December 23, 2013

Things going on

I don't have a lot of time to come up with something witty to post, so I'll just ramble about what's been going on. Of course it's Christmas stuff. Lots of traveling and planning, washing clothes, doing dishes, and picking up to get things ready. For the most part, pretty regular boring stuff.

Writing-wise, I did finish the draft of my short story. This is the first short story I've written since College. I'm not sure if it's good, but I'm certain my critique group will let me know.

Reading- I'm reading Champion by Marie Liu (the third book in the Legend trilogy) and I'm loving it. Her characters are so well fleshed out, and the voice is awesome. I am trying to pace myself because when it's over, it'll be over. *sadface* I'm not doing well at pacing though, and I'm halfway done already.

I'll work on trying to find something fun to blog about after Christmas. :-)

December 11, 2013

The night I became Rapunzel

Rapunzel with long blonde hair
Technically, the blonde hair is magic

No, I do not have mile-length telescoping hair that I can hook around things and swing myself from like the Rapunzel in Disney's Tangled. Really, the only similarity is that we were both blonde. Rapunzel of the natural variety and me of the color-in-a-box kind. (I was blonde as a child and didn't want to let go!)

The box color damaged my hair, and while I kept it long, it got all tangled (hahahaha) and riddled with split ends. I saw a deal in a local magazine for a makeover at a salon and decided to take advantage of it. I wanted to dye my hair its natural color and cut it and let it grow out healthy. I'd stop dying it and have happy healthy hair for once!

That was my plan. Now, the salon took a long time and I barely made it home for my toddler's bedtime. I told her about my haircut and I wanted her to see me before she went to sleep so she'd recognize me in the morning. I didn't want to be the cause of a freakout as toddlers are notoriously freaked out by random things.

I go into the bedroom to say good night, and my little girl smiles so wide and says "You've got magic Eugene hair!" "Mommy has magic brown hair!" And she laughs and plays with my hair and keeps saying it over and over. Are you confused yet?

Rapunzel short brown hair
Who knew a shard of glass could make such a cute cut?

*Spoilers for really old movie*
In the movie Tangled, Eugene (Flynn) cuts Rapunzel's hair with a shard of mirror and it turns brown.

This stuck out to my toddler as magic, and because Eugene cuts her hair I guess short brown hair is "Eugene hair" and it's magic because it changed colors. Thus, I became Rapunzel. That was not what I predicted would happen when I went to get a haircut and dye job. I've had the haircut for a month now, and she still grabs my hair and says it. She also yells "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!" like the villain says when the hair is cut.

Makes me wish I could do it all over again. :-D

December 3, 2013

How to make Chicken Parmigiana without going to the store

Okay, so I'm gonna jump back on this thing and start blogging again. This time for real! New, improved, and all those buzzwords.

To begin, I'll start with the story of our dinner tonight. Also known as, "I didn't check that I had the ingredients until 4pm and didn't want to go to the store" dinner.

Chicken Parm without a run to Walmart

1. Open the Italian bread crumbs to see you only have 1/4 cup left.

  • Solution: Use the magic bullet to grind up some saltines into a fine powder, way more ground up than you ever intended.
2. Look in pantry and see you have no plain tomato sauce to make yummy sauce from scratch.
  • Solution: Use some super chunky Ragu for the sauce. Who cares if you've got chunks of zucchini on your chicken, still yummy.
3. Look in fridge to see absolutely no mozzarella cheese.
  • Solution: Shredded cheddar cheese. Not quite authentic, but hey, still yummy!
I know it sounds very weird, but really it was very yummy. It's just not "real" Italian Chicken Parm. Goes to show I'm not afraid to improvise!

June 23, 2013

The awesome month of June

June is a wonderful month for my family. On the 12th, my little baby girl turned two, TWO! I can hardly believe she's not really a baby any more. Wow, how time flies.

And on the 21st, we celebrated our fifth anniversary, FIVE years. Again, wow...where did the time go. We got married just yesterday, didn't we? So, I suppose five years is kind of a milestone and I think back to when we first got married and how things were different.

1. Obviously we didn't have the baby, as she just turned two. Simple math there.
2. We lived in an apartment. It was a fairly nice apartment near all the good shopping and across from a mall, but still an apartment.
3. We had one cat named Emmy.
4. I was still working on my Masters degree and had a couple of classes left to go.
5. I worked for a large corporation and had to commute through construction every day. The construction still exists, I just don't have to drive through it every day.

I started out this post thinking there was some sort of point that would develop, but no, not really. Enjoy the musings, and smell some fragrant flowers (not necessarily roses as those aren't my favorite, I like orchids and tulips). Enjoy what's left of June, all 100+ degree days of it.


May 6, 2013

Spring cleaning...redecorating

I've realized that maybe the only people who care about latin phrases and story construction are other writers. While that's great and everything, I want to blog about more than just that. So, I've redesigned my blog to reflect more of my personality and have opened things up so I have room to post about...whatever I want to post about.

Things are still under construction and I plan on making some more changes. While I'm sentimental about my phoenix logo and loved my previous title, I feel this new blog is more me. I want to show my life and who I am. Enjoy the ride!

April 19, 2013

In Medias Res or Not, That is the Question

Everywhere I look, I see advice for writers and especially about how to craft the beginning of your story. Most of the time I hear that the reader wants to see action right away, that your opening scene must have something "happen" that gets things rolling. This is a technique that works well a lot of the time, and for some stories I'm sure it's the way to go.

