24 October 2011

Warm Fuzzies!

The Warm Fuzzies Blogfest has begun!

Please head over to www.julianalbrandt.com to get the party started. I can't wait to see you all over at my new site!


Wow- it's weird to know I'm not going to be posting on this site anymore. *sniffle* I think I'm getting a little sentimental over here ;)

20 October 2011

Website Comes to Life

How exactly does a website come to life?

For me, it began with an e-mail to an amazing friend Letitia Englund. I've known her since...well, since I was a baby. She moved to Vancouver a couple years ago. I've followed her travels through her blog and am always amazed at the neat things she does. I need to take a page from her book- I just moved to Nashville and haven't done one cool thing yet.

Letitia is passionate about html and code in the same way I'm passionate about writing. It was wonderful working with someone who immediately understood what I wanted and was able to deliver a website that went above and beyond any expectations and hopes I had.


I truly cannot say enough about Letitia.

Thanks again, Letitia, for a website that makes me happy each time I go to it!

The site will launch next Monday, the same day the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest begins. From here on out, I will blog over on the new site, but won't shut down this blog for the few stragglers who haven't caught this weeks posts.

In the meantime, here are three hints for the fabulous website Letitia has put together for me :)


13 October 2011

I have a Secret...

I should say, I have a BIG secret and it has to do with the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest. It's the reason I haven't been able to announce the start date for the fest until today.

The reason? I have a website! and I'm incredibly excited about this :)

The site will launch Oct. 24th which will coinside with the beginning of the fest. Mark your calendars because that there is your official start date!

If you haven't signed up yet, go here. For those of you who are signed up, feel free to help spread the word. Keep track of any tweets (one point) or mentions on your blog (five points). I'm leaving this to the honesty policy because I know it's a pain to keep track of those links. In the first week of the fest, write how many points you have and I'll add that into the drawing to win one of my neat hand made journals. If you're not sure about these journals, go ask Misty. She just got one this week.

So, spread the word, keep track of your points and I can't wait to get the blogfest started!

p.s. I promise I'll get all caught up on blogs etc. this week I really am sorry I've been out of the loop :-/

p.p.s. Go vote for my ponies on Rebecca Enzor's blog- they need some more votes!

10 October 2011

Back to the Real World

Weddings, don't you love them?


Isn't she gorgeous? Seriously, these two are amazing :)


I love getting my hair done!


Why the wedding pictures, you ask? I was back home for the past five days to go to one of my very best friend's wedding. It was amazing and incredibly beautiful *sigh*

Sorry to be out of the loop, folks, but I swear, I'm back to the real world now.  I'm hoping Wednesday I'll get a post out with more info Warm Fuzzies Blogfest, such as when it's actually going to start ;)

Hope you all had as fun of a weekend as I did!

03 October 2011

It's mah- Birfday!

Well...tomorrow is actually my birthday! I thought about holding a contest or giveaway to celebrate, but the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest is coming up in a couple weeks, so I'm going to send out the gift of laughter to you all instead.

I got this comic in an e-mail from my Dad. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

30 September 2011

Crafty Me

I love crafts. I love being crafty...or at least, attempting to be crafty.

I told you guys I had a super secret awesome prize each week of the Warm Fuzzies blogfest (if you want more info and to sign up, go here ) and I'm finally ready to post a picture of it! I hope y'all like this because I've had fun making it.


Yes yes, it's a hand-made, home-bound journal! I had a ton of fun making this one and can't wait to get started on the others. If you want to win one of these babies, be sure to go to follow the link above and sign up for the fest!

For those of you wondering, I followed the easy instructions here . I've had some people ask if I could post pictures of the process of putting it together and I think I'll do that later this week :)

Since the blogfest is coming up in the next couple weeks, I'll be sure to post a more indepth article on what we'll be doing sometime very, very soon.

23 September 2011

It's all about Pictures, Y'all

I have been thinking recently about how much we put out there concerning our WIPs. I know a variety of writers who feel completely alright sharing any and all writing online and others who never talk about their WIPs.

I've always been okay posting my writing, but not with this most recent WIP. The best way I can put it is that I'm possessive over it. I'm keeping this very close to my heart and am hesitant to put anything about it online.

Because of this, I've had the idea that one of the weeks during the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest won't require you to put up a query/pitch/excerpt/summary of your WIP- none of that. Instead, it'll be all about pictures or music, your choice. I know that a lot of you keep folders of pictures and/or music that remind you of your WIP. So, start collecting and picking out the pieces you love most to showcase them during the fest.

If you still haven't signed up, go here and leave your e-mail. Of course, you're free to just jump in each of the weeks, also.

And, what do you think? Do you feel okay sharing your WIP online? I'm really curious to see what you think :)

19 September 2011

Ponies!

Rebecca Enzor of Stickynote Stories is hosting a My Little Ponies contest and everyone should go check it out!

The contest is to make a pony based on one of your own characters and the prize is to have the pony actually made! Eee!


I got so into the contest I ended up making three ponies:


Jacob is nice and tan because he lives in the desert. I'm in the middle of this WIP and don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you that Jacob's job has a lot to do with death- check out that cutie mark ;)

Kira is Jacob's leading lady. She too lives in the desert, but she burns easily and doesn't have that nice tan skin that Jacob does. She has the North Star for a cutie mark because she knows the stars like the back of her hand and uses them to navigate during the night. She's one mournful girl who needs a little happy in her life (cue Jacob).

This beauty is Farrah, the main character of my fantasy YA. She lives in a mountain (hence the cutie mark and pale skin). She's one tough cookie and takes her life and job very seriously (she's a bodyguard for the prince).

So, which one do you guys like? Which one do you think I should use in the contest??




(p.s. I stole the poll idea from Beth Revis who has some amazing ponies up on her blog too, go check 'em out.)

Also, I just found out I won second place in Rachael Harrie's flash fiction contest- the first part of her Campaigner Challenge. Y'all should have heard me squealing when I found out. I'm ridiculously proud of that piece. She's now my favorite and all my other WIP's are jealous :D

17 September 2011

No, it's not just our Imagination

If you haven't signed up for the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest yet, go check it out here! It's going to be awesome.

I read a short article the other day in a magazine (that I can't remember) that was based off of a study published in Psychological Science. I couldn't find the study (though I must admit, I didn't actually look that hard) but I was quite struck by what the article said and thought I'd share it with you all.

A study was conducted that basically said that we don't just read because it engages our creative mind, but that "readers get the same psychological benefits of belonging when immersed in plot as when part of a real-world group."

How cool is that??

We're happy when we read not just because our imaginations take us away to other worlds to meet new and exciting people, but that our brains react as if the books were real, that the people we read about are real.

I think that's pretty darn neat.

14 September 2011

Warm Fuzzies!


