Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Dear Doran....

Dear Doran,

Okay, first of all, I get that you're sexy. I made you that way. Stop trying so hard.

Seriously, though, what's wrong with you? I don't know what to do with you! First you're all, "Oh, yes, we'll do exactly what we did the last time! I'll fall in love, things will get messy and complicated, and your plot will move forward!" Well, here we are, about to storm the castle, and not even a hand-holding episode! You have a LOT of ground to cover between now and when you get captured. Grrr.

I don't know where you're getting this from, but you should stop. And stop letting Hava flirt with you. That's not normal, either.

And stop thinking up weird ways to complicate your relationships. That's not fun for me to unravel.

And most of all, stop having weird background stories!!

Love,

The Author

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Random Introspection

It takes two sentences for me to kill one of my favorite characters I've ever written.

It took me three years and two rewrites to get to the final draft of Birthright Unknown.

It took five chapters before I introduced him.

It took three lines of dialogue to fall completely in love with him.

It took two more chapters of sheer enjoyment to be irrevocably attached.

And it took two sentences to kill him.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Books' Worlds: The Hierarchy

I've decided that there is, indeed, a hierarchy of difficulty levels in the different genres of writing. This may not apply to everyone, but it applies to me and probably most other writers.

Fantasy is the easiest to write. It requires the most work, but in terms of how easily the words come, it's pretty straightforward. You can do pretty much whatever the heck you want and tag it into the category of "because it's magic." Granted, you have to come up with an entire world on your own, but for me, that's actually easier. You get to start the world over from scratch. Whatever you say goes. As long as you don't break any laws of physics -- without saying it's magic -- you're good. Languages, fairy tale creatures, all are at your command.

Scifi is the second easiest. Like in fantasy, you can do pretty much whatever the heck you want and tag it into the categoy of "because it's the future." The catch is, you have to make it conform to laws of nature. In fantasy, people can fly because they're magic, gosh darn it! In scifi, people can fly because they've got rocket shoes or a jet pack and stuff. But besides that, you can do whatever.

General fiction comes next, but it's got subcategories.

Superhero stories are the easiest of the general fiction. These are the fantasy novels of the general fiction world. You've got to conform to certain rules: for example, your hero must have a weakness easily exploited by his enemies. But besides that, you can do whatever. Your villains can have whatever powers, and they don't always need explanations for how they got said powers. You can sometimes even fall back on "because it's magic, gosh darn it!"

Then come spy novels. These are the scifi novels of the general fiction world. You can do whatever you want, as long as your character has gadgets to back it up. And they can be futuristic gadgets because they're spies, so there.

And, finally, the fiction fiction. You know, the stuff that's based in real life. That stuff's hard to write because everything has to be believable while at the same time telling a story that no one's ever heard before.

Moving on from the general fiction subcategories...

Then, there's comedy. Yeah, comedy should be easy, right? It's actually not. It requires a knowledge of the human psyche, what's guaranteed to make everyone laugh and what's only funny to you. You have to balance wit with slapstick, and you have to time everything just right.

Finally, the hardest fiction to write, in my opinion, is mystery. When you write a mystery, you're essentially working backwards. You take the end -- whodunnit -- and built a plot from there. How did they do it? Why? How do the characters figure this out? How do the characters play in? Who are the red herrings? By the time you've figured all that out, you also have to figure out how all these people can have anything in common, how they all meet, and how to make it believable. Eww.

How do I stack up? I've got a spy novel, a few fantasies, and a scifi. Hardly the brilliance of an accomplished writer. But, I suppose, we've all got to start somewhere...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Real World: Random Monologue

What are you supposed to do when your heart breaks every time you see his face?

What are you supposed to do when you know what could have been, when every time you think of him, those thoughts bring the dreaded "what if?"

What if you acted on those feelings, what if the circumstances were different? What if what you felt was real, and what if he felt it, too? What if you threw away something grander than imagination, and what if you can never get it back?

What are you supposed to do when you finally decide you loved him, but you can't ever know if he loved you back?

What are you supposed to do when the words he spoke to you are now only letters on a page, intangible, unattainable -- just like him?

