Thursday, November 21, 2013

Agency and the Legend of Korra

So this past season of Korra was a amazing. I take back anything I said about the show not being as good as Avatar. That said, I want to talk about the star of Beginnings Part I and II, Avatar Wan. (I might make this a blogging series, because I REALLY LOVE THIS CHARACTER, so yeah, we'll see.)
Yup, we're talking about this cutie.
One thing that I really liked about Wan's story (Which is a lot! I love that guy! <3) but one thing I want to talk about today, is Wan's agency. You'll notice that everything that basically happens to Wan good or bad, is a result of his own choices. (DON'T READ THIS UNLESS YOU WATCH THE LEGEND OF KORRA, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED) Examples:
  • Leading a rebellion against the leader's of his lion turtle city in order to get food and getting banished.
  • Saving Mula the catdeer and meeting his animal guide/getting to live with the spirits as a result. 
  • Freeing Vaatu and letting a chaos spirit into the world.
  • Training with Raava to master all four elements and bring balance to the world. 
Okay, so my point here is, most of Wan's problems or the blessings in his life happen because he chose to do things. Here are some good things to keep in mind when editing:
  • Are things happening to my protagonist, or is my protagonist making things happen?
  • Your character;s choices reflect the kind of person they are. For example, Wan is a mostly goodhearted character. Yeah, he occasionally steals to survive, but overall, he does things like steal because his friend are hungry or choses to save Mula because he pities her and has has a good heart. he even freed freaking Vaatu because he thought'd been bullied for 10, 000 years. A selfish character is going to make things happen that benefit them. A more selfless character is going to make choices that benefit other people. 
  • Keep in mind that there should be other characters who have goals that conflict what your main character is trying to do. Look at the scene in Beginnings when Wan's human and spirit friends meet and get into a fight. Spirits hate humans because humans are little gits who are selfish and hate nature. Wan's human 'friends' (I use quotations there because I think they were sucky friends) want to take down the spirits because they're afraid and want to avenge their friends. When Wan's friends fight,it hinders Wan's goal to bring balance to the world, and as Raava points out, makes things worse. Basically, everyone--protagonists and antagonists should think THEY are the star of their own story. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What I've learned about Writing So Far This Year

  • When starting out, do the work. Take the time to flesh out those characters and the worldbuilding before you start--the way I see it, it's better to have a spare character or two that doesn't make an appearance on screen versus not having a character when you need someone. 
  • Make even a brief outline. It will help if you story has an arc, some sort of... Something that tells you were it's going, no matter how vague.
  • Betas are the bomb, end of story.
  • Write about people, places, and things you love and writing will be so much more fun. 
My mom took this while on a recent vacation. As a reader, there's nothing more that I love doing than going... "Ahhhh, pretty!"

  • Before starting, I like to write what I think of as "prefanfic." Okay, so it's not fanfic, because it's your storyworld, but here's the thing about fanfic--fanfic writers write their fic of the joy of the characters. And I think it's SO SO SO helpful to write from your main character's POVs until you feel like you know them and their dynamic with the other characters--to the point where spending time with them feels just as fun as writing real fanfiction. 
  • Give characters quirks. It's good for characters to have backstory, and it's even better when that backstory gives them interesting quirks. For example, I have a character who fiddles with jewelry when she's nervous, because, long story short, she lost a family member that she loved who gave her jewelry, so she clings to jewelry as a lifeline of sorts, because it reminds her of her loved one. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Captives by Jill Williamson

Captives (The Safe Lands #1)
Captives had a lot of action going on from the very begining and the more I read this book, the better it got. I loved Mason, he was hands down the smartest of the Glenrock group. I didn’t like Omar. I mean, I got his need for love and acceptance, but it made him act a bit stupid. Levi and Jemma…. They felt almost too perfect to me.  I liked Naomi if only because she was the only of the women smart enough to go “hey, this is twisted.” I also really didn’t like swallow Mia.
The stupidity of the people in the Safe Lands made me want to gag. What with the way they were sleeping with multipule people NO WONDER YOU’VE ALL GOT STDS. And the mothers all are dumb enough to drink while preganant. Those people were SO DUMB. You think they’d realize a lifestyle change could save them, but noooooo.
So overall, not the best book I’ve read, but definately worth picking up. 4/5. You can buy it on amazon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Go Teen Writers by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson Book Review

Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Book
The question we hear most from new writers is, “How do I get published?”
And the answer is: Respect your dream
Every writer’s journey is different, yet as we’ve reflected on our experiences and those of the writers around us, we’ve seen time and time again that those who are successful are the ones who had the patience and endurance to stick with this writing thing. They didn’t look for shortcuts (at least, not for long), nor did they quit after five, ten, or one hundred rejections.
We can’t make the process easy for you, but it’s our hope that this book will be a tool you can turn to time and time again when you’re thinking, “Okay … what’s next?”
Includes tips for:
-Getting published
-Finding the right agent
-Book surgery
-Thicker plots
-Deeper characters
-Richer settings
-Weaving in theme
-Dealing with people who don’t get your writing
If you’re a writer, I cannot recommend this book enough. I have found that it improved not only my plots, but my dialogue too! It offers great industry tips and through some of Jill and Stephanie’s stories—you can tell they’ve been in your shoes, so to speak. And the way they teach you about the publishing industry? Hilarious.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Doing things different today... Book review!

The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet
The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet
I read this book in one day during finals week. During finals week. (Which is where I’ve been  the past two weeks, sorry guys!)
I really loved Ellie. As a fellow writer, it was so cool to read about her struggles. Though I did want to hit her for not being smart enough to give the girls she wrote into her books different names. I don’t get why she didn’t think to change that…
Who else… Palmer was meh. Sometimes he was adorable and sometimes he was a jerk, but he totally redeemed himself in the end!
Chase was my favorite! Even though he did stupid things (like telling his parents he and Ellie were dating when she said she didn’t want to date.) But he just understood Ellie so well. J
Bronte was okayish. I liked that she encouraged Ellie, but arugh, spoilers! I guess all I can say she started acting like a child at one point.
I also loved Karen! It was nice to see someone that Ellie had as a type of mentor. You don’t see adults around to help the main character enough in YA.
I laughed so hard at the narrowminded Grandma. I think that’s everyone’s grandma personified.
The ending… !!!! Great climax!
I don’t read contemporary, so the fact that I enjoyed this book really says a lot!
5 of 5 stars. You can purchase the ebook here. Rated 13+.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Waiting for the big one

One thing I've noticed on here is--all I do is give out advice. Which is nice... But maybe it would also benefit you guys if I talk about my writing struggles? Nothing too personal. (Don't want to be "that girl who complains all the time.") But maybe seeing my struggles will help you guys see, "Hey, I'm not alone!"

I feel no regret about shelving my previous project.  The more I think about it, the more I think "That was a terrible book and I can do better!" (Yes, I know one of my betas will read this and go "But I loved it!" Yes, and I love that you loved it, thanks girl. :D) I feel like my skills are growing and now that I know that, with my new-found knowledge, that book wasn't worth publishing... Like, ever.

So now I'm kind of stuck. I literally do not know what to write next. I've had ideas--but nothing that really screams 'WRITE ME!' I've written 5k for two decentish ideas. I like them but... Again, nothing I feel like I should be writing RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I LOVE IT THAT MUCH. I feel like I'm just... Waiting for that great idea to come. THE big idea.

When it comes I'll let you guys know. Or maybe I'll be selfish and hoard the idea all to myself and have it be sekrit. (Shannon Messenger talked about sekrit projects on her blog and I think it sounds super motivating.) Who knows?!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Let us see your characters and plot progression

I love Doctor Who, but is has been boring lately (Except for last night's episode, which I loved!!!) and lately I've been thinking about why. The answer comes down to two things:

  1. A lack of character development.
  2. A lack of plot progression.
Let's take an in depth look at those shall we (And if you're not a whovian, stick around! This applies to everyone!)
  • A lack of character development.
 If we aren't given a reason to care, then guess what? People won't care! In my current book, I have a bit of an antagonist in that I've put her there solely to cause problems for the MC. BUT I want people to feel for her, so I've given her motivations deep down, that once the reader sees them will make them hopefully feel... Something for her. Hopefully pity. If, however, I keep her forever in a state of "OMG, this character is so mean, I hate her." Then I'll never get to challenge how the reader feels about her, which is what I want.
  • A lack of progression in the plot.
If your story doesn't move forward, people will get bored. I mean, how long do you stick with a book if you get bored? For me, less than twenty pages. That means you have better keep the plot moving, and FAST. If you slow it down, you had better have a good reason. Like character development for example. :)

I mean, in the case of Doctor Who, I get the feeling they're slowing down character/plot progression so they can withhold the good stuff for the series/season finale and/or the 50th anniversary. 

