"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A UF Classification

Over at the Science Fiction/Fantasy writing section of the Absolute Write message board, one of the posters proposed a classification system for urban fantasy. As someone with a BS in Biology, I couldn't resist modifying his a bit.

Kingdom - SF (Speculative Fiction)
Phylum - Fantasy
Class - Urban
Order - Contemporary, Historical, Futuristic
Family - Romance, Mystery, etc.
Genus - demons, fey, shapeshifters, magic users (witches, psychics), angels, vampires, etc.
Species - author's specific interpretation of the supernatural creatures and cultures

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Typing is Finished and the Kitty Has a Name

I finally finished typing up Kitsune. But after typing almost 30 handwritten pages yesterday, my wrists are incredibly sore from resting on the computer. I'm going to spend most of the day reading, and then this weekend I hope to have my husband read through it so he can give me some feedback on what's working and what isn't. So I'm pretty excited about that.

Plus, our little kitten finally has a name, and a nickname (but you know how that goes). His name is Saru, which is Japanese for monkey. His nickname is monkey, because he really is a little monkey. If I'm standing up and wants attention he'll just dig his nails in and climb up my leg. Though is nickname is also Georgie. From the monkey Curious George.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Cutest Thing

My husband got me the cutest thing for my birthday. It's a tan and white kitten. Of course, he isn't as cute as Vivi was when we got her, but he's still cute. He doesn't have a name yet, but only because I'm waiting to be inspired.

He has a birth defect that makes his tail shorter than normal, an infection in his right eye that may or may not make him permanently blind, and fleas. Since we both have Thursday morning free, we're going to go shopping for him. You know, to get things like a flea collar or anti-flea shampoo, some toys, a food dish and a water dish (he's using some plates right now).

As soon as I get pictures uploaded to the computer, I'll add one here.

Oh, and just like kitties everywhere, he wants to claim the computer as his.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Ideas Keep Coming

Among other revisions necessary for my story, I've been playing with the idea of giving it a new opening. I figure for a semi-action novel, the opening needs to start with a lot more action (because so far, the action doesn't really start until chapter 2). And last night, I finally figured out how to do that. Or, what that starting action should be. Plus, if I do it right, it should create some additional suspense. Of course it means I'll be creating a new chapter 1, chapter 1 will become chapter 2, I'll create a new chapter 3, and chapter 3 will become chapter 4 etc. But then later on, there's a chapter or two that I want to remove from book 1 and put into book 2 (with some changes, of course. But I won't get to that until I've finished this one.)

I haven't made any changes to the story yet. So far, I've just been taking notes on what new ideas I come up with as I've been typing my novel. It's probably a good thing too, since I don't know if I'll keep all the new ideas I have, or if they even make sense for the story. But once I have my novel typed (which will hopefully be by either Thursday or Friday), I can make a list of all the changes I want to make a list of all the changes I want to incorporate, so I'm not adding unnecessary changes.

I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm still pretty excited about all the work I have to do.

Out of My Comfort Zone and Loving It

I don't know exactly what counts as a non-standard genre for me. I guess I could say Kitsune does.

1. While it's a love story like pretty much everything else I've written, Kitsu sort of has a relationship with many different guys (but she's still only with one guy at a time).

2. It's sci fi. And while I've written sci fi before, this one has pretty much nothing to do with Earth. So while some sci fi writers can say "such and such technology works like such and such technology from Earth, only more sci fi-y, I can't do that. Needless to say, my descriptions a bit lacking since I don't know how to describe it in non-Earth terms.

3. Kitsu's also a spy. This is what makes her story the most outside of my genre. I've never read a spy novel and I've only seen a few spy movies other than James Bond. I wouldn't have made Kitsu a spy if I didn't think it'd be fun, but it is by far the most challenging thing to work with.

Actually, I used to think the sci fi part was the most challenging thing, and then last weekend I started watching Alias, and that's generated a whole bunch of questions from me and my husband about the inner workings of her world that I just hadn't considered before, but would make sense. So now, not only do I have to change things about the plot in book 1, but I have change parts of the world. Hopefully, by the time I get through with all the new world building and it gets fully integrated into the plot, I'll have a really, really good story.

Also because of Kitsune, I'm breaking away from the genre I normally read, which is mostly I read urban fantasy. The book I'm currently reading is a thriller. And next up will be a couple sci fi and spy novels.

