Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals for the New Year:

I must preface this with the statement that I am noctoriously BAD at keeping New Year's Resolutions. However, I think this is partially because I made a goal of what I knew I should want, rather than what actually meant something to me. This time last year I made a commitment to read the entire Narnia series by C.S. Lewis under my firm belief that you can't criticize until you've read the ENTIRE thing. Not that I was citicizing it, but everyone talks about Narnia, except for me and I felt out of the loop. So, I bought myself the HUGE master collection this summer and got to work. I finished just a few days before Christmas. My thoughts on it later. Why am I telling you this? Because it was the changing moment in what I thought a resolution should be. It's about what I've wanted to do with my life and haven't yet, not about what other people would do with my life if I was an automatronic (is that a real word?) robot that could be programed to do their will. After all this is my life and I choose how I want to live it.

Now, without further adou and blubbering, my goals for the new year:
Writing/Reading Goals:
1. Finish and begin submitting my WIP that was supposed to be finished by Jan. 1....whoops.
2. Create a list of agents (numbering at least 20) that I would like to represent my book and add to that list as each reection comes my way.
3. Begin and finish writing another book, but not in the same series as the WIP.
4. Begin book 2 of the WIP and begin making a more detailed plan of book 3. (I'm thinking of you should be afraid, very afraid.)
5. Read. I'm not putting a number to this because I don't have an idea of how I can do. I know I can read at least fifty. I've read 8 in the past week and a half and read 0 the week and a half before that. My schedule's too nutsy to figure out how many I can read that would actually be a challenge. Commiting to read is more of a think about it more than I am now kinda thing.
6. Make more of a commitment to my blog. I've fallen WAY off the wagon, so far that the wagon train left me ten miles west of St. Louis and are already near Oregan. This is partially because of laptop issues, but also due to bad time management.
7. Read a book that I am not interested in. i.e. like Narnia. I didn't have much use for reading it and didn't care that much, but I gained way, WAY more than I thought was possible. So, I'm doing it again.

Family/Friends/Life Goals:
1. Call my family more often. I've seriously lagged in this dept. and there aren't really any excuses other than my life isn't that interesting. The thing is....while my life isn't, that doesn't mean that someone else's life hasn't changed for some reason and I should, as a person with feelings, care when my family members of friends have something new even though the phone works both ways.
2. Keep my desk clean so that I can actually use it. I think that says it all.
3. Get a chair cushion for my terrible desk chair in the hope that I will use it more often.
4. Do at least two things that I've wanted to do in my college town or near abouts.
5. Work really hard in my classes. I'm a good student by habit, but I can be a great student by trying. (<-- made that up by myself, aren't you proud?)

Well, that's my list. I challenge you to read, write, and make your own goals for the new year. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reaching for the Stars

My 2011 goals:

1. Graduate. This is more of a long term goal because my set graduation date is next December, so it should probably go at the end of the list (if it even deserves to be on the list at all). However, it’s the most important of my goals, so in my eyes it’s earned its place at the top of the list.

2. Completely finish a book. So I either have to edit The Tiger (and come up with a better name, possible Entwined not sure though), or I have to finish writing and then edit Monstrous. I’m not sure which is less intimidating to me at the moment.

3. Spend more time with my nephew. I spend no time with my nephew as is, so spending any time with him will be an improvement.

4. Exercise an hour a day 4 times a week. Yeah... being pure muscle has been a life long goal of mine, and it's time I get back to work on it.

5. Pick up at least five new skills. I never commit to what I want to learn in the New Year, but every year I set out with the intention to learn something. Last year it was cross stitch, driving, and how to make enchiladas. This year I’m feeling the urge to learn how to weave, and who knows where I’ll go from there.


Confessional: 2011 New Years Goals

This week I've decided to take a leaf out of Bethany R.'s book and confess my New Years Goals ("Resolutions" sounds too final and intimidating!) for the fast approaching 2011! (Crazy how time flies, huh? I still can't believe 2010 is just mere days away from being a thing of the past, I can still remember ringing it in at midnight last New Year's Eve!) Anywho, for my New Years Goals this year, I'm attempting to be more realistic and choose goals that are still challenging, yet also doable and (heaven forbid) FUN! :)

*Exercise at least three times a week (2 times a week on the Nu Step, 1 time a week in the swimming pool)

*Attempt to do a liver cleanse (I'll keep you posted on this one, 3 weeks of eating nothing but fruits and vegetables is SO not my idea of fun, but lately I've been feeling really icky physically and mentally and have no confidence in the way I look, so at this point, I'm willing to try anything to get me feeling healthy and full of life and energy! Let's just hope I survive...)

*Get out of the house at least once a week (Doing school online doesn't always leave me a lot of free time or energy to get out and do things away from my computer, plus, it doesn't help that I live in Alaska, where it snows for freaking half the year, making it almost impossible for me to get outside safely, but for my sanity and the sanity of others around me, I'm hoping to change that this year!)

*Worry less, live more (In addition to being a homebody, I'm also a big worry-wart, always fretting about the safety of my family and friends, the past, the future, what I did or didn't say/do, you name it, I'm probably worrying about it. But I know that not all of the things I worry about are in my control, so I really have to train myself to just get out into the world more and experience the things it has to offer, and try not to worry as much about what might/will/won't happen and just learn to love life and to live in the NOW! Any tips you have on how to worry less would be awesome!)

*Write-and for the love of God, FINISH-a 50,000 word, craptastic first draft of a story and have FUN doing it, perfection be damned! (Yeah, I'll be sure to keep you updated on this one, should be interesting, lol! That is, if I don't pull out all my hair first! :P)

*Attend a writer's retreat (I've always wanted to attend one of these, some retreat locations and houses I've seen are so amazing I practically salivate with longing at the sight of them! But retreats out of state are so expensive! Oh, how I wish money really did grow on trees! But we shall see, we shall see...)

*Attend a writing conference (I actually attended my first local writing conference this summer when a group of Alaskan mystery writers came to town. That was fun, especially when I walked in and realized I was the only under-50-year-old writer there, lol, but all the women were really welcoming and informative, so I got over it after a little while! The best part though was when an agent from New York got up to speak and I didn't realize she had been the same woman that had been sitting in front of me the whole time! Then I was lucky enough to be able to work with her when she was in my group when we did a group writing session, and then at the end of the day, as I got into the elevator to leave she said bye and then wished me good luck with my writing and...I didn't say anything back! I must've still been in shock that an actual agent was even talking to me, let alone wishing me good luck, but OMG, was I embarrassed!

*Attend a book signing (This is a goal that I've wanted to accomplish for a long time. I've read blogs where people recount their experience at a book signing and even watched bits of different book signings on Youtube, but it doesn't even come close to the real thing! The top 5 authors whose book signings I would just DIE to attend? Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder), Jackson Pearce (Sisters Red), Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush), Kamie Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures) and Maggie Stievater (Shiver), even though I haven't finished reading Shiver yet and have not read any of her other books (I know, I know, the horror!) from what I've seen of her signings online, she's a very entertaining speaker and had me in stitches, so either way, I bet I'd have a ball! :)

Now, it's your turn! What are your New Years Resolutions/Goals this year?


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

From all of us at Ink Slingers
to all of you out there...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gifts for Writers.

