Monday, 28 February 2011

A confession

First off, between last night (at about 9:30 pm) and this morning (before 8:00 am), you guys wrote 52 blog entries!!! Cripes. No wonder I get so behind so quickly. ;)

To those who posted on the last entry, thanks! You gave me some focus.

Now, onto my confession.

I talk to myself as if I'm my characters.

It's actually to help me figure out what they would actually say. Oh, how I love me some dialogue. But only if it's realistic. I don't like stupid dialogue that nobody would actually say in reality. So characters.

I'll talk it all out, the things they would say to each other, and then go and write it down. Unfortunately sometimes while I'm talking it out, I'm in the middle of my hallway trying to feed my cats, or vacuuming up bits of a dead cockroach, or I'm in the laundry getting my latest load of washing out. So I'm far from my computer or from a bit of pen and paper, too far to write anything down. But usually I can at least remember the gist of what "my characters" had been saying (with me as their mouthpiece).

So yeah. That's my confession.

Got anything embarrassing you want to tell me about your writing habits, to make me feel better??

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Bloggers - What should I read!?!

My finger was twitching, it was twitching and stopping and starting to press that "Mark all as read" button, and then it CLICKED the button and I have marked you all as read! But I really do want to actually read your blog entries. I just got way too far behind, and had to start fresh.

So tell me...what should I read? Leave a link to your blog entry so I can read it. ;) And you Chrysalis folk don't count, I'm going to read yours anyway. :D

P.S. Check my Blogfests page!! Heaps of activities are happening in March/April! And let me know of any I missed, I may be interested in those too.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Err...slight problem

Just when you think your 2nd draft (or 2.2nd draft, really) is all good in terms of actual plot let the Revision Compulsion Pixies take over your brain, and everything gets messed up, and you suddenly have no idea how to move from the end of one (rewritten) chapter to the next (former follow-on chapter), because there is no longer any continuity, and how the heck do I get my characters to the point where they have the major discussion that is the next point in the story?

Um. Yeah.

On the upside, I much prefer the rewritten stuff to what was there before. In fact, I prefer it in a squeeing kind of way. Wheeee!

I mean 'squeeeee!'


I didn't think I had any plot work to do anymore. :( Guess I was WROOOOOONNNG, baby.

Apparently I write like Stephen King

I write like
Stephen King
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Which is ironic, since I pasted the first scene in my contemporary romance novel in to find out who I wrote like. ;) Oh well. Maybe there's something new in Stephen King's future. :D My critiquing buddy and I did have a bit of a running joke about my Jared turning out to be a zombie, so maybe I have more in common with King than I thought. And that reminds me of this b-grade horror movie I saw once, about a metal band that was made up of zombies. Or maybe the lead singer guy was the only zombie. I can't remember.

Speaking of Jared and co., though - today's word count is 109,183. Woo! So close to the 108,000s. Hehe.

Oh, I should update on ABNA - I am not a winner. Well, I am, but just not in ABNA's eyes. In my own eyes I am very full of win. :D

For Chrysalis this week, I wrote about a few characters, but one in particular I absolutely hated with every fibre of my being. Have you written characters that you really just want to reach out and strangle? I did this week.


Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Stylish Blogger Award

  1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Award 15 or so recently discovered great bloggers.
  4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

This was getting a bit silly, so I thought I better get on with posting it at last! I want to thank nindogs, Brooke R. Busse, Jenni Merritt and Kari Marie for awarding me this...award. Yes, they awarded this award. To me. Hehe. Anyway, I am so grateful to have received this award from you guys - you are all people whose blogs I really enjoy reading and keeping up with, so thanks!

