Monday, September 27, 2010

Writing War: Are you game? (Riddle me this...)

All right, it's been longer than I intended. "What has been longer, Gemma?" Everything! I didn't mean it to take this long to post another blog, and I didn't mean for it to take this long to finish my homework, to feed the cats, to finish my book, to turn on the computer... There simply aren't enough hours in the day! :(

But, to the point, my subject today is: Riddles! :D (Yay for cryptic rhyming!) And you may ask, "Well, what in heaven's name made you so suddenly decide that?" Answer: Everything has been so stressful lately, that I haven't had any time for writing :'( BAD GEMMA!!!!!! SHAME ON YOU!!!!!! And I know. But, these riddles I find keep my brain functioning, keep my mind working. So, I decided, alright, why not have a competition? :D

So, congratulations to all of you who are reading this because YOU ARE THE FIRST PARTICIPANTS IN "GEMMA'S FIRST WRITING WAR!" So, here is how this is going to work: I am going to post various different riddles (that I have merely heard of and take no credit for) and you are going to answer them....IF YOU CAN >:) "Alright, well what's in it for me????" You may ask. Answer: The fact that you are so smart, you can figure out the riddle without any help. The prize is "satisfaction".

Note: 1. The Answers Will Be Presented in the Next Post
           2. This is a kind of preview to other things I will be doing on my blog. Once it's been up and running for a bit longer, I will start getting all of you readers involved in my writing. (Aka, I will post options for various aspects of my writing and you will get to choose through a vote :D)

So are you game? Lets get started!!!

Level: Easy

1. Riddle me this: A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven’t eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him? (Hint: Read over at least twice and think about it in pieces.)

2. Riddle me this: There was a murder in the park, in broad daylight, with people passing by, and yet no dead body was found and no one called the police. How can this be? (Hint: This is not a normal kind of "murder".)

3. Riddle me this: What word can be written forward, backward, and upside down, and can still be read from left to right? (Hint: There are a few different answers.)

Level: Medium

1. Riddle me this: I am, in truth, a yellow fork, from tables in the sky, by inadvertent fingers dropped the awful cutlery. Of mansions never quite disclosed, and never quite concealed, the apparatus of the dark, to ignorance revealed.

2. Riddle me this: I'm sometimes white, and always wrong. I can break a heart and hurt the strong. I can build love and tear it down. I can make a smile, but more of a frown. What am I?

3. Riddle me this: In marble walls as white as milk, lined with skin as soft as silk, within a fountain crystal clear, a golden apple does appear. No doors are there to this stronghold-yet thieves break in and steal the gold. What is it?

Level: Hard (Note, these are very challenging, so hints are given to start you off!)

1. Riddle me this: I heard of an invading, vanquishing army sweeping across the land, liquid-quick; conquering everything, quelling resistance. With it came darkness, dimming the light. Humans hid in their houses, while outside spears pierced, shattering stone walls. Uncountable soldiers smashed into the ground, but each elicited life as he died; when the army had vanished, advancing northward, the land was green and growing, refreshed. (Hint: The army?)

2. Riddle me this: If you like pretty gems that sparkle and shine, I invite you to dig in my virtual mine. My first is purple, fit for a king. My second is green where Dorothy did her thing. My third is red, July's birthstone as well. My fourth is seen in strings and is found inside a shell. My fifth is hard, pure Carbon and expensive to buy. My sixth is Crocodolite, striped like the big cat's eye. Seventh is two words, a man-made fake of April's stone. Eighth is very dark and found at Lightning Ridge alone. Now take from each gem, one letter in its turn, And you will find the stuff for which even the god's yearn. (Hint: Brush up on your knowledge of gem-stones, and a dictionary could be helpful.)

3. Riddle me this: You come to a fork in the road where there stands a knight and a knave. Knights always tell the truth and Knaves always lie. These two are so alike you can not tell which one is knight and which one is knave. You need to choose a road at the fork but one of the roads leads to certain death. You are allowed to ask only one question to only one person standing at the fork. What question can you ask to find the right road, not mattering whether the person is a knight or a knave? (Hint: Remember, only ONE question to help you on your way.)

Bonus: What belongs to you, and yet others use it more than you do?

