26.2.14

the other evening

   The other evening, the sunset was so gorgeous that I had to go on a walk to get some pictures. The light was everywhere, dressing my home in deep, true reds and light, happy yellows.
    There was a field with trees, their tips dipped in red.
    The sun burned in its farewell, with the promise of tomorrow.
    There was a puddle of freezing water, filled with light and leaves and pine needles. It begged to get its picture, and I obliged while some guy drove past. He stared, with a “What are you getting a picture of a puddle for?” look on his face. Some people don’t understand, I suppose.
    The yellow and pink clouds were fluffy and scattered, hiding behind the bare trees.
    The sky was blue, stretching for one last kiss from the light before it embraced the dark and its treasures.
    Drifting in the harsh and cold wind, the pink clouds bowed in farewell (only to come back later to shield our eyes from the stars).
    The trees stood, unmoved, as always.
    The other evening, the fire was hot, and I was warm and happy.
Bekah Joan

22.2.14

"my thoughts are stars i can't fathom into constellations."

I made it! Do you all like?
When I showed this piece to my dad and asked him if he liked it, he gave me a funny look. I'd explained a bit about the character who said this—Augustus Waters.
"So, he's confused?" my dad said.
"Yeah. But he says it in a really nice way, doesn't he?"
"Sure..."
But then after some thought, I realized Augustus wasn't confused. The quote was written in his letter to Van Houten. He'd been talking about Hazel and how she was a grenade, so she tried to stay away from people. She didn't want to hurt anyone. Augustus, on the other hand, wanted to be someone. He wanted to be remembered.
But he also saw Hazel's selflessness and realized how right she was. That's when he says this, I believe.
"My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations."
"I know, but I don't believe."
He knew Hazel was right, but he still wanted to be someone. And that took over him.
Or, who knows. Maybe he was just confused.
Bekah Joan
this quote is from the fault in our stars by john green. lovely, terrible, beautiful, sad book.

21.2.14

The Snowflake Method + Characterization

{via}
For the Scribblers' Conference.
The Snowflake Method is amazing. I'll just start off with that. Ever since I heard of it I've been using it. It's a ten-step outlining method from Randy Ingermanson (referenced yesterday). I won't be explaining it in this post because it's looooooong. And he explains it so well. There's no need for me to rephrase it all. (:
Now for the characterization part of today—yes, you have to do this. Your characters' personalities will affect their actions. Your main character isn't going to make a rash, last-minute decision and run off into a dangerous situation if they are a cautious and calculating person. Your characters' decisions are going to be what makes what happen in the plot. Plot and characterization work together, not separately.
Step Three and Step Seven of the Snowflake Method go into characterization. Below are a few of resources for making developed characters.
The Write Practice: 35 Questions to Ask Your Characters from Marcel Proust
The Write Practice: Characterization 101: How to Create Memorable Characters
Writer's Digest: Agent Donald Maas On: Your Tools for Character Building
Go Teen Writers: Identifying Your Characters' Weaknesses
Go Teen Writers: Identifying Your Characters' Strengths
Surly Muse: On Writing Strong (Female) Characters (This post has a few iffy pictures/words in it, but overall it's a good post. Some of the points work for male characters, too.)
Helping Writers Become Authors: Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 1: Can You Structure Characters?
Helping Writers Become Authors: Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 2: The Lie Your Character Believes
Something that I've learned over the past six months is that your characters must be memorable. Not necessarily lovable (think Katniss. I hated her until Mockingjay), but you must relate to them. You understand them.
Another thing is that the villain has to be developed to. He/she/they need motives just like your other characters. They're human, too, usually. And this is all explained in the articles above, much better than I can.
I must say that characterization is probably the thing I struggle with most, so I don't feel very comfortable writing about it. I'm still trying to learn what my personality is. I'm getting there, though, and one day maybe I'll be an expert on the subject. ;)

Bekah Joan

20.2.14

The Three Act Structure

{via}

For the Scribblers' Conference.

This is something else I learned in my Novel in a Year class.
Basically, you have three acts and three disasters, along with a whole bunch of other awesome stuff. The above picture shows you the Three Act Structure combined with the Hero's Journey and the Character Arc (never heard of that, but it's pretty self-explanatory). You could figure out the Three Act Structure just by that picture, but here are a few other points (that correspond with the Hero's Journey) to help.

