Saturday, April 29, 2017

Plot Bunny Farm: The Writer's Tag

Hello all,

I found this great quote by John Steinbeck that I'm sure that every writer can relate to:

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."

Ain't that the truth...there are some days I wonder if I'm operating a plot bunny farm around here.....

Anyway...I have taken up The Florid Sword's call to do The Writer's Tag. Check out her post here!

(ahem....HERE.) 



1. What genres, styles and topics do you write about? 

Well, I'm only a beginning writer, so I've been experimenting a lot. My favorite genres to write in are historical fiction/romance, fantasy, and contemporary.

I write in a really episodic style. My muse works in a strange way, I think in vivid but separate scenes, complete with  sights, sounds and emotions. A lot of these scenes will have the same characters but completely random events and places. A lot of the time, I don't even know how they ended up being there, which results in some really creative plotting. As a professor once told me, the seams in my stories are very visible. Which is why I tend to stick to short stories because I can control that a little better.

My favorite POV to write in is third person omnipotent, but I've been trying third person limited too. I tend to write in a long, flowy, descriptive way that's really reminiscent of past writers. I also write in a heavily metaphoric way. Literally everything has a significance in my writing. Why I couldn't tell you. It just NEEDS TO.

Topics? I guess that means main themes?
Well, I've been experimenting with song retellings, quests, utopian world building, the many societal contexts of being feminine, and emotional maturity lately. 😎


2. For how long have you been writing? 

First work of fiction was created in late elementary school/early middle school, but it never really materialized into intelligible stories until late middle/high school (early teens).

I started officially writing as a hobby in my junior year of high school and have continued on and off since then. I've been blogging since mid November, but only started publicly revealing my stories since February with the creation of the Rebellious Muse.

If you would like to learn more, I have an entire post devoted to my backstory on how I got into writing.  

3. Why do you write? 

What began as child's play has now blossomed into an obsession for me. I have this driving passion to create worlds and characters, which I'm sure has been put there on purpose. I never planned on making money off of my stories. To be honest, until a couple of months ago, I never planned on sharing my stories at all....except with a very select group of friends (4 to be exact). The creations from my muse were really private for the longest time, not even my family knew that I wrote. But once I made the plunge into the blogging world, my muse cried out to be let out of the cave that I was keeping it in.

Writing has always been a passion, and it is now a full-time hobby. It's what I do when I'm totally relaxed.

And besides....somebody's gotta do something with all these blasted plot bunnies running loose in here.

4. When is the best time to write? 

I tend to write best at night or when it's raining outside. Sunlight really distracts me because it beckons me outside.

I'm not a night owl though. I used to be a very early riser until these last two years of college when I started writing more essays and picking up my fiction writing again. I've had to set a limit to shut it off at midnight so I can get a decent night's sleep.

I also have to have the energy. I discovered last summer that when I worked a full-time internship, I was often too tired to do much else after work, even if my muse did want to write.

So, a concise answer would be "When I'm awake at night."

5. What are the parts of writing do you love? What parts do you hate? 

I love initially creating the story from the plot bunny. Making that first outline is always fun. Making the characters is also really fun, but can be a challenge sometimes. And I love researching all the crazy details (even if they  keep me from actually writing the blooming story).

I hate editing. Every time I edit, I find another blasted PLOT HOLE. I swear, you'd think these plot bunnies would be a little neater around here.....

6. How do you overcome writers block? 

Music really, really helps. As a matter of fact, a lot of my plot bunnies come from listening to music. My short story The Snow Dancer of Iclyn was actually based off an instrumental song, and I have a list of composers and music artists on the sidebar of this blog that help me a lot.

Pintrest has also been a terrific resource. Whether I need just an image or a baby name, I go to my handy dandy Pintrest account. I seriously have a whole bunch of boards devoted to writing right now and have many more secret ones for images for story writing.

TV sometimes helps, but only as a starting point for my imagination (playing with characters, making up scenes, etc.)

7. Are you working on something at the moment?

This tag :)

No, seriously, I do have a couple of WIPs.

