Wednesday, December 25, 2013

An Affection for Vowels: Character Names

Oh, what glorious hair I have!

Naming My Characters

I spend a lot of time surfing through names websites when I have characters to name. Just the other day I googled "Old Fashioned Boy Names" because I wanted to give a boy a middle name that he'd find embarrassing. Of course, when its your own name, it is so much easier to be embarrassed by it. I'm leaning toward Virgil, but I might consider something a little more innocuous that most teenagers would be embarrassed by simply because teenagers are typically easily embarrassed. Archibald and Ignatius are also in the running

Dang, and I just googled "Embarrassing Middle Name" only to find out that I'm subscribing to a trope! Oh well. I have my reasons.

Appealing Names

While I was surfing the names sites, I realized that I have a real affection for names that start with vowels. I feel like they are typically better able to rhyme or at least have a very pleasing rhythm to them. For example, I named one character Eric Ortega. His sister (half-sister) was Alyssa Barnard. And, in general, I just like vowel names so much that I tend to try to move consciously away from them so I don't end up with a ton of characters with similar names.

I also have a tendency to lean toward one or two syllable names. Eric. Alyssa. Moura (from the book I'm currently re-revising). I like names that nobody's going to trip over. I actually feel like that's a good quality. In books that I read, I like names that I can actually pronounce (or try to pronounce) without feeling like an idiot.

A Potentially Embarrassing Situation

And while I'm on the topic of names, I've realized that anybody who catches me at my naming craze would probably think I was pregnant because the best name sites are baby name sites. So that's just one of those kind of funny things that could turn out a little embarrassing if I'm caught on a baby name site at work. Or elsewhere. I've already warned my husband that this is why I spend so much time on baby name sites. ;)

In closing: if you celebrate it, Merry Christmas! If you don't, Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Contemporary Novel Nagging At My Brain


I've gone back to adding ridiculous photos of me to the top of my posts.
For now.

For the past few years, I've stuck to the realm of fantasy and sci fi. I love imagining different worlds and cool new inventions, and when you've got villainous leaders, it's always easy to pick a fight and have your hero be the good guy.

But a few nights ago I was trying to go to sleep, and I just had to write the first page to a contemporary YA novel. The first scene is semi-autobiographical: the adoption of my childhood cat. Vincent Van Cat, in case you were curious. He was named after the artist because A) my mom likes art and B) he'd gotten into a fight and lost a little chunk out of his ear. Oh, and C) he's a cat.

And now that I've got a first page that I really quite like, all of these ideas that I'm having just won't leave me alone.

I now know that my main character is a bit depressed. He didn't get into the school he really wanted to go to, and he doesn't have a back up plan. He's questioning his future because of that. I know where he works (his dad got him a job because he wanted his son to get up off his butt and do something productive.) I know that he loves his cat very much, and his cat is very old (uh oh).

I've got a whole list of ideas about this book. Honestly, I'm pretty excited about it. But I don't read too many contemporary YA novels. I don't know that I can write a contemporary YA.

So now I've got to go and do lots of reading and even more plotting because I think this book is just begging to be written, and I only hope that I can do it justice because, in my head, it is an amazing book.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Creating My World

(Photo Credit to Eigirdas)

My Story


As I'd mentioned on my blog, I put out my first round of queries (six in all) a little over a month ago. Well, one of those queries resulted in a partial request for the first 100 pages of my book. As you can imagine, I was overjoyed. Thrilled. Excited. Absolutely aglow (I don't feel the word "aglow" gets used enough these days.)

But then, a few weeks later, I got a very nice note from the agent saying that she just could not figure out where the dragons fit into my world and that this omission distracted her so much that she wasn't able to get into my story. Rejection.

While I appreciated the feedback (afterward), my first reaction was much less productive. (I crashed to one of those dramatic lows of "I'll never be able to do this!" and "My life is ruined!") But after a few hours of reveling in my angsty angstiness, I started thinking about how to use that feedback to improve my book. We writers can be tempestuous folk.

So now I'm revising my book, and this time around I'm working on my descriptions and world building.

Descriptions


Evoking the 1950s - My book takes place in an alternate 1950s, so I've been watching White Christmas and Leave It To Beaver and Daddy Long-Legs (all from the 1950s, all on Netflix) and taking note of speech and dress and attitude. I did some of this before writing my book, but I'm going back and taking notes. In my writing, I'm trying to add in 1950s clothes and surroundings whenever I can (without going overboard). I know these films create a more ideal version of the 1950s (and, trust me, my book doesn't go in for 'ideal') but they're a great place to go for descriptions.

General Description - I hate adding in description. When I'm writing, it always feels like a distraction from the actual story, but I know it can add a whole new dimension and help the reader feel even more enveloped in my world. So I'm making a concerted effort to describe things like the color of my main character's hair, the fabric used in the living room couch, and the location of the lamps in the living room. (Yeah, I just wrote a scene in the living room, which is obviously affecting this list.)

World Building


Descriptions are a key part of world building, but there is so much more to it. You've got to decide upon the rules of your world, the look of your world, the different segments of society and how those delineations in society affect architecture and fashion and so much more! I'm thinking about trying to do some drawings. I've already picked out photos that are good references, but I just don't have them all together in one picture that is solely my world. I need to make certain I have this world solidly in mind as I revise and I need to add in little extra glimpses of the greater world beyond just the view of my main character. This is a whole world, and I need to make it feel like a rich and full world.

So that's what I'm up to these days.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One Last NaNo Post (for now)

Happy December, Everyone!

November is over, and I did it, Baby! (Think Austin Powers)

(Photo credit to George Thomas)
Lego Dragon and Knight fighting it out in downtown Disney.
(Although that fire looks a little like spew if you ask me - it's the green tint.)

On November 28th, I finally tippity tap tap typed my way to 50,289 words, and then I put my computer away and went off to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.

I desperately wanted to make it to that rather arbitrary goal of 50k, and I kept hacking my way through, but I kept feeling like I really wanted to stop and make some necessary plot adjustments.

