Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Liebester Award

Three thousand and fifty-seven years ago, Rachel @ Secret Scribblings tagged me for the Liebester Award. 
 
And since I'm still alive and have a working memory of it, I'm going to do the tag. 


1. What's the weirdest book you've ever read, and why was it so weird?

Let's just start off with a hard one, huh?

Um. . .probably a Frank Peritti. One of his Cooper Kids. There was one, I think, The Secret of the Desert Stone? This giant stone just shows up over night and nobody knows how or why. Or maybe the Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey? (I am sure to have spelt that wrong.)

I like weird books. :)


2. What are your favorite scents? You know: baking bread, that one candle you have, fresh laundry!

Autumn.

Old books.

Berries.

Rain.
Also autumn. 


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3. Do you have a beloved stuffed animal/doll from your childhood, what's their name, how long have you had it, and may we see a picture?

I have a lot actually. (And I am too lazy for pictures. . .)

Super Bear. . . or her alias Cindy. I got her for my birthday ages ago. I was probably eight or something. My great grandma gave her to me in this bright blue gift bag. (My great grandma happened to be my most favorite person in all the world.) Since it was my birthday, I of course had to be awake before everyone else. Cindy was there with her head poking out of the blue bag. I knew better than to touch her because I hadn't officially opened my presents. But while I waited, we made conversation and became quite good friends. Eventually, I found a blue bandanna for her cape and I had this jointed plastic snake, Snake (I was very creative with names), who was her sidekick. Snake never said much, but uh, she was usually better at saving the world than Super Bear. . .


4. What's the last thing you read, and how was it?


The Shadow Throne-- Always epic! I really needed a fantasy and this is so perfect! I love Jaron.

I read a WIP (literally still in progress) for a blogging friend. Not sure if I'm allow to say anything, but I happened to love it. 

Also, Sherlock Holmes. Life is not complete without Sherlock Holmes. I love RDJ Sherlock. I really, really love BBC Sherlock. But you just can't beat book Sherlock. (Seriously, though, his character is different in just about everything movie/show. It's fascinating.)


5. What did you dream of being when you were a kid? Did you achieve it? Will you?

I wanted to be an artist. And an ice-skater. Actually I had my heart set on an ice-skater for ages. But I'd only been on ice once? Twice? We didn't have that kind of money and there's no rink in town (I'm an impractical idiot of a dreamer.) Also, an airplane pilot. A world adventurer. A dancer. A choreographer. A detective. A geologist.

And a writer.

I think I'll stick with writer. ;) 


Writing:
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6. Any phobias? Like trypophobia? Trypanophobia? Acrophobia?

Eh, I don't think so.

I mean, I hate spiders.


Always the spiders:
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Is there such a thing as a fear of strangers?

Kidding. ;)


7. DIDNEY WORL!! (Disney World) Ever been?

Nope.

8. Favorite memory from the past 365 days?

I don't really know.

For once in my life, I did well on juries for guitar. (Juries is like finals, but for private instruction on instrument.)

Or perhaps it was something someone commented on the blog about my writing (you guys are the bestest!).

Or it was a long car drive in the night with the music cranked loud and me singing at the top of my lungs.


Long drives- love them:
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9. Something (or a few things!) you're reaaaally looking forward to in the next 365 days?

TRANSFERING! I really hope this happens. I am both excited and terrified all in one. I am a conflicted ball of nerves and feelings. Don't touch me. I might explode. (I don't even know where I'm going yet, so don't hold your breath.)

Ahem. Winter by Marissa Meyer is coming out next month! Hey, yeah!

Hopefully finishing Oddball the Sequel. . .



Remember:
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10.Did/do you keep a journal?

I have a ton of old unfinished journals from my younger years. It's really quite atrocious seeing how my handwriting has developed. I want to say it's better. . . but not by much. At least it's not cursive anymore. That's a headache.

I keep one now. But it's more like a prayer journal. I have a hard time focusing when I read my Bible and talk to God. So I've started journaling to God because it-- usually-- helps keep my mind on track.

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11.Would you rather sail the seas for a month, or live in a mountaintop chalet for a month? Why?

Agh! You ask such hard questions.

This is related, I promise. I used to be super into the era of tall ships. Horatio Hornblower was awesome. I read anything I could on ships and pirates. I had an elaborate story idea with tall ships and swords, and it makes no sense to speak of. And then- then- 

I watched Pirates of the Caribbean. More pointedly, I watched the incredibly long special features with my dad. Did you know they used a real ship and they had to SAIL the ship to the location of the filming? Anyhow, it cataloged their sailing days and anything about the awesome ship. Ships rule. And I would adore getting to sail on a tall ship, and climb all over the masts, and furl and unfurl sails all day long. (I like heights. . . because I'm weird.) Way up in the sky with the sea rocking under you, I gather it'd be better than a roller coaster. And life would good.

