Eavesdropping At It's Finest

March 30, 2012
What happens when you start to eavesdrop on people's conversations and writing down the things they say? You get freaky imagery like this...


"They fell out of the bag like a bunch of dead, soaking wet cockroaches."

I know, my skin is still crawling. So, join in the fun - what caused you to perk up your ears and listen in on a conversation lately? Post in the comments or create your own post and link up below!

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Characters on the Bus

March 29, 2012
When I was a senior in college, I took the city bus to and from school and took notes on my observations.  And if you've ever taken the bus before, you will know that it is rich with characters and strange events, just waiting for a story to be told. So this post (and those that will follow after) are inspired by these trips.

Memorial Day Ceremony - North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial - May 31, 2010

At the front of the bus, sits the guy who stands every time the bus driver makes a stop and opens up the doors. I wonder if he does that out of respect or as a way of announcing his self-proclaimed authority on the bus. I wait to see if he starts saluting the people who get on next.

If You Disappear, I Will Sacrifice Myself To An Exoskeleton and Be Devoured By The Remaining Light

Nearby, I notice the guy who took several classes with me and takes the same same bus as I do who never remembers who I am. Maybe he works as a spy undercover and doesn't want his identity revealed.

Sheep Heid for Mum

Sitting beside me, I notice the lady who wears a wool hat every day on the bus no matter what the weather is like. Doesn't she know care that it's 90 degrees outside? Or is there more of a story there?

Sitting towards the back, a guy who takes a slurp of his drink and when he finishes his sip will say, "Arrgh, matey." Does he imagine he's on a pirate ship setting out to sail the seven seas? I didn't stare as he gets off the bus, but I'm certain he had one eye squinted with a corn cob pipe stuck in his mouth.

 And as the bus ride comes to an end, I can't help but over hear the conversation someone is having on their cell phone about inheriting a great deal of money. He could be a liar, but would he really want
to take that sort of risk by having this conversation on public transportation?

Now it's your turn - comment or write a post about the characters in your world right now or write a story or poem about one of the characters from mine.  Feel free to post your link below!

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Standing in Line at Starbucks

March 28, 2012

jack johnson:better together

It's a Friday afternoon right now and it's unreasonably sunny for March. Just yesterday it was snowing and cold. I think Mother Nature is having a fit of mood swings. And as for me, I'm standing in line at a Starbucks.

Pony tail

As I wait, I notice that the woman in front of me has her hair up like mine and I can't help but wonder what sort of hair tie she uses.


The couple in front of the line have ugly shoes on and seem to take great care with their order, as if they've never been at a Starbucks before.

The cashier has too much self tanner on and reminds me of the star of the movie Bridesmaids except she doesn't look like she'd be funny.


I'm almost to the front of the line and stare at the CDs near me. I wonder if this is where music goes to die.

A Fool and His Money

I've made my order as I wait for my drink I notice two men sitting at a table and one holds a book with the title, "A Small Business Bible." He looks like he is conning the other man, who stares at him with great awe and admiration.


As I grab my drink, I see a young guy sitting at a table all on his own, listening to music, with a criminal justice textbook near him, but I don't think he's studying at all. He keeps looking around at the people coming in and out of Starbucks, bobbing his head up and down to the beat.

117/365: coy

Meanwhile, a girl sits by the guy studying criminal justice and sits in a such a proper and poised way that only reveals her wish that he would talk to her.
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A Complete - 100% - Change of Direction

March 26, 2012
I have an announcement to make.

Something you wouldn't have expected by a long shot.

But before I announce the change, I will tell you the why of my change.

I am being way too negative lately. It may not come across all the time in my blog, but its there.

And recently, I came across a fellow blogger that offended me. They mentioned that writers do themselves a disservice by writing about writing on their blog. This comment offended me - way more than usual blog posts do. And I couldn't move on.

Then I remembered someone making the comment to not only follow the blogs that agree with your point of view. But, follow blogs that disagree with your point of view. And boy did this one disagree with me.

Without going into the details of it, just recently I began to get upset over my general frustrations with writing and not getting published and everything like that. To be honest with you, I am a goal-oriented person and it can be great, but it can also be tormenting.

