Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wreck This Journal: Scrub This Page.

Wreck This Journal: Scrub This Page.

'Scrub here!' Right! Sure, as if a plain eraser would do the job!!!
I guess, like everybody else who's done that that page I had to bring the big guns in, in that case I used sandpaper to scrub all the parts away I wanted ... add some lines and draw the left page and voila: sun and moon!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Does What We Write Limit Our Vocabulary?

I'm currently editing a friend's novel. My focus lies on the story, because as foreign speaker - the story is written in English - I can hardly argue anything on the grammar and vocabulary front. But then in chapter 2 a single, little word has caught my eye and interest:

"He made the mistake of looking into her eyes. They were large in her elfin face, pale blue with a thick fringe of lashes, full of emotion that he was unable to keep himself distant from."

Elfin - a lovely word in a wonderful sentence in a fantastic story!

Only that this story is located in space. There are different species on various planets, there are space ships and laser weapons ... and I simply wondered: 'Are elfs known in this world?' I had a feeling like Captain Jean Luc Picard (from the U.S.S. Enterprise/Star Trek) would come to Hobbiton and share some smoke with Gandalf and Bilbo! Very weird!

What I'm talking about: Does What We Write Limit Our Vocabulary?

How far can I go with the words I use to describe things, people and places? Similar thought in contemporary writing: Comparisons with movies, music tracks, singers, living or dead VIPs, etc. Do I run danger to lose my readers because they might have no glue what I'm talking about?

Well, I should keep an eye on that question while editing!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WQ-28. Characters With Disabilities.


30 Days Of Writing Questions

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

One of my good habits (or maybe disabilities) is to focus only on the current question. So, last week in WQ-27 I was a little too eager with my answer.

I've already told you about J.J.! A dear, wonderful boy, just 17 years old. A giant in his look, but a little puppy in his mind. He's like that from birth on. I wouldn't call it a mental disability, he's only a little slow in thinking.

Besides J.J. all my other characters in that particular story are normal ... or what we consider normal. But of course, they all aren't perfect. Everyone has flaws and fears and daemons to fight with. If everything was just too perfect the story would become quite boring!

Oh, and this is very new! Just a couple of days old:
I'm working on the basic design of a new story, the places, the characters, the string of thought. And for this story I'd already included a few characters with mental as well as physical disabilities. As for this moment I don't want to tell you more, you'll meet them very soon. They all will show up in my upcoming weekly serial novel! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wreck This Journal: Cover This Page. Using Only Office Supplies.

Wreck This Journal: Cover This Page. Using Only Office Supplies.

The background is a collage of different office papers, like address sheets and post-its. I guess, I overdid it a bit with the ink, the ink pad was a little too well filled. And then on top a various collection of office supplies ... just like the instruction demanded.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WQ-27. Appearances In Your Story.


30 Days Of Writing Questions

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

Once again I become aware that I'm just a foreign speaker. I'm not quite sure, if I'd understood that question correct. After checking Carol's answer I think I got it.

First, for my understanding, creating the appearance is a part of designing a character. And second, we'd already talked about Creating Characters in WQ-09. So, let's now talk about the look:

Of course, the look is important. How else should Hollywood know, who to cast! Although, sometimes I wonder, if they really had read the same book?!

Let's be serious!

The good thing when you write short stories about cats, everybody knows, how a cat looks like. Most of the time it's enough to write about the little baby tiger kitten or the black cat with green eyes. Sometimes it helps to describe the shiny, soft golden fur or the long, sharp claws or the long, sensitive whiskers. Just the information you need for a particular scene.

When I think on my human actors in my writings the grade of descriptions depends on his/her importance.

Let's take J.J.: He plays just minor role and has one big scene. I described him as 2m (6,5 feet) tall, 17 years old boy. I didn't write more about his look, nothing about his eyes or hair or anything else. It was better and far enough to describe him as this huge giant with the mind of a kid, to compare him to a young puppy who tries to find his way in this big world. I dare to say, everybody can imagine the type of person he represents.

So differently with Cathryn O'Connell, my main character: I have a very clear image of her in my head and I want my readers to have the same - or at least a similar one. And it's not only her look, it's also her mimic and her gestures. Sometimes these little details give her character more depth and support her nature.

But we all know 'Looks isn't everything'. What do I care about the look, when the story sucks?! I'm right, am I?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wreck This Journal: Tongue Painting.

Wreck This Journal: Tongue Painting.

With heart and soul, or maybe I should better say, with tongue and stomach, I'm a chocoholic! So, my first try following these instructions was quite a little failure ... what the hell do I know about other sweets?!? Well, I'd thought, lollipops would do the job, but those 'Chupa Chups' simply were colorless!!!