BUT I love mountains. I love rocks. I'd love to live in solitude out in the beautiful nowhere. I'd love to explore mountain ranges and know how to map it out and study the wild life and do science ("do science" *rolls eyes* I'm clearly quite knowledgeable about science). Or just let me live there. And write. In the mountains. Alone. The only downside is no internet. But with a view like the mountains, who cares?
  

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P.S.-- If you want to join the Starting Sparks link, there's still time! It's open until the end of the month.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Starting Sparks #1: the numbness // also beta-reading?

(Disclaimer: Oddball is not ready for beta-readers. I wrote something else.)





Emily @ Emily Etc. and I are doing this really cool writing prompt link up! We call it Starting Sparks. It helps generate creative sparks to light the writing flame.

That sounded better in my head. . .

So here's my bit for the prompt. It made me think of the weird idea (among other things). So here's a random scene from a yet-to-be WIP. It's very, uh-- I don't even know. 

If you're curious, your narrator's name is Rayne. 


October:
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Our lines glide down the cables. The metallic zipping sound echoes into the darkness of Underground headquarters. The hollow clunk of our feet on the walkway follows it. I can feel the steel grating beneath my shoes and yet I don’t feel anything stable beneath me. 

Everyone seems suspended in this bubble. No one speaks and I absorb the numbness of the group as my own. I wrap myself in the protection of denial. 

Savannah breaks away first. Her terse footsteps on the walkway take her to the tech room. One by one, everyone follows. 

She wants to be alone. I know it. The thought hangs like fading mist in the back of my mind. But I turn and follow mechanically. I can’t be left here alone with the memory of an hour ago. 

I stand in the doorway. I see everything and nothing at the same time. The only thing I notice is that Mikel for once doesn’t make any jokes and Savannah for once does not pull away when he embraces her. 

Terrence is not here. I know where he’s gone. Should I leave him alone? Or find him? He’s like a brother to me. The thought of him alone and brooding makes me ache. But I know he treasures his solitude to think and cope. 

I, for one, do not want to think. I don’t want the flashbacks to tackle me to the ground. I don’t want to cope. I don’t want to have to cope. This should never have happened. The plan was perfect. Fool-proof. Who knew a wise man would stumble in it? 

Stop that. I grimace. I force my thoughts away from an hour ago and back onto Terrence. I look to Sid for advice. He’s taken up residence in some dark corner opposite me. He always hides, I know he does. And yet I always spot him so easily when others do not.

His gaze is already fixed on me. Something I would normal find unnerving. He nods ever so slightly to me. 

I leave. My abrupt movement feels muffled in this fog. I can see the whole Underground fill up with drifting mist if I try to imagine it. 

No, don’t. Keep a clear head. 

A lump forms in my throat when I entire the arsenal. I move in and out of the shelves as if I were not here. Touching anything feels like a degradation. The whole place seems as a room of relics, of ghosts, and of old memories lying in wait to prey on my mind. 

I climb the rungs of the ladder on the far wall. I focus on how rusty it is. How pieces of it peel off when my hands release the rough metal. How long has this ladder been here? Who put it here? What was the original purpose of this room? 

I grapple the ceiling beams and swing onto the skeleton of a loft. Terrence sits on a far beam where a crack in the ceiling casts a sliver of light onto his fingers. Has he ever realized how symbolic it is that he always comes here to this crack of light when he needs the world to make sense? Is it something he does subconsciously or has he known about that shining light since the first time he sat here?

Silently, I sit beside him. His hand with the light cast on it between us. He doesn’t acknowledge my presence. I don’t expect him to. I wouldn’t have if I were in his place. 

I want to say something. I’m usually good with words. I lace my fingers together. No. Actually, I’m better at edging words with a bite than I am at saying nice things. 

Yeah, nice things is not my specialty. 

I don’t know what to do. I have no right to ask him not to break. I could understand that too well. At the same time though, Terrence is family in a way that I could never let him slip through the cracks without a fight. 

His face is turned completely away from me. I have no idea what he’s thinking.

“Terrence.” I barely hear my own voice.

