Thursday, March 31, 2011

A-Z Challenge Guide

Wow. Finally here. It felt like it would take forever when I signed up months ago, but the A-Z challenge starts tomorrow.

I must say that the idea of posting six days a week isn't that intimidating to me. I usually post Monday to Friday, so adding the Saturday in shouldn't be such a problem. 

For me, the challenge lies in getting to all of the people involved at least once. 

While I'm finishing my rewrite. 

Yep. I really am going to try doing both. 

Scary thought, I know. But... I suspect not impossible. 

All I have to do is try my best to hit 33 blogs a day. Easy, right. ;-)

But, this means that I won't be doing click backs this month as I really won't have the time. I'm really sorry about this, but I just can't sacrifice my writing this month. And that's really what it would mean if I have to go to about fifty blogs or more (I have about 20 comments a day right now). 

I promise I'll be a good girl and comment back in May. Pinkie swear. 

OK... that's just the admin end of it. I'm sort of hoping that you are dying to know what I'm going to blogging about... Well then... My theme is:


Writing and Literary Considerations. 

Yep. Nothing all that different, except it won't be quite as me-orientated. (Say aw.)

But I'll be giving 25 posts on my view about thoughts and considerations that most of us (fantasy?) writers seem to have. The twenty sixth will be posted by me, but will be written by someone else. On: G-day. So I don't see it as cheating. 

Also, Drawing map day has been moved to M-day so that I can have more time to do the drawing. 

Finally, (and I will repeat this next week for those who didn't read this far) if you want a map, but lack any sort of artistic ability, this coming week will be a good time to contact me. More on that tomorrow. 

Who else is doing the A-Z Challenge? What's your plan to get through it?

To those of you who are, good luck! See you on the other side. ;-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slow down, girl, you're going too fast!

Well, I can't say today's writing went badly. I wrote almost 3000 words in the end. 

My heart wants to go on, because I am this *pinches index finger to thumb* close to an important event in the story. As in, it should happen in the next scene. 

But, something bad is going on. My heart also wants to rush to the event, brushing past everything that still has to happen before the event can take place. 

So, I've let my brain pull the brakes for today. 

Someone once blogged about the fact that the rush was getting to him. That he had to fight the rush in order to let the end of the story do the rest of it justice. 

I have to admit that I used to think that he was over-reacting (if you're here, guy who wrote about this, I'm sorry), but I've started to feel the stirrings. That knowledge that I am the closest I've ever been to a real completed novel. 

I say this, because I'm over half way now at 46k words. The Doorways rough draft was only 42k words. 

So, yeah, completing this rewrite is going to be a major accomplishment. And I want to have been there yesterday. 

Because of that, story elements might get lost. Because I will get ideas for subplots that I should add in (i.e. more scenes from Darrion, Gawain and Ward's view point.) If I leave those scenes for the edits, I'm almost guaranteed to forget them. And they're important, not so much to only the story, but they set up the next three books. 

So I can't just leave them alone and rush to the end. After all this time of fighting to keep all the strings in hand, I can't afford to slack off on them now. I can't sell out on myself now, when things are picking up and racing to the end. 

I need to keep control over the Beast. 

So... have you ever gotten to the second half of the story and felt the urge to rush to the end? Did you? Did you regret it? Or did you get stuck in the middle? (I hear that's a common affliction among writers.) How did you get out of it?        

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A surprisingly short post where I want to learn more about you.

So... I've been thinking.

(No... stop shuddering. It's not that scary.)

I've been sharing a lot of information about myself. My fears, my secrets, my beliefs, my writing experiences, my hobbies (even a little bit about my country.)

But that's a bit of an issue for me.

Because there's a whole lot of me and not a lot about you.

So today I'm going to give you ten sentences to complete. You can say anything. I won't judge. I just want to know. :-)

Here goes:

1) Love is...
2) I hate it when...
3) I believe...
4) I hope...
5) I fear...
6) I write, because...
7) If I could have one wish...
8) I love...
9) Soon, I am going to...
10) I am very good at...

See? Not too difficult. If you think that your comment is going to be too long or if you're shy, you can mail it to me. But I think it will be an awesome way for all of us to get to know each other.

