Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ideas R' Us

if nothing else works, write writing prompts :-D

Found Shit 

Make a jumpstart jar
"While reading "poemcrazy: freeing your life with words" by Susan Wooldrige (Three Rivers Press 1997), I became enchanted with her chapter about word tickets.
I went out to OfficeMax and bought a roll of them and began writing my own words on them... but the tickets were small and my handwriting too hard to read, so I began collecting words by cutting them out of newspapers and magazines and gluing them to the tickets. I added in provocative phrases, and in no time at all, I had filled an old Reebok shoe box full of tickets..."

On Writing a Novel: Three Letters

Philip Pullman's Pep Talk, 1/11-08

Now, go and do something else, and don't even dare to think about writing. It starts tomorrow...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Resolution - and other things

When I was googling "writing novel resolution" for my "synopsis" post, I got a lot of interesting links.

Resolution: Write a Novel
I like what D-Dub says :-)
I like the blog too. She doesn't say much but it's interesting. On the other hand, I find almost anything said about writing interesting :-D

NaNoWriMo at About.com

Story Structure and Plot
Peder Hill has collected some interesting information about writing.

Three simple resolutions for writers for 2010
1) be realistic, 2) read and 3) write :-D


Writing the novel by Stephanie Gertler
Why do people keep asking "where do you get your ideas"? I get my ideas from the same place everyone else does. Where do you get the ideas of your dreams? Because, everybody dreams, you know. Even if you don't remember dreaming, you do dream. We get the ideas from our lives, what we see, hear, experience, understand and associate. Big deal. The answer is always the same. There is no idea store you order ideas from. Even if there was, you wouldn't be able to use them, if you didn't have ideas of your own.


How to create subplots
I don't think I have been thinking about subplots... maybe that's why I'm good at short stories but not novels :-D

Lisa Gardner: Writer's Toolbox

Resolved: Writing is a job
"The startling conclusion of this experiment was that the more hours he spent working on compositions, the more music he actually composed. I don't know why this struck me as such a radical concept, but it did -- time spent working equals output of work. Amazing!"
ROTFLMAO Indeed... amazing :-D

Sagging Middle Syndrome

Seven elements of novel writing, or, actually, seven tips for novels. You could follow these tips and create a novel outline, if you still wonder what to write.

Combine it with:
The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot
Aunt Sarah's Handy Dandy Plotting Recipe
and
Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method
and Footsteps to a Novel isn't bad either :-D

Fiction Factor: Endings

Quick Fixes for 6 Fiction Writing Weaknesses

Create a Book from Your Columns or Articles

I also learned a couple of new words: Blogel, Blogella and Flogel :-D Now, blogel is a blog-novel, and blogella blog-novella, but what is flogel?

Some writing competitions to keep an eye on...

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

Yearly, in January

First Crime Novel Competition
Yearly, in Autumn-Winter

Writers and Illustrators of the Future
Quarterly competition

Friday, October 29, 2010

You don't need to be available. Ever.

You don't need a facebook account, Twitter, a blog... I read only some weeks ago an article about a man who writes his books with pen on paper, he doesn't have a computer, internet, facebook, twitter, blog or anything like this. He's a "good old-fashioned author". And it works for him.
If you find yourself in Facebook when you should be writing, in Twitter, in the internet surfing and reading interesting things, writing in your blog, you might be using your internet to procrastinate what you should REALLY be doing. Writing.
Some writers do tweet their life away.

Why professional writers need a blog - or not. 
Do writers need to network? Do crackers need cheese?
How Twitter helps freelance writers
How social networking helps freelance writers
Television and your future self

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Muses

"There are only three Muses: one who is born from the movement of water, another who makes sound by striking the air, and a third, who is embodied only in the human voice."
-- Varro

Muses are the origin for such words like amuse, museum and music... and these are the places you should go to find the Muses... what you find amusing, collections of interesting things and things that touch you, make you feel, wake emotions in you...

In Star Trek Deep Space 9 there was a "muse" who inspired people to greatness while nourishing themselves with their life.

Would you change the rest of your life to the chance of creating a masterwork?

You don't need to...

Where do your ideas come from?
Poet's Journal, Part II
Where do your writing ideas come from?
Stephen King's answer (not the warehouse one ;-))
The Idea Store
Where do ideas come from?
Philip Pullman's answer (P.S. Philip, perhaps that was a joke as well...?)
Simon Rose: Where do ideas come from? Part I, II, III and IV

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 44 of the 100 days' challenge...

I have been a bad girl. I haven't been doing my job. I haven't been doing much anything.

Of course I have my excuses, I'm not feeling well, I'm in the middle of changes, my parents are sick - daddy has prostate cancer that has spread to his bones, and mother has problems with strokes and such... But - that's life. There's always things happening in life. Life shouldn't be an excuse not to write and do your job :-D

The truth is that writers write, and if you rather do other things, you're not a writer. It's ok, it's totally ok. Not everyone needs to be a writer. And even if you are not a writer now, today, you might become a writer later. Jose Saramago's most important novel; Baltasar and Blimunda, was published when he was 60. It was his 4th novel. 15 years later he received the Nobel Prize, and 27 years later he was dead. (A little more numbers - he wrote his first book when he was 27, it was published 20 years later. All his books were published during the last 40 years of his life.)

For 20 years or so I wrote little and published nothing.
- Jose Saramago

I suppose, all I can do is do better the last 66 days :-D

P.S. Another tips from those who supposedly know what they are doing:
Learn to write in the manuscript format from your very first draft, so you don't need to think about that at least. The editors say a lot of manuscripts are discarded because they are in the wrong format.
And, before you react on that, think for a minute that you need to read 20 novels every day, to choose one of them to be recommended to your friends.
20 books A DAY!
You won't be choosing the 120K tiles, you won't keep reading anything that doesn't catch your interest the first 20 pages, probably you don't give the book even 20 pages to impress you, and you won't read books that have "bad" language. You also won't be reading books that are difficult print or in other ways uncomfortably formatted.
So, give the editors some slack, and remember that they probably need to go through hundreds of novels every day. Try to make it a bit easier for them to discover how amazing your novel is ;-)

The usual manuscript format is:

* an 8-1/2 x 11 inc page (A4)
* 1-inch margins all around
* double spacing
* a clear type font in 10 or 12 pitch
* opening chapter paragraphs that start halfway down the page
* 25 lines to a full page (could be a line or two less. Generally, a 25-line page equals 250 words. This is important information to have when, later, an editor asks you for a word count.)
* a header at the top left of every page that includes your last name and a slash mark followed by your title (in this down-and-dirty stage you can replace a working title with "Best-selling Novel" for motivation, if you wish)
* page number on the right.

