Monday, November 30, 2009

Interview with Katie

Me: Hope everyone had a great holiday and an awesome weekend! :) This week I have the MC of Aliens Ruined My Life, Katie, with us. Say hello, Katie.

Katie: Hello, Katie.

Me: *rolls eyes* Katie why don't you tell us about yourself?

Katie: Before or after the invasion?

Me: After. That is when your story starts.

Katie: Not really. Maybe you should write another one. A prequel.

Me: Maybe next year for nano. I'm kind of tempted to write Illiandora's story. Don't you think that would be cool?

Katie: Maybe you should explain who Illiandora is.

Me: I'm the interviewer here. Now, why don't you tell us about yourself after the invasion.

Katie: Well, I have brown hair and brown eyes. My hair is kind of wavy at the ends. I don't like to be interrupted when I'm reading and I like to be sarcastic sometimes.

Me: Sometimes?

Katie: Hey, every character has some part of their writer in them. Unlike most people, I don't mind homework as long as it's not a pile of physics worksheets, but I'd rather stay in bed than go to class.

Me: So tell me about Liz and David. How are they doing?

Katie: Liz is my best friend. She's doing great. She and Nate broke up for awhile, but now they're back together. They're both planning on going to U of M when they graduate. As for David, he's my boyfriend. He's pretty hot and he's got this awesome Polish accent.

Me: Very nice. So there are aliens in ARML. Can you tell me a little about them?

Katie: You would know. Yes, there are aliens in ARML. More than you expected, huh?

Me: Yes. They weren't actually supposed to play a part. *glares*

Katie: Why are you looking at me? It was your story. You are the one that decided to screw with my life.

Me: It was your idea!

Katie: Whatever.

Me: Anyway, why don't you tell us why 1984 is your favorite book? You reread it a few times over the course of ARML.

Katie: I have no idea, I just like it. I mean, it's like a nationally available Mayan calendar or an old, book version of Day After Tomorrow and 2012.

Me: Have you seen 2012?

Katie: Not yet, David and I are going to see it next week.

Me: Let me know if it's good. So do you believe the world's going to end in 2012?

Katie: Heck no. Why are we even talking about this anyway?

Me: I have no idea. I'm just saying the first thing that comes to mind.

Katie: I think your mind needs to go back to ARML.

Me: Fine. What's your favorite movie?

Katie: Day After Tomorrow and Prince and Me.

Me: Why Prince and Me?

Katie: *shrugs* It kind of reminds me of David and I. Only he's not a prince and he doesn't drive like a maniac and he's Polish.

*knock on the door and David walks in*

David: Hey, sweetie. *kisses Katie on the cheek* I have reservations for dinner tonight. They're in half an hour.

Me: Glad to see you two are still together. David, what do you like best about Katie?

David: *looks at Katie* The fact that she's good at biology and is willing to help me with my homework so I don't fail.

Me: And if you failed, you'd have to leave Ridgedale. Right?

David: Right. So far it looks like I'm staying.

Me: That's great! Katie, what do you like best about David?

Katie: His hair. *tousles David's blonde hair*

Me: Okay you two, I'm going to let you get going. Don't stay out too late.

Katie: We won't. Bye everyone!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Once again, no formal post today. If you absolutely must go out and brave the throngs of insane people battling over the products for sale, be safe and good luck! I don't want to hear of any deaths like last year. If you're sane and staying home -- like me -- enjoy your day off and get to work on that NaNo project!

Either way, everyone have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chapter Length

It's something that a lot of new writers obsess over though it doesn't have a lot of bearing on a story. I've read books with everything from one to two page chapters (which got a little annoying after awhile, but it was easy to keep track of how many chapters I was reading and keep myself from losing track of time) to books that only had ten chapters and 384 pages.

Does it really matter what your chapter's length is? No. In fact, it can vary. You can have chapters that are a few pages long and other chapters that are ten or fifteen. Just do whatever works for your book.

Because I'm curious, here's a cute little poll. When reading (or writing) what chapter length do you prefer?

