September 30, 2011

Friday Meme! Let me ask you questions :D

• Leave me a comment saying "Rainbow".
• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can get to know you better. (And make sure to come back to check which questions I asked lol)
• Update your blog with the answers to the questions.
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

Be warned that I will likely ask a combination of normal questions and things like 'In a World Wresting Federation style cage match, who would win: Al Gore or Bill Clinton?'

:D

And now I'd like to share two brief stories I tweeted earlier this week:



:D? ._.


Allen fairy says "Have a great weekend, all!" ♥

September 26, 2011

Second Campaigner Challenge! Ikuwayo!

The Second Challenge as posted by Rachael Harrie:

"Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
    • include the word "imago" in the title
    • include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post. For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!"


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! (note: Baka means 'idiot' or similar in Japanese)

Imago Immortal
(Entry #113 - did it change? lol)

You kneel along the riverbank, the hem of your yukata hitched around your thin legs to avoid the spatter of mud. You've pulled your hair back into a sagging bun, and I imagine the way black wisps break stubbornly free to dance along the curve of your jaw.

I remain beneath the cover of the branches, uncertain, a miasma of questions darkening my thoughts. Thirty years to the day and, in peculiar synchronicity, I find you again at the river's edge, washing the day's work from hands that are still thin for a child's. For me, the years have pressed into my skin and left hollows in my eyes. But for you, time stood still.

I stare, oscitate, deliberate words that I know in my heart will never be voiced. What do you see when you glimpse the distortions of your face in the river's mirror? What echoes in the lacuna of your mind where I once was? Do shades of me remain to haunt your dreams, just enough to make you wonder?

Do you remember when we stood beneath the ember trees, and I linked your smallest finger in mine. "Promise?"

"Baka," you said. "How could I forget you?"

And for today's bit of artwork, something hopefully thought-provoking:


♥ ♥ ♥

The Handy Book of Villainous Dialogue

My crit partner Anna wrote a fun and informative blog post last week about antagonists and dialogue.


One of the danger zones when fleshing out characters is the overuse of cliches and cliche-like dialogue. The heroes talking like heroes, the damsel in distress talking like damsels in distress, and the villains talking like, well, the villains. *laughs* This creates a one-layered depth to the character - something that would either:
a) incite some eye-rolling from the reader
b) make them stop reading completely because the characters seem so predictable or
c) wonder what the hell they're still doing reading something that feels like it's been overdone loads of times when they could be watching the new episode of True Blood instead.
-.-

All those aforementioned things = BAD

Check it out

Have a great week, guys!

September 23, 2011

More Blog Awards

I was given these awards by Rachel Bean, Glitter Lady, and Tina Moss:


Thanks so much! ♥ Rules say I have to list seven things about myself. I'm really not that interesting xD

Therefore, I'm cheating and will instead direct you to these posts in which I already made lists about myself:
Seven Random Facts About Me
Four Guilty Pleasures
Another Seven Things About Me
Ten More Random Facts About Me

There you go! lol.

I'll let Renji usher you guys into the weekend:


September 19, 2011

Beta Match - Are you looking for a critique partner or a beta reader?

Rachel Harrie, our Campaign General, has a Beta Match post for writers looking for critique partners and/or beta readers. I thought I'd take this opportunity to refresh an old post of mine about the value of CPs.

So What Makes a Good Crit Partner?

Well, that answer depends on what you want =D

Better bloggers have said this before, but I think it bears repeating. When looking for a crit partner, keep in mind the following:

1. Goals - What do you want from a CP? Frank, brutally honest feedback? Line editing? A friend and cheerleader? Your goals should match up, at least mostly.

2. Understanding - Even if your goals match up, it doesn't help if you don't click as people. No one wants to take critique from someone they don't respect or like (no matter how accurate the critique might be).

3. Skill - Ideally, you want a CP who is either a better writer than you are or who is at the same level as you. I say this because I've improved by reading those better writers, and if I could get their feedback on my writing? Score! But with a CP at the same level, you get to learn together, and that can oftentimes be even more rewarding. Of course, I believe that every writer has something unique to offer so as long as you can find that CP who makes you look at your manuscript in a new and better way, I'd say you're fine =)

Personally, the best thing about having more than one crit partner is that each one tends to have their own strengths and weaknesses, and there's a really neat balance that forms. I have something to learn from all of my CPs, and that's what I love every time I pick up one of their chapters to read.

