Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Recap

I'm caving. I'm being conformist. I'm doing an end-of-month post to summarize what has happened, because I've seen other blogs I like do them and for some reason they appeal to me. Maybe it is the idea of closing off the month's activity in a neat little package that appeals to the J in me.

Blog Happenings

I was actually able to read this month with the demise of the school year. None of these books disappointed, and I reviewed five of them here.

My favorite was definitely Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. A review is coming for that just so I can share my confusions and feels.
I found an awesome website called Thriftbooks which is like an online used bookstore. Because of it I was able to buy a few books in addition to the ones I got for my birthday:

  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • Hush, Hush by Rebecca Fitzpatrick
  • Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
  • The Merchant's Son by C.F. Barrows
  • The Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett by Bernie Su
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • Resistance by Jaye L. Knight

I wish I could say I'd gotten my head down and done some more revision on Taken, buuuuut. . . . I really hate revising, alright? Instead, I started doing serious character arc plotting for Ace of Shadows and Light. I've resolved to finish the planning so I can write his half of the first draft for the July Camp NaNoWriMo.
As part of this preparation, I did Beautiful Books #9 link-up focused on Ace.

Other Internet Happenings

What Is to Come
  • There are plans for a Myers-Briggs joint project. Keep an eye out.
  • I'll be finishing up my little series on character types and plot roles with a post on anti-heroes and anti-villains.
  • I have two books waiting to be reviewed, and that number will steadily increase.
  • I'm going to host another character interview. 

Questions I Now Want You to Answer:
  1. Which character would you be interested in interviewing? My grouchy protagonist from Taken, Tyv? My manipulative antagonist from Shadows and Light, Tempe? Or another character I've mentioned?
  2. Is there anything related to writing you want me to write a post about?
  3. Is there anything you want to see more of or less or around here?
If you could just answer those in the comments section, you'll be among my new favorite people. Also, have you read any of those books I mentioned? What did you think of them?

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Slew of Book Reviews

I LOVE SUMMER. Not because of the weather, not because of beaches and pools, not even because school has ended (I get bored too easily without it, but I'll admit, not having the stress is nice). It is because I finally have time to READ.
Let's see. School finished for me three weeks ago, and I've read five books This rate is a much better one than I've managed to maintain during school months. And now, I shall review them all. Right here. Yes, all five of them. At once.
(All covers link to Goodreads.)

First of all, look at that cool DNA/hair thing going on on the cover. So imaginative, right? I LOVE it.
Okay, what to say about this book. At first I was a little thrown off, because at the end of Uninvited Davy (short for Davina, so yes, the main character is a girl) and Sean were just fine and dandy in their relationship. A few days later at the beginning of Unleashed, Davy is having PTSD symptoms and doesn't really want to even be around Sean. Seriously? The change was a little too sudden for me, and it made me feel like the issues were just being made up to try and create some sort of conflict to hook readers. I didn't like it. But, since it was a sequel, and I'd liked the first book, I kept going, and things got better. Namely when Davy ended up by herself. Suddenly the relationship things were much more interesting and the plot . . . it was a thousand times better because suddenly there was goals apart from survival and motives apart from self-preservation. Davy's internal struggle was brilliantly done and kept tension high right up to the end of the book. Speaking of which, I loved the ending. It was an emotional roller coaster and I won't pretend I didn't feel disappointed and exultant right after the other. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Isn't that tagline sort of similar to each progressive grade in high school? xD Seriously though, I probably should have taken a closer look at the genre listings for this book on its Goodreads page before I read it. I was expecting a sort of contemporary mystery, but then at the three quarter mark I got slammed with sci-fi. Which I wasn't expecting, despite the light hints of it earlier. Maybe I'm just an oblivious reader. It was a good thing I do like sci-fi, because the genre-flip took me way off guard and would have made me put the book down otherwise. As it was I got jarred out of the book for a moment, but I continued reading anyway and I'm glad I did. Alison, the main character, has synesthesia as well as tetrochromacy, which basically means her senses are cross-wired (she tastes words and sees sound, etc.) and her eyes can see into the ultraviolet range. Anderson did a great job with capturing the synesthesia in her descriptions - I loved them! The writing was gorgeous, and I especially loved a section near the end - I seriously want to make a poster out of it and hang it in my room, it was so beautiful. I am in love. I gave this one four stars - would have been three, except I loved the ending and that one patch of writing too much.

