Month: March 2013

Fast Snails!

That snail’s got Abs!

Ryan Reynolds as a snail who wants to race? Probably going to be the cutest movie of 2013. Check it out if you’re a fan of Ryan Reynolds, racing, snails, going fast, going slow, Dreamworks, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Giamatti, Snoop Dog, or Samuel L. Jackson.

Imaginary Places Vs. Real Places You’ve Never Visited

This weeks writing workshop focuses on one question: How do you prepare to write about a real place that you have never visited?

I feel like there’s a difference when your setting is imaginary versus a real place you have never visited. In an imaginary world, your knowledge rules. You can make anything you want and the readers get to experience it. Not saying it’s easier to write imaginary settings, there’s a lot of foundation that needs to be set and a lot of remembering what it is what. However, when your world is a real city that you’ve never set foot in your knowledge bows to greater knowledge. Your goal is to sound like an expert in whatever city your characters are set, so that if a person from that city chooses to read your book they are convinced by your words and better enjoy the story. For me, that’s one of the major keys of becoming a great writer – being able to convince a reader, a smart reader who knows more about your setting or your subject, that you know what you’re talking about, and that they are going to gain something from reading your work. To break that connection, that trust between author and reader, by misplacing an adjective, incorrectly describing your setting, means that you loose all trust between author and reader, and now they can not believe your setting, your subject, your character, and your story. It’s a slippery slope that can cost you potential readers and potential sales.

The book I’m writing now is set in Seattle, Washington, tentatively. I’ve researched Seattle online and tried to dig up some depth of local culture or the mood of the city. I’ve spent time watching the weather, movies set in Seattle and tried out some sleepless nights, but since I constantly worry about “author/reader trust,” I fear that the only way to really convince my reader the characters are in Seattle is more research, possibly visiting the city or some other immersion.

So my question for you all is, how do you write about a real place you’ve never traveled to and what methods of research do you use?

Also, I spent a lot of time on google maps, checking out street names, lake names, green areas, places of interest, I think I might print them up and hang them around my working area to help. I may also look up some topography maps to get a more accurate feel of the elevation levels, terrain and land formations. Still, experiencing the city may just be the best way to go, at least for a desert dwelling, Las Vegas native.

Candy Crush Your Soul

I really wish I could give you guys a review of the first Game of Thrones book, but I’m still reading it. I’m currently on page 627 and there are a total of 807 pages. 180 to go! Woohoo! That would be why I have not reviewed a book in awhile. Soon though.

Instead of a book, again, I will review an app, Candy Crush.

Candy Crush is an app game available to play for apple products, android and through Facebook. If you ever wanted to play a Bejeweled and Candyland at the same time, well, this is the game to play. It’s basic gameplay is inspired by Bejeweled (you know Tetris on sparkly steroids), where you align three alike and blow up the board, but there are a few unique differences. As you progress you gain different bonuses. These bonuses are candies that help you clear the board. To get these candies you need to one of several things like connect four or more, or connect a three length “L” shape. Each different connection makes a different candy, like a doughnut, or wrapped candy. Then if you are able to swipe together two special candies they super attack the board. I have not played Bejeweled in a million years so I don’t remember if they have specific goals for each level. Well, Candy Crush does. Each level challenges you to break all the jellies, or drop the fruit down, or reach a certain score in a set amount of turns or time. And I have to say, it gets frustratingly difficult. But the biggest difference is that Candy Crush allows you to move along a colored board into different areas and take part in a storyline, while watching where your Facebook friends are on the board as well. You can give lives and tickets to each to help reach the next level and you can see which person got the highest score.

Here’s the thing, this game is stupidly addictive. Justin started playing the game when my friend asked him to just give her a ticket. He had refused playing the “boring, same, lame little game.” Then once he gave her the ticket, he didn’t stop playing until finally he had to completely uninstall it.

Also, it’s extremely frustrating. I would get stuck on a level for days, hating myself every time I got 1 move away and then lost. Then when I beat the level, danced a short victory dance, the game plunged me into the next, harder and more frustrating level to be sitting at for the next few days.

