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Research? Nah, I’d rather just go to Wikipedia.

This might very well be a month of ranting. Who knows? The month is young. For today, I just want to talk about human error and what that can do to research. Now, imagine you need to look up the correct name for something like a tree but all you have is its foreign name to go by. So, you research using that name and click on the first result that you get, ignoring all resource potentials and such and not questioning what you see on that page that you have clicked.

That, my friends, can turn a research paper, an article, a book, etc. into a major mishap if you, let’s say, encounter an expert in that very tree who tells you that you’ve been referencing the wrong tree or that the name has been spelled incorrectly for ten pages or so.

Okay, perhaps it’s not the end of the world if you misspell one trees name but think of it this way. If you chose that tree specifically for some symbolic reason or as a scientific support to an argument, that’s completely lost if you get it even slightly wrong. It loses its power, you could say.

Let’s face it — Thorough research is very, very important. That first resource you find on the internet might not even be factual (heaven forbid anything be wrong on the internet). That one site you like to rely on so much — guess what? — they might actually let you down occasionally. One resource for your research and fact checking just isn’t going to cut it, no matter how reliable your favorite resource might be.

The reason why I’m posting something like this is because I’ve been beating my head against the wall trying to explain to someone that they have the wrong information in some text. True, I didn’t notice the error on my own and probably would have glanced over it without a care in the world. Someone brought it up though, and then those who made the error continued to insist that they were correct because of a single source. I got curious, so I did some research of my own and found that the evidence against them was stacking up.

Now, I’m pretty good when it comes to researching. I get down-right fixated when I want to know the answer to something bad enough. I’ll do reverse image searches, every keyword I can think of, find experts and then look at their references to find more references, etc. (Thank you, good old education.).  I tried to offer them some of the proof and they would still insist that they had done a thorough job and had everything correct.

Long story short — I’m right, they’re wrong. Honestly, I partly understand why they are holding to their original work but from my point of view it simply doesn’t work despite the variable that could make it work. That sounds far too confusing… Sorry, I’m being terribly vague. I cite privacy reasons. If I say anything too specific, I’ve already given both myself and the people that I’ve been trying to explain the error to a big enough headache.

Those poor people, coming across me in my crazy mode…

So, research like crazy. Well, maybe not like crazy because you’ll end up like me. Research thoroughly and, when in doubt, ask a tree expert.

Eat. Sleep. Read. Research. Write.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Life, Writing

 

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Validation, here I come.

I was going to post something over the weekend, I swear. I even started writing something up but then it turned into a rant… While I have often ranted on this blog before, it was getting kind of lengthy so I decided to just vent in private. I was ticked off because someone close to me has been making assumptions about me lately that I find offensive. Long story short, I feel even more motivated now to show them how wrong they are.

I had a similar situation with my pursuit in writing, to be honest. Some people wouldn’t take the fact that I wanted to make a living off of writing seriously. I didn’t take myself seriously for a while because I believed a lot of what people or said or suggested through the looks they sent me.

I’m STILL working on that book?

I’m STILL not published?

I’m STILL trying to make a living by writing?

My recent and quite sudden increase in workload has shut those comments/thoughts up. Yes-sir-ee. I got more editing jobs. Then I was asked to write a short story, some reviews, some articles and even a book. I’m officially a freelance ghost writer so in your face, doubters!

*ahem*

My point is that there is some underlying similarity to these two situations; what kept me going and, in the case of my writing, led me to some kind of validation. I never gave up on my interests. I continued down the road to writing even though there were doubts all around me, and I’m continuing my interest in what is currently causing some prejudice in others around me (I should probably mention right now that my interest is not illegal, immoral or taboo and is actually productive. It just happens to accumulate certain prejudice around it — like when people assume that all male dancers are gay or all writers are sleep deprived, druggy sex gods — and I’m not going into detail for privacy reasons. ). I’m still working towards the validation part for that, but I’m feeling so much more confident since I gained more presence in the writers’ world.

Now, I feel compelled to end this post with a song. Enjoy:

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Life, Writing

 

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Forgive me, I’m allergic to overloaded plot lines.

I said I was going to update weekly, right? Woops.
I feel like I just came up for a breath of fresh air for the first time in two weeks. I’ve even been too busy to make myself proper meals most days. I really need to change that. I could just make myself a sandwich, but I’m cutting bread out of my diet; maybe permanently. I’ve been feeling sick lately, and I realized I’d been overloading on bread products. As soon as I stopped eating those — significantly better. Ate a graham cracker yesterday and felt icky again. So.. gluten allergy? Who knows. I’m really sad though, ’cause I love bread!

