December 3, 2012

Too Much Perfectionism Is No Good

Finishing up the last few chapters of the first draft of my current work, I'm finding myself thinking about all the revisions I'm going to need to make.  I'm hoping to be done with draft 2 before I leave for the holidays, then already planning for drafts 3 and 4, and possibly 5 during January/February.  But I know myself, and I know that, even with so many revision, I for sure will not be happy with the result and want to push back the date of publication even further away. 



Today, thanks to ScreenwritingU, I saw this quote which calmed down this near-hysterical panic session (season?):

"When we're continuously so hard on ourselves and strive for perfection, our creativity and growth is completely stifled.  Nothing ever becomes good enough." ~Erica Diamond

I suppose this is a sign that, at some point, I'll just have to learn to let go... and in the meantime, not sweat the small stuff.

November 19, 2012

How To Keep Your Ass Anchored To The Seat And Get The Juices Flowin'


 I'm always pretending that I'm sitting across from somebody.  I'm telling them a story, and I don't want them to get up until it's finished.
James Patterson

November 18, 2012

How To Be A More Prolific Writer - An Example

Don't remember when I fell on this article, but I'm glad I saved it to share it with you!  I liked it because I've found that this method of writing (or process, rather), which I discovered on my own via trial and error (and boy were there errors!), is actually working quite well for me (obviously this is a very subjective opinion).

The gist of it is summarized in this very apt graph (a picture's worth a thousand words, eh, eh?  OK.  I'm leaving now...)

November 17, 2012

November 15, 2012

Lonely Little Writer

Was reading this blog post today on Writer's Digest about what bestsellers do differently to separate themselves from the chaff, and this quote struck me as quite a propos regarding what I've been experiencing working on my current book (apart from writing myself to the ground):

"Creating art is hard, often lonely work.  Most people don't have the stomach for it.  They think they do, but they don't.  There are probably more half-written novels, uncompleted paintings, and abandoned businesses in the world than there are completed and successful ones.  The pros live with the fact that this whole deal called art is brutal and, if they want to be an artist, they have to grow some callouses.  They have an ability to keep their head down and trudge forward when everyone else has given up and gone home."

Aaaah, the life of a writer (or any artist, for that matter).

But to finish on a not so sad note, here's a great song by one of my all time favorites!

 PS:  Fact 3 is totally relevant in my case--so I'm now off to beat the Resistance and go work on chapter 24...

November 14, 2012

Dr. Seuss Wisdom

Today, it's not one quote I'm providing you with, but 30.  However, I find them all good.  Thanks to imgur, once again, for providing this gem that I can now share with you!


October 2, 2012

The Cost Of Creativity

Read an interesting column by Jerry B. Jenkins, short and sweet, regarding what it takes to write a book, and came away with this quote:

"Don't ever get the idea writing is easy.  If it is, you're not working hard enough.  The stuff that comes easy takes the most rewriting.  And stuff that comes hard reads the easiest."

I have to say, after 7 years of off-and-on writing (mostly off, I'm ashamed to admit), and now that I'm seriously working on my book (the second one, actually, but first that will hit the bookshelves) with a self-imposed deadline, I'm only ever more reminded of how true that one quote is.  But I am also reminded that, to see my book in print, I actually have to keep working at it.

And on that note, on to chapter 5!

Mimi & Eunice - Much agony can go into banal results.

September 28, 2012

Mother Earth's Predictions


"You men and your Gods!  
You mock the Mother for snail slowness, 
for creating blindly in the dark.
Yet when you create without Her,
swiftly and in the light, you will create blindly indeed--
shaping, maybe, a world's death!
Well, poison sea and sky, the air you breathe,
and even the sweet brown skin of Her breast, 
that always She has allowed you to tear to give you grain.
Kill and kill until nothing is left 
but bare bones upon barren, polluted earth.
The Mother is mighty;
She has many bodies, and your world is but one of them.
In Her mightiness She may yet heal Her wounds
and make earth bloom again--
yes, raise up you men along with it,
even if She has to bear your whole race again.
For a good mother is patient; 
she knows that a child must stumble many times 
before it learns to walk...
Also you do have your good points.  
Who should know that better than I?"
She laughed, and cradled Pwyll's head upon her breasts.
from Prince of Annwn, Mabinogion Tetralogy - Evangeline Walton

For any of you interested, this book (4 in 1) is the telling of Welsh myths, which include Fey and Fairies, Dragons and enchantresses, Death and Other Worlds, Quests and True Love, among many other exciting things.  A definite recommend!

August 11, 2012

Life Is But A String

It’s so easy to cut yourself.  The skin, so tender, splits beneath the blade like water under the keel of a boat.  Your body, at first, is too shocked to know how to react, then blood fills the new gap like a field of poppies at spring.  Then the pain comes.  It starts as a dull throb then scales up until it’s reached a couple of octaves higher.  You grit your teeth for a moment.  Then you tell yourself, hey, this isn’t so bad.  I could get used to it.

