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Showing posts from October, 2009

Research I've Done Over the Last Few Weeks

I've done a bit of research regarding the topic of my NaNo novel over the past few weeks in an attempt to make my plot devices a bit more believable. It's important to write what you know, of course. At least, that's what they keep telling me. :) First off, I need to tackle the ambiance of a pirate ship... In space... Hmm... Well, let's start off with the crew hierarchy, shall we? I got the below information from a website called Swashbuckler's Cove , but it was all, of course, geared toward the historical pirate. I altered the info to fit my needs. :) Captain : Eldon Whitlaw (See character profile HERE ) The captain of a pirate ship must possess the qualities of leadership and courage. Generally chosen for his daring and dominating character, a pirate captain is admired for his cruelty and destructiveness. A captain's power is

My Absence

Sorry I haven't been posting regularly this week. As you all know, I have been diagnosed with mono, and it's majorly knocking me on my ass. hah I have taken refuge at my parents' house for the last few days (Thank God we live in the same state!), sleeping the days and nights away. I mean, I have never slept more than I have been these past couple of weeks. I mean, it's nuts. Hours up on hours upon hours. The sad part is that all of the extra time I gained by being forbidden from stepping foot on campus is not being spent in preparing for my return to class or NaNoWriMo. Oh, no. It's being spent in the horizontal position, eyes closed and snoring. Well, I don't know if I'm actually a snorer, but I've been told that I snore lightly from time to time. But that's neither here nor there... At any rate, I'm going to take the weekend to do some more sleeping / NaNo prep / school catch-up, and I should be back up to posting regularly when the week sta

The Day I Became Acquainted With Epstein-Barr

Well, kiddos, the results are in, and - drumroll, please - I have mono!!!! This is a specific virus usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, which is a member of the herpesvirus and is also one of the most common viruses in the world. But Stefanie, you ask, you were already tested for mono and showed up negative on the test! How can this be? Well, I'll tell you. Apparently, there is a window of time after contracting the virus which doesn't register when tested, and that period of time ended for me sometime in between the last 2 Mondays. BLAH. Either way, I have mono. Great. So what now? I'm still in the "contagious zone," so I have been forbidden to even step foot on campus until Monday. Normally, this would be great news, but it honestly just stresses me out. I'm missing so much class, and I'll have so much work to make up when I come back. The problem is that the majority of my classes are in-class intensive. My conducting class (yes, I have to t


Exercise #86 : "Euphemisms" For example: garbage collector ---> "sanitation engineer" tax collection ---> Internal Revenue Service innocents killed / injured ---> "collateral damage" Usually euphemisms are made up of latinate words; they tend to sound pompously obscure, as indeed, they are intended to obscure something unpleasant, low-status, or offensive. Have fun with this one! Try concocting euphemisms for the following: ~candy for breakfast ~a defective tricycle ~a gas guzzler ~a ridiculously big bouffant hairdo ~unemployed ~painted the wrong color ~a stolen election / ballot stuffing ~excessive redtape ~a cover-up of heinous corruption ~the dog peed on the carpet ~civil war ~a failing grade ~tax evasion ~a size too small ~this building could not withstand a minor tremor ~the living room is the size of a mop closet Well, friends, I'm going to the Dr. again today. I just can't seem to get over this crappy feeling. I'm exhausted al

"Where the Dust Settles"

Exercise #85 : "Where the Dust Settles" This exercise is about bringing your attention to highly specific detail. In the room where you are right now, where does the dust settle? Interesting. Quick and to the point. I'm all for that. GO! My living room needs to be cleaned. Badly. Do you want to know how I know that? Well, besides the rather disheveled, "lived in" look I've got going on, there is a nice, thick layer of dust that's settled on each surface: the entertainment unit, including the shelves inside it the end tables the DVD player, Comcast cable box, stereo, speakers beneath the couch window sills the coffee table the little wooden bowls on my coffee table the candle holders on my fireplace mantle the fireplace mantle the door frames Ugh, I simply cannot continue. Must. Clean. Now. Peace. Stef. P.S. I'm going to the Nashville chapter's NaNoWriMo kickoff party tonight! I'm so excited! :)

Decision Time!!!

