Thursday, February 25, 2010

No Biscuit For Me

Bad, Mariah! *slaps wrist*

Sorry I wasn't on the internet yesterday to comment on everybody's wonderful blogs... I, um, got distracted.

For some reason or another, I decided to pick up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and, well, you can guess where it went from there.

So, after spending most of my free time yesterday huddled up in bed, reading Harry Potter, I have lots of work to do today! Don't be surprised if I'm missing again...

What was the last book you got wrapped up in?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Impressions, Part 2

Everyone knows what it's like to want to be at their best when they meet someone for the first time. They want to leave a good impression with their potential boss, potential significant other... you get the point.

Do the characters in our books ever make good first impressions? The answer is usually no. If the answer is yes, they are probably a secondary character.

Let's look at Pride and Prejudice as an example.

We have the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett, our heroine.



Her family is quite ridiculous. She knows her chances of making a good first impression on anybody are slim, but she works her hardest to be an exception within her family.

Enter Mr. Darcy.



He's rich, to be sure, but he also comes off as extremely proud, an instant turn off for Elizabeth. To make matters worse, he actually insults her! Bad form, Mr. Darcy, bad form.

As readers, we immediately dislike Mr. Darcy's character and distrust him because he has messed with our evident heroine.



Without Darcy's crucial first impression, the story wouldn't have unfolded the way it did. If he had been even somewhat pleasant to Elizabeth at their first meeting, she probably wouldn't have accepted Wickham's tragic story as readily. Then, where's the conflict?

Another good example comes from The Hunger Games.



The first story Katniss tells the reader about Peeta is how he saved her life by giving her bread when she was starving, making us fall in love with him and trust his intentions.

This example is quite the opposite of Elizabeth and Darcy's story. In this instance, Katniss, the heroine, is in bad form. She's crawling through an alley way, scrounging for anything edible so she and her family survive the night. The impression of herself that she gives Peeta makes her think that she doesn't deserve him, and that she isn't his equal. Later, we find out that that wasn't the actual first impression Peeta had of Katniss (which I won't give away for anyone that hasn't read it), but the night with the bread is the only one she can bring herself to believe.

In my book, Jane's Air, both Jane, the main character, and August, her potential love interest, are in bad form.

Jane shows up to Silver Creek dressed as a man and sporting a broken arm after running away from home.

August...

...hold on, let's get a pic of August in here...



August sees her in this state and is pretty judgmental. He totally has male dominance issues, which are exactly what Jane ran away from home from in the first place.

Conflict!

So, tell me, what kind of first impressions do your characters make?

Gosh, I hope this post made sense.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quotable Quotes

You guys made yourselves very clear yesterday... Resident Expert posts will not be leaving! I might stop writing about attractive males for a couple of weeks, but I promise they'll still be around.

Anyways, today is all about writerly-ness. That's right. Writerly-ness. I'm a writer, so I'm allowed to make up words.

I want to share some excellent writing advice from authors. Here we go!



"Writing is work. It's also gambling. You don't get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you're on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don't whine."
-Margaret Atwood

"Trust your reader. Not everything needs to be explained. If you really know something, and breathe life into it, they'll know it too."
-Esther Freud

"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
-Neil Gaiman

"Never take advice from anyone with no investment in the outcome."
-David Hare

"Remember you love writing. It wouldn't be worth it if you didn't. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back. Remember writing doesn't love you. It doesn't care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on."
-AL Kennedy



That's just a few for now.

Tomorrow, I plan on talking about impressions characters can create (since I'm on an impressions kick) so come prepared!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Impressions

I looked over my website this weekend, and I'm beginning to wonder if you all think I'm boy-crazy. I mean, I featured attractive men in my posts three out of five times last week.

For the record, that's not the kind of person I am in real life. When you guys read my blog for maybe five minutes a day five days a week, that's the only impression you get of me. So, when I swoon over guys more than I talk about writing, it's easy to see how anyone might see me as slightly obsessed.

I've decided to give my Resident Expert posts a break for a while, at least from the attractive men you've become accustomed to seeing every Friday. I might feature bands, books, movies, or I might get rid of it for good. Let me know what you think.

