Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For Fun: A TED Talk with Amy Tan

Without further adieu:

Thoughts? I'll edit my post later this evening with my own after my hands stop shaking; I weedeated (weedate?) today and I'm having a little more trouble typing than I thought I would.

--> -->

Alright, thoughts.

I haven't written much fiction. Or rather, I have--but not the kind that "counts." Yes, I wrote awful "novels" in middle and high school, and the occasional short story during college, and then a scrapped novel. It is only recently that I've really gotten my hands dirty with fiction writing, and I think that is only because the amount of fiction I've read has finally reached critical mass in my brain, and is beginning to overspill the boundaries of my skull.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

Err...I'm afraid the only book my nose has been in today is the AP Stylebook *grin*, so I cheated and whipped out an oldie-but-a-goodie.

Any Whitman fans in the blogosphere? Show of hands, please? *looking intently around* Ahh, there you are. All the cool, baddass, readerly-and-writerly-type-people squished into the front row with your reading glasses and your awkward little ticks and your notepads. Okay, not all of you have reading glasses. I'm just projecting a little.

Anyway, since this is a poetry exerpt, I'm not going by sentences, just a few strophes:

"Recorders ages hence,
Come, I will take you down underneath this impassive exterior,
        I will tell you what to say of me,
Publish my name and hang up my picture as that of the tenderest
The friend the lover's portraitl of whom his friend his lover was
Who was not proud of his songs, but of the measureless ocean
        of love within him, and freely pour'd it forth"  --Recorders Ages Hence, in Leaves and Grass, by Walt Whitman

Upcoming Contests

I should have done this a while back, as a few of the deadlines are fast approaching! Ahh well, what good do shouldacouldawouldas do anybody?

I'll be creating a calendar page in a while, and will hopefully do a new contest update prior to the beginning of every month. If you read the list and remember one I've missed a/o faulty information a/ faulty links, let me know via comment and I'll edit the post to include it--and when I get the calendar page up and running, I'll mark it there as well. All monetary figures will be listed in USD unless I mention otherwise.

Onward and upward writers! Here's the list so far:


Yahoo! Contributor Network September 11 "Share Your Story" ~~ For each entry, Yahoo! donates $10 to the 9/11 Memorial Fund. I'm mad at Yahoo! right now, but as long as this isn't bogus, it's a great cause. View info here:

The Galaxy Project Contest ~~ DEADLINE: Sept. 2. ENTRY FEE: Free?  LENGTH: 15-20,000. PRIZE: $1,000 and publication. View contest info here:

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Note to Campaigners

...and other folks with great blogs:

I am semi-illiterate when it comes to this kind of "stuff." But I am learning! For those of you who use Wordpress, how in the world do I follow you? I don't do the Facebook thing (I know, I know, but you see, that hermitess, do-my-best-writing-while-living-under-a-rock streak is strong in me!), and want the blog updates and info to come to my Blogger dashboard, not my email. I shall be looking this up shortly, but if you have any tips, please pass them along!

Following aside, I'll be listing the sites in the right hand margin under a new blog roll. I'm going to try and do this as I visit individually, rather than all at once. If I haven't gotten to you yet, never fear; I shall!

If for some reason you don't see your site in the margin, or my little blank icon in the Followers listing on your page, drop me a comment and I'll troubleshoot, just in case.

What I would look like if I
 were a poorly drawn computer
 cartoon that lived in Paint.
And didn't wear my hair
 in a mean librarian bun most days.
Which I do. So there.
 On to other business; a brief intro. "Getting to know you; getting to know all about you..."

And finally, a poem!

Something I threw together this weekend.  First in a loooorrrng time. I wanted it to be all nice and neat and metered and whatnot, but that flew right out the window. *sigh* As you can probably tell. Tweaks are still in the shop.

