Monday, January 10, 2011

How much stuff could a stuffed girl stuff...?

How does so much…stuff end up crammed in the last days of vacation? It’s nice that it gets me out of the house, but I always feel so rushed all of a sudden. (Then when I try to recall why I feel so rushed, it all happened so fast that I can’t remember.) I’ve been writing, reading, seeing movies, going to parties, getting my hair done, writing more, chatting with friends, sleeping, sleeping, blogging, etc. And I’ll be seeing more friends over this week.

I know homework isn’t on the list! It’s happening today. Sheesh!

Today is my break from outdoor activity (unless I decide to see Black Swan on a whim) so that means I’ll finally be getting to a few things:

Homework will get done, or at least get started. It will be finished before next Wednesday. Thankfully it’s the only piece of homework I have over the break.

I also have more research to do for EPICDS. I found a neat website that breaks down fantasy world building. Now I need to combine that with steampunk and make this world work. XD If I could get a website detailing steampunk universes, details about clothing (with names of each article), transportation, cities, etc, I’d be majorly souped. If anyone could help me with that, I’d be forever grateful whether I keep the idea or not.

I’ll also be dancing in circles to get rid of this tension while waiting to hear if I got a callback for The Dark At the Top of the Stairs. I think the audition went well, but the girls auditioning for the same roles as me were really good! And really adorable, which seems to fit the role I really want. I mean, of course congratulations to them for great auditions! I’m just uber nervous. Plus, I don’t know who’ll be there today. Uuuuuggggghhhhhh! Auditions! I hate you!

Nah. It’s a love-hate thing.

There you go. Winter break in a nutshell. Bring it on, Monday!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Today for show and tell:

Finally finished Fortune’s Fool (say that three times fast) and I’m really hoping the next one is better. It picked up towards the end, but…*shrug* They can’t all be gems. More harlequin romance though. :P

Worked my way through some little details of EPICDS with help from Step Five of the Snowflake Method, which I’m not done with and I’m dreading working on the major protagonists. But now I know what happened to the woman’s baby! Wait, it’s not totally cause to celebrate…hmm… Anyway—

Helped a buddy edit her story. I love being in the know. :) And she got my chapter 5 for U:RS. I love her praise and CC!

Started reading Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen. That’s right, folks. This fantasy nut is reading Fred Saberhagen. Put that in your pipe and shut up!

Not much snow fell so I don’t really need to shovel. Just had to brush it off of my car.

I have a hair appointment so my hair can look nice for my audition tomorrow, which I’m totally souped for! Not that I enjoy auditioning, but I enjoy seeing friends and I enjoy being cast. :P


Yeah, that’s about it. Unless you want to know that I may move straight to like, Step Eight of the Snowflake Method because I think my Step Two ended up being Step Seven or something, and anything with the characterization I’ll figure out as needed. I need to sort it out into scenes and chapters and maybe start writing. I think I should take some time before diving into the actual draft though.

Do you see a motif with these entries? But yeah. Good day. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Skipping Around the Snowflake Method (*first two posts in tumblr*)

As it snows outside my window! *queue rim shot*

So I came to the quick conclusion that there’s a reason I haven’t used the Snowflake Method of Writing before. It’s kind of tedious. Actually, not kind of. It’s pretty darn tedious. I wrote out the opening of this story at least three times. Maybe I need to just space it out, but I’m latching to every moment I have of my vacation to catch up with my MSWord futon.

I love how helpful steps one and two were. Step three, however, is characterization, and that’s something I have to develop on my own. I can’t have that kind of structure hampering my characters. They like what they like and they do what they do. If I overthink it, I’ll try to put somewhere in the narrative what item they would pull from their burning house when it’s entirely unnecessary.

Actually, there is a scene with…well, never mind. I moved on to what’s proving to be incredibly helpful as well.

Step Four: Expand each sentence of your summary paragraph from step two into a full paragraph. All but the last paragraph should end in a disaster. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends.

I read this again after doing step two and I laughed out loud. (Oh. Sorry, young people. I meant to say I lol’d.)

Turning each sentence into its own paragraph would give me my full draft right there! Okay, a slight exaggeration, but it’s proving to be quite lengthy. The LTWF blogger said it would be a one page synopsis. Yeah, no. This will be three pages minimum.

However, a concise and well structured plot is the hardest part, but the most obvious. You have to know where you and your characters are heading even if you don’t plot it out entirely before writing. Me? I need to know almost exactly where I’m going. Things will change throughout, of course, but I need a basic guideline. Usually this is in the form of bulleted typed notes under chapter heads. Now it’s a Word document with full sentences…and I’m kind of liking that better. Actually, not kind of. It looks so pretty with its punctuation marks and proper grammar.

