Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bloghop Guilt of an Insecure Writer

I am not allowing myself to do Roadtrip Wednesday this week, on the grounds that I don't have time to comment on everyone else's. Until I catch up on commenting on others' blogs, I feel too guilty.

I might solve this problem by only commenting on a few each time, but instead I promise myself I'll comment on ALL of them (which is not possible with my schedule). So, I end up posting mine, coming home from work late and not commenting on any. I'll have to find a happy medium sometime.

It's also not that I don't have blog ideas, but sometimes they trickle in slowly. Sometimes I doubt whether they're worth posting. I look at other blogs, I take my eyes off what I want, and that does me in. I need to stop comparing my blog with others, wondering if my blog is too open, too haphazard, too full of blackmail potential. (...It is, isn't it?)

Blogging used to be fun, and now I have a hard time even sitting myself down and posting an entry. I used to think "I want to share this!" and then I somehow got into the mindset of "is this appropriate to share?"

It's the same with my writing. When it's just me and my story, it's lovely. It's like a special date. Strolling along the path of creativity, being delightfully surprised by what lies ahead, no one to tell you you're ridiculous, or you're wordy, or you really shouldn't be comparing the MC's eyes to two beady black currants. (You should be comparing them to two polished black marbles.)

The point to all this is there is good to be said for writing suggestions and for considering your blog material. Just don't let it keep you from producing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

RTW: Love List for my WIP

This Roadtrip Wednesday topic was inspired by Stephanie Perkins post on 'Love Lists' at Natalie Whipple's Blog. Stephanie writes her list at the beginning of her WIP and grows it as the story grows. It helps to remind her what she loves most about the story.

Here's my list for A Shadow Story's sequel:

translucent floating fish
glowing locket
Tim Burton-style heroine
band of street kids
fae fiddler (like the Pied Piper)
meandering hidden streets
crow sorceress
twin steampunk cities
Sea of Sleep
violent shadows
nursery rhyme villain

What's your WIP's Love List?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good Fridays: Share Your Last Lines

For this Good Fridays post, I want to spotlight what makes writers write. Before the critiquing, the querying, the revising, there was unbridled imagination that gave birth to the story. And we fell in love with the story.

This is a summons to anyone who has a current work-in-progress or a finished work, or just anything you've been working on lately that you're proud of. Share the last line you wrote! This post is a critique-free zone!

The last lines of my current WIP, the second story in my Lividia Blackwell series are:

And no one could know. It would ruin her.

What're yours?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WriteOnCon - Go to it!

This week is WriteOnCon and I can't stress enough the good impression I'm getting of this forum and the people on it. I posted my first 250 words and my first 5 pages and the feedback I've gotten (including ninja agent feedback!) has been amazing. No one is rude, or critical just for the sake of being critical. Feedback is helpful, constructive, and even enlightening. It's awesome and I highly recommend participating if only to get yourself some great crit too!

Now pardon me while I go post my query and synopsis!
My First 250
My First 5 Pages

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

RTW: My Summer Soundtrack

Boogey Music by Me
This week's Roadtrip Wednesday asks the question:

What music has been your Summer Soundtrack?

Rather than listing an incredibly long number of songs, I decided to include only four. Prepare to be bombarded by my eclectic taste!

Dance and Kpop Mix courtesy DJ Dave on Youtube

Swing - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Shiny new Kpop with rock flavors - JJ Project

Club Trance with Deadmau5

What's your Summer Soundtrack?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mockingjay the Brutal Finale - Review

I finished reading an explosive series - The Hunger Games. Action, more action, death, and violence, combined with heart-wrenching emotional triggers and the ever-enduring love triangle. This series explodes in your face, knocks you in the head, and drags you along for a gut-punch of a ride - especially the last book Mockingjay. (this review includes some spoilers)

The first book was child's play compared to the last one. If you thought a government that sacrifices its people's children in Games was bad, just wait. The stakes in Mockingjay go from high to higher, and finally, to breaking. Just when you think the characters have endured as much as they can, there's more. While I expected everything to improve in Mockingjay, for good to triumph and for Katniss to finally become free, the end turned out to be a depressing disappointment. I was left with a lot of anger and grief over characters I'd followed two books prior.

There were moments of respite from the horror of war and the deaths of those Katniss loved, but they did little to slow the relentless pace of the book, and even less to comfort the grieving reader each time she had to witness another disgustingly brutal act of violence. Hope held out to keep reading because I knew eventually the war would be over and the troubles would be resolved. They just weren't resolved very well. I got angry at the author for the last person she ripped away from Katniss and the manner she did it in. I kept thinking "this is too much!" But it didn't matter.

In the end I gave it four stars over at Goodreads because it was written well and I was already invested in the series. But I would never have the stomach to write a book like this. I worry a little what publishers will expect from writers if Hunger Games is our example. Judging by Graceling, the war machines are still carrying stories along. I just hope that changes.

To sum it up, Mockingjay was a long, painful fairytale written to scare adults into being good, a very dark ending to a startling series that I wish hadn't been so violently aimed at children. If I had to read this series over after knowing how the third book ends, I don't think I would.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Good Fridays: Mockingjay

This Good Fridays spot belongs to a book I've been waiting to read for a long time. I'm glad I finally get to read it now. I'm only a third into this book and I'm already tearing up, devouring each sentence, and eager to see what happens next. (Not kidding. I sat in the break room at work munching my sandwich and trying not to cry.)

If you haven't read the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins yet, you should. That said, I'm already loving Mockingjay better than its predecessor Catching Fire, and about as much as The Hunger Games itself.

Is there a book you've been waiting for that you've finally gotten your hands on? How about a long-awaited read from the past?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Do You Have a Good Plot?

I haven't posted a writing-related entry in awhile, so I thought it was high time. Here's a great question for any writer: How do you know if your plot is good? Or rather, how do you create a good plot? And by 'good plot' I mean something readers can get behind, cheer for, wait with baited breath to see if it works out in the end.

spot illustration from A Shadow Story
If you google 'crafting a good plot' you come up with a lot of helpful websites and information, but some of us didn't read all of those when we first started. We just wrote. That's what I did. I trusted my gut and I pantsed my first novel. I also read avidly, and wrote for practice years beforehand.

If we're new to writing, we can't always trust our gut. What we think is the most amazing plot ever written can fall flat to agents and publishers. So, how do you know when a plot is good?

One thing I think it takes to craft a good plot is a compelling conflict. The main character wants something that's hard to achieve. But more than that, it should be a sympathetic goal. The reader wants it for her. The more difficult it is, the more she and the reader wants it, the more satisfying it is when it's finally achieved.

What do you think it takes to make a good plot?
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