Monday, August 26, 2013

The Trolls I Know

On the interwebs, you tend to bump into a lot of trolls. Some of them are obvious, some baffle me, and some are a weird breed unto themselves. Here, I attempt to break down the different types of trolls I know. You might know some others, but this is the limit of my experience.

The Spoiler Troll - Goes hunting through mainstream sites searching for anything that might be considered spoilers for their favorite show/movie/book and gets super mad when they find what they're looking for. If they were actually concerned with spoilers, they'd just avoid articles and posts about the thing they don't want spoiled.

The Spoiler Troll, 2.0 - This guy goes to midnight showings and releases and plows through movies, DVDs, books, games, anything, just so he can be the first one to tell you that Dumbledore died on page 596. He posts screencaps and pictures of first pages, climax points, plot points, and all manner of spoilers and posts them with innocuous titles so that anybody can stumble upon them.

(Sidenote: Who thinks they could actually finish HBP in four hours? I didn't read it in one shot, but I read DH in one shot, and it took 14 hours. And I'm a speedy reader.)

The Evil Troll - Makes racist or sexist or classist comments just to see who they can enrage. They may or may not agree with the vitriol they spew, but it doesn't matter. They're spreading the hate, and the whole point is to see other people get mad.

The Fake Evil Troll - A variant on the Evil Troll, this person absolutely does not believe the vitriol, but spews it anyway, in pursuit of a laugh or a lot of hits to their site.

The Political Troll - A Tea Party member on the CNBC message boards, or a far-left-wing liberal democrat on Fox News' website. They disagree with every opinion put forth, then drop their "truth bombs" on the unsuspecting public and wait for the fireworks to start.

The Slacktivist Troll - Posts politically driven stories, memes, videos, links, and pictures. Leaves the hate-filled comments, doesn't bother to offer their own thoughts or comments. Often claims they're "just posting information, not saying [they] agree or disagree." Information is invariably outdated, skewed, out of context, or otherwise untrue.

The Devil's Advocate Troll - She disagrees with you no matter what. Takes the opposing view, just to sharpen her own argument skills. But since she doesn't actually believe in her cause, her arguments become circular and increasingly weak. She'll often shift positions to remain in opposition to you, no matter what. This person is the most annoying, to me, because you feel like you're talking to a shapeshifter who can't remember what you were just talking about.

The Angry Troll - He's just mad. Everything gets spun in a negative way. You tweet that you liked a movie? He'll tell you it was pedantic and you are stupid. You post a joke your kid told? He'll say you're boring, lifeless, and a drain on us all with your worthless offspring. Funny video? STUPID. Book review? INSUFFERABLE KNOW IT ALLS. Article about schools in your state? SHOOT THEM ALL.

The Personal Troll - Attacks you personally, for absolutely no reason. Insults your hair, your word choice, your kids, your shirt, the books you like, the people you talk to, and everything you say. Never unfollows you, comments on your blog posts with negativity, and has very little other online interactions besides bugging you all day long.

The Fangirl Troll - Of either gender, this person watches tumblr tags, youtube channels, and hashtags of their MOST FAVORITE THINGS EVER, ready to protect at a moment's notice. The girl who responds to every negative comment on a Bieber video with "no u shut up ur stupid and he is a god and i love his hair". The teen who reblogs every GoT GIF set with a "#If you hate this I will Kill You" tag on it. They seek you out, ready to extol the virtues of their favorite singer/actor/author/person if anyone dares to disagree with that singer/actor/author/person's godhood status.

The Know-It-All Troll - Everything they say is indisputable fact. They don't need to do research. They don't need to read the research you've read. They don't care that you have a degree in this subject, or that you've read more books this year than they've read since they finished high school. They get their news from real sources, like independent news sites that specialize in uncovering the truth. They quote tons of statistics, and they reference obscure facts. Sample quote: "It is a known fact that in 1969 in Brazil, doctors found the first case of AIDS in a gay man who had sex with 474 people, and it was gay sex 83% of the time."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How I Do It "All"

I kinda hate writing this post. But so many people have asked me the same question, and I feel like a big, fat liar when I shrug and pretend not to know the answer. So I'm answering it. The question?

"How do you do it all?"

