“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison

Monday, June 30, 2014

Five Tips on How To Write a Great Character

As I come with more and more story ideas, I've started running into problems with my characters - a lot of them are a slight variation on each other. For example, I seem to have only two types of female characters - the quiet, nerdy type or the sarcastic, opinionated type. This is obviously a problem.

In my research, I've come up with a few good hints for writing good characters.


1. Give each character one of your own personality characteristics. But also give that character a characteristic that is completely opposite to your own personality.

2. No one's perfect, and no one's completely evil, either. Give your characters both virtues and flaws. And give them reasons why they're that way (see #3 below). Not everything comes from an unhappy childhood, Mr. Freud.

3. Motivation. What motivates your character? Did Bob kill his mother because he hated her or wanted to protect her? Did Fred steal the cookies because he was starving or just because he likes them?

4. Fears. Just like everyone has flaws, everyone's afraid of something. What is your character afraid of? Drowning? Sinning? Disappointing his parents?

5. Don't use stereotypes - use archetypes. I recently found a great book called 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. It is very helpful for creating an original character, and everything I said above is in this book...and more. And remember, flat characters are very boring - make your characters, multi-dimensional.


I hope these tips were helpful. And remember, I take requests for writing tips. :)

Cheers!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

UNVEILED: Innocent's Prologue

I have posted the prologue to my beloved WIP Innocent before...but not on this new blog. Therefore, I thought it would be high time to repost it, especially since if you want to get to know my work,  Innocent is the one thing you need to know. Enjoy -- and please let me know what you think. ;) Do you like it? Do you want to hear more?


-      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -



My name is Marianne Roberts. When I was five years old, my parents died in a plane accident. I was sent to live with my uncle George and my aunt Katrina. Uncle George was some sort of secret agent, so I didn’t see him much. Aunt Katrina was as nice as any aunt could be, but I preferred Uncle George. When I was little and he came home from missions, he would swing me up into his arms and toss me into the air as I giggled happily and cried, “Uncie Georgie! Uncie Georgie!” When I was older, we talked about our favourite subject – The Lord of the Rings.

Aunt Katrina was okay with the books and the movies, but didn’t especially like them, either. Not so with Uncle George and I – we loved them with a passion. Sometimes, when Uncle George came back from missions on a summer evening (he seemed to usually come home around midnight for some reason), he would wake me up and we’d spend the rest of the night watching The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King: laughing at Pippin and Merry’s pranks, watching in horrified silence at Sauron and orcs, crying when Sam held Frodo at Mount Doom.
                  
Auntie would complain when we slept during the day, exhausted from being up all night, but we knew she didn’t really mean it. She knew how much we loved The Lord of the Rings and how few moments we had together to spare time for it.
                  
Then, disaster struck when I was twenty-one. A letter came in the mail, telling Auntie and I that Uncle George was missing. Auntie had a heart attack when she heard the news. The next day, I was alone in my uncle’s house; the house now belonged to me.

                  
To cover up the aching sorrow in my heart, I dove more than ever into Tolkien’s classic story. And perhaps, I dove too deep.  



Liebster Tag



I was tagged by snatched this tag from Kiri Liz.

The Rules
- Thank and link back the person who nominated you.
- List 11 facts about yourself.
- Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
- Nominate 9 blogs who have fewer than 200 followers.
- Ask them 11 questions.
- Let them know about the nomination.


One down, six to go.

11 Facts About Me My Stories
1. I am the world's worst person at finishing projects. I love to start them, but I never finish. For example, I have never gotten even near at finishing the first draft of my story Innocent, but I have come up with plenty of new story ideas.

2. I started Innocent/FOTN when I was fourteen. The idea came from one of my obsessions at the time. It is my dearest WIP and it is the one thing that I am going to force myself to finish...one day.

3. This is actually my third try at a writing blog. So far, it is the most successful one.

4. Some of my story ideas not on this blog include a girl who finds herself taking part in the events of Macbeth and a girl who is transported to the end of the world during halftime in a baseball game.

5. One of the greatest struggles in my life involves the question "Read...or write?"

6. I wrote my very first story when I was about eight years old. My story featured a girl named Molly who went to her friend's house for the sleepover I had always dreamed of. Over the next few years, my writing developed with more stories about Molly. My last Molly story was written when I was around twelve.

7. After the Molly stories, I wrote a story about three friends who went to a café whose visitors were characters like Christopher Robin, Gollum, and the Big Bad Wolf. I wrote two more stories in the series, but none were as amazing as that first one.

8. One of my favourite stories I wrote as a child was a story about two Chinese boys who escaped from their master, a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper ran after the boys, cursing and screaming. He eventually found his charges and sent them back to work.

9. My favourite book ever since I was nine has been The Lord of the Rings.

10. I absolutely love notebooks. So much so that I love buying them all the time. And then I never use them. Because after one page has been used...they're spoiled for other things. ;)


Answering 11 Questions
1. If you could go back in time, what would you visit and why? There are so many periods in time that I love - 19th century (pioneer) North America, medieval times, the French Revolution, and World War/Great Depression periods. For obvious reasons, I'm not sure I would want to visit the latter two, at least not for very long. But I'd love to go back in time and meet Tolkien. That would be amazing. :)

2. What was the longest book you ever read? Les Miserables...probably? I don't know how it relates to The Lord of the Rings. Les Mis is my second favourite book of all time.

3. Describe yourself in one sentence. I'm a Roman Catholic Canadian eighteen-year-old girl who loves her Faith and family, to read and write, and is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who.

