You Should Write Fiction (Even If You Hate It)

You should write fiction even if you don’t want to. Whaaaa…Faith, where is the logic in this? Why would I spend my time doing something I don’t like doing?

There are many posts like this spiraling through the interwebs. But I’m rebooting my blog, I’m hoping some new peeps are poking around (hi peoples!). So in the off chance you aren’t already knee-deep in your novel and aren’t thinking “Faith I don’t even need this; what the heck?” — here are my awesome reasons you should write creatively.

WriteFiction.png

As someone who hopes to make fiction-writing her primary source of income lately, I’m obviously biased. But storytelling is one of the most basic forms of human communication (look it up), and poetry’s pretty swag too, even though I personally want to bite anyone who tells me to make some.

 

(Wait…does that mean I’m telling myself to write poetry even though I don’t want to? Does that mean I need to bite myself? ASDFGEGLALS)

 

Ahem. So maybe you had to write a short story in eighth grade and you hated it.* But here’s the thing: writing for a cranky, underpaid, middle-school English teacher** is very different for writing for yourself, because you suddenly got an idea you think would be cool in story format. If it’s just up to you, there’s no pressure, no grades, no angsty peer reviewers sniggering over your shoulder…just you and your imagination.

 

*By the way, if you didn’t have to do this…why are you telling me you don’t like fiction writing?! You can’t knock it if you didn’t try it!

**Honestly, props to any middle or elementary school teachers out there. You all are the true gods and godessess of the land.

 

If you try fiction writing again and you still hate it, that’s okay too. The fiction writing world is not for all of us. (Some people actually like not having weekly existential crises. Honestly, I don’t know what they’re getting out of life.)

All of this to say, if you get an idea or even are just struck with a weird desire to write — maybe due to a post like this, who knows — don’t dismiss it because “I hate writing.” Give it a go. Maybe you’ll give up after three words, or maybe it’ll blossom into something beautiful. You never know until you try.

 

You should write fiction because it makes your creative friends happy.

Seriously. It doesn’t matter how bad you are at story, grammar, punctuation, dialogue, or any of that good stuff. We can fix that later. The minute I hear one of my non-writerly friends is taking up the creative gauntlet, I SCREAM FOR JOY because oh my gosh this is so fun and what idea do you have tell me all about it do you need help worldbuilding I kinda suck at worldbuilding but I have lots of good ideas let’s play with things let’s genderbend characters and experiment with psychology and learn stuff and plot and scribble and scream and fangirl and basically GAH I’m so happy you joined us if only for a short period of time and YOU MIGHT STAY who knows do you want to do NaNoWriMo?

I’m sure this never comes off as intimidating at all.

 

And finally…if you do want to write fiction, what are you waiting for? Boom. Ta-da. There it is. Post over. Well, kind of. If you’ve always wanted to write poetry, or a short story, or a novel, go for it. Again, there are posts all over the internet about how to write if you’re a college student/young mom/billionaire playboy, so I won’t go into that. If you really want to, you can write the freaking thing.

However, do know that you could be getting yourself into a buttload of work. Not realizing that is how you end up like me, with 1,000,000,000 ideas and 0 finished projects. (Technically I’ve completed 3 totally different first drafts, so that counts for something, right?)

Not everyone who does creative writing wants to publish and that’s fine. Some people just want to post their work on a free site like Wattpad for all to see, and some people never want to show that Word document to anyone. These are all fine options. Still, you should know that whatever option you choose, there is work involved. It’s not all fun and games.

That being said…JOIN THE FICTION WRITING SIDE. WE HAVE COOKIES.

*mic drop*

(What? Cookies totally deserve a mic drop. They’re cool. Why else do you think all websites use them?)

How To Manage Depression And/Or Anxiety Abroad

I know, I already did a post about getting sick in Spain. Might as well cover the other half of illness. You know, the annoying kind. The kind that doesn’t go away just by waiting it out a week.

I’m talking about mental illnesses, of course, and man, they are the worst kind to have at the best of times. The best in times in question being going abroad. And that was a beautiful segue, wasn’t it?

According to my therapist, I have anxiety and depression — the lovely power couple that’s set to take over the world some day. My case is relatively mild, as I’m able to manage it with over-the-counter HTP vitamins, and everyone’s experience with those mental illnesses is different. However, there’s a few things anyone travelling with anxiety or depression should know.