I had a plan C (using fruits like blueberries), instead I returned to plan A then and back to sweets I know, which brought me to 'M&Ms'! And as you can see, they finally made the trick!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thoughts About Editing And English Grammar.

Recently I wrote a story for Rattles Flash Fiction. Like the title says only a short story. As English is not my mother tongue I really needed some help with editing.

To my surprise there weren't so many problems with words and vocabulary, but my poor beta reader Carol had other bigger issues to deal with:

When my story was done I had the required 800-1000 words, but only two paragraphs, well three if you count the sentence to lead from first part of the story over to the second.

Honestly, I've never given much thought about the importance of text formatting. But in the end my story was about a third longer, not because of more words, but more paragraphs ... and I tell you, the effect was amazing!

Not to mention that the story was easier to read with some air to breathe between the lines, but it also gave the whole story or maybe better said some particular scenes more significance!

A part of me thinks that I really have to learn quite a lot more about editing. Another, lazier part, argues with 'Is that really an author's job? What are editors for?' Anyway, for now I better leave it at that.

No German Rules for English Grammar
On the grammar front my poor beta reader revealed my favor for commas. Very obviously I transfer the German punctuation rules to English with the effect that I have much too many commas! A random example (not from the story):

Jack sagt,dass Jill die Frau ist,die er liebt.
Jack says(that) Jill is the woman(who) he loves.

Correct me if I'm wrong, no commas in both cases and the English sentence is even more simple in its construction!

Frankly speaking, when reading English books I've never paid much attention to punctuation. But this new cognition awoke the need to deal more with English grammar. So, I don't know after how many years dusting in my bookshelf I took my English Grammar In Use.

Unfortunately there were no explicit rules for punctuation, but 136 units that concentrate on a particular point of grammar. Somehow a boring and tedious imagination to study one unit after the other. Fortunately there's a study guide helping you decide which units you need to study. There were sentences to be completed using one or more given alternatives.

Okay, the book is for intermediate students, but first good experience was that I didn't need the dictionary for missing vocabulary, not a single time! Yeah!

After checking my answers the study guide suggested 27 units. No surprise that I really need some exercise with Prepositions, I know I'm weak here. My other big gaps were with Present Perfect & past and -ing & the infinitive. The other chapters included just minor problems.

Well, that's not too bad. I mean 27 out of 136 units, that's what ... *calculating* ... 19,85%. Quite acceptable for a foreign speaker. Or should I expect more from myself, considering that I deal with English for more than 20 years? When I see it that way, it sounds rather bad. What do you think?

WQ-26. Character Art.


30 Days Of Writing Questions

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

Frankly speaking, I never came up with the idea to draw my characters - for the simple reason, that my drawing skills, when it comes to people, are just pitiful.

Every passionate reader knows the disappointing experience when a movie is made of a book and you imagined your beloved characters differently. So, I leave it up to my (and my readers) imagination how the characters should look like.

The only thing I illustrate once in a while are chapters of my dream diary:

Out Of A Dream 1

Out Of A Dream 2

They are not particular main characters, but I also love to draw cats:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wreck This Journal: Fill In This Page When You Are Really Angry.

Wreck This Journal: Fill In This Page When You Are Really Angry.

Well, I used quite a few techniques, that WTJ had already taught me:
- Crumple.
- Scribble wildly.
- Drip water and smear the lines.
- Burn.
- Poke holes.
- Tear stripes.
- Drip some ink.
- Cut through.
- Write one word.

P.S. I had to give that special treatment to a separate piece of paper, because the WTJ pages before and after were already well used! And, well ... it was a very controlled anger! My first attemps in destroying a sheet of paper that way were a total disaster - nothing left but a handful shredded confetti! *lol*
P.P.S. 'Rhage' is NOT misspelled, it's absolutely correct and by purpose! *g*

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge

'In the case of good books,
the point is not how many
of them you can get through,
but rather how many can
get through to you.'
Mortimer Adler

My 2011 Reading Challenge was successful, maybe a little too successful. I literally got lost between all the pages and almost forgot my other spare time activities. This year should be a little different, more balanced.

