Monday, May 25, 2009


What I'm Listening To: Nine Inch Nails - The Day The World Went Away

What I'm Doing: Reading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, and trying to figure out what I should do with this day.

First of all, my new favourite number: 1123581321345589

Now that that's out of the way, I was thinking of what I could write about earlier, and saw something on Twitter that made me want a cat.

Odd, I know.

I am a Cat Person. I hate dogs; I think they're noisy, messy, smelly, and take entirely too much time. I much prefer the small, portable size of cats, and the way they curl up in your lap and purr, and make you feel like the luckiest person alive, just for having them there. They don't need to be taken out for walks, or let into the back yard, and they make excellent sources of comfort on a bad day.

So I started to say something on Twitter about cats, and joked to myself that that's what I need.

In order to be a successful writer, I need a laptop. This way I can take it to Quiet Places like the park, or the coffee shop, and I don't need to worry about people yelling at kids, or dogs, or shouting into the phone because they have no sense of decency and privacy, or people tromping through my room on the way to the garage, the back yard, the laundry room, or their bedroom.

In order to be a successful writer, I need a cat. Someone who will understand when I'm tearing my hair out over a scene, and not care if I'm smashing my head into the wall, as long as I remember to feed them on time and keep the litter box clean.

In order to be a successful writer, I need an endless supply of coffee, without having to worry about what people are going to think of me making coffee at all hours of the day and night.

That's what I was going to touch on in Twitter. That's all I really need. I'm not getting it right now, and that's part of the reason I'm struggling so much as an author. The only time I get any quiet is in the middle of the night, or when people aren't home. But if I stay up late enough to enjoy the quiet of the house, I end up sleeping until all hours of the morning. In a houseful of people who get up at six in the morning, waking up at ten makes me 'lazy'. And none of them understand the idea of insomnia, either. I tried explaining to my stepdad that I can't sleep at night, and he told me to just lay down and try.

Oh, sure, I can lay down in my bed at ten o'clock at night, like the rest of them, but unless I've been up for at least twenty hours prior, I simply end up tossing and turning and rolling around for hours, and don't get to sleep until one or two in the morning anyway.

And since my veins run caffeine, not blood, drinking coffee at midnight isn't any more or less likely to keep me awake than drinking water. And coffee tastes better. No, the problem with midnight coffee-cravings is that everyone else in the house gets up at six in the morning, and have the pot set to brew on it's own, so if I want coffee, I've got to brew a whole pot, and then reset it, and that ends up wasting coffee.

Speaking of coffee, I haven't had any today. So I can't really guarantee much in the way of this making any sense.

The title, If... is something I ask myself a lot.

If I were an artist, if I were skinny, if I were a better writer, if I had a laptop, if I had a cat.

But it's really useful as a story prompt.

If I could fly...
If I were a boy...
If I could do magic...
If my parents had died...
If my parents hadn't died...
If I could live forever...

All of these have the potential to be really interesting questions.

For Vicky, I think her if's are... if she never went to Eversong. If she never bought the book. If she never met Jonas. If (lol) I changed any of those IFs, the story would be not only utterly different, it would be unworkable. If she never met Jonas, she'd have died before the story took off. If she never bought the book, she'd have never found her way into Eversong. If she never got into Eversong in the first place, there would be no story.

These can be applied to my other stories, too. If Riley had been an orphan. If Riley had been more physical and less brainy. If the bomb never dropped.

If Ally wasn't rich. If Ally wasn't bored. If Ally hadn't ever killed anyone.

But at the same time, these ifs can be turned around to promote the story.

What would happen if... Jonas died? If Vicky finds her way home?

If Riley becomes a hero? If Mara learned to stop hating?

If Ally gets caught? If Ally doesn't get caught?

These are the things that drive the story.

For being only two letters long, 'if' is probably one of the biggest words in the English language.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A music post of sorts

What I'm Listening To: Framing Hanley - Lollipop

What I'm Doing: Reading The Long Hot Summoning by Tanya Huff

(X posted to my lj)

I found a TON of great stuff on Youtube, and absolutely had to share some of it. I love music exchanges, too, so if you've got something you think I'd like, go ahead and send it on over. A lot of these are in German, and various other languages. Don't let that stop you; there's some amazing songs in here.

My Excellence - The End of Days (This video is sad.)
MDP3's Crazy Loop Video (But this one makes up for it. It's hilarious.)

The next several are in German.
Kate Hall - Die letzte Trane
Vicky Leandros - Moge der Himmel
Schiller - Sehnsucht
Eisblume - Leben ist schon

These ones are silly, but somehow, I'm HOOKED. I can't stop listening to them, despite how stupid they are.
It started with this one.
Schnuffel - Mi Peluchito (It's the same song, but it's a little more palatable because it's in cute Spanish, not irritating English.)
Schnuffel - Ich hab' Dich lieb
Schnuffel & Wendler - Haschenparty (This is actually Not Annoying. I love the dancing girls.)
Gummibar - Cho ka ka o
Gummibar - Gummy Bear Song
Jakarta - Superstar

Now some miscellaneous songs:
SMPFilms - Hey Little Sparta (This is a favourite of mine.)
Code Red - Kanikuly (My weakness is school uniforms.)
Code Red - Shut Up (The original of this song CRACKS. ME. UP. This version is just as good.)
Crazy Loop - Johanna Shut Up
Crazy Loop - Crazy Loop (Mm-ma-ma)
Kate Ryan - Ella elle l'a
Jesse Spencer - Sheets of Egyptian Cotton (Found this song YEARS ago, but never connected Jesse Spencer the singer to Jesse Spencer as Dr. Chase on House.)
Framing Hanley - Lollipop (remix) (I adore this band.)

And there you have it folks, some of the things I found today/recently, and am listening to now. So what are you listening to?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Discussion Post 2

What I'm Listening To: Cold - Cure My Tragedy (A Letter to God)

What I'm Doing: Trying not to kick or otherwise do damage to the infernally whimpering dogs. I've got such a headache right now because it hasn't shut up for the last HOUR and a HALF. I'm ready to do bodily harm to it.

This is a relatively long post, and even then, I'm positive I missed a few comments. Don't worry, I READ them all - they get emailed to me - I just... fail a bit, when it comes to replying. XD


JessJordan I can almost understand the media thing. I was trying to think about it, and was telling myself that I didn't really use things I've seen... of course, I am a complete geek and don't watch things like American Idol or cartoons and the like; when my television gets turned on at all, I watch something on the Crime channel, or Investigation Discovery, or the History International Channel, or Science, or just History channels. I'm a huge fan of history; it's crossed my mind that while I'm working towards my MFA, (the school I'm thinking of requires a bachelors degree before they'll let you take the MFA course) I'll get teaching credentials as a History teacher, and teach high school history. I also plan on writing at least two different historical romance novels under a pseudonym, as I believe I've mentioned in this blog. (Not sure if it was this one, or my angstdump blog that I said that I could never teach Elementary or Middle school... I really dislike kids, and middle school drama would have me shooting kids with bb guns after the first week.)

No, but here I get off my point so entirely I forget what I was saying. Anyway, I read somewhere that it's... okay... in a way to use other people's ideas, so long as it's not plagiarising them - taking their exact idea and using it for your own. What they said was okay (and I've long since lost whatever it was I read that said this) was taking someone elses idea, and changing it a bit here, and a bit there, and making it your own, until it's unrecognisable as the beginning idea, and is now your own original. I find myself doing that with Eversong; It's damn near impossible to write a fantasy novel of any kind without touching on something that's already been done in one way or another. And anyone who hears 'elves' is going to think of Lord of the Rings, or those Keebler monstrosities. (Sprites, pixies, and faeries, as well as goblins, imps, and the like are tiny little short things. Elves, in my opinion, are relatively people-shaped, and just as tall.)

And as I was reading this, I realised that I don't base my characters off of people. Not yet, anyway. Vicky is the only one; she's based off of myself. A loner, reads a lot, has no friends, not 'skinny', at a point in her life where she's just drifting aimlessly. But that's where the similarities end, and her home life is radically different, and of course, she has fantastic adventures in a different world. (which is, admittedly, something that I've always longed to do, but I don't think I'm alone in it, which is part of what I think will make Eversong so ... appealing.) In my historical romances, those are most certainly based off of real people. I'm unabashedly changing my best friend's name, and sending her spinning through time where she finds her true love. But I think that's as far as it goes. As I write, I'll probably find so-and-so starting to act like my brother, or my stepdad, or so on and so forth, but for the moment, I don't think I've done that. I'm almost envious of people who do, I think, because they've got at least a template for their character.

Ahh, music. I can't think without music, much less function. I've always got either my ipod on or winamp/itunes open, and I'm constantly on the hunt for new music. And sometimes, certain songs are inspiring. There's a song by Stabbing Westward that helped with some of the scenes (not written yet, but they're in my head) for Mischief and Murder. "Sometimes It Hurts" - the lyrics have nothing to do with it at all, but the music itself, and the tone of the lyrics, it has something of an apocalyptic sound to it, and it's going to be my 'writing theme' for M&M.

And most certainly other people's writings. Sometimes when I'm trying to write, and I can't focus on it, I sit down with a book and within ten minutes I'm itching to get back to my own writing.

