Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Is it a scavenger hunt? No, it's a bar entrance.

If I ever win the lottery, I've decided that I'm going to open something. Maybe a restaurant, maybe a bar. Doesn't matter. Point is, when I'm bored I often think about ways that I'm going to make this restaurant/bar AWESOME. I've gone through a ton of different ideas ranging from live animal shows to decorating it like the interior of an actual cave where all of the liquor comes out of stalactites in the ceiling (idea stolen from my beloved Cave Bar, aka El Chapandaz, in Madrid).

Then, as a friend and I were researching which speakeasy we wanted to go to tonight (you'll understand in a minute, maybe), I came upon this description of how to get into the subMercer:

To get there, pass the Mercer Hotel (no. 147) and enter a little nook in the wall (no. 147 1/2). You'll know you're there when you see two unassuming henchmen hanging out in front of a doorway—just walk on by and enter the industrial freight elevator. Two floors underground, cruise down a long dark hallway stocked with bathroom supplies, turn left, pass the boiler room and then turn right through a heavy red door. One more hallway filled with wine and the faint sounds of lounge music will lead you to the promised land.


HOLY CRAP, GUYS. How awesome does that sound? Granted, further research let me know that since I'm not rich and famous (yet) I will probably have a bit of an issue getting in on the weekends, but still. AWESOME. If I win the lottery I am finding some way to make the entrance to my place as confusing and sneaky as this.

Of course, further research led me to discover that I probably won't be able to get in very easily, especially dressed in my work clothes, so we'll be venturing to another speakeasy that looks like an abandoned toy factory from the front but is a baller Victorian-themed bar where they serve liquor in teacups. Apparently there's a secret entrance to another room behind a bookcase that I'm definitely going to try and sneak through. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The TRIFECTA of Inspiration

I had the trifecta of inspiration this weekend. Well, okay one of them didn't happen this weekend, but I'm going to count it because trifecta of inspiration sounds cool.

So first of all, I'm not the best behaved 23-year-old in church. If I go by myself I'm probably fine, but the problem is that I usually go with my brother and sister. There's just something about us all sitting there that turns us into children. Ergo, after about 5 minutes of homily I tend to space out, sometimes playing this stupid game with my brother that is way too difficult to explain on here so I won't.

This week, we went to a "family mass" at our church. Basically during the homily, the priest sits on the floor and has all of the little kids come up to the front and directs the message to them. Besides the fact that this little girl could not stop repeating her answer to "What is your talent?" (her answer was fixing the bed. Really? That's all you've got?) this message actually clicked with me.

Basically the idea was that everyone has talents and at the end of your life God is going to ask you what you did with those talents. Now whether or not you believe in God is your own business, but even if you take that out of the equation the message still kind of sticks. The priest basically asked the congregation "What the hell are you going to do with your life?"

A conversation every teenager dreads.

So, I immediately thought "Huh. I'd say my talent is writing. At least it's what I love to do." Then the homily was over and I was playing again.

Later that day, I was laying on the couch, watching some brain-rotting TV with my brother and he said "You used to write stories, right?"

"Yeah."

"I remember some of them. You should do that again."

It was such a simple statement, but combined with the priest it really hit me. I SHOULD do that again. Little does he know that I am writing, since, for some reason, I can't bring myself to let anyone know. It made me want to get really really serious about my writing. 

The third thing is the death of my friend in August. A 19-year-old, perfectly healthy person, who just didn't wake up one morning. Life is short, people. Every day is a gift.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Picture of the Week

This week's photo comes from Ben Canales' Photostream. If you have time I'd definitely recommend checking his site out, he's got some awesome shots.


Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Non-Drowsy Medicine... Yeah Right.

I am really really bad at schedules. It's a problem. I think it started when I was 18 days late being born.

Anyway, I'm sick so I am totally going off the self-imposed schedule and I'm going to vent.

After doing thorough research (aka combing the internet for 10 minutes) I've discovered that I suffer from the Paradox Effect. That's the only name that anyone came up with and it sounds really cool. Other people who claim to have degrees in things like biology just explained it as the non-drowsy bit doing the opposite of what it's supposed to do. As in, making me drowsy. I should probably have started off with that, shouldn't I? Whatever, I'm delirious from forcing myself to stay awake when the cocktail of vitamins and cold medicine inside my body wants me to go to sleep.

I figured this out a little bit when I had mono in college. DayQuil knocked me the hell out for hours. NyQuil also knocked me out. I figured it was just because apparently mono makes you really tired, but I still stayed away from cold medicine. All over-the-counter medicine, really. Pretty sure it's because my pediatrician told me that if I take too much medicine it won't work when I need it to. I think I was around 8.

Anyway, I didn't really take cough medicine until I got the flu two years ago and it knocked me out again. Ditto when I got pneumonia a few months later. But those are serious-ish issues so obviously they're going to knock me out, right?

Now I have the worst cold I can remember having and I actually have a job that I have to be awake at unlike when I had mono (college), the flu (college), and pneumonia (when I was an unemployed slacker the summer after college).

If anyone has any suggestions on how to stay awake, I appreciate it. Also, I hate coffee so there's that.

Sorry for the pointless post. But not really sorry, because you've read all of the way to the bottom and I love you for it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Picture of the Week

Here's a little break from the cold weather of this week:


Kind of has an Alice in Wonderland kind of feel to it, doesn't it? Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Scariest Part of Halloween

AHHHH IT'S HALLOWEEN!!

I love Halloween. Scary movies, jack-o-lanterns, candy, trick or treaters. Everything. One thing I don't love?

NANOWRIMO STARTS TOMORROW.

In context, I'm not freaking out as much as I would if, say I was being chased through an abandoned house by Michael Myers.

This Michael Myers would be just as scary.

So Good Luck to everyone attempting NaNo this year! Here's a list of things I did to hopefully gain me a win. I'll let you know if any of them actually help:

1. Subscribed to my Region on nanowrimo.org.  They had a Kickoff party yesterday that I had to miss because I was trapped in the frozen wasteland that was Connecticut (no offense to anyone who lives there but that place was AWFUL during the storm). I'm planning on attending at least one Write-In either this week or next week. If it's helpful I'll go back. I've never written with other people involved so it'll be a new experience.

2. Bookmarked writeordie.com. I'm considering buying the desktop edition, but I want to see how much it actually helps me for the first week before making the whole $10 plunge. Stay tuned for updates.

3. Plotted out my time in a nifty little chart based around what TV shows I would be sad to miss and which ones I can do without. Sorry, Sunday nights. The Walking Dead gets an hour.

