“Fan”tabulous Friday: 2/25/11

In my “Who? Me?” section, I called out Friday as the day to share my favorite posts of the week. To qualify, the post had to make me think, make me question, teach me, or inspire me.  In other words, I liked the post enough to click the “like” button so I could save it to read again some day.

Battling Kitty Obesity
You’ve most likely heard the dizzying stats of the obesity epidemic in America.  A NY Times article published in 2010 stated that 34% of American adults and 17% of children were obese.  These numbers don’t take into account a lost segment of the population – our four-legged children.  Cybil (a.k.a. Cybil the Psycho Cat) has been battling obesity for nearly two years now.  She is nearly eleven years old and was a healthy weight cat, until she quit eating in protest of the 2 kittens (Sammy and Lizzy) that we brought into the house.  It took about a week before I realized she hadn’t been taking over my pillow at night.  It took several more days to convince my husband that something was wrong and we* needed to drag her out from under the bed.
~ JannaTWrites at JannaTWrite’s Blog

Why I Liked It: I have a fat cat.  A very fat cat.  Her name is Oreo, she’ll be 11 in April, and the 20+ pounds she’s carrying is causing her to age faster than is good for her.  It’s comforting to feel I’m not alone in my concerns for my pet, that others share the same experience.

Hooking the Reader and Never Letting Go
What is the one ingredient we MUST include to have great fiction? CONFLICT. No conflict, no story. One of the biggest stumbling blocks I see in new writers is that they fail to understand the difference between authentic conflict versus a bad situation. Bad situations do not make good fiction. Bad situations are boring and probably the largest source of melodrama. Today I am going to give you tools to make sure your fiction grabs the reader and doesn’t let go. The best way to ensure your reader is your captive is to have conflict on every page.
~ Kristin Lamb at Kristin Lamb’s Blog

Why I Liked It: I need all the help I can get in creating conflict, particularly since I do whatever I can to avoid it in real life.  Real conflict leaves my gut in knots, my hands shaking, and my heart racing.  That can’t be good for a person.  But it is good in a story, so…maybe I need to go create conflict in my life?  Yikes.  I sure hope not.  I’ll keep reading books and blog posts on it instead, okay?

The 25th Hour of the Day: Finding the Time to Write
“There just isn’t enough hours in a day.”
“I wish I could find time, but I’m always so busy.”
“Couldn’t there just be a time when my thoughts magically appear on the paper?”
“I really should write…after I finish this book.”
If you are like me, than you’ve not only heard these thoughts, but thought them yourself. Unless you have amazing discipline, or writing is your actual income-earning career, the time you use for writing falls into this nebulous space of “I want to use my time to write, but first I need to go to work, hit the grocery store, do some bills, make dinner, clean up after dinner, socialize with my family…” until you find yourself in bed thinking, “Dang, I wanted to write today!” Finding time to write can sometimes be like wishing for that 25th hour in a day. So how do we cram that needed time into the 24 hours we get?
~ Jennifer Mandelas at Jennifer Mandelas

Why I Liked It: I suspect every writer who still has a day job (and even those who don’t) sometimes finds it difficult to make time for daily writing.  I know I do.  I’ve set myself a daily word count and, on the majority of days, I find the time to get that done, but there are still times when life gets in the way.  This post talks about setting deadlines to help.  My left-brain likes deadlines.

Keeping a Journal: Making Sense Out Of Nonsense
I never had a diary. Ok, that’s a lie, I did, but I was awful at writing in one. I have a bad habit of walking around the stationary section of bookstores and perusing through the shelves while my fingers dance over the velvet, or velour covers of various journals and notebooks. I would always think to myself “I should write. I have a lot of ideas and it will shut Sparky up about me and writing.” So I’d dish out the $12.95 for a little notebook that is bounded so tight that I can barely keep it open long enough to write “dear diary.” Without fail, the book will stay tightly bound because I will most likely lose interest after the fifth entry.
~ Kaye Peters at Have Coffee…Will Write

Why I Liked It: I’m not a journaler.  I’ve never kept a diary.  As a writer, I have questioned if this is a failing.  I’ve decided it isn’t.  However, I am learning to journal because it’s a great place to write down random thoughts or silliness or general information.  At some point, I hope to be able to go back to the journal entries and find story ideas.

Ties That Bind Can Be Broken
I have a friend in New Zealand.  She and I went to college together, and I just reconnected with her this past December.  She’s okay, she does not live in Christchurch so she and her students only felt the quake with minimal interruption and damage. She wrote a mass e-mail to her friends and family in the States which made me think about how interconnected we all are in this world, and how fragile those connections can be in the face of disasters–both natural and man-made. I am going to quote liberally from her, because her words speak for themselves:
~ Lisa at Woman Wielding Words

Why I Liked It: The recent earthquake in New Zealand has caused a lot of death and devastation.  I was still living in California with the 1989 quake hit (the one that stopped the World Series and destroyed the Bay Bridge).  My hometown is located mere miles from the epicenter.  After that quake, it was like living in what I imagine a war zone might be. So many people came to the aid of others and it inspired a willingness in me to help those who found themselves in a similar situation.  This post was a very nice reminder to remember to help others.

Math: A (hateful) Love Story
My childhood battle with understanding the mountain of words in the English language seemed like a mere warm-up for the confusing world of mathematics. With enough dictionary references and stretching, I could climb that mountain. But in this horrid metaphor, math would be the sun and moon and sky. There was no goal to be set or numbers to be crunched that would successfully equip my tiny brain to conquer a subject so daunting it actually created a symbol for infinity.
~ Tori Nelson at The Ramblings

Why I Liked It: I hate math.  I love when I find other people who hate math.  Particularly the kind of math that has letters in it, or word problems.  Words and letters have no place in math.  Math is about numbers.  Words and letters are for English class.  Keep the numbers, letters, and words in the appropriate subject and don’t cross-pollinate.  It’s horrifying.

What inspired you this week?

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