My Goodreads Quotes

Allison’s quotes

"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
Do you really believe that, Mother?" Peter asked quietly.
Yes," she said, "I do believe it--almost always--except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I don't believe it, I know it's true--and I try to believe it."— E. Nesbit

Sunday, August 30, 2015

9 Facts About Me

I've been thinking lately on the difference between knowing someone online and knowing someone in person.  I am a firm believer in online relationships being as worthy and meaningful as face-to-face ones.  But I still wonder if something is lost in translation.

So here, reader, are nine things about me that you might not know.

1. I'm not really a koala like my profile picture...

2. For the majority of my life, I thought I would be a professional musician like my sister.  I've played violin and piano and sung since I was little.  I adore opera and have performed in a lot of light operas, and I always assumed that I would be an opera singer.  As I got older, though, I really struggled with performance anxiety and self-doubt, and I think now that this may not be my path.  I also write music for Youtube.

3. I'm a senior in high school!  I've been home-schooled since third grade, so this will be my tenth and final year.  I'm taking a lighter course-load this year because college application takes up so much time.

4. I might have an addiction to Pinterest.  Just a little.  When I went to find the link to my page for you, I accidentally spent five minutes browsing my news-feed.

5. I have a precious kitty named Peaches, whom I adore.

6. I am a massive book-buyer but also an avowed minimalist, so my house tends to be a sort of traveling stop for used books.

7. I am a very critical reader... and above all, I am critical of cover art!  I dislike most cover art on the market these days.  For me, bad cover art can (almost) ruin a book.

8. I am one of the least capable ballerinas you will ever see.  My dancing is a capital-E Experience.

9. And finally, a confession: I am very uncomfortable talking about my writing.  Most people who know me in person don't know that I aspire to be an author (although my reason publication has sort of blown my cover, pen name aside).  I am even less comfortable talking about the fantasy genre.  When people ask me what sort of books I want to write, I simply respond, "Very good ones!"

Really, though, I'm awful about sharing my writing in person.  My Awesome Dad, who proofreads my academic essays, reads them aloud to get the full effect.  I cannot be anywhere near his office when he does this.  Sometimes I leave the house to not hear my own words.

That's probably what I've found most valuable about blogging.  If I'm trying to share something as private and personal to me as my writing, I can pretend I'm just talking to my computer screen.

And there are nine facts about me!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My Writing Routine

Hello, dear readers!  I don't know about you, but I never had a writing routine.  I just wrote whenever the mood took me.  And when it did, I wrote in globs and clumps, pouring out words for as long as I could force myself to write.

I got writer's block a lot.  I got worse-than-writer's-block: I tried to force my stories along a track they frankly did not want to follow.  I spent miserable months pounding out a story, telling my friends, "Yeah, it's going great.  A few-- um-- minor bumps.  But yeah.  It's great."

It was not great.  I honestly can't believe I kept writing through those years.

But I did, and things are much better.  I still struggle frequently with writer's block, though, and I'm always on the lookout for new ways to trick myself through it.  Recently, via David Farland's Writing Tips (which I recommend), I came across this quote by Ernest Hemingway:

“The best way [to avoid writer’s block] is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck.”
This quote changed my entire writing routine.

I now sit in my room with the door closed and the lights off.  I have a glass of water on my desk by my computer.  I tie my hair back with a ribbon, in the style of Violet Baudelaire, and I wear earplugs because my sister is a rock musician and practices loudly all the time.

I write 2,000 words.  It usually takes me forty-five minutes.  This is less than I did with my awkward, unscheduled routine.  Even when I know exactly where the story is going, and I'm on a role, and I am dying to get on with it, I stop.  Because that means I'm antsy and excited to keep writing tomorrow-- which means I'll sit down again at the same hour and write another 2,000 words.

I also have made another change in my schedule: I don't write on weekends anymore.  I think this is the part I'm finding the hardest.  Weekends used to be my main writing time.  But this year, I've allotted time in my school day for writing, so I force myself to take weekends to give my creative muscles a rest.

With this new routine, I'm writing 10,000 words a week-- much more than I ever wrote before, and I'm loving it.  What about you, reader?  Do you have a writing routine to share?

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Story Behind the Pen Name (or, Why is My Last Name So Hard to Say?)

For my first published fiction, I used the pen name Allison Rohan.

(I've mentioned this, right?  My short story, Golden-- whose name you helped choose!-- was published in Bear Publications' anthology, Medieval Mars.  You should check it out.)

Anyway, I used a pen name for a variety of reasons:

1. People find my last name, Ruvidich, quite hard to pronounce.  It's not.  It's spelled phonetically.  But people struggle with it.

I have nightmares that go like this:

Lead Editor: Hey, there's this fantastic new author I think we should publish!