4. Fully charged my computer so I can write on my 40 minute each way commute. I took this morning off to nap, but once tomorrow comes there'll be none of that.

5. Finished writing Arieties. Scenes are done. Handing it off to my critique group for comments. 

So I'm as prepared as I am going to be. I was going to write an outline of my story but let's face it, I'm a pantser. It doesn't work. I might write up a page about the characters I already have in my mind but even that seems like a lot of planning for me.

I now have less than 24 hours before NaNo begins. What have you done to prepare?

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Halloween Writing Prompt

Halloween. Zombies, vampires, witches, ghosts. Any one of them could take up residence here:


From www.lovethesepics.com

Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans and it was never rebuilt. A photographer and his friend took pictures of the decaying park and it is really something. Granted, they had to trespass to get in, but I'm definitely putting this on my list of places I want to see in person. The cheesy subtitles don't take away from the creepiness in most of these pictures and, as they reference several times, it is the perfect setting for a horror story. If they don't clean it up a tiny bit to make it safe  and make a haunted attraction out of it, then whoever owns this park is really lacking in imagination.
 
More pics from this collection

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Before I get into my post, I just want to give an update on my new blog schedule. This is especially helpful since I forget what my old blog schedule was.

I'm going to write 2-3 times a week. 
Monday: Writing-related post
Wednesday: General Post. If I skip a day it will be Wednesday
Friday: Picture Prompt

Okay, now that that's out of the way. Onto the post!

I work in New York City and as a result tend to see some odd things when I leave my office. The other day I was running an errand when I stumbled across this:

 

That is four cats, three guinea pigs and a puppy. Just chillin on the sidewalk. And just so you know, the woman next to me as I took this was on the phone with the ASPCA to see if this was kosher (I'm going to assume no). The man petting the guinea pigs seemed like he was just a bystander. I didn't see any person that looked like they were caring for the animals, although they all looked pretty well fed and were way too calm around people to  not be domesticated. Especially the cats. My cat, Shadow, would have been sitting behind the box hissing at everything before she probably had a heart attack.

Who says cats, rodents and dogs can't cohabitate?

Monday, October 24, 2011

NaNoWriMo

I've taken the plunge and signed up for NaNoWriMo.



For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is super scary. Basically the premise is that you, as a writer, complete a novel in one month. If that doesn't scare you, then I'm not sure what will. I've never done it before so I'm kind of excited to see if I can do it. I'm also cheating, so that helps.

My goal is to have at least 20,000 to 30,000 words done on my current WIP before NaNo starts so I can finish it in the allotted time. I think there's a goal of 50,000 words for NaNo, but I'm shooting for 80,000 so I'm really just leveling the playing field. Plus, I'm still going to be editing Arieties so that will take up a little bit of my time. I ended up revamping the ending (again) so I'm hoping to have it ready for my critique group in the next week. I haven't done the math, but that would put it ready for beta reading (again) by the end of NaNo. Then the scary part. I want to start working on querying in January (eeek!).

Is anyone else giving NaNo a shot this year?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Can't we all just get along?

I take public transportation to and from work every day. It's about an hour and a half commute, which provides plenty of time for one of my favorite activities: People Watching.

I first developed my hobby when I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and let me tell you, crazy NYC street fashion has NOTHING on those Spaniards. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that the number one fashion trend at the time (this was only 2 years ago, mind you) was MC Hammer pants. I'm sure they had another name, but they were basically this:





via Chicagonow.com

Of course, there were different colors, fabrics and patterns. We're talking everything from snake print to denim here, folks. I'm sure there was some reason that they were popular but I was too busy eating tortilla and croquetas to notice.

That being said, back in America there is some crazy fashion (especially in NYC), but the trains and PATH aren't as exciting as I'd hoped. So I eavesdrop.

Don't look at me like that. You do it, too. And if someone doesn't want me hearing their conversation, then maybe they should wait until they are in a private space to have it.

Anyway, the point. This morning I overheard a girl talking about a Pokemon/Baptist camp she went on (both subjects were covered on the 20 minute PATH ride so I'm going to assume it was a combination). Apparently on the bus she took, in addition to gospel songs and trading cards, there was a conversation about the accents of the different people on the bus. This girl, who talked like I do and thus does not have an accent, was apparently the only one from NJ/NY/The northeastern US/anywhere that has television because she described how everyone kept asking her why she "talked so weird." When she explained that she was from New Jersey, they were shocked because she was... well normal I guess.

This girl explained at length how shocked these obvious aliens were. I'm going to guess all of their information came from that show, you know the one that I'm talking about. Apparently they asked her a bajillion questions (she was like 15) about New Jersey like it was a separate country. Seriously, people? New Jersey. It's a state. One of the original 13 colonies. Home to Thomas Edison and Woodrow Wilson and Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Not to mention Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah and (for a brief amount of time) Mr. T. Queen Latifah, The Boss and Mr. T would not put up with Jersey Shore-like nonsense flooding the state like a contagious and incurable disease.

As I was playing this rant out in my head, I realized the conversation switched to the correct pronunciation of Pokemon and I wanted to slap her for the 10 remaining minutes on the train. At that point I remembered that the group on the bus were at a Pokemon camp and Pokemon's popularity died out with the Beanie Babies. And eventually the Jersey bashing will die out, too.

What an adorable pile of worthless toys!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I think I may be falling in Love

I fall in love a lot. Not Love, which is reserved for very special people/things like my family, Boyfriend and my cat. No, I fall in love all of the time.

Seriously, I fall in love with ideas, shoes, characters, people and then I fall out of love with them just as quickly. The time that I spend in love with these things varies. For example, I was in love with the idea of buying myself a motorcycle for about three hours on Saturday. Seriously, I was on the verge of doing all of my research when I fell in love with the idea of building furniture and then with painting furniture (which I actually did, but did not love). I was in love with Eminem for about 15 minutes the other day.

Well hello there.

It passed.

Now I am in love with a new story that I've just begun. I'm still editing Arieties and I've developed a little system where I edit in the morning and write in the evening that seems to be working for me. Except for when this new story starts taking over. I am in love with my MC and her story, though her world still needs some fleshing out. I've gone through a lot of ideas in the past few years that haven't panned out into full length stories, even though I loved them. 

