Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's Up, Blogosphere?

Hello blogger-friends! I've been on quite a long hiatus, haven't I? A few things have happened since I last posted. Let's make a list!

1) First, I must say how great it was to read everyone's responses to my Gone With the Wind post! I really loved the book, and could've talked about it longer than I did. Maybe some other time.

2) I was separated from my laptop over my Spring Break. It had been broken for awhile (it wouldn't close) and I finally sent it all the way to San Diego to be fixed. We didn't see each other for A WEEK. I missed him so much *sob*

3) The Sequel has been cooperating (somewhat). August and Jane are as fantastic as I remember them, not that we've been parted for long. It's just nice to see them doing something different after reading the same scenes over and over. But, sadly, I must put The Sequel aside for a little bit while....

4) I tear the crap out of Jane's Air. Dude, my book totally SUCKS right now. I'm not saying this because I'm digging for compliments, but because it's the truth. A got a critique over break that really opened my eyes to it's suckage. I was actually told to trash it and move on.

5) I'm not gonna trash it. I'm a stubborn person.



Anywho, what's new with you? Yes, you! Tell me everything.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Resident Expert: Gone With the Wind

I recently finished reading Gone With the Wind and thought it deserved a RE post. It is, after all, "America's Most Beloved Epic Novel".



Just a quick heads up: this post is bound to have spoilers so if you haven't read the book/ seen the movie, you might not want to read unless, that is, you like having things spoiled.

I bet you read the last page of Deathly Hallows didn't you?!

*ahem* I'm done with my accusations now. Let's talk about Gone With the Wind

My copy was 1024 pages. I was originally undeterred by the length, but that was before I realized that there are long stretches of time when nothing significant happens. Margaret Mitchell fills in these lapses by writing about the Civil War (which is the backdrop of the story) and those parts could be a little dull. Sure, these sections were important, but I really wanted to know what was happening to Scarlett.

Ah, Scarlett O'Hara. I have so many things to say about you.


Isn't Vivien Leigh gorgeous?


The book starts when Scarlett is 16 years old. She's completely vain and takes everything for granted. She annoyed the crap out of me. From the very beginning, she's in love with Ashley Wilkes, but he's engaged to Melanie Hamilton, a less beautiful but kind-hearted woman.



Scarlett pines after Ashley for the entire book, even though he's married to Melanie from page 130. She takes every chance she has to tell him she loves him, but he is bound to Melanie and is too much of a gentleman to leave her.

The fact that Scarlett continued to tempt Ashley when he couldn't pursue her really irritated me. Sure, he admitted that he loved Scarlett, but when he said he wouldn't ever leave Melanie, she persisted. In real life, I think I could be best friends with Melanie. She's selfless, trustworthy, and forgiving- everything Scarlett isn't (heehee, foil!).



Besides the things about Scarlett that annoyed me, she was an interesting character. When she made a mistake (which was always) I became incredibly frustrated and wanted to walk away from the book. But I didn't. I cared what happened to her. I gave my friends updates on what she was up to. Even though her nature makes her unlikable, Mitchell managed to make me care about her more than anyone else.

Margaret Mitchell was a genius. How did she pull this off? I'm still boggled just thinking about it.

The other character I cared about was Rhett Butler.



By now, you should all know that I'm a sucker for the tall, dark, and handsome type. Rhett is the epitome of that type. He's bold, defiant, merciless in honesty... and completely in love with Scarlett.

The thing is, Scarlett is too stupid to see it. After all he does for her, she still doesn't really understand what love is. She thinks love is being given hundreds of compliments a day.

Oh, Rhett, you're too good for her. I mean, you're not perfect either, but you're way too good for Scarlett! Come live with me, I'll take care of you!

Out of the whole book, the one scene that made my cry (Any book that makes me cry gets my total respect... it's really hard to make me cry while I'm reading. Movies, on the other hand...) was when the reader finally saw how deeply Rhett really did love Scarlett.

Here's a clip from the movie, although it's hardly as powerful (in the book he CRIES). Sorry about the quality, it's the only one I could find:



*sob* He's so broken!

Then, in the end, Scarlett finally realizes that she loves Rhett (which is obvious from the beginning) but it's too late. Rhett has no more love to give.

Depressing.

There's much more to be said about this book, but I fear I've put you to sleep. To sum everything up, I'll say that although this was an exhausting read, I'm in deep awe of Margaret Mitchell.