Crystal Quartz Penchant

In an overpriced apparel store I once saw
a beautiful display of necklaces. One would
think all jewelry is beautiful; all jewels divine.
It is not so. But when my fingertips flit-lit
upon the strands of fine gold heavy with crystals,
silicate soil bits still stylishly attached
to their tips, I could not hesitate. Bought one; slipped
it into my pocket, that refined Earthen bling.
No need for a whole plastic bag; it’s now cool
to “Go Green.” But that is not why I buy such things.
My mother’s main window back home is a wide yawn
of a bore, monstrously sized for a view comprised
entirely of highway for tourists. Across
its top there long have ranged the chunky, shiny hunks
of crystal that she loves so dearly, some fashioned
into teardrops, some stars, some awkward hearts, and some
plain and unadorned, content with hexagonal
superiority. There the afternoon light
bends though their depths and becomes a million different
colors. People say the spectrum of the rainbow
is redorangeyellowgreenblueandviolet.
This is inaccurate. A rainbow is dancing
continuity. This is what light becomes through
crystals; this live and dancing space, which, from the far
side, we cannot see. Our shadow will blot out light,
eclipse the sun, so that all we see is a rock,
dead, mom would say, as the proverbial doornail.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blog Campaign!

Aww, yeeeah. Just joined. *laugh*

The Platform Building Campaign is this fantabulous idea aimed at helping like-minded writers mix and mingle and migrate. But don't take my word for it, read about it here:

It's arranged into genre listings, and you can even pick more than one, I think. I chose the Short Story Writers Listing, and can't wait to get started. All the Campaigners I meet, I shall link to in the right hand margin of the page--it will be a work in progress (haven't even set it up yet, but will shortly), and I can't wait to get to everybody's pages!

I'm sure it's going to be a lot of work, and a lot of fun! The campaign runs all the way to Halloween, and you can sign onto a list until the end of this month. Then there will be three upcoming challenges... I've no idea what I've gotten myself into! Thanks to TCEer's Trisha and Madeline (see side bar for links), I've felt the need to become more involved. Darn you!--And thanks for the idea, which I promptly stole...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

TCE 34--Enough

Alright. So right now I am multi-tasking like a sunnofagun, and only have a chance to post the opening of my Chrysalis story. I'll be taking a rather liberal view of the prompt, but I tried three different (indeed, completely different) stories, and they all fell flat on their, uh, faces. Not that they have any. Faces, I mean. Whatever. And here we are...

Anyway, I shall be posting several things today, including the next portions of this story, so if you happen across this, and it's all nice and titled and happy and shiny with completion, count yourself lucky. Everybody else, sorry! ~ 

LATER EDIT: Very unhappy with the end. MrAAaaaghHH!

TCE prompt: "The first time I walked into that classroom was also the last."


 Sometimes, there are situations that cannot be avoided. Conditions that ought to have been foreseeable, but weren’t. Waste that could have been restrained. Creatures to whom we never should have owed allegiance.

Existence is a tricky sort of situation.

I knew what the priest had done; heard the hushed suggestions to his master. Enough, he said. End them, he whispered. Forsake them all! With them, you shall never be at rest. Priest did not recall the echoes that abound in the vast halls and chambers of our Mother. His master heard him, yes. But so did others. So did I.

I did not necessarily think Priest was twisted or evil, but I did note the effect his sewn discord reaped. It was moments—or would that be years, or ages?—before we were assembled on the great battlefield, to make war against She-Who-Created-Us. But we had grown in power just as she. Our sons and daughters had wrought more havoc upon the inner plains of our Mother’s body than even she could have imagined; cyclones that were so destructive they formed a raucous music within their circling. And then we were born a king, strong, and goodly—when he could be—and true.

We are just the bastard children of her first consummation. Her first born, her first castaways, for we had killed her Consort, lest he destroy us all. She wielded vengeance as a tool for upheaval. Her minions, foul of face and limb, putrid to every sense and more, fed off her rage. They were called the Eleven Princes, by their side in truth, and by our side, in horror. For they were sent to destroy us.

This is the tale of the Battle, and of the time and that which was not time, which followed.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Fave

Friday Fave: Quippy Little One Liners

If there were any classes in middle and high school I truly enjoyed, they would of course have been my English courses. The rest of them, well…take ‘em or leave ‘em. I liked some, but that was more because of the teacher’s personality or because all my friends hand wrangled the same block with me (by the time college rolled around, I could also enjoy history and art...but it took a while!). But English classes? Love! So helpful! So practical! Books. Reading. Writing. And quippy little one-liners teachers drilled into my memory.

