Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I refuse to set up a Twitter account, but this guy does have a point.....

I just scanned a blog post on Write a Better Novel about 'platforms.

New Donita K. Paul book!

The last few months have been SOOOO busy that I almost forgot about the new Donita K. Paul book coming out on June 2!

I'm very excited about it. It's been a year since I've read any of her books (the release of Dragonlight) and this year her new book is called The Vanishing Sculptor. It looks fantastic, magical, and exciting. I can't wait to read it! Last year I did a countdown for the Dragonlight book....looks like this year I'm a bit late, but here's a note to let all of you know!

Anna

Barnes and Noble's Summer Reading Program for Kids

Today in my Barnes and Noble newsletter, I found a link for a Summer Reading deal for kids. If kids read eight books this summer, they can take a reading journal into Barnes and Noble to get one free paperback book. I doubt that I would qualify as a kid anymore (though I constantly have to tell people that I'll never really grow up.) :D but maybe someone out there is still young enough or has a kid that likes to read. I thought it was pretty cool, so I decided to post and link it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Star Trek Quote that makes me laugh


Spock: Miss Uhura, your last sub-space log contained an error in the frequency column.

Uhura:
Mr. Spock, sometimes I think if I hear that word frequency once more I'll cry.


Spock: Cry?

Uhura: [laughs] I was just trying to start a conversation.

Spock: Well, since it is illogical for a communications officer to resent the word frequency, I have no answer.

Uhura: No, you have an answer. I'm an illogical woman...who's beginning to feel too much a part of that communications consul. Why don't you tell me I'm an attractive young lady or ask me if I've ever been in love? Tell me how your planet Vulcan looks on a lazy evening when the moon is full.
Spock: Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura.

Uhura: I'm not surprised Mr. Spock.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A list of confusing nuisances in writing:




1. Birthdays.
The characters have to have been born sometime, and when you have brothers and sisters about a year apart, it's hard to figure out when they could have been born. It's even more confusing when you have a large number of characters the same age, and you're trying to figure out which year they were born. In your imaginary world too, where the current time is 3009 instead of 2009. It's very confusing. It might not sound like it, but it is.

2. Ages in general.
This is annoying when you need one character to be a particular age, and to tell the story the way you want, you have to adjust the other characters' ages to suit. (No, writers can't just 'fix' this. My characters tell it like it is. Or rather, they gave tantalizing hints and let me do all the messy figuring.)

3. Science Fiction Elements.
I love these. I really do. But they have to make sense.

4. Fantasy elements.
These have to work with the science fiction elements as much as the science fiction elements have to work with them.

5. Negligent Outlining.
If you don't outline carefully, you'll find yourself writing a character ahead a week while leaving the other characters behind. That doesn't work well at all. This has led me to extensive outlining so I know how to rewrite when the time comes.

6. Character details.
I've realized that I don't know my characters as well as I should. There are probably a thousand things about each of them that I don't know. I was having a conversation with one of them a while ago and found out something very interesting that could even alter the story!

7. Last names
Who else finds it difficult to think of last names for their characters? It's hard! I usually just grab one in passing, from the television screen, from people I've heard about, maybe even from people I've met...well, I'm not sure if I've done that, but if I haven't yet I may.


I love every bit of this, of course. Nuisances or not, it's all part of the big, beautiful writing picture, and I love it. I love writing! Just think of all the things I've got to discover about the characters, how many hours I'll puzzle over how to make the science fiction bits work with the fantasy, and how much of that I'll never even use. It's great, isn't it?

I am now going to go get ready for bed and watch Star Trek. I should put this up as a facebook status, but I'm kind of forcing myself not to do those because I try not to do a lot of facebooking....like twitter and texting, I think that it's overrated. :D No offense. Just not my bar of chocolate.

Anna

Friday, May 22, 2009

Movies I've enjoyed recently.....




1. Twilight
This movie came out last year. You would have to live all alone and never come out to not notice the Twilight craze. I've read the first book and part of the third one, and I would still like to read the whole series. Here's my take: It's good. It's original. Not the greatest writing ever, but she had a good idea, and she's like the new J. K. Rowling now (all of the Harry fans have grown up, they need something to settle their fantasy/romance tastes, don't they?) but I am a Harry Potter fan first. The movie was surprisingly good, with a good soundtrack. I'm not a Twilight fanatic though. I appreciate it for its uniqueness, and come on, you gotta admit....some of the characters are pretty cool.

