Wednesday, December 15, 2010

‘Tis the Season and All that Good Stuff (And LOLcatz!)

Quick Update: Only blog of the week, and probably next week too. But starting the first week of January, I’ll be debuting not only a new SSF blog, but a new schedule that I’m hoping to stick to for once instead of this spontaneous whenever-I-can-post.

Song Stuck In My Head: Something by Fleetwood Mac. It was playing on the radio today.

Hey, guys. Merry early Christmas!

Well, I have some news here and there. Good news: Thanks to a contest by Warwick bases, I won a badass contest. Second place! I don’t get a base like the grand prize, but I do get twelve sets of strings…which might be a little useless, since all I have is a Fender Stratocaster guitar knock-off. Oh well. I also used my handy-dandy new flash drive to transfer a lot of my old documents from our computer to my laptop. It’s so much fun to see how many plot holes I had when I first began my book! Ah, good times…

Bad news: Some of you might have saw my panicked tweet, but my best friend and practically sister Lacey and her family were in a car accident last Saturday while going to pick up her sister in Phoenix, AZ. Pretty scary stuff. Rolling over car, everyone unconscious. However, right now everyone’s healing both emotionally and physically. Her grandmother, who was driving, and littlest brother are getting out of surgery; my BFF has staples in her head and punk haircut going on apparently. I haven’t seen it yet though. Still, even if things are improving, it was a very panicky situation. Obviously car accidents are never pleasant. But, said BFF is coming back to town this weekend. So hopefully life will move on, and God will continue to protect them. I sorta consider her family my second family sometimes.

So I’m hoping you guys are all doing alright. If I can get a chance to sneak online, or even try the library, I plan on re-visiting the blogosphere for a while. Any good blogs or entries any of you have seen lately that I should check out?

And, I can’t let you leave without a Christmas gift!

I give you…LOLCATZ! (Holiday edition!)

And since we have been learning about different religions in world history class, I suppose I could add this, just in case I have any Jewish friends…

So Merry X-mas and other holidays! And be sure to watch Ryan Seacrest’s New Years Eve special on ABC too. Why? There’s a certain song debuting there that I probably won’t shut up about it the week after. Just warning you like any responsible fan girl would.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NAMELY ADVICE (Writing, Publishing, and the Teenager post)

Quick Update: Does anyone have any idea what happened to the ever-so-wonderful Querypolitan? They haven't updated anything in a while, and that site was the atomic bomb.

Song Stuck In My Head (a new segment): Pressure by Paramore.

Characters names have been known to contribute a lot when it comes. So, using the first name you hear on TV is not so wise. Here are some methods taken from favorite or well-known authors that could help spur some labels for your characters.

THE J.K ROWLING METHOD… Use names with secret meanings that go along with the character. Take Sirius Black. A lot of people already know this, but “Sirius” is also the name of a famous star (as in constellation star, not celebrity) that’s called the “Dog Star”. Guess what Sirius can transform into? A barking, drooling dog. “Lupin” is similar to the technical name for werewolves. Many words that resemble Rubeus Hagrid’s name also mean unkempt and scruffy. “Voldemort” is a French phrase for “master of death”. And don’t even get us started on Dumbledore’s full name…

THE STEPHENIE MEYER METHOD… Use names of friends and/or family. I read dedications of books and CD’s a lot. In the Twilight books, Meyer gives a shout-out to her siblings…Emily, Heidi, Paul, Seth, and Jacob. Oh, hey aren’t those the same names of the Quileute werewolf pack (as well as the girlfriend of one) and a member of Twilight’s Volturi clan? One of them, Paul, is also thanked for his valuable motorcycle lesson. As long as you get permission, why n ot honor your loves one in your story? For all we know, Stephenie’s brother gets a huge kick out of being the original muscle man.

THE SCOTT WESTERFELD METHOD… Use names that fit the timeline. And, no, we’re not talking about baby name sites for a particular year. Take the Uglies Trilogy, a dystopia that happens over three hundred years from now. Mr. Westerfeld made some unique observations on our society - how names were shortening already. No one is called Christopher or Elizabeth anymore, it’s all Chris or Liz. So in the future, or his future, we have characters like “Tally”, “Shay”, “Peris”, “Zane”, etc. And this is their full first name too, not nicknames. This method adds a comical effect when the character “David” (also Scott Westerfeld’s middle name) is introduced, and Tally thinks it’s an odd, made-up name.

THE JAMES PATTERSON METHOD... Use fun. If you've read any of the "Maximum Ride" books, about a few mutant half-human and half-bird kids, you know that Patterson really got creative with his main characters. They were science experiments, "test tube children", after all. What are their names? Maximum, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the "Gasman", and Angel. Priceless.

There are many ways to title your characters. My personal favorite is phone books, since they’re completely random. If it’s contemporary, then keeping it random is best. A few special names, and many common names, etc. Take the movie “Juno” with Ellen Page and many other talents. Juno, obviously, is a not-so-common name. However, there are characters like “Leah” and “Mark” to back it up. Also, doesn’t the name “Paulie Bleeker” perfectly suit Michael Cera’s wimpy character?

So…what shall you do?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

REC OF THE WEEK: Stranger Than Fiction

Quick Update: Downloading songs if fun. Except for when the flash drive says "too many videos". Then that's not fun. :/

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I popped in one of my favorite flicks. Ironically, though it is about fictional characters, literature, and a deranged author…it gets facts about us writers very wrong. However, its other details keep it enriching and lovable.

