Thursday, June 28, 2012

Update from Grad School


Things have been cray up here. I have been working hard on my WIP in my tutorial class and working on some short stories in my Magical Realism class....

I'm excited about tutorial today. It'll be the first time chapter 7 gets a good and intense critiquing. I've been going through and re-reading my WIP, getting chapters ready for class, and I've fallen back in love with this story again. Which is AWESOME! It's awful to fall out of love with your WIP... But sometimes I think that's just the nature of the writer/story relationship. We spend too much time together and get sick of one another (this happened to me and my best friend at camp quiet often) and then we start talking to one another again and realize why we enjoyed each other the first time around.

Let's see... Also, I am working on a presentation on how to make a believable antagonist. I'm kind of having a ton of fun with it. The teacher encouraged us to be as creative with these presentations as we want. So mine is involving a handout that looks like a recipe and bars of dark chocolate with quotes about villains on them. Kapow! I'm stoked. I present next week and will share my research here. 

In Magical Realism we've mostly been talking about the books we've read for the class and looking at how the writer does what they do within the story. You may be asking yourself, "What is magical realism?" Well, that is a whole different post entirely. I promise I will try and be better about posting while I am at school... 

I did write my first magical realism story and I'm debating if I'll post it here. I might post a bit to give you a taste. I will tell you it involves the Berlin Wall and I've been having a fun time researching life in East Germany. 

Not that I want to live in the former GDR, but it's cool to learn about a life so different from my own. I mean, they didn't have bananas. I don't even like bananas, but still. It was like they were super intense about the equality of all men that if everyone couldn't have bananas then NO ONE COULD. 

On top of that I've been missing the Husband super much. It's like when you get your wisdom teeth removed. There's this big hole that is this dull pain kind-a all the time, and then you poke it and it's super tender and hurts even more. BUT! I think he's going to visit soon and that would rock soooo much! The only thing that keeps my graduate program from being paradise is that he's not here with me. 

So there's my update! I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post, but I'll make sure to do it once a week! Come back next time for thoughts on Magical Realism.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Return To Grad School

Well, today is the first "official" day back at school.

But really it's just orientation.

I all have of info for my classes and already I feel overwhelmed. 

In my tutorial class (the one where we work on our future thesis - and since we're creative writing people it's like novels or collections of picture books) we have to submit up to 20 pages a week! I think I knew this going into it, but chose to block it out of my mind. I mean, really that's like a chapter a week of my WIP... but still, seeing that number on the page is just intimidating. Then we'll also have these presentations on some aspect of the craft... I did one in my first tutorial (last fall) on when to show and when to tell. Check it out here. This one I'll be looking on what makes a realistic villain in fiction. So, keep you eyes peeled for that. 

I'm not sure how stressful the other class, my Magical Realism class, is going to be. But the thing is... This is the 3rd summer that I've come to this program. I remember it being hard but I always get through it. Then I get up here and realize (again) just how demanding it's going to be. However, having a support group of other writers, other students helps, and Husband (who is far to far away at this point) is what makes all the difference. 

Here is a conversation I had with my father my first summer:

"Dad, I want to come home. I don't think I can do this any more."

"Is it because you don't think it's your calling in life? Or is it just too hard?"


"It's too hard...."

"Then no. You're not allowed to come home."

And this is how I feel every summer. HOWEVER, it is totally worth it. I'm a better writer for it. 

Whoever thinks that writing is easy is a moron.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Whew! Well, sorry I've been all MIA as of recent. There's been a lot going on in the real world. I leave for my graduate program (6 week summer term) the day after tomorrow. I had my last day at work and have been trying to get things in order.

This is the way I wish my packing could go...

However.... That is not the case. 

Anyway, all of this being said, I will not be posting as regularly for the next few weeks. But never fear! I will be posting lots of fun, new, writing adventures, advice and fun.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review! Black Heart

It's here. Black Heart. Well, it's been here actually, but I just finished reading it. The final book in the Curse Worker series by Holly Black (check out the series webpage by clicking the link). If you haven't read this series, but are familiair with Black's other work (the modern faerie tales and The Spiderwick Chronicles) this is in a different vein. Yes, there it magic. But there aren't any faeries.

This series is still dark and grungy, like the modern faerie tales (TitheValiant and Ironside) but this series focuses on crime families and how certain people are workers.

What's a worker? It's someone who is gifted with a different kind of magic. There are emotion, luck, physical, memory, dream, death and transformation workers. With a touch of a hand against bare skin one of these people can manipulate you in various ways.

Okay, I'm going to stop there with all the background information. I'm not trying to review the entire series, just the last book. However, I will give my feelings on the previous two books. White Cat, the first book, I loved it. It's a retelling of a not-so-well-known fairy tale by the same name. I thought that the retelling was so awesome and imaginative. Then Red Glove, the second book, kind of let me down. It was good, but I didn't love it. This last book however, made the series.

I remember starting this book thinking that there's no way that this book will have both a satisfactory ending and end happy. I won't give anything away, but I was wrong. Sure, there are some loose strings at the end of the book, but life never ties up in a happy little bow so why should a book?

I love the narrator, Cassel Sharpe. He is so kind, clever, and criminal. He's been raised in a family of criminals and con artists. He's such a strong character. He always wants to do the right thing, but that tends to be the illegal thing. He's stuck between choosing his family or the feds. His brother's have screwed him over time and time again, but they are family. Also, he's in love the the head of a crime family's daughter. What's a poor boy to do? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? In the course of this book Cassel discovers that life isn't as black and white as he thought it was. There's a lot more grey area. 

I also love all of the crime family stuff that Black has worked into this book. It's obvious that she did a lot of research (or you know, was raised in a crime family but I'm pretty sure it's just research). However, the great thing is that you don't get lots of info dumps. She weaves the research in so it really seems like its second nature.

One thing I didn't like about this book was that there was a secondary plot involving a student at Cassel's school and blackmail. It just seemed a bit unnecessary and while it didn't really take away from the overall plot, I felt that it didn't really enhance it.  

I feel as if this book got me to love this series again. If you like dark magic, love, cons, and moral dilemmas. I would totally recommend this book. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Inspirational Images

Here are some fun images that, will hopefully, inspire you to keep at it. I know whenever I hit a wall, I make one of these the background on my computer and bust on through... 

Sometimes I kinda wish I could have a video clip of Christian Bale in all his Batman glory saying this to me in his Batman voice. I think that could scare some creativity into me.

I found this (I forget where... I'm pretty sure from Chuck Wendig's blog) and I just love it. Granted I am the Queen of my story... Not king...

Love this image? Why not copy my html code and have it as a badge on your blog/ webpage?
I think you should :-)

I want this on a print, framed, and hanging above my desk...

Yeah, I want this on a print as well for above my desk....

However, my Husband and parents may tell you otherwise. Books are my crack.