NaNo Character Maps

     Originally Posted on October 1st, 2013

       Countdown to the start of NaNo is officially on. 30 Days.

       I’ve spent some time in the computer lab at school making notes on characters and working on profiles. Most of the character maps are already done, and I’m working on the profile sheets now. I do most of it at school, since I can use the printers there.

       And for those who aren’t aware of it, Evernote is invaluable when it comes to using work on multiple computers. You can save just about anything to it: documents, pictures, pdfs, or use it to type things out. I’ve got the app for it on my kindle and on my phone.

       This is the first year that I’ve ever really used character maps, but I think that they’ve been helpful. I don’t think I’ll use them much past the initial planning stage, but they’ve been useful when working on the profile sheets and are useful for at-a-glance stuff like dates.

       They’ve also helped me do more characterization work than I’ve ever had done by this point.

An example of one of the main character’s maps

       Also,  I plan on making my own character profile sheet at some point before NaNo starts. I’ve found several good ones online, but they either have too much information, or too little. Once I get it finished, I’ll post it to my deviantArt, and to the resource page on here. 

       Cheers!

       -Mayuuya (Chelsea)

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The Beginnings of New Characters

Originally Posted on September 26th, 2013

For someone who prides herself on being very organized, I’m not so good at organizing the beginnings of a new story. Am I the only one who’s story notes look like I let my 2 year old niece loose with a pen and some paper? Surely I’m not. I hope. This is what my inital notes for characterizaion look like.

Actually, I’ve made worse messes on paper. My biology exam, for example. That was messy…

Yeah, not so pretty. On the other hand, this is probably be best early characterization I’ve done in a long time.

Clearly, I don’t always pick the best time to work on my stories… But on the other hand, it was a lot more interesting than the functions of mitochondria.

They create ATP, just in case anyone was curious. I did catch that. I just don’t know exactly what ATP is…

EDIT: ATP is energy. It was on the exam…

Cheers!

Mayuuya (Chelsea)

Notice the top right corner~

Opinion: Writing Classes: Make It or Break It?

     Originally posted September 25th, 2013

I’ll say right off that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with any kind of writing class, whether it’s standard Composition I, or some kind of “creative writing” class. On one hand, hey, I get to spend an entire class writing. I’m down with that. On the other hand, however, so much of how much you enjoy a class, or how good the class is, depends on the teacher. Yes, I know that idea applies to pretty much any class (though I’ve yet to have a teacher that can make Probability and Statistics fun), but I think that it goes double for any kind of writing class.

I know good and well that not everybody is going to enjoy my writing style. I’m good with that; I don’t enjoy everyone’s style, either. But those people aren’t grading me. My GPA doesn’t hinge on their opinion of my writing style. I’m a very descriptive writer. My works aren’t full of gushing descriptions of a single piece of clothing, but my writing certainly isn’t “stark.”

Too flowery or too bland, too vague or too specific, too long-winded or too straight-forward: it’s all a matter of opinion. In my senior English class from high school, my teacher gave two separate grades: content and mechanics. I never made below a B+ on either. Most of the time it was never below an A. She liked how I write. My Comp. I teacher from college? Hated my writing style. I never made below a B-, but I knew the content I had written was better than that. But he entered the grades, so he made the decision.

Please don’t think I’m complaining about getting a B. I’m not. B’s are completely acceptable to me. I just know what I had written was better than that.

The same thing happened to my grandmother in college.My grandmother had a job writing for radio stations. She was an English major who never made better than a C in creative writing because the teacher thought her writing was too “flowery.” (I’ve read her writings; what the teacher thought was “flowery” was probably just snark.)

I’m also not sure how creative “Creative Writing” classes allow students to be. Unless the teacher doesn’t give students an outline of how the story is supposed to flow*, doesn’t tell a student that their poem has to be ABBA style instead of free verse (not a fan of free verse poetry, though I have written some), then I don’t really call that creative. Creative is coming up with an idea for writing on your own, not being handed something from a teacher/professor.

To be a creative writing teacher, I feel like a person should be unbiased towards a students writing style.  I know, that’s not a easy thing to do, but it’s necessary. Unless you’re teaching a specific class that strives to use a certain style, (I’m looking at you, Writing in Psychology) then, unless there really is a genuine problem with the student’s style, they shouldn’t be given a lower grade simply because the teacher doesn’t like how they write.

But, all in all, I guess that I’m still grateful that I had creative writing classes. I just don’t always agree with how they’re structured.

Cheers!

Mayuuya (Chelsea)

*I know that there are some elements that every story needs to have, but that’s not my point.

They Just Won’t Go Away

Originally posted on September 24th, 2013

Has anyone ever created characters that you just can’t let go?

My first year of NaNo was my first foray into novel-length writing. I came up with to lead characters, strong-willed, emotional Luciana, and reserved, level-headed Delaney, the main characters of my novel Curse of Ancient. They started out with relatively set personalities that didn’t change much throughout the story. I finished the novel, and beat the 50,000 word count goal. I liked the story. I liked the ending. And for me? That’s saying a lot.

Two months later, when I was beginning the editing process, a virus made my way into my old laptop. Everything had to be wiped. I had been able to print out probably about 80% of my novel, but I lost my ending. To say it was discouraging is a bit of an understatement. So I put the novel aside. I started on a different novel that November, and beat the goal, but never finished the story. I loved the characters I had created, but it just didn’t feel the same.

So I started editing a few of the chapters of Curse of Ancient. Just a few pages at a time, and it reminded me how much I loved those characters.

That’s the way it’s gone for the past two years. I’ll put the novel aside, work on a different project, but I’ll always come back to Luciana and Delaney. When I got stuck on last year’s NaNo, I pretty much scrapped the entire story and went back to writing shorts about my two other characters. And by this point, they had changed. They’re still the same characters, but so much better. There’s depth to their personalities now.

I’m so glad that I didn’t just forget about these characters. I don’t know that I’ll ever go back and rewrite the end to their original story, but I’m certainly not done writing with them. Rediscovering these characters and how great they are has been one of my favorite parts of writing so far. It makes me curious if anyone has ever had a similar experience with characters that they’ve written?

Cheers!

Mayuuya (Chelsea)

Back Onto WordPress

So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been flirting with blogger/blogspot. I decided this morning that I didn’t like it very much. Formatting is “eh”, but I hate the option of no preview when you go to share the blog on FB or somewhere. That, and google has eaten enough of my soul already, I have about 9 posts up on there that I’ll eventually be reposting to here, since I have no plans to update the other one anymore. 

This will be a blog devoted to books and writing and other writing related subjects. I’ll post bits of my own writing, thoughts about writing, and occasionally the odd book review. I’m also big on the event National Novel Writing Month (http://nanowrimo.org)  that begins in a few days, so there’s definitely going to be posts about that and about my progress as the month goes on. 

So, there’ll be a lot of posts up front here, while I move things over and shift them around. More new updates will happen after the Biology Exam From Hell is finished tomorrow. 

And I have not given up on my baking blog. I still have it, I’m just not certain when it will be updated with everything else going on. 

Cheers!

Glad To Be Back On WordPress,

Mayuuya (Chelsea)