Puppies and Pens

on Monday, September 29, 2014
    So I know this is a writing blog, but it's also my blog and I like to talk about what I'm doing week by week.  Last week was Banned Books Week.  This week is, "Hey look everyone!  I got a puppy!" Week.  So because I've had a bit of a distraction the past few days, I figured I'd share these pictures with you instead of some writing.  Because who doesn't love puppies?!?!
    Her name is Astrid (yes, after the character from How To Train Your Dragon, it's my favorite movie), and she is 9 weeks old.  She was born the day after my birthday.  Her favorite things are sleeping, her tug-o-war rope, and sleeping.  I can't really tell what color she is.  She's brown and black in the same spots, and looks kind of ashy.  She's got spots all over her nose, chin, tummy, and paws.  And her favorite spot is under the coffee table.

Another Banned Book

on Thursday, September 25, 2014
    I was not planning on doing another blog post this week (since I've already surpassed my weekly quota and you people are probably sick of hearing from me about banned books), but then I found out about another book that's been banned and I knew I needed to post this since it's banned books week.
    I'm sure everyone has heard of John Green's bestselling book (and now a movie), The Fault In Our Stars, or TFIOS as it has been nicknamed.  If for some reason you've been living under a rock in Antarctica and haven't heard of TFIOS, here's the blurb.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

"Just Like Everybody Else"

on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
    After my first post this week about my third grade teacher, I talked to my mom about my elementary school teachers.  I don't really remember much before third grade, but my mom told me some stories about the different types of teachers I had.

    (No, that is not me, but I'm sure my mom has a bunch of pictures of me similar to this one.)
    In Kindergarten, my teacher was Mrs. Friedrich.  I knew how to read and write long before I went into Kindergarten, so the regular assignments were boring and repetitive for me.  After a few days of school, she pulled me and my mom aside after class and opened up her special classroom closet and pulled out a book.  I don't remember exactly what she said, but basically she said that my learning level was above that of the rest of the class and I shouldn't do the regular homework assignments anymore.  She handed me a book, I don't remember what it was, but she said that reading that book was my homework for the night.  My mom told me yesterday that for the rest of the year she made me specific homework assignments to help with my mental development.

Banned Books Week Facts

on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Just some random facts I compiled about Banned Books.

1.) The most challenged book of 2013 is the Captain Underpants Series.  It was also the most challenged book of 2012.

2.) Anne Frank : The Diary of A Young Girl was banned simply because it was "too depressing".

3.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which has been challenged countless times for "Satanism" and "religious views", is the fourth most popular book of all time with over 107 million copies sold since it was released in 1997.

4.) Parents are the most common challenger of books at 6,103 challenges between 1990 and 2010, with Patrons in second place at only 1,450 challenges during the same period of time.

Banned Books Week

on Monday, September 22, 2014
    In honor of Banned Books Week (September 21-27th), I decided to do a blog post about banning and challenging books.
    There are many reasons parents challenge and attempt to ban books from schools, the most common being "unsuited to age group" (989 challenges), "offensive language" (1,291 challenges), and "sexually explicit material" (1,577 challenges).  While I do not personally enjoy reading books with bad language and explicit material, I do not agree with the idea of banning books.

    A few days ago, this City Weekly article was brought to my attention.  Shannon Hale's books were banned from a number of Elementary Schools simply because they were "unsuited to age group", the reading level recommended for 6th-8th graders.  Shannon's Hales Books of Bayern are my favorite books, but that isn't why this article made me upset.


on Thursday, September 18, 2014
    Scrivener is my new best friend.  

    Now, I've only been using it for two days so I haven't had time to really go through everything and experience any troubles (the only trouble I'm having is changing the standard font color from red to black, because I'm so computer oriented).  It's got some mixed reviews, but I have discovered I love the set up of it.
    It breaks down bigger texts (novels, scripts, longer school papers, etc.) into smaller chunks.  I'll show you a picture.

Rose Ch. 1 (Rewritten)

on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
    I know, all my readers are like, "What?  You've already posted the first chapter of Rose, silly Alyson."  But this is not the old first chapter of Rose.  This is a much better version of the first chapter.  I love the new perspective much better.  It adds so much more than the old one had.  I've had a lot of struggles with perspective in writing Rose, so I'm trying to sort those out before I get any farther in the writing.  Yes, perspective, just like that double perspective prompt I promised I'd write like two weeks ago.  Don't worry, that's coming very soon.