Following all of that...I realized something:

I am doing myself a disservice by talking about writing on my blog.

Now, before you jump in and say anything else...I need to tell you that I need somewhere that I don't have this same burden of expectation. I need my blog to mean something else to me. I think I am beginning to realize how much this is weighing me dow. I am constantly focusing on my weaknesses and doubts as a writer, and I think that is not helping me at all.

So, here's the fork in the road. See, there it is right there:

fork in the road, writing blogs

I was thinking to change my approach and to change my thinking when it comes to my blog. I want to finish my fantasy novel. I want to finish it without constantly critiquing and overanalyzing myself and my approach along the way. I want to enjoy myself and not worry so much about what is right and what is wrong. Not yet. I am in the editing stages, of course, and what is "right" and what is "wrong" is all about editing, but I can't do that overanalyzing on my blog. Not anymore. I think it's doing more damage than good.

So, I thought about taking down my blog completely. But that won't work, because I enjoy it too much.

Instead...I want to use my blog for the purpose I meant for it in the beginning. I want to use it for my creative expression, my observations, my creative projects, to respond to writing prompts, to show off any video projects I'm creating, and of course, to announce any big changes or successes.

I may lose followers. People may lose interest. But that's okay. This year - 2012 - will be about enjoying writing again. I found that with my fantasy book and I don't want to lose that. No more negative.

So, happy writing my fellow writers!

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What Is Your Book About?

March 20, 2012

writing, what's your book about,
This funny comic is by Drew and Natalie. Click here for more.
  Last week, after I finished my...novel...I posted on Facebook about finishing my book.

And then came the question. A question I hadn't realized I didn't want to be asked -

What is your book about?

It's an inevitable question. Right? As a writer, I should expect that question. But the second I answered it, I felt like I was 9 years old around a bunch of adults describing what adventure my dolls and I were playing.  Maybe it's because I am writing a fantasy and I'm describing a world I really did create all on my own much like I did when I was little. Maybe it's because the writer in me isn't entirely sure of herself yet. Maybe it's because my book isn't quite completed as it should be.

That all may be the case. I do know that my book needs work. It is still a first draft, of course. In fact, over the weekend I finally "named" the world (I call it...Astralis. And yes, I do feel quite goddess like at the moment).  And I even gave it a more elaborate history. After I complete my notes on the world, I will begin work on the actual editing.  But for right now, I am familiarizing myself with the world I created and strengthening it.

So, back to that...question. How do I answer that question? How do I answer people when they want to know what my book is about?

For right now, here's what I say:

In a world where the gifted have become the hunted, where those with great power have been silenced, where the portals to other worlds have been closed under threat of destruction, and the Faceless Woman fights to break free from the prison that holds her, the only one that can save this world possesses the same dark powers as the one who nearly destroyed them all. 

Alright, so it's still a work in progress and I'm pretty sure that my sentence is a run-on, but tell me, am I the only one a little timid around the question, "What is your book about?"

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My Memories Suite (Review and Giveaway!)

March 19, 2012

So, I am always really careful about doing reviews - especially product reviews - on my blog, but when I was approached to do a review on the software My Memories Suite, I couldn't help giving it a try. I am a strong believer that writers should have an alternative creative outlet that doesn't have the same type of pressure and expectation as writing and I think this software could be your outlet.

Not to mention I have my own connection to scrapbooking and couldn't resist the idea of a software making it easier for me. In the 7th Grade, I started my own "Memory Box" and since then I have kept treasures over the years that represents memories from the simple to the great. But I can't stand the idea of spending a large amount of money on scrapbooking. It's weird, I know. 

Okay, now onto the review...

What is My Memories Suite Software?

Simply put - it's a scrapbooking software. They provide you with the pages, embellishments, ribbons, words, word art, adorable flowers and all sorts of ways to decorate your work, and not to mention opportunities to professionally bind your scrapbook or make it into a calendar.

What can you do with it?

