Okay, Jo and I almost have our costumes ready. Just a few more things to give it the last touches, and it will be awesome!
Story: A week or two ago I went on a date with myself. It was fun. I ate at my favorite place where there was live music. Then I went dancing and bowling (probably one of the best combinations ever). I happened upon some way cool stuff going on at Fat Cats while dancing and bowling, which included Fat Cats Cash giveaways. There were colored pins mixed in with the rest of the white ones and if you got a colored pin in the very front then you had to tell the person at the desk who would then make an announcement for everyone to hear. If, after that, you got a strike then you won the cash.
I'd been bowling a little while when I got a colored pin. I told the desk attendant and then danced my way back to my lane where I bowled a perfect strike and won $75. It was the only strike I hit all night. What can I say? I'm super lucky.
I took Jo to Fat Cats again tonight to see just what my "money" was worth. I can use it on anything there--arcade tokens, bumper cars, bowling, pizza, mini golf, billiards; the whole works. Jo and I played some dance dance, had a few motorcycle races, and won a ton of tickets playing skee ball (although they called it something else...not sure what it was). I've never really been much into arcade stuff, but it was fun, and I'd like to do it again--bumpercars next time!
One thing I noticed at Fat Cats is there were a lot of young people. You know, teenager types. And I realized that I'm not one of them anymore as young as I think I am. I'm not old by any means, but I've grown past the years where I could really be a main character in a YA novel. I've decided that I need to do more fun "teenagery" things. Like go bowling and dancing and bumpercar-ing. How do I expect to write YA if I'm not doing YA things?
...okay, maybe I just want an excuse to stay young forever ;)
It's my last week of work, and NaNoWriMo is coming up in just three more days!
I've been trying to get myself ready, but how do you really prepare yourself for writing crazy amounts of words in a small amount of time?
I still haven't quite figured it out.
But, I'm committed.
The novel will happen.
I've just got to get through this very busy week.
Work work work.
Cleaning out my office.
Finding a halloween costume for the parties.
There's always time for the things you make time for.
Today is my sister's birthday. I'm not sure how old she is now...but she's older than I am.
My sister and I used to be really close, but as I've grown older we've grown apart a little bit--which actually seems to be the case with the majority of my family (I guess moving away to college and stuff does that). Regardless, I still think my sister is really awesome, and wickedly creative.
She's always had skills in the visual arts department, which she's used in various craft making and scrapbooking over the years.
Lately, she's gained an interest in going to mountain man rendevous with her her husband where she's learned all kinds of cool stuff about the mountain man era and the kinds of things they used during that time.
And, not surprisingly, she's put her crafting skills into making authentic, leather sheaths, pouches, and belt bags.
Here are a few examples of the cool things she makes by hand:
And, if you like it and want to buy something like this, you can! Check out her store, Clauson Trading, on Etsy.
There are all kinds of ways to be creative and to use your creative skills, and like writing, I think they all need to be celebrated. As do people. So, here's to creativity and to a happy birthday for my sister, Heidi!
My super awesome friend Charlie (who also has a blog you should totally check out), made a comment yesterday that made me think about how what we read might affect what we write. I think, in general, readers and writers are versatile. They like all different kinds of genres and authors and stories. But, it seems like we tend to really love certain authors or books or styles. I've gone through phases.
In elmentary school I was in love with The Boxcar Children series. I loved mysteries and kids who played outside.
During middle school I read mostly boy survival books like The Hatchet. Or really anything written by Gary Paulsen or Will Hobbs. I also seriously adored Harry Potter.
In high school I became uber churchy and read a lot of LDS fiction (which I would barf if I read now becuase holy bad writing, batman!) by people like Jack Weyland and whatever the local library had . I also read a lot of classics during high school (assigned and otherwise) which may have balanced out the quality my literary experience in my teen years. That was when I learned to love (oddly enough) Ray Bradbury. I enjoyed Jane Austen mostly because it seemed a lot like LDS fiction--there are a lot of parallels between Mormon cutlure and the Regency Period as described by Austen.
