Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Highlights

Well, it's hard to believe it's the end of the first month of the new year already. My January started out looking like it would be super quiet and dull, but suddenly it morphed into this intense and furiously busy time and left me standing there in a daze. It was a good thing though. A very good thing. It's been a good start to 2017 so far (still can't believe I'm currently existing in 2017, whaaa???)


LIFE EVENTS

  • Beginning of the month we had our homeschool gang's annual Secret Santa Gift Exchange party - which was awesome as usual. Unfortunately I am missing a few close members of that group (my two Mackenzie friends who are overseas) but there were still plenty of great people to enjoy. 
  • I had a lovely tea time with some of my fellow older female camp staff, with tons of good treats, coloring, wedding talk (cause two of us are engaged) and of course...TEA. 'Twas grand.
  • I got to do two photoshoots this month with two beautiful girls and I'm really excited about the results. I'm hoping to do some more here in February. 
  • I went house-sitting for the family who lives at my summer camp and got the luxury of Netflix, a house full of junk food to myself, and all the camp horses at my disposal for five days. I loved it. 
One of the pretty, young camp horses - so gorgeous!
  • The weekend before last I went on a hut trip, backpacking 12 km up a mountain to Elizabeth Parker Hut near Lake O'Hara with my fiance's family and some of their backcountry friends. It was a long, hard snowshoe up but totally worth it. It was absolutely gorgeous up there. We were roughing it boiling snow for water, no toilet paper and only fire for light and heat, but it was a great experience (for a couple days at least!) - even if I didn't change my bottom two layers of clothes for two days...shh!
Our hut adventure group
  • My cousins came out for the weekend and that was a blast, we got to just chill out and feed cows while singing along to Taylor Swift and stay up late watching Seinfeld.

WRITING LIFE


  My writing was a bit all over the place this month, but I think I actually got quite a bit done? Maybe? Who knows. In any case, I've been writing my short novel The Snow Dragon since November last year and am about eight chapters in (that's not very impressive, I know!). What started out as a simple story suddenly went and morphed into something quite elaborate and much different than anticipated. But I mean, that happens with all the stories I don't plan out with a chapter-by-chapter outline.

  Speaking of which, I also picked up where I left off sometime last spring in the sequel to The Awakening. This one is called The Wandering, they are parts of a lengthy fantasy series that I have been developing in my mind since I was eleven years old (so eight-ish years?). I am getting close to the quarter mark there (15 chapters out of a planned 60 excluding prologues and epilogues) and that is kind of exciting. I had put it aside to write The Sorceress and the Squid and Faithless last year but my interest in it was renewed sometime earlier this month and I've been working at it relatively steady since. I know, I shouldn't be writing two things at once. Nevermind editing two other things. I'm bad. And very much an over-achiever who is also a procrastinator and thus remains in a constant state of nothingness. Life of a writer.

  Aside from this actual writing, I also came up with a couple new story ideas/plot bunnies that are trying to lure me away cause I totally needed some more distraction. Making Pinterest storyboards for the first time was a key player in this I believe. These inspirations include a sci-fi (or not? haven't decided yet) novel about the historical Queen Cleopatra, a weird paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy story about a demon-filled swamp, and a sci-fi retelling of the myth of Medusa (inspired by one of my poems from last fall). I'm kind of excited about some of these, do any of them interest you?

READING LIFE


  Successfully completed a total of 2 books this month (very pathetic so I guess I'll have to amp up my game in February).

THE CHEMIST by Stephenie Meyer
I was drawn in by the cover and the synopsis to buy this book around Christmas time. I pored over it all through the holiday season and slowly became disappointed with the story's direction. It started off great with a really interesting lead female protagonist but then devolved into a weird love story thing (not a triangle, thankfully, but still weird) and I couldn't really take it seriously anymore. The love story angle was completely implausible and out of character for the MC. The beginning bit was pretty good though. So I'll give it some credit it there. You're probably thinking "what'd you expect from a Stephenie Meyer novel, Emily??" And actually, her other novel The Host, is quite a good book, as much as Twilight is awful. So I was hoping for the best. Didn't quite work out unfortunately. :P 2.5/5

THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne M. Valente
This book was definitely the better of my two choices this month, I've seen quotes from this story in various places across the internet, but actually reading it is just, wow! It's very Wizard of Oz/Alice in Wonderland - like, and it's awesome. It's not super long and really interesting - I highly recommend it. 4.5/5
“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in awhile, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again.” 