4. What is one of the books you read (or had read to you) when you were little? Well, I can't remember as far back as when I couldn't read yet (What?! I could read as soon as I came out of my mother's womb!). But when I could read myself, my favourite authors were Enid Blyton and Kit Pearson. No question about it.

5. What book are you current reading? Ah, you means books. *cough* I have a bad habit of starting many books and reading snippets of them at different times. So, at the moment I am rereading one of my favourite books (written by a friend), I Thirst, a book that my mom loves and forced asked me to read, Angels in the Dust, and an amazing TV guide / historical book, The World of Downton Abbey. I. HAVE. NEVER. READ. SUCH. A. BRILLIANT. GUIDE. IT. IS. MOSTLY. HISTORY/CULTURE. OF. THE. TIME. PERIOD. AND. I. LOVE. IT.

6. What genre do you like to write? Fantasy, mostly. But I've been widening my boarders to a little science fiction, dystopian, historical fiction, and what I like to call real-life books (I've never learned the name for this genre, okay?). But it's hard for me not to add fantasy to anything I write.

7. Why do you write? I've always loved thinking up my own stories, and it just makes sense to put them down to paper so that I can remember them. I also love to share my stories with other people. :)

8. Besides writing, what do you do in your free time? I read. I watch TV shows like Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, Merlin, and Downton Abbey. I surf Pinterest. I update my blogs (I've got three more besides this one - my main blog, my reviews blog, and a fandoms blog I share with my sister - but I honestly do most of the work on it). When I have extra free time (which isn't often), I make music videos, make jewelry, or teach myself to knit and play the piano. And whenever I'm super bored, I reload Facebook half a dozen times in hopes that something new will have popped up since last time I checked.

9. What's the best writing advice you ever heard? PLOT PLOT PLOT. The book First Draft in 30 Days changed my life. Literally. Buy that book. Or at least borrow it from your library. It will change your life, too.

10. What is your favourite section of the bookstore? Christian adult, if there is one. And the one that has guides for movies and TV shows so that I can look through them all and wish I was rich so that I could buy them all.

11. What is the best writing prompt you've ever used? I've pinned dozens of writing prompts to my Pinterest board for writing inspiration, but I've never used them. Except for the one that inspired this idea.


Nominate nine followers and ask them eleven questions


In other words, I'm too lazy. Take the tag if you want and use the eleven questions above. ;)

Friday, June 27, 2014

my problem with story ideas [my mind]

Remember all those plot bunnies I just got over the last couple of weeks? Yeah, those ones. I don't feel like I want to write any of them. I think I'll just go back to Innocent.


But I do like a lot of them. I feel like I could write something for #8...or #6...#4... 




But #2. 

Ew. Why did I even think of that?




Actually, I don't really feel like writing something on any of those plot bunnies.




Actually, I don't feel like writing anything at all.





Just when I thought a period of glorious writing was starting...





I get the writer's blahs.


The one thing that comes to me more often than writer's block.


Actually, I think I've got EVERYTHING blahs. I don't really want to do anything.




Maybe I should go back to bed and start the day again.







Plot Bunny #9: Glass Slippers Break

Ever since Anne Girls' plot bunny challenge, the plot bunny switch has been turned on. The problem is, what I really want is for the working-on-my-earlier-WIP switch to be on.

But here's another idea. *sigh* This picture inspired it.


I began to think... What if Cinderella didn't really want to marry the prince? What if her stepmother and stepsisters were actually kind and were trying to keep her away from the ball to protect her? Here follows the true story of Ella.



Ella really wanted to go to the ball. But Prince Derrick turns out to be a selfish and immoral man. Now he wants to marry Ella. Ella and her family know that the only way to get Ella out of this mess is to prove that she is already married. Ella's stepsister Anastasia gets the idea that Ella should quickly get married. But Ella wants to marry for love. Could an arranged marriage turn out well? Can she accept going from riches to rags? And will Prince Derrick let Ella get away from him?

Ella stood downcast in front of her angry stepmother. She felt horrible for causing grief to the woman who always loved and cared for her.

"I don't know what to say, Ella," Madame Vandra said. "You know how often I have told you that fairies are spiteful creatures whose only joy is to get people into trouble. Why did you listen to that fairy who claimed to be your fairy godmother?"

"I...I just wanted to go to the ball, Mother. I'm sorry." Ella's usual proud composure drooped into that a peasant woman would usually display.

"You know what this means, Ella? The prince is a selfish man who only held that ball to find the most beautiful woman he could possibly marry. Your sisters are plain enough to be safe from his searching eyes. I knew that you are beautiful, and that is why I forbid you from going to the ball. Now he knows who you are, and he will find you. You will have no future, Ella."

"I said I was sorry!" Ella yelled, not being able to take any more of this.

Her stepmother flinched at the sudden loud noise, and Ella rushed in to give her an apologetic embrace.

"I was only trying to keep you safe," Madame Vandra said in a sad voice, stroking Ella's hair.

"I know, Mother. I know." Ella felt the tears pricking at her eyes.


Pinterest board here.


I quite like this idea. *smiles*


A few other ideas…


Gisella loves a poor store keeper, but he doesn’t love her back. When Anastasia suggests that Ella quickly marry, and Madame Vondra thinks that Ella needs to marry someone in a low position to escape the prince’s eye, Gisella makes a sacrifice and suggests the said store keeper. She knows that he seemed to like Ella when she was trying to make friends with him.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Plot Bunny #8: Another Idea

I've been really interested in some of the themes of the TV show Merlin recently, so I was thinking...