What chapter length do you prefer? Online Casinos
Very short (1-3 pages)
Short (4-7 pages)
Medium (7-10 pages)
Long (10-15 pages)
Very long (15+ pages)
No preference

Web Polls

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cracked Up to Be Review

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Cracked Up to Be is an amazing book. For the first ten minutes after I finished it, all I could think was wow. The characterization was just amazing. Parker is probably one of the first characters that I wanted to strangle and hug at the same time, without being able to put the book down. She's such a witch to everyone around her -- even those that are just trying to help -- but you just want to keep going to figure out what made her like this. And Jake...I love him! He's such a sweetheart and you just have to love him.

I love the way that Courtney Summers reveals the events of the party that made Parker the way she is by showing it in bits as Parker remembers and thinks about it.

Note: don't read Cracked Up to Be during NaNo. Or when you're supposed to be working on something. It was really hard for me to put it down.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Interview with Claudia and Erik

Okay, I planned to do this...12 days ago on Destiny's actual one-year birthday, but that's when everything hit me so happy belated birthday, Destiny! *cue noise-makers* In celebration of this event, I'm going to interview the two main characters, Claudia and Erik. Hello guys!

Claudia and Erik: Hello!

Claudia: Thanks for having us.

Me: You're welcome. You're always welcome around here. Being my first characters and all.

Erik: I thought that was Fluffy.

Me: Shut up. Stories that I wrote when I was six don't count.

Claudia: Aww, but Fluffy was so cute.

Me: *rolls eyes* All right, let's get started.

Selma: *walks in without knocking* Am I late?

Me: Selma, this is an interview between me, Claudia, and Erik. I was planning on having yours in celebration of the one year anniversary of Destiny's completion.

Selma: Too bad. Besides, you don't even know what day that is.

Me: All right, you can stay. You didn't tell anyone else, did you?

Selma: *looks guilty* No...

Me: I guess that means we'd better get started before someone else comes barging in. Claudia, can you tell us something about you?

Claudia: Well...I'm eighteen years old and I live in Walraven, the capital, with Erik and my friends. I have dark brown hair and brown eyes. I'm kind of short and I used to be skinny, but not so much anymore.

Erik: *grabs Claudia's hand and kisses it* You're beautiful.

Selma: Knock it off you too. Andreas' had to go visit the isles and I'm tired of you two wandering around looking like lovestruck puppies.

Claudia: *glances at Selma* You didn't seem to have a problem with it on the Skeppa.

Me: No fighting you two. Erik, why don't you go next?

Erik: All right. I'm almost nineteen years old and I also live in Walraven. I have an ability that allows me to sense the presence of other people and what they're doing. It's because of it that I got imprisoned on Isle Fanlar for three years, though if I hadn't, I never would've met Claudia.

Me: Claudia, you have an ability as well. Can you tell us about that?"

Claudia: *nods* I can control people through words. So if I told Selma to leave this room and never return, she'd do it. Not that I'd ever do something like that.

Me: And do you like this ability?

Claudia: *shrugs* It's okay and I can turn it off so people don't have to do what I'm telling them. I'd hate to have that kind of control. But when I get angry, it can still get out of control.

Me: Perhaps you should work on that. Selma, you were the first in the story to discover these abilities. Can you tell me what yours is and how you did that?

Selma: Sure. My ability is conversing with plants. Sometimes I can hear their thoughts as well, but that was more when I was first discovering my ability. I had to learn how to tune at least some of them out so I wouldn't go insane hearing billions of plants all the time. It all started when I stepped on a dandelion and it started yelling at me. I had no idea that dandelions knew so many curse words, but apparently they've picked up a few things from us.

Me: Just a couple more questions, you three, I don't want to bore our readers.

Selma: Are you saying we're boring?

Me: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Starting with Erik.

Erik: Can it be my family?

Me: Sure.

Erik: Then that's what I'd change about myself. Nikolaus is okay now, but I've always wanted a big family.

Claudia: *touches his hand* I told you, you have a big family. Look at me, Selma, Andreas, and everyone else. What more could you want?

Erik: Have I ever told you I love you?

Me: Only a hundred times since the fire. What about you, Selma?

Selma: *frowns* I'd change my recklessness. I mean, pranks are fun and all, but there is a line.

Claudia: I've been trying to tell you that for years.

Me: *laughs* Okay, Claudia, what would you change about yourself?

