Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Fun Words

So last Friday in the comments, Summer from ...And This Time Concentrate gave me an award. Mommy tried to take it from me but I gave her a mean doggy look and she backed away. We also got this award from the lovely Roxy at a women's write so check them both out.



This is MY AWARD so therefore I get to list the 7 random fact about me, because, this is my day to blog.


1. I was a shelter puppy. My first human mom brought me to Anne's shelter when I was 12 weeks old and Mommy and Anne scooped me up and brought me home. My first name was Boo.



2. Yvie is actually short for Yvette, but mostly I'm kind of named for Evey from V For Vendetta

3. Once, when I got stung by a bee, my face swelled up and I had to go to the ER Vet and get a shot. It was OK, I like the vet.



hey you guuyyyysss...



4. I love people. A Lot. Sometimes I get so excited I pee...

5. Sometimes I snore when I sleep.


video

6. When I get anxious, or maybe when I'm just really sleepy, my tongue sticks out.



7. When I was still a puppy, I was named Belle of the Ball at Whisker Whirl, which is a black tie event for the shelter I came from. I was picked out of all the other girl dogs to win a crown, prize and the title.



So now you know a little more about me. Onto the words!


Mornac - cognac for the morning

Beepaces - how far a bee travels to find nectar

Uverr - how the french say "over" in english (I know this, because i'm a frenchie)

Norsh - a drunken nordic fellow

Mygibins - personal monkey attendants. Watch out for their grabby fingers and their poop throwing

Weepoo
- when you cry over all the poop. So much poop...


Bark at ya later!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In Which My Writing Group Meets


I got together with my writing/crit group on Monday after a few months off. We took a break during Nano and then the break just swelled to cover the holiday season as well. But now that we've started up again we'll hopefully meet every three to four weeks to crit work and talk about nerdly pursuits.

One of the BEST things about having a writing/crit group, at least for me, is that it gets me all jonsed to get to work writing or editing, etc. You know that funk I was in? Gone after meeting Monday night.

Since it had been so long since we met, only one member (Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome) brought anything to crit (because she's always on top like that and can pull something out at last minute. Also she likes to use writing prompts, where myself and Teebore are less than fans...)

Next time Teebore and myself will also bring something to crit (for him it will be the beginning of his Nano piece and for me it will be the prologue of Foxfire even though I plan on junking it...)

We meet at Old Chicago where there is often food and beer to be had (not typically by me, though, because I'm cheap and also we split dinner duties at my house). In fact our writing group was dubbed by a friend as UMWADS (United Midwest Writing And Drinking Society) and the title just seemed to stick.

I have to say that I, personally, enjoy meeting in person as opposed to online. I'm sure there are many benefits to an online crit group and I may look for one in the future to supplement UMWADS, but meeting a crit group in person is awesome, not to mention the fact that my writing group members are also my best friends so we always have a good time.

Do what about you? Do you meet with a crit group? How did you get started and is it in person or online?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Which Characters Are Dragged Through Hell

So yesterday we discussed passive characters and fixing disasters that are (hopefully) brought about by the MCs trying to fix things.

Another trick you can use to force your characters to remain active instead of passive is to put them through hell.

And now I will use an example from my favorite of all favorite shows...

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT!

That's right! And you forgot all about it...

So if you remember from last time I discussed the awesomeness that is the show (BTW, I'm now making Twin watch it with me. Converting the unsuspecting, one person at a time...) Payson broke her back in the season finale last season and her doctors said she wouldn't ever do gymnastics again. Which sucks for her because she was a favorite for the 2012 Olympics.




So Payson tries to pretend it doesn't bother her, but of course it does and she alienates her friends and family and breaks all her trophies and refuses to even go to The Rock to visit the other gymnasts or consider being a gymnastics coach.

So things are crappy for Payson.

Then, her pseudo boyfriend tells her about this back surgeon in LA who is the best in the world. So even though Payson and her parents decided she wouldn't see any more doctors, Payson gets her hopes up about this doctor and convinces her mom to allow her to get a consult.

The new super doctor tells her that he agrees with her original prognosis. No more gymnastics.

So Payson is broken hearted again.

Payson then has to go to public school, because there's no point to being home schooled anymore. She hangs out with a bit of a bad crowd and gets in trouble based purely on association, but this helps her realize that she can't spend her whole life thinking about how she can no longer be a gymnast. She has to move on, and find something else she'll love just as much.

So things are looking up for Payson, she's making new friends, joining clubs at school, gets to go to Prom and doesn't even have to wear her back brace at the dance.