I think I posted a link to it, but I'm going to post the actual hacks themselves in another entry, with my thoughts and comments added (because you should know by now that I've got an opinion on everything, and can talk writing until I'm blue in the face/my fingers start aching.) I've never heard of morning pages, and it's funny, because I was just talking last night to my friend about this same thing: I'm not functional in the morning until I've had at least a cup of coffee, and an hour of doing nothing but things like checking my email and surfing over the pet sites I've joined. I'm capable of leaping out of bed and getting dressed and getting moving, but usually within a half hour of doing that, I'm zombified again, and am good for nothing without at least an hour of being awake and moving around.

As for your work, that sounds like it would be full of novels in and of itself. And some people just aren't made to be parents. I know myself for one of them; I have no patience for children (although I've been told many times that I'm 'good with them' - it's mostly because I think that if I'm nice to them, without being too nice, they'll respect what I say and leave me alone when I want it. XD) and I've got too much interest in my own life. I understand that kids are a lifetime responsibility, whether you're twenty years old, or eighty. Your life is never your own again after you have kids, and I don't want that. (not to mention I've got incurable wanderlust; I'd never be home, and that's just as bad as not being a good parent while you are there.)

I've never been able to make use of writing prompts. Oh, simple things like 'rubber chicken, carrots, and a giraffe" I can turn into a silly story, but things like "You're walking down a dark road late at night and you see..."
I can use them of course, because all I've got to do is imagine myself walking down a dark road, there's endless possibilities, but it doesn't lend itself to story creation; usually just a paragraph or two.

I make use of your number 8 almost all the time. As a kid, I called them 'dream starters' because I thought that if I went to bed thinking about flying, I'd dream about flying, and the stories built themselves in my head from there. I'm also a seer - I see things in leaves, and in patterns on the wall and such. When I was a teenager, my bed faced a window with an enormous bush outside, and when the wind would blow, the leaves and the light would arrange themselves in such a way as to look like an angry old man, shouting about something, so I used to lie in bed and think about what he was so mad about, and why he was shouting, and what he was saying.

In some of my writers hacks, the guy said that writer's block is a farce, and that he sometimes sits down and writes "I have nothing to say" so many times that he finally gets so pissed off about writing something stupid that he's able to write something decent, and other people have said they get writer's block looking at blank pages. I get artists block looking at blank pages; I've never been able to make much use of sketchbooks because of it, although I doodle endlessly on lined paper (to the utter horror of my artistic friends. XD)
Another thing the writers hack said was when he was talking about his wife, who is a painter, and always has two projects going on at one time, so that when she's stuck on one, she switches to the other until she gets stuck on it, and then goes back to the first. I started M&M when I couldn't bring myself to write anything else for Eversong, and now I've got a good portion of it mapped out, and a little bit of the beginning as well, and now, after a short break from Eversong, I feel the ideas building up for it again, and I'm getting the ball rolling on writing it again, and can't even think of writing for M&M. And I imagine I'll switch back and forth between them until they're both done.


Don't feel bad about being partially blind. I'm halfway there myself; I feel like an old woman some days, because my hearing's bad (especially right now, I got water in one of my ears a week ago, and now can't hear a thing out of it) and my eyes are getting worse and worse, and I've got back pains and can't hardly walk some days...

And I think I've said somewhere else, that I've got patience for things I like (for the most part.) I like to read other people's stories, and if something I said could help them become a better writer, then I've accomplished something. Granted, my patience started running out towards the end, because it was story after story that was just... terrible. I know the internet is famous for it's 'anonymity' but that didn't occur to me when I was telling people honestly what I thought of their excerpts, until afterwards, when one of the authors of something I'd commented on had asked me questions in return about something I'd said, but I'd also rather speak honestly and tell someone that something's not good enough, than sugar coat it, and get their hopes up. And as much as it'll pain me, I want honest feedback on my own stories (something my friends on LJ couldn't seem to manage. XD I asked them specifically "read over this and tell me why it's wrong/why you don't like it" and all I got was, "this is so great, I love it!")

I was trying to think if I've got anything that's a 'good example' of my writing, without simply copy-pasting bits of my novels (because I've heard that posting your book, or parts of your book online can interfere with the publishing process) but discovered that the only thing I've really ever written aside from starting these books is 'adult' rated, mostly slash fanfiction, for various anime games, and the Harry Potter novels. And I don't know what Eversong looks like right now (haven't reread any of it since I started writing) or I'd post an excerpt of it. Maybe I will anyway. Not my first 250 words, because I know for a fact that the beginning is weak and needs a lot of work, but something... *thinks about it*

All of my friends up until this point have been artists. Really good artists. And I'm ... not bad. I can make vaguely human-shaped drawings, if they're girls, in tight clothes. XD

Such as this, my oldest and favourite RP character, who will be making it into Eversong. Her name's Eshina Darksquall, nicknamed "Phantom"

And here is Phantom and her husband, Manessin Darksquall, aka "Spectre" as drawn by my friend.


Writing is a Thought In Progress

The 'write what you know' thing stems mostly from the fact that the majority of my books will take place in or around Virginia Beach. I know large cities like New York and Chicago are popular settings (yet another reason for me not to use them) but I've never been there, and couldn't tell you a damn thing about either city. Virginia Beach I've lived in over half my life, and while there are still things that surprise me, I still know my way around, and can picture any of the streets I frequent with ease, as well as give you vague directions on how to get to certain places.

I do think that a murderous rampage can be accomplished while still creating the perfect murder (leave no one alive, touch nothing, that sort of thing) but I'll say it again just so people don't worry - I'm not the least likely to go on a murderous rampage.

Thank you on the title compliment. I hadn't thought about it until you said something, but you're absolutely right. Perfect could be about any number of things. The perfect girl, the perfect body, the perfect score, the perfect murder...

The thing that gets me about my various ideas isn't the number (though there are many, and obviously the horde is growing) it's the diversity. Most people stick to just one genre, and they're good at it, but even for myself (that writer's ego coming out and showing off again) I reread the excerpts I posted, and I was thinking, that if I were reading those books, not writing them myself, they'd all be good. They're all GOING to be good. And now I feel like I have a standard to live up to; I've got fantastic starts with all three of them, and they're as different as different could be.

I don't think people realise that women can be just as coldblooded as men. Women as a gender-role have always been matronly, caring-for-people, child-raising people, whereas it's men - hot-headed, strong, less self-control - who are brought to mind by the thought of a serial killer. And it's true, that more men kill than women, and in male/female partner killings, it's generally the woman is an accomplice while the man is the killer, but that doesn't mean that there aren't women who kill. One of my favourite shows on Oxygen is Snapped and it's exactly that, stories about women who snap, and kill people.
That's another thing. Women generally kill their husbands/children/parents - people close to them. Most of the stories in Snapped are women who've found out their husband was cheating on them/needed the money from the life insurance/had a new lover and wanted the husband out of the way... things like that. Which is why I'm so stoked, personally, about Perfect - it stars a topically stereotypical female lead, who is carrying out actions predominantly manifesting in men. Random victims, really violent killings, and of course, she's pretty much above reproach, being the only daughter of Such-and-Such-Big-Name-Company's CEO. She's like 'the quiet guy who always helps out at church functions and helps little old ladies across the street and takes in stray puppies, and then every third Monday goes out and rips the skin off of hookers' only in girl form.
Also, feel free to get bossy. When people are excited about what I'm doing, it makes ME excited about what I'm doing, and that gets things done faster. XD Also, I'm just as likely to get the same way, and it's about time I got a little of my own back.

I haven't actually decided whether or not she'll 'get away with it' or not. I realise most people probably read crime stories in order to get their happy ending without all the sap and kissing that romance novels present, but at the same time, I'm already breaking all the rules in the first place, why not leave it with 'and she drove away into the sunset, ready to kill again.' instead of 'behind bars for the rest of her life.'

I hadn't actually considered mental issues as a base for the killing. I haven't given it any thought, really, but as of five minutes ago, she was just some bored twenty-something who finds the idea of killing a thrill. And then it turns out that she's good at it (she'll be one that frequents the gym, was a cheerleader in high school; not muscular, per se, but strong, with good control of herself) to boot. Instead of overthinking it, I'm probably just going to write, and see what types of mental problems arise on their own, if there's something deeper at work or if she's just had one too many martinis.

As for the pseudonym thing, Amy K for Eversong and A.N.K for the YA won't be that much of a leap to make, whereas I think I'm going to ruthlessly separate the other genres from those two. As for the crime novel about a female killer written by a woman...
It was the same problem I had with Eversong, when I was first starting out. I actually interviewed my best friend's husband, and asked him if he'd read a fantasy story fronted by a female character. I don't know the audience at all with crime novels; I only know the two or three that I've got, myself, and I haven't the foggiest what people would look for in that genre. I know it'll be good, and it'll be interesting because of the over-riding themes, but I don't know if men would be more or less likely to pick it up if they thought a woman had written it. J.K. Rowling did that to her name (in rumours, at least) so that boys wouldn't feel self-conscious about reading a book written by a woman. Naturally, it shouldn't matter who wrote the book, as long as it's good, but it does. One of the YA girls from Twitter posted about something similar a few days ago; they said something to the effect of the list of the 50, or 100 most influential books of the 20th century was compiled, and only seven of the authors were women. Girls are easier about picking up a book by either gender, but some men might see it as an effront to their masculinity to be seen reading a book written by a woman. And they may not even know that they think that way; I'm just considering how to reach the widest possible audience.