Also somewhere in high school I discovered Joan Bauer who writes the kind of books that even now I'd love to write. The only word I can think of to describe her books is: simple. And that doesn't even really do it, because it's not really like they're simple. But they sort of have the feel of A Long Way From Chicago (another good book). I was so in love with Joan Bauer's books that I wrote her an email asking her how she became a writer and how does she do it. She even wrote me an email back! I have to admit that was probably one of the most encouraging things that happened in my career as a writer.
Even as I got more into reading "The Classics" during college, I still never could get away from young adult. Actually, I probably read more of them in college than any other time. I actually met the authors of the books I've become copycat to lately while taking classes at BYU. Carol Lynch Williams and Ann Dee Ellis.
What can I say? I love their books and their writing styles. Personally, I think that my current WIP has a little bit of both these writers in them. So, does that make me a copycat?
I don't think so. And here are a few reasons why:
1. I started writing bits of my story before I'd ever read a book by Ann Dee Ellis. I took some secitons to a writing group and they said, "hey! This is a lot like this book which I happen to be carrying in my backpack and you should borrow it and read it." That book was Everything is Fine. The next semester I took a creative writing class from Ann Dee herself, and we became friends. But I had my style before I knew about her--so how is that copycat?
2. Part of why I feel like I'm a "copycat" to these ladies is because they both write books with heavy issues like physical abuse, death, sexual abuse, etc. Those stories for some reason or none speak to me, and for some reason or none I happen to come up with those same kinds of stories and characters--so I write them.
3. I took classes from both authors, so I learned a lot of their techniques and their preferences. I limit myself on adverbs and adjectives--that just makes for clean, simple, and good writing; it doesn't mean I'm a copycat, it just means that I can apply the good things that I learn.
4. Every author has their own unique style, voice, rythm, and sentence construction. If you asked fifteen people to tell the exact same story, you would get fifteen different stories. This is why we have several movies about spiderman or batman. Also, this is why we have genres. If the second person to write a story with aliens and space ships never wrote their story out of fear of being a copycat, then we probably wouldn't have Star Wars or Star Trek or a number of scifi stories. I like to think that my story would fit into a genre and maybe a sub-category with stories like Glimpse, This is What I Did, Speak, and even Perfect.
So, am I a copycat? Maybe. Or maybe I'm just an original writer who happens to draw upon my experiencew which may or may not be shared with others already...
When people find out that I'm a writer or that I have a bachelor's degree in English they always ask me, "what is your favorite book?"
Or something along those lines.
"Who is your favorite author?"
"What's your favorite genre?"
"Do you have any book recommendations?"
Last week someone asked me one or two of these questions.
I never have an answer.
I can't think of The Great American Novel that everyone must read.
I can never come up with a title or an author of one of the many stellar Classics.
My answer, and maybe this should tell me something, always involves picture books.
I say, "Well, I really like Mercer Meyer...you know, the little critter books..."
Or, "There was this really great picture book called Mary Had a Little Lamp that is just brilliant! The ending is so good, because it sets you up for disappointment but then you turn the page and Wham! resolved."
I always think about my very favorite book I found in England that was self-published by a woman with a cute little shop. once upon a time when i was a rabbit. And of course there's the sequel: once upon a time when i was the biggest big bear.
The words in both are just so SO good. And the illustrations are adorable. They're the kinds of books that I read and think "I wish I had created this."
Then there's the book I found at the Grand Canyon: A Cowgirl and Her Horse. How clever it is. How fabulous the illustrations are.
There's a picture book writer in me somewhere. One of these days I'm going to find her.
What's your favorite book? Author? Genre? What book should I absolutely read?
Do any of those match up with the kind of book you're writing?
I hate to admit it, but sometimes I get sick.
Today is one of those days where I've been in bed almost all day with the exception of going to the potty and boiling myself some sick-day tea.
When I was a little kid my mom always gave me hot jello. Probably because she knew we liked the sugar and she couldn't get us to drink enough fluids otherwise. I loved it. I don't think I could drink it now, but I've come up with my own concoction that reminds me enough of those old-time sick days to give me comfort, but seems slightly more sophisticated--slightly. :)
I boil some water till the tea pot screams then I dump it into my cute little mug with a packet of this:
Then I add a splash or two of this:
I don't know why it's so good, but it is. Sick days made better.