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!