Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ballet Bragging

I can't keep this to myself. I went to see the Nutcracker twice this year. Before this year, I can't say I was a huge fan of the ballet. I wasn't raised going to the ballet or the opera. I only became interested in musical theater in high school. Before college, going to the theater meant the movies, and usually the $1 theater (back when they had those).

But we saw the Nutcracker twice. Why? My niece, who's 11, was Clara this year in Ballet Arizona's professional production. Each year, the ballet had children audition, and usually picks three Claras to split the performances up, but this year there were only 2, and one of them was my niece. And if that weren't enough to have my entire extended family bursting at the seams with pride, she was in one of the shows which the New York Times reviewer attended. And if THAT weren't enough, she gotten mentioned BY NAME in not one, but TWO articles—one on his blog, and one that was actually in print last week.

So I offer my congratulations to her and my bragging for your entertainment.

What surprises have you gotten this holiday season?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Writing Over the Holidays

Whew! Getting writing done over the holidays sure is hard, isn't it? I've been at my in-laws now close to two weeks, and have hardly opened my computer, much less Scrivener. Granted, I've been reading like a madwoman because, well, I can. But I haven't been writing.

This morning, my husband and I went and spent a few hours at a coffee shop. He wanted to get out of the house to get some work done, and I tagged along to do my own work. And MAN am I rusty. It's only been two weeks, and the words were NOT flowing. I tried editing my NaNo chapters, and realized I needed a new chapter 2.5. I tried working on a new project, and only wrote about 100 words.

The moral of the story: write every day!

Okay, now, that being said, I can't go back in time and write over the past 14 days. I need to get back into the swing of the writing, find the groove and the muse.

So, I ask you: What do you do to find your groove after a break, be it from the holidays or other reasons? Any tips?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!

May you be surrounded by love and warmth today!

See you on Monday  :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Review of No Place for Heroes

No Place for Heroes by Laura Restrepo

From Goodreads:
From one of the most accomplished writers to emerge from Latin America, No Place for Heroes is a darkly comic novel about a mother and son who return to Buenos Aires in search of her former lover, whom she met during Argentina’s Dirty War. During Argentina’s “Dirty War” of the late ’70s and early ’80s, Lorenza and Ramon, two passionate militants opposing Videla’s dictatorship, met and fell in love. Now, Lorenza and her son, Mateo, have come to Buenos Aires to find Ramon, Mateo’s father. Holed up in the same hotel room, mother and son share a common goal, yet are worlds apart on how they perceive it. For Lorenza, who came of age in the political ferment of the ’60s, it is intertwined with her past ideological and emotional anchors (or were they illusions?), while her postmodernist son, a child of the ’90s who couldn’t care less about politics or ideology, is looking for his actual  father—not the idea of a father, but the Ramon of flesh and blood. Anything goes as this volatile pair battle it out: hilarious misunderstandings, unsettling cruelty, and even a temptation to murder. In the end, they begin to come to a more truthful understanding of each other and their human condition. No Place for Heroes is an addition to that long tradition of the eternal odd couple—in works ranging from Waiting for Godot to Kiss of the Spider Woman—waiting for their fortunes to change, written by one of the most talented and internationally celebrated authors at work today.

I am of two-minds about this book. This is probably due to the fact that there are three stories going on at once—the main story, and two main flashback-stories. The flashbacks are wonderfully crafted, as the narrator reflects on past events with the occasional dialogue interruption from the two MCs in the present. Not only that, but those story-lines are gripping, and things HAPPEN. Unfortunately, the "present" time of the story involves only reminiscing for about 98% of the time, and feels like a gimmick to reveal the flashback stories. The final 5 pages feel rushed, as if the author realized that something needed finally to happen in the "present" and threw together a quick, unsurprising ending. I'm giving this 3 stars on Goodreads because of how much I did enjoy the flashbacks, but that's all. 

Also, a note on translation. This book was originally written in Spanish, a language I can moderately read and understand. The translations feel like Spanish with English words, which simply make the English feel full of choppy or run-on sentences. I even noticed the occasional Spanish noun-adjective word order, which is only confusing when rendered in English. Finally, the translator changed all the swearing to some of the strongest of English, which I don't believe properly carry the meaning of the words in Spanish, and felt jarring in the prose. Don't get me wrong—I love a good swear word in my reading and my own writing, but only when it flows naturally from the characters or from the narrator. None of the swearing came across as natural, which I can only attribute to the lack of ability to really translate these words properly. 

This book would have been my ideal if 1) There had been no "present" time, because I truly loved the historical time and the parallels the author drew between the relationships in the story and the struggles against the Argentinean dictatorship; and 2) I had read it in Spanish. Perhaps I'll try that in the future.

Bottom Line: Read it in Spanish, if you read it at all, but I'm not gonna push it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review of Scrivener

For those of you who are writers, whether you are technologically savvy or not, I would like to recommend Scrivener, a program developed specifically with the novelist in mind. With all the hype surrounding different programs for NaNoWriMo, I decided to take a step away from my traditional Word and try something different, and Scrivener offered a NaNoWriMo trial version that lasted not 30 days, but until December 7. So I tried it. Now I will never go back.

Scrivener's design is user-friendly for the every-day operations. Each "page" is meant to be an individual scene. You can title it anything you want without it printing (though see below on my inability to make this work at first), which makes them easy to find. There's a list to the left of all of your scenes and chapters (in this list, folders are chapters, and when you Compile it, they are automatically numbered in chapters without your numbering them). You can see each "file" clearly, and drag them up and down to rearrange.

You can also rearrange your scenes easily on a "cork board".You simply drag the note card to where you'd rather it be. The entire "file" with all of your text automatically moves without the nastiness of cutting and pasting and hoping the clipboard's not too full already.

To the right, there are a number of helpful tools. The two I found most helpful were 1) the notes and 2) the links. You can leave yourself any amount of notes for the scene or chapter that will never be printed in your compile or counted in your word count. In Word, I would simply type these in for myself and highlight them or change the color of the text, but then I would get an inaccurate word count. This is ideal for those of you who are as forgetful as I am in terms of adding this action, or who want to give yourself ideals as you read through without heavily revising at any given moment. The links option is also great because it gives you direct access to your research from the same file.

Another great option in this program are the character and setting sketches. It's wonderful to have quick access to your characters without opening other files. You can even include a picture. None of the notes in these "files" are included in your word count (although you can have them included with a simple click of a check box), but are still right at your fingertips. You can even include pictures, which I LOVE.

For more detailed information on any of these features, Scrivener tutorial videos can be found here.

Bottom Line: If you write novels, this will spoil you to no end, and you won't be able to go back to Word ever again :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors

The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone.

