Sunday, December 9, 2012

Have I told you lately I met Rawrmy?

"P-racticality d-oesn't interest me! Love the life that I lead!" I've been keeping this to myself because for a long time I wasn't sure it was going to happen, but... I met Richard Armitage. I repeat: I met RICHARD. ARMITAGE. He gives me ALL THE ALL CAPS FEELINGS. His gravelly voice is what crème brûlée would sound like if it could speak to me. Mmm... Voices are my favorite and his is my absolute favorite! Naturally I want him to narrate the audio books of my stories one day... and possibly hand me my cup of coffee every morning with a sly, "Your bed-head has never looked better," but one thing at a time. Anyway, I took a whirlwind trip to NYC for the grand event. I had just met Andy Serkis, the genius behind Gollum who was so gracious and who I was able to string coherent thoughts together for, when this happened:
To think I went without smelling salts!
When he made his slow-mo exit from the building (haha... but really) all I could think was "RICHARD ARMITAGE" and "PROXIMITY" aka two of my favorite things. To say I spoke to him like someone who had just been hit with a tranquilizer dart would be a gross understatement. But to see him and hear him up close, someone who has captured my imagination with so many memorable characters on screen, was the perfect post-NaNoWriMo treat. He has this ability to focus in on you despite all the surrounding chaos that makes you a little weak in the knees. So naturally, I was super dignified while gazing at his lips and having an An Affair to Remember "all I could say was hello" type moment (though I was more like this in my head). Look! I'm actually blushing on camera! Oh my. This man. This man! So charming, so lovely, so gracious... Mariah, Caroline, and I were all a bit bewitched, bothered, and bewildered afterward. So looking forward to seeing him (and hearing him siiiiiiiing) in The Hobbit and all of the much-deserved success that follows.
As if this book wasn't special enough...
We spent a wonderful day in magical New York City, though stunned speechless the second half. But we livened up a bit in the One Direction pop-up store where we took our roles as the oldest people in there very seriously. We were the very definition of dignified and there was no singing or dancing to speak of... *cough*
Because Louis is the BEST!
This Friday you can see Richard Armitage along with Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, and Sir Ian McKellen on Anderson Live where you just might see a camera lens crack when Rawrmy walks into the room, because I'm screaming so loud. Just a lucky guess... Can I  squee one last time? I heard this voice! IN PERSON! *swoon*

Friday, December 7, 2012

one week later

It's hard to believe that NaNoWriMo has been over for a week now. I'm still in shock. I've not touched my story since then, but it's still on my mind 24/7... which might explain why I burst out crying at my desk yesterday. A sweeping score, an epic preview for a movie, everything still draws me back to B and her great adventure.

Here are some random NaNoWriMo stats of mine taken from the last month...

  • words written: 51,943
  • characters I had not anticipated: 8
  • tearful breakdowns the final week: 10
  • nights spent away from my desk: 6
  • jars of Speculoos consumed: 1
  • activities crossed off my list of 101 Things in 1,001 Days: 2
  • tweets about One Direction: 9
  • care packages received: 3
  • song most played: "Chasing the Storm" by Patrick Doyle
So to answer the looming question, no, the story is not finished. I will blaze through the rest as soon as possible so I can have one messy rough draft, but first I have to finish grad school applications. Yay!!! My work is just beginning. But I'm still trying my hardest to bask in that same glowing sense of accomplishment I felt right around midnight on November 29th. I can't believe I actually did it!

P.S. Speaking of everything setting me off, you know since I'm basically a walking Allstate commercial i.e. "emotionally compromised teenage girl," this video went straight to my heart today. I feel rather delirious after watching it. The majority of the places I pinned on my secret pin board for my story were of Iceland. So many of these locations look like they tumbled straight out of my story... I would give anything to go!

