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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Free Bread-Making Class and My Short Story


     Today, I'm plugging for two things.
     The first is a combination of two things I love: baking and books. Really, the only other thing you need is coffee and you're set!
     So, January is baking month at the Lakeport Library. In honor of the occasion, Amy Patton, one of the library's (AMAZING) staff, will be giving a free bread-making class! She's been making bread at home for thirty years and is going to demonstrate this super-useful skill for anyone who wants to learn. There's also a bunch of baking books on display (with some great titles, might I add. Get them before they're gone)!
     Come on over to the library and learn how to make delicious homemade white bread on Jan. 21st at 2:00PM. If you've never been to the library, its adress is "1425 N. High St., Lakeport." Teens and adults are welcome. Call the library with any questions at 263-8817.
     The second thing I want to plug is my short story. It's officially on the blog! If you get a chance, check it out. The link is right next next to the link for "home".
     Thanks for checking out Christy's Corner today! :) Next week will be a craft post, I promise!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Years and an Announcement


On New Years I always look back at what happened during the past year. It's fun to see what God has been up to and if I've spent my time well. Sometimes I write new resolutions too, but usually that ship has sailed already by December.
     What about you? How did your year go? Looking back, have you accomplished some feats of awesomeness? Are you writing resolutions to try something new? Is next year going to rock? Feel free to post about it in the comments section. We're brainstorming here! ;) Go dream. I'd love to hear your plans, whether they're family trips, writing plans or school stuff. Everyone on my blog is a friend. And plus, if you tell people about them, you're more likely to follow through! If the comments section below confuses you (it still does me! If you get it your first try, you must be rather canny and clever), here's a post that should help. The 3rd paragraph explains it.
     My last year definitely rocked! I got married, wrote my first novel and revised it to its timely and very certain death (this is comepletely normal, as scary as that sounds). No mourning here, though, because I also started my next novel! I'm armed with all the knowledge gained by the hundreds of hours spend writing this year. I also wrote several short stories this year, which leads into my next thread...
     I'm going to post one of my short stories on this blog next week. This is the first time I'm making a complete story publicly available. I've been planning for the perfect time to reveal some of my work. What better time than the beginning of the new year? I'm entering this story into a contest, so I'd love to know if you liked it or see any problems in it. Trust me, I like criticism on my writing. Feel free to say what you want about it. Let me know what you think when I post it next week! It's only 500 words, which is about two pages long.
     I hope you enjoy it! And if you could, please tell any teen girls you know about it! I wrote it with them in mind.
     Thank you, you lovely people! Happy New Years!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Writing Tip from Neil Gaiman

     First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
     Since you probably have plenty on your mind this weekend (all 33 cousins and their pets are stampeding your house and they're hungry), I'll keep this post short.
     Recently a friend of mine got to meet the author Neil Gaiman and I was extremely jealous. I've just finished listening to his book Coraline on my ipod. And I loved it. In my opinion, it's a great story for kids eleven and up. The books was much better than the movie. Also in my opinion, Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller. I happened to find this terrific video of him giving the most important writing tip of all:
video
     Pretty sound advice! And don't you love that accent?
     Happy writing!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review of "The Help"


For the readers:
     The Help sure helped me! Now I understand a new side of America's past.
     Miss Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan challenges the conventional ideas of being a white woman during her time- and her friends don't like it. All Mrs. Phelan wants is for Skeeter to find a husband. Skeeter wants to be a writer more than anything else. Even more than getting married. This desire fuses with another deeper one as she finds her perfect subject: life from a black maid's perspective. Now all she needs is the maid.
     Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi. All black women are maids without exception. Aibileen's job, besides cleaning a white woman's house, it taking care of the white children living there. Her current child, Mae Mobley, adores her. It's not the most satisfying life, however.  If she takes the huge risk writing with Miss Skeeter, she could change her entire life.
     Nobody wants to mess with Minny. That's a fact. With her tongue, it's no surprise she can't keep a cleaning job. Her home life, though...that's the surprise. Not to mention the home life of her newest employer. Minny has to decide whether to take the risk with her best friend Aiblileen, or to settle for her own awful life.
     The Help takes a really good look at a huge problem in America. A lot of books do this, but the three sassy narrators separate this book from the pack.
For the writers:
     Voice! This book is the perfect example of strong character voices. I'll be talking about voice in some point during the future, but for now, read this book and you'll understand what voice is. Aibileen's, Skeeter's, and Minny's voices are so perfect, you can picture the characters in your mind.
     The other thing this book taught me, as a writer, is that all really good books have a purpose. In The Help the author shows the maid's perspective in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi. This hasn't been done much or well. This book accomplishes it's purpose really well.

