Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things...

Isn't it funny how suitable things fall together? I'm starting to write/edit and today is my 200th post! Exciting hey?

Don't know which is more exciting, but for the purposes of today, we'll say it's the bit about writing/editing.

So yeah... Yesterday I couldn't stand the wait, so I took the day off and gave me a crash course on editing. The book I read, while informative, wasn't exactly the most applicable to creative writing, making me think of a gap in the market. Any takers?

Still, I'm about halfway through and picked up quite a few things. Main one being, how edits are supposed to work.

It also gave me an idea as to a strategy for the Doorways edits.

The book (Rewrite Right by Jan Venolia) talks about two stages in editing. I'm thinking there should be three for creative writers.

First, there should be a stage for the storyline. I have strings to stretch back or pull to the end. I have scenes requiring more depth. Emotions that need to be carried further, or not quite as far. That sort of stuff. I guess that's the revisions always referred to.

Second, we have to improve content. Refine what's been written.

Third, copy editing or correcting language issues.

Each one should be done separately, so that will be three rounds of edits.

As I finish chapters, I'll let other people read them and point out whatever I've missed. When I'm done with round three, I'll repeat, using the crit partner opinions.

After another three (hopefully shorter) rounds, I'll do the print-out and hand read. Likely another two rounds.

Finally, I'll be handing over to beta readers and polishing my WiP.

Hopefully after about 15 editing rounds, my book should be in a shape to send off into the big, wide world.

So that's the plan for now. It's likely to change as I work, but I felt a little better knowing that I have a strategy.

Anyone have any tips for me? This is new waters for me, so any advice will be most appreciated.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Acting for Writers

Good morning, blogosphere! My name is Laura M. Campbell, a mystery writer from Bucks County, PA. Today, the topic of my guest blog focuses on an acting technique you can employ to improve your writing. 

Let me start off by thanking Misha for allowing me to share the knowledge I acquired from the Pennwriters Conference in Pittsburgh here at My First Book blog.

Pennwriters, my first conference, forever changed me. The community between the authors, speakers and aspiring writers made for an exhilarating and inspirational experience. I absorbed everything possible during the three days and gladly share it with you. If anything catches your interest, please check out the links below.  


Under the tutelage of Kathleen George, published author and theatre professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and Kathryn Miller Haines, actor, mystery writer and award-winning playwright, I learned several acting techniques to enrich my writing to bring a more realistic reading experience to my stories.

Kathleen and Kathryn encouraged the seminar group to pull from our memories, similar to method acting, to create realistic character and scene portrayals to evoke the reader’s emotions and increase their investment in the story. I’m sure most of you do this already, so I won’t waste time explaining.

What I would like to dive into is Cross Purpose Improv. This technique put character interaction into perspective for me. On stage, two actors are separately given back-story and a goal they must accomplish in the scene for their character. Although the back-story is similar, each character interprets their status quo differently, creating two different goals. Accomplishing the goal, whether through dialogue and/or action, becomes the obstacle or conflict.  

Moving from the stage to the page, the reader is aware of both sides about to play out while the characters enter the scene unaware. Tension builds between the characters through the reader. The suspense builds while the characters attempt to reach their goals in the scene.

What’s the end result?

The reader continues on to discover which character reigns victorious. Depending on the characters method of reaching their goal, the Cross Purpose Improv technique can bring high drama or comedy to the story. Either way, your reader is hooked. Quality entertainment and enthralling reading experience is accomplished.

Looking back over your stories and novels, do you know any character interactions that could benefit from this acting technique? Or do you already employ it?


Interested in other seminars from the Pennwriters Conference? Check out these blogs:

Laura M. Campbell @ Writing Unleashed 

Alex @ Magpie Writes 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm a writer because...

I'm a little late today. Went to a brunch that stretched into the afternoon and only came back now. Still, it was lots of fun to get out of the house. 

Anyway, I've only read the introduction to the first book on writing so far and it made me think about what it is that makes us writers. For me it's more than just writing every day. 

