Camp NaNoWriMo

Hey guys! I just wanted to make a quick post about Camp NaNoWriMo. It starts tomorrow, April 1st and I will be participating with a goal of 30,000 words. I will try to provide daily updates if I can, but weekly ones may be more realistic. Please let me know if you are participating.

Until then, kill your darlings, slay your dragons and keep writing!

Writing Blog #5 Save the Cat- The Debate

Happy Sunday everyone!

Welcome to Part 5 of the 15 part writing series based on Blake Synder’s Save the Cat! In this post, I am the fourth beat known as the debate. This beat directly relates to the previous one, the Catalyst, which is essentially the protagonists’ Call to Adventure. The Debate is when the character refuses the call or questions their ability to embrace the destiny before them.

Many popular movies and novels feature this beat. For example, in The Hunger Games, the Debate is when Katniss, after having volunteered as tribute in place of her sister Prim, is on the train to the Capitol, wondering how she is every going to win against the twenty three other competitors. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s when Rey decides not to sell BB8 and instead help Finn bring him to the Resistance. Throughout the film, she is consistently debating whether or not she should fully answer the Call to Adventure. This changes when Rey meets Kylo Ren and discovers that she has an incredible power.

Another famous example of the Debate section is when Harry Potter, after finding out he is a wizard, accompanies Hagrid to Diagon Alley and discovers just how out of place he is in the Wizarding World–and how that makes him a target.

The Debate beat may seem superfluous, but characters need to have that doubt, to question things, before crossing into their new world.

Next week, check back for beat number six, Break Into Two.

Until next time, kill your darlings, slay your dragons and keep writing!

Part 1- Opening Scene

Part 2- Theme-Stated

Part 3- Set-Up

Part 4- Catalyst

 

 

Tunes Tuesday- “I Do Not Hook Up” by Kelly Clarkson

 

Music is one of the most important aspects of my entire writing process. That is why I wanted to create a weekly series that will spotlight a song from my current writing playlist.

This week’s song is “I Do Not Hook Up” by Kelly Clarkson.

“I Do Not Hook Up” is the most upbeat song I’ve posted thus far in this series. I see it almost as a complement to “Hungry Heart” by Bruce Springsteen. My protagonist is a strong character who has goals that do not include romance. So when she encounters the character who will be her love interest, she is initially resistant. I could not think of a better singer to mine a song from then Kelly Clarkson. Queen of Female Empowerment, Kelly Clarkson’s songs usually promote strong women. My protagonist has been through a hell of a lot and is not ready to jump into a relationship, especially with this man she views as arrogant and self-serving. This song inspires me during their first encounter. There were plenty of other Clarkson songs I could have picked, but this one was so blatantly simple and direct in its message that I had to add it to my playlist. Also, it’s a welcome reprieve from some of the heavier tracks and themes that dominate both my playlist and my novel.

Have you ever heard this song? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment in the post below.

Until next time, kill your darlings, slay your dragons and keep writing.

 

Tunes Tuesday- “Hungry Heart” by Bruce Springsteen

Music is one of the most important aspects of my entire writing process. That is why I wanted to create a weekly series that will spotlight a song from my current writing playlist.

This week’s song is “Hungry Heart” by Bruce Springsteen.

Born and raised in Jersey, the music of Bruce Springsteen has been an integral part of my life. His lyrics embody the struggle, hopes, dreams, sorrow and thoughts of the average working class. Though Bruce Springsteen is far from being a working class hero, his music still resonates.

When it came time to choose a theme song for my Jersey-born protagonist, I knew that I couldn’t choose anyone other than Springsteen. “Hungry Heart” is a track from 1980’s The River, which I believe is Springsteen’s best album. In fact, The River plays an integral role in the film, acting as my protagonist’s link to the past.

This song is just pure fun and has a great beat. I mostly listen to it when I am writing happier scenes.

Until next time, kill your darlings, slay your dragons and keep writing!

 

 

Writing Blog #4 Save the Cat- Catalyst

Happy Sunday everyone!

Welcome to Part 4 of the 15 part writing series based on Blake Synder’s Save the Cat! In this post, I am going to talk about the fourth beat known as the catalyst. This is the beat where the story truly begins. Prior to this, we had our opening scene, which establishes our setting and characters, our theme-stated and our set-up, which provides the reader with more background information. The catalyst is probably the most easily recognizable beat in any story structure. It’s also known as the Call to Adventure or the Inciting Incident. Our hero, whom we’ve gotten to know in our set-up is now face with a challenge, a chance, an opportunity to better themselves and to better the world in which they live. It’s a moment of change and no matter what kind of story you have, the catalyst must always be present.

One of the most notable Catalysts is in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J.K. Rowling masterfully builds the plain Muggle world in which Harry lives while simultaneously hinting at something greater. When Harry receives his first letter from Hogwarts however, that when the story truly begins.

Another notable Catalyst moment is in Star Wars when Luke stumbles across a hologram message of Princess Leia while cleaning R2D2. He watches in awe as the beautiful princess repeats “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” Suddenly, Luke is no longer worried about staying on the farm forever. He has a mission, a purpose. He needs to find Obi-Wan. His life has changed forever.

