Saturday, December 24, 2011

My First Edit

When I was in fourth grade, we were given an assignment to write our own legend. About how something happened, or why something is the way it is… etc.

I eventually came up with "How We Got Horses," which basically was about a boy and a donkey. Something happened and then there was a pure white horse in the world.

We had to edit these legends, though, and I ended up with one of the teachers that I think taught special education, but had ended up in Mrs. VanSkiver's room to help. He sat me down at a little table. A book about JK Rowling was there, kind of looking at me, and the table was yellow, but that's all I remember.

And he read the story, while I was kind of sitting there, and then he said, "Well, I don't like the word 'got.' So how can we change that?"

That is literally all I remember past the fact that the title was changed to How Horses Came To Be and we eliminated all use of the word 'got.'

During that assignment we also learned to read aloud— don't obstruct your mouth with the book or paper, don't tilt your head down, speak slowly and clearly and loudly.

And these two things have remained with me till now. Every time I read aloud I remember sitting on a stool in front of the class to read my legend out loud, and every time I get a weird thing like 'how we got,' I remember that man in the brown, short-sleeved, collared shirt saying, "I don't like the word 'got.'" And rewriting that thing in pencil in my terrible nine-year-old handwriting, and then typing it up and printing it out on… light blue paper with clouds, I think.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I get addicted to things.

 Sometimes I'm addicted to an artist, at other times it's a particular song. These are the harmless addictions, the ones that don't really hurt anything but my ear drums (and really… my headphones are never turned up loud, so even that pain is minimal).

In NaNo'08 I was addicted to Kiss Me, by Sixpence None the Richer. It's one of the awesomest songs in the universe, and spawned a story idea based on it. That story's still waiting. Doesn't seem so smart now as it did then. But Kiss Me always gives me a floaty feeling, as if everything is going well. I listened to that song… a thousand times? It was a good time.

I often get addicted to artists. Some people don't have one or two good songs— some people have an albumful of good songs. I've gotten addicted to ABBA (more than once), Mircea Vintilă (just… an awesome Romanian artist), The Beatles, Elvis (for a time), Buddy Holly (when I was five I'd put on his Greatest Hits CD and go to #5, Everyday), Taylor Swift… There's many others (including contemporary people), but I can make an entire post out of that alone.

All these artists will fade away for a time, and I can't bear to listen to them… but then I rediscover them. Especially Mircea Vintilă. I think it's because he's Romanian.

But I also get addicted to other things… things that aren't so easy to get out of sometimes.

Two are the most important:

1) Finding books to read. I have an iPod Touch. On this I have the FreeBooks app. This app has the benefit of offering about 20,000 books from pre-1923. It includes Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Andrew Lang, Jack London… etc.

EVERY TIME I go to search for a book, or browse the categories, I end up downloading many more books than I counted on. Things like Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. (Really?) Or Cicero's Orations (Unfortunately I haven't learned Latin yet. It's on the list.) Or Pinocchio. Or the Aenid.

I don't get these books because I have to read them (though I often do feel that I have to), but because I feel like they'd be interesting. My take on classics is that if they're classics… they're good. Of course, some classics like Catcher in the Rye absolutely suck, but for the most part they're all wonderful. (I'll make a post about awesome books later though.)

And every time I open up FreeBooks or GoodReads or whatever, I see these books, and I think, "Oh, goodness, I want to read this too! But this one's awesome as well! And the title of this one is interesting… and this is Dickens, and I want to read all Dickens' books… here's a book originally in French, so I'll want to read that, and then I really should find Don Quijote. Ah, here's Pinocchio! I should learn Italian so I can read Pinocchio too. WHY IS THERE NO TIME?"

2) Challenges. Yeah. Anyone who knows me off Write Write & Write knows that I will take practically any challenge you offer up. Later I'll figure out I can't really use it for anything, so then I'll say, "Listen, I changed my mind on this." But most challenges I do take, and then it becomes this entire fiasco trying to figure out how all this stuff is going to fit into just one month.