Act One

Act One is the first quarter of your book. Yes, I know it's odd that there are four quarters and three acts (at least that's what I thought), but writers and math don't mix, I guess.
Inciting Incident:
This happens after you introduce your character and his/her world. Make it happen fast. First chapter kind of fast. (I think. That's what I was supposed to do for school, at least.)
What is it? The inciting incident is when something happens to set the story in motion. It involves the main character. It doesn't have to be something bad. You're just disrupting it and making something change. I'm pretty sure my teacher put it this way: it could be someone dying or it could be someone getting pregnant. Whatever you want, I guess.
The First Disaster:
(This is also called "Plot Point #1" in many places.) It happens at the end of Act One. So a bit before or at a quarter of the way through the book. At the VERY end of Act One, you're character makes his/her choice that there's no going back from. To help you gain your bearings, this is "Crossing the Threshold" in the Hero's Journey.
What is it? A disaster. Obviously. It's something that isn't going to be resolved until the end of the book. You turn your main character's world upside down and then expect them to keep going. According to Randy Ingermanson, it's okay for the first disaster to be caused by external things and not caused by your main character.

Act Two

Act Two consists of the next two quarters of your book. This is also where things get messy and confusing for me. I've heard two different things about this act. So first I'll tell you what my teacher taught me and my classmates, and then I'll tell you what I've heard while doing research for this post and other stuffs.
The Midpoint:
What me teacher (and others) say: the midpoint of the book—also the midpoint of Act Two—is "the threat of death." This isn't a major disaster (or otherwise called a major plot point).
What is it? This threat of death doesn't have to be physical. It can be, but it can also be relational or emotional or career-related or whatever.
The Second Disaster:
(Also called "Plot Point #2" in many places.) What my teacher (and others) say: this can happen from anywhere a bit before the midpoint of the book to right before three-quarters of the way through the book. Yes. Lots of room there.
What Randy Ingermanson (and others) say: The second disaster happens halfway through Act Two—not as far as three quarters of the way through. This is in place of the "threat of death."
What is it? Mr. Ingermanson says that the second disaster should be caused by the main character trying to "fix things." The first disaster happens, things don't get better, so your main character tries again (and fails) to resolve the conflict.

Act Three
The last quarter of your book.
The Third Disaster:
(Also know as the climax.) Mr. Ingermanson has the climax at the end of Act Two, but according to my teacher and what she said her editor said, the resolution can't take up a quarter of the book. That would make it to long. So, the climax is going to hang out in Act Three with the resolution. At least for this post.
It's the climax, so things get...climactic.
What is it? Your main character has tried to fix the first disaster, which resulted in the second disaster. Then he/she tried to fix that mess, and look! Climax time! This is when your main character must battle and defeat the villain (or, if it's a series, you kinda-sorta defeat the villain. But if you completely defeat the villain in the first book, what are the rest of the books going to be about?) This is the black moment. Your main character is at his/her lowest. He/she thinks that if she can't defeat the villain, he/she will never recover.
The Resolution:
This should only be one or two chapters long. The disasters and conflict have been resolved. Everything is slowing down. Your characters actually have a chance to breathe. This is the "Return of the Elixir" for the Hero's Journey. Goals have been accomplished and lessons have been learned.
The end!


DISCLAIMER: (because I'm terribly insecure.)
I'm seventeen. I'm not published. Okay, I am, on here and on Figment, but not really published. You could say I'm inexperienced. Very inexperienced. I'm still in the learning process. The Hero's Journey was created by some awesome guy named Joseph Campell. My teacher taught me this, and then I used the notes from her class and came up with these explanations of the 12 steps. I've probably misinterpreted at least a few things. So Google this and ask actual published writers about it and DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Bekah Joan
geez. i have gone over and over and over this post, but writing it in one sitting has slightly damaged my brain, i think. i do apologize terribly for anything that's worded wrongly or anything. ughhh i need foooooood. <--haha wow sorry. but seriously it's seven o'clock (yeah i know not that late) and i haven't had dinner and i'm hungry. bye.

