Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fangirl Moment Of The Week: Harry Effing Potter!

I have not stopped screaming since watching THIS:

You're welcome.

Now tell me: what have you been excited about this week??

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Makes A Good Bromance?

Before you start rolling your eyes at me, thinking this is just an excuse to upload pictures of them... are wrong.

Sort of. *blushes*

Okay. Bromances. I love reading books of all kinds, of course, but there's something about friendships between guys that get to me. The story can be told from a girl POV, but if she has a crush or boyfriend, I always smile when she has to interact with his friends. I don't really know what it is, but I love watching how those friendships came to be, and how they've grown (or are about to collapse). 

Since I happen to watch an obscene amount of movies, I figured I'd use that medium to show an example of a bromance that works (I'll talk about my favorite book bromance soon, though. Pinky swear). So. Here's one of my favorite movie bromances: Dominic Toretto and Brian O'Conner from The Fast and the Furious series.


*gets back up* 

*clears throat*

Why this bromance works for me

At first, they didn't get along. At all.

Then they took a second to stop glaring at each other and, you know, talk.

As they talked, they discovered they're both in love with the same thing.

This shared love made Dominic (big beefy one to the right) totally forgive Brian (skinny surfer to the left) for hitting on his little sister.

Even though things were looking up for these two, they almost split for good after Brian confessed he was an undercover cop, sent to bust Dom for stealing.

But then Brian let Dom run away, and risked his job to save both him and his sister.

Now they're both fugitives who love to smirk at douchebags.

Why would Brian save Dom? He's a criminal, isn't he? Criminals should be in jail, right? 

To me, they don't just share a love for cars, or care about the same girl in different ways. They're on opposing teams, they have two very different personalities, but they understand each other. This understanding leads to respect, which leads to the inevitable bromance. 

And that, folks, is why I love these movies. Take away the flashy cars, and these two still have a story to tell. 

Now tell me: what do you think makes a good bromance? Any movie bromances you love?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's In A (Character) Name?

Confession: I love Googling baby names.

Sometimes for research. Sometimes for no reason at all.

Yesterday, as I was remembering all the main characters I've ever come up with, I thought about how I named them. Then I found a connective thread--all of their names have meanings that are evident in their personalities. 

Let's take my name, for example. I am Amparo. It is in Spanish. 

In Spanish, my name means:

1) protection

2) shelter; refuge

Do I offer protection and shelter to others?

Some people would say, "Sure. In a very... stalker-ish way... *flees*"

Others would say, "Ha! Amparo, PROTECTIVE??? *dies laughing*"

Others would say, "Who the heck is Amparo? And what is his problem? *rolls eyes*"

So. According to my parents, I was born to protect and shelter. 

Very kind of them.

Anyway, character names. They have meanings. If you're anything like me, your fake people will probably behave according to what their name means. Because of this, I figured it would be very protective and shelter-y of me if I helped y'all out. You know, to make sure your characters have the best names possible.

Here are a coupe gems:

If your MC can rock-climb while asleep, or is related to Jensen Ackles, you can name him...

If your MC is a high maintenance girl with neon fuschia nails and a pony, you can name her...

If your MC is in a Southern setting and has a beer belly, you can name him...

If your MC is an elf/dwarf/wizard/hobbit walking around an epic fantasy manuscript, you can name him...

If your MC is the belle of the ball and has a great time socializing with all sorts of people, you can name him...

There you go. Options, galore. :)

Now tell me: do you research baby names with particular meanings for your characters?? 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How To Be An Irresponsible Critique Partner

Confession: I am an irresponsible critique partner.


Because I just am.

Exhibit A: I'm currently wrapping up my crits for one of my partners, and so far, my Track Changes look like this...







So. As you can see, those comments aren't... very... helpful...

But before you can slap my wrist and berate me, allow me to distract you with CUTENESS OVERLOAD!

What was this blog post about again???

Oh, right. Me SUCKING at critiques.


Pretty please, tell me: are you an irresponsible critique partner, too??? What do you do to flesh out your crits more? 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Outlining With Robert Pattinson: The Resolution

At long last, we come to the final installment of my Outlining with Robert Pattinson series *sigh*

The part I'll be discussing today is the one most readers are dying to get to. What will happen after all those pages of conflict/backstory/world building/superamazeballs action??? 

Yep. Today I'll be tackling...


Or denouement, if you prefer the term. 

So. Your main character has faced the antagonist. They have battled it out, WWF style. There are bruises and broken bones and tears. But there's also a victory. Either your main character came out on top, or your antagonist did. Whoever won, your story's inciting incident has now been laid to rest. 

Sort of.

