Alethea Kontis

Lazy Mermaid…Lazy Writing

Alethea MermaidSo…I have this HUGE issue with lazy writing.

It is so annoying to me when an author works to set up a convoluted setting or plot line at the beginning of his or her story, and then instead of following the thread logically through to the end, makes up something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and solves the problem with that instead.

Anton Chekhov said: “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

His comment was more about including extraneous information. From my perspective, it should also apply the other way around…if you include the gun. USE THE GUN. Don’t have the murder victim hanged in the end for no good reason.

There’s a book that’s a PERFECT example of this that I use to illustrate such lazy writing when I’m at…
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Life After the Six-Fingered Man

Inigo Montoya: Is very strange. I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.

Westley: Have you ever considered piracy? You’d make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.

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The goal of every aspiring writer is to be published.

Maybe that publication comes in the form of a review, an op-ed, an article, a short story, or–*gasp*–even a NOVEL. Hooray! You’ve finally published a novel!

Now what do you do with your life?

Welcome to the Inigo Montoya Dilemma. In The Princess Bride, Inigo dedicated his life to hunting down the six-fingered man who killed his father. After the six-fingered man was dead (spoilers!), Inigo found himself at a loss as to what to do next.

I think every one of us feels that moment in life–after college, after children,  after the marathon, what have you. Writers especially are keenly aware of this. They publish the novel, and…
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Mermaids & Friends: Sandra Tayler

Today, the Mermaid Lagoon is proud to host the fabulous Sandra Tayler!

I had the honor of being a backer of Sandra’s Kickstarter campaign for her second picture book, The Strength of Wild Horses. I asked Sandra if she might stop by and share a little bit about her experiences, both as a writer of books for headstrong young girls, and as the proud owner of a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign.

Take it away, Sandra!

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* What inspired you to write picture books?

My daughter was in the middle of a particularly difficult kindergarten year. It was the kind of year that has visits to the principals office and lots of conferences with teachers. Through it I watched my daughter start coming to the conclusion that she was a bad person because she was always in trouble. I knew she needed a story that let her see that ideas are separate from ourselves and that they can be steered in good ways or…
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May Day, Play Day

I welcome you this first of May A day for work, when work is play The storms of April passed on through I’m thrilled that I survived…are you?

*giggle* Yes, I did just write that poem while I was sitting here. Silly, I know. But it’s something I created that didn’t exist before, however small. And that counts for something.

Poetry was my first love as a young writer (when I say “young”, I mean “eight years old”). Anything could be a poem. There were no rules. Or, rather, there were rules, but only if you wanted them.

April is (was) National Poetry Month — on my blog every day for the entire month of April I posted one of my favorite poems, aong with a story about how I loved it and what it meant to me. Some of the poems were written by women, some by men, some by me. Some were short, some were long. Some had better background…
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Pardon Me, Have You Seen My Mind?

Alethea MermaidGrace Under Pressure.

I wish this is how I could describe myself. But my parents named me “Truth” — “Grace” is my cousin. (Technically I have a couple of cousins named Grace, one of whom worked on the Hubble Space Telescope.)

The “Pressure” part, though? Shoot. I’ve got that down pat.

i was that kid who did all her school work at the last minute, even though my parents offered to help me do anything I needed. I was the author who promised to write a book in four months when the first one took me five years. I was the nerd who ran the light board and memorized everyone’s part in the play, qualifying me to understudy for anyone at the drop of a hat.

Even now, looking back, I’m not entirely sure I could chalk all that up to laziness or procrastination. Yes, I put things off…but in doing so I turned that last minute into a…
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Star of the Really Small Screen

Princess Alethea Rants "The Giant & The Tailor"Good morning, everyone!

I have a new Fairy Tale Rant up on Youtube this morning. Check it out! http://youtu.be/fwqmrUjlRLo — Episode 27: In Which Princess Alethea Rants about the Grimms’ fairy tale “The Giant & The Tailor” (2:58)

Can you believe I’m on Episode 27 already? How time flies…

Back in February, I talked here about some of the basics of vlogging I learned by trial and error. Vlogging really lends itself well to “learning by doing.” As you learn and grow on your vlog, your audience learns and grows with you.