I picked this one up because the main character was such an underdog, despite being a prince. Culture only values men who fight? Main character prince who can't because he's only got one hand? Yes please. AND I LOVED IT. Yarvi was a fantastic main character, with all his insecurities and the lessons he learns and everything. And the other characters. . . they were beautiful. Jaud and Shadikshirram and Ankran and everyone else. Though, I wish I'd learned more about the world. It felt like there was so much more Abercrombie could have told us about the elves and other nations, but I suppose that is the mark of good world building. There feels like there is much more. Even though the sequel isn't about Yarvi I still want to read it. Aaaaand I just noticed that the point on that snowflake is a sword. OKAY NOW I LOVE THE COVER TOO. This was unquestionably four stars.

I expected great things from this book. Great things. I'd read Neilsen's Ascendance Trilogy and absolutely ADORED it, so even though The Mark of the Thief sounded not much like anything I'd read before I still expected to love it too. And I must have a good eye for books I'll like because yes, I loved this book too. It was a cross between historical fiction and fantasy, since it was set in ancient Rome + magic. Which was a very refreshing combination, although I'm not complaining about the Medieval European style fantasy worlds. And Nic. I loved him and he is my new baby. At first he felt like a carbon copy of Sage from The Ascendance Trilogy, but then as the story developed it became clearer that he was different. His default behaviors were different, he wasn't as arrogant, and he had better success curbing his witty tongue to keep him out of trouble. And I also loved Aurelia, who was tough but not in a masculine way. AND CAELA. There was a griffin, okay, and I loved her too. Just go read it! You won't regret it, I promise. FIVE STARS.

(This is copied from Goodreads.) Ahahahaaaa where do I start. How about this? POOR POOR SIRAN. The sympathy I feel for this character is too much to contain. Barrows, I'm looking at you - give the poor baby a break in a future book (and there had better be one, because I still have questions). I adored The Follower, and I loved The Merchant's Son as well. While The Follower I think illustrated the struggles of a believer, The Merchant's Son focused more on how evil influences those who aren't saved and also those who are. I loved how the two different kinds of people were affected differently by the dragons and the river. Brilliant. Though fantasy, it was a reminder of what evil can do if we're not wary and don't keep our faith. And I loved Sern. He was a Christian, but he was sort of grouchy and didn't really want to talk to people, a lot of the time, which I identify with completely. He was very much like me, except much more haunted, poor man. I love both him and Siran. And Sheth! And Gaevra! Gah, I love all of them, what am I trying to do, picking favorites. Just go read it. Then you can understand why I can't right a perfectly coherant and logical review.
Have you read any of these? If you have, what did you think? If not, will you go read any of them now? Have you ever read a book that almost seemed to switch genres in the middle? How about a fantasy not set in a Medieval Europe style world? Any good Christian allegories (I want more). Give me recommendations.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Difference Between Heroes and Protagonists

This is a sequel to the post "The Difference Between Villains and Antagonists." If you haven't read it yet, please go check it out.
Last week we went over the typical baddies, villains and antagonists. Now we'll turn our attention to the light side and go over the difference between a hero and a protagonist.
I give you Tom Hiddleston as a king. You're welcome. (Image not mine.)
Classic heroes aren't very popular nowadays. They were used more often in mythology and legend, but the difference is still important to know since the term is still widely (and often incorrectly) used.
As before, let's start with some Google dictionary definitions of the terms:

