Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Music Student Joke

So yesterday this joke was revolving through the halls of Music World:

"What do you call a twenty-five-year-old conservatory graduate with degrees in musical therapy and ear-training, a concert diploma, and half a dozen prestigious prizes to his name?"

...   (pause for effect)

... (anticipation rises)

... (anticipation becomes NIGH UNTO UNBEARABLE)


HOMELESS bahahahahahahaha.

Needless to say, not everyone found this equally amusing.

Least of all me. I think it's a LAME joke. Positively offensive.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Favorite WORDS

This painting actually has nothing to do with favorite words. I just like it. So there 'tis. (Source)

ALA IS HAPPENING! But I've decided I'm not going to get excited about it the way I got excited about BEA. I mean, it's kind of pointless bouncing around an old, old farmhouse just because many thousands of miles away, people may-or-may-not-be glancing at your book. Right?


Bouncing is always good. And I'm still pretty excited. So I'm going to post another Peculiar-related post, in total honorifics of the occasion.

It's a Favorite Words post. Exciting, yes. Basically I glanced through some early drafts and revisions of The Peculiar and saw which words I liked, and which words I liked way too much, and which words my editor crossed out while likely thinking, "GAHthisperson."

I remember that when I was twelve I really, really hated it when an author used the same adjective twice in short succession. I couldn't stand it. I was all like, "What's so hard about finding a different word, YOU SILLY BOOK-WRITER! >:( If I ever write a book, this will NEVER HAPPEN."

Mm-hm. Right, Stefan.

Anyway. Here are the words I used too much:

Beetle - There were sooo many beetles in this book. Beetles in walls, and under floorboards, and eyes that look like beetles, and people that scuttle like beetles. Some of the beetles are still there, but thankfully I was made to get rid of a few.

Passage - used in place of 'corridor' or 'hallway'. Apparently it's weird and outdated, and doesn't really mean hallway in America, but I think it's BETTER than those other words. Most of these stayed, I think.

Grey - Lots of things were grey. Like, lots-lots. I could have argued how that was a deeply symbolic visual rendering of the book's central themes, but... it's not. So now after copy-edits some of the grey things are red or black. *victory fist* 

Little - In my mind 'little' makes everything magical-sounding. If you say 'the little door' it seems much more interesting and mysterious than just "the door". To me. So everything was little. It was like all shrimpy-looking.

Fingers - is one of my all-time favourite words for no particular reason. I think I like the sound of it, but not sure. I use it way too often at any rate, especially now while writing book 2.

Here are all the random words I like or find particularly evocative:


I think I'm noticing a pattern. W's are nice. So are Y's and S's. Also, lots of those have been used as book titles. Except maybe puddle. And gnarl. Gnarly-gnarl.

Writer people, if you have favorite words, or words you use too much, feel free to TELL MEH.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fall 2012 - Books For Which I'm EXCITED + Re-cap

Okay, two week re-cap annnnd GO:

1. It's really hot here.
2. It's concert season again.
3. I passed my year-end test for the conservatory by the skin o' mah teef.
4. I've had almost no time to write.
5. Though I did flee to the alps to clatter on my fluorescent-green laptop.
6. That was good.
7. Lists are fun.
8. Lists are so much easier to write than sensible and thoughtful blog posts.
9. The Peculiar is coming out in Australia, New Zealand , and England.
10. Yaaaay.
11. Book 2 is still almost done, but not quite done.
12. HarperCollins is awesome. They sent me a box with feathers in it.
13. The Peculiar sold at auction in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
14. The Czech Republic has Prague in it.
15. Prague is the coolest city ever.
16. Yaaaay. 
17. I said in my last post I was going to post things from my "Early Writings" folder.
18. I lied.
19. Sort of.
20. I'll do it some other time. Like, after I've finished drafting book 2. And have gotten through concert season. And have lots of time.

INSTEAD - I found some books coming out this fall that look igsakly like the sorts of books I like to read, and I wants them. I wants them so much I'm making a list. Another list. See point numbah 10 above.

Here they are. Feast your eyes. They look so good, the lot of 'em.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Creepy puppet children, stage magicians, Dickensian settings, and all that good stuff. Also, I read an excerpt from the author's previous book, The Night Faery, and her writing is KIND of gorgeous. I really want to see it used in a gothic novel. And those words above her name? Newbery Medal Winner? Yeah.

Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill

Look at that coverrrrrr. I love the title, I love the font, I love the illustration. I don't know much about the contents except that there are dragons, but what more must I know, I ask you?

Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull

I'm really, really excited for this one. And again, look at that COVER. It's so clear-cut and timeless. This one's about puppets, too, from what I gathered, and birds, and siblings, and magic, and it looks just generally awesome. Want. Now. Give it to me.

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh

Court dwarves in 16th century Spain. That's enough hook for me. Also, the font - it's nice. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Early Writings - The Quest for the Pipeweed Thief

A few days ago, I tweeted that my Mom had dug forth an ancient teddy bear notebook.

I spoke the TWOOF.

Said notebook looks like so:

Inside said notebook looks like so:

And those words say The Quest for the pipeweed theafs *GIANT STICKER* riten dy Stefa Bachmann, in case you were peering at them all askance.