His hand darts around me and his head presses against my shoulder. His movements have always been sudden like my own. Perhaps that’s why we understand each other so much. I’m not much of a hugger, but it is natural to hug Terrence. Despite being almost a whole head shorter than myself, he really is my big brother. 

The light glimmers on his black hair. He heaves a breath and I can feel him shut his eyes tighter. My shirt is damp and something wet slips down my own face and onto his hair. 

We stay like that until the numbness fades.



* * * *

 I wrote a short story. It fits the prompt perfectly and I was going to use it instead of the weird idea scene. Then I thought, "Or I could actually do something with it!"

Definition:

Do Something: to publish in a magazine, electronic or otherwise, or to submit into a writing contest

I have no idea what I'm going to do with it exactly. Where to submit it, etc. I'll do some searching. At the same time though, I had the strong urge to post it here because I wanted you all to read it. 

It's a short story (which I never do) and it's actually not fantasy (*gasps* I must be sick or something). It's just over 500 words and it's about grief. Yeah. . . So if you want to read it, just send me an email. On the right hand sidebar, there's a lovely envelope icon you can click to do so. If you want to give any feedback that would be awesome! Let me know if you don't mind answering a few follow up questions. If not, and you just want to read, that's cool too. ;)  

Okay, okay. I'm done. I really am. 


Olan Rogers
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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

#WritersLife Tag: the scary inner workings of my brain

Thank you, Cait @ Paper Fury for tagging me! If you haven't read Cait's post #WritersLife Tag you should go do so! If you've not read her blog, then what are you doing with your life? Go acquaint thyself. Thou shall love her.

I don't know where that archaic came from.

Shall we begin?

 Write Fuel: What do you eat/drink while writing?

Anything I find worthy of consumption at the moment. Although, it might go untouched once I get in "the zone."

Write Sounds: What do you listen to while writing?

Excellent question. I do hear music. I don't listen unless I come out of "the zone" to breathe. So I have an Oddball playlist with songs that make me think of the characters and/or story.



I insist that you have a listen to this one, Anthem Lights' version of Wake Me Up/Brother. It's pretty the theme of the whole trilogy and sums up the foursome well. I don't know how it can be done to such perfection.

Write Vices: What is your most debilitating distraction?

EVERYTHING!

This is why the earbuds go in and the lights go off. All that's left is me and the staring blank light of the laptop.


We have keyboards. We have darkness. Writers
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1) It's the best way to immerse myself in the world of my book. Being wrapped in darkness.

2) Sometimes my family plays the electronics loud. Again I'm easily distracted.

3) When my light is off, my parents either don't realize I'm inhabiting my room, or they know I'm writing and beware.

4) In the dark, there is nothing I can "Oo, shiny" at.


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Writer Horror: What is the worst thing that's ever happened to you while writing?

Um, one of my family members once panicked and thought I had written him into a story (I was like twelve). Another reason why I do not share my writing often with my family. I do not write people into my stories. They seem to dislike that. Yet they still pretend to see themselves in there and get upset with me?


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
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Also, there's the usual occurrence when I search for a scene and I end up loosing said scene. Because I didn't actually write it.

I mental wrote it. My imagination is apparently so vivid, that I thought I had written it and read it over a couple of times, since I could see it so clearly in my head.


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Write Joy: What's the best thing that's ever happened to you while writing, or how do you celebrate small victories?

The Best Thing:

1) Uh, finishing?

2) That moment when everything comes together.

3) Even better, when you realize you subconsciously wrote symbolism into a scene or some aspect of the book and you didn't even know it and now you're plotting how to make it come out more in the rewrite! (That run-on sentence is killing me.)

Celebratory Celebrations:

Small victories only get an inner happy dance. (I'm not much into doing happy dances on the outside. The only thing you'll catch on the outside is maybe a really stupid grin that won't go away.)

a bell
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Now big victories are another story. Finishing a draft, or halfway through a draft, I might:

1) Get a snow cone (do not underestimate the yummy celebratory power in a snow cone).

2) Or even better, buy some books.

3) Other times I wear a hat.

Although, heh, I wear a hat at least once a week. . . What? Hats make me happy. I've been thinking I need to invest in a Hatter hat. A Hatter hat is the best kind of hat. OH! Then I could wear my Hatter hat while I'm writing! This just gets better and better. Must haves Hatter hat.

All in favor of the buying of the book and the having of the snow cones and the wearing of the Hatter hats, raise your hand.

Excellent! Now go finish a draft then we'll make it happen.

Write Crew: Who do you communicate with or not communicate with while writing?

