Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's on the schedule- between "Procrastinating" and "Procrastinating"

           You remember those new unofficial guidelines I made ages ago? About when I was going to finish writing the first draft of Oddball.

         I thought that I decided to finish it before August. So guess what I've been doing?
         Yep. Busting my brains out trying to finish the last bit of Oddball.
          Honestly, I don't have that much left. Just you know, this huge BATTLE scene. The Hobbit ends with a battle scene. And so does Oddball (not because The Hobbit does, but just because. . . it somehow crept in there at the end). But unfortunately I've not ever written an elaborate battle scene.

            I'm a little stumped. Because I can't envision it yet. Have you ever read a scene or description of a person or fantasy creature, but it was really vague and you couldn't really see it? And you know that it's probably so ambiguous because the author had no idea what to write or what was going on either.

           I'm afraid it's going to turn out like that.

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.  -Frank Tibolt

            But! I do have some good news. I just looked over my guidelines again and it turns out Oddball does not have to be finished until the end of August.
             Haha! I have a whole month to procrastinate. Yes!

           A part of me is telling myself to do what I planned and lock myself away until I do finish Oddball. And I might as well. Because I am so so close to finishing.

           Because I told myself not to share snippets until I finished. I told myself not to get on pinterest, practice guitar (this is painful), read a book (oh, so very painful), have a Sherlock marathon (the agony!) until I finish.

Talent is overrated. The ability to get tough, stick with it, and produce words beats lazy literary giftedness every time.     -James Scott Bell

            So it seems like there's nothing else that I'm "allowed" to do except finish.

           What do you do when you can't 'see' your scenes? Have you ever written battle scenes?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beautiful People: Skyler

            Out of the foursome that make up the Oddball team, Skyler is the only one that isn't a POV character. I don't know why. I guess I thought there'd be too many POV characters. I've considered giving Skyler her own book. One that either takes place before or after the Oddball series does. Both sides of her story are very elaborate and nobody in the Oddball series really knows what she's been through because she hardly ever talks about it.

         Otherwise, she's known as the small Shroobrian pilot who flies a staticlight for the Post. Also Rocky's girlfriend, though I never really think about using that exact term, but that is what she is.

1) What’s their favourite food? (Bonus: favourite flavour of chocolate!)

Hard boiled eggs and cinnamon sugar rolls. Back in Shroobree, when it was safe, she would wander the palace courtyard for her lessons and such. Her mother always packed hard boiled eggs with salt and cinnamon sugar rolls for her lunch. Skyler never tired of it and now associates it with safety and home.

2) What do they absolutely hate?

Violence, to an extent. She realizes that sometimes things like war is necessary. And she does love Rocky, who is always getting into fist fights. Other people’s violence when properly provoked she can overlook. But she herself is not a violent person. And a lot of people falsely think this is what she hates the most.

But really she hates always be so scared. She hates always running away and being a coward. And that’s what she is.

She hates what her country has become. She dislikes being hurt and having to hide and she hates death and sickness and darkness and small places. But she hates it even more when other people have to endure these things, she just hasn’t realized it yet.

3) What do they enjoy learning about?

Staticlights. They’ve always fascinated her with their fierceness and loyalty. How they can be so calm sometimes with electricity crackling through them. How they are such broken and angry creatures, and yet they can be healed and have peace. Everything about them. She really relates to them somehow.

4) Who is the most influential person in their life?

Commander of the Staticlight Elite (think the Shroobrian airforce). Unfortunately he doesn’t have a name yet. Her father was not a very good father, so the Commander is like her father figure. He taught her a lot about staticlights and let her hang out in in the staticlight keep.
5) What is their childhood fear?

The dark. Tight places. Being utterly lost and everyone leaving. Never being safe. To an extent, she lived through these kinds of this as a child.

6) What is something they have always secretly dreamed of doing, but thought impossible?

To be safe. To return to Shroobree and find that the civil war was only a nightmare, that the time when she was a kid has never changed. That everything was still right in the world.

7) What is something he is impractically afraid of?

Skyler cannot stand birds. Which is weird, because she likes flying. She rides on the back of a dragon. But birds. Birds are bad. So are snakes.

That everyone she loves will one day leave her. Whether leave, or die. Especially Rocky.

Tight places. She hates tight places. But she’s not exactly claustrophobic either. Because they don’t make her panic.

Being trapped, in general. But again, the feeling of no way out, doesn’t make her panic. Instead it makes her get over her fear and try to find a way out. It makes her think instead of shutting her brain off.

That she will be left somewhere in the dark for all the rest of her life. And not necessarily locked in a dark room or shut in a dark hole. But like the sun has gone out and she’s left to wander in some empty waste land for all the rest of her life alone.

