Thursday, December 29, 2011


I'm back! I've been completely MIA for the past few weeks and I apologize! 

As you guys are surely aware of by now, the favorite podcast of all the bloggers on this page has come to an end. I've been wallowing in self-pity for the past couple days (Exhibits A, B, and C) and so I thought I'd write about goodbyes today. 

Goodbyes are always hard, whether in real life or whether it's with characters you've read or written. In terms of characters, you grow close to them and it's like you know them and they are a part of you, whether you're the writer or the reader. You get used to having these characters around and you feel like it's going to be such a long time before you'll have to say goodbye. However, in the blink of an eye, the moment comes where you have to let go of everything that's become a part of you. It's a heartbreaking moment. 

Now, I am not the one you should really listen to in order to find out how to move on and let go, because I haven't figured it out either. However, I can tell you that whether you wrote the characters or read them, they will always live inside you. You can take comfort in the fact that while the journey is over for you, you can still share it with others and give them the gift of being able to go on the journey. And finally, whether you are the writer or the reader, you will always have everything you gained from the story and characters.

Author: Cory Doctorow

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Burn Out

Tonight was the last episode of Hogwarts Radio podcast. This is the podcast that brought together the bloggers of this page. This is the podcast that helped me find real friends in the Potter world. This is the podcast that I will always remember and cherish.

Endings have been somewhat of a theme with me lately. The end of the Potter series, the end of my fiance being in school(he graduated recently), the end of the year, the end of the Hunger Games series which I finished yesterday, and the end of life as I knew it. I have been noticing a rather large change in my life lately and I have realized that a new chapter has begun. I have officially lost touch with my high school friends and moved on to more. I have begun to start thinking about the future more and how I am going to handle. It is hard to explain but I have felt like a whole new me here lately. So, it is the end of the old me.

Endings are, in my opinion, one of the most important parts of a story. My old choir teacher used to say "It is was the audience hears first that gets them interested but it is what they hear last that will be remembered." This I believe carries over into everything in life, including stories. The end is the thing the audience looks forward to, becomes anxious about, seeks, craves, needs. The end is what will tie everything up with a pretty bow and the audience can have closure. With Harry Potter the end was long awaited for and was very sad but it let me know that all was well. With The Hunger Games the end upset me quite a bit but reminded me that I must move on whether it takes five, ten, fifteen years to agree. With Hogwarts Radio the end came as a shock at first but slowly made me realize how precious that podcast really was to me.

Eventually all things must end. But you need to make your story end with a bang. As quoted by Mary who quoted Kurt Cobain "It is better to burn out than to fade away." Don't let the end of your story fade into nonexistence. Make the audience remember it as a great end to a great story. Make the audience remember it as the part they can't wait to get to but don't want to see. Make the audience remember it.

Author: Cory Doctorow

Wands Raised for Hogwarts Radio. Always.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The chaos of Christmas

When I first read Marissa's post on Monday, I had the perfect idea for what I was going to write about. Then the next day, Sydney wrote about presents, and I had to start thinking about what else I could tie into writing that had to do with Christmas. I went through a lot of things in my mind (even a nice warm fireplace!) before I decided that I was going to write about shopping for presents. I felt I could do that some form of justice. So here it goes.

I find writing to be extremely similar to shopping for presents. You either know what you're looking for, or you don't. Or in the case of writing, I suppose you know where your story is going, or you're just waiting to see where the words take you. I know whenever I go out shopping for Christmas presents (I usually start around October) I usually don't know what I'm going to get anyone. I'm just fishing for ideas. That's what I feel I do whenever I read a really good book. It inspires me with ideas for my own writing, and similar elements usually find a way to trickle themselves into my work. And with shopping, I'll eventually get some kind of ideas for what I want to get people. Then I start to make a list of what I'm going to get everyone. In my writing, I guess that'd be my VERY rough outline, that's pretty much just what my story will be about. I'm not one to outline at all unless it's required.

After making my list, it's usually around Thanksgiving time that I finally start to figure out where I can get what I want for people at the best bargains. It's a family tradition to sit around while the turkey is cooking and shop the Black Friday ads. That's usually where I come up with any last minute ideas for gifts. It's actually where I got the idea for my gurrrls' presents. And yes, I am one of those insane people who go to stores and wait outside for them to open at all ungodly hours of the night/morning. I compare Black Friday to the days before I actually sit down and start writing. I'm still trying to come up with any last minute plot ideas before I start.