I wont lie, every Christmas my entire family asks me what I want. And every year my response is the same. I will give you a second to guess...


Ready? Well you guessed it. Or at least I hope you did. BOOKS!! Hehe, that's all I ever want, I compile a huge list of books, deliver it to my parental units and they distribute it through the rest of my family. They both are from large broods so it gets spread out pretty well.

Any-who so I had to think of some things that writers, like my lovely partners and hopefully our commendable readers (especially those who put up with my scatterbrain syndrome and inconsistent posting), would appreciate.

1) A snuggie. (I know, what a loser, no wonder she doesn't go out Friday nights, she has a snuggie, all the mysteries of the universe have been solved!) But seriously, they are warm. You don't even have to get a real snuggie, just get a knock off. I know that late at night, when my parents are under the impression I am in bed, I like to curl up with my snuggie, a mug of tea, a bar of chocolate, my outline and my laptop or a book, and lose myself to another world. It is especially good for the New England Winters I tolerate so that may be why.

2) A cute personal mug. I won a mug from my friend K.M., it is this cute mug with a bunch of stripes and I LOVE it. It is MY mug my personal mug, I use it for my coffee, tea, hot chocolate. And let me tell you, those all nighters I sometimes pull, that mug is by my side providing me with encouragement and nourishment, not to mention tasty goodness, all night long. It also would go well with that mug warmer, that Emery suggested (BTW Em, I totally saw your post and asked for it, with the tag line "It will be SO helpful in college...":).

3)Chocolate. Okay so I work in a chocolate store, and so I kind of am a chocolate know-it-all, not a snob, or anything I just know a lot about it. Like that an allergy to actually chocolate, as in the cocoa bean, is really quite rare and normally people are just allergic to the ingredients in chocolate, and dark chocolate stimulates creativity. So I always appreciate a nice big bar of dark chocolate, or a box of assorted dark chocolates. Or even milk or white chocolate, I do not discriminate, dark just holds a special place in my heart (an organ that it is subsequently GOOD for. Seriously it's true. I'm not lying!).

4) iTunes gift card. I listen to music a lot. If it be on CDs, or cassettes (YES I still own those. Back off my geekiness is not here for your gawking pleasure.) or my iPod, it is still something that is just nice. And they can get movies with it too, and TV shows and a load of other things as well. So yeah.

5)Notebooks. Tiny notebooks, big notebooks, notebooks with no lines...etc. I get a load of them every year, (for example today, literally today in school, one of my friends gave me a HARRY POTTER DESIRABLE NO. 1 notebook!!!! I flailed.) and every year they do not get old. They get used. Even if it isn't right away, eventually a writer will crack open that spine and cover the page in pretty, and sometimes not pretty, words. Obviously I shouldn't have to say this but pens should be attached to this as well, not pencils, those get dull and make obnoxious noises, multi-color pens, fancy-smancy pens, no matter the design it will eventually be utilized.

6) Writer related reading material. Not just books, but magazines, articles, anything that could help a writer improve their craft, hone their skills and take one more step towards publication. They will be used and appreciated, because it shows that you have faith in what they're doing, and that you are going to do nothing but encourage them and help them along the way.

7) Love and understanding. Honestly I have friends whose parents do not respect their love of writing, I am blessed that my parents and my family do support me. I believe that the one thing you can give an author, the BEST thing, Is your love, understanding and respect of their craft. I can say that if my parents didn't support me, I would not be where I am today. And just taking a moment to read something they've written and give them feedback, or just tell them you love them, or show them you love them and support them, is the best gift in the world.

So there we go. Happy Christmas, I hope everyone has a good winter break, for those of you who get it, and a nice writer-ly Christmas. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little Things, Big Impact

There are a few writerly things on my Christmas list this year, but for my list I thought I'd stick with things that I use daily as a writer and that have really made the difference for me.

10. Wall Sized World Map. This is something every writer should have, even if they don’t realize it yet. When you’re writing a story with multiple locations it can sometimes be hard to visualize one location in relation to another, and it can help to . It’s also fun to stick another pushpin in the map, I have no idea why.

11. Write or Die. There is now a desktop version of Write or Die, and if your writer is the type of person who likes things to be quantified or writes best on a deadline this is the gift for them. If they aren’t that type of person then stay away from this like it’s the plague because they’ll probably hate it.

12. Research Books. Just because they’ve chosen to write a book including a particular subject doesn’t mean they actually know anything about that subject, so nonfiction books on topics that occur in your writer’s story can come in very handy down the road. Besides it’s also a nice subtle way of saying “you know all those times you were talking about your book and thought I wasn’t listening? I really was and this proves it.”

13. Info on a story posting website. This is a pretty small gift, but it really speaks volumes. If left to their own devices some writers would never even think of posting their stories on websites like fiction press, and some have absolutely no desire to post on this type of website. However, that really isn’t important. It’s the fact that you think their writing is good enough to share with the world, and for a writer who’s never had the courage to share their talents with the world or who secretly thinks their work isn’t good enough a gesture like this can make a world of difference.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Comfort LIFE

I have comfort books for different aspects of my life. What I'm feeling changes what kind of book related comfort I want. Here's a better idea of what I mean:

Bad day at school: Give me any book with adventure and excitement. I need to escape LIFE therefore, give me another's life that is both more complicated and more exciting than my own. Before I know it I'm swimming oceans (ha, I wish), climbing mountains (yeah, right), fighting bad guys (do professors count?), freeing the prince (yeah...haven't even found him yet), and all sorts of other things that really can take my mind out of what I'm doing. As long as it's a book and it's not anything close to my life, I'm good to go.

Doubting my career choice: This doesn't really happen that often, but when it does I need research. No escape is satisfactory to me. Give me journal articles, real life stories (that pertain to my career), or anything with a statistic showing that not only are employers looking for people with my future degree, they are also paying well for someone with my degree AND I have options with my degree in the chance that there isn't a job open. I need reassurance here and only facts can give that to me.

Doubting my writing ability: Give me J.K. Rowling and her land of awesomeness. You'd think by being surrounded my so much awesome this would lower my self-confidence but funny enough, it doesn't. It reminds me of this quote that Harry said in Order of the Pheonix: (I might be a little incorrect in the wording because I'm doing this from memory and don't have my OOTP with me, but here's the jist)

"Every great witch or wizard (or author in this case) started out just where we are now. 
If they can do it why not us (me)."
This quote will kind of hover over me while I read any of her books. It gives me the va-va-voom to get up and start writing/editing/whatever again. In the end the only thing stopping me from what I want is me and my own doubts. In the end. Doubts are not worth the time or energy that they consume. Everyone has a starting point and eventually I will get to where I want to go. This is what calms and comforts me the most. 

So, now that you know what makes me take a chill pill, what books give you that needed calm down factor? I'd love any references you can give me in the comments :) Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comfort Food... er... Books

Although it’s short my list of “comfort books” is one that I’ve been steadily building up over time, and here it is.

Oliver and Amanda's Christmas: My mom made the mistake of reading this to me and my brothers one Christmas when I was four, and I’ve read it to my brothers every Christmas since then. Even now I read it to my nephew while my brothers pretend not to be listening, but they always end up curled up with my nephew and I on the living room couch begging to hear it one more time.

