Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Promise I Shall Never Break Keep This Promise

Today, I'm going to tell you the story of a small being with furry feet who journeyed to a volcano, lost some friends and a finger, and, most terrifying of all, faced a giant spider (and lost.)

Once upon a time, there was a young boy named Frollo Satchelouts (who wasn't that young in the book. What book? Not important). His parents died when he was very young, and he was taken in by his uncle, who was actually very mean. But luckily when he was eleven, he received an email inviting him to a magical school where he made lots of friends and almost died lots of times but really loved it anyway. And he fell in love, and he got attacked by giant spiders, and he beat the bad guy(s). The end!

What do you mean that wasn't the right story? WHO IS THE AUTHOR HERE?? How would YOU know what the right story is????

. . . What do you mean I promised something different? Oh, the thing about the lava rock and the spilled innards and the spider? Well, it didn't work out; I like this story better. And there were still spiders, so QUIT WHINING.

Have you guys had that silent conversation with an author before? How about in your own manuscripts if you're a writer? Yeah-huh, I thought so. There is a silent contract in the world of literature called "promises to the reader," which is signed by the author the moment they put pen to paper. It goes something like:

I, Author, do solemnly swear that--in addition to being up to no good--I shall keep the promises I make in my writing.

And that's it. The reader doesn't have to sign--this is one-sided. (Yeah, well, life's not fair, so don't complain.) Yes, you're the author, and it's your world, and you can do whatever you want. No, the reader won't automatically like your book just because you keep all your promises.

Do it anyway.

Did anyone notice it's not Thursday? It's Sunday! Lovely day outside (actually, I don't know, because I'm writing this Friday night, which is also not Thursday). Great day of the week--the day of rest, the day of peace, the day of rejuvination. Now, I know that a few posts ago, I promised that I would blog a Monday Message every Monday, and a Thursday Thought, every Tuesday, but . . . you know . . . I wanted Thursday Thoughts on Sunday instead. Because I'm the blogger, and I can do that, no matter what I said back there in chapter one that karate-chop post. I know I did a few like I was supposed to, and it really looked like I was going to follow through on it, but . . . Sunday is the new Thursday. Also, I had the blog hop going, so I didn't want to override it. That's a legitimate excuse, right??

Good excuse--yeah, no, doesn't matter. It's a broken promise. Today is not Thursday, and I promised Thursday Thoughts on Thursday. Even though Sunday might work just as well (which it doesn't, haha), I promised Thursday.

I started out with a thinly-veiled (okay, non-veiled) reference to Lord of the Rings, and I'll tell you why. Because I just watched the first movie? Yes! No! Because Lord of the Rings shows this perfectly many times. Let's focus on the council at Rivendell just because.


Elrond: "[The ring] must be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came." (Awesome, so we now know that if the good guys are going to win in this story, the ring has to be tossed into a specific volcano. Sweet!)

Frodo: "I will take the ring to Mordor." (Double awesome with a cherry on top! Frodo is going to make it to Mordor, giant troll or no giant troll, split-personalitied creature or no split-personalitied creature, hot stud from Gondor or no hot stud from Gondor, giant spider or no giant spider (and the list goes on!))


Gollum: "PRECIOUS!!!!" (Just kidding--for once he's silent. But you can picture him hugging the ring and falling from the high dive into the volcano, right?)

Frodo: "I'm here, Sam." (That's it! This one epic line where we see Frodo standing dead-fish-eyed on this ledge over the toxic fumes of lava, while he says, "Here it is. Remember that lovely city by the waterfall with the leaves changing color in the fall, where I made a promise before I had dead-fish eyes? I made it. I'm here.")

When promises are kept, it just makes your heart soar, doesn't it? Because it means we took that journey and we reached the end. I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS AND SO I SHALL PUT IT IN ALL CAPS AND MAKE IT VERY LONG SO YOUR EYES ARE DRAWN TO IT--STORIES ARE ALL ABOUT JOURNIES. That Frodo right there on your right is not the same one that set out from Rivendell, and we got to make that journey with him, because the author promised we could. If Frodo got kidnapped by Faramir and then heroically died at the hands of a Nazgul and Sam had to heroically carry the ring the rest of the way in honor of his dead friend IT WOULDN'T WORK. Not after the promise of Frodo has already been set.

Keep your promises. You can't trick your readers. They aren't going to settle for the excuse of, "I'm the author, and this worked better." If it worked better, then go back and make it work from the beginning.

Now, you might not even realize you made a promise you have to keep! J.R.R.Tolkien could have just been turning out dialogue and not thought twice about Frodo's statement. If so, he might have had Boromir kill him to take the ring, then had Aragorn overcome Boromir and have to deal with the fact that he feels he will give in to weakness before he can destroy the ring. Sounds like it could work, right? No! Because the reader will say, "Wait, but you had Frodo carry the ring. You said Frodo would take it to Mordor. If it wasn't going to happen, why did you tell me it would?"

So read through your manuscript and look for promises. What do you intend to keep and what did you not mean to make? Not just in dialogue either, but in prose. Do the details your characters notice come into play later on? Because if you focus on it, you're making the promise that it will.

I heard an author once phrase this perfectly (I believe it was either Karen Hoover or Sarah M. Eden, but don't quote me on that). She said, "If your character walks into a room and notices a gun on the mantelpiece, there had better be some shooting coming up."

So shoot someone. Get the jewelry to the volcano. Give the boy dead eyes and shoo him on his way to the barren wasteland.

Or, if you can't, then don't have them notice the gun.

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 1,926
Current song: Broken Vow by Josh Groban
Current quote: "I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise! 'Don't you leave him, Samwise Gamgee.' And I don't mean to. I don't mean to." ~ Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where is the lid?