You concentrate on the scarlet drops sliding down your sun-kissed skin in rivulets until the whole world around you dissipates in a blurry cacophony of colors.  Even the noise that’s kept you up for months’ on end like the tonal variant of Chinese torture seems to fade in the sound of your slowing heart’s beats in your ears. 
Your head feels heavy.  You lie down, or recline against something.  You’re not quite sure anymore.  It doesn’t really matter.  You smile to yourself, the first time in…  well, for the last time, surely.  You think of all your childhood memories, little nuggets of happiness that melt away like chocolate on the tongue.  It’s funny, really, how the world works.  Would you ever have imagined yourself this way?
The world feels heavier and heavier.  You’re not sure whether you’re breathing again.  Your sight is gone.  Or have you closed your eyes?  All you know is that soon enough, this terrible, oppressing weight will be lifted, and you’ll be free again.
The last thought that comes to you as you enjoy the final taste of your memories is…
I’m sorry.

August 6, 2012

The Eye Of A Spy

Whenever I read a book/story, I like to see how the author goes about his or her descriptions. Reason is, that's usually the "slow" part of the reading for me, and one I often find myself skipping...  unless something about it catches my eye.

I am now in the midst of this lovely novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel, written by the Emmuska Baroness Orczy (what a terrific name!).  A precursor to the masked hero stories, it is filled with action, intrigue, life-threatening situations (which abound in a revolutionary France overshadowed by the guillotine), and marital bliss (or lack thereof).  A definite recommend for those who enjoy both thrillers and old classics (a la Jane Austen).



And now a small excerpt that describes how a talented spy pays attention to the smallest details...

"Half-empty glasses littered the table, unfolded napkins lay about, the chairs--turned towards one another in groups of twos and threes--seemed like the seats of ghosts, in close conversation with one another.  There were sets of two chairs very close to one another--in the far corners of the room, which spoke of recent whispered flirtations, over cold game-pie and champagne; there were sets of three and four chairs, that recalled pleasant, animated discussions over the latest scandal; there were chairs straight up in a row that still looked starchy, critical, acid, like antiquated dowagers; there were a few isolated, single chairs, close to the table, that spoke of gourmands intent on the most recherch√© dishes, and others overturned on the floor,that spoke volumes on the subject of my Lord Grenville's cellars."

August 4, 2012

Back In The Olden Dayes...


In the olde dayes of Kyng Arthour,
Of which the Britons speken greet honour,
Al was this land fulfild of fairye.
The elf-queene with her joly compaignye
Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede.
This was the olde opinion as I rede...
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales


Have you ever wondered whether olden tales were actually based on truth?  That the fey walked the earth like we now do, except for their hidden (and sometimes not-so-hidden) talents… that dragons really did fly overhead and that, but for the courage and devotion of valiant knights giving up their lives for our rescue, humans may no longer be around?

But where are they now, the fey and the dragons, the small folk and other spirits of yore?  What happened to them?  Have they ever even existed?  And if they have, did they truly disappear, or are they now lurking in some dark corners of the earth, biding their time for the right moment to strike back at us?

PS: all the great art has been painted by Howard David Johnson

August 1, 2012

Are E-Books The Way To Go?


   I didn't used to think e-books would ever dominate the regular book market.  Of course, it's not.  Yet.  I read some interesting statistics the other day on yahoo!finance, which stated that "e-revenue for new adult fiction is now higher than the revenue for hardcovers."

   Who would've thunk?  And, considering how Fifty Shades of Grey started and that its author is now a millionaire, despite the fact that said author had originally been rejected a number of times (please check my information if I'm wrong) by traditional publishers--though of course, after her online success, she did end up with a regular book deal (and a movie one on top of it).

   Of course, I'll always love the feel of a real, Beauty & the Beast-style library, with real books to peruse at my leisure or for reference... BUT, as a budding writer (yes, it's a long process for me) and a would-be author, I'm fairly interested in this new medium (and I say new because, well, writing on paper or parchment has been around for much longer).

   Hmmm... perhaps I shall let myself be tempted...  But first, I've got a book to write :p

PS:  for those of you interested, that over 2011, e-book sales represented 15% of the market share.



July 27, 2012

The Meaning Of Life?

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive."

~Joseph Campbell


Maybe that's why there are so many adrenaline junkies out there.  That's also one of the reasons why I love good stories so much.  Time to plunge into one of my own stories to get such thrills.  Wait, I think there's something wrong with that picture...