What are you supposed to do when you can't stop thinking about him, when you think about good-byes and could-haves and can't think of anything else?

And what are you supposed to do when you know there's a chance you might see him again?

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Real World: Chick Flicks

I've always hated chick flicks with abandon. Anyone who knows me is definitely aware of this. If it's not Disney, or if something doesn't blow up, I don't want to see it. I've always maintained that I hate chick flicks because they're so predictable.

This is only partially true.

I can't stand chick flicks because I'm a hopeless romantic. I believe in true love. I believe in love at first sight, at being swept away and carried off into the sunset by a knight in shining armor. I believe in fairy tales and the power of dreams. And chick flicks are all about that; I should love it, right?

Wrong.

As a hopeless romantic, I believe in all these things. But this presents a problem: I'm in love with being in love. I want nothing more than to be intoxicated by a love eternal, to find the perfect man and live out my own little chick flick with the "I do" at the end. But the real world isn't like that. The real world has me home, working all summer, and very much single.

Besides, my life IS a chick flick as it is. Every relationship I've ever had is like a bad chick flick; I just keep going through the "guy before" part of the movie -- I haven't found HIM. I come home from chick flicks going: "I want one!"

I'm not saying I want to get married in the next year or anything; I just can't handle chick flicks until I do, because I'm in love with true love.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Real World: Childlike Swimming

Yesterday, I went swimming with my neighbor and my cousins. It was the first time (besides the pool at the hotel, but that doesn't really count) going to the pool for the summer, and it was a blast.

While there, though, I noticed how innocent we are when we go swimming. It's the simplest thing ever, and the games we play at the pool are just as simple.

We spent almost an hour playing a game where you had to guess a movie title and swim across the pool, being the first one to touch the "it" person's hand before you could win. I felt like a little kid again.

(Until I saw my phone had four missed calls. My mom had been trying to get a hold of me cuz my work called. I tried to call them back today, but the lady in charge of my project wasn't there today. I hope I'm not supposed to start tomorrow. This is a problem...)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Dear Characters...Again...

Dearest characters of Secrets We Keep,

It's absolutely infuriating that you've done everything I asked because I'm still in shock. Nicholas, everything you've done makes total sense for your character, but I'm still so surprised that you did it that I don't know what to say anymore. Vera, same goes for you.

Riley, you're finally being cool again. What's up with this? And Johan, you're the only one who's done anything surprising in the sense that I didn't plan it, but it works so well I'm not complaining.

Where is the fighting with my characters? I'm getting writer's block out of pure shock that you're all cooperating!!

Love,

The Author

Dearest characters of Birthright Unknown,

You, on the other hand, are giving me a headache.

I know exactly what I want you to do. We're just rewriting the story, and the plot is exactly the way it's supposed to be going. It should be easy sailing from here. I gave Diadi a bigger part in the beginning, and I'm keeping you at Gunte's place for longer than I originally planned, but besides that, it's essentially the same.

I don't see what's so difficult about this! Let me write, gosh darn it!

Love,

The Author

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Too Much Cooperation

On the plus side, my characters have never been this nice to me before...

Anyway, I've just been absolutely flooded with good ideas for basically anything and everything that I'm writing, and I've taken to carrying around my laptop with three different windows pulled up at once because I'm working on three different books at the same time.

There's Elaine's book, which I'm tentatively calling Elaine and the NYC Underground as the first book in an apparently very cute series that Elaine keeps assuring me will be amazing, even though all I've got so far is four characters and a basic idea of a magical underground.... But, surprisingly, I'm almost done with the second chapter, which is probably the fastest I've ever written a first chapter (with the exception of Secrets We Keep in which I wrote the first two chapters in the middle of the night after a random spurt of inspiration.) I absolutely adore Elaine, and now, there's a brilliant little redhead named Erin who apparently wants to be a love interest for the main character, Michael. Yeah, I don't know why, either....

