Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to Make Blogging Easy

I don’t know if this is common knowledge or not, but I’ve learned a few tricks to make blogging super easy. It’s so easy, in fact, that I went on vacation for a week, didn't touch a computer the whole time, and none of you knew about it. Neither did my Facebook friends, my Twitter followers, my email followers, or my LinkedIn network.
Here are my secrets:
Automate everything. For those of you who don’t know, you can set it up so every time you post something on blogger, it automatically posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all your registered email followers.
Twitter: Set up an account at This site is great and provides you with all kinds of helps and goodies. Click on Publicize > Socialize > Add a Twitter account.
Emails: On, click on Publicize > Email Subscription. Highlight the HTML code. Go to Design on your blog, Add Gadget > HTML and paste the code. Your guests can click on it (my link is to the left), enter their email address, confirm their address, and every post is sent directly to their email.
Facebook: Go to, set up an account, and click Add Your Blog. Click on Syndication and it will link them up.
Linkedin: Set up a profile. In the top menu bar, click on More > Get More Applications and you’ll see a Blog Link button. I have mine attached to my Twitter Feed.
Write All Your Articles In Advance
Never sit in front of the computer in the morning and think, “What should I talk about today?” You might not think of anything. It's lame when people write, "I'm not in the mood to blog today."

I have bursts of inspiration where I come up with several ideas at a time. When I feel inspired, I write as many articles as I possibly can and save them. I got a little carried away with this and now I have enough articles to last me over a month. It’s nice that I can disappear off the face of the earth for a month and no one online would know.
Schedule Your Posts
There’s a feature in Blogger that lets you schedule your posts to publish on their own. I can post at the same time everyday so I never feel pressured to get to a computer in the morning. When you write a new post, click on Post Options>Schedule, and set your date and time.
See? Easy!

If this was helpful to you, spread it around. Maybe it will help others too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Time I Accidentally Got High

I’m against drugs of all kinds, including alcohol. Everyone at my high school knew this, so you can imagine their surprise when I came to class high.

It wasn’t my fault.

A friend of mine showed me how to blow fire using a lighter. She pressed the button and sucked out the fluid, then lit the flame and blew on it. A whoosh! came out of her mouth. I found out later you can do the same thing with flour or powdered sugar, which I wish I had tried instead.

I decided to attempt the trick when I was bored in my Art History class. I made all my friends gather around, I filled my mouth with gas, lit the flame, blew on it, and the flame went out. That was embarrassing. Everyone laughed while I tried to figure out why it didn’t work.

“You probably swallowed the gas,” said a friend.

A few minutes went by before I started feeling weird. It was like the top of my head was floating over my body. I tried explaining this strange sensation to my friends, but instead of understanding me, they just stared with dropped jaws. I was about to explain again when a much more urgent need took over.

“Guys,” I said, “I need pop tarts.”

A girl raised her eyebrow. “You need pop tarts?”

“Yes. I need them. Like, right now.”

She leaned over and scrutinized my face with narrowed eyes. “I think you’re high,” she said.

“Do you have money for pop tarts? I really need them. I’m serious.”

They didn’t seem to understand the severity of my need for pop tarts because instead of helping me, they couldn’t stop laughing. Luckily I had some money in my purse, so I went to the vending machine and bought some, along with two bags of peanut butter M&Ms. In my next class, I sat down and ate all of it in a matter of minutes.

People from other tables craned their heads to watch me. “What on earth?” someone asked.

“I think I’m high,” I admitted with a frown.

“You’re what?”

“Ugh, I feel sick.” I lay my head on the table and wrapped my arms around my stomach. Being high isn’t nearly as fun as people make it sound.

I felt better after eating lunch, but I still must have been buzzed. I discovered that when I swished my orange juice around in the bottle it made a funny sound, so I put my ear up to the mouth and was entertained for a good five minutes. I stopped when I saw all of my friends staring at me.

“She really is high,” someone said.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Impatience? Not Again!

I’m in the middle of doing some major revising of my book Sacred Fire. I’ve finished 100 out of 300 pages. I keep thinking to myself, “I could start sending this to beta readers. They could work on the beginning while I continue revising the rest.”

It’s not that this wouldn’t work, although it would be a lot of unnecessary trouble. The problem I’m sensing is impatience.

