Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Camp NaNo Post

Aiya!

Is it just me, or did Camp NaNo totally sneak up on us this year?

Anyways, despite it coming really suddenly, I’ve been kinda keeping up with my goals so far, and it has been super fun to write!

This will be a reasonably shot post seeing that I’ll have to keep writing, so I had better get started.


What is It?

So, for this Camp NaNo, I am in the awesome cabin of The Fellowship of the Keyboards and we have been talking about all sorts of things since…well, long before April.

I’m working on my rewrite of the Survivor Trilogy and am turning it into ONE BOOK as I said back in January called Eyes of the Future. 

Long Back of Book Blurb/ Short Synopsis Without Spoilers

In a world where science reigns, and the society relies on the advancement of human abilities in order to keep moving forwards, genetic modification turns into a political war. People are taken in as ‘Experiments’ and are used to test new ways to advance society. Failed Experiments are treated as creatures less than humans and are cast out from society.

It has been five years since Michael Rentson used the new discovery of teleportation to lead an army across the entire world and conquering it under his reign. The increased security and seemingly magical technology tames the world who are all ready to listen to their new leader whose first action is to legalise the use of Experiments.

One Experiment is slightly unusual. Connor Daleson is the son of one of the world’s leading scientists, Regina Daleson who had accidentally turned her other son into a failed Experiment and left him mindless. The grief-ridden woman spends all of her waking hours trying to find a way to fix her eldest son…or replace him.

Connor spends his days in military training, and making sure that no one finds out his secret of being an Experiment. Upon returning home one day, his mother injects him with a fluid that altered his atoms so that he could travel through the dimensions.

Being chased by Rentson’s men who want his blood and therefore the ability to conquer all of the dimensions, Connor and his sister Laura join with a young Experiment girl called Ashley to protect the dimensions, and to find the truth of the price of human freedom.

A Pretty Collage


Stats Graph

I’ve only just been keeping up at the moment, going over or under each day by about 100 words (sometimes more). Unfortunately I have been falling behind a bit. D: But woot! Look at our cabin! Good job guys!


Some fun Camp NaNo Stats for my first twelve days…


First Line: I have to trust him.

Most Words Written in a Day: 3 147

Words Written: 15 008

Number of Word Wars: 18

Earliest Woken to Write: 4:30 am

Cups of Chai: 37

Most Insane Story Research: Food of the Future

Last Line: “Well, I don’t like ducks then.”

A Snippet

This one is the end of my prologue from the POV of smol Ryan Sands. (Apologies for the first-draftiness.)


I force my gaze past the woman to the figure slumped on the chair. Sandy hair, tanned skin, and beneath the tightly shut eyelids, there would have been dark brown eyes that had held more compassion than what I had ever seen before in my life. I stumble a step away from the sight, bile rising in my mouth as his words return to echo in my mind:

“Not anymore. I can stop her now. Daleson isn’t completely heartless.” 

I squeeze my eyes shut and force myself to sit down, my back pressing against the cool of the wall. Breaths saw through my chest and my heart thuds deafeningly in my ears. The woman in the room had her back facing me, but I still can tell who it was. Calm blue eyes, hands with no hint of the calluses that come from hard and honest work, and a permanently dazed look of one who has more intelligence than compassion.

My eyelids slip open and I raise my wrist in front of my eyes to see the red words etched there permanently. All that is left of me according to any of the normal humans.

Daleson Experiment: 2

I hunch over my knees as the yelling starts as Dan’s siblings must have found him. The sound of breaking people sweeps over me. I turn my head to look at the slightly reflective metal behind me where the pain is coming from and blink back tears as the image of a pale faced teenage boy with irises that matched his skin blurs.

If I am Irene Daleson’s second Experiment, then was her son the first?



Well, there’s a bit about my story. What about you guys? Anything interesting there? Enjoying Camp so far? I love to chat!




Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Power of Easter

Aiya,

It is the 29th of March here in Australia. And that means that all of the people are frantically buying all of the food they will be needing before the shops close tomorrow for Good Friday. The front page of the newspaper is of on of the school’s Easter Hat Parades and the teachers have been giving out chocolate Easter eggs. I’ve sat next to a kindergarten kid on the bus who was happily telling me all about how the Easter Bunny was going to come to his house on Sunday and his dad had set a rabbit trap to try and catch him.

Admittedly, I felt a tad sorry for the poor bunny seeing that those traps are pretty brutal…

But yes. I felt like telling you guys a bit about Easter seeing that our lives tend to keep on moving and being pretty chaotic around this time.


