Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Weturning Wednesday (Bugs Bunny, anyone?)

Hello, everyone! Contrary to popular belief, no, I am not dead. Unfortunately, this school year has hit me in the face like a frying pan (here's looking at you, Common Core Curriculum) and I haven't had time to do much of anything but my homework, college applications, and until now, marching band.

But, ah, as winter comes I draw a breath of free air.

Finals are coming up for me - yes, I'm actually kind of excited - and that means that I'll have four extra hours a day to myself starting next week. How can I not be excited? My friends are all getting out, snow's on the ground, my older compadres are coming back from college, I get to sleep is good.

What could I do on my break? Well...

1. Finish The Artist.

As sad as it seems, I failed NaNo completely and utterly thanks to a week of Calculus take-homes and quizzes, and a few college submissions deadlines. TA turns one December 18th (eep, seven days away!) so hopefully I can get on to the sequel before the snow melts. Hopefully.

2. Finish my college supplements and scholarship apps.

Do I need to elaborate on this one? Maybe I should've ranked this first.

3. Knock out some of my reading list.

I'm part of the way through Insurgent, the sequel to the bestseller Divergent, but my list is huge. I have to read at least one of The Mortal Instruments series, read Not A Drop To Drink by the actually-perfect Mindy McGinnis (seriously, check it out, it's super sick), and then kick back with some classic dystopian novels: Brave New World, 1984, and perhaps even get around to some Bradbury. But that's unlikely.

4. See the movies on my list.

This one's probably easier. I haven't seen the sequel to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and I've been dying to. There's also Thor 2: The Dark World, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (comes out Christmas Day - heep!) and probably a ton more I'm forgetting. Although I DID see Catching Fire. It reduced me to that horribly obnoxious moviegoer that won't stop hitting people on either side of her and stamping her feet. So.

5. Sleep

6. Eat

But there's no way I can get that all done, can I? ...Can I? We'll see.

What're your plans for the holiday season? Travel? Sleep? None of the above? Tell me below!

Snow flurries and black ice,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


So...summer happened. Of course, all the things I planned to do over that blissful three-month period (like, say, getting The Artist done) didn't exactly happen. In fact, I spent a good amount of time hustling around, volunteering, doing summer homework, going on week-long trips. Although I hit over 95,000 words on The Artist, which isn't too shabby. Maybe I can finish it by the end of senior year and start the sequel over the summer.

So what did I do this summer, might you ask?

1) Kenyon College.

I was admitted to the Kenyon Review Young Writers Program in June, which is run by one of the most prestigious literary magazines in the country. Kenyon College is a small liberal arts college about an hour and a half from my house, smack dab in the middle of a town built around the college. It was a great place to get to know some other writers and poets, and for two weeks I got to discuss literature, craft, politics, society, food, and whatever else I wanted with people who were like me from around the country. We even had a guy from Greece come, and he plays Stairway to Heaven on the piano like nobody's business. Although I couldn't write for about two weeks after, it was totally worth it.

2) Outer Banks, NC

Two weeks after Kenyon, I went with my family to the Outer Banks, where the Wrights flew their plane in 1913. It's essentially a small sliver of island that has two highway entrance/exits and beautiful houses to stay in. The atmosphere helped me slow down as my summer started into August and helped me get some work done, both writing-wise and in the way of school.

3) Band Camp

Since the last three years of my high school career were in volleyball, this year was my first and last band camp experience. And can I just say, it was awesome? The weather was perfect, everyone there is pretty cool, and I don't have three and four hour practices daily. It's pretty sweet.

The good (and bad) news is, it's senior year. The last hurrah before college, the year of independence and no curfew and writing until my eyeballs glaze over. But it's also the year of college research, applications, deciding where to attend, and accepting the fact that I am eighteen years old and technically on my own. Once I'm off at college I can't hang with my parents randomly or talk to them when I need them. Although I will bloody well know how to live by myself, I don't know quite yet if I'm ready to leave those two crazy kids I call Mom and Dad and take off on my life journey alone.

Good news? It's only the second week of school. I have some time.

Again, apologies for the lack of blogging over the summer! But let me know, how was your summer vacation? Go anywhere cool, get anything awesome? Maybe even have a better break than I did? Let me know!

Fresh notebooks and new wardrobes,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 19 of Summer. Conclusion: Still Glow-in-the-dark White.

