Category Archives: Fun

Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s not that I JUST want to be a published author. It’s really not JUST about that. Yes, I think it would be super cool to have my work out there and be published and do book signings or whatever, you know?

But really, my main goal of writing is to just get my writing out there.

I can’t do that if I can’t even finish one draft of one story. Technically it’s the second draft because it’s the rewrite, but I won’t get into that right this moment.

So, as many of you know, I participated in NaNoWriMo this past November and I wrote over 50k words to win. It was a tough month, trust me, and part way through I realized I didn’t want to write my story the way I was writing it, so I knew I’d have to do a rewrite of it eventually.

Well I’ve been trying to rewrite this story in the perspective and tense and everything that I want for the past two months, right? I even set a deadline for myself and everything in my revision plans. I thought it would go over smoothly, but like anything, I’ve hit a bump in the road.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my story and the way it’s turning out now that I’ve switched it up to what I wanted it to be, but I’m just struggling to find the motivation to keep pressing on and write.

Maybe it’s because I hate drafting. Seriously, I hate it with a passion. I don’t outline or do anything because once I write it down I feel that I’m done and that’s the best product I’m going to give. (I know there are other steps and edits and stuff if I ever do get published, but I believe I’ll handle that differently than this initial stuff.)

Well, I want to be able to finish my story and get it out there to the world, to share my creative voice and tell the story I want to tell. But I don’t want to stop there; I want to write as many stories as my brain can come up with. I want to be able to reach for the stars and share in the wonder that words can hold on a page.

And so I think my first step, aside from the obvious finish at least one story, is to find the motivation to finish it.

NaNoWriMo in November was something that was really motivational and challenging, giving me a set date and time in which I needed to finish up to or past 50k words in order to win. I think I need that challenge because I’m otherwise never going to finish it.

Camp-Participant-2015-Twitter-ProfileSo NaNoWriMo doesn’t just happen in November, but they also do Camp NaNoWriMo in April. It’s a more relaxed version of their November one, where you can set your own word limit and write as many words per day as you can to reach that goal. Whether it’s your NaNo draft, your latest story, a comic book, or whatever other creative writing piece you happen to be working on, that’s what Camp NaNoWriMo is all about.

So I think I’m going to participate and continue working on my draft of my November NaNo story.

It’s fun and challenging to reach a word goal in a month, and April will be no different. My goal will still be 50k words, I think, and where I’m already at 10k words, I think I’ll do well, haha!

If you need that extra oomph to write in the upcoming month, I’d definitely check Camp NaNoWriMo out. Sounds fun and a lot less stressful.

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Revision Plans

This was originally posted on my other blog, Reader Rayna.

I never posted this here initially, or really kept up with updates, but I did win NaNoWriMo this year with over 50k words (50,281 to be exact)! I’m very proud of myself as I won on day 29, and I wrote my butt off to catch up when I fell behind.

If you want to read a synopsis and excerpt from my novel, you can go check out my page.

So let me talk about my revision plans. I’ve got a lot of them planned, I’m just not going to get them started until the new year because my brain needs time to recuperate after all that writing and other busy things going on, plus my husband and I are going on a honeymoon to Disney World over Christmas, so… I have no time to think about my story.

Anyway, now that I’ve rambled, let me get on with my revision plans:

  • I’m going to rewrite the entire novel in first person point of view present tense from the perspective of my main female character, Dahlia, whom I connected with much more than my main guy character, Jake.
  • After that second draft (since my first NaNo draft is… my first draft) I’m going to polish it up and have several people who were interested in reading it read it.
  • Upon feedback from them, I will revise more and start looking for/querying potential literary agents who might be able to help me get my book published.
  • Yes, my ultimate goal is to get my work published, and I do love the story very much and I believe it would be a great debut novel (at least I hope). That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to grow in my writing from doing multiple drafts or anything of the like. As many people say, it’s not about getting published, it’s about the writing process.
    • What I’ve learned from it is that I missed writing. I missed being creative and spewing out as much as possible to create a feasible, entertaining story.

So my revision plans are pretty standard, I think, for any aspiring writer. I love my story and want to share it with the world. I have many other story ideas and writing plans, I just need to implement them and begin writing. No one’s going to tell those stories but me, so I may as well get on it, right?

Did you participate in NaNo this year? How did you do? What are your revision plans, if any? Let me know in the comments below!

Manga – A Growing Trend

It’s no surprise that so many people have become attached to many fictional characters in manga. Not only can they see the character in picture form, but they get a much deeper sense of who they are, their actions, how they react in different situations, etc.

