mardi, décembre 21
lundi, février 8
"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task." ~William James
(P.S. I have about 5 plot bunnies circling my head, and I'm afraid I can't write about them just yet. So here's the only advice for today - advice I'm going to use myself, too. When you have a lot of plot bunnies, write them down in a notebook. Ha. I'm afraid I didn't give very good advice, if you are a writer, you would already be doing that without my advising. Okay, I'll stop now.)
VIVA LA VIDA.
Okay, that came out of nowhere.
I'll stop now.
samedi, janvier 23
"Heart don't fail me now!
Courage don't desert me!
Don't turn back now that we're here"
-"Journey to the Past", Anastasia
That list up there could be further from the truth. I wish that was my schedule, you know, surviving meaning eating, watching TV, snacking, reading, then going back to bed. But no, there are so many things to do that - I shall quote my twitter, "I want to do so many things at one time that I end up worrying about which I should do first and result in doing nothing at all." Yes, that is how I'm feeling, dear friends. I'm sorry I haven't properly greeted you, so Bonjour! And hello. I'm sure you were afraid I was going to have that two month absence that could possibly happen, yes, I was afraid of that, too. But here I am. Of the things I worried about doing, I decided to do this first. Well, let us get updated.
The Things I Want To Do All At Once That I End Up Not Doing At All/ The Things Worrying My Mind
- I stil haven't written the 2k I was going to write again. I know! God has given me two weeks to make up for it and I don't do anything but worry!
- I finally critiqued that mess of a story for my friend because I agreed to. Have I not told you about my critique buddy yet? Long story short, I critiqued her query and she was so happy with my harshness (it was not a pretty query) she wanted me to critique her whole novel, and because I saw some sort of story in the midst of the horrible grammar and punctuation and sentence structure of her critique, I agreed. I told her in my query critique that you want your query to be good, so it will reflect your writing. Well, her unrevised query just about did reflect her writing. I will be talking about one of her mistakes today. But all in all, she's a good person, really, and I like her. And I don't mean to be mean to her, I even consider her as a friend (well, we are on Facebook). So all is not completely lost.
- All the projects. To name a few, I have to make three commercials avec mon amis and that won't be pretty because mon amis get easily distracted, and that distraction resulted in an F on a previous assignment. God help those too trusting! The commercials are supposed to be about The Merchant of Venice, which, after putting on a production of the play with my stuffed animals as characters, actually makes sense to me. Allow me to quote my twitter (again) - "Merchant of Venice isn't as confusing as I once thought...thou hath not as confuddling as ere...I don't think I said that right". Then I have to think up another (stupid) science project. Then I have to research my health project, which is going to be on thyroids (my mom, uncles, and aunt has it, so I'm scared). And then I have to write a story book in French about things I do and don't do in the seasons (par example: J'aime mangez en hiver, mais je n'aime pas nager en hiver [translation: I love eating in winter, but I don't like swimming in winter]). Grrr.
- I want to join ABNA. I'm thinking of submitting my nanonovel, you know, for the heck of it. Problem: I haven't edited TROAP at all, don't have a pitch ready, or anything else. Ah, well. I've been meaning to do that. BIG PROBLEM: Submissions are in TWO DAYS.
- I actually liked Crime and Punishment. Me and Raskolnikov have something in common: We're going insannnnnnnnneeeeeeee!! At least I didn't murder something, though my grades are in jeopardy.
- Get my friend and other friend presents because it's their birthdays!! AHH
Okay, so that's all that has happened. Those are my concerns. Okay, I'm going to make a schedule RIGHT NOW. (Schedules always make me feel safer).
- After this post (which was also in my to-do list), finish my bio hw and try to read some of the chapter on taxonomy
- after bio hw, start the french project. but don't expect to finish it all today (it'll come out sloppy)
- After getting tired with that, conscience should be somewhat calmer. Do any other hw that I have forgotten.
- Start editing TROAP and start 2k
- Sunday: Wake up early and cont. edit TROAP and finish 2k
- If don't finish TROAP by tomorrow, that's okay, submissions still open
- Get done with all hw today so have time to do all this writing business tomorrow!
Okay, that has cleared my mind somewhat. So, back to the true topic of this post because you all don't really care about my insanity...
The Series of Actions Disorder...dun dun dunnn...
