NaNoWriMo Update: Week 3

I knew this week was going to be a difficult one because of my birthday and I was right. I’m officially 24 and another year older, but I’m behind. I’m going to keep pushing. I got zeros words done yesterday on my birthday and have events planned for today and tomorrow to celebrate. The plan is to get some writing done early so I’m not ignoring my WIP for an entire day again.

What I can’t do

ignoring tina fey GIF by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

To all those that are behind like me, keep going! We’ll get there eventually.

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At The Movies: Thor: Ragnarok

I wasn’t able to see it opening weekend, but I finally saw Thor: Ragnarok. From the moment we got the first trailer, I was excited to see the film. Here are my thoughts on the film. Warning: spoilers ahead!

Humor

When word was released that the next Thor film was going to deal with Ragnarök, I expected dark and angsty. This movie was a lot of fun. There were plenty of funny moments from the main cast and even minor characters like Topaz, the Grandmaster’s assistant played by Rachel House. Korg, who was voiced by director Taika Waititi, made me laugh every time he came on screen. I loved that character. I’m still quoting some of his lines to family and friends and laughing about it.

While the humor was great, I did feel like it took away from other parts of the story. For example, Odin’s death. The brothers don’t have time to mourn because they immediately had to deal with Hela and then ending up on Sakaar where Valkyrie is drunk and flopping off of ramps.

We’ve seen Thor deal with loss, but never quite like this. His father, his beloved hammer, and his homeworld in one film. I would have liked to see a bit more of an emotional performance from Hemsworth. We got the small moment of the cliff, his moment of disappointment while looking for a weapon on Sakaar, and then the scene where he kicks things in frustration like a teenager.

Visuals

As usual for most Marvel films, the visuals for Thor: Ragnarok were spectacular. Ever since the first film, I’ve been awe at the scenes where they use the Bifrost and portals to travel. Hela’s transformations were seamless. Visually, one of my favorite scenes was the flashback of the Valkyrie battling Hela.

Another one of my favorite visual moments is the return to Asgard from Sakaar. Overall, it was a nice movie for the eyes.

The Villain

Over the years, Marvel Studios has gotten critiques that the film adaptions of well-known villains haven’t been that great. I think Hela was a better villain than others in the MCU. Beyond the writing, Cate Blanchett’s performance brought strength to the character. She knew what she wanted and had qualms about killing anyone to get there. Her motivations and backstory are believable.

I have a preference for hints in earlier content about things to come in storytelling, i.e. a secret sibling. But when you have different teams writing each film and some altered storyline for characters, it’s almost impossible for any one writer and director to guess what the next team will bring in and what Marvel will approve.

Now, I’m left wondering about the relationship between the departed Frigga and her eldest child. Was she in support of her imprisonment? How did Hela react to news of Frigga’s death? Questions that may be irrelevant to the plot of Thor: Ragnarok, but questions I have none the less.

Favorite Parts of Film

1. Valkyrie

I loved her character. Flawed and dealing with the loss of the other valkyrie and the disappointment of the royal family’s drama, we see this woman once bond by duty coping in the way she knows best. Tessa Thompson’s performance was great. Question: How’d her hair go from half up and braided to flowing. Does her armor style her hair too?

2. Korg

Like I mentioned earlier in the review, Korg kept me laughing. He was a funny and interesting device to provide some backstory when telling Thor about the Grandmaster’s fight dome. His inclusion later in the story wasn’t expected but made sense. I thought he was just going to be a funny throwaway character, but he actually got to do things.

3. Thor Getting His Full Powers

Watching Thor use his lightning was cool and fulfilling. I was expecting him to somehow reforge Mjolnir, but maybe that’s to come later even though we don’t know where the pieces are. I think him freezing in combat to have visions of Odin probably didn’t make sense strategically, but they were interesting.

Honorable mention to the great Heimdall played by this handsome and talented Idris Elba. I wasn’t feeling the dreads, but I was definitely here for his storyline. When the film started with Skurge at the Bifrost, I was like “That isn’t Heimdall!” but I was pleased to find him doing his own thing and being heroic.

