Friday, December 23, 2011

How I Write-- What books would you put in a time capsule?

If you could put the books you've read this year in a time capsule, what would you put? The accountabililty group decided to tackle this question this week. I've been pretty good at updating my Goodreads this year, which has helped me immensely. I read about a book a week so it helps to keep me in the loop of what I read. In no particular order, I'd put in the time capsule:

1. The Legend Hunters by Robyn DeHart (Seduce Me, Desire Me and Treasure Me). I love this trilogy and am sad it's over. What I loved the most about it was that it combined two of my loves: historical romances and paranormal mythology. If you are interested in Pandora's Box, Atlantis and whatnot, then check out this series. I heart it so bad. --Historical

2. When the Duke Returns, The Duchess of Mine and A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James. I really enjoyed all three and couldn't get enough of the stories. Simeon (the explorer who returns, a virgin hero!), Jemma and Villiers really captured my attention. --Historical

3. New to me was Courtney Milan. I read Unveiled and Unclaimed (another virgin hero!) and was sucked in to the stories of both of these. --Historical

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I loved the premise and the characters. I can't wait for the movie to come out. --YA, post-apocalyptic

5. Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison. One of the few paranormals I've read this year. I loved how the hero was portrayed. He was a dragon in every sense of the word. --Paranormal

6. The Care and Taming of a Rogue by Suzanne Enoch. Hero is an explorer who was thought dead and returns. I believe, but don't quote me, he's another virgin hero (notice a trend going on?) -- Historical

7. Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean. Another new to me author. I'll definitely read others from her. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. --Historical

8. A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl. It was the first time I read a book by her and since then, I've bought a few more.-- Historical

9. Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March. I really liked the heroine and how strong she was...and how the hero changed.-- Historical

10. What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden. I think I've enjoyed pretty much every Caroline book so far. -- Historical

11. The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander. I loved the main conflict between the heroine and hero.-- Historical

12. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley. I LOVED Ian so much. I agonized over getting this book. I tried to buy through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and both had no copies. I can't recall where I got this used copy but it was well worth it. Am definitely going to read the others.-- Historical

What would you put in a time capsule? What have you read that you'd recommend to anyone? Check out my friends' sites to see what books they'd put in a time capsule: Danie Ford Emma G. Delaney Kimberly Farris Kristen Koster

Friday, December 16, 2011

How I Write-- What's in your toolbox?

While last week was a bit of fun, this week's How I Write has to do with writing tools and resources. What do you use? What are your favourites?

- Flip Dictionary- I could not live without this. It's, yes, technically just a thesaurus but it has so much in there that isn't in a normal thesaurus that I'm in love. It's designed to help you find a word if you have an idea what you want. Like a certain type a'd look up tree and it'll list all the different kinds. This is my one book that is so ratty because I use it constantly.
- Websites- I don't frequent a lot anymore, but some that I can't live without are Savvy Authors (great workshops hosted there) and Kiss of Death (again, awesome workshops that aren't found elsewhere really)
- Books- Let's face it, to be a writer you need to read as well. I try to read at least one romance (historical or paranormal lately) a week. I also have tons of research books on the paranormal and science that I consult with.

Tools (this one I had a bit of trouble because I don't use any programs to write):
- my computer- I need my computer. There's no doubt about that. While I can write pen and paper or a type writer (started out like this), I prefer not to. That and the fact I'm too OCD. I can't stand a marked up page (like if I'm doing edits). If the page has been ruined with a mark, I get twitchy wanting to print out a new one.
- I'm going to put sprints here. They may be considered more a resource, not sure, but for me, sprints are the tools I use to get my words done.
- This will sound odd but my tv. I need background noise. I can't concentrate when it's quiet. Usually I put on the food network or shows I've already watched before. Something that doesn't distract me too much so that I'm paying more attention to it. If I don't have the tv on, then I need music on. Sometimes both on at the same time.

Check out my friends' sites to see what tools and resources they use: Danie Ford Emma G. Delaney Kimberly Farris Kristen Koster

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What would you like to see in 2012?

2012 is approaching so I thought I'd open up the floor to you guys. I'm going to be re-arranging a few things next year, but want to keep this spot open for paranormal and science things. I thought though that I would give you guys a say. What would you like to see in this paranormal/science spot in the coming new year? Anything in particular you'd like to see explained?

I'm going to leave you guys with a cool vampire hunting kit that was used in the approx 1890s. The kit includes: crucifix, stake, mallet, hatchet, German stamped letter to the mother of deceased victim, signed new testament bible by hunter Andrew Kauffman along with picture of victim, pliers, Remington derringer pistol, rosary, syringe, garlic extract, sulphur, hair from destroyed vampire, pulled fangs of destroyed vampire & holy oil.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How I Write-- An Open Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I've been a very good writer this year (at least I think I was). I know you're busy preparing all the toys for the good boys and girls but I thought I'd send in my requests:
  1. a clone-- what better way to be more productive? The real me will stay at home and just concentrate on writing while my clone goes out and works or does the housework.

