No, I didn’t get kidnapped…

Ah, it has been a while.

Unfortunately I’ve had a few things pop up that I hadn’t expected. One being that we’ve managed to further the species. Yup, baby one is loading. 🙂 Secondly, we’ve had a death in the family. And third I haven’t read anything!!!

The last is driving me nuts!!! I can’t find anything interesting enough to keep my now hormonal brain interested. Ugh, the struggle is real.

I have managed to acquire Funimation on my Roku. ( If you don’t know what that is then go educate yourself. I can wait…)
Welcome back!
Like I was saying I’ve now got anime and I’m loving it! A few recommendations:
For funny/action –
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Assassination Classroom: An octopus is going to destroy the world….but not before he teaches middle school!
For simple/fantasy –
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Snow White with the Red Hair: Shirayuki was told she would become the prince’s concubine. But after fleeing to the neighboring country she may have found where she belongs. This show is just pretty. The animation reminds me of all the Miyazaki movies.

Neither of these are your fan service types. So they’re not full of sex or gross themes. They’re cute and funny! ( And yes I’ve mentioned AC before. But hey, it’s still awesome!)

Well, that’s all I have for now! Have a good one!

Tunes…

Music is an amazing thing. There is something for everyone. It crosses languages, nationalities, and stigmas. Music touches every soul and seemingly heals wounds. It fuels your inner fire and can sooth your burns.

Today let’s talk about music!

So, every day you could ask me at any given moment what song is playing in my head and I could tell you. The songs range from rock to country to pop. Sometimes it’s even some stupid song… anyone remember the “Hamster Dance”? What’s my point? Music comes in many forms. So do stories.

Yup, I went there. Music is an amazing way to seek inspiration for your writing. I’m a big believer in reading outside of your comfort zone to grasp a wider view of the world. To deepen your characters and add variety to your amazing writing. But… I don’t always have time to read a new novel. I do, however have time to jam to a new song.

Music draws up visual images. (No, I don’t mean music videos.) When was the last time you sat down and listened to music and let your mind visualize whatever the song brought up? Maybe you’re a rockstar on stage, maybe it’s a ship on the seas, maybe you’re arguing with the world. There are many fun moments songs bring to mind.

Can’t break that genre bump? Try this. Here’s a playlist I had fun jamming to.
The Corrs – When the Stars Go Blue
Flo Rida – Apple Bottom Jeans
Skillet – Monster
Paramore – Grow Up (Or any other song they have…)
Halestorm –  Here’s to us
The Dixie Chicks – Goodbye Earl
Zetta Bytes – When the Rain Falls
Saliva – Ladies and Gentlemen
Tool – Lateralus

I know! It’s a mash up playlist. But I look for songs that have a visual feel. Whether it is in a club, in your mind, in a circus, or just something that draws a very good picture. Your novel should reach out in a way that causes your readers to “feel” an emotion. Paint with music.

Don’t use the lyrics as your story. One thing that gripes me is when someone writes a song in their story. Every person who reads that passage will create their own tune to it. But I digress…. Instead take the mental image from what you’ve heard and re-write it for your needs. Listening to your playlists while you write can bring about ideas for story conflict.

Take, for instance, the song ‘Here’s to Us’:
“Here’s to all that we kissed
And all that we missed
To the biggest mistakes that we just wouldn’t trade
To us breaking up
Without us breaking down
To whatever’s come our way”

Now what would make someone say those words? What mistakes? What have they conquered through fire?

Or take ‘Monster’:
“The secret side of me, I never let you see
I keep it caged but I can’t control it
So stay away from me, the beast is ugly
I feel the rage and I just can’t hold it

It’s scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls
It comes awake and I can’t control it
Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head
Why won’t somebody come and save me from this, make this end?”

I LOVE this song! It makes you feel a thrill that this person is about to explode in to Mr. Hyde or the Hulk! What are they hiding? What does it look like? It says “It’s scratching on the walls”. Can you see those rugged, rough claw marks? The tears in wall paper and holes in wooden doors. Could this be fodder for your scary story? Or could you add it to a character who is lacking something?

Use music for your benefit. It is an extremely valuable resource!

Side note: Am I the only one who has ever lost a playlist when switching devices? Then you have to try to remember which ones you lost, where to find the ones it took you years to track down to begin with, and what version you originally had. Ugh…. First world problems.

Have a good one!

Off Topic…

Today I wanted to post on a little something fun! This is a topic I know you haven’t read on my blog site yet and figured, what the hey! Today’s topic…Corsets!

