Friday, February 24, 2012

Take the Quiz: The Books You Read

I'm curious about the books YOU read and I'm willing to bribe you for some answers. Click on the link below and answer a few short questions and you could win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Click here to take survey

After answering the quiz, leave me a comment below and I'll enter you in the drawing.
I'll post the winner of the Amazon gift card on March 7th.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Can't we all agree that none of us really like perfect people? I mean, how can you be friends with someone who always has their hair perfectly coiffed first thing in the morning, who keeps their house immaculate and never suffers from an occasional nervous breakdown? It may be that people like that don't actually exist in reality, which is a good thing in my opinion. Our flaws are the things that make us human. They make us quirky and relatable and let others off the hook for their own imperfections.

My list of flaws might be a bit longer than some of yours, but I like to imagine that they're part of what make me so funny and lovable (my husband might disagree that my panic attacks at two in the morning are anything but charming).

And when thinking about the characters in books and movies that we truly relate to, aren't they always flawed? The characters that stay with me the longest are ones that I relate to, not in their perfection, but in the bits of their personalities that make them struggle.

So what are some flaws that you struggle with?

Here's a few of mine in no particular order:

1. fear and anxiety- Ha, you say. No particular order? Yeah, okay, I get where you're coming from. This is something that can rule my life if I don't keep it in check, but it's a great source for writing.

2. procrastination- Yep, here's another one that I struggle against constantly. It seems so much easier to put things off until tomorrow, even though in the end it never pays off.

3. loyalty- I'd like to think of myself as a loyal person, but I fear that deep down I might be one of those people that is quite selfish and thinks of self preservation above others.

4. selfishness- While we're on the subject... I often put my own needs and desires above others. I care about my little family, but often don't think outside of our own little circle. I'm also very selfish with my time.

5. quick temper- It's true that this mostly plays out in terms of politics and my opinions of what I think is fair.

6. judgemental attitude- I'm not usually judgemental when it comes to people's lifestyles, but don't get me started on aesthetics.

7. gluttony- Yeah, I don't have willpower when it comes to the yummy snacks in this world. And maybe while we're on the subject of willpower I should mention that I don't really have it in any form.

8. envy- The green eyed monster visits me often. I haven't figured out how to keep him at bay.

I could go on and on. What faults do you find the most interesting in a character?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fantastic February Giveaway

Spring is just around the corner, and in my opinion, it can't get here fast enough. So in honor of the hope of warmer days ahead, I'm giving away this framed original painting to bring a little springtime into your home.

I'm trying out rafflecopter* (see below). So you'll have many opportunities to win. Entries are open through February 29th and the winner will be announce on March 1st.

*If the rafflecopter form does not show in your browser window, just leave me a comment saying that you'd like to be entered and I'll make sure you are.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Writing Prompts

Whether you're stuck in a writing rut or just want to spice things up a bit, writing prompts can be a great way to get your brain moving in uncharted directions. So for a little treat (for myself and for those of you who'd like to participate) I've put together a list of some fun prompts. Feel free to sort through them. Toss out the ones that don't inspire you and tuck the good ones away in your pocket to use later.

Now put the timer on for ten minutes and see what you can come up with.

1. "Hold the girl's face in your hands"

2. Open the nearest book. Turn to page 57. Count down 14 lines. Use this sentence as your prompt.

3. The moth

4. Metalic

5. "You noticed a man with a hat in the crowd"

6. Snow Angels

7. "Just before they drifted"

8. Split

9. Use these three words: Cast, Posture, Jingling

10. Last names

11. "A kind of smile"

12. Devoted

13. Turn on the radio. What are the first four words you hear?

14. Find a piece of music (classical, pop, rock, I don't care) now write.

15. Glass eye

Have fun with the prompts. And if you run out and need more, you can always visit me at Kate's Free Write.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Is it the Caffeine?

Normally I do most of my writing on my laptop, cozied up on the couch in my family room or in my favorite chair in the sun. You'd think that this would be an ideal place for writing, after all, it's oh so comfy and I have every convenience I'd ever need at the tip of my fingers.

But conveniences can . be dangerous.

As anyone who has ever tried to write or work from home knows, your life can be a BIG distraction. No one would ever believe that it would be possible to avoid doing such a large amount of work by doing NO work at all, but I can vouch for it. Laundry, dishes, email, dogs, the mail man... the refrigerator, how do they manage to distract me so completely?

So this week I tried a new experiment. I realize that it's the oldest trick in the book for writers, but I've never tried it myself, so I thought I'd give my neighborhood coffee shop a chance to work some magic on my writing.

Of course I have to admit that it might be the caffeine, but I was almost blown away by how easily the writing came to me while I was sipping my mocha and listening to the soft ambient noise of the espresso machine. For a half and hour I happily scribbled and scratched in my notebook, filling up page after page.

Yes, I might have a new addiction, but for now I'm not complaining.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Free Writing: Better than a Spinach Smoothie

Sometimes my writing expectations feel like they're hardening in my veins like the plaque that causes heart disease. I can almost see them there, thick and yellow and ready to send me clutching my chest in a cold sweat.

But don't worry, free writing is just the magic pill to ease my symptoms. I don't know whether a good free write is like one of those kale and spinach smoothies that my mom drinks for breakfast or if it's just a placebo, but I sure am thankful for the boost of energy that they've have given me this week.

I've been struggling getting back into the writing groove with my new project and even though I'm excited about it, I just can't seem to crank out the words like I want to. So this week I've revived my free writing blog (please give it a gander at Kate's Free Write).

I've tried to focus my free writing with my new project in mind. The prompts won't necessarily fit into the finished project, but I'm hoping they'll inform it and at least loosen me up. Who knows, I might go places that I never would have dreamed of or I might just spew out a few hundred words of drivel, but either way I'm finding it useful.

Remember how I said it was the first ten minutes that were the hardest? Well guess how long I'm timing my free writes?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Let's Take a Vote

I was getting a little sick of my old header for this blog, so I decided to make a new one. But I just can't decide which one I like more and I thought instead of fretting about it I'd put it up to a vote. So tell me, which one do you like better (or could you care less?)

In case you forgot what the old header looked like.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dialogue Do-Over

Do you do this? You just get home from a party (it might have been with your in-laws) and you can't seem to settle down. Your mind is swirling with all the things you WISH you'd said. Sure, it's mostly about politics, so you wouldn't have been changing anybody's mind, but still you wish that these really salient points that are practically dripping out of your nostrils would have decided to make an appearance an hour ago.

I can't help it, but I'm a terrible dialogue re-doer. It doesn't even have to be a particularly interesting conversation, but I still find myself replaying pieces of it in my mind. And in my mind I'm always rewording the things I said in real life.

I'm this way when it comes to conversations that I haven't even HAD yet. I'm particularly notorious for rehearsing phone calls. My husband is always laughing at me because I do the same things with calls that he has to make. I always want to do a little role play before the actual event, to warm up, stretch out those vocal muscles. But he thinks it's completely neurotic.

So maybe it's an annoying character trait, but if you're a writer it can come in handy. Right? Being able to hear dialogue in your head can be extremely helpful (as long as the voices aren't telling you to jump off tall buildings or get too cozy with sharp objects).

So what about you? Do you suffer from dialogue do-over?