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?