So now that I've got some sort of basic plot down (and yes, I did do a lot of outlining beforehand, but some things get moved about as I write), I need to go back and:

  • Make my world cohesive (you know, like use the same made up words throughout)
  • Add in more scenes that describe my world and make it feel real: I need more grit!
  • Make my characters speak and behave the same throughout: Cohesion!
  • Add in more tension
  • Have my main characters interact more (so we understand how they all feel about each other)
  • Add description (I just don't like describing things, so I have to pay attention to that)
  • Add in foreshadowing 
  • Add in more world-specific elements (What's the point in having dryad type people if we never see them?)
  • Rethink my ending: It needs more umph! And more build-up.
Basically, I'm going to write down my current outline and figure out where I should start adding things in. I'm going to really visualize my world so I can describe it better and make it feel like it's the same world throughout. And I'm going to figure out how my characters and places fit into the scheme of the world as a whole and make that clearer.

So, I've got lots to do, and lots to dream up.

But before I do that, I need a good long break. Fortunately, we just bought a ton of Legos, so I've got plenty to do. ;)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

Hello, All!

It's Wednesday afternoon, even though I usually post Wednesday mornings. Normally, I don't really condone excuses, but I've got a list of them for you today.

  1. NaNoWriMo - I'm between 47k and 48k, so I'm on track to finish my 50,000 words!!! This is very exciting. (And totally time consuming.)
  2. My husband has been working all sorts of crazy hours this month, so things have been a bit hectic in our household. Plus, I missing him. (Very sad for me, you see?)
  3. I've had an obnoxious cold for the past two weeks, and I actually chose to go to bed crazy early last night rather than write you an intelligent and entertaining blog post. (Ahhhhhh, it was a delightful night's sleep. I smile when I think back on it.)
  4. Nope. I'm out. Huh. I could have sworn I had a few others to throw out there.
And now let me distract you all with this picture of me petting a cow:


I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but this is a VERY large cow. Or at least I thought so. He was way bigger than me, I can tell you that.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NaNoWriMo Progress

So, to be honest, you nearly didn't get a blog post this Wednesday either.

NaNoWriMo is freaking hard!

But it is kind of cool just how much it's forcing me to write, plus the site itself is pretty darn neat, even though I know I'm not using it to its fullest potential.

For example, I can use the site to keep track of my novel's progress. There are statistics and a chart and everything. Here are my current stats (from Tues night):


As you can see, I have been writing a helluva lot of words per day (in my opinion). I've got just over 35k done, and at the rate I'm going I might actually finish early (ha!).


I'm not sure how many of you realized this, but I am a total nerd. I am a big fan of charts and graphs and things. I even know which one's the x axis and which one's the y. (Hint: "Words" is written along the y axis.)

So I'm totally loving this graph, mostly because it shows that I've been keeping steadily above my cumulative goal for each day. I find that to be incredibly encouraging because, darn it, this is hard stuff.

So that's all for today . . . I've got more writing to do!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh, Dearie Me

I've missed my Wednesday Post!

I've been writing away, trying to get my 50,000 words in for NaNoWriMo, so I do have some sort of an excuse. I'm just over half way and on track, but it has started to feel like a bit like a slog. I still think I can do it, though. I'm trying to push through!

And because this post is barely a post, I'm going to add in this photo that I took of a goat. It makes me smile.



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Writing Update 11-6-13: Query Impatience and NaNo

Cool Dragon Doorknob by MacMANU

It's been a week and three days since I sent out my first round of query letters, not that I'm counting or anything (I am). I haven't heard anything back yet, but the reasonable part of my brain knows that it would be highly unusual to have heard back by now. The unreasonable part, of course, wants to know what exactly's wrong with my book and why no one loves the poor, misbegotten thing.

Fortunately, NaNoWriMo has been distracting me very successfully. (Hmm, I wonder if I can count this post towards my total word count. Nah, I'll try to tough it out with my actual manuscript).

As of the end of Tuesday (day 5 of NaNo), I had written just over 12,000 words. That actually puts me about two days ahead of schedule, which is good. I play to win! And writing 50,000 words in 30 days is rough stuff.

I wish I'd managed to build a little bit more of a word count buffer for myself over the weekend. Getting in 1,667 words per day can be tough. Some times I just sit there and stare at the screen, wondering how to write what I think I want to write. Fortunately outlining has kept me going, always giving me something to write about even if I'm not quite sure it's right.

I feel like I'll definitely have a few more thoughts on NaNo that I'll want to share later. It's early days yet.

And hopefully I'll have (good) querying updates to share later as well. We shall see.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo

Rowar!
(Photo credit to Fergus Ray Murray)

For those of you on the writing scene, I’m sure you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo. For those of you who aren’t a part of the writing scene, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. There’s a website and everything. You sign up and then strive valiantly to write an entire novel in a month. In order to “win” NaNo, you’ve got to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. That averages out 1,667 words per day in case you were curious.

Well, I’ve signed up for it this year. I’ve never tried to do NaNo before. To be quite honest, I’m not sure I’m capable of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve got things to do, you know? But I thought it might be fun to try, and I’ve had an idea that I’ve been working on outlining for a little while, so I’ve got things set up pretty well.

I considered just trying to do it without signing up or anything, just because I’m mostly curious if I can do it or not. But I know that signing up will help keep me honest, and I also know that having this goal that other people can see will truly help motivate me to keep going. And maybe I’ll actually participate in the forums to see everybody encouraging everybody else. I hear it’s a great environment.

I never considered NaNo before because I never had a project ready to go right around this time, and I’d always felt that rushing to try to achieve the NaNo goal might result in worse writing. But that was before I started outlining beforehand. And your first draft is never supposed to be perfect anyway. So I am wading into the murky waters of NaNo, and we shall see whether I come out shiny and victorious on the other side. Here I am: (NaNo link)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting It All Together

(I've gotten bored with photos of me, so I'm thinking I'm going to use Creative Commons photos of Dragons for a little while. Starting with this one:)

(Photo by Devra)
I picked this dragon because he looks just a little bit panicked. Like me.

I've chosen five agents for my first round of query submissions. I hear that's a pretty good number to make certain you aren't shooting yourself in the foot with a bad query.

I spent this weekend working on a synopsis, re-reading my first ten pages (again and again), and re-revising my query letter. And, of course, making all of my friends and family weigh in on my query letter and revised pages. (Sorry, dear people who like me. I'm glad you tolerate me so well.) I'm still waiting on some feedback, which is partially why I have not actually sent the query letters out (nerves might factor into the other part; plus, you can always keep revising. Knowing when to stop is one of the hardest parts.)