I'll be gone next week, so I bid you all adieu!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

*fist pump*

The last few nights I've been spending way too much time on editing and not enough on homework (or having a social life) so I could finish my current draft of Jane's Air.

And as of 12:21 a.m. this morning (which is when I'm writing this post) I have finished!

*exhaustion*

I may or may not have cried.

This was my third draft. The second draft I mostly went through and did spot editing, but this draft got some major work done. In the end, I gained over 2,000 more words.

I really want to post a Wordle, but for some reason the application isn't working on my computer :(

Anyways, I was working so hard to get it done lately because my Spring Break starts tomorrow afternoon. Sometime today, I'm going to go print all 223 pages of it so I can get some more work done over break. I think being able to put a pen to paper will help me focus.

So, besides my Resident Expert post tomorrow, I probably won't be posting for the next week while I'm at home. When I get back I'll be looking for betas, so stay tuned!

For now, I will leave you one of my favorite moments from "Friends".



Wow. I'm reaaaaaaaally loopy right now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WiP Wednesday... Sort of.

I promised I would post something from Jane's Air today, but I can't find anything to post. I'm deep into revisions now, and everything's a huge mess.

So, for now, I'll just post some linkage to previously posted excerpts and the like. Feel free to peruse them if you're new to my blog, or become reacquainted if you've already read them.


Beginning of the book

The first snippet of Jane's Air I ever posted!
Almost Kiss
Description of main characters
Scarlett

Wow. I thought I had more than that. *ashamed*

Well, here's some good news: I've officially started The Sequel! I have one page so far. It's definitely taking a back seat to revisions, but I love it nonetheless!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deal With The Universe

After much bargaining, I have finally made a deal with The Universe.

First, I promise to get a pink or purple streak in my hair if/when I get an agent. This might not sound like a big deal to you, but it is to me. I've never dyed my hair before, and as a college student I'm thinking it may be difficult for me to get a job with pink/purple hair (especially because I want to be a journalist).

I don't plan on sending queries for Jane's Air until May, but it's important to plan ahead, right?

Second, if/when I sell my book (big if) I promise to RUN A MARATHON.

Yes, let that sink in for a moment. I said MARATHON.

That's 26.2 miles.

The most I've ever run was a half marathon and that was years ago. Needless to say, this deal with The Universe is, well, a big deal.

Am I crazy for making these deals with The Universe? I certainly hope so.

Now I leave you with the song that won't get out of my head. I'm not really a fan of Lady GaGa, but this song really makes me want to dance!

I'm not posting the actual music video because it scares and confuses me.



Happy Tuesday! I think I might post something from Jane's Air tomorrow... maybe.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Totally Happy-Making

I'm feeling very smiley right now. And it's a Monday. What's up with that?

Let's go over the happy-making things in a listular fashion, shall we?

1) I'm in the process of making a personal website. It's for an assignment in one of my classes, but it's going to be all about my writing. Yay.

2) I had some pumpkin pie yesterday in honor of Pi Day. It was good. There was whipped cream.

3) Spring break starts on Friday!

4) Sequel is finally relenting. I had a crazy dream about it yesterday (which was cut short when my roommate woke me up, grr) and I think I finally know where the story is going.

5) I was listening to some radio station on Pandora yesterday and I heard August's theme song for the Sequel. The song itself isn't happy, but I get happy when I hear it because I feel closer to him.




It's so perfect. Really, you have no idea. Sarah, I hope this makes you squirm with anticipation.

There is another song that reminds me of him, but I won't tell you what it is because I think it would give everything away.

Did you have a good weekend? Tell me anything remotely happy-making!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Resident Expert: Photoshop

Ah, Photoshop. I'm in a digital photography class, and I'm learning Photoshop for the first time.

Sometimes I feel bad for using it because of the journalist living inside me. Editing photos in photojournalism, even cropping a photo is an absolute no-no.

Then again, I get to make things like this:



Yep, that's me being silly in a library. Four of me.

So, um, that's all I've got for today. Don't hate me! I've been a bad blogger this week and I blame it on The Sequel.

I had a hugely awesome post planned about Gone With The Wind, but I haven't finished reading it yet. Hopefully by next Friday, I will be able to tell you about our love/hate relationship. Should be interesting.

Until then, accept these pics of hotties as compensation:







*goes to Photoshop herself into pics with said hotties*

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another One of Those Days

Thanks for all the positive comments yesterday! I'm feeling more confident about this sequel business.