From Goodreads:
On a sunny day in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, eight-year-old Becca Burke was struck by lightning. No one believed her - not her philandering father or her drunk, love-sick mother - not even when her watch kept losing time and a spooky halo of light appeared overhead in photographs. Becca was struck again when she was sixteen. She survived, but over time she would learn that outsmarting lightning was the least of her concerns.

In rural Arkansas, Buckley R. Pitank's world seemed plagued by disaster. Ashamed but protective of his obese mother, fearful of his scathing grandmother, and always running from bullies (including his pseudo-evangelical stepfather), he needed a miracle to set him free. At thirteen years old, Buckley witnessed a lightning strike that would change everything.

Now an art student in New York City, Becca Burke is a gifted but tortured painter who strives to recapture the intensity of her lightning-strike memories on canvas. On the night of her first gallery opening, a stranger appears and is captivated by her art. Who is this odd young man with whom she shares a mysterious connection?

When Buckley and Becca finally meet, neither is prepared for the charge of emotions - or for the perilous event that will bring them even closer to each other, and to the families they've been running from for as long as they can remember.

Young-Stone has an amazing gift of craft when it comes to both language and time. This book takes the reader on not one, but two adventures for over 300 pages until the stories finally converge. Maintaining interest in two protagonists for such a long time can be a difficult and daunting task, but Young-Stone has done a beautiful job. Each person is appropriately human, and the reader loves or hates them as if they had walked out of real life and settled on the page.

I was extremely lucky, because I won this book from Therese Walsh's 50+ book contest in August. I suspect I wouldn't have read The Handbook otherwise, as it's not within my personal realm of genre fiction. So, thank you to Theresa for holding the contest, and thank you so much to Michele for including her book and sending the copy to me.

Bottom line: Read this book. You won't regret it, unless it makes you more prone to lightning. I seem to be safe so far :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Note On Comments

Hey folks,
In case anyone's interested, I've been getting a lot of spam lately in my comments, so I decided to turn on the word verification. I know that many people find this feature irritating, and so I apologize. I don't plan on having it on forever, but just long enough to deter the spammers for a while.

Have a great week!


Thursday, December 16, 2010


I have temporarily extracted myself from cyberspace, and will be AWOL for a few more days, but I wanted to let you all know that I'm still alive and kicking.

1) Got the awesome hair treatment done, and I LOVE it! If you have hair like mine, I highly recommend the Global Keratin treatment (as well as Erin at Rocstar Hair in Chicago).

2) Drove back from Chicago in nasty, horrible snow. I was a little traumatized from the drive, but arrived home safe and in one piece. I have no desire to do any driving for a while, though.

3) My husband, my mother, and I are flying to Phoenix today to visit my in-laws for the holidays. I'm really looking forward to the break and time to eat cookies and work on writing.

4) Future blog posts will include a review of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone (which I started in October and finally finished this week), and a review of Scrivener, which I got to use for NaNo. Preview: I loved both. Stay tuned.

5) Upcoming reading for me includes: No Place for Heroes by Laura Restrepo, Junction 2020 by Carol Riggs, The Hating Game by Talli Roland, and finishing On Writing by Stephen King. I'll post reviews of these, too, as I finish them.

What are you reading right now?

Happy Thursday, folks! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Own Personal Challenges

I've been reading (among many other things at once) On Writing by Stephen King. I enjoyed reading his books when I was younger. After having read every Christopher Pike novel published to that point in my life at least three times, Stephen King was the next step, moving into the world of adult horror/suspense/thriller/what-have-you. And, honestly, even if you don't like Stephen King's style or his stories or are simply jealous, you have to admit—the man's got something.

So when a friend loaned me his writing memoir a few months ago I thought, "Okay, sure. Seems like a good idea."

Then it sat on the shelf until I reached 50K for NaNo.

I thought to myself, "What now?" as I'm sure many other NaNo's do. So I picked up King's On Writing to see what advice I could glean on how to dust off my work boots and get back into it.

The book is full of fabulous advice. Above and beyond the tips like "Read a lot. Write a lot", he suggests setting a daily goal. Don't do anything until you reach your goal. Don't give up and walk away. Write while eating your lunch if you must. Obviously great advice, and something I could stand to implement into my own life.

But the piece of advice that has resonated with me so soundly today is about description. I tend to be an under-describer in my writing, particularly in my first drafts. As I read, I thought about my NaNo creation (whatever it may be) and about the setting. What had I described well? Ne, what had I described at all? Oh, it hurts to admit that I may have let the description slide some. But now I know at least one thing to focus on when I go back for rewrites.

There are plenty of other gems in King's On Writing. This is just the one that inspired me today.

What's some great writing advice you've been given/come across?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Which I Have a Girlie Moment

It's Wednesday, December 8. Today I will turn in my final portfolio for my writing class and take my German exam, thus closing out this semester. By 8:30pm EST tonight, I will be FREE of academic obligations for almost a month.

So what am I doing to celebrate, you might ask? I'm going to Chicago to hang out with my old college roommates, reconnect with a high school friend I haven't seen since, well, high school, and get my hair done with the most amazing hairdresser. Hence, the girlie.

I am a woman cursed (or blessed—the grass is always greener, yada yada) with thick, curly, frizzy hair. I hate dealing with my hair because it can be such a tangled mess. When I do my hair—i.e., blow dry and straighten to defrizz—it can take at least 30 minutes. And for Thanksgiving, when I was fixing my hair, I fried the circuit in half the house by having the flat iron, hair dryer, and a space heater all on at the same time.

How excited am I to go to Chicago? Oh so very! In August I put up pictures from my college roomie's wedding. Said amazing hairdresser came from Chicago to Wisconsin to do the hair of everyone in the wedding party, and while she cut my hair on the loading dock of a building at Beloit College, she told me she was getting certified in a new type of hair treatment to straighten hair. This weekend, I will have this done. It's organic and relatively chemical-free. And it's supposed to be so amazing that I can walk straight out of the shower and let my hair air dry with little to no fuss.

I'll let you know how it goes, but hopefully the girl in the picture above will never have such horrid hair again!

Monday, December 6, 2010

After Emerging from the Hole...

A lot of stuff happened while I disappeared into the world of NaNo.

Most shocking to me was the announcement that Nathan Bradsford is no longer agenting (gasp!). I'm happy to hear that he'll continue blogging, and his new job over at CNET must have the potential for fewer hours, but I'm still shocked.

Talli Roland's new book The Hating Game hit Amazon.com's Kindle sales at a sprint. I grabbed my copy on the 1st, but if you haven't had a chance, pop over to Amazon and grab a copy. The Kindle version is only $2.99. Paperback will be coming out soon.

Okay, these are the big ones that I know about. What else did I miss last month?

