Golden Hour Photography

Hello, everyone! Happy Pi Day. This is the last one of the “posts to expect soon” (yay! One March goal completed!). I haven’t been using my DLSR as much lately, but Saturday I took my camera outside for Golden Hour, coincidentally the last day before Savings Time. It’s staying light out really late! I can’t wait for summer.

 

To me, that shed makes a great writing prompt. It has a story.

That’s all! What’s your favorite time of day to take pictures? Aside from golden hour, I also prefer night, though I’m still working on how to get the lighting right.

My Camp NaNo Novels (What I’ve Learned From my Past Novels)

Because I don’t want to make my real titles too long, here’s the official title for this post: My Camp NaNo Novels (With a Quick Look at my Previous Novels and What I’ve Learned from Them, and How You Can Learn From Your Previous Novels). 

I recently realized that I never actually talk about what my novels are about, so I decided to make this post! I’m going to start with my Camp NaNo novels and work down. I’m only describing my completed ones, though.

Halfway to Fourteen:

Brief Description: Kamri Taylor tried to run away, but she was stopped when she ran into kids from school she barely knew. Now, they’re all on the beginning of the challenge of their lives.

Main Characters: Kamri, Mason, Collin, Erin, Tara.

Three Images That Describe the Story:

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Expected Word Count: 60,000

A Less Professional Description: So, basically, it’s about these four kids and how they become friends. They’re are similar in a way, they all go to a great private school. Kamri is gifted but held back by her situation, and in a way herself, Mason is smart but held back by trying too hard to be perfect, Erin is talented but held back by trying to live up to everyone’s expectations, and Collin is somewhere in between all of those things and is held back by trying to live up to his brother. They end up finding a challenge from teens from a generation ago to live up to the full potential of their remaining childhood.

(Pst! On my Pinterest, you can see the ideas board and aesthetic boards for at least half of these novels. The ideas is a board full of things that remind me of my story/characters plot, and the aesthetic is for the feel of my novel, and is inspiration for when I forget why I started the novel.)

Fantasy Gossip:

Brief Description: Welcome to Forrest’s Residential Middle and High School for Students of Excellence, otherwise known as “Fantasy School” to its students. Kaelin, a returning student, writes down everything she sees. When her new roommate pushes her to publish what she writes, things get out of control.

Main Characters: Kaelin (kay-lin), Clara, and Trey.

Three Images that Describe the Story:

Follow t h a t s m y l i t t l e f a c t ♥ for more quotes and fun facts! Check out our Facebook page h e r e.:

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Writing Prompt #8 | tomiadeyemi.com:

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Expected Word Count: 60,000

A Less Professional Description: This novel is kind of cliche, but it’s just for fun (and learning!). Kaelin, Clara, and Trey attend a school where everything they were told was just fairy tales and wishful thinking is true. Kaelin has been writing down everything she hears and sees in a journalistic style. Her new roommate, Clara, starts a school newspaper (after the last one was banned hundreds of years ago), then finds the writings and encourages her to start a gossip column–which, if you know anything about gossip, will lead to trouble.

Those are the novels I will be writing this April for Camp NaNoWriMo. Now, for a brief description of my previous novels, going backwards.

Title: Mission: Prodigy

Written: NaNoWriMo 2016

Word Count: ~90,000

Basic Description After Editing Through Many Plot Holes and Being Changed: Two prodigies (humans with special abilities or “superpowers”) find out that everything they were told was good was actually wrong. They have to overcome their rivalry to restore balance to their messed up world.

What I Learned:  I learn perseverance. Writing after the original plot was too short? It was hard. Going back to read the mess? It was hard. Editing it? It’s still hard. My original plan was very faulty and I didn’t like part of it. I have to rewrite and replan a lot.

Title: Royale

Written: Summer 2016

Word Count: ~50/60k

Basic Description: Brenna lives in a dystopian society separated from the rest of the world. After she gets in trouble with the government for doing what’s right, she has to run away to the rest of the world in order to survive.

What I Learned:  I got to two drafts for this one–after that, it wasn’t worth editing. I had lost interest in it. However, in the first draft, I learned how to write long novels and how to write/type quickly. If my memory serves, Royale was pantsed, a method that I’ve found doesn’t work well for me by the second draft.

Title: Crossing Galaxies

Written: Spring 2016 (version 1), Rewritten Fall 2016 (version 2)

Word Count: 17,000 (version 1), 30,000 (version 2)

Basic Description: When foster child Kamri is sent away to boarding school, she thinks it’s the worst thing that could ever happen to her. However, she meets Erin, Collin, and Mason. They have a secret–and now they need her help.