Hello again, everyone! It's been awhile, I know, since I posted last. I just...feel like I don't want to be bothering you with useless blog posts, as not very many interesting things have happened to me as of late.

Well, that's not necessarily true, but the things I find interesting aren't necessarily interesting to others. I did play a riveting three-hour game of Would You Rather. I think my friends and I go way more into depth on the prompts than is probably necessary or considered good. When asked if we'd rather be one of five surviving humans scattered across Earth or a survivor on a distant inhabited planet, we took into consideration that you might rather know the human race will continue without you rather than be one of five humans left in the globe. It was then argued that you probably wouldn't last too long on an alien planet where you don't know anything about the place or what's good or not good to eat, sleep on, walk over, etc.

Short version: Nerds are probably the best people to talk over your plans with. Whether it's for world domination, an impending apocalypse, or whether or not you should buy a certain outfit.

Anyway, I guess this blog post is both an apology for being so late and a little mini-lesson from me about how to take criticism. I actually got a critique today from someone on Hexbound (a miracle, if you've ever visited the site. That place gets about as much activity as a nursing home.) and, while reading it, realized that people (myself definitely included in the bunch) need to learn how to take criticism. I see it all the time with writers, students, and people in general. The classic reaction is to defend oneself or lash back out at the person. But we can't expect to improve if all we do is rationalize our shortcomings away, right?

So that's what this little mini-list is for. Because we all could stand to remember these things.

1. They wouldn't say it if they didn't want you to improve.

You hear this a lot, especially in class. Whenever I rip through someone's paper with my handy-dandy red pen, people tend to complain about all of the marks. I actually had this happen to me freshman year when I was fifteen. I had edited a kid's creative paper (of course, a strong area of mine at the time, being a bookworm and a returning writer) and practically covered it in comments, suggestions, and red pen. He started criticizing me for marking up his paper and my teacher walked over and told him, "You know, you should be thanking her. The more ink on that paper, the more she likes you. If she didn't really care whether or not you did well, she would've just noted a couple grammar mistakes and given it back. But she wants you to get a good grade on this and make it good, so she ripped it up. Don't ever ask a woman to do something, because guess what? She'll do it. And she'll do it well." If someone criticizes you on something, it'll probably hurt. Maybe a lot, maybe just a smidge. But it's better that they want you to be better than to just leave you as you are.

2. If it is said, take it to heart.

This point is where it gets hard for writers, especially. For us, our works aren't just mounds of black letters forming words, sentences, paragraphs. Writing is a dangerously personal profession, and a lot of writers - myself included - consider our manuscripts like our babies. They require care, attention, effort, just about everything a real baby does besides food and diaper changes. So when someone criticizes something about it, it's hard to look at it and change it. You love it so much, you feel so connected to it, it's like someone is personally criticizing you. But when they do, you have to realize that your opinion is not the only one that matters. If someone thinks that way, there's bound to be others who think so, too. If someone says (I'll use the example I got today) that some of my descriptions seemed to 'try too hard'. My automatic reaction was to lash out: what do you know? There's a point to that description. But I remembered this point again. If that reader thought so, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of others who think the same thing. It's worth taking a look at.

Last but not least:

3. Life is all about improving yourself.

You're never too old to change, and you're never too young to be stubborn. Remember the first two, and the third comes easy.

Backspacing and white-out wands,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What Time is it? SUMMERTIME.

If you got the High School Musical 2 reference, you get a cookie. My friend and I made them yesterday. ^_^

But yes, it's now officially summer for me! Technically I got out this past Friday, but I had so much to do with testing and college searching and weddings and other crazy things that I didn't really get to relax and fully soak up the fact that it is now officially summer until yesterday, where it was too cold to go outside and play around so an awesome writer friend of mine and I made cookies and pie and then watched Disney movies. It was a great way to kick off my summer vacation.

What does this mean for me? Writing. All day, errday, I'll be doing my best to be writing. I have some summer work to do, but it seems to me that I can do those during my breaks for food. Just reading and annotating two books (my favorite thing to do besides just pleasure read), reading a textbook (less fun), and figuring out documents to support whether or not we still follow the Constitution in the United States. No big thing.

