Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 14

Days Left to Deadline: -22
Days Worked On: Uhh . . . 2 or 3?
Morale: Spent a lot of time whining, but I'm feeling better now
Total Word Count: 98,536 (-317 from last week)

What I Worked On: Well, first I finished chapter 6-2 and then I finished chapter 7-2. And then I spent a lot of time deliberating whether they should be one chapter or two and whether the last 1500 words of chapter 7-2 should still exist. As of now I haven't decided on the one or two chapter thing and the 1500 words have become a tentative chapter 7-3 that might get axed in a day.

Thoughts: This week was strangely successful despite the only working on it for 2-3 days. Though, I finally got to play around with a character I've been looking forward to. So it's been very entertaining. In case you're wondering, his name is Markal and he's a charming douchebag. *thumbs up*

But let's see. What did I do? Cleaned up a giant conversation, added in some new stuff regarding a horrific branding practice, and spent an inappropriate amount of time rewording a paragraph about climbing into a cave. I'm telling you people, little timeskip "we walked here" paragraphs are my kryptonite. Gah.

Also, The Civil Wars' "Barton Hollow" has officially become my #1 most listened to song in the last year.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's all in the presentation

There are times when one spends an entire hour writing heartfelt blog posts. And then there are times when one stares at the computer screen for an hour trying to figure out what to say. In that second case, squid videos are always a good copout. *shifty eyes*

Actually, I want to talk about this video. Yes, all of the deep sea critters are nifty and fabulous . . . but the real question lies behind the editing. What's up with the shaky cam and the floaty letters? I don't know about you guys, but it reminds me of the title sequence to some a vaguely creepy, sci-fi-eqsue tv show, like Fringe or X-Files.

So, a little challenge, if you're interested: let's pretend this really is the title sequence of a TV show. What's the show about? Are all of the deep sea creatures the "characters" of the show? Or is there some kind of paranormal exploration going on underwater? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 13

Days Left to Deadline: -15
Days Worked On: 2
Morale: Melodramatic with a hint of good cheer
Total Word Count: 98,853 (-1072 from last week)

What I Worked On: CHAPTER 6. ALWAYS CHAPTER 6. Or, in the case of this week, chapter 6-3 and a teeny, tiny bit of 7-2. And because no one but be actually knows what that means, chronologically these are chapters 10 and 11.

Thoughts: This was my fake editing process*. I suspect my real editing process goes something like this:
  1. Read drafted chapter and cringe.
  2. Try to fix the hard parts.
  3. Give up.
  4. Go fix the easy parts.
  5. Feel accomplished.
  6. Realize that things would make more sense if I combined a few paragraphs or moved them around or some random little crap like that.
  7. Implement #6, which takes far longer than it actually should.
  8. Repeat #6 and #7 one more time.
  9. Go back to #2.
  10. Whine a bit.
  11. Succeed this time around.
  12. Revisit #8 for kicks and giggles.
  13. The end.
The most important step is #8. Seriously, I feel like all I do is re-write things and then move them around six times. *rolls eyes*

Anyway, despite a bunch of whining and procrastinating, I got a decent amount of work done. Deleted a crappy info-dump flashback that's been pending for a whole. Re-wrote the entire dramatic rain sequence since it was lacking the appropriate drama. Also, finally got to the introduction of a character I've been looking forward to for a while now. *rubs hands together*

How about you guys? Get any work done this week, or did you procrastinate the crap out of that WIP? Tell me in the comments.

*Discovered as being fake as of 08/03/11.

Monday, March 19, 2012

5 nifty, homemade bookmarks

I'm pretty sure that we can all agree that books make awesome gifts. But if you've ever given a book someone, you've probably noticed that it's not the most personal present. Especially if they specifically requested the book. So, I was thinking . . . why not throw in a homemade bookmark?

In the spirit of this idea, I've put together a list of some of my favorite bookmark tutorials on the internet. Just in case you're feeling a little crafty. Check it:

See, don't those seem like they'll make your gift-giving a little more exciting? A lot of them look pretty easy too! But if you're interested in even more bookmark tutorials, check out this list at Tip Junkie . . . it's a bit intensive.

Have you ever given anyone a book (or a bookmark) for a gift before? What book was it and why did you pick that book for them? Also, do you have a hefty bookmark collection like me? Tell me in the comments.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The book your book could be

I don't know about you guys, but lately I've been reading a lot of different books that seem to rely on elements that are heavily important in my own WIP.

I'm not saying that these books are anything actually like my WIP. Because they're not. Really. But there are similarities that are easy enough for me to notice. Maybe they take place in a desert or maybe the main character gets debilitating headaches. Either way, reading a book like that is kind of a glimpse into the book my book could be.

And it freaks me out.