17.2.14

The Hero's Journey

For the Scribblers' Conference.
I learned about the Hero's Journey in late summer/early fall when school started. I'm taking a Novel in a Year class, taught by Amy Wallace, from Landry Academy.
Now I know what an outline is actually supposed to look like! (Why didn't I think to Google what the outlining process was before? I've been asking myself the same question since I started school again. But this class is so much fun, so I'm kind of glad I didn't know all of this stuff.)
So in case some of you writer-friends don't know what I'm talking about, keep reading. Everything will start to make sense!
{via}
Onward!
This is the plot structure that Mrs. Wallace said is for publishing.
There are... (*checks class notes*) twelve steps in the Hero's Journey. They are:

1. The Ordinary World

This is the first part of the book, obviously. You're supposed to make the reader and the character connect through the hero's life—characterize your character. What does your hero want? Stuff like that.

2. The Call to Adventure

(Whenever I read this, a trumpet blast goes off in my head. Strangest thing, I know.)
This is where you destroy the hero's world. (No, you don't literally have to blow it up. But hey—I like explosions. NOT IN REAL LIFE. Please don't take that the wrong way.) But they have to be called to an adventure. Obviously.

3. Refusal of the Call

Your character doesn't want to do what he/she has to do. They go, kicking and screaming, "I DON'T WANT TO I WANT TO STAY IN MY ORDINARY WORLD WHERE I BELONG LEAVE ME ALONEEEE."
Geez, sorry for the caps. But it just fits.

4. Meeting with the Mentor

Give the character someone to look up to for advice—who isn't perfect. The mentor will help the character through the book.

5. Crossing the Threshold

Here your hero has to commit to the journey/adventure. There's no going back. Your hero is going to go along with something unfamiliar and strange. He/she can't go back on his decision.

6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies

There must be tests (you can't have a good book without conflict). There must be friends. There must be at least one enemy, whether human or not.

7. Approach

There are challenges. Major challenges. Three of them, actually. (More on that when I attempt to talk about the Three Act Structure in what will hopefully be my next post.) They are terrible and happen because the hero tries to fix everything and fails. Again, more on that later. The challenges are dangerous. Possibly not physically, depending on your genre. I think.

8. The Ordeal

So this is basically the climax/right after the climax. Everything goes wrong. All is lost. The character's worst fear comes true. My SUPER amazing teacher (no like seriously. She's a Christian and a Whovian. Those two things right there are enough.), Mrs. Wallace, said that the black moment should be when your hero is at the point that if they don't get away from/defeat the villain, they think they won't recover. Or at least I think that's what she said. It sounds right. *Googles it.* Yup. Sounds good.

9. The Reward

Something is won, whether it's the hero's life or another character's life or a physical thing, etc. And the hero is still in danger.

10. The Road Back

The hero goes back home, or to his/her new home, or wherever his/her new destination is, etc. What happens? What does the hero encounter?

11. The Resurrection

This is the hero's epiphany. Whatever they've been struggling with internally throughout the whole book finally makes sense. They bloom. They become a better person. Stuff like that.

12. Return with the Elixir

There are lessons learned. The goals have been accomplished. Precious treasures/artifacts are back where they're supposed to be (or if it's a series and you like cliffhangers, some precious artifact/person is not where it/he/she is supposed to be. Think Rick Riordan. Percabeth. Tartarus. Ouch.)

And that's that!
DISCLAIMER: (because I'm terribly insecure.)
I'm seventeen. I'm not published. Okay, I am, on here and on Figment, but not really published. You could say I'm inexperienced. Very inexperienced. I'm still in the learning process. The Hero's Journey was created by some awesome guy named Joseph Campell. My teacher taught me this, and then I used the notes from her class and came up with these explanations of the 12 steps. I've probably misinterpreted at least a few things. So Google this and ask actual published writers about it and DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Bekah Joan

13.2.14

Scribblers' Conference 2014

Scribblings
Geez, I meant to do this post a long time ago.
Find out more information here.
I'll be doing two or three posts on my blog for this. The posts will be on plotting/outlining. It shall be fun. If any of you would like to do a post series for this, just comment on the post (read it first, so you understand) and give Anne what she asks for.
The deadline for this is tomorrow, February 14th, 2014.
Sorry for the short notice.
Okay, I have to go. My writing class starts in eight minutes. Well, hopefully. My teacher is having weather problems so she might not be there and I might have to watch the recording, which is only thirty minutes long instead of ninety minutes.
THIS IS SO SAD THAT CLASS IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK GAHHHH.
Sorry. I hope she's there.
Happy writing (or schoolworking or dancing or eating or fangirling or whatever you non-writer readers of mine do), my dears.
Bekah Joan
Edit: she's not there. Alas. So sad. *Sigh.* Well, off to watch the recording!

