Friday, September 30, 2011
It isn't huge news, but I'm excited nonetheless.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Fall is here, and that change in season always leads me down a pensive path. I find myself lurking inside my head a lot, sorting things out. Mental fall cleanup, so to speak. And while considering blog topics, I realized something very specific.
Though I tend to be mostly a plotter when it comes to writing, for my YA series, the characters are totally in the driver's seat this time. It was a bit unnerving at first to have these fictional people vie for my attention, demanding their stories be told. I mean, I'M the author, I'M supposed to be in charge.
But as I've come to realize, that's just a bunch of hooey.
Somehow, these characters have come alive to me like no other ones I've written. I'm not sure if it's because I get to tap into all that teenage angst of my childhood, or if I'm just having fun creating them and their world. But as I write my Hell House stories, I find that I honestly don't always know where the story is going to take me.
As a plotter, this really freaked me out.
A bit of a control junkie, I even tried to force the flow of the words, to carve out a storyline that I thought would work. But each time, Sora Starwind or one of the other Hell House residents would pipe up and take me on a detour, which led to another detour, so on and so forth, until the words on the page resembled nothing at all what I originally had in my head.
After a few deep breaths and much internal dialog, I came to the conclusion that I was, in fact, not going crazy, but that I had stumbled into the world of the pantser, and that even though it was scary and unexpected, there was something freeing in giving up control to the characters and the story.
So I sat back, flexed my fingers, and braced myself for the ride. I still like to plot, mind you, but with Hell House, I've decided that I'm just going to let these guys take me where they want to. The life of a teenager is one big roller-coaster of emotion, new experiences, and tough choices. They never know what might happen next, so why should I? It only seems fair that I go on the same journey with them.
I'm just along for the ride. And hopefully, you will be too.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Here's the interview:
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Bet you can’t guess what this post is about… come on… guess… Yep, NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. November is almost upon us, and all over the world thousands of people are getting ready for literary madness.
Back in 2005 I did my first NaNo. Sometime soon that novel – heavily revised – is going to be published. I have a contract, that publisher has just had some delays. NaNo helped me get where I am today and I highly encourage anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel to give it a try.
If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a strange event where writers all over the world get together virtually and in person to write fifty thousand words in a month. The pace is grueling. 2000 words a day will get you done by Thanksgiving. 1667 words a day will get you done by the end of the month.
The core of success at NaNo is the write-ins. Believe it or not, it is very inspiring to sit around in a coffee shop, someone’s living room, etc, along with a bunch of other people and write. Many people use laptops. Some write by hand. One person in my local region even uses a good old-fashioned typewriter.
If you do decide to do NaNo then you should check out your local group and go to write ins. You can find more out at www.nanowrimo.org.
I know it’s only September, but it’s almost October and that gives you all a whole month to prepare for the madness.I’m in. Who’s with me?
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I do feature on other sites, if you want a more regular update from me and to find links to my work, you can find them all on my wordpress site. http://www.ellagrey.wordpress.com
Okay, here it is.
I get this uncontrollable sense of glee when my eshorts make an appearance on bestsellers lists. I never thought my writing would be popular, and sometimes I think that's the best way to be a writer.
You should write for yourself, something that you'd enjoy reading. If you don't have high hopes that you won't be disappointed.
But sometimes you need a little faith.
You need someone to believe in you when you don't believe in yourself. This is why I think editors and fellow writers are so important.
A little over a year ago I meet Nick Valentino (writer of the Thomas Riley steampunk novel) on myspace and through him I started to work with Echelon Press on my first novella 'What a Way to Start the Day'. All it took was for one person to believe in me, and in the space of 1 year I've had six eshorts published.
I know eventually I'd get published, but due to one person, it happened so much quicker and now I work with a bunch of people who all have faith in me.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
You know, when I started writing, I always thought love triangles were kind of silly. Sure a girl (or guy) might be lucky enough that two people are really into them at the same time, but in my experience when that happened there was usually an easy decision involved. It was pretty rare for two people to have an equal shot. And even though love triangles are common in both romance and YA, I don't always like to write them for one simple reason.
They're hard to get right.