The Jacobs

 

 

 

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Week Two Update: NaNoWriMo

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I’m happy to report that I️ hit 10k and then 12k this week which is farther than I got last year. I’m kind of impressed with my diligence after the setback I️ had last Friday. Long story short, I️ went to the eye doctor for the first time and my eyes stayed dilated longer than expected so writing was a no go.

My weekends, especially my Sundays can get busy. I’m head of the youth ministry and sing on the praise team. Last Sunday, when I️ planned to go home and write I️ ended up at Olive Garden for dinner. This week was a bit of a struggle. I had so many things to get done before I could sit down and write. For my health, I had to eat a decent, healthy breakfast and then get a workout in. There were also a few freelance assignments that took priority. Some days I was able to sit write down after and write. Other days I ended up watching Netflix for longer than I should have.

I’ve missed the mark according to the NaNo counter for where I should be for past few days, but I’m going to try and play catch up. Best of luck to everyone this weekend and during week three.

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NaNoWriMo is Here!

Happy November, everyone!

For all those participating in NaNo this month, good luck!  I hope to learn from my mistakes last year to get a win this year. 

With November also being my birthday month, I know I’ve got to hit the ground running hard today because by the time my birthday rolls around I’m trying to finalize plans and my brain is on everything but writing. Double whammy is that Thanksgiving is the week after my birthday. These two events were my down fall last year.

I’m sending out positive vibes and rebuking writer’s block and distractions writing now. Happy NaNoWriMo everyone!

‘How to Get Away with Murder’ Recap and Review: “It’s for the Greater Good”

As you guys may or may not know, I write for a sports and entertainment website. If you guys are into any of the shows, movies, music, sports, that we write about I would really appreciate the clicks and comments. Thanks for the support!

Check out my latest article, which is a recap of this week’s episode of How to Get Away with Murder. Any Shondaland fans out here?

“Annalise took on a new case and clashed with more than one person, while Laurel dug for evidence to get Michaela’s help, and Connor made a big decision.”

Source: ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ Recap and Review: “It’s for the Greater Good”

Tuesday Talks: Learning The Industry

When I started writing fanfiction and poems in middle school, I wasn’t sure how far I’d go with my writing. My senior year in high school, my AP Lit teacher shared a poetry contest that she encouraged us to enter. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to enter.

We all have those moments where we doubt our work. I had one of those moments. I spoke to my teacher and she told me to go for it. I sent in my poem and ended up being published in the Library Congress’ youth book of poetry for that year. Of course, I look back on that poem now and cringe, but that’s not important.

When I got serious and started taking creative writing courses in college, I realized just how much I didn’t know about trying to get published and being a writer. My professors, some who were published writers and poets, dropped terms sometimes that left me panicking because I wasn’t quite sure what they were talking about or where to start my research.

Even now as I connect with other writers and try to follow industry news, I feel a little lost in the sauce. Am I connecting with the right people? Am I participating in the right writing hashtags? Can I follow this agent, editor, published person without seeming like a desperate writer trying to get on their radar?

As I write my book, I wonder if I’ve learned enough. Am I in the know enough to really know what to do when I finish my book?

For my veteran writers, where did you start? What are some good resources I should look into?

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Tuesday Talks: A Second Look

As I mentioned in my “What Am I Reading” post, reading “Your Brain at Work” has made me take a second look at a story I started years ago. I was fourteen years old and reading stories on Quizilla, Mibba, Wattpad, and Fanfiction on top of the YA novels and classics I was into at the time. Back then, I was writing crappy poetry and a couple of fanfiction one-shots. My first multi-chapter original work never had a consistent title and was full of cheesy cliches and high school life the way my freshman brain dramatized it and replicated it from movies and TV. In college, I went back and made it look more professional with manuscript formatting and updated vocabulary, but the plot was still the same because I was so busy with other writing assignments for classes.

Now, at twenty-three, I’ve come across a book that’s in a completely different genre and has nothing to do with teenage drama. The experience of reading “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock has been the closest I’ve come to finding enjoyment while reading about the brain over the years. Maybe it’s the way Rock sets up the novel in acts and scenes like a play. Or how he incorporated characters into a book filled with research and studies on how the brain works in regards to productivity and focus.