Come on then, lay it out there. As much or as little as you want.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Long overdue, but finally here. (Awards Part 3)

Hi all! So sorry that I didn't post this weekend. Things just went insane when I had to get my new snazzy laptop into shape.

But here I am. Alive, well and on Windows 7 (is squee appropriate?)

I think so. *squee!*

Ok... so I have two awards to go and 21 winners. So, if you're on the list, feel free to pick either one of the awards to give out.

Just so you know, the order means absolutely nothing. In fact, I was forced by the sheer magnitide of blogs that I follow to do something akin to a random draw... Still, I did pay attention to quality of the writing and presentation.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Blogging With Purpose

Hi all! This is going to be the last installment of our regular GPF until May. There will be one special post. On G day. (Yes. On a Friday.) And the guest will post about something starting with a G. The regular slots will continue in May.

In the mean time, don't hesitate to contact me to book a slot. If you look to the scroll bar at the right, you'll see that I'm booked until June. So you better hurry to snap up a slot. My address is mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Well then. I think Beth might be quite familiar to some of you. She was the blogger that brought us Project 52 last year. This year, she moved to wider topics involving writing and the lit world. But let's rather just read her great tips on how to test the blogging waters (love that cliche), shall we?

Blogging With Purpose

I've never done a guest post before so I'm a little nervous. I wanted to do something that I thought would be useful to most everyone and I've decided to talk about blogging. I'll share some about my blogging experience, but mostly I want to talk about how to get the most out of blogging.

Blogging should be fun. That's the most important part. It's a great tool to build a writer's platform, market almost anything you want, and improve your writing but if you don't find something you enjoy in it, you'll never stick with it. So what do you blog about? Anything you want to. It's your space. That's a simple answer now, but when I started my first blog anything I wanted to seemed massive and confining at the same time. Those first few posts were god awful, horrible. I didn't know what to write about. I really didn't have anything to say and I knew I needed to blog. I forced myself to write something. The result was awkward posts that were difficult for me to write and had to be difficult for anyone to read. I like to read, aside from writing it's my primary hobby. (Adventurous life, I know). So I came up with Project 52. I decided I would review 52 books in 2010, which was great. I had something to blog about. I started with just the reviews and as I got better at blogging realized I could blog whatever. P-52 ended. It was hard to let it go, but I did. I seldom blog book reviews now, but I know how to blog and that it's okay to say whatever I want.

If you're in a spot where you don't know what to blog about just pick something you love and give yourself a project.

The next challenge is usually attracting/maintaining followers. The best way to do this is to get around to other blogs, leave comments that let the blogger know you're interested in what they had to say and follow. Contests and author interviews are great, but at the end of the day people just want to know that some has heard them. The blogging community is great and the best way to get followers is to be an active part of that community. As a writer, it will only help you in your career anyhow. I've met so many fabulous people who have awesome insight on writing, editing, and publishing that I wouldn't know if not for the blog.

Blogging is a valuable experience and there is so much to be gained from it. So go make the most of it. In fact, quit reading this and go meet a blogger you don't know right now.

Thanks Beth! Don't delay, people. Go click over to Beth's blog to read some more of her posts. :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Will I make it?

So! I think I got something of a surprise just now. 

I was going to write the following:

My writing application, yWriter has a daily word count target tool. It takes the amount of days I have left, the total amount of words I want to have down and the amount of words left to write and calculates how much I have to write every day to get to the target. 

Yes. Like NaNoWriMo. Unlike NaNo, I have to write *checks* 2205 words per day to finish in time. 

Hey wait. 37k. 37 days. 

I checked the tool and realised that for some reason, the date I set as the goal was 10 April. #headdesk# 

But... this is an excellent surprise. 

1012 words a day feels distinctly doable. 

The finish is so close I can taste it. 

Squee! I think I might be able to finish before 30 April. Sorry for those of you who were wondering how this would end. ;-) 

I just had to share the joy. 

So. Anyone else got a surprise today, good or otherwise? Any other news? I'm dying to know. :-D

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Digging Deeper

I've been thinking recently. (Yes, I know. Veeeery refreshing.)

Anyway. My poking at my dark(ish?) side made me realize something about how I write. I do terrible things to my characters. Horrible, twisted things.

