xerinmichellex: (film: Sherlock Holmes - Irene Adler)
So. Guess who just spent an exuberant amount of time researching lunar eclipse from the 17th and 20th century for a plot detail that--at minimum--is only going to be relevant for a few lines? Guess who now knows how to decipher NASA's lunar cycle charts and how to change Universal Time into EST? Guess who's been humming Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" since 4 o'clock in the afternoon?

(It's ME, in case nobody got that.)

("Lunar eclipse" doesn't even look like a word anymore.)

(If anyone was wondering, the next blood red moon is on October 8, 2014. You're welcome.)

(And before anyone asks: NO! none of this research is for The Book. *does shifty eyes*)
xerinmichellex: (North & South - Girl/Grass)
Things I've Been Doing When I Should Be Writing:

1. Doing Logic Puzzles

For those that aren't cool and don't know what a logic puzzle is, they are the "box puzzles" where you have to match an attribute to a place/thing/person (usually) based on clues listed below. (Here: this probably explains it better than I could.) Back in grade school, these were my shit. (Also: word searches.) Screw board games (except for chess) and jigsaw puzzles, give me a logic puzzle any day. Sometimes I feel like I'm an elderly woman trapped in a 24-year-old's body, sitting at the kitchen table, doing my logic puzzles, while eating my dinner at 5 o'clock.

2. Marathoned Homeland

Thoughts on that to follow later. In a sentence: FNARR! I am going to die waiting for an episode on a week-to-week basis.

3. Following all the Goodreads/Authors Behaving Badly Drama

Every week (although now I think we're on a daily basis) there's something new and I just cannot look away. There's too many incidents to list, going all the way back to January and involving self-publishers and traditionally published authors alike. The big take away I'm getting from this: the safest thing for authors is to never, ever respond for a review. Even if the reviewer got something wrong, authors should not respond as the delicate string between the author and reviewer is stretched so tight. Just no.

(I've also gotten a not-too-favorable view of self-publishers...but I'm not going to stoke the flames of that fire.)

4. Watching the Drew Peterson Trial

We're on Day 20; the end is near. Given the evidence already presented, I believe he killed his ex-wife. (I strongly believe he killed his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.) He's guilty of something, and I'm glad that I'm not on the jury because I'd convict him solely on that--and that his lawyers come off real slimy. I mean, come on, it's bright in the Mid-West but it isn't like the sun parked itself in the courthouse parking lot. Meanwhile the prosecution keeps getting censured by the judge. I want to shake them and say, "Stop it! You are going to lose this case for us!" I know it's a hard case to prosecute; but seriously, Prosecution, get your shit together. Anyway, I think--and I hate admitting this--it's highly unlikely the jury will convict him. And if he does get convicted, I wouldn't be surprised if the conviction gets overturned for some reason.

5. Research, Research, Research

I'm glad there is no internet police (yet) because I can only imagine the sort of trouble I'd get into when my internet history reads like Anarchy 101: "temperature to keep nitroglycerin" + "locks and lock picking" + "Haymarket Riot, Chicago" + "freight tunnels, Chicago". I've also got "Ada Lovelace" + "Analytical Engine" + "Edwardian fashion" inter-laced between my flirtations with anarchy, so maybe I'm okay. A couple days ago I got ridiculously excited that Google Maps can calculate how long a trip takes in walking time, driving time, and biking time. Currently, I'm living on the Chicago Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Chicago website.

There's a point, I believe, when researching starts hindering the writing aspect. Especially for someone like me who thinks they have to know everything because the fear of getting something wrong makes them break out into a sweat. Sometimes you just need to stop, close down Google, and actually get words down. I think I'm at this point. Which is where the title of this post comes in. All of these things have morphed from procrastination to avoidance. I'm purposefully finding any excuse that keeps me from the computer, from writing. I had this epiphany a couple days ago. Maybe recognizing my habits will help me focus and sit down and actually write. One can only hope.

A Fun Fact

Feb. 21st, 2011 06:54 pm
xerinmichellex: (Queen Victoria)
When you search "Prince Albert" on Google, do you know what comes up first? Hint: It is not the Prince Consort to Queen Victoria. Yeah, that's right. It's the effin' penial piercing. I could've gone my entire life without seeing an illustration of that, thank you very much.
xerinmichellex: (The Raven)
Week One Word Count: 1350

Last week was made of fail, partly because I was sick and mostly because I was lazy and spent more time plotting/researching than actually writing. I wasn't planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year, but it seems like I will be by default.

