Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Title Goes Here (RTW!)

Today is Road Trip Wednesday over at YA Highway and the awesome question of the day is:

How do you choose your titles?

Augh... I hate titles, to be honest. Wait, no, rewind. I hate coming up with titles for my own stories. Lots of books out there have awesome, intriguing, inspiring titles that make you grab the book just from those few words that are supposed to sum up a million others.

Yeah, I've never come up with one of those titles. So, if I was going to have a definite answer for this question it would be: very badly. Or, there is no title at all.

So HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU CHOOSE TITLES? Help!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Soak Time


Rush, rush, rush. Go, go, go!
That's all we seem to do a lot these days. We hardly have time for going, because we're rushing to get, and we've gotta go so we have to rush and we're caught in the endless cycle of rush-go-rush-go-NO-TIME-for-

-bubble baths!

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just soak for awhile in a tub of watery, bubbly (vanilla-scented) goodness?

Um, yes!

Alright, now, I will apologize because I may have lead you to believe that this post may have included some awesome advice on how to best manage your busy, wacky schedules while squeezing in time for some relaxing bubble baths. And I definitely think people should take time for more bubble baths, but don't ask me how you're going to fit it in between kung fu and your lit essay and and and and...

See, my dad and I were discussing the other day about non-fiction and fiction. I was saying that I'd already read about 5 books this month, and he'd only read two (which is actually pretty good for him), and then he pointed out that he reads non-fiction, and I read fiction.

And he went on to say that because he reads non-fiction, he'll read a chapter, let it soak in for a day, and then read another section, let it soak, and rinse, repeat etc. He explained that it's essential to do this because otherwise you are bombarded with all this new information and if you're bombarded, how much of it are you going to retain after you've finished the book?

Now, I was thinking about this take-time-to-soak exercise, as well as thinking about fiction. Yes, it's important when reading non-fiction to let our brain have a break from being bombarded with facts and information, but I think it's also important with fiction. A lot of hard-core readers like me, and probably you, too, have the tendency to burn through a book because it's so good/suspenseful/interesting and then when we get to the end, we hop on over to the next book because we just can't get enough of those awesome words/stories/characters. (At least, this is what I tend to do and I hope I'm not alone in doing it!)

But maybe after we read each of our intense fiction novels, we should take a step back from the World of Words to soak in everything that we have been feeling and learning throughout. Maybe we aren't bombarded with facts and info during our reads through fiction, but we almost definitely are bombarded with emotions and new ideas, as well as other crazy things! We need time for our selves to process all this stuff we've been learning!

Give your brain a break.

Now, get on with that bubble bath!

Do you take time to let books "soak in" after you read them?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (MUSIC INSPIRATION!!!)

If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I love music! A lot of different kinds of music, but most definitely the kinds that are sung in choirs, and played in bands and orchestras (so, classical, basically). Yes, I know, kind of odd for a 16 year old. But it's quite amazing.

Anyways... I'm in two choirs, and one of them just recently got the opportunity to sing with my city's symphony orchestra (which means I did, too) a long with about 300 other high school students. The mass choir of high school students and the orchestra performed The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins just this past Friday.

It. Was. So. COOL.

If you have never sung with an accomplished symphony orchestra and 300 other people, YOU SHOULD ADD IT TO YOUR TO DO LIST. There's nothing like it, I tell you.

Anyways, the mass we sang was really cool. It has about 13 different movements (although we didn't sing all of them) and the whole thing mostly circulates around war, and then other slower movements are asking forgivness for all the wrong we've caused with war. So I'm going to post some youtube links for your listening pleasure and, to stick in something about writing... also for some inspiration, too. I'm just going to include the links for the movements we sang, though.

I. The Armed Man (L'Homme Armé)
This movement is, I think, the soldier arming himself and going out to war.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc8bc-bA1JM&feature=related

III. Kyrie
The words in this are basically "Lord, have mercy" so it could be the soldiers asking God to make sure they don't get killed in the war.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5BfirqTqm8

V. Sanctus
This one was really cool when the choir was singing it, we had to be really soft and then when the Hosanna part came the choir and orchestra just burst into sound.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dIOLbwZJDs

VI. The Hymn Before Action
The title says it: the hymn before action. This is one of my favourite movements. I especially love the end phrase: "Lord grant us strength to die!"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN1yssJK29I&feature=related

VII. Charge!
The charge. I love the part where we sing "the double double beat of the thundering drum" and then the drum beats two, really loudly. DA-DUM! Oh, and the horrifying scream thing at the end sounded amazing during the concert. We build it up, and build it up and it sounds awful which is what it's supposed to sound like -like people suffering and dying. And then we hold the scream for a bar and then everything just cuts off, and it rings like crazy into the concert hall. Nobody moves, or barely breathes, and then the Last Post is played. My grandma told me after that at that part she was just begging it to stop because it sounded so terrifying.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IzYGJpaBhU

X. Agnus Dei
"O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us Thy peace"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55oURTjPqEE&feature=related

XII. Benedictus
Even if you listen to nothing else, LISTEN TO THE BENEDICTUS. It's incredibly beautiful, especially the cello solo at the beginning.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kTffgdNhNw&feature=fvwrel

XIII. Better is Peace
The a capella chorale at the end of this is incredibly peaceful and beautiful, the perfect way to end the song: "God shall wipe away all tears, and there shall be no more death". During the concert, we were soft until "Praise the Lord" and then we just gave it all. It sounded amazing, and you could feel it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOUKxFCC7O8

Well, I hoped you enjoyed that (the numbering is off because I just stated the number of the movement and we didn't sing every movement). And even if you're busy, I hope you at least listen to my favourite parts: The Hymn Before Action, Benedictus and the final chroale in Better is Peace. I also hope you were inspired.

