Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Wrap-Up

As you can probably tell from my lack of posting, this month was a little nuts. Lots of homework for my classes, grandparents visiting for Thanksgiving, and trying to get as much writing in as I can. So good nuts, but still crazy! I hope you all had a more productive NaNoWriMo than I did. For the first time in eight years, I didn't finish my word goal. I got 20,000 words total written. It's not a total loss since I still wrote a bunch, and some of it might be worth salvaging, but it does feel weird not to be celebrating at this point in the month.

Books I Read

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo


I always like Kate DiCamillo's books, and this one wasn't an exception. This plot was by far the simplest of any of her stories I've read, but I didn't mind it too much. I like character-driven stories. It wasn't boring at all, it was just a sleepy kind of feel, like a lazy summer read, which I found enjoyable. Beverly's character made me laugh and Louisiana was delightfully quirky. The only character I didn't really connect with was Raymie. The other two girls had very distinct personalities, but I felt like Raymie was distant the whole time, which isn't really what you want with a protagonist.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


What a drug trip. Alice is a bit of a dingbat throughout the whole story. For example, when in the company of several mice, she chooses her cat aka an expert mouse hunter as an appropriate topic of conversation, then proceeds to wonder why the mice are offended. ?????? The plot felt disjointed, and the story rambled at parts, particularly with his specific writing style. But it was very imaginative.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor


HOLY CREATIVITY. I have to admit, I spent almost the entire book thinking this would be a four-star read, and then the ending hit! I was intrigued from the very beginning and really loved Karou as a protagonist (and Zuzana as a side character) and her whole secret life with her "monsters." Plus, it's set somewhere other than the US and England! I love interesting settings and we don't see enough of them in YA. Parts of the story really lagged because I still wasn't quite sure what the whole plot was supposed to be, hence why it was only going to be four stars. There's was too much mystery for too long of a time, which is a big turnoff for me. But then, BUT THEN, Laini Taylor pulls out a whopping plot twist that made my eyes bulge. I devoured the last hundred pages in a day. WOW. I can't wait to read the sequels.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


I've learned more about Iran and its culture from this one graphic novel than any article or piece of history I've read. It was really neat getting to see it from the perspective of a young girl growing up in it. The first part of the book was pretty confusing, because the politics seemed to be explained, but then something a character said would contradict what I thought I knew. I couldn't keep it all straight. The rest of it was much more enjoyable, though.

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash


AHHH, how cute was this?! The imperfect illustration style was the perfect way to carry out this story. I loved it. It was simple and raw and humorous and heart-wrenching at times. I would've easily given this a five-star review if it hadn't been for the ending. I don't mind open-ended, especially when it comes to a memoir like this since the author clearly has lived beyond this snapshot into her teenage years, but this felt very abrupt. A gradual slow down would've fit better, I think.

Movies I Watched

"Kate and Leopold"


Super fun and cute. It was an interesting take on time travel, and I always love getting to watch a person from the past try to assimilate to the future. The ending was a little unrealistic, but I guess that's what you get with a rom com and time travel. ;)

"Doctor Strange"


Benedict Cumberbatch. Do I need to say more?

Okay, fine, I will. This felt like a Marvel movie and also totally didn't feel like a Marvel movie. There was way more fantasy than science-fiction involved, which I loved. The special effects were super cool and Strange was both annoying and endearing somehow. Maybe it's the humor. I'm curious to see how he and Tony Stark would interact with each other. Benedict Cumberbatch also successfully succeeded in making his American accent believable, unlike many British actors.

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" 


Ohhhhh myyyyy Goooooood, I loved it. Newt Scamander is totally adorable and exactly the kind of Hufflepuff I'd hoped to see in this movie. And all of the side characters were great. Every single one. I loved seeing what the wizarding world was like in America (though I was kind of hoping for a glimpse into Ilvermorny, too, though I wonder if we'll get that in future movies?). I now want a Niffler, because they're SO CUTE. But there are a couple questions I need to get answered and I don't want to wait another two years for the next movie to figure it out!

"Noises Off" 


Hilarious. I felt exhausted after watching what the characters put themselves through for the play. Half the script had hardly any dialogue at all, it was just the actors running around backstage, passing props back and forth and mouthing things to each other (and I promise, it's a lot more interesting than I make it sound). It's a super fun movie for anyone into theater.

