An Award

August 8, 2010 at 5:37 am (Feature) (, , , , , )

Jemi Fraser has passed on the Sweet Blog Award to me.  Thanks so much Jemi.

I have to agree with her that the teddy bear is adorable.

Passing this on to:

Talli Roland

Deb Salisbury

Lua Fowles

Cheryl Angst

Thanks Jemi again for the award and I will catch up with everyone tomorrow.

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Following the leader:

August 7, 2010 at 5:44 am (drafting) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

This is mostly in response to Carol Kilgore’s post earlier in the week on the blinking cursor.  Afterward I was having trouble typing without staring at the cursor on the screen and that was seriously derailing my ability to type. It really does just sit and blink at you when your fingers hesitate on the keys. It is almost as if it is angry and impatient, dying to get moving and hating you because you need to stop and think.

I probably shouldn’t personify computer blips but there we have it.

As I mentioned in the comments, I don’t sit in front of my screen when I’m thinking. I either move or turn the screen off. The glare and the blinking and just the hum of the computer is all very impersonal and it all feels very demanding. As if you have to get things done right now and that kind of pressure is never good for my creative process. I move away and find more pleasant surrounds, or at least different surrounds.

That said, I like the cursor when I’m on a roll. I see it gliding effortlessly across the screen, a straight and powerful line driving before the flock of words that follow in its wake – and there is probably a mangled metaphor if ever there was one. I see it as a guide and as encouragement. I see the words play out behind it and feel that something is being accomplished. When the story is flowing, the cursor can be your very best of friends and one of your greatest supporters.

Is it that the cursor is in fact two faced or is it that when things go well we see the positive in things but when they go poorly…

Maybe its just the fact that it blinks. Blinking lights always seem impatient and angry. Or alarmed. Concerned. None of these things are what you emotionally want when trying to write so why won’t the cursor stop blinking.

As I hesitated before writing this line I watched the cursor sit and blink at me. Maybe it is just reminding us it is there and trying to keep us from falling asleep at the screen.

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The Day the Tweets Died

August 2, 2010 at 5:40 am (Author Info, Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Not really. As I mentioned in a comment last week, I managed to finally hit my download limit – all legal of course. That means ridiculously slow internet until the next period which is still about a week away. Which means that twitter is just not working for me at the moment. I can see the top couple of frames, and then it times out an dies. This is also a problem for some of you with really big blogs that have a lot of stars and bells and whistles. Love them usually, at the moment, I can’t actually view them.

What it all really boils down to is I can’t do my coming to a usual round up of tweets concerning excellent blogs I’ve read, not because I haven’t read some excellent blogs, but because without the twitter list telling me where I’ve been, I don’t actually have all the links.

In lieu of having some great links, I thought I would share a few random facts about my blog.

  • Since I started this blog in November last year I’ve had just over 15000 views – though while it doesn’t count me viewing my own blog it will count you every time you visit the site so I’m certain that a lot of those views are from people I know are reading the blog regularly.
  • My worst month was April of this year (not surprisingly) with only 384 views. This could be because I didn’t post during this month due to the flood, power cuts, clean up effort and just being overwhelmed by everything else that was going on. I’m not certain, but I think that would be a good guess.
  • Twitter is my most regular referer and posts that I tweet tend to get more immediate hits than those I don’t – which is tough luck for me at the moment given I can’t tweet.
  • Most people who comment on my blog (in fact nearly all) are people I have visited first.
  • The number one search term to find my blog at the moment is still “reasons why books are better than movies” which makes the post 10 Reasons why books are better than movies and its companion post, 10 Reasons why movies are better than books, two of my most often hit posts from the past.

What did I learn from this?

If you don’t post, people don’t visit. If you don’t tell people you have posted, they won’t visit. If you don’t visit others, they won’t visit. And it really is worth using the tags and categories because sometimes really random google searches find your site.

Sorry for the lack of links, a couple of weeks and they will be back.

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September Blog Tour

July 28, 2010 at 5:18 am (September Blog Tour) (, , , , , , , , , )

It is official. I am going to be doing a blog tour in September. I’d like to thank all of those people who have already offered to host me during the month however I still have empty spaces in my schedule that I am trying to fill.

To that end I am reaching out and asking for blog owners who wouldn’t mind hosting me to let me know in the comments here so I can contact you. Or you can email me (cassandra dot jade dot author at gmail dot com).

While I am doing this blog tour I am looking for people who would like to guest blog on Cassandra Jade in the Realm. So if you are a writer, reader, reviewer, whatever, and are interested in writing a guest post for this blog during September, please let me know.

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Bringing Fantasy to Life

July 21, 2010 at 6:36 am (Character, fantasy, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I was visiting Elizabeth Spann Craig’s very amazing blog when she posted a list of links that she’d posted on twitter. One of the many links that caught my eye was a link to the blog Novel Journey where Robert Liparulo was sharing his 5 tips for making fantasy fiction feel real. As an avid reader of fantasy fiction and a writer of it, I found this a fascinating read.