What I Learned: This is the previous version to Halfway to Fourteen. These characters? They have been with me for years. I’ve been trying to find their story for the third time, now. I hope it works this time–it’s not a fantasy novel anymore. Crossing Galaxies has taught me that if something sticks with you, if you really, truly love it, write it. (And I’m definitely recycling the title).

Time to go a bit out of order– one is a sequel, so it won’t make much sense if I do it in the order I wrote it. I was young when I wrote these, so no judgment please.

Title: A Princess Life

Written: Fall ~2013/14

Word Count: ~10,000

Basic Description: Princess Annalisa has longed to get out of the palace since her parents died. She jumps at the opportunity to go to a private school as normal Arizona (a name she choose because it was her mother’s home before she married the king).

What I Learned:  Well, this is very cringy and cliche. I learned how to write and edit a novel. I had so many drafts for this! I told myself one day that I was going to write and finish a novel, and I did. I’ve learned that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. I rewrote this one, too, I think (but I consider the rewrite of Crossing Galaxies a different novel, because in a sense it was).

Title: (I don’t think it had one for itself) A Princess Life #2

Written: ~Camp NaNo 2014/15

Word Count: Under 10,000

Basic Description: Claire just moved into the palace with her long lost siblings, and she knows she doesn’t fit in. She’s pretty sure Lexi and Anna still hate her, though they try not to show it. Her adventures in her change in lifestyle include finding out more about her birth parents, princes from foreign lands, and a little ice cream.

What I Learned:  I was really proud of this, even if it is cliche and cringy too. I love Claire, and how she feels, and I felt like it showed a great improvement in my writing. I’m sure there were a lot of half-started novels in this series, as that’s what I wanted it to be. Anyway, I learned a lot about character and backstory.

So, how can you learn from your previous novels? Take a look at what worked and what didn’t work. For example, I tend to have unrealistic plots or ones that fall through, and my description is bare, but I like to think I’ve always been good at character. Use that when you work on your new projects. Get to know yourself as a writer– no one is the same.

Time for a challenge! (I’m going to start doing these at the end of my how-to/tips/instructional writing posts. Let me know if you’ll enjoy them.) Take one of your previous novels, or if you haven’t written one before, a short story/novella. Think about the good and the bad. How can you improve on the bad things? What can you take away from the good things? Let me know how it goes!

3 Acting Tips to Make Your Character to Come to Life

Guess what? Somehow in the past three years, I’ve published almost 300 blog posts. *mind blown*

Anyway, since I’ve posted about writing mostly these past few months, I’m going to blog in a category I haven’t yet: acting.

These tips are just from my experience as an actress. I’m not famous, haven’t been on Broadway, or gotten my own show, but I have had experience in plays, film (growing up a media-maker’s daughter), and watching plenty of informational YouTube videos.

Disclaimer: When I say make them come to life, please do not mistake me for Dr. Frankenstein. We are actors, not scientists. What I mean is how to make them come to life through your acting. Thank you.

1. Backstory

Even the smallest characters who only have one line, or perhaps none at all, have a backstory. Think about this when you’re acting in the scenes. Yes, even if you’re playing a tree.

The way your character has lived before the script was created affects everything in the scenes they’re in. Sometimes, the writers have already created a backstory. Build on that through dialogue and blocking.

Think about how their scenes make them react. If they had a traumatic experience with their brother choking on a cookie, and her friend’s mom offers chocolate chip cookies, she may have a flash of horror then politely disagree. Of course, make sure it actually has something to do with the script, like if there was a scene later that night when your character tells her friend about the incident. Don’t take over the script, either! Just subtle hints here and there make your character come alive.

2. Interpretation

I’m going to show you an exercise I did with my brother to get him ready for the auditions for the church play. Read over a few of your lines. Now, take the character you’re auditioning for/playing and write down four traits you see in them from the dialogue.

Read it again, this time, using your motions and tone of voice to show those traits. One thing I see in a lot of young or new actors is they simply read the lines they’re given. Do not do this. Read the action tags, incorporate them with your lines. Take sighs when you’re sad. Smile when you’re happy. Tapping in to your character’s emotions will make them come alive. 

3. Really, really love it

Love acting. Love your character, no matter how small or large the part is. Love the emotions, and play on them. Just really have a good time, and it will bleed into your performance. I see a lot of people doing acting because “why not” or “I hate all the other classes for this period”. Don’t. Just really, really love it. The fact that you’re reading articles about acting already shows part of your commitment. Live it. That will make your character come alive.

I hope this helps you with your acting! If you liked this post, leave a comment or share it on social media!