The definition for "heroine" is exactly the same except gender-swapped.
Allow me to direct attention to those wonderfully highlighted phrases (said wonderful highlighting added by me in Paint). Protagonists are characterized by playing a lead role in the plot. Heroes (and heroines), on the other hand, are defined by their good and noble qualities and achievements.  Was there a hint of "lead character" in there? Nope. Was there a hint of "noble quality" in the definition of protagonists? Nope. Clearly, "protagonist" refers to a simple plot role, while "hero" refers to a character with certain attributes.
As with antagonists and villains, protagonists and heroes are often one and the same. Some characters who fit both descriptions are people like Hercules of legend and the Disney movie, Superman from the comics and various movies, Aeneas of the Aeneid, Gilgamesh from the Epic of Gilgamesh, Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series, the Prince in Sleeping Beauty, Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson books, Robin Hood from just about any of the movies, books, and legends; and plenty others. Heroes have grown more flawed as literature has progressed, but they used to be highly idealized in myth and legend - the ancient Greeks loved their demigod heroes. Still, they typically have moral compasses pointed directly north - there's nothing skewed about their motives (which sets them apart from anti-heroes). 
However, these two words do have unrelated definitions, which means they cannot both always be applied to the same character. There are protagonists who are not heroes, and heroes who are not protagonists. 
A few protagonists who I don't think of as classic heroes include Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean movie series,  Neal Caffrey from White Collar,  Yarvi from Half a King, Finn from the Incarceron series, Darrow from the Red Rising trilogy, Sherlock from the BBC Sherlock series, and Sophie from The School of Good and Evil. A lot of these guys are anti-heroes, but every now and then a villain takes the role of protagonist. You'll notice that a lot of these protagonists have a more "the end justifies the means" mindset. They're not as pearly-white morally as a classic hero. Some of them would be downright unlikeable except for whatever little lovable quirk the writer gave them (haven't we all hated Sherlock at one point or another for how insensitive he is?).
*strangles Sherlock through the screen*
Heroes who aren't protagonists include Doctor John Watson from the BBC series Sherlock, Horace (for the majority) of The Ranger's Apprentice series, Luke from The Darkest Minds series, Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter, Obi-wan Kenobi from the original Star Wars movies, Henry from The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd, and possibly Grover from the Percy Jackson series. If they're not protagonists, heroes seem to pop up most often in a role which allows them to be very close to the protagonist. Reason? They're there to help guide the protagonist along paths of righteousness. This means quite a few mentors and sidekicks are typical heroes, with straight-laced morals and a clear idea of what's really going on in the conflicts. (Note: Especially if your protagonist is an anti-hero, you may want to make a supporting character a classic hero to provide contrast and conflict, and to help make the protagonist make decisions readers can vouch for. Red Rising had an anti-hero protagonist and no character with a straight moral compass to help guide the main character, and it left me feeling like I couldn't really fully vouch for any of the characters.)
It ends up like that.
So to recap, a protagonist is:
  • a lead/main character
  • just a plot role, saying nothing about the actual characteristics of the character
And a hero is:
  • any character in the story with . . .
  • noble qualities, outstanding achievements, and a working moral compass
Ah, I love definitions and clear distinctions. Makes things so neat and organized.
Next Tuesday I'll post something about anti-heroes and anti-villains, which are the grey areas I haven't really spoken of yet. Should be exciting. *rubs hands together eagerly* As a further note, this week's posts are scheduled because I'm away, so I won't be around to answer comments until the weekend.

So tell me your opinions. Who are your favorite classic heroes? Do you think that the classic hero is sort of out-of-style right now? What about non-hero protagonists? Who are some of your favorites and why? Did you hate Sherlock at least once too? Have you read a book without a single morally straight character, and did it bother you? 

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Creative Blogger Award

Opal @ Opal Swirls tagged me for the Creative Blogger Award, and I now give her my deepest thanks. *bows with a flourish* The rules are:

  1. Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs 
  2. Thank and post a link to the blog which nominated you
  3. Share five facts about yourself with readers
I don't even know of fifteen blogs, so forgive me.

Five hopefully-not-entirely-boring facts about myself: 

I confess: I actually am an occasional pantser. I pants for blog posts, short essays, and novel-sized concepts which I don't think are good enough to put effort into planning. I only pants projects of that size if I have no ambition to finish them and only write them for my own experimentation.

I'm a fan of BBC Sherlock, but honestly a lot of it freaks me out. Psychotic . . . ness . . . is not something I'm comfortable watching. For this reason, I'm not one of those people fangirling over Moriarty. *shivers* Actually, the creepy cabby from episode 1 also freaked me out, and the guy in the last episode of season 3.
Yeah, this guy is scary, not cute. Kudos to the actor for being a proper scary villain.

I remember seeing the cloud deck above New York City on 9/11. I was only four, but my family could see the smoke from our home about forty-five minutes from the city. For this reason, there are few things that get under my skin like people telling jokes about 9/11.
I tried to find a gif for that, but guess what came up? Yeah. 9/11 jokes. I'm not promoting those.

I learned makeup from my little sister. I've never been exactly eager to fit into the "girls spend hours making themselves pretty" societal expectation. I'm still rubbish at using eyeliner. And if I've got it on . . . It was tough to get me to cry in front of people before? Well, now it is impossible. I SPENT TOO LONG ON IT FOR IT TO BE WASTED.