BLOGGING LIFE


  So far I'm actually maintaining my goal of posting once a week?? How?? I don't have any clue why this actually became a thing but I'm super stoked about it. I think I will be able to persevere and keep this up throughout 2017 and hopefully beyond (excluding July and August cause camp/wedding things). Now that I'm actually managing to spin out posts I'm hoping to increase my following, do more networking, have more guest-posters and maybe try out guest posting myself? We'll have to see how it goes.

Current Blogger stats are slowly climbing... :D

  • 4,413 pageviews
  • 13 followers (this is up a lot which is cool and encouraging)
  • 49 posts


GOALS FOR FEBRUARY


///READ 6 BOOKS? MAYBE? I don't know if I can do this but if I want to stay on track of my 50 book plan this year then I'll have to get cracking!\\\

///FINISH 1st DRAFT OF THE SNOW DRAGON This one won't be very easy either, I predict a busy February with wedding planning and such even though I don't have much scheduled yet. We'll see if I can buckle down.\\\

///WRITE 3 CHAPTERS OF THE WANDERING I should be able to do this one, that will bring me to the quarter mark and then I can celebrate by taking my focus back to where it should be!\\\

///FIND EDITOR FOR THE SORCERESS AND THE SQUID I really want to get on this so I can hopefully publish before summer or late spring (my busiest season). If anyone has any recommendations for an editor I would be incredibly grateful to you!\\\

  I think I'll keep these goals short and see where I'm at by March - hopefully not ridiculously behind as usual!

  How was your first month of 2017? Are you meeting some of your resolutions or goals? Do you have any recommendations for editors for me or are you searching for a place to guest-post or a guest-poster? Let me know in the comments below!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Guest Post by Kerry Kelvas on Internal Inspiration

 Hello everybody! This week's post is being taken over by the lovely Kerry Kelvas of Iridescent Souls. She presented an awesome idea to me, instead of asking someone to write about what other stories have inspired them in their writing journey, she's here to discuss how the void in literature has inspired her to write what she's missing. I think that's a great topic and I'm really excited to share with you her thoughts! I am also excited to get to know new people through reaching out for guest posters, I love meeting new young writers and I hope you do too. So, without further ado, I shall let her take over... 


KERRY KELVAS ON INTERNAL INSPIRATION


  After delving into the world of indie writers and bloggers alike, it has come to my attention that many are propelled into their art from an external inspiration, fueled by a fandom of their favorite artist or their childhood hero. This has always caught my attention, not because it was puzzling or something I couldn’t understand. On the contrary, this sort of passion makes a lot of sense to me. However, the amount of people who fit into this category is what surprises me. Due to the overwhelming presence of fandoms, it seems that this is the way to be a writer at the moment, and I’m not a part of it. 

  I could give you a long list of books that I’ve enjoyed from the moment I started reading to today. However, none of these works or authors have been something that I could identify with completely. Each piece was merely just that - a piece. A portion of a concept or theme or idea that I could appreciate and relate to. I’ve taken these pieces and have made a collage, a map to understanding my unique self and form of expression. They’ve not inspired me to write something in light of the piece, but given me tools that I can use towards my work in progress. So if my inspiration does not come from an artist or book, where does it come from, you might ask? Many things, one of which oddly being lack of inspiration. 

  For the most part, I’ve been very disappointed with fiction for the past 9 years, since age 14. I found I could no longer connect to the story or the words, each book being largely the product of some formula that an author used to get its way into traditional publishing. When you feel like you could write something better, or something that will contribute the fictional scene rather than follow what already exists, it’s time to pick up the pen and get to work. 

  It is beautiful when a person can read a book and instantly feel that they are being seen, or delivered to a place they couldn’t get to otherwise. That is, after all, the intention of most writers. It is also beautiful to have that work be an inspiration to create, as I’ve already written in the past, creating for the mere sake of creating is extremely important.  However, I also feel that a person might be doing a disservice to the community, and perhaps even themselves, by only making something based on another thing. It is my personal belief that a person can be of service to the world by allowing their own unique form of expression to come through. For example, The Hunger Games is a wonderful and powerful story, but it already exists. Mimicking its style or theme is fun and helpful, allowing us to flex our creative muscles so to speak. But this only serves a portion of what it means to be an artist. Even if we take certain genres of writing that we prefer, or certain ways of writing, we can still make something distinct. 