I learned a lesson on impatience when I queried my book long before it was ready. When I decided to let the process take as long as it needed to, I was overwhelmed by this Zen feeling, like I was meditating in a Buddhist monastery and I knew everything is as it should be. Me, conquer impatience? Yeah!

Now it’s happening again. When I think about my book, my breath gets shorter. My fingers twitch to the keyboard and I have to keep them from sending mass emails to as many beta readers as I can coerce into working with me.

I close my eyes and tell myself to chill. I remind myself of my timeframe:
  1. It will take me months to finish revising with my new beta readers
  2. it will take months or even a year to find an agent
  3. my book would be on submission to editors for months and even a year (or more, heaven forbid)
  4. if editors don’t take it, I might have to find a new agent to try submitting it to editors again (which is surprisingly common)
  5. when a publisher accepts a book, it takes a year before it hits the shelves.
I expect this to take 2 years minimum, 4 ½ years maximum. This is all assuming my book will even be successful. I’m in this for the long haul. What’s the rush?

Yeah, that doesn’t help. My fingers are still twitching.

My only solution is to set deadlines past the time I want to act and practice the discipline not to jump ahead. 

Does anyone else have this problem? Any ideas on how to solve it?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Nature of Magic

Alright, another chance to talk about my new book! Tessa Blurb is hosting a blogfest on The Nature of Magic. The goal is to write about your views on magic, or to talk about your character's views. Since Hunger has a ghost in it, this was a pretty easy assignment.

As a lover of magic, I'm excited about this fest and I can't wait to read what other people have written.

Hunger, Chapter 3

“When are you going to see him again?” asked my mom.
                “Thursday. He’s in my French class.” I imagined finding Eric sitting in the back of the room, quietly contemplative like he was before. Before class, I’d plan in intricate detail everything I would say so I wouldn’t be caught unprepared like last time. Then I'd rehearse it over and over, and most likely get caught in the moment and not use any of it.
                “How is, uh…” My mom glanced quickly at the exchange students. Kwan continued to stir while Suku cut up tofu. Kayla watched them and was no longer paying attention to us. Mom leaned closer and lowered her voice. “How is he handling it?”
                My shoulders deflated. Of course, Mom had to ruin it by bring him up. I took her by the arm and pulled her into the living room where the exchange students and Kayla couldn’t hear us.
                “Why do we always have to talk about him?” I asked.
                “I’m just worried about you. He has a tendency to sabotage things when other people are happy.”
                I rolled my eyes. I was so tired of talking about my ghost. He was just a presence that hung around the house, but Mom acted like he was a sickness or a disability or something. I hadn’t even seen him or heard him, though Mom had told me I probably would eventually. I just felt his emotions. My mom hated him because more often than not, his emotions were bitter and angry.
I didn’t mind him so much. He was like an ugly coat hanger you plan on getting rid of, but you tuck it into a closet and forget about. I could tune him out. I certainly wasn't going to let a jealous ghost shadow my excitement over Eric.
                No one knows when it started, but for many generations back, the ghost has picked a member of our family to follow around. We aren’t sure how he picks the person to follow. I think he picks his favorite, but Mom says he’s incapable of affection. She thinks he likes women who look the same. I take after my mom more than any of my sisters, and she takes after my grandma, and so forth.
Before I was born, Mom secretly wished she would have all boys just to throw a wrench in his plan. Alas, she had three girls. She watched us as we grew up and tried to pick out characteristics she thought he would be interested in. She hoped, even though she knew it was a fruitless hope, that for some miraculous reason the ghost would move on and leave this generation alone.
                She thought she knew who he would pick when I was about seven and she heard her name being yelled from my bedroom. If one of us said there was a man in our room, she’d know. We were a little young for it – he usually waited until at least high school to choose a girl – but she heard her great-grandma was picked fairly young. She wouldn’t put it past him to haunt a child. She ran into our room to see which of us had the nightmare, but to her surprise, both Callie and I had the same nightmare at the same time. We continued sharing nightmares for a long time: There’s a monster under our bed, we’d say, or there’s a vampire at our window, etc. Each night Mom went back to her room, dropped back onto her bed, and waited.
We continued having nightmares and every night she’d ask us to describe what we saw, heard, or felt to see if any of it resembled the ghost, but none of it did. She grew more  apprehensive.
                By the time I was ten, my sister and I had long since recovered from our night-frights and Mom thought she’d have to wait longer. She told me she would have preferred it if he kept haunting her for the rest of her life instead of passing to one of her children.
One night my little sister had a nightmare, only this time she said she saw a man in the room. Mom sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed Callie’s back to help her sleep, and she thought then that she knew. I don’t remember any of this, but she says I sat up in bed with a groan and said, “Stop being such a baby. He’d never hurt anyone. He’s just unhappy.”
                She knew then that the ghost had picked me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Finding the Lost Church