Friday, December 3, 2010

What I Learned from NaNoWriMo

Okay, I've had a couple of days away from it, so I think I can write about it. Hurrah for Dec 3! :)

National Novel Writing Month was intense for me for many reasons, and many of those reasons were writing-related without being NaNo-related.

First, I learned that I'm not superwoman (even if I want to be). I can't do everything. I'm grateful I'm not taking more classes this semester, because nothing would have gotten accomplished if I were.

Second, I leaned a lot about writing. I have a much deeper appreciation for an outline now (which I might not have realized without seeing Lynda's post). I was so anxious to start writing for NaNo in October that I had to do something, so I outlined and character sketched. Amazing things about my story and about my characters came to light through that process. And without that outline, in my situation only superwoman (see #1 above) could have finished with 50K by Nov 30.

Third, I learned that it's okay to give up. I know. I did make it to 50K, but if you look at my NaNo stats, there was over a week of inactivity once I reached about 12K. I had other projects for school that took a lot of time (see my end-of-November posts on "Never Truly Gone"), and I had to tell myself it was okay not to finish the NaNo novel. In fact, it wasn't until I reached 40K that I honestly thought I would make it. If I hadn't given myself permission to not win I probably would have been so wrapped up in my own personal anxiety-hell that I wouldn't have reached 25K.

Fourth, I learned I'm not a writing multi-tasker. Oh, man. When I have to juggle three different traditional stories and one graphic-novel-like project, I can't think about more than one at a time. And that's okay. I don't see myself in this position again (too often) when I have to think about all of them on one day. Granted, I could work on story A on Monday and story B on Tuesday and that would probably be okay, but when I have drafts of three different stories open on my computer at once, it's probably too much. Hopefully I won't have to do that again.

Finally, I realized that I can do this. Maybe I won't be the next writing superstar, but I have something in my head that needs to reach wider audiences. And I WANT to write. And I love it, despite all the hard work. And while editing isn't exactly my idea of fun evening in, I like that, too. I'm ready to take on the challenge of the industry and move from being a writer to an author.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Hating Game Web Splash

I'm a little behind in the game (ha), but Talli Roland's new book The Hating Game just hit Amazon.com's Kindle sales yesterday. Help make her new release an amazing success and raise her book through the rankings on Amazon so others can hear about it, too. It's only $2.99 and delivered instantly to your Kindle.

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/hX2ieD

Don't have an actual Kindle? Don't worry! It's super easy to download and use on a number of different devices.
Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Month

It's December 1st. The new month starts with a thin blanket of fresh snow. A time for new beginnings and space heaters.

Okay, NaNo's over. My group project is done. My second story for my class has been turned in to be workshopped on Friday. So what do I do with myself now?

Blog catch-up!

Yes, folks, I'm coming to catch up on your lives and say hello. That's the plan.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Never Truly Gone - Pt. 2

If you saw last Monday's post, you know that I've been working on this multimedia, interactive story for my writing class for the past two weeks. Yesterday I blogged about the process of creating the presentation. Today, I'd like to tell you about the story itself.

We were inspired by this news article in which a father was seeking his daughter. He published the photo in the local news paper, only to find out later that she was actually in the picture. Crazy, huh?

So, after my sick mind created the puzzle board, my partner got to work making the figures. They were designed form 18guage jewelry wire, and then had clay heads, hands, and feet. The one to the right shows what they looked like pre-humanizing cray.

He also built the sets from cardboard. You can see some of the corrugated edges in pictures we used for the puzzle pieces.

Here are the pictures we used. The first two and the last two as I post them here did not move, but the 11 in between could be put in any intermediate position.

This one had dialogue bubbles of nonsense screaming coming from the top two windows.

Mother: You're way to over protective. I never paid enough attention to her. I was too hard on her. You were too easy on her. She always resented my looks. / Father: She never thought you cared. Maybe you should have pair a little more attention t her. I tried to protect her the best I could. I could have done more.

Father: No. / Boy: Why can't I go? / Mother: We've already lost one child. We're not gonna lose you, too.

Mom: I don't know if your sister's coming back.

Laika feels ready to go home.

Cops: "Tell us again what your daughter looks like."

Boy: If it weren't for you, she never would have left.

Look to the left of the mother's flip, and by the tree you will see our runaway.

This was a fun project. I'm glad I got to participate in it. And as much as I complained (which the people I know personally had to bear with) and as much of my own money as I spent (which, all things considered, wasn't that much), no matter what I had fun, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to do it. Hope you enjoyed it, too.

Thanks again to Boxcar Books for letting us hang our project there. It's gone now, but if you're in the area, be sure to stop by. It's a great public service/bookstore :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Never Truly Gone

Okay, yes, I have disappeared for weeks. I admit it. I've been writing like a madwoman for weeks. "Wait," you say. "Your NaNo Count is quite low, and you're more than a week behind schedule." To which I say, "Yes. That's true. Remember that writing class I'm taking?"

Ah, yes.

The end of the semester is approaching, and so the due date my writing portfolio is growing near. We have one critique TODAY and another the week after Thanksgiving break (Dec 1 and 3).

Since I have a critique today, though, what am I doing blogging? Should I be writing/editing up to the last minute?

Well, today's critique is a bit different, and now that it's more or less finished, I'm excited to share it with you. We've had to write three stories for this class: two traditional, and one not-so-traditional. In fact, not at all traditional. Our third story was:
  • group written
  • multimedia
  • interactive
  • with an installation component
I took it to Boxcar Books on Sunday at 2pm for the final installation. It will be there until Tuesday evening, when I will return to Boxcar for the NaNoWriMo write-in from 6-9pm. If you're in or around Bloomington, IN, consider this my invitation to check it out.

So, today I thought I would share some photos from my portion of the process. Tomorrow and Wednesday I'll blog more about the story itself.

Here's a picture of our project before I took it to be installed on Sunday.
Remember those tiles games you used to play as a kid? Move each square one at a time until the picture comes out correctly? Well, that's the inspiration for this, except there's no "solution". Eleven of the tiles can be moved in any order to change the arch of the story.

Here comes the mathy-side of my brain. How on earth did we do this? Well, first I made tiles:

Each of these tiles was comprised of 3 6x6in squares of foam board. The middle piece was glued 1/2in up and to the right of the other two pieces to create this simple "tongue and groove" system. You can see how they each fit together.

Admittedly, I shaved a little off of the edge of each tongue so the groove would be wider in case my measurements were off (and let's just say precision is not my specialty). I also squeezed the foam tongues so they would be slightly thinner than the grooves for easy sliding.

Then I had a problem. If they slide easily, and this is hung on a wall, if a middle or bottom slot is left open, won't the other pieces just slip down? Well, to prevent this, I got a 2x2ft piece of steel

and lined the back of each tile with magnets.

