Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dr. Horrible is Awesomeness

If you are a Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, or Felicia Day fan, and haven't yet seen "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog", you are missing out! Even if you're not (yet) a fan, check out the awesomeness of this three act online musical in all its comedic goodness (and evilness). Hulu has it on their free streaming again (reportedly for the next four months). We will be buying the DVD when it becomes available. Go! Watch! Enjoy! I myself will have it playing in the background so I can listen to the awesomeness of the songs until I can sing along. If streaming doesn't go so well for you, it is available on iTunes as well.


Here be preview:


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

last Tuesday Tally of July

EotF Update

total words to date: 92,701

pages: 412

chapters revised: 14/27 (draft 5)


T.C. Status

word count: 1471


This month's goals:

  • finish five antagonist chapters for EotF - 3/5 done
  • finish EotF draft 5 
  • submit at least one batch of poetry
  • submit Blazing Princess
  • work on Trinity Coven

Last week's goals:

  • submit poetry
  • write another new poem
  • write 3rd and 4th antagonist chapters

This week's goals:

  • 250 secondary character submission
  • finish EotF draft 5


Authoress has another event going on. This time the challenge is to share 250 words from your manuscript showcasing a secondary character. I was going to use Cail, but I'm now leaning toward Lamaric. I already know the reaction Cail causes. I need to dig through and find a good excerpt to submit tonight (deadline 9am EDT on Wed).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Varied musings, plus PC rant

5,000 Questions... My answers so far...


359. What are you the most sensitive about? relationships

360. What can you talk about for hours? books and writing. :-)

361. Do you talk about yourself, other people, or ideas the most? I talk about myself and ideas. I tend to keep any gossip urging between my husband and I.

362. Do you believe that spell casting can work? yes, if you open yourself to the wrong powers, but it's not a can of worms you want to open.

363. Are you a fan of The Legend of Zelda games? absolutely :)

364. What old movie would you go see if it were re-released in the movie theaters? I'm not sure I'd pay to see any movie I can rent or buy and watch on my widescreen TV at home.

365. Is there a celebrity that you would be too starstruck to talk to if you met them? any celebrity! I'm shy enough talking to normal people. I would have no idea what to say to a celebrity face to face.

366. Have you ever left a mean unsigned note? no

367. Do you think it's cheesy to paste things you didn't write into your diary? If I claim it as my own, yes. If it means something to me, and I show that importance, then no it's not cheesy. It's showing another side of myself. And sometimes a quote or lyrics will express my feelings better than I can at the time.

368. What are three things that you try not to think about? I'm avoiding thinking about them, thus do not want to post them here. Thinking about them long enough to pinpoint them would give them power.

369. Is casual sex acceptable for you? no. it's not worth it

370. What form of sexual protection do you use? pill

371. What is expected of you that you feel is unnatural or not right? shaved legs. who started that, anyway?

372. Do you sometimes place your own expectations on other people? yes. don't we all, sometimes unknowingly?

373. Do you sometimes act overeager to make friends when you are around strangers? no

374. Do you take everything that is said literally? no, but sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is being sarcastic or teasing or if they really believe what they are saying.

375. Do you take most things others say seriously? probably too seriously. I am a sensitive soul.

376. Do you have a quick wit? absolutely not. my husband is the one with the wit.

377. Do you believe in the need for political correctness? I think the idea got taken way overboard by some people. Some PC is good, as in Native American vs Indian (as true Indians are from India), but saying that 'brainstorm' is offensive to those with epilepsy or other brain disorders, and 'thought-shower' is more politically correct??? How can the term for a group coming up with ideas be offensive to anyone? Shouldn't the "affected parties" be ones to decide if something is offensive, rather than a board of people who can't brainstorm a better term than thought shower? Besides, thought shower just sounds so... weak; whereas brainstorm sounds like ideas are storming and coming together, much more productive! I think imagery and metaphor are fine replacements for political correctness as long as no one is offended and the labeling is not based on assumptions (see Indian issue above). I also believe it's messed up that some terms a group will use for themselves are suddenly offensive if used by anyone outside that group. As to PC in general, it's not all needed - language needs shorthand. That's why we have slang, imagery, metaphor, and not fully correct terms. Wow, long answer. Moving on.

378. Do you have strong opinions and beliefs? about select issues

379. If yes, can you still hang out with and be friends with people who disagree with you? absolutely. just don't use the term 'thought shower' around me. ;-)

380. Are you uptight? no

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What I Learned from the contest

The opening (EotF):

"You did it again! Quit rambling about your tinker and concentrate. That's the second time you got soap in my eyes."


