Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo success

Yes, I finished my NaNo novel in 28 days, clocking in at 50,800 and some odd words. Not bad! Now, to get to the revision process. Revision can either be very "Yay!" or very "Ugh" for me, depending on how much work there is involved. I hate it when I get to revising and discover a massive, and I mean MASSIVE plot hole. You feel like you can hear your inner editor snickering, "Bu-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-m-m-m-m-mer!"

This book that I did for NaNo (which, by the way, is the sequel to the book I wrote for Camp NaNoWriMo in July) will need a massive rewrite, because it actually turned out to be a book with two separate stories, told from the viewpoint of two MC's. What I actually wrote turned out to be a very well-thought-out rough draft, with a lot-a-lot of side notes, diagrams, and maps. (I LOVE drawing maps!) So, what I'm doing from here on out is the second draft of the book, smoothing out the rough edges. I'll need to stitch the two parts together so that there's continuity and motion in the tale, and no weird disjointed fragments. I'll probably end up printing out the entire thing so that I can have a physical copy in my hands to muck about with. I love scratching bold pen lines through sentences that I really don't like.

I like to do my revision on paper, with pens. There's something much more tangible about doing editing with a hard copy. I feel like I can actually see how the story is supposed to go if I have a printed copy to work with. How about you? Do you do better with computer or paper?

So, my list of "What to do" this week:

1.) Rewrite at least seven chapters of NaNo novel (I've already completed two)
2.) Do some research for an article I'm thinking about.
3.) Finish the short story I've written up and submit.
4.) FINALLY get to that critique I promised my sister I'd do.
5.) Drink some more tea and get better. I caught the world's nastiest cold from the rest of my sisters, who insist that the best way to get rid of a cold is to give it to someone else. Come on down, my friends, and I'll share with you!

What's on your agenda for the rest of the week?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Six-Sentence Sunday

I was late, late, late again for my six sentences. One of these days I will learn to write these posts early so I can post them on the proper day!

First off, I want to share the Corpus Christi Carol by Hayley Westenra, since this is the First Sunday of Advent:

Now, here are my sentences:

1.) I could browse craft stores for hours... and I mean HOURS!

2.) St. Nicholas and St. Raphael are two of my more favourite saints - St. Raphael is the patron saint of those looking for spouses, and St. Nicholas is seriously the saint of EVERYTHING ELSE you need to pray for!

3.) We (meaning my little parish) are going to do a High Mass for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, so we are practicing our Gregorian Chant.

4.) I have a terrible weakness for M&M's.

5.) I just found out that the movie, "Water for Elephants", was adapted from a NaNo novel. Isn't that amazin'?!!

6.) I only have 4,000 words to go before I finish my 50,000 NaNo novel. HUZZAH!

That's all, aside from a very warm Happy First Day of Advent to all of you! I love the whole Advent Season, because we can start singing the anticipatory songs of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "O Come, Divine Messiah" for Mass. It's a very preparatory time, very focused on sacrifice and anticipation of the birth of our dear little Jesus Christ. I adore the empty Nativity scene, which slowly becomes filled with oxen, sheep, a donkey, the shepherd, St. Joseph, our Lady, and finally the Babe Himself as the season advances. I love the Advent Wreath, with the lighting of the candles for each Sunday. I love the little crib that we set out, empty, ready to be filled with straws of sacrifice that all the little girls perform in order to present the Baby Jesus with a soft bed in which to lay. I love the Advent chains that we make, that count down the days until Christmas. I love the Advent calendars, the Christmas baking, all the decorating.

I just love Advent. For me, it's a much more joyous time than Lent. The focus of Advent is the coming of the Redeemer to earth, and He comes to us in the form of a little Baby. Who cannot love a baby? They are so soft, so dear, so precious. It is the time when the world makes ready for the Babe who came to save us from our sins.

Happy Advent! God bless!

Enjoy "Veni Emmanuel" as arranged by Anne Dudley

Since the Fish Eaters site has some of the best information on Advent Traditions, I've enclosed some links that you can follow to read more about Advent.

Fish Eaters: Advent Overview
Fish Eaters: Advent Wreath and Candles
Fish Eaters: Customs and Traditions of the Liturgical Year

Also, Amanda at Old Fashioned Girl has some good stuff to share about Advent as well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaNoWriMo and St. Cecilia

One thing that I utterly love about the month of November is that wonderful, hectic, chaotic thing known as NaNoWriMo.

For anyone who has not heard of NaNo before, this stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a novel of 50,000 words in thirty days. That leaves you with a goal of about 1667 words per day. For all you non-writers laughing over there in the corner, try to write that many words. It's a LOT of words!

