Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Big Bang

Very good. A lot of things I liked a lot.

I need to find a way to watch the confidentials...

A Doctor Who Rumor

I read on that Johnny Depp will be playing the Doctor in the new Doctor Who movie scheduled for release in 2012. I don't know whether or not that's true.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Subconscious Roots

I was just reading over my posts on my English class' forum regarding the quote "Ignorance is bliss." (Yes, I know I never posted the rest of that conversation like I promised. Sorry.)

And guess what I found: I found several paragraphs about true happiness (of course, you guys might not have finished The Clockwork Experiment yet, so you wouldn't know what that has to do with anything).

So that's where that came from.

See, I realized that I have a NaNoWriMo-originating CreateSpace code for a free copy of...something. So I've compiled a book of poems and short stories and non-fiction (including a few of my blog posts) to give to my grandma. So that's why I was looking at them.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"When we all think alike, no one thinks very much." - Albert Einstein

I finished For The Win (and just in time, too: I got four more books out from the library). The one I'm reading now is an anthology entitled 666: The Number of the Beast. It's really good, but I'm only reading it immediately before I go to bed (yes, I'm strange like that.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Doctor is on Chat Roulette

Okay, so I'm not going to post my lyrics...yet.
But I did find a hilarious "Chat Roulette conversation" between these two people and the Doctor on YouTube.

Driver's Ed update: had three quizzes today (someone got a 15 on one). Just as bad as yesterday. Didn't even get to drive afterwards (I had an orthodontist appointment).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Driver's Ed

Well, today would have been better spent if I'd stayed home, and considering that I was at school, that's kind of sad.
Today was my first day of Driver's Ed. And it was horribly boring. The only good bits were the breaks and lunch.
We literally did nothing at all except for register for a program that we're not even going to use for the first two hours. After so much emphasis on "we only have 30 hours, so we need to cram as much in as possible."
The class started at 8. It was at least 8:15 before any of the teachers said a word to us.

I could have written a story, or edited, or written a song, or made a YouTube video, or read more of For The Win, or watched the World Cup, or Wimbledon, or Torchwood: Children of Earth "Day Five"...but no. I sat in a desk for six hours and "learned" a bunch of things that I mostly already vaguely, subconsciously knew.
Now I know the stuff consciously, which is good, but the class was at far too slow of a pace.
I told my dad that, and he said "Welcome to the adult world."

Couldn't he and Mom taught me that same stuff in far less time? Yes.

The fun part was that afterwards, Mom took me over to the elementary school parking lot and had me drive around a bit to practice turning and stopping and starting. I did all right up until she told me to park. I was pretty crooked, but I blamed it on the lines moving while we were inside talking to the office people about next year.

(Actually, I did see some of the US vs. Algeria match. We were eating lunch and this massive cheer came from the front office so we looked in and saw that we'd just scored.)

Emily called yesterday because she was in the car and bored, and we talked about Clockwork a bit so I've changed a few little things. There's also something sort of minorly important at the end that I switched around (unrelated to our conversation), but I won't say until you've all actually gotten to that part.

For those of you who don't know anything about the current Wimbledon match...the current set (the 5th set) has more games in it than the longest previously-held match. There've been almost 120 games, and they just stopped for the night.

Another Quote

Here's a quote from For The Win:

After a few paragraphs about our early-primate ancestors (in here referred to as monkeys) organizing in order to get more stuff done...

"The neo-cortex is in charge of keeping track of the monkeys. It's the part of your brain that organizes people, checls in on them, falls in love with them, establishes enmity with them. It's the part of your brain that gets thoroughly lit up when you play with Facebook or other social networking sites, and it's the part of your brain that houses the local copies of the people in your life. It's where the voice of your mother telling you to brush your teeth comes from." - Cory Doctorow, For The Win Page 231.

Those last two sentences could have come straight from his speech when he came to school to talk to us. He believes that we don't care about real people- we care about the versions of those people that live inside our heads. Usually, when something happens to the real person, the same thing happens to the copy, but not always. That ties back to what I was saying earlier about people getting angry when others don't conform to what they think they are/should be. Or when they don't act exactly like the person who's angry.

Which I think is a fascinating concept.