Each piece now stays where the reader leaves it.

I also had to make a tongue-and-groove system for the frame, which is hidden by the dark wood frame. Outside of the foam board "frame" are 3/4x3/4in pieces of wood through which we could nail the dark wood frame.

Yup, it took a while, to say the least, but it was kind of fun to use both halves of my brain for this project.

Don't forget to drop by later this week for pictures from the development of the action shots, the story, and discussion of the story itself.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Muses for NaNo


I've already reached my word count minimum for Nov. 1 (see my cool widget to the right?).  This is going to be a short post, seeing as my Mondays and Wednesdays were insane even before NaNo began, but I wanted to share my muses with you.

Muse 1: Mr. Kubuś (that ś is pronounced kind of like sh). Hobbies include sitting on and eating paper while sending good writing vibes to Rosie.  Also, when Rosie is cold, Mr. Kubuś will do everything in his power to warm her legs (even when she doesn't know that she's cold).

Muse 2: Ms. Kasia (pronounced Kasha; she's named the Polish form of Katie and not after breakfast cereal). Latest past time includes curling up on Rosie's chest so that she is only capable of typing one-handed.  Who needs two hands to type 1.667 words/day, anyway?

Where do you find your inspiration?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Pantser Depantsed

So I think of myself as a pantser, but the idea of pantsing for NaNo makes my knees shake in my fashionable knee-high boots.  I like to discover the journey as the characters move along, but as far as I can tell, there are two problems with this for me:
  1. Keeping up with the 2000 word/day target average.
  2. Making sure I maintain the increase in tension from scene to scene.
Well, yesterday I downloaded Scrivener.  It inspired me to spend quite a bit of time last night outlining chapter ideas, writing character sketches, and generally trying to organize myself.  It all equals work I wouldn't have done otherwise (most likely) before Monday.  I've got names for characters that I hadn't considered before, notes for the first 7 chapters, and backstory that I hadn't worked out earlier.

I'm so excited about NaNo.  Can you tell?

How do you do your writing prep?  How do you keep track of all of your notes and ideas?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NaNo - Down and Dirty

I've signed up for email notifications from my local forums on NaNo's website.  In addition to the usual write-in organizing messages and tips on how to get your word count completed while drunk college students yell outside your humble abode (*cough* my humble abode), there has also been a discussion as to what writing programs/software people intend to use to reach their 50K.

So, I thought, what the hell?  Word only gets you so far, right?  Maybe I'll try something different.

First, I downloaded yWriter5.  Of course, I'm a dedicated Mac user, and this software is specifically designed for Windows.  BUT there's a work-around.  So I gave it a shot, downloaded the intermediary program to make it work, and tried it.  I imported a couple hundred words from something else and then tried to edit it.  DENIED!  Apparently there will be no editing to imported text.  Why? Don't know, but someone else on the forums had a similar issue.  So, I thought, back to Word.

Then another message came through.  The woman said she had tried Schrivener, but was going to stick to yWriter5.  I thought, hmm, what is this Schrivener you speak of, and decided to check it out.  Bonus one: there's a Mac-friendly program already--meaning, no work-around programs. *happy dance*  Bonus two: it's a lot less DOS-like and a lot more user-friendly interface-y.  Bonus three: even though the software isn't free, it has a trial period that goes through Dec 7 so NaNo users can try it out.  Bonus four: if you don't win NaNo, you get a 20% discount at the end just for trying.  If you DO win NaNo, you get a 50% discount.  Bonus five:  How many bonuses do y'all need!?!

So, I've set up my NaNo template and I'm going to start cork-boarding this weekend (I'm a little late in the game, I know, but I've always been more of a pantser).  I'm also going to import the novel I've been working on (and just finished rewrites for last week *happy dance*), and get all of my info in one location, including my links and JPGs of characters, etc.  I think this program seems entirely awesome, and I can't wait to really give it a spin.

Thus endeth the advertisement.

How are you writing your NaNo novel?

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Writing Classes

Writing classes are amazing things.  I have learned so much about myself and my writing in the past six weeks.  It has been an invaluable experience, and I am beyond grateful to my instructor.

That being said, I've registered to take Beginning Welsh next semester, and not the next writing class.

Why? my husband asked me.  And when he did, I didn't have an answer.  So I've been reflecting on it, and while I'm not sure I've settled on a great answer, I have a couple mediocre ones.

First, the requirement for these classes--ones designed by MFA students or faculty who teach MFA students--is to write literary fiction.  I don't write literary fiction, and I don't feel like I've done too well at it so far.  I also really like the complications of dragons or witches or extraterrestrials, or the comfort of a cozy mystery.  I'm not the kind of person who has theses on life all lined up in my back pocket ready to be fictionalized.  Not all literary fiction is that, I know, but I feel a great deal of pressure to write something profound that's going to change the world, but I'm not a world-changing kind of gal.

Second, you have to apply to get into the next class.  This scares the toe-socks right off my overly elongated toes.  Seriously, you have to write a cover letter and send in your best short fiction piece.  My short fiction has mainly been limited to this class, and it's not that great.  Would this be a great way to prep myself for the rejection of agent queries?  Maybe, but in my mind it's not the same.  The prof/MFA student teaching the course may have the office across the hall from me (I haven't researched it yet, but it is possible since we share our hallway with the English department), and I might have the reminder daily that I didn't get in.  They can't tell me no unless I apply, of course, but that brings me back to #1.

Honestly, I keep asking myself if I want to push myself toward literary fiction when that's not my forte, even if I'm learning valuable things about craft and style and structure, and I keep not having a good answer.  So, as of right now, I've taken the wuss-way out.  I'll take more writing classes in the future, of course, but for right now I think I'm gonna take a break and try to mold and tweak the skills I've gained from this course.  There's never an end to the learning, but sometimes you need to just step back and take Welsh.

Friday, October 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo Preparation

I decided to jump in feet first to my NaNoWriMo preparations, and threw together a synopsis.  So many blogs and people suggest doing that first to get the juices flowing, so why not? 


The Demon Inside

When she wakes up in a morgue freezer, Alexis doesn’t know who she is or how she got there. Her friends rescue her the night before the autopsy, and then spend weeks helping her rediscover her past and herself, except no one else knows the details of the evening in which Alexis was brought to the morgue. Born a demon slayer, she relearns how to control her power and continues her training as if nothing ever happened.

When she runs into Ridge, the vampire responsible for killing her boyfriend, conflict tears at Alexis. As the slayer, she wants to kill him, but he offers her information about her new life and about that night when everything changed. As the days and nights of her new life multiply, Alexis finds herself sniffing people’s necks and identifying their blood types, or wondering how her sister’s flesh would taste, or dreaming of the savory entrails of live victims, and she realizes what no one else has—she is no longer only human.

