Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Meme

Thanks to Valerie Comer for this great meme!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags. Sooooo much easier and reusable. But wrapped gifts are prettier under the tree.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real - unfortunately we have an artificial one this year. The house doesn't smell like Christmas :(

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually a few days after New Year's.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A wooden dollhouse with real working electrical lights.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My brother.

8. Easiest person to buy for? My sister Abbi - we have similar tastes and love books!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Two - a glass one I got from my parents many years ago, and my sister has a VeggieTales one that is currently gracing our table.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Didn't send either this year, but I love getting mailed cards. It seems a little pointless to send them without a newsletter, though.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? More funny than awful, but is was a Christmas ornament that said Best Grandma - think they thought it read Best Granddaughter!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Probably White Christmas.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Black Friday.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably - likely something little that I forgot was a Christmas present to begin with!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Anise cookies and black walnut cookies.

16. Lights on the tree? White. No exceptions.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells. LOVED our church's Trans-Siberian Orchestra-style rendition of it this Sunday!

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Short trip to Grandma's Christmas Eve, and this year I'll spend the night and Christmas morning at my parents' since it's the first Christmas since I moved out.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel this year and all previous ones, but I prefer a star (going to snag one for next year during post-Christmas sales!).

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Presents (usually one) at Grandma's Christmas Eve, all the rest in the morning!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Those few annoying Christmas songs you at least can avoid 11 months out of the year!

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color? I love snowflakes.

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner? Aunt Velva's dinner that was the same every year until she stopped having it. Especially loved the lime jello dessert!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I can have anything? ;) A job and a guy - both perfect for me. A fun superpower, like flying. And lots of awesome writing ideas!

Your turn now - pass it on!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rabbit Trails and Writing

One of the things I like about the internet is the way you can start at one place and end up somewhere totally different - and learn a lot along the way.

For instance, this evening. I was scrolling through my Bloglines RSS feeds and catching up on a few that had way too many unread posts. One was by one of those blogging gurus, and the very oldest unread post had a link to a free ebook on how to make money blogging. Since I lost my job and my car ended up upside-down on the wrong side of the road last week, earning money online seems like a great idea. I clicked over, downloaded the ebook, and started reading it. Partway through it had a link to a list of niche social networks. I clicked the link and started scrolling through. Several caught my eye, including a site that posts temporary contract jobs. Now I have another site to check as I look for work.

I use this same process all the time as I build my stories. I start with one small kernel of an idea - a character, setting, or situation. I write down aspects that could go along with that, and one catches my attention. I explore that aspect further, and more possibilities open up.

Sometimes I have to backtrack. One of my ideas involved a captain and crew of a ship. First it was a spaceship. Then it was an air-to-surface-to-submarine ship. Then it was a time traveling ship. I eventually realized that the latter ship wouldn't work with my ideas for the captain and crew, but before that I got an idea how time travel could tie into ancient supernatural myths. That could become a whole other book.

And all because I like to follow rabbit trails.