Friday, February 26, 2010

Made it. Oh, and Mad l.ibs Words Day

I'm back! From the past! Into the future! Well, technically present, now the past...

Anyway, there's a good reason I don't write sci-fi. Specifically sci-fi about time travel. Not my thang, yo. I get all sorts of confused when time does anything other than move along a straight, narrow path.

I survived the last two days, and after today I get two days *to myself*. Whoa. Awesome. They should do that at the end of every week, how awesome would that be?

(You may be able to tell I have reached the state of exhaustion that I like to call Deliriously Silly. Please bear with me as I slap myself back to normal, there are Mad Libs Words today, I promise).

Sooooooo... I've run out of things to say. LOTS to talk about next week, though! Here you go; if you want to play along this week please leave each of the following in the comments. Lots of nouns, make sure you Pokemon those guys. (Catch 'em all, if you didn't get the reference).

Plural Noun

Have a great end of the week-- week's-end-- week-end?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Today is February 23rd, 2010.

For me, at least. Hopefully it is for all of you, as well. Otherwise I've time-traveled, again. Gosh darnit.

Anyway, the local paper seems to agree with me (unless it's a KGB plant! I'm watching you...) so I think I'm safe in saying,


I will be gone the next two days. Woo-hoo for things coming together at work and a big hurrah for me. *Pats self on back*.

See you all on Friday, my lovelies. Give my best to yourselves.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mad Libs Results Day #16

Okay, so, the one lesson I learned from this week's Mad Libs was that you should never Mad Libs yourself. It just makes you sound like a raving lunatic. Case in point, the results:

From Anita:

Don't think I don't hear you contemplating to yourself as I round the whiskey and fondle it out enough to come in and pander. Don't think I don't notice you meandering the door back and forth ever so slowly, or that you're-- wait. You're not. Even. Looking. At. The. Mouse. Anymore. Your lice are interrupted instead to the rack of ice cream fixins. You know, the ones that aren't even in the money???

From Matt:

Don't think I don't hear you berating to yourself as I round the scotch and caress it out enough to come in and charm. Don't think I don't notice you racing the door back and forth ever so cuttingly, or that you're-- wait. You're not. Even. Looking. At. The. Armadillo. Anymore. Your cars are scolded instead to the rack of ice cream fixins. You know, the ones that aren't even in the wombat???

I rest my case.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I'm snuggling my bunny RIGHT NOW.

The New York Times is Full of Meh Today-- Mad Libs Words and Some Rules to Play By

The NYT is full of meh. Rather than waste a perfectly good Mad Libs day on meh, I thought I'd spice it up a little and Mad Libs one of my own entries from this week.

It was also pointed out to me last week that not everyone may fully understand Mad Libs 'round these parts, so I thought I'd also put together this handy-dandy little Guide To Mad Libs. I'm not too proud to admit I may not have the firmest definition on all of these myself, so if I'm wrong or you can explain it better, please do so in the comments! If you're well-versed in Mad Lib-ology, go ahead and skip to the words at the bottom.

I'll start with the bare basics. Mad Libs is a game where you take a previously-written work and remove key words, leaving blank spaces to fill in with similar-functioning words (noun for noun, verb for verb) resulting in humorous or strangely-apropos new writing. Each week, I generally select a paragraph from the top New York Times article to turn into my Mad Lib, but on occasion I will deviate (such as now).

Here's a basic rundown of the word types I often use in my Mad Libs:

Noun-- A person, place, or thing. Zookeeper, garden, or tennis ball are examples.

Proper Noun-- A named person, place, or thing. Mrs. Smith, Disneyland, and French's Mustard are examples.

Plural Noun-- More than one. Dogs, cats, buckets.

Verb-- an action word. Generally, they formally start with "to", though we remove this for sake of the Mad Lib unless otherwise noted. Run, walk, and jog are examples.

Conjugated Verbs-- I will occasionally modify the type of verb I'm looking for to make sure your answer matches the context of the original sentence/ paragraph. Sometimes I'll ask for a Verb That Ends in -ed, like melted. Or a Present-Tense Verb, like melts.

The much-bedraggled, nobody-likes-me-they-all-just-USE-me-sob! Adverb-- These modify/further define verbs, and almost always end in -ly. Ran crookedly. Stood stoically. Shopped maniacally. Etc.

Adjective-- I often get these mixed up with adverbs, I *usually* manage to catch myself before it publishes. Ahem. Anyway, these are descriptive words, usually used to describe nouns. The red fish. The angular coffee table. The insane tiny black cat. That last one actually has three adjectives.