First, I need to define "all" for the purposes of this post. I homeschool my three children, one of whom is is autistic. I am enrolled in a graduate program. I write fiction, and have finished two novels. I have a happy marriage that I dedicate time to. I keep a fairly clean home. I am the president of my local congregation's children's program (I am in charge of Sunday instruction for the children 18 months to 12 years old). My husband and I are in the process of adopting, and he just opened his own law practice, so he's not around the home a lot to "help out" with stuff.

That is what "all" means.

Let's be clear: I do not have a job outside the home. I do not have a robust social life. I do not maintain a bevy of intricate hobbies like scrapbooking or card making or anything else worthy of pinterest.

That all said, I do manage to do a lot of stuff, and here's my personal tips on how I get it "all" done. If they help you, great. If not... I don't care. Because they help me a lot.

1. I wake before my children. I get my butt up out of bed at 5:30 every morning, whether I feel like it or not. This gives me the chance to get ready for the day in peace, and when each child wakes, I send him back upstairs to get dressed and start his morning chores. If they wake up before me? It takes me twice as long to get ready, and when I'm dressed, I'm greeted by a living room full of crumbs (because they fixed their own breakfast, see?) and fighting children.

2. I settle for "good enough." There are a lot of little things that go into this, but the over-arching idea is that I never try to be perfect at anything. Ever. I know what's important, I prioritize, and I let the rest go. This idea includes:

2a. I let my children take care of themselves to the extent they are able. They comb their own hair, dress themselves, and make their own beds. They have chores that I do not redo when they are done. Yes. It's sloppy. But they won't learn otherwise, and it frees up an hour or two of my day, every day.
2b. I don't repeat chores. If I sweep the floor at noon, and it looks crummy by five? It stays that way. It gets swept once a day, no more.
2c. I keep frozen entrees on hand and I am willing to buy fast food sometimes. Yes, I try to serve healthful, homecooked meals more often than not, but sometimes the day gets away from me or errands took longer than expected. I shrug it off and move on.
2d. I get dressed as simply as possible. I have fifteen Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-shirts. Fifteen. Because they always fit, they go with everything, and they can be dressed up or down. Every day I throw one on, shorts/skirt in the summer, jeans in the winter. Done. It's not super cute, but it's good enough.
2e. I do not sweat the small stuff. Kid won't smile for a picture? Fine. Take a picture of him being a grump. My movies aren't in alphabetical order, the toys aren't in the "right" buckets, and the three year old is wearing a costume because it's just easier that way. 

3. I never "wait" for stuff. The 90 seconds your soup is in the microwave? That's enough time to unload your dishwasher. Kids are brushing their teeth? That's enough time to wipe down counters or pick up dirty laundry. I never, ever stand around waiting for something to be ready or done. I fill that time, and my little annoying tasks get completed.

4. I believe in the FLY Lady. Not completely, but a little bit. I wipe down my bathrooms once a day instead of scrubbing for an hour once a month. I spend fifteen minutes de-junking a drawer instead of overhauling the whole thing. Little bits of work make a big difference if they're focused and deliberate.

5. I say no. I turn down anything that doesn't enrich my life. Book club gets boring and judgmental? Gone. Kid's not enjoying his extracurricular activity? Dropped. Lovely girls' night invitation, but I don't have time and it would be more of a stress than anything? No, but thank you for thinking of me.

6. I serve meaningfully. I say yes to service opportunities as much as possible. Sometimes people don't want what I can offer, and I don't feel bad about it. If I can only dedicate an hour to cleaning the church building, I volunteer to do bathrooms instead of vacuuming. Vacuuming takes a lot longer (church buildings are big). I'd rather spend a solid hour doing something right, rather than doing half a job and leaving somebody to do the rest of it, making me feel guilty, and encumbering others.

7. I'm incredibly selfish about my schedule. Quiet time in our house is from 2 - 3 PM. During that time, I write. I do not clean, catch up on phone calls, nap, watch TV, or anything else. School is in the mornings. I don't do morning play dates, and I don't make morning appointments. Ever, unless we aren't doing school that day. If hubby and I have a date scheduled, nothing will make me change it. A kid in the emergency room, sure, but anything else? Nope. Oh, you decided to elope? Sorry, we can't make it. That's the downside of eloping, friend.

8. My kids play independently. I read to them and play board games with them. I snuggle and tickle and do all those mom-things. But when they're playing Darth Vader vs. Superman? I don't need to be involved. They have each other; I lovingly fasten capes around their shoulders and shoo them off to play on their own.