1. Shattered Chandelier. A Phantom of the Opera fanfiction that plays with role reversal and behind-the-scenes drama. Looking at being short-story length.
2. Laboure, Ancora Spei. As part of a school project, I have to create my version of a utopia. Its starting to blossom into a full novel idea. I've written some excerpts and got a plot going, we'll see how this goes....
3. Rose of Culmore. The song re-telling that I have been teasing about for the past couple weeks now. (Gosh...now you know the title! I REALLY got to get cracking on this story!)

I also have a couple of old WIPs that I'm still adding to:
1. A fantasy novel centered around a female warrior (Caoimhe)
2. A historical fiction novel centered around a female pirate.
3. A contemporary/Christian novel - needs a rewrite though....

8. What are your writing goals this year?

Considering I had no goals to start out with this year, I'm surprised that I can answer this question.

1. Participate in July Camp NaNo! I missed April's because of wrapping up college and I really really really wanted to participate. So, I'm going for the July one.
2. Finish "Shattered Chandelier"...and "Rose of Culmore".
3. Start reviewing publishing options....not sure if I'll get around to this one yet.
4. Be able to blog more often. I love blogging and school is keeping me from doing so.


I'll tag Lilah at Musical Writings and Mary Kate at Sarcastic Scribblings and anyone that has not been tagged yet :P

Scribblingly yours,

Catherine

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Top 10 Things That Make Me Banish a Book




Hello all,

I'm getting very close on commissioning a group of elite scientists to start looking for a cure for....

MOTIVATION DEFICIENCY

Terrible disease, I tell you.

Crippling, even.

Particularly when you have only 3 major projects left to do....in the space of about two weeks.

Oh....and set apart time for work, eating, sleeping. Not to mention preparing for finals....don't get me started there.

Add into that a very rebellious, very cantankerous muse, who is begging me to write....and when I give it attention, it has the audacity to switch gears.

"Oh...I wanted to write that retelling, didn't I? WELL I LIED. I wanna do....a tag. NO! Scratch that, a BLOG LINKUP!!! Like Mary Kate's linkup!!!"

I hereby apologize for my horrid muse's behavior. I'll humor it for now (because I know that I'll put it through A Deep Cavern of Misery later....*evil smirk*).

So...here we go! Another Top Ten Tuesday blog linkup! I really like this one, cause I'm really picky about my books. Like really picky. If you would like to join the blog link-up, please follow the link beneath the picture below. 



http://www.brokeandbookish.com/2017/04/top-ten-things-that-will-make-us_25.html

So...what makes me skip multiple chapters?

1. Sexual Impurity/Smut

I CAN'T STAND SMUT. Adultery, sodomy, and graphic sexual activity are also major turnoffs.

So much so that I will scour reviews to make sure that none of that stuff is in there.

I can't deal with sex in a book. I can't deal with people making out in a book. Physical stuff better stay behind closed doors, in veiled and sacred language, or not go farther than a kiss. It just makes me sick. I have a very vivid imagination, and I can usually guess what happens from the littlest hint.

I'm even uncomfortable reading about divorced-people and single parents romances, simply because of the traditional Catholic Church's teaching on divorce.

Besides, I don't need to be thinking about that kind of stuff!!!! I'm trying to keep myself pure before the Lord God, which is difficult enough as it is right now. I don't need it in the books I read either.

So...unless acts of impurity are condemned in the work, any instance/event that violates the 6th and 9th commandments automatically boots the work off my reading list.

2. Pagan witchcraft/Necromancy

I don't mind the occasional elemental powers, but spells and superstitions don't turn me on. I actually refuse to watch Dr. Strange and read Harry Potter because of that reason.

One that I recently banished was Miranda by Grace Livingston Hill. I liked her other two Marcia Schuyler books and I was excited to see this one come up on Librivox. But I couldn't take the couple chapters with the hypnotist. After those chapters, the rest of the book went downhill from there and I couldn't finish it. Definitely not one of GLH's best works.

3. Graphic violence and death. 

Like I said, I have a very vivid imagination. Seeing blood makes my stomach tighten and I can't stand to see dead bodies either. Like at all. Just no.

