Saturday, January 30, 2010

1/50 Characters

Considering this character spawned from part of our conversation last meeting, I thought I'd share him with you:

Max Kerbrem
A small community acting group, specializing in under-ten-actor plays, meets for their rehearsal of a slightly adapted version of Othello. Before they begin, they stand around chatting for a few minutes. It becomes apparent that every member of the group knows the same person, James Southropin, but none of them knew the others knew him. Max Cerbrem is astonished. “Why is it that everyone I know knows each other?”
Maybe that’s true for the acting group, but Max is known for his astonishing ability to find connections between the most estranged of things. He loves suspense and mystery films, often figuring out the plot/crime before the protagonist does, as well as watching tennis on TV. This year’s Australian Open is coming to a close, and Max is supporting Andy Murray. During the epic match between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, Max was rooting for Roger and felt horrible afterwards, so now he always hopes the lesser-known player will become the champion.
Max, a jingoist with a bit of a goatee, is fairly active politically as he has a relatively well-known radio show. The 31-year-old’s “friends,” led by Southropin, are secretly plotting to kill him as part of creating one global country. They know he’s a threat to their plans, which is why they have come together around him in order to eliminate his existence.

Sorry, Zach Dickerson, for making you into a murderer.

An Epic Announcement Less Epic Than The Last One

This Epic Announcement has nothing on the birth of Henry Green, but I'm pretty excited about it.
Are you ready for it?

I finished editing what I have so far of the first draft of The Clockwork Experiment!!!! YAY! I actually enjoyed editing it and making it better, but the fact that I completed that undertaking makes me happy.
My sister kicked me off her laptop (I prefer to write on the computer downstairs on the couch rather than here in my room), so now I'm back up here. Speaking of me being back places, I'm back to writing new material for it.

Not that this has any effect on all of you, since next meeting you'll just hear chapters 4 & 5 (and maybe 6, depending on how long they are. I'm not exactly sure).

On chapters, I happen to write rather short ones, so Clockwork is at around 57,300 words with about 50 chapters. (Well, I'm technically not done editing what I've written so far, but I've decided that a certain scene needs to happen after some things that I haven't written yet, so I'm not editing that part yet).

Oh swain. I was just looking at the sticky notes stuck to the outline that is still taped to my wall...and I realized there is an important thing I need to add that I didn't come up with until last Monday, so it never made it into the first edit. I'll have to do that before reading you that part.

The magic has removed itself from the book considerably more willingly than I expected it to. Everything has worked out (well, all of the major things).

I've had a very productive day, actually. I went sledding and had some fun in the morning (by the way, I never did have eggs again for Third Breakfast. I had some English Muffin bread instead), wrote another two Character Profiles for school, and then did all of the stuff I've just been telling you about this afternoon. Oh, and I also worked in some Super Mario Bros. Wii in there too. :)

The following will be completely unrelated to the above. I'm just putting it in the same post.

I did a review of sorts for the first episode of Syfy's Caprica, so why not another one?

It was very cool how they balanced showing the robot sometimes as a robot and sometimes as Zoe, since Zoe's Avatar (from the virtual nightclub) is trapped inside. The humans aren't aware of it. I am wondering whether or not she's aware that she's a robot. There's some points where I think she thinks the people are treating her the way they do just because they know she's not the real Zoe.

My dad and I were discussing the virtual nightclub, and he says all of the stuff inside (like the death-cult people thing), as well as the polytheism throughout the show, is to represent the ancient Romans and how they went way too overboard on the "living in the moment" slogan.
When I hear that, I think it means to enjoy everything you do. Apparently when the Romans and the people of Caprica hear it, they think "always do something I enjoy."
I asked him what the robots were representing, and he didn't know, but that's not terribly important. We know they end up rebelling and taking over because they don't want to be slaves. Old plot, but apparently it was new when Battlestar was first thought up.

Dad says his friend told him that the kid ends up being the hero in Battlestar, so that's good. The way things are going for him, I was afraid he would end up being semi-bad, or at least detrimental to the cause of good in the show. Speaking of the cause of good, are we supposed to be rooting for the robots? Zoe seems to be the protagonist, even though she's part of a terrorist organization. It's so confusing.

