Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Makes a Good Blog Post?

When I look at a new blog, ultimately it's the blog posts that are going to draw me in. It makes sense after all, as that's what we go to a blog to read. And I know that I've found a blog to come back to when I really enjoy reading the posts.

What makes a good blog post in my eyes is a post that tells you something about the writer. Whether it's a post on the craft of writing, or a post on the person's life, having that connection is like a magic link, drawing me in.

Obviously I am selective about subject too. There's no point my reading a blog on photography or poetry, as neither of those are things I'm particularly interested in.

And then there's formatting. Paragraphs are essential in my eyes. You can write the best post in the world, but if it's densely packed with no spaces, I'm probably not going to read it, simply because reading block text is so tiring. And good spelling and grammar doesn't hurt either.

Of course, these are only my personal guidelines for good blog posts. Everyone has their own preferences. But to me, this is what makes a good blog post that'll have me coming back again and again.

What makes a good blog post in your opinion? What do you enjoy reading about?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Script Frenzy Art

Last year, for NaNoWriMo, I drew some special, themed pictures. With Script Frenzy starting this coming Sunday, I decided I might do the same thing.

The first idea that popped into my mind was that of the traditional red curtains of a theatre. They seem to sun up everything I imagine when I think of stage plays, which is what I'm writing. That and the neon billboard style writing with the lights round the edge.

My other picture is supposed to look a bit like an old program with gold edging and fancy writing. I was quite pleased with the way the paper turned out, all faded and blotchy looking (or maybe it's just I couldn't make it smooth). Plenty of gel pen went into the creation of this picture.

Now I'm wondering, what other pictures could I draw for Script Frenzy? Maybe something away from the stage theme? Hmm.

Which picture do you like best? What do you imagine when you think of stage plays?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Paper Roses

Since my last post on doodling, I've been drawing various doodles on the theme of roses. There's something about those flowers that make for the perfect doodling. Maybe it's the spiralling petals, or million and one places to put glitter gel pen. At any rate, I've doodled a lovely collection of these roses.

The doodle at the post of the post is the first rose doodle I drew, which started me off on the whole rose doodle idea. I couldn't think of enough places to put the glittery gel pen.

I moved on from the traditional pink roses, and tried a yellow and orange rose, which is my favourite kind. As usual glitter pen provided the orange, and that extra little sparkle

In this doodle I attempted something different from the circular doodle pattern, and ended up with roses sprawling everywhere. Lots of glitter pen, pinks and green later, and this was what I came up with.

This doodle is the last rose doodle I've drawn so far. Surprisingly, I didn't use gel pens on it, but left it very plain and simple. It's not in the traditional rose shape neither, but has the big petals and few layers that you sometimes see on some white roses.

So, these are my latest doodles. Now, what to draw next?

Which rose doodle is your favourite? What colour roses do you like?

Monday, March 19, 2012

April Frenzy

I've always thought of myself as a novel writer. Somehow, I never got the hang of short stories. Poetry, while fun to read, never appealed to me as a writer. No, I was a novel writer. Didn't I complete NaNoWriMo last year?

Well, that was before the discovery of another month long writing challenge. Script Frenzy. Run by the same people as NaNoWriMo, Script Frenzy's challenge is to write a 100 page script in one month. It can be any kind of script, from TV series to stage play.

The inner writer in the Elvis girls rose. How could we pass up on a challenge like this one? No, we simply had to sign up. Of course, none of us had ever even considered writing a script before, but that simply wasn't relevant.

That same afternoon, we had decided on what kinds of scripts we were going to write. All of us decided to write scripts for stage plays. But the genres were highly varied.

Charlotte and I chose to team write a musical. We have high visions of it turning out to be a work of art, something to rival Gilbert and Sullivan's famous operettas. Not that we had even the slightest idea of how one worked, or even if we'd ever manage to write music for it.

Sophie decided on a romance, a surprising choice. She struggled to choose whether to have a death or two in it, or not.

Gemma-Rose is adamant she is going to write a tragedy 'like Shakespeare.' Everyone has to die according to her, even though we try to persuade her you need one character left to say the epilogue. She wanders around, notebook in hand, collecting interesting ways to die.

Three totally different genres, and we haven't even worked out what our plays are going to be about. Something humorous for the musical I think. Maybe some mistaken identities, and paradoxes. We've got a big book of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas to gather inspiration from.

Come April the first we'll be sitting down at our computers, new documents open, ready to start on out newest challenge.

Is anyone else doing Script Frenzy this year? Has anyone done it in the past? Got any good advice for four novices?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rapunzel Hair

When I was younger, I always wanted to have Rapunzel hair. I dreamed of long golden locks shining down my back, swaying as I walked. I longed to have hair that I could do in one long braid. And I envied my sister's friend who wore a waist length plait.

Sadly though, despite all my wishing, my hair never grew that long. And probably a good thing too, considering it looked like a bird's nest all the time. And think of all the problems I could have got into with that much hair. I was the girl who got a hair brush stuck in my sister's hair because I was trying to roll it round the brush like the hairdresser.

