Monday, April 27, 2009

Graduation Week

Hello everybody!
Well, this past week has certainly been a crazy week! We were pretty busy getting the house cleaned and preparing for graduation, etc. Needless to say, I haven't gotten much writing done. But, my brother Josh is now graduated *sniff*, so that's one big thing off our spring checklist. :0)


Josh's display board

The family...from left me, Justin, Josh, Dad, Hannah, Mom.


We asked our grandparents to play Wii bowling with us, and they did! It was a ton of fun! This is Grandpa bowling
And this is Grandma bowling.

The graduation was Friday evening. After the ceremony, we went out to eat at Braums with my grandparents, Mom's sister Kristin and her husband Jamie, and Mom's sister Karen and 5 of her kids. Was fun!!
Saturday we had a track meet...which was kind of no fun because Justin had to be gone all day, doing a presentation in Maryville. But, Hannah and Wyatt both got their personable bests in high jump (again, after setting them only a couple of weeks ago!)!! Hannah jumped 4'8'', which ties the homeschool national record, and Wyatt jumped 5'4''. Go JH Knights high jumpers!! :0D
So yep, that was my week. Hope y'all had a good one too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mushrooms, Pippin!


It's definitely spring in the Ozarks when these morel mushrooms start popping! Dad went hunting this evening and found twenty-three of these...we're gonna bread and fry them after supper tonight. Mmmmm, yummy!

Busy Graduation Track Meets

Well, in my enthusiasm for Monday's post, I totally forgot to update y'all on what's going on in life (besides striving to bring fun back into my writing). So, here 'tis :0)
Last Saturday, we had our first big track meet of the year in Seneca. It was a medal meet, so it's a pretty big deal. There were 5 or 6 teams attending. Unfortunately, I only know one of my siblings' places (Hannah took first in JH girl's high jump! YAY!!) because I was stuck at high jump the entire meet...it took four and a half hours to get through all the girls and most of the boys. But I know that Josh and Hannah did well. I had several other students who placed in the top three of their age group, which is really good!
The Seneca meet ended up getting rained out about an hour from the end...too bad, because Josh and Hannah hadn't gotten to do triple jump yet, and that's Josh's best (and favorite) event. It looked like the rain was just going to spatter a bit, then it started really pouring, then we discovered that there was a good-sized severe thunderstorm heading our way. Bummer...if it had been any warmer, I would've liked the soaking I got, but not so much when it's lower 60's...
But we went to this yummy restaurant in Joplin on the way home, Bella Pepper's...so good! I got toasted ravioli, I love good ravioli (not the stuff out of the can, yuck!) Justin got the Italian fried chicken, which looked good but I kind of forgot to ask for a bite. Plus I didn't want to gross Josh and Hannah out. :0)
This last Tuesday we had the JH medal meet...Hannah won triple jump and high jump again, and two of our guys (Michael and Wyatt) took first and second in high jump!
This week we've been busy getting ready for extended family visits--Josh is graduating Friday! *sniff*. He's not supposed to be old enough to graduate, no way! I'm looking forward to Friday night cause I get to introduce Justin to some extended family. Speaking of Justin...it's less than a month til Justin graduates from college!! Whohoo! I really can't wait until he graduates, it's going to be great!
Oh yes, and we've been roped into helping with SHEM, the homeschool convention. I'm doing registration Thursday night, and working in a hospitality room Friday morning. Then I get to hang out all afternoon (I get to see my best girlfriend Monica!) until Josh's graduation, then we'll have the family gathering at our house afterward. Saturday is looking nuts because we have the SH medal meet at CSOS in Springfield, and a JH meet at Springfield Lutheran. So...which to go to? Not like I even can go to one and then the other, cause the SH one starts at 9 am and the JH one starts at 10 am. Argh!!!! (Excuse the pirate moment). ;0)
Now, there's my life for ya at the moment. I'd better quit rambling and get to writing in Roliwyn. I left the protagonist, Jakon, in a bind yesterday and am going crazy to see how he gets out! :0) TTYL (I'll post a couple of Josh's graduation pics if I can).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bring Out the Fun In Writing!