For starters, you have to devote time and energy to both relationships. If you make it too easy for the reader to guess the "winner", you it means you aren't really best utilizing the trope. If you don't really have a "Team Stefan" versus "Team Damon" thing going on, why bother with it because odds are it won't really add anything to the story or the reader's experience. So, sometimes the romance is pretty straightforward for me. One couple. Period.
But right now... I haz a love triangle.
I think I've given both characters enough time to make readers root for both of them, but I'm nervous about the whole thing. You see... it isn't a standard love triangle and it sure as hell doesn't get resolved the way most of them do. I've made jokes about it recently to my magical unicorns (aka--betas-of-awesome), but even they seem a little leery of this one.
Fortunately or unfortunately, it's the right story for this character--it's what she needs, on a lot of levels--so I doubt I'll change it.
Problem is, when you're standing there, you only have two options: jump or go home. So far, I've always managed to jump.
I just always pray I don't die on my way down.
So, dear readers, tell me the truth. How do you feel about authors who take risks (small or big, differentiate if you like)?
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The Myth of the Bulletproof Author, Or: Why It’s Good to Slip Out of Your Emotional Armor Now and Then
Monday, September 12, 2011
It's Fall….well actually the autumnal equinox is September 23 but it's close. So it's time to pack up the summer stuff and dig out the winter. AND it's time for pumpkins! I love pumpkins…they are amazing and have soooooo many different urban myths swirling around them.
First, the variety of sizes offers endless possibilities. Pumpkins come in all sizes from tiny to huge. Chris Stevens from WI holds the record for growing the biggest pumpkin at 1,810.5 pounds!
Literature has added to the magic swirling around the orange globes. Cinderella chariot started out as a pumpkin. Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin. The headless horse man uses one as his head. And as little kids we all learned Peter Peter Pumpkin eater…
Pumpkin carving, it is perhaps the biggest tradition of Halloween. But it's not the first vegetable to be carved.
Long before pumpkin carving became popular, Celtic people in Ireland were carving turnips and lighting them with embers, to ward off evil spirits. This Celtic custom was the historical root of pumpkin carving. The Irish immigrants brought their tradition with them. Pumpkins are native to America. In those days, they were not found in Ireland. As Irish immigrants came to America, they discovered pumpkins. They quickly discovered that hollow, softer pumpkins, were much easier to carve.
Carving turnips dates back many hundreds of years, to ancient Celtic customs and traditions.
This was commonly done on All Hollow's Eve, of which Halloween takes much of it's origin. Carving turnips never quite caught on in America.....thanks to pumpkins. But, you can try your hand a carving turnips for Halloween.
Did you Know? Rutabagas were also carved and lit to keep evil spirits away.
How to Carve Turnips for Halloween - - to Ward off Those Evil Spirits:
If you have evil spirits lurking in your neighborhood, you just might decide to carve a few turnips and set them out on your doorstep. Or, you may carry one with you, just in case you meet someone from the underworld, as you walk on your sidewalk some evening.
Here's how to carve turnips:
1. Pick a large turnip.
2. Cut off the top leaves and stems.
3. Cut a slice off the bottom of the turnip. This provides a flat bottom, so it will not roll away on you.
4. With a sharp knife, slice off the top of the turnip....the lid.
5. Carve out the center. This is hard to do. You can use a variety of tools, a small paring knife works best.
6. Use a small knife to cut a face in the turnip.
7. Light the turnip with a small tealight candle.
8. You can leave the top off, out put it on. If you put it on when the candle is lit, the lid will begin to cook...literally.
Now, put the carved turnip out on your doorstep, or in a window to keep all those nasty evil spirits away from your home!
You can follow me on facebook or twitter or contact me at Melynda@Melyndaprice.com
Thanks and have a great day!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
If you're unfamiliar with what I mean by story structure and 'beats,' pop over to Blake Snyder's Tools page, scroll down and click on the Beat Sheet. Read that and come right back here. I think you'll find it very useful, if you're a storyteller too.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula (made for TV 2000) Love, love, LOVE this! Mixing history with a touch paranormal.
