Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Quest of Dai: The Malo - BOOK TRAILER

Yep, that's right, everyone!

"The Quest of Dai: The Malo" is FINALLY COMPLETE! It's headed to the publisher first thing Monday morning (because I'm a control freak and can't let anything go without one last read-through).

But, in the meantime, I present to you...

"The Quest of Dai: The Malo" - the book trailer.

Let me know what you think!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What I Miss About Bookstores

I don't remember when it was exactly that I stopped buying books in bookstores.

I'd like to say it was the invention of Amazon, but I think it was prior to that. I think Amazon was just my golden ticket out of my non-reading phase.

No, I think it was around the time I hit 18, and still looked around 12,  but was conscientious enough to know that I was older than all the other girls in the "Young Adult" section of Barnes and Noble. Of course, at 18-looking-12, I was probably still well-within the demographic, but I couldn't bring myself to go into the section anymore.

For a while I tried reading more "adult" literature, but I found it way too full of graphic sex and a lot of drivel about adult situations (kids, marriage, how hard life is) that I couldn't get into the books.

So then I quit reading.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

When I re-read my pieces during that time period, I can see just how much my writing suffered because of it. I stopped expanding my mind, and therefore, the words that I had used up until then were the same words I continuously used. I no longer had an extended vocabulary. I was limited by what I knew previously, and pretty soon, my writing had regressed to a state of sheer embarrassment.

And worse yet--I missed reading.

With the invention of Amazon, I could buy all the YA titles I wanted--and no one would ever look at me funny. I could spend hours scanning titles and searching for books and making lists about the ones I wanted, and pretty soon, they were all mine with nary a funny look in sight!

But I forgot one thing.

I forgot how important it was to be able to read the first few pages. How much you needed to be able to open up that book and look at the dialogue and hold it in your hand. How important it is for that book to be a tangible thing.

Now, mind you, I still buy all of my books on Amazon. I still read YA novels. I still steadfastly avoid the YA section (not just because of the funny looks anymore, but because most of the books I was seeing for a long time were all realistic fiction about who's stabbing who in the back, and prom, and blah-blah-blah, which is SO not my thing).

But I do miss browsing title-by-title in B&N, looking at each book, reading the back of every one on the shelf, and begging my mom to buy me the armload I carried over to her.

Ahhh... Memories...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Video Killed the... Book Star?

I love picturing who my characters are going to be played by.

It's a guilty pleasure, but I love it. I don't quite know when it started, really. When I first started writing I pictured it all as a giant anime. And then it slowly evolved into real people.

Now I love when I'm watching TV and I think, "OMG! That person would make a perfect [insert character name here]!" Then I turn to my husband and gush for a few minutes, demanding his opinion.

But you know what's strange? I never do that with other books. Only with mine. Only with Dai, actually... I've never done it with any of the other stories I've written. Maybe if I got as involved with them as I did with Dai, I would start to do it, too. (Maybe once you hit a point where you can recite the manuscript, you start to look for other creative ways to express yourself and your characters?)

So I wonder... Does anyone else picture people from their favorite books? Is this a common thing? Do you picture people from your stories as real-life people?

Monday, May 3, 2010

I Had a Dream Last Night...

I tend to dream of my cousins rather frequently.

It's rather odd, actually. I don't know why I do it. But I do. There are five of us, all in succession. My sister is the eldest, followed closely (in the same grade) as my sister. Then the next year down is my cousin, then the next year down is me, then the next year down is my younger cousin.

Last night I dreamed my husband and I went to my uncle and aunt's house for dinner for some event (we haven't been there in nearly two+ years)  and they were all sitting down to dinner. My husband and I stepped out onto the porch to talk, and my one-year-older cousin stepped out onto the open-air porch to walk by us to go to her car. I looked out to the road they live on and saw all of the parked cars.

And that's all I remember of the dream.

So here's what was interpreted...

To see your cousin in your dream, represents something or some aspect of your character that is somewhat familiar. Perhaps you need to spend more time in cultivating and developing some emerging ability or character.

To see meals in your dream, suggests that you are dwelling too much on trivial matters causing your attention to be diverted from important issues. Alternatively, you may be lacking spiritual enrichment and sensual expression.

To see a parked car in your dream, suggests that you need to turn your efforts and energies elsewhere. You may be needlessly spending your energy in a fruitless endeavor. Alternatively, a parked car may symbolize your need to stop and enjoy life.

