On Writing by Stephen King: A Review (sort of)

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:
read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things
that I'm aware of, no shortcut.
~Stephen King

I have finished reading Stephen King's On Writing, and I must say, I quite liked it. 
As I mentioned in my (then) current interests post, it was recommended to me by mother along with the words "but I can't really recommend any of his novels." 
I have no particular desire to read any of Stephen King's fiction, for he writes the sort of dark, messed-up weirdness that I know I won't enjoy. Having read his 'memoir on the craft', I do not feel the need to read his novels to study the work of a great writer. 
I have no doubt that Carrie and The Shining were well written, but I don't want to read them. 
Additionally, he speaks of Carrie quite often in On Writing, so I probably know more about it now than I would if I had actually read it. Two birds with one stone (don't throw rocks at birds that is mean). 

Have I babbled enough yet? 

I liked this book. I really did. I haven't read terribly much 'on writing' but I didn't like what I saw. I felt pressured to do things a certain way, and naturally, I hated it. 
But this book, while being FAR more opinionated and rude, was not like that. There were no opinions passive-aggressively couched in timid paragraphs talking about "the way I do things", when what they really meant was "this is how it ought to be done and people who do things differently are idiots". He sort of just said outright "I don't like this, I find it dumb." And often, I agreed.
He has opinions, he has things he hates in books and things he loves, he is quite rude, but he doesn't make you feel like you must do everything his way. Reading this book felt more like having a conversation with King, than anything else. It was a person, telling you what he liked and didn't like, and giving advice. 

The book actually begins with a bit of an autobiography, which was quite interesting. I had the feeling that my highly lovely and easy life is hindering my writing. To some extent, that is true. It seems that all the best writers led very very interesting/hard lives. Lived through extreme poverty, or deathly illnesses, or fought in a war (I'm talking about YOU Tolkien). Someone or everyone in their life died. How on earth am I supposed to be a writer without misery and tragedy? 
I have no idea. Hopefully us lucky, privileged people can write too; from our comfy seats, in our full beds, in our heated houses, with more food than we need sitting beside us, because we just enjoy eating while we write. 

I really can't summarize this book, because one of it's main points is that there isn't some magical key to being a good writer. You could, I suppose, simply say that Stephen King says that you must write the truth. He compares writing to digging up a fossil. Your job is to carefully un-earth an ancient beauty and bring it into the light without breaking it first. There are lots of tools to use, and ways to go about it, and that is up to you. But don't mess it up. Don't dig up one thing and rearrange the bones to be something else, simply because that something else is more popular. 

I do not entirely agree with everything he says. He is not fond of books with lots of description, and I rather love them. He doesn't like to write description, and I do. But nowhere in all this does he make me feel like I am wrong because I like description. He isn't stupid enough to pretend that descriptive books (ahem, LOTR) aren't often wildly popular. He isn't stupid enough to think that his personal preferences should be rules. Although I will say that my 'personal preference' for not having love triangles, should be a rule. Also quirky-relatable heroines. I hate them with passion, but I shan't deny that you can make a good deal of money off of them. 
Don't write for money, write for love (of writing and your story). 

"Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer's job is to use the tools in her or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible."

Ahem. Anyway. I like plotting. I love it. My own book actually began with a character, who did some stuff, and it turned into a plot. Then my story failed, but I loved my characters, and wanted to find their story. Stephen King writes based more on situation than on plotted stories. 
"I lean more heavily on intuition, and have been able to do that because my books tend to be based on situation rather than story......I want to put a group of characters....into some sort of predicament and then watch them try to work themselves free."
This is not the sort of story I enjoy. And it is not the sort of thing I shall write. Once again, I don't feel condemned. Another point for the book that feels like a person's advice, rather than a textbook. 

As I said, I can't really explain the book. I can't make a synopsis for you. I can't hand over the 'point'. I liked it a good deal. I plan on purchasing a copy (the library is your friend, read before you buy).  I feel encouraged and I also feel that I have a better understanding of the way everything in the writing world works. I have had someone articulate things that have previously annoyed me in books, allowing me to better understand and avoid them in my own work. Passive writing was one. 

