Thursday, December 30, 2010

Living

It's Thursday again. The last Thursday of 2010 to be exact. I wrote my poem ahead of time so I wouldn't forget. This works as a good strategy for me because then I don't have to rush and worry over it. It's done and all I have to do on Thursday is write about two paragraphs and type up the poem. It's rather nice. It makes the workload seem like less even though I'm still doing the exact same things spread over more time. Maybe that's why authors take so long writing their books sometimes. Something to think on while you read my new poem.

Living

It starts out
small
Growing as it
eats
Just like anything
alive

It breathes in
air
Using it all
up
Then it will
die

It starts many
ways
Usually it's an
accident
Though sometimes by
design

It is not
loved
Only kept for
need
Thought to be
dangerous

It is like
me
It is my
kin
What keeps me
living

This poem is supposed to be from one of my character's perspectives. His name is Thomas Suits or Torch. He's included in The Switchers trilogy, especially in The Requiem. You probably can't tell from the poem exactly what he's talking about, but it's fire. He's a bit of an arsonist though he doesn't ever intentionally hurt anyone. I like writing these poems for my characters. Maybe I'll do some more.

Also, you may have noticed that I changed a few things in the sidebar. I changed the title above my profile link from The Author to The Climber because it fits in better with the theme. That's also the reason I changed Followers to Belayers (belay - n. an object, such as a rock, to which a mountain climber's rope can be secured). The Ledges section is completely new. It shows what my projects and goals for my writing are. Currently, there's only two things on there (my biggest projects) but I'll be adding more stuff soon. Finally, for better organization, I've rearranged the Poetry Peak list in alphabetical order. Here's to hoping that will help you find what you need.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Step Further

Last night I finished writing Chapter Five of The Lullaby. I've been working on it since I finished NaNo which was over a month ago. To my credit, it's the longest chapter so far at 8 pages (12 pt. font with 1 in. margins). That may not seem very long but my chapters generally aren't. Thinking of You has thirty chapters at only 50,006 words.

Chapter Five is all about Tilo's journey from Syng to the island of Cylic in the human world. Cylic is the only place on Earth that has magic beings. It is also the only place where humans know about them and the place they come from. In the original version, there were about five paragraphs dedicated to this. I'm quite happy that I've managed to turn five paragraphs into an eight page chapter. This means I'm doing what I'm supposed to. Normal fantasy/YA fiction novels are around 60,000 to 100,000 words. The first draft of The Lullaby is only 30,236 words long. I need to fatten it considerably (something to add to my first ledge requirements). I also need to be careful not to just throw stuff in to make it longer. Everything must be relevant. So far, I believe everything is, and the current word count is 8,248.

Introduced in this chapter were three characters that were not in the previous draft. (Well, Jyde was, but he wasn't named.) I think I'm going to enjoy writing about them. Their names are Sanders, Jyde, and Prestelle. They are, or will be, the rulers of the three countries of Cylic. I thought that they would be interesting to read about so they're part of the excerpt I'm going to post.

“Well, I don’t think there’s anything there,” Sanders’s arrogant tone broke through the silence like glass.

“How can you be sure? There was a noise. We all heard it,” Prestelle still sounded slightly frightened. “What do you think, Jyde?”

He answered slowly, “I think that perhaps the noise came from above us. In one of the higher tunnels or on the surface.”

“That’s perfectly reasonable. You see what happens when you let your imagination get to you, Prestelle. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go check on the disturbance.” Tilo heard a chair scrape back. He held his breath, not daring to hope.

A deep sigh, “I do think that’s enough for one day. We can continue tomorrow. Come on, Prestelle. You look as if you could use some rest.” The sound of wood against dirt.

“I’ll just stay here for a minute,” the woman’s voice was stony. She had not taken well to having her fears laughed at.

“Now, don’t be like that,” Sanders voice was rough.

“Like what, Sanders?” Her voice was full of warning.

Before Sanders could reply, Jyde stepped in, “Just let her be. It’s her choice where she goes.”

“Not when-” Sanders started but then he stopped abruptly. Tilo was tempted to peak around the corner to see why.

The sound of a door slamming echoed off the walls. Another sigh, “He isn’t going to be a good ruler if he keeps letting his temper get the best of him.” There was a pause, “Are you really going to stay here?”

Prestelle exhaled loudly, “No, I guess not.” She stood up. Tilo really wanted to poke his head out but he waited until he heard the door creak open and the sound of footsteps heading away.

He stepped around the corner, not believing his luck. A big smile was just starting to spread across his face when he saw the wide blue eyes. Frozen, he stared at the woman who must be Prestelle. Her eyes were set in a very pale face, though, he thought that he might have something to do with that. Blonde hair, almost white, hung down past her waist. That was all he had time to notice before a tight smile stretched her face. She raked him with her eyes and then, “Head for the sea as fast as you can. If you’re confident in your decision, go.”

Turning she walked back through the door just as Jyde called back, “Prestelle? Are you coming?”

Somehow, I have managed to develop each of their personalities in my head very well. This is often hard for me. I know what to make them do and say so that it will fit in with their character but I don't know how to describe it. These three seem to be easier to understand. Let me know what you think they're like. They're not in this book much (they'll be in The Ballad lots more) but I want them to be remembered.

I already know what I'm going to write about in Chapter Six, what's going to happen. I should be able to write it fairly quickly. I'm not going to start until after New Year's though. I have this thing where I want to start fresh. I don't want to be in the middle of something. Whether it be reading a book, or writing a chapter. So I'm waiting. Here's to hoping we all start our New Year out the way we want.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Missing Girl

Pages: 284

So as I promised this post is strictly Paper Mountain related. No pictures of the things I own, no random music videos, no nothing that does not involve reading or writing. This post is a review. Just a plain old review, no Wonderful Week musings, just a review. I got this book at the bookfair towards the end of November. I haven't been able to read any of my new books because of the Wonderful Week of Harry Potter. That's over now, though, and I've been catching up. I had never heard of this novel until I bought it so you'll get to hear about it from someone who has yet to set firm feelings about it. This ought to be fun.

This book is written from four different perspectives and all three different points of view. Beauty and the man's stories are told from third person. Then you have Fancy who is portrayed in the first person because she is talking to a tape recorder until the very last chapter when she is speaking to her class. Autumn is talked about in second person. At first it didn't stick with me why. I knew there must be a reason but I couldn't think of it. Then it struck me that the author was trying to make it so that I was Autumn, that Autumn's experiences were my experiences. But if this is a story, why does your face still smart from his slaps? Why do your wrists still burn like real life? And if this is a story, when do you get the happy ending? (pg. 176) These sentences make you feel what Autumn feels and I think that is what the author was trying to do.

The one thing that seemed slightly off in the plot of this book was part of the man's perspective. He thinks continuously about which girl is his favorite, finally, narrowing it down to Stevie and Autumn. I had a sense of what would happen when he decided, given to me by the title. He does end up taking Autumn but it never shows the moment when he decides that she is the one, his favorite. He may have not had to decide because she walked right up to him but the author made it seem like a large part of the story. Too large to just be discarded like that.

One of the scenes that feels particularly real to me is in the chapter 'The One Person in the World' (pg. 55). Autumn is trying to get the notebook that she keeps her thoughts in back from Fancy. Fancy, who is mentally challenged, found it and has gotten into her head that Autumn gave it to her. I completely understand Autumn's frustration that Fancy doesn't understand and won't give it back. Then when she finally gets it back, her sister Mim seems to take Fancy's side. She takes Fancy downstairs for hot chocolate. Autumn is very emotional. I don't know if it's because of her age or because of her personality. She starts to cry because on top of everything else, Mim didn't even ask if she wanted any. This is from Autumn's perspective so maybe that's why it feels so real to me. Or maybe it's because I can just relate.

Overall, this book was everything it could be. It showed how the man thought, how Autumn felt being kept prisoner, and how her family reacted to it all. It's very detailed and it gives you chills. It feels almost real, like a good book should. I highly recommend it.

The next book along the Reading Trail? The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Are You Happy Now? Um... Duh?