So NaNoWriMo is in a week!! Ahhhhhh! I used this weekend as a test weekend to see what all I could do writing-wise if the good old blog wasn't involved. Well, I have decided that I'm not going to post over the weekends (It's not like anyone reads blogs on the weekends anyway.) so that I can have the extra time to work on the 50,000 word count over the month of November. I'm sure you won't mind. :) So officially, no posting on weekends for the month of November. Normal posting to resume on Monday! :-D Peace. Stef.

Jason Derulo Before He Had a Hit Song

If you haven't heard, Jason Derulo is taking the world by storm with his new hit single "Whatcha Say" featuring Imogen Heap. View his recently released single below. What you may not know is that Jason Derulo (previously Jason Desrouleaux, I believe... I can never remember how it's actually spelled) attended the American Musical & Dramatic Academy with yours truly. :) I can't even tell you how proud I am of him, and I wish him the best in this juncture of his life. That being said, I have a little treat for you, my readers. :) He was in my graduating class at AMDA, and we did our Final Showcase together. Well, guess what? I have the video of said showcase, and I have uploaded it here for your viewing pleasure! If you watch it, you may even see me. :) Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Those searching for Jason-centric clips, take a look at Clip 2, Clip 8, and Clip 9. For clips with my performances on them, check out Clips 2, 6, and 9. Video Clip 1 has the following

"Karl's Scene Objective (Charlie's House)"

Exercise #84 : "Karl's Scene Objective (Charlie's House)" In The Power of the Actor (pictured right), Ivana Chubbuck shows actors how to use their emotions to empower a goal. Actors identify their characters' overall objective, as well as their scene objective. Applying this to writing, assume your character is "Karl"; his overall objective is to prove that he has high status; his scene objective is to impress "Charlie," his snooty neighbor---and maybe even take Charlie down a rung. The scene takes place in Charlie's living room. I own this book. :) It's pretty great. Read it if you're into the whole acting thing. Lord knows I am. hah I think I'm going to do this as a dialogue. It seems to me that it might be better that way. Oh well, this blog is all about experimentation, so... Why not? Anyways... 5 minutes up on the timer. GO! CHARLIE (C): Your lawn has been looking awfully nice over these past few weeks, Karl. KARL (K

"Hell-broth Boil & Bubble" - #FridayFlash

Marlena circled her hands gracefully above the steaming pot, her fingers twirling in the misty, curling vapor. It was her favorite concoction with its spices and herbs so pungent that it would send even the most indomitable man into instant, uncontrollable rapture. But if ingested... Oh, if ingested! He would be hers, would do her bidding, anything she wanted. But the recipe had to be followed exactly. Any variance of any kind would result in disaster, causing immediate, violent illness and excruciatingly painful death to anyone who consumed it. Slowly pouring the potion into a mixing bowl with a combination of flour, eggs, and butter, Marlena cautiously stirred the two together. The recipe called for the mixture to be as smooth as possible; no lumps or air bubbles were permitted. She inspected the batter with an extremely critical, trained eye. It wasn't just smooth. It was silk. 2 hours later, she had 6 batches of the most intoxicating muffins ever made by human hands. &q

Character Profile #5 : Nolan Hansley

PRECURSOR: If you missed the first 4 character profiles, click the links below to catch up. That is, you can do that if you want to. I just realized that I sounded kind of bossy. Whoops! :) Character Profile #1: Estelle Hansley....................................... CLICK! Character Profile #2: Robert Oxford....................................... CLICK! Character Profile #3: Captain Eldon Whitlaw......................... CLICK! Character Profile #4: Maxine Doyle / Madelyn Hansley...... CLICK! And now on to Mr. Nolan Hansley. He is Estelle's father and Maxine / Madelyn's husband, the work-obsessed tradesman / politician who neglects his family. While that may sound slightly hash, it's true. He comes from a long line of workaholic businessmen, and the only thing differentiating him from the men he is following is the fact that he's added "politician" to his list of activities and monikers.Nolan isn't a cruel man; he has simply been taught that provid

"Yellow List"

Exercise #83 : "Yellow List" What things are yellow? Make a list. At the end of the five minutes, note the three you find most curious. Ah, yellow. One of my least favorite colors. I mean, it's nice and all, but there are so many versions of this color that are simply eye-raping. Anyways, on with the list. Things That Are Yellow: bananas school buses yellow bell pepper tennis balls Post Shredded Wheat boxes (see right) lemons canaries the middle traffic light traffic lines the sun cheddar cheese hay corn butter cabs #2 pencils grapefruit raincoats (stereotypical ones, anyway) bees squash yellow jackets (I HATE those things!) the yolk of an egg scrambled eggs or an omelet peanut M&Ms the Simpsons various flowers rubber duckie etc... So that's my list of yellow things! :) The most curious? Well... I'll go with... but none of those are curious! That's silly. Check back later today for my 5th Character Profile on Nolan Ha

