Monday, August 20, 2018

Watching // Listening to // Reading // Writing

After watching for more than a year, I finally finished Friends. 

I started it last summer, I believe, but when school started, I stopped watching (we were on a break, okay??). It's not my favorite sitcom ever (that will forever and always be Frasier), but it was oh so much fun to see all the silly situations that Ross got himself in to.

On the subject of sitcoms, my roommate and I are nearing the end of The Office. It's been a fun Netflix Trip.

Some friends and I went to see Incredibles 2, which I thought was incredible (haha). Did you know the movies are set in the 1960s? I didn't notice the time period in the first movie, but it was evident in this one. It adds one more element to an already fantastic film.

This poster belongs to Disney Pixar
My friend and I just finished Netflix's Lost in Space. I have so many thoughts about this show that it will be its own separate post.

Last but not least, I watched the first episode of Babylon 5 last night. My dad and I are watching it "together." Even though we are 1,500 miles apart, we will watch an episode or three a week and then talk about it. My thoughts so far: it reminds me a lot of Deep Space Nine, but Star Trek has much better graphics (and better acting and writing, too, methinks, but I don't want to make a final judgement yet since I have only seen the first episode). I'm excited to keep watching!

I've been on a classical music kick over the past few weeks. I've been listening to a lot of Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition <3), Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Saint-Saens. Check out The Carnival of the Animals—it is so much fun! My favorite pieces are "Aquarium," "Pianists," and "Fossils."

I've also been listening to a lot of Twenty One Pilots. I'd never heard of them before coming to school, but they are now one of my favorite bands. They are coming out with a new album in October and have released three songs with music videos. I love Twenty One Pilots because they have created a whole world and story line within their music, and it is SO. COOL. because it is an extended metaphor for the singer's mental health. I can't embed their new music into my blog for some reason, so here is a link to their music video "Jumpsuit" (which I think is slightly more understandable than "Nico and the Niners," which is my favorite of their three new songs).

This summer, I have been making my way through the Minstrel's Song series by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt. I've been reading them on the Kindle app on my phone, usually in my fifteen minute morning breaks at work. I'm at my grandparent's house until school starts next week, however, so I am reading, reading, reading. I finished Yorien's Hand yesterday. Whooooaaaa. So epic! I am afraid for Oraeyn, Kamarie, Yole, Brant, and the gang, and my intrigue about Kiernan Kane continues to grow! I started Minstrel's Call this morning.

From Instagram
I am also reading a book of short stories by Willa Cather, which I am enjoying. The stories are about the disillusionment that creators sometimes feel. I am re-reading "The Garden Lodge" right now, which is about a practical woman who has a famous tenor to stay at her house. When he leaves, she has a breakdown as she remembers how her childhood was destroyed by over-sentimentality and how she refused to indulge in anything imaginative as a result. I didn't quite catch the meaning of the story the first time I read it; I understand it more the second time. The stories make me sad because the characters are misunderstood and purposeless artists, but it is a good kind of sadness because it reminds me that I do have a greater purpose when I am creative: I reflect God the creator.

From Instagram

I haven't been writing anything, but I do have several ideas floating around in my head... I am going to keep them in my head right now, especially since school is starting next week, and I definitely won't have time for personal projects then. I will tell you that one idea is sci-fi and one is fantasy and one is memoir(ish).
Also, there are exciting things happening on the blogging horizon...


So, what have you guys been watching/listening to/reading/writing? Are you excited for the Silmaril Awards? What do you think of the slightly modified name?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cover Reveal: Finding the Magic

My fellow blogger Jack Lewis Baillot is coming out with a new book soon, and I am participating in her cover reveal! 

Jack is an author, which is why she spends much of her time writing and little of her time editing. She likes to follow characters around and tell their stories even if they don't tell her everything they know about their stories.
She lives alone in a Hobbit hole and spends her spare time with her nose stuck in a book. When she isn't doing that she is busy baking bread and annoying her neighbors with bagpipes. 

The cover (of which I absolutely love the back):

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Belle is sent to the countryside to escape the London bombings of WWII. She knows she will miss her mother and worry about her father, who is away fighting in the war, but has no idea what awaits her in the manor in which she is to live. She finds friends in the staff but the mysterious and elusive master of the house frightens her. Can she teach him to find the magic in a world where magic seems to be long gone?

I read an unfinished version of this story a while ago, and I remember being delighted. If you are looking for a cozy read, check out this story when it comes out!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Brain Dump

Hello, and welcome back to my blog. I've been trying to write a "professional" blog post for the past week, but I haven't gotten anywhere, so here is a raw brain dump of what I've been thinking over the summer.

For those wondering, I did not finish Camp NaNoWriMo, but I did write 30,000 words (exactly) in July and figured out the direction in which to take Daniel and Varina, two of my oldest and most beloved characters. 
I was hoping that Camp NaNoWriMo would motivate me to be creative again, but August has come and I feel discouraged again. Since editing my fantasy novel (you know the one), I have been struggling with who my audience is. Since I started writing semi-seriously, my books have featured adult characters, but I have heard from multiple people that my writing style is more suited for middle grade readers. This makes sense as many of my favorite stories are middle grade novels. These books shaped who I am and made me want to be an author. I would love to inspire people like Sharon Creech, Erin Hunter, Eva Ibbotson, and Jeanne Birdsall inspired me.
That's hard, however, because, in college, I am learning to write literary fiction, which is alien to my natural style. It's good to learn, of course, but it also makes me question whether I am a good writer if I can't write literarily. 