Yes, Kathryn still meets that guy in one of the stories who steals her heart. But she realizes that she can never enter his world, permanently. Well, she could, but she would have to pay a terrible price, one that should never be paid. So she decides to step back into the shadows and be content with saving people, but never being known. It is a lonely job.

And during that time she meets another orphan who has also left the orphanage. And he has a red book just like hers... But she is too enthralled with the young man in the other world at that time to really get to know him.





And now for the collage I made for this story...


Le Pinterest board is here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Plot Bunny #8: The Word of Worlds

First of all, I want to thank Anne Girl for hosting this lovely contest. I came up with so many new story ideas, and I actually took the time to think about them seriously instead of ignoring them as I often do.

The funny thing is - I had no spontaneous ideas for this last plot bunny. Therefore, I decided to finally look over my Writing Inspiration board on Pinterest, which I haven't done for a while.




He wasn't dead, merely sleeping. She had made sure of that.




They thought she was reading the one book she owned...but she wasn't. She was saving other's lives. So while the other children at the orphanage laughed and played below, she climbed into her tree and did just that. She just didn't know that she would disobey the only rule...don't get attached to anyone you save.



So.

Kathryn has led a lonely life in the town orphanage. But at a young age, she began to realize that she had remarkable gifts. She could perceive whether the couples coming to adopt children would be good parents or bad ones. But she couldn't let anyone know for fear of them finding out about her other gift - the gift of saving lives. So while others believed that she was rereading her book, the only thing her dead parents had left for her, her mind was transported to other worlds where she saved the characters. But what would happen when her heart disobeyed the one rule - don't get attached to anyone you save? And could she let her secret be known in order to save him again?


Kathryn traced one finger over the cover of her book. It was a blue hard cover. The feeling of her skin against its roughness made a tingle rush up and down her spine, enticingly. But she couldn't open it yet. Even though she was the solitary person in the room full of beds, she could tell it wasn't time. Not yet.

Footsteps on the stairs below. She could hear it distinctly in the back of her mind, although a normal person would not be able to detect such a slight shuffling.

Kathryn quickly slipped the book underneath her pillow and guiltily sprang up, making sure that her bed was as neat as it could possibly be. Ms. Prudence liked everything to be perfect.

Now she just had to wait for the head of the orphanage to finally make it up the stairs. She sighed, tugging on the red braid hanging over her shoulder.

The door swung open.

"Oh, Kathryn! Why are you still here, dear?" Ms. Prudence looked at the seventeen-year-old girl standing in front of her, shuffling nervously.

"Umm...I was just checking that everything was in order, Ms. Prudence."

As the oldest child in the room, Kathryn was in charge of making sure that all the girls made their beds to best of their ability and washed their faces, combed their hair, and got dressed properly. So it wasn't completely a lie.

Ms. Prudence nodded, and cast a sharp eye over the room, scanning it for any defects. Not that she thought there would be any. Kathryn always did her work quietly, quickly, and perfectly. It pleased the middle-aged woman's heart very much. However, she was worried about this child put in her charge.

Kathryn had always been a solitary child. The other children were always friendly to her, but never friends. She wondered why. Yes, Kathryn was shy, but shy children always broke their barriers at some point. But Kathryn never had.

And then there was the question of her age. In two months, Kathryn would turn eighteen. At that age, she would no longer be allowed to stay under her care. It scared Ms. Prudence how Kathryn would make a living for herself. She was studious, but so shy that she would never speak unless she absolutely had to. She almost seemed afraid of everyone around her.

Ms. Prudence shook her head a little, disapprovingly. She would have time to think about this nearing problem in her office. Now she had other things to do.

Kathryn was still standing there, patient as ever. She hadn't seemed to move a muscle.

"I'm sorry, dear, I was just thinking about something I need to address. You may go downstairs and have breakfast. The little ones are almost done."

There was another thing she needed to think about. Another table so that the older children could eat at the same time as the youngest, instead of having to wait. With that, her thoughts about Kathryn disappeared from her mind in a flash. Ms. Prudence was a very busy woman, and didn't have much time to think about individual students.

"Yes, Ms. Prudence." And with that, Kathryn left the head of the orphanage to think about budgets, how much a new table would cost, and whether they could fit it in with the upcoming rent that had to be paid.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Plot Bunny #7: Beast of the Prairie

I got this idea from trying to think up something for the "Five Enchanted Roses" contest. However, I'm still not sure if I'm going to do this for the contest as

A. I don't know if I'll have time

and B. I may want to expand this story. And then what do I do if it's chosen? (Though it probably wouldn't, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to publish the story anywhere else if it isn't chosen.)

and C. I'm not sure how much research I will have to deal with. However, 18th century Canada is one of the time periods I do know a little about... :)


Inspiration for Catherine
(I detest the dress though)
Catherine Tait, schoolmarm, has a good relationship with everyone in her thriving little town on the Albertan prairies. That is, besides the ill-tempered new sheriff whom nobody seems to like, Mr. Albert Longstaff. However, Catherine is sure there is some good in him...if only someone would look. But it's definitely not her business, nor is she interested. But when one of her children, the spoilt _______ (Nellie Oleson type ;0) goes missing and a masked man threatens her, Catherine has no choice but to put herself under Mr. Longstaff's protection. It is then that she begins to realize that he is not the man she thought he was...


