Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Obligations?

Final projects are finished. Exams (for better or worse) are over. I’m done school – for a week and a half anyway. Maybe I’ll even get in a bit of decent sleep (a girl can dream, can’t she?).

I’m exploding with anticipation and anxiety because I’m finally going to get a chance to write. You see, I’ve made no significant progress on my MS since, well, I can’t even tell you it was so long ago. If you knew, you’d accuse me of neglect and the Book Union would revolt and probably take my MS away from me; they’d give it to someone who deserved it. And then I’d cry.

I digress.

I’ve blocked off 8 days: refused all offers to “chill,” ignored desperate pleas from the Best Friend, informed my mother of my impending retreat to The Cave (aka as my room), and am shutting off my phone entirely.

You can see what’s coming can’t you?

My internet is being cut as well.

I won’t apologize because this is something I need to do for me. For my characters. For my emotional stability. For my sanity. It needs to happen. And if I allow myself any procrastination outlets I won’t get anything done because the anxiety I mentioned will create a vortex of self-doubt and I’ll spiral out of control only to burst like a supernova.

Not really, but you get it, right?

My return to all social and educational obligations is tentatively scheduled for July 5. However, that is when school starts up again so I may not be around...

Who am I kidding?

I’ll probably be dying to read your blogs and tell everyone of my amazing progress (crosses fingers).
I can go to school all day and retreat into the world of the inter-web all night. Oh the perks of being an insomniac are endless.

What sacrifices have you made for your writing lately?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If Writing Doesn't Work Out...

Last Wednesday I mentioned my back up plan. Well it’s really one of two back up plans. (These plans are after I decided I couldn’t be an actress or work in the hospitality industry in hotel management.)

Original back up plan (also known as the plan I’m going to school for): work in the publishing industry. I have no idea what I want to do in this industry exactly. But if I can’t be a writer I still want to be around books all the time. This is also the plan I tell to people when they ask what I want to do with my life.

I don’t tell them I’d rather be a Music Supervisor – and especially don’t tell them I really want to be a writer.

Before I go any further in my explanations, a Music Supervisor is the person who selects (and licenses) music for TV, film, video games, etc. There’s no real schooling for this occupation but you do need to know about licensing and copyright law. Basically a Music Supervisor bridges the gap between the movie and the music world.

You need to be persuasive, a good negotiator and, most importantly, you need to be creative. And have a passion for music.

Music in new media emphasizes the storyline, cultural location and time period. Music provides atmosphere, amps up the tension and brings the emotions to new heights. The “background” music you hear is sending you subliminal messages, giving you more information and, in the end, manipulating you to feel what you’re supposed to.

Take the soundtrack from your favourite movies and shows and they lose a tremendous amount of impact. Your favourite scenes don’t mean half as much.

I could drone on and on about why I love music so much, how much it means to me or how good music evokes images and emotions in my head. You already know that every significant moment and person in my life is marked with songs – I believe this says more than any droning could.

Like Publishing it’s all about networking. Both of my back up plans require me to intern to even get a toe in their respective industries.

Sometimes I wonder why I can’t want a normal job. Or even a job that’s less difficult to break into. It seems that my reckless nature refuses to accept any sort of future that doesn’t involve a great deal of risk. Risk and creativity.

My dream future is this: a published writer and a Music Supervisor. That’s right. In reality, I want both.
Books and Music both mean so much to me and if I have my way, someday, I’ll be actively participating in both industries.

If writing doesn’t work out for you, do you have another dream occupation?

Word Of The Day: Vagary - a whimsical, wild, or unusual idea, desire, or action.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Good Things Come in Threes or More

On Wednesday I actually received three awards. This blows my mind. If I wasn’t already bursting with joy at my good fortune and grinning like I won a Literary Award for my book, Thursday I received another. In two days I got four awards. I’m so flattered.

I’m going to do an epic Award post now. I apologize if I tagged you for an award and you already have it. I also tried for no overlap in any of my award giving (including Wednesday's) because ALL of you deserve one. (In my humble opinion anyway.)