STRANGER THAN FICTION - also known as Will Ferrell’s most serious movie - is a dramedy about a not-so-social IRS agent, Harold Crick, whose life is suddenly narrated by a British author. An author that uses sarcasm and the phrase “little-did-he-know” to reveal that Harold Crick is a character about to die. His lonely and dull existence comes to a halt as he goes on the search for a writer before she can kill him off…much like every other protagonist in her seven previous novels.

One extremely likeable thing about this film is the random, but well-placed, cast. Maggie Gyllenhaal as the rebellious love interest Harold must audit. Dustin Hoffman as a writing professor who attempts to help Harold locate his potential killer. And Emma Thompson as the author whose eccentric attitude about writing battles her self-loathing when she learns Harold Crick is a real character.

Another likeable part is the screenplay. It’s genius, but realistic genius. Emma Thompson definitely gives the narration the soft humorous touch she needs when describing the tedious details of Howard Crick’s life, and the awkward relationship between Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s characters is perfectly scribed.

With its many memorable actors, the movie definitely hits home with the character sympathy. You feel for the guy being killed and the person who’s about to kill him. What could be better?

I guess the main flaw I should point out - as you guys are writers - is its almost comical way of picturing authors. Such as how morbid the author is when it comes to killing her character (going as far as visiting a hospital and asking where the dying people are) or having an assistant (played by Queen Latifah of all people) sent from her publishing company to help her with her writer’s block. Even if it does get some facts wrong, it does capture the fear of an one our kind when the unimaginable happens…our characters being real after all.

Okay, peeps. Another time! Oh, and the new SSF schedule and blog overall will probably show up in a week or so, now that Web Design class is coming to an end. So stay tuned!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Newest Obsessions (Rec of the Week post...technically)

Quick Update: American Music Awards 2010 was dull, compared to last year's homophobic freak-out about Adam Lambert that is. Oh well. In other news, I'm getting a new Facebook account (apparently I never verified my old one, so they got rid of it. Forget that!)

So, this is going to be the one blog entry for the week (Thanksgiving break! Three days off! YAY!) so time to make the most of it.

As of late, I have been warming up to new musical and/or film-ical crazes. I'd thought I would share some of it with you guys!

The band FILTER (you probably know their hit song "Take a Picture"). I've always liked them and the total of three songs I know by them, including an epic alternative rock cover of the song "One". Then after hearing another one of their songs in a movie, "The Only Way is the Wrong Way" I've been going psycho about them again. They have this sort of heavenly, industrial touch to their sound, it's very soothing.

The band MUSE, and no, not just because my favorite singer Avril Lavigne introduced them at the AMA's. I've just been getting "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Uprising" stuck in my head for no reason. Not complaining though. They're pretty epic Brits though.

The rock group HEART. I heard "Crazy On You" and "Barracuda" within the same few days on two separate radio stations. Result: Crazy for Heart. The singer's voice is friggin' epic.

My Chemical Romance, of course. Their new album, #DangerDays, is out today and there was a listening party to toast this on their Youtube page.

A band called Mindless Self Indulgence. They're very punk-meets-pyschadelic, but they have funny perverted lyrics snd a half-girl, half-guy line-up so why not? At the moment, their song "Shut Me Up" is dancing in my head. Very odd song.

And, I'm rediscovering the Pretty Reckless. Their new video for "Just Tonight" came out, and it's so Goth it's beautiful. Also, Taylor Momsen (the lead singer of the band) recently became a familiar character on the show "Gossip Girl". And yes, I watch that show. Feel free to throw stuff at me.

As for movies, the obvious HARRY POTTER. Holy skittles, that was beautiful. And also "Anger Management", since I realized my scratched-up copy of it is still in working condition. (I feel pretty...oh, so pretty...). The other day I also watched one of my favorite childhood movies about a kid and his dog, "My Dog Skip". Yeah, the dog dies, but it's of old age so that's a relief.

Other than, my only other obsession is Sarah Rees Brennan's "The Demon's Lexicon", the first book I ever won in a contest. I finally have time for it after re-reading the Harry Potter series. Anyone a fan?

Okay, peeps, be awesome and don't get too huge of a turkey headache! I'll see you later! And as a goodbye for now, here's a funny article about Photoshop I just read on "Cracked".

Friday, November 19, 2010


Quick Update: So guess who nearly dozed off during a math test today because she stayed up till three to watch a movie last night? Yeah, me. Not fun.

My Chemical Romance song of the day: Disenchanted (a sort of soft ballad, but it's lovable anyways).

I'm actually doing a legit review of this certain HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART ONE movie for my journalism class. But, I'd thought I would be a little less dull and a little more fangirl on here.

So obviously, I saw it via midnight showing wiht my best friend, dressed up in my prized Gryffindor robes (as a kid, I dressed up as Hermione for Halloween...three years in a row). And, as any diehard fan of the books and the films would say - "HOLY SKITTLES, IT WAS 100+ ON A 1-10 SCALE OF AWESOMENESS!"

The reasons? For once, things were spread out a bit and not jumping from plotline to plotline. Second, a lot of favorite characters returned that were necessary to be in the movie (i.e Dobby, Mad-Eye, Umbridge). Third, I'd never seen such beautiful effects - I felt like I was int he wrong reality after leaving the theater. And fourth...well, it just was, okay?