Beauty and the Beast elements I could use...
- Albert's outward appearances aren't the greatest and he has a bad temper (like the Beast)
- Catherine is one of the most beautiful women in town; she loves to read; middle name is Belle
- Albert gives Catherine roses; he tells her that he sometimes pretends his household objects are enchanted and can talk to him
- a proud, vain man whom many of the young women in town fawn over tries to court her
- Catherine's father is a store-keeper and sometimes brings her rose seeds for a garden...her sisters want pretty dress material. (However, I feel like I want to make Catherine the only child, with her mother gone years ago.)


Other Ideas
- I'm thinking of having the murderer kill off Catherine's father
- the murderer is targetting her because he mistook her for someone else. His orders involved a "redhead" who lives somewhere in Alberta. He's kind of bad with details... haha

Saturday, June 21, 2014

To Kill a President ~ Running Around Rules

After getting sidetracked with QI (really, the Internet is both a writer's paradise and bane), I finally got back to my original plan...going to Blogger. Reason? I just got this new idea for an old plot bunny that I decided I must write down before I forget it.

Remember To Kill a President? First scene post here. Synopsis here.

I had THIS song running in my head. And I thought, what if Perdo wasn't sympathetic to Lona's cause? What if he was loyal to the President, believing all the propaganda fed to him? And maybe he was one of the guards assigned over Lona, and slowly started to believe what she had been imprisoned for? But Lona still doesn't know whether she can trust him...until something happens and Perdo puts himself in danger to save her and give her the one chance to complete the thing they were going to do. And all during that time, even though Lona acts as if she doesn't care, she really doesn't know whether she could ever live with herself with having someone's death on her conscience.

(Note: I think that I may have Lona imprisoned at a different time than her adopted family, but their cells are still pretty close.)

.........

I can see myself using a lot of Hunger Games songs for this, as this story has some of those themes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Plot Bunny #6: "The Most Worth Having" first scene

Lord, why didn't you give me any talents? I feel like there's nothing I can do to help glorify you. All I can do is sit and watch TV or read books. That isn't going to help anyone.

Twenty-two years old. With an English degree. But Ellen still had no idea what to do with her life.

Yesterday, she had gone on a shopping spree. She had bought anything that had caught her eye with the idea in her mind that she could try new things. Find a talent by forcing it out. But now she wasn't so sure.

She cast an eye on the Walmart bags sitting by her kitchen table, two o'clock afternoon light shining on them as if to cast a spot light upon her "amazing" idea.

Should I even try, Lord? What if it doesn't work? What if I'm just as untalented as I think?

Ellen stared at the plastic bags until her eyes were tired. And, suddenly, she got up.

"You know what? I don't care!" she said out loud.

Hands went into the grey bag. Out came a small canvas, a set of paint brushes, a palette, and several colours of paint. Blue eyes looked at the palette questionably, and then the hands set aside it for a foam plate.

Then Ellen was painting little flowers all over the canvas, very slowly and carefully so as not to end up with a mess of paint at the very beginning. She kept working, not even noticing the hour hand on the clock creeping towards late afternoon.

And then, she was done. Ellen looked at her painting with a mixture of delight and awe. It wasn't a masterpiece, but it wasn't bad for a beginner. Not bad at all. And it was hers.

Slowly, she looked up and noticed the clock, eyes opening wide.

"Oh my gosh! It's almost time to get ready to meet Nicole!"

She went to wash her hands, after glancing admiringly at her work one last time. She would hang it up somewhere after the paint dried.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Plot Bunny #6: The Most Worth Having

Pinterest board for this WIP

Ellen has always felt untalented and lonely. In her first year after university, she decides to fill the void in her life by finding her hidden talent through trying many new and different activities. However, her journey through literature, music, travel, education, work, faith, and DIY takes her on a much different path that she meant to take. Along the way, Ellen learns the meaning of true friendship, that there is a God who cares and loves for her, and what the things in life are the most worth having.

I... had a finding-pictures-on-Pinterest spree for this plot bunny. *gulp* Maybe a little more than a spree. I probably spent close to an hour on this in one sitting.

I've decided to put the excerpt for this bunny in my next post. Give this idea some time to bubble on my WIP stove. ;)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Plot Bunny #5: Question Time!

I saw these questions on Anne-girl's blog and had to snatch them up! :) I'm using it for my newest plot bunny, Dancing on Dangerous Ground.



1. Pick a "villain song" for this bunny. {i. e. Gaston,Falcon in the Dive }
Okay, for some reason "Cruella de Ville" or "Prince Ali (Reprise" come to mind. The first one for an antagonist of this story (a girl who is jealous of Monique) and the latter for the same person who wants to bring up Monique's past to make her seem bad.

2. Take the first character you created for this bunny, what is his or her worst fear?
That someone will find out about her past and think her the worse for it. (Even though it really wasn't her fault, she feels as if it is.)

3. What does your protagonist do on Wednesdays? Antagonist?
She goes to dance class, like every other day. She also treats herself to something special, like pizza. The antagonist doesn't do anything special on Wednesdays from any other day.

4. If your protagonist could steal something what would it be?
She's not the type to go against the law when she could already be put in their bad books. But if she would, then she would steal a beautiful dance costume.

5. Give two of your characters a special thing that they do {like a special handshake, an inside joke, a tradition together}
To get Faith off her back, Monique starts going to Faith's Monday Bible study groups. Against her original feelings, Monique starts to realize that she enjoys hearing about God and having Someone she can trust in.