8) Are they a night owl or morning person?

I’m not really sure, but I’d say night owl. Or at least I think so.

9) Do they say everything that pops into their head, or leave a lot unsaid?

Skyler hardly ever says anything. She leaves a lot unsaid. Rocky is the person she is closest to and he doesn’t even know her whole background. Not even half of it. He probably doesn’t know most of the things on this list that concern her past. He has no idea why she was always so scared and never said a word when he first met her. He has no idea she’s even of the family of the royal guard in Shroobree and she has an obligation to become the royal guard of the next king in Shroobree. He has no idea the oppression she’s faced. He doesn’t ask because he figures if she wanted to tell him she would, and to him it doesn’t really matter. He’d love her anyways. He’d rather not cause her more pain by bringing up something in her past that he knows was probably really horrible. Because at the same time, she doesn’t really know a lot about his past either.

10) What are their nervous habits?

She’s always nervous around people, so she definitely avoids eye contact. She gets really quiet and frozen. Her father was abusive and if her and her siblings ever made a sound or move at the wrong time, they were beat. She shrinks inside herself and has a hard time expressing herself. Because for someone who is so quiet, she can actually articulate very well when she is comfortable around friends.

Sunshine Award tag

            I apologize for being gone for so long. Life was against me blogging.  That's my excuse.

           But I am back and it seems I've been tagged by a few people. Fun stuff, yes? Also I do plan to finish the Beautiful People with each of the Oddball foursome. The two characters left are Skyler and Peril. And I promise, though you've probably forgotten, I really do mean to finish posting about each other the five factions in Veronica Roth's Divergent series. The faction I have left is Dauntless. Maybe I'm procrastinating because I don't want it to be over. :(  Anyhow onward with tag the first.

           Emily at Emily Etc. gave me the Sunshine Award tag thing. Thank you, Emily. :)

                                            1. Favourite book series?

        That's a hard one. But for now I'll say Divergent.

2. If you could say one thing to a large group of people, what would it be?  

3. What topic do your thoughts keep on coming back all the time?
           Where am I going in this life? What am I going to do about that battle scene? I wish I could be playing guitar right now. Is there this battle scene I have to write? Why do people act so ludicrous? And what about that battle scene?! (I'm very scatter-brained :P)

4. Share with us 2 great songs you've recently discovered and love.
           Home by Phillip Phillips. I choreographed a clogging routine to it. And whenever I recall the song in my mind, I can never remember the words, just the music. The wonderful guitar.           

            And The Original by Switchfoot. I will wake up and go to bed with the chorus and the guitar stuck in my head. I'll walk around all day with this song stuck in my head.

5. What is one food that you've never actually eaten more than a tiny bit of yet are convinced you hate? Or are you not that irrational?
         Coconut pie. Eck, I don't like coconut. I doubt putting it in a pie will make it taste any better.
6. If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), all at the same time, who would you pick?
           Jane Austen. Steven James. And Veronica Roth. It would be so hilarious! Jane Austen would be the most out of place, but I don't see her feeling out of place. I think she'd have the time of her life. . . uh, if she were living.

7. What's the last a) book, b) song, c) TV show and d) film that have made you cry?
         Oo. This one's hard. I'll have think back. More than likely it was a song. I take two tries.
Busted Heart by for King & Country (awesome band, people, just saying)


8. One book you loved until it had a terrible ending.

           The Fault in Our Stars. It was hilarious at first and I loved the perspective it was written from. The characters were the some of the most charismatic people I've ever read. The writing was amazing. And I was excepting it to be anti-climatic. But some where in between, I just lost interest. I've heard a lot of great things about this book and it kind of left me wondering what all the hullabaloo was about.

9. What gives you comfort?
            Sometimes it's a song. Sometimes a book. A hug, conversation, or just the presence of someone I know well.

           I will tag, uh, anyone who wants to answer the above nine questions. But I will ask you this. What is your favorite books series and why?

Friday, July 18, 2014

and more Beautiful People

           I've been trying to get more in tune with my characters since writing is coming a bit hard. So I decided to take all of this month's Beautiful People's question to each of them.

          Well, the important ones at least.

           You probably don't know this. But Oddball has a foursome of characters. Oddball is the main character, and there is also Rocky, Skyler and Lucky Peril (or Peril, or Lucky, or whatever you want to call her).

           How about Rocky? I love the way him and Oddball interact with each other. They are so different, but hilarious together. I noticed that the tone of these answers is different from Oddball's Beautiful People. And I realize it's because Rocky has a more casual, rambling tone. He also has very strong feelings about things. He either loves and adores it, or hates it to pieces. Everything is an extreme with Rocky. :P

1) What’s their favourite food? (Bonus: favourite flavour of chocolate!)