Claudia: I lose control of my anger easily. I used to be more in control, but ever since I found my ability, it's been a lot easier for me to lose control and let it run away from me.

Me: Okay, last question guys. If you found someone with the power to grant you each one wish, what would you wish for? Selma, you first this time.

Selma: I'd wish for...a teleporter. That way Andreas would be able to visit places and come back within hours instead of weeks. And I think it would just be awesome to be able to go anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye.

Me: I'll remember that if you guys get another book. Claudia?

Erik: Wait. We might get another book?

Me: We'll see. I know Carina is getting one, and maybe Selma, but we'll have to see about the rest of you. Maybe next NaNo. Now don't interrupt.

Claudia: I'd wish for more hours in the day. Like maybe 30-hour days instead of 24. I just need more time.

Me: You and me both. What about you Erik?

Erik: I'm with Claudia and Selma. A teleporter would be useful and so would more hours in the day. I'd probably wish for something that allows me to fly over the land so I don't have to ride Spela anytime I want to visit another city or get a car.

Claudia: That would be sweet.

Me: Okay, any last thoughts guys?

Selma: Yeah, what is this I heard about me getting my own story?

Me: I never said that.

Selma: Yeah, you di--

Me: OKAY let's get out of here guys. Thanks for coming tonight. Say goodbye everyone!

Claudia, Erik, and Selma: Goodbye!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Printing a Manuscript

Okay. I've got every post planned through December 14th. So hopefully there will be no more missed days (except for the weekends, because I take those off blogging.) The laptop is supposed to be back by the 14th so I figured I'd plan through then and see where I stood.

Yesterday I printed the first chapter of Destiny. It's one of the coolest things in the world to hold your own manuscript in your hands, even if it's just a fraction of it. But besides the coolness-factor, there are other reasons to print out your manuscript.

1. It's a great way to edit. I don't suggest doing this with a first draft unless you can afford to buy a few cartridges of ink (if you have a printer like mine that sucks up ink faster than a jet sucks up fuel) and a package of paper because a first draft is definitely going to have a lot of things that need to be fixed. Better to fix all those errors and do all those rewrites on the computer and save the printing for a later draft.

2. Hard copy for backing up. Unless you lose the draft, this is one copy that isn't going to disappear when your computer crashes or you don't have access to the internet to reach your back-ups.

Want to print our your manuscript? Here are some tips:

1. Print it out a little at a time. Not only will this help you to spread out your ink and paper usage, but it will also keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by the volume of paper that you have to edit. Print a chapter, edit it, change the electronic copy, and then print out another.

2. Have spare ink and paper handy if you want to print out the whole thing at once.

3. To conserve paper, print on both sides. If you don't have one of those awesome printers that flips it for you and you don't want to have to sit next to the printer and flip every sheet, then here's something I learned yesterday. On the printer settings that show up before you print, there should be an option towards the bottom that will allow you to print only odd and even numbered pages. Normally it will say "Print: All pages in range." Click on the down arrow so it shows "Odd pages" and "Even pages." Click "Odd pages" and then hit print. Let all the pages print and pay attention to how they come out of the printer. Once they're all finished, pick them all up and put them in the printer so that the blank side will be printed on. Hit print again, change it to "Even pages" and print out the rest.

Hole-punch the papers and put them in a binder to keep them safe and clean. I have a piece of notebook paper that I keep in the front with all my revision suggestions on it. I read them over real quick before each editing session to remind myself what I need to accomplish. Then I use a pen to go through and edit my manuscript. If I need to make an addition that won't fit between the lines, I take a piece of notebook paper, write down the addition, and then put it in the binder behind the page it belongs to.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guess what?

I have returned! And this time I have a little more time on my hands. No, the laptop still isn't back. It'll be two weeks this Saturday. But I AM finished with NaNo!! That's right, Aliens Ruined My Life is complete at 50,300 words!

If you ask me how the heck I did it, the answer is: sugar, a character that wouldn't shut up, and a willingness to put everything else aside and just sit in the house for an entire weekend (probably the last beautiful, slightly warm weekend we're going to get until April) and write.

I've started editing Destiny, Jump, and ARML with the goal to finish all three of them before Christmas break. I'll ship them out to betas and then hopefully start working on my next project over break.