And then, a doctor from Europe calls Payson's father and advises them that she believes she can perform an experimental surgery which will allow Payson to compete in gymnastics again.

Payson is excited about the chance, but she catches her parents fighting over the idea and because she doesn't want to be the source of their arguments or their fear she tells them she doesn't want the surgery.


If we look over all of these scenes (which of course have happened over the span of 8 or so episodes) we can see that every and any time Payson starts to feel good, or happy or things start to "come up Milhouse" for her, things then go to crap.

If you continue to throw horrible things at your characters, drag them through hell, then it's difficult for them to remain passive.

But you want to be careful that you allow the characters to make a mess of things as much as possible. Yes, the doctor calling from Europe is a bit of Deus Ex Machina (I LOVE saying that), BUT it's going to come down to Payson deciding if she wants to take the risk of surgery (a surgery that could possibly leave her paralyzed) in order to get another chance at her lifelong dream.

If your characters try and fix the bad things that happen to them, make their solutions cause even more problems (for example, Payson's big let down at the LA surgeon's is due purely because she fully believed she would be fixed and convinced her mom to bring her to LA for the consult. She caused herself that moment of heartbreak).

So, in recap, ways to avoid passivity = bad things happen to MC, MC tries to fix bad thing, which makes things worse, which MC tries to fix, which makes things worse, etc, until we reach the end and (hopefully) a point of change for the character.

You want to be careful that you have moments of breathing space for your readers, give a little taste of good things before the next disaster happens. This will allow your reader to take a breath and will also make the next disaster even weightier if things were going OK for a bit.

Again these are all things I try to keep in mind as I'm drafting, but truthfully I'll have to go back in during revisions to heighten the drama in each scene.

Does anyone else follow the "drag your MC through hell" approach to prevent them from remaining passive?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Which I Fight Passivity

Let's talk about passive characters.

They stink.

I mean, they can have their place in a piece, but it's hopefully not in a main character role.

My previous WIP, the stalled one, has a passive MC, which is one of the main issues I have with it (well that and I've got too many main characters and little to no character motivation or conflict. Hence why I am no longer a pantser...)

When I'm outlining a piece (which is not so much an outline as it is a list of MCs their conflicts and motivations and then maybe a list of scenes) I try to think of the story arc as 3 disasters and an ending. It's OK if the first disaster comes around due to an environmental issue or something else, but the story and the characters will carry more strength if the following disasters are caused by the MC trying to fix things.

This is something I struggle with, the passive character bit. I like to have things happen to people and typically when I write a story arc, that's what I start with. And then I have to go back and think of ways the MCs can mess things up instead of just waiting around for things to happen.

Boring.


(On a side note, I was looking for a picture regarding passive characters, and at least 25% of the pictures that came up were of Bella Swan.)

Hopefully the passivity is something I can catch before I finish, or better yet even start, the first draft. But if it's not, as long as I'm aware that it's an issue of mine, I can search for passive character moments and scenes and even story arcs during revisions.

Tomorrow, more discussion about characters and ways to interrupt passivity.

So does anyone else struggle with passive characters?

Monday, February 22, 2010

In Which I'm In A Funk

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I think it's directly related to finishing the WIP.

At first it's fun to have it done and getting some free time again. But then, the free time just sits there and I know I should fill it with things (like cleaning, finishing up a final revision on a short story, or better yet, starting a new WIP) but every time I think about doing one of those things, or something else, I just think, meh I don't want to do that.

Hence, a funk.

I don't really know the cure for a funk. I suspect its mostly just time. And actually yesterday I did a bunch of cleaning all before 9:30AM so I think that may have erased much of the funk.



On the plus side, I've only got to really sit through another week before I can break open Foxfire and get to work on revisions!

On the negative side, I actually have to read the manuscript before I can start editing. Boo.
Not because I don't want to read it, just because that will take up some more time before I can start on the edits.

Sigh.

Unless you think I could start reading the manuscript a few days before...so then I can start the edits exactly 4 weeks after I finished it...

Hmm.

Of course all of this is just based on a timeline I made up, so I suppose I can also make up my own rules.
Excellent.

So how does everyone else get themselves out of a funk?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fun Words



I'm back, babies! Me, the fantastic wunderhund (is that right? I don't know... well it's right now.) Yvie, to give you the definitions for word verification words so you may increase your vocabulary.

I've pretty much spent my week sleeping, which is what I do most days. However this week we got to do some training, because puppy Tula (who may or may not be a brat) is taking training classes and is being a dunce.


she thinks she's so great, but she's making Mom and Anne look dumb...



