Thoughts


Either they are going to be friends, or one is intending to attack the other.

The wonderful thing about stories is that they can contain many sorts of unlikely friendships like predators and prey being the best of buddies and never wondering how the other might taste. For example, there’s the friendship of the lion and the tuna (plus his school of friends who can construct a breathing aparatus out of kelp) from “The Other Guys” that you would have to pause if you want to attempt to catch all the jokes and references. There’s the homunculus and the forest brownie from Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (admittedly, they were at each other’s throats at first. But they did become buddies in the end!) Here are a couple other examples:

  • Tommy and Petra in The Calder Game by Blue Balliette (though admittedly, their friendship was a little bit inevitable seeing as they both had Calder as a friend).
  • Lord Umber and the woman in charge of his accounts (though she is more like a terrifying aquaintance you don’t want to talk to) from Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese.
  • Twig and the Banderbear (reading the description you’d have thought it would tear him apart as soon as it saw him or at least impaled him on its tusks when he pulled that bad tooth out) from Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart.

My point is that even though some of my above examples weren’t very good (I had some good ones, but I couldn’t remember the title or character names which annoys me) you can get away with highly unusual friendships in stories. Heck, Kendra Kandlestar and the unger who actually turned out to be ________ managed to strike a friendship that was so endearing and yet so frustrating at times that you love it and remember it forever! By the way, that example was taken from Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger by Lee Edward Fodi. Ratchet Ringtail is definitely my favorite character out of those books!

You have to wonder where good authors get some of these ideas. Some seem obvious from the start and others are less obvious but guessable. I find some seem completely impossible but still end up happening. How do authors write those sorts of things? How are they able to choose the right words that will convey the characters of the pair/group, in such a way that they’ll be utterly lovable (in one of the many definitions of lovable) and also thoroughly memorable?

How would you make an unlikely friendship (one that doesn’t revolve around lovestruck werewolves and glittery vampires deciding “Hey! You ain’t half bad!”)?  Personally, I’d make a situation where a light elf and a dark elf were forced to work together. They’re supposed to be opposites right! It wouldn’t be a romance setting so “opposites attract” wouldn’t apply. Another example of unusual friendships would perhaps be a griffin and a horse, seeing as they’re enemies (can you believe that hippogriffs were supposed to be just a ‘scholarly joke’?) It wouldn’t exactly be original, but hey! It could happen … right?

Post Script: One more highly unlikely friendship would be myself and a chicken. How I love their wings and not in an I-want-to-pet-you-way!

What is one of the more unlikely pairings you have created or read that made an impression on you?

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I am finally going to write the post that I was supposed to have written in November? Oh! Why yes, that was awhile ago! Since it is almost Christmas, I thought I should publish my November post then and link to my sister’s two posts on our trip to the Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Please note that I may not end up with as many photos as she has in her posts because most of mine were people ones (such as my family) and due to various reasons I am only showing ones without people in them at the moment (unless the ‘people’ are me in my sunglasses or something else…)

Disneyland! (Internal memory) 001

This was the first picture I took on the trip, and it was taken while we were still in Washington. Where, I'm not quite certain, but it was definitely somewhere along the highway.

For the whole trip (excluding the last two days which were just drive, drive, drive) I wrote a letter to a friend each and every day. Seeing as I still haven’t found a button for her scarf (which I am sending with the letters) she hasn’t actually read them yet. However, I’m hoping that when she does, she enjoys them even if they were just the result of some mad scribbling before I keeled over and conked out for the night before the next day of adventure. It is from those that I will be drawing most of my memories for this post because seeing as I didn’t write this immediately after coming back (due in no small part to going for a sleep over that week and then losing my camera) I don’t have all the details fresh in my mind like I did when writing the letters.

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Oooh… definitely going to be a desktop background at some point.