  When I started Metanoia, I was going through an immense change. I was experiencing a culmination of thoughts, feelings, growth, and evolution, and it brought me to a place where I was compelled to dig down deep, pull something out, and make a physical item out of it. If I had any advice to give to someone who wants to write a book, paint a picture, or create anything at all that’s worthwhile, it’s to pause and think deeply about what your soul would look like if it were something you could see with your eyes, and then go make that thing. It may take years, or even decades to develop that vision, but this makes it much more than something fun to do. It gives you purpose, and it is the purest form of art, or at least the purest way to experience art. In doing this, you can put something into the world that could not have existed unless you were here. To me, that is just as important as volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating your clothes. 

  Ultimately, my inspiration derives from what has not been said and what needs to be. I would like to point out, however, that if it had not been for the works that I have read, I would have nothing in my writing toolbox. It is in this way that our favorite works is essential to the creative process. Overall, I align heavily with the saying ‘kill your heroes’. Idolization can pose the risk of not meeting up to our full potential by inadvertently placing it as something that exists outside of ourselves, rather than something that is already within and waiting to be met. Why try to follow in the footsteps of someone you admire when you can instead walk along side them by forging your own? 


Do you have questions or comments for Kerry? Leave them below and be sure to check out her blog, Iridescent Souls (link above). I will be opening up comment response to her, so be sure to leave her a comment!



"Kerry Jane seeks to unify the thought behind science and metaphysics. She knows they bring us to the same place and hopes to help others grasp this unifying concept. Kerry is a fan of those brave enough to embrace an alternative lifestyle and while not condemning those who have not grown past the superficial structures of society. She seeks depth in relationships and the practice of living here on our exquisite planet."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How the Star Wars Prequels Could Have Been a Total Win

(In Emily's own humble opionion, of course)

  I apologize this post was late - I went on a terrific three day backpacking adventure to live in a snowy mountain hut with no electricity, running water or cell reception. 'Twas awesome.

  Love 'em or hate 'em, the Star Wars prequels are a thing, and they are canon. And yeah, they weren't the best part of Star Wars ever...which I think is a real shame, there was SO MUCH potential for a really good story wrapped up in the poorly scripted mess that is the Star Wars prequel trilogy and it really, really wanted to make it out. Unfortunately, it didn't.

  Now, I happen to be a prequel fan - to an extent. I enjoy the movies for what they could be, not necessarily what they are. Basically, I fill in a lot of the story from my own head and smooth it all over and make it as awesome as I think it could and should be. So, for my post today, I'm going to share with you all some of the ways I think that the Star Wars prequels could have been a total win...


  1. ANAKIN'S TRANSFORMATION TO THE DARK SIDE AND HOW HE WAS RAISED AMONG THE JEDI


  This definitely should have been handled and written much better, and it definitely has the potential for that. Anakin is one of my favorite antagonist's simply because of his fascinating backstory and the potential the prequels had to really reach into the psyche of a truly messed up and evil character. Could have been so much more fascinating! First of all, the Jedi of the prequel time period were not necessarily the most squeaky clean of good guys. In fact, they are a hardcore conservative faction and almost cultish in a sense. They are the ultimate leaders, unchallenged and perhaps a little too powerful. They restrict their recruits ability to function within normal human emotion and deny any sort of individuality or expression which can be incredibly unhealthy, especially on young and impressionable minds. Of course denying oneself can often be a good and helpful thing, but the point to which the Jedi enforce this is incredibly toxic - it can even be considered a form of indoctrination (even if what they teach is generally good). If the prequels had been more opportunely written they would have used this to their advantage in creating the character of Anakin. Since he was taken at an older age to be trained as a Jedi, it would be harder for him to become the Jedi they wanted, hence their reluctance to take and train older Force-sensitive children.