The good thing about that is that it means I get to do some training too. I LOVE TRAINING! Because I love to eat. As it should be for all dogs.

Anyhoo, onto the words!


Ireshe - a woman's anger.

Istic - the religion of those gummy octopi that you throw at a wall and who then "crawl down". Their deity is Nounstik - She who never loses her grip...

Immist - when a light fall of water is aimed at you but misses it's target

Imperor - clearly the king of the imps and gremlins

Lankles - also, clearly, the lower leg joints for people (or dogs - think great danes) who have long legs

Ticton - when the clock sounds weigh too much. Yes sounds have weight, didn't you know that? That's common dog knowledge. Just like how smells have looks

O'Tingle - (yes I added the apostrophe) - lord of the "funny feeling". Can be used for some guy who rubs you the wrong way. You know the guy... (IE: "Oh great, here comes Jerry O'Tingle")

Lunalli - prescription weight loss pill for our fat fat moon. Clearly only works sometimes because the moon always gets fat again.


And that's it for this week folks!

Have a good weekend and eat lots of treats!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Which I Don't Wear Pants?


When I was younger and used to write, I could sit in front of a blank sheet of paper and write whatever struck my fancy and make it into a viable story.


I think for the most part I can still do this, a blank piece of paper - or in my case, a blank word document because I am not a hand-writer - isn't something that stresses me out or causes writers block.


I also used to start stories with just the barest understanding of what my plot held. I'm a great starter and love jumping into something new when the excitement and idea is fresh.


But over the years I learned that if I jump in too soon, the excitement that comes with a new piece will wane and I'll be left with a story that I still like, but typically have no idea where it's going. I'll keep plugging along until I get stuck, and then typically, I would stop.


After a while I told myself I wasn't allowed to just start things willy-nilly until I gave them some more thought. And then that morphed into not really starting anything until I have at least a bare bones outline (most recently I now know that I need to have character conflicts, motivations and goals at least internalized if not written out if I want the story to have any sort of chance).


So what I'm getting at is, I used to be a "pantser" (flying by the seat of your pants sort of writer) and now I no longer am.

I think most writers fall into one or the other category - the pantsers or the... what are we called? Non-pantsers? sure...


I wonder, are there any other writers who fall in between, or, like me, started out as one way but then discovered that the other way was much more suited to them (even though I still sometimes consider myself a pantser - short stories especially)


What about you? Pantser or Non Pantser?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In Which I Receive (More) Awards

I seem to get blog awards in groups, which of course makes it easier to write blog posts.

Thank you to Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time for the Honest Scrap Award.






Check out her blog because it's great and I'm sure you'll like it.

For this award I'm supposed to tell you 10 honest facts about myself. I think what this really means is "embarrassing" facts about yourself. I'll try to do my best, but I don't have too many moments that I find embarrassing.

1. I once fell down the stairs at my parent's house, to my family's endless amusement

2. Myself, Twin, Brother and a friend placed 4th in a local radio's Rock Band competition.

We are Mange Bear. Twin's character, Rojo, My character, Falen (der), Brother's character, Mal Strum


3. I'm afraid, yet fascinated, by ghosts

4. I'm an amateur cryptozoologist

5. In highschool, I broke my foot in a lazy river

6. On that note, when I was 6 I was sent to my room when Twin broke my collarbone (to be fair, my parents didn't know it was broken...)

7. I own a Hanson CD. And yes, I kind of like it

8. I have two tattoos. One which I showed here. And here's the other one:



9. I don't like to hear about Pukwudgies (also the final story here and here)

10. I cheat frequently at Croquet, but only because I don't want to lose as badly as I would without the cheating (I still lose when I cheat, just not as badly. And I never cheat if I'm doing OK)

This award I will pass on to:

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome
Anissa
Elana Johnson

The other award I received from Alex over at Alex J Cavanaugh is the Over the Top award.





I've received this award before, so I won't bore you with my single word answers (because try as I might, I won't be able to come up with different ones than I did before).

Check out Alex's blog for some fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Which I (Thought I) Edited Too Much

So I submitted a piece for the Cosmic Coincidence Contest put on by the awesome Simon and Carol. The goal was to write a flash fiction piece (under 1k) using some prompts Simon came up with off some cool writing dice his wifey had made him.

Straight up the prompts killed me. I kept coming up with ideas and then realized I was mixing up the prompt sets.

Sigh.

Anyway, I made myself submit (Twin harped at me, too) because I certainly wouldn't gain anything by not submitting.