Also, on a more personal level:

When I started brushing my teeth without being told, was that a sign of maturity, or was it just because my neo-cortex has further developed via my increased usage of social networking sites that began in 6th grade? It's mostly kicked off in the last year, and I don't know exactly when I started willingly brushing my teeth...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Did It

Well, I did it. I sent my query letter to the Query Shark.
Apparently I'm supposed to get an "acknowledgement message" within a week, and after that, it may or may not get posted on the blog.
I think I did a fairly decent job on it, but of course I do. I wouldn't have sent it to her if I didn't think so. And I must admit, I didn't wait a week before doing more revisions. And I didn't take notes. I've just been revising as I trundle through the posts.
After you guys finish reading Clockwork and I go for a final editing swipe or two...I guess it'll be time for me to start sending out the letter. That's a scary thought. Even now, I'm thinking "No! Get more people to read over it! There's no way it's ready yet! There's got to be something wrong with it!"
And maybe there is. Maybe there's an enormously terrible thing wrong with it that I don't know about. But that's what you guys are for.


This query letter didn't get a fantastic critique, but this was the opening line, and I thought it was funny.

"'I'm not in love with Alice Stevens, she's just a very sexy reccuring dream.'"

Only about 20 more to read.

Just For Laughs 2

Here's another joke query from (I only have about 40 queries left to read before progressing to the next step in the directions):

Dear Sublimity, Snookums QueryShark:

Literary agent Nicola Mersdon just wants three things:
1. An extended vacation in the Bahamas (without the slush pile)
2. A sojourn in the local bar (without the manuscript-bearing students)
3. An engagement ring

But she'll settle for a drink.

Three thousand queries, and Nicola Mersdon has a problem. Her romantically-inclined acquaintance has sent her a diamond ring - without an SASE. Nicola is brought into conflict with her own conscience - can she truly accept the engagement and risk tacit support for NITWIT, a multinational alliance of vicious mass queriersand agent e-mail finders - as it did? But Nicola has a duty, and a harsh one - to reject the query. Whatever it takes.

But her querier's romantic inclinations are as nothing compared to his employers'. NITWIT are determined - and there's the devil in the details, as they offer Nicola a chance to die for: a reconciliatoryholiday with her rejected. Unfortunately, NITWITs may provide cookies and scented paper, but honeymoons aren't their speciality. As Nicola finds out to her cost - brought to New York for a sacrifice upon one of agenthood's highest pinnacles of sense. Tied to Miss Snark'sgrave shrine in Central Park, Nicola is forced to offer her betrothed and his allies in NITWITtery a critique, forcing them to retire in shame. Then she eviscerates them.

LIFE AND LOVE IN AN SASE is an epic tale of tragedy, the human condition, and the eternal duology of love. My 200, 000 word manuscript - described as a fascinating combination of Socrates and Faulkner - is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Us Vs. Them

"There is no them. There are only facets of us." - John Green
That's in reference to the concept of "us helping the poor" as opposed to "us helping us."

You can find the entire video here.

I think people like the turn problems into an "us vs. them" fight because that justifies doing terrible things to them. They're a separate group- a group that is subconsciously inferior, even though they're not inherently better or worse. They're just in a different situation, and at a different stage in personal (or, in the case of groups, group-al) development.
But if it's "Me vs. Her/Him/Them," I can do stuff to them that I would never do to someone I classify as part of "us" (which is really someone I classify as part of "me."). 
Although I (or whoever the "us" party is) know consciously that a given action/thought/attitude is wrong, the "us vs. them" complex allows me/the us party to ignore that conscious knowledge.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just For Laughs

Hey, this is my 100th post. Wow.

This is a query letter posted on Query Shark. I hope you find it amusing.

 Dear My Dream Publisher Of Good Humor,

Three students of the College of Witching and Whizzing in Ireland are finding out that life isn’t all it is cracked up to be when Lord Saddam-a-mort decides to go on a rampage with all the artillery he could muster up. When their college professor fights Lord Saddam-a-mort, and almost kills him with the Crystal of Darkness, Lord Saddam-a-mort yells out a truth that shatters the heart of Larry, one of the three students that wears thin glasses and always seems to figure out magic without much help from his education at the College. He yells out, “Larrrry, I am your Grandfather.”

Trusting the evil Lord in his hour of doom, Larry decides to go on a quest to look for his father, because he deduced that if he had a grandfather, that must mean that he had a father at some point in history. His faithful, red-headed girl friend, with eyes like the sea after a storm, goes along for the ride, and they take their other friend Juan Hector Manuel Crisanto Deigo Carlos Felipo Marco Alberto Miguel Fernando Hermanez Recardo the 3rd, an exchange student from deep Mexico.