This is my entry for the Lost and Found blogfest. You can scroll down to read my entry for the Paint it Purple Blogfest.

My husband and I love to geo-cache. It’s basically a treasure hunt for adults. You go online and find the GPS coordinates for a "cache" -- a small contained with a log book in it -- along with some clues on how to find it. You sign the log to show you were there. It’s all over the world. We geo-cached in Rome. Here’s a picture of one that was stuffed in the wall of the Circus Maximus (an ancient horse track):

Click here to see how many are in your area. You'll probably be shocked.

Andrew and I found one at the Lost Church: a building so old, no one knows what the church was called. The cemetery is there. That’s what I love about caching: it leads you to places you never would have found otherwise.

Most of the graves were dated around 1850, and some of them were so old, the lettering was gone and the tombstones were half-buried.

Marquis was a private in the Civil War. That was an exciting find.

Bell died when she was only 20 years old. Visiting the site made me grateful for modern medicine; many of these people died too young. I love her name, since she was a Southern Belle.
There were many graves for babies. Sarah died when she was only one month old.

Poor Nancy. I would hate to have "third wife" on my tombstone. This stone is new, so a family member probably put it there. 
It was fascinating to visit this piece of lost history. I felt saddened by the deaths as well as curious about their lives. I wondered what happened to Bell, why Levi had three wives, and if Marquis died in the war. I imagined Sarah's mother kneeling in front of the grave when they buried her, right where I kneeled when I read her name.

Sometimes the dead feel far away, and sometimes they feel very close. They felt far away for me because I wanted to know more about them, but I couldn't. I hope my descendants renew my tombstone when it gets old so people can at least read my name.

The cache was behind the cemetery up in a tree and you had to pull a rope to lower it.

This was one of the best caches I’ve ever found.

Paint it Purple Blogfest

The challenge for Erin Kane's fest? To take 100 words and "paint it purple with enough metaphors, similes, and poetry to gag the most die hard beatnik, to run wild, spitting in the face of good taste, genre norms, and Occam's razor."
Oh, I spat alright, and I felt almost physically sick writing something I knew would be bad that people would see. I was happy with the results, though. It sounds silly in parts and I'm going to trim it down a lot, but this exercise was good for me and I'm glad I tried it.
The exerpt is from my WIP Hunger.


I ran inside and saw Alicia on her knees. Nathan stood above her with a firm grip on her hair. She had her hands on top of his hand, but she didn’t fight. Tears streaked her face.
“What did you do to her?” I demanded.
“Watch this.” Nathan pulled her by her hair to one side and she followed without resisting. He moved her to the other side, up and down and back and forth, like a puppet. “I can do whatever I want to her, and she can’t do anything about it. Do you have any idea how good that feels?”


I ran into the back room, tripping over furniture because my vision was clouded with rage like a storm. When I entered I collapsed against the side of the doorway and clutched my chest that felt like it would burst from the running and the fear. I knew what I would see, but I had denied myself from thinking about it like a future-repressed memory, so it still sent shockwaves shooting from my feet up my body.
Nathan stood above Alicia in a triumphant stance like a man with a flag on uncharted land. Alicia cowered on her knees like a dog beaten for disobedience. Nathan’s lip curved in a triumphant sneer. His undiscriminating hate filled him from his core to his edges and I knew what a thrill that hate gave him. He didn’t even know Alicia, but his power over her was like caffeine injected in his veins.
Alicia’s hands were on top of grip to keep him from pulling on her hair. Instead of fighting, she sank with helplessness. Her face was stained with tears like a dripping faucet stains a cement wall. Her eyes pleaded with me like a dying puppy.
The guilt of knowing I let this happen to her twisted my soul into a knot jagged with barbed wire. I had never felt so evil. I was bloated with loathing for Nathan and for myself.
“What did you do to her?” I asked, though I knew just as well as I knew the cruelty in Nathan’s grip, and I didn’t want to hear him say it anymore than I wanted to hear the sure-to-come declaration that I would be damned to hell for this.
Nathan’s sneer rose to a glowing grin like he was holding his newly-born child, a demon as black as himself. I took a step back because I feared what new idea could give him such pleasure and then cursed myself for my cowardice.
“Watch this,” said Nathan. He yanked on Alicia’s hair to make her fall to the side and she fell limp to the side like a rag doll just as he wanted. He pulled her to the other side and then forward and back, like a flesh-and-blood puppet, and he continued to torment her as she continued to cry and beg with her eyes. “Don’t you see?” he asked. His excitement swelled his chest like a pregnant stomach. “I can do whatever I want to her, and she can’t do anything about it. Do you have any idea how good that feels?”