9. I use screens wisely. The TV does not run all day around here. Movie time/ Wii time is earned by completing chores and school work, and it occurs after meals (right after lunch and dinner). During movie/Wii time, I do homework or I blog. The boys are entranced by the screen, so they don't tear the house apart, and I focus.

10. I make exceptions for the things that matter. Making a big, humongous deal out of my kids' birthdays matters to me. So we put stuff on hold in order to make that happen. Being involved in my local writing group matters to me. So my family eats pizza that night so I can get myself ready to go out. These things build me up, make me feel good, and ultimately pay off more than I invest in them.

The stuff that matters to you might be different, and the stuff that's "good enough" for you might be different, too. I have a very good friend who says store bought birthday cakes are good enough, but she spends her time making homemade cards for every special occasion. That's how it works for her. That's her balance.

So that's what this advice comes down to: Find your balance. Not someone else's version of balance. Decide what needs to stay, what needs to go, prioritize, and find a way to make it work. In the beginning, I made detailed checklists and schedules. Once I got into the groove of things, I was able to relax on those a bit (though I'll send them to you if you're interested, if you're the person who benefits from seeing a template, just ask).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Some Writing Advice Sucks

I follow a lot of writers on twitter. I read their blogs. I follow a lot of agents and editors on twitter. I also read their blogs. Lots of people giving lots of advice and I read a lot of it. 

I'm going to say the word "lot" again because five times so far isn't enough. Oops. Six. 

The advice is meant to be helpful, and it usually is. But sometimes. . . it sucks. Especially if you take all the advice and take it all literally. Here are some of the most common sucktastic tips I see: 

1. Cut extraneous words from your prose. 

Yes. I've read really flowery prose. And some of it is really bad. But you can't make a blanket statement about cutting "extraneous" words, especially from prose. Most prose is, by definition, extraneous. It is made up of the words that make us feel and internalize a story. It's not the plot, it's not character, it's not setting. It's the pretty fluff that separates literature from field reports. Let's look at a real example: 

"The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only."

But, you know. You should cut extraneous words. So it should look something like this instead: 

"You might not believe it, but people must look at each other to fall in love." 

BORING. And ugly. And sarcastic. There's probably a book out there where this line would be wonderful, but Les Miserables isn't it. Don't get me wrong, I get it. We all need to edit, and we all need to be edited. But to tell someone that they should cut all extraneous words is really stupid advice. The better advice would be to tell people to make their words beautiful, powerful, and purposeful. 

2. Cut everything that isn't part of your main plot. 

Let's use Miss Watson's claim to fame as the example. If Harry Potter had cut everything that didn't directly relate to the plot, we'd have a middle grade trilogy instead of a septilogy (not a real word, stay with me).  No love stories. No Weasley twins. No SNAPE. Half Blood Prince could be boiled down to about three paragraphs from Dumbledore, since so much of that doesn't really affect the actual, central plot. 

The better advice here would be to cut anything that isn't interesting or able to be resolved satisfactorily. You have a random scene that is fun but doesn't do anything for the story? Cut. You have a scene that feels random but clues us in to something that will become important later? Edit it so it feels smoother, like part of the whole. 

3. Don't use any words "filler" words or verbal pauses. They slow down the narrative. 

Let's look at another direct quote example, yes? Yes. 

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.” 

And if we cut all the verbal pauses and words that slow things down: 

"I picture kids playing a game in a field of rye. I'm standing on the edge of a cliff and I must catch someone if they go over a cliff. That's all I do. I'd be the catcher in the rye. That's what I want to be."

Again, BORING. And voiceless. We lose all sense of his personality. Yes, it's more brief and clear and straightforward. But so far as letting me get to know the character and fall completely into his head, it's useless. 

The better advice would be to, again, make your words count. Don't put them there because that's how you'd say something in real life. Put them there because they bring your character to life. There's a difference. 

All three of these tips have to do with one thing: SPEED. The people giving these tips probably read/write contemporary mainstream fiction. Their books clock in under 75K and are plot-driven. And if that's the case, this advice is really good. If you're very concerned about clipping along at a specific pace, then word economy counts. 

But if your pacing works, your word count is well within acceptable limits for your audience and genre, then you probably don't need to take any of this advice too seriously. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Why Disneyland is Better than Disneyworld.