Details, details, because I know that's what you're looking for ;)

What is the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest? First and foremost, it's a celebration of who we are as writers! We all have doubts and moments where we struggle with our writing. Come join this blogfest for a pick me up and to connect with other writers who totally get it. Push aside the worries and focus on how awesome we all are :D

How will the blogfest work? There are four weeks during the fest. Each week there will be a different theme and prize. I'm still working out the kinks for the weekly contests and prizes but here are a few hints:

-How are our characters like us? Often, as writers, we get kicked when we're down. A query will be rejected at the same time as we encounter writers block or we'll lose a contest at the same time as getting back a negative critique. This week we'll get a few laughs by how bad our MC's have it. Because when we really look at it, being a writer really isn't that bad- at least we're not them ;)

-Did you make friends today? Just like in kindergarden, we'll make new friends! One week will be super interactive. You'll connect with other writers and write a creative piece of flash fiction together.

-What have you written that's given you the warm fuzzies? Everybody has a scene they've written that's given them the happy buzz. What's yours? We'll share our favorite moments in writing and celebrate how when it's good, it's reeeaaally good.

As for prizes, among others, I have a 30-page edit from an editor, a full blog makeover, and an artist who's up for creating a personalized illustration for your Warm Fuzzy scene for you. There's also a super secret prize lined up for each week.

So, how do you sign up? Stick your email in a comment on this post. That way I'll be able to shoot you an e-mail the week and day before the contest as a reminder.

*Tentitive start date is Monday, October 17th.

(P.S. You guys cracked me up on the last post! I'm still keeping my WIP a secret, but I'll let you know that yes, it does take place in the desert and yes there are dogs ;)

10 September 2011

I'm Giving Up Writing

Just kidding...but it made you look ;) I mean really, writing isn't something you can actually give up, is it.

*sigh* I can't think of a darn thing I want to post about today, so instead, I'm going to post some pictures that will hint as to what my current WIP is about.

Just try to put the hints together, I dare you!

(And NO cheating for those of you who actually know)





05 September 2011

The door swung open...

It's time for Rachael Harrie's first campaigner challenge! The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in 200 words or less. The first words need to be, "The door swung open." For an additional challenge, include the words, "The door swung shug," at the end. AND for an even greater challenge, make your story exactly 200 words (yes, yes I did this ;)

If you like my piece, head on over to Rach's site and 'Like' my entry, #39!

Monster

The door swung open and Magnolia-Rose stared into her dark closet where a purple fuzzy animal sat.
“Aren’t you supposed to be under my bed?” Maggie asked.
“I…uh...”
“You’re supposed to be under my bed.” Maggie stomped her feet. “You’re the monster, I’m the little girl and you’re supposed to scare me.”
Grrump whimpered.
“I know you like the closet. I know it’s roomy and you like sleeping on my dirty clothes, but my closet is not where you’re supposed to spend the night.”
Grrump unrolled. His body lengthened until he stood twice as high as Maggie. A white horn protruded from between two red and black eyes.
“Go,” Maggie poked Grrump in the belly and pointed toward the bed. “Go do your job.”
Grrump moo-ed and wobbled toward the bed. His flat feet crunched over blocks scattered across the ground. Bending down, he began to slide under the bed until his horn stuck against the bed-frame. “Too big,” he said.
“But you have to fit.” Maggie gripped the closet door.
The spikes on Grrump’s back swung as he made his way across the room to huddle on top of Maggie’s dirty clothes.
Maggie screamed and the door swung shut.

02 September 2011

Quality vs Quantity

I believe in my current WIP, but the really interesting thing is that I can't seem to get the words out. I sit down to write and only 500 words come out. After thinking it through, I realized that it's okay. Writing 500-1500 words a day is perfectly fine.

It's quality vs quantity.

With Guardians, I wrote at least 2k a day and finished it in a month, so I get the quantity thing. Every word I write though on this new WIP- I want it to be just the right word, just the right phrasing.

Quality. CP (this WIP) is all about quality writing and I like it like that.

What do you guys think? Do you tend to sway toward quality or quantity?

30 August 2011

The Warm Fuzzies Blogfest!


Here it is folks, news about the blogfest that's in works! I'll be hosting the Warm Fuzzies blogfest in the middle of October. I know this is a month away still, but you'll just have to be patient and wait :)

This blogfest is a celebration of writers. Being a writer can be exhausting- we put a lot of work into our writing and sometimes, we just need a pick-me-up. The end of October and beginning of November will be a party. We'll get to know other writers, work on our writing and of course, win some pretty cool prizes.

And isn't that button above awesome!! Seriously, I love it. The wonderful Janice who also hosts The Blog Bakery made this for me. Janice is offering a completele blog make over as one of the prizes. See, I told you- awesome prizes :D

Starting mid-september I'll start putting up instructions for the blogfest. I hope y'all are as excited as I am!!

---For those of you who have not signed up for Rachael's Writers Platform Building Campaign you need to do so now! Tomorrow is the last day to join!!!

26 August 2011

Tribal Writer

For those of you who do not follow Justine Musk's blog, please remedy and go follow. She has a powerful writing style that never fails to inspire me.  Her recent post on 'How to be a dangerous woman (in fiction + life) gave me goosebumps. I couldn't help but be reminded how it connects to being a writer.

When we decide to take the step and annouce to the world that we want to be a writer- we are making a bold decision. I know we all hear plenty of doubts and yet, it's our job to feel confident inspite of those doubts.

And that segues perfectly into the blogfest I have brewing for y'all! I promise, I'll have more info up later this week for you including.

1. The theme- which is awesome, and 2. The prizes- which are also awesome.

I'm making the move to Nashville tomorrow and am not entirely sure when we'll have internet at our new place. I'm hoping soon- not sure how long I can last without it! I promise though, I'll get myself to a coffee shop to get a fix every day :)

(I'm excited to be meeting my fellow campaigners! Yay!!)

24 August 2011

A Winner!

Random.org picked...Krispy!! Yay! Shoot me your e-mail and I'll send you your winnings :)

I found it extremely ironic that only one new person found their way over here (yay for Liz!). But hey, the point was to celebrate reaching 100 whenever it comes.

I'm back from Colorado. Vacation was amazing. The mountains had me spinning with ideas and I LOVED being in a dry climate. Here are a two pics for your enjoyment :)



p.s. Thanks guys for all of the book suggestions! I'm super excited to be moving to a place that has an awesome library :)

19 August 2011

GASP! Triple Digets Giveaway!

When did this happen?? I looked at my blog today and gave a shout of happiness when I realized my followers were up to 96. Eee!

I feel so loved :)

And in honor of almost being at 100 followers I'm going to give someone, a very special someone, a $15 giftcard from Amazon! I mean hey, that's good for two or three books.

All you have to do is be a follower, pass word on (twitter/blog/whatever) (and no, you don't have to post a link mostly because I probably wouldn't go check. I am the trusting sort ;) and give me one suggestion for an awesome book I need to read.

(And no, Sophia, you can't say Sea/Spy Glass because you know I haven't read them yet. That would be cheating...sort of.)

I'll let the random.org pick the winner next Wednesday.

Good luck!

14 August 2011

Kill them with Kindness

Last week, I was on the phone with a lady who was not very nice. As great as the temptation was, I resisted and was extremely kind to her. I thanked her for her time and she quickly got off the phone not knowing how to respond.

When I hung up, Cale said, "You killed her with kindness, didn't you."

