Friday, January 29, 2016

an annoucement of great excitment and mild importance

Guess it, guys?! 

I wrote this short story a while ago. It's titled The Cycle of Yesterdays. It was published today! 

*throws confetti* 

If you want, you can read it here at Ampersand Literary. It's not particularly long. I hope you like it. 

Yeah, I'm a little excited. :)

Also, thank you to everyone who beta read for me! You guys are all awesome! Special thanks to Skye @ Ink Castles. And specially, special thanks to Emily @ Ink, Inc. who was gracious enough to receive my panic emails and answered rationally. (By the way, you should read their blogs; they are cool people.)

Anyhow, I hope you get to read it. I'd love to give you more in this post, but I have a clogging rehearsal to be at. A bad good thing. 

Have fun storming the castle!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Beautiful People: laying down the guidelines

"Goals" has always been a word I dislike. It goes hand-in-hand with "deadlines" and "schedules" and alludes to "organized."


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I stink at all the above. So yeah. Not my favorite topic. 

But I have realized that having an idea about where you want to be and when, helps you actually get there. So I'm linking up with Beautiful People hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ further up and further in.


Mind you, these are just guidelines.


1. What were your writing achievements last year?

Erm, I don't remember.

That was a year ago.

Really? I have to smile too? Society asks too much of me.
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(You have no idea how relative that gif is to. . . everything.)

2. Tell us about your top priorty writing project this year?

Oddball, Oddball, Oddball.

I'm going to finish the first draft of Oddball the Sequel. Then I'll work on revising Oddball the First and will hopefully tackle Oddball the Last.

 I'm learning interesting things about trilogies.

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3. List 5 areas you'd like to work the hardest to improve this year.

Five? But, wha- That's a lot!

 I really don't like this commitment thing you're making me do. It's disturbing my peace of mind.

*pouts*

1) Short story writing. 

I stink at it. End of story.


2) This originally read : 

"Being more organized?"

But let's be realistic. That ain't gonna happen. 


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3) Writing more. 

I know every writer says that. But I don't even write once a day. I'll write 8,000-10,000 words in the span of a day/week. And then not write for the rest of the month. This is not an okay thing.


4) Read more. 

That does correlate with writing. Promises.


5) Journal more. 

Just 'cause.


4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?

1) You know I mentioned short stories? Beginning November of the 2015, I challenged myself to write one short story a month. November went well.

But December's short story is not turning out so short. It's leaked into January, and I kind of just want to shred it to bits at this point. I'll finish it. And afterward banish it too a dark dungeon where no one will ever, ever see it.


Let me intro you to my latest lunacy, uh, I mean WIP
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But hey, if you want to buddy up and we can challenge each other to write a short story a month that would be cool.

2)  I'll be doing the Starting Sparks link up as the norm.

3) Does this link up count as a writing challenge?

Because I'm doing it. . .


5. What's you critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

I did send one short story out to be beta read. And I thank you all who so graciously read it and helped so very much with it (there shall be a smallish announcement of mild importance and great excitement on Jan. 29th).

Really, though people. I feel so ignorant. What do CPs even do? Do they look at each other's first drafts? Do they talk about character development, world-building, help solve plot problems? I have no clue.


Yeah, that sounds great
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When people give me their writing to beta read, I only hope I'm doing it right.

I don't even know what word wars are. SOMEBODY HELP ME!

Recently, Skye let me read a first draft of hers. Which I happen to think is rather brave. Pretty much nobody sees my first drafts. They are hidden in dark places behind many locked doors. I'm a bit of an edit freak at times, and last year I tried to work on letting a bit of that go. But STILL!


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(So I can't come up with a single reason for this gif. Other then, it cracks me up beyond reasoning.)



6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

I read The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maas somewhere in my past history. It was really good, but it's way more useful if you're revising/editing, and I was a wee little writer with half a working first draft. So when I revise Oddball the First I plan on going through The Fire in Fiction again.


7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

For once, I'm going to say no to characters. I'm all about characters and tend to get lost in their development. Since I've been working on Oddball since 2010 (way too long), I have a fairly good handle on the Foursome. So I'm going to focus more on actually writing.

Actually, I should just work on focusing. In general.


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8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what's your plan of attack?


Toss the plan. Just attack.  


Mulan
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9. Toni Morrison once said, "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." What are the book that you want to see more of, and what "holes" do you think need filling in the literary world?

This question calls for three answers. Yeah, you're in for it.