- According to Garda Parker

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Great first sentences

Call me Ishmael.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
—Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)

It was a dark and stormy night...
Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

It was like so, but wasn't.
Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1995)

All this happened, more or less.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

They shoot the white girl first.
Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)

and other 100 best first lines from novels, as decided by the American Book Review

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The Bible

In the beginning there were the marsh, the hoe - and Jussi
Väinö Linna, Under the North Star

The First Chapter

Monday, October 25, 2010

Taming your novel

Plotting the novel

Choosing a genre

Why do you need to limit yourself to a genre? Why not just write the book and then define which genre it is?
Of course that can be done, but different genres require different style of writing, and if you are aware of the style of writing, the times when you are sitting there not knowing what to write next get shorter and fewer.
Also, different genres ask different questions about characters, environment etc.
Finally, it's easier to sell your book if it has a clear genre.

types of novels and which one you should choose

But... should you?

never let genre get in the way of a good storyMixing it up

Other things on the subject of taming the novel ;-)

TV script-writing trick helped organize YA novel

Who Needs ‘Em? Conflict, Resolution, and Organization

How to Organize a novel
- in the sideline is links to other interesting articles.

Organizing the novel writing adventure

Lela Davidson's How to write a novel in six months

What's your motivation?

I love this First Sale interview series at Dear Author, romance writing blog. It's a nice reminder of why one wants to write a novel and get it published too :-D

Setting goals to your writing career
Setting writing goals

Write for the right reasons
Fiction Factor: Motivation

10 disciplines for fiction writers

Sunday, October 24, 2010

the necessary evil

cleaning...

You really need to keep your environment clean and ordered. It helps you to write, because
a) you will be THINKING about cleaning, if you haven't done it. It takes surprisingly big amount of your brain capacity, which you should be free to use fully in your writing.
b) clean space is inspiring. Your mind will try to fill it. Use this to fill your pages with words ;-)
c) People with allergies are only very, very sensitive. Everyone gets tired of needing to breathe dust. You don't need to be tired, you need all the aid you can get to be alert and awake.

If all the members using the household take their responsibility (and even small children and animals can be trained to do their bit), it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes a day to see that your home is "clean enough". It doesn't need to be spotless, so clean that you could eat from floor (you can't. Ever. And won't either.) or not even the hotel standard. It's a home, not an ad for a cleaning firm or a hospital. (sometimes it is, but not usually, at least for writers.) If you keep the floor empty so that you can drag the vacuum cleaner through the home once a week, it's good enough.

You just need a couple of rules:
1) there is a place for every item and every item has a place.
2) You put the things back right after you have used them.
3) Put the visible scraps, garbage, crap in the garbage bin when you see it (or straight after you have stopped creating it).

This means that after breakfast, you put the egg shells and used teabags and coffee filters and what nots in the garbage bin, and you wash the dishes you used and let dry.
After having taken a shower, you dry the floor and hang your towel to dry in its place.
After having brushed your teeth, you wipe the sink and mirror.
Just the way you wipe your bottom, flush and wash and dry your hands after having used the toilet.
It doesn't take a long time, but it makes all the difference.

If you do arts and crafts, you clean up your work place every day after having used it. This is what we learned to do in craft school, because we weren't the only people using the same room and tools, so they had to be clean and everything in place for the next user. You can easily show yourself the same consideration.

You should wipe the laundry machine and clean the floor from all possible excess washing detergent and lint every time you have used the laundry machine. This is what we do in Swedish common laundry rooms. It doesn't take long time, but makes all the difference in the long run.

If you take a book from a book shelf, you put it back in after you have read it.
If you use a pair of scissors, you put them back into the drawer or nail or where-ever you storage it.
You either hang your clothes to air or put them in a laundry basket after having worn them.
You pack the clean clothes to their correct storage spaces as part of taking down the dry clothes from  the line (or out from a dryer). Don't just take them down/out and leave in a pile somewhere.

You should really see just a little afore of yourself. Bend down and pick up your hair from the shower drain. Wipe the table, counters, stove, sink, what ever you have used after having used it. If fat drops burn on stove or if your toothpaste dries on the sink, it's a hell to get it off. It's barely a bother to wipe it off fresh.

Also, choose your tasks wisely. For example, don't bother making your bed, because airing it is good for you. We have gathered a lot of unnecessary rules from our upbringing, television, friends and magazines. Find out why you do things, and stop doing things you do just to stop people from talking about how nasty you have at home. Most creative people have at least somewhat cluttered homes, and you don't need to be "good at housekeeping". It's a skill and should be appreciated as such. Housewives and SAHMs do an amazing job, but seldom get credited for it. We should really ease up a bit and understand that I don't need to be a superwoman and good at everything. It really IS enough to just vacuum once a week (or dust and swipe the floors, if you don't have a vacuum cleaner), it really is ok to have dishes in the dish drainer. You don't need to dry the dishes and set them neatly in a cupboard. It's ok not to make your bed. It's ok to have it arranged so that it works for you, and if it works for you, don't care about what people tell you.

Your guests will usually note ONLY 4 things when it comes to cleaning
1) dishes. Dirty dishes are #1 thing to make your home look uncleaned. Also, everything you offer your guests to drink or eat with/from should be spotless.
2) toilet - see that your toilet is sparkling clean, that the sink is clean, that you have picked up all the hair from all drains and that there is plenty of toilet paper and clean hand towels available.
3) kitchen - the area where food is stored, prepared and eaten should be clean. The tablecloth must be spotless. It's better to eat on bare (well cleaned) table than with a stained tablecloth.
4) entry - you should have space for your guests to store their coats so that they won't be brushed upon or stained by; there should be some surface to put the things the guests have on their hands, like handbags, gifts, gloves and so on, during the time they take off the outer garments, and there should be a chair or stool to be used if needed when taking off and putting on shoes, if shoes are to be taken off. (Which it is in Scandinavia). It is also a nice touch to offer your guests slippers or socks or such, if the shoes are to be removed, but that's just a petty, pretty thing and doesn't have anything to do with cleaning :-D

Make it easy

Get yourself a rug in front of the doors, because that will stop a lot of crap being carried in your home on feet of people.
Have a washcloth on a rack by kitchen and bathroom sink for easy access and therefore also easy wiping of the surfaces, and also so that you can quickly rinse it and hang to dry for next use. Have plenty of paper baskets, garbage bins and tabletop waste baskets, and empty them when they are getting full. Not when they are full, but when "there's place for a couple more x's there". Otherwise you will come to the waste basket with your hands full but no place to put the garbage in.

I would like to point out a couple of things here. You need to check the back of your stove every now and then, as when you fry, you will get teeny tiny layer of fat on the wall behind the stove, and when you boil something, the steam will wash down this fat, and it will collect on the electric parts of the stove, and might cause electric problems, even fire.
You need to keep the fridge cooling grills clean from dust. It takes just a bottle brush and a couple of swipes to do this. This will help the fridge working and keep your electric bills down.
You need to keep the fridge cleaned. Empty it and wash it once a month. It is not at all uncommon for people to have something spoiled, old, rotten or moldy in their fridge, how ever "good" they are, and this takes space from good food, makes the good food go bad quicker, and it also makes you less likely to use the fridge, let the good food go bad, because you are not sure if you can use it, you don't know what you have and have not and so on and so forth. So clean the fridge once a month.
It is very important that you keep your AC clean. It can make you sick if you don't.
Also, keep the heating elements, lamp shades and such dust-free, because you will get a nasty smell of burned dust if you don't.