They only make it as far as the next interesting place, Scotland, and find themselves in the throws of a castle, because, well, something happened, but there they were. The hunched back man who answered the door, eerily followed the three around the castle. Door after door was opened, with the hopes of finding Larry’s father, but all that lay behind each one was a new mystery to solve. Behind one, for example, was Central Earth which consisted of the children of Men, Elves, and Gnomes that haunted the gardens of Men. There Larry, his red-headed girl, named, um, Matilda, and Juan, connected with Leroy, son of the Dave, son of the Harold, who produced DNA papers stating that he was indeed the father of Larry, and also a prince.

Thrilled, Larry high tailed it out of there, just as a war was unfolding against Man and the formidable Garden Gnomes who were in league with the Plastic Pink Flamingos of the Netherworlds. The three students used this knowledge of the Castle of Doors to get away from the hunched back man who loosely guarded the door of the castle. As they are leaving, the hunchback says with a look of horror in his eyes, “I smell dead people….”

As the three grew, Larry couldn’t live in comfort knowing that his father has maybe or maybe not survived the battle against the Garden Gnomes. Until one day, a letter came along by Owl, and enclosed in the letter was a golden bracelet which he had to go to the country of Saddam-a-mort to throw into the burning oil wells and destroy. Upon the destruction of this bracelet, the wars of Central Earth would cease, and all the people that are wired by their heads into every outlet in the Pink Flamingos power lines will be freed and allowed to live as normal men of Central Earth, instead of living as a ‘renewable energy source.’

I would like you to consider reading my 100,789 word manuscript for the genre: pre-teen action thriller adult fantasy drama, chocked full of recipes, tips for green living, and coupons for future upcoming books. I have always loved writing, ever since the fourth grade when my work was included in the 1975 Christmas Pageant at Show Low, Arizona Elementary School. (Yes, that was me! You remember that, don’t you? DON'T YOU?)

I have received many compliments on my work from my husband, my mother, my deaf aunt Matilda (the inspiration behind my main characters love interest), and my goldfish. I also attended a New Kids on the Block concert when they first toured, and studied a prestigious Book on Writing I got at a garagesale. This manuscript could be considered for a screenplay, and should be categorized right up there with other genius Cinematic Works of Art, such as, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (a moment of contemplation while we ponder the greatness of the Monty… hummmm...ok, that’s enough).

Passing this query up would mean certain death for your Publishing corporation.
I will encourage you to use your good sense and really consider-accept, this almost finished manuscript, destined to be a best seller.

(name redacted)

MY Store is WAY Better Than YOUR Store: A Short


Okay, so here's what happens:

Me: It was BMI.
Sarah: I want a job.
Me: How old are you?
Sarah: Eleven
Me: And how did you get here?
Sarah: I drove!
Me: No job. Unless you want to buy a donut, leave.
Sarah: Umm. Okay.

 This one, in my opinion, is the best one yet. Tell me if you agree.
Blooper video (and YES there ARE bloopers- it's not just commentary) to come soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Query Shark

Today I went to The directions on how to submit a query for commentary (for those who don't know, Query Shark is a blog where prospective clients send queries, and the Shark tells them how to make the letters themselves better) read as follows:

BEFORE you send your query to the Shark do these things:

1. Read all the entries on the blog.

2. Make notes on what you read that you did not know.
3. Revise your query using the notes.
4. Let the query sit for a week. 
5. Revise again.

...and so on.

 I started reading the entries. Now I'm feeling very, very paranoid about the quality of my letter. I think it's good, but is it? And the people I sent it to are just people who were in my CW class and revised the letter the first time. They don't have any more experience than I do, so what do they know that I don't?
I'm thinking about sending it to my CW teacher...but maybe not. Of course, if the topic came up in class, he would probably say something like "Of course, I've never been published, so what do I know?".

I sent the poem at the end of Clockwork to my grandma (she enjoys reading my poetry) and she wants me to read it at her and my grandpa's 50th anniversary picnic (have I said that on here before?). She says it applies to their marriage. Well, any marriage.
When I wrote that poem a year or two ago, I didn't intend it to apply to marriage, but okay. And I just found out half an hour ago or so that she read it to some random people at a drumming circle she went to.
The poem certainly applies to me, in a more abstract way. This whole getting published process is...scary. I don't know anything. Well, at least it feels that way. Obviously I know some things, seeing as how I've gotten this far. Maybe I should go read it and remind myself that I only need to go on Amazon to see exactly how well these paths are trodden. It's not like some people are born knowing exactly how to do it.

