Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Epic Reads Tag

    First off, huge thanks goes to Alyssa @ Insanity Inc. for tagging me. I love quizzes almost as much as I love books, so when you combine the two…needless to say, this one did not disappoint. 

1.) If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?
    I couldn't pick just one character, so: I’d invite J.R.R. Tolkien and the entire Fellowship of the Ring, plus Eowyn. I’d serve them lemon scones with clotted cream, which we'd eat while swapping stories in front of a toasty fire.

2.) What book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?
    A Discworld prequel, featuring any of the characters as kids, but especially Sam Vimes or Lord Vetinari. 

3.) Which two characters (NOT from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?
    Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) and Nobody Owens (The Graveyard Book). Bod is a free spirit and a loner; I feel like Luna’s more outgoing personality would complement his pretty well. Plus, she’d find his supernatural backstory (raised by a vampire, a werewolf, and a family of ghosts) fascinating. 

4.) If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and could only say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?
    There’s no way I could pick a favorite author. (J.K. Rowling, maybe? Or S.E. Hinton?) But if I actually worked up the courage to say anything, it would be pretty standard: “I love your books!” or “Please sign this napkin.” More likely, I would just stare and hyperventilate from afar. 

5.) What book made you a reader and why?
    The first book I remember reading by myself and actually enjoying was Inspector Hopper. I also loved The Chronicles of Narnia and The Royal Diaries and Dear America series.

6.) Incendio! Your bookshelf just caught fire! Which is the one book you would save?
    My copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’m very attached to it, in spite (or because) of the fact that it’s ripped in half and held together with about a pound of scotch tape. 

7.) Which dystopian world would you want to live in and why?
   Pre-Return of the King Gondor. It’s about the only place were I’d have even a slight chance of survival. 

8.) What is your most Epic Read of all time?
    Recently, it’s been Betwixt and Between by Jessica Stilling. It’s a retelling of Peter Pan that feels slightly off and otherworldly from the beginning, and gets at the sadness of the story in an absolutely gut-wrenching way. I read it in three days and cried at least once on every one of those days.

   I tag Kelsey @ The Book of Kels and Rebecca @ The Silver Flute to answer these questions. Don't do it unless you want to, but I'd love to see your answers!

What’s your most Epic Read? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, February 16, 2015

8 Writing Essentials

 If I’m going to be honest, I’d have to say that I love reading about writing almost more than I love actually writing. For one, it’s easier--but learning about other people’s writing processes has always helped me understand mine better. And who doesn't like getting a chance to peek at the details of someone else’s life? (I realize this makes me sound like a voyeur. However, without people like this, blogs wouldn't exist.) Anyway, since I love these kinds of posts so much, I decided to cook up one of my own. Here are the eight essentials to my writing process.

1. Notebooks
Most of my writing starts in notebooks: freewrites, story notes, and first drafts. The best ones are pretty utilitarian--spiral-bound, college ruled--so I don’t have to worry about “ruining” them with less than perfect writing. I also keep journals, which are usually a bit fancier. At the moment, I’m trying to manage two; a normal one and a ten-year journal. I don’t write an entry every day, but I do try to update a couple of times a week.

2. Pens, Pencils, & Markers
For some reason, I prefer pens with blue ink over pens with black ink. I use markers and colored pens to mark up drafts when I’m editing.

3. Index Cards & Post-It Notes
I used to jot down my ideas on index cards, and now I keep a shoe box full of them on my shelf. It’s full of random bits of inspiration that don’t have a particular story yet--observations, quotes, titles. I don’t use post-its much, except when I’m editing. I like to mark up my drafts, and sticky notes help keep things a little cleaner.

4. Iwako erasers
They're completely useless, since I can't imagine using them to erase anything. They do make my desk a place I want to be, though. I own the dessert and sushi sets. 

5. Binders
For storing drafts, print-outs of my favorite articles, worksheets, and just about anything else.

6. Spotify Web Player
I do create playlists for my projects, but while I’m writing I prefer instrumental, ambient music rather than songs with lyrics, which make up the bulk of my playlists. If I do listen to a specific song, I’ll replay it until I can’t stand it anymore. Either way, Spotify is my favorite site for streaming music. I also have accounts with 8tracks and Grooveshark, but neither has suited me quite as well.

7. Pinterest
I've been trying to cut back on my time there, since it’s so addictive, and, yet again, much easier than actual writing. It’s not exactly an essential, either, but it is lots of fun and a great place to collect inspiring images, which are.

8. Books
For inspiration, research, and enjoyment (I tend to forget that it’s enough to just enjoy a book). A couple of my favorite writing-related books are The Craft of  Writing the Novel by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and Wired for Story by Lisa Cron.

What are your writing essentials? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Publication News: "Jenny of the Road"

   A pretty short post this time, but hopefully my news makes up for it. One of my short stories, “Jenny of the Road”, was published last Friday in Inkblots and Typing Spots!
“Jenny of the Road” is basically a mash up of two traditional ghost stories retold by Kevin-Crossley Holland in his book British Folktales: New Versions. I love ghost stories, and I wanted to write something truly scary in the style of a folktale. I’m still not sure if I succeeded, but Colette, the Inkblots editor, was kind enough to suggest some changes that helped make it 10x better (and about 600 words longer) than it was originally. My sister, Claudia, was also a HUGE help in going over drafts :) 
   Inkblots and Typing Spots is an online magazine that publishes some seriously fantastic stories by young and aspiring writers. Be sure to stop by and have a look around--some of my favorite stories are “The Bells of Campden” by Miss Smiley and “Lift Girl” by Fantasy Girl. You can read my contribution here