I work in a small bookstore with a bunch of really awesome colleagues. Just thought I'd get that out of the way before I launched into a story.

So! A few days ago, we got a shipment of new candles in. (Candles?? In a bookstore???? Yeah, we're that awesome.) While my manager and another employee set up prices for them, I found little nooks for them in our already over-stocked shelf. As I did, one little lonely candle caught my eye. A lidless candle, to be precise. I pointed it out to my manager and he shrugged.

"I know," he said. "I can't find the lid anywhere. We'll just have to leave it on the shelf for now."

So I put it back. The day moved on. Candles were unboxed and stickered and moved and stacked. And in the flurry of rapid movements and bumping elbows, one poor candle met its Mount Doom demise as it tumbled from Kate's hands. Except the bottom of Mount Doom in this case wasn't soft, gushy lava, it was rock hard carpet. (You know, that kind that should be labeled as carpet-colored tile rather than actual carpet.)

Now, an interesting fact about carpet-colored tile is that it gives a jarring impact you wouldn't expect, and it serves as a slick surface even better than real tile (at least in the case of shattering glass). We had glass pieces everywhere. They completely covered the front of the store, not just the little corner next to the registers where the candle actually fell. Not only do we still need to transport candles through this mine field, but we have customers passing in and out of the front of the store all the time.

Kate groaned and ran to the back for the vacuum. I, on the other hand, stood there doing a perfect impersonation of a speechless moron with candles in each hand while I wondered if even Superman's vacuuming skills would be fast enough to clear a path to the registers before the next customer needed to check out.

And my manager, my crazy awesome manager, pursed his lips, surveyed the damage, and then scooped up the demolished candle's somehow-intact lid.

"Look," he said, smiling. "Now we have an extra lid for that other candle."

Ahh, it made me laugh. Isn't that such a wonderful view? Even more so if you take it with a bit of a broader perspective.

When things go wrong in life, and we're left staring at this mess that looks hopeless to clean up before the next event hits us, I hope we can find the little lessons and be able to say, "Oh, look. Now I have an answer for that other problem." And if you can't find the problem that lesson will fit, hang on to it, because it'll be unboxed in the future for sure.
~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 57

Current song: Fiction by Beast
Current quote: "Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future." ~ Dale Turner

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ซึ่งจะทำแรก ๆ ในช่วงเช้า

Ever to the river it's downplay because tomorrow into forever should a dragon be forsaken to the snake beyond a rock. Right? YES!

What you see above you is Thai. Unless you're not looking at the title, and then it's Coherant AM, fondly referred to by no one as "Coheram."

Coheram is a language I and--I've heard whispered rumors--other writers only speak between the hours of 12:00 AM and 5:00 AM, and only if there has been no sleep between. It is a portal into the tired-yet-wired artist mind that opens up possibilities not available in mere English.

Now, Coheram spoken aloud can lead to problems, because if you're not conversing with a fellow writer (even sometimes when you are), the language is very cryptic, and they will most likely think you're just speaking Nonsense. Though the languages sound almost identical when spoken, if they're written, that's when Coheram shows its true colors. It is the language that emerges when the over-analytical, self-criticist in your mind nods off and the rest of your brain is left to uncensored creativity. It is the crystal well from which the most pristine writing is drawn. (Haha, you're all looking back at that sentence I wrote and confusing it with Nonsense, aren't you? I told you it's tricky!)

A few skilled writers are even able to hone their language skills enough to draw this elusive, slippery beast from hiding during the day (I suspect they have discovered a way to deliver mental sleeping pills to their inner editor. Hypothesis currently undergoing testing to prove). I've only just begun the process myself, and I've heard it takes hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of slaving work to really perfect. But I cannot wait for the time when I can plow through a few hours of writing in Coheram with a great muddy mess in my wake that looks hopeless to clean up. That's when you switch your brain back to English, and allow that inner editor to filter the pure water from the cloudy excess. Because English is meticulous, and if you try to do all your writing that way (which is a personal flaw of mine (haha, redundancy, thy name is Elizabeth Hughes!)), you wind up with fairly clear water that still has to be filtered, and the process wastes heaps and tons of precious time.

Do you utilize the magnificence of Coheram? Do you dose your inner editor? Let us blaze a muddy footpath, united in the language of uninhibited creativity!

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 2,192 (NANOWRIMO!)
Current song: Lucifer by SHINee
Current quote: “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” ~ E.L. Doctorow

Monday, October 31, 2011

Karate-Chopping the Week

Readers, I'm afraid I've been thinking. A dangerous pasttime, I know. But this wacky young coot is just restless, and my sanity's only so-so. Now, the wheels in my head have been turning since I looked at this crazy small blog. See, I promised myself I'd be marr--

Okay, that's as far as I can carry the song, haha. Anyway, I figure since I actually have a following now, I should try for some organization in this blog. (Not that I need organization, ha! No one has organization like Gaston--I mean me. Ha ha! Ha...... yeah) And anyway, here's the layout I propose:

Monday Message
Thursday Thought

Yep! That looks organized enough for me! So that means from now on I'll be doing a post every Monday and every Thursday for sure . . . and possibly other days of the week if I burst with something I have to share. But Monday and Thursday for sure! Monday Messages will be little ideas and occurences just from watching the world, and Thursday Thoughts will be a little thought on writing (which I hope you will enjoy whether you're a writer or not).

So with no further ado, since today is a Monday and those only come around once a week, I shall disclose my first Monday Message. As you can probably tell, I've had the topic of candles on my mind. (You're like . . . "Huhyeahwhacomeagain??")

Last night I carved a pumpkin again for the first time in years. (Candle for pumpkin leads to candlestick from Beauty and the Beast leads to the earlier song parody--ta da! (Now you're like . . . "How do you ever get anything done with that attention span?")) It was fun. A lot of fun.