Although summer is the perfect time for me to finish The Artist, I've also gotten other plot bunnies I'm tempted to explore. They're all sci-fi/dystopia, and I'm totally pumped for them. Their tentative titles are Preparatory and Surface. So you guys might be seeing some of those up on Wattpad soon!

Here's to Summer 2013, whether you spend it soaking up the sun or chilling at a desk, make it great!

Summer sun and starry nights,

Friday, May 24, 2013


As it is almost summer and my hardcore weeks of school cramming and exam study are nearing their end, I thought I'd talk about something that I'm really excited for and haven't had time until now to really get back into:


Movies are not only a writer's bread and butter, (and a great way to numb an exhausted brain), but they're a great way to see a story through a different outlet. Not to mention most of my friends and I are super-excited for movies like Epic, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, and other less-than-adolescent movies. Haters gonna hate.

But other exciting movies that authors in the YA scene are both excited and anxious for are movies like Divergent, The Mortal Instruments, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

It's every author's dream to have their book become a movie, to have the characters in their head come alive. But if it's not done well, it's not even worth it. A bad movie will not only condemn the book, but it'll ruin the image of the character to the reader. If The Artist somehow became a movie and it was terrible, it'd be as bad as killing my characters in front of me.

But on a lighter note, the movies that are set to come out this summer promise to be awesome, and I'm excited to be able to take a break from the heat waves sure to come and watch some cinematic awesome while stuffing my face with popcorn.

Wishing you a summer of epic proportions,

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Aftermath

So...went boxing yesterday. It was a good time, I didn't realize how strong I really am. And being Collins' basic frame and size, that's got good going for her.

Unfortunately, I woke up from a dead sleep and realized that I'm now aching in places that I didn't know I could ache in. My armpits, the bottom of my shoulder blades, and even the back of my quads. One of the things I realized during my trip to Title Boxing was that you last a lot less time than you think you will in energy in stamina. When I played volleyball, we were in pretty intense physical training; I'm in pretty good shape. However, I couldn't go more than perhaps five minutes without having to dance around the bag. Granted, the bag is a huge black leather blob that's meant to provide more resistance than a human body, but it just goes to show how you can't try and just go hard all at once, or your opponent will outlast you.

This was a great experience, and I have to admit I didn't want to take off my wraps because I felt too awesome and couldn't wait to get home and start writing notes to fix my fight scenes and how Collins thinks through her fights. That's another part of fight scenes that is helped by having been in something like it before. If you've never fought, you can't really accurately think of what to do throughout it. Unless the character has no fighting experience, they're generally going to be a little calmer and more calculating through the situation. Collins thinks through her punches in sequence: Left, right, uppercut. That works...but she'll have to switch directions with Oliver, since he's left-handed.

I hope everyone's weekends kicked off well, and no one's too sore from their escapades!

Knuckle wraps and sore armpits,

Friday, May 17, 2013

So, remember my experiences post?

Whelp, the day has finally come - in about an hour, I'm going to be going boxing for the first time. Hopefully I won't make a complete fool out of myself and maybe actually learn something.


Wrapped knuckles and sparring helmets,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013




I'll let you finish that on your own, because if I don't stop now before you know it this whole blog post will be one huge Disney song rendition. And as fun as that would be for me, I feel like it would be much less fun for you. But I had a reason for starting to sing one of the best songs to come out of Disney ever.

Have you ever asked someone who their favorite Disney character was?

I realized today when I was talking to my friends about Once Upon A Time, an ABC show we all happen to adore, and realized that who their favorite Disney character was is actually very indicative of their personality.

Take one of my friends for example: her favorite Disney character is Alice. Thinking about it now, she's actually a lot like Alice. She's got her own adventures in her Wonderland (perhaps less trippy than the original), and she doesn't need anyone's opinion on whether she's crackers or not. She's probably also the only person I can really go completely nuts with and she won't judge me...too harshly.

One of my other friends loves Cinderella, and I can see why: she's a hard worker who really does believe in happy endings. She loves books like The Selection by Kiera Cass and she's got a sunny outlook on life. She loves Taylor Swift, frogs, and comfy pajamas. And if you can get her to wear a dress, she looks like a princess.

And me? Well, there's a reason I started with the song I did today. My favorite Disney character is Mulan. It's a toss-up between her and Tarzan, but I think I have to go with everyone's favorite Chinese cross-dresser. Not only is she a complete BAMF, she's kind of like me where she's not afraid to suit up and go to war for what she believes in. She's got a crazy inner strength and resolve, and not to mention a super-sassy little dragon.