Next is…

Step Five: Write a one-page synopsis of the story from the point of view of each major character.

Um…we’ll see.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Writing Challenge Contest January 2011

Dare I give it a…third chance? Fourth?

Whatever number it is, the answer is no. However, I check out the prompts from time to time to see if I might get inspiration. I did this time! *pompoms* It’s unfortunate for my characters that this is going to turn into something dark. A black cat with clovers? C’mon. It screams oxymoron that must be toyed with!

Now the question is: should I try to keep it in the 2K word limit as if it was an entry or should I write and see where it takes me? I kinda like the limit. Gives my writing some structure (which it so badly needs) and my thoughts don’t go flying like they did for my Christmas story last year. Well, more than just last year; I wrote it my senior year of high school. For Mr. Tuers. *sigh* He was so rockin’ awesome.

So this may be done in place of homework again. Whoops. It’s not like I was seriously getting to the homework right after New Years. I needed these few days just for me after an awesome and oddly high-action weekend observing shabbat with my best friend and her friends from school. (Playing Settlers of Catan gets pretty intense though.)

This is my way of winding down. Writing stories involving children and murder…right. But it’s not all bad. Another entry I wrote involved college students like me…and suicide…right. Oh! Another WIP is about waiting for love…and death…right.

Aaaand scene!

January 2011 WCC prompt:

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Fairy Neighbors Are Tired of My Company

Whenever I decide I want to touch on a new genre for my writing, I come to realize a less than shocking fact: I don't know many other genres well apart from fantasy and urban fantasy. I don't even know epic fantasies like Lord of the Rings or...



You see?? So I think it's about time I got to some horizon broadening.

I should read Lord of the Rings trilogy to get a sense of what it is to write about a traveling adventure and multiple protagonists. That's what I'd like to write about for one of my WIPs that is way early in development. Another very early WIP involves understanding the growth of economy and the division of economic classes. I thought I could totally wing it, but my brother told me a few things that put me in my place. Yet another seems to be leaning towards a religious edge, of which, I have limited affiliation right now.

I've been told time and time again: write what you know. It's an irritating but pleasant wake up call that I need to expand what I know. I only wish I had such a compulsion to read books from every genre. I tried a mystery. Failed. Tried science fiction. Failed. Jumped straight back to my roots in fantasy.

But I'm hoping that my sudden onslaught of ADHD will subside and let me sit for more than three minutes at a time and read some new works. Heinlein's Empire of the East and someone else's novel The Incomplete Enchanter were suggested to me. They touch on fantasy, but in a perspective that my science grounded brother and father can tolerate, which means it has a strong enough hold in the sciences still. I'll give them a shot after my current read and hope for the best. Then maybe I can figure out how to properly work a few more plots.

Cheers to broader horizons! Any recommendations are welcome. But for now: to the MSWord futon!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Santa Brought Me An Amazing Gift. He Calls It "Time." Go Figure.

Holy cow and holy night! It's been much too long since I spewed my thoughts! I could go on for ages about how busy school made me and how much of a lazy bum I am and how stressed I've been, but I've long since decided to focus on the positives. It's just plain healthier.

So I hope the good hearted souls had wonderful whichever holiday makes them smile. I did. I went to my grandmother's new house (farther than her old place so we stayed in hotel suites Christmas Eve and night) and saw some family and talked to some friends. No tree, and that was fine. I'm not out to make life complicated for anyone, and it's true I wouldn't be able to help take it down with the new distance. And I heard the Celtic Women perform on TV. Absolutely stunning. O Holy Night is my new Christmas favorite. :-) It's fun to celebrate a holiday you don't believe in when all it means is more time with good company and good food.

It was simple and perfect. Oh night divine!

I've been getting some writing done too. Since school let out, I rediscovered what time was and used it to edit my novel U:RS in earnest and get that word count down. I'm very happy with the progress. I'm in the home stretch now (again), but the best part of this is that my really great friend read chapter three (after previously reading chapters one and two) and enjoyed it. She had her critiques, which I'm always thankful for, and really seemed to like the characters and where it was heading.

Also, through passing comments on Facebook, I may manage to form a mini critique partner circle with friends at school this semester. Two fellow writers thought the idea sounded good, so I'd really like to make time to make this happen. I love the idea of getting more feedback, and in return, practicing giving feedback. I've also thought about throwing caution to the wind and uploading U:RS on Fictionpress. I'm a little scared about the copyright laxity, but so far I haven't had any problems. I'm still deciding.

There's also the matter of my play for Playwriting class. It's made some great strides as well, and I can't wait to hear it read on January 28th! I'm so excited I can't stand it! I really want to finish writing Act II. Too bad my brain likes to jump all over the place before I get anything truly productive on the screen.

