June 15, 2014 · 3:23 pm
It’s been over a month since I’ve posted here. And what a month it’s been! The most exciting part of this last month (for me anyway), was Tink. Tink was my aunt and uncle’s cat; they’re moving out of town and can’t take him with them. So we’ve taken him in. When they first got him, my then five-year-old cousin named him “Tinkerbell” because she thought he was a girl. That got shortened to Tink once her family realized he was a boy. My cat, Sasha, still isn’t very happy with this, but we’ve seen marked improvement over the last month (originally she would be hissing and growling when he was within about seven feet of her. Now it seems to be about three, and she doesn’t hiss and growl the entire time). They’re separated at night and whenever someone isn’t around (Tink stays with me all night). He’s an incredibly laid back cat and I love having him around.
In other news, I did not make the short list for The Realm Crowd Sourced Story Contest. But congratulations to those who did (and to the winner). My friend, Leanne C. Taylor-Giles, was someone who did make the short list; you can read her awesome entry here.
I’ve also had two book reviews published in my local paper, the Chronicle Journal. The first one was on June 9th, about The Last Unicorn graphic novel. The second one was today, about Kevin Hearne’s book Hexed. Neither one is available online at the moment (the Chronicle Journal hasn’t updated their book reviews on their website since early May), but I will post the links once I have them. Most likely that will be when the reviews appear on TBPL Off the Shelf, whenever that may be.
Speaking of Kevin Hearne, I also interviewed him for TBPL Off the Shelf. We talked about all things Iron Druid, including a bit about his new book, Shattered, which comes out this week. The interview went live on June 11th; you can find it here.
On the personal writing front, I’ve done a little bit more worldbuilding. I realized that Imezza wasn’t quite as ready to go as I thought it was, so I went back to that a little bit. It’s still by no means done, but I was able to fix a couple of spots that needed fixing. I think it’s now at a point where I can write some short stories, but that’s what I said last time, so we’ll see once I sit down with it. I’ve also spent some time working on a second world. It’s really shaping up in my mind, but right now I’m grappling with a few issues, so more on that once I’ve got them sorted out!
Finally, it was my birthday the other day. I had a really great time going out for dinner then playing Rock Band with friends.
All in all, this has been a busy but fun month! 🙂
Filed under Contests, Interview, Updates, Worldbuilding, Writing
Tagged as articles, author, author interview, book review, cat, contest, entry, Imezza, Kevin Hearne, review, TBPL Off the Shelf, The Realm, Tink, Worldbuilding, writing, writing contest
May 12, 2014 · 10:39 pm
A friend of mine told me about the Realm’s Crowd Sourced Story Contest a couple of weeks ago. The Realm is a game that Atomhawk Design+Lantern Interactive tried to fund on Kickstarter last year. In an attempt to find a new source of funding (and use some of the beautiful concept art they created for the game), they ran a contest. Anyone can write a story using up to 20 of the 24 images they provided (4 are blank images that you can use in places where the existing artwork won’t work in your story). The winner will have their story published in an animated storybook app (and get a share of any profits the app gets).
My entry is titled “For the Fear of Monsters.” It was originally titled “The Monster and the Flower,” but I felt that title didn’t really work, especially after I received feedback from my brother and changed the story. I purposely tried to keep descriptions to a minimum, letting the pictures do the “talking” as much as they can. I hope you enjoy reading it. 🙂
March 14, 2014 · 10:08 pm
Back in January, I came across the 91-Word Memoir contest, which was hosted by the Gotham Writers Workshop. In honour of a Gotham student who passed away a few days before her 91st birthday, the Gotham Writers Workshop challenged writers to tell a personal story in 91 words or less. The winner and finalists were announced a few days ago (congrats all). I didn’t make the list of finalists, but I thought I would share my entry here (I called it “One Word”):
“Shauna has diabetes.”
I sat with my mother, the two of us bawling while the doctor told us what happens next. I didn’t know why we were crying; the word the doctor said meant nothing to my seven-year-old mind. But mom was crying, and so I cried, too.
The doctor told us to go home and get some of my things. Then my life changed forever. I had to fear low blood sugars and complications. Plus the nurse made me eat my crusts. All thanks to that one word.
I tried to make it exactly 91-words, but unfortunately it ended up only 89.