Do you want more acting posts? Let me know what kinds of posts you would like! Maybe a theatre/film FAQ, or a BTS of how a theater or film production works?

Camp NaNoWriMo: The Complete Guide (For Planners, Pantsers and Everything in Between)

NaNoWriMo the Sequel: Camp NaNoWriMo

Just when you thought all the WriMos were gone… more showed up…as NaNo REBELS!

Camp NaNoWriMo is the time to #rebel from the normal NaNoWriMo foundations. Write whatever you want. Poems? Yes. Sequels? Sure. Editing? Go for it. A million words? You’re crazy, but if so, please call me (555-555, a very real number), because I’m crazy too. Just maybe not a MILLION words crazy… yet. I assure you, read through five of my posts, come back, and try convince me I’m not crazy.

Kinda like last year’s NaNo post, I’ll divide this off into easy-to-find sections. A pet peeve of mine is when a blog post is just one big text block. When does it begin??? I don’t want to hear your story, I want to read the article! What if I want to skip a part?

Just wanted to let you know, I am not a professional writer even though I pretend to be, because confidence is key. I go by my own experience. Feel free to disagree with me at any point. We can have a lovely conversation about it and hopefully we’ll both learn something.

Choosing a Project

Projects You Can Choose From:

  • Writing a draft (or part of one)
  • Writing a bunch of short stories
  • Writing poetry
  • Editing your NaNo novel
  • Rewriting your NaNo novel COMPLETELY
  • Anything you can think of related to writing except reading

Link to NaPoWriMo, which totally counts, and not in the sarcastic way. (It’s February, and all there is on the site is the cool page saying COMING IN MARCH ((actually, it says sign-ups start March 1st)), but I’m not posting until March so you’ll have to see it next year).

Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing a Project:

Do:

  • Choose something you enjoy
  • Create a goal that will challenge you but won’t stress you
  • Check your schedule
  • Be caught up on school before you write

Don’t:

  • Force something that doesn’t work
  • Choose a goal too high/hard and completely break in April and June
  • Stay up late and wake up at an unreasonable hour to write
  • Ignore all your other priorities

Can you tell what I learned this year from NaNoWriMo? And every other project ever?

Prep and Types of Writers

Types of Writers (prose only)

There are four general categories as far as I’m concerned. (In Case You Didn’t Know: Plotter is someone who plans out their novel before writing, pantser writes “on the edge of their pants” by letting the story come naturally as they write it, and plantser is the “perfect” in between).

The Total Plotter

The total plotter will plan out every single detail. Typically, they have a very high wordcount by the time they are done because they have envisioned everything, but not always. They prefer to know all there is about their story. They tend to have an easier time in editing, but their story can come off as stiff.

The Plotter-Based Plantser

There are many degrees of Plantser-ism, and this is one. The plotter-based plantser likes to keep the element of surprise (however, they need plans or they will freak out), so they typically will make an outline, but not a very detailed one. They like to know the main events of the story, the backstories of their characters, and do some world building. However, sometimes their plans can flop and they will get very confused without them.

The Pantser-Based Plantser 

The pantser-based plantser will not use an outline, or if they do, a very broad one. They only like to get an idea of their story before they start writing, a helpful little guideline. Their document labeled “prep” will only be a couple pages long. Oftentimes they envision their story in their head. Sometimes, though, they come to a dead end and writer’s block strikes.

The Complete Pantser

The complete pantser doesn’t even come up with a title for their book before writing: a couple character names and a quick synopsis, usually. They come up with new ideas as they go along. Because they do this, their writing sounds fresh and it really feels like the characters are going on the journey for the first time. It’s exciting, but editing can be a nightmare and writer’s block can make it hard to move on.

Which degree are you? Anything in between? I’m more of a plotter-based plantser. I don’t like insane details, or I get bored, but if I don’t have a plan I’ll get confused and my story will fail.

How do I know all these degrees, you make ask? I have experienced them all– you don’t understand. Literally all of them. But I am a plotter-based plantser, as seen above. At least, I think. It could change after this round of novels.

Preparing to Edit

What I do is read through, at least until the part where my brain died and literally everything fell apart. I’m also marking which parts need to be rewritten, partially re-written, and deleted. Of course, I’m going back, but you don’t have to.

The point is to assess what you need to do. How do you want to divide your edits? Create a plan.

Preparing to Write

Oh, here’s where things get fun! I shared all of my methods for prep here, basically a bunch of ideas, and a way for even the pantsiest of pantsers (that’s a word) to prepare here. A basic summary of this article: Writing when you feel like it is like training for a marathon whenever you feel like it. Practicing writing every day will make NaNoWriMo a lot easier for you, just like it would be easier to run after a training schedule.