I dropped one of the pumpkins in the garage when getting it out of the truck, and that led to a giggling fit because, well, have you ever dropped a pumpkin on concrete? Have you seen them bounce? Have you heard them? Hilarious. The feeling of squishing pumpkin guts in my fingers is something I'd forgotten, and it brought another nice bout of laughter. Dumping pumpkin innards in the sink and having the slimy orange pulp hanging out of the mouth and eyes of your carved creation . . . nothing beats it. And the bright smell of pumpkin juice stains your hands even after washing.

The best part is when you put in the candle though. You flip the lights off and there's this flickering orange creation sitting on the counter grinning at you. The grin's a little crooked, and the eyes are asymmetrical, and some of the light escapes through tiny gaps in the seal of the lid that you didn't even know were there. After a few minutes, a little spot on the lid starts blackening because it's a tiny pumpkin and you can smell the inside burning just a bit, but it's all good. Being lopsided makes it even more Halloween-y, and even if burning pumpkin isn't exactly perfume, it's not a bad scent either.

When was the last time you did something that made you happy as a kid? It's fun, and far from pointless.

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 23 (NaNoWriMo tomorrow!)

Current song: Dieu que le monde est injuste by Garou [Quasimodo, Notre Dame de Paris]
Current quote: "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere." ~ Belle [Disney's Beauty and the Beast]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

That Which is Lacking

I consider myself to be a calm and a rational teenager. (whY aRE yOu LauGHiNg?? O_o) Off the top of my head, I can think of very few things that upset me, and these things are very rational. To name a few--spiders with unreasonably long legs cause me to cringe, seeing people eat french fries with a fork causes me to weep, and hearing people say, "I love ALL music. Except screamo. And rap. And hip hop, and country, and opera. And classical, and LadyGagaandBowlingforSoupandNeilDiamondand30Secondsto--" that, well, that just makes me facepalm.

Anyway, yes it is perfectly calm and rational to be upset by those things, yes? YES. I believe, also, that it is perfectly calm and rational to be upset by Blogger's LACK OF A REPLY BUTTON.

Seriously. What kind of communication program lacks a method in which to reply to comments? It's BARBARIC, I teLL yoU! So, because of that-which-Blogger-lacks, I am forced to waste the time of everyone in order to create a completely random post in which I can justify replying to a comment as an ending sidenote. Here goes:

(Mythical, booming voice) I HAVE COME TO YOU TODAY TO IMPART A LIFE-ALTERING STORY. For those of you who do not know, I am part Native American (for real, I'm Cherokee on my dad's side, but THAT IS NOT THE POINT!). There is a story of our people that has been passed down THROUGH GENERATIONS and told around COUNTLESS CAMPFIRES (or, I believe for me, I first heard it on the third-grade playground, but THAT IS NOT THE POINT!). It is a story of mystery looping through time, and one that will NEVER HAVE AN END, for what true story does?

It was a DARK AND STORMY night, and the rain came down in TORRENTS, and Big Chief said to Flying Hawk, "Tell me a story."

So Flying Hawk began, "It was a DARK AND STORMY night, and the rain came down in TORRENTS, and Big Chief said to Flying Hawk, 'Tell me a story.' So Flying Hawk began, 'It was a DARK AND STORMY night, and the rain came down in TORRENTS, and Big Chief said to Flying Hawk, (what's the rule for quotations inside quotations inside quotations?)--''"

ANYWAY, that is enough mystery to enlighten your minds for now, and, as I said, how could I finish a story with no end anyway? DUH! (YES, I AM still CALM and RATIONAL, wHy DO yOu aSK??)

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 10 (Wow, I am lacking. And with NaNoWriMo so close, too!)

Current song: Kiss it All Better by He Is We
Current quote: "You say, 'Dad, can you please park my [car] in the garage? I don't want it to get rained on, or, or breathed on.' . . . [After you get home,] you open the garage to kiss your car goodnight, and . . . there's no car. But you are a calm, and a rational teenager. . . You find your father in the living room watching TV, and you're not mad. No. You calmly say, 'Uh . . . Dad? DAD, Dad, D-Dad. Where's my, uh, my cAR, Dad?? Dad, wHeRE's mY--uh, where's my car . . . Dad?'" ~ Hank Smith [From the talk The Do's and Don'ts of Dating]

 PS: I find this the perfect oppotunity to point out that Blogger is lacking a reply button, so I am unable to reply to comments made on posts. (No, I have never mentioned this before. I am sure you're mistaken--this post was about mystery and neverending stories (Also, I suppose I could just post a comment myself which contains a reply, but Blogger insists that my account does not have "authorization" to comment on my own blog. I am very calmly and rationally befuddled by this.)) Therefore, I take this time to add in a note to this extremely important post that I would like to thank WilyBCool not only for his awesome name but also for his comments on my last post and his nomination of me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thanks, thanks, thanks, and I hope this mysterious post has not confused you or scared you away. :D

Sunday, October 16, 2011


First off, I really really want to thank everyone who participated in the blog hop and who entered my giveaway. Gah, it makes me so happy just to see the followers box over there! I keep double-checking because I can't believe there are really that many people!

Ahem, anyway. This is the first time I've ever done a blog giveaway, and after the actual contest ended, I was at a loss. My general problem looked something like this --> CHOOSING DA WINNER. In fact, it looked almost identical to that. In double fact, I do believe it was that.