Like “Show, don’t tell.”

Why is this the one so many of us seem to forget? It’s not like we don’t know it. It’s not like our scatterbrained grade nine English teach, the one who always ate bananas and was utterly convinced she should marry Sean Connery, hadn’t screamed those hallowed words at us during her fits of passion. I’m guessing most people visiting this page have heard this phrase a hundred, a thousand times.

But it seems to go right out the window. I run into this quite often when editing; I do it myself much more often than I’d like to admit. It seems to be more of an issue when writing longer fiction pieces. I imagine it’s just easier to catch bouts of heavy “telling” when it’s a piece that takes three minutes to reread, rather than three days. Still, no excuses! No prisoners! Raaah!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Walnut Chicken with Balsalmic Glaze

Okay, so Hy-Vee has some suspiciously large chickens--I'm talking Frankenchickens. Still, a sale is a sale, and I've been trying to come up with more creative ways to clear out that mass of bird in the freezer, especially ones that won't harden my arteries while I chew, lol. This I served with edamame (yum) and brown rice (double yum), but anything in that range would work just fine...

Anyway, here's my latest:

Walnut-Crusted Chicken with Balsalmic Glaze

Difficulty: Moderate

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes? (depends on cut of bird)


2 large carrots, cut matchstick style
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut matchstick style
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 good size double-handful walnuts, crushed
1 cup balsalmic vinegar, approx.
1 egg white, whipped to froth
1 handful of strawberries, sliced
1 good size handful brown sugar
3 tsp dried basil, approx (I used my own from the garden; it was two full-sized dried stems of it)
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp dried nutmeg
2 twists of pepper from grinder
2 handfuls flour
EVOO  as needed
2 Frankenchicken breasts (approx. 3 lbs chicken)

Preheat oven to 425. Place jelly roll pan in oven while preheating.

Line up three pie tins. In pie tin 1, place flour, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, and 2 tsp of basil. In pie tin 2, place frothy egg white. In pie tin 3, place crushed up walnuts. Coat raw chicken with the flour mixture--on the meaty side, not the bony side--and then coat that with the egg white, and then coat that with the walnuts. Remove jelly roll pan from oven, brush lightly with oil and place the Frankenchicken breast nut-side-down onto it. Bake on a low rack for, say, 20 minutes. (This is approximate. Bake until 3/4 of the way done, basically.) If it smells like the nuts are burning or the chicken, dry, you can add EVVO in drizzles, at will, while baking.

While chicken is baking, combine balsalmic,  approx 1 tsp of EVOO (again, approximate), remaining basil, and brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Once boiling, keep at a roll, stirring constantly. Smell occassionally; when it no longer makes your eyes and nose burn, it's done. Very scientific, I know. Should have a texture similar to warm caramel when ready for serving.

Once chicken is baked 3/4 way done, remove from oven. Layer onions, carrots and bell peppers on top of the nut-less sides. May need to add EVOO. Drizzle with balsalmic glaze and place in oven; finish baking.

As chicken is baking, arrange sliced strawberries in beds on plates. Drizzle thoroughly with balsalmic glaze.

When chicken is finished, remove from oven. Using tongs, take the veggies from the top; these will be the minor/second side dish. Flip chicken. If the walnut crust sticks to pan at all, lightly lift with a spoon or spatula and rearrange on top of chicken. Slice chicken as desired, making sure each person gets some of the walnut crust, and place atop the bed of strawberries. Drizzle with glaze.

Serve immediately with choice of appetizer and main side!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fingertip Researching

In honor of my flat-out run to research, I thought I'd provide a few pointers for those of you who, like me, are not exactly technologically-backward, but close enough to need any help you can get. I love physical research methods, but let's face it--it is not always feasible to stop your actual work/school day in order to dig up that series of articles on post-Revolution era France. You have to be sneaky about it. Sneaky, and quick.

 Hello, Internet. Say it with me.  Click, search, minimize, and the boss will never know.

Just kidding. Of course we know! You think your guilty faces don't give you away?