Despite being incredibly different in pretty much every way, King and I had a few things in common. And I got someone (a published someone, oh goody) to agree with my dislike for any book which says 'in the tradition of such and such'. It's nice to feel vindicated. 

If you are a writer-person, this is definitely worth reading. However, there is a good deal of language. And references to things which many people might feel uncomfortable reading about. He likes horror stories. He has very little filter. His life was not the sort of cushy, clean life that I enjoy, and he isn't prim and tasteful when he writes. 
The book is good. It is worth reading, despite its objectionable content. 

"For years I dreamed of having the sort of massive oak slab that would dominate a room....in 1981 I got the one I wanted and placed it in the middle of a spacious, skylighted study in the rear of the house. For six years I sat behind that desk either drunk or wrecked out of my mind....
A year or two after I sobered up, I got rid of that monstrosity and put in a living-room suite where it had been....I got another desk–it's handmade, beautiful, and half the size of the T. rex desk....I'm doing what I know how to do, and as well as I know how to do it. I came through all the stuff I told you about...and now I'm going to tell you as much as I can about the job.... 
It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support-system for art. It's the other way around."
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Reimagining Reality

If you are like me, in that I am a human....wait. No I'm not. Sorry. Start over.
If you are human, you have probably had the experience of your mind wandering off. It could be the simple sort, where you idly wonder if you remembered to wash that fork or fold that towel. Or the less common sort where your entire mind just up and wanders off into some place in a book, or an imaginary world. 
Very inconvenient, especially when you are trying very, very hard not to be strange when talking to people you don't really know. (heh, sorry. Have to go see a man about a horse. *runs for dear life*)

But then there is a MUCH less common kind. The type where, instead of going to another world, your mind just remakes the one you are in, and remakes you in the process. 

You are innocently excusing yourself to use the restroom, and suddenly you realize that it really was just an excuse and your real reason for leaving is some dark and mysterious secret. You hurry through the hallways for a purpose you do not fully understand. 

Or perhaps you were intending on taking a walk in your field, when suddenly it was a vast rolling plain, without a building in sight, and you were talking to your soldier cousin who was leaving that day for his next deployment. The war had grown worse, and you were both pretending not to be worried. 

This is the part where, if your brain doesn't do this sort of thing, I start to look like a lunatic. Allow me to dig myself just a little deeper.

You are feeling adventurous and mixing two drinks together in your kitchen. Suddenly you are a poor waitress at a weird hotel that serves bizarrely named drinks. But you won't be poor for long. You put the poison in the glass, and all you have to do is give it to 'the green man'. He drinks it, and you're rich. And then somehow, you end up drinking it by mistake (I mean you spent time on it and gave it a name, and now you're thirsty). You die tragically, by hopping onto the couch with a book. 

I have no dark and mysterious reason for leaving rehearsal. I haven't got a soldier cousin. I have but one cousin and I have only met him once or twice. I think. As far as I know, World War III hasn't started yet, and I haven't worked at a hotel or poisoned a customer's drink for money. 
Do you know what I else I haven't done? Thought of a point to this post. I have no reasons. Um...how does one end these things? Oh yes! 
Does your brain do this to you? 

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The Romantic Comedy of Reniseb and Ukani

For some reason, reading my first draft sends me into a fit of giggles, so I'm sharing some of these beautifully horrible gems from Reniseb's relationship with Ukani. A quote from Reniseb accurately describes some of my thoughts when reading this draft:
"What had happened? Oh! Why didn’t anything make any sense? What did it all mean?"

Ukani was tall and wiry, he stared at me and didn’t talk to me.

And it was then that I knew, he was the man of my dreams!

“Now then, Reniseb. For your punishment, you must make me another grass rope for me to tie you up with.” I ducked my head and obediently picked some grass. We chatted happily for a while, I don’t really know what we spoke of, but I enjoyed it. Every moment with him was bliss, except when he ruined it. Which was most of the time.

