Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Putting the "strange" in "stranger" since 1987.

Leah over at Leah Writes Pretty Fierce has started a short little questionnaire for those of us (or anyone, really) taking part in the latest campaign to fill out so we can all get to know each other. Since I'm taking a break from most real writing this week, this sounded like the perfect way to, you know, waste my time.

  1. Here's a chance to hone your writerly skills: Tell me, who are you? You have one sentence only. 
Hi, I'm Hildred.
  1. What about writing gives you the most joy? The dialogue, description, or something else entirely?
I've always loved entertaining people, and the best way I've found is to make up stories I've made up. People seem to react most to my dialogue and I admit it's my favorite part to write. 
  1. If you were to write yourself as a character, what would your character phrase be? The little tics that make you, you?
Phrase? I dont know. What I say the most changes from month to month. I do have some annoying tics though that I hide from people. My hands tend to twitch when I'm excited about something (oh god they just did), particularly my fingers around my face. I hate it and I always stop myself the moment I notice I'm doing it. I used to get made fun of a lot as a kid for doing it, and I even had teachers try to "correct" the behavior, so it's made me very self-conscious about it.
  1. What books have you read recently? What would you recommend for us to read?
I'm currently reading the A Song Of Ice and Fire series and it's meh. Good story, horrible, horrible prose/actual writing. And so much triggery shit that I have to stop a lot before I have flashbacks to horrible past experiences. So I don't recommend it, ha. I'm not good with book recommandations. I don't read often and I don't like most of what I read.


erryone. go. do it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Finally getting the hell out of the woods.

uh huh.
Yup, I finished my goal of 4k today and completed Camp Nanowrimo. Go me~~~ Final count is 50,170 according to the Camp website.

This is great because now it means I don't have to stress about finishing it during my business trip this week (which runs through Saturday). Not that I wouldn't have the time, but typing on a three year old EE PC isn't the greatest experience ever, let me tell you ALL ABOUT IT.

That said, I'm rather happy with how the story is going even though it's not quite going how I expected. I'm surprised at all of the...well, to be quite frank, abuse I'm covering since I originally planned to gloss over it. But when I included that character's POV I couldn't really do that, lol. Hopefully the next chunk I write the abusive character is gonna be D-E-D dead and yay no more of that! =\

The two major differences in this draft compared to the other stories in the series thus far (CROSS//Process is one of two planned prequel stories in the CROSS// series) is that I'm forcing myself to write in third-person limited (the main series is omniscient) with three POV characters, and that it's very fast paced because it covers a lot of events that happen in the span of seven years. Trying to balance character development with a fast pace is something I have to be careful with, personally.

SO, did you participate in Camp this year? How did you do? Did you wish you had known about it?! And furthermore...how about Nanowrimo this year, eh?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekly Writing Check In - Just when you get ahead...

Even though I really need to finish up my camp manuscript by this time tomorrow (because I have a business trip the last two days) I have to stop 1k short of today's goal because I'm just too dang tired. Writing whilst tired only works if they're sexy scenes, after all. And this is not a sexy scene. More like a bloody scene. *sigh*

Camp Nanowrimo/CROSS//Process

My goal for today was 37k, but I'm stopping at just a little of 36k. I had a six-day work week this past week, which wasn't bad before I got internet back on Thursday...heh, guess what I spent all Thursday night doing? ;D 4k left doesn't sound too bad when it just turned the 29th here, but like I mentioned above I have a business trip on the 30th and 31st and have to take my crappy little laptop with me that will shit itself at the thought of opening Word, let alone verifying a huge 50k document. So I hope to have it finished by the time I leave! It'll happen, I'll just have to sit down tomorrow and pound out that 4k in little 1k increments. I still wrote 12k this past week and that's nothing to sneeze at.


Reread the first 100 pages that I've written so far to refresh myself on where i'm at so I can get to work on drafting a bit of an outline for the remainder. I'm still not quite sure where in the story I'm at, or what kind of climax I want it to have a the end. I'm not worried though - this is how CROSS//Rebirth started in the writing process, and I ended up writing a climatic conclusion that I'm very happy with in terms of events and characterization. Sad lack of gratuitous porn, however. How am I supposed to be amused by the such easter eggs I leave myself when there aren't any?! Sigh, on my ~to do~ list for nano this year, obviously.