About once a month, take a round in your home with a duster, and dust your books, pictures, all the little things on open shelves, walls, tops of doors... well... everything, especially if you are a collector (or hoarder. Creative types are usually dragons in disguise :-D). We usually don't, but doing this will remove a lot of "invisible" dust and stop it from becoming visible.

Finally, if you need a quick clean up, wipe the mirrors, door handles and light switches. It's amazing how much such details do. You can almost have as nasty as can be, but if the mirrors, door handles and light switches are clean, people are likely to think the rest is "not usual" :-D

P.S. A lot of people swear in the name of FLY lady. I don't. I used to be part of that, but they were getting more and more obsessed with cleaning... it wasn't ok to just wipe the sink clean, you were to use bleach and boiling water and all sorts of unnecessary, even harmful things, that took way too much time and bother. It really is enough if you just take a dishcloth and wipe the sink, tap, tabletop and wall behind, as the last thing you do after having washed up your evening meal dishes, and not even bother being meticulous about it. My breaking point came when one of the members was sharing how she and her siblings EMPTIED their mother's home while she was in hospital, without her knowledge or approval, and everyone was praising this member... I'm sorry, but human rights, values and integrity are thousand times more worth than the cleanest home in the world, or the economical value of their prospective inheritance. Dang! Also, I was p'd off by the constant pushing of the merchandise. EVERY DAY you were told how much easier, even possible, your FLYing would be if you just had this or that gadget, daily chores were built around using one of their gadgets and so on and so forth. They weren't even interested in giving people alternatives. I asked, and was basically told to find a way around it myself.
Sure, I did. I also quit the whole dang thing, and I will speak against them at any possible venue, because I firmly believe they are after selling their crap and forcing the "clean" dictatorship on creative people who WANT to hoard and collect things and live in "chaos".
I mean, there are "filers" and there are "pilers", and neither system is good for the other. My husband won't be ABLE to find anything from my files, just as I can't find anything from his piles. He knows exactly what's where in his piles. They tested this, and asked 5 pilers to find one specific piece of paper. 4 out of them found it in under 5 minutes.
I haven't always been a filer, you know. I was born a piler. My brother tried to get me cleaning, so he asked me fetch one specific thing from my room. I went to my room, digged it out from the piles of clothes, craft material, school equipment et al, and gave it to him. He asked for something else. The same thing happened. He tried with a third things, this time a specific part of a machine, about the size of a pencil, and flat. I was back to him with in in a minute. Then he laughed and said, "ok, this is not going to work. Just go and clean your room!".

If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?
- Albert Einstein

Saturday, October 23, 2010

files and folders

I love files and folders :-D
I love 43 folders
I love worksheets

"Buy some manilla folders and label each of them with a chapter number. 90,000 seems like an enormous amount, but achieving small segments of 3,000 words each is a more realistic goal. - Write a short outline for each chapter and paste it inside each folder. - Arrange a plot-line map and stick this on the wall in front of your work space."
- Lee Masterson: Write a Novel in a Month

How to keep a project file

Some people think a project file helps at taming the novel. It is easier to check up the details if you have written it somewhere, not in the novel itself. It is inspiring to look at the collected information, worksheets, drawings, maps, what ever you have in your folder, file, notebook, box...
You might be asked questions about your work, and it is so much easier to do if you have it all in one box
Someone might want to research your work in the future :-D

Stanley Kubrick's Boxes

Friday, October 22, 2010

As mentioned, being an Aspie can be an asset...



I found an interesting thread in Wrong Planet... speculations about probable Aspies in the television/movie world :-D

Dr. Temperance Brennan - Cat Woman, Patience Phillips - My Super Ex Girlfriend, Jenny Johnson - Kramer from Seinfeld - Milton from Office Space
Michelle from American Pie - All from 3rd Rock from the Sun - Spock, Star Trek - Data, Star Trek - Dexter, Dexter's Laboratory
mr Bean - Teal'c, Stargate - Adrian from Rocky - River from Firefly - Chloe O'Brian from 24
Peter Parker, Spiderman - Inger from Help Me Help You - Lucius Hunt from The Village - Seymour from Ghost World - Phileas Fogg
Gil Grissom, CSI - Bob Melnikov, Regenesis - Dr. House - Dr. Spencer Reid - Parker, from Leverage
Sheldon, Big Bang - Jerry Espenson, Boston Legal - Mary McDonnell, Grey’s Anatomy - Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice -
Benton Fraser, Due South
Maurice "Moss", The IT Crowd - L from Death Note- Catherine, Washington Square - Dr. Who - Mary Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
Edward Scissorhands - The Thermians, from GalaxyQuest - Gaius Octavia, Rome - Robert Goren from Law & Order: CI - Monsieur Hulot 
Lal, Star Trek - Max Fischer from Rushmore - Charlie Eppes, Numb3rs - Reed Richards, from Fantastic Four - Maximillian Cohen from Pi
Joxer from Xena - Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice -Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks - Dr. Daniel Jackson of Stargate - Steve Urkel from Family Matters
The Lone Gunmen from X-Files - Dr. Cox from Scrubs - Anya Jenkins, the ex-demon, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Abby Sciuto On NCIS - Viktor Navorski from The Terminal 
Ross and Phoebe from Friends - Simon Lynch from Mercury Rising - Rodney McKay from Stargate Atlantis - Dr. Sayer from Awakenings
Velma from Scooby-Doo - Good Will Hunting - Eugene Tackleberry, Police Academy - Dr. Raymond Stantz from Ghostbusters - Neo, Matrix

Even if these characters were not Aspies, THIS is what an Aspie looks like :-D

Thursday, October 21, 2010

pet peeves, dreams, fantasies...

Everyone has subjects that get them going :-D

I can write 10.000 words on the subject of Israel-Palestine in one sitting without breaking in sweat :-D
I'm laughing, because this is one subject that really gets me going, and I speak and speak and speak, and no-one listens... it's just too controversial, too flammable, too explosive and everyone has their mind made up, set in stone, so it's no use to say anything. A totally useless subject. But... it could be used to something else. I could create a fantasy world with the situation, and follow two persons, one from both sides, and write The Fox and The Hound or Romeo and Juliet - or both - placed in the situation.

I have also other pet peeves, like Christianity and its quest of world domination. Another subject I can easily write and write and write about. That too could be turned into a novel, because all quests of world domination are the same; fascist, chauvinist and xenophobic in nature.