The obvious - use it as a scrapbook software. But, really, it can do a lot for you depending on what you need. You can use it to create videos and also create interactive presentations. You can add music. Just everything.

Here's something I made:

I am completely obsessed with the calendar feature and after I created this I was really frustrated with the fact that I did not have colored ink to print this out. I decided to make this March calendar page to represent what this month has meant to me - it's been quite a journey for me with the completion of my book, but it's also been a puzzle and a challenge. I plan on making more for each month this year (and guess who will be getting a headstart on Christmas??)

And not to mention...I love thea bility to make cards. Here's one I made for St. Patrick's Day:

Ideally, I would be printing this page and purchasing a white card stock to paste this page onto there all professional like. (Reminder to self: BUY INK).

As you can see, there is a lot you can do with this software and this is just the beginning.

My Review (The Good)

I would have enjoyed this 100 times more if my iPhone updated hadn't erased ALL OF MY PHOTOS AND VIDEOS.  I am beginning to regret my overall discomfort with sharing photos and videos on Facebook, because I sincerely lost almost everything. I think I would have had a whole lot more fun with this software had I actually had photos I could use.

The reason I really enjoyed the software is the large, large amount of free stuff included with the software. After purchasing the software, you really don't have to worry about buying anything else (unless you take advantage of their binding options). Not only do you have what is downloaded with your software, you also have a ton of free stuff you can access online.

Another good side- it's fun and creative to use. I absolutely loved creating stuff with this program and I can totally see myself continuing to use this for projects (especially when I...you know...have photos that I can use). And if you are not usually the creatively inclined when it comes to stuff like this, there are also some great templates for you to use where you just add photos. Or if you hate restriction on creativity, you can easily start with a fresh new page and just go for it.

Not to mention they will actually print and create calendar pages for you. How cool is that? This is something I definitely plan on doing for 2013, especially because I'm never entirely satisfied with the calendars I buy. It will be a whole lot more fun doing this myself.

My Review (The Bad)

So, there isn't really anything "bad" about this software. Just a couple of downsides...when I finished installing the program and launched it, I had the opportunity to either choose a template (not my first instinct) or choose what size of album I wanted to use. I went for the "make my own" route and after choosing that I am introduced to the software itself. The only bad thing that came up is that it takes a little getting used to where everything is on the program (and to be honest,  I hate reading manuals).

But, once I got beyond the fact that everything had to be just right the first time around and just checked out what everything did and finally got used to everything. This took all of 20 minutes at the most.

The only other downside for me is the card making feature. On their website, I was under the impression that you could have them print cards for you, but I still can't figure out how to do that. I found instructions on how to do it, but even then I couldn't access that feature. But, I did find some really cool instructions online on how to make your own (and isn't that always more fun, anyways?). You can access those here.


I think I write the longest reviews on the planet. So, last few words: this software definitely is worth the purchase if you enjoy scrapbooking and just want to put together memories in a creative, fun, engaging way. The software itself isn't really that expensive, either (only $39.97).

Plus, I have a $10.00 coupon for the software and a $10.00 coupon for the store itself which will save you even more money. Use this code to access the coupon: STMMMS96714 when you go to the online store.

And last but not least, I am also hosting a giveaway! All you have to do is comment on the post and let me know which scrapbooking kit you would enjoy (and let me know what your favorite holiday is!) You can check out the scrapbooking kits by clicking this link!  (This giveaway will remain active until this Friday at 5:00 PM PST!) Giveaway open to US residents only to ages 18+. Void where prohibited. Winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond

This giveaway is no longer active. A winner has been announced already. Coupon is still available for use.

Disclosure: The My Memories Suite was provided to me free of charge for review and one giveaway.
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Weirdest Place You've Written

March 18, 2012
You know how it is with writing...sometimes you just have to write when the inspiration strikes. Sometimes it's the most impossible place to actually write, but you write anyways.

And now, out of sheer morbid curiosity, I have finally asked the question -

Where is the weirdest place you've written?

The Bathroom

writing in the bathroom, writing sites

Really, I mean, we've all had to do this right? An idea strikes and like I said...when the inspiration is there, you just have to go with it. And you know what? A lot of you feel the same way:

@geek_oclock - the loo

Anonymous: In the bathroom. And no. Don't credit me. Just call me 'too embarrassed to give my name.' 

