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Friday, April 27, 2012

Why do we say...

"The truth is..."
"In my humble opinion..."

Why do we feel the need to preface our statements with such comments? Every time I hear myself say one of the examples above, I'm tempted to slap my forehead.  Would people be in doubt if I left those words out of my sentences?

"Honestly, I think not."
"The truth is, they probably wouldn't."

I'm not lying if I leave off the "honestly" and "the truth is."

What about this: "In my humble opinion, people shouldn't use such phrases."  By expressing my opinion, aren't I acknowledging it's my opinion and others might not agree? I believe I can do that with humility without using "humble."

"I literally just heard someone say this."  Again, would there be any doubt? When people say such things, do we wonder if they're speaking figuratively? I promise to take your word for it if you leave "literally" out of your sentence.  Same thing goes for "seriously."

Okay, I feel better.  There's my rant for the day.  If you have any examples to offer, feel free to share.  Even if none come to mind, I'd love to hear your comments.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Movies vs. Books

Last night as I was finishing up a book, my husband was teasing me about staying up so late to read.  I quickly replied, "Well why do you stay up late watching movies?" He hates to read.  In fact, in the twelve years we have been together, not once has he read a book.  There are a few books he read in school, but he hasn't read since.  Give him a good movie though, or a few, and he has no problem staying up late on the couch while I sleep in our bed.  I, on the other hand, rarely stay up late watching movies.  Occasionally, on a weekend, I might.  However, give me a good book, and I can't bear to to put it down.  That's the reason I've been running on very little sleep the last few days.  I finally had the opportunity to finish the Hunger Games series thanks to a wonderful friend who let me borrow Catching Fire and Mockingjay.  Even though I have to get up at 5am for work, I stayed up until midnight on Sunday, eleven on Monday (because that's what time it was when I finished Catching Fire), and midnight last night, which is when I finished Mockingjay.  Because my husband hates to read, he doesn't get my obsession with books.  He doesn't mind, though; he just likes to tease me.

It's not that I hate movies.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  My husband and I love watching movies together.  I just prefer books.  And if for the rest of my life I could only read books or only watch movies, I don't even have to think about which option I would choose.

And that brings me to my next point.  Books are always better than their movie counterparts.  I understand there are time constraints and budget issues when it comes to making a movie, but I hate when a movie greatly differs from the book.  And that's why I'm a bit scared of watching the Hunger Games.  After reading the first book in the series, I knew right away I would not watch the movie in the theater.  I enjoyed the book too much and didn't want to spend money on a movie that vastly differs.  And that is despite the fact that it has gotten great reviews and was number one at the box office for several weeks.  I'm scared I'll be mad after watching it.  Not just mad.  Livid.  That's happened before.  I am a huge Chronicles of Narnia fan.  When Prince Caspian came out in the theater, I was excited to go see it.  I was livid for months afterward.  The character personalities were so incredibly different, I couldn't think about the movie without seething.  I don't want to feel that way about Hunger Games. 

Eventually I got over it.  I even bought Prince Caspian and watch it frequently.  However, I still turn my head away or close my eyes while cringing during some scenes; they're just so wrong compared to the book.  The great thing is I can always go back to the book.  I'll probably watch Hunger Games once it's out on DVD.  And even if it ticks me off, I'll get over it in time.  I'll get to a point where I can enjoy it, but it will never be as good as the book.

Movies never are.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

We Write

My opinion is that writers have mainly one thing in common ~ we write.  That's it.  We all write, but what we write and how we write is different from writer to writer.  I see a lot of discussions about writing styles.  And I've seen many questions asked about what style is best.  And is it best to plan it all out before writing, or should we just write it and see what happens? I wonder how many "newbie" writers (forgive me! if you are a newbie, that doesn't make you any less of a writer!) get frustrated when they're told to do what works for them.  It's probably annoying to hear such an unclear answer when someone is looking for a solid answer so his/her writing can be the best.  But the truth is, there is no one specific answer.  Each writer has to discover for himself what works best.