I have plans to get over to Israel via a one-year program in the college I'm going to next spring. We'll be touring all the biblical sites after learning about the history of Judaism and Christianity and all that wonderful stuff for a semester and a half. So excited!

So I do not have that many blogs to think of to nominate (especially none that haven't already been nominated). I'll list the ones I can think of, and then anyone else who wants to do it can go ahead.
Next up is that promised post on the difference between a protagonist and a hero!

What's your opinion on the BBC Moriarty? How about 9/11 - do you remember it? If you're a girl, how did you learn makeup, and do you like it? Do you have travel plans or dreams? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Difference Between Villains and Antagonists

Oftentimes, the words "villain" and "antagonist" are used interchangeably, and there's good reason for this (which I will talk about it just a moment). However, they do not mean the same thing, and this is where some writers get tripped up.
Image found at It is not mine.
I had to figure out the difference for myself a while back, when I realized that while my main character (Mara) for Shadows and Light was a villain, she wasn't an antagonist. Likewise, her counterpart and new partner main character (Ace) was an antagonist, but not a villain. I'd like to explain how this is possible.
First, let's start with the google dictionary definitions of the two terms:

Look at those little highlighted phrases (Paint does such a nice, clear job, doesn't it?). Antagonists are characterized by simple opposition. An antagonist is not necessarily evil, he merely has opposing actions, thoughts, motives, etc. to (in a story) the protagonist. The term does not say anything at all about the actual personality of the character. It is simply a plot role.
Now villain, that's a little more intense. A villain has "evil actions or motives" and is "responsible for specified trouble, harm, or damage." A villain is bad. He may or may not actually oppose the main character - for all we know, he is the main character! "Villain" is not a plot role - it's a character type.
As I said before, the antagonist is often a villain and vice-versa. Think Voldemort of Harry Potter, Sauron of Lord of the Rings, Lord Sidious of Star Wars, the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Lady Tremaine of Cinderella. 
But sometimes, just sometimes, the two terms separate. 
Villains who aren't antagonists don't appear very often, but they exist. If they're not the antagonist, they're the protagonist (I can't think of anything where there's a villain just hanging out doing nothing towards the plot). I'm told by this post on the subject (at The Write Practice, an awesome blog) that Dexter of Dexter is such a character, along with Frank William Abagnale, Jr. of Catch Me If You Can and Megamind from Megamind. I also think of Maleficent from the recent Disney movie by the same name (she sort of starts out hero, dips into villain, and rises again, but for a time it was true) and Emperor Kuzco from The Emperor's New Groove. My own lovable Mara fits into this rare category. *cuddles her*
Also, there are antagonists who aren't villains. They oppose the protagonist, but they aren't evil. Marshall Gerard of The Fugitive, Elsa from Frozen, Shadow from Sonic X, Dr. Octopus from Spider-man 2, Doctor Curt Connors from The Amazing Spider-man, Bucky Barnes from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Inspector Javert from Les Miserables are a few examples. None of them are evil in their motives, but all provide a major conflict with the protagonist. A lot of these characters are brain-washed, manipulated, or enforcing the law. I have an antagonist like this: High General Keir Durjaya from Taken.
So to recap, villains are:
  1. Evil. They have evil motivation and evil actions to match.
  2. Aren't necessarily opposed to the protagonist. In fact, they can be a protagonist. 
  3. "Villain" is a character type, not a plot role. 
Antagonists are:
  1. Not necessarily evil. The can actually be really decent guys who just happen to have a conflicting agenda with the protagonist.
  2. Opposed to the protagonist. They cause conflict with the story's main character.
  3. "Antagonist" is a plot role and doesn't say anything about the character's personality or motivations.
I hope that helps anyone who was struggling with the definitions. This can all get very confusing! Especially when you start trying to disentangle villains from anti-villains, or tread into the murky ground surrounding protagonists, heroes, and anti-heroes! I'm going to tackle the difference between protagonists and heroes next, followed by anti-villains and anti-heroes, so stick around. I've also got a few more book reviews coming up, since I've actually had time to read since school ended. 

