Friday, May 31, 2013

Fictionography. . . Delayed


           I regret to inform you that I can not get the link thingy to work for me at present. So we will have our Fictionography link up tomorrow. I'm very sorry. But I will figure this out. Eventually.

However Improbable: Character Posts


           Miss Jack at However Improbable is having a drawing for her book A Stretch of Loyalty that is coming out. Write a character post and leave the link in her comments section and your name will go in. So here's my character post.

           I'm not sure how many of you have read this book. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. (I will apologize beforehand for any misspellings of names, I don't have the book with me) At first I wasn't sure if I would like it much. I personally am not much for dragons turning into people or vice-versa, or even half dragon and half person? Yeah. To me that gets into macro-evolution (if you're into science you know what I mean), and I don't agree with that. But that's beside the point, and for this book I decided to put that to the side also and just see what the story itself was about.
   
           Amazing! Hartman's style drew me in. But her characters are the real showstopper. I was thinking about discussing Kiggs. But maybe another time. Orma. I don't know if he was my favorite over Kiggs, but he comes very close.

           Orma is Seraphina's dragon uncle. He is most often seen in his saar or human form. But he is so hilarious, without meaning to be really. Because Seraphina tends to be scarastic at times. And being a dragon, Orma more than likely doesn't even know the word sarcastic exists. He can blend in better with humans than most saars. But he still has his quirks. Like sitting on his stacks of books. Because to him, knowledge is treasure.

           Which is another thing I love about Orma. He is different than most dragons. They all covet treasure and power (well. . .they are dragons). But Orma  has more depth. His treasure is not gold. It's knowledge. It's music.

           And dragons consider human emotions to be a disease. If a saar begins to show too much human emotion he can be banned from living amongst humans. It is weakness to them. Orma does not understand all sentiments. But he does have emotions, even if he doesn't show them. He has a father-like relationship with Seraphina. He cares very much for. He has often saved her life, and has had the brains enough to make it look as if he were doing something else, so no dragon could be sure he was attached to her. Even Seraphina at times doubts that he really cares. But he does. And there are so many reason he should not. One, he's a dragon. Two, in the dragon world he could be in a lot of trouble. Three, she's the daughter of his dead sister and that has to be painful. His loyalty is amazing as well as his self-sacrifice for his niece.

           And as I mentioned before all the dragons hunger for is treasure and power. Perhaps Orma has learned that love is powerful. I worry about him in the coming book. I'll try not say too much if you haven't read it. Because you should. It's a wonderful fantasy. The one of the best fantasies I've read in a while time.

           If you want to write a character post and enter Miss Jack's drawing also, you can find her blog here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Snippets. . . again

          Look! There are new pages on the top bar! Or whatever it is that's called. . . They are link ups, soon to be active. Check them out.  :)

           Whisperings of the Pen is hosting Snippets! Perhaps I should've waited a day or so. Oh, well. Here's a few more.

    
            Someone pulled his head out of the water, finally. Whoever it was, he was going to kill them. Rocky coughed until his lungs hurt. Then his eyes finally focused.
            Rats, it was a girl.

                                                                                              
-from Oddball


            "You. . ." Shocky scrutinized him. "You have a slug on your shoulder."

                                                                                             -from Oddball (ages ago)


           Anyone else would have stood there and gawked, clueless. But Mora was smart. He liked smart girls.
           She jerked him to a stop. "Are you crazy? Nobody has ever-"
           "But I will." He smirked.
           She raised an eyebrow, then shook her fist at him. "If you dare kiss me-"
           Rocky laughed. "I would never kiss
you."
           "You sure looked like it." She gave him a warning glare.
           He walked away. He didn't have time for this.
                                                                                            -from Oddball (yeah, I can't write romance)


           Whenever I see her, I know her heart is crying. With the deep sorrows of silent rain and swelled rivers. But she never cries on the outside.
           She can't.


                                                                                           -from the weird idea

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Quips

source



     Nothing chased nightmares away faster than the rustle of printed paper.



Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Snippet


           I don't have much today. I've been writing though today. A lot. I don't know why I say a lot, since I dislike using that word. A lot is used far too often and doesn't have much meaning in it. But anyhow, here's a bit of what I wrote. Edited, of course.

           He could see and hear everything. The flicker of the fire. The people's screams. The tree branches, the rain, and the wind slapped him in the face. But the screams and the crackle of fire were muffled. And the rain and wind; he didn't feel it. He just felt cold, like. . .