For many, many centuries corsets have been around. Often we like to claim that corsetry began in the 1800’s but the real truth is that they’ve been around for much longer than that. Women have been trying to restrain, support, and enhance their bodies for years. In early Rome we can find metal halters, in Greece we find belted dresses, and later in the medieval ages we begin to truly notice corsets.

The original corsets were designed to bind the breasts. It allowed for a modest look and they were made stiff by glue. Through the years their appearance has changed drastically. The medieval style was quite conical. Unlike the sweetheart, push-up effect we seek out today, these were designed to restrain and not exaggerate. In those days such things would have been quite the outrage! Some such designs we could refer to as ‘stays’.

As the years pressed on history would see the Edwardian corset begin to alter in form to a more hourglass shape. It fitted to the woman’s curvy body and soon became the “ideal” shape for a lady. Dresses were made to accentuate such shape and the corset added to the style. Though, they were no longer accepted as outer garments. The dress was the main display complementing the lady’s figure.

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The popularity of such garments became standard among women. Lower-class women would tie themselves in while the upper-class would have maids cinch them in. The Victorian era made corsets all the rage where even queens would demand the women have a specific waist size throughout the kingdom.

It remained so until the early 1900’s. In 1914 women’s fashion took a major hit. With World War I the military needed metal, and where do you find metal? In corsets! So the binding garments were exchanged for lesser garments. The women also began to work so they needed to be able to MOVE. Something they couldn’t do as well in a corset. il_214x170.874736571_ygdj

Subsequently, bras became vastly popular!

Since then it would seem culture is beginning to change once again. Where corsets had been less popular, mainly existing as lingerie, they seem to be making a comeback. While some women have kept up with the restraint, many women had turned their noses up over such a thing. Today we see more and more ladies venturing back out to find a corset. Having been raised in modern day they are no longer worried with clothing “ideals”. Not wearing white after labor day used to seem a fashion faux pas, today such rules have faded. In some areas more than others, and for those desiring corsets it was just the push we needed!

Today’s corsets come in a variety of colors and styles; everything from the costume corset to the waist training style – there’s something for everyone. whether you want to stealthily wear one under a blouse or dress, or you want to let it’s amazing design capture the eye of onlookers, the choice is yours!

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Lastly, a word of caution. Corsets are amazing and bring with them a long and assorted history. and while that’s wonderful, I also want to advise doing your research prior to purchasing a corset for any reason. If you just want to dress up for a cosplay go a little cheaper, for a romantic evening maybe something a little less fancy, but if you’re in it for the long haul then pay close attention to where you are buying from. Corsets can be made cheaply, and by that I mean they have little to no structure or support. A good quality corset will have steel spiral supports and plenty of flexibility. Poorly made ones contain plastic or other such boning that can easily warp and cause the wearer discomfort. Good corsets should NEVER hurt . If so you need to remove the garment . Corsets, like the ones I’ve found from Orchard Corset are sturdy, fashionable, and most of all COMFORTABLE! With proper wear they conform to your body, not the other way around. Also, a custom made corset may be a bit more pricy but you don’t want to mess up your beautiful body!

I LOVE the crazy things and can do most any daily activity in them. Even running! They have been great for back support and proper posture. I encourage anyone curious to try one out and see how you fare. So long as you find a reputable source, a corset can be an excellent investment!

Have a good one!

A Thing Called Love…

Ahh…. So we meet again. This time we are discussing one of the most wonderful, delightful, painful, terrifying, and difficult to write emotions; love. Fortunately, we have a few tips to look at when deciding how to employ the aspect of love when writing. Some of which are the differences between telling and showing, the many emotions love brings out, and how to express things in a novel correctly.

Showing vs. Telling:

How many times have we read a love story or watched one on television? It is the common theme in nearly every story told. Even action movies are usually trying to keep the lady alive. The leading man wants to win the girl. Every princess wants a prince. Every loner wants a fellow hermit. None of these things are wrong so long as they are displayed properly and in the right time.

How cliché is it to have two lovers verbally pour their hearts out while the world is crashing down around them? We’ve seen it a million times. As women we often crave a good cry every now and then. While that’s alright it’s difficult to not write about love in that same manner. Cliché after cliché, goop after goop. Unless you’re writing a romance or a literary classic let’s try writing a different way.

When you tell about someone loving another it can get a bit droll. “My heart burns with the heat of a thousand suns for you”, “I cannot live without you or I’ll die”. These phrases are TELLING the audience exactly what’s going on. Here’s why that’s boring; when you read the words you don’t FEEL the emotion behind them. You are just told that these to characters love each other.

However, when we SHOW two people’s affection for one another we FEEL it as if we are there. I’m not saying write trashy novels by any means. What I am saying is that we need to write in all of the little things that make love exciting and special.