Okay, so here goes with the 7 things:
  1. I am listening to Ratcat right now. One song, anyway. Bet you didn't know that before. Hehe. If you want to know, it's the Metro Choir mix of "That Ain't Bad", which is awesomely hilarious. Teenage girls screaming along with all the words - it's just classic.
  2. I bought my first ever new car at the end of 2009, a brand new Toyota Yaris. Almost immediately after I bought it (and my mum bought her own new car), we started discussing what car we might each get next. Not because we didn't like our new cars but because we were a bit overexcited at the new world that had just opened up to us (for mum it was her first ever brand new car too). ;)
  3. I've hitch-hiked all over the United States with my dad, and have had some intriguing times; a particular favourite was when we showed up in San Francisco out of money, and had to sleep in a homeless shelter the night. The next day we wound up in a 5-star hotel thanks to some very generous American relatives.
  4. In 2007 I happened to be visiting the U.S. anyway, and my favourite band the Smashing Pumpkins had recently reformed and were touring. So for the first time ever, I got to see them live - in both Tucson, AZ and San Diego, CA (reviews here). Best night of my life, that SD show!
  5. When I was a kid I co-wrote a story with a school friend called "Selly the Pain" - it was about a girl called Selly who was a real pain in the butt. Compelling stuff. I don't know if we ever finished book 1 though. ;)
  6. When I was about eleven I phoned up this singing competition and sang "Without You" (the Mariah Carey cover version) over the phone, coming in at first place that week and winning $100. Apparently all the other winners sounded like me. Or I sounded like them. Heh.
  7. The first novel I ever started working on is still not finished to this day. It's sitting at about 250k words at present. Don't panic - it is fantasy. :D

So there you go, 7 things!

Now for people who I want to award (in some cases for the second time or more! Just tack it on the end of your other awards, people! :D) this...award to. And there are so many new people I'm following, thanks to the Crusade. :P But yeah, here we go:

  1. Writing from the Tub ... Carly Bennett
  2. Sheery's Place ... Sheery Hall
  3. nindogs - Nina
  4. Paper Mountain - Brooke R. Busse
  5. Capricious Existence - Madeline
  6. Cheyanne with an A. ... Cheyanne Young
  7. Writing While the Rice Boils ... Debbie Maxwell Allen
  8. Scheherazade's Journal ... Linda Katmarian
  9. Demitria Lunetta ... Demitria Lunetta
  10. Far Seeing Fairy Tales ... Bettie Lee
  11. Inkpots 'N Quills ... Ann
  12. Pen, Paper, Lots of Coffee ... Heather Hellman
  13. The Girdle of Melian ... Deniz Bevan
  14. Think Dream Inspire - Shari
  15. Nerd Girl Reads & Writes - Becca C.

The main thing holding me up for so long was getting around to finding 15 bloggers. It's not that I couldn't find any. It's that I could find HUNDREDS! Literally. So it took some time exploring my new friends (sounds kind of dirty doesn't it? I didn't mean it that way!) to add some names to this list. Some of you have indeed already received this award, but I truly do think you are stylish enough to have earned it again! :P

So there you go! Another award done & dusted. Took me long enough. :D

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

My little word count ritual (+crusade +blogfests +chrysalis)

Now that I've followed all you Crusading folks, the trick is to actually keep up with your posting. And that will be no mean feat, I'm guessing. Every time I venture into Google Reader, I get through a handful of your updates before something else comes up and I have to abandon the task. But I do intend to do my best.

Hi to those new folks I haven't said hi to yet! Great to be in touch with you all! This Crusading thing is pretty awesome, eh? (Thanks Rachael!! And yes I learned to spell your name correctly now :D).

Just a heads up, I added a page to my blog for upcoming Blogfests. This was basically to help me out and remind me what's coming up, but it may be of interest to some of you too! Although we have the Crusade to contend with, I think it's cool to keep in mind the other stuff happening out there. I did also see a Blogfests page on another blogger's...errr, blog (how many times did I say 'blog*' in this sentence?), but I had already had the idea to add the page when I saw that. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Hehe. I was a bit disappointed, because I couldn't complete the day's ritual in regards to SUNDOWN's word count. This is sort of a long story (when I write it, anyway...I do tend to bloviate a fair bit you know :D), so brace yourselves. My ritual involves checking my word count at work everyday. From the moment I started revising SUNDOWN, my goal has been to cull my word count. Biiiig time. Because at the end of my first draft (not rough draft but first complete draft), my word count was a whopping 147k. I first reported on this (and my progress with editing) here. Since then I've managed to get my word count down to about 110k. And for a contemporary romance novel, that's still too long. But I'm working on it!