Quite the hurdle, you must agree, so I devised a most spectacular plan to jump it. I would count the number of entries I had, then hop in the car and drive to Best Buy. Why Best Buy? Patience, Smeagol, my love. Have you ever been to Best Buy? Last time I went window shopping there, I got mobbed by eight different employees within the hour or so, all with the same question of, "Is there anything I can help you find?" Well, nothing that day, but today I did need help finding DA WINNER. So I wanted to run into Best Buy and wander the shelves aimlessly until an employee walked up and asked, "Is there anything I can help you find?" at which point I would very sneakily say, "Why, yes, thank you. I am looking for DA WINNER and I need a number between 1 and 31. Can you please suggest one?" After they gave me a few odd looks and perhaps asked for clarification, they would give me a number and I would proceed to the next employee. I would continue to do this until I found a number that repeated, which would then be dubbed DA WINNER.

Unfortunately, not only did I forget that today is Sunday, but we also got quite the heavy rainfall here and my poor car's engine started shuddering and coughing, so I retired indoors to stay (the kind vehicle got pulled out of retirement to drive me around, so I figure I can at least give it rainy Sundays off if at all possible). Thus came PLAN 2 FOR DA WINNER. (Haha, right now you're all like, "JUST TELL ME IF I WON, WOMAN!!" well, PATIENCE, MY LOVE! (man, I am super tired right now, so half of this probably makes no sense. Please forgive me for that, as well as for my hungering to watch Lord of the Rings and write in ALL CAPS.))

Spectacular indoor plan--I would count all of the DVDs in my collection, then all of the books on my shelf, then text three random friends and ask them for a completely random number (NOT a good idea when your friends are teenagers by the way. 752, really, Ash?). After gathering all of those numbers (some of them QUITE large), I would add them together and then divide by three (MY favorite number) until I achieved something below 100. I would then proceed to count through the entries in a round until I reached the resulting number, who would then be DA WINNER.

However (haha, are you going MAD yet?), after I did this (YES, I ACTUALLY DID IT!), I couldn't quite decide if it was completely fair or not. My math skills are rusty at best and I couldn't remember all the past lectures on probability and even odds and so on. Since I wanted it to be fair, I threw away all of my WONDERFUL, DETAILED PLANS, and simply pulled out my graphing calculator (such a let down in comparison.) I set my random number generater to choose between 1 and 31, and then let it draw randomly three times, at which point the third number would be declared DA WINNER.

HA! So here you have it--I honestly don't know how else I could choose in the rain indoors while being fair without making my brain explode and CONGRATULATIONS TO DA WINNER! I sincerely hope you enjoy this book, and I hope the rest of you stick around through my craziness, if just for the chance to win AWESOME THINGS in the future. :)

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 3 (Haha, not really. I haven't done any writing yet. But I like 3!)
Current song: Gee! by Girls Generation

Current quote: “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” ~ Herm Albright
PS: What do you MEAN I haven't told you who DA WINNER is yet?? Read between the lines, Smeagol, my love. (What do you MEAN Gollum never says that??)

Haha, I'm tired. Congratulations to BETSY LOVE. Check your email for more from me (Not too much more, don't worry), and thanks for entering!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October Blog Hop!

Welcome to the October Blog Hop, where you can visit new blogs, enter to win prizes, and have a great time!

At the bottom of this post, you'll see a list of participating blogs. Just click on each link, check out the prize, and follow the easy instructions to enter. You can enter on each blog, so it's possible to win multiple times. It's frighteningly easy.

On this blog, you can win a copy of David Klass's novel You Don't Know Me, which I talked about in my last post. It's a phenomenal YA realistic fiction with lots of bittersweet humor, a strong main character you'll fall in love with, and it serves as a fantastic lesson in unreliable narrators and first-person present-tense viewpoint.

To enter, all you need to do is:

1. Become a follower of my blog.

2. Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you'd like to win this prize. If your e-mail address isn't visible through your Blogger profile, please also leave it with the comment so I can notify you if you win. You can enter until midnight MST on Saturday night, October 15th.

That's it! You are now entered. Now please go visit all my friends on the list below. It's almost like trick or treating!

October Blog Hop Participants
1. Tristi Pinkston
2. I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
3. Bonnie Harris
4. Michael D. Young
5. Misty Moncur
6. Debbie Davis
7. Mandi Tucker Slack
8. Mary Ann Dennis
9. Deanna Henderson
10. Laura Bastian
11. Kristy Tate
12. Kristy Wilson
13. Jennifer Debenham
14. Jenny Moore
15. Elizabeth Hughes
16. J. Lloyd Morgan
17. Close Encounters with the Night Kind
18. Billy Boulden
19. Scott Bryan
20. Maria Hoagland
21. Shirley Bahlmann
22. Shelly Brown
23. Marcy Howes
24. Lynnea Mortensen
25. Jaclyn M. Hawkes
26. Diane Stringam Tolley
27. Gail Zuniga
28. Betsy Love
29. iWriteNetwork
30. Canda's InkBlast
31. Stacy Coles

Learn more about October Blog Hop here.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

A Tribute That is Not a Tribute

A few nights ago, I found myself in a most uncomfortable position. Not literally, as sitting indian-style on a couch is actually patented as "teh bestest chillin' position eva." Or, you know, if it isn't, it should be.

So I suppose what I should say is that I found myself in a most uncomfortable situation. I had been reading the novel You Don't Know Me by David Klass (which, if you haven't read, you absolutely should) and giggling insanely to myself. Out loud because I just plain couldn't help it--if you've read the book, you understand perfectly and sympathize, yes? It's rare to find a book that will make you cry alternately because it's horribly sad and also because the main character has such a wonderful sense of humor that you just can't stop laughing.