Christmas was wonderful as Christmases tend to be. I got a lot of amazing presents. I'm actually going to tell you about them because I'm happy and some of them pertain to writing or literature (indirectly XD). Some of them, though, have nothing to do with any of that (even indirectly), but I still enjoy them so you're going to hear about those too. I apologize for having two non-writing posts in a row. Here's to hoping you'll enjoy it anyway.

My big (and I mean big) present was two new bookshelves. My dad built them himself (with help from my mom). They are definitely awesomesauce. I spent the next hour rearranging all of my books (finding a few errors on my book list as well but that's all fixed). You probably can't appreciate how great they are without seeing them so without a further ado, here they are.

Bookshelf #1Bookshelf #2

They're taller than I am by almost a whole shelf. They're amazing. That's 421 books it's holding (fifteen of my collection are on the shelves next to my mirror) and it's still not full! They are magnificent and probably one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever gotten.

My other big present was a new cell phone (I took the pictures above with it). I've been wanting a new one for a while since I rather hated my old one. It's a G2 and though I'm not a touch screen person (I know, that's not exactly modern) it has a keyboard so I'm happy. I can even write on this phone. That might be kind of hard though with such tiny keys.

My mom bought me four new shirts. One of them was a NaNoWriMo 2010 shirt (not a winners T-shirt, I think she got confused or maybe she thought this one was cuter)! I don't have a picture of it but if you go here you'll be able to see it just fine. I also got the NaNoWriMo merit badges in my stocking. They're currently sitting in my new artist's box (my mom bought it for me to keep my writing stuff in).

I had asked for quite a few books (Bran Hambric, Fallout, some Pendragon, Redwall, and some Sonya Sones books). My whole family seemed to latch onto the Redwall series though (I guess because there were so many). Luckily, I got about $100 from various grandparents and a gift card to Amazon. I should have plenty of new books to share with you guys soon.

I also got two new CDs from this band I've become a fan of lately, ALL CAPS. They do parodies and fan songs (for like Harry Potter) as well as original songs. You know the NaNoWriMo Song video I posted? That was them. So as you probably just figured out, they're pretty cool. The first part of the title comes from one of their songs that I'm actually listening to right now.

My hamster also, unexpectedly, had babies on Christmas. What a surprise that was. There were originally six but today two of them died. We don't know exactly why but I guess that's just how it is. Sometimes it happens. We're just excited that they finally had babies.

I apologize again for two non-writing related posts in a row. I promise it won't turn into a habit. The next post will be strictly writing related. Maybe even some good news like that I finished Chapter Five (I wish). Here's to hoping that that's what happens.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's the End... Right?

So our Wonderful Week of Harry Potter is over. Or is it? As I mentioned at the end of the last review I have a little surprise. This may not have anything to do with writing but it has everything to do with Harry Potter.

There are lots of things to do with Harry Potter that I didn't talk about. It's such a long, intricate series that there was bound to be. Some of them were actually in the books (scenes, characters, etc.) and then some were personal, fan-type things. For instance, which house are you in? There are lots of people who take this very seriously. I am not one of them though I like to think of myself as a Hufflepuff (it's a shocker, I know). Hufflepuffs are kind and loyal and honest. They are good people. Then my mind starts thinking about my intelligence so I lean a little toward Ravenclaw. Though I hope that I would hold the value of kindness over smarts. So just to set myself straight I told this quiz and you know what it told me?






That didn't help me much now did it? So as my friend Christine said (because she got Hufflepuff and didn't like that) it wasn't a very accurate quiz with only 12 questions. Then we tried out this much more detailed quiz. It told me I was a Gryffindor, too (though my second highest score was Hufflepuff)! I'm more confused that ever now but I still want to be a Hufflepuff over all. Which house are you in? If you have no idea maybe you should take one of the quizzes mentioned above.

Now that's not the end of my surprise. I have much more entertaining things to discuss. I'm not really into fan fiction as I may have mentioned (I can't remember) but somehow I have found myself loving some, very nice Harry Potter songs by a band called Ministry of Magic and I thought I would share some of my favorites with you. (Note that some of the videos were not actually posted by Ministry of Magic or anyone in it so they're not the official video for that song.)





Sorry for the large amount of videos. But, as you can see, I have finally figured out how to upload videos straight from YouTube. Isn't that great? The first song is a rather silly one, but all of the following are more serious songs as you probably figured out. There was one video I couldn't find on the video search. If you love Dobby check this out. Here's to hoping you enjoyed that and have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

For One Day

This week I made sure that I had a poem ready before Thursday. I need to start being stricter about this. I just need to work a little bit on time management. Quitting Neopets should help, I'm planning for the first. Here's to hoping that's successful. Now, I know that none of you are here to listen to me ramble about Neopets so how about that poem?

For One Day

One day
I'll float above the moon
And shine just as bright

One day
I'll stand high like the trees
And spread my roots just as far

One day
I'll support wonders earth never could
And hold just as firm

This is
My dream for
One day

Today
I'll scratch out words like unpolished gems
And love them just as if they were diamonds

Today
I'll scramble for ideas that prick my fingers
And dote on their fragrance just as on a rose

Today
I'll stare down glowering paper fiends
And attack them with ink just as black as they are white

This is
My reality for
Today

I didn't exactly intend for my poem to be about becoming a famous author but that's what happened. It seems to me that my writing often doesn't turn out like I think it should. That's perfectly fine with me because the ensuing idea normally turns out better than the one I had in the first place. Does that ever happen to you?

While we're on the topic of poetry, Teen Ink has finally approved my poem to go up on their site after a month and eight days. If you want to see it, because I haven't posted that one on the blog, click here. I'm thinking about what poem I want to submit next (maybe this one?) so I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Pages: 759

We've reached the end. Finally, right? And what a great end it was. Surprisingly, this book is the only one that I've only ever read once (twice, now) and that was three years ago when the book first came out. Since it has been such a long time since I've read it and, because I read it so quickly (it was a matter of hours) I had forgotten tons of things. I only remembered some pieces because I had just seen the movie. It was almost like a completely new experience.

As I have mentioned before, I love how J. K. Rowling entwines all the books together so well. Ron uses the Deluminator in this book to get back to Hermione and Harry. The Deluminator is not mentioned very often before now though it is mentioned in the very first chapter of Sorcerer's Stone (it is also mentioned in Order of the Phoenix). Somehow she saw that far ahead! I may be looking too far into this. Maybe she just invented it early on and then later as she was writing decided to use it again. I still think it's great.

Another thing (or character) that she incorporated from the very first book is Griphook. He was the goblin that showed Harry to his Gringotts vault the very first time Harry ever went there. I'm pretty sure he isn't mentioned in any other book. So again she looked that far ahead. Or she just needed a goblin and picked Griphook. Could there possibly be too such coincidences?

There are many other things though, they show her genius. The story of Grindelwald and Dumbledore being friends, how Dumbledore's nose was broken at his sister's funeral, the Hog's Head bartender being Aberforth, the ghoul in Ron's attic being enchanted to look like him. All of those little things that never seemed so important turn out to be so.

Overall, I think we can all agree that J. K. Rowling is a genius. This last book just gives more proof to the point. There are people who think Harry Potter is boring (my best friend is among them -twitch-) and I rather think they have lost their minds. There are people who have never taken time to read them (my other best friend -sigh-) and I pity them for their loss. These are jewels among literature. Long live Harry Potter! The Boy Who Lived!

Such ends our Wonderful Week of Harry Potter. Though I may have one more surprise in store.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Pages: 652

We're almost to the end of our Wonderful Week but, we still have a little ways to go. Reading the sixth book was almost better than reading some of the other books because for some reason I don't read the last books (excluding the Order of the Phoenix) as much as the first few. So there's a few more surprises. For instance, I had forgotten that Lavender and Ron had a thing going on. This should be interesting.

One thing I have noticed throughout all the books that there is one small phrase that J. K. Rowling says all the time. It's in the dialogue tags. She often says that two characters say something at the same time. I noticed this getting worse in the fifth book and it continued on into the sixth. It wasn't as bad in this book as it generally seems to occur when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are talking and for a big part of this book Ron and Hermione are fighting (about the Lavender thing that I mentioned already). I do realize that over hundreds of pages you do have to use the same phrase twice but, if it's noticeable, that may be something to work on in the future (wouldn't it be great if you started writing again?)

