Monday, November 29, 2010

Home Stretch of NaNo and Gunshot Wounds

There are just a couple days left of NaNoWriMo and I think I'll make it to 50,000 words, though the story probably won't be complete.

I learned a few things along the way-

I learned that I can write more in a day than I ever realized if I don't stop to think and self critique.
My nine-year-old twin daughters have a great (and gruesome) imagination and can be relied on to help when I'm stuck.
I learned a whole lot about gunshot wounds. Lydia Kang at The Word is My Oyster so sweetly answered my questions about that today on her "Medical Mondays" blog post. Thanks Lydia! :)

I think I'll have the skeleton of a pretty good novel in two days. It still needs a lot of work, but maybe it won't take as long as my first novel took to write. For Syzygy I agonized over scenes that had to later be changed or tossed out because of how the story later developed. For me, writing is like sculpting. It's far from linear. I constantly go back to modify scenes as I realize what's going to happen later on.

Here's a scene from "The Family Guy" which will make many of you laugh and some of you say "grrr."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Author/Editor Interview: Karina Fabian

I am pleased as intergalactic punch to interview Karina Fabian, the talented writer who, along with her husband Rob, co-edited the anthology, Infinite Space, Infinite God II. Ain't they a cute couple? :)

Karina Fabian

Rob Fabian

Infinite Space, Infinite God II contains twelve science fiction stories featuring Catholic heroes. Meet a time traveler who sacrifices his life to give a man a sip of water, and the nun who faces venomous snakes to save a friend. Share the adventures of priests who battle aliens and machines in order serve the greater good.

Infinite Space, Infinite God II spans the gamut of science fiction, from near-future dystopias to time travel to space opera, puzzles of logic to laugh-out-loud humor and against-the-clock suspense. A great read for any science fiction fan--a must-read for the Catholic sci-fi lover.

Now on with the interview!

Q: How did you go about gathering the stories for ISIG II? Did you contact your favorite authors or did you put out a general call let them flock to you?

Karina: I went to all the contributors of Infinite Space, Infinite God I and Leaps of Faith and let them know we were looking for more stories. Then I put out a general call through some common venues like as well as through my website groups. It took us a couple of years to get stories we really felt good about, so I can't say folks flocked to us, but we got some real gems!

Q: I understand there's a study guide. Could you tell us a little about it?

Karina: Actually, the study guide for ISIG II is under development. But it will mostly be discussion questions, usually with some answers or things to consider from the author of the story himself.

Q: These are all Catholic tales, but do you think they would appeal to non-Catholics as well?

Karina: Absolutely. As one of the authors has told me, any of these stories would have been perfectly at home in the old Asimov's or Analog that he grew up reading. The first requirement of all of these stories was that they be excellent science fiction. None of these are "message stories," either, so no fear of being preached to.

Q: Which of the stories, besides your own, stuck in your head most after reading it?

Karina: Oh, please! That's like asking, "Which child are you most likely to think of at the end of the day?" Let me answer this way:

Those I most think of for their worldbuilding: "Dyads," which is a space opera with an incredibly detailed and realistic universe populated by amazing creatures. "Ghosts of Kourion," a time travel story that brings ancient history to life. "Exercise in Logic," because I love Barton's aliens, even if they are infuriating!

Those that I remember for their heroes: "Tenniel," by Colleen Drippe', because her bishop is both spiritually strong and a fighter. "Tin Servants" because of the sacrifices Father ?? went thought to live out his calling; "Cloned to Kill" because of how Father ?? not only stand up against a powerful entrepreneur, but also a clone trained to kill that he's trying to save.

The "high adventure": "Basilica," because there's some great working-against-a-timeline action.

The comedy: "Battle of the Narthex" by Alex Lobdell.

The one that makes me cry: "Cathedral." I still tear up when I remember the last line.

Q: Thank you so much, Karina. This has been a pleasure!

~Aaaand we're back. Wow, I'm excited to read ISIG II. Aren't you?

Infinite Space Infinite God II is available through Twilight Times Books.

Also visit Karina Fabian on her blog and find out where else she's stopping on her tour. Good news, she'll be guest posting at my other blog, CatholicOnceAgain, on Dec. 2nd. :D

Take a gander at the review of Infinite Space, Infinite God II at Tribute Books Reviews.

And, of course, watch the super-cool trailer! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Movie: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I

With Harry P. fresh in my wizard scar brain I'll tell you my impression of the seventh film (part one). Fantastic!!! Fast paced, well acted, super affects.

Aside from a few minor book/movie differences that only a hard-core H.P. fanatic would notice, it was true to J.K. Rowling's novel. Smart move, breaking it into two parts. They were able to fit more in. They should have done the same with... gosh, with all of them. Then again, I guess the kids would be geriatric by the end if they dragged it out too long. As it was, it was tough to pretend Harry (Daniel Radcliff) was only seventeen.

My dear husband and I brought our nine-year-old daughters. No, they weren't scared. They know the story, having read the entire series and of course seen all the previous films. And if you haven't read the book yet, be warned that this movie does not have a happy ending. Save that for Deathly Hallows II.

Now for my fanatical nits. Wahh!!!!

These aren't exactly spoilers if you've read the book, because then you know the plot. These are just things they didn't put into the movie. (Warning: This part is super boring unless you're VERY hard core.)

They cut out the touching scene when the Dursleys leave and Dudley is actually concerned for Harry. The Dursleys just sort of leave unceremoniously not even under any protection. The girls and I loved that scene. Dudley showed signs of having a heart.