So, yes, here I am, sitting in "teh bestest chillin' position eva" reading "teh bestest book that is not a book" and my cousin happens to be sitting on the other end of the couch playing Super Mario 64 (LONGLIVEMARIO!). Now, I am trying my very best not to disturb him, but these sneaky giggles keep escaping me, and in the Lashasa Palulu tribe, it is considered socially rude to hold back laughter that is dying to escape, so I just had to let it out now and then or else be forever banned from civil society.

Finally, after I have dropped my head onto my knees and am almost crying from laughter, my cousin shakes his head in exhasperation and says, "It can't possibly be that funny."

Now I find myself in the aforementioned uncomfortable situation. Normally, if someone asks what I am laughing at in a book, I would hand them the item and point out for them to read "from here to here." However, Jon has his hands occupied with a controller paddle, and his eyes occupied with the TV, so I can't possibly use my normal method. I could try to explain the situation, but I just plain can't make it sound as awesome or as hilarious as the author. That leaves me with one choice--read the passage aloud.

I do not read out loud. I never read out loud--whenever I'm reading a book, it's either in private with no one to read to, or in full public where reading out loud would disturb the people around me (in more ways than one). I have never before found myself in the position where someone wanted to know something from a book in my hands and they couldn't read it themselves. The last time I read something aloud it was Shakespeare for my AP English class, and I fumbled my words almost as often as I got them right (which, I hate to admit, had very little to do with it being Shakespeare because I do the same with everything else).

So I sat there in silence and fought a debate with myself. On the one hand, I desperately needed to practice reading aloud because it's a good skill to have and something I should be doing with my own manuscripts. On the other hand, if I read aloud, I would most likely butcher the scene and be arrested immediately by the book police for premeditated scene slaughter of the third degree. On the other hand, I had run out of hands, and Jon was giving me weird looks while he waited.

So I took a deep breath and did the unthinkable. And now I am serving out a lifetime sentence in book jail.

On the bright side that is not a bright side, my chance for parole comes up in a few years, which gives me plenty of time to practice.

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 18

Current song: Juliette by SHINee
Current quote: "Here is my problem in a nutshell: polite requests for Friday night dates can be accepted or rejected, laughed at or cried over, but I believe, even with my limited experience, that they are very rarely ingested." ~ John
[You Don't Know Me, David Klass]

Sunday, September 11, 2011

To Be Published . . . in a Different Manner

Hey, go check out Author Konstanz Silverbow's blog for a chance to appear in Karen Hoover's new book as a character! It's a wonderful feeling to see your name in print and know that it's not a coincidence, believe me. DO IT!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Short One Audience

So, I've mentioned Josh Groban thrice already on my blog (including this post, he'll have appeared in over 1/3 of my posts, haha), so by now you must know that I'm a hopeless Grobanite, yes? Sweet! In that case, permit me, I will speak of him once more, because sometimes the best lessons you learn come from the most familiar things.

Rewind to about 10:00pm Saturday, August 13th, 2011. Where am I? Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah. What am I doing there? Listening to the most wonderful performer I've ever heard. And learning.

To be honest, I was terrified to see Josh Groban perform live in concert, and I'll explain why. It wasn't that I thought his live singing would be bad--psh, zero chance of that. What I was worried about was his personality and his singing motivation and his feelings toward fans. Why? Because I've absolutely loved artists in the past (authors, singers, actors) only to find that who they actually were contrasted sharply with their work. Someone's work can be completely clean and wonderful, but you just can't enjoy it when you have a nasty aftertaste from that time when you saw them live or met them and found out they have awful morals, or their sense of humor is comprised of sex jokes, or they hate their own fans, or they don't care at all about the work they do and they're only in it for money or fame or because it's easy for them.

So when Josh Groban finished his opening songs and picked up the microphone to start talking for the first time, I sunk low enough in my chair I almost couldn't see him anymore at the same time I had every bit of my attention riveted on him. I think I was tense enough that if someone would have poked me, I would have screamed bloody murder and jumped about four feet in the air. Luckily, no one did, and my tension drained a bit more with every minute. Because it turned out I had nothing to worry about.

There's one thing in particular I want to talk about. The longer Josh Groban performed, the more obvious it became how much he loved singing. Not only did he never sing a half-hearted song, but he never sang a half-hearted note. Every song he performed completely surpassed its CD counterpart because he poured so much energy into every instant. I honestly don't even know where it all came from except that he just loves his craft. Even when he was pouring sweat and panting when he talked between songs, his performance and his smile never dropped. It left me with the very vivid feeling that Josh Groban is one of those artists who loves what he does so much that he would still do it even if he didn't have a single person listening. He performs for his fans, but he sings for himself.

Seeing that in action made me wonder about my own craft. I think it's easy to lose sight of the reason you do something, and I realized that I've been lax in my writing lately because I was feeling the lack of an audience. I even stopped reading just because it stung to see someone who'd succeeded in something I loved so much but was getting nowhere in. I had that mindset of, "If no one sees it, if I'm the only one who likes it, what's the point?"
The point is that if you only do something for the attention it gains, you're only hurting yourself. If I don't want to write because I don't have an audience, I will never have an audience, because I won't have anything to gain one with. And if I only write to get praise from other people, I'll only feel happy in the one or two minutes of conversation where someone compliments me. It won't make me lastingly happy, and it won't be my best work because it won't have my heart and energy in it. I need to write for myself just because I love writing and it's what I want to do, with or without an audience.

And I do, actually. I have folders upon folders of writing on my computer to prove it that have never been seen by anyone, they were just written because I wanted to pour myself out on paper. I just lost my grip on that, is all. But I got it back on Saturday, and hopefully someday I'll be able to meet Josh Groban so I can thank him for it, right? (Now you all know my secret "if you could do anything" wish, haha)

So here's my focus back and in full force. I want to be published for an audience, but I want to write for myself!

