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Monday, August 30, 2010


So I've decided to elect all ya'll my own personal band of harassers. I hereby give you permission to blackmail, coerce, tempt, lure, incite, anger, offend, or otherwise negatively project yourself onto me so long as the ultimate result is me FREAKIN' WRITING.

I mean, I HAVE been writing. But this writing consists solely of stuff for freelancin', which does not qualify as novel-writing, which does not contribute in anyway to any book I may want to produce in the foreseeable future. Unless that book has anything to do with Russia. Which it probably won't. For now.

(AND school will be starting next week. Which is never a problem, but, you know, I'll have to set aside at least 30 minutes a week to pretend I'm doing homework. Last-quarter-of-school-and-I-just-don't-CARE-about-business-law-or-the-sociology-of-gender-anymore FTW.)

The kick-start to all ya'll's help (hey, look, my southern drawl again! *waves to southern drawl*) resulted in a veryclose name result. 5 to Jeb, 7 to Elias. Too close to call? Let's pull out the tie-breaker. The MC's name is Sophie. So, logically, the best way to decide which name fits her would be: name-mashing.

(Stop looking at me like that. I am SO not the only writer who thinks like this.)

Sophie and Jeb: Sopheb
Sophie and Elias: Sophias

(Though it just occurred to me that no one ever name-mashed the Twilight series. Bellward or Bellcob? I guess there's a reason no one ever name-mashed Twilight series. Which means my evil master plan isn't fool-proof. BLAST.)

I'm going to play the Author card then: Elias it is. If only because nicknames are possible with Elias, not so much with Jeb. Li, El. That's how the MC in STREAM PIRATE became Alluvial. I'm such a nickname whore.

So now that we have the name fiasco sorted out, the next step is: character sketches.

I don't usually do character sketches. For my last few novels (that were mostly novel attempts), I just grabbed an idea and dove in. This method, while excellent for rapid-fire-outlet-writing, isn't so good when you want to produce readable, decent material. I tend to get the story going reallyfastreallyfast but sorely and desperately lack in the characterization department. So much so that whenever I send something out to be beta-ed I 9.999 times out of 10 expect their #1 concern to be "WHO THE HELL IS YOUR MC??" They're much nicer, of course.

This time, I'm by the book. Pun intended.

My beautiful and wonderful ninja friend Natalie did a post on character sheets. She linked to a webpage with a pretty darn decent character sheet. I was going to fill out the character sheet here, but at the risk of making this the world's longest post, I'll do it on my own time. But MAKE SURE I do it, guys. Abuse your Right to Blackmail, Coerce, Tempt, etc etc. The future of Sophias depends on you.

(The character sheet is 9 pages! 9! I can't answer that many questions about MYSELF, let alone one of my characters! whinewhinewhine)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Feeling lazy, soooo...

Question: What do you get when you mix repeated viewings of Ghost Adventures, 2AM, and Sara?

Answer: A SUPER FUN story idea.

Problem: I'm feeling lazy. Don't judge me. It's my birthday; I'll divvy up the work detail if I want to.

So, I have a little assignment for you. It'll be fun. Trust me. I'll even make it into a game. Won't that be fun? Everyone loves games!

*cue cheesy carnival music*

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, gather 'round whilst I present to you an opportunity unlike any other. A world wonder, a whiff of the incredible, a brush with destiny, an overly-fluffed taste of my indecisive tendencies. I give you:


That's right! For a LIMITED TIME ONLY, you too can have a hand in determining my MC's love interest's NAME! Hop over to the sidebar for the poll and choose which sounds like the perfect blend of dreamy-sweet-slightly-naive and Civil-War-era-soldier. I will be eternally in your debt. Or, you know, until I have another problem for you to solve.

(Have I mentioned how pretty you are? Because you are. Really. You look like JUST the kind of person who would know EXACTLY what name to pick. *nudge*)

Monday, August 23, 2010


No matter how often I clean my room, I can never seen to get rid of all the junk.