Every published book has something good to it--something that makes people like it and makes them want to buy it. So a lot of the time, when I'm reading these kinds of books, I lose all perspective. It goes something like this:
    Hey, this is kinda similar to my book. Cool.
    He/she/it wrote my book! D:<
    And he/she/it wrote it better than me~!
    And he/she/it is published!
    Why am I not published?!
    *cries in a corner*
See? Completely irrational. I mean, it's not like I've even queried or anything. Of course I'm not published yet.

Unfortunately, my sense of melodrama tends to stick around until I finish reading the book. It's difficult to be rational and remember why I love my book when I'm in the middle of being seduced by another.

So I guess I just wanted to remind everyone: don't be irrational about your WIP, especially when it comes to published books. Your WIP might be like something, but it's not that thing. It will never be that thing--your story will be brilliant and sparkling all by itself. So don't go changing your writing in response to similar books, okay? That would be stupid, because you should always be writing what you want to write.

Now that the PSA is out of the way, tell me, how do you feel when you read published books that share an element with your own WIP? Do you take as a challenge to write something similar, but better? Or do you have a mini-meltdown like me? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 12

Days Left to Deadline: -8
Days Worked On: 1
Morale: Neither good or bad, just . . . meh
Total Word Count: 99,925 (+23 from last week)


But thanks to Hazel and Dropbox, I didn't loose any of my writing. Just, you know, a bunch of other random stuff since I apparently wasn't doing as good of a job with my backups as I had previously imagined.

Other than that, I spent a ridiculous amount of time working on a section that shouldn't have taken as long as it did. However, Kai has now looked at a canyon. *goes and dies in a corner*

Monday, March 12, 2012

Writerly Tools: Hazel

Huh, it's been a while since I've done one of these, hasn't it?

Today I'm going to talk about a delightful little program called Hazel, and unfortunately it's only for the Mac. Sorry PC users. *shrug* I've heard that Belvedere is the PC equivalent, so maybe try that out?

Anyway, moving on. Hazel is an automated organization program. As its creators at Noodlesoft have so elegantly said, Hazel is "your personal housekeeper."

The idea is that you set up a bunch of different parameters called "rules," and Hazel follows those rules to do the computer equivalent of housework for you. It takes a little work to set up all the rules, but it's ultimately worth it in the end.

I know, it sounds nice, but you're wondering how this is relevant to writers. Tell me, how many times have you forgotten to back up your manuscript? How many times have you ultimately suffered for that faux pas? With Hazel, NEVER AGAIN.

Interested yet? If so, good. Because now I'm going to give you five reasons why I think you might adore Hazel:
  1. Hazel is your backup ninja
    Like I said above, you never have to worry about backing up your manuscript again--just set up some rules for Hazel to follow, and everything will be taken care of. I prefer the double-whammy combination of Hazel and Dropbox.
  2. Hazel can do other things too
    Maybe you get Hazel for the automated backups, but the possibilities are endless. Hazel can keep your trash bin clean, organize your downloads, or even label files as certain conditions are met. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  3. Hazel works in the background
    Once you get Hazel set up, you never have to worry about it again. Everything is automatic, seamless, and behind the scenes. But if you do want updates, it's easy-peasy to set up notifications with Growl.
  4. Hazel has depth
    At first glance, setting up rules in Hazel looks super intimidating. However, Hazel is only as complex as you want it to be--which allows your automated rules to be as simple or as complex as you need them to be.
  5. Hazel makes your computer happy
    Writers spend a lot of time on the computer. Writing, networking, wasting time on the internet--the important thing is that Hazel's organization rules make your computer happy by removing the clutter.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The nails on FIRE

I made a completely frivolous purchase the other day. I bought a few bottles of the official Hunger Games  nail polish. Yes, you read right. There is Hunger Games nail polish.
Oh yeah.
There are 12 colors in all--representative of the 12 districts, don't cha know. From left to right these are: Luxe and Lush (District 1), Stone Cold (District 2), Riveting (District 3), Electrify (District 5), and Smoke and Ashes (District 12). *thumbs up*

I, uhh, originally was only going to go with, like, two bottles . . . but then I got sucked in. And seriously, when was the last time I could buy book themed fingernail polish? Oh wait, that's right. NEVER.

So yeah, because I know you're all dying to know about my mani, let me tell you.
I am incapable of taking nice pictures. Sorry.
I was going for a "girl on fire" look . . . because if I'm going to own Hunger Games nail polish, I might as well amp up the ridiculousness. So yes. Smoke and Ashes on four nails, Riveting with a topping of Electrify on the accent nail, and Electrify on two of the Smoke and Ashes nails to create "burning embers."

Yes. I may have put too much thought into this.