All of you should watch this video:
It's amazing.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hurry Up, Guys. :D

I blog a lot. And now you're thinking something along the lines of "Well duh you have almost as many posts in June as there have been days in the month so far!"
Now, see, about that. I'm off of school for the summer, so I've been at home a lot more, and working on Clockwork a lot more, and thinking a lot more, so I have a lot more to say.

I saw a private street called "Awesome Street" today. Seriously. It's not on Google Maps though. I checked.

"Every breath I take brings me closer to my last, but if I stop breathing, death will come all the more swiftly."

Yesterday, I believe it was, I finished a round of editing and decided it was in a good enough condition at this point that I finally sent it to all of you in writing club. If you didn't receive it, that is a problem. Tell me if that happened. I also sent a revised edition of my query letter to the people who gave me feedback on it originally.

So today, I wasn't sure what to do from 9 to 12, as I don't really want to go back through for another editing swipe until you people have sent me comments and suggestions. I spent some of that time eating breakfast. Then I spent an hour (yes, an entire hour) converting italicized words to underlined words. I believe that is how agents and editors like manuscripts.
Then I shut down my computer and finished my breakfast and wished you lot would hurry up. I mean, 400 pages can be read in like five minutes, right? What's the hold up?

Well, regardless of how long it takes you, I hope you enjoy it.

My progress through For The Win is astonishingly slow, considering that I'm enjoying it.

That's about it. I could go on for awhile longer, but none of the things I could tell you are relevant, so I suppose I'll log off and wait for the new Doctor Who episode to be posted. I'll leave you with a link to a fascinating YouTube video:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quotes & Series

Here are some quotes my grandma sent me this morning. I emailed her a poem I wrote a year or two ago, and she asked me to read it at her and my grandpa's 50th anniversary picnic.

"Imagination is the highest Kite you can Fly."--Lauren Bacall
 "Everything you can imagine is real."--Pablo Picasso

Danny wrote a post about series (specifically, plotting them), and I figured I'd put in my two cents on the topic.

I've never wanted to write a series. Or, should I say, all three novels I've started writing (Ishaera, When the Sun  Was In Your Hair, and The Clockwork Experiment) started out as loners. Now, Ishaera has a possible prequel and the latter two both have potential sequels (ooh, I haven't told any of you that before, have I?), but all of them can still stand alone (although the end of Clockwork sort of begs for a sequel, and I already have a twist in mind).

But plotting a series? I shudder at the thought. I've noticed that the books in a series tend to get worse and worse the farther the series progresses. Whether this is true in Harry Potter is debatable, since the first and the seventh books are so radically different from each other, it might be that they shouldn't be compared.

The most notable exception (within my experience) to this trend would be the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan. All 8 of the ones I have read (9 doesn't come out in the U.S. until October, and there will eventually be at least twelve) are just as awesome and enjoyable as the first. This is because John Flanagan, as he said when I met him in May, refuses to write another book unless there's a legitimate story left to tell. He doesn't force it. He doesn't write more just to make money (although that's a nice bonus).
Another exception, in my opinion, would be The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill. Things got slightly repetitive after the first book, but the additions of so many new characters and the growth of the old ones makes books two and three equally enjoyable.

There are other exceptions, both general and specific, but I'm generally opposed to series. I usually love the first book, and then sometimes start disliking, and then hating the rest. That is to say, there are many, many, many series that I've read all of and thoroughly enjoyed, but I expect not to. I'm often pleasantly surprised, but I'm predisposed to pessimism. 

So I love reading series (assuming ALL of them are well-written), but I highly doubt I'll ever sit down and decide to write one. If a sequel or two spring up, I'll write them, but never will something of mine start out that way.
At least, for now. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Lodger & Voice & Some Artwork

I just watched "The Lodger," and I was very pleased with it. I haven't been liking this season of Doctor Who so much since the angels episodes, but I thought this one was great. It broke free of the normal mold of an episode (at least a little), and showed off the Doctor's quirks. Normally we're used to his oddities, as we see him all the time, but when compared so closely with "normal" humans, the differences were more apparent.

I'll be bringing the first chapter of the rewrite of Ishaera to the meeting tomorrow (the one I wrote for my CW exam). I got a 93 on the exam (have I mentioned that on here?), which isn't bad, and I got lots of good feedback from my teacher.

I hate when people talk about the "voice" of a story or novel. I know it's important, but the term is so vague. When you're writing in first person, the voice sort of comes naturally, assuming you're good at sticking to your character's personality. Third person is a bit harder, as the darkly sardonic writer will sneak in little snide comments that don't belong there and other such things. Not that that doesn't happen in 1st person, but I think it's less prone to occur.
I'm subscribed to this blog called "SF Writers," and the most recent post was about voice, and the differences between sci-fi and fantasy when it comes to voice. (On a semi-related note: what the heck is a space opera?)
Is voice pacing? Is voice the personality of the narration? Is it both?

