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Friday, July 30, 2010

Public Service Announcement

If you're looking for my thoughts on the Thor Trailer, you can absolutely find them on the GeekaChicas site. My analysis is under the cut to spare you any spoiler-esque information from the trailer. Watch it, and then let us know what you think!

Shyeah right. Like you didn't know I was going to do a post SOMEWHERE about it :P

Kissing Scenes

I'm back to working on Helen, in spite of the Thor trailer leak. (Seriously, the minute I opened up Helen to get back to work, THAT was when it leaked-- not during the period of time when I was already totally distracted. The universe was having some fun at my expense, I think.)

Anyway, I can't bring myself to discuss the Thor movie for two weeks straight, so today I want to talk about a particular scene that is driving me slightly demented. The First Kiss.

Now, kissing scenes in general kind of aggravate me. I hate super descriptive kissing in books. Anything that involves roving tongues delving into the honeypots of the mouth, or warring tongues, or anything like that makes my skin crawl a little bit. Normally I don't have so much of this kind of epic struggle with kissing scenes--just a passing GRARGH. I throw something down on the page and move on, come back and tweak it a bit later if needed. Mostly this involves editing out internal thoughts that have nothing to do with the kiss and distract from it. Usually I go with understatement and bare description. Maybe a little bit of lip brushing. Mostly some physical yearning in the form of drawing closer. But for some reason writing this kiss is giving me a sever case of over-thinking-it.

It's possible that my lead in is too... cute. It's possible that I just feel like the moment should mean more than it is right now. It's MOST probable that the reason that this kissing scene is giving me such a headache is because, well, it shouldn't be happening at all. Whatever the reason, the fact that I can't get through this lip-smacking and on to the next thing is driving me bananas. I figure I can't be the only person reading this blog who has trouble with writing a particular kind of scene, right?

So, my followers, I ask of you the following: (yes. really. followers and following in the same sentence.)

1) How do you write kissing scenes? Is there anything in particular about those kinds of scenes that turns you off super fast? Turns of phrase, etc?

2) What kind of scenes do you struggle with, no matter how frequently you end up writing them?

and finally:
3) ZOMG DID YOU SEE THE THOR TRAILER?! A thousand times YES, guys! go watch it if you haven't! There is a kissing scene, so maybe it is research? *goes off to view it again under that pretext*

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More off-topic Uselessness

Comic-con has successfully derailed me in every possible way. I spent the entire weekend looking up interviews with Chris Hemsworth, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hiddleston, and so on, along with following liveblogs for all the major panels. Guys, even reading about the Marvel Studios panel and the Thor footage that was shown had me on the edge of my seat. The last two days I focused on scouring the internet for leaked footage-- because I am one of THOSE fans.

What I found was a big fat lot of nothing. The footage they showed at Comic-con, as I well knew, was 3D. And while I had hopes of watching the blurred out impossible to view trailer second hand through the 3D glasses I stole from the movie theater when I went to see Clash of the Titans (mistake, my friends. Mistake.), it seems that the powers that be on the internet have been deleting uploaded-anything faster than I can find it.

However, since I was already bingeing (I totally looked it up and according to Merriam-Webster, both bingeing and binging are correct!) on Thor related hoopla, I just went ahead and opened up my favorite Thor WIP, and started editing. It's important to note that since this WIP is the sequel to a sequel, editing is a completely useless activity at this point. But I could not stop myself.

So here is where I get (kind of) relevant. As a writer it's tempting to lock yourself in a room until a draft is finished, to forbid yourself certain privileges until you've made a measurable amount of progress, but sometimes it's good to just let loose for a weekend. Enjoy something wholly disconnected from the project at hand! Today, as a result of working on something different, I had one of the most productive days in weeks. I had a 3600+ word day without even trying. Sure, it wasn't in Helen, but man did it feel good to let the words flow in an effortless manner! And who knows! Maybe, someday, those 3600 words will be part of something just as great as Helen.

...I really doubt it, but sometimes it's nice to pretend it wasn't ALL totally Gratuitous Crap.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thor! (Again)

All the Comic-Con stuff is keeping me distracted, and I'm no longer in the habit of blogging after my hiatus, but today is Friday so I've got to pull myself together!

First, I want to just say a quick word on the Thor movie because the stills that have been released and everything I've seen so far makes me scream with joy in fangirl-esque fashion. Guys. LADIES. If you haven't seen the Thor in the Rain still yet, and Chris Hemsworth's rippling muscles, you are missing out. It isn't even that Chris Hemsworth is nice to look at, either, though he is. It's that there is no way, no possible way, that this movie would be good if he hadn't bulked up (hulked up?) the way he has.

Thor MUST be muscled. His greatest aspect as a god, as a hero, is his strength (although you and I both know that there are other aspects, and if you DON'T know about my thoughts in that regard, you can find them here!). Head over to GeekaChicas to read more of my thoughts on the movie and see the last three released pictures all in one place. PLUS a little comparative work of my own! (There is behind the scenes footage and my commentary on it here, as well. Hit the play button if it just swirls away and it will load.)

Now, I can go on about this all day (much in the same fashion as I might be able to go on all day about Icelandic), but believe me when I tell you that I'm watching this movie like a hawk. I also may or may not be secretly hoping for goats to show up in the film, even just in passing, but that's probably too much to ask...

That uhm, was less quick than I thought it was going to be. In fact, it seems like an entire blogpost of its own. SO, let me just stop here-- Next week, Tuesday, I promise to be back uh, relatively on-topic (if there is a real on-topic for this blog) with some more Helen-related conversation. Or let me put it this way-- if I'm not, then this does not bode well for my finishing up revisions on Helen, and you should all shame me.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Things That Don't Make Sense. With Pictures!

