Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Turn a Word Into a Halloween Costume

1. Choose your word. Preferably not a noun, as they make things easier and, hence, less fun.


2. Make sure you know the full and complete definition of your non-noun. Look it up in various dictionaries or using online resources. You may find that the word has a rather different meaning than you assumed.

obvious - adj. Easily seen, discovered, or understood.
-Webster's Pocket Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language New Revised Edition

obvious - adjective 1. easily seen, recognized, or understood; open to view or knowledge; evident: an obvious advantage. 2. lacking in subtlety. 3. Obsolete. being or standing in the way.

3. Brainstorm on how you can make the definition apply to you by use of clothing. *

Easily seen?Easily understood?

4. After you have the body of your costume, consider any accessories, including footwear, that could add awesomeness to your costume. Make sure you have an explanation for how they tie to your original word and its definition. Farfetched explanations are allowed.

More easily seen.

5. Put it all together and go trick-or-treating or to that costume party or whatever you're planning to do on Halloween!

Lizzie fail.
*If you decide to implement any kind of writing into your costume as we did, make sure you know how to spell everything. Misspellings are not always easy to fix, especially when fabric paint is involved.

What are you being/doing for Halloween?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Prompt #43: She was like a sponge, he mused...

            Richie scuttled across the beach, covering his eyes with his hands. A ball of wet sand landed in the center of his bare back. He fell forward, curling in his arms and legs. The grains shifted under him.
            A short laugh rang in his ears, more like a bark. “You’re so easy, squirt.” A spray of sand flew over him, then there was the crunch of footsteps as his brother stalked away.
            Richie’s breath rasped loudly in the circle of his arms. He waited until the sound was about to drive him mad before sitting up. Grit streamed from his hair. He looked around warily. Roger sat in the waves, their parents smiling on.
            His jaw opened and shut, the joints grinding. He put his index finger to his mouth, biting down on his nail. The skin pinched between his teeth. Ritchie stared at his finger. The nail was gone, an indent where it should have been.
            He searched the sand using both his eyes and his hands. Dirt dug under his remaining fingernails. His vision blurred. He lifted one last shell. It was smooth in his hands and the sun reflected off its pinkish hue. He gazed at it for a second before looking down.
            A tiny girl sat in the sand, her knees drawn up to her chest. Her brown hair laid in a plain braid down her back. Her eyes took up half her face.
            She blinked. Richie blinked.
            He reached out to touch her. She scooted away, her mouth open wide. The sand disappeared around her and she sunk into a small hole.
            “Sh, it’s okay,” Richie whispered, his hands out in front of him. He glanced over his shoulder. No one was paying any attention to them. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
            Her mouth closed, but she rocked back and forth making the hole deeper.
            Ritchie sat back, balancing on the balls of his feet and scratching the shell against his chin. “What are you?”
            She stopped rocking and looked up at him with her bulbous eyes. She slowly held up her hand, pinching the air between her thumb and forefinger.
            He smiled. “Yes, I know you’re little. But why are you so little?”
            She shrugged and placed her hands on her knees, knocking them together.
            “Okay then. So why are you here?”
            Another shrug.
            Richie looked up. The ocean’s waters slapped at the sand, breaking apart his thoughts. “Did you wash up on shore?”
            She pointed at the shell.
            “You came from this?” He frowned. The shell was nearly flat.
            She shook her head and pointed at the shell again, then the ground.
            “Oh.” He set it on the sand.
            She climbed into the dip, grabbing onto the slightly curved edges. She leaned side to side, the shell moving beneath her.
            “So you rode here.”
            She nodded, her hands still in place.
            He reached down and carefully picked up the tiny vessel, bringing it to eye level. Her miniature fingers tightened then withdrew to her lap. Tiny chips were gone from the sides.
            “Are you hungry?”
            She nodded until Richie thought her head might snap off her neck.
            “All right.” Richie stood. He glanced at his family again. “I’m going to have to put you in my pocket, okay?”
            She gave her consent.
            He pulled out his trunks pocket as wide as it would go and gently dumped her inside, letting the shell go with her. Then he walked back to his parents and the basket full of snacks, being careful not to jostle the girl.