 

DO talk to your therapist/doctor before you leave. This is so important that my school actually required me to do it before they’d let me leave the country. Although you might be pretty sure you’ve got it under control, you want to have the opinion of a trusted professional as well. In addition to knowing whether or not you’re stable enough to travel, a doctor or a therapist might know useful tidbits about the country you’re travelling to. For example, whether or not they carry any medication you might need. Which brings me to…

DO your research. I actually did not do this one because I am a bad potato, but also because my case is pretty mild. If you are going to need prescription medication while you are abroad, make sure you know whether or not you’re going to be able to get it from a foreign hospital. Some medications that are common in the US are not legal in other countries, and vice versa.

Image result for sherlock do your research

DO bring all the medicine you will need in your carry-on bag. This is for any type of prescription medication, not just medicine related to mental illness. You might also want to bring a doctor’s note, and make sure you check the official TSA guidelines.

DO take the new time zone into account when it comes to taking any regular medication. You might think you’re taking it on time, but really you’re six hours off. This can be jarring to say the least.

Image result for what year is it gif

DON’T hide from people. This is a big one for me, because when I’m having a bad day, the last thing I want to do is go socialize with a bunch of strangers. Unfortunately, that’s a big part of the study abroad experience. If you’re not feeling the big group thing, see if a few people want to go hang out at a cafe or something. Or if it’s part of a guided tour, just hang out at the back of the group with the person you’re most comfortable with, and admire the architecture or the landscape or whatever it is that you came out to see.

DON’T let your space become a mess. I’m talking about hotel rooms, the bedroom your host family gives you, your dorm, your apartment, etc. If you’re already feeling down, a mess only makes it worse. And don’t give me that “but I’m just a messy person!” excuse. That’s my excuse, good sir, and I claim it as my own. This morning, I made myself clean off my desk because it was covered in junk, and you know what happened? I got the inspiration to write this post. You’re welcome, internet.

DON’T push yourself extremely far out of your comfort zone. This is one tricky. Veeery tricky. The whole point of going abroad is to get out of your comfort zone, isn’t it? Well, yes, but if you’re like me, you might find it hard to find the line between discomfort and actual fear. Because…a lot of discomfort presents itself as actual fear to me. The thing is, when your brain is sounding the alarm bells, whatever you’re about to do might actually be a bad idea. And if what you’re thinking of doing feels like it’s going to trigger a panic attack…don’t do it. It’s fine to miss out on cliff diving or bar hopping if those activities feel unsafe to you.

However, there is a fine line here, because stuff like talking to strangers in a foreign language can also feel like it might trigger a panic attack. Heck, talking to strangers in English is scary enough by itself. Unfortunately, there’s no denying that this is a very important part of the abroad experience, especially if you’re trying to master the language of the country you’re in. In that case…

DON’T travel alone. It’s so much easier to navigate a strange place when you’re not the only person making a total idiot of yourself. Take a friend with you. Order tapas together. Have the waiters give you condescending looks when you don’t know how to order a drink in Spanish. What would be humiliating by yourself becomes hilarious when you’re with equally clueless friends. It’s a good time.

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DON’T hide your mental illness. Speaking of friends, once you’ve made some good ones, don’t be afraid to let them know what you’re dealing with. If they’re good friends, they won’t back away. You might even find out that they understand what you’re going through. (There’s a lot of people out there with anxiety and depression, my friends.) It will also help them be more understanding if you need to back out of a beach trip or a night on the town. Which brings me to the last point…

DO remember to take care of yourself. You’re abroad, so you’re gonna want to push yourself to see everything there is to see. You’re gonna want to get out of your comfort zone, make new friends, and if you’re anything like me, be way more socially active than you were before. All this is good. However, there will be days when you just need time for yourself. That’s fine. It’s more important to take things slowly so you can enjoy the trip in the long run, than to go go go until you burn yourself out.

Image result for self care gif

 

That’s my list, although it’s by no means exhaustive. Do you have any other tips about travelling with anxiety or depression? (Please tell me. I need help.)

If you liked this post, why not check out a few more? Don’t forget to subscribe for semi-helpful, semi-relatable content that will show up in your inbox…at some point.

 

Getting SICK in Spain – What You Need to Know

What the heck, Faith. It hasn’t even been a week and you’re doing a post about getting SICK? Now is not the time! You’re supposed to be making friends and learning Spanish and PARTYING or whatever!

Yeah? Well…tell that to my immune system, will ya?