You should ask your friends who they like best in the Disney universe and see what they say. I think you might find out something a little new about them.

Defeating armies and not messing up my hair while I do it,

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pressing Random Colorful Buttons! :D

Hello everyone ^_^ The title of my post is essentially a statement of my brain right now, because it's fried.

I had a lot on my plate this last week, what with AP testing coming on Friday and boatloads of tests. Friday I was actually in AP testing back-to-back for nine hours, so that was fun. But then I got to go see Oblivion with some friends, so I effectively numbed my brain.

THEN PROM :D It was my first one, down in the city, and it was awesome. Dinner was pretty good, and I got to spend a night with a bunch of friends all looking dapper. I could have done with less 'Booty Work' and more 'Sweet Nothing', but it was a pretty great night and I got chocolate chip pancakes and Cheetos out of it. Not necessarily in that order.

Anyway, with my FINAL AP test this Wednesday, I'm actually going to be able to work on The Artist and perhaps even get Collins in a dress. She's going to hate me, and I'm going to laugh hysterically. Perhaps it's better to write this portion when I'm by myself so as not to get weird looks.

Wishing everyone sunshine and fast-approaching vacations,

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wisdom Comes From Experience

The other day I was invited by one of my brother's friends to go to his boxing club with him and a group of our friends and go hit some bags.

Any normal person would think, 'that sounds like fun, let's do it!'. Or, conversely, 'that sounds boring, I'll pass.' However, my reaction was more to the tune of, 'ohmygoodness this will be great for writing research.'

And now you know one of the key differences between an author and the rest of  the population: whether or not we want to do something, we will try it once for the sake of research.

Shooting guns? Writing research.

Skiing a double-black diamond in Colorado at over 15,000 feet? Writing research.

Archery? Writing research.

Wilderness survival training? Writing research.

CPR certification? Writing research.

You get the idea.

The old adage, 'write what you know', is true in this case. I mean, there are some things that an author can't exactly experience in the name of research - for example, a male author going into childbirth. He'll have to ask his lady friends. But generally, when it comes to things that we write about, authors want to know what it's really like in life.

Hence me posting this. I write a lot of fight scenes; it comes with the territory of writing dystopian and science fiction novels. I mean, in The Artist I swear someone gets into a fight or a riot or something at least every other day. It's crazy. But, if you couldn't tell, I've never actually punched someone in the face, nor been punched. When I know how it feels to have your fist hit an object, be it a wall, person, or punching bag, it makes it a hundred times easier to write. Unfortunately, I won't be sparring (probably fortunate for my face), but I'll still be able to learn combinations, offensive and defensive moves, and how someone my size and stature would fight, which can come in handy for characters like Collins, Eire, Gloria, and to a lesser extent Ollie and Razzo. I'll have to let you know how it goes.

If you're a writer and you want to hear about some of my writing experiences (or a reader who wants to hear funny stories about my unfortunate life events), go ahead and comment below!

Some examples:

~Passing out (that was a fun one)

~Shooting guns

~Wilderness survival

Hoping for no black eyes,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"The One"

You always hear writers talk about their books as if they're their children, which isn't always that far off. But in the case of book ideas, they're more like matchmaking. For writers, we're always in search of "The One", the story idea of story ideas, the one you're going to see through to the end.

Many writers agonize over whether or not their current idea is "The One", the idea to write and rewrite and query until you drop. So how do we know when we have this elusive perfect match? Here are a few clues:

1) You can't stop thinking about it.
Ideas will always come and go, and there will always be the 'Almosts', the ideas that could've been "The One" but just weren't. But if you've already outlined the book(s) in full, characterized and developed the setting, and done all the research necessary, and you're STILL thinking non-stop about your idea, it's a pretty good bet.

2) You look forward to writing it.
Even on your worst days, writing your ideas can be fun. Until to hit a rut. Many writers simply stop there and pick up something new, or return to an old project. But if you brave the ruts and plot holes out of sheer love, you're meant for each other.

