Friday, April 30, 2010

Giveaway Friday

I'm glad I have my fellow Myth Makers to remind me of my responsibilities, otherwise I would have cleanly forgotten my giveaway Friday, which happens to be today.

It's been a surreal kind of week, or maybe it's just been really post-modern, so I'm offering one of two choices, and will briefly give the skinny on each.

First up is The Future of Freedom, by Fareed Zakaria.  The best parts of this book were the gentle irony that pervades, and the equally gentle approach to the question: is democracy a good thing?  Another really cool part is where he discussed the dichotomy that can exist between democracy and freedom.  Who knew that they weren't one and the same thing?

Next up is One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  The best part of this book was the rich and sensuous word weaving.  Talk about amazing!  As for what it was about, briefly it is about a man, a war, and a generational history.  But what it's really about is how humanity dreams.

If you're interested in getting a copy of Zakaria's book, leave a comment on what democracy means to you, and if you're interested in getting a copy of Marquez's book, leave a comment on why you wouldn't wait for Godot.  A random (losely defined) pick will grab someone.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mailbag Monday: April 2010

Though we have a lot in common, each member of the Tri Mu has a slightly different take on writing, publishing, books, and life in general. On the fourth Monday of the month, we'll take a question submitted by one of you and each give our opinions on the issue.

This month we are answering two questions. Tetewa asks: What series would you like to see brought to the movies? And LSUreader asks: In which genres do each of you write?

Kalayna Price's Response: The genre question is easy, so I'll start with that. I am currently writing two Urban Fantasy series, the Alex Craft novels and the novels of Haven. I dabble occasionally in other genres, though most still retain a fantasy base. As always, I have a super secret project (a new one, as the upcoming book GRAVE WITCH was my super secret project for a while). I work on this ssp when I have time, and this particular story is actually in a new(ish) genre for me.

As far as which book/series I'd love to see made into a movie? Wow, that is a hard one. Anytime I hear one of my favorite books is headed for the big screen I get a little nervous. Books don't always translate to other media well. So, in the form of an 'opt out' of the question (and because of morbid curiosity) I'm going to say my own upcoming Grave Witch novel, just because I'd be curios to see what Hollywood would make of it. Not that I'm holding my breath. ^_^

Tori Pryer's Response: The movie question is a tough one. You see, I love to read and I do read a lot. I almost never think "Wow, this would make a great movie." When I read, I tend to visualize the characters, the scenery, and the action. I hear the dialogue and the other sounds. All of this is amplified if the author is good at her/his job. I don't need a movie director to bring the action to life. When a book that I do like is made into a movie or TV show, I compartmentalize them. If I view them as two separate entities, I enjoy them more. All of that being said, I would like to see Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons made into a movie because I love the character of Charlie Kate and I would like to see her brought to life. Plus, the book is set during World War II and I like to see that time period on the big screen.

As for genre, that is easy. I mostly write romance. Once we get to subgenres, I turn into Vert. I've experimented with historicals, paranormal, and contemporary romance. My current WIP is paranormal, but that doesn't mean that I won't experiment with a new subgenre the next time I write something new.

Sarah Templeton's Response:
(series to movie)
Well, I don't know about movies, but I'm currently looking forward to George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series that's hitting HBO. I've been staring at his blog for months and months and months watching all those updates and scoping out the upcoming cast. The series is far too complex for a movie, but it'll be stunning as a multi-episode show. Just thinking about it makes me all happy... ^_^

I'm currently working in paranormal romance and sci-fi. I also love to play in fantasy and steampunk, but those projects are further down the rabbit hole and on the back burner for the moment as I focus efforts on querying.

Haricot Vert's Response: For series, I'd actually like to see the Belgariad books by David Eddings brought to the big screen, although I don't know that I'd go see it once it arrived (the orcs from Lord of the Rings freaked me out incredibly, so I know I'd have an issue with Torak and his followers).