Last weekend, my parents and some of our friends ran a retreat that focused on reflection and just spending time with God before Easter. We’ve started up a Retreat Center and are hoping that more and more people will be able to develop a personal relationship with God.

But this particular retreat was focused on just stopping. Just stopping and leaving our busy life and spending time with God. Not listening to talks, but just reading God’s Word and listening to Him.

Journaling.

Drawing.

Praying.

Singing.

It wasn’t about analysing the stories that we have read countless times and feel like we can recite. It was about looking into what God was saying and just stopping to appreciate how enormous He is. To catch a glimpse of his love in our world which is generally pretty dark.

Back around December I did a post on the meaning of Christmas. At Christmas time we think about the Light of the God coming into the Darkness of the World. Over Jesus’s life, there was light in the world. There was healing there was love. When Jesus died, the world fell into literal darkness. Can I just say that that would freak me out. Just being in the area and suddenly it goes dark.

For a long time.

And for a fair reason. The Son of God was dead. Not unconscious, but dead and with His Father turning away from Him. Jesus who had been with God forever was now forsaken. His weight suspended on nails that pierced through his nerve-filled hands and feet. The weight of all of humanity’s sin pushing down on Him.

And the agony of God turning away from Him.

So often, I find that we dismiss this. We know how horrible it is and how much it is meant to affect us, but we’ve just heard it so many times that it has become pretty normal. We understand and we may wince when we hear the story, but do you feel that ache inside of you that is both horrified and saying, ‘Thank you Jesus. Thank you’?

Sit back and reflect on His sacrifice this Easter. Place yourself at the foot of His cross, listening to His last cry. Allow yourself to feel the agony of the loss of Jesus and feel the terror of the darkness that we are in without Him.

Let yourself not rush through this Easter, just trying to get through the day. Instead sit back and think about Him and talk to Him. Jesus loves you, and He has died and been raised to show the Father’s Glory that we may have life.

Don’t forget the amazing meaning of Easter this year, after all, we have more than one day to think about it.

Here is a song to think about as you go on with your life this Easter.



Enjoy Easter and think and reflect upon it this year!


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

How to Procrastinate from Plotting

Aiya!

Yes, you read that title right. I have been procrastinating from plotting for Camp NaNoWriMo. Why? No clue. But today I plan to try my absolute hardest at helping you procrastinate like a professional during this time that you should prooooobably plotting for Camp.

You are probably feeling pretty overwhelmed by this insanely crazy task, but I promise you, I can teach you how to procrastinate with a few simple steps and tricks. Thank me later. For now I must write this post for you!


As I have said, there are a few simple steps to being able to master this brilliant technique, and I will list them here for you…complete with instructions. Well, enough rambling from me…Onward to the Six Steps to Procrastination.

1. Starting Another WIP.

Yep. I know. Pretty insane huh? But trust me, it is doable.
Imagine this: When you sit down to do that plotting you’ve been meaning to finish off, you just happen to see that document with only 2000 precious words on it, sitting there, so lonely. So, you go over and write on it. Little by little, that tiny document has…Uh…8000 words. *coughs awkwardly* ANYWAYS. This is an ideal way to put off doing that scheduled in plotting.

*drops in a snippet*

***

“Hi Leo.” I sucked in a shuddering breath and craned my neck to look up at him as his eyebrows shot into his bleach white hair.

“Who mugged you and left you to die?” I grimaced at his slightly narrowed eyes and he dropped the book that rested loosely in his hand down on a small table and waved me inside.

I rubbed a hand over my neck. “Random bus driver.” I let my school books fall next to the novel. “According to Ethan, I was hit by a bus.”

Leo turned to stare at me again, his eyes trailing up and down my body. After a few moments he nodded and started walking away toward the kitchen, “That’s basically what it looks like. Minus the whole side-effect of being dead.”

I staggered after him into the room, and dimly noticed that is was lit only by the thin bit of light that trickled through the blinds above the perfectly clean and gleaming sink. Ignoring me, he stooped down to pull a small pot out of a cupboard, then poured milk into it—setting it down on the gas-top stove. I rolled my stiff shoulders slightly and stumbled towards a couch.

“If you get blood on my furniture…not even being immortal is going to save you.” My limbs stiffened Leo’s words and I straightened slowly, every muscle protesting at the movement.

“Sure thing.” I replied, my voice thick, and leant my good shoulder against the wall. “I’d never get blood on your stuff.” Some friend you are. 

Leo snorted slightly as he dropped half a block of dark chocolate into the pot. “Yeah right.”