At first she tells no one, ashamed of what she has become while fighting demons harder than before. But needing to confide in someone, Alexis tells her sister and asks her the unthinkable: if Alexis becomes too dangerous, her sister needs to be ready to kill her.

Thoughts? Critiques?

Now on to character development...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NaNoWriMo Hook Up?

Hey Everyone,
Who's signed up for NaNo? I'm really excited about it.  One of the features that thrills me the most is tracking my friends' progress and offering support with the buddy feature.  However, the one thing I've noticed about it is that it's not like FB, or even Blogger.  When you add someone to your list, that someone doesn't seem to get a notification. 

So, what's your NaNo username?  I want to follow you. If you don't want to list it in the comments, that's cool. You can always get me at rlconnolly01 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Oh, and I'm Rosie-C, if you'd like to follow back :)

Yea!  Happy planning!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Game, SET... Edit?

This is about writing.  Stick with me for a paragraph or two, kay?

Ever play SET?  Give it a shot.  Click on "Daily Puzzle" to the left.  You have to find three cards that make a SET, which means the number, color, shape, and shading each individually all match or all mismatch.  For example:

In this picture, even though the three red cards have 1-2-3, they do NOT make a set because 1) there's no squiggly shape and 2) there's no solid.  The three purple cards also do no make a set, but they would if the single purple were an oval and not a diamond.

Sets here include the three singles in the bottom row.  The numbers all match (they all only have 1 figure), but all the colors are different, the shapes are all different, and the shading is all different.  Also the upper left three-squiggle-solid-green goes with the upper-almost-right two-oval-empty-red and the bottom-almost-left single-diamond-shaded-purple.

Okay, got it?  Go play (when you're finished reading).

I hear you.  What the hell does this have to do with writing, right?  It does.  I promise.  It's about...

....drum roll....


When you play this game online, you have to find six sets in the twelve cards.  After a while, you keep seeing the same thing over and over because the cards don't go away (notice how, in my example above, the single-diamond-shaded-purple is used twice?).  There are obvious sets, but you don't see them right away.  If the stupid game didn't time you, I'd walk away, eat an apple, and come back.  My time today was under 5 minutes, but I was about ready to pull my hair out, since I got the first five sets in a minute-twenty.

When we self-edit, we have to learn to find the things that we wouldn't otherwise see.  These are faults that we can easily see in someone else's work, work that we haven't dedicated weeks/months/years/decades/lifetimes to, and so we're not emotionally invested.  Pick up our own work, and it's really hard to see it.  Is there too much backstory?  Is this dialogue stilted?  Is that character really necessary?  The first few edits, you may see the first five problem-sets, but if you just keep staring at it, that last set of edits can elude you for months.

I try to get around my own blindness by walking away.  For me, that's the biggest help.  When it comes to spelling and punctuation, I read backwards (bottom to top, right to left), because then I can't become emotionally invested in my characters' lives on the page.  Read it on paper or a computer screen (whichever way you don't write it first).  Read it aloud.  Print white words on black paper/background (color changes do amazing things, or so I've come to learn by accident over the past couple of months).  And, when in doubt, ask a friend.  I realize this goes beyond self-editing, sort of. If the friend is a comma-commando, then that's "typical" editing, but if the friend is reading for content, s/he can help me at least see the problem.  It's still up to me to FIX it.  Just remember that too many friends/readers can spoil the plot--something I forget ALLLLLL the time--so be selective.

What are some tactics you use to help you self-edit and see the faults you wouldn't otherwise?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What We Can Learn From 1990s Serial Dramas

Anyone out there ever watch SeaQuest DSV?  It was one of those shows that piggy-backed on the popularity of StarTrek: Next Generation (along with other shows like StarTrek: Deep Space Nine and StarTrek: Voyager).  Most TV shows at this time were simpler, more straight-forward with almost no plot complications and only one story line.  This one was no different, with a slightly futuristic, military bent.

When this show originally aired, I watched it every week.  It had nothing to do with the plot or the writing.  It was all about Jonathan Brandis.  Yup, I had a minor fascination (read: major obsession) with JB.  For some reason I started thinking about him about a month ago, looked him up, found out some rather upsetting news about him (I'm glad I was never a child actor), and then started thinking about the show.

So, in tribute to JB and my interest *cough*obsession*cough*, I decided to watch it again.  Yea, NetFlix and at-home streaming :)

Well, I'm sick, stuck on my couch, literally coughing and hacking and waiting for it to go away, so I decided to watch some good ol' DSV.  Season 1, Episode 1, here we go.

And I can't tell you how pained I was to find out it was a two-hour premier.  Now, this means I get a little more JB time, but it also means 1:30hr of really bad, 90s TV writing.  The entire first episode is BACKSTORY!  And poorly written backstory at that.  Granted, a bit of the blame can be laid on the actors, though I'm pretty sure that's just the way TV actors performed back then: like they have a live audience; like they don't have a camera in their faces; like they don't have to speak like real people.  *sigh*

But an hour and a half of backstory?  Okay, sure, there's a little bit of action, but if this episode were sent to an agent, it would receive a form rejection.

The lesson?  Don't overload the sick girl with backstory.  She's bored out of her skull!

Do you have any favorite shows from the last few decades?  And do you ever wonder why you loved them then when you watch them now?  Can you watch them without analyzing the writing?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Excuses, Excuses

****Warning**** This is not a happy post.  I will not be offended if you stop here.

Before I write anything else, I want to say that today is my friend Jim's birthday.  Jim passed away two years ago from Leukemia just before he turned thirty. If you have a chance, drink a beer for Jim today.

The past few weeks have been particularly difficult for me. 

First, my campus job is the managing editor of a linguistics journal.  I used to love my job when I first got it, and nothing could have been better than the university (read: my boss/adviser) changing it from an hourly position into a GA position so that I didn't have to teach.  Rock!  And I'm still indebted to him for making it possible.  I just don't love the job anymore.

Which meant that, even though I knew the deadline for the journal to go to print would be this coming Friday, I did nothing with it over the summer.  So, September turned into super catch-up month in terms of publication preparation.  That was the first reason for my falling into the bloggy black hole.

Second, the beginning of October is a rough time for me.  Two years ago, my dad died on the first, and then my birthday is shortly afterward.  The year my dad passed away, we actually had to put off the viewing and the funeral so that neither would fall on my birthday.  It made for a rather awkward series of events.  Since then, I haven't really wanted to celebrate my birthday.  It's too clouded by shadowy memories of a false attempt at celebrating that first year, as well as issues with my dad.

