October 29, 2011

Music for Haunting

Have you guys discovered Spotify yet? Because I just did. And I'm a little bit in love with it.

I'm always looking for ways to share the music I'm writing to. Spotify is a great way to share music, collaborate on playlists, and discover new tunes. And it's free: FREE, I TELL YOU!

Check out the Halloween mix I've been rocking today. I have to admit that I didn't put most of it together; I stumbled across it while reading Gwenyth Paltrow's latest GOOP post. Now I'm off to carve some pumpkins and watch a little Hocus Pocus.

Happy Halloween!

October 26, 2011

Adventures in Website Creation

So I finally figured out how to make myself a little ole website. With the job hunt in full swing, I wanted something that gave prospective employers a taste for my voice, my past experience, and what I'm all about. And I wanted a place to share all my geeky editorial insights (although, let's be honest, I'll be doing that here, as well). It's still a work in progress (which is why the 'links' page takes you to an upset "there's nothing here!" message), but I'd love to hear your thoughts. Is it coherent/pretty/spelled correctly? Anything you'd change or add?

October 22, 2011

Just My Type

I just had the good fortune of being given an old IBM typewriter.

It weighs eight million pounds, takes up most of my desk, and makes noises akin to a jet engine warming up. But there's just something magical about typing this way: the emphatic clunk of every key, the care with which every word needs to be punched. It wasn't long ago that we were all using these, but there's something inescapably "antique" about the way those letters look pressed into the paper.

This giant dinosaur reminds me of my Grandma's old typewriter. She used to sit me down in front of it when I came over for the weekend, knowing it would keep me quietly entertained for long stretches. I wrote my first (and only) scary story on it. I loved how important every page felt as I rolled it out into my hands. Like it was something special simply because it was typed.

I will be writing all important correspondence (and ransom notes) on it from now on. 

October 14, 2011

Backstory (and why it matters)

I've just read my fabulous crit partner Ryan's post on the importance of backstory - I've thought about backstory so much this week that I'm hitching a ride on the back of her thought process.

If novel #2 (otherwise known as Torn) has taught me anything, it's that there are so many things you need to know about your characters in order to bring them to life. I'm not just talking looks, ticks, and speech patterns; I have to know about the whole span of their lives in order to understand their motivations. So much of their background hasn't made it to the surface of my story. But every piece of knowledge, evident or not, has helped me to stay true to my characters' voices. There's nothing quite as fun as discovering something new about your story just when you thought you had it all figured out.

Things I learned about my three main characters this week:

1. One likes foreign films, but he's a terrible reader.
2. One can't dance.
3. One has a violent aversion to socks.
4. The one thing they all have in common: life-changing experiences with dead bodies.

And then there are the backstories of my support characters - these are the ones who are giving me trouble. I'm finding it difficult to flesh them out without letting their voices take over the narrative. A teacher of mine, Kim Wilkins, once said this about supporting characters: you never want it to feel like they 'go back in a box when they're off the main stage. So how do you make sure minor characters aren't coming off as cardboard cutouts? Here are some of my findings:

- Every SC should have a defining role to play in the main characters' lives. What is their specific function and place? My character Dalton was pretty flat until I realized that he's my MC's secret keeper; he's the one she feels most comfortable sharing with.

- When SCs are becoming cliche, give them some interesting contradictions. They're phobic about germs but refuse to wear socks outside. Or whatever. Contradictions are what make people unique.

- Don't just give SCs traits; give them relationships with their traits.

- Spend time crafting the MCs' relationship with their SCs. It's often through the main characters' descriptions and feelings towards their supporting cast that readers really get to know them.  

October 1, 2011


I've decided to give MissAdventure a makeover - hello, pretty and mysterious! I figure it's time to narrow my focus, too.

This site will now focus primarily on my creative writing adventures. I'll be posting short stories, blurbs from my long-form work, and the occasional angsty post about living. And you'll still find a lot of the same stuff as before: book reviews, thoughts on editing, and interesting publishing news.

In the past I've wanted this site to serve as both professional portfolio and writing journal. But now that I'm taking my writing more seriously, I'd like to separate my online life into: Creative Writing Kate and Professional Editing Kate. These are both fairly Fabulous Females, but they need to give each other some space.

I'm in the process of building a website that will feature my editing work and portfolio; that's where you'll find a lot of Grammar Girl tips and other dressed-up publishing stuff. I'll let you know as soon as that goes live.