Eventually I forgot about having long, Rapunzel style hair. The long hair I had was eventually cut off and replaced with a much easier to keep bob. I'd grown out of that dream.

Or so I thought.

It was all Tangled's fault. Rapunzel's hair was so awesome. 70 feet of hair. Can you imagine the possibilities? I certainly could. In vain did I try and persuade myself it would be terrible trouble. I wanted that 70 feet of hair for myself.

Would I have 70 feet of hair if it was even possible? To tell the truth, no. I'm content now with my shorter, manageable hair. Besides, just think of all the trouble I'd get into with a secret weapon like that!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bush Track Running Under A Full Moon

There's a full moon hanging in the sky as we head down to the field for our morning run. The sun refuses to rise, hiding behind the trees and leaving us in half-dark.

Under the trees it's too dark to run. On a bush track covered in loose rocks, slimy, clingy mud and fallen branches, to run would be an accident in the making. No, we must walk, at least until we can see.

We string out in a long, straggly line, testing the track as we go. Have the puddles shrunk any? Which patches are muddy and slippery? Where do we have to detour?

By the time we reach the end of the first lap, the lazy sun is peeping at us. We can see the rocks at our feet. We can dodge the clawing branches.We can run.

Down the track we flash, leaping over branches, avoiding loose rocks, skirting puddles. We weave in and out of the trees, catching a flash of colour here and there as we see each other through the trees.

Someone falls. A moment later they're up and running again. Who cares about a few scrapes?

The sun has cleared the trees by the time we're ready to go home. Sweat soaked, sore footed, gasping for breath, but happy. Very happy. There's nothing quite like bush track running under a full moon.

Friday, March 9, 2012

There's Always Time

I am a busy girl. My days are filled with uni work, homeschooling and music practices. My evenings are filled with choir practices, soccer, and other commitments. Sometimes it seems to be a struggle to find time to do anything else. With all that going on, how could I possibly find time to keep up with blogging, doodle and read? There's no way.

But there is.

I find that I have the most free time over the weekends, and in the evenings before I go out. Blogging goes in those times, with Blogger's lovely scheduling program to get the posts out on the right days at the right time.

Writing goes after dinner, even when I'm tired. It only takes fifteen minutes to punch out 500 words, and there's a funny thing about writing. Once you start, you don't really want to stop.

Doodling is easy to do while listening to someone reading, or watching an education movie. There are always odd minutes while watching something on the stove, or during morning tea.

Obviously it's easy to fit in a few pages of a book here and there. I never need to carve out time for that.

It's easy to say I'm too busy for these things. I could give up on blogging, stop writing, forget about doodling. But it feels so good to get to the end of a day, and know I've made the best use of every minute, got everything done, and kept up with my hobbies as well as work.

There's always time, if you only know how to look for it.

Do you ever find yourself getting so busy with work and study that it's hard to keep up with other things like blogging? Do you have to snatch every moment to make sure things get done? Or do you have the luxury of spare time (I envy you if you do)?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Doodling in Circles

In the odd fragments of time during the day, whether I'm listen to someone read, watching a well known movie, or just have five minutes to spare, I doodle. My pencil flies over the paper, turning my sketchy lines into pictures.
Recently, I've been trying a new style of doodling. Circular doodles. The designs are made up of identical circles that overlap over each other, forming the picture.
Still a work in progress

I love the way the circles look when they're coloured, how they stand out against the white paper. I love how, once you've worked out a design, you can just repeat it over and over again.
You don't have to stick to plain circles either. One of my doodles is made of repeating suns. Another, which I'm still working on, is made of roses. But it's all the same style of doodles.
Have you been doodling? Which doodle do you like best?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Visualizing Characters

The other day I was reading Son of Neptune by author Rick Riordan, a book I thoroughly enjoy reading, and wholeheartedly love. But the first time I read it, I got a little jolt. You see, when I read, I get a picture of a character in my head. Anything that breaks that picture once it's been formed pulls me out of the story.

I had an established idea of what the character Hazel, daughter of Pluto, looked like. I had that picture in my mind for quite a while. Then all of a sudden, Rick Riordan mentioned something that smashed my picture, making me stop reading for a moment.

Hazel had dark skin.

Now, I don't mind characters with dark skin. I like them just as much as any other sort of character. No, it wasn't the fact that her skin was dark that surprised me. It was the fact that it hadn't been pointed out until then.

Maybe I missed something. Maybe It was hidden in the text earlier and I hadn't read it properly. But the fact remained that until that moment, a fair way into the book, I never realised that she wasn't white skinned.

I think that in writing, getting the proper message across of a character's looks is quite important. It's not as important as a good plot and good character development, but I think it is a good idea to say early on if the character has trait like dark skin. As a person with light skin, I naturally assume that characters in stories are also light skinned. And the later you leave pointing it out, the more of a shock it'll be for the reader when they find out they were wrong.

What do you think? Do you visualise characters in your mind as you read? Do you find it a shock when someone springs a feature of the character on you that you weren't expecting?