Saturday, May 31, 2014

Author Influence-Beatrix Potter

I'll be camping with my family until next wednesday so I thought I would post my sunday post a day early, I'll see you all when I get back! 

Beatrix Potter is the next author in my author influence series. You can check out the previous posts in the series about Christopher Paolini and Brian Jacques if you would like.

Image Source

When I was little one of my favorite books was the complete collection of tales by Beatrix Potter. I loved the illustrations, and the sweet and funny stories. My favorite story was "The Tale of Two Bad Mice" where two mice broke into a dollhouse. "The Tale of The Pie and the Patty-Pan" was another favorite of mine where a dog goes to visit her friend for tea and thinks she swallowed a patty pan. Those stories always made me smile. 

Image Source

I think those stories might have been the ones that inspired me to start telling stories to my older sister at bedtime. I would make up fabulous adventures about chicks, bunnies, hamsters, and all sorts of other small creatures. Eventually I decided to start writing down my stories, If you would like to read the first story I ever wrote down you can read it here.

Image Source

When I got older I appreciated Beatrix Potter's beautiful illustrations even more than I had as a child. They made me want to illustrate my own books. Of course I realized that I'd need a lot of practice, but maybe someday I could do it, I told myself. So I practiced, and I still do, discovering my own style, both in writing and in drawing. I haven't figured everything out yet, but I don't intend to give up. When I learned more about Beatrix Potter's personal history, and the many struggles she faced,  it made me even more determined not to give up. She didn't so I won't either.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Liebster Award

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award. A special thank you to Maddie Jay for nominating me. For those of you who don't know the Liebster Award is not really a reward, it's more of a way of helping new blogs get discovered. Liebster is actually German for dearest. The rules for this Award are as follow:

1.Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
2. List 11 facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
4. Nominated 9 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers (You may not nominate the blogger who nominated you)
5. Ask them 11 questions.
6. Let them know about their nomination.

Image Source

Here we go, here are 11 facts about me:

1. I love memorizing random facts and bits of knowledge to quote at odd times.
2. I've been homeschooled my entire life, but took elective classes at the local high school.
3. I'm really good at procrastinating, unfortunately...
4. My favorite way to wear my hair is in a side braid.
5. I'm extremely organized and my closet is awe inspiring to most people.
6. I completed NaNoWriMo last November, and hope to do it again this year.
7. I never add sugar or milk to my tea. My favorite kind is chamomile mint.
8. Whenever I discover a new song that I like I listen to it over and over until I hate it.
9. I have acted in over eight plays, and six small movies.
10. Autumn is my favorite season. I love the colorful leaves, and the crisp feel of the air, but mostly it's because my birthday is October six.
11. I try to read at least one hundred books every year. So far this year I've read thirty one. 

And now for Maddie's questions:

1. If you could only read, or only write, which one would you choose? I would have to say read, because if I couldn't read I never would have discovered the joy of stories, and it would make everyday life nearly impossible. Even if I couldn't write I could still make up stories and tell them to people. It would kill me not to be able to write, but it would be worse if I could never ever lose myself in a book.

2. What is your favorite kind of pop? I don't really like pop that much, but I do enjoy Root Beer sometimes.

3. Tablet or keyboard? Keyboard.

4. Favorite book you've read this year? That would be a tie between The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.

5. Do you have pets? I do, I have a sweet black and white holland lop named Daisy. Our family also has an orange dog mixed breed named April, she's about ten years old. In the past I've had many different pets including but not limited to: Suicidal fish, dwarf hamsters, messy parakeets, and another rabbit.

6. Ever rode a horse? I've gone trail riding for my thirteenth birthday, and have rode a few other times at my great aunt's house. I love riding, and I wish I could have a horse. Hopefully one day I'll be able to afford one, and live in a place where I could actually keep one.

7. Something crazy you would like to do someday. I would love to hike the entire appalachian trail. Which is really crazy because I'm not a very active person at all.

8. Do you like to draw? I love drawing! If you've looked around my blog a bit I bet you can tell. I hope to someday illustrate a children's book or two. You can check out some of my artwork in my Gallery if you would like.

9. Country or Rock? Country, I love how it always tells a story and contains so much emotion. Besides, who doesn't like a banjo every now and then?

10. Do you like sports? Not that much. I only like to watch sports if they're really exciting. I do like playing a few sports occasionally. I'm not very good but if I really get into it I can get pretty competitive.

11. Where is the farthest you have traveled from home? I've traveled out to Washington state to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins a long long time ago. I've never been out of the USA but would love to travel internationally some day.