But I almost didn't submit anything. I had 2 pieces, and I felt neither of them were my best work. I passed the 2 pieces to my writing group and Brother and Twin, and even though I liked the shorter, more "literary" piece, they all came back preferring the one about vampires.

So I submitted it and got on with my life. I even wrote a blog post ahead of time to discuss the flaws inherent in my story I was sure they'd laugh at.
(to be fair, Carol and Simon are super duper nice and I'm sure they would have never laughed.)

And then, on Wednesday, there was my story on both their blogs for all their wonderful followers to read.

So I freaked out. In a good way of course.

I've never had a story posted where people just say nice and good things about it. Usually I'm sending things out to be critiqued, so while there are always good things said there are also places that need work.

Having complete strangers say wonderful things (like they loved my voice - can you believe that?!) is a complete mind trip and confidence booster. Especially when I thought the piece was a bit sub par.

Apparently I was a little hard on the story and it was, in fact, the little piece that could.

Anyway, here's the story for anyone who wants to read it. Below I'll discuss the few things that I thought were irreparable flaws (though clearly, much of it must have been in my head)


Pulled the story down for revision and submission


Word Count = 999
Writing Prompts = sunny day, martinis, a snake

The basic story idea that I came up for this was "what if someone fed stray vampires instead of stray cats?" Which I still think is an awesome idea. I don't remember how or why I came up with it.

There are a couple of reasons why I wasn't ecstatic with Strays

One is that I think flash fiction works best as one specific scene. This one (and to be fair, the other one too, which is why I wasn't happy with that one either) has two scenes, the first one in the bar and the second one at her home.
I just don't think it's as strong as a piece that is one scene, but perhaps that's just my preference.

Also I felt that I had edited it too much. It started over 1600 words, so I had to cut over 600. The first 300 or so were good cuts, they made the piece stronger.
Originally the story had another character. Marcia was at the bar with her friend discussing the vampires and then she meets Jacob. I actually like that version a bit more, the dialogue seemed more authentic and it flowed better. But I had to cut her friend out in order to get the words down. Then I needed about another 100 words gone. At that point, I just cut where I could.

I was worried that I had lost much of my voice with the cuts and also that the first scene was too much of a talking head syndrome ("blah blah, here's information that's important to the story, blah blah").

It was the first time I felt I had edited a piece too much. But clearly, I may have been overreacting a bit.

On the plus side though, all the beta readers and quite a few of the contest readers thought Jacob was going to be a vampire. Which is good because that was what I originally had planned for the story, a sort of "you think this guy is the bad guy but SURPRISE he's not". I thought I failed epically at this and therefore stopped trying to make it that way, but I guess that worked to my advantage because it ended up being more subtle. Who knew?

It's funny. I thought this piece didn't have a chance in hell with this contest and I was wrong. And I thought my piece for the Natalie Whipple contest was a sure thing and it wasn't even an honorable mention.

Clearly my confidence and doubt is all mixed up.

I want to once again thank everyone who said such kind things here on my blog and over on Simon and Carol's blogs as well. It's amazing how one little positive comment is enough to spur someone ever onwards.
Cheers!

Does anyone else have an experience about editing too much?

Monday, February 15, 2010

In Which I Share Contest News

Elana Johnson is having a contest on her blog.

You can win a query critique from real agents and other awesome prizes.

Go forth and participate


Also Shelli is having a contest as well.

You can win books, query crits and other wonderfulness.

Go participate here as well.

In Which I Reveal A Winner

Today is the day!

The day I reveal the winners of my first ever contest!

I wrote all the names down on pieces of paper and out them in a hat.

My steampunk hat of course.

But there were too many so I had to change to a bucket.





There were actually 3 winners, but the second name I pulled was Twin's, so she'll be getting her own prize because I said family is exempt for the giftcards.




I wish I had enough money to send a giftcard to everyone who entered. Maybe one day...

And without further ado, the winners are...


AchingHope for the $25 card




and Piedmont Writer for the $15 dollar card.

Congratulations!

Please send me an email at sarah.ahiers@gmail.com with your address and I will send you your giftcards.

Back tomorrow with "normal" posts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love At First Sight Blogfest


So I'm participating in the Love At First Sight Blogfest, organized by the lovely Courtney Reese.

For those of you new to the idea, a blogfest is when someone comes up with a scene topic and anyone who wants to participate writes a scene (or takes one from an existing piece) and posts it on their blog for all the world to see.

This one is, clearly, about love at first sight scenes (appropriately for Valentine's Day). Or, if you don't have a love at first sight scene, it can also be when your characters realize they love each other.