Every now and then I see someone, hear something, read something, that makes me yearn...
It is too late for me to have a life as a pilot, but it's never too late to WRITE the life of a pilot.
It will not happen that I would become a new Oprah, but I can write about the new Oprah.
I won't be climbing Mount Everest, but I can make my character do that - and everything.
(Well... just follow Helena on her journey in (on? to? I don't know. Choose the correct preposition, please, because I can't :-D) becoming Layla...)


I love horses, so I created a fantasy world build around equine worship. The world is matriarchaic and the empress of the place was (is) a "Mary Sue", named and shaped after Jadis of Charn ;-) (She's not evil, though, and not interested in world domination.) The world has a sort of Bene Gesserit priestess system, with a scent of temple prostitutes (they are called "every man's wives", but not in sexual sense, but in the companionship, listener, comforter sense. They do sex too, if necessary, but usually it isn't.), and a soldier caste called Annas. (I am passionate about martial arts and swords.) It is a Medieval world, because I'm a medievalist, thanks to Tolkien :-D

I love self-sufficiency, frugality and such; and I love late Victorian times, so I started writing a Pagan version of Little Women, blending it with one of my favorite books, Farmer Boy, and adding a bit of Katy by Susan Coolidge and a little of Edith Nesbit ;-)

You get the idea? Take your pet peeves, day dreams and fantasies, and translate them into novels.

In Angela Booth's 100 day writing challenge, we were asked to write a list of our assets, and I wrote and wrote and wrote... everything I am, everything I'm good at, everything I'm interested in, everything I'm afraid of, every problem I have, everything is an asset.
If I have a phobia, I understand how phobia works, and can write about any phobia.
The writers are told to write about what they know, and that is who I am. This is one reason why I decided to write my NaNo this year about a witch.

It's not fantasy. (Or, sort of it is... slightly mystical thriller/adventure, like Katherine Neville's The Eight, Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian or Kate Mosse's Labyrinth.)
In it the main character is a witch, having a "witch shop" - a shop I'd like to have, if I didn't have social phobia. She sells books on witchcraft, occult and mystery, New Age and Pagan religions. She sells jewelry, clothes and artefacts, divinatory tools, incents and spell kits and such things. She sells things both new and used. She makes a lot of her things herself, and here too I'm building on myself. Once a month she doesn't sell anything, but receives customers for reading.
Like most modern witches, she is Wiccan and has her weekly meetings with the coven she's a member of, and like most modern witches, she doesn't really believe in all the stuff... sure, she believes in reincarnation and that there is more to the world than one can see, but she doesn't really believe in magic and fairies. She thinks it's mostly just a question of attitude and positive thinking and power of mind, symbols and projections and such.
One day the trouble walks into her store in the shape of a woman selling her an old piece of jewelry, an amber heart in gold filigree cage, in long chain...

This is basically how long I have come. I have some problems here, because she is a witch and has been working with the "stuff" for years, so she would sense the necklace is cursed or haunted or something, so she wouldn't buy it... Perhaps the woman selling the necklace explains the bad vibrations by telling a story that she got the heart from her husband who has been cheating on her, so she hates it now... Or perhaps it wasn't the witch buying the piece of jewelry, but a stand-in... perhaps the witch needed to see a doctor or something, and had a friend keep the shop open for her.

Anyway, if you like to connect with me at NaNoWriMo, I'm Ketutar, and I'd love to be your writing buddy :-D

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Becoming an educated reader :-)

Life is too short to read bad books - or even half-good or not-totally-rotten books. But if you do find a "bad book", what makes it bad? (I mean, the readers scoff at certain books, like Twilight or Da Vinci Code, but the editors will tell you that if you'd only read some of the slush pile, you'd think Twilight was actually ok.) You could say it's the missing storyline, but that is not true. There is a storyline, somewhere in there. So what made you miss it?

Learn from others' mistakes, don't just criticize, judge and complain ;-)

In his book "Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer", Roy Peter Clark says: "Using a method of close reading, I find a passage that intrigues me, put on my X-ray glasses, and peer beneath the surface of the text to view the invisible machinery of language, syntax, rhetoric, and critical thinking that creates the effects I experience as a reader. I then forge what I see into a writing tool."

(Follow the link. It takes you to a rather thorough article on how to close read, by Patricia Kain, for the Writing Center at Harvard University.)

Want to write bad novels? Here's how
Names to run away from real fast

But...
"At first the names of these boys seem a bit pretentious: Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Phury, Vishous and Tohrment. There’s also Butch, a terrific human cop. A few pages into the book and you forget about the names – and in fact, they suit the characters brilliantly."

"Szadist is well named. He was sold as a slave when he was young and ended up a blood and sex slave for someone referred to only as the Mistress. He suffered unspeakable abuse – mental, physical, sexual and is now a ‘damaged being’. Out of control, sinister, sadistic, etc."

The thing is that if your readers like your book, they won't mind the names :-)

Purple prose

Purple Prose Parody contest :-D

BTW, from one of the 2006 entries: "I am Beyotch, fiercest of the Vampire, member of the Red Stiletto Sisterhood With my band of warrior-priestess sisters - Whench, Skankh, Harhpie, Tsukabus, and Piszed-offe"

ROTFLMAO! I love Piszed-offe :-D

 P.S. I found this: "How to find unique names for your characters", and sure... it's good advice, if you want an uncommon name... but why would you want that?
Sure, it's better to name your Fantasy hero Kraom than George, but... I really HATE VEHEMENTLY the efforts of people to have "unique" names.
Sure, I'm Ketutar, and that's pretty unique, so who am I to say anything, but my "real" name is Sanna, and that's pretty usual. The thing is that I don't need to spell my name to anyone :-D
Think about Twilight - the characters have totally common names; Bella, Edward and Jacob.
Think about Narnia books. Lucy, Susan, Peter and Edmund. Edmund isn't that common today, but it's still a normal name.
You don't NEED to write about Quylene Cybrnac.
You can use a phone book to find your names, or obituaries. Or competitors' list at a sports event.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the art of lying

Lying and poetry are arts -
-arts, as Plato saw, not unconnected with each other -
and they require the most careful study, the most disinterested devotion.
--Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying

Exaggerate normal things. Imagination is a wild thing, amazing thing... Lie. Make-believe. Tell stories.

"Lying frees the liar from the constraints of truth, moving him or her into the higher realms of deliberately-conceived art and away from the grim realities of unpolished nature."

Lying, or storytelling, as antidote to unhappiness

Sinbad the Sailor and Baron Münchhausen - liars or storytellers?

