Saturday, November 28, 2015

Taking Stock: November

Hello November:

Tea & Toast:

Looking forward to: Christmas!
Eating: Thanksgiving leftovers. There’s no such thing as too much mashed potatoes.
Watching: Jessica Jones.
Reading: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, Brooklyn, Winter’s Bone, After the Golden Age, Jim Henson: The Biography.
Listening: To the Sussex Carol.
Burning: Honeysuckle-scented candles. I love having one close to my desk when I’m writing.
Waiting: For snow.
Craving: A cup of tea and a window seat to sip it on.
Wishing: I had more time (and more motivation) to do the things I want to do.
Seeing: Mockingjay Part 2 at the theater. 
Finishing: “A Forest of Bones”, my short story retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. You can read it here

All pictures via Pinterest.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

WIP Tag: A Forest of Bones

    Hey guys! I swiped this tag from Joni and modified it to fit one of my current WIPs, a short story retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I’ve been thinking of posting it on Figment once it’s done, but for now I thought it would be cool to share a few bits of the process.

How many words are you up to so far? How long is your story going to be?
The first draft is 3,024 words long. It’ll probably get a little longer once I flesh things out in the second draft.

What (if any) are some images you’re drawing inspiration from for your story?
I love the whole rococo/baroque type look, plus traditional fairy tale illustrations:
   Rococo  Versailles Door Paris Photograph by EyePoetryPhotography, etsy:   Baroque
            :  Kay Nielsen - from Twelve Dancing Princesses:

Not usually for short stories.

Do you have any other writing rituals/inspirations for this project?
Well, I wrote all but the first paragraph and the last two pages of the first draft in one day. I wrote the first paragraph at something like 12:30 the night before.
I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time—almost a year, I think. Very early on I knew the title and the last sentence, but it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that the plot finally started to come together. So you could say that the idea of finally being able to day, “I did it!” was a big motivator for me.

Pantsing or planning? 

Share one prop from your draft:
A turnip-headed doll.

One character name:

And lastly, share one sentence from your rough draft:

When he asks where they've been going, Noble says, “Under the floor.”

All pictures via Pinterest

Monday, November 16, 2015

Inspirations: Cartoons

I love books. I really do. But I’d be lying if I said that they’re the only things that inspire my stories. I’ve always been really visual, and in some ways I think movies and TV have inspired my own personal projects MORE than books—at least in terms of the feel and aesthetic. Plus, there’s a certain wackiness to some cartoons that doesn’t often show up in books, but is always fantastic when it does.

Let’s start with the wackiest of the bunch: Catscratch is a Nicktoon about three brothers, who happen to be cats, who live in a mansion with their butler, Hovis. When their owner, the insanely rich Ms. Cramdilly, died, she willed her entire estate to them. Surprisingly (not) this show only lasted for one season.
I only saw two episodes of Catscratch when I was younger: The Ghost of Cramdilly and Zombie Party A-Go-Go! But, for some reason, those two episodes influenced me in a big way, and I’ve always remembered them. Crazy plot? Check? Crazier characters? Check. An uptight deadpan snarker (Hovis) and the lovable wackos who torment him? Check!

Hercules: The Animated Series
I love the movie, but the cartoon show is pure gold. It’s basically Percy Jackson before Percy Jackson, with Hercules attending Prometheus Academy and trying to avoid Hades along the way (he doesn’t succeed, obviously). It’s also very funny and insanely clever, but the thing I love most, next to the humor, is the setting. It’s a very modern sort of “Ancient” Greece, where they take their driving tests in chariots and get summer jobs at Gyro World. Watching in it, I can’t help but think about ideas for my own eventual mythic retelling.

Treasure Planet
Anybody who thinks that cartoons are nothing but time-wasting fluff should watch Treasure Planet. Actually, everyone should watch Treasure Planet. The idea of a scifi retelling of Treasure Island isn’t especially original in itself (believe it or not), but it’s SO wonderfully executed that I still choke up watching it. Or even thinking about it.
All right, I’m a sap, but Treasure Planet taught me that a story can be set in a world that's weird and unfamiliar, but still have a very deep and truthful emotional core. And that’s one of the most important things to remember when you’re writing fantasy.

Batman: The Animated Series
I’m just starting to get into this one, and it’s already influencing me. It’s a kid’s show, but the atmosphere is grim and brooding, and the plots are usually pretty dark. But it doesn’t skimp on quirkiness, and every character is a joy to watch.
My favorite part of this show is probably Harley Quinn. She might be insane and have terrible taste when it comes to men, but she’s also sweet, funny, and surprisingly warm and loving. And yes, she does try to kill Batman. But you never get the sense that she hates him the way the Joker does—sometimes they even act like friends. And Harley always has fun. More than anything, I think that she’s showing me that even villains can be lovable.

That’s all for now, folks! What are some of your favorite cartoons?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Away From My Desk

   I’ll admit it: even though I’m not officially doing NaNoWriMo, I’ve been using it as an excuse to take a break from blogging, and I’m not ashamed. Not even a little bit. But I thought that, since there’s such a huge focus on writing this month, now might be the right time to take a break and post about some of the non-writing-related things I’ve been doing.

   I’m a slow knitter. And by that, I mean I’m a lazy knitter: I started a scarf back in October (or maybe in September) and it’s not even half-done yet. I love doing something that’s craftier and more outside my head, though, and it’s been wonderful to have a hobby that’s not related to writing in some way. What’s even more wonderful is watching season 11 of Supernatural while knitting a Harry Potter-themed scarf. (Pottermore sorted me into Gryffindor, so obviously my scarf is red and gold.)

Becoming Art  yarns Theia Fingering. A hand-dyed yarn made of superwash merino, cashmere and silk. yum.:
Watching sitcoms:
   One of my greatest ambitions in life is to write a book that’s as much like a sitcom as possible. For now, I just binge watch my favorites. At the moment they’re Malcolm in the Middle and Grounded for Life. I also adore Parks and Rec.

Discovering new artists:
   On Pinterest and Tumblr, as usual. I’ll have to cook up some new Artist Spotlight posts soon; there’s almost too much great work to share. Behold:
Watched the spiders on the wall by Alice B. Preston “Seven Peas in the Pod” by Margery Bailey. Illustrated by Alice Bolam Preston. Little, Brown, and Co, 1919. gpoy in my house (my god, there are so many spiders here!):
Alice B. Preston

John Austen

Discovering a new kind of lemonade:
    Rose lemonade! The brand I tried wasn’t very sweet at all, but still fizzy and delicious. Pair that with a strawberries n’ cream cupcake and I was set for the rest of the afternoon.


Browsing bookstores:
   I have a confession to make—I’m one of those horrible people who will choose Amazon over my local independent bookstore almost every time. Mostly because I love being able to track down just about any book with a search engine.
   But I also love browsing, and since there’s a bookstore near the college where my younger sister takes a physics class, we decided to check it out. We ended up staying there at least an hour, and I even bought two books—How to Be a Heroine for me, and Jellicoe Road as an early Christmas present for her. The store also had shelves full of gorgeous moleskin notebooks and enough secondhand books to take up the whole upper floor. I’ll definitely be going back—probably to do Christmas shopping.