Here's a picture I created back in November when I first started writing Clockwork. I used it as my "cover art" on the NaNoWriMo website (my username's jalawood, if you want to add me as a buddy), even though it definitely won't be the actual cover art. It took me about five minutes to make.

Net Neutrality

I try to keep the rest of my online life out of this blog, unless there's something directly related, or if I'm just bored and feel like writing about something.

However, I think this is extremely important, and should be shared with as many people as possible. Plus, the video's hilarious.

If the embed didn't work, go watch the video here and then come back.

John and Hank, of course, are the vlogbrothers. Maureen is a YA author who I like very much. Wil Wheaton is an actor from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Luke and Kristina comprise my favorite band, and the Mythbuster guy is, well, a Mythbuster.

If you click on the link to (which you should), there is a button in the upper left-hand corner that says "Act Now." Click on it. Fill out your information (it's important). The site will send an email to your senators and representative for your district.

I've watched the video three times now.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Today is my street's recital, in which lots of us are playing. The title is "Together."

My old piano teacher's recitals always had a theme. Sometimes it was "chocolate," "ice cream," or "strawberries," but this time it was "One." Usually the food has to do with the theme, and we'd have to give mini-speeches about how our pieces fit in with the theme.

This isn't really a theme. It's a title that has meaning.

Luke (my student) and I have been learning together. He's been learning music, and I've been learning how to teach music. The program begins and ends with two people playing a song together. This event is all of us neighbors coming together to make something cool. In the first song he's playing, Luke worked on using both hands together.

But that's not all. I'm going to quote from the essay I wrote as part of getting my band letter.

"I once wrote an email to YA author John Green about how much I loved his book Paper Towns, and how much it means to me. As part of his reply, he wrote “I’ve always believed that books are a conversation, so my part of it is only half of the work. It doesn’t become real for me until you read it.” This applies to music and band as well. The composer writes the score, but it’s just ink on paper. It’s the shadow of the music, just like a cube’s shadow is a square. There’s an entire other dimension waiting in the wings, and in band, we get to see (hear) it."

Later on in the essay, I continue with that thought, saying "“Performance” can mean a concert or a show, but there’s other meanings as well. When I teach my neighbor Luke piano, I’m not passing on the music. I’m passing on the journey. I tell him some of the same things we’re told in band. We count together, and I teach him about the physics of music with a belt and a drum. His first recital is currently planned for the weekend after school lets out, and then it will be his turn to perform, and to share what he’s been doing with the rest of our cul-de-sac. Smiles, laughter, and yawns are contagious, and it turns out that so is music."

Within that thought, that music (or a novel) is a conversation, then it's something two or more people do together. The composer, the performer, the audience, the teacher, the inspirer- the conversation can be between any or all of these. Even if you write the music yourself and never play it for anyone, there's still the inspiration, whether you consider that to be a specific thing you saw while outside, God, or one of the Greek Muses.

Together, we're going to take part in a conversation this afternoon that's as old as humanity itself- older, if you want to think of string theory as music and also happen to subscribe to the theory.

I suppose I only wrote that out in this post so I can print it out for my speech later, but I hope you found it interesting.

For My Newest Follower (plus two other things)

"Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us." - Henrik Tikkanen

A few things for my newest follower:

Hi! You're my first follower who I don't know in real life. I'm not exactly sure how that will make our interactions different than those between me and the other four (or five, if you count my friend who I email posts to), but I'm interested to find out. Most of my posts are on mostly unrelated topics, but here are some things I'll be making references to every now and then:

  • "Clockwork" is my novel, The Clockwork Experiment. I'm currently in the editing stages of it.
  • NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, during which I wrote most of Clockwork.
  • Doctor Who is a British television show that has been around a long time, and is really awesome. But you probably already knew that, since you're on the Ning.
If there's any other questions, just ask.

So a bit about Clockwork for you, as the others have all ready varying amounts of it.
When 15 year-old Terry Massey arrives on the Dark Side of her tidally locked planet for the first time, she isn't quite sure what to expect from being without any adult influence along with 2000 of her peers. She intends to start a new life for herself, and make the friends she's never had before, but only succeeds in isolating herself even further within a massive library: her idea of heaven. A conversation with an infuriating old man, the vague yet intriguing introduction of a book, and the odd behavior of the rest of her province of the city set her on a quest to discover the truth behind the mysterious 'Clockwork Experiment,' but all she has on her side is a clever, witty boy of her own age, five tea-addicts, and hints from the old man. The robot-servants all over the city are freaking her out, and all seems lost...but what if she finds a way to overcome her shyness and get things done?

