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November 13, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Writing Updates 11/13/14: NaNoWriMo (What Else?)

NaNoWriMoSo, obviously NaNoWriMo has been keeping me a bit busy over the last couple of weeks. I got off to a slow start with it partly due to a wedding I was in the first weekend, but I pushed myself to go beyond the daily minimum when I can, and as of last night I was a full day ahead! I’m going to lose some of that lead today and tomorrow, I think (stupid job) but it’s nice to have that buffer, so I won’t be scrambling too much if I have a couple of bad days in a row.

I have been working on my other novel that’s in its first draft stage still, though minimally, with only a few more pages added in the notebook. I want to keep poking at it through the month, though, since I really love the idea I came up with for that one, and I don’t want to lose my motivation and momentum with it.

On The Fandom Post, my contribution to the 10 Years Later anime series was put up. I wrote about the anime Beck (or Mongolian Chop Squad, as it’s also known), a show I really enjoyed when the DVDs were coming out, all the way back when I was in college. Take a look to see what I thought about rewatching it, or look at the other Ten Years Later posts.

Writers, what have you been working on?

November 8, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Weekly Finds 11/8/14

Thanks to NaNoWriMo, weddings, and now a fantastic cold, I’ve been a little bit slacking on the blog post front. But, hey, here’s some stuff I’ve been looking at lately!

The Mary Sue had an interview with Adventure Time head of story Kent Osborne and voice of Flame Princess (King?) Jessica DiCicco. I’ve always wondered about the plotting of that show, how much they think out ahead of time etc…. turns out, it’s not too much. Even with big character reveals like the Ice King being Simon, that came from the actual boarding session, when they were finishing up the story for that specific episode. It’s kind of amazing to know that some richly complex story stuff can come from figuring it out as you go.

One of my favorite fantasy series that I read in adolescence was The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. Well, Wrede finally wrote a craft book, and now that I’m in the mood for such things I snapped it up in the library. I’m only a very little way through the book, and right now it’s not quite one of my favorite craft books. But, one thing I really like is that she points out that all writers work in vastly different ways, so what might be good and helpful advice for one writer (always make a detailed plotline first!) could be utterly paralyzing for a writer that’s not suited to that kind of work. So, as she says, take every bit of writing must-does “with a boulder of salt.” Hmm. Maybe I am loving this craft book.

Finally: have you all been watching Over the Garden Wall on Cartoon Network? The amazing cute-creepy-weird animated mini series by Adventure Time writer Patrick McHale? No? Oh my goodness, why not? Watch it, please. It’s so good. Not only does it look and sound beautiful, but it just refueled a love for dark fairy tale-like stories.

So friends, what’s sparking your imagination this week?

November 2, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Things That Slow Down the Start of NaNoWriMo

  • You’re jet lagged from a vacation.
  • You have no food in the house, requiring a long grocery store trip November 1.
  • Your best friend is getting married.
  • You have to leave your dog with family so you can go to said friend’s wedding, and now you’re sad about it.
  • You still haven’t unpacked, and really, you should.
  • You feel compelled to write blog posts about how you don’t have time to start NaNoWriMo.

What’s holding you back on NaNoWriMo? Or are you one of the motivated jerks who’s already ahead of the game?

October 31, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Writing Updates 10/31/14

Back from my vacation! Gosh I’m exhausted.

I’ve mentioned before that writing on vacation is hard for me. Still, except for a couple of days towards the end, I made myself get up early, poured my coffee, and sat down to write, getting at least a couple of pages out each day. Basically I made sure I kept the momentum going, and because of that the manuscript I’m pushing through now is probably getting close to the end. I spent some time dwelling on the plot as well, and I came up with ways I may change it when I finally go back for a second draft.

I don’t know how much time I’ll have to work on that one, though, since NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and I actually plan on participating this year. (Maybe a page a day on the first story?) Adding to my stress, I’m not sure what story I’m going to work on yet: the one I spent time preparing but then wasn’t in the mood to write it a few months ago, or the one that is fresher in my mind but I’m not sure I have enough story to reach 50,000 words? I may just go with the first one, since I have buckets of notes for that already.

So, my writing friends: what are you working on?

Stolen view from a hotel.

October 27, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Where My People At

Part of this Orlando trip was spent in Universal Studios. While I find this park a lot of fun–cool rides mostly–there’s a lot I feel it lacks compared to Disney World.  One thing they certainly win at though: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

If you’ve been paying attention you know I love the books, so last time I visited I loved turning a corner to find the Hogwarts Express. This time I visited Diagon Alley, and it is ridiculous to walk through that little slip in the wall and have the whole thing open up before you. So many shops, and signs, and a dragon… I ditched the family and spent an hour just wandering around by myself.  Read more…

October 23, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Writing Problems: Keeping Momentum

When I’m in the midst of a story I like to write at least a little bit, every day (sometimes weekends are a wash, I’ve learned to deal with it). This can be hard. Sometimes I’m busy (work in the morning) or tired (I slept too long). Other times I just don’t feel like I have anything to write. I feel blocked, uninspired, like everything I would write anyway would be a waste so why bother?


Rolling rolling down the writing hill…

Luckily, I’m gullible. I’ll tell myself, “Just write a page.” Or two, or three. Depending on the time I have, on what I feel I could be up to. I just have to write as much as I say, and then I’ll stop. And you know what happens? I write it. I get out that page, or four. But it’s a trick, e I keep going. I write for longer than I said I would, sometimes generating an extra paragraph, usually coming up with another few pages.