I was so wrapped up my work in September that I almost forgot about the anniversary.  Of course, that meant that I had two major things due on that date, one of which I had volunteered for.  Dumb.

It's been a slow recovery for me this year, especially with Facebook and people wishing me a happy birthday when I just want to forget it.  A friend of mine asked why I don't just take my birthday off of there. Honestly, I may have done that last year, but this year I completely forgot.  I should just take it off permanently. The problem is that everyone else can separate the good from the bad—or simply don't know—but I can't.

Anyway, it's been slow, and I've been catching up with one thing at a time.  First I caught up with the journal, then there's the continuous school-work catch-up, then my critique group, and now I'm getting back to blogging.  I'm going to try and be more on top of visiting you all—in cycles, unfortunately—but I think I've dug myself out of wherever I have been for the past few weeks. 

Thanks for your patience, folks.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let Me Show You

Dearest Blog Followers,

My sincerest apologies for my extended hiatus.  September took my soul and hid it among my piles of unending work.  The first weeks of October took my mind and made brownies for a bake-sale.  I'm still in recovery mode, but I'm back, sort of, and I plan to be a more regular blogger.


Okay, on to the real meat.

Oh, wait, I recently returned to my vegetarian roots (root-vegetables?).  Perhaps I should say, on to the real kale.

How do you know when to Show and when to Tell? 

Okay, and now we all groan together and then get back to work, right?

No, I'm serious.  A few months ago I entered a contest in which everyone who entered their first three chapters automatically got a three-chap critique from an agent.  So, DUH! I entered.  In looking back at my entry, I cringe slightly, as it has gone through numerous revisions since, but I gave her what I had.  And, of course, it is my first novel, which I continue to beat into submission despite its own intentions.  So, let's just say, it's not super.  I'm still learning the craft.  I'm rusty like that drink you make with Scotch... or how you feel after you drink it, anyway.  So, yeah, I hadn't expected to win.  No way.

What I had expected were slightly less-than-generic comments.

When I got them, I wigged out.  Yeah, anger, etc.  You name it, I felt it.  The comments included the old stand-bys of "Show more" and "Remove clichés" and "Cut back on the wordiness", etc.  And that was it.  No specifics.  So, in my wiggy-outtiness, I sent those three chapters and the general comments to a woman in my critique group who, I might add, is awesome in her straight-forwardness and won't beat around the bush.

If nothing else, she said that the clichés weren't my problem.  *whew*

But that brings us back to show v. tell.  She and I began a long discussion about it, when telling is too much, and—here's the kicker—when showing is too much.

I believe in showing.  I do. Here's a great blog post that explains my understanding of it. And, yeah, I probably tell too much in my first three chapters.  I'm considering rewriting them blind and changing the basic premise altogether, anyway.  That aside, here's my question:

Can you show too much?

If you show EVERYTHING, does your reader get overwhelmed?  By showing everything, are we not trying to tell our readers that every minor flip of hair or memory is of the utmost vital information?  Sometimes events and actions occur to develop character, not necessarily to move the plot.  Are these to be given equal weight?

Or am I, in wondering these things, making the age-old mistakes of the green writer?

In the blog post I linked to above, in the first scene example she gives, the last paragraph—the one that gives the punch to the dialogue—is technically showing.  Am I wrong?  Seriously, folks, am I?  You can't show EVERYTHING!  If you did, we'd be reading War and Peace every time we picked up a novel, but even Tolstoy tells us things!

Help me out, folks.  I'm pretty sure I'm missing something here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Wednesday Inspiration

So, I will continue to apologize for not being a good blogger-buddy.  By the end of September, my life should settle down some, and I will be able to return to the blogging world more fully.

My writing class is going well, sort of.  I have a nice idea for my first story submission, that's due on the 1st. But every time I try to sit and write it, I just stare at white. It's evading me and haunting me at the same time.  And, well, I have about 10 days now to whip out 10-15 decent pages, so we can add stress to the writer's-block equation.

As I was reading for class just now, I ran across this quote.  It comes from Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern—a lively book, mostly written in crafted vignettes on how to improve your writing.  I would highly recommend it.
Trust Your Material
You are interesting. Your experiences, your imagination, your perceptions, your emotions are interesting.  What is closest to you is valuable for your art. Believe that. Your honesty and your talent are inseparable. Don't falsify by conventionalizing. Your uniqueness lies not in fulfilling cultural stereotypes but in expressing what you really uncover, like it or not. (246-247)
This passage—only the beginning to this section—was not assigned reading for class today, but I needed to read it, anyway.  I've been needing the push, I think, to believe in the story I want to write and allow myself to do so.  Keep your fingers crossed.

What inspiration have you found lately to help you in your writing?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Results are IN!

Happy Monday to my awesome followers!  Thanks to everyone for making this a super successful contest.  I've been excited all weekend to share the results with you.

So, using the number of entries each person received in conjunction with Random.org, the following people are hereby designated the WINNERS of my contest.

Our first prize is for randomly-generated #30 is


Second prize, for number 26, is:


Third was 62, winner of a chapter critique:


Fourth, 9, winner of a query critique:


And, finally, number 45, who will enjoy some awesome chocolate:


Thank you EVERYONE for playing.  If I've listed you here, please email me at rlconnolly01[at]gmail[dot]com with your address (if I'm mailing you something) so I can get your prizes out to you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Emotions Recap

Thanks to everyone for participating in my forum earlier this week, and my apologies for not getting results up sooner.  The week slipped away from me again.  Pesky days!

The question was: as writers, where do we mine our emotions?  From ourselves? From others?  If from others, why don't we work with our own?

You gave me lots of good responses, a number of which said that emotions came from inside and outside of themselves.  This makes sense, of course.  I think it would be impossible for someone to write completely outside of their own emotional experiences.  Of course, some of the physical experiences are beyond us (as Hart said, she's never randomly found a dead body even though she's writing her cozy), but that doesn't prevent the emotions from being real.  They just come from somewhere else.

One of the things I tend to worry about in my writing is that people will automatically assume it's autobiographical in some form.  (Random connection:  Has anyone read "The Young Painters" by Nicole Krauss in the 20 under 40 issue of The New Yorker?)  So I tend to try pulling from other experiences so that I can be more assured when fighting against those comments. 

Beyond outside criticism, using our own experiences does mean dealing with those feelings and emotions.  As j.leigh pointed out, that can be extremely difficult for us, throwing our real pain into our writing.  If I did more of that myself, I don't think I would ever finish a piece because I would be too angry or crying too much to get the words onto the page!  It doesn't make the emotions we use any less real, but it gives us more of an external position from which to approach them.  And as Amanda said, with time, using our own emotions and experiences can become less frightening.