For me, writing forms a significant part of my identity. I am many things, but being a writer comes in chief among those things. 

I write even though it's not always fun. Because it goes beyond that for me. It isn't a hobby. For me, writing is something I need to do as regularly as I am able to, because it keeps me going in the most difficult of times. It's a passion.   

Even when I'm nowhere close to a notebook or computer, I am writing. There are characters to get to know. Story lines to consider. So many little aspects that form the whole that gets onto the page eventually. Most of that doesn't even feel like thinking. It doesn't feel like work. To me it feels completely natural. In fact, I think I'd be uncomfortable if my mind completely stopped thinking about stories. It's an obsession. 

So I'm a writer, because not writing would slowly drive me insane. 

Why do you write? What makes you a writer? 

Just a reminder that I'm looking for more guest posters for Fridays. Please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com for more information and/or to book a spot.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blog Day: Reciprocity and Building Relationships

Just a reminder that I'm looking for people to fill GPF slots. Please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com for more information and to book.

Today might be the last blog day for now as I don't think that people are enjoying the series or finding it that interesting. So today I'll bring up something that's really important to me.

Have you noticed that people on the blogosphere follow back? So a great way to get followers is to hit as many blogs as possible and follow them.

But what does the number of followers mean when none of them actually care who you are? Or if those people following doesn't mean anything to you? Well... not much, really. There's a whole community of bloggers out there who would love to get to know you. But like real life, friendships and relationships go both ways. If you do nothing, the relationship won't grow. Simple as that.

Expecting people to comment on your blog while you do nothing is like expecting friends to call you while you never do.

And when you comment, show people you care. Writing comments that show that you're trying to ramble something off on the way to the next blog, or comments that show that you didn't even bother to read the post are worse than not commenting at all. So if you comment, make it mean something. If you can't, skip out and come back on another post. Lots less damaging.

But don't ever think that never commenting is a good idea. Have you ever opened your blog and saw that your posts drew zero comments? Doesn't feel good, does it? Notice how great it feels to get lots of comments?

Well, then, don't you think it would be nice of you to be the first to comment? And if you're not the first, be the person that helps the blogger in question on their way to 20, 30 or a hundred comments.

Every comment counts to your relationship with other bloggers. So get yourself heard.

Anyone else love comments as much as I do? How do you go about commenting on people's blogs?

Monday, May 23, 2011

My month off is nearing its end...

Hi all! I just want to check if anyone is interested in guest posting on the Fridays after June. The dates are wide open, but no-one seems to be biting. I'd love to have some more guests, so if you want to write a guest post about anything related to writing and/or the literary world, plug your book, anything, please follow my blog and let me know that you're interested in booking a slot. My e-mail address is mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT) com.

So yeah... I am about to enter the last week before my break from writing is over and, while it was lots of fun to do nothing for a while, I'm now starting to feel the stirrings of that old, annoying niggle.

I'm bored.

Very bored. My mind has already started working on new ideas as well as for ways to improve Doorways. Now my hands are itching to get back to writing.

To me that means that now is a good time to do nothing.

Yep, you heard me. Nothing. It's just stirring. I don't care for stirrings. They wane and fade almost as soon as I start to address them.

No, I want to feel a rush when I touch my work. I want to feel that I can't wait until I spend some time on ideas both old and new. So... more word fasting for me, at least until the end of the month.

In the mean time I've picked up two writing books, one about writing in general, the other about revising. I'm thinking about starting in on the latter. After all, Doorways is my priority.

So that's me, feeling the urge to return to my writing, but resisting and distracting myself with other shiny things.

What are you up to? How's your writing going? Have you ever taken a break after finishing a draft?

Also, I'd love to know if you guys want for me to share some of the things I learned from the two books I mentioned?

Dying to know.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Room of My Own

Today, I want to introduce you to one of my new(er) bloggy friends, Francesca. I always head over to her blog for a refreshing look at another writer's life. What can I say? I'm a bit of a voyeur. ;-P

Take it away, Francesca.  

