Friday, July 29, 2011

On The Road Again

Well, tomorrow I'm off again. To BC this time. Sigh.

Don't get me wrong -- I love BC! Can't wait to see friends and family. But I'm a homebody at heart, and two long trips in a month is a bit much for me. Especially when I'm just starting to be productive again in my writing. (Cut 2k yesterday and wrote 3 new scenes!) But that's life.

At least I don't have to camp again. Camping=Blegh. For me. You can like it if you want to.

See you when I'm back.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Totally Not Worth The Wait

So. Um. Hi?

I had a great time at my family reunion. Loved seeing everyone and even meeting a few new people, like my adorable six month old cousin Gus.

[Picture of me holding Gus that I do not have.]

But the reunion was also tiring. Between taking care of younger cousins and an unfamiliar bed, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep. Three days after I got home, I am still ridiculously tired. So tired that I'm having trouble coming up with a brilliant blog post that will make you all laugh and be totally worth the weeks I've been gone.

[Long pause, in which I stare at the pretty blinking cursor and do not think. At all.]

What? You're still here? Oh, sorry about that. I ... don't remember what else I was going to say. I think I'll post again when I can do advanced calculus. (What's that? I haven't learned advanced calculus yet? Oh well. I guess you'll be seeing me in a couple years. Goodbye.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Insert Witty Title Here

So. I had my blog post for today all planned out, and written out, and even posted. And then I realized that there were pictures of me holding someone else's babies in it, and that I had to check and make sure it was okay to post those pictures. So here I am. Posting. With no cute pictures to distract you from the really obvious fact that I have nothing to say.

Um. Well.

It's all summer's fault. I hate summer, you know. With the bugs and the pollen, I'm stuck lying on my couch day after day, taking allergy medication and littering Kleenex all over the house. I've been making the most of it. I've been plotting and scheming intensely over the weekend, and I've done a lot of outlining and file-sorting and a lot of other things that really don't matter to you.

So what does matter to you? I'm really open to suggestions. What do you wish this post were about? What should my next post be about? Suggest a title, or a subject, or ask me a question ... anything.

If my next blog post isn't interesting, it's your fault.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I Am Not A Stalker (That's Why I'm Staring Through Your Window With Binoculars)

It took me a while to decide what to post about today. I'd come up with an idea, and then I'd wonder: does anyone else care? It's not like you really want to hear about the dream I had Thursday night where both my arms were amputated or the huge discoveries I recently made about characters you've never read about. I need to write about things I'm doing, sure, but you also need to care about them, or you won't read.
Hence this post. Which is about research.
Research and I have a tolerate/hate relationship. I tolerate it. It hates me. Oh, there are moments, like when I discover the site that has exactly the info I need (with sources and everything!) and the facts happen to perfectly coincide with what I already had in mind. But those are few and far between.
Most of the time, my researching technique is much different. Below is a sample, taken from a research 'opportunity' that I actually went through in Sarawen.
Me: Oh my goodness, I need to hurt her, and I don't know how. She can't be too mangled, because she needs to recover, and I don't want her to die, but I want her to almost die. How do you do that? I mean, it's a big cat; it'll go for her neck, right? Don't cats do that? I'd better learn more about cats.
[Several hours omitted, in which I learn a lot about cats. None of it is of use.]
Me: I know! I'll have her be bleeding to death. That's nice. But … where do I make the wound? It ought to cut an artery, I think. Where are her arteries?
[Even more hours omitted, in which I learn that human bodies have way too many arteries. Finally, I choose one.]
Me: I think I can make that work. Probably. Oh my goodness, what if a doctor reads my book and realizes that I don't know much about arteries? I'll die of shame! Or what if it's such an obvious mistake everyone can tell, not just doctors? I'm only sixteen! I've never been to medical school! I'm gonna die …
That about sums it up. Research hates me. But oh, I do a lot of it. So, at risk of making this blog post unreadably long, I'm going to tell you how I do it.
  1. Books. Advantages: Books are excellent research buddies, because they have focus. A book will set out to tell you about a certain thing, and then it will. Disadvantages: It's really, really awkward for a sixteen-year-old girl to check out a pregnancy book from the library. So mostly I hide in the corner and read them. And jot down notes. And stammer if anyone sees me.
  2. The Internet. Advantages: No one calls the police on you for researching the most fatal places to cut someone. And you can access any information without moving off the couch. Disadvantages: You can access any information without moving off the couch. There's nasty stuff on the Internet, and you always have to be on guard. It's also much harder to verify your info. And it's not as focused as a book, meaning it can take forever to find your information.
  3. Real People: Advantages: This is definitely the easiest and most enjoyable of my sources. Instead of combing the Internet for sources and notes about triplet babies, why not read the blog of someone who has triplet babies? And look at their adorable pictures? You get the full picture, not just scattered pieces of information. And you know your source knows what they're talking about. This doesn't just apply to blogs, by the way. I've learned a lot by observing people around me. Disadvantages: It's hard to thank someone for their wonderfully relevant piece of information that saved your book, because the last thing you want is to make them think of you as a stalker. And people tend to freak out if they think you're 'writing them into a book'. (By the way, I would never do that. Way too hard. I will, however, lift characteristics and circumstances and apply them to my own characters.)
Hopefully that information is helpful and relevant. If not, at least you can imagine me hiding outside your house with binoculars. Who knows. Maybe I'm actually out there. (I love the windows. Think you should lose the blinds, though.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Laconic