Wow, that's so long. Danget, I wish I had tried this before NaNoWriMo.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Words You Think You Need But Don't

Sometimes our writing feels like a heavy load.
Writers can usually tell when they get wordy, but aren’t necessarily sure what can get cut. Here are some things you can get rid of:

I saw, I felt, I knew

For some reason, it’s not enough just to say something happened; we have to point out that the writer perceived what happened. For example, you might say: Jack felt a hand grab his shoulder.

This is unnecessary because we know he felt it. No one gets grabbed on the shoulder without feeling it. You also don’t have to say, “I looked across the room and saw a man glaring at me.” If your character says, “A man across the room glared at me,” we know he saw it.


In my book, there are a lot of mobs and crowds, and I found myself saying things like “all the people,” or “the whole of Rome.” I can just as easily say “the people” or “Rome.” It’s not like I would say, “The people screamed in despair, except for a handful who weren’t all that worried.” Instead of saying “her entire body ached,” I should say, “her body ached.” You get the picture.


If you use adverbs, instead of saying “I said,” you say, “I said bitterly,” or “I said excitedly.” I’m a recovering adverb addict myself. At first, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t use them. If I don’t say the way my character spoke was bitter, how will the reader know?

It didn’t click in my head until I read Jennifer Hubbarb’s fantastic post, Streamlining. She pointed out that we often use adverbs when we can't come up with a strong verb. It becomes a crutch.

Instead of saying, “She walked quietly” and “She went sneakily,” you can say “She tiptoed” and “She crept.” Doesn’t that sound better?

Oftentimes we don’t need an adverb because there’s only one way to do the action. Another example Jenn used was “She put her ear flat against the door.” How else would you put your ear against a door? Unevenly? Or instead of saying, “She squeezed her hands tightly into fists,” you can just say she squeezed them because no one makes a loose fist.

When you use too many adverbs, you’re telling, not showing. If my character said something bitterly, I could have written, “His lip curved in a bitter sneer.” Much more interesting.

"Seemed to, looked like"

Don't say things like, "He seemed to be staring at me." He either was or he wasn't. You should only say "seemed" when your character finds out she was wrong ("He seemed to be staring at me, but then I realized he was staring at someone behind me.")


I don’t know why we use “that” when we don’t have to. It just sounds good in our heads. Does anyone know the rule for this? I’ve looked in grammar books and haven’t found anything.

I took out a few unnecessary thats in this article. Originally, I wrote, “If I don’t say that the way my character was bitter…” I changed it to “If I don’t say my character was bitter…” It means the same thing. It’s just less wordy.


Adjectives are great tools, but like adverbs, we can use them as a crutch when we’re too lazy to describe things. I might be tempted to write “the necklace was beautiful” when I could have said, “the gold in the necklace clasped deep green emeralds that shone in the sun.” After a sentence like that, I don’t need to tell you it’s a beautiful necklace.

He began, then he started

Since every action has a beginning, middle, and end, we can assume if a character wasn’t doing something before but is now, he probably started doing it at some point. I shouldn’t say, “She started to cry.” I only need to say “she cried.”

In the same way, we don't need to say the word "then." Example: "She cried, and then he ran out of the room." We write actions in the order they happened. We already know he ran out of the room after she started crying.

Was + ing

I can't for the life of me figure out why we do this, but instead of saying "he ran," we like to say, "he was running." It’s called past continuous. What's worse is when we say "he had been running," past perfect progressive. Even the terms for these verbs are wordy. Keep your verbs simple!