Wow, the genre question is kind of tough. I'm still figuring out which genre appeals to me most writing-wise.
So far, I've attempted quest fantasy and technofantasy, and at the moment I'm working on a science fiction piece (revising hurts so much!). Whatever keeps my interest, that's what I'll write.

How do you feel about this? Feel free to add to the discussion in the comments.

Have another question you'd like the Modern Myth Makers to answer? Just ask us in the comments and we'll try to respond in a future month.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bonus Post: A Writing Prompt

On occasion, there comes a Monday or Friday when no TriMu is scheduled to blog. The calendar is just tricksy that way. But never fear, dear readers; we will not leave you with nothing to read today! We've decided to do a collaborative post, a brief response from each of us to a writing prompt. We hope you enjoy.

Today's Writing Prompt: Today we are all about bad poetry, specifically, bad haiku.  Why?  Why not?
The sub-heading is favorite fictional characters, published or not.  Remember, 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 again. (Psst! Here are some resources, to get you started.)

Sarah Templeton's Response: I've decided to go the "one of my favorite fictional villains" route:

Cruella de Vil
Spotted, feathered, striped and scaled
Outlandish couture

Haricot Vert's Response: Near and dear to my heart, this character isn't published.  Yet.

the cherry blossoms
shiver, his nap is disturbed
by that same spring breeze

Anyone else in the mood for some creative stretching exercise today? Post your own responses to this writing prompt in the comments!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pass the Plot - Scene 2 (Bryony)

This week we have a guest author, code-named: Joshinator. :)

Bryony's nose was filled with the sickening smell of the dead. It was
only the third time he had smelled it, the smell of power unleashed,

the smell of death. Bryony tried desperately to think back, when was
the last time he had seen water? While his mind was occupied his
hands stayed busy; there were things he needed but he didn't want to
look at where he got them from. A pack, mostly intact, some canteen's
empty, and the rest of the enterprising foot soldier's medic pack
joined some rations, a half turn of rope, and a short sword. The
prize though was a slightly dented container, also from the prepared
foot soldier, and one sniff told Bryony all he needed to know.

"You, sir, were a Saint." Bryony toasted his fallen comrade then took a
swig from the bottle. Almost instantly the worldly pains faded away
replaced with a sort of warm fire in his belly. "My, my, you were
prepared for anything." Bryony looked at the corpse fondly; the whole
field didn't look that bad any more, sure there were some dead people
there but there were dead people everywhere these days.

A chill howl cut through the liquid courage.

"Ravegers." Bryony cursed. There had been a stream a few miles back. He needed water now, and not just to drink. The pack went on his shoulders, and wincing Bryony started limping off. Ravegers would be happy to eat the dead, even the residue of magic wouldn't stop them long but they prefered their food to be a little fresher.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Would that Edits were as Habit-Forming as Words

With the notable exception of pantsing my way through my rough drafts, I'm very into planning. I am a big fan of the idea that it takes 21 days to make a habit. The Franklin Covey system and I go way back. I like SMART goals and spreadsheets and timetables. My planner is color coded in addition to being prioritized by type of task. I'm a huge planning nerd.

I was talking to someone about writing the other day and I happened to mention NaNoWriMo. We were talking about getting over the two-page problem. (You know, where you never get more than two pages into a story because you get stuck trying to make it perfect or your idea just runs out of steam after those first few moments of inspiration.) The reason I always recommend NaNoWriMo to people with the two-page problem is two-fold.

  1. That's how I got over my own two-page problem back in November of 2006.
  2. NaNoWriMo, falling in November, is 30 days long, giving you more than enough time to turn writing daily into a habit. (If you recall from the first paragraph, I firmly believe habits take 21 days to form.)

Not only did NaNoWriMo get me into the habit of writing every day, it got me into the habit of writing whenever I had time, of keeping a notebook on me for sudden moments of inspiration, and of expecting writing sessions to yield at least a thousand words rather than just two little pages. I found my writing style through NaNoWriMo, which just happens to be perfectly compatible with the program.