Levitation - or how to suspend reader's disbelief

Hyperbole in Fiction Writing Engages Readers

Storytelling is not lying

He's a real fictional character - sometimes exaggeration works

Monday, October 18, 2010

writer's journal

 I love journals, diaries and notebooks. I love the free format of writing. :-D There are no expectations or requirements, or rules in keeping a diary. You just express your thoughts the way that suits you at the moment... sometimes it's writing, sometimes it's drawing, sometimes it's newspaper clippings or scraps, or photos... a pressed flower... something. Anything is allowed, anything is good, anything is... perfect.
I suppose I love notebooks because I'm a perfectionist, and notebooks are always perfect. Even when they are not, because there are no rules :-D

I love the spell book from Practical Magic, I love the Book of Shadows from Charmed, I love Indiana Jones' diary... or Simon Templar's journal from "The Saint"... I like Edith Holden's Country Diary... I would like my Writing Journal to look like that, but I suppose that... er... that's a bit of "perfectionist". My journal doesn't look like that :-D

THIS is what my writing journal looks like ;-)
I write my "journal" on loose leafs and keep them in a box. On the down, left one can read "Lara Croft, St-Exmin, Modesty Blaise, Xena". The person on the right side is a dragon in her human form. Dressed in red leather :-D Under that is one paper written in Swedish, and another which has a dialogue in English. The lady one can see is very good... sort of Balder. She is discussing with an evil man, a monster, who wants to destroy everything and control everything, and he has demanded the lady comes to him so that he can kill her. Anyway, this is what my journal looks like. I usually write with mechanical pencil with 0.5mm HB lead. I write and draw and sometimes "color" the pictures with the same pen. I sometimes use a ball-point pen. I don't use colors, because this is sketching, and using colors would make it something else than taking notes and writing down the thoughts.
But... I would LIKE to have a journal like those mentioned above :-D
have your journal and a pen with you all the time. Write in it
- ideas you get
- interesting articles, news, pictures from newspapers and magazines (you can also paste this in your journal ;-))
- snippets of discussions you hear
- descriptions of people you see
- all your favorite quotes and passages from books, tv shows, movies...
- writing prompts
- interesting questions, memes etc. you come across, that you think would help you understand your characters better
- flashes you get, your characters, discussions in you mind, such things

Creating a Poet's Journal
Writer's Notebook
Keeping a Writer's Journal

P.S. Words and Writing Ideas

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rewards

People are talking so much about the importance of rewarding yourself... 

I have many faults. One of them is that I am codependent. I am horribly codependent. I cannot reward myself, because I am perfectionist, and I never, ever manage to reach "perfect". I also will take the rewarding as a challenge and try to get a perfect reward as well, and that doesn't exist either.

I also suspect that the reward system might not be as good as people say it is. I know I need to reward my inner brat, keep her happy and see that she has good time and fun, if not during the "boring stuff" I need to do, then after, as a reward... "if your homework is done, you can go to the movies with your friends". But... I have AS! I don't go anywhere with my friends! I am not especially fond of such! *sigh*

It's more like this: I love to write. I love the feeling of 10-finger-typing on my laptop. I love the images I get in my head, the stories, the characters... oh I so love the characters... and... I just like writing. So writing in itself would be reward enough.

Anyway, go and grab yourself a badge for this year's NaNo, if you haven't already done that. There are some for just advertising, if you are not participating. But I would encourage you to give it an effort. It really isn't that hard, and then you have done that, and you don't need to think about it again :-D

Samhain Walk

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lords and Idiots...

"Herroille ja hulluille ei pidä näyttää keskeneräistä työtä."

There is a Finnish saying: "Unfinished work shouldn't be shown to lords and idiots". Don't share your work with anyone. Don't speak anything about it. The critique will kill your enthusiasm, and you need it to finish the work. It is amazing how little is needed to kill the spark, just a few negative words, even when they are not meant that way, can do the job.
“If there was only one tip I could pass on to new fiction writers, it would be this: Don’t go around blabbing about your book! There is a magic, an energy, an intensity that needs to go into your creative work, not into telling people about it.”
- Aaron Elkins
P.S. The Writer Magazine is having an open doors week, and I feel like a kid in a candy store :-D
I have already read a lot of interesting things, and I've been there only for an hour or so :-D
I especially liked the Dean R. Koonz interview... he is one of my author ideals ;-)

"From the age of 15 until I was 35, I read on average 200 novels a year"
- Dean R. Koonz

Friday, October 15, 2010

Brat Management

I know, "time management" is usually a "bad word" for creative, free spirits like writers :-D But it really isn't. Because we, the creative, free spirits are brats, and we need to grow up.

Sure, there are some positives about having an inner brat, of course. Brats are not only a menace. Dennis was kind of charming in his well-willing energy...

One thing brats are not good at, and that is commitment, work and other "boring" stuff. Responsibility, duties and "sticking to it", not bratty attributes.
Keeping promises - nothing for brats.
Instant gratification, inspiration, new ideas, having fun, now that's what being a brat is all about.
Brats are good at starting things, innovation, pranks and mischievous stuff, daring and doing "stupid things" and "silly things".
Brats are passionate.
Brats get easily frustrated, bored, offended and hurt.
Brats are egocentric, feel quickly that something isn't fair or right.
They should be listened, though, because they are usually right. Listening to your inner brat will save you from burnout, impossible expectations, working too much, and being used. But they shouldn't be in charge.

Having an inner brat is like living with a teenager. They are delightful people, but not capable to take responsibility of needing to take care of the family. In fact, they are in a very vulnerable place and in need of being taken care. Think of children (of any age) as dogs. Dogs need the human to be the ruler of the pack. Your children - inner and outer - need YOU to be the adult, the caretaker, the parent, the responsible party. And just as you won't train animals by whipping them into submission, you don't raise your children by demanding blind obedience under the threat of abuse.

Managing your inner brat is just as difficult as raising your teen-aged child. You need to show your inner brat that she doesn't need to fight to be listened to and heard, that she doesn't need to rebel just to get a chance to have some fun. This is why it's important for you to keep the promises you make to yourself. Set a time, and then not work beyond that time frame, unless your inner brat thinks it's fun. Make a list of possible rewards, things you think are fun to do, like games, going to movies, taking a walk in the park, feeding ducks, going to an amusement park or what ever rocks your boat, and then remember to reward your inner brat for being a good girl and staying put for the time you need to write.

It's Your Inner Brat

Inner Brat in action
Managing my inner brat
embrace your inner brat

Thursday, October 14, 2010

write what you know

When I agreed to participate in NaBloWriMo, I wrote an outline for the whole month at one sitting. I have been adding, rewriting, changing and improving the entries, but the skeleton is already there. :-D

Today's post was supposed to be posted in a week, but something happened that made me change my mind. i got the Newsletter for The Writer Magazine and one of the articles in it (available to registered members - just register, it's free and the articles are interesting) was "Write Was You Know - And Be Sorry"

"Write what you know ... and prepare a toast. To a life without shooting stars that carry strange life forms, talking animals, machines that come to life, mysterious strangers, sudden revelations, words you’ve never heard before—and the thoughts in other people’s minds. You may have to forfeit forever the music of a close-range gunshot on a cool blue morning or the clash of battle-axes at the gates of Mordor (although you may not miss the hiss of the demon who’s taken over your spouse’s body)."