My mom says the show is "weird." I think the concepts of widespread polytheism and socially accepted group marriages (there was one of those mentioned in the episode last night) bother her.
I like it. I also like that it is on Fridays, so its okay that it keeps me up past 10:30 (which is something I avoid on school nights).

Doctor Who Truth Or Fail...and more about Snow

One of my favorite YouTube channels, the Vlogbrothers, have also started this game show on YouTube that anyone can play at any time. It's called Truth or Fail. They give you two facts on the topic, and you must choose which one is the truth...or you fail. There's five rounds.

This week's episode is on Doctor Who. I got all but the last one correct, and learned lots of stuff! (yeah, I guessed on most of them...) I happened to know #4, because the one Old Who episode I've ever watched happened to deal with that one...

Other Truth or Fails cover:

Episode 1: General Knowledge
Episode 2: English Edition
Episode 3: Harry Potter
Episode 4: Literature Edition
Episode 5: Sharks
Episode 6: Woodstock
Episode 7: Trivia From John Green's Books
Episode 8: Outer Space
Episode 9: Science
Episode 10: Beards
Episode 11: The Lost Symbol (with Dan Brown)
Episode 12: Drugs
Episode 13: Hoaxes
Episode 14: Halloween
Episode 15: J.R.R. Tolkein
Episode 16: Water (With Two Hot Guys in the Shower)
Episode 17: Crazy Body Abnormalities
Episode 18: Doggies
Episode 19: Doctor Who

The episode in the background of the Doctor Who episode is "An Awful Lot of Running," by the absurdly awesome (and first) Time Lord Rock band Chameleon Circuit.

I hope you watch at least some of those Truth or Fails, because it took me an awful long time to link them all for you. :D

Now I'm going to go eat my third breakfast of the day (cereal @ 7:30, eggs at 10:30, and now probably more eggs here at 12:30).

I went sledding this morning. Then I tried to snowboard down my neighbor's extremely steep driveway using my sled. I made it down the driveway, but then fell when I got to the road and banged me head kinda hard...but I'm okay.

Before sledding, my sister and I went deer tracking. Mom had seen some crossing the street before we went out, and so we found the tracks and decided to follow them. They took us through a small stretch of woods in the middle of my neighborhood, up through the briers into my old neighborhood (yeah, you can see our old house from my living room), down another street (through people's yards), down a cauldesac,  down someone's driveway, through someone else's backyard, and then onward. We turned back when we got to that point. Mom wasn't pleased I'd gone tramping through people's yards, but oh well. I was busy honing my Ranger Skills (Ranger's Apprentice reference, anyone?). She wasn't happy, but I'm sure my friend David will think differently...he's closer to earning his Silver Oakleaf than I am (having a PI for a dad helps in these things), so I've got to try to catch up.

Friday, January 29, 2010


There's snow on the ground- more than there's been here for a long time. I'm inside, but I'm shivering. It's beautiful. I want to go out and float on top so as not to spoil the perfection. I want to wander through a forest by the light of the full moon, snow crunching under my feet. I love snow. I love it I love it I love it.

Last time it snowed (the Friday before we got off for Winter Break), the sub we had in English kept saying "You guys have all seen snow before. It's no big deal. Go back to your seats and watch the movie." Correction: one of the class had just moved from Florida and hadn't actually seen snow before. He said it "made his year." Also, yes, we have all seen it before (besides him). We know we all love it. That makes us even more excited.

Last time it snowed I was...let's just say I probably won't ever see snow without thinking of then. And, like Thief of Words was saying, I think I shall have to write a scene with it. I'm thinking the epilogue of Clockwork would be good with snow, if the epilogue ends up being the same as I think it will be.

Speaking of which, I edited more of that today. I'm almost caught up with where I'm at in the actual writing.

I'm going to go climb into bed where it's warm now. Why is my room so cold?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Butt In Chair Day

Today was a Butt In Chair Day. I worked on my 50 characters for about an hour. I should be typing all of that up right now. Obviously, I'm not. I'll do that after dinner or something.

I've been taking characters from Clockwork, When The Sun Was In Your Hair, The Family Business, as well as some abandoned projects. I've also been creating new ones, of course.