This is the second story in two years that I feel like I might commit myself totally and completely to. I'm falling in Love with it. The other story? Arieties. Finished. Still being edited, but finished. That excites me more than anything I can even think to describe. Honestly, I've got that feeling where if I do this right, it could be really great. I Love Arieties and I cannot wait until I hit the point where I Love Skye and her story, too. Right now I think I Love it already, but I don't want to put a ring on it just yet. I mean, this new story already beat out Eminem, furniture building and motorcycles, so that's a start. If I'm still working on it in a few weeks I'll have to compare it against my ultimate love (who would become Love if he was real and in front of me).

Oh, how I love you

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This post serves no purpose

An actual conversation with my sister via text messaging:

Sister: I forgot to ask, how was your birthday?

Me: Just about the same as last year, except replace drinking loko with slowly dying at work.

Sister: You're almost done!

Me: No. I still have 50 years.

Sister: Noo retirement is 65, you only have 42 left!

Me: That's assuming I can retire at 65

Sister: Why not?

Me: There are many reasons. Social security collapses, identity theft, the zombie apocalypse...

Sister: If there is a zombie apocalypse and you don't quit your job to fight zombies I will be seriously disappointed in you.

Me: Obvi I will fight the zombies, but I still won't be able to retire.

Sister: That's the next best thing!

Me: I suppose so. I'd rather fight zombies than vampires.

Sister: Well duh. Vampires only have two weaknesses. You can kill zombies in a bunch of different ways




Just another day...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Speed Dating your Characters

I do most of my story planning once I've already written my first draft. Kind of backwards, right? As a pantser (as in, I write by-the-seat-of-my-pants, a very technical term) I really only have a vague idea of where my story is going when I embark on the journey with my characters. So, in my second round of edits, I'm forcing myself to sit down and flesh out the minor characters (major characters got their own one-on-one time with me already). So I figure it's appropriate to share my procedure with you kind folks. Everyone has a different system so who knows, you might like something about mine :)


Inspiration from Postsecret.com

Without the supporting characters, the main character in your story is just wandering around alone talking to him/herself. Even in a movie like Cast Away, where Tom Hanks is stranded on a deserted island for almost the entire movie, there are supporting characters that make him more relateable and further the plot (namely Wilson).

He's more than a little creepy.

So, when I'm trying to figure out my characters, I go speed dating.

1. Main Character (1)
2. Major Characters (3-5)
3. Minor Characters (3-10)
4. Two-Sceners (2-3)
5. Everyone else mentioned by name

Wait, what? Speed dating? Yes, speed dating. I use the categories above and work from the bottom up. Check it:

5. Everyone mentioned by name gets a brief, one-sentence summary of motivation and relevance to the story. Like the first few crummy dates at a speed dating table (or what I assume they're like). "Yeesh, get me out of here."

4. Two-Sceners are the characters that appear in only one or two scenes but are still important to the whole story (i.e. the sympathetic cop who gives the hardened criminal a break that gives the criminal the opportunity to do x or z). They get 2 sentences. "You're kind of interesting, but I'm still not into you."

3. Minor characters are usually a part of a major event in the story or are in the story for a significant period of time. They tend to be more in the background, but still interact with the MC enough that they're not just Two-Sceners. They get a whole paragraph about motivation, significant personality traits, and relevance to the story.

2. Major characters are the buddies. The best friend of the MC, the enemy of the MC, the guy who follows the MC around the entire book until he just becomes useful. These are the characters that can make or break a story. As a result, they get 3-5 paragraphs on personality, appearance, motivation, brief background (usually not included in the story but helpful to the author), and anything else that seems important. 

1. MC - obviously take all of the time in the world for this guy/girl.

Everyone has a different process, this is just the way I get to know my characters. The main point is to not forget them. The supporting characters in someone's life story are the ones that help to move the life story along or change the life for better or for worse. They make a huge impact on the story either way so please, no cardboard friends.


How do you get to know your supporting characters?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Virtual library - the ebook takeover continues

I love libraries. It's impossible for me to run in, grab a book and leave because I get so caught up in... well in the books I guess. My sister actually refuses to go to the library with me if we have something to do after because I will lose her in the stacks of mysteries and YA and true crime books and.... I could go on all day.

There was even a campaign to save one of the two libraries in my town and I don't think I've ever gotten so riled up about something. It wasn't even the library I go to. The second library is closer to my house, bigger and all over better. But you know what? They weren't depriving the kids who were unfortunate enough to live on that side of town. Not on my watch!

There it is. In all it's glory.


Libraries are wonderful things and I've already bookmarked a significant portion of my millions that I'll get when I win the lottery to keeping them open.

Pop Quiz time!

What is one thing standing in the way of everyone who loves books purchasing an e-reader?
(Hint. It's all I've talked about so far)

You got it! It's libraries!

See, the economy is bad (obviously) and there are people who aren't willing to shell out money for every single book when they can just traipse on over to Kennedy and pick a free one off the shelf for two weeks. So the smart people over at Amazon just said, know what? Why the hell not?

Go ahead. Click the link. I'll wait.

I KNOW RIGHT?  Free books? For those of you who didn't want to read the Wired article by @tcarmody (follow him, he's great) Amazon is partnering up with libraries to offer book rentals. From what I understand, it's exactly like a library rental, you use your card and everything. Only catch is that you can do it from the overly crowded train that inexplicably stopped on the tracks due to "train traffic ahead of us" (Don't you guys schedule the trains so there is no traffic??).

It's still not going to be the same as a library, just like an ebook is never going to have the same feel as holding a physical book in your hands and turning the pages. But I'm glad to see that Amazon realized the importance of libraries and teamed up with them instead of stealing their thunder and releasing their own free model. I'm just hoping libraries are making money from this. I'll be really pissed if they all close down before I can give my giant donations once I win the lottery.

Also I love them. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Monday, September 19, 2011

A New Obsession on My New Toy

Hello, lovely readers. Happy Monday!

Ordinarily I would cross out the happy because I almost always come down with a serious case of the Mondays each week, but today is a special day.

Via someecards.com

That's right. It's my birthday. I have two rules on my birthday. I am not allowed to get angry (deep breaths and pushing it to the back of my mind might make me explode tomorrow, but not today!) and I am allowed to repeatidly request that other people do what I want because it is my birthday. Maybe I go too far (I've said "Please, it's my birthday 4 times today and it's only 10:30) but it's one day a year and screw you if you don't like it.

So this weekend, I received a laptop from my wonderful and newly employed boyfriend, hereafter referred to as Boyfriend. Unfortunately, I have to wait for my discounted copy of Microsoft Office (Boyfriend's company has AMAZING perks like discounted software) so I went ahead and downloaded Storybook, which I heard about through another writers blog, forgive me that I forget who told me about it.