So here's some juicy tidbits. Oh, wait, this is required... *SPOILER ALERT!*

- Hermoine gets a character exploration I'm really fond of. The movie starts at the Ministry, with Rufus talking, but then goes to Hermione's house. There, she's walking towards her parents and, most painfully, erases their memories to keep them safe from the wizarding world. Slowly, to add a depressing emphasis, we see Hermione vanish from all her family photos and her walk away, alone, from her home. Later on, when she must "obliviate" the Death Eaters at a diner, she clearly hesitates. A lot of their hiding places are also old vacation spots with her family.

- As seen in a clip in my last blog, Harry does try to leave the Weasley's in the middle of the night. Ron ends up chasing him down, and gives the scarred man a wake-up that it isn't all about the chosen one and that, besides, neither of them would last two days without Hermione.

- After Ron leaves, there's a sweet scene in which Harry and Hermoine are sitting, lost in their own thoughts while listening to music from Ron's abandoned radio. Harry, who hates seeing Hermione so upset, walks and offers her a dance to the corny music playing.

- Dobby's part is lengthier than in the book, so as to make-up for him being MIA in all the movies since the "Chamber of Secrets". He arrives through Kreacher, having helped the bitter elf capture Mundungus Fletcher. His last scenes at the Malfoy's mansion and Shell Cottage also deliver an emotional punch that the book never could.

- As you may have already heard, the "Tale of the Three Brothers" is told in animation. Not like cutesy animation or's a cross between line-drawing and Tim Burton but it works. The story has more intensity, and a fairy-tale touch to it.

Most of the major scenes that were taken out are: the heartfelt goodbye to the Dursley's (though they show a hesitant Aunt Petunia in the car), meeting Tonk's family as they go straight to the Weasley's, the informative chat with Elphias Doge (though there is a small meet-and-greet), finding Lily's letter to Sirius though Harry roams through his godfather's room, and Kreacher's tale.

Also, Dumbledore's mind-bending secrets are skated over. While Aberforth's name is mentioned and Hermione shows Harry a picture of Grindelwalk in Rita Skeeter's book, his mother and sister are still unknown.

All in all, a lot of the important and most anticipated were in there, and thanks to acting by British veterans, they exceeded expectations. I hope you guys either see it and enjoy it, or have already enjoyed it. If so, what was something new you really liked about it? Or what was a scene you wished they included?

Another time then...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random Harry Potter Facts - HP and MCR Week

Quick Update: Happy-birthday-mother-who-won't-ever-see-this-as-her-and-internet-aren't-very-close-but-what-the-heck. In other news, here's another blog hosting a Harry Potter week (at least that I know of, haha)

Harry Potter Week

My Chemical Romance song of the day: "Destroyah" (it's pretty badass, and really new as well!)

Okay, so I was going to talk about the importance of secondary characters but after seeing so much hooplah about that, decided to be a bit more original.

So, with a special thanks to Google, here are some fun facts I bet you didn't know about the HARRY POTTER SERIES! *drumroll? Anyone?*

- A picture of Gandalf the Grey (from The Lord of the Rings) can be seen in the collection of great wizards in Professor Dumbledore’s study in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

- Rowling is the first person to become a billionaire (U.S. dollars) by writing books

- The actress who played Moaning Myrtle is actually 37 years old and is the oldest actress to portray a Hogwarts student

- In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, dragon blood is revealed to be an effective oven cleaner

- Numbers are symbolic in the series, especially 2, 3, 4, and 7. For example, the trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione suggest the power of three and the spiritual trinity. Harry fatally wounds the basilisk on its third strike, and Hagrid knocks on the front door of Hogwarts three times. Students attend Hogwarts for seven years and there are seven players on each Quidditch. Sirius is also imprisoned on the seventh floor of Hogwarts

- Rubeus Hagrid, one of Harry’s closest friends, is part wizard and part giant. Rubeus is Latin for something produced from a bramble or a thicket, which fits Rowling’s description of him as “wild.” Hagrid most likely comes from the term “haggard” which also means “wild” or “unruly

- Sirius Black’s tattoos are borrowed from Russian prison gangs. The markings identify the person as someone to be feared and respected

- The divination textbook used at Hogwarts was written by “Cassandra Vablatsky.” Her last name refers to a real woman, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky who founded the Theosophical Society. Cassandra was the daughter of the rulers of Troy (Priam and Hecuba) who was cursed by Apollo to prophecy the truth but never to be believed

- The driver and conductor of the Knight Bus, Ernie and Stanley, are named after Rowling’s grandfathers

- Harry Potter books made the American Library Association (ALA) list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books for five consecutive years. A challenge is a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness

Okay, I'm actually doing an article (journalism, haha) for either a review of the movie or facts about the new movie itself. Maybe I'll post some here!

See you guys again!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ultimate Harry Potter Books Vs. Movies Debate (HP and MyChemicalRomance week)

Quick Update: Get your toy wands and Every Flavor Beans - HARRY POTTER AND MCR week has arrived, the series that is the #3 contributor to the fan girl I am today (MCR places somewhere in the twenties though, so yay for them as well).