           Like he was stuck inside himself.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Villain and the Girl and the Romance-Driven Good


           I'm sorry about yesterday's odd post. You see I had-


lost my mind. Ha. I lost my mind.
 You haven't seen it, have you?
 My missing piece,
my primary memory circuit?

 -
BEN, Treasure Planet

           I'm sorry. It happens often unfortunately. I try not to let it show (yeah, right).

           But today I watched Megamind with my family. I love that show; it's hilarious!

      You certainly are a villain, but not a supervillain.

What's the difference?\

*cue the music*

Presentation!


-Megamind

           The evil overlord said something though. The bad guy never gets the girl. And now that I think about, he's right. I don't think I've come across a fictitious story where the bad guy gets the girl. Now if I dig deeper I might find some insignificant incident. But it's just not popular. Perhaps it's too much of a damper for a happy ending.

           I'm not sure why. Often times though, it seems that the girl is on the good side. Not necessary on the good guy's side exactly (or at least at first). But the girl always seems to applaud and encourage good in general. Like the girl stands for good in a way, like a symbol almost. (unless you're reading fantasy, then she can be either way: light and all good things or manipulating and perpetually wicked)

           With the girl always wanting good to win out, it helps drive the good guy to continue being good when things get tough. If she hadn't desired good in general to prevail, would the good guy remain good? Are there any stories that take a chance on that question? Perhaps. But I can't think of any at the moment.
           One day I want to write a story where the bad guy gets the girl. Or where the bad girl gets the guy, whatever. A story where good isn't romantically driven. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

DF: Guitar chords and great eccentricity

         WARNING: tHIS  post has not been properly edited. It contains quite a bit of rambling, typoes, and who knows what else may lurking around the next period. ReAd at your own risk. P.S. Ashely is currently bored. so much so she cannot even spell her own name correcty.

           I have been spending all day with my best friend. Always good times.

            I've been learning to play guitar. She's decided, since her family is so musically inclined and all, that she will learn too. It's great to have someone to play with. Very motivating. I love it.

            But. . . we started at 10a, it is now almost 6:30p. We had a small break so we could bake cookies. Aside from that-

           I AM GOING CRAZY!

           Today I learned more than I have in the past 4 months (probably longer). The internet is an amazing thing. I learned what a Dsus was. And that it's not pronounced as 'Dsus.' Heh, no, it's pronounced 'D sustained.' But 'Dsus' is so much more comical too say.

           And an Em7 (E minor 7, not said as Em7, must remember that). A7. C2.  F chords rightways and backways and cheater ways. The madness! I'm learning a foreign language (this has got to count for some kind of college credit).

           Two songs. Three songs. Sing while I play? Forget that. Wait missed a chord. And how do you do a Dsus again? My bad, D sustained. Bar chords? Me, do that? Ha, that is funny, very funny.

          This is my best friend's second day to committing to guitar. How does she retain everything so fast? And she's still playing!

           Aside from that, it's nice to have a day off work. Freedom! Today I pretend I don't have a life. If working until you drop is considered a life.

          And now I want to pick up the guitar again. But I don't want to interrupt her playing. I know she's trying to get it.

           And my big horse of a dog is howling for some ludicrous reason. She's so clingy for a creature without arms for clinging. I'll just bark back at her.

          This post is greatly lacking in sense.

          Now the dog is eating a peppermint. Perhaps it will solve the problem of her dragon breath, I hopes.  We only needs a brave knight to give her cavernous mouth a whiffs and see if the peppermint alone was strong enough to banish the dragon breath. Unfortunately, we are fresh out of braves knights around here; only gots the wimp ones left.

          Okay, enough of that. I'll have to make dinner soon. Mac n cheese. Oh, deliciousness in a blue box. Creamy bowlfuls of noodles. You make cheesy pots and. . . songs. Oh, mac n chesse.

          Oh, I need sleep.

          I'm sorry. I'm being odd today.

          Am I scaring you?

          I'll stand over instead.

          Is that better?

           
No, really. I need sleep. . .

         A guitar. Mac n Cheese. A good book. Pencil and paper. And life shall be perfect.

       

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A very random post in which a scene may be found

           I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been working often lately. Um, working as in my "real" job. Not the most fun thing to be busy with, but it must be done.

           So I was browsing through some photos. I thought I would write a random scene inspired by a photo. While I was at the morgue file, I found this.

His face makes me think of Gandalf.



