Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Writing Wednesday: Language...

Before we get started, I want you all to know I participated in an author interview on Natasha Orme's blog. You can see the interview here. Now, on with the post!

I'm not talking about vulgarity in writing, although, that could be a whole other topic one of these days...

No, what I'm talking about is creating a language or using an existing one in your writing.

For those writing any sort of fantasy or sci-fi, sometimes you'll have some pretty weird languages. How do you present the language? Do you just type up some garbled nonsense and pass it off as the language of whatever species you've dreamed up?

"I told you, I'll pay you the rest of what I owe in a few days."
"Glkwer lkdjfi beedok crazzt fluker!"
"Don't you swear at me like that!"

I'm sure it's doable. Sort of. I mean... how the heck do you pronounce any of that??? Most of the time, people just sort of gloss over the different languages. Me, I'm sort of a purist and will try my damnedest to try to pronounce each word.

Not everyone can be Tolkien, though, and be a linguist and create their own. I'd love to, actually, but ... no.

Personally, I've combined an Elven language with Latin and have come up with some pretty good results. I'm so stereotypical fantasy, though, that most of my stuff has a lot of apostrophes. Don't know what to tell you, I'm just that sort of fantasy author.

There are a lot of language generators out there, so you'll want to think about using those and maybe coming up with your own combinations. Especially if you are a fantasy author. And I'm sure as far as sci-fi goes, you can just use grunts and clicks, maybe some chirps to get the point across.

Most world building should include ancient texts of a language long gone and very rarely will there be anyone left alive that can read it. Or perhaps there is one person who has such a desire to learn ancient tongues, he's learned how to read these things. This is something to consider in your world, just as much as the more common, current languages of other races.

To have everyone speak the same language the world over, well, that's rather boring and very simple, but I'm sure it'd be acceptable. But choose wisely. We fantasy/sci-fi people, we can be very opinionated about this sort of thing!

Have any suggestions or tips you'd like to share? Leave a comment below!

And don't forget to stop by and read my interview! Have a great day!

Monday, February 8, 2016

GTKM: 8...

::Sings:: It's Monday, it's Monday... please don't shoot me...

It happens every week. The weekend ends and Monday doesn't creep up on us, it explodes in our faces with the fury and vengeance of a woman scorned.


So it's Monday! And it is time for another Getting To Know Me post.

Today's question is:

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

On a beach. In the Carribean. Napping.

Well, I'm only half kidding about that. But in all seriousness, I see myself living in a home built by me and hubs. There's a garden out back with all sorts of veggies. A greenhouse with other plants that we grow year round.

Of course, we're both still working, but he's finally able to work his dream job while I do my job from home. I want to have a place where the family visits regularly and grandkids come for the summer. In the winter, we travel for a couple weeks and then start all over again.

I don't have huge, grand schemes. I'm pretty simple.

How about you? Where do you see yourself in ten years? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Faves & Funnies...

It's Friday, it's Friday! Woohoo! Well, for the many of you who have weekends off, you get to celebrate and relax. Me, I have to work, but that's okay. I love my job!

This week, my Faves topic is going to be Animals.

One of my favorite animals of all time is the wolf. I love wolves. I can't explain it. When I was around 22 or 23, I got my first tattoo. I got a wolf on my right ankle. I'd like to get more tattoos and maybe another wolf or even the tribal wolf paw. I have lots of time to decide.

Okay, on to the funnies!

All right, that's it for this week! What's your favorite animal? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Writing Wednesday: Problem Solving...

Okay, so near the end of my last post, I briefly mentioned Problem Solving Techniques. I said they were extremely important, mainly for your readers.

Problems in your character's lives are as important as drama. They ARE the drama. However, they don't have to be so dramatic. They can be simple or huge. They can seem silly or be very serious.

Whatever the problem your character is facing. Whether it be one or many, your readers will connect on a personal level if they feel it is something they are going through.

You want this personal connection. You need it. Your readers need it.