Somehow after reading the first few pages, an idea struck me. This concept had me thinking back on that old story and seeing a new plot that I could build on. A plot that didn’t feel cheesy and I could see an ending for. I was already beginning to contemplate taking a step back from my current WIP because of real-world events that made writing not fun; it’s based in a post-nuclear war society and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to handle race in a novel where humans had another way to be connected, grouped, and judged. The threat of nuclear war and the current climate in society and the YA community’s on race made me really think hard about my work.

I think the biggest things I’ve taken from this experience is that the smallest idea or exposure to something can completely change how a writer views their work. Also, just because you put a work on pause or hate it doesn’t mean you’ll never pick it back up or find the inspiration to revamp it.  One fact about the brain and its behavior gave me a way to revamp a seven-year-old story that I had put away almost completely for three years. Reading is fundamental to growing as a writer not only to see what others are doing style wise and to see what’s being published, but also because inspiration can be in the pages of someone else’s labor of love, in someone else’s words.

What have you read that inspires you? What work have you put aside that could now have a new beginning?

Kira Elise

 

 

What I’m Reading Pt. 1

As promised, I’m sharing some of my thoughts so far on “Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long” by David Rock. So far, I can say that this book has already given me some ideas and shifted my perspective a bit on how to work smarter, not only when writing my WIP and doing freelance work, but for how I plan my days and how to handle fanfiction projects.

After reading the first bit of the book, an idea for an old project I got stuck on came to me. I paused in my reading and went, “Wow, that could turn into something great.” I decided to re-read what I have so far and start working on it from this new angle. I took a break from my other WIP for reasons I’ll explain in my next Tuesday Talk post.

“Your Brain” really goes into some of the science behind our brains and how best to plan and think to be productive longer and more effectively. I took a psychology class in high school and the introductory course in college, so at one point in time I knew some things about the human brain. But, as with all kinds of information, when you don’t consistently use it little facts and scholarly studies slip my mind.

One thing that stuck out to me was Rock’s discussion on the pre-frontal cortex. Although it’s the smallest part of our brain it’s pretty much the most important. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for humans’ ability to make decisions. The cortex “chews up metabolic fuel, such as glucose and oxygen faster than people realize.” This concept makes me think of all the people who don’t eat breakfast in the morning. For me, it’s the first thing I do because otherwise, I’m grumpy and unfocused. Rock’s information emphasized the importance of fueling yourself. How do those people make it through the day before lunch?

Another thing that stuck out to me in the first part of the book is the fact that studies have shown that when we have to compare items, the optimal number of items is two. More than that and we can’t make effective comparisons. For writers, we make decisions about our work constantly. From word choice to character names and when to stop a chapter. Some of us will have five different ideas about how we want a scene to turn out. Now, I know why I feel like quitting sometimes when I’m not sure where to take a scene. I’m trying to compare too many options.

Fuel your brain and minimize how much you try and make your brain think about and handle at one time.

What are you reading?

Kira Elise

Song of the Week

Happy Friday!

The song I choose this week has been stuck in my head. Today’s pick for song of the week is “Too Good at Goodbyes” by Sam Smith. Congratulations to Sam on a strong return and a catchy and relatable song.  I missed his soft but powerful voice. I love the song. I think it speaks to the mindset of millennials and even some of the older members of generation Z when it comes to relationships. So many people no longer have a positive outlook on relationships either through personal experience or because social media makes it looks like nobody can be trusted. The lines that stuck out to me were:

I’m never gonna let you close to me
Even though you mean the most to me
‘Cause every time I open up, it hurts
So I’m never gonna get too close to you
Even when I mean the most to you
In case you go and leave me in the dirt

It’s a mindset that is common nowadays. While I’m glad Sam can speak to those feelings through his song, I hope that while we’re all singing it and thinking about it we really think about the walls we put up and why we do so. Sam said during his break that he lived life and had experiences. Based on “Too Good at Goodbyes”, one of those experiences was heartbreak and that sucks. On the flip side, it resulted in a good song. When you follow a musician you never want them to go through crappy things, but sadly, or not depending on how you look at it, some great work comes out of pain. I can’t wait to hear Smith’s new music.

Check out the song the video that was released on Monday below.

Kira Elise