 Shoen at Reddit.com said, "I've written in my bathroom, but as a kid the only place whre good ideas would come was underneath my dad's work bench. I wrote some of my proudest stuff underneath there...must've been the fumes." 

RandiRockstar from Reddit.com said, "I've written a few of my songs in the bathtub. I would start thinking, and something would come to me so I would call for my boyfriend to bring my book. As for writing, it's usually done from my bed or couch!" 

Alisia from the Writer's Digest Community said, "On the toilet." 

On the Move

writing in the car, writing in the bus,

Yet another inevitable place you will find us writers writing? While we're on the move! And that means a lot of different things to a lot of people.

rchhomework from Reddit.com said, "'I got on a writing trip while waiting an hour and 15 minutes at a bus station downtown. The place was was crawling with street people, and it gave me a ton of strange ideas. Honestly, sitting there, and writing on a little pad of note paper, while overhearing snippets of very odd conversations, and completely out of my little comfort zone bubble thing, was an experience I wouldn't mind going back to. It was, perhaps, the strangest little piece I've ever written. It was stolen the first day of tutoring in the math lab, when someone walked off with my binder."
On my blog's Facebook page, Terry said: In my car. I was driving along and I finally worked out a scene that been giving me issues for awhile. I pulled over and jotted down the new version of the scene. That right there is why I always carry a small notebook now. That day I was frantically looking for paper before I lost everything that had just occurred to me.

 ...And then those other places.

weird places to write, where writers write

These are the people who have a category of their own when it comes to being inspired...

 Another anonymous person said, "In my hall closet."
 Eneh Akpan of the Writer's Digest Community said, "The mind of one of my characters. It's like spying, especially if you make the said character believable enough and if s/he is going through some sort of mental cycle. It's chillingly weird. The Mind is the strangest PLACE, for me."
Maria at my blog's Facebook page said, "I'm trying to think.... does a BBQ party count? Failing that... in the car whilst waiting for my husband to finish his shift."
And Liisi at my blog's Facebook page also said, "On a trampoline or under the table..."
Alright writers, tell me your story this time! Where is the weirdest place you've written? 

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How to Finish Your Novel When You Want to Quit

March 17, 2012

I am excited to announce that today I will be guest posting on the blog "The Write Practice"! I was so flattered that Joe over at The Write Practice accepted my blog post, because he really has a great blog. So click here to check out the post on "How to Finish Your Novel When You Want to Quit." 


That photo has nothing to do with the blog post, but I just thought it was funny.
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How to Gain Traffic from Writing Communities

March 16, 2012

Hey everyone! Today (or...not really today, but earlier in the week; I just forgot to post about it on my blog), I guest blogged over at Bri Clark's blog on "How to Gain Traffic from Writing Communities!"

(Plus, if I get enough views on this blog post I win a Kindle! My fingers are crossed!)

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Lucky 7 Challenge!

March 15, 2012
I have been tagged by L.J. over at her blog L.J. Writes for the Lucky 7 Meme! And as dorky as this will sound, I have been really looking forward to this challenge too. So, I'm so glad that she tagged me!

Here are the rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they're written.
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

And here are the seven lines to my finished draft (you know I had to say that) to A Light Burns at Midnight:

"What's going on?" Urgo asked.

"Talia...she's...I don't know." Mert stuttered.

"Something is going on..." 

....Talia was inside that place again, and she felt the eyes of someone watching her...

"Talia! What is going on inside her Ochre?" Equinox shouted, becoming enraged.

"This is not of my doing. What was she doing, Mert?"

"I-I-I....I was just instructing her on how to use her gift..."

Okay! That's it! I'm definitely excited for the next stage of my book and I think I ready to start editing. Before I do that though I have to configure the world I created a bit more and restructure things. I am thinking of writing out the history of this world and writing the rules of the magic out a bit more. 