I am nervous as hell to get this first round out there. Yes, I do have a spreadsheet full of agents, and I know rejections are common (and often subjective). It's a competitive marketplace, and not everybody likes the same books. And yet rejections always feel pretty darn personal for the first few minutes/hours/days (depending on mood and level of hope). There's always that niggling voice that says, "If this was any good, somebody would have wanted to look at it." So the experience is a bit terrifying, and I might have been hiding from it, just a little bit.

I've been through this process before. I know there is always something you can do to improve your submission. And a set of rejections might just mean I'm not sending my book to the right people. Still, rejections are depressing as hell.

But no matter my level of trepidation, some time in the near future, once I've gotten my query letter and pages back from my last friend and polished my last sentence, I will be sending my book out into the world.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Editing Black Hole

Pic is from two yrs ago in the Badlands.

Because you're writing a blog sitting alone at home, sometimes a blog entry feels quite a bit like a diary entry.

And so, dear diary, I shall confide what I've been thinking about the last few days (sorry, no dramatic revelations to follow; I'm not actually all that exciting).

As I've been holed up in my little cave, editing my heart out, I've realized that I am not a big fan of my current job. No, this isn't a surprise. I am currently a federal worker. That's right, you know that government that shut down for no apparent reason? I work for them.

I was called back to work this past week, despite the fact that we aren't actually positive we'll be paid, and what with the debt ceiling looming, we have the feeling we might be getting another "vacation" soon. Not so surprisingly, morale is low.

So for the past week, I've had my nose to the grindstone, taking every spare minute that I could to edit my book. Because I'm dreaming of a way out of all this tomfoolery (that's right, I used the word "tomfoolery" - that's me being exceptionally polite. If I were Bridget Jones, I believe I would have chosen the word "fuckwittery" or something like that.)

And, so, I shall edit and edit and then query, query, query. And at the end of it, I still won't be able to quit my job, but hopefully I'll have an agent and be just a little bit closer to a new profession.

Blech.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Critique Partners Are Awesome

This is Canada again.

I'm working on my editing my WIP, and I have two documents open:
1) My draft
2) My notes from my CPs, Beta readers, and myself

Beta readers and critique partners (CPs) are pretty much the most awesome thing ever (if you have fairly thick skin).

Why Bother To Find a CP?

It's hard to be objective with your own writing. You can fall in love with a character or scene or a turn of phrase or just overlook the obvious. Getting fresh eyes on your work can be essential in turning a decent manuscript into a good manuscript.

My writing partners have pointed out things it might have taken me forever to realize on my own. Plus, they're fun to talk to. They get it. They've been there. And sometimes you just really want to talk to someone who gets it.

Where to Find Them

Oh, man, there are options galore. This is not, by any means, the full list:
  • Local Writing Groups (You're on your own for this research)
  • CP Facilitations sites
  • Online Writing Groups (Just google this & look around; there are a ton)
  • Forums with more piecemeal critiques for queries and  writing samples:
    • Reddit, for example: here (Reddit has a ton of subreddits - just go looking if you want something more specific.)
    • Nathan Bransford's writing forums
    • I believe Absolute Write Water Cooler has critiquing forum
    • Query Specific: AgentQuery Connect (I didn't actually find their advice to be as helpful as other sites, but that's entirely subjective.)
There are also more unconventional methods. If you follow blogs, sometimes you'll get to know some of the frequent commenters. And sometimes they have their contact info available. Or on Twitter you might be able to find others at a similar stage in their writing.

Whenever you're contacting someone out of the blue, you're more likely to get rejected (which always hurts; sorry), but sometimes its worth it if you really love their writing style or think that they'd make a great friend.

Even if they turn you down flat, at least you got to practice selling yourself and being gracious in rejection.

What to Do When You Find Them

Don't get me wrong, despite all these opportunities, finding a CP who meshes with you and improves your writing can be hell. You can read excerpt after excerpt from potential partners. Sometimes the feedback will be useless compliments or comments from someone who obviously doesn't get your genre. But sometimes, there will be useful criticism in there.

So, when interacting with potential CPs:
1) Be honest with yourself
2) Be critical

You've got to be able to step back and recognize when a CP has a valid criticism (Of course, sometimes CPs will come back with conflicting advice. This stuff's crazy subjective). Because that is how you improve your writing.

Good luck

I've tried out a ton of potential CPs, but only a few have stuck. Even the ones who didn't work out were all pretty nice people, just not right for my writing. So don't be afraid to dip in the waters.

Oddly enough, I've had the worst time getting helpful feedback on query letters. Tons of contradicting advice and some bad advice from otherwise good writers, so always read critiques with a critical eye.

And have fun. CPs can become some of the best friends you never meet (or eventually go out of your way to meet).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oh, Canada

Remember how I said I was on vacation last week? Well, I was out in the Canadian Rockies, and I've got the gorgeous pictures to prove it. I figured I'd tell a short story with my pictures. This is a writing blog, after all.

(Many thanks to my husband for letting me use photos where he looks just a tiny bit silly.)

Oh, Canada, aren't you pretty?
Lake Louise, Alberta

And pretty freaking cold.
My chilly husband up above Bourgeau Lake, Banff

But, Canada, I like you.
Me! At Johnston Canyon, Banff

Even though you snow on me.

I can still see pretty sights while my heated carseat keeps my butt warm.
Icefields Parkway

And while I'm stuck behind slow RVs.
Icefields Parkway/Banff

But, please, Canada, keep the bears away from me!
 

Okay, Canada, you're still pretty and majestic and all that.

But I gotta go home.
Toodles!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vacation! (All I Ever Wanted. Vacation, Got To Get Away!)

Hello, Everyone!

If you didn't recognize the Post Title, I'm quoting the Go-Go's. It's a fun song. I definitely recommend a listen.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm on vacation this week. As you're reading this, I'm probably out hiking through the gorgeous wilderness, inhaling fresh air, and not setting foot anywhere near a computer.

And, hopefully, my sister-in-law is not setting my house on fire. (Uh, I mean, I have every confidence in you, dear Sister-in-law.)

But in case you're feeling deprived of my delightful presence, I recently won a Twitter contest in which I got interviewed for Rachel Russell's blog. So if you want to learn a few things about me (including what I'd do if I was carted off to jail in a foreign country!) visit her blog and read all about it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writing That *@#$ Query Letter

This photo was awesomely appropriate because Query Letters are sort of the entry gate into the world of publishing, and my book has dragons in it. So here's a Dragon Gate:

(Photo credit to Giampaolo Macorig)

I don't remember whether I've done a post on writing a query letter yet, but I do feel like I keep learning more and more about making a good one, so I figured I'd share a little bit of my insight.