While I'm writing, I'm writing. Not much talking goes on. Except I do talk to the characters, unless they are giving me a hard time. In which case, I write them letters asking them to behave. I know how to avoid conflict like that.

The only people I talk about my writing to, is you all. This is the onlyest place I really talk about writing, with the small exception of instagram.

If you have an insta, let me know! I will stalk follow you.

Write Secret: What is your writing secret to success or hidden flaw?

The Secrets

1) Just write. Don't edit until you're finished.

2) Acquire the blessing of the blue fairy.

3) Make no deals with Rumpelstiltskin. He wants your words like Ursala wants Ariel's voice.


Once Upon a Time | Rumplestiltskin:
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4) When you think of a scene, but it does not chronologically fit into your book, JUST WRITE IT! For me, I would lose it by the time I get to write it. Open a new doc for those random scenes. It feels great to come up to that scene, copy paste it into the master manuscript, and think, "Yep, done and writ that." Accomplishments all around!


Wreck it Ralph :D
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5) Believe you can do this! After all, if Rumpel wants your words, that means they're magic. Yes?

6) Did I say just write?

The Flaws

1) I am unorganized. I am easily distracted. I am scatter-brained and tunnel-visioned all in one.

2) You know all that "just write" advice? Heh, often I don't take my own advice.

3) I want to write everything and read everything and do everything and know everything and- and-

I get overwhelmed. Overwhelmed me looks a lot like a meaningless lump of life that is not producing anything due to doubt- and brain-overload.

Writing:
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4) Transitions. Or the lack of actually. Since my brain jumps from thought to thought, sometimes my writing does also. You may have noticed. . .

5) Internal monologue. My writing tends to get introspective. The characters delve into internal monologue way too often. But how much is too much? And what is not enough? Someone tell me!

Write-spiration: What always makes you productive?

Time.

mornings
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I can't write for fifteen minutes. I can't even write for thirty minutes.

I will get sucked into "the zone" and I won't come out until at least an hour, more often two hours. And if I only have fifteen minutes of time, I will inevitably be late for something.

Write Peeve: What is one thing that writers do (or you do) that's annoying?

What Others Do

POV. I cannot stand some people's use of POV. There are a lot of different views on the usage of POV, so I try to shove my own pet peeve aside. If I beta-read, I'll not mention the author's use of POV if I dislike it because there are so many different approved ways of doing it. But I really can't stand it when I see published books, ACCLAIMED published books, with lazy POV. It irks me to no end.

True. Why don't people get it?:
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What I Do

My general existence sometimes annoys me.

Kidding.

Um. . .  Probably how when I get overwhelmed, I am the most pathetic and useless being to ever be. Also, I like being an introvert, but sometimes (most times) I am very bad and let it hold me back from  meeting people and talking to people. HOW DO YOU TALK? What do you say? I'm confused.

for #writerslife tag post? in the vices section:
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And, yes, all of that really does have everything to do with writing. I would justify that statement, but that would make this post heaps longer.

Write Words: Share one sentence from a project past or present.

You asked for it.

And they were going to do this thing! And succeed!
Life was awesome. That's all there was to it.

(That's Rocky, by of way. He's an optimistic lunatic.)

Rocky all but tackled the taller boy to the ground.
"Can't. Breathe. Rocky." Oddball wheezed.
Rocky released him. Then he punched Oddball's arm. "I should kill! Scaring us all like that! And taking Peril with you on this prank too."
Now Peril was found in a bone crushing embracing. She'd only thought Oddball had been kidding when he said he couldn't breathe. "Thanks, Rocky," she said when he relinquished her.
"Well, you and Skyler were doing the pretending-not-to-make-eyes-at-each-other thing," Oddball said. "Peril was the only accomplice left for the escapade."
"We were doing what?" Skyler said.
"Escapade?" Rocky said. "What does that even mean? Can't you bother to use real words?"
"What?" Oddball said.
Skyler laughed. "That is a real word, Rocky!"

Agh! So much editing to do.

"I'm sick of scientists," Rocky said. "They're all 'don't touch this' and 'don't touch that' that pebble or pinch of dirt could be very useful in our research.'"

I had to give a little Rocky highlight. He's been behaving himself much more than the others. *glares at others*

I shall tag:


Emily @ Emily Etc. 







P.S-- You should totally join in this awesome prompt link-up I'm co-hosting with Emily @ Emily Etc. It gets the creativity flowing! This month's prompt is about tragedy; that's bound to be buckets of fun, yes?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Seven Facts about Oddball

Some of you might remember when Oddball wrote a tag for me? I made a deal with him that if he wrote seven facts about me, I got to write seven facts about him.