I'm taking tonight off, but tomorrow I'll get my butt in gear and start editing. I've already got the first chapter of Destiny printed out with a list of revision suggestions in front of me. I'm also going to try to be a better blogger and start working on blogging every day again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Write or Die

I HATE having only one computer. You do not truly appreciate your computer time until your computer disappears and you have to share with your writer mom. Trust me on this. One week survived, two to three to go. And the worst part is, I still don't have my backup files. Which means I can't turn in that AP Lit essay (which means I'm probably failing right now, but I'm too scared to check my grades to see), I don't have my notes for the book reviews I had planned, and I don't have the first 10k of my nano project.

*sighs* Anyway...a few random notes before I begin.

I finished Bloodhound. Review will come eventually. I've started Sucks to be Me. There will definitely be a review on this one. :D

I hit the halfway point on ARML. YAY! Goal is to hit 35k this weekend. Only 16 days left!

Taylor Swift won Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs the other day, a title that is usually given to Kenny Chesney if I remember correctly. I am so happy for her and ecstatic right now. :D Personally I think every girl has a Taylor Swift song that describes them perfectly. I have two right now that are mine.

By now you might be wondering what the title of this post has to do with anything. Because I can't think of anything else to write about, I'm going to tell you about Write or Die, writers' block's worst nightmare.

WoD is a website where you choose a time limit and a word count goal. The smallest time limit you can choose is ten minutes, which I kind of hate because I think I'd rather write in five minute spurts rather than ten, but whatever. Underneath that you can choose a consequence if you stop writing and a grace period.

The three grace periods are Forgiving, Strict, and Evil. I've been using Forgiving lately because I have serious writers' block.

The consequences you can choose from are Gentle, Normal, and Kamikaze. Gentle is the one I've been using because I can't have sound with my mom listening to music and Kamikaze scares me (more on that in a second). Gentle mode just gives you a pop-up reminding you to keep writing. Of course that doesn't work if you have a computer like mine that either doesn't allow pop-ups or is just screwed up in general (not really sure what the problem is). Normal mode plays an extremely annoying song or sound until you keep writing again. Kamikaze mode is the worst. If you stop writing for over the allotted time, it starts to delete what you wrote before. Crazy, huh? I'd never do that... There's also a fourth mode that says Electric Shock that you can't select. I think I'll stay away from that one...

If you don't write well under pressure and still want to use WoD, I'd suggest starting out with Gentle mode and a Forgiving grace period. Now I'm going to go get rid of this writers' block and see if I can write 4.5k today. Happy writing guys!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lots of News

Before I begin, I'd like to say sorry for being such a horrible blogger in the past week. I realize that it's been...almost two weeks since I last posted. I'm so very sorry! Life decided to get in the way and make blogging nearly impossible. So I've decided to drop in and let you all know what's up.

School and homework has been taking up the majority of my time. We're nearing the end of the trimester which means teachers are now piling even more work on us in an attempt to get through all their lessons before exams. At this point our trig teacher has already told us that we're not going to have any time for review in class before our exams. Which sucks. Whatever time I don't spend working on homework, is spent writing. NaNo is very time consuming, but I'm quite happy with my project so far.

Yesterday my laptop broke and it's now in the shop. I think I have a vague idea how parents feel when they're children go away to summer camp. Everything was on that laptop including all of my nano project. I did have the sense to backup all my novels, except for that one. I'm getting everything taken off my harddrive, but I'm not getting that until tomorrow. So until then I'm just working off what I remember. The worst part of a broken laptop is I now have to share our lone computer with my mom who also happens to be a writer working on a novel. So now we're fighting over who gets top priority on the computer.

So where does that put this blog? Well, unfortunately at the bottom of my priorities. I will continue to blog as often as I can. Blogging will probably be pretty sparse this week but I'll try to get back into regular posts next week. I had book reviews planned for this week, but my notes for those were also on the laptop.

Note to readers: BACK UP EVERYTHING! As soon as I get my backup copy of my files, I'm going to backup everything that I need. It doesn't have to be complicated, all I do is email an attachment of the document to myself.

Also, today is November 8th. Which is Destiny's first birthday! I had a celebration planned that included interviews with my favorite characters, but that is going to have to wait a few days.