We think this takes us more into the action, but a reader doesn't distinguish one verb from another. He just sees a form of "run," and whether the character ran or had run or was running or had been running doesn't change the action.

We also do this because we feel we have to say at what point in time something happened. We might want to write, "He was running and then she started running. She caught up to him because he had been running for a long time and was tired." We could say, "He ran and she rushed after him. His was already tired, so she caught up to him easily."

There are many other things I could include in this post, but it’s getting kind of long, so I’m going to stop there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Massacre

Once a month at my church, members of the congregation are given an hour to come up to the podium and bear their testimonies about the gospel. Most of them are spiritually uplifting, many of them are sweet, and a few of them are darned funny.

Example: A kid came up and talked about goals his family set. One of the goals was to stop saying the F word. His father immediately ran up and explained that the F word was “fart.”

Some of the testimonies are ridiculous.

A twenty-something girl in my congregation got up and said she had recently been through a difficult trial. She was a dog groomer, and she accidentally killed a dog. I think she stepped on it. Her eyes misted over as she talked about how tragic this was for her and how grateful she was for the power of prayer and the Lord’s help in getting through it.

All the while I’m thinking, “Seriously? You need God to help you get over the death of a dog?”

Now, this is what I call a good testimony:

A girl and her sister where going for a drive, and she felt a sudden prompting to take their large truck instead of their small car. As they were driving in the truck, something large hit it. There was a loud cry:


There was another, and then another. A flock of sheep had escaped their pen and gathered in the middle of the highway. Sheep hit the front, flew over the roof, and fell under the wheels. It was a flurry of blood and tufts of wool.

She was grateful for the prompting because if she had taken the car, the sheep would have hit the windshield and killed her and her sister.

People in the congregation had to press their palms to their mouths to keep from laughing. We were all picturing flying balls of fluff, cries of “Baa!” and being killed by a sheep.

She stopped when she saw us crying from stifling our laughter. “Okay, it is kind of funny,” she admitted.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweet! I'm a Finalist!

East for Green Eyes hosted a fun blogfest where people post short stories and critique them. The hosts picked their five favorite stories, and now readers can look at them and vote on their favorites. You have until this Friday to vote!

Now I wish I had come up with a better title.

The stories are all great, and they're less than 1,000 words long, so it's definitely worth your time. Click here to vote. 

The prize? A $20 gift certificate, bragging rights, and the sweet satisfaction of winning a contest. That's reason enough for me to do just about anything.

You can click below to read the story. It's 100% true, by the way. I still can't believe this happened to me!

How Did You Pick Your Age Group?

As I make more writer friends on the internet, I've noticed most to them write Young Adult fiction. This surprised me. I always figured that since we are adults, it would be easier to write for adults, but it looks like that's not the case.

I'm not one of those snobs who stick their noses up at non-adult fiction. I think the younger the audience is, the more impressionable readers are and the easier it is to influence them. Authors who write for children make a bigger difference in this world than any other author. Really, I'm just trying to find a pattern to see why certain genres appeal to certain people.

Personally, I write mainstream fiction for adults because that's what I read. I always say you write what you read in the same way you are what you eat. Even though my settings are always different -- Sacred Fire takes place in ancient Rome and Hunger takes place in Portland, Oregon -- the style and audience are always the same.

What age group/genre do you write for, and what made you decide on that group?

Monday, March 21, 2011

How I Conquer Self-Doubt

I’ve noticed a pattern in how my confidence levels fluctuate, and I learned a little trick that keeps me from doubting myself.

I started querying agents when I was thirteen years old, so I’m pretty familiar with rejection and the ups and downs of doubt. Right now I think Sacred Fire is a precious gem, so it’s crazy to look back and remember how many times I didn’t think it was good enough to finish. I wonder, “What was I so worried about?”

But after looking back, I look forward and know I will feel the same way about it many times down the line. My book and I are only at the beginning of a long journey.

A month ago, I read my husband’s beta comments and felt overwhelmed by all the changes I had to make. I wondered if all those changes were even possible. That evening, I wallowed in self-doubt.

The next day, I felt better and got back to work.