And so the competition begins! Leave your comments and check in soon to see the answers!
Good Luck! :D

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Main Characters

Did you ever notice how all books have three main characters? Harry Potter: Harry, Hermione and Ron. Twilight: Bella, Edward, and Jacob. Mortal Instruments: Jace, Clary, and Simon. Infernal Devices: Will, Tessa, and Jem. Etc, etc, etc. Well, did you ever ask yourself, why? Why three?

True, it does give cause for love triangles and fights and rivalries. But, could there be another reason? I think it's strange how nearly all authors (NEARLY-not every single one) have three main characters. In my personal opinion, I think it is semi-consciously done. I mean, isn't that how warriors go out to battle? With their right and left hand man/woman? Could it be that maybe, symbolically, and without our own realization, our "heroes" are perfectly portrayed in even a deeper level?

Perhaps I just think about things too much. But, I find it very interesting. And that leads me to a second point. Is it possible that we are not as unique as we all thought we were? I mean, we do all share similar thoughts, don't we? "What's for dinner, hate homework, gosh that's pretty, will he/she ever ask me to the dance?" So, I question the ideas for books. How is it that authors' books can be so different, when they all have the same outline, the same basics?

More importantly (for me, anyway-seeing as this is my journey to getting published) what makes my book stand out?

Now, that's something to think about. =]

Monday, September 13, 2010

Too Many Books!

Well, in being a "Book-Worm", I am cursed with the incurable: "There's a book I want to read.....YOU HEAR ME? I HAVE TO READ IT NOW!!!!!" disease. There are so many books that I feel I just have to read, and only get around to actually reading them months later. So, I have just (when I say "I" I mean my mom) purchased: The White Cat (Holly Black), Clockwork Angel (Cassandra Clare), Finnikin of the Rock (Melina Marchetta), and I am in the middle of numerous others. So I then ask myself, "Gemma, what is the point of you going on Amazon and looking at books? You know that you'll find at least twenty, and then narrow it down to five. Seriously woman!!!!" And the me inside my head is right, so I listen carefully for about a minute and then devote all attention to the books on Amazon. (Sigh) What a life.

However! The books I do have, are very good (when I have time to read them). Of course normally I would finish some of them as quickly as I picked them up, but now I'm in high school. So, I have no time to write, read, or anything else except do homework and breathe (and yes, blog) so now all my fabulous books are gathering dust! I've left one character with a broken heart, another that's about to be eaten, a boy in a strange kingdom, and a girl all alone in an institute with her crazy brother. What kind of person am I???? :(

"But," says the inner me, "this is a lesson for you, Gemma. You need to learn to balance your life with what you want to get done and what needs to get done. Mantra: Balance." Alright, I suppose I am exaggerating a bit. I can make time to read and write and have fun. But, I still stand behind my words.....

There are too many books!!!!!

(Even if I am adding to the pile........)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Age Is Just a Number

Age is just a number, and I fully believe it to be true. Age is just a number...but apparently not to certain people. Ohh, yes, I thought I'd have a blast at scouting the Internet and looking at possible agents and publishers and whatnot. And then I came across an article that really made me angry. The truth is, some (NOT ALL, JUST SOME!) adults just don't think that teenagers should be publishing. They say that we haven't fully grown into our skill yet, and that we will only get better, and that we should wait because we have the rest of our lives before us, blah, blah, blah...

But you know what? It's true. For example, I am a good writer, but in a few years I will be a great writer. Why should I still not publish my book? Ok, so, pretend that I really want to be an animal trainer, but I know that I'm too young and however good I am, I'll improve. So, I avoid all animals, and then when I am old enough......I FIND OUT THAT I'M TOTALLY UNPREPARED!!!!!!!! I want to experience this, all of this: The writing and re-writing and editing and finishing and sending in query letters and manuscripts and even being rejected...Yes, especially being published.

So, yes, I do agree that there is always room to improve, and that I haven't yet reached my full potential, but so what? Why can't I publish my book, even if it's not my best work? It's still (in my opinion) pretty darn good. And I think that one of the reasons that these people don't like getting work from teenagers is that agents and publishers want the very best of the very best and have you write a really long best selling series and make movies and merchandise and have this "one hit wonder". While that sounds fantastic, I don't plan on just writing this one story. I have close to ten others that I could (potentially) turn into other novels.