It also includes figuring out how on EARTH I'm going to: 
  • write a 50k novel 
  • while rewriting another novel 
  • while writing 31 short stories 
  • and 31 dictionary entries 
  • as well as reading 12-13 books (so a third of a book a day)
  • while reviewing 4 of them
  • not to mention reading one book in French 
  • and starting Don Quijote 
  • also updating Write Your World with 500 words a day
  • and adding a chapter a week to WeBooks for Riddle Rose.
  • Learn physics and psychology and math

These are the goals for just January, by the way. I'm probably going to have to fix this 365 short story gig… it's getting insane.

SO… do you guys have any addictions? I bet yours are probably more interesting than mine, and don't make your head hurt to think about them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Turning 17

Turning 17 is an interesting phenomenon. While 16 is widely celebrated in America, and 18 is celebrated in Romania (as well as 14, but that's another story), I like 17. For one thing, it's a prime number. For another thing, the numeral 7 is probably one of the most elegant. And I like it. For another thing, 'seventeen' has more syllables than any other year from one to sixteen, and from eighteen to twenty. And many other things I could mention but don't want to clog up the post with.

I'll be posting all the details of what we saw on Noi6, because it's a bit more public and that one needs views too, and focus on more writerly/readerly things here, because no one goes on an Around the World blog to read about my word count and book total.

The Liebster Blog Award

Lemme start off by saying I have no idea what the Liebster blog award is.

But it was a wonderful birthday present, from Coffee of The Land of Man-Eating Fairies. THANK YOU!

Receiving the award meant finding out what it is.

The Liebster Blog Award is awarded by bloggers to other bloggers whose blogs have 200 followers or less. (I think I have... 0. 0 is also a beautiful and elegant number.)

The rules ARE:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.

3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 3-5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.

5. Let them know they have been chosen, by leaving a comment at their blog.

Now, let me also start off by saying I don't exactly follow blogs. In fact, I never read them.
THAT IS NOT TO SAY that I do not have friends who blog. I do. Here they are. They're all writing related. You may hate me or love me because of it. XD

Kaedekit's Thoughts of a Paper Dragon hasn't got too many posts yet, but she's doing MilWordy. Instant win and instant follow. There are not enough people doing MilWordy in this world.

Katie G's MilWordy & Beyond is also about MilWordy. It hasn't started yet, though, so there's only an introductory post. BUT THAT'S OKAY! I only had one post once... and it was a terrible one. Katie's is a good one. It explains things. Mine didn't.

Bouchra Rebiai's Pink, Purple, and Fuchsia is awesome. For one thing, Bouchra (Boosh-rah) sets insane goals... just like me! For another thing, her blog is bright pink. Now, I like pink. And, she's been doing the Day Zero Project for about... 14 months. So... instant triple win. She's not doing MilWordy. She's studying her ... ICGSE's or some other strange acronym.

The Thoughts

Seventeen doesn't feel much different from sixteen, with the exception of the fact that instead of being in a plane this year, I was on my feet. I'll have the details of the things we did on Noi6, but suffice it to say that it was an AMAZING birthday.

But I've also got a couple of thoughts on what I want to do with the next year... more personal wise than writing goals:

  1. Stop drinking carbonated drinks. In the two months since we left home, we have drunk more soda than we have in the past year. It needs to stop.
  2. Start working out. I haven't done anything since we left, and I'm starting to wonder if my muscles remember what a split is or not any more. They definitely don't remember push ups.
  3. Count to ten before yelling at any one. Unless there's a rhinoceros charging them and they won't move... this means that before calling peoples' attention to things... I count to ten. This will hopefully stop me from being such a terrorist to people I know well.
And that's it! Three, simple, easy things that I'll be able to remember.

