Friday, September 30, 2011

Music

I know this is coming really late today. Oh well. Maybe I'll be a better blogger next week. Maybe. Probably not.


I just ran into this music video today and it spoke to me. Isn't it weird how things that don't have anything to do with your writing can get you inspired?

I really like this music video. It like the grittiness and the beat. I love the stop motion bits and the disconnected almost dreamlike feeling to it. It's a song that makes me feel pumped. And that's a good thing when you're writing.

The lyrics are all in danish, but you don't really need to know them to get the feeling of the song. (But, if you want to know, I've been told it's about an unnamed pop star who uses his fame to get girls, and the singer is trying to defame him. Or, at least I think that was what I was told.)





Isn't it great? So tell me, what music currently inspires you and why?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Voice

Voice is a hard thing to pin down when you're writing. Don't fall into some common pitfalls. Watch the video to find out more!





So what do you guys think? Please let me know!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Support is important

Let's face it: Writing is hard. It's tough, it's lonely, and it makes you want to pull out all of your hair at times. If you're looking to make this into your career, you a pretty much a masochist with all the crap you're going to be putting yourself through.

It's a hard, maddening process of writing a book that you aren't sure will ever go anywhere. My current WIP may not even be up to snuff to land me an agent (although, we try not to think about these things). Writers constantly berate themselves for not being good enough, whine that everything is going wrong and throw ourselves into very solid brick walls again and again – and I'm almost metaphorical about that.

That's why writers need a good level of support. We need people who understand what we are going through to some extent, who realize exactly how important this is to us. These people are our cheerleaders, the people we go to when we need a shoulder to cry on or to whom we take our drafts when we've written something of which we're proud.

These people can come in many forms: parents, siblings, friends, significant others, children, or critique partners. My best friend and critique partner Sarah is the person I go to when I need help, support or feedback. She cheers me on when I'm feeling down, swoons over my characters when I want her to swoon and keeps me on track when I falter. She is the best thing for which I could ever ask.

These people are important so that we don't drive ourselves insane. Without them, we could forget who we are and what is most important to us. They remind us there is a life outside of writing while allowing us to hole ourselves up for hours on a writing binge. They get us.

Today, tell the people who support your writing what they mean to you. Take them out to coffee, bake a cake, or just give them a hug. Because without them, this already hard process would be damn near impossible.

So tell me, who is your biggest supporter? And, if you're feeling up to it, tell me what you're going to do for them?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DIVERGENT Review

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

From Goodreads: Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

Cover: The cover is deeply symbolic of the story, but you don't really get that until about halfway through the story – which is okay. The city backdrop is the city it's set in. The clouds and stormy sky represents the discord in the world of the novel. The fire sign responds to a group of people the main character chooses. It's not a standout cover that I swoon over, but it's nice and fits the story well.

Story: At first, it was hard for me to get into the story, which follows Tris (Beatrice) who needs to decide whether she's going to stay in the group she was born into or switch. The world is such that there are different factions that honor different qualities, and there is no crossover between them. At first I was really turned off by the strange name of the factions and it was difficult for me to step into the world. But that quickly changed as I got used to Tris and became invested in her struggle to get through an initiation ceremony. There's more at stake for her than other recruits because she's hiding the fact that she's divergent, meaning she has traits for more than one faction. And in a world that's all about separation, that's a dangerous thing to be.

Characters: Tris was a little whiny to begin with, but she quickly turns into a strong character who has many choices ahead of her. Once we get past the choosing ceremony and she enters initiation and the action actually starts. Tris is the kind of character who seems a little weak until she grows into herself – the kind of character with whom a lot of people can identify. She is, however, a little dense when it comes to the other characters. Four is pretty much my favorite character in the book. He is Tris' trainer and is totally swoon-worthy with his mysterious past and his tough exterior. I think he's also the most interesting character once you learn more about him.

Overall: Overall I give DIVERGENT 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was hard for me to get into, but once I did I was completely invested. It's definitely an interesting spin on a world, and I really can't wait for the next installment to find out what happens to our heros.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Awards!

Editor's note: This was supposed to go live Wednesday, but there was a problem with a link and wouldn't save. Then my laptop ran out of batteries and I had to go to work. Yesterday, I was sick. I have strep throat, so I wasn't feeling up to starting the old computer. Anyway, better late than never.

Wow. Just, wow. I've received a couple of blog awards lately, so I suppose I need to get them up here.

Both K.T. Hanna over at The Scribble Muse and Lissa Clouser over at Quid for Quill both nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award.

If you haven't, you should check both their blogs out. Also, they are both terrific people who write some of the more intelligent comments on my posts. So thank you both, for the award and for your lovely comments. You can't know how much they both mean to me.

Anyway - there are rules for this award. They are:


1. Thank and link to the person who nominates you
2. Share seven random facts about you
3. Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!