3 hours later, I still hadn't made any forward progress on editing Arieties (which I have saved in portions that I can access online) but I was having so much fun playing with Storybook that I didn't even notice. See, when I write, I'm a Pantser. You tell me to plan out a story and I'll give you a detailed outline that ends up in the bottom of a drawer somewhere probably never to be used. But if I have an idea that I let marinate long enough to have a substantial beginning, middle, and end, I'm on it.

My problem is, once I get everything written, I have a hard time tackling 80,000 words to edit it down into a coherent manuscript. My mind is very methodical and I like organizing things out, just not when I'm writing. Now, I already see weaknesses that I missed on my first two edits and plugging in a story thread gave me a totally new direction to take a portion of the plot (not the whole plot but it clears up one of the weaknesses). I'm kind of a little bit obsessed.

My only issue right now is that I have a job that I need to pay my billz and it's totally getting in the way of my storybook time. Do you think my boss will accept the "It's my birthday" excuse?

Yeah, me either.

How do you get through editing walls?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have returned.



Thank you, thank you. Yes, I have finally made my triumphant return to the blogosphere. I'm too lazy to go back and check but I'm pretty sure it's been about a month since my last post. The good news is that I have been writing, even if it hasn't been as consistent as I'd like. The even better news is that I hit most of my main goal for ROW80, which was to get Arieties ready for beta readers. I still have about a week left to get it all revised, but I have a few minor tweaks I still want to get done.

On a non-writing related note, well I guess it's a little related to my writing, I've been doing some serious life reflection. The death of my friend over a month ago, plus the recent 9/11 anniversary really hit home the point that life is really short. If I died today, I mean I've lived a good life but what have I done? So, I'm going to push myself. I'm not going to create a bucket list or anything, but I am going to make some changes.

First is my job. Working on it.

Then we have my writing. Step one here is to buy myself a laptop. I have a monetary goal to hit before I allow myself a big purchase like that so I've got another month to go, which puts my laptop purchase right in time for NaNoWriMo.

Then we have my little goals. I want to rebuild a car engine. It's going to be pricey, so I'll have to save up, but I really want to do it. (Side note, I told my mom this last night and her reaction was "Why don't you just marry a mechanic like I did?" Oh thanks mom, I'll get right on that.)

I'm going to try and keep up with my blogging now that I'm back. I'll start at twice a week. I'm going to work on revamping my blog schedule a little bit so there may be some changes. I'm also going to start reading more, so hopefully I'll be able to get a book review up every 2 weeks or so.

EDIT: Is anyone from the WD forum having trouble getting on? I keep getting an error message saying that the website is forbidden. I tried to get on my phone because I thought they finally blocked it at work, but I had the same problem there, too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rest in Peace, David


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-l6mmMhk_8

Taking a brief hiatus from blogging, hopefully an even shorter one from writing...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ROW80 7/27 check in

You know that saying "all good things must come to an end"? Well my goal-kicking streak definitely adhered to that this week. Epic fail all around. I don't want to post goal by goal this week because all of the red will probably depress me.

I only had a chance to write last Wednesday and a little bit on Monday. Thankfully I'm still on target for having Arieties ready for beta readers by the end of ROW80, which is my main goal. Unfortunately it's giving me a ton of issues. I'm going to work on it today for about an hour and if inspiration doesn't strike I'm going to have to set it aside and focus on another story.

In keeping with my weekly tradition, here's some cake:


He's disappointed in my lack of goal crushing this week. Hope everyone else was able to hit their goals!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Creating a Contrast

So I was doing research for a client at work the other day and I stumbled across this article about the creator of Oreos. Now this is a marketing blog, but one part struck me as being extremely pertinent for writing:

"Dynamic novelty is all about creating a contrast between two opposing forces. The opposition creates harmony and by having both, you can stand out."

They're talking about the taste of Oreos in the article, but I am going to apply it to stories. The contrast can be simple: the antagonist vs. protagonist, good vs. evil. Or it can be within a character, like conflicting ideals or the realization that all is not as it seems for a character. No matter what, the conflict has to be there. By going deeper with the opposition (i.e. taking the conflict internally or having multiple opposing forces) you can create an engaging, life-like story line that draws the reader in and makes your story stand out from the masses.

How about you? How do you create dynamic novelty in your story line?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ROW80 7/20 check in

Another week gone! Unfortunately, my Poconos trip was canceled this past weekend :( but I still went away with a group of friends :) but I didn't get a chance to bring a computer to work on my edits anyway :(

During the week I did well, though! Let's see how it went:

Goal 1. To write at least 500 words in a new story or 1000 words in an existing WIP, 5 days a week
COMPLETED!
I completely focused on Arieties and got 6000 words written this week, yay me! I am  completely rewriting the ending, so almost all of it is brand new scenes that I love 43280948230x better than what I previously had in my SFD.

Goal 2. To complete (or edit) at least two full scenes a day, 5 days a week
COMPLETED!

Again focusing on Arieties, in addition to my 6000 new words I also edited 5 existing scenes. I know that's not 2 full scenes a day, but I completed about 7 new scenes so that counts toward it.

Goal 3. To have the draft of my WIP Arieties ready for beta reading by the end of ROW80
DEFINITELY ON TARGET FOR COMPLETION!
I am so happy with myself this week as far as this goal. I have another round of edits before it's even close to ready, but I am way ahead of myself. I'm a little under 20,000 words away from being finished with editing this round. Yay!

Goal 4. To visit at least 2 blogs of my fellow ROW80 participants per day (on days that I have access to internet)
SORT OF COMPLETED.
My b. I skipped last Thursday because I just didn't have a chance at work and I did not have a chance to get on my internet connection at home. But, I went way over 2 per day on the other weekdays, so it sort of makes up for it. Maybe? Please forgive me?

For next week I'm going to amend Goal 2 to just focus on editing 2 scenes, since writing 500/1000 words and two scenes seems a little redundant. Other than that I think I'm going to keep my goals this time. Shocking, I know. After this round of edits on Arieties I'm going to demand that I work on other works, specifically some short stories that are half completed/stewing in my mind.


Since the treats went over so well last week, and we're in the middle of a heat wave in NYC, here's some ice cream to cool you off. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Obligatory Dark Part

How many times have you watched a movie (specifically comedies/romantic comedies) and reached the point where you think "Ugh, I know they're going to get back together, but now they're pretending to hate each other. I hate this part" ?