  Now, the Sith are quite the opposite of the Jedi in most everything, but their philosophies are perhaps the most different. Where the Jedi are very conservative the Sith are very liberal, practicing a self-centered worldview and accepting no oversight or social responsibility over their personal freedom. Both views are taken to extremes between the two factions and Anakin - prophesied to bring balance to the Force - is in the perfect position to see this and become a Jedi warrior who can take an unbiased look at both sides and become a moderate, thoughtful and questioning young man who is not swayed or manipulated by a political belief. If anything was to bring "balance" to the Force, it would certainly be this.

  However, we know that this did not come to pass, but the stage is perfectly set for Anakin's failure. The controlling and overbearing nature of the Jedi faction pushes him towards the lure of the Dark Side and it's much broader and more personally pleasing views. As a Sith Anakin would be free to follow his own plans and ideas and not take orders or be forced into an empty stoicism where he must deny his feelings - including those for Padme. Examining the story this way, it is easy to see why Anakin was swayed to the Dark Side.

  Unfortunately for him, the fault in the Sith philosophy is that if you put yourself first you will become a slave to yourself, even to those who seek to control you through yourself. And that's exactly what happens to Anakin. The story is perfectly set up to send him on a path to be the perfect Jedi, but then have him falter and go too far along the way, leaving him as the bitter and twisted Darth Vader who hates both the Jedi and Sith and cannot find peace with himself. The interesting thing about this I think is that it would mean Anakin was not tricked into becoming a Sith, but chose it willingly. He was bullied by those who didn't want the balance he tries to bring to the Force through moderation and progress. He is bullied into moving from one extreme to another. Though one philosophy is no better than the other, he makes an incredibly human decision in favor of his real, personal situation. Sadly, the films miss their opportunities to really explore Anakin's clash with the Jedi, resorting to "telling" us that is the relationship rather than really demonstrating it with Anakin's intelligence and ability to see past the facade and to the dark underbelly of the Jedi world. I think that if this was addressed more, along with other subtle pieces of Anakin's character and life story, then we would have had a much more emotionally powerful tragedy to enjoy in Revenge of the Sith.

  2. GREATER EMOTIONAL FALLOUT BETWEEN ANAKIN, OBI-WAN AND PADME


  Along with some of the things mentioned above, Anakin's tragedy of turning to Darth Vader could have been a much more powerful punch in the gut if only his relationships had been properly delved into. In my opinion there was too much poorly scripted screentime between Anakin and Padme and not enough good stuff between him and Obi-Wan. After all, Obi-Wan is his mentor and trainer and their relationship is one of the coolest "brothers turned enemies" tropes to ever grace TV screens (in my opinion). I believe first of all, that Obi-Wan being so young and inexperienced when he took on Anakin and having a touch of a rebellious edge himself as a youngster made their master/student relationship dissolve into something much more personal than is traditional of Jedi. Being thrust with such a great responsibility as training the "Chosen One" at such a young age after so recently losing his own master must have been very difficult for him. I believe Obi-Wan tried and failed to contain his care and concern for Anakin, which was why he let his slip to the Dark Side go so far as it did. He allowed his feelings to overrule his caution and paid for it. Along with this being a building block of their relationship, I really wish we'd had more scenes of them together throughout the trilogy, stuff like we see in the Clone Wars show. Seeing them as companions and allies rather than just two guys getting into arguments who we are told are friends would have made their climatic Mustafar battle that much more intense.

  Anakin's relationship with Padme as secret lover and wife could also have been written much more convincingly. Put aside the poorly documented script and love story and imagine it different for a moment with me. Padme, an intelligent, progressive and bright young woman meets the grown up Anakin, a Jedi not stuck in the hardline conservativism of his fellows, but a thoughtful and idealistic young man who sees past the Jedi philosophy and could be real, lasting change in a stagnant and ancient environment. To Padme, a pragmatic, diligent politician, this could be quite an attractive feature and might encourage more and more time spent together reveling in their shared ideals until finally, one day, they realize they are in much deeper with each other than they ever expected.

  At first this is alright, they keep things a secret and go on with their lives. But the disapproval of the Jedi weighs heavily on the relationship and strains it over time, turning Anakin from someone calm, collected and rational to paranoid, anxious, and tempestuous, always looking over his shoulder. This also causes problems between the two of them and gives Anakin plenty of legitimacy to deflect to the Sith without the contrived prophetic dream sequence. It also gives him cause to be suspicious of literally everyone - including his beloved master and including the woman he loves and is doing everything for. To me this seems like a more realistic and interesting way to spell out the events of the prequels, it gives Anakin's character a lot more agency to have him struggling more with the laws of the Jedi and its personal effects.