1) Once upon a time I was a young human child (I hope most of you were, otherwise it begs the questions, what were you exactly?). At that time, any book or movie with magic was banded from our house. But I loved fantasy and it was near impossible for me to find non-magical fantasy books. Or maybe I was just looking in the wrong places? Anyhow, this is kind of why the Oddball Trilogy has no magic element. 

(Someone asked if Oddball could even be a fantasy if there's no magic. *shrugs* Maybe not? I don't really care what you call it. To me, it is complexly Oddball.)

2) There are books with great writing, amazing characters, excellent plot. I respect and admire that. But in a lot of the books I've read (or DNF) last year, some of the content did not please me. It makes me sad that today's standards are so low that society thinks some of these things are okay (sex before marriage, drunkness, etc.). I understand that it happens in today's society. I'm not necessarily saying books should not show these things. But--

Why are books celebrating and glorifying it? Why is it portrayed in a good light?


Beast / Prince Adam, Beauty and the Beast | What Your Disney Man Crush Says About Your Dating Life : You like moody, well-read individuals and always want to “help” them tame their inner beast, in which case, GOOD LUCK.
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I guess, what I'm trying to say is that I want my books to depict right as right and wrong as wrong. I hope that doesn't sound snobbish, because I sincerely do not mean it that way. You are free to think what you will (as if you need my permission *rolls eyes*). You can call me what you want. I will not judge.

But I will not apologize for what I think.
 

3) Think. A book that features a cute couple, yes? They both acknowledge that they like each other. The book may not necessarily center on their relationship, but it is a part of the story still, and--

And!

They never do so much as kiss on page. Not even kiss.

IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?

Obviously, I think 'yes' since it's on my list.

"Why?"

1) Because I can.

2) Because love is not physical.
 
Have you ever seen this in a book? (I might want to read such a book.)


10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?


Nearing the completion of the Oddball trilogy.

Getting better at writing short stories.

I think I'm done with commitments for the rest the year now. 


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Do you have a CP? What in the world do CPs DO?! What are some areas you hope to improve on during this year?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Starting Sparks: Free by Switchfoot

So Emily @ Ink Inc. and myself at right here co-host a writing prompt link up. Today I'm going to give my entry.





Soooo, I didn't actually use the lyrics of the song. I stuck a Switchfoot album on shuffle and wrote to the first song that played. Whatever it made me think about is what went on the page.




So here goes.

*deep breath*




Some people talk about saving yourself. You’re the only one who can help you. And I get it. You can’t solve your problems until you decide to actually do it, and no one can do that but you. You have to have the will. You have to do the hard part and make the sacrifices that are necessary. You can’t wimp out about it. Nobody can do all the work for you while you sit by. 

But there’s a flaw here. How do you save yourself, from yourself? You are your enemy. I mean it. We are victims of ourselves. So how do you untie yourself when you tied yourself up? Do you think you’re going to let you go? Just like that? You’re going to let yourself walk out of there free, no fight required, just ask nicely? Um, no. You are your arch enemy. You are not nice like that. You are not kind to you. 

You are a monster. 

So how do you tell monster you to back off and let you live another day? 

You don’t. 

God does. 

God is the only one who can tame monster you. Yes, tame. Monster you will always be there, unfortunately. Because you are you still. Still human. A coin has a head and a tail. One can’t be separated from the other without destroying the coin. God will not destroy you. Neither of you. But He will tame monster you. 

There’s a catch though.

You, the tied up you, has agree to let Him help. And that means surrendering monster you to Him. Letting Him hold your monster leash, letting Him control monster you. If you take you from Him, you’ll end up tied down with your monster self ready to eat you whole. 

So yeah, you still have to have the will. You still have to do the hard part. You still have to make the sacrifices necessary. But don’t worry. 

You will be in good hands.

 ______________________________________________


I wasn't expecting that either. This is awkward. I have no idea how to write devotions.

*panic attack*  WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

Lilo and Stitch
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It seems I ought to let God control my monster of self-doubt and insecurity. Which suspiciously looks like a Stitch. 

Stitch aside. With all sincerity. I read once that we write the story that we need to read. I needed to read this.

______________________________________________



P. S. If you want to join the link, you can do so here. It ends with the month. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I try the plotting thing // Spoiler: I fail

When I started writing the Oddball trilogy, I just started. I didn't even know it was going to turn into a trilogy. It was supposed to be this innocent little stand-alone. A fun project.