Have you had any confusing situations when a villain wasn't an antagonist or vise-versa? Who's your favorite villain/antagonist and why? 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Coming of Age - Something to Think About

In the United States of America, when you turn eighteen, you become a legal adult. This means:

  • You can rent movies from the library without an adult with you.
  • You can buy cigarette lighters.
  • You can be the only one home when the repairman comes by.
  • You can order stuff from the commercials on tv.
  • You get full access to all videos on Youtube.
  • You can vote.
  • You can withdraw money from your bank account without your mom with you.
  • You could go see an R rated movie in theaters without your parents.
  • You have to double-check your facebook settings because the site no longer protects your privacy as a minor.
  • You can sign forms without your parent/guardian signing it as well.
  • You can get a job without a special paper saying you're allowed to work
  • You can get married
  • You can read M rated fanfiction on that one site that actually blocks M rated fanfictions unless you're eighteen
Additionally, within my family, when I turned eighteen I was:
  • Allowed to date
  • Getting prepared to move out of the house to college
  • Given my first bouquet of roses (by my dad)
  • Trying to figure out financial terms for a student loan

Obviously, turning eighteen is a fairly big deal in a few ways (at least in the U.S.). But the point of all this isn't to show how big of a life change turning eighteen is; it is actually to demonstrate what a big deal coming of age is.
Judaism sets its age of majority at age 12 or 13. According to wikipedia (which I don't trust, but it's fine for demonstration purposes), Canada's age of majority is nineteen. In Iran, the age of majority for girls is eight, and for boys, fourteen (again this is from wikipedia). 
Seriously, Iran. Why would you give a kid that much responsibility?
Obviously it varies greatly.
Keep in mind that "age of majority" is just the threshold of adulthood. It doesn't necessarily mean that the person can get married, drive, drink, smoke, leave school, vote, etc. Those age limits are usually independent and may not coincide with the age of adulthood. 
So, does the culture in your book have a age of majority? Why is it at the age it is? What changes about how a person lives their life when they hit that age? What about religion? If you have religion in your book, does it have an age set when people become adults, like Judaism? Is this event marked by a ceremony or party?
The coming of age ceremony seems to be pretty common in dystopias nowadays; the classic, "when I turned such and such an age, I got Matched/chose my faction/had to be reaped/was given my three Gifts/etc." And I'm not complaining. (Although if authors would stop sticking to age sixteen, I'd be grateful. Please add some variety to the shelves.)
It's only been a few years since dystopias became big and it's already cliche. Just . . . stop.
But why doesn't it seem to be in other genres? Is it only tyrannical governments that impose major life changes on people turning a certain age? No! And sometimes, as with the Judaism example, it isn't a government at all! It's just tradition, or religion. 
So when you next engage in a little world building, think about when your characters come of age. Ask: why the age is set when it is? Where did that particular age come from? What changes result from that birthday? Is it celebrated? Or maybe even disliked?
Play around with the idea. Maybe it is something you can add to your culture to give it more distinction.

Have you ever used an age of majority in your writing? For what? What was involved? How was it regarded by the culture and by the individual characters? Share in the comments! I want to hear what you've done with this, my fellow internet-dwellers! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Beautiful People #9

And it is Beautiful People time again! If you don't know what it is, head over to the linkup post - it's a link-up hosted by Cait @ Paperfury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.
I'm going to be answering the questions with Ace in mind. I need to write his point of view, so I'd better figure out as much as possible about him. And Mara has always been my favorite so I need to pay Ace some attention.

1. Do they get nightmares? If so, why or what of?
He gets the occasional nightmare that his and Mara's Destinies are switched - that she's really Destined to be a hero and he is Destined to be a murderer.

2, What is their biggest guilty pleasure/shame?
He feels like he's supposed to be tough and manly and all that, so he feels guilty that he indulges in playing his secret keyboard at night because he thinks it doesn't fit in with who he's supposed to be.
Quote not mine.

3. Are they easily persuaded or do they need more proof?
He doesn't really think too much about things. If he feels like something just sounds right, he'll accept it.

4. Do they suffer from any phobias? Does it affect their life in a big way? 
No phobias, but deep down he's scared that he's not who both he and everyone else thinks he should be because of his Destiny. Because of this he tries extra hard to fit in with the image he has created for himself.
It's like he's living to a tune not fully his own.

5. What do they consider their "Achilles heal?"
He thinks that his biggest weakness is the fact that his sister happens to be Mara, a Destined murderer. He doesn't think that he himself has any weaknesses.
Quote not mine.

6. How do they handle a crisis?
His mind blanks for a moment until his brain processes the crisis. Then he'll leap in and use magic to try and right the situation. He may or may not call for the authorities, depending on the exact crisis and how he involves himself in it.

