Monday, March 29, 2010

Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice-How to write a helpless girl

I know a lot of you are writers who write female protagonists. I'm sure most of you woke up this morning and thought to yourself, 'How can I make my main character more needy?' Well, thank goodness you're reading this because I just happened to watch a movie last night that helped me immensely in this area. I thought I would share the wisdom.

1. Make sure your MC is constantly just a step behind her love interest and when possible he is shielding her with his body from whatever threat is present.

2. Make sure she knows how to scream really loud because it's all she can do to protect herself when he is fighting his own enemy and another one comes charging at her.

3. When he is fighting, preferably on the ground with hideous, scary monster on top of him, instead of having her try to help, have her stand there with a horrified look on her face.

4. If she ever does pick up some sort of weapon, she should be completely useless with it.

5. When she is captured (because let's face it, if she's this helpless she will be [probably multiple times]) have her not do a thing but continually say, 'My love is going to come rescue me.'

I actually love the movie that prompted this post, but hadn't watched it in years, and the fact that the girl was a total wimp stood out to me a lot this time. It could be because on Saturday night I saw "Alice in Wonderland" in the theater and walked away saying, "Girl power! Alice was awesome."

What about you? I'm sure you can add a few numbers to my list. How else can a girl show her obvious helplessness?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fortune=Destiny≠Lame Advice

There has been a new trend in the fortune cookie industry that I am none too fond of. Somebody has been getting stingy with my unrealistic, timely, magical promises and I'm not happy about it. My last two fortune cookies have read as follows:

"Your compassion makes you an invaluable friend."

"Be willing to admit you may be be wrong you're only human"

What the--?? My compassion? Be willing to admit I may be wrong?! What kind of fortune is that? I opened that cookie looking for hope, not observations or advice. The next one I open will probably tell me: "That last five pounds you gained was from all the time you spend on the internet." OR "Your laundry isn't going to do itself." Have fortune cookie makers decided to take responsibility and stop giving the world false hope?

Well, I have some of my own advice for the fortune cookie makers of the world. If you want to go all "realistic" on me, the least you can do is still make it a "fortune". For example: "Your compassion will earn you a semi-valuable friend." OR "When you admit you are wrong, the world will explode."

But, come on, what's wrong with the good old fashioned fortune cookie? One like this will do:

"All your books will sell and flowers will grow beneath your feet." I don't see anything irresponsible about giving that kind of hope.

Have you received any good and/or lame advice or fortunes lately?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Reviews

Well, if I may quote myself, I believe last week I said something to the effect of: "I will read a book this week. Just you wait and see." I may have even been shaking my fist as I said it. *Ahem* I didn't read a book this week. I apologize. But, I will say that I'm so excited because in just two short weeks, a book I've been waiting to get my hands on for several months now, is coming out.

On April 6th Kelley Armstrong's "The Reckoning" comes out. Yay!

If you haven't read the first two books, now is the time to do it because then you won't have to wait around like the rest of us suckers did for the third and final book in the series. These books are about a teenaged girl who after discovering she can see dead people, discovers she's not alone in her paranormal abilities. And the world she thought she knew is full of secrets and lies. (That was the briefest most vague summary ever, but I don't want to spoil it for you.)

Yes, I'm so excited about reading the third book that I'm putting my backing behind it before it's even in my hands. Hopefully I won't have to take back my enthusiasm later. So happy reading. I may or may not read a book this week (I say, after learning my lesson from last week).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice-Lying

I'm glad you all think my life is a walking comic strip. I wish all of those things were true. In reality, my life is pretty uneventful. But you know you've told a pretty good lie when even your sister and best friend can't guess which one is true. I think that has more to do with the randomness of my stories than my talent in lying. But, considering I write fiction, which is all a pack of lies :), I'm glad that you all had a hard time guessing. It got me thinking, actually, what makes a good "lie"?

1. The best lies are based on some truth. The first story about standing up at the beginning of Twilight and shushing the audience actually happened, but I didn't do it. My sister witnessed another lady do this. Now, this is so not me. I'm very non-confrontational. So at the end of the story I added the part about having a smile on my face to make it more true to character (the real lady that did this was not smiling). So number one was a lie.

2. The more details you have in a lie, the more believable. In the second story about the Edward Sparkly Barbie, I had myself looking at a magazine, I had the specific conversation I had with the boys in front of me. I even had myself thinking that they had read the Twilight books. This story was true in that I did buy my daughter the Edward doll for her birthday, but everything that followed me putting Edward in the cart was my fear of what was going to happen once I got to the register, not what actually did.