Character Profile #4 : Maxine Doyle / Madelyn Waters-Hansley

What? Someone with 2 names??? The plot thickens! hehe As a precursor, this is Character Profile #4. If you want to catch up on the 3 that you have missed, go HERE , HERE , and / or HERE . Maxine Doyle is the female alluded to in Captain Whitlaw's profile . She had been the Captain of the Spectre and had just made the choice to retire from her position as Eldon was joining his father on board. She was the sole person responsible for the ship's ultimate success and fame, and she had even made alterations to the ship, vastly improving its performance. Her decision to leave her place as Captain was brought about when she met and fell head over heels for Nolan Hansley, the son of a wealthy tradesman. In truth, she and her crew had kidnapped Nolan for the purpose of receiving a ransom payment from his father, but it was love at first sight for both Maxine and Nolan. Knowing that his father would never accept her as she was, the two of them decided to create a new identity for her.

"Permutation / Diary"

Exercise #82 : "Permutation / Diary" In a "permutation exercise," one takes a line or more from another work and, keeping the phrasing, inserts one's own nouns and/or verbs and/or adjectives, etc. Here are a few lines from Mary Chestnut's Diary of March 21, 1861: Dined yesterday at Judge's. Made himself eminently disagreeable. Abusing everything & everybody. Came back & in Camden had a tooth pulled --- home miserable with pain -- found Mrs Reynolds who told me Kitty Boykin is engaged to Mr Savage Heyward, a man twice married & ten children. I do not believe it. Talked all night--- exhausted. & nervous & miserable today--- raked up & dilated & harrowed up the bitterness of twenty long years--- all to no purpose. This bitter world. - From C. Vann Woodward and Elisabeth Muhlenfeld, eds, The Private Mary Chestnut: The Unpublished Civil War Diaries, Oxford University Press, 1984) The exercise is this: Take her lines and style, bu

Character Profile #3 : Captain Eldon Whitlaw

Welcome to my Character Profile series! This is #3 in a currently unnumbered list detailing the specific characters of the novel I am writing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). If you missed the first 2, go HERE and HERE to read them. Moving onward... Meet Captain Eldon Whitlaw, the overtly sexual Captain of the Spectre. He was first brought on board as a young child when his father assumed the First Mate position (He became the Captain soon after.). He was approximately 4 years old, and his mother had just passed away after a long battle with an unknown illness. At the time, the current Captain forbade women on board claiming that they were unlucky, so he grew up in a male dominated atmosphere. Of course, the ship docked over the years at many docks, so he had access to women, but this time spent off the ship were brief, requiring him to master his interaction with women. He was soon able to turn every woman he met into a quivering mass of putty in his hands at a mer

"200 Million Dollar Lottery" & a MILESTONE!!!

Exercise #81 : "200 Million Dollar Lottery" Your character finds a lottery ticket in the street. It turns out to be the winning ticket: $200 million. (If your character is from another century or country, just assume the equivalent amount of resources.) What does he or she do with the money? Be as specific as you can. What does this reveal about about your character's true desires? Ah, the glories of a growing character list... Of course, I'll be doing this exercise with Estelle and Robert (Go HERE and HERE , respectively, for their profiles), but I'm also going to add Eldon Whitlaw, Captain of the Spectre as a teaser for my next character profile which is going to appear on my blog sometime between today and tomorrow evening......... The suspense is killing you, isn't it? I know. It's intense, but if you close your eyes and take a deep breath you'll be fine. I promise. GO! Estelle's Reaction: Upon finding the ticket and realizing that it is

