to write and much more relatable. However, now I must broaden the perspective of the main character so that she may be able to see different aspects of the characters around her.

I know this may be a bit confusing... But just think about someone you know really well! This person is not solely a boad model collector who has never been out of the house a day of his life. There's more to him. He may design boats for big cruise-line companies. He may have an obsession with The Amazing Race... His one dream in life may be to lay out on the deck of a boat so long that he gets sunburned.... Now, I know I'm being ridiculous (probably because it's about 1 AM)... But you get my point! There's more to a person than just one perspective!

Here's my question: How do I broaden the perspective of my main character to better view those around her without changing her character as well? How do I better view these characters?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Age Appropriation

When I was touring the different avenues of humor, I came to realize: Adult Humor. Admitedly, it is inappropriate for all ages. I wasn't planning on including suggestive humor in my book, but I was struck by the difficulty it is to write to a specific age group, particularly when that age group is younger than the author/authoress.

I just finished reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief. Now, if the picture at the back of the fly-cover is acurate, the author has to be at least fifty years old. And yet, when I read the book, I truly felt like I was reading a story from a younger person's perspective. Now, the book is written from the perspective of Percy Jackson, a twelve-year-old boy. I did feel like Percy was too mature for his age, like he was closer to being fifteen or sixteen than twelve... Then again, I was a very immature twelve-year-old. But Riordan did a fabulous job of lowering his scope of perspective even that much! I felt it was brilliant.

Question after question bombards me when I ponder how Riordan accomplished such a task! Of course, I, personally, am in the process of maturing into a responsible adult, so it's difficult to mature upwards in real life and downwards in fantasy. That was, at first, my goal. I wanted to write for middle-school age. But as I've written, my stories have taken on a more mature setting. Scenes of violence and romance (neither of which are explicit in any way, shape, or form) are not as rare in my book as I had originally planned.

Then again, I don't really want to write for middle-school age anymore. I find it much less.... honest.... if that's the word I'm searching for.... Life is cruel and heartless at times. I'm not saying that such cruel scenarios cannot be present in that audience's spectrom, but that they should be presented at a lower level of explicitness (At least, I do not wish to write in such a way to such an age group). This, however, is not the case. The violence of war cannot be masked when one is trying to describe a battle-field, strewn with rotting bodies. And how can one best describe the intimate love a man has for a woman except by conveying the intrinsic details of a perfect kiss?

Now.... My being me.... I won't be getting into details of either a violent or romantic nature. I don't want to be explicit. However, the content is there. I'm just struggling with how much to actually describe. As I've written, my book has evolved from being written to middle-schoolers to high schoolers. However, there are still several younger people I have in mind I would like to benefit from my writing as well, and I don't want to write in such a way as would deny them the ability to read it. So.... what do I do????

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hilarious Hiccups

My brother, sister, friends and I were playing a game tonight called Apples to Apples. The adjective was "manly," and someone laid down the card, "Helen Keller." Everyone exchanged quizzical looks until I said, "She's like men: deaf and dumb."

I don't know if you find this funny, but, being rather slap-happy, we thought it was. I will occassionally have moments of brilliance in which wit will give me the upper hand and a couple laughs, but quite honestly, when I try to be funny, I get weird looks or, "Woooooooow..... that was.... um..... okay....."

I entirely blame my father for this. =) Ever since we were little, he has had the cheesiest sense of humor I have ever known- and YET! I still laugh every time to his every joke. Just after my freshman year of highschool, I was in a play with a bunch of public schoolers, and I cracked a joke that was in the way of my father: cheesy and/or lame. After the murmured chuckles, one girl said, "You need to work on your sense of humor." I tried not to be hurt by this. In fact, over the past few years, I've tried to curve my sense of humor to be less... well... you know...

The only problem is that I'm not sure I've changed at all. I still get weird looks. All the time. ALL the time. And one fear I have is that this cheesy sense of humor will be conveyed into the book. I don't want my characters to come off as lame- I really don't! And with one character that I've hoped to be the comic, I'm afraid he's come off in that way. So here's what I'd like to know: is my sense of humor weird, abnoxious, funny, hysterical, immature, sillly, etc.? What are your favorite kinds of jokes? Do you like social puns more than your average joke (I do, personally)?

