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Monday, June 30, 2014

mission statement

yesterday i wrote a few pages of an entirely new novel.

it felt great.

although everything i write is as different as pie is from cake (both are delicious, btw) along the way i've made similar choices with each work. here are some of the things i remind myself of when i write.

reminder #1 my female main characters will be adept at using their limbs. they won't be adorably clumsy and trip at inopportune times or collide with large non-moving objects. they have eyes, after all. that being said, they will know that their foots do not belong in their mouths. the teens i know are witty as hell. i'll write for them.

remind #2 i will not villify my popular characters. as adults we strive to be happy, successful, and socially well-liked. most everyone i know is even ambitious and half-way intelligent (if my friends were all the way intelligent, none of us would be in the creative arts. woot!). i don't know why characters with similar traits get such a bad rap in YA. at the end of the day, even the popular kids are just doing the best that they can.

reminder #3 i will write boy main characters. i will write girl main characters. sometimes the twain shall have chemistry. most likely they'll make out. but never will i write a novel that solely focuses on the girl mc trying to win the boy mc. i've spent enough of my life obsessing about boys. i want to read and write about more exciting stories.

reminder #4 i am a white female. i was born this way. my non-white friends tease me about it all the time. (i can't help it if i like vanilla milkshakes.) and yet, my life is not comprised solely of white females. therefore i will continue to write books that reflect my world.

reminder #5 i just read/heard/Facebooked article linked/who the hell knows where i get my news from, that in the movie Frozen, Disney expected the younger sister, Anna, to be the popular sister. she's the goofy sister. the one with multiple love interests. the sister that is constantly tripping and putting her foot in her mouth i.e. the adorable, likeable, relatable sister. thus Disney made double the number of Anna toys.

they've been sold out of Elsa toys ever since.
or maybe it's Halloween costumes, but you see where i'm headed with this.

Elsa is the strong sister, a leader with much on her mind. her disposition is chilly and, fine, she's the sister that also happens to shoot winter out of her palms. but my point is, in my wildest dreams i never cast myself as "cute." (tho it's the real life descriptor i most often get labeled with.) in my wildest dreams i am f*cking fierce. a ninja who battles zombies. i will write fierce characters. and i will (try to) do so unapologetically.

reminder #6 i LOVE to write. and that's why i do it, no?

that's all. just needed to see these reminders in print. if you need to see your reminders of who and what you write about and why, i'd love to read them. my crit-buddy ellen goodlett has already thrown hers into the ring and even added a little of this action #missionstatement so we can follow along.

cheers!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

re-writing evil

my sister and i have begun watching True Blood. you know, the over-the-top corny, exuberantly bloody, laughably unnecessary bare-boobied HBO show.

in the last episode sis and i watched, the main vampire-loving female character, Sookie, was being held captive in a church basement with a man who turned out to be a vampire traitor. a bad guy heavy arrived and beat up the traitor, then turned on Sookie when she tried to stop him.

as Sookie gets choked by a man (again), i grit my teeth and wait for the show to get on with it. all the characters get busted up, so you can't expect the women not to take some knocks as well. i like True Blood because usually the women are pretty bad-ass. but then the attacker pushes Sookie down and starts undoing his belt.

and i can't help thinking f*ck this sh*t.

i won't be able to properly describe the feeling i get watching this so-frequently-seen-it's-almost-cliche belt unbuckling scene. unease, distaste, frustration, anger, you name it. i exchange a frown with my sis.

this is rape for the pure effect of being salacious. it is meant to heighten suspense and provide a one minute cheap thrill. it's meant to make Sookie's (male) rescuer appear that much more heroic when he arrives to save the day. and i guarantee, for fifty percent of the watching audience, it causes the same awful visceral reaction that i so poorly described above.

what does True Blood's almost rape scene matter when any night of the week the plot of some police procedural will center on a woman being viciously raped and murdered? how can  a six season show about vampires and sex not have any rape in it? it's practically expected.

but WHY?

maybe, instead, we need better writers. i understand nothing makes your character more detestable than making him a rapist, but then try harder. you are writing fiction - rather ridiculous fiction - and in fiction you have a thousand possibilities before you. yes, i could stop watching these shows. OR you, oh screen writers who will never read this blog, could be more creative and make me hate your bad guy for any other number of reasons. i mean, the choking was plenty good enough. please stop writing these not instrumental to the plot, cowering women, belt unbuckling scenes.

seriously, please stop.

it doesn't make for good television. it is not enjoyable to watch, even in that knuckles-to-mouth suspense sense. all it does is make me click off my Roku.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

and...go!

another case of over-zealous, library requesting strikes again. plus, i still have the only halfway finished Free Food for Millionaires on my e-reader (which i'm loving). 

oh happiness. 




ps are you reading anything good right now? always looking for recommendations.

