Apparently I’m It

20140529-114341Er…how about we not talk about how long it’s been since I last posted. Okay? Okay.

Anyway, apparently I’ve been tagged in the Sunflower Blogger Award. So what I’m supposed to do is give eleven random facts, answer eleven questions, and tag eleven people.

Eleven facts:

1. My favourite number is 4. Or 44 or 444 or 444,444,444,444,444.444. Anything with fours!

2. Living with me is like living in an opera. When I was little, I’d sing about putting my socks on. Beware saying anything remotely poetic around me; I’ll turn it into a song quicker than you can blink.

3. If my room caught on fire I’d be burned to a crisp in no time because my books are all stored under my bed.

4. If I want to be able to talk normally, I can’t eat dairy products.

5. I identify strongly with my German heritage, and want to move to Austria someday.

6. I love photographing architecture.

7. I don’t like any hot drinks.

8. I think I drive the librarians crazy with how many books I put on hold.

9. I want to learn to sing.

10. I’m fascinated by Russian history.

11. I have little people in my head. They’re called characters. Okay, maybe that one wasn’t random, but I was running out of ideas…

 

And the questions…

1. What’s the last sentence you wrote in a story?

Oh, goodness. I’ve been prepping and not writing for longer than I care to admit. The last sentence from a supplemental scene was “How grand it would be.” (Sylve, King’s Bluff)

2. What was the last movie you watched?

The Book Thief.

3. Do you have a favorite quote?

“So long as that sense of art remains safely locked in your head, completely uncommunicated, it remains perfect. The instant you try to communicate it in any way, it becomes imperfect.” (source lost)

4. Favorite food?

Pickles, mushrooms, and pineapple. Not together.

5. Have you ever seen a shooting star?

No. 😦

6. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three books, which would you bring?

The Bible is a given, so… Probably Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, Pride and Prejudice, and A Tale of Two Cities. Can I have more, please?

7. In real life, which appeals to you more: futuristic, modern, or old-fashioned?

Steampunk! Wait, that wasn’t one of the options?

8. In fiction, which appeals to you more: futuristic, modern, or old-fashioned? (Other worlds count.)

Old-fashioned fantasy. What’s better than creating one’s own history?

9. What’s the strangest thing hanging on your wall in your room?

I only have a mirror on my walls. All my pictures are on bookshelves/tables. Sometimes my mirror reflects a rather strange face in the morning, so I suppose that works…

10. What’s your favorite bird?

Hummingbirds. They’re beautiful and cute.

11. Robin Hood or King Arthur?

Robin Hood. Bows are cooler than swords, anyway.

 

I’m going to join the lazy club and just copy the questions for my tagees to answer.

1. What’s the last sentence you wrote in a story?

2. What was the last movie you watched?

3. Do you have a favorite quote?

4. Favorite food?

5. Have you ever seen a shooting star?

6. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three books, which would you bring?

7. In real life, which appeals to you more: futuristic, modern, or old-fashioned?

8. In fiction, which appeals to you more: futuristic, modern, or old-fashioned? (Other worlds count.)

9. What’s the strangest thing hanging on your wall in your room?

10. What’s your favorite bird?

11. Robin Hood or King Arthur?

I don’t have eleven people to tag, but I tag Jeremiah Stiles, Elizabeth Kirkwood, Aubrey Hansen, BushMaid, and Andrew Joyce (if he wants).

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When Schedules Fail

diary-page-550929-mWe’ve all heard it before. Make goals and set yourself a (slightly flexible) deadline by which to meet them. Yet sometimes following our set schedule shoots us in the foot. We want to start writing X story by a certain time, so we rush through the prep-work and end up with cardboard characters as a result. We want to finish writing X by a certain time, so the ending is written poorly in order to meet the deadline.

Schedules are good, but sometimes their existence negatively affects the final product.

Sometimes schedules fail.

My plans for beginning writing Page’s Dilemma (and a secret project) fall into this failed category. Fall flat on their faces into it. I was supposed to start yesterday, yet not only have I not had the time to do the prep-work for them, there was more to get done than I could have ever hoped to do in time. The answer?