For instance, I'm pretty comfortable with how I write.  That being said, I am not afraid to try something different, especially since I have yet to get anything published.  So I recently tried to plan out my next novel.  I already have an idea of what the story is about.  I know all the background, where the story will start.  I know the characters.  And I recently blogged about how the story typically comes to me, and then I just have to fit it all together.  So there I was, sitting down and ready to fit it all together chapter by chapter.  And my mind went completely blank.  I couldn't do it.  Therefore, I learned that my writing style does not involve planning everything out ahead of time.  And that's okay.  I have notes and ideas but no complete, organized plan.

There is no right or wrong way to write.  I know what works for me, and that's all that matters.  The sooner other writers learn what works best for them, the better their writing will be.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Absolute Write Blog Chain ~ April

Time for another Absolute Write Blog Chain post.  This month's prompt is "dead bunnies."  As usual, the post can be fiction or non-fiction.  Check my fiction attempt below.  Then check out all the other great posts from my fellow AW'ers.  It's been a creative month!

She heard them calling her name, but she yanked her pillow over her head to drown out the sound.  Then her eyes popped open as memories from previous years flooded her senses.  After tossing the pillow to the side, she sat up in her bed and shuddered.  She took her time getting ready, though; maybe they'd start without her. 

"I can't stand the torture," she whispered to herself.  Then she shuddered again, knowing fully well the agony was making her insane.

As much as she wanted to, there was no way to escape the cruel massacre that was to come.  Her parents actually believed it to be adorable.  Or was it possible they were only pretending? Perhpas they were equally frightened by the behavior and didn't know how to get her little sister the help she needed.  Whatever the case, her parents allowed the mutilation  to continue each year.

"Might as well get it over with."  Talking to herself again.  Never a good thing.

She went downstairs, each step measured by a cracking sound that echoed off the walls.  Her short walk completed, she arrived in time to see her sister was already making quite the spectacle of herself.

"Come see your sister," her mom invited with a smile.

Her feet refused to move another inch.  All she could do was stare at the little girl who looked more like a monster primed for its task.  Her little sister, with that golden hair, could fool anyone.  But innocent she was not.

Her skin crawled as she stood there.  She flinched as another neck was snapped.  Those poor little bunnies! How many had her parents bought this year? And the mess.  Of course there'd be a mess.  Her sister couldn't very well pop the heads in her mouth without getting goo all over her.  Around her.  And the feet! Why eat the heads and feet, yet nothing else? It was sickening really.

She fought the urge to lash out as her father set a small trash can next to her sister.  They were laughing now.  Yet she couldn't make one sound, not even as her mom leaned down and began cleaning up the mess.  She was about to bolt to her room when her sister looked up and smiled.  The remnants of the little creatures were smeared over her face.  Chunks were stuck in her teeth.  Her sister held her slimy hand out; a small effort to share.  But it was too late.  The bodies were now removed from the floor and her mom was carrying the trash can out of the room.

All that chocolate.  Wasted.

Hope you were entertained.  Now check these out! (Please of course.)

orion_mk3 - (link to this month's post)
KatieJ - (link to this month's post)
kiwiviktor81 - (link to this month's post)
Nissie - (link to this month's post)
SuzanneSeese - (link to this month's post)
pyrosama - (link to this month's post)
dclary - (link to this month's post)
randi.lee - (link to this month's post)
Turndog-Millionaire - (link to this month's post)
julzperri - (link to this month's post)
Penelope - (link to this month's post)
AFord - (link to this month's post)
Araenvo - (link to this month's post)
writingismypassion - (link to this month's post)
magicmint - (link to this month's post)
Anarchicq - (link to this month's post)
Ralph Pines - (link to this month's post)
Whisky - (link to this month's post)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Character Traits Are Important

Today's post has been inspired by Diane Carlisle, a fellow writer, blogger, and Absolute Write member.  Before deciding what to post today, I read her latest blog entry which discusses character wounds and why they are important.  If you have a chance, you really should check out her post.