6. Pick the epicest person in your book and describe them. Preferably give an actor as well.
Monique. She's a dancer, but she's also taken self-defence training and she can definitely take care of herself.

She could be a younger version of Michelle Rodriguez (in looks).



7. Which Jane Austen Character does your protagonist most resemble?
The sad truth is, I have only read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. But without a doubt, Lizzy Bennett.

8. How would your characters react to an airplane ride?
With a calm demeanor. It's nothing really big for her. *shrugs*

9. What demographic could this bunny be for?
I'd say Christian young adult. But not young adult meaning teen or YA. Older than that. I think.

10. Describe your inciting event
Monique's life has already been changed with her admission to a professional dance studio. But when things start to get less-than-normal is when she and Faith receive a death note in a bunch of roses.

Plot Bunny #5: Dancing on Dangerous Ground

I'm horrible at titles. Always was.

I got this idea from two sources. One, I went to watch my sister's last dance recital last week, which evoked a lot of memories for me as I used to dance. Paragraph one of the "back-cover blurb" sprang out of that. Paragraph two came from the thrill of reading an exciting mystery by Lynette Eason. The two ideas sort of collided and I quickly typed down the blurb you are about to read one night before it could leave me. I quite like this idea.




Monique has always dreamed of going to a professional dance studio, one where most of the students aren't mediocre like at the place where she's been going for dance for the past six years. Now her dreams have come true. Her roommate, Faith, seems really nice, even if she is a little too much into this Jesus stuff and wants Monique to come to Bible study group with her.

But then Monique's dream life is shattered as she and Faith are targeted by a killer...and then unjustly accused of a murder. Can the two new friends find a way to prove their innocence? And after her past which made her turn to dance to forget it all, will Monique let herself feel for someone again?


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


"Please...no. Don't hurt me!" A young Monique raised her arms over her head in a futile attempt to avert another blow.

"I don't like it when you sass me, girl," her father replied in growl that stank of beer. His face was very close to hers. "When you don't listen to me, you get punished. Got that? But if you get me what I asked, I  might just let you go...this time."

"I'm going, Daddy. I'm going right now!" 

The little girl scrambled to her feet and ran towards the beer case to get her father what he had asked. But halfway there, he broke his promise and she felt a fist sink into the top of her head. With a moan, she felt herself falling...but she never felt her body hit the floor.

Monique fell awake out of the nightmare that had plagued her for the past six years. She had had nightmares like it before then, but they got worse when he began to treat her worse. She was the only one left...they had all been murdered. And the only thing that stopped him from killing her, too, was a stroke. Now the only thing that stopped him from coming after her was prison bars.

The only family she had now were her adoptive parents, the new parents that tried so hard to heal the hurt. But the only thing that really worked was to lock it inside and try to forget.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Plot Bunny #4: Sarcastic Blogger

My third plot bunny this week. (My other ones: #2 In Flight     #3 Day of the Seasons)


La Description

Many people would describe Michelle's occupation as their "dream job". She is a travel blogger, and gets paid by writing for a travel blog and a reviews blog. She is known for her well-rounded critical reviews that help people think twice about going to that hotel or watching that movie. However, on her personal blog, she is just known as "the sarcastic blogger" from her snarky comments that don't get edited out.

But on the inside, Michelle yearns for something more. She wants the love that she never get from her family. And no matter where she travels, she never finds a place she would like to call home. But perhaps a summer back in her home country could change all that...


Some Inspiration

I feel like I'm going to base Michelle's looks/attitude a little on Karen's Gillan's Amy Pond/Williams. Actually, maybe a cross between Amy Pond and the self-absorbed Eliza Dooley.


Actually, I really like that. But she won't be the LOOK-AT-ME or #SELFIE type person, though. No, more in LISTEN-TO-ME-MY-OPINION-IS-BETTER-THAN-YOURS type. And maybe something in looks because her pride has been blown up so much.

Let's try again...

THIS. THIS IS MICHELLE.



I also feel that she's going to meet someone special who will change her attitude towards life. This picture gives me some inklings...



However, her man is NOT going to be a Rory...at least, in the aspect of being a very gentle soul. He could the Centurion Rory type, though.

Best scene ever, by the way.


L'Extrait (P. S. France is NOT Michelle's home country)

"Bonjour, Michelle!"

Zoé Bertrand rose from her seat in front of La Boite a Café to greet her new friend with a kiss on the cheek. Michelle returned the greeting without enthusiasm and sat down. She still hadn't gotten used to this level of intimacy.

"Comment vas-tu?" she asked Zoé, making sure to remember to use the informal, since that's what Zoé had insisted on. Her least favourite part of the travelling experience was sorting out the different rules of each language. French was definitely not one of her favourites.

"Très bien, et toi?"

Zoé never seemed to stop smiling. But as she was Michelle's tour guide (though Zoé had instantly decided on 'friends' the moment they met), she had to put up with the excessive friendliness.

"Ah, I'm okay." Michelle knew perfectly well that Zoé was fluent in English, and she had had enough French for that early in the morning.

"How is...was your blogging last night?" Zoé tried to engage in conversation as Michelle glanced over the menu even though she had already memorized it from her previous visits.

Michelle shrugged without looking up. "I'm just working on a review of the hotel I'm staying at. The last one was horrible."

"But it comes so highly rated!" Zoé protested.

Michelle rolled her eyes. "Honestly, a lot of inns I've been to were better than that hotel."