Disney World gets a lot of attention because it's bigger and newer and fancier and has more deep discounts on hotels and vacation packages. But Disneyland is vastly superior. I will now present you with a highly biased scientific analysis of why this is true.

Park Hopping 

If you want to go from Disneyland to California Adventure, you can do so in about four minutes. You walk out of Disneyland, past the ticket booths, into California Adventure. The gates of the parks are literally less than a hundred yards apart. You can easily go from Disneyland to California Adventure and back multiple times in a day if you want to. And people do. For food, for fastpasses, for shows, the Electric Light Parade, etc.
In that pic, the Mickey face at the top is inside Disneyland, that's the flower garden against the train station. The red lines at the bottom are inside California Adventure. It's zoomed in so far you can see people walking around.

Park hopping at Disneyworld can take 30 - 90 minutes, depending on what time of year/day it is. Seriously. The process is this: walk out of Magic Kingdom. Get on Monorail. Get off Monorail. Get on tram. Get off tram. Find your car. Pack up everything. Drive out to Magic Way. Find new park. Park car. Unpack everything (your stroller, bags, kids, etc.). Get on tram. Get off tram. Walk into new park. That's if you aren't relying on the park bus system to get you around. And if you don't have to wait in line for monorails or trams.

Blue circle is the Magic Kingdom. Orange circle is EPCOT.

Hotel Accessibility
Staying at a Disneyland Hotel (there are only three) means you are within five-minute walking distance to the theme parks. That walking distance is filled with Disney property, so you sort of feel like you're already in the parks. Unless you stay at the Grand Californian, in which you can walk out of your hotel lobby straight into California Adventure. That's, like, a fifteen second walk. (Pro tip: Anyone can walk into the Grand Californian. Go through there to see a much shorter security line to get into California Adventure.)

Staying at a non-Disneyland Hotel doesn't even mean you're far away. Lots of decent, cheap motels are less than a half mile from the front gate. As a kid, we always walked from our hotel into the park. It's completely reasonable.

Staying at a Disneyworld Hotel means you have access to their bus system to get you to the park. During the hour before and after park opening and closing, you'll wait for twenty or thirty minutes to even get ON the bus. Or you can drive yourself, since you get free parking. It's still a ten minute DRIVE. Plus trams.

Staying at a non-Disneyworld hotel means you're "a mile" from the "park entrance." This really means you're a mile from the border of the private property owned by Disney. You're really a twenty minute drive from any park, best case scenario.

There's no Indiana Jones in Florida. (The closest thing is Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom). In California, the Pirates of the Caribbean is longer and more story-oriented. You sit side by side on Space Mountain. There's no Matterhorn in Florida. California's Autopia is longer and has cars designed for kids to be able to actually reach the peddle. The facades - particularly  in Fantasyland - are more detailed and imaginative.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that Disneyland is on the left in all of those pictures. 

Park Size
Disneyworld is a lot bigger. The walkways are wider and longer and there is a lot of space between rides. Some people put this in the win column for Disneyworld, but I disagree. Let's just compare apples to apples, and take Disneyland in California versus the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Let's even pick three rides that are in roughly the same places in the parks: Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain.

In Florida, I stop at the Jungle Cruise. I must park my stroller in the stroller parking near the Tiki Room. Then go down some steps to the ride. When I exit the ride, I will go up the steps, walk past my stroller and a street show to get to Pirates. Then I will exit Pirates, go back past the entrance to get the stroller. Walk back past a street show, Pirates, two sit down restaurants, a full store front, several kiosks (depending on the time of year, this number varies), a fast food place, a character meeting spot and walk around the entirety of Splash Mountain to park the stroller, double back and get in line for Splash Mountain.

In California, I park my stroller at the entrance to the Jungle Cruise. When I exit the ride, I am at the entrance, so I grab the stroller, go past the entrance for Indiana Jones* (though to be fair, I'd probably ride that ride while I'm here), park the stroller at the entrance to Pirates*. When I exit, I'm pointed right toward Splash Mountain, and the park is small, kids can walk this far. So you walk past the Haunted Mansion* (again, you'd probably ride this ride) and jump in line for Splash Mountain. The line winds in front of the ride, so there's no need to walk around the whole thing to get on it.