Anyway, there are a few shortcuts that absolutely blew my mind when it came right down to the wire, in terms of research. Here are some tactics I've found useful:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Fave

Okay, so this Friday Fave has nothing to do with writing, and everything to do with summer fun. The days are starting to get considerably cooler (shocking, I know; I can't remember the last time August had temperatures under 100, but there you go, this year), and I have yet to share my fabulous margarita recipe.

I know, I know. Everybody knows how to make a margarita. Yeah, yeah; you and your mother. Ha! Just kidding. You'd be surprised how many people can butcher this classic cocktail. So to me, the real question is, do you know how to make the perfect margarita?

I do. And soon, so will you!

The Perfect Classic Margarita
on the rocks

Difficulty: Easy until drunk, then extremely difficult

Time:  3 minutes?

1 1/2 jigger gold tequilla. Don Julio or 1800 are my faves for margaritas.
3/4 jigger Grand Mariner, plus extra for a floater
2 limes, juiced
few splashes Sweet & Sour
few splashes of Rose's Lime
margarita rim salt

Smear a little of Rose's Lime onto the margarita salt container lid, then use it to coat the rim of the margarita glass; dip the glass into the salt. Set aside. Fill a shaker 3/4 of the way with ice. Pour in 1 1/2 jigger tequilla, 3/4 jigger Grandma, the Sweet & Sour,  Rose's Lime and fresh lime juice. Lid and shake hard for minimum 30 seconds. Pour carefully into margarita glass. Gently top margarita with a floater of Grandma.

*To do a floater w/o those handy pour spouts used in bars, pour the liquor slowly over a spoon that is positioned at the edge of the glass, moving the spoon around the surface to keep it even--of course, most people don't care if you can't actually see the color difference of the floater, so only do that for the picky types.

*If you are determined to sully this Perfect, Classy Margarita into a froo-froo-frozen drink *curses*, I recommend using the Welch's Strawberry Breeze, from the frozen section, blended with ice that's all chipped up like they have at Sonic--otherwise the liquors won't blend well with the ice and you get, half-runny, half-ice-chunky margaritas. So yes; Welch's Strawberry Breeze, nice ice, and omit the Sweet & Sour and lime juices.  Don't forget the umbrella, you tequilla tourists.


I lurrve margaritas.

Mi Corazon! Mi Corazon! --TCE 30-something

Alright, so I went uber-childish with this one, just to have some fun with it. I've actually got a ton of ideas rolling through my head right now; can't wait for the next prompt! By the way, I can't remember if it should be "mi" or "me," so if you know, by all means, please remind

This week's prompt was: "I closed my eyes and reached into the class treasure chest.  Uh oh.  THAT'S not a pencil."

Without further adieu....

Mi Corazon!


The Tale of Augustus the Formidable and Nina the Maiden Fair, and Her Brother

Kyler bent at the front of the classroom and yanked the sneaker from his sockless foot with a flourish. The classroom gasped when he propped the mottled thing upon a desk chair, wincing as he pulled off the giant Band-Aids. The foot had a small, sure hole clean through the middle of it, right where he’d stepped on the nail, and there was blood dried around its edges like some kind of fruity jam. The classroom oohed and ahhed appreciatively. Violet felt her stomach turn. How in the world could she be expected to follow a show-and-tell like that? There was no way! It was bad enough to forget what day it was and have to pick something from the classroom treasure chest, but to follow a show complete with real live blood? Definitely no way.

By the time Kyler’d put away his bloody foot, and Ms. Forman had called her to the front of the room, Violet couldn’t even bring herself to fake a smile. She stood there, right behind the desk chair that now had bits of dried blood on it, and looked to her classmates faces. Some smirked. Most looked wary, as if they knew she was going to have to show-and-tell something boring. Violet closed her eyes, and reached to the chest sitting on the floor beside the desk chair. No….no….no…ahh—there was something interesting. Definitely not something boring like, like a pencil. She wondered what it was. Her hand gripped the thing as she pulled it out.

And if she’d though the gasps Kyler got were great, they were nothing compared to these. Shyly, Violet unsqueezed one eye. Then she gasped herself.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

I'm knee-deep in the grunt work of research for NANOWRIMO--luckily, I get to read about beautiful, driven ballerinas (every little girl's least, every little girl who is clumsy, and a tomboy, and a bookworm. Much safer to read about ballet than to try and pull it off physically, you see.). On that note, anyone who knows of good autobiographies or histories of ballet, please be sure to share!