Friday, November 30, 2012

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I CANNOT PROCESS THIS! I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES! YES! YES! HALLELUJAH! IT'S OVER! EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

pass the mead

It's the kind of day where I could punch even Tom Hiddleston in the face. Everything is going wrong. Everything. But mostly, it was waking up to the news that this was going to be the final season of Merlin. I can't even... begin to... express... MY FEELINGS!!!!!!! I realize this is a TV show, but this is me and I'm devastated. Yes, I have watched to the interview with Colin Morgan (COLIN MORGANNNNNNN) assuring me that everything comes to its natural conclusion in season five, but... 


1. I actually started crying on the drive to work this morning. I could partly blame this on leaving home and the wave of emotion I'm feeling as NaNoWriMo tightens its grip (seriously, I am emotional enough with this alone right now), but... I just love this show. So much! I'm absolutely heartbroken.
My boyyyyyyys!!!!
2. I started watching Merlin when I was living in the bomb shelter in the middle of nowhere France. It was the darkest period of my entire life (and thus major inspiration for all of B's trials in my NaNoWriMo novel). I can't remember ever being so miserable or alone; honestly, it's something I try not to think about most of the time. At least the living in the bomb shelter bit. But in the seven solitary months I spent there, I became, I'll admit, irrationally attached to fictional characters. The first of these were the cast of Merlin. Somehow watching their struggles with magical beings, war-mongering kingdoms, and even each other gave me a sense of solidarity. But not only that, they gave me something to laugh about. It's not always the most serious interpretation of Arthurian legend, but it's certainly the most relatable. I laughed out loud every episode, cried here and there, swooned like mad... Nothing I say could ever do this series justice.
What am I supposed to do without my one and only knight in shining armor?!?!
3. I fell so hard for this show that I visited the set while they were filming season three. Once I found out some of it was filmed in France, that was it. Getting there in itself was a journey of epic proportions; it was nearly as difficult to get to as the bomb shelter itself. Seeing Pierrefonds, seeing Colin Morgan/Merlin's cheekbones up close and Bradley James/Arthur in his chainmail, made it all so real for me. It was magical and personal and finally put fiction where it belongs for me-in reality. 
I will miss your cheekbones and everything attached to them.
4. The flowy red capes I'm always pulling out smelling salts for on this show are so near and dear to me that when it came time to pick a color for the capes worn by the army in my own story... well... there was only one way to go!

5. Merlin/Arthur is the reason I love bromance. It is bromance at its finest. Period. Moments like this were always my favorite:

Honestly, I feel like something has died. I'm so sad, but so in awe of everything this show has accomplished. Thank you, Merlin, for five wonderful years of magic, courage, loyalty, adventure, knightly bromance, flowy red capes, dramatic slow-mo sequences, and chainmail. I will never forget you and your flawlessness. Or the chainmail. Leave me if you must, but I will never leave this round table.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Show me!

"Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!" Tonight I'm watching My Fair Lady. It's one of those classics that makes me drop everything whenever it's on. Though, I must admit, it was an acquired taste. I first saw it back in high school and I just didn't understand why Eliza chose Professor Higgins over Freddy. It was high school, what else can I say? I needed everything spelled out for me.

One of my favorite numbers is "Show Me" when Eliza packs up her bags and leaves the professor's house. Her debonair young admirer Freddy has been waiting for her to make an appearance all night and immediately jumps up to woo her with words. But I have a new appreciation for this song because in my writing class we are constantly talking about showing versus telling.
"Don't talk of stars burning above; if you're in love, show me! Tell me no dreams filled with desire. If you're on fire, show me!" As I barrel on through this novel, this is something I have to keep reminding myself to do. Constantly. Don't tell the reader B is cold, show B's teeth chattering. Ha! If only every situation she was in was such an easy fix. 