***

2. Creating a Playlist for New WIP

One rule for this: It has to be epic. So, you can’t just toss in a few songs that you think are good, you need to go all out and put in only the best. You need to listen to at least 4 hours worth of music to find the ones that suit your distracting WIP the best. Then you need to order them so that they will flow on from one another.

Trust me. This will take up a lot of time, and then you can have a cool soundtrack while you are doing all of these other forms of procrastination. *nods wisely* This is very important.

3. Creating Character Collages for New WIP. 

Yup. Collages are procrastination’s best friend. Such a close friend that even random people on the bus seem to recognise it when you’re sitting there, happily making collages of these awesome characters. And it is so much fuuuuun. You end up with a pile of pretty collages at the end to look at and feel all of them happy feels about for your precious characters. *hugs all of the character collages*


4. School Work…Writing Ideally

If you are a sensible writer, and happen to be in year 11 or 12 at school, you almost certainly have one or two writing projects to be doing.

Do them.

Then you can use the excuse when Camp NaNo comes around that you were frantically doing school work, even if in reality you were just writing 8 different short stories and then choosing between them as to which one to submit as your final task. So there you go!

5. Repeat 2 & 3 but for Your Actual WIP for Camp

Time to make more playlists and aesthetic collages, but this time for your actual WIP that you’re meant to be plotting! This is pretty close to actually doing your WIP, so, this may help ease you of that guilty concious thing that comes from deliberately avoiding something you planned to have done.

6. Master the Perfect Chai Recipe 

You heard me. You are going to become the best at making chai tea. By the end of March, you should have worked out the exact amount of each spice you need to add the the Twinings tea to make it absolutely spectacular. You may even find that you have spent an hour of your Saturday carefully measuring out spices and taking notes.

Let me encourage you in this…You will succeed. It may take 48 hours of your life, but if you keep persistingnot only have you successfully procrastinatedbut you have also made the best chai you will ever have.



Well, that’s all I’ve got to say on the art of procrastination, and I shall now leave you with your prompt and be on my way.


Anyone else hyped for Camp? Do you have any favorite forms of procrastination? And do you have any tips for getting that cup of chai just right? Tell me!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Music is Magic

Aiya!


*coughs* Sooooo, my blog post was never published last week, and I’m afraid that I have to confess that they could be very sporadic from now on due to school, and life in general. But anyways, I should move onto actually giving you a post!


Music is epic. How is it that sounds can have emotions and tell a story? How is it that so many different countries have their own types of music and find them beautiful, but they’re all so different? I honestly don’t get it. I spend waaaay too long contemplating this along with many other things. But this much I do know: 

Music is Magical. 

Not magical as in it literally performs magic, but magical as in it can do things that our minds cannot explain or understand. We can say we understand them, but really, we don’t. (Apologies if I am wrong somehow here…but I am pretty sure I’m not.) 

Sounds that create emotions? Yes, it is to do with chemicals, but that’s more of a definition as to what emotions are, not how they are made. When we listen to music, it can change our emotions. Hence we call sad music, ‘sad.’ At least, I assume the music isn’t really upset or anything. xD

A few friends and I have been doing something called a ‘music exchange.’ Basically, it’s where someone sends an email saying ‘shout out’ and we all reply with a link of whatever music we were listening to at the time of the email. It’s been really interesting to listen to new music, and if you have good and clean friends, should be safe. So, that’s something that I will suggest for all of you guys, just randomly. 

Anyways, I loooove listening to music, particularly when writing. It just makes everything become very epic, and even easier to visualise. My latest obsession has come along with my latest obsession in reading which is… *drumroll please* The Way of Kings! Yes. The book has a soundtrack. 'Kaladin' by The Black Piper. SO MUCH EPICNESS! 

It’s very epic and fits the book perfectly. I absolutely love it to pieces and it fits, not only with the book, but just with general epicness for reading anything, and writing anything. (Provided that it’s epic!) Here’s a link to one of their epic songs, and you should seriously go and look at the rest. 

And not only that, but this piece is your prompt. Write something that is inspired by this epic piece.



Well, that’s me over and out, so now you go! Write! Have you got any interesting pieces or themes that you write to? Any other music-y stuff? And how epic is the Kaladin Soundtrack?

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

The Inspiration of Culture

Aiya!

Cultures have been coming up a lot in different place around me lately. It’s started me thinking about why we cling to our different beliefs and ways of  living. Religions, music, customs, mythology, laws, etiquette, language and superstition.