I'd much prefer to have a more chipper entry for this week, but you see, it was a six day work week and I spent my Sunday shopping and walking around in the city aaaand ;D It's bed time! I have a date with the City Hall tomorrow...and then my vacuum cleaner afterwards. Oh, and a manuscript apparently...sigh.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hello from a stranger, indeed.

Hello to all of my new followers thanks to the platform campaign going on! Glad to have you here! In the wake of such an event I've finally greenlighted the About Me page of my blog so you can actually see that I'm human and not an internet-robot...it's copy pasta'd straight from my website, because self-plagiarizing is awesome you guys (is that even actually possible? Ha.)

Just so I'm not totally taking up your time, have some pictures of my cats, because I currently live across the ocean from them and haven't seen them since early April...I miss my cats, okay.

Oh goodness do I miss peeling my ripe Hannah Banana :( I can feel the dust coming off her from across the Pacific.   

I miss my baby Lina :(

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Campaigning time!

So I've seen this going around the Blogosphere and, after reading about it, decided to join in! Basically it's a way for writers/authors/in the biz etc to expand their contacts and help promote each other. I mean, how cool and handy is that? There's also challenges and prizes to be had in your groups. Sign ups end on the 31st and the campaign runs until the end of October, soooo get to it!

Here is the ver batim blurb from Rach's (the head person's) blog:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekly Writing Check In - Because I need more shit to do.

Yes, I've decided to start making ~weekly writing check ins~, to update the world on the current progress of my projects. If nothing else, it forces me to post every week even if I can't think of any other appropriate topic to discuss.

*ahem* That said, it's actually been a pretty productive month! Let's see, thus far I have to report:

Camp Nanowrimo

It's the end of day 21 here, and CROSS//Process just broke 34k. Not too shabby, I'm right on target. Once I hit 35k things to tend to be all downhill as the end is in plain sight - this time will probably be none too different. However, although I have a basic outline I am working with, I'm still very much pantsing most of the scenes. Example, I am currently in the middle of a scene I know exactly what I want to do with, but after that it's back to pantsing and literally making things up as I go along. It doesn't do well for me in the plot department, but it DOES help me in characterization and that's what I love most...so...that said, goal now is to keep chugging through 'til the 31st and go from there!

CROSS//Rebirth First Round Edit

...is finished! Hooray! I was able to just slash through the last few chapters at the speed I wanted. This first round of editing was focused on recognizing my plot holes and what I need to fix for the Second Round - while also being Adverb Slayer and the righter of all seeable bad grammar. I've made a list in a separate file detailing what I need to fix - first and foremost, I need to add more butterfly symbolism. I only started doing it in the second half of the novel and now want to go back to make sure there's at least one offhand mention of a butterfly SOMEWHERE in every chapter (since my chapters are on average 10k, this is doable.) I also need to introduce the character that appears in the climax in conversations, files, etc so I'm not breaking a huge nasty rule. I was going to do it in this edit but I could not find an appropriate scene to do it in offhand...gotta fix that. Also, other small plot tidbits that I'm sure readers would go "wtf but..." at. If I can see them now, I might as well fix them before somebody else does!

Gonna let the manuscript sit and rest now, though. Not gonna look at it again until September so I can focus on finishing up Camp and glancing through...

CROSS//Revenge First Draft Progress

...nothing to note on this, just announcing to myself that as of this week it's back to the forefront of mind, since it is what I will be working on in November. Gonna give what I have so far a read through to get my brain caught up on what I've done. After Camp I'm going to try drawing up a proper outline for the rest of the novel...gonna be hard, since most of the plot is still fuzzy in my head as to what I want to have happen in this installation.


That's it for this week. I've actually accomplished quite a bit, eh? As soon as Camp is over I'll be back in my normal game. But damn it's amazing how much you get done when you're not on a million business trips in one month, lol.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"UM EXCUSE YOU I'm busy talking to myself here."

My lofty aspirations.
My dear, dear writing friends.

We are strange.

I know, I know. I'll wait over here while I let that sink into your head and you come to accept the fact that you are, in fact, a writer, and that you are, in fact, weird as shit.

