Friday, October 13, 2017

Once Upon a Time: Remix

"This is cool," said my husband when I told him about the premise for Once Upon a Time's seventh season. "Now I can watch it with you!"

Which is excellent because with the new Friday night slot, the earliest I'll get to watch new episodes is Saturday mornings, as we don't have a television in our house. So I'm pretty psyched that our Saturday morning couple tradition for this year is going to be watching OUAT.

Because, let's be honest, I'm addicted to this show. It's gotten pretty lame in spots, but I haven't given it up. And I'm glad I haven't because it's my television candy. Super sweet and not the best mind food, but entertaining and fun all the same.

OUAT's original premise was a remix of the Disney versions of fairy tales. They've turned that on it's head several times for two-parter episodes, but not for a whole new season. And never this drastically. After a good wrapping up of the old storylines and characters and a summer to adjust to publicity photos of the new characters, I was ready to dive in.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How Authors Forget Their Own Facts

When I was a younger reader, it used to bug me to no end when an author would mess up their own continuity. "They wrote it!" I'd think. "How could they forget that fact?"

Then I started doing multiple drafts of my own books, and sequels, and I realized how difficult it is to keep all of one's facts straight when sometimes they change in every draft!

I'm not a natural note-taker. I tend to trust my memory to remember things. Yet between my advancing age (haha) and my fibromyalgia brain fog, I've found that the old gray cells have become a little cluttered and fuzzy. I've got to keep notes in order to keep my stress levels down.

Microsoft Word has a track changes feature that is helpful when looking at changes you've made between drafts, but it makes for a choppy reading experience and I prefer to only use it when approving changes by an editor (and vice versa). To keep track of fact changes, I keep a daily log and I'll also leave comments for myself in the text to remember to sync up or double check any changes I make.

Today, word processors with tools like the in-text comments, find and replace, and track changes make the work of smoothing out continuity much easier. I'm in awe of those authors who hand wrote their novels (or used a typewriter) and still managed to keep things quite straight. I mean, anyone who has read the drafts of J.R.R. Tolkien knows that he changed hundreds of things throughout the course of writing his entries for Middle Earth, and somehow "The Lord of the Rings" remains fairly clear from a continuity standpoint. A good editor can catch a lot, but not everything, especially if you're doing a sequel and you got a new editor in-between projects.

So, anyhow, as I work hard to keep the continuity intact for "The Song of the Fay" I have developed greater appreciation and grace for all of the authors and editors who work hard to achieve the same tasks for their works.

You may also enjoy:
Fast Writing: Tracking Set-ups and Pay-offs
Write Like a Job
Your first published novel is rarely your first WRITTEN novel.
So... NaNoWriMo. Yes or No?
Every Novelist Needs This Sign
Basics of the 3 Act Plot
Why FanFiction is NOT a Sin

Thursday, September 28, 2017

No News is Good News

Well, sort of.

I've been pounding away at this draft of "The Professor and the Siren" and passed the 110,000k mark yesterday. Exceeding my monthly wordcount goal again this month, despite having several days of low word counts but extended editing time. And also despite having a very nasty and debilitating headache and overwhelming fatigue. Season change is no joke, y'all!

But it's actually fall, for real, and though I don't relish the shorter days coming to Minnesota, I'm ready to move from gardening back to sewing. I haven't done much sewing this summer and I miss it.

My husband and I have been binge-watching Arrow. It is my second time through the show, but his first watch for seasons 1&2. Hard to believe that it's been four years since I first watched the series! I'm surprised at how much I've forgotten. Definitely feel that the show has come a long way in doing better combat scenes!

The binge-watch was inspired in part by the fact that we finally finished off season five. The first half of season five was SO SLOW that we gave up about halfway through. "This isn't worth watching with commercials and poor CW player streaming," we said. "We'll wait until it's on Netflix." Of course, as soon as we started watching again, the episodes picked up in pacing and we loved it. Go figure. Here's hoping that they get the pacing back on track in season six. All the CW superhero shows start coming back on October 9th and we are psyched! (I'm such a CW junkie. Oh boy.)

Somehow our social life has expanded to include three RPG groups! One is weekly in person, one weekly online, and one semi-weekly as we can manage it, in person. It's just such a fun way to chill with friends! Plus, Star Wars, Harry Potter and X-Men...great load of geekiness in regular doses! I'm actually GMing the X-Men group right now, with my first foray into the Fate Core system. It's been a bit of a learning curve after four years of playing the FFG Star Wars system (and D&D before that) but I'm enjoying the simplicity of the central mechanics. For those of you who are into RPGS: What systems have you used and which do you prefer?

We also completely redecorated our bedroom. That was a massive but extremely rewarding project. I've posted some photos of it on instagram, but will be doing a complete write-up on it soon here.

Mateo continues to be a constant source of joy for us. He recently got to hang out with some friendly cats and totally adored them--I almost had to bring them right home. Poor pup doesn't really care for other dogs (to put it mildly) despite our best efforts at socialization. No other anxieties though, he adores people and isn't scared of much (though he is tremendously cautious).