Let’s look at the novel Divergent by Veronica Wroth for a moment. In her novel she does an excellent job of putting on display the little things. Things where we aren’t really sure, though we may hope, if they mean something more.

After being the first to jump it reads:

Four sets his hand on my back and says “Welcome to Dauntless””

When they begin learning to fight it reads:

Four wanders through the crowd of initiates, watching us as we go through the movements again. When he stops in front of me, my insides twist like someone’s stirring them with a fork.” -Stop here. Examine. Why do her insides twist? Is she nervous because she’s a new initiate and completely inept? Let’s continue the same passage:

He stares at me, his eyes following my body from my head to my feet, not lingering anywhere-a practical, scientific gaze.

“You don’t have much muscle,” he says, “which means you’re better off using your knees and elbows. You can put more power behind them.”

Suddenly he presses a hand to mu stomach. His fingers are so long that, though the heel of his hand touches one side of my ribcage, his fingertips still touch the other side. My heart pounds so hard my chest hurts, and I stare at him, wide-eyed.

“Never forget to keep tension here,” He says in a quiet voice.”

Stop here. Examine. Veronica is SHOWING the beginnings of something. Until now we don’t really know much about their eventual affection. These are the starting signs. Likewise her story hinges on this relationship. This is why it is so important to SHOW rather than TELL.

The Many Emotions of Love:

When you watch any romantic movie how many emotions do you see? Love comes in many different forms; be it love for a child, a family member, or a significant other. Life is about the relationships we cultivate with one another. With those relationships comes a variety of emotional experiences. Think about this, the birth of a child. It is exciting, horrifying, gross, and traumatic. Each of these emotions come out of, ideally, love. The parents are thrilled to announce it. Mom is frightened beyond all belief and why? Because she loves so much she doesn’t want the world, or even herself, to harm this tiny being.

Another. You’re in a relationship with someone then they break your priceless family heirloom. You are angry and hurt. Why? Because you loved the one who gave it and the one who broke it. It is possible to love and hurt at the same time.

In Romeo and Juliet Romeo kills Tybalt. This puts Juliet in a difficult spot. She is recently married and her now husband has murdered her cousin. There is pain, anger, confusion, and sorrow. Why? Because she is in love with someone her family despises, and he killed someone she cared about.

Another.

When people are in love they may torment one another. Whether it is like Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights who ultimately drive one another mad, or like Nanami and Tomoe in Kamisama Kiss who, though they confess their love, Tomoe still feeds her her least favorite food. Why? Because they are still uncomfortable and undecided on aspects of their blooming relationship. They go back and forth poking one another for the heck of it, just to watch the other squirm. Yet, they feel bad when they realize they’ve gone too far. When they realize they injured the other person emotionally.

Expressions of Affection:

When we feel things for someone we tend to find any excuse to be around them, touch them, get that person’s attention. We dress a certain way, we talk a certain way, we shower (ideally), all to obtain that person’s affection. Think about it, how do relationships start? Some people tease one another, others may be overly sweet to each other. It can even be nauseating. They throw themselves at one another. I remember in high school rounding the corner every day and finding the same couples making out in between classes. Gross!

Also, we find people buying things for the ones they love. Flowers, chocolate, video games, books, jewelry, cars, perfumes…etc. People love one another in many expressive ways. How many times have we seen the JumboTron air a proposal? How many times have we read about someone going up in a helicopter to show a love message written in the crops? Or what about…Well you get the idea.

Love is a complicated emotion. Love is a deep emotion. Everyone’s relationships are different, yet the ebb and flow of life keeps them changing and evolving. And that is exactly why love is so difficult to write, but if we aren’t afraid to jump in it can be rewarding!

Have a good one!

My writing buddy…

In my last post I mentioned my new writing buddy. Today I wanted to introduce her to all of you.

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I would like for you to meet Brioche!
She’s a little calico full of love! She’s still figuring out our routine but she’s adjusting at a faster rate than we expected. She loves feather toys and paper bags!

I get the feeling that she’ll love hanging around while I work on my writing. So look for even more posts this week! Can’t wait!

Have a good one!

Absent…

Will the real slim shady please stand up?!

As you may have noticed I took a short sabbatical. Unfortunately it was during NaNo. So to continue where I left off I want to go forward with my novel writing. After a break I have found that I am quite passionate about this novel. It makes me happy to write it and it is very freeing. There’s just something good about this particular story.

In the coming days I hope to finish up a few reviews and put them up. I will also give writing advice as well as my perspective on certain writing topics. One of which being that most difficult of topics: love.

I also will be introducing my newest writing buddy, er, sort of.

Anyway!