We writers have quirks. Weird ones. Super weird ones. There was a woman in a writing group of mine once who would grab a long stick and start fencing with the air as she played out her stabbity action scenes - on buses. I once read on another writing blog about the author drinking a full cup of coffee with every scene completed - on buses.

It's always buses, man.

Me? Well, my big weird writing quirk is that I talk to myself. Like a loooooot. Full blown conversations: in the shower, walking home, on the bus train, waiting for Sim City 4 to load, fighting Ganondorf for the millionth time because homeboy keeps stalkin' mah hyrulez, making dinner, doing laundry, getting groceries okay you get it. Point is, I talk to myself, in full hearing of everyone around me.

What am I talking about?


I act out almost all my dialogue before I even write it down .I intone my voice to match my characters'. I snort, I sneer, I laugh, I make funny faces in general until I know down to every little bit of word choice exactly how the conversation will fall out on paper. Sometimes I even record myself if the scene I'm dialoguin' won't be written for months or even years, but I really wanna remember that swear so-and-so said with my mouth.

Most of the time it's just a funny quirk that I laugh about and then go on my way. Sometimes, though, I get caught. Like tonight. I was walking home from work to the train station, mumbling dialogue I was going to write tonight for my Camp Nano novel to myself when a young Japanese couple stared at me at a crosswalk and backed away super quickly. Great. White girl in rural Japan talkin' to herself in the middle of the night out in the street. NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN NOW.

I've been caught many times at home with my parents as well (and holy balls context is awesome.) When I lived with my parents I waited until they went to bed before mumbling dialogue to myself at my laptop. Apparently I was too lloud a few times, however. There were a few times when my mother would come up to me and ask "Who the hell were you talking to last night? Were you on the phone? When did you get a phone?" and so on until I would coolly cover with a "omg no one mom jeeeeze you're just hearing things."

I act out all kinds of scenes, between all kinds of characters. Fight scenes, both physical and verbal, throw away scenes in bars and strip clubs, bedroom scenes (well the parts with dialogue anyway, hohoho), work scenes, traveling scenes, everything and anything. Children, adults, men, women, I gotta know exactly how they're going to sound so my mouth becomes their mouth for a short while. Basically what happens is that I play the scene out in my head like a movie, but instead of wearing ear phones I put everything on loud speaker and the conversations fall out of my mouth. I've had more than one hapless person overhear an angst fight between a lesbian couple, but with not so many lesbians.

So now that I've shared my super weird writing quirk with everyone, I implore all you writerly types to do the same. Oh, and you should start mumbling dialogue on street corners. It's the best way to make new friends. I promise.

Friday, August 12, 2011

This is my sad face: :(

I know I'm super late to this club, but that's what happens when you live in a foreign country that doesn't give a flying seagull about this sort of thing (granted, Japan has more pressing local matters to put in their news at the moment) and are pretty much internet-less when you finally get the news.

You know, the news that your favorite bookstore chain is closing.

Let's just get this right out of the way now: I was always a Borders fan moreso than Barnes & Nobles. There. Said it. Picked a side. Moving on, shall we?

Coming from super-duper rural Oregon, where the nearest bookstore of ANY kind is over thirty miles away in either direction (there are only two directions in these matters, you know), and the only bookstore that carries the titles and authors you actually WANT are three HOURS away...Borders was my friend. Borders was in malls and on convenient street corners when I bothered to be in those sorts of oh so big towns that had MALLS and STREET CORNERS *gasp*. A couple of Barnes & Nobles were there too, but were usually out of the way from where my family was driving so I never visited them much.

Borders was where I got almost my entire manga collection. And when I went through a phase where I didn't buy books at all, when I did buy books I bought them at Borders. Even the books I bought online were from the Borders website. I was a very loyal Borders customer. They pampered me with their rewards card. When I was a super poor college student (still the same, just no longer a college student *sigh*) I used to cash in my rewards for a super cheap book to keep me entertained. Borders stores were always within walking distances in our college towns. (Barnes & Noble not so much) and I actually preferred their stores in the long run because they were smaller and cozier and quiet. Usually I would be the only person in there (a sign of things to come, apparently) and would just stare at the fantasy wall until I finally found something I wanted to read. ...and then I would use my super cool rewards card to get super cool books.