I thought I had plenty of scenes like that in my writing. But it was hard to find one. Most of my short stories are not of the happy variety (about 90% of my shorts are horror-esque) and though Foxfire had a few, they were both lengthy and would require too much build up and backstory.

So I looked at my previous WIP (the one stalled at 70K).
This one had a few options so I went with one scene that looked pretty solid.
The only editing I did on it was spell check so this is how it looks in the unfinished first draft.
I tried to include as much conversation as required to make sense of the scene. I hope you can follow along...


****************
“When we got attacked by the wolves, back at the alley,” Joachim began, “you changed your form.”

She nodded but continued to watch the fire.

“Is that something you’ve always been able to do?”

“Yes. You did not notice when I changed before?” she asked.

“You looked like one of them,” Joachim said. “Like one of the wolves.”

“I don’t look like them. They look like me.” Cilka clarified. “And now I look like you.”

Joachim saw that Cilka had changed her appearance to once again look more human, her fur gone, her mane replaced by hair and her claws with fingernails. She had gone back to the woman he knew. The woman he loved.

As soon as the thought entered his head he found it to be true. When he had seen her fall into the river and not resurface he had felt such a moment of loss the closest association he had was when Jen had lost the baby, and then he had lost Jen. He had loved Jen. And now he loved Cilka.

“You told me that you loved Arenna,” he said to Cilka. “That you would have died for her, given the chance.” Joachim turned to face her. The firelight danced across her skin and created patterns and reflections of movement.

“Yes.” Cilka said.

“Is that why you spend so much time with me? Am I just her to you?”

She turned to face him. “You aren’t her. You can never be her. She was a unique creature that no human could ever encompass.”

“But you said-”

“I am a creature of the moment, Joachim.” She rested a hand on his leg. “You have to be when life just goes on and on. I tell you this so you can understand that when I say I house guilt over Arenna’s death, you can understand that, for me, to hold onto any emotion for such a length of time is an anomaly. That is how much I loved her. She changed my very nature. I am no longer what I was before I met her. My kin would not recognize me now and would see me as a broken creature, to feel as I do over a being that was destined, as all things are, to end, to die and return to dust and earth once more.

“When I first saw you, I knew immediately you carried Arenna’s blood. I see it in your skin, taste it on your breath. You can’t imagine what it is like, to have loved so greatly so long ago and to have just a glimpse, a reminder, of that love again. It hurts so much. And yet, I would experience it over and over again. Because you are all I have left of her.”

Joachim nodded. It was the longest speech he’d ever heard from Cilka and it was full of lovely and painful words.

“I understand,” he said and noticed how the black polish on his fingernails had chipped.

“Joachim.” She reached two fingers and lifted his chin so he could look into her eyes. “I already told you that two things cannot be one and that you are not Arenna. But even if you carried nothing of her in you, I would still love you as you are.”

She leaned forward and kissed him gently upon the lips. She tasted of good things, rosemary and mint and he was reminded again that she smelled like cedar and dry leaves in the fall.

He wondered if it was possible to love a monster.

**********************

So there you have it. I hope it wasn't too confusing and I think I accomplished what the blogfest was meant to do.

Now I'm off to read the other entries.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Fun Words

Here you are again, with me, the lovely Yvie. For all the new followers, Friday is when I make up definitions for word verification words so all my ape-friends may go about using them in their daily chats.

It's come to my attention recently that Mommy has placed in a writing contest and has also received blog awards.

The problem being that she never once thanked me - I, who help out with her Friday blog entries, and I who sit next to her on the couch while she types away.
Ungrateful, that's what Mommy is.

So I thought I'd share my own contest I won - that's right, all me!

Mommy is an occasional visitor to a french bulldog forum where they have a Picture of the Month contest. It's always tough to win because many of the members are also photographers.
Needless to say, Mommy has been a member for 3 years and never once have we come close to winning.

UNTIL THIS MONTH!

That's right! I am the Picture of the Month at French Bulldog Worldwide! This means I'm on the home page all month and I also qualify for the 2010 Picture of the year contest.

Here's the picture that won February:





So take that Mommy!

Onto the words!


Flonest - honesty for flowers

Moloil - what male rodents put on their fur before a date

Buntskin - the outside layer of a cake

Nonogro - herbicide you give to weeds to stop them from spreading

Litioink - a glowing pig.

Puncrum - in a pun marathon (you know, where someone says a pun, followed by someone else making an ever better one, etc) the last remaining pun. Often this pun is weaker than all the others which leads to the end of the punning thread


I'll be back to bark at you next week!

*Update*
Sarah (Falen) here.

