Monday, December 28, 2009

Metaphorical Navigation

I let things slide during Christmas because I had so much to prepare for, but now I'm back.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone! I hope it's good for you.

I learned awhile back that people who rate websites think one of the worst layouts a website can have is to have metaphorical navigation. This peaked my interest so I poked around.

Metaphorical navigation is when, instead of normal underlined text or buttons to click on, the various links to other places in the site (or other websites) are objects or pictures.

I personally love those sites and think they're awesome but I guess they get a bad rep for taking a long time to load. And for sometimes being tricky to figure out which object leads to what. (Does clicking on the magnifying glass take me to a page about Scotland Yard or to a handy search engine?)

This leads me to three things:

1. The best metaphorical navigation site I've seen is this one. You've probably heard of the Ology series books which are known for thinking outside the box and being creative with layouts. Their website is no exception.

2. As long as I'm talking about Ology books, I have an upcoming project I want to show you all. It's been a lot of fun and I've wanted so badly to tell you about it but it was a Christmas gift for three people who read this blog regularly so I've had to keep quiet until now. I won't go into details yet, but this project was inspired mostly by the Ology books and a few others. If you haven't checked them out yet, and if you're in a tough spot creatively, they just might add the extra creative juice you've been needing. Hint.

3. When making outlines for novel writing, we are all trying to navigate our own story. Figuring out where the plot goes, where the characters go, etc. So why not make a metaphorical navigation? I've begun outlining one of my WIPs using Photoshop, but a large piece of paper and some colorful pens could work too. Take a look at this for some idea of how it could be done. I've never tried this before so I don't know if it will help, but it sure looks like a lot of fun.

Happy Writing Everyone!

PS Do you have any New Year's Resolutions, writing related or no?

Altered Journals

So about this secret project I've been working on...

I found some nice, cheap, journals where the binding was a little too wide for the pages it contained. For my purposes, this was perfect.

I've been a fan and connoisseur of Origami and Kirigami for a long time. (Also Scherenschnitte.) I wanted to combine these with my love for journals and books with unique layouts.

After reading about altered books, I decided it was time to make some altered journals. I hope someday to have an actual plot line linking all the doo-dads together. For now I'll leave that up to the people I'm giving them to. But I have an outline written and a few character sketches for such a plot. And even though it will be a kid's adventure storybook, I'm hoping it will also capture the attention of the adults in my life.

I made this journal out of old wallpaper samples and printer paper for my younger brother.


Monday, December 14, 2009

The Special Person's Near-relation

Sorry for the unannounced unplugged two-weeks but I needed to take a small breather after NaNoWriMo.

I've been thinking a lot about titles this past week. There's a particular kind of title that I think almost has its own genre. Or brand. Or some sort of categorization because they all sound similar. And they're all just as intriguing.

The first one I heard about was "The Time Traveler's Wife". I thought it was a great title and it's on my to read list. Then I read this article in Publisher's Weekly about trend spotting, and one of the comments listed other books with similar title structure: The Zookeeper's Wife, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, and my favorite, The Grave Digger's Daughter.

I have to admit that if I had known about all of those books, I probably would have found the trend annoying. But it sat in my mind long enough as a unique thing that I still like it. (Note: I haven't read any of these, nor have I seen The Time Traveler's Wife movie. Based on what I've read in reviews I don't think I'll go see it. Too much nudity for me.)

Got a creative twist on the formula? I'm excited to hear what you might come up with. Post in the comments what might make an intriguing title with "The Special Person's Near-Relation".

My contributions:

The Hacker's Daughter


The Florist's Wife

I think one reason these titles seem so intriguing to me is in three or four words, it introduces two characters and a relationship between those characters. The relationship immediately sounds mysterious and worth reading about. It begs the question from my reader's mind, "What about the Hacker's Daughter? Why is this relationship important enough to be in a title? It must be adventurous."

Edited: Wow. I totally wrote this post and then read my regular blogs again, and found this post by Cindy. Hehe.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And it's over...or just beginning

NaNoWriMo is done and I'm proud to say this is my first time finishing with 50k words! I did it! I made it! I am very thankful.

Final word count: 51,886

My original goal at the beginning was 100k. I knew it was ambitious. Even though I didn't reach my personal goal, I feel accomplished in a small way knowing that I did better than I did last year.

I think that will always be my true goal for NaNoWriMo: write more words than I did the previous year. (Of course, if I get a fluke year and write 200k, that goal will probably stop and I'll make it more realistic.)

Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo! And an extra applause for those who wrote 50k or more by the deadline.

I'd like to hear a short synopsis about your NaNoWriMo experience. A synopsis of how you get into your writing groove, what your favorite part about NaNoWriMo is, or even a synopsis of the novel you wrote during November.

Also, what did you do the day after NaNoWriMo?
I promptly started another story. I don't know why. It sounded like a fun thing to do.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Praise the Lord for His incredible blessings. This year I am most thankful for my fiance and the way the Lord has brought us together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Breath of Fresh Air Award and The Victor

I decided to try my hand at photoshopping to make an award. So here it is. Hope you like the image.

Because I deeply appreciate blogs that revive me, make me think, challenge me and add to my life, I hereby present this "Breath of Fresh Air" award to.......

Thanks for your wonderful blog and for making the electronic air seem less stagnant.

And because I always like to breath more than one breath of fresh air, I would also like to give this award to....

Your Wednesdays Excerpt or Action posts have been a ton of fun and very refreshing. Not only does your blog make me smile whenever I read it, but the community you've attracted is unique and wonderful. Thank you!

There's a book giveaway of The Victor over at Whispered Roars. It looks pretty awesome.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 4 of NaNo

Hey! It's the last week!

This is exciting, relieving, and sad all at the same time.

I got pretty stuck on my story, so I decided to add in a few extra plot twists. For instance, now my MC is in the middle of a tunnel maze after having found a gigantic pit of skeletons and a test-tube containing the black plague that she has to get to the surface.

I know a lot of people rail against NaNoWriMo because it promotes reckless abandon. And the point is valid because assumedly we're all trying to write something that will eventually be publishable.
And it does seem comforting to say that life should be all about quality and not quantity.

But the truth is, writing with reckless abandonment and making up crazy plot twists is just plain too much fun to pass up. It might be drivel. It might have taken up a lot of my time. But I find myself even now thinking back to last year's NaNoWriMo and remembering scenes I wrote during that time. Those scenes have now grown in my head and make a little more sense. But I wouldn't have had them if I hadn't tried to write crazily.

If NaNoWriMo doesn't work for some people, that's cool. But if it does work for some of us, that should be cool as well. I have always ALWAYS brought something away from writing crazily that was useable later on, even if it was just learning about how I write.

Sheer volume of words doesn't equal quality. But it sure helps in getting to that quality stage.

So what am I going to do with this mountain of words after November? Well, I have a second story I want to start on so I will probably file them away for a month or two, work on the other story, then bring them out when I have a fresh perspective on them again.

Happy Writing everyone! And Happy Thanksgiving! May your turkeys be big and make you sleepy, and may you find some time to settle down and enjoy family. And to write.