I think it’s mostly luck, winning some of these levels and when luck’s not on your side, it sucks.

But however frustrating, however similar, Candy Crush is still a fun game to waste your time with, though I don’t know why.

A Video I Had to Share…

I had to share this with everyone. Genius intertwine of The Princess Bride and Game of Thrones. Very aptly displays how I felt through the first season. For those who have not watched GoT, watch at your own peril -spoilers are afoot!

Contacts!

Well, not many of my pictures will show you all this, but I wear glasses. I mean I’m supposed to wear glasses – and I do in most cases, for driving, watching tv, going to the movies, or when I’m out and really want to see my surroundings. For pictures and at work, or just hanging out though I am often -1 pair.

I however, recently decided to switch to contacts. I’ve worn the fun colored, non-prescription type before, so I knew it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. And it’s not, the first couple times I put them in it took about 15 minutes. And taking them out was a real pain (I don’t like the idea of squeezing my eye, too many Stephen King moments pop into my head… Haha “pop”) but by the third time I’ve knocked it down to 5min. and only one eye gives me a hard time when taking them out. I’m sure it will get easier and easier and now I can see! Like normal people!

I’m also hoping that since I shouldn’t be switching between good and bad vision all day long and by not having the pressure of glasses on my face, maybe that will help ease some of my migraines.

And how am I turning this post into Sci-Friday worthy material? THIS!

Since It Seems the Theme…

This weeks top pick is girly, but I’m a girl and occasionally it’s ok to be girly.

Well, many of my friends and relatives are now at the point where they are getting married or having kids or both and of course that makes me (and all the other ladies) start thinking about our own weddings and kids and all that. So this post is just to have a little fun talking about what I day dream about (when my day dreams do not consist of being a secret agent, ninja like, superhuman or the likes).

My Wedding
If you have not gathered yet I’m a huge Kingdom Hearts fan and if I were to throw a decent sized wedding (I have a ton of family, so I’m not sure whether I’m wanting super small, medium, or just full on everyone) I would like it to be themed Kingdom Hearts. Now, I don’t really like the weddings that are super themed, like dressing up like Star Wars characters to take the vow. So, my idea is more subtly hinting at a KH theme. I’m thinking decorations be crystal like and reflective, blues, black and whites, maybe keys and hearts in some places, but not overly done. Something like the ties around the backs of the chairs could be tied with a key and heart interlocking. Then for food, we would have to serve star fruit or something similar, to represent the Paopu fruit at some point, but have an overall tropical menu.

The point is that guests would understand it see it and guests who have no clue what KH is just thinks it’s a nice tropical choice.

Music of course, could have KH songs sporadically inserted and maybe, just maybe a couple moments of the lights off and a cool heartless light show… Over doing it? Yeah, probably, lol ok no light show.

That’s basically what I’ve got, the dress, the cake and everything all just simple and color themed.

My Kids
One of the best benefits of being a writer is having the chance to name things, places, people, events anything you want. I don’t know how it is for other writers, but I spend a lot of time thinking about names, and in that, names for potential children. I have a list, some of which have been veto’d by my boyfriend, but I keep throwing them back out there waiting for him to forget he doesn’t like the name. I will share my list.

Girl names
Ruwin Aila
Jane
Verse
Adrienne

Boy names
I really liked Alexander Blaidyn (I thought Alex Blade would be the coolest name ever) but so many have named their kids Alexander or Xander and now I can not name him any form of Alex. So Blaidyn it is! And,
Vincent
Dorian
Darcy
Silas
Danger

Identity Thief, Worth It

Last Saturday I saw Identity Thief, starring Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy and Amanda Peet.

