Monday, October 31, 2011

Giveaway Winners- and a Makeshift Inspiration Station


***EDIT: I forgot. Winners, who are announced below, please shoot me a mailing address
in an email. Thanks!***

Okee, folks, the winners of the Book Giveaway are....

*drumroll*



Josiphine and Jake (Teenage Writer)

Congrats- and thank you SO MUCH for everyone who entered. Thanks for your patience :)

Winners- I have a question- do either of you own Gregor the Overlander or The Bronze Bow? Because that will help make choosing who gets each book easy- if neither of your own either of those (what a sentence...) then I'll just choose ;)

Of course, if you voice or opinions and come to an agreement between the two of you, I'll take that too :D

***********************************

Now, for fun-ness XD

Since y'all are on the throes of NaNo now, here's a slew of music from YouTube. 

Since, you know, there aren't enough distractions in your life right now :)









More music, and hopefully other things to help you crazy writers' brains in the future too :D

Happy writing, folks!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Miracle

(By the way, today is my 1-year blogoversary. *smiles* I'm leaving on a trip on Wednesday, so I'll stop being a slacker and announce the winners of the book giveaway before I leave ;)

Oh dear.

I should have been chock-full of NaNo posts by now, huh? Sorry about that.

But the truth is, I still can't believe I'm sitting here right now. In my house. On the computer. Completely fine.

Why the drama?

Well, let's back up to when I came home from my violin lesson yesterday.

I slept in, and left for the lesson without eating. So I came back about 10:45, and threw some bacon in a pan on the stove and turned the heat on.

Now, realize, most of the time with our bacon, it practically takes ten years to cook, so it's normal for us to stick it on low-med heat and walk away, check on it every five minutes or something, you know.

Casual.

The bacon I was cooking yesterday was actually super thin compared to our normal thick cut stuff. I also had the heat turned up a little too high, but for some reason I didn't notice.

And, heh, a rule in our house is that I can't touch the computer until my schoolwork for the day is done.

Unfortunately, I sort of break that rule sometimes. *shame*

Dear little sister just got email the other day, so it's still a novelty (aka checking-it-every-two-seconds) even though I'm the only one she had emailed ;)

She had sent some reply to me right after I threw the bacon on the stove, and so I thought, "Eh, I'll humor the girl and shoot a reply back." I went into the other room (where, note, the kitchen was out of sight) and sat down by the computer.

(Remember, sweetie, what happened after this wasn't your fault! I was being really stupid....)

So I reached over to the keyboard and emailed her a reply, and then, like the vortex we all know it is, I totally got sucked into checking my Reader, email, blogger, stupid videos, whatever.

Dear little sis and I are sitting there giggling about whatever, on the computer, when I see this orange light reflected in a framed picture on the wall. (It was on a wall in between the room where I was and the kitchen.)

Distracted human being I was, my first thought was, "Oh look, pretty light!"

*stupidity*

And then, my second thought was, "Oh, that's fire light."

And two milliseconds later it occurred to me.

I should NOT be seeing fire in the kitchen. 


And then it hit me.

The freakin' bacon.

"Oh my gosh," I said, and ran into the kitchen.

Spewing straight up from the pan I was using to cook my bacon were two-foot-high flames.

Not.

Good.

I'll be honest and say, I'm probably not the absolute best person to have in an emergency. However, I'm definitely not the worst.

Anyway, I didn't scream, or actually make a single sound. (My mom, who was resting in her room upstairs, couldn't hear a thing at this point. {She did a post on yesterday also, btw.})

But while I didn't audibly freak out, my brain went into panic mode.

This was my brain:

You are in so much trouble.


Put the fire out now.


You're so busted.


Put that fire out NOW.


That was really stupid of you.


GET THAT FIRE OUT RIGHT NOW!!!!


*shakes head*

So, being the good girl I am, I went right over to the fire extinguisher we had in the kitchen, held it up and brought it over the stove.

And fumbled around with the pin and the handle and the lever very confusedly.

...............I didn't know how to get it to work.

Yeah.

So, I look around, thinking, "What else puts out fire? Water, that's right! Water puts out fire!"

(This was not the first time I accidentally set something on fire in the house. But last time, it was a burning sticky note, and completely controlled by emptying my water bottle over said sticky note.
This? Much different.)

But the last time I heard any precautions about grease fires had to be over a year ago at least, and I had completely forgotten by this time.

So, being the idiot I am, I spotted our Britta pitcher on the opposite counter, completely full of water. And thought, "Yes, I'm saved!"

So I dropped the fire extinguisher (big help that was), grabbed the completely full container, stood over that fire, and poured.

This is what should have happened.




In my absolute ignorance, and carelessness before that, pouring as much water as I did on that fire should have completely taken me out. I should, all things considered, be dead or in the hospital with severe third-degree burns right now.