Monday, May 12, 2014

audio wrong

AHHHH!!

that's the sound of me having another round of revisions under my belt. and also, hehehe, because whenever i finish a revision it makes me giggle.

so as i'm relishing in temporary doneness - yup, just revised a novel, don't care about sentence structure or proper word usage right now - i thought i'd share something awesome with you.

i stumbled upon it after a day of twelve hour edits, following a similar week. it was the point where you can't understand how anyone thought this manuscript was good to begin with, and if you read the same sentences again, you will cry harder ('cause dontcha know you're already crying.)

so seeing as i was having such a hard time reading my work, but still wanting to work, i pasted a chapter into GoogleTranslate and then i clicked play on the English side. just like that, it was like my book had been published as an audio book AND in Spanish translation.

not only did it make me laugh and feel unaccountably accomplished, but it sounded good. i mean, no, it sounded awful. excuse me Google lady, i believe you're putting the wrong em-PHASIS on the wrong SYllaBLE. also, commas are there for, a reason. use, them and stop, inserting, your own.

still, those nuances i'd been sweating so heavily on the page, all mushed together and spoken by a computer? they got along just fine.

i can't recommend this experience highly enough. so go ahead. tonight sell your audio and foreign rights. then take a deep breath and relax. it's all going to be okay, Corrie.

i mean, everyone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

blog amnesia

okay. so i have a little problem and i'm just going to come right out with it.

i've one hundred percent forgotten how to blog.

i think i'm still adept at stringing sentences together. gawd. let's hope so - revisions, revisions, revisions - but when it comes to entering words on this little white, blank blogger screen?

i've got nada.

i truly can't believe i used to do this regularly three times a week. it's like looking at a younger self who used to pull all nighters. except all nighters i can still do. (or like, 4 a.m.-ers with three hours of sleep-ers. that counts, oui?)

the first novel i ever wrote was about a girl suffering from insomnia and i haven't had a good nights sleep ever since. the novel i'm currently working on is about, very generally speaking, over-sharing. sure enough, now when i click on Facebook, i feel like i've undergone social media aversion therapy. every media forum makes me a little bit want to gag.

so be warned, at least for the time being, unless it's the manuscript i'm bending into shape, i can't stand the sight of words on screen. and not only this one. all screens. i had to send a few texts last tonight and the i-don't-wanna lifting of my phone felt so cumbersome, you'd think it was the dining room table i needed to send a message on. responding to and reading emails feels like benching my entire apartment.

and then i read A.S. King's latest blog post. it goes like this: "I am in the revision cave. I'm not coming out to blog unless something is on fire."

so that's what it is! i'm in the revisions cave. specifically, the nuanced part where i need to sprinkle in sentences here and there that make you, oh my reader, connect more deeply with my characters. no pressure. and who knows, maybe i've also written myself into a fear and dislike of social media, but we'll deal with that when i exit the cave. 'cause i do believe good things are brewing, and knock on wood - the dining room table perhaps, so long as i have it hoisted - soon enough i'll be re-engaging in all this online sharing like never before.

in the meantime, until i have some exciting misadventures to share and/or until i remember how to write about them, a word from Ellen Goodlett, a friend who hasn't forgotten how to blog. and you can always follow me on Instagram: @corriegram. because as luck would have it, i haven't forgotten how to shoot terrible photos.

like this one:



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

the games we play

recently, i was stuck in two tediously boring situations. we've all had these. mine, specifically, were two hours in the middle seat of a hot, crowded car, with a dog on my lap, standing still in tunnel traffic... with a ten year old. the second, was the (un)pleasure of exhibiting magnificent jewels at Sothebys as slush poured from the sky i.e. standing behind a counter for eight hours doing absolutely nothing.

well, almost nothing. in both situations i could have been productive and in Situation A: napped, and Situation B: flushed out ideas for my new novel. instead, i came up with a wide array of ridiculous games to play with my fellow stuck/bored cohorts.

seeing as the whole east coast is about to be dumped on, i thought now might be the time to share the Top 5 Fun Fun Corrie-Made-Up Games. they work in cars, bars (especially in bars), super market lines, and anywhere that you can't bear to be for one more second, yet probably have upwards of thousands more seconds remaining.

let me know how they go. if you have Fun Fun Made-Up Games you like to play, my comments are all ears.

ew. but not in a gross way. idk, that just sounded gross to me.

anyhoo...