2. Seven Pounds
This movie also came out last year. I generally enjoy Will Smith movies. He's a good actor. Men in Black 1 and 2 were both pretty good (but especially the first one) and I also enjoyed seeing I Am Legend and The Pursuit of Happyness. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is good too. :D
Seven Pounds was very well done. I enjoyed watching it a lot, but it'll be better if you don't know anything about it, so don't look it up or watch trailers or anything. (I knew what was going to happen when I started it.)

3. Slumdog Millionaire
This was great too! I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen or what it was about when I started it, except that it took place in a foreign country. I was very pleasantly surprised. Plus, again, it has a great soundtrack. :D The Paper Planes song always makes me happy, and Latika's Theme is beautiful...but sorry, this is a movie post, not a music post. The movie was excellent. There's a reason it got nominated (and didn't it win???) for so many awards.

4. Hancock
Another Will Smith movie! Just alright, really. I thought it was pretty good, and different for a super hero movie, but I think there are a lot of things about it that they could have done better. Not the greatest Will Smith better, but it was still different, and probably worth seeing.

5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This is one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen. But it was really good. I'm not sure...but this might have been the first Brad Pitt movie I've seen. I'm not sure. Not the first Cate Blanchett movie I've seen. She is a great actress! Every character I've seen her play is vastly different from the last one. Makes me really want to see I'm Not There (in which she plays Bob Dylan). Very well done!

6. Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr.! I saw him in the Soloist with Brian when he was visiting...and I enjoyed his performance in that a lot, but I liked Iron Man even better. Dad enjoyed it too, even though he fell asleep. I also enjoyed Gwyneth's Paltrow's performance as Pepper Potts. A great watch....looking forward to the sequel!

7. Australia
This was a long, gorgeously done epic western. Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, it's a rugged, yet touching tale about the cattle industry in Australia just before World War II. I was interested as soon as I saw the trailer....some time ago. I think my first impression when I saw the trailer was that it was some kind of unique apocolyptic science fiction story, or something great and new that took place in a completely different world. Although it was not fantasy or science fiction (I won't explain how I got that impression just now, it would take too long) it was exotic and beautifully filmed.

8. Rocky
Last night I enjoyed watching Rocky with my Mom and Dad. It had been awhile since I had seen it. That is a GREAT movie with a GREAT soundtrack! I guess I didn't realize that Sylvester Stallone wrote all six of the Rocky movies until last night. He directed the very last one, too...but I found that interesting.

Last, but not least, I've started watching the first season of the Original Star Trek series. Although the special effects aren't very impressive (aired in 1967, how could they be?) I've enjoyed the first two episodes a lot, and I've even been a little creeped out by them. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the first season and then moving on and watching some of the other episodes......I guess this really does make me a Trekkie, doesn't it? I'm really excited about the new Star Trek.

Slumdog Millionaire and Australia make my recommended Movies this month, although I thought all of these were good.....

Anna

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reads


Well, it's been an age or eighty since I posted, but what can I say? I'm a busy girl, got through driving school without dying, passed my driving test, got way behind on my reading (I've only read three out of a designated fourteen this month.....I should be blushing with shame, but I'm not....) and now here I am to update. Sweetness!

In April, I read/finished the following:


1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Loved it, again. That book was an incredible first read, and great the second time. Here's a collected quote from Peeves:

When there's strife and when there's trouble, Call on Peevsie, he'll make double!

2. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
I despised this book the first time I read it. I loved the movie, still do, but when I read the book all the way through for the first time, I was severely disappointed. The second time I enjoyed it a lot more, collected lots of quotes, and snuggling into delightful hours of his whimsical, imaginative writing. I now appreciate it for what it is; an eccentric children's classic. So it's fair to say that if you don't like a book the first time, you can always try it again.

...It was now ten minutes since three scoundrels had been breathing behind the curtains and Peter Pan can do a great deal in ten minutes.

3. Midnight by Erin Hunter

Like the last Erin Hunter book I read, it was good, but not as good as the original cycle. I felt like there were some good characters though, and the writing was alright. It was an enjoyable read. Not incredibly literary, but it was still worth reading. I didn't get any quotes from it. :D

4. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
I read it all the way through for the third time! And it won't be the last time, either. J.R.R. Tolkien is brilliant! I can't wait to get holt of his new book.

As far as he could remember, Sam slept through the night in deep content, if logs are contented.