Anyway, what I always missed in this movie when I was younger were the subtle hints showing us that Professor Higgins is in love with Eliza. One of my favorite examples of showing vs telling of this change of heart is when they first discover she's gone missing and Colonel Pickering calls Scotland Yard to file a report. He can't remember what color Eliza's eyes are and Professor Higgins, who's been eavesdropping from the next room over, comes back into the room over and over shouting, "Brown! Brown! Brown!" It's boatloads more effective than Freddy singing about generic birds and crumbling hearts. Now that I can tell the difference, "On the Street Where You Live" still makes me giddy, but it's "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" that truly melts my heart. Here's hoping what I show my readers will have the same effect!

Monday, November 19, 2012

good things come in threes

Three things I love about today:

1. NaNoWriMo care packages. My friend Mariah, pen pal and soul twin, is the greatest! Since I've been running her latest movie score mix into the ground, she's hooked me up with a new one (wait, was this overnighted after yesterday's post?)! But that's not all! There's also Christmas music that I can start blasting to my heart's content on Friday and a book to read when this month is over. Hey November, please end so I can hang out with my awesome friend and plan mini breaks with our fictional boyfriends! Mariah, really, you're the sweetest and you deserve a certain delicious leprechaun on your arm at all times ;)
Legit dropped all the contents and screamed, "AH!" when I saw the Doctor!
2. World-building exercises in my writing class. These helped me see so many things I just never took a beat to think about that are actually terribly important. Oops! I focused on the world in my NaNoWriMo story, finished a bit early, and doodled my protagonist rather than figuring out what the answers to some of those questions should be. And since I'm terrible at keeping secrets, here she is! 
Oh, B, I'm sorry for all I'm about to put you through...
That's the only sneak peek you'll get till further notice!

3. Remember the dragon story I wrote? Well, I had it critiqued in class tonight. I was so nervous going into it because everything I've submitted for this class has been YA. But I received some really positive feedback, constructive criticism, and, best of all, a note from my teacher saying to submit it for publishing after editing... AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM NEVER GOING TO SLEEP TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alright, I'm off to type madly and blast Michael Bublé's "Georgia On My Mind," because I AM GOING HOME TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

take me home

In two days I will be back home in sweet ol' Georgia! This will be a much needed break from Baltimore and a huge distraction from NaNoWriMo. It's going to take a ridiculous amount of discipline to get me to 50,000. Because not only will I be dealing with this and No Man's Land, but... there's another distraction...

The new One Direction album! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHfLKDFJLSKJFLSFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aww they all look like future fictional heart-throbs!
I don't even care! Their music makes me CRAZY HAPPY!!! I just want to dance and run and scream and name all the love interests in my YA stories after them! So the timing of this album couldn't be more horrible. I just want to listen to it all the time, but the tone doesn't go at all with what I'm writing. I've got to keep myself trenched in these movie scores, not arm flailing to "Kiss You" and dreaming of beachside bonfires with my friends and these baby Brits. Just kidding. I don't do that. I don't really sing along in my car imagining how we'll be imitating Niall's Irish accent, rolling up our jeans over our ankles to mock Louis in a loving way, seeing how many things we can stuff in Zayn's hair without him noticing, learning dance moves from Harry to help us not look like fools when we go salsa, and teaching Liam what a s'more is (because he's useless). I mean...

This album would be incredibly useful if I was working on a more modern project involving lots of teen love for perfectly coiffed boys who look like they've stumbled out of a J.Crew ad for Hogwarts. Alas! I am working on a fantasy novel with none of these elements... *le sigh*. Next time! Next time there will be a story that requires me to really tap into that riot of teenage emotions and thus have them on constant repeat in the name of "resarch." And there will be no judgement! That being said, when this month is over, there will still be a big One Direction dance party in celebration of 50,000 words!

