Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why Read?

There are all kinds of different readers: Some who read to educate themselves further, some who get bored and need something to occupy themselves, and some-like me-who lose themselves in books, to escape their own reality, and maybe sometimes, even escape themselves. And their's nothing wrong with wanting a repreive, is there? And it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with your own life-my own life-eitehr. Sometimes though, you get sick of your own reality, like watching a movie over and over again...and you hear about all these other movies, all these other stories, and for a moment you know you can be part of someone elses life...even if it's only real inside your head, or held captive on the pages of a book.

And readers who wish to escape, don't just choose any books either. (Well, I don't at least). I find myself unable to read anything remotely normal-no girly gossip story, or story about an ordinary girl/boy with a tragic life-because no matter how different the story may be from my own life (and I really am quite fortunate to live the life I do), it could still be someone elses reality. And why would you want to escape from your reality, only to enter a different one? So, the books I choose are specific: Magic (fantasy), romance, adventure, deep characters, and a happy ending. There are so many books I've only half read, abandoning them when I find out they end in tragity...others I only read through dedication.

And you may ask me, "Why? Not everything can end with fireworks and celebration and the princess being whisked away by her dashing prince (or a certain number of vice versas)..." And that's true, not every story can have a hppily-ever-after, which is actually why I only read things with happy endings. Imagine, if perhaps your story-by strange chance and coincidence-was one of those storied with a tragic ending? Isn't it better to believe that no matter the circumstance, their is proof, somewhere that things can end in "happily-ever-after"? Other wise...well, I suppose there really would be no point in hoping, would there?

And now, after my "earnest confessions" have been revieled to you very unfamiliar strangers (if there is anyone out there at all), you may question my feelings, my theories, perhaps even my sanity (though that seems a tad far fetched)...but think about this: It is said that we write our own stories, and that we make our life the way we want it to be. Maybe if we (me) hope for that happy ending, we can make it come true. (Even if we risk setting ourselves up for dissapointment).

So mull over my words, think about my thoughts, and ask yourself, "What kind of reader am I?" Because that way, I assure you, you'll learn a great deal about yourself. And if you're anything like me (perhaps some hopeless dreamer, living in some dusty drawer in our minds, where all our hopes are kept) maybe then you can make your dreams possible, through one way or another. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blogging is Not Easy

I know it's been a few days since I've last posted anything, but I have had a lot on my mind with this blog. I'm frustrated, very frustrated. "Why?" you might ask. And I would reply, "Because Blogspot said that it would take less than 5 minutes to set up your blog, which is completely untrue!" Alright, I'll give that it DID take me less than five minutes to set up the template and my profile and whatnot, but there is A LOT more! You see, my blog is called Gemma's Word Gems. It shows up like that fine on my profile. BUT, on my follower's profile, where it says "Blogs I follow", it shows up as: Gemma#39;s Word Gems. HOW ANNOYING!!!!!!

And then of course I wonder why, and if it will show up this way on Google, and why is it different from mine, etc, etc. So, after a few days of research, here is what my mom and I discovered: The problem-apparently-has to do with my "Encoding". We found this "very helpful" guide on how you just go to "Settings" click on the "Formatting" tab, and then make sure the encoding is set to UTF-8. So what's the problem????


So now, my blog shows up on other people's profiles as Gemma#39;s Word Gems. (Sigh)

And while this is going on, I can't even concentrate on my writing! Grrrrrr...

Well, this has been my little outburst, and I am now drained of all energy. I'll post again soon, and keep you-whoever you are (if there's anyone)-updated. Wish me luck!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Choosing Names

Well, yesterday while going through the process (horrendous process) of editing, my "editor" and I decided that I should change the name of a certain character, and certain country. You may or may not find this funny, but I do! It is nearly impossible to come up with original names, and I must confess I had to scour the Internet to find the most relevant names I could! You may ask why, and in truth I don’t know why, but I just can’t settle for names like Mary and Beth, which are lovely names. But I hate when other people/characters have the same name as mine! For example, I found this picture, which I thought looked exactly like my leading male, on the Internet. I saw that it was a weird contest (which I think is a scam) where you have to create a story about this other guy’s characters. There were three princes, and the one that I thought LOOKED like my character had the same NAME as my character! I was so upset.