7. Do they have a temper?
Yes, a bit. It doesn't come out very often, but when someone pushes the right button, his temper flares straight up and shows itself physically. He'll summon magic, throw a punch, clench his fists, etc.
When Ace uses magic, it turns blue.

8. What are their core values/and or religious beliefs?
He firmly believes in the justice system, in the infallibility of the law, in his own duty to assist the country in capturing law-breakers, in the inherent evil of said lawbreakers, and the goodness of everyone who is on the "good" side - the Mage League.
I don't really bring any sort of religion into this work-in-progress (even if I think I'd like to spin my magic system into some sort of allegory) so Ace doesn't have any beliefs I'd label religious. The only thing that comes close is his faith that the Destinies decreed by magic through birthmarks are unavoidable and sort of "the way it should be."
Quote not mine, but it reflects some of Ace's beliefs about destiny and fate.

9. What things do they value most in life? 
Justice, friends, reputation, family, music. He's especially concerned the majority of the time with his own reputation, his girlfriend, and justice needing to be dealt out to Mara.

10. What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
When he was born and his birthmark was interpreted to determine his Destiny was a pivotal point in his life. Without the Destiny he has, he would be a completely different young man.
Something he actually remembers though? Once, he had let slip to his father that he didn't think Mara would be able to escape her Destiny, like she wanted to. He said it sort of snidely, you know? In a "why is she being such an idiot" kind of tone. Erm, let's just say his father (Flint) didn't like discord in the ranks, even if it was hidden. He tried to impress upon Ace that Mara could very well end up being right. Maybe she could be a good person, and why should Ace disbelieve it? Ace, being a bull-headed child, continued to disagree. Flint eventually said that maybe Destinies don't have any validity at all; that maybe they are all just self-fulfilling prophecies. That Destinies only get fulfilled because people think it is their duty to fulfill them. For all Ace knew, he may end up not fulfilling his Destiny and becoming a hero. That comment really shook Ace up and is probably the root of his insecurities about his self-image having to fit in with his Destiny.
Quote not mine. What Flint believes and what Ace needs to learn.

Have you ever done Beautiful People? If you did it this May yet, leave me a link below! And do any of your characters have a lesson they really need to learn? What is it? Does anyone around them already know the truth?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Failing Camp NaNoWriMo and Why It's Okay / The 777 Challenge

I started off Camp NaNoWriMo doing well, meeting my goals, and then my daily word count started dropping. Maybe yours did too. After a few days of uncompleted goals, I stopped doing it altogether. If that was you as well, then this post is for you.
Perhaps your reasons are different than mine. Something unexpected happened, a different writing project took over, you found yourself without the motivation to keep going, or, like me, you just had too much going on between schoolwork and the rest of life.
Whatever your reason, the important thing is that you tried. You went to the website, pledged to attempt x amount of words in just thirty days. and set out to conquer. Maybe you didn't reach your goal, but you still accomplished something. You have the ambition and the will to reach for a dream, whether it was 1,000 words or 100,000, and you set out to attain that dream. The fact that you didn't succeed this time doesn't particularly matter.
What counts is that you tried. You didn't give up before you'd even started. You were stopped by something outside of your control and you can't help that.
And you know what? You can try again. And again. And again, until you finally do reach that goal. Whether it is in the next Camp NaNoWriMo this June, NaNoWriMo in November, or any other time you choose, the dream isn't finished. It didn't vanish like Cinderella's magic when the clock chimed midnight on April 30th. All you have to do is stretch out and reach for it.
You will reach that goal one day, but only if you don't give up.