Do you want to know what happened?

The second I start pouring water on that grease fire, it sputtered and went out.

I'm. Not. Kidding.

(At the time, I thought I was brilliant. 'Cause, you know, I put out that two-foot-high fire in the kitchen by myself. Whatever.)

By the time my mom came downstairs, the fire was out, but I certainly had a piece of explaining to do.

We'll skip the completely deserved grilling about being on the computer when I shouldn't have been (again, I was really, really stupid....), the smoke alarm that killed my eardrums, opening ALL of the windows and doors, and cleaning up the spluttered bacon remains.

My mom was all, "Well, I'm just glad that whatever you did, you didn't pour water on it."

I arched my eyebrows and was all, "Er, mom? I, uh...... did."

She couldn't believe it.

And after she told me what should have happened and showed me that video, I couldn't either.

What should have happened:

At the very least: microwave door warped and completely done for, me injured, the plastic food cover that was on an unused burner completely melted.

At the most: no house. No me. It could have even spread to the houses near us.

A family at church had a house that just recently burnt down. It was a small, accidental fire, and their house was about three times the size of ours.

It went down in 8 minutes.

Ours would have been gone in under 2.

It took a long time for what happened to really sink in. Even now,  I still don't think it's completely hit home.

I should be dead right now. The fireball that should have resulted from the water would have completely burnt me. It would have hit me smack in the face.

Our casualties: a pan and some burnt-bacon-stained jeans.


The microwave? Lysol wipe, soot gone. It looks brand new.

Me? Not a scratch.

The kitchen? Couldn't be better.


After liberally pouring water on a grease fire.

Nothing short of Divine Intervention saved my life, and the house, yesterday.

Have any of you been saved by nothing short of God Himself? Have any of you been in situations where you should not have survived?


If you have, you know: it is the absolute most crazy feeling in the world. Knowing you shouldn't actually be alive and/or completely functional.

I don't know why He loves me so much.

And talking it over last night with mom, I realized I had no memory of feeling any heat.

None whatsoever.

Again... completely mind blowing.

It's so insane to think that I should be dead right now because of a stupid, stupid mistake. From being careless and disobedient.

And that my God extended grace to me and spared me.

***

I'm sorry. I had to stop in the middle of writing this because I suddenly broke down and just sobbed on the computer.

I think it's hit me.

***

*takes deep breath*

Yesterday has taught me several things:

Don't be stupid.

Never pour water on a grease fire. (I won't be doing that ever again. I also now know how to use a fire extinguisher.)

Never walk away from my cooking.

Disobedience always results in disaster. (aka Your sin will find you out....)

Never take life for granted.


The Lord loves me.


He is gracious.


And not only has He saved me from physical death... 


He saved my soul.


And for both I am eternally grateful.

After everything that He has done for me, how can I do anything but live every day for Him?

My life is in His hands, after all.

What a life-changing experience making breakfast can be.

************

There's this song I'm mildly addicted to right now. Here's a link to the Japanese version. (Yeah, yeah, me and the Japanese songs. Whatever.)

But these are the lyrics in English:



Just like the river that flows into the ocean
Your love pours into my soul
You are my shelter, you save me from my fears
Turn the night into day
I can hear you calling my name
And from my heart I pray
Gloria, oh my redeemer, you set me free
Gloria, keep me forever, safe in your love
Just like the flower
That blossoms in the spring-time
Your love grows inside my heart
You are my savior you wipe away my tears
Leading me all the way

Gloria, oh my redeemer, you set me free
Gloria, keep me forever, safe in your love
************

Good grief, I'm crying again.
Anyway. 

I treasure today particularly. 
Because I got to play celtic songs with EFC and in a jam session. 
Because I got to eat pasta. 
Because I have to do laundry. 
Because I got to hug my brother and sister. 
Because I'm alive to say I've been blogging for a year. 
Because the sun came out and I got to see it. 
Because I'm going to meet Amaranthine via Skype. 
Because I got to chop up broccoli for dinner.
Because I'm alive... and my God is good. 

What's the Lord done for you recently?


Do you even know Him?


If you don't, may I just say: you're on your way to death and destruction eternally?


He loves you so much that He sacrificed Himself for you. If you have yet to to know Him, now is a good time to get started.


Because life is far too precious, and frail, to waste on things that aren't going to last.


You don't know when you will take your last breath. You really don't.


Make sure you know where you're headed, dear friend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Which I Undertake a Foolhardy Challenge




It's Beautiful People time again! Only this month, a huge challenge was issued to answer every single question from all the archives, AND this month's questions.


Being the awesome, er, crazy person I am, I accepted the challenge. 