Just Keep Swimming (The sharks are vegans)

1- I may actually end up rewriting it, then. I've had Phantom (as a character) since my freshman year of high school; going on nine years now. And because she's so old, I've forgotten much of her original back story, but that is, as far as I can tell, a good representation; she was separated from her family at a relatively young age, and grew up 'on the road' as it were, with her mentor. The reason for the confusingly similar names is because they're twins. (Don't know if I made that clear in the actual story, because I can't bring myself to reread it. XD)
And the abrupt shift has more to do with the fact that I couldn't write, than your brain being on lock-down from work. I'm impossibly happy that you liked it overall, however, and it's made it onto the list of 'maybe someday I'll...'

2 - I'm still experimenting with actively writing to hook the readers in, and I must have rewritten the first sentence or two at least fifteen times before I finally settled on whatever you see up there now. She is killing at random, for two reasons: one, it's one less way to connect her to the murders, and two; as I said up there somewhere *waves vaguely in the direction of the top/middle of this post* women tend to kill their family members. There are, of course, exceptions, but I want this to stop being stereotypical after it passes her being the rich heiress type.
And I hadn't considered that, about the last paragraph. I'll go back and do something with that, as I was mostly writing in a hurry in order to get the initial opening out of my head and make it as eye-catching as possible.

3 - I'm not sure, exactly, how I ought to be 'showing' things and not telling them, which is why it's a little sketchy. Eversong was the first novel I started working on, and I've been on the fence about that beginning since I wrote it.
This is also a good a place as any to answer another question I remember you asking (somewhere) about her being in her early twenties, and never having fallen in love. She's very much independent, a sort of 'I'll do it myself' person rather than the 'Oh, help me, I dropped my kerchief!' damsel-in-distress type. And she's also more interested in books than she is in other people, and she's never really had any close close friendships in her life. She's had 'crushes' on people, but never serious, and that's the reason for her finding her true 'first love' while she's in Eversong.

4 - I tried rethinking M&M with human characters, and it simply wouldn't work. That's the reason I see them more like the characters from the Secret of Nimh or Once Upon a Forest. Very clearly animals, but still... upright-walking, clothes-wearing, and English-speaking. At some point, I'll get that across in the writing, but of course, that was only the first two hundred and fifty or so words. I picture Riley as something of a coward; not because he's REALLY a coward, but just because he's so overshadowed by so many other Huge Personalities in his home life that he never really has a chance to share himself.

Also, you've totally made my day with that comment. I'm pretty sure the publisher deals with whatever blurb goes on the back of the cover, but the point of the back cover is to create a story that lends itself well to such a thing, and still gets people interested in it. It made perfect sense, and like I said, it made my day. It's really nice to hear from friends that you've got something kinda good going on there, but it's spine-tingling, stupid-grin-inducing to hear the same thing from new friends that don't know me for the utter (but harmless) lunatic that I am.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I won...?

What I'm Listening To: Clint Mansell - Lux Aeterna

What I'm Doing: Spazzing. X3

I WON! I am the proud soon-to-be owner of a free advance copy of The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan!

See? Proof.

I had a congratulatory drink, and am now feeling warm and fuzzy. Yay me! /London

Just Keep Swimming! (The sharks are vegans.)

What I'm Listening To: Emilie Autumn - Swallow

What I'm Doing: Writing!

Jess (first, may I call you that? XD Never even thought about it until now) posted excerpts from her novels and WIPs, and also mentioned that she'd never read anything I've written (except the 'first lines' I posted a few days ago) and it decided me to post excerpts of my own. (In one case, there's an entire first chapter; the first original story that I posted anywhere, based off of RP-born characters, dating from 2oo2. IT'S BAD. REALLY, REALLY BAD. I'm posting it here to show that YES, PRACTICE MAKES IT BETTER.)

Sorrow of Memory, from my high school days. (It was either late sophomore year or early junior year. Probably sophomore.)

Perfect excerpt:
The first time Allison Scotts turned on her television and saw herself on the news, she’d just come home after leaving the scene of a murder.
The silence of her spacious condo pressed in on her, broken only by the rain thumping against the windows, and she turned the t.v. on for noise. Gradually, the reporter’s voice cut through the wall of apathy in her mind, and as she realised they were talking about her – indirectly of course, because no one could possibly connect a well-to-do heiress to such horrific crimes – she laughed.
”The police are calling it the work of a deranged mind, and are investigating the motives behind such a brutal killing. The name of the victim has not yet been released, and we are all confident that the killer will be caught.”
Ally tugged the scrunchie out of her hair and peeled her wet clothes off as she made her way towards the luxurious bathroom at the back of the suite, the details of the crime she’d just committed pushing their way out of her mind in favour of recalling the details of the murder still being reported by the bleached-blonde twit on the news. She poured herself a drink, and set the tub to filling itself, adding some bubbles as an afterthought.
At twenty seven, Ally was the poster-child for the Rich Bitch stereotype. She’d never worked a day in her life, and had attended parties that made Paris Hilton’s exploits look tame by comparison.


Eversong excerpt:
She was dreaming. It was a familiar dream, one she’d had several times over the course of the last month, and it was always the same – the dark haired man, the tall forests, and a massive city rising above the trees. She was reaching towards him, and just before their hands met, he crumpled to the ground, and she woke up.
Blinking the sleep from her eyes, she flinched away from the sunlight streaming through the open blinds in her bedroom window, and for a moment couldn’t think of where she was. Seconds later, memory reasserted itself, and she recalled that she’d finished college a month ago – as hard to believe as that was – and had moved temporarily back in with her parents while she found a full-time job, and got back on her feet from spending the last four years in a dorm. Her alarm began blaring out it’s message, set to her favourite song in the world, Unchained Melody. Her room-mates had always made fun of her for waking up to such a soft, pleasant song, but she’d always told them that it beat waking up to something harsh and demanding.
“Vicky! You awake yet?” It was her father, the only man, as she’d said since she was five years old, that she’d ever need in her life. “Vick?”
“Coming daddy,” she hollered back down at him, and slid out of the comforting warmth of her bed, shaking off the remnants of the strange dream. In the notebook she kept beside her bed, she jotted down a single line: had that dream again...


Mischief and Murder excerpt:
My name is Riley, and I’m a rat. A really old rat, or so my grandkids say, but I’ve also got a really old memory. Not that it doesn’t work – oh no, my memories are as clear as the day they were made. None of us who lived through that hellish time were ever the same again, not really, but none of us ever forgot. It was the beginning of my sixteenth summer when the bottom fell out of my life, and my world was changed forever. This is where my story starts.


“Riley! Front and center!”
The young rat heard his father’s call, and dropped the flower he had been admiring, scurrying back towards the house. It was never a good idea to ignore Balthasar in one of his militaristic moods, something Riley had learned early and never forgotten. As one of the eldest members of Riley’s mischief, his family group, Balthasar had always had special treatment, had always demanded special treatment, especially from members of his immediate family. Riley’s mother Garnet had learned to deal with his various peculiarities quietly, but Riley himself had always resented Balthasar’s special place.
It’s not like he’s a military rat any more, he thought spitefully. Why should we have to suffer because he grew up in a cage? They were a familiar refrain, one he repeated to himself every time Balthasar had some new demand to make of them. Briefly, he wished he was made of sterner stuff, that he was brave like Corin, or strong like Bowen, and could safely break away from the mischief with a few friends, and start his own mischief somewhere else.


The thing I'd like everyone to keep in mind about the last three (the first thing I linked to can be forgotten utterly, and I'd prefer if you did) is that they're just first drafts.

The final drafts, upon completion, will be better. Not perfect, because I'm of the opinion that once you create something 'perfect' you're finished as an artist or author. But better. Definitely.

And there you have it, me at my worst.

Writing is a Thought in Progress

What I'm Listening To: Dispatch - Headlights

What I'm Doing: Picking up excerpts from things I've written, and being utterly horrified by one of them.

I picked up Dangerous Games by Michael Prescott (the one I listed in my 'first lines' post, that I haven't read yet, rescued it out of the trash, and thought it'd be good from the first line alone.) and started reading it.

Then I realised it's kind of a crime novel; there's a murderer who's got a motive of 'getting back' at the city (LA, I think. That's where it takes place, so that is, I assume, the city he wants revenge against for some reason.) and I'm only ten pages in, so I don't know a whole lot about it.

As soon as I realised that it was a crime novel, it made me think.

Write what you know.

I watch tons, and tons, and tons of crime shows. I think, that if I ever snapped and went on a murderous rampage, I would be able to commit the perfect murder. (Note; I don't intend to go on any murderous rampages, and if I did, I certainly wouldn't blog about it. Just for the record.) But I DO watch a lot of crime shows, and I DO have an idea of forensics (that's another thing I wanted to be as a kid; or rather, an adult. Since I started watching a lot of crime shows, it passed through my head that I wouldn't mind being a forensic specialist in something.) and I DO know 'what they did wrong' in all those shows - why they got caught.

And it's put another idea into my head. (remember, inspiration in the weirdest places.)

This brings my total idea count up to eight future novels:
-One fantasy trilogy (three books)
-One YA post-apoc book
-One YA 'vampire novel'
-Two historical romances (under a pseudonym)
and now
-One 'crime novel' (also under a pseudonym)

And the funny part came when I glanced at my computer screen while casting about for a title; there was an ad in the corner that said "Perfect Timing Sale" for cars. (I'd been thinking of calling it "Perfect Murder" but then I realised that that's cliched and has probably been done already, and decided on just 'Perfect'. Then I saw the ad, with PERFECT in big letters)

So, since I am unable to keep anything to myself, (working title)Perfect is going to be about a female killer (because there really aren't very many of those, when compared to the amount of serial killers who are male. Female serial killers tend to use things like poison, and do it for things like money. One particular story about an older woman who ran a sort of boarding house, and killed her elderly tenants for their social security checks comes to mind.) a female killer who believes she can commit the perfect murder.