Character Profile #2 : Robert Oxford

This is the 2nd post in a series of posts. How many will there be? Nobody knows. Not even me. hehe They are profiles for the characters I have created for my NaNoWriMo adventure. It's my first try at this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants whirlwind of a writing marathon, so be gentle. :) Before we get started with this one, make sure you stop by HERE to catch up if you missed the first character profile. Also, when I mention "the Spectre," don't get confused. It is the ship on which the majority of my story takes place. I'll probably do a character profile on it sometime later, because it is that involved in the story. hehe Pickett Oxford is First Mate on board the Spectre and is a self-proclaimed misanthropic miser. At the tender age of 9 his parents, in dire financial straits and no other options available to them, sold him to the Spectre's Captain in order to lighten their fiscal load. He has been on board ever since moving up the ranks, serving under 3 d

Sniff Sniff COUGH

I've been sick with a fever for the last two days (Well, it hasn't been a constant fever, but the bugger keeps coming back!), so I've been holed up in my bedroom sleeping the sicky away. I went to the doctor today, and it's not the flu. No H1N1! Yay! Anyways, when my body gets back up and going, I'll resume my normal posting schedule. I was hoping for that to be today, but... well... We all know how that went, seeing as there is no post for today other than this one. Oh well. This week, expect more character profiles, a #fridayflash, more NaNoWriMo prep, and more writing exercises! :) Glory be! hehe I hope all of you are having a lovely day today and that those of you who are taking part in NaNoWriMo are prepping like nutters (that is, unless you're pantsing it). Can't wait to get started! Oh! That reminds me. If any of you want a writing buddy, my username is FarEom. Feel free to stop on by NaNoWriMo and add me . :) The more the merrier! Peace. Stef.

"Show Me the Money"

Exercise #80 : "Show Me the Money" How a character handles their money can be very telling. Does he pay his phone bill on receipt, or does he file it by due date in a color-coded filing system, or does he shove it into a pile with the junk? When splitting the bill in a restaurant does she whip out a calculator and calculate anything to the last penny with a tip of 12%? Or 20%? Or does she wait, doe-eyed, for someone else to handle it? Using high specific detail, list your character's actions, feelings, and gestures around money. If you didn't see it, check my post from earlier today . It's the profile for the protagonist of my NaNoWriMo adventure (2 weeks!!!), and it's this character that I'm going to use for this exercise. I think I'll also do the same exercise with the character that's going to be profiled tomorrow, just as a teaser to get you to come back. hehe Anyways, Estelle's money-handling attitude: Estelle has never had an issue w

Character Profile #1: Natalie Hansley

This post marks the first of a series of posts over the next week or so that detail my work going into NaNoWriMo . I've said this before, but this is a story idea that I've been bouncing around in my head for a long time, and I've finally decided to stop putzing around and am going to write the crap out of it over the month of November. It's going to be a wild, bumpy ride. And without further ado.......... Natalie ("Nat" for short) is our protagonist, the daughter of a high-profile tradesman / politician. Her life has been blessed with financial wealth, but her father, devoted to his work, is absentee at best. Throughout her childhood, Natalie fought for her father's attention, but nothing she did could distract her father from his job. Even when she misbehaved, his punishments, if he heard about the problems at all, would be sent through the house staff, most often through Awder, the house butler. Like her father, Natalie is proud and stubborn, but th

Zombieland : Time to Nut Up or Shut Up

Before I start with the actual review, let me begin with a rant... I've been going to the same movie theater for years, and, as I'm an avid movie buff, that means I have been inside this movie theater not only as an employee (for 1 year: 2008) but also as a customer many, many, many times. I have never received bad service before, but I was completely shocked and appalled by the behavior of one of the people I once called my manager. For those of you who missed this post (check the last couple of paragraphs for the explanation), my boyfriend broke up with me, and we had initially met at this theater when we both worked there. He is still there as a manager / projectionist while I have since quit and gotten a new job. We decided at our last get together (this past Saturday) that we would take 2 months of not talking in order to heal, but he said that if I were ever to want to see a movie all I'd have to do is text him with how many people I would be going with, what we w

"Quilt & Qotient, Etc..."