My Chemical Romance song of the day: “Kill All Your Friends” (morbid title I know but it’s a pretty catch song for a B-side)

So, as my WIP declares yet another civil war on me (it’s been threatening to off a couple secondary characters and change the color of my protagonist’s hair, the rascal) the week preceding the release of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART ONE begins. As does the week before the release of rock group My Chemical Romance’s 4th album, “Danger Days: the True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”. So, let’s jump right into it!

Okay, so I know the books vs. movies debate is as old as time’s great-great-grandfather but now that I have so many cool writer buds it’ll be interesting to share opinions.

My opinion? Well…I’m glad you asked.



- Sorta obvious. Meatier plots and characters, as well as backstories never mentioned in the films.
- Things are explained so you’re not left to wonder how one piece of magic is possible when something else said it isn’t.
- Peeves the Poltegeist! Everyone’s favorite, immature poltergeist. If he’d been in the movies, I would vote for a contemplation of his rude songs.

- Okay, the world’s a BIT too open for the imagination at times. You’d think they can do any sort of magic to achieve something, then get disappointed to learn the rules clearly explaining that, no, they cannot.
- There’s only so much time Harry can spend on his “obsessions” (like when he knows there’s a mystery in the castle or that Professor Snape’s up to something). In the movies, they’re introduced then resolved. In the books, Harry spends not only paragraphs of his book but weeks of wizarding-time thinking about the newest mystery. You guys probably already know, but as great of a way that is to focus on voice it means no action. It’s the whole “thinking-and-washing-dishes” technique.


- The constant action! The horror that is more distinct! Its amazing depth really resignates with people, even the ones who don’t know how to read. The screenplay adds just enough snarky humor that still aligns with the characters too.
- The actors have fallen so permanently into their roles that I wouldn’t be surprised if Emma Watson (Hermonie Granger’s portrayer) finds herself reading textbooks for fun while she’s a student at Brown University. Besides, there have never been so many spot-on castings in one movie - Helena Bonham Carter as psycho, but forever loyal, Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange is enough proof of that.

- Huge chunk of story missing, of course! No house-elves rights (S.P.E.W!). No Bill and Charlie Weasley (though hopefully that’ll change with Bill in this last movie as he’s getting, I don’t know, MARRIED). No dramatic Ron vs. Hermonie plots (I think their arguing over their pets in “The Prizoner of Azkaban” lasted a minute). Not even any Horcruxes - well, one Horcrux. Big whoop.
- Really random additions. I’m sure you all remember the shrunken heads in “Prisoner of Azkaban”. Or has anyone noticed that “Nigel” character that’s in the fourth and fifth flicks? I have no idea who this kid thinks he is, but he’s not a figment of J.K Rowling’s wonderful imagination, that’s for sure.

Yeah, sadly nothing about Harry Potter is perfect (the books are close though). However, one pro is that both the books and movies share is that they’re worth waiting in line at midnight for.

So, friends, what’s your view on the debate? Is there something you love about the movies but would usually hate to admit, or vice versa? Tell all.

And as a goodbye until tomorrow, here’s an entertaining cameo that British actor Daniel Radcliffe (you know…the guy who dons the Harry Potter glasses and lightning scar) did in “The Simpson’s” Treehouse of Horror episode last week. He plays a vegeterian vampire named Edmund…huh, sounds familiar.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

REC OF THE WEEK: "How I Met Your Mother"

Quick Update: I have gotten myself a flash drive. This shall make exchanges between internet-less laptop at home and school-computers-internet-access much easier. So, after HARRY POTTER AND MCR WEEK is done, maybe I can actually return to the schedule I once had!

All I ever watch is the CW channel (the epic channel that used to be the WB, for people who don't know it well). We lack cable/satellite so it makes sense. After all, it's played the best sitcoms, has random movies on weekends, and was the birth home of three-fifths favorite TV shows of all time (Reaper, Supernatural, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer...the other two are Family Guy and True Blood, which of course are Fox's and HBO's creations).

Whenever the CW adds a new show to its lining, I give it a chance. This isn't always wise (the new 90210 and this weird "Hellcats" should be proof enough) but it's always fun to watch the pilot and see what they offer. Since it recently fit the popular CBS sitcom "How I Met You Mother", of course I tried it out.

And while it's cliched, a bit corny, and not the most original...dang it, I LOVE this show.

So pretty much it's about Ted Mosby. He's this alright, sorta sentimental guy in the architecture field. His best friends - Lilly, who happens to be none other than Alyson Hannigan from the aforementioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Marshall - are a couple who have been together for so many years they've become the sort of ooey-gooey pair that you'll see just talking about how much they love each other. After Lilly and Marshall decide to get hitched, Ted considers the same, as he's never been so successful in the dating game.

With the help of his other friend, Barney - the suit-wearing, classy, but not too intelligent player portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris - he enters the dating world again. And the conquests of his romantic failures and craziness, the weirdness of his best friends Lilly & Marshall, Barney, and Robin (an ex-Canadian newsgirl that is introduced as Ted's first failed relationship and becomes a main character) are the whole hook of the show. Slowly and steadily, it's all up leading up to - what else? - how he met the mother of his two, teenage kids.

The show has flair to it though. It's random and explores the archetypes further than most sitcoms would. Also, Ted narrates in occassional places (he's telling this all to his kids in one setting) which adds a unique, and maybe even more emotional, edge to it all. I think the best part is that somehow all the characters come off as sentimental despite their flaws, so you're rooting for all of them.