Some other popular word types I ask for:

Name: This one's usually up to you. It can be Snorfle VonTufflebottoms or just Snorfle. Your pick.

Last Name: Usually last name only. Smith, Johnson, Cox. Aha. Ahahahaha. Yes, I am 12 today.

World/ Land/ City, real or imaginary/fictional: Give me a world or land or city that's real or imaginary, your pick. Narnia, Earth, Tufflebottomopolis, etc.

So that's pretty much it, or at least all I can think of right now. I'll edit this post as I come across others (or if any common ones I missed you leave in the comments). Playing is pretty simple, just leave one answer for each word type I ask for on the day of. I'll post the results the Monday (or soonest possible) after.

Without any further ado, here's today's words:

Verb ending in -ing
Verb ending in -ing
Plural Noun
Verb ending in -ed

Leave your answers in the comments by Sunday evening and I'll post the results Monday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mad Libs Results Day #15

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day and President's Day (for those of you who got to enjoy it yesterday).

Source article here.

From Shannon O'Donnell:

IT ALL STARTED with a pink, tattooed nanny with a passion for old animals. He was taking Biology classes at City College of Walla Walla, a two-year baseball college, and when students started meeting informally early last year to think up a project for a coming science competition, he told them that he thought it would be cool if they re-targeted cells from electric eels into a source of fast energy.

From Matt:

IT ALL STARTED with a chartreuse, tattooed chimney sweep with a passion for verdigris animals. He was taking Alchemy classes at City College of Chin-Yua, a two-year basketball college, and when students started meeting informally early last year to think up a project for a coming science competition, he told them that he thought it would be cool if they re-jumped cells from electric eels into a source of azure energy.

From Karen:

IT ALL STARTED with a nambypamby, tattooed monkey trainer with a passion for ludicrous animals. He was taking Zoology classes at City College of Scaggsville, a two-year curmudgeon college, and when students started meeting informally early last year to think up a project for a coming science competition, he told them that he thought it would be cool if they re-thwacked cells from electric eels into a source of befuddled energy.

From Deb:

IT ALL STARTED with a lovelorn, tattooed matchmaker with a passion for romantic animals. He was taking shagology classes at City College of Venice, a two-year Adonis college, and when students started meeting informally early last year to think up a project for a coming science competition, he told them that he thought it would be cool if they re-foozled cells from electric eels into a source of slapdash energy.

Deb's wins my vote this week for making me laugh out loud. But they were all quite hilarious. Stay tuned this week for Open Letters To The Universe!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Week-- Day 4-- Share the Love and Mad Libs Words Day

I've been writing this week about love. Obviously. Love in our writing, mostly. But V-Day is quickly approaching (holy cow it's two days away!) so I just wanted to share some of the love I'm feeling right now with all of you.

I love blogging! I love my blogging friends. Yes, you. I love you. *sniff*. I won't even throw a drunken ", man!" on there. I just love you.

Share some love this week with someone that means a lot to you! You guys/gals mean a lot to me.

If you want to play along with Mad Libs this week, please leave the following in the comments by Monday evening. Answers will be posted on Tuesday because Monday is a holiday! Woooo!

Verb ending in -ed

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Week-- Day 3-- Will it Last?

Thanks for some interesting perspectives on ways to make love real in yesterday's comments. That's one of the big things I love about you guys. *Sniff!* I get to learn every day! As long as I'm, ya know, blogging on topic. *Ahem*.

Anyway, today's topic revolves around enduring love. Depending on your story, the love between your characters could be a short fizzle or a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I think most people tend to write fated lovers, the destined-to-be together couple who were made for each other, so the reader can assume as much at the end of the book. Or, if your story is tragic, you may set your characters up to be this way, then rip them apart. The more perfect they are for each other, the more emotion you'll wrench from your readers.

It's up to you what direction your story takes (duh). While I prefer happy endings personally, I don't think there's a right or wrong between them and tragedy. (Romeo and Juliet is still my favorite love story of all time, interestingly enough). And I can't speak to short fizzles vs. endurance except to say that short fizzles are usually either a character or plot device, on the road to long-term love.

So how do you write love that lasts? This is another one of those ethereal questions that I don't really have a definite answer to. There are so many different ways couples can be compatible that you can't ever guarantee it will resonate with your reader until someone reads it. There's stories where at the end, my reaction has been, "How beautiful!" *sob*, and there are stories where I've snorted to myself and said, "They'll break up in three years/weeks/seconds".