Great places to find crit partners:
Rachel Harrie's Beta Match
Maggie Stiefvater's 2011 Critique Partner Love Connection
YALitchat.org's Crit Seekers Group
Adventures in Children's Publishing: Alpha & Beta Reader Exchange
Natalie Whipple's Crit Partner Classifieds
Nathan Bransford Forums
Let the Words Flow Crit Partner sign ups

CPs: Friends and Comrades in Arms. Or like a squad of vampire hunters--you can always rely on them to stake you if you f#@! up and get bitten ♥

Good luck finding yours! ♥

September 16, 2011

Blog Award + Five Books in the Last 12 Months

Anita passed me this blog award a couple weeks ago. She's so insanely sweet that I would smother her with hugs if I could.

Because she is made of sunshine and rainbows, she recently got a book deal for her debut YA fantasy, SPLINTERED, which is an eerie and whimsical Alice in Wonderland spinoff. Doesn't it sound fantastic? Hop on over and congratulate her! ♥


Puppy Club rules are:

1st RULE: You do not talk about Puppy Club.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about Puppy Club.

Hee. (I have no idea if those are the real rules, I just thought Anita was adorable and copied it off her blog post lol)

Instead, you talk about 5 books/films/TV shows you've read or watched in the last 12 months.

Since this is a writerly blog, I will focus on five books!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
~ I cannot put into words how much I love this book, and I'm not typically a fan of contemporary. The humor won me over though. Anna is HILARIOUS. It's romantic and fun and sweet and I never wanted it to end. I can't WAIT for Lola and the Boy Next Door!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
~ This book surprised me. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did! Admittedly, I thought the killer's identity was pretty obvious, but it was the twist at the end that blew me away. And the setting and the world-building and the characters ♥ Utterly in love.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
~ READ THIS BOOK. I cried. Twice. ILOVEITSOMUCHICAN'TEVENTYPE.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
~ The premise was cool, but I looooved the characters. Tris is AMAZING. I cheered for her the whole way through. And I am not a little in love with Four.

Entwined by Heather Dixon
~ All I knew about the twelve dancing princesses was what I'd seen in the Barbie version because my daughter owns the DVD. But I thought it was an enchanting idea so I picked this book up, and I am SO GLAD I did. Every character, ALL TWELVE PRINCESSES, were their own character. Azalea and Bramble were my favorites, and what carried the entire book for me was their relationship with their father, the King. I loved every single scene where they were all together, even the ones where they were angry with each other. The King is amazing and fatherly and awkward and unsure and a little cold but tries so, so hard and I want him as my dad ;_; Please read this book!

So there you go. Thank you, Anita!

I'm passing this award onto these awesome bloggers:

An Alleged Author
Emy Shin
Janet Sumner Johnson
Nicole Zoltack
CherylAnne

Have a great weekend, guys! ♥

September 14, 2011

Writing Wednesday + YA Confidential Launch Celebration

Pretty epic giveaway going on to launch the YA Confidential blog. Click the image for details!
---
As for Writing Wednesday, I'm fond of this old piece :) Also, I like surly characters.

"You're a fucking mess."

It was the honest truth and like hell Gokudera was going to pander to the idiot by pretending otherwise. Across the room, Yamamoto lay wrapped so thoroughly in bandages that, if not for the grin visible through the gauze, he'd have been unrecognizable.

"Sorry you have to see me like this."

Gokudera shifted against his crutch and scoffed. "Don't talk, moron. They should have taped your mouth shut while they were at it."

His feet were silent against the tiles, Yamamoto's steady and infuriating smile filling the space between them. He propped the crutch against the bed and lowered himself to the pressed sheets, eyes averted.

"Tsuna told me everyone else is okay. I'm glad—"

"Why are you still talking?" Gokudera passed a hand over his face, his stomach churning. He hated moments like this, moments charged with so much expectation, the air sweltered with it. He was shit at being profound and, at any other time, he would have said to hell with it. But Tsuna's bowed head, the crease between his brows carved deep enough to leave an ache in Gokudera's chest, kept him rooted, his hands fisting around the bed sheets. "Christ, just shut up and let me think."

"Heh, sorry."

"Geez. Look. I—" His lips stumbled, tongue tripping over the words as cold fingers brushed the back of his hand. He jerked away from the touch, surprised that Yamamoto could even move that much.

"Gokudera, it's okay," he whispered.

Gokudera shook his head and pressed his palms to his eyes in frustration. It wasn't okay—Gokudera and the others getting captured wasn't okay, Tsuna believing he'd failed them wasn't okay, surviving the battle on a technicality was not okay.

Except, really, that wasn't right. Gokudera would be the first to admit he was a cynical bastard and, for the most part, he had a right to it. But now they had a chance, a good chance, of winning this war, of fixing things. It was the most hope Gokudera had seen on everyone's faces in months, and Gokudera would suffer every adversity to keep from failing Tsuna again, his boss and friend; his faith in everything that was good in the world embodied in one, timid little boy.