No more self-imposed deadlines, word limits, or to-do lists! I'm done with that in my writing!!
I started thinking this last week, and a talk with my mom confirmed it. I have a lot of things going on in my life right now--track, baseball, graduations, being with Justin when he's home from school, my writing course--that I don't need to add on any stress. I think that's what I was doing with my self-imposed deadlines and weekly word counts. I guess not really stressing, but meeting a word count was one more thing added to everything else I'm doing. And right now, my writing isn't as important to me as my family and Justin. So I scrapped the word counts. I'd still like to get done with Roliwyn in June, but I don't think it will happen, and that's fine with me.
I'm not a professional yet. I don't have any official deadlines, except for my writer's course, which is fine. I don't need to worry about any other deadlines, and as much as I'd like to get published, it doesn't have t happen right now.
Don't get me wrong. This doesn't mean I'm going to stop writing! Ask my parents. They'll tell you, "If Heather doesn't get to write, she gets grouchy." It's very true. Writing is good for me. So I'm not going to stop writing. I don't think I could if I wanted to! :0) And that doesn't mean I never want to get published, or that once in a while I'm not going to to send something out for publication. In fact there's a couple of writing contests I'd like to enter this summer. Eventually, I'd love to have some novels published. But not right now.
I want to learn to have fun with my writing again. This last week was the first time in a month or so that I'd really written and really enjoyed it. In fact, I got 1076 words written in about three hours, and I haven't done that in years!! I think I still need to learn some about the nuts and bolts of writing, but I want to enjoy myself and not stress about deadlines and word counts.
I even took a self-imposed hiatus from reading all the writing blogs I follow. I've learned a ton in the last couple of months with the writer's conference and books I've been reading. So now I'm going to shut my inner critic off, apply some of what I've learned to my writing, and just have fun. I want to follow the calling God has given, which is to be Justin's wife and hopefully a published author. I don't want to get so bogged with meeting deadlines that I can't enjoy the gifts God has given me.
I think it's sad that published and successful authors can't do that if they want to make it big. They have to be in a flurry of activity all the time, writing, rewriting, counting words, keeping track of deadlines. That kills so much creativity! Today's world thinks quantity over quality. Think about how much better all of your favorite books would be in the author had leeway to work with the book a couple of years instead of turning a steady stream of one, two, three, or more books a year!
Writing is an art. It takes talent to be able to string words together to make a cohesive sentence that conveys what the author wants to the reader to know. It takes logic and practice to be able to plot a book and follow the character through thick and thin, making sure it comes out OK in the end.
I wish that we writers had more time to develop writing as art instead of a strict, deadlined profession. Editors expect that authors meet their deadlines. In fact, I've determined that when I'm published, I will not only meet my deadline, I'll be early (only 1 in 1oo authors meet their deadline by the day, much less meet it early). But I want to always enjoy my writing. How do you balance those two things?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Test Post!

Just a test post to see if this emailing a post to my blog works out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dustfinger Character Study

So, did everyone have a good Easter weekend? I did! We had a track meet on Good Friday, which was kind of weird. No high jump..bummer...Saturday Justin took Josh and me out to Zio's Italian Kitchen (soooo good!) then we went to a Tenth Avenue North/Hawk Nelson/Jeremy Camp/MercyMe concert. It was a pretty good concert. I have to admit, my favorites bands there were Tenth Avenue North and Hawk Nelson. I'd go to see them again for a concert. If I was going for a worship service I might go see Jeremy Camp or MercyMe again.

Sunday, we had our good friends the S's, Rachel and Colin C, and Justin's family over for Easter. Mmmm, ham, potluck potatoes, cranberry-orange-pecan cream cheese dip, pineapple, and my favorite dessert ever...Orange Marmalade Cake from the Mitford books!!! Oh yummy!!

Before the weekend, the week went on as usual--track practice, baseball practice, working around the house...yep!




Anyway, this week's post is about Dustfinger, a character from the movie Inkheart.

A few weeks ago, I went to see Inkheart with Justin and his family. Inkheart is OK. It had a fascinating concept (silvertongues who can read characters from books into our world) and gorgeous shooting (in Italy! How much better can you get for a contemporary fantasy?). But to me, it wasn’t one of those “wow” movies like LOTR or the first Narnia or the Bourne movies. And it wasn’t funny enough, like Pirates of the Caribbean, to merit seeing a lot.

Well…I have to admit, the author character was funny for me, because I sympathized with him completely. There were a couple of times Justin nudged me and whispered, “This guy sounds just like you when you’re hyped about one of your stories.”

But I missed some of the wow factor because I was engrossed, the entire movie, in a character study of Dustfinger (except for distracted moments when I was interested in the author character).

Dustfinger, from what I remember, is a fire juggler who was accidentally read into our world by Mo. Watching him manipulate fire to do neat tricks is kind of cool, since the moviegoers are treated to flashbacks of his memory in his world, juggling at the king’s court. We also get to see him do it once in our world.

But his character was fascinating for me. Maybe it was because I’d just learned about building a solid, steady character who can surprise you in believable ways while not stepping out of his characterization. But every choice Dustfinger made, I could believe in because they did such a good job with his character building.