3) It excites you.
Books are only as interesting as you make them, and i you find your book really fascinating, chances are that others will, too. You're your own book's fangirl. (Or boy.) So if your idea keeps you up to all hours and every song with a good beat reminds you of some scene in the beginning or you see people who look strangely like your characters, you've probably got your hands on "The One". Congratulations, send me an invite to your wedding.

Now, contrary to popular opinion, there is more than one "The One". Once one is finished, there's always an opportunity for another. Don't think you're a one-and-done kind of deal. There's always a new idea out there, a new adventure.

To first encounters and honeymoons,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Next Aristotle

Hi guys! I meant to post this and start off your weekend with a post that's not me flailing and just having crazy feelings, but Special Needs Prom, an event that my Key Club hosts for special needs kids around our area every year, swallowed up most of my time.

Anyway, my topic for this post is, as you might have guessed, philosophy.

And no, I'm not going to talk about whether I like Aristotle or Socrates better. That's what Philosophy courses are for and for you to decide. That's why it's philosophy, there's no right answer.

I mean the philosophy of characters, and those ever-coveted, quotable lines that characters seem to randomly spout that the book's fans will quote until the movie adaptation comes out. These tend to be the most memorable lines from a character or long bits of dialogue during one character's drawn-out monologue to make a point. You can find them all over tumblr, reddit, and even Facebook nowadays.

A few examples:

"Not all those who wander are lost." ~J.R.R. Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings series.

"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations." ~Aristotle, NOT Augustus Waters from John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, said this.

"You cannot change your journey if you are unwilling to move at all." ~From the book Reached, part of the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie.

(You also have what are more like 'trademark sayings' by characters, such as Severus Snape's famous "Always", but we'll get to those another time.)

These kinds of ideas are wonderful to put in books, because they give books substance. Anyone can write a book about wizards and witches battling an evil master wizard trying to take over the world. It's been done and done again.

What makes Harry Potter different? J.K. Rowling's philosophy. She very casually slips in deeper meanings in the book, generally from Dumbledore or one of the other adults, while they're still alive. They're comments given when they're comforting Harry, or explaining why he's the Chosen One. You read them and then sit back and think, "Oh."

J.K. Rowling is a great example of good philosophy writing. However, there are many, many more authors who aren't so graceful. In fact, it's getting to be more of a problem in YA fiction, because it seems like the authors are trying too hard. Not everyone in a story is going to be wise and able to say these things.

For the sake of my argument, we'll take some characters from The Artist as an example.

As much as I love my characters, and believe me, I do, many of them aren't really qualified to be saying such deep things. A character with experiences, generally older or at the very least someone tried and tested, is a good character for this kind of writing. Therefore, someone young and inexperienced, like Razzo or Eoin's sister, Eire, are probably not good candidates.

We'll take Rowe, Collins' oldest brother, for example. He is twenty-four years old and a miner. In a normal case, he'd be considered rather young. However, he and his siblings were orphaned when he was eleven, when he was forced to become the head of house and try to provide for all his younger siblings, all of whom are ten or younger. He's been forced to do things he isn't proud of, face imprisonment and beg for food to provide for his siblings. He has had an extremely difficult run at life, and so him saying something to Collins would make sense.

However, Razzo is different. He was forced into exile around the time he was fourteen, and then has lived in Haven ever since. Haven sheltered the artists, including Razzo, from the outside world, allowing them to live almost like children. Therefore, Razzo probably wouldn't have many worldly things to say.

So, who would say, "Claro...It’s like he’s sticking his head into the beehive and is too distracted by the honey to see the bees." More than likely someone older, and who has seen that kind of behavior before.

Who would say, "Tough as nails, are we? I always thought there was something in the water over there."? Probably someone more immature, light-hearted, someone who is still pretty young.

So make sure that you're not giving someone like Razzo big, beautiful, deep-thinking lines. Wisdom comes from experience. Just because you want your love interest to be philosophical doesn't mean that he can say things like that if they're nothing more than a rich kid from old money at a prep school. Give them something they would know best about, and that's their source of wisdom. We can't all be Dumbledore, unfortunately.

Wishing you a most excellent adventure,

Monday, April 15, 2013

My first ever video review!

Hello everyone! I'm super excited to show this off - in fact, when I saw this first I pretty much Facebook Chat-bombed most of my writer friends using a shameless amount of caps lock and flailing emoticons.

I asked for a video review of the portion of The Artist I have up on Wattpad, and Ms. Dunbar was very kind and said she'd be happy to.