My goal during NaNo is to just write. This is hard for me, because I have an obnoxious inner editor that likes to revise chapters while I'm in the process of writing them. I generally lock her in a mental closet and just write. Also, since I hate feeling pressed for time, I generally try to go way over my word count for the day, so I don't have quite such the overwhelming amount of words to write. I think I have to write at least 1330 words per day in order to finish by November 30, but my goal is to finish sooner. :)

This month I'm working on a sequel I wrote to a story that I actually wrote for a summer NaNoWriMo, and I keep falling more and more in love with the characters. There are two alternating MC's in this book, and they are such polar opposites I'm having a blast writing about them. I'm also doing a lot of redrafting, because each chapter I write takes a tack I wasn't expecting. I mean, this one character popped into the picture and he wasn't even part of the original draft, and now I think he's going to be this great antagonist who's actually a traitor. Cool, eh? I would never have thought of that if I hadn't just been writing without thinking. I actually love it when that happens. It makes me feel like writing is so uncertain, and terribly exciting!

Even though this is totally off the NaNoWriMo tack, I just wanted to share with you that yesterday was the feast of one of my more favourite saints: St. Cecilia. I love St. Cecilia, primarily because she is the patroness of music, and music is right up there with writing in regards to which activity I'm most passionate about.

St. Cecilia was a remarkable saint. She was the perfect model of the early-day Christians, living only for God and converting many pagans to Christianity by the beauty of her preaching. Her prayers and example converted her husband Valerian to the Faith, and his conversion in turn inspired his brother Tibertius to convert as well.

Both Valerian and Tibertius preceded Cecilia in martyrdom, but when it came her turn to die God proceeded to prove her faithfulness to Him by protecting her from the first death initiated for her. This was to be death by suffocation, where Cecilia was shut up in the baths with fires kindled hotly so that they should have killed her through the heat. But though she remained in that prison for a day and a night she did not even break out in perspiration. Seeing this, the prefect of the city ordered that she should be beheaded, and sent an executioner to perform this duty.

Somehow, the executioner bungled the job, striking three blows that did not sever her head from her body. Cecilia was left in this condition for three days, during which she continued to preach and draw souls to God. After she died she was buried in the catacombs.

She is the patroness of musicians.

St. Cecilia
Catholic Online
Catholic Culture

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 11/19/2011

I manage to miss my Wednesdays quite frequently, and this is a sorrow to me. I feel like I spend so much time writing that I forget about my blog until late Saturday.

Anyway, here we go.

1.) It's gratifying when your sister tells you that the rough draft of your story is better than a published story she's reading... I realise one should not rely on family members for a critique, since there tends to be prejudice involved, but it is nice to hear that my descriptions are better than a published authors. *blush*

2.) I just bought Kate and Leopold from a video rental, which was cool!

3.) My employer agreed to wear a green scapular, which is AWESOME!

4.) Google Translate is pretty cool!

5.) I'm not sure when I'm going to find time to read next.

6.) My current favourite book is my own... how proud is that?

That's all! Thanks for listening to me rant. LOL

God bless.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 11/12/2011

First of all, let me just say, the Phantom of the Opera was AWESOME! I enjoyed myself so much, and even though I know the story intimately I still cried at the end. Broadway musical fans, raise your hands...

Hi there. Nice to meet you all. :)

Okay, so here are my six sentences:

1.) I can occasionally be an impulsive buyer... my last impulsive buy was a bag of dried banana chips. YUM!

2.) I went to Staples again and hung around there for awhile, drooling over the $1 sales, notebooks, and electronics.

3.) I hate exchanging/returning things, and never do unless I have someone with me to give me courage.

4.) My favourite movie right now is Real Steel.

5.) My favourite song right now is Nickelback's "Gotta Be Somebody"... once you can overlook the rock-out-iveness of it, its awesome.

6.) Me and my co-workers were working yesterday, Veteran's Day, and our employer was so sweet he came in at noon and gave us the rest of the day off.

Last, I'm going to share a poem with you now. Enjoy.


He came to save, He came to die--
His Sacrifice encompassed all
beneath the shadows of the sky.

Men mock and jeer with jaundiced eye--
their bitter hearts do not recall
He came to save, He came to die.

"Behold Thy Son." Who will reply?
His blood, as drops of payment fall,
beneath the shadows of the sky.

The Magdalen is standing nigh--
His Mother gazes, strong and small.
He came to save, He came to die.

In pain He hangs-- the wind keens by.
They offer vinegar and gall
beneath the shadows of the sky.