The Very Basics

What's a query letter you may ask? (I do have a few non-writing friends who like me enough to read my blog, so this is really for them.) A query letter is a letter that the writer sends to a literary agent when the writer has a polished, edited, and complete manuscript. The writer is trying to get a literary agent to fall head over heals in love with his/her book, and he/she has about 250 words (give or take) to make that happen. No pressure, though.

Other Basic-type Things

First and foremost: I have learned that no matter how many rules you can read about queries, at some point, some writer has broken all of them, and they still got representation. That probably won't be you, though. (Well, not if you break all the rules.)

This site (Agent Query) has a very basic format that I have seen in a number of places that breaks the query letter down into three paragraphs:
  1. The Hook
  2. The Synopsis
  3. The Writer's Bio
Yeah, I don't follow that, but I don't think you can really go wrong with that sort of format.  So, when in doubt, I'd stick to it. It's just that I personally don't have a whole lot to throw into a writer's bio that seems particularly relevant, so I nix that. I break my synopsis up so that my query flows better, which means it takes over most of the query letter, and it's definitely more than one paragraph.

I do, however, try to lead with something that I think makes my book compelling or different. So, in that respect, I do try to lead with a hook. Just not necessarily your writerly definition of a hook.

For me, it's all about The Synopsis.

The Synopsis

When I was writing my last query, I was rummaging through the Query Shark's blog (Literary Agent Janet Reid's blog where she rips apart the queries of willing victims). I read through a ton of successful and unsuccessful queries, and I came across a pieces of advice that I found to be particularly helpful.
  • “[S]tarting with the problem/choice/dilemma the main character faces. Start with action.”  (link)
  • “[S]tart with the basics. What does Laura want? What's keeping her from getting it? What choice does she face? What's at stake. Answer that question with NO ADJECTIVES and you've got the skeleton of better query.”  (link - Obviously, this query is about Laura.)
  • And my summary of this link: Showing Voice and creating interest trump everything else. Also, opinions will always vary, and one agent can love something another agent just doesn't care for.
Reading the Shark's blog, I also came across a link to this post, which asks a series of very basic questions that really helped me focus my query letter. This is the sort of stuff you need to stick to when writing your query.

I also loved Nathan Bransford's instructions on writing one sentence, one paragraph, and two paragraph pitches. Here, synopsis=pitch.

For this part, keep it fun, show your Voice, and give the agent something that sounds different from everything else they're reading. Like I said, no pressure.

The Personalized Paragraph

It is never a bad idea to throw in an agent-specific paragraph. This shows that you looked them up and that you are querying them for a real reason, not just because you are desperate to get your book represented (even though you are).

This part could reference another author that the agent represents, especially if you feel this author has a writing style similar to your own.

Or you could just say something about how you loved the agent's blog and read it all the time. Or maybe you loved a specific blog post and why. Or you could say that you love following this agent on Twitter.

There are any number of ways to personalize a query letter, but this part just really shows that you've done your homework and didn't pull this agent's name out of a hat. Also, spelling the agent's name correctly helps with this too. As does getting the Mr./Ms. part right.

The Word Count and Genre

I usually put this part at the end, but you can put it at the beginning. Another important part of a query letter tells the agent exactly what your word count is and what genre you believe you manuscript falls into. This can be more than one genre, but keep it fairly simply, and please try not to make up some completely crazy genre. You want the agent to know you do follow the market and aren't just making shit up on the fly!

You Must Edit Your Query!

Once you've put together all the parts you think should go into your query letter, read back over it. Do some editing.

Take a look at it the next day (or week) and do a little more editing.

If there is a sentence that bugs you in your query letter, its pretty much guaranteed to bug someone else. You need to fix it.

Send it to a trusted writing friend (or two or three), and get their input so that you know what is and is not clear. You're probably too close to this book to be certain.

This letter is key to getting an agent to represent you, so you do need to spend a god-awful amount of time on it (unless you are just a ridiculously good query letter writer).

My Query Letter

So, now that I've helped you understand what a daunting task all this is, I'm going to share the query letter I've been working on with you. I'm not certain it's in its final stage (probably not), but I'm pretty happy with it. Yeah, I did not follow all the advice above, but I did what I think works to show Voice, make my letter compelling, and get across the basic facts.
(Query Word Count: 197 words)


Set in an alternate 1950s powered by strictly controlled dragon magic, DRAGON BAIT follows teenager Moura Pearce after her father is named a traitor on national television.

Senator Darius McCarthy looked right through that television screen and lied about Moura’s dad. Creepy, dragon-eyed McCarthy is the reason her parents are on the run. He’s the reason she’s stuck living with her mom’s rich, old aunt in some snobby neighborhood.

Moura is finally starting to fit in, finally missing her parents and home a little less, when McCarthy holds an assembly at her new school. After a few heart-racing seconds, Moura realizes he doesn’t know about her. He’s here to declare Moura’s new friend is the daughter of communist traitors.

Moura sucks it up and helps her friend escape the auditorium, but she’s an outcast all over again. This time, Moura isn’t going to let McCarthy get away with his lies. She’ll make him pay for ruining her life.  Somehow. The thing is that the part-dragon, part-human Senator McCarthy does the bidding of the Dragonlord, and if she’s caught plotting, Moura’s going to end up as dragon food.

DRAGON BAIT is a MG fantasy, complete at 75,000 words. [Add in personalized agent information here.]


(If any of you have any suggestions to make it more compelling feel free to let me know!)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Oops

It's Wednesday, and I owe you, my dear blog readers, a post.

Unfortunately, I did not plan for this. No matter how many times Wednesday rolls around, I somehow manage to forget all about it.

So I am utterly and absolutely unprepared for you, O Wednesday Post. (So this is the sort of shoddy post you're getting instead of a well-considered and very informative post).

I will say that I've been critiquing someone else's book and getting my query critiqued, and I'm getting ready to start a major edit, so I've got some writing stuff going on. And perhaps I'll talk about that at greater length next Wednesday.

For now, however, you get this rather useless post. To make it a wee bit less useless, I have added one of my favorite photos from my honeymoon to New Zealand (a super cool place to visit, BTW):



 I take it back. I couldn't choose just one. So here is one more:

If you ever get (or can make) the chance, I highly recommend visiting. Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

You've Gotta Read to Write



Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to keep my hands off my manuscript. I've sent it off to a few people to read, and I'm waiting patiently (ha!) for their input.