Little did I know she'd have such a reaction to it:

Due to the website, I can't post the video directly here, but scroll down until you see 'The Artist' in the title and that's her review.

She gave it a perfect 10, her first, and proceeded to spend about a minute telling me how much she loves my book. She loves Ollie, she loves Collins, and she's apparently a new fan of mine.


Flailing and screaming with joy,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far, away...

When I first told one of my friends that I write, and plan to publish novels, the first thing she asked me was what I wrote about. When I told her my favorite genre was sci-fi, she looked a little confused. And I can understand. I don't exactly look like the kind of person to be sitting on the edge of my seat watching Star Trek or running around wielding a plastic light saber. When I explained it to her, it got me thinking how I'd wound up in this genre, a typically small one.

How, out of the dozens of genre choices, did I choose sci-fi and dystopian as my two go-tos?

copyright 2009

The answer is how I was raised. I think each writer (and to an extent, each reader) is influenced in their genre by what they read, watched, and experienced as kids. I'm the proud daughter of two 'Trekkies'; my mom even has a Starfleet communicator pin. I grew up watching Captain Jean Luc Picard and Captain Kathryn Janeway command their ships and always end up saving another planet or, as in Janeway's case, make the agonizingly long trek home from the Delta Quadrant. (If you don't know, that's at least a twenty-year journey.) But I wasn't just into those shows. I watched cartoons like Jonny Quest (a little before my time, but still pretty great classic sci-fi) and I still watch Eureka, Warehouse 13, and Falling Skies. I would recommend them to all of you, they're awesome.

And as I grew up, I fell in love with the dystopian genre reading books like Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, and Anthem. Dystopian generally meshes with sci-fi, and I think that when you're in the future it won't always be better. Enter my genre of favor.

The same applies with readers. Like many people my age, I grew up reading Harry Potter. People who read and loved Harry Potter would grow up to read similar books: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles. Once we hit the Young Adult and Adult genres, we've decided what we like in books and what we don't, and that further guides us. We love the mystery, the romance, the twisting plots, the characters.

So how did you come across your genre, reader or writer? Read a book in it you fell in love with? Had to do a class assignment and realized you liked it? Let me know!

Space ships and totalitarian governments,

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I Have Three Rules in Life. 1) Look Good. 2) Don't Die. 3) If You Have to Die, Make Sure You Look Good While Doing it.

Although that pretty much is my list of rules in life, this post is less about rules and more about...helpful hints.

Think of them as sort of pro tips.

I was on yet another college visit today and I was listening to the president of the College of Arts and Sciences talk about all the sorts of programs they offer and internships and whatnot, and I heard that most people, unlike me, were Premed, Allied Sciences, or other sorts of applied science fields. I didn't meet another person who was interested in the Liberal Arts there. I was the only English/Linguistics focus, and I got some weird looks from others.

So I guess when they were giving tips and tricks around the campus tour, I thought up some of my own. Not for success in college, of course, but in life in general. This goes for writers, athletes, musicians, anyone.

1. Don't walk the path everyone else does.

I'm serious, not everyone needs to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a business executive. You have your talents, and not using them is like using a manual can opener when you have an electric one next to you. Figure out what you're good at, and run the course that suits those talents. I mean, I can't do math to save my life, becoming a math major is probably not a good idea for me.

But an English major, Linguistics major, a minor in Creative Writing or Spanish? That's all for me. I'm one of those people who can sit and read for hours and not notice the time pass. Language makes sense to me. Why waste my natural strengths in that field just because it's not the most popular major? Do what makes you happy. It just makes it better for the rest of us.

2. The world is run by those who show up.

I was told this in my freshman Honors English class and I've learned it always proves true. I mean, Bill Gates showed up to create the first Macintosh computer, and look where he is now. Nelson Mandela showed up to end apartheid, Martin Luther King, Jr. showed up to a integrated racial relations rally. If you want to make a difference, show up. To class, to work, to whatever your responsibilities are. You never know when life throws you a day that will always stick with you, that will change you. Figure out what you love, and chase it.

