Writing: Introduction or Novel?

I was organizing my writing folders and re-read a novel I wrote. It’s unpublished and might well remain unpublished forever. It has pretty huge problems. Mostly because it’s one giant introduction to world & characters. I really struggled with making a plot for it at all. But it’s all really important stuff that sets up the second novel. I’ve thought about “could I shorten it?” and I’ve thought “Could I deliver it through flashbacks?” (this is probably my favorite option) and I’ve stumbled with “could I add more to make the first book more of an action-y book? Maybe add another character’s perspective?” You see, the idea is three books. And there IS important stuff in the first book: Protagonist meets the antagonist (doesn’t have a CLUE that the person they meet is evil) Protagonist meets love interest (yes, there is a love story pretty strongly woven throughout) Magic is set up (wrong but it’s set up so I can break it

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Manners: Is “if” a bad word?

This occurred to me only recently, but it is too true: If you have to use “if” to qualify something, it’s probably bad. IF gets used to cover up an insult or negative feedback instead of just having the spine to stand up to your own comment. Look at these examples: If this had more salt, it would be delicious! (wait, so it’s not good?) If you got contacts, we could see your pretty face. (wait, so glasses somehow “hide” facial features?) If that shirt was just cut a little differently… (so it looks bad. I get it) If we go to that restaurant, we might miss the movie (so the movie is your priority.) If you want the blue one, get the blue one (why won’t you just tell me which one you recommend? I asked you!) Even when it is referencing something good “If we buy this house, we can start our family” or “If we go on vacation,

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Life Memories: My namesake

I was in middle school when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I only vaguely remember the night she called my parents from the Home Depot (about 3-4 miles from HER house) and admitted she was lost. Grandma didn’t know how to get home from there and she needed my parents to come rescue her. I was just old enough to have begun to get curious about the differences between “me” and “adults” – and my grandmother being my namesake was of particular curiosity. How much was Grandma like me? How were we different?  There was a little while where I was afraid if I knew too much about my grandmother I would turn into her (a little more literally than is actually probably mentally healthy).  I look back and regret that fear… I wish I had taken time to get to know her. They brought her home and “lost” her car keys. She was stuck with us while my

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Review: Rating System(s)

Netflix relatively recently changed from a 5-star rating skill to “thumbs up” and “thumbs down.”  I hate it. And yes, I do mean “active dislike and will try to get this changed somehow” level of negative emotion. I can’t stand polar rating systems. I know, this is a level of nerd – hating something so inane as a rating system, but let me break it down a little bit. This is how I rate using 5-stars: I hated this (probably didn’t even finish it). Never show me anything like this again. I dragged myself through it, but I will never willingly watch it again. It was Ok. It probably kept me entertained enough in my current mood – I might watch something like this again, but THIS was probably a one-time-watch. I enjoyed this. I think other friends of mine with similar taste would also like this. OMG. Everyone should watch this movie. And watch it again. I don’t know if

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Review: The Selection (series)

Kiera Cass’s Selection Books: The Selection, The Elite, The One was cheesy and fun to read.  I borrowed the audiobooks from the library, so these were my to-and-from-work commute books and they were perfect for that. The world-building was a little weak in the first book, but she definitely built it up over the course of the trilogy until I felt like I understood the world and how it worked.  I never doubted Cass understood it, but in the first book there were hints of more which only left me a little confused. America Singer at first seemed like a name from a lazy writer – but I have to give Cass props that in the end I was impressed at how well she made that name WORK for the plot of the book.  It was crafty in ways I don’t expect of a young adult romancy novel. Still a little cheesy, but it’s written for like 15-year-olds. There are worse

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Humor: I am not a pizza place

I don’t know how this happens, but it is frequent enough that I know it does. The worst I had was a debt collector who just would not believe I wasn’t “Simon.” Pretty sure my voice is not that deep… Someone dials the wrong number and just does not believe the person answering is NOT their local pizza place.  I might have been reading Not Always Right and everyone who’s worked in customer service should go there. I have decided how I will handle it. It would go (I expect) something like this: Me: Hello? Lost Soul: Hi, I want to order a pizza. Me: Oh, you must have dialed the wrong number, I’m not a pizza place. Lost Soul: Yeah, Pepperoni and fried pickles. Me: I don’t have pizzas. Lost Soul: Didn’t you hear me? Me: Yes. You apparently can’t hear me.  *singing* And he/she was a lost soooooul in the wasteland…. Lost Soul: What? Did you put me

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Writing: A Character’s Voice

I have a character talking to me in my brain and I can’t replicate his voice on paper. It is the most frustrating thing. I know what he sounds like and looks like and feels like in my head, but somehow when I put my fingers to keys I can’t replicate it.  I feel like a kid on a kayboard every time I try. I am banging at the keys and somehow it isn’t turning out like what I imagine it should. Robert Jordan gets a a lot of flak for his characters, but I like to give him credit in this. Each of his characters is pretty good at their voice. Overall he has some weird ideas of how men and women see each other, but that aside he keeps their voices true.  I could pick up a Wheel of Time book and within a few sentences (assuming it isn’t just place-descriptions) and figure out who the character is.  He might

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Politics: Healthcare Vote today

Today is a major vote to reduce the efficacy of the ACA (Obamacare) and I am furious. I have asthma (read here for how I feel during an attack). I’ve had it since I was a child, and did not “grow out of it” (this is a myth by the way – it doesn’t magically go away.)  I struggle with this disease and will my entire life.  This means I have a “preexisting condition” and many insurance companies would love to kick me off their plan because – well I am a risk. It isn’t a choice I made. It isn’t some stupid stunt I tried to pull when I was sixteen. It is something I was born with and have minimal control over. I totally recognize that 100 years ago, even if I somehow had survived all the likely childhood diseases that plagued kids without vaccines – I would probably have died as a child. So for the House of

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Life Events: Silence of 2017

I need to apologize for the silence of my blog. I could blame that life got in the way (it kind of did). I could blame my big book-organizing project (it kinda did). I could blame my day job (which is exhausting right now). But really,  I just don’t know what to write about. I don’t want to turn this into a blog to bitch about Trump. Ok, that isn’t true, but I don’t want to just bitch about politics – if I can’t be productive in some way, I don’t want to post it.  I put a lot of thought into my political blogs, I don’t think it’s as simple as (as my brother says) “Political thought doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker.”  I don’t entirely agree with that, I think you can state agreement with someone in a pithy statement, but that’s a twitter/bumper sticker sort of thing – NOT a blog-sort-of discourse. I AM reading, but nothing I’ve

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