Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Art Museum Muse

I went to an art museum for one of my finals. There was an exhibit showcasing many famous art pieces related to gardens, mainly Monet, some Matisse. There were two Van Goghs that I fell in love with immediately. As part of the final, we had to write something in response to what we saw in the art hall. But I was stuck. I wrote a few crappy poems.

Then, the next morning I woke too early to function and wrote two prose poems. I don't write poetry. I don't consider myself a poet. But these poems wouldn't let me sleep. Because after I penned them, I went back to sleep perfectly fine. Here's what I wrote.


Weeping Willow

We swing among the branches of a tree that cascades green over the world. A fountain of leaves and vines. My feet graze the grass below the canopy of eaves as I grasp the vines and circle the thick trunk. Around and around, the branches twist over and over across my wrists and palms until I'm tangled in a crisscross net of green strings. But you... you soar above the world of green, gently wrapping yourself in a smooth cocoon of leaves and eaves. My feet hit the ground, jerk to a stop by the weight of my body. You unravel toward me, whispering, "Let's leave the weeping to the willow tree." And your eyes left me from gravity's graces until we're both caught in the tangle of the willows.


A World on Fire

The bridge hovers amidst a swirling storm of emerald and burnt orange. A glossy smear flickers the canvas into a wave of mystical fire and smoke. But there are shadows of reds--angry and passionate--and black--mysterious and dangerous. Vigilante color screaming into the dark streets of abandonment. Because it's not the brushstrokes that matter or how visible the bridge appears; it's not about the simmering shades or the time it took to get this far. It's about how it makes you feel. How the rage of fire forces you off the edge of a building to punch pavement and skulls until your hands are battered and dripping with the swirling storm of color. Until all you can see are the reds and blacks of a bridge on fire, of oil and canvas, of a world on fire, of chemicals and blindness.

Alone.


-Jaime

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Beautiful Books: December 2015

Ah, it's that time of the month again where I finally stop putting off my answers to the Beautiful Books link-up hosted by Sky @ Further Up and Further In and Cait @ Paper Fury. You can learn more about Beautiful Books here.


This month, we're supposed to discuss our editing process (click here for this month's questions). I'll be answering the questions about my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel: The Secret Library Society. Here we go...

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?

I'd go with a 6 or 7? Technically, it's not finished. I hit over 50K, but I've yet to type the final ending because of the end of the semester workload. (But hey, now I'm free!) It turned out well. Obviously, I'll need to go back to edit because sometimes I overwrite or add things that don't need to be explained. However, a lot of things happened that I didn't expect (like characters who popped in or the side trip to Narnia...)

2. Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)

I guess... The Book Thief (sort of) meets Inkheart with a hint of Narnia and something else...


3. Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?

Yes and no. It helps me get my thoughts down in first draft, but if I'm trying to make it sound good, well, deadlines don't help. I do like to write "as inspired" but that is difficult to get away with in a professional writing world.

4. How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.

I... don't? Haha... *cries* I've never fully edited anything I've written before. This semester of school has been the first where I've really sat down and edited/revised. I mainly, if I do it at all, rewrite. Otherwise, I try to get someone else to read it and tell me how to make it better.

5. What aspect of your story needs the most work?

Probably either character development or the plot progression. Or both. I'm a pantser/gardener, so while I've got ideas of where the story will go, sometimes unexpected things happen and the story veers off the original track or doesn't add up.

6. What aspect of your story did you love the most?

I love my characters, but I hope to flesh them out more and make each one distinct and important. I also love the world I created within the Library. There's lots of hidden surprises and interesting takes on real life library tasks. It was a lot of fun to write and imagine.

7. Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they'll need changes in edits?

Arthur: He's the adorable protagonist. He definitely grows and changes during the course of the story. He learns to believe in himself and to trust his abilities. It's cute.

Sam: She kind of disapprared during part of the novel when Arthur was caught up in the Library happenings. I would like to develop her character more and find ways to bring her into the story.


Recto: He kind of surprised me. I had an idea of who he would be, what he would do. But there were parts of his personality I hadn't discovered yet. He, and his sister, Verso, will need more development and to clear up inconsistencies.

Jacob: I didn't expect him. Yes, I knew there would be a character there, but I didn't expect who he would be or what he would do or how important and critical he would be to Arthur's growth. I didn't expect his name either. I think he'll need more development and more foreshadowing before his arrival in the story.

8. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers
Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

I'm definitely looking forward to beta readers to help out. (I've got people who want to read it already.) I think once I've got a draft or two I'm comfortable with the only thing to help me is getting outside opinions. There's only so many times I can look at my own words before it blurs together. I think eventually, once it's been edited to the best it can, I would like to try to publish it. I feel this story has potential for me.

9. Share a favourite snippet!
Below him, he could see the center of the Library where the entrance was and the Archivist burrow was located. He could see the bookcases on the first level, row after row of them.
And they were all on fire.
The books were burning. The glare of the fire hit Arthur in shades of red and orange with the briefest glimmer of yellow. His face grew hot from the heat licking through the Library. Horror washed over Arthur. This couldn’t be happening. The Library could not be on fire!
10. What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?

I plan to write an entire blog post about this soon, but my biggest goal is to edit/revise something I've written and find beta readers for it. :)


Did you participate in NaNoWriMo or Beautiful Books?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Saying Goodbye Means Forgetting

12-15-15
Today is the last week of my undergrad studies. On Friday, I graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. I'm not sure how I feel yet. It's a mixed bag of emotions. I finished one exam--which meant the final time I would be in class with one of the English professors. The other students discussed seeing her next semester, even if they won't have her in class. She said our final projects could be picked up any time next semester, but I won't be there. (It's a good thing my project was just a stack of papers.)

It was an odd feeling. I wanted to shout, "Except me!" I wanted someone to notice, someone to announce this was my last semester, that this was the last time I'd turn in a final, creative project as an undergrad. But nobody did. Nobody noticed. Will they notice when I'm gone next semester? Will they see an empty seat around the room and think, "I wish Jaime was here" or “Jaime would have an opinion to share on that.” Will it even matter that I graduated a semester early to save money (and my sanity)? Or will I become just another face to be remembered?

You see, I've slowly been cutting ties as this semester progressed. It sounds harsh, rude, even emotionless. But I've done it. I've stopped talking to people or didn't attempt to make more friends I would only say farewell too. Sure, I will keep in touch with some people; I won't lose everybody. But after I graduate, after they graduate in May, some of us will go our separate ways and become only memories, threads stretched thin and left to dangle. I won't mourn the loss of some friendships, as terrible as it sounds. Because I know it would be worse to feel neglected, forgotten, ignored in a few weeks when everybody complains about classwork on social media, and they pat each other on the back for their procrastination. I won't be a part of that. (I never actually was.)