I've let children die. I've made beloved wives cheat on husbands. I've mangled characters' bodies.

But... I don't delve into my own psyche. I don't actually go digging around in my own fears and insecurities when I'm writing.

I guess I've spent so much of my life building walls to hide the weak spots that I forget that they're there. It's a long story as to why, but I've made a habit of acknowledging my faults and fears without exploring them.

I know where and what they are, but I don't go into the whys and how it feels. Instead. I build around and over. I camouflage and distract. I poke at them from a distance.

Fact is, I hate being afraid.

So much so that I made myself forget how.

Maybe that's why I took to doing things that scare me. Yes, it always feels like such an achievement to beat the fear. But now that I think about it, that feeling of fear is something invigorating that I don't experience often.

I just push it down too far.

But not today. As it turns out, one of my characters has some back story that gives him a phobia that I have. It also happened that he would be forced into a situation that would be his worst nightmare. As I wrote the scene, I remembered my own terror. My heart went beating at a dull thud as I described a part of me that I hide from myself.

It hurt a little. It drained me completely. And I think it was worth it. But I'll have to see. Other readers might not see quite as much as I did. So odds are that I'll have to go there again...

Do you ever go delve those deep places to come up with something to write? Am I perhaps the only one that doesn't write from there?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finally got there...

So, I know that I promised to pass on the awards today, but then I realized that picking the links will be a little difficult. Because of this, I'll have to use a bit more of a system. Part 3 of the Awards will either go up on Thursday or Saturday.

In the mean time, I want to draw your attention to the About Me section. Noticed anything different?

Yep. Half way. I hit 40k words yesterday! *Squee* It felt like it took me forever to get there. I definitely want to celebrate, but I can't figure out how yet. Suggestions would be appreciated. ^_^

Then... Tonight, I got picked for my first Solo. (Or should I say Sohigh?) I'm so excited. This will be a great chance for me to push my limits and see where my voice can go. Especially because I now reach notes that most of my choir-mates strain for without even putting in an effort. I'm now going to start with more formal classes and see where that will take me.

So how's your writing going? Any other good news?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Awards (Part 2): A tour of the Dark Side

Hi all! Today, I'm finally getting around to handing out awards.
So... I have this award:

And this award x2:

So... now I have to state twenty-one things about me, which can be difficult since I tend to throw in some personal stuff at least once or twice a week. But let's see what I can come up with. I decided to go with the darker, weirder, quirkier parts of who I am, because I ran out of light and fluffy yesterday.

1) I can't seem to think straight if there isn't some sort of sound to listen to.
2) Because of this, second worst torture would be to lock me into solitary confinement and keeping everything quiet.
3) Worst torture to my mind would be Chinese Water Torture.
4) Worst way to die: drowning.
5) Because I nearly drowned twice in one day.
6) When I was young, I was so afraid of heights that I couldn't stand on a chair.
7) I have to take deep breaths and look away when I am injected or if my blood is drawn.
8) I actually have a deep disgust with people who ask me: "So tell me about yourself." I cannot be summarized.
9) I don't put books down that I started to read. Ever.
10) I warn people not to mess me around.
11) Three times.
12) The fourth time they're that stupid... Let's just say Darth Vader has nothing on me when it comes to efficiently destroying planets.
13) I would rather learn a new martial art before I take ballet or any conventionally girly sports.
14) But I do enjoy ballroom.
15) I like people as a rule. I just don't like idiots and arrogant fools.
16) I am one of those people that think of something cutting at the snap of a finger when in arguments.
17) I have a deep abiding hatred of hypocrites. Especially those connected to churches and religions.
18) I HATE peas and beans.
19) I live according to a very well defined set of rules that I created for myself when interacting with other people. There are certain lines I don't cross, because I know that I can end up in some very dark places if I took the first step over.
20) I like my humor like I like my chocolate: dark and bitter.
21) I'm neither a glass-half-empty nor a glass-half-full kind of person. I'm a glass-is-twice-as-large-as-was-necessary kind of person.

So yeah. That was a quick tour of my dark side. I will get around to the awards tomorrow. What about you? Have you as a writer explored your own personality? Have you ever let someone else see those parts that you explore? Do you think I'm insane to share these things?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some thoughts I had after finishing the Hunger Games trilogy

Hi all! I know I promised to do my rewards this week, but I don't really feel like writing something lighthearted right now. So I promise I'll send out the awards this week.