3. Adding emotions into a lie make it seem more real. I am terrified of heights. Heights really do bring me to my knees in frozen panic. But, I never went to a suspension bridge with a boy in college.

4. Good lies throw in something unexpected. I think number four about using smashed Junior Mints to wrap a present is so ridiculous that you think it just might be true. But, you have to know that I would never waste my precious Junior Mints to wrap a gift. Come on, now. :)

5. Staying true to character is key in fiction writing. Throughout my blog, I've made it clear that I love Junior Mints. So you all know how obsessed I am with them. If you're new to my blog, the fact that I had two stories that included Junior Mints, probably made it obvious as well. So number five, me begging the store clerk to sell me some, rings true because it sounds like something I would do. But alas, I didn't. I'm generally prepared in advance for Junior Mint cravings, so a crisis like this can be avoided. On the phone this morning, my bff Candi pointed out that she guessed this number was true because it is going to happen in the future. It was a prediction of what's to come. I guess, in an emergency, it could be true. :) But it hasn't happened yet.

6. The truth! For those of you who guessed the Super Man virtual reality video was true, you were right. That lady told me she couldn't see down my shirt!! Who's the liar now?? Why did I believe her lie? Because, hello, girl code. :) Good fiction plays on human nature--characters reacting emotionally in predictable ways. That's why I believed her lie. Because why wouldn't she tell me? When characters don't act predictably, tension is brought into the story.

7. Okay, so obviously seven is a lie, I haven't based a character on the mage, robe-wearing Gary. But, man, do I love him. He makes me laugh every time. If you haven't seen that episode (Spongebob invading his friends' dreams) you totally should.

Well, that is my unhelpful advice about lying. Seeing as how a lot of you are writers, I'm sure you're all experts at lying, I mean, writing fiction.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Melissa, from Chasing the Dream, passed along the "Creative Writer" Award (thanks Melissa). I have to list six lies about myself and one truth. This was really hard for me. I'm going to pretend it's because of my pure-hearted nature and not because it was easier to think of the lies than an exciting enough truth. So, here goes. Which one do you think is the truth?

1. I take my movies very seriously and if people interrupt something I paid good money for, it makes me angry. At the premiere of Twilight a bunch of people were talking as the movie began. I stood up and yelled, “I waited a year to see this movie so you people better be quiet.” Of course I said it with a smile on my face, but they got the picture.

2. Speaking of Twilight, I bought my daughter the Edward (sparkly) Barbie doll for her birthday. While I was standing in line, having forgotten all about the doll, a magazine with Robert Pattinson on the cover caught my eye. The teenaged boys in front of me said, “You must’ve really liked Twilight.” I said, “Yes, they were awesome books. Did you read them?” They all denied having read them (which the fact that they knew who Edward was makes their claim suspect). After they left, when I went to pay for the items, I realized why they had asked. I was soooo embarrassed.

3. I’m so afraid of heights that in college, a boy took me on a date in the mountains and I had to crawl across a suspension bridge because I couldn’t walk the hundred feet. He found this very amusing.

4. One time we were out of tape and I used Junior Mints to wrap a present for my sister. She thought it was disgusting even after I assured her I didn’t chew them, just smashed them. Junior Mints make very good adhesives. Plus, as a bonus, it made me feel like MacGyver.

5. Speaking of Junior Mints, one time I had such a craving for them that I showed up at the local grocery store five minutes after they closed. The doors were locked, but I knocked and convinced the checker to let me buy some. My dimples come in handy often.

6. At the wax museum in New York, my husband and I got talked into doing the virtual reality Super Man video they try to sell you. A nice crowd gathered around to watch. The whole time I kept asking the lady (as I lay on my stomach with my arms extended) if you could see down my shirt. She assured me she couldn’t. When we were done, we watched the video….you could see down my shirt.

7. I based a character in one of my books on Gary, the snail, from Spongebob. Not the meowing Gary, but the wise, mage, tall, robe-wearing Gary we got to meet when Spongebob crawled into his dream.

Tune in on Monday when I reveal the exciting truth (I'm sure you can't wait). :) I pass this award along to

Tricia -- because stories from her childhood are so funny you'd never believe they were true. I better stop there. Believe me, you wouldn't want to battle Tricia in a guess the lie game.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm Back

Well, I don't know how all of you fared while I was away, but I was a mess. I listened to our song everyday. I had pretend conversations with you, most involving American Idol and how sad I was when "mullet boy" Alex Lambert got voted off. You were very consoling, by the way, telling me it was okay to eat as much chocolate as I wanted. You even told me not to blame myself for not voting that week (because along with having no internet, I also had no television and couldn't watch AI until the next day at a friend's house). I had almost forgiven myself, but it all came back last night when there was no mullet on American Idol.

