Wednesday, November 28, 2012

my november so far

I'm awake at six in the morning for the second day in a row.

My family's been on two trips in this month, both have been out of state, back-to-back.

I've been holding up the fort, which really isn't that hard. In theory.

But in theory, all information has to be cluttered in your head. Like the number to 9-1-1.

Then there was Thanksgiving week when we were together again and of course, drama breaks loose and we spend Thanksgiving alone. (Seriously not that bad all things considered.)

I've been enraged at my best friend (the source of the drama) and I carried the secret around to not ruin my family's holiday.

So yeah.

Then my parents both got sick with a horrible cough (I thought my sister was skinning the chihuahua when dad coughed) and both have had hallucinating fevers.

Right as Thanksgiving dinner rolled on the table.

I'm the eldest child, the only one with a license, and I've been to the drug store twice in one weekend. My father works still and has been to the drugstore countless times too.

So if I'm mean, I apologize. I don't know what time it is or day it is (tomorrow's my mum's birthday, I'm sure.)

I know I've been shovey with some people or probably nonexistant on Twitter. (Probably as in I can't tell anymore.)

But I think I picked a bit (underestimation, possiblly) of coarseness and I'm really sorry. I do get moments of perfect quiet but then stuff piles up.

So yeah. Am I rambling? Did I say sorry?

Feel free to tell me if I made words.

Love,
The Almost Managed.

P.S. Doing my first blog hop? Not very smart. CP stuff: promise you'll get it soon. Need to brain extra hard to not miss anything.

Friday, November 9, 2012

sinister reviews

Ever been overstimulated? Ever look at something very bright and squint and look away? Eventually, though, you get used to it or avoid it?

It happens with horror/romance/everything.

Halloween night I went to see Sinister. I anticipated that thing for months.

And it flopped. Majorly.

I plotted this blog watching it. (Rotten Tomatoes rating 62% in case you were wondering.)

Now, if you haven't watched it and would like to, stop reading. I'm gonna tear this mother up.

***


***

Still here? Good.
I think.

First off, I missed two minutes of the beginning, but TC filled me in. So it didn't matter. Apparently, those two minutes are repeated a lot.
The basic story: a true crime writer searching for his his next big story moves his family into the home of a murdered family wherein he finds a box full of gory home movies.

First off, I predicted the whole thing within the first twenty-five minutes. Seriously.

Second, the whole thing was...dark. Not gory or brutal. Nope. Lighting. I squinted, wondered where the budget for lighting was, and then it came together. Because most of the scenes were at night and in the house painted deep blue.


No. Shit. Deep blue. All of the house.

The intentions were clear. They worked. For awhile.

I did search shadows for the face or a face.

Spoiler alert: there are none.

It wasn't the worst part of the story but overstimulation? Really? That's not creepy.

For the best horror, you plant seeds of creepy, you give away what there is to fear, then you change all the rules when the meet is there.

Horror isn't the easiest thing. I know. Sis and I only ever go to the movies to be scared witless. (So far, no cigar.)

But Sinister had excellent potential.

The son has night terrors where he does strange things in his sleep--slip out of a cardboard box and scream with eyes wide open. I was terrified when that happened just because how'd you ever tell if something bad happened to him?

But he only had two terrors and the daughter only had a brief episode where she draws a dead girl on the wall.

The children could have been doing strange things and upped the creep factor but they were only themselves until the end.

And the home movies? They gave away the end to me. Would you like to know the twist? The missing children of each murdered family kill the family and tape it themselves.Then the spirit drags them into the images.


Because that's where he exists.


Hence this

My rule on writing is don't give away the ending. Just don't. Any story you write, never give it all away.

The research the true crime writer did was so slap-in-the-face obvious, I was done with the mystery before he was. Blatantly stated, one family was driven out of the house of another murdered family's house then slaughtered in the new house.

It's said three times.

Sometimes, clues need to be planted. In the case,  make the character believe something else.
Covering up "foreshadow" in distracting overstimulation will take you so far. So no more scenes in poorly painted houses.

november sucks

So there are several trips pinned to this month. Not too much detail but I'm moving! 2013 I'm leaving my Colorado and moving to Texas. Most likely. The world could change its mind or you know end in December.

Whatever, we're still doing things like talking to people, feeling the space, working stuff out here, having family meltdowns, whatever.

This usually means less time doing anything I like but I get breathers. (I took this one way too far.)