Yes... be prepared to write a boring story, because what we THINK we know is... actually very little :-D The thing is that... we know more than we think we do.

Also, a lot of things we write comes from our dreams, fantasies, nightmares, from what we read, see, hear, associations and ideas, subconscious transformed into symbolic stories... we CANNOT but write what we "know" :-D

How to outgrow "write what you know"?
Write what you don't know

"Most people think "write what you know" means you have to put characters in situations you're personally familiar with. But in my opinion, that's not what it means."
- Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent
Tina Morgan agrees with her

It really is more about tapping into your assets, "what you know"...  You do create more authenticity, more real and believable characters, dialogue and everything, if you write what you know. I am reading a mystery where the victim was murdered by choking her with wool yarn. Hand spun wool yarn. What *I* know is that wool yarn is VERY elastic. It will break before it creates the tension to actually kill anyone. I doubt you could strangle a person even with a woven wool scarf. You would need to stuff the wool into someone's throat to get this person to suffocate. Or this is what I think, so every time I read about the yarn I cringe. This is why you SHOULD be writing "what you know".

Just remember that you don't need to stop learning to know things ;-)
Don't limit your subject choices to what you know NOW, but have the world as your oyster, and learn about the things you want to write about.

Lovely Hart suggested I'd go and see what lovely Helena writes in her blog "becoming Layla".  Become who you want to write about, so you know what you want to write...

 A couple of pages I find extremely inspiring: Fersen74 and baroncorvo
and

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The difference of reading source

If you write your book on computer, you might want to print out the daily portion every day, so that you can read the paper copy in your bed before sleeping, make notes in the margins, mark the typos and such, and dream about it ;-)

It's really not breaking the "don't read, don't edit" rule, because you are not going to make the changes in the draft. Not yet. That's for the editing part. You are not editing, you are keeping your mind focused in your story.

There are some studies that say people have a specific relation to paper copies, print. For example, people read print faster than they read screen. My husband says he can use his visual memory with paper copies, but not with computer pages.

You should also read out loud what you have written. The ears are remarkable writing tools :-D You will be able to hear if the flow and rhythm of what you have written is ok, but you are not able to see it.

The best 22 writing tips ever

#1 being WRITE!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Your people

You should really know your characters, well, before writing about them, you know. They are your best friends.

You know that you don't "create" your characters. They just appear, like any new acquaintance, and what's left for you is to learn to know them, observe them, interview them.
If you really care about your characters, you will remember Harry's eye color. If you don't, no-one else will either.

Unleash Your Characters
Creating Character Profiles

Monday, October 11, 2010

Don't be lead astray ;-)


Do you know how to write a novel?
- One word at a time.


To be able to actually get the writing job done in 30 days, you have to be really careful not to allow anything lead you astray...

- reading what you have written
An absolute no-no. If you do, you will start questioning yourself, perhaps editing, rewriting... and then you are lost.

- rewriting
It's good as it is. Come on, it's not the final manuscript, it's your FIRST DRAFT! Write, don't rewrite. You have the 50.000 words goal to reach. You can rewrite it in December. Or not rewrite at all, just chuck it. But now, write.

- editing
You know it can be said "better". Don't try to say it better, at least not right now. Besides, 9 times out of ten, your first way is the best after all :-D

- new ideas
Oh, the shiny new ideas, thousand times better than anything you have written so far, and especially the crap you are trying to write right now.
Just jot it down in your writing journal, and get back to work, which is writing THIS idea.
Even if the idea isn't shiny and better, but just a good idea, write it into your writing journal, to be used in the future.
Now, if you get new ideas all the time, and you would use more time writing down your ideas in the writing journal than actually writing, it's time to let them go. Let them pass your mind on their way to someone else who has more time or less ideas. You have enough, you can let a couple go. You really need to DO something with the ones you already have.
Also, the flow of ideas will not stop. Even if the fear of failure or success or what ever makes you THINK you have no ideas, the second you are not afraid anymore, the ideas come back.

- forgetting details
Suddenly you don't remember what color eyes Harry had.
Doesn't matter. Put it in brackets, make a mark in the margin, write in your writing notes to check the color of Harry's eyes. Don't stop writing to check it. You can do that after you have done writing.

- background research
You really want to write a magnificent fencing scene, but know nothing about fencing.
Doesn't matter. Write what you know, make a note in your writing notes, watch some movies with nice fencing and read a couple books about fencing and swords, so that you will know WHEN it's time to edit the draft. Don't do it when you are writing.
It's even quite ok to add a big blob into your draft, and write "here fencing scene", and then act as if you actually just wrote it.

- the life
This is something that cannot be avoided. Of course, you can get a butler who takes care of every phone call, visitor and your mother, or go to a tent in the middle of a forest somewhere, and sit there with both ear plugs and earmuffs, but I'm sure SOMETHING will happen - like your tent catches fire or a moose runs over it or something.
Leave yourself a short note and leave the last sentence unfinished. Might be that you won't remember anyway what you were about to write, but, I doubt it will be a truly big loss for the world literature. Just get back in the flow and keep writing.

- procrastination
There really isn't much else to do about this, but SIT DOWN AND WRITE, DARN IT!
You can procrastinate all you want after you have written your daily words. But only till next day.

- perfectionism
At one point of the writing you realize that it's the worst thing you have ever written, hey, it's the worst thing written in the history of mankind, and probably nothing written in the future will be as bad.
Doesn't matter. Keep writing.
And keep the text. If it IS the worst thing ever written, at least it will be fun to read :-D

- fear
At some point you realize that what you are writing might actually work... it might actually not be that bad, and it might become a real book.
Doesn't matter. Keep writing.

- normality
What you write is totally uninteresting, boring, old, said already thousand times, by thousand different people, your POV is the usual one, and so on and so forth. Nothing new, exiting and interesting here, thank you.
Guess what? A Finnish poet wrote a very short poet, which I happen to love. "It has already been said, but I say it again, to you."
There's hundreds of love songs, and all of them are practically the repeat of "I love you". You probably like some of them, don't like most of them, absolutely love a couple... it's the same with literature. No-one has ever written what you are writing right now. May be that it has already been said, thousand times, but there is someone out there, who needs to hear it from you to get it.
Keep on writing.

time
- There just isn't enough of that stuff.
Most people already waste time here and there for nothing. Television and internet are two big villains here. You can collect minutes by walking a bit faster, showering a little quicker, getting up when you wake up... Have a day in a week when you plan the food for the whole week, cook big portions and freeze them in tv-dinners, and shop everything you need at one go. Clean every day for 15 minutes, and you don't ever need to spend hours in cleaning. Learn to use your human network and delegate jobs. Don't take upon yourself jobs you don't need to do. Study some time managing and organizing. Declutter your home, your life and your mind.
And PRIORITIZE.
You don't need to write EVERYTHING there is to write. Just this draft. Just the daily words.
If you REALLY want to write, you find the time for it.