Game 1. Scenario Face Gestures

you can stop reading right here.

Scenario Face Gestures is my new obsession. the best no-props-necessary game of all time. i've been forcing it on everyone since its inception. with few exceptions - pfft to Ry at my boo's restaurant - it gets huge laughs. "Surprised, but not in a good way. Go!" "Guy walks on the subway and starts his 'Ladies and Gentleman' pitch. Go!" "The couple at the next table at dinner are fighting and the woman just made reference to weiner size. Go!"

seriously. please try this with your loved ones or friends a.s.a.p. it does not disappoint. and it will easily make thirty minutes go buy on a slushy Sothebys afternoon.

Game 2. Three Clue I'm Thinking of Something

i've never had patience for 20 questions. Three Clue I'm Thinking of Something cuts right to the chase.

i'm thinking of a man.
is it my dad?
no. he's tall.
is it my brother?
no. he has a beard.
is it abraham lincoln. 
dingdingding.

there. done. next round.

it's the perfect game for our lack of attention span culture. it's even better if you keep score. and Three Clue I'm Thinking of Something is best when there's a dog in the car. what better way to make someone mis-guess their first clue, than by starting with fluffiness?

i'm thinking of something fluffy.
is it Maple?
bzzzz. no.

next round.

i'm thinking of something fluffy.
...(pause) is it Maple?
bzzz. no. 
(sigh of frustration. laughter on my side.)

Three Clue I'm Thinking of Something is not as riotously fun as Scenario Face Gestures, but mindless enough and interesting enough to get you fifty feet further in traffic.

for the record, i do not have a pic of Maple, but i do have a pic of my friend Kev's new puppy, Chevy. and it deserves being shared with the world.



you're welcome.

Game 3. Family Feud

fine this one's an app. but it's free and awesome and i highly suggest you download it. it made the prospect of three more hours at Sothebys bearable knowing we'd play our last Family Feud game in the second hour. (the free version limits how many games you can play per day).

 tho be warned. survey sez for What's in your Picnic Basket? totally whack.

Game 4. Animal Lookalikes

this works best if you're in a semi-crowded work environment, class, or at a big family party. a place where you know the people at least a little, so when you hit on a perfect match, it's pretty hysterical. we could play right now.

rules: choose a random animal.

say, sloth.

now, find the person in the room who looks most like that animal. you have to come to agreement with your fellow players, so let me know what you think.

my beau and i didn't have much luck with this when we went out the other night. maybe it's because there simply weren't any "deer," "bears," or "foxes" at the bar we were at. but i know this game can be killer.

Game 5. The Five Minute Quiet Game

because after all the other ones, Shhhh is the best intro to a game you'll ever hear.

Monday, January 27, 2014

with a few minutes a day

so the other afternoon my boo and i were lazing around when we began watching videos of people "Shuffling."



watching quickly turned to doing.

now, know me, know i am a dance fiend. so dancing (TERRIBLY) around our apartment was right up my alley. in one how-to video the person leading it said he'd learned to Shuffle in about a month. not with massive practice sessions, but with a few minutes here and there throughout the day. and boyfriend was good.

progression of thoughts annnnnd....

what if you learned something new every month?

nothing huge. but say, a slight of hand trick or learning how to make mean bitters or just reading everything you could on a person or time period? in August for research, i read three biographies on the Kennedys. (i highly recommend The Kennedy Women). recently, whilst watching The Butler it felt great to adjust my smart-pants glasses and say, "Oh yes. John did have debilitating back problems." 

will any of these newly learned skills aid you as you go about your way in the world? probably not. will they help you give back to the world? almost definitely not.

but by the end of the year will you be twelve times awesomer? well, you're pretty awesome already, but yes! why not?

we all have ten to fifteen minutes in our day to practice something. even if it's while waiting for the train or for the coffee to brew or as the shower heats up.

will i lose steam on this in three months time. probably. but by then, i'll know how to Shuffle (February). how to shake cocktails with two hands along with other mean bartender tricks (March). and i'll have written two effective business plans (April). and in a years time, as i'm also hopefully able to comprehend a little Mandarin (overall 2014 goal), i might also be decent in my DanceHall class or have watched all the films by Hayao Miyazaki or perfected my pickling recipe.

i'm just saying...it could be fun. and in the meantime, you'll have moments where you find yourself giggling with your partner as you do in-sync, Jumpstyle dance routines.





so what do you say? anyone else feel like February Shuffling?