A Room of My Own

I dream of a large desk in a clean, sunny room. The French doors are ajar, and a gentle breeze stirs the long white curtains. Outside there is a garden without weeds, and lots of lavender in bloom. Somewhere else in the house, someone is playing the piano. There is a glass of very cold Pinot Grigio next to me, and I sit at the desk, elegant and calm in white linen, and I write.

When Virginia Woolf writes about the room of her own that a creative woman needs, this is the image that comes to my mind. An extravagantly separate, magical space. No laundry in sight. No piles of bills, No dust. No inconvenient children and their times-tables or abandoned half-empty cups of juice. This imaginary space is a blank slate, and I alone am the writing on the wall.

It is utter fantasy. Even if I had such a room, within minutes, I would have spilled the wine down my front, or thrown a half-finished Friday crossword on the floor in frustration. Bees would fly in through the half-open doors and dive bomb my spilled wine. The piano-player would get fed up with Chopin and start banging out Chopsticks. I would remember something I absolutely had to do. Or I would need the bathroom. Or coffee.

Point is, there’s no perfect space and time to write. Waiting for that space – either physical or mental – is futile. You write in the moments between making peanut butter sandwiches and googling Uglydolls. You daydream while driving to the supermarket, and maybe catch the tail of a really yummy new idea. You call writing twenty words success, if that’s all there was time for. Twenty words is something. It’s not waiting. It’s doing.

As I write this, my eight-year-old daughter has crawled into bed beside me. “I won’t talk to you,” she says. But she is wiggling around like, well, like a child in her parent’s bed, and it’s distracting as hell. But I’m still writing. I am so tired my eyes feel like frying meatballs. And I’m still writing. Earlier tonight, I watched the episode of Doctor Who that Neil Gaiman wrote and felt inadequate as a wordsmith and storyteller, and jealous that I will in all likely never get to write an episode of Doctor Who. And I’m still writing.

No desk. No lavender. No white linen. Lukewarm tea and sheets that could probably stand to go into the washer. Yet, I dream of a large desk in a clean, sunny room, and know that I carry that room with me. It is my permission to write, And it is all my own.

Thank you for such a lovely post Francesca! 

If you are interested in a Guest Post Friday slot, all you need to do is follow my blog and send me a post related to writing, books or the literary world. From July, all Fridays are open, so contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com if you are interested. I can't wait to hear from you! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Today, we have a winner!

Before I announce the winner, I just want to apologize for my inactivity lately. I've been busy with the rest of my life this week, so I haven't been able to visit any blogs. Including those of the people that commented on mine. I feel terrible about that, but right now, the other aspects of my life take precedence. I will get back to visiting blogs on Monday.

Ok then... on to the point of today's post.


And the winner is:


Robin Ingle!

Congrats, Robin, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com as soon as you can to claim your prize.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blog Day: Comments

Hi all! Just want to let you know that the competition for The Story Book by David Baboulene will be closing at midnight CAT, so if you haven't entered yet, you better hurry. ;-)

For those of you who missed my earlier Wednesday posts, Blog Day is a series giving tips on improving blogs. While I don't call myself a professional, I have been to hundreds of blogs (over a thousand in fact) and have picked up a lot of do's and don'ts.

To me, there are exactly two rules to blogging that have to be applied in a way that benefits the blog. First one is BE YOURSELF. The other is THINK OF YOUR AUDIENCE. They always have to be weighed against each other when making a decision in blogging.

Today I want to apply the rules to comments and commenting.

First: Should there even be a comments section? Yes. If for no other reason, because about 99% percent of blogs have them. It's an expectation in the blogging community. Blogs aren't supposed to be preaches. They're supposed to be conversations. Dialogues. Not monologues. You and the reader. Never just you.

And as far as I know, I've never met a member of the blogging community that relishes the lack of a comments section.