  3. PADME'S HANDMAIDENS AND THEIR SECRET REBEL SOCIETY



  This is one of my personal favorite 'what-ifs'. It's a fan theory that I've fully adopted but cannot claim to have come up with myself (sadly I'm not good enough at fan theories). Basically, the five handmaidens of Queen Padme Amidala are portrayed as thoroughly trained soldier/bodyguard/handmaidens who not only look out for the queen but are each very individually intelligent, skilled and strong. Their strength comes from their anonymity and their bonds with each other. The fan theory is that after the death of Padme her handmaidens gather together and join the Rebel Alliance to avenge the death of their friend and queen. This includes them gathering intelligence, acting as spies and operatives and specifically looking into Amidala's death and trying to maintain her legacy of peace and diplomacy. It might possibly even include them watching over/helping to raise and teach Princess Leia on Alderaan. I don't know about you, but that would make a great sub-plot story in my opinion.

  4. AHSOKA TANO - no, actually, hear me out...

"Once I called you brother..." by Renny08 on deviantART

  I know lots of people didn't like Ahsoka Tano from the Clone Wars movie (some found her more tolerable in the show) and it seems so far removed from the cinematic Star Wars universe that yeah, I can understand if you're apprehensive about this idea. I think it could be really cool though, I mean, look at that magnificent fanart! ^^ Look at the angst! ^^ The possibilites for emotional fallout here are endless.

  Now, I know and am glad that we get a bit of this scene in Star Wars Rebels, but wouldn't it be so much cooler in live action? If they had established Ahsoka as a character in the cinematic universe then Anakin's turn to the Dark Side would have had yet another terrible price to pay. Plus, in the show Ahsoka also struggled with the restrictive Jedi mindset and, if this was applied in the SWCU then it would have been another thing that pushed Anakin away from the order. Adding yet another layer to his character development.

  To take it further, Ahsoka could believe herself at least partially at fault for his turn because of how she defected from the Jedi. Would she feel guilty? Torn by this revelation? Of course she would be forced to confront him, a former master and now enemy whom she had helped create. Would she hear how Obi-Wan failed in his mission to stop him and take it upon herself to track him down and end it? Would she be unable to in the final moments, remembering how he had been as a brother to her, and how she had failed him and left him when he needed her? Would she give in to his anger and rage and let him kill her (as Obi-Wan eventually does) rather than kill him herself? There are so many ways you could go with that and the theorizing of it in my mind just kills me. So come on, say that wouldn't be terribly cruel to audiences? You're a writer, you know it would be deliciously, wonderfully heart-wrenching, don't deny it!

  **The above fanart is titled after the song "The Plagues" from The Prince of Egypt movie soundtrack. And yes, since writing that section of the post I have been listening to the song nonstop. Don't judge me.**

  Ultimately, I feel the greatest tragedy of the prequel trilogy was not Anakin's fall to the Dark Side, but the fact that these movies were SO CLOSE to being SO GOOD. That bothers me every day of my life, not gonna lie. The skeleton of the story is pretty amazing I think, but they just didn't build on it in the best way they could have. And that is the saddest aspect of all of this to me.

  So there you have it, a few of the ways I would have tried to make the Star Wars prequels a little better. What do you think of these headcanons? Agree, disagree, intrigued or turned off? Do you have any mental improvements on the prequels of your own that you'd like to share? Please, nerd with me!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Case for Writing Poetry

((in which I also share some of my own poetry - terrible as it may be - to motivate and convince you!))

  Do you like poetry or are you one of those people who find it incredibly boring and dry? Are you convinced it's a totally different genre of writing from your own and has no use for you? Well, I am here today, ladies and gentlemen, to convince you otherwise! Last fall semester I did a poetry class towards my Certificate in Creative Writing and learned a TON about the craft which I had no idea about before. I've always enjoyed poetry to an extent but understanding it better gave me a whole new appreciation for it. Today I am going to talk about why I think the art and act of writing poetry can greatly benefit one's writing in many ways, shapes and forms. Don't believe me? Here are five examples below in my case for writing poetry...