But here's the tricky thing... if you've never been through a situation similar to your characters, how can you write and relate?

A few tips that will help:

* Find someone who's been through what your character is going through. Ask them if they'd be willing to help you work it out.

* Look for books on the topic and find suggestions on how to deal with situations.

* Research online on other author blogs with similar genres and similar styles. Lots of authors post writing tips.

The fact is, there are so many articles and blogs out there with lists and lists on different writing tips, techniques, that you are bound to find something. I am just stressing the importance of getting your readers and characters to relate.

There is also a quote, from Pixar (apparently): "Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating."

You shouldn't make anything easy for your character. Some things will come naturally, of course, and there will be a significant amount of luck. But if everything just falls neatly into place, you are misleading your readers, your character and yourself.

People hope and pray and plead for every speed bump in their lives to either just go away or fix themselves. At the risk of sounding like a negative jerk, that's just ridiculous. Nothing ever fixes itself. You can think about a situation for hours, days, even weeks. Sometimes longer. Sometimes the solution does seem to just drop in our laps, but that is mostly due to the fact that we've figured it out already, it's been sitting right there in front of our face, but we were so consumed by the problem we didn't see the solution right away. Other times, it takes walking away from the problem to see the solution. And in other cases, you'll dream about a solution.

Remember, your mind works in mysterious ways. So will your character's. Every situation has a solution, some more permanent than others. Make it believable!

What are your thoughts about this post? Have any tips to share? Leave a comment below!

Monday, February 1, 2016

GTKM: 7...

It's Monday! Please don't shoot me. I'm not that excited about it being Monday, but I am excited to be posting regularly again.

I'll get to it so the masses don't start to become unruly.

Today's question is:  What was your first job?

My first job was working at McDonald's. I was in high school and, of course, there weren't many jobs that would hire teenagers.

Since then, I've worked a lot of different jobs. Cashier is the main one. I have done that job over and over again. But I have worked as a receptionist in a dental office, briefly. Another high school job. I've worked Tech Support/Password Security for two different places.

Password Security was at America Online. I was there when we celebrated having one million simultaneous users on the internet. *Gasp!* How exciting! Think about that, now.

Tech Support was at Intuit for Turbo Tax. And yes, people actually did ask if the CD player was a cup holder.

I worked in an Assay Lab, grinding down rock samples for Geology labs. Dusty work!

I've worked in a Print Shop, helping people figure out the end result of their business cards and flyers as well as formatting templates for the printer.

And now, I work at Michael's, where I help people with their craft projects (THAT's a long list, too) and am studying to do Medical Transcription.

Okay, your turn. What was your first job? Leave your answer in the comments!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Faves & Funnies...

I know, I know, I know... it's been forever!!!

This is just one of those things I'm trying to work on getting back on this blog. I'm trying to work up a writing routine and right now, scheduling things is going to be my friend until I get back to it.

Okay, so I'm going to offer up some topics for my Faves section of these posts. There will be Food, Music, Comics, Authors, Books (because there is a difference between authors and books!), Animals, Movies, T. V. Shows, Actors, and Games.


Today, the Favorite topic will be Food!

I'm sort of becoming a foodie of sorts. Hubs and I watch Food Network a LOT. Makes me so hungry... However. I loooove tacos. While watching "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", hubs saw a recipe for black bean tacos. Oh. My. God! I think I will never do typical tacos ever again. Plus, I sort of need the iron the beans provide. So that's my fave!

On to the funnies!

Okay! That's it for today. Hope you have enjoyed this. Also, tell me what your favorite food is in the comments below! See you next week!

Monday, January 25, 2016

GTKM: 6...

It's that time again. It's Monday! And also, the latest in the "Getting to Know Me" series.

This week, there are two questions to answer, simply because one is well, simple. In case you were wondering, I'm working from a list of questions.

So, question numero uno for today is:

How many languages do you speak?