I'm not a computer gamer by any definition, but I have recently gotten addicted to this little game called Mini Metro. And by addicted, I mean that I play about 20 mins a day. Nice little brain puzzle to transition from one part of the day into another. It's extremely streamlined, with nice simple graphics, but very cleverly structured to keep you pushing yourself. Well, me. Nathan has a new game he's playing about every week. The fact that I play ONE game, over and over, for MONTHS, drives him crazy. (But then he's super proud when I get on the worldwide leaderboards so whatever.)

All of this probably makes it sound like I've been crazy productive, but that's not true. Sure I've gotten a lot of projects done (at least, for a chronically ill person), but my house is a mess and I'm way behind on food preservation. Not to mention that I've had almost no time to work on Whimsical Kitchen all summer. Plus, the lack of sewing. Man, I gotta sew...

And blog. More posts coming up soon!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why Daphne's Hair is Blonde

Writing confession time.

I've been thinking a lot about hair color in book heroines lately. Mostly because none of them ever seem to have my color (light brown). I've often told my husband that I love his hair and as a little girl that was exactly the shade I wanted.

I blame books for this. Heroines all had dramatic colors: raven black, chestnut brown, fiery red, or golden blonde. Whenever anyone had medium brown hair, it was usually described as "mousy" or "plain." Rarely did one see a yummy or exciting descriptor like "caramel" or "bronze."

Okay, those descriptions veer a little close to the edge of purple prose. And honestly, my hair color has taken on more depth as I've gotten older, so perhaps the adolescent dissatisfaction with the color that comes through in the novels is fairly accurate. Unfortunately, it becomes a reinforcing cycle. Most girls that I know with hair color similar to mine keep it permanently dyed one shade or the other of a more 'exciting' color. (Me too, I tried several in my early 20's).

Thursday, August 24, 2017

And the Giveaway Winners are...

First Place: Kate
Second Place: Jessica

Congratulations! I'll be sending you both emails today using the address elizabethAhajek[at]gmail[dot]com so keep an eye out for it!

If you didn't win but are still interested in reading the book, why not request your local library purchase it? Here's the lowdown on requesting title purchases.

And if you can't wait, you can always pick up the kindle ebook for $2.99 on Amazon, or read it for free with your Amazon Unlimited subscription!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My (updated) Introduction to Doctor Who

What is Doctor Who?

Well, it isn't dead, for one thing. Despite the overall mediocre and depressing season 8 turning off a lot of fans, the season turned around with some good stuff in season 9, and an amazing, back-to-the-2005-vibe season 10.

BBC Doctor Who Logo

I've been explaining the show to a few people recently and I realized that my introductory blog post on the subject is not only seven years old, it is also one of the most hopeless fangirly things I have ever written. Read it for a laugh, if you dare!

Plus, at the time, I hated River Song. Boy have we come a long ways since then.

Since my husband and I have currently been doing a huge rewatch of the show (we're on season 9 now), I thought it a good time to write a new post about the series from a more balance and mature perspective. *Ahem.*

What is Doctor Who?

A mad-man in a box who travels who space and time, saving civilizations while always remembering that no person is ever unimportant. From Pompeii to the Moon Landing, from creepy statues to intelligent trees and every kind of alien in-between, with appearances by Agatha Christie, Vincent Van Gogh, and Queen Victoria, the show seriously has an episode for everyone. Witty dialogue, clever endings, and a constant dialogue of morality and ethics add further appeal and depth to a show that at times can be downright campy (but in the best way).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I write so that my blood won't shrivel

I write so that my blood won't shrivel.

Years and years ago, (actually, almost a decade ago if I'm being honest), I used to stay up late chatting with friends online. We talked about lots of crazy things: vampires and Hogwarts and religion and fairy tales and glitter bombs. And we wrote. Lots and lots and lots.

We also made graphics. This was the beginning of the digital meme age, and it was also the beginning of the age when everyone made their own graphics to share on the very very first Facebook apps that no one uses and barely remembers anymore.

And we wrote. Lots and lots and lots.

The melding of all of this came together one night when my friend Andy and I were having a long conversation about the Dark Side and Cookies. I think we were making jokes about the light side having milk AND cookies, or oreos, or something. It was a decade ago, okay? My memory is good, but not that good. Anyhow, somehow the subject got around to writing, and why we wrote. At that point I did a LOT of my writing very late at night. Or rather, very early in the morning. I might be tired, but I couldn't sleep until I'd written something. It was a compulsion. Andy and I were discussing this compulsion and I proclaimed "I write so that my blood won't shrivel."

Andy thought this was great, so we made it into a graphic, and it became an in-joke, our own little meme. But it was more than a meme for me, it was true. Perhaps not quite literally true, but psychologically. Expressing myself through storytelling is a core part of who I am. It has been this way since before I could spell words and made my parents write my stories for me. (No joke. I used to dictate diary entries to my parents, grandparents and babysitters when I was five.)

And it remains this way. Yesterday I was so wrapped up in my current novel that I had to literally tear myself away from the computer just to keep my body from freezing up and bringing on fibro pain.

I believe that storytelling is one of the things God made me to do in this world. I thank him and I praise him and I love people and I tell stories. (And also design clothing. That's another thing that will shrivel my blood if I am separated from it too long. But this post is about the writing.)

I write so that my blood won't shrivel.

What part of your life is that essential piece, that your soul cries out to do every day? Make time to do that. 

Don't forget, I am running a giveaway this week with fun prizes like a signed copy of my novel and Parisian Mermaid jewelry. Check it out here!