Hi guys. Yes, I was hardly in Spain for three days before sickness struck. A sore throat, to be exact. Or, as they call it here, dolor de garganta.

The sickness itself wasn’t so bad. It was the fact that I was in Toledo, that I didn’t know how to express my pain to a Spanish nurse, and the fear of spending part of my first week in the hospital. Thankfully, our group leaders were able to help me out quite a bit. If it hadn’t been for them there would have been much more panicking involved in this process. And much more pain, because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have gone to the pharmacy at all. Because, you know. Avoidance.

So what do you do if you get sick abroad? Well…

 

Step 1: DO NOT DENY IT. I was all set to do this, but thankfully my group leaders stopped me. I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t gotten some medicine, my sore throat would have gotten worse and I would have had to spend several hours in the Spanish ER. Not my idea of a good time.

If you are part of a travel group, TELL YOUR LEADERS YOUR SYMPTOMS. This was invaluable to me because I didn’t end up having to speak any Spanish at the pharmacy at all. I told my leaders what I was feeling, and they translated for me. Nifty, huh?

If no one in your group speaks fluent Spanish, I still wouldn’t recommend going alone. Take the best Spanish-speaker in your group and a friend for moral support, grab that pocket dictionary (don’t rely on WiFi), and taxi your way on down there.

Hopefully you’re not totally on your own (because that’s never smart when you’re in a strange environment), but if you are, most likely the workers at the pharmacy will do their best to help you. Use your dictionary, bring any medication you’re currently taking, and try your best. Again, it’s really not recommended to go alone. When you’re feeling miserable, the last thing you want to do is navigate medical terms in a foreign language.

 

Step 2: ACTUALLY TAKE THE MEDICINE. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but if you buy medicine…take it. Unless it looks obviously shady — which it shouldn’t if you got it from a clearly marked pharmacy — it’s safe. I don’t think any over-the-counter drug can be very dangerous, unless you have an allergy to something, which the pharmacists will ask you about before they give you anything. If you’re really paranoid, Google the ingredients to make sure.

If you need to take the medicine at regularly scheduled intervals and you suck at remembering that (like me), set a timer. There’s no point in going through the hassle of getting to a pharmacy and communicating what you need if you’re not going to follow through with that.

 

Step 3: REST. Or should I say, descansa. Your friends may be going out to party. Maybe you were planning on going ziplining, or skiing, or hiking. Maybe you had a walking tour all planned out. As much as it sucks to stay put when you’re abroad, you have to rest if you want to recover quickly. Stay at the hotel and get someone to bring you food if possible. Or be like me and skip dinner entirely in favor of a brownie you forgot to eat on the plane. (Okay, maybe that’s not the best option. But going out may not be advisable either, depending on how sick you feel.)

 

Step 4: SLEEP. Sleep is hard to get when you’re running from city to city, and jet lag makes it even worse. (Suffice it to say, lack of sleep is probably why you got sick in the first place.) Once you’ve taken your medicine, do your best to get as much sleep as possible. The best medicine in the world isn’t going to make up for lack of rest and sleep, trust me. There’s no magic pill that makes you all better so you can keep exploring. Or if there is…find it and patent it. I will pay you. You’ll be rich. Do it.

 

Aaaand…

Step 5: IF YOU’RE REALLY SICK…GO TO THE HOSPITAL. I don’t have experience with this step, thankfully, because my symptoms greatly improved after taking medicine, resting, and sleeping. However, my leaders had told me that if I hadn’t improved by the time we got to Granada, they would take me to the hospital. So thank God I avoided that curveball.

Hopefully, you worked out international insurance before leaving for your trip. If you’re travelling with a study abroad program, like I am, they might have put something together for you. Check your e-mails, files, and any other resource they sent you. It’s there for a reason.

 

That’s my travel advice for today. Hopefully, you’ll never need it. But if you do…hey, I went through this before you. As did thousands of other people. So chillax. It’ll work out fine.

(Unless of course it doesn’t, but your anxiety has already thought of that, so I’m trying to stay positive here.)

 

Stay crazy, friends!

wait what time is it why am i awake

Good morning!…afternoon? Evening? WHAT TIME IS IT OH MY GOSH.

