Monday, January 22, 2007

It's a post about nothing.

So how do we know when it's over?

Yes, the obscure cartoon references only come out when I'm sick and bored.

Well, not too bored. I have a lot of lovely blogs to read (like all of these) and small chocolate chip muffins that come in pouches and get microwaved before being eaten. I'd make my own but it would take to long, and besides, we don't have a mix. (Oh yeah, really representing the last name here.) (No, that wasn't supposed to make sense, unless you happen to know me in real life.)

Alright, I have a confession to make. I, Miri Grace, am...

...a hopeless...

...and I do mean hopeless...

(...drama queen and...)

Mento addict.

You thought I was going to say something like "druggie" or "closet vampire," didn't you?

Yes, there are fourteen boxes of Mentos in the picture (no, really, there are. You can't see one of them - it's behind the others, holding them up.). That's my collection from October 15th (ish) through now.

I really am hopeless. I've been known to ride two miles to the nearest convenience store just to get my fix (though I much prefer Publix - they sell them in the boxes, whereas Flash Foods only has the rolls, which aren't nearly as nice for saving and have less candy anyway). Yes, there is a box each of both fruit flavored and (gasp) sugarfree tucked at the bottom of the pile, bought at the same time when the store didn't have the original (the fruit flavored were gone in two hours nonetheless. I think the sugarfree survived about a day). Blasphemous? Perhaps, but infinitely preferable to nothing at all.

And about the origami duck atop the pile...he's left over from a phase I went through a few months ago where I could not get to sleep without doing some origami first. And besides, he's all cute and flowery. Quack!

Well, lunchtime is approaching (as is What Not To Wear, my lunch show of choice when I'm home for the day). Thanks to the wonder of DVR I can pause it and let it build up forward-time for me to skip commercials while I fry up a double-decker cheddar quesadilla.

Shoot, make that triple-decker. I have all the time in the world.

A postscript: Yes, I did do a little writing this morning. About fifty words, if memory serves.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

That was cool.

Alright. So last night, after Ballroom Bootcamp, I went to write my obligatory "something" on my NaNo rewrite last night. It's a banquet scene - well, actually, a state dinner scene, but a similar principle - and I've been wondering why I keep setting myself up for these scenes, as I don't even like writing them.

So I'm staring at the screen, wondering what on earth I can do to get this ball rolling. At the last minute, inspiration arrives - a flash of it, the likes of which I haven't seen in months, and I follow it. My main character's place card is closer to the monarchs than those of her parents, and her name has a title in front of it - the Lady Vivessa Saverra.

Nice rise in status, nice friction with her father especially (he's a duke, doesn't much like to be ignored), and better yet, it keeps unfolding.

Fifteen minutes passed in a keystroke. I introduced a romantic subplot - my second ever, and my first on purpose (in a manner of speaking). If you've seen me anywhere else, you've seen that I'm patently antiromance. It just doesn't appeal to me. And yet last night, I let the story guide me into dangerous, challenging waters, and for those fifteen minutes (I would have gone on longer, but by this point it was 11:30 and I really needed to be in bed) writing had magic again.

That was cool.

(So is this: 10500. I hit 10k. Finally. Now onward to 15k!)

Moral of the story: just because you don't like (or don't think you like) a genre or a literary device or a subplot doesn't mean you shouldn't at least try it. Your writing might flounder with it, or it might shine. Who knows?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Back from the messy realm of Real Life

Right. So I've been a bit MiA lately. (Not that anyone's reading. That would require me getting up the courage to post comments on other people's blogs enough for them to recognize me and, after awhile, wonder about me as a person enough to look at my blog.)

I have made a little progress on my NaNo rewrite. Not nearly as much as I'd like. I'm going to have to pick up the pace quite a bit if I want to keep my (admittedly self-imposed and therefore unfortunately flimsy) deadline of March 31st. It's going so much better with Vivessa than with Averi, though. It's more my lack of dedication that's doing me in. Or, wait, that's unfair. (No, really. It is.) I've been keeping to my rule of writing something every day, but that something has been a bit pathetic lately. We're talking double digits. That's because with all the other crud I have going on, I rarely get to writing until I really should have the lights out.

Seriously, though. The sheer number of days that I come home feeling like I've been steamrolled is completely out of proportion to my age. (That's how those things are supposed to work, right?) Ah, least one of my commitments will be over tomorrow, most likely. I have the statewide semifinals of an academic competition tomorrow. Last year we were stomped on. I'd like to win at least two rounds this year.