I think that'll be the motive. She's rich, young, and bored, with nothing exciting going on in her life. She watches some crime movie (SE7EN maybe, or Zodiac) and gets it into her head to commit the perfect murder. Just because.

(When I'm watching these crime shows, they always ask, 'whats the motive for this murder?' and I always think, 'Does there HAVE to be a motive? What if someone just woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day, or their eggs burned at breakfast? If they're crazy enough to kill someone, doesn't that make a good enough excuse?')

And there'll be a likable cop character, maybe a rookie who doesn't quite know what to do with himself and all these random murders, but is obsessed with finding the killer. Maybe it's personal, I don't know yet. But I feel a bit strange.

I have odd reading tastes, I know. (just looking at my book-stacks tells me that.) But now more than ever I'm seeing the need for a pseudonym for some of my stuff, because fans of my YA won't really care to buy a crime novel, and fans of my historical romance won't be too interested in a fantasy trilogy.

For the record, Eversong will be published under Amy (or Amber) K-, and the YA will be under A.N. K-. Romance will be Kori (de Liberte, maybe, or some variation thereof) and my crime novel will be something totally different. I was thinking of using a boys name. (Dan Brown used a girl's name, and I just get the feeling that a crime novel will be more warmly welcomed if people think it was written by a man.) My original thought was for Adam Pike (as 'Adam' is my 'boy's name' being so close to Amy, my friends received boys names too - Debbie became Danny, Jennie and Ginny both became Jimmy, things like that. Also, Pike was my mother's maiden name.)

And if you think you're not going to like crime fiction based on the description alone, give it a try. A good friend of mine is writing sports fiction. My first reaction was, "ONOES." because I didn't think I'd ever want to read it. (sports are Not My Thing in any sense of the word)
Then she let me read (and help out with) her query.

And sent me some excerpts from the story.

I am all but frothing at the mouth to read it, sports or no.

This leads me into the next post I was intending to make; an excerpts post. I'll write down the first two hundred and fifty words of Perfect and then you, loyal readers (few though you are, yet) can tell me what you think.

And I feel like I've got to throw this in here somewhere, seeing as how it will be my 'official blog' as a published author; yes, I write fanfiction. No, I'm not going to tell you where it's at. (Unless I know you personally, and then you already know, so I don't have to tell you.) Yes, my fanfiction life and my official writings will be kept entirely separate. And up until this point, where I'm not an officially published author, I will continue writing fanfiction. As to whether I continue after word on my first book comes through... I don't know. Sarah stopped writing fanfiction altogether when she got word of her book being published, but then, she'd posted primarily in her livejournal, and most of her following has stemmed from these fanfics (it's certainly how I found her) whereas my fanfics and writing life are separate from the start. Just had to throw that out there, so that it doesn't come to light some day, and totally shock people. Although if I get my way, no one's ever going to connect me, the author, to me, the internet persona who posts fanfiction online.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


What I'm Listening To: Simple Plan - Me Against the World

What I'm Doing: Still reading Sunshine and contemplating running down to 7-11.

This is probably going to be brief; I'm exhausted for some unnameable reason (and I was fully expecting unnameable to turn up with a red line underneath it, because it looks so weird. un-name-able. XD) but I had to put something down about it.

Where does your creativity come from? Do you have a mental 'well' into which you dip a cup? Is it just something that you do? Or do you have a 'muse' of creativity or inspiration?

For me, it's the last.

I have, to date, two specific muses, each with their own personality and names. It is, admittedly, a bit like having a split personality at times (or being schizophrenic; whichever.) because these 'muses' are like people in and of themselves. They have personalities, they 'speak' to me. I've just admitted the reason most authors are loners - they've got enough voices inside their heads, they don't usually want voices out of their heads too. And if I don't treat these muses right - by trying to write something they're not willing to work on, or by trying to force the ideas out of them - they abandon me, and I'm left with writer's block.

And like real people, when my muses are overworked, they need breaks. I used to say that this was 'refilling my writing gauge' - like a gas tank, my creative muses were empty, and needed to recharge. I'm going through that at the moment; I haven't written a single word in days, because I know from long experience that trying to force the muses to do what I want when I want, when they DON'T want, will just result in something so horrifying that it's better to just let them be. Eventually they recharge, and the need to write so overwhelms me that I can think of doing nothing but.

This is also the explanation for why work on Eversong (outlines, character details) was started in August of last year, but the actual writing process itself only began a few weeks ago. I was so wrung out from creating everything that I had nothing left over for actually WRITING it.

But even now, after several days of not writing anything, after feeling like Eversong was a dead end and wasn't ever going to go anywhere, and even after starting a new novel altogether because I didn't think I could work on Eversong any more - I'm feeling the need to start working on Eversong again. It's rising inside me like a tidal wave, and when it breaks, it's going to bring with it several pages and several thousands of words with it.

The Journey

What I'm Listening To: Poe - Hey Pretty

What I'm Doing: Reading Sunshine by Robin McKinley, and debating on whether or not I should brave the weather and walk to 7-11.

I was going to say something about this in the comments of Jess Jordan's blog, but then I realised with the way I talk, especially about writing, I'd be better off putting it in it's own post.

She talked briefly about how she always wanted to be a writer, but got somewhat distracted on the path to becoming a lawyer (I believe that's what she said... my bad memory in action: I just read her blog not ten minutes ago.) and then picked up writing again when she was fed up with it.

I hear a lot of people say that. "Well, I've always wanted to be a writer."

Well, by that logic I've always wanted to be an astronaut, a singer, an actress, a marine biologist, a storm-chaser, an archaeologist, an artist, the list goes on. Whatever I was interested in at the time, I wanted to be. Twister came out; I wanted to chase tornadoes. I was in love with JTT (remember him?) - I wanted to be an actress. But the only thing that's ever come from within me, with no outside influences, was writing.

I had a diary in second grade, it was heart shaped, with pink, heart-shaped paper, and the last thing I recall reading out of it was my 'script' for a sequel to "Shiloh" (a movie I don't even remember now, except that it had something to do with a dog.) and a "script" for a romantic sort of movie that takes place in Australia (even at such a young age, I was in love with the Australian accent. I blame this entirely on Jake from The Rescuers Down Under.)

What I was really doing was not 'script-writing' as I imagined at the time, but writing a fanfic, and my first original story. In first or second grade. True, they weren't very original, but I was six or seven at the most.

And I've always had an overactive imagination. As a toddler (one of the very few memories of my childhood that I retain) I recall being laid in my crib for a 'nap' but instead, I sat among my stuffed animals and created fantastic stories with them. I was a solitary child, a product of too much reading, and bullying. None of the kids liked me, for whatever reason, so I turned ever further into my books, and was never happier than when I was by myself. Another fond childhood memory is being on a swing set and swinging so high that I imagined I would simply float off the seat and drift away to adventures unimaginable to the kids who had nothing better to do than pick on a quiet girl who made no fuss. I would climb trees or find solitary corners, and read for hours; something that hasn't changed in the least.

Thankfully, at least, my skill as a writer has improved, and continues to do so. Eventually, I want to go to college, and get my masters in Creative Writing. (MFA, I believe is what it's called, but I could be utterly wrong.)

A lot of people say they've always wanted to be a writer. I have no way of judging whether they actually have or not, but I can say honestly, that from the moment I learned to form letters on paper, I haven't WANTED to be a writer - I've BEEN a writer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

First Sentences

What I'm Listening To: Cinema Bizarre - Forever or Never

What I'm Doing: Reading NightMare by Piers Anthony

In my last post, Discussion, I mentioned I'd been thinking of posting the first line of my newest idea-in-progress, an as-yet untitled 'vampire novel'. To my dismay, I can't recall the exact wording of it, so I'm going to jot down what I recall of it here, and ask a few questions, as well as the other first lines.

An explanation: I'm going to post the first sentences of my three novels-in-progress, as well as the first sentences from some of the books I've got laying around, and give you my opinion on what makes them worthy. I suppose I could have just said that in the first place, but I was a bit distracted by my winamp behaving oddly.
She was dreaming. It was a familiar dream, one she’d had several times over the course of the last month, and it was always the same – the dark haired man, the tall forests, and a massive city rising above the trees.
-Legends of Eversong, Eversong (book one)

At first I was thinking I was going to hate this, because I haven't reread any of Eversong, and my overall impression of what I've written so far is that it's going to need heavy revisions when I'm done, but I surprised myself; that's not too bad for a first line, in my own opinion.


My name is Riley, and I’m a rat. A really old rat, or so my grandkids say, but I’ve also got a really old memory. Not that it doesn’t work – oh no, my memories are as clear as the day they were made. None of us who lived through that hellish time were ever the same again, not really, but none of us ever forgot. It was the beginning of my sixteenth summer when the bottom fell out of my life, and my world was changed forever. This is where my story starts.
-Mischief and Murder

Not the first sentence, but the introduction. The whole thing is NOT in first person; just a brief blurb from older-Riley, narrating bits and pieces of the story, where-as younger-Riley is the one the story actually follows.


