Tag Archives: General Update

Looking to the Past, Stepping into the Future

Well how fast did I epically fail my last New Year Resolution? Keep up a regular posting schedule… ha! Well here’s to the same plan this year.

I’m making a queue on my tumblr so there will, hopefully, always be something going up once or twice a day from me. I have Twitter on my phone, so I’ll see if I can keep up with that now too. And as for blogging, I think my internship this semester will help with that.

This semester I am part of The Florida Review internship, helping to produce a non-profit, national literary journal. At the end of the semester, my name will appear on the masthead of the editions I help create. As part of the class portion of the internship, I have to write a journal each week about what I’ve learned that week from the course and the internship. I plan to use those as at least jumping points for blog posts, because they will apparently be a great inside look at how I grow and what I think of the editing job/business.

Also, this blog has been updated a bit. I used it in a course last semester as proof of my ‘Author site’ and some classmates gave me points on how to improve the site. The ‘About It All’ page now includes my email in case anyone wants to message me privately or ask me a question. The information has been updated. I have a link page to other pages I think you would all enjoy if you’re into the same things as me, and I hope you are. If you have any suggestions for other links to be added, be sure to hit me up in a comment or email!

Here’s to hoping we all have great years ahead of us!

Ciao tutti,

RM

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The Coming of Emotional Death

I was planning on updating with something mildly literary again this week, but it turns out my mind is elsewhere – mainly on how much it hurts >.o Darn headaches.

This week has been quite eventful. Yesterday, my co-worker brought in his newborn son for us all to coo over in the office and distracted us from ‘work’ for a good 2 hours. We weren’t doing much anyway. Maddox is perhaps the most adorable baby I have ever seen – so tiny and cute. I can see in his facial structure and his eyes that he has the potential to be a very attractive man when he grows up.

I met with someone about graduating this coming spring. Let me tell you, school planning is a nightmare. I met with my adviser three weeks ago where we decided I was golden to graduate. The next week, I got an email saying one of my Spring classes has been cancelled. Shit. So I scheduled another advising meeting, enrolled in a new class to cover the new vacancy and we decided I was all good again. Now I meet with the Intent to Graduate people and find out I need to make another advising appointment just so my adviser can sign a paper that substitutes this new class in for the old class, because my degree audit isn’t registering that it counts. Also, my minor isn’t showing up properly, but based on the 2009 catalog, I’ve fulfilled all requirements. They think I must have completed everything for the 2010/2011 catalog because that’t the minor I signed up for, and I didn’t even start going to this school until 2010, and I didn’t apply to that minor until August of this year. So that has to be sorted out as well. Silly programs. Silly school. Golly!

I saw three movies over the weekend – Footloose (which is beyond epic and all the important scenes were just amazing adaptations of the old scenes, so none of the magic is lost. My mother, a die-hard fan of the old one, loves this new movie), The Three Musketeers (unlike Jeremy Jahns, I happen to love this movie too. I thought the graphics were awesome. The characters were hilarious and/or well acted. And the plot was well enough great.), and Real Steal (which was thiiiis close to being awesome). Today, my boyfriend has come over and invited me to Puss in Boots (which was witty and clever and would have been much more entertaining if all the 3 year olds had stopped talking for two minutes).  Those were all definite pluses to my week as well.

Now the downside – I’m making a costume for an anime convention on Nov 11. I found out I left the sewing pins at my mother’s house and my boyfriend was supposed to bring them with him this weekend, but my mother apparently couldn’t find them so now I have no pins. Since I just told my friend I would definitely have the costume done in time, this now puts me in the predicament of going out and finding where to buy more pins…. and shears, because I have none of those either. In the middle of this, I have a paper on Dante Rossetti due next week and I still haven’t finished my Grad school entrance paper to be edited by my professor. I also haven’t sent out my info to my other professor for a recommendation letter, I haven’t gotten my GRE test scores, I have that advising appointment to make, my neck is twinged so that I can’t fully turn it to the left, I’m supposed to send an email with a bunch of links and info to a girl who’s making The Rose Chateau bookmarks for me, and next Tuesday is the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

In short – there is just too much too do and I’m going to commit accidental emotional suicide over it all. Wish me luck in living.

Ciao Tutti!

RM

In the Words of Dan Goodwin

This one from the mouth of a man behind a camera.

It’s only by becoming obsessed that we can narrow our focus with enough razor precision to block out the noise and the chaos and the distraction, reach in deep, and finally create the work we’re here for.

If we wait in hope for our lens to automatically adjust, find the inspiration and do the work for us, it will be a vain hope.

We must be brave, seek, aim and strike with confidence and conviction, committing to every shot as if it’s the last shot we’ll ever take.

So, where’s your aim been pointed lately?