Chapter 1

     For a while after it was all over, Rose struggled to cope with her new life.  Everything she ever thought she knew about her family, her life, and herself was shaken up and tossed around.  It took almost a year for the nightmares to stop.  She would scream in her sleep until I woke her.  Then she would cry until the morning light streaked through the embroidered curtains and burned away the image of those haunting green eyes.
     I tried to be there for her as best I could.  I didn’t sleep well either, so it was easy for me to stay up in one of the large red chairs next to her bed, and rub her back while she slept.  I was plagued with nightmares too, but they weren’t of malicious green eyes and never waking up.  They were of losing her.  I stayed awake and rubbed her back while she slept because I needed to know she was still breathing and that she would wake up again.  It was my fault she had these nightmares.  I was the one who dragged her out of ignorant bliss in Domfront because I was stupid and in love, so selfishly in love.

Modern Day Fairy Tales

on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    As I'm working on the rewrite of Rose, I've discovered some struggles with my characters and the Point of View of the story.  Searching for inspiration on Pinterest, I found this fun little article from missliterati.com that talks about how to approach writing a modern day fairy tale.

    The first step, obviously, is to pick a modern day setting.  That should be one of the first steps to writing anything.  The setting is very important because it affects how the characters are and how the plot plays out.  It doesn't have to be in our world though, because I'm currently helping someone edit their fantasy that takes place in a made up world where they have planes and photographs, and many other fairly modern elements in it.  In Rose, the setting is vital to the personalities of all the different characters.  If Rose wasn't raised in a tiny town where everyone knew everyone else, then she wouldn't have this quiet personality that Phillippe could come and uproot.  If Phillippe wasn't raised as a super wealthy son of a businessman, then he wouldn't have such a desire to get away from his father so often and he wouldn't have run into Rose.  He also most likely wouldn't have learned fencing, and *spoiler* that comes into play in the end. 

Powerful Ch. 1

on Saturday, September 13, 2014
    It took me a lot longer than I thought to type up, but I finally finished the first chapter of Powerful, my new story idea.  I'm going to occasionally write more, but I'm still heavily focusing on Rose.  I just wanted to give you guys a peek at what I have been working on all week.  Originally it was in third person, but after a lot of thought I decided first person was better so I had to completely transcribe it.  It's been an adventure.  Anyway, here's the first look at Powerful.


Chapter 1

         The problems all started back when I was barely seven years old.
         That was when Mother and Father began to speak only in whispers, and their grown-up friend, Nodah, stopped coming to play with my brother, Elion, and me.  I was much too young to understand why everything had suddenly changed; all I knew was that I hated the sick feeling that sat in my stomach whenever I was inside the castle.  The few times I asked why everything was so strange, Mother shushed me with her usual, “Not now, Kylanore,” and sent me outside.
         As King and Queen of the Northwest Kingdom of Tykra, Mother and Father had always kept to themselves and out of the critical eye of the public, primarily the ever-watchful Council of Four who maintained balance between the Four Kingdoms.  I never would’ve noticed things had actually changed, except Eli began to copy their reclusive behaviors.


on Tuesday, September 9, 2014
    This weekend was crazy.  We moved and completely unpacked.  Whoo-hoo!  Also, I gave myself a black eye and broke my phone.  Not Whoo-hoo.  But I also had enough time to get back to my writing.  Whoo-hoo!  I'm hoping tomorrow I can post the first chapter of my new novel idea.
    Yesterday I was writing and I took a break to go on Facebook where I received some bad news.  A dear friend of mine, someone I mentioned in a previous post as one of the few people who encouraged me to write in high school, lost her husband to cancer yesterday.  It always pains me to see when bad things happen to good people, and she is the best person I know.  In honor of her, I wrote a poem.


on Thursday, September 4, 2014
    This is just a very very brief update about my life and why I haven't posted at all this week.  We found out Tuesday that we have to move, and we have to move out on Saturday.  You can only imagine the chaos we are dealing with right now.  BOXES EVERYWHERE.  It's completely ludicrous.  We are so lucky that we found a place to live as quickly as we did.  I have been too busy to write or to post and it's killing me because I have so much that I want to write.  I even figured out what I want to write for the double perspective prompt from last week.  
    I promise that next week will bring lots of writing (intermixed with lots of unpacking, of course).  I will post the double perspective prompt.  I will introduce the new book idea I'm working on (but won't be focusing on until after Rose is done).  I will make up for neglecting you, my wonderful readers, as soon as we are moved into our new apartment.  
    For now I will impart on you these words of wisdom that remind me that it's okay if I'm going insane.

    I'll be back soon with lots more for you.