Per the wonderful Teebore's request and courtesy of Twin and her Wacom tablet:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Which I Wait



I'm a pretty patient person. Unless things are right in my face constantly (previews to a good movie on ALL THE TIME - or fun conversations with friends that get you all jonesed for whatever it is you're waiting for (Lost, The Last Airbender movie)) I can ignore them pretty well until they arrive.

But sitting on Foxfire (my work in completion? WIC?) is tough.

I love to edit and revise. Especially line edits. Fixing words, tightening sentences? What's not to like about that?

But I know I have to sit on Foxfire to get some distance from it. I think distance is always required before any large revisions take place. Even line edits can go wonky if you don't have enough space between you and the piece.

I wish I was already at the end of February so I could start the revision process - break open those note cards and new notebook (which I still need to buy) and get to work. Move forward with it. I'm really excited to tackle the beginning. And I think I have a fix for the passive ending, so that's good too.

Is there any part of the revision process I don't like?
Yes.

Writing additional scenes is not something I enjoy. I have a mindset that once a story is done, it's done, and to have to write new scenes is, to my mind, counterproductive. But I know that's not really the case, and I do know that Foxfire will require a few extra scenes from the antagonist's POV to help balance out the story and fill in some plot holes. Not too many scenes and they shouldn't be too hard to add, but still.

I should probably start working on something else (Twin's commission or my stalled WIP) and I will soon, I just have to work out a few more things (like a plot for the commission).

What do you do to keep yourself occupied while you're waiting to do revisions or something else for your story?

Also, next week I will write a post about placing in the Cosmic Coincidence Contest (and here)(I KNOW! I can't believe it either!) but I wanted to let you know, in order to spread around the love I got regarding Strays, I've added a 2nd giftcard to my 50 followers drawing - it will be another B&N card for $15.

Yay!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In Which I Host My First Contest!


50 followers wOOt!

So, like I promised, a drawing to be had for a prize!

What prize, you ask? Why a Barnes and Noble gift card of course!

A $25 giftcard, which should be enough for you to purchase a hardcover if you so desire.
(family is exempt...)

The rules:

Are you currently a follower? (followers 1-50) 2 entries!
Are you a new follower? One entry!
Did you post this contest on your blog? (or Twitter, for those of you twitter minded folks...) One entry!

Please leave a comment with your total number of entries.

Deadline is by 5pm CST Friday, 02/12/10.

Results will be revealed on Monday 2/15/10.

Fun! Excitement! Drama...?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In Which I Am A Year Older


So it was my birthday on Sunday.
Yay.
To be fair it was also Twin's birthday - two minutes after mine.

We're now 29. 30 is on the horizon.

And we share our birthday with a few friends. Also Ashton Kutcher, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Charles Dickens were also born on this day. Who knew February 7th was such a popular day to have a baby?

On Thursday our mom took us out to get manicures - not that any of us have nice nails, but it's still fun.


I'm never going to be a hand model...


In my fam we celebrate by getting presents (natch) and going out to eat at a restaurant of the birthday person's choosing. We'll be hitting Twin's choice later, hopefully when our youngest sister, henceforth known as Youngest Sister, comes home from a visit from Far Away College (aka Columbia in Oprahland (aka Chicago)). Twin chose Solera which is a delicious tapas restaurant.



Delicious! Cannot Wait! Exclamation Points!




I chose La Grolla, which we dined at Sunday afternoon (because there was no point watching the Super Bowl when it was our BIRTHDAY...duh (also the Vikings weren't playing, so you know, what's the point?)). La Grolla is classified as Italian, and every time we've eaten there the food is so super duper fantastic you pretty much don't want to eat anywhere else, ever again.




This is the dish (cartoccio) that Brother would kill a bear to get at. An honest to god bear...



The chef/owner was once a personal chef for Donald Trump and apparently Mr. Trump has good tastes.

As for presents, Twin got a new jacket along with Casino Royale and season 2 of the Venture Brothers.



If you're not watching Venture Brothers, you need to rectify that IMMEDIATELY!




She also got dog training classes for Tula, who may or may not be an agility champion in the making.



Together, we also got a Ladder, which doesn't seem like much, but we've needed a ladder for almost 2 years now to get rid of the trees growing in our gutters.

Our Grandma has started to give away some of her possessions in lieu of a birthday gift (aka, money) which is awesome because I'd much rather have some of her heirlooms than money any day.

This year we got these wonderful dishes that belonged to, like, her grandmother and therefore are really old. They're made out of carnival glass.

Twin's

Mine


I got District 9 on blu ray and season two of Metalocalypse.



