Monday, January 31, 2011

I Understand And I Wish To Continue

A few of my blogging friends have the “18 or older” warning to get into their blogs. I roll my eyes at it because I rarely see anything remotely “adult” on their blogs. And when it is there, it’s not usually something that bothers me.

It got me thinking what constitutes offensive on blogs. Swearing? Violence? Mentions of sex? Graphic mentions of sex? Okay, maybe that last one. Sex seems to be a button for people and anywhere their kids might possibly come across the dreaded s-e-x is monitored. I really think they should be more worried about the porn sites, but whatever.

Television is the same. Before some shows, there's a little warning about what it contains (sex, violence, language), usually in the form of a rating in the corner. The very act of sex on network TV is strictly regulated (how many people REALLY have sex with all that underwear/lingerie on?). Remember that whole Janet Jackson Superbowl boob thing? It was an accidental "nip slip" but people reacted like she and Justin Timberlake were having sex in front of the cameras instead of doing admittedly sexual moves (which were only criticized after the fact, mind you; most other sexy dancing is ignored). It still seems like an overreaction instead of just "It's a nipple. Everyone has them. Maybe it's kind of funny."

Don't get me started on books. Actually, I think I kind of went off on it already with the whole SPEAK thing. In any case, there is a lot of upset over sex scenes in YA literature despite the fact that they are important to the story (as in SPEAK, TWENTY BOY SUMMER and I suppose even TWILIGHT).

How far is too far? Is the line between appropriate and unseemly that hard to distinguish? And when does shielding from danger become sheltering from life?


Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Missing Piece

Last night, I forced myself to do some more editing. Every now and then I get in a mood where I think that now amount of edits will save this book, I might as well give up, there's no point.

But that's not what happened. Instead, I found myself adding to a scene where one of the characters (Reika) was alone with Eddie, who was asleep. At first, I put in some details but then I realized Eddie should stay asleep for a little longer, leaving Reika alone with her thoughts, which she hates. In just a few paragraphs, I managed to flesh out the character and highlight the struggles she's going through that no one sees. Looking at the finished product, I was pleased.

So yes, despite my frustration with editing, it is a great tool. I found what that scene was missing and there is no greater feeling! Okay, maybe getting published and all that. But this was still awesome. The only problem is how hard it is to find the missing piece. I only hit on it because I've gone through this book, adding and subtracting, fixing and polishing, a million times and I thought to myself "What if I add inner monologue?"

There's no way around it! You have to keep going through your books again and again and again and again! Write things down, take them out, make a note, come up with new ideas!

It can get...tedious. But for those moments when I read back what I wrote and sense completeness, but perhaps not perfection...I'd do anything.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It’s Saturday!

You know what that means. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the games I told you about yesterday, then you can learn of another website to help you stay away from the evil people out there trying to exploit your hard work and possible naivety in regards to the world of publishing.

Thinking back to my first attempt at being (dun dun dunnnn) published, I realize just how little I knew about that oft murky world. To say I didn’t know what to expect is an understatement. Perhaps it’s better to say I didn’t know what not to expect, namely what was appropriate and what was a big red flag that should send me running screaming into the night.

One of the best sources for what to watch out for is WRITER BEWARE, staffed by A.C. Crispin, Victoria Strauss and Richard C. White (sorry, I couldn’t get his website to come up). For any writer looking to be published, I recommend checking out the site. Because no matter how appealing, how perfect an offer seems, it might not be in your best interest. 

Yes, this was a short one. Sorry. Busy day today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Some More Gaming Fun

Why another game site you ask? Oh, no reason in particular. Certainly not to drive every other writer to distraction in order to have a better shot at being published.

Certainly not.

Anyway, if you like games as much as I do, check out Like Newgrounds, it’s filled with flash games by amateurs—in the unpaid sense; many of them are quite good. There is a kind of morbid series called Casuality where you try to figure out ways to kill stickmen. It’s actually quite amusing. If you like escape-room games, there is This Is The Only Level where you try to beat the same level in numerous different ways and with different challenges. There are also games where you click on objects, combine them and use them to escape rooms, games based on realistic physics, and cool crime/investigation type games.