I’ve always been a bit of a history geek, particularly when it comes to ancient societies and places, and now I’ve taken Ancient History as a subject in school. It’s such a fascinating thing to study—How people have lived, why they did these things, the rumours surrounding them, the evidence for their lifestyle…all of it! We can look at so much about these people’s lives and I think that we all find this interesting to some degree. Sure, maybe you don’t all go and look up different tribes in your spare time for no purpose other than fascination, but there is so much out there just waiting for us to discover. And after all, if you are reading this right now you can most certainly discover more seeing that you have near endless knowledge at your fingertips.

Lately I have looked at the ancient Egyptians, the Spartans, the Zulu, the Greeks and Romans, the Aboriginals, the Babylonians, and heaps of other groups in our world’s rich history. And, as always, it gave me some cool ideas for writing.


Having had studied different cultures for their music, myths, art, superstitions, traditions, and even their skin pigments and hair colour (let’s ignore the randomness there) I began to look back on Chosen by Fire and feel somewhat discouraged. Waaaay back in NaNovember I had created a fantasy world with different races and customs. It seemed very complex at the time that I had created it. After all, I had the unusual set up of the cities and country as it had been made by magic, and I had each sector containing a slightly different race of people, but that was only obvious by their appearance. Fifth Sector People tended to be smaller in stature whilst Sixth Sector People were taller with a more square face. Oh, and they had faint accent changes.

That was the end of the racial differences. 

Those liiiiittle points. Sure, I had different weird magical creatures in different areas to correspond with the area’s old magic, but it was all very much a surface thing.

To make a fantasy culture effective, you need to go deeper. Often it helps to study other past cultures to gain inspiration and to look at things in a different way. It then allows you to ask the questions of how the government is run, what places eat what food, what different types of music people listen to, different traditions that have been around since ancient times but have lost relevance, what superstitions they have, how their currency works and what their ethical beliefs are.

There have been a few texts that I have looked at recently that really made it obvious how much these little details help in world building and how much people depend off traditions to run their lives.

One of the most notable of these has been The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.


You must read this. It is probably the most epic fantasy book I have ever read. (Pun intended.) He has made an amazing world with so much depth and detail, and tied it in super well with the plot. His characters are constantly being affected by the world around them, whether by society or by the actual, physical world. I am absolutely LOVING reading it and seeing how the cultures interact, what they value, fight for, the history, and how that relates to magic and the plot. It is a totally different style to my other favorites, but still equally as amazing, and with theme and characters that also tie in with the culture. Culture is so important in these books, and it is beautifully woven into every part of the story, the world, and the characters. Yes, as it is an epic fantasy, you can’t get all of this intricate detail into a super short book, but I think we all could if we tried, and it just makes the world feel that much more real.

Another one was one I only heard of today: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.


This is a short story that explores the very motivation of humans. It looks at how we can gain a tradition or ritual and refuse to step away from it—no matter to how twisted and totally messed up it is. In this case, it is the tradition of drawing out a piece of paper, and if yours has the black spot on it, you get stoned to death by everyone in the town. When a mother draws it, even her children join in with the stoning. It very bluntly depicts how much we rely off our traditions, and often that is what determines our morality and our capabilities.



Now I want to toss a prompt your way, but hopefully you were able to get some ideas from the rest of this post.


There you go! Have you some ideas? Have you ever written a fantasy or dystopian story that involved different cultures and races? What were your struggles? I love to talk to you!



Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Contagious Life

Aiya!

*coughs awkwardly* Well, first off, I apologise for my absence. I could go into great detail explaining, but to make it short, Year 11 (junior year to Americans) happened, and I have spent the past few weeks adjusting and trying to rearrange my schedule. As it is, I shall be updating my blog on Wednesdays now, as my Bible Study group has moved to Thursdays. Writing is still happening a lot, although, I have to swap writing styles depending on whether it is just my normal writing, or the writing for school.


Apparently, my writing has, “Too many short paragraphs and fragmented sentences.” At first I just shrugged it off and swapped my writing style, but then, as I kept struggling to write in this weird, flowery, long-paragraphed, descriptive way, I started wondering where on earth I had learnt my writing style from.

I turned to my bookshelves and flicked through different books, then on my Kindle, then I moved to looking onto the other bookshelves in the house, then I looked at the different draft that I was critiquing for people.

But I could not find this weird writing style anywhere. (Please note, I was also at home sick and prooooobably not thinking too straight as normally I would have worked this out much faster than this. Plus, I have noticed this many times before. :P) Eventually, my awesome cousin Jane, (who had no idea of what I was doing) sent me a snippet of an idea she’s been working on. After a few minutes of reading through it, I remembered where else I had seen my writing style.

