Thursday, March 31, 2011

Writing Exercise 14: Metaphors

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THE CHALLENGE
Let's talk today about metaphors, analogies, comparisons, etc., that could enhance a text and make it more interesting. Of course, 'exhausted' metaphors could make your text sound stereotyped and trite.

There are so many metaphors, we've heard so very often, that while reading we don't think about them anymore. You should be really careful with using boring metaphors, because they might just blow up your text with useless bla bla. For example: 'He broke her heart.' In most of the cases it's simply better to show the consequences of the 'heart breaking'. Similar with comparisons. Instead of writing 'Red like blood' use something better to describe the fact, e.g. 'Red like his bloodshot eyes after a long night out full of alcohol and drugs'. Well, that's maybe good enough for an example, but not good enough for a text.

All right, this exercise has two parts:
PART 1: Take your time and collect 30 metaphors, analogies or comparisons, you personally use very often. Believe me, you use more than you think.

PART 2: You might already guess. Out of that 30 pick up 10 and create three fresh versions each!

MY OUTCOME
PART 1: Well, I've found my 30 metaphors ... in German language. This time it's difficult to translate them, because some of the terms don't make sense or simply don't exist in the English vocabulary!

One additional note: While collecting I've realized, that obviously I'm very fond of using terms with animals, colors or food! *g*

PART 2: Well, I simply didn't want to rack my brain for finding something extraordinary to that plain phrases. Instead I've used a technique to create some completely new metaphors:
  • Life is (like) a rose, it's full of thorns and can blossom.
  • Residing is (like) a meadow, green and juicy.
  • Family is (like) a cellar, dark, dusty and filled with hoards.
  • Believe is (like) a vase, it depends, which flowers it contains.
  • Energy is (like) a car, you have to fuel it first to use it.
  • Believe is (like) a mirror, you can only see what's in front.
  • Success is (like) coal, brown, dirty and needs a lot of hard work.
  • Family is (like) a table, is one leg shorter it tips over.
  • Recreation is (like) a deck chair, foolish, if it's folding up.
EDIT:
Thanks Roland for the hint! There is no like in metaphors!

Okay, that's enough! I really should make a little note in my current writing project to edit my text according to metaphors, analogies and comparisons!

CREATING SIMPLE METAPHORS
This is a simple technique to create simple metaphors. It's best, when you're with a partner, but it also works for one:
  • Person A thinks of plain, general term, e.g. marriage, woman, profession, love, etc.
  • Person B thinks of a concrete object, all things, that can be seen and touched, e.g. a chair, socks, a cat, etc.
  • Person B names his object, Person A formulates a spontaneous sentence to the object.
  • Combine them and you receive some 'country lore':
    Marriage - carpet - to sweep something under the carpet
    Marriage is a carpet, a lot of things get swept under.
See, very simple, but very effective and so true!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WQ-11. Most & Least Favorite Character.

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30 Days Of Writing Questions

11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

The answer to that question would have been much easier, if you'd asked about characters created by other authors! For instance in the BDB series by J.R. Ward in a flick of a second I just name Rhage (Yeah!) and Lash (Boo!). *g*

But that wasn't the question, right? *sigh*

Okay, I can only speak for myself, but I can hardly imagine, that there are authors out there, who truly hate their creatures. Sure there might be some difficulties creating them or parts of their personality, that aren't so adorable, or circumstances, that make them act badly, but truly hate ... I don't know!?!

E.g. two of the main characters in my current writing project:

Cathryn: I love her, because she has all the positive qualities I'd like to have and in a way, through her eyes I can live her adventurous life. Of course, she has also quite some flaws, some I don't have, that makes them a bit difficult to write, e.g. I'm not afraid of heights, she is! What I hate about Cathryn are the circumstances and the area, she lives in. She simply can't be that independent woman she could be today, she has to fight a lot more obstacles. Does she find a way? Does everything work out well? Does it happen at all? Or are there others, who want her to take a whole different direction? But that's exactly the point, that makes the story interesting, right?

Davis: I would consider the tendency of my own personality optimistic, positive, harmonic and insightfully. On the contrary, Davis has also very dark, dishonest, snaky and greedy side. It's a bit hard for me to let the monster within myself lose, in order to let him do all those awful things in right villain way. I have to forget my own good manners, in order to let him act believably. Like I said, it's difficult, but I don't hate him!

I'm attached to all of my characters, even if they cause me some trouble now and then. Else I wouldn't write about them!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wreck This Journal: Glue Random Items Here.