December 31, 2013 · 5:14 am
I’ve done it! I just submitted my entry to the Dark Crystal Author Quest contest!
The submission itself took a bit longer than I expected. I had to give them biographies for all the characters I used, as well as answer a couple of questions (like explaining what the Dark Crystal means to me). But it was all worth it because I am now finished!
Officially, I ended up writing five drafts, although that count isn’t completely accurate; draft one in particular was at least two or three different drafts. The final story came in at 7,503 words, just hitting the minimum word count for the contest. I’ve spent the last few days polishing everything as best as I can. I re-watched scenes from the Dark Crystal to make sure I got the Skeksis’s dialogue right (and even there I managed to learn something new about the movie). Once the dialogue was completed, I made sure that all of the descriptions of both setting and character actions were fixed up. And finally, I read everything over a couple of times to make sure the piece was both to length and flowed nicely while reading. I’ll admit, I did panic a little bit when draft 4 came in at 7,359 words. But I fixed it and everything works.
I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who helped me out, whether by simply reading it over or by giving me feedback. I couldn’t have done this without you guys! 🙂
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 4, draft 5, edits, Jim Henson, rewrites, thank you, writing, writing contest
December 28, 2013 · 9:08 pm
A week and a half ago, I gave Draft 3 to a couple of friends for feedback. Now it’s time to work on what will have to be the final round of edits for my submission because the contest closes in 3 days.
I have one sizable edit going into draft 4: I need to fix up the beginning. This was actually a problem from draft 2; it was something my brother flagged when he gave me feedback. But I had to focus on other, bigger things at the time. Now it’s been flagged again, this time by another friend, and so I’m going to do my best with it.
Beyond that, I’ll be fixing things up as much as possible. I need to make sure that all of the characters are speaking in their own voices. I need to make sure the setting and descriptions are good. And of course I just need to make sure everything is polished before submitting it. So please, wish me luck as I finish off my submission for Author Quest!
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 3, draft 4, edits, Jim Henson, rewrites, writing, writing contest
December 17, 2013 · 12:30 am
My third draft of my Author Quest submission was a bit of a struggle. As I mentioned last time, I was blocked during the writing process for a bit. And even when I did manage to start writing again, I still had issues writing the new Gelfling scenes. But all of that struggle was worth it, because the story has really shaped up in my third draft!
This draft was focussed on fixing up the story, particularly in making the major changes that my brother and I had talked about after he read it over. I ended up changing over 3000 words, drastically rewriting several scenes in the process. While this was rather tough at times, it was well worth it, as draft three has a stronger story than the previous drafts did. I was a little bit worried over the weekend that I wasn’t going to be in the right word count range, but luckily the third draft came in at 7,699 words, just slightly shorter than draft 2.
I have already sent draft three out to a couple of friends who have expressed interest in reading it and giving me some feedback. I have just two weeks left to submit this, so I’m hoping that they can get back to me before the weekend, giving me enough time to make any changes that I need to. Hopefully there won’t be any major changes that I’ll need to make.
So wish me luck during these final two weeks as I work on polishing everything before submitting it on the 31st!
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 2, draft 3, edits, Gelfling, Jim Henson, rewrites, writing, writing contest
December 10, 2013 · 4:43 am
Over the last few days, I was blocked from writing. It was the weirdest thing: I had absolutely no motivation to work on my third draft. At first I thought this was just procrastinating, putting it off a bit because the deadline’s coming soon. But every time I tried sitting down with the piece, the words wouldn’t come.
I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I hesitate to call what happened “writer’s block,” but that’s the best term I have for it. I’ve always pictured writer’s block as more of a blockage over the blank page. Having two drafts already written on this project, I didn’t think I could get blocked like that. But then, somehow, I did. I felt like a bit of a failure; when I was asked how the writing was going, all I could honestly say was “It isn’t.”
Luckily, this sad state of affairs didn’t last very long; I managed to work past what was blocking me. I think some of the planning I needed to do was most of the problem, as after I figured out what my Gelfling village should look like (and one house in particular), I felt like I could write again. And even more importantly, I actually could; today I managed to fix up one big chunk of my story (I think it was around 1,500 words).
So hopefully this was just a minor bump in the road to finishing my Author Quest story!