Publisher: Great, what's her name?

Lead Editor: It's Ru-- um-- Rud-- Rudivi--

Publisher: What?

Lead Editor: Never mind.

2. It is not only unnaturally difficult for English speakers, it is also quite uncommon, believe it or not.  I am, to the best of my knowledge, the only Allison Ruvidich in the world.  (Or at least on Facebook.)  So although I'm terribly proud of my work, I would like a little breathing room between it and myself.

3. Ruvidich, like many unpronounceable last names, can be challenging to spell.  In my first published work, they spelled it Rudovich and Rudovitch.  In the same book.  (I know.)

I have another nightmare.  It goes like this.

Lead Editor: Here's the first printed copy of your book, Miss Rudi-- miss.

Me: Thank you!!

I look down at it.  It says, by Alison Rudivitch.

So yeah.  I knew I wanted a pen name.

There are plenty of totally easy-to-spell names in my Dad's family, like Radocaj and Nikolic.  (I'm sorry, but you just mispronounced those in your head.  I'll give you a hint: Nikolic rhymes with Ruvidich.)  So I looked through the names in my Mom's family-- and lo!  Hardy, Walker, and Rohan.

The last name stuck with me.  For one, it started with an R, like my real name.  For another, it is the maiden name of my Lovely Grandmother.

But finally-- and here's the real reason-- if you mispronounce it, you get Rohan.  As in... Riders of Rohan.  As in Eowyn.

I pretty much am Eowyn.

So there you have it!  The story behind my pen name.  Today is, regrettably, the first day of school for me, but that means I'll be posting more often, according to the strange logic of the universe.  Does anyone else use a pen name?  And is anyone else back in school?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Nightstand Books: August

Hello, dear readers!  I interrupt a long silence and much procrastination to bring you this month's issue of Nightstand Books, inspired by the lovely Jenelle Schmidt and D J Edwardson.

Perched at the top is my ragged, decidedly well-worn copy of Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring.  My progress through The Silmarillion has not been proceeding as easily as expected, so to recharge my love of Tolkien, I've begun a reread of the Lord of the Rings.  I haven't read this since I was twelve years old, and I'm constantly amazed by the craftsmanship I didn't notice the first time round and the wonderful story that I did.

Next comes I Will Praise You in the Storm, by Danny. L DeaubĂ© .  The author kindly sent me a review copy, and I'm ready to read it.  I'm only a few pages in, but I have tissues close by and am ready to continue.

I have two books by Rosamund Hodge: Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound.  (Astute readers may recall Crimson Bound from June's Nightstand Books.  It was so good that I'm rereading it.)

Cruel Beauty, as I'm sure many of you know, is a retelling of Beauty in the Beast, a fairytale with which... I take issue.  It is beautifully written-- Ms. Hodge has the most magical ability to entwine the message so closely with the plot that you can't distinguish the two, and the characters! I can't even describe the characters-- but this book shares one element with every other Beauty and the Beast retelling that I find... unsettling.  But that, I believe, is a blog post for another time.

Of the two, I believe that Crimson Bound is slightly-- slightly-- stronger.  Both novels, however, give me a vague sense that something is missing, and I think I've finally put my finger on what.  As I've mentioned, Ms. Hodge has complex messages and characters who are truly more flawed and believable and real than most I've read.  But I think these two aspects of her storytelling are so lovely that she uses the plot only as a device by which to convey these.  If she ever gives her plots the same gripping intensity as the message and the characters, she will be a truly formidable writer.

So yes, I would definitely recommend these two, with a caution that they are both probably best read by readers sixteen or older.

I'm terribly afraid of the next book.  It is The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan, and it represents a considerable portion of my childhood.  I adored his Percy Jackson series when I was younger, and I loved the first two books of the sequel series, Heroes of Olympus.  Then, with the third and fourth, something changed.  It might've been me.  Whatever it was, none of his writing really appeals to me anymore, which makes me sad.  I saw the last book at the library, though, and decided to give some closure to that particular episode of beloved childhood favorites.

Then we have Reflections on the Magic of Writing, a collection of semi-autobiographical essays by acclaimed children's author, Diana Wynne Jones.  I adore Ms. Jones with a fiery passion.  I always knew she was a brilliant novelist, but it turns out she writes incredible essays, too.  Whether or not you've read/liked Diana Wynne Jones' books, I highly recommend you read this collection, too.

We conclude with my Bible.  The Wisdom of Solomon thoroughly ended my headlong progress through it.  Temporarily stymied but determined to continue, I skipped ahead to Matthew and am now thoroughly enjoying the New Testament.  I have every intention of reading the Old Testament, but another day... another day....

How about you, readers?  What are you reading?