Consult your physician
As seen on TV
Enlarged to show texture
It’s not you it’s me

Legal separation
Please hold your applause
Studies have shown
I’m calling because

National bestseller
Attempted suicide
Antioxidant-rich
Look on the bright side

Scientific method
Ladies first
Performance review
For better or worse

We’re gonna need backup
Results may vary
Let’s get wasted
Eat drink and be merry

Regulate your cycle
Read package directions
Nonsurgical face-lift
We’ve got a situation

Pro-life pro-choice
Procrastination
Pro-active pro-rated
Professional opinion

One-millionth visitor
Come claim your prize
I want my lawyer
Actual size

Guard dog on duty
Recommended dosage
Side-effects include
Take out a second mortgage

Remember to log out
Remember to vote
Remember to smile
That’s a misquote

War on terror
Jesus loves you
God hates gays
Have you heard the good news?

Capital punishment
Christmas in July
It’s only a theory
The cake is a lie

Mad cow salmonella
Bird flu swine flu
Nervous breakdown
Your books are overdue

Trespassers prosecuted
She’s a train wreck
Physical examination
Practice makes perfect

Go for coffee
Enter to win
Plagiarism
Intervention

school shooting
zero trans fat
probation
instant chat

tax-free
GST
audit me
HST

own
lease
war
peace

truth
lies
laugh
cry

sex
death

lust
greed
wrath
envy
pride

I have an obsessive personality. I get hooked on something and it’s all I can think about. Naturally, when I have an idea for a novel (one I’m convinced is spectacular), nothing gets between me and my keyboard. I make sacrifices—socializing, mainly—in order to spend time writing. Part of me even becomes my protagonist: I want to think like him so I can successfully write him.

Writing a book obviously requires a ridiculous amount of dedication. Less obvious, however, is why some people can accomplish it and some can’t. What traits set us apart? Are some of us predisposed to be novelists?

Continue reading my guest post at Helping Writers Become Authors

Header photo: Insane by Melissa Petrie via Flickr

This is a deleted scene from The Infinite Knowledge of J. T. Badgley. I removed it because it’s a thought tangent that does absolutely nothing to advance the plot—but I’m still fond of it, so here it is. It happens on page 141, when Jake is trying to sneak back into the Kremlin.

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I have to share this. It’s one of the first poems I ever wrote. The positive reaction from the class and teacher was a huge factor in inspiring me to keep writing. Moral of the story: praise a kid’s work, because that encouragement makes a big impact!

When I make my snowman
With a carrot for his nose
Along comes my pony
Munch munch! Off she goes!

When I make my snowman
With peanuts for his toes
Along comes a squirrel
Munch munch! Off he goes!

When I make my snowman
With no nose or toes
Along comes my puppy
Now he has yellow clothes.

To match the human to the face that has Picasso drawn
To find among the autumn leaves the still and silent fawn
On such a day I know the truth whether the path is set
Be the ground fresh laid in stone or be its clay still wet

Does great Hecate see me there in grass that seems more lush?
Or should the daisies at my feet subdue my need to rush?
Is it a house that I’ve begun to build with this brick wall?
Or is it meant to crumble here ’til brick by brick, it falls?

Beyond the bricks perhaps there lies an Earth of paradise
But since its snow is free of prints it may be mere thin ice
I can’t but tell unless I try to build my house from snow
If it shall melt I still at least have all those bricks to show

And so I carve said house of snow but build the bricks up still
In hopes someday that igloo holds, and move to it, I will
For I cannot but know for sure the nature of my path
The trades of safety, fun or growth, responsible or rash

I will not be the fawn so still on clear untrodden land
But rather be Picasso’s work, and paint my Earth by hand

This month I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 OurCS conference at Carnegie Mellon University. OurCS is a 3 day undergraduate research workshop for women in computer science, focused on teaching students about research opportunities, graduate school, and some specialized real-world research problems. It was last held in 2007, although I think they’re going to try and make it an annual event.

If you’re a female computer science undergraduate, reading this because you’re wondering if you should go to this conference next year, my answer is “Yes. Go.” For me, the conference cleared up so many unknowns about graduate school. I had no idea what graduate school was like, whether I wanted to go, or what kinds of research it entailed. I came away with hands-on research experience and full of inspiration.

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Warner Spills and Chills

Me and my cousins falling off our horses. Made with Windows Movie Maker when I was in high school. Classic.