For NaNoWriMo and actually for just this month I'm taking on four new projects, one rewrite, CP reading, regular reading and that's just my work/leisure stuff.

(Will not get into homework for careers, job searching, test passing, going through which books to abandon.)

First, I have a short story I've been meaning to finish.

Ana's friend Nakia was taken from time and space six months ago but comes for visits now and then. Still, the time is never enough to guess why Nakia's jumping time and space or why she was taken in the first place. Ana might never know with a final meeting looming.

2nd

Robbie's high school career was figured out and normal--if not bright enough to catch a dean's attention, but then he's paired up with his favorite drummer Gerald and launched into the epic world of kegger parties, police chases, and road trips. Gerald and his friends, however, are hiding a secret and if Robbie figures it out, he'll have to pick a side in a supernatural turf war.

3rd

Lovers unravel the mystery of their deep connection through every life they've ever lived.

4th

Freshmen Juana's got a problem. The teddy bear she confides to is really a child's soul devouring demon and he's really in love with her. (Sister's drawing project I'm writing for!)

5th is my rewrite of Vannette*'s story.

Oh, and betaing. I'm doing that. Oh, and secretly judging with a friend on her blog contest. What else?

Did I mention is a project month? How are your NaNo/works/lives doing this November?

*Fun fact: Google my main character's name and seven out of ten (mobile) hits are actually us! Second fun fact: Google me and I don't know if I ever come up.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Face Off

Tuesday. It's Face Off night.

As judges talk after the contestants leave, Vee Neil says, "She's crippled by the fact that she has not seen so many of the iconic films that have, like, paved the way for mostly everything we do in science fiction."

And I wondered why the hell the contestant didn't research makeups the judges have worked on.

And then I thought about when agents/published authors tell writers to research everything about agents.

One thing, one little, little easy thing can cost you everything.

So, research the heck out of agents around you. Bookmark their dislikes and likes, favorite their tweets, follow their tumblr's. Even pay attention to things not pub related.

You never know what factors are and maybe research won't get you far (some people are PRIVATE) but you never know.

The best you can do is try. AND TRY.

But don't get crazy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

on that thing called bridges

I am a big mouth.

I say what I think, especially when I'm tired of it.

I know a lot of you appreciate my blatant observations (thanks for the support and encouragement, tee-hee.)

But I've spoken to several reliable sources, cringed through old news, and my opinions should be censored.

NOT because people should be censored. Because of circumstances.

Say I wanted to be published or I got the chance to be (any form.) How do I expect my peers to help when I put their work down?

You might say, "They put their work out there."

And it would be delirious for any artist to think everyone will love their work. (Beth Revis says it best.)

But authordom is community too. Just like I tear no one down on Twitter (screencap when/if I do,) I should never put down a peer.

"But," you say. "How will you know if you get pubbed?"

I don't know but I'd never burn a bridge. Not after crossing it, not when I have other bridge options.

I don't mind the sacrifice. I'll leave my opinions between me, my TC, my betas, and my CPs.

So yeah. That's a thing. I'll still blog about vague clichés and such but I won't trash anyone (not that I think I have) so don't worry. I believe in the freedom of speech the internet promotes.

This is just a thought.

--Love,
The Management

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

the jacket

I am not a professional and this is all a product of me avoiding writing.

So I picked up colored pencils and drew a rose and flying petals.


On deviantart

That was one thing. (Also, the rights to the picture *are* mine.)

Then, another day, I needed stock for a cover while I brewed story ideas over. (Read: didn't feel like working.)

But I didn't have anything to play with but the rose. 'Eh,' I thought. 'What the hell?'



The problem is that this cover's too grown up for my story. Too light.

Of course, I love this thing to death but I don't write the kind of stories it wants.

And then I thought of my friend who complained about buying images or rights and everything in order to promote and sell her book. (She ended up not doing it.)

I know a lot of people feel the same way.

I thought of the cover and someone out there has to love it or need it or want it.

I won't feel bad if no one does (I'll get to keep it,) but I thought I should try.

So, here's what I'd like:
-if you think it's a good match for you, tell me
-no, you don't have to know me. You don't even have to like me.
-you don't have to follow or anything but you have to promote it. Who knows? I might see you looking out for others and fix a cover just for you.
-if you use it, tell me what the links are so I can put them on my blogs
-you can name me as the creator but only if you want to. Either way is cool with me.
-you don't have to be self-published or in the business to. But I'd really like it if you were. *bats lashes*

What else am I forgetting? Oh yeah, it IS a giveaway and some things are customized (frame on author pic, etc.) but I can't change the flow of it anymore.