Then, there's Birthright Unknown, which, apparently, is going to be much longer than I had originally thought. It's practically writing itself, but then again, it's still in the beginning stages where I'm setting things up, so it might, presumably, go faster just because it's information I've always known when I came up with this world in the first place. I haven't quite finished the second chapter, because I don't know what to expect when it comes to this book. The beginning is all mixed up; I didn't introduce the war until the first chapter, while in the first draft, I introduced it in the prologue. Diadi is still around, while in the first draft, she was only in the prologue. And I haven't even gotten to my favorite line yet,while it was in the first page of the first chapter in my first draft. :(

And last, but definitely not least, there's Secrets We Keep. I have finally reached the first climax, and I've got everything set up to where Nicholas wants to tear Vera's head off, Riley's off on her own little secret mission, and Adnare's just generally ticked at everyone. Things are finally falling into place, but the others books are falling into place, too, and it's hard to keep all these falling things balanced.

Alright, somebody please hit writer's block!

(I never thought I'd see the day when I actually asked for that...)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Real World: Big Sister Time

Wow, what a Saturday. :)

I love my baby sister absolutely to pieces, and I got to spend all day with her yesterday. It was a blast, because we went shopping for most of the day, and we got all sorts of stuff.

My mom left me with a list of things that she needed, and I just needed pants in general (since it seems my pants are magically too big for me . . . something about walking everywhere because I don't have a car in college?) So, we went to a bunch of stores looking for stuff.

Shopping with eight-year-olds is a blast! We found a bunch of stuff for me -- I'm almost stocked on pants, but I need a lot more jeans, since I've only found one good pair so far -- but Emily was impossible! She has these gorgeous long legs that are going to make teenage guys sweat when she grows up, but she's only eight, so all they do right now is make it hard to buy pants for her. She has the legs for a size eight but the waist for size seven. Impossible!

But we finally got her some jeans, and then we went shoe shopping. What a blast!

Then, I took her out to dinner, and we played the arcade games at CiCis. She absolutely loved that place, and she was amazed by everything that they had! (I would be like "Try the pizza!" She'd take a bite and declare it was the best pizza ever! She did that for basically everything she tried; it was hilarious.)

I love being a big sister. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Meet Elaine

I have no idea where she came from, but last night, while I was watching a show with my mom and my sister, I bolted upright and said, "I need a notebook."

Bethany immediately said, "I have one upstairs in my room."

After quick "good night"s, I found myself up in my sister's rooms, writing frantically for about ten minutes. Then, suddenly, I flipped the notebook to the other side and started drawing. My sister, wrapped up in her homework, (haha, Bethany, you still have to do that!) didn't seem to notice until I suddenly slammed the notebook down in front of her.

"Meet Elaine," I said proudly.

Now, Elaine, as you might have noticed, is not one of the characters in my "books" tabs. This is because she didn't exist until last night. She just popped up out of nowhere and has all sorts of brilliant ideas.

I seriously think my head is trying to play a prank on me, because I've never had this many characters actually working with me at the same time. Ever. Birthright Unknown is moving along nicely, with good ways to tie in the background information with the actual storyline. Secrets We Keep is creeping into the first climax. And now, there's Elaine. Apparently, she is the daughter of an underground leader -- and not just any underground leader, no. There's an entire magical community at stake here, and Elaine's getting in trouble for wandering around the streets of NYC where anyone can see her, including the main character (no, not Elaine) Mikey.

Elaine, I love you, but where the heck did you come from???

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Dear Characters...

Dearest characters of Birthright Unknown,

While I greatly appreciate your recent resurgence, you're giving me an obnoxiously hard time, here, and I'd like a little more support, please. Seriously, you're giving me a headache.

It is not okay to show up, tell me that you need me to rewrite your entire book and then disappear into the shadows again. Seriously, that's not nice.

If you're going to want me to keep paying attention to you, you're going to have to try harder. In case you haven't noticed, Nicholas Anderson has started working with me again, and Secrets We Keep is moving forward, no questions asked. I'd appreciate the same kind of help from you, because if you're not going to do that, I'll just go with the easy characters who actually work with me. I don't have to write about you right now. Seriously.

Gunte, you know I'm mostly talking to you. I'd appreciate it if you just make up your freaking mind about whether or not you want the prologue to be from your point of view. I know you'd like it to be from Mae's father's perspective, but you and I both know that would be giving away way too much way too soon, so just drop that idea, okay? So just shut up and let me write!