I’ve still got two days of exams. I’ve got time to see people, to say goodbye. But I don’t want to say goodbye. In the words of Peter Pan, “saying goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting.” I guess I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget the memories I’ve made, the things I’ve learned, the people I’ve met. I don’t want to forget going to late night in the cafeteria and goofing around. I don’t want to forget working at the library and the fun (and shenanigans) that occurred. I don’t want to forget adventures to the store, to Ecuador, to other schools. I don’t want to forget midnight meetings to write poetry and look at the stars. I don’t want to forget the books I’ve read, the papers I’ve written, the stories I’ve dreamed. I don’t want to forget.

But I I feel as if it’s already slipping. I don’t remember the plot of the book I read my sophomore year in American Lit. I don’t remember how it felt to stand on the equator, on both hemispheres at the same time. I don’t remember the feeling of walking down that torturous hill in the cold, dead of winter. I don’t remember the words I’ve written, spoken, or thought. I don’t remember. I’ve already forgotten. And I haven’t even left yet; I haven’t even said goodbye.

How much will I forget in the next month? The next year? Will my time have been worth it? I don’t know. I hope to find out.

12-16-15
Today continued my goodbyes. There are three people I won’t see again until after I graduate (unless they see me tomorrow, which is doubtful). I didn’t say goodbye. I didn’t want to bring it up when everybody was going ballistic over the exam we were about to take. (An exam I wasn’t worried about nor felt was very hard.) I didn’t want to say “This is it.” I didn’t want the pressure of the last words or the thought that I don’t know when I’ll see them again. Yes, the one will be getting married next summer--I’ll see her then. But will I see her in between? Will I see her after that? I don’t know. The uncertainty chews at me, nibbling away my thoughts one by one. I fear losing this safe haven, which doesn’t feel safe any more. I fear losing everything I’ve tried to gain the last four years. I fear change.

If someone tries to say goodbye to me tomorrow, I think I’m going to (if I can remember) say, “No. Goodbye means going away. Going away means forgetting.” Because as I articulated, it’s true. Going away does make people forget. We’re human; we don’t remember everything, and nothing lasts forever. Life is dependent on one thing: change (or death). We’re supposed to be adaptable, but I feel I’m not. I fear change.

Change means stretching myself to fit the change. Yes, it means growth, but it also means something is different, I’m different.

As I sit here with only one exam (a highly unprepared for exam) between me and graduation, I try to think of everything undergrad has done for me. I don’t feel different. I don’t feel more knowledge or wise. I don’t feel like I’ve got anything going for me. Sure, I can write a pretty bangin’ research paper (if that’s possible). I can tell you the real story of Frankenstein or minute details from Middle-earth. I can even tell you the detailed history of Christmas in the world.

But what has college done for me? I honestly don’t know. I would hope my money is well-worth spent. My time used to the best of my ability. But I don’t know. People said college is where I would find myself. But I don’t know who I am. I’m still the person who questions everything and spends hours dwelling on my thoughts, words, or actions.  I’m still the person who gets caught up talking about TV shows and movies instead of figuring how who I’m going to vote for president. I’m still the little girl who gets lost reading books and dreaming up stories. I just don’t know if the world is ready to meet this girl, or if this girl is ready to meet the world.

I didn’t find myself. I learned some things, but who needs to know the history of Christmas or the plot to every Jane Austen novel or Shakespeare play? How is knowing the ins and outs of storytelling or poetry writing going to put food in my mouth and wi-fi on my computer? What will the classes I took three years ago do to influence me now when I can hardly remember what the topics of discussion and lecture were?

Maybe it’s disheartening to think about spending so much money without gaining anything in return. But I’m not here to be nice or impressive; I’m not here to brag. I’m here to be honest. I’m here to express myself. And right now, on the brink of exhaustion and overwhelming stress and slight anxiety for what comes after tomorrow, I’m feeling very dissatisfied.

My academic adviser had one last conference with me for my final class with him. For a while, I’ve felt at odds with him and other students based on my perception of how this semester went in the class. I felt unheard. I felt ignored. I felt whenever I spoke people didn’t listen or care. But he wrote something at the bottom of the paper I turned in for midterm. And he said it to me out loud, but it wasn’t until hours later when I looked back through his final comments and my peer review feedback that I read those words again. And I almost cried.

“Dear Jaime: You have everything you need to make it.”

12-17-15
Today, I didn’t say goodbye. I said, “See you later.” Because there will be a later. Because people do care. Because people, in the middle of an exam, asked to say goodbye. Because people celebrated my accomplishment and congratulated me.

I finished my final exam. I felt confident in what I did. I felt confident in the whole last week of the semester after I fought so hard to get through these past four months. But I did it. I finished. I’ve completed undergrad and now I have a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. (I don’t physically have  the diploma yet, but I will soon.)

People ask me “What’s next?” My answer: “I’m just taking it one day at a time.” I have a few things coming my way, so we’ll see. One day at a time is how it always goes for me. I started a checklist of things to accomplish once I completed college. I’ve been able to cross off two so far. I’m sure more will be completed and more will be added to the list of things I should do.

-pay off loans
-watch Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (!!!!!)
-Read lots and lots of books (including: finishing Six of Crows and starting Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer)
-find a job?
-be happy

Later, I’ll be posting about my hopes, goals, and dreams about 2016. I’m going to also highlight books, moments, and accomplishments of 2015 at some point.

But for now, I’m going to sit back and let myself this moment to breathe. Because tomorrow is another day where anything could happen. Because today still feels like a dream world where I can’t tell if everything is happening. (Come on, I finished college and saw Star Wars Episode VII, this has to be a dream, right?) I felt surreal driving through campus one last time as a student, driving home from school and coming to the conclusion I won’t return in January (though my kind-hearted professor told me to have a good break), and sitting in the exam thinking: “This could be the last exam I take.” It’ll probably be the last literature exam I take.

It probably won’t hit me until mid-January when people discuss homework woes that I’m not there, that I’m not returning. That I’m finished.

It’s weird how when things change, the world still keeps going. I’m finished, but more students will study next semester and the semester after that and so forth for the foreseeable future. Star Wars is back and some people won’t see it, some people won’t care, and some people will never have the chance. I could say goodbye, I could say see you later. Both of those things or neither could happen. Because I won’t forget--not quite. I’ve written this moment down so it’ll be here as long as the Internet exists. Some people I won’t see again. Some people I will. And some moments will be remembered like they were a dream.

