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.


Monday, September 20, 2010

My Writing Process

So it's my week to choose a topic. And couldn't remember if I was supposed to post today or on my normal Thursday, so Em if I stole your day I'm sorry. You hadn't posted and then I freaked out and was like "oh goodness was I supposed to post first?" so I'm so sorry if that is the case, please feel free to steal Thursday this week. But not forever, please, because I love Thursdays.

Now to the point, I am in the throws of a project for school, I'm writing a novel for credit as in I'm being graded on writing for fun!! Sweetness! So I've been approaching new ways to plan out my story.

The approach that I normally take is simple. I write the story as it comes to me. i.e. on the palm of my hand, my tiny notepad at work, in my notebooks at school instead of paying attention in class. It has always worked for me. Granted, I don't always produce massive amounts. But what I produce tends to have a significant importance to my novel, scenes that pull it together you know?

Of course then there is the brief outline. Scenes and ideas, whatever flutters across my thoughts. This special little sheet of paper has no rhyme, nor reason, it is just a list. It is, in my opinion, the most basic of any outlining that I do.

Next up is the note cards. I tend to take the ideas from my brief, expand on them on note cards and then shuffle it all around until I like the way it plays out. I don't like this way all that much because it takes a lot of time, and we all know how precious that time is. Not that it isn't worth it, but sometimes I just think it makes more sense to write every scene out, beginning to end, and then shuffle it all around. Of course that gets messy and can take up just as much, if not more, time you never really know.

Now I'm approaching a new type of planning, as referenced in paragraph one, because of my Independent Study aka the class I designed so I'm being graded on what I love. I'm throwing caution to the wind and approaching outlining with a whole new outlook. I'm starting small, a list of ideas (in chronological order this time), then expanding that into scene summaries. I'm then going to organize those scenes into chapters (so it's a chapter by chapter break up) and eventually give the scenes dates. As in stuff like Oct. 17th or something like that.

So normally my writing process mimics my life, it is all over the place organizational wise. However, now I am trying out something new and going to see if I can pull off organization. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quirky Writer Quirks

I know there is an ongoing debate on playing music while writing and not playing music while writing.
I admit, I'm a playa. ha ha
Not that quirky I'll admit, but I don't really have much to go on. I write a lot, where ever and whenever I can. The thing is I have to be in the right mood and generally I am, but music makes me get there a whole lot faster. The key to my whole music is an almost must is that it must be the right music and I'm rather finicky about it. There's no way I can listen to I'm walkin' on Sunshine while writing a battle. NO. WAY. IN. HECK. But, I can definitely get my mojo going with this:

So yeah, I listen to music while I write, but I also can only listen to a certain kind of music. Sometimes it's very obscure and I'm not sure why a certain song works and another doesn't. I just know that it does work which really is all I care about in the end. It's all about writing for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Gets Quirky

This week, it's all about quirks! Now, before today, I never really thought I had an writerly quirks, but the more I thought about it, the more I think I do!

First off, I'm a very visual person, so almost as soon as I get a new story idea, I start gathering pictures that I think will represent the story best. I love looking online for pictures of actors and actresses that I think most look like my MC and I also love finding pictures for their house, bedroom, hometown, or for any situation they may find themselves in (especially if it involves kissing, there's nothing like finding a picture of the perfect kiss or romantic moment to get your creative juices flowing! :), you name it, I've got a picture for it.

Another thing that I have to have before I sit down to write: tunes. Very rarely can I sit and write in complete silence, I usually have to have some type of music playing in the background before I can get into the writing mood. I love classic rock, so I'll definitely throw some of that into the mix, along with songs that I think best represent whatever story I'm working on at the moment and of course, I'll include songs that I just love listening to, no matter what I'm writing, like songs from Glee or songs from any of the Twilight soundtracks (especially Muse) and last, but certainly not least songs from my new favorite band in the whole wide world, Florance + The Machine (seriously, check them out, Florance's voice is A-MAZING)!!! :) And, in case your wondering, I find my music either on AOL Radio or, both are awesome sites to listen to music for free!

