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Friday, October 31, 2014

10 Random Facts and a Winner- Candor Fridays

No questions this weeks, folks, so I thought I'd do something a little different and give you 10 random facts about me. I tried to come up with things most people wouldn't know and it turned out being a lot harder than I expected XD But, succeed I did.

And, here they are:

  1. My favorite letter is “R” which is nice and all until I’m naming characters. I have a nasty habit of giving too many of my characters names starting with “r”. Which is ironic because I don’t have many “r” characters in my published novels…
  2. My favorite numbers are 7 and 3 and multiples of those two make me happy. Except 18. I don’t like the number 18 for some reason.
  3. My top five favorite movies (in no particular order) are: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Pride and Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy, Secondhand Lions, Holes, and You Can’t Take it With You.
  4. The first character crush I can remember having is Dimitri from 20th Century Fox’s Anastasia.
  5. I used to sleep with scissors under my pillow.
  6. My favorite fairy tale is the Brothers Grimm’s King Thrushbeard.
  7. I prefer vanilla to chocolate in both cake and ice cream, but like chocolate frosting better
  8. I don’t like Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, The Lion King, or The Jungle Book. Sorry. They just aren’t my thing. And I feel really horrible because they’re classics and stuff…
  9. I think it’s completely unfair that it’s only socially acceptable one day out of the year for people to wear costumes while they go about their daily lives but people can wear their team colors or favorite sports shirt for a whole season. Want to dress like your favorite player? Go for it! Want to dress like your favorite character? That’s weird…
  10. I once took a dog biscuit to school for a teacher. Yes, he took a bite of it because he thought it was a cookie. No, I don’t remember why I did it.

And, no I didn't forget what this week is. I promised on Monday that I would select a winner and so I have done just that.

In honor of my upcoming book release, the winner will receive a copy of How to Properly Deface a Book - Kit Parker Book Two. For the rest of you, this title is due to hit the shelves at Amazon on November 10th. So, make sure you mark your calendar for that date (I'll be reminding you the day it releases too, of course :P)

Now then, without further ado, I present to you the winner of this month's Candor Fridays Giveaway:

Lydia Matzel!!!

[insert cheering and general noises of excitement]

And, for those of you who want a chance to win something, make sure to send me your questions. Every entrant will have their name put into the drawing, but I can't put your name in if you don't send me something!

And, in the meantime, I'm starting NaNoWriMo tomorrow!! So excited!! :D :D And, I have several great blog posts lined up, including something a little different. So, make sure you stick around for that!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Is Your Hero Selfish Enough?

Oh, hey, look! It’s a blog post! I’ll bet you didn’t know I still wrote those.

If watching westerns has taught me anything, it’s that very few will do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing.

I have seen it more times than I can count in both movies and TV episodes- the main character/ hero/ sheriff/ marshal/ cowboy is running around town trying to find someone who will help him. The bad guys will be there soon and our hero needs to make sure they don’t destroy the town/ rob the bank/ break their partner out of jail.

Only, he can’t find anyone who will fight with him. Everyone he asks tells him it’s not their problem. They tell him to look elsewhere before slamming their door in his face and hiding behind their sense of disconnection.

Why is this? Why does this happen time and again?

Because people are selfish.

It is as plain and as simple as that.

It’s human nature. There would be no sin in their world if it were not so. But Satan tempted Eve with that idea of self. He made her question whether God had her best interests at heart. And so, because she was thinking of herself, she ate of the fruit.

We don’t want to admit it, but it’s the way we’re wired. We want to know what’s in it for us before we agree to something. We want to know the benefit on our part, what the fruits of our labor will be.

Which is why having a completely selfless hero is both stupid and unrealistic. Very few men will fight for something if there’s nothing in it for them. Very few people would set out on a quest to save the world if they saw no personal gain for them except “the world will be saved!”

They would say, “Why should I be the one to do the job? Isn’t such-and-such person more qualified? Surely there is someone better equipped to do it than I am.”

Now, I’m not saying you should make your hero a jerk. A completely self-serving hero is simply someone on the other side of the spectrum. They’re just as bad as a selfless hero.

No, a real, true hero is someone who balances their selfish nature with a selfless one. Rather than having a hero whose character is summed up with one side of the coin, instead his nature should be a whole, with a balance of both sides coexisting.

In the Lord of the Rings series, Frodo does some very heroic things. Many things that are both selfless and brave. But, his whole reason for saving the world, is that he wants to go home. He wants to live in peace and quiet and has been convinced that there is no way for him to do that unless he takes the ring to Mordor.

In The Hunger Games Katniss is driven by more than a desire to survive. While each of us could identify with that basic instinct, it in no way makes her a hero. We have no reason to root for her over the others. Do they not all want to survive? So, Suzanne Collins takes things a step further. She throws in an adorable younger sister who depends on our hero. A little girl who hugs her sister tight and begs her to return safely. Not only that, but we have been told in no uncertain terms that this little girl depends on her sister for her very survival.