Today's trash bag tally: three. THREE trash bags. People think I'm joking when I say that my stuff spontaneously clones itself when I leave the room. Well, I don't see me laughing when I have to shove those three stupid-heavy trash bags into the garbage cans that for whatever reason are always wedged thisclose to my mom's CRV. Cirque de Soleil applauds my acrobatic bag-shoving abilities.

Struggle aside, the results are always well worth it. My room feels lighter. Less burdened. Like if there was an air-raid I could throw my entire room into two suitcases and be in the bunker watching Gilmore Girls before the rest of my family even heard the siren.

(Mental note: get a bunker.)

That's how I like it. Simple. No muss, no fuss, all the gain without the pain. But this cleaning time, oh, this cleaning time was different. Drastic. Nay, demented. A no-holds-bar purging of everything that even hinted at unnecessary, useless, or good-god-I-bought-that-in-1997. There is absolutely nothing left in my room that isn't entirely needed.

(Okay, that's a lie. I kept my Declaration of Independence shot glass and this funny little mini-fork I got at a rehearsal dinner. It reminded me of a tiny version of the trident in The Little Mermaid.)

I've tried to pinpoint what brings on these desperate needs to clean. Some kind of hormonal nesting urge? One too many episodes of Hoarders? Whatever the reason, the feeling afterward is always the same. Sitting at my desk, looking around my room, twiddling my thumbs. Thinking, "All right. It's time."

But -- time for what?

I feel like something has to happen now. I've cleaned out all this space for Something to come; it'd be downright rude of it not to take the hint and swoop in, right?

I'll be 21 in two days. A college graduate in 3 months. I think the Something that's coming is -- well, lets just say that Something has to happen, because the only alternative at this point in my life is a big, dark vortex of Nothing that doesn't usually come until you're yelling at nurses for stealing your denture paste.

People usually have an idea of what Something is, don't they? At this point in the game, they at least have a slight illusion of Something. "Oh hey, look, there's that rascal Something; see his silhouette in the door there?"

Nope. Not me. No silhouette. Not anymore. I just know that wherever my Something is, I don't want to go chasing after it with three trash bags of my past weighing me down.

That bunker might be kind of nice right about now, actually.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thoughts Post-Pilgrim

Just came back from watching Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Must jot down my incoherent-list-of-post-movie-thoughts-that-came-to-me-on-the-drive-home-and-made-me-chuckle-so-they'll-make-you-chuckle-too:

#1) There were a total of about 30 people in the theater. 4 of them were girls. This made me giggle through the entire movie.

#2) I MUST HAVE steampunk goggles.

#3) Ramona Flowers is my hair idol.

#4) Life would be so much more awesome if during bad situations giant KA-POW! signs would explode over peoples' heads.

#5) The perfect Ultimate Geek Night movie blend would be a showing of Zombieland followed by a dose of Kick-Ass with a finale of Scott Pilgrim. A gentle easing into the newly-developed nerd genre with a *pinch* of eye candy and *smidgen* of gut-pounding fight scenes. Not heart-pounding. Gut-pounding. Don't think about that too long.

#6) Ramona Flowers is my hair idol. Did I say that already?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Introducing Miss Max

So I'm thinking of making Max a girl.

If you haven't been able to tell already, this story has put me through HELL. It started as a distant future post-apoc with a male MC in France and is now an alternate history steampunk with a female MC in England.


No. Seriously. How did this happen? If you were expecting an inspiring and awe-inducing post about how stories always turn out how they're meant to and characters will always come through for you and how writing is the bestest, greatest profession EVER, well, you won't find that here. Because I am TOTALLY STRUNG OUT.

I mean, REALLY, Max. Who the expletive are you? And WHERE are you? And who is around you? And what are they wearing? And why can't you stop being a stubborn little momma's boy (girl?) and freakin' let me write your story already?! It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to stop CHANGING as often as American Idol gets new judges. Psh.

