October 29, 2013

More Advice

Remember that post when I went on a rant about how I keep on looking up writer's quotes and advice to writers and yet I never agree with the things they say?

Well, I found a list of advice that I actually like!

So here goes:

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
By the way, I got these from here and they come from Kurt Vonnegut. I don't think I've ever read any of his books, but he looks interesting and someday I plan on reading Slaughterhouse Five. I'll let you know if I ever get around to it.

Picture from this link.

But anyway, I actually liked the advice he gave. I mean, none of the points are really new, nothing I haven't heard or just known, but hearing it like this gives me inspiration.
And I like point seven and eight and five. Those seem like things that it's really tempting to change, and while experimenting and being creative are all good and great, I still think it can be bad to have too much suspense or too much waiting around before the story gets started.
(I think there are some classic authors I've read in English class who could have heard point five...)

My advice? Just write. Forget about all the rules. If you're really meant to write, you won't have time to worry about who to write for and what to write about. You'll just be so caught up in the words that nothing else even matters.

This seems like a super cool blog!

That isn't to say that it's not good to read and research as much as possible when you're in the in-between books stage.

If you haven't figured it out-- I am in the in-between books stage. Or at least, the in-between drafts stage.

Man, sometimes I wish people could read faster!

October 26, 2013

Senior Pictures

So I spent all morning running around taking pictures.

Because I am going to graduate in a couple of months.


I will be done with high school.


Can you believe it?

I can't.

I'm sorry. I'm just having a little bit of a mental breakdown at the moment. It's just so freaky. I can't possibly be old enough to be a senior in high school. An almost done senior in high school for that matter. I'm graduating. Soon.

But anyway, I took a bunch of senior pictures and it was a lot of fun. So, because I am such a wonderfully nice person, I'll put up at least one of the pictures we took today, so you guys can see my lovely face.

Ah. Wow, still can't get over the fact that I already started the last quarter of high school. Ever.

I should probably get my act together with this whole looking for colleges thing.

And I should also register for the SAT so I can score better than I did last time I took it. Hm.

Anyway, I realize this wasn't the most exciting post, but now you get to know a bit about my breakthrough.

And yeah, picture:
I probably won't use this one, but I just look so epic taking my typewriter out of its case to show the world. Like, just looking at this picture makes me want to go write an amazing story or poem or something. Oh, and if you're curious about what the typewriter actually looks like, it's now the background of the blog. So you are probably looking at it right at this moment. Isn't it awesome? I bet you're jealous.

October 23, 2013

Cloaks and Coffee

Yes, I know, I know, I spelled that wrong! It's NaNoWriMo!

But, you see, I have issues with NaNoWriMo. I tried it once upon a time, or maybe try isn't the correct word. I signed up and made an account and everything, but I don't think I submitted a single word. A novel wasn't even begun in that month all those years ago.

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And sure, that was probably three years ago, I should try again.

But I don't think a novel written in a month is really a novel. It's just a bunch of words, and unless I really go through the work of really making it into a book and not just a collection of letters, then it's worthless. Okay, not worthless. I know it would still be really helpful and good practice and all that.

I just don't think 50,000 words scrawled down in one month is quite the same as the novel I've been working on for over a year. And I don't mean to just brag or sound like I'm above those NaNoWriMos or anything, because I definitely am not.

It's still stinkin' impressive, writing that much in so little time.

And I'll admit that a big part of my NaNoWriMo dislike is just the plain and simple fact that November is one of the busiest months, and an overall bad month for writing for me.

So anyway, I decided to make this November into NaNoReMo-- National Novel Reading Month-- because I need to read more. I made that list in that post with those books (PS: All those links go to the same place.) and now I want to actually go about reading some of them.
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So this November I am going to read as much as I possibly can.

And actually it works out fantastically, because at this point the Shadow Whispers is being read by different people, and until I get certain people to read it, I can't do any more as far as writing. So while everyone reads my novel, I will read as many novels from my list as I can.