In the meantime, I'm catching up on my reading. This last weekend I went through three books, and it was glorious. (Thank goodness for the local library.)

I keep hearing that if you want to write, you've really got to read. Makes sense.

 

Some Stuff You Can Learn


(What can I say? I like to keep my headings eloquent.)

Over this last weekend, I read:
  • A book with an unexpected romance.
  • A book with an unexpected villain.
  • A book where some of the sentences made me stratch my head in confusion.
  • A book where I thought for sure that I knew where it was going. I was wrong. 
  • A book that I loved except for this one incredibly implausible part of the ending that downgraded this book from a 5 star book to a 4 star book (for me).
  • A book with cool, old-school illustrations that really help set the right atmosphere.
  • A book with fairly formal descriptions and language choices.
  • A book packed full of action.
  • A book set in a world entirely different from my own.
No, these are not all different books.

 

Taking It From Reading to Writing


The point is, from being a reader, I can see what works and how it works. I can see what annoys the crap out of me and analyze why.

Unfortunately, taking time out to pick apart what I'm reading does detract from the experience of losing yourself in your book. (It's a little annoying when you just can't stop analyzing the book you're reading and enjoying). But it is a pretty essential part of being a writer.

Of course, taking that level of analysis to a book that you wrote, that you know intimately, is hard. When you understand exactly why your character is acting like a little brat, it's hard to stand back and say, "Oh, this section might really annoy my reader." Or if you really, really want something to happen and you know its got to happen and you know why, it might be hard to realize, "Uh, that completely came out of left field."

But, hey, at least reading is the fun part of writing. Books are cool.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Keep Moving Forward: After The First Draft's Done


The Book Breather

Having finished up the first(ish) draft of the book that I've been pouring my heart, soul, and every spare moment into, I'm at a bit of a loss. Right now, my weekends are not guilty moments of, "Man, I should be writing." I'm giving my manuscript a breather.

I need a little distance from it so that I can gain the perspective to go back and tear it to pieces, if need be.

Honestly, something inside me really thinks, "This is the one" (and I'll share a story on that at the end of this post), but I've fooled myself before, and I've seen my writing improve so much that I can't even regret not getting published earlier (well, not much anyway).

Keep Going

For me, the key to keeping going after every horribly disappointed query letter rejection is pretty simple: have a new project in the wings.

Before I even let myself finish up my draft of my WIP (work in progress), I took a break to do some serious brainstorming. Now, of course, this may have been a little bit about procrastinating (hey, endings are hard), but it was also about having a cool new project to look forward to. It's about having something to keep my mind off my paranoia when others are reading my First Draft and writing down everything that's wrong with it.

And, later, it'll be about having a new project I'm excited about when the rejections start coming in. Even though I think this book might be "it," I'm not going to give up if it isn't (and even books that get published frequently gain a few rejections along the way). I've got to believe that if this isn't "it," maybe the book I just started is.

So, that's my secret recipe: a fully developed sense of delusion with a newer and shiner project always in the wings.

The Encouraging Story

I do have one indicator that my current WIP is, at the very least, better than my other, retired manuscripts. You see, my husband is a very helpful critic for my work. I think he's pretty perceptive. For example, when we watch movies together, I come out of the theater saying, "That was fun," and he comes out saying, "Yeah, I enjoyed it, but . . ." And then I realize that he has a point, even if he's being a bit picky sometimes.

I only managed to get him to read one of my other manuscripts the whole way through, and even that one took him a while. Then, at the end, he pointed out the slow parts and plot holes and all sorts of things.

I gave him this book, expecting him to get back to me in a few months (possibly with a few nagging reminders thrown in). Instead, I got home and he'd read through the whole thing! He'd started and got so caught up in my story that he'd just kept on reading.

I was so excited!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Social Media and Me

The Low-Down


My god but there's a lot of this social media nonsense going about. I swear, every time I turn around there's something new and awesome to try. And try I have. I've sampled and obsessed and created accounts and utterly neglected accounts and in general had a good time online.

And here's what I think:


Blogging (me)

 



So first and foremost, there is my utterly delightful (and wonderfully fascinating) blog. I went with blogger b/c I've been sucked into the Google vortex. There's obviously also wordpress. And, I'm sure, about a million others.

I keep a regular schedule and stick to the subject of my writing because having a focused topic has really helped me keep going.

Building a following is hard. Writing into the great wide nothing is hard. Coming up with posts is hard. But yet I feel like my blog is one of the most rewarding things I do online. Sometimes its a chore, but I put a lot of me into some of these posts, and I think writing regularly to you delightful people has improved my writing.

And then, of course, there's following others' blogs and writing comments on them and meeting wonderful people and sharing thoughts that way. So that's blogging.


Tumblr (me)

 



Tumblr was an early experiment for me. I really like Tumblr because you're anonymous, and I can actually see the way real live teens think (wonderful for a YA author). But Tumblr, for me, does photos best, and I don't take photos, so anything I put up on there is really just me putting up the work of others (from the Creative Commons, of course).

Tumblr can be things other than photos - quotes, articles, links, etc, but I just feel like Tumblr's does the visual stuff best, so my Tumblr posting pretty much died away. I did meet some cool people, though.


Twitter (me)

 



My twitter's new, so it's still got a shiny glow to it. Although, today, I was sitting there reading partial conversations other people were having with people I didn't know, and I asked myself, "Why am I wasting one of my few days off work with this nonsense?"

But other days, it's awesome. And some people can fit a lot of fun and funny into 140 characters or less. Cool links. Info about contests. Cool people you'll never actually meet in real life that you start to feel like you actually know.

It's a fun way to connect with a lot of awesome people.


Reddit (link)


The Front Page of The Internet, or so they self-proclaim.

Reddit has sucked me in. I don't attempt to gain lots of karma or front page posts, but it's fun reading through such a random amalgamation of cool news stories, politics, adorable animal photos, gorgeous photos of places around the world, and random science/history facts. Oh, and the memes. I don't know how I forgot the memes.

When I'm on Reddit, I feel very internetty, and I gain a ton of completely random info that is utterly fascinating (to me), and I use that info to bore others (sorry, real life friends).

Reddit is pretty much my be-all of time wasting. Got a few minutes to waste? Don't know what else to do? Reddit!