Love the movie, but come on. If anyone didn't see Kat getting mad that 
Patrick was paid to take her they were not thinking.

There are a lot of movies I like that have this, and I realize that it's necessary to move on to the ending of the story and make for a more satisfying conclusion. Still, it's the part of the movie that I get up to refill my popcorn/drink/etc. Books, likewise, have this part. It looks like the hero is never going to get to his/her goal and yet you know that they'll make it there in the end.

The trick in writing is to make me not want to skip a bunch of pages or to make my butt glued to that couch until the very end. Even if I know that the hero gets the girl, make me question it. Too often, writers get attached to their characters and put them through necessary evils, but by making these evils completely atrocious and painful it often creates a better story.

Literary Agent Donald Maass (@DonMaass) tweets writing prompts designed to make your story better. While I personally don't believe that every single one of the prompts should be included in every story (personal preference) they are all ridiculously useful ways to make a story better. For example: "What’s the emotion or experience you’re most afraid to put your MC through? Go there. Do it. Now."

That prompt (number 29 out of 40-something) acknowledges that it's often the writer that's holding the story back. I'm guilty of it, I know I am. I love making my characters sweat, but I hate actually putting them in the fire. They're my little creations. But think of it this way: if your reader gets as attached to your character as you do, they'll be rooting for him/her even more if they have to overcome enormous odds to succeed. I'd rather watch someone climb a treacherous mountain than skip over a hill.


How do you get past putting your characters through hell?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thank you, JK Rowling

Pardon any and all ramblings in this post. I'm going on 2 hours of sleep and no caffeine.

I saw the final installment of Harry Potter last night and thus have concluded a 13-year chapter of my life. Sounds dramatic? Well, it kind of is. How many things have you loved consistently, looked forward to consistently, for 13 years? Now, I'm still young. 13 years is over half of my life. That's a whole lot of time for me.



So I'd like to take this post to thank the woman who made it all possible. JK Rowling.

Thank you, JK Rowling, for creating characters that turned into friends that I was fortunate enough to grow up with.

Thank you, JK Rowling, for developing this imaginative, unique, creative world that allowed my imagination to run free as I pictured (and then later watched in the movies) witches and wizards and goblins and unicorns and banshees.

Thank you, JK Rowling, for introducing a story that was so engaging it got some of the most resistant readers to read 400+ page books and then ask for more.

Thank you, JK Rowling, for reminding us that the ends do not always justify the means. That good will triumph over eve. That no matter how dark it might look at one moment, something wonderful could happen the next.

Thank you, JK Rowling, for showing us the power of friendship and love and reminding us that those are the most important things in the world. Power, money, prestige, grades, none of that matters if you cannot love and be loved in return.

Thank you, JK Rowling, for giving us someone to relate to. Whether someone is the jock (Harry), the brains (Hermoine), the loser (Neville), even the bully (Malfoy), everyone has a chance to be a hero, even in the smallest way.

And thank you, JK Rowling, for the countless moments that I couldn't even put into words. The moments where I cried with the characters, laughed with them, cheered for them, even for the moments that I could not stand them (hello book 6 anyone?). Thank you.

Some people might say it's stupid. It's just a story. It's just something out of the mind of one woman who made billions of dollars off of it. Yeah, maybe, but if you look around this past week: in newspapers, magazines, on television, you'll see it. You'll see the people whose lives were forever changed by the orphaned boy wizard who overcame impossible odds to save the wizarding world from evil. Maybe they weren't changed in a big way, but they were changed.

So thank you for the past 13 years, JK Rowling.

Mischief Managed

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ROW80 Check in - Week 2

So my first week with this challenge is over! I definitely did better since my last check-in. I love the accountability of the whole ROW80 community. Everyone is so supportive and the fact that the participants check up on each other's blogs makes me even more driven to hit my goals each week. I've decided to make my goals more week-to-week than the whole challenge, with only certain goals making it the whole way through so we'll see how this goes. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by this week and good luck with this next week's goals!

And the results of this week:

Goal 1. To write at least 500 words in a new story or 1000 words in an existing WIP, 5 days a week



I'm going to adjust this one because I'm focusing on editing Arieties right now. For this week, I'm going to change it to write 1,000 words a week in a new WIP or in a new scene in an existing WIP. So no editing scenes and counting that toward my total.
So as far as the new goal goes: COMPLETED
I wrote 520 words for PLASTIC and 630 words for my short story Gemma (tent title). Done and done.

Goal 2. To complete (or edit) at least two full scenes a day, 5 days a week

COMPLETED
Most of the scenes were for Arieties. I'm now 2/3 of the way through my first round of edits and it's already 10x more solid than my SFD. I did get a chance to edit a scene in my short story LUCY IN THE SKY as well. I'm changing it to 5 days a week mainly because I have a bunch of weekend trips coming up and there's no chance of me bringing a computer to the Pocono Mountains or say A BRITNEY SPEARS CONCERT (sorry I just got a little excited there. DON'T JUDGE ME).

Goal 3. To have the draft of my WIP Arieties ready for beta reading by the end of ROW80
On target for completion.
Like I said, I'm 2/3 of the way through my first round edits. I'd like to get another complete round in by the end of the challenge so I should be doing okay.

Goal 4. To visit at least 2 blogs of my fellow ROW80 participants per day (on days that I have access to the internet)
COMPLETED
I've been doing this anyway but I don't want to fall off as the challenge goes on so I'm going to make it official. 

So there it is. Yay me! As a treat I'm giving myself some virtual cookies and sharing them with you guys. Mmmm kisses. Enjoy!

 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Did I really write that? A guide to metaphors and similes

Okay, it's not looking good for Sunday check-ins for ROW80 so I think I'm just going to stick to Wednesday updates instead. Now, on to my Monday post:

Last Thursday former literary agent/current author Nathan Bransford critiqued a writer's page with his main takeaway being "Avoid being writerly. "

As he explains it: "When you're being writerly, your writing is making things less clear with clever word play."

Now, as a part of an online critique group, I find that I can pick out the "writerly" and point it out to other writers. Surely I am not guilty of this, right?

WRONG.

I was editing a story that I'd written and found this line:

She ducked her head, her hair catching on a rusted nail that stuck out from the wood like a fishing pole over the ocean, trying to catch...




Guess where that sentence ended up



Apparently I'd stopped there and continued, I'm guessing because even while writing it my subconscious was trying to get my attention and pull me from that train of thought. Seriously, a fishing pole over the ocean? What the heck?