 

Truer words have no been spoken… well, at least not in this way. Let’s not be too grand about this. We’ve all heard something similar to this – possibly even in just the Wisdom Wednesdays I’ve put up.  I like Goodwin’s blurb about this subject a lot, though. Why?

When people try to describe creating art from words and hard work, we usually all say something about imagination and fighting and flowery language that undoubtedly inspires as much as it tells the truth of the matter. The image of a camera and being a photographer greatly simplifies the life of any artist. We need to block out everything, close out the world and the wonder and just look through the camera. Focus your attention, adjust the lens, make sure it’s clean of dirt, angle the view and snap the photo.

You can apply this idea to any field of study or art. Any person in the entire world who has a passion for any sport, art, business, or interest can understand the amazing anecdote of Goodwin’s. We all just need to be photographers in our own designated fields. Just cover up the world with the body of the camera, look through the lens at your target, and don’t take your eyes off it until the job is done.

The only thing I can think now is…. Photographers have it the easiest – they’re already photographers in their fields. Sneaky shortcut.

Ciao tutti,

RM

NaNoWriMo – A Kick in the Rear

So it’s September.  That means only two months between all of us and NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is a worldwide event that takes place every year. Honestly it’s not so much ‘national’ unless the world of authors is now officially a nation. It’s name is often mistaken to stand for National November Writing Month… which I guess is okay since it lets you know when it happens, but it still isn’t the real title.

The goal is to write 50,000 words toward a novel in just 30 days.  You can write things for the same novel before November and after November, but you must write 50k words in November to be a true, certifiable winner of NaNoWriMo.

And here’s where people get confused. Winner.

To win NaNoWriMo, you simply copy and paste your 50,000 words into their word counter when you reach the goal. They verify your count and then you are whisked away to a glorious winners page. A video will greet you saying ‘Congratulations!’ and then you have links to click. You can get a free proof copy of your novel from CreateSpace.com. Last year the winners received a 50% off code for the marvelous Scrivener, which I blogged about previously.  You also receive access to little icons and banners to post around your internet life to show you met your quota for the month.

Winner, however, do not mean you actually beat anyone else. Anyone who meets the 50k goal is a winner. You only beat the people who didn’t have the time or energy to finish on schedule. No one is going to judge the entries and pick a top story. No one is going to edit or even read these 50,000 words unless you bind and sell them as a novel.  To be a winner means you made it. You wrote 50,000 words in 30 days, a feat considered impossible by most people around the world. It means you have the chance to feel proud of yourself, feel like you accomplished something. To win NaNoWriMo means to be one step closer toward a finished masterpiece of your own creation.

Of course it’s only for novel writers. Video editors, painters, and other mediums of creation will need to find their own methods for being kicked into action. For script writers, there’s always ScriptFrenzy in April.  I’m rather terrible at scripts, so I’ve never participated in that particular marathon. This past year, NaNo also hosted a ‘summer camp’, which was like a miniature version of NaNoWriMo.

I love NaNo. I’ve competed four years now and only failed once. Of course, I don’t have three novels out, but the point is that I made progress on the stories I was writing. I have plenty of notes, lots of built up ideas, and 50,000 words toward three novels. One of those novels is The Rose Chateau, which is defined in detail on the Purchase tab of my blog. It did, in fact, make it to completion. The final word count for it is 115k, most of which was written after NaNo had ended. I may not have needed NaNoWriMo to push me into writing it, but I used it anyway.

I believe NaNoWriMo is a very helpful and useful way of kicking writers with low ambition into finally cranking out their work. It is a fun and engaging time, although you may grow tired and look like a hermit when it’s all said and done. Grab some friends to try it with you and make a game out of it. Meet new people through Write-Ins with other participants in your region.

Long story short (too late), I highly suggest NaNoWriMo to anyone struggling to get their thoughts on the page. It truly can be a rewarding experience, and the weekly pep-talks will give you plenty to think about.

So who’s going to join me this year for National Novel Writing Month?

Ciao tutti,

RM

What Happens in Summer Tries to Carry On During Fall

Well, that would be the best end, at least. Summer was great. I’ll miss it terribly… well maybe not terribly. I had a beautiful trip to Italy, which I may blog about later. I learned to dance, and I learned about the English Renaissance… sort of. Then there was a two week period of hanging out with my family and boyfriend.

I love my family. I love my boyfriend. I love that house, that town, those people. I love the time I have off to spend with everything about that place. However, let me make this clear. I get little to no work done during breaks.

Break = vacations = family time = friend time = no down time. As someone once said, everyone needs a vacation from their vacation. When school starts up, I have classes for the better part of three days of the week. I work all day the other two. Weekends will be spent mostly with my mother or having some form of a social life. The time after classes and work is known as ‘me time.’

