Friday, August 27, 2010

For Lack of a Better Title about Writer's Block

A lot of this post is to show a bunch of pictures I enjoy about writer's block. The rest is to complain discuss the setbacks of writer's block.

I think I've got to put an end to this. This sitting around, staring at that blinking cursor, waiting for the story to come out. That story that's just sitting there in my brain, but just doesn't seem to want to transfer out into compelling sentences. ("Chapter 2" is mocking me even more.) So I go to put an end to it, and I tell myself "just write! Whatever comes out, you can fix later." Then I find myself finishing those odds and ends -- those tasks that never seem to get completed until that dreaded Writer's Block rears it's ugly head.

The laundry is done! The dishes are put away! Oh I've been meaning to vacuum. I wanted to make that shirt a while ago. Ooh! I think I want to crochet another blanket! These YouTube videos are just so entertaining!

And then I see my piles of empty notebooks...

I'm insane at this point. How does one get over writer's block? That's what I want to know. When does it strike? Is it a seasonal thing? Is it a personal thing? Tips, tricks? I've got a few up my sleeve:
  • random writing prompts. I've compiled a list of 100 or so words, and with a random number generator, I tell myself I must write something about that word, in some way.
  • write and be happy. Like I said earlier. Don't get it right, get it written. There will always be time to fix it later.
  • or just write something random that will never reach the eyes of anyone, because then I'm at least writing something.
Anyone have anything else? I'd love to hear.
But at this point, I really do have to change. September, I will start fresh. In fact I hope tomorrow to spend the entire day editing my already written manuscript.

Happy writing!

Picture credits:
It Mocks Me
Writer's Block I (by a great friend of mine.)
writer's block.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Debut Novel Game

This was a cool little thing that I stumbled upon. It's the Debut Novel Game! Create your own debut novel book cover. Here's the steps to play:

1 - Go to Fake Name Generator. The name that appears is your author name.

2 - Go to Random Word Generator. The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.

3 - Go to FlickrCC. Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.

4 - Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in, as desired.

5 - Post it to your site along with this text.

Now here's mine

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If I Wrote The End...

Another Road Trip Wednesday post: If you could rewrite the ending of any book, how would you end it, and why.

I don't know... I could always say the obligatory Twilight. Because I think if Edward ate Bella in the end, it would have been better. And then I'd just throw Wolverine in there, and see if those adamantium claws can really cut through anything. ...Oh yeah, lets see if the Cullens can hold their own against the X Men. Doubt it.

Seriously though? I don't know. If I don't like the way a book ended, I think I usually block the entire book out. Wow, this is really stressing me out that I can't think of a book that I'd want to change the ending too.

Hey, how about my own? Because it sucks, and I've been meaning to change it anyway.

Okay, so not the best post, but I was too tempted to include that comic there.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Expressions and a Picture

Put quite simply...

Well, this picture certainly takes the phrase "I'm in love with a fictional character" to a new level.

Talk about getting wrapped up in your book.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Band Geek Love

While that is the title of the book I'm reviewing, that's also what we (band geeks) say about a book that obsesses over marching band.

So I just finished reading this book titled Band Geek Love, by Josie Bloss. I have a lot to say about this -- both praise and criticism alike.

Synopsis (written by me): Ellie is a senior, finally the section leader of her trumpet section. She's been waiting four years for this, to finally be the leader, to whip her section in to shape, and to show off in front of the entire band with her amazing trumpet solo. This is her year to shine. Then he shows up -- Connor -- the mysterious new trumpet player who turns everything upside down in Ellie's world, something she was trying to avoid since her freshman year fiasco.

First, I must commend Miss Josie Bloss on her use of marching band as a prevalent theme in a book. That doesn't happen very often. And when marching band does occur, it's done wrong. As a former band geek, I can safely say that this book touched upon every aspect of marching band, and got it right down to a T -- right down to the color of the polo shirts they had to wear! (Although that was merely a coincidence.) I won't get into the details of marching band, but if by the end of this post you want to read this book, I think you'll be able to follow along nicely, and maybe gain some respect for us bandos.

Next, I will criticize a few things. Basically, this plot could fit into any other group in high school -- preps, cheerleaders, jocks, art kids. It just happens to be in band. The romance. I know, I know... it's a YA novel, so romance is almost a given, and it's pretty much the major plot point in here, but--this book is supposed to be a quirky, yet realistic novel, and I felt like I was reading a band geek version of Twilight.