Quotes I Wrote

It might sound goofy, but one of my favorite things about what little of my NaNo novel I wrote was the cast of characters list I put at the beginning. Since there's a strong theater theme throughout the story, I thought it'd be fun to introduce the characters that way. You can see it in the picture below.

I got into screenwriting again! I was struggling with an idea of what to do until I remembered that I already had a perfectly fleshed out story: "Writer's Camp." It's dramatic and hysterical and written as if the author was sleep-deprived, much like writer's camp actually is. And the best part is 95% of it is true. And the campers I still keep in touch with love the idea, which means I can freely write their characters without worry. Here's the intro:

A black screen. Pitch black.

Most people have a clear idea of what a writer's camp looks like.


A dozen or so students scribble fervently in their notebooks, or type like the wind at their laptops. A very professorial TEACHER smiles at the students as he paces back and forth.

He checks the clock, and as soon as it hits eleven, he claps his hands.

Great writing, campers. Now let's return to our analysis of Dickinson's poem, Hope Is the Thing With Feathers.


All of the campers sit at one long table, eating and talking quietly. Someone laughs once in a while.

Do you mind looking over my first chapter? It's only a fourth draft, but I want it to be totally polished.

The CAMPER passes around their notebook. SAM, a fourteen-year-old girl with a bright smile and a funky fedora takes the notebook and scans the first few lines.

This version is much better than the last, really. Much more showing, a little less telling.

The Camper beams. SCENE FREEZES.

This idea is false.


A tall girl with glasses and a geeky t-shirt of some kind, KATE, sprints down the hall, laughing almost maniacally. She's followed by a much shorter girl with short hair and glasses, DANA, who is also laughing, but a little more nervously. They're both clutching at least half a dozen bags of gummy frogs. They both haven't slept for more than five hours in days. They've become different people in the course of this short camp. SCENE FREEZES.

This is what camp looks like.

Picture of the Month 

This month my dad took me to my first ever "Supernatural" convention in New Jersey! It was so much fun and I'll probably end up posting more about it soon, but here are a couple pictures from it. My grandparents also took my family to see "Something Rotten" on Broadway, which was hysterical.

Mark Sheppard doing whatever he pleases.
Misha Collins sighting in the hallway!
I fought my way through the crowd to get an autograph from Adam Pascal (aka the original Roger from "Rent") who played Shakespeare!

How was your November?


Boquinha said...

Such a fun post! And not goofy. Awesome. Seriously, I think it's really cool for real. What a month we've had! So much fun, but yeah, I'm tired. :P

Jimmy said...

You live such an interesting life! The Broadway shows and the visit with your grandparents sound like so much fun. And I don't think I've ever been able to read as much in a month as you do. I'm not using "not enough time" as my excuse. I just don't think I can read as much as you do. I know I can't write as well as you do. I love your creativity with your screen writing. How do you do it? It astounds me the different styles you can write in and the characters you can create.

I saw the Magnificent Seven. It was enjoyable enough. I realize though that I probably demand too much from movies. The only things I seem to really enjoy these days are great books and podcasts. Movies are just time fillers anymore.

Did I tell you we saw the Lion King on tour here in Albuquerque the end of October? If this tells you anything, it's my favorite musical now, finally removing Les Miserables from its long standing top spot on my list. They just didn't cut a corner anywhere--the music, the costumes, the singing, the dancing, the scenery. All that talent in one space left me in awe.

Thanks for your post. November was tough on me. I was disappointed in the election outcome, and that's putting it mildly. That led to me being disappointed in humanity. Not a good place to be.

The Magic Violinist said...


It's a good kind of tired. ;)


They're tons of fun! I've loved getting into musicals this year.

Thank you! Screenwriting has been something I wanted to try for a while, but I resisted because of the unusual formatting style. But if you use a program that does it for you as you write, it's not so hard. It's been a challenge to switch styles, but I like how much dialogue is involved in it.

Wow, it must be good to knock Les Mis out of the number one spot! The costumes are pretty amazing. I know it's really popular.

That's what reading's for. :) The fictional worlds have been more hopeful lately.