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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

One-Shot Wednesday

 "My friend's a murderer you know."  She leaned back, showing her masked companion. "I wouldn't recommend making her angry."
I came upon the two not more than an hour ago. Kylie, the curly haired one, was rather sweet. She shared her food and water with me, even though I tried to decline several times. Shaia, however, was much quieter.
"Of course we don't mind if you stay with us!" Kylie had said. "It'll be nice having a new face around."
Shaia nudged her.
"Oh, I should tell you about Shaia. She's a murderer, after all." She leaned back as her masked companion leaned forward. "I wouldn't recommend making her angry."

Monday, April 27, 2015

One Year Adventure Novel


 (This was not sponsored by them, I'm just enjoying it. This is sort of a review, in a way)

I've heard several things about the One Year Adventure Novel, practically all of them good. When my mother offered to buy me the curriculum, I wanted to see what it was all about, so I accepted.
There's pros and cons to this curriculum, with my writing status. Since I've written quite a bit, I know quite a bit about POV, theme, and plot. Unfortunately, this curriculum assumes that you don't know anything about that. The way he introduces the lesson is deciding what kind of story to write. His story writing process is something like this (this is with my commentary):

1. Decide what kind of story you're going to write, adventure (Lord of the Rings), romance (Pride and Prejudice), or self change (A Christmas Carol).
2. Decide the POV (First or third, second is awkward. For the curriculum, you're supposed to write in first person because it's easier.)
3. Choose your hero (You're supposed to create your hero to be within two years of your age. For me, the hero would be 15-19. Ulysses is twenty. Um.)

(For comparison, my writing process goes something like this:

1. Come up with a concept
2. Create the protagonist. Usually for me, the protagonist and the plot come together at about the same time, as one usually influences the other.
3. Write out a brief (verryyy brief) idea of what's going to happen in said story. Choosing POV often happens after I start writing.)

That's as far as I've gotten so far, sadly. Needless to say, it is for beginners, but maybe that's where you are in writing, and that's okay! If you can get the curriculum, I highly recommend it.

Would you like to use a curriculum to write a story? What does your story idea process look like?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Third Drafts: What would you do?

 (I apologize if you saw this when I accidentally posted it before I'd actually written anything. I swear my blog isn't haunted)




It's Friday again, and Fridays mean I get to talk about whatever I want. Which is almost always writing, but you get the idea. Today is a bit different: Today, I pose a question to any of you writers out there who read my blog.

Third Drafts: What would you do?

I just finished the second draft of Murder on the Red Line, my book about Ulysses.  The first draft was, well, a first draft. Sort of crappy in characterization, plot, and writing. The second draft I just finished helped improve the plot. I removed several characters and plot points. Last draft, Stocker died. Needless to say, that changed. I couldn't kill the guy. Not yet, anyway.

Ahem. Moving on.
My question to you is this. How do you get started on third (or second or fourth or fifth...) draft? Do you plan ahead what you're going to change or just start writing again? Do you have any methods that I don't know? Do you summon the ancient spirits of writing your third draft using marshmallows and a stray cat hair?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

One-Shot Wednesday

This one actually turned out to be about Ulysses. I realized this after I started writing it. Enjoy!


dialogue prompt


I certainly wasn't expecting a horse in the hallway this morning. It was the smell that hit me first.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" Two or three people crowded around me and the horse, throwing a bit of confetti. All of it landed in my hair.
Great. I knew I'd forgotten something, but my bloody birthday? 
"We got you a horse!" A rather small, round man held the lead out to me. Now, I appreciated the beasts just as much as the next man, but never had I given the smallest hint that I'd wanted one.
"But I never asked for a horse!" My voice cracked with the shock. What in the name of all things sane would I do with the thing?
A woman that rather matched the man with body type and size stepped forward.  "I used my brilliant powers of assumption!" She puffed her chest out with pride.
I couldn't help but groan. "Don't you mean deduction?"
"...no." She shook her head. "But happy birthday!"
 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Ultimate Character Sheet



As some of you are aware, a good way to develop characters is to use a character sheet. However the quality of said character sheets isn't necessarily always the greatest. A lot of them have rather obscure questions like 'what is their favorite song and why?' I can't think of any of my characters' favorite song. Along with that, some of my characters live in places where songs might not be available. For example Mordecai, a Scottish rogue living in medieval times, probably wouldn't have access to music beyond drinking songs and the occasional bard.
My point is that not all character sheets are good character sheets. Sure there's the basics, like full name, age, height, weight, etc. But do you always really need to know their favorite song? Maybe you do. I'm looking at Starlord here. He can't live without his music player, which I know that's technically several songs, but my point is this:
If something is important to their character, write it down. I don't recommend using pre-made sheets to be perfectly honest, just write down what's important. I don't mind if you make it in a character sheet format, but I recommend just using your instinct.

