Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Gambit has always been one of my favorite X-Men. And I think it's because of his attitude. He doesn't whine like the rest of them. "Boo hoo! I'm scared of enclosed spaces." (Storm) "Wah! my wife is dead...again!" (Cyclops) "Woe is me, I'm surrounded by idiots." (Emma Frost) "*Tear* Why doesn't anyone treat me like a grown-up?" (Shadow Cat)
You won't find any of that from Remy. Even though he can't touch his girlfriend, he's constantly fighting (literally) his best friend, and Apocalypse turned him into the horseman DEATH, that Cajun grin is never gone too long.
1. If ever there comes a choice, always choose family.
Remy LeBeau (aka Gambit) was abandoned at birth and raised by theives. One day, he met a beautiful rich woman with a very expensive necklace. So Remy, being the womanizer that he is, decided to romance the woman (Genevieve) so he could get close enough to steal the necklace - which he did. The problem was, Sabertooth wanted the same necklace. So he kidnapped Genevieve and Remy's brother (Henri) and dropped them from (don't quote me but I think it was the Eiffel Tower). Remy only had time to save one person and he chose his brother. With her dying breath, Genevieve told Gambit that she loved him and would have given him the necklace if only he'd asked.
What we learn from Gambit: Getting published can seem, at times, every bit as valuable as any material treasure. With this in mind, don't let your eye on the prize keep you from appreciating those around you. Believe me, I know how easy it can be to get sucked into a WIP. But you can't let it dominate all of your time. Make sure to spend time with your family and let them know how much you appreciate them for putting up with a crazy writer.
2. Don't let seemingly impossible obstacles stand in your way.
When Remy joined the X-Men, right away he was drawn to Rogue. The problem was - because of Rogue's mutant ability to absorb - physical contact was out of the question. So, did that mean Remy gave up? No way! Remy pursued Rogue for years, stealing kisses that would leave him dazed, but nevertheless, not giving up. His persistence paid off. Per the most recent comics, Rogue has finally learned to control her mutant ability - leaving her able to touch Gambit without any side-effects. (And all it took was twenty-nine years.)
What we learn from Gambit: Persistence pays off! Sure, that publishing deal seems impossible and it will remain impossible if you give up. The only way to make it in this business is through persistence and patience.
3. At some point, you're going to have to assess your readership and set your own personal standards.
In Gambit's early days, along with Wolverine and several other Marvel characters, he was portrayed as an avid smoker. But, realizing the majority of comic readers to be teens and children, Marvel's EIC, Joe Quesada enforced a comic-wide anti-smoking policy. Hello Nicorette!
What we learn from Gambit: You, too, especially if you write for teens and children, are going to have to decide what topics and taboos you introduce them to. Only you can decide in what light you are going to portray different situations. But just remember - With great power comes great responsibility.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Why? you ask.
Because two kick-ass books come out on Tuesday and I want nothing to distract me from devouring them!!!
What books? you ask.
Check it out:
Seriously. Can't. Wait.
So, back to the chain. This round was started by non other than the the above book's, THE DEATHDAY LETTER, author, Shaun Hutchinson, who asked:
"From where do you get your inspiration for stories? Give me the oddest, coolest, things that have inspired you."
Wow. This was a tricky question for me because I get my ideas, literally, everywhere. But to give you a more recent example, let me start with my WIP. I've been obsessed with mermaids since I was eight-years-old (thank you Disney!) but, when the idea for this novel began to form (late 2007) I knew that my mermaids would be unlike any portrayed before. My inspiration came from the oil companies and their oil leaks, the human population and the CO2 levels we raise in the ocean, and the military and the sonars they use to disrupt migration and breeding patterns of sea animals.
Seriously, if you were a mermaid, with everything we've done to the ocean, wouldn't you be a little less inclined to sing and brush your hair and more inclined to be royally pissed?
Next, enter my MC, a seventeen-year-old girl who's recently moved to Florida because her military step-dad has been relocated to Aglin air force base. To write her point of view I used my memories of my next-door neighbors growing up. Their dad was a pilot in the air force and what sticks out most in my mind was the fact that they weren't allowed to call their parents "Mom" and "Dad". They had to use "Ma'am" and "Sir". Also, my first husband was in the air force so I spent a year living on an air force base, which, if you've never been, is a world all into its own, so I drew upon my own experiences with military families to add to the story.
Basically, I draw on my own experiences or real world happenings and add a paranormal twist. How about you? Where do you draw your idea inpiration?
Check out Abby's answer before mine and Shannon who will answer tomorrow.
And don't forget to check out THE DEATHDAY LETTERS and THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE!!!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Let Them Sing It For You
Here's what it does - You type in words (any words) and then hit the play button and your brand new song will play (courtesy a database of prerecorded artists).
It's good for a couple of giggles.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
So, last year, I was lucky enough to be sitting in the audience during a Buffy The Vampire Slayer panel, listening to the swoon-worthy James Marsters answer questions (oh yeah, and the other actors, too) when they announced it was time for the panel to wrap up - but there was time for just one more question.
So, this guy walks up to the mic and he says:
And then James says:
Happy Hump Day!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
This week's blog chain was started by my comic book kindred spirit, Amanda, who asked:
"What do you do to keep yourself motivated when you feel like you're not making any progress in your writing career?"