Also, sorry I didn't really get around to everyone's blogs... I was stuck in a photo lab for FIVE HOURS yesterday and didn't have the energy. I'll do my best today, I promise!

So, um, what should I talk about today?

Heck, let's just watch videos.

I'm in love with the art in this music video:



And, um, don't judge me, but I think this is funny:



I'll be back tomorrow with something worthwhile... Resident Expert day!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Semi-Announcement

Okay, what I'm about to say may or may not be news to you.

I'm writing a sequel to Jane's Air.

Le gasp!

At the moment, I'm really dreading this decision. So far, I've been doing vague outlining, arguing with my characters, and wondering why I can't move on to another project. I mean, it's not like I have sequelitis. In fact, I have at least two other good ideas that *could* become good books if I wanted to write them.

Jane and August just won't get out of my brain. They keep telling me to write more, always write more. Their story isn't finished yet. It is far from finished. I fear a trilogy. *Shiver* I'm not going to think about that right now.

And thus Jane's Air, the book that was meant to be a stand alone, is going to have a sequel. I'm still revising the first book, but the sequel is sitting there, somewhat impatiently, for me to write it.

*hyperventilates in paper bag*

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

That's Right, I'm Awarding a Video

Last week, I received the Sunshine Award from Hayley and Natalie Bahm! Thanks, ladies!



I think several of the people I wanted to give this award have already received it (like Hayley and Natalie), but I also want to give it to Jon because he is sunshine, and McHotvoice wants to give it to Sarah because he's totally sucking up to her.

Now, I'll give the award to this video, which I found on Shannon Messenger's Twitter. I'm totally allowed to give the award to a video because it makes me laugh.

Also, steaminess.

The video takes a little while to load, but it's totally worth it.



Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 8, 2010

In Which McHotVoice Plays Nice

If you haven't heard already, Sarah sold her book, All These Lives, to Margaret Ferguson at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (Macmillan) in a two book deal! First publishing is in 2012!!! Go congratulate her!

In her honor, McHotVoice, my personal assistant, has decided to make a truce with Sarah's assistant, OrRyanGosling.



Hey Sarah! Congrats! I'll be letting off OrRyanGosling for a while, just for you.


Isn't he sweet?

So, are you gonna dedicate your book to me?

What? Why would she dedicate her book to you, McHotVoice?

Because one of her characters looks like me, remember?



Er... um, sorry James- I mean, McHotVoice, I don't know what you're talking about.

Psh. Of course you do. One of her characters was clearly modeled after me. Ruggedly handsome, debonair charm-

Swoon-worthy voice...

Uh, yeah.

*blushes* I still don't remember her telling me this. If anything, the book will probably be dedicated to Johnny Depp.

But, but...

Quit your whining! Wait, it's actually kinda cute when you pout. Continue.

Nope. I've changed me mind. Let her dedicate it to Johnny Depp. It'll make OrRyanGosling angry!



No! Don't use that photo! Use one with his ugly beard.



Haha! He's a hobo.



*Sigh* Sorry, Sarah, I tried my best.

Congrats again!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Resident Expert: Troy

Before my expertness begins, I will tell you which of the "facts" I told you yesterday was the truth.


1) At my university, you can major in puppetry. Yes, that's a real thing. Think Jim Henson, people. I've been to three puppet performances so far. My favorite puppet has a mustache above his nose! False. It is a major at University of Maryland, though.

2) I am absolutely terrified of monkeys. Seriously, they creep me out, especially when the eat with their feet *shiver*
False. I love monkeys! Favorite animal, for sure.

3) When I was seven years old, my appendix burst. I still like to point out my scar a la Madeline.
False. The only surgery I've ever had was to remove my tonsils when I was five-ish.

4) The first "book" I ever wrote was about a middle school aged boy named Sean. He had a crush on the popular girl, but he didn't realize that his best friend was in love with him. Original, right? Truth! I can't remember what the book is called at the moment, but it was one huge cliche. The next book I wrote sounded like a mix between Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

5) My mouth is really big. Wanna see me put my fist in it? False. My mouth is absurdly small.

6) At a Coldplay concert, Chris Martin ran through the audience and almost tripped RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. When he caught himself, he gave me a little wink and kept on running. I almost passed out.
False *sniff* I have been to two Coldplay concerts, though.

7) I'm in a women's choir and have been known to do some mean scatting. Doo bop ba dee doop.
False. You've heard me sing! It's terrible.



And now for the main event...




TROY!!!

So I'm doing things a bit differently this week. Instead of just focusing on one steamy guy, why not a movie of steamy guys?