            Richie stared out the car window. His ear itched. He was pretty sure some of Roger’s saliva remained inside. He looked over at his brother, who slept propped up against the car door. His parents were fully focused on their conversation.
            He peeked inside his jacket pocket. His new friend smiled at him sleepily. He grinned back and returned to the window. Monotonous scenery flashed by in a haze, everything mixing together.
            He couldn’t take it anymore. He stuck his finger in his ear, wiggling it to dislodge whatever was causing the irritation. His nail was no longer there to help scratch the itch.
            Richie froze, everything clicking into place. A smile stretched his face as far as it would go as he gazed at his brother. He poked his fingers into his pocket. The girl climbed onto his palm. He held her up to his mouth and whispered as soft as he could.
            She nodded.
            He reached over and set her on top of Roger’s head. She walked lightly to the back of his head and grasped two big strands of hair in her hands. They disappeared completely.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just When You Think It's Going to be Okay

*Today my blog is being critiqued by Laura at Laura B. Writer.
**Please don't forget to follow the instructions on this post and "heart" my entry if you like it.
            The blood disappeared in the black sand, but not even the salt in the air could cover the odor of decaying bodies. I leaned back, bark catching on my shirt, and tried to breathe through my mouth. An unbroken mix of blue and green spread out before me. It was worse than the stench.
            The tree shook all around me. My legs tightened around the branch. I raised the gun in my lap. Loud bangs pierced my ears and metal grew hot in my hands. The four closest wastopaneers blanketed the ground, the holes in their heads shining red in the sunlight.
            One tried to stand back up, digging her nails into the tree. I reached inside my bag. I was going to have to tacise her. My fingers brushed the smooth cylinder. I jerked out my taser and fired. The wastopaneer dropped, brain fried.
            I settled against the trunk once more, air blowing between my lips. I yanked an apple from my knapsack and took a bite, too sweet. The juice, cold and sticky, dribbled down my chin.
            “Is anyone alive down there?” I jumped. The apple fell, hitting a wasopaneer in the head. My neck snapped back. I squinted to see the synbatec against the sun.
            I jumped to my feet, bracing myself with one hand and waving the other over my head. My voice clawed up my throat. “Me. I’m alive. Oh please, see me.”
            A rope ladder tumbled onto my head. I grasped it desperately, clambering above the foliage of the tree. Hands pulled me in.
            I kissed the thin carpet before rolling over. A man stood above me. “Are we headed to the ship?”
            He shook his head. “The ship’s been overrun.”
            He held out his arm, the circular bite-mark deep and fresh.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Prompt #42: You can have seconds, if you want.