I think part of my problem might be that Max is conspiring with Puppy. As long as Max keeps me confused and not writing, Puppy gets my undivided attention. But when I do get infrequent bursts of "Hey-I-think-I-have-a-breakthrough," Puppy gets hours of me sitting at my laptop, absently telling her I'll be done in a minute. Then she looks at me like this:

Get off your freakin' computer and PLAY WITH ME.

And it turns out my "breakthrough" isn't so much a breakthrough as a revelation that my MC might've been the wrong gender all along. Which leaves me confused, perplexed, and puzzled, and all of those things result in me not writing and playing with Puppy.

Coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Good Characters Go...Good-er

The following conversation was transcribed by an anonymous bystander on August 9, 2010. Names were changed to protect the identities of the participants, but the anonymous bystander, who apparently suffered numerous psychological and emotional strains from having to listen to this conversation firsthand, urged the real names to be used under the claim that "the participants deserve to have their insanity proclaimed to the world. Idiots."

Sara: Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. I can do nothing.

*crosses legs*

*curls fingers into little o's*

Sara: Ommmm

*opens eye a crack*

*notices people watching*

*closes eye*


Ambition: Hey. Look at this.

Sara: OM. OM. OMOMOMOMOM. Mom? No. Focus. OMMMMMM.

Ambition: YOU REALLY NEED TO SEE THIS. And I have a friend who wants to talk to you too. He misses you. I'll bring him in.

Sara: *peeks again*

*notices Ambition is gone for the moment*

*clicks link he left*

Sara: Damn.

Ambition: *returns* Here he is. I'll leave you two to chat. Oh, I see you opened the link I left? Thought you might like that. Why didn't you think of doing something like that YEARS ago? Oh, well. At least you found it now. You might like some of the jobs posted on August 2 or 3. Just saying.

Sara: DAMN. *curls fingers again* DAMMMMMN. I like that mantra better.

Ambition: Leaving now. TALK TO MY FRIEND. He misses you. I think you two can have an enlightening chat. *leaves*

Sara: *eyes new arrival* Oh. YOU again. What do YOU want?

Max: *sits next to Sara*

*tries to sit yoga-cross-legged*

*falls over*

*sits up*

Max: Hi. Um. I was hoping we could-- talk.

Sara: We did talk. More than SEVEN THOUSAND words of "talk." And it all SUCKED. Sucked, sucked, sucked. What more could you possibly have to say to me? Want to suck for EIGHT THOUSAND words? NINE? When does it END?

*closes eyes*

Sara: Ommmmm.

Max: I know, I know. I've been really difficult lately. And I don't deserve a second chance.

Sara: Second? More like fifteenth.

Max: I'm sorry. But I've changed. I've had a lot of time to think, and I'm ready. I'm ready to commit to my story.

Sara: *opens one eye* You're-- committing?

Max: I am. I'm ready to get this car on the road.

Sara: Show. Show on the road.

Max: Why would there be a show on a road? That sounds dangerous.

Sara: No, it's not actually ON the road, it's-- *gives up* So what are you proposing, then? I should open your document again and it will all magically not suck? You can't just UNDO seven thousand words of SUCK. It doesn't work like that.

Max: I know. Which is why I think we should...start over.

Sara: *opens both eyes*

*glares at Max*

*closes eyes*

*counts to three*

*opens eyes again*


Max: Just hear me out!

Sara: I've been harping on you for MONTHS about what your story is about and where it's going and why it isn't working and all this time you've been telling me the WRONG STORY??

Max: Yes.

Sara: *speechless*

Max: But this one is good. REALLY good. And I'll let you have a pirate or two.

Sara: *starts to get up*

*hears the word "pirate"*


Sara: I'm listening.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Project Nothing

I don't usually go for the "mainstream" books. You know, those books that are on EVERYONE's summer reading list, or the books that EVERYONE is OMGOSH freaking out about. I never read Harry Potter (dodges flying wands). I only read Twilight because my cousins forced me (love you anyway, guys!).

So it was with great hesitation that I bought Eat Pray Love. See, the movie looked fantastic...

It hooked me with one line: "You don't need a man. You need a champion."