Read this post for the complete scoop. :) 


Or just read on and be amazed at my insanity and brain-frying formatting. 


***********************************************

March 2011
  • What is their full name? Dantere (Ben-Kyen) Tilchaest
  • Does his or her name have a special meaning? Not really, to be honest   -_-
  • Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality? Oh, very methodical :D
  • Does he or she think inside themselves more than they talk out loud to their friends? (more importantly, does he or she actually have friends?) It's not that he doesn't converse. He just doesn't invest emotionally with other people. 
  • Is there something he or she is afraid of? Failure. And having people see the real him. 
  • Does he or she write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph? He paints....! XD
  • What is his or her favorite book? (or genre of books) I think I said this last time too: History books. They're the only ones around :)
  • Who is his or her favorite author and/or someone that inspires him or her? He is pretty inspired by: his foster father and his uncle. (Not foster-uncle; real uncle.)
  • Favorite flavor of ice cream? Theoretically here: *whispers to Dantere* *makes weird face like this: o_O* Apparently he likes, or would like, chocolate caramel..... *makes weird face again* You're so random!
  • Favorite season of the year? Egh. When he lived in Caltiland he liked Autumn best but once he goes home again he likes summer. Woh. Didn't see that coming... 

April 2011
  • How old is he/she? At the start of the story? Eleven and a half. 
  • What does he/she do with his/her spare time? Paints, takes care of his little sister and brother, and tries not to get sick. (More on that later, maybe.)
  • Does he/she see the big picture or live in the moment? Oh, he's a bit of a big-picture guy, actually. 
  • Is he/she a perfectionist? Not extremely. 
  • What does her handwriting look like? (round, slanted, curly, skinny, sloppy, neat, decorative, etc.) Pretty fancy, looks very calligraphy-ish, elongated and pretty :)
  • Favorite animal? *chokes* Uh, he has a favorite?? 
  • Does he/she have any pets? Nope. 
  • Does he/she have any siblings? How many? Where does he/she fit in? Oldest of three, youngest is his foster brother though. 
  • Does he/she have a 'life verse' and if so what is it? If I find one for him later I will let you know. 
  • Favorite writing utensil? Reed quill/pen thingywajahoober. 

May 2011
  • What type of laugh does he/she have? You know, I've never actually thought about it. He's got a nice laugh, not loud, but pretty hearty. He giggles a bit though, like the little chuckles you get when you are having a private joke with yourself. 
  • Who is his/her best friend? His sister. And Velyaran, I think. He's an Azeleyan, more on him later, maybe. 
  • What is his/her family like? Er, dead? -_- Well, besides said sister. 
  • Is he/she a Christian, or will he/she eventually find Jesus? Sorry, wrong galaxy ;) I'm sure you've noticed, they don't live on our world. 
  • Does he/she believe in fairies? No belief needed, they're a certified race :D
  • Does he/she like hedgehogs? They don't exist in Verria as far as I know, I'm afraid. 
  • Favorite kind of weather? Calm, clear, and sunny, but not hot. 
  • Does he/she have a good sense of humor? If so what kind? (Slapstick, wit, sarcasm, etc.?) I think I still have to teach him what that word means, actually..... 
  • How did he/she do in school, or any kind of education they might have had. Did very well, was pretty much the top of his class Had high education as a child, like the lower levels of royalty-type education. 
  • Any strange hobbies? Strange hobbies? No. Just painting and playing with rope. 

June 2011
  • What kind of music does he/she like? He doesn't have a strong musical opinion. Nothing too fast or chaotic though. 
  • Does he/she like to go outside? He does enjoy being out of doors. 
  • Is he/she naturally curious? Not greatly, but he can be. 
  • Right, or left handed? He might actually be left handed! I don't know yet. 
  • Favorite color? He looks good in dark greens, but I think he likes this one shade of red a lot..... *smacks Dantere* Go back to where you came from, you! I'm the writer! *growls*
  • Where is he/she from? Kingdom of Trenbourn, specifically the capitol, Kyen. 
  • Any enemies? Plenty, but he doesn't know about them yet. 
  • What are his/her quirks? Okay, this will probably make NO sense, but he has a particular gift (or curse, he might tell you) called the Sight, and he can see a lot of things that other people can't. 
Like Elijah the prophet, in 1 Kings I think, where he asks the Lord to open the eyes of his servant, so that the servant could see the hosts of heaven all around the city? Yeah, that. So, Dantere can basically see what the servant was allowed to see, except translated into my own fantasy universe, almost continually since he was about nine years old. It's reeeeeeeeeeeally cool...... 
  • What kinds of things get on his/her nerves? Last minutes changes of plan. 
  • Is he/she independent, or needs others to help out? He can do almost anything on his own, but he particularly likes being part of a team. 