Agnes and the Hitman: I picked this book up in Wal-Mart one night while I was shopping for snacks to stick in my backpack before catching the red-eye to Texas to visit family. I stayed up for the whole flight reading Agnes and the Hitman, and the woman sitting next to me kept shooting me suspicious glances because of the strange expressions I kept making as I desperately tried not to burst out laughing.

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax: Long before I ever read The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax I saw the movie staring Angela Lansbury. I never forgot that movie, but it never came on again. One night while I was looking for a book to read I came across a Reader’s Digest Condensed book, and one of the books it contained was The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. The book was so different from the movie, but I inhaled it anyway. I’ve read it so many times since that my parents bought me a new copy for Christmas a few years ago because the old copy was falling apart.

Cream Puff Murder: Not that I don’t love the whole book, but there is one scene that have bookmarked that I keep going back to over and over. It’s the one where Hannah spends the night at Norman’s place, and when she wakes up in the morning she realizes that he truly had build the house for the two of them to live in together. It was just so sweet. I thought she was going to propose to him on the spot.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Tough Stuff

I struggle with many things throughout the writing process, but recently, the things I've been struggling with the most are fear, lack of motivation and finishing.

Fear has always been a big part of my writing process, unfortunately. I'm fearful that I'll never finish a book, that people will hate my work, that I'll never be published, etc. the fears are endless and I've had to work really hard to ignore them and just keep writing, but sometimes, against all odds, they still manage to get the best of me and leave me shaking in my boots, terrified to set pen to the page (or finger to the keyboard).

Lack of motivation has been plaguing me a lot lately. I'm a college student, so my days are filled with school, school, school and that leaves me very little time (and energy) to do anything else. So by the time I fall into bed at night, the last thing I feel like doing is writing and instead I just want to do something that requires very little energy, like surfing the net, watching, T.V., or ha, you know, actually sleeping *gasp*! I've tried setting aside time during the day to write, but, of course, whenever I'm writing I feel guilty for not focusing on school and whenever I'm working on school I feel guilty for not focusing on writing! It's a constant tug-of-war between what I know I should be doing (school) and what I want to be doing (writing), makes me tired even thinking about it!

And finally, finishing. Ah, finishing. Finishing and I have a bit of a l0ve-hate relationship. On one hand, I've finished writing a book before and the feeling was unlike any other I've experienced before: a mixture of holycrapIjustfinishedwritingafreakingBOOKYAY!!! (aka "OMG, I am BRILLIANT!") to holycrapIjustfinishedwritingafreakingBOOKAHHH!!! (aka "OMG, this book SUCKS! What was I THINKING?!"). So I know what I'd get to look forward to if I were to finish writing a book, that, plus being one step closer to being PUBLISHED but on the other hand...It's just so darn HARD! It's been years since I've finished writing a book (I wrote-and finished-my first book when I was 14) and I'm not sure why, I think it has to with a combination of things, like fear, lack of motivation, being way too easily wooed away from working on my WIPs by evil, evil, SNIs (Shiny New Ideas), not being sure what ideas to choose to work on, and a ton of other things, but, obviously, I know that if I want to have a shot in Hell at getting published then I need to figure out how to get over all of these issues, so, that's where you come in: Do you have any tips on how to overcome any of the issues I've mentioned so that I can finally get past them all in order to write-and finish!-a first draft? I'd really appreciate your help! :)


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Issues I Deal With

Sorry late post. Work has taken over my life. Literally. Well not literally but almost.

Anywho I was not forgetting this post this week. Just sayin’ I’ve been falling behind, but I think my good news is a pretty good excuse for it. I was applying to all my lovely schools *cough**fourteen**cough*, and so far I have been accepted into four!! Yay! I will for sure be going to school now!! Celebrate good times come one! Do do do do do do do do….

Sorry I had to burst into song. My apologies.

My biggest challenge is the block. And the doubt. I’m a kid, people do not expect me to want to do what I want to do, to love it appreciate it. I’ve been told, by multiple people that I should wait. But that’s not what I want. So as a writer those are the two things I struggle with.

Alright when I am plagued by the “this blank document makes me want to gouge my eyes out” fairy or “the evil word splicing, sentence snapping, paragraph vivisecting, page defenestrating,” elf, “who does not allow one fine word to spew from my racing fingertips and makes me want to, for all intensive purposes cut my own head off.” Not that I have violent thoughts or anything

I drink tea. Lots and lots of chamomile tea; and each chocolate, lots and lots of dark chocolate. Both are known for stimulating creativity. I also go through iTunes creating random play lists depending on whatever songs I’d like to hear, and then place those play lists on repeat while sitting in front of the computer. I also doodle, endlessly. I pick fights with my sister. Trust me the arguing gets the adrenaline pumping and then the writing just flows. I call my friends and info dump on them over the phone, bouncing ideas off of them until their ears bleed from my incessant babbling. I read. Also watching TV or old movies sometimes helps, listening to the radio too. Or laying upside down on the couch letting the blood rush to your head. I mean the oxygen has got to do something for those creative brain cells up there right?

But when I’m plagued with the “You suck find something else to do with your life” troll, I read Harry Potter because it reminds me why I wanted to do this in the first place why I started. And I sleep. Like curl up in bed for a day sleep. When I’m super stressed and run real thin, sleep is just what I need.

And then, when the block breaks, and the doubt dissipates, I write a sentence that makes me sit back and think, “Wow I can do this.” And I know it to be true.

Okay, sleep, sounds good. Glad I got this post done, sorry about my sketchy not regular-ness, that is going to stop. AS soon as the holidays are over and I can finally catch my breath. Senior-it is set in four years ago and now, thanks to those four little letters, I can allow the disease to spread to its fullest and consume me. SCORE!!! Which means more time for posting, bopin’ around the blogsphere, reading, and virtually stalking all my favorite authors/people. Till next time.

Xoxo Hayley

Yes I was pretending to be gossip girl. No I do not watch the show, or read the books, but the announcer at school awhile ago signed off like that, and I wanted to mimic him, it was cute.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Writing Challenge, Test, Trial, Task, Ect...

I’m pretty much good to go on the prewriting stuff and the post writing stuff. I’m a list person, so outlining and mapping is something I enjoy. I tend to base most of my characters on people I meet in real life (you have been warned), and the only time I can get any writing done is when I don’t have enough time to write.

For me the biggest challenge in the writing process is editing. In fact until last year I’d never really edited anything. I just write my paper it, skim over it quick to make sure there aren’t any spelling errors, and send it off to its final destination. I never really saw the point of editing a five page college paper. I’d meant what I’d said, my paper was only one in a stack of at least thirty, and I got A’s regardless of if I hard core edited it or not. Now that I’m writing more than five pages I’ve some how managed to carry this bad habit over with me. The bright side is that it’s easier for me to grasp the concept of editing hundred page stories than the concept of editing college paper.

The problem is that I honestly had no idea how to do it, but after studying the comments the other Ink Slingers have made about my stories it’s gotten a lot easier. I’m able to look at my work with more of an objective eye and accept that it’s just a first draft and changing it is a good thing. If I left it how it was then it would be messy and raw, so in this case admitting it isn’t perfect is a good thing.