Herodotus says that Paris and Helen make it to Troy in 3 days. Herodotus is a liar, and here is the proof!

Now, I know that this is a route from Athens to Troy, so keep in mind that it is about 18 hours from Sparta's port to Athens at top speed (9 knots). Even if they cut some time off by not going all the way in to Piraeus, you're looking at some additional hours on top of the 58 hours already accounted for by my not so scientific, but roughly accurate route!

The problem is, sea going vessels in this time period had to hug the coasts to get anywhere since they weren't made for the open waters. If a boat was blown into open waters and lost sight of the shore, it was probably lost forever (See the comments for more on this discussion!). As a result, it took a while to get places. Assuming Paris and his crew rowed/sailed for 12 hours a day (which is probably assuming a lot) we're talking about 5 days of travel. The trip only gets longer if they ran into ANY kind of complication on the way. So three days to Troy? Improbable. Even if everything went perfectly.

There's also a story which says that Helen and Paris stopped in Egypt on the way to Troy-- Euripides even claims that Helen spent the entirety of the war in Egypt. Supposedly, they stopped in Egypt to throw off pursuit, or even to ask for help from Pharaoh. Once there, Pharaoh either refused them, or, offended by Paris's behavior, took Helen into his own custody to return her to Menelaus. The truth of the matter is, Troy by way of Egypt makes little to no sense at all. The proof is on the map!

Not only would a trip to Egypt from Sparta take a solid month, but as you can see, there is no way to go to Troy by-way-of Egypt. It's way out of the way in the opposite direction. I guess it would throw people off the scent, sure, but it seems like a long way to go to accomplish it, and since they would no doubt need to stop on the way back to Troy for supplies along the way, and to spend the night, it would only spread the news of their elopement all over the Mediterranean.

As for Menelaus's return at the end of the Trojan war, again by way of Egypt-- well. If he was blown that far off course, he's lucky he lived at all. He was much more likely to be smashed to smithereens against some cliff-faced-island, and if that didn't kill him, the expanse of the Mediterranean ocean that he would have needed to cross without much in the way of necessary provisions like fresh water and food would surely do the job. If he went by way of Egypt back to Sparta on purpose, I'm only surprised that he had a throne at all when he got there (seven to ten years later on top of the ten years the war took) with Helen in tow.

So there you have it. And all I have to say, is thank God for the gods, or my plot for the sequel would have just gone to an early grave.

(if you want to calculate your own routes around and about by boat, this is the best tool to do so! Just plug in the average speed and it tells you exactly how long it would take to travel! I used it for all my calculations above.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

The OFFICIAL Return From Hiatus Post

And today, we are going to talk about Icelandic. Because I have neglected you and my duty in this area for far too long. Now, normally I'm not all about the videos in my posts, or pictures for that matter-- as those of you who have been following me for a while know well!-- but today, today I have some videos to share with you in my quest to spread and share my love of Icelandic with the world.

Firstly, did you know that you can learn Icelandic with Bambi? You totally can.

Secondly, if you haven't listened to I'll Make A Man Out of You in Icelandic, you are missing out. This song is awesome in every language, I know, but it lends itself to Icelandic exceptionally well, I think! Possibly because it's coming from one "warrior" culture to another-- but it's easily the least awkwardly retranslated song I've seen on youtube to date. (I have dreams of one day understanding these songs without need for re-translation. And also owning the movies in Icelandic--if anyone knows where I can get them, please let me know!!)

I probably should have started with this one-- it's an actual learn to speak Icelandic video, and it's all about simple greetings. From there you can find a bunch more, including a pretty hilarious one about Romantic Phrases which includes a variation of "get away from me."

Now, I could do this all day really-- but let me leave you with this song from Hercules in Icelandic: I Won't Say I'm in Love. Do yourself a favor and ignore the translation into English because the only song that's more awkward retranslated back into English is Colors of the Wind (So. Bad.). Just LISTEN to the language and the words. (This version doesn't have the distraction of English but embedding is disabled, so sorry!)

So there you have it-- Icelandic Love to get us back into the spirit of things. Please note that my self-discipline to not read The Hunger Games does not extend to keeping me from watching all these Icelandic videos and totally derailing myself from Helen for the rest of the day. If I give Thor an inch, he takes a mile, and right now he's kind of elbowed Theseus out of the spotlight.

As always, you can learn Icelandic online for free through the University of Iceland, which by now should really be offering to hire me for all my work promoting their program. Or at least maybe some free airfare to visit? because Iceland Wants To Be My Friend, Really. The internet doesn't lie!

Monday, July 12, 2010


The Hunger Games is in paperback, and I picked up a copy. AT LAST.

As you all may or may not know, I am anti-hardcover. I just don't have the shelf-space and I can't stand having some books in a series in hard cover and some in paperback because then I can't shelve them together. Also, I am cheap. As a result, I have not read The Hunger Games. Yet.

Now the exciting part is, the copy is on my bookshelf waiting to be read. HOWEVER, I must finish Helen first, because I have vowed not to read anything that is not Trojan War, Helen of Troy, or Directly Theseus related until I have completed my second draft.

My hope is that this will help to inspire me to make it happen!

Not officially back from HIATUS until Friday. And while I hadn't intended for it to happen-- it looks like there is no way I'm going to be able to catch up on Bickering Blogfest entries in a timely manner. To those of you who commented on my entry, thank you so much! And I'm sorry I haven't gotten to yours. Last week got completely away from me with cleaning and writing and preparing for the arrival of our Australian Houseguest. She left just this morning, but I'm a bit under the weather and really far behind still from my trip to NY. My priorities must be set in order, and at this time, unfortunately, that means more writing and less bloggerish activity.

I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, and devoting myself to Helen! See you all on Friday with a regularly scheduled post!