NaNoWriMo stats:

Words total: 43,676
Words left: 6,324
Average Words Per Day: 1,985
At this rate I'll be done on: Nov. 25th
Percent complete: 87%

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week 3 of NaNo!

I think I missed week 2. Oh well.

Chris Baty is right: the second week of NaNoWriMo is the toughest!
I'm not exactly sure why this is. I do know that last week I was down in the dumps about my story, and today, Monday, I'm happy as can be and was able to write 5k+ words today. :D

NaNoWriMo Update:

Total words: 41,626
Average words per hour for November: 469.31 (whoah, that's low!)
Words left to reach 50k: 8,374
Average words per day: 2,602
At this rate I'll be done on: Nov. 19th
Percent complete: 83%

Am I obsessed with numbers and figures? No, not really. I just happened across a really cool Excel spread sheet publiushjm made for NaNoWriMo. Thanks publiushjm!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writing Buddy

You know how flies only live a short period of time, and you can tell how long they have left to live by how fast they move?
There's a fly that's been bugging me for awhile now where I write. Today I noticed it's getting more daring and flying right onto my keyboard while I'm typing! It's also getting really slow in its reaction time.

I was tempted to catch and kill it, but I figure, it's going to die soon anyways. I guess I'm just overcome with compassion today. For now, it's my writing buddy. The fly on the wall that, even if my inner critic says my story is bad, will look on from above. I'm kind of glad it stuck around. Makes me think my story must be great if it chose to spend the last moments of its life reading it.

NaNoWriMo update:
I got a little stuck the last few days. Am just now wiggling my way out of it.

Word count: 33,211 as of this afternoon.

Ok, back to the, er,.....writing board.
(I guess that would be keyboard.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Possible Kindle Winning!

Hey everyone.
Just wanted to let you know about a Kindle drawing over on Lisa and Laura's blog. You gotta hurry though. Contest ends Friday.

Thanks to everyone for your advice about my plot holes. I'm still not decided but I think I'm going to go with the princess. Either that or kidnapping the princess AND an attempted assassination on the cult leader.

Happy writing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Plot Holes

I've run into a bit of a problem. I originally intended my main character to kidnap a princess. But as I started writing, it morphed into my main character trying to kill a cult leader instead. Both of these scenarios have plot holes. Kidnapping the princess I am more prepared to deal with, but it's a little cliche. (Okay, maybe a lot cliche.) Killing the cult leader has a lot more plot holes, but it's different and more exciting (at least the way I've written the two scenarios).

I need your help. Would you rather read about a princess being kidnapped for political reasons?
Or would you rather read about an attempted assassination on a cult leader?

(Note: No matter which scenario takes place, these two things happen: The princess turns out to be a murderous wench and the villain. The cult leader turns out to be an ally.)

Please vote in the comments. Thanks for your help!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 7

It's been a week filled with NaNoWriMo.

Here's where I stand:

Total word count: 19,896
Average number of words per day: 3,316
At this rate I'll be done on: Nov. 15th
Percent complete: %40

My goals:
1. Write 50k words on Dragons of Windsor, my historical young adult fiction.
2. Write 50k words on A Difference in Magic, my sci-fi fantasy fiction.

To copy Cindy Wilson's blog, I'm going to post an excerpt or action. Feel free to post your own excerpt or tell me about an action one of your character's is doing.


My MC has just witnessed her first embalming session, and shortly afterwards was kidnapped.

Excerpt from Dragons of Windsor:

Hannah watched with excitement, curiosity, and a little bit of melancholy. She had waited for this. She wasn’t entirely sure she was ready to take it all in, but was determined to do her best.

The embalmer, when Hannah first saw his face, looked very hollow. His face was a mixture between wrinkles and wrinkles that wanted to come out. They were barely held back by some invisible force. His eyes were clear, though he had barely any eyelashes. When he blinked at her, she saw a newborn’s eyes in the head of a bloated man. Still, he had done what he could with his appearance. He wore expensive slacks and a suit coat. When he removed it, she could see he already had on an apron underneath.

“I come to work prepared. Saves time.” He explained. Hannah wondered if he kept a box of disposable aprons near the front door or if he took the used ones home and washed them then brought them back. She didn’t ask. All in all, he was a sad man who seemed to slump forward from years of slow melancholy weighing him down. Hannah regarded him as a man who had probably faced death one too many times and was gradually succumbing to a sad truth about the human race. Is this how I will become? She wondered.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I was perusing pop-up books the other day. I'm always fascinated by them.
They hold great wonder and inspire the imagination in a way that nothing else does for me.

So I have this crazy idea: What if I made a pop-up scene for each chapter of my NaNo novel?

I present to you: NaPoBoMo! National Pop-up Book Month!

I'll not say more now 'cause most of you are too busy with NaNoWriMo to think about anything else. But sometime in the future, I hope to host a NaPoBoMo on this blog. Anyone interested? Any ideas for rules? Got any better acronyms for it?
It's kind of crazy, I know. But so is NaNoWriMo.

Anyways, more on this later.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mottos and Dragonish Stuff

Found this interesting link through Carrie's blog about character mottos. It might prove interesting.

The character mottos from my book and their consequences at the end:

Main Character: Follow your dreams no matter what = satisfaction
Secondary Character: Do the absolute best that you can = safety
Villain: Do whatever it takes = death
Plot mover: Follow your heart = selfish and insignificant paradise

My NaNoWriMo novel has taken off! Or, at least one of them has.
I had a story in mind that I wanted to write and was really excited about. But then there was this other story that my writing buddies and friends asked me to do for NaNoWriMo. Short story is I'm going to try to do both. Which means I'm attempting to write 3,334 words per day instead of the regular 1,667.

Yesterday I got on par with 13,748 words. It's been a lot of fun.
If you scroll down to the bottom of the blog, you'll see the banner I made for "Dragons of Windsor."

How are your NaNo novels coming? Want to post an excerpt? I'd love to see a snippet of what you all are doing.

Here's an excerpt from my secondary character's journal:

The Castle definitely needs to be bolstered in several areas. The general look of the place is at best outdated. I understand why the King has been advised to change it. This is the creative opportunity of a lifetime and I intend to use my full force on it. I did not think once today about how I might serve the Dragons or how I might be a better spy, blacksmith, husband or father. For one day I was simply an inventor. Though I gladly fulfill the other roles placed on me, I am thankful for the chance to immerse myself in one thing only. Though I don’t doubt the requirements of a spy will surface soon enough. And I wish but do not expect that my role as father and husband will come back to me someday soon.

Sorry I don't have any incredibly compelling moments yet. No tear-jerking scenarios or emotionally charged scenes. But they will come.

How are your NaNo Novels coming?

Monday, November 2, 2009


NaNoWriMo has started!!!!

I will post more once I have a significant word count.

What are you doing reading this blog? Get to writing!!!