Finding the time to edit is also a problem for me, and I’ll let you know how I cope with that part of the problem once I successfully find the time to edit anything the whole way through.


Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm Late!

For a very important date!!! What date? This date: Friday December 3, my date for my blog post. So why? Well, I kinda sorta, just....forgot?? I know, it's terrible. I could list several reasonable excuses, but I doubt you care, you're here for a book review and a book of the month you shall get. AND because I'm late, I'll do ya better. I'm doing a quick review to TWO books :) So, here it goes.

Book 1: Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Falling. Yikes! Captured and Entranced. Friends. Wow details. Escape and Adventure. Va-va-voom, bring me more.

Thumbs up. This would rate in my "good book" category. I'm entranced enough to want to read the next book and this one was really good. I think for people younger than 6th grade it would be a great read. (though on amazon, it's recommended for grades 4-8) You can really get in Soren's head and feel what he's feeling regardless that he's upchucking parts of his food and talks about growing his flight feathers. 

Here's the thing. This isn't just a story about an owl's life, it's adventure and it shows the importance of believing in something more important than just yourself. The descriptions are INCREDIBLE and the society of owls is completely believable. It sets up a great world and storyline for the rest of the books in the series. Overall, I'd recommend it to anyone regardless of age because it's good, but I'd really recommended it middle grade writers and middle grade/ young adult readers. 
Book 2: Wolves of the Beyond: Lone Wolf
Author: Kathryn Lasky
OMG it's adorable! Oh no! Whew, okay, he's good. There's more to this. The end?

Thumbs up, like Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture, this books sets up an excellent premise for the books that follow. It's a great tale of working through adversity and not giving up because things aren't perfect or the way they're supposed to go.  The entire novel I was rooting for Faolan. It's hard not to get a connection with this young wolf when he's going through so much to just survive. You really want him to succeed and that is what keeps the pages turning. At the same time, you get the sense that he's not going to end up like his typical kind do, there's something special about him and it's only a matter of times before he starts to shine. This is what's driving me to the next books in the series. 

I'd definitely put this in my "good book" category. It was worth the read and even worth re-reading AND I kinda can't wait to read the rest of the series. I'd highly recommend this book to 5-6th graders or middle grade writers. 

So, what about you? What's your best book from November?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Best Cookbook I Read in November

As a testament to the type of month I’ve had the only books I’ve read in November were cookbooks. I think that the best book I read in November was Taste of Home: More Fast Fixes With Mixes.

I’m not big on using mixes in cooking, and the only reason I bought this particular cookbook was because I didn’t notice the “with mixes” part of the title until I was already in the check out line. But once I got it home and tried out a few of the recipes I was actually really glad I got it.

Some of the desserts were pretty disgusting, although incredibly good, but all of the other recipes I’ve tried so far are great. A lot of them involve refrigerated crescent roles, which I normally don’t like the taste of, but all of the other ingredients in the recipe really did wonders for the taste. I’d recommend this cookbook to anyone with one small piece of advice, use your own brownie recipe as opposed to a mix whenever possible.


P.S. Oh and...


Friday, November 26, 2010

CONTEST RESULTS!!! and Thankfullness

Yay! Today's the day after Thankgiving aka the biggest shopping day of the year aka Black Friday. I hope you are all either avoiding the crowds and chilling out with a good book digesting all of that turkey, or scoring some great deals. Some of our followers (THIS MEANS YOU...maybe) have also scored big in critiques!

As you might recall (unless the gravy wiped your brain of cells, hey, it's been done), we had a contest a while ago and we FINALLY have tallied the results and they are as follows:

These people have won a critique by the person who posts on the day they won!
Monday: Emery
                         Congrats Marin Longnecker!
Tuesday: Ella
                         Congrats Corey Schwartz!
Wednesday: Aaron
                         Congrats Jewels!
Thursday: Hayley
                         Congrats Shannon O'Donnell!
Friday: Bethany M (ME!)
                         Congrats Sharon K. Mayhew!

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: wins a critique from the 6 of us!


Dear Contest Winners:
     If you have won a critique you should have recieved an email. If not, please email the person who is doing your critique or any one of us :) for details on what to do next!

On to being thankful:

Okay, so my thankfulness post is a little late for Thanksgiving, but that's probably not as important as recognizing what I'm thankful for, regardless of the day. More than anything I'm thankful for one thing: LIFE. Without my own life I would have nothing to be thankful for. I wouldn't exist on this day to say thanks to my parents, to my sisters or my family, my dog and my cows, or even the goats. I would never be able to look at a sunset or just an  open field with that wonderness that fills me (yes, I am sure I just made up that word). I couldn't write or appreciate agriculture. I wouldn't be able to get my hands dirty or make mistakes. There is so much that I can do just because I'm alive. I think sometimes we take life for granted even more than the things or people in our lives.

I know this is a short post, but sometimes less is more. I could list everything I can think of that I'm thankful for (I did last year) but instead I'd like to hear what you are thankful for. Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I'm Thankful For

Since it's the week of Thanksgiving, which is a very big holiday for my family, I thought that I'd say what I'm thankful as opposed to confessing the strange things I've done this month. Then again, in a lot of ways they're sort of the same thing.

1. I’m thankful for days off. I haven’t truly taken a day off in over a year, but on November 12 I did. I went to bed at six o’clock, slept through numerous phone calls bearing horrible news, and didn’t wake up until six the next morning. I spent the rest of the day writing, cooking, and not answering my phone. I wrote over 5,000 words, didn’t go down stairs till noon, and ate dinner at five.

2. I’m thankful for my family who panics when they can’t reach me, and who never let me forget what’s important in my life… them.

3. I’m thankful for a very special guy in my life who no matter how crazy his life is always takes the time to ask me how I’m doing, stays up late helping me outline even when he’s worn out, and helps me figure out the military’s response to the reappearance of Greek Gods after the occurrence of a nuclear apocalypse.

4. I’m thankful for supportive professors and host teachers who don’t let me quit even when I want to.

5. I’m thankful for my cookbook full of recipes that can be made ahead of time and frozen. I probably wouldn’t eat lunch at all if it wasn’t for those recipes. I make up a double batch of something and brownies every Sunday, and every morning on my way out the door I stick two of whatever it is and a brownie in my lunch box. Oh, I’m also thankful for my grown up lunch box, with leopard spots on it.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I'm Thankful For

This year, I have a lot to be thankful for, including (in no particular order):

1. My family's health.

2. The fact that both my parents have good jobs and we have a roof over heads and food in our bellies and warm bed to sleep in every night, because there are so many people who don't.

3. My family and friends who are so supportive and loving to one another.

4. My fabulous critique group who accepts me for who I am, knows how to tell me the truth about my writing (in the nicest way possible!), even if it's the last thing I want to hear and who replies to every one of my e-mails, no matter how spazy or full of CAPS and !!!!!'s they may be. To them I say thank you, I wouldn't have made it this far without you! :D <3

5. The fact that there is only 10 days left of the semester and after that, I get a whole month off to sleep, write, read, eat and just enjoy having to do absolutely nothing, especially homework! I can't WAIT! :D


So, what are you thankful for this year?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Best Advice Ever!