Then December comes and Christmas comes ever closer until it seems as though it's snuck up on us (heck, last week Christmas felt so far away, and now it's 2 days away!). Christmas Eve is typically the last day to get all of the presents you haven't gotten yet, or more likely forgot to get. In my family we celebrate on Christmas Eve, so today's our last day (and yes, my mom and I are heading out later today to finish our shopping). For writing, I feel Christmas is like the deadline that's looming over your head. It seems so far away until one morning you wake up and it's right on top of you. Everything becomes chaotic and it feels like it's going to be impossible to finish anything. It can be a publisher's deadline, or your own personal deadline. But deadlines always find a way of sneaking up on us, no matter what. So I always try to get the majority of the work out of the way early (in both shopping and writing), so that if the "deadlines" do sneak up on me, at least I'm close to being finished.

I'm sure I could come up with more ways that writing relates to Christmas shopping, but I don't want to be a bore. But I do have one more thing before I go, a challenge to my gurrrls, and myself as well, because I don't have an answer for my question yet either. I want them to write about their New Year's resolutions. I'll be looking forward to seeing what we're all going to resolve to do. :)

My author: H. P. Lovecraft

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Let It Snow

I know I didn't post last week and I don't have an excuse other than I've been working non-stop at two jobs and don't have a day off either of them until Christmas. The crazy thing is that I haven't even had the will to write, which I always find time for no matter what. This really isn't okay for me.

Anyways, it's snowing here today, which reminded me about a conversation with a co-worker. She's a college graduate with a degree in English and we both share this strange love of stories (so hard to believe, right?). Anyways, we were discussing the snowflake method of writing that's been all over the internet.

We've both read about it and, honestly, it's just a step-by-step instruction guide to what anyone who writes already knows. You start with a basic idea and you expand on that idea to turn it into something more than just a sentence. I really don't get how this person makes money off of the program that you could scratch out on a piece of paper.

I will give the "creator" of this method a pat on the back for making me think of this analogy. Something that writing and snowflakes have in common is that each is different. Just as each snowflake is different, each story idea is different. Sure, you have all of the ones about vampires and werewolves and unexpected love, but each has a special thing that makes it different. Where would we be without differences? We wouldn't have JK Rowling, which is how most of us met. We wouldn't have Stephen King or Shannon Hale or Eric Kripke (script writer but it's the same idea). We wouldn't have computers or telephones or all of these crazy inventions.

So before you give up on your story because it reminds you of something that's already out there, change it up. Make it your own. Give it something special that separates it from all the other books out there.

For my challenge of writing a journal, I'd just like to say one thing. Writing a journal in the point of view of a character is one thing, but writing for myself is something else entirely. I don't write journals that are paper and ink; those generally tend to turn into notebooks where I can sketch out story ideas. THIS is my journal. This is someplace where I can come to write down my thoughts and what's going on in my life.

Author: J.D Salinger

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Tree

So since this will be my last post before Christmas and since I post first every week I thought I would create a theme for this week. Challenge to the gurrrls: Tie in something about Christmas to your post this week. Simple, right? Of course.

So my tie in is more of a metaphor. A Christmas tree metaphor. This tree is your story. your initial idea is the tree itself. The strong truck, the green branches, this it the meat and potatoes of your story. You have to have the tree before you can have a Christmas tree. But, it is only a tree at this point.

Lights come next. This is your story line. The lights wrap around your idea tree to create the events that make your story shine. But you need to have the right amount. Too many and your lights may get bunched up. Too few and the lights become stretched and may not even reach the top (or bottom depending on where you start). Don't let the lights get tangled and make sure you don't blow a fuse. By this I mean keep the story straight and don't add too many "ghost plots" and JKR would probably say. They might take away too much attention from the main story. Just make sure everything is spaced out right and everything is plugged in. Once this is figured out you can begin to add your ornaments.

Ornaments are your characters. Some ornaments you buy yourself. I believe that everyone has their stock characters that they put into every story. For instance, my MC always seems to have red hair. Boy, girl, young, old, there is always a MC that has red hair. Then there are the ornaments that other people give you. Ideas you take from from other books or people you base your characters off of. These are not ornaments you would have bought yourself but they are one that will fill out your collection over time. Finally there are the ornaments that seem to have been on your tree your entire life. The hand-me-down ornaments that are always there. These pertain more to the personalities of your characters. There is always the mean one, the funny one, the really smart one, the hero, the villain, the annoying one, and so on. You must take these different ornaments and move them around your tree so they are spred out in just the right mixture.