This is the book the Horocruxes are first introduced in (if you don't count Chamber of Secrets). I personally think that it's a bit of a major part of the story to have waited so long into the series to write about it but it worked out fine in the end. I do understand why she did it this way. It would be kind of predictable if, in every book, Harry found a Horocrux and destroyed it. I'm sort of glad she did it this way though the discovery of all the different Horocruxes seems a little rushed to me.

Dumbledore dies in this book as well. I don't really know how that makes me feel. I can't decide if I like Dumbledore or not. I know this sounds crazy. Half the time I think he's awesome but there are certain parts where he kind of bugs me. For instance when he snaps at Harry about Snape. Even though we all know Snape wasn't truly evil his tone and speech grate on my nerves. The other scene is when he's talking to Harry after discovering that Harry did not retrieve the memory. I realize he was disappointed but what he says just makes me sort of angry. I have conflicted feelings about the greatest wizard who ever lived.

Overall, this is a great lead in to the end. It shows tragedy but great expressions of love. I definitely like that scene where Fleur is talking about how she will still love Bill even though his face is scarred (pg. 622-623). It shows the changes in Harry quite nicely, I leave it up to you to decide whether those changes were good or bad.

The next book in this Wonderful Week -cough- Month -cough- of Harry Potter is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

P.S. I do know that today is Thursday and I'm supposed to have Poetry Peak but I don't have a poem ready (I know, I'm pathetic) and I'll be at Lizzie's house all weekend for her birthday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reflections

I've been meaning to write this post since like November (or was it October?). There's this contest that is held at my school, and many others too, called Reflections. You may have heard of it. This year, and last, I entered with a writing piece (they have different categories for the different arts). These are the only years I have ever entered even though I've had the opportunity since elementary school. I always find the topics not to my liking (do not get me started on uncreative prompts). I have only entered the last two years because it was required by my English teacher at the time. Unfortunately, I have not won either time. So I thought I would share my entries with you, just for fun.

Year: 2009 
Topic: Beauty is...

Blair walked out of the department store, laden down with bags, in her new two-inch-long bright blue high heels. It went great with her new knee-length dress. The new headband didn't hurt either.

She was feeling very happy. A nice-looking man had told her she looked beautiful as she stood in front of him in line to pay for all of the clothes she had just picked from the racks and racks of different colored fabrics. Blair knew she was beautiful but it always helped when other people pointed it out.

As she rushed to call a taxi, she glanced up at the sky. It was clouded over and reminded her of a sponge about to be squeezed. She frowned a little. She didn't want her new dress to get wet. Suddenly, a little girl tugged on the edge of her new blue dress. Blair yanked away. The little girl was dirty and a great bouquet of colors covered the whole left side of her face. Her clothes were two sizes too big, and her hair was so matted with mud and knots, Blair couldn't even tell the color. The girl was truly ugly in Blair's eyes. Just then, the taxi pulled up to the curb and Blair quickly pushed the girl away in terror and jumped into the backseat.

Behind her the little girl landed on her tush. A tear slowly fell from her eyes leaving a clean streak of skin. She quickly brushed it away and stood up to brush herself off. She didn't know what to do. She couldn't go home, she hadn't any money for her father, and it looked as if it might rain soon. If only the well-dressed woman had listened to her, she might have been able to. Another tear fell down. Being pushed hadn't hurt near as much as the terrified look in the woman's eyes. It hurt even more than her father's blows. Just then the first drop of rain plopped on her nose. She quickly hurried to find shelter from the downpour.

~*~
At her home Blair laid out all of her new clothes and admired them. She reached for her purse to dig out her phone so she could send pictures to Tayler, her best friend. But it wasn't there! Blair groaned. She must have left it on the counter at the department store after she paid!

She'd have to go back and get it. If she hurried she could just make it. She quickly grabbed her umbrella and rushed to hail a taxi. At the department store Blair sighed with relief when the cashier produced her light purple purse. She walked back out to call a taxi for her ride home. Her new heels were starting to hurt her feet, but that was the price of beauty. The sidewalks were slick with water, and in a sudden lurch forward to try and hail a passing taxi, Blair slipped into a large puddle. She sat there in surprise, and then angrily slapped the water. Her new dress was ruined! She started to cry and tried to stand but she slipped again. Then the small girl from earlier appeared in front of her and held out her small hand to help Blair up from the puddle.

As the homeless little girl held out her hand, Blair saw what a rare beauty she truly was, despite her bruised cheek and ragged clothes. Blair felt ashamed at her actions of earlier when all she had seen was a dirty child, and felt ugly in comparison. For this child who had nothing, never envied the riches proudly display by the people who passed and had only wanted to ask for a little money so her father might love her. This small child had a beauty of her own kind, one that couldn't be bought at a department store or from a surgeon. Hers was one that others gained from and she herself didn't know she possessed. For hers was the most rare of all beauties. Hers was the beauty of love and kindness, the kind that made others smile and laugh and feel joy. The kind that compelled her to help up a rude, rich lady from a mud puddle and give them a hug even though she's all wet.

Year: 2010
Topic: Together We Can

He

took me
    as I walked home
pulled me
    into that silver SUV
covered my mouth
    as I tried to scream

Together we could have
    stopped
    prevented
        this

I

want to go home
    more than anything
hope every single day
    that they’ll find me
wish to be safe
    away from him

Together we can
    achieve
        this

They

found me
    and took him away
returned me
    and my mother cried
say it’s safe
    (but is that really true?)

Together we did
        this

How is that for some nice poetry? Yes, I'm a little smug (even if I didn't win). I love how I did the form and, I especially love that I figured out how to post it on the blog like it's supposed to be (I had a problem with that on Neopets). I've been thinking about using the topic of my poem (or something like that) for my NEPMo. What do you guys think?

Oh, and while we're on the subject of contests; you know the one I mentioned that's being hosted by Olive Garden? And you know how I said I was going to write my first City in the Sky short story for it? Well, it turns out I can't. They have a set prompt and that wouldn't be so bad except it's completely stiff and just bleh. You think someone (especially someone who is hosting a writing contest) could think of a creative prompt but, alas, it turns out that that isn't so. "Describe how furthering your education beyond high school will help make your dreams come true." Who wants to write about that? I might have an idea for it though and I have over a month left so who knows? Maybe it'll turn out better than I thought but, don't hold your breath (or stare at the sun).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Pages: 870

It may seem like I've disappeared but, if you think this, I'm sorry (or maybe not?) to inform you that you are greatly mistaken. I just haven't done much; I've been sluggish and lazy. In the way of writing, at least. I have been working hard to finish this monster of a book. I only call it names out of love. XD Luckily though, I have gotten past the hardest hurdle. Compared to this almost 900 page book the Half-Blood Prince looks like a small little thing but, right now, we're focusing on the monster.

My all time favorite character is introduced in this book. Her name is Luna Lovegood. You may have heard of her; she has a whole chapter dedicated just to her (Chapter Ten). I love Luna because she's dreamy and because she believes. Luna does not need proof that something is real (this rather annoys Hermione). Luna is just Luna; she doesn't care what other people think. She has more freedom than the rest of us because of this.

For some reason I'm always forgetting about Tonks. I don't know why exactly. I mean she's awesome but she's just not one of the characters that crosses my mind often. (I didn't mean for this post to turn into a character rant but I have a feeling it's going to.)  Maybe it's because she's only in the last three books but, then so is Luna and I remember her just fine. Maybe it's Tonks's personality. There are times when it shines through very much and then at others she seems rather dull.

I especially like how Neville changes in this book. When Bellatrix Lestrange escapes, Neville seems to be more determined than ever. It seemed to bring out the better side of him. He became Neville the brave instead of Neville the buffoon. He is finally displayed as a true Gryffindor.

Overall, this one is my favorite out of all the Harry Potter books. I apologize for such a short post (and a review at that) after an absence of over a week (I completely forgot about Poetry Peak). I also apologize for this being mostly a character display instead of what I thought of the story. Characters are important though. Let no one tell you any differently.