Other people have to work a little harder during November, being that they're not complete and total pantsers capable of banging out 1000 words in 15 minutes if hyped up on enough coffee and leftover Halloween candy. I spare brief moments of sadness for those poor unfortunate Wrimos. And then, you know, I have to get back to work, because there's likely a word war I'm supposed to be paying attention to.

But, Nikki, you might be thinking, it's April. Why are you talking about all this now?

An excellent question! You see, I have a problem. NaNoWriMo gave me the perfect way to form a writing habit. I have yet to find anything that helps me form an editing habit.

My style of editing is meticulous, with many methods and tools layered on top of each other. It can't be accomplished in the same fast-paced, no sleep, go-until-you-die-and-then-get-up-and-go-some-more fashion as my writing. I've tried it. I ended up completely burned out and almost decided to give up writing altogether. I also didn't get through the revisions, so, other than being a nice lesson in what I can and cannot do, the exercise was quite pointless.

Since getting pregnant, I've fallen off the wagon with regard to my writing. I spent my first trimester basically living the life of a newborn. Wake up. Eat something. Throw up. Gee, that was exhausting. Go back to sleep. Repeat for three months. There was not a lot of writing. There was definitely not a lot of revising. And now here I sit on the other side of it, completely out of the habit of working at all with no spiffy internet competition to help me get back on track.

I suppose I could try Script Frenzy, but I have no real interest in writing a script and I feel like that would just slice another month out of the very limited time I have left to get my current WIP completed and queried out.

And so I guess I shall have to get back into the habit the old fashioned way, just trying to remember to do it every day until I don't need the reminder anymore. It would be nice, though, if editing was even half as much fun as playing with shiny new words.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April Update

yellow pollen spores,
grab your antihistamine!,
drifting on the wind


No literary allusions here, just a small hommage to the natural wonder of spring.

How's the writing coming along? Are you making inroads into your monthly goal?

My stated goal of April has yet to be touched, although I am doing well at the unstated goal of daily writing. I think the reason for the goal not yet getting off the ground is that although I tried to be slick and disguise the whole revisions bit, I was not slick enough.

However, there is still time, and I think I have a secret weapon. I'll let you know how things go.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pass the plot -- Scene 1 (Bryony)

The air was hot and still.  The sun was a round ball of fire in the sky and the absence of any clouds made the heat even more impressive.  No birds sang, in fact there was a lack of noise so profound that it was almost a sound in and of itself. 

Bryony stank, even to his own nose.  He was sticky with blood but he refused to let his mind dwell on that fact as he made himself methodically go through the torn bits of clothing on the other corpses near him.  Somewhere in the carnage was a medic's bag.  If Bryony didn't find the bag and the supplies within, the wounds making him dizzy and weak would foul and then he would die.  Bryone did not want to die.

The silence jangled his taut nerves.  The battle magic wouldn't fade for days and until then, no animals would come near the site.  His skin crawled with the desire to leave the area; he didn't know for certain how long he'd been unconscious and there was a small chance that the opposition would return, although he had no idea why they would do that.

It wastn't the medic, but Bryony came across a fellow foot soldier who had had the foresight to pack an emergency kit.  It was too bad that the dead man didn't have the foresight to leave the battle once the tide turned.  It was also possible that the man didn't get the chance to choose; things had happened so quickly.  There weren't a lot of supplies in the kit but this was enough to tend to the worst of the holes and slashes leaking essential fluid.  Using more rags, Bryone replaced the soaked makeshift bandages and sniffed the air for water.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Free Fiction Friday: March Winner

The mighty number generator has spoken, and the winner of March's Free Fiction Friday is:

Stella (Ex Libris)

Congrats Stella, and thank you everyone who entered! Stella, please write us at Contests(AT)themodernmythmakers(DOT)com and let me know if you would like a copy of Bone Crossed or Moon Called and where you would like the book shipped. Thanks.

Happy Friday everyone!