And I do have another one (that I didn't make a jacket for.)


deviantart hated this picture for some reason


Leave a comment  and I'll pick a winner on Monday November 5. :)


EDIT: you must comment to enter. Otherwise...how will I know? O.o

Also, someone made me realize that this isn't the first time I did book covers OR photography.

Here's where some of my photos are. And here are more things I made:





The Internet's bizarre and did something to this one
There are others that I can make. Like this one, for example:

Sorry for the bulky words. I screwed up.
So, I can make different book covers if you'd like. So yeah. If you see something you like, let me know in the comments. REMEMBER Novemeber 5th.

And yeah, I might just give you guys a cover for the heck of it. Though this time, it's purely giveaway. Next time I might just want to know what your book's about. :) (SO NOW'S YOUR CHANCE.)
Deviantart
Tumblr
Facebook
Twitter

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

desperate people do desperate things

I used to love Facebook. I had friends and family once. (No, I still haven't gotten rid of them.)

So I spent my time liking things, updating statuses with hilarious quotes or pics of my friends. I spent A LOT of time in the profile world.

I got lots of friend requests from people who knew people who knew people who knew me. People who had no way of knowing me.

And it was terrifying. Not because I was opposed to being friends with strangers but because a lot of them had a fixation on commenting and liking everything I did.

It lead to unfriending. Also, it lead to messages.

Them: why did you unfriend me?
Thought me: I don't know. Please don't kill me.
Regular me: *no reply*
Them: It's been half an hour. Please! Answer.

Is this a cultural thing?

Ignoring went well. After a long time.

Then once, on a teen author's page, there was a similar thing. It was obvious the author hadn't been online yet, because she answered EVERYONE but one person didn't get that. She kept posting and posting. More frantic, more scared. Pushy, angry. And finally...the posts were gone and I assume she was blocked.

I know that's what I would have done.

Call it caution or pop culture, but, anxious people, don't look so desperate. Desperate people do desperate things.

Like murder their idol. O.o

I've had several people do this to me. On Twitter too. They try to engulf me and then I back off. I like my life (and trust me when I say I'll do whatever to preserve it) so don't do something creepy.

Don't be pushy or anxious. You know those Chinese finger puzzles? Where fighting it won't free you? (Please don't quote that to me. Creeptastic.) Well, fighting for me or someone you're obsessed with won't get you anything but fear and caution. And a restraining order.

The more you tug me, the less of me you'll get.

So remember, reign it in. Don't obsess. Be calm.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why i unfollowed you, your blog, or other stuff

Most people will tell you 'it's not you, it's me.'

It's both.

It has to be or maybe people are petty. (I know I can be.)

But here are some of the reason why I (or others) have unfollowed you.

1. You're full of yourself

Anything that has a mention of you gets promote on your site. EVERYTHING. Including an answer to your sarcastic late night tweet about that muppet election.

Or, your feed's a bunch of thank yous, spam of your book, or rallying up fans against nonfans (You KNOW who you are.)

2. You're full of nothing

You don't tweet and when you do, it's spread out over weeks.

Sometimes, it doesn't bother anyone (sometimes you don't show up on a feed) but when you're awesome with tweeting, people notice you're gone. It's frustrating.

3. You're full of nothing pt. 2

This is less you don't tweet and more that you tweet but don't RT or talk or anything. So you talk to a wall and you're a wall too.

For feeds on like pages and blogs, it's the same. You send messages into the vastness of the internet but that's all you do.

4. You're full of Speak No Evil

As in, you bring out the heavy topics?

Religion, Politics, Choice--EVIL.

No one ever wins and there's always a fight. Wanna know why? Because we're not clones and we're not sheep. Sheep don't go on the internet to meet new people.

We will never agree so keep the discussion to puppies and that damn new show with the terrible dialogue and the hot, smoldering eyes...*shivers*

5. You are full of something else.

Not crap. Just meh. I am disconnected from you and my news feed could use some space for my besties and the pros.

So it's a combo. You could help me promote or talk to me but not everyone likes everyone. I am sorry for that but it doesn't mean we can't be civil.

The best thing you can do is interact, help (as in promo) the people you can truly stand behind, and be yourself.

Cheesy BUT SHOCKINGLY TRUE.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

one sentence pitch

Janice Hardy (@Janice_hardy) tweets links on writing and every night, as part of my bedtime reading, I go through her feed for interesting/funny/enlightening posts.