Still, dialogues bring me to another point. Dialogues. Comments sections are going to be somewhat pointless if you don't give your reader something to think about, or a chance to form an opinion. Yes, it's great to get complements of: "Love this post." "Well said!" "Congrats." "Well done!". I count them as feathers in my cap. Love complements.

But if they're the only comments I'm getting, somethings wrong.That dialogue aspect to the post is lacking. So if you want to hear your readers' opinions, if you want to learn what they're thinking, make it easy for them to find something to say.

How? Ask questions. Lots of them. Try to find a common ground, but settle for learning about readers likes and dislikes. How they think. How they're feeling. It's so important, given that blogs are a way to build relationships. If you don't talk to them and don't find out who your readers are, how are you going to get to know them?

What else makes you comment on blog posts?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blog Tour Featuring Maria Zaninni

Hi all! I'm giving the blog over to Maria today as part of her blog tour to market her new book: Apocalypse Rising. Without any further ado, I'll let Maria's words do the talking.

Subtle World Building

I think the hardest thing for a writer to do when world building is remaining invisible. When I read, I don’t want to feel the author over my shoulder. I don’t want to see the footprints of the creator.

Have you ever read a scene where your eyes start to glaze over and you found yourself skimming ahead to the ‘good parts’? Whenever that happens to me, I ask myself: Why did I skip ahead? What did the author do to lose me here?

Often times, it was too much narrative, description, introspection or dialog. It forced me as the reader to become aware of the author and what s/he was trying to accomplish.

As the author, I don’t want you to know I exist. I don’t want to be on your radar. If you’re not immersed in the story, then I’ve left too many of my footprints and failed you.

When an author intrudes on the story, it makes the reader feel as if the author doesn’t trust him to ‘get it’. I’d rather err on the side of caution and say too little to keep you intrigued, than say too much and destroy the fantasy.

Every once in a while I come across a complex scene in my books where I want to explain more, but I try to resist the urge to intervene. Though I’ll run the risk that some readers won’t get it, I’m betting most will. And those are the people I’m writing for.

So what makes the author obvious in his world building?

• Describing too deeply—or too often.
Solution: Tell the reader only what he needs to know at that moment in the story.

• Authorial intrusion—where the author explains something the character knows so well that it would never come up in a normal conversation or narrative.
Solution: Whenever you need to explain a bit of world building to the reader, use lateral moves. In the first Harry Potter book, many times the reader learns about Hogsworth at the same time Harry does. We are moving through the story together.

• Explaining something the character wouldn’t know, but the reader needs to understand.
Solution: Say I want to explain a device that sends subliminal messages. Rather than delivering a long physical account, show the effects. The character could start perspiring, his eyes will flare and he’ll rub his temples vigorously as if he were trying to rub something out. Little by little the reader will start to piece things together—without the dreaded info-dump.

Aim for the art of subtle narrative, to be so invisible that you leave no footprints—only clues.

Do you ever skim when you read? Can you recall why you did?

Bio: Maria Zannini used to save the world from bad advertising, but now she spends her time wrangling chickens, and fighting for a piece of the bed against dogs of epic proportions. Occasionally, she writes novels. 

Apocalypse Rising blurb: The only place to hide was in the past. Leda and Grey have one chance to escape a madman and that’s through a portal to a time before the apocalypse. But nothing has prepared them for 21st century culture, and every misstep draws them closer to the End Times. The world is teetering on extinction, and they may very well be the cause of it.

Warning: Dark demons, Elementals, witches, and a hero with one woman too many. 

Apocalypse Rising is the sequel to Touch Of Fire. I hope you’ll try them both.

Follow me on my blog: http://mariazannini.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mariazannini

Thanks again, Maria. Best of luck with the rest of your blog tour!

Anyone have issues when describing your worlds? How do you solve them?

Monday, May 16, 2011

What happened to me this week-end...