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Wreck This Journal: Glue Random Items Here.

Well, honestly I don't like to pick up things from the streets (that's what the instruction demanded), and the only things I find in my couch (alternative places to search for the items) are cats hair!

So, what won't people do for the sake of art ... I 'sacrificed' myself to eat various little bars of chocolate *yummy* in order to cover the background and make some Origami with the wrappings! ;-)

Thanks to:
Origami Club
Origami Resource Center

Left page: Crane, Moneygami Heart, Goldfish
Right page: Rabbit & Turtle, Asian Raccoon, Black Cat, Swans Parent & Child

Monday, March 28, 2011

April A-Z Challenge.

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Well, it slowly appears to me, that this year 2011 is becoming my year of the challenges. In February we had the February Journaling Challenge, hosted by Dolly and myself. A couple of days ago Carol's blogpost draw my attention to:


Some of you might remember FJC, Day-09: I Am... A-Z. I LOVE those ABC lists. They are a great for training your brain and a wonderful source for inspiration. You might imagine, that I instantly caught fire for that new Blog Challenge!

But our own challenge had taught me well. You just can't start such a challenge and hope to end it successfully without a little planning. I wanted to have at least my complete prompt list! While pondering about that, I came very fast to the conclusion to give my posts a theme: My blog is supposed to be about writing, so, the one and only logical conclusion, that my theme for the month will be Writing ABC!

Why should I rack my own brain, when some research does the trick? For 'writing ABC' I've mainly found instructions how first-graders learn to write the ABC. And 'writers ABC' gave me alphabetical lists of authors. Even 'writing lexicon' brought no useful results... I found myself quite surprised, that obviously there doesn't exist anything like a Writing ABC, or I just searched with the wrong words. Anyway, I should keep that in mind!

Instead I asked some befriend writers about their ideas - btw: Thanks a lot! My dear friend Dolly additionally made me think beyond the obvious, she wrote:
"You could pick words / phrase and write a story that centers around it. Or you decide on a longer story, and write a scene each day. First decision is what do you want to write? Fiction? Non-fiction? Short Stories? Novel? Poetry? Articles? Once you decide what you want to write, then you can choose appropriate theme."

She was right! The prompts alone aren't enough. The idea to write a serial with an alphabetical start of the daily scene was very intriguing, remember Michael Ende did that in his 'Never ending Story', but not what I'd intended to do.

So, what else? I finally ended to do it the Carrie Bradshaw way. I'm going to write a daily column. 200 words about my thoughts, believes, experiences, etc. to a special prompt. I already have my prompt list:


As you can see, my list has grown quite well over the last couple of days. I only have to chose which prompt I take. It shouldn't collide with the 30 Writing Questions, but I think, that will work out well!

I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm quite excited about it! Maybe some of you want to join in, too! One way or the other, enjoy reading the upcoming ABC posts!

P.S. If you have some ideas for the letters J, O, U, X and Y, leave me a note!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quiz: Book Meme.

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That seems to be one of those chain quizzes. I got it from Carol, who got it from Benjamin. I wonder, who's gonna continue the chain?

1. Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?
What? My dictionary agreed: What? I had to consult Carol ... thanks for answering my questions so patiently! Now I know the differences, I'm not quite sure, if there are German equivalents; maybe I shall ask the next time I'm in my favorite book store?!
I'm losing track, focus! Anyway, the answer to that question isn't so easy, it depends on which is my most urgent need: You know, my hunger for books is usually bigger than my budget, so the calculating side in me argues: You better buy 2 (or 3) cheaper (softcover) books instead of 1 hardcover! On the other side, impatience is my second name, I simply can't wait so damn long until the cheaper versions are available, so I simply HAVE TO buy at release! Just to name Harry Potter or The Twilight Saga. And when books become my favorites then I prefer the quality of hardcovers, it happened that I bought a book a second time, because I don't like shabby softcovers! Here I could name The Pillars Of The Earth or the illustrated versions of Dan Brown books. And then finally, some books are simply only available in one version, e.g. there are no German hardcover versions of The Black Dagger Brotherhood books (not yet, I'm still hoping!).
To make a long story short, you'll find colorful mixture in my book shelves.

2. Barnes & Noble or Borders?
None! It's Germany, remember? Here you can chose between Thalia, Weltbild, Club Bertelsmann or Pustet, at least those are the ones close in my area.