I'll take that as a yes.

Greek mythology has always been close to my heart, so when this movie came out I was dying to see it. The movie even came out on my birthday! Clearly, this movie was meant for me. Only, I was turning 13 at the time, and my parents decided I wasn't old enough to see the movie (meaning they didn't want me to see Brad Pitt's butt). I was crushed. After years of studying Greek mythology (because my nerdiness started at a young age) I wouldn't be able to see the movie that culminated all my favorite things: mythology and Orlando Bloom.

Yes, Orlando Bloom was my first celebrity crush (okay, it was actually Daniel Radcliffe, but let's not talk about that) and I was determined I would see the movie.

A couple years later, I finally saw the movie.

It. Was. AWESOME.



I've always been attracted to war movies, so this was definitely my scene. The movie's main disappointment was that the gods and goddesses weren't in it. I was like "Where's Athena? Where's Aphrodite? I need Apollo!" but then Brad Pitt walked on screen and I shut up.



Achilles is the man.

I've since read the Illiad (and the Odyssey) and Achilles was an interesting character. He was more interested in being remembered centuries after the Trojan War than living to find happiness with loved ones... until Briseis.



After he met her, he was ready to leave all his war glory behind... until Patroclus, his cousin, was accidentally killed by Hector, Prince of Troy.



Ooh, Eric Bana.

Now, the Illiad was really supposed to be Achille's story. But I couldn't help feeling bad for Hector. I mean, his brother did the stupidest thing ever.



Paris took Helen of Sparta away from Menelaus, King of Sparta, which started the war in the first place.

Orlando Bloom is nice to look at. Sadly, that's the best thing about him in this movie. His character, Paris, is extremely annoying, wimpy, and thoughtless.

Why Orlando, why?!

I guess that's all I have to say about that for now. I don't want to give anything away if you haven't seen it (Why haven't you seen it yet? It's from 2004!) so I'll just post some more steaminess and call it a day.



Have a good weekend everybody!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pants On Fire!

Today has been reserved for silliness! And what could be sillier than reading my boldfaced lies?



That's right! Sarah gave me the "Creative Writer" award, and now I must lie to you!

Six of the following seven "facts" are lies. Which one is the truth?!



1) At my university, you can major in puppetry. Yes, that's a real thing. Think Jim Henson, people. I've been to three puppet performances so far. My favorite puppet has a mustache above his nose!

2) I am absolutely terrified of monkeys. Seriously, they creep me out, especially when the eat with their feet *shiver*

3) When I was seven years old, my appendix burst. I still like to point out my scar a la Madeline.

4) The first "book" I ever wrote was about a middle school aged boy named Sean. He had a crush on the popular girl, but he didn't realize that his best friend was in love with him. Original, right?

5) My mouth is really big. Wanna see me put my fist in it?

6) At a Coldplay concert, Chris Martin ran through the audience and almost tripped RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. When he caught himself, he gave me a little wink and kept on running. I almost passed out.

7) I'm in a women's choir and have been known to do some mean scatting. Doo bop ba dee doop.



Wow. I sound supremely lame right now.

Which is the truth? I'll tell you tomorrow right before the Resident Expert post!

Leave some good lies for me in the comments, in case this award ever comes my way again.

Also, I'm not really sure how this award is passed on, so take it if you haven't already gotten it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scarlett will be happy to know she gets her own post

Well what do ya know, this is my 250th post!

Not that 250 is terribly exciting. I just thought I would announce it because I like announcing things.

Anywho, I promised I would post something related to my WiP, Jane's Air today.

Hmm...

*looks around*

Aha! Here is a little sketch I have of Scarlett, Jane's (MC) friend. I had to take a photo of it on my webcam because my stupid scanner isn't working. Her head isn't really that big looking on top; it's the angle I was holding it at.




The pen smudges are authentic!

Scarlett is the only saloon girl working at the saloon in Silver Creek when Jane gets a job there. She's fifteen, blonde, and pretty quick-tempered. She has moments were she can be endearing, though.

Now I shall post a snippet. This is when Jane first meets Scarlett; Jane has had a loooong day (to say the least) and she meets Scarlett in all her perky glory. Sorry it's such a short snippet, I've been doing a lot of revising lately.



As they walked inside, Jane could see a small bedroom, as well as a petite blonde girl. She sat on the bed, but stood up as soon as her guests entered.

“You must be Jane,” the girl spoke with high-pitched giddiness, curtseying. “I’m Scarlett.”