By pushing myself to my morning goal I get myself rolling down the hill. I’m excited about the story, I have too much momentum, I can’t stop now! So I keep writing, and the pages fill up, and even if I eventually change most of what I put down today, I’m pushing forward — I’m in it.


How do you keep up your writing momentum?

October 20, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Vacation Reading List: Dragons, Magazines, Audios

I’m on my way to Orlando for my Disney trip tomorrow, but before I get there I have to sit through a 3-hour flight. Plus, Disney World closes, so I’ll have to entertain myself at night, too. I’m leaving behind some of my chunkier reading materials (sorry, Walt Disney biography, I was never going to finish you in time) but I’ve got to pack something.

  • I’m bringing my Nook, which lets me bring a few books: A Dance With Dragons, Boy, Snow, Bird, and Salt right now, plus I’ll be able to download new books while I’m down there if I decide I need something different. Super handy.
  • I can’t just leave all paper behind, so I’m also toting along Extras by Scott Westerfeld. I’ve never gotten around to reading that book in the series, so it would be nice to at least start finishing that off.
  • I’m also packing a couple issues of Mental Floss, my favorite magazine, since I’ve discovered that magazines work well with me for travel.
  • I haven’t picked out the exact one yet, but I’ll also be downloading an audio book into my phone, so I’ll have something to listen to when I want to rest my eyes. Maybe a shorter children’s book, or something amusing that I’ve heard before, like Bossypants or a David Sedaris book.

On top of reading materials, I’ll also have my knitting, and the notebook I’m using for my current work-in-progress. Plus my husband’s bringing along the DS, so there’s always video games.

What books did you pack on your last vacation?


October 18, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Weekly Finds 10/18/14: Reading & Drawing

Austin Kleon, author of my two new favorite books on creating, wrote a list/manifesto about reading on his blog. I love the whole list, but some I really appreciate are: “I will not finish books I don’t like.”; “I will copy down favorite passages in my own hand, to know what writing the words feels like.”; “I will make liberal use of the phrase “It wasn’t for me.””  He also talks about using a pencil, and massacring a book, an act I’m still trying to come to terms with myself.

Lovely latte from a trip with friends.

I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll keep mentioning it until weeks after I’m home again, but we’re going to Disney World in a few days. There are plenty of things I’m excited about, but one thing I’ve never done, but keep hearing about as I read more Disney blogs and “must do” lists, is the Animation Academy, where an animator leads you through how to draw a Disney character. How did I now know about this? Why was I never told before? Anyway, I’m doing this, maybe more than once depending on how our final days in the parks go.

I figured out how to get library ebooks on my Nook Glowlight! So basically I’m going to use the heck out of this thing. I love it much more than I ever thought I would.

So, what’s got you excited this week?

October 16, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Writing Updates, 10/16/2014

I mentioned this earlier, but after getting good feedback on a first chapter/short story (I wasn’t sure what it was at the time) I started expanding it into a full novel. This has been a little outside of my usual genre, fitting more into the “New Adult” category (who knew I had anything but middle school kids in my head) though the supernatural/fantasy bit is still a part of it. I’ve been really excited about how it’s been coming out. I’ve been getting something written almost every day, and even had a few days where I wrote several pages. There are still a lot of holes, things I want to add but not sure how to weave it into the story, and basically just a lot of filling out needed. I have to keep reminding myself that first drafts are never that great, all I have to do is reach the end. Which I think I will. Let’s see what happens.

New Hampshire Fall Sky

I’ve also figured out a story I want to try working on for NaNoWriMo. For now I’m figuring out a plot skeleton (I don’t want to get overly detailed, that only ever kills it for me) and maybe some alternate POVs, since I don’t know that the plot is full enough to last through 50k words. But I’m excited, since I haven’t taken part in NaNo in a couple of years.

For reviews, I’m finishing off a longer review/article on the anime Beck for a series on The Fandom Post. Meanwhile my review for Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan volume 21 was recently posted on the website.

So that’s me. Other writers, what are you scribbling away at?

October 14, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and Bookish. This week they ask, what places have books made you want to visit? I couldn’t think of ten but here are a few.

Hogwarts. Honestly, I mean, why wouldn’t I want to visit? I want to go to school there, I want to attend their adult education program. It’s too bad Universal Studios is the closest I’ll ever get…

Japan. This should be a little obvious, too. I don’t want to go because I think it’s going to be like going into a manga, or anything ignorant like that. But reading so many stories set in the place has definitely inspired an affection and curiosity about the culture and the food that has only accumulated over the years.

The Dragon Caves, Outside the Enchanted Forest. If I remember the books correctly, the Enchanted Forest itself is crazy. But if working for a dragon is as cool as Princess Cimorene made it sound, you can sign me up for that.

The Faerie Market, Village of Wall. Again, going into the actual faerie realm sounds a bit too dangerous, but going to the Faerie Market for a couple of days? Awesome.

England. For one more “real” place. I want there several years ago, but it was part of the EF Tours in high school, and while that was a lot of fun it’s not one for taking in the scenery (good for getting me hooked on coffee though, boy).

There’s me. What places have books made you want to visit?



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