Okay. So as I mentioned, my critique buddy has a problem with this. Allow me to give an example and you try and figure out the problem (hint: the title of this section)
Lila walked to class. She sat down and took out her notebook. The teacher was hairy like a monkey and he sounded like one too. He was Mr. Gorilla, the science teacher. Lila felt like falling asleep. Then when class was over, she walked past a hallway of students and walked into her next class that smelled like peppermint and oil. After school, she went to her car and turned the window down, glad to be out of school, aka, prison.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS?! It was something I saw frequently in my partner's WIP. A character who goes to one class, then to another (I can't reveal any specific details or excerpts since I agreed not to show any of her work to anybody...and I'd like not to be sued, thank you very much) and then to the other. Then she did this, ate this, walked here, sat there. Chit-chatted here then walked there. Oh, quelle horreur! Not only did it not develop the plot or give us any indication of the character's personality, but it was just BORING. You know, I don't care if your MC has science last or if the science teacher's name was Mr. Gorilla (a name that bears a lot of resemblance to my english teacher's). I don't care if she ate pie, but never ate the crusts because she didn't like crusts. I honestly don't care if she grabbed a banana and realized she didn't like bananas and threw it in the garbage. Imagine reading pages of this robotic action! Yikes, indeed, my good friend. I said something about that, in my honest harshness that is neither overly cruel, and certainly not overly sugar-coated.
Now I ask you, my friend. Do you read this when you are editing your WIP? Think closely about it. How much pain did you suffer reading my own crude example up above? Yes, imagine that and reconsider what you are writing. I daresay, if your book was in the library and I picked it up because the book cover was nice (which I should immediately stop doing and I will tell you why in another post) and decided to skim the first few pages. If, my friend, your first few lines were those lines up above, I would surely put your book down and take care to avoid it in the future. And you don't want that, do you? Of course, I can only speak for myself. But I am so certain that agents would do the same, I would bet actual money on it.
Also, there was another irk I had with my partner's manuscript, and that was...
Unnecessary Details...*shark song*
There was a lot of a emphasis on what the character was wearing. Not only was there particular care into describing what the MC was wearing, but it was depicted in the way up above. Yes, you guessed it...a series of actions. (Example: I put on my purple shorts. I wondered what would go well with this, and I decided on the rainbow striped tank top. Then I put on my orange shoes, and voila! [Sidenote: I advise not to wear this outfit, not in this era, good friend]). Also, there was an emphasis on the specifics of the shirt. Like, it had a picture of Dora the Explorer on it. Unless your character is dressing for a particular reason, for example, she finds herself in Antarctica and I take great effort to describe to you exactly how many layers of clothing she put on. You see, not only do I show you that it is extremely cold outside, but I also give you a sense of what is appropriate to wear in Antarctica (which in that case, would not be purple shorts and a rainbow striped tank top).
I made this mistake in my early writings - too much emphasis on what my characters were wearing when really it didn't matter at all to the story. Nowadays, I would only mention what my characters were wearing if...
- My FMC is going on her first date with love interest and it matters what she is wearing and how long it took her to choose that outfit because she is striving to look her best
- Or I would mention beforehand my character is wearing a scarf (maybe the scarf is blowing in the wind and hits her in the face or something) because later on, it's that same scarf that saves her life (Not sure how, but anything's possible).
- Attire has something relevant to event (i.e. a mask in a masquerade)
So I hope you got something out of that. Remember, what I'm saying isn't right and it isn't wrong either. I'm just telling you something to consider and think about. Maybe, it will even help you out. (I could be the next Shakespeare, Just kidding! Oh, am I jesting.)
Au Revoir, my good friends! Remember, I go to school now and cannot update you as regularly as I used to.
After the Break,
"I try to leave out the parts that people skip." -Elmore Leonard
dimanche, janvier 17
"The world has lost its glory,
let's start a brand new story now, my love
Right now, there'll be no other time
And I can show you how, my love"
-"Words", Bee Gees
Things that happened since I last posted on you:
- An earthquake in Haiti. My heart and prayers go out to all those people there, to the ones trapped under the ruble, the ones who are helping, and the families of the ones who died. I hope that Port-au-Prince can be restored soon.
