Happy New Year: 2015!

NewYear

It seems like this last year went by so quickly… but even so, I feel like I’ve changed a lot since last year- and mostly in a good way. Anyway, to celebrate the New Year, I’ve written a (really) short story, which you can find here. I’m also going to write a bit about what this last year was like for me, what I’ve accomplished, and what I hope to accomplish next year!

Looking Back

Accomplishments

  • My school’s leadership team (which I am a part of) won a $2,500 grant for our school.
  • I helped to organize a school carnival.
  • I founded a school blog to help spread news.
  • My writing really improved once I started doing it more regularly than I had before.
  • I won NaNoWriMo!
  • I signed up for dual enrollment with my local college.
  • I started blogging more-or-less regularly again.

New tastes and opinions

  • I started reading comics and became utterly obsessed with Marvel.
  • I began to read a lot more YA fiction.
  • I started listening to Welcome to Night Vale.
  • I renewed my love of Disney.
  • I started listening to a lot more music than I had before.

Favorite books of 2014

Favorite movies of 2014

  1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It was just so edge-of-you-seat, and I loved the mystery aspect to it. And the big reveal at the end was amazing. I could probably fangirl about it for hours.
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy was also amazing, even if in a different way. It was HILARIOUS, and the soundtrack was great.
  3. X-Men: Days of Future Past (although my feelings on this one are pretty conflicted). I’m really not a huge fan of the X-Men movie franchise any more, since it feels like they’ve messed up a lot of my favorite characters, but I digress. It was still a good movie.
  4. The Lego Movie. Judging by the previews, it looked like it was going to be horrible, but once I saw the actual movie, it was actually pretty good, and surprisingly cute.
  5. Maleficent was a really cool movie. A good story, interesting characters… but honestly? I think my favorite part was looking at all the different magical creatures.

Favorite songs of 2014

Oh No! by Marina and the Diamonds

Centuries by Fall Out Boy

Top of the World by Greek Fire

Salute by Little Mix

Let’s Kill Tonight by Panic! at the Disco

Looking Forward

New Year’s resolutions

  • Next year, I’m going to try to be more outspoken and stand out for myself. It’s a trait that I’ve always admired in other people, but I have a hard time doing it myself.
  • I also hope to move out of my comfort zone a little and try new things.
  • I want to improve my artistic skills.
  • I’d like to write more book reviews on my blog next year.
  • Finally, I want to make writing a regular part of my daily schedule, even if it’s one ten or fifteen minutes a day. My writing has improved enormously even from just a couple days each week… Imagine how much it could improve if I wrote every day.

Things to look forward to

  • Age of Ultron is coming out in 2015! The trailer was super awesome, so I’m really looking forward to the movie itself.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, also set to release in 2015, looks pretty cool as well.
  • Winter, the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, also comes out in 2015.
  • The Night Vale book is also set to come out sometime in 2015.
  • Season nine of Doctor Who.
  • More Sherlock hiatus. Season 4 probably won’t air until 2016.
  • NaNoWriMo 2015. The YWP is also moving sites in 2015, so that’ll be interesting.

Anyway, happy New Year! What are your resolutions? And what are you most looking forward to?

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Planning for NaNoWriMo

I’ll be doing the YWP again this year! My word count goal is currently 25,000 words, although I’ll have to see how doable that is since I have a busier schedule than last time. You can check out the page on my WIP if you want to know more about it.

But enough about me- you want to know about how to plan for your novels, don’t you?

Well, don’t worry! I’ve got some tips coming!

Characters
One of my favorite parts of writing is seeing the characters come alive in my mind- there’s a kind of magic to it. Character creation, for me, is a very long process, that starts with a concept and develops in my mind until I feel ready to write it all down.

I’ve always character questionnaires to be quite fun, so you might want to look around for one you like. Here’s a link to one I’ve found that I liked.

Character story arcs are very important (but also fun!) These are woven in throughout your plot (or at least, that’s how I do it). Basically, your character(s) should undergo some change through the novel. Maybe they mature a bit, or learn to trust their friends a bit more, or similar. So write that down.

Another thing that I find handy is to create timelines for my characters- a year by year (or month by month, or whatever) list of the major events in their life and influences on their personality.

Doodling your characters (if you like to draw) is fun as well, and can help clear up the picture in your mind.

Or throw your characters into a random situation, like a sit down dinner, and see what happens.

Basically, whatever works.

Story Arcs

Last year, my creative writing teacher gave me some excellent tips about this magical thing called the 8 Point Story Arc. It’s basically eight “points” used to structure to main plot of your novel.

Stasis/ The Normal World
This is what life is like for your main characters before what most people call “the inciting incident”. It should basically be a snapshot of day-to-day life for your characters before the action starts. And like a snapshot, it should be short- only a couple of pages at the most.

Trigger/ The Inciting Incident
This is what sets your character on their big adventure- something that the main character can’t control. Sort of like Cinderella’s fairy godmother.

The Quest
This is simple enough- it’s whatever adventure the trigger set off. On your basic story arc, this is one part of the Rising Action.