So, research. I did it. And because the stuff was so random, so WTF, so you-aren't-going-to-believe-it's-all-for-the-same-book, here are some of the things I learned:

1. Because the WIP takes place at a boarding, I had to research a boarding school. Using the website, I settled on the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York. (Just look at the architecture!) My (jeez that sounds pretentious) boarding school is called Mournington Academy, and it's an all-girls' school, but I'm using the Willard school's campus as a layout and filled my MC's class schedule with actual classes. And the "boarding school experience" page is really helpful, since I did not attend boarding school.

2. Homemade bouncy balls require borax, cornstarch, and glue as it's main ingredients. (I totally made a bouncy ball out of a hard-boiled egg and vinegar for science class once.)

3. A bit of Alzheimer's and stem cell research--nothing too exciting.

4. I always thought the Bubonic Plague (or Black Death) was, like, a one-year, three years at the most, type of thing. Nope... There were cases of it throughout Europe until the 19th century.

5. "Diavolo" means "devil" in Italian. Staying on the foreign language front, "verdammt" is German for "damn it/fuck it." Mmm, German, such a romantic language.

6. Then, to make this mix-bag of biazzare more...biazzare, I finished the day by looking at World War I pictures, specifically German soldiers and the trenches running along the Somme River in France.
xerinmichellex: ([stock]: books)
Nothing new to report with my "ultraviolent teenagers" WIP. I was sidetracked this pass week with another finished manuscript--trying to get it ready for querying--and personal stuff. Blah, actual life. But! My research books came Friday, so I am hoping to dive back into the psyche of teenagers.

Those interested, here are the books which will pull everything together. I think...

(L-R: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami,
The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn,
and Children Who Kill by Carol Ann Davis)

(L-R: Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer by Phil Chalmers
and Columbine by Dave Cullen)

I swear they will all fit in...somehow. *crosses fingers* Also, I am really, really surprised the Book Police didn't show up on my doorstop and ask why I bought all these books on school shooters. ("No, officer, I'm not going to go to a school with guns. I'm writing a book where teenagers go postal. ... No, I don't have a literary agent...No, publishing doesn't quite work like that...Yes, officer, I understand. I will refrain from ordering any more teen rampage books. ... No, there are no sparkly vampires in my story. Those aren't even vampires...")

Battle Royale is the one giving me the sweats. (608 pages?! And the print is tiny!) It may be one I put on hold until after WIP is written, just because I cannot read and write at the same time. I either need MY thoughts floating around in my head, or someone else's. My brain is not that advance of a computer where I can process multiple things at once.

I think I'll start "smallest" (Phil Chalmers' Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer) and work to largest (Battle Royale, gulp!). I have one more book on my to-read list; but I'm going to wait until the paperback. Three books on school shooters should be enough, me thinks. Four might be pushing it where Officer Book Police shows up at my door.
xerinmichellex: (UmbrellaAcademy)
Research. I was online most of the day grabbing those last tidbits I need to complete my editing on Book 2. What did I learn? Well for starters I realized I have a semi-huge, very important fact I need to fix. Not so much a fact, but a plot point. Turns out, butane is a gas compound and only is a powerful accelerant when mixed with propane. So, that's going to be fun tomorrow.

Also, Aromaleigh's killing me right now. Why did you have to send me that 20% off coupon? You know I can't stay away. Why?! 

Here are some of the other kernels of research for ONE project. Yes, somehow they all fit within ONE story.

1. Anne Boleyn was executed in 1536. Her crimes were incest and adultery, with a pinch of witchcraft to even it all out. (Man, Henry VIII really disliked her.)

2. The average amount of time someone can hold their breath under water is one minute.

3. Drawings of yoga positions are hilarious.

4. It's only suppose to take 21 minutes to get from Beverly Hills High School to LAX. Go figure.

5. Flash over during a fire? BAAAAAAADDDDDD.

6. I also found a transcript for Jim Jones' final speech at Jonestown before all his members drank the Kool-Aid. That is some scary stuff right there.

Hmmm...looking at this list, I think I should I delete them out of the recent search menu. Don't want the parentals to worry. I also shouldn't be surprise if the FBI come knocking on my door tomorrow either. 


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