Finding emotion everywhere is vital, since we've only lived in our small worlds.  But we shouldn't be afraid of using our own.

Any other thoughts?  Did I miss anything?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Contest Reminder

Man, am I being pushy with my 100 Followers #contest or what? :)

Just a reminder that you have until tomorrow—Friday, 17 Sept—at midnight EST (GMT–5) to enter.  Really, you just need to be a follower and leave a comment.  Everything else is icing on the icing on the beautifully decorated ginormous cookie!

Over the weekend I'll use a random number generator to determine the winners and post results on Monday.

And while it's just a bonus, I've only received one story from the prompt.  It was totally amazing, and I did a little jig when it come over.  If anyone else wants to use the prompt, go for it.  I may write a short myself for y'all, just cuz.  We'll see what time I have over the weekend.

Happy Thursday, Folks!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Awards and Wins!

DON'T FORGET! There's still time to enter my 100 Followers #Contest.  Even if you're new to the blog, feel free!  I'm glad you're here :)

Also, stop back in at the end of the week for a wrap up of Monday's forum question.
Man, the writing praise keeps pouring in!  I'm not gonna be able to fit into my hat by the end of the week. :)

First, I found out earlier in the week that I was the Grand Prize winner of Rebecca's half of the Super Sister Celebration at Sonshine Thoughts.  Here's a link to my story, if you're interested.  Honestly, it's hard to lose with a prompt like "Be happy that... your new neighbors aren't cannibals."

Thank you, Rebecca!

Okay, and some awards! 

First, from Jessica at Smile, Feel Good, Pass It On sent me two awards.  Thank you, Jessica!

I've received both of these already, which does nothing to diminish the awesomeness of getting them again.  If you'd like to read seven things about me, check here and here.  I'm also going to defer on passing these on for now.  I reserve the right to do so in the future :)

And Jules at Trying to Get Over the Rainbow also passed this on to me :)  Thanks, Jules!!

The strings with this award (as Jules put it :) ) are that I have to list ten things that I like (not love) and pass it on to ten people.  Well, let's see.

I like... blogging and meeting awesome people online.

I like... walking through the woods on campus every morning on my way to class/work.

I like... Snapea Crisps.  You must eat these!  They're flipping addictive.

I like... wearing flip flops and sandals.  A lot!  Mainly because I kinda hate things that cover my toes and feet.  Yup, I'm weird like that.

I like... almost every vegetable I've ever encountered, including Brussel sprouts and okra.  Maybe I'll think of one I don't like, but I can't right now.

I like... picking ripe cherry tomatoes from our plants and eating them like candy.  Yum! :)

I like... summer.  While I complain about the stifling heat periodically, I will take it over snow any day.

I like... knitting, even if I don't do it enough.

I like... vampires.  Yup, I admit it.  And I liked them well before the current hype, and I will continue to like them later.

I like... fairy tales.  No, not like Disney, watered-down versions, but the ones with teeth and nails and grit that don't have happy endings.  And I really like giving these a modern spin.

And for passing it on...

Summer at My Inner Fairy
Rebecca at Sonshine Thoughts
Mia at My Literary Jam and Toast
Vatche at The Student Writer's Mind
Lynda at .W.I.P. It
Tara at Aléatoire
Jan at Crazy Jane
Sangu at Echoes of a Wayward Mind
Jemi at Just Jemi
Erica at Elevator Musings

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where Do Your Emotions Come From?

Okay, so I was inspired by a comment from Amanda on my Real World Writing post from last week.  She wrote:

It's impossible to create a compelling piece of fiction without the real world. Even with fantasy, one HAS to write in real emotions and human issues. Too often, though, people look to other people's issues instead of their own.

Everything she wrote is 100% true (imho).  But the last sentence made me pause.  Why is it that people look so much beyond themselves to find emotions and stories and don't look inside?

I open this question up as a forum.  I have my own ideas, but I'm going to save them until later in the week.  Do you agree with Amanda?  Or do you think writers use more of themselves and less of everything around them?  Or do you think writers pull their ideas from thin air?

Inquiring minds and all that....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back from... Somewhere

Look at me, hosting my 100 Followers #contest, and then I disappear for days.  Bad Rosie!

Welcome to my newer followers!  Thanks for coming by to check out the blog.  And a big thank you to my old followers for staying interested and putting up with my time-lapses :/

Don't forget! You have until Friday to enter!

It's been a difficult week, and I'm not sure where it went, to be honest.  I remember Tuesday, and then all of a sudden it was Saturday.  I think I must have hit a temporal flux somewhere along the line.

My sincerest apologies, folks.  Here I am, attempting to rejoin regular blogging society.

Update: the write-up from my interview... well, it happened.  I turned it in on Wednesday.  After we'd passed them back, during the course of discussion I realized I hadn't entirely followed the directions of the assignment.  Ack!  Plus I didn't like the characterization (though there's very little one can do in 400 words), and many other things about it.  I suppose as writers, we're always highly self-critical, right?

On Friday, I was chatting with another student from the class outside the building when our instructor came up.  She started chatting with us, talking about how much she loved everyone's story from class so much, and that she planned to read a few during class.  Well, she started with *mine*.  Dumbstruck = me!  She had a lot of great things to say about it, including that, with some minor tweaks, I could get it published. 

Say what???

Oh, so giddy am I.  Later that day, I got a lovely compliment from someone in my critique group, too.  Since I wasn't feeling well, the two of those things really lifted my spirits and made my day so much better.

Otherwise, my last three days have been spent in a haze from which I am only beginning to recover.  While I've gotten some writing done, I'm terrified as to the quality I will find when I go back to edit it.  But the positive comments from this week also make me feel a bit more confident about what I'll find.  Editing will be necessary (when is it ever not??), but maybe it won't be quite as bad.

It all got me thinking about the advice and criticism we all crave.  For months, since joining the online blogosphere of the writing world, I've desperately wanted hard-nailed constructive criticism.  And I've gotten it in many forms.  Each time I've welcomed it (mostly) openly, and appreciated each piece.  In my desire for the constructive to improve my craft, I think I lost sight of the need for positive reinforcement and how much that's necessary as well.  While I feel a little head-swelly from Friday's compliments, I also remembered that, yeah, it's good to hear that people like my work.  There's only so much self-flagellation a girl can take without caring for her wounds, too, right? Or eventually it gets to be too much and she has to stop.

So, hurrah for the positive!

And here, I need to send a out a quick thanks to those who have given me the most positive feedback along the way and made me feel like I can really do this: Jose, Maria, Catalina, Nazarea, Carol, Auzy, Astra, and the rest of my crit group.  You're all awesome!  Thank you :)

What's some praise you've received recently?  Publication of a small/big work?  Partial/full request?  A friend saying how much they enjoy reading your chapters?