Yup, I sure had.

Recently, I've seen an influx of angsty characters, mean for the one reason that they can use harsh sarcasm which can be funny. That's great and yes, sometimes it works incredibly well, but what's happening to the nice characters out there? Where have they gone?

Sad as it is, in real life, mean people tend to stay mean and nice people tend to stay nice. I'm not sure if I can one hundred percent believe your character going from mean to nice or bad to good in the course of a few hundred pages.

I say, bring back the nice characters who go through genuine character development. Give your character a personality that goes beyond snippy words and actions. Trust me, your reader will appreciate it :)

12 August 2011

Liebster Award

The wonderful Christine and Sophia have both passed the Liebster Award to me and so it's my turn to pass it on to others!

The only problem is that everyone has already gotten this award. Would it be totally cheating of me to pass it on to all of you, my wonderful amazing followers? Probably, but I don't care, I'm still gunna do it ;)

So here you go, my lovelies. You all are amazing.


5. And most of all—have bloggity-blog fun!

07 August 2011

We interrupt our regular programming...

for a rant!

Why are writers in such a rush to be published?  I know, I know, it's the dream.  We all want to hold our lovlies in our hands, smell the pages, sign them for all our fans, give them as presents on Christmas, and of course, high jack our friends for long car rides and tell them to READ IT!  Yes, it's the dream.

It is my dream too.  I want all those things sometimes so bad I think I could cry or throw up (yes, seriously). But I started walking down this road only six months ago and only wrote my first novel a year ago. My first book was horrible, terrible, but I learned a lot. My second was a middle grade book that I had a ball writing. My third was a full length YA. And now, I've begun another YA.

I can't believe how I've improved with each book I've written!  The old adage is right, if you want to get better at writing, you have to write.  No excuses.  Just get it done.  Don't stop at book one, write a second, third, fourth...

No, I'm not saying don't query the first or second because I'm sure going to, once I feel they're polished, but I'm also saying, what's the rush?  You're probably not starving because you haven't sold any books.  That's what other jobs are for.

The moral to my rant: don't be in a rush, just write, perfect your craft, and make connections with other writers (yes, make friends, just like in kindergarden).  But the biggest thing you should focus on is to enjoy writing.  Love writing.  Be happy you can do this at all.  Every single second of it.  Fall in love with your characters.  Drown in the worlds you build.  Plan more ways to thwart your characters and figure out how to get them out of it.

So go! Write! And never, for a second, take for granted our ability to do what we love.

05 August 2011

Dusting off my Middle Grade novel

Gabriela Lessa has given me a great reason to dust off my only completed novel: a contest! Rupert is my MG novel. It holds a special place in my heart since it is the only novel I've managed to finish (although, when you think I've only been at this since the new year, it doesn't sound that bad).

I'm supposed to write a one sentence pitch (which I would love some help with!) and post my first paragraph. Lots of you will have seen this before when I posted it a few months back, but for those of you it's new to, feel free to share your thoughts!

Name: Juliana Brandt
Title: Rupert Reginald Robinson, XI & the Mysterious House Next Door
Genre: Middle Grade
Manuscript word count: 23,000
Judge: Aubrey Poole

One-sentence pitch: Rupert must defeat a powerful pirate when he discovers imaginary creatures live in his next door neighbors house. (Ick, I know this is bad. Thoughts??)

First paragraph:
Rupert Reginald Robinson clutched a thick book to his chest; his forehead rested against the glass of the backseat car window.  The car bumped across the road.  His head slid to a new place and left a smudge of grease on the glass.

(I am guest posting over at Jack Flacco's on being a critique partner. Go check it out!)

04 August 2011

Moving Stress

I've been sitting here in front of my computer trying to figure out what to write and all I can think about is how much work there is to do still with moving. So, I'm totally stealing Deana's post because she wrote it wayyy better than I could. Go read.

30 July 2011

A Long Happy Marriage

You guys are all so wonderful. I have the best readers! I'm in the process of going through my blogs, but rest assured every single one of you who commented will be in my favorites folder :)

So, here's a little happy because you all make me so happy. Enjoy!

27 July 2011

Follow follow follow follow...

Yes, I'm singing the Wizard of Oz song :)

I feel terrible I haven't been posting regularly. I've done a ridiculous amout of traveling this past month and feel as if I haven't slowed down once to concentrate on my writing and blogging, and especially with keeping up with all of your blogs!

Speaking of your blogs, I looked at all of the blogs I'm subscribed to on Google Reader and realized just how many I follow. Honestly guys, I try to get to all of them but sometimes it's quite difficult.

My question to you: are you a follower and reader? If you are, comment below and I'll be sure to stick you in my 'favorites' folder (this is the folder I always make sure to read and comment on).

Here are some things coming up in the next months that you just might want to stick around for ;)
1. Some awesome book give-aways
2. An even awesomer blogfest with (as of right now) three great prizes to be won!
3. And following me on my move to Nashville. Yay!

So, do you want to be in my favorites folder?? I know you do! (Make sure your name links to your blog or else stick it in your comment :)

23 July 2011

The Often Forgotten Sense of Smell

Of the five senses, I often find myself completely forgetting about smell. Isn't it said that smell is very important in unlocking memories? How awesome is that- it's a perfect way to lead into memories in your WIP.

The smell of lemon drops will forever remind me of my Grandmother (or is that Dumbledoor?? Haha) and the smell of a new shampoo will always make me think of my sister. What smells conjure memories for you and how do you add this into your writing?

My MC has a very strong sense of smell. After getting my first pages back from my crit partners I realized I used the word smell, scent, sniff wayyy too many times and needed to figure out new ways to describe scent. So, without further ado, here are some tips for writing about the sense of smell. (Most of these are pared down from http://www.wikihow.com/Describe-a-Smell )

1. Are there images or memories associated with the smell? What is your gut reaction when you think of the smell? Feelings or emotions?

2. Use adjectives- wispy, rancid, airy, musty, stale. Adjectives will describe the effect of the smell.

3. Use nouns and be specific- is the smell of chocolate milk or dark, or is it the smell of hot fudge to be poured over ice cream? Or is it chocolate with a hint of raspberry? All of these scents will elicit different emotions from your reader and your MC.

4. Use verbs- waft, distract, hint, permeate, suggest, confuse.
-suggest the source: are you baking or frying? Sweating from a hard run or desire?
-visualize what it does: creep into the nose, wrap around, follow, bombard

5. Borrow words from other senses:
sight- bright, dark, clear, hazy
sound- dissonant, harmonious, loud, quiet
touch- sharp, dull, rough, smooth
taste- sweet, salty, bitter

6. What is the reaction to the smell? Do you relax, stiffen, pucker. Is it startling, jarring, soothing or comforting?

7. And of course, the good old metephor. The smell of hot dogs hit me like a tornado.

Are there any other tricks you like to use when writing about the sense of smell? What other senses do you find yourself forgetting to write about?

1.

19 July 2011

I Am Not J.K. Rowling

This is a conversation I had with Cale after we saw the last HP movie this afternoon. I hope it makes you guys feel better, like it did me.

