Thursday, September 30, 2010

Organization, awards, and Devastating Epidemics

This week I am getting my blog lists organized. Why didn't anyone tell me about Google Reader earlier??? You did? Oh. Well, I love it!  I'm putting all the blogs I follow into little folders so I can find your posts easier. It's awesome.

(If you follow me at Paper and Parchment, please leave a comment so I can follow you! I don't want to leave anyone out!)

I have to thank Quinn for the excellent award! I love the bloggy awards, I need to be better at posting them.
If you haven't read Quinn's blog, check it out (here). Thank you Quinn!

I am passing this award on to a few of my new bloggy buddies:
 Leisha Maw
Lisa M. Potts
Nicole Ducleroir
Terry Lynn Johnson
Ann Best
Charmaine Clancy
Please check out their blogs. They are all going places!

My new bloggy friend Elena Solodow (click here for her excellent blog) has informed me of a terrible epidemic. It' could be raging within your home town right this minute! It's quit frightening-- Please take a look.

(You'll have to go to Elena's blog to view the video. It's awesome! Go do it....) =D

So tell me, what do you think we should do about this awful crisis?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Compelling Characters

Okay, so this is a speedy first draft blog post, because I'm a slacker this week and didn't get this written until this morning (but my laundry's done, so I'm feeling pretty good about that).

Elana J, Jen, and Alex have challenged us to write down what we feel makes a compelling character (for the full list of bloggers see Elana's post here).

I think, to make a compelling character, you need your character to be like my Aunt Betsy. Yes, Aunt Betsy.

First, she is super nice. She would give you the shirt off her back (if she wore one, but she is always wearing those floral dresses). She invites people in to visit, she makes meals for people in her neighborhood who are having a hard time. Yeah, she has a reputation of niceness.

 Now, something you should know about Aunt Betsy, which is kind of creepy. She has twelve cats. TWELVE! Which makes her house stinky, so she wears enough perfume to make your eyes water. It's kind of gross, but she's got that niceness thing going on and she can't stand to see any stray cats go without.

The cat thing wouldn't be so bad if Aunt Betsy didn't look so weird. I mean, she has blue hair. You know, the kind of blue that is fluffed up so high—it  makes you want to eat a big ball of cotton candy. That kind of hair (hey, at least it’s not pink).

Plus, she loves her make-up. I heard once Queen Elizabeth or Mary or some queen out there, wore her make-up without taking it off. It was so thick when she died that they had to use a chisel to find her actual skin. I think Aunt Betsy took make-up lessons from her. It wouldn’t be so bad, but that red lipstick’s gotta go!

There is something else you should know about my Aunt. I found out - that night - the one when Mom and Dad had to go to my little brother’s school play, and I had to stay at her house because I got in trouble for taking all the money from the family’s vacation jar to buy myself some doughnuts for school lunch (but that’s a completely different story).  

You see, Aunt Betsy has a fetish with that old movie Arsenic and Old Lace, you know, the one where the old women were killing off lonely old men and burying them in their basement. Well, she keeps a shovel in the basement. And the floor boards look like they’ve been pulled up. Plus it kind of stinks down there like a moldy sandwich that’s been kept in a lunch sack too long. It just makes me wonder. But I’ve never asked her. I mean. Would you?

So tell me what you know about my Aunt Betsy?

Let’s see. She is a weird nice cat lady, has big blue puffy hair (probably older with a little weight, because those are the only women I know with big blue hair), she wears much too much make-up and smells like the perfume kiosk at the mall. Oh, yeah, plus she probably has dead bodies in the basement. Gross.

Oh! And there’s one last thing you need to know about my Aunt Betsy. She’s totally made up. I don’t really have an Aunt Betsy. Aunt Sue, on the other hand, I do have. She is just as interesting as Aunt Betsy, (except for the dead body).

Description, likes dislikes, needed bonding with the reader/mc, what ticks them off, would they really react that way? How come they do that little raising thing with their shoulder? What are their little secrets?

Know your character! That’s how you can make your character more compelling. Any other thoughts you’ve learned along the Blog fest?

Thanks guys! I hope you all get tons of writing done with many compelling characters to interact with.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010


First I should tell you I have not read this book. But there is a ton of controversy about it lately because a parent wants it banned. All I can tell you, is look into it yourself and find out how you feel about it.

All I can say is, "wow."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Catching Like Fire

"Like everybody else, when I don't know what else to do, I seem to go in for catching colds." ~George Jean Nathan

Everything’s fuzzy-my head, my hearing, my nose. Yes my friends, I tried to escape it with mega doses of vitamin C, but…it got me. I have a cold.