One. I speak one, Bob. Although, I did take French in high school and am picking it back up with my phone app, Duo Lingo. I also have the CD's to learn Russian and Mandarin Chinese. Ambitious, aren't I?

Okay, next question:

If you could join any past, or current, music group, which would it be?

Oh, the decisions. First, let me just say it would have to be as a Roadie or something, because I don't sing well enough to be part of a group. And I play a mean kazoo.

I'd have to say past group, first of all and that would be The B-52's. I don't know. They just seem so fun. But there are so many to consider because I'm like all about music. I love so much of it. I'd even consider becoming a part of the Philharmonic Orchestra or even Mannheim Steamroller. I just want to be a part of creating the music, too, but that's something else for another post.

How about you? How many languages do you speak? What group would you join?

Monday, January 18, 2016

GTKM: 5...

It's me again. If you are seeing this post, it means, sadly, the weekend is over. Sorry to harsh your buzz.

Good news is, it's another Getting To Know Me post! ::Throws confetti::

This week's question is:

What is your favorite family holiday tradition?

Hmm... which holiday?

After deliberating over this question, I have decided to choose New Year's Eve. My favorite family tradition is writing down wishes and prayers on scraps of paper and burning them throughout the night.

I've even gone a step further with this one and have started to collect little origami stars through the year.

We write down our wish or prayer on a strip of paper. Then I fold it into a little star and drop it in a container. At the end of the year, on New Year's Eve, we toss the stars into the fire. During the year, it's a cute, colorful display. It's also a way to be positive throughout the year. Then, New Year's Eve, we toss them in the fire and let the smoke take the wishes and prayers up to the heavens.

How about you? What is your favorite family holiday tradition?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Writing Wednesday: There And Back...

Okay, so in last week's post, I mentioned how the series I had so been looking forward to ended up falling flatter than a pancake.

Here's what happened: In the space of three, rather short books, (novellas?) we meet the main character and he's gone from Farm Boy to Hero. Not only does he run away from home, he saves the life of the King, befriends the Prince, falls in love with the Princess, who falls in love with him, too. And goes on this grand adventure. As if all that other stuff wasn't grand enough.

Now. As you are reading the books, it seems like maybe a few months have passed. But I honestly don't know if this was a time-line error on the authors part, or what, but the author writes it out that it happened in three to four days.


In between those few main points up there, so much happened in the author's world, too.

When you have such a busy timeline scheduled for your character(s), you have to allow them a chance to breathe. Your reader, too. That is why flow is so important. Action, followed by action and more action gets tedious. Breaking it up with a paragraph or two of the MC reflecting on all of it and how fast things happened to it, is not necessarily "down time" for the reader to catch their breath. It also doesn't make for a good story flow.

There is so much advice out there on the flow of a story, it is pretty much personal preference. For me, I like to build up the action, then slow things down a bit to begin building up the next bit of action. I put in parts and take out parts here and there in order to make sure things are moving along at a quick pace, but not so quick as to make the reader think it is unrealistic and put the book down.

So. Figure out your pace. Think about how long your book is going to be, and work from there. If you are writing a trilogy, what will happen in each book? If it is a longer series, plan it out for things to happen a little slower. In my opinion, the series I am talking about could have taken one or two of those main points up there and spanned at least one good book, taking up the threads again in the next book and making them secondary. Then one or two other plot points could have been focused on, instead.

Example: The first book, the main plot points could have been the MC running away from home and falling in love with the Princess. The secondary threads could have been befriending the Prince and planning for his grand adventure.

In book two, the main points could have been planning for the adventure and saving the life of the King. Which would make the secondary points the ongoing romance and friendship. The start of his adventure could have been moved to the third book, and so on.

Don't have too many things happening at once. Make them obstacles for your MC, not the reader. You squish them all into a few short pages and things get kind of confusing, not to mention there was no real process. Things were too easy. Problems arose, and were solved almost as fast with no real problem solving techniques. Those are so important to your readers!

What did you think of this topic? Leave your comments below!