July 2011
  • What is his/her biggest secret? That he has the Sight. 
  • Has he/she ever been in love? Not yet!
  • What is his/her comfort food? Doesn't have one, doesn't think he needs one. Maybe it'll end up being soup..... 
  • Does he/she play a musical instrument? If so, what? Fail, Dantere, FAIL!!! You play nothing!!! *thrusts violin at him*
  • What colour are his/her eyes? Hair? Eyes: grey, but they can look grey-green, or oddly enough, brown. Sometimes, very rarely, they look blue. 
  • Hair? Dark, dark brown. Like chocolate. 
  • Does he/she have any pets? Didn't we already go over this??
  • What is his/her favorite place to be? Anywhere he's accepted. 
  • What are some of his/her dreams or goals? He wants to be exactly like his father was. 
  • Does he/she enjoy sports? Oh, yes. 
  • What is his/her favorite flower or plant? Dantere! Get over here! *whispers* Okay, apparently he likes some flower called Syliph-Tear. 
Gosh, man, I'm separating you and Chance, he's teaching you too many of his "let's poke around the author's brain" tricks! *rubs forehead*

August 2011
  • What is their biggest accomplishment? By the end of the first book..... I don't know. Being okay with who he is and what he's been given, possibly, though that struggle never really ends for him...
  • What is one of their strongest childhood memories? The night when his home was attacked. Fire, and very loud noises and scary, massive black things dominate that memory/nightmare. 
  • What is their favorite food? I think he likes soup, but that's not set in concrete. 
  • Do they believe in love at first sight? Ask  him in a few years, he's only eleven, jeez...
  • What kind of home do they live in? At the beginning of the story: a little palace. In the middle? Wherever he can find a place to sleep. At the end? A construction site, of sorts. 
  • What do they like to wear? Practical is first, but he likes to look nice, though not enough to stand out excessively. 
  • What would they do if they discovered they were dying? Get upset because of the short term notice. And then deal with it. 
  • What kind of holidays, or traditions do they celebrate? Oh please, I haven't gotten that far into the worldbuilding yet! I'll know when I write it. 
  • What do your other characters have to say about them? Depends. If you really want to know... 
Keziren: "He's my brother! I love him." 
Velyaran: "What a kid." 
Corugen: "He makes me think of his father." (No, really?) 
Haenar: "Dantere Tilchaest. He is but a child, no matter his sire. And I am not going to let a scraggly band and an infant destroy everything I have done!" *reaches for sword*

Uh oh, let's get outta here... *shoves Haenar back into manuscript*
  • If they could change one thing in their world, what would it be? He would probably want to rid the world of any sort of evil wizardry. But that's a fuzzy conclusion... 

September 2011

  • Do they have any habits, annoying or otherwise? Er, getting sick to his stomach? Just kidding... sort of....
  • What is their backstory and how does it affect them now? See this post. 
  • How do they show love? He doesn't. He is actually pretty freaked at the thought of emotionally connecting with people, as a general rule. 
  • How competitive are they? Extremely. 
  • What do they think about when nothing else is going on? Again, this post. 
  • Do they have an accent? Slightly Canadian I think. 
  • What is their station in life? A Guardian-In-Training. 
  • What do others expect from them? To basically step up and take his father's place as the head of the Guardians, or at least be the rallying symbol for the people- something no twelve year old should be asked. o_O
Actually, though, because he's an untrained infant, as it were, at the beginning, they merely take him along with their rebellion against the bad guys because the thought of the head Guardian's son being among the revolters would rally the people. He doesn't really do much but try and keep up though, poor boy. 
  • Where were they born, and when? Like I said before: born in Kyen, at a very young age ;)
  • How do they feel about people in general? He likes people, he really does. Just as long as things stay superficial. *rubs hands gleefully* Dantere, you have no idea what's coming! Superficial, my foot. 
 And, last but not least, this month's:
    • Sum up your novel in five words or less. Epic and awesome, I hope. 
    • Novel title? Come back in ten years. (Update: the working title is "The King's Half-Brother" but that's only there as a space filler right now.)
    • Sum up your main character(s) in one word each. Dantere: Burdened. Keziren: Sweetheart. Rethuban: Old. Velyaran: Rash. (And bonus, a word for the villain!) Haenar: Misunderstanding. 
    • Advice for newbies in three words? To NaNo? Don't freak out.
    • Tell us about your secondary characters, how do they affect the story? They sweep Dantere off his feet, throw him places he doesn't want to be (but are good for him, in a roundabout way) and do things that are awesome. Affective, I say :]
    • Do you plan to stay up till midnight on the 31st? NaNo aside, I probably will anyway.... 
    • How many years have you done NaNo? Only did it last year. *hangs head in shame*
    • What came first, characters, or plot idea? The plot by about 30 seconds, if we're talking about the very first point of origin..... otherwise, if you're talking about this particular version of the story: I don't know. (Now there's conviction for you!)
    • How much prep do you do before November? As much as I can. 
    • Now be honest, how do you really feel about NaNo? I love it, truly. :D Schoolwork is the one thing in my way. 