Check out Rudolf Martin as the ultimate Vlad in this trailer for Dark Prince
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Love this version. Oldman is spectacular. Hopkins a neat Van Helsing, Keanu is hot in a frock coat. If we could cut out Winona it would be even grander :P
Nosferatu (1922) Ewww ewww, creepy! Get him away!
Count Dracula (Made for TV 1971)Nice adaptation of Stoker's book with French film legend Louis Jourdan being so suavely chilling.
The Night Stalker (made for TV 1972) Lots of fun with a pain in the butt reporter /vampire hunter.
Love at First Bite (1979) Lots of fun with a cute romance.
Dracula (1979) Played a bit fast & loose with Stoker but Langella was to die for as the sexy count.
Vampire (made for TV 1979) Ranks up there with Night Stalker on my list of TV faves. I'm a sucker for arrogant vamps and no one does arrogant like Richard Lynch.
Salem's Lot (made for TV 1979)Creepy
Fright Night (1985) Creepy and fun. I hear the new remake is good.
Lost Boys (1987) Fun, fun FUN with some thrills
Innocent Blood (1992) Not the best movie but they shot the opening near my house.
John Carpenter's Vampires (1998) Action adventure vamp hunting
Shadow of the Vampire (2000) Ironic & creepy story of the filming of the above Noseferatu.
Dracula 2000 (2000) Gerard Butler is yummy and it has a neat spin on Dracula's origin.
Lost Boys: The Thirst (Direct to video 2010) Not the best sequel but it captures the spirit of the original by reuniting the awesome Frog Brothers.
So, what are some of your faves?
Monday, September 5, 2011
Teaching her a lesson.
Let me clear right up front, when I write Rachel Clancy, my YA heroine in my Warrior series, in a lot of ways she writes me and not the other way around. What do I mean by that? Rachel has a story to tell and a definite opinion on how it is to be told. Much more so than any other book series I write, the character of Rachel has determined her own destiny without much input from me. Frequently, she surprises me.
In my real life, I have three young children. The oldest is six years old. So I haven’t faced their teenage years yet. But, I imagine, that there will be lessons that they have to learn as teenagers—as I did—when they hit those years. I hope that I will be around to help guide them through that time.
For right now, I am facing the interesting dilemma of helping to guide Rachel through her formative years in the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic paranormal world where vampires are running around trying to eat her. Some of the lessons that Rachel has to learn to move forward are not necessary things that I would want my own children to have to experience.
For example, in Driven, the second book in the series, Rachel is faced with a dilemma of having to decide between two young men vying for her attention. Actually, this happens to her twice in the book in two very different ways. But I digress.
The reasons why one of these young guys is better than another would not necessarily hold true in the world we live in today. What they value are not necessarily what we value. Having said that, I still need them to be likable. I still need grownups who look at these books to be fine with their teenagers enjoying these characters. All of this means that, as an author, I walk a fine line, particularly because Rachel is such a dominant character that she is almost writing her own books.
But she has lessons to learn. And they’re my job to teach them to her. Even if she makes it difficult for me.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
My grandmother helped me see that perhaps I was capable of success. To honour her memory, I wrote the short story Because She Believed In Me. This story was first published in the Island Writer literary journal and I’ve also read it over the radio. Following this success, I decided to submit it to Kaleidoscope – a magazine that champions the disabled.
Orca Publishing’s prolific author, Robin Stevenson, gave me feedback regarding this story. She encouraged me to write more about my experiences as a dyslexic.
After many false starts and half finished stories I began to write about my time as a Katimavik volunteer. (Katimavik is a nine-month government-run national service youth program for participants 17 to 21 years of age.) For me, Katimavik was not only life-changing but also provided insight into the disabled in general and especially into my own disability. While in Katimavik, I wrote ‘limitations on my accomplishments are only set by my inability to accept the fact that I can succeed.’
Thanks to my grandmother and many others who have helped me along the way, I have been successful. The first draft of my YA novel is currently with beta readers. I can’t wait to share this story with you.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Also, I'm just over halfway through the sequel to Senior Year Bites, tentatively called Summer Break Blues.
That's it on my front. Have a great weekend all!