First and Goals: April 2010 (Really This Time)

Okay, so we got a little silly yesterday, it being April Fools' Day and all. But we really do plan to work a bit this month, so here's the real First and Goals post for this month.

At the beginning of each month, we Modern Myth Makers will be posting our writerly goals for the coming month, in an effort to motivate ourselves through the threat of shaming in a public forum by giving each other, and all of you, the opportunity to encourage our progress.

NL Berger's Goals: I met my goals last month! Huzzah! Woohoo! Yippee! *Ahem* Sorry about that; it's been a while since I've felt productive. 16 weeks, to be precise. Moving on. I need to pick up my pace if I'm going to get this book done before the baby puts in his/her appearance in September. This month, I will revise not one but three chapters and post them on the OWW site for review. Which, of course, also means that I'll do 12 reviews on the OWW site, in order to earn enough points to post three chapters.

Darlene C. Goodman's Goals: I don't remember posting goals last month. I don't think I did. Well, I guess I lived up to expectations! Woot! I did plot nine new scenes and start writing them, but what I have written is unsalvagable crap. I also wrote a very short story in a violent fit of depression and, dang, it's shiney. April's goal is to find a story that I actually want to write. Maybe about phoenixes, maybe about angsty teenage girls, maybe about rocks on the beach. My muse needs a fix.

Tori Pryer's Goals: Alas, I fail. I did not finish the short story. I am not meant to be a pantser. Therefore, I've chosen to plot it first. I know more stuff about the villain and the heroine and the hero. I have a scene list. I will write the short story, I just didn't do it this month. I read TDC and I've started making notes about the manuscript.

For April, I plan to break TDC into chapters and to start re-plotting it. If I get lucky, I would like to re-write/edit the first chapter. I will continue to work on the short story in my free time. Oh, and I'm doing the monster short for Script Frenzy

Sarah Templeton's Goals: I finally burned myself out on revisions last month. I need to write fresh words, and work on a new project. No rewriting, no tweaking, just fresh, muse-refueling words. So I'm taking on a 50k challenge with some other RWA PROs starting this month--and I'm writing a new project. I'm also letting my inner artist out to play: I'm designing steampunk jewelry for some costumes I get to wear in May. Gonna be a busy but freshly creative month designed to stimulate the brain cells.

Haricot Vert's Goals: For March, I said I would mangle a fairy tale. And I did. I survey the damage, and... yup, mangling definitely took place. So for April, I will clean up after myself, and see if there is anything coherent and cohesive amidst all of the verbal blood and gore.

What about you guys? What are your writing goals for this month?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pass the Plot Scene 13

“Father” Nara let the word drift over the mind feed. The link between the two of them formed and expanded. “You called.” Her panic subsided. She needed to take action.

“The hull it is interfering with the explosives. We need to magnetize it so that we can destroy the ship.” Captain Denett’s sounded in her head. Nara was on her feet within seconds. There was a comp panel next to the door. If it hadn’t been destroyed in the fire fight or by the Kloquin, she would use it to fix their little problem.

She opened the door to the comp panel. “A keyboard. How primitive.” She whispered. The Galadrians for all their robotic technology had been rather old fashioned when it came to computers. It was certainly a good thing that she was fluent in Galadrian. She let her fingers fly over the keys. One code. Then two. Then finally the third and final code was entered into the keyboard.

Nara opened her mind feed. “Father, I’ve magnetized the hull. Set the thermal charge and meet me at port 60178. I’m sending you the schematics.” The diffuser that her father set should have spread through the ship now. Any fully technological beings would be compromised. The door hissed open when Nara pressed the button.

“Nara, listen to me. I’m going after the Princess. If I’m not there in exactly five minutes, I want you to leave this ship. Do you understand?” The words coming over the mind feed were sterner now and more fatherly. They didn’t match the image of the man running through the corridors of the Galadrian ship. She saw doors and comp panels flashing through the mind feed.