I hate that word. It ought to describe how I feel right now.

Instead, it describes this post.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's Got Ups And Downs

Writing has its downsides. That might be a bit shocking to hear me admit. Everyone who knows me knows writing is my life. But, like all great things, it can cause problems. And I'm not just talking about the time when I didn't shower for three days because I was writing the climax of the book. (Erm, let's pretend I didn't tell you about that, okay?)
In this particular post, I'm talking about health. I went to the chiropractor a couple weeks ago, and I was really messed up. After an extremely painful adjustment, he asked me how much exercise I got. My answer: Um. I walk to church? And to the library? When was the last time I left my house, anyway? Him: What kind of walking? Do you do any exercise that makes you sweat? Me: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IF I SWEAT, I'LL HAVE TO SHOWER, AND THAT'S FIVE MINUTES THAT I DON'T SPEND EDITING! DON'T YOU REALIZE I HAVE TO FINISH THIS BOOK BEFORE MY SURGERY IN AUGUST AND WRITE A QUERY LETTER AND A SYNOPSES AND EAT FOOD?! I DON'T NEED MORE DEMANDS ON MY TIME!!!
Let us have a moment of silence to reflect on why I have a blog. (Actually, this helps me write.) (Actually, so does exercise.) (The real problem with exercise is that it requires me to clean my room quite thoroughly, which I haven't done since last week.)
Okay, I didn't actually say that to the chiropractor. I thought it. But then I thought, 'Exercise is a good thing, really. It always makes me more productive.' I resolved to exercise more. And then I thought of a really great person to kill in book 4. And I forgot about exercising. (I was also supposed to go back to the chiropractor last week, which I didn't do, because he's a half-hour away and I can't drive. I think it would really break a sweat to walk there, and that would be a pain, because I wouldn't even have a shower handy.) By the time I remembered, my sinus trouble had started, and most of my usual exercises (jumping jacks, sit-ups, hopping on one foot) was too painful to even attempt. I settled for some wimpy leg-lifts.
And then, yesterday, I finally decided to really exercise. And promptly broke my neck.
No, that's not what happened. But that's what it felt like. I was doing sit-ups, minding my own business, and then I was flat on my back, and my neck hurt. As in, I could not move because my neck hurt so badly. I had to find a way to get up without bending it AT ALL, then stagger over to the couch, grab my computer, and figure out if I was going to die. I'm not. Best I can guess, I messed up one of the disks in my neck, trapping a nerve, which decided to complain. It is still complaining, and I still have about half the normal range of motion that a neck is supposed to have.
I'm going to see the chiropractor today. He's going to tell me to exercise. This time, I might actually cry. (And then I'll have to hold my neck still, because crying really hurts right now.) (I've done a little more research, and come to the conclusion that if I supported my neck when doing sit-ups, this probably wouldn't happen. Not only am I lazy about exercise, I'm really, really bad at it.)
So who wants to come be my personal trainer? I'm warning you; I'll whine. A lot. But I'll love you anyway. (Nobody? Are you sure? Drat. I don't love you anymore.)
And lest you come out of this thinking 'Oh no, the life of a writer is horrible and I never want to do it,' let me show you one of the moments that really makes it worthwhile.
Disclaimer: The star of this moment (baby sister Lizard-beth. Not to be confused with lizard breath.) (Yes, I'm going to keep using these inane nicknames for my siblings even though you all know their real names) has refused to let me share this video unless I make it clear that she doesn't look like this all the time. She doesn't. At six o'clock in the morning, she looks like this:

[Image deleted due to disturbing content. And fangs.]