Today, there are many different types of conventions (“cons” for short) that people get the opportunities to dress up (cosplay) as their favorite characters to the best of their abilities, as well as what their wallets will allow. Some cons are Anime Boston, Comic Con, Anime Expo, and more, including outside of the U.S.

There are many genres in manga, just as their are in regular books: romance, sci-fi, ecchi, harem, paranormal, horror, school life, shoujo/shonen-ai (girl/girl love; boy/boy love), and more. Some manga (most, really) are series that can stretch on for over 40 volumes, and then there are some that span just one or two volumes.

Why is it so big? The characters, the art style, the stories, all come together to create something that is visually stimulating for a lot of people, where regular word books just don’t cut it. Not only that, but many manga get turned into anime (think Pokemon), which bring those characters to life on screen in 2-D animation.

It’s been a growing trend in the U.S. for over twenty to thirty years, especially with series such as Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Gundam, Naruto, and Bleach, to name a few. Each series produces characters that kids and adults alike feel connected to and want to learn more about them while enjoying the fun, dramatic, scary, and weird antics that they get themselves into.

Some of my personal favorite manga are Fushigi Yuugi, Ayashi no Ceres, Hot Gimmick, Ouran Host Club, Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, Kashimashi, and others.

To read some manga online, check out MangaFox or Manga Reader, or any free site, to see some great books.

Have you read manga? What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Writing Challenge – August

Yeah, I know I’ve missed a couple of these, but I still have a little while left before it’s midnight my time (EST)!

It’s the last month of summer break and you have just a few weeks left before school starts. You can already feel the anticipation growing inside of you and you have no idea if it’s dread or excitement. But you don’t focus on that, rather you focus on the fact that you can still make it the best month possible before school starts up again.

What do you do for the first and last weeks of school break? Do you hang out with friends? Go to the beach? Find summer romance?

Respond to the prompt in no less than 150 words and keep it rated PG-13 or under.

Book Clubs

Have you ever wondered what a book club is? Have you ever wanted to start one but you were unsure of how to go about doing it or couldn’t find enough people to join you?

Book clubs can be a fun way of sharing experiences, likes, and dislikes among book lovers. Pretty much the person in charge of the book club picks a book that everyone in the club has to read within a certain time frame and then they discuss it in detail. This can consist of various questions that were thought up and the person in charge has to make sure that there’s flow for each question before moving on to the next one, and more.

It can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not all that bad.

If you join Goodreads, there are plenty of book clubs on there to join; you just need to find one that’s right for you. Or start one!

To start a book club, think of the following things before beginning, or as you go:

  1. Find people to start the book club with. Start small with just you and two friends, and before you know it, you might end up with ten more people joining down the road. The point is to start small and build up.
  2. Think of a theme or set genre for the types of books you want to read. Do you love mysteries, but the rest of your group prefers sci-fi? Find a common ground for everyone to stand on and start there, branching out afterward.
  3. Write down questions for discussion. If you are the person in charge for the first meeting, make sure you’re prepared (actually read the book) and have some questions on hand to ask your fellow club members. Write them down so you don’t forget.
  4. Pick a time frame. If you start a book club, decide on a book, and then just say, “Have at it!” then you’ll never meet up again until probably a year later. Be realistic in your time frames:
    1. For larger books (over 500 pages) or series, try having meetings monthly, one meeting per book.
    2. For smaller books (less than 500 pages), try having meetings bi-weekly.
    3. If you’re ambitious, finish one book per week, but make sure it can fit in with everyone’s schedules!
    4. If you prefer, have set chapters to read rather than completing the whole book so the book can be drawn out and you’ll have more to talk about.
  5. Bring snacks! Book club meetings can take a lot of time, so be prepared to serve some snacks so everyone can be satisfied and think of something to talk about.

Okay, so number 5 isn’t really a requirement, or something you really need to consider, but it’s still nice to have something to munch while you’re thinking of the answer to the question that was asked.

Book clubs can be fun for everyone and they don’t have to take a lot of time. Set your meetings for an hour each meeting and try to meet your own personal goals and guidelines to however you have it set up. Just be sure to have fun with it and keep on reading.

For the Love of Reading

Reading is a gateway to a world unlike any other. It can be set in reality or Mars. It can be a great way to de-stress from a long, hard day, or a way to just have some fun. It’s entirely up to you on how you view it.

But why is reading so great?

Let me first start by saying why I love it: it helps me to get away. I am a very imaginative person, and so to be able to have a way to channel that imaginative and creative side of me into something other than drawing is relaxing and fun for me.