"I'm sorry. I'm just so excited." Terra's hands resumed lathering Marian's hair.


"He'll be here soon enough. At least stop waving your hands around." Thankfully, she did, and finished much quicker for it.


Marian perched on the edge of the bed. Terra, brown hair already washed and braided, knelt behind and ran a brush through her sister's tangled blonde curls. Marian looked out the small window, soothed by the familiar tugging on her scalp. The faint light of dawn beckoned her to the forest beyond.


A door crashed, shaking the whole house. Marian cringed as the brush yanked her head back. She barely heard the door slam shut again, overshadowed as it was by the accompanying rough voice. "Where's my hot breakfast, you useless women?"


Terra moaned. "Why couldn't business delays keep Hayden away until after Courtship?"


Marian's eyes widened in shock and she turned to face her sister. "Don't let Father hear you use his given name. You don't want another one of his talks."


"He's not my father. Besides, it won't be long before Kerr rescues me from this brothel."


"Then wait until you're gone to disrespect Father. You don't want your tinker showing up while you're nursing a black eye."


Terra scurried off the bed to pull a long tunic over her head before replying. "You're right. I'm sorry. I'm just so..."


Glaring Errors: Thankfully caught by my husband before actually submitting ('quite' instead of 'quit').

Comments: 24 not counting 3 posts

Hooked?: 6 straight yes; 8 straight no; 10 are either wavering, would read more despite not fully hooked, or were "close, but not quite"

Problems Cited by Readers:

- the brothel issue. (surprised by how much spawned from that one word.)
- unclear POV
- still too many characters/too much going on
- too melodramatic/overwrought
- lack of physical description.
- too much hair

- too much telling in dialogue

What I can fix from the problems:
- I can edit for clarity and have removed the word brothel altogether. poor word choice. after contemplating, I realized Terra (who uses the comparison) probably doesn't even know what a brothel is. Small village and all.
- I can add some internal stuff from Marian, especially in the first paragraph, to denote her as the POV character
- read more to learn how to recognize melodramatic/overwrought writing
- remove Kerr's name altogether from the first scene.

- take out DL about "not my father", show sister's reactions more outside of DL, and add a bit with Marian's thoughts on why her sister is not fearing Hayden as usual.

- scrutinize and edit the dialogue in general

- shorten the brushing paragraph?


What Won't Change:
- the hair. I can't come up with a better opening that has them doing something other than getting ready in the morning before being interrupted. and I don't want to start with the door slam (tried it, didn't work). though an alternate could be moving it to later in the day, interrupting chores. but then I wouldn't have an excuse to show any physical description until later in the book when the reader will have a set picture in their head. (plus, would take away Hayden's excuse for a one-on-one with Marian)
- amount of physical description. I can't change this on every comment. There will always be unhappy people - too much description, not enough description. "I don't care what eye, hair color they have" vs "I want to be able to visualize every physical aspect".
- the tinker. I'm going to take out the reference to his name, but he is the reason for Terra's attitude. I am also not going to explain it on the first page. Most fantasy readers will have an idea what a tinker is, and those that don't can keep reading and find out. Really, if it was 'Chandrian' or some other capitalized fantasy term then the question wouldn't come up. Readers would accept and read on to learn more.

Most Helpful Comments:

Lori's point-by-point breakdown:

As it is right now, no.
1) The POV, to me, wasn't clearly discernable until several lines into the section, so I had no idea which character's head I was supposed to get in to.
2) Lots of dialogue, with no interjections of gestures or vocal intonations, make an interchange like this rather dry and lifeless.
3) Too many characters mentioned or introduced in oly 250 words.
4) There's a distinct lack of physical descriptions that would help ground your reader in this world and help them visualize the characters than inhabit it.
BUT, there's definite potential and conflict to be had. Just needs some tightening up, IMHO.


The secret agent (later revealed to be Holly Root) said this about it:

Hmm, this is a close but not quite. It took me two reads--a minus--but there's something interesting here. I'd watch the telling in dialogue.


