Saturday, February 20, 2016

8 Essential Items to Pack When Attending a Writer's Conference

Happy weekend, Wordlings!

This Tuesday I'll be boarding a plane to Florida to pitch my novel :D I'm both nervous and excited; this will be a huge step in my writing journey.

Last year, I wrote a post title, "Why You Should Attend a Writer's Conference". This year, as I'm packing, I decided to write a post of the absolute essential items that you MUST pack when attending a writer's conference—cause last year I forgot a few of these things. Oops.

Onwards to the list!

1: Notebooks and Pens (plural) 

Obviously, you'll need them for taking notes from all the wonderful speakers that you're gonna learn SO much from, but they have more purpose than just that! 

Since you're surrounded by other writers and are engaged in writing atmosphere, you're gonna be bombarded with plot bunnies: notebooks are the best way to trap those little suckers. 

Lastly, when pitching to agents or editors, taking notes is uber important. Since you're already doing SO much at the conference, even with a steel-trap memory you're probably gonna forget most of what they say. Writing things down in a notebook is a great way to prevent that. 

2: USB Stick

Sometimes there's little groups of people that will do critiquing sessions or maybe someone that you meet just wants to take a look at your work. I don't trust the internet at conference centres. It's hit and miss and you're definitely not going to be the only one trying to use it (if it's available). 

*like a TV infomercial announcer* But with a USB stick, you'll never not have a way to share your masterpieces!

3: Books! 

Simply because you can't leave the house for a week without at least two books ^ ^. If you have a longer commute like I do and have to board a plane, books will keep you company ;) 

4:  Business Cards, Sample Pages, One Sheets and Author Bios (The Whole Package)

Especially if you're pitching any sort of your work, printing business cards is a great investment. Hand them out to author's you meet or the editors/agents you have appointments with. Another great use for them is that you can give them to your new friends so they can contact you and/or follow your blog when they get home.

The one sheets and such is more for if you actually plan on pitching a novel. I didn't need them last year but this year I'm creating little folders to give to all the people I pitch to. It gives them something to take home with them and remember your work by. It also says something about you as a writer.

5: A Traveler's Coffee Mug and/or A Water Bottle

Late nights and early mornings: two things you can be sre to encounter when attending a writer's conference. Besides all the writing buddies you're bound to make, caffeine becomes your bestest friend. Usually the cafeteria/hotel has tea and coffee that you can fill your mug with so you can carry it with you all day. 

Water is your second bestest friend. I don't know if it's because it's hot and humid in Florida and I'm not used to it or something but I got really dehydrated when I was at the conference last year! I didn't bring a water bottle which I sincerely regretted and am definitely not forgetting this year.

6: Authorly Attire 

Even if the conference says they have casual attire, putting a few extra minutes into your appearance is a good idea—especially if you're trying to get picked up. My view of a conference is that it's essentially an extended time period where you're pitching yourself as well as your book. 

Since there's editors and agents walking around the place, you never know when you'll randomly have a conversation with someone who may be interesting in helping you along your writing journey. I want to look the part if that happens ^ ^ 

7: Money for the Bookstore

Often times there's a bookstore with books from the authors that are there and sometimes also writerly merch :3 The bonus points for buying books here is that A) they're usually cheaper and B) YOU CAN GET THEM SIGNED! :D I did this last year with Bryan Davis' "Reapers" ^ ^

8: Extension Cord

You're gonna be using your laptop a lot but there's no guarantee that you'll get to sit near an outlet all the time to charge it. Carrying an extension cord will fix this problem and ensure that you don't run into that panicked feeling you get when your computer notifies you that you only have 2% battery left during the middle of class.

Have you been to a writing conference? Did I miss anything form the list?

Write on, Wordlings!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Beautiful People Valentines Edition | Why Can't Characters Admit Their Feelings?

Happy Valentines Day, wordlings! Even if you're not in a relationship, this is a time to appreciate your favourite fictional couples. And if you are in a relationship then you get double the love ^ ^

While Valentines Day isn't my favourite holiday, I love thinking about my characters that are together—or the ones I want to get together in a later book ;) This month, Cait @ Paperfury is giving all of us an opportunity to do just that with the Valentine's edition of the Beautiful People link up. It took me a solid few weeks to decide who to do (there's an apparent lack of romance in my novels), but I finally decided on Corson and Theron who are an unofficial couple from my novel, Crec. I'll explain the unofficial part below.

