Monday, March 28, 2011

In Which I Collect the Wisdom of the Interwebz...

...just for you, my faithful readers.

There's been a lot of good stuff in the blogosphere lately.  Or, maybe I've just been procrastinating too much, but the fact remains that I have entirely too many windows minimized on my desktop for too long now, and the time has come to disseminate the goods to you fine people.

First, Dawn Rae Miller's love/hate letter to her Kindle made me laugh.

Next, Roni Loren puts the smackdown on the stigma against romance novels.  And I laughed again.

Then, Chazley Dotson compares revisions to building a Lego castle in a cave.  And it was true.

Finally, John Scalzi slays me again with his Electronic Publishing Bingo Card.  So I laughed some more.

And now, your moment of zen:

(Background:  This is a real Bollywood movie, but the subtitles are buffalax's interpretation of what English words the original Hindi sounds like--not the translation.  Hilarity ensues.)

Happy Monday!

- Liz

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On The Mystery of Voice

As we all know, "voice" is one of the most powerful elements in fiction.  A strong, compelling voice will snare a reader instantly and will keep them through the duration of your novel.  A voice can make up for a myriad of trouble spots in a story.  (Not that you should try to write a story with problems, but you know what I'm saying.)

So, what is it?  And how do you get it right?

There are a kajillion blog posts out there about voice, though I still think Megan Rebekah did it best.  But I just found a visual example.

And that's about the time my brain exploded.

If you haven't seen the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, this probably won't mean anything to you.  (Also--why haven't you seen it?  Are you kidding me?)

For those of you who have, just imagine if the whole story had been told in this voice:

The creator, Joseph Brett, says this of his video:  "My aim was to make it look more like an indie coming of age film; perhaps the kind of film Sofia Coppola or Godard might make."

He didn't create anything new.  He didn't manufacture moments from the movie--this story is there in John Hughe's classic.  He just used a new "voice" to show us another side of Ferris Bueller.

What do you guys think?

- Liz

Monday, March 14, 2011

Open Letters

Dear Daylight Savings,

Welcome back! I'm so thrilled to see you again! Please don't go anywhere ever again!


Dear Husband,

I'm quite certain snoring would be an extenuating circumstance at my trial. Just food for thought.


Dear Allergies,

I get it. You're here. I'm giving you all the goodies--the nose spray, the eyedrops, the humidifier. How do you keep coming up with new ways to torture me?

Go Away Please,

Dear Powers-That-Be-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless,

Ball's in your court, people. Just saying.


Friday, March 11, 2011

In Which I Reveal My Weirdest Writing Trick

One of the tips I have heard in about a zillion places as a writer is to vary your sentence structure.  And that's a great piece of advice.  But if you're blazing through the first draft, you might not be thinking about whether or not you led with the subject in every sentence on a page.

So, here's my simple trick:

I try to make sure neighboring paragraphs all start with different letters of the alphabet.  I actually like all the paragraphs in any group of 5 to start with different letters.  (Yes, I know, it's anal.)

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not aiming for all 26 letters to appear on every page.  And sometimes I can't avoid using the same letter multiple times, especially in dialogue.  But, it's a good goal, and it's kept me on my toes as I write.

When I'm really feeling inventive, I try to do it within long paragraphs as well.  It's so much easier to look at one letter than the structure of each sentence.  And I do so love to do things the easy way.

Any more lazy girl tricks for me?

- Liz

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

About "Real" Superpowers

Even though I'd love to be an all-around empowered kind of girl, like Superman (as I've blogged about before), I know it's not possible.  But I still believe that everyone has a superpower or two.  They're just not the kind that comic books are made of.

My superpower is memorizing.  Not so much the useful stuff, but the trivial.  In particular--song lyrics.  They stick like glue.  Songs from my childhood.  My mom's childhood.  Hell, my grandfather's childhood. If I've heard it, I've still got it.  My son has come to rely on me to have all of the songs from his favorite shows and movies memorized.  He gets irritated when I don't.  He also gets irritated when I can't recite his bedtime books from memory.  I'm getting close, but my God, give a girl a chance.  It's the entire bibliography of Dr. Seuss just for starters.  (Current challenge:  The Lorax.)

If I were an X-Man, my name would be Memorasma.  Or maybe Recall.

My husband, on the other hand, has a different superpower.  You know when you're watching a show and you think "Hey, isn't that that guy from that thing?" or "Man, she looks familiar."  My husband actually knows who that is.  Almost without fail.  He can even recognize people who were child actors.  Just last week we saw an episode of the show Raising Hope (never saw it before) and he said, of one of the main female characters, "She was the daughter from Parenthood."

All I could do was blink at him.

A quick search at confirmed his diagnosis, and also informed us that the movie came out in 1989.  How the hell did he recognize her 22 years later?  I don't know.

So as long as you're not real determined to save the world, superpowers can be found without much trouble.

What's yours?

- Liz