Because saying goodbye means going away.
And going away means forgetting.

But… the place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming... that’s where I’ll love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Beautiful Books: November 2015

You know how when you promise to post more on your blog, there tends to be this thing that happens, which includes not posting more? Yeah. I'm in the final month of my last semester of undergrad. Forever.

So I apologize for my continual absence. Fingers crossed I'll be around more in a month. I'm still writing for The Fangirl Initiative every week. And I'm thick into my novel for NaNoWriMo.

Since it's NaNoWriMo, I'm here to answer the next month of Beautiful Books questions! You can find out more about Beautiful Books here and participate yourself by answering this month's questions here. Since the questions are about writing processes, you don't necessarily need to be participating in NaNoWriMo to join in!


In the words of Disney's Peter Pan, "Here we go!" (I will be answering the questions for my NaNo novel, The Secret Library Society, which you can learn more about here.)

Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
Yes and no. It's going along the same vein I had originally hope, but it's definitely given me some surprises and twists I didn't see coming. Plus, it's becoming something better and more important than I thought possible.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
Arthur Benedict Williams was a very special boy. And he definitely deserved it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?
Panster the whole way. I've tried plotting, but I lose interest or don't stick to it. So I usually write with some ideas of what will happen (important plot points, scenes, or the ending/beginning, etc.) and let the rest just take over as I go. This is why lots of surprises and twists end up popping in and shocking me.

What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?
Sleep. Food. More writing? It's hard because I just sit down to write and stop when I'm finished for the day. So far it hasn't been hard for me to sit down and write. It's hard to stop and go to sleep or get ready for the day (or do the things I'm responsible for).

What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?
I'm not sure what this question is asking. I usually just come up with a character and write down the first name that comes up. Sometimes I do go looking for names to fit specific characters.

For example, I've got two Pages in my novel (not like pages in a book but the people who shelf books). They're part of the Secret Library Society and their jobs are like "police officers" of the Library. They protect the Library. So I cleverly named them Recto and Verso, which mean the right hand side and left hand side of a book, respectively. (Oh, how I love play on words.)

Other names are taken from people I know who work in libraries.

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
This is so hard to answer. It truly depends on the story for me. Sometimes I like the beginning because I get to launch myself into the story and into a  new world. Other times I like the ending because it's satisfying to write those final words, which wrap up the whole novel. But I've been enjoying the middle of this particular novel because I knew the beginning and end before I started. But I didn't know the middle. I've been having a blast exploring the middle.

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
This is also so hard to answer. I adore Arthur because he's just this adorable little baby of mine. But Recto and Verso have been fun to write, as well as the other Inkling Arthur meets.

What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)
I've been researching a lot about books and libraries from before 1960. The book is set in 1960ish, so I can't have Arthur reading books that weren't out yet or weren't popular enough yet. Plus, the library system was quite different in the 50s-60s than it is today. I've also been looking up book covers of books for different years (though, I will probably need to fix this during edits).

I think the weirdest thing I researched were tools used in a library that could be used as a weapon. Hey, this is a fantasy! :)

Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?
Definitely alone. I can generate ideas with others or talk to them about what is happening (like, oops Arthur just book-jumped to Narnia) but I can't write with other people around. It interrupts my flow. I will shares this with people eventually, but I like to keep first drafts--especially incomplete first drafts--to myself. When I started editing and need feedback, I'll share.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I don't have many habits. I don't write the same time every day. Sometimes I eat, sometimes I don't. I usually do have a cup of water nearby but I also usually forget it's there and never drink it. I like to listen to instrumental music to help the flow (8-tracks playlists are the best). But sometimes, I get so into the zone, I don't even realize the music has stopped playing for twenty minutes!  I also tend to write wherever I am (provided there are no people to bother me; dogs are ok). So my writing space is the WORLD.

Well, that's all of them. I hope you enjoyed. Let me know something interesting about your writing process in the comments. And tell me if you're participating in NaNo or Beautiful Books!

My current word total is: 38,085 (with plenty of time to spare!)

-Jaime

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dear NaNoWriMo 2015

It's currently 12:27AM (according to my computer). Or it's 11:27, depending on time change (though my good friend told me time doesn't change until 2AM so technically I've legally begun).

Yet, I haven't written anything. No words. No thoughts. Nothing. Heck, I didn't even write the title or my name anywhere yet.

It's daunting, starting a novel. It's a task not easily accomplished. And for some reason, the excitement level to write this novel isn't high. Sure, I love my characters, I adore the story line, I drool over the world I've developed, but I'm not itching to write. I'm not itching to do anything (except maybe itch my kneecap from talking about itching).

So I feel like I've failed already. And I hate failure. Perfectionist that I am. I want to win. I want to batter through the skeptical beginnings, swoop through the middle, and run the home stretch full-force to stand atop the mountain of a manuscript, bloody, sweaty, but smiling fully. I want to hit 50K and the chapter of November 2015 with delight.

But I feel tired. I feel drained. And I'm worried I will fail. Already a half-hour of my time has been lost by this procrastination. Already, I feel the burden gaining heaviness upon my pen. Can I do it?

Between school, work, papers, projects, and many other things, I don't know if I can. I've done it in the past. But those years I've had a clear idea, a clear spark of what I wanted to write. How I wanted the story to unfold.

But for this story, I've got a handful of unknown characters and a tangled web of a plot holding it all together. It's thin; it's wobbly; it's stretched. It's hanging on by a thread of a though birthed long ago. The spark feels dull, faded, almost extinguished. How can I possibly write this novel? Or any the other dim thoughts in my brain? Where is the one thought jumping up and down in excitement and anticipation?

Since my brain feels like goo slathered across the floor, I want to start the novel in the morning. I'd like to think I could get up and write, hit a few hundred words before breakfast. But I've come to understand that is not how my process works. Nighttime feeds my creative juices. Half-asleep, I stumble through worlds, encountering creatures and characters. People tell me my writing is good--when it's a first draft, on the spot, struck with inspiration. I don't know how it works, but I'm counting on it helping me with this story.

I don't want to abandon it before I've begun. But I don't want to fail. My inner editor wants to claw its way through, to nitpick the beginning I've written in my mind. But then it will win and it'll come crawling through into my writing. So instead, I'm to push it back into the dark corners of my writing soul and I'm going to start with the first line of NaNoWriMo, the beginning:

"Arthur Benedict Williams was a very special boy."

-Jaime

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Beautiful Books: October 2015

For the next few months, Beautiful People is on hiatus in order to introduce Beautiful Books. Essentially, Beautiful Books is the same concept as Beautiful People except we answer questions about our book(s), especially in preparation for November's National Novel Writing Month escapade (or NanoWriMo).