The plot? Sandy Patterson is a hard worker, supporting a family with a third child on the way. When his boss, the prickly Mr. Cornish, asks Sandy to cut bonus checks for all of upper manager, it’s the last straw for several employees, who then decide to start up their own business. The opportunity promises Sandy a hefty promotion and increased salary. Unfortunately, that’s about the time Diana decides to start raking up credit cards under his name. Sandy starts getting phone calls regarding his purchases and then is arrested. After convincing the cops his identity was stolen, they inform him that catching the person behind the crime could take up to a year to fully handle. With his recent job change and his families financial stability at risk, Sandy decides that’s too long and heads to Florida to convince Diana to return with him and clear things up. Of course, things go completely awry and the audience gets to know how Diana became so crazy.

I’m not going to lie, this movie is not some intellectual piece with a change your life type feel, it does not have (many) Michael Bay explosions, and it doesn’t have an epic Jerry Bruckheimer soundtrack.

But, if you are looking to be completely entertained for two hours, or to nearly spit your soda on the person in front of you, watch this movie.

I found it hilarious, and surprisingly, I thought the story was great. Melissa McCarthy’s character was crazy, oddly likable and infuriating at the same time. Jason Bateman, well I always like watching him, he is one of those people who has great timing, you know, he can say the most normal sentence in such a way that it comes off like a punch line.

I’m going to buy it when it hits DVDs, and set it next to Horrible Bosses.

Then, I’m predicting here, I’m going to put The Heat next to those two. I’ll start a weird semi grungy Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy –Hangover type adventure section in my movie collection. Anyone have any other additions to this comedic / occasionally terrifying (see Horrible Bosses Colin Farrell) snowball adventures collection?

Migraine Rant

For those who suffer migraines, it sucks, but you already knew that. You know it’s bad when you a get a headache and think, “oh good, it’s not a migraine.”

I suffer migraines and anyone else who does can tell you they can really make your day terrible and very non-productive.

I don’t have one right now, but I can tell when one will show up. I get a whole slew of symptoms that let me know in 5 or 10 or 60 minutes my head will be throbbing.

Some symptoms that clue me into the impending doom are light sensitivity, flashes in my eyes, nausea, dizziness, tunnel vision and temporary blindness.

And what helps? Dark, quiet rooms, ibuprofen, and tea.

I know that certain things make my migraines worse like caffeine and staring at the computer for too long, but now I’m trying track it.

I note on my calendar the day and time, what symptoms I had before and how long it lasts. My hopes is that I narrow down key triggers and the best remedies.

Do any of you get migraines? If so, what symptoms do you experience before and what helps you the best?

Improper Words

Today’s writing exercise is a mind workout. It’s a simple process, that for me really opens my mind to new word choice possibilities.

Here we go:

  • First grab a dictionary.
  • Flip to any page you want.
  • Randomly choose a word from the page.
  • Now, use the word in a sentence, but change the part of speech it normally is to another one. So, if the word is a noun, use it as an adjective, or a preposition.
  • Do any part of speech, but try to maintain a similar meaning or at least a meaning you would expect that word to have in the new form.

Colors are a good example. You hear about a leaf greening, or a face yellowing, what would be oranging?

How about the sun oranging the street?

What about the word corolla – a noun meaning the petals of a flower?

What if a building had no windows on the first floor, but the higher up you looked the more windows there were and the tighter together they were built? What if they seemed to curve together and make up the whole top of the building. Could the windows be corolla windows?

Not only is it a word that evokes specific imagery but the vowels smooth over from one word to another. Corolla windows.

Words are limitless.

I always joke with Justin that my English degree certifies me to change the language at my will.

The truth is (I love this topic, if you can’t tell) language changes by anyone’s will.

Obviously, I think there is importance in the proper way of writing and using the language -proper spelling, grammar and all that, but I think about how fun it is to manipulate the language as well and really-how important it is too. Creatively changing the language to meet the needs of a writer wanting to express a very specific idea makes using words in uncommon ways important, as an exercise of the creative mind and a practice for writers pushing envelopes like e.e. Cummings and Shakespeare.

What are some of your favorite uncommon, improper uses of words?

 

Also, check out a review for my poetry collection by Michelle Proulx! A big thank you goes out to her for reading and letting people know about it.