Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Nameless Fairy

Remember that doll I gave a new face to when I should have been cleaning the house? Well, her hair came in sooner that I’d expected. She still needs a more fairy-appropriate (and well-made) dress, but I’m happy with how she’s turned out. The wings were a last-minute addition that I think works well on her.

Not too bad for a first attempt at a doll, I think.

Only thing is, she needs a name…

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Before and after:

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(If anyone’s looking for doll hair, give Retro Dolls US a try. Great service, and I love this Saran hair.)

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This is Where I Live

…and this is the place I love.

Come on out and visit!


The Five stages of Critique

I’ve been blessed with a critique partner. A good one, too. I have no real idea who she is, but she’s beyond helpful. She’s finding little problems I hadn’t even thought to think of before (like asking how many people a single duck will actually feed), passages where I might be trying to fit just a wee bit too much backstory into a scene, and typos that I somehow missed on my first dozen read-throughs.

She gives me positive comments, too- kind of the sugar that helps that bitter, bitter medicine go down. Those I can take. They make me feel happy and warm and fuzzy and kittens and butterflies and rainbows and unicorn farts.

The negative “helpful” ones, though… I might not react so well to those.

This is normal, right? Surely I’m not the only one who reads a comment and goes through the five stages of Critique:

1. Denial

“No. What the hell is she even talking about? Did she READ what was on the page? There’s nothing wrong with that passage.”

“Nope, nope, nope.”

*major WTF facial expressions*

2. Anger

*snarling, bared teeth, increased heart rate*

“Who does she think she is? How dare she attack my precious work like this?”

“Wrong, wrong, WRONG. This is all her, she’s being too nit-picky. This was a BAD IDEA.”

*more snarling and growling and gnashing of teeth*

3. Bargaining

*trembling and/or deep breaths*

“OK. Well, it wouldn’t be so much of a problem if she’d just read what happens 5 chapters from now… maybe if I send that next part she’ll see it differently.”

“It can’t be that big a problem. No, if I just shift around three or four words over here, maybe that will fix this glaring plot hole that she claims to have found.”

*reaching for alcohol and beaucoup de emo music*

4. Depression

“Oh my god I SUUUUCK! I’m the worst writer in all of the history of all of the things! I can’t fix this.”

“I’m going to have to give up. Look at all those notes… I bet all of them are negative. I can’t fix this.”

“I’m a failure. I’ll never get this right. I’m not good enough to fix this. This whole thing was a mistake. I can’t handle this.”

“In case I didn’t say this quite loudly enough before… I SUUUUUUUCK!!!”

5. Acceptance

“Ugh. Let me look at that again. Huh. Well, maybe that does repeat something I said earlier, just a little. And I guess using the word ‘generally’ does weaken that sentence. I’m gonna politely disagree and leave this one alone, but maaaaybe she has a point about these pronouns being confusing…”

*deep breaths*

“One thing at a time…”

*go back to first note*

“Eh, this isn’t so bad. I can do this. It’s going to be so much better when I’m done.”

Maaaaybe I don’t go through all of these over every comment I read. That would be crazy, right? Yeah. But as a whole, reading over whatever chunk of writing just went in front of the judge… well, I may have exaggerated just a wee bit, but this happens.

Tell me it gets better. It must; I can already feel my skin getting thicker. And what I take away from this whole thing is this:

The “I can do this”

The “this isn’t as big a deal as I thought it was. She’s only finding minor issues, here. This is not the end of the world”

The “you know what? This story friggin’ rocks. But I can still make it better in a lot of tiny ways.

And I come away with a massive dose of gratitude, and a new-found appreciation for a critique partner who should be very thankful that she’s a complete stranger who doesn’t actually have to witness the horrible faces I just made at my computer screen.

EDIT: You know, I really should be happy. Not one of my readers has actually mentioned a glaring plot hole (yet), or hated any characters they’re not supposed to hate. People even enjoy reading this. I can only assume that my partner will find bigger things to point out some time, but I can honestly say that I think this book is good. And I should be proud of that.

But I’m still terrified of sending the next chapters. :/


Quickie Quotation

“If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.”

— Arthur Koestler

(Courtesy of my dad, who posts a “Morning Eye-Opener” every day that often seems to be exactly what I need to hear)


From Cupids to Kilbride to Conception Bay South

Otherwise entitled: They Have GOT to be Trolling

Newfoundland is an odd place. Wonderful, sometimes almost magical, but odd. It was the last province to join confederation (a choice that many people here will still tell you was wrong), is home to the easternmost point in North America, and harbors a dory-load of dialects and local slang that are beyond entertaining, but that I don’t really hope to ever understand.

But those things are not for this post.

No, this post is dedicated to the sheer entertainment value of road signs as you drive across this massive chunk of rock. The place names that I can’t imagine finding anywhere else, but that seem right at home here.

Remember Port Blandford, from a previous post? Not even the tip of the iceberg tour.