When word got out back in February that Borders was closing a bunch of their stores, I worried a little but then felt better when I learned that none in Oregon were closing. Then I moved abroad, and just a couple of weeks ago I learned that Borders was closing for good.

It was a sad, sad day.

Many people, including myself, saw this coming, especially after all the stores that started closing back in February. I could sit here and wax and wan about why this might've happened, from management practices to an inability to keep up with the times, but if you want that kind of commentary you can go to just about any other blog post about the disappearance of Borders. Because all you're gonna get here right now is a budding author shakin' and cryin' because her favorite bookstore is going bye-bye.

Oh, doubtless I will find another one I love just as much. For now I have Amazon to fill the internet shopping void, but I do love picking out books in real life and taking them home at that moment. (I'm the same with CDs and clothes and well everything.) Plus no shipping fee! I'm too old-school still to get an e-reader (plus they're way out of my budget still) so until that day inevitably comes...well, for the moment I still live in Japan, and I'm happy enough to have a bookstore an hour away that has an ENGLISH section, haha! But there is also that sad little feeling when something that's always been a part of your life goes away. And since we live in such a technological age, it's not too far-fetched to picture a world where bookstores as we know them may not exist at all, and even for those who love change that can be a weird feeling.

But in the end there's one thing about all of this that really, really makes me mad.

I'm in the wrong country to be enjoying all the damn good going-out-of-business sales! Argh!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I always imagine Camp NaNoWriMo stealing outdated Old Navy commercials for their promotion.

But where do I plug in my laptop.
Although my lack of proper internetz in my apartment for the next month or so have stinted my ability to, you know, blog about writing and stuff, it's done a few wonders for that whole...writing thing.

This is my first official check-in for Camp, and I can safely say that I am right on schedule at 13,010 words (and I haven't written my 1600 for tonight yet). I'm having an interesting time of it, mostly because I'm doing something "new", for me: third-person limited, whereas almost everything else I write is in omniscient because I am God, sit at my feet and let God tell you a tale, damnit. Why are you not sitting down. Johnny, sit down before I smite you. Do you want to be made into a character? Okay, here's a story about a boy named Johnny who couldn't sit down. He died. The end.

AHEM.  As I was saying, third-person limited is something new for me.  I've decided for this prequel to only stay with three main characters, and only two of them will be very prominent for the first part (the other not getting any scenes herself until I introduce her in the second chapter coming up).  I can't really describe why I've decided to write this in limited, other than because it's what the story called for.  And when the story calls for something, who am I to say no?

Otherwise, it's the usual.  Some scenes fly by as I explore how these characters used to be, and other times I sit there going "damnit, they all have the same type of family! Pfft!" but it's the first-first draft who gives a rat's carnival balloon. I have plenty of time later on to go back and decide which character is going to get the better mother. (Damnit, I almost said "Hey so far nobody's an orphan!" and then I remembered FMC's being raised by her maternal aunt cause her parents are dead. Oops.)

Meanwhile I am also still editing the other novel. Because even though it's camp and I like busting out rough drafts, it still technically takes a backseat to my actual novel I plan on publishing first. (The camp novel may be a prequel novel but it's planned to be released between books 3 and 4 of the main series.  The other one will come out between 4 and 5 and is still in the advanced planning stages.)  I managed to edit another chapter today alone and I'm officially past the halfway mark.  I've decided that this revision will mostly focus on plot fixings and easily fixed grammar items such as LOL TOO MANY ADVERBS and awkward sentences.  POV tidying will come with the next through edit. I'm still angsting over where to introduce a character that I came up with halfway through the first draft.  AS it is, she breaks a giant, huge, DO NOT EVER DO writing rule and shows up during the climax without any mentions beforehand. Obviously I must fix this. I need to go back between this edit and the next (edit 2.5? lulz) and drop in conversations about her.  Oh, and I need to put in more butterfly imagery as it's the major symbol of the series and is relevant everywhere. And yet I keep forgetting to do this.  I think the symbolism part is just gonna be an ongoing edit.

Until then, does anybody know of any good cover designers who are, you know, cheap? Free is the best cheap! (Lookin' at you, graphic making friends of mine.) I've given up on designing my own nice cover and would just like somebody else to do it since I completely lack the skill.


How is your Camp novel coming along?  Are you on track? Or did you fall out of the canoe...because you heard banjos and paddled too fast.