Despite the fact that most of my pictures ended up being of people once we reached Anaheim, I took quite a few landscape-type shots while in the car. I’m not a big photo person like my sister Z (who went through an obsessive stage where she was all about the macro feature), I don’t take ages to get the perfect shot but I do have to admit a couple pictures did get deleted or weren’t added to this post simply because they were blurry.

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That... is the sun.

When I reread  the letters to my friend so that I could check something, I came across a short P.S. that I had forgotten writing. I wrote in one of the letters that I noticed: My passport photo looks unhappy… very cross.

Thinking back on it, it does! Why are people not allowed to smile in passport photos? I’d have looked so much better (especially if I’d been wearing my sunglasses but that definitely wouldn’t have been allowed, no matter how fancy they were). Such is life.

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Those are mountains. There is no possible way they could be hills.

When we crossed the border and pulled over so that our family could hit the restrooms, I noticed something and immediately labelled it as antique.

Guess what it was?

A genuine old school pay phone! I hadn’t seen one in awhile. My younger brother had said that morning that he thought an antique was something that no longer worked and I was convinced that that pay phone was not functional. After all, who needs a pay phone if you have a cell phone (even though I do not but usually the person I am with does).

When we stopped at the hotel we enjoyed ourselves immensely. My youngest brother’s chief wonder was the television in the room that had all the cable channels. So he watched a show called, “Overhaulin'” (as guys do) and then a variety of other vehicle related things. The television also reminded the rest of us why we didn’t (for the most part) watch television. Those pull-your-hair-because-they-are-so-annoying commercials.

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The first picture I took in California

The second hotel we stayed at was in San Francisco but we didn’t like it as much as the first hotel (it was infinitely nicer), though the second one wasn’t half bad. It was also where my Mom wasted the rest of my internal memory, so I had to delete my blurry “art” photos. However, I finally did run out of memory not even two hours after we left San Fran! Can you tell this was my first road trip?  This was only mildly upsetting because my Dad said that we’d get a memory stick for “Apple” (my little green camera) as soon as we got to Anaheim, so I was happy. However, I was faced with something that was much stranger than running out of memory on my camera. A tough sausage! Now, all sausages I’ve had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into and selfishly keeping to myself have been easy to bite into. I had expected the same with this one. This one turned out to be quite unlike the delicious, occasionally spicy sausages I know and love. First, it had cheese on it and if that isn’t enough to make someone like me blink a couple times and make sure they read that correctly, it was tough to bite into. It took me five seconds to get my teeth into it, when it should have only taken me two, three if I am being generous with time. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of the wonder-sausage.

Did I take a picture when we reached Anaheim? No. My first picture was the one below that I took as soon as we were inside Disneyland.

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The horse without the carriage

After I took the picture I showed it to my Dad immediately and he asked why I only put the horse in it and didn’t I think that the carriage was important, too? My answer was that all I really cared about was the horse (I have a long-standing obsession with horse things, which induced me to reread one book on horse history five times and then a book on the Canadian horse twice). Since I am distracted by horses, I would like to note that on the way down to Anaheim I made a game of counting every horse (or deer, or coyote, or llama) I saw. Of course, I can’t remember the final count of the horses that I reached but on a non-road trip drive down the highway, my last high score was sixty-four if I remember correctly. I’ll probably put up my score on the road trip version once I remember or have found where I wrote it down. By the way, if left to me, that horse would have been named Oswald McDrauggen or Senelosis Odio. Some many stories to write!

On day one, we walked for five hours (or maybe it was less, seeing as I’m just counting how long we were in the park and fidgeting in line counts as exercise to me) which gave me plenty of time to marvel and wish I’d taken a picture of that car that looked like the one from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I didn’t really take many pictures in Disneyland (if you don’t count the ones I took in sport mode of my sister and my younger brother in Autotopia) but I certainly took quite a few at “California Adventure”.

The second day we were in Anaheim we started out by going into Disneyland to go to Toon Town (my youngest brother loved “Gadget’s Go! Coaster” and I secretly so did I) and a couple other places to go on some rides we liked. Then we went on the monorail and you will now see a series of pictures that were the first thing that actually captured my attention as soon as we got off.