(Insert 'feel, don't think' Star Wars GIF here because I couldn't find one) 

If their favorite song is important to their character, write it down. If it matters what their favorite childhood food was, write it down. 
The ultimate character sheet is one you create yourself.

Do any of you use pre-made character sheets? Do you make your own? How do you develop your characters?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Reading is Research



I'm sure you all know that to be a really good writer you should read. However, this sounds really broad to me, so I'm going to expound on it a little.

Backstory: I got a book out of the library (and later for my birthday) called "Jack Reacher's Rules."
This is the cover.

It's an amazing book by the way, you should check it out. Even though most of the 'rules' are meant for people like Jack Reacher (hitchhiking ex-soldier who solves cases when he can), some of the rules are applicable to life, such as "hope for the best, plan for the worst." That one's applicable in almost any situation. I really enjoyed the book, and it did have a lot of good advice for detective writing.

As a result, I got some Jack Reacher books from the library. Specifically, "A Wanted Man."

The cover
I'm on chapter 7 as of when I wrote this Thursday evening and I'm enjoying it immensely. However, as I was reading it, I realized something;
I was doing research. Even though I might never write the certain mystery that's taking place in the book, it was still wonderful research. The detail with which Lee Child described Reacher's environment (currently the inside of a car) was stunning. Though it was a lot of minute details, Jack Reacher got a lot of information from it. It was really fascinating to read. I took a lot of notes (in a notebook since it was a library book) about the writing and what he put into the story.

I suggest you do the same. If you're writing fantasy, get a fantasy book out of the library and take notes. If you're writing contemporary, get a contemporary book, etc. etc. My prediction is that it could help a lot.

Reading books in the same genre as the book you're writing helps you to be more aware of good (and bad) things that happen in the genre. You can make it different, new, and exciting!
I really love reading for research. It's my favorite way to do it.

Do you read for research? What kind of genres are you reading now? What kind of genres are you writing now?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Beautiful People: Siblings Sort of

(Yes I am aware that Aimee's title for the linkup is very similar but I don't have any sibling characters that I have written within the past few years that aren't completely terrible so I'm going with it. Also Sky and Cait said that you can use characters with a sibling-like relationship so there.)

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Today I'll be writing about Thursday and Stocker. They're as close as I can get to siblings in my current projects.
Anyhow, these guys, though not as well-developed as I would like in this draft through Murder on the Red Line, they'll be more properly developed and not act like some characters I slapped in there so Ulysses didn't steal the spotlight. Oh wait.
Anyhow, let's begin.

The Questions

1. What is the first memory they have of each other?
Well, Ulysses and Thursday were friends in college and high school (see I told you he'd steal the spotlight). Once Thursday settled into his own apartment, Stocker was his next door neighbor. Now they basically share the two apartments between them. Their most prominent memory right now is Thursday wanted to break a door between the apartments, but Stocker stopped him. 

2. Describe their relationship in 3 words
Usually relaxed together

3. What kind of things do they like to do together? 
Thursday and Stocker are both serial binge watchers. They watch a lot of old movies. Stocker likes classics and Thursday likes campy sci-fi.

4. What was their biggest fight?
Poor Stocker is rather sensitive and Thursday sometimes forgets. He called Stocker a yellow-belly as a joke and Stocker took it to heart. He wouldn't speak to Thursday for several days, and even after that he was rather cautious hanging around Thursday. He still is.

5. How far would they go to save each other?

Stocker's the kind of guy who would lay down on the wire and let the other guy crawl over him. He'd go quite far, even risking his life for Thursday, even if he is somewhat insulting at times.

Thursday's kind of the same way, he would do practically anything to save Stocker's life. It's pretty adorable.