Now... This could be talking about work, or it could be talking about my writing. Yesterday at dinner I told my family, "I really believe I have what it takes to make it as a writer. I'm sure a lot of people say that, but I really think I do. I just need to keep at it."

I guess only time will tell, hmm?

I'm big on dream interpretation. Not the whole like, spiritual dream interpretation thing, but I dig analyzing dreams. I love analyzing my friend's dreams. I really think it allows a unique perspective on ourselves--and our friends. ;)

So... anyone have a dream they want to share?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Why Fanfiction Made Me a Better Writer and Gave Me Self-Confidence Growing Up

It's a guilty pleasure, fanfic.

Everyone loves it. You know you do, too. And everyone loves to write it. What is it about taking characters we love and are established and twisting them into our own little worlds? Why do we want to borrow them and play with them and make them our own--temporarily, of course?

When I was a very, very little girl, maybe eight or so, I read this story about a girl who traveled back in time and met this girl named Suki (that's all I remember) and ended up leaving to go back to her time at the end of the book. I was very crushed at the ending, and I took it upon myself, my number two pencil, and my sheet of wide-ruled paper to make it better. So I spent the next couple of hours working on a two-page continuation of the novel, appending a better ending onto it, where Suki is actually brought forward in time to be with the girl again so they can continue their fun and adventures.

At the time, I had no idea what fanfic was. But since that time, whenever something in a book or story didn't go the way I wanted it to, I just took it upon myself to "fix" it.

I remember when I first discovered what fans had termed "fanfiction." I was around thirteen or so, and I was a huge fan of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. I was surfing the internet, collecting Buffy quotes and screen caps (because that was all you could get back then--no cool fan vids!) and I found The Slayer Fanfic Archives. It was like stumbling on the holy grail, only cooler. I had found my place in the world. It combined my two favorite things: writing, and Buffy.

I remember spending hours convincing my dad that he should let me upload a story to the site. He was very skeptical. First I had to comb the site and the rules for submission and learn them thoroughly to explain them to him. Then HE had to read them and spend just as much time, if not more, reviewing the site.

And then he smiled at me in our computer room and said, "Sure, why not? Go for it."

I was ecstatic. I had already been writing Buffy fanfic (without calling it that, of course, because I had never heard the term) so it was just a matter of deciding which one to upload to the site. I poured over about thirty different stories, found one I had finished, and decided to submit that.

A few days later, it was up on the site.

And then the e-mails started pouring in.

One-by-one, my inbox slowly started flooding with fan responses to my stories. I was dumbfounded. I remember the first one I got, I started screaming and ran to my dad and cried, "I got a fan mail! Someone liked my story!"

"Good job," he said to me, smiling. "Guess you should keep going, huh?"

Of course I should! He didn't need to tell me! I immediately started writing more, inspired, and began pounding out more stories. More chapters. I learned that cliff-hanger endings would get more responses, so I started ending all of my chapters that way. Pretty soon I had even more fan mail. And I made it my mission to respond to each one individually, because when I would write authors on the site and tell them I enjoyed their work and they responded with a form-letter thank you, it made me sad. (I had taken the time to write them, couldn't they take the time to write me? At the time I didn't realize I was one fan out of probably a dozen+.) Sometimes it would take me an hour to write everyone back, but I would always personalize each e-mail I wrote.

And I loved it. I could go to school and have a horrible day, and go home and have this little secret life that no one knew about. By day I was Vivian Marie, but by night I was this fanfiction author with lots of fans who enjoyed her stories!

It was that encouragement that instilled in me the belief that I could be an author. It was all those e-mails saying, "I love this story! Keep up the great work!" and, "You are such a great writer! I love this!" that made me want to keep pursuing my dream. That made me feel like maybe I did have a chance at making it.

(Of course, much, much later, it dawned on me that they really probably just liked that I was writing about their favorite characters getting together, but I don't let that get me down. <3 )

So while I think fanfiction has this "dirty little secret" quality, I have to say... I love it. I'm proud of it. And I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. So who knows... Maybe the next fanfic you read will actually be written by an author you like...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Do You Think About When You Write?

I thought it would be fun to remind myself later when I was editing book three of the Dai series that I've been there, conquered that, so I decided to keep a little Notepad of my thoughts during my final edit of book two.