What do you guys want to read about? My blog is supposed to be geared towards writing, so I'm going to focus on that as much as possible. I mean, there has to be a break every once and a while, or I'm sure we'll all go crazy.

Just let me know in the comments what you'd be interested in reading, and I'll see what I can do.

Anyways, I leave you today with one of my new favorite songs.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Resident Expert: Takeshi Kaneshiro

*jumps up and down ecstatically*

You guys have no idea how much I'm loving this post right now. NO. IDEA.

Last Friday, I watched "House of Flying Daggers" with a couple of my friends (yes, I know it's from 2004, I'm slow with these things).

From the second Takeshi Kaneshiro walked on screen, I was in love.



You see, I've been studying Mandarin, and this is a Chinese film. Takeshi is half Japanese and half Taiwanese, but he was wonderful in this film. I'm so glad the version I watched wasn't dubbed in English; his voice is sooooooo sexy.

Oh, the rest of the movie was good too. Like, this is one of my favorite movies now good. The action scenes are intense and the plot continually surprised me (which, sadly isn't the case with movies nowadays).

This is the scene where his character, Jin, first meets Mei, a blind member of the Flying Daggers (a rebel group).

Jin is drunk in this, so forgive him.



I may or may not be teaching myself this song so I can woo Takeshi whenever I meet him. Yes, it will happen.

Oh gawd, I love his hair. It's so beautiful!

I can't find a good video of him in an action scene, so you'll have to settle for these pics of him instead.







Sigh.

Oh! And he'll be in a new movie next month! Click this link of awesomeness. I may or may not have downloaded this trailer to my iPod.

Hint: I definitely did.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Assistant Duel

Alright, Sarah, you asked for it...

If you're new to my blog, or you have a short attention span, you should know that I recently hired James McAvoy as a personal assistant. I like to call him McHotVoice, though, for obvious reasons.

Sarah's assistant is Ryan Gosling, a.k.a. OrRyanGosling.

OrRyanGosling and McHotVoice have been circling each other for a while, impatiently waiting to battle it out for the title of "Best Celebrity Assistant". Seriously, you should read the taunting emails I find in my inbox that are meant for McHotVoice.

Well, no more. The assistant duel officially begins..... NOW!!!

McHotVoice can take anyone in a fight.



He looks amazing in a cravat...



...and cravat-less.



All together now... DAY-UM!!!

Also, he's Scottish.

That's, like, 100 extra points.

I only have one thing to say about OrRyanGosling:



What's up with his outfit? He's not even wearing a cravat.

Then there's this little guest post he did over at Sarah's blog... it's just sad, really.

Now, lovely followers, McHotVoice needs some back up if he's going to win this duel. Tell us your favorite things about him, and why he's better than OrRyanGosling!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh Look, It's Wednesday!

It is Wednesday, isn't it? *checks calendar* Indeed it is!

Most writers post WiP snippets on Wednesdays, but I'm in the mood to do things slightly differently. I'm going to post some of my favorite quotes from Jane's Air. There won't be any explanation to go along with them, so interpret them however you want to!

I've done the same thing for my last book, but that was a looooooong time ago.

Anywho, let's get started! I'll be nice and give you the character who says the quote, or who it is about.



August (love interest): "I was a dead man until you finally woke and said my name.”

Defeated, his head dropped and he began to walk away from the intense quiet that ripped at his heart.

Jane (MC): "I didn’t expect anything from you, but I at least thought you would have the backbone to treat me decently."

"I need to be independent. My soul needs it to have any chance of survival after everything that has just happened.”

Strickland (bad guy): “Listen to your father,” he bared his teeth. Jane’s eyes widened. Strickland had finally revealed the evil side of himself.



Gah! I can't find any more right now. Hopefully, this is sufficient for the time being.

Do you guys have any favorite quotes from your characters?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Which I Answer Questions

You guys asked questions yesterday and I've got your answers! Huzzah!

Jon asks: Give us the low down of the day to day in your life.


Get ready to be extremely fascinated!

On an average weekday, I wake up at 6:30, get ready for the day, and classes begin at 8:00. I have some time between classes, but that time is usually spent at the library doing research and other library things. When I get back to my dorm at 3:30, I try to go to the gym for an hour. Then, I usually eat food, do more homework, and fall asleep by 12:30 so I can wake up and do it all over again.