So, here are seven random facts about me.

1. I don't really like to shower until I'm in the shower. Not that I run around dirty or anything. It's just, I'll put off showering in the morning until the very last second. But once I'm in there, I can't figure out why I made such a big deal about it. I'm weird.

2. I used to be really good at the clarinet. I haven't played in years, and I know the last time I picked it up I had no where near the breath I used to. I miss playing in a band though. It was a very fun time for me, but I have no idea where I would use those skills now.

3. I would take potatoes over chocolate any day. What can I say? I am so an Irish girl.

4. Although I am Irish (both in name and in ancestry), I'm actually more Norwegian. And, if you believe the historian, I am 34th(?) descendant from the first king under united Norway. Yes – I am a long-lost Norwegian princess. Pretty awesome.

5. I spent a year as a reporter in Wyoming – but I get panic attacks when I have to make people uncomfortable. So, when there was a shooting and I had to go interview random neighbors? Yeah, I broke down and cried. It was one of those brilliant moments of "Oh crap, I can't do this anymore."

6. I have a very addictive personality. Once I get into something, suddenly I'm doing it all the time. I'm also very competitive, so I want to be the best at whatever it is. That's how I did so well in debate my first year, although I was way over my head. I wanted to be the best, so I spent time on it. It's also the reason I will never touch drugs or WOW. I would never be able to pull myself away.

7. One of my biggest pet peeves is when drivers swerve around a car that's turning left. Especially when they are passing a line of cars that actually are waiting. First, no one is really that late all the time. Second, it's dangerous. So, I actually will pull a little over to the side just so cars behind me can't get around when I'm waiting for someone to turn left. That's right. I'm that kind of jerk.


Anyway. I also have another award! The lovely (teehee) Carla over at Library Mosaic nominated me a long time ago for the One Lovely Blog Award! Wow. So much love, guys. I thank you so much.

The rules of this one are very similar:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominates you
2. Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!


So hard, right? Well here's the deal. Since most of the blogs that I would love to nominate for the Versatile Blogger Award already have it, I'm going to combine them and give out the One Lovely Blog award! Now it can make it's way through the hoards of Write Campaigners out there. So, I'm nominating you all for both, unless you have one. Then, you just have the other. Get it?

Yeah, I'm a little evil like that.

Here is my list:

1. Sarah at Squidink because she's amazing.
2. K.T. Hanna at The Scribble Muse
3. Lissa Clouser at Quid for Quill
4. Jenn at A Single Bell
5. The View from Fairview
6. Nicole Setter at Ink and Prose
7. Bonnie Rae at Bonnie Rae, Just Words
8. Jessica Therrien at Imagination To Publication
9. Sheri L. Swift at Finding the joy in the journey
10. Jody Moller
11. Rebekah Loper at Rebekah Loper, writer
12. Clar Bowman-Jahn at Memoirs of a Writer
14. Jess at Write, Skate, Dream
15. Jill at Outside the Lines

And there you have it! Have a nice day, folks!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing is my center

I have had a crazy couple of years. I'm en route to have a few more.

Moving away to college five years ago was really hard for me. Then, there was all the going back and forth between my two homes – the college and the house I grew up in. Such instability and the fact that I was bouncing jobs for a few months at a time was hard. You're never with the same people, you're always trying to catch up with old friends, and the atmosphere is quite different.

Flash forward to my graduation where I moved home for a month (in which I was completely sick and had to have surgery) and then I got a job. My first real job. And it was in my field of study, which is quite good in this economy. I went to a town that I'd never been to in my memory (I think we drove through it when I was really little, but I don't remember) and had to start a life from scratch.

Fast forward to this summer when I quit that job without a plan. Serendipity stepped in offering me my dream job, and I moved back to my home state, although quite a bit further away from my family than my last job.

I'm just fitting my life back together again, getting things settled and trying to figure some stuff out.

The one thing that's been with it all? My writing.

I can't help but feel like me when I'm writing. Even when it's hard. Even when I want to rip my hair our because my characters are being annoying and refuse to do what I want them to. Even when I'm having a panic attack because my ending sucks – in the middle of writing it. Writing is so not easy, but I live for it.

Everyday I think about how I should be writing. Everyday I consider where my current WIP is going and what I can do to make it better. Everyday I study the things around me for writing purposes. Writing has ingrained itself into the very essence of who I am. I don't know who I would be without it today.

And there is something so calming about it to me. Even when it's high stress, I know that I can work through it. And when something else is stressing me or I feel like my life is out of control (a lot over the past five years, no?) I know I can sit down and write. It clears my brain, settles my nerves and makes the world seem like a better place.

What does writing do for you? Are you like me when it comes to writing and needing it in your life? Let me know!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First Campaigner Challenge


Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!


I'm running a little late on this, but oh well. I'm getting to it. Here we go.