I've been a vampire-hunter my whole life. The whole of my mortal life, anyway.
-Unnamed "Vampire Novel"

Ehhh. A couple days ago I had a really brilliant first line from the MC of this story, but it's gone out of my head now, which makes me very sad. This will likely NOT be the first line when I begin writing it, and I include this here just for posterity.


The stork glided to a landing before Stunk's residence and squawked for attention.
-NightMare, Piers Anthony

I think it's a good line; it naturally leads into the next paragraph, explaining who Stunk is, and what the stork is doing there. It doesn't make much sense taken out of context, but for what it is, it's good.


It was a dumb thing to do, but it wasn't that dumb.
-Sunshine, Robin McKinley

The first line of my much-lauded favourite novel, Sunshine. This is a brilliantly executed first line. It sets up the tone, the voice of the character, and sets you down right in the middle of everything that's going on. Of course, McKinley reverses that just two sentences later, by launching into a narrative of Sunshine's home and family life, but it does what it needs to do, and gets you started.


Winters on Ballybran were generally mild, so the fury of the first spring storms as they howled across the land was ever unexpected.
-Killshandra, Anne McCaffrey (Crystal Singer Trilogy, book 2)

An excellent introduction. It gives a little bit of backstory on Ballybran (mild winters and raging storms in spring) and kickstarts the story, which follows that line by setting up the character coming in to the guild complex on the edge of a storm.


"One drink. You'd think I just asked you to check into the Marriott."
-Timeless Passion, Constance O'Day-Flannery

Starting a novel off with dialogue can be a bit sketchy at times, but it works here by giving the reader a conflict right off the bat. The main character is single, and is being hit on by her married coworkers. And yes, this is a historical romance/time-travel romance. Hush.


The tropical rain fell in drenching sheets, hammering the corrugated roof of the clinic building, roaring down the metal gutters, splashing on the ground in a torrent.
-Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

One of the most famous novels by the late Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park was slated to become a movie before he'd even finished writing it. Sadly, most people have never read the book, and don't even know it WAS a book. This is an absolutely fantastic first line. It sets up everything: place, actions, environs. Place, somewhere tropical. Actions, it's raining like mad. Environs, it's a clinic in an old building.


As the bus entered the prefectural capital of Takamatsu, garden suburbs transformed into city streets of multicolored neon, headlights of oncoming cars, and checkered lights of office buildings.
-Battle Royale, Koushun Takami

Another one that sets up the beginning quite nicely. You know where your main character is - on a bus - and where he's going - the city of Takamatsu. Granted, this may not make much sense to people who aren't familiar with the geography of Japan, but it's okay, because it's a good entrance anyway; you don't need to know what Takamatsu looks like; they've given it to you. Neon lights and lots of traffic, and office buildings, with garden-filled suburbs.
This is an interesting book, because it's been translated into English from the original Japanese, but it didn't, as far as I know, lose anything in that translation. This is either because it was a phenomenal book in the original language, or the translator did a fantastic job, or both, but I don't read fluently in Japanese yet, and couldn't tell you what the case was.


The bus had no business stopping where it did. We should have gone straight on across the Coldingham Moor, with Dunbar to the back of us and the English border drawing ever nearer, but instead we stopped, and the shaggy-faced cattle that lifted their heads on the far side of the fence appeared to share my surprise when the driver cut the engine to an idle.
-The Shadowy Horses, Susanna Kearsley

So I squeezed two sentences in, I love this book too much not to. It has all the makings of a beloved book, but I'm no longer in the mood for frivolities, due to a slight misunderstanding with a friend. I'll do one more, since I have the book in front of me, and then I'll let you be.

This is a book I haven't read yet (rescued it out of the GARBAGE. TAT Who THROWS AWAY BOOKS!? It's MADNESS!) so I don't know what it's going to be like; a completely impartial opinion.


Rain was in the air. Kolb had never given much thought to the weather in Los Angeles. Most days were seventy-five degrees and sunny. But in January came drenching rain that flooded the streets, causing traffic snarls and fender benders and, sometimes, fatal accidents. The rains could kill.
-Dangerous Games, Michael Prescott

It was technically three paragraphs, ending with air, accidents, and kill, but I lumped it all together to make it easier to type and see. But my first reaction upon reading 'the rains could kill' was, 'ooh! what's going to happen?' And this book moved up on my list of 'what to read next.'

This has been, if boring for you, an exercise in reader-hooks for me, figuring out what should be in a first sentence/paragraph, and how it should be phrased. A lot of comments people made in the Secret Agent contest was, "Don't report the weather." Mostly on excerpts that began, "The morning began dark, and wet..." or similar such phrases. But here, you can see where the authors have 'reported the weather' in such a way as to make it part of the background, and not the most important part of the opening of the story.

Thank you for reading, I'm off to alternately kick myself for having a flare of unnecessary temper, and hope that I can get a chance to actually talk TO my friend, and not just exchange infrequent messages while she's uber busy with something else.

A Discussion Post!

What I'm Listening To: Cinema Bizarre - Escape to the Stars

What I'm Doing: Reading Nightmare by Piers Anthony, and trying to decide between actual food, or more coffee.

Because I can't (or don't know how to) reply to comments, and some of you have left meaningful, interesting, and insightful comments on some of the things I've got to say about writing, and I just can't not start a discussion about them. (Mostly because, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know this already: I like to talk.)

Point of View

tokidoki-muse: I was mostly ranting because I'd just seen thirty plus badly written, first person excerpts. First person isn't as horrible as I seemed to have made it out to be, in my own opinion. Mami said something similar, that once she starts working on a book, it'll tell her what it's going to be written in, and some of them refuse to be written in anything BUT first person, so I'm not going to rag on your book, simply because it's in first person, which would make me a hipocrite in any case, because the vampire-novel idea that I've got kicking around around in my brain is in first person, itself. Also, a bit of a nightmare is a bit of an understatement. XDD Instead of rewriting the whole MS, just try rewriting certain scenes in third person limited, see how they work, and if you could possibly do the whole thing that way, or if it would be better off as is, in first person.

marynoel: That felt weird. I'm so used to calling you Mami... XD Any way, I've already told you about the spine-creasing and whatnot. And I've always thought that I wouldn't be able to write in first person, and obviously, after thirty-fourty first-person, badly written excerpts, I was ready to tear first-person out of the book altogether, but then I found myself building the possible-vampire novel in my head, and the main character immediately started narrating in first person. I was actually tempted to post the first words that came out of his mouth in my own 'are you hooked' post, and find out if it would be decently eye-catching. AND PERHAPS I SHALL SUGGEST THAT TO THE ANONYMOUS AUTHORESS, AND YOU WILL GET ANOTHER CHANCE. ^3^

farfums: I don't think it limits possible dialogue, because I see it as instead of sitting on the shoulder of the main character, you are instead sitting inside the head of the main character; you'd still be hearing the same things that your MC hears, so it doesn't matter if you're outside or inside, if there's two people too far away from the MC to hear what they're saying, you're still getting no dialogue. And I HEARTILY suggest you find The Shadowy Horses and Sunshine, as they are, to me, the pinnacle of first-person, as well as altogether amazing novels.

Story Creation

Valerie Wangnet: Thank you for commenting! I love hearing about how other people write, because it's such a personal process. I've heard fiction described as 'pouring your soul out to complete strangers' but I consider it more like... making a pretty picture. With words, naturally. But I often compare writing to drawing. You're doing the same thing, in my opinion, only instead of presenting people with ready-made images, you're creating the images with words, and then giving people the option of creating their own pictures from those words. No matter how a character is described to me in a book, I form my own image of their appearance based on how they act, and on other characters that I've seen. Prince Josua, from The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Trilogy by Tad Williams, is described as having close-cropped hair (which I initially imagine to look like the stereotyped 'Roman' look) but after that first mention of his hair, when I picture him in my mind, he's got somewhat shaggy, ear-length hair.
And I suppose I lied slightly about creating a story, and then stuffing characters into it. Mostly, my ideas come to me as single-shot images, or ideas - a world where dragons, elves, and unicorns are the norm, a forest ravaged by a nuclear explosion, a 'vampire story' unlike most of the popular vampire novels out there. The stories come to me (I'd be fooling myself and everyone else if I tried to say I create these ideas) based on those initial images or wants, and then the characters to fill those stories arrive.

tokidoki-muse: Gladly taken. They own mine, too, but I refuse to allow myself to fall into the 'vampire romanticism' that has swept the nation with Twilight; if you get right down to the bare bones of it, there's nothing romantic about vampires. Someone said (and I forget who) that vampires are walking corpses who eat people.
No one romanticises zombies.

Inspiration (in the weirdest places)

moonrat: My friend told me about you commenting on my blog, and for a moment, I was terrified. Thank you for taking the time to drop by, though! I'm glad you think so. I'm excited, too.

Some Good Advice and a little more

jessjordan: I read this at nearly three in the morning last night, and it was your comment that sparked the need to create this post, because you raised some interesting points, and I couldn't let it rest without talking to you about it. First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a comment. It was incredibly heartening to know that I'm not just blowing smoke, and actually say things worth thinking about occasionally, and your comment gave me quite a lot to think about, myself.

