1. U is for Unabridged

    U is for Unabridged #atozchallenge

    U

    If you’re anything like me, you love a good classic. The Odyssey, Iliad, Journey to the West, and other mammoth-sized books in the category impress upon the reader not only a sense of an intense dedication to the tale (many of these in fact authored by more than one person), but also a universal truth: the Story remains much the same.

    However, there is a certain tendency publishers have with…

    View On WordPress

     

  2. I was going to make a long post about metaphor and writing again for today, but I’ve decided to talk about something far more personal and simple instead. My favorite children’s book.

    I am certain that anyone who is reading this blog now had a favorite book when they were still small, but if someone were to ask me, I would saw The Weaving of a Dream, by Marilee Heyer is mine.

    The story revolves around an old woman, a mother of three strapping boys, who one day comes across a most gorgeous painting in the market where she sells her weavings. She resolves that she must live in a place like that or surely die, but the youngest son suggests she instead weave the palace in the painting. She finds this a reasonable compromise, and spends many years on the task, much to the chagrin of her older, lazier sons.

    No sooner does the woman complete her tapestry, however, than a wind rips through her house and steals the weaving away. It is up to the brothers to go and fetch it back for her, before her broken heart kills her.

    In the tradition of fairy tales and repetitions of three, it is not surprising that the two older sons fail to fulfill their oaths, but the trials the youngest must face are truly what make this story stand out to me. It is a wonderful read, with absolutely stunning images, and a treat for any who open its pages.

    I can only hope I can write that simply, yet beautifully in the end… and draw like that. Oh, if there was an artist to learn from for me, it would be Marilee Heyer!

    What was, or is, your favorite children’s book?

    Tomorrow: U is for Unabridged!

    T is for Tapestry #atozchallenge I was going to make a long post about metaphor and writing again for today, but I’ve decided to talk about something far more personal and simple instead.
     

  3. I was featured on an awesome post today by the one and only D Lonely Stoner on Wordpress! It totally made my day! :D

     

  4. S is for Story, My Story

    S is for Story, My Story #atozchallenge #a2z

    S

    Chances are, if you’ve wondered around my page at all, you’ve seen my bio on my About page. You may have also read about my Year on the Road, and how much it influenced me as a person. But today, I’m going to go way back, and add a bunch more to the beginnings mentioned in my bio.

    Today is S, for My Story.

    I was born in a deep, swampy suburb of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain, the fifth…

    View On WordPress

     

  5. R is for Reading Outside Your Genre (and Giveaway Results!)

    R is for Reading Outside Your Genre (and Giveaway Results!) #atozchallenge

    R

    Before I begin today’s real post, I wanted to quickly announce the winners of my recent giveaway (from 100 Posts and 1,000 Followers). I’m still extremely touched, and so inspired by everyone who has taken time out of their lives to comment on my blog this month and all the months before it, and am more than thrilled to announce the winners, as follows:

    milestone

    GRAND PRIZE: Liz Blocker
    1st Place: Diana
    2n…

    View On WordPress

     

  6. Q is for Quidnunc

    Q is for Quidnunc #atozchallenge #atoz #a2z

    Q
    quidnunc /kwidˈnungk/
    noun
    An inquisitive, gossiping person

    I’m not much of a gossip. Of course, you’d never know that from the way my characters spill their acquaintances’ secrets like a spring shower: freely and in great quantity.

    A character is never safe from being overheard. A brief moment with a trusted relation, revealing their darkest fears and regrets, and surely within the day, a great…

    View On WordPress

     

  7. P is for Psychology

    P is for Psychology #atozchallenge

    P

    Cracking open the head of a character is one of the most rewarding parts of the writing experience. I grew up in a house full of psychiatrists and metaphysical discussions, so for me, analyzing a character’s agency, thought processes, and darker tendencies is cathartic and helps me push my worlds into more believable territory. If you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I profess to write “primarily…

    View On WordPress

     

  8. There’s something really satisfying about a book that ties up all of its loose ends. A book that has threads going in forty different directions, but somehow they all meet up again, just in time for a denouement (you remember denouement from “J is for Jargon”, I hope!), leaves me with such a feeling of contentment that I’m practically cuddling the book by the end (The False Prince comes to mind, just from this year).

