Friday, October 29, 2010

The best thing about October?

Pumpkin Guts!
I love the way a pumpkin's insides feel and being a tactile person, well, it just doesn't feel like Halloween without a pumpkin. I'm pretty sure when I was younger, putting on grandpa's shirts and pushing up the sleeves to get my hands dirty was all I wanted to do. I didn't want to carve, it got boring, and eventually I'd pass the task off to either mom or grandpa. 

It actually got to the point where mom gave me an ultimatum, "If you can't finish the carving on your own, you don't get a pumpkin."

My skills and patience have improved with time. This year, I carved two pumpkins. 

I give you the Dark Mark. (Gasp! Scream!) Yeah, Voldemort's been to my house this year. Run away little kids! (And leave me all the candy!)
If a death inside my house isn't enough to scare you off, I've got a werewolf who is willing to bite you! (Go away silly fangirls - it isn't Jacob Black!) Professor Lupin will apologize come November, he isn't himself at the moment.
The wolf was a lot easier because I didn't have to make up my own pattern. I also hollowed it out better so I didn't break two carving tools like I did with Voldemort's dark mark.

Here's a picture with my pumpkins and the two Ramona did as well. What a happy pumpkin family.

Now, as for yesterday:

Technically, both the facts I gave you were truths... (so that was a little bit of a hidden trick) but only one was my truth ----

T(1): I'm obviously good enough to eat because I've been stabbed with both a fork and a knife. --- Yup, kitchen utensils just can't seem to keep their pointed ends off of me! I must be a treat.

T(2): I can't tell the difference between wood and flesh because I almost chopped my finger off with an Axe (had to go to the hospital and everything!). ------ this happened to mom - fear not, friends, her finger was saved and she still has all ten digits!

Thanks again for playing!

Have you carved any pumpkins? What's your favorite part of Halloween?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursdays Tomfoolery #3

Halloween is in the air! (well, technically it isn't in the air but since it's everywhere I look, I imagine there's little flakes of Halloween floating about in the air too.)

So, in honor of Halloween today's tomfoolery has two parts!

Part 1:

Most memorable Halloween moment?

The last year I went Trick or Treating (I was thirteen) three friends and I walked around the neighborhood ringing sing Christmas carols. We did this for five hours. The look on people's faces were hilarious. I think we really messed with them, we were full of tricks and got rewarded for it- or maybe they just heard my caterwauling and threw candy at us in hopes I'd Shut Up!

Part 2:

Trick or Treat?

I'm going to give you two statements, one is a treat (because you get to know more about me!) and the other is a trick (blatant lie!) you have to guess which is which and I'll reveal the answer on Friday.

T(1): I'm obviously good enough to eat because I've been stabbed with both a fork and a knife.

T(2): I can't tell the difference between wood and flesh because I almost chopped my finger off with an Axe (had to go to the hospital and everything!).

Your turn! First, make your guesses, share your most memorable Halloween moment and if you are so inclined, share your own Trick/Treat statements in the comments below and I'll email you back with my guesses!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All I want is everything

Today I carved pumpkins. It was so much fun I wanted to be a sculptor.

In a creative mood but unwilling to start the paintings for my sister's Christmas present, I went to the craft store. There, I varied between wanting to design T-Shirts, make jewelry and decorate cakes.

When I got back home, I hung out with my friend Ramona and, bored, I decided to do her makeup. I wanted to be a makeup artist and do this: (Makeup inspired by the Cheshire Cat)

And this: (Strawberry and leaves)

This is everything I wanted to be - today. 

Sometimes, I want to be everything.

And you know what? That's what I love about storytelling and writing, it can take me places and live lives I never could have on my own. I can be anything my imagination conjures. If it doesn't work out, I can set that life aside for a rainy day and move on to the next. 

No strings. No years of schooling. Nothing to hold me back except the limitations I set upon myself. 

Now that, my friends, is freedom. 

What's one thing you love about writing? Your passion? Ever have any wild dreams besides being a writer/whatever you are now?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Organic Means It's Better For You!

Mom threw her back out (by sneezing!) and was in a lot of pain so I suggested she not go to work. Unfortunately she's already used all her sick days this year and if she used another, she'd lose pay.

I remembered something she'd said before, that she still had family sick days left. (Meaning she can take time off to care for my sister and I.) I used logic and since she won't lie (she teaches me good ethics though considering I want to make stories up for a living, which is basically glorified lying, I'm not sure it's working) I explained what I thought she should do: take a family sick day because if you lose pay it'll negatively affect your family, so if you say you need a family sick day your actually being entirely honest.