Or, just use the Metaphor of the Day Assignment to help your writing along:


Come up with a metaphor for a procrastinator. Yeah, I know. Not an original prompt here, but hey, I've gotta get to writing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Things I"ve been doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo

1. Took a small break from writing and did other creative things like draw, make pop-ups, etc.

2. Polished and spent lavish time on my two outlines using the Snow Flake Method and Phase Drafting. It was fun giving myself permission to spend more time outlining instead of telling myself it was just a distraction and I should be writing instead. This is the one time of year I don't have to feel guilty for indulging in back story and extraneous facts about my novel.

3. Reading more books, listening to more podcasts about writing.

4. Cleaned up my writing space and hung a word-count chart on my cork board. I even armed it with little golden stars at the ready for each time I complete a daily goal.

5. Took some pictures I hope to turn into banner art for my novel to be displayed in my signature on the NaNoWriMo forums. I'll post it here when it's done.

6. Ignored most of my RSS feeds in an effort not to overwhelm myself with the writing world.

I want to hear from you about your writing!
In the comments below, post the following:

Title of WIP:
How you prepare for NaNoWriMo:

Here's mine.
Title: Dragons of Windsor
Genre: Historical Adventure Fiction
How I prepare: see above.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Writer's Block

I sat down to write today and realized there are parts in my plot I want so badly to make sense. But they don't. I want them to happen. But it's not logical that they should.

I need some strong plot devices to motivate my characters and move them to do what I want.

What are your favorite plot devices? How do you get your characters to do what you want them to?

Also, it's been awhile so here's a new Metaphor of the Day Assignment:

Write a metaphor that describes either a pleasant or unpleasant aspect of your main character.

Example: (Highlight the text below if you need inspiration)
(Note: these are about two different characters)

She was as thin as a sickly piece of grass. Even her complexion looked green and tender.


The herbalist was a flower herself: she bloomed where she planted and looked after her own.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Laptops are Weird

I agree with this sentiment.

BBC Audiobooks America is hosting an Original Audio Book contest on Twitter. Neil Gaiman started off the contest with a sentence, and BBC Audiobooks America is choosing from thousands of tweets which sentences will go into the book. I guess it's also going to be read by a professional and made available for free downloading off of iTunes.

I decided I've been lacking in social networking lately so I decided to give it a try. Even though I balk at Twitter books, I decided to do this just for fun. After I tweeted about 35 sentences, one of them made it in! I was excited. Please don't say I've written a book with Neil Gaiman. How weird that such a marvelous boast could mean so little.

Now that I've stepped away from the contest, I feel overwhelmed. Twitter is a monster. It's great and fun, but totally exhausting. I don't quite know if I approve of it or not. Hope BBC Audiobooks America makes it work though. The story so far can be found here in their Twitter feed. It's actually kind of interesting. Mirrors, Puppets, and Promises. It's got it all. :D

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo is around the bend! And so is Cake. No lie.

I'm officially registered for NaNoWriMo this year which happens in November. My name is leolewis if anyone wants to add me as a buddy.

What is NaNoWriMo? Check out the link. It's a challenge where many writers across the globe attempt to write a book in an entire month. (A book being defined as 50,000 words. In reality, that's a pretty short book, but hey, we're doing it in a month.)

I feel I am more prepared now than last year (which was my first try). In 2008 I made it to 30,000 words, 10,000 of those being written on the last day in November over a period of 9 hours straight. My butt was pretty sore after that.

But this year I've already started outlining, using a method called Phrase Drafting. I'm combining it a little bit with the Snowflake method. We'll see how it works.

Does anyone have experience with either of these methods? Do they work for you? Don't work? What does work for you?

Ok, now it's off to bed to dream about my wonderful characters while I can. I'm sure by the time November blows over I'll be sick of them.

What's a metaphor for NaNoWriMo?

Highlight the text to see my example if you need inspiration:

Example: NaNoWriMo is a piece of cake.
It sits there at the end of the dinner table just waiting to be eaten. It promises me it will be easy to eat. But I have to get through my vegetables in a hurry before I can even take a bite. As I shovel peas into my mouth, I gag. As I look at the steamy bowl of characters before me, knowing my mother will make me eat some of those too, I get a little queasy. Then I remember the cake, and I make myself be more patient. Soon my mother is putting really tough and dry plot meat onto my plate. It's tough to chew. I try to wash it down with some setting, but it doesn't help. Finally, after three hours of arguing with my mother about how many vegetables I have to eat, and asking if I really have to clean my plate, I get to bite into that delicious piece of raspberry-I-finished-neener-neener-inner-critic-cheese cake.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I love mystery books

Someone left a mystery book on my desk yesterday. It's not a mystery genre, but just mysterious because I don't know who left it there. It is a copy of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Thank you to whoever decided to let me read this. If you want it back, you'll have to let me know who you are. If it is a gift, thank you, thank you, thank you. It was really nice of you to think of me.

Monday, September 21, 2009


The other day I had a bit of caffeine.
And I went bonkers.
I usually don't have caffeine so it really buzzed me.

Then I attempted to write a character dossier for one of my MCs. She lives on an alien planet so when I got to the third question which was "What is his/her birth date?" I got stuck.
Then I went crazy.

I spent the next 4 hours figuring out an alien solar system, how two moons on a planet affects the inhabitants time keeping systems, developed an alien calendar, and measured how events and years there would match up with Earth's time system. Then I finally had a date for when she was born, and was able to notate it in both Earth time and the alien planet's time.

I thought, "Whew! Got that question good. The rest should be easy."
Then it asked what her nationality is.

So I started making family trees, creating new characters for her lineage, and developing a political system for the entire planet! At this point, I contacted my cousin and said "Help!" She got me to slow down and refocus on the character dossier without creating new, interesting and completely unnecessary details.

To those addicted to Too Much Information syndrome, (or WBD, World-Builder's Syndrome)my heart goes out to you. Please find help before your novel becomes a beast. (This is sometimes also known as Tolkien's Syndrome, in case you didn't know. He was never cured. But he was creative enough to get people to not pay attention to his, er, excessive display of a world he knew way too much about.)

So can I label myself as an extraterrestrial astrophysical chronologist? Ever since reading the first page of The Color of Magic, I've wanted to be able to use a title as cool as astrozoologist.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quickie Metaphor Advice

I was looking over some of my older posts and saw the one titled "Like".

Something I've learned since posting that:

If a comparison has the word 'like' in it, it's a simile and not a metaphor.

The weather was like a wet blanket. = simile. The day is not actually a wet blanket, but it is just like one, it is similar to one. I use like when the metaphor I want doesn't quite match up in every obvious way to what I'm comparing it to.

Example #2:
The weather was a wet blanket. = We have a Metaphor! We all know the weather cannot be a literal blanket. (Though it can be wet.) So we know it's a metaphor, even though the speaker is telling us the weather WAS a wet blanket. Herein lies the power of metaphors: You are making a comparison and claiming that one object is actually another. It says that the weather was so much like a wet blanket, that it could actually be called one, instead of muddying up the comparison by making the reader think about why the weather is only 'like' a wet blanket and thinking about all the ways in which it is not. The switch over from 'like' to 'is' can be very satisfying, and offers a more punctuated picture to the reader.