            -Rocky loves chocolate cake. With gobs and gobs of frosting. Not the stuff that’s really sweet and almost grainy with sugar, but the kind that Evaline, Hawk’s wife, makes. Where it’s just sweet enough and thick as peanut butter.

2) What do they absolutely hate?

            - Rocky can’t stand any kind of injustice. Life isn't fair. But shouldn't people try to make it as fair as possible? He hates tyrants, leaders who are out to serve themselves. He hates people who think they are tough because they pick on other people. He can’t stand not knowing the answer to something. He hates being useless in a situation and not having the ability to help other people. He hates people who don’t do their part and pull their own weight. He can’t admit defeat. And he can’t stand to not be doing something.

3) What do they enjoy learning about?

            -Rocky isn’t much of an academic. Living in Shadow Gulch, he was lucky to learn the rudiments of reading and writing. And the only reason he was better at it than most in the Gulch was because he knew if he ever wanted to leave he’d need some kind of education. He did terribly at school when he moved to Echo Heights to live with Hawk's Wing.

            -But if you teach him things like survival, he won’t get enough of it. Fighting. Weapons are cool, but he’s better at fist fighting. Camping. Rock climbing. That is what he likes to learn about. His Bible and the Cliffhanger (a magazine) are the only things he likes to read.

4) Who is the most influential person in their life?

            -He never knew his parents, but he had a letter from his Dad once that helped. To, you know, the meager extent that a somewhat vague letter from a father you never knew can help.

              -But Hawk would probably be the most influential person in his life. He took Rocky out of Shadow Gulch and to Echo Heights. Gave him a new life. Hope. Taught him a lot about life and rock climbing. And just everything. Hawk's Wing is the first person Rocky met who genuinely cared. And who didn’t have some vendetta of his own.
5) What is their childhood fear?

            -Rocky wasn’t really afraid of much. He didn’t fear the dark. He didn’t fear dying; he didn’t think it was possible. He always had his big brother Callor with him, and when he was really young, he never felt afraid with Callor around. But he did fear Callor’s disapproval. Not that Callor was ever violent to him, Rocky just respected him so much that he didn’t want to disappoint Callor.

6) What is something they have always secretly dreamed of doing, but thought impossible?

            -He wishes he could stop all the pain and all the wrongdoing in the world. He hates to see people hurting and he thinks that almost all the hurt in the world is the result of someone else’s wrongdoing.

           -And he wishes he could fly. Rocky adores heights.

7) What is something he is impractically afraid of?

            -Spiders. Oh, man! He hates spiders.

            -He also has this fear that one day Skyler will leave. That she will never really love him. He doesn’t think he’s good enough for her and he thinks if she knew his past she would just walk away. And then one of the only two good things in his life would be gone.

            -Failure. It’s, like, against his nature to accept defeat.

8) Are they a night owl or morning person?

            -He doesn’t really stay up late unless he has to. But he is so not a morning person. He never gets up early unless someone drags him.

9) Do they say everything that pops into their head, or leave a lot unsaid?

            -Some might say he just says anything. He doesn’t have problems with confrontation. Though he’s more prone to confront someone with his fists than his words. But he has nothing against a good quarrel as long as it’s for a just cause. He can speak his mind. And he doesn’t always have the best intuition so he does tend to say out of place things. But there are times when he really does know when to keep his mouth shut. And when he does talk during gloomy or serious moments, he’s the one who lifts everyone’s spirit and gives them hope. He doesn’t always use the most intelligent words, but it ends up being the right thing to say and he keeps everyone going.

10) What are their nervous habits?

            -He tends get snappy and grumpy until he realizes what he’s doing and that it’s unfair to take his frustration out on other people. Then he wants to be alone, which is also unusual for him but he doesn't want to chew someone out for no reason. And he’s not as eager to talk and laugh and tell stories and funny jokes like he usually does.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review Smash

             I have had a few reviews overdue. So I thought I'd just do mini reviews. Sounds good?

            I will warn though that I've kind of been in a book slump. I didn't like these books as much I as thought I would, or as much as I probably would've. And it's mostly because they're not Divergent. :( I know that is an unfair thing to hold against a book.

Splintered by A. G. Howard

          Ever since Alyssa's great great grandmother (you know, the real Alice of Alice in Wonderland) went mad every one of her female ancestors has inherited the insanity. Visiting her mother in an asylum and now also hearing the bugs and plants talk, Alyssa wonders if she can run from this fate much longer. But then she finds out her family line has been cursed and she can save her mother and herself by journeying to Netherland. It sounds crazy enough to put her in asylum. But with all the other things she's heard and seen, and this being her last hope, she'll take the chance. Oh, and there's a love triangle.