You see, in the resolution, your MC deals with the aftermath of his victory or loss. Their internal/external conflicts have been resolved. Lessons have been learned. Your MC has done a 180 degree change--their emotional arc has morphed them from who they were during the setup to a) someone different or b) the same person, but with a different outlook

This new outlook can be a product of one of two things:

1) Your MC wins the battle, but has lost something valuable 

2) Your MC loses the battle, but has gained something they never thought they'd value

This makes your resolution a bit more complex than saying, "We won, we won, we won! Now let's go PARTY!" or "FML, we lost... F. M. L!!!!!!" Everything in your manuscript has been pretty layered so far, right? Why not make your ending just as interesting? 

Other things to worry about at this stage of the story: 1) have I answered all the questions I introduced during Acts I and II?; 2) is there any plot hole I forgot to fix?; 3) are my scenes full of tension?; 4) do my scenes propel the plot forward, or drag it down? (cut those that drag it down!); 5) is my resolution a product of the hints I've dropped throughout the manuscript? (no Deus ex Machina, please!). Of course, you'll come up with more details to work with, but these are the ones I'm always freaking out over.

So. During the resolution, your MC has two options. They could be walking around like this:

"Don't look at me... I'm in a mood. A BITCHY mood"-- direct quote from your WIP

or like this:

"Leonardo DiCaprio can suck it. I'M the king of the world!!!!!!"-- direct quote from your WIP

It's up to you to see which Robbie P fits best with your story: loser or king.

Aaaaand that's a wrap! Hope you've enjoyed my outlining series, and that Robbie P has been useful to your manuscript! Because, come on, the dude is useful for almost every writing analogy ever made.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go work on my outline...

Tell me: how do you feel about the resolution? Do you know how your story will end before you even start writing it? Or do you figure it out as you go?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Crazy Good Singers Help Me Write

So there's this crazy good singer. She's British. And awesome: Adele.

Then there's this other guy. He's not British. But he's still awesome: Adam Lambert.

So. These two can wail their throats out. Every time they do, I turn into mush. They own me. I have no choice but to listen.

But that's why I love them as a fan

As a writer, I still love them for the same reason, but I also take something else into consideration: when they sing, it's their voices that tell a story, not the song lyrics. 

This is how I see it. I can stand in the middle of the street and read the lyrics to Adele's "Someone Like You" like a grocery list. Sure, the lyrics are pretty powerful by themselves, but I'm 99.9% confident no one will be moved by the lyrics alone. I could do the same with Adam's "Whattaya Want From Me", and people will probably roll their eyes.

Both Adele and Adam are what make my jaw drop. Or cry. Or both.

They teach me that, no matter how pretty my prose is, or how kickass that action sequence was, it's all about the voice. The emotion behind what is said and done. That's what pulls people in. 

Next time you find yourself struggling with that connection between plot and character, listen to your favorite singers. Keep your ears open for when they hit those super high notes, then take you back down. That's pacing, but it's also internalization. Some notes need to be higher because they evoke something stronger in the singer, and the low notes are what build up to them (like the complications you've thrown at your MC throughout the manuscript).

So, yeah. Adele and Adam push me to be a better writer. 

Who knew?

Now tell me: which singers help you? What have they taught you about writing?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Latest Middle Grade Crush

No, I am not crushing on a middle grade dude. That would be weird. And illegal.

BUT I do have a massive fangirl crush on this:

KAT, INCORRIGIBLE by Stephanie Burgis

Le blurb:

Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society--if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother. She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings--saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles--find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!

Warning: this is not a review. I save those for Operation Awesome. This is, however, a mini gushfest. I laughed while reading this book. A lot. I also cringed and cursed, but I laughed even more. Kat is, quite simply, the bomb. Won't tell y'all why, though. You have to read the book to find out :)

Already added the sequel on Goodreads. Oh, yes, I did.

Folks, go read this book. It'll make you a better person. And prettier.

Now tell me: any books you've read and loved recently? My TBR pile is HUGE, but I can always use more recommendations :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Movie Trailer Monday: Water For Elephants

So. Movie trailers rule. 

Well, some of them...

Today I've chosen to share one with you, blogging buddies. I'm sure you've seen it a bazillion times already, but I figured one more time wouldn't kill you :) Plus, this is the start of yet another feature on my blog, called Movie Trailer Monday. Every time I find a trailer for a movie I want to see right this second, I'll post it here!

So. Le trailer for Robbie P's new flick, Water For Elephants (this is also a novel by Sara Gruen, which I haven't read but am dying to).

Now tell me: do you want to see Water For Elephants? Or do you plan on skipping this one?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Random Sunday Post: Win WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman!!!

So. I don't usually post on Sundays, BUT I had to share the news.

The awesome Frankie Diane Mallis is giving away a SIGNED COPY of Where She Went by the equally awesome Gayle Forman!!

If you've read If I Stay, then I'm sure you've been dying to get your hands on this sequel. Now go check out Frankie's contest here.

Best of luck! And happy week!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Outlining With Robert Pattinson: The Climax

Okay, okay. It's been a while since I continued with my Outlining With Robert Pattinson series. Blame it on life and a failing memory. But today, I'm back with more outlining goodness. 

