Monday, February 25, 2013

Vocab word of the week


  [glou-er]  Show IPA
verb (used without object)
to look or stare with sullen dislike, discontent, or anger.
a look of sullen dislike, discontent, or anger.
1350–1400; Middle English  ( Scots glowren  to glower; akin to Middle Low German glÅ«ren  to be overcast,Middle Dutch gloeren  to leer

Goal Update

Hello, after a long absence I have returned. I don't have too much to say on this article. Rather this is just a little update on my goals. Regretfully I had intended to have a first rough draft of my novel done by the end of this month, this has not happened. However, I have picked up the project again, and I have been working diligently at getting somewhere with it. I hope to find success with this in the future. I'm finding that something better than writing for me right now is drawing. This is where I gain my inspiration as a writer as Skoora would be able to tell you in great detail. Horrible plot twists and wonderfully sentimental moments happen in my stories because of my drawings.

For this reason I've been taking some time to just focus on that creative outlet, while slowly trudging away at the opening sequence of my novel. Right now I only have a few pages, however once I can get past this initial hurdle I imagine everything will run much more smoothly. So I have a revised goal list to match my busy college schedule, and it may seem mediocre, but it is a start.
  • Write a minimum of 1000 words a day.
  • Write a minimum of five full pages a week.
  • Write a minimum of twenty pages a month.
  • Create a piece to be workshopped at least once a month.
  • Read at least one short story a day.
  • Read at least one novel a month.
These are really small goals, but I think a necessary start considering how time consuming my college studies are. So far I was successful in my five pages this week. I've done ten pages in the last two weeks, and Twenty in the last three, so I think this is a doable start. As the months progress, I will work to make these goals more challenging.
Something else to mention is I've also increased my reading exponentially thanks to procrastination and a hurt wrist. Today alone I read four novella's, and I'm working on Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, which I hope to finish by the end of next week, as I have numerous tests to study for. 

So this is just me chiming in with my goal report. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Online, long distance workshop idea.

One of my goals is to set up a workshop for writing. For myself as well as my writing friends, I hope to create and build a strong support group where we can bring our stories and ideas to the table. A place where we can relax, be at ease, set aside our egos and help each other with constructive feedback, creative brainstorming, and that pesky thing called grammar. 
My proposal is to start small and simple. Each of us picks a short story we want to work the kinks out of or need some help with. We send it to all members of the group by a certain date and we look over each story over the course of a month or four weeks. After the four weeks/month has passed e-mail our edits back to the story owners and we agree to a date and time to join each other on a Google Hangout, one I will set up, where we can discuss each story. After the session we can add new stories to be looked at while we make edits on the discussed stories and so forth you get the idea and I am really flexible so long as we keep some structure. 

Reason for Goggle Hangout. Not all of us are in the geographical location and using this service will allow us to get together without having to shell out money to meet. Also, I've used it before to chat with family and I've seen where you can add multiple people. 

The reason for meeting once a month: We all have other things in our lives that demand our attention aside from writing. I feel a month gives us enough time, without rushing us, to really looks at each other's work without scrambling to get it done along with everything else we have to do. With this I am also flexible. If someone needs to turn in a story or submit a story, we can bring it up with each other or we can also postpone the monthly meetings to give us more time. 

If this idea is something any of you are interested in, please comment below and we'll get something set up A.S.A.P.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Grammar Corner: Gerunds and Particples

Most of us know what these little critters are even if not all of us know what they are called.  Let's start with gerunds.  A gerund is a verb ending in 'ing' that has been re-purposed in the sentence to act as a noun.  You can find another definition and several examples here, but I've also included my own take on this grammar component below.

  • Teaching is my favorite profession. (In this sentence teaching becomes a noun and the subject.)
  • Sometimes all I can think about is teaching.  (Again, teaching is a noun but it become the direct object of the subject.)
  • I don't like running on sand.  (The gerund is still running but it now acts as a gerund phrase for the entire direct object is 'running on sand' as the thing that is disliked.)
  • Running never held much enjoyment for me, particularly when done on sand.  (Running is clearly the subject.)