Somehow, Yamamoto's hand found his again, and Gokudera swallowed down the urge to rip his hand away. He didn't need any consolation, much less from a moron with more broken bones than he'd ever seen on a person still breathing.

But the slide of dry fingers against his clammy skin seemed a sufficient substitute for the things he didn't know how to say. The acknowledgment that yes, they failed, but no, they weren't giving up. The promise that there was a better future out there, someday, if they made things right.

Gokudera turned his hand, Yamamoto's fingers curling against his palm, and stayed that way until the nurse returned to check her patient.

Gokudera (surly jerk with a heart of gold) ♥

Have a great rest of the week, everyone! ♥

September 12, 2011

When Music and Writing Collide - by Anna

Today, I'd like to welcome my first guest post, woo! Meet my fantastic critique partner and friend Anna from Anime's Musings. If you've got time, please stop by her blog as well and check it out. I love her posts!

---

When Music and Writing Collide by Anna

Musical impacts on writing projects are often tell-tale. More often than not, for those that work with, live, and breathe music, there isn't a single scene written that isn't fueled by its influences. This isn't true for all writers, however, in my experience, most write with the help of those muses. Melodies could be playing quietly in the background to drown out all other noise, or blaring inside the writer's head with the help of trusty earbuds, but always ever present.


Music has always been present in everything I've ever written. Actually, it's present in everything that I do. I can never go anywhere without my iPod and there is never a car ride that goes without tunes. I find that the type of music I listen to always sets my mood. This is a good preparation for any scenes that I need to write or emotions that I want to convey to the reader through the pages. The varying beats and rhythms in each song tell a different story and in turn, help the writer to incorporate those differences in their own story. Ever been blood red pissed off and turned on Yiruma's River Flows in You or Debussy's Reverie? Or emo sad and turned on Train's Hey Soul Sister? I don't know about you, but the aforementioned songs are a few examples of ones that instantly change the mood I'm in.


Along with mood setting, music also helps with thought processing. I always have a jumble of thoughts floating in my head (okay, more like beating the crap out of each other for space in my head *laughs*), and music helps to act as an organizer, a sifter of sorts, so that I would be able to pull out those thoughts that I need for whatever I'm doing at the moment. This goes for all activities, but for the purposes of this post, we'll focus on writing.

Have you ever had an instance happen when you hear a song from your past and you're instantly reminded of an event? It's because we're programmed to connect our senses to different catalysts. Music is a catalyst. We immediately connect it with events, with emotions, with certain people - depending on what was happening at the time we heard the particular song.

I've gotten accustomed to assigning songs to different scenes that I write. Most times, in preparation for a particular scene or to help me pick back up from where I left off in the scene, I use the song to get my mindset back to that time, that place, with those characters, and the emotions they were feeling when we last parted.

How does music tie into writing for you? Is it helpful when constructing scenes, plots, characters, etc.? Do you work better with or without it?

---

September 9, 2011

Ten Random Facts About Me

I was twitter-tagged by Robin Weeks (@Robin_Weeks), a fellow campaigner, to list ten random facts about myself.

1. I'm a huge manga/anime fan.

2. I'm also a World of Warcraft fan, although I no longer play it. It's too time consuming, and I'd rather be writing than grinding.

3. I wrote a ton of short horror stories when I was in elementary school (I loved R.L. Stine's Fear Street books; I didn't like Goosebumps though).

4. I have a pit bull named Pluto and an old english bulldog named Simba.

5. Simba thinks he's a lap dog. He's very heavy.

6. I loved Where the Wild Things Are as a child, even though I had no idea what the story was "really" about. I just liked the Wild Things. And the repetition. I wasn't a very deep child.

7. One of my very first stories was a retelling of Cinderella as told through Persephone.

8. In first grade, I asked my teacher a question. She replied with, "I doubt it." I had no idea what that meant, but I was too embarrassed to ask. My friend asked me what the teacher said. I repeated it. She, being less fearful of embarrassment than I was, asked me what that meant. With a perfectly straight face and a falsely knowledgeable voice, I answered with a guess and said, "She doesn't think so."

9. My fifth grade teacher was always sort of cool towards me. I figured it was because my older sister had been teacher's pet to her, and I didn't live up to her expectations.

10. My friends and I were called The Giggle Girls by our third grade teacher, Mrs. Bauer, who is still one of most favorite teachers EVER. She was the one who ran the after school program for creating books, which first ignited my desire to write them.

I'm tagging these fellow campaigners, all of whom are in Group 30 Urban Fantasy(1) with me:

F.E. Sewell (@FESewell)
Crystal C. (@cclboc)
Lynda R. Young (@LyndaRYoung)

Have an awesome weekend, everyone! ♥

September 7, 2011

First Campaigner Challenge is a go!