But they're only limiting themselves as writers. What they SHOULD  be doing is revealing the good stuff now and giving us MORE good stuff... See Downton Abbey for an example of this. 

Have a great day guys. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trunking Ensnare

AKA the book I've been writing for eighteen months. It was not an easy moment. I'm sure I'll still have desperate moments when I still think "I can still revise this!" But I've tried seven times. That's enough.
Here is a fake cover I made back when I was thinking about pen names earlier this year. And no, I don't plan on publishing under "Leah Pointer." You can laugh at the cheesiness. This is why I want to be traditionally published.
Basically, the main reason I decided to truck was because the whole time I tried to make this book into something... There was never a story arc. It was never build to anything. It was just "Scenario happens, crap ensues!"
But there needs to be something deeper at work in a book, at least to me. You need to know what you are building towards and I never did. So unless I can find a way to do that, it's staying shelved. 

But what do I mean by, building towards? Here is what I mean:

I should have an idea of where this book is going if I want it to be salvageable .. It's like SPOILERS from Doctor Who and Harry Potter, one of which I'm hoping you're watched/read: (highlight to read)
  • From Doctor Who: In the first season of Doctor Who, the Doctor and Rose keeping seeing the words "Bad Wolf" everywhere. At the end of the season, Rose realizes that "Bad Wolf" was a message she left for herself in order to save the Doctor, it was a paradox, which she fulfills to save the Doctor. 
  • From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Harry goes to a vault with Hagrid to collect a tiny little package, that eventually ends up being the Sorcerer's Stone, that Harry has to stop Voldemort from stealing. 
Get what I mean? I didn't have a story or anything to foreshadow towards. Do I regret this book I spend so much work on? No! Because I feel like I learned so so so much from it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Drafting/Revison Fatigue

You know how you can be deep, deep in a draft and just want to be DONE? That was me on Friday. I probably would have rushed the ending if someone hadn't given me great advice:
This is my dog. Her eyes aren't normally that red and scary. :P
Take a break.
If you feel like your work will be suffering from working on something, take a day off. I did. You will come back feeling like your work is a lot better than it would have been!
*Don't use this post to take a day off school and make your teachers (or boss) mad. This mainly refers to writing. :P

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things I've learned lately as a writer

Okay, guys, I'd like to first say I'm sorry for this blog going... Kinda crazy! But it's now back to being my writing blog, which is how it should be. *hugs blog* I've missed it! 
Here are some things I've learned lately about writing:

  • Get betas. They can help you solve those weird problems you don't know how to fix. 
  • Follow that little voice. You know, the smart alec that says "That shouldn't be happening yet!" 
  • Your main character is not supposed to act fully like a human being. That may seem weird, but I forgot my MC is supposed to double as a narrator, too. Which means that sometimes, she has to pause and explain things to the reader.
Like so. Gif from tumblr.
  • Use dialogue tags sometimes.
  • Don't fully take the advice of one writing blog. Get writing advice from many places and take each's advice with a bit of salt. Especially when they contradict each other.
  • Throw out the rules when they appear to be strangling your writing, but only consciously do so. 
  • If you think something's wrong, and a beta reader agrees with you, it's wrong.
  • Did I mention get betas? :P I've learned so much about writing in the ... Eh, four days I've had one? And not just people to cheer you on, people who can say "hey, you need to slow down and give the reader backstory/worldbuilding;" "this is telling;" "your characters are OOC," etc. And so on. Because as it turns out, I don't know everything. :P

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Changes... Again

So I ditched this blog thinking I could find a better writing blog out there.... Well I couldn't! (Shocker!) Writing about horses doesn't interest me like I thought it would, so I'll be taking those down and putting some of my favorite writing posts up again, and resuming this as a writing blog. Sorry for being so wishy-washy guys! I'll probably change my url at some point, but I'm not sure what to.