I'd originally imagined Eversong to be three, self-contained books in which the conflict of each book is resolved at the end of the book, not the end of the trilogy, but what makes it a trilogy, a set, and not just three books in the same 'world' is that they follow Vicky as a person, going from a slightly-lost twenty-something with no aim in life, and few friends, to finding - and losing - her first love, to finding good friends, and growing as a person, to eventually become a powerful, important person with great inner-strength.

I believe what I'm trying to say is character-driven stories, not plot-driven. I use the same example as from my post here, in the LotR trilogy; characters drive the story anyway, I'm aware of that. Someone (my memory feels like a collander at the moment, and all the important bits slipped out through the holes and left me with vague ideas and memories of what people have said, but not who said it in the first place) said that if in LotR, Aragorn had been the one to take the One Ring to the volcano, then the story would have been much different, nigh unrecognisable. It's Frodo's journey to destroy the ring that makes it what it is, but there is no resolution of major conflicts at the end of each book. You've got to read all three, in order, in order to reach a satisfying conclusion, and as I said, the first book is interesting and attention grabbing because it's the introduction; you get to know your characters, get to see them starting out on their massive journey, and become friends with them. The last book is interesting, because you see how their travels have changed these new friends of yours, and you get to see them triumph in the end, but the middle book sags just a bit, because there's nothing really... happening. They're traveling a lot, and having mini-adventures, and fighting battles, but it just put me in mind of a rope-bridge - on either side of the chasm you're crossing, the bridge is tight and balanced, but in the middle, it droops because of gravity. And that's just my own opinion, and what I, personally, took away from them, and it coloured my desire to NOT fall into the same rope-bridge story, to instead make it a suspension bridge - it's solid and bends enough in the wind so as to not break, but without the suspension cables - the characters, in this case - the whole thing would collapse under it's own weight.

Also; longwindedness is a word if you say it is. x3 The stars and spirits know that I've made up enough words in my day (publishment, I think was the one I said in a previous post)

I value people's opinions, because in my own, Eversong can do no wrong, and I wouldn't see it from enough distance to know why people were calling it contrived, and not good enough, or whatever else you can think of to say about it. It's like being on a mountain, versus looking at it from afar. When you're on a mountain, the only thing that matters is what's right in front of you, but if you're standing at a proper distance, you can get a proper look at the whole thing, and make observations about it as a complete unit.

I hadn't thought of it that way, as in your examples of option 1 and option 2, but you made an extremely good point, and I'm going to try to work that in somehow in order to keep it flowing, introducing the conflict of the next book at the end of the one that precedes it. That would also negate the need for a prologue in book two, explaining how the Dragon problem got started in the first place, I can make an epilogue at the end of the first one, showing that despite the defeat of the Mir'naam (what I referred to as 'dark elves' up until the point that I actually started writing) all is not well in the land of Eversong, that someone is climbing a forbidden mountain, and no good will come of it.

That sets up the next book neatly, and gets people's attention, "OMG, what's going to happen next? I can't wait for the next book!"

I just realised that I'm talking my way through this to you, and somewhat apologise. It's just easier for me to talk my way through problems, rather than sit and think about it myself.

As for the characters, I could also begin set-up for the emotional conflict between Jesse and Vicky somehow; I'm glad you pointed that out. You've helped immensely. <3

And I couldn't get that out of my head all last night; "If you make me love Vicky, I'll follow her anywhere." It's reinforced my desire to make Vicky a likable, relatable person, and not just a 'hollow placeholder for fans' in the way Bella Swan of Twilight was described; someone you wouldn't want to BE, but someone you can sympathise with, and become friends with as you read.

Thank you SO SO SO MUCH for your huge comment. <333 You may find yourself mentioned somewhere when I FINALLY get myself to the point of publication, because you've contributed immensely to the way Eversong is going to work.


ReNu: Oh thank god. XDD Thank you for commenting! I am absolute pants at naming things (or rather, titling things, as names come to me as easily as breathing.) I was slightly worried that Eversong, despite it's aesthetically pleasing sound (to me), wouldn't grab people's attention, and that's the base of all books. It doesn't matter how well it's written, or how good it is overall, if it's got a bad title, no one's going to pick it up to find out if it's good.

Thank you again to everyone who's taken the time to read and comment so far, and a thank you in advance to anyone who feels the need to comment in the future. I absolutely adore your comments, and every little bit of good advice helps.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Point Of View

What I'm Listening To: BT - Circles

What I'm Doing: Recovering.

I just spent the majority of the day reading over Miss Snark's First Victim's Secret Agent Contest entries, and I now feel as though my brain is leaking out of my ears. The entries I saw this time around weren't as bad as the entries I saw for the last Secret Agent contest, which was a mild improvement, but I've got to know:

When did the memo get around that all YA novels have to be in the first person? That detracts so much from a book, more-so if it's not all that interesting in the first place. I can name two first-person based novels off the top of my head that I willing read over and over: Sunshine by Robin McKinley, and The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley. Ally Carter's I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You is also in first person, but I've not read more than the first page, when I found it in Walmart. And although I loved the first page, and I'm partial to Ally as a person, that's no guarantee that the book is going to be one that I'm going to love, and reread so many times it begins falling apart.

(I know there are people who take meticulous care of their books, and don't bend or crack the spine at all, but I'm not one of them. If a book is worth reading a hundred times, then it's going to show the signs of those hundred reads, and I do have more than one book that's in two pieces because I've read it so many times that the binding simply gave out.)

But for the most part, first-person is a no-no for me. And after thirty of them, my patience started to give out, and it showed in the comments I left. I read them backwards, from 50 down to 1, simply because it was easier to keep up with that way, and my comments on the first thirty (by which I mean from fifty down to about number twenty) have good, written out, well-thought comments on what worked, why I didn't like it, why I did, what I would have changed, and the like. Down towards the bottom, the comments started to say things like, "First person point-of-view would have been better as third person, limited. Not hooked."

Think about it. My example would be this:

I stepped out of my shadowed doorway, and gazed across the open courtyard before my house. God, what a mess this is, I thought, and carefully picked my way across the open spaces between piles of junk.

(When I'm reading first person, I feel as though the story is being told to me by someone. Normal people don't say "I carefully picked my way through the labyrinth of trash" they're going to say something like "I had to watch my feet so I didn't step in a pile of shit."
So I like to feel like I'm sitting on the main character's shoulder as they're making their way through the story.)

Katreen inched the door open slowly, and stuck her head outside, surveying the mess that was the open courtyard in front of her house. She shook her head at it, thinking of all the work that would have to be done. What a mess this is. Stepping out into it, she made her way carefully among the piles of trash that littered the ground.

There are two reasons I prefer third person (generally limited) to first person. The first is that I read a story for the characters. It doesn't matter that the setting is in a beautiful palace filled with jewels and rare treasures if the main character is a shallow, empty-headed thing. But if you've got a rich, dynamic character set within a dirty shack, well, I'm still interested in it, because I'm not reading for the setting. I'm reading for the character.
That said, third person introduces the character to you immediately. It has to. Even if it's something as simple as "She opened the door." You know something already; the main character is a girl. With first person, this is utterly lost, until someone says "Katreen! Girl, get over here!" which could be anywhere from the first sentence on into the third page, and that whole time, you don't know who your character is.
The second is the reason I gave above; I don't want to be told the story, I want to be right there in the thick of it, feeling what my main character is feeling, and going where they go.

Story Creation

What I'm Listening To: Poe - Haunted

What I'm Doing: Writing down this blog so that I can finally get some sleep.

The brilliant and famous J. K. Rowling (that's ROLLING, not RAOW-ling, for the record) said that Harry Potter was born the day he strolled into her head, fully formed. For some reason, (I don't know if this was ever mentioned anywhere, or if it's a figment of my own imagination) I always picture him walking into her head in his Quidditch gear. No explanations for that.

And recently, another author I've been speaking to (there are about a dozen, all told, so I couldn't say with exact certainty which one it was) said that her main character, Alex, also appeared in her mind, fully formed, and then pestered her until she wrote the story out.

I don't write this way.

For me, the stories themselves come to me, and then later, they tell me what kind of characters they'll feature. Vicky was born after Eversong created itself in my mind, and cried out for a hero from the human world. Mischief and Murder was brought to life in my mind as a forest ravaged by humanities atrocities, and then ravens and rats were brought in as the main characters because of the idea that sparked it's birth in the first place. (See "Inspiration In the Weirdest Places" for more details.)

After a two hour chat with a lovely group of Sarahs (Sarah Maclean, Sarah Ockler, Sarah Cross, and Sarah Rees Brennan) and some other fantastic people, I told myself I would go to bed at a decent hour. (IE, 11:30 ish, right after the chat ended.) But I found myself gripped by a powerful need to read fanfiction, so I went to my favoured fanfiction site, and dug around a bit until I found something to read. It wasn't enough, so I read another, somewhat longer fanfic. Which had a sequel. Which I then read.

It has sparked a third.

I am overwhelmed with a burning need to write a vampire story. It's lodged inside my chest like a column of flames. It will not rest until it has characters and a plot.

This is the last thing I need.

Oh, what sweet torture we create for ourselves. I am more excited than I could possibly say about this. I don't want it to be a rehash of Sunshine (one of the most amazing Vampire novels I've ever read; go read it now, even if you've already read it before. It bears rereading.) and neither do I want it to be as pithy and insulting as Twilight, which is a black smear across the good name of Vampire fiction.