The best advice I've ever recieved is from an unknown author. I don't remember the exact quotation but it went something like this:
"Know when to end"

I like it.
It's simple.
It's straight forward.
It's all a writer needs to know.

No, I'm not joking.

Think about it. We all, I'm sure, have read books that seem to drone on. Is the end of this chapter ever going to happen? Heck, is the end of this BOOK ever going to happen?
Here's the thing. There may have been other reasons for why we asked ourselves those questions when we read those books, but really, it all comes down to one thing. The author didn't know when to end...
...with discription
...with gore
...with the book
...with the series
...with a character (kill him already!)
The list could go one forever. The thing is, as writers we're are creating our own world and sometimes we get lost in it. We see all the details sometimes and get lost in them when we should be thinking about the "real" story. The real story isn't in the flower you just wrote four paragraphs of description on (most likely) it's with your characters and the plot.

Sometimes I can be a little long-winded, you're shocked I can tell. Every time I consider adding just a bit more, know when to end comes to mind. Do I really need that? Is it going to add to the story? Can they get the idea without it? It reminds me that sometimes less is more, regardless of what my word count and the rest of the world says. In the end, it's a story and it ends where it ends. Figuring that part out can be a bit of a challenge, but we're writers right? No one said it would be easy.

So do you know when to end? and somewhat more importantly....who went to see Harry Potter 7 Part 1 last night?!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best Advice

Surprise! Tuesday here! I was too tired to post on my normal day, so, here I am! So when I found out we would be blogging about the best writing advice we've ever gotten, I had to think a while. I've come across a ton of great writing advice and my first idea was to find a collection of writing quotes from different authors and then I thought, well why I don't I just use the advice that I read every time I go on to my other blog, The Blogger Girlz? It's advice that rings very true and something I work hard at trying to follow everyday. In fact, I think this advice is so important that, so I wouldn't forget it, I decided to include it at the top of The Blogger Girlz blog so that I'll always be reminded of it:
"Don't get it right, get it written." - Mandy Hubbard
See? It's simple, yet also very important, advice. My whole life, I've been guilty of being a total perfectionist, especially when it comes to my writing. I hate it when I know what I've written is total crap and so I spend tons of time editing and rewriting my prose-even if it's just one sentence-until it shines (or as shiny as I'm capable of making it, anyway). Unfortunately, while it makes for polished writing, it's not a very productive way to spend my time, especially when I'm trying to crank out a first draft. Take NaNoWriMo for instance, the idea of this event is quantity over quality and locking away your inner editor in order to crank out a 50,000 word novel in a month. Well, I can't so no to a challenge, especially one that involves writing, so for the last three years I've competed in NaNo-and lost every year. Because, like clock work, as soon as I'm ready to start writing and am ready to bring to life the stories that only exist in my head, my inner editor kicks into overdrive, ripping apart every single word that I write (sometimes even before I set pen to paper) until I'm so crippled with fear and doubt that I stop writing and move onto to something else that I'd rather/should be doing like sleeping/homework.
This year's NaNo has been no different: I've started and stopped on up to 6 different stories because of boredom/fear/doubt, you name it. Mostly though I think I'm just reluctant to keep going on any story because I know that the story I write down won't match the vision of the story that I have in my head, not without some work anyway. So that's why it's been so hard to lock away my inner editor and just write, perfection be damned. Locking away my inner editor and my perfection at the same time and allowing myself to write utter poo? Yikes, it's been like pulling teeth. I want so much for the vision that I have in my head to spill out exactly as I see it onto the page, that my writing (and my word count) has been stop and go for weeks.
But I know that at some point if I want to have a shot in Hell at ever getting from "aspiring" to "published" I've got to let my writing insecurities go and just write and not be so concerned about getting it right the first time around. (I think for that to work, at least entirely, I'll have to tattoo Mandy's quote onto my forehead. :P)
So, tell me: Do you have a problem with perfection/doubt/fear/boredom when writing? Any tips on how to get past it and just write? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Only Way Out...

The best advice that I ever got from another writer was from John Green, quoting Robert Frost, and it was “the only way out is through.”

In the context he was using the quote in I think that he intended it to mean that the only way to get out of writing a book was to finish the book. Once you get started on a book it’s going to be there for the rest of time regardless of whether you finish it or not. If you don’t finish it then it’s always going to be there taunting you saying, “you couldn’t finish me. You aren’t the writer you claim to be. You failed and I won!” It you do finish it then you’re done. You send it out into the world for other people to deal with. It’s no longer your problem.

However, at the time I read his quote I was having a bad week, so I saw it more as life advise. When everything’s flying at you all at once and it looks like there’s no way out all you can do is put your head down and plow through it. Even though you feel horrible at the time it’ll end up like every other situation. You’ll get through it and you’ll move on to the next chapter in your life.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Question...

Classic versus current?

The epic battle.

Personally I love classic novels. Let’s be frank, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, The Importance of Being Ernest, Dracula and Romeo and Juliet, are amazing. And I’m only naming a few.

Now there are the books I don’t like, which will not be mentioned because I don’t want to, but everyone has their tastes.

As for the war timeless versus current, I have to say that you can’t really pick a side. Or at least I can’t, as I am a writer who is current. I mean literature is literature, and unless it’s written in gibberish or a language I do not comprehend, I’m going to read it. Or at least try to read it, because if it puts me off enough I’ll abandon it…but I digress.

When we are old and grey the books that were considered current when we were kids will be considered classics *cough*HarryPotter*cough*cough* and some wont *cough*Twilight*cough*cough*. But it’s all based on the skill of the writing and the substance behind the story.

I really agree with Aaron’s statement about Bestsellers burning bright, and Classics living on. Like in this short story we read in English last week, that I believe was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, about humans becoming so intelligent they decided to do away with all knowledge via book burning and each book burned differently based on its literary content. I cannot remember the title now, but I’ll remember it eventually and then edit it into this post. Alright it’s late; I’ve got work in the morning. Goodnight!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Post Postponement

Yeah I was thinking about my post all week, in fact drafts are scribbled in my English notebook, I left that at school, and fell asleep when I got home tonight, and of course remembered when I woke up five minutes ago. So I don't have it for you. Hence why I'm going to do my post on Saturday. I'm so sorry you guys! But I HAVE it done. I'm so mad at myself for leaving it in my stupid locker. Stupid school, it is a brain suck.

Stupid brain suck.
Stupid school.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Timeless Classics verses Current Bestsellers

I have a confession, when I first got this week’s topic I wasn’t sure if I had even read a classic. Not because I’m ignorant and rough around the edges (although I probably am), but because I’m a linear thinker and “timeless classic” is a very subjective. Even after I Googled “what are the classics in literature” I’m still not sure what the classics are. Everyone has a different opinion and every list I came across was just a little bit different. Thankfully, there was enough overlap that I could determine that yes I had read a great deal of classics, although the exact number varies depending on which list I went by.

However, regardless of which list I use my favorite timeless classic has and will always be Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Although, I really like the story of Dracula what I really love about this book is the story behind it.

Even though it is a timeless classic Dracula was never a best seller. Even when it was written it was dated and evidently a lot of people thought it wasn’t a book women should read because it might offend our delicate sensibilities. However, it was far enough out there that it just hung in there.