- On Friday my school had an academic rally and it turns out I'm one of the "Top Ten Freshmen" and I didn't even know it. I had to sit in a "special seat" in front of everybody along with all the other top ten people though I don't believe it was special because they put these humungous speakers right behind us. All I can say is LOUD. I think I might've gotten more deaf. So then I had to walk on this red carpet and shake hands with the principal, who didn't even bother giving me a certificate recognizing my position. All I have for proof that I really was in the top ten was the paper taped to my "special seat" which states my real name (and if you didn't know it already, my real name is not Vanille, Vanille c'est mon nom de plume). It was enough to convince my parents.
- My friends and I are nerds. Our honors biology teacher won't sign our papers to allow us to go into Chemistry AP because we're "too young" and it's a lot of work. But my friends and I are determined nerds so long story short, we went to the counselor's office. He said that the prerequisites are an A or B in bio (I have an A) and completed Algebra 2 (I'm still in geometry) so only 3 of my friends are qualified whilst the rest of us are stuck in geometry. We might take summer classes at a college. But what's unfair is that we freshmen are actually smarter than those sophomores so why do they get to go and we don't?? Whether or not we make it through is still unknown, I'll keep you updated.
- My Creative Writing teacher proposed this thing where we'll write like a paper of short stories, poems, and whatnot and sell it to students in the school. When she asked me if I thought it was a good idea or not, I pretty much nodded my head and forced a smile on my face, because I knew whatever I said would not change anything since it seemed pretty much decided anyways. Great. Now the whole school will be reading my writing. Can you say, help?
- One of my goals has been to watch the movies that we used to have on video but can't play anymore since everybody's switched to DVDs. We finally restored one of our old movies - Anastasia. It's a bit more cornier than I remember (the last time I watched it was eight years ago and I was six), but still good.
- I now own a Beatles shirt that says "Can't Buy Me Love" :D
So that's all that has happened. And maybe it gives you an idea of why I couldn't post as often as I'd liked. As promised, the next post will be strictly on showing don't tell (though there may be some references to my life). Okie-dokie!
Showing not Telling: Part 1
As before, I made a post on adverbs and how you can show some adverbs. Now, I will present to you another way you can know if you are telling and not showing.
Let's take these words: angry, sad, happy, joyful, pleased, confused, stressed, miserable, cheery (trying to think of non-depressing words), and moody
What do they all have in common?
A) It's only words! And words are all I have, to take your heart awaayyy
B) I don't know
C) They are emotions
D) Nothing! I see nothing!
If you answered C, then you are correct! Here is your million dollars and brand new cat! Just kidding. I don't have a million dollars and a brand new cat to give you, you will just have to settle for the knowledge that you are intelligent.
But what do emotions have to do with showing not telling, Vanille? Well, mon ami, I will show you right now! Let's take these examples:
As Tommy stands before Lila, holding his brand new cat and million dollars, Lila is very angry that he got these things by cheating and scrolling down to see the answer! Now, Lila has to settle for the knowledge that she is intelligent! BAH!
Fluffy is a happy dog.
Now, brace yourself for the next examples which are unedited and quickly written.
As Tommy stands before Lila, holding his brand new cat and million dollars, Lila's thoughts twirl in a fury, crashing into each other and circling her head, each calling out to her attention. She can't catch them all, but one message is apparent: Tommy got these things by cheating and scrolling down to see the answer! Lila's heart races and her cheeks become warm, then so hot, it's as if her thoughts are steam that pours from her ears. She can't hold it all in any longer and she slaps Tommy's face, the stinging bringing satisfaction to her tingling palm. No way is she going to settle for the knowledge that she is intelligent. "Bah!" she spits at the crumpled figure named Tommy who is curled on the ground, aiding his bleeding nose.
Every morning Fluffy licks his master's nose to greet him to the bright new day. During breakfast, Fluffy bounces up and down on his cute, fluffy paws and his eager, drooling tongue sticks out from his smile in the hope that master will be kind and give him a bit of bacon. Next is Fluffy's morning walk in which master is yanked around the neighborhood as Fluffy runs, barking, to every pedestrian, chases the always-frowning-cat next door, and pees in neighbor's petunias. At the park, Fluffy wags his tail as he races to get the yellow frisbee master throws.
What's different other than the fact the last two are longer?