When you meet him first, he’s absolutely adamant about Mo reading him back into his world. He pleads, he threatens—Mo doesn’t listen to him because Mo’s afraid of the consequences (when he read Dustfinger and the villain, Capricorn, into our world, he accidentally sent his wife into their world). So, when Mo refuses him, Dustfinger does something we can believe, but at first don’t expect him to do—he goes to Capricorn for help.

By this time, we got the idea that Dustfinger has a very strong desire—he wants to get back into his world, at all costs. And we’ve got the idea that he’s kind of a selfish guy. As the movie progresses, we see more and more how his desire to get back into his world motivates his selfish choices. When Mo, Meg, and Mo’s aunt are captured by Capricorn for the first time, Dustfinger discovers that Capricorn doesn’t intend to let Mo read him back into the book. While trying to figure out a way to get his desire, Mo realizes that one of the kitchen maids, Resa, is Mo’s lost wife, who was read out of the book by the stuttering silvertongue that Capricorn had previously employed.

As they escape, however, Dustfinger leaves Resa behind, afraid that if Mo finds his wife, he won’t bother trying to find a copy of Inkheart, the book Dustfinger came from. To his credit, Dustfinger does tell Mo about Resa—once they’ve found the book. And when everyone ends up in Capricorn’s mountain fortress a second time around (either captured or attempting a rescue) Dustfinger leaves them behind to escape. Then, halfway down the mountain, he stops, looks back, and goes running back up. At first, we think he’s being heroic—think he’s risking his safety for the others—but no. He’s motivated by the fear that if Meg (who is also a silvertongue) and Mo are destroyed, he’ll never get back to his world. That motivates his fight from then on.

At the end of the movie, after all the bad guys are destroyed and the good guys are sent back (except two, a boy from The Arabian Knights who would prefer to stay in our world, and Dustfinger) Dustfinger leaves, afraid that now that Mo has found his wife, he won’t risk reading Dustfinger back into the book. Mo, however, finds him, and makes good on his promise—he reads Dustfinger back.

So Dustfinger is a highly motivated, selfish character—who you feel sorry for anyway, because all he wants to is go back to his world and family. To me, that was the height of the interest. I felt sorry for this selfish, unheroic character.

I'd love to be able to build a character so completely believable like Dustfinger. I think his character really includes the four d's (desire, distancing, denial, devastation) that Brandilyn Collins talks about in her book Getting Into Character and her blog. It was worth seeing the movie for me to see how much more I could get into Dustfinger's character because he was so believable.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Randomness Life and Writing

Hello everyone! I hope it's warm and sunny today where you are. Friday and Saturday were wonderfully warm and sunny, but yesterday and today have been somewhat blah. Missouri weather is annoying in the spring--it just can't make up it's mind to be consistent! :0)
Josh has been sick most of this week, which is a bummer since his birthday was on Saturday. Hannah's been sick since Friday, and Mom's getting sick...I've been taking echinacea and zinc like crazy hoping to ward off this nasty cold!
But, Hannah felt well enough Friday to participate in our first track meet of the year, a small junior high one. I was pumped up that day, since I had several high jump students participating and we'd only gotten to practice high jump once. But they all did very well. Congrats! to Hannah, who took first in girl's, and Ally, who took second in girl's, and Wyatt, who squeaked in first in boy's!!!!
I'm super excited about this year's JH high jump team, as you can tell. :0) And the senior high team, too, I'm pretty confident they'll be really good.
Saturday, since Josh wasn't feeling well and we weren't doing anything for his birthday, I went to Big Cedar with Justin's family. Hung out, played mini golf, and watched Napolean Dynamite (which is, in my opinion, one of the dumbest movies ever...maybe even eclipsing Finding Nemo). Yesterday we hung out here with my family, watching The Bourne Ultimatum (Justin had never seen it before, and it's one of mine and Josh's all-time favorites), eating German Chocolate cake (yes I ate some even if I hate coconut) and playing the Nintendo 64 Mario Kart game (Justin stomped everyone most of the time, but I beat him once! Heehee.). So yep. We were bums yesterday. And Josh has discovered a new favorite animated character--Rhino the hamster from Bolt. LOL! Gotta love Rhino, he's "ridunculous"!
I'm so glad that we only have a few more weeks to go before Justin's graduating!!
That said, now to my writing. I'm trying to meet my weekly word goal of 1,000 words (or four pages) on my book. That's not much, but I figure I'll start out small and work up. Problem is, I'm having a hard time meeting even that goal. So this week I'm really going to strive for it. And I'm planning to send out some query letters to magazines, etc. I'll keep you posted on that!
Sorry, that's about all on my writing life. It's been pretty pathetic this past week. I'd better go see if I can make it any better this week by working on Roliwyn.

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