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I got the one on the second-highest pedestal

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I wanted this one so badly…

Do I love crystal things (especially crystal ANIMAL things)? Why… YES I DO! I got one of the small ones and dubbed him Robert (the first name that occurred, though now if I were to rename him I’d call him Senor Rofflair).

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A Disneyland picture in the California Adventure section of the post.

The first place we went in California Adventure was “A Bug’s Land” and the first ride we went on was “Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train”. Actually, it was my Mom, sister, and my youngest brother and myself because my youngest brother likes Heimlich. When we went through the watermelon did we ever get sprayed! I enjoyed it seeing as Heimlich’s commentary was highly amusing and it’s because I had some of Heimlich’s lines from A Bug’s Life (which I haven’t seen in absolutely eons) running through my head through the whole ride.

My other brother and my Dad had headed to the “Tuck and Roll” ride and I got a couple of pictures of my brother with my sister’s camera (“Cherry” who is red)  and then I took snapshots of them on the ride. My youngest brother’s expressions were highly amusing and my Mom and Dad, along with myself were calling instructions to him. “Turn the other way!…no…no… the other way!” or “Keep going that way!” or to each other, “Look at his face!” And this was usually accompanied by a lot of laughing. Then when Z told us about his antics in line we all laughed harder (like when they were told that if they were going in the same bumper car they had to hold hands, he immediately released hers).

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My Celtic zodiac animal is a seahorse

I had tried the carousel in Disneyland but it was too slow for my tastes and more for younger kids. For me, “King Triton’s” in “California Adventure” was much better, though not as good as the one at the Burnaby Museum back in Canada. Almost as if to prove I liked it more than the other one, I rode it twice. The first time was with Zoe and my brother, the second time was just me and my youngest brother. This one had lots of pictures taken on it, though they happened to be mainly of me and my seahorse or of him and his beloved goldfish. The second seahorse I rode was blue because there was a goldfish beside it and he absolutely had to sit on a goldfish. Too bad there wasn’t an angler fish because he would have loved that even more.

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The second seahorse

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My sister rode a baleen whale even though I thought she should have ridden an otter. The other rides on “Paradise Pier” were mainly ridden by me and my other brother. The first being, “The Golden Zephyr” (which my youngest brother wants to go on next time). After that it was the “Jumping Jellyfish” ride (which was sort of like an abnormally fast elevator and my youngest brother was calling to me that I had to scream to show I was enjoying it. I didn’t but I liked it all the same). “Silly Symphony Swings” (which my sister had a highly entertaining expression on her face for the whole ride), “Mickey’s Fun Wheel” was amazing and we shared one of the swinging gondolas with three other people who were celebrating a birthday. Parties follow me wherever I go! We had a lot of fun and chatted for the whole thing. “King Triton’s Carousel” though I mentioned it first, was the last ride we went on.

The next day we went straight back to “Paradise Pier”. We rode our favorite rides and then I went into the “Toy Story Mania” ride with my youngest brother while most of the rest of the family went on “California Screamin’ ” twice (and later realized that that had not been a very good idea as we were ride rookies). After that, we went on “Mickey’s Fun Wheel” in one of the swinging gondolas (only my Mom and sister took a pass) and my youngest brother was very entertaining through the whole thing. However, it was a little too much for my Dad and my brother’s stomachs, so they got popcorn and my youngest brother and I didn’t get to go on again as we had wanted.

Disneyland! 007

Disneyland! 014

Outside the Whole Foods in Tustin

Then it was time to go for lunch and back to our rented condo where we were staying to eat and relax and then right back to “California Adventure”. We only had time for one more ride as it was a long drive back home, so we then grabbed souvenirs (mine being an awesome Jack Skellington hat). After we left, we went to the Whole Foods in Tustin before going back, having dinner, and then packing our things and going to sleep. The next two days were solid driving until we reached home (which we arrived at very early in the wee small hours of the morning). It was very tiring but also very nice. We didn’t do much sight seeing while in the U.S.A but I loved the whole experience nonetheless.