I'm a little disappointed in you all, though, because you failed to talk me out of cleaning. As a result, I spent a few days under beds, behind dryers, and taking apart bathroom sinks. It was ugly. Very, very ugly. I might be traumatized. Fortunately, I think I fulfilled a year's worth of cleaning in ten days, so I won't have to think about that again for a while.

You know what I didn't do while I was away, which is actually quite shocking? Read. I didn't read a single book. Which is why there is no review for you today. In fact, on Wednesday, February the third, Jessie asked me what I thought at the time was a ridiculous question: "What happens if a week goes by you didn't read a book because life may be a little insane with two times the kids I have. Then what will you talk about on Wednesday?" And I answered: "Oh Jessie, you funny little girl. I don't know when that would ever happen." Well, it turns out that ever since she asked that question I haven't read a single book. I'm convinced she put a curse on me. She is my nemesis, after all. So, Jessie, you may think you've won, but I won't go down that easily. I will read a book this week. Just you wait and see!

Are you like me? Do you go through phases where you read like crazy and your writing is minimal and then before you know it, your reading has dried up and you're writing tons? Is that just me? So I guess the good news is that I've been writing a lot lately (take that, Jessie). Well, I'm off to get caught up on all your blogs. So happy to be back.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Separation Anxiety

I just found out that starting Saturday I'm going to be without the internet for 10 days while we switch providers. I know you're as horrified as I am. So I decided to make a list of ways to help us get through this separation from each other.

1. At different times during the day, I will type such things as--In need of a Junior Mint fix. Where is my secret stash? OR @candicekenningt you're so funny. Of course I'd pick my children if forced to choose between them and American Idol--Then I'll pretend like you guys are actually reading them on twitter.

2. Throughout the day, think to yourself, 'If Kasie were here, what would she say?' I will, in turn, ask myself the same question about each of you. Most of the things you guys will be saying in my mind, by the way, are: "Yes, of course, you should have another cookie." OR "No, cleaning is totally overrated."

3. If you smack your elbow, stub your toe, or fall over a parking curb, feel free to say, "I just pulled a Kasie."

4. I've decided that during this time apart we should have a song to remember each other by. Then whenever we hear the song, we will think of each other. How about, The Script's "Breakeven (Falling to Pieces)"? A little too dramatic for the situation? I don't think so. Not all the lyrics are accurate, but they work. :)

If we follow these simple steps I think we will make it through the next week and a half without too much trauma. Don't forget about me while I'm gone. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice-Picking Friends

When picking friends it is important to pick ones that will compliment your lifestyle and add to your overall sense of happiness and well being. For example, you may find yourself gravitating towards those people who share some of the same loves as you. Or you may find friends who have the same sense of adventure you do. Or perhaps, like me, you may find yourself drawn to people who are just as good at making fools of themselves as you are. If you are in the habit of making a fool of yourself (like me), it is my advice to you to have at least one good friend who shares this same habit. Take the following story as an important lesson as to why it is so important:

Friday morning I woke up tired and groggy (which is very unusual for me. Normally I wake up ready to start the day with a smile on my face and....okay, not true, groggy is my normal state of being before 11am). I rolled out of bed and headed downstairs to make the kids' lunches for school. I got about halfway down the 15 steps and my foot hit the edge of the stair wrong. I went sliding down the rest of the stairs on my back, uselessly grasping for a hold on anything to stop myself. (This post could've very well been advice on the importance of using handrails, but I thought that would've been entirely too helpful.)

"Uh, are you okay, mom?" my daughter asked when the noise of my descent stopped and a small wimpering moan (coming from me) filled the air.

"Yeah, I'm okay."

As soon as she heard that I was fine, she laughed (which I deserved, I always laugh when my children receive minor injuries). Then she retold the story to her sisters and dad when he got home. It was a morning full of laughing at mom. Ha, ha, so funny.

Well, I was feeling pretty stupid and clumsy and foolish. That was, until I talked to my friend, Jenn, later that morning and she told me a story that made me feel infinitely better about myself. Jenn's experience at the gym. Go and read it. It's so funny. So, now you see how important it is to make friends who are equally as accident/foolish prone as you are. Find your weakness and find a friend to match it. :) You will feel so much better about yourself.

I'm just teasing you, Jenn. You know I love you. You are full of awesomeness. Thanks for making me laugh all weekend.