I guess though, because Kitsune is so far out of what I normally write, and because I want to make it as good as I can, I'm exploring things that I wouldn't have before working on Kitsune, like reading thrillers and finding out that I like them.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Short Break

Well, I'm taking a short break from typing up Kitsune to work on a short story. It shouldn't take long, since it can only be 1000 words.

Basically, I was looking into the Writing Challenge on the Women of the Otherworld message board, and saw some possible requirements for the next challenge and was inspired. The requirements I'm following for this story are 1000 words, nothing supernatural, and an unusual point of view (like a pet dog's point of view).

So my story is called, "My People" and it's based on true events, only it'll be from the perspective of my Pomeranian, Vivi. (Yes, that's the cute puppy in the picture in the sidebar.)

I want to finish the short story this weekend, along with typing up the rest of Kitsune. But I'm really far behind on Kitsune, since I didn't type anything on Tuesday or Thursday (the one day I actually have a lot of time to get work done), and I didn't make my page count on Wednesday. Also, I don't think I'll make my page count for Friday. So it might take me another week to finish typing Kitsune.

On the plus side, I have a bunch of notes and a couple of new directions the story could go. Actually, I'm not sure if the new directions are a good thing or not, since sometimes when my mind jumps on an idea, all these other ideas come flooding into my head. And usually sometime later, I look back at what I wrote, at what I was certain was the *best* idea ever, only to realize that perfect idea doesn't fit with everything else I have in the story and/or world, either it's contradictory or just plain stupid. Though once in a while, I manage to get a few good ideas that really to propel my plot, story, characters, etc. into new and exciting directions.

Anyway. I'm probably going to hold off on engaging or dismissing any of my new plot points until I've finished typing Kitsune, and thus reading this version. Hopefully, when I get to the end, I'll have a better idea of what the story needs. Then I'll be able to have a big brainstorming session with my husband, and see if his perspective sheds some necessary light needed to reign in the next draft.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Progress and New Ideas

I've been typing up Kitsune at a pretty good pace and I hope to be done by next weekend. When i first started typing it up and rereading what I had written, I was like, Aww, this is so horrible. How can I ever make any sense out of this? To, These chapters don't belong in book 1, they should go in book 2. I mean, the stuff is really interesting, and I want to read more, but I think it will be better if I save it. And finally in the last couple days, I got this reaction, Hey, this stuff's getting really good. I think this is where the plot should really start.

So yesterday at work, I wrote a new short synopsis to give the basic overview of the beginning of the novel. Well, at least what will be the new-ish beginning. Plus, I've already started to think of the new draft as Butterfly Mask, so we'll see which title I go with when it eventually gets finished.

The writing's going good for me and I'm generating a million and one new ideas, but all for this story (which is always a good thing).


Happy Independence Day, everyone.

I don't have much to say, only that this year is my third year without being able to watch the fireworks. And yes, it makes me kind of sad. Before now, I never really realized how much I liked watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

The first year I skipped them (in 2006) was because my husband and I were in Mankato for the day, so we spent time with one of our friends we had met while we were in college. We probably could have seen the fireworks, except since he had two small children, they were already sleeping, etc., so my husband decided to spend more time with our friend rather than seeing the fireworks. I only agreed, because I thought, Hey, I'll be able to watch them next year. Right?

Only in 2007 we were in South Korea. And we didn't come back until July 13th. So much for seeing fireworks that year.

And finally this year, we are in Japan, but we got a few fireworks. Back in May (on our wedding anniversary, actually), there was a fireworks festival in Ajisu, where we used to live before moving to Ouchi Yata. But they also sell a bunch of fireworks at the store, so my husband picked some up and we lit a few off. We probably would have lit more except it was starting to sprinkle. And I always feel wired when we're doing something that the legality of it is questionable. My husband said it should be fine since they sell them at the convenience store. But I guess I'm still used to living in Minnesota where up until a few years ago, fireworks were illegal. Sure, that didn't stop people from having them, but it did stop people from lighting them where others can see.

With all of this, it got me thinking about two things.

1. I love watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, and it feels like there's something missing when I don't get to see them. It's odd because I don't feel particularly patriotic, but watching large fireworks displays without it being the Fourth of July just seems really weird to me. Like there's an emptyness in watching the fireworks without that feeling that these (the fireworks) are in celebration of our nation's independence and freedom.

2. I find it just a tab bit ironic that, to me, fireworks means independence and freedom and the US as a whole, when fireworks were invented by a different culture.