Monthly Archives: April 2013

Working Woman

As my last post may have hinted, I have found a job.  I am now working as a short-order cook at an IHOP.  This means that, of all the training and life skills I received in college, it was my time working in the dining halls that proved most useful to me.  Ah well.  It is hard work, and most days my legs feel like they’re going to fall off, but…money.  It’s also a fitting job for me, considering how many books I’ve discussed with my friends while eating late-night pancakes.

Anyway, about writing.

I’ve talked so much about the concept of “Show Don’t Tell.”  There are so many posts, and I know you’re not going to go back and read all of them, so I shouldn’t even link to them.  But I’ll give you a few, just for the hell of it.  Here’s one and then there’s this one, and there’s another here.

The thing is, after all that preaching about the concept, I found I’ve made a mistake.  I failed to specify when you should Show instead of Telling.  This occurred to me because I was rereading Hellbound, and I realized that sometimes it’s the narrator’s job to Tell.  That’s what description is, after all.  Sometimes you’re going to write something like this:

Sally looked at the old house on the corner and shuddered.  It looked ready to fall apart, with boarded up windows and peeling paint.  Plus, no matter what time of day it was or what the weather was like, that particular house always seemed to be in the shadows.

The above paragraph employs description to inform the reader.  That form of Telling is okay.  Sometimes you just need to tell the reader what a person or place looks like, who said what, what someone is thinking, etc.  You will notice, however, that the first sentence employs more of the Showing technique.  It implies that Sally is scared of the house, or creeped out by it, without explicitly saying, “Sally was scared of the old house on the corner.”  There is a difference between exposition and “Telling” in the bad way.  A lot of it comes from instinct and practice.  And the whole reason I’m bringing this up is so you know that I am not an advocate for trying to “Show” your readers every last little detail of the book.  I don’t even know if that’s possible.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say.  Have a comic.


Word of the Day: Carapace (n) – a bony or chitinous shield or shell covering some or all of the dorsal part of an animal, as of a turtle.



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Alex Reads

Remember a while back when I wrote about Fifty Shades of Grey?  No?  Well, here they are: Post 1 and Post 2.  Click on those links, read, and catch up.  Then watch this video:

For those who don’t remember, I did yet another post that I’m going to link to where I embedded a video of Alex reading Twilight.  Now he’s come back again to brighten my day and say exactly what I was thinking, but with a better accent.  Which is awesome.  So you should watch that video.

Now, without a comic, I am going to sink back into the black void of darkness that is editing/waiting for editors to get back to me/working at IHOP.


Word of the Day: Cursory (adj) – Going rapidly over something without noticing the details; hasty; superficial.

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The Host

I wrote a little while back about how I was conflicted about seeing the movie The Host, based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer.  The reason I was conflicted is because I actually liked reading The Host, but I don’t particularly want to support Stephenie Meyer.

I ended up seeing the movie anyway.

It was not as bad as you might think.  It followed the book really, really closely, which amazed me.  Especially since one of the previews before the movie was for the sequel to Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief.  Did anyone else see that movie?  I mean, it sucked by anyone’s standards, but it was even worse if you read and enjoyed the books.  That movie was nothing like the books.  It was a rip-off of the books written by someone who had read the back cover.  Or maybe just the title.  Who asked for a sequel to that incredibly bad movie?


The Host was a good book.  It had strong, female characters, it had a pretty interesting plot that was only marginally stolen from Animorphs.  It had two love interests, one for the female protagonist, and another for the alien inhabiting the female protagonist.  I found this to be pretty cool, and really well done.

The biggest problem I found I had with the movie was that the girl who plays Melanie (female protagonist who gets inhabited by peaceful, mind-controlling, probably communist alien) was only good at playing one half of her dual personality.  See, in the story, Melanie is this strong woman who refuses to give her mind over to the little alien slug in her brain.  As a result, the alien and Melanie end up sharing a brain and a body.  Melanie is not in control of her actions, but she’s still there in her head, yelling at the alien.  The alien, meanwhile, is more soft spoken and gentle.  So while the actress – Saoirse Ronan – was really good at playing the gentle alien bit, her portrayal of Melanie was unconvincing.  She didn’t sound strong or confident at all, and all her lines as Melanie felt forced.

A lot of lines were delivered poorly by the younger actors, in my opinion.  The older, more experienced actors were fine.  And, randomly, so was the kid who played Jamie – Melanie’s younger brother.  He was pretty decent.