Now to tag the next 7 writers for this:

1) E.D. at (Not) Just Another Writer
2) Samantha at Writing Through College
3) Unpublished Life
4) Lara Schiffbauer at Motivation for Creation.
5) Sandra Tyler at Writer Weaves a Tale
6) Ashley Chappell at Notes from the Canvas
7) and Stacy S. Jensen!

So make sure you check out these bloggers and I can't wait to read their WIP Lucky 7!

Happy writing!

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Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

March 14, 2012
Welcome back to Writer Wednesday Blog Hop! If you are a returning hopper, welcome back! If you are new, welcome to the fun! As usual, we have three hosts for the blog hop, so that means more the awesome-ness for you bloggers out there. And while you're here, make sure you grab a button

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop Button!
writing, writers, blogs

Click and copy this code

Here's the rules!

1) Follow your blog hosts: World of My Imagination , A Writer Weaves a Tale..., and A Writer's Muses

2) Follow at least three other blogs (if you post your link early, make sure you come back and check out the other blogs)

3) Let the person you followed know that you are following their blog

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! (Use hashtag #WWBH and #WW when you do!) - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

And all you do is link up below! You can link up your writing site, your blog, your twitter account, or your facebook page. We're flexible, and I know my other awesome hoppers are too. We're a cool bunch.
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Your Shoelaces Are Untied

March 13, 2012
024 of 365Yesterday, I was on the bus and I overheard someone telling this guy that his shoe laces were untied. The guy with the shoelace problem looked up at his outer indignantly as if he had just been accused of farting. He didn't say a word in respond, just ignored the guy.

It made me think of an email I received from a literary magazine editor who had rejected my story. When I received the rejection notice, I decided to cave in and ask him why he rejected it. If you can believe it, I received a response.

Here's what he said:

I thought this story lost some steam in the middle section, when [the main character's] wandering around town. The descriptions of what he’s seeing are presented in a passive manner; [the main character is] a passive creature so I suppose this does fit the character, but I think the prose could use some sharpening, otherwise the audience may lost interest crossing the bridge from the beginning to the confrontations he gets in at the end.
And you know what? He was right. I knew it. But for a moment I felt like the guy on the bus. Even though the guy on the bus knew his shoes were untied...sometimes it really sucks to be told about obvious issues we are having. The guy on the bus knew there was a problem and really didn't want to fix it. When I first submitted the story, I'll be honest, I had a faint idea that this particular scene he described had some issues. I just hoped that the rest of the story was enough to carry the reader forward.

150709 Zoofiti

But I was wrong. I needed to tie my shoes. I needed to fix that scene. So, I have gone back and I rewrote that section and even took out a few parts. I have resubmitted it to another publisher and this time...this time I hope it comes out with a different result.

swoop, loop, and pull.

If the shoes in your story are untied, never forget that it's tough for all of us writers to take criticisms.  Just take a look at this post by Aimee Salter, where she asks, "Writers: Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?" And she's right...we can be sometimes get in our own way. I was with this story. And it's important to recognize when you need to face the reality and tie your shoes.

Today, make sure you tie your shoes before you get off the bus. Because even though you may be sort of frustrated that someone noticed, sometimes it's for the best that you pay attention to what they have to say.

A little bit of pink

So here's me looking out for you:

Hey, your shoe laces are untied!

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Some Exciting News About My Book!

March 12, 2012
Celebrations of Light Finale 2007
So, if you happen to be following me on Twitter, Facebook, or GooglePlus, there is a chance you have already heard the news...

...But I am proud announce that the FIRST DRAFT OF MY NOVEL IS DONE!

Sorry, I don't mean to shout, but I am so incredibly excited!

As you can see, I have taken down my deadline button because I am actually ahead of schedule! Plus, I'm only 10 days later than my initial deadline.

I finished the story Saturday night and it was an amazing feeling. I actually cried! To tell you the truth, it means a lot to me that this story got completed. I had started this novel when I was 15...(yes at the age of 15) and I had put so much of myself into it. But, I couldn't go beyond Chapter 8. So, between the ages of 17 and 24 I wasn't writing this book at all (I call those the dark ages).  But at the end of November, early December I decided it was time. I wanted to finish it. I needed to finish it.