I know what you're thinking. "When do you write?" Or maybe you aren't thinking that. I'll tell you anyways. I write whenever there's time: between classes, during classes, as a method of procrastination, when I should be sleeping, etc.

Lisa Marie asks: What are your favorite movies?

If I had to watch one movie for the rest of my life, it would probably be "The Princess Bride". It never gets old. Other than that, I love "Pride and Prejudice", all things Lord of the Rings, and movies with excellent cinematography.

inthewritemind asks: Are you the type who will eat ice cream year round? Or only during the warmer months?

All. The. Time.

Sarah (the evilest of question-askers) asks: What book do you wish you'd written, or which author's career do you wish you could have?

Since I talk about Jane Eyre way too much already, I'm gonna say that I wish I had written The Book Thief. It's an incredible book that went against norms and for that I will always be envious.

How do *you* feel about pajama jeans?

I could never, ever let myself wear those. Ever.

Favorite character you've ever written?


August, from Jane's Air. Le swoon. I'm still getting to know him; he's really complex and I'm loving every second of him.


Nicole asks: Are you a "dog person" or a "cat person?" Or do you have another favorite animal?


I'm allergic to both dogs and cats. A tragedy, I know. I'd have to say I'm a dog person, though.



There you have it folks! All your questions are answered.




But nobody asked anything about me! Nobody loves me.

Of course everyone loves you, McHotVoice. Don't be so needy. As I recall, you've taken over Steph's blog and are letting people ask you things there. You're totally parading around as her celebrity boyfriend when there's work to be done over here!


Oh. I didn't know that you knew about that. *blushes*


I know EVERYTHING. *sob* How could you cheat on me?!


I'm not! We're in a
professional relationship, remember? You shouldn't care about my personal life.

Fine. She can have you, then. See if I care, McHotVoice!


Fine! *stomps away*


McHotVoice?

Don't worry, he'll be back. They always come back.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Do YOU Want To Know?

Hello!

As you may have noticed, I've recently reached 60 followers. Hello, new followers! *waves*

I feel like some of the newcomers might not know much about me right now, so I'm open for questioning!

Go ahead! Ask me anything! Questions can be writing-related or completely random. Or both.

Here's the last time I answered questions, if you're curious. I'll probably answer questions tomorrow, if there are enough.

Hmm... what to do now?

Here's a funny infomercial to start your week off right:



Well, I thought it was funny.

Also, there's this:



See ya'll tomorrow!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Okay, I admit that I don't have any romantic stories to tell. Today I will dance around singing "Single Ladies" and eating chocolate I bought for myself.

I do have this awesome contest to share with you, however. Now that's romance.

Maggie Stiefvater is giving away ARCs of Linger, which isn't due to be published until July! So, if you are as impatient as I am, enter her contest!

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.


Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Resident Expert: MY Characters

Hooray for Friday! Let's listen to something happy.



I had an epiphany this week, thanks to this post over at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe. Shannon is awesome.

Anyways, her blog led me to Rick Riordan's character profile website. Again, awesome. This helped me get right to the core of my characters from Jane's Air.

The question that helped me the most was "What is the most important thing to know about this character?"

I've always thought, "This motivates this character" or "This character is like this because", but I've never actually sat down to write these things out.

For Jane, I realized the most important thing to know about her wasn't what I originally thought it was when I started writing the book. After reading this book, I'd want readers to realize that she wants love desperately, but it also scares her more than anything because it can be taken away from her.

And August...



(yes, I got distracted on MorphThing again)

...has looked for a way to belong somewhere for his whole life, so when he finds Jane, he doesn't want to let her go.

Ahhh, it's soooooo nice to finally be an expert on my characters. I mean, for now anyways.

Have you done this for your characters? What is the most important thing about your character?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Is How We Do It!

No, I didn't steal that title from a Montell Jordan song. *cough*

Don't judge me.

Anyways, last week I posted a book trailer for Jane's Air (which I've re-posted below for the sake of this post), and a few people asked if I could share how I made it.



Um, does that mean I'm giving advice? *panics*



Okay, I'm better now.