And Anor, I hate to say it, but you're annoying me. I know you're amazing, and I'm completely in love with you and your brother. But you don't show up for several more chapters, so could you please leave me alone long enough to actually get to your part? I know you have plenty of good ideas of cute things to say, but can we please put that off for later? Thanks.

In short, dearest characters, shut up and cooperate, please!

Love,

The Author

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Real World: Dangerous Duo

The first rule of my family: never leave me and my mom alone in the same room for too long. It might get crazy.

Hey, hey, don't get the wrong idea. I don't mean it's a bad idea to leave us alone because we fight or anything. Because we don't fight. I mean it's a bad idea because we're so much alike that leaving us alone together leads to random acts of spontaneity that usually lead to parties late into the night for no apparent reason other than my mom and I wanted to do it.

For example, just last night, my mom and I were sitting in the living room watching an old movie. I was curled up with my head in her lap, and she was stroking my hair -- the picture-perfect mother/daughter moment right? Suddenly, she looked down at me and said, "I feel like a movie."

We were already watching a movie, but that's not what she meant. So, I said, "Action or comedy or what?"

"I don't know. I just want a movie."

"I'll go get one."

So, I ran downstairs (interrupting my sister's date, to her horror and my amusement, I'm sure) and grabbed four movies that tickled my fancy, but we couldn't agree on one. Finally, my mom said, "You know what I could go for? Star Trek. And I saw it at Publix just a little while ago."

"We could go grab it real fast," I suggested.

With that, we were off to go grab the movie at ten o'clock at night. We ran through the rain (because we both managed to forget our umbrellas), but Star Trek wasn't there. So, we got Avatar instead, drove back home -- giggling like school girls the whole time, which probably worried my dad when we came back home -- popped it in, and had a movie night -- complete with popcorn -- until after midnight.

Like I said, never leave me and my mom alone together....

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Not Dead Yet

It's amazing how a single line can define the next four pages of a book.

Seriously, I was very bored in the airport, so I pulled out my laptop, but since Nicholas Anderson had decided to be bratty again, I had no idea what I was going to write. He said he was sick of being pushed around, that he wanted to be in control of the situation again, so I caved in.

Boy, am I glad I did that.

As soon as he realized I wasn't going to let the bad guys kill him off just yet (even though they really, really wanted to and I had to use every ounce of willpower to keep Trishne from jumping down his throat with a knife in hand) he started going. He just kept going and going until the scene I had intended to write was twice as long as I planned and way much cooler. He even pulled out the whole honorable warrior thing and ended up making the bad guys nice and uncomfortable.

Maybe I should let Nick take the reigns more often. He's not too shabby at this.

Anyway, I'm just very excited that this is finally moving forward, but also very sad because I'm trying to rewrite Birthright Unknown and I still haven't figured out how best to do the first chapter. There's so much information that I feel like it should be third person unlimited, but the rest of the book is third person limited, so that would be weird. Dilemma....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Real World: Planes

I love the actual act of flying. I love that feeling when you take off and you watch the cars below you slowly shrink into tiny little ants. I love the feeling of landing, when you're in the air and then, suddenly, the wheels touch down and you're on the ground again. I love flying.

I hate airports.

I was so, absolutely, positively bored the entire time I was at the aiport, I just wanted to throttle something. (So, I got out my laptop and started writing.) But the people at the airport kept taking the sockets, so I couldn't plug my laptop in to use on the plane. I mostly just listened to music and hummed out the window.

But, I finally touched down in Georgia, and I announced my presence, not by texting my parents to let them know that I was there. Nooo. Instead, I texted: "HELLO, BEAUTIFUL GEORGIA, YOU GORGEOUS STATE, YOU" to my parents, who, I'm sure, were immensely entertained by this display of homesickness.

I came home to a very awake (I say with sarcasm) sister and one sleeping baby sister who looked like she'd grown a foot since I left! Everything here is so different, and they rearranged the entire house in a conspiracy against me so that I'll get lost! haha.

So, yes. I'm very, very glad to be home.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Oh no! Rewrite!

