Saturday, November 30, 2013

Writing Tips: Brainstorming

For brainstorming, there really isn’t a particular way you can brainstorm. People think in different ways and brainstorming is easier in different ways for different people. Here are just some ideas I can give people based off my own experience.
1.      Always carry around a pen and paper with you. Ideas can come to you at any time, and by any time I literally mean anytime. I’ve gotten a lot of ideas in the middle of class one day, in the car, at the movies, and all sorts of other strange places.
2.      When you get an idea, WRITE IT DOWN! I cannot stress how important this is. There are many occasions when I thought of a really good idea and didn’t have any time to write it down, and then forgot it later, and it either took me several days to remember it again, or I never remembered it at all.
3.      Take time to think. Thinking about the different possibilities is something that can really help me to think of more ideas. For me personally, the time before I fall asleep at night and a long car drive are the times that are most productive for me.
4.      Take inspiration from things in your own life. Sometime you take a lot of time trying to think of some crazy creative idea when the best thing to write about is what’s right in front of you. When you take inspiration from things in your own life, it also makes your writing more personal, and it might even effect your writing style.
5.      Other tips there are a lot of other brainstorming techniques that I know of but don’t personally use because they don’t work for me, but they work for plenty of other people.
a.       Make a Web: those are those things that you make for school when brainstorming for an essay, and even though they are helpful for essay writing, they can also be very useful for creative writing as well. So basically, just think of any random word you can think of and put it in the center circle. Then, you just start branching off ideas for things that relate to that word.
b.      Free Writing: This is basically you take out a piece of paper and write anything that comes into your mind, not matter how stupid and random it is. The point is, is that once you take the time and read it over, something you wrote down, whether it be a word, a phrase, or an idea will spark some kind of inspiration.
c.       Writing Prompts: When you get really desperate and need something to write, or you just aren’t accomplishing anything from the brainstorming that you’ve attempted, then start to look for writing prompts. You can find these all over the internet, and all you have to do search “writing prompts” and a whole bunch of them should show up. If you look through enough of them, one of them is bound to interest you.

November Update and Cover Reveal! (Update #6)

This month I have been editing more of my novel, although I haven’t edited in a few weeks and forgot where I left off, so I might just start over again from the beginning again. I have also wrote out a bunch of character development sheets for pretty much all of the characters in The Unusual Isles (I did 29 of them). I know that this is really late in the writing process to be making out character development sheets, but since I am writing a sequel it will be nice to have them for the sequel.

Speaking of a sequel, I already have a title for it, although I’m not going to reveal that right at this moment, but a sequel will be written, right after I finished up editing. I am actually getting really excited for writing the sequel; I wrote out the entire outline for it last night. Parts are going to be really sad and I would be lying if I said all of the characters were going to make it to the end of the book alive.

An estimated publishing date is still set for around Christmas time, at least that’s what I’m really aiming for. The one thing that is really holding me back isn’t necessarily the editing, but the fact that if I publish it and file for copyright and then find a little grammar error in it later, it’s going to bug me forever.

I am also planning on making a separate Facebook page specifically for The Unusual Isles, so be on the look out for that coming soon!  

Also, I have picked a cover I am going to use for the book. Thanks to everyone who voted, and although the cover I picked isn’t the one that received the most votes, after consulting with a few people who know the book best besides me, we decided that this cover fit the mood of the book best.

Without further ado, here is the cover of The Unusual Isles (or the picture at least)


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Extra! Extra! Nanowrimo

You heard me right. National Write a Novel in November is soon approaching, and the question is still looming over my head, should I participate in it this year?

For those of you who are not familiar with what Nanowrimo is, it is when authors push themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in one month over the course of the month of November.

Firstly, I would like to give credit to everyone who can actually complete Nanowrimo. You people have wonderfully talent and deserve to be appreciated more.

Having tried doing this before, I would like to say that this is a very hard thing to do, especially for me. I am not the type of writer who can just keep writing and writing, but I’m the kind of author who goes back and edits parts I don’t like or fix plot elements that don’t make sense, while I’m in the writing process, which makes Nanowrimo very hard to do.

I had originally planned on doing to before, having part of a novel planned out, but I decided that it probably wouldn’t work considering I tried the same thing the past two years and hadn’t gotten past the first 500 words.

I then was going to set myself a personal goal instead of following the main Nanowrimo goal. Instead of writing a 50,000 word novel, I was just going to write 50,000 words in general, whether that have been short stories, poems, blog posts, or the start of a new novel.

The idea however occurred before I had started school when I realized that attempting anything close to Nanowrimo would be nearly impossible. With my school work, I don’t have much time to do anything anymore. I barely have time to edit The Unusual Isles or keep up on this blog for that matter, so writing a 50,000 word novel is just not even something in my grasp this year.

So long story short, am I doing Nanowrimo this year? No. Hopefully next year though, and hopefully one year in the future, I’ll actually complete it.


Friday, November 1, 2013

October Update (Update #5)

Well, the month of October hasn't been completely useless in terms of my writing.

I put up a poll on my Facebook page to vote for the cover of The Unusual Isles. Although the picture I like the best has one of the least amounts of votes, I might still end up using it anyways because I think it fits the mood of the book best.

I also set a goal for myself to edit two pages of The Unusual Isles a day so that by the time Christmas rolls around, I can focuse on self-publishing it. Because of this plan, did I figure out what I'm going to do about NaNoWriMo this year.

