Friday, February 24, 2012


*This was supposed to have been posted yesterday, sorry. I had a big history project.*

Voice- what your character sounds like. Word choice, sentence type, intentional grammar mistakes, and regionally acceptable words (like "y'all"). There are more, but that's all I'm focusing on here.

VOCABULARY. This is very, very important. Do not let your happy-go-lucky five-year-old go around using words like "evanescent" and "expurgate". Don't let your Britsh official say words like "potty" and "nappy". Vocabulary is important because it really brings your character to life, and don't just avoid using wrong vocabulary in dialogue - their thoughts and how you're describing your (oops, their) surroundings should include words that they'd know and use. Like, a perky teenage girl might say "sunny yellow", while a depressed girl might descibe the same shade (or any shade) "puke yellow". Look at it from their perspective, through not just through their eyes but through their minds.

SENTENCE TYPE. Simple, compound, complex, compound-complex. I find that not only I but my character prefer simple sentences. Long ones, with multiple verbs, but still simple. And to review/inform you of the types: simple= 1 independent clause, 0 dependent clauses. compound= 2+ Ind. clauses, 0 dependent clauses. Complex=1 ind. clause, 1+ dep. clauses. Compound-complex= 2+ ind. clauses, 1+ dep. clauses. Clauses are a subject and verb, independent means it can stand alone as a sentence. If you have one subject and multiple verbs, they're still simple.

INTENTIONALLY INCORRECT GRAMMAR. Double negatives ("don't got nothing") and perhaps sort of slurring words together ("kinda", "sorta", "alright") is what immediately comes to mind. Don't confuse this with regular mistakes, though. Using the wrong "it's" does not fall under this category. This is kind of regional too, I suppose. But not always.

REGIONALLY ACCEPTABLE TERMS. "Y'all", "ain't", and of course, "soda" vs. "pop". Know the local terms of a place before you try to write this. It's important - like if my character's from where I'm from, it's soda. If she lived in New York, it'd be pop (right?). You might occasionally see me use the word y'all, because it's perfectly acceptable where I live. If I went to New York, they might snicker at me for that same word. This makes your characters realistic. It'd look pretty ridiculous otherwise, especially for the people who actually live in the same area as your character. You don't have that problem with fantasy worlds, but make sure they have special region words as well, to spice it up a little.

Another thing I forgot is SLANG. I don't know if I should include this in that last category, but you know. Your teenager is more likely to use slang, your adult isn't. This one is kind of obvious to me - even fantasy worlds should have slang terms. Not that I like slang, but you can't deny its influence.

This is a quick overview of the topic. You as a writer have a responsibility to make sure your character's voice comes out true. Follow the above, listen to people from that area if it's not where you're from (if you can), at least look it up on Google or make it up as you go along. These are important things that'll enhance your writing. It makes your characters realistic and really brings them off the page.

So, hope this has helped. Y'all have a great day and blessed weekend. ;D

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Morals and Epic Changes

We know that in order to have a good story, the MC has to learn something. But what is your character supposed to learn over the course of your story?

Well, anything. It depends on a lot of variables such as your character's personality and what you're subjecting them to. Here are a few specific examples of change:

RELIGIOUS. If Aladdin stumbled into a church and was awed and inspired by the sermons and artwork, then he decided to become a Christian, that's a major change. What did Aladdin learn? Christianity. (Especially since he more than likely would have been Muslim, as the Middle East... well, always has been. That region was originally united by Islam, wasn't it?) I would put "religion to atheism" here as well, even though by definition "atheism" isn't a religion at all.

IDEAS. Or idealogies, or whatever. It can relate to religion, but this is broader. For example, Opal (that name reminds me of the Artemis Fowl series, haha) wanted to be a ballerina her whole life, then breaks her legs and is forced to join art therapy by her mother. She finds she loves building sculptures more than she ever loved ballet, and decides to be an artist. This is an ideological change. It includes things like career paths, how they view the world, pretty much their beliefs in general. This is a big category.

CLIQUE. I know, but it's true. If your character is popular and decides that she is really happier off at being a nerd. If your goth girl is suddenly thrown into the world of politics and socialness, and finds that she doesn't actually mind it. If your popular jock announces to the school he's gay and would rather be hanging out with emo kids anyway (I don't see why it's such a big deal being gay or emo, but hey, whatever). I think you get it.

EMOTION. If your character is always happy, then goes through a torture session and ends up perpetually angry. Your character is grieving but finds a way through it. In a way, this can connect with all three of the above.

Basically, your character can only go two different directions - they can turn good, or they can turn bad. Usually good, but one of a good guy turned bad would be awesome to read. Those categories above are specific ways that change can happen. It can happen in a sudden epiphany, or so gradual, your character doesn't notice until they look back. There are infinite possibilities from those two choices.

There are more categories, and this barely scratches the scratch on the surface (I cannot remember where I get that particular saying - some book. Just know that wasn't mine). But this is a place to start.

Have a blessed week, keep writing, and love books! <3

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Changes and Rewriting

Although this is not today's scheduled topic, I thought I'd bring it up since I haven't posted something for a while.

Rewriting is, in my opinion, one of the hardest things to get over as a writer. After the seventieth time you are rewriting your story, things look pretty bleak. How could you, cruel world? It's just a story!

But let me tell you, if you truly love your story, you're going to suffer for it. That's how you find the good stories. The bad ones you'll find you're not willing to go through that kind of mental turmoil for and drop the subject. It's better that you use your time to find that one story that makes your heart a-flutter.