This is such a fabulous question because it's something I fight with daily. I recently acquired a two-book deal from Flux, and while I'm still happy dancing, I discovered something upsetting. Before the deal, I struggled with my motivation almost on a daily basis. If you recall from some of my interviews, a difficult childhood left me an inner editor that borders on abusive. I thought that obtaining a book deal would silence the voice once and for all...I was wrong. As recent as last Thursday found me on the phone with my close crit-buddy Sarah, with her trying to talk me down from the nefarious ledge of control+A+Delete on my latest WIP. You see, even with the book deal under my belt I still have trouble believing that I'm good enough.
My crit-buddies and I joke about a place we call the Writer's Pit. The Writer's Pit is the place you go when your motivation and confidence is drained. It's bleak there, hard to climb out, and I own a timeshare.
So, back to the question, what do I do to stay motivated?
I get in touch with all the things that inspire me to write. For example, I:
1. Hang out with pirates. (STL Pirate Fest)
2. Cheese it up with super heroes. (STL Archon)
3. Watch movies with wizards. (Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince movie premier)
4. Shoot Guns.
5. Attend Lectures.
(Jason & Grant from Scify's Ghost Hunters)
6. Drink Sake.
7. Pretend to be a Super Hero. (Usually done directly after #6)
8. Compete in Dog Shows.
9. Rock Out.
By opening the door to other creative outlets, I give myself the chance for inspiration to strike. And when it does, well, that's a one-way ticket out of the pit.
I'd love to hear your take on the subject! What do you do when you find yourself in a funk? Check out the always awesome Abby's blog, who posted yesterday, and the radically real Rebecca who will be posted later today (because I was late - shame on me!!!)
Hope you're all having an inspired weekend!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Okay, so I realize that Black Cat isn't one of the X-Men but she's still a superhero.
Er...alright, so she's not always a superhero, but she's still wicked cool and can teach us a thing or two about writing.
1. Don't Get Mad - Get EVEN
When Felica Harday (aka Black Cat) was only a freshman in college, she was date-raped by her then boyfriend, Ryan. Instead of falling to pieces, Felicia decided to empower herself with intensive training sessions in martial arts and acrobatics. By choosing to better herself instead of succumbing to pain, Black Cat was able to hone her fighting skills to make her an even match for such super-villains as Dr. Octopus, Sabertooth, and even Carnage.
What we can learn from Black Cat: Rejections hurt. There's no way around it. The blow they deal to your confidence can be enough to make any writer feel like throwing in the towel. (I should know, I've had over a hundred.)But instead of curling into fetal position and rocking yourself in a dark room, take the rejections for what they really are - an opportunity to better yourself. Take the time to improve your writing, honing your skills until your a force to be reckoned with. If you don't, then the rejection has won.
2. There Are No Shortcuts
After Black Cat fell in love with Spider-Man she promised to give up her cat-burglary ways. She began patrolling the city with him in an effort to fight crime. The problem was, Spider-Man was often confronted with super-villains with super powers, something that Felicia didn't have. After Spider-Man was seriously injured tyring to protect her during an attack, she decided that her lack of super powers made hers a liability to Spider-Man. Desperate to keep Spider-Man in her life, Felicia sought out the assistance of the Kingpin. Unfortunately, her new super powers - a bad luck jinx - turned infectious and began to infect Spider-Man, which was exactly what the Kingpin had wanted all along.
What we can learn from Black Cat: Sure, we look at all our favorite authors and want so badly to be where they are. So, when a so-called agent says they can make you a best-seller and all it will take is a wad of cash, the offer can be enticing. Just know this, there are no short-cuts in publishing. There is no one you can pay to make you a success. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a crook.
3. Sure, It Looks Good On The Outside...
From the moment Felicia met Spider-Man he was what she wanted. She altered her life for him; gave up her criminal ways, fought by his side, and even had herself altered so that she might have super powers. So in love was Felicia...until the day Peter took off his mask.
What we can learn from Black Cat: Being a published author looks so cool, right? You get to be famous, go to book signings, and make tons of money...Er, on second thought, let's have a look behind the mask. The odds of achieving the fandom the likes of Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling are, quite literally, one-in-a-million. The ugly truth is, most authors don't make enough to quit their days jobs. There are no throngs of screaming fans in line for their book signings and they're lucky if their postman recognizes them by sight. Sure, the outside package might look good but you really have to love the ugly underneath (the actual writing) if you're going to make it work.
4. Revenge Is NEVER The Answer
When Felicia learned that Spider-Man was really Peter Parker she freaked. She was afraid that learning Peter's true identity would ruin their relationship. Also, she didn't understand why Peter would hide his true identity to the world and pretend to be a normal guy. So, she broke up with him. Unfortunately, once Peter was out of her life Felicia realized that she did love him, regardless of who he was. The problem was, in the time it took her to realize this, Peter married Mary Jane. Furious and broken-hearted, Felicia set about making Mary Jane's life miserable with her nonstop threats and harassment - thereby driving a permanent wedge between her and Peter.
What we can learn from Black Cat: Revenge is never the answer. Even when you've slaved for years on your masterpiece only to have an agent reject it in a matter of days, repress the urge to write them an email full of choice words. Agents talk. If you make yourself known as the crazy who writes hateful emails, the chances of you landing an agent - despite your writing talents - is next to nil.
That's all for this week's Write Like An X-Men. If you want more Black Cat be sure to check out Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man where she makes regular guest appearances.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I've known about this website for years, and until now, have kept it my personal secret. I showed it to my agent who freaked over its awesomeness. It's simple, yet rocks. You always hear on twitter/blogs about new YA releases, but have you ever wondered where you could find a list of all the new releases at once? Well, wonder no more! Basically, it shows the latest young adult books to hit the market and links that show where to buy them.
Now don't say I never did nuthin' for ya. :D