December 5, 2013 · 12:21 am
I spent a lot of this afternoon doing research for draft 3 of my Author Quest submission. After thinking about it a bit, I’ve definitely decided to make the major changes my brother and I talked about the other day when he gave me feedback. I want this story to be as strong as it can be, and I honestly think what he suggested will greatly help.
Unfortunately, the rewrite is going to be rather substantial. I’m looking at changing about 3000 words right now, which is a little under half of my story. I’m also going to be introducing a different setting which I will most likely have to make up; in draft 2, the entire story takes place within the Castle of the Crystal, but now I’ll need to go outside of the castle for a scene or two. I did a lot of research looking into what Gelfling villages look like, but I had a really hard time finding anything. The couple of pictures I did find come from the Dark Crystal graphic novels (both the Creation Myths series and the Legends of the Dark Crystal manga). Nothing I found today is quite right for what I need, so it looks like I’ll be designing my own village for the story. To that end, I’m planning on playing around with a sketch book tonight to hopefully get a better idea of what I need.
Luckily, I actually did start visualizing the area I need in draft 1 (it was the chunk I completely removed in draft 2). So between that, the few pictures I did find, plus sketching, hopefully I’ll have something I can use in the next couple of days.
By the way, if anyone is interested in some reference pictures, I’ve put together a board on Pinterest. The pictures on it are mainly Skeksis and locations because that’s what I’ve needed for my submission so far. But if you’d like to see what I’ve used, feel free to check it out. 🙂
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 1, draft 2, draft 3, edits, Jim Henson, Pinterest, reference pictures, research, rewrites, writing, writing contest
December 4, 2013 · 2:02 am
So I gave Draft 2 to a couple of people and got some excellent feedback on it, particularly from my brother. He gave my submission a really thorough read over; today we sat down and talked about everything. I was really glad that he picked up on the one problem chunk I mentioned last time (the part of the story that I’ve been thinking should go), so we talked about that. He gave me some great ideas for how I can go about fixing it.
Now I’m going to take some time to really figure out what I want to do. I’m going to have to go back and look at the characters again (particularly the Gelfling) to decide where the story wants to go from here. I don’t have a lot of time left (the contest closes in about 4 weeks), but I’m considering a major rewrite of some of the middle pieces. I’m going to sleep on it though, and make a definite decision tomorrow before beginning draft 3.
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 2, draft 3, edits, Jim Henson, rewrites, writing, writing contest
December 2, 2013 · 1:29 am
This is about a day behind schedule, but I am finished the second draft of my Author Quest submission. The second draft came in at 7,855 words, about 350 words longer than the finished first draft. I’m really happy with that word count, as I was able to completely remove the chunk I wrote to finish off the first draft; that chunk was written in a writing sprint and wasn’t something I initially wanted to include, so I’m glad I could remove it without worrying about the word length.
I spent a lot of time in this draft fixing characters and dialogue. I took a couple of days to work on some of my characters, particularly the Gelfling, in order to make sure their characters were consistent. One in particular, named Keefe, seemed to be one thing and then went and did something that seemed very out of character, so I spent a lot of time smoothing that out. I also had the Skeksis Emperor do something similar, so I worked really hard to fix that, too.
I also started working on the setting and descriptions. The one place that I had a lot of trouble visualizing was the Skeksis laboratory. So I sat down and sketched it out while watching Dark Crystal scenes on Youtube. In the end, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on the layout. I also made a real point of trying to fix up descriptions of people and places. I’m sure what I’ve got now will still need some work, but I think it’s a good start.
I ran into a couple of snags while I was working on this draft. The first one was when I started debating about whether or not to keep a chunk of my story. I liked what had been written, but it’s possible the story would be better without it. In the end, a friend advised me to keep it for now, as I can always fix it later if I need to.
The second snag was when I wrote about a character panicking. That got me thinking about whether or not the creatures of Thra (Gelfling in particular) have hearts and lungs. I spent most of an evening trying to research that, but couldn’t come to any conclusions one way or the other. If anyone knows the answer to this question, I would appreciate it if you could let me know either here or on Twitter. If no one replies (and I can’t find the answer on my own), I’m going to have to assume that they do for the purposes of my story.
So the contest is over on the 31st of December. I have just under a month now to fix up my submission. With that in mind, I’m planning on letting a few people read it so I can get some feedback to help with the edits.
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 2, edits, Gelfling, hearts, Jim Henson, rewrites, writing, writing contest