3. Bookmarks or dog-ear?
Dog-ears? Are you kidding? I would never mistreat my little preciousness! Bookmarks are the one and only solution!

4. Amazon or brick-and-mortar?
Depends ... I love a good quality time in my favorite bookstore, I could be there for hours, but when I want a perfect on time delivery for a new book release Amazon is the shop!

5. Alphabetize by author, by title or randomize?
By genre and within a mixture of all three.

6. Keep, throw away or sell?
I'm shocked! Even the thought of throwing a book away hurts! I keep the books I want to reread, the others I sell on eBay, give them to friends or for charity.

7. Keep dust jacket or remove it?
For reading - remove.

8. Short story or novel?
Both!

9. Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
I only know the first Lemony Snicket movie, so I might be a little biased: Definitely Harry Potter!

10. Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
To borrow Carol's words: You’re supposed to stop?

11. "It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
Again Carol took my line: How about "Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night"?

12. Buy or borrow?
Buy. Period.

13. Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations or browse?
*hmm* A mixture of all three.

14. Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Most of the time I would say: Keep your cliffhangers! But cliffhangers usually mean, that the story continues. So, with a heavy heart: Cliffhangers!

15. Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading?
I'm an owl, nighttime reading.

16. Stand alone or series?
Both; the crux of the matter the book(s) are good.

17. Favorite series?
Where shall I start? Just to name my actual favorites:
- J.R. Ward: The Black Dagger Brotherhood
- J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter
- Christian Jacq: Ramses
- Erin Hunter: Warrior Cats

18. Favorite children’s book?
An old book with German fairy tales, beautifully illustrated.

19. Favorite YA book?
Doesn't The Twilight Saga count as YA, too? If not, then the Hanni & Nanni series by Enid Blyton.

20. Favorite book of which no one else has heard of?
I don't know, maybe The Silent Miaow by Paul Gallico.

21. Favorite books read last year?
The Black Dagger Brotherhood book series by J.R. Ward.
Yeah, the Brothers rock!!!

22. Favorite books of all time?
Too many to count.

23. What are you reading right now?
Cujo by Stephen King.

24. What are you reading next?
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward, as soon as it's released. Have I already mentioned, that I'm obsessed with the Brothers?

25. Favorite book to recommend to an 11-year-old?
To a girl: Hanni & Nanni series. To a boy: No idea!

26. Favorite book to re-read?
There are quite a few. All of my favorite books I've re-read several times! Remember, I'm a book maniac! *g*

27. Do you ever smell books?
Ah, what? I don't know, what you do with your books, I READ them!

28. Do you ever read primary source documents, like letters or diaries?
From time to time. I'd say The Anne Frank Diary is a must!

Well, that's all! Hope you've enjoyed my book ride!
HAPPY READING!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday-Fill-In: 2011-12

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Friday Fill-In
  1. Why does it always take so long, when you're anticipating something so dearly?
  2. Me(Sleep + Eat + Read) is equal my perfect solitary day.
  3. My favorite breakfast includes a buffet, where I can pick up whatever I hungry for at that moment.
  4. 'Lover Mine' by J.R. Ward was the last book I read, where I can't wait for the next book in the series (Countdown has begun!).
  5. I am SO glad that spring is finally here!
  6. The breakfast buffet from No. 3 would make me feel better right now.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleep (I'm so tired!), tomorrow my plans include the same ordinary household stuff like every Saturday *sigh* and Sunday, I want to prepare some articles for the upcoming ABC-challenge!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WQ-10. Really Weird Situations.

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30 Days Of Writing Questions

10. What are some really weird situations your characters have been in?


"Something weird is going to happen, I don't mean normal weird, I mean really weird!"

Is that so? Weirdness is relative, isn't it? Meeting a green alien in a space opera wouldn't be weird, but meeting one in a historic medieval village would be a whole different thing, right?

When I think of my written stories, there's nothing really weird happening in them. Fortunately, I also keep a dream diary, and, I can tell you, what my brain produces during the night, sometimes is at least kind of weird:
  • Train crosses oceans and stops on islands.
  • Bus-shaped animals pull a ship over the meadow, escorted by a pack of wolves.
  • Being a whale discovering 'The Glorious City Of The Lost King's Children' down in the Arctic Ocean.
That should just give you an idea. Quite disappointing, isn't it? Anyway, we've all seen more weirdness in movies, haven't we?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wreck This Journal: This Page Is A Sign. What Do You Want It To Say?