Also, if you'd do me a favor and read the summaries included within this post, and then vote in the poll in the sidebar, I'd be very grateful. 

Other Things:

Loads of writers say to write every day, so it bothers me that while I consider myself a serious writer, I don't. Does writing blog posts count? It's not fiction, but it is words in paragraph form.

Tomorrow marks my first day of my 9-12 job (ha, it sounds so official when I put it like that). I'll let you know how that turns out.

I have another thing to say, but that's too long, so it deserves a post of its own. I'll go write that now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

TV Channels & Anecdotes & Jokes

You may or may not know that all of the cable channels just got re-numbered.

So while I was waiting for soccer to start (I ended up not watching much of it, but that's another story), I was flipping through the little cheat-sheet thing they sent us that says what channel is which number.
I figured I'd look for BBC America, since although I watch Doctor Who online, sometimes I watch the old episodes Saturday nights @ 9.
BBCAM used to be channel 116, or 235 HD.
Now all we get is BBC On Demand (on which, funnily enough, the first thing that comes up to be demanded is the most recent 5 episodes of Doctor Who).
So we get porn channels (they were listed on the brochure), but not BBC America. This aggravates me.
My dad insists that we must get it somewhere, but I looked over the entire thing...and it's not there.
So I'm just stuck with Netflix Streaming and that other site. Which is fine, but annoying. Where am I supposed to get the Confidentials from? They're the one making-of series I actually enjoy. **grumbles**

I haven't watched the latest episode yet, speaking of which, as my grandparents are here and they've been looking at pictures from their trip to Ireland on the big TV (which is hooked up to the MacMini, which is how we watch the episodes).

At my cousin's graduation party last night, there was a life-size cardboard cutout of Jacob Black waiting in the front hall. Scared the crap out of me. Apparently my other cousin's boyfriend bought it just to creep her out. He's been appearing in random places in the house (like in the dark at the top of the stairs) all week.
Finally he was bothering everyone so much that we turned him around so he was facing their piano room, upon which my cousins' aunt on their dad's side screamed "NOT THERE! I'M SLEEPING IN THERE!!!"

Another story:
While my grandparents were in Ireland, they were going to visit the Blarney Stone and kiss it, and their bus driver said "Don't kiss it. They whiz on it." A little while later, he said "Only joking. They don't whiz on it."
After they were back in the bus, he said "So how many people kissed the Blarney Stone?" People raised their hands. "They really do whiz on it."

There's no knowing whether or not something like that's true, is there?


A man joins a monastery in which the monks don't talk at all, except for once a year when they go to see the Abbot. A week or two later, that time of year comes around. The Abbot says "So how's it going for you here?" The man says "The bedrooms are cold." The Abbot nods, and the man leaves and returns to his prayers. A year later, the Abbot says "So how's it going for you here?" The man says "The food sucks." The Abbot nods, and the man leaves and returns to his prayers. After the man's second year there, the Abbot says "So how's it going for you here?" The man says "I quit." The Abbot snorts and says "Good riddance! Every time you open your mouth, you're bitching and moaning!"

I hope this post made you laugh.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Journey of a Writer

I discovered a blog via It's the blog of a teenager writer, much like us, only a few years older. She's trying to get a novel published, but is also posting about random stuff.
You don't have to follow her. I'm not even necessarily asking/recommending that you do. I'm just saying that here is the link, and if you want to check it out, go ahead.

Yes, I've wanted to work on Clockwork. Yes, I could be starting the theatrical adaptation of Will Grayson, Will Grayson that I sort of want to try my hand at writing just for the heck of it. I've never written a serious script before, and in this case, I wouldn't even have to worry about characters or plot.

But I'm not. The reason for this is partially because I've got loads of family in town for my cousin's graduation, and partially simply because it's the start of summer vacation and I want to celebrate.
It's also partially because this summer, I sort of want to try treating writing as a proper job, as opposed to just writing for an hour or two whenever I feel like it.

Now, I doubt this will work very well, and I doubt it will last very long, but I want to try anyway. I mean, in the hypothetical imaginary distant fantasy-future, when I'm a full-time writer (not that this is likely, I know, but just for the sake of argument), I'll have to do this anyway, so why not try it out now while I don't have to worry about money? (Speaking of which, I'll be making twice as much money over the summer, since I'm going to be teaching two piano lessons a week to my neighbor, as opposed to just one.)

