Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This year, I've come back to many old childhood reading favorites and found much of the magic I remember has sadly gone. Approaching Christmas, I wondered if that would be the case with “A Christmas Carol”. Silly me – a story that's been so beloved for so long will never lose a single spark of its magic!
I was fortunate enough to catch an old radio broadcast of the story as well, from 1939 with Orson Welles narrating; I listened to it while working, and started wondering just what makes this story so special. Why does it survive? What about it touches people's hearts, generation after generation?
I'm not quite sure. ;) For me, though, I think I love the story for its quirkiness, its oddball comedy, and most of all for the theme of redemption. The more I write and read, the more I realize I'm drawn to that theme. Redemption in a Christian sense, of course, but also just plain redemption – the opportunity to redeem yourself, to change your life for the better. And Dickens' story is all about redemption. The message of the story is that it's never too late. No matter how bad your life has been, there's always a chance for a better future.
Which, of course, is the promise of Christmas.
And now...unwrapped gifts are looking accusingly from me to the wrapping paper and ribbons so I will close. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Their favorite tool is a large pen, their favorite color red, their favorite word REJECTED. Preferably all together. They have mastered the art of speech, and spend their free time memorizing the Dictionary of Insulting Long Words.
They have made extensive studies of smiling... the more teeth, the better. Their most common heard phrase is “I'm sorry, BUT....” in slow tones, laced with the occasional mention of “agents” or “a little editing”. They keep printers going at all times, and computer files open at Reject Letter.
Science fears for the extinction of this species – not from natural disaster, but from their most common predator, an ancient and savage breed called Writers or Authors. But most of this new life-form has already taken protective measures and hired Large, Well-Muscled Humans with Guns. This is called Protection.
We are seeing a long happy future for this new species, for every year there are more Writers and more Books and Envelopes.... just waiting for the Mark of the Red Pen.
Oh, did I forget to mention? Scientists are calling them Publishers.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Hello peoples! Last year I started the tradition of filling out this quiz, filing it away, and taking it out to look at next year just before doing NaNo! It's a wonderful way to preserve the memories of each year's sprint for 50k.
This year, I'm sharing my impressions of NaNo with you all! If you like the quiz, feel free to copy it and take it yourself! File it away, or put it on your own blog – and if you blog about it, let me know! I'd love to read what you thought of NaNo this year!
1. Was 2009 your first NaNo? No, I did NaNo 2008 as well!
2. How did you find out about NaNo? Last year, my co-author told me about this mad scheme to write 50,000 words during a month. Sounded insane, but I decided to give it a try!
3. What made you decide to do NaNo this year? Last year was such an incredible learning and growing experience as a writer; I'd planned to do NaNo 2009 since December 1 '08. :D
4. Did you come into NaNo very prepared (outline, synopsis) or did you choose to wing it? My first novel, SS-5 was very structured. I had a detailed outline, character sketches, etc. My second novel, A Forbidden Homeland, I winged. I had no outline, no character sketches, and not much idea where I was going!
5. What was your original goal for the month? Somewhere around 85,000 words. Midway that changed to hitting the big 100!
6. Did you make your goal? Yes! Final word count was 102,095
7. Did you learn anything through doing NaNo? This year reinforced my belief in outlines and synopses. They are so important, and if you take the time to sketch your story out, a very readable first draft is completely possibly, even at NaNo-speed. This year, I also learned an incredible amount about character development.
8. Give your novel/s title and a one-line synopsis. SS-5: Jolted out of a self-centered, drifting childhood by the Nazi invasion, fourteen-year old Jan forms and leads a group of young people called the SS-5 to defend Holland against the Gestapo. Homeland: A Resistance leader and a woman of the enemy Protectors make a last desperate stand to regain their forbidden homeland.
9. What will you do with your novel now? Well, I'm already editing SS-5; I'd like to start sending it out to agents by 2010. Homeland isn't finished. I'll probably take a break from it for a while, do some outlining, and take up writing it again later.
10. What was your daily word goal? In the neighborhood of 2,500 – 3,000 words.
11. What was your highest day's word count? 7,494, which was 2,000 more than I'd ever written in one day! That was the night I finished my SS-5 novel...
12. Did you write any time you could, or did you have a more structured, set time for writing? In the beginning I wrote constantly; while doing dishes and scrubbing floors, in the middle of work...during cooking. About halfway through the second week, that tapered off to writing pretty much at night. I'd try to think the story through all day, and then start writing about 8 PM and just keep writing until I'd made my word goal.
13. Will you apply NaNo techniques to writing in general? Oh yes. I learned about outlining from last year's NaNo, and this year has reminded me of how important daily writing is. It doesn't really matter how much you write every day – it's just important that you do write.
14. What was the best thing about doing NaNo 2009? Finishing SS-5, being happy with it. Learning to write two extremely difficult characters. Also, doing it with my friends, and watching my sister do it for the first time!
15. What was the worst thing about doing NaNo 2009? Probably writing Homeland without an outline. It was extremely frustrating. Also, the first week of NaNo was extremely difficult, because I totally didn't understand my MC in SS-5. I felt I was ruining a story, and it wasn't even mine to ruin. Thankfully, God and my co-author stepped in and saved the day by helping me to see Jan the way he really is!
16. Best advice to someone planning NaNo for the first time? Having an outline is an awfully good way to start. But most of all, be sure you want to do it, and then just have the most fun you can. NaNo is all about adrenaline and challenges, crazy hope and following your dreams. Run with it!
17. Will you do NaNo next year? You bet your life. ;)
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Please feel free to save and use any of these as avatars, web badges, blog decoration, etc! If you decide to use one, please let me know - a comment here is fine. Credit is nice if that's possible, but not required.
So here they are. Some are traditional....
And I even did some Western and horse-theme ones!