And wow, has this assignment evolved The Family Business. I've worked out a good deal more stuff about the characters you know about, added several more (Bubos Puth being the most hilarious of them), and decided some things about the world Jake and co. live in. I might have to bring some of the descriptions next meeting just so you guys can have the information. Clockwork combined with Homework (that was a joke) will likely be keeping me too busy to work on much else. I also have to work in some time for me to do nothing more than play solitaire and watch YouTube videos (yeah, lazy me. Too bad.).

I haven't actually written the ones for Clockwork yet, so no astonishing things about that, but I did figure out some more motivations regarding the robots on the way home last night. No, they are not all going to be robots, by the way. You will just have to wait and see.

When The Sun Was In Your Hair, in case you don't know (which you probably don't), is what I worked on for the latter half of 8th grade. At the time, I intended it to one day be a published novel, but now I realize that it's pretty crappy stuff I don't want anyone to ever read ever (yet more people [just 2] have read it than have read the entirety of any of my other longer works). It sits sadly at around 52,000 words, abandoned. Looking back, I see that it was actually my form of self-psychotherapy. I needed to work through issues in my life and tell someone some things about me. Now I've either evolved out of those issues or have come to terms with them. I don't need Sun anymore. The characters are there (a version of one of them turned up later in 2009, oddly enough), and I'm using them for the assignment, but that's all the use it will give me, I believe, without so much editing that it would probably end up being an entirely different book.

We're in the computer lab for some of tomorrow typing up some of the character stuff, and then Monday and Tuesday will also be Butt In Chair days. 1.5 hours a day in which I can write with little relent while listening to my iPod if I so choose (which I didn't until I got to Evendara Diabbla, since I didn't have appropriate music for any of the other ones).

And my teacher for that class has such a bias towards us. The other classes (he teaches AP and Standard English 12) aren't allowed their iPods, gum, food, or a few other things we get. Ah, the unexpected perks of being a writer. :D

State of the Union Address- January 2010

I usually leave the political stuff to The Liberal Rocker. They're more interested in it than I am, are more knowledgeable about it than I am, understand it better than I do, and actually intended to talk about it when he created the blog. However, in the light of last night's State of the Union Address, I'm going to write a bit about it too.

Two things before I start in on the notes I took during the speech: Did anyone else notice the Gryffindor tie Obama was wearing? Not blue for democrat. SCARLET AND GOLD STRIPED.
Also: This is the first presidential speech I have listened to other than Obama's inauguration speech. I enjoy listening to him talk, plus this is the first State of the Union Address I have been deemed old enough to stay up and watch it.

Onward. All quotes are approximate.

"...Building cars... " Um, cars aren't the greatest things for our planet at the moment. I know our country is set up to use them, but that really isn't the greatest idea.

Comparing the bank bailout to a root canal: Great comparison.

It was amusing to watch the republicans applaud some things, and the democrats others. While observing the audience, I also spotted a man picking his nose, and a man in a brown coat who definitely looked like he was texting someone. We couldn't tell because a chair blocked our view.

"Yeah, I thought I'd get some applause for that."    Ha. You succeeded in making me laugh.

"infrastructure of tomorrow" - If we're going to be making the infrastructure of tomorrow, why do we need to be building cars?

"... creating clean energy, clean energy products, jobs..."  Again with the cars.

"...making sure jobs stay within our borders" What, are you afraid we're all going to move to Europe? Or Cananda? Well, I do know several people who might want to move to one of those places (granted, one moved here from Canada when he was in 1st grade). Note that nearly everyone gave a standing ovation to that statement.

Referring to the last decade as "The Lost Decade" because job growth was slow and we plunged into debt fighting to wars against people who were using our own weapons against us (that last bit is from Chaney, not Obama). - that was amusing.

"how long should we wait?" An excellent question.

He began talking about how we need to build more nuclear power plants, and lots of people clapped, but I couldn't tell who was clapping. I thought nuclear power plants were bad for the planet but good for electricity. Am I wrong? Are they "green"?

