You Are the Protagonist

“Every lie is built upon a kernel of truth.” –Henry Spencer, Psych

Fiction is a lie. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no Hogwarts, no Narnia, and no Shire. We all wish they exist (especially the men), but alas they don’t. We’re stuck on Earth with seven billion other people–95% of those other people don’t even know you exist.

Without these fictional places and characters, life would be pretty boring. There would be no imagination, no creativity, and no pretending. Such a sad life.

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

However, if fiction doesn’t exist… where does it come from?

Surely J.K. Rowling didn’t actually attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a past life and of course C.S. Lewis didn’t discover a new world in his wardrobe when he was a child.

They created and imagined it. So, where does that creation come from? I’m going to point you back to the top of this post and look at a quote from my TV Dad, Henry Spencer (from Psych) who once said, “Every lie is built upon a kernel of truth.”

Fiction is the same way–authors put a little of themselves into their writing. It is from there that inspiration sparks an idea. An idea becomes a novel.

I’m sure if you knew your favorite author personally, you would be able to pick up small truths here and there in their fiction. For example, YA author Sarah Dessen is coming out with a new book this May. As her husband read the novel, she tweeted:

Writers have a way of taking reality and playing around with it until it’s something no one has ever imagined. However, they’re still sane enough to throw in a few bits of real life.

To me, that shows readers what the authors are into; things they like, things they don’t like. Often, when writers add themselves into a story, they get added in as a character. For me, I’m usually the protagonist. My protagonists tend to either have a similar personality, looks, age, or sometimes a mixture.

It doesn’t have to be a character, though. It can be anything like an object, a setting, a plot, or even an occupation. I tend to have a character who writes or teaches for a living because those are two of my passions.

I think that makes writing all the more fun and reading all the more like a puzzle. The questions will never be answered unless you talk to the author personally, but I’m sure there are some novels out there that would be easy to try to guess. Some truths are easier than others.

Further Reading:

7 Authors Who Wrote Themselves into Their Work
What’s Your Opinion?
Six Real Life Authors Who Made Themselves Into Fictional Characters

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Homework Complete

Aside from editing my story draft for my Fiction class and editing my Harry Potter essay for my Rowling & Tolkien class (both due in two weeks, so… whatever), I have completed my homework for the week!

One week’s worth of homework for four classes done in two days. I would like to complain and say it was a struggle, but it actually wasn’t. For some reason, I just didn’t get a lot of homework this week. Maybe it’s because next week we have off due to Thanksgiving? Whatever the reason, I’ll be sure to say I’m thankful for the lack of homework this week at the dinner table next week.

I’m busy after work for the rest of this week, but I’ll be sure to write every morning before work. I get up super early so I have an hour and a half/two hours before work. I’m behind on my word count, but if I can stay focused for those few hours for the next three mornings I’ll catch up no problem.

Saturday will be another Barnes & Noble writing date with my sister. I’m sure I’ll get a lot done then, too. Maybe I can even hit 50k by Sunday. Can I write 22k in five days?

If it happens, it happens. I’m not going to make it a goal. As much as I love writing, I want to take advantage of the lack of homework–it’s almost like getting two weeks off from school.

I have video games to play, people!

My priorities are clearly right where they should be…

In all seriousness though, I plan on hitting 50k by Thanksgiving. That gives me eight days to write 22k. It will be nice if I can do it in five, but eight days is my current goal.

Hopefully not everyone else is behind like me!

Homework Is My Life

Homework has always been a priority over writing. I wish it wasn’t, but you know… deadlines. I have a week to do my assignments and I don’t have any deadlines for my writing. Except for NaNo months, but… 30 days is more than seven days. So, again, homework wins.

BUT…

I did really well this morning! I woke up and got an hour and a half in of homework before I went to work. Then I came home from work, did a little more homework for about two hours and viola!

I completed all my assignments for two out of my four classes for this week. For my psych class I have to work on my project (which won’t take long at all) and take a quiz (which takes 15 minutes, but he doesn’t open the quizzes until Thursday so I can’t do it yet). For my Rowling & Tolkien class I need to critique two essays for the two classmates in my group. Again, that shouldn’t take long. I can finish all that (except the quiz) tomorrow morning and after work.

I also have to do the final draft of my Harry Potter essay and do the final draft of the first chapter of Detective Florence (which I sent in for my project in my Fiction class for feedback). Those aren’t due for another two weeks, though. I plan on slowly working on them this week to get them out of the way, but once the homework that’s due this Sunday is completed I am going to take the time to write! Writing will take priority over homework for that time being.

