Archive for the ‘Everything Else’ Category


Y is for Y U NO WRITE?

   Posted by: Faith

I think I’m going to take a bit of a bloggy break in May… this A-Z Challenge has been fun, but more time-consuming than I’d expected in a lot of cases. I’ve barely had a chance to get around to visit all the blogs I regularly go to, let alone my fellow Challenge participants, so I think I’ll spend May doing things I should be doing, like:


  • commenting on others’ blogs
  • catching up on overdue book reviews
  • reading some relevant writing books
  • working on revisions

and most of all…

  • writing!!!

I haven’t put pen to paper for the past month or so (beyond quick revisions here and there), and that’s not acceptable.

There’s a story a day challenge coming up in May too… anyone interested? I don’t know that I’ll officially participate, but I plan to use it as inspiration.

Anyone else feeling the lack of writing time these days, or is it just me?


X is for Xenodochial

   Posted by: Faith

Is your blog xenodochial?

Over the course of this past month, if you’ve been participating in the A-Z Challenge in particular, you’ve likely gained some new followers, maybe lost a few (hopefully not, though!), and perhaps made some new bloggy friends.stranger-chat

But what if you haven’t?

In the unlikely event that you haven’t seen an increase in traffic to your blog (not always characterized by comments, as it seems participants for the A-Z Challenge have a bit of blog fatigue these days… but that doesn’t mean they’re not reading your posts), you may want to consider whether your blog is, in fact, xenodochial.

Which means what, exactly?

Someone who is xenodochial is kindly or hospitable to strangers. Ah! Now it makes sense.

A few things to consider:

  • Does your blogger profile link back to your blog, so bloggers can click through your comment and return the favor?
  • Does your blog use those horrible surprise captchas? (I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve commented and clicked away, only to see the surprise captcha pop up as the page closed…)
  • Do you comment back on your own posts? (I know, I’ve been horrible at this lately… but at minimum, responding to questions is the polite thing to do!)
  • Do your posts contain a balance of personal information and practical information? It’s all well and good to post WIP updates, but if that’s all your posts consist of, you may find yourself losing readers.
  • Do your posts invite response? Asking a question or making a final, summative statement prompts new visitors to interact with you… and if they feel comfortable commenting, they’re likely to return.

Just a few quick little things can help make your blog more xenodochial—which is always a good thing. You want people to stick around!

I know there are other things you can do to invite readers into your little bloggy world… what would you add to this list?


T is for Trololololo

   Posted by: Faith

…because I’m behind on the challenge, and because this makes me laugh every time…


Go ahead, sing along! You know you want to… :)


S is for Steampunk

   Posted by: Faith

Anyone up for a steampunk workshop with me?

Black Diamond RWA chapter is offering an online course in May called:

The Woman Behind the Goggles:

The Two Faces of Steampunk

crazy-mobaile …and it’s only $25 for non-members of the chapter!

The course runs for four weeks (May 2nd-29th), and will be research-heavy and writing-heavy, with (I suspect from the sound of things) personal feedback.

I’ve taken a class through this chapter before, and I learned a lot!

So… who wants to get their steampunk on this May? :D


Q is for Quintessential

   Posted by: Faith

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter ‘Q’, which I spent far too much time thinking about… mostly because I had no idea what to write this post about. And I’m still behind on the challenge (but that’s nothing new).

So, we’re going to take a few moments to look at a commonly misused word! Yay, words!

Our word for the day is: Quintessential.

Here’s the definition from is 'Quintessential Barbie'. Yay Mattel for correct word usage!

Quintessence –noun

1. the pure and concentrated essence of a substance.

2. the most perfect embodiment of something.

3. (in ancient and medieval philosophy) the fifth essence orelement, ether, supposed to be the constituent matter of theheavenly bodies, the others being air, fire, earth, and water.

And how about from Merriam-Webster online?

Quintessence –noun

1: the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies

2: the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form

3: the most typical example or representative <the quintessence of calm>

The adjectival form of the word is ‘quintessential’. But ask yourself this: When was the last time you used this word, intending it to mean “the most important thing”?

I’ve heard people describe something and use ‘quintessential’ like this: “The painting was absolutely beautiful, but the quintessential element was the brushstroke technique.”

Or like this: “Flour, sugar, and water are the main parts of this recipe, but the quintessential ingredient is the chocolate!”

These examples use the word to convey that something is the most essential. But, as you can see from the definitions above, that’s the incorrect way to use the word! And now you know. :D

When was the last time you tried to explain that something was the ‘most essential’ by using ‘quintessential’ instead? Are there any other common words you’ve misused before? :)


M is for Monster

   Posted by: Faith

Today I learned about a mythological creature I’d never heard of before… which shows you just how lacking I am in my knowledge of Norse mythology. Yikes. Time to pull out the ol’ world myth texts and have another look…! (What can I say, I tend to get stuck in the Ancient Near East or the Classical period…)


Midgard Serpent

MidgardSerpent The Midgard Serpent, or Jormundgandr, is one of the god Loki’s three children, who—and I’d be right ticked off about this too—good old Asgard ruler Odin grabbed by the tail and threw into the ocean around Midgard.

