Sunday, June 24, 2007

Way of the Cheetah- Review

Heh. Well, I'm not quite sure how to start this puppy off, so, to put it succinctly, Way of the Cheetah by Lynn Viehl is 72 pages of solid advice on how to manage the trade-off of making writing work for you and making you work hard writing.

Pros: She has something on just about every controllable thing that could stop you from writing: how to remain focused, how not to let other people discourage you, how not to discourage yourself, how to set up good writing spaces, how to keep your computer clean, even how to stay healthy. Then she's got a nice bit devoted to the actual writing writing, and editing. She includes examples from her own life and at least five tips at the end of each chapter on how to apply each concept. To top it off, she doesn't demand that you follow every single one of her methods with the devotion of a secondary religion- she even has suggestions on how to gently implement individual techniques into your life.

Cons: It's 72 double-spaced pages. While the wisdom imparted is valuable, it's not a long book. And a lot of that is cheetah metaphors, which, I suppose, are only to be expected.

Buy it if: you need a good guide on how to write, if you don't have a set writing work ethic, or want a better writing work ethic. This is a fabulous manual for you don't have a productive writing schedule. I did before I read this, and now it's better, but it's really geared towards inventing (or reinventing) a writing workday.

I highly recommend this to beginning or frustrated writers, and if you don't fall in this category- it's ten bucks, and I'm positive you'll find some worthwhile advice in there. Probably a lot of worthwhile advice.

Final word: It's not indispensible, but it's darn helpful. It's ten bucks. Splurge.

Second opinion: Another review and here.

Go for it, guys.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Well, I haven't edited for two days and I'm in need of some serious motivation. Since I've had trouble with procrastination before, I decided to get the Way of the Cheetah by Lynn Viehl and see if reading (and applying) that doesn't help.

(I'll admit, though, the first time I saw that title, I thought it was a bad pun of "cheater"- like, this makes writing so easy it's cheating. Man, am I glad that's not it...)

So, one of the inital reccomendations is to implement changes one at a time and keep a record of which ones work and which don't. She even reccomends you write them down in your "weblog."

Weblog. *snickers*

*tries not to think of the ways her "weblog" owns mine*

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Okay, I know how to do the regular [ u r l = http . website . com ] here [ / u r l ], but it doesn't seem to work in either the 'compose' tab or the 'edit html' tab. What gives?

Anyway, I ask because Miri, ( was kind to the point of untruthfulness, and I'm really touched. Thanks.

(and, hopefully, maybe next time I'll manage to write an entry that doesn't have to do with Miri/a contest Miri introduced me to. Independence calls!)

Eight Things Meme

'Kay, I got tagged by Miri, so here goes.

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

I don't actually know 8 blogggers, so if you read this and haven't done this meme, you're tagged.

1. I procrastinate terribly when it comes to editing. Today alone, I've watched Powerthirst, tried to figure out why people like Maxium Ride, eaten candy, listened to music, petted my dog, made my bed (for the first time in months), wrote this and editted a whole 143 words. It's a big ol' kidnapping scene, but still. 2 hours here.

2. I write on mirrors with dry-erase markers. Right now, I have a list of things to bear in mind while editing.

3. I have a ballroom dancing class later on today. Never been before, but a bunch of my friends do and they really enjoy it, so...

4. I play French horn, which, in all honesty, is one of the harder orchestra instruments.

5. Every wall in my room is painted a different color. It's practically a redneck truck.

6. I never put two spaces after a period. I suppose I'll have to when I get around to submitting, but until then....

7. My handwriting is really messy, but by my approximation, looks kind of cool.

8. I should be working... which shows you how much I care about my readers, right?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

100 things about me

Saw this on Mother Reader's blog ( and thought it would be a nice way to anyone reading this to get to know me more than "Dang, that girl reads a LOT."

1. Miri ( got me into this.

2. Miri gets me into lots of things, like word wars on NaNoWriMo and the Spork Room. So far, I've ended up loving everything she's gotten me into.