The catalyst however, does not always need to be a positive moment. Think about the Batman movies. The inciting incident, or the moment of change for Bruce Wayne is when he witnesses his parents murder. This moment changes him and sets him on the path to becoming Batman. In my novel, the catalyst is definitely a down moment for my protagonist, but it strengthens her resolve and challenges her to achieve her goal.

So whatever you do, do not forget your catalyst. You need to figure out how to get the ball rolling, how to move your characters from one point in their life to another. The catalyst helps with that.

Check back next for Part 5 of the series “The Debate.” Until then, kill your darling, slay your dragons and keep writing!

Read Part 1 “Opening Scene

Read Part 2 “Theme Stated

Read Part 3 “Set-Up

Top Five Wednesday- Books to Get You out of a Reading Slump

We’ve all been there. You want to read. You really do, but there is something that’s stopping you. It could be many things: binge watching Stranger Things on Netflix, scrolling through your friends’ Facebook…it could even be because you own so many books that you do not know where to start. Well fear not! This week, for Top Five Wednesday, I have five surefire books that will get you out of your reading slump and put you on the path to surpassing your Goodreads Reading Challenge.

5. Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

anna-lola-isla

Sometimes, you just need a light contemporary novel and no one does feel-good fiction better than Stephanie Perkins. Her trilogy of companion novels are guaranteed to lift one’s spirits. Following three different protagonists who exist in the same world, the trilogy is full of fluff, inspiration and just pure joy. It is nearly impossible to not breeze through these books. Once you finish the third book, consider your reading slump a thing of the past.

4. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9

I am slowly working my way through Colleen Hoover’s bibliography, but thus far, the book of hers that I enjoyed the most was November 9. Granted, it gave my anxiety, tested my patience and made my heart swoon at the same time. That, to me, is the sign of an engaging book. Sure, some of Hoover’s premises are a little far-fetched and the dynamic of the relationships leave something to be desired, but even I cannot deny the sheer readability of her books.

3. Anything by Rainbow Rowell

rainbow-rowell

What can I say? Rainbow Rowell is easily one of my favorite authors. Though I wasn’t crazy by her latest–Carry On–I am absolutely in love with her contemporary novels, especially Eleanor & Park and Fangirl. A little more mature than Stephanie Perkins’ novels, the stories of Rainbow Rowell are so heartfelt and gut wrenching that it’s hard not to return again and again. Her novels stick with you and her endings…well, you wish they would never end. Rainbow Rowell is literature’s John Hughes. And that should be a good enough reason to pick up her books.

2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus, Magnus Chase and Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

percy jackson series

The “Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series.” Image Source: Bartlesville Public Library

Percy. Jason. Nico. Leo. Annabeth. Grover. The list goes on. Rick Riordan knows how to craft funny and engaging stories. With the exception of Blood of Olympus, I have never been disappointed by one of Riordan’s novels. He manages to make a world that is over a decade old fresh and new with every novel. I enjoy each new installment in this interconnected universe and I cannot wait to see what Rick puts out next.

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

HP books

Harry Potter books

Was this really a surprise to anyone? The Harry Potter Series are my go to reading slump books. Cracking the spine on Sorcerer’s Stone opens a floodgate of memories and as I read about Harry discovering his destiny as a wizard, I relive the years I spent pouring over each and every word as though I had written them myself. I’ll never get tired of reading this series. Never. Sometimes, I find myself flipping through the books, yearning to go on that adventure again. Of course, it’s always difficult to find time, but this summer, I plan on going back to Hogwarts. I still travel back often in my mind and in my heart. If there has ever been a definitive reading slump series, it’s Harry Potter. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series is great too if you are looking for more mature content.

So what did you think of my choices for reading slump books? Do you agree with my selections or are there other books I forgot? Leave a comment below.

Tunes Tuesday-“All Too Well” by Taylor Swift

Music is one of the most important aspects of my entire writing process. That is why I wanted to create a weekly series that will spotlight a song from my current writing playlist.

This week’s song is “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift.

You can hardly go five minutes without hearing a Taylor Swift song on the radio. Ever since she made her debut in 2006, Taylor Swift has been a staple of the Top 40 radio stations. Just last year, she won her second Album of the Year award for 1989, and while it was her most successful album, it wasn’t her best. I still find her fourth album, Red, to be Taylor’s best work. The songs were the most sincere that Swift’s catalog, and nowhere on the record is the emotion more raw than on “All Too Well.”

Five and a half minutes long, “All Too Well,” takes the listener through several stages of a relationship: the hopeful, happy beginning, the rough and trying middle and the inevitable messy end. Taylor Swift is known for her break anthems, but “All Too Well” stands apart. There is no killer hook, no catchy chorus, just pure emotion. This is the Taylor I miss and the Taylor I turn to when I’m writing.

“All Too Well” reflects my protagonist’s feeling about an ex-boyfriend she runs into early on in the story. She has some fond memories about it, but she also has deep scars that have yet to fully hear. She remembers every moment of the relationship and carries it with her wherever she goes. It has shaped her into the person she is at the beginning of the novel.

Say what you will about Taylor Swift, but the woman knows how to write a song and she has never been better than Red. I hope her sixth album can match the sheer power and emotion of her fourth LP.

Leave a comment below and until next time, kill your darlings, slay your dragons and keep writing!