Which, coincidentally, brings me to my writing topic for the day.

No, I’m not going to be talking about the bread. What  I want to talk about are those scenes or lines we want to put into a story when they JUST DON’T WORK. Sure, it’s cool, it’s funny and it’s an epic line but does it really fit in that story? You might look at it and grin, but you’re reader is going to say, “Something’s off here.”

They might not know what it is, but they will know that something is keeping them from fully enjoying the story. On the other hand they might say, “What the heck? Why would [character's name] do that when on page 37 he clearly…” You can’t throw a joke in where it doesn’t belong, and you can’t throw in a scene or line that doesn’t mesh with the rest of the plot line or the characters.

If you really like that line or idea, it can go in another story. I’m not saying that you should highlight it and hit delete. Instead, save it in a separate document. Have a whole document dedicated to those things that are too good to throw away but won’t fit in anything that you’re currently working on.

That’s it for today. Let me know if you like my posts, hate them or you’re indifferent. Whatever. And, if anyone has any good, quick recipes that are gluten free please share.

Eat. Sleep. Read. Write.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Life, Writing

 

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Being Busy and Grammar Nazis

So… I tried something a while back (like a week ago) and it didn’t work out quite as expected. If you noticed it, erase it from your mind! Okay, just kidding. It wasn’t really embarrassing. There just happened to be a posting fail.

Anyways… I have some good news and I’ve got some bad news. Good news: I’m busy. Bad news: I’m busy.

It’s good for me financially that I’m busy ghost writing and what-not, but it’s bad for my personal writing. This blog fits into that category. I’ve been pretty bad when it comes to updating this blog already, but I really want to organize my schedule a little better in order to post at least once a week on this. So, the challenge has been made. I will be posting something — anything — on Fridays or Saturdays.

I feel like Fridays would work since that is the day when I finally recover from the crazy week and stop panicking about my schedule. I usually start that again on Sunday evening.

*cough*

There’s the information and here’s something about writing — Do you know how many grammatical errors we make in our day to day speech? I had to transcribe something this week and — wow — the person use “and” a lot. They also left a lot of sentences fragmented. In writing it was basically a mess of run-on sentences and those fragmented thoughts.

This, honestly, is how a lot of people talk. So, when you start writing your dialogue you should keep this in mind. It’s okay if you polish it up just a little bit, but don’t make them sound like a posh intellect who speaks with precision and poise unless they are a posh intellect. No matter how time consuming my experience was in the end, it was a good reminder of what dialogue should really be like. People don’t often edit what they’re going to say in day to day conversations so they make mistakes and sometimes use double negatives.

If you’re writing  grammatically perfect dialogue all of the time it’s going to sound artificial. Don’t do it if you think you’re doing a favor for your reader by being the grammar Nazi. Wat your reader wants is a story they can believe, even if it’s just for that moment.

Note: If it’s a children’s book, you can be a grammar Nazi. I kid isn’t going t understand the different between vernacular and proper grammar.

Okay, I’m off to work again.

Eat. Sleep. Read. Write.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Life, Writing

 

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Will Write For Money

The second session of Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and guess what? I’m not participating!

What?!

Now, now, it’s not like I’ve totally crumpled in defeat and have refused to write. I will still be writing 1500+ words everyday (have been doing so for the past three days, in fact), but it will not be for a novel. It’s not even my own story, really, thought I almost feel as if it is my own at this point. I’m writing for a client — fiction, finally! — and the idea of taking on that and trying to write a novel? EEK! So, the novel is on the back-burner once more.

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing so magnificently fast in the past few days. After months of working on nothing but articles and edits, I feel light and free. There’s also the added bonus of it NOT being my story. This doesn’t mean that I’m slacking on my work, no-siree. It just means that I’ve finally found that feeling that I need to have when I’m working on my own stories. To put a twist on a popular saying: “Just keep writing, just keep writing”

Many times, because I’m so close to the story that I am working on, I tend to freeze up and fret over every single sentence. It must be perfect. It must be witty and beautiful and rich. This kind of thinking gets you about 100 words after hours of pulling your hair out in front of your computer. Don’t do it!

