Monday, May 28, 2012

Linda Sands: Quickfire Interview: 10 Writers, 10 Questions

In May I answered questions posted by Author Linda Sands...

Here is the link to interview questions I answered:  Heather Houston

I am the last of the 10 authors at the bottom.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

25 Handy Words That Simply Don't Exist in English (reposting from another blog)

I loved this article so much I am reposting it here.  I would have just linked it but we are are two different Blog sites and I am simply not smart enough to figure out how to post one blog to another.

Original Blog Posting

Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language, in fact it’s the 3rd most commonly spoken language in the world (after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish). Interestingly enough it’s the number 1 second language used worldwide – which is why the total number of people who speak English, outnumber those of any other.
But whilst it’s the most widely spoken language, there’s still a few areas it falls down on (strange and bizarre punctuation rules aside). We look at 25 words that simply don’t exist in the English langauge (and yet after reading this list, you’ll wish they did!)
1 Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut
2 Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude
3 Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist
4 Bakku-shan (Japanese): A beautiful girl… as long as she’s being viewed from behind
5 Desenrasçanço (Portuguese): “to disentangle” yourself out of a bad situation (To MacGyver it)
6 Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or bull-fighting, etc.
7 Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love
8 Gigil (pronounced Gheegle; Filipino): The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute
9 Guanxi (Mandarin): in traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favor, but you can also use up your gianxi by asking for a favor to be repaid
10 Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time
11 L’esprit de l’escalier (French): usually translated as “staircase wit,” is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it
12 Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery
13 Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire
14 Manja (Malay): “to pamper”, it describes gooey, childlike and coquettish behavior by women designed to elicit sympathy or pampering by men. “His girlfriend is a damn manja. Hearing her speak can cause diabetes.”
15 Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing
16 Nunchi (Korean): the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. In Western culture, nunchi could be described as the concept of emotional intelligence. Knowing what to say or do, or what not to say or do, in a given situation. A socially clumsy person can be described as ‘nunchi eoptta’, meaning “absent of nunchi”
17 Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation
18 Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions
19 Schadenfreude (German): the pleasure derived from someone else’s pain
20 Sgriob (Gaelic): The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky
21 Taarradhin (Arabic): implies a happy solution for everyone, or “I win. You win.” It’s a way of reconciling without anyone losing face. Arabic has no word for “compromise,” in the sense of reaching an arrangement via struggle and disagreement
22 Tatemae and Honne (Japanese): What you pretend to believe and what you actually believe, respectively
23 Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left
24 Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of being alone in the woods
25 Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways,’ referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Things that made me happy this week....

Things that made me happy this week:

- Ben and Jerry's new frozen Greek yogurt in the raspberry with chocolate flavor 

- my brother graduating from college 
- receiving my final financial aid letter from school knowing I only need half the aid because I will be done in December 
- talking with some amazing women (either online, on the phone, or text) and knowing they are my friends (sisters really) 
- watching my mom come through with her head up and knowing I inherited that from here, thank you mom 
- a secret crush 
- noting all of the amazing things that Wyatt has learned in the past year since we moved 
- our new house (thank you Mr. and Mrs. Blair, it is beautiful) 
- cleaning the inside of the truck today 
- not just letting go of some hurts but actually writing them completely OUT of my way 
- finding a photographer on Fb whose work takes my breath away (see my most recent like, A B Pan Photography), and getting her permission to change out my page photo to one of hers 
- the sun, thank you for finally coming back

There are more but this was simply the ones I thought of in under 2 minutes

Friday, May 11, 2012

The way I critique

            I am a voracious reader.  I have books all over my house, in my car, at my son’s school, and pretty much anywhere I would be set down for a while with nothing to do.  I even carry my nook around when I can’t take five or 6 physical books.  I love movies; I enjoy the richness of them and the imagery that goes into making them amazing to the eye and engaging to the mind.
            When I was younger I had a really hard time reading.  Comprehension was miserable for me.  I couldn’t get any of it straight in my head.  I could read it and read it again and still not get it.  It took long hard work for me to finally unlock whatever it was in my mind I needed to be able to read and remember what was there.
            I write.  I am working very hard to write (and rewrite) my novels.  When I am doing this I take notes of everything going into the scenes – from the Navy Blue Ford F150 to the red geraniums on the porch to the canary yellow nail polish someone is wearing.  I am anal about the details.  I don’t want to write about the Navy Blue Ford F150 and then 60 pages later or in the next book have it be the Hunter Green Ford F150 (that is of course unless the character buys a new one or has it painted).
            So when I read books or watch movies, I am watching for those types of gaffs.  It is not a conscious thing I do, it simply happens. When I read someone’s critic of a movie, a book, a synopsis, or a critical analysis and their details are not accurate to what was written or shown I will point it out.  I am not doing so to be mean; I am doing so because I want that person to be the best they can be, to write the best books, to make the best movies. 
            I have read reviews, blogs, and comment threads where fans have complained about a writer who made an error (such as the changing color of the Ford above) and it has enraged them.  The author usually has to come out and explain yeah it was a mistake or ugh, the change occurred in a scene that was cut or edited out which is why there was no explanation.
            So if you change the color of the truck, the name of a character, the location of their hometown, or move something in a scene between different takes I will call you on it.  I want the very best, I want to give the best, and I want others to give their best as well. This is part of my critique technique. 
I have been called on the carpet for my own writing.  I had a series of short stories; there were seven or eight parts which came out separately.  In part three or four of the series I changed the name of one of the tertiary characters by mistake.  My ‘inbox’ lit up like the holiday tree in Rockefeller Center.  The comments ranged from polite “hey I think you made a mistake” to the downright nasty “you wrote this s*** and can’t keep your own f****** characters straight, what kind of dumbf***** are you”.  I had to go back; I had to revise the part where I had the names incorrect and reissue that part.  I also apologized to those that had read it because it was in fact my mistake.  I didn’t see it when I wrote it nor when I proofed it (editor didn’t see it either but it was my original mistake).
I read a book by a popular author last summer, in the book the main character leaves California and travels into Arizona on a major interstate.  Now for reference I have lived in Arizona for 8 of the last 15 years of my life on and off, further I am a former truck driver, so I have been over those roads many times.  When I saw the mistake in the book it was jarring.  It literally took me right out of the story because of my personal knowledge.  I emailed the author and explained the mistake.  I wrote the scene the way they had and then pointed out using turn by turn directions how the character would have had to travel and the ones in the writing were simply not correct.  The author thanked me profusely in email.  It could have gone the other way, the author could have been pissed or claimed ‘license’.
So what does all of this mean?  Well it’s simple really.  If you change the color of someone’s truck, the color of the flowers that have sat outside of their house for 20 years, the color of their nail polish that they are known for, or their profession I will call you on it.  I consider people in my classes (because I am almost at the end and taking pretty much only heavy writing classes, workshops, or LIT classes) to be my current and future colleagues.  I view those already published as my future colleagues.  I expect the same in return.  If I change a color, a length, a height, something that I didn’t explain to the readers or viewers then I want to know; I don’t want those types of mistakes to take my ‘fans’ out of the story.  If I have their attention I don’t want to lose it over something I can control.
If my way of doing this bothers some, well I apologize, but I will not change.  I will word my comments politely and unemotionally, but I will not stop them.