In my cousin.

It explained a lot.

But seriously, how often do we unintentionally start copying people? As the youngest of three in my family, I can certainly look back and say that I copied my siblings. And it was totally unplanned. I’ve grown up with my sense of humour being dry wit, because that is what my brother was like. I also went through a phase where I would use the word, ‘devastating’ (I was about seven) purely because that was a word that my sister used all of the time. I started to write film music style music because my brother did. (Seriously though, I couldn’t just write a normal composition, no matter what I did it sounded like I was trying to imitate John Williams… and most of the time failing epically.)

And, even in other people’s lives I see how I am affected, or how they are. My cousin Jane had a pastor who would always say, ‘indeed.’ It made her say it more often than normal and, well… *tilts head, thinking* I don’t think I actually just say, ‘yes’ anymore.

Only last weekend, I went to my cousin’s place. I was quite startled to realise that my nine year old cousin had developed a serious case of sarcasm. I mean, in a teenager it would be perfectly normal and not seem crazy, but in a nine year old? Well, it had me really confused. I asked one of his older sisters and she told me that he’d been getting it from one of their friends… Along with a lot of his random phrases and word choices. Not only that, but she informed me that he has also been saying, ‘that’s new’ a lot. And that that definitely came from me.

Even siblings are known for using similar hand gestures, and walking in similar ways… Even the ones who don’t get on brilliantly.

Why do we always seem to mimic each other in some way? I actually sent out an email to a few friends asking some questions about random habit of people and if they mimic them, and I got a fair few in reply…


  • Ducking when walking through conversations/in front of class
  • Looking at wrist when trying to think
  • Saying, ‘indeed’ all of the time
  • Saying ‘cool’ when you don’t say indeed
  • Startling when someone speaks
  • Shaking of hands when getting excited
  • Making gestures with hands at around shoulder height


I also asked if they found themselves mimicking these things and here are some of those answers…


  • Generally picking up the traits of people they spend time around
  • Mimicking other people’s voices
  • Acting like people when referring to them. (Posture, voice, hand actions)
  • Often keywords or phrases
  • Sarcastic remarks



So, people mimic each other. How weird is that? To be honest, it really makes me frantically check everything I do around people. I don’t want to risk having people pick up a bad habit from me, particularly not younger people.

Humans are immensely complex beings. We are individual, but all share a longing for connection and community. Not only that, but we look up to people as well and set them as role models. Most of the time we probably aren’t even aware of it. But we do admire different traits of people and try to copy them. Sometimes we just pick up on random habits from people we are around.

But whether these are intentional or not, they do shape you and change you. They make you who you are. Crazy, right?

Well, this brings me to the prompt.


Any thoughts? Do you have weird habits? Do you mimic other people? Do feel free to chat!






Thursday, 25 January 2018

Inspirational Friends

Aiya!

Today's post will be, well, random, and I shall give you a bit of background story...

After a reasonably tiring day of saving Australia from certain destruction, (I deal with the rest of the world on Mondays. :P) I came back home to relax. Then, it dawned upon me.

Blog Post Day.

Frantic, I asked some friends to say something random, hoping to glean some Inspiration from them. The responses were as follows:

"Something random."

"Penguins have knees."

"Tubas can make weird sounds sometimes."

"What if the sky was yellow?"

"Glitter."

So, as you can see I have very useful and Inspirational friends. Thanks guys!

Erhem, so, I sat down to write my post. And realised that maybe all they said wasn't that useless. Maybe it could be used in writing. Not the words themselves, but the huge range of answers. Thinking a bit back on what has randomly been my latest tangent (characters) this also fits weirdly well.

There are a few different things that are worth thinking about...

1. How does your character view a question?
2. Do they give a sarcastic come back?
3. Are they suspicious?
4. Do they answer vaguely?
5. Do they reveal much about their past?
6. Do they think hard about the question, or just go off the top of their head?


Just asking the same question to different characters and analysing their responses should give you a fair idea if your characters are all the same. You don't actually want every character to be sarcastic more often than serious. It actually takes away from the characters. (I know, I know. Shocking, right? xP)

So, I suppose my prompt is pretty obvious. Ask your characters a few questions and see how they answer them. Oh, and remember that friends can also have some good ideas or traits to go off.


Say something random below! Or just chat. That's cool too. :P (Sorry for the shortness guys! Saving Australia is pretty tiring...)