If you love metal, even a little bit, this show is for you

From Younger Sister I received a pretty hair binder and a journal made from REAL ELEPHANT POOP!







made from real poop!


You might be questioning the journal, but it's because I LURVE elephants.



this was my first ever tattoo


I also got a framed print of Waterhouse's Circe Invidosa







It's hanging in my room across from my framed Waterhouse La Belle Damme Sans Merci. Awesome.

So anyway, that's how I spent my Sunday. There was also some Dexter watching as well as Call of Duty playing.

How was your weekend?

Also, as of the posting of this blog entry I have 47 followers, each one unique and precious.

When I get to 50 followers (which could be any time now) there will be a drawing!

Those of you who are already followers will have a leg up!

Yay! Excitement!

Monday, February 8, 2010

In Which I Receive Awards

I received a few awards last week. Yay!
The first one is the Over the Top Award which I received from the lovely Courtney Reese



This one comes with the following rules: Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. As usually feel free to play along or not, to each their own.

Your Cell Phone? red
Your Hair? meh
Your Mother? awesomesauce
Your Father? smart
Your Favourite Food? steak
Your Dream Last Night? forgot
Your Favourite Drink? water
Your Dream/Goal? Published
What Room Are You In? living
Your Hobby? Writing
Your Fear? ghosts
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? living
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something That You Aren't? male
Muffins? blueberry
Wish List Item? money
Where Did You Grow Up? home
Last Thing You Did? blog
What Are You Wearing? PJs
Your TV? Bravia
Your Pets? adorable
Friends? great
Your Life? good
Your Mood? tired
Missing Someone? yes
Vehicle? sassy
Something You Aren't Wearing? Socks
Your Favourite Store? barnes
Your Favourite Colour? green
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Today
Last Time You Cried? forget
Your Best Friend? Anne
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Home
Facebook? sigh
Favourite Place To Eat? Fogo

And the 5 bloggers I send this to are:

Leasie at Leasie Writes
Southpaw at Scribbles and Splashes
KL at The Far Side of Nowhere
Julie at The Climb
Kristy at Stark Raving Zen

Also I received the Happy Award again from the fantastic Roni at fiction groupie.



Check out her awesome blog!
But, because I've already received this award, I will hold off on listing another 10 items (or in my case, 11...).

Tomorrow will most likely be a post regarding the day of my birth, which was yesterday, and then we should be back to our regularly scheduled programs (whatever that may be...)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Fun Words


It's that time again, ape-friends! The time you've all been waiting for, on the edge of your seats, checking your watches...

You do know that people typically check calendars for days and not their watches, right?

...I do now...

So for any of my - our- our new followers, Friday is when I, the lovely, wonderful, beautiful, graceful - ahem- Yvie, makes up definitions for word verification words in order for everyone to use and thereby make me famous.

Anyway yesterday I had my yearly checkup at the vet. Unlike most dogs, I LOVE the vet. As my mommy would say, it's straight up awesomesauce. Not only do I get a lot of attention... (because, I mean, look at me...)



...I also get lots of treats and kisses.

Also, it turns out I'm thinner than Mommy thought, so take that Mommy! Soon I'll be down to my puppy weight.

me in all my skinny glory




Onto the words!

Fobee - when your enemy is a small insect that stings. On a side note, I have a lot of fobees. Once my face swelled up from a fobee assassin that struck me before bed time. Not fun.

Noash - when your impash is missing.

Depptor - when you mix a very handsome Hollywood actor who three times played a dashing pirate, and a Jurassic lizard with a long toenail.

Matchel - man satchel. Or a satchel that perfectly accessorises your snazzy outfit.

Aftersies - the term for when you have dessert following elevensies.

Chlogra - in drain clog mythos, the giant moth-like creature that tries to lay waste to clog cities. Chlogra's nemesis is Exila.

Bark at ya later!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Which I Keep Track Of Books

So I read all these lovely blogs where they set goals for themselves regarding how many books they should read this year, or trying to read 1 book a month by a debut author (this goal is awesome - I think this should be required of all readers). But I have a hard time setting a reading goal when I don't know how many books I normally read in a year.

I know there's a 100 books a year goal (almost 2 a week) but is that a lot for me? Too little? I have no clue.




So, for the first time ever, I'm going to try to keep track of all the books I read in a year - that way I can better prepared to set a reading goal next year.

So far this year I have read:

Total Oblivion More or Less by Alan DeNiro
Interworld By Neil Gaiman and Michael - King of the 80's - Reaves
The Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks
Hooked by Les Edgerton
Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks


Huh. Listing them all out it seems pretty good. That's a book a week so far.