I was on the phone with Emily (Emily non-rougewriter-Emily) earlier and she said "Cool, tell me how that goes," and I said "It probably won't go at all."

So that's what I'm planning on doing. (I'm also planning on failing.) And when I say "treating it like a job," ideally I'd be working 9 to 5, but as I realized while on the phone, there is no way that is going to happen, so it'll probably be more like 9 to 12, and then sporadically or not at all throughout the afternoon. I am a teenager, after all. I'm allowed to not be adultish in my work habits for another few years (minus any "real" jobs I may get while still in high school).

I'm loving this summer stuff, by the way. I can stay up 'till midnight watching Torchwood, and then because I don't have school, I can sleep in as long as I like so I'm not behind on sleep.

A quote from For The Win, to send you off: "...he started swearing in British, which is a lot like swearing in American, except with a lot more 'bloodies.'" I'm on page 91, so don't spoil anything for me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spheres: A New Way To See The World

The following is a way to see the world that I came up with late one night while trying to sleep, several months, if not a year, ago.

This way of visualizing the relationships between people doesn't work if you want to picture it spatially, since spheres in 3 dimensional space don't interact the way they need to for this simulation, nor do circles in 2 dimensional space, so picture circles in 3 dimensional space whenever I say Sphere.

I am in writing club, and so are all of you. That is the Writing Club Sphere. All of us are points on the edge of that sphere. Spheres intersect only where there are people, and sometimes parts of the sphere get flattened out. Example: the Writing Club Sphere intersects with the (my school name) sphere at three points, therefore that side of it is a bit squished.
Here's some examples of spheres that intersect at me:

  • Writing Club
  • My school
  • My school's band (when comparing only within the school)
  • My relatives
  • The elementary school
  • People who are my close friends
The definition of a Sphere is this: A Sphere consists of a set of people who either all or almost all know each other or interact with each other at some level, and the basis for this knowing of each other is a central place, relationship, activity, etc., that everyone within the Sphere participates in.

What's the point, though? Why even bother thinking of things this way? Because when referring to someone of a different Sphere than the person to whom you are talking, you can use the name of the sphere: "This person at writing club," "This girl at my church," "A bunch of band people." In relation to the people outside of the Sphere, everyone within the other ones are, as far as they're concerned, the same entity. Their membership within that Sphere is the only thing that's important. We become generic in the minds of those outside of the specific.

Of  course, since "People who are my close friends" will span across several mostly-separate Spheres, the final picture will look like a very, very complex spatially impossible and asymmetrical Venn diagram.

I got a 93 on my CW exam, and went to see Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time today. The movie had some very well-done foreshadowing, I thought. Some was subtle, and some was obvious, but it wasn't cheesy like in The Lovely Bones.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Has Begun

So that's it, then. I am officially a sophomore. I don't know whether to be happy or sad, so that means I'm probably both.
This school year was the best of my entire life, and now it's over, so I'm sad. But at the same time, it's summer, and next year might be even better, so I'm happy.

I sent an email to my creative writing teacher asking him if I could have the chapter back, but I don't know if he's written back yet or not. In band, I got accepted into Symphonic Band without actually auditioning (apparently I(we)'ve been "auditioning all year." Which is true). I played a game of chess (which I haven't done in awhile) and put my opponent in stalemate, which isn't officially a win, but I count it as such. Eventually the king will starve to death, if nothing else.
And I'm going to see Prince of Persia tomorrow with a bunch of people from band. Should be fun. Good start to the summer.
I'll have a couple weeks off, and then I take Driver's Ed. (my dad let me try driving around this parking lot for 5 or 10 minutes after writing club last week, which was really hard but really fun, but other than that I have no experience at all, unless you count Mario Kart, which I don't). Then there's visiting my family in NY (most of which are arriving today or tomorrow for my cousin's graduation this week), then a wizard rock concert, then the beach...and then school again.
During all of which I'll be using that great thing known as Online Social Networking to talk to my friends and writing and reading and watching Torchwood, BBC's Robin Hood, and Eureka. Plus other random stuff I end up doing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

CW Exam

Last night I had a dream that during my Creative Writing exam (which I took today), Dumbledore walked in and told us that for his Headmaster National Boards (NBs are these things that teachers do to get more money), he had to write a song, but he didn't feel like writing a song, so he'd gone down to the band room to get the jazz band to write him the music, and he wanted us to write the lyrics. So we did, because our teacher didn't make him leave. So by the end of the exam period, I only had about half a paragraph written.

