Monday, August 30, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
It lead me to think of things I associate with books I've read. Powerful images that have stuck in my brain and take me back to a favorite story. When I smell peppermint, for example, I'm reminded of Basta from Inkheart who chewed mint leaves and was often identified by its scent on his breath. Roses will forever remind me of President Snow from the Hunger Games trilogy. I can't look at a snake without thinking of Voldemort.
Authors create characters who become alive and memorable through the careful and deliberate images they use to describe them. These descriptions often appeal to our senses and are usually the ones that linger long after we're finished reading. A tinkling bell has me looking over my shoulder for a certain thistle-down haired fairy from Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and the mention of whiskey? I'm back in Scotland with Jamie Fraser. I think I'll ponder that last association a little while longer....hmmmm
What sounds, scents, objects do you associate with your favorite books or characters?
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
You and I both know that I don't have a lot of computer savvy, but when I signed up with you, you promised it would be easy and I took your word for it. And while yes, I admit it was fun thinking up a cute name and creating just the right look, I'm a tad annoyed that you won't let me post any images. What's up with that?
Remember the baseball game I went to last week? I had a lot of fun that night looking around the park (it was Fenway btw), thinking "Hmm..what should I take a picture of? Which shots could I share with my friends on the blog? Oh, wouldn't a pic of the food on my lap be funny?" I couldn't wait to try scanning my images in the computer the next day (because there's something wonky going on w/ my cord) and was thrilled when that worked. Uploaded to photobucket - easy, peasy! I was all set to go. Followed the blogger instructions, clicked the cute little image button and ...nothing. I tried again. Nothing. Surely, I must have forgotten a step. Reread, posted, nothing. Searched Help, uploaded again, STILL NOTHING! Left it for the weekend, searched every place I could think today, tried again and you guessed it.
I'm not giving up. I WON'T give up. Blogger, we can probably still be friends, after all it's not you, it's me. But today I'm hanging out with MOCKINGJAY. There's no techy kind of thing-a-ma-jig I have to figure out (until the day I buy an e-reader). Don't worry, I'll be back when I'm finished reading.
Until tomorrow when I have more time to waste,
Monday, August 23, 2010
That's how I feel at this time of the year. I'm fortunate enough to have summers off and stay home with my kids. I'm able to get up later than the usual 5:30 wake up during the school year, there are no school lunches to pack and uniforms to iron, I'm not juggling my schedule to get the kids where they need to be, and there's a lot more free time to procrastinate, er, I mean, get things done. That's all coming to an end soon and that familiar pit-in-stomach feeling is returning. Soccer practice for 2 of my kids starts this week, cross country practice for 1 starts next week. I've been nervously go over and over in my head if everything is ready - supplies bought, uniforms pressed and ready, school assignments completed - and whether I've forgotten anything. (Cleats! The kids have to try those on today!). This fall I'm also returning to a part time job that I began last winter (with the possibility of extra hours) which means bye-bye to my free time to write. I'll need to get back to a disciplined mindset if I want to achieve some writing goals I've set for myself.
I recently reached the 10,000 work mark in the first draft I'm working on now which means it's only 1/4 of the way finished. I plan to push myself the next 3 weeks before I officially return to work. I'd like to add another 20k by then. This is rather ambitious for me because I'm not a fast writer, but I have other writing goals I'd like to accomplish between now and the end of the year.
Unlike those Sunday nights, I'm not dreading the fall, I'll just miss the laid back, carefree days of summer.
Friday, August 20, 2010
- Coraline - Neil Gaiman
- I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith
- The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
- To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
- Feed - M.T. Anderson
- Princess Academy - Shannon Hale
- From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg
- Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld
- Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Surprised? I'll admit #10 surprised me. I loved this book growing up but when it comes to first lines it's not very intriguing. I think most of us are forgiving when we begin a new book and an ordinary line isn't going to stop us from reading further. As I mentioned, I'm working on the first draft of a novel. Sometimes it takes a while for me think of that perfect opening, but this time the line came first and I've been building on it ever since.
"Girls named Felicity should not be allowed to play tag football with boys, especially with Timothy Williams."
*I'm planning on posting some pics of the game, but I'm having difficulty uploading to blogger for some reason. I'll try again in a while.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling)
Right away I'm thinking, who are these Dursleys and why are they so proud of being normal unless they were constantly worried about appearing not normal? And the 'thank you very much' indicates that they were a bit snooty about appearances in general.
At first glance it seems easy to come up with one line. But every word choice is important to convey tone, voice, mood. One little line could be the difference to whether someone picks up your book and buys it or whether he or she puts it down and moves on. Oh, the pressure! So far I haven't entered many online contests, since most require a finished ms, but I did submit my first line to a critique thread on literary agent Nathan Bransford's blog. In his forums there's a thread for rating and commenting on first lines. I typed my line in and nervously clicked 'post now.'
That was 3 days ago. I figure everyone was either blown away by the absolute genius of my word usage or else they couldn't find a polite way to say, "Write much?" Did I mention that the thread has been moving lower and lower down the blog roll, my name glaring off to the right as the last person who posted?
To comfort myself, I looked up some first lines from books I have around the house. See if you guess can guess where they come from.
Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved in the house. (Okay, that's a give away. But there's good stuff in that opening line. That door leads to a very creepy adventure.) Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
When I wake up the other side of the bed is cold.
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.
Miri woke to the sleepy bleating of a goat.
Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away.
(From the book I'm currently reading...)
The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised.
Rain fell that night, a fine, whispering rain.
Once there were four children named Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.
What do you think? Did they grip you? Intrigue you? Did they set the tone? Would you want to read more or is there just not enough to tell? If you recognize some of these, feel free to put your answers in the comments. I'll post them on Friday along with the first line from Nitpicky.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Like my novel, this blog is a work in progress so bear with me as I learn my way around.
A little about myself. I've been writing off and on since I can remember. Most of my writing as a kid consisted of making up stories and comic strips about my stuffed animals, Ellie (who really belonged to my brother) and Marie. As I got older journal writing, a little poetry, and prayer letters replaced the stories.
I've alway loved reading children's literature and often prefer it to adult fiction. After discovering Harry Potter and devouring the first 4 books, I found friends online who shared my obsession. Discussing and speculating, while waiting for the last 3 books to be released was a blast and reawakened my love of writing.
About a year and a half ago I decided to seriously think about writing my own novel. Through different agent/editor/author blogs I've been slowly learning about writing and the publishing business and so far it hasn't scared me enough to quit. I started 2 stories which I haven't finished and probably won't. I'm currently working on a contemporary upper MG (middle grade) novel with the working title, Nitpicky which I hope to finish by the end of the year.