Well, in the last two I have shown the words angry and happy. Pay close attention, there are certain words that are related to certain emotions. Notice my use of words "fury", "crashing", "hot", "slaps", "spits". All these words contribute to the emotion "angry". And then notice the words "bright", "new", "bounces", "eager", "smile", "wags his tail," and "yellow". These all contribute to the emotion "happy", except for "wags his tail" which can only be used on, well, dogs. I just showed you that Lila is angry and that Fluffy is happy without saying it directly as the first two examples. :) And I just realized that I also showed you that Fluffy is a dog rather than telling you like in the first example.
So if you can see my stance. If you notice a phrase like 'he is happy' or 'she feels confused'. Maybe you should reconsider if you can show this instead by use of body language and dialogue. Though of course, if you want to describe someone briefly, you can say, "she was a pleasant old woman who always gave me cookies when I passed by her house". Notice word pleasant, but then I go the extra step to include exactly why she's pleasant, and it's because she gives cookies (and isn't that pleasant?). (I am aware pleasant is not an emotion, but can fall under the word pleased). Sometimes I catch myself writing things like, "Tommy is sad" or whatever. And I ask myself, "can I show that instead?"
So always keep that in mind! And that, folks, is part one of showing not telling!
After the break,
"When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don't state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint."
-Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)
mardi, janvier 12
"I'd smile when I was crying
I had nothing but a life to lose
Thought I had a lot to prove
In my life there's no denying"
-"Everyday", Bon Jovi
Bonjour mes amis!! This post isn't going to be about writing, though I'll just post this as a reminder that the next post (or the post after that) will be all about showing, not telling, and the keyword is emotion. So, if you could remember that for me then that will complete what I want to say about showing and not telling. And it's showing and telling people, one of the shiny golden rules of writing! Mind you, all this stuff I post here is from a really, really young writer and it's best if you don't just take my word for it because we all have differing opinions in the internet-universe so its best you check out other websites on the same topic. What's on here is just my view, and I may not always be correct. Just as a reminder...
So, I know you're dying to ask (well, maybe not dying. You probably don't care, either) but school is okay. Not thrilled to be there, but not overly depressed either. I just finished my homework. And I'm not even in AP classes (yet). There's this whole disagreement because my parents want to get me in AP classes in my sophomore years, but the teachers don't want sophomores to take AP classes because it's too "hard". So that means that, for example, I want to get into AP Chem (yah, I'm pretty smart :P ), but my current bio teacher doesn't want us to, she wants us to take regular CP Chemistry first. Mais, ma parents want me to "be challenged" so I think there is going to be a lot of corresponding between them and my counselor.
Now that I've bored you with all this totally unrelated dude news, let's get to the writing bit in my life. Well, remember the 2K I worried myself over all during break? Well. Yesterday I went to my creative writing club and who was there but absolutely nobody! Not a soul in sight except for the English teacher at my school and also the "leader" of my creative writing club. (Mind you, she's having her book published!!! I don't know much about it except that it's titled Promise Rock and I've been meaning to ask her to read a copy of it.) Anyways, I went in and was all like, "Is there a meeting today?" And she told me no because (surprise, surprise!) not many people were there so we'll all just get together next week. (You see, us writers are a scarce type of human). I told her I wrote the 2K, she said that's good. Then I left because there wasn't anything there.
Une problem - The 2k I told her I had will be different next week. Yes, I had this 2K in my backpack (the one I was so excited about, do you remember?) but you know what? Remember also when I hit an OMG-what-if-I-really-suck moment? Well, I managed to convince myself that what I was writing was absolute, excusez moi, crap. So I'm going to write a whole new 2k and I still don't know what to write about. Ahh short stories. Why couldn't she just ask us to write a novel? That would be easier.
Well, I just wanted to post this update even though it's totally unrelated dude just to assure you I haven't forgotten about you in the rush of homework and your normal school dramas. But you betcha next time we'll get into serious writing talk. Kay? Tata. American Idol's on today in 3 minutes and I have to goo.....
After the break (I feel proud saying this now)
"Omg, American Idol's on and I have to go there can't be a quote du jour!" -Vanille
P.S. Did you hear Simon Cowell isn't going to be there next season?? I know! What the heck is that?! Simon Cowell is American Idol. Ellen Degenerous (did I spell her name right?) says it's up to her now to be mean, somehow, I just can't imagine that.