March 2012 - further up and further in

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beautiful People: Avary & Ryan

Thursday, March 22, 2012 3
Beautiful People: Avary & Ryan
It's always hard for me to decide which characters to use for BP, and it was doubly hard this time around. You already know these two, but it was rather nervewracking to post them since they've become incredibly close to my heart. Avary and Ryan are in my Camp NaNo novel, tentatively titled Souvenirs of a Life Untold. They have an... interesting relationship.

1. Do they believe in anything that most people think is impossible?

Avary is a dreamer, so yes. She’s always dreamed of the unknown. It surprises her when something impossible actually does happen in the story, but it’s more exciting to her than anything.

Ryan, on the other hand, is incredibly skeptical. He’ll eventually figure things out for himself, but it takes a while.

2. Are they strong, or the "damsel/knight in distress" sort?

Ooh. Tough question. Avary is a mixture of strong and dependent. She has forced herself to become emotionally strong, and yet she still needs other people—more than she’d like to admit.

Ryan is not a knight in distress. He can take care of himself, thank you very much.

3. Do they have a special place? (e.g. a corner in his/her bedroom, under a tree...)

Avary has two. The forest surrounding her house, and her windowseat. She’ll retreat to either place with a notebook and a fountain pen and scribble away.

Ryan doesn’t really have a special place because he moves on so often. However, he’s most comfortable in the woods. I suppose that’s one thing he and Avary have in common.

4. What occupation do they have, or plan on having?

Avary would like nothing better than to be a writer and have her novels published. She’s a private person, though, so sharing her writing is scary. That’s her eventual goal, though.

Ryan has already found a suitable occupation, and that is a jack of all trades. He does carpentry and fixing things, mostly.

5. Describe their current place of residence.

Avary lives in a white clapboard house with a giant front porch and green shutters. It’s located in the rural area, about 30 minutes from town, in the middle of a giant forest with a minimal amount of neighbors and distractions.

Ryan’s place of residence changes so often that it’s hard to tell. He’ll stay in a place for a few weeks or at best a month, and then move on. Usually he holes up in the local inn and just pays for an extended visit.

6. Explain their last crisis. How had they changed when they came out of it?

Avary’s last crisis is hard to pinpoint. I do believe it involved someone leaving her, a broken relationship, or someone betraying her trust. After that, she changed by resolving to not trust so easily. To this day, she finds it hard to let people into the deepest parts of her heart. Further details are something I have no idea about yet. She hasn’t seen fit to tell me.

Ryan’s last true crisis had two parts. Years ago, his father left his family for good. As a boy the age of six, it was incredibly hard for him to comprehend and accept. He once was an innocent little boy with wide eyes and a joy for living. He changed into a scarred individual with a limited amount of trust and a gypsy soul that can’t find a place where he feels at home.

The second crisis he faced was when he left his family behind, just like his father had. He still to this day cannot stop regretting the choices he made that day.

7. If they could drive any kind of car they wanted, what would it be?

Ryan would drive a navy blue pickup truck, and that’s exactly what he drives right now. He purchased it at the age of 16 and has put it through more than normal cars go through in a lifetime. He and his truck has a strange bond, and he doesn’t see the point in getting a new one. As far as he’s concerned, he already has his dream car.

Avary would drive a VW bug.

8. How do they deal with change?

Avary resists it with everything in her. She hates it. It scares her. On the flip side, she craves adventure, which goes hand in hand with change. So I suppose she has a love/hate relationship with it. She’s a complex individual, that one is.

Ryan, on the other hand, accepts it. He thrives on it. It’s the only way he can keep his mind off of all the mistakes he’s made in the past.

9. If they had to amputate one body part, which one would they choose?

Avary would choose her left hand. She needs her right one to journal and write novels, and she needs her feet in order to go to the places she chooses. She would be at a loss when using a typewriter, of course, but that would be a small loss compared to losing the ability to write with a pen and walk to her hiding places.

Ryan can’t afford to lose any of his appendages, so he’d choose to amputate a finger. That would cause the minimal amount of damage and allow him to still continue his work.

10. What would their favorite be at the local coffee shop?

Ryan takes his coffee either black or with a tiny bit of cream. No sugar. He likes it bitter.

Avary likes coffee in any form, and will drink it black if need be, but she prefers coffee with cream and sugar. She also loves strawberry lemonade, which is conveniently sold at the local café.



Part Two


1. How did they meet?

Ryan passes through her town, and they meet somehow. Potentially. This is still to be determined.

2. How do these two deal with conflict?

Ryan is intensely hard to deal with in conflict. Avary feels the need to talk things out, whereas Ryan just totally closes up and shuts down. This makes their arguments very difficult and sometimes quite heated.

3. Do they have a special song, phrase, item, or place?

“Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”

4. What kind of things do they like to do together?

Oh, um, I don’t know. Save the world. Travel the galaxy. Stuff like that.