           The story was very interesting. Though most of the time it seemed a little overwhelmed by the love triangle. I, honestly, had many disagreements with the characters. We were at odds through most of the book. But they felt so real, I was literally arguing with them. They're very well written, and I've heard that a lot of people love them.
           The world of Netherland (aka Wonderland)? Amazing! I loved the whole concept behind each place and all the different creatures (the Mustella, he was the best character! I wish he had a name). The world of book had me intrigued the whole way through (the concept behind the graveyard and the spider sisters- I loved it; though the feast with the duck was just revolting). Despite being on the morbid side, I really loved the world of the story.
            There is a lot of description, beautifully done. I got to learn all about Netherland to my heart's content. But there's also long descriptions of Alyssa's clothing (I'm going to assume "platforms" are very tall and clunky shoes, for obvious reasons), and long descriptions of each of the kisses she has (can we say goopy?). 
          It was a really good book. If I find the second one, I'll definitely pick it up. I want to know more about Netherland. Even though I initially disliked the characters, every time I think back on the book, I end up liking them more. . .

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

            Hazel Grace has cancer and probably will for the rest of her life (and who knows how long that will last). The last thing she expects to experience is love. But when she meets Augustus Waters who has dodged the threat of cancer before and knows how to use words like existentially and fraught properly, her life doesn't seem to suck so much. But does she really want love? Does she really want more people's hearts to break when she doesn't live?

           This book made me laugh. Out loud. I haven't laughed with a book in a while. I loved that. But my favorite part was that these kids used big words. In their everyday dialogue. Words that I needed a dictionary for. Yes! (They did tend to use this one bad word. I don't really understand why because they had this vast vocabulary available to them, why succumb to. . . whatever. I will never understand that.)
            The characters were amazing and hilarious. Together and as individuals. And being people who were/had been/were closer to death than others, they tended to talk about important things. Things that mattered. Some of the things you would never have realized mattered that much unless you saw it through their eyes. It was an interesting perspective.
            There was this one scene that I skipped. The sex scene. And I know it's a romance so it's "supposed" to be included. But I was hoping it wouldn't be. Why does the world think this scene is okay? That ithas to be a part of the genre? Especially since the people who are in this scene are so young. I know people who are that young still do these things in real life, but should we encourage that? I think not. (this I guess isn't necessarily a problem with the book so much as with the genre.)
             I found the plot a tad predictable. I hate saying that.
             I could tell by the way the book was written that the ending was going to be anti-climatic and leave a lot of loose ends. But it was sooo drawn out. I was just ready for the book to end.
           Hazel has such a unique viewpoint on things. And I loved how Augustus would try to give his friend, Isaac an outlet for his frustration. Okay, these outlets were a bit destructive, and though Augustus made jokes you know he cared because he made jokes. Those were the sweetest and funniest scenes in the book.

           You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Eli the Good by Silas House

            1976 summer in the country. Eli is ten year's old and the world is a wonder. But in his small hometown of Refuge, his family is shifting around him. Eli's sister questions what she believes and always seems at odds with their mother. Vietnam revisits his father and everyone tiptoes around him. Why has his aunt come to stay with them? And his mother struggles to hold them all together. Eli feels invisible as he has always been the observer on the sidelines. He tries to find the balance of when it's time to be the audience and when it's time be a part.

           I loved this book. The cover is beautiful. I know, it's just a tree. But I love trees and I like the small role trees played in the book.
           It has that wonderful nostalgic old time, small town feel. When all the kids in the neighborhood would ride bikes together and families would hang out on the back porch. I enjoyed that more than I expected.
           For a book this story had a lot of music to it. Just the way it's written, plus the fact that it named a lot of popular artists and songs of the time period. Eli's family was always singing along with the radio. Or the record player, got to love the record player.
           I loved the characters too. I related to Eli well, though I can't stand that part of him that revels in other people's drama. I love his family too. The way they connected with each other. Even when they fought and disagreed, they would come back together.
          The story was heavy on description though. There wasn't much dialogue. Usually when people said something, the conversation was paraphrased or just told to me instead of being in quotation marks and live on the page. That made me sad.
           There was no romance (yay!). His sister had a boyfriend, but even that wasn't much of a romance most of the time.
           It's not exactly a coming of age story. Eli did grow, but he learned more about his family than himself. He learned what his parents, his aunt, and his sister believed in and thought was important. He saw them grow and hold together. I loved how he was always so curious about his father.
           This one was my favorite out of all three of these.
           Years later I would realize that this was one of the world's great problems, that people often allow themselves not to think. They choose to not think, and that's how the whole world gets into trouble. My only excuse that day was that I was a child.  -Eli the Good by Silas House