Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Writing Wednesdays: My Storyboard

It's been a dream of mine to have a corkboard and dry-erase board up on my wall.



Think of the use of it: for my corkboard, I could post inspirational notes, pictures that remind me of my characters, calendars, maps, anything I wanted. I often get story ideas while lying in bed, so if I had a dry erase board, I could just get up and write them. 

Recently, My Storyboard came into existence.

My dad bought corkboard tiles for me, and one of those roll-up dry erase boards, both of which you can stick onto your wall. I decided to put them over my bed, just for convenience's sake.


Before we did anything...


We hung up the tiles, but putting up the sticky board was time-consuming, because my dad is a bit OCD about bubbles. See, the board was this plasticky paper thing that you had to straighten out and make sure it was perfectly straight, with no air bubbles under it. Since Dad is one of those people who likes making things pretty near perfect, we stood there for a good fifteen-twenty minutes straightening out bubbles.

If I had ordered the board and done it myself, I probably would have tried to do it, then realize that it involved air bubbles. Then I probably would have redone it over and over and over again and ruined it and completely wasted my money. It really does pay to be detail-oriented (which I'm not).

That's me trying to be funny.



This is the end result, and that's me smelling my blankey because I was feeling random. (And yes, I do own a blankey. Don't judge :-)


That's what it looks like now. The corkboard tiles keep falling down, because my wall is bumpy, but other than that it's pretty awesome. I have my whole weekend checklist up on the dry erase board. As for the corkboard, I have a calendar, a map of Friette (Polar Opposites' setting), and a list of the key characters in Friette up there. I'm probably going to make a timeline or a pinboard of pictures/phrases that remind me of my characters.

The calendar is so that I could see the days and dates of the year and outline the fifth draft of my book.

Polar Opposites Update:

I finished the outline of the fifth draft last Friday, wrote out the events in detail, made a list of the characters so I wouldn't forget, and even wrote the query letter. I even have an idea of which agent I'm going to query first.

All I need to do is actually write the fifth draft! And I'd love for you guys to read it when I'm done!

I'm excited. Writing is my favorite part of the whole process, and I'll be productive. I've actually already written 1K words on the book, even though I haven't "officially" started yet. I'm planning it to be around 75,000 words. (Even though it's middle grade fiction, it's upper MG, so there's more room to soar in terms of word count.)

P.S. I have an idea for a serial story to publish in installments on Wednesdays. Not sure when it'll come, but expect it to come soon!

How has your writing been coming along? What have you been doing this summer?







Monday, July 28, 2014

Musing Mondays: Sarcastically Yours

I'm a perpetrator of sarcasm.



After discovering its use in eighth grade (I know, late, considering I'm about to be in tenth), I've started using it in ever-increasing quantities. Lately, however, I've been cutting back. Why?

1. Sarcasm has the capacity to hurt. I know. I've been hurt by sarcasm before, and I'm fairly sure I've hurt people with it too. Sometimes it acts as a Protego spell (in Harry Potter), rebounding your own words back at you. As a hypothetical example...

15-year-old Amy has just met a friendly acquaintance Denise for lunch. Amy tells Denise that her birthday was last week; Denise says, "So are you 15 now?" Amy says, "Noooo..." sarcastically. Both laugh, but Denise is slightly hurt by Amy's words. She genuinely wanted to know how old Amy was.

That's not a good situation for Amy to use sarcasm; first of all, because it's a genuine question. Don't use sarcasm when it's a genuine questions; it makes the other person feel foolish and uncomfortable. 

However, when it's an obvious question, sarcasm is a friendly and easy tool to use.

For example...

"So, what are you going to do when you get home?" Amy asks Tiffany while they're waiting for their moms to pick them up from school. "Oh, I'm going to eat," Tiffany says offhandedly. "Food?" Amy asks. There's a slight pause while Amy realizes her foolishness and Tiffany considers what to say. Then Tiffany says, "No, I'm going to eat bugs!"

Both can laugh during that example. It's happened in my case before, and usually the other person realizes their silliness and can laugh it off easily.

2. Sarcasm is sometimes hard to detect. Especially via the Internet, on this blog, and Instagram, it's hard to tell when a person is being serious or sarcastic. Which is why you need to be careful when you're on the Internet and you're sarcastic. If you say something incredibly drastic, like this...



In this case, put something like "*sarcasm*" or "#sarcasm" after your statement. Or just don't say a sarcastic response at all. BuzzBoy's question was probably genuine, and he'll just feel foolish. Also, you don't want to get into hot water later. Employers look at potential employees' social media, and if they come across LavaGirl's post, they might reconsider hiring her.

3. Sarcasm has the power to make a person feel like an outcast. I didn't figure sarcasm out until eighth grade. Until then, I took everything literally. Looking back, sometimes I blush at the situations I'd get myself into, taking things waaaaay too seriously. And sometimes yes, I feel like an outcast. I bump myself over the head for not understanding sarcasm before. Not understanding sarcasm isn't a sin in the Bible, but it's a sin in society.