If you are very good at building a suspension of disbelief for your readers, metaphors in place of similes are awesome. Similes can sometimes break that carefully formed bubble you've created for your readers by making them think about 'like, but not exactly as', when you want them to think about what is.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hey everyone.

I got chosen to guest post over at Rachelle Gardner's blog! How exciting! I'm going to be knee deep in elbow grease to polish my guest post as well as it can get, and then I'll post it here.

Also, check out a new blog resource for writers: Invisible Ink. It's about the often unseen connection between chemistry and writing and is posted by my beautiful cousin and fellow writer Sarah. She's an undergrad student in Chemistry and will do her best to answer any questions you have about chemistry related to writing.

Seriously, go check it out! Even if you don't have chemistry questions, she's funny to read. (I mean that in a good way, Sarah! You're an adorable nut!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Metaphor of the Day Assignment

It's been awhile since I did one of these, so here it is.

Two things are upon us: school and fall. Both are rich fodder for metaphors. Every calendar you see will either have trees turning read, or back to school motifs.

Find a calendar and look at the picture for September. Use a metaphor to describe the picture. (This can be a helpful exercise later when you're picturing a scene in your head for a story.)

Oh, and try to not use the word 'like'. I've resisted for sometime now because it was so comfortable and easy to define metaphors as 'A is like B'. But that's technically a simile. For it to be a metaphor, if you're a purest, it's a little more 'A is B'.

Example: (Highlight the text if you need inspiration.)

Metaphor: As the hungry beast of color ravaged the forest, making it bleed with reds and oranges, the sad trees who were old were devoured early, the best of oncoming winter leaving their white bones to shimmer in the fall sunset.

Simile: Fall was like a hungry beast, ravaging the forest and leaving blood red leaves in its wake.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Faith, Dreams and Charity...oh my!

Just when I was beginning to loose faith in social networking, something like this happens. Thank you CKHB for the award. I love the Panda!

And now I'm ready to begin again with the crazy writing-networking balance.

This past week for boring reasons I've been without any word processor whatsoever except the sticky notes on my Mac. (Well, and paper and pencil, the FIRST word processors.) It made me slow down my writing a bit, which made me re-evaluate my dreams and aspirations. I realized I don't have as much faith in my dreams as I used to.

But then this morning I saw one of my characters walk down the sidewalk. He was exactly what the villain in my story is supposed to look like! I was driving so I didn't even have the chance to embarrass myself and ask "Hey, you look like my villain! Can I take a picture?" which I know was for the best. So now I have a little something more to go off of. If anyone's ever seen the movie Inkheart, it was almost like the scene where the author sees Dustfinger alive for the first time. (And it is a great movie for writers. Soothes my burning unpublished heart every time.)

I've been thinking about all this social networking we do, trying to make connections. I feel a little like a lonely little chick just out of the egg. Awkward, struggling, and with goo still stuck to my feathers. But my thoughts so far have led me to this: Social networking is great because it's one of the few tools completely run on charity. People donate outrageous amounts of their time building connections and making one more weave in the net of people connected. So, in following with CKHB's recognition, I too wish to say thank you to everyone following this blog. It makes a difference to me and to the world. Seriously. Baby whales somewhere are spouting for joy.

I appreciate your charitable contributions of time and attention and connectivity.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Technology Fix

I'm a little behind on my blog posting this week. My wonderful fiance gave me a bigger, better hard drive, but it'll take awhile before I get all my other stuff off the old one. I am now entering the proud stage of owning an external hard drive. :D
It's odd how off balance I seem when I don't have files I thought I once had. This whole starting over thing is probably good for me. And it's not really starting over.
At work last week there was a period of time when the internet went down completely. And even though I wasn't doing anything internet related, I felt like my hands were tied. Weird. It's amazing what a difference going without something makes, isn't it?

Do you have something you feel you could not function without? Coffee? Chocolate? A laptop or iPhone? A teddy bear?

Friday, August 28, 2009


Metaphor of the Day Assignment:

Create a humorous metaphor:

One of the metaphor's most useful aspects is its ability to convey humor. Choose an aspect of your story or your character that would be most likely to be exaggerated into a caricature. Write a metaphor about it in a funny fashion.

Example: (Only highlight the text to read if you need to be inspired.)

I have a character who is very proud and snobbish, so I want to make those traits into a caricature.

She was as graceful and elegant in her movement as she was proud and snobbish in her speech: When she talked, her voice was the sound of a trumpet: it sounded like it could have been lovely if the player knew how to play Taps instead of blatting out Mary had a Little Lamb.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Audio Writing

Last night I decided to do something different with my writing.

I recorded myself reading the first chapter out loud. It was educational to say the least.

I've heard it said that to really see where your story needs improvement, you should read it out loud. It's so true. I did different voices for the characters and everything and it still sounded like less than publishing quality.

Things I learned from this exercise:

1. I read out loud too fast. It's hard to have patience and not get nervous when reading for the first time.

2. My first draft and second draft versions both have awkward sentences. They are ugly to say and ugly to hear. Gotta clean those up.

3. Things I thought were implied for my characters really weren't all that obvious and I need to throw a little extra time into character description.

4. I have a greater respect for audio books and the people whose voices are recorded in them. I realize now just how good they are.

5. There are lots of cool sound effects on my computer that make me want to add in extra scenes to my story just so I can use them.

Because of this exercise, I thought of how cool it would be to record myself thinking out loud in the car. My commute could become an hour long writing session if I worked hard at it. It would probably improve my story telling abilities as well since I'd be saying things on the spot and wouldn't be able to delete or edit what I just said. It's a thought, anyway. I might try it on my way home tonight.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Writing/Critique Groups

Hey all!

I was reading CKHB's blog about critique groups and it brought me back to an early memory.

I was homeschooled by my mom right up until I went to college and she was awesome at getting us kids groups of friends to hang out with. She started a homeschool co-op, was head of the homeschool band, and even started a homeschool writer's group for me and my brothers.

It was simply called Writing Club and every child was to bring something to the group that met once a month that they had written. We met in various places. Sometimes in my Grandma's church, sometimes in a Library. There was one time we met in a weird building I don't know the name of. It was awesome. There were bookshelves everywhere and tables in the middle and the building was almost in the middle of a gorgeous park so when we were done, I remember going outside and playing. I was really young, like 7 or 8 at the time.

Every month I would scramble to come up with something to share. For the first few times, I wrote a few short (very short!) stories and read them. But then I procrastinated and when the time came, I had nothing written and would just have to listen to everyone else read their stories. I thought everyone else wrote so wonderfully, I was kind of shy to share my own writing.

There was this one girl who wrote a story that made all the moms laugh. And it was long enough that she had to continue it from month to month. I was amazed. The concept of writing something longer than two pages was born in my world, and the next month I had an 8 page, single spaced story that I had poured my heart into.
As luck would have it, the morning before I was supposed to share our printer broke and I only managed to copy 5 of the 8 pages down by hand to share with everyone. I still have those pages and when I read over them now, I cringe at how horribly written it is, yet I smile at how ridiculous I was back then.

