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Showing posts from October, 2009

Using A Thesaurus

For nearly two years in my writing life, I thought that using a thesaurus meant your writing sounded better and more adult. This is exactly the sort of scene I came up with:
"She manipulated the garment in a cogitative mode.
‘Hmm,’ she vocalised. ‘This attire is verifiably marvellous. What is it constituted from?’
‘From the most meritorious velveteen,’ defined her interlocutor, simpering coincidentally.
‘Is it?’ iterated the party of the first part. ‘That’s felicitous.’
‘Additionally, this specified object has the property of being subdivided in terms of its defining mercantile characteristic, and can be taken possession of for the diminutive quantity of merely a half-dozen currency units,’ the retail employee informed.
‘Exoneration?’ supplicated the protagonist appropriately. The commercial tertiary sector worker eyeballed her perspicaciously.
‘I said it’s five ninety-nine. Do you want it or not?’"

Mine might even have been worse, as I used this technique mainly on poetry. I would …

Norma Fox Mazer

Norma Fox Mazerpassed away 17 October at the age of 78, at her home in Montpelier, Vermont.
I first read her - and her husband's books - through my sister, who had a copy of Silver; it wasn't the sort of book I'd pick up on my own, and at first reading (probably at the age of 13 or so), I was slightly disturbed. By then I'd already read 1984, Flowers in the Attic (and all the other books in the series, as well as the Dawn series and My Sweet Audrina) and Cynthia Voigt's novels, so I'm not sure why Silver should have bothered me at all. Perhaps it was the realism of the book - VC Andrews, especially, was so much of a soap opera that it could hardly count as real, and 1984 felt very adult and political (though the final scene has haunted me to this day). By contrast, Silver was about people my own age, having true-to-life conversations, and the characters felt much more immediate.
Then I read Bright Days, Stupid Nights and I was hooked. Mrs. Fish, Ape, and Me the D…

Guggenheim's Fiftieth Anniversary

Image
21 October was the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum of art, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

While visiting Wright's Fallingwater in August, I discovered that there are Lego versions of both Fallingwater and the Guggenheim!





Meanwhile, on the writing front, there's a week left on the Novel Push Initiative, and Rosa's tale is coming along nicely. I've been plotting quite a lot over the past few days, as I try to feel my way deeper into the story. It's all very well for Rosa to be separated from her family, wandering around Spain with a monk and some distant Jewish relatives that she's rescued from the Inquisitors - but where are they all going? And where does Kedi come in? That is the question!

Don't forget to visit All the World's Our Page, where Jen's giving away some brilliant books!

First Paragraphs

Nathan's concluded his third annual first paragraph contest, and as part of his roundup, he lists the "common tropes that I picked up on:

- There were quite a lot openings with setting/rising suns and characters bathed in red colors, as well as moons and characters bathed in twilight.
- Girls looking in mirrors/brushing their hair/looking in mirrors while brushing their hair
- Holy cow, or should I say Holy Dead Bloody Cow were there a lot of corpses and blood in the first paragraphs. "Blood" was used 181 times, and that doesn't count the euphemisms. Not necessarily a bad thing (and one of the bloody ones made the finals), but wow.
- You wrote a lot of paragraphs in the second person.
- One common trope involves a person who is dying but feels all detached from the experience. Sort of like: "I am dying, but I feel nothing but a bemused disinterest about it. Isn't it curious that I'm dying? I suppose I should be scared right now. This is peculiar indeed.&…

Have You Read These YAs?

I tagged myself off Jen's post.

I stole this from a blog I ran across tonight...Teen Book Review.
The following list of books teens love, books teens should read, and books adults who serve teens should know about was compiled IN ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC MANNER and should be taken with a very large grain of salt.
Instructions:
Put an “X” next to the books you’ve read
Put a “+” next to the books you LOVE
Put a “#” next to the books you plan on reading
Tally your “X”s at the bottom
Share with your friends!


1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams X
2. Kit’s Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews X
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor
12. Forever / Judy Blume – well, I’ve read other Blume books X+
13. What I Saw …

Why I Write Longhand

I tried composing on the computer tonight. It worked, I got 404 words out of it and the beginning to one of the most important scenes in Rosa's story.
And yet.
I spend way too much time changing words and erasing and retyping to fix typing-related spelling errors. I can't touch type, though I type very fast, so that might have something to do with my preference as well. I find I pause much more often when keying in words than I do when gliding along with a pen (which has to be a - shameless plug coming up - Pilot G-TEC-C4). My thoughts seem to flow from head to hand much more smoothly when using a pen.
There's also the ever present internet danger when using the computer - I stopped writing at least three times to research something on the spot. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it saves work later, but it also leads to quick-research, not a detailed exploration. The story definitely shouldn't be entirely based on Wikipedia, that goes without saying.
Oddly enough,…

A New Nathan Contest!

Nathan Bransford The Agent is hosting the The 3rd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge. Enter before 4pm Pacific time and then see if any of the close to 2,000 (!) entries grabs your eye...
As if you didn't need more incentive, but here are Nathan's statistics regarding the last two contests:
"The person who thought of the last contest we had (Be an Agent for a Day), is now a client of mine: hello Jim Duncan! Also, the person who won the contest before that (The 2nd Semi-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge), is also now a client: hello Natalie Whipple!
We've also had three finalists, Stuart Neville, Terry DeHart, and Victoria Schwab go on to be published/soon-to-be-published authors respectively."

A New Writing Blog!

Don't delay! Check out my friends' new writing blog today!

All The World's Our Page

Enter to win a free book!

Am I A Writer?

Tagged myself, off Michelle!

Which words do you use too much in your writing?
Too many little words – "and then", "he realised" "at that moment", that sort of thing. My characters also have a tendency to grin a lot, unless I rein them in. I once made an Excel chart by using the search option in Word and tabulating the results of my overused words – lots of "so" and "the next day" came up.

Which words do you consider overused in stuff you read?
I haven't had this problem in any books that I've enjoyed. Usually, if a book is badly written, it's not so much a matter of repetition as a certain tendency to wander all over the place.

What's your favourite piece of writing by you?
This is going to sound ridiculous, since I’m most proud of my current novel The Face of A Lion (agent hunting as we speak!) but the stories I always remember are the one I wrote in first grade, about a boy named Aldo, the one I wrote in fourth grade, calle…

12 Things My House Is Overrun With

A non writing post! Tag yourself if you wish!

Courtesy of Adventures in Chaos:

•Travel brochures
•Books I haven't read yet
•Scissors
•Glasses and mugs with logos on them (such as Wintzell's Oyster House)
•Cat hair
•Candles
•Hand lotion
•Rag ends of wool skeins that remind me of items I've knit in the past
•Knitting patterns
•Itty bitty scraps of paper with scribbles on them of dreams, story ideas, things to do, etc.
•Aluminium foil balls (in other words, cat toys)
•Framed photos and art - none of which has been hung on the walls

How Many Whiphands Does It Take?

I've signed up for another accountability challenge! This one starts today and runs until the end of October (before which I'll have to decide whether I'll participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I might, but then, there's going to be another house party over on the forum...) and is hosted by Kait, from Mission: Accountability.

The daily goal in Kait's Novel Post Initiative is a minimum of 250 words every day! Watch our progress on Kait's blog, and here!

Perhaps by the end of the month I'll have a title for the story, and can stop calling it "Rose in 1492, featuring Kedi", or variations thereof.