July 7, 2012

War Of The Writers

No matter how hard you work, how many hours you spend honing your art... even if you are considered a great writer by many (critics included), you'll still manage to get some people to hate your writing (and even yourself).  There's no escaping it.

Here's an extract from I Used to Know That: Literature that shows what some great authors thought of some of their compatriots:
  • "I cannot stand Tolstoy, and reading him was the most boring literary duty I ever had to perform, his philosophy and his sense of life are not merely mistaken, but evil, and yet, from a purely literary viewpoint, on his own terms, I have to evaluate him as a good writer." --Ayn Rand.
  • "Poor Faulkner.  Dow he really think big emotions come from big words?  He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words.  I know them all right.  But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use."  --Ernest Hemingway, having been informed that William Faulkner believed Hemingway "had no courage" and "had never been known to use a word that might send the reader to the dictionary."
  • "That's not writing, that's typing." --Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac's On The Road.
  • "This is not at all bad, except as prose."  --Gore Vidal on Herman Wouk's The Winds of War.
  • "At certain points, reading the work can even be said to resemble the act of making love to a three-hundred-pound woman.  Once she gets on top, it's over.  Fall in love, or be asphyxiated."  --Norman Mailer, on Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full.
  • "No more than the greatest mind ever to stay in prep school."  --Norman Mailer, on J. Salinger.
  • "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."  --Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman.
  • "The characters are nearly indistinguishable.  A man in a wheelchair cannot just be a man in a wheelchair; he must be a vehicle to help a lame metaphor get around.  Such is the method of the Well-Crafted Short Story."  --Colson Whitehead on Richard Frost's short-story collection A Multitude of Sings (Two years later, Ford responded by spitting on Whitehead).
So you see, don't get discouraged.  However, by no means cease to try to improve your craft either...  Yeah, I've got loooooots of work ahead of me still.  Le Sigh. 

May 18, 2012

Best Of Friends - Part 6

Here's another amazing love story, straight out of Harry Potter! :) 


The cat's name is Fum, and the owl is, no, not Hedwig, but Gebra.  They've both known each other since they were a month old, and this is them, a year later...

May 10, 2012

Rebounders

A certain Mr. Rick Newman's just come up with a book, Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success, in which he describes the results of his research into what ties 12 successful people from different backgrounds. And yes, one of the people mentioned is none other than Jo Rowling herself.
So really, what are the points in common between all those people? Well, it's all common sense, really, but it's nevertheless a great reminder to go over them:
  1.  They accept failure (and can recognize their own mistakes)
  2. They compartmentalize their emotions (they don't internalize bad feelings)
  3. They have a bias toward action (responding aggressively to a challenge)
  4. They change their minds sometimes (the need to discard old thinking and reprogram a dream)
  5. They prepare for things to go wrong (rebounders are not necessarily optimists)
  6. They're comfortable with discomfort (they're willing to accept inconveniences as long as it leads them closer to an important goal)
  7. They're willing to wait (overnight success is deceptively untrue)
  8. They have heroes (rebounders set and meet higher standards when inspired by others)
  9. They have more than passion (success requires drive too)

And of course, may the odds ever be in your favor ;)



Thanks to yahoo for the article!

April 30, 2012

Best Of Friends - Part 5


For some reason, the following story reminds me of a French children's song that I love...   

I've come to save you. Quick! Follow me...


...La petite biche est aux abois,
Dans les bois se cache le loup!
The two ran so fast and for so long, the wolf never
caught up to them.  But they had to take a bath...

Ouh! Ouh! Ouh! Ouh!
Mais le brave lapin est passe.
Il aida la biche a se sauver!
Eh, eh, eh, eh...




...before they could enjoy the sun set together.





Yes, I know, I took a few liberties with this one and changed the last two verses, but when you see these two love-birds, I'm sure you understand...














Ze End.

April 23, 2012

A Healthy Writer Is A Happy Writer

I find that writing always comes to me more easily when I feel rested.  And I've noticed that, no matter how many hours I sleep, if I eat poorly, I still feel drained.  Not only that, but I have more and more of a hard time concentrating on even simple tasks, such as typing words that ressemble English...

On that note, this interesting documentary came to my attention (attention, this movie's quite long, and subbed in Spanish):


With that, I think I'm gonna turn to zombyism or vampirism.  Hmmm... which one would be better?

April 13, 2012

Best Of Friends - Part 4








I know, I know, it's been a while since I've posted one of these "Best Of Friends" stories, but here's another for you!
I know, I just can't get enough of them :)




 This one's about a chimpanzee, Anjan.  Once again, mother nature showed its cruel side by rendering two white tiger cubs orphan.






But super chimp Anjan came to the rescue!  Anjan's now raising the cubs, with the help of some rangers.  He plays with them, consoles them, and even helps feed them with a bottle!