I appreciate those who read the previous opening, letting me know that this one is much improved despite needing tweaking.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Tally and feeling better

EotF Update

total words to date: 91,507

pages: 407

chapters revised: 13/27 (draft 5)


T.C. Status

word count: 1471


This month's goals:

  • finish five antagonist chapters for EotF - 2/5 done
  • finish EotF draft 5 
  • submit at least one batch of poetry
  • submit Blazing Princess
  • work on Trinity Coven

Last week's goals:

  • finish 2nd ant. ch. and write 3rd
  • prep next Fantasy newsletter
  • wait in eager anticipation for Friday's listing of contest entries, and comment on at least five other openings once they're up - great stuff over there! quite a learning experience 
  • write a new poem (for WDC contest)

This week's goals:

  • submit poetry
  • write another new poem
  • write 3rd and 4th antagonist chapters


I got a little caught up revising my opening of EotF and didn't get around to writing the third Zalandar chapter (as an aside, "The Zalandar Chapters" sounds like a title of its own...). Will remedy that this week.


Still a tad under the weather, but seemed to be a short-lived sickness. Yay for small blessings.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Woke up this morning not feeling well. Luckily, it was a day my husband works from home so he helped out with the boys while I rested. Feeling a bit better now. Hopefully I will feel even better tomorrow.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Writerly Encouragements

Some good posts/blogs I've come across today.


Nadia Cornier tackles the question of "How do you know if you're good? When do you stop?"


Another blogger writes about facing the Fears that keep you from writing.


And Miss Snark's First Victim has all the entries posted for the Are You Hooked? contest. Submissions are closed, but everyone is welcome to join in on the constructive criticism. Which openings work for you? Mine is one of the first ten.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Tally plus PT update

EotF Update

total words to date: 90,828

pages: 404

chapters revised: 10/27 (draft 5)


T.C. Status

word count: 1471


This month's goals:

  • finish five antagonist chapters for EotF - 1.5/5 done
  • finish EotF draft 5 
  • submit at least one batch of poetry
  • submit Blazing Princess
  • work on Trinity Coven

Last week's goals:

This week's goals:

  • finish 2nd ant. ch. and write 3rd
  • prep next Fantasy newsletter
  • wait in eager anticipation for Friday's listing of contest entries, and comment on at least five other openings once they're up
  • write a new poem (for WDC contest)

Potty Training update:

After another attempt, we have determined that B is simply not ready. He does not care if his underwear is wet and soiled if he is busy playing, especially with P here. Over weekends we can get him coming to us if he's wet, or answering yes/no to if he needs to potty, but even that is still hinging around clean up for him, and not prevention. We did try bribes - a new car (displayed where he can see it even) for the first time he poops in the potty, and stickers every time he pees in the potty with a promise of a new game when he completes a sheet of stickers.


We will now be waiting until October to try again, when P's mom has her baby and takes time off work. Then we can focus without the backtracking during the week. Hopefully he will be ready then. The only tough thing now is talking him into wearing diapers again. He loves wearing underwear. Sadly, he simply doesn't have the internal incentive to keep them dry. On the plus side, you don't have to read my potty-training whining for three months!

Monday, July 14, 2008

few more questions

5,000 Questions... My answers so far...


351. Have you ever lost something and never found it? yes. my N*Sync CD (I have the case, but no disc), the cheese grater my husband and I are sure we had when we were first married, and a blue toy phone of B's. I'm sure there are other things, but those are the ones I remember from the past six years.

352. Do you listen to any talk radio shows? no, though I listen to an occasional podcast online

353. Who do you trust more, your friends or your parents? my parents

354. Would you ever date someone outside of your race or religion? I would have yes, and yes, though I never did. though I did have long distance relationships with both while in high school.

355. Which of the 7 deadly sins is the worst (gluttony, greed, pride, lust, envy, wrath, sloth)? ooh, really tough question. probably wrath, as that has the most potential to affect others (though they all can to some degree).

356. Which one are you most guilty of? sloth

357. Are you afraid to be alone with yourself? no. bring it on! just not permanently.

Do you try to avoid thinking? resistance is futile. I will try to avoid thinking at bedtime, but the key word is 'try'.

358. Would you venture to tell someone you loved him or her if they didn't say it first? I don't know. I'd like to think the answer is yes, but history has always had them saying it first.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

more 5k Q

5,000 Questions... My answers so far...


341. Would you benefit from a wilder existence? physically, most likely. mentally, no. I like my culture and modern amenities.

342. Does it seem to you like the range of socially acceptable behavior is getting smaller or larger? definitely larger. quite sad really. there are behaviors (such as smoking) that are less acceptable, but far more that have become more lenient. Just look at how movie ratings have changed over time.

343. Have you ever fired a gun? No. haven't even held a real one.

344. Are people becoming more afraid of each other? more afraid of the world in general. there's a lot of crime reported on the news, and that's just a portion, the "newsworthy" stuff. I'm certainly afraid of letting my child play outside alone, or let him out of site even in a children's section at the bookstore.

