Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scrapbook Your Characters

I needed to get inside my main character’s head. I did the usual, the character lists and questions, filling out a character sketch and daydreaming. But I wanted something more.

So when I saw the idea to scrapbook a character from Author 2 Author blog, I was inspired.

Now, I’m not very artistic so I stuck to basics. Like cutting and gluing. I can do those.

The library was giving away some old magazines, which was perfect for my project. I cut out all the pictures and words from those magazines that pertained to my main character. Then I glued them onto a large piece of paper. I hung it by my writing space.

So now when I’m pondering what my character might do, I stare at the collage and it focus’ me.

How about you? How do you get into your character’s head?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Linky Love!

Some great stuff is happening in the Writing World. Check out these great post:

1. Mary Kole is offering the coolest contest ever. Enter the first 500 words of a MG or YA novel (must be FINISHED. Click here to enter.

2. Check out Beth's interview at Mormon Mommy Writers.

3. Check out this interview from Shelli's Market My Words with Cheryl Klein-a genius editor.

4. Feeling the BLUES not being able to go to the SCBWI NY conference? (I sure am!). Then check out Team Blog and get in the action and all the juicy details.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Critter in New England!

Critter sure is a jet setter! It looks like he had a great time with Nandini in Massachusetts where he attended the ALA Midwinter Conference and went to see Louisa May Alcott's home in Concord.

Aren't those pictures classic? It's like you're stepping into the book of Little Woman (loved that book!)

And if you're curious to know where he's going next, click on Kelly's blog, and keep up with Critter's adventures. Don't forget that the creator of Critter is Ian Sands and the lovely Christy Evers is in charge of this fantastic world blog tour.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Plots: Star Wars & Lord of the Rings

I'm a big, big, VERY big fan of both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings (and C.S. Lewis and Stephen Lawhead too!). So when my husband sent me this link, I had a good laugh.

Which inspired me to find this cool clip:

Thinking about these movies, makes me wonder why I love these plots so much. Here's what I came up with:
1. An unexpected hero who saves the day- but he doesn't do it on his own
2. Unusual settings
3. Fantastic world building
4. Distinctive characters
5. Unexpected twists
6. A satisfying end
7. Good verses evil
8. Heroism

How about you? Any movies you love for their plots or characters?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kick Start Your Year with Taekwondo

My oldest is finally old enough to join the taekwondo classes held here at our school. Master Kim already has him kicking, punching and doing jump kicks. Doesn't he look cute in his uniform? (Okay, so I'm bias!)

Right now I'm deep in revisions on Chosen Warrior at nights and drafting my new novel in early mornings. As you can imagine, taekwondo is full on my brain. And as I'm deep in the world of ancient and modern martial arts, I realize there are some things that I as a writer can learn from this.

Here are some quotes from my novel that I think can be related to writing:

"I have already been to the top, mediated and watched you make fools of yourselves. Look at the sun. It is setting, as is the first day of your quest."

I suppose I better turn the TV off and start writing!

"Those worthy to learn our secret craft must train their mind, spirit and body."

This seems to be the mantra of all agents and editors- don't you think?

"Your injuries will remind you that to be a warrior(writer) means pain and sacrifice."

This is how I feel after a rejection.

"Trust the journey of your past to give you the fulfillment of your future."

Don't let those rejections get you down. They are pushing you to become a better writer.

And if that wasn't enough on taekwondo for you, check out Carmella's post "I'm going to keep training" at the MiG Writer's site.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Write with Passion

Need a little inspiration to kick start your year as a writer? Check out MiG Writer's blog on my post on finding the passion in your writing. I'd love to hear any insights you might have or methods you use to keep the fire in your writing life.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Impressions of the USA

I'm back in Korea! Man. Those three weeks flew by. I've never had a busier three weeks. On the plane, I was sitting there hating every minute of those 15 hours (long flight!), when I decided I should be thankful to be sitting still and not rushing off to a job interview or an appointment for the new house.

I also had time to ponder about life in the America. Every time I come back home, I'm hit with the contrasts of life in Asia and the States. I did a blog post about it here too.