33 rules for writing fiction

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dream your novel

"In the summer of the year 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely farm house. In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed, from the effect of which he fell asleep in his chair at the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or words of the same substance, in 'Purchas's Pilgrimage:' 'Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden thereunto: and thus ten miles of fertile ground were inclosed with a wall.' The author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence, that he could not have composed less than from two or three hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awaking he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this moment he was unfortunately called out by a man, and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to the room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone had been cast."

"Like the ideas for some of my other novels, [the idea for Misery] came to me in a dream. In fact, it happened when I was on Concord, flying over here, to Brown's. I fell asleep on the plane, and dreamt about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed the remains to her pig and bound his novel in human skin. His skin, the writer's skin. I said to myself, 'I have to write this story.' Of course, the plot changed quite a bit in the telling. But I wrote the first forty or fifty pages right on the landing here, between the ground floor and the first floor of the hotel."

"Another time, when I got road-blocked in my novel It, I had a dream about leeches inside discarded refrigerators. I immediately woke up and thought, 'That is where this is supposed to go.' Dreams are just another part of life. To me, it's like seeing something on the street you can use in your fiction. You take it and plug it right in. Writers are scavengers by nature."

-- Stephen King

"I woke up from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately. Though I had a million things to do, I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. I was so intrigued by the nameless couple's story that I hated the idea of forgetting it; it was the kind of dream that makes you want to call your friend and bore her with a detailed description. Unwillingly, I eventually got up and did the immediate necessities, and then put everything that I possibly could on the back burner and sat down at the computer to write — something I hadn't done in so long that I wondered why I was bothering. But I didn't want to lose the dream, so I typed out as much as I could remember, calling the characters "he" and "she." From that point on, not one day passed that I did not write something. "

- Stephenie Meyer

How to turn dreams into science fiction

Bad dreams can be good for you

Dream journals for writing inspiration and ideas


Keeping a dream journal

Your dream journal

Famous dreams and the creative works they inspired

Friday, October 8, 2010

Renaissance method

Back in the history the artists learned their craft by copying their masters. The painter would be working on his painting, and behind him would stand his apprentices doing their best to copy the masters every movement, every stroke on the paper, color blends... The apprentices became so good that today we are uncertain if a work is painted by a master or an apprentice.

Why not use the same method in writing? If you, in spite of all the efforts - or just because of all the efforts - sit there in November, by the computer, and don't know what to write, take your favorite book, and start copying it. Just copy it, word by word, rewrite it.

Learning from the masters

Learning how to write well from John Steinbeck

Writing tips from masters
10 rules of writing fiction part 1) and part 2)

P.S: I was thinking about my assets as a writer, and managed to quickly write a long list of over 60 items... Because, as a writer ANYTHING is an asset :-D I can always write about it, whether it's good, bad, or not worth much :-D

Anyway, I found this one: Write A Movie Script A Writing... (The subject line doesn't seem to have much to do with the article... or list... or what ever. Seems to be just a long list of sayings and thoughts. It's "article snatch", so it's possible that it really is just that - a snatched... something. What ever. It nevertheless makes me think. Could be enough material for several blog entries :-D

I also found this: Ruining Your Writing by Cheap Blogging
I love to write, I want to write, I had to write. If I got paid for doing it, it would be nice.
May that never turn into the opposite.

P.S. Lovely Patricia told me about Derek Sivers' blog, and what he says about music and singing can well be adjusted to writing. Here's his entry about learning to sing. It really doesn't matter if you do it "right" or "well", but just that you do it. Write your story as a short story, article, poem, play, write it like your favorite author, or your favorite hate object author. Write it like romance, write it like mystery, horror, for children, with dogs in roles... play around with it, and with every writing it gets better, because you learn things...

P.P.S How deliberate practice can make you an excellent writer

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No idea...

I think it is interesting... I could spout out hundreds of ideas when I don't need them - I have even considered starting "Ideas R Us" :-D - but speculating about the NaNoWriMo makes me shut up.
It feels so final...

I know it's not final. I just need something so that I can start working with the preparations... but it's totally empty in my head...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eternal teatime


"Julia Cameron wrote a great series of books on the subject writing, one of which is called "The Artist's Way." Julia teaches a method called "Morning Pages" that is very helpful in overcoming writer's block. Simply put, every morning - before you do anything else - you write. Anything. Write with paper and pen. Use a computer. Just write. Get something down on paper.
The premise is, that even though it'll be difficult in the beginning, after a while, you just get used to it and suddenly things find your way into your head and onto your paper."

If I understand correctly, the morning pages are not part of your writing time, nor your novel. They are the stretching, getting into the action of writing itself.

One thing I wonder are the inner rhythms of people.
When are you most creative?
How heatmapping your productivity can make you more productive?

Are there such things, or do you control your creativity by setting aside the time to write, and then just writing? There are several opinions on these matters, but you could make a small experiment.

Take a weekend in October, a weekend you have nothing to do, and map your productivity, creativity, energy, your personal schedule and inner rhythms.
Sleep as long as you like, but get up within 5 minutes from the time you wake up in the morning. Keep a journal about how you are feeling. Make small 5 minutes' writing exercises every hour you are awake, and write down what it felt like, if it was easy or hard.
Eat when you feel like it, go to bed when you feel like it. Sleep siesta if you feel like it.
Write down the times.
After the weekend you should have a quite accurate "heatmap" of your productivity, and can organize your days accordingly.

It could be worth it... because about half of the authors write best in the early morning hours before anyone else has got up, and half writes best after 10 P.M. when the rest of the world has gone to bed...
That is also something to experiment with during October. Take one week when you get up one hour before your normal time, and write in the early morning, then you take one week, when you write after 10 P.M. Note which one was better for you, and keep doing that.

Writing Interrupted - Getting Back on Track
Flow - get into the zone

Then something different...
Psychic Workout: Automatic Writing

"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
-- Leonardo Da Vinci

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just something not serious.

I have been stupid. I put my nose into something I shouldn't have. *sigh* It's really frustrating to scream in a room full of people, and they all act as if I wasn't there.

Then I ran into another idiot, who doesn't seem to understand that just because a religion is not "Judeo-Christian", it's still a religion. That Pantheism and Animism is just as much a religion as Monotheism and Polytheism. But, the person also "likes to consider herself" liberal, but talks against equal rights and for organized religion... she doesn't seem to have much understanding of ANY concepts she so "liberally" uses ;-) 

So, onto something totally trivial and pointless and whatnot :-D

Ink Poisoning has a lot of fun things one can do :-D

Cartoon Characters I'd Totally Make Out With

- Disney's Robin Hood

- Disney's Thomas O'Malley

- Sebastian Michaelis, the Black Butler...


Disney's Maleficent... No, I'd be her. Oh, she's so cool! And the shapeshifting... Ooooh.... I want to be a dragon too!





