Friday Focus: Great hearts

Endurance is the crowning quality, and patience all the passion of great hearts. ~James Russell Lowell

Happy Friday! =)

Stuck on you like super glue

I had this long post scheduled for today, but I decided to delete it. Why? Because I have a tendency, when trying to get my point across, to go way overboard. So here's the shortened version:

I love feeling so close to a character that it feels as though I'm stuck on them like glue.

The end.

(Maybe I should write shorter posts more often.)

Currently inspired by -- Grace Potter & The Nocturnals -- Paris (Ooh La La)

Friday Focus: Give the audience all you've got

I've always seen it as the role of an artist to drag his inside out, give the audience all you've got. Writers, actors, singers, all good artists do the same. It isn't supposed to be easy.
~Henry Rollins

Lovefest: Muses

Life is a song. Love is the lyrics.

Sometimes holding hands is holding on to everything.

All you need is one...

To the world you may be one person, but...

I believe that love cannot be bought except with love. ~John Steinbeck

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. ~ Ingrid Bergman

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. ~Jonathan Larson

For you see, each day I love you more.
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
~Rosemonde Gerard

Currently inspired by: Jeff Buckley -- We All Fall in Love Sometimes

Lovefest: Words from the heart

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? ~Henry David Thoreau

So today's post was going to have a lot of quotes from books and whatnot, but something happened late last night as I was typing this all out, and for some reason, the latest draft never got saved. =( Here are a few that didn't get lost, though.

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? ~Henry David Thoreau

Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs. ~William Shakespeare

You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. ~Dr. Seuss

Love is like the wind, you can't see it but you can feel it. ~ Nicholas Sparks (A Walk to Remember)

For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul. ~Judy Garland

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. ~Kahlil Gibran

This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected -- in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life. ~Thomas Mann

If you have any quotes/excerpts, feel free to share them in the comments. I'd love to read them!

Currently inspired by: The Black Keys - Everlasting Light

Loverly lovefest: Love in literature

"I know the expression love bloomed is metaphorical, but in my heart in this moment, there is one badass flower, captured in time-lapse photography, going from bud to wild radiant blossom in ten seconds flat."
Jandy Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere)

Ah... love. It can make you feel as high as the sky, it can make you feel as though you've sunk into the deepest depths of despair. I, personally, love both reading and writing about love. When it's written well and inserted in just the right places, love can add the perfect dose of tension or suspense. It can even control a character's motivation or determine their decisions; and make us, as readers, understand why a character is behaving a certain way.

This week I'm going to be sharing a few loverly things that have inspired me, personally.

Recently, as I was trolling around on itunes looking for a new muse, I came across He is We. If you haven't heard of them, all I'm going to say is... Wow. The words in their songs are perfect--they encapsulate all those feelings that rush through us during love highs and lows.

So today's inspiration is the song All About Us, by He is We. (If the video doesn't work, here's the youtube direct link.)

What did you think? Did it remind you of any books or characters in particular that you love? What kind of songs inspire you? I love to hear about them in the comments!

Friday Focus: Make mistakes

"Make mistakes. Make great mistakes, make wonderful mistakes, make glorious mistakes. Better to make a hundred mistakes than to stare at a blank piece of paper too scared to do anything wrong, too scared to do anything." -Neil Gaiman

Happy Friday!

It's all about love

So most books -- especially YA (since that's the category my head has been submerged in for over a year now) have a love story entwined into the plot. Call me crazy, but I love a good old-fashioned love triangle. I know some people are getting tired of those, but I'm announcing right here, right now, that I'm not one of them. (This might come back to kick me in the backside later, but -- get it? ha ha. But. -- this is how I'm feeling... this month, anyway.)

For me, the love triangle doesn't have to be "she likes him and he likes her but this guy also likes her and she can't choose between the two of them", it just has to have one person the MC likes, a LOT, and another person that also has his/her emotions invested in the MC -- whom some readers will connect with, and possibly root for.

Now, why did I bring up the love triangle? Oh, yes. Because next week I'm going to be doing some short and sweet posts on writing about love. Now before you get all excited and think I'm going to talk about how to WRITE it, I'm not. I would much rather discuss ways we are inspired to write about it. Music. Pictures. Poems. Books. Things we see/hear on a daily basis that knock us in the head and give us wonderful, romantical ideas. You know. The mushy stuff.

So start thinking of a few things you'd like to share. It's going to be a love-fest! (Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme, but I think you know what I mean.) Oh, and if you're needing a little something to get you in the mood, check out the song below.

Currently inspired by: Florence + The Machine - Cosmic Love

WRITEONCON + tea & crumpets

First, I'd like to announce to those who have been busy doing, you know, important stuff (and not stalking people on twitter, like, well, someone we know) that the dates for this year's WRITEONCON (AKA, the most awesome dates in the universe) have been released, and I'm quite the excited crumpet. (Odd word choice, I know, but I had to tie both parts of this post in somehow!) I'm pretty sure the kids will be at school and I'll actually be able to participate. So... yay! Anyway. It's August 16-18th. Make sure and mark ya calendahs, ya'll.