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Wreck This Journal: This Page Is A Sign. What Do You Want It To Say?

Well, for this page I used my most favorite quote, which is also my personal motto:

Destiny determined the time,
coincidence determined the place,
and I was at the right place on the right time.

Some of you, who'd followed my way through the 'February Journaling Challenge', already know that page. I've used it as inspiration for Day-25: Quote.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Writing Exercise 13: Retarding Moment For More Tension.

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It's been a while since I've done my last exercise. Well, you have to be inspired to write something and I ... simply wasn't! *sigh* Anyway, I guess, now I think I've found at least some sparkle for that new task!


THE CHALLENGE
Making a story more exciting can be very challenging. Maybe you have to completely rewrite the story to get something like an arc of suspense. When do you consider something 'exciting'? Well, maybe we should have a look on something boring and try to find something to make it a little more spicy.
Jeff Miller, a book keeper, uses his lunch break to go to the archive in order to pick up some documents, that were needed for the chartered accountant.
That's boring for different reasons:
  • Who's Jeff Miller and why should it be interesting how he spends his lunch break?
  • Isn't there anything more boring than going to the archive with dusted documents, where nothing is going to happen?
  • When you continue that little scene, then probably Jeff will find the document, come back to his office and make the CA happy.
So, the major question is: Why is it maybe not so boring to go to the archive? Will Jeff find the document or maybe destroy it? Maybe there is another thing happening, something dangerous, that the reader knows, but not our poor Jeff? It doesn't have to be a bomb.
  • Why should the reader be interested in Jeff?
  • What makes Jeff likeable?
  • Which problems does Jeff have?
  • What's at stake?
  • How could you make it, that running away is NOT an option?
The task is, find a way to make Jeff's story more interesting, find that retarding moment, procrastinate the tension and stop the story before the climax. Try different versions. The whole story should have the length of about one page. If your story's longer, shorten it, until you only have the exciting essence.
If you want to have some more scenes, try these:
  • A female mail carrier rings on a woman's door to deliver a parcel.
  • A male reporter sits on a harbor in China and watches a sack of rice turning over.
  • A German Shepherd turns around and runs back to his person, because she called him.
  • A single raindrop sets free from a cloud and falls onto a market.
  • Thirty students sit in an auditorium and have to endure a lecture about political economics.
INTERLUDE
OMG, you can call that task my personal nightmare! From the very start I knew, that I won't write about Jeff. Instead I began with something familiar, the students. The plot I created was rather unimaginative, some other students are planning a massacre. I stopped that topic, when the news brought exactly another sad real event. Then I considered it more challenging to write about that raindrop, but it made me want to tear my hair out, I couldn't find an idea. I'm not a dog's person, but with Stephen King's Cujo in mind I gave that one a try! In the end I think, it would have been better when I've written the Retarding Moment about my journey to the story!?

MY OUTCOME
»Go, Bentley! Here, down, down, across ... go, go, go, speed my boy!«
Sara's blond curls bounced rhythmically with her movements, while she escorted Bentley through the course. Her voice sounded bright and not a bit breathless over the green to the viewers, who'd came on that sunny afternoon in the park, too.
Sara and her purebred German shepherd were no strangers, for four years now they came almost every Saturday to the dog's training court. They were a well trained winning team
»Good boy!« Bentley has reached the end of the obstacle course in the meantime. »Very well done!«
Bentley too, was pleased about finishing the course so well, because actually he was a bit absent minded. Something was different today, but he simply wasn't able to say what. The other humans behaved like usual and his person patted him wild and enthusiastically, just like usual. But they were only humans and humans don't have such fine senses like dogs. Bentley realized, that also the other animals in the park weren't so relaxed. Something strange was in the air, literally. The wind had turned, unusual for that time of the year and that time of the day. None of the biped seemed to have recognized that change.
»Come Bentley! Enough practiced for today. Let's go to the lake for a while, for sure you're thirsty. What do you think?« Joyfully Bentley jumped on Sara's side. It was really like every other Saturday. First one hour running, his human called it her fitness training, Bentley considered it on the leash quite boring. Then one hour on the dog's training court. Jumping, hopping, catching something, slalom running. Bentley liked that. Und afterwards the obligatory way to the lake. There, Bentley knew, as long as he was in view, he was allowed to romp around freely and finally he also received a delicious reward. So, everything like usual, actually.
Arrived on the lake, Sara let herself fall to the grass and Bentley off the leash. If she had taken her training today a little too serious, she felt a little dizzy. Maybe she should have drank a little more. Her water bottle was almost full. That was it. Once she filled up her fluid balance, then for sure she would feel better. Definitively!
Sara drank her water in slow and equable gulps, while she watched Bentley, who inspected the fern on the waterside. Despite the fact that her bottle got slowly emptier, it felt more and more heavy in Sara's hands.
Despite the fact that Bentley was pretending to inspect the fern on the waterside, his whole attention was drawn to something else. The change in the park became slowly, but more certainly tangible for him. His senses were exceedingly sharpened. He reckoned to taste a strange vibrate in the air. It was kind of bitter. He raised his nose in the air for a better sniff. He looked around. Also the other two dogs, in a few meters distance to him, have seemed to realize something. Just like him their snouts remained in the air.
»Bentley!« That was the voice of his human, only that he's never heard it like that, so weak and helpless. While Bentley run back as fast as he could to his human, he realized on his peripheral vision, that all biped in the park sank slowly to the ground.