Sentimental characters are indeed a beloved characteristic of TV shows...and maybe even literature, if you get my hint.

Another time then, my friends. Another time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Feeling Random

Quick Update: Once I finish re-reading "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" for the, er, tenth time I'm going to start Brooke Taylor's "Undone" and Sarah Rees Brennan's "The Demon's Lexicon". Kristin Nelson would be so proud. Sadly, I'm in the scene Battle at Hogwarts scene...way too many people die. It's actually rather depressing.

So, I saw this on Youtube (via the blog YA Highway) is rather odd...

And then got caught up in a related video, of course...

So I've decided...I'm declaring next week HARRY POTTER WEEK on my blog. What do you think?

Actually, just for the heck of it - as the band My Chemical Romance's album is coming out the Monday aftewards - HARRY POTTER AND MCR WEEK.

This will be fun.

Monday, October 25, 2010

#NaNoWriMo and Concerts

Quick Update: This is bound to be an epic week. A costume contest, a CD that shall finally arrive in the mail after a month of waiting, and more and more Harry Potter TV spots. What else is there to love?

So, I'm thinking of entering #NaNoWriMo.

Okay, you can hit me now.

See, what happened is that I sort of attended my first concert last week. I live in a "one-starbucks town", persay (yes, a quote stolen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, hit me again if you must). They were a few Christian bands performing in our high-school auditorium, and I actually knew one of them (the Letter Black) and so my friend and I stayed after school to watch. Free show. Two bands, one hilarious rapper. It rocked.

After something like that - a wholly, mega-inspiring moment in my life - of course I felt like tossing my WIP (or should I say WTSHBOOPAA, for work-that-should-have-been-out-of-progress-ages-ago) out the window once more and writing something else. That happens a lot, i.e. first time I watched Titantic, first time I read a Twilight book (way back before I knew what grammar was, I should say) and a lot of stuff like that. Of course, the ideas swimming in my head are mostly stories dealing with music, shocker.

However, I'm not sure what to do. At once, my WTSHBOOPAA demanded attention again. I don't want to feel like I'm betraying it, you know?

What about you guys? Anyone else at suicide risk because they're about to enter the National Novel Writing Month? If not, have you ever considered it?

Talk to you guys later - and sorry if I reply late, I likely won't get online until Thursday. If not, I definitely will this weekend...I think.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Yet Another SSF Update

Quick Update: I have...way too many songs revolving in my mind right now.

So, welcome back. Or not. Whichever you prefer. I'd been sorta burdened by fall break and the journalism computer lab being taken, so I guess you can say Some Screaming Fangirl took a two-week break. But, I bring good news.

1. We start HTML in Web Design class this week. In a little while, this blog is going to look pimp.

2. I'm getting a job. I know this. This way I can afford internet at home, muhahaha.

In personal news, my cat Bella (can you tell I got her during my Twilight phase?) just sprouted her fourth litter of kittens yesterday. Anybody willing to pay for shipping and handling? They're free (just kidding...maybe). Also, I've been preparing an awesome costume as of and my friend are going to be escapees from a mental institute. It can technically be counted as research for my book though, so...yay?

In writing news, I've been getting loads of last-minute drafting done. My goal is still finish this LAST AND FINAL draft by Decemember, and throw it Kristin Nelson's way. Speaking of the Pub Rants genius...has anyone else tried going to that amazing agent's blog? It's not working too well for me anymore. And if it's just the school computers being idiots, I'll scream.

In just plain book news, the contest I won (by a technicality, but still) about an era ago to win a copy of THE DEMON's LEXICON finally paid forward, and the now in my mother's possession in her town.

In musical news...haha, favorite band + new music video x new videos of them answering fan questions = very happen fan. Which band is this? Why, SICK PUPPIES, of course.

And in random news...I recently learned of an interesting phobia. Apparently there are people in the world who fear that, wherever they are, a duck is watching them. Pretty interesting stuff. Can't you see books written about that?

So, I have blog posts ready. Writing, Publishing, and the Teenager, of course (and if you missed the last post, here's a link). And a few million "Rec of the Weeks" (I saw EASY A for my birthday, so expect it to be about actress Emma Stone). As for random...who knows?

Okay, signing out. What's going on with you guys? Any new writing accomplishments? Share your stories, I like you guys. Talk to again, and out for the ducks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Choose Your Instrument...Your Writing Instrument

Quick Update: Okay, so I'm not doing this blog post because I finally got a guitar amp over the weekend...well, maybe I am. In other news, see Easy A. Only good teen movie since...well, let's not go back that far.

Okay, writers, prepare for the grueling and emotional, hideous WRITING PROCESS. You have your idea, or your direction. You have your inspirations, and a few beautiful, poetic words in your head. So let's start the band practice! That's right...BAND PRACTICE.

So you walk into the garage (office/couch with notebook/laptop/etc.) You pick up the instruments and tune them a bit (sharpen pencils, start laptop, make it look like you're taking notes so the teacher is unaware, etc.) But WHAT instrument will you choose? How will you approach this story you NEED to write, preferably with no panic attacks?

Maybe you'll pick up a GUITAR. With heavy and complicated chords, you'll take every strum seriously. As a writer, that means you're the outliner. You're the one who thinks about the characters and how they'll act, and thinks over the plot before you try to accomplish it. You'll take on every word like a pro, much like Hemingway, and end up creating a fine sequence of events - or should I say musical notes? - that will only need a couple layers to be polished.

