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Crap! … Nano

15 Oct

So it’s October… yeah… am I the only one who just came to that realization; or just now began to comprehend the fact that November comes after October? Does that happen every year? I’m pretty sure it didn’t last year.

My point:

HOLY CRAP NANO IS NEXT MONTH!

It’s rather pathetic that I just thought of this yesterday, you know, considering it’s the 15th of October and there is only 2 1/2 weeks until November begins.

I’m not entirely sure If I can accomplish Nano this year… Why? Because a writing blogger not doing Nano is disgraceful, but I’m very busy on other types of writing.

You see,  It’s my Jr. year of high-school, and that means scholarships, scholarships, scholarships! (what fun!) Anyway, I’m applying for two HUGE  MASSIVE GARGANTUAN  scholarships (like the ‘if you win me you get into any college in your state for FREE’ kind of huge scholarships) The first is called GSP (Governor’s Scholarship Program) and it consists of a 30 page resume and 2 essays that have to BLOW PEOPLES MINDS, and 3 letters of recommendation that basically outline how awesome you are. The second is GSA (Governor’s Scholarship of the Arts) and this one is really exciting! Its a scholarship for any of the arts (hint: writing, photography, dance, etc.) I must have a portfolio of my chosen media. I can’t decide if I should send in my writing, or my photography… If I do writing I have to submit two pieces that also have to blow people’s minds to pieces with their awesomeness! (I just think I might die trying to decide.)

Either way I have a TON of writing to do, as both applications are due by December. DECEMBER!

Which means working on an entirely new novel is basically impossible. I will probably just lay down and die if I attempt Nano this year.  But then again I’m kind of desperately wanting to start a new novel that I have this great idea for… ugh! My life.

I’ll probably end up making January my own Nano (or… um… Jano?) That way I’ll have a week of winter break in January and all this scholarship craziness will be over!

*stress*

Anyway, who has more gumption than me and is actually doing Nano this year? What do you plan on writing?

 

My First True Love(s)

25 Sep

From the time I was little I was in love with stories. Movies, plays, books anything that wasn’t kindergarten napping and hopscotch I was into. I desperately wanted something exciting to happen to me, something that happened to characters in books. I wanted to sprout wings, or find out I was a missing princess like Anastasia.

Naturally then, I had my favorite stories, and my favorite characters. I had particularly bad little girl crushes on Peter Pan and Dickon from The Secret Garden.

To This day I’m not sure what the appeal of these two were as compared to the princes of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Maybe it was the fact that Peter Pan was utterly wild and incredulous, while the Princes of Disney had little else but their title.

Oh Golly! If you don’t find this adorable you’re on crack!

Peter Pan always held a special place in my heart. He was unruly and lets not forget musical (pan pipes). Not to mention an excellent leader (he could rally 12 boys under the age of 13 and that’s a tough job for anyone). Besides that he was an extraordinary fighter (beating up a  pirate 3 times his age and half his wit). And boy was he witty. Even at 7 years old I  couldn’t help but falling in love with people’s wit and Peter Pan’s was no exception.

Then there was the fact that he was utterly magically, and could freakin’ fly! If that wasn’t reason enough to want to marry him then i don’t know what is. So there is my explanation for being in love with Peter Pan. Makes sense.

Then there was Dickon. Oh Dickon, sweet, adorable, animal charmer Dickon! That should be enough to make any girl swoon right there. Let’s not even MENTION the fact that he has an accent (an adorable little scots-irishaccent)! Plus he’s all in love with animals and the wind in his hair and stuff like that and as a little suburbs

It’s like The Notebook for 10 year olds! 😀 *I’m squealing on the inside*

girl I wanted so badly to run out on the ‘Moore’ with him. Plus, he could tame a WILD PONY. Every little girl wants a pony and if a boy could tame a wild pony and give it to me I’m pretty dang sure I would marry him to this day. Nuff said.

Oh and on top of that he would Push Mary on the swing in the garden and that was just too cute! He was a perfect little gentleman, which is the complete opposite of Peter. Who in retrospect was a total player who flirted with Mermaids, and probably joked around with Wendy way too much. He will just never grow up. So immature (haha)!