I do not have the time to even try to attempt to do this this year, but I have however made up something I like to call National Edit a Novel in a Month (and a half). With this goal, it still feels like I'm accomplishing something, but it's a goal that isn't quite as ambitious and something that I actually need to accomplish.

I'm not very sure how well I'm going to stick to this goal though considering I can't even keep up with posting on this blog.

In other non novel writing news, I switched one of my classes for next semester to take a new online course called Human Expressions which is an English course that combines literature, culture, art, music, and other things. This is a pilot program at my school and I was asked to take it because they want people who are inependent learners who will give honest feedback on it. I am actually veey excited to take it because it sounds really interesting. The only thing I'm concerned about is having to keep up with double reading from AP English and this other course. Thankfully, I also have a study hall next semester which will benefit me greatly and hopefully The Unusual Isles will be out and published by then and I won' have that to worry about any more.

So that's basically everything that's happened in October and I'll be sure to keep you all updated on happenings in November.


(I apologize for any spelling/grammar errors. I typed this out on my iPad.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Recommendation: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is about a society in which people are placed into one of five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite, and Dauntless at age 16 where they must live for the rest of their lives. These factions are divided by certain values in life which include selflessness, bravery, intelligence, peace, and honesty.

It doesn’t sound so bad to start off with, but the people in this society are required to seamlessly fit into only one of these groups, and those who fit into several ones are considered dangerous, and labeled Divergent, just like the main character Tris is.

I personally enjoyed this book, for one, because I, love dystopian books, and two, I really liked the characters. No one wants to read a book where you can’t stand the main character. It’s stopped me from reading a book before, and I personally really like all of the characters in Divergent, even the annoying ones.

None of them were overly stereotypical or completely weird, but they all had realistic flaws and strengths. From Tri, Caleb, Jeannine, Christina, Al, Peter, Will, Eric, Four, and Uriah, Lynn, and Marlene (who I am very upset got cut out of the movie adaptation), all of the characters, no matter how annoying, were all well developed with detailed personalities, which was something I appreciated about it.  The main character Tris, although not my favorite character in the book *SPOLIER* decides to leave her family in Abnegation to pursue a life in the Dauntless faction.

Although she has some troubles adjusting the new life style at first, she does lean to fit in eventually, and eventually becomes the top of her peers, which was the one thing that annoyed me about the book.

Tri came from the Abnegation faction, which is the faction based off of selflessness, which meant she was deprived of many of the things in life most people enjoy, such as flavorful food. This also mean that although not in Amity, the peace faction, she did not have much training in fighting and physical things along these lines. The fact that she out of nowhere became the top of her class in fighting wise and “facing her fears” over the Dauntless ones who have trained their whole lives for the initiation, just seems unrealistic and thrown into the plot just because she was the main character.

The book is not only entertaining, but also sends a deeper message to the readers. This book shows how people in society are sometimes required to think in narrow-minded ways, and certain people who are stereotyped aren’t allowed to think in ways other than the way society thinks they should.

A movie adaptation of this movie is scheduled to come out sometime in early 2014. The trailed is already released, and although it looks accurate, as I mention earlier, I am still upset that they cut my three favorite characters, Uriah, Marlene, and Lynn out of the movie.

If you plan on reading this book, this is the perfect time to pick it up since the third book in the series, Allegiant, just came out!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Young Adult Literature Today: Dystopian

Dystopian is probably one of the most popular genres in young adult literature today. After the huge success of the series of The Hunger Games, many other dystopian novels followed in its afterglow including Divergent, The Maze Runner, and Delirium.

Although some zombie novels could come under the same category as being dystopian, I consider zombie novels as a separate genre in itself and therefore will not focus much on them in this segment. 

One of the major qualities of a dystopian is a post/pre apocalyptic society is which there is usually a corrupt government system that enforces rules and regulations that would be looked down upon in modern day society.

Most dystopian novels are satires, that will mock certain elements in society be making fun of them in either a humorous or serious way. One of the classic dystopian books is 1984 by George Orwell. In this society people are constantly watched by the government authority called “big brother” and must submit to all their rules, or else they will be forced to. This book deals with many aspects of society including lies, fear, and anti-institutionalism.

One of my favorite aspects about dystopian literature is that the possibilities for dystopian books are really vast. The amount of things that could stem a dystopian society can come from anywhere. With all of the things that are wrong in society today, people can come up with many things to write about.

Dystopian books also tend to portray a deeper meaning within them, which is another great aspect of this genre.

With all of the positives being said, there are also some downsides to the dystopian genre. Since dystopian is a very large and popular genre, it is also become very clich├ęd, just like the paranormal romance genre. Although dystopian books don’t have their own section the bookstore yet, like the paranormal romance genre, it won’t be very long before it does. Following the huge success of The Hunger Games, many authors saw its success and want to jump on the bandwagon in order to gain the amount of success it gained.

The other thing that is my pet peeve about dystopian books is that every single dystopian book gets one way or another compared back to The Hunger Games. This is basically because The Hunger Games was the first dystopian book that ever got a lot of popularity so people feel the need to compare every single dystopian book back to it because apparently comparing it back to The Hunger Games measures its success or something. A lot of the popular dystopian books such as The Maze Runner and Divergent are very often compared back to The Hunger Games just because they are dystopian books, and really have nothing in common other than their genre.

Dystopian is one of my favorite genres of literature, not only to read, but to write as well and I am hoping to write a dystopian novel sometime in the near future!