5. Describe their relationship as a whole in 3 words or less.

Hard to crack.

other links: 
ryan: round one | ryan: round two | avary: round one | avary: round two 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beautiful People - One Year Edition

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 2
Beautiful People - One Year Edition

It's time for Beautiful People again! BP is a monthly blog challenge started by Georgie Penn and I. Every month around the 20th, we post 10 questions for you to answer about your characters. If you want more information, you can check out the very first post or the FAQ.

And now I have an announcement to make: Beautiful People has officially been around for one year. Last March, we decided to start this blog thing, and our blogs have never been the same since.

Because this is BP's one-year anniversary, Georgie and I decided to do something special this month. It's an optional challenge focusing on relationships.

How it works: you pick two characters that have a unique relationship or a relationship that you want to know more about. This could be anything from siblings, to a couple, to just friends. As long as you choose two characters that are connected to each other in some way, you should be good to go.

We've offered 15 questions this month. The first 10 are normal questions that you answer about both your characters. Then, there are 5 extra questions focusing specifically on what kind of a relationship they have.

If you don't want to do the additional 5 questions, you can always just pick one character and use just the 10 questions as planned. This relationship challenge is completely optional and it's up to you whether you want to participate.

And now, here are the normal 10 questions that we typically have every month. Thanks especially to Alyianna and Finvarra Penn for submitting some of these.

1. Do they believe in anything that most people think is impossible?
2. Are they strong, or the "damsel/knight in distress" sort?
3. Do they have a special place? (e.g. a corner in his/her bedroom, under a tree...)
4. What occupation do they have, or plan on having?
5. Describe their current place of residence.
6. Explain their last crisis. How had they changed when they came out of it?
7. If they could drive any kind of car they wanted, what would it be?
8. How do they deal with change?
9. If they had to amputate one body part, which one would they choose?
10. What would their favorite be at the local coffee shop?


And here are the extra 5:

1. How did they meet?
2. How do these two deal with conflict?
3. Do they have a special song, phrase, item, or place?
4. What kind of things do they like to do together?
5. Describe their relationship as a whole in 3 words or less.

That's about it! We've tried to keep these neutral so you can answer them regardless of genre. However, if you do write fantasy or sci/fi, try to adapt them so that they do fit your genre, or pose the question as if your character was in a modern world.

If you have any questions about how this works, feel free to leave a comment here or on Georgie's blog and we'd be happy to answer. Or, if you have any questions to submit for future BP posts, we'd love that too.

Don't forget to sign the linky!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bowties are cool.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012 13
Bowties are cool.
Today, my family decided to take a trip to the zoo. However, I was feeling entirely exhausted so I decided to opt out. Instead of going to gawk at animals, I stayed home and watched Star Trek with my dad.

Am I sounding like a nerd yet?

Don't worry, it gets better. Or worse -- whichever the case may be.

After Star Trek (Deep Space Nine), I decided to paint my nails. This is a rare occurrence, partly because I don't have the time and also because I dislike the smell (and, I should mention, my family dislikes it too). A couple of days ago I picked up some nail polish during my family's once-a-year trip to Target. Up until now I'd only owned nail polish in shades of pink and purple. However, my whim on this day was to select a lovely hue of sky blue and also a nice-looking shade of lime green.

Just so you all know, this lime green nail polish is a lot uglier than I thought it would be. It's going to have to grow on me.

(Side note: My eight-year-old sister, after seeing the nail polish, decided to purchase some too. It was only after she had selected several colors that we realized she'd selected red, orange, yellow, dark blue, and purple -- the perfect way to complete a rainbow. This was fortunate considering the fact that our existing nail polish bottles dried up years ago.)

So after I had painted all the fingers one one of my hands (and also tried to type with said hand, a venture which was somewhat successful), I decided to watch something. I briefly considered Star Trek, but decided I wanted to make a foray into a completely new show. The new show I selected just happened to be Doctor Who.

Many of my friends have told me about it, but it took me a long time to actually decide to watch the show. As it so happens with me, I already knew the names of all the characters and even some very strange plot twists. (I didn't mind reading spoilers since I figured I'd never watch the show. As it so happens, I was wrong.) Anyway, I clicked play on Season 5, episode 1 -- The Eleventh Hour. It's the beginning of the most recent incarnation of the Doctor, Matt Smith, who is my personal favorite. (Yes. I did have a favorite before I even watched the show. Oops.)

From the beginning, I had a strange fascination with the show. Okay, okay, at first I thought the beginning was weird -- but you can't deny that a blue police box careening out of control is a little strange. As the show progressed, there was barely a second where I was bored. (This is a major feat, considering I tend to zone out with anything of a televised nature.) Mediocre plots and obvious plot twists do not phase me. Well, they do phase me, but not for the good. To grab my attention, you must have an absolutely brilliant show.