I especially enjoy young adult literature. There’s a sense of innocence in many of the books, but there’s also a deep sense of self and adventure in many of the novels I have read. It’s nice to be able to read books about teens and young adults that can be so relatable, and yet some reach the very stretches of the imagination.

Not only that, but I have read manga, romance, fiction, historical, fantasy/sci-fi, religious, and many subcategories within those categories. There’s a whole range of genres of books that are accessible to those that are willing to read – so go out and pick up a book!

When reading I often put myself into the hero or heroine’s shoes, and so when some actions happen I react appropriately to those situations, such as when a romantic scene is happening: I tend to get butterflies. Or when someone is pissing off the main character I start getting pissed off. It’s a way for me to drop whatever is bothering me that day and just let go of it all.

So what can you do to start loving to read more?

  • Pick up a book! It’s not going to kill you to go to the bookstore, the library, or even online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble and buy an e-book.
  • Listen to an audiobook. I had a classmate that fell in love with reading again because of audiobooks. Some of the people who read it don’t sound great, but try to enjoy the story regardless.
  • Start or join a book club. What better way to read than being forced to meet up with people to discuss a book at length? Search around for local book clubs or start your own!
  • Pick up books with stories that interest you. It sounds like a “well, duh” answer, but we are often forced to read books through school that we otherwise didn’t enjoy, or even hate, so try to go for a genre or type of story that you’re interested in, such as dystopian societies or dragons or romance.
  • Find someone to read with you. This is similar to the book club idea, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Find a friend or someone close to you who will be willing to read a book along with you so you have someone to discuss every intimate detail with. It can be a life saver when you’ve just read something you love and need to talk about until your throat runs dry. Also try online communities where you’ll get even more people who will enjoy it with you!

The possibilities are endless. Reading isn’t just for school or something that has to be a chore, as many younger people, and sometimes even older people, find it to be. It’s fun, exhilarating, and completely worth it.

Take the time to make a list of your likes and dislikes in a book, then go searching for some! Always start off at your local library if you’re uncertain that you might like a book enough to buy it. The books are free and the librarians are often very happy to help with any questions you may have.

So how about it? Do you love reading or think you’ll be able to?

 

What are some of your favorite types of books? Why do you love to read? Let me know in the comments!

The Magic of Fantasy

Magic and otherworldly beings have been a part of our folklore and tales for as long as anyone can remember – from the unicorn to wizards to witches to whole new worlds, fantasy is part of our culture.

Creating a whole new world can take a lot of time and research as it has to be believable enough to fit into who your characters are, and it also has to be fantastical enough to draw people in to read about it.

The same goes with fantasy characters. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is a great example of fantasy characters: though her characters are places in a parallel world to our own, the events in which they live through, plus who they are – witches and wizards – put them into the fantasy realm. They are real life characters in that they go through their own trials and triumphs, they have feelings like any other person, and they deal with any typical thing that teenagers do, too (angst, jealousy, anger, love), but they have the ability to use magic, to talk to snakes, and they see fantastical creatures such as griffons and elves.

When you’re creating a fantasy realm, what should you add? How can you form it to fit your needs, your story, your characters? How can you tell the best story possible without going into extreme details as to every little nook and cranny in this world?

  • Start simple. This goes for any story building, really. You don’t need to make it super intricate and elaborate – tell what you know! If you lived in a suburban area, then make the world like that: close-knit families, but different races/species and cultures.
  • If a mythical being already exists somewhere in the world, then do the research beforehand. Yes, it’s okay to change it up a little bit, like with how Stephenie Meyer made her vampires able to withstand sunlight, or how Sophie Jordan used dragons as her mythical creature of choice, but changed it so that they could transform into humans. Think outside the box, but do the research as well.
  • Draw out your world yourself! Yes, I said draw. Why not doodle what you have in mind on some scrap pieces of paper and try to envision what you world looks like from the ground to the trees to the sky. It may help you to envision where you want characters to go.
  • Know the ins and outs of your world before you start writing. This can help with names, culture, determining climate, plot points, and more. Have a general overview to begin with before fleshing it out as you go.

Of course there are many more tips and tricks to making a fantasy world realistic (or at least believable), but I wanted to give my own two cents on some of the aspects I believe are important to creating a fantasy world.

Many fantasy novels hold places in our hearts, and without them there wouldn’t be as much wonder or magic and excitement in thinking outside the box. So take the time to sit down and really think, “How can I make this world come to life?”

 

Have you written any fantasy stories? What tips and advice can you give to making those worlds come to life? Let me know in the comments!

Finding Inspiration

Whether you’re writing your first novel or your 100th, inspiration can come and go in the blink of an eye, so you have to be aware of where and when you can find it.