4. A historically inaccurate book

Thank heavens I haven't run into a lot of those yet, but as a budding public historian, I can't stand to see something not fit the historical facts. As a matter of fact, I believe that works of fiction can really help in teaching history, if they are done right. I really value writers that take the time to research the time period and fit their story accordingly, down to the language and customs. I can't stand it when they put a 21st century plot or character into Victorian costume. It doesn't work.

5. Evil has no consequences/The Idea behind the story

Yes. I am a very deep reader.

I haven't run into many of these either, but I can't stand to see evil win. It's not how that works. Books teach, even fiction. You'd be totally surprised what fiction books have been the basis for (starting revolutions, legal debates, etc.). What ideas is the writer promoting through their work? What subliminal messages are present?

6. Dystopia

As a melancholic choleric/phlegmatic mixture, stability is very important to me. Murderous totalitarianism, and exploitation of women and children don't sit well with me at all. Actually, a disorganized chaos of a society is enough for me to reject it, lets be honest.

7. Stupid, shallow, and selfish characters

I'm sure that this is a universal thing, but the characters need to have a unique story of their own. Selfishness is one trait that I really can't stand in a character though. Even if the story is well written, I have abandoned books because the protagonist was really selfish and arrogant. I guess it's because I can't tolerate selfishness in real life.

8. Heavily cliched plot line

Like with the characters, each story needs to have its own twist to it. Otherwise, its almost like plagiarizing an essay. It's not worth the paper it's written on.

9. Illogical plot line

Sorry guys, the story has to be believable. Sure, outrageous things can happen, and sometimes happen in a sequence, but it's the exception not the rule. Confused readers are never a good thing.

I've been guilty of having illogical plot lines in my stories and have been (justly) heavily criticized for them. So, I'll share the love. 💖

10. The price of the work

I know. This is really petty.

But I'm a broke college student. I can't afford to spend $20-30 for a book.

Kindle Bookstore is my best friend right now. Because authors will put out works for free for a limited period of time. So I can get a $16 book for free if I catch it at the right time. Sweet!!!

That's it!

As a reward...here's a hint for my re-telling: My story is based off of a traditional Irish folk song.

Scribblingly yours,

Catherine



Friday, April 21, 2017

Catherine's Craziness: Update on the Muse

Hello all,

Wow. I haven't been on here in a while. Almost 3 weeks as a matter of fact.

I wish my real life would take a vacation. For a month. Seriously, I come back from a restful Easter vacation to find out that my workload literally doubled overnight.


via GIPHY


Well, I've decided to break that. Besides introducing a GIF for the first time, I decided to change my blogs look again to something a little softer than that loud sunset I had up before.

I did a complete redo (text, colors, etc) and I've added a couple of new gadgets - Successful Rebellions (otherwise known as my popular posts. I'm weird that way) and a labels gadget at the bottom. I also updated an old post (by update, I mean I changed the title and added a picture).

I'm working on getting some inspirational quote art up here too, but that may take a while.

Rest assured that my rebellious muse is still at work. As of right now, I'm working on another short story which I hope to publish in the next week or so.

Hint: Its a retelling of a story that has not been told.

Scribblingly yours,

Catherine

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Top Ten Fandom Linkup!



Hello all,

Ever feel like everything is dragging on with nothing really changing?

It's been that way in my corner of the world.

Literally almost nothing has happened since my last post. Except that I've started Season 3 of When Calls the Heart. Everything else feels like it's on standstill. Except my muse. Which is being forced to cool it's heels as I try to crank out another week's worth of short analytical essays.

So...I've been bored out of my mind.

Until I did my daily check of my reading list and found Mary Kate's TTT post (link here).

To join the link up, follow this link: http://www.brokeandbookish.com/2017/04/top-ten-fandoms-were-part-of.html
This one looked like a lot of fun, and I believe that you can learn a lot about a person from the fandoms that they occupy. So here goes!

Honorable mentions: Lord of the Rings, Gallagher Girls, Disney Princesses. Couldn't fit them in as nicely as the others.

