Saturday, April 20, 2013

I Write, Therefore I Am (Definitely Procrastinating)

Before I begin the excellent writing on spring and witty jokes on writing that I promiseIpromiseIpromise there'll be here, I need to take a moment to say happy birthday to the person who is the embodiment of YWFTBA (You Won't Forget To Be Awesome)



So, anyway, as you can see here, I finally got Write This Book, which I am supermegaexcited about. I spent a lot of today (well, after I went to the book store and read half of Divergent. On that: it may just be my intrinsic hate of everyone fans like *cough, yes, I ship Everthorne. Because Gale* Four just annoys me. Sorry, Jenny.) in my backyard, taking pictures of the beautiful vibrant sunlight (that is much brighter than it is warm, believe me *brrrr*) and reading Write This Book. So when I got to the part with questions for you to answer to get to know your characters, I ran up stairs and got my handwritten list and my NaNoWriMo list (most helpful writing resource ever here). While you can't call me an experienced writer- I wrote one self-published book, and one I'm finishing up write now (and by that I mean I'm starting) - you can call me experienced with characters. When I was younger, I used to carry this notebook where I'd draw characters and get to know them completely for no reason at all- I didn't write stories, and I never wrote novels. I've had these questions for three years, and I've used them for my novella EL32's characters.

Here is the one catch- if your book is sci-fi, or fantasy, or in any other way set so these questions don't work, picture them placed in our world. These ten questions are good after you do basic questions from the NaNo workbooks or WTB, to get to know your characters better. Feel honored that I'm sharing these with you XD:

1. What phases did your character go through when he/she was younger?
2. What kind of music do your character's parents think he/she listens to? What does he/she actually listen to?
3. What does his/her room look like? What would a classmate who doesn't know this character TOO well guess his/her room looks like?

This is bolded, because this is one of the easiest questions to use to look at to determine how a character's personality is in juxtaposition to what people interpret as his/her personality. For example, you could have a character who people think's room looks like:

It was neat, as everything about (name) was. The turquoise comforter was neatly swept over the bed, and in turn covered with throw pillows. The walls were filled with art, sketched by her in various places, and photographs of her ventures through the farmland surrounding their city. A table in the corner showed a newly acquired passion for water colors, while also holding a few plastic cups that could only be for practicing the cups song, which (name) loved so much. Some autumnal leaves hung on twine like a canopy above the bed, give the room the overall feel of warmth and care.

while her room may actually look like....

One glance at the room, and I was down on the ground, scared of the aftershocks that would certainly be powerful after an earthquake of these proportions. That was how hideous it was. Th comforter lay forgotten on the floor, a dark camouflage of indecipherable color. Clothes were strewn around it, as were blankets and other bedding. On the bed, she lay asleep, looking decidedly out of place in her colorful designer-label clothing and perfectly executed makeup. Her hair hung in waves of blonde, contrasting with the bile green of the walls. The only other element breaking the darkness was the sunlight streaming in through a nearby open window, illuminating posters advertising for Green Day and The Rolling Stones.

I just made that up of the top of my head, but it's given you a pretty good idea of what she's like. She's neat and stylish and probably pretty, and everyone thinks her room is the same, but it's actually a war zone. People think she likes art, and quirky indie-rock music. She likes Green Day and The Rolling Stones. We can already see where the Margo Roth Speigleman-like confict may lie.

4. How do teachers perceive this character?
5. Favorite kind of candy?
6. What do they do after school? What would a classmate guess they do after school?
7. Does he/she like sprinkles? Rainbow or chocolate?
8. What does he/she do when he/she can't sleep? What would teachers think he/she'd do? Parents? Friends? Random classmates?
9. Favorite type of donuts?
10. What is his/her handwriting like?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why Are Stories Important? (Nina Rants About Books, #1)

There always seems to be a direct correlation between how long you spend thinking about something and how long it takes to think of a beginning when you finally start writing it. I guess it just makes the subject that much more important in your mind, and that much more deserving of a good start. I've thought about this particular question a lot, and it's fascinating to me, I suppose, only because of my bookishness and nerdiness, and it's not even that big of a part in the general theory. Why are stories so important to us? Or, rather, what is important in a story? I first started thinking about this because of literature magazines. I like several, but my favorite above all is Cicada. I spend a lot of time reading it and therefore endure a lot of snarky comments from my parents on how this is "literature for generation Y." They think the stories are short for people with very limited attention spans, for people who can't read novels. Cicada greatly reminds me of John Green novels, in a way, I suppose, in which it has plots but the main purpose is not the plot but the metaphorical resonances of it. The stories often make me stop and think. But, what's more, the stories make me care about the characters. Five pages and these people can make me cry for a person who never existed, and person I knew for only five pages. I think these stories are short because the authors are becoming more and more masterful storytellers and requiring less and less space to make us feel their emotion. Overall, I think writing is actually progressing, not regressing (of course, I'm not saying this is the future of literature. Just. This isn't the end of it, either)