Like last year I head for 52 book. Plus I want to borrow another of Dolly's wonderful ideas (who got it from Shelleyrae). The goal is to read at least one book in the 12 following genres:
  1. Literary Fiction
  2. Crime/Mystery Fiction
  3. Romantic Fiction
  4. Historical Fiction
  5. Young Adult
  6. Fantasy
  7. Science Fiction
  8. Non Fiction
  9. Horror
  10. Thriller / Suspense
  11. Classic
  12. Your favourite genre
Let's see, how I get along:

  1. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. Anne Frank's Diary - Anne Frank
  3. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  4. The Pillars Of The Earth - Ken Follett
  5. Das Glueck Ist Mollig - Verena C. Harkensen
  6. Felidae - Akif Pirincci
  7. Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
  8. Die Goldhaendlerin - Iny Lorentz
  9. The Silent Miaow - Paul Gallico
  10. East Of The Sun - Barbara Bickmore
  11. The Back Of Beyond - Barbara Bickmore
  12. The White Masai - Corinne Hofmann
  13. Back From Africa - Corinne Hofmann
  14. Reunion In Barsaloi - Corinne Hofmann
  15. Desert Flower - Waris Dirie
  16. Der Trotzkopf - Emmy von Rhoden
  17. Die Wanderhure - Iny Lorentz
  18. The Cupper Sign - Katia Fox
  19. The Silver Falcon - Katia Fox
  20. The Golden Throne - Katia Fox
  21. Mara Und Der Feuerbringer - Tommy Krappweis
  22. Ulldart: Schatten Ueber Ulldart - Markus Heitz
  23. Ulldart: Der Orden Der Schwerter - Markus Heitz
  24. Ulldart: Das Zeichen Des Dunklen Gottes - Markus Heitz
  25. Ulldart: Unter Den Augen Tzulans - Markus Heitz
  26. Ulldart: Die Magie Des Herrscher - Markus Heitz
  27. Ulldart: Die Quellen Des Boesen - Markus Heitz
  28. Mary - Ella Kensington
  29. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling
  30. Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
  31. Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
  32. Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire - J.K. Rowling
  33. Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
  34. Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
  35. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
  36. Dead Poets Society - N.H. Kleinbaum
  37. King Khan - Deepa Gahlot
  38. Gerald's Game - Stephen King
  39. Needful Things - Stephen King
  40. Next - Michael Crichton
  41. I'm Off Then: My Journey Along The Camino De Santiago - Hape Kerkeling
  42. Deception Point - Dan Brown
  43. Under The Dome - Stephen King
  44. The Shawshank Rdemption - Stephen King
  45. Lover Unleashed - J.R. Ward
  46. Lover Reborn - J.R. Ward
  47. Pope Joan - Donna W. Cross
  48. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  49. Sword Song - Bernard Cornwell
  50. Legend Of The Celtic Stone - Michael Phillips
  51. Die Wunderheilerin - Ines Thorn
  52. The Street Lawyer - John Grisham
  53. The Fall - Guillermo Del Toro
  54. Sovereigen - Christopher Sansom
  55. Saeulen Der Ewigkeit - Tanja Kinkel
  56. Arzee The Dwarf - Chandrahas Choudhury
  57. A Game Of Thrones, Part 1 - George R.R. Martin
  58. The Feather And The Stone - Patricia Shaw
  59. The Concubine's Daughter - Pai Kit Fai
  60. Warriors, The New Prophecy, Midnight - Erin Hunter
  61. ...to be continued!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Goodbye 2011. Welcome 2012.


"Same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?"
"Same procedure as every year, James!"

Everybody in Germany knows those famous lines. There's no New Year's Eve without Dinner For One. It's tradition.

It also seems to become tradition to start into the new year with the same blog post. Let's see, how good (or bad) I got along with my 2011 New Year's Resolutions. And let's talk about 2012.

According to my blog archive I've done 174 posts. Calculating on the average, that's 3 posts a week - better than 2010. But I have to be aware of the fact, that I've done a few challenges helping on that count.

Anyway, 3 posts a week sound good. I'm going to keep the daily themes - they proved themselves. I'm also thinking on a weekly serial novel (Carol's are very inspiring! *g*).

No question about that: I repeat the Reading Challenge. Read more about that in the upcoming blogpost!

Out of 97 instructions in Wreck This Journal are currently only 10 left to do. Here on my blog I've posted until now 74 pages. So, you can still enjoy my artwork for quite a while.

As for my case, after finishing WTJ I have to think of a new art project! Any ideas?

What do we have this far?
Blog - Good!
Reading - Excellent!
Art Journaling - Good!
Writing - ???

One of my 2011 plans was to finish my novel. *sigh* I totally sucked on that point. But there are some good news. When I was editing a friends (serial) novel, I got inspired for my own work. I had a couple of good ideas, which were instantly inserted as comments in my word document. As for my plan, less reading, more writing, plus that additional inspiration, I hope for a better outcome this year!

Besides my failure in novel writing, I did quite good with my dream diary. I filled a complete book, a wonderful inspiration for some more adventurous stories!

To end with another Dinner for One quote: I'll do my very best!
Keep writing, reading, being creative.

xoxo Karin