Check out this link for more information about Beautiful Books and to join the link-up!  :)



1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I was working in a library three years ago, and as I shelved books (or shelf read), I suddenly had the thought of someone sweeping his/her hands over the spines of books and being able to "sense" the magic books held. The basis of the story, a boy with dyslexia, came when I had to write a short story for my fiction writing class. I wasn't "allowed" to write fantasy, so I took out the fantasy and wrote about a boy with dyslexia desiring to read.

But I knew there was much more to this story. I knew my main character was much more special than a boy learning to read (and learning to love reading). I knew the library was much bigger than your average community center.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
I've been thinking about this novel for a while now. I wanted to write it for NaNo last year, but my plans changed (I even answered questions about it for Beautiful Books last year before I switched up my idea). I also think the concept is something needed in the world. I want children, dyslexic or not, to come to love reading as much as I do. I want them to experience the magic and wonder books have to offer. I think this story will do that.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
My novel is about a dyslexic boy, Arthur, who learns he has a rare gift when it comes to books: he can hear them talking. He soon learns there's a secret society that protects the library system, and he's one of them. Because of his rare gifts, he's known as an Inkling in this secret society. But the Secret Library Society is failing. Their enemies are to numerous and are crowding in. Arthur soon finds himself on a whirlwind adventure to save libraries, something only he, as an Inkling, can do.

The potential title(s) are: The Inkling, or The Secret Library Society (or a combination). I haven't quite decided. If ideas for more stories related to the SLS come about, I could call them the chronicles of the Secret Library Society with The Inkling as one title.

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

Arthur: brave

Samantha, or Sam: dreamy


Unnamed Book Page character (I know, I know, the idea is so developed): loyal


The Library Director: mysterious



There are, of course, more characters that come in and out of the story. But right now, these are the most important and most developed. I'm a pantser/gardener writer, so many things may happen over the course of this next month.

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
I know Arthur has a special place in my heart. He's got a tough life and being unable to read only adds to his problems. But he's smart and adorable, so I think he'll be fun to get to know deeper. I'm excited to write about Sam because she's still kind of mysterious to me still. The unknown/unnamed characters will be fun to see develop as well. I've got "glimpses" of characters and how they work in the story but nothing is solid yet.

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
At first, Arthur's goal is to learn to read. His dyslexia and trouble concentrating hinder him; other children at school bully him; and problems at home tend to dampen his spirits. However, he soon learns there's much more at stake than simply learning to read, so his goals change throughout the story to match the SLS's creeds and then his own approach to protecting the Library and the magic of books. (In the latter goals, enemies of the Library of all kinds get in his way.)

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
Mainly in a library. XD It's going to be set in the 1950s-ish with possibly time-jumps here and there, depending on how the story goes. The story will go in and out of our world, such as Arthur's hometown library/school/home and the SLS world. There's possibilities of going inside stories as well.

 


8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
Arthur has a lot of relationships that keep the story intact, but his relationship with Sam is vital to the story and becomes special as the story progresses.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
He learns to read and to love books. He learns the importance of stories and the magic of books. And he learns about life and death and saying goodbye.

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
I definitely want people to understand the magic books hold. I want there to be a special connection to reading and the joy of reading with the reader by the end.

NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
1. Write. Just write without stopping. Write until your fingers hurt. Write until you've got the story down in some shape or form. Don't stop.

2. Find time to write. This is serious business, writing a book (dangerous, too). You open the door and you don't know where you might be swept off too. Cut something out of your life for one month in order to find time. Swear off twitter or netflix or pinterest, if you must. Set timers for yourself so that you didn't just waste an hour "researching."

3. Take breaks. Write for a while but give yourself time to relax and breathe. Do word wars with people in order to feel like you've accomplished something. But then take a breather: eat a snack, take a walk, get up and stretch, allow yourself a moment. Then dive right back in. (Oh, do your homework too.)

That's it, I guess. Let me know if you've participated this month and whether you're doing NaNoWriMo. (You can find me here.) I'd love to hear about your novel!

-Jaime

Friday, September 18, 2015

Beautiful People: September 2015

Oh, look. I forgot about Beautiful People again until the half of the month has passed. I should just make it my routine to complete it midpoint of the month, eh?


So what is Beautiful People? It's a link-up hosted by Sky @ Further Up and Further In and Cait @ Paper Fury for writers. It's a list of questions to answer about characters we've created to get to know them a little more and to introduce them to the world.

I've done Beautiful People for over a year now (*cheers*). This month I'm going to highlight Fitz from my dragon story, A Girl and Her Dragon. He's been introduced on my blog before but through a different reading meme so I think it's about time he gets to have the spotlight.


1. They’re in a crisis: who would they really like to see right now?
I would have thought his go-to answer would be his mentor, Tiberius, but surprisingly, he'd like to see Killian when he's in a pinch. He knows Killian is smart and will help him out.

2. Are they easy to get along with?
Yes. Although he's quiet, he has no trouble with other people. He doesn't easily argue and he's pretty level-headed. Plus, his intelligence allows for him to enter any conversation.

3. Who was the last person they had a deep conversation with?
Surprisingly, Killian again. He doesn't much like to discuss deep, personal things with Tiberius. Something about it feels off. So he defaults to someone else close to him, his only options being Killian or later Brielle.

4. They’re in the middle of a huge crowd of people: how do they feel?
Slightly overwhelmed. He would much prefer the isolation of the library with the freedom to read and study. However, he's not so overwhelmed he panics. He keeps his chin up and gets through the overwhelming feelings.

5. Do they believe in luck or miracles?
No, not at first. He's starting to wonder if miracles could be real.


6. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?
Since his "neighbors" are the royal family of Greene, I would say for the most part yes. He has his own opinions of certain actions of the royal family, but he does get along with them and respects them.

7. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?
He's curious about the unexplored territories to the east and north, but stories of the far west, beyond the Sea, captivate him as well. In general, he fears becoming stuck to one place for the rest of his life like Tiberius.

8. How do they feel about their body?
He doesn't think much of it. He could hardly care unless it wasn't functioning properly. There are too many other things for him to worry over.

9. What is the cruelest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?
Since he doesn't interact with many people, the cruel things come from his own head. He tells himself he's worthless because he has no parents, no family, no choice in his future, no friends. He lives with the thoughts but he hopes something will change.

10. What’s the kindest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?
Tiberius told him once that he believes Fitz is more intelligent than Tiberius ever will be. Fitz felt appalled because he could never imagine being greater than Tiberius.


Did you participate in Beautiful People this month? I'd love to read about your characters. Let me know if you did or if you're going to!