Also, thanks Talei, for the Stylish Blogger Award!

This Friday, I got the a hardcover box set of the Hunting Games. I finished reading Mockingjay at 00:30 this morning. I loved it. Really I did.

You know what I love most about it?

The characters are still haunting me. That terrible sadness of so many unnecessary lives lost, is living and breathing in my heart.

And that's interesting, because the only characters that are really explored in any sort of depth are Katniss, Peeta and Gale. The others, we get to know through the tidbits we get in their words and the feelings that Katniss has of them.

And yet, when those characters died, it felt like someone was tearing at me.

Which made me think, sometimes, characters don't always have to be open fonts of information for me to love them.

On the contrary, I think the reason why those deaths are so terrible is because I had this feeling that they had potential to become so much more than they were to me.

And the fact is, in Mockingjay, I missed them.

I still do.

What do you think of the way that Suzanne Collins got us involved with her characters?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Photoshopped Writing Edits

Hi all! Welcome to another exciting edition of GPF. Today we have a post from one of my favorite bloggers and closer blogging friends: The Enigmatic Masked Blogger

And no, I don't know her real name. If I did, I wouldn't tell you. Nothing personal. Some secrets are just too good to keep. 

But her blog is definitely worth a look, even though she recently took an indefinite hiatus. Her writing style always leaves me smiling by the end of the post. Except for the last one. 

Photoshopped Writing Edits

Over the past couple of years I’ve been experimenting with a few Photoshop techniques. These have included anything from photoshopping a car, say, out of existence, to glamour touch-ups.

On one occasion, I was working on a glamour project: I’d done all the usual, removed the lines and blemishes, and made the skin smooth and flawless. I was very pleased with the results and showed it to a friend. She immediately pointed out the obvious fact that I’d been missing: “You’ve taken away her character!”

I had done the very thing that I abhor. This was the equivalent of a bland Hollywood remake. Highly polished and wonderfully edited. But, it no longer had much to do with the original picture. I had inadvertently mutated it into featureless, plastic-looking face. Just as well I’m not a plastic surgeon.

This is perhaps just as easily done in writing.

We’ve written a scene in which we’ve projected unbridled passion, straight from the heart. Let’s be careful not to dilute our self-expression while editing . . .

We read on a daily basis, the importance of this, that and the other. The techniques that should guide us, and the rules to which we should unquestioningly adhere.

But, this isn’t a science; it’s an art form.

Certainly, we should always consider the rules which could help us produce polished, well-crafted phrases and sentences. But we should also be very careful not to be so slavish to them, that we make our work clinical or insipid.

Be prepared to break the mould, and push the boundaries. And, whatever you do, stay true to the raw emotion that you originally wrote. Although we should always strive to be well-written, I think it’s worth keeping in mind, there’s no comparison between primeval instinct and man-made regulations.

Let’s be careful not to over-Photoshop our scenes and allow them to lose their original character.

Thanks again Mask. I really really really hope you're coming back soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

As it turns out, my map gave more direction than intended.

I remembered with horror that I forgot to post anything yesterday.

I wish I could say it was because of writing... but... No.

I required a map.

Not just any map. A map of the landscape in my head.

Yeah... I felt more than a little overwhelmed.

The last time I tried my hand at it, nothing seemed to come out right. It felt fake and wrong. I tried once, and that ended up as bad as the last time.

So I went information hunting.

All day yesterday.

Now I feel pretty much up to date on the whole mapping thing, I just needed to work out what goes where. Because I have an A4 page and six countries. It's sort of important to work out.

I finally got round to actually drawing the damn thing. Well... I've started and an hour wasn't exactly enough to get me through all of it.

Still, I can tell you now, it is starting to become very inspiring.

You see, there are the lands I'm drawing. Then there are the lands beyond the end of the page. In fact, some of the countries on my page stretch out beyond the boundaries. And it made me wonder...

Who are they? Are they watching the growing conflict with apprehension? Are they weak to avoid it? Or do they have worries of their own?

That actually made me see something I never realized. I can probably start a completely different series just about those countries outside of the limits of my map.