And more Robbie P. 

Yes, that is what I call him sometimes. Because, you know, we're totally friends and he lets me call him that. 


So. Last time, your MC was stuck in the turning points. Their lives changed, in a bad way. They were shocked out of their minds by the twists you put in their path. Today, I'll be discussing what comes after WTF:


What I love most about the climax are two things: 1) at long last, your MC will go head-to-head with the antagonist/problem; 2) it will bring all those previous plot threads and turning points together. Yes, your story's climax is where the most action happens, but it's also where the internal aspect of your narrative gets pushed to its limit. Here, your characters will face the consequences of everything that's led up to this final confrontation. There's no turning back. Your MC may regret what they've done throughout the book, but they can't chicken out and run away.

I usually come up with the climax right after I settle on an inciting incident. To me, these are the easiest parts of the story to brainstorm, mainly because they're so tied to each other (main problem + how you solve it). If you're one of those writers who have a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel finding a coherent way to solve your MC's problem, I suggest thinking about the following things:

1) Your MC's strengths

2) Your antagonist's weaknesses

3) Your story's theme

#1 and #2 are pretty straightforward. Your MC's strengths will help him/her beat the crap out of your antagonist's weaknesses. #3 is harder for some writers to remember during the climax. What is your story about? Redemption? Loss? Justin Bieber's hair? Your theme can guide you to a list of possibilities to solving the big picture/internal problems. With redemption, your MC can prove to everyone they've changed by doing the opposite of what other characters expect, which will also be something the antagonist doesn't expect. With loss,  your MC could sacrifice what they love most for a greater good, despite not wanting to lose more than he/she already has. With Justin Bieber's hair, your MC could...



*shrugs* You figure that one out.

So yeah. During the climax, your MC may be pissed off/sad/terrified, but they are also determined. The Big Bad doesn't stand a chance against them. Your MC walks around looking like this:

"I. Am. INTENSE!" --direct quote from your WIP

There you have it, folks. The climax makes Robbie P want to bite your neck off.

Next week, I'll finally go where every writer wants to be: the resolution.

Now tell me: how do you come up with the climax of your story? Do you think about it beforehand, or just let the story go wherever it wants to?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An Open Letter To Josh Hutcherson And Liam Hemsworth

Dear Josh and Liam,

Congrats on your latest gigs, boys. 

No, seriously. Congrats. 

I know many fans of The Hunger Games are pissed. Plotting your murders. Hacking into your email accounts, if your accounts are anything like Robert Pattinson's. As a fan of Suzanne Collins's series, I am here to tell you I'm not pissed. Surprised? Yes. Very much so. But not pissed.

I haven't seen Liam act yet, but I'm familiar with your work, Josh. You, my friend, can act. No, you don't look a thing like Peeta Mellark. You're too short. Not blonde. But there you go. Sometimes people just have to compromise. I'd rather it be you than... someone else... *twitches*

As for you, Liam, I think you're hot. There. I said it. You. Are. Hot. Are you capable of playing a convincing Gale Hawthorne? *shrugs* I'll save my judgment for when I see the trailer.

Boys, you've been chosen to do something so important, the world will implode if you get it wrong. Your task? To make girls and women swoon their faces off. 

Get it done, gentlemen. Get it done.


The Only Person On The Planet Who Believes In You

Monday, April 4, 2011

The End Is Nigh: Three Things I Don't Want To Part With

Folks, I am sad. Three things I love are coming to an unfortunate end. *sobs*

Thing #1:

The INHERITANCE CYCLE by Christopher Paolini a.k.a. the only hardcore YA fantasy books I LOVE (besides Kristin Cashore's books).
End date: The fourth and final book comes out November 8th, 2011  

Thing #2:

Okay, okay... Veronica Mars already ended. In 2007. BUT I still haven't seen the last two episodes of Season 3. You know, the last season. Because the show was cancelled. And there are no more episodes after the last two that I'm stalling on because I AM SCARED. And IN DENIAL. *slumps shoulders*
End date: Sometime soon. Damn it...

Thing #3:

Smallville. A show I didn't watch from the beginning, but fell in love with five years later. And no, it wasn't just because of Tom Welling... *blinks* This show has lasted ten years. Let me say that again, TEN YEARS. In TV years, that's a hardcore senior citizen right there. Most shows are lucky to get past Season one. That should tell you something.
End date: (just typing this makes me sad) May 13th, 2011


So there you have it. I am sad. Saying goodbye is stupid. It should be illegal. 

Now tell me: is there anything that's coming to an end soon, but you don't want it to?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Mystery Agent Contest Starts NOW!

HURRY OVER to the Operation Awesome blog and enter your one-line pitch in the Mystery Agent contest!! The M.A. will pick one winner, who'll get a FULL MANUSCRIPT REQUEST

And no, it's not an April Fool's joke. Pinky swear.

See you there! Best of luck to everyone!

And have a great weekend! :)