---
Well, I know, that's not a masterpiece. But done, finally!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday-Fill-In: 2011-11

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Friday Fill-In
  1. I love to go to my favorite bookstore, because I love the peaceful atmosphere, the smell fresh coffee and the feeling of a new book in my hands... I can be there for hours.
  2. Don't think about how less or little you can do for your planet, please just do it, the only thing really matters it's the quality!
  3. The last thing I had to eat was a wonderful tasty piece of chocolate.
  4. Energy produced by nuclear power plants is no longer essential.
  5. Please take a moment to think over what you can do for environmental protection!
  6. With our eyes on Japan, our previous behavior have brought you us this far.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to nothing but finishing my actual book, tomorrow my plans include some shopping and Sunday, I want to think about my themes for the upcoming 'ABC Challenge'!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WQ-09. Creating Characters.

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30 Days Of Writing Questions

09. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

I haven't created so many characters yet, so it's hard to say if there's any method in doing what I do. But as far as I can define, here are my steps:
  • The story. I've heard from some other authors, where the character(s) came first into their mind and then they developed a plot around him/her/them. Until now I haven't experienced that.
A storyline or plot idea was always the initial sparkle, that got my writing started. At the very beginning I have no idea about my main character, so I start with very little information.
  • The name. When you freshly met someone, you introduce yourself. It's easier to get in touch with the new person, when you know the name, isn't it?
  • The basics. Something like age, sex, nationality.
  • The look. The visual person I am I need an image, but the look can change during the writing process, when I feel that the new styling suits better to the character.
Parallel to the story, that enfolds in front of my eyes, the characters reveal themselves, like Cathryn O'Connell, my current heroine.
  • The background. When her father and her godfather made their first appearance, I added a part of Cathryn's family tree. Names, ages and occupations of her parents, how they met and how their past (could) influence her (future) behavior. The same with her godfather.
  • The qualities. I already know more of her strengths, her flaws and her fears than the reader does. In one case I've already mentioned one fear on the edge. I know, I need that information later on for an important key scene.
So, I don't have a finished character, she develops more and more with every new scene.

Like described in WQ-06: Writing Habits, I write my novels on the computer, but I use extra sheets of paper, where I capture the different information about my main character(s). It's a big mixture of tabular information, mind maps and scribbled notes on post-its. That's a my help avoiding goofs, e.g. Cathryn first was a blonde, when I wrote about the look of her parents, she had to became a brunette. Then I knew, what and that I had to change something.

I wonder ... doing FIRST all those techniques and questionnaires with the result of a fully developed character and THEN ask yourself: Here we have you, which are the adventures you're suitable for? ... is that really logical and/or possible?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wreck This Journal: Write Or Draw With Your Left Hand.

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Wreck This Journal: Write Or Draw With Your Left Hand.

With the original before my very eyes, quick and easy: Some uncontrolled dabbing and wild strokes ... and voila, in about 20 minutes you have a Monet-ish left-hand drawing!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thank You Ladies.

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Thank You Ladies.

This page is dedicated to three lovely ladies. Their wonderful birthday gifts inspired me to make that page:
  • Sandra: Wrapping paper for the background, the heart-with-tulip-template and a sticker.
  • Stefanie: One of the short stories out of the book 'Vitamine für die Seele' (Vitamins For The Soul) by Norbert Lechleitner.
  • Vivian: 3D-Card, stamps, paper and fishes from the 'Ang Pows'.
Thanks a lot. I love you all!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

WQ-08. Favorite Genre.