Anyway, I was wondering: what's the weirdest book paraphernalia that you've ever picked up? Just a Harry Potter scarf . . . or maybe something weirder? Would you grab some Hunger Games nail polish? And what do you think about my mani? Huh, huh? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Weeks 10+11

Days Left to Deadline: -1
Days Worked On: A grand total of 1
Morale: Err, good or something?!
Total Word Count: 99,902

Thoughts: Well . . . despite not really writing at all for the last forever, there are some good things to report:
  1. I am finally done moving. No more 12-hour car rides from hell. No more lugging boxes up and down stairs and into 60 mph winds. No more sleeping on a sofa bed.
  2. I finally have internet again. Yes. Full-fledged internet access where pages load quickly and where I can actually access Blogger to reply to your comments and where I can abuse Spotify to my heart's content.
  3. There is no three, but the list seemed incomplete with only two items. Let's just say that with the advent one one and two, life is better.
Okay, so none of those things are really writing related . . . but they give me hope for upcoming productivity in the coming weeks! *shakes fist*

Anyway, you also may have noticed how I am, uhh, one day past my self-imposed goal of doom. This is because I failed. Not only did I fail, I failed pretty miserably. The original goal was to edit my entire WIP by March 6th at 11:59 PM so I could have taken less than a year to edit it. Because, umm, it's super depressing to consider how slow I am. Unfortunately . . . I edited about a third of it. Less than a third.

HOWEVER. Something good did come of this failed experiment:

I have edited 18,209-ish words of my WIP!
And I did cut 3,657 words out of that stuff I edited!
And there are only 79,735-ish words left to edit!

*tosses confetti*

Yay for the bright side! I think I might keep up these WIP Wednesday posts until I actually make the freaking goal. It seems fitting. And I like to pretend that you guys are holding me accountable or something. I doubt anyone really is . . . but I feel bad whenever I have to write the "I suck and didn't write this week" posts. SO BRING ON THE GUILT.

Now tell me, have any of you failed a writing goal before? Was it because the goal in itself was outlandish, or was it because life reared its ugly head? Tell me what happened in the comments!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Behind the silence

Woo, okay, because I'm sure some of you have been wondering: a quick explanation for my sudden and unexpected hiatus during the last week.

As some of you already know, I've been in the process of moving for the last two months. Yes, it took that long. No, I'm not really going to go into details because they are boring.

Suffice to say, most of that time was spent not doing much, and thus, it didn't cut into my blog posting at all. It didn't seem like it was going to start being a problem either. Then, suddenly, everything was happening all the time.

I enjoyed four 12-hour car rides in a week. I lugged boxes around on those days that I wasn't in the car. I had little to no internet access, whether I was riding or lugging. There was no time or opportunity to do much of anything that wasn't moving, and that's why I abandoned you all.

So I apologize.

However, I have now returned! *salute*

Friday, March 2, 2012

2012 February Book Roundup

*fizzle crackle sputter*

. . .  and now for Book Roundup time! For those who don't know, at the beginning of each month I do a quick review the books I read the month prior. But instead of letting myself get too wordy, each book gets a Twitter-length summary and a Twitter-length review. Genres are listed at the beginning of the reviews and my absolute favorites of the month are marked with a star ().

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Vol. 3 by Naoko Takeuchi
Manga--Usagi is the guardian of justice--Sailor Moon! It's time for the final battle against Queen Metalia: the enemy of old. Also, a mysterious girl. § Artistically confusing in the beginning and packed with some odd translation choices. However, I really enjoyed the start of the next story arc.

YA Fantasy--Lucero-Elisa is an unlikely heroine, but she bears the Godstone. Savage enemies, secret political marriages, and charming revolutionaries. § Much love to how unheroic Elisa is at first, but not hugely comfy with the statement her transformation makes. Also, glorious world building. 

YA Sci-fi--Chaos Walking #1. Todd lives in Prentisstown, where everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts. However, Prentisstown also has a terrible secret. § Ouch. This book hurts, but the thought put into Prentisstown's history was worth it. Wish the villain had been less energizer bunny though. 

YA Fantasy--Calaena's off to collect a debt the Lord of Pirates owes the Assassin's Guild. But when the payment is to be made in slaves, her mission changes. § A fun story that definitely got me excited for the next three novellas and the book in August. Celaena's definitely tough and I love her sass! 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
YA Contemporary Fiction--Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12 and miraculously saved at 14, 16-year-old Hazel is still "alive." Then she meets Augustus Waters. § Sad, yet fabulous. Loved how it was a book with cancer, not a cancer book. I only wish that certain sections didn't read like an English paper.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
YA Paranormal Fantasy--Rory's off to London for her last year of high school. Unfortunately there's a murderer on the loose and he's mimicking Jack the Ripper. § This book is nothing like the cover suggests ... for one thing, it's modern day. Anyway, Rory's a fun character to follow, as is the murderer.

Voila, my lovely February books. :) So did you guys read anything particularly exciting? Or have you read any of these books before? Tell me in the comments.