So romantic.

I just buried my face in his shoulder and closed my eyes. He didn’t know it, but I was the happiest girl in the world just then. Almost. If I could have been sure that he took as much pleasure in holding me, as I did in being held by him, my happiness would be complete.

“Never let yourself be distracted by hurt pride,” Ukani said softly; then he stood and then left.

I looked down at the cloth in my lap, remembering the feel of his hands on mine. They were rougher than they had looked. And harder than I had thought possible for hands to be, but they had been gentle as if they were handling a baby. Perhaps they were. For I felt very much like a baby among these men who were so sure of themselves; so able to care for themselves. And me.
I have no words. Clearly.

“You know,” I said, changing the subject, “you should talk to people more.”


“Because you're—nice.” I blushed. 

How people talk when they're in love.

“So—uh….have you known Nefru long?” I wanted to slap myself.

We all want you to slap yourself, Reniseb. Also, lessons from Reniseb in talking to your crush. 

And one bonus quote:
So did I, my dear, so did I. So much wincing. 
Hopefully everyone feels better about their writing now. 

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How to Write a Second Draft

I should like to preface this post by saying "this is how I wrote my second draft and I don't know if you should really follow these steps"

• Step 1: Planning
    Do some research, figure out (basically) your plot, and character progressions. Do a little more research. Set the stage. (realize later that you didn't do nearly enough preparation and have no idea what you are doing.)

•  Step 2: Do Nothing
    Procrastinate by reading things like "5 Tips for Writers" or "How to Discipline Yourself" or "How to Stop Procrastinating" or "How to Write a Second Draft" or write a about how you are the most procrastinatey of procrastinators. My favourite excuse is "I don't want to start right now, because I'm going to be interrupted really soon". This hinges on you pretending that 'once you start' you will get really into it.

• Step 3: Start writing stuff
    Sit down to your computer or notebook. Start writing. Realize that you hate everything in the previous draft and scrap it. Write very eagerly for a little while. Then realize that all that typing you were doing, was typing and backspacing and typing and backspacing, so you only have about 700 words. 

• Step 4: Plan some more
   Since you find yourself unable to write, decide that instead of doing 'nothing' you will plot it out in more detail, to help you. Repeat steps 2 and 3. Then repeat 1-4 about six times. Once you have done that, you are ready to proceed.

• Step 5: Actually write a bunch
   Hit yourself in the head. Block all distractions (so disconnect from the internet, basically); force yourself to stop sidetracking to do 'research', eat at least seven small meals in the course of an hour because for some reason you are really hungry and you like 'taking quick breaks' to make food. Get super into it and write like a mad thing. Make weird rules about stupid things: "every 700 words I can go down and get another cookie".  Talk people's ears off about strange realizations, chat about your characters, send little snippets to the people you send snippets to. Bombard them with little questions about 'should he do that first or this first?". Feel like an actual writer. Go about your day glowing because you wrote 2000 words that morning. 

• Step 6: Make the mistake of reading what you wrote
    Accidentally scroll to the wrong place. Innocently look for information earlier in your draft. Get distracted by reading through your stuff. Realize that you hate it. Despair of ever finishing. Realize that you will never be content. Go off and read other people's work and then mope over how good it is in comparison to yours. At this point you have two options. You can do what I did, and give up. Put the draft away, mark it as 'horrid and hated' and never ever ever look at it ever again. Go to one of your writer friends and complain (sorry, writer friend. You are wonderful.) Or you can just force yourself to finish it, like your writer friend tells you to. I didn't do that. I moved on to step 7.

• Step 7: Go on a two week vacation and re-invent your book
    Horrify your writer friends, who were so kind and patient and helped you through the terrors of steps 1-6, and devoted actual time to learning your plot and characters, by telling them that you changed everything. Why are they still your friends? I honestly don't know, but keep a tight hold on those people, they are fantastic. This just happened to work for me, but I don't know if I reccomend it. So now I am in third drafts. I'm written a grand total of 9000 words. And I am in the stage of "writing slowly, researching and procrastinating and feeling all the feelings of hatred for your own writing, and not really know what you are doing, but for once, if feels right". 