-Jaime

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Tale of the Slimy Frog

The Shrews of Shreve picnicked upon the grassy hills of their nookie knoll. A river of tarps ran with water and soap, dumping children and inflatables into a dirty creek dam. The day was warm with blue skies of water and drifts of chalk-drawn clouds. The bullfrogs bulled and hippity-hoppity hopped from one end of the small pond to the other. A snake slithered between the cool rocky sides, playing hide n seek with toes and the hands of frog catchers. One lone frog drifts aimlessly through the scum, sprawled out. Frog legs and all. A dragonfly commandeers its domain by circling the pond plants in a graceful path. The goats bleat over and over, crying out their confusion and hunger and desire for attention. They match the horse, who stands surrounded by girlish faces and reaching hands.

Hands grow covered with colorful streaks as sweet candy melts in dampness. Fire crackles, hot dogs cook, and a red welt pushes to the top of forehead bumped against metal. A slimy frog harasses the frog pond, catching frogs and terrorizing tadpoles. He slips down the blue river slide and splashes across the creek to the other side. Toting a fashionable pink inflatable, he breaks distance records. Bumps and mud spring from the ground as water splooshes over the bone-chilling water.

The slimy frog goes in for the kill and wraps his thick arms around an unsuspecting victim. Squeezed between two slimy frogs, the victim fights back and squirms for freedom. The slimy frog lays a wet smacker on the victim’s neck and released. Devious grin puffs the frog’s puckered lips.

The edu-ma-cated celebrates
With guests, goats, and food galore
Frogs bellow their congrats.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Blackout

You never really appreciate electricity and modern conveniences until something stirs your way of life. Take for instance, an evening blackout. Half a city without power, the other half with power. The sudden contrast sweeps you up as you drive from one end of town to the next. One minute, you pass by startling lights from yellow arches and golden bells; from gas stations and bars with open doors, spilling out light, music, and laughter. The streetlights even beckon a familiar warmth that suddenly drops you into the dead gloom of night.

Los Angeles

No streetlights to guide you down the familiar road which has suddenly become mysterious, alien, eerie. Maybe you’ve driven this path a hundred thousand times, once a day, even at night, but without lights from the cozy homes lining the asphalt and the overhead beacons shining down on the sidewalk, you feel oddly out of the zone.

It's only the headlights of another car in the back window that reminds you that you are not alone in the world.

The darkness is still. It’s quiet. No rowdy children playing, no TVs flashing through open curtains. Only the sounds of nature. Only the stars, the darkness, and a rekindling of humankind and the earth.
It makes you wonder if this is how dark it felt back with Laura Ingalls traveled across the country in a covered wagon with her family. Or was it darker because they didn’t have streets to follow or the shadow of homes waiting around the bend? Because despite the dark street corners, the emptiness of the houses you drive by, and the sense you’ve returned to a world that once was, there’s still light on the horizon. There’s light from the city ten minutes away where it still blazes like the day. There’s still light from the headlights, the light on your car clock, the solar lights in front yards, flashlights and cell phones.

Tokyo

Oh, the cell phones. Where you can still access the internet and tweet about not having Netflix or not being able to communicate with your friends, when all the modern conveniences are at your fingertips without any power from the city around you. Where you can get online and discuss the blackout without leaving your home or speaking to your neighbor. Where the blackout doesn’t really matter that much because you can still be social, you can still order pizza, you can still watch your favorite TV show with the press of a few buttons and the light of a bright screen.

Because just as you drive through the dark, feeling nostalgic for times you never lived in, the lights return. Not morning’s light. Not moonlight through the clouds to light up the world in a silver glow. But the regular old, take-it-for-granted electricity you thought for a moment you could live without. But you simply sit in your homes with the air conditioning set high, the lights all aglow and the wi-fi turned on and you forget what you had lost moments ago. You forget you never had light.

And you wonder could you ever survive without it? Could the world?

Are we ever really in darkness?

San Francisco
-Jaime

Photos from Thierry Cohen's "Darkened Skies" series, which recaptures how big city skies would appear without lights. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Beautiful People: August 2015

It seems every month begins and I eagerly await the revealing of Beautiful People questions only to find myself more than half way through the month without completing said character questionnaires. Why me?


Well, I've finally remembered to answer the questions and put the post together, so here we are: Beautiful People August 2015. Since the beginning of August was Friendship Day, all the questions are best friendship related. And I happen to love strong, bonding friendships between my characters, so it's been a hard decision on which friendships to highlight soo...

I'm going to be the crazy person who does more than one pairing. So get ready for a lot of emotions about best friends, brothers via bond, brotps, etc.



How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
Since birth, well Killian's birth. Gilbert was three when Killian was born. They've been by each other's sides ever since. They're closer than brothers (though they are cousins). The only time they've been apart was when Gilbert left to complete his knight training.
What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?
Killian remembers Gilbert sneaking into his room at night in order to "protect" him from the monsters under the bed. Gilbert remembers Killian getting them both in trouble for climbing over the sheep pen and getting stampeded by the ewes.
Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?
Sometimes they do fight because of butting personalities and opposite opinions. But after a day or two, they get over themselves and make up.
Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?
They're definitely different. Gilbert keeps Killian in check while Killian makes sure Gilbert livens up a little.
Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?
Both are equal, depending on the situation.
Do have any secrets from each other?
Yes, they both have secrets.
How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?
Better than they know themselves.
What kind of things do they like to do together?
Fencing, horseback riding, getting into trouble, going to the market, reading in the library.
Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar?
They're very different. Gilbert is usually clean-shaven, smooth and properly fitted garbs, shiny boots, not one hair on his head out of place. Killian's clothes look like they should be falling apart, usually dirty, unruly hair, stubble on his cheeks.
How would their lives be different without each other?
Gilbert wouldn't have a job looking out for the crown prince and Killian wouldn't have the support and loyalty of Gilbert.



How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
They've known each other since they were six years old, when Emmett's family joined the starship crew Leezander's father worked for.
What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?
Emmett walked right up to Leezander and said, "Let's be friends."
Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?
It's rare they fight. They disagree on opinions, but it doesn't drive them apart. Both can be calm in their arguments.
Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?
They are wildly different in some areas but similar in others. Think Sherlock and Watson from BBC's Sherlock, only in outer space.
Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?
Leezander for sure. Emmett vows he'd follow Zander to the ends of the galaxy, if he had to.
Do have any secrets from each other?
Plenty. But they do try to tell each other the truth.
How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?
Well enough, though Emmett is still surprised by Leezander's perception skills.
What kind of things do they like to do together?
Hijack space pods, hack into starship computers, oh... and try to battle evil military officers.
Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar?
Leezander keeps his style simple and in dark shades. He's not one for showy or extravagant styles. He likes to keep a low profile. Emmett is always in his academy uniform or engineer clothes. Covered in grease or clean as new.
How would their lives be different without each other?
Emmett certainly wouldn't find himself in the middle of so much trouble or so many adventures. Leezander would get a big head.