Here's the problem I've run into: I can't pull social puns! This is taking place in another world! So when an unusually enigmatic character comes into play, I can't have someone call her "Lady Gaga" just for kicks. No one in that world knows who that is. Therefore, I must stick to quick wit in dialogue.... So I guess I just answered my own question... But I'd still like to know what you all think anyway!


For those of you who have had the chance to update yourselves on my blog lately, thank you so much! I know I have spurts some times where I'll write for three days straight, fast for three months, then get all gluttonous for blogging again. So thank you for continuing the check-up throughout my irregularities!

Right now I'm just distraught over my lack of progress.... I know that I've done a lot, it's just that I had hoped to have my book published by the end of this month... And I'm not even close! And sometimes it feels like I'll never get there. I'm thankful that West Bow is so forgiving with their deadlines. They said that I can take all the time I need... But I still feel bad....

As far as progress I have made, I have come to almost the middle of the book, as far as editing goes. I can't remember if I've said this already, but, in accordance to one of my editors' suggestions, I completely trashed the whole first three or so chapters and completely rewrote them. Honestly, I love the way they've turned out! I feel like I've upped the standard a good deal, and I know that having editors has significantly helped that. There are times I wish it were at the same level as my composition teacher's standards, but she understands the need for being a bit more laid-back. =)

So yes! This is just an update to let you know the progress of book 2: My World of Conceit!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Annoying Quirks

I just recently read on another writer's blog in a poll taken that the thing that irked readers the most was the fact that a writer would use one particular adjective or verb and use it often without realizing it. After seeing this, of course, I immediately switched into my Writer's Brain to think if I do that in my book. I suddenly realized that I do get into a rut with certain verbs synonymous with "look," "walk," and "said." I tend to use "gaze," when refering to someone looking at something. I tend to say they "sauntered" or simply "walked." But the worst of all is trying to find ways to express the way someone says something after a quote with a verb that gives breadth and depth to the meaning behind the words.

Having been in Mrs. McVay's English class, I have no excuse whatsoever to say that I don't know how to find good verbs. I specifically remember an instance where we were instructed to write out a list of adjectives for a cloud, and we were not to use "fluffly," "white," or anything remotely relating to "cotton." I remember people coming up with creative combinations such as "peaches and cream" to describe a sunset... Come to think of it, I could use "dream-cicle" as an adjective.... *back to the main thought*.... Anyway, I own a thesaurus. It is my hero... well.... my writing hero. When in doubt, look it up! Who would know all the different ways you could say "princess?" Just think of all the different cultures, and you've got about thirty-thousand different ways to say "princess."

Where am I going with this? I need to get out my own cliches! However, I'm having difficulty coming up with truly interesting verbs. Does anyone know of a site I can go to or a book on really interesting verbs??? My thesaurus is awesome, but it just doesn't have the quantity desired to write a novel =P And as I don't want to copy ideas off of anyone, I'd prefer not ask for ideas of verb usage. So please! Let me know if you have any ideas of such places I could go for help!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Titles, Once Again....

What is an eye catcher? Is there a specific genre of words (such as adjectives, verbs, or nouns) that attract more attention than others in a title? What works today? I've still been struggling with what to name my book! And unfortunately, the fight has not gotten any easier! I've decided that I'm just going to name this book whatever I want and worry about the other titles later =D

But what makes a good title? I know that a good title grabs a passer-by out of the blue and sinks them into the book before they can think. I know that a good title provokes curiosity, intrigue, and exhilaration. However, WHAT IS IT???? Is it several words? A small sentence? A single word? My mother said that lately she's noticed that a lot of famous movies and books have only one word: Twilight (forgive me, anti-Twilight fans), CSI, Psych, Tron, and Sabrina, to name a few. However, these are not just titles. These are insights into what the movie, book, tv show, etc. is about. Psych refers to not only Shawn Spencer's alleged "psychic" ability, but the fact that his keen sense of observation psyches people out (dont' quote me on that, it's just my own observation). Tron is just a cool name. Honestly, I have no idea why the creator of the story picked it except that it sounds really cool (I have a few other theories, but I don't want to say them unless you've already seen the movie. I don't want to spoil it for you!). Sabrina is obvious: it is the name of the main character.