Now on a lighter note, Savannah @ A Scattering of Light extended an invitation to anyone who would like to participate in The 777 Challenge, so here I am, being an opportunist, taking total advantage.
*runs away with challenge*
Hey, it sounded like fun!
The idea is to get to the seventh page of your current work-in-progress, find the seventh line, and then post the next seven lines on the blog. I haven't even looked at what I'll be sharing yet, but since Savannah's turned out to be quite a lucky selection, I hope that whatever the 777 lands on will be interesting.
(I have now just realized that "line" could mean a literal line of text on the page or a sentence. I'm going to go with sentences, since I won't have issues with unfinished thoughts that way.)
Here's the excerpt from Taken, since it was the last thing I worked on:
“Come on,” Nitri said, putting his hands in his pockets and strolling down the alley. “Let’s head to the docks. After that we’ll be done for the day and we’ll head over to the market. Ambyr is down there, isn’t she? You can snatch her a knitting needle or something.” 
Tyv jogged a few steps to catch up, then slowed to a walk next to his friend. “Ambyr wouldn’t have much use for just one knitting needle.” 
Aaaaand because I don't want to play favorites, here's the excerpt from Shadows & Light (with one sentence inserted just to help with clarity):
 Mara looked at Gabriel and raised an eyebrow. "Isn’t that a little repetitive?” 
“Whatever, you get my meaning. The guy is a sadistic jerk-face.” 
Mara snorted as she tried to stifle a laugh. 
Gabriel shot her a sideways look, smiled slightly, and then began driving one-handed as he used the other to make wild gestures as he spoke.  
“No, seriously! He enjoys watching us suffer!
Aimee Meester @ To the Barricade! and C.F. Barrows @ Digressions of a Demented Scribe, I TAG YOU, because I want to see what evil things you've been doing to your poor characters.
I must check in to see how the poor charries fair under their tyrannical authors.
I also tag you, Opal @ Opal Swirls, since I am snooping into your writing projects. :D
For anyone else, if you go read Savannah's post, you can bear witness to the open invitation she extended and go do it as well.

Did you do Camp NaNoWriMo? How did it go? Have you ever been disappointed because you didn't reach a goal? Are you going to do the 777 Challenge? LET'S TALK.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Infinity Dreams Award

I am sorry, truly sorry, for missing posts and entire week. Life is crazy. I promise, with school ending, that this probably won't happen again (at least until the next school year starts, that is).

I'd like to thank A Scattering of Light for nominating me for this award! So nice of you! I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your picture-thingy.

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.
2. Tell us eleven facts about yourself.
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

So I've already gotten the thanking and following part down . . . eleven facts about myself. Hmmm. I'll just write whatever comes into my head and hope it is in some way interesting.

1. I'm scared witless by bees, wasps, and yellow-jackets. I'm convinced it is because I saw my mum get stung when I was little and thought she was going to die (erm, yeah, she didn't).

2. I played the wife of the sheriff of Nottingham in my co-op's play of Robin Hood. I did more character development than anyone else in the group and my character had a crush on Robin Hood (her marriage wasn't very kind, I suppose).
3. I've been looking for a bottle of lilac-scented perfume for years, but have not yet found any.

4. I tried to assign a Myers-Briggs type to Jesus Christ (yeah . . . that didn't work). I came to the conclusion that He is all types, or else beyond typing. xD

5. Trying to figure out how the absence of time works in heaven is a topic I seem to ponder on every month or two. Does everything just happen at once? An instant containing everything in time compressed into just a flash? Does everything still happen in a progression? HOW DOES IT WORK. This will be the thing I try to figure out right after I get to heaven (after praising the Lord and thanking Him for everything He has done, of course). 

6. If someone rings the door bell and I don't recognize them or the company they're from, I will literally hide on the floor, make sure all sounds that may go outside the walls of my house are off, and then creep around the windows and doors making sure they're locked with my phone in my hand ready to dial 911. Yeah. Overreaction much? Probably.

7. I supremely dislike lip liner and, to a lesser extent, lipstick.

8. I cannot get a tan for the life of me. It is just burn, go back to being so pale that my feet glow in bright sunlight, burn, and repeat. Some of my friends find this much too funny. You know who you are.

9. According to my parents, myself and my mother are descended from the Anglo-Saxons and my dad and my sister are descended from the Normans. I don't know how me and my sister aren't from both, but I think it has something to do with our hair color. *bemused shrug*

10. As a media form in general, I dislike TV shows (though I have seen a few I liked, I rarely like them for very long. I think Merlin and White Collar are the only two that have beaten this trend). 

11. When I was about ten, I had fears of a tribe of Travelocity gnomes doing war dances around a fire under my cot, holding disproportionately large machetes. I'm not sure whether it stemmed from a nightmare or just my half-awake brain junk.

A Scattering of Light's Questions:

1. What was your favorite book from when you were small?
The Skippy John Jones books. I don't know why but I absolutely loved them.

2. If you met the villain of your work-in-progress at the grocery store, what would he or she have in their cart?
Pre-cooked beef, lots of lettuce, grapes, wine, whole coffee beans, tortillas, horseradish, pomegranate juice, limes, extra-dark chocolate, steel-cut oats, blue agave nectar.