I didn’t write today and probably won’t get a chance tomorrow, but I can write from Wednesday all the way through next week. Next week I don’t have school and only have two and a half days of work because of Thanksgiving.

It’s like a NaNo jackpot!

New Idea

By the title of this post alone you’re probably groaning saying, “she changed her mind again…?” Yes, I did change my mind again!

Kris and I were discussing writing last night as she filled up a notebook and I… haven’t written anything in a while. So, we were discussing the upcoming NaNo session, writing in general, publishing, etc. This is what I explained to Kris:

I decided to write a novel that was a brand new idea about two college students and writing. I’ve realized whenever I get stuck on my writing I end up writing about writing. Yet if it beats the writer’s block, then why not? The thing is, I’m not really all that into the idea anymore. I still like the idea and will keep it in mind in case I ever want to try it again.

However, I had to read the first half of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien for school this week. I read it in two days and now I’m back on a fantasy high. So I thought of writing Saving Time. There are two things wrong with that. One, it’s the kind of story that needs to be outlined. I have many ideas for it and there are a lot of characters and places in the story. It’s not something I can free write or else editing will be a pain and I’ll most likely lose the main idea. Two, I started it in a notebook and I would like to finish it in my notebook. If for whatever reason I can’t get to a computer, I can still work on a novel. I know some people hand write for NaNo and I love that; kudos to all of you, but I don’t have the time to hand write 50,000 words and then type those 50,000 words to validate it. I might as well sit at my computer and bang out 100,000 words if I can. So, Saving Time is out.

The first draft of my story chapter is due next week for my Fiction class. I’m going to submit the first chapter of Detective Florence. Of course, we all know I decided to take a break from that series and now that I have to focus on the one chapter I’m beginning to realize that I miss writing that series. I still have the third novel to write, but like Saving Time, it needs to be outlined. If I don’t outline it, I’ll be stuck and the series will lose its main idea. So that’s out.

You guys are probably thinking that I’m coming up with too many excuses, but trust me; I’m not good at pantsing. I free write every once in a while, but I need that outline for the most part; especially since I recently discovered a great way to outline that works for me.

So, what am I going to write? Kris and I were discussing my Short Story Sunday and then…

Eureka

I realized what I should write for NaNo. I should write short stories. That way I can write about anything I want, any genre I want. Plus, I think the variety of stories will help me get over my writer’s block. I haven’t been able to write in so long that it’s gotten to the point that my brain isn’t used to it anymore and I’m indecisive about it all.

Plus, it will certainly be interesting to see how well I do within a certain amount of pages/words. We all know I tend to babble on, so if an idea sparks it just might end up turning into a novella… but I think it would be cool to have a collection of short stories at the end of the month. It’s something different. It’ll be a nice change of pace for myself.

I’m excited about it whereas I wasn’t too thrilled with my old idea. So I think I have a better chance at winning now that my enthusiasm has come back.

First Day Of School

Homework

I started school today. I have five classes. I have about a billion assignments to do already. But… can I really complain?

Yes and no.

I’ve been looking forward to all my classes. I’m taking Creative Writing: Fiction, Writing About Place, Selected Authors: J.K. Rowling & J.R.R. Tolkien, Learning & Behavior, and Spanish. English, psychology, and Spanish. We all know I love English and creative writing, I’ve always had an interest for psychology, and I enjoy learning Spanish (regardless of whether or not I’m good at it).

The teachers (as far as I can tell) are pretty good, as well. My Selected Authors professor is 100% a nerd, which is awesome. She’s been doing a lot of fan-girling for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. The professor for my Writing about Place class is nice as I’ve had her for another class. She knows her stuff. My professors for Fiction and my psych class seem to be good, as well. Spanish… I think she’s nice, but I can’t tell because everything is written is Spanish, so who knows?

All of my classes are online, so I don’t have to deal with people. That’s a plus. I’ve done the discussion boards for every class so far and my classmates seem interesting, engaged in the classes, and nice. I’m still happy I don’t have to see them in person, but if I did it wouldn’t be a bad thing. We all know how anti-social I am. I do much better over the Internet. I suppose that’s probably a bad thing, though.

Anyway, I’m listing all pros, aren’t I? Oops, I’m sorry. I forgot to mention all the homework.

To put it simply: I’m going to drown in homework this semester.