Which is big for me. Because I used to think that the Doorways series is it. That I would be done with Fantasy after the completion of the series. After all, I couldn't possibly think up another series like this one... Right?

Uhm... wrong, it seems.

But first, I want to deal with Callan and co.

Have you ever drawn a map? Did it give your creativity a boost for stories beyond the scope of the WiP the map was drawn for?

Oh yeah! I should mention that I will do a post about drawing maps on D-Day in the A-Z challenge. So remember to drop by then if you want to know how I am doing it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where I go all soft and fluffy...

Hi all! Just wanted to brag a little. I got TWO awards this past week! Thanks Marjorie and David. I will be passing the awards along some time this week. :-)

So... I just want to state:

Theresa. Yesterday's blog was NOT about you. Even if I did sort of post it two days after your giving my work a crit. It was completely not a hint for you to take a flying leap to... well... use your imagination. ;-)

Person's referred to don't read my blog, somewhat sadly, I might add. But of course, far be it from them to do research into the things they criticize.

Aaaanyway. That isn't what today's post is about. Although yesterday's post did get me thinking.

Writing really does help, doesn't it. Even if (rarely) my perspective on an issue remains unchanged, at least I got my feelings out there in a more socially acceptable way. As supposed to... say... slashing tires, keying cars... slapping unknown strangers, or breathing like Darth Vader.

But... blogging helps a lot more. Because yes, it is the exact same as writing on a piece of paper. Except for one major difference.

Any old piece of paper won't give me comments.

Because, ladies and gents, you really made my day yesterday.

Other times, you guys sympathize or give advice and/or support. It sometimes helps me more than you can imagine.

So, for everyone of you that has ever commented on my posts:


And for the silent masses (yes, check my stats when I log in after I checked comments. Every. Single. Time.), you guys and gals make me happy just to know that I'm reaching other people. So: THANK YOU!!!

I might have started highlighting people, but for the purposes of what I wanted to say, I think I will do that at another date and hope that you uber special people know who you are. (You! The one that's staring at the screen. Yes you too.)

Love you all!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Er... thanks for your opinion, but...

Sometimes, I wonder if I'm a different breed of human. Maybe I am. After all, I write.

Maybe, the distinction that I write is why I seem to have problems with communicating with people about writing.

Odds are that all of us writers have met the group I'm thinking about.

I'm not talking about the "Oh! When will you be published?" or "So one day you will be famous!" gangs. No. I'm talking about the: "Oh what is so difficult about it?" and the "I could write a book with my eyes closed" gang.

To become even more specific, there is a faction in those two gangs that makes my blood boil. The "You're going about this all wrong!!!!" crew.

I mean... seriously, if they were so wise and wonderful and knew everything there is to know about how to optimally work towards publishing, why in the name of all that is holy, AREN'T THEY PUBLISHED?

Yes, they can't write with music (or at all, as is attested by the fact that their idea of a completed work is a text message) or they think that my preferred music is an absolute creativity killer. Or they think I should have a ten foot tall Easter Bunny whispering plot ideas into my head.

I couldn't give a monkey's arse. Because guess what. They're not QUALIFIED to even give me a tip.


How arrogant must you be to insinuate that my writing things in a certain way is stupid and bound to fail? After all, I have finished a first draft. They haven't even attempted to write an essay. 

I might as well go to Hussein Bolt and tell him he's running wrong.

And you know the worst of it?



Generally, I smile blandly and imagine creating a character in my head that will die violently. How do you deal with these uhm... professional advisers?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Life: An Invitation to Inspiration

Hi all! Time for another installment of GPF. Jenna's blog doesn't have a huge following yet, despite the fact that she's incredibly sweet, so please go head over and say hi! :-) 

But let me stop talking. You're here to read Jenna's words, not mine...

Life: An Invitation to Inspiration

When you think of inspiration, what words come to mind? Do you think of toga-draped muses? Do you imagine of light bulbs flashing overhead? Do you picture a cozy coffeehouse corner? A mountain-top refuge? A riverside walk? Do you see scrap paper covered in squiggles, word lists and charts?

I think it’s different for all of us. I’m still figuring it out, but I find a lot of inspiration in everyday life.