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 769
Current song: Oceano by Josh Groban
Current quote: "Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish." ~ John Jakes

Monday, July 25, 2011

All Things Good to Those Who Comment

No Thought 2 Small: Giveaway time!!!!: "And now. . .. it's time. . .to win a copy of Darkspell!!(Will not be sent until the release of Darkspell Fall of 2011) Comment on this p..."

Run over to my friend Konstanz's blog and look at her interview with author Elizabeth Mueller--and if you comment on her giveaway post, you have a chance to win a signed copy of Elizabeth's new book Darkspell. DOOOOOOO IIIIIIIIIT!! :D

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I. Am. Cursed. No, really, it's true. I think that in my un-retainable baby memories somewhere, there's a day where a fairy/witch/troll/gnome/Voldemort/elf/mischeivious being appeared in my nursery, cackled some menacing evil cackle, and cursed me. Cursed me with what, you might say? Good question.

Credit to :)
Will I sleep for a hundred years after jabbing my finger on a needle (because that's my favorite way to spend my sixteenth birthday)? No, quite obviously I'm already older than sixteen. Will I become a beast locked away in a castle? I can be sarcastic, but I don't think I'm a jerk. Will I have to charade as a mime for three days and try to convince a prince to smooch me? As fun as that could be, neither I nor my prince are part fish (plus I haven't met him yet).

No, I am cursed to corrupt electronics. Total letdown, right? I know! It's not a cool curse that will lead me to Happily Ever After with a totally hot prince, it's just annoying. I hit a new curse record this week while house-sitting for a friend--I managed to jinx her TV on the first day so it wouldn't move from channel 23. Why 23? Ask the fairy/witch/troll/etc. After that, the music player on her computer became totally possessed and started collecting music in its library from some random source--not even cool music either. It was Christmas jingles! Why couldn't it snatch some Josh Groban or SHINee or Within Temptation or Jon Schmidt or something? No such luck.

As I sighed to myself about electronics, my phone decided to jump in on the party and stop vibrating to give me alerts. An hour after I expected a text, I checked it and saw the text bouncing on my screen, but it had never gone off. Checked the settings--sure enough, on vibrate. Held it in my hand waiting for the next text and, sure enough again, when it came in, the phone stared at me blankly like, "I'm not vibrating unless I get medical benefits now." Five minutes later, it decided it liked my ringtone and randomly switched back to the ring setting. Fine, phone, have it your way. At least it gave me some kind of alert after that.

More events piled up after that, naturally (picky PS2, snarky DVD player, and don't get me started on my iPod which is always possessed), and explaining them all to my friend when she returned was quite the fun time. But, here's the other great part about the curse--after my chi disrupts the spiritual flow of whatever electronic (or denies it medical), as soon as the original owner touches the machine, it is immediately restored. (Minus my stuff naturally, which is just stuck no matter what.) Which means that I get laughed at a lot, but that's okay, because I get these great stories out of it with no long-term effects.

Except! Mwah ha ha, the Christmas jingles remain in the music library. So, you know, Merry Early Christmas to my friend, unintentionally.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In Which Thursday Ate Hot Fudge Sundaes

Thursdays make me happy. I dunno why, but it's just that day when I stop and grin and go, "Today is a great day." I think it's because of Thursday's flavor. Fridays are taffy--tastes great, but it takes forever to get through because you're looking forward to the full weekend. Saturdays are spicy, because there's so much you want to get done that you burn through the day before you even realize it's gone. Sundays are cranberry juice--fantastic flavor to begin with, but a nasty aftertaste when you realize the weekend has ended. Mondays are tangy because you just left the weekend behind, but you can still savor a bit of it. Tuesdays are bitter because you're even more ingrained in the week now, but you can still remember the weekend enough to miss it. Wednesdays are sweet and sour because they're stuck right in the middle. But Thursdays? Thursdays are brownies, warm and yummy, with bad memories of the week behind and optimism for the weekend ahead. (Mmmmm, brownies!) If you're extra lucky, life sometimes even hands you hot fudge and a scoop of cake-batter ice cream, like, say, basking in the glory of Josh Groban's phenomenal voice while soaking in the fact that you've (somehow) officially passed Calculus with not just a D-, but an A-. (As a random, nonspecific example! (Name that movie!))

So enjoy your Thursday, everyone, because we deserve this deliciousness!

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 33
Current song: My Confession by Josh Groban
Current quote: "Because we can change, and because we can never return, that is why we should live the only lives we have without remorse." ~ Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I love Chess--meaning two things. Naturally, that game we all know (haven't played it in forever--someone be my opponent, please!), but also the musical.

The musical, mwah ha ha! Did you guys know there's a musical called Chess? 'Cause I sure didn't until my awesomeness-personified best friend introduced me to it. It's dark, romantic, political, deep, haunting, and just generally EPIC. (Also, it has the voices of Josh Groban (MELTMELTMELT!), Idina Menzel (LOVELOVELOVE!), and Adam Pascal (.....How do I describe his voice? I'll come back to this in a PS!) all in one place! That's like asking me to dissolve into a happy little puddle on the floor and never move again!)

One thing perplexed me, though, during my second and third watch-throughs (Chess in Concert performance DVD for the win!). The more I watched, the more I came to know the characters, and the more one scene--my favorite scene--didn't make sense to me. As a brief walk-through, Chess is spread over two years for two World Chess Championships in a row. In the first, the American champion Freddy Trumper (Adam Pascal!) and the Russian champion Anatoly Sergievsky (Josh Groban!) are the competitors, and Anatoly comes out on top. The second has Anatoly defending his title (after defecting to Britain) against the new Russian champion Notimportant Whatshisname. When Anatoly shows up in Bangkok for the second championship, he finds attacks on every side trying to convince him to throw the match. Threats against himself, he brushes aside, but there are also threats against his family and lover, which he struggles with. SO! The scene I'm getting to is the final match of the second championship--the game everything's been leading up to.