Generally speaking, I tried to find names with meanings that would relate to the characters. And the character's name that I was replacing, just had to have something to do with either light, or a fox, or a raven. Light, because he's just a "glowy" kind of guy (!) A fox, because he is very sly. And a raven, because that has to do with a secret organization he is in. So, I went online and came up with a list that had about 20 names on it. I brought it to my "editor" and she suggested that none of these names really suited my character... Well, was I ever upset! I had spent quite a good chunk of time coming up with this list of names and none of  them were satisfying? (Well, I wasn't really satisfied either...) So, what did we have to do? We had to spend another half an hour looking for names, for one character! And I won't tell you what time it was!!!! (Sigh)

And then, there was of course the issue of the country's name. Like I said, my book is fantasy, so in a fantasy world you expect the names of places to have original spelling and pronunciation. So I took a whole bunch of different things and paired them with different endings, and came up with 11 names... NO GOOD! However, do not worry. After what seemed like relentless effort on both my part and my "editor's" we came up with a name for my character and my land. Stay tuned!

"So, how do you come up with such original names?" you might be wondering. Well, let me just say that it isn't easy, and no matter how efficient you want to be, it does take patience and a lot of research. I must also confess that I ended up changing the names a lot. My main guy used to be named Garrett, until I found out that Garrett sounded a lot like Carrot, so I decided that my awesome warrior couldn’t be named Garrett the Carrot.

TIP: You can go on baby name sites online to find unique names (I find that very helpful). A link that I often resort to is http://www.todaysparent.com/baby/namer/index.jsp?gclid=COnolYH20KMCFQ8E5QodI1PmtQ (On this site, you can also search by meaning) Whatever you do, DO NOT STRESS OVER IT!!!!! There is always a perfect name out there, and if you get sick of looking for it, then make one up! That way, you know that that name will always be special, and yours.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Writer's Block is a Curse

Writer's Block is just about the worst thing (apart from horrendous editing) that any writer will go through. Basically, you draw a blank and can't write anything for days, weeks even! So, you can imagine my frustration when I sat down today to finish a chapter (quite an exciting one too, where a character is in an intense fight for freedom) and nothing came to mind for what I should do next. "Well, then just skip that part already!" you might say, but that's unfortunately not how I write. I don't start at Chapter Ten and end up at Chapter Two. I find my brain functions better if I write in a sequence, one thing after another in ORDER! So, I wrote a few sentences, then erased them, then wrote a few more, then erased those. (Not very productive). I'm always told "you should write what you enjoy, because that way you will stay inspired", and this is true, BUT it does not penetrate Writer's Block!!!!!!!

Then, of course, I went into "Melodramatic" mode. I sat slumped in my chair and hunched over my computer, thinking things like "I'll never get this book published!" and "I am such a terrible writer" and "Why oh why did I ever even start this stupid book?". And-yes this is silly, but-then I started wondering what was for lunch...which every distressed writer is obligated to wonder. (Comfort Food). Then, I got a grip, and asked myself why I was completely terrorizing myself, and making my confidence shrink even more, when I should be encouraging myself. So I said things like, "It's only a minor setback" and "It will pass, just as it always does" and "You've been working too hard, go relax and eat your salad". So, frustrated with my characters and myself, I gave it rest, hoping I would get an idea for something brilliant (which, by the way, has not yet come to me).

I decided to clear my mind with some brainless TV, when my mother told me about a way to sort of "advertise" my blog, by setting my URL as my signature. Somehow (and I really don't know what I was thinking) I came up with the silly and inept conclusion that this would give me something relaxing to do... WELL IT DID NOT! I must have spent at least an hour trying to figure out how to do that, being a first time blogger. (Sigh) I'm happy I finally figured it out.