That’s when it clicked: I’ve experienced periodic self-doubt since I was a kid, and it always goes away. Sometimes my doubt lasts up to a week, but most of the time, I only have to sleep on it to feel better.

I've learned from experience that there's an answer to every question, a solution for every problem, and a way to conquer every weakness. 
Once I realized how temporary my doubt is, I stopped taking it so seriously. Now when I get visited by the Doubt Monster, I shrug and say, “Whatever, I’ll take a break from writing while you’re here. Be sure to shut the door on your way out.”

Post of the Day: Tips on Squashing Your Self-Doubt Demons

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Show Me the Voice

Before I get started on the blogfest, I would like to announce that the great Natalie Whipple is hosting me on her blog today! She is a talented blogger with a whopping 1330 followers, so I'm honored she let me repost, "Let's Get Some Writer's Optomism." If you get the chance, check it out!

For this blogfest, I have until March 22 to craft the perfect first 250 words of my book and send the exerpt to Brenda Drake. Between now and then, people critique each other. You don't have to be a writer to tell me what you think; I'd be happy to hear from any of my wonderful readers.

I know, I know, I've posted the beginning of my manuscript before. (Thanks for all the advice, by the way.) I have to do it again because this time, the prize is a critique with agent Natalie Fischer. 

As usual, I promise to critique everyone who critiques me.

Name: Teralyn Rose Pilgrim
Title: Sacred Fire
Genre: historical fiction

The sun set over the river Tiber and turned the currents into flowing pink ribbons. Tuccia clutched the edge of her seat. Whenever their carriage passed over the Tiber, she knew Rome was close.

She squealed and jumped onto her pater’s lap. “We’re almost there!” she cried. This trip was a rare and anticipated treat. Their villa was half a day’s journey from the city, so her family only traveled to Rome to see the bustling festivals that turned the city into a glowing spectacle.

“Which festival are we going to?” Tuccia asked as she pulled on her pater’s toga.

“I told you, we aren’t going for a festival,” he reminded her.

“Then what are we going to do in the city?”

Tuccia’s mater sat close to her pater and watched him with a cold, emotionless face. He opened his mouth to answer, stopped, and glanced at her. Mater’s expression didn’t change, but she shook her head and mouthed the word “no.” He cleared his throat. “It’s a surprise,” he said.

He picked Tuccia up and sat her back down. She stared out the window and fidgeted in her seat.

They crossed the river and massive buildings rolled into view. The city was so large that it looked like it rested in the sky. Buildings hung in the air and almost leaned forward, on the verge of toppling over from their magnitude.

The carriage crossed through the city gates and descended into the crowded cobblestone streets. They were surrounded by rows of thick columns hefting up heavy, towering ceilings of marble. Tuccia felt small in a way that was breathtaking. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mental Floss - Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix

A writer feeds off of inspiration. Every writer should explore, be adventurous, learn, and eventually come to the same conclusion: the world is an incredible place.

I was leaving the book store when I saw this out of the corner of my eye:

I was an avid supporter of eliminating Pluto from our list of planets, so I had to stop and take a closer look. (It doesn't even follow the same orbit, people. Let it go.)

I found a ton of hilarious tshirts that made fun of language, math, and philosophy. That's when I discovered Mental Floss, the makers of these clever shirts. It's a website and magazine that has articles about everything cool that makes you feel smarter. Some are hilarious, some are shocking, some are enlightening, and all are great.

Here are some of my favorite articles:

Below, I've included more pictures of the tshirts. There's more of them at their store.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Guy's Got Major Delusions of Grandeur

Some wacko tried to sell his story idea on ebay for three million dollars. This might seem like a joke, but during my very brief time as a ghostwriter, I actually met people like this. They can’t even write a sentence but they think their idea will bring them fame and fortune.

What is this magnificent story idea, you ask? He wrote:

It can be compared to stories like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Matrix, Indiana Jones and other titles in those categories. This is a really great story I have.

In other words, it can be compared to anything that’s popular. I can’t think of anything else aliens, wizards, hobbits, and history professors have in common.

This is my favorite line:

If George Lucas offered to sell his idea of Star Wars, would you have bought it?

Actually, I don’t think anyone would have bought the idea for Star Wars. It’s a good story, but a battle in outer space against the forces of evil isn’t bursting with originality. It’s how George Lucas told the story that mattered.