The movie:
     If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend it highly. It's a winner for sure. Check out this hilarious trailer!
video

Friday, December 9, 2011

An Experiment...ON YOU! Muahahahaha...


     I've decided to conduct an experiment: "Christy Answers Questions." Send me your questions! Any questions you have about writerly issues, bookish matters, library goings-on, etc. I may not know the answer, but I'd love to find out for you. I want to keep up on these types of things, and answering questions is a good motivation for me. I pledge to find the best answers from several sources and compile them into one super-answer! *hand over heart*
     CAUTION: Do not read these answers while driving. Not for weight control.
     Commenting on my blog is the easiest way to ask me a question. The process of commenting can be confusing if my warning goes unheeded! Really though, it's not difficult once you understand how it works.
     CAUTION: The following explanation may contain small parts.
     The blog won't allow one to comment without first selecting one of the options on the drop-down list below the comment box. I've found that there are two best options to handle this daunting little list. The first option: 1. Write your comment in the box below my post, then 2. select "anonymous". You can sign your name if you want, or leave it unsigned. The second option: 1. Write your comment, then 2. select "name/url" and enter your name and Facebook url/blog url.
      I can't wait to hear your questions! :) If you don't feel like commenting your question here, you can always reach me at my FB page. (CAUTION: Before clicking on link to website, read the following disclaimer. "The views and advertisements expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christy's Well-Lit Corner.")
    
     :) Thanks for checking out my space today, everyone! As soon as I find out, I'll post about what happens with the library budget I posted about last week.

Friday, December 2, 2011

California Libraries in Jeopardy

     I was planning on writing a book review today, but this needs to be discussed. Fellow Californians and Library users, this message is very important.
     On the 15th of December, all state funding for California libraries may be cut. What would that mean for our little Lakeport Library? And all the other libraries in the state? We can't know for sure yet, but it would likely include fewer hours or days for the library to be open, staff cuts, no book budgets (all books would come by donation), and complete elimination of the literacy program, which teaches adults how to read. Oh, and you know how we can order free books and movies from other libraries? We'd probably have to pay for that service, if these cuts happen. Even library cards may cost money.
     If you want to know more, you can read about it here.
     Now, we have a chance to to speak out against this. Go to the library. In Lakeport, the staff has provided letters  which are  typed up and ready to be mailed in free envelopes. The letters formally request that the library be removed from the governor hit list, because we've already taken huge cuts in the past few years. It explains that the library serves more and more patrons every year, and is already stretched very thin, budget-wise. The letters are adressed to the Governor Brown. All you have to do is sign one, stamp it and send it off. You can help us save the lake county library from hundreds of thousands of cuts, and other CA libraries as well.
     Please help.
     Thank you to those who already have (mom and dad :)!