Or maybe you'll avoid the guitar...perhaps you just want to get the idea out, and will perfect it later. You're a downright DRUMMER. Take out all your thoughts with two drumsticks, and spit out a wicked, but sloppy, rhythm that your story will abide. You don't need the finished copy, you just need a tune to rock to, and the rest of the song will follow.

Maybe you're...unsure. You have a lot of ideas begging to come to life, but aren't ready to dish out a finishing solo yet. Get yourself a BASS. Lay down the relative, imperfect layer that will frame your story, but manage to get your voice and talent into this draft as well. Your low-key, but thought out, touch will lead to a story that is readable yet flexible layer to start with - then you can make the needed edits, or slaps.

Were you just born to SING? Pick up that microphone, er, red pen, and go. Belt your little heart out and tell the story that rings true to you. Then you can attack it with autotune, back-up vocals, and unbelievable notes that are added afterwards - your revisions. Maybe the ending voice will sound different, but it'll be impeccable and catchy and wonderful to sing later on.

As writers, all of handle our "creative genius" (as we'd like to label it) differently. One thing to agree on is that the finished copy is worth a listen.

Signing out now. Cross your fingers I get my first, minimum-wage job at McDonald's this Wednesday (I turned sixteen last week, haha). Then I get internet at home and do REAL blog posts! Another time, creative geniuses...go make beautiful music!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rec of the Week...GEEK ROCK! I mean, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE!

Quick Update: Hey, I officially have 30 followers...hello, strangers! In other news, my writing idol @diablocody tweeted me, how fun!

So, total fangirl post here, just a heads-up.

See, there is this band called My Chemical Romance. My best friend worships them, and I favor them above most. Highly attractive and huge geeks, they have had punk-ish/rock albums come out over the years with very metaphoric lyrics and awesome guitar riffs. They're a sure band to check out if you never heard of them. Maybe you can try the song MAMA if you like dramatic rock, or VAMPIRES WILL NEVER HURT YOU if you enjoy tunes about bloodsuckers?

Anyways, here's the fangirl moment...their new album (Danger Days: The True Lives of the Five, Fabulous Killjoys) is due out soon, and a trailer recently got out for the album. And so far, it seems E-P-I-C, even if they have to get a new drummer and all.

Do you wish to view the video? Well, here it is!

Okay, journalism is nearly out now, so I better go unless I want to be late to Web Design class again, haha.

Talk to you guys another time!

Monday, September 13, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog Post...

Quick Update: A huge, mega, ultra shout-out to MEEROAR of She gave SSF its first blog award, and just as I was about to comment on her blog with the longest thank-you speech, my best friend's wireless internet decided it didn't like Blogger anymore. So, everyone be sure to follow my writer friend "Meeroar" for pitying me and having one of the coolest blog names ever.

This was the blog award, if you're curious.

So, I'm on a ROLL today. SIX notebook pages, and I still have two and a half periods of school left. And then the rest of the day. Usually, I get up to three, maybe four, by evening time.

See, with only ten days left before I turn sixteen, I decided that with a little determination - and a little excessive pleading with God - I'm going to finish the last draft of my book by the 23rd. The LAST draft. The one I'd revise and edit and send to Kristin Nelson (and other agents, but mostly her). I guess I just want to say in the future "yeah, I finished this book when I was fifteen." Then I'd laugh evilly and maliciously.

It was the first thing that came up when I typed in "evil laugh".

I figured out a new way to write. If any of you have ever picked up a Rachel Caine book, you've probably noticed the way she plots. There are so many characters and subplots, but they fit together. Since the Morganville Vampires is my favorite series, my books are very similar to that.

So I decided, for the LAST and twelth draft of my book, to write the scenes by character. I started writing each character's scenes, starting with the least important, in a row. That has been making it much easier.

Since it's a laid-back Monday, I guess I'm just writers, how do you work? How do you plot? What do you usually come up with first...the setting, the characters, the storyline? And where are you with whatever you're writing? Are you at the stage where you're in love with the plot, and can't wait to write it all down? Are are you at that stage where you're considering how far your computer will go if you toss out the window?

Don't you just love Google Image?

As you can tell, I have a lot of free time today in journalism, so tell me whatever you want! Oh, and just for fun, I'm giving you guys a BONUS blog post in twenty or so minutes...unless a class decides to use a computer lab today, of course.

Well, anyways...spill.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

CHARACTER: Lessons From High School English, a WPT Post

Quick Update: So, good news...I shall be at a friend's house for two days. Looking very forward to reliving my addiction to blogger/Twitter/and Youtube.

Attention, class. We covered plot yesterday, so today let us move onto the helpless dolls and puppets in your story that face horrors and fantasies... I mean, uh, *cough* your characters!

The definition of "characters" in my English class was blunt as well, sadly. To quote our test, characters are "persons who are given personalities and role in stories". True...and false.

For the truth, I would certainly hope your character have personlity. Traits, habits, manners of speaking, and experience are just some of the makeup you give them. Characters are like us - maybe they have the same taste in music as whatshisname, and dress like that-one-girl, but everyone manages to be different and unique.

Good characters are when they might do something, or say something, and make us think, "that's so him/her". It means you put a clear image of the character in the mind of the audience. So know your character well. I can honestly say I know most of mine better than myself...well, on good days.