I hate that I’ve left you hanging during such a difficult season. This month brings all kinds of events and I hope to not abandon you again! To make it up to you I will post again Friday!

Have a good one!

Being Unique…

Last night I was plotting and wracking my brain for more material. It then began weeping uncontrollably and begging for a reprieve. So, I decided to give it a little boost. I picked up my copy of Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. Now I know you’ve heard me rave about him before, and while I take many of his instructional books as biblical truth, I ended up noticing something I had forgotten in my reading last year.

On one of the pages I had underlined one of his passages. (I know, I hate writing in books as well but this is necessary.) In one of my recent posts I stated that I wrote from the perspective of “if it has worked for someone, it can work for me”. While that’s true, it’s not exactly the full idea. Scott Bell designed his “Bell’s Pyramid” in order to explain.

You see on the bottom and largest tier he puts the word passion. First, as writers we need passion. We cannot write for days, weeks, or months on any given topic without having a passionate reason to go on. A passionate plot is the beginning.

His next tier he fills with the word potential. Look at your novel and figure out what your “investor-self” would say about it. Is it interesting enough to grab more than your closest friend’s and family’s attention? If writing to a specific genre audience keep them in mind. What makes others in that field successful? What “idea” is it they are passionate about?

His topmost tier is about precision. This tier is about honing your target. You need to make sure that whatever your goal is you never distract from it. Don’t take the attention from where you are headed.

Something big that he hits on is that publishing companies want something that isn’t exactly like everything else. Yet, they don’t want something that is so new and different that they don’t know how to handle it. This “safe zone” is where they are reaching for their next great novel.

So when I’m writing I’m pulling not from one single source but a myriad of sources. I often laugh at myself because if you’ve ever seen the show Gilmore Girls the band Hep Alien often describes their songs as being so-and-so meets so-and-so meets so-and-so, with a little bit of this band and that band thrown in. They list an absurd mash-up of different band genres that they find inspiration from. As writers that’s what we must do. So while we do steal and copy to a point, we only do so in order to make it our own unique style and story.

 

If you love John Wayne and how he portrays those wild west characters but really love the way Robert Taylor looks then try making some mixture of the two for yourself. Or maybe you like how Fred Astair dances and the way Sean Connery speaks, now it sounds like you have either a great leading man or an incredibly interesting enemy. The possibilities are endless.

So, yes, what others have done did work and can be utilized by you to succeed. Learn from their works. See what makes their plot stand out. Why does their story work? List each plot point, list every character’s attributes and flaws, and then try to design something similar for your own novel.

Have a good one!

19th of 30

In my last post I had just begun writing my novel. I just had the bare minimum to go by. An idea that was close to fleeting. Today I stand at around 16k words. I finally had to crack down. It’s been hard. It’s too easy for me to let other things invade my time and take over. Whether it is laundry, my dogs, or other needs in my family there is always something to be done.

Luckily, I have a wonderful family who understands my self-inflicted challenge. They respect that I’m pushing my brain to its limits and that unless they want to hear every wordy struggle it is best to let me stay in my own little world. I can’t even begin to explain that maddening feeling of finding just the right word you need. Request, desire, need… behest! That’s the one!

Slowly I’ve been churning paragraph after paragraph, page after page worrying about how to get my MC from point A to point B. And the moment I stop stressing out over it and press on the problem solves itself. I know I say it often but the best way to solve a problem is to KEEP WRITING.

The things our minds do without our awareness are astounding. Some of the things I worry the most over solve themselves without any conscious thought. Our brains are incredibly designed. When you get your ending set up from the beginning your mind starts plotting. In a weird way it takes up the reigns and only requests that you be obedient and WRITE IT DOWN.

If you just ponder day in and day out without writing anything down then you don’t have anything to work off of. Your mind begins putting into place all of the pieces your story needs. When you get it out either onto paper or on your PC you can look back and see that all of the threads begin to connect.

Recently I have been surprising myself with how well this works. I had a moment where I knew my character would need saving in a bathroom. But what was she needing to be saved from? The only thing my mind could throw up was that she was suicidal. But that’s not in her character. It is totally opposite of who she is. I didn’t want my story to head that direction.

So I decided that if I didn’t like it I could always edit later. I kept writing. I was behind and it was going to take everything I had to get caught up. And then it happened. The solution I was looking for popped up out of seemingly nowhere. I was able to prevent her from going that far south and yet still accomplish my goal.

When I later recounted what happened to her all I could say was, “As it turns out, she was never suicidal at all!”. My brain already had a solution waiting in the wings. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand it all right now. If you give it a chance and don’t quit you will have, I’m sure, many of those such moments.

I hope you find this post useful if nothing else. Have a good one!