Writing Nut at Writing in a Nutshell gave me the Honest Scrap award.
The rules are to write ten things that aren't common knowledge and then pass the award along to five people. 

Ten (hopefully) Unknown Facts
1.When we look at the stars we're looking into the past. In some cases, millions of years into the past.
2. Animals can scream too. Somehow, the sound is far more horrifying to my ears than human screams. 
3.Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.
4. The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all: 
"A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

5. The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Meaning from an obscure term ostensibly referring to a lung disease caused bysilica dust. Pretty sure I couldn't say this word if I tried.

6.There's been a Beer Tsunami. It happened in London 1814 and nine people died.

7.The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.

8. Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. Yay me!

9. A cockroach will live nine days without it's head, before it starves to death. 

10.  First novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer

My Five People
Roland D. Yeomans at Writing in the Crosshairs
Lydia Kang at The Word is my Oyster

Aubrie at Flutey Words created a new, totally awesome award! It's gorgeous isn't it?
This award is for bloggers who either write or promote fantasy or sci-fi fiction. 

Five Fantasy/Sci-fi Books That Inspire Me
1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. I lack the words to properly convey the meaning this series has to me. Harry Potter made me experiences emotions when as I kid I thought I'd be better off without them. Order of the Phoenix is the only book (to date) that has ever made me full on cry because of content. (And when I say cry I mean until I dehydrated myself.)

2. The Hobbit by Tolkien. While the rest of the Lord of the Ring series is good, the hobbit is my favorite. I read this book when I was super little and the hobbit turned my impressionable mind towards Fantasy. I have yet to look away.

3.  Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This book resonates on so many levels of my crazy mind. I relate to it and the nonsense. Half the time I feel my head is full of nonsense.

4. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. My favorite urban fantasy series. There's memorable characters, a beautifully crafted world, and it's extremely witty.

5. The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy by Frank Beddor. It's a different version of Alice in Wonderland and to be honest that would be enough to make it on this list. But it's also well done and imaginative enough that I love it on it's own terms.

Pass the Award Along
Erica Mitchell-Spickard at Chapter by Chapter
Callie Forester at Chimera Critiques
Kiersten White at Kiersten Writes

If you write/love fantasy or sci-fi and I didn't tag are now officially tagged.

Okay. Last award! 

Erica Mitchell-Spickard at Chapter by Chapter gave me the Sugar Doll Award and I really, really wish I could give it back to her because she has to be one of  the sweetest bloggers I've met so far. 

There are no rules for this one as far as I can tell. You just need to be deserving of the title.

Jessica Nelson at BookingIt
Naomie Rees at Inkcrush
Everyone else who read through this entire post automatically gets this award -- you are all kinds of awesome!

Word Of The Day: Afflatus - inspiration; an impelling mental force acting from within

Friday, June 18, 2010

Episode 4: Snakes on the Ground

A Whale Eats Mickey Mouse And A Bloody Nougat: 
The Premeditated Adventures Of Melissa & Ramona.

For previous comics:
Title Page

Our two heroines walk along the downtrodden forest path discussing their trip. For once they left Melissa’s ever faithful dog behind.

“CC isn’t giving me enough hours. I may have to borrow money from my parents.” Ramona kicks a protruding root. She winces as the pain radiates in her big toe.

“I’ve figured out my spending money situation.” Melissa replies, a self-satisfied grin on her face. “If I weed the garden and mow the lawn for my grandparents every week, spend nothing, and factor in some birthday money I’m set. I’ll even be able to buy several pints of butterbeer in Hogsmeade on top of everything else.”

“Yeah, I need to save money for your birthday present too. And there’s so many things I need to buy before we go. I’m so excited but people don’t tell you how stressful going on vacation can be!”

Melissa pushes at her sleeve fingering the wand hidden beneath the fabric. “I need a giant suitcase. It’ll have to be almost empty on the way there so I can bring everything I want back. Maybe I could transfigure the inside to be bigger.”