It’s a lot of reading and a lot of writing. Would you expect any less from an English degree? No, of course not. However, the weeks are always Monday-Sunday. We get our assignments on Monday, they’re due the following Sunday, and repeat for the next week. It’s Wednesday which means we have two less days. It’s always like that at the beginning of the semester, but my professors have always taken that into account. They always give us just a small icebreaker discussion board, give us a chance to get our textbooks or if we already have the book we can start reading to get ahead. They give us a quick assignment due by the end of the week, but also more assignments which are due to the following week. It’s almost as if we get two weeks for the first week… does that make sense?

Not these professors, though. They’re all treating it like a normal week saying, “Careful! We’re already two days behind, so make sure you get everything in on time.” Yeah, thanks…

My psych professor is a different story. He wants us to call this “Week 0.” He gave us a discussion board and called it a day. We’ll get into the real class starting on Monday. Needless to say, I got all my psych homework done for the week.

I only edited ten pages of Detective Florence today because of school. I hope to alternate between school and writing tomorrow and for the rest of the days to come. Do a bit of homework, edit… do a bit of homework, edit… so on and so forth.

Just wait for work to get added into the mix on Monday. That will be super fun!

Easter and Other Happenings

Hey everyone! I hope we all had a wonderful Easter yesterday. It was a good day and great weather, too! The Easter Bunny brought me an army of Ninja Turtle Beanie Balls which was awesome, a new SD card for my 3DS, and the Kalos Pokedex as well as the Kalos game guide for the X & Y Pokemon games. I also got bark for Raph so I can finally clean her tank. I’m sure she’ll be happy. In addition to that, Kris got the movie Frozen. Best Disney movie ever!

A lot has been going on. One of the preschool teachers has been out for three weeks straight (plus more) so I’ve been working a lot. I also have school…school has been interesting. I just signed up for classes for the Fall semester. I’m taking a class called Selected Authors…guess who the authors are! J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien. I get to read Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings for school. How awesome is that?! It’s pretty awesome, yes.

In addition to work and school, I’ve been busy planning my sister’s bridal shower, which is in August. Plus the bachelorette party, which is in September. Then we have the wedding in October. So that’s been holding my attention a lot. I’ve been babysitting a lot, as well. This week is April vacation so I get a break from work, right? No…stupid me agreed to babysit for four different families and before I realized what I had done, it was too late. I babysat for about four hours today, tomorrow through Friday I have another family for about five hours in the morning. Tuesday night I’m babysitting for a third family and Thursday night I’m babysitting for a fourth family. Wonderful stuff.

I’ve also been slowly trying to clean my bedroom. Kris and I don’t go in there much anymore unless we’re sleeping because now we have our office that used to be Lisa’s room. You guys should have seen all the dust and yuckies in the room. It was terrible. But we’re going to be painting and organizing it soon so it needs to be done. Of course, it should be done regardless, but…whatever. I bought the extended editions of the three Lord of the Rings movies so Kris and I have been pretty busy with those. We’ve been addicted to the series since I had to read The Hobbit for my Science Fiction & Fantasy class.

Well, that’s what’s been going on in my life. I’m sure you all noticed writing was not mentioned at all. Yeah, no. I’ve been failing at my writing recently. I can justify it because I have been really busy (except I guess watching three movies that total to over 12 hours probably doesn’t count as a good excuse), but it doesn’t look like I’ll be winning Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

I started off Camp strong and then I crashed and burned. In between homework and babysitting this week I’m going to really try to kick it into gear, but it’ll be difficult. I’m only at 16,000 or something like that. Kris and I are planning on going to Barnes & Noble on the 27th to write as much as we can though. So can we all keep our fingers crossed for both me and her? That would be much appreciated.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and are writing each and every day unlike me! 🙂

Two Squares

So I’m sure most of you remember the Reading Bingo I announced a little over a week ago. I discussed that even though I don’t read too much I feel very determined to do not one, but both bingo cards, which is 50 books. However, I will settle to complete only one card.

At the pace I’m going, I have to say that I am in pretty good shape. I’m starting with the purple bingo card (the orange one is geared toward more young adult novels whereas the purple is just general). It’s the beginning of February and I have already read two books for the bingo, which helps my GoodReads 2014 Reading Challenge because I am now four books ahead of schedule for that.

The Hobbit

The first square I filled out was “A book with non-human characters” in which I read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I had to read this book for my science fiction and fantasy class. It took us two weeks to read it; we had to read chapters one through seven the first week and the rest of the novel the second week (which happens to be this week). I ended up finishing the entire novel last week. I did this because I wanted to attempt to have less homework this week, so I thought I would read bits and pieces each day. I ended up reading the rest of the novel in one or two sittings. It was really good; I don’t read fantasy all that much mostly because I have a hard time understanding it (hence why I read mostly middle grade fiction), but it just happened to be one of those “can’t put down” books.