The next book in the Wonderful Week of Harry Potter is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Pages: 734

We're over half way through the series now and it only took us a little over two weeks to get there. I consider that very poor on my part but I'm hoping I will read the next three books swiftly. The fifth book is my favorite, it has so much detail, so here's to hoping I can finish it quickly. Right now, though, we are not talking about the fifth book; we are talking about the fourth. Let's get to it.

Through this whole book every character is realistic, everything that they say, that they do. That is until you get to page 712 where there is a small bump in this pattern. When Sirius transforms into a person from his dog state here is Mrs. Weasley's reaction: "Sirius Black!" she shrieked, pointing at him. That is exactly what you would expect as she thinks he's a murderer but after that you don't hear her say anything else about it. I guess this line was supposed to calm her: "Mum, shut up!" Ron yelled. "It's okay!" You would still think she would want some kind of explanation though, before she just goes silent about it.

Something that makes me smile in this book, besides the witty dialogue, is Rita Skeeter. Not because I like her but because of what she does and what happens to her. Now I would like to clarify I'm talking about the way she turns into a beetle and not how she writes when I say what she does. Every time a beetle is mentioned I can't help but grin at this wonderful idea. Of course, the very first time I read this, I didn't know she was a beetle so I didn't enjoy catching all of the little hints to it until the end. Now though I'm in on the secret and I'm loving it.

There was one part in this book that made me very angry as well as sad. It's in Chapter Eighteen, pages 299 and 300. Malfoy and Harry have just sent hexes at one another and they accidentally hit Goyle and Hermione instead. When looking at Goyle, whose face has started to sprout large boils, Snape calmly tells him to go to the hospital wing. When looking at Hermione, whose front teeth are growing larger by the minute, he simply says, "I see no difference." I was so mad at Snape it was like he was real and standing right in front of me. It was a very cruel thing to say but, it was very real, and that's what made the scene good.

Overall, this book was a very important piece of the story. With Lord Voldemort rising and the Minister of Magic refusing to accept it many things could happen. I will, of course, be telling you of those things, in my next review. Here's to hoping that comes as soon as possible.

The next book in the Wonderful Week of Harry Potter is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

I Need a Pensieve

"This? It is called a Pensieve... I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind... At these times... I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines that at one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form." -Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry [Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling pg. 597]

The main cause of my need for a Pensieve is, I believe, this outline I've been trying to make. It's for the rewrite of The Lullaby. I've added some new events and rearranged a few things and I wanted to get it out all in order, chapter by chapter. First I write out the major event in the chapter then all the smaller things that have to happen. For example, here's the piece for Chapter Three.

Chapter Three:
Tilo learns that the other Giants don't trust him.
- Tilo is given Vant
- The lullaby is heard for the first time
- Tilo decides to leave Syng

I felt like I was doing good until I got to Chapter Nine, then I got this weird feeling that I sometimes get when I haven't fully processed something or have done something that I think I did a little too quickly. It's a strange feeling like I just haven't done something right. It's hard to describe but, once I get that feeling, everything just goes down hill from there. I started feeling like it wasn't making sense. So after planning out Chapter Eighteen, I just decided to write down the ideas I have for after that point in a paragraph and left it at that. I think I do better with having just general events anyway. I don't really relish the idea of already knowing every single thing that is going to happen; it leaves no room for flexibility, to allow the story to go where it needs to go.

Speaking of The Lullaby, I'm still working on actually writing Chapter Five. It's my longest chapter so far, standing, right now, at six pages. There's still  one more important scene that I must portray before the chapter is over so I'm thinking it will probably end up at seven or eight pages. I know what must happen in the end but I don't know exactly how to get there. I'm sure I'll figure it out as I go, though. My writing has a habit of doing that.

Something else that has been giving me a strange feeling is the Heirs to Esio series (if you don't know what this is, as I don't believe I've actually posted about it before, check out the link at the top). I almost don't feel like writing it. I haven't actually written any of the five books yet, or planned out any major events besides some surrounding the main conflict. Maybe that's the cause of why I feel this way. Maybe it's because I'm just not bursting with ideas for it at the moment because, we all have to admit, when you get new ideas for your story over and over, it feels great and, it's pretty disappointing when that great sense of being goes away. I'm also sort of feeling like the only reason I'm hanging onto it is because these were my first characters like ever and I want them to have a story, and I want to use them. Maybe that's why I should write it. I think the only thing that's really making me keep hold of it is my friend Josh wants to read it and that's not a very strong reason. I plan on writing the first one in June or July. Maybe that will change how I feel toward it. Maybe; I can see why Rebbsie hates the word.

I'm still waiting for my the poem I submitted to Teen Ink to be approved. You remember when I submitted it don't you? It was only, oh, four weeks ago. I knew that this might happen, especially seeing as poetry gets the most submissions, but it's still slightly disappointing. Like I've said before, my one fear is not being rejected, but not getting a reply. There is a question under their FAQ which addresses this issue. It says it could take anywhere from a few days to a month. Well, it's almost been a month so you would think I would get a reply soon. Here's to hoping that that's a true statement.

Teen Ink also hosts contests but that's not much different than submitting a work. Any work that is submitted is instantly put into the contest that that work applies to. I've been thinking about entering some contests lately. My English teacher has submitted my class in a few, Reflections (which most schools have, I've been meaning to post that) and one that's for the whole country. I can't remember exactly what it's called but I do know that veterans pick the prompt. This year's was 'Does Patriotism Still Matter?'. Grammy tells me that she has one for me that's hosted by Olive Garden. She's going to give me the paper soon. I'm thinking I may write a City in the Sky story for that. It'll get me started on it.

I do have a bit of good news. Madeline, Leo, and I all won NaNo. That's right, we all passed 50,000 words. Leo's story isn't finished, and I expect it will be some time before it is but she got there. She wrote most of hers in the last week of the event. As Leo says she's one of those 'week before' people. Madeline and I agreed to switch novels at the end of the month so I'm currently working on reading her novel Of Smoldered Harbors which is quite good. It's a very original idea.

While we're on the subject of reading material, I have six new books from book fair (bringing my book count up to 429). I will start reading those after I finish the Wonderful Week (or three) of Harry Potter. Speaking of that, here's a Harry Potter tidbit to end this post with, just as we started it with one. I found this quote that I think is really amazing. "... If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." Sirius says on page 525. I find that to be very true. I have also found another thing that bugs me, again to do with the art. It's the little drawing for Chapter Thirty-One, the sphinx. I don't know why, maybe it's the mane or the lack of shading on the ground around her, but it just looks like not as much effort was put into it as the others. I find it rather strange.

I do apologize for this post being so long. I guess there was just a lot of stuff I needed to discuss. If you read through the whole thing you are absolutely wonderful.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Inch

It's December which means that Poetry Peak is back on. I almost forgot about it but, luckily, I remembered just in time. I already had an idea in mind so it wasn't that hard to write a poem. It came out a little more humorous than I intended. It also rhymes. I haven't written a rhyming poem in quite some time. That's probably why it turned out to be a funny poem instead of serious, as is my usual style. Now enough of my blabbering. I'm sure you're all anxious to see this poem after waiting a month (as if).

Inch

I've grown,
Can't you see,
How I am
And how I used to be
Was it just moments ago?

You may still be large
(A foot overhead)
But I prefer not to think of that
I would rather think happy instead

I'm proud of this inch
Even if it's not truly mine
The clicks are loud but that's just fine

I'll take it while it lasts
Tomorrow will put them away

Heels now in our pasts

In case you couldn't tell, this poem was about wearing heels. I got the idea when I was wearing an old pair of mine that I don't really wear that often anymore. I felt strange and sort of off, like the world was out of place, like I was out of place. Yet I still felt dignified and proud as well. The original idea was the former but, somehow, it turned toward the latter as I was writing it. Just goes to show that the writing will go where it wants.

