Thursday, April 28, 2011

Whoops... (Also Tumblr)

Hello, blogosphere. My apologies for not posting a teaser this Tuesday. Tuesday was just one of those days where every little insignificant thing decides to go wrong all at once, making a giant pile of BAAAAAAAH.

Just like that.

This also isn't much of a post, really, just an apology and an announcement that finals are the week after next, so this will be me:

I promise I'll do my best to keep up regular posts in the next two weeks, but if I disappear, I've been buried by projects but I will resurface! Once I get home, I think it'll only take me a couple of days to finish the first draft of the werewolf novel (huzzah!) so then it's time to start brainstorming something new.

Until next week, all!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Method Writing

Over spring break, my sister, her friend, and I went to a panel in the NYC Public Library for the Teen Author Festival entitled "The Ties that Bind." It was broken up into a couple of different sections, but the one I'm talking about involved darkness in YA literature.

One of the questions that the moderator, David Levithan, asked was whether the darkness in the books had any direct relation to darkness in real life that the authors had experienced. One of the authors, I believe it was Robin Wasserman, said that she felt that writing was a little like method acting. In order to portray a character, both in acting and in writing, the writer/actor has to be able to relate in some basic way to that character. Robin explained that if you have to write a scene in which the main character's mother is dead, but your mother is alive and well and calling you on the phone every day, relate the scene to something else, like when your goldfish died, some experience that matches the character's experience in some little way so that you can understand this point of view.

The other authors on the panel agreed with this (Maggie Stiefvater got a huge laugh by saying that she has never dated a werewolf, so she related the events in her books to the time she dated a vampire instead), and I do as well. It makes the characters' experiences more real. Thinking about characterization this way is why I am a terrible actor - I have trouble presenting bits and pieces of myself like that in a physical sense - but I do think it makes me a better writer.

It does not make the writing any easier. In fact, I'd say it makes it harder - you have to give bits of you, bits you wouldn't necessarily share with anyone else, to fuel your characters' emotions and reactions. You have to dig deep, and sometimes it hurts, but it is so, so worth it in the end, I think.

Granted, there are times when this method doesn't quite work. Obviously none of us have ever dated a werewolf. This is where my other writing method, the "research the heck out of absolutely everything" method, comes in very handy. Read articles and folktales and other books about werewolves if your story includes it. Writing about romance and have no idea what you're doing? Borrow your friend's romance novels and watch video clips like this one from musicals on repeat. Don't know what it feels like to run around in historical costumes? Email somebody who does.

What do you think about the method writing idea? Anybody out there a method writer?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity or Death

Morning, blogosphere! How is everyone on this fine, rainy morning?

I have a question for you, dear readers, regarding this week's teaser. I'm taking a class on the French Revolution this semester (which is awesome), and that class had a lot to do with what I've written in these couple of paragraphs. What I would very much appreciate is if you would tell me if it's too much of a historical or political info-dump. I'm aware that one thing I need to do big time when I edit this is world-building, but I don't know if something like this would be terribly out of place or not.

Thank you, kind readers! Enjoy!



Thursday, April 14, 2011


I'm guessing that everybody knows this feeling:

All right! I have some time to write today. Time to sit down and open that Word Document. Okay. Here we go. OH HELLO FACEBOOK HOW ARE YOU?

Or perhaps this one?


It happens to the best of us. And some of us *raises hand* are experts at procrastinating.

Fortunately I have found a method of procrastination that works fairly well for me. Multitasking.

Allow me to explain. When I'm going to write (or do homework: this method works astonishingly well for homework as well), I sit myself down and I write. This could be a couple of sentences or a couple of paragraphs depending upon how well the writing groove is going that day. And then after I write those couple of sentences, I allow myself to check Facebook or Absolute Write or YouTube. And then I go back and write a little bit more, or read another ten pages of my history book. Then, back to Facebook.

I'd like to think that I'm allowing my brain to just relax for a minute while I'm switching back and forth between activities, but really, all I'm probably doing is keeping it busy with the things I want to keep it busy with - ie writing and selected Internet wanderings - rather than having it ramble off on its own while I'm staring at a blank page or trying to read the sentence about Robespierre I've been trying to parse for ten minutes.

Another thing I've found that works well for doing this is conversations on AIM - yes, I know I'm from the stone age, hush you. I can't carry on multiple conversations and write at the same time (sorry), but over the summer, I'd talk to my one friend just about every night and be writing away at the same time. Worked out fairly well, I think (thanks Anna).

What do you guys do to combat the procrastination monster? Do you shut off your internet while you write, or do you train the monster so that it works for you?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Stuff of Nightmares

Happy Tuesday, all! Thanks everyone so much for all the lovely comments you've been giving me, they really make my day!

So, today, Rose is hiding under the counter in an abandoned shop that she found. She's a bit miserable.




Thursday, April 7, 2011

Anyone know how to Apparate? - Writing Spaces

So way back in July I did a post about my writing space at home, but I haven't ever talked about my writing space at school. This post won't contain anything about my corner of my dorm room, but more about my writing program in general.

I think the reason I decided to babble about this is that today in lovely Ithaca it was 50 degrees and sunny, which means that I walked over to Smiddy Hall, the writing building, outside for the first time since, oh... October? Which was nice.

The good thing about the weather in Ithaca being so, well, awful a good portion of the time is that they know how to deal with it. There is an underground hallway that connects an awful lot of the buildings on campus, and, at least horizontally speaking, that means that you can get from one end of campus to the other without having to trudge through too much snow. Which is fantastic. Especially if you're a writing major and have to go to Smiddy all the time.

Smiddy is on the exact opposite end of campus from my dorm. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind the walk - I like walking, it's nice. It just takes a long time, and when you remember that you need to print out your poems for class as you're walking out the door ten minutes before class starts, well, that's cause for mini-panic-attack in Caitlin-land.

I have three theories as to why this situation has occurred.

1. I live in the substance-free dorm, so naturally, the writing department must adhere to the stereotype that all writers are alcoholics and druggies and therefore not living in the substance-free dorm on the other end of campus.

2. They put the writing building there because the department wanted to encourage writers to actually leave their caves - I mean dorms - and at least get some fresh air or some form of social interaction on their walk to class every day.

3. The writing department is in the old business building, since the business students have a shiny new building but the writing students do not have rich alumni to sponsor the creation of such shiny (and centrally located) buildings.

Bet you can guess which one's right, huh?

So until I learn to Apparate (seriously gotta work on that one - sooo many stairs in Ithaca), I shall be walking all that long way over to Smiddy... and pondering absurd things like this as I do so.

Have a lovely weekend, blogosphere!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Recovery

Hello, blogosphere! How have you been? Was your weekend lovely? I do hope so.

This little tease is Rose starting to pick herself up again post-black moment. I will not tell you what happened to make her hit rock bottom (did I mention it's getting really hard not to be spoilery???) but I hope you will enjoy this tidbit.



Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's!

Happy April Fool's Day, blogosphere! Clearly, Ithaca is playing a prank on me because there is currently some snow mixed in with this nasty drizzle.

I've never been a big fan of April Fool's Day, but I can appreciate a good prank. I certainly enjoyed THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, after all.

This is also a particularly hilarious prank, and the one that would become LOOKING FOR ALASKA.

What are some of your favorite pranks - in books or in real life?