Reddit can also be filled with a bunch of self-righteous prigs. Many of whom are sexist and racist (or at least some of them). So that's not particularly fun. But I'm addicted.

Goodreads (me)

 



This site is awesome, but I have utterly abandoned my account. I do still love to use Goodreads to read reviews on books I'm thinking of buying, though.

I was using my reviews as a sort of query-practice. I'd try to figure out how to cut a book down to one or two riveting paragraphs for books that I hadn't written, hoping that would lend me some insight when it came to books I had written. I think it helped, but I've just stopped making the time for it. Sadly, with so many social media options (and real life to-do's), some of them fall by the wayside. Even great sites like this.

There are also forums for people who want to discuss books and, one of my favorite features, book recommendations based on books you liked. I also love the Goodreads lists.

In short, Goodreads is super cool, and I don't use it because I'm a slacker.


Writing Forums


I was participating in the forum on Nathan Bransford's blog, and that was really cool (query critiques, cool people, cool links and discussions and the like), but I don't make time for it any more.

And, of course, there's Absolute Write and a cool query critique site like Agent Query Connect. Of course, you always have to be careful. Anyone can write a response or a critique. That doesn't mean they know what they're doing. Take everything said with a grain of salt.

That said, these can be a great way to get info, find CPs, and connect with others in a similar situation.


That Other Stuff


And then there's those other social media that I don't use all that much. There's the ever-present Facebook, which can be really cool for connecting with others (especially those people you went to high school with and haven't seen in ages.) And Linked-In for those professional connections. And, I'm sure, a ton of others that I'm just completely forgetting.

Everybody uses social media differently. There's just so much internet out there that I'll never get through it all, so I'm working on honing down what works best for me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Draft: Complete!

This isn't what the dragons in my book look like (they look more like winged dinosaurs), but I love this little dragon drawing I did, so here it is again.

Done!

I am so excited right now. I'm riding that writing high. That "I'm amazing and I can do anything" high.

That's right. My first draft is DONE!

I feel so good about this one. I plotted it out, I already combined a few characters AND made certain my characters were relevant throughout the book. (I don't have many that pop in and then pop out of existence unless it's for a good reason!)

Each chapter is headed toward some event or conveys an idea that's important to the plot.

One guy who I had brought in at the end now shows up in the beginning and pops in toward the late middle and then comes back at the end. Continuity, baby!

And the ending! Oh, the drama and the horror and then the bittersweet note of hope!

And the idea itself isn't quite like anything I've heard before. PLUS, there are dragons! Dragons are just freaking cool.

As I'm sure you can tell (and read in the very first sentence), I am so excited!

I even have a query worked out (that will require some revising, I'm sure, but I've got to revise the whole stinking book, so I've got time.)

The Query:

In an alternate 1950s where everyday appliances are powered by dragon magic, DRAGON BAIT follows Moura Pearce after her father is named a Red-sympathizing traitor by the powerful Senator Darius McCarthy.

Moura's sent to live with her rich old aunt while her parents go into hiding. Sure, she gets some pretty cool clothes out of the deal, but for the first time in her life, she doesn't have her best friend at her side. Or her Mom to make her happy face pancakes. And just when Moura finally starts to fit in, McCarthy ruins it all by declaring that her new best friend is a Communist traitor! Moura sucks it up and helps her friend get away, but now she's an outcast all over again. With nothing left to lose, Moura's determined to make McCarthy pay. She's just not sure how. Yet.

DRAGON BAIT is a YA fantasy, complete at 72,000 words.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Twitter Distraction and My Sister's Birthday

So, I've been neglecting this blog a bit. I mean, I've been posting, but I've been thinking things like, "Oh, man, Wednesday's rolling back around. I've got to write another one of those stupid blog posts."

Which is pretty ridiculous because I actually really like my blog. I've got cool stuff here, and I'm kind of proud of it. I'd love to have a few more people commenting, and I'd love to write some real ground breaking posts (although since I'm not sure what they'd be about, I'm afraid I'm going to have to hold off on those for a little while). But I like it.

Here's one of my problems: I've just gotten into Twitter, and talk about instant gratification. 140 characters or less (so quick, so easy!) and a bunch of cool people to stalk. So, sorry, blog, I do still love you. I just love you a little less right now. It's not you. It's my own fickle nature. I'm sure you'll come back into favor some day.

In the meantime, I'm going to share a set of photos of the birthday present I gave my sister. I thought it was funny. (I do entertain myself).

The outside box says, "My dear Margaretta, For your birthday I am giving you something completely archaic." I wrote it out in cursive (talk about archaic) and at the very bottom, in tiny writing, it says, "(I googled cursive to be sure to get the F & I right.)"

Man, cursive is a dying skill. I hear a lot of schools aren't even teaching it any more. Can't say that I blame them. (As a side note, before my sister learned cursive, my friends and I would write notes in cursive so she couldn't read them. She would have been about 6 years old, and it drove her insane! I loved it.)

Then comes the next box:
This one says, "And rawther crass. I do hope you are not offended."

Then comes the pay off (literally):
It says, "COLD HARD CASH."
You may not be able to tell, but there are tiny dollar signs all over that last note. And, of course, there's some money in there. (I may enjoy tormenting my sister, but I try not to be too mean about it.)

You may have noticed my skills in creating beautiful borders for the above messages. Obviously I missed my true calling in life as a stationery artist.

Oh, and I also gave her Cinder by Marissa Meyer, which is a very fun read for those who might have missed it. A sci-fi re-telling of Cinderella in which Cinder is a cyborg. Action, adventure, and even a ball. Very cool.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What I've Been Up To (Mostly Related to Writing)

So I'm totally slacking on this post, but I've been busy. Fo reals. (Okay, pretend like I didn't just say that. I sound like an idiot.)

But I do want to get my post out this Wednesday because I've made a Commitment, and I want to stick to it.

I'm stopped short at the climax of my book because it scares me stiff that I'm going to screw it up. However, I do have something I'm working on that's been taking up all my time for the past two weeks. That's right, I'm going to pull out The Excuse (and it's a good one!)

My grandmother has been loosing her vision, and her birthday's coming up soon. We're going to visit, and I decided, all of a sudden, that I would create an audiobook of my polished MG Fantasy for her to listen to. She was an editor, and she'd read one of my other books (being my grandma, of course she said it showed promise), and this was the best thing I could think of to give her. So I've been sitting in my room talking to myself (and my computer) creating this recording for her.