Anyway, back to the story. Counting words! As we all know, word counts vary (sometimes rather wildly) across word processing programs. And when I'm working on my novel at home I use Scrivener (which is awesome if you don't know). But Scrivener has a downside (when you're trying to cut words; when you're trying to add them it's more of an upside :D), which is that it gives a larger word count than other programs, or at least it gives a bigger word count than Word does. I have Word at work, so each day I must take my novel with me to work. Lately this has consisted of emailing it to myself.

And finally we get to the point of this little ramble. This morning I eagerly downloaded my document and eagerly opened it to find out my latest word count. And it was the same as yesterday's!! I had emailed the wrong copy to myself, so I couldn't get an up to date word count.

It disappointed me a little more than it probably should have. And I confessed to one of my critiquing partners that I apparently have no life. :P

I suppose I've just confessed it to a lot more!

But that's okay. It's all part of us getting to know one another!

Tomorrow I will not be downloading the wrong version, because I will have sent the correct version to myself! After tonight's edits, of course.

And I think that's all I've got to say for now! Except that I am writing this week's Chrysalis story (see Prompt #8) and I think it's going to be fun. Don't worry, nobody dies in this one. Hehe.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Brutal Art - Jesse Kellerman

The Brutal Art

If you check my Goals page you will see that I have read 7/25 books for the year (yes, my goal for reading is only 25 books...I'm setting the bar low, in the hopes that I can leap very far over it). The latest completed read was Jesse Kellerman's The Brutal Art. Below are my comments, which I have tried to keep spoiler-free, and which therefore may or may not make any sense at all to the reader.

The Kellerman family is of course famous for it's work, but I must confess I haven't read much of their stuff. In fact, I'm not sure if I've ever read any before this.

From the description on the back of the book, I expected something a little different - a classic murder mystery, you know? But I was happily surprised by this book. Not that I don't like murder mysteries. But yeah, this was different to what I expected. I guess I didn't expect it to be as well-written as it was, or as compelling. It's not your typical "omg character is about to die arrgh who's gonna save him?!" murder mystery. It was more a family saga, and the murder aspect was almost incidental.

What I like about our main guy, Ethan Muller, is that he's very far from perfect. He's flawed and he knows it. He definitely grows as a person across the span of the book, and comes to accept that he's always going to be just a little bit ordinary, compared to the geniuses of the world. And he comes to the conclusion that being ordinary isn't a terrible thing. I think he grows up by the end of the book.

The story kept me guessing a lot of the time, and I liked that my guesses turned out to be completely off the mark. I was trying to guess what was happening to Ethan but was also trying to predict what revelations would come about the Muller family history. There was that magical moment in one of the "interludes" when a certain surname was spoken, and at that moment things began to fall into place. That was the moment in the novel that made me gasp.

In case you haven't noticed already, I don't really write book reviews - not properly, anyway. I just like to talk about the books I've read, and I'll say whatever pops into my head.

Which is what I just did!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

My lying ways (challenge #1 answers)

Okay, so I figure it's time to put everyone out of their misery. Ha.

A lot of people suggested the following claims were untrue:

1. I have an iPod
2. I was going to listen to my iPod at work
3. I clear my driveway of snails
4. I talk to ants before spraying them
5. I use bug spray at all
6. I have a nail-chewing habit
7. My sentences tend to get pretty long (too long).

But all of those things are true. There were a few correct guesses of the real lie, which is:

And I’m not shy at all—no way!

I am in fact shy. I make a very good show of not being shy, and can get along just fine in crowds (even if I hate them a lot of the time; especially at festivals where people keep jostling you. Argh!!). But yeah, I am shy and I think I was born that way!

I do have an iPod, I do listen to it at work, I do clear snails off my driveway (I don't hurt them, in fact the purpose of clearing my drive is so I won't run over them), I talk to ants (and pretty much everything else in the world, including leaves and bits of paper), I do chew my nails (I tend to go through cycles where I leave them alone and they grow, then I will get stressed and get back into that bad habit), sentences are often rather long (for e.g., the one currently drawing to a close).