Wait.

If I want a good final product, now isn’t the time to begin. It’s the time to let my stories and their prep-work grow organically so that when they are written, they are the very best they can be.

So when am I starting? I don’t know; there’s so much work to be done. There’s no schedule for now, only plugging away. And in a while…in a while it will be ready.

A Return and a General Update

timeless-333471-mWell, that is bad. This is my first post since April, other than my last poem. My apologies.

So why haven’t I been posting? Generally, my course load at college has been so heavy that I haven’t had the brain capability to actually write out a post. Procrastination has also been a factor (surprise…). But now I’m back and I will (hopefully) be posting much, much more often!

What happened to my writing? Well, this summer I ended up blasting through the last almost-half of King’s Bluff, finishing it up at around 71K. As usually, there’s still a lot of work to be done on it. There’s more I need to worldbuild, characters I need to flesh out more, plot lines to figure out how to tie up with a pretty bow. Right now, it’s out to my story consultant/alpha reader.

Meanwhile, I’m beginning work on the second book of the trilogy, Page’s Dilemma. I get to play with a new, younger MC as the repercussions of King’s Bluff unfold. While I’m quite looking forward to it, it is a bit daunting, since I wasn’t expecting to start PD until KB was completely done. And now I want to start by the middle of December, and I’m very not ready. So I’m pushing myself to get the grunt work done, worldbuild what needs to be built, and somehow get all my plot ready.

I will hopefully be back next week with a new post, so I’ll leave you with the logline for Page’s Dilemma for now.

When a young page hears a dangerous secret not meant for his ears, he must choose, not only between the welfare of his country and his own life, but between the two men to whom he owes much.

Abba

pathI wrote another poem that I thought was decent enough to share. Enjoy or not as you like. 🙂

 

 

 

ABBA

They walk side by side

Down an old, narrow path.

A man with a little girl clinging on to his hand.

His face is in shadows and cannot be seen,

But hers is alive with smiles and joy.

She swings the man’s hand as she skips by his side,

Smiling up with a childlike trust.

“Abba,” she calls him

As they walk on together.

 

They walk side by side

Down an old, narrow path.

A man with a teenager holding on to his hand.

His face is in shadows and cannot be seen,

Bur hers, though anxious, shines still with joy.

Her grip now is slack, and her step now is slow,

Smiling up, though fear plays on her brow.

“Abba,” she still calls him

As they walk on together.

 

They walk side by side

Down an old, narrow path.

A man with a young woman clinging on to his hand.

His face is in shadows and cannot be seen,

Bur hers, though sorrowful, is covered with joy.

She clings to his hand like she cannot let go,

Smiling up with eye full of longing.

“Abba,” she breathes

As they walk on together.

 

They walk side by side

Down an old, narrow path.

A man with a woman holding on to his hand.

His face is in shadows and cannot be seen,

Bur hers, lined with care, radiates joy and contentment.

She grips the man’s hand with all of her might,

Smiling up through eyes full of love.

“Abba,” she still calls him

As they walk on together.

 

They walk side by side

Down an old, narrow path.

A man with an old woman holding on to his hand.

His face is in shadows and cannot be seen,

Bur hers, now aged, shines with smiles and joy.

Her grip still is strong, though her movements are feeble,

Smiling up with a still, quiet trust.

“Abba,” she whispers

As they walk on together.

 

On a great, golden throne,

Surrounded by angels,

He sits, the woman kneeling down at his feet.

He is surrounded by glory and cannot be seen,

But her face is alight with true joy and met hope.

She bows at his feet in humble submission,

Smiling up with adoring and awe.

“Abba!” she calls him

As they rest there together.

 

Inspired in part by A. Andrew Joyce’s post by the same title. With thanks to J. Grace Pennington for helping with the last line.

The Message of Tears

You’ll want to go read J. Grace Pennington’s People Who Cry first, otherwise this may not make any sense. With Grace’s permission I’m writing a sort of follow-up post to it.

The composer Schubert once said, “My music is the product of my talent and my misery. And that which I have written in my greatest distress is what the world seems to like best.”