:




Then this one made me think of The Hobbit and Sauron's rant about mushrooms.


And these are Black Riders, except. . . they're not riding.


But that is all tangential. I'm supposed to write a scene. So here we go.




           Oddball hated summer in the Border. Prackles could swim just as fast as they run.

           Sunlight peeked through an opening in the trees and clouds. Up head the boardwalk dipped down closer to the ground. The flood water stood level with the planks. Wonderful.

           Oddball crept down the boardwalk. Rocky pounded after him. Hot rain drizzled through the thick canopy of leaves.

           "So this is where you live?" Rocky said.

           "Yeah. What of it?"

           "Well," he could hear the shrug in Rocky's voice, "The way Odd and Bal hates each other, I just thought that, you know. . ."

           Oddball turned to him.

          "No, I don't know."

           "That it'd be more bloody is all."

           Oddball stared at him. Rocky had no idea. Maybe he knew a lot about some things. But he could see it in his green eyes, the guy was clueless when it came to the Border.

           Most people were.

           Oddball continued and Rocky continued too, with quite a lot of noise. They left the town behind them. Water lapped at the boardwalk. Only the Balens were dumb enough to let the broadwalk wander into all parts of the forest. Where it would be easier for it to sag lower to the ground. That's how prackles would ransack the town.

           "Wow, it's darker over here," Rocky said. "Why aren't there any houses this way?"

            The crickets, the birds, the bandit monkeys- everything turned silent. Oddball searched the black water. Bubbles surfaced here and there from the heat lilies boiling underwater. But there was no sign of a prackle.

           "Where are we going?" Rocky asked.

           "To see somebody."

           "A friend's house?"

           "Sure," Oddball mumbled.
Friend wasn't the exact word he would use, and house was stretching it since Esin hardly ever stayed in one place long enough to have a house.

          "Are we almost there? This path seems to go one forever. And it's really quiet."

           Oddball sighed. Would he shut up? Did he want the whole world to know where they were?

          "It's kind of creepy. Is it always like this?"

          The faint slap of water reached his strained ears. Meager sunlight caught on some ripples by some reeds. But there was nothing else. Nothing.

          "Where is your home?"

           Oddball turned on him. "Would you be quiet already?" He strained to keep his voice at a whisper.  "Do you want them to know where we are?"

           "Them?"

          "Prackles."

           "I heard about them-"

          "And the others." This guy just never thought.

          "The. . . others?" Rocky cut his eyes from side to side. He looked so small and out of his element. The guy was a wizard with ropes rocks. He was used to cliffs and mountains. To thrilling heights and the wind tearing through him. Not a swamp wasteland where hate lurked in all shadows.

           Oddball tried to be gentler. "I'm a half breed, Rocky. In the border. I'm a hangman's breakfast." It didn't work.

          "But you got through the town okay. There was no one around."

          "Because of the prackles!" Most towns went on lockdown in the summer when the flood waters flowed and the prackles had easier access to the town upraised on thick stilts and planks. It was why they weren't in the trees right now. The lynch mob and Leer would be hiding there for him, because it was too risky for them on the ground.

        
Prac, rackle. The raspy, throaty prackle cry sent a chill down him. Not now. With Rocky.   

         "But-"

          
Rac, rrracckle.

         "Just be quiet!" His voice echoed. Oddball jerked his head to the trees. Rocky didn't run as fast as himself. The last thing he needed was-

          Something broke through the water behind them.


          "Run!" Oddball dashed down the boardwalk. Claws scraped against the wet wood. He slipped, caught himself, and kept going.

           He chanced a glance back. The large reptile gained on Rocky, so close. Closer. Oddball skidded and swung around. Two steps and he grabbed Rocky's arm. He dragged the guy behind him.

           "How much farther?"

           "Who knows?"

           "You don't know where we're going?!"

           "Duck!"

           They scrambled under a tangle of low branches. Good, that would slow the prackle down some. Once free of the branches Oddball sped up. They needed to get some distance.

          Water flew in Oddball's face.

         
Thud!  No. No. Prac, rrrrackle. The saber-toothed reptile hissed a few feet from his face.

          "Change of plans." Oddball turned and shoved Rocky from behind.

          "Wait, what?"

          "Climb."

          "But-"

          The first prackle was so close.

          "Just do it!" Oddball pushed him up. He hauled himself onto the thick branch after Rocky. The prackles just missed his ankles.

          "Now what?" Rocky crossed his arms.