And you know what? I did.

And I am so incredibly proud of myself.

I have a lot of work I need to get done. First of all, I need to type it (yes, I hand wrote it). See? Look there (okay a portion is typed, that spiral notebook edged paper is the handwritten part):

And since it's a fantasy novel, there are also certain elements of the world I created that I think I need to develop a bit further. It isn't a big enough plot hole that readers would see it right off the bat, but I'm thinking any fantasy enthusiast might wonder about it.

There are some parts of the story I know I did right, and other parts I think I need to take away or change.

So, should I have a new deadline? Well, I do have a date in mind that I would like this completed by and that is: August 3rd - 5th. Why? The Willamette Writer's Conference in Portland! 

I mean, it may be a little soon for me... I know editing can take years depending on how much work needs to be done. But you know what?  It took me ten years to get this far with the book. I want it to just be ten years. By the time I turn 26, I want to know I have reached the next stage of my novel.

But, in the mean time? Time to celebrate!

First a victory dance:

A round of applause:

A song (of course):

Despite the work I know I have ahead of me, I am so proud to have this novel's first draft completed!

How are you doing with your writing goals?
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Creating Reality in Any Genre of Book

March 9, 2012
Known as one of the most complicated movies of all time, Inception directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt introduces the concept of dream sharing and the hope of planting an idea in an unsuspecting assailant so one man can overcome his haunted past.

Whooo...that was one long sentence. Pretty good, huh?

No, I'm not starting to introduce movie reviews, but I am mentioning the movie Inception because of a scene that I watched a few weeks ago.

So, Leonardo DiCaprio is introducing the idea of dream sharing and entering into someone's dreams with Ellen Page. Leo is hoping to use Ellen Page to create the world of the dream. (This is about as much explaining as I plan on doing, by the way; this movie really is complicated).

Here's how the conversation starts...

Leo: Imagine you're designing a building . You consciously create each aspect. But sometimes it feels like it's creating itself.
Ellen: Yah, like I'm discovering it.

And a thought came over me...the idea of Inception is a lot like developing an idea for a story.  When you are developing a story, even if you are planner right down to the last period, you could never say exactly where the story is coming from. Just that it seems to be happening right before your eyes. We are discovering this story.

Here is where the reader comes in:
Leo: You create the world of the dream. We bring the subject into that dream and they fill it with their subconscious.
And isn't that exactly what we do to the reader? We build the "world" for them....that world being the book, the story, the plot line, the characters, the setting, etc. And when they read the book, they fill it with their subconscious. 

But just like Ellen Page asks...

How could I ever acquire enough detail to make them think thats it's reality?
And that's where the skillful writer comes in (which leaves me to believe that Leo didn't need an engineer to build his dreams...he needed a writer!) As writers we are constantly aware of the fact that we must let the reader think it's reality, even if it's fantasy. We don't to have a scene in our stories where the reader is pulled away from the moment and looks at the story as if it's just a story. (Remember what happens in Inception...the subconscious begins to attack the invader. And we really don't want readers attacking our books.)

This time I want to know what you think...what can we do as writers to make sure that the reader continues to believe this world we have created is reality? What are some tips that you have?

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A Blog Award!

March 8, 2012

I am happy to say I have received another award! I'm so flattered! It was given to me by one of my favorite bloggers, Lara Schifbauer @ Motivation for Creation. Make sure you head over to her blog - she's a great writer!

And last but not least...

And before I pass along the award, here are the questions from the award:

Favorite color: Lately I've really been liking the color red!
Favorite animal: Ducks...they are so cute and every spring time they make their home right outside the grocery store by my house.
Favorite number:  13...I love living dangerously.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Red Bull! Not Rockstar, though, that stuff gives me the shakes.
Facebook or Twitter:  Twitter...I have Facebook but I'm more attached to Twitter than Facebook.
My Passion: Always writing! My passion today, yesterday, and forever.
Getting or giving presents:  Giving for sure...My favorite part is still the wrapping. I can spend way too much on that stuff.
Favorite pattern:  Umm....what is your favorite pattern?
Favorite day of the week:  Saturday - sleeping late is everything to me.
Favorite flower:  Daisies (Although I'm ashamed to admit that I think I got that from the movie You've Got Mail

Okay, now for the difficult part...passing along the award! 