  1. Don't have more than 7 things on the to-do list for one day. This, of course, doesn't include things I haven't finished from days before. ^_-

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The End of 2011

2011 is ending, and that means that I am making New Year's Resolutions. Pluralized by a lot. I'm taking on the , which means that I'll be able to plan things out to my heart's content.

Of course, there are a couple of things that need to be finished in 2011: reading, for one-- I'm not about to lose the GoodReads challenge because of having to do a lot of things.

I'm also going to have 365 dares on before Dec 31st.

And I'm going to finish writing the Blood Feud; Riddle Rose is delegated to January 2012-- I'm not about to overload my schedule more than it has to be.

I also have to finish a spreadsheet for MilWordy, preferably before Christmas. It's going to have a looong list of challenges, books, and a word count spreadsheet.

Yeah... I don't know what I'm thinking either.

Anyway, what this means for the blog is that it's going to have a lot more updates.

For one thing, I'll be posting 1 book review here a week, as well as weekly updates (or more) on my progress in each goal. I'll also be revamping the Writing Schedule for 2012, and the Reading Schedule for 2012 will be created.

As well as a lot of other things.

Stay tuned...


Friday, December 9, 2011

Riddle Rose

Riddle Rose is now being posted on WeBook!

I'm planning on updating with a new chapter AT LEAST once a week-- but I have a lot of things going on-- not only do I have to plan Carl and Stella's story for Momoka, but I need to finish The Blood Feud (which is also being posted on WeBook)... something which I'm dreading.

December is really busy right now.

I'm writing two things at the same time and planning a third (do I HAVE to? says my Muse... but I'm evil and say 'yes, you do.'), as well as writing (well, let's be honest-- TRYING to write) 4k a day.

See, I want to hit 400k on MilHalfy by the end of December... that means 4.5k a day. It's NOT working out so well, since Muse has decided to go on strike, and everything looks vaguely uninteresting. And boring.

And annoying.

So... what is the answer to this?

SLOGGING. Slogging means putting a pitiful drop of 1k, 2k words a day into the bucket of the novel. It means TRYING to get up early to write for an hour and then going off to Facebook because you cannot muster the courage or inclination to write that conversation.

It means painting with broad strokes and leaving plot holes... JUST so you can say... "It's done. Here it is."

It means bad quality on The Blood Feud, especially at the end bits. I mean... I sure don't want to go back and figure out what I need to wrap up in everyone's stories! I mean, I love Natalie and Grigory... but I'm sick of the story. I want to get Frederick to tell Henry a couple of things and I want Henry and Marie to discuss a few things... and then I want to have a big family meeting scene and I want that to be IT.

And then I'll fix it all in any revisions once I get Muse away from vegetable-mode and more towards hyperactive-mode.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Writing while Traveling, and NaNoWriMo

It's a funny thing to write while traveling. Between absorbing all the things you see and hear and smell and taste and touch, you also have to continue writing a book that, for me, has absolutely nothing to do with what's going on outside your little world.

Writing while traveling takes discipline... almost more so than at home. At home I can waste time all day if I want... while traveling I may not have a plug or the location to be away from people talking and questions about the story. I was in a car for four days straight... and it felt ridiculously rude to pop out a laptop and start writing. So I didn't.

This means that I didn't write for four days. Part of this reason is that I was sick on Thanksgiving, which was ridiculously amazing-- I didn't visit one of the monasteries and instead spent the day trying to figure out how to watch High School Musical.

I didn't even like High School Musical the first time! I watched it out of a duty to figure out what's going on in the mind of tweens who are nuts about it. I think I was a tween when HSM came out... hence the research. While I only saw half(ish) of HSM, it was enough to realize that it's a cute movie... but not award winning. Zac Efron was freaking young though.

November 30th came and went... I think I wrote maybe 1.5k? A very measly drop in the pot compared to the 10k days I had in Lhasa... (8k+ three days in a row is exhilarating)... but I didn't care. I broadly sketched what happened in the scene and declared that there was not enough space.