This is great too:

I will share my story with someone in person only and not over the internet. My story is too valuable to be spread publicly and will give a lot of new ideas for movies and book series that should belong to the buyer.
This story will bring in endless fame and money to anyone who takes it. I do not have money to hire a Ghost Writer and I do not want to die with this story untold.

Wow. I don’t even know what to say to that.

By the way, if he really didn't want to die without the story being told, he would tell it without asking for money. It doesn't have anything to do with telling a good story.

This crazy guy made me think of a great video:

Blog Post of the Day: Agent Lucienne Diver talks about authors who can't accept criticism.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It Was Like Something Out of a Movie

East for Green Eyes has issued a challenge to write a 750 - 1,000 word story and then help critique other people involved in the blogfest by saying a) two things that work and b) two things to tighten and improve. As usual, I will do a critique for anyone who does a critique for me.

The story I wrote sounds outrageous, but I promise it's 100% true. No exaggerations. My frequent readers can probably picture something like this happening to me.


            Life is ironic… in a sick, twisted, perverse way. I’ve been thrown for loops to the point that I could swear angels were interfering with my life and laughing at the results. Of all the weird situations I’ve been in, however, none quite compare to the ridiculous one I fell into my sophomore year of high school.
            Every day after my first period class, I passed by the same handsome guy in the same hallway. He and I looked at each other in the same way, he gave me the same smile, and I blushed and smiled back, exactly the same way, every single day. Some days, for a little variety, he would say “hi” and I’d respond with a deeper blush than usual. When this happened, it was such a large event that I told all my friends about it. Eventually the verbal greetings became more frequent until we fell into a new routine where he said the exact same “hi” and I blushed the same deeper blush than I did the routine before. My friends were extremely annoyed with me the first time he said a full “hello”.
            Things continued to progress when I got a job working at the school cafeteria. He came every day to get the exact same kind of pizza and cookie everyday. Eventually we started having conversations. I vividly remember the one where he said, “Hey, how are you?” and I responded with, “I’m fine, and you?” and he answered, “I’m good.” By this time, I was truly smitten with him.
            But then things started to change. Sometimes he would come to the ale carte and buy a different kind of pizza, and he wouldn’t say anything to me at all. One day I discovered a new hall way that he walked in after every third period class, so I rearranged my hall-walking schedule so that I could conveniently pass by him again (and inconveniently be late to my fourth period class), but he often looked right past me like I wasn’t even there. Once I decided to take the initiative and smile at him first, even though that had always been his job, but to my utter dismay, he didn’t smile back.
            I was heart-broken. My hallway admirer lost interest, or he was dating a different girl. Or maybe all the greetings we spent together meant nothing to him and he had forgotten all about me. Well, I certainly wasn’t going to chase after him. From then on when we passed each other, instead of looking at him I turned my nose up in the air and pretended like he didn’t even exist. (I did not, however, rearrange my schedule back to the way it was.)
            A few weeks of this went by before I noticed that when I passed him with my nose upturned, he was looked at me and tried to catch my eye so he could say hello like he always did. My head lowered and I looked back at him, surprised, and he quickly greeted me as usual and I blushed as deeply as usual.
            Man can be so fickle. They want one thing one minute and another the next.  I firmly decided that I would have nothing more to do with him. Who wanted to be said hello to one day and then shunned the next? If he couldn’t make up his mind, I’d make it up for him.
            The next day I worked in the cafeteria as I always did, and, even though I wasn’t going to have anything to do with my indecisive crush, I looked around for him to come and buy his favorite pizza and his favorite cookie. When he came, true to form, I gave him the cold shoulder. He looked a little disappointed and confused, then took his food and left. I felt victorious.
            A few moments later he returned. I jumpstarted with surprise, then rapidly thought of all the reasons he might have for coming back. Maybe he would apologize for being cold, or maybe he had finally realized what it was like to lose me and he would try and get me back. I was full to the brim with excitement, but I kept my composure and waited for him to speak first.
            It was then that I noticed he was wearing different clothes. He said nothing to me; he just ordered a different kind of pizza and a different kind of cookie. As I stood there with my mouth wide open, he casually took his food and left again.
            If I could have told my friends the name my fickle affair, they all would have told me he had an identical twin. “Everyone knows that,” they said. “How could you not have known?”
I still wonder the exact same thing.
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