  2. a vitural reality system or holodeck-- because it's expensive to travel to do my research and the internet only goes so far to help me. Some things you just need to experience for yourself in order to evoke the right feeling and emotion in the writing.

  3. a time turner pocket watch like the one Hermione has in Harry Potter (note, this isn't the same one but it's a steampunk version and cool!)-- because those deadlines can creep up fast and I want to put out the best product possible. I promise I wouldn't abuse this ability too much.

  4. a replicator from Star Trek-- so that I don't have to worry about cooking. All I'd have to do is punch in what I want and the food item is synthesized. No matter what I'm craving, it's there at the press of a button. Yes, I could pick up the phone and call for delivery, but this is cooler and faster and gives you more options.

  5. an endless supply of Coca Cola and chocolate (although other candy may be substituted)-- I need my energy fix. How else am I going to tempt the muse out and bribe it for its secrets?

  6. a cat wrangler-- seriously, how many times do I need to get up off the couch a day to get the cats off the counter or to stop knocking my books from the bookshelves, or jumping up and knocking boxes down? I can assure you, that's precious time spent away from my book.
As you can see, my list isn't all that demanding. Just a few little items that would make this writer immensely happy.

Alexia Reed

Check out my friends' sites to see what they want for Christmas: Danie Ford Emma G. Delaney Kimberly Farris Kristen Koster

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Star Trek's Holodeck May Indeed Be in our Future

If you've watched Star Trek, you're probably aware of the holodeck. It's like one big simulated reality room where you can interact with "programmed world". It'd be like living in your tv and interacting with your favourite characters. You become part of that story. That world.

I'm not sure about you, but I've been waiting for the day when a holodeck-like virtual reality system was created. Just think what you could could travel the world without ever having to leave your livingroom! Ok, I'd still want to go, but it'd still be pretty cool. It could be a very cool way for authors to learn about a new subject they're writing about.

Well a a holodeck may not be too far off. A couple of companies in Britain have started to work on something similar using a bunch of projectors, Sony Move controllers, and some creative visual tricks. What they do is project the images on the walls in a way to adjust to the geometry of the objects in the room (such as the couch in the video or the box), creating the illusion that the surface itself has changed. The controllers are attached to the camera and the position is fed back to the projectors in real time, allowing the projectors to adjust for the distortion of the image. This lets the camera move around, adding to the three-dimensional effect.

Sony Europe, Studio Output and Marshmallow Laser Feast shot three web videos to highlight the immersiveness of movies rented or purchased from the PlayStation Store. In the videos, all were made with just one take and no postproduction work. The effects look apparently nearly as good (and cheaper) and could even be used to replace the CGI technology used in the film industry that created Avatar.

Friday, December 2, 2011

How I Write-- the hybrid plantster

Plotting...that dreaded "p" word. I decided to ask my AC group how they plot if they do and how they know whether a story is finished or not. I decided to ask this question because everyone writes differently. Some are pantsers who work to an outline, some plot with spreadsheets, etc.

Stage 1: First Draft

For me, I'm a mixture somewhere in the middle. My first drafts are always a crapshoot in the dark as I try to form some kind of a plot. I may not even write scenes in order. I tend to let myself do whatever I want with this first draft. I'll then sew the scenes together. It's really not pretty when I do the first draft. It's a mess and the plot is thin and weak. But, it gives me an idea of the direction I want the story to go in.

Stage 2: Second Draft

This is when I plot. I get out my cue cards (I love neon ones so that you can code the different plots, character growth, or relationship threads and keep track of the balance) and jot down every scene from the first draft. I'll then get on the floor and re-arrange them. This helps me see where plot holes may be that need to be filled. I'll then create the new scenes on new cue cards and insert where needed. Once I have a map, I'll jot down the points on my white board as a list to check off as I go along.

I now start a new document and write from scratch. Oh I'll use the scenes previously written but I'll edit it to make it work in what I plotted. This is where the meat is added to those bones of the story. Now, it starts to feel fleshed out and not quite so sickly.

Stage 3: Crit partners

I've jumped the gun in the past and have had readers go through various drafts before it was ready. To me, I thought, the story had been ready however, but I've learned this year that anytime before the second stage and it isn't. I can do as many "drafts" as I want in the first stage but it won't feel ready. Not until the second stage.

But it's at this point my story will go out to my fabulous crit partners whose insights have helped me so much.

Stage 4: Third Draft

This final stage is the last edits based on the feedback I've received.

How do you know the story is ready?

If there's one thing I've learned this year, it's how to judge my WIP by this feel. I thought, Hunting the Shadows was ready to be published, but it wasn't until I got the awesome feedback of my editor and actually got into the first round of developmental edits that I learned (for me) when my writing was ready.

Check out my friends' sites to see how they create their stories: Danie Ford Emma G. Delaney Kimberly Farris Kristen Koster