But still, the work is hardly over. Now, I'm back to my story, staring blankly at the page, with a kind of look that says, "How did that get here?". All very overwhelming. Well, for now my characters will just have to be suspended in fantasy time, swords held high, waiting for an attack that may not come for days (poor fellows). Thus, is the curse of Writer's Block... :( *Slinking away into dismal sorrow*...

So, you might ask, how DO you get out of Writer's Block??? Sometimes you don't for awhile. I feel that it's just like starting a book. To start you have to have an idea. Everyone has ideas, which you then build on. It has to be something that grabs you and motivates you to write (like a kind of personal cheerleader) :-). I just haven't had that idea yet. However, when I do, those characters better watch out, because those swords are about to swing. ;D

Friday, August 20, 2010

First Steps

Well, you might be wondering how this blog came into perspective. It started with my Uncle Scot. :) Thanks to him, he set up a meeting with a published author and journalist, Deborah T. I was so excited to take the subway down to the Thomson building, and when I finally got there, the nerves set in. I had that weird feeling that you get on a rollercoaster, as if my stomach had suddenly turned to water. My mom and I went upstairs and were seated at a large conference table. I must say, it was intimidating. I couldn't help but think "Wow, this is what it would be like to sit down with a publisher".

Then, my nerves turned into panic when Deborah (who is one of the kindest and most helpful people I have ever met) sat down and said the dreaded words: "So, Gemma, tell a bit about your book. What's it about?" Oh, how I should have practiced, should have thought long and hard about what exactly I was going to say. Sadly, I was not prepared. I started, yes, to ramble! :S The whole thing went by in a blur of humiliation. How can an author not express what their own book is about?! I think I said something like: "Well...ah...ah...um...it's a romance/fantasy/adventure about..." Something like that. (How embarrassing!) And it's not the first time. You'll have seen, if you checked my profile, that a favourite series of mine is "The Mortal Instrument" series, by Cassandra Clare. Well, I had the great fortune of meeting her when she came on tour to Toronto, and the same thing happened! Imagine, the opportunity to speak with Cassandra Clare, and my first word was: Um...

But, live and learn. And this is something that I know is a key point to consider for all aspiring writers: Learn to talk about your book in under 30 seconds. Choose three strong points to highlight your book/story, just to give the reader a taste. (Thank you, Deborah. :-D) This is something that I am still working on, because there is so much to talk about! Still, I wouldn't want to give the whole story away!

Back to the meeting with Deborah: Well, another great piece of advice she gave me, is to have connections and other publications. For example: I have corresponded several times with Cassandra Clare, and also an author called Mahtab Narsimhan, who is the author of The Third Eye and The Silver Anklet. I have also had a poem and a short story published. However, Deborah suggested that I send poems and short stories, or even pieces of artwork to magazines for consideration. I think that this will be part of my next project :)

And the biggest tip of all-can you guess?-yup, to start this blog! So here I am, with my own blog, and one step closer to getting my writing out there to the public and hopefully, one day, published!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcome to My Word Gems!

Hello! My name is Gemma. Welcome to my Word Gems. The reason I designed this blog was because I'm working on my first novel. I think that it's something worth publishing, and I'm going to give it my all, easy or not. I'm 14, and I know I'm young to be undertaking this adventure, but age is just a number. Who said you have to be an adult to write a good book, a great book? This is my space to explore and document my journey to get published. (Deep breath!)

I think(?!) I have finished writing the first draft of Book One in my planned trilogy! But the work is hardly done... Now, I have to go back, edit, rewrite, and at some point face the daunting task of contacting publishers. I'm trying to take it one step at a time. I had never planned for any of the bumps I would hit along the way, but through it all, I am determined to have my book on the shelves! I'm doing my research, and am going back to make sure that my book is the very best it can be. Hopefully, through determination, hard work, and with a little luck, I'll have what it takes to get my story published. :)