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