Samantha @ Writing Through College
Lena Winfrey Seder @ Pearl Drops on the Page
Ashley Chappell @ Notes from the Canvas
KT @ Out of My mind
Mooderino @ Moody Writing
Lorelei Bell @ Lorelei's Writing Journal

Congratulations to the great bloggers who get this award! Make sure you check out their blog!

I hope your week is going well!

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Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

March 7, 2012
Welcome back to Writer Wednesday Blog Hop! If you are a returning hopper, welcome back! If you are new, welcome to the fun! As usual, we have three hosts for the blog hop, so that means more the awesome-ness for you bloggers out there. And while you're here, make sure you grab a button:

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop Button!
writing, writers, blogs

Click and copy this code
Here's the rules!

1) Follow your blog hosts: World of My Imagination , A Writer Weaves a Tale..., and A Writer's Muses

2) Follow at least three other blogs (if you post your link early, make sure you come back and check out the other blogs)

3) Let the person you followed know that you are following their blog

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! (Use hashtag #WWBH and #WW when you do!) - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

And all you do is link up below! You can link up your writing site, your blog, your twitter account, or your facebook page. We're flexible, and I know my other awesome hoppers are too. We're a cool bunch.
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What Interactive Fiction Taught Me About Writing

March 6, 2012

For children of the 80s and 90s (and maybe even today), you have probably come across at least one of these books - Choose Your Own Adventure books. They were the books that you could read and choose what you wanted to have happened...do you want to go into the cave, go to page 52 or do you want to go get help, go to page 78

Well, some time over the last couple of years, I grew a fascination with the online games Interactive Fiction. These were a bit like those books I read as a kid, but much bigger with a lot more time and energy in creating the world of the story. There are more than just the classics that were popular in the 80s, but new stories are being written all the time for all of us to play with contests for some to enter

So, what does this have anything to do with writing? Well, a lot actually. Some of the things that make those games good are what we can apply to our own writing.

Stuff actually has to happen.

If you have never played these types of games and never heard of Choose Your Own Adventure books, then to say it as basic as possible - the point of the story is for something to happen so that the reader (or player of the game) can continue forward. You can't have just description. 

Just like our own writing, in stories - no matter what your genre is - stuff has to happen. In these games, something moves the character forward, so the player can move forward. 

Little to no effort in the game becomes obvious very quickly.

Often times what you will see in some of the poorer reviews of the Interactive Fiction games is something along the lines of, "Oh, if only the writer put more effort into the story it would have been a lot better." We all know when we have put crappy effort into something (and we know when we have shown someone a story when we shouldn't have...), but we need to know that it is as obvious as going to the gym with no deodorant on - it reeks and someone is bound to come up to you and tell you that you need to leave (okay, not so much that last part...).

Background characters must have a purpose.

I have them in a story, you have them in a story. It's the characters meant to serve as one purpose and one purpose only - wait until the main character comes up to them or wait until a major event comes to pass. In the Interactive Fiction world, we are reminded that we can't have the captain of the ship just standing around or suddenly appearing out of nowhere. It will throw the player off. 

In our stories, we can't just have these background characters hanging out. In real life, these people would be doing something, not just waiting - so never forget who is on stage in your story and make sure they are entering in at the right moment.

Reveal your character's purpose immediately.

When you are playing Interactive Fiction, it becomes important very quickly to know exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Description and dialogue are fine, but if interacting with story doesn't prompt a plot line or a purpose than it becomes boring. You can't turn to page 53 if you don't know why you even care about what's on page 53.  With Interactive Fiction, whether it's to escape an awful party or defeat an evil creatureyour character must have a purpose. Make the player (err...reader) go forward.

Want to give Interactive Fiction a try and see what you can learn from it? Click here for a beginner's guide and click here to check out some of the more popular games that are new (and not from the 80s!)

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