Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Writing Goals Rock

After finishing my NaNo novel for 2010 I was thrilled. In my opinion, it was my best project yet. I loved the characters. I loved the story line. I loved that fact that the first draft was finished. Yet, there is still so much more work to be done. I love it, but in all reality, it's 65k words of trash.

So begins second draft. Rewrites. 500 words into rewriting I discovered something. I have a love/hate relationship with doing it. I love taking a sentence from the original and turning it into something so much better. Telling the story in a clearer way. Adding scenes that I can't believe I forgot in the first draft. Scenes that reveal secrets you never would have believed were there.
At the same time however, is this ever going to end? Each word gets me closer to the end of draft two, each word makes for an even better novel, but for someone who's attention span is rather short lived, the whole thing is already becoming rather difficult.

I guess the best way to deal with that is to finish as soon as possible. Thus, I have set myself the goal of finishing draft two by June 1st. On top of that, I would like to keep working on Ash Valley (check out my new page, Current Writing Projects to read about Ash Valley). Maybe get the first draft finished?

Writing goals rock. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Writer's Resources

I thought I might share a few of the things that have helped me out with my writing. Websites, books, blogs.


  • 750 Words. Unfortunately I didn't discover this website until after NaNoWriMo, but I'm so glad I did find it. Thanks to my lovely seester. This website encourages you to write at least 750 words a day by giving you points and badges. Not only that, when you've finished your words for that day it will tell you, an assortment of interesting information about your writing. Such as, how many words you have in total, what your writing is rated (G, PG, ect.) What the overall feeling of your writing was (affectionate, upset, sad), and your frequently used words, among other things.
  • Write or Die. A rather popular tool among NaNoers. Keep those words flowing, or you'll be sorry. (Check the sidebar for the writing tool!)
  • Baby Names. Easy to use, millions of names, meanings, origin, pronunciation and more!
  • RhymeZone. Not only does it find a rhyme for any word entered, but synonyms, definitions, similar sounding words, homophones, checks spelling, and finds quotations, to name a few. All in all a great one stop word help.

  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. They work too. For those who just can't figure out where a comma really belongs, or for those who think diagramming is fun, this book is incredibly helpful!
  • The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes: And How to Avoid Them. I didn't agree with everything Mr. Bickham had to say, but this was still rather helpful!
  • Big Fat Paycheck. For those interested in writing film scripts, this book just might come in handy. I do have to warn about some bad language however.
One thing that inspires me the most is having a chat with my "writer friends." Here are some blogs of some other writers I know.
Hope you can find something helpful in there! What are some of your favorite writing resources?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pan-Pipes, Backpacker Guitars, and Tin-Flutes

It all started when Kekoa asked what the instrument Mr. Tumnes played was called. You know, the amazing little flute that makes the flames dance, literally. Mum said she thought it was a pan-flute.

I've always thought it would be cool to play that little flute, whatever it is, so when we got home I googled the pan-flute. Mum was wrong. It is not the pan-flute he plays. In fact, the instrument he does play was fabricated entirely for the movie.

However, I was soon captivated by the pan-flute, or pan-pipes. Gorgeous instruments that make beautiful sounds, I decided I wanted to play one. I still do, but it'll have to wait till I can save the money.

During my search for pan-flutes I also happened to discover the backpacker guitar. Another hour looking those up. Another instrument added to the list to save for.

While researching backpacker guitars I discovered the point of this post. The tin-whistle, or the penny-whistle. Not as pretty as a pan-flute, but they still make an amazing sound when played right. Small, easy to travel with. Good idea for someone living in a motor home. Not only that, they were much more easy attainable. The one I wanted was only $20.

One problem. I don't have $20. A plan began to form in my mind. I approached Mum with it the next morning. "If I can finish this grade of math (that's 38 lessons peeps) in a week, will you get me the $20 tin-whistle I want?"

Her answer. "Possibly."

Good enough for me. Four days later I announced I had finished that level in math. She ordered the tin-flute. I am now eagerly awaiting it's arrival, hoping it will get here before Christmas.

I discovered an awesome website that teaches you how to play the tin-flute, totally for free. Videos and all. Despite the lack of flute, I've already watched several of the first lessons.

I've watched tons of youtube videos about tin-flutes, people playing tin-flutes, people talking about tin-flutes.