I know that there's no way I'll get to all fifteen, but I hope to get as many as I can. And a certain friend keeps giving me more books to read that aren't on my list, so not all books will be from my list.

So yeah, it was on purpose. I meant ReMo, not WriMo.

Wish me luck!

October 20, 2013

Cloaks and Coffee

When was the last time you had a sleepover? Like one of those great sleepovers with one friend where you watch chick flicks and eat popcorn and complain about life and talk about friends and then wake up and spend all of the next day together?

I did that this weekend, and it was fantastic.

I got to watch my friend practice gymnastics and meet all her gym friends. She's really good, by the way, by far the best in her gym. I still think she could make it to the Olympics, but I guess that's not her top goal. She wants to be a doctor. (Doesn't make any sense to me. I want to have nothing to do with the human body- or at least not the inside of it.)
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After that we watched the Proposal with her mom and sister, and it is a hilarious movie. I die laughing every time. "Take the dog! No, no, take the dog instead!"


We then watched Pitch Perfect in an empty apartment her family owns, and then stayed up talking until 2:00.

We woke up at 8:00, and 8:30, and 9:30, and finally got out of bed at 10:00. We took her mom downtown to the doctor's office, and my friend got super excited about watching the ultrasound and hearing the doctor's analysis. I don't see the appeal.

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Then we headed over to the cloth store to choose out cloth to make cloaks for Fun Fall Festival-- the oh so excited festival at the end of Spirit Week every year. This year's theme is Fantasy, and we are dressing up as Whisperers. (Yes, I am totally dressing up as a character from the book I wrote, and no that is not lame or narcissistic or anything. It's just advertisement, duh!)

And then we looked in stores, and bought ice cream, and bought chai smoothies and sat at Black Coffee for a long time talking, and then went through the puestos in the zocalo and bought friendship bracelets.

We took a bus back to her house and brainstormed how to go about making a cloak. And then we hand sowed everything and made awesome cloaks. And then we focused on finding the rest of our outfit and deciding what else to wear besides a cloak.

And then she rolled up in a blanket on the couch, and so obviously I jumped on her, and we laughed, and she laughed about how she could feel me laughing, and then her sister jumped on top of me, and we all laughed, and played the "ha-ha" game until we cried and she farted.

(I wish I had a picture of this...)

And then we rolled of the couch and buried ourselves in blankets, and played hide and go seek with blankets on the living room floor. And we wrestled and tickled each other, and laughed until our abs hurt.

I don't even like cats. But this...

I haven't had that kind of fun in a really long time, and I'd forgotten how great it really is.

Basically, I had an awesome weekend, and I'm trying to make you jealous. Go grab a friend and have a sleepover. You won't regret it.

October 15, 2013

Advice To Those Who Write

Honestly, I am going to be a little bit hypocritical here. I love to go and look up quotes about writing and read all of those lists of "how to write better". But I usually disagree with them.

See? I disagree again. :)

In fact, the other day I wrote about 500 words about why I disagreed with three of the things that show up on most lists. I won't post it here though, I think I was just in a bad mood, really, and I may have exaggerated quite a bit.

But anyway-- one thing that kept showing up was the "read more" idea that I have heard so many times that I'm sick of it. My first reaction is always: "when I'm working on a novel I do not want to read. Reading becomes a distraction; it keeps me from writing, and if I do write while reading a good book my writing style will inevitably begin to sound a little bit more like the book I'm reading and less like the one I'm writing."

Random website to get a picture of books from, but it's pretty cool.
But... at the moment I am not writing. I should be. I have Book One of a trilogy out and being read, and I know that pretty soon some of my readers will be demanding a sequel, and I'm going to need to give it to them. I should be starting on Book Two.

However, I am not. And therefore, I decided that this is a good time to read as much as I can. Get all the reading out of my system so that once I do start writing I can focus entirely on writing instead of being distracted by a ton of outside books.