How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
They've known each other since forever. When they were young, they were two peas on a pod. After Juliet moved back to Port Blue, they slowly regained their friendship.
What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?
Juliet remembers playing jungle adventure in Adam's kitchen. Adam remembers playing on the beach for hours on end, the endless summer.
Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?
They don't usually fight. Only once did Juliet get mad at him and it was a big misunderstanding that was quickly resolved after a few hours.
Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?
They're both similar and different. They've got a lot in common with each other, but Juliet is more outgoing. Adam is definitely shy and introverted.
Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?
They're both equal. Adam usually is the one dragging Juliet off on adventures, though.
Do have any secrets from each other?
Oh, yes. Adam has a big secret he's keeping from her. ;)
How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?
Pretty well.
What kind of things do they like to do together?
Run around the beach, fishing, sailing, stargazing, adventures in every shape and size.
Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar?
Adam is usually seen without shoes, wearing shorts and a plain colored t-shirt. If he must, he will wear sneakers and jeans. Juliet wears similar attire: shorts with a t-shirt but she’s usually wearing sneakers. She does admire vintage clothes and wishes she was brave enough to wear that style all the time.
How would their lives be different without each other?
For about ten years they lived without each when Juliet’s family moved to Alaska. Adam was pretty lost without her. He didn’t make a whole lot of friends until she came back. Juliet, however, got along fine. But when they rekindle their friendship, they both agree that whether they could live without each other didn’t matter: they don’t choose to live without each other. Juliet’s life wouldn’t be quite so adventure-driven, sensitive aware, or imaginative. Adam would probably lose part of his soul without Juliet. 


Whew! We survived. Find the questions and link-up here. Are you participating? Let me know in the comments. I'd love to hear about your characters' friendships.

-Jaime
P.S. I apologize for not writing as much on the blog as of late. Somehow summer has been crazy busy, but I hope I'll find some things to post soon. Find me over at The Fangirl Initiative posting about fandoms, fangirls, and everything in between. :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Beautiful People July 2015

It's summer. The air is warm, the sun is shining... oh wait! No, it's not. It's raining. Again. But still, rain or shine, it's summer.

But it's been July for twenty-four days and I have yet to complete Beautiful People, so here I am to answer questions about my characters. Since it's summer, I've been thinking a lot about a story I finished a few years ago (three years, it's been three years). Couple that with listening to my old Owl City CDs, and my mind has definitely wandered back to the story I started in the back of eleventh grade math class and finished right after graduating high school. 


It's called Sailboats and Stars (for now) and it's the adventures of two dreamers. Everything in it was inspired by the works of Adam Young (or if you know him better by Owl City). It's kind of a different genre for me--and possibly for the literary world. It's definitely has YA and romance in it, but it's not fully that. It's somewhat coming of age, but it's mainly just the adventures of two people. Sometimes I think it fits better under the genre of "Slice of Life," which is something popular in Japanese anime. "Slice of Life" doesn't always have a notable plot, but instead, it focuses on daily life of a few characters in a particular setting.


Anyways, I've introduced my two stars (see what I did there) once before through other character oriented blog posts. But I knew when I looked over the questions I couldn't just pick one of them; this story only works because of both of them. So I'm going to answer the questions for both Adam Byrd and Juliet Ford. Come join us on a dreamy adventure!


1. What’s their favourite ice cream flavour?
Adam: Vanilla because, according to Juliet, he's boring. :D
Juliet: Double Fudge Brownie because you can never have to much chocolate.

2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?
Adam: Out? Adam doesn't go out. Just kidding. If he's off for an adventure, he's dragging Juliet with him. He probably wouldn't dress up in anything fancy unless it was a formal event (and then he probably wouldn't be going). He'd probably where khaki shorts and a t-shirt with flip-flops. As to where he could be going? Anything is possible.

Juliet: If it's something formal, she might make an effort, but it's doubtful. Most likely if she's going anywhere it's with Adam or her family. She'd probably just wear jeans and a t-shirt or plaid shirt with her Converse. If it's with Adam, she never knows where they could be off to. If it's with her family, it'll be out to eat and maybe to a movie.

3. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?
Adam: His feet are most likely bare and tanned from the sun. If he has to wear shoes, he'll wear plain black flip-flops if it's warm or ratty sneakers he's had forever. He hates dress shoes.

Juliet: She's probably wearing her worn yet still nice pairs of Converse, even if she's on the beach. Her socks come in various colors and types, usually never matching. She hates anything with a heel and she's not fond of flip-flops because they hurt her toes.


4. Do they have any birthmark or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?
Adam: He has a scar over his eyebrow from when he fell off his bike when he was nine.

Juliet: She has a birthmark on her right shoulder.

5. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)
Adam: He listens to a wide variety of music, pretty much anything that comes on the radio. He specifically likes instrumental music.

Juliet: She's a fan of pop, indie, and alternative. It changes depending on how she feels.


6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?
Adam: He can sing fairly well. He's dabbled with piano, guitar, and saxophone but nothing has stuck. He'd rather write than sing.

Juliet: Her singing voice can get by in groups, but she's loves playing piano.

7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
Adam: He reads mainly fantasy and sci-fi.

Juliet: She reads anything that comes her way.

8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?
Adam: He spends his summers running all over Port Blue (their town). He especially likes to go sailing in his sailboat. He's always out of the house and near the water.

Juliet: She'd prefer to spend her summer reading nice, thick books. However, that doesn't always happen. She spends her time on the beach, searching for Adam's whereabouts, and chasing after her younger brother. She loves to go stargazing as well.


9. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they’re eating breakfast, what’s on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?
Adam: He's probably eating outside somewhere, maybe on his boat or on the beach.

Juliet: If Adam has arrived to drag her out of the house, she's inside making lunch for her younger siblings and deciding what needs to get done that day (house work, cleaning room, painting, moving things in, etc.)

10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?
Adam: He wants to be free of his grief.

Juliet: She wants to be free of her fear.



If you've participated, I'd love to read about your character(s) so let me know in the comments. Also, if you haven't: what are you waiting for??? You can find the complete list of questions for the month here. I'd love for you to join me. 