I've never had an audience for my writing. When I was younger, I wrote because I enjoyed it. I liked exploring my imagination, but I've lost some of that whimsy since becoming an adult. If I am to be a full-time author, that means that I have to have an audience, but I don't. I don't have a specific age group that I write for, but I can't write just for fun anymore because I feel like I am wasting time... like I need to be doing something better. I guess writing isn't as fulfilling as it used to be, not to mention that college has sucked away my creativity and time, which makes it hard to do much of anything in what little free time I have.
Which brings me to blogging. I love blogging, and I love reading all of your blogs, but I am so brain dead from homework during the school year that it's so so so hard for me to keep up with a blogging schedule no matter how much planning I put into it. Maybe if I had more willpower, things would be different. I also feel like my posts have to be witty and happy and meet a certain standard of writing, but I don't always have interesting things to post about, or extra brainpower to make the words flow well, or even happiness to pour into a post.

I don't know where I am headed in life. Right now, I lack motivation, confidence, and passion, which makes it hard to do anything, especially if that something is creative. 
That being said, I will be participating in a few blog tours and also the Silmarillion Awards in the next month, so look out for those exciting things!
I don't know where this blog is heading in the future, but I wanted to say that I value everyone that I've meet through the blogging community. You all mean a lot to me, even though I don't always post or comment or keep up with you very well. 
Anyway, that's my brain dump. Maybe since I've gotten those thoughts out of the way, I can start to post more interesting things again. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

New Beginnings (Third Time's the Charm)

Hi, guys. We are three weeks into NaNoWriMo, and I started my novel over again.

Last time on Adventures with Abbey, I decided to focus on characters rather than plot and write from Varina's point-of-view. 
Something was still wrong, though. I started in medias res, which means in the middle of things, but this didn't give any context to my characters, their goals, or their motivations. I didn't feel any connection to Varina because I didn't have time to develop her before I threw her into a plane crashI felt even less connection to Daniel because I wasn't writing from his point-of-view. 
Even though I am trying to write a character driven story, I didn't feel like there was enough of a plot to support the characters. Daniel and Varina were on their way to a conference when their plane crashes. Varina decides to kidnap Daniel when she learns that he is the son of the man whom her father used to work for because she thinks that Daniel has information about her father's death.
By starting here in the storyline, I felt like I couldn't go anywhere. 

So I started over.


I rearranged the events of the story, such as the conference and the plane crash, so that the novel begins earlier in the storyline. This allows the audience to meet, and become comfortable with, Daniel and Varina before they are thrown into a dangerous situation. I also switched back to third person.
They say third time's the charm, and I can agree: this new beginning is going the smoothest of the three. I know my characters better, and I know where they are going in the plot. 

The moral of the story is that sometimes the pacing of your story is off. Sometimes you need to restart. Twice. Sometimes in medias res does not work and you have to start earlier in the timeline. And that's okay. 

Has this every happened to you guys? Have you ever had to start a project over and over and over again until you finally found the right beginning? Let me know! 

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Truth About my NaNoWriMo Novel

We are just over a week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and I am right on track. I have almost 15,000 words, but, the truth is, I don't like what I've written. I don't like my plot and I don't like my characters.

My original plot for this Camp NaNo centered on Varina: her father has been murdered and she wants to find out whodunnit. As she searches for clues, she meets Daniel, a wannabe pianist held back by controlling parents. I was scared about this because I have always written plot-driven novels, and this idea didn't seem like it could support 50,000 words of story unless it was a thriller, which I didn't want to write.

I decided to make the story character-driven and hoped that the plot would follow. But then I had an idea in the shower... and my novel changed into a plot-driven, magical realism complete with Bigfoots and an intricate plot. A week later, I am kicking myself for letting familiarity woo me away from trying something new. I'm also not sure I like the magical realism twist. Daniel and Varina's characters are meant to be in the real world, I think.

I did extensive character profiles on Daniel and Varina before I started to write, but they are not coming off like I had hoped. Daniel is needy and privileged, but he lacks the charisma that is supposed to draw Varina and readers (and me!) to him. Varina is supposed to be angry and logical, but she is not supposed to have a compassion deficiency! I don't like either of them, which means that you won't either. They don't like each other either, which is problem if they are to become best friends later.

I'm also not sure who is supposed to be telling this story. I started by alternating between Daniel and Varina's point-of-view, but something was off, so I tried doing first person from Daniel's perspective. I haven't written much in first person, so I quickly reverted to third person without realizing it. This was the second new thing I tried that didn't work because I didn't put in the effort of trying something new.
A wise woman once said, "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!" but I don't like any of those things, so I stay where it's familiar and safe. Several areas of my life are impacted by this, but my creativity suffers the most.
Which is why I've decided to start Camp NaNorWriMo over. I am ditching the magical Bigfoots and going back to my original idea. I am going to write in first person from Varina's point-of-view. I am also going to keep the 15,000 words that I've already written.

Oh, and guess what? My Camp NaNoWriMo novel does not have a title! I know, I know, you are all shocked, but perhaps you can understand that not every novel I write can have such a brilliant title as "Unnamed Fantasy Novel." That title took all of my creativity so that, four years later, I still can't come up with anything as clever.

Let's get a conversation started in the comments! Do you tend to write all of your stories in the same style? Do you think there is benefit to trying different styles? Am I insane for starting this story over again?