Is it the only way to go?

No, I don't think so. For an example, I recently began reading a YA fantasy that is selling very well. It's all over the shelves and has a zillion sequels in the series. The beginning of the first book takes off right away in an action scene where the villain shows up, we've got the teenage protagonists and the older knowledgeable figure letting them know what's going on. I let myself get in 70 pages, and tons of stuff happens. All I knew about those teenage protagonists was that they were "normal teens" and had iPods, and lots of other buzzwords that labeled them as ordinary.

Oh good, ordinary cardboard teens...my favorite. A whole bunch of interesting stuff happened to people I care absolutely nothing about. I knew nothing about them, and I could care less if the villain showed up and kidnapped them both. I put the book down and stopped reading.

To me, it's more important to learn who the story is about first, before the story happens to them. Authors can do this successfully while showing an action scene, but I don't think it's the only way. In the opening of a novel, I'm happy as long as I'm learning who the character is and some hints about what's going to change for them, or what the big conflict will be.

Yes, I'm a writer...but I'm also a reader. Other readers must want what I do. I have a few examples. (Yes, they're all YA distopias, I'm on a distopia kick. In college, I took a utopian/distopian fiction course that rocked the world.)

For example, the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The opening scene here, Katniss wakes up without her Sister, describes her family, her home, and hints that it is the day of the Reaping which is the early big problem. She leaves the house and goes hunting and talks to Gale. That's all that "happens" action-wise. The opening scenes here definitely do not begin right where the inciting incident does, but we all know how well Hunger Games as done.

Another example, Divergent by Veronica Ross. The opening scene shows Beatrice receiving a haircut from her mother and looking in the mirror. She describes her world, her family, and that today is the day of the Aptitude test (first big problem). She then continues on to school. This is not very action heavy, but we learn a lot about Beatrice and her world.

Final example, Matched by Ally Condie. The opening scene is a dream, and then Cassia wakes up and describes some of her world and that today is the day of her Matching. She has breakfast with her family and continues on with her day. No thrilling action, but again, we learn a lot about who she is, and what is happening in her life.

This brings me to my point. Not all techniques are for all types of fiction, or all stories. Sometimes you do what the advice is, and other times you go with your gut. My gut says that there are lots of readers like me, and that sometimes, action isn't the only way to go.

What do you think?

April 15, 2013

The bane is nearing completion!

Also known as, the synopsis. I have to give a shout out to Jane for helping me plug up my gaping holes. She rocks, and you should check out her awesome blog here. The synopsis is almost ready, which opens me up to work on the query letter.

I don't need it for the conference, but I want to have it ready. I think knowing exactly what I'd send to an agent to market Schism will help me know more of what to say in the session. I have to be prepared! My type A is showing isn't it? >_^

In other news...I wrote more in Unity today. I take it as a good sign that I want to get these opening scenes out of my head and onto paper. Rough, rough, rough draft that it is...but there's always editing! Hours upon hours of editing.

To make this post even more of a ramble, I think those of you who don't live inside my head may not know what I'm working on. My vision is a non-traditional trilogy where books one (Schism) and two (Unity) are a complete story, and book three spins off to take place eighteen years later. I'll post my dust-jacket tease once it's perfected, and then you can know what the heck I'm babbling about.

Time to watch my little one attempt to play Wii games. Too cute.

April 14, 2013

I'm so good at sticking to stuff

Well, when I said I wouldn't work on Unity...what I meant was, I've started Chapter 2. Heh.

April 11, 2013

Tagline

I was thinking about the taglines you see on the back of books or on movie posters. I wanted to come up with something really great for Schism. I came up with most of it, but I can't settle on the last part. Any help?

Four dimensions
Three hearts
Two worlds
One...

Destiny?
Future?
Irrevocable decision?
Fate for all?

What do you think?


Irons in the fire

Here's what's happening.

Essentially, I'm directing all my effort in preparing for the writers conference I'm attending at the beginning of May. I won't let myself do much other than that, unless it's reading books on writing, or other YA lit.

  • I've gotten most of my notes ready for my pitch. I'll still be tweaking these for a while.
  • Synopsis for Schism is in the hands of a good writer friend who is giving it a once-over for me. I'll make changes once I get it back, and that will be good to go then.
  • Schism is in the process of another beta read. Current beta reader is a college student and much closer to my main target demographic. I've heard good things thus far, and with feedback I may do some more tweaking.
  • In general, I really feel Schism is getting very close to a final version. I know agents and editors will have changes too, but I feel in my gut that I'm close. :-)
  • I wrote the first draft of chapter 1 of Unity. It is officially started. I won't work on it again until after the conference, but I wanted it to be "started."
Is that enough going on? I did get an idea for a short story while driving, but I'll probably put that off for a bit. 

April 10, 2013

It begins

So, I've decided to blog my writing journey and any other things I feel like sharing. I know a first post is usually some introductory thing, but I'll go against the grain yet again and share.

Today I participated in a book bomb for writer David Farland's son Ben who was in an accident and needs financial support. There's more information here, and though I'm posting this late in the day I'm sure any purchases in the future will still help out.

I got Million Dollar Outlines. I thought, 'hey maybe this will help me too.' Who knows, right?

Anyway, welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy my random ramblings. >_^