9.2.14

the book thief // favorite quotes

via Pinterest
[in no particular order.]
"The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy who loves you."
"It kills me sometimes, how people die."
"I am haunted by humans."
"A DEFINITION NOT FOUND
IN THE DICTIONARY
not leaving: an act of trust and love, often deciphered
by children."
"A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship."
"Even death has a heart."
"His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do—the best ones. The ones who rise up and say, "I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come."
"A NICE THOUGHT:
One was a book thief.
The other stole the sky."
"She was saying goodbye and she didn't even know it."
"The sky was white but deteriorating fast. As always, it was becoming an enormous drop sheet. Blood was bleeding through, and in patches, the clouds were dirty, like footprints in melting snow.
Footprints? you ask.
Well, I wonder whose those could be."
"The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this."
"As always, one of her books was next to her."
"If they killed him tonight, at lease he would die alive."
"'There were stars,'" he said. 'They burned my eyes.'"
"Like her papa, her soul was sitting up."

The Book Thief is by Markus Zusak. He is a truly talented writer, and I would suggest this book to anyone. All of you who have read this post and have not read the book: go read the book. It will change you.
Bekah Joan

Looking for something to read?

Check out my FREE book, The Runaway House, on Wattpad:

When Lee witnesses a murder, her only chance at survival is running. Somewhere along the way she meets a man who takes her to The Runaway House, a safe place for fugitives and runaways. There she begins to find peace, courage, love, and a real family.

Check it out here.

8.2.14

an excerpt [5]

Dawnyelle {via}
From the NaNo + DOOM novel, which I finally decided upon a title for: The Four Seasons of Dawnyelle. I'm working on changing it from third person past to first person present because first person present is my favorite (although I think it's the hardest to write. But more on that later). Below is the new opening. Enjoy, lovelies.
W I N T E R
Dawnyelle
Have you ever felt like nothing is worth it?
   You’re trying so hard to live, but the more you try, the more death yanks at your head, your neck, your arms, your legs, your toes, until all you want to do is succumb?
   Winter does this to me. Its cold and windy fingers wrap around my heart and lungs, squeezing until I collapse onto the hardwood floor, begging for mercy.
   It just so happens to be January second, so here I am on my bedroom floor, curled up under a nest of blankets with my Chemistry textbook.
   My mother is downstairs doing some craft with my two younger brothers, Joey and Coilin. Their laughter fills the rooms as much as the dusty air does. My cat, Meows, is asleep next to me.
   But I am so alone.
. . . .
That's all I have for the moment. Now I'm stuck. Yaaaaay!
[1] [2] [3] [4]

Bekah Joan

5.2.14

Oh, Hey. I'm Seventeen.




This morning, the Great Outside greeted me with pure white snow and wind and a grey sky. I greeted it by turning off my alarm and sleeping in for another forty-five minutes. When I woke up again, my first thoughts were something along the lines of, It's my seventeenth birthday. Yippee. I don't care.
When I finally got up, I did some homework and then my dad and I got donuts for breakfast. The defrosters in his truck weren't working, so for part of the way back we had the windows rolled down. I embraced the cold and stared at the white and grey and dreary streets as we passed by.
When we got home, we ate our delicious donuts with Scottish tea in fancy teacups (pictured above) with some half-wilted grapes. It was all quite delicious and wonderful.
Then I opened presents. I got The Amazing Story Generator from my younger sister, a Snitch (think Harry Potter) necklace from my older sister, and a ring and a pair of bird earrings and a pair of Eiffel Tower earrings from my parents. Mrs. G (it's also her youngest's birthday today) gave me a ship necklace with a very lovely card (although that was yesterday).
Then I had science class, which was eh, because do you really want to do Chemistry on your birthday? I thought so.
I'm supposed to be in the car right now, on the way to Kentucky to go to the Creation Museum. But there's just so much snow so we decided to go in the spring. I was planning on reading The Great Gatsby all day while we'd be driving, but I haven't even picked it up yet. There were donuts. Then school. And I also took a few pictures that I absolutely detest. Oh, well. Another try shall happen when I feel like picking up the camera again.
And so far, that's been my seventeenth birthday. Maybe I'll do another post about it later, but right now I don't feel like talking about how I feel or what my goals are for my seventeenth year or blahblahblahblahblah. It's just not the day.

Bekah Joan
oh. i forgot to mention. google wished me a happy birthday, which was touching and odd and a bit creepy.
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