          "Higher."

          "Are you sure?"

          A gun cocked.

          Leer smirked from around the wide tree trunk. "Lookie what we came across, boys."

         The lynch men materialized from the trees.

         "Get the rope, Smog." Leer leveled the shotgun at Oddball. "There's a town hangin' this evenin'."

         "I tried to tell you." Rocky glared at Oddball.
       
          Oddball sighed. Life just never could be convenient.


          There you have it. Semi-unedited and all.

          Heh, yeah. . .unedited. I sorry to put you through such misery.
        

Tuesday Quips

source


"What were they waiting for, exactly?
"

"For the world to fall apart," Edward says. "And now it has."

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Friday, May 10, 2013

Passing on posts: Strong Female Characters


           Technically, I didn't get permission to do this. Eh, I might get in trouble. But since I'm advertising/promoting/whatever it is you wish to call it, I thought it would be okay.

           I enjoy reading this blog called The Book Chewers. I love the discussions and topics they come up with. The other day Lydia wrote a post on strong female characters. It was really good. I tried to comment on it, but just as I was ready to publish it, the laptop's battery died. Temperamental technology.

           So here is Lydia's awesome post on The Book Chewers (or TBC). I'd like to continue her discussion. After you've read it, I'll tell you what I think. And I'd love to hear what you think.

       ______________________________________
          
           I agree with what Lydia says.

           I love strong female characters. They know how to get things done. Their humor (or lack of) is hilarious. They're are not over-emotional or whiny. They're independent and aren't afraid of a little fight. They're tough. You can count on them. And sometimes their rash actions get them into the most mind-boggling predicaments it makes a rather intrigue story.

           But after a while a "strong" female character can become cliched. And if she never asks for, never shows any emotion, never says anything that doesn't have a double meaning or a snicker behind it, never shows a little weakness, and can never think before anything she does or says, well- How realistic is that? As for the latter part, she must not be as clever as she believes herself to be if she can't think about what she's going to do before doing it.

          "Strength" is a little deeper. Sometimes it takes strength say, "Maybe I need some help with this." It takes strength to bite your tongue when your words could hurt someone, or it takes strength to apologize for what you've said. Sometimes it's strong to let someone see your emotions, to let them see you cry. It takes strength to admit that you have faults and try to better yourself.

           But I do also enjoy female characters who do not initially strike me as strong. Their strength is under the surface. Anne of Jane Austen's Persuasion for instance, is very quiet and seems passive for a main character. At first she seems emotionally unstable, but really none of her emotions surface for anyone to notice. She rarely confides in people. But other people often confide in her. She is their go-to when things get tough or they've had a disagreement with a friend. She bears the burdens of many people including her own without complaining. I find that very admirable and strong. She doesn't seek control of a situation, but she has a servant's heart. And in her romance life, she allows the man to lead. That's not very popular in today's culture, but I like that. I think it's strong to trust someone else and let them have control. Real strength is often hidden.

           So what about you? What makes a female character strong? Who are your favorite strong or not so strong female characters?

   ____________________________________

The Book Chewers is a blog with a good crew of writers and readers. They eat books for breakfast. . . lunch and dinner. Dessert. In between time snacks. Well, you get the point. Inkheart is the current course of the month, so grab a plate and join the feast!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One way to improve your writing, plus an advertisement of sorts


           Hello, hello! I'm apologize for not having a quote yesterday. Our internet was down yesterday, for unknown reasons. But today is much different.

           Today we are talking about writers conferences! I don't mean the ones where you take the query and first 5 pages of your finished manuscript and talk (talk? eek!) to millions of editors and agents in hopes that they will want to publish you. I mean the conferences that have writing classes. (and some of the former conferences have classes also)

           These conferences have classes on a variety of subjects. Some of conferences are tailored especially for YA writers, thriller writers, romance writers, sci-fi and fantasy writers (why those two genres always seemed to get smashed together, I will never know; they can be vastly different from each other and diverse on their own, I just don't get it). Anyhow. . . some conferences are simply for writers. Just writers in general.

           Honestly, I've only been to one writers conference. The first time I went, it drastically changed my writing style. I learned what POV was. I can't even remember all it was that I learned that first time. But it was information overload, to the max. Yes. That is why every instructor had a hand out sheet, and I took notes everywhere, all the time. So when I got home and stopped twitching from the shock of it all, I could look back on what I had learned.