Exercise #79 : "Quilt & Quotient, Etc..." Write a brief scene that includes the following: a quilt the word "quotient" a ball of rubber bands a morbidly obese hippopotamus the perfume of lilies the sound of popcorn underfoot Go! "I refuse to turn on the heater until November," Natalie said. "It's not that cold." Erin shivered underneath her quilt. "You're insane," she said. "You'll live." Natalie picked up the tv remote and started surfing channels. They had been watching 2 morbidly obese hippopotamuses make an attempt at mating, but they were failing miserably, and Natalie had grown tired of their futile efforts. After several minutes, Natalie finally decided on VH1. A "Where Are They Now?" episode about Berlin was playing. "Teri always enjoyed the scent of lilies, so I figured it was best to give her those," said bassist John Crawford. He was sitting in an interview room and was obvi

#FridayFlash : "Mommy Dearest"

"Look out, Amelia!" screamed Eliza. A large dinner plate hurdled from the dining room into the kitchen, heading straight for her sister's head, but she ducked just in time thanks to the warning. The plate exploded into what looked like millions of pieces against the wall. Amelia sighed heavily. "What did I do this time?" "Who knows?" Eliza said. She grabbed the broom from the utility closet and proceeded to sweep up the debris. Facing the dining room, Amelia squared her shoulders and yelled, "What, Mom? Tell me! What did I do?" "You know she won't answer you," said Eliza. "She never does." "Irritable old bat," said Amelia, sitting down at the kitchen table. "Shh!" Eliza scolded. "She'll hear you! And she may not miss next time." "Yeah, whatever." After all the pieces had been picked up, Eliza joined her sister at the table. "It's getting worse," Amelia

"Shuffle Qs"

Exercise #78 : "Shuffle Qs" This is a strangely effective exercise for getting insight into your characters. First, take 6 post-its or 6 small and identical scraps of paper. On each write a number and a question about your character, leaving one side blank. The questions might be, for example, why did he quit school? Or, what does she really think of her best friend? Or, what is going to happen to her in chapter 3? Close your eyes and shuffle them number-side down. Now you have 6 unknown "cards" to draw from. Without peeking, set them aside. Now, take another sheet of paper. What you want to do is hold in your mind the clear intention --- crazy as it may seem to you, by the way, it's not crazy at all to your "artist's mind" --- to answer the questions in the order in which you will draw them from the pile. In other words, you are quieting your conscious, everyday mind, and letting your artist mind take a flying leap. So, for the first question

"Cat's Eye View"

Exercise #77 : "Cat's Eye View" Most adults see things at a very few different levels. They lie down, they sit up, they walk around. But what about a cat? It can slink under the bed or leap up into a tree. Imagine you are a cat. Make a list of all the things you might see in and around your residence that the human normally would not. Be as specific as you can. You know, this is something that I have actually thought about. Does that make me a geek? haha Or maybe it just further determines the fact that I am quickly on my way to becoming the crazy cat lady that scares all of the neighborhood kids. Who knows? We'll check back in a few years to see how much further I have progressed down this path (or should it be considered regressed ?). Either way, this is something about which I have spent a little time thinking, so I'm thinking it's going to be a bit of fun. I'll do it in bullet point format for simplicity's sake. 5 minutes set... and go. the tops

"I Love Her, But..."

Exercise #76 : "I Love Her, But..." "I love her, but..." fill in the rest of the sentence (Gender is interchangeable.). Do 3 different versions, and circle the one you like best. Use this as your first line, and start writing. I'm sorry guys, but I can't do this one right now. Not in my current frame of mind. In all honesty, this is the exact line my boyfriend used when he broke up with me, and I simply cannot handle it right now. Maybe somewhere further on down the line, but right now... I knew I needed to bypass on this one for now when I started to tear up as I read the instructions. Heck, I read the title and my heart started racing. It's too soon, too raw... So... Once again, I'm sorry that I won't be able to do it right now. I will say, though, that if any of you do this exercise, I'd love for you to post it in the comments section. It'd be a really great chance for you all to get to know one another and each other's writin


Exercise #75 : "Dogs-o-rama" Briefly describe the following dogs: The one you own now (if you own one) The one that lives closest to your current residence The last one you happened to have seen (other than your own dog, if you happen to own one) Your favorite dog Lassie (from TV) The Taco Bell Chihuahua The first dog you ever owned (if you ever have) A neighbor's dog in your childhood As a self-proclaimed dog enthusiast (well, any animal really... except raccoons. I hate raccoons.), I love this exercise. I immediately started going through all of the dogs I have ever known, and let me tell you... I have known more dogs than people! haha Maybe not, but seriously... I know more than I can count. Is that sad? I don't think so. Anyways, start! The dogs currently in my life: Maggie and Zola These two are an interesting pair, but somehow they work. Zola is an overly zealous, affectionate, snorting bulldog, and Maggie is a sweet little Corgi who will give you as many k