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30 Days Of Writing Questions

08. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

"You write what you read."
I can't remember where I've read that sentence, but I would say in my case it suits very well...

CATS
I'll start with that, because the first story I remember writing was about a cat prince.
Every kid likes fairy tales, myself included, so of course I liked Puss In Boots a lot. Years later I was very impressed by a criminal story called Felidae by Akif Pirincci. There was a time, when I looked on eBay only for cat novels, one special highlight was The Silent Miaow by Paul Gallico. My latest serendipity was Warrior Cats, a wonderful book series by Erin Hunter.
As you can see, my whole life cats followed my way. Not only in form of books by other authors, but also by live experiences. My own purring room mates Sheela and Amira inspire me now and then to write short stories about cats.

STRONG WOMEN
The main character of my current writing project is a young woman. Cathryn's story takes place round 1920 and her actions are not always considered as 'appropriate behavior'.
In that point Cathryn's similar to the heroines of the German author Iny Lorentz. Her books aren't available in English (not yet), anyway Die Goldhaendlerin (The Gold Merchant), und Die Wanderhure (The Wandering Whore) belong to my favorite books. It's very easy to identify with them and also very entertaining, when they have to disguise as a man, because it's the only way to face the obstacles. Not forgetting to mention, that they fall in love.
Those wonderful attributes make a book worth reading, and I wish the same for my own book.

JOURNEYS & ADVENTURES
I'd like to reuse my words from Meet A Journal Keeper: I am a 'Special Event Journaler' and journeys offer a wonderful opportunity for writing down memorable little adventures.
If you can't travel (for whatever reason), the next best are documentaries and books. I have quite a few pictorials and travel guides in my little private library. On the picture you can see my section for my three most favorite countries: Egypt, USA and India.
My Top 20 favorite books include narrations about people going on a journey. Just to name a few, there are I'm Off Then: My Journey Along the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling, The Physician by Noah Gordon and of course, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm also very fond of (historic) adventures, like The Ramses Series by Christian Jacq or The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
All those wonderful stories are books with hundreds or even thousand of pages. I know, I'm far, far away from writing something monumental like that, but these authors and their books are my role models. At the moment I'm trying at least to send my heroine on a journey and experience some adventures. I would say, that's a fine start.

MYSTERY & HORROR
Yes, I have to admit it, I've jumped on the vampire band wagon, but I in the end I got stuck to only two book series: The romantic part is satisfied by The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer and the strong alpha male, sexy warrior part with The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. I also count several books by Stephen King to my favorites, e.g. The Stand.
Having a closer look to my own writing, I like to have a little mysterious, supernatural touch there, too. Something that couldn't be explained by some laws of nature. Okay, I already had to kill one of my supporting characters, but that was the biggest close to horror I've written ... until now!

All right, this post got longer than expected. Well, that's the problem, when you're a passionate reader, you have much to many good books. Or better said, you have much to many good books you as future author can relate to. Why not learn from the best?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday-Fill-In: 2011-10

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Friday Fill-In
  1. Oh gross! I thought it was a still drinkable milk.
  2. Becoming a famous hotelier or diplomat, well THAT's off my bucket list!
  3. No, thanks, I don't want to have the winter back.
  4. Books, sunshine, chocolate and some sleep are my very personal day off heart and soul.
  5. And then I woke up and had to realize that those wonderful pictures were just a dream.
  6. I can't forget the amazing feeling the first time I've ridden a heavy motor bike!
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finish my current book, tomorrow my plans include ...I know it's boring to repeat myself, but that's always my Saturday's duty ... my plans include doing my housework and Sunday, I want to meet a good, old friend, have a cup of coffee and a nice chat about good, old times!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

1st Anniversary. 7 Links Challenge.

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As you might have discovered, my little blog here just got a new outfit. When I searched last year for a suitable template, it was really difficult to find the right one, because it should be simple and elegant at the same time. And now it was perfectly at the right place, on the right time!
It's not perfect yet, but I work on it. I know some basic HTML, so I could already change some things. And for the others I asked for some advice. Or maybe anyone of you could help me?!?

One reason for a new design was the Stylish Blogger Award, given to me on Sunday. Well, maybe you might call my blog posts and artwork stylish, that I would consider really flattering, but there is no way to call my blog stylish according to the look!

Second reason, my first blog post went online on 6th March 2010. So, you could call the new design the birthday present for my blog!