Here are the bloggers I nominate (some of them may have already done this):

1. Elizabeth Marie Kauffman at Visiting with Dragons
2. Gillian Adams at Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant
2. Grace M at Fictionally
3. Brooke Faulkner at Teen Words of Steel
4. Hannah at The Writer's Window
5. Skye Hoffert at Ink Castles

And finally here are their 11 questions:

1. What are some of your hobbies, and how did you get into them?
2. What's your favorite animated movie?
3. What's your dream vacation? 
4. Pen or pencil?
5. Something new that you tried and weren't sure about, but ended up loving?
6. What book has influenced you the most in your life?
7. If you could turn into any animal for one day, which animal would you choose?
8. Tea or Coffee?
9. Do you have a celebrity crush, if so, who?
10. What is the strangest thing you've ever done?
11. Describe your current work in progress.

I had a lot of fun doing this. I hope that you learned a few new things about me and discovered a new blog or two to follow. Have a great day everybody!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Character Development Series-Treasure Map and Key

What would your character do if they found a treasure map and a key? Would they throw it away in disgust? Hide it away for their future grandchildren to discover? Sell it? Tell all their friends about it in excitement? Start organizing a treasure hunt? Or leave immediately? 

How your character reacts to everything, strange things, small things, good things, bad things, everything, tells you just a little bit more about them. You want to eventually get to the point where you know your character almost better than you know yourself. When you can instantly know how your character would react and what they would say. Then writing your book will be a piece of cake.

Don't forget to comment below, I'd love to learn more about your characters right along with you!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Writing Contest Entry-Broken Crystal Stars

Teen Words of Steel is hosting a writing contest this week, there are three different prompts to work with and a 600 word limit. If you would like to look at the prompts, enter the contest, vote for my story (you need to be a follower of TeenWordsofSteel in order to vote), or check out the other entries just click the link at the beginning of this post. Here's my story I hope you enjoy it:

 Broken Crystal Stars
“I didn't mean to.” I whisper to the dark expanse of sky through my open window. “But I guess that doesn't matter. I only wanted to help, but all I can do is break things apart.” I turn away from my window, to face my dark room. I make a face at the overflowing baby blue suitcase on my bed. “This is it then.” I say, shrugging my shoulders and closing the suitcase, the lock makes a sharp click as I fasten it. I shove the heavy suitcase out through the window onto the roof. I follow it out, and stand on the roof listening to the soft wind through the trees and the crickets singing their hearts out. I walk carefully across the roof, trying not to make any noise. When I get to the lowest part of the roof I drop my suitcase to the ground, when I hear a soft thump I jump down after it.

I don’t look back at the dingy farmhouse as I walk away. My father and stepmother can survive without me, and my step siblings will be glad of an extra bedroom. I step onto the gravel driveway, my suitcase rattling awkwardly behind me. I glance up at the dark sky, stars, pieces of broken crystal, glitter at me. I quickly look down at my worn hiking boots instead, as they trudge on, distancing myself from my family and my past. I don't want to be reminded of that afternoon; I want to leave it all behind. I suppose it was a good thing that I messed up; it finally gave me a good enough reason to leave. I've never agreed with them, and they never understood me. I had just been trying to help, but my dumb luck had turned that into a disaster. It was an accident, but that made no difference. I was washing the dishes and my hands slipped, stupid clumsy me. It was my mother’s crystal serving plate, I'm sure my father hates me now. It was such a beautifully heartbreaking sound when it shattered. All the pieces shone like the glittering stars in the sky. I had run away from my father’s yells and the horrified looks on my sibling’s faces, hiding in my bedroom. “Why did we even use that stupid plate?” I ask myself angrily, kicking at the pebbles in the long driveway. I had said I was sorry, but it made no difference. They can keep the pieces; I'll take the real stars.

 The long driveway comes to an end abruptly halting my thoughts. The smooth black river of pavement stretches out in front of me, east and west, yellow stripes streaking through the middle. I look back up at the stars that glitter just like the broken crystal, just like our broken family. “Oh God,” I whisper, “What am I doing? I can't break us apart more that we already are.” I look back at the empty road again and then turn to look back at the sleeping farmhouse. A star shoots down from the sky and vanishes behind the trees on the horizon. “Make a wish.” my younger sister would say. I shake my head slowly in defeat “Can we piece this broken crystal family back together?” I whisper to the sky, and start walking down the driveway, back toward the house. “I can't do this by myself. Please help us out.” I pray. Because why wish upon a star when you can pray to the one created it?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Author Influence-Brian Jacques

Brian Jacques is the second author in my author influence series who has influenced my writing. 