Me Time is for two things. 1, homework. I have several books to read. Being a Literature Major guarantees that. I have dozens of papers and responses to write. I have four projects over the semester to create with people I don’t know. 2, relaxation. I can play games. I can make music videos. I can, above all, write. I can write a fanfic. I can write a story. I can write a poem. I can write a random line that comes to my head, and I can craft something around it.

Me Time is special because it’s me, alone, in my apartment. My sister is across the house, doing her own thing. I am alone. I can do what I want, when I want, and I wont be interrupted. There will be no one sitting in the living room needing my attention. There are no time lines prickling the back of my mind, trying to distract me from what makes me happy. This is Me Time. This is fun and relaxing and simple.

If the Me Time I had during the summer semester could continue into the fall and spring semesters, I would be a happy kitten. Alas, I have twice as many classes and four times as much work to do. Now is time to hunker down, do the work, and get the grade. Now is the time to rework my sleep pattern from waking up at 9 or 10 am to waking up at 6 or 7. Now begins a semester of wondering ‘Why?’ and answering ‘Because I can. Because I am able. Because I will end up better on the other side.’

Me Time is in the evenings. This time is school time, but it is also my time. I will pass my classes, and I will fit Me Time into my schedule so I don’t explode from the pressure, so that I accomplish my dreams, and so I feel productive and successful.

What do you do during your ‘Me Time’ and how do you fit it into your schedule?

Thoughts on the Agent/Publisher Route – Illustrators

It occurred to me that as a self-publishing newbie, I should have kick-butt epic awesomeness on my promotional propaganda. The current cover of my book was a semi-generated one from CreateSpace.com. My friend was meant to make me one, but do to time-constraints and her back suddenly giving out on her, this didn’t happen. That’s alright. I like the cover I made.

That’s when I thought ‘aha! I can just get someone awesome as my artist for next time!’ And so I went onto deviantart.com and found one of my favorite artists of all time Haiiro-no-tenshi and spent a good while staring at her beautiful works. Then another thought occurred to me. My next book will be through an agent and publisher. They may not let me commission just any artist. Which is a pity, because Haiiro is brilliant. I love the angles to the faces, the strength in their necks, the reality of their clothing and positioning, and I cannot move past the brilliance of her emotions.

http://haiiro-no-tenshi.deviantart.com/gallery/9548449#/d391yup

http://haiiro-no-tenshi.deviantart.com/art/COMMISSION-Byaghro-201425834?q=gallery%3Ahaiiro-no-tenshi%2F160629&qo=23

http://haiiro-no-tenshi.deviantart.com/art/Princess-Serenity-213914752?q=gallery%3Ahaiiro-no-tenshi%2F160629&qo=8

I have been following Haiiro on deviantart for some time, and I still cannot get enough of her work. I would also consider woshibbdou as a backup. Keep it up, you brilliant artist.

But now I’m truly curious. Does the author get to choose the artist? And if they do, is it limited to people already in the business? And does that decision rest with the agent or the publisher? @_@ Oh dear.

Ciao tutti,

RM

Life is Dull – Creating Memorable Characters

In the effort to always make my characters interesting and, hopefully, likable to some extent, I love analyzing my favorite characters in movies and novels as well. And with this, I don’t just mean the heros. In fact, some heros are just plain boring. No, I mean the really clever ones, the ones that stick with you, that you remember their names and their gestures, their words and their actions, and perhaps even their family life. These are characters with details – even if you don’t notice the details consciously.

Or perhaps it’s only people like me who notice the details at all. My mother does have a tendency to tell me I pay too much attention to movies. >.>

Oh well.

In any case, what makes a character good?

Details. In The Proposal, Ryan Reynolds holds tensions over his past drama with his father. His habit to relieve stress is apparently to carve up an old boat, which is never explained – but it doesn’t have to be. Sandra Bullock’s character’s parents died in a car accident, then she got a tattoo of doves. Well she didn’t have a family to stop her anymore, and doves are a universal sign of peace and safety. Ryan is on a first name basis with the coffee shop girl, understands and probably created all the lingo involving Sandra’s character, and has the support of at least most of his co-workers. Sandra positions her hair before she sleeps, runs a treadmill while watching nature clips, and apparently never had dial-up internet.

Complexity. That’s what the fans like. We don’t like to have to deal with it all, but the fact that it’s there, giving the characters background and not being the center of attention to take away from the main plot – that’s good detail and complexity. That’s memorable.

Wit. Cleverness also seems to resonate with people. Ryan Reynolds had it in The Proposal. If a movie has a group, one of it’s most memorable characters is the one making the witty comments and jokes – the techy, the bad boy, the goof-ball, The Weasley twins – yes they get their own category. Sherlock Holmes is nothing if not composed of the delightful stuff. A smart character – even if only in jest – is a fun character. People love fun characters.