5. The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
This was a wonderful read! I read it in one day ( partly because it was so good, partly because the library called and said the needed it back ASAP) and I thought it was great. It was about an old dog, a mama cat and her kittens, a moccasin snake and an alligator. One reason it was brilliant was because it took place in the Texas swamps. (TEXAS MYTHOLOGY!!!!!!!) Really great. Definitely worth checking out. I found out about it on Bookworm some time ago.

Bones, fur, milk, curiosity. That is what cats are made of.

So far this month I have read:

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I read this hungrily. I had forgotten so much of the details, and quite a bit of the bigger things too, including how a certain house elf becomes so nice.....I won't say who for the people who haven't read Deathly Hallows.

7. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
This was good to. I read this in one evening, because it was so short and I needed to finish it so my friend could read it.

8. Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James
This one was great, and really unusual from some of the stuff I've read before. It was written by the cowboy Will James, written in a great, original voice, written from the viewpoint of an exceptionally good range-bred horse with a mouse-colored hide and a fiery spirit. Great.


The rest of that day was full of events for Smokey, he explored the whole country, went up big mountains two feet high, wide valleys six or eight feet acrost and at one time was as far as twelve feet away from his mammy all by himself. He shied at a rock once, it was a dangerous looking rock, and he kicked at it as he went past.



One reason I included the quotes is because I have such dreadful reviewing skills. I really should practice.....I apologize to my loyal blog readers. Thanks for reading about my reads!

Books of the month: Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie and Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James.


Anna

Monday, May 4, 2009

What is it about?

I recently realized that I can't adequately describe what my book is about. Is it because I don't know what it's about? No, not really. I know what it's about. But I'm not good at nutshelling. Anyone who has read this blog for awhile would probably notice how terrifyingly hideous some of my book/movie/CD reviews are. I can't think of how to portray my interest in it in words. What did I like about? I might give away the plot. What is it about? I'll give away the plot. So I just say how I feel about it, assuming that everybody else has read it, or not caring if they hadn't. I need to work on my reviewing skills, obviously.

So, what is my book about? I've heard more than once that you need to be able to say what your book is about in one sentence. This is a good idea. Whether just to tell a friend who asks or a publisher looking for a good story, you need your story in a nutshell to tell that person about. I realized how ridiculous it sounded to go off in a string of unconnected sentences, randomly grabbing this plot thread and that one and then trying to make it make sense to whoever you're explaining it to. I've been asked this a couple times recently, and that's kind of what got me started thinking about it.

My problem is that the story isn't about just one character. It's about all of them, but three specifically. I also kind of got this concept from Randy Ingermanson, an excellent writer. I've actually only read one of his books, which he co-wrote with John B. Olsen, but the plotting in it was AMAZING. It's called Oxygen...I think I need to get that and read it again and then get the sequel. Yeah. Put that on my book buying list, Anna.

Okay, not that that little self not is done, and there is a link to Randy Ingermanson (two, now, actually)

here's a direct link to his Snowflake Method, his blockbuildling tool for plot building. It's pretty cool. You should check it out. It'll all make sense to what I'm talking about if you'll browse through his website and the Snowflake article.

Can you say, in one sentence, what your story is about? Who do you consider the main character? Why? You don't have to put the whole plot in one sentence. I think I've seen something like this for a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone blurb:

A young boy learns he's a wizard and goes to a school of magic to make his fortune.

Not those exact words, but that's basically what it was. How simple is that?

This is the one line blurb for Stephanie Meyer's adult sci-fi book, The Host:

Aliens have taken control of the minds and bodies of most humans, but one woman won’t surrender.

No, I have not read that book. From what I've seen, though, it's hard, hard to make it sound good. But it'll be awesome the next time someone asks me about my book. So. My writing goals this week?


  • Finish the outline
  • Get started on writing the story again
  • Write an incredible one-liner that sums up my story in a nutshell.
Lol, the bullet things are fun. I've never tried them before!

Now I should go get dressed and ready for the day so I can do school, read, write, and make hot chocolate. :D
Anna

Happy Thought News


Just now when I opened up my Barnes and Noble e-mail for coupons and news of new books (the goodness of these e-mails varies, depending on the coupons and what just came out...) I saw a very nice surprise on the page.

Christopher Tolkien has released a new book by J.R.R Tolkien. I don't need to tell you how exciting this is. I had been wondering for a long time when there would be another book (and I checked places like Wikipedia often, probably not very reliable) and all of a sudden, the title is right in front of my face! I think it'll be great, of course. So exciting! It's a neat little happy thought. If I had some pixie dust, I would be in good shape.

Anna