And finally,

3. Do YOU.

Whether you love to read and write books like I do, or you'd rather go out for a run or paint a picture or lie around and watch television, do it. Don't look at others and try to emulate them because they're what's 'normal'. You've probably heard it before, but there's no such thing as normal. Trying to fit in only causes you to fall where everyone else falls, and do things you'd never do otherwise. Be yourself. Those who stand behind you will always stand behind you because they know who you are. When I decided I wasn't going to hide my writing anymore, my friends accepted it because they knew that that was me. (Not to mention I'm now their go-to editor for all their English papers). Just decide what you love, chase it, and define yourself.

And now I'm off to go write more dystopian chaos.

Regulations and riots,

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones

And before you try and finish that line, no, chains and whips do not excite me. Ask someone who's read Fifty Shades of Grey if you wanna know more about that. (Raven quote) Ya nasty.

No, no, this writing gripe is about the overabundance of certain character flaws, namely in a character's family. More specifically, abused characters. Because, apparently, almost everyone who's anyone in popular YA literature gets beat behind closed doors at their home.

Is anyone else noticing this?

Tobias from Divergent, Peeta from The Hunger Games, you can infer many more characters that aren't specifically stated to be knocked around. And half the time, the abuse they're receiving doesn't make any sense.

Case in point: Tobias. Trying not to spoil anything for those who haven't read (if you haven't, I recommend it), Tobias' father 'does it for his own good'. But abuse is a selfish action, believing that someone else has wronged the abuser and must be punished for it. So would an Abnegation man beat his son, when he so prudently swore that his life would be one of selflessness? And what would a beating achieve? Pain is a selfish thing; is it selfless to inflict that upon another? It doesn't make sense to me. Does it characterize Tobias, yes, but it doesn't really serve a purpose other than a sort of guilt trip for us to like him more. I didn't need the guilt trip, Tobias is my favorite character.

Not to mention that there are so many other ways to give a character a bad home life or bad childhood without requiring belts, small rooms, bruises, or cuts. Not everyone has a nuclear family: mom, dad, children. There are stepparents, stepsiblings, half-siblings, love children, single parents, no parents, negligent parents. Perhaps even, like in Harry Potter, guardian relatives. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents. These combinations don't appear often in popular literature to pose a problem, except perhaps for the cliche 'evil stepmother'.

I mean, Collins (of The Artist) has no parents, but has three older brothers. They've taken care of her as her parents, but now that she's older, her independence is causing a rift between her and her oldest brother and father figure, Rowe. Brigham (also TA) has a nuclear family, but with the amount of people in it, he's stressed by having to work long hours to feed them all.

You don't need to have an abusive parent or sibling to have family tension, it can come from even the most wholesome-looking group of relatives. So please, dear readers, by all means, take a look at the character's family the next time you read, or the next time you write. There are opportunities for tension everywhere, there doesn't need to be hurt and pain in every character's past. Can we resolve to find a more realistic form of characterization? Where we don't have to beat the living crap out of our characters to show that their lives are as flawed as ours are? I'd appreciate it, and I'm sure our characters would, too.

Band-aids and Neosporin,

So, Happy Belated New Year, Everyone!

Yes, I've noticed, my blog hasn't been updated since NaNoWriMo was still in full swing in mid-November. The good news is, all this time away from the blogosphere has given me ample time to work on The Artist, and that yesterday I literally spent seven hours doing nothing but writing. Oliver and Collins thank me dearly.

However, unfortunately, I've been away for far too long! It's been almost five months, which is a lot of time in any person's perspective, but definitely a long time for a writer. Usually, most blogs are updated weekly, and I'm hoping to finally get into the swing of that, save perhaps finals week in May. But that's hopefully as far away as I think it is.

Anyways, dear followers, I thought I'd make an annoucement:

I have been accepted to two very prestigious writing programs at Denison University and at Kenyon College in Gambier. You may receive the college's Kenyon Review. They're both intense summer programs, not very cheap, and an opportunity to go out there and meet more writers. We writers are like birds, we flock together when we can. So the chance to meet thirty others? More? That's like a dream come true.

Alas, I must choose only one, and hope that next year when I apply I can attend the other. Or perhaps I might even get into the one offered for rising college freshmen at Yale. That would be fantastic.

So thank you to those who have stuck with me, or perhaps just forgotten to stop following my blog, and I hope to appease you with more posts to come! I hope everyone's Spring Break, whether it's ended, ending, or just begun, was wonderful, and a happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Spring weather and chocolate bunnies,