And I pretty much knew I'd be breaking my resistance-to-all-things-mainstream-because-I'm-stubborn-and-HAVE-to-not-do-what-EVERYONE-ELSE-is-doing.

So I bought the book on iTunes and listened to the first, um, chunk (hard to tell what chapter I left on) on the way to visit some friends yesterday. I have never in my life wanted to spend an entire day driving, but yesterday, that was all I wanted. To drive and drive, and listen to Eat Pray Love until my gas tank ran dry. Because, dudes, this book is ART.

Elizabeth Gilbert is officially my writing icon -- I swear, the woman could describe concrete in such a way that would make readers groan and start gnawing on the sidewalk. As someone who can't eat most foods due to insane food allergies, listening to Liz Gilbert describe pizza in Italy and creamy pastries and PIZZA IN ITALY (and...there was one other thing...oh yeah. PIZZA. IN ITALY. *dies of desire*) was absolutely the cruelest form of punishment I've ever inflicted on myself. I actually broke down and made yeast-free pizza today, but alas, it fell so far short of Liz's that it can't even smell the wafting remains of her description.

I loved (am loving -- not done with it yet) this book for more reasons than her Food Network-like ability to use the words "luscious" and "savory" in such a way that your stomach actually says "WANT." She touched on a topic that I've been thinking about, well, my entire life.


Relaxation. Doing NOTHING. How the rest of the world seems perfectly able to just do NOTHING for hours upon hours, while Americans seem driven by this constant need to be doing SOMETHING. Even when we're on vacation. If we aren't being productive in some way, shape, or form, well, we'd better be sleeping. And even when we're sleeping, well, we'd better be REM-ing it up. And even when we're, REM-ing, well -- you get the picture.

I went with my family to North Carolina for a little getaway this year. The entire week we stayed there, though, drove me NUTS. All my family wanted to do was sit on the beach or by the pool or walk around gift shops. Halfway through the week, I started to analyze my overwhelming anxiety when I'd just sit by the pool. Why did I have to do something? Why did I have to finish the stack of books I'd brought? Why did I have to bring a notebook and chart story plots or character arcs? Why couldn't I just -- BREAK?

I've constantly been doing something. Every day. For the past almost-21-years. I've constantly been writing or trying to write or querying or trying to query or homeworking or schooling or reading or researching or organizing or SOMETHING that would benefit my ominous "future." Every day. For the past almost-21-years. People seem shocked to find out I have an agent so young, and have written novel(s), and have *insert achievement here*. But I'm not shocked. I've worked my a$$ off for everything I have. I just -- don't know how to NOT do it.

I don't know how to take a moment in time and do nothing. No reading or writing or worrying about reading or writing.

But if I don't read that stack of books, I won't know who everyone's talking about--

But if I don't write that story, someone else will get to the idea first--

But if I don't research jobs, I won't be prepared when I graduate--

But-- but-- but--

It's similar to what Liz Gilbert deals with in Eat Pray Love. She linked it back to our Puritan roots, a society that frowned upon "worldly" pleasures. Many of us, myself included, have some basis in that society/mindset. That we have to somehow "earn" our pleasure. That we aren't allowed to relax until we reach Goal A, or maybe after Goal B, no, wait, Goal C, we'll relax after Goal C--

It shocked me to find that there are other cultures (namely, Italian) who would scoff at the idea of "earning" pleasure. Our ads that proclaim "Use Product X! You're worth it!" would make them go "Um...duh," while it makes us go "Yes...I am worth it! Yes!"

And that's SAD.

So I've decided that for the entire month of August, my last full month before my last quarter of college, I am going to do NOTHING. I'm not going to worry about writing. I'm not going to worry about reading. I'm only going to do things when they seem like terrifically fun ideas, not because I feel guilty. I'm going to sit for long periods of time doing nothing. Nothing will be the theme of my month. Nothing, Nothing, sweet and glorious and maddening Nothing.

If anyone would like to join me, they are more than welcome. I know I could certainly use a Nothing Accountability Partner.

This is going to be interesting.