Saturday, August 25, 2007

Church Girl (or Grrrl) Reflections

Yesterday I found Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande at my bookstore and snapped it up in a heartbeat. I read it in less than three hours.

At its core, it's a book about a church girl, Mena, trying to find her way around in a world of different values and beliefs without losing her faith. It's about finding a balance between science and God, and it's about the stunning hypocrisy in the church today. I can identify with Mena on a lot of levels, but that last was the big one. I've seen it: the girls who wear too-small Christian T-shirts and use them to justify acting like the Wicked Witch of the South. The cliques that form, the ostracization that can happen, the startling lack of forgiveness (which is what it should be all about).

Robin Brande writes in a voice that is fresh, real, and honest. Her characters are vivid, if not always likable, and she knows her way around a high school. And, most important to me, though there are some truly nasty Christian characters running around, the issue of faith--not overrestrictive faith, but faith--is treated with respect. That, in today's market, is brave. Thank you for your bravery, Robin.

Be on the lookout for this book. I think it's going places.

Robin, let's do lunch. Sometime. Somehow.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Calling All Seamstresses

And seamstr...ers? Tailors? Whatever.

So, as any anime fans in the audience know, the convention season is upon us. As any school types could tell you, Spirit Week (and its assorted opportunities for dressing up) is on the horizon as well. And, obviously, Halloween is right around the corner. Which means it's costuming time!

I couldn't explain why--I sure don't know--but lately I've been extremely into sewing. And I've gotten fairly good at it. Good enough to feel confident in helping out friends of mine with their costumes.

But there are some things I just don't know how to do yet. Like ruffles. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but one of my friends has decided to dress up as Rose from the show Fullmetal Alchemist for Character Day at our school. I love this idea, because I'm going to be Dante and that's one of the creepiest character dynamics in the show, so it'll be a blast...but the only costumes of Rose's that are in dress code are this one and this one. Ruffles galore.

Does anyone here have any tips for sewing ruffles, poofy sleeves and skirts, that sort of thing? Any good sources for such? Websites, book titles? I'd really love to pull this off for my friend (not to mention, my costume has some minor ruffling as well).

Anything you have would be appreciated!

Now I just have to finish my Ty Lee costume for Dragon*Con...

(Am I procrastinating on writing? Yes. Yes I am.)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Not Quite as Much Sludge

Thanks to several hours of reading from The New Writer's Handbook and pondering the conflicts of my story, my enthusiasm for the project has been rekindled and I'm pretty sure I know where I'm going. No word yet on whether I can actually pull a couple of the things off, but it's looking better. That's the good part.

The bad part is that I can think of four five scenes that I can keep. Mostly. But as two of those are my favorite scenes in the whole book (that should have been a sign) I don't mind too much.

And one of my favorite characters (who, really, was never all that important - I just liked him and wanted him to be - rookie mistake!) is getting the boot. Poor guy'll be lucky to get a cameo now. But that's as it should be.

I'm going in. (My outline is taking place in Excel this time around. Sticky notes are too easy to lose.)

Wish me luck.

Friday, August 3, 2007


Status on the WiP:

Wordcount: 63,000 (3k of that out of sequence)
Plot threads existing: roughly 3...ish...maybe closer to 4-ish.
Plot threads tied up: None
Plot threads existing that I know how to tie up: 1...maybe...

In short: not doing so well.

I still love the idea for this story. The themes I decided to work with. The first chapter. Unfortunately, those things have become totally unconnected with the story as it stands in my mind and, I'm beginning to suspect, as it stands on paper. On the screen. Whatever.

Is it unusual to start losing faith in myself as a writer at this stage of the game? Because I feel like I've somehow abandoned the story I wanted to tell, and I really have no clue how to go back to it; I set up several incredibly ambitious situations, and when it comes time for the great reveal, I have no idea how I'll pull it off. I'm beginning to think, maybe, that I might be able to write the story I want to tell here in a few more years, after a little more experience--but right now, it's looking rather slim.

I'm going to finish this draft and see what I can do, for a number of reasons: maybe it'll look better as a whole on paper, maybe I'll be able to see more clearly what needs to be done...that, and (I say this with total confidence) if I don't, after abandoning another project (which, in all fairness, already hadn't worked once) to write this one, my mother will kill me.

Have any of you been there? How did you deal with it?