So, why is reading, in specific, important at all? A teacher will five you the vague, passive answer of, "reading is an important skill to have." Sure. That's knowing how to read. Why is using this skill and reading, say novels, important? Most people you ask will tell you that it "strengthens imagination." True. But you don't need to read to do that. My parents say that reading lets you live multiple lives. I used to think this was correct. But you can do that through, say, documentaries. Or travel. So, why, Nina, is reading important? Are you sitting? In a nice stable chair? Okay? Ready? It's.... not. WAIT, DON'T FAINT YET. I mean that it shouldn't be. What's important is the story. However, television and movies so far a) explain everything out to you and b) generally suck. Exceptions to a and b? Sherlock. And possibly Doctor Who. The task of looking at words on a page and seeing what they mean isn't all that necessary. What's great about a book though, is that it's your own. A book should, in general, be a sort of writing prompt type way to get you thinking. A book should, in essence, inspire you.

(skipping two long and unnecessary paragraphs on why Sherlock and Doctor Who, respectively, are good and resemble books. will post on request)

However, now that I'm out to get answers on what makes a story important, I'm not going to stop here. My next step is to see common themes in the three books that touched me most in my life. I chose The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns. (note from typing this up: I'd love to hear in the comments what the results of comparing your most influential books are)

So, going by general themes:

TMBS is about: inner conflict, loneliness, embodiment of abstract concepts in a person or thing (Relief, Betrayal, Lies and Companionship in The Whisperer), truth, self-discovery, trust, friendship, and just caring a whole llama of a lot about the characters.

TFiOS is about: loneliness, romance, friendship, the power of fiction, embodiment of abstract concepts in a person or thing (in this case, being understood, and not alone, because of Van Houten), self-discovery, death, and JUST OHMYGOD AUGUSTUS! (aka caring a whole llama of a lot about the characters)

Paper Towns is about:friendship, loneliness, mystery, self-discovery, poetry, philosophy, embodiment of abstract concepts in a person or thing (perfection in Margo), and just caring a whole llama of a lot about the characters.

Essentially, all of the books talk about loneliness, friendship, self-discovery, some sort of metaphor, and... most of all, all of the books make you care. I think that fiction is the ultimate definition of humanity. These are people that we KNOW do not exist as far as not being conscious (going by "I think therefore I am") but that we relate to so much, that we really start to care about. And sometimes, we can care for these illusions of people more than for real people, because we can see their thoughts and see that they are lonely too and that we are not alone at all. So do stories make you more human? I think so. At least, they show your humanness, and I think that overall, they make you a better person.

Chasing Golden Hour

my mad lasso skills. don't I remind you of kate from the mysterious benedict society? XD.
 Look what I have ^^.
One of the best things about Spring is that Golden Hour finally comes back. I'm not sure I can express how ecstatic I feel looking back at these pictures in words because

Words were too flimsy to describe that feeling.
 - quote What The Moon Saw.

I assure you that plenty of words are coming up in my first ever Thoughts on Books to be posted online (also will be posted on TS, Jenny)


p.s. people can be so brilliant. i just feel like people are so brilliant right now thanks to the (youtube!) comments on the last song from dr. horrible*, which consisted of actual intelligent comments that were grammatically correct discussing the metaphorical resonances of the movie.

 *won't post because SPOOOOIIIIILERS.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bright Lights, and Cityscapes

nina's sarcastic blogging tip #37850; when you can't think of a title, just use the name of an old sara bareilles song.


Monday, April 1, 2013


For the first time in my life today, I woke up and had one of those novel-type revelations. I realized that the chapter of my life that was Sunlit was over and-



I don't know. I feel like it's time for me to start over again, and for this to be my new blog. I don't know what's to come of this, and perhaps I'll be talking to deaf ears for a while, but...

Expect photography of the sort that I posted back on Sunlit, as well as publishing of more of my rants about books, and probably some nerding out over youtube and Doctor Who. We'll see.