It was my first time out of my province, let alone out of my country… of course it would be exciting! :D Though the main thing I liked about it was that we had lots of orange juice and ordered sushi twice AND I was introduced to the genius that is clam chowder.

Not bad for my first vacation! :D

100 Things You Should Know About People: #41 — Your Most Vivid Memories Are Wrong.

The post gave me a feeling of… *searches for right wording*…horrified fascination I suppose. The fact that my memories which I am very-certain-are-right-and-how-dare-you-suggest-they-are-wrong might actually be… well, wrong! Putting this aside, Susan Weinschenk’s “100 Things You Should Know About People” posts are not only interesting to read but they also generate multiple story ideas.

Even though I’m not quite sure how it happened, I got two story ideas from reading this post along with the one about not being easily influenced. The first idea was something a little macabre, seeing as it dealt with a prisoner escape where they had to leap over pits of deathly spikes and the only way they could make it across was by grabbing strategically placed pipes but those pipes had spikes on them too, though not long enough to actually fully penetrate the hand. Still, it probably hurt. A lot!

The other idea was still dealing with the darker side of things but it wasn’t gruesome this time ’round. It was just about a teenage villain(ess) who’s got a rather absent-minded Dad. And one of her cuss words is “pop”, another being “suck” and yet another being “licorice”. If you haven’t guessed, she doesn’t like those three words, so they were obvious substitutes when her Dad stopped her from swearing. She does a variety of things behind his back, a few of which she tells him about (though this doesn’t really make a difference, seeing as he hardly registers what she says). The main idea is that even though she’s a villain, she falls for a guy who’s on the “lightbulb” side and he’s going to die, unless she can save him. Seeing as she’s saving him for herself, it still promises to be villainous!

Until you add in that this makes her have to save the entire city block from Abe S. Ently. Those are the basic ideas and not to sound conceited or anything (though I am enjoying stroking my fuzzy ego, which tried to pretend it was neglected by putting on a fake animal fur cloak) but I am a complete genius for thinking up that villain name. Now I’ve just got to think up a name for the girl that is equally clever and for the boy (but I might just make it on the blander side so she can say it is stupid, before she falls for him and bemoans the universe’s choice of which guy in her age group she’ll actually feel some measure of attraction for).

Of course, seeing as I know love is a choice and all that, I’ll have to tweak the idea a little but I’ve got the basic concept at least, which is all I need :) Now just to work on the others! I know, I know…easier said than done. Sorry cool, shiny, new ideas but you might just have to sit on the shelf awhile. However, this might cause you to tarnish, which will allow me to see if you’re actual gold or really just spray painted silver.

The idea seems… rather impossible, when you think about it seeing as we’re usually procrastinating about writing but in some cases, we use writing to get out of the things we don’t really feel like doing. Take for example, washing the car, going to get those groceries, or moving furniture. For me, it is frequently employed as a method to avoid doing things like dishes. Which is sort of odd, seeing as when I do dishes, I have time to think about plots… if I end up thinking about those instead of some exciting book or TV show. So, I got a brilliant idea: Do those things you don’t want to do, they give you time to think about story ideas (if the thing doesn’t really require much thought) or figure out your plot. Of course, if you mainly write without really planning anything and find this easier for yourself……… Don’t expect me to figure out an excuse for you to do what you’ve gotta do!

Please note, if you’re the sort of person who thinks about your characters/plot/how you should have changed that bit of dialogue almost obsessively, then I can’t garauntee that my brilliant world dominating helpful plan will be able to work for you. You’ll just have to test it and see. And when you’ve been turned into mindless enforcers of my will able to try it, please tell me the results in the comments (if you’re into leaving comments on blogs). I am curious to see how it works for you, mainly because I’m only 99.9 percent sure it’s effective, and this is coming from someone who’s never actually tried this herself.