As for the perfect outfit to wear when I write, it has to be something comfortable that I can move easily in, like a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. If what I'm wearing is uncomfortable, then I'll become easily distracted and spend my time fidgeting instead of writing.

On the subject of a favorite food and drink to have nearby while I write, for the food, I would have to say either those bags of sweet and salty trail mix or chocolate, anything with chocolate. For a drink I would have to say either water, coffee, peppermint tea or a steamer, mmm... :) (I've also been thinking about adding a frappacino to the list, maybe buying a pack of those that come in glass bottles at the store, those are YUM! The only thing is, I would have to force myself to have only one a week, maybe as a reward if I reach a wordcount goal, they're super fattening)!

Finally, I think the biggest writing quirk I've learned about myself is that to write, I need some sort of stimulation, I need something going on around me. If I had the opportunity to be locked in a room that was completely silent with no distractions whatsoever, I probably wouldn't write a word, I'd be driven mad by the vast echoing silence all around me. But give some music, a sound machine, a crazy family or a crowded coffee shop and I can write till the cows come home! :)

Until next time!

Friday, September 10, 2010

SSR: August Book I Read

My goal this year was to read the Chronicles of Narnia by Christmas. As you might be able to tell, I'm off to a bit of a slow start. I did however, make a start I guess that means something. I read the first book in this wonderful series by C.S. Lewis just a few weeks ago and was floored by two things: creativity and imagery.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew

Summary: Digory and his friend Polly travel to the Wood between Worlds via Digory's half-crazy, magician man, uncle's yellow and green rings and end up in a world quite unlike the one they come from, called Charn. While there, Digory, as most young boys and girls would do, lets curiosity get to him. He frees the last ruler of Charn, Jadis, an evil queen. An insane adventure begins as the two children try to get rid of the queen and end up finding Aslan, a talking lion and creator of all things in Narnia but not all is well because the two children are not alone, the evil queen has come with them to the new land and threatens all the good things that Aslan has created.

After learning that Digory has brought Jadis to Narnia, Aslan sends him on a mission to get a magical apple. He uses the apple to grow a tree that will act as a shield of protection from Jadis for all the other peoples of Narnia. After seeing all that Aslan can do, Digory begs him to do something to save his mother, who is sick with an illness. From this new tree, Aslan gives Digory an apple so that he may go back home and give it to his mother. This apple is a special thing and it is hardly finished after curing Digory's mother, it grows into a beautiful tree and well, the rest is up to you to read.

I found this book charming and as I mentioned before, it was wonderfully filled with imagery and creativity. It left me wondering what would happen and at the same time revealed several worlds so completely it was like the book was really a movie playing itself out in my mind. Truly magnificent! Here's a quote from the book so you can begin to understand the richness of this text if you haven't read it.
"Things always work out according to their nature. She has won her heart's desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and she already begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it." -Aslan after Jadis has stolen an apple and eaten it for herself.

There really isn't anyone I wouldn't recommend this book to. It can be a bit long winded for some really young children, but students in third grade and beyond could easily comprehend it. Beyond the imagery and creativeness, this book is frocked with morals from issues with stealing from others, to understanding how one person's actions can change the course of many other people's history. Truly a must read that I will definitely be reading again.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Best Book I Read In August: Aaron

"If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen."

Anges and the Hitman
is the story of how Agnes, a food columnist, met Shane, a government sanctioned hitman, and the chaos that ensued. This story involves mob bosses, frying pans, bullet proof trucks, pink flamingoes, dognappers, and lots and lots of food. Best of all, with the exception of one person, everyone who didn’t die lived happily ever after.