Here's the tease; the subject is Dame Alicia Markova, world renowned prima:

"It was at this time that the Manchester Guardian wrote about Giselle: 'It is not necessary to say that Markova is a dancer of very great genius, and yet the scene in which she realizes, as the program charmingly phrases it, that *she has bestowed the fullness of her virgin love on one who can never be hers, and goes quietly and convincingly mad, owes less to her dancing than to her acting. Markova, one thinks, could be a great Ophelia, without a movement of her body. And yet it is precisely because she made her body reproduce a life- less travesty of the dance she had so bewitchingly executed with her lover ten minutes before that she achieved her effect.'" --Alicia Markova: Her Life and Art by Anton Dolin

And I'm going to try some more high-tech witchery and post you all a Youtube clip of Markova dancing Giselle. All the clips of her and Anton together were rather blurry; this is one of the best I've found:

 I can't wait until I'm onto Anna Pavlova's stuff; "The Dying Swan" is absolutely stunning....Yeah, I'm in geek-out mode.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Who do you write like (other than thy gracious self)?

So I clicked on this nifty thing I saw on Trisha's blog, and apparently:

I write like
Cory Doctorow
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I selected three different passages; I also got Jack London. Hmmm ... So who do you write like?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Loyalty--TCE 32

Well damned if I didn't have a *moment* and forget to save early when I began writing this week's TCE story. As you can guess, that pretty much ensured my computer would lock up, which it did, and so I lost the original version of this story, and now that I've rewritten/finished it, it doesn't quite...match...what I was aiming for earlier, and the ending is off as well. Oh well; I'm sure you can see where I was heading.

 I didn't stick super close to the prompt on this one, but I tried! (The first version was better; too bad I don't have a photographic memory.)

Here was the prompt: "Any moment now, he's going to press the button. Are the cameras rolling?"

And now, the story:


The large manila envelope for that month’s school board meeting sat on the desk in front of Jim, no thicker or thinner than usual. He’d covered the meeting in person; now Mr. Ira Stravinsky sat before him on the other side of the metal desk. Jim liked metal desks. They were clean-lined, cool to the touch. Mr. Stravinsky looked like the kind of man who liked metal desks too. Functional. Stravinsky kept laying his hands in different places on his thighs. Jim leaned back in his chair, took a deep drag on his cigarette, thought better, and offered Stravinksy one.
The man nodded, took a cigarette, lit it. Inhaled deeply.
“So, Ira—can I call you Ira? Great. ” Jim said. “Any of it true?”
“Any of what true, Mr. Samson?”
“Please, call me Jim. What I meant was, are any of the allegations true?”
“What allegations, Mr.—Jim?”
Jim frowned around his smoke.
“Why, the allegations that led to your firing?”
“I…I don’t think I understand. There were no allegations” Now Mr. Stravinsky frowned.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Simple Ginger Soup

Who would have thought I'd see 60 degrees in August? Wowee. With all this cool, delightful rain (and my stubbornly remaining sore throat issue), today is a perfect day for a nice, light soup. This is similar to those soups you get in the Japanese steak houses, where they cook the meal at the dining table. 
Simple Ginger Soup

Difficulty: Easy Peasy

Prep Time: 30 seconds

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes


3 cups H20
1 tbsp chicken bouillon
1 capful soy sauce, approximately
1 mushroom (just the regular button kind)
1 small handful of french fried onions
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, approximately.
1 twist of black pepper

In a small pot, combine the H20, bouillon and soy sauce. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally; at same time, thinly slice the mushroom. Once boiling, add in remaining ingredients. Stir and boil maybe 30 seconds; you don't want the mushrooms and onions to become mushy. Serve immediately.

TCE stories should be up later today/wee hours of the night (depending).

Friday Fave Belated

I completely forgot about it! Quick, quick: *scoosh*  *button pushing* *time jumping*

Okay, we're there!

