Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Writing Tips - Writer's Block

Writer's block is maddening. I had a bigger blog post awhile back too because you can never have too many tips for getting rid of it. I know the writing on this thing is super-tiny, I tried to make it as big as I could for you.
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This really helps sometimes! And it's actually fun to read through.

See you Friday!

-S

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Profanity

Hello, kids! Gather 'round! We're going to talk today about profanity. Everyone who knows me in real life just chuckled, shaking their heads. They knew I was gonna get around to this eventually.

Are you all gathered in a nice, adorable little circle on the rug?? Awesome!

I have a terrible mouth. Especially when I'm at home, when things piss me off, when something doesn't work properly. When I lose something, I turn into Bulldog Briscoe and lose my mind trying to find it before realizing it's right in front of me. There's just more swearing in my version.

Profanity is still a hot-button topic for a lot of people. Everyone who uses it feels the wrath of the holier-than-thou more than once in their lifetime. I look at it this way: they're words. If you let them bother you, they've beaten you and no one wants to be beaten by words. There are worse things in the world, bigger monsters and greater demons to be fought. I do try to watch my mouth around people who I know don't like foul language, but if someone minds my business enough to hear what I'm saying and gets offended, I'm not sorry I said it. I'm just sorry you're so thin-skinned.

For the tenderfeet out there, I will offer a page break so you can leave now. There will be lots of uncensored f-bombs up in here. Obvi.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review: Healing Solutions Essential Oil Blends

I was contacted about two weeks ago by a representative of Healing Solutions, who askedme if I would like to try and review three of their essential oils blends on Amazon. Well, I'm certainly not one to turn down freebies and I've been wanting to try different essential oils, so I wrote back an enthusiastic "Yes!"

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These are the oils I received: Vetiver, Chamomile, and Frankincense.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Writing Tips - Character Arc

If you've written very long at all, you've heard of 'character arc.' What does this mean? I'll try to give you the "barely graduated American high school" version.

A character's arc is how they change and evolve (or devolve in some cases) due to the circumstances of the story you're writing. Character arc differs from story arc in that a character can continue their arc outside the confines of the story, like if there's to be a sequel, or another episode in the case of a TV show.

Derek Vinyard, played by Edward Norton in American History X evolved from a neo-Nazi white supremacist before entering prison. As he develops a friendship with a black prisoner and becomes disillusioned with the Aryan Brotherhood, he finds himself losing his anger and hatred. When he discovers that his younger brother is following the path that brought him to prison, he makes great changes to his life and denounces his former lifestyle in an attempt to save his brother's life.

An underdeveloped character arc can kill a narrative as quickly as a well-developed character can make it. The last thing you want is to create the Jar Jar Binks of your narrative: a character that's just there. No one knows why, where they came from, what their purpose is. They're there to make noises and flail a bit but there's nothing more to them.

Nikki and Paulo were two characters from the ABC series Lost. They were awkwardly shoehorned into the beginning of the third season of the show like they had been there from the pilot episode. Past events were reshot, with them elbowing their way into scenes that were perfect without them, usually with no spoken lines to go along with their sudden appearance and seemingly no reason for them to be there at all. Luckily, showrunners listened to the fans and got rid of them. In entertaining, if a bit gruesome, fashion.

Let us avoid the Jar-Jars and Nikkis and Paulos, shall we?

Character arc can usually be separated into three distinct acts. A simple step-by-step formula for how to create a character arc, evolving or devolving, goes like this:

ACT I: Identity
1. Identification of Character - character shows limited awareness of Problem
2. Character's Awareness of Problem grows, their role in Resolution is realized.
3. Denial/Reluctance of role in Resolution
4. Commitment/Acceptance, turning point

ACT II: Crisis
1. Protagonist Experiments with role in Resolution
2. Preparation for Resolution
3. BIG CHANGE - Problem becomes unavoidable, Resolution necessary

ACT III: Transformation
1. Immediate Consequences of BIG CHANGE, "point of no return"
2. Protagonist Takes a Stand
3. Changes are Tested
4. Result.

This is based on the three-act model, which is one used almost universally in writing and drama, both for character and story development. Obviously these steps can be modified in any way necessary to accommodate your characters and plot, but the basics are there. We get to play a game of 'fill in the blanks.'

See you next week!

-S

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy Halloween!!

I wasn't around in the blogosphere last year at Halloween, so this is my first official Halloween post! I love Halloween. The sad state of my undecorated house may not show it but I do. Not the trick-or-treating, strangers ringing my doorbell half the night thing, but I love creepy stuff, scary stories, watching horror movies (the 70s ones that are actually scary), scaring the shit out of myself looking at ghost photos in the middle of the night...seeing a pattern??

Some of my favorite stories have come from the internet, and short stories I read as a kid, like The Scary Stories Treasury by Alvin Schwartz.This Buzzfeed post kept me up for days, but I love it. It's a problem.

I suppose now is the appropriate time to mention that my house is haunted. Drawers close on their own, someone knocks on the bathroom door, I see things in the corner of my eye and get creepy feelings of being watched. The first time anything happened was about a month after we moved in, our old tube TV turned off by itself. We thought nothing of it, as the TV was pretty old. But that was only the beginning.

Max was just over a year old and one day toddled into the kitchen, laughed heartily for no apparent reason, then ran back into his bedroom like someone was playfully chasing him. Then the kitchen light turned on by itself. My reaction was to immediately purchase a ticket on this:

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The Nope Train to FuckThisShitVille.