It was only after the Writing Club disbanded that I realized I wanted to be a writer. (Go figure.)
Ever since then, I've wished I could have another Writing Club and it sounds like critique groups are fairly close to that.

Many thanks to my wonderful and dear mother who took the time to organize such a club. She probably didn't know it at the time (especially those months I never wrote anything to bring), but they were one of the funnest things we did that year, and I learned a lot about writing. It planted a seed.

All this reminiscing to say that if anyone wants to start a critique group with me, we should talk. Leave a comment below and I'll get things started.
I have a wonderful critique buddy already, but I'd like to get more people's ideas too. My crit buddy and beautiful cousin Sarah. Sarah is awesome. There's no one like her.

Ok, this blog is getting a little bit away from metaphors but that's ok for now. There are no emergencies.........yet.

In response to publishing myths...

(In response to Rachelle Gardner's recent post, I posted a comment that turned out to be rather long, though relevant. Figured it would do better as a blog post than a comment.)

Remember the movie The Pursuit of Happyness? The guy breaks all the rules about job interviews, shows up "dressed like a garbage man" and still gets the job. None of us, I think, would ever risk a possible job opportunity by dressing like a garbage man and showing up on purpose. But sometimes you just can't help it. I know I don't want to risk a possible agent or publisher liking my book by presenting them with a garbage man query. (No offense to garbage men! You guys are awesome! It's just a stereotype. Please still take my garbage out on Friday!) But you know, I suspect there are writers out there who have circumstances that have kept them from polishing their queries, their first pages, or toning down their word counts. Is it still possible for them to get published even if they disobey all the rules? Yes. But do I want to be one of those people if I can help it? No.
I have never known anyone to get upset about a query letter or manuscript rejection because they thought the agent or publisher was being least in person. I've read about several people who get upset online though, and I don't understand why.

Just keep your head about you, and it will serve you well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Linguistics and Jesters

The linguist in me was aroused this morning so I bring you a word of the week. The following is based mostly from information I gleaned off of online dictionaries that had shortened etymological facts at the end of the definition.

Note: I’m an EMERGENCY metaphor technician. The person who administers first aid before the real paramedics can get to the scene. If you don’t want to take my word for it, feel free to visit your own etymological sources. I just hope I point people down the right path.

Word for the week: demure

One of my family’s favorite movies is The Court Jester. It’s kind of an old movie but very funny, starring Danny Kaye and a very young Angela Lansbury. In it, the guy who’s been plotting from the beginning uncovers in front of the king the true identity (though he gets it somewhat wrong) of the Court Jester. While speaking of the Jester’s accomplice, he says “And this demure maid…”

The phrase bugged me because he spoke in an obvious fashion of dislike and disgust that I had to find out what demure meant. As it turns out, he was speaking very correctly by calling her demure, but incorrectly at the same time, and none of it was derogatory (though I’m sure his character thought it was).

Demure has many aspects of different languages and differing ages woven into it so that its original meaning is conjecture at best (at least by me. Any historical linguists who want to weigh in on this?)

In our language today, it means reserved, modest or shy, usually said of a woman or of clothing.

First there was the Latin sense of maturus, to ripen or mature. Then there was the Old French word mur meaning grave. This gave way to another old French word demoure, meaning remain or stay. This made its way into Middle English as demure meaning sober, serious, or reserved.

The maid in question is definitely mature, serious, sober, reserved and dedicated. But she is by no means shy, nor does she wear clothing that looks serious or sober.

She is not reserved. She’s a spy in the castle of her enemy, steals the King’s key, and hits people over the head with wooden beams. She is modest in her own way, that is, she doesn’t flaunt her beauty purposefully, though others do it for her and give her compliments.

Anyways, I just found it funny that the bad guy, who up until that line was doing a pretty good job at being a bad guy, suddenly uses what might be a compliment and might be simply a misplaced description to give his enemy’s accomplice a bad reputation. In the setting of the story, I assume it would have been seen as correct and right for a woman to be demure: a little woman who stays at home and is dedicated to running the household while being shy and modest.

In essence, he wasn’t insulting her. He was simply pointing out that she was a commoner and shouldn’t be sitting next to the king.

I find this fascinating. It’s amazing how many different shades of meaning there are for words. It’s like looking at paint samples. (Oh yes, here comes the metaphor.) If I look at a wall in a room, I might call it white. But if I go to a paint store and try to pick out the exact color, I will come away with 100 samples of white, off-white, egg shell white, cloud white, chalk white, etc. And they will all look incredibly different when next to each other. The wall I was looking at might even have been yellow in comparison and I just didn’t know it.

This is why it’s useful and fun to know the exact meaning of words and to distinguish between words of similar meaning that have different emphasis.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week night Write-a-thon

Last week my cousin and I had a write-a-thon at Caribou. It was awesome. I highly suggest this if anyone is priveleged enough to have such a wonderful cousin and fellow writer as I do. First, it's helpful for me to have someone next to me who is also writing to keep me motivated and accountable. There were times I would rather have surfed the net or tweeted away the hours because I was working on a difficult scene. But because she was there, I pushed through it. (BTW, it especially helps if they can see your computer screen so they know if you're writing or not.)

Also, there were countless times when I needed a name for something, needed a synonym, or just an extra brain to pop out some ideas. We went back and forth asking for words, definitions, etc. "What's someone called who's in charge of a school but sounds more medieval-like than super-intendant?" (Provost is the word we ended up with for that one.)

And, of course, every now and then we ask each other for a metaphor for something. It's always tons of fun because at this point, we can either be serious or say something hilarious.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I was doing some research today for my WIP about sleep deprivation and what it can do to the body.
It's kind of scary.
I found out lots of fascinatingly odd and obscure facts which I plan to use on my kids when I'm 40 by beating them at Trivial Pursuit.
But until then, I'll spare you the details.

This week I downloaded TweetDeck to see what it was all about. It's an amazing little program (I feel like I should be able to call it an app, but I don't know if it officially is) that turns the concept of 140 characters from something simple to something incredibly complicated and amazing. I'm a little wierded out by the constant novelty and potential for connections. It's truly mind boggling.

But, even though I'm confused, I can immediately see why I would subject myself to such a tool. It keeps track of a lot of things I could never do on my own and enables me to experience live chats on Twitter. I'm already counting on it as necessary to every day life. Scary? Maybe. Fun? Definitely. Productive? That remains to be seen.

One thing about twitter, for those who don't use it or know about it, it has a completely different feel than blogs, facebook, or other social networking abilities. With twitter, things are done in real time and it feels like a much more real connection with people than other electronic venues. It's not for everyone, but now I see why several people say that Twitter is absolutely necessary for writers.

Have a good weekend! Be safe and get enough sleep. Your body will thank you in about 20 years.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Charged up and ready to go

It's time to get into Dodge for, that's not a typo, it's my fiance's silly pun about my new car.
I now have a 2008 Dodge Charger which is very nice. Not only can I listen to audio books now, but I can listen to them with the windows up in my car because I have air conditioning again. Yay! I'm so glad I don't have to listen to Mrs. Bennett's voice blaring at top volume along the freeway.