Mom didn't say anything for a moment and then replied, "You are devious."

She didn't take me up on my logic but she certainly made me think. To me, my statement seemed logical, a way to navigate the situation to keep the words truthful but still get what I want/what's best for my mom. To her, it was devious.

Now I'm not going to claim that I'm completely unaware of my own cunning nature but it really isn't something I think about.

Our characters don't either.

They can be aware of their own personality traits and major flaws but it can still sneak up on them. They can still be surprised when something that makes perfect sense to them seems wrong or strange to others - this makes for some great organic conflict between characters.

Their own flaws and nature can also be used to naturally land them in unsavory situations that they'll have to slog to get out of. For example, my main character can be insatiably curious when she wants answers, she'll do whatever she can do get them, even if she knows it could get her killed. (Yeah, I don't think it's that brilliant either.) But she's not thinking about how curious she is and how badly she wants those answers because of that, to her, it's logic - she wants to understand what's happening and the best way to do that is to press any advantage she can find.

To our characters, all of their actions are logical - even the seemingly illogical ones. They may confound others but to them they are only doing what makes sense. And events that unfold organically because of our characters are so much more fun than blatant, glaring plot devices.

Are you using your characters traits, good and bad, to their full advantage? Any thoughts?

Also, do you love my title or what? Personally, I think it's a stroke of genius.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursdays Tomfoolery #2

Behold the comic (near death!) events* of Monday's chemistry lab - told in three panels and a handful of words.

Melissa shakes the flint viciously, complaining all the while how horribly it's defected. Failing to remember the gas is still running.........

The epic fail of an explosion preceding Melissa's success at lighting her bunzen burner only adds to the sweetness of victory.

Any epic fails you're planning to turn into successes? 

*While the flames really did erupt to caress my face and arms and there was the smell of burning hair, I am perfectly fine for the whole affair was over in seconds.....and I'm just so indescribably hot that the fire saw me as kin and left me be. No, I'm not crazy. I just like fire. 

*Also, this counts as tomfoolery because, while it isn't a game, it's still fun because I drew you a comic!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Flash Fiction

The Killer Chicks are having a contest of Epicness! There are three ways to win, and a total of $100 at amazon up for grabs. (See what I mean when I say total Epicness?)

Go HERE to enter. You have into Halloween.

Anyways, one of the ways to win is to write a flashfiction entry. I've never tried to write one before and it was actually really fun. Nice and quick. You have to include the words Killers, Chicks, and Halloween. It isn't necessary to post your entry on your blog but I felt like sharing:

Killers, it’s such an ugly word. We’re just three chicks doing what we can to better our community. We help people. There are far too many people who lie, cheat and steal their way through life. They don’t appreciate what they have.

We watch them; see how cavalier they are about the blessings in their lives. And then, we help them. They don’t ever want the help, but we give it to them anyway. That’s what good Samaritans are supposed to do, isn't it?

Once they learn their lesson, realize the error of their ways and pray for life with fervour, we release them. Set them free from this plane of existence before their neighbours can lure them back into the vortex of carelessness that haunts so many these days.

Why do we love Halloween? Nobody notices a few extra screams. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I read a book the other week and it's been haunting me ever since. Not in the can't-get-it-out-it-was-so-great kind of way, either. No, it was more something the author did.

Halfway through the book after the MC makes a terrible mistake (almost killing the boy she's in love with) she starts talking about her supernatural abilities, how all the popular kids at school and her parents are like her too. She explains everything and her abilities become a natural part of her thought process for the second half.

I think the author was going for suspense and intrigue, a sort of mystery of why the school was so strange. But the entire first half I was wondering if the MC could seriously be that oblivious. Then surprise she isn't an idiot she's just kept her thoughts empty of the situation so the reader wouldn't know what was happening.

Seriously, what the hell?

If you're writing a first person novel and there's something huge like: I'm a fairy; I'm a wizard; I'm a werewolf (you get the idea) how can the MC never think about it?

I felt like I'd been cheated. Like, the author couldn't create real suspense on her own without her cheap manipulation of the MC's thoughts.

There's a difference between shocking your reader but offering them chances to figure it out through subtle hints and foreshadowing and intentionally lying to them in order to shock them. At least, I think there is.