Me.... what do I have????...... A few scribbled ideas on paper.... And quite honestly I'm beginning to lose confidence in my titling ability (Although, I must say that I dubbed my new car quite accurately =D). I could refer to negative attribute my main character learns how to counteract, Conceit, which is my best bet so far. I could pick some random name and just go with it: Secret. Or I could do the name of my main character: Diana. But seriously..... Do any of those catch your attention??? Conceit, I feel, is my closest bet.

Then again, does my title have to be only one word? There are plenty examples of titles that take up two or more words: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Mansfield Park, Anne of Green Gables, Chronicles of Narnia, and In Search of Eden are only a few of a plethora of examples. Are these stories any less interesting because their titles have more than one words? They still trill off the tongue and ring memorable! But are they as catchy? I mean, those are all pretty much classics, and I don't have the benefit of being a well-known authoress, so it's not like people will remember my books unless I have a truly memorable title! *sigh* What to do?

So here is what I need from you: What sort of title do you prefer? Do you think that one-word titles are more memorable and catchy, or would you pick a book off the shelf that has a longer name? What do you think of Conceit for my book title? Does it stick? Does it intrigue? Are you curious now? As you can see, I'm in a frazzled state, trying to decide on this. So please let me know what you think! Does anybody have any ideas?????

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Editing Update

For those of you who may actually be following my blog instead of my facebook, I thought you wouldn't mind being updated! =D

I got my manuscripts from both my publishers last week and have begun the tedious task of editing! It is a slow process, especially since I've chosen to completely rework some very major facets of the novel. For instance, I've changed it to first person instead of third and am adding more emphasis on developing my main character and certain characteristics of my other characters. There were several scenes, particularly at the beginning, where I just felt uncomfortable with how the scenes flowed. One of my editors particularly helped me with this! He suggested completely taking out the whole first few chapters and rewriting them, starting at a different point in my character's history. This has been the most difficult part of the reworking process, but I've actually enjoyed it very much! I feel like my novel has a bit more color in her cheeks and comes across more natural. I've enjoyed editing these chapters more, not only because I'm turning everything around and twisting it into more intrinsic depth of feeling, but also because I'm not simply reading through the SAME manuscript SEVERAL times, only changing grammatics, which my other editor has been good enough to correct for me =D Her fresh eyes have helped catch mistakes I've overlooked several times, having read, read, and reread it all multiple times.

This is just a quick update to let you know how it's coming along! Thank you so much for taking the time to check up on me! =D

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brainstorming Bash

J.R.R. Tolkein was an amazing author. I could never use his method of writing, but he was brilliant. I read in a book on fantasy writing that whenever he hit a road block with some of his characters, he simply trashed the whole thing and started all over again. I also recall he spent many years in the Mines of Moria, trying to figure out how to get Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn and the rest of the lot out.... I want to say it was 20 years, but that seems like too long... maybe it took him 20 years to write the first book... I can't remember! Anyhow, his methods of writing are very different from mine. I like to plan out my writing to an extent. I don't have everything planned, but I do have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen.

With Book 1, I honestly haven't done much brainstorming, primarily because I already have a quota to meet. Since I'm already done with it's sequel, there are certain things that HAVE to happen... But what I have come to realize is that my plans aren't taking up enough page space. I simply don't have enough depth to my story to make it truly worth-while... Maybe it just seems that way because I'm only on chapter 2, but if I'm already getting this feeling something must be wrong, right?

Okay! So, you get the idea. I've hit a dead spot in my story. There's a period of about 5 years in my first book that I can't seem to fill with activity. It feels awkward just saying, "... and they grew up..." so I was hoping you may be able to help me come up with some ideas of what may have happened during those 5 years that would be worthy of attention. It could be as simple as a milestone event in my main character's life, like a birthday or something..... (*to self* hhhmmmmmmmmmm.... a birthday..... i'll write that down...) I know you may find it difficult to help me here since you don't know what this one is about or anything, but just tell me about big events in your life that filled you with excitement or activities in someone else's life that you would enjoy reading about... if there are any.... Really, anything to spark ideas would be a lot of help! I'm hoping that by mentioning a simple facet of information, I may be able to sprint away to a new wing of my book! So please! I would appreciate all the help I can get!