And now because I have a new affection for him and just because I can, here is Harry in full life-ruiner mode.
But I'll never leave you, Louis!!! You and your French sailor attire are always giving me a "Heart Attack" (and perhaps inspiration for mini fan fics that I post *gasp* publicly). FACT. Oh... kay... Will I regret this post in the morning? Haha... nope.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I am agog, I am aghast

I'm alive, but somebody hold me!!! Not only have I just killed off a character, but No Man's Land has arrived. I am staring down into the trenches of the unknown, ready to jump, and I am scared stiff. I don't know how the story gets from here to the finish. Will this go well past 50,000 words or will it be wrapping up by then? I have no idea. The story is gaining momentum, but I am losing steam... Honestly, I feel like my heroine; terribly overwhelmed and downright exhausted. And there's no escape in sight!

But I don't have the luxury of writer's block or giving into the urge to go back and fix glaring plot holes and character inconsistencies, so I refuse to let this turn into a pity party. Instead, I'll dwell on 5 things that have really been helping me through this process:

1. You might have noticed a very sad and empty bulletin board hanging in my room before NaNoWriMo began. But now it's filling up with note cards documenting what happens in each scene.
The pink cards indicate the introduction of a new character and there are big red dots flagging high action scenes. But I must admit, I've not not been very good about writing these cards. I tend to just blaze ahead to the next scene rather than go back through the one I've just written. Right now, only half of what I've written is represented on that board.

2. Secret boards on Pinterest. They just added this feature and it's incredible. Naturally, I made one for my story. I've had one for general story inspiration for a long time, but the secret feature gives me the freedom to really go nuts on this specific project.

3. Encouraging e-mails from friends. If you don't think sending me pictures of my favorite gents is helpful, then clearly we've never met.
Sorry, Gerard Butler, I couldn't fit you into this screenshot!
Obviously my darling friend Anna (who has almost been married two whole weeks!) knows me very well! In fact, one of these life ruiners is the spitting image of one of my story's villains whom I shall soon meet in No Man's Land. Can you guess who?

4. Songs like "Truth" by Balmohrea, "Village Dance and Finale" by Christopher Gordon, "The Takers" by Barcelona, "The Cave" and "Holland Road" by Mumford & Sons... Luckily, even though I'm running all of these into the ground on a daily basis, they're still keeping me inspired.

5. Speaking of music, if I can weave all of my plot lines together as seamlessly as they do it in "One Day More" in Les Mis (a ridculously tall order), then I'll be one happy camper. That's another one I've had on repeat. Forever. If I'm not talking to you about my story, chances are I'm talking your ear off about flawless Les Mis. So here's the fancy new trailer just for good measure!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHJDFKSLDFJLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There aren't enough exclamation points in the world to adequately convey my excitement! This is a double whammy of one of my favorite stories and one of my favorite musicals. Dark and twisty characters, themes of hope and redemption, France, period costumes, unrequited love, and Eddie Redmayne's face! *cough* I mean Marius! I'm crazy looking forward to Samantha Barks resuming her role as Éponine on the screen; I might even be looking forward to it more than hearing Prince Eddie sing. I know! Who am I?! But I think she might steal the show for me. And don't Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen look perfect for The Thénardiers?! I will say though, Enjorlas is a particular favorite of mine and that guy from Gossip Girl has his work cut out for him. That's probably the performance I'm the most nervous about since he sings what are, for me, some of the most powerful songs in the entire piece. But oh mon dieu! I think I'm in danger of seeing this as many times in the theater as I did for Pearl Harbor and The Lord of the Rings in the 9th grade (aka a hell of a lot). Oh la la! THERE WILL BE TEARS!!!

Ahem... anyway... 16 days and 22,582 words to go!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

you are deceitful, sir

Much as I would love to celebrate surpassing 20,000 words (a cool 73 pages), I just... ARRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe it's the fact that I've been awake since 5AM or how I'm on my third cup of coffee or am dangerously close to the No Man's Land that's looming beyond what I've plotted in advance, but I am officially FREAKED. ALL CAPS FREAKED. 