Clarity. If we cant understand why a character is doing something – they probably shouldn’t be doing it. That isn’t to say you need to explain everything right when it happens, but if I finish the series and am left wondering ‘why?’ then there is some editing to be done. A villain, especially, always needs a good ‘why.’ Simply being a psychopath wont be enough for most readers. Everyone must have a point to their actions. Why are they trying to kill someone, take over the world, steal your boyfriend, kidnap your cat, cut down the forest, or replace your favorite brand of cookies with their own monopolized version? Why is the hero trying to put a stop to this or fix it? Why do the supporting characters even care? Everyone needs a why.

I want to feel the budding friendship, the tingling love, the burn of yearning, the sour distaste, and the hands-shaking hatred. I want it. Why? Because it makes me feel the character’s emotions, it lets me into their world, and that is just far more entertaining and easier to understand than the chaotic and bemused world I live in – even if the book is contemporary, modern, realistic, or historical. Isn’t that why anyone does anything with literature? It’s an escape, and I want it to be a good one.

I want to write a good one. I want to be the book someone turns to when they’ve had a hard day, the one they love to live in, to breathe. I want to create the characters that move and shake and bleed. I want to make a villain you love and love to hate. I want to make a hero you can relate to. I want to make that special character you think of when someone asks ‘so who’s you’re favorite character?’

That’s what I want, with every fiber of my creative, optimistic, procrastinating, pop-culture-loving, scholarly, easily-distracted-by-shiny-objects, brown haired, brown eyed, olive-tinted being. It’s what I need to breathe, and it’s what I will fight to keep doing. I will create the memorable characters.

And while I seem to have slightly gone off on a tangent, this is where I leave you.

Ciao tutti,

RM

What You Learn From Novel Research

While it may be counterproductive for some people and possibly not interesting to you, I must start this update with an announcement and sound ever so slightly like a car salesman. It is my great and amazing pleasure to announce that my first novel is available to buy from CreateSpace! Just follow that link. It’s called The Rose Chateau: A Tale of Beauty Meets Beast. Book properties are available there, but here is the summary:

Corinna Faune was just a farmer’s daughter, whose only regal connection was her runaway duke best friend, Alastar. But when her uncle returns home from the neighboring village with a horror tale and one glimmering rose, her entire life is interrupted. Now she’s the unwilling guest of a bad-tempered prince, who found himself at the wrong end of a witch’s curse. Her once normal life is now surrounded by magic with not one, not two, but three conniving witches involved, and none of their allegiances are clear. Can Corinna find the solution to the prince’s curse and return to her loved ones before they forget her? Can she break the spell before it becomes the end of an entire kingdom? And surrounded by unfamiliar faces and secrets, who can she trust to help her through it?

I’ll be posting an excerpt from the book later on today at about 3 for any interested parties who want to get a glimpse of the style before thinking of purchasing. I am very excited to see my novel go up to sell. I put a lot of effort into this one, and the feedback I’ve received has been so unbelievably good. I hope you like it as well – should you chose to purchase a copy.

Sort of on the same subject, I thought I’d talk about some things I found while writing this one. First of all, flowers. I’m not gardener, but I was recently planning to plant some flowers outside of my apartment to give it some pizzazz, and reading up on soil needs was surprising. Mind you, I was researching how to care for roses, but the fact remains that I learned something new. Raising beautiful plants, bushes and trees and flowers, can be hard. They need specific soil types, a monitored amount of fertilizer and water. The types of fertilizer are so diverse, and some are specifically for certain types of plants. I may be biased from my own childhood, but I still believe that one of the best fertilizers for a plant is a banana peel. My family used to toss our used peels out into the planter in front of our house, and I only remember good things happening.

Also, geography. My sister read TRC, in which none of the places mentioned are factual. She was near the end of the book when she suddenly stopped and said ‘Rebecca, I just realized something. You keep saying Alastar has an Irish accent, but you never mention Ireland.’ To which I replied with this explanation: Alastar is from the kingdom of Cavalleres. This kingdom resides past the north-western border of Paesaggia (the main kingdom in the book – based loosely on the word Pastoral). So if Alastar has an Irish accent and lives in the north-west, then we must assume the north-west is Ireland, or at least a part of it or close by. Also through this logic, Paesaggia must logically reside in the lower section of the United Kingdom – ex. England or Wales.  Since I don’t know much of Wales, I’ll stick with England as the assumption. This sudden importance to locate my story, especially for my sister, caused me to look up this amusing but informative video made by C.G.P. Grey, which explains not only the difference between the UK, England, and Great Britain, but also between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the relations between the areas, and then sort of spans out to wrap in all of the Commonwealth and Crown Dependent areas. The speed of the discussion plus the off-hand comments of the narrator made me enjoy learning about the British Isles quite a lot more than I ever did in school – and I understood it more… maybe thanks to the pretty and simple visuals.

This just goes to show bits of what you can learn when you do research for a novel. So if that wasn’t too much ranting, I hope you have a great day.

RDM