Zoé shrugged and looked down at her menu, a little uncomfortably. Michelle sighed a deep breath of relief - internally. It wasn't too hard to shut up Zoé, after all. Now perhaps she could have a little peace during breakfast. After that, she'd try to bear with Zoé for the rest of the day, she promised herself. Just if she could have an hour's peace. Please God.


Not the best first scene I've ever written. But I'm trying to make it a FIRST scene, you know?


I say!
Ooooh! Ooooh! Maybe Michelle could actually see HIM for the first time in Victorian costume in a play... and she of course looks down at him from the beginning because she thinks he looks utterly ridiculous and...

LIGHT BULB.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Plot Bunny #3: "Day of the Seasons" First Scene

This scene is using the first description from my last post. I'm still not sure where this plot bunny is going to lead me.


"April, how are you?" Maresa called as she opened the door of her Month Sister's pink house surrounded by blooming flowers.

She had long ago stopped knocking before entering; in fact, she couldn't remember a time when she did. She and April had this unspoken law that what they owned, they owned together. Sometimes, April would unexpectedly show up at her house with an overnight bag, but it felt normal. It was not rare for other members of their adopted Nature "Family" to see Maresa wearing a dress that belonged to April or vice versa. It helped that the two girls had similar styles, enjoyed the same things, and had personalities very close to her best friend's.

As Maresa entered, she expected to see April in her usual spot this time of morning. April would be fully dressed, but with her hair in an uncombed up-do, sitting at her pink table sipping a cup of honeysuckle tea, a book in her hand (most likely an Austen), and a bowl of half-finished cornmeal porridge sitting in front of her as the light streamed in from the kitchen window. There would already be a place set for Maresa, and as she walked in, April would glance up from her book and say, "Your chocolate muffin is in the glass container on the counter."

However, things were not as they were every day. Instead, the curtains were closed, leaving April's usual sunshiny kitchen in a state of gloom. No place was set for Maresa; neither was there a bowl and teacup for April. April herself was nowhere to be seen - but her bedroom door was closed.


Plot Bunny #3: "Day of the Seasons" Character Profiles

This post will be updated as I gather more information about these characters.


Jen "January"
Family: grandparents; only child
Best Friend: Fiona
Description: booky and shy
Element at disposal: water and air
Her Story: Jen has always been different.
But when she finds out that she has special
powers, an exciting opportunity opens up in the 
form of the Nature Family cult. Excited and
determined to prove her worth, Jen would do
anything for her new sisters in spirit - the Month
Sisters.


Fiona "February"
Family: two little brothers
Best Friend: Fiona
Description: funny and quirky
Elements at disposal: water and air
Her Story: When Jen joins the Month Sisters,
Fiona is eager to make a new friend. But when
her love for pranks drags Jen into trouble, Fiona
vows to change her ways... as soon as she saves Jen.


Plot Bunny #3: Day of the Seasons

First Description Idea
It is April, and the Month Sister in charge this 30-day period is very busy. So busy, in fact, that the her 'sisters' believe that someone is trying to put extra strain on her to cause her to not be able to fulfill her duties (which could get her Month Sister status revoked). Then April becomes deathly ill from the work, and her next-in-line joins the Month Sisters. However, young April is spoiled rotten and all the sisters dislike her - even June, who is a 'Queen Bee' among the Nature Family. This makes them want to cure April even more - but the cure will require great sacrifice on their part. Meanwhile, November's sister is jealous of November's beauty and her position as a Month Sister, and will do anything to tear all of the Month Sisters down in order to get to be one of them. Was she the one who plotted to get April sick?

Second Description Idea
In a rundown part of an old town, an old abandoned warehouse stands empty, except for when the members of a cult go there for meetings. At least, that's what it looks like to outsiders.

Twelve girls live ordinary lives, going to college, the mall, and whatever else young women do. But in reality, they have special jobs that cause the seasons to come and go.


Note: I'm considering making young April and November's sister honorary Month Sister positions at the end of the story so they don't feel left out.

Second Note: The first idea sounds like it would work more for a kid's book. It actually reminds me a lot of Disney Fairies. So we will see what I can work with this.

Third Note: I could do different ideas with this, such as Twelve Dancing Princesses (since there are twelve girls).


I got actually got this idea from seeing some "if the months had faces" collages on Pinterest. (This is why Pinterest is fabulous.) I chose my favourites, and I'm going to stick with the physical characteristics from these collages... Click on the images to see them bigger.

Fourth Note: First Scene and character profiles coming in next post(s)!


~ Kaya Scodelario as Jen "January" ~


Monday, June 9, 2014

Plot Bunny #2: In Flight

Prince Philip feels like a failure. While his brother has saved many damsels in distress, and is now married to a maiden who was forced into servitude by her stepmother and stepsisters, all if his quests were failures. Most heartbreaking was the time when the beautiful girl he loved was poisoned by her wicked stepmother. Since that incident two years ago, Philip has decided to let others do the saving. But when he comes across a beautiful maiden trapped in a tower, he can't help but try his hand at saving her.


~ In Flight ~




Philip sometimes dreamed he was flying. He didn't have any wings, but yet there he was, soaring above the clouds. He would hope to stay there forever, but at some point he had to come tumbling back to reality - the cold, harsh reality when he remembered the failure he was.

So he tried to remember the joys of flying as he went for a morning ride. However, it didn't work. That was when he decided to do something that only the very reckless - or desperate - would attempt.