6. What are their pet peeves about each other?

Stocker is very set in routine. Everything has a routine. Waking up, eating lunch, going to bed; everything has it's own routine.  He hates it when Thursday messes with his routines too much.

On the flip side, Thursday is rather spontaneous. It bothers him when Stocker is so set in routine that he won't try something different for once.

7. What are their favorite things about each other?
Stocker appreciates that Thursday tolerates his sob stories sometimes. Also, Thursday doesn't care if Stocker has a grumpy day. He has grumpy days sometimes.

Though Thursday isn't a huge fan of Stocker's routine all the time, he loves that Stocker is dependable, even if he's having a grumpy day.


8. What traits do they share? Mannerisms, clothing, quirks, looks, etc?
They look practically nothing alike. Thursday is built rather thin and small, while Stocker is built somewhat short and a bit stocky (that was not on purpose I swear). They probably have very similar speech patterns though, that happens when people hang out a lot.

9. Who has the strongest personality?
Thursday.
No questions asked here.

10. How does their relationship change throughout the story? 
Probably not much to be painfully honest. Since they're not main characters they don't change a lot, but not to say that Thursday does get a little more sensitive to Stocker's needs and Stocker does toughen up a bit. It's kind of sweet, to be honest.

There you have it folks! There's a bit more about Stocker and Thursday. Are any of you doing the linkup this month? What's the best sibling pair in your stories? 


Monday, April 13, 2015

Plotting vs. Pantsing



(If any of you watch Steven Universe there may be spoilers, I watched like 50 episodes last week and I want to use GIFs)

Plotting vs. Pantsing is a question long debated among writers (AKA me and some of my writing friends). I am a plotter. If I don't know where my book is going I'll end up writing nothing, or the equivalent of nothing. If often looks something like this:

And then the dancing french fries...


Needless to say I need at least some structure to make things happen. It's just how I roll. Even in life I need to know what's happening. I really hate spontaneous responsibilities. Just spontaneity in general is undesirable. So. Yep.
Anyhow, I do see some benefits to pantsing it, your characters can run along and do whatever they want, but sometimes they run off into uncharted territory and do something you weren't expecting.
You...really didn't need to do that...

Generally I leave a little leeway for characters to do what they like, but not too much, as I try to develop them and their personalities before I write them. Short stories and character sheets are good for this. Sometime in the future I might post a character development sheet with some questions that I think really matter to character development. Once I get around to it, you can request adding questions or taking them off.

Back to my original thought, since I got off track.
Which is better?
I'm going to be up front about this.
Neither of them.
It depends on your personal preference. While I prefer plotting, some prefer pantsing. It's personal to you.
I cannot think of a legitimate reason to post this GIF of Garnet riding around in Amethyst as a car but it's funny and I laughed at it so.

 

Enjoy.

Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in between? Do you think you could write a novel in the opposite way (ie. Pantsers plot or plotters pants)?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Book Review: The Vortex Entrance Part Two

Because once wasn't enough

 WARNING: This post is GIF heavy.

It's gotten worse, guys. Much much worse.
First of all the writing hasn't improved. There's been a lot more careless mistakes and, to be honest, it looks like a NaNo novel to me (not dissing any WriMos out there, being one myself, but please for the love of all things pure and holy edit before you publish). There have been sentences in this book that physically hurt to read. I do not comprehend the lack of editing that has gone into this book. At one point there must have been five consecutive sentences that started with "I."

The only (slightly) well-developed character seems to be hated by everyone for no legitimate reason. Sure, he's an alcoholic and not exactly the most sensitive person, (I've judged him to be IxTP by the way) but wouldn't any of you be that way after fighting a war? I certainly would. Not an alcoholic, but definitely harsher.

Alright everyone, pop quiz! What is the best way to reason with an alcoholic?
A) Calmly and reasonably without blaming him for all your problems
or
B) Yell and scream at him, take all his alcohol away, and blame him for everything
Give you a guess as to how John (The main character, ESFJ) reacts.
Now, I'm not saying alcohol is a good thing at all, no sir. It smells bad and tastes TERRIBLE (yes I had a sip one time don't judge me). But if I were addicted to cheeto puffs and you were trying to reason with me do you think taking away all my cheeto puffs would be a good idea?