Now I mean that in the best way possible of course. There were no sparkling vampires, or games of thunderstorm baseball, but what was in here, was the arrival of a mysterious new boy who was incredibly hot, and distracted the female protagonist to no end. Not to mention, she just went three years ignoring boys, and now suddenly she can't keep her mind off of this new one because for some reason that no one can explain, he's attracted to her.

Now, am I the only one who thinks that is just a little bit suspicious? I for one, am not fond of unexplainable attraction. He's hot, okay, but coming from a band geek who watched many hot band geeks march around in front of her, hot guys really don't distract as much as you'd think. Whatever Connor's initial attraction to Ellie is, I don't understand, because the only thing I picked up on right away was "you're cute when you yell." (Not a direct quote.)

I just had to touch on the ending. (Not a spoiler, I hope.) I felt like it was one of those "and then I woke up" occurrences... where the author kind of wrote herself into a corner, and she had very few options out. Plus, it was too sappy for my taste, but with the style of the book, it did fit nicely. I don't think it could have ended a different way (aside from that suspicious "deus ex machina" thing.... oh yeah, I went there. I learned things in english class!)

Aside from that, there are things I will praise about this book. It was well written. I connected with the characters. I won't say that Ellie didn't piss me off from time to time, but then again, so do a lot of people I know. And she was just reacting to the drama... something I tend to shy away from. But... it was a nice, light book. It was a quick, easy, entertaining read. And, get this, I think it had a deep message.

Ellie transformed in this book. So much so, I almost feel like the book could be edging on literary. (Not completely.) It's just that when the book starts, Ellie starts out thinking she is one person. She is so sure she is the band geek, completely devoted to her trumpet, against dating in high school, etc, etc, etc. But by the end, everything she knew was turned upside down, and by the end, she realizes she is not who she thought she was. There's a lot of self discovery here, although jammed into a tight package.

Overall, it's a good book. I wouldn't pick up the sequel, but the first one is worth a read.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Metaphorical Underwear Drawer

Road Trip Wednesday asks another great question -- What does your character hide in their underwear drawer - or other secret location?

So it's funny they should ask that question, because for my current characters -- written and unwritten -- the underwear drawer remains empty, or for some of them... nonexistent.

I want to touch on my characters from my completed WIP. (Is that a bit of an oxymoron?) These characters have nothing to hide except secrets. At least in Olivia's case, because as I'm writing this, I think Benjamin is, in fact, hiding something. And it's so much a secret that it never made it into the manuscript. (Although now I'm thinking maybe it should.) It's just that these two characters have a huge secret -- something along the lines of the power of mind control. How do you hide that in an underwear drawer, unless it's the underwear drawer of your mind?

Okay, now that may be getting a little personal. I can only imagine what might exist in a mental underwear drawer. Possibly creepy. But think about it... Benjamin and Olivia, they've got this big secret, (and of course lets ignore the idea that they could make people forget if they ever found out... which then leads to the "what if they have earplugs" discussion... another post for another time... if I ever get to that as it might not interest people who haven't read the book,) and so where do they hide it? Certainly not in a tangible underwear drawer. But possibly a metaphorical one.

Then we think about Benjamin. Like I said, he's got something that might really be hidden under his tighty-whities or boxer shorts. (Seriously, I never really thought about what underwear he'd wear, so... I'm just going to stop there.) He got himself caught up in a bad situation with his underwear drawer-worthy secret. He let get things out of hand, and now that's a secret that leaves physical evidence. It's the kind of evidence he'd need to scoop up and hide before anybody could pin it on him. (Now if only I could figure out what this evidence is. Come to think of it, it might actually not exist.)


I hate to do this, but I'm making this post even longer. My unwritten WIP, (not true, I have a chapter written,) involves a different kind of underwear drawer. Poor Mason doesn't have a home, so he doesn't have an underwear drawer. He's got a duffel bag that he just happens to keep underwear in. But surely he must have something at the bottom of it.

The perfunctory response would be "his gun" or "a deck of cards." While both are true, they are only sort of true. The deck of cards is a spare, in case he loses the one in his back pocket. And as for the gun? He tends to keep that under his pillow, or hidden on his person. He only hides it in the duffel bag/underwear drawer when absolutely necessary. (Hey! I spelled necessary right on the first try! That's... a first!) Anyway....

Despite that, Mason does have something hidden at the bottom of the duffel bag, under all the underwear his father wouldn't dare touch, because lets face it, they're both grungy, but they're not about to touch another guy's underwear. So what is it that Mason -- some sort of master criminal -- hides under all that? Maybe a picture of his mom, because after all, he's got to feel some sort of guilt for leaving her when he was twelve to join his father in his illegal escapades.


Wow, this was fun. I discovered a lot about my characters.