I don't remember writing this, but I know that I did and I can even guess at my train of thought. It probably had something to do with "Oh, this scene doesn't have enough descriptive imagery" or "I sound too telly, I need to do some more showing." Blech.


Metaphors and similies definitely add to writing, but are a main symptoms to the "writerly" disease.  So how do you self-diagnose? There are a few things that I do while editing:

1. Look at the similes, metaphors, and descriptions in your work and ask yourself if they are necessary. In my example, I was just describing a nail. Totally inconsequential and never mentioned again in the story. The "fishing rod over the ocean" doesn't convey any more imagery than "nail jutting out from the wood" would. The MC didn't even see the nail until after the fact, so the description is totally and completely unnecessary. Similes and metaphors are important descriptive tools when you can make them work.

2. Look at the frequency of similies, metaphors, and descriptions in your work. If you have a metaphor appearing every two lines, chances are high that the reader is going to notice them and become more distant from the story. The metaphors should flow within the words so that you barely notice them while you read instead of feeling like a forced writerly tool.

3. Look at the length of your similies, metaphors, and descriptions. My example could work if I adjusted it a bit and the MC had some knowledge of fishing rods over the ocean. However, it is getting too long. Part of the reason I probably cut it off was because it was just trailing along with no end in sight. 

Here's an example of a simile done well:

From The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

"The ride was actually over in six and a half minutes, and I had no choice but to hobble like an off-balance giraffe on my one flat, one four-inch heel arrangement."

The simile describes how the protagonist looks so that the reader can envision the scene (1) and is short and to the point (3).  

How do you self-diagnose writing ailments?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This whole bloggy thing

So as a dedicated participant of ROW80 and even more dedicated procrastinator, I have been visiting the blogs of my fellow challengees (that should be a word) and noticed something of note:

There are some seriously talented bloggers out there.

I'm not talking about just the writing, I expected decent posts by people who were participating in a writing challenge, but the designs overall. Some use the blogger/wordpress/livejournal-created designs, like yours truly, and others... well others blow my mind clear into space.  As I've mentioned before, I'm a virgo, just coming into my virgo-hood and the organization of some of these pages amazes me.

Which brings me to my page. I am a blogging newbie. I have no idea what I'm doing on this thing and, frankly, I prefer to learn as I go anyway. So I've decided to set some rules for myself to try and make this less of a teenager's closet and more of a color-coordinated celebrity shoe collection (if you've ever seen Mariah Carey's "Cribs" episode you know what I mean).


1. Post Schedule
I will post every Monday with my check-in posts for ROW80 on Wednesday(definitely) and Sunday(probably). Wednesday will be more of a commentary of where I'm at with my writing while Sunday I'm probably just going to throw up my check-ins just to keep myself on schedule (if I even make it on Sundays, I'm a busy girl!).

I know it may seem like I'm breaking my own rule by posting this on a Thursday, but I will reserve Thursdays and Fridays (whichever is the end of my work week, since we are doing Summer Fridays) for random postings if I feel that they are needed.

2. Layout
I will work on my layout on my non-posting days until I am satisfied, which knowing myself will be forever. I will try and incorporate at least one relevant picture in each post, since I've found that posts with pictures tend to be much more visually appealing.

I promise the pictures will be better than this.

3. Post content
Monday will be a post about writing. I am going to try to be really strict about this and I think I've done pretty well so far. The random Thursday/Friday posts can be about anything, but will hopefully relate to writing somehow. I might use Wednesday to share interesting links to other blog posts that I enjoyed, but we'll see how that goes. Book reviews may be added at a later date.

So there it is. Welcome to the new dawn of By any other name...

What things do you love about your favorite blogs?  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First check-in for ROW80

I am not off to a good start. In all fairness, we did get extremely busy at work yesterday and then I basically dropped into a dead sleep once I got home. Still, not a good start. To the check-in, shall we?

Goal 1. To write at least 500 words, 5 days a week
Tuesday: 510 words - JUST MADE IT!
Wednesday: 213 words - yeesh not too hot

Goal 2. To complete (or edit) at least two full scenes a day
Tuesday: Edited 3 full scenes from Arieties
Wednesday: Edited 1 scene from Arieties

Goal 3. To have the draft of my WIP Arieties ready for beta reading by the end of ROW80
Working on it

I'm thinking of adding a new goal for next week, but I'm going to let that idea marinate for a while before jumping in, especially since I couldn't accomplish the two that I set myself up for. I'll just have to do better next time. My personal goal for next week is to make up for the things I've missed this week. So I'm short 287 words from today (which is still not over, so I could still make it) and one scene. I can do this.

I hope everyone else did better with their goals then I did!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Universal Experiences

While watching the fireworks this Fourth of July, I began thinking about how readers can connect to characters through experiences where they connect with complete strangers, if only for a moment.

For example, I was on a high school football field with over 100 other people, just waiting for it to be dark enough to watch things explode, when the national anthem began to play. Everyone stood up and turned to face the flag. There were people of every background, age, and race class around me and for that one minute (or however long it takes someone to sing the national anthem) we were all just celebrating America.

Is there anything more American?
In writing, there are hundreds of things people will tell you to do in order to connect to your readers, but I'd say universal experiences are probably one of the best things. And I'm not saying that you have to have a scene where the hero hears the anthem of his or her state/country/villiage/etc. and get's overly emotional and goes on a vengeance mission to help his fellow man (or dwarf/elf/vampire/etc.)

For example, in the popular series (and current personal obsession) The Hunger Games, there is a scene, I believe in the second book Catching Fire, where the MC, Katniss, witnesses a crowd of people who whistle a meaningful tune. The crowd is clearly united and in support of the MC. The author doesn't need to spell out the feeling that the MC gets, or even the expression on the faces of the crowd. My mind immediately connected with the experience, even though I don't live in an oppressed district and I don't know anyone who has ever been killed in the name of entertainment. I still got it.

It would be the same if a writer described watching fireworks with a friend. You can't put on paper the unequaled amazement of a child watching the colorful explosions high above her head, or the beauty of the golden strands that trail down to earth after the initial color has faded from the sky. But writing a brief description like that would bring any reader (who has been fortunate enough to see fireworks) back to a time when they enjoyed the simple entertainment of a fireworks display, whether they were a child or an adult.
It's the little scenes that help connect the reader to the characters in a story. Think of your favorite book, I'll bet there's at least one moment that you identified with the MC or a supporting character, whether you realized it while reading or not.