You see, I've just introduced a character that I've been looking forward to for ages. While the 12 year-old protagonist might be unaware, he's crucial to her journey and *cough* a total stud. Yes, I know he's fictional, but I've rather enjoyed dreaming him up. "I just like to look at him!" Just smile and nod. It's okay. Anyway, he's a mysterious brooding sort of fellow and his entrance into the story was always something of a mile marker for me because it signals a serious shift in the plot. But, it turns out, not only is he prickly towards my little heroine, he's the same with me! It is like pulling teeth to get him to speak. I'm shocked, quite frankly. Up to this point, you've seen me praising my characters for having minds of their own. But this guy? He was always going to be stubborn, but I didn't expect him to be like that with me! I know what's made him the way he is, after all. This should be easy, right?! But here I am quoting Persuasion over and over to myself regarding this character i.e. "I am half agony, half hope." This all might sound like crazy talk, but needless to say I AM HAVING A BIT OF A BREAKDOWN! If I can't bring him across the page effectively, I'm in deep trouble. I'm already panicking about No Man's Land; I don't need to be worrying about this character. 

So let me tell you what I've done in an attempt to catch this cheeky bastard's attention and break down the barriers between us:
  • buried my head in my hands, making anguished sounds usually reserved for those recently stabbed in the heart
  • pulled my hair and screamed a little
  • cried into my keyboard (I wish I was joking)
  • had a dance party to One Direction's "Everything About You"
Thankfully I have the whole day ahead of me, but things are looking rather ugly right now. This just goes to show that it's always the pretty boys that give you trouble. Ugh. Not cute. Well, two can play that game, monsieur! I'm going to beat you into submission, because I'd much rather be fan flailing about Hook and Aurora from Once Upon A Time on this blog, thank you very much (soon, I promise!). On guard!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

uncharted territories

Six days and over 11,000 words into NaNoWriMo and the winds of change are already blowing me off course. I have a vague list of scenes that I need up to a certain point (read: a cliff-esque point beyond which I have no idea what happens from there to the ending, which is already somewhat mythical in terms of its existence) that I plotted out in advance. When I actually sit down to write the scene, I bullet out everything I need to see and learn by the end of it. This helps me stay focused and has allowed me to write more per hour than I ever have before (major thanks to Rachel Aaron's ridiculously helpful blog post on this). 

But having this vague list of scenes has also allowed for a ton of wiggle room. I like wiggle room. It lets my story breathe a little, making way for unexpected scenes, twists, and elements that end up becoming vital to the story. In the past I've had the tendency to blaze through events. So this has also taught me to slow down and really get my hands dirty in the story, which is good! What's strange is how, despite having these tiny goals mapped out beforehand, bizarre things happen anyway. A character will say something surprising, a new plot line will present itself, heck, I just had a character appear out of nowhere once I'd already begun typing; someone I'd never planned for and didn't realize I had room for. And she's a great addition!

The world my characters live in is becoming richer, the protagonist is finding her voice a bit more, so things are going well. You know, apart from this villain I've created who has such a mind of her own on the page that she's even starting to scare me and I imagined her to life! The story is quickly evolving into something so much larger. It's terribly exciting, but I won't lie to you... I am freaking out! Still, with 24 days and a little under 39,000 words to go, there's no time to dwell on that fear (yet another pro of NaNoWriMo). Full steam ahead!

And just in case you're wondering what happened to my procrastination skills, I give you my latest kryptonite, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It's a weekly vlog that's retelling Pride & Prejudice with a modern twist. I'm absolutely loving it! Lydia and Bing Lee are hands down my favorites and "Darcybot malfunction" might have to be my new go-to phrase when I'm having writer's block! Here's the first episode to get you started:
It really sucks you in when you get going, so I hope you have four hours on your hands. This week we saw Darcy for the second time ever and it was the letter scene i.e. eeee!!!! He gets called a newsie, so you know I'm rooting for him even though I don't really like him yet (which is fantastic because in every other adaptation I'm in love with him by this point, but now I'm truly seeing him through Lizzie's eyes). Enjoy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

like eating spicy pickles

After churning out a scene over coffee, I set off for the farmer's market to keep to my Saturday morning routine. I visited the usual stands, but my sights were inevitably drawn to the pickle stand. If you've ever heard me talk to my parents on the phone on the weekend, the conversations go a lot like this...