So, in honor of that decision, I decided to compile a list of fifteen books that I want to read. Now-- maybe this is a dumb choice-- I'm not giving myself any kind of deadline. I don't want this to be a fifteen books I'll read in a week. That would be impossible. But these are books that I want to read eventually. The list will probably grow. I've already thought of some more I want to add.

So anyway, the list, in no particular order:

Books I want to Read:

1.       Game of Thrones (This one I've just heard popping up a lot, and people seem to like it. So I figured it would be smart of me to check it out, since I tend to like a lot of the popular trends, and I want to know what the fuss is about. Besides, I bet it will be made into a movie before too long.)
2.       100 AƱos de Soledad (I definitely want to read this one, in Spanish, because I love all the short stories I've read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I really need to read more books in Spanish. I've been slacking.)

3.       Ender’s Game (You have no idea how many people have told me to read this. I really need to read it. Oh, and the movie's coming out, and I obviously need to read the book before watching the movie. Or maybe soon after...)

4.       Brave New World (I don't really want to read this, but I do. I feel like it's one of those classics that I need to read sometime. I feel like I can't avoid it, so I may as well not even try. Maybe I'll end up loving it.)

5.       Wuthering Heights (I don't know why I want to read this one so badly, but I was really disappointed when I found out my English class will read it next semester, after I graduate. Gah. So I guess I just need to read it on my own.)

6.       The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (I don't know why I haven't read this yet. I'm ashamed of myself for not reading it.)


The Princess Bride (This two. This movie is my favorite movie in the world, so why  have I not read it? Sometimes I shock myself. I really don't have any excuse. I'm ashamed and embarrassed, but it will be read soon, I promise.)

8.       The Wind in the Willows (Another one of those titles I've heard a bunch, and I think it's one I should read. Isn't it also the favorite book of some character in some other book? I think so, or maybe I just made that up.)

9. The Two Towers (I read the Hobbit and barely scratched through the Fellowship, but I promise myself that someday I will read this and love it.)

10.   The Return of the King (Same reason as I said for the Two Towers.)

11.   Don Quixote (Again, a classic that I feel I must read. And when I do read it, I'm going to read it in Spanish. And it will probably take me ages to finish, but eventually I will. I hope. It's my plan, anyway. And I liked the excerpt I read for AP Spanish Lit. last year.)

12.   Any Isaac Asimov book (I have his quote on my dresser: "I write for the same reason I breathe, because if I don't, I die." It's so beautiful. This guy is my soul mate. Unless I hate his book or something, but I doubt it.)

13.   Any Isabel Allende book in Spanish (I read Paula by Isabel Allende in English and loved it, and then read La Casa De Los Espiritus in Spanish and liked it. So now I want to read another one in Spanish and hopefully love it.)

14.   The House on Mango Street (I've heard this title a lot. This is one I want to read less in comparison to some of the others, but it's still on the list. I think I read a chapter in some English class in middle school and really liked it, and I've been haunted by mango houses ever since.)

15.   The Screw Tape Letters (C. S. Lewis is my hero. I love all of his writings so much, and I am always itching to read more of his work. I've read three of his books so far, and I want this one to be my fourth.)

October 13, 2013

Asian Noodles and Ginger Cookies

Asian Noodles for my family, and they turned out pretty good. It feels a little bit scary actually starting to cook-- like now I really am growing up and getting ready to leave the house.

This is not the recipe I used.

Ginger Cookies for Romans on the Roof, since I forgot to bake a snack the last two weeks and my girls weren't thrilled. I've been slacking, and I almost did today, too. But-- the cookies are in the oven, and this time I have a timer set so that they will not burn!

This is also not the recipe I used.

I also made an Orange Frosty, which was really delicious and refreshing and I think it will be a drink I'll remake in the future. Yay for smoothies and oranges and sugar!

This is still not the recipe I used. But you can use it if you want. :D

Hm, what else shall I blogger you guys about?

We went to youth group with the new church we've been going to, Casa De Fe, and I think it's looking like we'll stay with this church. (We've been church hunting since we got back to Mexico this summer, and it's nice to finally just have somewhere we know we'll attend instead of Sunday morning panic because we don't know where to go to church.)