Juliana: I feel a bit melancholy now that Harry Potter is over.
Cale: So do I.
Juliana: Is it bad if I'm a little depressed to know that I'll probably never write a book like Harry Potter.
Cale: No, I knew that I'd never play like Zinadine Zidane but I could play like Roy Keane. I could be a grinder and work my ass off. I could play with passion and get stuck in. You may not be JK Rowling but you can still be a great author who writes great books.
Juliana: :)

Zidane is one of the best players to play the beautiful game and JK Rowling is one of the best writers to come along, but there have to be other players and writers who make up the rest of the field, and honestly, I'm okay with being one of those other writers. I'm thankful I live in a time when I am able to read Rowling's genius and even more thankful that I can write the stories that I have in me. I hope you all are too!

*As a note, Cale played soccer in college and the PDL (semi-pro) but was forced out due to injuries, so he does know what he's talking about. He is a constant source of support as I try to get into the writing business since he can relate with his soccer experiences.

17 July 2011

Query!

My thought on queries: yuck. They make me all sorts of unhappy. It's a good thing this is part of Deana's blogfest- I need all the help I can get on this, guys! So have at it, hack away, give me the best advice  you can :)

Dear So-and-so...

Twins, Farrah and Felix, are born into an existence of servitude.  They are Bonded with the king’s sons for the sole purpose of protecting the boys; if they fail, they will be put to a painful death.

Farrah protects Alec, but all she desires is to not be chained to a man she can’t stand.  But the only way to escape her imprisonment is to end her life.  What makes matters worse, is that Farrah begins to fall for Alec and realizes she must make the most difficult choice of all: freedom or love, for she cannot have both.

Felix can’t deny his intense curiosity.  He willingly protects his Charge, Gabe, because it means he has free access to the secret tunnels of the House they live in.  As he searches further into the history of his world, he uncovers secrets that will put both his and Farrah’s lives in danger. 

After death threats against Alec puts Farrah life on the line, and the other slaves in the House rise up in rebellion against their captivity, Farrah and Felix escape with Alec and Gabe to try to find answers to three questions: Who wants Alec dead?  Would Farrah and Felix keep Alec and Gabe safe if they weren’t Bonded to them?  And, if they return to their House, will they all be killed?

GUARDIANS is a finished at 72k.  It is a stand-alone YA-fantasy but has strong series potential.

*personal stuff here??

Sincerely,

Juliana Brandt

-I'm not a fan of the questions at the end but can't figure out how else to end it.

15 July 2011

Too Many Questions?

Cale said this to me earlier today: Sometimes, you remind me of a small child. You ask too many open ended questions.

To my credit, we were at the pier watching fisherman bring in their catch of the day and watching the seals swim through the water, waiting for fish to accidentally fall overboard. I mean, there are a lot of open ended questions to ask when you're watching that.

But don't you all think that it's a requirement of a writer to ask all those questions?

I took a nap today and before I fell asleep I thought, What would happen if everybody was connected to someone else and could only die once that other person died. If you got sick or were injured you could survive because you were spiritually attached to someone else? Overpopulation of the world, that's what would happen. But that's not the point. The point is that we ask ourselves these weird questions, file them away, and write books answering them later.

And it's totally okay! No one can say our questions are annoying because frankly, it's just a consequence of our job.

Job Hazard Zone: too many questions.

My teachers in middle school were right after all, there are no such things as stupid questions, and even if there are, those stupid questions lead to really interesting answers, which lead to even more really interesting questions.

Moral of this post, it's not possible to ask too many questions. Our curiosity drives our imaginations and surely that's a good thing.

Because seriously, have you ever wondered if seals accidentally breath in water like people sometimes do when they're swimming? Or why a Dogfish is called a Dogfish? I know I have!

13 July 2011

Story Chain!

For the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent blogfest, week two is all about creation and the story chain.  If you'd like to read the post before mine, check out Deana's blog.


Tony plopped a bag down in front of Dio and she fell to herknees, digging through it, unable to wrap her mind around her parents death and...Europe? Suddenly, she hated Europe too.

Dio chucked out an old bottle of shampoo out of the bag and her old stuffed weasel from when she was little. Surely, she wouldn't need those.

"Come on, Dio. We need to leave." Sandy waved and Dio reluctantly dragged her bag toward the taxi. Dio sat down and began to cry when her fingers touched dried boogers on the seat.

Life is so unfair.

To follow the story, go to Frost Lord's blog.

10 July 2011

The Ultra Shuffle

This is a moment when the ultra marathon shuffle is appropriate-

This is a picture taken from Badwater Ultramarathon. Badwater is 135 miles long from Death Valley to Mount Whitney and it's claimed to be one the hottest races with temperatures ranging to 120 degrees (Farengheit). Racers run on the white lines on the road because they're shoes tend to melt when they run on the black. They also dress completely in white (as seen above) to try to reflect as much heat as possible.

Yes sir, if ever there's a time when the ultra shuffle is appropriate it's when you're running Badwater.

What is the ultra shuffle? Basically, it's when you're so tired you can't run. Your mind has shifted into neutral and your body goes on autopiolet. Instead of running, you shuffle, trying to run as best you can because you don't want to walk.

Sad to say, I did the ultra shuffle in my marathon and that wasn't even an ultra *sigh* haha :)

But I have been doing the ultra shuffle for the past week in writerville, sloughing through my work. Trying to write and edit even though the motivation isn't there.

Not until the past couple days have I felt the energy to write come back. I must give that credit to my critters. They've sent some amazing critiques my way that has motivated me to open the laptop, sit my butt in the chair and actually get work done.

I'm crossing my fingers I've moved past my ultra shuffle phase and have moved back into running. The only thing that's making me pause now, and I can't decide if this is good or bad, is that this isn't a 135 mile run. The writing race is never going to end! Good thing? Probably :)

Have you ever done the ultra shuffle, either in real life or in writerville?

08 July 2011

Judgy Juliana?

Gasp! I realized last night that I've been snidely looking down my nose a group of writers.

Pantsers.

I'm a natural plotter. I love plotting and knowing where my story is going.

The ironic thing is, it turns out I really enjoy pantsing. Another gasp! *sigh*

I'm in the midst of editing Guardians and don't have the focus to plot out a whole new book. So instead, I'm completely winging it with my new WIP. And it's been great! I'm discovering the characters as I write and am realizing I don't have to agonize over plot, structure, and pre-fabricated ideas over what the WIP should be.

Simply amazing.

So I apologize all of you wonderful people who are pantsers. It seems I've learned a thing or two in the past week and have been completely proven wrong.

Two amazing writers have helped me realize the benefits of pantsing and you all should go check out their blogs: Misty and Kate. You guys are the best :)

Are you a pantser or plotter? Or do you find you enjoy doing a bit of both?

(Thanks everyone who's stopped by for Deana's blogfest! I've had a blast stopping by all your sites and can't wait to get to know y'all better :)

04 July 2011

Get an Agent Blogfest!

I've been looking forward to Deana's Get an Agent Blogfest all month and now Week 1 is finally here!! Eep!

Everyone should go and sign up because it's awesome.