The false part is the "given roles". Hello. Stories are not waiting for actors to portray them. It is the characters, and their back stories as well as a variety of their own habits and traits, that truly begins a story. Usually, tales are centered around relationships, or a decision the character makes. How can you just insert a random person into this plot, and not expect it to change?

If you really want characters to stand out, don't create a story then throw them in. Create them, and let the story fold around their own quirks and oddities.

Of course, we did do a bit on "dynamic" and "static" characters as well, which makes me breathe easier. There's another tip - if you want a memorable protagnist, make him/her/it dyanmic. If they have the same personality traits and do the same routine they did in the beginning of the failed. Just kidding.

Be sure to remember...are you the same as you were ten years ago? Yeah, I didn't think so. Not that I can say much...ten years ago I couldn't spell 95% of the words in this blog post (I was five, hahaha). We're all characters. If you put that in mind, you should be good.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

PLOT: Lessons From High School English, a WPT Post

Quick Update: Nothing much. Unless almost spontaneously combusting in the Arizona heat last week when our AC gave out counts.

As matured authors and writers, I hope you at least know the basics of grammar, stories, and literature. Well, too bad, because you're backing up some years to high school English class! Aren't you excited?

Aforementined in my previous, update post, we're covering the basics once more. Today's lesson...PLOT.

We all know plot. It's the meat of the book. Chubby and complicated or slim and angular, plot is the challenges that face your precious hero, or so only Nathan Bransford himself says. No plot would be like Harry Potter staying with the Muggles, making friends at a normal school, and not fighting back. And certainly not facing any complications like half-giants or owls. If your characters are going down a straight, peaceful path where everything works out, plot is what rudely shoves them off. As writers, you just have to figure out how they get back up, bruised but stronger (or with a broken ankle, whichever you prefer).

What really interested me is that in class, the dumbed-down definition given to my fellow students was this: plot is the sequence of events in a story. That really made my eye twitch. Good stories aren't a "sequence of events". They're a sequence interrupted by a haywire, uncontrollable force, and the rest of the story is an attempt to get the events back in order. Until the main character learns from it.

Plot is, of course, one of the best ways to show off your creativity as a writer. After all, you are the one who creates this outside, inevitable force, you're the one who throws the Dupree into a newly-married couple or brings the fangs into a high-school relationship. You get to be the one who throws routine away and exchanges for this multi-choice fantasy.

Have fun.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Catching Up With SSF

Quick Update: Well...hello there.

So, maybe (or maybe not) you figured out I have been away from Blogger and Twitter for...oh, say nearly three weeks? There is a reason. I assure you.

In short, I am a student witohout internet access at home. My female parental in Tucson (who I visited for the summer) had broadband, so of course I took advantage of that. Now that I am back in my actual town for school, I have to figure out a way to either get on the computers here at school, or go to the town's only public library to catch up with my awesome writer friends. You guys.

So, right now I happen to be on a school computer (shhhh) since I had to type up a World Literature essay anyways. In the past two/three weeks, I haven't done much, unless watching five hours STRAIGHT of Buffy the Vampire Slayer last Saturday, and waking up on time on week-day mornings counts as accomplishments.

However, I'm delighted to say my usual writing time, during class notes (another shhhh) has been brought back to me. In the past fortnight or so, I have not only written two fight scenes and a sorrowful death, but blog posts are cooking up as well. Heck, I might even enter the Writers Digest Short Story Contest for the first time this year.

I'm hoping next week or so, I'll post an entry on conflict, plot, and characters, so you can try to look for that. My English/World Literature class is covering the basics before we move onto the Odyssey. Sadly, my class NEEDS a re-cap on everything. Proof of such: three girls who sit around me in class were freaking out about the grammar bellwork. Quotes from their conversation... "What are prepositions again?" "Don't you mean pro-junctions?" I felt like slapping somebody when I heard that.

Also, since I'm in a Web Design class an elective now, hopefully I'll be able to, er, fix this website. My teacher was not happy when he saw how many colors it had. Which is true, but I just worked what Blogger had, I guess.

Thanks for reading, and I'm hoping no one is TOO upset with me. And again, I say goodbye for now (unless I can get on again this week? Maybe? Perhaps?) and apologize with...LOLcatz.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

REC OF THE WEEK...Director David Slade

Quick Update: So, apparently Myspace and Sodahead hate me now that our ethernet is dead. I'm thinking Blogger and Youtube have been talking with them behind my back, because they seem mad at me now. Is it really too much to ask of them to load a page within one minute? least Yahoo! and Twitter will always be on my side...

Okay, it is rather late, but it's time for my first ever "REC OF THE WEEK", people. And that rec (short version of RECOMMENDATION) is director David Slade.

This is totally the work of someone else, I promise...though it is rather funny...

So...have you seen any of the these three movies?

1. 30 Days of Night, a horror movie about an Alaska town that is pretty much overrun by evil, horror movie vampires in winter when there's no sunlight for a month.

2. Hard Candy, an intense film with Ms. Ellen Page playing a young girl seduced by a sexual predator.

3. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, well...hopefully you know what this is, even if you've yet to see any of the movies. See my old blog post on the Eclipse movie if not.

Anyways, should you have seen any of these movies, then, wah-lah, you've seen a movie of David Slade's already.