That is why we root for Katniss. Because she has a noble reason to survive. And so, when her instincts kick in and the need to survive arises, we think of Prim and accept her desire to win.

See what I mean here? Katniss has both a selfish and a selfless reason to achieve her goal. And it is both reasons what drive her. Not one or the other. But both.

Your hero should always want something. He or she should always have a selfish desire that drives them. Wanting to be a hero and save the world is not a good reason for them to be a hero. If they want to be a hero because they need to prove themselves to someone, while highly cliché, this is still a good example of selfish and selfless desires coexisting. Yes, they are driven to save the world, but it comes out of a selfish desire to prove something.

And that, in the end, is what makes a true, human hero. They want something. Just like every person who is reading your story. They want something for no other reason than their human nature is to be selfish. Whether it be love, or a sandwich, or to go home and take a nap. Your hero is driven by more than a need to be a hero. Their character is more in-depth than that.

It is never enough to explain your hero’s actions with “They’re the hero.” If that is their only reason for doing something then it is not good enough.

Now, I will acknowledge the fact that heroic instincts exists. There are times in a person’s life when they don’t have time to think but in that split second when action is called for, they act, and in that acting they save the day. This is acceptable, if you have established your hero as that kind of a person. Not every action needs to be driven by a selfish desire.

But, as a whole, the sum of your hero needs to be more than cheap, comic book heroics. They need to be human. They need to be driven to obtain the ultimate goal because there is something for them in the end.

Yes, that sounds unheroic. It seems hard and cynical. But it’s true. And, if you can pull it off without making your hero a jerk, you are worthy of the “Writer” title.

And, in the end, if your hero’s goal shifts to simple heroics, that’s acceptable. Because when you fight for something for so long, even when your reason for fighting dies, more often than not, you will keep fighting. Because we are also driven by a need to follow through. Once again, it’s how we’re wired.

How about you? Do you agree with this post? Does your hero have a selfish reason for their actions?

Random notes: I am well on my way to being done with How to Properly Deface a Book: 
Kit Parker - Book Two, getting it all set for its release on November 10th. And, I am officially signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. If you’re participating and want to add me as a writing buddy, just let me know! Or, if you’re interested in what I’ll be writing, I’m working on a fairy tale retelling mash-up. Here’s a link to my Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/jennifersauer73/sb-jack-robin-and-the-twelve-dancing-princesses/
It’s a bit of a mess since I used it to brainstorm while I was still figuring things out, but the general idea is there. If you have any questions about it, I’m always glad to talk about my project. Just ask ^.^

And, I realized I never selected a winner for Candor Fridays, so I will be doing that this Friday. It’s not too late to enter, just pop me a question before the 31st.

Until then, dear readers! <3

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cookies, Poems, Puppies, and Characters- Candor Questions

Didn't do this Friday, so I'm doing it today ^.^

Lydia Matzel asked: What are your three favorite poems? And why? (or songs based on the lyrics if you're not as into poetry)

Oh!! Poems!! This question made me realize I haven’t read much poetry in a while. Which is dumb because I like poetry. But, since I also like music a lot, I’m going to give you a bonus and answer both questions.

To start with the poems:

The Book of Hosea: I’m not sure if this counts or not, but I would have to say this is my favorite poem. The way it’s written, the wording, is just gorgeous. Especially Chapter 2. So beautiful. Verse 14 is my favorite: Therefore, behold, I will allure her/ Will bring her into the wilderness/ And speak comfort to her. Like, after all that, God still loves her (loves me) and is willing to take whatever steps necessary to draw her back to Him. Such a beautiful love story <3

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116: The one with Love is not love which alters when an alteration finds. I love it so much because I think if any poem knows something about love, it’s this one. The whole thing speaks about love being a steadfast thing, something that is steady and sure. And, it refutes the idea of “falling out of love.” It’s just lovely ^.^

I found this on Pinterest and fell instantly in love with it. It’s not a poem in the strictest sense of the word, but it’s still considered one. It’s just a beautiful portrayal of the love talked about above (Sonnet 116). And it has really pretty illustrations. So, yes, I love it.

The Highwayman: So, since I’m not sure if Hosea counts as a poem or not, I’m adding this to the list too. I had an amazing fixation with this poem when I was younger. I had it memorized, and had a story idea based off of it, and yeah, I was slightly obsessed. It’s kind of morbid, but incredibly romantic and all that jazz. Plus, Anne Shirley recites it in the first Anne of Green Gables movie, so it must be good. Right?