So, here's my question! Are you a character driven writer (or reader if you prefer) or are you plot driven?

If the plot is weak but the character is strong then I will absolutely keep reading. This applies to my writing, although hopefully this doesn't mean I have weak plots, lol. I try to have fully developed characters who are flawed, as we are in real life, but also are able to overcome their weaknesses.

What kind of writer are you? Do you think there's a happy medium we can reach between character and plot?

(btw, I've been driving across country for the past couple days and completely forgot to post yesterday for Sentence Sunday. Sorry guys! I'll catch up next week :)

01 July 2011

So. Much. Work!

I have been in the editing trenches with GUARDIANS for a few weeks now but have stuck my head up to get some fresh hair this week. I figure, vacation is a great time for a breather.

Yesterday, I wrote the first 1k for a new WIP, something I'll get to once ,GUARDIANS is all nice and shiny. I haven't been able to get myself to turn back to editing this week and so have thought about writing more for this new story, but honestly, that thought makes me feel like this...


Overwhelmed! I love my MC (male), the POV (first person, present tense), and setting for this new WIP, but seriously, I just finished writing 74k of words for GUARDIANS and am thinking of jumping right back in? So. Much. Work.

For now, I think I'm going to keep enjoying my vacation and worry about writing when I get back to the real world. In fact, Graceling is sitting on my couch waiting for me to read. That sounds perfect and very stress free.

Tell me, do you get overwhelmed when you think about starting a new WIP?

28 June 2011

Home :)

It's as if my house is filled with light. I come home and colors are more vivid, sounds more brilliant, and smells more delicious. I am filled with contentment; the message 'everything will be alright' beats through me. I love coming home, particularly because home is filled with music.

One of the very first things I did after getting back to MN (after I went on a run with Dad, the dogs, and Cale, and after I ran into the house to give Mom a big sweaty hug!) was to lift the piano lid, sit down and play, letting the music spin around me. I have an electric piano in MS, but it just isn't the same as the real thing. After playing piano, I played guitar with Dad.

Today, I'm going to leave you all with the first piece I sat down to play. It's glorious. Of course, there are about a bazillion I'd like to leave with you, but this one has some wonderful parts. So relax, sit back, and enjoy some beautiful music.


Oh, and uh...before y'all start getting crazy ideas, I don't play it near as well as this dude ;)

25 June 2011

Sentence Sundays! Words!

Yes, I know it's Saturday night and not Sunday, but tomorrow I start the drive from Mississippi to Minnesota to go visit my family. I can't tell you guys how ridiculously excited I am :)

So, here's your sentence Sunday post a night early, and it's all on words, specifically word variation.

I admit, varying words is not easy. But honestly, does your reader really notice if you've used the word cacophany twice in one book? Umm, yes! At least I do.

But what this post is really about is insuring you vary how you begin a sentence.

Here's an example of a paragraph I wrote tonight:
    Twisting on my toes, I look back to Kira, her blond hair brittle in the morning sun. My shoulders sag and I turn look over the expanse of desert we are travelling across. I shuffle forward, continuing to walk up the small mound of dirt that has formed into a hill.

But what if I had written it like:
   I twist on my toes, looking back to Kira, her blond hair brittle in the morning sun. I sag my shoulders, turning back to look over the expanse of desert we are travelling across. I shuffle forward, continuing to walk up the small mound of dirt that has formed into a hill.

Every sentence here begins the same way, always beginning with the word I (yes, the format is the same, but I don't know what you call those sentences so I'm not messing with that part). Isn't the first example more interesting? The reader isn't punched in the face by an 'I' character, someone completely all about me, me, me.

If you find yourself beginning several sentences in a row with the same word: he, she, I, my, change it. Those words begin to grate on your reader and your writing will become boring as there are no surprises, and as we all know, surprises are a great thing :)

24 June 2011

Ode to my Neighbors

We are moving.

It's sad to think we're leaving this beautiful neighborhood where Cale and I first lived together, where we got Piglet, I started writing, Cale went to school, and where we met Amanda and Justin, our amazing neighbors.

I'm sure it's the Southern Hospitality thing, but as of yet, I have never met another person who every single time they say, "Hey, how are you, today?" I genuinely feel they want to know how I am. Every single time. I swear, I could sit down and spill my life and they both would sit with me and actually, honestly care.  It's a pretty incredible gift to have been given these two wonderful people as our neighbors for the past year.

Plus, Cale and I have both always known that if the house was burning down, one of them would break out a window and save the dogs ;)

Yes, this isn't actually an ode because isn't an ode a poem? I don't know. But I do know that I don't write poetry; I'm terrible at it.

Anyway, thanks for the past year, guys. We're going to miss you.

21 June 2011

Tears of Writerly Sorrow

I haven't cried while reading since "Where the Red Fern Grows" in elementary school, but "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" had me all sorts of teary.  I read some reviews of "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" and realize not everyone enjoyed it, but I loved the writing, characters, plot, the whole sha-bang.  After finishing the book and setting it on my nightstand, I curled up in bed and tried to sleep.  Eyes puffy and headache coming on, all I could think was, I want to write like that.  I want to move someone to tears and outright laughter.  I want to take people away to another world so that they can't put the book down until they've reached the end.  My next thought was, I have so much more work to do! And that's when the tears started again.

Ugh.

I laid there feeling all sorry for myself and as the first tear dripped down my nose, Pre jumped on my head.

Seriously.

She went to the side of the bed, aimed her little body, and jumped, landing with her sharp claws straight on my closed eye and forhead.

Cale thought it was hilarious.  I didn't.  But, reality check!  Writing a novel isn't about writing, it's about rewriting.  Yes, I have a ridiciulous amount of work still to do, but that's the deal I've gotten myself into.

So, thanks Pre for jumping on my head and making me stop feeling all lousy.  Dogs are the best.

(As a side note, I realized today I have the habit of writing dialogue backwards.  Usually I know how the conversation will end, so I write that first and then go from there.  Is that weird? Hmm)

(And as another side note, I'm in the midst of putting together a crit group for YA fantasy- or something along those lines.  I have two wonderful ladies who are interested and there's room for a couple more.  If you're interested, let me know :)

19 June 2011

Sentence Sunday! Punctuating dialogue

I've learned over the past months that I do not punctuate dialogue correctly and I've noticed it's an easy thing for people to mix up.  So, today's lesson is on punctuating dialogue.  Aren't you excited?!

The main source of confusion is comma versus period and when to capitalize letters.

Capitalize vs Not Capitalize
"Piglet! Stop chewing on that book!" yelled Juliana.  [Here, the y on yelled is not capitalized because yelled is a continuation of the sentence 'Stop chewing on that book.' A good way to look at it is to read it as a whole sentence, Stop chewing on that book, yelled Cale.]

"Piglet! Stop chewing on that book!" The binding on the book frayed as Piglet sunk her teeth into the thick paper. [In this example, the T on The is capitalized because a new sentence is beginning.  'Stop chewing on that book' is separate from 'The binding on the book...']