Ramona rolls her eyes; Melissa has yet to master a single spell. “Or you could just bring an extra suitcase.”
“I suppose I could just owl the stuff that won’t fit home.”

Ramona squints at her slightly taller friend, “Are you listening to me or just having a conversation with yourself?”

Melissa’s quiet for a moment and then she shrieks. Her hands come together and she claps like a child, jumping up and down on the spot.

Ramona might be worried, if Melissa didn’t have one of these, seemingly random, outbursts daily.

“Look Mona! Look at the pretty snake. I’m going to talk to it. You stay back, it probably won’t like you and I can’t have you scaring it away.” Melissa runs forward to crouch beside a large red and brown snake." Her grin makes her face look like it’s about to fall apart.

“Ugh Melissa, I really don’t think this is a good idea...”

“Quiet. Can’t you see we’re talking here?” Melissa’s eyes remain on the snake as she hisses what she thinks is a warm introduction. She can’t be sure as she’s never tried to use her Parseltongue ability before.

The snake remains indifferent.

Melissa keeps trying to talk to the snake, her hissing and tongue lolling is interspersed with several frustrated frowns. Ramona looks on in ever increasing horror.

The snake’s tongue flickers out; its long body contracts and one long hiss emerges.

Melissa giggles, “Fluffy! Ramona does not look like she’s been trampled by a herd of Hippogriffs!”

“It didn’t say that!” Ramona kicks a rock at Melissa, careful to avoid her big toe. “You can’t even talk to snakes. You’re just making weird noses and spitting a lot.”

Melissa stands, whirling to face Ramona. “There’s no need to be jealous just because you are unable to 
understand the intricacies of Parseltongue. You better apologize to both Fluffy and I.”

“Who names their snake Fluffy? It’s a nasty, ugly, poisonous, scaly ankle biter!”

“Don’t talk about him that way! I thought you of all people would understand. He’s just misunderstood.”

Ramona’s retort dies on her lips.


“Apologize to Fluffy first. His forgiveness needs to come before mine.”

“No. Melissa-” Ramona’s voice cracks, her throat is unbearably dry. She’s never been the reckless one but if she doesn’t act she’ll be going to Florida alone. She’ll have to find a new best friend.

The snake’s red and brown scales glint as it rears its hooded head backwards. Ramona needs to act before it’s too late – she’s run out of time.

“Well? Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

“Duck!” Ramona grabs a fairly large rock and hurdles it at the snake. Despite her confusion, Melissa reacts automatically.

The two friends stare at each other, the silence stretches for five heartbeats.

Melissa breaks the moment by turning to look behind her. Fluffy is on the ground, a rock crushing his skull. A horrified whisper escapes her, “What have you done?”

Word Of The Day: Prosopagnosia - a form of visual agnosia characterized by an inability to recognize faces 

The Art Work is done by the wonderful Ramona.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Renae over at The Siren’s Song chose me as a recipient to an award. This feels monumental.

Two good friends of mine forced me to get a blog back in 2009 but it’s only recently that I actually started participating in the blogosphere. 

It’s hard to put yourself out there, to share yourself even with the anonymity afforded to us by the internet. Even though we never see the faces of the people reading our work, they still judge us, we’re still being scrutinized. But I’m glad I’m no longer lurking on the shadowy edges of this community.

Everyone is so supportive: people rush to celebrate each other’s successes; they offer warm words when someone’s down; we share our experiences and learn from each other. This support is invaluable and atmosphere’s like these can’t be found in many places.

And today I feel like I’ve reached a rite of passage of some sort. My first award.

This award, like most others, has some rules.

1.Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Thank you so much Renae, your support and thoughtfulness really mean a lot to me.

7 things about me:

1. I grew up as the eldest (just my mom, sister and I) but am technically a middle child, with two siblings (girl, boy) on each side with thirteen years between my older sister and I and thirteen years between my younger brother and I. (Kind of strange isn’t it?)