Most of us don’t think of death and sickness as inspiring. Yet my first published magazine story had as its source the extraordinary final days of my grandfather. Few elements were changed and it wavered between fiction and fact. I gave the first draft to my mother on the one-year anniversary of his passing and then decided to try to sell it as part of my grieving/healing process. Not only did it sell, but I started learning a precious lesson on where I get my good ideas.

Since then, I have published stories about a true encounter with a moose on a hike and a benefit concert where kids raised 10,000 dollars. Somehow, my sci-fi story didn’t sell, neither did my Greek siren story. I wondered, “Is it because they really are things I imagined? Do they lack the emotion and texture of reality?”

I embarked on a middle grade fantasy and finished a first draft. But I was so uninspired! It wasn’t working. I felt like I was writing about a place to which I had never been and about people whom I had never met. I persevered and did a second draft. Nothing. No magic. I decided to change the story to be more about the things I know. It’s in the things that are ordinary, that I find the will to work and the words to write. The book is still in the rewrite process, but, as the French say, it speaks to me.

Opening my eyes and ears while doing something habitual, like riding the bus, talking to a friend or watching a movie is inspiration. Trying a new cuisine, reading a book on a subject of which I was ignorant or meeting a new couple and hearing the story of how they met is inspiration.

What stimulates you and brings ideas to the surface? Do you have life stories that you haven’t yet written?

Thanks Jenna!

Anyone who is still interested in posting here, you better jump quick. I'm booked until the middle of June. Contact me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com) if you want to book a slot.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Hi all! Just a reminder to come check out tomorrow's installment of GPF.

So... yesterday went about as swimmingly as the one before. (Insert cringe here.) Despite all my efforts, I just couldn't get myself to write. Finally, I decided to just do some character chats or something to get my mind to work creatively.

I ground out two hundred words in an hour and a half.

And accidentally deleted every. damn. one.

At which point, I lost it completely (sorry twitter peeps).

As a way of escaping, I decided to go read up a bit on one of my favorite websites ever.

Everyone, repeat after me: It was originally about television tropes (hence the name) but eventually, the wiki expanded to include all sorts of other media. I love it. Want to read about the Mary-Sue or the Marty-Stu? Or deus ex machina? Or tropes by genre? Anything, it's there. With examples.

It took me about thirty minutes to start wanting to write, but I didn't. I just kept reading tropes and went to sleep. This morning, I woke up an hour early and started again. I must say, it felt as if I was writing against resistance, but hell. I've got 970 words down so far. I'm starting to get some form of direction again, but that joy wasn't there yet.

At about 08H00, Devin kept me company via Skype... Eventually, we were starting to talk about what I was busy writing. At that stage, I wanted to introduce James to one of my baddies, but realized that the baddie I wanted to introduce him to (the one whose life was extended by a book) is not exactly the type that would keep him alive...

So on this topic, Devin and I went on to discuss how JK Rowling did it.

My mind did a double take and kind of asked my muse: "Wait... What?"

There was this sound of the gears of my creativity engaging... The sudden rush of ideas that flooded my brain was astounding.

And I got it.


It, people! IT.

That thing that will lead the entire series from where I am now to the end. The very end. And every book in between.


Small word.

Huuuuuuge knowledge to have.

Now I have that rush again.

So... I'm going to go write it all down while I still remember everything.

Have you ever experienced what I am completely failing to describe? How did it feel?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We have a winner!

Hi all! A short post for today. Just wanted to let you know that the entries for the Treasures of Carmelidrium competition have been tallied and the winner drawn at random.

And the winner is...

*drum roll*


Congrats Jolene! And commiserations to those that lost out. But do you know the perfect consolation?

Head over to N.R. Williams's blog now and buy The Treasures of Carmelidrium for yourself. She has a special price for visitors to her blog until 30 April. Don't delay! Hustle people hustle!


Tomorrow I will be back to normal(ish?) posting. Have a great day!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And then it was gone...

Hi all! Remember to enter the Treasures of Carmelidrium competition. I draw the winner tomorrow.

So... Yesterday, I made a resolution to have a wonderful day today and get hundreds of words down. I even woke up an hour early. But as all resolutions go, mine went down the drain when the clock struck twelve last night. And kept going all through the day.