The book frayed as Piglet sunk her teeth into the thick paper. "Piglet! Stop chewing on that book!" Running toward her dog, Juliana curled her fingers over the soggy, torn cover of Nevada Barr's book, Blind Descent, and realized she would have to buy a new copy. [Each of these sentences are complete on their own and so all start with a capitalized letter.]

Juliana yelled, "Stop chewing on that book!" [And here, the letter S on Stop is capitalized even though it is a continuation of the sentence 'Juliana yelled' because it is the start of dialogue.  The beginning word in dialogue is always capitalized.]

Comma vs Period

"Piglet! Stop chewing on that book," yelled Juliana. [The first time I used this example I had an exclamation point, but here I've changed it to a comma.  I would not use a period because 'yelled Juliana' is not a sentence of its own, as I said before, it's a continuation of 'Stop chewing on that book.' The comma is used to connect the tag to the dialogue.]

The book frayed as Piglet sunk her teeth into the thick paper. "Piglet! Stop chewing on that book." Running toward her dog, Juliana curled her fingers over the soggy, torn cover of Nevada Barr's, Blind Descent, and realized she would have to buy a new copy. [Just as before, all of these are new sentences and so use periods and not commas.]

"I hope," said Juliana, "That my book tasted good, Piglet." ['Said Juliana' is set off by commas because it interrupts the dialogue and is not a separate sentence of its own.]

Alright, there are a few examples and explainations for you.  If you think of any I've missed, add them in the comments section :)

16 June 2011

Heavy Legs are better than Jelly Legs

I trail run.
Yup, that's what I look like when I run trails, nice and smooth.  Totally kidding.  That's Anton Krupicka- he is one of the better ultra runners out there.  Anton runs, on average, 14 miles in the morning and 6-8 at night, his week ranges from 180 miles to 200.  Crazy?  Yeah, I know.

And no, that's not what I do, but do you want to know what the most crazy part is?  That's what Cale wants to do.  Cale's an ultra runner.

When I say I'm a trail runner, really, I just mean that I go to the trails with him and hike/run around while he's doing his thing, putting in his miles.  I get some excersie and some awesome time to let my muse run around in my head, and he gets my support on the trails.  I figure it's my way of saying thank you for putting up with the hours I spend writing.

If you're interested in running trails, here are a few tips:
1. Let your eyes fall a few feet in front of you and be prepared to put the brakes on.  It's pretty typical for snakes to come slithering across the trail in front of you.
2. Either know the trails really well, have a map or bring a compass.  Yes, it's easy to get lost out there.
3. Don't expect running on trails to be like running on the road.  It is much, much more difficult, but oh so worth it.
4. Have your hands ready for A) brushing away spider webs or B) for falling.
5. Always leave a note or let someone know where you're going.
6. (This one is from Cale) Just do it.  The more you do it, the easier it will be.

Mostly, have fun, running trails and being around nature is incredible.  Yeah, you have to expect to walk up the hills, run the rest and yeah, sometimes you fall, or lose your shoes in mud puddles, but in the end, you feel like you've accomplished something, you feel free, apart of something much bigger, and that totally makes it worth it.

14 June 2011

Crazy Dreams

Cale has the funniest dreams.  Many times, I'll wake up and he'll be saying something about soccer or directing his team around the field (he played in college).  But a few days ago, when I went to see if he was waking up, he was in the midst of a dream I couldn't stop laughing about...
Me: Are you waking up?
Cale: Yes, do I need to get dressed up?
Me: For what?
Cale: For Piggy's wedding (Pig is the brindle pup to your left).
Me: She's getting married today?
Cale: Yes.
Me: Is she wearing a white dress?
Cale: Yes.
Me: Is she marrying a Pitt Bull?
Cale: No.
Me: Is she marrying a German Shepherd?
Cale: Yes.
(Piglet comes into the room)
Me: Do you want to see Pig?
Cale: No, I just saw her and told her I was mad at her.
Me: Why are you mad?
Cale: Because she's leaving me.
Me: Why is she leaving you.
Cale: Because she's getting married.

-Seriously, it was hilarious and I couldn't stop laughing.  Eventually, dream Cale got mad at my laughing and finally woke up.  Hilarious.

12 June 2011

Sentence Sundays!

I will be the first to admit, I am not the best writer.  Now, I may not be a great writer but I am dedicated, I work hard, I study and learn, and I want to be the best writer I can be.  And the first place to look to improve my writing is starting at the beginning: the sentence.  Thus, Sentence Sundays!  From here on out (or until I decide either I have nothing else to learn...right...or everybody votes Sentence Sundays stink) I will be posting what I learn about sentences.

As there are usually four Sundays per month, each Sunday will be designated to a different aspect of sentences.
1. Sentence Variation
2. Respect to the Greats
3. Punctuation
4. Word Choice

Since this technically is the second Sunday of the month, I'm going to leave you with one of my very favorite suspensive sentences: "He drove the car carefully, his shaggy hair whipped by the wind, his eyes hidden behind wraparound mirror shades, his mouth set in a grim smile, a .38 Police Special on the seat beside him, the corpse stuffed in the trunk."  (If any of you know who wrote this, let me know because I can't find it anywhere :(  )

Now that, is a great sentence.

Keep in mind, I will be learning as I post things here.  If you see any mistakes, please let me know!

So, I'll see you all next Sunday for a lesson on punctuation! 

(As a side note, I've had three of you take me up on my offer (for a critique partner or just to have a new set of eyes read your WIP) and a few of you say you were interested.  If you're still interested, or are anytime in the next couple months, let me know!  The offer is still standing :)

Note: in light of Kristen Lamb's, (who wrote We Are Not Alone (#MyWANA on Twitter)), post on why writers blogging about writing is bad, Sentence Sunday's will be the days of the week I blog on writing.  Tuesdays and Fridays will be my other blogging days, for other fun things :)

09 June 2011

Writing is like...

K.V. Briar tagged me in a meme and I am in love with this one!  The meme is to think of a metaphor for writing.  KV likened her writing to blowing on dandelion fluff, which I think is a beautiful metaphor.

For me, writing is like a mesmerizing tapestry.


Tapestrys weave together colorful strands of yarn and twine to tell a story.  Weavers spend years on their work, crafting a flawless tale and perfectly placing each strand next to the others.  For me, writing is like this.  There are hundreds of strands to each story I write, and placing them together takes focus, courage, and deep love for the craft.  And hopefully, the end product is beautiful and whole, just like the picture above :)

And the people I'm tagging are...

I can't wait to see what you guys write!  (Even if I didn't tag you, you should post on this because it's awesome!)

05 June 2011

#YAsaves

I assume all of you have seen the #YAsaves trend on Twitter, but if not, check it out.  I've read a few hauntingly powerful posts in reflection of the @wsj article and have been inspired to add my voice to the mix.

The most important thing I've noticed from all the tweets are the many people who have written that they wish they would have had access to the YA books that teenagers have today.  I was lucky to have grown up when YA books were becoming popular, though not as they are today.

Depite having a wide group of friends, several best friends, and always havign something to do on weekends, I grew up a very lonely girl.  My close family saved me from expressing my sadness and lonliness in negative ways, but it wasn't until the end of college that I finally understood that lonely was just a part of me.  Once I accepted that, it became okay and it no longer hurts me like it once did.