ALL THE BEST TO THE 1st BLOG ANNIVERSARY!

Well, for this date I want to repeat the 7 Links Challenge, done for the first time in August-2010.

1. Your first post
What am I here for? went online March 2010.

2a. A post you enjoyed writing the most
My Writing Journey

2b. Art you enjoyed creating
In the February Journaling Challenge: Mystique and Past

3. A post which generated a great discussion
There's a tie between:
WTJ: Sample Various Substances Found In Your Home.
WTJ: Place Sticky Things Here.

4. A post on someone else's blog that you wish you'd written
For a couple of weeks now I'm a new fan of serial novels, my two heroines are the wonderful inspiring and addictively writers Carol (Serial Novel: Fire) and Jamie (Serial Novel: The Biker's Wench).

5. A post piece of art with a title you're proud of
WTJ: Doodling On An Envelope.

6. A post that you wish more people had read
As my blog is quite young, I wished in general to have more followers, who read and hopefully comment on my posts!!!
I was wondering, why there weren't any comments on the 1-Minute-Writer-posts? You know, with every answer on the daily prompt I give a little of my heart and soul and beliefs ... so, it's a bit sad for me, that there's almost no reaction on it. That for I'm thinking of quitting to post the weekly results, instead I'll post only a daily/weekly win!

7. Your most visited post ever
Writing Exercise 06: Developing Characters
Note to myself: Continue with the Writing Exercises!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Wreck This Journal: Make A Funnel. Drink Some Water.

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Wreck This Journal: Make A Funnel.

Well, I don't know what to say about this page, therefore only some words about the material:
  • I used the sponge-dabbing-technique for the back-ground and outlined the bricks with thick gray color.
  • Left page: The lion gargoyle is a picture, printed on thick paper, cut out and glued in with some separators. The water is made of raffia (bast).
  • Right page: Again some raffia (bast) and a little ivy twig. It's hard to recognize on the picture, but I covered the funnel with marble structured paper.
That's it! All together: Very 3D-like! :-)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

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Some drum rolls please: I've been given my first award!



Here's what you gotta do:
  1. Thanks and link back to the blogger who passed this award onto you.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Award other recently discovered great bloggers.
  4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.
7 things about myself:
  1. I came late to my very first date in life. Instead on the predicted day I waited until my mother went to a hair dresser, which I obviously didn't like back then and I showed my protest by telling her now it's time that I want to see the light of the world.
  2. My personal nightmare meal would include liver, Brussels sprouts, coconut and pineapple.
  3. I'm a huge fan of ventriloquist's dummies! When I saw 'Achmed, the dead terrorist' the first time, I doubled up laughing.
  4. For 9 years now I'm the dediCATed companion, can opener, fellow, slave of my two cats.
  5. No. 1 on my 'What I want to do in my life'-list is to go backpacking to India for at least three months.
  6. I'm addicted to chocolate and books, at the moment I'm counting the days for the next Black Dagger Brotherhood book 'Lover Unleashed' to be released.
  7. I'm a fish in three ways: My zodiac is Pisces, I love the ocean and I love to eat any kind of fish. (Oh, and I like 'Finding Nemo' a lot! *g*)
People I am passing on the award to:
  1. Carol at Random Thoughts
  2. Bonnie Rose at A Life Unrehearsed
  3. C. Beth at The One-Minute Writer

Sunday, March 06, 2011

FJC, Epilogue.

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Can you believe that February is already over? I can't! It seems like only yesterday, that Dolly and I had talked the first time about the challenge ... and now it's over! Time has passed so fast.

You know, I'm a very visual person. Quite from the beginning I wanted to have something graphical in every challenge post. Finally I came up with the idea to give every prompt a little visual touch. I love fonts. I'm obsessed with fonts. I have A LOT of fonts installed on my computer. So, my first task after Dolly and I had selected our prompts, was to dress the words. Oh, I like that imagination, because it's quite close to reality. On the plain written word I'd tried several fonts until I found that one, that looked and somehow felt right.

What I hadn't known back then, that these little images would influence my artwork of the next 28 days. Sometimes you can be really blind according to your own work, because even in the first couple of days I hadn't realized anything. For sure for the moment unconsciously, but later on very consciously I orientated the design of my pages on the prompt's images. It's funny, how you sometimes just want to have something nice for your blogpost, but then it occurs to become one of your major inspirations!

