Monday, June 25, 2012

A common sort of...blah

Do you ever go through periods of apathy with your work, your passions? An unexpected, ill fitting apathy--the kind that occupies most hours. It's somewhere at the intersection of burn out and confusion. 
I know a lot of people say that feeling "uninspired" or "out of it" is an excuse, a refusal to try harder. But, you know, it's possible for a sentiment to come over you as an uncontrollable force, like the weather.
This post isn't meant to be depressing (as I'm not depressed) but merely realistic. Does everyone sometimes deal with a common sort of blah that's often stifled in society? 

I've found that novelty helps. So does:
 Talking about it. 
And not talking about it. 
 Reading quotes while sipping coffee.
A lot of coffee.
 Friends who don't give you a choice but fun--uncomplicated, irrational fun.
Celebrating the choices and victories of others. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Advice to remember

It's important to remind ourselves that anything worth pursuing is going to bring a lot of fear and devastation with it. 

On reading this article about how one woman wrote a best-seller, I tried to memorize these words: 

Don’t talk about doing it. Do it and then tell people about it. You need a single minded focus, so it’s best to direct your energy and effort into accomplishing something rather than explaining it to people.
My own family only knew I completed the book once I sent them pictures of my first copies fresh off the press. Many of my friends only heard about it when I sent them invites to the book launch."

(*Something I particularly admired about the author is her honesty about purpose and worth in life. She was very successful with her first attempt at a book but she ends the article stating that she doesn't know what's next and may not even write again.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pixar's Rules For Stories!

Pixar movies will always turn me into a wide-eyed, emotional little girl. Who hasn't become teary-eyed in at least one of the movies? I was a mess during Toy Story 3 and UP. 
So when I found this list of Pixar's 22 Rules for Story Telling, I knew I had to share. 

Some favorites: 

-What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

-Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likeable to you as you write but it's poison for the audience.

Tonight, my sister and I had (too much) pizza and champagne, popped in a classic movie, and became children again for a couple of hours. 
That's what the best stories offer, right? Escape. Even into your old self. 

If you're interested in the complete list, it's here! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Presenting Tamara Hart Heiner!!

Hi, everyone!! I'm honored to introduce Tamara Hart Heiner. I was lucky enough to meet her in the blogging world and now, she's just come out with a new novel, Altercation! 

Summary: The FBI promises Jacinta Rivera and her friends that they are
safe. Jaci wants desperately to believe them but weeks of hiding from
their kidnapper, alias "The Hand", have left her wary. Hidden from the
public eye in an FBI safe house, Jaci must reconcile both the mysterious
disappearance of her father and the murder of her best friend.

A betrayal lands Jaci back in the grasp of The Hand, shattering her
ability to trust and leaving her to wonder if she will ever piece together
her broken life.

Tamara is as talented as she is generous. For each day of her blog tour, she will select a winner from that day's comments! That winner will get a copy of Altercation or its prequel, Perilous. 

As if that wasn't enough, she's also offering more prizes! Leaving a comment will also enter you for a prize drawing. This is cumulative. For every comment, you will get 1 point. Anyone who follows her blog will also get an additional point. Any tweet or mention on Facebook serves as an additional point. Tamara is even going to add up all the points for you.  Just make sure you include her in the tweet (@tamaraheiner) or on Facebook. 

Third prize: 50 page critique (for non-writers, a $5 Amazon gift card)
Second Prize: five YA books
First Prize: $20 gift card

Lovely links: 

*For an interview with Tamara, check out Lydia's blog and any of the other stops on Tamara's tour. 

*Remember to check out Tamara's blog for a chance to win a copy of Altercation or Perilious and find out more about her tour! 

*Join me as I put Altercation on my summer reading list! You can buy it on Amazon and it is also available as an ebook for $4.99! 

Thanks for including us in your journey, Tamara :) 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

4 elements to include in your first chapter

I've started novel 2 and have had trouble getting through the beginning. There are so many great articles about what should be included in the first chapter, so I thought I'd share my list.  

What's in yours?

1. Introduction of the main character(s)
2. A conflict. Starting the first chapter with some drama is a great way to pull readers in! 
3. A strong opening scene. I've read the most people decide whether or not to buy a book based off the first page, so this one is extremely important!
4. A solid voice and tone. The first chapter is the place to establish the voice of a story. Some books do a great job of setting an ominous tone but then fall short as the chapter continues.

An honest quote

"I am awfully greedy. I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a

 man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to 

travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish. You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger." 

-Simone de Beauvoir

Friday, June 8, 2012

The artists who make us want to try

There's so much beauty in this world that's too often overlooked. 
Last night, I ended up watching Burlesque, with Christina Aguilera. As a little girl, I'd sneak under my covers with a book and Walkman (remember those?), shifting the dial for the next Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey song.

There's something about an artist, the kind who channels a craft through her veins, the kind who stirs you to just attempt, the kind who stresses the importance of practice, because none of us will never know who we can be, unless we try.