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Current Interests

Is this not adorable?? It's so cute, I'm in love. I don't even like cats. 

There are things that will always be my current obsession. Things like Tolkien and Tea (that seems like a good name for someone to use for a blog....you're welcome) and Egypt ,and my dog. But here are a few things that I am not ALWAYS 'into'.

Hot Chocolate.
While I never dislike it, I don't really drink it during the summer, but 'tis the season for hot cocoa, and I am very happy.

I don't know what it is. I just REALLY like oatmeal and eat it constantly. I have had this problem for about a month now. I take mine with a little cinnamon, some cocoa powder, and frozen raspberries and blueberries. 

These Blogs.
http://emhotep.net/ is loverly, and I have been VERY distracted by this one: http://www.penn.museum/sites/artifactlab/ 
I really want to go to the Penn Museum now....they do a lot of their work in front of people (with glass between, of course) and I can just see myself standing there for hours watching someone clean off an ancient egyptian artifact. I get lost scrolling through this blog....and forget to do anything and just sit there and bask in the general awesomeness of it. My friend even went so far as to call me a nerd (I embrace that title). 

Beren and Luthien.
I don't know if this counts as a 'current interest', since I haven't read it or even touched it yet, but I am currently interested in it so.... Recently, I innocently preordered a copy, thinking that it should come out soon, and then discovered that it is being released in the Spring. WHY???? And have you noticed that on a lot of these books, Christopher Tolkien does loads and loads of work, and then just says "edited by Christopher Tolkien". Which is technically true, but I feel like he never gets enough credit. For more about this book: The Tolkien Society: Beren and Luthien

Stephen King's On Writing.
This book was recommended by my mother, who says that she doesn't really like King's work, but that this particular book was fantastic. I glanced through some Stephen King at the library, and decided it wasn't to my taste, but I REALLY like his 'memoir on the craft'. I shall probably purchase it eventually. 

Barbara Mertz. 
I was innocently working my way through Barbara Mertz's Red Land, Black Land when I discovered that she had written a bunch of mysterious set in (unfortunately not ancient) Egypt, under a pseudonym. So now I have the first one of those...and have read about four pages. Yay. I have sadly little time to devote to the perusal of random little things like that. But I call it 'educational research for my novel' which justifies spending a few minutes on it here and there....when I just need a change of scenery, as it were. I would not call this an obsession, just an interest. When I eventually finish the mystery (it's title has something to do with crocodiles?? I don't remember) I shall post a review. Red Land, Black Land is fantastic though, and I love it and I want it and I shall have it. 

So there you go, a few things of interest to me. I didn't mention sweaters, because almost everyone likes sweaters when it's cold, but I usually go with hoodies over normal clothes, so this current love of sweaters isn't terribly normal for me.

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Cartonnage cat head belongs to the Penn Museum Artifact Lab: http://www.penn.museum/sites/artifactlab/2016/08/25/coolness-vs-cuteness/
Pharaoh headress image thingy also belongs to the Penn Museum: http://www.penn.museum/sites/artifactlab/
Beren and Luthien cover taken from: http://www.tolkiensociety.org/2016/10/new-tolkien-book-beren-and-luthien/
The covers for Red Land, Black Land and On Writing belong to their respective publishers. 
The other images were randomly unearthed on google, and I don't really know who owns them, but I take no credit for them. If anyone wishes to claim them or have me take them down, just comment to let me know. 

Beautiful Books: Progress Report

First, Beautiful Books had me talk about my plot, and characters, and introduce you to my novel. Now it's time for a progress report. I haven't gotten much farther, but these questions aren't JUST for NaNoWriMo participants, which I'm grateful for, and I like them. 
So sit back and listen to me talk about my book again. In my life, and on my blog, I will never pretend it isn't hard, but no matter how much I complain and rant and despair about it, the following will always be true: I love my book; I love my characters; I love Egypt; I love writing; I love writing; I love this life that I have chosen for myself. I may never (probably won't ever) make money, I may never even be published, and I don't care. 
I'm happy.