14 pages in... Let's just say, it's not pretty...



I am on page 7 of 123.

I currently feel like rocking back and forth saying, "I don't wanna, I don't wanna" at the idea of having to edit this thing one. more. time.

I just don't think I can do it again.

But I'm going to.

Because I want it to be DONE.

Also, I'm worried about consistency. I think there are sections of Dai's thoughts I need to take out, which means I need to take a fresh eye at it and start from start to finish.


I hate the first two paragraphs. I hate them. They're driving me crazy.


In a book written in third-person, in their perspective, is it okay to use "here," and "this"? Or do you always use "there" and "that"?


I had to move an entire scene to ten pages later.


Page 2 of 123

Three paragraphs in and I hate this. It sounds horrible. All of it. I can't publish this crap.


Page 3 of 123

Starting to feel better. I hate descriptions.


Starting to feel worse.

"He placed his hand on the door handle, pushed, and was out of the room before she could say another room."



You have these sentences that you put in to "catch attention", but in the edit you realize they're more jarring than attention getting, and you have to add modifiers to soften the blow and finesse them in. That's disheartening, because you know what you were trying to achieve, and when you discover it didn't work... *sigh*


Page 4 of 123

I remember this feeling. I'd forgotten it. This feeling of, "Oh my god, this is so uninteresting. Why would anyone read this garbage? It's so... boring." It happened to me during my last final edit, too.

Maybe that's how you know it's done?


My husband is playing WoW. I want to play WoW. I don't want to edit anymore.

This sucks.

I could just sign in for a couple of minutes...

But I won't. I really, really want to finish this before end of day. Then send it over to my husband tomorrow to read. Then never look at it again.


Page 5 of 123

Just changed one of the lines I've had since draft 1. One of the first lines I ever wrote in this whole thing.


Not that I was super attached to it, but it was kind of a defining line for me.


Just woke up from a three hour nap. Still don't want to edit anymore. Had a cool dream about vampires that I think I might want to write. Now I REALLY don't want to edit anymore.


Just submitted "The Quest of Dai: The Eroe" for the Writer's Digest self-publishing award in the category of young adult.


Hope I did it right... It cost $125.

Also... I hope I win. Usually contests pick books that are all like, meaningful. My book isn't meaningful. It's just entertaining.




I feel like I could recite this; I've read it so many ******* times.


I think I just turned a nice paragraph into an entire paragraph of run-on sentences in order to cover up a sentence that didn't quite fit.

Nice work, Viv.


past? passed? Damn it.


*currently trying to figure out how to kill time so I don't have to edit anymore...* Wonder what's happening on General Hospital lately...


Can't get into the "writing spirit". It's just not happening. Can't concentrate. Can't focus. DAMN IT. I think I'll write something fun. Considered reading, but I think I need to get into that mind frame. So I will write.


That seemed to help...



I have a sudden desire to bake chocolate chip cookies. I never bake anymore.


Just changed "six" to "four" throughout the doc. That sucked. Six sounds cooler.


Ways to kill time:
    Hop on WoW and discuss raid and raids for alts.
    Bake a cake. (seriously)

Time check: 5:50 P.M.


After the mocking I got about italics in book one, I'm afraid of them. It's probably a good thing, except I think there are some instances where I need them and I didn't put them in. ... I'm putting some of them in. I think there are five in the entire book.



And the reason the final edit gets done... Just turned a sentence that was blase into awesome. Adrenaline gets pumping, excitement kicks in... Happiness, once again.



Note to self: Must remember to format the chapter headings properly.

Note to self: Just remembered I cut a chapter. Must go back and renumber after chapter... something.

Note to self: Must remember to name chapters. Current names of chapters do not match chapter themes. (Damn it...)

Time check: 6:12 P.M.



Discovered "dark" six times in two paragraphs. Cannot think of another way to describe it. Irritated.

Time kill: Looking up pictures of celebrities that may potentially work as the characters.

Time check: 6:55

Time kill: Putting the pictures of the celebrities all onto one wallpaper so you don't have to flip between windows.

Time kill: Cleaning off icons from desktop so you can see the wallpaper you're about to create.

Time check: 7:20 - Done making new background. Motivation!



Time check: 8:30 P.M.

Been reading/editing this whole time.

Gone three pages in an hour and ten minutes?