Another consideration too-- and the Princess Diaries series (movies at least, I haven't read the books) are a perfect example of this. If you bother to set up forever love in one book, I will feel cheated when you break that couple up in the sequel.

Of course, there is one possible easy solution to all of this. As long as you end your story on a happy note, with the couple together, your reader will likely assume that they stay that way. After all, what else can they do? That's all the information you've given them. Unless you write a sequel. And break them up in it. (Can you tell I'm bitter, Princess Diaries?! Can you?!)

What, to you, makes love that will go the distance in a story?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Week-- Day 2-- Is it real?

One of the biggest things I struggle with writing romance/ love in my stories is reality. How do you make love believable?

Certainly, it's not the circumstances. I've read books/ seen movies where the young/hot/gold-digging girl falls for the older/clumsy/poor guy, and believed it. Usually, theirs is a somewhat farcical relationship. But I still believe it, within the context of the work.

It's not the actions. Again, I've seen examples where two people couldn't be more in love, but we never see them kiss, or perhaps even touch until much later in the story.

It's not the dialogue. People never say what they mean when it comes to love, at least not until they know it's safe.

So, how do you make love real for your readers? I can't say I'm an expert. Usually, I cringe away from writing romantically-tense scenes because they always seem forced to me. My characters don't love like I do. So I try to keep that to a minimum and instead focus on other things.

Like what they don't do. What they don't say. What circumstances they don't have. Somebody's fingers clench into fists at their sides because they want to reach out and brush the other's hand, or cheek. Someone starts to say those sweet little words and changes mid-stream to "I. . . want a cupcake." Someone comes home late from work to avoid seeing the other because they can't stand the tension between them.

There are whole scenes that don't happen between my characters that I've written in my head. Whole other possibilities that no one else will ever see; infinite places the story could go if only they'd let go of their inhibitions and love each other. But if they did before they were ready, it would be a completely different story.

I'd like to think I've managed to make the love of my characters more real by doing this, but I guess time will tell.

How do you make the love in your story seem real?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love Week-- Day 1-- Let Me Count The Ways

(This is about writing, I swear! I'm not even going to put it in #Off-Topic. Because it's not. Ha).

So this weekend is the Big Day. This is not a drill, people!

*Ahem*. Excuse me. See, I was ever the hopeful "Will my super-secret admirer shower me with love and affection today? THIS day?" girl growing up. (And no, they never did. Sad, I know. It's okay. Don't feel bad for me. I'm gettin' married!!!)

Well, V-Day hasn't gotten much better since I've been with WF. Not his fault, you understand. Totally mine. When we first started hanging out, in that weird we-like-each-other-but-still-trying-to-make-sure-you're-not-completely-psycho limbo, I was vehemently anti-dating. I was single, and loud, and proud! The first time we hung out outside of school was the night before Valentine's Day. At which he boldly asked me what I was doing the next night, and I, so obtusely, proceeded to tell him that a.) I was attending an Anti-Valentine party with mah girls, and b.) I didn't "get" V-day, and hated flowers, and blahblahblah.

Yeah. It's taken two years of re-training to fix that mistake. (Except for the flowers. He "hates" them too. By which I mean, he actually hates them).

Anyway, it doesn't really bother me, and I have no real attachment to V-Day anymore anyway, because we started dating almost exactly two weeks later and turned February-March into a love fest. We have V-Day, our dating anniversary, and his birthday all within four weeks. So I'm not lacking for opportunities to show him I love him. And there's a few in there for him to show it back.

I think I don't care so much about V-Day anymore because he shows me all the time that he loves me anyway. And I show him. It's the little things he does every day that have totally killed my need to have "big gestures". I always thought I was a big gesture kinda gal, but turns out that's just because I wasn't getting anything.

So our relationship works for us, because . . . it works for us. We just are these kind of people. I'm not a raging, "I can't believe you forgot and didn't get me any flowers!" kind of fiancee (hee hee-- still get a kick out of saying that). Even though with another guy I might have been. Also, I do realize that a large part of why he hasn't made a big deal about V-Day before is my fault. And I'm okay with the way things have been anyway.

So here's the part to do with writing. How do your characters, in love, show each other? Do they have tension because something isn't working? Are your characters more big-gesture kind of folks? If you're a romance writer, probably. Or are they more subtle, like WF and I, showing each other every day in little ways instead of all at once?