Have fun losing your minds finding a way to make progress faster!

That little girl's bathroom needs got just plain weird at points

Recently, I watched a movie called The Apple Dumpling Gang (thank you Z, for renting that on iTunes so we could watch it! ^_^). The humor was good, but at times painful, and I’m amazed that the actors could keep straight faces. At some points, the humor flew over my head, though Mom and Dad got it. Of course, I wouldn’t have expected anything else but the point is that it sort of got me thinking about what sort of things might go completely over a person’s head and how this might restrict you when you write. Let’s say you’re an older write and there’s something that you think (and many of your friends agree) would be an excellent piece of dialogue or a scene that’s a stroke of genius but then, when a younger person reads it, they stare at you blankly when you ask what you thought about it, and they say something along the lines of “I have no idea what it was implying.” This would be rather tough, especially if you’re writing the book with their age group as your target audience.

Another movie in need of a walking stick (in my opinion) is Fantastic Planet. Yes, I will find excuses to mention this movie often. It starts with a pair of frightened eyes. The problem I am thinking of is one I’ve tackled often: sometimes, you can picture a scene so perfectly in your head and you know it would win you the largest fandom in history but when you try to write/type it out it comes out all wrong. The original image becomes ruined by scribbles that make it almost impossible to make out, except for the fact that your main character is there, an important item is there, and there’s a window. You can’t see what furnishings the room has, or if there’s another character. Or if you can, you can’t see them clearly enough to describe them properly.

Now this one isn’t a movie but it’s something I love a whole lot! The Gargoyles show, which they never should have ended. And they shouldn’t have done season three the way they did. Fangirl indignation aside, the show is (in my mind) a lesson on how to prevent infodumping. There’s tons of information in it, and yes, I know it’s not a book, but I don’t think it would have been infodumping if it was originally a book in the first place. We start in the past, jump to the future, and we don’t know why. But they don’t infodump, they don’t give flashbacks, they simply show you. Okay maybe I’m losing my point but I truly do think it’s a good example of well-thought-out packages of info. They’re bite sized and never make your mental jaws work hard to minimize them so you can take them in and digest them, thoroughly absorbing the knowledge. The surprises are well dispersed, and the dialogue is engaging. And you fall in love with the characters. Of course, I wish there was a show that taught you how to create characters like that but if there were, lots of books would have turned out very differently. Now I’m not a Twilight hater but I do think the characters could have been better. With more work, Edward and Bella could have been my favorite couple of all time! Before the next book with romantic undertones came along of course.

The point of this whole post is mainly to ramble and say that I watched The Apple Dumpling Gang, but these thoughts did honestly occur to me. After all, if I hadn’t, they wouldn’t be here would they? Now to go and watch How To Train Your Dragon for the sixth time and see what writerly lessons I might glean from it. However, I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up making adoring noises about Toothless and his purring. ‘Cause darn it that dragon is just plain cute!

Oh yes it can darling. Some books become stand alone ones when you feel like there should be a sequel (i.e. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke), or some series ending too soon (though not specifically a series, the Tiffany Aching stories from the Discworld are ending too soon in my opinion, with the last one being I Shall Wear Midnight). With some people, they think that a trilogy should be a series  (in some cases I agree, but only because I love them so much! *cough*Abhorsen*cough* Ahem.) Seeing as I can’t just write the sequels or series for the authors of said books…. I will make some lists of such instances where I think of  books which should have at least had a sequel, books that should have been the start of a series, and series that shouldn’t have ended; if I can bring any to mind…

List one: Books that should have had a sequel:

  • Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, for sure. I loved the book, and I really really really really really really wanted to see what happened next.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I can’t help the fact that I wanted to see if there were any little Mr. Darcy’s!
  • Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart. I wanted to read new acidic comments from Veronica the Budgie!
  • The Scarecrow and His Servant by Philip Pullman. The scarecrow made me laugh. Maybe I should make a sign: “I WANT MORE SCARECROW LAUGHS!”
  • The Secret Order of the Gummstreet Girls by Elise Primavera. I loved that book so much, and I want more. :D

Those are the only ones that are occuring to me there, so here’s the next list.