Onwards to the questions!

How did they first meet?

Corson and Theron first met when they were in school together as kids. Living in Lowground (the slums of Crec), the run down school didn't have the means to operate on a large scale. This meant that all kids, no matter what the grade level, were combined into a few classes.

During Corson's first week of school at the age of eleven, she took notice of Theron's ability to defend himself. She wanted him to teach her but was too shy to ask. Instead, she sat down against a tree Theron was sitting against and asked him what he was thinking about. Their first conversation was about their favourite foods, colours and seasons. What else do you expect from eleven and twelve year old kids though? ;)

This is them ^.^ 

What were their first impressions of each other?

Theron thought Corson was nice but a little annoying. He's definitely NOT a people person so having a random girl who had just started school that week approach him was a little weird for him. At first he thought that maybe she was trying to get food or money or something out of him. It took a little bit for him to lose the suspicious attitude.

On the other hand, Corson basically thought Theron was the best thing since sliced bread. She's the one who approached him, after all. I guess you could say she's always had a crush on him ever since she saw his wicked cool self defence moves.

How long have they been a couple?

This is where I explain the unofficial couple thing...

There was never a time when either of them asked the other one out or when they discussed being in a relationship. They've never even kissed. *communal gasp* It's more like they have this shared silent understanding that they both want to be there for each other forever. If we want to put a time on it though, they've been friends for five years.

How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? 

As I mentioned above, they're not officially dating so they can't really break up. Even if they were to get into a disagreement, Corson would probably say she was done with the relationship in the heat of the moment but then come back the next day and they'd both apologize and get over it. They're extremely loyal to each other despite their many differences.

Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other?

Depends on the type of stress. It would have to be a serious strain on their deep rooted friendship. Either one of them would have to basically go through enough that their personality changes dramatically or something.

And yes, they would die for each other but they've agreed not to. Lowground isn't a great place to live. The military that runs it can be brutal. Theron made Corson promise him one day that she would never put her life on the line for him. She agreed on one condition: that he would never put his life on the line for her. This being said, it's never had to be tested. That's what writing is all about though, isn't it? Authors love pushing the limits of their characters ;) Can I get a 'here, here' from all my author buddies? 

List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

A slightly younger Corson (minus the pink hair)

1) Takes her pine tea with half a spoon of sugar and a little bit of honey if she can afford it. 

2) She eats sandwiches "backwards" according to Theron. By this I mean she doesn't eat starting from that top rounded part of the bread, she starts from the bottom flat part. 

3) If someone is serving her food or tea, she sucks on the tip of her spoon while she's waiting.

4) She's allergic to nuts. She won't die if she eats them—she will get hives though. 

5) When she can find some, her favourite fruit is blueberries. She likes pairing it with goat cheese too. 


1) He likes bitter tasting stuff. For example, he eats the orange peels of the oranges. 

2) If there's one thing he won't eat, it's chives. Lots of people grow chives in Lowground but he's just not a fan. 

3) Despite not ever adding sugar to his tea or coffee, he always takes a spoon with it and stirs it absentmindedly—especially if he's in conversation with someone. 

4) If somebody doesn't finish all the food on their plate, he'll usually regard them with less respect for the rest of the day. 

5) He's more of a snacker than a big meal eater. He'd rather eat five or six smaller snacks than three meals. 

Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?

Nah. No one really knows that they're together to begin with. They don't really know they're together XD Even if people did know, I don't think anyone would disapprove.

What would be an ideal date?

Well, if they would actually ADMIT TO LIKING EACH OTHER, they'd probably find a secluded rooftop or go into the forrest and have a picnic and just talk. They love talking with each other. There would also be blueberries involved since Corson adores those little blue spheres of goodness.

What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?

They've got a few similarities but otherwise they're very different from each other. For the most part, they just accept their differences but it's not uncommon that they disagree. In fact, it's very common.

What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?

They're a pretty simple pair so to both of them, their best moments would be the ones where they can just escape their worries and talk all day. Both of them love taking trips to Fromshir or Haylock Canyon so any day that includes either of those places can be added into their best moment book.