What do my fictious love interests have to do with writing.

Well, just recently I realized that right there (those two characters) are excellent examples of how to make love interests interesting. They (even as children) had the makings of great men. And so I will now got pat myself on the back for discovering that I have great taste in fictitious boys. Their characters would be excellent models to form an MC or a secondary character with! Now, don’t you feel like you learned something?

Did anyone else have kiddie crushes?

Sorry this post is late… Microsoft is lame and windows live didn’t post it for me! UGH! Technology 😦

Ally on: Being a Teen Writer

20 Sep

I feel like it’s time for a little heart to heart here guys. I just need to get this situation off my chest, because everyone else seems to have an opinion about it and so here’s my two cents on teen writers, and being one.

First off, we get a bad wrap. At least I thinks so. We can’t write anything ‘good‘, were shut ins, we drink large amounts of tea, and on top of all of this people seem to think that were just writing for fun. FUN? Whomsoever thinks writing is fun has obviously never done it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people and when I tell them I’m a writer they’ll say over exuberantly  “Oh that’s cute!” or dreadfully, “you aren’t going to college for that are you?”. With either response you might as well of just spit in my tea and walked away.

I’m not taken seriously, and i know it. Heck, everyone knows it!

If you’re between the ages of say… 13 and 20 and drop the ‘W’ bomb you’re whole ship is sunk. You automatically become the out in space, unrealistic dreamer who obviously doesn’t have his/her head on straight and clearly, ever so clearly needs to be steered in the right direction. I can’t tell you how often my Grandmother has throw out the topic of engineer, or chemist, or (if you absolutely must) biologist when I bring up writing. And it isn’t that those aren’t good jobs, or that I couldn’t do them (or don’t want to) it’s the fact that you don’t even give writing a second thought.

No one has EVER said to me (other than fellow writers) “Why Ally, you should keep writing! You could have a future there.”

And I’m not asking for handouts, or compliments, honestly. If you want to tell me I suck at writing and am a failure and that I’ll never amount to anything in the field… fine. But don’t just skim over it like it isn’t even worth a comment, like since its worthless to you it’s worthless to me, because it’s not.

And i think that’s where the big misconception is. People think this is just something I do. They think that it’s worthless.That it’s all the papers you throw away at the end of the school year (sure you used them once, they meant something once. But no one else will want them, and eventually you’ll realize you don’t need them, and you’ll just toss it out with the trash)

But it ISN”T LIKE THAT.

Writing is something that you have to commit to. ESPECIALLY as a teen! School, sports, friends, family, clubs, a part-time job, applying for college (if your a Jr./Senior), and church (if your into that) is all on a teen’s plate. Add writing to that and, well, you could just about drop dead at the end of the day. At least I could. I suppose this isn’t just teens, but every writer with a life. (haha, what life?). What I’m saying is it’s easy as a teenager to steal every spare moment of  the day to just catch your breath, but teen writers don’t and that’s what people don’t get.

Most of the time writing isn’t fun, and we have to MAKE time to do it. We have to force ourselves to do a lot of days. And anybody who writes will tell you that isn’t easy. You have to take yourself very seriously to do it.

I take myself seriously, and I just wish other people would to. I’m not asking you to tell me I’m amazing. I’m just asking you to give me chance.

{THINGS I DIDN’T SAY} Thoughts on Life and Swedish Fish

18 Sep

Hey all, I got super busy today, but will have a proper post for you all tomorrow I promise. In the meantime I dug up this old thing. A draft that for some reason I never posted. I guess I  was feeling philosophical on the 13th of June 2012 because this post is rather wishy washy hipster-esque. Still, it isn’t dreadful and I find it interesting to see what I was thinking while working on old manuscripts.If  you would like to see the post that began just before this take a click on over HERE. Otherwise enjoy!

I am sitting in my room with a bag of Swedish fish and a bottle of SoBe. I was writing, and should be writing now. But for a second, between bites of candy and sips of orange flavored water ,I stopped. I feel like this isn’t where I’m suppose to be.