These are the kind of dreams I have when I'm nervous about something.

My actual exam consisted of me sitting in a chair for 3 hours...writing. I had to write an elevator pitch, a query, a 1-2 page synopsis, and the first chapter of my "current (imaginary) WIP." I wrote about Ishaera.
I happen to be rather pleased with how the first chapter turned out. I now need to find a way to get it back from Mr. Nantz... after he's graded it, of course.
My hand was very cramped afterwards.

Thought of the day: Confidence is important.

That thought was gained by means of my sister's piano recital last night.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

(Fun fact: "The NaNoWriMo Song" by ALL CAPS just started playing on my CD player unrelated to this post).

Let's make it 3 posts for the day. Yes, that's a good idea.

It's not that time of year again. In fact, we have almost 5 months left before the insanity of November. (I just removed the last column of my 23-page outline that's been there since Halloween from my wall yesterday).
I still don't know which story I'll be writing.
I haven't started on an outline.
I probably won't do either of those things until after my birthday (October 6th).

So I'm not really writing about NaNoWriMo itself.

My sister (not the one who wrote the letter to Lincoln) is going to try this year. She's got half a page of outline so far. She doesn't read this blog, so I can be honest: I don't think she's going to make it. Emily, you didn't make it, and you write way more often than she does (she pretty much writes...never). I might be proved wrong, of course, but that's what I think.

Her friend Zoe, who is my "3rd sister," according to my dad, will also be attempting. I might invite her to come some Wednesday or another. I've never read any of her stuff, but I think she's more likely to make it than my sister.

Here's the funny part: yesterday, at the pool, we were sitting with Zoe's family, and her dad said to my mom, "So, are you going to be doing NaNoWriMo as well?" Now, none of you know my mom, but if you did, you would have laughed as well. There is no way she would ever do something like that. Ever. My dad might if he had several more hours at his disposal each week and didn't have other things to do (meaning he will never do it either), but mom? No.
Except she didn't say anything like that. She said "Oh, no, somebody's got to keep the house running," implying that if she had a clone to do stuff, then she would. So maybe I'm wrong about her, and she has this secret writer buried really deep down in her soul somewhere.

So that  is what my fall is going to be like:

  • School
  • NaNoWriMo
  • Giving advice and motivation to the two of them
  • Fending off my mother's demands that I come out of my room and take a break from whatever story I get into.
Fun, yes? I hope so.

More Quotes

I was cleaning out my Creative Writing binder, putting things in other places, etc., so I'll have an empty binder for a class next semester, and I found some quotes that you might enjoy, but I'm mostly putting them here so the Internet will save them for me.

"I only write when I'm inspired, and I make sure I'm inspired every morning at 9 a.m." -Peter De Vries

I was still in bed at 9 this morning.

"Asking a writer how he feels about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs." -Christopher Hampton

"This world may be a phantasm, and existence may be merely a dream, but this dream or phantasm to me is real enough if by using reason well we are deceived by it." - Leibniz

And I had two more...but now I have no idea where they are. But they were pretty good ones about fate and the sum of a person's character.

Funny Quote

"People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Pains of Editing

School is nearly over. I only have two more exams to take, and then I'm free until the end of August.
Most of the time, I'm very excited about that. However, this year has been so awesome, I'm sometimes rather sad.

But anyways. On to the topic of this post.

Sometimes I like editing Clockwork. It's even better when I have the pages printed out and I get to attack them with a pen.
But there are lots of downsides.

  • Except for the occasional added paragraph, it's not really writing. It's fixing. It's not terribly creative. 
  • It's tedious. I have to read every single sentence and pay attention to them. I have to mess with punctuation.
  • I'm reading the story...but I can't enjoy it as much as a different book, since I'm paying attention to the infrastructure of the building as opposed to the art covering the walls.
  • It's slow.
  • I have to take out fantastic bits of imagery just because they don't make sense in the context of the story. There's this one part where this one sentence makes me think "Oooh." But I had to remove it. Actually, I already did, and when I got to that part this time through, I was terribly disappointed that it wasn't there. Then I remembered why I'd removed it. I'll have to find a way to fit it into a different story.

Okay. My time of complaining is over. I will either go back to work or eat lunch.

This is me learning about actually being a professional writer. This is me finding out what I'm getting into. It should be interesting to people who have published books already. Unfortunately, to everyone else, it's probably just a tad annoying. Oh well.