A photo that looks like Haylock Canyon

As for their worst moments, they've had a few ugly fights especially since Theron's started talking about getting revenge for the death of his parents.

Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?

Well they've recently joined Shadowfore—each with their own reasons but they joined together. Since Shadowfore doesn't allow romantic relationships between their Skaces (soldiers), they're kinda both at an understanding that they'll have to be just friends for awhile. 

Who are your favourite couples in your books? Did you do beautiful people this month?

Write on, Wordlings!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

From Textbook to Your Book | The Triangular Theory of Hate

Hello, Wordlings!

This month I'm starting a series called "From Textbook to Your Book" (emphasis on the 'your' ;) ). As a student, I come across an entire....uh, herd?...of plot bunnies and story-research tidbits. University is a gem for that kind of thing!

One day while walking to my world history class, I had a lightbulb moment. What if I turned what I'm learning in school into applicable crash course writing lessons? So here we are!

Today's lesson: Psychology—how to make your characters hate each other (or figuring out why they already do) 

Back when I first started up my blog, I wrote a post called "The Triangular Theory of Love" where I covered the seven different types of relationships people—and characters—could have according to psychologist, Robert Sternberg.

This triangle was something I had randomly stumbled upon so when I was pre-reading for my psych class and came across his inverted version—the triangular theory of hate—I was pretty excited (I also felt pretty academically hipster).

As it turns out, it took awhile for hate to be discussed in psychology. In my text book, the subtitle is "Hate: A Neglected Topic". I don't really blame anyone though. True hate is a strong emotion. Maybe we joke about hating broccoli (for the record, I love those little trees of goodness!) but when it comes to something we actually hate, we probably won't admit it.

Despite this though, I think we can all agree that hate is a strong driving force in many novels that we read and also in the ones that we write.

Katniss hates the Capitol, Harry Potty and Voldemort both hate each other, Regina hates both Emma and Snow White in "Once Upon a Time", and the Loric hate the Mogadorians in the "Lorian Legacies" series. In my novel, "Crec", Ollie hates Shadowfore, the controlling force of the planet.

Hate drives all of these characters to do the things that they do. Many times, it leads to the climax of the story like it does in "Mockingjay", "Harry Potter", and "Once Upon a Time". It's a powerful force!

Just like the triangular theory of love, the triangle offers seven different types of hate all at different levels as seen below.

A visual for the triangular theory of hate

So here's the breakdown:

Cool Hate—just disgust: "I have no desire to be anywhere close to this person"

Hot Hate—just anger/fear: "I absolutely despise this person" or "I'm positively afraid of this person"

Cold Hate—just devaluation: "This person has no place in this world."

Simmering Hate (Loathing)—disgust + devaluation: "These people are the scum of the world, I don't want to associate with them in any way shape or form."

Boiling Hate (Revulsion)—disgust + anger/fear: "Do you honestly think I want to be near them after what they've done?" (can be taken in the context of both fear and anger)

Seething Hate (Revilement)—anger/fear + devaluation: "Why do they even exist? They do nothing for this world." (can be taken in the context of both fear and anger)

Burning Hate (Need for Annihilation)—disgust + anger/fear + devaluation: "I will stop at nothing to rid them from the world. They don't deserve to exist."

Hate is a dreary topic. Here's a cartoon to lighten the mood ^.^

My textbook cites Sternberg by saying, "Groups and governments that 'teach' hatred of other groups are experts at portraying these groups as evil and worthy of distain . . . . we perceive them as "subhuman" and worthy of experimentation, like insects and pests"
Part of some of the types of hatred (specifically the strong types) is the belief that the person or group is better than the group that is hated.

So did Katniss think she was better than the Capitol? Not in a narcissistic way but morally and ethically? She certainly believed firmly that she knew how the districts should be treated. This thought led to her believe that the Capitol (and Snow) should be annihilated.

A lot of the information in my textbook deals with hatred of groups by groups. However when reading up more on the topic, I've discovered that the same principles can be applied to individual people. Instead of influence by a government, perhaps their influence is coming from what their friends' opinions are or their own research and experience.

Hopefully this post has offered some insight that you can use for your story! If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below :)

Who and what do your characters hate and why? Can you pinpoint a type of hate that applies to them?

Write on, Wordlings!