When it comes to participle phrases, the 'ing' verb remains a verb but does not act as the link between subject and predicate.  These phrases appear at the beginning of a sentence and let us know what has happened, or is happening, at the time of the sentence which they accompany.  A past particle phrase indicates something happened and a present participle phrase indicates it's happening right now.

  • Tossed about during the boat ride, she felt like throwing up when they finally reached shore.  ('Tossed about during the boat ride' is the participle phrase and as it is in the past tense, it is a past participle.)
  • Glaring, he imagined his fist making contact with his brother's smug face. (Glaring is a stand alone present participle.)
  • Glaring at his brother's smug face, he imagined punching him. ('Glaring at his brother's smug face' is a present participle phrase.)
  • Thoroughly drenched by the sudden downpour, Elaine changed her mind about meeting Mr. Sampson for tea.  ('Drenched by the sudden downpour' is a past participle phrase and thoroughly modifies it.)

Amanda LaFantasie (Skoora) © 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vocab word of the week


  [hal-see-uhn]  Show IPA
adjective Also, hal·cy·o·ni·an  [hal-see-oh-nee-uhn]  Show IPA hal·cy·on·ic  [hal-see-on-ik]  Show IPA .
calm; peaceful; tranquil: halcyon weather.
rich; wealthy; prosperous: halcyon times of peace.
happy; joyful; carefree: halcyon days of youth.
of or pertaining to the halcyon or kingfisher.
a mythical bird, usually identified with the kingfisher, said to breed about the time of the wintersolstice in a nest floating on the sea, and to have the power of charming winds and waves intocalmness.
any of various kingfishers, especially of the genus Halcyon.
initial capital letter  ) Classical Mythology Alcyone  def 2 .

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hesitation and new goals.

Once upon a time my Dad told me he didn't make plans because things rarely, if ever, go as planned. Part of that was because he was an on-call corrections officer. Be that as it may, it is nevertheless a truism. Things get in the way, stuff comes up, life happens. I have had a bit of a hard time with writing for the last couple of years and it's been really hard to get back to where I was in terms of being comfortable and pumping out as much as I would like to be pumping out. I've had a lot of set backs and sometimes, in the past, when I thought I had overcome them, I would find myself back in a rut a few days later.

I have very high expectations of myself. I never stop striving to improve and be better than my best. As much as that is a very good trait, I think sometimes that it hurts and hampers me. Last night Amanda even told me that I need to allow myself to write crap. More importantly I need to allow others to see that 'crap' along with the 'good'.

A good, working support system is something that I need to find. My parents, as much as I love them, aren't going to really cut it anymore. My mother is terribly biased and my father is afraid to give advice because it seems every time he does, things don't turn out so well within a story. His words, not mine. I can't possibly continue to rely solely on Amanda. So perhaps a workshop? I could be ready for one.  

Also, I need to quit holding myself back from writing. I've been afraid of it a little bit. I've kept telling myself that I can't write until I've researched this or that, until I know the layout of a house or the area that the characters live in. I'm stalling and poking about. I just need to do it. I already have the first chapter plotted out, time to get on with the show.

I think it is time to set some more manageable goals.

1. Write at least 1,500 words on a story, not on blogs, every day.
2. Work on setting up a workshop group.
3. Read at least 10-20 pages a day in any given book, but not let the reading take over writing time.
4. Actually write out the notes for my dragon story and my Kitsune story.
5. Spend at least ten minutes a day on vocabulary building.  

An anonymous search engine for the more... interesting of searches.

I would like to take this time to share something my Father shared on his own blog. Being that he is paranoid and extremely found of certain levels of privacy and that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, I present my writing friends with this anonymous internet search engine . Because as writers we all like or need to look up things that our government, as much as they like to protect us, just don't need to be considering as possible acts of terror. 

For example, I am a near 30 year old white woman with severe depression and social phobias and in my writing process, for some stories, I might look up rocket launchers, exploding gun rounds, gun types and where to get them, or even ways to poison some of my characters or devices that would cause chaos and harm. While that is all benign in nature for me and my craft, someone who is watching for those key words in searches might not look at them so fondly. 

So perhaps, like my father I am being paranoid. Or perhaps this is my inherent nature reaching out to protect my friends from possibly being spied upon and put on a watch list for the wrong reasons. Call it what you will, take it as you will, but it's here for your use.