3. I heart NaNoWriMo.

4. It takes me about an hour to straighten my hair, which I usually do three or four times a week.

5. It's a great time to think over plot points.

6. I like to write- have you gotten that?

7. I'm an anime fan and I proudly admit it. My favorites are FullMetal Alchemist, Bleach and Avatar.

8. Yes, Avatar is a kid's show.

9. I also love the Office.

10. Jam FOREVER. Whoever said you shouldn't get involved in office romances was dead wrong. I'm serious.

11. Embarrassingly enough, my dream guy is pretty much Jim.

12. My father finds this hiliarous.

13. I wear a biteguard at night to keep me from clenching my teeth.

14. I sound like a total idiot with it in.

15. I have never, nor will I, have braces.

15. Sometimes I regret this fact. There's a kind of fraternity of suffering associated with orthidoncia.

16. I pick at hangnails when I'm anxious.

17. I want to live on the beach.

18. Altar calls make me really awkward.

19. I discuss teen fiction with my grandmom.

20. I find character development in Beatles songs.

21. I harbor a deep and abiding hate of all things Macintosh.

22. Even iPods.

23. They're lame.

24. My nickname in 5th grade was 'Panda Girl.'

25. Because I got $25 in some kind of essay contest and gave it to some enviromental agency.

26. I was a weird kid.

27. I think I still am.

28. I've been in theater since I was like, five.

29. I went to see Wicked last summer.

30. Jealous?

31. I really like showtunes. :)

32. I like cats.

33. I like dogs, too.

34. I have some of both. They both get fur all over my clothes.

35. My favorite kind of candy is Reeses Peanutbutter Cups.

36. I'm eating one right now.

37. My dad makes horrible puns.

38. I'm a vegetarian.

39. Nothing to do with religion, or family, or culture or anything. It's just better this way, for me.

40. I really like flipflops.

41. Although I only have one pair.

42. I repair things with duct tape.

43. I've tried to make flipflops out duct tape.

44. It didn't work.

45. I have contacts. (Lenses, I mean.)

46. I only like the first first hour of a shopping trip.

47. My characters develop political views opposite from my own, and it freaks me out.

48. Even the protaganists.

49. I love the Colbert Report.

50. I'm delighted to have made it halfway through the list.

51. I'm running out of things to say.

52. I've read the entire Harry Potter series (to date) at least 4 times each. Usually more.

53. I go to a movie at midnight about 3 times a year.

54. Sleeping is unimportant to me.

55. I don't like taking naps.

56. I wake up feeling sick.

57. I have awesome (and sometimes terrifying) dreams.

58. My tolerance for ignorance is extremely low.

59. That's probably not great when you live in Hicktown, USA.

60. I take Tae Kwon Do.

61. I'm a brown belt. My black belt test is in November.

62. Yes, the same month as NaNoWriMo. I'm already worried.

63. My TKD teacher is aweseome.

64. He usually stands around and talks to people while we do basics (warmups) and tells antecdotes.

65. I have a long career of listening into these antecdotes.

66. And I put one of them into my April Fool's novellette. 'Twas sweet.

67. I can't tell left from right without making an L with my left hand.

68. I helped coach a peewee soccer team one year.

69. One of the parents said I could be a teacher.

70. *cracks up laughing*

71. I only know four phone numbers.

72. One of which I've forgotten.

73. I'm good at Scrabble.

74. But not great.

75. I shower at night. Always.

76. I have short fingers.

77. I will watch films for the English accents.

78. If 'Love, Actually' had been made with American actors, I never would have sat through it.

79. I have a deep enemity with my alarm clock.

80. My alarm clock knows this.

81. And persists in ringing as horribly as possible.

82. I think I learned the word 'plausible' from Mythbusters.

83. I get a cold once every three months.

84. I have a mold of my teeth.

85. I snap them in my sisters' faces just to annoy them.

86. I love my family more than anything else on Earth.

87. Although my friends are pretty far up on that list, too.

88. I cried when I finished Lord of the Rings.

89. I still watch Star Wars.

90. If I had a week left to live, I'd probably finish editing my last novel, then hang out with my peeps.

91. The prospect of death doesn't really freak me out that much.