    In Which I Feel The Need For A Laugh


    I'm sorry.

    What a busy blogger I am.

    I have four movie reviews lined up to post, NaNo to discuss and a freakin' awesome story to tell y'all about.

    So what is this post about?


    Silly LOTR picture parodies.

    Go figure. *headdesk*




    I'm a little swamped by lack of sleep (my fault) and schoolwork (maybe not my fault. I'm blaming life.). So, I'm still trying to find ample time to sit and get those posts out, but I promise I'm working on it :]

    In the meantime, enjoy a lovely post of randomness o_O

    (By the way, I received all of these in some massive emails from Helen :D)




























    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    If anyone is up for feeling jealous....

    ************Okay, actually, I lied. It's not live anymore. But there is a half-hour video from when they WERE streaming.... *grumbles***********

    ....The UK Premiere of Tintin is going on right now.


    Click here to see the live streaming :D :D :D

    PS Anybody got a suggestion for a special 1-Year Blogoversary post? I'm out of ideas o_O

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    I Really Like Grilled Cheese Sandwiches....


    ...especially when I made them myself. Mmm.....

    *continues munching away on lunch*

    Sorry, random thought. Carry on!

    (And if you are in need of a distraction or a solution to writer's block, head over to the post for my #2 Thank You - Giveaway XD)

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Random Bits of the Day Thus Far...


    ^ this doesn't actually have anything to do with anything. But it IS a great feeling. :D


    A blogger I follow named Sophia wrote a good post on the first Hunger Games novel today. Short, but thoughtful. Go and check her out if you have 30 seconds to spare :)

    After watching the second video on this page, I grabbed my sister and squealed, "I love Tintin! I love that movie! It's going to be so good! I'm totally gonna to scream on that part. I'm going to scream during the whole movie!!!!!"

    Yeah. I think I need a little more enthusiasm in my life...

    And I made a funny little manga thank-you card for a super-sweet librarian today. I think I did a good job XD

    Speaking of, I'm going to pick up two books on hold at the library today. I kid you not, I will probably walk out with 20, though. *headdesk*


    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    NaNo Here Y'all Come!!!


    Random note: My 1-year blogoversary is coming up in about a week :D 
    So.... what would y'all like me to do for you? Anything but a giveaway. I still have to announce the winners of the last one XD

    But seriously, comment and let me know. More excerpts? My favorite stupid videos I waste my time watching? A special post, subject of your choice? Slam me with 20 questions and make me answer them? Make me do something humiliating? XD Let me know okay?? Be creative here. 

    *************************


    I'm not doing NaNo this year, but I did it last year and succeeded with 500 words extra XD

    I know there are a lot people around here who are doing it for the first time this year, and I'm going to sit here all November and be a cheerleader ;) And maybe be an eensy teensy procrastination station :P

    (Speaking of, lovely people, if you are going to be blogging about your NaNo journey and I don't currently follow you, let me know in the comments for this post and I'll go check you out!)

    So anyway, for those who are first-time NaNo-ers this year, here's the first post of many for you. Pointers, what NOT to do, and little tricks to win that you might not have known.

    (By the way, about my opening text-picture? Well, this may seem like a serious situation, and November shall seem dire at times. But really? Just laugh. :P)

    The rule of NaNo is you can outline, plan, and name your chapters before November. But no writing until 12:00 am November 1st.

    What I did may possibly be considered a breakage. But I don't think so, personally.

    I had a short story I had written for an essay, about a squire who fought a dragon. It was like, maybe 300 words? At the most. And I liked the basis enough that I turned it into a screenplay.

    It didn't really work. I mean, it did, but by about September/October of last year, I was losing steam fast. The screenplay was going in twelve different directions and I felt like I needed to explore it in novel depth before writing it as a screenplay.

    That was when I remembered NaNo, revealed to me first by the friend who gave me that 45 Master Characters book. (Yeah, this mysterious friend of mine? She ROCKS.)

    Anyway, I remembered NaNo and decided it would be the thing that would get me a story written. :P

    Alert: grammar may or may not be present here.

    After much drama which you can read here, here, here, and here for starters, I got a story written. And I learned some things.

    I learned to let go of my perfectionism. I'm a Tolkien-esque writer at heart. As in, If-one-sentence-is-wrong-I-will-rewrite-the-whole-chapter kind of writer.

    NaNo taught me to let go of that.

    It also taught me the value of good music.

    And word wars.