So Rachael posted the First Campaigner Challenge this week. Here it is:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, "The door swung open" These four words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)
For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!


I tried squeezing in those final words, but just couldn't do it =( But I did hit 200 words exactly!

The door swings open. Sano and his team are three days late.

"So?" Rei asks. She contains her impatience because anything more and she might start shouting, and Sano looks stretched thin already.

"Our surveillance was detected," Sano says. "We lost them in the gorge."

Rei nods, unable to speak, feelings and words lodged in her throat. When they're alone, she combs trembling fingers through Sano's hair, buries her face in Sano's collar and lets the cloth absorb the evidence of her relief.

Sano passes dry lips over Rei's temple and mutters, "Idiot."

Rei presses close until she can feel every weary line of Sano's body. Rei knows she should send Sano away and let him sleep, and she will, but not before she presses her cheek to gritty skin that smells of sweat and wind and dirt, and inhales that missed scent.

Sano will brush aside any sentimental words, but Rei knows that some part of Sano appreciates it because, while his eyes will shift uneasily, his hands always find hers in the quiet moments afterward.

"Be more careful next time, idiot," Rei says. "I'm not ready to lose you yet."

Sano snorts. "I'm not ready to die yet."

You can vote here for your favorites by hitting the 'Like' button on the person's name. (I'm #245 :D )

I can't recall if I've shared this pic with you guys yet, but if so, here it is again lol.
Duo and Heero from Gundam Wing.


Have a great rest of the week, guys! ♥

September 5, 2011

Drafting and Editing from Artwork to Writing

Happy Labor Day! ♥

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In the first draft of a wip, I write quickly. I don't focus on details, but I give a general idea of what I want to get across. Emotion is at its most basic. Stage direction is kept to a minimum. Setting is bare bones, and the dialogue is often stilted and unnatural. As long as I get down a general sense of setting and what needs to happen both internally and externally to move the story along then that's all I need for the time being.

Just like in writing, when I draft a new art piece, I start messy. Quick, unrefined lines. Basic outline. Overall flow. No real idea yet of a background, but an idea of my light source and what I want to convey.

I am going to let you guys see a tiny snippet of the first draft of my wip to demonstrate. Be warned, it's pretty awful lol.

First drafts:
Writing:
He grinned and gestured with his head for me to follow him. We headed down the river, along the opposite bank across the docks. The Labyrinth loomed behind us as the river snaked north and the continued east towards the old freight yard. Like the Labyrinth, the residents here lived in boxcars, but they were place in rows, one level only, and with enough space between them to provide an illusion of property. It wasn't much, but Avan had beamed the day he told me he'd moved out of the apartment above his dad's shop.

Terrible descriptions. Typos. Flat. Blegh.

Art:


Messy. Rough lines. Basic idea.

On my second draft, I'll typically rewrite the sentences, this time choosing my words more carefully. I'll flesh out the descriptions to paint the image of the scene I initially had in my head.

In art, likewise the first I do is redraw the lines. Clean lines this time. Then I begin to block in color and work in large details at first before narrowing down on the finer ones.

Second drafts:
Writing:
He grinned and, once we reached the other side of the river, gestured with his chin for me to follow. We walked along the bank, the waning light turning the river to ink. We kept above the sinking mud and the stripped trees that stood like pale corpses in the gloom. The Labyrinth loomed behind us like a black shroud across the sky as the river turned north, and we continued east towards the freight yard. Like the Labyrinth, the residents there lived in boxcars, but they stood in neat rows, one level only, and with enough space between each to provide the illusion of personal property. It wasn't much, but the happiest I'd ever seen Avan was the day he moved out of the apartment above his dad's shop.

Better, but now it feels too wordy. I will have to refine in my next draft and be even pickier about my word choices.

Art:


Clean lines. Color and light source are laid out.

With each pass, I refine and refine. Add details. Take details away. Make sure the whole picture/scene blends together.

Keep going until you're done!


FINAL:


Of course, my wip isn't complete yet so I don't have a final scene to show you =P But you guys get the idea ♥

Any of you willing to share a paragraph of a first draft and then compare it with a recent version? *bats eyelashes*

Have an awesome week, guys! ♥

September 2, 2011

Blog on Fire Award + Contest Ideas

The Undefeatable LisaAnn over at Kicked, Cornered, Bitten and Chased recently gave me this rockin' award that I've had my eye on for a while :D


Not only is LisaAnn super sweet and crazy smart, but she's also insanely talented. I keep waiting for a blog shouting 'I HAVE AN AGENT' from her, because I just know it'll happen sooner rather than later.

Also, I recently blew past 200 followers! You know what that means: CONTEST! But I have no idea what to do this time. HMMM. Ideas?! :D

Have an awesome weekend, guys! ♥
 

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