Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cafe Quiz

How addicted to coffee are you? Take this interesting online test and find out. My results:

I figured I'd be more of a social coffee drinker; would be another story if we were talking tea -- I probably drink at least a gallon per day of the leaf. So how much of an addict are you? Let us know in comments.

(Test link swiped from Gerard at The Presurfer)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Such a Character

Saw this incredibly fun character chart in a bunch of life-saving diagrams over on BuzzFeed:

The floating skull -- that's what has been missing from my writing life all these years! I call dibs.

Honestly, when I saw the chart I really thought it was a brilliant approach to characterization solely because of the stick figures. Everyone can draw a stick figure, and if you wanted to illustrate your story crew something like this would be perfect (and simple enough to make.)

The chart also gives you a one-glance look at your story crew, which after five or six chapters can often be difficult to herd, much less envision all at once. The archetypal categories on the Buzzfeed chart are for fun, but you could do a serious version with the same sort of role names for your characters: the protag, the antag, the sidekick, the dark horse, the love interest, the first victim, the floating skull, etc. Okay, maybe not the skull, but you get the general idea.

The other element about this chart that is seriously awesome is that the creator was having fun with the idea. Often taking everything about our stories so seriously leads to much stress, angst, sleepless nights, wrinkles, formation of stomach ulcers etc. The chart is a good reminder to give yourself enough creative space to have fun with your characters (and everything in your story, for that matter.) Writing is very hard work, but there's no reason you can't have a good time with it, too. Based on my own experiences, I think the more you enjoy your process, the more likely you'll be to stick with your story and actually finish it -- and possibly write something that has real potential.

Related PBW links:

ABCharacter is a quick and easy way to outline any character's personality

Get your game on by designing your own Character Trading Cards

Use colors to help explore and define your characters with From Focus to Palette

How to make your own Character Art

Ten Things to Help with Creating Character Names

(Found the Buzzfeed chart via another link swiped from Gerard over at The Presurfer)

Friday, October 17, 2014


Almost ten thousand miles + over ten thousand images + five minutes = a breathtaking visual tour of Norway (with background music, for those of you at work):

NORWAY - A Time-Lapse Adventure from Rustad Media on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just Write

Today I'm off to write something new and post it online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.

My link: the completed In the Leaves novella, with the last of the new material beginning on page 37.

For more details on Just Write Thursdays, click here to go to the original post.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


The official website of National Novel Writing Month has gone live for 2014, and there are lots of changes. But before I begin grousing about get into all that, let's take a look at this year's official graphic:

I'm thinking Judy, you were right. Very vintage, chock full of fun stuff and so much more attractive than 2013. I will get all the various incarnations uploaded to my Photobucket account and post the links next week (this week Photobucket does not like me uploading, for some reason. Maybe it got fried from the air show pics.)

The good folks at the website have fiddled with the site while renovating, so expect change in your face when you go to sign in for 2014. Among other things, there's a new dashboard, graphic Girl/Boy-Scoutish "badges" you can earn by doing participatory things that do not involve camping, burning marshmallows or sleeping with the crickets (at least I hope not), and the chance to join virtual "write-ins" via something with YouTube that isn't working yet. They've also rounded up an interesting roster of pros to give pep talks, coach you and do some sort of sprinting (and Chuck Wendig will likely be the most practical/smart/fun of that bunch, so keep an eye out for him.)

Change is inspiring, and every writer can use new motivation, so I'm on board with all this. At the same time I am waxing a bit nostalgic for the good old tech-lite days of NaNo, when all we did was write and nag each other to write in chatrooms where we'd post our daily counts and wait for the occasional word war to break out. You remember, before cell phones ate the world and turned everyone into texting and instagramming zombies?

Anyway. Looks like there is much fun to be had over at the website, so do check it out when you get a chance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sky Masters

This past weekend my guy and I took off for a day to visit the beach and watch these daredevils:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Say It Ten

Ten Things About How to Pronounce Those Odd Names & Words I Write

Charmian: the h is silent, and the C is hard, just as it is in Chemistry, so it's KAR-mee-ahn.

Cherijo: The #1 most mispronounced name from my books; usually read out loud like the cereal (Cheerios.) The correct way to say it is CHAIR-ee-joe.

Cyprien: I've had actual arguments with people over the various ways to say this one. I pronounce it SEE-prahn.

Darkyn: I cooked up this one from a medieval reference to "dark kin" in a history book, which is probably why I pronounce it DAR-kin.

Jamys: Made this one up myself, too, although there may be an ancient equivalent out there somewhere. Most people say it as JAM-miss or JAY-miss. I pronounce it as Jshah-ME.

Kao: I coined it from the letters K and O, which is also how it's pronounced: KAY-oh.

Kyara: I borrowed this from a baby name book; it's pronounced Key-ARE-ah.

Thierry: Another silent h here -- it's pronounced Tee-AIR-ee.

Xonea: For some reason everyone thinks it's Zoh-NEE-ah; I pronounce it with the short o: Zuh-NEE-ah

and finally, about my own headache:

Viehl: It's not pronounced VALE or VILE, and it's actually two syllables, like Kal-El (you did not know I belonged to the House of El, did you?) So to be completely accurate it's pronounced VEE-el, but VEEL is perfectly acceptable.