Guess what? Today, Halloween, marks not only candy and costumes, but also the last day before NaNoWriMo!
For those of you who don't know, "NaNoWriMo" stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every year, in the month of November, thousands of writers attempt to write 50,000 words (or some similar goal). I've won three times now, and this year, I'm once again going for 50,000 words with my NaNoNovel 2012, #AfterworldStory. You can check it out at the NaNoWriMo website. My personal count will be up on the blog sidebar through the month as well!
Here's my Halloween costume of me as my upcoming NaNoWriMo character, Danae.
Let's talk about superpowers! I'm a fantasy/sci-fi writer, so I aspire to this kind of stuff, both in writing and in life. I mean, how cool would it be to have special abilities? Here are my favorite possibilities:
I write a lot about telepathy (mind-reading), as some of you know. It's a superpower I admire--people fascinate me, and with mind-reading, you could learn so much about them! But the risks and stress that come with a power like that are incredible. So what's a better alternative?
Empathy: still stressful, but worth it for the knowledge, I think. Someone with empathic abilities, for those who don't know, can feel others' emotions (to a greater extent than normal). They read emotions, rather than thoughts. Since normal empathy is a very important trait, this seems like a good power to go with. It's definitely my top choice.
This is also a stressful superpower, but I think less so than telepathy. Despite the difficulties that would come from having visions about things in the future--things you may not be able to change or control--this could help you and others around you prepare for upcoming events. So long as there are limits to your vision, this is a good power to work with.
Words are just about the most powerful thing out there, except maybe love and hate, both of which can be engendered by words. With words, you claim yourself, your friends, your life, your interests. You gain power over yourself and your emotions. You bring people to you or against you. You teach, inspire, and cause change.
As an author, my power comes almost exclusively through language. However, it's not only through the meanings of the words that I express my thoughts, but also through the beauty of the words themselves. The rhythm, the pace, and the hardness/softness of the words you choose affect the tone of your work. There's a big different between the sounds of the words "titanium" and "pillow", for example. Even ignoring the meanings of the words, which one comes off as harder?
I think everyone, at some point, has heard a word that gave them pause. Words can be funny, special little things. I love them!
So here are some fun facts about words:
Seeing as I like music so much, I thought today I'd put my iPod on shuffle and tell you about each of the songs that comes up. Let's try it out! I'll do ten songs this time.
"Wolves v. Vampires" by Alexandre Desplat
This is a track from the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack by one of my fave composers. It's not my favorite song, but it's not awful either. I mostly use it on my writing playlist as background.
"Harry Surrenders" by Alexandre Desplat
Ah, Deathly Hallows is one of my favorite movie scores by Desplat! "Harry Surrenders," from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, has this sort of helpless desperation as Harry moves into the forest to give himself up to Voldemort. I love it. Orchestral stuff is great.
"Mistake" by Demi Lovato
Lyrically this is a little harsher than most my fare, but "Mistake" is a pretty good track by Demi Lovato, who's one of my favorite singers. "Mistake" is written to a boy, telling him that she's done with him and he's made his greatest mistake.
"At Midnight" by the New Mexico 2012 All State Mixed Choir
Ah, All State. This particular year I was in Treble, not Mixed Choir, but this is one of my favorites by the Mixed, which my best friend was in. It's a beautiful female-only track about nature, music, and worship.
"Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance" by Harry Gregson-Williams
A track from the The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian score, by another very good composer, though this is another one I don't often actively listen to. It's pretty well-done.
I've read a lot of classic literature, but the category is so broad it's hard to really talk about classics as a whole. So today I'm just going to talk about some of my favorites. Some I read independently; some for school. Enjoy!
Crime and Punishment
One of many masterpieces by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment follows Rodya, a Russian college-age man who has a weird concept of power and morality that leads to him killing an old lady. The entire book is about secrecy and madness and in the end, redemption. The other central character is Sonya, a prostitute who holds to Christianity as a way out of her problems. I read this book in my AP Lit class twelve grade, and I ended up really liking it.
Why? Well, it presents a lot of questions about morality and such, which are fascinating. It's also very dramatic and fun. But the best part to me is the incredible amount of Christian idealism and iconography in this novel. It's just the kind of effect I wish for my own work. (4.5 stars)
I got tagged in the Next Big Thing Award by my friend Julia the Writer Girl about a month ago. I'm not sure where the "award" part comes in, but I'm supposed to answer some questions and tag other bloggers? Julia's an awesome person, and she's also the only person right now who I would choose to tag for this, so now that I have time, I'm just gonna answer the questions and move on. There's a lots of information about my current WIP focus, #ChosenFourStory, on this website already; as such, I'm going to talk about my upcoming NaNoNovel 2012 instead.
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from?
A dream, mostly. I've had a few books come to me that way. I have this list of concepts I want to include in future novels, good pieces that showed up in less-decent novels I later trunked. One night, I had this crazy dream, and when I woke up, I was like, That's it! That's how I incorporate all those ideas!
What genre does your book fall under?
It's YA epic fantasy.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
I don't pick actors for my books. Okay, I have seen a few that I'd like for my male leads at different times, but generally, I stay away from that because the actors get too old pretty quickly, and I'd rather an unknown get the part.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Hmm. I always hate that question. Um... "A girl discovers her legacy as Princess of the Afterworld and must fight against a choice made in the past in order to save her earthly family and return to her birthright home."
Here we go with our second essay for the week! This one was originally written at the beginning of my high school career. It's been featured on Teen Ink more times than I can count. I'm preserving my high school version partially because of laziness, and partially because I like it the way it is.
Playing cello has always been a sort of magic to me--it’s like Harry Potter and his wand. I didn’t choose the cello, the cello chose me.
Seriously, no matter what I do, this instrument keeps following me.
I started playing cello in fourth grade, when the elementary school orchestra teacher came around to give us the annual lecture on why we should join. She allowed me to come up and “play” the cello. The instant it came into my grasp, it fit perfectly, it was as though the instrument was a part of me. It molded to my body; it sank into my heart. The sound of the first note, squeaky as it was, was thrilling.
So I joined orchestra. It was horrible.
Two other kids in my grade became cellists as well, and, because they were taking private lessons along with orchestra, they saw fit to tell me that they were far better than I was and that I was therefore third chair and didn’t really deserve to be in orchestra anyway. I spent most of the next two years between two older guys, a cellist and a bassist, who threw stuff over my head to each other and made stupid jokes.
It's Fall Recess, so out of slight laziness, I've decided this week to present two personal essays. There are a couple other places online where you can find these, but hey. Blogging! So the first is called "Why I Write." It was originally written my senior year.
Why do I write? That's like asking why I breathe.
I can't name a time words didn't fascinate me. Even before I knew real words, I chattered nonstop at my parents. Being heard and understood mattered to me. I loved the power that words gave me to think and communicate. It was cute until my little brother showed up, of course. Then I had to start quieting down. That was when I got into reading.... or, well, being read to.
My favorite book then was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, who is, of course, a genius with language. I also enjoyed a National Geographic article about tarantulas, for some reason. I consumed information like my youngest brother consumes noodles. Being able to access information I didn't know before through the simple pages of a book seemed miraculous to me. (Today, I love the Internet and social media for the same reason!)
Though I first learned to read at a pretty average age, in kindergarten, my skill level made an incredible jump--and it never stopped jumping. I still remember that moment. We'd been learning all the typical phonics painstakingly slowly Then one day, at home, as I paged through Clifford's ABCs, everything suddenly clicked in my mind. That, the picture of the armadillo, meant the same thing as the word next to it! Armadillo!
Yes. The first word I ever properly read was "armadillo".
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