Today's Friday Fave is a new site I've found for creating music playlists. I'm guessing many of us play music while writing, and I was stoked to find , a site that lets you create your own free quick playlist with or without registering. If you choose to register, you have the option of saving those free playlists you create. Then you can share them on your own site. This is my first time at something this high-tech (indeed!), so bear with me; let me know if there are songs that don't work.

Here's the playlist:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

Well, my head may still be pounding but I think the worst of that summer bug has passed now; hooray! Now I'm behind again...gah. This morning I began A Wrinkle In Time; it's one of those I kept meaning to read when I was a kid, and just somehow never got around to it. No time like the present, is there?

Here's the tease; it's from a discussion between Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Charles, Calvin and Meg, of the abstract principle "tesseract":

" 'Well, the fifth dimension's a tesseract. You add that to the other four dimensions and you can travel through space without having to go the long way around. In other words, to put it into Euclid, or old-fashioned plane geometry, a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.'"A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle

Last week's TCE story still pending; I didn't do much writing this weekend. Didn't do much of anything. Lol. Except moan and groan and complain. Ha! True though.

If anyone has good recommendations for ballet books (preferably about the art itself, or biographies), please let me know.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Sick. Hate summer bugs. TCE story pending. I was so set on not being late; sorry TCEers...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

66375--TCE Prompt 30

Okay, so it's really, really late but here's my TCE story for last week. The prompt was....

"I knew something was very, very wrong when I found the wall of cookbooks in his kitchen.  Not a single spine had been cracked."

Week 31 will be posted tomorrow some time.


The blue house spread itself along the edge of a wide, sloping lawn that slowly turned once again into forest, and past the forest, swap. Before the seventies, the area on which the house was built was a golf course, and so the turf was bright and springy. Perfect for barefoot walking during one of Todd’s famous barbeques. Perhaps famous was too strong of a word for Todd’s cook-outs, but the fact remained that he was a fantastic cook, and people came from all up and down the countryside to eat his food, squishing themselves onto Jenjira’s smooth deck when the light died and the frogs sang, and everybody stuffed their faces with cilantro-lime buttered crawdads and red beans and rice. For years he’d dreamed, living on his rickety old sail boat Jenjira, and those dreams centered around two things; food, and a home that didn’t require a mast.
Jenjira knew it. She knew it as she knew her own name was scrawled across that old boat on which they’d both once lived, for almost eleven years, knew it as she knew rain hung in the air. Jenjira sighed,  got out of her Imapala, and swung shut the door loud enough she might wake him, if he was still in bed.  He always had liked to sleep in late.
“Todd?” she called, hitching her purse better onto her shoulder. “Todd?” The driveway gravel was still a bright white, unpolluted by grease and oil or even little spots of grass, and she could see the screen door was closed, but the main door behind it was open.  Under the small porch roof—tufts of Spanish moss hung from the eaves--she hesitated… everything she'd discovered sounded crazy, insane even. He'd have to be insane too, to believe her. But she was here, finally, after all this time. No turning back now.“Hey Todd! You awake in there?” She rapped on the wooden doorframe, hard. No answer. “It’s Jenjira. You … you home?” She opened the screen door a bit, poked her head in the opening, leaning the screen on her neck as she peered into the living room. It was very … Todd. The floor was an awful ruddy brown shag no doubt left by the previous owners—he probably never looked at something like carpeting. One the walls were a few well-placed sketches of lighthouses with sail boats in the distance, probably done by his old art teacher Mr. Rudy, and the coasters on the coffee table in the middle of the room were made to look like portholes.  She stepped into the room. Her flip flops padded into the carpet and the door slapped shut.

Updates! Get your updates here!

I just put my blog under the knife again this morning! Strangely rewarding. I'm still ironing out the changes, so if you notice anything wonky or illegible, please shoot me a comment so I can adjust to suit.

TCE stories should be up tomorrow; I've practically got the coffee on a drip today so I should be able to finish tonight after work.