While I don't have a story like many of those I have read, I still connect and understand that it was books that saved me.  I spent enormous amounts of time at the library, feeling the bindings of books, wanting to jump between their pages.  Concocting stories of my own is what carried me from day to day.  When I didn't know how to express what I felt, books did.  This is why I write- I want to give that to another person who needs it.  In books, there is always a safe place to escape to when the real world doesn't provide that.

YA isn't too dark, it reflects reality and educates teenagers on aspects of life they need to know about.  More often than not, kids don't become aware of issues like anorexia, cutting, suicide, and rape until it confronts them in real life.  This should not be the case.  Kids need a safe place they can learn about these things and know how to react when they happen in life.  I say there needs to be more YA and absolutely, never in any way, should there be censorship of the written word.

Thank you to everyone out there for helping put to words why I write and read, and why YAsaves

04 June 2011

Tag!

Angela tagged me and because I like fun questions, I'm participating and passing it on!

Do you think you're hot?
Yes! Particularly because it's triple digits here and our house refuses to cool off to a decent temperature.  Is that what this question meant? No? Well, then I'm still saying yes (because Cale told me to :)

Upload a picture or wallpaper that you're using at the moment.
I like to use pictures from National Geographic.  They're the best!  (They're one of my favorite to follow on Twitter).



When was the last time you ate chicken meat? I had chicken with pasta a day ago.  Chicken is my favorite meat, yum.

The song(s) you listened to recently.
I was just listening to Mumford & Sons in the car, but the CD I most often listen to is the most recent Maroon 5 CD. 

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
That I didn't get my writing goal finished for today. A break every now and then is okay, right?

Do you have nicknames? What are they?
My sister calls me Julian and I've been called Jules on occasion, but otherwise, I am not a fan of nicknames.

Tag 8 blogger friends...
(I clearly need to make some new blogger friends because I keep tagging the same people in these things).
1. JC Martin
2. Christie Koester
3. Kate Larkindale
4. Deana Barnhart
5. Tanya Reimer
6. Ryan G.
7. Sophia
8. Rebecca Enzor

Who's listed as No. 1?
JC! She did an amazing edit of my query for Rupert and is now one of my favorite blogs to visit.

Say something about No. 5

Tanya was one of my very first followers and has an awesome post up about eyes and body language in writing.  Go check it out.

How did you get to know No. 3?
Through her blog...of course.  I also had the privilege of getting to know her through her writing (through her WIP TailLights).

How about No. 4. For those of you who don't follow Deana, you need to.  She has an amazing blogfest coming up that I am really looking forward to.  Go sign up!  (She also has one of my favorite backgrounds on her blog, lol)

Leave a message for No. 6

I love your posts...well, I love the one post you have and I've decided you needs to post more, so here's your incentive!

Leave a lovey dovey message for No. 2.

Send me the rest of your WIP!  I want to know what happens to Ella and who her man ends up being! (That was more insisting than lovey dovey).  The recipes you post always look incredibly delicious, especially the most recent salmon one, yummm (was that any better?)

Do No. 7 and No. 8 have any similarities?

They're friends!  I'm not sure if that's a similarity though...but I did find Rebecca's blog through Sophia's :)

02 June 2011

Pigs in Snow

I'm feeling uncreative with blogging today, but still feel I should post, so instead of writing something I'll leave you with a video of Piglet and her first time in snow.  It didn't snow much this winter, but both Pig and Pre like it when it did.

video

30 May 2011

Looking for a Critique Partner?

Over the next month, my schedule is going to be pretty darn free...and not in a good way.  Hours have been cut at work and I'm preparing for a move in the next month or so, this means I'm not about to look for a new job, here.


Anyway, here's my offer to all of you: if you need a CP, or just a new set of eyes for your WIP, let me know!  There's only so much work I can do on my own writing in one day, so feel free to pass your stuff over.  I'm not so great at grammar/punctuation, but am pretty good with flow/pacing/voice etc.  Let me know what you need, and I'll do my best to provide :)  (My turn around's pretty good too.  Unless something else comes up, I'll try to get it back to you within a week)

This is totally NOT to detract from Ready, Aim, Hook Me and their new site.  Go check it out.  It's awesome.

Contact me here if you're interested, or send me an e-mail, or find me on twitter.  Whatever pleases you.  I can't wait to read your guys work!

27 May 2011

Monday Night RAW

There are several things I never thought I would enjoy, but since moving in with Cale, have been proven wrong and been sucked right into them.  I hate to admit it, but Monday night RAW is one of those things (I have yet to give into NASCAR).



Don't worry, John Cena wins in the end.  I know you all were worried...

Anyway, this post is all about why WWE is just like writing!

1. Wrestlers have to build a platform just like writers.  Wrestlers can switch from good guy to bad guy in an instant, but whatever side they're on, they have to get the crowd to believe in them and cheer for them.  To be successful, they have to be known.

2. Wrestlers spend an exorbitant amount of time practicing and perfecting their craft, just like writers!  Cale watches Tough Enough with Stone Cold, which is a reality show with a group of people competing to become professional wrestlers.  These guys are beaten up, they work out until they puke, they practice  charisma down and until they have perfected personalities into ones an audience will respond to, and they must expect to live a life that will challenge them and always be at risk of failure.  Cale just told me WWE does not provide insurance for wrestlers and that they are paid by appearance.  Who does that remind you of??  Writers!

3. Wrestlers must make their audience experience the fight with them. Wrestlers make their audience feel and I mean FEEL.  Even though this stuff is obviously fake, it's exciting and the drama is intense.  The people in the crowd is right there with them, in the ring.  Writers have to do this as well.  Our goal should be to suck readers into our written worlds.  If they aren't, they simply won't keep reading.

4. Wrestlers must be creative.  There are only a certain amount of moves you can do in the ring and a certain amount of props.  But it's not about the move, it's about how you carry it out.  It's the exact same thing with writing.  At the end of the day, all of the stories we write are about the same thing.  The questions we pose are not unique, but the way we tell them is.  There must be something exciting, original, intense that only we can bring to our stories.

5. Wrestling is a partnership between both wrestlers in the ring.  Writing is not a sole endeavor.  While we may not have to choreograph our stories with another individual, like wrestlers have to, but we do need the help and support of family, friends, crit partners, editors, and agents.

6. Lastly, writers are like wrestlers because they have to be absolutely, fanatically in love with the art.  Otherwise, why the hell else would you do it?  Seriously, it's not like it's easy.

All in all, be a showstopper, believe in yourself, let your personality jump off the page- do as the divas of RAW do.  Go watch Monday night RAW and be more like a wrestler!  Aspire to be John Cena (or Kelly Kelly if you'd rather be a girl, haha!)

24 May 2011

The Importance of a Timeline

 I like being an organized person.  I love it when my house is clean, when I know exactly where my favorite pen is because it's in the same place I always put it, and when my writing is outlined.