10. Phantom of the Opera.


This was one of my first "obsessions" that got the fandom label for me. I got "reluctantly" dragged into this fandom by my best friend when she made me watch the 2004 movie with Gerard Butler (still my favorite Phantom by the way). I found out the reason why the next day when her family gifted me the movie soundtrack :).
Honestly, the story isn't what does it for me. I actually don't really like the story to be honest with you. It was the cautionary tale lessons that I got out of it that have made me stick with it. In case you are wondering, I'm #TeamRaoul all the way.

9. Marvel


Another fandom she dragged me into.....
It all started with Captain America 1. Since then I've seen all the Captain America movies, both Avengers movies, and Ant-Man. And Agent Carter. She keeps threatening to have me watch the Thor movies as well as a few other ones.
But hey, what are best friends for? At least I'm not lost when we are fangirling...I mean discussing the movies.

8. Eragon


The first book of the Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini, which has also been made into a movie. I actually watched the movie before I read the book (I know, such a sin; but it was before I found out about the book series). That being said, contrary to a lot of book-lovers sentiment, the movie actually did a good job of adapting the book. I found that when I read it that the author dragged out some scenes unnecessarily. This one is not that big of a fandom, but I included it since I like the book and the movie.

7. Little House on the Prairie


I grew up with the books and when I was a teenager, I discovered the TV series. I loved the Ingalls family cast as well as the Olesons (Mrs. Oleson is still one of my favorites). The only thing that I didn't like about the TV show was how badly they messed up Almanzo and his relationship with Laura. I didn't particularly care for the actor either, for looks or for character. Trust me, go look at a photo of the real Almanzo Wilder, and you'll see why.

6. North and South


Another one in which I usurped the film before the book. (I plead innocent again...I was looking for a good period drama film and I stumbled across this mini-series.). While there are some major characterization flaws in the film that weren't in the book, I love both the book and the mini-series to pieces. The romance plot line between these two was featured as #3 in my Favorite Film Ships post (link here).

5. Star Wars


I'm enough of a fangirl of Star Wars to be super excited to actually see Rogue One with my brother over Christmas Break. I started with the first three (which my parents had on VHS) and actually surprising myself that I actually liked it (This was before I saw any Marvel, so I had no idea that I had a secret niche for some sci-fi). I haven't seen the prequels yet, but I have seen Episode VII (not sure if I regret that or not).

4. Chronicles of Narnia


Like LHOTP, I read these books as a kid, and then found the movies a lot later. I love that they are fairly close the books, and I love the cast like the dickens. I think my favorite is Caspian, though Peter is pretty close. I was really saddened when they stopped after the third movie, but I understand that Silver Chair is in the works....

3. Anne of Green Gables 


I read the first book for school, and read the rest of the books later. Since then, I've listened to audiobook versions, and have seen the all the Sullivan Entertainment movies (yes, including the crappy third one.) I love Meghan and Jonathan's characterizations of Anne and Gilbert so much. I tried to watch the PBS version, but couldn't get past the first few minutes because they messed up Matthew's temperament. My favorite book is Rilla of Ingleside, and I wish they had made a film version of it (despite the heart-stomping feels that are in it).

2. When Calls the Heart


This is ANOTHER one my best friend dragged me into, but this one is definitely the best one that she's dragged me into yet. I've been struggling to keep myself from searching memes and images from this show because I'm dreadfully afraid of spoilers. I don't think there is a couple that I ship harder than Jack and Elizabeth with Lee and Rosemary being a close second. Gosh...there are so many romantic plotlines and ships in that show, it's not even funny. Historic romance lover's paradise!

1. Jane Austen 


Let's face it. I own three Austen-inspired films (and looking for more), have seen most of the film adaptations, have seen a couple of mini-series, have seen a couple of spin-offs (Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved), have all of her books, have listened to audiobook versions of her books, and will not hesitate to save any meme from any version of Pride and Prejudice (though I'm drawing the line at the Zombies one). Short of owning a wardrobe of Regency dresses and going to Jane Austen events, I'm not sure how much further into this fandom I can get into.

That's it!

What are some of your fandoms?

Scribblingly yours,
Catherine