So I'm curious, how much surprise do you think is okay? Where do you draw the line when keeping facts to create suspense? As a reader, as a writer?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Five Things

I wanted to do this post last Monday because it was Thanksgiving day in Canada but I was sick with the stomach flu (all better now!) all week and was about as productive as a sloth - actually, I was probably less productive.

Five things I'm thankful for (in no particular order).

1. That I actually love family dinners. My aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents are absolutely hilarious. The teasing never gets old and the all around insanity makes every meal novel worthy. I'm so happy I don't have to dread family affairs.

2. That my cat is so attuned to me that when she saw me loosing my guts in the toilet, she did the same beside me. It may be gross subject matter but you just don't find bonds like that every day.

3. That technology can keep us close to those we love even when they are far away.

4. That Jen gave me the final shove I needed to get over my excuses (University! Books! TV! Friends! Homework!) and sign up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those of you unaware). I've figured it all out and I need just over fifty thousand words to finish my book.

5. That my own moral ambiguity is such that it has allowed me to justify finishing my own novel during NaNoWriMo instead of coming up with a new idea. (I mean, come on fifty thousand words in thirty days? This kind of real pressure is exactly what I need.)

What are you Thankful for? Anyone joining NaNoWriMo? If you are, add me as a writing buddy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursdays Tomfoolery

I ended up looking to Mom to help me pick the new title of Thursdays because there was several that I really liked. Thank you everyone who offered suggestions! Mom and I agreed on Thursday's Tomfoolery (with another commenter Lisa seconding the title) so congratulations Melanie!

Melanie, please enjoy your immortality (you will now never age and never die unlike the stars! Tell us how great it is, all right?).

On to today's tomfoolery. (I need to use this word more often, it feels good under my fingers!)

Today is all about sharing the weirdest, silliest, oddest or worst assumptions we've ever made.

I'll call it the Assumption, Gumption game because it sounds cool.

I'll use an anecdote to explain my silliest (absolutely no foundation at all) assumption:

All my life, I avoided anything with artichokes. No matter how many times my friends told me eat it, I refused. Adamantly (and, many times quite meanly).

In grade eleven, my friend L, annoyed with my adamant refusal when I'd never tried spinach and artichoke dip told me she'd buy me my dinner at a nicer restaurant if I would eat a quarter of the appetizer. I weighed my options and decided to swallow past the rising bile in my throat and agree.

Tentatively I dipped a salted chip into the steaming dip then threw it into my mouth. My brow furrowed in contemplation, "This doesn't taste like fish at all."

"Fish? Why would it taste like fish?"

I stared at L wondering just how stupid she was, "Artichokes are fish."

She laughed in my face. (It's a good thing I don't get embarrassed easily. Just saying) "It's a vegetable. Who told you it was a fish?)

No one. I have no idea why I thought it was a fish. I knew anchovies weren't artichokes but somewhere in my mind, one day, I simply decided it was fish too - for no reason.

I wasted so much time! Artichoke is great in dips.

As a human race our strangest assumptions?

The world is flat.

The sun orbits around the earth.

Artichokes are fish. (Okay, that's just me......)

So what are some of your assumptions?

Let the Assumption, Gumption begin!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Themes and Glee!

 So over the weekend my friend had a Glee themed birthday party. 

At first, I was... reluctant. 

I didn't want to dress up. I wasn't feeling the theme. To be brutally honest, I thought the whole idea was stupid. So to spite the whole thing, I figured: why don't I make my own theme?

I planned it all, I would wear a skirt and white blouse, pin my slytherin crest on, wear my tie lanyard and finish the look with my scarf. My excuse? Glee could totally have a Hogwarts episode. They'd sing about cauldrons and witchcraft and Wingardium Leviosa-ing themselves on a magic carpet ride through the sky with the love of their life (after they'd glamored themselves to be a prince).

And then I stopped being a jerk (even though I still somewhat liked my idea). In the end, I went all out. 

Once I started, I actually had a lot of fun putting together the costume and getting ready. 

I went as Tina. 
The idea of the theme freaked me out, I guess, but sucking it up and doing it was actually a really enjoyable experience. (Also, I got a red velvet cupcake at the party so any and all pain of trying to figure out how to make my fishnets a shirt was totally forgiven.) 

It's the same with writing though. When I think, actually think, about the themes that are entwined with the core ideas of my book I don't think I can pull it off. I mean, there's just so many: family, love, friendship, betrayal, hate, believing in yourself, death... The list is longer and is more specific but I can't really explain any of it without ruining the book. 

