Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Planning Stages

Oh, how I wish it were winter break already... *yawns*

In any case, more from the same as-of-yet-untitled (I should get on that, shouldn't I?) epic fantasy thing I've been working on. Elissa is talking with Raedan and Raedan's sister Mairi, two of her best friends, about how she is going to sneak around Regulus, who is currently calling himself Regent, and take her rightful place.

Enjoy!

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*snipped*

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wordcount Goals

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! (Or... if you're not in the US... a nice Thursday?)

So today I want to talk about wordcount goals. For the past couple of weeks, my life has been consumed by homeworkrehearsalspapersrehearsalsperformances, soooo I haven't been writing a whole lot. (Not to mention I was attacked by the worst case of writer's block EVER.) But THIS week is Thanksgiving break, and I've gotten myself back into the groove with a new project (possibly two new projects, actually; we shall see).

I also decided to give myself a new rule: I must write, at the very least, 100 words per day. And this rule is going pretty well so far. I didn't write anything yesterday because I wasn't feeling well (no, not because I ate too much), and I decided that being sick is the only legitimate excuse for not following this rule.

Because 100 words is really nothing (in spite of what some of my non-writing classmates might think). And what I'm discovering is that making myself start is the hardest part. So what started as "let's sit down and write 100 words" turns into "I'll get up to 500, or 600, or 1,000, and then go to bed."

So for the first time in weeks, I am actually writing something. Something that I have no idea where it's going, but so far it's been fun.

What do you guys think? I know it's NaNo, so everybody's word count goals are different than they might usually be, but how often do you guys write? What's the hardest part for you? Finding time, or just making yourself start?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Swashbuckling Stuff

Hi, blogsphere! I'm sorry I've been quiet lately, but thanks to a lovely pep talk from my lovely roommate and some good Thankgsiving-break relaxation, I'm writing again and so I'll be blogging again too. :)

This is the opening of the new project I've been working on. It's the first epic fantasy I've written in about four years, and so far it's a lot of fun. I'm figuring out the characters and their motivations as I go along; I'm letting this story steer me a lot more than I usually do. I've also decided that from now on I'm going to write 100 words a day at the very least. So there, homework and rehearsal. I can still write around you!

In any case, I hope you enjoy this!

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*snipped*

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Review: RECKLESS

Sorry for the lack of a teaser guys. My muse has well and truly deserted me, it seems, leaving me to stare at the ceiling and wait for it to return. It’ll come back. Eventually. No worries.

At any rate. For my birthday I received a copy of Cornelia Funke’s newest novel, RECKLESS. I got the chance to finish it before Thanksgiving break (which I was not anticipating: maybe this writer’s block is good for something after all? :P) and wow am I glad.

This book is marvelous. And I’m not just saying that because Cornelia Funke is one of my favorite authors (which she is; I love her work so much that I’m currently doing a whole Italian presentation (in Italian… memorized… irp!) on Venice just so I can talk a little bit about THE THIEF LORD). This book is really, really great, and I loved every second of it. I might have to reread it in the near future, as it was one of those “omgsogreatmustkeepturningpagestoseewhathappensnextohwaitdidIskipthatparagraph?” books.

There are two things that really stood out for me in this: worldbuilding and characterization. Both of them were superb.

Worldbuilding first. RECKLESS is all about Jacob Reckless, a man from our world who found a mirror-portal into another world. This other world is basically every fairy tale imaginable smushed into one place – and given a nasty twist. Everything is both beautiful and sinister at the same time. And Funke so seamlessly integrates each separate fairy tale – Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the golden ball from the Frog Princess, the gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel – that it’s very plain that each piece belongs together in that world. It’s an absolutely fascinating concept.

Secondly, characterization. WOW. There are four main characters in the story – Jacob, his younger brother Will, Will’s girlfriend Clara, and Fox, a girl from the Mirrorworld who is able to transform into a fox and is Jacob’s constant companion. There are so many layers to each of these characters it’s unbelievable. Jacob, for example, began leaving his home world for the Mirrorworld at age 12, coming up with increasingly complex excuses, always covering his tracks, and in the Mirrorworld he’s a treasure hunter, skilled at fighting and bribery and theft. But then Will comes to the Mirrorworld and Jacob’s ruthless, cold fa├žade starts cracking. Will is Jacob’s trusting brother, but he is wounded when he follows Jacob through the mirror and is literally turning to stone. Throughout the story all sorts of complexities arise due to tension with his oft-absent older brother and the things the stone is making him forget. Fox is one of those enigmatic characters Funke excels at – you never know everything about her, but you really want to find out. She chooses to spend most of her time as a fox instead of a human, which makes you wonder why. It also adds layer upon layer of problems regarding her relationship with Jacob. Clara starts out like a stereotypically innocent character, and just as I was beginning to think “Clara’s not as complex as the others,” BAM there’s a big secret for Clara to keep. It’s really fascinating.