    And socks.

    And uh, food.

    And coffee. The nectar of life, I'm telling you.....


    I'll stretch my oh-so-valuable expertise (haha) over the course of several posts. But for those prepping for NaNo right now:

    Sometimes:


    actually works. And you may need to smack something at about Week 2. 

    ***

    You will never value


    as much as you may during NaNo.

    ***

    And lastly:


    is sort of like the feeling when you start a new novel. 

    ***

    In more serious matters, if be that possible:

    Having a starting point is a good idea. 

    You may or may not want to have your conclusion in the back of your mind already. Entertain the thought at least. I like a general, but beginning-to-end outline. If I know where I'm going, it's easier to get there. (No, really?)

    Check out Write or Die. It may become your new best friend/enemy. 

    Go to as many write-ins as you can.

    And,

    Relax. Take a deep breath. Get ready to churn out words. 
    First drafts are given express permission to stink. And that's okay. Get all the words you can out there. Even if you spend 800 words writing about soup, that's awesome. Get them out, and then slice and dice as you see fit AFTER November. 

    Actually, that's what I did. Sometimes I wrote whole thousands of words that I knew (or at least assumed) would be rejected later when I went through the first edit. But instead of deleting, I highlighted them a certain color or strike though'ed them and left them at the bottom of my Word Doc. 

    Why?

    Because I wrote them during November. And they counted.

    :D

    So, who's excited for NaNoWriMo?

    *hears much cheering*

    *grin*

    **********************

    Sorry if this post didn't make too much sense. I'm a little tired. 

    I'll go over the stuff in bold in detail another day. Let me go get caught up on schoolwork :|

    Anyway, see y'all later!

    *staggers off to bed with a freshly-baked cowboy cookie and The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman tucked under one arm*

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Beacause We Don't Have Enough Tintin Around Here...


    New poster and MIND-BLOWING new trailer! I squealed, as usual :P You can imagine that as you watch below. I'm sure it will enhance your viewing....  or, not XD








    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    In Which Archetypes Save My Life

    (Note: there is a new poll in the sidebar. It would help me a lot if you entered it ;) 

    {As well, even if you don't read this post, if you're doing NaNo this year and have questions about it, can you comment on this post and tell me what things you would like to know specifically? That would be great!}



    I've been very pleased with myself. I have been writing like crazy.

    Well, prep work for my characters, that is.

    Why has that been so epic?

    Well......

    I received a completely unexpected gift from a friend this September that seriously, I think is the best gift any human being has ever given me.

    It's a book called 45 Master Characters by Victoria Schimdt. 


    It explores the 45 basic archetypes for characters- the basis upon which every character known to man, villain or hero or sidekick, can be traced from. 

    Even if you don't need it, it's still incredibly interesting.

    Using Greek mythology as the foundation to name the archetypes (Ares is the Protector and Gladiator, Artemis is the Amazon and Gorger, etc.), the book first helps you to answer questions about your character that will help you figure out which archetype he/she is. 

    Under each archetype there is the hero side of that type, as well as the villain, along with motivations, passions, and fears of that particular archetype (You can give or take as many of those traits as fit the need- that's what I've done.).

    The first basic questions cover everything from the face shape and skin type/texture to how they feel about marriage and kids, and even what they would do with free time on a Sunday afternoon. As you answer these questions about your characters, you end up seeing the archetype (or at least, the dominant archetype) emerge. 

    (The author of the book realizes that everyone has a parts of many archetypes in them, but when under pressure or stress we see the dominant one emerge, and that dominant one is the one she's helping you find. Dantere, for example, has a little bit of Ares, the Protector but is dominantly Apollo, the Businessman.)

    What I love is that the book doesn't tell you how to write your character or what they should or should not be doing. It simply tells you things about your character that you didn't know but were already there.

    The one thing is, you have to remember that the archetype is the bare outline of your character. It's YOUR job to color them in, texturize them and give them a voice. Archetypes should not be used as stereotypes.  Which I love. 

    The main place an archetype helps, beyond discovering a character, is the plot. Once you know what makes your MC tick, how they prioritize and what motivates them, it becomes easy to push the plot forward, (assuming you already have a starting point), because at each turn you know which path they would take. Which I dig. Muchly. 

    Note, though, it also doesn't tell you how the plot should be. For instance, the author notes that even if, for a certain archetype marriage is important, you are NOT trapped into writing a story about marriage. But those values that the character holds, color how they act and why they do what they do. 


    To show you just how much it helped me, I'm going to kill my eyes and transcribe some of my papers on Dantere from when I was discovering his archetype. I'll try and paraphrase but still be clear ;) 

    The Dantere Files:

    (for the sake of brevity I skipped some questions and shortened the answers on all of them.)