2. Despite my valiant efforts (and trust me there’s been many times I’ve tried) I’ve never had pig freeze.

3. If being a writer doesn’t work out I want to be a Music Supervisor.

4. Every person who’s been in my life and every significant moment I’ve experienced is marked with at least one song.

5. On my eleventh birthday I waited all day for an owl to deliver my acceptance letter to Hogwarts (I know I did a post about this a while back but I couldn’t resist).

6. My dreams will be realized if my series can impact one person the same way the Harry Potter series impacted me.

7. Ninety percent of the time the characters in my head feel more real to me than people I can touch.

To pay it forward:

(as a side note, I’d like to say that several of the ladies Renae passed this award on too I wish I could second the motion because I really do think they deserve it, Caitlin, Lydia, Amparo and Courtney)

2. Natalie Whipple at Between Fact and Fiction
4. Aubrie at Flutey Words
5. Jennie Bailey at Garden Full of Lily
7. Mayowa at Pens With Cojones
9. Jen Daiker at Unedited
10. Christina Lee at Write-Brained
11. WritingNut at Writing In a Nutshell
12. Beth Revis at Writing It Out
13. Suzie at ~Writer Junkie ~
14. Lola Sharp at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword
15. Erica Mitchell-Spickard at Chapter by Chapter


To clarify, Pig freeze is when you eat ice cream, a slushy, or basically anything really cold and get a pain in your head (you can get it in other places too). I would try to describe it better except I've never had the feeling myself. I do know that I'm the only person I've ever met who's never experienced pig freeze. I guess pig freeze is a Canadian term or something....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dogs Find Things and Prove We Don't See Everything

The setting sun makes gold light dapple the leaves over my head, red berries glisten to my right, and the inlet stretches to my left. The path slicing through the forest is downtrodden but nearly silent. I sidestep the patches of mud from last night’s rain and the roots that push their way above ground.

I think I’m observing the scene fairly well. Leave it to my dog to prove me wrong.

My dog Tye stops suddenly to examine something on the ground. I try to urge him forward because the smallest scents attract a dog’s attention and, really, what do I care? Why should it matter to me what my dog finds interesting? I’m being thoughtful and fulfilling my duties of ownership by taking him on a walk.

He refuses to come so I’m forced to see what he’s so interested in (though I have yet to care he’s interested in anything at all).

Then I see the dead bird, its beak agape in some sort of horrified rictus.

I push my dog away only to prod the creature lightly with a stick myself. I know it is dead, heck, it looks like it has no insides at all and the black feathers are slick and clumpy, I just can’t help it.

I’m morbidly fascinated.

I call my friend (who also missed the carcass) over to look. She bemoans my cruelty, wishing I never called her over and tries to make me leave. I’m harder to get moving than my dog was.

The sequence of events makes me think of my manuscript for the remainder of our walk. I just can’t get the bird out of my head, or the fact that my writerly powers of observation failed me.

It makes me realize something. I’m probably not finding the, perhaps slightly hidden, dead things in my story. Not the dead characters. Not the dead plots. Not the dead words.

I think I’m catching everything; I’m looking everywhere but I’m much too close to the work to catch the lifeless pieces bringing my story down. My friend probably won’t notice either – she looks at the writing like it’s my book, she has background info on my characters (stuff a random reader wouldn’t be privileged too), and she’s as lost in the atmosphere as I am.

I need a dog; someone with a nose to sniff out all the problems, who is objective and unbiased enough to not overlook the small things for my sake. Because let’s face it simply praising our work does us no favors. It won’t get us to publication.

The only thing that will is brutal honesty. I need someone who isn’t afraid to get a little dirty, to be morbid and blatantly point out the dead stuff in my writing.

Again, I say it, I need a dog.

I should care because it’s my soul in a book and every soul has flaws. I should care because I want my book to reach its potential. I should care because I can only improve. I should care because it isn't enough to just do our writerly duties.

I should care because it matters.

I care.

Do you? 

Is there a ‘dog’ in your life who helps you find the dead stuff? 

Word Of The Day: Wikiphobia - fear of wikipedia, fear of the ability to allow anyone to edit things.