I always find something good.

For example, I found one tweet that went like this:

The motto that can help you plot your novel http://timetowrite.blogs.com/weblog/2012/08/the-motto-that-can-help-you-plot-your-novel-or-screenplay.html

As I said, bedtime reading. I had no real reason to look at the link but curiosity of the motto got me to read.

The motto is "life's what happens when you're making plans" or something like that.

It's supposed to be a plotting tool but the article showed some one line pitches.

And then bam. The story told in one line.

I could tell my story in one line!

*monkey shrill*

See, this thing...dang.

We've all heard of/read/watched Twilight, right? (Head out of sand time.)

The line might go:

A high school junior adjusting to her new home is drawn to an inhumanly beautiful student who she discovers is not human.

Another?

Have you read Hush, Hush? Of course you have.

Hush, Hush: A high school sophmore preparing for college partners with an annoying and handsome classmate who knows too much about her.

I really liked this motto. Obviously. And thought I'd share it with you guys.

Here's one from the rewrite (because you haven't heard enough of it): An eighth grader recovering from an accident befriends a new student who knows more about death than she does.

I hope this enlightened you as much as it enlightened me. I'm no pro (ha, me a pro at anything,) but I thought this was uber helpful. You guys?

places to look for stories

If you haven't read my Twitter bio recently, I'm a fan of urban legends. Scary ones at that.

Actually, any story told and specific to an area (and above all creepy) falls into my love pile.

So yeah, I do get people coming up to me (virtually and real lifely) for a good story.

I hand out a couple of samples (Peru-Pishtaku; Japan-Teke Teke) and then I'm either an encyclopedia or a person to avoid confessing to.

Well fear no more, dears! Or fear more. Whichever. Here are my sources:

Google
*ducks from tomato-throwing*
Type in scary urban legend and sift through glory. Oh, and sometimes the pictures are scarier than the stories. Still, awesome.

Wikipedia
Excellent starting point for mythology/legends. Type something like Brazilian mythology and get stuff like Lobisomem.

TV*
If you can suffer a few minutes, SyFy's Destination Truth has some good stories. My favorite show, though, is Paranormal Witness.

I use these for both entertainment and research/lessons for my writing.

Have other sources?  I'll keep updating this.

*I know I learned about Slenderman throught Youtube and watched Japanese Celebrity Ghost Stories there too.

UPDATED:
Destination Truth
Paranormal Witness
Ghost Adventures
The Dead Files
Syfy Saturday (movie marathon lasting all day)
Chiller (a channel with not even B movies. The channel also shows movies from other countries.)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

4 things when everything goes left

Nothing was going right with this story. It was forced or covered in scenes I didn't need or want.

Chop, change, move. Beginning, middle, end.

I'd work on a sequel or attempt to write one to keep my head in the story or sort of brainstorm.

I hear that's a bad idea but to be honest, I got jokes and more character depth. I had foreshadowing and NaNo still wasn't working.

(Did I mention this is the story I penned quickly last November? It's the same that convinced me I'm too competitive and writing is not about the end but getting there.)

I wrought the life out of it. I don't wring clothes as dry as I did this story. (And I was pretty good at that too.)

That story was all about the next plot point. I admit it, I love drama. Gory, bloody drama. And now I know where I went wrong.

Or I think I know.

First: writing nonstop drama is great. Reading nonstop drama with no anchor on character or world? PAINFUL.

Second: just because I'm a pantser doesn't mean that my first draft is all the meat and bones I need. First drafts for me are elaborate outlines. When working drafts, there's no hurry to get to the end point so enjoy the ride. The drama is still there and even better.

Third: if I don't love it, no one else will. And if I love the story but only like the way it's told, betas/readers/toughest critics can only get me so far before they can't pick my brain for those golden nuggets that make this story great. As a writer, all the responsibilty for the world, characters, and story falls on me.

Fourth: when in doubt, cut writing time to nothing. Read awful books (sorry, but I'm reading one that won't get to the point! I haven't stopped complaining about it, I know.) Read books that got great reviews, that sold well, that have nothing to do with what you're writing. Chances are you'll read things that change your view of words. Just get away from the computer and stop trying to fix all the things.

Will all of this be enough to save my superhero story? I don't know. It feels like it might. It sounds smart, doesn't it?

Or did I just hit the keys on my phone and lie to myself?

I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

what is this?