And after that... I couldn't find anything else to write. I knew exactly what I needed to write, but I couldn't find the words. I couldn't even type properly. It was like my fingers had forgotten the keyboard in 5 days. So I stopped and went off to lose brain cells on something else.

Why? Because, though I'm about... 35k behind, I know I can catch up by the end of the 2011 year... at which point I will have 400,000 words of semi-coma-inducing genius. In 2012, it will be better-- 1,200,000 words of less-semi-coma-inducing genius.

Usually the best place to write is in the hotel room after a long day of doing nothing... or the train station, or the train, or on the street waiting for the streetlight-- I planned about 500 words a day this way in Japan on my iTouch. Those words formed the backbone of a lot of my characters, and so at home I could focus on the details instead of the basics. I also figured out a lot of motivations... and found out that Gerald is a victim, not a villain. He was very clear on that.

Thoughts on NaNo'11

It was ridiculous, to say the least. I wrote the book in a total of four countries and about six cities.

Japan: Tokyo Wrote upstairs in a tatami mat room.

China: Beijing Wrote in a hotel room
Xi'an Wrote in the hotel room... kind of
Xining Wrote a bit in a hotel room

Tibet: Lhasa Wrote a ton in the hotel room

Nepal: Kathmandu Wrote very little

The most productive place? Lhasa. I have no idea how. I spent a week in Beijing and only 5 days in Lhasa... and yet Lhasa's word count beats out Beijing's by about 6k. I think it's mostly because that is when I got my breakthrough-- Gerald would help Frederick, and he would be pretty normal when not attacked by the voices. It catapulted Gerald out of his one-man story and into something else, which for some reason made things much more interesting.

I'll be updating "What NaNo has taught me" with this year's notes, but this NaNoWriMo has been an adventure.

I realized that planning too far forward is one of my downfalls, that I like having a lot of characters (really), and that writing during vacation is actually pretty easy. I was writing in a lot of different places all the time, and I did a ton of word wars with the lovely people over at Write Write and Write! and NaNoWriMo Word Wars and NaNoWriMo WordSprints on Twitter.

So that was fun.

I only hit about 90k in the Blood Feud, which is slightly annoying, but I did hit 98,089 words... which means that September is the only month I made my quota... yes, it's rather annoying, but... -__- I'll get 135k in December to make up for it all. I hope.

A Rant on Bad Writing

I read books on the internet every once in a while. Usually they are fluffy romantic things that I use to fill up the time.

I found an interesting website and looked for one of the more popular books on the site which I hadn't read before. I'm not going to say what it's called, but suffice it to say that I was... horrified. The book had been chosen as a READER'S CHOICE... yet the sentence structure was... terrible, to say the least, and it was hard and choppy to read. The sentences are passive, and the writer TELLS everything instead of showing it.

I have never had experience with seeing something TOLD for such a long period of time (about 20k so far), and it is eye-opening. THIS is what they mean when they say, "Show, Don't Tell." Perhaps this book is an exaggerated version of that "don't," but it definitely explains what you're not supposed to do.

Let me explain what I mean:

She tried to be cheerful for his sake. They were both back home sitting on the sofa. They had just finished watching "Deal or No Deal." He must have been tired as he was yawning. It was getting late and she was trying to figure out if she was going to bed or not.

Could you read an entire novel like this and then vote for it so many times it gets reader's choice? There were other stories... stories where the above would be something like this:

She looked over at him over the back of the sofa and smiled bravely. He yawned, covering a hand with his mouth, and looked over at her with sleepy eyes. She glanced at the clock and frowned--  "Deal or No Deal" usually finished earlier than this. "Do you want to go to bed?" she asked him.

Okay, so it's not perfect and I'm not the best at this, but... really? How did something like Exhibit A get to be to be Reader's Choice? Has America's IQ gone down? Is it that there were no better stories when it was elected as Reader's Choice?