Late to the ROW80 Party

I am perpetually late. I blame my father who suffers from the same lack-of-time-itis (although my condition is not as chronic as his).

A Round of Words in 80 Days began yesterday but I'm starting today, which is totally acceptable since I have a doctor's note for my aforementioned condition. So here goes:

My goals:

1. To write at least 500 words, 5 days a week
2. To complete (or edit) at least two full scenes a day
3. To have the draft of my WIP Arieties ready for beta reading by the end of ROW80

I'm probably going to add a few goals as I go because I really want to push myself this summer. GO ME!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Waiting Game

When I was in grade school, I had a teacher who always said a quote that has stuck with me to this day:

"Patience is a virtue... (big pause) that I definitely do not have."
-Sister Pam

Now this was usually said when my class was acting up during art class or religion class or whatever subject she taught that year. I think it was supposed to be a warning that we needed to sit down and shut up before she went crazy, but coming from a lady who told a bunch of six-year-olds that if we didn't hold onto the railing on the stairs we would trip and smash our head open like pumpkins on Halloween, it wasn't the clearest warning she ever gave. 

Even this picture makes me nervous
 
 
Still, it always stuck with me. Mainly because I followed in that lovably crazy nun's footsteps when it comes to patience. I really can't stand waiting. So when I sent my first submission for a short story out, I forced myself to forget about it for the month that it would take for a response. It's only a month, right?
 
Needless to say, I checked my e-mail every day, hoping for a response, until the 31st day when I got a rejection letter. Bummer. It's okay. Move on.
I chose the next place to submit and sent it. That was a week ago. Their response time? THREE MONTHS!
 
I repeat: THREE MONTHS!
I'm pretty sure I'm going to go nuts.
 
Then again, I don't have to deal with 19 screaming second graders, so I guess I'm better off than Sister Pam.



Friday, June 24, 2011

Character development while people watching

I've heard many writers say that inspiration strikes them at any moment. The tiniest thing might be ignored by most people but inspire a brilliant novel for a writer.


That slide looks sinister.

At the same time, writers can use inspiration from the world around them to develop an existing idea. For example, I take the train into work every morning from New Jersey to NYC New Jersey Transit is awful. Avoid travelling on it at all costs.  and at least three days a week I get in with no delays. Unfortunately, yesterday was one of the two mandatory days a week that NJ Transit decides to screw up, just to mess with the daily commuters.

I was stuck at one station with no way to get out for 45 minutes with a dead iPod and dying phone. Luckily I had a book with me, but I was almost done and I wanted to save it for the return trip. So I started to look around me and notice how my fellow passengers were reacting to this situation. There was the sleeping man, who I'm pretty sure never noticed we were stopped anyway. There was the girl on the phone with NJ Transit angrily demanding that they send a bus to transport us all at least to Newark. There was the couple who were chatting about their childrens' sports schedules and which one would be home in time to pick them up (Spoiler: they were on NJ Transit, so neither probably got home on time).

So I started thinking. What would the characters in my current WIP do? I had to dismiss the fact that my MC and a major character wouldn't be allowed on trains and several other characters wouldn't need them for transportation anyway, but I started going through them one by one and I learned a lot about my characters. I also had a blast with my imagination.

 
The result was a brand new scene and several characters that I had to rethink.  Both of which are going to add to my story and are helping me brush past a bit of writer's block in my editing. 

Have you ever imagined your characters in real situations, whether to pass the time or to help get through a tough spot in your story?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't go changin'



If you believe in astrology, then, as a Virgo, I should be obsessed with planning and organizing things. I'm not sure what else being a Virgo entails, but that part always stuck to me, mainly because I am so not. After college, I hit some weird personality shift and I did become obsessed with organizing my personal space (room, work desk, etc) but other than that? Nope.

I am what is known in the writing world as a "pantser." As in I write by-the-seat-of-my-pants(er). I originally embraced this and wrote some stories. Granted I was about 10-years-old and had no idea what a pantser was or even that I could grow up to become an author or that I could write anything over ten pages long. The point is that I did it. Then some years pass and I decide I'm going to write a novel. It was awful and I am the first to admit that it should never see the light of day, but it prompted me to join an online critique group.

I totally recommend this for anyone who wants to get serious about writing. I have learned so much and am a much better writer because of it. However, with all of the different personalities, there are bound to be different opinions on the best way to write. Everyone seemed to have such well thought out novels that I said, "Huh. I must be doing something wrong." Right at that point, one of the people on the forum posted a blog about how she plans her novels out with the different steps in novel writing. It was a great post and I decided from that point I would plan out my novels so I knew where I was going when I actually started to write.

Dear Lord, was that the wrong move for me. I would plan out a novel and then never write it. What started out as this great idea turned into something so mundane and boring for me and I just over analyzed EVERYTHING. It was awful. So, on my most recent WIP, I said "Eff this, I'm going to be a pantser again." It's turning out to be so much more work than if I had planned it out, but you know what?

I LOVE IT! And I'm pretty sure my story is better because of it.

My point isn't that planning a story out is wrong. It's not, for some people. But for me it is. You know how adults tell children that everyone is different or special in their own way (or at least they should)? Well writers are kind of like that. Every one will have different advice. Most of it is probably good advice, but it's not always the RIGHT advice.

And there's your challenge. Weed through the tons of advice out there and find what's right for you. You'll know it when you feel it.

Or don't. Whatever works for you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hello. My name is Lisa Rose, and I am a huge nerd.

SQUEEEEEE

That's the sound that's going through my brain right now. Honestely, if I wasn't at work (ON MY LUNCH BREAK, CHILL) I would be jumping up and down in excitement over pottermore.com.

Now before you go over there and say "Wait a minute, there's nothing there. Why are you so excited about a purple background, a few owls, and the words coming soon?"

Well, maybe this picture will explain things:


Seriously. I have  been a Harry Potter fan for half of my life. Literally, half. How many things can you say that you have loved for over 10 years without any dwindling passion? 2 for me, but I am not going to get into my Indiana Jones obsession now. I'll save that for later.

Anyway, when the final book came out I was happy. JK Rowling ended it perfectly, in my opinion. But I was also crushed. What do I have to look forward to out of my favorite fantasy franchise? Oh right, the movies! Phew.

Now, with less than a month to go until the final half of the final movie is released, I started to have that feeling that I hate more than any other feeling ever: The "Now What?" feeling. Until today.