My cousin and fellow writer Sarah and I are meeting tonight to have a write-a-thon. In case you missed that, the mathematic breakdown goes like this: Coffee shop + Cousins + writing = awesomeness.

My WIP is a science fiction/fantasy novel. I just completed the first draft, refined the outline, and wrote the opening scene. Tonight I'll get to work on expanding the opening scene, and hopefully be able to fill in a few plot holes in the outline.

Side note: I own a 2008 Dodge Charger that's a sparkly navy blue. Any ideas what I should name it? Extra brownie points if the name comes from something having to do with Lord of the Rings or Narnia.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book List

I have an hour commute to work every morning and an hour drive back home. That's 10 hours per week of audio book listening time! I love to read printed books at home and books on my Kindle when I'm away from home. Thus, I have two or three mediums in which I read, none of which take away from the time of the others. In the past I used to be able to handle 2 or 3 books at a time at most. But now it's 2 or 3 books per medium.

Here's a list of the books I've read recently:

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (In progress)
4. Seventh Son Book One by J.C. Hutchins (In progress)
5. The Shack by William P. Young (In progress)
6. Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (In progress)
8. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (In progress)
9. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (In progress)
10. All but the last of the Harry Potter series
11. Murder at Avedon Hill by P.G. Holyfield

Books I plan to read next:
1. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
2. Redwall by Brian Jacques
3. Saint, Sinner, Showdown, etc. by Ted Dekker
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
5. The Godfather by Mario Puzo, Robert Thompson, and Peter Bart
6. 1984 by George Orwell
7. 'Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
8. The Silmarilion by J.R.R. Tolkien
9. The Legend of Sigud and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien
10. ?

I can't believe it. I actually have a spot open for a book! I'm sure I could fill it with a quick search at my favorite book stores, but I'd much rather have someone recommend books to me. Anyone have an idea what I could fill that last slot with? I was tempted to put Stardust by Neil Gaiman there but I already have two of his books on my list and I like to be varied. I suppose I could put down the second book of Pratchett's disc world series, but that goes without saying since I'm reading the first one.

By the way, congrats to Neil Gaiman on winnnig the Hugo award for Best Novel!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Betsy posted about one of the many things poetry has to offer fiction writers.

I may not ever get my poems published, but I may never get my fiction published if I don't write completely unrelated and voraciously genred poems.

Writing poetry makes you think of all kinds of things one would never think of while writing strictly fiction. New and brilliant metaphors pop out. Deliciously aesthetic syllables come together.

It's kind of like how I read Pride and Prejudice and suddenly my writing had much to recommend itself to others and sounds very proper.
At least to me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Metaphor for Social Networking

Sometimes I feel like a greasy, slick haired salesman who's selling products that are great but that no one cares about because they would never buy from a door-to-door salesman. The same product, if advertised on TV, then seen in a storefront window, then recommended by friends, would sell.

The publishing industry seems full of free advice givers and I am so grateful to them for taking the time to write blogs and show me the way. They are doing their part to make sure that agents and publishers have the most talented, capable, and polished writers to choose from. This in turn will (hopefully) lead to better books which will (hopefully) lead to more readers.

But is social networking really the golden goose of the new publishing era? I can't help but wonder if it's really safe to assume that because networking is free, people will network with you. Do you follow someone on Twitter just because they follow you, even if they're not of interest to you? I was followed by a self-proclaimed professional psychic the other day. (Outside the context of Twitter that sounds funny and creepy.) But I didn't follow them back because I have no interest in the tweets of that industry. (If I start writing a novel with a main character who's a psychic, well, then I might change my mind.)

Even though networking is free, I don't expect others to follow me or connect with me just because I'm there. I feel like I still need to be the agitated salesperson sticking their foot in the door before it slams (ouch!) begging for someone to buy my wares for free.

Price used to be a filter for decision making. But with networking, we no longer have that blockage/convenience/inconvenience.
So what kind of filter should we use to decide how our networking minutes are spent?

I don't believe networking is free. It just doesn't cost U.S. dollars per every tweet-follower or blog poster. But it does have its own currency and that is time.

Here's a fun activity to try: Quantify the currency of networking in values of time, specifically your time and what it's worth. Is one hour spent tweeting, facebooking and commenting on blogs worth 3k words of a novel? Are the ten minutes that people spend reading your blog worth one hour of your time to research what you put into that blog?

Note: This activity will drive you nuts. Have fun.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sci-Fi and New Things

I was thinking today about what draws audiences to Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy genres in the media. After seeing G.I. Joe this weekend with my fiance, we had a discussion about it.

Notice: He disagrees with me what genre G.I. Joe should fit under and had some interesting points. But I'm not going to get into that. Just assume G.I. Joe is loosely related to Sci-Fi for this post.

To me, the draw of sci-fi is that someone else's imagination is at work and I get to experience it, adding it to my own collection of strange and weird ideas that have spawned from human nature. Even though Sci-Fi Fantasy worlds are often completely different than our own, I find I learn more about human nature and the real world from them than I do from realistic movies.

There's no way a sci-fi or fantasy genre can be completely unrelated to our own world, so I am mostly interested in seeing what is the same. Are heros still praised for their cowboy wrecklessness? Or is a villain still disdained for his disregard for human life and happiness? Is gravity still the same? Do birds still sing in those worlds? Why did the author wish to create his own world the way he did and what does it say about his/her view of the real world?

Seeing something new and amazing, something meant to drive hand-picked emotions through our hearts, is what interests me. The rush of something new. The excitement.

Speaking of something new, last night I was graced with the presence of a tiny baby bird in the cage of our two finches whom we had assumed were both female.

Despite having seen G.I. Joe this weekend, a very exciting movie, seeing that little tiny bird wave a struggling wing into the air was the better of the two.

Movies, books, audiobooks and the media go to great lengths to produce the emotions of awe and excitement in us. But the image of an Eiffel Tower crashing down making my seat vibrate, however cool that is, was surpassed by the little red scrawling thing in the nest. Plots must bloat themselves with dastardly and unexpected happenings to equal real life experiences.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Being Reachable

I read a blog post by Janet Reid about being reachable on the internet in case an interested agent or publisher or someone important wants to contact you.

So I googled my name to see what I could find. Then I realized I needed to sign out of facebook, amazon, and a lot of other things to make the search more honest. After all, a stranger wouldn't be able to see my full facebook page.

To my surprise, I found an article I had been interviewed for without even knowing it. Cool.

I was also talking to my writing friend cousin about this blog. She said she thinks I've gotten bogged down by trying to make it just about metaphors. So I'm going to cut that out.

I'll still post about metaphors when it comes naturally, but I think once I get the main information up here for people to reference to, posting about writing, publishing, and other stuff will be ok too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I know it's been almost two weeks since I posted but I've been busy with a work project.
Just want to let you know I'm still alive and kicking and I will be back to blogging more regularly soon (hopefully).

Until then, I need some feedback from you guys:

What can I do to help you the most in regards to writing/metaphors? Do you want to see metaphor examples? Do you want to be challenged to come up with metaphors every week? Every day? What would you like to see on this blog?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sorry I've been away for awhile, but I was able to get a ton done on my actual writing.