The Room Beyond

The door swung open; the door swung shut. Laurie couldn't take her eyes off it. The flash of metal in the room beyond – a small glimpse of another world – was everything for which she could hope.

She imagined what it would be like to be in there with her mother. Clad in the blue and white uniforms. Scrubbed clean until there wasn't a speck of dirt on her. In complete control of the situation. 

Maybe that’s what she wanted from it. Maybe it didn’t have anything to do with her mother at all. Maybe she just wanted for once in her life to feel she was the puppeteer rather than the puppet. She didn’t have that, though. She never would.

It was out of her hands; it was in the hands of those strangers. The ones that wielded scalpels and threw around terms Laurie didn’t understand. They were supposed to be the heros. They were supposed to save her mother. But they weren’t. 

She couldn’t watch. She tried to make herself, but failed. Instead, she waited, watching the door swing open and shut. Watching the scurry of professionals doing their job. Until, for the last time, the door swung shut.






This was a little quick work, but I hope you all enjoyed it. Please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mow your lawn

This morning I mowed my lawn. For a lot of you, this is not impressive. However, I am a 23-year-old renter who never had to mow my lawn when I lived with my parents. So, it was kind of a big deal for me.

Besides the obvious that mowing a lawn is work, I had this little problem. I couldn't get the stupid mower to turn on. I'd had my landlady explain it. I'd had my step-dad explain it when he was here. But, when I actually got out there to get the work done, suddenly it didn't work.

Confused, I tried again and again to pull that stupid cord, exhausting myself. Then I called my step-dad and told him my troubles. This is how the conversation went:

"Did you press the button?"

"Yes."

"Did you hold the lever down."

"Yes. I tried with both."

"Does it have gas?"

"Yes."

"Is there a button that says 'choke' or 'start'?"

"No."

"Well, it should work. I have to go." And he hung up.

Confused and angry, I tried again. And again. I eyed the vehicles with men in them, seriously considering waving them down and begging for assistance. I plopped myself down on my porch and glared at the stupid machine ready to give up.

But I didn't. Taking a deep breath, I got up and I tried again. It didn't matter that my shoulder kind of hurt from pulling the stupid cord a hundred times already. But I did. I pulled. And I pulled again. And I pulled a third time. And then ... sweet justice as the motor turned over, roaring.

Take a look at my now cut lawn.


I didn't give up, and eventually I was successful. That's what it's like with writing too. There are times when I'm staring at a chapter that I've written three, four, ten times and it's just not working. But, does that mean you give up? No! You keep going. And, eventually, there will come a moment when you get it and everything will come together. 

Writing is hard work. And, a lot of times you're not going to have help. A phone call to my step-dad wasn't helpful since he couldn't come and actually do anything for me. The same sometimes comes from critique partners. They can offer advice, but they can't do the work for you. Sometimes, you just need to buckle down and not give up. 

As the saying goes, the difference between a published and an unpublished author is the published author never gives up.

Or, for you sports fans: You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. 

So, when the going gets tough, what are some things you do to not let yourself give up?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Do what you love

First off, a big hello to my fellow campaigners! I am so excited to be sharing the next couple months with you. I look forward to getting to know you better, share together, and maybe learn a lot. This is going to be an adventure.

Now on to today's topic. I had this great realization at work yesterday: Doing what you love makes all the difference.

For those of you who don't know, I spent the last year working as a reporter in a small town in Wyoming. While I love writing, I hated the job. I didn't get a long with my boss very well, the small-town life left me bored and without any friends my age and, most of all, I couldn't stomach being a reporter. I could do the job. I could do the job well, actually, but I didn't enjoy it.

Flash forward to this year, where I've been working for a month as a copy editor at a larger paper in Montana. While yes, there is way more to do in this town and I love the people I work with, the biggest perk is me loving what I do. Even when it's tough and a page doesn't want to come together (the largest part of my job is laying out everything on a page, so that newspapers are easier for you to read and understand what goes with what) I love what I'm doing.

Yeah, there have been a couple of times where I didn't want to go to work and wanted to do something else. There have been times where trying to fill a hole or get something to fit into a spot that's actually too small makes me want to pull out my hair, but I still enjoy it. And at the end of the night, I'm proud of what I've accomplished.

That's what writing is like for me. I bitch and moan about it, I complain to my CP, and I just plain don't like it sometimes. But for all the, I still love doing this. I get a thrill every time I figure out a plot hole or get a character's backstory just right. I find the utmost pleasure in the physical feeling of fingers flying on a keyboard. I live for the feeling of losing myself in my story to the point that it makes me cry.

This is why I know I was born to be a writer. Whether that will translate to published is a completely different question, but one that I'm sure will be ferreted out by determination and hard work – both of which I'm fully prepared to do.

When did you know you were meant to be a writer? What are the things you love about it? Are you planning on pursuing publishing? Let me know.