I was browsing the internet and thanks to a certain Dark Lord's twitter I found the tag #pottermore. I'm sorry, what? Pottermore... potter more... MORE POTTER?!?!?!?! I easily found the site he referred to: pottermore.com.  That's when the SQUEEEEEEE started. True to JK Rowling's nature, she hasn't released any information (that I can find) about what the site is all about, although I'm sure she knows exactly what is going to be on it and has been planning for years. And you know what?  I'm not mad about it.  I, like my fellow Potterheads, are just curious and eager to find out what this site is all about and hopefully be able to rejoin the lovely world of Hogwarts once again.


Although I'm still holding out for my Hogwarts acceptance letter...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Welcome to the dark side, little bro

You are never too old to discover the magic of reading.

I love to read. I mean, I LOVE it. I always have. By the time I was eleven years old I had read every single Nancy Drew Mystery in my public library system. I say system because my town has two libraries and I devoured the books in both.

I. Loved. Nancy. Drew.

Unfortunately, my siblings did not share my enthusiasm for the written word. Luckily I was bigger and stronger at the time so they kept their puny little mouths shut. It took a few years, but my younger sister finally succumbed to my teachings, though she wasn't as into Nance and her powder blue convertible as I was. I'd take it. My brother... Well at this point I'd considered him a lost cause.

Then something magical happened.

One month and twenty four days shy of his seventeenth birthday, I come into my family's house and see my brother on the couch. At first I was confused. Where were the sounds of idiotic cartoons, fighting men, or other typical boy television? Why was it silent?

"Are you in trouble?" I immediately asked.

"Nope." 

I just stared at him as I noticed what was in his hand. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. Aka, a book.  A BOOK! HE WAS VOLUNTARILY READING A BOOK!

I tried to ask him what made him read it but I promptly got shushed before he went outside and posted up in my favorite reading spot on the deck (one that I claimed over a decade ago, thank you very much). 

It must have been a fluke, right? Just some weird mood that he was in.

Lo and behold, a few days later he comes into my room with a question that brought tears to my eyes: "Hey, can I borrow the second Harry Potter?"

Yes, Grasshopper. Yes you may.
 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Morsel

I'm going to try and start the week off right (hopefully regularly) with a snippet of whatever I'm working on at the time.  I know it'll help me get motivated and I hope you all enjoy it!


From: Arietie
Stage: Editing, phase 1
Chapter: 2 (ish)

“Do you think it knows we’re here?”  Tina’s feet touched the ground and they crawled under the bed.  Evan whined.  

Annette pressed her finger to her lips as she listened to Mrs. Welsh’s footsteps move toward the door.  The lock clicked open and the door creaked.

“Hello, Sarah.”  A smooth, velvety voice floated into the room.  “How are you.”

“Oh, just fine, Donovan.  How are you?  And your sister?”

“Wonderful.  I heard you received some visitors today.  Children.  My daughter was wondering if they’d like to play with her.  You know how shy she is.”

Mrs. Welsh chuckled.  “Yes, well I don’t know where your information came from but it’s just me here.”  She was an expert liar.  Annette felt her anxiety, but the old woman’s voice was steady.  It occurred to Annette that they might not be the first Arieties to use the Welsh home for a safe house.
 
"Are you sure?"
 
"I think I would know if there were children running around my house."
 
"I suppose."  He paused.  Annette could barely feel any emotion from him.  He wasn't angry, more amused than anything.  Like Mrs. Welsh's refusal to admit their existance was only an obstacle in a mind game that he would have to overcome.
 
“You wouldn’t mind if I used your bathroom, would you?”  Donovan said after a moment.  “We are having plumbing issues.”

Mrs. Welsh paused, indecisive.  Don’t invite him in!  Annette wanted to scream.  If they could just keep him out they would still be safe.  What was Mrs. Welsh waiting for?  Annette wanted to run out there and slam the door herself.  Instead, she heard the door creak open further.

"Of course.  Please come in."  Mrs. Welsh said.

Annette felt her heart stop as the vampire entered the house.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Love Unexpected (except when it's not what I expect)

Confused?  I understand, but bear with me.

Reading a book is an investment of time.  As a writer, I want my readers to come away from the story feeling like they didn't waste their time, but enjoyed the time they spent with me.  Which is why I hate HATE when books trick me.

I don't mean when there's unexpected twists that I never would have figured out because they're that clever.  I love those!  In C.S. Harris' Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery Series, she tosses in twists that have to do with either the mystery or, more often, the characters lives.  And they're awesome!  I'm talking about when you read a murder mystery about a crime that seems to have been a staged suicide, spend several hundred pages trying to solve this murder, and find out that it's all just a suicide anyway.  What was the point of that?

I'm not going to say what the book was, because I disliked it that much, but I'm sure people who enjoyed it would say something like "It's all about the journey of the characters!"  To which I respond, "No.  No it's not."  Here's why:

Number 1: There are no character-oriented sub-plots that are resolved at the end of the book.  That's not entirely true.  The subplot of a character that doesn't even matter until 3/4 of the way in is resolved, but who cares?  The MC's relationship isn't figured out, it's left ambiguous.  The villain isn't really punished, the supporting characters don't get their happy ending, hell the MC doesn't even go back to playing goalie on his hockey team for good even though he whines about how great it was for half the book.  Nothing. Is. Resolved.

Number Two: If it's about character development, don't put it under mysteries in the bookstore/library.  Don't call it a "__________ ____ Mystery."  Because it's not a mystery.  It's a waste of my time.

Have you ever read a book that just made you feel like you would get the same enjoyment out of watching paint dry?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Intro

Well hi there.  Some of you may know me as Rose, some as Lisa, some as Lisa Rose, some as Strat, okay I'll stop there because I promised myself this post would be more than just nicknames.  Basically, this is my blog.  For those of you who don't know me, I'm an aspiring writer, working in NYC, living in Jersey (do not get me started on those god-awful television shows about my state)


Thank you so much for that, MTV

Aside from that, I'm just trying to figure out where the heck my life is going.  Ever heard of a quarter-life-crisis?  Right here.  Don't laugh, it seriously freaks me out some days.  

As for this blog, well, I just submitted my first short shory for publication (yeeeeeeee) and I said to myself: "Self, what a great time to start up that blog you've been thinking of starting."  What a great idea, Self!  So here we are.  I hope you enjoy me and my inner ramblings, and I am going to apologize in advance if anyone on here works for/actually likes NJ Transit.  (But really, you can't keep the trains running without delay for one week?  It's called a schedule.  Your trains run on a track.  There's only two directions they can go.  How do you mess that up?)