There’s no reason that a bestseller can’t become a timeless classic, but the thing that separates them is that bestsellers seem to burn bight for a short period of time while timeless classics smolder, refusing to die out.


Classics Vs. Current

In high school, I was forced to read a lot of books that I hated, more specifically, the classics, like Moby Dick, Of Mice and Men and A River Runs Through It. Ok, scratch that, hate is a strong word, let's just say that I wasn't very fond of the classics, especially when there were no werewolves or zombies anywhere in sight!

Current reads though, especially YA? Can't get enough of the stuff! Dude, my teenage-self would have died and gone to heaven if the amazing books that are around today were around back then! I think that was one of the many reasons I started writing all those years ago, I was unsatisfied with what was available for kids my age, so I wanted to write something that I would like to read.

Once I got further into reading the classics though (or watched the movie adaptions, that always made it a little more bearable) I realized that they weren't as bad as I had initially thought they were. For example, after my junior English class and I were done reading A River Runs Through It, we got to watch the movie adaption (starring a young Brad Pitt, yes please!) and by that point I was really enjoying the story, but then our teacher took it one step further by taking us to the gym where were we got to practice casting a fly fishing pole. It was then that I was sold: That book/movie and that sport are amazing and I never realized how beautiful and elegant fly fishing is and and after that experience in the gym (where I was referred to as a natural-I'm still flattered by that comment, even years later!) I've wanted to try fly fishing for real.

So even though I think I'm more of a fan of current books then classic ones, there are those certain classics like A River Runs Through It, that really make an impact on me. And when current and classics mix together? Even better! Take for example, Jane Austen. I love her, except, I've never read-or finished reading, anyway-her books. I've watched the movie adaptions though and have loved them and thought that would be that. But then I found a book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and as soon as I saw the title and the creepy cover, I was hooked! And then I started reading it and loved it even more! Never finished (I know, it's a filthy habit) but after reading what I did of the book, I realized that it is possible to combine two different types of books together to make one book that both readers of classics and current reads will love. I mean common' The Bennett sisters turned zombie slayers? Heck yes! And, of course, Mr. Darcy, can't forget him! :)

So which do you prefer? Classics, current stuff or a combination? Why? Let me know in the comments!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Exciting News

Two weeks ago we got a very interesting e-mail from Bethany saying that she had gotten a very interesting e-mail from Bethany, not herself another Bethany (Bethany R). Bethany R. was trying to find a critique group that she could join and wanted to know how the five of us got together. Well, long story short since there are seven days in the week and only five Ink Slingers we assimilated her (it was very Borg like of us).

Now, I am proud to introduce for the first time ever on Ink Slingers: Bethany R.

- Aaron

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hayley's Up!

I'm running late, I know. My apologies, college was taking over my life today, again. But I'm going to be done by November first and then bring on NaNoWriMo! Anywho it's our contest week and here's a recap of how to play along:


We will each post on our regular day with a random question of our choosing. To enter, you must be a follower and comment on the post once with your answer. Each of us will choose a winner from our post days and individually critique for that person. Query, first chapter or synopsis- one of us will give them the Inkslinger treatment.


At the end of the week, we’ll tally up all the followers/commenters from the 5 weekly posts and randomly select one Grand Prize Winner. The winner can submit a query, first chapter or synopsis for review, and all 5 of us will critique for him/her.

So my question, is a little odd but it has to do with this assignment I'm working on for schoola dn well I want to know what other people think. AlsoI dropped the ball a little bit, sorry my fellow Slingers.

What is something you would love to do that is mischievous and just barely walks that fine line between legal and illegal, as in it should be illegal but there is no law for it because it is so odd and out there, and doesn't really harm anyone?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Read Robin

Up, Up. Get up! I yelled at myself. I stood, swaying until I could regain my balance. I must have hit my head harder than a thought. My brains felt like they were pounding a rebellion out against my skull. I planted my feet and reached out a hand to the rusty fence that surrounded the graveyard, trapping me within it's bounds. On an ordinary day, I would have jumped it without thinking, but Isaac's face stood out to me in the night's darkness, even now, I couldn't leave him. Not again. As if I summoned him, the Fader appeared.

Sauntering down the church's back steps, his now white orbs searched through the graves and the trees trying to find me. His body was harder to define in the moonlight, for it showed all what he truly was, a shadow. A Fader was something from my childhood, a story everyone in my village is told about, but no one has ever seen one. That, of course, I remind myself was before Isaac was taken. Even then, only I saw the Fader for what he was, just as I see him now.

Faders were shadows sent in the night, absorbing the human form before they took you. To where, no one knew. I didn't even know and I had been tracking them for the past seven years. Hopelessly hoping that somehow Isaac had made it, or maybe because I might be able give someone the gift he gave me.

"Come and get me," I yelled, surprising myself in the process. "No one abuses my friend's skin without hearing from me."

"Who says I've even taken it?" The chuckled carried over the tombs, haunting the night. "Who says I am not whom I say? Who else could know you as I do McKenna...Cricket?"

Cricket. How could he know? No way, I told myself. There is no reason for a Fader, a virtual mirror of life, know anything other than taking the skins of those he encountered, and yet...

"Come out Cricket." He called to me. "Maybe we can give us another chance."

My feet abandon good sense as they walk out towards the shadow with white orbs in the place of eyes. The shadow that used to be Isaac, my Isaac.

That's all for me. I hope you all have a great weekend!! Don't forget to add to the story in the comments. Let's see how far we can get it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Round Robin! Round Robin!


I couldn’t breathe. I’d seen him taken, gone through intensive of therapy to rid myself of the horrible nightmares, the haunting feeling of being followed, a lot of good that had done. We’d been walking home from school, the middle of the day. Ironic people think bad things only happen in the dead of night, but it had been a bright sunny spring day. They came at us, the men in the van, it was three to two. He got in between me and the assailants, told me to run. I did.

“Isaac” my voice cracked as I stumbled backwards away from him. My back pressed up against the wooden pew.

“Hey kid,” he stepped towards me bending down to pick up the phone. His voice, melodic tones that had talked me through asthma attacks, been a source of childhood comfort; I closed my eyes, it wasn’t real this wasn’t real.

“You’re dead.” I clenched my eyes tighter and tighter, flashes from that day, from the police station. I’d seen the blood; they’d brought me into the police station, to question me about the abduction, which they later informed me, was murder. I remember the photos of blood spilled on concrete in some old warehouse, they said it was his. That no human could live after losing that much blood, they swore to me he was dead.

I opened my eyes, and was face to face with the one person who knew me, the real me. Pools of hazel stared back at me, a crooked smile slapped across his freckled face. It wasn’t real.

“I’ve got a heartbeat kid.” He reached out for my hand; the contact was a stab to the gut, the familiarity almost painful. No one touched me anymore, I was the paranoid girl, damaged goods, and post traumatic stress disorder does not a friend make. He placed my hand over his heart, I felt it. The calming recognizable thrum that had calmed me on more than on occasion, pulsed through my fingertips sent soothing waves over me.

I sighed, a smile turning up the corners of my mouth. I couldn’t explain it, didn’t understand but it was Isaac, my Isaac.

“Isaac, I can’t believe—”

It stopped. His heartbeat, stopped. His grip on my wrist tightened.