While I've got your attention, I'm thinking about doing something called NEPMo (National Epic Poem Month). The goal is to write a 5,000 line epic poem in May. I may do it in another month but that's the month that the actual event is hosted in. I found the link on NaNoWriMo's I Wrote a Novel, Now What? page. I'll keep you posted on my decision.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Pages: 435

I am settling into my comfort mode, my excited mode. I'm almost to the point where I can't wait to read more, even though I've already read them. This is good; it means I'll be reading faster. This is especially good because the next four books are pretty long. I do hope you have been enjoying this week (or I guess now almost two). Now on to the review!

You will never guess what I have discovered. While I was reading I found a mistake and it's not a simple typo. Oh no, it's a little more than that. It can be located on page 308 in this sentence: A minute later, Katie had put another penalty past the Slytherin Seeker. Except you wouldn't put a penalty past a Seeker, you would put it past the Keeper. Imagine how many people have noticed that. I find it rather astounding. Maybe it's just because I'm a nerd. XD

This book has a little more humor in it than the first two. I especially love the last two pages or, pieces of them anyway. The part where Ron holds out the little owl to Crookshanks to confirm that the owl is indeed an owl, made me smile (p. 434). This paragraph (the second to last in the entire book) made me laugh out loud. Harry is talking to Uncle Vernon about Sirius. "Yes, I have," said Harry brightly. "He was my mum and dad's best friend. He's a convicted murderer, but he's broken out of wizard prison and he's on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though... keep up with my news... check if I'm happy...." There were a few other lines I can't remember exactly but that was indeed the funniest.

Again, there is a great back story in this book, the one of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, Prongs (Lupin, Pettigrew, Sirius, and James Potter), and a little bit of Snape. It shows how they were friends from school and one of them betrayed the others. It also shows how and under what conditions James Potter saved Snape's life (as mentioned in the first book). They also happened to have created a tool that is very useful to Harry, the Marauder's Map. I think our puzzle's outline is complete. How I love series that are as complicated as this one.

This book is the favorite of the series among many, and I can see why (though my favorite is... oh no, I've forgotten it!). It is wonderfully written and tells a great tale. It's the last book to be less than 500 pages yet it still gets in quite a bit of the story. It is a work of art.

The next book in this Wonderful Week of Harry Potter is -drum roll- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Pages: 341

I know I've said this before but, I really love these books. As I am rereading them, it's almost as if everything is new to me but, at the same time, it's not really. I have found new love in characters I haven't thought about in a long time. Colin Creevey, for example. I nearly cried on page 180 when Professor McGonagall said that he had been Petrified trying to sneak up to visit Harry. I'm discovering new things with every page and I can't wait to share them with you.

As I have mentioned before Nearly Headless Nick is one of my favorite characters. The way he's always talking about getting into the Headless Hunt just makes him more real. I don't really know why. Besides him and Colin there is one more character that I adore, Dooby. Of course, I know what happens to him, but I can't help it. Even though he's fictional and not even human he still seems alive. Whatever you say about J.K. Rowling you have to give her a thumbs up for character presentation and development.

Another thing that J.K. Rowling is very good at is back stories. In this book you learn a little about Voldemort's past as well as Hagrid's. Voldemort, or Tom Riddle, is a half-blood who is descended from Salazar Slytherin.  He was highly honored at Hogwarts, for being a prefect and Head Boy as well as supposedly capturing the person behind the Chamber of Secrets, Hagrid. This is the reason that Hagrid was expelled in the first place. I love how these two stories wind together, a few more pieces of the puzzle click into place.

In this book there are many hints at things to come later in the series. For instance they use the Polyjuice Potion and, even though they don't find anything, it prepares you for what happens with Mad Eye Moody in the fourth book. The introduction to the Whomping Willow hints at what happens in the third book. You don't notice it until after you've read all of the other books, but things like this are hidden throughout all of them. I love series that have this sort of style.

Overall, this book is a great sequel to the first as well as a good lead in to the rest of the series. It explains more about the Vanishing Glass chapter in the first book and shows a small piece of what will happen in the others. It's well-written and a story that anyone can enjoy. I think I did a tad better with this review and being unbiased. Here's to hoping you think so, too.

The next book in this Wonderful Week of Harry Potter is, of course, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Poppy Ideas

In one of my old writing journals (which I call Cylic's Book One, don't really know why) I once said that I had 'poppy' ideas. Meaning they just seemed to pop into my head for no particular reason. I found I have most of these while I'm in the shower. It feels great, because I know when I get one, I'm about to get like five more. That is what happened today.

I have so many new ideas for The Switchers that I think I may just explode. Well, really, that's how I felt just before I wrote them down. I'm feeling slightly more relaxed now. I'm so glad that I got ideas for all three books, since I didn't know as much of what was going on in the third book as I did in the first two. Speaking of the first two, I have both of those summaries up now, so go check them out.

My world is starting to expand. People are starting to have motives, and more complicated problems, if that's possible. It's amazing. My writing is sort of smoothing out, and coming a little faster. The scene I'm writing currently isn't really helping with that though. I have to be very cautious writing it; I feel like it's very important. Everything is very important, it seems. I'm planning on making a huge outline of all three books to help determine the important things from the non-important, soon.

An update on Harry Potter real fast, as well. You know what has always bugged me about the cover of the second book? The spiders aren't on it! For some reason, I always had it in my head that on the back, where the cat is standing in the window, should be a trail of spiders. I mean, they are a big part of the story, don't they deserve some cover space?  I know, it's a miracle, I have found a complaint about Harry Potter. There's also a bit of happiness, too. I completely forgot that Nearless Headless Nick's (who, by the way, is a character I absolutely love) deathday party is in this book. For some reason I was thinking it was in the sixth book, where Harry takes Luna, but then I remembered that that is Slughorn's (I think that was his name) party. XD Oops.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Pages: 309

I must admit, I'm a little nervous about this review. It's my first one in over a month, and my first one ever for the Wonderful Week Of feature. It's also on Harry Potter which might make it rather difficult. I mean, everything that could possibly have ever been said about it, has been said (written?). So why post one at all? Harry Potter affects me differently than it does other people, that's why. No one can feel and express, how I feel and express, exactly as I can. Right? Here goes (whether it's right or not).

This book has so many little details that really not  that important (or are they?), but are fun to read anyway. Every person has a last name, down to Adalbert Waffling (a.k.a author of Magical Theory, one of Harry's textbooks). I love how J.K. Rowling goes into detail over everything, Harry's school supply list, the inscription on the Gringotts doors (which by the way, I memorized), things that don't really have to be written out completely, but it's nice that they were.

This book is written in the same style as the May Bird books, but frankly better. As I have mentioned, I love this kind of book. In case you don't quite remember what I'm talking about, here's an example (pg. 1): Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.  The last part of the line, thank you very much, gives an almost homey feel to the book. If it's possible to give a homey feeling to a book.

Character voice is a hard thing to perfect, I have trouble with it, but Hagrid's voice patterns are amazing. The way he says 'yeh' instead of 'you', the way he barely ever pronounces his g's, it just adds to who Hagrid is. There are little things like this throughout the book for all of the characters. Ron's ears turn pink, Dumbledore's eyes twinkle. It's truly amazing.

Overall, I think I'm a little biased on the subject of these books and in this review. I try hard not to be but, it's hard. I love these books, I really do. Everything in the stories just all clicks into place, it's wondrous. These books, this first one in particular, are a piece of my childhood and my life as it is currently. It's Harry, Malfoy, Hermione, Ron, Snape, all those people who I have heard and read about for so long, it's the magic inside these books, as corny as that may sound, that makes me truly happy.

The next book in this Wonderful Week of Harry Potter is no other than Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Slowly but Surely

Yesterday, I started in on the rewrite again. I only wrote about a paragraph and a half, but it wasn't that bad. Today I've written another two paragraphs so far. I'm being very careful to make sure I get the words right. I want to make sure my NaNo mode isn't sneaking in. Something else is troubling me as well. Thinking of You is in a slightly different style than The Lullaby, being in first person and all. Things that Rebbsie thinks are starting to creep into my mind. For instance, the millions of questions she's always asking. Another thing is how her thoughts are just spoken as they are thought (i.e. "No one ever wants to die, dipshit."). I usually don't do that very often in third person writing, but today I have been wanting to. So I've been moving (very) slowly but surely onwards. Here's the last paragraph I wrote. I would like feedback on whether or not it goes along with the other excerpts from The Lullaby.
He reached for the doorknob. There was no more time for indecision. They could notice he was gone at any time. Then they would come looking, and when they found him, they would know. Know that he was trying to leave, know that he was going to the place that they feared most, and they would not know why. The worst would be assumed and then he did not know what would happen to him. He dreaded even thinking of it.

