Monday, March 30, 2009

Custard moons, Fairy-work frost and other great descriptions

Sometimes I come across a description or a phrase that I adore and then I have to write it down. Actually, if you must know the truth, I get downright giddy when I come across a perfect description. I came across a gem of a description in WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell:

Chapter 15
"A fat custard moon was splat in the purple sky . . . "

There are so many reasons why I love this description:

1) is that this is the most creative way I may have ever seen the moon described.

2) it fits the voice of the character who is 15 years old. Perhaps if the protagonist was an old man, the moon would have looked more like an alkaseltzer tab that just fell into the cup or something like that.

3) it gives a great visual w/o using too many adjectives. From this small amount of words I'm imagining a full moon on a hazy night. The sides of the moon aren't crips and distinct, but more soft and rounded. And it's late sunset. all that from 10 words.

This reminds me of a phrase used by Mark Twain where he describes a frost as "Fairy-work frost" What a concise and creative way to describe a sparkling, intricate design on a window pane.

~giggle~ excuse me. I'm just getting all giddy talking about it. I LOVE this stuff!

4) It sets the scene for what's about to happen. The soft dreaminess of the scene reflects the converstation that's about to take place.

5) this type of description challenges me to look at the world in a different way. Last night as I tried to fall sleep, I didn't count sheep. Instead, I thought of creative ways to describe common objects in a similar fashion to Blundell's moon description. You should try it too. It's harder than you may think. Blundell and Twain make it seem easy.

Go ahead. Do it. Pick an everyday object. A tree. The street. A building. The sun. How can you describe it using the pattern used by Blundell and Twain.

Here's a couple that I came up with:

"The ragdoll willow flopped in the storm."
"Pixie-winged blossoms rode on the breeze."

What things do you get excited about when you read?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ask my CrAzY Random 8 ball and a shout out!

Need help making decisions this weekend? You're in luck. I'm allowing you use of my CrAzY random 8 ball. It's always right . . . as long as you ask it a random crazy question as opposed to a serious one. For example, you need to ask it things like

should I put sardines on my peanut butter and jelly sandwich

should I sing and dance the Macerana while I'm standing in line at the bank today?

Should I change my name to Villinus Schmataximus?

You know. That kind of stuff. Let me know what you ask it and what kind of advice you get so I may share in your joy.

AND . . . a shout out is in order. Remember the interview I did w/ Ian Sands? Well, Ian has another exciting deal in the works. His art has won a contest and will be featured on the side of our City area buses. Click here to read more about it on his blog.

Congratulations Ian!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A great book! Everlost by Neal Shusterman and a book giveaway link

The following does not include spoilers:

This is the 2nd book I've read by Neal Shusterman. I think I may be a fan. Both this book and UNWIND were both so creative, smart and tightly written. I can't wait to pick up another Shusterman book. I can't believe I've never heard of him until recently.

Everlost is about Nick and Allie, two teens who are killed in a car accident, but get lost in limbo in an afterlife called Everlost. Shusterman creates a believable world full of danger, mystery, love and there's also a magnificant monster called the McGill and a tough-as-nails female protagonist.

For writers: Neal is a master of using multiple points of view in his story telling. It's so seamless, it's easy not to notice what point of view he's using, unless you're looking for it.

This book is also a great examle of how to use a point in the story that the entire book revolves around, and weaves it through out. ie: take note of how the people in Everlost sink into the ground if they don't keep moving. At first it seems to be a small part of the alternate world, but it ends up being something important to the past of Everlost as well as the future and curent danger.

This wasn't just a fun read, I also feel that this kind of book has inspired me to be a better writer too!

Also . . . Beth Revis is hosting a book Giveaway for Carrie Ryan's debut novel "The Forrest of Hands and Teeth" that was just released this weekend. click here to go directly to Beth's blog.

Now. . . I'm off to fold laundry and blog surf. Hows that for multitasking? Helps laundry folding seem not quite so dull. :0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I just finished reading Savvy by Ingrid Law. It's such a cute and clever book with a strong voice. It's a fun read!

The hubby and I have also been talking about being able to work into our budget either a trip to the SCBWI LA conference or a Chautauqua writing retreat. The problem is that I can't decide which one. Part of me thinks the retreat would be more beneficial for me at this stage in the game, but then again, there are so many potential contacts at the LA retreat, not to mention I'd be able to see so many of my blogging and writing friends face to face. So, what do you think? If you could only pick one, which do you think would be more beneficial for an author wanna-be?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cylindric Anamporphism: an inspiration for my WIP

I recently finished the 5th or 6th or 800th (I can't remember the exact count) draft of my YA Fantasy Novel UNSEEN. (click on the link to see the trailer or it's on the sidebar too.) I think it's finally ready to start sending out.

Although this story is complete fantasy, there are several things that inspired certain aspects of the story. One important object is very much like the cylindric anamorphism shown in the pictures below. The idea is that there is a distorted image on paper but when a cylinder is place in the middle, the reflected image is non distorted.

picture borrowed from Mighty Optical Illusions

It is said that this art form was invented by the Chinese (I think they deserve the trophy for The Culture that has Produced the Coolest Things Award.) and was brought over to Italy in the 16th century, influencing many of the great artists of the time.

this technique was often used to disguise confidential images.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Books and Blogs

I've been a bad bad blogger. I've neglected my poor blog and even my husband is telling me that I need to update. I didn't realize he was such a fan. (Hi honey!) I don't know what it is, if it's the illnesses running around the house, or whatever, but I've been running dry on topics to post about. I've also been bad at checking out other blogs. I hope to have time today to make some blog rounds and say "Hi!" and see what everybody is up to.

I have been on a really good reading streak. I've picked up some GREAT books lately. The last book that I read was Paper Towns by John Green. This book has so many strengths including humor, wit, and John Green knows how to end a chapter in a way that makes you want to read more. He also uses comparison and contrast in a masterful way: mirrors and windows, circles and lines/string. You'll have to read it to see what I'm talking about. It's brilliant the way he uses them.

I'm currently reading Unwind by Neal Shusterman. WOW! I hope to finish it this week. It has had my heart clenched since page 1. It's clever, well-thought out and smart. I'll probably share more about it when I'm done. But for now let me just say "WOW!" My only caution is that it deals heavily with abortion issues. So, if you are sensitive to that topic, this may not be the book for you. However, if you can look past the issues and focus on the story, it's dark, chilling but very well told!

For those of you who are up for a good read, but don't know what to pick up, I came across this great site on Twitter. It's called Flash Light Worthy books. Click here and you can browse their suggestions.

OK, I'm off to do some blog surfing, revising my current WIP and then house cleaning.

So tell me. What are you reading?