Naturally the whole scene is set to music, and the orchestration, vocal performances, and lyrics for the song are magnificent, with this perfect building energy that just explodes at the end. Love, love, love! But as I watched it those few times, I was completely perplexed by the character interactions. Anatoly steps down from the chess podium as he sings and is confronted by the two characters most influential for him. Their parts are brilliant and the scene's lyrics really show the entire internal conflict Anatoly's facing, but both of those characters were completely different from the last scene they'd appeared in. The first was being openly antagonistic and scathing rather than using the subtle guilt trips she'd employed previously, and the second was furious and hurt over something she'd decided to rise above in her last scene. On top of that, in their final exchange with Anatoly, they use the exact same words he first used on them (very striking, intense lyrics--I lost my breath the first time I watched!), as if they'd come to a bitter agreement. But there's no way! They were screaming their heads off at him only moments before! It made no sense to me at all. I watched the full scene over and over, trying to puzzle it out, and I couldn't make it all link up for the life of me.

Finally, it occured to me that I'd been overlooking one crucial detail--Anatoly walked away from the chess game. Walked away. And yet, in the climax of his song, the chorus behind the three main characters gladly shouts "Check!" at him over and over to inform him that the Russian champion has him cornered, and then as the song ends, Anatoly strides back and makes his final move. Which means that the chess game was ongoing the entire time, and he couldn't just walk away. It's the World Chess Championships! I think if he suddenly walked away, there'd be just a bit of an uproar from the world.

So, after mentally flicking myself for being oblivious, I ran through the scene again, this time taking the perspective that it was, literally, all in his head. He didn't go anywhere, and the confrontations were his private images of the two characters and what he thought their feelings toward him at the moment were. They also served as an outlet for his mind to throw at him all sides of his inner conflict. He'd made his decision to [spoiler], but he still felt conflicted, and the final stanza really was a bitter agreement, but it was his mind finally coming to terms with itself so that he could move forward. (Totally epic!)

Anyway, what does this have to do with anything, you might ask? (Most importantly perceptions, since that's the title of the whole ranty post) I'm getting there! No, Polonius is not my idol; why do you ask? (I dearly hope you've read/seen Hamlet. If not, what are you doing here reading these words words wwwooo~orrddsss? Slacker!)

After the revelation of the entire scene being an internal conflict, I loved it even more, and while I listened to the song on repeat, it got me thinking about how Anatoly's perceptions (ha!) of the people in his life are so completely different from what we as the audience saw in reality. Holy cow, hats off to Tim Rice and anyone else involved in that writing. He/they mastered that human flaw of assuming we understand the people around us and acting based on that rather than truly communicating with others.

I realized that's something I need to work on in my writing. I know my own characters, so I tend to have them interact based off of my knowledge and perceptions rather than their own, especially in tense and hurtful situations. Sadly, we as people tend to speak before we think, which results in hurt all too often, and I realized I try to avoid that with my characters because I hate when it happens in real life. But it happens! We can't truly know the people around us because we're not them; we just have to try our best based on the interactions we've had with them, and if two characters haven't had any good impressions from one another, they're going to be tense and hostile.

So, I'll add it to the pile of things to work on and start practicing. In the meantime, I want the rest of you to hunt down a copy of Chess in Concert and bask in it's magnificence. Then come back so we can talk what makes a good guy versus what makes a hero! (Goodness, I love Anatoly!)

~ Lizzy
Current word count today: 1,165
Current song: Endgame #3/Chess Game #3 from Chess in Concert [Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Kerry Ellis]
Current quote: "Everybody's playing the game, but nobody's rules are the same." ~ Chess in Concert [Idina Menzel]

PS!: (Ha! You didn't forget, did you?) Adam Pascal! Oh, wow, let me attempt to describe his voice. First of all, my favorite singers are people with very striking voices--those people who you can always pick out in a full band or chorus because they couldn't be mistaken for anyone else. (Josh, Idina, and Adam all fit that, by the way, I just didn't have any more catchy words to do THISTHISTHIS! to for Adam, haha) The first time I heard Adam Pascal, it was a small clip of Rent, and his voice was almost too different for me--honestly, I closed the clip and didn't expect to come back to it. Until five minutes later when I found it tugging at my brain. So I listened again. And again. And again. His voice is addicting, I tell you! He conveys this raw emotion that's just incredible. Anyway, what are you doing reading this? Don't take my word for it, slacker, just go listen to him! (Most preferrably, just go watch Chess, like I told you to do before! And then we can talk Adam's character too!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Early Bird

I hate early mornings. Hate, hate, hate--they are nasty! (Oh, I just figured out the keyboard shortcut for italicize--that is awesome! Hahaha) Anyway, I only get up early in the morning if it is absolutely life-and-death--or at least grade--imperative that I do so. So, on the off chance that I get up early and then find myself with no reason for it (I am loving this italics shortcut!), I get rather moody about it and my general dialogue becomes, "Grrkajbasdrefinginagrr."

Which brings us to today. I awoke at the standard, ridiculously early time today, got ready, stumbled out the door, and arrived at a virtually empty school at the normally correct time. My groggy brain struggled to understand the mostly empty parking lot and, after processing for a few minutes, finally gave me the sheepish admittance that it had failed to inform me that today was a late-start, and that I didn't have to be at school for a good hour. A good hour which--you guessed it!--I could have spent in dreamland.

So, with a resigned "Grarrdrasdfjakjfslgrr," I wandered around, trying to look like I belonged and definitely had somewhere to be that was more important than bed. After a few minutes, I found myself longing for a computer, because I've been dying to get some good writing time in. Naturally, I didn't have one conveniently in my pocket, so I had to peer inconspicuously through a few windows to see if a teacher I was on good terms with might have one available.