Surprise
You may just have one of these, or you may have several. But the important thing is, the reader has to go “I did not see that coming.”

Critical Choice
This is where your protagonist(s) make the big choice- the one that decides which direction the rest of your novel goes in. Many times choice is between hard but good or easy but bad. This point is what causes the climax.

The Climax
The highest peak of tension in your story. This event should ideally be caused by your character’s critical choice.

Reversal
The reversal is the end of the critical choice and climax. It should change the status of your characters, like Cinderella going from a peasant to a princess.

The Resolution
This is where the story comes full circle. Any questions the reader had should have been answered by now, and your characters should have undergone some change through the story.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How do you plan to outline? Let me know in the comments!

Quarterly Rewind: Spring 2014

So, hi guys! It’s me again, believe it or not. Sorry for the lack of posts lately! I’ve had a really hard time coming up with ideas for posts lately, but hopefully I’m back now. Keep an eye out for my review of Ash by Malinda Lo, as it should be coming soon!
Favorite Quote From A Book I Read This Spring
“I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get- and never would.”
-Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Sáenz
This Spring In One Word
Busy!
Most Popular Review This Spring
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Top Two Books I Read This Spring
  1. Ash, by Malinda Lo. I haven’t even finished it yet, but gosh, this book is amazing. Queer protagonists! Fairy tale style storytelling (in a YA book)! What’s not to like?
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. METAPHORS! Metaphors everywhere!

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Summer
  1. Horseback riding. I’m doing a summer camp, so that’ll be fun. Even if it’ll be really hot out.
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy comes out on August 1st! I can’t wait!

Three New Obsessions This Spring
  1. Comic books. I still haven’t read that many, but the ones I have read, I’ve loved.
  2. Renaissance-era stuff. My school is doing a renaissance fair next year, so I’ve been doing a lot of research.
  3. Polyvore, a new favorite website of mine. Which is weird. I’ve never really been into fashion. Even if it’s fandom related.

Most Popular Three Blog Posts Overall This Spring
Three Posts I Loved On Other Blogs This Spring
Three Things That Happened This Spring
  1. I’ve branched out in my reading interests a bit. I’ve started reading a lot more historical fiction, queer fiction, and comic books lately.
  2. I was REALLY busy in May. I had a horse show and two big school events. It was fun, though.
  3. I volunteered to help teach a book club at school next year with a few friends!

Six Songs That I Listened To Far Too Often This Spring
  1. Cassandra’s Waltz, from the Doctor Who soundtrack. It’s so lovely and sci-fi sounding at the same time.
  2. New Year’s Day, by U2. I don’t know what it is about this song, but I love it.
  3. New Soul, by Yael Naim. Which is weird. This is more my mom’s kind of music (I usually don’t listen to upbeat songs), but… I like it.
  4. Nobody but Me, by Save Ferris.
  5. Warg Scouts, from the An Unexpected Journey soundtrack. This one is great for writing action scenes to.
  6. I Can See the Light from Tangled.

My Camp NaNo Novel!

So. You remember how I mentioned possibly making a post about my Camp NaNoWriMo novel? Well, here it is, under my new pen name… Bridget Gillman!

Charlotte Herris has everything she could ever want. After all, she’s the daughter of a millionaire and a genius, Charles Herris. Her father runs the Herris Corporation, which has recently branched into genetic sciences. While working with her mother in the lab one day, her sister Katie lockd them in the testing chamber. Her mother didn’t survive, but Charlotte did- and she was left with superhuman speed and reflexes. Charlotte now lives a double life- flirtatious daughter of a millionaire and smart-mouth masked vigilante.

Melanie “Mel” Brooks never wanted to be a hero. She was a popular girl at school, and had just finished her Freshman year with flying colors. But when she’s kidnapped by her best friend Charlotte’s sister Katie and used for genetic experimentation, she wakes up with wings and enhanced eyesight. After defending Charlotte from Tiger, another experiment gone wrong, she takes up the mantle of the Hawk and decides to defend her city, no matter what the cost.

Asha Brown is the Bluebird, like her mother, and her mother’s mother. The fact that she has powers comes as no suprise to her. Her powers give her the ability to turn invisible, leaving nothing but tiny blue sparks where she walks. She uses her powers for the good of the city.

Sharon Baker is an oddball. She’s a bit of a nerd, and always has her facts straight, which makes her a bit of a smart aleck. The fact that she has precognition- the ability to see the near future-doesn’t help much. The only other problem? She doesn’t do ‘superhero’.

Quarterly Rewind- Winter 2014

So, I got this idea from nevillegirl at Musings From Neville’s Navel. Basically, it’s a meme going over the events of the past couple of months.

It’s hard to believe that winter is over, isn’t it? And I’ll be turning fourteen in a couple of days. Weird.


So. On to the meme.