If that’s not enough to interest you (and it should be), Funke did some really fabulous pencil illustrations for the first page of each chapter. They’re hauntingly beautiful, as is the whole book. Really, I think the only thing that could possibly annoy me about it was that the print was so large and the margins and space around each line so huge. Really? The main character’s 24, we can read slightly smaller print, thanks.

In all seriousness, though, this book is really fantastic. It was a great birthday present (thanks, Mom :) ) and you all should go read it RIGHT NOW.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm Plotting... no, not the evil kind

I have decided that I am terrible at plot.

I get these really great ideas (when I was first querying A Bridge to War so many people were going "historical werewolves? That's so cool!") and then they don't go anywhere. It is most terribly frustrating. The reason I am not currently working on ABtW is because it literally has no plot that I can find. As hard as I try I cannot make sense of it, which is extremely irritating because I absolutely love where the characterization, atmosphere, tone, and prose style were going in that rewrite. When I fix it (and I WILL fix it - I am too fond of that idea and those characters to let it die) some of the stuff from my most recent rewrite will definitely be added. I just need to figure out what to do with it.

And now I'm trying to figure out what to do in the meantime. And I have four potential projects:

1. The steampunky story I teased from on Tuesday. Problem: All premise, no plot whatsoever (seriously, Will is one of the most silent characters I have ever encountered. He won't tell me anything!!!)

2. Another Victorian epistolary novel about a girl who goes to live with her father's regiment in India and all the trouble her brother gets them into. Problem: Ridiculously vague outline, no ending or motivation for anything.

3. A revamped version of the epic fantasy I've had kicking around in my head since freshman year of high school. Problem: Loads of fun characters, no plot.

4. Starting up the graphic novel Ella Fastiggi (update your blog, silly!) and I have planned out based on the short story I wrote involving faerie hunting. Problem: Awesome premise, no ending point (aka... no plot).

I sense a trend, don't you?

So I want to know how you guys come up with plots. Do they just fall out of the sky? Are they the results of meticulous outlining? Somewhere in between? When you've got a great idea but don't know what to do with it, what do you do? Maybe you guys can give me some ideas about what to do with these strange half-stories.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: New Project?

Hi guys! Haven't done one of these in a while... whoops. I haven't been able to write anything in a loooooong time. Yay sleep deprivation!

But now that I have a little time to myself, and enough time to get some sleep, I've been trying to come up with a new project. It's been tricky, since I've decided I'm abysmal at plot (there will probably be a post about this later) but this is a little piece from one of my options. I wrote most of it before history class yesterday and was very excited to have written something at all.

If I wind up going with this one, I believe I shall call it Shadows on the Stars, after a line in the song/poem that inspired it, which is called Sure on this Shining Night. My roommate's chorus just performed it (that's not them, sadly; they were much better) and I've been rather obsessed with it ever since.

So, without further ado:

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*snipped*

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So, what do you think? Is this worth pursuing? Horribly cliched? Just plain weird? Guy pov, what were you thinking Caitlin? Comments and critiques would be most appreciated!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not Dead Yet

Wow, it's November already? Sheesh, how time flies when you're buried under six mountains of homework and are running straight from one rehearsal to the next.

What has happened during my impromptu blog hiatus?

Broadway Revue goes up tomorrow (!!!) and I'm terribly excited.

My Personal Essay professor said that my writing had a "self-effacing and therefore likable narrator." Apparently I make fun of myself in my essays? Awesome.

I turned twenty. (Wow.)

And November started. Which means National Novel Writing Month started.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a worldwide internet phenomenon in which just about everybody tries to churn out a 50,000 word novel in a month. It turns novel-writing into a game - if you make it to 50,000 words, you win.

Apparently this year NaNo has been the topic of some controversy (see what you miss when you're buried in work? Jeepers, Caitlin). People (and by people I mean The Internet) seem to be debating the merit of forcing out 50,000 words in a rather insanely short period of time.

For me, NaNo has always been one of those "maybe I should do this" things. This is another year I'm letting it pass me by, for a couple of reasons. One is the horrifically lame "I don't have time" excuse. I know I shouldn't let the fact that this semester is kicking my sorry rear end get in the way of my writing. But when I'm this sleep deprived I can't think about writing. Which leads to my next problem - I haven't really got anything TO write just at the moment. ABtW is hopelessly stuck (I'd say that it's going nowhere fast, but the truth is that it's going nowhere incredibly slowly) and I've decided to put off solving that book's myriad problems till winter break, when I don't have papers and Italian grammar and dress rehearsals to worry about as well.

So after this week I'm going to have to sort through and come up with some kind of plot for something.

I wonder what that will be?

Are any of you doing NaNo? What are your stories about? If you aren't doing NaNo, why not?