More importantly, his number one tip, I thought was possibly the best bit of advice that could be given on this topic. So, his number one tip for making fantasy feel real:

Characters who feel. The way to a reader’s heart is through a story’s characters. Doesn’t matter if they’re fighting dragons or stepping into the Roman Colosseum during a gladiator fight, a character has to experience fear and courage, love and heartbreak, blood, sweat and tears—all of it realistically rendered in a way the reader understands.

As I said, I’ve read a lot of fantasy and as a reader I know this to be true. The world can be beautifully structured and described but unless the characters feel real the story just isn’t going to work. And it is the way that characters react to situations that make them feel real. Stories where the characters shrug off weird thing after weird thing are really hard to connect to because you want the character to look closer at something and they don’t, and you want them to ask the right question, and they won’t. It makes it hard as a reader to really get into the story.

Thanks Elizabeth for sharing this link and thanks to Robert Liparulo for sharing some great advice with us all.

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To Goal of Not To Goal

July 20, 2010 at 5:32 am (Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

Okay I’m undecided as to whether I should be setting goals or not. On the one hand I feel I need something to aim for at the moment, on the other, I know how incredibly busy I’m going to be at work and I can already see any time-line I decide on for writing being utterly destroyed very quickly.

So here is me keeping my goals fairly loose.

1. I am going to read at least 3 novels a month until the end of the year. I will not actually make the 100+ goal I set but at least I will have a read a fair number of books. Having only read 30 this year I think I can say goodbye to the 100+ goal and I’ll just focus on the 3 a month.

2.  I am going to finish the first draft of this WIP I’ve been working on, although the decision to start over writing in first person is going to make this one a bit of a time-crunch. I could probably finish the draft as it is in a few weeks but I would hate it and so I am starting over and will aim to finish the draft by the end of the year. That gives me plenty of time to procrastinate and get caught up in other things and still have a chance to accomplish this goal.

3.  I am going to submit my completed manuscript to various agents until I find one for it. As I have to wait to be rejected from one before I try another (sometimes that is their rule but it is mostly mine) this may take a little while but I’m not going to shelve the project again.

4. I am going to try to set up a blog tour for September. I’ve been wanting to do one and just haven’t found the time and now I’ve decided it is definitely something I want to do, the only question is how to go about organising it. To that end I am asking anyone who could stand hosting me sometime in September on their blog to let me know either in the comments or by email – cassandra (dot) jade (dot) author (at) gmail (dot) com – and I can start to think about a schedule for that.

That’s probably more than enough goals to keep me busy until the end of this year. Now I just have to work on not feeling guilty for falling behind or away from any of these.

What are your goals at the moment?

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Resolution and an award

July 16, 2010 at 11:47 pm (Author Info, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Stop taking photos. I’ve been sorting through photos for days and still haven’t actually looked at all the photos I took on this holiday. The strange thing is that there are entire stretches where my batteries were flat, I left the camera at the hotel and all manner of reasons why I had half days all throughout the trip where I didn’t have a camera and I still managed to take far too many photos.

The thing that really gets me though is that I don’t actually look at my photos. I have a few up around the house from various trips and times and they are lovely but I don’t go through photo albums or look at any saved pictures. I didn’t when I went to Thailand and I haven’t from any of the holidays I’ve had in Australia, so why do I keep taking photos?

I think it comes down to freezing a moment. If you see something then you’ll remember it but the memory gets hazy quickly. If you see something, line up a photo, frame it and press click you have far more chance of remembering what you saw. Possibly.

I guess the other problem is that most things look better in reality than they ever will in the photo. There are so many other sensations of sound and smell and just the presence of the place that they photo just doesn’t capture. It can’t capture how you felt standing in that place at that time. That’s probably true of any medium. Words don’t capture everything, images don’t, film doesn’t, in the end it is up to us to hold on to the memories.

Okay…

I’ve also been given a lovely blogger award.

Thanks Susie for the award. Here are the rewards.

  1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. Thanks again Susie!
  2. Share 7 things about yourself. See below.
  3. Pass the award along to 5* bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (*Changed from 15 to 5, but I’ll leave it up to you the amount you want to give.) Also see below.
  4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award. To do…

Seven things about me that you can’t read on my ABOUT page:

1.  I am a collector of some really random things.

2.  When working I listen to music but I don’t listen to entire songs.

3.  I love watching movies over and over again and pulling apart the plots.

4.  When I was in highschool I loved watching SeaQuest but when I bought the first season on DVD I realised I really can’t remember why I liked it.

5.  I don’t like toast but I love the word toast.

6.  I eat when I’m bored.

7.  My favourite colour to write in is green.

As to passing this award along… By the way if you want to know why I’ve given them the award, click on the link and check out these very interesting blogs.

Barbara G Tarn

Mason Canyon

Cat Woods

Alex J Cavanaugh

Elizabeth Spann Craig

Congratulations and thanks for writing such amazing blogs.

I’m hopefully going to be resuming a more normal posting schedule and will be back tomorrow.

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