While my favorite director is actually Tim Burton (EDWARD SCISSORHANDS! CORPSE BRIDE! NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS! ALICE IN WONDERLAND! SWEENEY TODD! JOHNNY DEPP! Wait...the last one isn't a movie...) David is definitely my second. Mostly because he didn't start out as a MOVIE, he directed music videos, and very wicked ones at that.

No idea how that got there...silly Blogger...

Here are a few of my favorites...

If you watch his videos, you'll notice a pattern...I mean, besides the creepy, but cute, characters in the last two and various others. Well, otherwise, a lot of his videos have a morbid edge to them, as well as this colorful, but intense, use of red-against-blue coloring. It looks amazing.

His use of colors in music videos, and the intensity in his films, make me glad he still has films coming out. So, hopefully you'll check him out; check him out on IMDB or Wikipedia for some more info.

Muse, in "Hyper Music". Isn't the red and blue pattern beautiful?

Other music videos by the Slade...(list brought to you by Wikipedia and Youtube...)

* Aphex Twin's "Donkey Rhubarb"
* LFO's "Tied Up"
* Rob Dougan's "Clubbed to Death"
* CJ Bolland's "Sugar Is Sweeter"
* Muse's "Hyper Music, Feeling Good"
* Muse's "New Born"
* Stereophonics's "Mr. Writer"
* System of a Down's "Aerials"
* The Killers' "Goodnight, Travel Well"

Hope you enjoy all his videos, movies, and such, and all the creepy bears and pedophile natures to some, though they are all still friggin' to you on Friday!

Side note...since Blogger is still not letting my comment on ANY blog posts people on Monday's post, thanks! And the clone puppies produced the biggest "awww!" out of me as well. Also, Sandy Wills decided to post her own take on songwriting and character's voice, which you can read here. It's awesome, don't worry.

Thanks for reading and subscribing everyone!

Monday, July 26, 2010

How Characterization and Voice is Like...Songwriting

Quick Update: Every book-review blog I know is spazzing out about the new "Mockingjay" book eerie reminder that I'm probably the only YA reader in the world who has yet to read Suzanne Collin's "The Hunger Games" I get points for being obsessed with the Uglies trilogy?

So, today, I am going to give you my own, personal tip on how to master the tyranny of first-person narratives, or character voices in general. One thing authors do wish to avoid like the swine flu, after all, are having well-written and humorous role-players...that sound exactly the same.

Unless your novel happens to be about an army of clones, of course...

Authors, I want you to think of a song. No, not some catchy one you accidentally heard at the store earlier and have stuck in your head still. Think of a song with lyrics, tone, or theme that you relate to, that whenever you hear it you ponder, "Oh, how flawlessly this describes moi!". And yes, that is French.

Easy, right? We all have songs who lyrics or atmosphere we relate to, it's the joy of music.

I want you to think of different character voices as song lyrics, tone, and theme. Do not gawk at me like that, did you really think I'd let you escape without explanations and examples? Dream big!

Think of how lyrics are similar to other song lyrics. They all tell stories, or rants, or opinions on the world. They vary from chipper and peaceful tones to angst-y and heartbroken. And usually, they're easy to relate to, we can see a whole new perspective through words.

Really intense songs can spark a variety of emotions!

Now, think of how they are different. Songwriters all have different perspectives, as well as experiences to focus on. A song could have more than one tone, and express amounts of emotion, or be pretty average and neutral. Sometimes, they are just stories, something to maybe see an inch of ourselves in but mainly listen to for entertainment.

In a way, song lyrics and songwriting is EXACTLY like writing characters and distinguishing their voices: you tell a story through their words, whether they speak articulately or bluntly, whether they are optimistic or a little on the negative side. You tell their story, and hope that everyone will either say "yep, that's MY life, exactly" or be amazed by it.

So, here's my tip: think of three songs that would match your character. One to match their grammar and voice, or how they talk. Do they use metaphors, ask a lot of questions, have a favorite word they say in every few sentences? Another way is to match their personality mood-wise. Someone like Kesha and Lady Gaga would be the life of the party, always wanting to dance. Someone more AC/DC or Metallica is charged up and easily ticked off. The last is how they share things. If your character is like Taylor Swift, which I'd say is more first-person, then be ready to have a narrator who's willing to fess up EVERYTHING, and not leave details out. Then you can have someone more, say, third-person (Green Day anyone? Wow, I'm such a teenage girl...) who tells others stories, and leaves out a lot but does get across the emotional impact. See the album "American Idiot" for more.

Hopefully the only time I'll ever compare St. Jimmy and Taylor Swift...

I'll give my own example: in my series, the main character is a sorta sarcastic, distressed girl with many issues (PTSD and nightmarish monsters to be exact). I'd say the way she speaks is sorta offensive towards others, but she's just curious most of the time, and asking why. Sorta Katy Perry's not-so-popular song "Ur So Gay". When it comes to tone, it's sad and regretful, but trying to force herself to move on...very Three Days Grace or Sick Puppies. And when it comes to her perspective, she's Avril Lavigne, focusing on herself more but doing her best to not expose much of her life's experience, but instead talking around it. Not many words, but just enough.

The coolest part of my examples? They were all my musical influences while writing. ;)

Hope this helps, and that you understand your character more. Do you know songs that would describe your MC's, or any of your characters really, in these ways? Oh, and if I don't commant back like I usually do...again, blame the ethernet. :/