  1. IT TEACHES YOU "SHOW, DON'T TELL" BETTER THAN ANYTHING WILL EVER


  As a writer I'm sure you've heard the age-old mantra "show, don't tell"? And we all know what that means: a technique employed to enable the reader to experience the story through actions, thoughts, senses and feelings rather than the author's description, exposition and summarization. Yes, this is basically the unspoken rule of writing. And it's true, a story becomes so much more effective when the reader understands it through your bang-on sensory details and awesome word choice rather than you telling them exactly what to think or feel. But in poetry, showing is the only option you have if you want to write anything worth reading at all - nothing will kill a poem faster than you just talking about something. In poetry, you as the writer have such limited space to speak and you absolutely MUST take advantage of that. Also, the way poetry as a genre is written, telling instead of showing simply doesn't work.

  Take a look at this line from one of my recent poems for example:

A dark girl stands in the doorway. Mantled in midnight blue, brown hair blizzard-blown; beautiful. 

  This is showing. If it were telling, it would be something more like this...

A girl with dark skin stands in the doorway. Dressed in dark blue with her brown hair messy from the wind outside; she is beautiful.

  Obviously both these lines describe the exact same thing, but which is more aesthetically pleasing and interesting for a reader? The first one (I hope!). Writing like that is really amplified in poetry and the act of practicing it will aid you in showing, not telling, in your prose as well.


  2. IT GETS YOU IN TOUCH WITH YOURSELF A LOT MORE QUICKLY THAN JUST WRITING


  When I write poetry it is almost always angsty and dramatic - that's the kind of poet I am. But I've found in my writing that poetry allows me to explore my world and myself a lot more than I had before - and certainly more than I do in my prose. Poetry is an excellent personal expression and really helpful in getting you to sit and think and consider things. It certainly makes you more self-aware (not that I needed any help there, lol, I consider myself hyper-self-aware to a fault). But if you are the sort of person who enjoys self-discovery, consider writing some poetry! Of course writing in general usually sheds some light on the kind of person you are deep down, but this can be amplified in poems. To the MAX! So try it, I'm convinced you might learn something new...

  3. POETRY IS ANOTHER FORM OF WRITING EXERCISE - AND HAS THE ADDED BENEFIT OF BEING A SHORT ACCOMPLISHMENT


  You know those days when you want to write but you don't really want to write your WIP or your other WIP or your blogpost and you just need a fresh, new space? Instead of following a plot bunny trail consider.... (you guessed it) penning a poem! It's generally a shorter effort than an actual story and can really help you clear the cobwebs out of your brain and get the gears running again. Maybe you could even write a poem about your WIP? The possibilities of poetry are endless and provide a great form of writing exercise. Who knows, the subjects of your poem may so inspire you that you want to write a whole entire story based on them?

(That kind of happened to me with my Medusa poem...)

sorry, you'll probably have to enlarge it, it's kinda long


  4. POETRY LITERALLY IMPROVES YOUR WRITING ABILITY


When you write poetry, your words have to multitask, they have to be able to say a million different things all at once - because you only have so many of them to work with. Poems can drag on for a long time, but most of us tend to write on the shorter side I think, and whether or not, sentences are constructed carefully to be as precise and eloquent as possible. Does this do wonders for your writing in general? Does it give you better words and better brains?

not really but i like to pretend i have a grandiose sense of self-worth


  5. POETRY IS *ACTUALLY* FUN!?


  No, no! Don't lose me there! Calm yourself and come back to the computer. Slowly...slowly...there. Yes, what I said is true. As a writer, I find that poetry can be immensely fun and entertaining. It's one of my favorite ways to write. I know the stuff they made you do in elementary school was so...well, elementary! that your brains melted out of your ears, and in high school they wanted you to write poems about this or that for different school projects, but trust me, taking control of the helm and writing what YOU want to write is the best thing ever. When you realize that poetry is in fact, not a chore, but a splendid experience designed to release your inner feelings, grow and diversify your vocabulary and make you look super edgy and hipster then how can you help but fall in love with it? Seriously, what is wrong with you for thinking otherwise! Be ashamed! Dishonor!

Disney themed gifs ftw
  Now that I have rectified your false beliefs, go out into the world, my minions, and release your poetry in a hurricane of violent proportions. Do not be stopped or swayed in your quest to poem! You have been commissioned by myself and I expect 100%!!