I even took it out on the post I was busy writing, but luckily realizes that I was just going to get on every poor reader's nerves. So... I decided to test them with poetry, instead. ;-)

It started with a spark,
You see
Minutes ticking by
As flames are licking my legs

It continued with a seed
One seed
That slowly unfurls
With every unthinking word.

Thoughts swirl with every drop
Drip Drip
The day hues
To an ever darkened black.

But then I come to a point
ever slow
where I'm tired
And I can't stand the clamor

Nothing I touch works
Not one
and I sigh
because time is ticking past.

It sparks a life
To become
That black persona that we avoid.

Then I give in.
I'm done.
I withdraw
With a book and Dvorak.

It took one second
One breath
To calm down
And then it was gone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What I learned from Huck Finn.

Hi all! Just want to remind you to get your entries in to win a copy of Treasures of Carmelidrium by N.R. Williams.

Also, I just want to say that I am trying to get around to everyone, but am falling behind between work and writing. Please bear with me.

On with the post...

I read in blocks. Up to recently, I was hip-deep in murder-mysteries and procedurals. Strange really, how I love the genre, but never even thought of writing in it. Maybe one day I will. 


I'm now onto classics. First, I read The Sword in the Stone. On Saturday I finished Tom Sawyer (Again. Doesn't count as a reread to my mind because high school pupils apparently don't have the minds required to finish an unabridged book.) Yesterday, I tackled Huck Finn. 

Never before have I read a book as educational from a writer's point of view. Really? You may ask. 

Really, I answer. 

The book was pretty much a study of what should be done as well as (dare I say it?) what shouldn't. 

Here are the main lessons I learned. 

1)  Voice: From the very strange first introduction, I felt as if Huck was talking to my. Butchered English and all. But for once, I love that the language was mangled, because that's how he spoke. How he saw the world. Through Huck's word choices, I saw his view of the world, his rather interesting relationship with honesty and his cynicism. Nothing was explained about his character beyond what I knew from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but I felt like I knew Huck like an old friend by the time the book was done. Better even than I knew Tom. 

2)  Keep the story going. Every time Huck hit land, he had all sorts of adventures that showed him (and the reader) something. While these adventures could have frozen the story, there was always that escape to the river that meant that we would soon be faced with a new situation. And almost all of those adventures lead Huck to build a closer friendship with Jim. Because in the end, everything leads up to the climax where Huck has to decide whether he will help Jim escape of give him up into slavery again.

3)  Build the stakes. The stakes here involved Jim's escape and Huck's decision with regards to that. He's beating himself up because he knows that what he does is wrong in his frame of reference (where people were seen as property), but we know that he isn't the sort that turns his back on a friend. How will he decide?

4)  DO NOT SELL OUT AT THE END!!! I'm not really going to go into this too much, as some of you might not have read the book and I won't spoil the ending. Still, if you still want to read this book, I suggest you skip over the next paragraph.

I must say that Twain got away with murder at the end. I mean, who of us mere mortals would have survived the critics after wiping out all of the stakes and most of the impetus to the story? Why put us through the torture of Tom Sawyer's seemingly warped logic? I mean, they could have been killed. FOR NOTHING! I'm going to risk saying that he had a completely different (perhaps more tragic) ending in mind, but ended up bending to what he thought the public would want.

Perhaps what I learned most, is that one should strive to create characters that creep so deep into readers' hearts that they don't mind the imperfections so much. Because, oh yes, this was not a technically perfect novel.

But in every way that mattered to my literary heart, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was pretty much there.  

So what do you think? If you didn't read Huck Finn yet, have you ever read a book that taught you a lot. How-to's don't count. ;-)

If you have read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, what do you think of what I learned? In particular, what do you think of point 4? Have I missed anything?  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Character Voice

Hey all! Here's the newest installment of GPF. Today's guest's blog is always full of fun and interesting views. So please head over there and tell Devin hi for me. :-)

Character Voice

When you write, do you think from your mind or your characters?

It may seem weird--writing from your characters mind (we've created them after all, shouldn't we think the same?)--but if you think about it, our characters aren't us. Way to state the obvious, right?

Most writers that I've met call their stories their babies--their precious brain child. But what about the characters? They should be just as much our babies as our plots. Even more so, in my opinion. You could have the best Victorian era mystery plot EVER, but if your main character is talking like a valley girl? If they're describing things as clean and bright, it's not going to be right. Again, this is probably obvious.