Once all of your ornaments are in place you can fill in the more bare spots with tinsel. This will be all the fluff stuff of your story. Whatever extra details that will really make the story make sense and flow well. Make it pretty. But just like the lights and the ornaments make sure that the tinsel is spaced well and covers the places it needs to without clumping up.

Finally, you can add the topper. My family always uses an Angel. This will be your goal. Whenever you believe all the lights, ornaments, and tinsel needed are in place you can then add the Angel. Whether this is publication or just saying "I'm done" this will be your Angel.

Finally, the presents can go under the tree. Show your friends and family or whoever you want. The presents will be their comments. The good and the bad. There are always some presents that you believe are better than others. But take them all with a smile and say "thank you" and go merrily on your way.

Once that is done you can take a step back and be proud of your tree. Sit on the couch, turn on some Christmas music, sip some cider, and just enjoy the view.

Oh! Christmas Tree. Oh! Christmas Tree, how lovely are your branches.

Author: Isaac Asimov

Friday, December 16, 2011

Well Crap...

So as I sat around earlier in the week when I should have been studying for finals, I started wondering what I was going to post about this week. Then I started thinking about my book and how I haven't written a single word since the middle of November. Needless to say, I did not win NaNoWriMo this year. And then I decided that I was going to write about either A) getting writers block and not knowing what to write, or B) not feeling like writing. Because lets face it, every author feels both of those things sometimes, and if they try to deny it they're lying to you.

I have had a serious case of the laziness going on when it comes to writing lately. I think it might have had to do with all the junk I had to do for school, with finals coming up. But regardless, I neglected my book. But it's okay, because no matter how long I wait to write another word, at least I've started, and I know that I can do it. True, I wish I could go back and keep writing when I wasn't, but the past is the past and I can't change it, so I'm not going to worry about it. In fact, I've decided that as soon as I finish up this blog post I am going to open up my document and continue where I left off. Because now I'm ready to continue. I'm through with school for the year, and now I am ready to devote countless hours to writing all day, every day, and drink way too much coffee than can possibly be good for me.

As far as writers block, it happens all too much. But the way I get around it is by writing as much as I can, about whatever comes to mind, whether it makes sense or not. I just keep writing, until I can't possibly think of anything else to write about. Most times that works for me, to get all of the junk that I'm thinking about out of my head. Then I can start fresh and continue working on whatever important thing it was I wanted to work on.

Well that's all I can think of to say, so I'll stop before I start rambling. My author I got for this post is David Foster Wallace.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


So I know what you are thinking. "What! Today is Wednesday. Why is Marissa posting? Wasn't she supposed to post Monday? She is late!" I won't deny it. I actually forgot. Shameful I know. And there are no excuses worthy of it. But I will give you mine anyway. Life. Yes, my life got in the way. I spent Monday with friends from college shooting a potato cannon and riding horses and baking cookies and watching movies and reading a wonderful book. I spent Tuesday with my fiance Christmas shopping and and wedding ring shopping and reading that same wonderful book. I have spent the last two day with some of the the most wonderful people in my life celebrating our lives and the time we have with each other. And I got some great material to add to my book.

In my opinion, sometimes you just need to step away and forget about your writing. You can't let it consume you. If you do you will end up hating it. Don't try to rush your writing. Just let it happen naturally. Some days you can probably sit and write for hours. Other days you may not write a single letter. Don't let it get you down if you are having writer's block. Take advantage and just set the story aside for a while. Don't forget to live your own life, too.

And as a catch up on my other gurrrls challenges:
  • For my journal I have come to the realization that this is my journal. Although there are four other people that contribute to this blog I look to it to be the place that I go o get my idea out and look for inspiration. This and my skype conversation that is perpetually going with these same lovely ladies.
  • Outlining: I sort of use it. I start out with a very (VERY) rough idea of what I want to write but then just let the words take over from there. I know where I want the story to go but I have no idea how it is going to get there. And I like that. I believe that if a is going to shock the reader then it must also shock the author as well. If I am not laughing, crying, screaming, or anxious about my characters then my reader won't be either.