So, I challenge you great agents and publishers, who think that teenagers shouldn't be concerned with getting published because we are not YET good enough: What if (and only if) I am a great writer? What if my story could make millions? What if I'm the next JK Rowling (unlikely, but I'm on a roll...) And you just missed out on the biggest shot in a lifetime, just because of my age??? I mean, is that honestly what we are basing talent on? A number? There are some people who are very young and twice as experienced as some adults! Age is just a number, and I think that if you walk around with a closed mind and an idea in your head that you just aren't willing to shake loose, then I think that you're going to miss out on a lot of fantastic opportunities.

Maybe you are right. Maybe I am too young. But you know what? Right now, I am unconcerned with what other people think (unless it is constructive criticism or a motivational speech). Why? Because I have worked too long and too hard just to put my passion and (frankly) life's work aside, and give up, because someone said that teenagers are waisting their time.

 I'm fourteen, and yet I have the time to care and write one book for four years. Time to re-write approx. 26 copies, and to spend my free time ordering books and reading best-sellers and researching and starting this blog and getting smaller things published. So if you think I'm just going to surrender, think again. I have my
3 D-Words: I am Determined, Diligent and Devoted.

And, yes, I am fourteen...

But age is just a number.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Several Solutions For Writer's Block

As those of you who have read my early comments may know: I have had a previous issue with Writer's Block. Well, since then, you'd be surprised at how many people (outside of blogging included) have asked me about specific ways to banish the curse of Writer's Block. So, I thought I would make up a quick list of different things you might want to consider:

  • Get ideas (by reading really good books that will help you find your own voice in writing.)
  • Perhaps introduce a new character (who's deep and mysterious and will cause a stir)
  • Have something dramatic/tragic/exciting/horrifying happen
  • Talk to other people who take an interest in your writing (see if they have any ideas)
  • Write what makes you happy (if you are not interested in what you're writing then it will seem more like work than anything enjoyable!)
  • And (when all else fails) you need to know when it's time to give up and move on :( (Sad but true)
I hope that this helps you writers (if there are any) who are facing the unkind world of Writer's Block. Busy with school, but will try to post things soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 6, 2010

High School

Wow, I can't believe that the summer's gone, and I'm starting high school tomorrow! :-S Not only does that mean early bedtimes, waking up before the crack of dawn, and vast mountains of homework (yes, I am exaggerating) but it also means hardly any time for writing! :'-( (Sniff sniff) And right after I got rid of my writer's block, too!

But, I have decided to embrace this change! To look forward to this new reality-much like a character would when they've been introduced to a world very different from their own. Fear not: I will survive! And I will promise myself to keep up writing as well... (Hopefully-YES!)

So, wish me luck!

Could it be that this might actually give me time to bring new perspectives that will help my writing? Perhaps reality is useful after all...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Beginning of the Middle

It's hard to start something you've already started. Book two = typical pondering on how to start it. Preface or Prologue? Recap or epic battle? How do you fill readers in if by chance they thought they'd be cute and decided not to read book one? How do you jog the readers memory if they HAVE read book one? (Roll-eyes and sigh). Book two, isn't going to be easy.

But I'm determined! I know I'll find a way: It will start with a dream, or a sword fight, or imprisonment, I'm sure. And then I'll go back, erase it, and start it off with something else. How stupid to think that writing the second book would be a piece of cake. It's more like an extremely sour lemon. And what do you do when life throws you lemons? Squirt the juice in the eye of your enemy, or throw the lemons out the window and go buy cake. Sadly, the cake is sold out so I'm going to have to revert to violence... Epic battle scene it is!

But, seriously, it is very challenging. After everything that's happened in book one, how do I fill the reader in and yet keep the story thrilling and enthralling? Compelling and suspenseful? (Larger sigh). But, I suppose that's what makes great writers, great. They know how to write a book well and sort things out. They know how to begin in the middle and still keep the reader interested in the plot. Maybe I'm not a great writer yet, maybe I don't know how to start a novel off the top of my head, and finish it in two months (as many great writers do).

HOWEVER!!!! I will not be afraid of a blank page! I'm determined to try my very best and learn. I'm determined to fail miserably, get up, and try even harder. No body's perfect. And neither are beginnings. So here I go, bracing myself for failure, knowing that I'll get it sooner or later..... I hope :S