On a side note, Anjan's quite a practice nanny.  He's already raised lion cubs as well as leopard cubs!

April 7, 2012

A Knight's Oath

    It's interesting to see how one was expected to live back in the Middle Ages if one was to be a knight.  Sure, they had to be good Christians, be loyal to their King and accomplish lots of great deeds... but the most important goal was to gain one woman's love only.


“To reverence King, as if he were
Their conscience, and their conscience as their King,
To break the heathen and upholding the Christ
To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,
To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,
To honour his own word as if his God’s,
To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,
To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
And worship her by years of noble deeds,
Until they won her.”
~Le Morte D'Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory

April 4, 2012

Envy

XXXII
He hated all good workes and vertuous deeds,
And him no lesse, that any like did use;
And who with gratious bread the hungry feeds,
His almes for want of faith he doth accuse.
So every good to bad he doth abuse;
And eke the verse of famous Poets witt
He does backebite, and spightfull poison spues
From leprous mouth on all that ever writt.
Such one vile Envy was, that fifte in row did sitt.

The Faerie Queen, Edmund Spenser

Art by Tai Shou Tsubasa on deviantart

Truer words have not be spoken.  So if you happen to be the victim of any such abuse, it's very probably it's because your bully sees something in you he or she wants.  Don't be afraid to be who you are and walk tall!

PS: for all those of you who may happen to be in High School... don't worry.  (Most) everyone has a hard time in high school, trying to figure out what or who they are.  But those years go by fast, though they may seem interminably long to you (as they did for me).  And you'll see.  Already in college you'll be prized for your differences instead of being shunned for them.  So take courage, strive to become a better person, and be proud of yourself!

March 27, 2012

Filthy Lying Writers!

 
Not much going on in the writerly department these days, to my greatest horror.  Not until I got kicked in the derriere with this particular article...  Fellow writers, beware, the deadly lies we tell ourselves:

(Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart.  R-rated)

  1. I don't have time!
  2. It's okay I didn't write today, I'll do it tomorrow!
  3. I'll come back to this story after I write this other story!
  4. Oh noes, writer's block again!
  5. I can only write when the muse allows!
  6. My creative spark hath been extinguished!
  7. My characters are in control!
  8. That's not bad writing, that's my voice!
  9. I write only for me!
  10. I don't need an editor!
  11. I don't need to do any planning!
  12. I have nothing more to learn!
  13. I need [insert some bullshit here] to help me write!
  14. I need to write like [insert some other asshole's name here]!
  15. If I write, they will come!
  16. Money just cheapens the creative process!
  17. This draft needs to be perfect!
  18. My crap isn't as crappy as some other crap!
  19. But first I need to build my brand!
  20. Nobody has ever thought of this idea before!
  21. Writing should be easy/Delicious misery!
  22. This [insert system of publishing] is the only way!
  23. I'm the last beautiful Dodo bird on Earth!
  24. Writing is not a viable career/I can never do this professionally!
  25. I suck moist open ass!
Chuck Wendig
And on that note, I'm gonna check my books on how to create more Secret Creepy Writer Time!

March 16, 2012

Best Of Friends - Part 3



Tsunamis and hurricanes are devastating forces of nature.  Often, though, we don't hear the rest of the animal kingdom's side of the story, which often doesn't have a happy ending...  Except perhaps with this baby hippopotamus.






Owen, less than a year old, managed to survive a Christmas tsunami on the Kenyan coast, but his mother did not.








However, he found an adoptive parent in a centennial tortoise in the Lafarge park of Mombasa. 








Doesn't matter that the tortoise is a male, they still eat, swim and sleep together.





 





But don't come too close to this happy pair, for Owen's quite protective and will try to bite you.  And don't let his young age fool you.  Even a baby hippo weighs more than 300 kilograms!

March 13, 2012

Best Of Friends - Part 2





On to another amazing story (for more of the same kind, you can visit the ducks, or even zombie cat & doe).










This one's about an orphan orangutan, Roscoe, three years of age, who lives in a zoo in northern California.  He was so depressed from having lost his family, that he wouldn't eat or do anything at all.  The vets were sure he was going to die...












When an old dog was rescued near the zoo and, in the operations room, the two bonded.  Since then, they've become inseparable.

They even swim together (though Roscoe is somewhat suspicious of the water)...













...and take walks together.







They truly are bosom buddies!

March 11, 2012

Best Of Friends - Part 1

Not that I want to dedicate my whole blog to these types of stories, but they're so heartwarming, I actually find them quite inspirational.  Hence, here's another lovely tale.

Rawr, I'm a Lion!




In Harrisburg, PA, a doe's taken a fancy to a tabby and every morning she comes to pay a visit...
Well, I'm a zombie! Beat that!

Ha! Wanna see a real zombie?
But in the end, they still love each other :)