Author: Stephen King

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Gurrrls

As I was sitting in class today (English class, funnily enough) I started to wonder what I was going to post about today. A few topics ran through my head, but nothing seemed like anything I felt like writing about. Then I started thinking of what my gurrrls had posted, and I got the idea to write about "support groups". I'm not a very confident writer. I'd like to think that's a good thing though, because then I don't have high expectations for myself. I like to get feedback on my writing, but I don't like to show it to just anyone. I feel like I can send a portion of whatever it is that I'm writing to Amy, Mandy, Marissa, and Sydney, and I will always get honest feedback from them. Even if it's something that I don't want to hear, they're going to give it to me straight. It might hurt at first (lets face it, no one is perfect in their first draft), but in the end their feedback is only going to make my book better. And I appreciate that. And so my challenge for our readers, if anyone besides my gurrrls reads this, is to go out there and find a group of good friends that they can trust to give them good, honest feedback about whatever it is they're writing.

As far as answering Mandy's question about outlining, I despise outlining. I have never outlined for anything, unless it was an assignment at school. I'd rather just go with the flow and see wherever my book seems to go. I like not knowing whats going to happen until it pops into my head. Often I'll only know the beginning of my book and the end, and the middle is left to be discovered.

My author that I got for this post is Chuck Palahniuk.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I don't know if anyone even reads this blog besides my gurrrls, but if you're out there and you were hoping for a proper post from me today, I'm sorry. Truly. I'm in the midst of finals and I'm half-past crazy right now. I didn't have time to sleep this week, let alone think of a topic (or type it up for that matter). I'll be back with you next week with your regularly programmed ramblings! Deepest apologies, Amy! 

For this little, poor excuse of a post, my writer was David Foster Wallace. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I don't like this topic, but this seemed like a good time to talk about it. Outlining to me is the equivalent to hell when it comes to writing. I enjoy writing by the seat of my pants and though I know where I'll eventually end up, it's fun to have surprises even as the author. I like being in the mindset of my characters and feeling what they're feeling as I experience things with them.

That being said, I'm currently attempting to outline a story. It's not the one the other girls know of, though Marissa does know more about it than anyone else. It started out as one thing and turned into something completely different. The only problem with that is that I had known exactly how it would turn out but this one, I know what happens in chapter one and that's it. I want to know every detail of this story so I can do all the research I need to.

My outline is only done through chapter 2, but at least I'm attempting it, right?

I do know that a lot of authors say that outlines are a writer's best friend. However, I've always wondered how to exactly do it. You have the snowflake method, you can find JK Rowling's outline for Order of the Phoenix, you can find different ways to outline if you google the term "novel outline writing format" and it comes up with over 52 million hits, there's even software to help you. I have yet to find an outline format that helps me.

Therefore, I have a question for all of my co-bloggers. Do you outline? If so, what method do you use?

Before I sign off, for who we write like, I am proud to say that I have gotten Stephen King. Jealous?

Monday, December 5, 2011


So I grab my computer for the first time all day and I begin to decide what to do first. research a project due tomorrow night? Check Facebook? Log on to skype? I look at the bottom corner of my screen to check the time. 11:43pm. It's still Monday. Monday? MONDAY! I was supposed to blog today! I've got time...

There are few things more important than timing. Good timing, bad timing, missed times, times yet to come. Whatever kind of time it is, it is probably very important to your story (I rock at segways). Whether there is a lull in your character's life or the next eight pages are nothing but action-packed, tension-causing, edge-of-your-seat kind of environment, timing is everything. Sometimes you need to time the release of information just right, whether its to your audience or your character. Revealing something too early can cause your story to end too quickly. Too late and you are boring or frustrating the reader. You have to time things just right so that the story flows well and keeps your reader interested in what is happening. Think about the cause and effect of your timing. Where can you go from here? How far can you go? Almost everything in your story line will rely on what information is presented and when.

Endings are important to time, too. Go too long and people might give up. Cut it short and infuriate readers with loose ends. It depends on whether you want to write another book or if you want to wrap things up completely or maybe just leave them with something to ponder or stew over. On that note, I think it's time to end this post. And with one minute to spare before Tuesday. I am just that good :)

PS So Mandy showed us this site and I think I am going to post my author each week. Mostly for myself so ignore this if you wish.

Author: Stephen King

Friday, December 2, 2011

Background Noise

I'll admit, when I say Mandy's challenge, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. While I listen to music almost 24/7, I never really seem to pay attention to whats playing. It's just background noise; I don't like it when it's quiet. So trying to find a song that inspires my writing was a little difficult for me. I thought about it for a whole week (I was a bit happy that I have the last post of the week), and finally came up with a few songs that keep me going when my fingers run dry of ideas to put on my virtual page.

First up is "Secrets" by One Republic. I think this song really relates to writing because when you write, you're telling all of your characters' secrets, and no one is going to know what to think of your characters unless you give them a something to base their decisions on. Getting to know your characters and learning all of their secrets is a crucial part of the writing process; if you don't know your characters, no one ever will. So you have to divulge a few of their precious secrets to the world.