So, how do you detach yourself from your brain child? Well, I’m still working on that. Finding that metaphorical umbilical cord is a little tricky… And, I may have gone too far with that image.

I’m gonna go do something else now. See ya! Oh, and tell me if you figure the secret out before me. All I’ve got is a scenario involving snacks and sleep deprivation. Anyways… Toodles!

Eat. Sleep. Read. Write.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Writing

 

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The Fickle Protagonist

Oh dearie me, it’s been forever since I last posted. I got busy writing for Camp NaNo, and then I got interrupted by… more writing. Let’s just say that I did a ton of writing during the Camp NaNoWriMo month, but not all of it was for my story. Thus, I technically reached 50,000 words but didn’t finish the actual writing challenge. A girls gotta pay the bills, so I’m not terribly bummed.

The writing challenge did, however, allow me to better understand my main character who has been elusive and silent for many writing sessions.

Me: Excuse me, but can you please tell me who you are? I’m trying to write a book about you, you see, and it’s really hard to do that when all I know is that you’re female… you are female, right? If you’re not, that’s fine, but I’d really like to know what’s going on in that head of yours. How old are you, what’s your favorite color… Do you prefer Captain Crunch or Fruity Pebbles?

Main Character: ………………….

Perhaps I’m asking too much of them too soon, hmmm? My main character has warmed up to me a little bit more since our first encounter. Thank goodness because they were starting to seem as flat as a generic teen romance’s female protagonist. Meanwhile, the world was building up around my main character into something very interesting, but it could only go so far with a leading lady who refused to do anything.

What really helped me out was to stop worrying about what was going to happen next and to focus more on my MC’s past. You’d think that I would have done this before, but no. Without it, she was an obscure, blah character who had no real reason to be liked by her fellow characters, let alone the audience (*cough* Bella Swan *cough*). Now, I can’t particularly say that I know something as specific as her career at this point but I at least know what careers are out of the question, and which ones are most likely with her personality. And, there is no way she is going to be a depressed, angsty teenager like she was kind of becoming in the beginning. *shudders*

Well, toodles. Until next time.

Do you ever have trouble with your characters? Please share. Rant and give advice. It’s much appreciated.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Life, Writing

 

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Personal Enemy #1

Ever had one of those nights where you try to sleep — change positions, fluff the pillow, do a complete 180 in the bed to see if that’s more comfortable. — only to pop back up and decide, “Hey, I’m going to go online and write a blog post about my insomnia!” Well, you’re in luck ’cause you’re not alone.

Wait…. Okay, maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about food and how much I like to eat it because, you know, food tastes good (Warning: Not all food tastes good. Particularly that meat surprise casserole that “some people” think qualifies as food). When I’m not writing my fingers down to the bone or wasting time online or watching shows that waste my time… 20 things-that-waste-my-time later… I’m trying to make something that tastes good.Okay, that sort of wastes my time as well but I do need to eat; keep my strength up to do all that writing and time-wasting stuff.

And, where am I going with this?

Oh, yes, here’s my point — FOOD IS TAKING OVER

For example, there was a scene in my work-in-progress involving earmuffs (minds out of the gutter). One second I’m typing away and then the image in my mind of the fluffy earmuffs leads to a thought. That thought lead to another thought and another though.

Why are you writing about your protagonist getting earmuffs when you could be eating something? Delicious food. FOOD. Tasty FOOD. YUM.

Food is my enemy number one on the distraction list at the moment. Why do I have to go roam the kitchen every time I get up from the computer? Even at this moment, I’m anticipating what I’m going to eat as soon as I get up from this computer. *Sigh*

So, wanting to eat isn’t so much the problem as the fact that I haven’t given myself much time to select anything healthy since this writing challenge began. Word of advice — don’t do that. Therefore, I’m making a new goal from here on out. Cease the junk food munching and have more veggies on my plate. Let’s face it. No matter how many people may have the illusion that artists are supposed to be starving, on drugs, worn out and/or mildly insane I don’t fit into that image. Except for, perhaps, the insane part…. and, I don’t have much defense for the worn out part at the moment, considering I’m writing this blog instead of sleeping.

You can add this little tidbit to your list of things to know before attempting a writing marathon, though you’re probably way wiser than I. You don’t need to be told to eat well while you write, right?

Going to go be unconscious for a little while now….ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Cooking, Life, Writing

 

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