So, this morning when I woke up, I did some studying, but then I finished the study guide for, like, the third time and I really didn't have anything else to do. So, I finished rereading Birthright Unknown.

While I absolutely love the plotline, and I was slightly impressed by my high school self being able to write romance while still being a VL (Virgin Lips -- an expression I picked up in college meaning never been kissed), I realized that this thing needs revamping.

Which is awesome, because it means I can give Anor and his brother more face time. They're adorable together. :)

But this also makes me sad at the same time. You see, this means that I'm going to have to rework the entire story. It needs more detail, and I need to do a little more explaining on the background. The dialogue and the characters are good, but the writing style needs major work, and I focused too much on what's going on in their heads without really telling what's going on in the story.

Basically, this means I'm not going to be able to get this thing edited by my birthday, which is sad, because I submitted Lady Thief on my birthday last year, and I was hoping to make this a tradition. I mean, if I really wanted to, I guess I could write furiously on the plane ride home (in fact, I think I will) but there's no way I can rewrite it, then edit the rewrite for publication all in two months. Sad day!

So, as soon as I get done with finals and cleaning and packing and all that good stuff, I think I'm going to work on this rewrite. (Roommates, be warned. I will now be working on both Birthright Unknown and Secrets We Keep at the same time. This will result in twice as many characters arguing with me in my head, which will result in twice the craziness. Gah!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Real World: Good Second Morning

So, this morning, I had a final at seven in the morning. This meant I had to get up at about 6:30am, and I was not happy about this. Thankfully, the final didn't take very long at all, and I got home just after eight. I then went back to sleep as everyone else was just waking up. I woke up again at noon and went around eating lunch and telling everyone "good second morning." I was in an incredibly good mood because I got to sleep, and it felt like starting the day all over. And this second day didn't have any finals in it. Happy day!

I've been incredibly homesick lately, but my roommates are doing everything in their power to combat this, apparently. I came out from studying in my room because my roommates asked if I wanted to play video games. (I think we all know the answer to that question.) After a little while, I said, "I want to watch a movie." Ten minutes later, my roommates (and boyfriends of my roommates) and I were headed to the grocery store to stock up on junk food. We came back home with popcorn, cookies, chips, salsa, pretzels, candy, etc. We had a movie party with Sahara and Happy Feet, complete with a huge dinner (which was delicious) and lots and lots of desserts. I might not want to eat anything ever again... And I am suddenly reminded just how much I love these girls.

Oh, and the strangest thing happened to me. I was walking back from my final, and I was absolutely exhausted. Suddenly, I looked up to see some guy walking by in a banana suit, with a sign around his neck telling everyone not to stress about finals. Needless to say, my day was pretty much made. I think he may have successful made finals that much better. I love college.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Real World: Really Homesick

You know that part of the year where you're just fed up with school, roommates, finals, and basically everything that's not getting on that plane to go home?

Yeah. I'm so there. I'm beyond there. I've set up residency there.

I still have three days left before I leave to go home, but I'm already packed up (except for my clothes and hygeine stuff cuz, y'know, I actually need those) and I'm probably going to go through and clean the apartment starting tomorrow even though I don't check out for a couple more days.

What brought on this intense homesick-ness, you may ask?

Part of it may be the fact that I'm just so stinkin' sick of my classes and studying for finals that I might just cry if I ever have to see chemistry again for my entire life (or at least until I've graduated from college and have kids of my own, at which point I will laugh at them when they take chemistry classes.) I'm seriously regretting the decision to take three science classes in one semester, especially since they're all really difficult classes and people gasp when they hear the names of these classes. (Example: Microbiology 221 *gasp*; Chemistry 285 *GASP*)

Part of it may be that I filled my patience quota for the year, and I really don't feel like putting up with any kind of drama anymore, no matter how small. I swear, I'm going to kill all my friends if I'm not careful, which would be sad, since I actually love them. I'm just done caring. I'll start caring again next week, when I'm home and happy and not studying for finals. Finals suck up all my caring energy; sorry.