If you could have a superpower, what would you have? Why?
Flying. Because I love it when I do it in my dreams :-D

Who is your style icon?
Hmm... Perhaps aunt Augusta from "Travels with my aunt". :-D Or the aunts in "Practical magic".

What is your favorite quote?
So many of them...

What is the best compliment you've ever received?
"You are like a black peony poppy" :-)

What playlist/cd is on your ipod/cd player right now?
Don't have any

Are you a night owl or a morning person?
Morning person (says she, at 2 A.M.)

 Do you prefer dogs or cats?
Cats

What is the meaning behind your blog name?
"Ketutar Writing?" Isn't that obvious?

What is one thing you like but am embarrassed to admit to?
Hentai *blush*

Movies I can't live without?
I can live without any movie.
Now, books, on the other hand... Of course I CAN live without books, but I don't want to.


Handy Dandy skills for the modern single gal.

Running on high heels
climbing a rope
martial arts
training animals

and from Christina's list I choose
pick a lock
pick a pocket (so I can pick the car keys, so I don't need to break into and hot-wire the car :-D)
hack a computer
know sign language
coldreading (a la 'Mentalist') (and knowledge of body language a la 'lie to me', and what Derren Brown does)
cooking and baking (now, I can do this, but it's still a "handy dandy skill for the modern single gal)
flying (a plane. Now, flying without a plane, the superpower, would be a really handy dandy skill, but I thought this was supposed to be at least somewhat realistic)

Importance of Drafting

The intention with NaNoWriMo is to get you your first draft of your novel-to-be. Draft is for a novel like a sketch for a painting.

Look at the following sketches by Leonardo da Vinci.

Sketches for Leda's head. The last one isn't even called "sketch for Leda's head", it's "sketch of a young woman". The topmost are sketches of Leda's hair.
These are "rough sketches", more like the character worksheets and detailed outline for your novel, than the first draft.
An artist's sketchbook is like a writer's journal.

Sketch and painting for kneeling Leda. Now we are getting to the first draft stage. The sketch painting is already a full painting, but it's still just a sketch. Your NaNoWriMo novel will be this. You are probably going to change quite a lot about your draft in later stages of writing a novel.

Like Leonardo did with his Leda. The final version is in the middle. Around it are some more "drafts". He was experimenting with the ideas. He painted Leda over and over again, changing details and even bigger parts, like the whole background, before he was satisfied with the results.

First Draft of a Paper
Importance of sketching for design
the importance of sketching
the importance of the sketch book for an artist
writing a rough draft

"Nothing feels better than printing out that completed first draft of a novel. You’ve completed that journey through the story, getting to know and growing with your characters along the way. While not perfect yet, or ready for submission, it’s a big step and one to encourage beginning writer’s to keep working."
- Julie Clements

Monday, October 4, 2010

I have commitment issues...

"Before you even write a word, you need to make the commitment to yourself that you will see this through to the very end. If not, don’t bother starting because you’ll only end up frustrated and feeling like a failure if you decide to stop half-way through. Know that you’re worth it. Stick with it for 30 days and it’ll become a habit", says Elizabeth Rose.

I have commitment issues. I'm ready to commit myself to anything, but I never really do... I just won't stick to it.

I don't know what it is... I suppose I'm afraid to death of success, so I sabotage it for myself.
I am really into "it" for the first days, but it's usually three months that is my limit. Often it's just three days.

It's not that I am not serious, it's that I get cold feet and run back into the comfortable apathy.

You see... I'm an overachiever, workaholic, perfectionist. I ALWAYS give either 110% or nothing. If one constantly keeps giving more than one has or can, one dries up very, very quickly. One gets burned out. I have the wax, but not the wick, so there's no flame either.
I have been in that situation too many times, always getting into something, giving everything, and then... people start expecting you can keep up with that standard. Sure, they say that the more you achieve, the easier it is for you to achieve more, but it really doesn't work that way... and then I have difficulties in saying "no", demanding my boundaries are respected and asking for help, like all codependent adult children. :-> I find it also hard to reward myself, or accept rewards.
It is really hard to fill up again, or to keep the in-flow as rapid as the out-flow. Eventually the pool gets filled up again, the candle gets a new wick, but I'm so afraid it will happen again, so I sabotage myself to protect myself from the future catastrophe, which I am inable to protect myself from in the "normal" ways. (respecting boundaries, demanding my boundaries are respected, also by me; delegating, asking and accepting help, taking time to rest and recreation, and letting go of perfectionism and the high expectations I have on myself.)

I'm so terrified of it that I won't even dare to write 50.000 words... I don't even dare to finish a first draft of a novel... even when that doesn't require anything else. The expectations are there, my expectations... if I write the first draft, I MUST edit it and rewrite it and make it good, send it to a publisher, get it published, start traveling around the world and market the book and have book signings and all kinds of things... and then everyone will expect I repeat it, over and over again, and write many books, and...

My therapist tried to make me take tiny steps.

I just need to write 1665 words on November 1st.

That's it.
Nothing else. Nothing more. There is nothing before, nothing after, no editing, no publishing, no life as a writer.
Just 1665 words.

I can do that.

------------------------
To something else...

"Research shows that males tend to be more internally oriented than females. Men tend to believe their success strategies are based on themselves. Older people tend to have an internal locus of control as well – and so do people in more advanced professional situations, such as managers or corporate heads. It makes sense: they've realized that the success strategies they've used to achieve their goals are based on their own efforts."

As long as women blame patriarchy, men, what ever, for spoiling it for them, they will never be empowered. It is only when they realize their failure to reach equality lies within, will they reach the equality.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How many words are there in a book?

Novels, pages and chapters differ much in word count, but a rough estimate is that
a novel is approximately
65.000 words,
260 pages of 250 words,
18 chapters of 14 pages.

NaNoWriMo is based on 50.000 words' novel. That's a bit short for a novel, about the size of a youth book or pulp literature. It's not hard to up the daily word count of 1665 to 2000 or 3000, for a bigger novel, but the thing is that NaNoWriMo is not actually about writing a novel, but about writing the first draft for a novel. 50.000 words is an acceptable 1st draft :-)

Now, you don't need to LIMIT yourself to 50.000 words. Find out how many words there are in the books in the genre you want to write about. How many words are there in the scripts the publisher you want to publish your book are requesting. How many words are there in your favorite books? (take the amount of pages and multiply with 250 and you get an approximate.)
Now take this amount of words and divide it with 30, and you get your daily word count.

Take this type speed test.

A moderate speed of typing is about 30-40 words per minute. It's usually halved, if you compose the text while you type. That means, that an average typist takes about 2 hours to finish typing the 1665 words required to reach the 50.000 words a month target.

You don't need to write like a secretary or learn the 10 finger typing system. It's quite enough to type with two fingers. Or use paper and pen. There are actually published authors who write for hand.

Besides... writing longhand has benefits ;-)

Writing word count
What is a word?

 P.S. Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story...