Now I just need mine.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dawn Treader - The Thoughts of a Wanna Be Film Critic

On Saturday I went to go see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I went expecting to be either blown away, or severely disappointed.

For the first ten/twenty minutes I sat in my seat, wishing I could meet Michael Apted and tell him he had made a mess of the whole thing. Lines were awkward, to obvious, and not in character. Granted, Mr. Apted didn't write the script, but he has the last say, and apparently he didn't say it.

As the story continued however, things slowly began to get better. The whole trip to Narnia definitely helped. By the end of the movie I was left wondering why I didn't have a feeling of complete disgust, or amazement. I was neutral. Horrors.

To tell you the truth, I'm still not totally sure what I think of the movie. I'll probably have to watch it again before I can really truly decide. The things I do know for sure?
  1. Edmund was amazing. In my opinion, his character had the most depth, had the most interesting back story, and was just all around cool.
  2. Will Poulter lived up to all my expectations. When I first saw a picture of his freckled little face after finding out he would be playing Eustace, I knew he would be perfect for the part. I can't imagine it would be easy playing a character who goes from being perfectly dreadful, to rather lovable. He pulled it off.
  3. Caspian. Uh, Caspian. He needed a shave... and a haircut. He's a Prince... he should at least look like one. Although there were other things I could bring up, I'll leave it at that.
  4. Aslan was epic. Every time he came into a scene it was like a big sigh of relief. His obvious parallel to God, although not stressed, was not hidden. Which is more then I expected.
  5. The White Witch. I am personally thrilled that the White Witch has continually come back to tempt Edmund. Because of the one mistake he made two movies ago, Edmund is still living with this struggle, and always will. Such is the consequences of sin.
  6. The Morals. Overcoming temptation being the main one. Thankfully it was worked in well enough it wasn't cheesy either. One of the worst thing in a film is making the morals sound cheesy.
I think overall I would say it's not a bad movie, but it's certainly not the best, and not as good as it could have been.

Monday, December 6, 2010

All My Bones Shall Say...

I'm so glad the Psalm's are at the center of the Bible. When you open a random page in your Bible, looking for just the verse you need to read, it is very likely it will fall open near the center, the Psalms staring back at you. Asking you to read.

Last night I opened my Bible and the first verse gave me the encouragement I was looking for. As I kept reading I was amazed at the words I read. God's words.

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. -Psalm 33:1-5


Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. -Psalm 33:20-22


And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, "Lord, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?" -Psalm 35:10


"All my bones shall say..." May all my bones proclaim His glory. May all my bones scream the wonderful news of His love. May all my bones be entirely and completely His.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo Has Come to an End

NaNoWriMo. It all comes to an end on December 1st. All those who succeeded, go to bed three hours early because they don't have 1,000 words to write before they can. Eat carrot sticks like they're candy because they're tired of living off chocolate and cheez-it's, and watch a movie. Just because they have the time.

Those who didn't happen to reach that coveted number of words fall into fits of tragic disappointment, wish they had never been born, then do everything the winner did. Just not with as much joy.

Thankfully, I happened to be in the first group. My final word count for this month was 54,455 words. I expect I'll make it to 60k before the end of the novel.

Some things I knew would happen and did?
  • A massive word war with my friend. A fight to the finish. A duel to the death. An epic battle that would go down in history.
  • My characters took things into their own hands and informed me they knew best. I listened.
  • I fell behind in my Spanish lessons. I'm still working on catching up.
  • I wrote about 49,000 words of trash. First drafts are always so much fun to read back over. Not.
  • I listened to more Celtic Thunder then I ever thought possible and now have every song memorized. Even the ones in Gaelic.
The things I didn't see coming?
  • I came to know my characters more then I had ever known any of my characters before. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I had been waiting to write their story for almost nine months, but I felt like they were living breathing people at times. Crazy.
  • I lost before mentioned word war by over 9,000 words. Oh well.
  • One of the sweetest characters alive... er... written, died. Rather tragically, but very touching.
  • I only fell behind the suggested word count for two days. They weren't even in a row.
  • A sequel slowly started developing in my brain, and if I can wait a whole year, will probably be my novel for NaNo next year.
  • This first draft turned out far better then last years.
  • I reached the 50,000 words before Thanksgiving. Eight days early to be exact.
All in all. It was blast. I'm relieved I don't have 1,667 words to write before going to bed, but I can't wait for next November when the whole thing starts again.