The other day, I sat with my parents as they watched one of their telenovelas.

Basic plotline for those(((MEGA SPOILER ALERT))): poor girl falls for rich guy whose family either hates her or can't relate to her, the lovers are separated, with time she grows strong/he doesn't grow at all, she somehow makes a fortune or a name, and the lovers marry.

Sorry if you were watching one and I spoiled the ending.

But keep watching. It's guaranteed to have kidnapping, murder, attempts of murder, rape, burglary, beatings, jail time, false accusations.

I bitched through the plotline. The heroine we were watching got raped then two guys fought for her and she was...innocent? That's another thing to these stories. Heroine's still a good person. (It comes with the territory of being poor.)

So I was pissed and mom says during a commercial, breaking from trance: "Mija, this is fantasy. This is what people need."

I walked out and told her to enjoy her unbelievable fantasy. But it hit me.

Don't I write unbelievable things?

Don't I read crazy things?

In real life, things and choices would be different. A girl probably wouldn't choose to become a vampire unless she was already a little out there.

Another girl would never break into state buildings to snoop on a guy who plays pool and is ultra creepy.

Bad decisions make great stories.

The soap operas might need to work on believability or they could give the people adventure.

What reasons do you believe there are for fiction? Am I wrong and do rational people date stalkers?

Monday, April 23, 2012

a campaign for twitter

I joined Twitter in 2011 but didn't start tweeting until February of the next year. Took some time to learn the ropes.

And I have to say it made me a better writer. There are people to network with (complain about scenes, ask advice, become partners); people who give you an up-to-the-second report of writing news (so-and-so gets a 6 figure deal and you *will* find out); and research (on AGENTS).

There's a constant stream of tips, blogs, contests, information. Sometimes, you can chat with agents, publishers, win critiques.

It's amazing that I ever got along without the community.

So I'm offering to help ease you into Twitter. Feel free to ask me questions (really, don't be embarrassed. I always was.) I can even suggests friends and who to follow.

I'm @ebelleful (for those who aren't tech savvy, just search that on Twitter with the @ in place.)

If you're not sure where/how to start, leave a comment or email me at miss ellis belle (at) gmail (dot) com. It's all one word.

Hope to see you there :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

SSH!

So as my soundboard, I read a lot of things to my toughest critic. It's a good way to edit and catch things.

Like, 'if I'm too embarassed to say that out loud...out it goes' sort of thing. And it happens. A lot. And that's good, I'm sure.

The other day, I was reading a blurb I'd been toying with for a few days and was eager to get things right.

So I read three paragraphs of four when TC tried to interrupt me. I thought: "She must be confused on what it all means. Last paragraph will tell her."

Halfway through the fourth paragraph, she hushes me. "Cut out the fourth paragraph. Don't keep explaining."

I stared at her. And it hit me. I've had other (poor souls) tell me how my blurbs/queries sound and they've been confused. Not every time, but sometimes.

The first three paragraphs are generic, second paragraph might need tightening, but I can't keep explaining every twist, every gut-dropping secret in the blurb. Why would I rewrite the story?

Sometimes, the less you say, the better.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

judging a girl by her lover

I hit a snag in the drafting process not long after I started writing.

My characters kept jumping ahead, doing things that I thought weren't set up yet. First of all, first drafts for me are always the discovery of an idea.

Getting annoyed by what my characters did and at what pace was ridiculous.

But I kept deleting scenes about my FMC and her love interest admitting feelings to one another.

When I discussed (read: whined) about my block to my sister, I was sure the problem was the lack of killing or that the romance was slow-going or demanded more than I wanted to invest.

She told me, very coolly (as she was excited about the idea I was slowly ruining): "Maybe you're not as open-minded as you think."

My mouth opened to protest but I froze. I like to believe (and gloat) that I'm open-minded, that I can't be more open to suggestion. This 'maybe' hit me like a brick.

My sister's advice and observations are *never* wrong. I reanalyzed how I felt about my FMC and her relationship with her brother.

And the sis was right. I'd left myself in the main character. I rejected MMC and kept the sexual and romantic elements out of the story because of what *I* believed in.

The sooner I accepted that I was standing in the way of a key element, the faster things fell into place. Don't get me wrong. That wasn't the end of my intolerance for incest, but I know with a draft done and the challenge of accepting taboo ideas, I'll be better about what the story wants and needs.

What's a topic you've written about that challeneged your beliefs or exposed something about you that changed your way of thinking?