And, for the songs, I’ll be short and sweet:
Owl City’s Galaxies, Relient K’s Be My Escape, and Andrew Peterson’s In the Night.
These are three of the most poetic songs I know and I love them for that. There are other songs I would put ahead of these as “favorites” but in terms of poeticness, these three are at the top of my list. You should go listen to them if you haven’t heard them (or, better yet, if you have, listen to them anyway!)

Lindsay Marie asked: If you could meet any character from the Bible (aside from Jesus, of course)... who would you choose?

Oh! This is a really good question!! And, I’ve got it down to two people- Gomer from Hosea (which, you probably gathered is one of my favorite books of the Bible) or Esther (from the book of Esther, in case you didn’t know XD).

But, as much as I would love to meet Gomer, I think I have to pick Esther because her story really confuses me and I have a ton of questions I want to ask her. Like, what all was going on with that? There’s just so much that doesn’t make sense.

In fact, if there’s a Q&A session in Heaven, I’m definitely going to ask God about it. Because, He’d have better answers than Esther anyway…

Rodger Sauer askedOK – suppose you’ve been exiled to a desert island.  The person exiling you has a small bit of compassion, though, so he allows you to have a reasonable supply of one kind of cookie per year…   But only one kind per year…   What kind of cookie do you choose for your first year on the island?

First of all, I want to know what I did to get myself exiled. And, what I’m getting exiled with. Like, do I get books and paper and stuff? Because if I do, coupled with the cookies, this doesn’t seem like such a bad deal…


I would say, for the first year, I would choose oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Because they’re yummy. And, then I would pray really hard that the person exiling me doesn’t accidently get me ones with raisins. Because that would be dumb. Who wants to eat cookies with raisins in them? Yuck.

And, then, here are the other cookies I would ask for in following years (in no particular order):
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip
Keebler Elf Cookies
Iced Cutout Cookies

Cindy Sauer asked: Do you have any pictures of your new puppy?  And what do you find most rewarding about being a puppy parent?

I finally got my camera charged so, yes, I do have pictures! And, for those of you who don’t know, five weeks ago (five weeks ago tomorrow, actually, but whatever) I adopted a puppy. He’s a shepherd/ shiba inu (and some other things) mix. His name is Malachi and he's my precious little baby (when he's not getting into trouble).

Anyway, here are some pics:

This was taken the day I brought him home (isn't he so tiny?):

And, a couple I took today:

He's getting so big :3 [insert proud, motherly things]

And, the thing I find most rewarding about being a puppy parent is the cuddles. There’s nothing like falling asleep with a puppy snuggled against you or quietly working on your latest story idea with him sleeping on your lap. Yup, definitely the cuddles. It's so nice to feel loved <3

 And, that's that! I'll still be answer questions this Friday, so go ahead and send me some! Also, I feel like I should specify- Random or personal questions are always welcomed. I feel like people don't ask questions because they don't have writing or reading related ones, but you don't have to stick with those themes. When I said I wouldn't be answering questions that were too personal, I meant personal on an inappropriate level. But, if you're itching to know what I ate for breakfast this morning or if I prefer wearing shoes or going barefoot, feel free to shoot me a question. I would welcome it with open arms.

See you all on Friday!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Candor Fridays- Week Eleven... Sort Of...

It's Friday, folks!

I don't have any questions for this week... Which kind of makes me sad. A little bit. Okay, a lot. It makes me really sad.

But, since there aren't any questions, I'll give you a brief update on what's going on, writing-wise. How to Properly Deface a Book (Kit Parker -- Book Two) is coming along nicely. I'm getting down to my last edits and hopefully you're all as excited for its release as I am!!!

At any rate, I hope you'll buy a copy or two...

And, for those of you who read Tuesday's post all the way through, you know I needed help naming a character. Since I only got two replies, I went ahead and decided on my own. And so, the baby's name is Cato. Isn't that adorable? Little Baby Cato :3

I'm working away on that story too. It's been really fun, since I'm creating a world and actually putting time and effort into that aspect of it. I've never really done anything like that before. So far, it looks a bit like 1950's America but with a monarchy, a lot of crime and poverty and stuffs, and high-tech governmental experiments. Here's a link to the questions I'm using to develop my world, if anyone's interested (I've found them to be very helpful): 

And, here's a link to my storyboard on Pinterest if anyone's interested: http://www.pinterest.com/jennifersauer73/sb-the-girl-called-gypsy/

Hopefully I'll finish my plotting and do this as NaNoWriMo this year. Hopefully. We'll see. And of course, if you have any questions about it, I'm more than happy to answer them!!

And, that's about it. Writing-wise, anyway. Which seems to be a good portion of my life right now. Not that I'm complaining. Because I'm not. That would be silly.

Anyway! I'll see you all on Monday. And, in the meantime, I wouldn't be opposed to you sending a question my way for next week. [/shameless plug]