345. If you had to choose the percentage of freedom vs. safety what ratio would you decide on (ex: 100% free 0% safe)? 60 free, 40 safe

346. Does safety stifle you? that would depend on the form of safety

347. Who or what needs to be stopped? spam - email and phone. most of our calls our recorded messages, usually scams, but spam nonetheless. very annoying. at least I can easily throw away junk mail and most junk email is filtered, but even if I let the answering machine pick up, the phone still rings...

348. Are human beings becoming more domesticated? in the sense that we are completely dependant on other human beings? absolutely. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

349. Do you follow the lives of the British Royal Family? no

350. How did the death of Pope John Paul II affect you? who?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday Tally: plus Openings Part 2

EotF Update

total words to date: 90,000(ish)

pages: 402

chapters revised: 6/27 (draft 5)


T.C. Status

word count: 1471


This month's goals:

  • finish five antagonist chapters for EotF - 1 down, 4 to go
  • finish EotF draft 5 
  • submit at least one batch of poetry
  • submit Blazing Princess
  • work on Trinity Coven

This week's goals:

With most of my books in storage, I didn't have a large selection of books to randomly choose from to assess openings, so I looked at the first lines of every fantasy book at hand (about half a dozen). Most started with introducing the world or one of the characters. The ones with prologues had more stylistic, quotable first lines. Some started with dialogue. I don't think having a "killer first line" is as important as drawing the reader into the world. However, they didn't have a lot of backstory and did get into the conflicts rather quickly. As for my own...

After some needed feedback, and an epiphany from comparing my openings for T.C. and EotF, I have once again reworked EotF's first page. You see, I thought TC and EotF started very similar - introduce characters and setting, not a whole lot going on until end of paragraph when BAM some form of conflict or plot is thrown at the reader. But TC was working, and EotF was somehow falling short. The former has been barely edited, and the latter's opening is one of the most edited parts of the book. Chalk it up to growth as a writer, or story strength, the muse, whatever.

Anyway, my epiphany: TC starts with a definite mood and purpose. EotF started with no mood. The door slam was an inciting incident that interrupted a void. All my cuts and revisions had left fairly lifeless sisters combing each other's hair until given a purpose. The solution was proposed by my husband. Extend the first part a bit, give it more action, a little humor and banter. Show the sister's relationship before the interruption. Not much longer, but makes a huge difference.

At least I find confidence in the fact that each draft is better than the last. I am improving!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Authoress will be having another contest over at Miss Snarks First Victim. This one is a first page contest. Submit your 250 words, each opening will get its own blog post, and everyone can comment on it. There is even going to be a Secret Agent commenting on every entry! An opportunity not to be missed.


To get some feedback and practice with our opening paragraphs, there's a little warm up contest over at I've got the openings of three of my stories up, and have already received some helpful feedback. Feel free to join us over there (deadline is tomorrow).


Liana also wrote a great post on Classic First Lines.

What makes a great opening line? What makes that first sentence pop out and grab your attention?

At random I pulled some books off the nearest bookshelf in my house and started cruising through.

Read her post for her insight. I like the idea of looking at random openings and want to try it myself. As the books on my desk aren't too random, I'll need to get into the overflowing box of books sitting in the front room whilst waiting for storage. I'll do my evaluation in a follow-up entry.


In other news, I can't believe I forgot to mention winning a DVD! I entered a drawing over on the Universal HD forums. They had Firefly Shindigs going during rebroadcasts of Firefly, and I won a copy of Done the Impossible! Very shiny. I have watched the main documentary and love it. There are so many special features on the disk for me still to explore!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Month, New Start

We (read I) have decided to put a hold on potty training. Maybe we'll try again next month. B doesn't care enough about soiling his underwear. If he's busy playing, he won't say anything until I notice or ask. The potty has become too synonymous with clean up and has not been used enough for its real purpose.


Moving on, I have a few overall goals for the month. I'll probably start up official Tuesday Tally's next week. This month I want to finish those five antagonist chapters for EotF. I have a few poems I want to submit - even have some markets picked out, just need to write cover letters and send them out. I'm going to send out Blazing Princess again, aiming high. Can't get in the top mags if I don't submit to them. I think I'll pull out Trinity Coven again as well. Was looking at the opening for submitting to a contest, and I really do like my characters. I'm excited about it again (not that I ever meant to drop it, just was on the back burner and didn't need the extra pressure).


I hope everyone is having a good summer.