Second I picked "Not Like the Movies" by Katy Perry. I simply smiled when this song came up, because when books get adapted to movies, the two are never the same. Occasionally when I write, I wonder what it would be like to have one of my books get a film adaptation, but I quickly silence the thought, thinking I could never write something as amazing as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games (I don't have much confidence in myself). But this song always gets me thinking of who I'd like to portray my characters, what would be changed, etc. This song gets my imagination going.

The final song I picked is "What You Want" by Evanescence. This song reminds me that no matter where my story heads, I', writing for myself, and no one else. I can write what I want, when I want, because I want to. Like J.K. Rowling, I don't want to write for others, I want to write for myself, because I feel like it. Writing should never be something that gets forced upon people. And so this song always reminds me to always keep the story going how I want it, no matter what.

And I only have one more thing to say, directed at Mandy: bring on more challenges!

Love you all! <3:Dx

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Why Do You Always Have To Do Something Different?"

This is what my high school French teacher said to me one day after reading an essay of mine in class. When I sat down to think about what I would write about in response to Mandy's challenge, this memory is the first thing that came to my mind. I have decided to be different, like my teacher said I always had to be. The rebel, if you will. Just because I can. *insert evil laugh here*

In all seriousness, I am not accepting Mandy's challenge, but not because I just feel like it, or because I want to annoy Mandy by defying her (which is not to say that's not a bonus). I decided that instead of racking my brain to find a song (or more) that I hadn't even thought about before this challenge, I would be truthful. That is what this blog is about, after all. We're here to share the ways we each write, in the hope that we can help or maybe even inspire someone out there who may be reading this. That being said, I will keep to the theme of music.

When I'm writing, I don't consider music. I never find myself writing a scene and thinking of a song that fits it perfectly, and I don't hear a song that immediately brings my writing to mind. When I'm writing, I write. When I'm listening to music, I listen to music. I cannot recall a time where I ever tried to merge them and make one fit perfectly with the other. I just don't associate music with my writing and I don't try to. That's not to say that people who do have songs that they think fit their stories tried to make it so. Although some do, I know that many just find that the mix comes naturally to them. That's alright. Everyone's different and we all have ways that we like to approach these things.

That being said, I do listen to music while writing. "What?! But you just said-?!" I know, I know! This seems kind of counter-productive but I think it makes sense. I don't associate music with my story, but I do like to have music playing while I write. I've got a writing playlist and I find that it's most helpful when it's full of songs that I know front and back. This is because I know the music so well that it's enjoyable but at the same time, it isn't distracting. My mind is so accustomed to the songs, there is nothing to distract my attention from the writing. Some of the artists that are in this playlist of mine are The Script, Paramore, Starkid, Jim and the Povolos, Darren Criss, Taylor Swift, and Adele. Lately, I've been having Jim and the Povolos on more than anything, just because their sound is so different and it's got a great vibe without distracting me.

Because Mandy will kill me if I don't put Youtube links in (she's obsessed with Youtube links. Just go see her comment on Sydney's post), I'm going to put in links right here to the top 3 most played songs on my writing playlist.

First up is a song called Don't Go, by Jim and the Povolos. I love this song, and this band.

Same band, different song. This one is called Dream and it's awesome. 

Third is a song by Paramore called Fences. It's pretty fast-paced and I love the lyrics. It's got a great energy to it and pumps me, if that makes sense. 

I don't want to overload you guys with videos so I'll stop there! Closely following these three for most played on my writing playlist are: Guys Like Potter by Team Starkid; Misery by Maroon 5, but sung by Darren Criss; Somewhere Only We Know by Keane, but sung by the Warblers; Set Fire To The Rain by Adele; Science and Faith by the Script; Last Kiss by Taylor Swift; and an assortment of other songs!

So there you have it! That is my take on this particular topic. We're all different, and we all have things that are helpful for us, and things we can just do without. So, while I could have found a song to fit with my story, I thought I'd share this instead. Who knows? Maybe there's someone reading this--after reading the posts from my friends all week--and saying, "Thank God, I'm not the only one who doesn't consider music when writing." I'd be rather happy if that's the case; I know I love finding out I'm not alone in the way I think about certain things. Leave me a comment and let me know!

P.S. If you haven't already, go check out Mandy's post! Darren Criss singing Somewhere Only We Know is rather addictive.