And no I am not getting down on myself. Especially not after yesterdays post.I was just thinking that I’m in some kind of suspended animation, or full of so much energy that I can’t sit still… ha, then again maybe that’s the sugar! I just think that I have potential.(but not in the way your thinking)

I feel like what I’m doing now is just building up to something crazy good. I just kept writing, but it’s in someone else’s voice. I don’t know how to say it exactly. It’s like I’m about to jump out of an airplane,or rush down a hill on a roller coaster, but until then I’m just at the top waiting.

There’s a story in the back of my mind right now, and it feels insanely close to me. It’s a really personal story, and I don’t feel like I can write it. Right now I can’t or else I’ll ruin it, because the moment I tip over the hill there is no stopping it and there is no knowing where this coaster would take me.

And I’m just kind of here on the precipice of everything. waiting… so I suppose it’s a good thing I have candy.

My Feelings about Matched by Allie Condie

13 Sep

Post: 3/17

So Yesterday I wrote a post about books people love that I hate/hate that  I love. In that post I brought up the book Matched by Allie Condie, who you probably know got rave reviews and bunches of hype for her Matched series. I hated it and said as much. One of my readers asked why and I began to respond in a comment and then realized that it was much too long, and so you get what you see here today.

Where to begin with this…

I’m sorry, if you loved this book because I’m going to have to rip it to shreds right now. I apologize in advance.

To start off, the whole book just ticked me off because I love Lowis Lowry to death. I have read The Giver six times and it’s amazing and she’s amazing and… yeah. You get it right? So when I read Matched I wanted to go club whoever let it out of the slush pile because I saw so much of the work being dead on The Giver. It’s a society where your job/mate is choosen for you, the fact that you have to take ‘pills’ to suppress your natural emotions and sedate your brain. Anything half way decent in that book was ripped right out of the giver and then basted in Condie’s particular brand of bland.

Besides this ,Condie decided to spice things up with a little forbidden reading/books (*ehm* also from The Giver). The MC’s only redeeming quality is that she likes poetry but the reasons behind this rebellious behavior are hidden in the soup of Allie Condie’s pacing. For some reason she throws in Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” and okay I guess I get it (its a dystopian, the poems about not submitting to authority), but… just WHY? WHY! Why did you throw a piece of (really overused in the first place) literature. It was like throwing a pretty dress in the mud because you thought it’d make the mud look better. All you’re doing is ruining the dress.

On the same note with the fact that the poetry is completely irrelevant since we have no reason other than the MC’s grandfather’s death*(if i remember correctly) for her to like it  we equally have no reason for her to like Ky over Xander. It made less than zero sense to me! The only reason she starts to like Ky anyway is because the ‘society’ has a glitch in her Match card (that tells her about her match) and so it totally defeats the purpose of her rebelling since the idea came from the society in the first place! Besides that, why would Ky’s information even have been in the same pool to match with her if he was a lowly worker? It doesn’t make sense. There’s no way that the computer/matchers (or whoever matches people ,I forget how it happens) would have those two sets of data in the same place. So, yeah, GAPING PLOT HOLE!

Then when Ky and the MC do get together I just found the romance so BLAH. I didn’t really like Ky in the first place. Xander was obviously a better choice. Neither of them had much personality, but at least Xander was kind of happy go lucky! Then Ky is banished or sent away and the MC is all: boo hoo! Then the Peace keepers (or whoever the law enforcers are) come in and are like, “take these pills now!” and so she hides her pill and doesn’t take it. OOOOHHHHH rebellion! Not really, keep reciting your poetry dear.

Anyway I just really hated it and it made me beat my head against my desk and cry wondering how she got a million dollar contract for THAT.

Now, for those of you who loved the book, feel free to yell at me and tell me why I am wrong! I love a good debate 🙂

*The euthanization of old people, yeah, that’s from The Giver too. Just saying.

GoodReads is a Paradox

12 Sep

Post: 2/17

There are few things in life that consistently shock me over and over again. That incredibly short list has a large star next to finding out someone hates a book I love. It baffles me. How anyone could hate a book that I love t is just bizarre. You have to wonder what goes through their head as compared to yours. Is it even possible that someone could disdain a  piece of literature as much as you love it? It’s likely the most dysfunctional paradox ever.