    (punctuation may or may not be present)

    • Face: slightly angular; pointed chin ~ young and untried but an arrogant (or world-weary-esque) tilt to his eyebrows. 
    • Hair: thick, dark brown (bleached lighter by the sun, though). A little shaggy in front but cropped short at the back. Thick curls (not frizzy-curly)
    • Age: Eleven and a half years old that the beginning of the tale.
    • Style: Simple attire mostly, but enjoys a minor, showy/fancy accessory sometimes. Will wear whatever is expected of him/his class. Later develops the habit of taking a cloak everywhere. 
    • My impressions: I like this character. He's generally quiet, and strong, and has (or at least gives the impression of) a hidden burden. He does what needs to be done and does it well. He's got a weird blend of distance and transparency that makes you want to figure him out. 


    • Introverted or Extroverted? Generally introverted but not extremely.
    • How does he solve problems? Logic, instinct or emotion? Instinct,tempered by the occasional logic. 
    • Does he want to change the world? Not necessarily. 
    • How does he feel about family and children? He loves his 'family' and enjoys playing with children younger than him. He's intimidated by thought of being a father though, or will be when he's even of the age to consider it.
    • Hobbies? Painting and playing with rope. 
    • What type of friends does he have? The people he would naturally befriend would be the slightly loud, gregarious, strong-willed people (the friendly ones, though).  
    • What do other characters say about him when he leaves the room? (Hypothetically) He's strange, stuck-up, but cute :P
    Motivators: Love & belonging and self-actualization (these actually changed as I realized his archetype).

    You are then encouraged to give your character a full page to talk to you about how he feels concerning the goals you've chosen for him, etc. He told me quite a bit, and ended with this unexpected note: 

       "I can do a lot of things, and I see respect as the same as belonging.
       You know it, Dir [that's what my characters know me as, remember]. I am Apollo and Ares, blended together. Just face it. 
      Trust your pen. 
                                       Eldar's blessings,
                                                      Dantere"


    What a note :P I really like Dantere, by the way. He's nice. 

    I noticed (or admitted, however you want to see it), looking through the archetypes, that he was closest to Apollo, and yes, Ares was also part of his character.

    Oh, and the book also includes literary and film examples of each archetype like so: 

    So starting with Dantere's dominant one, Apollo (The Businessman), I made a chart of his Passions, Motivations, Fears, How Others See Him, Assets, and Flaws. I didn't choose all of the ones supplied for the archetype, but I did use a large portion of them. The things I pulled from Ares were significantly less, but filled in a few gaps in his character. 

    (I'm going to only take two from each category because I need to finish this post and clean the bathroom. Go figure *headdesk* First is always Apollo, second is Ares.)

    Cares About: 1) strategic planning and being part of the team. 2) winning the fight.

    Fears: 1) chaos, spontaneity. 2) not being able to protect those he cares about.

    Motivators: 1) self-respect 2) risk; the next big challenge (Dantere just likes to see the challenge coming XD)

    How Others View Him (sometimes): 1) Dress code: projects right image, maybe a "colorful tie" but nothing to stand out. 2) intense/passionate or thick headed/bullish (<-- this is rarely, but it does happen.)

    Assets: 1) Thrives on order. 2) Will fight to save those he loves, never giving up. 

    Flaws: 1) arrogant 2) reacts to an attack without thinking. may not consider the consequences. 

    ***

    Since I'm throwing my secret writings out in the open anyway, I'll ask: even though this is a super abbreviated and fractured view of him, are there any traits that seem inconsistent?

    Anyway, this is just to show that archetypes are useful tools, and if you need a plot boost or character boost, this is the book to hunt down. Because I have him all outlined, I realize the reasons he's doing what he's doing, and what he will do in the previously fuzzy spots in my plot outline ;)

    I'm excited, because I'm going to dissect Chance next :) 

    Let me know if this was helpful at all, and don't forget what I asked at the beginning of the post ;)

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    A Wee Little Something...


    (I've been so tickled by these that from now on, to preface most posts I think I'm going to put a random one of these up. Exception: reviews and possibly movie news. Found at Thingswealldo.tumblr)


    On the subject of #3 of the things we all do, I'm on my way to grab a few bottles of water before heading to bed myself ;)

    But I just wanted to share something before I left. 

    First off: there was a video that was first brought to my attention by the lovely Polka Dot

    It's a whole half an hour long.

    It freaked me out.

    It encouraged me. 

    It made me sob.

    It made me want to get off my backside and do something for the Kingdom.

    I know this has probably been making its (it's? its'? *palmface*) rounds in the blogosphere. You may have even seen it once or twice.

    It's called the "180" Movie. 

    If you wish, here it is to view.... though, it has some pretty mature content. I'd say PG-13, maybe even 14. But if you feel up to it, I highly recommend setting aside 33 minutes for this. 