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
For starters, I'm not doing NaNoWriMo so I am not nearly as frazzled as I imagine the NaNo people to be. I'm inching along at a comfy pace, I'm happy with how things are going, I'm loving the research part of it. And I kind of fell in love with a 4,000 year old statue? 

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
For now: 

"Tiye could not remember having ever seen the courtyard empty, not even in the middle of the night. Her balcony provided an excellent view of the palace’s comings and goings, and it was arguably her favorite place to spend free afternoons." 

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

What do you love about your novel so far?
Have I already mentioned the historical aspects of it? But also I am really really really really enjoying Reniseb and Nefru......their characters have changed (for the better) so much, and it's like watching my children grow up. It's fascinating. 

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
hmmm, no. I'm rather meticulous, so while I'm sure I have typos and minor grammatical errors EVERYWHERE, nothing large or funny. 

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
....I would imagine that the end would bring me great joy to write.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I usually just sit on the floor, with a pillow behind me up against the side of my bed. I love my tea, I don't write while I eat (that is when I most love to read). I do listen to music: I find a song with lyrics that I like, but don't feel the need to sing along to (distracting) and that is fairly catchy, and I play it on repeat. This way I'm not focused on listening to music I love, but it is pleasing to my ears, and the repetition causes my mind to stop hearing it after a while, but it still drowns out other distractions. I am most productive in the evenings. 

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I'm not super private, but I don't send my friends everything either. If there is something I'm proud of, I send it. If there is something I just can't figure out, I get advice. If there is a toss up between two courses of action, I get someone else to decide. If I'm not sure if something works, makes sense, or is coming out the way I want it to, I get help. But I usually like to keep to myself.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
Love. Writing, to me, is eerily similar to the way that parents are with children. Kids can be a huge pain, they're exhausting, they can tear you apart physically and emotionally, sometimes you just want them to go away, sometimes you REALLY dislike them, but you still love them. You always love them. And everything you do, you do for love. Even when you feel like you can't possibly go on, you do. 

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
Read your work aloud. 

Set believable goals when you sit down to write. Too large and you will feel overwhelmed; too small and it's ineffective. "Believable goals" really depends on you. And they aren't the same whenever I sit down. Sometimes I set a goal of a thousand words, for some fairly quick productivity, sometimes longer. And sometimes, when I am feeling really down on being able to write, I set a teeny tiny goal of a few hundred words, and if I can't write more, at least I did something. But usually, once I've forced myself to write a paragraph or two, I find myself going on. 

Take a break. You know how if you say a word too many times in a row, it loses all meaning? Well a similar thing happens (at least to me) if I'm struggling with a scene, and I just stare at my computer and write a sentence and delete it, and write it, and delete it. And say "I have to do it I can't leave" and just force myself to sit there being bored because I'm not doing anything. I tend to be more productive if I mix brain work with physical work. My favorite thing to do is alternate between cleaning and writing/reading. When I'm having trouble writing, I clean for a bit or do some other physical activity, or just write/read something else for five to ten minutes. When I come back, I usually find that, even if I didn't 'figure it out' I'm feeling fresher and it makes it less tedious. 

By the way, I was talking about Hounds and Jackals this whole time, in case you didn't already know. If you want to know more about the book, I introduced it here: http://writeornotwrite.blogspot.com/2016/10/hounds-and-jackals.html

A Few of my Favorite Things: Again (I was tagged back)

Once upon a time, a strange waif-like creature created a tag, and nominated someone else, and that someone else answered all the questions, and nominated the waif back again.

Rules rules rules:
Add the above picture to your post.
Acknowledge the person who tagged you.
Answer the questions.
Tag a person, multiple persons, or no persons.

*drumroll please* Attention. Lady Awdur, I hereby declare you to be formally acknowledged by myself.