And not just any cold. It’s the kind that makes you write really boring stuff. The kind that won’t let you think of any kind of awesome action scene, because…let’s face it…I am just too tired to think of fast paced things right now when all I want to do is crawl under the covers and wish this cold away.

And the comments I’m leaving. Oh, why aren’t they more clever? More brilliant? Well, who can be brilliant with wads of tissue sticking out from their nostrils?

So my friends, if I sound too senseless or if I’m late checking out your posts this week, just remember…I am infested. And be careful, I hear it’s catching on.

So tell me, do you still write when you are sick? Do you sit next to your computer with a roll of t-p wads in your hand like me?

p.s. Sara B. Larson gave me a wonderful award this week. Thanks so much Sara (it’s already in my little award pictures)! You totally rock! Please check out her blog and pass on the bloggy love (not the awful colds).(Sorry Sara, I had that e and o mixed up--silly alphabet).

Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where are the Plot Holes People?

Do you know what really makes me mad?

When you go to a movie, all prepared to pick said movie apart, and there are NO PLOT HOLES!!! What's up with that? I want plot holes people, poor writing, people screaming through the water (because some people forget humans can’t breath hundreds of feet under the ocean). I was truly disappointed.

We took our kids to a movie (I won’t mention which one) and it was good. I mean, the beginning was action packed, the loose ends were all tied up. What is with that?

I wasn’t disappointed at all! Which…is kind of disappointing. j/k

But honestly, there was one thing that came to mind as I was watching "no-plot-hole" movie. You can learn a lot about writing when watching the cinema.

For instance:

Does the movie catch your attention at the beginning?

Do you find your mind wandering in the middle of an “important” scene?

What about the ending, does it leave you feeling, “Oh yeah! AWESOME!” or “Why didn't she just pick up that stick and beat the bad guy with it?" Come on lazy girl! (That one always drives me crazy.)

What about the tension? Does the movie start with little tension and grow as the story continues (You know, do they make their character climb a tree and then start throwing rocks at them? Or do they just throw the rocks in the tree and forget the main character?)

Writing has the exact same elements:
good beginning,
moving middle,
realistic actions
disaster to make the plot great (because no one remembers the fun happy picnic in a story. They remember the picnic when the ants came and ate all the potato chips, which made Little Tommy run over to shoo them away, but instead he tripped and fell over Great Aunt Edna's famous chocolate fudge cake, *gasping for air to keep reading* thus imposing a trip to the hospital where the huge family fight broke out because no one remembered setting Great Aunt Edna's cake on the ground in the first place...That's what the reader will remember--btw, please don't use run on sentences in your writing. They are so hard to read (I'm totally out of breath now).

Okay there you have it. You can learn a lot from the movies and the movie doesn't even have to even be bad.

So what have you learned from the movies lately that can help out a fellow writer?

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's a Party...A Party, Party Weekend

Hi everybody! Karen G. is hosting a great party over on her blog. What a great idea! I'm bringing virtual cookies and blogging about keeping a positive attitude. This is so we can meet new awesome bloggy writers, so please check her site for more details.

Okay, the positive attitude thing is... hard. If you read my post this Monday, I kind of left you hanging. Things didn't go quite as I had planned. The national editor wasn't taking any new clients and the other was sick. So I was sent to a well known local publisher who said they wanted my ms, but they informed me they don't publish dystopian.

I was torn. Should I cry because the opportunity I had been working towards wasn't going to happen? Or should I cry because I was finally picked. I did the later. I was so thrilled just to know I had the talent to do it. All I had left to do was polish and query.

Sometimes things don't go the way we envisioned them. Sometimes plans are changed. Sometimes we don't think we can live up to the potential. It gets discouraging, but I believe there is always hope, if we just keep keepin' on.

But how do we keep our chins up as writers? I'm forming a list. So far this is what I have:

1. Eat lots of chocolate (or twizzlers if you aren't a fan of chocolate...although I'm pretty sure chocolate cures anything..except for finding lost shoes. Chocolate never helps with that).

2. Listen to songs that make you want to go out and get it! (Pork & Beans by Weezer, Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema.  *grinning* Oh there are just so many good ones I can't list them all!)

3. Spend time discussing (yelling, crying, gnashing of teeth, a little nose blowing) said discouragement with a trusted writing buddy. Writing friends know how it feels. They really do. Most of them have all been there. 

 4. Stop whining and start writing. (That's my big one. I took drama as a teen. I can wallow with the best of them.) 

There are my top four. Do you guys have any other suggestions? I'd love to know what helps you get over the writer blues.