Firstly, sorry that I didn't post on Friday, as I was supposed to. Went to visit friends earlier than scheduled over the whole weekend.

And... it worked out great for me. Why? Because I got to visit friends I don't see all that often. I got out of the house a bit...

And... sorted out the story idea that I'll be working on for the foreseeable future.

It's actually an idea that floated around for about two years, with me not sure about how I'd apply it. I know the sort. Those "wouldn't it be cool if..." ideas. The scenario is attractive, but the story, characters, premise and end are lacking.

I decided to try my hand at this story in the beginning of the month, but couldn't even finish the first chapter. I just didn't have enough to go on.

So... I spent most of Friday afternoon playing a computer game and visiting with my friends. Nothing seemed to pop up until I was about to close my eyes in slumber. The idea again took the form of... "Wouldn't it be cool if...", but as I was about to put the useless thought away and sleep, I realized that my this idea fit beautifully into the story I mentioned above.

The rest still lacked, leaving me with a pretty much sleepless night. When I woke up the next morning, I talked  to my friend about the idea and we started to bounce ideas around while making breakfast. It took until 5 minutes into the meal for me to get a flash of inspiration.

I now have a pretty good idea where I'm going, and wow, am I excited about it! I haven't worked on a new idea for so long that this one is giving me that old buzz.

Can't wait to get to work!

How was your weekend? When was the last time inspiration hit you? How did it hit?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I've been thinking...

No don't panic, just yet. I was just thinking about my personal Blog Rules.

Something occurred to me that I should have thought about earlier...

Something involving time-zones...

See... most of my followers are from the US, which means that they/you are more than a few hours behind me. It made me think that I might have been a little stupid to post in the mornings. Because it means that my posts show up on readers at night. Between 1 am and 4/5 am, in fact. Not a great way to catch new readers. Or to stay fresh.

At the same time, I want to post at a time when my European readers can read as well... So... when, I wonder, will work best?

I'll be experimenting over the next few days to see if changing post times will have an effect on my stats. Starting Monday.

Anyone want to shoot with your time-zones and times you prefer to read?

It would help me tremendously.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blog Day: Scroll Bar Layout

Before we start off, I just want to remind you that there's only one week left before the competition closes, so if you want The Story Book by David Baboulene, you better head over there fast.

Today is the second installment of Blog Day, my crash course on blogging. Last week, we dealt with the two rules: BE YOURSELF and THINK OF YOUR AUDIENCE.

Today, I'll be pointing out how this extends to something as seemingly trivial as the Scroll Bar.

Silly, you think? Not really. See your blog is pretty much your own personal web-page. A web-page to some aspect of your life, you might say. An aspect of your life that you very much want people to explore (Why else would you blog?). Not to mention that you really really want them to come back.

So... knowing that you want your audience to come back it becomes obvious that you want to make interaction with your blog as easy as possible. And... importantly, as FAST as possible.

Think about yourself now. When you head over to other blogs (I will discuss why this is imperative next week), how much time do you spend? An hour? Two hours? Will three hours push the borders of your capacity? No matter how long you have, you want to hit as many blogs as possible. Thus, speed is of the essence. You need to be able to open the web-page, click follow, read and comment in as little time as possible.

Back to your own blog. Let's say (because I tend to post longish blogs) that the cut-off point is ten minutes. Do you really want your reader to wait for five minutes before your blog actually loads? Do you really want your reader to spend another three minutes looking for a way to subscribe/follow?

DON'T tell me: "Go to Google Reader, click add subscriptions and copy/paste the address." Have you any idea what a pain in the arse that is when I have to do it TWENTY times in one day? By twenty-one, I stop following blogs without working subscription/follow widgets. In fact, I think I deserve a medal for following the ones I did. Point is: Do you want to be number twenty-one for a hundred or so people?

Other questions to consider:

Wouldn't you like for your reader to know what your blog (and you) are about? Once again, I have gotten people telling me that the reader should read previous blogs for an indication. Uhm... No. The reader has ten minutes and let's face it, no one cares that much about someone they don't know. You need a short introduction of some sort.