I will be keeping a running list as a tracker on the sidebar as the year progresses.

Anyone else keep track of their books?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Which I Go Shopping

So as soon as I realized I was almost done with the WIP, I went shopping for office supplies. I mean, who doesn't love shopping for paper and pens and all that good stuff? No one, that's who.

I picked up the below stuff, along with a new package of paper.




The one thing I forgot was a notebook, which I'll use to write out where, in specific scenes, I'll need to make changes.

Otherwise the pens are for line edits and any other writing I plan on doing with the revisions.
Except the purple pen. I gave that one to Twin to use as she acts as my first beta-but-also-more-like-an-alpha-reader person. She'll catch typos etc.

The highlighters are for, erm, highlighting things on the manuscript. Also I'm going to try highlighting changes in the notebook once they've been complete. As opposed to crossing them out, which would be my normal method.

The notecards are for making a list of scenes and playing around a bit. Mostly they'll be useful for figuring out where my chapter breaks should be and where I need additional scenes from other characters POV to break up the story a bit.

But the manuscript is marinating for awhile. So I'll just have to look at my pretty supplies and sigh.

Does anyone else feel the need to buy brand new supplies when you're starting a new project?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In Which I Share Contest News (Again)

The most lovely and funny Stephanie Perkins is back from her month in Paris (can you believe it? A whole month living in Paris, doing research for her YA books? Awesome...)

And she has returned bearing prizes to be awarded in a contest.
Go check it out.

In Which I Do A Dance

Hey. How are you?

Good, good. It's nice to hear that.

So, umm, Notice anything? Anything different?

No? I'll give you a hint. It's over to the right. Don't worry, I'll wait.




That's right! The first Draft is complete! wOOt!



325 pages




Ohhhhhh it's been so long since I've gotten to write "The End" on a piece that's longer that 30k. It feels good. I'd forgotten how good it feels.

In celebration I, of course, do a dance. A "The End Dance". It's very similar to the "New House Dance" of which I am frequent participant.


Here's a video of the "The End Dance". Feel free to copy and mimic



h/t to Joan Crawford for her awesomeness.


Peace out, friends. I will be back tomorrow, assuming I didn't hurt myself whilst dancing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

In Which I Share Contest News

DL, frequent commenter on this blog, has reached the bronze medal of blogging - 100 followers.
Of course, this means it's time for a contest.
Pop on over to his page and feel free to enter.

Also with another 100 follower contest is Kristin Rae. Check out her contest as well for a chance to win.

Finally, what has two thumbs and is excited for Lost tomorrow? This guy!

In Which I Am Conflicted

So I'm working on WIP, making steady forward motion when I come across the MOTHER OF ALL DISTRACTIONS.
So big that instead of being included on my distractions post, it needs it's very own post.

And no, it's not LOLCats



What it is, my friends, is reading a good book.

What's extra hard about this distraction is that, as a writer, we're supposed to be reading. A lot. We should be reading all the time, never stopping, never hesitating.

Only once have I heard a published author state that if you want to be a writer you need to stop reading right now because everything's been done to death and he didn't want budding authors copying existing ideas, and he was a nutbag

(On a side note, when I first read that comment, (and this comment was in a published book regarding authors - each author had a black and white artsy photo and a single page to blah blah about something. I don't remember if it was related to writing or if they could gab about whatever they wanted) I was utterly heartbroken. I thought, how horrible that I have to give up reading just to be a writer.
Good thing I would later find out this was actually anti-advice. I wish I could remember the author who said this so I could send him a nasty gram. What a d-bag)

I already mentioned how the end of WIP is dragging a bit and then, on top of it I finished my Les Edgerton Hooked book and moved onto the second Night Angel book. And this book is awesometastic. It's one of those books where you're like "do I really need to sleep? Surely I can just stay up and read all night and not feel crabby or like I'm dying the next morning". But the answer to that question is, yes you really need sleep. The book isn't going anywhere and you (or me at least) will ALWAYS regret not getting enough sleep.

So here I am, reading this book, and since I want to read it instead of sleep (and in case I haven't mentioned it (and I don't know if I have) I LOVE to sleep. I love it so so so so much. Also I have those great dreams, so that makes sleep even more awesometastic) you'd better believe I want to read it instead of write.

I don't know how to get around this dilemma. I mean, I need to read it. And I need to write. The two pastimes are mutually exclusive (or at least in my brain they are).

Clearly I need to finish one and concentrate on the other.

Damn you, wonderful books! Damn you for being so alluring and great that I can't put you down!
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