Second, and this kind of goes with the theme of WRITEONCON since there are so many awesome agent contests going on over there, I'd like to know what everyone envisions their dream agents doing on a daily basis. Personally, I see the ladies wearing lace gloves (and for some reason, some of them are also wearing corsets), sitting around their desks (which have been specifically placed to where everyone can see each other -- not sure why this is, but I imagine them all in one big room), and sipping on tea. Kind like this...

...but with tea, and crumpets. And they're sitting at desks. Not outside.*

And somehow, with all of this very old stuff going on (the corsets, lace gloves and whatnot), they still have their computers propped in front of them on their desks. Most of the lady agents are reading queries from their emails, but a few are completely engrossed in paper partials and fulls.

Then, the clock chimes that it's ten o'clock, everyone stops what they're doing, and the main, owner agent lady leaves for a moment. When she returns, she's holding an old, silver platter, and she says, "Tea? Crumpets, anyone?"

The rest of the agents smile politely, and nod -- some of them even say "Why yes, Main Owner Agent Lady, thank you, so much." (Mind you, this is all being done in some sort of accent -- preferably an English one.)

So everyone sips on their tea (pinkies raised, of course) whilst discussing their exciting secret double lives (secret agents of the governmental sort, food critics, authors themselves, people who crash cars and rate how safe they are, you know, that sort of stuff) and ultimately, their very strongly accented conversation gets around to the queries they've received that morning.

And they laugh, "eh-heh-heh" and "ooh-hoo-hoo"**, careful to keep their mouths closed so as not to spit out tea or crumpets on their computers or papers because, well, that would be a disaster, not to mention quite unladylike, then dab at their mouths with little hankies, having a quaint time listening to people's ideas and query faux pas. (Not in a mean way, just a... whimsical way.)

And that's what I see them doing. Allllll day. Talking, laughing, drinking tea, and eating crumpets. I'm not sure how this got into my head, because I know that's not even remotely close to how it actually is. I know there are male agents (heck, I've queried/am querying male agents!), but for some reason, I can't get the parasols (I forgot to mention those, didn't I?) and tea and crumpets out of my head.

How 'bout you? How do you envision the agents' daily lives? And are you as excited as I am about WRITEONCON??? =)

Currently inspired by: Hockey - Too Fake

*Incidentally, this book is on my TBR list.
** My try at writing quiet, practically closed-mouth ladylike-laughing was quite laughable itself.

Expectation vs. Aspiration

Many moons ago, a wee little thirty year-old decided she was going to bite the bullet and start writing. She sat down at her computer, and every day for months (and many nights as well), she worked hard on her craft. She was going to be biggest, the BESTEST, writer ever -- no doubt about it. People were going to praise her for her work, agents would bow down to her brilliance, and books sales would be in the tens of thousands.

The wee little thirty year-old plugged away at her story, editing, changing it, even forcing friends to read it. (From what I've heard, she's quite sorry about the aforementioned torture.) Months went by, the book was polished, and she began to query.

What? She thought, as the rejections rolled into her inbox. (True, she stopped querying at around number ten, but still, the results from those ten queries were far from her expectations).

Expectations? Ah, yes, that is where we come in. For the poor little thirty year-old writer knew nothing about aspirations -- in fact, she dodged them whenever possible -- who needed such unnecessary contraptions?

And now, that little thirty year-old writer has become a thirty-two year-old one; and through her journey of more writing, more rejections and even more writing, she's come to learn a very valuable lesson:

Expectations can be killer, dear readers. They can make you up and quit doing what you love to do most when it becomes hard to reach them. But aspirations, yes readers -- those are the things of winners.

Let's take a moment to explore the difference between the two, shall we? (Whilst ignoring the fact that hates to be copied and pasted.)

Expectation (according to - [ek-spek-tey-shuhn]

the act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation.
the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.
an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation.
something expected; a thing looked forward to.
Often, expectations. a prospect of future good or profit: tohave great expectations.
the degree of probability that something will occur: There is little expectation that he will come.
the state of being expected: a large sum of money inexpectation.

Aspiration (also according to - [as-puh-rey-shuhn]

strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition: intellectualaspirations.
a goal or objective desired: The presidency is the traditionalaspiration of young American boys.

See the difference in the meanings of those two words, my little grasshoppers? When you expect something, you pretty much know that it's going to happen without really preparing for it much. But aspiring is working toward a goal, a specific objective. And when you work toward something, you're going to do all you can to learn how to get that goal accomplished.

Now, let's put those two words to action. Expecting to get somewhere (without taking the necessary steps to do it right) lacks proper direction. I like to think of it as wanting to be an acrobat. Say I'm a decent gymnast. I can do a round off backhand spring, and I can do it well. But am I the best at it? Could I make it to the olympics based on my talent right this second? Probably not. Then why, for heavens sake, do I think that knowing how to do a few jumps on a balance beam will make me awesome in acrobatics?

As with most things in life, having expectations is completely natural. But we, as writers, need to make sure that our aspirations outweigh our expectations. It's important to remember that the only way to become great is to work on just that -- becoming great. And the best way to do that is by putting our aspirations ahead of our expectations.

I will close out this little life lesson, my dear readers, with an interesting quote.

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Did you see that? Did you see how Mr. Thoreau says "...he will meet with a success unexpected"? It reminds me of the quote "Build it, and they will come." Aspire to be what you want to be, strive to do it to the best of your ability, and, eventually, success will find you.

Currently inspired by: The Bravery - Believe