Coming Clean

Speaking of “can’t put down” books…the second square I filled out was “A book you heard about online” in which I read Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller. This book was self-published through Amazon back in July 2013. I heard of it through an article on Yahoo and thought to myself, “This sounds like an interesting book.” It’s a memoir about growing up with both of her parents being hoarders. As interesting as it sounded, I never really read memoirs or non-fiction books. I thought about reading it, but in the back of my mind I knew I most likely never would read it.

Well, since there are very few books I hear about online (well, I do, but I just don’t pay attention), I didn’t know what to read for that square. Then Coming Clean popped into my head, I downloaded it onto my Kindle, and guess what? I read it in three days. According to my Kindle, I read 20% the first time, got up to 48% the second time, then I spent about three hours this morning reading the rest of the book. If it wasn’t too late last night and I wasn’t so tired, I probably would have stayed up half the night to read it. I couldn’t put it down. It is certainly a book I would recommend to anyone, and I did: to my mom and both of my sisters.

So I have 23 more books to read for the purple bingo card. For seven of those squares I know which books I’m going to read. One of them I started reading, but I’m reading it with Kris (we alternating reading the chapters out loud to each other–we’re weird), so it’s going to take us a while to get through it.

If any of you out there is doing the reading bingo, I would love to know what you’re reading and how far you are. If you think this is something you might want to do, then click here: This is the original website of the bingo cards, even though I found them on Pinterest.

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo

Look what I found! I found this Reading Bingo chart on Pinterest. I am a Pinterest addict like most people and I found this a while ago, but completely forgot to post it on here. You “play” it just like regular Bingo. You get five in a row and then…well, nothing, actually. I guess you can go out and buy yourself something nice as a reward.

On GoodReads there is a Reading Challenge every year. For 2013 I set the bar for 20 books. I failed, but we all knew that because I don’t read too much. I try, but…whatever. So, for 2014 I set the bar for 20 again. Then I found this Reading Bingo thing and I decided that instead of  trying to hit five in a row, I plan on wiping the entire board clean. Yes, that’s 25 books. And yes, some people play Bingo that way–they try to fill up the entire board.

So, my goal on GoodReads is 20 books, but the Bingo goal is 25 books. If I read somewhere between 20-25 books, I will be happy. But…here’s the catch!

If you click on the “Reading Bingo” link back in the first paragraph of this post, it will lead to where the Bingo cards originated from. Notice there are two cards. One, the purple you see above, is a general one. The other one (on the website) is orange and is meant for young adult novels. Which one should I do?

Well, naturally I decided to do both. Can anyone tell me what 25 plus 25 equals? That’s right–50! (Good job, guys! Go eat a cookie!) So, I raised the bar from 20 to 25 to 50. Can I do it? Honestly, I think it would be nice to hit at least 20 and beat last years record (I think it was 16), but it would be even better to read those five extra books to hit 25. That’s why I’m only focusing on one Bingo card at a time. I’ll still try to do both, but I want to finish at least one full one by the end of 2014.

I printed out both cards, but I’m focusing on the purple one (the general one) right now. On the purple one I numbered the boxes and began to make a list of which books I’m going to read. For example:

A book by a female author: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The second book in a series: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
A book with a blue cover: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Okay, how many of you are freaking out right now? “She’s never read The Hunger Games before?!”

Let me say this: I read The Hunger Games when it first came out. I read it before it was cool, way before it became a movie (which I still haven’t seen…that you can freak out about). I read that book my sophomore year of high school during the MCAS testing. I remember because I rushed through the test so I could spend the majority of the four hours they gave us to take the test to read the book.

Now, like I just said, that was my sophomore year. That was about five-ish years ago. It’s been a while, so I decided to read it again; especially before I finally decide to watch the movie. That, and I want to refresh my memory so I can prepare myself for the second and third books.

Other than planning the books I’m going to read, I have only just started the actual reading part. School started last week and I am taking a science fiction & fantasy course. One of the books I have to read for that class is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m almost halfway through the book and I’m reading it for the box that says: “a book with non-human characters.”

I hope you all find this Reading Bingo interesting and maybe some of you will even be willing to do it as well. I think it will be a lot of fun and it will expand my literary horizons. It would be great to know that there are others out there doing this challenge, too.