-Jaime

Friday, July 17, 2015

My Year of Art Journaling: Part One

I've always been interested in journaling. I kept one in middle school and have tried ever since to keep one. But I'm never consistent with it. I forget. I write things and decide I never want to go back and read it again. Maybe journals aren't supposed to be re-read (??) but then I don't see the point in keeping it or doing it "just for myself." If I'm writing something, making something, recording an adventure, I want to re-read it and I want to share it.

Thus, I've tried other methods. I tried blogging--but again, it didn't stick. Sometimes I still post about my life, but it's not the same. I've tried just doing it on the computer instead of by hand but again, I didn't find any reason to go back. I got the Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith and I love it. I haven't done much more than I've already shared, but I plan to do more soon. But this didn't give me room to journal about my life. I needed something else.

I am intrigued with Art Journals. I've googled them, pinterest searched, everything. I'm always amazed at what I find. I wanted to try it myself. However, I don't feel I'm very "artistic" or good at drawing, so I put it off.

Somewhere during my hunt for art journal tips and how-tos, I realized it didn't matter whether I felt artistic. I could do whatever I wanted with my journal. I don't need to draw stuff or have pretty handwriting if I can't do it. I just add things I could to do.

I also became interested in altered books as journals. I knew if I was doing an art journal and throwing paint on a page, I would want to use a cool book. I found a bunch of old Reader's Digests Condensed Books, which have interesting, hardback covers, a lot of pages, and good journal dimensions. I looked up tips for altering books and began my journal. It takes more work than a hand bought journal, but I love the way it looks. Plus, I'm still learning how to makes pages better.

The school semester ate up a lot of my time, so it wasn't until more recently I was able to catch up on journal pages I wanted to document. I did some journaling on my computer, so I took those words and made a page of something I felt was significant of my year so far. I've got a lot of ideas but these are the pages I have so far...

Page 1:


This page kind of just happened. I started with orange and just painted what I felt. I added some white, yellow, some shades of orange. Then I decided I liked the look of these letter stamps I have, so I decided I wanted to use those for my dating system in the journal.

Page 2:


The year started with a lot of Tolkien related things. I took a class on Tolkien-Lewis this past semester, the final Hobbit movie was released, I listened to Billy Boyd's song, "The Last Goodbye," way too many times. When I think hobbits or Tolkien, I think green. I messed around with shades of green paint. The opposite page had a "nature" picture already in the book, so I worked it into the page. I wrote why everything was Tolkien. I doodled. I like this page spread.

Page 3:


January was a wild adventure of snow everywhere or snow no where. I helped my mom do a winter party for the girls at church. One of our activities was "ice painting" with salt, which is the dragon (because why not?). Then I added "winter" like colors--blue obviously--stars, glitter, words, a few doodles. I think the colors look cool.

I've done other pages in between. Most don't have photos from the days, so I just created designs and added words. I did a page for my birthday and added the birthday card my parents gave me. Not every page has to be painted or drawn on. Different techniques are actually cool, so I've been looking up things try.

Page 8:


This is another favorite I did. I found a small blip of text I wrote where I just wanted to sleep for three years and why I couldn't be a dragon. I liked it. It wasn't a special day or a memorable adventure, it summed up my semester. I painted a background, drew a cute sleeping dragon, and looked up cool fonts to write in. I doodled dragon-things. This would have been my favorite if not for...

Page 9:




Valentine's Day. I'm not a big fan of V-Day. I don't see the point (and yes, I do have a man). My deal for V-Day was M&Ms and watching Tangled. Guess what? He agreed (because he's the best). I knew if I did something in my journal for V-Day, it had to be good. I wanted Flynn and Rapunzel in my journal, but as I said, I'm not good at drawing. I didn't want to be cheap either and just print out a photo. But I stumbled upon this journal art post, and I knew I could do it.

So I did print off Flynn and Rapunzel but then I doodled over it. Looks cool? Yes, it does. I added watered down paint to spill down the page, I sprinkled salt on the paint for a cool effect. This is my favorite page (is anybody surprised?).

Page 10:


At the end of February, I went to a writing conference with my school, so I created a page using the pamphlets and papers they gave us at the event. I added some of the thoughts I wrote after the trip was over. See? No paint or drawing needed.

I've got the rest of my semester events to journal about before I start on the summer adventures. I like this process of journaling. It makes me feel creative. Painting is a calming process for me. And it's something I like to look back through and feel proud to share with people.

Do you like to journal? What's your favorite way to document your life or thoughts?

-Jaime

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fireworks, Fro-Yo, and Baby Goats


The sweet, irritating smell of freshly cut grass circulates the mini barnyard. Chickens strut among dirt, eggs, and droppings. The peck at invisible feed and rage chicken battles inside the coop. The guineas, fat and loud, zip around, honking their beaks. The rooster crows over and over, showing off his feathers next to the wire mesh pen. Ducks bathe in a bowl of water, splish-splashing in all directions. Baby goats bleat from the arms of children as Mama Goat watches with lazy eyes, chewing grass, dirt, and wood. With umbilical cords still attached, the goats nuzzle necks, chins, and arms. They kick their legs and scream out to run free.


The frozen yogurt at the bottom of the paper bowl slowly melts, dripping in between the cardboard divider, the flavors of cold dairy dessert swirling together in shades of white and brown. The toppings sit atop the mountainous mounds of cold cream, awaiting consumption. Hot fudge drips into the marshmallow, which slips into the ice cream blend. Laughs, covered faces, and the chitter of a child’s voice surround the quiet sidewalk tables. The air is warm, the sun is hot, and the sky dreams of cloudless skies.

Courtesy games of croquet gather the family together. Prickled by thistles, feet scurry around the yard as mallets topple balls into wickets. Food is served after coddling of cuddlesome cousin. Mac n cheese with Fritos slide on to a bun: a new creative creation. Baby hiccups, sleeps, and snuffles, peeing through his diaper and shorts. Wide-eyed, he takes in the world. Naps with dogs perfect the late afternoon light. But not all the festivities are fun. Heart break and tears of lost little hands gather clouds in the cloudless blue sky. Life continues on at a rapid pace, showering the world in a better tomorrow.

Disbelief at the mediocre show of lights against the sky and booms echoing in the dome of the atmosphere pave the return trip to the car. Passing by eyes of cars, beaming through the dark, and moving as one clump of bodies, the walk drags and the car ride dregs. But then the dark barnyard is soon filled with laughter, crackling fire, and goats bleating in frantic disarray. The night wanes as marshmallows are passed around the carefully constructed firewood stack. Sparklers light up the dark like magic wands. Shrouded in smoke, the sparks burn bright and sizzle into various shades of yellows, pinks, and greens.