So there you go! I think we all learned something valuable here, right?

I'm strange in a fair few ways. Hehe.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Consider yourself FOLLOWED! and some other stuff

Guess what?!?! I actually finished following every participant in Rachael Harrie's Writer's Platform-Building Crusade! I hear you gasp in wonder. I see you gape in astonishment. I also see you're lost for words. That's okay though, I've got a few more to share!

There ARE (I will admit) a few people who I have not yet followed. Why? Because there was no apparent way of following them, save developing a psychic ability that will give me mental alerts when they've posted something new...oh, and that will transmit the (psychically divined) URL from my brain into my browser's address field and will automatically refresh said browser so that said URL gets visited. And therefore said blog entry gets visited. Alas, my brain isn't quite that special. So if I left you a comment asking how I can go about following you, you're one of those I'm talking about. Unless I left you a follow-up comment saying "A-ha! I figured it out!"

Other than that...I did really enjoy doing the first challenge, and it's fun seeing what people think I'm lying about. It is indeed a good way of getting to know our fellow Crusaders, and I look forward to hearing what everyone's lies were. Hehe.

But now onto other news...(well, not news for everyone, just for the newcomers :D):

The Chrysalis Experiment is a project my critiquing buddies and I have undertaken this year - the aim is to write one short story per week for all of 2011. Similar to Write1Sub1, it's just a little different because our immediate aim is not publication, but experimentation. Indeed, that's the name of the game.

For more information, check out these links:
And that about wraps it up, I think. :)

Anyway, to all my new followers - hi! :D

Friday, 18 February 2011

1st Crusader challenge!

Yes indeed, the time has arrived for the first Crusader challenge, and you can read all about it here.

Below is my entry for the challenge, a poem I like to call...

A Blade of Fuliguline Grass Makes For A Bloviate Rabbit

Maybe I was a rabbit once

Or something like a duck

I hopped through blades of glass

Fuliguline in my way

But this time I’m a librarian

And I’m not shy at all—no way!

Yet with words I tend to bloviate

Beyond what I can explain

Yes, indeed, you’ll probably find

My word counts are too high

But I’m the more self-confident type

The voices won’t turn me aside

P.S. I rescue baby rats from my cats

And I clear my driveway of snails

I talk to the ants before I grab the spray

And hope they’ll run away

Sometimes I chew on my nails till they break

And my sentences might stretch very far away...............................


It’s time to finish this poem

And put it on my blog

And then I’m going out into the stacks
And putting my iPod on.

The End

I have revealed something about myself in this poem that isn’t strictly true - can you guess what it is?

This was a lot of fun to write. I have written a lot of poetry in my time, but lately it's been mostly for songs, and it's been a while since I wrote a silly poem. :D Anyway...look forward to reading others' entries for this challenge! :) And I have yet to follow everyone. *sags wearily*

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Crusading RSI!

So, one of the tasks for those of us participating in Rachel Harrie's Crusade is to follow every other participant. So far I'm down to number 19 on the list (there are 213 of them!!) and I already have mental RSI!

At least I know some of the other participants are people I was already following! :D

Still, I need a break, some chocolate, and some beer. Sadly, all I have available is the break.
I just wanted to share. ;)

But I also wanted to share that I'm excited, and look forward to this thing starting! Woo!

P.S. Maybe possibly gearing up to editing NAUSICAA. Hang on, wasn't I totally burned out on that? But then I heard about THIS (if you're too lazy or leery to click, it's Angry Robot Books' open door month this March!), and realised that it was a pretty cool (read: awesome) opportunity, and that the only thing I have that's suitable for submission is last year's NaNo. Just one catch: it's in rough draft form. Still, maybe I can do a quick whiz through and fix the most glaring mistakes? Cue hysterical laughter and much caffeine.

Don't know if I'll manage it, but it's worth a shot I think!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Show Me The Love - Blogfest

Yes, it's "Show Me The Love!!" day, and here I am with my entry. I signed up for this one, even if I currently consider myself a bit of a "Love Grinch". I still have a soft spot for mushy crap, and I write the damn stuff, so yeah, here goes!