Alright, now back to the main point of this entry. Or at least why I came back to my blog in the first place. I was reading over at Agent in the Middle, and the three articles she did on marketing yourself and your book terrified me. I'm not a social person. I've been told I'm the family extrovert, but that doesn't mean much. I suppose I'm outgoing in some ways, but one of my biggest fears is making myself look like a total idiot (or worse, an amateur) and I have no idea how to go about looking professional. I can't even bring myself to comment on people's blogs, for crying out loud. Even when I feel I have something legitimate to add to a discussion, I'm always held back by my thinking, "Why would someone even read this when there are so many people talking that they know better, people who have books and agents and clients and reputations?"

I am trying, though. One of the things she mentions is to start a blog and write about what you write. I have no idea if I'm reading that correctly, but I'm trying. She also says that book sales just don't do well if you're not a part of a community. And besides the marketing aspects, I like being part of communities. It's just that my general antisocialism (is that even a word, past the political meaning?) holds me back.

On the internet.

I don't remember feeling this pathetic, though I'm sure it's happened.

Well, I'm off to wrestle with a banquet scene that's just about to shoot me if I don't write it. My father thinks I let my characters push me around too much. Sigh.

Monday, January 1, 2007

I have seen the light.

Last one today, I swear. (Mainly because there's only 49 minutes left of "today." 11:11 is such a cool time.)

Alright. I may have mentioned that my NaNo from this year, State of Affairs, is somewhat eating my soul, yes? And I know I've mentioned that it's giving me grief about ending it.

Well, I've been reading through some essays - nothing really, directly related, but they still sparked some ideas.

You see, the problem with SoA is that Averi, the heroine (I use the term extremely loosely), has all the personality of a wet log. I have known this, in my heart of hearts, from the beginning, but now it is very clear. Averi has absolutely no stock in what is going on. Nada. Zip. And worse, she's not interesting. She doesn't mirror me in personality like Ari did last year; she doesn't jump out at me like Andrie, or make me chuckle like Chalem and Luisha, or make me want to find out things right along with her like Crosan, or somehow get me emotionally involved like Karach or Marxis. In the beginning, back when the book had its original intended premise, she had some kind of emotional conflict and therefore value as a character...but now there's nothing. I mean it. Nothing.

But there is another character. One who was never meant to exist, but who strode in and took center stage. Her name is Vivessa and she has pressing issues coming from all directions, and what's more, she has a unique way of looking at the world and saying what she thinks.

To get the story I want to tell out right, I need to rewrite the whole thing - all seventy-three thousand words and the probably ten thousand that haven't been written yet - from her point of view.

I'm up for it. It'll be a slog in the beginning, but I'm up for it, because I know it'll start shining with Vivessa at its head.

Two in one day. Has it gotten this bad already?

I guess it has.

I've been reading Kristin Nelson's archives in lieu of her return to work (and blogging). She's a sharp, lovely lady and you should check out her blog. Really.

Well, I was reading this post and one person posted in the comment trail that agents should always take a different approach to teenagers. Because we're so immature and easily traumatized and could be scarred for life, I guess.

As a young person myself (okay, I admit it. I've been lying to you all. I'm not youngish, I'm flat-out young.), I'm offended.

Someone saying "good for your age" is just a way to get out of hurting my poor, delicate, teenaged feelings, and it offends me. I don't want to be told I'm good for my age; I want to be told the truth. If it's that I'm good, I want to hear it. If it's that I'm bad, I want to improve. Just because there are so many people in my age group who would yell and scream and Tell Their Mommies if they got harshly critiqued, rejected, or made to see life without the rose-colored glasses, doesn't mean we all are.

So keep that in mind the next time you open your mouth or sit at your keyboard to say, "Well, it's good for your age...", because all you're doing is hurting them. Any writer needs to develop a thick skin, even the adults. We live in an age where kids are taught to expect everything (with the grape-and-parsley garnish if you please) and throw tantrums if they don't get it , and it makes me sick that those kinds of kids are out there ruining my reputation just by association.

Give us a little credit. Give us the truth. Nothing gets me angrier than someone who sugarcoats things just because "Ohmigosh, I might scar them for life!! And then they'll Tell Their Mommies!!"



Happy New Year to ye's.

I went to a party last night - as did approximately half of America - and managed to make myself look thoroughly stupid, but hey, that happens. (Something to do with being an extremely antisocial person...and the fact that the number of people attending ended up being three or four times what I'd thought it would be. If it hadn't been for the host's younger son graciously playing cards with me for most of it, I would have just about died. I literally almost passed out as it was.)

Well, as far as New Year's Resolutions go, here's my list:

I am going to Australia this summer.

I am going to DragonCon this fall.

I will finish my NaNo and my off-season project, and I will have a good idea of where another project of mine is going (because at the moment I have no clue. When the story opens with the characters chipperly falling off a building, well, what can you do?).

New Year's resolutions, anyone?