Anyhow, to me, it's getting to the point where even the characters are so stupid that I don't even want to finish reading it. For your sake I'll finish and post one more final review so you can see the final score.
Like really they ran from police after the villains ("Vanishers" clever name, no?) burned down a library. They had nothing to hide and they ran from the police.


Also then after running a few laps around a gym they ran thirty miles in like six hours.
 
Then they got right back up and walked another half mile to another town.


After that there was an abrupt change from vacant desert to dense forest.
 

Following that, after an attack by Vanishers, one character is flung through the forest and returns without a scratch.


A person with a concussion falls into a coma and wakes up fine the next day.


If you learn anything from this please do research.
Please.

Do you ever want to read this book, even for humor purposes? Do you have any questions about the book that I didn't answer *wiggles eyebrows at ask box because shameless self-promotion*? Have you ever found errors in a published book?


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

One-Shot Wednesday

 "Guys, I think he wants to help..."
They always kept humans and cyborgs on opposite sides of the walls. When we were dumped on the wrong side after our plane went down, we thought it was the end.
Most of them just stared at us as if we were freaks of nature, which, to them, we probably were. Pure and human, unlike them. Hybrids of man and machine, stronger, faster, and smarter than all humanity combined, but over half of them were severely disabled. Silenced, deafened, or blinded by invasive procedures. Some of them couldn't even move--trapped in paralysis forever.

We'd been walking for days when one stumbled towards us. He waved his arms, his mouth opening and closing, his eyes wide.

"G-Grind it, run!!"

The three of us ran into a holding cell. The thick glass would protect us from-

...what was he doing...?

He breathed onto the glass and started to write.

C-O-M-P-E

"...Compe?" I leaned forward as I whispered the word. A small smile crossed his face as he nodded.
"This isn't a good idea." Max muttered, biting at his fingernail. "Don't talk to him."
"But guys..." I scowled. "I think he wants to help!"

Monday, April 6, 2015

Announcements!

As you can see, I've changed the way the blog looks. I'm changing things around a bit and making it all look a bit fresher and cleaner (Spring cleaning I guess?). Anyhow, I'm adding a new feature to help my blog improve a little.
Introducing...

Obligatory Drum Roll GIF


The Ask Box is a way to send in your writing and reading questions for me to answer on my blog!

Things I will answer from The Ask Box:
  • Questions about writing
  • Questions about reading
  • Book review requests
  • Beta reading requests
  • Ideas for Wild Cards
  • Ideas for posts
  • Prompts for One-Shots
  • Requests for slaying dragons
Things I will not answer from The Ask Box:
  • Questions that have nothing to do with reading or writing
  • Why is your cat doing that
  • Why is your dog doing that
  • Why is your fish doing that
  • Why are dragons attacking your house
  • What is wrong with that glowing orb above your head
So you see, I am afraid I cannot help you with those kinds of things. Nonetheless, if your character has dragons attacking their house or glowing orbs over their heads, I'm happy to help. If you have a question for me, or heck, for my characters, do be a dear and type it in the little box to the side, thank you very much! I'm excited to see how this turns out!

Do you think this sounds like a good idea? What do you think of the new blog layout? Any changes you would make?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Camp NaNo Confession



So I didn't post on Wednesday because Camp NaNo started and I was busy writing. So I'm working on part four of my original NaNo novel, since I didn't finish it in time to start a second book.
*sighs at life because it really does get in the way sometimes*
Anyhow, to be fully honest, I'm really insecure about my writing. All my writing. My blog, my stories, everything. It's really silly to be honest, but sometimes I worry that maybe my blog/story/whatever isn't good enough.
For who, even? Who's judging? No one, really.
To be perfectly honest, it's a silly idea. I'm writing for fun, why should it matter whether or not people like it?
Well, this turned personal quick.
Nonetheless, it is true. I get jealous and upset when people write more than I do, mainly because their stories seem much cooler than mine. As much as I do like writing Ulysses, I get nervous that people are tired of him. I haven't even heard solid evidence of this, but I do still worry. It's an irrational fear though, hopefully. From what I've heard, everyone rather likes Ulysses. Even still, with all the positive feedback, I end up worrying. It's really silly.
To be perfectly honest I'm trying to ignore the people I'm jealous over, but that is extremely hard to do.

How do you deal with insecurities? Do you have insecurities? Are any of you doing Camp NaNo?