Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Taking Stock: August

Happie Scrappie: Randoms⎪Currently Obsessed With… pilot pens, friction, Juice and coleto

fresh lime and jasmine tea / this reminds me to make lime iced tea like i had in indonesia. A

Autumn Fall, this gives me inspiration for a quilt or fleece blanket....

25 Reasons "The Muppet Christmas Carol" Is The Best Carol Of Them All
Reading: The Artemis Fowl series, The Walking Dead volumes 1 & 2, loads of Bruce Coville short stories.
Discovering: A new favorite flavor of tea—jasmine.
Buying: Gel pens.
Rediscovering: How hard writing can be. It’s not something you ever really forget, but every so often it comes back full force to punch you in the gut.
Doodling: All over church bulletins. It actually helps me concentrate during sermons.
Wishing: For hot cocoa.
Waiting: For autumn. Especially October. Especially Halloween.
Finishing: Editing a ghost story. I’m still not completely satisfied with it—I never am—but it feels good to be finishing something.
Journaling: Almost every day. My entries are as boring as you’d expect.
Listening: To “Scrooge” from A Muppet Christmas Carol. Best. Song. Ever.
Starting: To use a planner. We’ll see how it goes. 

All pictures via Pinterest.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Figment News

   Well, I did it. This morning I finally posted a short story on Figment. It’s FAR from perfect, but if I’d tried for another draft it would never have seen the light of day. It’s called A Lady Strong and Bold, and it’s about pirates. (Or, more specifically, a girl who disguises herself as a boy and accidentally joins a pirate crew—terrifically original, I know :)) It’s also different from my other stories in a couple of ways.

   First (and foremost), it’s co-written. My sister, Claudia, wrote the original draft a few years ago, but it never really clicked for her (even though I adored it) so she abandoned it. I’ve always loved pirates, and a few months ago she told me I could rewrite the story if I wanted to. I just got around to it this week, and even though I changed names and personalities and fleshed out the plot, I kept a lot of Claudia’s work, especially her wonderful dialogue. It was absolutely a collaboration.

   A Lady Strong and Bold is also much more lighthearted and character-focused (I hope) than my published stories. We wanted it to be fun and even a bit fantastical, so it’s not particularly historically accurate. The main characters are Margaret McCreary, who longs to escape from her social-climbing aunt and sail to Jamaica, and Bartholomew Swill, a “most singular gentleman” and pirate captain. They were a TON of fun to write together, and I’d love to write some sequel stories—maybe even a series of short stories—featuring them. In the meantime, you can read the first story here

   And here’s a playlist of some of the music I listened to while working on/thinking about it. Not all of the songs directly inspired this story, but they all helped me focus on a nautical/piratey mood. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ten 10-word Book Summaries

  Like an idiot, I decided that this year would be the year I would set myself a Goodreads challenge and read at least a hundred books. I’ve read eighty-one books so far (including picture books and short stories. I have no shame.), and wanted to figure out a way to review some of them without actually writing any reviews. Then I read these ten-word summaries over at The Quiet People and decided to try some of my own, because it’s an awesome idea. Here we go (warning: some of these summaries might be spoiler-y):

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)  Batman by Brian Augustyn  A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King  Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer: A twelve-year old criminal mastermind holds a fairy for ransom.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight by Brian Augustyn: Batman tracks down Jack the Ripper in a Victorian Gotham.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russel & Sherlock Holmes #2) by Laurie R. King: Mary Russel and Sherlock Holmes get married. To each other.

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer: Cross-dressing, pirates, and true love while in the Royal Navy.

Watchmen  Batman and Son by Grant Morrison Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura, #1)  Still Star-Crossed 

Watchmen by Alan Moore: Superheroes in crisis, alternate history, and murder. Lots of murder.

Batman and Son by Grant Morrison: Meet Damian Wayne. He’s a twit. Batman battles ninja were-bats.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry: Zombie hunters rescue a redheaded girl from other zombie hunters.

Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub: Rosaline falls for Benvolio, and Prince Escalus falls for Rosaline.

Godspeed  Habibi

Godspeed by Charles Sheffield: Treasure Island in space, without aliens. (And without a heartwarming theme song by John Rzeznik.) Could have been better.

Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye: Moving to Israel is tough, especially when you’re a Palestinian.

  What have you been reading lately? 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

How I Journal

artful approach
Not often, and not very well, but I thought I’d share my six journaling “rules”.

1. Don’t worry about the content: My entries are hideously boring. Most of them read something like this: “Didn’t do much today. Wasted time on the computer. Hoping to do more tomorrow.” I use my journal as a place to vent and record whatever my thoughts are at the moment. Most of my thoughts aren’t exactly groundbreaking.

2. Make journaling every day (or twice a week or once a month or whenever) a goal, and stick to it: Right now, I’m trying to write in my journal every day. I slacked off for quite a bit this summer, so now I’m making up for lost time. Different people do it different ways, but if I don’t set myself specific goals, I’ll never get around to doing it.

3. Find a good pen: It makes all the difference! And by good, I mean a pen you like, not a super-fancy, super-expensive fountain pen (unless that’s what you like…). I’ve used ballpoints, markers, and even colored pencils.

4. Keep your old journals: And read back over them every once in a while. Mine still make me cringe, but it’s fun to see how far you’ve come.

5. Decorate your journal: I didn’t used to do this, since my artistic skills are pretty much limited to drooling over other peoples’ work. I sometimes doodle in my journals, but more recently I’ve been raiding old magazines for pictures to tape to the pages. My current journal is much more colorful than my others, and I’m always more excited to write in it.

6. Don’t worry about writing something stupid: The most important rule, no question. About 50% of what I write now will probably sound incredibly stupid a few months (or a few days) later. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth writing. Journaling is about capturing the moment, whether it sounds good or not. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Getting Back in the Groove

What I  wish writing looked like
What writing actually looks like

Lately, my brain has felt like melting ice cream. My ideas feel soggy and my stories feel unwritable. My will power is most definitely shot. Weirdly enough, I don’t feel as stressed by this as I probably should be. Summer has always been a lazy season for me.

But I am trying to get better. I have a few goals I’d like to accomplish, if not by the end of summer, then at least by the end of the year. Writing-wise, I want to finish the first draft of at least one longer project. I’ve also been thinking about posting a short story or two on Figment. (I have an account, but I haven’t used it much yet.)

I’m also trying to read more. Most days I waste hours on the computer and go to bed feeling drained and depressed. I’ve been working my way through the Bloody Jack series (it’s amazing, especially if you like ships and the ocean and the whole wooden-ships-and-iron-men genre, which I do). I also just started rereading the Artemis Fowl series, and I’m about a quarter of the way through The Whispering Skull by Jonathon Stroud.

Basically, I’ve just realized that I wasted a good chunk of my summer and I’m trying to salvage as much of it as I can. At the same time, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself because I really have enjoyed the chance to relax and slack off a bit. I’ll probably never be one of those people who can turn out half a book in a day, and that’s okay. Enjoying the process (at least some of the time) is what’s really important.