Mom/Dad: Did you go to the farmer's market?
Me: Yes! How can you ask me that? Don't you know me at all?
Mom/Dad: What'd you get?
Me: Oh honeycrisps, spaghetti squash-
Mom/Dad: You didn't see the pickle man?!

In France I had a cheese man, but in Baltimore I have a pickle man. And it's like, somehow, my life is not complete without a weekly visit to the pickle man. But the pickle man is, admittedly, the stuff of legend. He makes the spiciest pickles and packs so many into that small container, I could swear it has an extendable charm a la Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In short, the pickle man is a wizard. But back to the pickles themselves. These things are devilishly spicy. Now, I really love spicy things, but the first time I had them there were tears. And this didn't stop over time, oh no. My roommates still regularly come across me in the kitchen, hunched over the counter, popping them in my mouth over and over despite the tears running down my face. It's literally painful to eat them. But oh how I love to do it!

Day three into NaNoWriMo and I have much of the same sensation. Today I thought to myself, well, I have all this time so I might as well double my daily goal and get ahead. Despite having "all this time," it's not been quite as pretty as I hoped (my lunch break may have involved an impossible-to-twist-off-salsa-lid that resulted in my screaming at the jar and crying for a live-in pickle man who makes the impossible deliciously possible). I'll bullet point the sequence of events in a scene before I start writing, which is incredibly helpful, but then I have these characters who have alarming minds of their own as they come alive on the page. So everything goes out the window. But you know what? It's ridiculously exciting! Sure it's a bit painful, making my mouth burn with curses and my eyes water with tears, but I am l-o-v-i-n-g every minute of it. I just can't get enough! This writing with reckless abandon business has done wonders for driving my story forward and making cool discoveries. I've got to say, I'm impressed. Now back to it! Nom nom nom...

P.S. And yes, Mom and Dad, I did get spicy pickles from the pickle man today! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012


It wasn't till last year that I finally heard about National Novel Writing Month, a program designed to help writers pound out a very rough first draft of a novel. The goal is to write 50,000 words by the end of November, which evens out to 1,667 words per day (roughly six pages double spaced). I loved the idea of a month of frantically writing with "reckless abandon," as they say, but it was daunting. You're supposed to start from scratch i.e. you can have notes and that sort of thing, but you can't have written any of the actual text before. So as November 1st zoomed into view, I started to panic. I had the barest of bare bones of an idea that I could start working on completely from scratch, but there was one glaring problem. The story that's been weighing on me most, a story which I began writing for my class last year, was the one I wanted to write. I went back and forth about it, but ultimately decided to be a "rebel" and work on this story (in my defense, I scrapped most of what I had written for it previously anyway). 

So today, with my plot outlines and mess of notes, I began typing away with said reckless abandon on my lunch break. And you know what? Day one's over (1,786 words) and it feels amazing! While I'm told this will soon pass and be replaced with panic, I'm bubbling with a sense of accomplishment. It already feels like my story is evolving the way it should. So since I'm both basking in this triumph and supposed to be using this blog to keep me accountable about my writing, I've added the very scary NaNoWriMo word count monitor on the right. Keep your eye on it and send me encouragement and howlers accordingly. My only question is, why November? I'm worried this will all go out the window once I go home for Thanksgiving break, so I'm determined to try writing more than the minimum whenever I can a.k.a being extra antisocial! Side note: imagine how much more I might have written tonight had The Vampire Diaries not been on! The mind reels.