Hi all. Roughly nine hours ago I arrived in Madrid, Spain. According to my current timezone, that was at eight a.m., but my body is telling me it was at two in the morning. So I’m a bit confused.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my hotel room wondering when dinner is going to happen. Around here, people usually eat late, maybe at nine or ten p.m. However, while all the other students in my program went out for lunch shortly after arriving at the hotel, I went to sleep. Because priorities. So now I’m subsisting off brownies and candy (thanks Nanna) and waiting for people to be interested in going out to eat again. I’m not doing this alone. Especially because my English rapidly degrades as I get tireder (see?!), so in Spanish I’d probably just ask to order a sock or something.

Speaking of Spanish, I’ve only had to use it in one tricky situation so far. Which is pretty amazing, considering my friend and I kinda got lost in the airport after arrival. And I’m proud of myself, because I was able to effectively communicate where we needed to get to, and the attendant pointed us in the right direction and I UNDERSTOOD HIM. (Probably because pointing is universal but shh.)

I did good. Time to go order some socks now.

 

 

Ready For Camp NaNo? (Screams)

Sorry for the lack of regularly-scheduled post, but I was at a friend’s house since Wednesday. And while I was there, I was of course freaking out, because tomorrow is the start of CAMP NANO!

I’m gonna keep this short, since my NaNo project isn’t. I’m shooting for 60,000 words (I know right) and tonight I’ve got to scramble to finish my outline because #procrastination. But I thought I’d pop into the blogging world and say hello to you all.

I also have a piece of advice for anyone who like me is planning on doing a large Camp project and has left planning to the last minute. The advice is simply:

Roleplay.

Roleplay your characters. There’s this brilliant game called Ungame that’s meant to be an ice breaker, but as it turns out is a fantastic tool for roleplaying your story characters. The questions on the cards range from silly to deep. Some of them are so deep I question the validity of this game as an ice-breaker. (Hi, nice to meet you! What’s your take on death?) Anyway, they’ll help you get down both the minor and the major details of your characterization. #notsponsored

If you don’t have Ungame, you can still look up character questionnaires and answer them in the first person. Or, you and a far-away friend can do a character chat — basically roleplay over text. Set the scene, each of you be your respective characters, and boom. (This also can cause some really funny crossovers between you and your friends’ stories.)

So some quick housekeeping here. On Sunday, my family and I are leaving for a few days as part of our yearly 4th of July celebrations. Being who I am, I don’t have posts planned out for Monday and Wednesday, so I may be less active that week. You have been warned. I’m also not sure how much internet I will have so I might not be online as much. I’ll try to get back to any comments as soon as I can.

Speaking of comments, I’d love to hear about your Camp NaNo projects. Even if you’re not doing Camp, have you ever played Ungame or done a character chat? Let me know! And of course, stay crazy, friends.

The Writing Prompt Tag!

So Wednesday is tag day, but I have not come across any tags that have particularly grabbed my attention this week, so I decided to make one. As you do. So here’s the rules that I’m not totally making up just now.

  1. Read the prompts listed below.
  2. Roll an 11-sided die…wait.
  3. Use a random number generator to pick a number between 1 and 11
  4. Congratulations! Now you know what prompt you DON’T want to do.
  5. Continue until you get tired of it and pick one yourself.
  6. Do said prompt.
  7. Blog said prompt.
  8. Create your own prompts and spread the love.
  9. By which I mean tag other people.
  10. I’m hard to understand sometimes.
  11. Sorry this got so complicated.
  12. It was supposed to be fun.
  13. I’m angsting aren’t I.
  14. JUST DO THE TAG
  15. Oh and then tag more people when you post it; can’t forget that. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a tag…just more of a virtual nose boop
  16. *boop*

ANYway, I am here with ten delightful prompts for you to choose from. I am also making these up right now so they are sure to be perfect. Make up original characters or use characters from your WIP; I really don’t care.

  1. A character is whispering intensely. The scene is set. The hero is straining to hear this obviously super secret information. Then it turns out that the character was whispering for a completely non-epic reason.
  2. A character makes puns at completely inappropriate times.
  3. An accountant has been selected as an assistant for a trained assassin. Good times.
  4. “Why is there a baby?” “Oh, this is Susan. Mom asked me to babysit.” “EXCUSE ME? WE’RE FIGHTING DRAGONS HERE!”
  5. MC has to come up with a lie about why they aren’t coming to work but is distracted by the kids channel.
  6. Your story except everyone is five years old.
  7. The characters become aware that they only exist inside your story/this writing prompt.
  8. Your favorite character got their wisdom teeth removed and is loopy.
  9. Suddenly, pineapples.
  10. MC finds a toddler wandering through a graveyard at night.
  11. Take your cast of characters. Now they have five minutes to disarm a bomb. Do they all die?