There are many types of places, people, and even objects that can strike up that muse of inspiration when you least expect it. If you’re out on a walk, take a look at the scenery: are there other people around? What about the wildlife? How’s the weather?

Or if you’re at school or work, take a look at who’s around you and create a life for them. It doesn’t have to be true, and it doesn’t even have to take place in this world, but just try it out to get the juices flowing.

Often the easiest place to find inspiration for writing is nature. There are so many things that it can offer, such as the different kinds of flora and fauna, or how certain plants may grow in nature, or how the weather can change, or anything that can be seen. It’s always changing and it’s always an easy way to write a scene for your story. You can place your main character in that setting and see if he/she fits. If so, then great! Keep writing. If not, that’s okay, just try somewhere else.

There’s also a way to find inspiration in destruction. Go to a dump or a recent demolition site, or the site of a recent fire or anything, and look around to see if anything strikes up an idea in your mind. Not all stories have to be focused on the good in the world; sometimes the bad makes an even better story.

You can also find inspiration in mad-made nature. Dams, bridges, skyscrapers, schools, anything made by man can be used as inspiration. Are you writing a tale of cowboys and dastardly fiends? Incorporate trains into your story, or even a steamboat. Have a character that loves doing daring things? Have him jump off of a bridge into a canal.

There are so many options and so many places, people, and things that you can draw inspiration from, all you have to do is try it!

 

Where have you found your greatest inspiration for writing? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Writing Challenge: May 2014

Welcome to May Day! It’s the beginning of May and we hope that all these April showers will bring some May flowers, but that may not happen anytime soon. Any who, time for the monthly writing challenge!

  1. The theme this month: end of school excitement.
  2. You can reply to the prompt anytime during the month!
  3. Keep your content rated up to PG-13, please!
  4. 100-750 words for the prompt should be good, I think.

Okay, so here’s the prompt:

You’re in a class in high school, and you’re a senior, and the stupid bell won’t ring. You’ve only been staring at it for the past, oh, hour, and you only have another five minutes left before the bell rings. You can feel the anticipation in the classroom as the teacher tries his/her hardest to get the attention of the class, but to no avail. As you continue to stare at the clock you think about all that you plan on doing this summer: from preparing for college or trying to get a job, to hanging with friends at the beach and going on trips, you’ve got it all figured out. Tell me your thoughts and plans for the summer, plus tell me what happens when that bell finally rings.

Leave a comment with your prompt response! Have fun and enjoy!

The Effects of Reading Daily

Reading can take you on a whole new adventure that cuts through the mundane, everyday life you may or may not lead. From Middle-earth to Indiana to Paris to Avalon, reading fiction can bring you to places you might never otherwise see with your own eyes or during your life time.

So what are the effects of reading? Well, a study that was published in December called “Short- and Long-term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain,” published in Brain Connectivity, suggests that, according to an article on Psychology Today, that “reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to visualization of muscle memory in sports.”

This is actually pretty neat once you think about it: your brain uses muscle memory for things such as riding a bike, driving a car, using a pencil, and other tasks you can do on a day to day basis. That same muscle can be used to put your imagination on a “joyride” through the eyes of the main character of the story.

But have you thought about reading daily? It can seem like in our busy lives that we barely have time to use the bathroom, let alone read. If you set time for reading ten minutes a day, then you’ll be using that same muscle suggested in the study (the sulcus) to possibly change the way your brain works.

Not only will it effect your brain, but it can also effect your speech and the way you look at your day to day tasks. I have a friend who has been a part of several Shakespeare plays, including “Hamlet,” and she can sometimes be found to be quoting and speaking in Shakespearean lingo. It can be entertaining, but then again, it can be difficult to understand what she’s saying sometimes.

If you read daily, though, you can open new worlds in your mind – and frankly, staying in those worlds is a lot more fun than real life.

Imagine being able to stay in a world where you can be friends with Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters from John Green‘s novel, “The Fault in Our Stars.” Though the story has a sad turn of events in it, the characters themselves are quite fun individuals and I know I would personally want to be friends with them.

When a novel is able to grab your attention and pull you in, it can be a thrilling moment and you just want more. I know that when I read something that I enjoy I am easily taken to that world and can relate very easily to the main character, experiencing their emotions, actions, speech, etc. I love that feeling because it’s something that’s out of the mundane and out of the norm.

If you read daily, you can experience that euphoria often and enjoy the world the author conveys in their story. Take the time out of your day to read – just ten to fifteen minutes a day, or longer if you have the time. It can be both rewarding and fun. Just make sure to pick something you know you’ll enjoy or it’ll be all for naught!