I'm not 100% certain about the rest of the series, but the episode I watched was an absolutely brilliant show.

I think I'd watch it just on account of the dry, British humor. From the very beginning, I was laughing out loud. I had to keep a notepad open on my computer to scribble down random quotes that tickled my fancy. And for the entire opening of the show, I was so transfixed that I had to pause it to finish painting the nails on my other hand.

As for the rest of it, I'm a bit concerned that it may be too intense or creepy. (Even The Eleventh Hour was creepy, but the brilliance outweighed the bad, I think.) So I'll have to take it one episode at a time. But for an hour's worth of diversion, I think Doctor Who was worth it -- and far surpassed any expectations I ever had.

I once saw a lady with TARDIS earrings at a movie theater. I didn't understand what was so cool about them then. Now I do. The TARDIS is amazing. The end.


"I'm the Doctor. I'm worse than everybody's aunt." ~ The Doctor

"20 minutes to save the world, and I've got a post office. And it's shut!" 
~ The Doctor

"Nurse-boy, give me your phone... Phone, now, gimme!" ~ The Doctor

"This is it, Jeff. Right here, right now. This is when you fly. Today's the day you save the world." ~ The Doctor

Jeff: "Why me?"
The Doctor: "It's your bedroom."

"You are not of this world." ~The Atraxi
"No, but I've put a lot of work into it." ~Doctor

"Bowties are cool." ~ The Doctor

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Before the Novel

Thursday, March 01, 2012 9
Before the Novel
I've been having a fair amount of difficulty writing lately. No... it isn't the writing part, exactly -- rather, it's the plotting that must happen before writing. I have trouble with this stage. Always. If you recall, I put up quite a few frenzied posts before NaNo last year, this being one of them. And once again, you, my blog readers, are the ones who get the front seat to my writing weaknesses. So be my guest -- get comfortable, grab a pillow and a cappuccino while we commiserate together.

I'm plotting for Camp NaNoWriMo. Tentatively. Because as we all know, I tend to have a hard time committing to writing challenges until they're almost upon me. (Even on November 1st I was completely unsure of whether I wanted to let NaNo devour my entire month. I succumbed, of course.) So, when I say that I'm plotting for Camp NaNo, take it with a grain of salt. Or a pound of salt. Whatever you wish.

Anyway, even if I don't do Camp NaNo, I've decided I'm going to write something this summer. What might that something happen to be, you ask? You know her well. Perhaps too well. Or perhaps not at all. Her name... is Avary. (The idea of her originated here, and subsequent posts about her can be found here.)

Yes. I've finally decided to write her story. I've wanted to write it for a long time, and even tried writing it multiple times. Now I'm taking the leap... and I've landed straight into a plothole. Lots of them. Plotholes are huge gaping crevices in the middle of the ground, filled with inky words and scattered ideas that somehow don't want to cooperate. Plotholes are my worst enemy (besides Sauron, but we didn't come to talk about my escapades in Middle Earth, did we?).

Anyway. Avary's story was born around two years ago on a dark and stormy night. (Just kidding. I have no idea what the weather was.) I had a dream about that reeked of sci-fi and fantasy, filled with time travel and a random dude named Brian who had lots of problems to juggle.

This story has gone through so many revisions. So many characters. Brian has now become Ryan, and I love him to pieces. And somehow, somewhere, Avary intruded on this mess of a novel inkling by quietly wiggling her way into my thoughts and ideas.

Now, however, my plot is a mess. It turns out that novels don't take kindly to you deleting entire characters. (Ha, yes, I deleted one. Violet. I don't regret it; she needed to leave.) I have several gaping plotholes, as I've mentioned before, and as soon as I figure out how to fix one, I'm faced with several others. One of the biggest ones is my characters (except Ryan, of course, who has been positively wonderful through this whole process). My current two-dimensional problems. Avary. Bailey. Sawyer. Their personalities are incredibly void, lacking life and vigor to make them whole people. Maybe it's because they're too perfect -- or, maybe, in Avary's case, they're too flawed. I don't know.

So here I am, once again in the place I was last October, trying to find a plot. Grasping for something -- anything to hold onto. And desperately hoping that my ideas aren't cliche, hoping that I'll find something positively brilliant that will shake the world to its core. (It probably doesn't help that I just finished The Hunger Games trilogy and I'm wondering how on earth I can write a masterpiece like that.) I'm also overusing semi-colons; I recently discovered how wonderful they are and they make me feel highly pretentious.

But I digress. Any advice would be welcomed. Or maybe just well-wishes and prayers. I've been here before, and I'll be back here again. It's the place where ideas collide and ink is poured and sweat stands out on my poor little forehead while my brain is sorely overworked. It's the place before the novel.

(And then we have the actual writing bit, which could be just as torturous, but I refuse to think about that.)