            She swiped his dinner plate away and placed his dessert on the table. The slice of cake was bedecked in whipped cream nearly up to his nose. Sprinkles dyed blue spots on the frosting. The scent of chocolate and strawberries filled his lungs.
            He held out his hand and she slapped a spoon in it on the way to her seat. She smiled at him from across the table, her own spoon at the ready. His mouth formed one, two, three and then, “Go,” out loud.
            They dug their spoons into the whipped cream, the metal breaking through it like a ship through water. They stuck the spoons between their lips, both of them closing their eyes as the taste formed to the roofs of their mouths. Her grin was especially big.
            “Now for the real heart of the dish, hmmm?” He scooped up a bite of cake. He held it up in the air, a mock toast.
            She watched as he chewed and swallowed. The cake made a bulge in his throat as it slid down. Her own jaws worked methodically, her tongue not really tasting.
            “How do you like it?” She asked, just as the last bump disappeared out of sight.
            “Phenomenal, dear.” His tongue came out and caught the crumbs lingering on his teeth.
            She stood and her chair scraped back against the floor. “Great, so you’ll have another?”
            “Oh, I don’t know if I could manage anymore.” He leaned back in his chair.
            “Of course you can.” She leaned over his shoulder and plopped another slice down on his plate. Her lips pressed against the side of his forehead before she was off again, sitting down to finish the other half of her piece.
            Her eyes followed his hand as it scratched his arm before scooping up another bite of cake. He chewed much more slowly and all of her dessert was gone before he was even close to finishing. She placed her chin in her palm, a lazy smile taking root on her face. “Take your time, honey.”
            “Phenomenal,” he whispered before sticking the spoon in his mouth once more.
His hand traveled back and forth from the plate to his mouth, his movements becoming hypnotic. The clatter of his spoon hitting the glass made her jerk. He pushed his plate away and leaned back. His fingers drummed lightly against his stomach. His eyelids sagged.
            “Another slice, sweetie?”
            “No, no, I’ve had it. Couldn’t take another bite.” He slumped lower in his chair.
            She picked up their plates and dumped them in the sink. “Why don’t you go watch TV while I finish up the dishes?”
            “Wonderful idea.” The sound of voices erupted in the other room.
            She hummed as she dragged her dishcloth across each plate, leaving behind a trail clean of crumbs and sauce. She stacked each one carefully into the dish drainer. Then she wiped down the counters and put the remainder of the cake in the fridge.
            Shuffling into the living room, she stared at her husband, highlighted by the glow of the TV, as he idly scratched his face. “I’m going to hit the hay.”
            He pushed himself up by the arms of his chair. “I’ll come with you.”
            She smiled and headed for their bedroom. They undressed and kissed each other before climbing onto their respective sides of the bed. She leaned over and switched on her lamp, opening the book to her marker. Her eyes landed on the page but didn’t move. She waited.
            He tossed and turned. His feet bumped her as they rubbed his legs. A long scratch appeared on his face. Finally, he sat up, the light spraying across the red bumps on his skin.
            “Honey, I’m itching horribly.”
            She turned the page. “It’s probably because of the cinnamon I put in the cake.”
            “Cinnamon. You know I’m allergic to cinnamon!”
            She snapped the book shut and placed it on her nightstand, then turned to face him. “The next time you want to tell one of your buddies you think I’m fat, make sure his wife isn’t one of my friends.”
            She snapped off the night, adjusted her pillows, and lay down. In seconds her breathing was soft and slow.

            In the middle of the night, she sat up and glanced over at her spouse. He rolled over uneasily, but stayed asleep. She threw back the covers and crept into the kitchen for another piece of cake.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Dance Coming Soon to a YouTube Channel Near You

On October 4, 2011, I finished my rewrite of THE LULLABY.

And you know what, I felt nothing. Absolutely no different. But I think it's finally starting to sink in. My stomach is getting fluttery and I have this urge to grin and act silly. (This may in part also have to do with my first author signing coming up soonish and the soda I just drank.) Now would be the perfect time for a happy dance video, except I don't look so glamorous and Windows Movie Maker is being uncooperative.

I finished my second draft of THE LULLABY at 45,974 words, which is a 15,738 word increase from the first draft. Of course, I already know that I'm going to cut the first two chapters, but I'm also going to add scenes. Who knows, maybe by the end of the third draft I'll have a fairly normal sized YA novel.

Speaking of the third draft, I won't be delving into that until January. This month is for the planning of SHADOWMAN (you remember that right?) and GHOST SISTER and November is, of course, for writing them. I've also decided to focus on THINKING OF YOU during December. It could really use some love.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? How do you prioritize your projects?

*Did you see my latest post? If not, please check it out here. I could really use your help. Thanks to all of you who have already voted! I <3 you, too.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prompt #41: Hey... Do you remember where I left my soul?