And when my throat (and brain - reading out loud is oddly exhausting, especially when you really don't want to screw up) get too worn out, I've been watching action movies on Netflix for inspiration with that climactic scene that I really need to freaking write.

So that's what I've been up to these days.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Villain - Mwah ha ha!


So I'm into the last quarter of my "first" draft of my WIP, Dragon Bait. (The first is in quotes because I've re-written the beginning about three times, but I still haven't made it to the end - I'm finally getting there.)

Now that I'm closing in on the end my villain really needs to pick up his game. I need action and conniving and all sorts of scheming craftiness (for both the villain and the main character). The villain's overbearing presence needs to be felt on pretty much every page, ratcheting up the tension.

Quite frankly, I always have difficulty with this part.

I mean my main character is pretty darn awesome. And why would anyone want to hurt her?

So now I'm struggling with the end where the action has to be non-stop, horrible things have to happen to my beloved main character, and I have to keep my villain evil and yet also believable.

So I'm plotting and planning and struggling my way through, always trying to bring each page back to the threat that hangs over my main character's head.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Contest I Didn't Enter

Hello, All!

The Cool Contest

So today's post is about something I decided not to do (writing related, of course). And my reasons for it.

Very recently there was this very awesome contest posted called Pitchmas. (It's semi-annual, BTW, so it'll roll back around for those interested.) Pitchmas is all about creating a 140 character Twitter pitch and a 35 word (or less) blog pitch for your completed, polished manuscript. It's free, and there were/are some very awesome agents and editors involved in the judging.

I'd queried my MG fantasy a bit, but I did do a pretty big overhaul recently. I'd queried it a few times after that, but then (b/c, overall, I'd queried a fair amount) I shelved it. But it's in good shape so I thought it'd be reasonable to enter it, and I worked quite hard on my pitches.

Initial Doubts

But then I read this very informative article about contests by Dalia on Cupid's Literary Connection (both great people to follow, of course.) And she makes some great points, but one really stuck out to me: Other writers deserve a shot too. (And, of course, the manuscript must be in great shape to even bother to enter.)

Now I'd only entered one other contest with my MG Fantasy, and I had revised since then, but I'd also felt as though there had to be a reason I'd gotten the last few rejections on my newly polished and re-revised work.

Confirmation

So I sent my first few pages to a new CP, and she was very helpful (and very honest). She was a little confused by the setting, and at least one transition seemed a bit abrupt. It's so hard to look at your work and, knowing what you already know, see it as a newcomer would.

My conclusion: I think my beginning, not my pitch (or query as the case may be) is my problem with this book. I love the book. I know I have good ideas. I know I have likable characters. I think I have a pretty interesting plot. But I'm having a hell of a time with the beginning, and I think that's why I haven't gotten any offers.

It's not a quick fix either. I don't have any great ideas that'll clear everything up. I'm in the middle of a new WIP that I'm very attached to. So I don't want to spend ages fixing up my MG (and I'm not even sure how I'd go about doing it anyway).

My Decision

So I was thinking: Is it really fair to the other great entrants for me to enter a contest when I'm not sure my beginning deserves the attention?

No, I decided, it's not. It's not fair to the other potential contestants and its not fair to the agents/editors reading the entries.

And so I decided not to enter. I feel oddly proud of that decision.

(The Unentered Pitches)

But since I worked so hard on them, I am going to share the pitches with you:

35 word blog pitch:

Eric Ortega’s memory’s half-gone, ripped out with the demon who possessed him. His mother – nothing but fuzz. All memory of his possession – gone. He’s determined to find his mom. The demon’s determined to find him.
Twitter Pitch:

With his spotty memory, Eric doesn’t know a demon’s after him. But he knows his mom needs him. Can he find her first? #PitchMAS 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pets Make Great Characters

If my husband's childhood pet were still alive, I am really not certain which of us he'd love more. Fortunately, I am secure in our relationship, and his dog was pretty cool.

For his birthday, I made him this pastel drawing of Brot (pronounced burr - ott).

My Husband's Pet

Apparently this dog would fetch anything, and I mean anything, you threw. From golf balls punted (hit? batted? yeah, so I don't play golf, so sue me) off the front porch to small downed trees that you managed to move two inches. (Brot couldn't do much better, but he'd be damned if he didn't get that tree those two inches back to you.)

Then there is the story of how Brot became the Chosen Puppy. There was a whole litter of puppies. Food was poured, and all the puppies gathered round. But one fat little puppy was not content to crowd around the edges. This baby dog knew how to get things done. He waded through his brothers and sisters and plopped his pudgy little butt down right in the middle of the food bowl.
And my husband's father said, "I want that one!"

This dog had character in spades.

Animal Characters: Laughter or Crying Will Ensue

Some animals have more personality than most of the people you'll talk to today. (This is not meant to be an insult to your cohorts, merely an admiration of the furred people in your life.) That is why pets (or just animals in general) can definitely make great characters.

One of my all-time favorite characters is Mogget from Sabriel. Now, admittedly, Mogget turned out to be a little more than a cat, and he could talk and all, but we are talking All Time Favorites. I'm not even sure who else would make that list at the moment. Mogget was so freaking cool!
Of course, my husband had to go and be difficult and like the Disreputable Dog (of Lirael fame) better.

And just this weekend, I was talking to a friend about how teachers read us Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows in elementary school. Yeah. Everyone pretended not to cry, but we were bawling our eyes out. Probably two of the most heart-breaking books I've ever read (or had read to me).

So when you're plotting and you need a BFF for your character, don't rule out the family pet. Just make certain you give that pet a personality. And, please, if you have any consideration for my tear ducts, do try not to sacrifice the doggy at the end of the tale.


This was another attempt at drawing Brot, but we didn't like it quite as much. It wasn't as Brot-ty:


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kids Are Wondrous Creatures

 
Hello, All,

I'm on vacation this week! So I'll keep this short and sweet.

Nathan Bransford pointed me toward this recent BBC Article about kids' writings. The BBC analyzed the 90,000 entries they had into their kids' short story contest, and they basically confirmed what I already knew: kids (especially kids who write) are pretty darn awesome.

Things become especially sad for the adults in the audience when the BBC starts making comparisons between analyses of adults' writings as versus these kids' compositions. For example:
Among the top five two-noun words for kids were "time machine", "space ship", and "tree house".
By the time people reach adulthood, these words have been replaced by the more mundane, functional terms like "car park" and "kitchen sink". . .