When it comes to describing things, I think, at first, that writers go for the words that they know. I also think that we describe the people/places/things to reflect its history and personality. Alcatraz looks lonely because it hasn't been used. London is dreary because of its notorious grey skies. The villains are devilishly beautiful or ugly as heck. This is how we want our readers to get a feel for people. This is how we show.

But is your character going to think London is dreary if they've lived under grey skies their entire life? Let's say your MC is a guy that just does not like women. If your villain is a lady, would he really call her beautiful--whether she was or not?

It doesn't just stop there. What if your MC's biggest dream was to be a chef (or they could really just love food)--would those green eyes look like summer leaves or would they look like cucumbers? Is someone going to be blushing a lady bug red or are they going to blushing a bell pepper red?

One of the easiest ways to get a start on character voice is to think like them. If they're a foodie, use food! If they're into plants and botany, use nature. If they're the mathematical sort, use numbers and logic. If they're a shopaholic, use clothes and shoes and name brands. You get the idea.

It may seem obvious--redundant to say, even--but this is one of the things that helped me the most when I began writing. One of my first characters (this was a paranormal story) had the ability to touch something and know exactly what made it up. So, after awhile, I finally realized that touch should be the sense I used most. Not sight. Not smell. Not hearing. Touch. It had to be the most important, because it was the most important to him.

So, take a look at your characters--interview them if you haven't already--and look at your manuscript. Are they matching up?
Thanks Devin!
Anyone else, if you want to do a post on Fridays, please contact me as soon as you can, as the Fridays are going fast. I'm booked until June so far. :-) My e-mail address is: (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com).
So... What do you do to match the voice to the character?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oh... Life.

Hi all! Welcome to my new bloggy friends and thanks for the follows. Welcome to all my old friends and thanks for your support! :-)

I am trying my best to follow all of you back, but some of you don't show links to your blogs. So if you have a blog that I haven't shown my face on at least once, I'm asking pretty pretty please to link me in the comments.

Then, I want to remind you all about the Treasures of Carmelidrium competition. Go check it out. Easiest win ever. ;-)

So... today I wanted to run an improved schedule and tell you how that worked for me. But... I kind of got stuck saying hi to yesterday's commenters and some of the other blogs... (Suspect I got round to about 100 of you.) Then work kicked in, followed by special practice at choir.

Yes, choir. Interesting factoid about me: I'm a soprano with a wicked range when my voice is in practice and flu free. Working on both.

I finally got to the writing later today - after quitting time. One hour and twenty minutes later, I had 1200 words.

Will I be able to add to that? Probably not, as I have to go join up with a church thing tonight.

Which brings me to this point:

Life sometimes takes up all of our writing time. That's not a bad thing. At least we get to do some living.

And when life is boring, we get to write. ;-)

Do you get frustrated with interruptions to your writing plans?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Did something new work?

Hi all! Just want to remind you of the competition to win The Treasures of Carmelidrium. Go check it out if you haven't already.

Then, I really suggest that you head over to J.S. Chancellor's blog. She is giving away her oft-pirated book, Son of Erebus - FOR FREE!!!

OK... on to the question that everyone is dying to know the answer to:

How did the pace change work out?

To be honest, I think it is still early to tell.

So far though, this is what happened. I spent a significant portion of yesterday to write. When I finished a scene, I blogged/read blogs/tweeted.

I made sure that the goal was to finish the scene, not say 1000 words. This is to prevent myself from cutting myself off mid-flow. If my flow gets interrupted for a significant period of time (20 minutes or more) the story tends to show it.

I didn't reach the 5000 words I was trying for, as I had (yet again) contracted the flu. By 15:30, I was out.


By 15:30, I wrote 3921 words. That is not bad by any stretch of the imagination. I expect that I could have gotten to/past 5000 words if I had the energy for it.

On the other hand, I tend to spend too much time on my breaks. It could have to do with the fact that I had the concentration span of a goldfish. So I will probably play with setting alarms for my breaks.

I will give that a shot tomorrow. Tonight, I am planning to go curl up with a book.

How long do you think my breaks should be?