If you look up “crazy” in the thesaurus all of the words you see there will also be words that perfectly describe Anges and the Hitman. In fact there’s only one word that I can think of that’s missing from that list, and that word is amazing. Crusie and Mayer, the two authors responsible for this amazing book, threw everything including the kitchen sink into this book and somehow managed to pull it off. This is one of those books that if you tried to explain it to someone who hadn’t read it they would just stare at you like you were a nut, but then once they read it they would look at you and say “I totally know what you were talking about before about Agnes throwing the raspberry sauce and the dognapper falling through the hidden door into the basement that nobody knew was there. That part was so funny.”

Yeah, it’s one of those types of books, but it’s also one of those books that you’ll keep going back to over and over because no mater how many types you’ve read it never ceases to surprise you.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Best Book I Read in August!

The best (and pretty much the only, man, being a college student is a total time suck!) book I read in August was the one, the only...

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl!!!! Here's the book's summery:

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Sounds amazing, eh? Well, trust me, it is! For my review, I thought I'd do something a little different. To show my devotion for such an amazing book, I decided to express my feeling in the form of a letter. But, more specifically, a love letter. Enjoy! :)

Dear, Beautiful Creatures,

When we first met, it wasn't love at first sight. The first time I tried reading you, I only made it to chapter two and then gave up. Your summery intrigued me and I knew you were the kind of book I would love to read, but for some reason I wasn't feeling that...connection that a girl and a good book are supposed to feel, so, like a coward, I stopped returning your phone calls (a.k.a. returned you to the library) and hoped that I would eventually forget about you and move on.

But, alas, everywhere I looked, your name was mentioned and I just couldn't get you out of my head, people said you were amazing and fantastic and one of the best books they'd read in a long time, but I just couldn't understand their love for you.


A few weeks ago I happened to pay a visit to my public library and there you were, sitting all innocent-like on the shelf. I avoided your gaze for as long as I could until, unable to find anything else to read, I plucked you off the shelf, reread your summery for what seemed like the hundredth time and thought, "eh, why not?" And decided to take a chance and check you out to see what all the hubbub was about.

That same day, I took you home and began to read you...and I haven't stopped since.
Once I got past chapter one and began to get into the meat of the story, I was hooked. I fell in love with your luscious setting, your lovable characters and your romance, oh, your romance! And I also fell hard for your sweet and loyal leading man, Ethan and really identified with and felt for your strong-willed and feisty leading lady, Lena. Like Ethan and Lena, now I couldn't imagine my life without you in it. You are to me what other women's clutch purses and cell phones are to them, I have to have you with me wherever I go, or else I would cease to exist.

So thank you, Beautiful Creatures, for coming into my life. These past few weeks with you have been like a dream. You've taught me how to love again and how not to judge a book by its first chapter. I can't wait to read your sequel, Beautiful Darkness (I'm gearing up to write his love letter as we speak! :P)


Friday, September 3, 2010

August Confessional: Bethany

I have never really done a confessional before so I'm super pumped to give it a try!

  1. I have a huge tendency to trip over my own feet. It's an issue and my dorm this year has this 1/2 step to get into the building (really, it's silly. It's like it tried to become a step and then just quit halfway through) and I think it's going to kill me. I've already tripped over it countless times and I've only lived here for about 2 weeks. I think it has it out for me and my clumsiness. 
  2. I have four calendars in my dorm room (that doesn't count my roomie's). Generally, they'll stay in August the entire year. I always think I'll remember to change them but alas, no. I'm hoping I'll make it to at least September this year (*OMG bangs head in embarrassment*, going to change two of the calendars so I can say I've made it to September). 
  3. As of this year, I've been driving for 5 years (really just 4 'cause I didn't drive much when I was 16) and I've locked my keys in my car at least 6 times. Once while the car was running. (No, sadly I'm not joking)
  4. I made mud pies two days ago. Well, technically it was because I needed to for a class (Soils Lab if you must know). But the confession part is that I really, quite thoroughly enjoyed myself. 
  5. I don't know if I believe there are ghosts, but I've heard rumors that there's a certain transparent "Blue Lady" who walks the bell tower near my dorm and I maybe, might be making extra excuses to go take a stroll when it gets dark outside. 
Well, I hope you enjoyed my confessions I definitely enjoyed everyone elses'. Have a great weekend!