He went into the Forbidden Forest.

His horse's gallop turned into a walk as soon as it saw the dense, dark trees. It tried to turn back, but Philip forced it to go on.

Only creatures of the night seemed to live here. No maiden would dare enter, for she knew that no knight would be there to hear her scream for help.

The myths and legends of this place sent even the bravest knight into nervous tremblings.

But Philip didn't care.

And that's when he suddenly heard a beautiful voice break out in song as he saw a break in the trees ahead of him.



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Plot Bunny #1: Chatterbox

I'm doing Chatterbox again! This month, I am supposed to write a scene with boats - and what better way to use this prompt than using Plot Bunny #1?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Courtesy of The Weird World of Jack

"Are you sure that this is safe?" Noah eyed the sailboat with a cautious eye. It looked very old - white paint peeling off, bumps covering the sides in as plentiful a manner as stickers that a child used for decorating.

"Yeah, yeah, it's fine."

Liam didn't stop working as he talked - stooped down, untying the rope that held the boat in place to the dock. When Noah still made no movement, Liam turned a little with an exasperated look on his face.

"Noah! I've been handling boats since I was a child! I know what I'm doing. This boat has been in my family for a very long time."

"That's what I was afraid of," Noah muttered around his breath.

He cautiously edged towards the boat. Tara was already sitting on one of the worn padded seats, surveying the ocean before them. She smiled as she watched a sea bird soar overhead.

Noah cautiously put a leg over the boat. Setting his foot down, the boat rocked a little. He stopped, half of his weight already on unsteady surface.

"Noah! I can't finish untying the boat until you're in it!" Liam called out, annoyed.

Noah scrambled to get his other leg over the side of the boat, his hands clenched so tight around the side of the boat that his knuckles turned white.

"Come and have a seat, baby," Tara told him, patting the seat beside her.

"If I can make it that far," Noah made his tone light-hearted, but he was seriously doubting his ability to walk a few steps towards the seats without falling over.

Suddenly, the boat jolted forward as Liam gave it a push, and Noah toppled towards the seats, almost falling onto Tara. She laughingly helped him sit beside her as Liam jumped in.

"We're off!" Liam sang out.

He sat down and grabbed two oars to get them moving until the wind got into the sail. Noah wondered if he should offer to help, but Liam seemed to be doing fine with both oars.

Tara turned around so that she was facing the same way as Liam was, towards the ocean.

"I never knew the ocean was so beautiful," she said, almost to herself.

"It is that, isn't it?" Liam answered.

Noah looked from Tara to Liam. Tara was now leaning over the side of the boat, her hand trailing in the water. Liam was whistling some tune, probably of an Irish song, his blue eyes reflecting the sea and sky. He had never seen two people so happy to be in a boat. On the other hand, Noah already wanted to get off that boat - right now if possible.

Plot Bunny: My First and Last Dance

From Anne-girl's Plot Bunny contest...thing.


Back-cover blurb
"You are my first and last dance," the beautiful strange girl at the graduation dance told Noah before she collapsed in his arms...dead. Noah, who had felt a strange connection with this girl, tries to forget her - until he hears the story of the same girl on the blog of an Irish young man named Liam, who is just as enamoured by the strange girl as he is. Noah and Liam, joining forces, discover a myth of the same girl woven throughout history, a girl who has been pleading for help down through the centuries. With the help of Liam and his girlfriend Tara, Noah goes on a quest to find a damsel in distress whom he believes he can save.


First scene
"Hey, man, did you see that girl over there?" Noah's friend Alexander nudged him, almost causing him to spill his coffee over his brand-new suit jacket.

"Woah, watch out, man," Noah rolled his eyes good-naturedly. "Let me set this down first."

He set down the foam cup next to the coffee machine decorated all over with "St. Michael's University Graduation 2014" stickers. The decoration committee had decided to be blatantly obvious this year.

He turned around and tried to figure out which of the many females his friend had his eyes on now. "Which one this time?" he teased.

Alex gave him a friendly punch. "I think even you will agree about this girl. And she definitely looks the dancing type."

"I told you, I took dancing lessons because I like to dance. And maybe a small part of the decision was so that I could dance at the grad banquet with the girls. A small part," Noah insisted.

His friend chose to ignore this, only giving an all-knowing smile, and then discreetly nodded in the direction he wanted Noah to look, a few tables away.

As soon as he saw her, Noah knew he didn't have to ask Is it that girl in the blue ball-gown style dress? He knew. She was very beautiful, one of the most beautiful girls he had ever seen. Her blonde wavy hair was left flowing past her shoulders; her dress almost looked like it came from another century, but still worked for this one. She was petite and reminded Noah of one of his grandmother's china dolls that she kept locked away in a glass case for fear of being broken. She stood out from every other person in the room, and from the looks that some of the other guys (and girls) that the girl was getting, Noah knew he wasn't the only one who thought her the most beautiful girl in the room. She was a princess among the rabble... and she did look the dancing type.

Before he quite knew what he was doing, Noah found himself walking in the girl's direction with a determined stride. He heard Alex snort with amusement, but he didn't care.

"Hey, babe, want to dance?" he heard Matt Chadwick's smooth voice asking the girl. Even though this was a pseudo-Catholic university, there wasn't a single student who hadn't caught him on the couch with some random girl at some time or another.

The girl shook her head. "No, thank you." Her voice was so soft he would barely hear her answer.