Part of it may be the fact that I hate cleaning, but I'm a neat freak. This is a problem. When everyone's at different levels of packing and getting the apartment clean for checkouts, this results in an apartment of varying dirtiness levels. Anything past about a five (out of ten) grind on my nerves, and I usually break at 5.1 (if I'm not busy studying, in which case, I just avoid any mess until I have the time to deal with it.) Finals means we're all lazy about everything else, which leaves my nerves to be ground over and over. Sad day.

But I think the major reason I'm homesick is that I've been out here at college for almost a year now (I went summer term) and it's high time for a break. I miss my family. My sister went on her first date and I wasn't there. My family rearranged the entire house without me, and I won't be able to find anything when I get back. My baby sister is growing up, and she's going to be as tall as my other sister if I'm not careful. I'm missing my family's life, and, for crying out loud, I want to be there. I want to live somewhere that's clean, somewhere that "drama" means me and my sister getting into an argument because she thinks I'm a dork, somewhere devoid of homework (at least for me) and somewhere where I'm not living out of my suitcase.

On that note: 69 hours, 10 minutes, 39 seconds until I check out of my apartment.

My Books' Worlds: Retrospection

So, today, after I got home from church, I started rereading Birthright Unknown, which I wrote my senior year, and I want to edit it for publication. Halfway through rereading the seventh chapter, one of my favorite characters died, and I cried. I then realized what I was doing, and I laughed at myself. Obviously, though, this is a good sign and means I have believable, emotional characters (or else I really, really like Anor too much). So I know at least the plot is good, but grammar is going to kill me. Rough drafts suck. And after spending several months editing and re-editing Lady Thief until my grammar and spelling is hammered into my head, seeing "were" instead of "where" gives me a heart attack.

It's going to be interesting editing this thing...

One good thing did come of my random crying in the middle of the day, though: I've realized that I need more stuff with Anor in it. So, when I go back through and edit, I'm going to expand his role in the book and give him more time with his brother. After all, they're both just too cute for words and I'm still upset that he died. (Even though it's essential to the plotline, but whatever, right? haha.)

I'm excited to keep reading this thing, since the details of the story are still sketchy and I obviously don't remember much of it. I'll have to wait and see if I need to change anything else in the plot or if I'm just a sucker for cute comic relief guys.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Books' Worlds: Horrible Timing

Okay, this may sound crazy, but authors have people in their heads. And these people have minds of their own. Trust me.

With that being said, these people in my head, mainly the main characters of Secrets We Keep, have finally decided to be nice to me. This means they're actually going to do what I wanted them to do in the first place!

I should be ecstatic. After all, I've been hitting a wall with this book for the past three weeks because it's absolutely vital that Nick gets himself captured for the entire plot of the book to move forward. But he's an idiot and doesn't want to get captured. Something about the male ego. Yeah. I don't understand it either.

But I'm not ecstatic. In fact, I wish Nick would be pigheaded for just a little longer, because now that I actually have something to write, I have finals, and those sort of take precedence over knocking Nick out (even though I want to do that even more after the past three weeks of fighting with him.)

This means that, by the time finals are over, I'll probably get back to my book and Nick will be pigheaded again. Stupid characters.

The Real World: Finals

So, it's finally that time again. That time when everyone either hides in their room studying or hides from studying, depending on how worried you are about your GPA and scholarships. (You know, little things like that.)

This semester, I made the horrible mistake of taking science classes. Three of them. Yeah, I've decided I hate science. With a fiery, burning passion. But I'm stuck in those classes, so I'm just going to have to tough it out. Thankfully, as a Political Science major, I don't have to take them after this. It's just the finals that have me down.

Here's the problem: finals are kicking my butt.

I don't mean like I'm just struggling to find the willpower to study. I mean like I'm locked in my room with a paper and pencil, furiously memorizing pages and pages of notes in the hopes that I'll be able to get all the information in my head so that I don't accidentally, you know, die when the test comes. In fact, this morning, I rolled over, grabbed my glasses and my chemistry notebook, and started studying. In bed. I didn't even get out of the covers or change out of my pajamas or anything.

So, I get to the Chem285 final, and, lo and behold, there's an entire section's worth of stuff I never understood in the first place, so how the heck am I supposed to study it? Gah. Love finals.