Ha, I am a wise old lady, and I didn't make any rules that would get in my way. I'm not tagging anyone!
I have to admit, when I wrote these questions I thought up answers for most of them, but some were random. Also I think 90% of these have two answers....sorry?

Favorite book:
Lord of the Rings

Favorite animal:
Okay, well my favorite animal is my dog/best-friend. But my favorite type of animal is either a horse or a Liger. Probably liger. I've been rather obsessed with ligers lately, specifically the white ones. So cute. I mean...this perfect. I don't even like cats, and I love these things.

I could look at pictures of these for hours. Look at this!
Favorite color:
Black. It is a color. Also really dark blues, but not Navy. 

Favorite flower:
I love primroses, and pretty much all wildflowers. Like weird things that grow in fields, not the things at the florist shop labelled "wild flowers". I also adore lilacs and yellow-pink roses. 

Favorite language:
Sindarin, Latin is gorgeous, and Gaelic (I know about three words in the first one, maybe 30 or so in the second, and nothing in the third, but I love them anyway. Trust me to love languages that no one speaks. Vatican, here I come!) 

Favorite country:
Middle-earth? Um, the United Kingdom as a whole counts as a country, right???? Fine, Ireland/England. 

Favorite time period:
Medieval Europe, or 1800s England. 

Favorite historical ruler:
Amenhotep III; Charlemagne

Favorite number:
(s) 24 and 19

Favorite beverage:
REALLY bitter English Breakfast tea...be still my heart. I've also been into plain, unsweetened, un-diluted cranberry juice lately.

Favorite finger:
Pinky fingers on other people, right pointer on myself. 

Favorite snack:
I have a strange weakness for Chexmix, I also love anything that I baked. That sounds a little arrogant, but I don't think there is anything wrong with preferring one's own cooking. 

Favorite season:
Autumn, it's the only one that suits me. The colors and the weather and the sky and the late flowers and the cold, crisp air. The fact that my clothing finally matches the season....

Favorite kind of clothing:
Old clothing? Like all old clothing before the 60s. I'm trying to think of a style that I particularly hate...nope. I like it. Like Awdur, I love 1950s cocktail dresses, and am always looking for stuff like that to wear in these unfashionable days. In modern times: layering, scarves, flannel button-downs, and jeans. (Also useless shoes).

Favorite music (particular songs, artists, or just in general):
I don't really have a taste in music. I just like what I like. Sometimes it's classical, sometimes it's the fact that once upon a time my brothers made me watch Bushels of Love, which is a Bad Lip Reading of star wars, put into a song. It was wonderful. I tend to like soundtracks of movies. Lord of the Rings, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, that sort of thing. I'm also rather fond of stuff from the 70s and 80s, like the Beatles or Simon and Garfunkel or Neil Diamond. And Hooked on Feeling ahemguardiansofthegalaxy. I'm so good at picking favorites. 

Favorite time of day:
I love sunsets, and cool evenings. 

Favorite school(-ish) subject:
I don't tend to like generalized subjects. I don't really enjoy math in general, though I'm not bad at it, but I loved Geometry. I don't really like history or geography, because I don't particularly care about most of it, but I like studying specific times/places (18th dynasty Egypt, for instance). I have developed a healthy appreciation for algebra though. And I really want to take Trig. 

Favorite spice:
Cinnamon in oatmeal, and garlic in EVERYTHING (but maybe not in oatmeal...that sounds kind of gross. To each their own.)

Favorite superhero:
Batman, then Tony Stark, then Iron Man (because I think Tony is better as Tony than as Iron Man), and then Loki, who isn't a superhero, but is far more interesting and amusing than the other superheros, and turns out to be slightly less evil than you thought *spoilers*. 

Favorite anything of your choice:
Favorite holiday:
Christmas! In the original religious sense, not in the "put up decorations three months early and give people candy-canes" sense. Also in the 'it's a holy day of obligation sense' (if you'll forgive me using the word a third time in a row).