Now it's AGONY!


I feel agony because Chris Pine and William Magnussen are famous and older and just out of reach
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I am mildly kidding.

The point though is that I was purely pantsing. The only character I had was Oddball. After writing got the gears moving, I could plan ahead. But not much. 

I usually write through things. (It is a very plausible way to deal with life. . .). I also write myself into corners. *cough* 

So when I started writing Oddball the Sequel, I wanted to know what I was doing. 
Except. . . I didn't. 
know. 

How do you sequel? I had no idea (still don't, if you must ask).

So I decided to try the plotting thing. I would teach myself how. Not my most brilliant moment. But now I have a plot wall. Because it's fun, okay?





The colors originally were supposed to mean. . . something. But then I ran out of certain colors and with that all pretenses of organization went out the window.

Honestly, I was pantsing as I was plotting. I came up with things on the spur of the moment, made snap decisions and a lot of up-in-the-air undecisions. I'm not sure it matters much though. Sometimes I can't even read my own writing. 





Even after the plot wall went up, I kept forgetting names of side characters. Most of them are unexpected characters. Which means I come up with their names on the spot. Which means I am apt to forget their names in 0.3 seconds. 


All the time. Sorry, world.:
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There are a couple of scientist who I refer to as "one of the scientists," "the one that Rocky lifted off the ground," and "that guy Oddball didn't take a liking to." 

There's also a handful of Shamdram soldiers known as "the leader," "the talkative one," and "the one who didn't get his dinner" (yeah, he was not happy about that).

So I recently made a list of minor characters to add to the plot wall.




Even with a plot, I still write myself into corners. But that's okay. I rather like having a puzzle that I have to write my way out of (and if I don't have one, I won't write for a month).

For instance, how do you keep a band of soldiers from their patriotic life-long duty without taking their weapons from them in broad daylight?

I'm hoping the answer is "distract them by setting a wildfire." 





The other day though. I realized that 

1) My document is 90,000+ words. Although, some of those words are brainstorming, and some scenes may need to relocated to the last book. Still, that's lot since:

2) I'm only a third of the way through.

3) Something seems off with my timeline. It sounded great for the two years I've been planning this thing. But now:


4) This






needs to be switched with this






And this




should probably never happen.



5) My "that one scene" has now been rescheduled with a new location, and I am thoroughly confused. 


 At the moment, my WIP and I are at some sort of stalemate. 


Writing:
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So how goes your WIP? Do you have a plot wall? Do you ever write yourself into corners?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Snazzy Snippets: who names a character Berk?

Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout co-hosts this awesome link, Snazzy Snippets. It's always a lot of fun and it's been while since the last snippet post.


1. A snippet from page 16 

I forgot about page numbers for my WIP, the Oddball the Sequel.

It has page numbers now. . . .


           “Daron.” Berk growled. He adjusted his glasses again. “He is good at putting on a farce. He has. . . charm.” Berk rolled his eyes. “But I question his loyalty.”

           Oddball gave an I-don't-care shrug. “The master doesn't seem concerned.”

         “He does not know him as I do.” Berk’s glare darkened further. “He is. . .” Berk looked at the other scientists who paid them no attention. “Compromised.”

         And he was supposed to know what that means?


 Eh, I forgot there was even a guy named Berk in my WIP. Really though, his name has got to go. It reminds me of "This is Berk."






2. A snippet 16 words or less


"We detonate it."


So that probably means nothing to you since it's out of context. BUT basically, eventually. . .


Parker from Leverage.:
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3. A snippet about something NEW

 How about I just give you some of the "newest" most recent words I wrote? That's not cheating, right?


“Oh, uh, nothing.” Rocky gave them a huge fake grin. Was it just the lighting or did Rocky look paler? 

“Nothing?” Oddball said. “You were gone quite a time to have found only nothing.”

“Look I ran into, into. . .”

“Why are you acting weird?”

“I’m not acting weird!”

Skyler nodded. “You are too. What’s going on?”

“Look I promised not to tell, okay?”

“Tell what?” Skyler frowned.

“Hello! I promised not to! But I’m telling you that I’m not going to tell, and I’m telling you that anyways. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Rocky raised an eyebrow. “Got it?”

Oddball sighed. “All I got is a headache.”

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I really can't figure what is going with the various sizes of the font. So I'm sorry if this post doesn't look, uh, right?


John's face!! :D (gif)
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Have you done Snazzy Snippets? Do you ever forget your characters' names?