Sidenote: If you want a chance to win some awesome stuff check out my contest by clicking on the pic below!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Turn: Confessions if a Teenage Slacker

So it's confessional time. This is going to be short and sweet cause I've got homework, the joys of senior year. *sarcasm*

I confess I almost forgot about this post.

I have only had eight hours of sleep in the past forty eight hours.

I am already behind in my assignments for school, am dropping one of my extra English classes, and am not ready for this again. Can we rewind to the beginning of August? Please?

I am having problems at work. Not that I don't love working in retail, seriously I love the chocolate store where I'm currently employed. But recent complications have lead to lots of extra, unnecessary stress. I don't even want to think about what's going to go down once I start applying to colleges. *gulp*

Am sleepy.

Avoiding my homework by writing this post.

Didn't write anything during the months of July, and August, talk about a break. You can throw bricks at me now. No it was not my intention I just couldn't write.

Am tired of being single and seeing all the happy couples walking around school/town center. Also the coupled off friends don't make it any easier, especially when one half is talking to you and then the other half comes over and the halves make a whole as they start to make out. Uh EW. I do not appreciate your PDA and hello I was just having a conversation here. Rude.

Am SO behind on betas. Like I'm surprised these guys are still talking to me, okay that far behind. I feel super guilty, it's on my mind all the time.

Am super tired.

Goodnight, I've got psych work to go finish, have a nice evening and well next month there will be some great juicy tidbits.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Confessional: Aaron

1. I stayed up till two in the morning researching trig applications in physics just so that I could blow the two other tutors, who are both physics experts and never let me forget it, out of the water at work the next morning.

2. Every day I bring a travel mug with me to school, and I tell my students that it is full of tea. It's not, what it's actually full of is two cups worth of hot chocolate. Yeah, I'm a horrible role model.

3. My third graders are helping me do background research for this year’s NaNoWriMo novel, and it's so cute seeing them all crowded around the snake book I bring with me to school everyday studiously taking notes and telling each other how to spell the big words.

4. My mom has declared that she won’t let me in the house unless I bring down the directions and ingredients for three new recipes that will blow her friends way, so I’m in the process of tracking them down so that I can spend a fun filled weekend cooking for other people.

5. Instead of just going to the store and buying them I spent Sunday night making Pay Day candy bars for my host teacher's birthday.

6. My roommates give me a hard time because I bake a rich chocolaty dessert at least once a week, but I just smile and nod because I know the truth. The truth is I set side half to take to my host school, and by the next morning my roommates have eaten the rest. I'm lucky if I get the piece I've started hiding in the cupboard behind the potatoes.


Tuesday Comes Clean: August Confessional

Whoo, my dirty laundry sure has piled up! Here are my top 6 (random) confessions:

1. I may say that I love bad boys in books/T.V./movies (and I so do!), but in reality, all I really want is a nice guy, (like Will from Glee or Ned from Pushing Daisies! *Swoon*)

2. In addition to becoming a published YA author, my other dream is to live in an old (possibly haunted) farmhouse seeped in history, marry the man of my dreams and eventually become…a mommy. :)

3. Even though I’m now 21, I’d much rather drink a Shirley Temple (with extra cherries!) then an alcoholic beverage.

4. One of my earliest career choices was to play for the Yankees (thank god writing was always my top choice, lol!)

5. One time in high school, a friend and I watched Harry Potter movies 1-5 all in one day-In. A. Row. Let’s just say, by the end of the movie marathon, I was sick (but only temporarily, of course!) of The Boy Who Lived!

6. My "book baby" (aka my current WIP) is "due" on Halloween and I'm freaking out! Guess it's time to break out the chocolate! Any suggestions on how to get over a wicked case of firstdraftitus?

Until next time,