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   The day that we've all not been waiting for: H&J snippets! I am probably the slowest writer I have ever met in my entire life. Well, I haven't personally met THAT many, but I am friends with several, and I follow the blogs of a lot more. Anyway, the point is, I am very slow. Let's see, I finally figured out the plot for Hounds and Jackals in....August, and I've written all of 7000 words since then. BUT, I have spent at least 96 hours (not really exaggerating here) doing research, and plotting, and working things out and figuring out the structure of the book. 
   So....I've not been idle, I just don't have much to show for my time. Which is kind of the way writing is. I mean, eventually, you come out with some cheap little paperback of mediocre quality, and no one notices that that little wad of paper represents 15 years of your life, or 1 year, or 3, or 50. But it is really all you have to show for a lot of hard work and time, and hand cramps, and all those feelings of despair and failure. All the times you wanted to give up but you didn't. If you can write a good book in a year, I respect that, I'm jealous, also I hate you. WHY CAN YOU DO THAT??? It's not fair. 
   I digress. What I'm trying to say is that a book is only the tip of the iceberg. So now, I finally have some snippets for you. Some people worry that their work will be stolen, but I would actually be kind of honored if someone thought my snippets were worth stealing. You actually WANT to take credit for this bilge? Wow. And if someone plans to steal my ideas and write a book of their own... I'd actually be kind of interested to see what someone else would do with my ideas...like what would they look like taken out of the context of my mind?? It's intriguing. 
   On to the promised snippets. These are unedited, and filled with horrors, but it's near halloween after all:

[A]n annoyed looking man strode into the room. He was unfairly tall in Tiye’s opinion, with a very handsome face that concealed a very ugly mind. He looked uncomfortable in his fine clothes, and she thought it likely that Lord Nefru was responsible for the oppressively thick material.
“Well, I’ve finally arrived after being dragged about the unceasing hallways of this repugnant place by that thickheaded woman of yours. Was there something you needed, or do you just enjoy summoning people?”


She would have what she wanted. A cheating scoundrel hunting for information vital to Egypt’s welfare, who would be just as likely to misinform them as to tell the truth. And if he thought he could profit from providing the Kushites with every last detail concerning Egypt’s military….but she would have her way.


“He is not a man of Egypt,” Nefru said, struggling to remain calm. “He does not respect our laws, he does not respect our gods, he does not respect you, Horus.” He bowed his head, and there was a bitterness in his voice that had nothing to do with his brother’s questionable beliefs.


Reniseb had investigated her new home the moment she had arrived earlier that afternoon. To be sure, this room was larger than her old one, but she disliked it all the same. The chamber’s pretentious furnishings seemed to laugh at the humble nature of her few possessions; seemed to be annoyed at their intrusion upon it’s elegant demeanor. She felt that the place disliked her. The rugs resented her bare feet, and the bed held nothing but contempt for her thin body.


The Rhuntaara was a gloomy, sprawling inn, occupying as much space as one of the city’s finer houses, but with only one level. The accommodations were decent, but the food was repugnant, and the society even worse. On principle, the place catered to travelers coming through Memphis, but at least half of it’s inhabitants lived there permanently, and many were in some way related to the quarrelsome landlady and her inebriate husband.

Provide backstory to these snippets? Tell you who is speaking? Explain? Ha!

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I'm starting a tag, because I want to, and because....well honestly because I just thought of the sound of music image that would go with it, and liked it. 
If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged.
I am starting it off by tagging Lady Awdur and Lover of Lembas

The rules are as follows: 

1. Add the above picture to your post.
2. Acknowledge the person who tagged you.
3. Answer the questions. 
4. Tag a person, or multiple persons, or no persons. Whatever suits. 

Favorite book
Favorite animal
Favorite color
Favorite flower
Favorite language 
Favorite country 
Favorite time period 
Favorite historical ruler 
Favorite number 
Favorite beverage 
Favorite finger
Favorite snack
Favorite season
Favorite kind of clothing 
Favorite music (particular songs, artists, or just in general) 
Favorite time of day
Favorite school(-ish) subject 
Favorite spice
Favorite superhero 
Favorite anything of your choice....