I have the feeling it will be both of these and more. Not better, perhaps, but different. And until it is born, I am consumed in its flames. Being the creator of worlds is an immense, heady feeling.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Links and a bit of Rambling

What I'm Listening To: Aimee Mann - Pavlov's Bell

What I'm Doing: Reading To Green Angel Tower Pt 1 by Tad Williams, and preparing to start working on M&M.

Yesterday I found something I'd saved to my computer called 'writing hacks', and thought it was immensely helpful, so I decided to go through my favourites and share all of the writing tools and websites I've discovered over the last few months.

How to Write a Good Fiction Book. - exactly what it says. The barest of the bare bones on writing, but a good outline of what to expect when you're writing.
(It was suggested that that article be merged with one called 'how to write a fiction book' so I hopped on over and took a look at that one. EGADS. DON'T READ THAT ONE. Or if you do, remember that number 8 is the bane of all authors. "When your book is finished, send it to a publisher." NO. NO NO NO. GODS NO. When your book is finished, you edit. And then you revise. And then you read it again. And then you find your happy little butt an AGENT, who will then find you a publisher. BUT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S GOOD DON'T SEND YOUR UNEDITED MS TO ANYONE.)

How to write a book - the short honest truth. - Found this blog a while back, and it's got some useful information in it. It's not as encouraging as some things, but it's true, and it's something to remember when your spirits are flagging.

Warm Up Activities - This is more of a teachers-for-little-kids thing, but it's just as useful for burgeoning authors. I'll dig up another set of warm-ups in the next link.

Warming up: Ten Exercises for Fiction Writers - The opening paragraphs to these are almost as helpful as the warmups themselves.

Writing Hacks (hacks for writing) - Extremely useful. And entertaining. For those of you who are wondering, somewhere on his blog (can't find it now) he wrote that writing hacks are like computer hacks - a way in.

How to survive creative burnout - Mostly aimed at officeworkers or webdesigers and other people who have an actual job, but can be just as useful when applied to writing.

How to write a novel: the snowflake method - This wasn't particularly helpful to me, but it did put some good ideas in my head. Maybe you'll find better use of it.

Ally Carter's Tips and Hints for Writers - Probably the single most helpful collection of writing links I've found to date. Ally Carter is the author of a most interesting series of YA books, I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, and her newest, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover about a girl who goes to a school for spies, and falls in love with a 'normal boy' and has to deal with the intricacies of leading what amounts to a double life. As she's gone through the process so many aspiring authors are hoping for already, she's just shy of expert when it comes to giving good advice on the writing process. Even if you've ignored the rest of these links up until this point, go check out her tips for writers. You won't be disappointed.


And if you want to know the importance of editing and revision; I just reread my opening paragraph before the links, and discovered something I'd done by accident, but hadn't caught the first time: I'd written "Yesterday I found something I'd saved to my computer called 'writing hacks' and found it again,

Department of redundancy department, much? And while reading Ally Carter's tips for writers (which is the last link, and is something you ought to be reading/have read at this point) she was talking about 'show don't tell' - something I've heard a great deal about since I started my foray into writing with the end goal of publication, and not just for myself or faceless internet fans.

It made no sense to me. (I believe I may have covered this already, but I'm feeling particularly lazy about my blog, and don't care to reread the whole thing just to see if I've talked about one little thing before. ... Maybe I haven't written about it in the blog yet, and have just spoken to people on it. At any rate, here it is again.) "Show, Don't Tell" they say. It just puzzles me. If you're writing words down, you're telling people a story. Movies show things; books tell them. And so I realised it was very good advice, but I could see no way to make it in any way useful to myself.

That was when I found Ally Carter's 'For Writers' section while wandering about her website.

I won't rehash that here (because you should have already read it.) but I'll say that it helped immensely with understanding that little phrase.

If I were to write, "'Bethany, your mother is dead.' She couldn't believe the words. 'What?' she said, horrified. 'Dead?' But she was alive yesterday! She began crying sadly, and turned her face away from her father."

and then

"The words dropped with leaden certainty into Bethany's stomach. They arched through her mind, ripping open old wounds that had just started to heal, and threw themselves in front of her as though they'd been written on a banner. The sudden and unexpected loss of her mother, someone she'd always expected to be there for her, left her with nothing but a hollow feeling. Her eyes shimmered with unshed tears, and her hands closed into fists. Unable to take the pity shining in her father's eyes, she turned away."

I realised just how difficult it is to actively write badly while thinking this exercise up. I automatically go for the most descriptive way of writing (and that second paragraph could probably be whittled down a bit, but it's not intended to be a perfect specimen.) But the point of it was, the first paragraph tells us exactly what's going on, exactly what she's been told, with no guesswork involved. It just hands us the information. The second paragraph starts off in such a way that you're left wondering what Bethany was just told, that they're hurting her so much? And then you find out; she's just been told her mother has died.

Now, granted, I am not the greatest at my craft. Even as I was writing this followup to those two paragraphs, I was going back and rewriting them, and rearranging the words. The paragraphs you see are not the paragraphs that were originally written down, which is as it should be in your writing.

So there are two points to be made: You don't need to spoonfeed your reader by saying "Bethany's mother is dead," instead you want to skirt over it, hint at it, make your reader figure out that Bethany's lost someone important to her before you reveal the facts.

And editing is your friend. Your first draft will never be your final draft (and woe to those I discover attempting to make it so.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lingo, Dialogue, and Slang

What I'm Listening To: Emilie Autumn - Swamped

What I'm Doing: Reading Tad Williams' To Green Angel Tower and brainstorming M&M.

I was talking to Mami last night, and I sprang a rather odd and unexpected question on her in the middle of the conversation.

Do I talk funny?

I possibly could have phrased it: "Do I speak strangely?" and it would have made more sense, because the question in it's first incarnation garnered me an odd look and an 'Er?' in lieu of an actual answer.

The reason I asked was because I realised that I ... for lack of a better way of saying it, talk funny. Speak strangely. Most people don't actually say things like "Currently, I am attempting to muster the energy to get out of my chair," and the like. But I do. Constantly. Added to the fact that I'm about ten years behind on slang (my sister had to explain the nuances of 'camel toe' to me once) I came to the conclusion that most of you have already reached: I'm weird.

Mami said (very kindly) that writers tend to use their vocabulary. There's a difference between showing off your knowledge of a somnambulist and actually using that word in a sentence without thinking about it. "I find myself somnambulating at night; I think I need to go see a doctor," is well within the span of something I would say.

Normal people would say, "I need a doctor. I'm sleepwalking at night."

See what I mean?

At the same time (and another thing Mami pointed out to me) this is useful in writing, and showing people who's talking by what they say.

I could tell you that Maria is a dark, gothic, depressed type, and Roger is something of a geek, and then show you a conversation between the two of them.

"The world is a dark and empty place, and I just don't fit into it any more. It's time for me to move on."

"Well, don't say things like that. You should just try moving to another city, or actually reaching out to people - hey, I've got a D&D game in need of a mage, you could try joining us."

You know that Maria is depressed, and that Roger is a geek, so I don't need to tell you who's speaking in order for you to figure it out. Their mannerisms and phrases give them away.

I wish to god I'd saved the conversation with Mami in which we were talking about nicknames for Vicky (from Eversong) and I told her I was considering 'Vic' for short, and she told me that it reminded her of 'victim' and launched into a brief dialogue between two cops.

It was brilliant. I immediately heard the gruffness, the cold, the dispassion with which the cops spoke of the murder victim. It wasn't just Mami 'speaking' for two cops, it was two cops speaking. I pray fervently that I can match that talent for voice in writing one day. It's one of the things that makes her so fantastic a writer, and one of the things holding me back. I'm aware that I have difficulty with voice. It's because the characters aren't yet real. When I'm writing fanfiction, the characters are already real to me, and I have no trouble distinguishing them by their spoken words, or getting into their heads and discovering what they'd say in any given situation.

It's one of the things I'm struggling with at the moment in my own writing, distinguishing between voices, and keeping the people from becoming cookie-cut-characters.

I already know that Vicky, from Eversong, is something of a drifter, like myself. She has a tendency to daydream, and get lost in her own thoughts, and when she's tense she gets snappy. Riley, on the other hand, from Mischief and Murder, is totally different. I don't want to say opposite, because that's not true. Riley's not snappy under pressure, he completely flakes out and becomes useless. Kind of an 'OMG OMG OMG WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE OMG!" guy. Vicky, under the same circumstances, would say something like, "Shut the hell up and let's just keep moving!"

But Jonas (from Eversong) and Mara (from M&M) are both somewhat similar, (they fight horrendously with their main characters) and I've got to find some sort of distinction between the two of them, possibly, Jonas is an ass because he's got an asshole father, and he doesn't know any other way. Mara's kind of a jerk because she's under pressure, and her parents are dead, and she's usually quite sweet, or at least, has sweet moments, and also because she has no patience with Riley's freak-outs.

I wish blogger were more like LJ, with 'cuts' that let you hide parts of the text so that if people didn't want to read them, they didn't have to. That being said, consider this my 'cut' - I'm just going to write down something for myself, and don't feel obligated to read it just because it's here.


Situation: a landslide while walking on a narrow pathway.

