Words of Wisdom Wednesday

It lives!!!

I’ve missed a few weeks of Words of Wisdom Wednesday, mostly because there haven’t been any quotations that spoke to me recently.   I saw a good one in the book I am reading, though, and so I thought I would share it and some of its relatives with you.  Theme for this week is past, present, future quotes, from any source.  Go!

“Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  But today is a gift.  That is why it is called the present.”  – Kung Fu Panda

“Past, and to come, seems best; things present, worst.”  – King Henry IV, Part 2 by Shakespeare

“Live in the present, remember the past, and fear not the future, for it doesn’t exist and never shall.”  – Eldest by Christopher Paolini

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My Favorite Questions

When I find out that someone is reading or has read Butterflies, I have two favorite questions.

If they are reading it currently, I ask “Where are you?”  I find that people like to talk about what is going on in the book, and since I have read it 4 times (and wrote it, as well) I can easily recognize where they are in the story and what has gone before.  It’s also fun when they start to speculate about where the story is going, although I make sure to keep my mouth shut when they do!

If they finished the book, I like to ask “Who was your favorite character?”  This one always gets fun responses.  People don’t just tell me the name of the character, they almost always tell me why.  Often it is not the character I would have anticipated for them, but it does give me interesting insight into the person answering the question.

So, have you read my book?  Who was your favorite character? 🙂

Some Numbers

Hello!

On Friday I posted my 600th post, and I thought it would be a good time for a look at some of my writing-related numbers to date.

Blog views all-time: 17,610

Blog Followers: 60

Facebook Fans: 37

Copies of Butterflies Sold: 32

Here’s hoping that all of these will go up!  Thanks for your contribution to these.  I’ll put up another update when I hit 700!

Distracted by Words

I like to read, and I am easily distracted.  This means that words can be a dangerous thing for me.

There are many words around when you are driving.  (I know, I’ve noticed them!)  U-Haul trucks have fun trivia on the side, but it’s written pretty small.  Billboards are bigger, and easier to read as a driver.  Bumper stickers are my one big challenge- I have to consciously ignore them on a regular basis, because I’ll get so curious about what they say that I might get too close to the car or drive a little faster to keep up with them, hoping for a red light.

These are things I know about myself, so I have grown to recognize when it is okay to read something while driving (stopped at a light, crawling in a traffic jam) and when it is important to ignore it (pretty much any other time).

Ah, the lure of reading!

Craving Depth

I watched a movie last night that had so much possibility for character and plot depth, and yet it fell so flat.

The movie was almost a tease.  There were tantalizing moments of detail, like when the male protagonist turns out to be the anonymous author of several magazine articles about his profession.   There were glimpses into a history with layers, such as when the sisters are revealed to have been born in the States but grew up in England.  And yet all of these were just that: moments and glimpses.  Every opportunity to unveil depth and pull me fully into their world was skimmed over, like a rock across the surface of a pond.

Needless to say, the character-driven author in me was very irritated, and the fiction reader in me wasn’t too happy either.  Maybe I should go back to my novels.

Colorful Thoughts: Yellow!

Read the first two installments on purple and blue!

After exploring our rare colors it’s time to move on to a more common color: yellow.

Ah, yellow.  While nature’s favorite colors might be brown, green, and grey, there is no lack of love for yellow.  There are so many plants with yellow flowers, a list would take a while.  Some plants turn yellow when they are dying, and a multitude of trees have yellow foliage in the fall.  There are bright yellow birds, bright yellow fish, bright yellow frogs.  And when I say bright yellow, I’m not kidding.  Check out the prothonotary warbler or the yellow tang for some highlighter-yellow action.  Yellow dyes were common and frequently used in medieval Europe, thanks to all this yellowness found in nature.

With all this yellow going on, doesn’t that make it somewhat boring?  I mean, why would I ever dress a character in yellow or make a dragon yellow?  Easy.  Think about the last time you saw something natural that was yellow.  It was probably surrounded by brown, green, and/or grey, and that spot of yellow stood out.  It was bright, it caught your eye, and it was different from the things around it.  Imagine seeing that prothonotary warbler in the middle of a forest, and you can probably guess why birders who’ve seen it dozens of times are still happy to see it again.

Yellow is a way to make something stand out.  (Bright yellow reflective vests, anyone?)  Vivid yellow only blends in when everything around it is yellow.  This is not always a good thing!  (Think about a yellow dandelion in an otherwise perfect lawn of green, and you will understand.)  If you mark a character with yellow, you are making them something that fits in the surroundings but is somehow different from them at the same time.

While we’re on the subject of yellow, I want to touch briefly on two other variations of the color: gold and blonde.  Gold is a precious metal, and cloth of gold was reserved for royalty with serious money.  Gold was used as currency, so feel free to toss it around a bit, but remember that a solid gold coin was probably the equivalent to a $50 bill.  Not a lot of people had them in their pockets.  Gold jewelry is also an option, but unless it’s alloyed with other metals (which it usually is), it’s very soft and is easy to bend out of shape.

If you make a character blonde, keep in mind that there are modern-day stereotypes that your reader is going to place on your character.  These can manifest at either the “glamorous” end of the spectrum or the “lack of intelligence” end, and it’s up to you as an author to remember that people think this way.  It doesn’t mean your character has to act “blonde” if theyareblonde, but you need to develop them in such a way that the reader will move away from their subconscious reaction.  The yellow factor joins in here, too.  There aren’t many people who naturally stay blonde as they age, so an adult with blonde hair is going to stand out in most crowds.

Yellow is a good way to go if you want someone or something to stick out without being incredibly unusual, like blue or purple.

Snarky Comments

Instead of Words of Wisdom Wednesday (which, I will admit, has been missing recently), I wanted to share some humorous words with you.

Occasionally I get snarky comments on here that have nothing to do with writing.  These are just personal ugliness for the sake of it, meant to make me feel bad.  Mostly I just find them amusing.  I always tell my friends when I get them, so they can share in the joke, but I don’t approve them on the blog.  They are sporadic, although I’ve been getting them in some form (usually in waves) since March of last year.

I’ve decided that perhaps you’d like to revel in the humor of them as well.  Here are five of my favorites, along with a link to the related post and a bit of background, when necessary.  They are in reverse chronological order.  Stick with it to the end; we’ll discuss them as a class. 😉

“You have blue eyes, but you’re uncommonly ugly.” In response to the post about the color blue, submitted on Feb 9, 2012.

“I wish you had been a worthy competitor as well. Winning at Cranium is one thing, but you lose at life.”  In response to the post about playing games (which suspiciously didn’t mention Cranium), submitted on Nov 14, 2011.

“Is your obsessive mind thinking of how alone and pathetic you are? Yep, I thought so.”  In response to the post called Quiet Characters, submitted on Jul 21, 2011.

“Hey Leigh, you’re an epic loser! Get a life!”  In response to the post called Not Much To Go On…, submitted on July 19, 2012.  My favorite thing about this is the irony.  This was one of a series of 3 comments posted over 30 minutes in one evening.  Two days later there were 3 more comments within 10 minutes of each other on 3 different posts.  And yet, the commenter seems to think that I need to get a life…

“Oh I hope you used gossip! You’re so practiced at it in real life, I’m sure it would be believable!”  In response to a post about summarizing, submitted on Apr 9, 2011.

As you can see, these are a recurring event.  Most of these were not individual comments, but a single one selected out of a series that were submitted around the same time.  While I can’t guarantee they are all the same person, the fake name is some variation of “Elle” for almost all of them.

Have you had snarky comments that were meant to hurt but really just made you laugh?

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