Between writing that and finishing Thinking of You, I was not completely dormant. I did get something done, even if it wasn't exactly writing. Planning is just as important. Well, for me anyway. I wrote out all of the main conflicts for all of my books, plus came up with titles. It only took me two days. which somehow gives me this weird feeling, like I didn't do it right because I did it so quickly. I like all of the titles I came up with, though, and my conflicts aren't that bad. They just need to be fleshed out a tad. You can see all the titles under the tabs at the top, I just need to get to work on the summaries (speaking of summaries, I apologize for my lack of talent in writing them). Keep checking back, though I'll probably tell you when I post one anyway.

For our Harry Potter tidbit of the day, I'm still working on the Sorcerer's Stone because I'm slow (and I've been playing Pokemon like all day, I'm such a nerd). I'm reliving all of it. Half the time I know what's about to come next but I love reading it anyway. I can hear their voices from the movie, from where they said the exact line that I'm reading. And you know what else is awesome? I memorized the inscription on the second set of doors at Gringotts. I would post it in case you don't know it, but I'm not entirely sure that I'm allowed to do that. Copyright laws, you know.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Wonderful Week of: Harry Potter

I have had this idea rolling around in my head for a few weeks now, an add-on to the Reading Trail. It has occurred to me that there are many series nowadays. Especially with the genre that I read. Few books seem to stand alone anymore. The Wonderful Week Of idea is a tribute to this. Basically, it's a whole week (possibly even two or three depending) of reading one specific series, or books by just one author. Reviews and thoughts will be posted on anything and everything having to do with the reading material. This will not be happening every week, regular Reading Trail affairs will still be held, but it is a slight change in pace for every now and then.

This week, as you probably figured out from the title, is the wonderful week of Harry Potter. I know that everyone's been talking about Harry Potter lately, with the movie coming out and all (which my dad let me go see at midnight because he loves me), and you may be getting tired of it. I'm usually not one to go with what everyone else is doing. I mean, I'm one of the few people who wants to stay in my hometown because everyone else doesn't. I don't just say that either, I really do. It's just the kind of person I am.

Harry Potter, though, is different. I started reading Harry Potter the summer before third grade. I might have even started sooner, but somehow, I had gotten into my mind that I didn't like Harry Potter. What a strange thought, yes? My very first experience with Harry, changed my mind about that though. Surprisingly it was not through the books. It was the movies that did it. I remember, my uncle was at our house. He was watching a movie and I was curious. I watched for a bit and then asked him what it was. When he told me it was Harry Potter, I almost left the room, but I had already gotten caught up in what was happening on the television. My first Harry Potter movie sighting? Aunt Marge floating off into the sky. It was magical and I loved it. So guess what happened the next time we were walking through Wal-Mart, down the book aisle, and I saw the Sorcerer's Stone? Somehow, I convinced my mom to buy it, the very book that's sitting in my lap right now.

It seemed forever until I finally got books two through five once I had finished the first one. My mom had put them on layaway and I remember the endless waiting. Finally, I got the second one from the public library and the third from the school's, though my teacher had some problems with that. I got them all for Christmas, I think. I don't really remember receiving them. Funny how, after waiting so long, that I don't. I read them over and over; they never got old. I know I've read them all, besides the seventh, at least three times, probably way more. Somehow, though, after the seventh book came out and I read it in a matter of hours, a curse seemed to be placed on me. I don't think I have read another one since then, though I started to read Sorcerer's Stone a few months ago. This troubles me to no end. It makes me feel guilty, like I haven't visited my best friend in years. So, hence, we have the wonderful week of Harry Potter. I cannot wait to jump in.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Returning to Normal

The only thing that I think has changed since I finished Thinking of You (you know besides finishing Thinking of You) is that I now listen to some kind of music that is not country related. The only thing that I think I gave up and now am extremely glad to have back, is reading. How I missed thee. I'm already back to it, one day after my great task has been completed. Things are back to normal, or getting there.

I have considered writing another novel this month, to go along with my Nano, I even have a title, point of view, and a main conflict picked out. I thought I had a last line (I need to have this ready or the story will never end) but I think I may have forgotten it. Darn. The idea has been vetoed though, I think. I just don't really feel like writing another one. Not that NaNo really felt like a hassle (amazing, huh?) but I think my brain is tired out. Plus, I still have The Lullaby to rewrite, a short story series to start (I'm thinking of calling it just 'City in the Sky'), a poetry project I want to try (I won't tell you much now, but I will say that it has to do with the alphabet), and a new series I'm making out of a really old novel (never completed) of mine. I'm going to be very busy and it may not all turn out well, but hey, as this quote I found by Stanley Tucci  says, "If you find that thing you love, it doesn't necessarily matter whether you do it well or not - you just need to do it." I promise to make a list in the sidebar so you can keep up with me. Here's to hoping that there will be stuff to keep up with.

Speaking of the sidebar, I have decided to take down the NaNo part, including the pictures. I know there are still days left in the month but since the actual writing part is over I don't think anything else would be very interesting or worth taking pictures of. I am however posting my 'victory' pictures in this post so that they will be always be available to see.

I really think these were the best ones anyway. They show the most about my adventure. After this one I don't really know where I'm at on the mountain. My first ledge was to rewrite The Lullaby, so it's actually worth reading but now I've written another novel that may not need a complete rewrite (thank goodness) but will still need a lot of editing. How about we say that the first ledge is just bigger now? I can rest on it longer that way. XD Really, though, I think that's how I should put it. The first part of the ledge will be the rewrite then to scoot along it I have to edit Thinking of You. It sounds good to me. Here's to hoping it looks that way to you, too.

As for rewriting The Lullaby, I haven't started work on that just yet. I'm waiting to make sure I'm completely out of the NaNoWriMo mind set. I'm writing a second, better, draft now, not a first draft. I don't want to start writing like I'm still at the beginning and just getting it on paper. So I'll wait a week or two. I'll be sure to let you guys know when I start on it again, though.

And for the last order of the day, you may have noticed the extra links in the navigation bar. They're still slightly under construction but those two pages are each dedicated to a different series that I'm working on. You can find novel synopsizes, how many books are planned to be in each one, and the history of how the series started. Check it out when you have time, you might just learn something new and enjoyable.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where's The Finish Line? -Pointing- It's Behind Me

I am done!  My novel is finished and my goal has been reached at 50,006 words, more than I have ever written on a single project. Right now I am listening to The NaNoWriMo Song by ALL CAPS as high as I can without my father coming in to yell at me. Actually, I think he may be being nice about it since he knows I just completed my NaNo. He just peered into my room, but he didn't say anything, so I guess I'm cool.

I just finished taking pictures of my officially full word count bar (you can see it in the flesh here) and the graph that has been recording my progress after the past two weeks. I'm about to start making this poster that will feature in another of my pictures and then place my novel in a nice little stack and take a picture of that too. Picture madness has overtaken me, but that's okay. You'll be seeing them all soon. Don't forget to check out the captions on them when they appear.

Another thing that I have done to celebrate (sort of) is I finally broke down and signed up to the Teen Ink website. I've decided that I will post only the poems that I would want to be published on there. As a matter of fact, at this very moment, my poem Orphan Questions is pending for approval to be posted on their site. This is also the time that they will be considering if they would like to publish it at a future date. I think. I'm not one-hundred percent sure on how all of this works but so far I seem to be doing everything right. Click here to see my profile. And yes, I did choose for my username to be the same name as my NaNo, it's in celebration of it after all. I'll be posting an avatar picture soon but you won't have to go there to see it because it'll be in the sidebar. It's the one my poster is going to be featuring in. Speaking of which, I should probably get to work on that. So while I'm doing that, why don't you check out The NaNoWriMo Song for yourself?

video

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30k Landmark Reached

Last night, I reached 30,000 words, right before midnight. I don't know why it was so important that I get it done before Thursday (today) but it was and I got there and it made me feel happy. NaNo has been doing a lot of things to make me happy lately, I've noticed. This year it has also greatly increased my word count output. It has raised my confidence to a whole new level and that is why it is such an amazing program.