Vicky: *flattens herself against the back of the path, with the hopes that the rocks and dirt will pass over her*
Jonas: *tries to outrun the landslide and get away from the danger*
Riley: *stares at it in horror*
Mara: *flies out of the way of the falling debris*

This tells me a lot about my characters. Vicky uses logic, even if it's not the greatest idea, Jonas uses brute force to rescue himself, Riley freaks out, and Mara actually takes herself to guaranteed safety. If this were to actually happen to Mara and Riley, she'd probably take him with her, for the simple reason that he'd probably stand there freaking out until it was too late. XD

Something I read about characters, and 'not making them mary sues/gary lous' was making sure they have character flaws. It's easy to make someone perfectly unlikeable. It's not as easy to make someone likeable, but not perfect.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Inspiration (in the Weirdest Places)

I was reading Moonrat's blog, and I happened to be looking over the links that go down the right-hand side, and she mentioned that a group of rats is a 'mischief.' I was thinking about how strange this was, and what other words don't really make any sense - a 'murder' of ravens, for example.

This immediately launched my mind onto a book entitled 'Mischief and Murder' and is about rats and ravens, possibly as little anthros in waist coats and top hats. Or possibly something new-age and/or post-apocalyptic, as the waist-coats and top hats has, I believe, been done to death already.

But it made me start thinking. I've always been able to find inspiration for ideas in just about everything under the sun (and quite a few things above it, too). It's generally the motivation for writing that I lack, and I'm working on that. I do this as an exercise sometimes; look around at the things in my room, or in my back yard, and build stories about them.

I'd thought, vaguely, that I would write a childrens/YA short story, for the simple fact that there's a growing market for those genres. I also think that a short story would be easier. Not because there's less work involved - I intend to work just as hard on my short stories/short novels for YA as I do on Eversong. No, the easier part comes in with the time involved. It's going to take me several months; possibly up to a year to complete Eversong, whereas I'm fully confident in my ability to produce a well-written short story/novella/novellette (note to self; study the lingo and find out what exactly it is you're writing.) within a month or two, with a few weeks between the writing and editing, rather than the full three or four months I intend to wait between Eversong's completion and revising. The reason for the immense time differences is because Eversong is my baby. I'm writing short stories/novellas/what have you for fun, and in order to establish myself as an author. I'm writing Eversong the same way people actively try to get pregnant in order to carry on their family lines. I want Eversong to be the absolute best thing I could possibly write, to date. It's going to be a serious expedition into the world of writing; my novellas/etc are more of a lark.

Which now gives off a bad impression. I'm going to take my novellas/etc just as seriously as Eversong, but I think what I'm aiming to say is that I'm not going to have as much invested in them as I do Eversong. It's not going to be a huge personal failure if they get rejected fifty times before getting published. If Eversong gets rejected fifty times, it will slay me. And then I will scrap it, and forget about it for years and years, and then go back to it and rewrite the whole thing, and I don't want that. I want Eversong within the next few years. Eversong's continual rejection will be like constant miscarriages when all you want is to carry a healthy child to full term. Depressing, but you keep trying because it means so much.

That said, I'm off to write some for Eversong, and then brainstorm my latest writingchild idea.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Query Letters

What I'm listening to: Anberlin - A Whisper and a Clamor

What I'm doing: Reading blogs and articles.

I'm still reading through Robert Gregory Browne's articles, and one in particular seemed extraordinarily relevant.

He claims to be talking about how to get an agent, but what he's really aiming at is writing a good query letter.

But Amy, I hear you saying plaintively. You're only on chapter two. Why are you worrying about a query letter right now?

That's because I'm a slacker and a wanderer, and I'm not able to focus JUST on writing if I don't have something else to shift the focus to every so often. And by shifting the focus to something that will eventually help me in my quest to publish my books, I'm both slacking off on the writing process itself while still doing something useful and book-related. I am, at the very least, aware of my faults, even if I'm unwilling/unable to do anything about them, which is more than I can say for quite a few people of my acquaintance.

Back to query letters. I know the importance of them. I read Query Shark, and I've gone over the query letter sections of several agent's blogs to find out what works for them, and what doesn't, and I've read some of the Secret Agent entries. I'm fully aware of how much rests on your query letter, but that doesn't make them any easier to write. To date, my query letter for Eversong is in it's third incarnation, and is about to move into it's fourth, because of this very simple formula Mr. Browne was so kind as to supply us with.

Who, What, and How. Who is it? What are their circumstances. How do they resolve them? This is for creating the 'logline' (his words, not mine) of your query, the 'hook' that will reel in your readers. Following this for Eversong, I came up with the following:

Who: An average girl.

What: Gets thrown into a world full of magic.

How: She goes on a quest to save the world, the conclusion of which will allow her to return home.

And end up with my baited hook line:

When Vicky Crawford is thrown into a world full of magic and mythology, she's got to find a way to save everything before she can get back home.

This sums it up perfectly. Vicky's in a strange world (I keep going to write 'magical world' but the world itself isn't magic, just the creatures who inhabit it.) and it's in danger. She wants to get home, but before she can do so, she's got to save the world.

It's got everything; it's short and to the point, it covers the basics, and it tells you a great deal about the story without telling you everything. Using this as the basis, I'll be able to write a much better query letter.

And now as an exercise, I'm going to write it for the next book, too.

Who: A girl who's already saved the world once.

What: Her friends are in danger from a deranged king who wants to destroy the world.

How: She uses the love and help of her friends in order to send him back where he came from.

And from it is born the premise of Return to Eversong:

Vicky's already saved the world once, and brought home the tee shirt to prove it, but when the Dragon-Lord Draevn unleashes his thousand-year wrath on the world that rejected him, she returns to fight beside her friends and win back everything she loves from the clutches of a madman.

It does the same thing; sums up the story, the conflict, and the strength of character that Vicky has in order to protect the people and places she loves. Now, granted, I don't know as much about Return to Eversong as I do about the first novel, because I haven't done more than the preliminaries on it, and the hook for the second one could probably be better, but it's a start, and it's a way to interest people in the next novel.

Some Good Advice and a little more.

I've been reading Robert Gregory Browne's blog of sorts, and it's filled to the brim with interesting articles and anecdotes about writing and publishing. He's a little confused on the subject of agents, but that's because he's never (by his own admission) written a good query letter in his life.

But he raised some interesting questions for me, and I have no idea how to answer them myself. He's discussing structure and conflict, and the three acts of a story; act one - the beginning, the set up, the lead in, what-have-you. Act two - the middle, the meat of the story, the bridge. Act three - the conclusion, the climax, wrapping it all up and finishing with a bang.

And it made me start thinking about my book, versus the other fantasy trilogies I've read, and another sci-fi trilogy that just popped into my mind.

I'll clarify.

Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Trilogy is one mega-quest that spans three novels in order to complete, the quest to save the world from The One Great Evil, and it's stuffed full of mini-quests, and tangents, and the stories and set up of other characters that don't show up until later, at which point they serve a great deal of good towards the completion of the Mega-Quest.

In contrast, Eversong is one book with two sequels
rather than a comprehensive story that spans three novels. Does this make sense?

I'll rephrase, because it's not really making sense to me, so I can't expect it to make sense to other people.

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is one story that spans three novels. Eversong is three completely separate stories, and over the course of those stories, Vicky grows as a person. The same thing happens in MST, granted; Simon starts off as a care-free lad more interested in daydreaming than anything serious, and by the end of the trilogy, he's a mature young man who becomes king. I'm still making no sense to myself.

Expect the rest of this entry to be likewise as rambling.

The problem I'm seeing with Eversong is that it doesn't quite need to be a trilogy. From where I see it now, each book could probably stand on it's own, with references from the previous novels standing in for having read the novel itself. If you picked up Eversong: Dark Star Rising, you'd see Vicky on the eve of her wedding, when something happens to disrupt it, and then she goes on a quest to defeat the newest threat to Eversong, does so, gets married, and lives happily ever after. You won't have to read Eversong or Return to Eversong in order to understand Dark Star, because each novel is it's own, contained arc, with it's own, contained three acts. The reason there's three of them is to follow Vicky on her quest to find love, friendship, and a place in life, and to see how she matures through the trials she experiences.

The reason I mentioned The Crystal Singer Trilogy above, is because it does the same thing. You don't need to have read Crystal Singer and Killashandra in order to understand Crystal Line. They're each self-contained stories, within the same universe and with the same characters. There are references (in Killashandra, the main character talks about 'The Trundimoux Installation', an event that took place near the end of Crystal Singer.) but from the surrounding paragraphs, it's easy to deduct that the Trundimoux Installation was a complete mess for Killa, and she didn't like it, and she doesn't want a repeat of the event in the newest mission she's been given.

And here's where I feel like I need to go shout my blog from the roof-tops, because I need people to read it, and tell me what they think, as I'm wondering which why is better. After having gone through all this trouble to set up the three novels as self-contained stories that simply follow Vicky on her journey, should I scrap the whole thing and re-write it to be one cohesive story, that the dark-elf menace and the Dragon Wars were the harbingers of the Dark Star problem?

TL;DR: Most trilogies ARE the three acts of novel writing. The first novel is the set up, the second novel is the bridge, and the third novel is the climax.

This way of writing is good, but often the end result is something like The Lord of the Rings, in that the first novel, the set up, is infinitely interesting, because you're just beginning to learn about your main character, and the troubles they're about to face. The third novel is also infinitely interesting, because the story is wrapping up, the threads are coming together, and the Ultimate Evil is about to be vanquished once and for all. The middle book, the bridge, is unquestionably the most boring, and the toughest to get through, because nothing's happening. It's just a path between the set up and the climax.

With Eversong, this isn't the case, and I just want some opinions on what the majority of readers think is a better way of going about it.