“Nice to meet you, Scarlett,” Jane returned the gesture. Meanwhile, Mrs. Slate rummaged through one of Scarlett’s trunks searching for a dress acceptable for Jane to wear.

Scarlett sat back down on her bed. “I think we’ll get along famously, don’t you?” Jane nodded with a tiny smile. “How old are you? I’m fifteen. I reckon we could be like sisters.”

“I’m almost eighteen,” Jane replied to the overeager girl, not moving from her place near the entrance.

Mrs. Slate emerged from the trunk victorious, holding a deep red dress. “This should look nice on you,” she handed it to Jane, whose arm hurt under the dress’s ample weight. “It’ll do fer now, ‘til we can make you a new costume.”

Jane’s mouth fell open at the mention of a costume, but Scarlett bounced on the bed after hearing such good news. “Ooh! New costumes! One for me too, mama, so we can match?”

“Sure thing, sweetie,” Mrs. Slate caressed her daughter’s long flaxen hair. They looked so dissimilar, Scarlett with her lanky frame and blonde hair, and Mrs. Slate a stocky, past middle aged woman with a graying bun, it was no surprise that she would dote on her beautiful daughter. “Well, are you going to put it on?” the cranky woman urged her.

“Yes, but I don’t have a slip to wear underneath,” Jane admit. There had no point of wearing one when she ran away from home; plus, it wouldn’t have tucked into her trousers.
Mrs. Slate sighed and went back to the trunk. Jane was left to hold Scarlett’s attention.

“Why are you dressed so peculiar, Jane?” a curious smile stretched across her lips. “Were you off on an adventure, like the ones I read in my books?”

Jane, still worn from the day, finally sat on the bed next to her new “sister” and engaged in conversation. “I’d hardly call it an adventure. What books do you speak of?”

Scarlett stood up to cross the room where there was a tiny table and brought back two thin paperbacks. “These here stories are adventures,” she handed them to Jane for her perusal. “I never have adventures.”



Ta da!

Have a good day, everyone!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dreams

This post has to do with the dreams we as writers have, rather than dreams characters have (that's a whole 'nother post).

nataliedee.com
nataliedee.com

Thank you for sharing your aspirations, coconuts, but the dreams I'm referring to are those we have when we sleep.

I have dreams every night. There's honestly no stopping them (trust me, I've tried), so I just go with it now.

Some of you may remember this: the idea for Jane's Air came to me in a dream. Otherwise, I seriously doubt I would be writing a Western YA right now. I had the dream while writing my last book, The Not-So Meet Cute, at a time I was positively stumped. Then came shiny, wonderful new idea. It took all my self control not to give into Jane's Air and in the end I'm glad that I waited to write it.

But now, as I've been working on Jane's Air, I keep dreaming situations that would make awesome books. It's torture, I tell you! Does anybody else have this problem?

When we are little, we learn that dreams are movies that play in our heads when we sleep. This seems to be an accurate description of the dreams I've been having: they are long and involved and characters are as real to me as the people I see every day. I often wake up more exhausted than when I went to sleep, completely attached to the characters and the conflict they are facing.

Gosh, I'm starting to sound like a crazy person.

I'm thinking of starting a dream journal so I can remember all the dreams I've been having. From what I've been able to write down so far, I already have three book ideas if I need to step away from Jane's Air for a little while.

Not that I'm stepping away from it or anything. Actually, very, very much the opposite, but I'll talk about that tomorrow.

Okay, this post turned very rambly very fast. I think I've made a new record.

So does anybody else have crazy intense dreams like me? Please say yes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lookit What I Got!

*shuffles feet*

*clears throat*

Erm... sorry I missed Resident Expert day. I wasn't intentional, I swear. I thought about writing a post and publishing it on Saturday, but it isn't the same!

Thus, I promise that this Friday's RE will be super spectacular. Start giving me requests now, people.

And on to the heart of this post...

A few weeks ago I won a contest over at Jon's blog, and look at my prize!



That's right! It's a cover for Jane's Air! Woot!

I can add it to my Jane's Air collection (which is actually only one other drawing by Natalie Whipple, but since it's so awesome it really is a collection):



Ah, I be so happy right now. And it's a Monday (how crazy is that?).

Anyways, I think tomorrow I'll be posting something writerly, similar to my impressions post, and Wednesday will be dedicated to my lurvely WiP, as it should be. Thursday is reserved for silliness, and Friday is RE day.

Huzzah for March!