“What are you doing?” my voice was a squeak, the cold air

“I missed you McKenna.” He stepped closer to me; we were inches apart, our noses almost touching. My breath caught in my throat, God I wanted it to be him, wanted it to be my best friend so bad. But it wasn’t Isaac. I slipped my hand into my pocket, returning my Rosary to its rightful place. I lifted my free hand to the side of his face, running my fingers down his jaw.

“Oh Isaac,” tears filled my eyes. I took one deep breath, kneed him in the groin and my hand slammed his face down onto the edge of the pew.

He let out a wicked hiss, I kicked him again, wrenching my hand free I stumbled up onto the alter, heart pounding in my ears. Bile rising in my throat, Isaac, my Isaac, gone, I was mourning all over again, the one brief moment of belief. It was cruel.

I turned to look back, I shouldn’t have, I knew better. Just like how I shouldn’t have pushed away the paranoia. For once in my life it could have been beneficial to act on the fear.

“Stupid bitch.” The imposter growled. There was a soft buzz sound, as my cell phone was crushed, all I saw was a glimpse of electricity, and then blue dust as the plastic was completely destroyed. The monster lifted its head to gaze at me. The hazel eyes turned black, and Isaac was gone. Again. It dove at me, long fingers reaching for my throat.

I lunged for the rear exit, stumbling out into the cemetery. I was trapped, fenced in surrounded my looming cold stones, and the horrors of the night. The cool air nipped at my exposed skin. I stumbled, my feet slipping on the dew covered grass, boots sinking into the pooling mud. My heart choked the breath out of me. I ran towards the moon, it was sinking down the horizon, behind the cracked stones and decaying trees.

I slipped.


So I didn't forget about this! See? See? I posted on time!

I'm not sure how I feel about this, I don't do scary very well, it is not my strong suit. So comments? Critiques?

How do you think the story should play out? Post your response in the comments sections! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Round Robin!

Tuesday here! :)

I'm so excited for Round Robin-Em's portion of the story was fabulous, no? :) Here's my portion of the tale, enjoy!
The cell phone slipped from my fingers and landed on the ground with a loud clatter as I whipped around to face my assailant. I raised my fist and swung outward blindly, aiming to hit whatever part of them I could reach.
"McKenna, wait, stop!" the stranger-a guy-pleaded.
My heart flew to my throat, the metallic taste of fear coating the inside of my mouth. What the Hell? How did this guy know my name?
I felt my fist connect with what I assumed was his jawbone and heard him cry out in pain. "McKenna, please-"
And before I could bring my now aching fist back for a second punch, he added hastily, "McKenna, it's me-Isaac!"
I froze.
It couldn't be...Isaac?
My best friend? The same boy I grew up with? The same boy who I told all my secrets to? Who I shared my first kiss with on a dare when we were ten? My blood turned to ice in my veins-
Isaac...the same boy who was presumed dead one year ago?
Now it's your turn! If you want to continue the tale of McKenna and Isaac, pick up where the story left off and write what happens next in 250 words max in the comments!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I needed to do a post on my favorite book that I read in September. It was Frankenstein.

Yes. I'm odd, I LOVE classic novels. Love them. And let's just be frank here, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 18!! And then it was published when she was 20!!

Take a moment to appreciate Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, and the brilliance that was Mrs. Shelley.

Oh and BTW it has NEVER been out of print. Never.

Yeah, think about that!

So I know this is short, and kind of uninformative, but I'm going on the college hunt tomorrow, have three essays to finish and need to sleep eventually tonight. So this is short, very short. My apologies but I needed to do a post, because well I've been slacking. Sorry everybody.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Hello, today I was supposed to write about the book I read in September and while I did read several books, I'm going to pass on posing them today.


I'm trying to write 30,000+ words in 7 days.

Ha, ha, yeah. I'll explain more next week hopefully :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Best Book I Read In September: Aaron

This month I read Bridge to Terabithia for a Language Arts class I am taking. Bridge to Terabithia is the story of Jess and Leslie, two 5th graders who don’t quite fit. Jess lives his life trying to hide the things that make him different, but then he meets Leslie who is new to town and who doesn’t try to blend in. At first Jess is suspicious of Leslie, but they gradually start to become friends. This leads to the eventual creation of the magical land of Terabithia which Jess and Leslie rule over as king and queen.

Bridge to Terabithia was a very powerful and moving book, but frankly I have mixed feeling about it. It touches on gender stereotypes, class differences, family relationships, and death among other things, and it was a very rich book in terms of topics covered. The author wasn’t afraid to deal with the issues that kids have to deal with as opposed to the issues that we wish they had to deal with. This is a woman who doesn’t pull any punches, but at the same time she didn’t sacrifice the characters for the sake of the issues. All of the characters seemed so real, and that only added to the emotional impact of the book. I’m not afraid to admit that I actually cried while reading the book, but I wasn’t crying for Jess and Leslie. I was crying because the chapter reminded me of how absolutely helpless I felt when my brothers’ parents died and how lost they looked.

However, that said this just wasn’t my type of book, and it really wasn’t what I was expecting from the title and the description on the back of the book. I was ready for a action packed fantasy about a magical land called Terabithia, but what I got was an emotional tale about love and loss. Despite the fact that Terabithia was mentioned in the title, which would suggest that it would play a big role in the story, the story had next to nothing to do with Terabithia. Honestly, in my opinion the idea of Terabithia was really just a device that was used to bring Leslie and Jess together and to soften the content of the book.

Overall a good and controversial book that I would recommend to anyone who is ready for a serious read.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Best Movie I Watched in September

I know the topic is The Best Book I Read in September but since I never got around to finishing reading any books (I know, sad, right?!), I thought instead I'd blog about The Best Movie I Watched in September which was...The Last Song!

I'd been wanting to see this movie the moment I heard it was being made. I read the book (part of it, anyway, I cried too much while reading it and couldn't bring myself to finish it!) by Nicholas Sparks (aka a totally swoon-worthy genius!) back in March and loved it and couldn't wait to see the movie.

I was a little skeptical about Miley Cyrus playing the main character Ronnie and wasn't sure if she could pull it off, and even though there were some times throughout the movie that she got on my nerves with all her moodiness, I thought she did really well for her first big, serious movie role (plus I loved her song When I Look at You and played it on repeat like ten times when I first heard it!) and her love interest Will? *Swoon* Plus, her little brother was super cute and her Dad? Wow, he rocks!