Alright, this is officially writer's babbling. Didn't even catch up on what exactly I did for two months. Work. End of story. No, but seriously. School involved:

1) many makeup  projects:

2) building two in-scale set models for plays:

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
3) writing the first act of a play and having it read by equity actors

4) performing I think two or three more scenes from select periods of history

5) and helping build actual sets for plays that went up on campus. Only one more theatre lab and then I'm DONE!

Oh, and auditioning for my favorite play ever, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and getting cast in it and auditioning for voice lessons and getting chosen! And being as social as my major allows, which was good enough for me considering what I used to be like. There were some downers to the end of the semester too, mostly the stress, the hormonal adolescent issues, and seeing some people's true colors, but like I said, I'm focusing on the positives. I've spent all the stress from the semester in one 16 hour overnight on campus working on my set models, which I'm very proud of. :-)

And that's what I've been inspired to say at about two in the morning. More productive posts to follow. *knocks on wood*

To the MSWord futon! Happy holidays!

*collapses on the way*

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Progress Report a.k.a. The Editing Blues

And so, as of last night at about 11:37, my WIP dropped about 15K words. Only another 13K or so to go before I’m just inside the estimated proper word length for a YA fantasy novel. *fanfare and processions*

I skimmed through the combined draft, and immediately I saw paragraphs that could be cut/revised, so it’s definitely possible. After going through what she’s been through, don’t tell my protagonist that anything is impossible. :P It’s kind of exciting. I had been having such a craving to write this week, despite my homework suffering, so maybe this will be the calm that lets me let my WIP take a backseat again for a little bit so I can not flunk out of college, thanks very much. Haha!

I’m looking forward to some revision, but I understand very well now that revisions are HARD! Some places make the workload a bit lighter; others scream with stubborness. In those places I really like what’s there and somehow it needs to be told. I’m afraid that if I cut it, I won’t find a better place to put it, and I’ll possibly lose the idea if I don’t at least store the entire section in another MSWord document. So it’s hard to make the word count go down. The most I’ll do is edit or cut a sentence or words here and there. It makes me think I’m making progress, but I know it’s a cop out. Although, it did help me drop about 3K words from one chapter. I guess it helps in a “slowly but surely” kind of way until I’m brave enough to let someone see and tell me to nix the whole shebang. *cringes at the thought* ;)

In other parts that were skyrocketing near the 15K zone for chapter length, I entirely rewrote scenes. That was painful! But no pain, no gain, right? It’s a learning process. I mentioned on my Facebook at one point about dropping the 3K words. My dad commented saying it was good that authors not get too attached to first drafts. Oh my was he off. I’m far too attached to the plot and characters as I’m sure many other authors are. The difficulty in the major editing, entirely reworking a scene, is finding something brief enough, but exciting enough. I have to still be happy with it, and it still has to be the story of these same characters. I don’t think  these guys mind quite how they end up locked up in a hostile world, just so long as I don’t actually put them to death…or do I ? o.O Then again, characters can be divas, even the shy ones, so what can ever really satisfy them?

Part of the problem may be that I’m trying to describe in words the images flying through my head. Now if I could just show my readers the images, it would knock off thousands of words. A picture tells a thousand words and all that jazz. Then again, I’d also end up a movie director rather than an author.

And in other writing news: my playwriting class is going really well! We’re reading scenes from our plays this week, and I’m about to flip out hardcore! I’m really happy with what I have so far, but it has its own dangers. A typical hour and a half play will probably have maybe upwards of 70 pages. Mine is in its completed rough draft and at 54 pages, which means to make it a full length play, it needs at least sixteen or so more pages of significant writing. Thing is, we’re at the point of learning to cut things out, so I’m anticipating a lot of red pen…which will only serve to make the play that much shorter! Yikes!

But I’ve got confidence in Charlie and her little world of players. God, I can’t wait for January and the equity readings! I’ve never had anything I’ve written read by many others and received feedback. Very nervous and very excited. Maybe I’ll feel less like puking by the end of the semester when I’ve had practice taking and giving critique. My professor sounds happy enough about where I am in terms of writing. After meeting with him, he mentioned specifically not to think about play length. Now that is out of my head. Back to the core information. Who knows? Maybe it’ll end up as a one act again. Or just a very short two act play. Whatever it is, I’m excited to finish it. My professor gave me a lot to think about for editing.

…Oh God. I’m gonna get torn apart on Friday. If not out loud, I’ll hear their minds churning. :-P

It’s all a matter for the future. Now is a matter for now. :)

To the MSWord futon!! (Schoolwork is for suckers! ;P )

P.S – I was cast in next spring’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Hippolyta, and I’m going to be assistant costume designer! Booyah for my reprieve in an otherwise hellishly fun and informative semester! *pompoms*