    (this video isn't the point of the post, so keep scrolling...)




    The thing that struck me hardest about this video was not necessarily the abortion thing, or the holocaust thing. It was the fact that the vast majority of people interviewed admitted without hesitation that they were probably going to hell when they died.

    And they were okay with that.

    I live a fairly sheltered life. I know it. I don't walk the halls of a secular high school each day. I don't spend my time in places where I can see the typical American's life. Shoot, the most I get out of the house is violin class, ballet class, and church. And maybe the grocery store.

    Needless to say, this completely blew me away. (And bear in mind, I'm an evangelist at heart.) I had no idea just how... lost the world is. I mean, I knew, but......... I had never seen it like that.

    I kid you not, I was nearly pulling my hair out while watching that part. Didn't these people realize what they were saying? Didn't they realize that this wasn't how it's meant to be?!?!


    Didn't they get it?

    It just broke my heart to the point of actually sobbing while talking to my mom, that so many people are like that.

    And it made me want to go up to each and every person I came in contact and make sure they knew where they would be going after death. And that they were going to going to the right place.

    Hell wasn't meant for people, you guys. It was meant for Satan and his angels. Everybody makes their own choice, though. Though it will break God's heart to do it, those who rejected salvation will go to Hell.

    But they'll have to step over the dead body of Jesus Christ to do it.

    He made a way for us to be saved. And just as we have been rescued, shouldn't it be a pressing burden upon us to make sure that we are saving those headed for destruction all around us?

    Imagine with me for a short second...

    ***

    You're blindfolded. You've been blindfolded since birth. In fact, you don't even realize you're blindfolded. Darkness is your world.

    You're on a road, leading someplace you are sure will be just fine. Everyone else you know is on this road, so it should be great, right?

    Then you hear someone running up behind you. They're telling you that the road drops off of a cliff. Everybody who walks it will end up falling to their death. They're begging you to take off the blindfold, and see the truth and be saved.

    You laugh. What blindfold? And besides, it's been a decent road, why stop traveling it now?

    They talk with you some more. And you listen. And eventually, you are convinced. You reach up and take something off your eyes.

    And you see. You see everything.

    You see the blindfolded people all around you, on the same road, walking toward the cliff. You see people up ahead take their last step and drop off into oblivion.

    It could have been you. 


    You are desperate to save the people you love, everyone heading for their death. You plead with them, telling them about the cliff. They laugh, and call you a fool, and push you away. They make you feel like an idiot.

    But you can see destruction. They can't.

    You speak to anyone who will listen. A few heed your words, but many continue, blind by choice, on their way to destruction.

    Still, you and the others who have been saved continue trying to save people, up to the very minute they walk off the cliff, pleading with them to see before they die. Before it's too late.

    And you wonder why they didn't listen.

    ***


    I am sure that there have been a million little stories like that. And to be honest, I just typed that out, spur of the moment. Hope the writing wasn't too terrible ;)

    But my point is this: look around at the people you're rubbing shoulders with. Think of all the unsaved people you know.

    There is no guarantee any of them, or you, will still be alive tomorrow. You may be on the road to eternal life, but no matter how "good" of a person they are, or how "nice" they are, like it or not, if someone doesn't get them to open their eyes, they will be tortured in Hell for eternity.

    Why should we be ashamed of the gospel? We should be urgently trying to save people-- they laugh and turn away, and make us feel like idiots for sharing the truth-- but what a small price momentary humiliation is for saving souls! If you knew, in real life, that people were blindly heading for a cliff, you would try and stop them no matter how they made you feel, right?

    How much more so when the price is eternal? And when time is running out?

    At church tonight, we were exhorted to not be ashamed of the Gospel. And truly, though sometimes we are, we ought not to. We can see the imminent cliff. They can't.

    For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16)

    So what are we sitting around for?

    I heard somewhere that in China, sometimes the believers there greet each other by asking how many people they led to Christ that day.

    It shames me to say that I would answer, day after day, "None."

    We are not to preach the gospel tomorrow. When we're older. When we know more about the Bible. When we have more knowledge. When we get done doing whatever we're doing now.

    No! Today is the day for salvation! Tomorrow isn't guaranteed for anyone.

    ...This was just something that has been very pressing in my life lately. To not stay in my comfort zone, letting people do their thing. To not let people pass through my life untouched by the word of God, no matter the cost to my dignity (what dignity should any sinner possess?) or convenience. To not sit around, prioritizing all backwards. Making stupid AMV's, watching movies, and even reading books should never come above the task which my Lord has given all of us.



    Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

    But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

    But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

    For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    (2 Corinthians 4:1-6)




    Faint not, dear brothers and sisters, in our ministry.