As you can see, most of these are pretty goofy. Because this world needs more silliness. Anyway, I hope you take me up on this because I’d really like to see how you work these out. Don’t be afraid to tag me back with your prompts as well.

I tag:

Grace @ Writerly

Maggie @ Maggie’s Musings

Also feel free to tag yourself if you want to play. We’re all-inclusive here. I just tagged those two in particularly because they’re used to putting up with my craziness.

Now go.

How To Write Conflict And Strong Emotions

So this wasn’t exactly my plan for today, but Grace @ Writerly suggested that I do a post on how to write conflict and strong emotions. Now, I’ve never particularly had trouble with this — giving my characters petty reasons to tear each other apart greatly amuses me, actually — but who knows? Maybe some of you need help with this too. Anyway, here’s what I got.

As you may have guessed from my last post, I don’t come up with plot first. I come up with characters. Deeply flawed characters. For me, that means the character has a belief rooted so deeply in their soul that they don’t even know it’s affecting their decisions. This belief doesn’t even have to be bad. It just has to affect the way they treat others.

For example, let’s look at some of my MCs from my upcoming Camp NaNo novel. (Yay! Another excuse for me to talk about them!) Tim Hayward believes that no one in his family really cares about him. Of course, he’s got a host of other issues as well, but this is one of the core problems. So he feels justified in treating his family like dirt, because he feels that no matter what he does, he’ll never please them.

On the other hand, his sister Nancy has been blessed and cursed with a more realistic view of their family. That is, she knows that her parents value all their children, but definitely favor their oldest son, Gabe. She believes that what other people do is out of her control, and it’s better just to roll with life. While this is a much healthier belief than Tim’s, it’s also resulted in her refusing to confront anyone about harmful behaviors, because she believes there’s nothing she can do.

It’s important to remember that two people can have the same belief and react to it entirely differently. Someone else who thinks their family doesn’t care about them might become reclusive and simply ignore them as much as possible. Or, they might treat them well on the outside, but resent them inwardly. Or — because everyone has conflicting values, beliefs, and actions — they might continue to desperately try to please their family even though they believe it’s pointless. It really all depends on personality.

So how does this create conflict? Well, going back to Tim and Nancy. Both siblings have explosive tempers and hate to change their minds. This naturally creates tension between them. To make matters worse, neither sibling tries to understand the other, as Tim is convinced that Nancy does not care about him, and Nancy is convinced that no matter what she does she won’t be able to change her brother.

As for strong emotions? Well, if all your characters’ actions are based off deep-set beliefs, you better bet that some deep emotions will be coming to the surface. How do you behave when someone challenges your most cherished beliefs? Forget about how you behave — how do you feel? It’s not a great feeling, is it? And depending on your personality, you might fight back, pretend to agree to avoid the conflict, or a host of other reactions.

What you want to do to capitalize off this inner conflict is to put the characters in a situation where eventually, they can’t opt out of conflict any more. Even the most conflict-averse characters will have to face their inner contradictions someday. And that’s great practice for real life, ‘cause that’s gonna happen to you someday, I guarantee.

But Faith. Lots of people die with really wrong ideas about the world. Life isn’t a story. We don’t all have to face our “inner contradictions” or whatever.

Well, yes. And no. We’ll have to face some of them. Because guess what? We all have about 1,000,000,000. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *cries*

Actually, one way to see if an author has thought through some of the other contradictions a character believes, instead of just the ones pertinent to their story, is to check their sequels. If the character gets bland and uninteresting in subsequent books/movies, you can bet the writers didn’t think them through too far. A notable exception to this are characters in plot-centric stories like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series, which don’t revolve around the characters coming to terms with personal issues. This is widely known as a Flat Arc, but you probably already knew that. And even those characters have fleshed-out personalities.

Finally, you might be running into the Author Omnipotence problem. Which, simply put, means that you as an author can see into all your characters’ minds and know exactly what one character has to do to another to resolve the conflict immediately. If you find yourself doing this, stop and ask yourself two questions.

  1. Does this character realistically have the resources to know what they’re doing is exactly what the other character needs?
  2. Is it in this character’s personality to do this, even if they know this will help the other person?
  3. Can I use my omnipotence to create more problems instead of solving them? Aka…I know exactly what would help this character, so I know exactly what will hurt them, too. Do that instead. (Yes, we’re an evil bunch.)
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the prospect of hurting a character in mind.