Ok, so on with the post.

What effect do metaphors have on writing?

I can think of a few things.
1. When used for description, it adds flavor. Kind of like the salt in cookies. If you make cookies without salt, they taste horrible. But with the salt, they taste great, but your mind never registers a salty taste. I think metaphors do the same for literature. They add a special something, but no one notices it was the metaphors that added it. (Except I don't think descriptions without metaphors taste horrible.)

2. Metaphors lend themselves well to humor. If you want to make your readers laugh or at least be amused, you could use a hilarious comparison. The funnier metaphors I've heard read like jokes.

3. Metaphors can draw the reader into deeper thought about a particular subject. This is very important to me because I hate writing allegories. If the concept I'm trying to get across to a reader requires allegorical writing, instead I try to use a simple metaphor to clue the reader in that there is more going on than what's on the surface. I've always liked the beginning of the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. He talks about a turtle moving slowly on the road for quite a while. Then a truck comes and spins the turtle off the road. You might think this was boring, but he does it in a way that makes the turtle an obvious metaphor for one of the characters in the story. (He also described the turtle so magnificently it reminded me of a T-Rex!) Metaphors as foreshadowing is lots of fun.

4. Bad metaphors can show off a character's ineptness. If you want to create a character that gets on everyone's nerves, including the reader, just have him or her use cliche metaphors a lot and in all the wrong places, or even mixed metaphors and dead metaphors.

Any other thoughts on how metaphors are used? I know I've only scratched the surface here. Please comment!

I've changed things a little. In order to see the example, you'll have to highlight the text. That way you won't be spoiled with the example before your creative genius has a chance to think for itself. Unless of course you want to see it. Then you can just highlight.

Use these two things in a metaphor:
A ring
Eating American Chinese foood

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Plants can have feelings too

Ok, that last post was a little long. Sorry if I lost you in the reading.
A friend of mine also pointed out that I know nothing of IP addresses and they were right. But hopefully the point of the post got through despite that minor mistake. Actually, the point was to be amusing so if it made you smile, great.


Come up with a metaphor for a feeling using a kind of plant.

Her loneliness curled in on her like she was a mimosa plant in a crowded room.

Note: Mimosa plants curl in on themselves when they are touched. They're pretty cool.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Parties get lame after about 5 years

People started using MySpace. Then it got clogged with spammers and add-happy users who wanted to increase their friend count. People who truly wanted to social network online moved to facebook. Then facebook got adds, and while there is little commercially induced spam, the constant self-promotion has forced those who are truly reaching out for synergy to move to yet another social networking site: twitter. Twenty years from now, I wonder if the same people will just keep drifting from one social networking site to the next as each becomes corrupted. This will mean connections must be made anew and it kind of resets the hierarchy every time we move. There will, of course, always be change ups with those who remain stuck on a slowly diminishing website and those who jump fresh into social networking online for the first time using the current site.

There should be a name for this phenomenon. I predict once there's a name for it, articles will start to be written about it. Then Apple will come up with a brilliant app to transfer connections between networking sites. Then networking sites will get even more creative and beat the app so you can't do that. Then a new job field will spring up calling for creators of social networking sites which will hire a ton of people to create a bunch of sites, and then lay a bunch of them off because they only need a few people to maintain the massive sites that have grown.

We are the true networkers. We travel from site to site, seeking connection and productivity first and entertainment second. We find havens here and there for half a decade before moving on. The advertising paparazzi follows us around, always conveniently 5 years behind.

In a sense, we are destroying the sites that we love with nuclear fall outs of spam and ads. Once the PR people find it because they want to reach out to us, it will be tainted forever. But the good news is we can constantly create new worlds, resetting the social hierarchies every 5 years. This means if I get rejected by an agent over twitter now, 5 years from now I might get accepted by that same agent on the future networking site, but neither of us will know this happened because we will both have different screen names and probably different IP addresses (unless we both use Macs, of course).

So here's to all my twitter friends, who I talk with regularly, who I used to talk with on facebook, who I used to see on myspace. Once these electronic sidewalks get crowded and we move to other places where we can bump into people, I will see you again in 5 years and I look forward to meeting you at the new alpha site again for the first time. Sorry if you don't make it. I would really have liked to see that other screen name of yours. You know, the one you only bring out once you realize you only have to live with it for 5 years. I personally am going to have my next half-decade identity be PrincessoftheAmazon. I think I can live with all the hits I get from misdirected jungle dwellers and book buyers for half a decade, especially if they're nice and have lived former lives on twitter alongside me.

All social networking sites have a half life, my friends. Don't get stuck as a worm next time around! Build up your karma personality and typing skills and for goodness' sake, weed out all the stuff that makes you sound like a moron. The force of the internet does not look kindly on rebirthing people who will kill the new network with their stupidity more quickly than an add for genital wart cures appearing next to posts about rainbows and puppies.

Drift on, true connectors. Drift on.

Side note: If two people who God made to be together are lucky enough to find each other, what happens if one of them gets stuck on myspace while the other one moves to twitter?

Other side note: I laugh when I see movies and tv shows trying to act current and cool by talking about social networking sites or incorporating them into a crime somehow. It's so obvious they're not trying to bring us entertainment by being relevant to our lives. They're desperately trying to fool us into thinking they are up with the times. It's so cheesy, it works. Every time the chief of whatever-law-enforcement-guild strolls onto the screen shooting personality out his butt and asks, "What's a blog?" (actually, they will probably name a social networking site from three cycles ago that no one uses anymore) and its supposed to be funny that the old guy isn't up with the times, I am entertained by it. I clap and say "Excellent metaphor for yourself, tv show. I'm surprised you're that self-aware." Of course, this is mean of me. I don't really want them to be up with the times because then networking sites would only last one to two years instead of five. But I still enjoy laughing at them because they are not.

And the metaphor that got me started on all this:

Using the word 'post' to describe new information that appears on a website. Kind of interesting to think that long ago, it meant to actually tack a piece of paper to a hitching post or the post of a saloon, etc. Using already existing objects that have a purpose to convey information. Fascinating to think of that as a metaphor for our electronic posts today.

MDA: I used several metaphors in this post without even trying (well, I sort of tried. I like metaphors). Pick your favorite and turn it into an extended metaphor.

Note: an extended metaphor is a metaphor that is not contained or explained in one sentence, but more like a paragraph or two. They're usually used to slow the reader down and make them focus on the metaphor to get it through their thick skulls that the tenure and vehicle are really, REALLY alike.

Or just write an extended metaphor on your own. You don't have to use mine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Working hard and hardly working


Been busy writing so haven't had much time to post here. After the JuJu challenge I'd like to say I'll have more time to post but to be honest, I kind of hope this writing grove stays with me.

JuJu is a personal challenge inspired by some bloggers and writers I know. My goal, abstractly is to write a significant amount during June and July. More concretely, I'd like to at least write 42,000 by the end of this two month span. 60,000 would be better and I would be satisfied at that. I would be ecstatically happy if I could reach 100,000, meaning 50,000 in each month, just like NaNoWriMo, but I'm going to take it one day at a time, and shoot for 1,000 words per day.