"Oh, come on, babe, you know you want to," Matt pleaded. "You look like you would really get those moves down." He smirked, and reached out a hand towards the girl's waist.

"I said, no thank you," the girl insisted. She stepped back, bumping into Noah.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she quickly turned around addressed him. "I didn't see you there."

Her eyes were the colour of the sky, matching her dress perfectly. Her eyelashes were long and curled at the ends. Her lips were very red. She had no make up on, but Noah felt that a single drop of mascara or touch of lipstick would have only ruined her complexion.

"Hey, no problem. I wasn't paying attention, either." Noah tried to laugh, but it came out shaky.

She smiled at him, a soft, sweet smile. "Well, that makes two of us."

"Umm..." Noah tried to remember what it was he wanted to say to her, but he could barely remember his own name, let alone the question. "Uhhh... I don't suppose you'd like to dance? I mean, since you already turned down one offer, you probably wouldn't want to dance with me. I mean, you probably don't feel like dancing at all. I mean..."

"I'd love to," she interrupted his stammered ramblings, surprising him into joy.

"Oh. That's great," he found was the only thing he could say.

She offered him her hand, and he led her onto the dance floor. Thank goodness, there was a slow song on. He was surprised that anyone would have requested Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up", but then maybe there was a few people of good taste in this school. Unfortunately, almost all of the young adults in the school didn't seem to agree. There were only a few couples uncomfortably trying to dance, but ended up swaying in positions that Noah would have found a little too close for comfort. He thanked the Holy Spirit for giving him the idea to take ballroom dancing lessons.

As he spun her around to a swell in the music, Noah tried to think of something to say to this beautiful girl.

"I'm Noah," he finally managed to say.

"It's nice to meet you, Noah," she smiled.

There was an awkward pause, but before Noah could ask her name, the girl spoke.

"You are my first and last dance," she said.

Noah was taken aback. "Uhh...what do you mean?"

Into his mind swirled many different possibilities. Was this girl planning to become a nun, and she was having one dance before she would have to be prim and proper? He had to admit to himself that he hoped not. Such beauty would be wasted on such a profession. Or perhaps she was being coy and flirtatious, implying that she would only dance with him. Or perhaps this would be the only time she would dance that night?

She broke into his thoughts. "It doesn't matter. You are my first and last dance, and I just want to thank you for being such a nice one."

"Umm, you're welcome?"

She only smiled and tugged at his arm a little to let him know that he was falling behind in the steps of the waltz they had fallen into. Noah shuffled his feet back into the proper position, but his mind wasn't on the dancing.

The song was ending, and he suddenly noticed that the girl who hadn't given him her name was growing pale. She began to move more slowly.

"Are you alright?" he asked her, anxiously.

She shook her head No.

"Here, let me help you sit down." Noah moved towards the outer edge of the dance floor, his feet still moving in rhythm.

"No, please don't stop on my account," she said, her voice softer than ever. "I want to enjoy this last dance." She coughed, a raspy, hollow cough that shook her petite body.

"You need to sit down," Noah insisted. "You're sick. And why do you keep insisting that this is your last dance?"

Her eyes looked through Noah without seeing him, and her voice seemed far away.

"I tried to prolong it, but I needed to have it some point. You were the best partner in the room. I couldn't keep delaying my death...it just hurts more at the end that way. I waited too long," she said.

A chill went through Noah at her words. "What do you mean? You're not going to die!"

She coughed again, and a spasm of pain contorted her lovely face. "Help me."

"How?" Noah felt himself start to panic. "How can I help you?"

She turned her face towards his, actually seeing him this time. "There's nothing you can do. Thank you."

And, suddenly, she went limp.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Marianne's Personality & Theme Song



1) What is their full name and is there a story behind why they got it?
Marianne Roberts. I haven't really thought about Marianne having a story behind her name...but why I chose it. Marianne - it just came to me. Then I decided to search for last names among my high-school classmates, and came against Roberts. It sounded good. I picked it.

2) How old are they, and when were they born? 
At the moment in my first draft (still in progress), Marianne is 21...but I'm probably going to change that to around 23. Marianne was born in the land of Pieno. She believes that she was born in the community she lives in, but she wasn't.

3) Describe their physical appearance. (Bonus questions: 1. What is their race/nationality/ethnicity? 2. Do you have a picture of them? If so, include it!)
Marianne has straight brown hair that goes past her shoulders. She has brown eyes. She is of average height. She is a white human. And, yes, I do have a picture of her.

Marianne
4) Describe your character's personality first in one word, and then elaborate with a few sentences.
Kind. She likes to help other people and thinks of others before herself. She sometimes jumps into things without thinking when it comes to improving other people's lives (or the world in general). However, her other (selfish) passions sometimes make her forget this.

5) What theme song(s) fit their personality and story arc? (Do you want to reword that or does that work? I'm not sure...)
For her story arc, definitely The Lord of the Rings theme music. Her personality... maybe Downton Abbey or Once Upon a Time.

6) Which one of the seven deadly sins describes your character?
Gluttony, if interpreted as selfishness (not for food).

7) If they were an element (fire, water, earth, air), which one would they be?
Probably earth.

8) What is their favourite word?
Does LOTR count?

9) Who’s one person they really miss? (It could be someone who’s passed away, or someone they’re not close to anymore, or someone who’s moved away.)
Her secret-agent uncle who went missing and has been decided dead.

10) What sights, sounds, and smells remind them of that person?
The Lord of the Rings - the book or movie. The things he picked up on his travels. His old clothes.