If it’s not in any of your characters’ personalities to help/hurt another character, you may need to diversify your cast’s personality pool.

When all else fails, remember that humans are extremely petty, and can start conflict over the stupidest reasons. For example, who vs. whom. Or correcting someone’s grammar on the internet. Or starting a war over a soccer match. (This actually happened.)

Stay crazy, friends. I’m gonna go give my characters more contradictions now.

SCREW YOU, 3-Act Structure!

So I wanted to write this ahead of time and be all fancy with charts and info and academic stuff…but it’s 1pm on Friday and my weekly mental breakdown has come to call, so instead you’re getting this.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the famous Three-Act Structure. You set up the story, you burn everyone’s lives and possibly kill a mentor or two, and then everything gets wrapped up in a happy little package. Or completely disintegrates, if you’re writing a tragedy. All the cool kids are doing it.

Well, here’s the thing. I have a bone to pick with you, Three-Act Structure. A distinctly non-mountain-shaped bone. Half the time…you make all the stories sound boring!

I mean really. Think about it. If you’re planning a story, say, like, Star Wars: A New Hope, for example, and for your three-act-structure map you write down “Luke leaves Tatooine, Obi-Wan dies, Luke blows up the Death Star…” That doesn’t sound like a story! That just sounds like a series of unrelated events!

And okay, yes, I was just listing what happens at the end of each of these Three Acts, which really doesn’t give a full picture of the story. You could start at the beginning, I guess… “Leia hides the plans on the droids, Luke sneaks onto the Death Star, Luke delivers the plans to the Rebels…” But still, that doesn’t leave you with much. Sure, it works AFTER the story is written. But does it really work for planning purposes?

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of trouble coming up with three seemingly random events to mark the beginning, middle, and end of a story I’m formulating. Maybe it works if you already know how you want your story to end, or have an idea of what’s happening in the middle. But the idea that it’s the magic formula to building a story — from scratch, no less — is kind of ridiculous to me.

It gets even worse if you start trying to apply it to non-fantasy/action/sci-fi stories. For example, Catcher In The Rye. Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve read this, so excuse me if I get this wrong (and spoilers ahead, obviously), but what would you even put down for this? “Holden gets kicked out of school, has an existential crisis in NYC, and goes home.” Like…how do you get a novel out of that?

The problem is that the Three-Act-Structure is so bare-bones, it doesn’t allow for any planning in the in-between parts. Sure, you can do that too, but I feel like we’re often encouraged to come up with the defining events BEFORE we get the in-between parts. To…save time? Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method encourages authors to create a more detailed outline, but still, the three big events come first.

Maybe I just work differently than these people. I have to admit, organization and a logical approach to creativity has never really been my strong point. Maybe I’m just jumping the gun and trying to use the three-act structure too early. But then…why is it heralded as the best way to tell a story? Am I just seeing the wrong blog posts?

And, why are we ignoring other ways to tell stories? Such as Kishōtenketsu, the method of telling a story through contrast? Or the daisy-chain plot? Or ensemble plot? Or repeated action plot? Etc etc etc?

Well, what do you guys think? Are we using the three-act structure too often? Or do I just have my head on backwards, as usual?

Anyway, I’m signing off. I’m hungry and tired and probably should not be allowed to touch a keyboard right now.

Stay crazy, guys. I know I am.

 

Picture background from TV Tropes.

Beautiful People ~ June 2017

Hello friends! I’m back at it again with the blogging! Today, as promised, I shall be doing the Beautiful People linkup hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up And Further In. So in case you didn’t know, this linkup is basically just a bunch of questions that come out every month to (a) help authors get to know their characters better and (b) let the followers of their various blogs get to know these characters!

I actually did this challenge in March for a story which is now on hold (because I am a horrible person, really), but this time, I promise things will come to fruition. This time, these characters are actually from the novel I will be working on during Camp NaNoWriMo (which starts in just 9 days — AUGH!). Currently titled What Do We Do With the Haywards?, this is a contemporary YA about several kids growing up in the conservative Christian church. And at this point…like all of them are vying for MC status. So I’m gonna randomly choose two to do this challenge with. You have been spared, my friends.