Now I will instruct you on how to make your very own book trailer! Yay! Pay close attention, folks, I talk fast.

1) Sign up on One True Media. It makes everything SO much easier, trust me. I mean, not that I've tried any other way.

2) Do you have an idea of how long you want it to be? I kept mine around a minute and a half. Text slides take up more time than you would initially expect.

3) Speaking of text, do you have a brief synopsis of your book? You'll need something catchy and suspenseful, something that gets your viewers to ask questions.

4) Pictures! Do you already have pictures? I had to look up some online (which was more difficult than I thought it would be). If you can't Google Image them, try using Photobucket or Flikr (you'll need to give credit for the latter).

5) Music! The awesome thing about One True Media is you can choose music they own or upload your own. I used their music because I felt like it fit with the theme I was going for- heartache.

Voila! You have a book trailer!

I hope this was helpful! If anyone has any questions, or even wants help with their trailer, feel free to ask.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Angst" Poetry

I promised on Monday to post some of my writing and joked that I might put up some angsty poetry. Apparently it's what you guys want, so I've decided to appease you! I'm warning you, this stuff is nowhere as amusing as "Friends" clips.

I've put angst in quotations because I'm not sure how angsty this poem is. To me, it feels depressed and pathetic.

Anywho, I wrote this the other day when I discovered I would have to write angst poetry.

I’m not waiting for you to notice me.

You already have.

Far away

I wonder what you think

While I hide behind my words

And sing of blackbirds.

You could be my chance.

You could be my breath.

You could be my words.

This is what I think

Far away

And wondering about you.

Time and space.

A brief flicker

Before dark and doubt.

Skipping sputtering stopping.

Stopping.

I can’t stop

So I go.

But I go alone

Wondering.





I hope that meets expectations. Writing it felt... cathartic.

Also, this is more of a sentence, but I feel like this is the most I've ever said about anything, ever:



When I sneeze,
I hope you are thinking of me.



Don't laugh! It has symbolic meaning and stuff!

I feel all angsted out. Let's all look forward to a happy day tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One of Those Days

That's right, today is one of those days that I would rather spend curled up on a couch watching "Friends" than go to school. Or write.

Get out of my head, you pesky characters!








Anyways, I think I'll be posting something more exciting tomorrow. *hope*

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Really Need to Get Paid For This

Natalie Murphy gave me an award!




Yay! My writing is creative! Thanks, Natalie!

Which reminds me... Jon said I had to post some of my writing this week. What do you guys want? Book excerpt? Angsty poetry?

Just kidding about that last one.

But, speaking of writing, Jane and August from Jane's Air are driving me absolutely crazy. Especially this weekend, when I was trying to do homework.



Me: Please, would you two get out of my brain for, like, five minutes? Three minutes? I'm begging you! This paper will not write itself, you guys.

Jane: Sorry, Mariah. It's just that, you know, you have to write us. We won't go away until you get some editing done.

Me: Psh. We all know that you don't want me to edit. You want me to write more, as in sequel more. I can't do it right now, I'm sorry.

August: Why not? Don't you love us? *puckers bottom lip and has sad eyes*

Me: James! James! McHotVoice! Get over here! Save me from myself! I can't resist the lip-puckering!

McHotVoice: *sigh* I don't get paid enough for this.

Me: Er, that's because I don't pay you. This is an educational, um, internship.



I'll leave it there. Things got a little crazy after that. Also, Jane, August and I discussed confidential things.

*flops onto desk* So tired.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Resident Expert: Characters

If you've seen my latest vlog, you'll probably remember how many times I talked about "swoon-worthy" guys in the YA books I just finished reading.

The books were written well, too!

But, for the sake of this post, let's talk about characters we crush on, shall we?

I'm just going to point out the obvious real quick...



...and now we can continue.

*cough cough* PEETA!



Also, I'm seriously in love with Po, from Graceling and Sam, from Shiver.

August from my book, Jane's Air, also goes without saying.

Do you guys have literary crushes? Or even movie character crushes?

Would I seem too desperate if I bought this shirt?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ooh Photos

I want to thank you guys for all the lovely comments you've been leaving this week and apologize that I haven't been around to respond to them, or comment on your blogs as much as I would like to. New classes started this week, and I'm feeling a little stressed. Hopefully things will go back to normal next week.