  If you enjoyed my snippets and are inspired to start writing your own poetry, tumblr is chock-full of young and excellent poets and a good resource to sift through. And of course there are always the classics (Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath are some of my favorites). If you want to check out more of my work you can do so by following the link to my poetry page on tumblr: vvittaee (you don't need a tumblr account to view).

  Hope you guys enjoyed reading my case for poetry. Are you a writer who likes to dabble in poetry? Or have you been kind of meh about the whole thing? Let me know your opinions below!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Look Inside My Latest Novel - Faithless

  What you didn't know you needed.

  Today is the beginning of my New Year's resolution to post regularly on this blog. As this was the first solid idea that came to mind, I thought I would share with you all my third fully written novel, Faithless. I've droned on about The Sorceress and the Squid here for too long now - here's to new things!

THE SYNOPSIS



  "Katarian refugee and dignitary, Sagaar Remus, is reunited after seven years with her husband, Damien Sparr, a convicted war criminal in the Outer Reach whose coupe destroyed her country, city, home and family. After years of separation she meets him in his prison cell, aghast by the atrocities he has committed in the name of his people. With her husband facing the executioner's block and conspiracy swimming around her, Saagar must learn what it means to love someone that you cannot trust."

  I came up with the idea for this story last Christmastime after experiencing a weird dream in which my boyfriend at the time, Jonathan, had become a killer and I had gone to him to plead that he turn himself in and do the right thing. When I woke up the idea stayed with and haunted me. What would it be like to be betrayed so fully by the person you loved most in the world? And that's how Faithless was born. 

  So far, after slowly writing it over the past year, it has become a very *very* messy first draft that will take a lot of cleaning up but I'm proud of the process and the potential it has. 

THE CHARACTERS



  SAAGAR REMUS: Is the main character and doesn't deserve the horrible things I did to her in the name of exploring a social experiment through a story. She was orphaned as a young girl and adopted by her uncle, the Premier of Katar and his family. She has grown up among her cousins and in the luxury of a politician's life. This photo represents what she did look like and does look like underneath her bad burn scars from Damien's bombs. She is tall and slender and internalizes everything to the point of mental breakdown. Her trauma causes blackouts and confusion and occasional short-term memory loss but the doctors assigned to her by President Larkin of Tokar are treating her. They say she is healing but she isn't sure, and emotionally, she is still in ruins. She lives life without purpose and tries to get by without thinking or feeling too much about anything - until Damien comes into her life again and she is forced to confront this man who destroyed everything. 


  DAMIEN SPARR: Was born a desert rat and, after being "orphaned" in a terror attack, was adopted into the Premier's family as a young boy. He grew up among them all the while awaiting the day when his comrades would urge him to make good their attack plan. In the meantime, Saagar fell in love with him and he married her - whether he ever loved her or not is very questionable. Damien is a hardened young man full of anger at the government order which he seeks to topple at any cost. He is dark-haired and green-eyed and seems to have some lingering obsession with Saagar despite what he has done to her. 

  These are the two main characters, some other important players include...

  • President Larkin of the neighbor nation of Tokar
  • Reiko, Saagar's assigned body-guard
  • Commander Rolfe, the Rebel leader
  • Marsh and Valla, fellow rebels 
  • Balor Remus, Saagar's deceased uncle
  • Wirna, old village healer
  • Inoraii, Damien's daughter

SNIPPETS

  Here are some never-before-shared snippets from the sucky first draft of the novel (don't worry, I edited them). 





  True to modern writer form, I have now a Pinterest board for this novel. I wish I'd discovered how fun it is to make those sooner! Actually, it's probably best I didn't, or else I wouldn't have written the book in the first place...

  You can check it out here.

  So, what do you guys think? I'm looking for a little feedback here. Is this a story you'd be interested in reading or not so much? What tips do you have for editing a very messy first draft? Let me know your thoughts below!