3. What was one of your best dreams ever?
Best? Um, I think I had a nice dream a week or two ago? I'm not sure . . . I don't usually have nice dreams, or bad dreams, just weird ones. This one is my most memorable:

I was in Hogwarts, with a guy friend, who I'll just call X. We were in the battlements, looking down at all the students in the halls (which apparently had no roofs). We were searching for someone but I'm not sure who. Then suddenly we were in the halls, and we ran into Cho Chang, who was running a tiki bar. We ran past her and outside - we were suddenly being chased by Bellatrix Lestrange and a bunch of indecipherable baddies. We were approaching a park, surrounded by one of those ankle-high garden fences made of wire arches. For some reason we saw this as an obstacle, and then we were actually riding horses and we jumped the fence, which had grown to be about as large as a building. That delayed Bellatrix and her evil baddies, But now, we were airborne and couldn't run on the ground (for whatever reason there was), so there were all these colored discs floating in angles in the air, so me and X jumped from one to the other like we were jumping on trampolines in low gravity. Bellatrix screamed and started jumping after us, the baddies all splitting up to leap around in the air. 
Then me and X reached a valley filled with a snow-dusted pine forest. The owl warriors of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole in their metal war claws and masks poured out of a rift at the opposite end of the valley and came screeching towards us, blocking our escape that way. X and I determined that we had to run up the mountains to the right, through the forest, to escape. So we ran through the forest, Bellatrix still coming after and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole flying overhead. We made it to the clear thirty or so feet before the mountain peak, and Bellatrix appeared in front of us, alone. X, who had somehow turned into Katniss Everdeen, then morphed into a raven and flew away laughing. Bellatrix turned to me, and suddenly I was Katniss. 
The end.

From that dream, you'd never guess in a million years that I'm a bookworm, would you? xD

4. Which do you like better: chocolate chip cookies, or vanilla ice cream?
Tough call . . . can I say both? No? I guess the ice cream then.

5. If you had the chance to go to France of England, which would you choose? Why?
England! Both my parents were born there and my grandparents are all over there but we haven't been able to go over to England in years and I really want to go see a castle again. Plus there are bridges for cows. And I want to visit Sherwood Forest and the oak tree. So yes. England. (Plus, it is ironic you chose to compare France and England since, according to my father, they don't like each other and never have). 

6. If you could pick one song to describe your favorite characters, what would it be?
I . . . don't . . . have any. 
All my favorite characters are the super-smart ones with somewhat stunted emotional expression, whether they're bad or good or whatever. I can't think of any songs which describe someone like that.

7. What's your least favorite color?
Yellow, or orange.

8. How do you stop hiccups?
This is going to sound strange, but it is what my grandmother told us to do and it does work. However, it is a two-person job. 
First, you get a glass of water. Then you plug up your ears, hold your breath, and have someone pinch your nose and hold the water up so you can swallow some. Then you drink some. I think you may have to wait a few seconds or something but that is how I remember it.

9. What's one book that really irritated you?
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick. Just . . . the main character . . . and her dumb jealous best friend . . . they were both such IDIOTS!
*shudders* It annoyed me no end.

10. What's something you were always scared to do?
Always? How about setting foot on anything floating? Boats, floating docks, etc. I can swim just fine, and I'm not scared of water at all, but for some reason I absolutely HATE being on the water. I think it has to do with the instability and the irrational fear that a River Monster is going to come out of the murky depths, capsize our boat, and eat us all. 
I also hate ice skating for similar reasons - I like to have control over my own body movement, thank you very much. No slippery ice for me. Oh! And roller coasters. No one will ever coax me onto one of those death traps. Or even water slides. Hate those too. 
There are a lot of things I've always been scared to do, apparently.

11. Would you eat garlic ice cream?

My questions for the nominees: 
1. What is the strangest food you've ever eaten? 
2. If you had to turn into some sort of plant, what would you choose?
3. A coconut and a pineapple are arguing over who is better. Write out their argument (do they focus on looks, usefulness, tastiness, etc?).
4. What is the most irrational fear that you've ever had?
5. Which is your favorite planet?
6. Why would you make a good President of  the United States?
7. What is the longest book you ever read? Tell me about it.
8. Have you ever received flowers? What kind and from who?
9. Did you ever watch Veggie Tales, and if you did, what was your favorite part?
10. Tell us a few facts about your first crush (celebrity, fictional character, real person, whatever. No names need be disclosed). 
11. Would you prefer a lightsaber or Excalibur?