Don’t think these are the only ones. I just like puzzle type games so they are the ones I know about. There are also action games (RPGs and the like), shooters, and “girly” games about life, designing and coloring.

So go ahead! Play! Don’t work on your novel!

Just kidding. But it is fun for a quick break.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Annoying Part of French Heritage

Yesterday, I mentioned one part of my heritage. Today, I'll speak of another part, the French side (I'm an American mutt--there are several others in there, too, and the French is by way of Canada). My mom named me, after her aunt Jeannette. Her first choice was “Rose” but my dad vetoed that. I’ve never forgiven him for it.

Because no one gets my name right. I’ve been called, Jane, Jeannie, Jeanine, Jee Anne, Jahne, Joanne (a little amusing since one of my blog friends really is Joanne Fritz), and also yelled at for correcting the person who pronounced it wrong. Maybe I should've taken a page from Stephen Colbert's book and answered: "It's French. Bitch." 

It’s ridiculous. There weren’t even any Jeans to confuse me with when I was in high school. Then in college, I was astonished to meet someone with the same name as me (and just to note: she was about twenty years older than me, too). I asked her: “Do people mispronounce your name?” Her answer was a heavy sigh.

It also didn’t help when Christina Aguilera came out with that damn song which I will never, ever name. Every day in eighth grade, people shouted it at me as I walked down the hall. And when I sat down to lunch. And when I was in class studying.

I hated Middle School. How I envied those named Katie, Sarah and Rachel. Everyone knows how to say those names. And they aren’t distinctive enough to be noticed and commented on. I wonder if they ever envied me for having something unpronounceable but unique.

I can’t imagine they would.

Thoughts? Any of you out there with “boring” names wish for something more exotic? Or vice-versa? I’d love to hear your opinion on your name.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Language of Confusion: Germany

Yes, Germany. Why? Well, I find it interesting to learn about one quarter of my source genetic material (as if the last name isn’t clue enough, my dad’s family is of German extraction, specifically Prussian, pre-unified Germany). Also, I think it’s weird that we call the country “Germany” when in its own language, it’s known as “Deutschland.”

The name isn’t entirely out of the blue. Germany (the word) first showed up in the fourteenth century from the Latin Germania. There was a region called Germania in the third century BCE, the name stemming from Gallic. The exact translation isn’t known, but it’s thought to be neighbor or men with spears.

So, English takes the name from Latin. If you translate the name into other languages, you can see that many other countries call it the same thing, most of them outside of Europe (except for Italy, there aren’t any in western Europe at all). Germany itself as well as Scandinavian and many Asian countries, refer to it as some variation of Deutschland, which comes from the Proto Germanic (the language ancestor of the Germanic languages) theudo (popular, national), which goes further back to Proto-Indo-European teuta, or people. Deutsch as a language name (not this particular language name) was first used in the eighth century CE by Charlemange and a few years later, the language we know today took it as a name. At least in their country. It took five more centuries for it to refer to the people as well, but the reason for that is more because the mindset during the middle ages was that people belonged (like property) to their lord/king/emperor and thus did not have a national identity (no actual citation for this since it’s just something I remember from my college history class).

Other variations include Alamanni, the name of a tribe that lived in the region, given to them by yet another Roman emperor in the third century CE and coming from Alamanniz, a proto-Germanic word for all-men or foreigners. It is used in several European countries, some Middle Eastern and African languages. Next we have variants of the word Saxon, used in a few Baltic nations and possible derivations from the Germanic volk used in a few others. Popular in Slavic countries is variations on nemtsy, although the origin of this particular moniker is even more murky than volk.

This time, I’m afraid I had to use Wikipedia for some of this information, which means its accuracy is in question. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find many online sources for the origin of its name and I couldn’t get to the library : (. Boo, I know, but most of these were cited. Small comfort, I know. I hate not being able to look at primary sources. The first thing I learned in college was not to use Wikipedia as a source ever. You can use it as a starting place, but never, ever as a source. And I don’t blame them. Luckily, the Online Etymology dictionary was able to confirm the stuff about Alamanni, Germany, Deutsch and Saxons.

Thanks to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Google Translate and, I suppose, Wikipedia.

I really loathe writing that.