Disneyland is smaller, more intimate, easier to navigate, less easy to lose your kids, easier to let your kids walk 90% of the way. That makes it better. More crowded in peak seasons? Sure. But you shouldn't go to any theme park during peak seasons anyway.

*These rides are all "beyond the berm." Disneyland has a berm built around it to protect it from prying eyes during construction and keep out the "real" world while you're in the park. Space inside the berm was limited, so these rides are actually underground, with 90% of the attraction being underground, beyond the border of the park. So walking past the ride is really just walking past the entrance. In Disneyworld, you have to walk past the entirety of the attraction. 

Downtown Disney
This one sort of goes to Florida. Downtown Disney is enormous and currently undergoing a major overhaul to make it even more relevant. I mean, you can ride a hot air balloon.

But in California, it connects the parks to the hotels. Which means you walk through it every day and there are Disney vendors in the corridor. That means you can buy churros in Downtown Disney.

Which brings me to my next point:

You can buy a churro in every land, every day of the year, in both California parks. In Disneyworld? Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom sells them, or Mexico in EPCOT. And remember how big the parks are? Yeah. Even if you're in the Magic Kingdom, you're probably really far away from a churro. That's a fail, Disney. FAIL.

Secret Shortcuts
Disneyland has all these awesome shortcuts. One to get out of New Orleans Square without having to go through the hub. One to get out of Tomorrowland during fireworks and parades. Plus the train runs all the time, so you can take the train around the park to the front exit, skipping crowds. Also, the monorail runs from Tomorrowland to Downtown Disney, so you can use it to enter and exit the park directly.

Disneyworld has NONE. The train stops running at sunset and the monorail isn't inside the park. Everyone gets herded through the hub and down Main Street. No exceptions.

(Okay, we once got wheeled out the back of the park to an ambulance when my son had a seizure, but that's not really the same)

Hidden Gems
And this might be the reason I love Disneyland most of all. I mean, a Disney park is a Disney park, and the level of detail is unparalleled, but Disneyland just does it better. Look at this:

That's just on a random post in the railing. And there are little things like this all over the park. In Disneyworld? The rail posts are just rail posts. They're still cleaner than any other amusement park, but they don't have bronze statues on them. Walt didn't have an apartment in Disneyworld (okay, it existed, but he never lived there).

You can't beat the level of personal, intimate details in Disneyland. The park was a labor of love, in a way that none of the others could be, because it was the only one Walt saw to completion.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bookish Questions

Favorite book cover
I know I'm starting this off badly, but I am indifferent to covers. Considering I read mostly science fiction and fantasy, and those books generally have really bad covers, or really cliche covers, or whatever, I'm just not that bothered by them. Seriously though. I throw away book jackets. 

What are you reading right now?
Code Name Verity. I'm about 80 pages in and I think it's good, but I just don't see what the hype is about. I'm assuming there's a twist of some kind coming that will send me reeling. I hope so. 

Do you have any idea what you'll read when you're done with that?
On my nightstand, I currently have Posession by Elana Johnson, Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, Smart Move by Melanie Jacobson, and Felicite Found by Julia King. I have no idea which one I'm going to read next though. 

What five books have you always wanted to read but haven't gotten round to?
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, Gone with the Wind, Brave New World, at least some of the Stephanie Plum books, oh... I don't know. I have this huge TBR list on Goodreads. But the ones I've "always" wanted to read? I've mostly gotten around to those. 

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
Since the appearance of the iPhone in my home, I feel no need for magazines. 

What's the worst book you've ever read?
It was a self-published book that I won't name because I it was so terrible it made me want to put my fingers through my eyeballs, into my brain and swirl it all around. (five points for the reference) 

What book seemed really popular but you didn't like it?
I'm gonna go with Wither. Or Catcher in the Rye. That one just does not appeal to me. 

What's the one book you always recommend to just about anyone?
Harry Potter. Next question. 

What are your three favorite poems?
I don't "get" poetry. So, maybe song lyrics are the closest I'll come to being able to say I like poetry. 

Where do you usually get your books?
From the library. Now that we aren't broke grad students any more, I'm trying to buy more books, particularly from indie and debut authors. But the Cassandra Clares of the world? LIBRARY. For sure. 