What was true for Schubert and his music is true for an author and his/her books. When we read, isn’t it the books that move us that we like the most, that we read over and over?

Why do we do this?

I think that the biggest reason is that they are well-crafted. If the emotion is written well enough to move us, then it has been written well. Likely, the rest of the book is of similar quality. And characters that can bring out the emotion in us seem so real.

But I think also that something within us draws us back to emotion. Perhaps a feeling of understanding the characters. Perhaps a feeling that, though the characters aren’t real, we aren’t the only people that feel the way we do. And of course, for stories that bring out our emotion in the middle, yet end well, we hope that lives will be the same.

As writers, we need to ask ourselves how we can write this way.

How can we make our readers cry? How can we make our books ones that people return to because of the emotion? By crying ourselves. When we write a book that pulls our own heartstrings, that is an extension of our soul, the emotion we write will be real. If we are passionate about what we write about, this will show. It’s sort of like the old adage, “write what you know.” Write the emotions you know. Has your heart been broken over the death of someone dear to you? Have you stayed up late at night crying because a friend couldn’t see the consequences that would come from their bad decisions? Have you felt the regret of your own bad decisions? Has your heart ached for someone else’s pain? Then projecting that onto a character will make that character’s emotion seem so much more real to your readers.

It’s not just for the acclaim.

There is power in the written word. Our goal shouldn’t just be to move people, to make them like your book. It should be to make them think of the message behind it. Perhaps you write a book with an underlying current of the sorrow of those left behind after a loved one commits suicide, and you do it well, because you have felt that sorrow. A good reader will go away from reading not just with the satisfaction of having been moved. They will go away with the understanding of that pain.

When your readers cry over your story, do they come away with a greater understanding? Do they come away edified, maybe changed, or just thinking that it was “a good story?”

Beautiful Writing – March

I haven’t written one of these for a while! All of the posts are from the same two young men*…I think they’re hogging the talent. 😉 Regardless, I’d like to share their writing with you. Enjoy!

Old People and Old Places: This beautiful post by Jeremiah Stiles poignantly discusses memories and change.

A Blank Sheet of Paper: Andrew’s posts, whether poetry or prose, are always jaw-droppingly amazing, and this is no exception.

Don’t Forget: A follow-up poem on Jeremiah’s Old People and Old Places, this lovely work places the reader’s perspective on memories and change exactly where it should be – God.

I’ve Got a Wanderlust For Sure: Another lovely Andrew post about longing to explore, to see the world.

 

*Both of whom are in the Beautiful, Essencey Posts That Make Zoe Cry Club (BEPTMZCC, for short)

To Begin Again

forestEleven months ago, I finished The Masked Bird. Eight months ago, I gave it up for as long as necessary. I gave it up until it was time to write it again, until it seemed to be God’s will for me to continue. I needed time, emotional distance. I let it sit there for eleven months. It wasn’t easy. Oh, yes, I thought about it. But never once during that time did I open that document, and I tried oh, so hard not to talk about it or mentally work on it.

That time is over.

I read it again. I opened the dreaded document, and this book that I cried over, that raised my blood pressure and body temperature as I worked on some of the scenes, scarcely moved me. Yes, I cried a teeny bit at the end, but that was it. It’s a far cry from the emotional ties it had on me almost a year ago.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just sitting down and editing. One thing that my long hiatus enabled me to see is that this thing needs so much work.

I’m starting over.

I’ll be mixing scenes around, totally changing how I begin, strengthening it, pulling it together. I’m not even going to be looking at the old drafts as I do so. There’s so much more I can do with it. Even after three drafts, it’s still just a skeleton with the odd bit of flesh. Now, with a fresh perspective, I can, I hope, put some meat on those bones. I’m a little afraid to lose those turns of phrase that I’m – even now – pleased with. Yet I need to take the plunge, because if I keep on doing what I have been doing, I’ll just be spinning my wheels. It’s time to get some traction and move on.

I don’t know how long this will take, I don’t have a goal to be done draft four by x time. All I know is that I’m working on it again. I look forward to returning to Raven’s world.

 

Stock photo by Larisa Koshkina.