Nara fought the urge to panic. She didn’t want to leave the ship without him. She didn't know what was going on o the other ship. “But Father….” Nara had spent the last six months being careful not to acknowledge her relationship with him.

“Don’t 'but Father' me. Go.”

Nara ran to the port and climbed aboard the transport and started the engines. Her father was going after the Klox princess on a ship that was going to explode. The panic rose again in Nara's throat. No. No, she wouldn't let herself get lost in fear again. Nara tore her mind away from her father’s task and focused on her own. She would be piloting the transport without guidance from the home ship. She needed to remember her training. She flipped one switch. Then two. Then a third.

The doors to the transport opened. Nara didn't look up.

“Nara. Let us leave now.” The voice came from over her shoulder. It was familiar. Very familiar.

Nara turned .“Father. It can’t be.” She breathed the words. It couldn’t be her father. Her father was searching for the princess. She could almost feel the vibration of the flux capacitor in his hand. This thing in front of her was not her father.

“We must leave quickly.” The thing that wasn’t her father spoke again.

Nara stood. Her hand twitched against the transport phaser. It wasn’t set to stun. It was set to kill. She didn't wait to see what would happen. Instead, she drew and pulled the trigger. The thing that wasn’t her father fell. The image that it had been projecting failed and Nara was able to see the princess that had been her friend for the first time as she was supposed to be. She was beautiful. Purple skin. Flowing orange hair. Coal black eyes. Eyes that were glassy in death.

Nara had killed her. She’d killed the last ruler of the Klox. The droids no longer had anyone to protect. The Galadrian ship would be safe now.

She opened her mind and sent the words over their newly developed connection “Father. Hurry up. It is time to go home."

First and Goals: April 2010

At the beginning of each month, we Modern Myth Makers will be posting our writerly goals for the coming month, in an effort to motivate ourselves through the threat of shaming in a public forum by giving each other, and all of you, the opportunity to encourage our progress.

NL Berger's Goals: I've been giving it a lot of thought, and I've decided that, now that I'm having a baby, I don't need to do the whole writing thing anymore. It was just filler, fluff to make me feel worthwhile during the years when I wasn't living up to my potential as a baby factory. Because, really, you just can't be a wife and a mother and a novelist all at the same time. No one really does that (not well anyway). So, while it's been fun these past few years, I'm giving up the writing game. No goals for me this month.

Darlene C. Goodman's Goals: I'm starting a new project this month. It's a lit fic novel about a rock on a beach and all the people who pass by it on their way to the water. The beetle scene makes me cry just thinking about it.

Kalayna Price's Goals: I have recently come up with an idea for a super sexy book called THE SECRET LIFE OF PIGEONS. This month will be devoted to research to really get in the head of my characters. To do this, I will be selling all of my belongings and moving into the park so that I can be with the pigeons at all times. I will try to live just like a pigeon, from sleeping, to eating, to refusing to fly away from passing cars but instead waddle slowly with my head bobbing while the car blares its horn. It will be great. I think this will be the big one for me. But, as pigeons don't have internet--or a written language--I will have to leave this blog. As such, this will be my last post. Thanks guys, I really enjoyed blogging with you! Come visit me at the park some time.

Tori Pryer's Goals: I've been keeping secrets from you guys and I think it is time to come clean. I've secretly been finished with not one but two books and I've been querying them and through that process I've met a man...and well, I plan to go to Vegas this month so I will be a bit too busy to write

Sarah Templeton's Goals: This month, I intend to write four books, learn a new language, design my official website, and handsew fifteen steampunk outfits which I will wear over the course of three days next month. I will invent 101 new ways to enjoy the blissful taste of Thin Mints (Although some will be theoretical. I'll run out of cookies long before 101) and I am going to finally canoe fearlessly down a river--even though I can't swim.

Haricot Vert's Goals: My goals are small this time around. I will revise 2006's NaNoWriMo manuscript, edit it, polish it, and then query it to at least 7 agents.

What about you guys? What are your writing goals for this month?