Friday, November 25, 2011

What NaNoWriMo Accomplishes


   It's hideous! It's disfigured! It's completely unlike the original vision! It's...The First Draft!
   Let me start from the beginning.
   I've heard people mention the pointlessness of NaNoWriMo before. In case you aren't familiar with NaNoWriMo, a couple weeks ago I posted about it. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is a program facilitating writers who want take the challenge to write 50,000 words (or more) during the month of November. Critics say that any novel written that quickly can't be any good, and so the excercise is pointless.
   They're  both right and wrong.
   They're right in that these 50,000 words will include a poorly constructed plot with, bad grammer, wooden characters, and other writing maladies. However, every first draft ever written was populated with these and other problems, (including The Hobbit, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even Your Favorite Book! *gasp*). Therefore, the "trashy novel" argument isn't really valid. The term "first draft" is practically synonymous with "monster." It might surprise you that every book by every author was rewritten, reworked, revised countless times in drafts that number from 5-50. Probably more in some cases! My first novel has gone through at least 6 drafts since I wrote it in NaNoWriMo 2010.
   The critics are wrong, however, when they say NaNoWriMo is pointless. Really, it's a tool. There are several ways to use NaNoWriMo advantageously, but I've found that it's most useful in prodding a writer (me) to actually finish the first draft. Finishing that first novel draft is one of the biggest challenges for writers to overcome.
   For writers who've already conquered that first draft milestone (bravo for you!), NaNoWriMo is also helpful in creating a writing habit: a daily word count goal, a daily time frame, or whatever habit you're trying to build. A month is long enough to get started on a habit.
   So if anyone tries to tell you not to do NaNoWriMo because the product stinks...you have a justification to write away! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Write. Then revise. Then revise again. Then revise s'more....


     You may remember my joyous proclaimation last year about the birth of "my new novel!" Let me explain why only two people have been allowed to read this NaNoWriMo novel.
     Revisions!

     Some writers hate them, some writers love them, but we all have to do them.
     Revision is rewriting. Editing in big chunks. Like, "I wrote  this scene for chapter two, but I think it should actually go in chapter 37." It's all about decisions, and let me tell you, it's hard.
     So, only two people have gotten to read my book: my mother, and my critique partner. No one else will until I have revised it so much it's almost unrecognizable as the same book. And trust me, it's a good thing.
     There's another reason I'm not sharing my book. If I got copies of it made and distributed them, it would be considered "self-publishing." I don't have space to talk about exactly what that is here, but at some point I will.
     If you want some inspiring and useful advice on revising, I'll direct you to two places:
&
     Both of these blogs inform and inspire. They rule the writing tips. Seriously. A lot of times, when give advice, I'll put up links for articles on these sites.
     Anyway, happy revising!

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo


So. Since it's November, let me tell you about NaNoWriMo. This acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month. This program is the glorious reason I began writing in the first place! Let me share the wonder with YOU!
Every November 1st, serious or silly and definitely insane people who want to write novels gather together (online) to hack out 50,000 words for the next 30 days. That's 1,667 words a day in order to finish during the time limit and "win"!
The website has a zillion gadgets to inspire you and induce the insanity required for this wonderful task: a word count graph, a profile page, numerous forums on every subject, a helpful online community, and pep-talks from published writers!
I'm in my second year, and right on target with 17,093 words. Much thanks to Teresa, who introduced me to NaNo last year!
NaNo 2011 is in full swing! In case you missed the bus on November 1st this year, let me tell you all the reasons which might indicate you should join in this madness with me next year:
1.) If you've ever wanted to write a novel.
2.) If you've ever thought about wanting to write a novel.
3.) If the idea of writing a novel ever excited you, but then you rememembered it would be too hard.
4.) If you like to read. You can write your own book! Writing also deepens the writer's understanding of reading in general.
5.) You can be my writing buddy!
6.) It's free!
7.) It's totally for fun, but if you finish, it's also a major accomplishment!

If you're interested, you can plan ahead for next November, or you can try out the new Camp NaNoWriMo (also online and also free) during the summer! There's a link to the website under "my favorite websites."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Welcome, Lit Lovers

An author is in need of a blog. So I am told by respectable society, and so I obey.
Because man do I want to be an author!
If you’re reading this post, you probably know me. Thanks for checking out my new space!
On this hallowed blogging space, every friday, I’ll post about books (reviews, news, etc.), writing tips, my own scribbles, or other things I think are awesome. You know, reading, writing, and not arithmetic. Numbers are banned from this space.
So, join me any time in my Well Lit Corner!
-Christy L