I've already posted about my plotting techniques, but something I did not write about was the importance of a timeline (umm, is this supposed to be one word?  Because Blogger keeps putting that squiggly red line under it).  I hand wrote a timeline a month back for this new WIP, but since then have felt the need to make one on the computer, which I did yesterday. Yay!

Here it is:

Well frick, I can't get Blogger to post it.  I guess you guys will just have to imagine it.  It's a line with a bunch of text bubbles coming up from the top of it and on the bottom are day markers.

Here's a quick summary of how I made it:
1. In your word document, go to the tab Insert. Under insert, click on shapes and choose a style of line.  You can have a squiggly line, a straight line, a straight line with arrows.  Oh so many options.

2. After you've chosen your line, click on the document and draw the line out.

3. Now is the fun part.  Go back to Insert-> Shapes, and this time go to Callouts- these are the bubbles that come off the line.  Again, oh so many options!  Stick the Callout of your choice onto the line and type away.


See, it's easy.

Now, why do I think a timeline is so important?  Because if you don't know what's happening on different days in your WIP than your reader sure won't.  This is a great reminder to put this information into your chapters, separating events and days.  If a month has passed, make sure to say a month has passed, or if it's only the next morning, say it's the next morning.

I'm already in love with my timeline and how it's helped my writing, and I've only had it for a day.  Go make one of your own!

P.S. Be sure to come back in a couple days to see why I think writers are like wrestlers, and the writer's journey is like WWE!

22 May 2011

What's in a name?

Usually, I don't spend too much time on character's names.  This is usually how it goes:

Me: Cale, I need a girl's name!
Cale: Kayln.
Me: Sweet, I like that one.

Or:

Me: Porsha, Helena, Mirial, Natalie, Victoria, Sophie, Jeannette, Shell.  Hmm, yeah, Shell sounds good.

Anyway, this is my current problem.  I really don't like one of my MC's names.  I've never liked it, but it's been his name since 7th grade when he came into existence.  Do I take the time to figure out a different name or leave it as is?

How do you guys come up with your character's names?

19 May 2011

How silly we must look

I wonder what other people think when I'm writing.  I just realized, as I was typing a paragraph, that I was mimicing my MC's actions, trying to find the right word to describe her movements.  Thank goodness no one was here to watch.

I know I do this often.  In the midst of writing, I'll make a face, shrug my shoulders, or pace the living room acting out a scene to gather the most detail I can. 

I'd love to be a fly on the wall and watch myself write just to see how goofy I must look :)

16 May 2011

Aaand the definitions are...


1. Alacrity: eager and enthusiastic willingness
2. Hackneyed: rendered trite or commonplace by frequent usage
3. Specious: seeming true, but actually being fallacious; misleadingly attractive; plausible but false
4. Garrulous: given to much talking, tediously chatty
5. Trenchant: sharply perceptive; keen; penetrating
6. Obfuscate: to deliberately obscure; to make confusing

Clearly, I need to start studying the dictionary and quit relying on Google to do the work for me :)

15 May 2011

Do you know these words?

I read a tweet yesterday that said something to the effect of, "Open a dictionary, even if you know the word," which reminded me of studying for the GRE. While studying for the Verbal section, I read over the Hit Parade (a compilation of vocabulary words that are frequently tested on the GRE) and was surprised by how many I did not know.  Now, I knew the words, but not the actual dictionary version of the word.

My point?  Maybe whoever wrote that tweet yesterday had it right.  Maybe, as writers, we need to refer to our dictionarys more often to make sure we know what we're writing about.

I've randomly picked six of the words from the Hit Parade.  I'm going to post them below and then will post the definitions tomorrow.  Come back to see if you got them right!  And NO cheating! haha :)

1. Alacrity
2. Hackneyed
3. Specious
4. Garrulous
5. Trenchant
6. Obfuscate

09 May 2011

Pictures!

Geeze, you miss a few days and come back to 34713084138 blog posts to catch up on.  Looks like I have a busy night off reading ahead of me.

Here's what I did this weekend:
Road trip!  We drove to Knoxville for a weekend of...

Hiking,


Inspiration,


Beauty and awe,


Relaxation, and if you ask Cale, most imporantly,

Mississippi State baseball!

I hope you all had an equally fantastic weekend :)

03 May 2011

Disagreement with my Teacher

First, award time!  The fabulous Kate Larkindale gave me this award (Kate, I'd give it to you also, but I'm not sure if that's allowed).  Her blog is great; go check it out.

Aaand here are five of my favorite blogs I am passing it on to:
1. Sophia
2. Angela
3. Christie
4. Gabi
5. Deana


At some point in my elementary education I had the following conversation (probably more of an argument, or a Juliana-being-stubborn moment) with a teacher about a paper I had written:

Teacher: Juliana, this is very good, but I want us to look at one particular word you used to describe this man. (points to paper)

Me: (Silence)

Teacher: You use the word nice.  Are there any other words you can think of that would be more specific?

Me: ...he was nice...

Teacher: Yes, but nice is a very generic word.  Think hard, is there another word you could use?

Me: But he was nice.

Teacher: I am sure though, that there is a better way to describe him than just plain nice.

Me: (Silence )


I don't remember how the conversation ended, but I have the very vivid memory of standing beside my teacher, at her desk, arguing over the word nice.  I really did not understand why the word nice wasn't good enough.

I have that same conversation with myself many times while writing.

Inner me: Oh honestly, you know better than to use the word shrug.  And did I see you write NOD earlier?  She nodded??  How boring.

Me: But she did nod, how else am I supposed to write that?

Inner me: Oh, I don't know, how about her hair fell over her eyes as she tilted her head to the side, that is much more interesting.

Me: I suppose that's better...


Inner me: You know it is.  Plus, did she really nod?  Maybe she stared at him blankly or maybe she blinked once to indicate she had heard him.  Maybe she thinks he's an idiot and stuck her tongue out and blew a raspberry.

Me: I don't know.  You're confusing me.

Inner me:  I'm confusing you?! And how do you not know?  You're writing it!  She can do anything you want her to.


I have this discussion with myself at least fifty times while writing a WIP.  Ugh, it's terrible and oh so annoying.

Are there any words you insist on using even though you know they aren't good enough?

30 April 2011

May is for Writing!

Here it is, my writing tracker for the month of May!  It's not the best of pictures, but you get the idea.  A few weeks ago, I said my goal was to write 2k words a day.  The important part of this is that I had a tangible goal, something specific I could strive toward.  It wasn't important that I actually write two thousand words each and every day.  That's a lot.  It was important I sit down and write.  For the couple of weeks I kept that up I actually wrote between 1,500 and 1,800 words, which I was very proud of.  My WIP is now up to 31k.

Back to May and my writing tracker.  One of my favorite things to play, when I was little, was being a teacher.  My parents gave me white board markers and sent me to a window or mirror where I would happily color.  I brought this back about a month ago and took to writing reminders for myself on my bathroom mirror.  This morning, I decided to use the smaller medicine mirror in the bathroom to keep a log of my writing, per day.  My goal for the month of May is to finish my WIP by writing at least 1,300 words a day.  I really just want to get the ideas out.  I can use June for all sorts of fun (err...) editing.

Happy writing!