    Of course, those threads (which I’ll be going into later, in an upcoming A-Z post) are really hard to fully manage, especially when you start getting into the overly involved worlds of genre fiction. Copious notes are required, and several eyes that don’t remember the whole story like you do. Even experienced writers have to be careful… just look at these plots notes taken by James Southall Wilson of the Virginia Quarterly Review and J K Rowling, of Harry Potter (which need not be mentioned, I know, but I like my sentences to be balanced, okay?)

    I feel more like Wilson than Rowling. Despite my best attempts to make something organized, the moment there is space on the page, or it seems to flow too well, my brain decides to add another layer, another theme, because it doesn’t seem ‘complicated’ enough for a fantasy epic. I think this is compounded by the fact that I have been developing and ‘playing’ around with these characters casually for almost four years, and am only now translating their story to paper. In some cases, the characters in my casual universe are already dead, and I’m having to go back to the beginning. My brain rebels quite a bit to that.

    And then there’s the time paradoxes that result from altering even that tiniest thing in their past, but I won’t get into that today, haha.

    How do you keep track of all of your odds and ends? I use Scrivener and a binder that is thoroughly color-coordinated. Highlighters and colored pens also are important.

    Tomorrow: P is for Psychology!

    O is for Odds & Ends #atozchallenge There’s something really satisfying about a book that ties up all of its loose ends. A book that has threads going in forty different directions, but somehow they all meet up again, just in time for a denouement (you remember denouement from “J is for Jargon”, I hope!), leaves me with such a feeling of contentment that I’m practically cuddling the book by the end (
     
  9. slushpilehell:

    We received this award a couple days ago from Writer’s Digest magazine. So apparently we don’t suck as much as we thought.

    Woohoo!!! Congrats!

     

  10. I’m one of those people that really enjoy naming characters. A lot of names that I use were chosen for their sound, more than their meaning (which means that a lot of my names are actually gibberish).

    akashiforweb

    “Akashiseizaborou”

    I think the longest name I have ever used for a character is “Akashiseizaborou”. At the time, I was specifically looking for the longest Japanese name I could find for a serious, frowny-pants archangel. Something that also happened a lot with my characters that were created in my teens is the use of Japanese names (see above, and several names below).

    SIDE NOTE: Until writing this post, I was sort of hesitant to post any of the character artwork I have to accompany this post, because I’m not really drawing in this style anymore, and so on, but it seems silly to reject a part of my authorial growth that was so profoundly influential to the development of my visual execution. So, most of the images here are drawn in the anime style of Japanese cartoons, though keep in mind they are all near a decade old. Mainly, I wanted there to be something personal and visual in every post, so here they are.

    As I was saying, a lot of my characters from this period had names of words that I was trying to learn at the time. For instance, I have a set of triplets that students of nihongo might get a kick out of. Their names were Migi, Chushin, and Hidari. These names literally mean right, center, and left, respectively. I also had elementally locked characters named Zetsumei and Owari. (“Death” and “End”.)

    In any case, had to stop doing that eventually, because 1) I branched out to different regions in my writing besides those that were inspired by Asia, and 2) I realized a lot of the names I was growing attached to wouldn’t work very well if I attempted to publish.

    "Guillotine"

    “Guillotine”

    My penchant for naming people after regular, every day words didn’t really go away, as I now have a bunch of characters named things like Guillotine, Pussywillow, Slate, Otter, Holly, Fable, Narcissus, and Peony, among others.

    When a name doesn’t automatically present itself as a word, I next try fun alliterations or syllable duos, like Yendi, Arcus, Jana, Ergon, Ryldur, and so on.

    Of course, sometimes even that fails, and I take myself to the net, where I scour down names for regionally similar places to the ones I am writing (using a lot of Hindu and Turkish names right now). The problem with that is that sometimes I end up with a great name––but something far too similar to it is already in use for a bestseller.

    For instance, in my current WIP, I am in love with the name “Katerine” (Kat-er-EEN). However, I also just went and watched The Hunger Games, and d’oh, can’t use it anymore! Back to the drawing board…

    How do you name your characters? Have you ever fell in love with a name you can’t use anymore, for whatever reason?

    Heliosforweb

    “Helios”, a character from my current WIP

    Tomorrow: O is for Odds & Ends!

    N is for Naming Characters #atozchallenge I’m one of those people that really enjoy naming characters. A lot of names that I use were chosen for their sound, more than their meaning (which means that a lot of my names are actually gibberish).