So far today, I've reached a total of 32,437 words, and it's only three o'clock. If I really pushed it, like to the extreme I could get to 40k today but I doubt that that is going to happen. My sister has soccer practice, and though I still write while I'm there I don't write much. Then there's dinner and a shower and all those other little things that go along with good hygiene. I'm reaching for somewhere between 35 and 37k. Here's to hoping I can get there.

P.S. Go hover over the NaNoWriMo pictures for captions.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I Will Think in the Terms of Half Full, I Will!

I got to 25,089 and that is great, I'm halfway through. That also means I have to do everything I just did, all over again. It's kind of scary when you think about it that way, as if the cup is half empty. I have determined, though, to look at it as if it were half full. It's kind of hard to do that at times but I must or I might just stop and that would not do!

Something that has put me in a little bit of a downside mindset, I think, is the chapter on Week Two in No Plot? No Problem! It makes it sound like you automatically won't feel like writing in Week Two, like you'll run out of steam and feel overwhelmed and not know what to do. I don't really think that's the way to look at it. I know it still encourages you to write anyway, but it makes you sort of think you have to feel down to get into the real NaNoWriMo spirit. I guess the power of suggestion is strong because after reading that I didn't really feel like writing all that much. I didn't let that stop me though.

I've also decided that for pictures I'll just make sure to have seven a week and thirty by the end of the month. It's easier that way, for me. I won't have to remember to take a picture everyday. I've also decided that the pictures can be of anything pertaining to NaNo (meaning it tells the story of my NaNo experience) not just pictures of me writing because that gets a little boring after a while, you can only stand so much of seeing me. XD I've been making lots of changes to this feature but it's better like this. It's easier anyway.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

20k Landmark Reached (Already!)

My goal was to reach 20,000 words this weekend and I have achieved that goal! It makes me so incredibly happy because last year it was November 19 (or so) before I got this far. Though last year at 20,000 words I was two-thirds of the way done. This year I'm only about one-third. That's perfectly fine though because I got there in only 7 days! (NaNoWriMo = excuse for lots of exclamation points)

The only thing that hasn't been going quite so smoothly is the picture taken. My picture for the 5th was taken by my mom (as was the one on the 4th) and for some reason I have still not gotten the e-mail containing it. We're working on it though as we have to take today's picture with her phone as well. My picture for the 6th wasn't even really taken on the 6th though it does look like it because I'm at the right place and wearing the right clothes but really I took it today because I forgot. I just switched clothes for the picture to make myself feel slightly better. Also, I think the karma gods were looking down on me because the picture is on Lizzie's phone and she got grounded from it. I guess that's what I get. It will be up eventually though. I have a spot in the sidebar all set up for it. I also put in a temporary picture that says 'Coming Soon' on it so I don't loose track of which pictures go with which days (because it would so be like me to do that).

Speaking of the sidebar, you may have noticed that I've added another person to my word war widget. It's my friend Leo. She, Madeline, and I are all good friends and since we're all doing NaNo (I just found out Leo was doing NaNo today, great friend huh?) I decided to stick her on there too. Don't be fooled by her low word count, Leo isn't one of those people who updates her word count very often.

And speaking of widgets, I stuck the first 20,000 words of Thinking of You into the I Write Like website and got this:





I write like
Stephenie Meyer
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!


And just for kicks I stuck the first draft of The Lullaby in to and got this:





I write like
Neil Gaiman
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I'm thinking my writing style may just depend on what I'm writing, or maybe what POV I'm doing it in. It may also be that I've changed a lot in the last year. I also hope as the novel progresses it'll be less like Stephenie Meyer. Not that I'm one of those people who like hates her guts or anything, I mean she's a bestseller after all, but lots of olderish people do not like her style of writing and I want people to enjoy my writing. What author wouldn't? To let you decide for yourself if I write like Stephenie Meyer or not, here's an excerpt. Please note, this is in the middle of a flashback.


When I woke up, I knew what they would tell me, that she had been stillborn, that the little girl who I had carried around for 9 months was gone. That the birth certificate that had been set and ready with the name Ariel Lanfeld written across the top, would never be sent in. They had offered to let me keep it anyway. The doctor had signed it with the date and time of birth written down, and I had clutched it to my chest.

I can admit to myself know, that half of the tears I cried were ones of relief. I was only 15 with a full life ahead of me, a great career. I had done something stupid, and this was the consequence. And somehow I had been lucky enough for it to go away. I kept that birth certificate. I framed it at home, but lately I had taken to carrying it around with me, close to my heart. It was in my bra always, even now. They hadn’t given me any new clothes to wear or anything.

I never got to see her. They wouldn’t let me see the body, they said it would be too hard for me, in my adolescence. And I went with it. I didn’t want to see what a horrible person I was. The little baby corpse that I was relieved was that way.

In later life, after Clarence was gone, I would wish so desperately that I had persisted, that I had looked, that she had lived above all else. No matter what I thought I saw, my team, our missions, I never once saw her, and I always remembered that she was gone. That pain never went away no matter how bad I wished it would.

A sudden thought struck me. If she had still been alive she had to be around here somewhere. Could I walk around in parts of a memory I didn’t remember? Could I see her at last? It was worth a try. I stood up from my chair and drifted from the room leaving me behind.

I drifted down the hallway looking for a door labeled Nursery or a large window looking into it. Finally, I found a nurse carrying a baby and I just followed her. She led me into a room full of heated baby beds. I searched for my baby. Her name on some kind of tag. I finally found it but a blanket covered her almost completely. All I saw was a dark head of hair poking out of the top. [No blonde hair like Clarence.]

I lifted the blanket slowly, amazed I could touch something in a memory. Her face slowly was revealed to me. I leaned forward with anticipation, finally, after eight years. Then my joy and hope crumpled inwards. I didn’t know whether to scream, cry, laugh hysterically. So I just stared there shocked. In a movie quiet dreamy music would have been playing. But this wasn’t a movie. My dreams were crushed and lay in ruins all around this baby nursery. One of them started to fuss, and a nurse hurried to check on him or her. I barely registered any of it. I was focused on one fact.

My daughter had no face.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

10k Landmark Reached

You read right, I have reached the 10,000 word mark, and it's only the fourth day! This makes me so happy because last year at this point I was only at 4 maybe 5 thousand. That's a great improvement as Josh said. I'm making a lot of great improvements lately, and not just in writing.

Today was our first Academic Team meet, and my team came out on top with an undefeated score and a total point count of 630. It's amazing and makes me so excited as I actually got to help us get there unlike in previous years where I pretty much just sat and watched the whole thing. I played for the whole time for all three games and I must say I did great. This really lifted me up (the two cans of Coke may have also had a part in it) and I got home ready to type up the words for the day and write however much more I needed to get to 10k. That's what you're seeing in today's picture.


Don't I look so intent? It makes me so proud of myself and I believe that that is great for my writing. It allows me to write much faster and possibly even a little better (though it's NaNo so that's not really that important at the moment). Also, if you missed yesterday's picture check out the sidebar under NaNoWriMo. I decided to post all my pictures for the month there in miniature form. If you want to see the full size version just drag and drop the miniature in the URL slot-thingie.

I have a treat for your guys as well. Since I unintentionally started Poetry Peak a little early I know you may be a little disappointed about missing it this week (ha, I wish). So, even though I didn't write a poem, I do have this cool video for you to watch that my English teacher showed me. This poem that it's showing is amazing. Maybe I should try something like it sometime. Of course, not during November.

video

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

(Still) Floating on Air

I don't have to post the word count at the top of the posts anymore because I figured out how to get the word count widget in the sidebar thanks to Heather. As you can see, I'm trucking right along. I'm ahead of the game by just a little more than a day. I'm hoping to eventually get two days ahead which I will if I keep a steady pace. Here's to hoping that will happen.