Hedwig was flying around trying to protect Harry as they fought Voldemort and the Death Eaters in the air. Harry says she's what gave him away as the real Harry. In the book, Hedwig was in her cage and each fake Harry had a fake Hedwig. Harry was given away by his use of his trademark "EXPELIAMUS" spell.

Tonks (they always dress her so cute!) was supposed to be totally completely broken up about Mad-Eye Moody's death. I know, they can't spend time on grief, but he's one of my favorite characters and I sobbed my eyes out when I read that scene in the book. Also, Bill and Remus are supposed to search for Moody's body. That didn't happen. Later, at the Ministry, Harry does find Moody's magical eye, but he doesn't pluck it from Umbridge's door (so he can give it a proper buriel), as he does in the book.

Mad-Eye Moody
However, what the writers/director didn't do for Moody's honor, Brendan Gleeson more than made up for. He did a super-de-duper job getting into his part. He put subtle humor into those gruff abrupt statements and his timing was spot on. Woo-Hoo! :)

Harry wasn't in a pollyjuice disguise at Bill's wedding. Charlie wasn't at the wedding. Way bummer how the movies don't care a bit about the second eldest Weasley brother. :(

Ron didn't dress up the ghoul in the attic to look like him. (I just realized that was missing.)

Xenophelius Lovegood
Nobody at the wedding was upset at Xenophilius Lovegood's deathly hallows pendant. In the book Viktor Krum almost starts a fight over it, believing it to be Grindelwald's symbol. (It would be like wearing a swastika to a Muggle wedding.)

We didn't see Dean Thomas and Griphook in the forest.
We didn't get to see Luna's bedroom and the portraits of Harry and the others. How hard could that have been to do? I mean, come on, there wasn't one Harry Potter fan girl who would let you film her bedroom? LOL

There was no erumpent horn aka crumple-horned snorkack at the Luna house and the departing moment was changed a bit. (I won't totally spoil it for you.)

Oh, one other thing I can think of off the top of my head- Remember at the ruins of the Potter house there stood a memorial plaque that wizards and witches had signed. They didn't have that in the movie. Too bad. I would've liked to have seen it. It was touching when Harry read the notes people wrote him, not even knowing he'd one day read them.

There ya go. I am sure I missed some missing moments, but that's my first impression. We did love it, even my husband who isn't a huge Potter fan. He's seen the films but hasn't read the books, so he didn't miss anything I've mentioned.

ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn't read the book or seen the movie, but good info if you're bringing your kids:

The violence was your average Potter violence. Voldemort is scary looking. People curse each other. To me, the most disturbing part of the movie is the most disturbing part of the book. The Muggle studies teacher is hanging suspended over the Malfoy dining room table and is finally killed with the killing curse and Voldemort's snake is sent to eat it. (Thankfully we don't have to watch that part.)

The closest we got to a sex scene was when Ron's going to destroy the locket and he sees a vision of Harry and Hermione in an embrace. The vision is smoky from the chest down, but it appears they may be naked. But the image is created by evil in order to upset him. He knows it and we know it and he does the right thing and destroys the locket.

The Trio

Monday, November 8, 2010

Character Change

I prepared this post while deep into my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm writing by the seat of my pants, going forward, not glancing back. I have a vague idea about where it'll end and I already wrote several chapters for the second half of the book.

But this post has give me a breather and allowed me step back and examine my characters. Maybe the ideas will be useful to you in your writing.

I asked:
Do characters always change for the better?
Do they mature?
Must they change? In many plot driven novels they don't.
Do they change and then go right back to where they started?

I haven't been writing with an eye for character change, but it's happening anyway. I'm simply moving the story forward. When I know my characters, I can go back and modify their dialogue and mannerisms and all that.

My female protag is growing a backbone, but my male protag isn't changing all that much. He's learning to be self sufficient in a practical way, but he isn't making psychological leaps.

One supporting character went mad in an Ophelia-like way (cool, I just thought of that connection), another became a zombie, but more importantly, before that, he became more self sacrificing and mature.

I'm still stuck on the fourth supporting character and he's making it impossible to get my story where I want it. He's too capable and good. It's not that I don't want to kill him off (he must be eliminated), but it must be logical.

So, there you go. If you're a semi-panster, sorta-kinda mapping out your characters' changes when you are maybe 20k into the novel might be useful. I was just trying to write a blog post and this ten minute exercise has cleared up some things for me. :)

Now, off to kill a character...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Two (Some fun stuff)

I have 1858 words written for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I don't have the smallest wordcount of all my buddies, but I'm on the lower side. That's okay. I didn't expect I'd be cranking out 2000 or more a day.

Wizard Rock fans, Brian Malfoy, of "Draco and The Malfoys" is recording a new song each day of NaNo. Listen on their blog.

My friend Kara of A Karabu Creation turned me on to this NaNo vid.

Kara, my niece Jasmine (of Fruity Dragon), and I went to a NaNo cafe party thingy the day before the great NaNo kickoff. This was my first official NaNo event. I was surpised at the number of people there. It was a huge coffee/tea drinking NaNo rally!

We made little plot bunnies. We each recieved a sheet of origami paper where we wrote a plot element to help another writer when he/she gets stuck during the month. We folded them into bunny shapes. You could take one home if you wanted. Otherwise, they kept them for us and while at a write-in you take one if you hit a wall in your story.

Kara, Jasmine, and I each took one. I'm dying to open mine, but I shall resist until dire need.

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