4. You have to learn when to use sarcasm, and when not to use sarcasm. When a person asks an obvious question and a sarcastic response pops into my brain, I sometimes analyze if my sarcasm will benefit the conversation. Will the other person feel bad because they didn't recognize the obvious? Or will they be able to laugh it off with me? I've begun to learn to stop using unnecessary sarcasm in real-life situations, probably because maybe I've become a little more sensitive in that area. 

I think that you learn skillful and sensitive sarcasm by experiencing its effects and subconsciously analyzing what they do to other people. Knowing self-control with sarcasm is a trait of maturity.

5. In order to be funny, you don't need sarcasm. Sometimes I feel like, in order to be funny, I need to put others down.. That's not true. Funny can come in different forms--slapstick, ridiculous, and just plain old weird--and sarcasm is only one option. It's probably not the best tool either. It's sharp and when you use it the wrong way, it can hurt.

~picture from wikipedia.org~


So be careful. Just like you're handling a knife, handle sarcasm well. Let your yeses be "yes" and your nos be "no," as James says in the Bible. When it's humorous, use it. When it's humorous at the expense of other people, don't.







Friday, July 25, 2014

Funny Fridays: 3 Great Mysteries of Life

Fridays are when I shed all forms of formality and conventional blogging methods and just buck down and breakdance.






Today's Funny Fridays topic is THREE GREAT MYSTERIES OF LIFE.

We all have mysteries in our lives. Why can't my highlights just stay in my hair? Why can't scabs just go away? Why can't pimples, period, just go away?

But today, I'd like to address three randomly chosen mysteries of life. 

1. Seedless Watermelon

You know, when the signs say SEEDLESS WATERMELON, you'd think that the watermelon would actually be seedless, right? But nooooooo, seedless watermelon means that there are no black seeds. There are still white seeds (what's up with that?!). So shouldn't the politically correct term be "black-seed-less watermelon"? 


Picture from wikipedia.org


And why don't the white seeds go away? Why do only the black seeds go away? I mean, I know that the watermelon is genetically modified so the black seeds go away, but why can't scientists master the technique and get the white seeds to go away too?

And should we even be eating genetically modified food?


2. Throwback Thursday

Admittedly, in terms of pop culture, I was a bit of a late bloomer. I finally convinced my dad to let me get Instagram in eighth grade, and one of the first things I noticed was "#throwbackthursday." And I didn't get it. Throwback Thursday?

I had to ask my art classmate what Throwback Thursday meant, and even then they weren't very articulate. They said, "It's just Throwback Thursday, you know?"

Somehow somebody told me that "Throwback Thursday" meant you posted pictures of yourself when you were younger. 

But honestly, who coined the term "throwback"? That doesn't make any sense! To me, it seems like they're saying "throw back Thursday." So whenever I see "#tbt" or "#throwbackthursday," I think of throwing something back. Like a baseball. Or a tennis ball. Or a basketball. Or a soccer ball.


Picture from wikipedia.org


Not Thursday! Why would you want to throw back Thursday, anyway? I like Thursdays! They're the day before Fridays!

I Googled "Throwback Thursday," and I found this article. Seriously, there are weekly articles on hashtags now? 

All I can say is, What would Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother say about this? 


3. "Bae"

This is also another Instagram/pop-culture-term trend. Apparently "bae" is a term that refers to "babe." You know, like if you've got a girlfriend or boyfriend and they say, "Hey babe" to you?

First of all, I don't get the whole "baby" thing. In love songs, they always say "baby." What's that supposed to mean? Why would you be comparing me to an infant who does not yet have the brain capacity of an adult? Are you implying something about my intelligence? (Not that babies are unintelligent. They're just less intelligent than most adults.)

And then apparently the whole two syllables of "ba-by" was too hard for people to say, so they switched to "babe." I don't get that either. 

Then apparently people were too tired of saying two b's in the same word, so it became "bae." 

Next thing you know, people will be taking off the e and going around and calling everyone "ba." 

BAAAAAA. BAAAAAAAA. BA. Bunch of sheep here. Anyone want some wool?


Okay, I'm done ridiculing society. I find it incredibly ironic that I'm an avid Instagram user, but I'm making fun of the ridiculous trends that we use.

*sigh* 

Are there any great mysteries of life you find weird or annoying? (Please make sure to keep all comments appropriate! :-)



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Writing Wednesdays: Have Conversations About Your Characters

When trying to figure out their characters, a lot of people talk TO them.


I've tried to do this method, and it hasn't worked. I'm sorry, but whenever I try to talk to my MC, Adrianna, I realize that I know everything about her, and she doesn't have to tell me anything. Maybe I'm too far along in the book-writing process, but I just feel weird making myself talk to these imaginary people whom I already know.



Just fyi, I do have hair. ^^

I'm also not one of those people who can magically come up with character journals, because I always feel like I'm forcing all the dregs of my creativity out when they could flow more naturally.