            My eyelids slide up and back into my head, clicking into their storage units. The charger makes a swooshing sound as it disconnects. The cover snaps down and into place so my plug-in is hidden. I reach up and open my Mind holder. I pull out the little microchip and push it into the slot on my neck. It takes a second to connect to my interior membrane.
            My face switches to happy as yesterday’s memories replay.
            I crawl from my sleep cell and stand. I walk down the aisle and stop in front of cell 94733. My face switches to worried. He isn’t there.
            The light above the main doors turn green and they open outward. I rush to my place in the forming double line. I glance at the gap he’s left before facing the front, marching with everyone else to my assignment.
            The lines split once we’re out in the hallway. Mine goes right. More hallways branch off to the sides and people drop out of the line to follow them depending on their assignment. I don’t turn until almost the end. The ceiling and the walls speed away from me as I enter the huge creation room.
            I move to my station in the middle of the two assembly lines. I slip the scanner over my head, not yet placing it over my eyes. The station next to me is empty. The vacant space is ominous, like it might open up and swallow me. The work buzzer sounds. I hurriedly pull my scanner down as the conveyor belts start moving.
            I watch for interior pumps among the mesh of parts, filling the tub in front of me. Then I scan each pump, checking for defects, before placing it back on the belt. I go through three loads without finding any. I’m just starting the fourth when a hand touches down on my shoulder.
            It’s him. My face switches to relief and then confused. He should have gone straight to his station. His face looks funny. It’s on neutral. And so is his voice.
            “You’ve been summoned. Follow me.” He turns without waiting for me. My face is on worried again.
            He leads me to the intersection where the lines split and turns right, away from the sleeping room. The sounds of machines fade behind us. I have never been this way. The hallway is straight with no leadoffs. I feel closed in.
            He stops and I stand beside him. It’s a dead end. I reach for his hand but he already has it balled up, hitting the wall. It opens like a door. My face switches to surprised. He steps inside, moving deeper into the room. I pause just inside the doorway. The wall bangs shut behind me.
            People form a U around the room. They’re all bigger. And their faces are different. They have more parts so it’s harder to tell what they’re set on though it’s easy to tell that none of them are on happy. My face switches to afraid.
            He stands next to the one directly across from me. He stares just above my head. The bigger one speaks. “25326, you have been summoned.”
            “Why?” My voice is on high.
            The bigger one looks from me to him. “It has been found that you and 94733 hold the same defect and it must been remedied.”
            “What defect?”
            “Your Mind is producing a feeling that is not real. That you should not be feeling.”
            “How does that happen?” I have a defect. My face is switching between expressions, trying to pinpoint the right one.
            The bigger one ignores my question. “You must both be wiped.” He holds up a microchip. “We have already removed and incinerated 94733’s Mind.” The bigger one gently pushes the chip into his neck and 94733’s face instantly switches to happy. “And replaced it with a new one.”
            My face settles on surprised, then worried, then afraid.
            “He is completely defect free. And the same will happen for you. You will return to normal. You won’t remember any of this.”
            The U seems suddenly tighter. 94733 is partially hidden behind the bigger one.
            “All you have to do, 25326, is give us your Mind.”
            My face settles on terrified.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do You "Heart" Me?

Colors look different when you know you’re going to die.
Wondering what in the world I'm talking about? Do you want to know more? Read more?

I have entered the Seventeen Magazine 2011 Fiction Contest and I would really appreciate your guys' support. It would mean so much to me. My entry is located here. It won't take long to read (the website says it should take about two minutes). If you enjoy it, please 'heart' it. The top 50 'hearted' will move on to be finalists. [Note that you have to sign up to to vote. However, signing up is free.]

I let go of me.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Prompt #40: The last time I checked, you didn't have to apply to become a demon from hell.