At last it comes! He gives a cry!
His blood is spent-- He's given all.
He came to save, He came to die,
beneath the shadows of the sky.

*For more information on villanelles, please follow the link below.*

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Fantasia

Hello, all my awesome readers!

This is just an extra post to inform all and sundry that I had a story accepted by Knowonder! magazine, and I just wanted to share the excitement with all my friends.

The story is called Araynee's Gift, and I'd love it if you gave it a read and left me a comment, to let me know if you liked it.

Thanks so much! WOOT WOOT! I'm a bit excited. Getting published is ALWAYS fun!

Until tomorrow, I remain yours faithfully, Katrina. (Ooh, and I'm going to see the Phantom of the Opera tonight, so that's DOUBLE fun!)

God bless.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guest Post with Michaelbrent Collings

From Page to Page to Screen
By Michaelbrent Collings

People often ask me things. Things like, "How can I improve my protagonist's character arc?" and "Why is it important to have three acts?" and "Could you please stop staring at me? It's creeping me out." And those are all good questions. Except the last one. I wasn't staring at you, I just lose the ability to focus my eyes sometimes.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Questions.

Another question I'm asked occasionally deals with writing novels versus writing screenplays.

I know a bit about both. My novel RUN was's bestselling sci-fi novel for a while. It was also on the bestseller lists for horror and thrillers (it's a "genre bender"). Another novel of mine, Billy: Messenger of Powers, a fun YA fantasy about a boy who discovers he's in the middle of a secret magical war that will determine the fate of humanity, has been on numerous Amazon bestseller lists for most of the past year.

And as for screenwriting, well... I've had screenplays do very well in numerous high-profile screenplay contests. I've optioned screenplays (and if you don't know what that is, trust me, it's pretty cool), and been hired to do rewrite work on scripts. I've also sold several screenplays, and am a member of the Writers Guild of America (which is statistically harder to get into than major league baseball). So I've got some street cred in that world, too.

And let me tell you something: they are different worlds. Some people think that screenwriting would be easier than novel writing. After all, a screenplay only demands about 100 pages of writing (much of which has margins that dramatically cut down on the word count per page), while a novel requires hundreds of pages and tens of thousands of words.

But in reality, I have found that both have their "easy" parts and their "hard" parts, their ups and downs. Novels do require "more" work from the point of view of simple quantity, but they also allow you more leeway to spend time creating a world, to establish a credible narrative voice and reel the audience in. In scripts, you generally have about 200 words to "hook" your audience. After that, they're just not interested. On the other hand, scripts don't require you to explain the backstory of every major character in exhaustive detail (though most competent writers will at least have a sound idea what that backstory is).

In sum, both are different kinds of storytelling. I liken them to speaking different languages. It is possible to be fluent in both, but it also takes a lot of effort. That's why a lot of novelists write atrocious screenplays, and why a lot of screenwriters get bogged down and lost in the mazes of novel-writing.

But it can be done. And why? Because at their heart, both are in service of a common goal: telling a story. Whether on the page, or on the screen (or, in the case of some of my work, on the page of a novel and THEN on the page of a screenplay and THEN on the screen of a theater), the storyteller has one rule: engage the audience in a compelling story that will allow them to have experiences that they could not otherwise have.

I think that's the great thing about novels and movies: their ability to speak to us, to take us from one place to another in the blink of an eye. To give us the gift of story, the thrill of a tale well-told.

Again, they are different languages. But all languages, at their heart, are about talking, about communicating. And similarly, whether in a book or on the screen, a good story-teller is at the heart of each tale.

Michaelbrent is a bestselling novelist whose books <a href=>RUN</a> and <a href=>Billy: Messenger of Powers</a> have been bestsellers. He is also a produced screenwriter and member of both the Writers Guild of America and the Horror Writers of America. His website is, and you can follow him on Facebook at or on twitter @mbcollings.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 11/05/2011

Have you ever taken the time to browse "Pencil Lead Carving" on Google? Try it. I'll bet you'll be amazed at what sort of amazing creations you'll discover.

Okay, for today...

1.) Stay tuned, because there will be a guest post featured on Wednesday, November 9th, with Michaelbrent Collings, and I think you'll really find it interesting!

2.) There's a BOOK SALE at the library today - Guess who's going to be there?

3.) As soon as winter hits I remain in a state of semi-frozen until late spring.

4.) I'm at 8,000 words with my NaNo novel, which is good for five days. (I'm writing more later, so there.)

5.) I'm reading "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland" right now, and I'm deeply impressed with the author's daring take on fantasy.

6.) I can't wait for season four of Leverage to come out!

All right, that's all for now. Ta!
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