(And by randomly I mean I pick whatever two characters I want. I pick Amie and Sapphire Longstaff. Ta-daa.) For some context, Amie is 17 and Sapphire is 15. Both are PKs. (That’s pastor’s kids for those of you less familiar with abbreviations.)

  1. What’s their favorite place they ever visited?

Amie’s favorite place has got to be Niagara Falls. Something about the raw power of the water and the overwhelming urge to jump in and join nature in its rush toward entropy entranced her and cemented itself into her memory forever.

Sapphire’s favorite place is Hershey Park. She and her family have gone four times, and every time she wishes they could stay longer. (She thinks it’d be awesome if she and some friends could sneak in after dark and have a horror movie-esque experience there.)

  1. What’s one mistake that they learned from?

Amie learned that putting off schoolwork until the last week of June when you’re also involved in AWANAs and violin lessons and volunteering at your church’s summer kids’ programs is a perfect way to achieve a mental breakdown. (Both she and Sapphire are homeschooled.)

Sapphire learned that reading forewords usually spoils a book and so you should never ever do that. Ever.

  1. What [is] their favorite subject in school? Or favourite thing to learn about?

Amie has recently found psychology and sociology interesting, especially the study of criminology. She wants to understand why people do things that ultimately hurt them. Before that, she liked anything to do with the study of water.

Sapphire likes geology, but also Swazi traditions and mythology, since her mother is descended from this tribe.

  1. What’s their favorite flower/growing thing?

Amie used to like sunflowers but that got ruined when she played Undertale. Now she likes lilacs.

Sapphire likes sunflowers and buttercups because of her sister’s reactions to Undertale. Amie is still not sure how this works out.

  1. Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?

Amie was very good at making Sapphire cry when they were small children through various means of trickery and toy-stealing. However, she usually felt bad about it, and tried to hush Sapphire before their parents found out about whatever had happened. She stopped this behavior when she realized Sapphire was crying on purpose to make Amie give her stuff back.

Perhaps because of the above behavior, Sapphire would use tears to get what she wanted until she was about eight years old. She got upset when she couldn’t beat Mario Kart at her friend Chloe’s house; and Chloe, who was very empathetic, started to cry as well. After that Sapphire decided not to cry around her friends anymore.

  1. Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?

Well, no human being will ever be reliable due to the warped nature of each person’s viewpoint, but Amie would do her best to give everyone a fair shot. In fact, she’d probably give them too much of a fair shot, reading honorable intentions into their actions even when none were present, and taking forever to identify any possible antagonists.

Sapphire is fairly self-centered, and would probably accidentally leave out bits of the narrative that did not concern her directly. Because of that, some events would seem to come right out of the blue. She’s also good at shutting out conflict that she doesn’t want to deal with, so her story might not involve a lot of important elements.

  1. What do they dream about at night?

Amie’s dreams are either hyper-realistic play-throughs of concerns about the church, AWANAs, homeschooling, and her class at the local community college, or total nonsense about the universe blowing up due to a mischievous school of piranhas hiding in a waterfall.

Sapphire’s dreams are usually about her and her friends doing something ridiculous and then the dream gets changed before she finds out what is actually going on.

  1. They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What do they eat?

Amie would go for some really good medium-rare steak with mashed potatoes covered in butter, sour cream, and pepper. (She really likes pepper.) For maximum specialness, there should also be tiramisu for dessert.

Sapphire just wants strawberries. Piles and piles of perfectly ripe non-GMO strawberries. And of course bananas, because you can’t have strawberries without bananas.

  1. What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?

Amie wants to visit Niagara Falls again. She also wants to visit Swaziland, and possibly also Brazil and/or Chile. (She speaks Spanish somewhat well.)

Sapphire really wants to go to a haunted house. Her parents haven’t let her thus far but she really wants to visit like five of them before her death.

  1. Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?

Amie is fairly good at the violin and plays at church, at people’s weddings, etc. She also has what her older sister Diana calls a superhuman ability to be nice to people who she really shouldn’t be nice to. Amie does not call this a superpower but does recognize that the ability to refuse to give up on people might be something of a talent.

Sapphire is good at climbing trees and hiding. She can practically become invisible when she wants to. It’s especially useful when playing Hide and Seek or Murder in the Dark.

Beautiful People March 2017

Well, that’s my addition to the Beautiful People linkup this month! Don’t be afraid to click the button and take part in the challenge below. If you do, let me know in the comments — I’d love to learn more about your characters.

Stay crazy, friends!