(I know I could have just used a piece of paper, but there was a specific story I wanted to work on, and I literally hadn't opened the MS word file in so long that I'd forgotten what I'd last typed. Also, I adore the crispness of black text and loathe the smudgyness of da graphite and sawdust. For some reason, typing a story helps make my mind feel more accomplished--like it's done something more permanent and professional. (Haha, I am such a masterful genius for tricking my mind into believing a first draft can be less chaotic and messy just by clacking it out on a keyboard! (I should probably stop layering my thoughts in parentheses because understanding my mind is hard enough as it is (Speaking of which, are you confused now? (Speaking of that which, how many parentheses do I have open? *begins to count*))))) (Impressed? Haha, just kidding. (I'm doing it again, aren't I? K, done now, back on topic. (Do you guys even remember what the topic is by now?)))

I eventually found a target and, being the kind person she is, Mrs. Awesome let me use the laptop set up in the front of the room, as long as I wasn't on the internet, which I didn't need to be. (Holy cow, no wonder one Storymaker's first-chapter judge told me my sentences could get long and confusing at times. I'm sorry, guys!) So I plugged in my flash drive . . . and promptly got distracted by a story not even in the same folder as the one I'd meant to work on. But, whatever, right? I was writing for the first time in however long. (Truly writing, not the notebook thought-jots that happen now and again in Calc class, which is just between me and you (and hopefully "you" does not equal the kind lady who rules over my calculus grade))

And it felt stinking great, can I just say? Good enough that my dialogue became semi-coherant again, and I was almost late to my first class just because I didn't want to leave. I had to though, and after only typing out a few paragraphs. (Hey, it took me a while to get that set-up, and I had to read the last few sections I'd written so I could remember my own stuff.)

Thinking about it through the day--and talking about writing to a friend--brought me to a fun little challenge I offered my own mind. A few paragraphs wasn't much, but writing that bit in the pressed amount of time I had, made me think that it'd be cool if I could do at least that much every day. It took me maybe ten minutes total--excluding the reading--and there's no reason I can't get at least that much time for writing every day. Also, small as it is, it'd be a lot more than I'm doing every day now. (Average at the moment: 0 words per day)

So, I'm gonna try it out. Even if it's only ten words per day, it's ten words more than I've been doing, and I can move up from there.

I guess sometimes it pays to be the early bird. Heh.

~ Lizzy
Current word count for today: 300
Current song: My Heaven by BigBang
Current quote: "A page a day is a book a year." ~ Richard Rhodes

(Why the last two? BECAUSE! Actually, I'm not allowed to have that as my only reason because I'm not a parent yet, huh? (That is sooooo not a dis' on parents by the way, because if I had to deal with a teenager like me every day (I am the endless questioner, I confess), I'd get to the BECAUSE stage a lot faster than any parent I know--most importantly my wonderful mother--has) The last two are because I adore music and I adore quotes, so therefore I randomly want to share what I'm listening to and the quote I'm thinking of at the moment. (Because, believe me, I'm always listening to something, and I'm always ready to quote something))

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I absolutely adore writing conferences because I come away feeling all hyped up and ready to type until my fingers fall off. :D It's a great feeling to be motivated. Storymaker's is coming up this Saturday (Friday too, but I can only make Saturday) and I couldn't be more excited!

I attended this conference last year, and I had a total blast, but this year has an extra bonus that's got me biting my nails. I actually entered the contest this year. I ENTERED the first-chapter contest. I know, praise me, I got up the courage. :) SO I'M TOTALLY NERVOUS AND YET EXCITED! I don't think I'll win, but maybe I will, and it would be super cool if I did, but, even if I don't, I ENTERED! And that gives me a happy bubbly feeling inside. Hello, writing world, I'm venturing out, whether I make it or not!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Secret Life of the Teenage Calculus Failure

So, I fail at Calculus. No questions asked, my Calculus class is the hardest survival-of-the-fittest, eat-your-own-toes-to-survive endurance test I have ever ventured into. And on days when the illogical logic of math drives me attic-batty, I have to admit I sometimes . . . ignore . . . it. . . . I know I'm a despicable human being! x_x I'm sorry. I apologize to the world on hands and knees, forehead to the floor.

If you can forgive me, you may be curious about what occupies my mind while it is fleeing the horror of math. Well, naturally, the best escape is something that is the exact opposite of what you're running from. In this case, ENGLISH! Therefore, I kept my math book open on my desk, tapped my calculator keys with one hand at random intervals when my brain heard the teacher say "your calculators," and swirled words into my notebook with the other hand. Of course I glanced up every few seconds, made eye contact with the teacher, and nodded along with bits and pieces I actually understood, but for the majority of the problem (yes, we did indeed spend almost the entire class period on one problem), my mind jotted down the comings and goings of a psychopath.

. . . Psychopath? Yeah. Hey, it wasn't my fault the next scene of the story my mind chose as a focus point happened to be centered around one of the villains. But, as I documented his musings about missiles, blood, carnage, blood, and other such niceties, a few people walked past my desk, and it occured to me (mostly because of the guy who hovered), that anyone reading over my shoulder might be . . . misinterpreting the page's contents. Especially since my last few sentences had been direct thoughts from the character and therefore in first person.

Needless to say, I turned bright red, closed my notebook, and pretended to be deeply absorbed in understanding the second derivative of velocity.

Plunging In

Yikes, so, blogging, huh? Well, I've tried this before and it didn't go anywhere, but I've become more of a ranty person since then, so I'll test the waters again and see if I can swim this time. :)