The rest of the time, she looks like this:



The exception is candid videos, one of which I am about to show you right now. This was filmed on my webcam while Lizzie read the scenes I edited yesterday. Behold the glory of being a writer. (And please, ignore the household sounds/conversations/tantrums in the background. We've got six kids here.) (Sorry about my loud, obnoxious voice. It was loud because I was in a different room from the one I was talking to, being immobilized by above neck injury. I can't help the obnoxious part.) (I can't believe I'm actually going to post this. Deep breath.) (You don't have to watch all of it unless you want to. One minute is enough to get the gist of it. But it's really, really awesome to watch the whole thing.) (At least watch until she whimpers the first time. Please.)

video

Monday, July 4, 2011

Musical Musings

On Friday, I did something. (Aside from not writing a post on procrastination, which I certainly did, but did not get around to.) What did I do? I cut three thousand words. That's pretty good. As part of that editing, I rewrote a song. A song that I first wrote … well, a very long time ago. And then rewrote a slightly shorter time ago. And rewrote, and rewrote, and finally, rewrote. I'm quite pleased with the current version, but the horror and pain of writing it got me thinking about music in general, and music in books in particular.
Music is power. Or at least powerful. It can mess with my emotions better than almost anything else. (Exceptions being my book, my life, and mosquitoes, if by 'mess with,' you mean 'totally unhinge'.) And I know I'm not the only one. (You hate mosquitoes too, right?) Music evokes powerful emotions in just about everyone. For example, I recently came across the song Just A Dream by Carrie Underwood. I was bawling by the end, and feeling an insane urge to kill all the characters whose lives I've saved and save all the characters I've killed. I didn't do it, fortunately. That would be a lot of death. And how would all the little girls take care of themselves? (I really don't kill that many little girls. Less than ten, I think.)
Point is, music reaches people. That's why I use it in my book. It's an important part of my characters' lives, one in particular. The specific song I rewrote on Friday (Dance With Me, for those who know) hugely influences the most important decision above character makes in this book.
That's a lot of punch to pack into 150 words. That's the problem with music in books. Books are not musical. So, essentially, I'm writing down lyrics. Lyrics that need to convey the emotion of the song clearly enough that the reader can understand its effect on the character.
I hope I did a good job. I certainly spent long enough working on it. It's scenes like that one that make me wonder why I do such hard things in my books. Couldn't I write a book where words didn't exist and all they did to make music was bang trash can lids together and howl? (Come to think of it, that does have a powerful emotional effect on me. Especially when my little brothers do it.) I could, I guess, but that would be even harder. And it wouldn't be this book. This beautiful, awesomely-imperfect book, where music is important and is very hard to write. Maybe that would be nice.
Nah. Better save the emotional trash can lids for another day.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Maybe Later

I know, I know. I promised I'd write a post about procrastination today. But, well … I really ought to shower. And check my Facebook. And doodle in a notebook, and read the archives of a gazillion blogs, and name all [character's name omitted] and [character's name omitted]'s children. (They're going to have eight. And only the two who are actually ALIVE in the SERIES are named. Poor dears.) After that, I don't really know what I'll do. But I'm sure there will be something, and I'm not going to get around to writing that post today.
Maybe tomorrow. Or next year. I don't know.
It's not my fault! Mom hasn't personally made me cookies that taste good yet. Until she's fulfilled her bargain, I really can't be productive. (She keeps making excuses, like 'I have to clean the house'. Seriously. Like she wants to clean the house.)
Now I'm going to go eat breakfast. Healthy breakfast, with no sugar and … ooh. Is that pie I smell? Never mind.