The reason I bring this up is because my dearest bookish friend just finished FIRE by Kristin Cashore the other day. And oh my goodness I am absolutely in LOVE with that book. I love everything about it; the characters, the plot, the moral, the world building. It’s all simply genius and I was so excited to have my friend read it. It’s a beautiful piece of writing and I couldn’t wait to rave and rant about it with her when she was finished.

So, I decided to GoodReads creep today.

And what I found was astonishing. She’d finished the book… and she’d given it TWO STARS. TWO STARS! Was that even legal? I was sure she’d miss-clicked, but no, her review said she’d given it as much. When I asked her about it she just kind of waved it off, “It was alright” she said. And this is where I’m dumbfounded.

I just think it’s funny how one book, the SAME book can get such opposite reactions from two seemingly similar people. My bookish friend is indeed quit similar to myself. In fact we are often told that we are “the same person” (jokingly of course) it doesn’t help that we say things in unison at times or finish each others sentences. And it’s like that all across the board. People all have a varied reaction to every novel. Matched by Allie Condie for instance. FAILURE. JUST FAILURE if you ask me, but there were plenty of people who gave her a five-star review!

Why?

Because readers bring something to a novel that the author can never expect. An X factor that changes with each one. A readers past experiences, values, and knowledge, all effect how the book is read and in turn experienced and received. The reason people hate books you love or love books you hate is because they see something you don’t or don’t see something you do in the text. When people say it’s all about how you look at things they are right as rain.

This my friends, is why GoodReads is a Paradox.

So go ahead and tell me about books your friends hate and you love or vice versa!

Books that Made Me a Writer

26 Jun

Painters learn what a good painting looks like by studying other paintings. Film makers learn how to structure a movie by looking at other movies. It would stand to reason then, that writers learn to write by looking at other writers works (AKA books).

Today I wanted to talk about books that not only inspired to be a writer, but books that have made me a BETTER writer.

The first novel I ever remember reading that made me think: This is what I want to do, was Double Identity by Margret Peterson Haddix. I read it in third grade and after that I started writing my first novel… or book with ‘chapters’ which I thought was a novel at the time! After that I just knew it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to make an experience for people just through a few words. I still have my copy and keep it up on my shelf for when ever I need inspiration. I still read her newer books.

Next, many years later, I read WAKE by Lisa Mcmann. I checked it out at my local library, and was totally hooked! I can’t tell you how many times I read that novel. After checking it out for the fifth time my mom finally just bought it, because she got tired of its reappearance every-time we went to the library. That was me at 13.  Lisa taught me a lot about novel structure now that I’m thinking about it. Anyone who has ever read anything by her knows her style is very sparse, and almost choppy, in its bluntness. Lisa is a no frills kind of gal. And that was really beneficial to me as my 13-year-old writer self. At the time I was ALL frills. I never finished anything I started, and got lost in globs of purple prose that would make your eyes burn if you saw them. Wake showed me I didn’t need all that, and it made for easy display of how plot was supposed to be set up. Their were no extra words to muddle what she was saying, and that’s when I really started understanding how novels really worked, or in my case didn’t work.

At the point I started taking writing more seriously, and I got into reading non-fiction writing books. That brings us to The Forest For the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner. This novel really put publication, and writing for readers into perspective for me. Up until this point I was just writing for me, and while that’s always great, if you plan to get published you have to write for the public too. This is an awesome novel for any writer who wants to improve their craft, or just learn about the publishing world.

Finally, and most recently is Shades of Grey by Jasper FFordes (no the two F’s are not typos). I read this just a few months ago. Shades of Grey is an Adult dystopian novel. Until then I’d (this is embarrassing) always been a bit afraid of modern adult literature. The only thing I’d seen of it was my Father’s Clancy novels, some really boring biographies. After I read this novel the line between Adult and YA  fiction really blurred for me. Even though you are technically writing for two different “groups” you are still writing for PEOPLE, and it made me realize that a good story is just a good story no matter who is reading it!

These novels were big turning points for me as a writer. What about you guys? Anything change you in a writerly way?