Because I have already done this, let’s not. 

Kidding. Find your own way. What works for you? Write down everything you typically struggle with when writing. Plot seems stiff? Loosen your outline. Or, do your plots fail? Go into more detail. Characters annoying or flat? Learn more about them.

Links, Tips, and Such For the Other Projects

Scriptwriting: http://www.mensaforkids.org/teach/lesson-plans/writing-a-screenplay/

Poetry: http://www.napowrimo.net/ (I’m linking to it again)

Kind of a letdown. But, it’s what I’ve got. (If you know of or have any resources or tips for the other projects, let me know and I’ll add them up here to share with everyone!)

Keeping it Organized

I used to have all of my prep spread all over the place (digitally). But, what I do is I have a folder for each novel. What goes in there is the novel itself, the drafts, the prep, and anything else I find useful. In my prep, I like to use a large, noticeable text to define where things are, like characters, plot, outlines, descriptions, and basic details. This can be a great format to keep poetry and songs organized in! This also works for screenplays.

After I have it all finished out, I’m going to move it onto WikidPad so I can find it all easily when I need it while writing my first draft. I don’t use WikidPad very often, but it seems to work pretty well, even if it requires a bit of coding. I heard about it in Jill Williamson’s book Storyworld First, which is another great recourse.

So, that’s my post for Camp NaNoWriMo. You should see a description of my novels in the next My Writing Life. Anyway, as promised, more non-writing-related posts coming!

What are you doing for Camp NaNoWriMo, if you are? Are you rebelling, or using this as an opportunity for your first draft? Do you need a cabin? Because me, Sarah, and Chloe have a cabin and we need members. Comment if you do.

Should I change my signature?

March Goals

Before I begin, let’s go into last months’! I apologize in advance for a long post. I hope you enjoy it all the same.

Things I Did

Begin plotting out Halfway to Fourteen Yes! Still needs some tweaking, but it’s done.

Begin developing other Camp NaNo Novel Fantasy Gossip, yes.

Go for quality over quantity As I only posted like four times and have been developing stuff way in advance, I’d say I did this.

Learn my new ukulele! This turned out very well, I think. I already know guitar, so this wasn’t as hard.

♥Bake a new recipe Twice!

Read more books Not counting today, the 28th, I’ve read 12 books, as opposed to 5 last month.

Survive the greeting card class that I’m teaching I think I only died once!

Things I Sort of Did

Finish reading through Mission: Prodigy, and for bonus points, start on draft two I stopped reading halfway because the plot broke, and I couldn’t. I did start on draft two, though. Bonus points?

Post all the random drafts I have I worked on some, I think I posted one.

Brainstorm a new writing series I thought of a few ideas, but nothing really stuck out.

Work on my Bloglovin page I tried to fix my image problem. Sort of worked. Sort of didn’t.

Continue to attempt to practice my instruments more often I sort of did? More often than I usually do, but still not enough.

Be involved in the activities at the new acting workshop I’m going to I literally just meant the monologue competition. There’s like nothing else.

♥Work on writing the play for my school project At the beginning of the month, not so much at the end.

Things I Didn’t do

Finish Dragon’s Fire *sigh* I knew this wouldn’t get done anyway.

Work on the collab novel with Heidi Nope.

Make fair projects Except for Winterfare, none.

♥Get in the habit of using my bullet journal Just a few times this month.

Take more pictures Nope.

Print out more pictures Not this either.

♥Do at least one thing on the bucket list I made with my friend I knew we couldn’t do it anyway. But I will see her this weekend, so….

♥Read my Bible every day There’s been so much going on, and it’s so easy to forget. Especially when we excuse it with “I went to church”.

So, I’m pretty happy with most of that. Onto March’s!

Filler image.

Writing Goals

♥Finish plot for Halfway to Fourteen

♥Finish plot for Fantasy Gossip

♥Complete the writing exercises in Writer to Writer

♥Mostly finish Prodigies editing for draft 2

♥Make up your mind about Camp NaNoWriMo

Blogging Goals

♥Prepare some posts for March

♥Post everything you promised you would in your last post

♥Discover a few new blogs!

♥Put up a “Spring cleaning” blog survery

♥Post non-writing stuff

Music/Art/Theatre Goals

♥Make it a habit to practice my instruments

♥Learn some challenging songs

♥Do at least five craft projects

♥Pick out a monologue

Etc. Goals

♥Beat last month’s book list!

♥Keep up with school

♥Read the Bible more often

♥Create more realistic goals

♥Do more of the bucket list stuff when I see Amy

I think that’s all! What are your goals for this month? Let me know, or link to your post!