Critique Blog Hop Week 8

It’s Sunday, and that means another addition to the Critique Blog Hop! You can click that link for more information, or check out this page on my blog for the details.

This week I’m returning to my highest priority work-in-progress – On The Surface. These are the freshest 250 from what I’ve managed to add to it over the past few weeks… my schedule just has not been kind to my creative side lately. These are also the (current) first lines of the second chapter. I’m considering changing the point of view for the story, as I feel it may be more powerful in the first person POV rather than third. Any comments or thoughts on that are welcome!

—-

Liza wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of cleaning up the house. It would undoubtedly be a huge task, and why did they have to sell it anyway? After all, the house was still filled with Pap’s belongings, and most of his wife’s. She just knew her mother would get emotional, and then her dad would become annoyed and the whole thing would go to hell. Just thinking about the impending hours in the old house was exhausting.

They pulled into the cracked cement driveway between the house and the garage. Liza couldn’t help but notice her grandmother’s rose bush was blooming beautiful, bright pink flowers. They were still somewhat closed, like roses that people get for corsages or in arrangements for special occasions. They weren’t exactly buds, but they still had some time before they would open completely. She sighed as they walked past the bush and underneath the overhang.

“I’m so glad you decided to stay home for school, Liza,” her mother said over her shoulder. “You’ll be able to help us get the house ready.”

Before she could stop herself, she rolled her eyes at her mother’s comment. Luckily, though, her mother was in front of her and wasn’t looking. She knew her parents had been nervous about her college decision, but they were not the sole reason she chose to stay home when she could have gone to the state’s best school – three hours away.

—-

Like what you read? Check out these great authors for more 250 word excerpts!

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

https://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

 

Critique Blog Hop Week 7

It’s Sunday, and that means another addition to the Critique Blog Hop! You can click that link for more information, or check out this page on my blog for the details.

HUGE thanks to everyone for the positive feedback I got on my rewrite from week 6. I really dropped the ball on critiques last week — but I also dropped the ball on overall blog maintenance altogether last week. What can I say? It was a rough one for me (but spring break is almost here!) I promise to make up for it this week!

Anyway, here are my next 250 words. This is two excerpts from a WIP where I exercised the double viewpoint narration strategy.  In order for it to make a little bit of sense out of context, I took 125 ish words from Character A’s point of view, and the rest from Character B. It’s a new technique for me, and it might be tough to get the gist of what’s really happening in 250 ish word chunks, but I’m going to try anyway! Thanks all!

—-

He was walking to material sciences when he saw her the first time. Dressed in a black skirt, a dress shirt, and heels, she strutted purposefully up the sidewalk toward him. She was carrying a notebook in her arm and a messenger bag over her shoulder. Her cell phone was clenched in her other hand, but she wasn’t looking at it. They were surely going to cross paths, but this time Trevor didn’t have time to think of the right thing to say. She was getting closer.

He opened his mouth and began to raise his hand to wave, but Aerin wasn’t looking at him. Rather, she was looking in his direction, but her mind was clearly elsewhere. Some things never change, he thought. Within seconds, she had click-clacked past him, off to wherever she was headed so quickly.

Trevor couldn’t believe it. Snubbed by a girl he hadn’t spoken to since sophomore year of high school.

She was late. Well, technically she was right on schedule, but in the journalism world, early is on time, on time is late, and late is… well, you might as well just go home if you’re late.

Aerin was en route to the top of campus, forced to walk after missing the bus outside the downtown office of the campus newspaper. And as she was walking up from the office, she failed to notice the boy coming from the opposite direction toward her. She drew in a sharp breath and exhaled quickly, sweat beading on her forehead. Why did this meeting have to be on the complete opposite end of campus? And her heels – they were not working in her favor at this moment.

Her phone buzzed in her hand. You at the meeting yet?… Was all she could read before the screen went blank again.

—-

Like what you read? Check out these great authors for more 250 word excerpts!

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

https://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

Critique Blog Hop Week 6

It’s Sunday, and that means another addition to the Critique Blog Hop! You can click that link for more information, or check out this page on my blog for the details.

If you read my contribution last week, then you’ll recognize this post. I decided to rewrite last week’s 250 words based on the feedback I got, to see if I could improve the scene. Any comment is welcome! And don’t forget to check out others’ posts, too!

—-

Cory engaged the parking brake on her car and removed the key from the ignition. She’d sent a brief “here” text message when she’d turned down his street, and usually he came out to meet her, but as far as she could see, he was nowhere in sight. It worried her.

It could only mean that he wasn’t having a good day, which meant nothing good for her, either. She shuddered as a memory of the last time she’d caught her boyfriend on a bad day floated to the forefront of her thoughts.