Wouldn't you like for your reader to know when you post? After all, you can't expect them to come back ever day to check, can you?

And finally, don't you think that it would be great for the reader to have easy access to older posts, should they have fifteen minutes instead of ten?

So now that we have this down, we can look at our approach to layout.

Firstly, I believe in KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. It can be incredibly annoying if you have a slow Internet connection and the blog loading times out rather than completes loading. It gets more so when I hit the same blog with a faster connection and discover that the reason why it didn't load was because there are a hundred thousand animations on the blog. So... if you want to add something, please think about why it is necessary. If it isn't saying something about the blog and doesn't suit the theme you're going for, leave it ALONE. Think about that ten minutes. I don't think all than many people spend their blog time feeding fish or stroking cats. But... if you feel that it MUST go on, revert to rule number one. BE YOURSELF. Just make sure that the animation isn't ruining the reader's experience.

That's my say on that, now I'm going to use my own scroll-bar and explain why everything is where it is. Overall, I should mention something. When I started blogging, I decided that my scroll-bar should be aimed at helping the reader in every way possible. Knowing this, I think most of what I'm going to say makes sense.

Above all, people are going to come to this blog to read about me and my experiences/opinions. So... I go to the top with my personal profile to introduce myself. Then people want to know what the blog is about. So the About This Blog section is next. Follow button is next, because who wants to have to look for it way at the bottom of the page? After that, I help readers out with my blogging schedule. After that, I plug the blog-fests that I joined, because I know some readers would love to join in too. Then I plug my open dates for GPF slots, so that people can pick a date and contact me. Note that I also have my e-mail address (used solely for blogging and writing). Next is Write-on-Con, because everyone should want to be there. It's going to be awesome. Then comes the posts most read in the past week, in the event that someone else finds those topics intriguing. Then the archive and labels, in case the above wasn't enough. Then the writing/book/agent blogs I follow. The most recent ten out of every single one I follow. You can see all of them too. Finally I have some websites that I visit for various writing related reasons.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

One more thing to mention, if you want multiple scroll-bars, I suggest you keep the important stuff on the right. That's where the eye falls first.

So... what are your pet-peeves and loves when it comes to scroll-bar lay-outs?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I've been tagged...

Finally! Sorry that I missed yesterday. My new post window refused to work. At all. >_< Grr... Sorry people, but I really found this stressful. Especially when I couldn't post my first post on my new blog. Sigh... aaaanyway. Don't forget to enter the competition!

Now... to the point of this post. I've been tagged for the first time in my life, this time by Lydia Elizabeth Burnwell. So... here goes:

If you could go back in time and relive a moment, what would it be? 
The day I let someone talk me into studying that infernal Actuarial Science course. I would slap myself before clocking out that person.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? 
My university application letter. Instead of chosen courses reading 1) Actuarial Science 2) Chemical Engineering 3) Languages, I'd change it to 1) Drama 2) Languages 3) History or Art.

What Movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality? 
Hahaha I have no idea. Probably Sherlock Holmes crossed with the later versions of Elizabeth Swan...

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be? 
.... Sorry, that question took me to my happy place. Uhm... name the dumbest politician in the world. I can think of a few, but I'm thinking of one that failed WOODWORK as a subject. My South African friends might recognise him.  Him... or Robert Mugabe. I wouldn't be all that picky.

Name one habit that you want to change in yourself. 
I crack my knuckles. I hate that I do it, but sometimes do it without noticing. Trying to stop though, but that not noticing issue does put a wrinkle in my attempts.

Describe yourself in one word. 
One word? I can't even describe myself in an essay! But... idiosyncratic is a nice word that fits.

Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence. 
Interesting that the question is asked in two sentences while being nervy enough to demand a one sentence reply, but, I suppose I can just write a very wrong sentence to comment on this and to say that I have come to blog because I love making contact with people insane enough to read ALL of my long sentences because even I know how I can prattle along...