Image From This Winter

A photo taken during photography class at my school.
Favorite Quote From A Book I Read This Winter
“In the end, all it takes is one small action, by one person. One at a time.” 
-Ghost Hawk, By Susan Cooper


17170557
1. The Neptune Project, by Polly Holyoke. It quickly became one of my new favorite books. I love the characters, the story, and the writing.
My birthday! No. Okay. Um. Seriously.
First of all, the new X-Men movie, Days of Future Past. And Muppets Most Wanted. Honestly, it seems like all the best movies are coming out this year. I’m so excited!
Second… let’s see. I’m going on a school camping trip; that should be fun, as I haven’t been tent camping in a while now.
Disney. After Frozen came out, I’ve been totally hooked on Disney. Remember how I was mentioning adding ‘yet another fandom’ to the list? Well, here’s another one. Give me a year and I’ll be a sobbing wreck from all the feels.
Third. Let’s see. Looking at FitzSimmons stuff on Pintrest because even though I don’t watch Agents of SHIELD it’s one of the bestest ships ever.
This Winter In One Word
Fast. The year has been going by much too quickly for me.
Most Popular Review This Winter
The Neptune Project, by Polly Holyoke.
Top Two Books I Read This Winter


2. Shada, by Gareth Roberts. It’s like high-end Doctor Who fanfiction, plus it retains the trademark humor of Douglas Adams.
Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Spring



Three New Obsessions This Winter
Marvel superheroes- the movies and occasionally the comics. I’ve never really been into superheroes before, but lo and behold. Here I am, a newly coined True Believer. Yet another fandom to add to my list.


Five Things That Happened This Winter
Hmm. Let me see.

I started a new novel, which I may or may not write a post about sometime in the near future.I downloaded the free trial of Scrivener, which I may or may not decide to use. I realized that my decision about which high school I want to go to will be a lot harder than I originally thought. I joined Pintrest and went crazy with it. And I learned the basics of html coding and css.

Three Songs That I Listened To Far Too Often This Winter
Let It Go, from Frozen. It’s perfect stress relief, and always manages to make me feel better.

Plus, it’s just plain awesome.



New Year’s Day, by U2. I just discovered U2 on my iPod, and I love it. It’s quickly made a place on my list of favorite music.

Eleanor Rigby, by the Beatles. It’s so sad. But as Sally Sparrow so wisely put it, “Sad is happy for deep people.”




The Song of the Lonely Mountain, by Neil Finn. It’s so beautiful and rather haunting.



So, I think that’s about it.

The Notebook Sisters Linkup

Hello all! And I’m back from my vacation this weekend! Unfortunately, I don’t have any Ten gifs to go with today’s post, so you’ll have to do without. Unless I can find a way to relate Ten to books…For the bookworms…

1. What was your overall favourite book this year? (Yes. Pick one.)
Hmmm… Well… I must say, I really did love Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. I really do hate picking favorite books, though *sigh* It’s like picking a favorite parent or a favorite friend.

2. Which books did you reread this year?
The LotR trilogy, the Harry Potter series (As I do every year), The Wee Free Men, the Inkheart trilogy, annnnd that’s all I can think of at the moment. Although there are tons more.

3. Which book(s) gave you a massive hangover?
Ummm… Do comic books count? If so, then Amazing X-Men #1. I mean, look at that artwork! And Nightcrawler is back! But if not, then I suppose Harry Potter, as it always does. I even bought myself a wand at the Dickens Fair this weekend and I’m planning on sewing myself a Slytherin cloak.

4. Best standalone you read?
Hmmm… Probably Shada, by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts. It’s a Doctor Who novel about the fourth Doctor. Or perhaps Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman.

5. Biggest book(s) you’ve read this year?
Oh, gosh. Let me think. Probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, or maybe Inkdeath, or something else. I really don’t pay attention to the number of pages, but the more, the better! Oh, or possibly Dune. I read that on my Kindle so I’m not sure how long it was.
6. Most disappointing book(s) you read this year?
The Hunger Games. After all the hype about, it, I figured it would be good. Boy was I disappointed. It seemed poorly written to me and the characters… don’t get me started on the characters.

7. Favourite leading-female character?
Hmmm… Either Annabeth from the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus (She shows that girls can be smart and hold their own in a fight) or Meggie from Inkheart (I could totally relate to her love of books)

8. Favourite leading-male character?
Hmmm… Well… *Thinks* Can I say The Doctor? He was in Shada, after all. Or Sam from LotR.
9. Best romance(s)?
Percy and Annabeth. Or Ron and Hermione. one of the two.

10. What book(s) hit the DNF list? (Did not finish.)
Pfft. Are you kidding? I always finish my books.

11. What book(s) did you read out of your comfort-zone?
Hmmm… Well, Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanen. I was not impressed. And then there was World Without Fish. I’m normally not a fan of non-fiction, but I was very impressed with this one.

12. Which author did you read the most from?
Either Terry Pratchett or JK Rowling.

13. Top 5 books you’d recommend from all the books you’ve read this year?
1. Dune

2. The Harry Potter series, of course.
3. Anything by Terry Pratchett. Especially The Wee Free Men or Guards! Guards!
4. Fortunately, The Milk
5. Shada

14. How many books did you read this year all up?
I don’t count. Probably around 100.

And I’m not going to participate in the writing half, mainly because the only book I wrote this year was my NaNo novel and it’s still under revision. So, there it is! What do you think?