There’s a story behind every town name, but I don’t pretend to know them. Actually, imagining those stories helps kill time on a long drive. Let’s take, for example…

Goobies.

Is that not the best word? And it’s an actual town a ways outside of St. John’s. I recently decided that the only reason people would name a town Goobies is that they couldn’t fit “Goober Boobies” on the sign. If that’s wrong (and I can only assume it is), I don’t want to know what’s right.

There are places I’d like to know the real story on, though. Little Heart’s Ease. Heart’s Content. Harbour Grace. Fair Haven. See a theme? Life hasn’t always been easy here; still isn’t for a lot of people. These communities probably didn’t start out as much by today’s standards, but they must have been a special kind of home to the people who named them. The names look nice on a map, too.

But really, the entertainment value is in the amusing names, isn’t it? the “WTF?!” inspiring road signs, the ones that occasionally invoke giggles from those of us who apparently have a 4th-grade boy living inside of our funny bones.

So without further preamble may I present, in no particular order (drumroll please…):

My Favourite Place Names in Newfoundland and Labrador

Come By Chance

Conception Bay

Bald Nap

the Provincial Seamen’s Museum (not a town, but come on people!)

Ballyhack

Pushthrough

Beaver Cove

Quidi Vidi (pronounced “kiddy-viddy.” It’s just fun to say. Try it!)

Furby’s Cove

Hiscock’s Point (at this point I’m pretty sure they’re just screwing with us)

Gin Cove

Deep Bight

Random Island (this may, in fact, where my blog inspiration is shipped from)

The Gut

St. Jones Within

St. Jones Without (aww…)

Horwood

Sheshatshit*

Blow Me Down (located in Conception Bay)

Jerry’s Nose

Noggin Cove (right near me, I love it. See also: Noggin Cove Head)

The Broads

Deadman’s Cove

Kitchuses (gesundheit!)

Kilbride

Low Point (I think we’ve all been there.)

Too Good Arm

Tickles (tee hee!)

Exploits

Muddy Hole

The Motion (honestly, I need to just go through here some day)

Spread Eagle, which is right across the bay from our last-but-certainly-not-least entry…

*

Dildo

*

Goodnight, folks!

*now commonly spelled “Sheshatshiu,” but where’s the fun in that?


Wednesday Bonus

Hey, look up there! No, not your ceiling. Up there, under the title. There’s a new page there, see it? Fiction. And there’s a story there, too! Hooray for truth in advertising!

It’s a story that takes place in the same world as Bound, but the writing style is different from the novel. It’s a bit more adult (but then, so’s the story). I thought that the story would make the most sense to my Beta readers who are familiar with the world, but I’ve had some very positive comments already from people who haven’t read it, and who don’t particularly like Fantasy stories. So no worries there. 🙂

Have a look, comment, whatever you like.

Happy Wednesday!

(for anyone reading this who can’t see the banner and pages above, here’s the link)


What Gets Me Through

It’s not hard to find an inspirational quotation any time you want one. Googling “inspirational quotes” returns almost 45 million options to click through. (I probably just added another one. Oops).  Why? Because we need encouragement. We need advice. We need to know that we’re not alone, that other people have faced obstacles and returned to share their wisdom.

Are they all useful? No. Many are so vague as to be meaningless, and others are only useful at the right time. Take this one:

 “Pay no attention to what the critics say; there has never been a statue erected to a critic.”
— Jean Sibelius

OK, first of all: sick burn, Jean Sibelius. High five, right here. This is an extremely encouraging bit of advice for anyone who’s feeling like they’re being kicked around by the critics, the “haters” (does that even mean anything anymore?), the Philistines who just can’t appreciate true art, dammit.

That said, if I ignored the critics all of the time, I’d never improve. If someone told me that a character’s motivation was unclear or that I had something hanging out of my nose and I just told them to shove off and go be statue-less somewhere else, I’d be stuck with a story that was less than it could be and… well, with something hanging out of my nose. Do we really need worse consequences than that?

I collect quotes- funny ones, inspirational ones, ones that tell me to go out to kick some ass and others that tell me to let go of the things that don’t really matter. In the right context, they all help me get through the day. Today is a day that requires getting through; I had a migraine yesterday, and though the pain is gone, the stupid lingers like some kind of brain-fog. (See?) I’ve had another friend agree to critique my book, and a complete stranger waiting to do the same, and it makes me more nervous than it should.

That’s right: just anticipating criticism makes me think I’m bound for failure. I’m going to go slap my skin with wet shoelaces until it gets a bit thicker; in the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few pieces from my collection. Here’s hoping you find something to get you through the day, too.

“You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft– then you can add all the genius you like.”  —Phyllis A. Whitney

“Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best.”  -Henry Van Dyke

“The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write” -Unknown

“But he who dare not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” -Anne Bronte

“People say I don’t take criticism well, but I say, what the hell do they know?”      Groucho Marx

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” -Ray Bradbury

(Please feel free to add your own favourites in the comments!)


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