You may also have noticed while checking out my word count that there are two different widgets, one that shows my word count bar plus a little calendar that shows how I do on separate days of the month and one that shows me and a mysterious someone else. This is my friend Madeline. She and I are sort of competing to see who can get the most words, or are we competing to see who wins first? Maybe we're just comparing and having fun together. Yeah, let's go with that one. She's a little behind but knowing her she'll probably catch up to me when I'm least expecting it.

It's the second day of NaNo which means I have a new picture of me to post which was, of course, taken by the wonderful Lizzie.


I have this weird habit of holding my ponytail (if I'm wearing one) while I'm concentrating so that's what I'm doing here (besides writing). You see that book in the side slot thing? That's my copy of No Plot? No Problem! And that shirt I'm wearing? My grandparents brought it to me all the way from Rome. Just a little piece of pointless information I felt like sharing. XD

I have noticed one major thing that I keep messing up in my NaNo novel. I keep switching my tenses. I'll be writing in past and then I'll glance up and I've suddenly started writing present tense. For some strange reason this makes me happy. My novel has a flaw (besides the many run-on sentences that I've accumulated already) and that is awesome because it's supposed to be that way. I'm also happy about it because it's not bugging me and I'm not itching to fix it. This is incredible for me because I might just have a smidge of OCD. You should see my room. It's probably the cleanest and most organized room of any thirteen-year-old ever.

Following one of the suggestions given by the NaNo staff I've found ways to reward myself for reaching my word count goal. For instance, today we (my father and I, majorly shocking) went to Wal-Mart and I got a pomegranate. I really love pomegranate seeds, or more accurately the little juice pouch things they're enclosed in. So after making a huge mess extracting all the seeds, I promptly put them in a container and shut them away in the fridge. I told myself I could eat some of them once I had finished typing my words for the day (I write in a notebook during school, as you can see in the pictures). Another reward I give myself (or that I will) is watching Total Drama World Tour (I'm a nerd, okay?). It comes on on Mondays. I've set the DVR to record all new episodes and I've determined that I will not watch it until Friday, if I'm caught up on my word count goal. If I'm not, I have to wait to watch it until I am.



And now to see you off I have a video (I figured it out, so many discoveries today) and a small excerpt from my NaNo. Here's to hoping you won't run away screaming after you read it.


video 



And that’s when I remembered and realized my biggest mistake.

Tass wasn’t going to be at my back, at least not until I lapsed and forgot again. Forgot this horrible detail that was burning straight into my brain, leaving a brand that I knew wouldn’t be permanent. Suddenly one of Clarence’s many drills resurfaced in my mind, bubbling to the surface. [Never go on a mission alone. Never. Do you all understand? If you ever do such a thing, and actually managed not to get killed, it won’t help you in the slightest because as soon as you get your ass back here, I’m going to kill you.] I’m on the edge of bursting out hysterically laughing. And why not? I’ve already been shot. [Does it count if I went alone unintentionally?] I can imagine Clarence pondering this question. It’s an image I should probably work hard to remember. I won’t be seeing it again any time soon. My shoulder throbs painfully reminding me of my situation. Or maybe I will.

Star’s laugh bubbles through my head, how I used to think it was the most annoying sound ever. Now I’m on the edge of tears, if only I could hear it for real now. Outside of my head, through my ears and not my mind. [Oh, Star, you little blonde bubblehead, how I’ve missed you. Why? Why did those stupid bastards do it? How could they bring themselves to do it?] Laughter is bubbling up again. Her waves were manipulating my feelings again, tic for tac, as she used to say, for my waves manipulating her thoughts. But then it’s not her real waves anymore, just the empty memory of them. Empty cold memories that are eating away at my mind. How could they do that to me? Wait, it’s not their faults, it’s those government dicks, the same ones that are standing right in front of me. And rage is suddenly the dominant emotion.

These fuckers are staring at me like I’m crazy, which I know I am. Just to freak them out more I allow a slow smile to creep across my face, knowing it makes me look almost vampirish, I’ve practice it in the mirror tons of time. My body is screaming at me and even as laughter starts to bubble out of my mouth, I start to fall. I’m on the ground and the man with the strange hat is standing over me with an expression between joy and fear on his face but I don’t care.

Because the truth is, the thing I’ve finally remembered is that Tass, Clarence, Star, all of my team, are dead.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Victory from the Start

Word Count: 3,006 words

I am feeling awesome right now! I wrote more words so far today then I have during any other day of my life. Maybe that's kind of sad but it's a great achievement for me. (Plus according to the YWP site I'm already 6.01% done!) This also means I'm already almost a whole day ahead (I might actually be if I get to writing now, I have about an hour before I need to get ready for bed).

I sent out a text to most of my contacts informing them I reached this goal. Some of the responses were pretty funny (I'm still waiting for about four people to reply) so I thought I would share them with you.

Josh: Kewl (There he goes with his text talk again. -rolls eyes-)

Christine: That is awesome!

Katie: What is NaNo? (How on Earth does she not know? I couldn't have forgotten to tell her, could I?)

Rylie: Thats great i guess! But whats nana?! (Nana? Really Rylie? At least you used punctuation.)

Allie: HOLY MOLY BROOKE (Yeah, she actually sent it in all caps.)

Nick: Holy Shit (Ha! I'm so awesome he had to resort to profanity. XD)

Lizzie: Go yo u!!! (Now your typo shall forever be remembered. Mwahahaha! Love you.)

Nana:  Wow! that's lot of writing. sounds lke it is going well (When I was typing the name I accidentally posted NaNo at first. XD)

Such were the first responses of my friends and family. It made me almost float on air. Along with all of the awesome youtube-found songs I've been listening to lately. When I have time to figure out how to post them in a post I'll do that. Hopefully, that will be soon because one of them is actually about NaNo. How awesome is that? Another thing that is awesome is this:


Courteous of the great Lizzie this is my November 1st picture. Don't I look just so writerly?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mother Nature

Tomorrow is National Novel Writing Month!

It's officially Halloween though I finished trick-or-treating about five hours ago. It's 12:50 AM at the moment and I've barely eaten any candy, which makes me not being very tired even more amazing (I have anemia meaning I get tired easily). I did have two cans of soda, though, which may have contributed. What does all of this have to do with anything? Nothing much, really, except that it means I'll be posting the poem (yes, I wrote it) that inspired my costume.

Mother Nature

Rarely seen
No one knows
Photos are non-existent
Not even legends are told
But she’s there
Hiding among the trees
Wearing their fallen leaves and buds

Chipmunks chatter to her
She laughs at their jokes
The twinkling sound of her joy
Repeated by the bluebirds
She runs with the solves
Howling to the moon as her feet pound the ground
Footprints marking the place of future rabbit homes

The fairy-folk dance with her
On Mid-summer’s Eve
Kicking up their heels
To the music
Played by mice on their whiskers

She weaves her hair
Lining for burrows
Soon to be filled with babes
Her touch brings new life
Green stems from dead branches
Her anger, though, can wreck havoc
The clouds grow dark with her thoughts
Her shouts rumble through the ground
And her tears of frustration raise waterlines
The animals hide
Waiting for this storm to pass
As we do the same

She is rarely seen
No one knows of the power she holds
Photos of her are non-existent
Not even legends are told about her
Her beauty, her power, her existence
She hides
No other name is her’s but
Mother Nature

I won't say it's one of my early poems, but it's not one of my newest poems either. It's somewhere in the middle. I actually think I did pretty good for back then. What do you think? I would really love to know.

Another thing that is related to Halloween is I finally have a picture for my profile (though it's not up yet). You'll get to see me and a few of my friends in costume (plus a couple of my friends who aren't). I've been taking a few more pictures lately which has sparked the idea to have someone take a picture of me writing for everyday of NaNo. Of course, I'll have to use my mom's little thing that you put the SD card in to plug it into the computer so they may not all go up on the correct dates but I'll try my hardest.

P.S. It's now 1:11 AM which means that my post typing time is getting shorter. Huzzah!