  1. What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?

    I would say the most romantic thing anyone's ever done for me is just say nice things to me, make me feel completely sexy and irresistible, and told me he'd been in love with me since he first saw me.

  2. What is your favourite love song?

    Off the top of my head I can think of two: Unwritten Law's "How You Feel", and Type O Negative's "Pyretta Blaze". Both featured prominently on my Valentine's Day CD compilation I made for myself a few years back. A lot of Smashing Pumpkins songs tend to be romantic and "omg that is so my wedding song!" for instance, "In The Arms Of Sleep" - go look up the lyrics. It's a beautiful song too.

  3. Do you have a favourite romantic movie or book?

    I really love Colin Firth. Need I say more? Well okay, I love some movies he's not in as well. I thought Valentine's Day was pretty decent. But favourites would be and Love, Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary. Oh, and the B.B.C.'s Pride & Prejudice, if it counts as a movie. ;) Books? I really loved Jane Eyre. But more modern-like, I'd go with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Jamie Fraser = o.m.g. I won't mention my own character from SUNDOWN et. al., because that's cheating. :D

  4. Do you have any romantic plans for Valentine's Day this year?

    Yes, I'm going to spend it with myself, which is AWESOME because I love myself. Maybe this year I'll do something similar to what I did another year - write myself a love letter, make myself a CD compilation, buy myself dinner and wine, and simply enjoy my own company. I'm one of those lucky bastards who loves being in her own company.

  5. What's your favourite romantic treat? (candy, chocolate, edible body paint, etc...)

    Dark chocolate and white wine. Together. In the same mouthful. Don't knock it till you've tried it, I'm saying.
This was fun. :D

Now, back to my Love Grinch ways. Except when I'm writing, anyway. Muahaha.

The Chrysalis Experiment on Facebook ;)

Yes, we have our own Facebook page now. So far, one person has 'liked' it - me. Hehe. If you're on Facebook and you like what we're doing, feel free to show it! :)

The Chrysalis Experiment on Facebook are some random things I want to mention:
  1. My wordcount for SUNDOWN is at 111,140 - the lowest it's been since before I completed the rough first draft.
  2. I was doing a sort of haphazard map of chapters and I realised there are a large number of chapters (like eight or something!) during which the hero and heroine don't speak at all. So I need to do something about condensing that "apart time" down. There's such a thing as keeping readers in too much suspense, after all.
  3. I'm all signed up for the Crusade, and can't wait to read about the first challenge on Friday!
  4. I need to go and follow a whole lot of people as part of the Crusading effort :)
  5. I studied the Crusades at uni, and the main one I remember is the one where Christians killed Christians without knowing they were doing so (or maybe they did know)
  6. This guy on found my music and in the past day or so has racked up 67 listens! For my little page, that is a lot of listening in a little amount of time. ;)
  7. I finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird, and posted my review on GoodReads. 6 books down out of my 25-book goal for the year. Now I'm reading The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman (it's just one of many books on my entire bookshelf of unread books - yes, I have a whole bookshelf for this).
And I think that's all I can think of for now.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

One-sentence mission statements, and Chrysalis

With the Chrysalis Experiment, this week was my turn to post a story for the Friday feature (link here). Before the time came to post my story, I had already written most of it, except the last section. But I already had the ending planned, and as I was comparing notes with other participants, this is what I told them they could expect:

unrequited love, false sympathy, and a stalled execution leading to a suicide

Technically though, we don't actually see that ending happen. It's simply implied.

We also have a running joke about villains called Susan - a few of us have written stories with evil characters named Susan. So this week one of the participants asked me if my villain this time was called Susan too (I didn't name her in the story). My answer was that I don't know her name, but I know it's not Susan. ;) AW this week I've been getting help with my SUNDOWN synopsis, and I was advised to come up with a one-sentence summary of my novel - a "mission statement" of sorts. I didn't think I could do it easily, and apparently the person who suggested it didn't think I could either. Haha. But here is my first attempt (which actually is the result of many other attempts made prior to posting):

A rocker chick determined never to love again meets her muso kindred spirit, and must choose between risking her heart in the future and staying safely hidden in the past.