92. Then again, I have quite awhile to go.

93. I love popcorn.

94. I take spiders outside instead of killing them.

95. I once biked 120 miles in 3 days, carrying all my food and shelter.

96. It was a blast.

97. I'm related to one of my best friends, and I've never technically "met" the other one. Go figure.

98. I listen to This American Life nearly compulsively.

99. I haven't drank Sprite since I saw that Lymon commerical.

100. To me, the finest poetry of our day is Dr. Seuss's "Oh! the Places You'll Go."

Readathon- Final Stats

Approximate overall time: 16 hours.
Total books: 4.
Total pages: 1457.

This was a blast and all, but I really wish I hadn't gone to Relay for Life, swimming, or had my cousin over. Next year, methinks, I'll plan ahead and bulldozer all distractions. *cue evil laughter*

Readathon- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Honestly, if you don't know what's said about Harry Potter by now, I'm amazed that you're operating a computer. The only people I can think of who wouldn't know/read Harry Potter would be (1 shut-ins without computers, (2 people deathly sick for the last nine years, and (3 citizens of third-world countries. And if you qualify and you're on the Internet now, congradulations are in order. :)

Really, though, reading this made me remember why I was a diehard Potterhead back in the day (not that I'm not anymore, but my fevor for all things Rowling has slacked off to the point where it no longer jepordizes my health.) I liked them so much because they're really good. I've found books that I like more since then, but it doesn't diminsh HP any. I should have remembered that.

And if it says anything, I read this 700+ page book in two days and plan to start Order of the Phoenix tomorrow.

Readathon- The Pigman

The Pigman by Paul Zindel

Wow. I'd never read the Pigman before, and I really missed out. I'm not going to say too much about it, because I'd like y'all to read it for yourself. It's that good.

(Non-spoilery comments- the characters' voices are so clear it's absolutely mindblowing. The whole story really has you feeling for them to an extraordinary degree. It's the only book I've read recently where I came close to crying at the end. High praise, indeed.)

Readathon- Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This is another one I've read before, and it rivals the movie, if that tells you anything. The plot is far easier to follow on the second read-through, and rather gave me a different perspective on the Witch of the Waste. (I pretty much pictured her as she was in the Miyazaki version before, and I think I like the new way better.)

For those of you who aren't familiar, a hatter's daughter named Sophie is the oldest of three in the land of Ingray, where that particular birth placement is horribly bad luck. She ticks off the Witch of the Waste, who turns her into an old woman. So, freaked out, Sophie leaves the hat shop and gets work in Wizard Howl's castle. Naturally, where Howl is involved, things get a bit crazy, and soon, she's caught up in a battle to save Howl, her family, and the country from the Witch of the Waste. Cool, huh?

Readathon- Avalon High

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

I've read this book before and enjoyed it, so, naturally, read it again. The premise is great- a junior's Arthurian-legend-professors parents go on sabbatical and move to Maryland for a year, and she starts high school there, only to see the legend of King Arthur being played out by her classmates. It's wonderfully easy to get into the narrator's head, and her use of teenage sarcasm is spot-on. My only complaint is that I didn't really see the end coming, nor was there a lot of buildup, which left me feeling rather lost when I was done. In it's credit, though, I usually run in the opposite direction of teen, romance, and medival-y novels, and this one had me reading all three without so much as a grimace.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

48-Hour Readathon

Because how else do you start off a blog?

To my great displeasure, I was cut off from the sweet soothing balm that is the Internet because I was partcipating in Relay for Life and bunking in an evil-smelling camper with five other people when I started. But I'm posting now, and I'm very much reading my brains out. (What do you mean I can't read 500 pages and watch an episode of the Office before 2 AM?)