It was my first story ever. I wrote it when I was six. Or seven. I don't remember which. But I'd prefer to think I was six, because my English skills were horrible. Anyway, since I'm all for embarrassing myself and good stuff like that, I'm going to post it!


A Chapter A: (Instead of, say, a chapter 1, or a chapter W)

(Also, I must warn you: I'm transcribing this word for word, complete with semi-incoherent spelling and questionable grammar and the fact that it's really lame Tolkien fan-fiction. Just so you're PREPARED.)


in a big howl lived a hobit namd Rich he livd wich 3 other Hobit named Bofry Dofry and Tofry they all liket to smok. they were the keeper's of the pipeweed.


It really says that. I'm not making this up. The defining trait of these hobbits is that they like to smoke. Fabulous. Look:

I should probably add that no one in my family smokes. Anything. I don't think I had even encountered smoking people yet at that point in my life. Tolkien was just a total Subverter-of-the-Youth or something.
Anyway, onward in this thrilling story: 

one day news rang out that the pipweed was gon. Rich sent word to the Dwarfs to help find the thefs.

Ooh my. THEFS. Tension mounts.

The Dworfs pact ther ponies and rod of.

Poor ponies. Packed right in there...

The Hodits lookt all around the shier. Rindo one of the bigest Dworfs how was up ahed prints prints of somthing dig they led to a bunt part of the ground and on a bit of roc was Rhuns.

I honestly have no idea what any of that means.

See the runes? Also, Pokemon stickers. No doubt I assumed Pokemon stickers beat my squibbly drawings any day.

wich ment Dragon kill so the Dagon from Murkwood has com sed Rindo.

And then there's blaaah-bitty-blah-blah, more incoherence, and the ending goes like this.


Yeah. Dramatic, right? That's what I thought.

And there you have it! Apparently my first story was about hobbits who smoked. Yaaay... My writing has become much tamer since then, honest. Drugs are BAD. Ok.

Bye. :)

Oh, wait, not bye, come baaaack. I think I'm just going to randomly pluck things out of my old writings folder and throw their green, slimy messes onto the screen for the next few posts. Unless you think that would be boring. Do tell. But if not I have an automatic blabber-subject, you see.

So, now bye for real.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Things That Inspired Other Things

So! BEA! Is happening! Right this very instant! In New Yawk! And since HarperCollins doing all sorts of cool stuff for my book, and people might be finding themselves suddenly surrounded by the red-brocade wallpapering of this bizarre little blog, I'm going to try to be EXTRA INTERESTING the next few days. Or at least informative. Or at least not jabber incoherently overly much.

Um. We shall see how that goes.

Anyway, what I thought I'd do is make a list of some of the things that inspired The Peculiar, whether they be books or art or awfully tragic music.

So. First of all was this:
That says The Lord of the Rings in really teeny type. Just... so you know.
My Mom read it to me and my siblings when I was six, and it took us about a year, and I remember it being terribly, terribly sad and complicated, and I didn't understand much of anything, and I was hooked for life.

Next came this:
Yeah, first LOTR, then Amelia Bedelia. We're slightly backwards people is all I can say. But WHATEVER. I love these books. Almost as much as Dr. Suess. And Greenwillow publishes them. Like, the same Greenwillow who is publishing my book. Like, how amazing is that. I did not know this until very recently, and it kind of made my day. But I digress. This series is hilarious and clever, and probably what made me like puns and double meanings so much. "Draw the drapes, Amelia." Ahaaaaa. Cracks me up.

After those came this, this, and this:

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddle. Kinda steampunk-ish, kinda pirate adventure, really original, and has lots of MONSTERS, so obviously it's amazing.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. The prose is perfect. The atmosphere is perfect. The fairies are sinister and decidedly not-Tinkerbellish, which was a new and interesting concept to me at the time. One of my favourite books ever.
Larklight by Philip Reeve. Victorians in outer space. 'Nuff said.

And, because David Wyatt's illustrations for it are too funny:

The Captain's all like, "UH, NO SHE DID-UN'T just push Queen Victoria violently." *draws sword and stabitty-stab-stabs*

While I was actually, ya know, writing the book, some inspiring things were these.

The original clockwork bird sculpture that I thought was so cool it had to be a part of the plot, and, a lonnnng time later The Peculiar's glorious cover art. I blogged about all that before here, so all I'll do now is show a picture of the original bird in all its clockwork goodness.

And music. It took me a while to figure out I write pretty horribly with music running (because my brain explodes) but a few years ago I was still convinced it might be good for something. I listened to this song - from Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride soundtrack - pretty much non-stop while writing a certain scene where Bartholomew Kettle has a creepily disturbing run-in with a creepily disturbing faery.

Things get creepily disturbing around the two minute point. I love how there's bell, almost like an old fire-engine bell, that makes the music literally an emergency. And the rhythm when the french horn comes in at 2:58? ARG! So good.

Further music would be the Atonement soundtrack. Below is a track I listened to obsessively while road-tripping in the US and writing a scene wherein two ugly little changeling siblings wonder about things. I think we can all agree that cellos are just generally amazing, but the counterpoint, and the themes, and the way Dario Marinelli spins them together is GENIUS. I've listened to this track a million times and I'm still not sick of it.

Annnnnd... that's all I can think of. For today. :)

Ok, now back to school.