They go on to say that adults' work tends to be more "humdrum." Yah think?

For some reason (although I love cats), I was happy to see that the kids' work contained more references to dogs, monsters, and dragons than cats. Go dragons!

But at least adults aren't entirely lame:
[I]f we're looking for the missing link that unites generations, it appears to be "ice cream", which reaches the top five for both kids and adults.
Ice cream isn't nearly as awesome as dragons and time travel, but it is pretty darn delicious. Especially if it contains chocolate.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Making Picture Books Isn't For the Faint Hearted


 Photo credit to Yumi Kimura

So I just read this really cool article, and I really wanted to share it with you. (Sorry, you may have to click Continue To the Document or some such nonsense, but it's totally worth it.)

This article goes step by step through the process of making the picture book Zoom Upstream.  This book is about a cat who goes on an adventure down into the basement and ends up in Egypt. (Hence today's smilin' kitty picture.)

Now, I think this particular article downplays the amount of editing that can go into a picture book. I myself have tried my hand at picture book writing, and I've realized that every word counts and the rhythm of the words is really important, so I did a ton of editing on my picture book. But it's quite probable that author Tim Wynne-Jones is just that much better than me.

But what I found to be fascinating was the crazy amount of effort the illustrator put into his work. (That'd be Eric Beddows, aka Ken Nutt - he's got two names, what a nut! Okay, sorry about the terrible pun.)

Eric Beddows did awesome (and crazy) stuff like build scale models for his illustrations and then take pictures of the models and sketch in drawings over top of his photos. He also used graph paper so that he could consistently get the proportions (and respective proportions) of his various characters correct all the time.

Eric also visited Egypt so he could be inspired for his illustrations, but I'd consider that to be more of a perk/excuse to go visit Egypt than anything else.

Anyway, I thought it was neat. Hope you do too.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Point of View in YA Books

Why hello there.

The Revelation

My poor book. I've subjected the very beginning of this book to so many changes. And I haven't even finished writing the first draft yet.

And then last week I was re-reading the Hunger Games, and I was like, "I should just go for it."

"Go for what?" you might ask.

So glad you asked. Go for first person point of view (POV).

My Internal POV Debates

I've shied away from 1st person POV with all my other manuscripts. It's partially because almost all the classics are written in 3rd person. Historically, 3rd person has just been a much more accepted POV. I would like my books to stand the test of time (you know, if any of them ever get published). So I automatically gravitated toward 3rd person.

But that semi-snobbiness wasn't the only reason I was sticking to 3rd person. It wasn't even the main reason. The real problem was that I wasn't sure I could pull 1st person off. You have to get the tone right or you've just made the whole book unreadable (or at least annoying to read).

Now, of course, "right" is very relative, but if you are writing a YA book about a 16 year old, you really cannot have that 16 year old sounding like an 85 year old Grandma. Or like a wooden robot. You know, unless that 16 year old is actually a reincarnated 85 year old robot. And good luck getting that tone right.

But I love the accessibility of Katniss in The Hunger Games, and part of the reason she's so accessible is that you know exactly what she's thinking and why she's thinking it.

So I decided I was going to go for it. That means I'm working on changing the portion of the book I had already written from 3rd person POV to 1st person POV. Talk about a pain in the butt. (Actually, I'm kind of loving it. It is a pain, but I can see so much more of Moura's character. I like her better now, and I think readers will too.)

The YA Point of View

That was when I realized that 1st person is actually pretty ideal for YA books. I mean, don't get me wrong, some authors do absolutely awesome with other POVs. But by the very nature of a YA book (a.k.a. focused on the teenage years), there will be angst and confusion and learning about oneself. Honestly, I think most books have that to a certain extent, but it's pretty essential in a YA novel. The reader has to travel through all that emotional turmoil and still like the main character. To get through all that angst with your MC, I think it's helpful to understand what that main character is thinking and why they're reacting the way they are. And for that, first person POV is awesome!

It also lets you make funny, snarky asides!

So, wish me luck. I've got a lot of revising to do. But I think I'm going to really like the results.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Science: Don't Be Afraid, Be Inspired!

 
That's me, looking soooooo cool!

 

Why I Write Science Fiction


So, I'd just like to take a little time to point out the fact that science is super-awesome-cool. And totally under-appreciated. (Not by everyone, just by most people. It's so easy to take for granted.)

I neglect proper science appreciation on a regular basis. I mean, I am sitting here, connected (potentially) to millions of people, writing on a rather small machine that is more powerful than the computers that would have taken up my entire house like 60 years ago. This thing in front of me is AMAZING!

 This ginormous computer is a remake of the WWII code breaker known as Colossus Mark 2.
(Source: Loz Pycock)

Then, there's the fact that if I want to know about something (completely random), I can just plug it into my search bar and, BAM!
http://openclipart.org/image/800px/svg_to_png/157495/comicsoundefffect2.png 
There it is.

You want to know how a real, live fire-breathing dragon would (hypothetically) work? Google. Search.
http://openclipart.org/image/800px/svg_to_png/157495/comicsoundefffect2.png
Dragon Science.

Cool, right?

I don't get those people who complain about the lack of hovercars. I mean, sure, they'd be totally awesome cool (new word of the day!). BUT back when those hovercars were conceived of, we sure as shit didn't have mini little geniuses who lived in our pockets and could tell us pretty much anything we wanted to know (I'm talking about your phone, people, not some genius-bred mice.)

And while I myself am (obviously) quite obsessed with the whole computer/phone/ipod phenomenon, science does all sorts of other awesome cool stuff.

Mammograms. Birth control. (Talk about a serious advance for women who wish to have careers/education/a specific number of children.) Moon walk. DNA Mapping. And I am sure that there are tons of fields I am criminally neglecting here.

This is some pretty awesome cool stuff. Can you believe some kids actually hate science class?
Okay. Yep. I can totally believe it too. I had a really boring teacher who once made me think I actually hated physics.

But that's my point. Cool people like me (uh huh) need to help everyone understand that science is awesome cool (obviously much cooler than me). And that is why I (sometimes) write science fiction.

I write a few other genres too b/c I'm a fickle person (who loves too many things), but today I just wanted to share a little of my appreciation for science with you.

BTW, not exactly sure how creative commons clipart credit works. Maybe I can just use it? But, hey, let's give credit where credit is due. Credit to studio_hades.