List number two: Books that should have been the start of a series:

  • Dragon Rider, which was listed above.
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix. It should have been more than a trilogy, and should involve more of the Disreputable Dog (“…or Disreputable b**** if you want to get technical.”)
  • Larklight by Philip Reeve. I like their adventures! My wanting more doesn’t hurt anyone.
  • The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards. The Whangdoodle was so sweet! I don’t need any more reasons.
  • Alpha Centauri by Robert Siegel. I want more of the centaurs, even though this is probably impossible….
  • Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. I liked their adventures! I liked the letter format! If that wouldn’t have made me want more that would have been extremely weird.

And as for series that shouldn’t have ended… well, the only one I can think of at the moment is this one:

  • The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart

Why Mr. Stewart? Why? I loved those books! I only own one physical copy and two audiobooks from the series, sure, but I still love them! I read each and every book! In a couple of cases I read it multiple times! And now I’m stuck with hoping that the Farrow Ridges blog will update so I can read more and see a new illustration. It burns, it burns, I tell you!

And that’s the only stuff I could currently think of. :) What are the items you would have put on those three lists?

Seeing as I’m still working through all the topic suggestions my awesome Aunt is suggesting (AAC shall be a tag, standing for Awesome Aunt Content that shall be used at the same time as another new tag: meow) I shall be using the AAS (Awesome Aunt Suggestions) tag so that she can look at all the posts she inspired :D So now I actually have to tell the masses (a.k.a. those who jump on the currently tiny bandwagon. Note: don’t fall off) what this post is about: that would be animals. To be precise, talking to animals. So the question (or questions) is this: If you could talk to an animal for a day, which animal would you choose, why would you choose it, and what in the heck would you talk about?

Here below I put my own answer.

For me, I find choosing one animal I’d like to be able to talk to for a day is a problematic thing. Mainly because I have to think about whether or not that animal might attack me if I get too close (I am not thinking about talking to zoo animals) and then there’s the problem of getting an inter-dimensional passport or a time machine. If I could only choose one that I’ve actually seen…. then I’d choose the heron, because I think they’re amazing and I’d like to know what it’s like to be a heron and what they do all day. If it could be a forest animal, I’d definitely choose the wolf (I think of it as a forest animal at least) because they are one of my favorite animals and we’d talk about what the life of a wolf is like…. from a wolf’s perspective, not a human one.

If I could choose a safari animal, then it’s either a lion or a a tiger. Reasons for that are obvious. For birds, I’d like to talk to a raven so that I could ask one if it would like to stay with me. Like a friend who drops in occasionally and is fed and given a warm place to stay when it’s raining, provided they don’t make a mess. For ocean animals, I’d like to talk to either a blue whale, a killer whale, a shark of some sort, or a seahorse. For monkey’s I’d like to talk to a gorilla and for dogs I’d like to talk to either an Irish Wolfhound, or an Azawakh.

And if we’re talking myths…. well most of the ones I like are able to speak english (by various physics defying means) so this question is a tough one. Hmm…. adlets. I don’t know if they can talk or not (in my story they can, they just don’t actually do it that much) but I don’t think they can. I’d choose them because A) They’re cool, B) They’re my current favorite myth, C) I repeat reason A, and D) I would like to be able to have some actual facts to use in my story that I could say were given to me by an actual adlet.

Now, if I was Dr. Doolittle and could talk to ALL of these creatures… I’d have probably fainted already. And not from the danger, oh no…. I’d have fainted from the hyperventilating and the excitement!

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