Cory lifted the red and gold embossed envelope from the passenger’s seat, clutching it to her chest. Maybe she would wait to share her news with him, she thought. It would probably just sour his mood further. But she knew if she didn’t tell him now, he’d probably hear it from one of their friends, which would make his disposition worse. After all, big news travels fast in small, rural high school circles.

She tucked the envelope safely into her bag and zippered it shut, absently wrapping her lanyard around her fingers as she exited the car. The keys jingled together as she walked.  Without thinking, she began swinging them in the air, letting the lanyard fabric wrap itself around her hand. The twisting and untwisting motions grew faster as she got closer to the door, matching the fluttering feelings in her gut.

She hesitated at the door and, after a beat, knocked to announce her presence. She knew his parents weren’t home, but part of her wanted to give Alex a warning that she was here, that he better get it together and chill himself out if he was in one of his moods.

—-

Like what you read? Check out these great authors for more 250 word excerpts!

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

https://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

Want to be a Better Writer? Take An Acting Class

Star Wars Improvisational Street Theatre II

Star Wars Improvisational Street Theatre II (Photo credit: Thirteenth Nile)

I’ve shared posts that I get via Twitter from Jon Winokur before, but this is one author interview that caught my eye because of his advice to others: “Take an Improv acting class.” New author Tim Federle offers up acting classes as a way to learn to go with the flow and bash that inner-editor screaming at you on every paragraph.

I admit that I have taken an intro acting class — and it was a blast!

In college, since I was studying to be an English/Communications teacher, it was required that I take a beginning acting course. Since at some wealthy schools, English teachers would also be expected to teach drama and the like, I didn’t whine about it too much. (Definitely not as much as I did about my B- in a gym class, but that’s another story)

Anyway, this class turned out to be one of my favorite classes of all time. There were 18 students (an absurdly small number for a school like Penn State, where you could be in a class of hundreds). Our instructor, who was a grad student studying acting himself, was fantastic and encouraging and determined to break every single one of us out of our often thick shells.

We learned about all types of acting, including a lot of improv (short for improvisation, for those who don’t know) because he enjoyed doing it and acting with us too (he’s actually semi-famous now – he graduated and does shows all over the country). The idea is that you have to go with whatever the person you’re playing off of does – in other words, the only thing you cannot do is say “No.”

It really was a fabulous experience and I would love to continue to be a part of improv acting. I was a terrible actress (way too shy and reserved) but the idea of letting a story play out is so valuable to writing, that even observing others in the class would be helpful.

Anyway, the point of this post is that if you have the chance, DEFINITELY TAKE AN ACTING CLASS! It’s fun, and it’ll help your writing, as Mr. Federle points out!

The rest of the interview with author Tim Federle (whose first book was just released on February 5th!) is here: http://www.advicetowriters.com/interviews/2013/2/12/tim-federle.html. Turns out he’s really into theater himself, hence the advice!

 

Critique Blog Hop Week 5

It’s Sunday, and that means another addition to the Critique Blog Hop! You can click that link for more information, or check out this page on my blog for the details.

These are the first 250 words of another story I have tucked away on my flash drive to work on whenever On The Surface isn’t working for me. The genre is young adult fiction, and the general direction this story is going is that my main character is in an abusive relationship that she can’t get out of. It’s meant to be a sort of awareness bringer to the issue of teen dating violence. Let me know what you think!

—-

Cory pulled the parking brake on her car and pulled the key from the ignition. She’d texted Alex as she pulled into his driveway, and usually he came out to meet her, but today he hadn’t. It worried Cory.

It could only mean that he wasn’t having a good day, and Alex on a bad day wasn’t what Cory needed today.

She lifted the red and gold embossed envelope from the passenger’s seat, clutching it to her chest. Maybe she would wait to share her news with him, Cory thought.

She tucked the envelope safely into her bag and zippered it shut, absently wrapping her lanyard around her fingers as she exited the car, swing the keys from the shortened length. She let the swinging wind and unwind the fabric in her hand, the twisting motion becoming faster as she got closer to the door.

Cory knew she had an open invitation in the Latchko’s home. Alex’s mother always mentioned it. But she hesitated at the door and knocked anyway to announce her presence. His parents weren’t home, but part of her wanted to give Alex a warning that she was here, that he better get it together and chill himself out.

—-

Like what you read? Check out these great authors for more 250 word excerpts!

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

https://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

I’ve Been Chosen for a Liebster Award?!

Thanks to Julia from Butterfly Tales for nominating me for my very first blog “award” — the Liebster Award!

Thanks Julia!

The idea of this award is that bloggers nominate fellow bloggers to receive the award and post 11 facts about themselves, answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated them, and come up with 11 new questions for 11 other bloggers of the nominee’s choice to answer! (That was hard to follow, I know – you’ll get it if you read on!) You can read Julia’s Liebster post here.