The youth group was pretty good. We went to a coffee shop and I had a DELICIOUS Chai Frappe. Then we talked a little bit about vanity, but more just asked questions about who was the most vain in the group. And then we played Never Have I Ever, and I lost continuously. Apparently there aren't a lot of things I have never done.

I LOVE Chai!

Never have I ever owned a pet cat.

Ugh. I do not like cats!

Never have I ever gone to the same school for more than three years.

Never have I ever been skydiving.
(But I will; I promise you I will someday.)

So yeah-- and Saturday was another long day of garage sale-ing. And super awful tired all day long. And cramps-- terrible cramps all day long.

And a lot of reading; I have done so much reading this weekend, and on a lot of different books. (Check out my Pages and More Pages for a complete and updated list of what books I am currently reading.)

Okay, okay, my ramble is done.

October 11, 2013

School Life Outside of School

Sometimes I wish I could change certain parts of my life.

I mean, I've been so busy, but not hanging out with friends. I mean, today is Friday, right? And we didn't have any school in order to celebrate something. (Maybe Columbus Day, maybe Canadian Thanksgiving Day, maybe the teachers just got lazy. It all depends on who you ask.)

But anyway- a Friday with no school. Should be super exciting, right? Want to know what I did?

I woke up at 8:00. There's my first problem. Why did I not sleep in? Good question.

At 9:30 I headed over to the school. (Yes, there was no school. But I went to school on a Friday anyway.) And helped Student Council paint a bunch of blocks of wood that we'll use in the Fun Fall Festival- a traditional carnival sort of thing my school does every year.

We painted until around 12:00 or 1:00, and then headed across town to help with the Junior Senior class garage sale. That ended about 2:00, and I decided to stay at a friend's house for a while longer before going home, but I didn't think to call home, and my mom showed up to pick me up a couple minutes later.

So after a little "I-never-get-to-hang-out-with-my-friends-I-don't-even-have-any-friends-why-does-everybody-hate-me-I'm-so-hormonal-and-way-overreacting" breakdown, I took a long shower and then went to go get crepes and coffee with my mom.

And now I'm home- still feeling a little bit sorry for myself- and wishing I could at least watch a movie. But we have a pathetic movie selection, and the guy's action racing movie that my dad rented doesn't sound appealing. I'm emotional and lonely, I need a chick flick, not an action, duh!

Oh boy. I guess my rant is over.

On the plus side- since there's always got to be a glass-half-full side of things- I did write a satire about technology, and a blog entry, and did some reviews on that writing website I mentioned way back when.

And I have been reading, a new John Green book called Looking for Alaska, and while it definitely isn't as good as The Fault in Our Stars and I don't think it will make my favorites, it's still a good book and an interesting read.

So yeah. The end.

Ugh. And I'm too lazy to even add in pictures like I normally do. Well, actually, it's not laziness, it's just that we're about to start watching that guy's action racing movie.

Okay, okay, now it really is the end. (Except, "okay", Fault in Our Stars, I'm going to cry again!)

October 9, 2013

A Traumatizing Night

I know you've all been there. Enough things pile up that you just end up traumatized.

I started the evening by finishing reading John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. I wish I could say that I did not cry, but that would be a lie. (Heje, see, I rhymed? I'm a poet and I didn't even know it.)
And no, that was not a spoiler. The book is about kids with cancer, what did I expect? I knew it would be sad, and that made it even worse.
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It's like The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, where the entire story is narrated by Death, and he tells you right from the start that everyone is going to die.


Still, somehow the foreshadowing just makes the tragedy seem more real. Plus, instead of getting caught of guard and crying at the end- I was waiting for it the entire time I read. It's like this anticipation of "who's going to die first?" And it's awful.

(Disclaimer: I am not saying the book was awful. I loved the book, but hated it at the same time because it was so sad and I was so attached to the characters that I did not want them to die. It was a good book, if you don't mind reading the page through a film of tears.)