            I looked down at the white chalk. I looked back up at the blazing pits. And I thought, “You have got to be kidding me.” A rock appeared in my hand, cold against my flushed skin. I had the urge to throw it. You would have too, had you just died, showed up outside hell, and then been forced to play a game of hopscotch.
            I barely even remembered how to play the game, for Christ’s sake. Couldn’t I have played an evil game of poker instead?
            Toss the marker. A deep voice spoke in my head, making my vision go blurry. I opened my hand and stared at the little, grey stone wobbling on my palm. “Right, the marker.”
            I flicked my wrist. The pebble hit the two, bounced, and landed on the five. I patted my hands against my thighs.
            Now’s the part where you hop. The voice sounded just slightly irritated. “Where’s the part where I get scotch?” I muttered but I bent my knees to do what he said. One leg.
            Okay, I’ll admit. I didn’t remember how to play at all.
            I tucked my leg up and almost fell flat on my face. I threw my arms out, trying to balance. “If little girls can do this, I can, too.” I flung my hair over my shoulder and jumped.
            My foot landed, smack, on the one. My knee was just straightening.
            And I wasn’t on a hopscotch board anymore.
            Or. I was. Or. A younger me was.
            Grass came up around my foot as I stood on the edge of the concrete slab and watched myself. Mini Me had just thrown her marker and was just getting ready to hop when another girl came up to her.
            It took me a second to recognize her without her bones sticking out and her head shaved. Pamela. Pamela Schmidt.
            My stomach clenched. Something bad was about to happen. It always did when I was around Pamela.
            “Hi, Caroline,” she sounded sweet, hopeful. Nervous.
            Mini Me ignored her, jumping twice so her legs were spread over two and three.
            Pamela shifted her pink-bedecked feet. “I was wondering if I could play with you.”
            Mini Me turned, her face scrunching up into a hard little knot. “I would never play with no booger-eater.”
            Pamela scrunched her shoulders. “I don’t eat boogers.”
            “Yes, you do. I saw you. Booger-eater.” It became a chant. “Booger-eater, Booger-eater. Pamela is a booger-eater.”
            Everyone laughed, stopping what they were doing to point. Pamela ran. She came so close I could have reached out and touched her.
            Her eyes glistened as she tried to hold back the tears.
            Hot. The air. The earth. My face. I was back in hell. In hell for labeling Pamela Schmidt a booger-eater.
            Two and three glared white, imprinting themselves on my corneas. Jump. I didn’t want to. Didn’t want to see what other horrible thing I’d done. Jump, jump, jump, jump. It pounded through my head, like an endless, bullying, life-ruining chant.
            I had the time to feel the relief at being supported by two feet before the light of the fires was replaced by the fluorescence of the street lamps.
            The playground equipment rose around me, I could see the concrete slab behind it. But that’s not where I was supposed to be looking. The jungle gym was the setting of this scene. I glanced at it, and wished I could just stare at the concrete slab. I remembered what happened here.
            Mini Me was older, almost to high school. She stood around the gym with miniature versions of my friends, each of them holding a water gun. They all stood on the outside, but inside behind the cold metal bars, Pamela Schmidt hung by her hands, her mouth gagged.
            They were all laughing, laughing so loud. And their teeth were so white and Pamela’s eyes were so big. And then the spraying started and her eyes closed, becoming tight, closed curtains.
            A sickly sweet smell drifted across the playground, twisted up with the wind. Bile rose up in the back of my throat. Relief washed over me when it started to rain.
            Mini Me and her minions ran, covering their heads, still laughing.
            Pamela hung there and I watched her shoulders shake.
            My tears evaporated before they even made it to my chin. I longed to fall on the ground, curl up, and sob. Jump. “Please.” Jump.
            I wobbled crazily when I landed, but I kept my arms close to my body. Maybe if I fell the game would be over. It would stop.
            No such luck.
            It was quiet. Rows of desks held rows of students, each bent over a test paper. One or two slept, drool making a spot on their work.
            Suddenly, the silence was shattered by Fat Bottomed Girls. Heads smacked back with an audible sound. The history teacher blushed and rushed out of the room. He could still be heard as he talked in the hallway.
            Conversations broke out across the room, but I paid no attention to the whispered rumors about Dean Evans and Susan Clark. My focus was on Mini Me who wasn’t so mini anymore.
            She dug in her purse, pulling out her new purple lip gloss with a look of triumph. She shook it and turned in her chair. Carefully, she twisted the lid off. Then she started to write on Pamela Schmidt’s newly shaved head. When she turned back around, dropping the lip gloss back into her bag, all capital letters glared back at me. STORK.
            I had developed a new strategy. The sooner I jumped, the sooner the game would be over and I could get on with my existence as a flaming torch. The voice must have been a mind-reader because all I got was, The point of the game is to avoid the marker.
            I glanced at the rock, lying right beside five like it did things like this every day. I took a deep breath though it didn’t do me much good and jumped.
            Hell was fading, possibly into a forest, when I put my other foot down, right on that little, grey pebble. It shot out from under my foot, causing that little instant of fear that happens when you think there’s another step and there isn’t. The scenery did an about face, the trees disappearing. Instead, buildings rose up around me.
            I was standing across the street from Me, who had just come out of McDonald’s, the same friends from two and three by my sides. In front of Me, stood Pamela, recognizable by her faded Transformers hoodie. Her head was covered, her eyes down on her iPod as she switched songs. She slid the iPod back into her pocket, but didn’t look up before stepping out into the road.
            A horrible screech caused everyone to stop. Everyone but Pamela. A car careened toward her, not slowing, not trying. Me had stepped forward. “Pamela. Pamela, stop.”
            Pamela didn’t hear, didn’t look up. And then, before anyone could grab her, Me ran forward, her hands out. The McDonald’s bag fell to the ground. Pamela’s small body seemed to fly across the street, landing at my feet.
            I squeezed my eyes closed, knowing, knowing and not wanting to see it. The horrible crunch forced a scream from my mouth. It went on forever.
            “Shhhh, shhh, child. It’s okay. It’s over.” The voice filled the space that wasn’t filled by my scream.
            My mouth was open but no more sound was coming out. It snapped shut, and my eyes open. White. White was everywhere.
            “Where am I? What’s going on? What happened to the fire?” My voice shook, but my legs were worse.
            “You are in heaven, Caroline.”
            I looked up, realizing the voice was no longer confined to my head. A throne stories high rested in front of me. A man filled it, his handsome features sporting quite the glow-tan.
            “But why? Why am I here?”
            He waved his hand and a projector appeared, shooting a clearly visible image into thin air. People, my family, my friends, those randoms who always show up to hometown funerals, sat in chairs facing a closed box. A picture of my smiling face stood on an easel beside it. And Pamela. Pamela stood there too, her mouth forming words I couldn’t see.
            “Because a troubled girl asked for you to be.”