I was curious about this award, so I did a little Google searching and discovered a few things about it. It began in 2010, it appears, and is somewhat like a chain letter, except it’s for bloggers and it serves the purpose of attracting a wider audience for lesser-known blogs. The blogs nominated are supposed to be small – under 200 followers – although earlier incarnations of the award had set the limit at 3,000. Oh, and “liebster” is German for “dearest!”

So now that you know the history, I’ll start off with eleven facts about myself!

1. I once talked NCAA football with U.S. President Barack Obama on the phone. (I was doing a story for the paper – you can see the transcript here! I’m the third student on the line.)

2. My favorite candy is the Snickers bar, but Hersheys with almonds is a close second.

3. I’m the first woman in my entire family to earn a Bachelor’s degree, and the second person in my family to go to a four-year college.

4. At one point, I owned over 50 rabbits — I used to be involved in 4H as a kid.

5. My favorite TV show to watch reruns of is That 70’s Show. My favorite current TV show is Community.

6. I am a dead ringer for Taylor Swift, or so I’m told. Once I was chased at a hotel by drunk men who thought I was Taylor Swift. Security was involved.

7. I was aided by a good Samaritan in college when I fell on ice and knocked myself out in a deserted parking lot. She called her friend who had a car and took me to the ER. Unfortunately, because of the concussion I had at the time, I can’t remember her name, but I’ve been paying this kindness forward ever since.

8. Once I broke three iPhones in three weeks. I dropped my 3GS on its antennae, was given a 3G by a friend, broke the power button, and then reverted back to my original iPhone 1 from 2007, which I proceeded to also drop and cause the screen to freeze. Also noteworthy: I was three days out of my warranty on the 3GS.

9. My all-time top favorite book is Watership Down by Richard Adams. I read it in 7th grade. My English teacher was impressed, although he wasn’t a fan of the storyline.

10. The best $5 I ever spent was on a ticket to a Jack’s Mannequin concert at my college. JM is my all time favorite band, and I shed physical tears when I heard they were done.

11. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

—-

Okay, now this next set are the answers to Julia’s questions:

1. What are you currently reading? I just finished To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn. It’s part of this mystery series featuring a detective and his dog, and it’s all told from the dog’s point of view! Hilarious.

Right now, I started Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn (no relation to Spencer Quinn, though!). It was free on Nook the other day, and it’s fantastic so far. Expect an update soon. 🙂

2. If you could meet any three people (alive, dead or fictional) who would they be? Andrew McMahon, Emily Giffin, and Joe Paterno

3. Favorite book? Well, I mentioned Watership Down already, but I also love Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and anything by Emily Giffin.

4. Most embarrassing moment? When I was in eighth grade and cell phones were just starting to become popular with kids, my parents got me a Boost Mobile phone, which had the ability to be a walkie-talkie. Once, I was in school during study hall, which was totally silent because our teacher was super strict, and my mom buzzed me on the walkie-talkie and was like, “Katrina? Where are you? I’m outside, but I don’t see anybody…” And when I didn’t answer, she kept buzzing me. Everyone could hear it even though my phone was in my purse. My mom was early to pick me up from school, which was why no one was around…

5. Can you make any anagrams with your name? Not that I know of…

6. Would you rather read Harry Potter or Twilight? Too easy – Harry Potter all the way!

7. One skill you wish you had? I wish I could wake up one day and be awesome at playing guitar.

8. Favorite song right now? I can’t help getting down to T. Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble!”

9. Last film you saw in the movies? Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie. It was fantastic, and I really loved Ben Whishaw as Q! So adorable.

10. Best childhood memory? Picking pecans out of butter pecan ice cream with my grandmother and loading them up into our bowls. 🙂

11. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would hit up Italy, France, England, and Australia. And New Zealand. And possibly Ireland, while I’m in Europe!

And now here are MY questions for those that I nominate!

1. What was your favorite vacation you’ve ever taken?

2. Who is your greatest inspiration?

3. If you could do anything for your career OTHER than what you do now, what would it be?

4. If you spend a day in the life of one person, who would it be?

5. What is your idea of the perfect day?

6. Is the glass half full, or half empty?

7. If you could be on any reality show, which one would you like to star on?

8. What is your favorite homemade meal?

9. Would you ever go sky diving?

10. If your life became a movie, which actor or actress would best portray you?

11. Would you rather be a contestant on Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune?

And here are my nominees! Sorry if I’ve tagged anybody twice, but hopefully you enjoy answering my questions!

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com/, http://allenfiction.com/, http://readfulthingsblog.com/, http://katiebieker.com/, http://novelconclusions.com/, http://aliceatwonderland.wordpress.com/,  http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/journeyofjordannaeast.wordpress.comhttp://thejoyunderneath.wordpress.com/http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/, http://booksandbowelmovements.com/