I’ve also learned about new opportunities in vlogging…I mean, if you have the skills, use them, right?

Instagram now has a way for you to post a video instead of just pictures…I think this was a response to the Vine program (which I’m not familiar with, but I do know Instagram!). I tried this out on the day of World Book…
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The Lost Art of…Lost Arts

Alethea MermaidLike many a work of prose, this blog post was born from the merging of two entirely separate ideas.

Idea Number One: I often joke to friends about certain “Lost Arts” of the twenty-first century — habits that are fading out of existence that wouldn’t normally cross the mind of anyone over the age of 25. A few examples:

Handwriting Journaling Introducing oneself in person Politely answering a house phone without caller-ID Backing up in a car without a rearview camera Nursery Rhymes

Idea Number Two: Researching is a fabulous rabbit hole. A writer can google “bird wing anatomy” and find herself hours later researching Native American snake myths. (Not that I’ve done this before…ahem…) A few times I have been temped to blog about my researching adventures, and the myriad of things I’ve discovered in my virtual travels.

So in researching what other folks might consider “Lost Arts”, I stumbled upon a few things I hadn’t considered.

The…
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Mermaids & Friends: Leah Cypess

Good morning, everyone — Alethea Mermaid here, wishing a happy book release week to fellow author Leah Cypess! Her young adult fantasy DEATH SWORN released this Tuesday, March 4th. It’s a gorgeous book…congrats, Leah!

I asked Leah to join us in the lagoon today to talk about three favorite reads. And not just any reads…her favorite WRITING reads. Take it away, Leah!

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Leah Cypess, AuthorI’m going to combine the “three favorite reads” with “three things every writer should know” and give you a list of “three favorite writing advice books.” Is that cheating? As I’m writing this, I don’t know, but if the post is up, I guess it’s not. Either that, or I bribed someone to put it up anyhow.

I read lots of writing books, and most of them have nuggets of wisdom, inspiration, or thoughts to ponder; there are few that aren’t worth reading. But these are my favorites – the ones that, after reading…
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The Harsh Light of Day

I seem to be having a problem with reality.

Mom and I just finished watching Austenland, an exceptionally cute romantic comedy that is Every Austenite’s Wish-Fulfillment Fantasy. Not surprisingly, one of the major themes of this flick is wondering just how thin that line is between fantasy and reality.

I read fantasy. I write fantasy. I’ve been a princess and a pirate and a pig-keep and a lady knight. I’ve been a sorceress and a scullery maid. I live the adventure, revel in the romance…and then I finish the chapter and either shut the laptop or close the book. I feel like I have a fairly good handle on What Fantasy Is.

Reality is a bit of a puzzle for me, though.

And don’t even get me started on “Reality” television.

What is reality? Is it paying bills and mowing the lawn and collecting receipts for taxes? Is it the stubbed toes and the tears and the extra fifty pounds? Does “reality” always have…
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Why We Write Romance

Valentines-day-valentines-day-22236757-2560-1600-300x187Happy Valentine’s Day from the Waterworld Mermaids!!!

We love Valentine’s Day so much that we are celebrating all week long. Ever curious about why the Mermaids write romance novels? Today we decided to share our answers to the question: What made you start writing romance?

Come back tomorrow when we turn the tables on industry professionals with their very own question. Our celebration will wrap on Thursday with a gift card giveaway. Leave a comment today and tomorrow for extra chances to be entered in the giveaway on Thursday.

Enjoy and smoochies!

What made you start writing romance?

Alethea

This should come as no surprise to anyone: Fairy Tales are the reason I started writing romance. Fairy tales are full of fantasy, adventure, magic, mystery, blood, and death…but the tales I always found most interesting were the ones that involved true love. This love might end tragically (The Little Mermaid) or wonderfully (Rapunzel) or coincidentally (Briar Rose) or with a heaping…
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