I've been listening to a podcast novel lately by J.C. Hutchins titled "Seventh Son" (you can find it on and he uses a lot of metaphors to add to his descriptions. The whole book is like listening to poetry. At times it's a little heavy, and other times it draws me right in.

When you write, do you use metaphors a lot? What do you use them for? Do you think they can be used too much?

The assignment today is to come up with a metaphor and use it in your writing, then tell me how you used it. And if you want to, why you used it.

For example, this is one I used this past week as a description which also indicates to the reader the character's attitude toward the place:
[The psychiatric hospital's] long corridors stood with open doors looking like mouths or catacombs. He couldn’t decide which.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I waited to post these meters for my WIP (Work in Progress) until I actually had a substantial amount of words to update it with. :)
Makes me feel more important.
Hope you enjoy them! I'm a little obsessed with progress bars.

There are so many metaphors for writing out there. Do you have a favorite?

This is one of mine: Writing is like performing open-heart surgery on yourself. You usually don't feel a thing, but it still seems like your entire life depends on it. Your heart becomes a part of your work and then you have to operate on it...very fix all the problems and make it just right.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dead Metaphors

Ok, I really like that I get to call them dead metaphors. It just sounds cool.

There are two aspects to a dead metaphor:

1. A dead metaphor can be a metaphor in which the speaker and probably most of the listeners/readers no longer know its meaning.

Example: He dialed her phone number.

This is not a true example, since most of us know what it used to mean to dial a phone. Even though we no longer use dials to call someone, the phrase occassional still pops up. In order for this example to become a dead metaphor, it would take, say, a couple generations down the road when all but a few odd people have forgotten where the phrase comes from.

2. Another type of dead metaphor is a metaphor in which there never was a link from the tenure to the vehicle to begin with. I am reminded of a few lines from the movie Chicken Run.

"Like a fish" doesn't have any obvious connection to being all quiet like. It's a dead metaphor.


Choices! Yay!

1. Find a dead metaphor used in every day life.


2. Come up with a metaphor replacement for the rodents' dead metaphor.

We were quiet as......
or a fish.

(Hey, that's another choice. Cool.)

Example: We were quiet as the calm before a storm.
We slipped in and out of there like a fish.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Implicit Metaphors

An Implicit Metaphor is where the likeness of the two objects is implied but not stated. Basically, it's a metaphor without an explanation.

I usually like to put explanations on my metaphors because it's a great tool for delivering an extra punch or to make a conceit metaphor understandable.

But there are every day expressions that use implicit metaphors. I find I use implicit metaphors without even thinking about it and they are usually made up on the spot without really thinking. This leads me to believe that implicit metaphors are also the more natural metaphors: the tenure and vehicle are very closely related and our minds naturally link them together in certain ways.

If I say "Zip your fly" it is an implicit metaphor because I have not specified what the vehicle "fly" stands for, and yet you will (hopefully) be able to figure it out with no further explanation.


Find examples of everyday usages of implicit metaphors or make one up.

The Bank has many branches.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Big happenings

This weekend I got engaged!

So, for the MDA, maybe a metaphor about love, romance, or couples?

It seems when love is involved in writing, the author usually either treats it with epic-sounding words and fantastic situations, endowing on it the height of human happiness, or he/she treats it like a joke, uses it for humor, etc. Sometimes they do both.

I found this site contains hillarious metaphors written by high school students about love. Though there is some discussion about whether these are actually metaphors or similes, they still made me smile and gave me a little inspiration for writing.


Write a metaphor about romance or love. It can either be epic or humorous, or both, or anything in between.

The two lovers were determined to stick with each other like white on rice.

Btw, thanks to JP and Aranel and an annonymous off-site comment poster (my younger brother) for the comments.

I get to go to a Twin's game tonight with my fiance. Yay!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fireworks! Explosions! Tomatos!

Today I am like a firework: pretty, pretty hot, and exploding because I can't contain my joyfulness at this wonderful day God has made.

Still working on that continuum of different kinds of metaphors. It's like pulling teeth to find time to work on it and I'm no dentist. But I'll figure it out.


Compare an emotion with an element of nature, or vice versa. Classic metaphor formula.

Her cold pride needed some room to thaw out. It was like a tomato: best ripened in the dark.


The waterfall angrily swept over the cliff.

Question on that last one: Do you consider it to be a metaphor or merely a description? Feel free to vote in the comments!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Different kinds of metaphors

Hello there.
I recently had a conversation with my friend Sarah and we discussed how many different metaphors there are.
Sometime soon I intend to put up the many different metaphors on a continuum so we can see their differences and how they're used.

Also, have you ever noticed how many metaphors are in the Bible? It's amazing when you actually start paying attention to them.

More later. For now, the MDA:

Use these two words in a metaphor somehow:


My example:
The heat-seeking dart flew like a bee looking for honey: able to track, but not always able to hit its target.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Metaphor Basics

The Tenure of a metaphor is the object you start with and are trying to describe.

The Vehicle of a metaphor is the object you are comparing the tenure with.

Metaphor of the Day Assignment (MDA):

Use these tenures and vehicles to make a metaphor.

Tenure: Clouds
Vehicle: Bread Crumbs

Example: The clouds were like bread crumbs.

This is rather simplistic, as it does not explain why the clouds are like bread crumbs or what particular aspect of clouds resemble bread crumbs.

There is sometimes a third part to metaphors: the explanation (or the tie). This part comes after the tenure and vehicle and explains how the vehicle is like the tenure. This becomes more important with advanced forms of the metaphor but I’ll post that later.
Example: The clouds were like bread crumbs soaking up the last rays of gravy from the sun.


The other day a friend of the family came up to me and said his daughter had told him I talk differently than other people.
“Oh, really?” I asked.
“Yes. She said you never, extra words,” And then he smiled. “You don’t use the word ‘like’ except when it’s actually called for.”
I appreciated his daughters observations. Few people would recognize that.

It got me thinking about the word ‘like’ and how people misuse it. I had assumed before that people who use the word ‘like’ in an excessive way are ignorant of the finer points of English. But I soon realized, they are actually using one of the more powerful tools of the English language: the metaphor.

Next time someone uses ‘like’ in a sentence, stop and think what it means. If my friend says, “I, like, totally assumed there was going to be cake.” my friend is not saying, in the technical sense, that she actually assumed there was going to be cake. She’s saying her actions of thinking were very close to assuming there was going to be cake, but never quite made it there.
Sometimes when I come across a metaphor in literature or poetry, I wish I could ask the writer what they meant and connect the dots a little more for me. So next time someone says ‘like’ in a sentence, catch them off balance and ask “What do you mean? How is your thinking like assuming there would be cake and how is it not like?”

Note: This will drive you insane.

Since this is my first post, I won’t bother with the metaphor of the day assignment because I first want to explain what a metaphor is and how to use it. I also want to detail instructions for the MDA and am not sure what they will be yet.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Welcome to the EMT blog.
Will have more posted soon. Thanks for reading.
Check back soon.