So there you go. That about sums up SUNDOWN.

I'm sure I can make it more sparkly and pretty in future, but it's good to at least have a line I can return to when trying to hone my query/synopsis, and even the novel itself, to make sure I'm sticking to the point.

P.S. I want to mention the SECOND WRITERS' PLATFORM-BUILDING CRUSADE, which I am signing up for and which looks pretty cool! If you are interested in getting more active in the writers' blogging community, networking more and having fun, looks like you and I have something in common. And you should sign up too! Hurry though, the deadline is fast approaching! Oh, and Rachael Harrie is the one who came up with this. Cool idea, eh?!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

30 years, and I had another think coming

I am currently reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for the first time ever. I'm thirty. I never had to read it for school, so maybe that's how I escaped it so far. Not that escaping it is a good thing. I'm really enjoying the read, and loving Scout's innocent take on everything she sees. I can definitely see what made it a classic. But most importantly by far, I learned something I never knew before:

If you think that, you've got another think coming.

For all of my thirty years, I've said it like this:

If you think that, you've got another thing coming.

I just Googled this today, and found out there's a lively (and far from new) debate on which is correct. Honestly, I got confused the first time I read Harper Lee's use of think. The second time, I was like, Okay, I'm obviously missing something... And it's true. I was!

It makes far more sense for it to be think, not thing. I just find it amusing that for all of my life, I've escaped even hearing it said that way.

And now I am going to have to scour my writing for any instances where I've said thing, and think (no pun intended) about what I'm gonna do with them. :)

P.S. Speaking of reading - check my "Goals" page. I added a "books read in 2011" widget that I got from Goodreads. My new reading goal is 25 books in the year. I think I can do that easily, especially if I keep on with reading the shorter books on my shelves. Hehehe, I know that's kind of cheating. But anyway...5/25 so far! MOCKINGBIRD will be the 6th.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

It Was a Dark and Stormy...Blogfest Contest!

Indeed, I'm just in time to participate in this Blogfest, hosted by Brenda Drake. Thanks to Shayda for alerting me to it with her own entry! :D

Anyway, here's my details:

Name: Patricia Farnan
Genre: MG/humour

Long, long ago in a city called Mouseratten, a hulking figure made for a rather scary sight.

Yes, I decided to go with a novel I'm not really working on that vigorously right now, because I'm happier with its opening line than I am with most of my other novels' opening lines. Haha. Though I must admit that I may be discarding my entire first chapter of this novel in future. Anyway...

There you go! Easy blogfest, simple rules, lots of fun. Now I'm off to read other people's first lines. :)

Okay guys, here is my current revision:

Long, long ago in the city of Mouseratten, the hulking figure was scaring the fur off any who saw him.

Tell me what you think!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Back in business!

Yesterday I finally made it home after a looong series of flights that took me in this direction:

Spokane - Las Vegas - Los Angeles - San Francisco - Sydney - Melbourne - Perth.

And that was all so I could save $1,100 on flight costs. I guess it was worth it in the end, but it sure felt like a trial as I staggered through various airports of the world (including two in Sydney, international and domestic). Then I had a taxi driver who insisted on driving 10kph below the speed limit! That irritated me just a little.

But anyway, here is a picture of me as a bridesmaid!

Anyway, I've finished this week's Chrysalis story, and while I think it won't go very far, and I may never edit it again, it was fun to write. I wrote about a pair of ghosts who get stuck in purgatory, or what they call "the After".

I did indeed submit to the ABNA competition, and thankfully my query was in relatively good shape (compared to former shapes it's known) so I felt pretty good about submitting that.

In other news, I'm still slowly working on editing SUNDOWN, and am nearing the end of the first draft of STORM. But I'm looking most forward to NaNoEdMo when I can sink my claws into FIRE and get it shredded to bits. Yay!!

Sorry I have been out of touch with everyone! You have not been out of mind, only out of sight, for the last two weeks. :) I will work on getting caught up on everyone's blogs, and more importantly their adventures in writing. Hope everyone has been safe and happy!