Name at least three people to send this meme to. And inform them. 

I would love it if all of you answered at least one question in the comments section. Pretty please?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dare to Dream--Even if it Means Writing a Musical

Hello all! Welcome to a new installment of GPF. Today, I have the honor of introducing you to Crystal, who is currently working very hard to get Immortal: The Musical on the boards. But I'm not going to say much more. All I'll say is go check it out. The music is awesome. Take it away, Crystal!

Dare to Dream--Even if it Means Writing a Musical

Thank you for this opportunity Misha--and congrats on finishing your rewrite! 

When you're young people tell you to dream big and reach high. One of those people for me was David Buckner who wanted to "own hotels". He's now a successful business advisor and professor at Columbia University who did end up owning hotels. He shared his story with me at the impressionable age of 15, emphasizing just one phrase: "Dare to Dream". 

The idea remained so solidly that seven years later, when I woke from a literal dream, I ran to my piano (keyboard) and started plucking out the song which has changed my life. 

Dreams are tentative things. They take thought, effort, and even a few failures before they're realized. Hard work and "belief" (as Shepherd Book of the Firefly series put it) is what makes our dreams a reality. You have to "believe hard". To quote Wesley from Princess Bride, "Anyone who says differently is selling something." 

(I LOVE Wesley.)

So this is my 8 year (and counting) dream:

After three centuries of bloodthirsty silence, Lucas has found hope. If he’s capable of love, is he capable of redemption? And will the hunter, her uncle, kill him before he has the chance to discover?

Immortal the Musical

For anyone who can catch the "vision", the website is a rough representation with music recorded in the very early stages of development. It has recently entered into the negotiation stages of production on a new concept CD, including work shopping and staging. We hope to hold a concert series in the upcoming year as well as piloting a TV reality show, 365 Days to Broadway. 

Dare to dream, because dreams can become reality, but not without extreme ups and downs and an unwaivering belief. 

What is your dream? 

Thanks so much for this post, Crystal, I think everyone needs a reminder that they need to keep dreaming. 

One more thing to add. If you are interested in booking a GPF slot,  feel free to contact me. The available dates and my e-mail address is posted on the scroll bar.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This happens when you give characters too much say...

Two reminders today! Remember to drop by tomorrow for another installment of GPF and if you haven't yet, please go check out the competition. :-)

As you know, I've finished my rewrite, exactly ten days ago. I knew from the beginning of the year that I would have to take a break so that I could put some distance between me and the WiP, otherwise the edits aren't going to work.

An excellent way to get distance is to start something else. Or work on something else.

Yes? Yes... Yeah... I can't hear any other characters. Because I have one character who decided to take up permanent residence in my mind.

I thought he'd go once I actually finished the writing. But... no. This is an excerpt from our ongoing discussion.

Me: Why are you here?
Him: Because I want to.
Me: Funny. Look. I finished the story you wanted me to write.
Him: Not all of it.
Me: Well I can't do all of it without editing. And for me to edit, you need to go somewhere else for a while.
Him: No.
Me: What do you mean no? I wasn't giving you a choice.
Him: (smirking) Yeah... and how are you going to make me go? I might decide to not come back.
Me: Look. Can't you just go visit with my muse or something?
Him: Aha nice try. No no. I gave you the idea. I pushed you to get it written. I'm the one doing the motivation since I took over from the muse. I want to see the story through.

Yeah... As I said. This is ongoing. At this rate, I'll be going into edits with his voice as loud as the internal editor's. That should make the process interesting.

Anyone else have characters who stick around when they shouldn't?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blog Day: The Rules

Hi all, just a reminder to go check out the competition!

So. During the A-Z Challenge, I've bumped into some very interesting blogs (over a thousand of them). Some I really enjoyed... Some, while they had something interesting to offer, just weren't as fun to hit as others.  There were various reasons for this, but it got me wondering if I would be incredibly presumptuous to throw a few tips out there.