Would I recommend seeing The Host in theaters?  No.  It only made 11 million dollars at the box office on its opening weekend for a reason.  It just wasn’t executed very well, despite staying true to the book.  Would I recommend seeing it at all?  Sure.  If you read and liked the book, you’d probably get a kick out of this movie.  It just doesn’t seem extremely necessary to go see it in theaters like I did.

That was a lot of words with very few pictures.  Have a hula hooping Mini Bex:


And a comic:


And a Word of the Day:

Word of the Day: Bastion (n) –  1. A fortified place.  2. Anything seen as preserving or protection some quality or condition.


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Fun Things

I am on an editing binge.  Can one binge on editing?  I am.

Luckily for you, I just finished rereading Hellbound for the 100th time, and I need a quick break before I dive in for another go.  That means you get another blog post from me!  By the way, a lot of people are new here, which means you might not know anything about Hellbound.  Oh no!  Don’t worry, you can check out this post and this one for a sneak preview.  The book no longer reads anything like that, of course, due to major editing.  You’ll have to take my word for it, but the prologue isn’t nearly so contrived and…I don’t know… kitschy anymore.  I’d post the new version but I don’t know if editors would like me doing that, so…sorry.  You’ll still get an idea of the premise and my writing style.  (Please forgive any typos or errors you find!  By now I have almost definitely caught and fixed them!)

Oh, one more link.  You can find out all about Hellbound (the premise, the reviews from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, etc.) on my website.  Click here for easy access to that page.

On to fun thing number two: This article about Grammar and our misconceptions about it.  Thanks to my mother for sending that one my way.  Do read it.  It’s definitely interesting for grammar nuts and it even relates back to one of my earlier posts.

Don’t hate me for pushing all these links on you.  I do it out of love.

More links

Fun thing number three!  During this editing binge of mine, I have found myself sitting for long periods of time with my eyes glued to a computer screen.  If you don’t find yourself particularly amenable to this idea, well…neither am I.  So here’s my advice to you: Buy a hula hoop and/or a jumprope.  I bought myself a hula hoop just the other day, and it has been a lifesaver.  Though it did lead to me feeling super embarrassed in front of the saleslady at the toy store.  She, of course, asked me if it was an Easter present for someone (read: some child under the age of eight).  I could have told her it was for me.  But that would have been honest and also embarrassing.  So I awkwardly grunted the response, “Passover.”  To which she said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  I just don’t know much about that.”  And I told her, “It’s okay.  Passover isn’t usually a holiday that you buy presents for, but I have young cousins.”  Which was all technically true.

hula hoop

The reason I recommend children’s toys is, well…they’re toys.  They are meant to be fun and distracting.  The best thing about hula hoops and jump ropes is that they are toys that make you exercise a bit.  This helps get the blood flowing, is a healthier choice than sitting for hours without moving, and best of all they require just enough concentration to not allow you to think about writing for a few blissful moments!  Boy that was a long sentence!

Fun thing number four!  Some numbers!  Word count, to be more specific.  I am going to give you three word counts.  The first is from one of my very first drafts of Hellbound.  The second is from a major editing session I did right before my agent sent my book out to editors.  The third is from what I finished doing just now, at the request of a person.  (I really can’t disclose that much about what’s going on right now.)  Anyway, here they are:

First draft: 55,874 words

Second draft: 70,485 words

Third draft: 83,624 words

The reason I’m telling you about these is because of the stigma that is associated with editing.  The word “editing” calls to mind (for me at least) the idea of cutting the book down, making it shorter, etc.  But, as you can see, years of “editing” Hellbound have caused the book to expand.  It added nearly 30,000 words, in fact.  That’s about forty-five pages on Word, single spaced, give or take (I skip to a new page every time I start a new chapter, so there is some amount of blank space there).  Nifty, huh?

Okay, now I am done.

OH!  I forgot to add one last fun thing.  I will put it in as my comic for today, as it is sort of a comic.  I was talking with a friend about how much you grow to hate your own books and I drew a graph depicting that:

Book Enjoyment Graph(2)

I told my friend that I was somewhere at the lower end of the enjoyment scale, but he just laughed and said “You wish,” and then told me I was somewhere just to the right of the peak.  Siiiigh.  Such is my life.

Word of the Day: Amenable (adj) – ready or willing to answer, act, agree, or yield; open to influence, persuasion, or advice; agreeable; submissive; tractable

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