           Plus, I met people.  Sort of. I'm not outgoing, so at mealtimes I met the people I sat with. But it was so great to be around writers! People like- like us! We learn a lot from each other. And motivation. You get motivation out of these conference things too.

            The conference I went to (twice!) is the North Texas Christian Writers Conference. There were so many different classes. For beginners, for advanced writers, for non-fiction writers, for mystery writers, for children's writers, for anything you could imagine. Friday and Saturday. It was brain-crunching sometimes. And I felt like I squirmed too much in my chair through each 75 minute class, because of all the sitting. But it was amazing, and when I went back the second time I 'knew' people from the first time I went (well, I knew their face, they knew mine, and. . .we re-met each other).

           Going to a writers conference is taking a serious step towards your writing skills (not the only serious step, just one of them). You learn so much. From the classes, from fellow writers, from yourself sometimes (as in other people can learn from you too). It's expensive, yes, but it lasts a life-time.

         And this year, I'm going to the Effective Storytelling Mentoring Workshops for the third time! I'm really excited; especially since I missed last year. It's seems they're changing it up a little. Besides the name, it sounds like there will be less class time and more writing time. Isn't that neat?

           So if you want to go, it's June 14th and 15th. Early bird registration is $229 for adults, and $129 for high school students. Early registration rate ends on May 15th. All of your meals are included in that price. It's in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information, or if you just want to check out some of the other cool things the North Texas Christian Writers offer you can click here.

           It's awesome! Really, it is. But even if the North Texas Christian Writers is galaxies away from you, I hope you'll check out some of the local (or semi-local, in my case) writers conference in your area. It really helps.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why do writers terroize their characters?

           Really, is it a good thing? To raise up  a character like he's your own kin and then, let major havoc loose in his life? And the only thing you do is think up ways to make his life even worse. It can't be healthy psychologically. Can it?

           But who cares about psychology, this is writing. This is stories. And-
                                                              Story is conflict.   
      

           Something must be at odds with something else. Whether it's your protagonist against outside forces (like another person/s or the elements) or your protagonist pitted against his inner self. Stories with both kinds of conflict? The best! 
 
           If everything is all fine and dandy- well, who wants to read about that? Readers will complain that nothing is happening in the book. Not saying that there can't be "perfect" moments in your story. A good writer will set up that scene where everything is bliss, and then take the protagonist spiraling down back to earth where we all have troubles.
 
           Yes, bad things happen to everyone. It's a realistic thing. So if you want to have a realistic story, then bad things must happen to your characters. Sorry to you characters out there.
 
           If your character's supposed to be heroic, a hero can't go without a few troubles  triumph, or else he doesn't seem very heroic, right? If he's supposed to be virtuous, his virtue must be tested.
 
           Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much listened to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.

                                                                                         - The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien 
    
  
            So it's okay. Maybe we are a little weird. By other people's standards. But it's a necessary part of writing. So feel bad, yes. To stay human. But story trumps all. So tell Carlleta Lynn O'Casey that her troubles are all for the greater good of the story.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

DF: Apologies and The Fellowship fo the Ring

           So. It's May now. Yay. Currently, I can't think beyond finals.  But my last final is Tuesday! Then I can stop holding my breath.

           And perhaps I owe you an apology. I'm not sure if you liked Character Month much after my characters kind of took over. I did let them, yes. But I was hoping they would be more. . . professional? (as if I'm professional, pleease) Amiable? Um, I don't know. Oddball was rather rude at times. I apologize for that. He gets in these moods. Rocky is, well, unfocused and unorganized. He was probably hard to follow. And Peril. Sometimes I just don't know what to do with her. I'm sorry. I'll try to keep them off the keyboard.

           I'm still reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I know. I've been at it awhile now. But I night have put off studying for finals on occasion to finish it. Although I'm not even on Part 2 yet. But I need, need to finish by Monday. Because that's when the library will demand it back. I'm in the Chapter entitled "Strider." So far he's my favorite character. Seeing the movie first puts quite a damper on all the suspense though. I love suspense. So I've been waiting all this time for Strider to come in and for Gandalf to return (but if I hadn't seen the movie, I'd be in more agony over Gandalf; his absence is rather unsettling). I did meet Tom Bombadil and Goldberry. His songs and character is fun. I like that about Tolkien: he includes songs and poems in his books. People don't do that as often any more. I think it's nice. It adds to the flavor of the book and develops the fantasy world.

          What is your favorite character in The Fellowship of the Ring?