Of course, he was almost correct. I do talk about him a lot on here, so what's the big deal if I talk more? Still. He only thinks he got the better end of the deal.

*grins evilly*

1. Oddball is the inquisitive, clumsy, awkward kind of adorable.

He's already going to kill me. . .


2. He pretends he doesn't care about the people who he cares the most about.

Do you follow?


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3. He also will do things that he says are crazy or initially refuses to do, because they are the right thing. He likes people to think he's all tough. Ha! I'm not sure if he even fakes it very well.

4. He has this weird attraction-to-things-that-scare-him thing. He grew up in the Border with large reptiles chasing him. He also has an acquaintance named Shocky around whom Oddball tends to get electrocuted in some way or other.

And yet, he has this fascination with dragons, even though he'll grumble about "not another reptile." Most specifically, he has a special liking for Bolt, Skyler's dragon. Skyler is Bolt's favorite person in the world. Oddball is his second. He and Bolt will have conversations with each other (*clears throat* Keep in mind, Bolt is not a talking dragon).

By the way, Bolt is a staticlight. He's a dragon who flies by electricity.

5. Oddball likes kids. For some reason, Oddball wants to play apathetic toward kids. But he cares too sincerely much to be successful at it. It doesn't help that kids are attracted to him.


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6. I would tell you something about Oddball's parents or his past. But that would make him very sad. Oddball gets very solemn about things. So I'll be nice-ish here.

7. Oddball is under the illusion that all of the above are secret. They never could be. Oddball is too transparent to hide many things. He's too honest, and he cares too much.


Do you know how happy I am when I find an Oddball lookalike?:
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Monday, October 5, 2015

Intensity and Hilarity (not vs.)


olan rogers | Tumblr
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 I wrote this post. Really. I'm half sure that I did not mental write it. Because I remember the way it looked in Blogger. . . I think.

That aside. I've noticed something in stories. I'm speaking generally here, so stories encompasses books and movies.

Long ago, when I was a wee little writer (okay, I was eighteen, but in writer years, I knew nothing) I had thought that a serious story was all solemn and nothing funny. And funny stories are never serious. Sometimes this is true. But in the most memorable and favorites of cases, there is a blending of the two.

No, I was just figured I would shot the bullets out of my nostrils, so I left the gun upstairs.- is the real one:
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In the Oddball books, things can get solemn at times. Yet the characters are always making jokes and poking fun at each other. Great hilarity goes down (or I like to think).

I used to fear that all the funny would down play the more serious side of things. They wouldn't seem so serious or my readers would think I, the author, didn't take these issues seriously because of all the hilarity in the book.

Mr. Darcy: Maybe it's that I find it hard to forgive the follies and vices of others, or their offenses against me. My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever. Elizabeth Bennet: Oh, dear, I cannot tease you about that. What a shame, for I dearly love to laugh. Caroline Bingley: A family trait, I think. - Pride and Prejudice directed by Joe Wright (2005):
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Of course, it could always go the other way, the intensity could over take the joke and it's not so funny anymore. That attempt at lightening the mood just darkened it further.

If you do it right though, intensity and hilarity do not contradict each other. They compliment each other. The deeper the intensity, the brighter the joke seems. The funnier the joke, the more intense the, uh. . . intensity is. We need both.

Amity Dauntless Candor Abnegation Insurgent Divergent Tris Four Tobias:
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Also, when the intensity heats up, you will at some point need to breathe. I do at least. Sometimes I stop reading during the climax and just sit there gasping. It's absurd, I know. 

The best way to lighten the mood is, of course, with a joke. Marvel is very good at this. Also, if you watch Once Upon a Time, season three was incredibly intense (if you ask me) but it was also the funniest season I've seen. I believe that is because the writers knew that they would need something to balance out the tension.

Loved this part! Reminds me if Katniss XD:
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When I think of some of my books. They are not intense books. They're not funny books. They are both. The Book Thief. The Ascendance Trilogy. Pride and Prejudice.

I once heard an author say that she wanted her book to be an "everything book." She didn't want people to love it because it was intense, or funny, or romantic, or thought-provoking, or entertaining. She wanted to have something of everything in her book. Because books are about life and life has everything.

Lunar Chronicles Scarlet and Wolf | What I’m Reading: Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles:
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I hope my books are "everything books."

What do you think? Do we need a balance of intensity and hilarity in books? Do you have any favorite "everything books"?