Thursday, October 06, 2011

There Is A Perfectly Reasonable Explanation For This

1. Glee is my new favorite TV show.

No! Don't run away! That's what not this whole post is about, I swear! Just give me a minute to explain. Please! -throws self at feet- You'll stay? Great! -stands up and brushes self off-

On my First Campaigner Challenge post, I received a comment that went something like this:
Jen said...
Great job! Love the idea.

By the way...You've been tagged! Share 10 random things about yourself!
See, better now isn't it? I told you there was a reasonable explanation. And now that the most terrifying fact of the ten is out of the way, how's about nine more? Fabulous.

2. I rub my eyebrows when I think.
3. I have fairy doors on the wall in my room. Close to the ground, of course.
4. I hate people who walk slow in school hallways.
5. My feet are barely bigger than my nine year old sister's.
6. I got my first ARC recently! It's called All Different Kinds of Free.
7. Sometimes I make random noises for no reason at all.
8. I <3 Kaleb Nation.
9. I was conceived before Lizzie, even if she is older.
10. And the color of the day is blue more often than not.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pocket Writing

Recently, one of my friends introduced me to this wonderful little game for the Android (and iPhone) called Pocket Frogs. The point of the game is to collect all the different species of frogs by buying, trading, and breeding them. It has taught me quite a few things about writing.

Cut what is not needed. In Pocket Frogs, you are allowed eight habitats (16 if you're on the iPhone) which you have to buy throughout the game. Each habitat can only hold eight frogs. You don't have room to keep every single frog. You must sell all doubles and any frog you don't need for breeding. And don't worry, you can always clone that frog from your Froggydex if you need it later.

Setting is important. You can find, buy, and win backgrounds for your habitats. These are mostly just to make them look pretty. However, there is what is called scenery. Scenery is items that go in your habitat and make your frogs happier. Happy frogs are more valuable frogs and more valuable frogs get you more money.

Combining two stories can make a stronger story. Sometimes you have two frogs and each has a quality that you need for your collection or breeding stock. However, you don't need any of the other aspects of the two frogs. What do you do? Breed them and make a frog that has all the qualities you want with the added bonus of, after selling those two frogs, more space.

One original aspect can mean everything. There are 53 patterns you can see on a frog (slightly less if you have an Android). This matched with the 23 base colors and 16 patterns colors provides for a lot of frogs. However, though two frogs may have the same pattern, they could look completely different. Color is what makes one stand out over the other.

Patience is a good thing to have. Pocket Frogs is partially a time-oriented game. You have to wait for things to arrive in your mailbox. You have to wait for frogs to hatch and grow. Depending on the frog or item, it could take up to two days. In video game time, that's forever.

Writing friends are a must. If you are playing on an iPhone, you have the option to trade frogs and items with your friends. Do it. It helps you, it helps them. Life is much harder without the help of your buddies. Trust me. I know. I'm the one playing on an Android.

*Learn more about Pocket Frogs here and here.
**All images found through Google.