Sometimes, I get so worked up with thinking about what I'm trying to achieve that I don't do anything. It's too big and too much and I can't possibly pull everything together into a seamless whole, into something I can be proud of. 

But, I'm trying to think of it like my costume. If I just sit down and write and stop thinking about what I'm trying to do, it'll be a lot funner then I gave it credit for.

And who knows, maybe I'll even surprise myself with how awesome it turns out. (I can dream.)

Are there any themes in your writing? Do you plan them or do they just happen?

Monday, October 4, 2010


Last Thursday we played the If game. I read and reread all your comments and laughed and smiled and it was such a success I've decided to make Thursday's a regular feature on my blog. It'll be a day for random games (whatever I come up with) and all around silliness. Because it's fun. And who can't do with a little more fun in their life?

So, after I decided this:

I bounce ideas off what to name my Thursday of epic gaiety with my friend Ramona.

I ask, "Too fun Thursday?"

She shakes her head.

So I try, "Too loose Thursday?" Another no, "No but don't you get it? Everyone will loosen up and stuff."

Still, no. Actually, I'm pretty sure the no solidified.

"Two bit Thursday?"

"Stop with the Too's." She says.

A little desperately, I say, "Two pence Thursday?"

Ramona, tired of my lame offers (I'm not being very original for a supposedly creative person,  I know. I blame it on school. University steals my soul!) comes up with, "Tyrannosaurus Rex Thursday."

I stare at her for a moment, then laughing add a slogan, "We'll bite your head off."

As we're lost to giggling fits like every other mature adult she offers, "Tranny Thursday!"

I exclaim, "We've got it all!"

Obviously, all pretense went out the window and our immaturity got the better of us as we laughed until my eyes watered and Ramona couldn't breathe.

But obviously, all ours suck. So, yet again, I find myself looking to you. Come up with a name for my Thursday games and all around silliness in the comments and I will pick my favorite and it will be immortalized forever! And if paranormal trends are anything to go by, immortality is in.

Thanks in advance. Also, I encourage you to read each others comments because you are all brilliant!

Friday, October 1, 2010

History is Relevant

Why are clocks circular when we see time in a linear fashion (there was a beginning and there will be an end)? Why are circles 360 degrees? Why does February only have 28 days?

Maybe you've thought about these questions or maybe you haven't. I mean, really, why do you need to think about it? Clocks have always been circles and a circle is 360 degrees and February has always been the shortest month. But if we do think about why, and look to our past we can find that there are actual answers.

Clocks are circular because the Mesopotamians saw the passage of time as a cycle: winter, spring, summer, fall, winter, spring....(you get the idea, I'm sure).

Circles are 360 degrees because the Mesopotamians divided their cycle of time into 360 days. They just picked it, for no real reason, other than their best guess. The circle being 360 degrees is fundamental to our understanding of all geometry and figuring out the values of other shapes.

February being the shortest month takes a little more explanation. Julius Caesar liked the Egyptian calendar so he rearranged time - telling all the romans that their former calender system was no longer valid. In adopting the Egyptian calender, Caesar picked one of the nicer months of the year and named it after himself (July). (Talk about having power, right?) After his unfortunate end, his grand nephew Augustus took over. Augustus didn't want to have less then his great uncle so he picked another month with gorgeous weather to name after himself (August, obviously). The only problem? August was shorter than July. How did he solve the problem? Augustus stole the days from February. Seriously.

The decisions of these ancient civilizations have a profound impact on our society today. So much so that we don't even question any of it. Everything they did was relevant. I could go on and on and on about the sort of innovations ancient civilizations had and how much they changed the course of history. I won't bore you.

My point to this history lesson? When you are writing a novel, history is important.

Your History is shaping and influencing the novel you're working on.

Your characters act the way they do because of their history.

History also serves as the foundation for world-building. Whether you've fabricated your own world or are using an already established location, you need to know the little historical details. The more you know, the richer your setting will be. The more real your world will become.

You don't need to tell the readers why February is the shortest month or why clocks are circles but you do need to recognize that history shapes everything.

My advice? Don't overlook history, in any aspect of your novel.

As an aside, I want to thank all of you wonderful people who participated in my game yesterday! It was so much fun and I loved your contributions even more than I thought I would (meaning: they were more amazing than I thought they could be).