PS. I am now planning to post every Sunday, so keep your eye out for new content each week! :D

Monday, January 2, 2017

Thanks for the Memories, 2016

(that was a Fall Out Boy reference, in case y'all missed it)

  Here goes basic me saying "Wow, I can't believe how quickly the year went!" and yeah, even though that's what everyone's saying, it's true. 2016 was a bit of a fly-by. It seems the Internet has ganged up to hate on it, and I can't blame them. For the world over 2016 was kind of a bummer in many respects. However, it was a enormously wonderful year for myself and likely the last of its kind for me too (growing up and all that jazz, blah). So I think it's worth celebrating, and remembering.

(Especially since I've hardly posted at all these past few months - my apologies. I will try to do better in 2017!)

it's so hard to settle on just 52 images for this. ugh.


LIFE EVENTS OF 2016


  • Got engaged (November 12th)!! But I've babbled about that enough that you guys probably know all about it but if you ask for more information I will gladly babble more
  • (On the topic of weddings) I was a bridesmaid for my friend's August wedding this year and Jonathan was my groomsmen. This year will be our turn. :)
  • Turned 19 in July and that's weird. I'm going to be 20 really soon and that's more weird (people still think I'm twelve though, no joke, so that's good I guess).
  • Worked my fifth summer at camp. I'm looking forward to going back this summer for one last go round before being an old married person. I hope to come back afterwards as well but only time will tell there.
  • Bought my new horse officially in November. Her name is Two Bits and she's a beautiful bay Quarter Horse and I love her.
  • We acquired the sum of 26 cats on our farm. Please don't ask how.
  • Farewelled two of my very best friends to England and Africa respectively. I've been so ALONE, guys!
  • Did a ton of hiking, riding and photography throughout these past twelve months, which I am quite excited about. 


WRITING ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 2016

  • Finished The Sorceress and the Squid back in the springtime and have since been fixing it up. I've gone through three or four drafts since then and it's really shaping up. I'm super excited.
  • Took a poetry class and became a much better poet. 
  • Finished the first draft of Faithless. 
  • Began to write the first draft of The Snow Dragon
  • Actually got quite a bit of crap done despite my insane procrastination and even insaner life???


READING ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 2016

 

 


 
 

  • Read a measly 20 books and treasured my valuable reading time very very dearly. Acquired some new favorites including The Bell Jar, Til We Have Faces, Wild Geese, A Monster Calls and The Ocean at the End of the Lane



GOALS FOR 2017


  • READ 50 BOOKS: I really want to try and read 50 books this year, which I recognize will be super hard due to the fact that I generally don't spend any time at home or have any downtime during the summer (which will only be worse this year). I am excited to try though, my TBR is ridiculously long and my bookshelves are full and I need to READDDDD.
  • PUBLISH THE SORCERESS AND THE SQUID: I want to self-publish with Amazon for this story but I really need to buckle down and get the edits off and figure out how Amazon Publishing really works (too much brainpower, ugh).
  • FINISH 1 MANUSCRIPT, BEGIN A 2ND: I'm already decently well into my fairy-tale novella, The Snow Dragon, and I hope to have that finished up in the next couple months. From there, I shall pick from the slew of novel ideas that have piled up around me over the years...maybe once I'm ready I'll host a poll to determine which it should be? That would be exciting.
  • EDIT FAITHLESS TO BETA-READER STANDARDS: I'm not optimistic I'll have fixed this one up enough for any publishing hopes by year's end, but I would like to get it in the hands of readers before too much time passes. It's a story that I really want to see how people react to, and I'm excited for that. I'll be sure to inform everyone when I am in need of betas! :D
  • PARTICIPATE IN NANO: I never quite manage to do this (I kind of did it in October this year, but not really). This time I actually want to do the real thing. I'll see where I'm at way down the road in November...I'm sure it'll come scarily fast and I'll still be sitting on my butt going "whaaaa?"
  • GROW AS A BLOGGER: This is super vague, but more specifically I want to not suck at this blogging thing. I'd like to aim for a post every week that I can this year (I'll probably dismiss myself over summer) and try to get to know more people and reach out into the blogosphere. 
Overall, I'm really looking forward to see where this year takes me, both in my personal life and my writing life. There are a lot of super scary things coming up - like getting married and moving off the farm and away from home, or finding a way to publish my first book (I hope) - but these things, while intimidating, I know will be amazing and worthwhile. I'm so excited for 2017.

What are your thoughts on the past year and the year ahead? Are there any big changes coming your way in the new year? What goals do you have? Tell me about them below! :D