So, anyway, I finished this sad book and went to go watch a movie, hoping that my dad had gotten some cheery feel good movie. Nope. He rented the Call, which is terrifying. I won't go into any details, but I sure know that I will never ever ever ever be a nine-one-one dispatcher.

As if those two things weren't enough, later that night I turn on my light to go get a drink of water, and there's this spider. His back was like- poky looking or something. So I call for my mom, because she happened to be in the kitchen, and she comes in to kill it for me.
Is that not the most awful thing ever?

And my mom hits this thing with a shoe, and it explodes into a thousand little baby spiders.

I had no idea that kind of thing happened. I thought spiders built nests and laid eggs. Apparently not, or at least not this particular kind of spider.
By the way, I did my research, and this is a wolf spider- and it carries its babies around on its back. Well, future wolf spiders- carry your babies FAR AWAY from my room.

So yeah, traumatizing night.
Be very, very careful before killing a spider, and never assume that it won't multiply under your shoe.

October 6, 2013


What does the future look like?

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Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all equation to sow exactly what your future will be like. It would be kind of nice if there was. Sometimes I think that life should be a little more like calculus, just without the homework.

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I know I've been going on and on about the future lately, but it's kind of important. I wouldn't say that I am a person who must have things planned and has organized little agendas and calendars and stuff. In fact a lot of the time I would rather not have any plans at all.
But... when I do make plans for something, then I want everything to go the way it's supposed to. I don't like plans that fail. Not at all.

So I'm a little bit hesitant to keep on making all of these plans for things that seem so far away. I mean, I grew up not necessarily knowing what country I would live in the next year.

Now I'm supposed to be making all these plans to travel Europe and study in England.
And on top of that, I'm supposed to be making plans for what college to go to. For the next four years. What? Four years? I can't even grasp the idea of so much time spent in one place.
And then there is the idea of publishing, and my future as a Writer.

Two nights ago I stayed up until 1:00 reading Shadow Whispers, and successfully finished editing the fourth draft. Which means that now I am happy with it, and want to send it out and see about getting published. I promise you this will not be easy. I don't even know how to start this whole process.

I just feel like there is so much piling up over me. So many decisions I have to make. So many opportunities I can jump on. So many plans I need to work on.

I can't say that I'm stressed, just a little bit overwhelmed.

It's confusing, and sometimes overwhelming, and always exciting.

October 2, 2013

The Struggles of a Writer

And the struggle continues.

I still want more than anything to just go sit down and finish these last thirty-some pages of Shadow Whispers, just be done with it, you know? So that I can move on to the next stage and not be so consumed by this novel.

Yet I cannot just "go write."

Okay- distractions are certainly a part of my lack of words, but I promise that isn't all of the problem. See, for this stage of editing I need to read out loud. And maybe I'm just carping, but I can't stand the idea of reading my story out loud to myself while my parents are in the kitchen making dinner.

I just. I don't like the idea of other people hearing me while I read.

Not yet. Eventually I'll be at that point where I will want to read it out loud to people, but not yet. Not yet.

Soon, maybe, if I can make myself find time to edit. I keep staying up past 11:00 (my preferred bedtime is about 9:00, to put it into perspective.) And wondering why I am so tired at school the next day. And then, of course, my family has to listen to my Piano Guys music that drowns out my voice while I read.

Let's just say that someday I will have a separate room or cabin or something where only I am allowed to go, and where all I do is write, write, write. Or read, or edit.
Writing Cabin? I guess I'm not the only one with this idea.

You get the point, though. I need a space of my own, a space set apart entire for words.

Maybe I am just rambling. I probably am.
I just... I'm consumed. I'm infatuated. I'm obsessed.

The Whisperers are taking over my life, or at least trying to- every part of myself that isn't already overruled by school and friends and movies and books and foods and internet and whatever other distractions always lurk nearby threatening to take away my writing.

Now I definitely am just rambling. I apologize. I am a writer, though, after all.