Obviously I was not the only one, who liked the images, because several times during the challenge, I was asked for the name of the font. So, to give all those wonderful people hopefully a little inspiration like I had, you can download all 28 fonts plus the 3 I used for the cover: FJC-UsedFonts Have fun!

One of my own set conditions for the challenge was, that I'd like to test my potential for art journaling. Well, I think, I'm on my way. When I flip through my pages and rate them under that point, I would say, most of the pages are just nicely illustrated pages or have just a whiff of art journaling. As real art journal pages I would count:
As you might know, half of the prompts were selected by my challenge partner Dolly and the other half was from me. It's kind of funny to admit that the most trouble gave me some of my own prompts! Like Divinity or Mystique. Even now I consider both as wonderful words, but I still I can't express with words, what they really mean to me. I don't know, what had happened when I hadn't know the prompts in advance. I guess, I would have had quite some more troubles to keep on schedule and really deliver a page per day. So, all my respect to everyone, who'd seen the prompt of the day and truly made something out of it within a day!

What I also appreciated, that our only rule was to make something, without any limitation. Sometimes I had lots to say and write and I had to limit myself to those two pages. And sometimes I couldn't express myself with words, so I was glad to do some art journaling or scrap booking (what I used for Past). It was so much fun to use different disciplines!

Well, and now ... it's a bit strange, not to prepare the post for the next day, not to think over the next prompt, not to upload my result of the day on time. Somehow I miss that! But honestly, I'm also happy that's over, because it truly takes quite some time every day to think over it and finally make something. Sure, it was an interesting experience and I would do it again. But I guess, I'm more the type of person, who doesn't want to have pressure when doing art. It should always be fun! You should feel the need to write, draw, paint, collage, etc., because you want it, not because it needs to be done. It should only come from within your heart and soul!

With this thought I close my February Journaling Challenge. Thank you all for participating!

Keep journaling, writing, drawing, whatever you like.
Lots of love.


Karin

Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday-Fill-In: 2011-09

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Friday Fill-In
  1. Bring your favorite music to the party.
  2. Drinks and snacks are included.
  3. A lot of good mood is exactly what we need.
  4. Well, you see, we gonna have lots of fun!
  5. Sunday is soon!
  6. But what if ... ah, ah, no 'what if' allowed!
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to continue with LotR, tomorrow my plans include *sigh* some boring housework and Sunday, I want to have just a good time with my friends celebrating my birthday!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

WQ-07. Writing Soundtrack.

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30 Days Of Writing Questions

07. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

I remember my teenage days, laying on the ground not only surrounded by books, pens and paper, but also by deafening loud music. I needed the music, without I simply couldn't concentrate on doing my homework.

Some habits stay. It's hard to imagine myself leaving the house without my MP3-Player, music is with me just like my keys or my wallet. Some habits change ... well, partly. My neighbors do always know, when poor Karin plays the desperate cleaning, scrubbing, washing housewife. As soon as it comes to creative headwork I tune down deafening loud music to a more moderate background level.

But when I write I consider even music as disturbing. I prefer the silence ... it's hard enough to listen to all those voices in my head. Or that one voice. While editing the first few chapters of my 'Voodoo Island' I've registered that effect the clearest; there were two voices telling the story. There were parts, where I can hear myself and there were parts, where I can exactly hear my heroine's voice. So, I'm still working to listen exclusively to my heroine's voice, I don't need any other audible distractions.

Besides that, what works for movies can also work for books. Why not link music to a certain character or situation or mood? For sure, it's one possibility to help an author to get into writing much better than without. Like obviously Stephenie Meyer does. On her website you can find for each of her books a tracklist. I really consider that method really intriguing. Especially, when you know, that some of Stephenie's songs had found their way onto the movie soundtracks.

Well, when my heroine's voice is clear enough for me, then maybe I'll give that a try, too! Until then, silence please!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Wreck This Journal: Write Carelessly. Now.

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Wreck This Journal: Write Carelessly. Now.

The German instruction "Schreib einfach drauf los. Jetzt." translated would be "Simply start writing. Now." It's a bit different from the original one, isn't it?

From the moment on I was asked if I would like to write something about WTJ I knew, that this article suits perfectly on that page. My guest post was published 16. September 2010 on the German WTJ-page. It's written in German, but I decided to publish the English version of that little fairy tale (in the picture, the handwritten part) on my blog: The Story Of The Ugly Little Book.

The design for the article in the book is dedicated to "The Daily Prophet" from Harry Potter! I can tell you, I used more coffee to age the pages than on my real "Coffee-Page"!