Well, that was the plan. As I thought about it some more, I realized that while the tips aren't that numerous, the reasons behind them will take up space. So... I'm going to do my first ever blog series. Every Wednesday I will highlight some aspect to the blogging experience that requires some attention.

Today I will start with the rules. If you travel through the blogosphere, I'm sure you've found about fifty blogs with rule for blogging. Those rules might even differ. Are all those rules valid? Well... yes.

But don't go giving up on me now. I know how impossible remembering all those rules and their applications will be, so I was nice and decided to give you precisely two. These two rules are the keys to every other blog rule in existence. The are:


Those two heavily influence each other, pretty much always vying for precedence. An example of this will be the background. Is it a representation of your tastes? Excellent. Will it drive away visitors? Not excellent. Unless you are planning to sift through visitors to attract a select few from a specific niche, change the background. If the aforementioned is the plan, by all means, keep it. But make a conscious decision about it. I'll get back to decor later.

If you've never seriously blogged before (or are looking to freshen up and/or refocus your blog), close your eyes and think about how you want to represent yourself to the public. Then think about who you want to draw to your blog. Given those two, what will you focus on when you blog? How will you want your blog to come across?

When I started out, I wanted to attract writers and readers. I wanted to give an accurate depiction of me and my experiences while on my journey as a writer. The "me" portion of the goal meas that I'm honest. Really honest. I try my best to be honest to myself and to others about myself. This carries over to the "experience" aspect of it. I show my journey with all the bumps and doldrums along with the moments that I get to soar. Sometimes it's scary to blog like this, but I try to find a way to write a post in such a way that I won't cause the blog reader to chew off his/her pulse. Because while I am somewhat *snort* mercurial, I know that people won't appreciate me ranting every day or moping around hopelessly and uselessly for too long.

The secret is to find the balance.

So... have a think about your blog (hypothetical or no) and if you like, please give me a short exploration (like the one I did) in the comments section. I'd love to see how you approach your blog. Also, if you have any blogging-related questions, feel free to ask. I will do my best to shoot with an answer, probably in a Blog Day post. :-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today, we have a competition!


As part of his blog tour (and by lots of luck and huge coincidence, soon after getting 500 follows), I get to give away The Story Book by David Baboulene. If you missed his guest-post, you can check it out over here.  Go ahead, clicking on the link won't make this page go away.

Nifty, right?

Anyway, I'm going to hide my inner geek now.

The Story Book might just be a great writing tool for those of us that wish to master the aspects of a story. Any story.

So... sounds like an awesome read, right? I know I'd really want the book. But, once again, I opted against reviewing, so I can't get it. But... YOU can.

All you have to do to enter is to be a follower and comment that you want the book. Old followers get 2 entries. New ones get one.

And yes, the competition is open to all of you. ^_^

The draw will take place on 18 May. So get commenting!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Looking Back on April

Thanks Elizabeth

Today is a public holiday, so I decided to be a bit lazy and do a look-back to last month... so here are some stats: 

Number of blogs visited (not counting repeat visits): 1020
Number of blogs followed: 690 (the rest I was following before the challenge)
Number of times I triggered Captcha: 4
Number of people who joined this blog: 191
Most blogs visited on one day: 80
Number of awards given: Not sure. I tried counting them, but they're hiding too well. I will have to reread every single comment to find those informing me of awards. Lucky that I find your comments so fascinating. 
Post that took the longest to write: M-day (Maps) 
Favorite Posts: Maps and Conflict and Complications. Oh and I Interrupt Regular Posting... 
Highlight of April: Announcing the completion of my rewrite. 
Number of hits in April: 3722.
A to Z Post with most visitors: Energy

Overall, I really enjoyed the challenge. Meeting new people and finding awesome blogs were definitely highlights. Still, I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm glad that it's May. 

So what did you guys think of the A - Z Challenge? Any interesting stats to share? Who finished?