But all this novel business makes me homesick for France, the source of nearly all my ideas. Some of my greatest adventures, both good and bad, took place there and its influence trickles into most of my writing. This is especially true of setting, which I will gladly attribute to what adds up to weeks spent on trains zooming through the French countryside i.e. my muse. So I can't resist sharing this picture my friend Brita sent me earlier today of the facelifts they're giving the RER trains that run between my favorite places on earth, Paris and Versailles. 
Do you still call it fangirling when it's about a train? (x)
Comme c'est magnifique! I was just there in June, but... I think it's time to go back already! But then, isn't it always? Oh what I'd give to be scribbling away on the RER this very moment!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

come on with the rain

love rainy days and since Hurricane Sandy snagged me an unprecedented second day off from work, I spent it in a snug blanket fort eating PB&J.
I've been itching to do this for a while, but another rainy day seemed like the perfect excuse. Since I was already embracing my inner child, I did some story brainstorming with an elementary school style web. It was actually quite useful seeing all my crazy ideas for certain scenes spilling out on the same page. Some ideas looked so ridiculous written down (and yet I still find myself attached to them), it made it a lot easier to take them off the table.

Another thing I found useful...
I recently inherited my grandparents' dictionary from 1949. Flipping through when my brainstorming got a bit lethargic was impressively helpful. Besides stumbling across the words that gave me little "aha!" moments, it was fun just to see a bit of old fashioned slang in there.

I'm already feeling nostalgic about these much needed days off. But I might keep listening to the same rainy day songs to stay in the spirit of things. Here are a few I've had on a constant loop the past few days:
  1. "Someone to Watch Over Me" by Ella Fitzgerald 
  2. "Easy Living" by Billie Holiday 
  3. "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" by Ava Gardner  
How do you spend your rainy days? Hope you're all safe and sound post hurricane!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

the storm

There's just something about a storm brewing that gets the creative juices flowing. So with Hurricane Sandy churning its way towards us, gloomy Halloween skies, and perhaps listening to The Little Mermaid score a lot more than usual, inspiration struck. Last night, I kept waking up as a pesky character bubbled up from the past, demanding I scribble down his story. It's been two years since I first dreamed him up, but I just didn't have a plot for him. I'd tucked him away for a rainy day, but I never expected that rainy day to be today. And much as I've been intent on focusing on my work in progress, it was refreshing to hunker down with something else. Especially because it's so different in audience, voice, and all the rest. So a lengthy first draft (too lengthy, perhaps, at 995 words) of a children's storybook is done and on the road to edits and workshops. I'm really going to have to "kill my darlings" with this one and find a way to tighten it up. My main struggle is... to rhyme or not rhyme? Right now it's got a smidge of both.

A hint as to the subject matter? 
Dragons! The picture above is from the epic How to Train Your Dragon, which I can't recommend highly enough. It's a spectacular story from start to finish, complete with flawless character names (Hiccup, Toothless, Astrid) and the most incredible score ever. Those songs always wind up on my writing mixes, particularly "Forbidden Friendship." I've yet to read the books (I know!) by Cressida Crowell, but allow me to coo over the opening lines of the first book anyway. "Long ago, on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow." What a brilliant hook!

P.S. Thanks to Sandy, I have the day off tomorrow! More writing projects for me! *confetti*

Friday, October 26, 2012

a beginning

Elizabeth's spirits soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. ‘How could you begin?’ said she. ‘I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning, but what could set you off in the first place?’

‘I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.’

-Pride & Prejudice, chapter LX
Before I knew it, the dream of writing fiction had overwhelmed everything else. But like the characters I've come to love so much, I'm hopelessly flawed. More specifically, I'm easily distracted by sloth videos and the sudden desire to Google-image Mr. Thornton. So this is a blog to keep me accountable about my writing progress. However, that's not to say you won't see your fair share of haikus about Nutella, comics of One Direction as cats, or tales of my misadventures in Baltimore and beyond. Charming!