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
Yes. There was a limit of ten books out at a time from the library. So I would pick a shelf in the "YOUTH" section, grab ten books in a row. Read those. Bring them back. It usually took a week. By the time I started high school, I had read the entire "YOUTH" section and wanted to go to the adult section. My mother did not let me because those were books for grown-ups and who knows what I might have encountered. 

It didn't matter because high school killed my love of reading and I didn't read for fun again until I was 22

What's the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was too good to put down?
I'm a parent of three children who wake every day at 5:00 AM. I don't stay up late into the night. I think the last time I did was . . . Oh! I checked my Goodreads, it was Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi. The first two books, Shatter Me and Destroy Me were also unputdownable. 

Have you ever "faked" reading a book?
Yes. Did you not hear the story about high school killing my love of reading? I faked reading pretty much all books in high school.

(I've since gone back and re-read some of the ones that I felt like I "should" read and in about half the cases, I wasn't missing anything.)

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
No. We've been broke for the last several years (law school does that to a family), so all purchases are very carefully planned. 

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
The Hobbit. From the time I can remember, that was my favorite. 

What book changed your life?
I have to go with books of scripture here. I know you want novels, but it's just not true for me. The Book of Mormon really has changed my life. Over and over again. 

What is your favorite passage from a book?
Aw, see, now I feel sort of obliged to quote scripture... 

But I will play the game the way it's meant to be played. 

I feel like I should post a Harry Potter quote, but Tahereh Mafi just slays me with her words: 

"I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend. The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body. 

I want to know where to touch you, I want to know how to touch you. I want to know convince you to design a smile just for me. Yes, I do want to be your friend. I want to be your best friend in the entire world.

Who are your top five favorite authors?
This should surprise no one. 

JK Rowling
Terry Goodkind
Orson Scott Card
Roger Zelazny
C.S. Lewis

What book has no one heard about but should read?
I wouldn't say no one has heard of this series, but it is definitely under-appreciated. High Fantasy with a sci-fi feel, it's Fred Saberhagen's Lost Swords series. These books stick with you for long, long after you stop reading. So much to think about, so much to chew on. 

What book are you an "evangelist" for?
I'm becoming an evangelist for Mafi. People aren't reading those books, they're being dismissed as "another Hunger Games imitator." And while they share some very superficial similarities with THG, they are so, so, so different, and I really think everyone will love them. 

And, of course, Harry Potter. 

What are your favorite books by a first time author?
Uh, Harry Potter.

What is your favorite classic book?
I don't love "classics" the way a lot of people do. I love the story of Les Miserables, but good golly did Victor Hugo ramble on and on about stuff that didn't matter. I love the arc of the D'Artagnan stories, but Dumas was really a blow hard and his characters are really caricatures. 

I dunno. Does Narnia count as a classic? It's, like, sixty years old and people still love it, so that makes the cut, yes? 

Five other notable mentions?
Books I've loved recently, how's that? Okay, Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series (a thousand times better than the Uglies series), Kristin Cashore's Graceling, all of Michelle Moran's work, Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, and Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series. Such an outstanding YA Epic Fantasy.

Please do this. I want to read all about all the books you love. Then leave your link in the comments so I can find you :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How I Write

I'm not here today. I'm over at Mormon Mommy Writers, where I am a new contributor and administrator, talking about my writing process.

You'll want to check it out. There are GIFs.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Looking for some experts...

Okay. You don't have to be an expert to help with this project, because there are very few experts when it comes to the topics I'm looking for. I've recently been asked to overhaul a website dedicated to providing writing resources for a community of writers. It's a small, niche community, and if I don't get help from you fine folks, well, it'll just take forever. 

I'm looking for folks to write a blog post (or series of posts, depending on how detailed you want to be) about the following topics: 

Defining Genres - Do you write fantasy? Or science fiction? Or science fantasy? What is upmarket fiction?

Defining Categories - What is this newfangled NA I keep hearing so much about and why is "middle grade" not enough?

Finding Story Ideas

Beating Writer's Block

Plotting vs. Pantsing

Plotting Tips

How to be an Effective Pantser

What's CP and a Beta and how do I find them?

Or if you have an idea that would be beneficial to brand, spanking-new  writers, let me know. What will you get in return for all this help? Well, I can offer you a LOT. See here: 

- Good karma. 
- A fair split of all advertising revenues*
- Credit for your work, links to your blog/website/whatever you like. 

*advertising revenues predicted to be zero. it's a community resource site. 

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