Greedy for more, Gandalf lights tubes that zip into the air and spray silver showers down. Caught under a dome of light fire, shadows stand in awe, jumping at every pop, boom, crackle. Lights fly out from the ground, spraying in all directions. Rockets go for liftoff and land among leaves instead of stars. Small sparks boom. Big sparks fizzle. The wizards work hard for the oohs and ahs and excited cheers of smiling faces.

The night grows thin
          Shielded in ringlets of smoke and beauty
                    The day ends in silence. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Father's Day, O Frabjous Day!

Ferris Bueller sky drapes over the front lawn. Mallets clack against the balls as the Bandersnatch dog bounds through the ripe grass. The March Hare takes the lead while the Mad Hatter sulks in last. Flamingos swing, do-dos roll, and the sound of angry shouts slur the summer air. I step in thistles. Alice is lost somewhere in the middle. Messy rules and red roses dying, demand I quit.  The rabbit, who is late for a very important date, manages to swing ahead. The Red Queen looks on, only teasing of cutting off heads. The metal wickets turn invisible in the grass. Is Wonderland this bad? The Caterpillar sits in silence.

Frustration builds
    Snide remarks snitch the Snark
        Croquet is undone. 





Friday, June 19, 2015

Beautiful People: June 2015

Beautiful People is back again for a new month of questions. I'm super stoked for these questions because they're all about the characters' parents! I've read so many books (especially YA) where the parents are dead or completely absent. I know some stories work for the best that way (think Batman), but I like the idea of strong, interactive parents in stories too. I try to get my characters' parents into the story as much as I can. It doesn't always happen though.


As usual, it took me a while to decide which character (or characters) to answer the questions about. Since I'm trying to get back to writing-editing  A Girl and  Her Dragon, I knew I had to choose a character from the novel to get my creative juices flowing. The only problem is a few of my characters don't have parents--or don't know who they are. Thus I was left with choosing between Killian and Brielle again. They've appeared a lot for Beautiful People. (In fact, this month is the anniversary of when I introduced Killian to the blog and the world through my first Beautiful People post!)

 

I decided to answer the questions about both! (Who's surprised? Really? Who?) I will be answering questions in regard to the beginning of the novel and not later into the story in case of spoilers.

1. Do they know both their biological parents? Why/why not?
Brielle: She knew them when she was a child. Her mother died when she was young and she only sees her papa every once in a while (and his visits have been lacking as of late).

Killian: Yes, he knows both of his biological parents as he lives with them.

2. Have they inherited any physical resemblances from their parents?
Brielle: Yes. She looks mostly like her mother with a fair, pale complexion, dark hair, and moon-shaped eyes. However, she inherited the striking green shade of eyes that matches her papa's eyes.

Killian: He inherited the darker hair, tan skin, and dark gaze of his father. There is little resemblance between Killian and his mother.

3. What's their parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!
Brielle: Her mother was very traditional and wore long, simple skirts and dresses with shawls.



Her papa wears the typical button-down with suspenders when he's conducting business but on board his pirate ship he dresses a little looser.




Killian: His mother is also traditional but wears elegant gowns and outfits fit for the queen she is. His father is strict and traditional, wearing the fitted suits and kingly attire of Greene.

 


4. Do they share any personality traits with their parental figures? And which do they take after most?
Brielle: She has the quiet demeanor of her mother on the outside, but inside she rages and dreams like her papa. If the opportunity arises, she will stand for what she believe is right--something her papa does. Brielle may look like her mother, but she's definitely her papa's daughter.

Killian: He takes after both of his parents in different ways. He has the stubbornness of his father, which is why they butt-heads a lot. But he has the heart of kindness and compassion and acceptance from his mother.


5. Do they get on with their parental figure(s) or do they clash?
Brielle: She remembers only happiness with her mother. While her papa has hurt her by abandoning her, she still loves him dearly and would do almost anything to help him.

Killian's father: King Xavier of Greene
Killian: He has a special relationship with his mother that none of his siblings has. He loves her more dearly than almost any one. He clashes a lot with his father because of how similar they are. Their mutual stubbornness doesn't help. But Killian remembers a time of good memories with his father.

6. If they had to describe their parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?
Brielle: For her mother, she'd say lovely. For her papa, she'd say gifted.

Killian: For his mother, he'd say gentle. For his father, he'd say stern.

7. How has their parental figure(s) helped them most in their life?
Brielle: Her mother has instilled hope in Brielle. Because of the happiness she remembers in the first five years of her life, Brielle clings to the idea of finding that happiness again. Her papa has taught her many things, but most of all, he taught her to believe in fairy tales.

Brielle's papa: Emmett
Killian: His mother is the one who taught him to think with his heart--to show kindness, mercy, grace, and love. His father is the one who urged him on, making him work harder to become better so one day he could understand his full potential.

8. What was their biggest fight with their parental figure(s)?
Brielle: She can't recall any fights with her mother, but she fought against her papa abandoning her on the farm.

Killian: He fights with his mother only over his relationship with his father. She urges him to listen to his father, perhaps mend the rift between them. But Killian only shrugs off her advice. He fights with his father constantly, but his biggest fight comes through his more rebellious actions, which warp his reputation. His father thinks Killian should conduct himself like a future king, but Killian doesn't want to be king.

Brielle's mother
9. Tracing back the family tree, what nationalities are in their ancestry?
--The story isn't technically set in our world, but I'm going to use the modern nationalities to help describe the characters family backgrounds--

Brielle: Her mother is Asian (specifically Japanese) but her blood is so-called tainted according to the Crimson Kingdom's race rules in that her mother isn't wholly Asian. There's some Western in her. Her papa is Caucasian, specifically from the western side of Europe.


Killian: His mother's family, through which the royal bloodline flows, is of European descendant. His father's family is close to Latino descendant.

10. What’s their favorite memory with their parental figure(s)?
Brielle: She remembers making flower crowns with her mother while her mother sang beautiful songs. Her favorite memory with her papa is when he first showed her the meteor shower and told her about the dragons' souls yearning to fly again.

Killian: He remembers visiting a farm every summer with his mother and siblings. They'd climb trees, pick peaches, and enjoy the summer sun. He remembers when his father would comfort him after a nightmare. These moments his father taught him he did not have to be afraid of monsters because he held the power within himself to tame the monsters.

Killian's mother
Those are all the questions. These questions were enjoyable to answer and they gave me more inspiration for the story. I know more about my characters, and now you do too! I'd love to read about your characters, so let me know if you've linked up in the comments below. You can find the questions and link-up here.


Thanks for reading. If you want to know more, feel free to ask in the comments below.
-Jaime