And yes, I do mean you have to fall in love with your story.

Another Quick Point: If you aren't absolutely in love, 100% in excited about the topic, or obsessed with the outcome, you are not going to last very long in that story. Follow your heart.

“Books aren't written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”--Michael Crichton

That quote illustrates my point exactly. It is one of the greatest obstacles to overcome; to accept the point that you will be doing more rewriting than writing. 

Don't be afraid to cut words. They are only the stating point, waypoint on your way to the end. You can always write more. They have nothing against being cut, it means they have done their job. 

I wish you all a happy February, a wonderful Saturday, and keep writing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One upon a cat...

Happy Valentine's day! <3
And happy Tuesday, since I don't particularly enjoy V-day. You should love everyone all year round, not just some random day in February. And also, I hate... *ahem*... severely dislike the color pink.
Anyways, since I didn't plan anything, I'm going to write you a short story.

The song that inspired this short story:

It was January, although no snow coated the ground. I shivered in my threadbare jacket, staring forlornly at the sand beneath my feet. When would good luck look away from everyone else and notice little me?
The roar of the ocean calmed my thoughts. Its steady beat promised that no matter how much changed, some things would stay the same. Even the icy waves reached towards me before pulling back, time and again. I thought back over the past few hours.
"No! How dare you come back here, you little rat," Mother shouted. Her normally white face was red with anger. "Get out of here. You are not living under my roof ever again, you hear me? Never!"
"Why? Because I refuse to give you money so you can buy some more beer? Your perfect little daughter has shed her obedience. I'd rather die on the streets than be here." I slammed the door on my way out, not even bothering to go to my room. All the money I had earned that day stayed in my pockets. 
The twisted happiness of rebellion had faded by now. What would I do? I couldn't afford to keep up school tuition by myself; it was almost too much between Mother and I. And my Mcdonald's job only payed so much. Where would I find food and shelter? I swallowed my tears and gazed up at the night sky. It was a gorgeous view, with the stars shining confidently and the waxing moon shed some light down on my face. More than ever, I wished the world could slow down, forget the money and power and just enjoy the view.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" remarked a voice behind me. I turned around awkwardly, but saw no one but a small Siamese cat. It licked its paw and stepped closer, laying down beside me. It opened its mouth. "Humans almost never look past themselves. I sense you do, though. You understand the true beauty of life." The cat sighed. The voice sounded cultured and rich, and I judged that it was a tomcat who spoke to me.

"It is," I said after a pause. "But I almost can't focus on it. I'm afraid I can't see past myself at the moment." I laughed ruefully and sat down beside him. "Sometimes I wonder if the world can't see past itself to find me."
"Maybe not this world," said the cat thoughtfully.  After another silence, he continued. "I like your honesty. But I think you aren't looking at yourself at all. You're looking at who you think you are, and they are very different people." He picked himself up and crawled into my lap, purring as I scratched behind his ears.

"You know, you don't belong here," he confided in me. "Not on Earth. It's corrupt and broken, while you... you are too beautiful, too knowing, too stay. And thankfully, I have a solution." He purred louder.
"What?" I said carefully. I was by now wary. But there was something comforting about the cat, as if he were a caring father looking after his children. The fact that he talked and thought just like me wasn't as surprising as what he said, though.

The cat stretched and launched himself onto my shoulders. I winced as his claws dug through my clothes and into my skin. And he whispered his name into my ear.
I closed my eyes as a wave of nausea rolled over me, drowning out the ocean. When I opened them, I gasped. I was standing on a steep hill, with plains spreading for miles to the north and a great forest stretching to the south. To the west stood a small village, the buildings tall and built with human hands. But there seemed to be very few humans at all; most of the villagers appeared to be cats, tigers, lions, ocelots, leopards, cheetahs, and every other feline species you could name, as well as a few more. And looking down, I saw that my clothes had disappeared and so had my human body. Instead, I flexed my claws and yawned, feeling mighty and powerful in my diminutive Siamese cat form.

"Welcome home, Princess," said my real father from beside me.


So, hope you enjoyed it. Goodbye for now, and have a blessed week. <3

Valentine's Day ♥'s February 14, huh?

If you have plans with someone(s), have a great time. I really mean that. Or if you don't have plans, but really want to do something, go ask! You never know who will say yes. Or stay home and do whatever you'd like, maybe something that relaxes you. :-) The choice is yours.

Just for fun, here are some things I want to do:

1. Read: I am up to my neck in Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (not literally...but emotionally?). I'm almost done with this advance copy and it is so good. That's all I will say, even though some of you may have read it. 

2. Catch something on TV: I have a couple shows scheduled on the family DVR, but I may not feel like watching those. So I might browse for a movie or two. I'm sure there are a ton showing today.

3. Write: I'm in a slump. Again! My biggest problem, I've realized, is that I can't decide what world to set the story in. I know it sounds ridiculous, but there are so many settings to choose from.'s basically like I can't move forward with the plot if I'm iffy on where they're at and so on. I'm thinking that tonight I'll set aside some time to get writing again.

4. Enter giveaways: This is actually one of my favorite things to do. Blogs and various websites often do contests to win books and other stuff. If you're looking for some links, let me know in the comments!

*I was actually planning to post a short Q&A with a good friend of mine. She's a publishing intern and blogger, so I thought it'd be cool to have her "visit" the blog. But I didn't quite get around to it; hopefully it will appear on the blog soon.*

What are YOU doing today??

❤ ❤ ❤

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