*Hope Hope Hope*

Anywho, I'm taking a photography class, and I just fell in love with Richard Avedon. He was an amazing photographer, and I can't stop looking at his work. Honestly, I'm about to tape it up all over my wall.









Portraits + Fashion = Bliss!

My mom was a photographer, so I feel like this class is awakening some genetic impulse within me.

We'll see how it goes :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Trailer For JANE'S AIR

I made this trailer a few nights ago, and would love some opinions!



Let me tell you, it is hard to find pictures online if all you type in is "cowboy". I swear all I could find was "Save a horse, ride a cowboy" nonsense. Definitely not what I was going for!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Six Book Reviews

Here's my new vlog for this month!



I need a new camera. The web cam simply sucks. I apologize for the weird noise playing throughout the entire video, and for looking so pale. I'm really tan, I swear!

So, have you guys read these books? What did you think of them?

What should I read next? I will gladly take recommendations. Tolstoy does call to me, though.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fight Scene Blogfest

Gah! I almost forgot that the Fight Scene Blogfest is today!!! That's what I get for automatically posting nonsensical videos and taking a weekend away from the internet!

So Mireyah Wolfe began a blogfest that allows writers to post their best fight scenes! No kissing here, people!

I guess a fight scene could be numerous things, like a verbal fight or a physical fight. My scene is sort of like an avoidance of a fight. I really wish I could post an awesome scene I have, but it gives too much of my story away.

Anywho, this happens towards the very beginning of Jane's Air. Jane has run away from home and, when she is riding through the woods looking for signs of civilization, she runs into something unexpected.

Oh, and Rosie is the name of the horse, by the way. I suck at naming horses.



Then, there was an opening in the trees. “Is there a town over there?” she questioned the horse. “There’s only one way to find out,” she began to steer towards the clearing.

Things all happened very fast after that.

Jane saw a man running towards her. He burst through the undergrowth and ran like he was being followed, like he knew his life was at stake. As he grew closer, she recognized him as an Indian. Before she could wonder what to do, he was upon her, and she could hear his ragged breath.

Then she saw his spear.

The man aimed for her, assuming she was somebody else. He poised the weapon on his enemy, pulled back his arm, and sent it through the air, running towards her all the while.

At the same moment, a gunshot rang through the air. Rosie, afraid, stood up on her back legs and brayed as loud as her body would allow her. Jane, still in a state of shock, lost her grip and fell off her saddle, crashing into the ground. Both Rosie and Jane were spared as the spear hissed by them, but the Indian was not so lucky. He stumbled to a stop in front of the agitated horse, and was struck on the head when it brought its legs back to the ground. He died instantly.

Rosie ran off somewhere into the woods, leaving Jane writhing on the ground. She had landed on her left arm, breaking it in the process. As she looked to the dead Indian, she knew she was lucky to have only suffered such a fate.

She knew she couldn’t continue to lie there, suspecting there were other treacherous men about. A realization struck her: there was a battle going on in the clearing. But between whom she couldn’t be sure.

Jane crawled on her uninjured arm and knees towards a low lying bush on the opposite side of the path. Once hidden, she tried to steady her breathing so it wouldn’t give her away, should someone come nearby. Seeing the dead Indian across from her didn’t help calm her nerves; his face was still twisted into fear, his body remained in a lifeless lump. Guilt hovered over Jane like death hung onto the dead man’s body.

The Indian had dark skin that she had only seen the like of one other time in her life. His hair was the same black color as the braid wrapped under her hat, but his hair was cropped right above his shoulders. Moccasins, a bandanna, and a skirt-like piece of fabric that hung over leggings were the only items he wore. Jane had truly seen an Indian for the first time.

Muffled cries and gunshots continued to come from the clearing that she couldn’t see. She cursed herself for blindly wandering into a skirmish. Now she was hopelessly alone, without her horse or a weapon, and she knew not what to do.

I Couldn't Resist. Honestly.

Watch this video and try not to laugh. I dare you.



Okay... something serious...

Um...

“An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.” - Salinger

Rest in peace, J.D. Salinger. Your words were wise.



Tomorrow I'll be posting a new vlog! See you then!