All in all, I give this movie five stars! I laughed, I cried (honestly, I came this close to flat out bawling!) and I adored the romance and the beachy setting. Really though, what this movie does is make you appreciate family that much more and reminds you to not take things for granted. Let's just say, that by the time your done watching this movie, all you'll want to do is give your Dad a great big hug, 'cause that's exactly what I wanted to do! (And I would have, except I was afraid that if I did, I would burst into tears-that's how much this movie got to me!) So, dear readers, go fourth, buy it, rent it, or borrow it, just watch this movie! You won't regret it! :)


Friday, October 1, 2010

Confessions of an Agriculture Lover

So, I haven't talked about agriculture a lot recently, so I thought I'd have some fun and do it today. After all, this week is confessions week on the INK SLINGER'S blog and my confessions are MANY when it comes to ag stuff so here it goes:

  1. I refer to myself as an aggie. Aggie is defined as a person who is in fact obsessed or other wise filled with an nearly unreasonable passion for activities that involve agriculture.
  2. I'm currently taking two soil classes. Yes, in misplaced soil. (Don't get any aggie started on the difference between dirt and soil. Trust me, loosing battle) The confessional part of that is that I really love it. I mean come on, it's dirt (or soil rather) simple right? No, not at all and that is what holds me spellbound, fascinated. How often do we not even consider how awesome the stuff beneath our feet is? Oh, sorry, there I go again. What can I say? Oh, right...see number 1.
  3. I instantly give a novel bonus points if it mentions something to do with agriculture. i.e. Beautiful Creatures mentions Future Farmers of America. HUGE points there, HUGE. 
  4.  I would much rather get my hands dirty doing something with agriculture than get a manicure. Bring on the greenhouses, horse stalls, and tractors!
  5. I feel claustrophobic when I can't see green living things. Like aliens you ask??? NO, as in grass, and flowers, and trees, and *sigh* fields of land. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing about the city. I'm even living in a city right now, sort of, it small but it counts in my book. My soul just needs the country, it's where I was born and where I always want to be. 
So, now you know some more about me. How about you? Have any aggie tenancies? I'd love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Confessions of an Alleged Goth

1. This week my roommate tried to explain to her brother why I dress the way I do, and it took a very Shakespearean turn. Although she assures me that she told him that “Aaron wears lots layers, most of which are black, because she has a medical condition that requires her to stay out of the sun” apparently what he got out of that was “she wears lots of black” and “she doesn't like the sun.” Combine that with a chance in counter at 7:30 A.M. in which I was carrying a black umbrella, and now my roommate's brother is convinced that I’m Goth and nothing anyone says can change his mind.

2. After a week of failed attempts to convince my roommate's brother that I'm not Goth my roommates and I have given up. Instead for one night and one night only I went completely Goth in an attempt to scare him out of his plan to bang all of his sister’s roommates. It worked, he took one look at me dressed from head to toe in black, with the small exception of my blood red lipstick, and he couldn’t get out of our apartment fast enough. Hasn't come back since either.

3. To wrap up this month's motif of Shakespearean misunderstandings my college has ordered me to go shopping this weekend because my clothing is depressing and evidently scares some people.

4. My Language Arts Methods professor is having us focus on creative writing this semester, and I’ve been having so much fun doing creative writing for credit that I’ve already finished my homework through the end of the semester.

5. I got some new plants for my beta’s tank, and now she seems to think she’s a ninja and has taken to hiding in the plants and stalking the outside world.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September Confessions

1. I'm obsessed with Penn Badgley. I know he plays on Gossip Girl, but ever since I saw him in the movie The Stepfather, I've gone a little gaga. So much so that Penn is the inspiration for my MC's love interest in my current WIP! :)

2. I have a speech due in my Public Speaking class and a 25,000-50,000 word WIP to finish-all by Halloween. Along with, oh, you know, finding time somewhere in there to actually enjoy the Holiday (what have I gotten myself into?) FML. :P

3. I may say that in reality I want to find a nice guy to fall in love with...but that didn't stop me from having a totally swoon-worthy dream about Damon from The Vampire Diaries:

4. I know this is pretty far off into the future and a big maybe, but if my WIP was ever made into a movie, I'd want an unknown but awesome actress to play my MC, Penn Badgley to play her love interest (of course!) and Johnny Depp/James Mccavoy/Damon Cooper to play- Oh, what am I saying, either one (or all three!) could play the janitor for all I care! Either way, I'd be one happy girl! :)

5. I worry that I'll never be as good at writing suspense/sexual tension/horror as the greats, like Stephen King, Kimberly Derting, Becca Fitzpatrick or Laurie Stolorez, 'cause man can they write (and they also have the power to make me want to sleep with the light on after reading their books, now that's talent!)


P.S. I apologize for the placement of those pictures, they weren't supposed to right underneath each other at the top of the page like that, but Blogger hates me (ha! What else is new?) and won't let me move them where I want to! Gah! Technology sucks! On the bright side? At least the guys in the pics are easy on the eyes and your not forced to look at something ugly and totally creepy like, say...clowns. Ugh, clowns...*shudders*)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tuesday Has a Process...Sort Of

Surprise! It's Tuesday here! Normally I post on Tuesdays, I know, but due to some technical difficulties on my end, I was unable to post on my usual day, I am! :) This week's topic on writing process couldn'tve come at a better time actually, since I recently just started a new WIP! My writing process differs with each story I write. Sometimes I'm a pantser and plot as I go and sometimes I'm a plotter and have a rough outline as my guide while I write. This time around, I'm still not 100% sure what my process is going to be, but here's what it looks like so far:

1. The idea is born! Feverish note-taking ensues!

2. I write and take notes as I go.

3. I make an insane deal with myself, using a little thing I like to call 45 Days to Done.

4. I track my progress with a word count tracker.

5. I despair, eat copious amounts of chocolate and somehow find a way to continue on.

6. I write some more.

7. I get inspired to create a visual inspiration collage-or two-that I have way too much fun creating and waste almost a whole day (oh, wait, that was today, lol, my bad!) working on. Here are the finished products:

And that's where I'm at in the process so far. I'm still in the beginning stages of writing the story, I'm having the usual doubts, but I'm also having a ton of fun getting to know my characters and their world and I'm going to try my hardest to push through to the end and get a rough draft written...even if it kills me!

Wish me luck! :)


P.S. From looking at the collages, can you guess what my story could be about? I'd love to see your guesses in the comments!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Prep Work

It wasn’t until I started doing NaNoWriMo that I really got into prep work. By hearing how everyone else does their prep work and seeing all the different ways there were to do it I realized that I didn’t have to do it the way my elementary teachers had told me to. Then once I started experimenting with it I got really into it. Now I’ve developed tons of different prep tools that I can use.

Writer’s Journal: Sometimes I write down quotes, definitions, or names in it. Other times it’s research notes, but mainly I write down descriptions of things that inspire components of the story.

Word Wall: In all honesty, it’s more of a main idea or plot point wall than a word wall. I just called it that because it’s a rip off of a word wall that I saw in an elementary classroom.

Idea Book: Basically, this is a quick scrapbook of the story. They usually include a mock up of the book’s cover, a general inspiration section, a page or two for each character, and a miniature word wall showing the major plot points I want to cover.

Models: A lot of times I’ll end up finding at least one model for each story. Sometimes it’ll be objects that symbolize each phase of the story, but other times I’ll make clay models of characters so that I can reference then when I’m having problems.

Wordles: This is an organizational tool that I usually make once I’m a few chapters into the book and sometimes not until I’m completely done with it and ready to start the sequel. However, sometimes if I’m having a hard time getting started or am really excited about the story I’ll jot down the key terms, character names, and important objects just so I can keep track of what I want included and what all the names are.

Bubble Diagrams: Yeah, I’m really not that into this one, but I still use it on occasion so I thought I’d include it. Sometimes when I have something that I want to happen in the story but that I’m having a hard time working in I’ll make it into a bubble diagram, with that event at the center, and use that to help me figure out how to weave it into the story.