The day-by-day novel challenge I'm doing is proving--thus far--to have been a really rewarding idea. It's a much heavier project than I thought it would be, but I'm noticing much more than I ever have as a reader. Of course, I'm still at the beginning. I picked quite a long book to parrot.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Calling All Librovores

I love lists. I also love books. So why not create a list of books? Pretend, if you please, that I'm the first person who came up with this fabulous idea. As a reader and a writer, the following all have a special place in my heart and brain. *wah, wahhh, lol*

If I die tomorrow, I’d die happy knowing I’ve read these books:
1984, The Giver, Handmaiden’s Tale
Utopia, MetamorphosisTao Te Ching, Notes from the Underground,  The Tao of Pooh, Heart of Darkness
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Paradise Lost
Gone With the Wind, A Tale of Two Cities, For Whom the Bell Tolls
His Dark Materials series, LOTR series, Song of Ice and Fire series
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Lysistrata, Fancies and Goodnights,  Don Quixote, The Canterbury Tales, The Importance of Being Earnest
 Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, The Princess Bride, The Farthest Away Mountain, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (and entire series)
Jane Eyre, Scarlet Letter
 Autobiography of Malcolm X, Ecstasy of Owen Muir, Mutant Message from Down Under, The Celestine Prophecy, Pilgrim’s Progress,  selected works of  Rumi,  The Alchemist, The Lovely Bones, Lucky, For the Time Being, Banana Rose
Dharma Bums
The Razor’s Edge,  Penelopiad, Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, Christy, Song of the Lark

I'm pretty glad I've read these too, but in a much less dire kind of way:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

Though it's technically a re-read, it's been so long since my first perusal I barely remember it. Frankly, I remember the writing style being much more refined when I read it the first time; I find myself glazing over large chunks of text. But it is still an enjoyable read all the same, if not so good as I remember.

Here's the tease:

"This is why dreams can be such dangerous things: they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes consume us completely. During the rest of the spring and all that summer following the letter, I felt like a child lost on a lake in the fog." Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Walden

Incidentally, if any of you are geeks like me and are curious about what real Kyoto geiko and maiko culture is like now, there's a pretty neat BBC production that follows a young girl, then named Yukina, during maiko training. She's now been a full geiko since ... hmm ... October of last year, I think. Here's the link:


So begins my planning for NANOWRIMO. I scrapped all the other ideas I mentioned (my favorite I ended up using for JUNOWRIMO), but came up with a new one today...One that will work, if I give it enough of a chance. I don't want to tell you too much, because I'm still not sure of it at all, and I don't want to spoil it. You know how it is...

That aside, here's my very vague, very tentative schedule:

Research & Development~~ Settle on thesis, characters, location(s), time span and etc. Dig, dig, dig until I've read everythign about anything I need.

Character Sketches, Plot, Settting(s) ~~ Just what it sounds like. Lots and lots of background writing during this time. At this point I shall have a daily schedule.

Fine Tuning ~~ Outline, scene-by-scene layout, attention to tone, theme, format, voice, etc. Try to cover all my bases, so to speak

That's all I've got so far. Any of you doing NANO this year? If so, do you have a plan? If you do, may I please steal it? -------->>>Just kidding. Kinda...

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Possibly Great Idea

Writing a Novel, Day-by-Day ... Just Not My Own!

I am withdrawing that Weekly Poetry Challenge, for which I only completed one or two pieces, and am switching all my gears to entirely fiction-oriented work. But I think I've got a decent working idea of a challenge that will actually help me with that fiction writing, without taking up too much of my  *creative* energy while I'm planning my NANOWRIMO piece.

It's pretty straightforward; I got the idea from the Spacejock guy's website (the ywriter5 dude). What I'm going to do is rewrite, word for word, one of my favorite novels. Every day I will sit down, meet my allotted word count, and then do a short weekly review of what I've learned, which I'll post here each Monday. I won't have to mess with the...messy, err lol, details of novel development. My thinking is that it will be like copying notes from a teacher's blackboard; I'll get a lot out of the act of just rewriting what's already there. If at project's close I think it was a worthwhile endeavor, I'll do another novel in the same manner. If it turns out to a be a stupid waste of time, I will assuredly write up a heated rant on here. lol.

Sound good? Anyone want to join? Since it's the first of the month, today's as good of a day to begin as any!

Here's my info:

Novel: The Song of the Lark
Daily Quota: 4,000 words
Weekly Recap Quota: 500-1,000 words