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Answering My Own Questions (I swear I'm not a narcissist)

Alright, ladies and gentlemen (I don't think there are gentlemen reading this blog, but there's no need to be exclusive). I was recently tagged, and in the process of making ten new questions, I decided that I wanted to answer the questions myself. So...I was tagged by The Author. 

Night Owl or Early Bird?
Night Owl. DEFINITELY a night owl. 

Do you prefer a spotless room, or a comfortably messy room?

It depends. If I have just cleaned my room and made it spotless, I become a neat freak for a few days, but I think I generally prefer it to be comfortably messy. About two articles of clothing (not dirty enough to wash, but not clean enough to put in a closet with clean clothing. Just waiting to be worn ONE MORE TIME) on the floor in front of my closet, some books and various papers scattered about the place, and a nest of pillows and blankets in place of a neatly made bed. I am weird about having a vacuumed carpet. Almost obsessive. But I've been getting better. 

Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or no chocolate?

Dark chocolate. REALLY dark chocolate.

Favorite books?

Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion, and the Space Trilogy.  Mara and Pharaoh. The Hobbit and Chronicles of Narnia. MORE: http://writeornotwrite.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

Would you rather live alone forever, or live at home forever?
Oh. I don't want to do either of these. I want to live with a husband forever, and my children for part of that forever. Wait, my house that I will someday (hopefully) have with my husband will be my home. HA. Loophole. (I honestly wasn't thinking of that loophole when I wrote the question, I promise). 

If you could only travel to one foreign country in the course of your life, where would you go and for how long?

Could I live in Ireland forever? I mean, it would be sad, but my family could still visit ME every now and then. If I have to come back eventually, still ireland, and for as long as I can. And I could pretend that england, scotland, and wales aren't separate countries and visit them. Wait, the UK as a sovereign state is considered a country isn't it, so I will live there. 

If you could change the ending of a book, what book would it be and what would you change?

I wouldn't change the endings of books I love, because then they would be different and I wouldn't love them as much. So...oh I know. There was this one book by Kate Seredy called Chestry Oak, and the ending made me mad. SPOILERS: long story short, kid get's separated from his dad in war (I think..it's been a while) and ends up being adopted by this other family. At the end of the book you see his real dad talking to his foster dad, and then the real dad ends up having him stay with the foster family. I presume he visited him a lot. But I would change it so that his real dad took him back, and the foster family got to visit him and be visited by him. It was a sweet book though, other than the ending. 

If you could spend just one day with any writer, dead or alive, who would it be?

If you could be in any movie (as anything from an actor to a set dresser) what movie would it be? This doesn't have to be a movie that someone has actually made.

I would want to have had ANYTHING to do with the making of the LOTR movie, and if anyone ever tries to make a movie of my beloved space trilogy, I want to be in charge so they don't mess it up. WHOEVER OWNS THOSE RIGHTS, DON'T SELL THEM.

(for writers) If you could give up the experience of writing a novel, and just have it finished, would you?

Oh it's so tempting, but no. As much as I hate it, I love it, if that makes any sense. Writing Hounds and Jackals (previously known as Pendant) has been and will continue to be rather horrid, and I'm sure I will constantly be wishing that I could just skip the process of writing it and have it be done, but I do love writing. It's like stretching sore muscles, it hurts but it's wonderful. 

(for non-writers) A much used question, but a good one nonetheless: If you could live in any time period, when would it be and why?

I would like to live in the medieval ages, in england, because I'm into debilitating diseases, grime, arranged marriages, and being a housewife. But really, I'm okay with the prospect of possibly contracting nasty sicknesses; grime isn't really a problem, I'll take a bath; I actually wouldn't be that mad about an arranged marriage, as long as it wasn't a forced marriage; and I would love to be a housewife. 
On a more realistic note, I'm going with late 19th century england, so that I could die when the obnoxious modernization of the 20th century began. 
In both of these times, I'm dragging back my station in life today "generic middle class people. Not poor, not rich, just sort of normal."
I'm still a housewife. I would want to be a housewife/full-time mom in ANY century.

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