Anyway, her post got me thinking about character traits in general.  I've seen many discussions about the dreaded "Mary Sue's" of fiction.  You know the girls who are beautiful, multi-talented just because, have perfect families, perfect friends, their whole lives are perfect perfect perfect.  They make you want to gag, right? Now take the same girl, tells us her mom is obsessed with the perfect image and forces her to diet and get plastic surgery, her dad's tells her she's worthless and so she keeps adding to her list of talents in hopes of pleasing him, and all she really wants to do is buy a box of twinkies and run away with the goth guy down the road.  Okay, that's a crazy example but you get the point.  Readers need a reason to care about the characters.  As human being we are not perfect, so how can we identify with a perfect MC? If I have a choice between a perfect MC and an MC who's been knocked down a few times but gets back up each time, I'll take the latter any day.

Most readers feel the same.  And that is why getting a character right is so important.  There has to be a nice mix of good qualities and flaws/wounds/problems etc.  A story can be ruined without that mix.

So, again, check out Diane's post.  And if you'd like to add anything, feel free to leave a comment below!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Writing and the Imagination

I woke up this morning not fully myself; part of me was still participating in the dream I woke up from.  The dream lingered in my mind for quite some time, which isn't at all unusual.  I have always been a vivid dreamer with the ability to recall the slightest details.  In fact, I've always wanted to keep a dream journal.  But I think that's a lost cause for me.  They just take too long to write due to the amount of detail.  As I was considering the dream this morning, I began thinking about the imagination and writing.  I rarely dream about things that are going on in my life or about people I know.  And although I am aware of all the dream studies that have been done and how much information there is that suggests our dreams reflect our sub-conscious mind, for the most part I think my dreams are a figment of my imagination, except on the rare occasion when I can connect the dots and see why I dreamed about a particular thing/person/etc.  And this makes me wonder about the writing abilities of people with highly active imaginations. 

For me, I believe creating a story has a lot to do with my imagination.  What usually happens is I get an idea for a story, and the majority of it just takes shape.  I don't have to think about what the characters to look like.  I see them in my mind first and then write them down.  I don't wonder too much what the characters are going to do; their "lives" play out in my mind without much thought from me.  Now making all the pieces fit isn't necessarily easy just as figuring out how to word it all isn't.  In other words, the writing part isn't a piece of cake, but the story itself comes to life on its own.  I've never had a problem "picturing" a scene, that's for sure.  All this makes me wonder about the correlation between writing and the imagination. 

Now all that being said, I do not think a person has to have a great imagination to produce a great story.  My opinion is that some people have no trouble at all with the creative or technical aspect of writing; some people struggle with all of it.  And more than likely, the majority falls somewhere in between the spectrum.  I'm curious what everyone else thinks.  Feel free to leave a comment, and thanks in advance.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Poetry Update

I added a few older poems to my poetry page.  Click the link to the right if you'd like to check them out.  I'm always interested in feedback.  Robert Frost I am not, but the poems I write always come from the heart.  Wow, that sounds so cheesy...

I'd like to add a few poems I wrote from the perspective of Emily (my MC in Shards of Glass).  Shards is the only thing that's ever inspired me to write a poem from a character's perspective.  I think they turned out fairly well.  Part of me keeps hoping my agent (when I finally get one) will agree the poems should be included in the I'm hesitant in posting them.  Maybe I should let that idea simmer a little more.

On a completely different note: HAPPY EASTER! I hope everyone enjoys the weekend.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Back To Writing

I hope everyone made it through April Fool's Day.  Yesterday morning I was browsing through posts on Facebook, and my heart went out to a family member who posted he was no longer engaged.  I even left him this nice, heartfelt comment only to discover he was pranking everyone.  I removed my comment and stayed off Facebook for the rest of the day. 

Anyway, now that I'm in the process of putting my focus where it needs to be (my writing!), I have to make another list of agents to send Shards of Glass to.  Some agents haven't responded to my previous submissions, and I'm thinking they probably aren't going to.  So another round of submissions will be made hopefully by the end of this week.

As for my Freedom series, it is turning out pretty well.  I'm more than halfway finished and hope to start posting the series in May.  *Crossing fingers for posting sooner!*

One other note.  Last month I was way too busy to participate in the Absolute Write Blog Chain, so I missed out on all that fun.  But I will be returning this month.  We'll be writing about dead bunnies.  Should be an interesting challenge...stay tuned.