Ah, I love music.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Can't See Me Lovin' Nobody But You... (RTW!)

Over at YA Highway, it's Wednesday = Road Trip day. And today's question is...

Who are your favourite literary couples?

There are two kinds of relationships that I always enjoy in books (and for that matter, films and TV shows as well).

The first kind is the childhood, innocent-type relationship that is very light-hearted and sweet. Like cotton candy. Some of my favourites are:



Meg and Calvin from A Wrinkle in Time and then all the other books L'Engle's quintet. Adorably sweet. :)

Jess and Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia. (Katherine Paterson). Not really a real in-love kind of relationship, but a sweet couple all the same.









Green lips = funny, sweet book.
Another sweet romance of characters that I absolutely LOVED was Cal and Eliot's in Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler. The best romance book I have ever read!












And, of course, the second kind of relationship that I LOVE to see in books are those tricky "love-hate" relationships.

Namely,





Happy Valentines! <3

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Bit of Awesomeness for the Day


This is my cat, Venus.


This is my other cat, Calypso.
(Along with my excuse for not writing...)



 
These are my cats Venus and Calypso.
They love each other.<3 :)




Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Wonderful World of Cliff-Hangers

Yes, I know. You might have read the title of this post and done a double-take. What? Cliff-hangers? Those things that leave us hanging on the edges by our fingernails and scraping the skin off our hands, while worrying about death way down below? Yeah, I wouldn't call that wonderful.

I'd have to say readers/writers have a love-hate relationship with cliff-hangers. After all, they do make writing quite a bit more interesting, fun, and well... good. But when we're on that "readers" side of the slash, and we just want to know what happens but there's another book that's not even out yet. We'll die before then of craziness. It's agonizing. Pure torture.

I, however, like to inflict torture on my readers. >:)

It started a long time ago when I got this book out of the library that was all about how to get "published". It was a kid's book, though, and it was basically a whole bunch of little ways that kids could get their writing out there, no matter who reads it. It was actually really cool and helpful, and I wish I remember the title so I could remember it as one of my favourite books.

Anyway, one of the ideas that it gave was about this thing called cliff-hangers. It suggested that you write a story, split it up into sections ending with cliff-hangers, and send it out to readers, section by section.

This was the one idea that stuck out to me, so I took action. I started by sending out a segment of my story each week, each segment ending with a cliff-hanger. It was agonizing, I'm sure, for the readers to hold on for a week not knowing what happens next but it was quite enjoyable for me.

And it was an AWESOME idea. At first, I wrote and then sent as I went a long. I soon figured out this was a bad idea, and have since changed my ways and I write out the stories, edit, and split them before I send them out. Oh, I send them out through e-mail, by the way, to a bunch of friends and family. Let me tell you: they love them!

Since I sent out that first fragmented story in about grade seven (so, five years ago) I have sent out about six cliff-hangers. Pretty awesome!

And... Other Reasons Why Cliff-Hanger Stories Are Awesome

1. They are a great way to connect with readers. Unpublished writers don't always get that, and it's a good, non-scary way to do that. Your family and friends have to love you.

2. It's great motivation for finishing a story. As I said before, I've sent six cliff-hanger stories, which means I've finished six stories. A lot of people struggle in finishing a story. But when I think about the readers and the awesome comments and support they give me, I want to give them stories to read, and I think up ideas, and I get excited and... there's another cliff-hanger done.

3. You can get comments from readers! Well, kind of... my readers are kind of lazy, even when I beg them to comment on the segment. But I always get a slight warm fuzzy feeling when I read someone's reply that says, "This is torture waiting for the next segment!"

4. It's awesome fun trying to think up ways to torture people with writing....

mwhahahaha

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Books With Well-Worn Covers (RTW!)

Happy Road Trip Wednesday, everyone.

Today's question is....

What book would you read over and over again?

Or what book have you already read multiple times, because there so awesome. Although, once I think about it, the books I read over and over again are not the most awesome books, honestly. It's just because I like them, and they're fun to read. So, the books I read with well-worn covers are...

Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn.

My copy of this particular book, The College Years, is especially worn.
I think I've read it about 5 or 6 times already. That's a record for me!



Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The books we all know and love... granted, I've only read them once so far. But I already need to read them again, and usually I wait a few years before re-reading instead of a few weeks!


What about you? Which books of yours are well-worn from multiple times reading through them?


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