So, that leaves talking about your characters.

One night, I was in bed, and I was envisioning the ideal future: where I'd published my book and now was being interviewed by a person. The hypothetical interview lady said, "So, tell us more about your characters!" 

And I expounded. I was originally talking about Perks of Being a Recluse, but I realized I could do it with Polar Opposites too. At the time, I was still subconsciously trying to figure out a main character, Lucas' personality. He was an Australian genius, and I had originally pinned him as a shy person, but...well, look at how the conversation turned out.

The conversation went along something like this:

Interviewer: So, tell us about your characters.

Me: {Talks about Adrianna, Al, and Graf}

Interviewer: And then Chloe and Lucas come into the story, right?

Me: Yes; Chloe's a very Type A personality [Note: I'd never pinned "Type A" to her personality before, but as I said it, I realized it was true], and she's very self-motivated. She's an Australian prodigee who absolutely loves writing and literature, and she has her own blog. In this sense, I don't think she'd be a major part of the sequel, because she's so busy doing her own thing. 

Interviewer: And Chloe's twin, Lucas?

Me: He's also very smart, but in a science-y, math-y way. He's supposed to be Adrianna's love interest, but he's not good enough for her yet. [Note: Those words just popped out of my mouth. Bam. I'd created the character of Lucas.]

Interviewer: What do you mean, he's not good enough for her?

Me: Adrianna's fourteen, and she's a girl, and she's more mature than other girls her age. Boys generally tend to mature slower than girls do, and Lucas is by far less mature than Adrianna. He's decent-looking, and if I write the sequel, he'll be a bit of a swollen-headed guy. But in Polar Opposites, he's really just a playful genius. A little bit of sparks in PO, but nothing more.

It's crazy how these things just popped out of my mouth. I had not given too much thought to his character before, but once I'm put in an interview situation, BAM, he was created.

So if you're not a character-journal kind of person, or if you find it weird to have a conversation with your character, have a conversation about your character instead. You'll be surprised at how much you find out about them.

Do you use any other methods to develop your characters? If so, please share them in the comments below! I'd love to hear them!







Monday, July 21, 2014

Musing Mondays: Reasons You Shouldn't Follow Your Heart

Everybody tells you to embrace yourselves, to follow your heart, follow your dreams.



Yeah, no.

I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong. Having a heart is good--it's what makes us human. We have passions and desires and the ability to love. We have dreams, and the power to chase them.

But only doing the things that YOU want to do can send you down on a long, narrow path full of selfishness, sin, and millions of other terrible things that you most certainly have the potential to do.

1. Our hearts are inherently evil.

Society didn't make us evil. We inherently are evil. We were born with the potential to do dastardly deeds. We sin because we're sinners--it's a simple theological truth. I might think I'm a decent person--after all, I haven't murdered anyone--but I have the means and the potential to murder someone. And I've murdered plenty of people in my heart probably millions of times. Our hearts are inherently evil.

2. Because our hearts are inherently evil, we can't trust them.

We're human. We all murder, lust, steal, lie, cheat, and are selfish in our hearts. Why should we trust and follow something that is murderous, lustful, klepto, etc., etc.? 

Would you follow something that's evil? What if Hitler told you, "Come on, let's go kill some Jews!" Would you follow him?

"No!" you shout at me. "I'm not a Hitler or one of his minions! And I never will be!"

But look at all the people who followed him. 
And look at all of us, following our own passions and desires without looking up towards the One who really deserves the glory.

3. Because we can't trust our hearts, we need to turn to God.

Romans 3:23 is a common verse--"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Yet I feel like sometimes Romans 3:24, the verse after it, is overlooked--"and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

We don't have to rely on our heartless minds and our mindless hearts anymore. We can rely on Jesus! We're justified by the grace that He proved on the cross, and we don't have to do anything in return. When we rely on Him to get through life, we tame our hearts and our souls. We learn how to give up everything we've ever wanted or dreamed and cling to Him.

God's plans may differ from our plans. So while it's good to have self-motivation and to follow your dreams, never forget Who we're living for and Who saved us when we had nowhere to turn. 


Has there ever been a time when you followed your heart and ended up in the wrong place? 




Sunday, July 20, 2014

VERY IMPORTANT THIS POST WILL CHANGE THE COURSE OF DESTINY

So I've decided to change the course of the destiny of this blog.

First of all:
  • No Sunday posts. I've been trying different things, and it's just not working. So no more Sunday posts :-(
  • The posts on this blog will be categorized into three sections: Musing Mondays, Writing Wednesdays, and Funny Fridays. On Mondays I'll muse about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness; Wednesdays I'll talk about writing, whether it be some tips or how my book(s) is coming along; Fridays will have humorous anecdotes and stories taken from personal experience. 




So...yes. Thanks for reading! 

Oh! One more thing!

Recently my post was published on The Rebelution. It's entitled "I Am Mediocre," and it's the first of a couple that will be posted. Check it out here!