Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A European style hiatus

This blog has been a really fascinating experiment for me. I've learned alot about online communities and the incredible resources that the internet has made available to writers. It's nice to know you're not alone.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time (especially with grad school and trying to finish my novel) to devote to blogging as much as I should. They say you should blog at least once a day. I think I'm going to be lucky if I blog once a week.

So thanks to all my readers (who seem to like to flood my email box rather than leaving actual comments) for tagging along. If I begin to post again regularly, I'll let you know. I'll still be lurking around; just not posting as often.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Warriors of Heaven and Earth

Set in 7th century China, this is a great Western / frontier movie of honor and revenge. A At the command of the Chinese Imperial Emperor a Japanese swordsman must hunt down a renegade Chinese army commander before he is allowed to return home to Japan. But in the middle of their cat-and-mouse game, the two agree to team up to protect a Silk Road caravan carrying one of the most precious and most powerful treasures of the world: relics of Buddha.

I was totally engrossed in the stunning desert vistas of Western China. Not to mention fantastic swordfights and action sequences, as well as a completely addictive soundtrack by Bollywood master A.R. Rahman (I had to go out and get the CD). For those stuck in a Western-Tolkien fantasy rut, this movie is the perfect cure. It's different from "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" in that it's got the whole epic journey thing going on, but with a different kind of twist on honor, respect, and evil. I highly recommend this to all writers who are working on an epic fantasy, because this is a movie which utilizes Western movie fantasy conventions to tell a very Eastern tale, and can show you just how well nuances can be twisted to make something truly original.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

They can't do this to Wonder Woman!

Via Ragnell's blog:

Rachel Bilson the New Wonder Woman?

I have to copy Ragnell and point out the best comment from Dawn:

She’s proved her suitability?!?!?

Has she displayed strength? Athletic prowess? A memorable character? Perhaps a beauty that’s more handsome then pretty? Does she give off a warrior vibe?

No. She, “she donned a Wonder Woman outfit for a sexy seduction scene.”

Because the KEY part of Wonder Woman’s character, as we ALL know, is her power of sexy seduction.

Oh geez. Oh frig. I need a beer.

Please Mr. Joss. Say it ain't so!

Orchid Fever

"There is something distinctive about the sight and sound of a human body falling from a rainforest canopy. The breathless scream, the wildly gyrating arms and legs pumping thin air, the rush of leaves, and the sickening thud, followed by uneasy silence. Listening to that silence, I reflected on how plant collecting can be an unpleasant sort of activity."

- From Eric Hansen, Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust and Lunacy


The first few lines of a book are considered some of the most important lines a writer writes. Within those lines, the reader decides whether or not your book is worth the time. With these lines, I was immediately hooked. As a writer, I find comedy and humor to be the most difficult to do, which Eric Hansen manages to do flawlessly. I've been a huge fan of Eric Hansen ever since I picked up Motoring with Mohammed (no joke, that book actually made me laugh out loud on a packed crowded LIRR commuter train, causing my fellow commuters to give me dirty looks).

From Amazon.com

The orchid is used for everything from medicine for elephants to an aphrodisiac ice cream. A Malaysian species can grow to weigh half a ton while a South American species fires miniature pollen darts at nectar-sucking bees. But the orchid is also the center of an illicit international business: one grower in Santa Barbara tends his plants while toting an Uzi, and a former collector has been in hiding for seven years after serving a jail sentence for smuggling thirty dollars worth of orchids into Britain.

Pick it up if you have the chance, even if travelogues aren't really your thing. It's a great read.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How to Write a novel

A little late (yea, I've been away from the blogosphere for a bit) but Justine had a great funny post here about How to Write a Novel.

"You may get stuck along the way, and have no idea what your characters should do next. Raymond Chandler says that’s when it’s time to send someone in brandishing a gun. Sending in a vampire also works. Or you can set something on fire, have a long lost relative or best friend show up, have your protag lose all their worldly goods, or discover that the lovers are actually siblings (ewww!)."

As for me, I've tried writing via outline, but I can't. I'm very much of an organic kind of a writer, and I've always been that way. Even as an undergraduate, writing papers, I would just sit down and write, and not have any idea what the heck my thesis was, and when I finally finished the paper, I would read over, and go, OH that's what I'm talking about. I'd add an intro, and a conclusion, tweak it a bit, and then it'd be done. (Now I'm not saying that that's necessarily the most efficient way of doing things, and trust me, it involved a lot of hair-pulling and tears in college as I struggled to find my way but it works for me).

As I write fiction, I find myself doing the same thing. I write scenes, interactions, and usually not in sequential order. I think I'm beginning to realize that when I get bogged down in the middle of a manuscript (as I am now), I just have to keep moving ahead, skip over that part and write the next thing, even if it is the end, and come back. Of course, this just makes it all the more difficult for my poor crit partners.

Land that I Love

One of the very few good things about living on Long Island is that I have a fantastic Speculative Fiction writers' group. I am incredibly lucky to be a part of this group of very talented writers. One of them has self-published a satirical science fiction novel, Land that I Love. And what's cool about it is that it's FREE! So check it out!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Computer judges

In an attempt to better establish a consistent rule of law, some places in China are now using computer software to issue verdicts.

Read the story here.

I don't know whether to be horrified, or happy that the Chinese are trying to make justice more standard.

on death.

I was going to come back to blogging earlier this week. But someone I knew passed away. It was a distant relative, not someone I knew well, but all the same, it was sad. He lived a full life and he was much loved by his family and he's probably in a better place without pain.

I just hope I can live as full of a life as he did before my time comes. It makes me want to redouble my efforts to write faster, and get out there and experience life before the end comes all too fast.