Due to this unexpected change of location, the serpent apparently grew so large that it encircled the world and was able to grab its own tail (sounding familiar now?). When he lets go of his tail, the world will end.

So if you go sailing, or take a cruise, and happen to spot a giant sea serpent in the middle of the ocean? DON’T PANIC.

Unless, of course, you see its mouth. Because that would suggest it has let go of its tail, and then we’re all in trouble.


Er… I should also mention that the Midgard Serpent is a character in Marvel’s Thor comic books too. Not that you needed to know, but you never know when useless pop culture trivia might come in handy… right?


Encountered any new and strange monsters in your research lately?


J is for Juggling

   Posted by: Faith

Some writers are one-story people. juggle

Other writers can’t seem to focus on one thing at a time.

And others deliberately have multiple things on the go:

  • novel(s)
  • short story / stories
  • edits / rewrites
  • queries
  • blogging
  • critique work

How do you figure out what to focus on?

Or are you a one-story kind of writer?

I’m still trying to figure out how to juggle everything… I tend to write one novel at a time, but work on multiple short stories (though finishing them, or having them actually work the first time around is another story!). And edits? Well, those seem to be rather perpetual at the moment…

(Yes, I know I’m behind on the challenge! But I’m determined to catch up, one way or another… though that involves juggling multiple blog posts along with everything else… heh… o_O )


I is for IMAX

   Posted by: Faith

imax2What? IMAX? What does that have to do with writing?

Umm… it does, really. Honest. (Or maybe I had no idea what else to do for the letter ‘I’ and am coming up with a rather stretched metaphor for the sake of getting this post out of the way…)

Okay, so bear with me here. Remember the last time you saw a movie in IMAX? What was your reason for choosing to go out of your way (the case for most of us, I’ll bet) to see it on that screen instead of your local theatre screen?

I’m betting: BIG screen = EXCELLENT picture quality = BEST way to watch action scenes (Deathly Hallows Part 2, anyone?).

On a screen like that, you see the big picture even better than on a typical theatre screen. But at the same time, a giant screen allows you to see the details better than you otherwise could. You can notice the little things, the smaller touches the filmmaker inserted to make the story that much more realistic and immersive for the viewer.

I think we need to look at our manuscripts in a similar way, particularly during the editing process (see? told you I had a point…).

It’s super important to be able to see the big picture as clearly as possible: Theme, Tone, Voice, Overarching Character and Plot Development. Those things must pervade the entire story and jump out at the reader just like an amazing explosion on a Big Screen.

But at the same time, a Big Picture perspective on our manuscript also allows us to add those little touches that make the story even more exciting for the reader… details in the setting, the clothing, accurate & plausible action (ie. fight scenes or battle scenes in particular), correct description & technical elements of specialty interests (ie. how long a horse can actually gallop for, or the correct pay grade of a field  archaeologist).

imax1Those touches make the story that much richer, that much more exciting and believable for the reader. Without them—and without a clear Big Picture to contain the details in—you might as well be writing a standard theatre screen story. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But I’m pretty sure you’d rather have it in IMAX. :)


H is for Hanging It Up

   Posted by: Faith

How do you know when a story just isn’t working?hangers

You know those stories. The ones that came out of a moment of genius & inspiration, the ones that you sit down to work on and end up pounding out the first 5,000 words in one afternoon.

The ones that, when that afternoon ends, come to a screeching halt as you scramble to avoid hitting that sudden, looming brick wall.

You mull. You plot and replot. You try one direction, the another, one point of view, then another. You let it sit for three months, read it again—love it—and then realize you’re still as stuck as you were three months ago.

Is it time to let that story go?

How do you know when to hang it up and move on?



   Posted by: Faith

Does it seem like the world is passing you by these days?



…everyone else is getting agents?

… everyone else has small press contracts?

…everyone else is getting partial/full requests, and all you’re getting is a lovely pile of rejections?

…everyone else actually has a finished novel, when you struggle to complete yours?



It’s not as if there won’t be any spots left with agents, anywhere. It’s not as if the small presses are going to fill up their rosters for eternity. It’s not like your work will be rejected forever, if you take the time to fix your mistakes and make your query & work better, over and over again. And books take time to write, even if you’re giving them time every single day.

You’re not alone—we’re all in this together. Some people are just a few steps ahead, and so people are a few steps behind. We’re all on the same path, however, and as long as we stay the course, we’ll end up at our destination one way or another.

No freak-outs needed. :)


PS: Are you freaking out? Maybe just a little?