Image Source

I've always loved Brian Jacques, I've read the entire Redwall series multiple times. I've always wanted to visit Redwall and Salamandastron, those places have become real to me. I love all of his characters so much, Martin, Matthias, Triss, Tag, and all the rest. I have learned all about writing characters and heroes, especially unlikely heroes from Brian Jacques. There's always a feast in his books with mouth watering descriptions of delicious dishes and drinks. I've found that this has rubbed off on me and I always have to include a few descriptions of food in my stories, and a feast or two always seem to beg to be included.

Image Source

There's also always a death in his books, it's usually the second main character who dies. Eventually I got accustomed to it, and came to expect it in other books, it made me angry sometimes when a character I thought should have died didn't. I got over it eventually, but there's always been something about the death of a character that gives me a bitter sweet satisfaction when a book ends. I'm not a sadist, I don't enjoy reading about pain, or putting my characters in dangerous or even embarrassing situations, but I have come to realize the importance of death in books. Death is a part of life, everyone dies eventually, you can't get around it. You know in your heart that everyone can't get through unscathed, the odds are stacked up too high against them for that to work, and there's something about a death in a story that makes that story real.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Character Development Series-Out for Ice Cream

Take your character out for ice cream. What flavor would they order? How large? In a cup or on a cone? Would they like sprinkles or a cherry on top?

Though it may not seem like a very important thing to ask your character, it's a good idea to know what their likes and dislikes are and what they are likely to do or order. If you know your character inside and out it will help you a lot with your writing.

Don't forget to comment below, I always love to hear from you!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Author Influence-Christopher Paolini

For the next few weeks I will be focusing on ten different authors who have influenced me and my writing. I decided to start with Christopher Paolini because he is the author who inspired me to start writing.

Image Source

Before I read Eragon I had only really read the classics. I hadn't read much fantasy before then either. I had read "The Chronicles of Narnia" "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" of course, but nothing like Eragon. I was amazed at the amount of twists the plot had, it was like nothing I had ever read. It was such an exciting and intriguing book that it made me hungry for more fantasy. When I finished the first three books, (Note: Inheritance was not yet published when I started the series) and discovered that Christopher Paolini was only 17 when he published Eragon, I was amazed. I thought: "If he can do it, then why can't I?"

That was four years ago, now I am only three chapters away from finishing my first novel, and have dozens of other ideas clamoring to be written. I have written poetry, and short stories. I have edited and slaved over my manuscript for countless hours. I have completed NaNoWriMo, and attended a writers conference. I have created numerous characters, and discovered whole worlds in my head. I have found a new way of looking at the world, and am inspired by everything I see. I have found life and joy in writing, and I don't intend to stop. 

I have discovered that I am a writer, all because I asked myself "Why can't I?" and I couldn't come up with a good enough reason to stop me.

Image Source

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Character Development Series-Message from Another Galaxy

What would happen if your character received a message from another galaxy? Would they freak out? Figure out a way to send a reply? Ignore it and hope that it didn't mean that the world was going to end?

Puting your character in stressful situations and conflicts helps you figure out who your character is. Don't let them sit passively on the couch, rock their world, turn it upside down, and you'll soon discover what your character is really made of.

Don't forget to comment, I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing moms out there!

"Siblings" by Andrea Nan

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Character Development Series-Article in the Newspaper

Your character's local newspaper is doing a series of  weekly articles on people in the community. This week the newspaper chooses to write about your character. What does the article say?

Leave your articles in the comments, I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Plot Twist

"Plot Twist" by Andrea Nan

Make sure you check out the Gallery for new pieces of art!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Stories Shape Who We Are

Nowadays stories are thought of as entertainment, but this was not always the case. Stories used to be used almost strictly for getting a point across, allegories, and  propaganda, as well as teaching children life lessons or morals are a few examples of how stories were used. You may object and say that stories are still used that way today, and yes, some are, but you have to admit, when you think of a story, you think of entertainment. You used to read a story to learn something, or be taught something, but now we just read to be entertained.

Just because stories are now thought of as only entertainment and having no effect on a person's thoughts, actions, or deeds, does not mean that they are passive. Just because we have changed our perception of stories doesn't mean that they have stopped doing what they used to do. Whether you like it or not, when you read or listen to a story you are coming in contact with another person's view of the world and you won't be able to get away completely unchanged. You are constantly being changed and shaped by the world around you, and stories are by no means an exception.

So Go read a book, but remember that what you read shapes who you are.
If you are what you read, I only want to read the good books.