Other than the fact that Americans live a pretty good life (better than anywhere else I've visited), these are my latest impressions.
1. Very multicultural- I guess this comes from being in Asia, where every country is from a homogeneous race. I'm always floored in the States when I go to the malls or schools and see so many different races, hair colors, skin colors. It takes me a while to get my bearings.
2. Americans are loud but a happy group of people- I suppose this comes from the fact that we haven't had our entire nation leveled yet like poor Korea where after the Japanese invasion, there wasn't a building two stories high and nearly every tree had been cut down. Overall, Americans really have been sheltered from the pain of war and oppression unlike nearly every other country in the world. Think about it for a moment. It's true.
3. I love the idea that we as Americans have the right to speak what we believe in. I really hope freedom of speech and religion continues. I was surprised going back that some people felt that they couldn't say "Merry Christmas". It did worry me that people don't have the freedom to say and do what they once did for fear of offending someone. I lived in Indonesia for 2 years and not once did an Indonesian feel that they couldn't say "Happy Ramadan" to me.
4. Americans sure put on a good party- The Christmas decorations and food and music are truly amazing. The country was so festive and alive. A great place to celebrate the holidays.

I hope this post got you thinking. I suppose I just touched the 'tip of the iceberg' here. And as much as I love the US, I loved living overseas, too. I've learned so much from the places I've visited with much more to learn still. I just finished the book Carpe Diem and while on the plane I watched the movie Shanghai Kiss. They sum up everything I've said here. Check them out!

Picture by Woo Bing Siew

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winners Announced!

Using the traditional Korean drum (buk), DRUM ROLL!

I'd also like to add, the three people that my boys picked from a hat (my adorable assistants) all worked hard to win. They blogged, twittered, shared and facebooked to get their entries and their hard work paid off.

Paperback Mysteries- Robyn Campbell
Paperback Girl Fun- Christy Evers
Hardcover Pack- Tere Kirkland

Congratulations girls! Please email me your address at farley dot christinal at gmail dot com.

And for all those of you who didn't win, THANK YOU for entering!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Buried in Entries

Oh. My. Goodness! I'm busy getting all of the entries ready for my Holiday Giveaway. And there is a mass of small pieces of paper to choose from. WOW!

I'm so excited. I'm nervous excited! Are you? Okay, so I'm being a little dramatic but this is awfully fun. Don't deny it.

Only a few hours left until I pick three winners! Tick tock. If you haven't entered yet, hurry up.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fill It Up!

What I love the most about the New Year is the feeling of fresh starts. It's like someone handing you a sparkly clean plate and saying "Fill it up!"

And that's exactly what I plan on doing. Last year I had a list of goals and in looking back I achieved all my goals except for my revisions of my MG- Chosen Warrior. (WOW!) But this year I want to push myself harder and dig deeper.

This year my goals appear simple, but I'm in the camp that believe my goals must be within my control. (For instance, I'd love to get a book contract but I have no control over that.)

So 2010 will be:
1. Push myself on my craft of writing- specifically in bringing my characters to life and trying out a new POV.
2. Read, read, read
3. Finish revising Chosen Warrior- submit it
4. Finish and revise Gilded- submit it
5. I will conquer the dreaded query!

Then non-related writing stuff:
1. Move back to the US and try to adjust
2. Get a job (grin)

I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be a full one. I can't wait to see what it will bring!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Home for Christmas

It's been 6 years since I've been home for Christmas so it's great to be back in the USA this year! There's something special about being home for Christmas. Over the years my husband and I have gone to Bali, Australia, Malaysia or just stayed in Korea, but I've realized that being with family is what makes Christmas so special.

That and my mom's fudge.

You were probably worried I dropped off the planet these past two weeks. No I haven't. Just busy with family and having a blast catching up on everyone's lives. Plus, the US really knows how to party over the holidays. Between the decorations, food, shopping craze, Christmas programs, it's amazing.

But on top of all of this, my husband and I bought a house last summer and we moved all of our stuff from storage into it. Yes, our very own house. Wow!!!! Very exclamation worthy. So we've been unpacking and painting and buying and fast fooding it.

It's been a crazy two weeks.

We have one more week left until we head back to Korea and that will be hard to leave family again. And speaking of time ticking, make sure you enter my holiday contest. Google Docs is organizing all of your entries so beautifully. Love Google Docs!

So what have you been up to this holiday season? Any crazy in law stories or Santa sightings?