PS—I've recently received a few awards, too.  Yea for more praise!  I'll be posting them over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Real World Writing

No, this has nothing to do with MTV.

Yesterday my writing class took a field trip.  Our instructor told us nothing before our arrival in class as to what we were doing or where we were going or how it related to writing.  So we arrived, expectant, and waited for her announcement.

The assignment (and there was no choice regarding acceptance): (i) go to the Student Union and interview someone you've never met about a time when they got kicked out of somewhere, (ii) write up the details of said story, and (iii) fictionalize it into a story of 300-400 words.  And we only got one shot once the person agreed.  She forbade us from interviewing multiple people.

At the words "you've never met", my adrenaline kicked into overdrive.  I'm not an interviewer.  If I were, I'd be in journalism classes, not fiction.  I'm a lock-myself-up-and-write type, and... other people? What's that?  As we left the classroom, another woman from class and I started discussing, first, how this was crazy and we were already embarrassed :) and then strategies on how to find people who weren't trying to study and would therefore be more willing to talk to us.

I guess it worked—once I swallowed my pride and my fear.  The first person I asked not only was willing to talk to me (sitting in the food court with his half-eaten Pizza Hut bread stick), but he had a great story.  Due to confidentiality restrictions required by the assignment, I can't share it, but I will tell you that I laughed the entire time he relayed his story, and that it involved a Walmart and a ripstik.

Feel free to use your imaginations.

This exercise really emphasized the importance of using the real world (as opposed to the Real World) in writing.  Once I got over my initial apprehension, I realized what a fabulous assignment this is.  I'm still nervous about the writing part—even though the instructor assured us that we in no way had to stay true to the original story—but it's taken me beyond my comfort zone and asked me to do more.  That I sincerely appreciate.

What leaps do you take for your writing?  Have you ever been nervous about taking extra steps to make your work more authentic?  How do you push yourself to include the real world (or the Real World if you love MTV)?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Whoot! It's my 100 Followers #Contest!!

If you've seen any of my posts since the momentous event, you know I have 100 followers.

Me = Giddy :)

So, I'm holding a little celebration at East For Green Eyes, and I hope you'll participate.  I'll make it worth your while, I promise.

Also, I have no idea what I'm doing. But you'll enjoy it nonetheless, no?

What Can You Win?

Indecisive me.  I have a few different things to offer, but I couldn't decide what was most valuable.  Plus, I have both reader followers and writer followers, each with different priorities.  So here are the possibilities.

A signed copy of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone.

A signed copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

A chapter critique from me.  This does not have to be a first chapter as long as it is accompanied by a summary of the action thus far (which can be highly informal).

A 5-page or query critique from me.

Choice of two Vosges Chocolate Bars.  Subject to availability at my local grocer.  No promises the chocolate making it in one piece though international shipping.

The Rules
  • You must be a follower. +2 pts for old followers—i.e., you clicked the happy "follow" button before I published this post.  +1 pt for new followers. 
  • To participate, leave me a comment and tell me (briefly—max 20 words?) about the awesomeness that is YOU!
  • In your comment, rank what you would like 1st, 2nd, etc.  The first place winner will get their top choice, and then the top-most choice for the other winners.
  • This is not limited to US and Canadian residents.  You're all cool.  I can manage the postage :)
  • Tweet for extra points. 1pt per Tweet, maximum 3.  Please include @rosieanabelle in your Tweet, and leave me a link below.
  • Give my contest a shout-out in a blog post = +4 pts. (and leave me a link)
  • Side bar announcement about the contest = +2 pts. (and leave me a link)
  • Okay, folks, here's the kicker.  My blog doesn't have a very writerly title.  It doesn't include the word "write" or "edit" or my name.  It references a song lyric.  Chances are good that said song lyric has something to do with my writing (I'd say 99.99999% with a .00001% margin of error). I'm not asking you to guess, because that would take away the mystery, but for +10 extra points, you can write a short story (of no more than 500 words) that includes the phrase "east for green eyes" that is NOT from the song lyric.  Email your story to me at rlconnolly01(at)gmail(dot)com.  PLEASE include the story IN-LINE.  Attachments will NOT be read and you will not get the points for your beautiful creative efforts.

Okay, for the record, when you first enter these things, you haven't Tweeted and you haven't side-barred and you haven't blogged, and that's cool.  When/if you do, just come back and leave me another comment with your links.  If you just want to enter and not do any of the extras, that's cool, too.  Just leave me a comment.

The contest will close at midnight EST on Friday, 17 Sept.  Winners will be announced on Monday, 20 Sept.

Good luck! And thanks for following! :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Contests and Tagging

Hey Everyone!  First, if you missed it, look over there ---------\/
(wow, that's a really horrible down arrow, isn't it?)

I have 100 followers! Come back on Monday to celebrate with me :)


Here are a few contests that need to be shared with the masses:

First, Jessica, a.k.a. The Alliterative Allomorph, is holding a contest in support of The Writing Show.  If you're a writer (you know who you are!) you should definitely be involved!  Deadline is September 13!

Steph at MaybeGenius is hosting the Mash-It Up blogfest with some awesome prizes.  Entries are due by October 1.

And, really, how can you resist with a graphic like that? Haha :)

Carol at Artzicarol Ramblings is offering signed copies of her book JUNCTION 2020.  Enter by September 7.

And, just to be a tad bit embarrassed of my own excitement, Talli Roland is having a contest to celebrate her 400 followers!  Super congrats to Talli.  Be a follower of Talli's by September 30th for an automatic entry. (Sorry, but I don't have a graphic for Talli :(

Rebecca at Sonshine Thoughts and Naomi at Writing: A Soul's Way of Breathing are having their SUPER SISTER CELEBRATION. Rebecca's deadline has been extended until September 7.

Have another contest that I didn't mention?  Let me know and I'll add you :)


Leigh over at That's Write has tagged me again with the handwriting game.  Please feel free to oooh and aaaah over my messy scrawl.

Write down (by hand!) on a piece of paper the following:
1. Name, Blog Name
2. Right handed, left handed, or both?
3. Favorite letters to write
4. Least favorite letters to write
5. Write out "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"
7. Favorite song lyrics (My two: "Starlight" by Muse and (duh!) "Pretty Bird" by Jenny Lewis.)
8. Tag 7 people
9. Whatever else strikes your fancy (Macedonian.  Translation: "I really don't like writing with Macedonian letters." Reason: They're messing up my fine Russian handwriting!)

I'm not sure who to tag with this.  Seems like so many people have already been tagged.  SO, if you haven't been tagged or would like to be tagged again, consider yourself tagged.  Otherwise, continue to oooh and aaaah :)

Happy Friday, Everyone!
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