About global warming, he mentions the "overwhelming amount of evidence" supporting it (and the Democrats applaud and cheer), but then picks up the Republicans too by turning it into a competition whether or not they believe the evidence.

Skip forward in the notes to something related to the above paragraph. They tell us in school that school is nothing like the real world. Based on my observations on what Obama said throughout the speech and the people in the room listening, they are wrong. There were people texting, as I mentioned, people muttering to each other and clearly making fun of the speaker, people terribly exuberant, people being petty, and the mob effect going on. I mean, all this business between the two political parties is so much like the business between any two groups of people in a middle or high school (and probably college too, but I wouldn't know). There's fighting. There's the "trying to make the other group have more embarrassing headlines written about them." There's the people setting themselves against others just because of what group they're affiliated with. Sorry, teachers. Real life is a macrocosm of school with less knowledge, more weight and importance, and less equality.
School is required to be nondiscrimatory. Life outside? Not so much. We are being run by a bunch of people who never really got over their teen years. Why? Because the things associated with being a teenager aren't exclusive to that age group. They just climax and become the most visible then. When we're little, do we try to exact revenge on our siblings? Do we try to manipulate our parents into giving us an extra cookie or hour at the playground? Do we cry when we lose and want to pulverize the victor? Adults are the same. They just tend to have less visible and more complex ways of going about it, and the nouns are different.

Back to chronological order.

My mom commented that she "loves the way Obama looks at [Mrs. Obama], like he really, really loves her." That's nice.

He began talking about the budget and tax cuts and how there have been no tax increases. Don't we need tax increases to pay off all the money we owe to China and other countries? They're not going to sit still forever. There's a reason I recently wrote in a U.S. vs. China war in the relatively near future in one of my character descriptions (Space Commander Jezlak).

Somewhat early on in the speech, Obama mentioned that there needs to be no economic expansion. We need to save what we already have. Later, he says something about "finding new markets."

He places emphasis on educating the common person in math and science. Yay and all that, but what about English (and language in general)? I like math and science, I think they're extremely important and fascinating (I just don't want to do them professionally). But what about the person or people who wrote this speech you're giving us, Obama? What about the programmers (yes, programming is still languages) who keep the computers we depend on running and give us all of these great websites (and the Internet itself), programs, Apps, and stuff? What about all of the other important stuff English (or other languages) give us? What about reading and writing? You should have included Language Arts (there we go) in there too.

While he was talking about healthcare, there was a moment when Joe Biden and the other lady literally were talking behind his back. I had to laugh. I wonder what they were saying...

Did I mention those yellow shirts? There were people in red, blue, and purple, but what was up with all of the bright yellow? What does that represent?

"let's try common sense-- a novel concept" HA. My English teacher last semester would have definitely taken points off for something that cheeky. (is cheeky the right word?)

Much amusement when Obama mentions something about "gay people being allowed to serve in the millitary openly" and the cameras zoom in on the military guys who sit there solemnly while Democrats clap frantically in the background. I know they're supposed to look serious, but that was funny.

Last but not least: I love that he reads letters from people each night. It makes me want to write to him. The boy who sent him his allowance asking for it to be given to the people of Haiti was especially adorable.

Now I'm going to write another post that's back on topic.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Character of an Assignment

Ah, cheesy post titles. At least you sound mildly interesting.

We spent most of Creative Writing today reading each other our character profiles/paragraphs. Many were interesting, many were depressing, and many were about a hitman-priest.

Our homework was all of the above, with the priest being optional. We have to write 47 more character profiles for 47 more characters. An interesting assignment, a depressingly large assignment, and an assignment to possibly include a hitman-priest.

I'm thinking of doing some of them on characters I already have. My teacher won't know, and this could really be helpful to me. That's the point, right? To improve my writing?

So far I've completed 5/50 (including the 3 already done for homework last night), and am working on another one. Two of them (Anthony and Alfred Zuckermangut) are brothers, and I might do one about Mrs. Paula Urga-Torie's husband Robert.
This has proven to be a difficult yet enjoyable thing to do.

Crap, I need to go to my math homework. I completely forgot about that. Grrr.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Creative Writing I

A new post because I forgot to mention everything in the last one and this stuff is irrelevant to the topic of the last one.

I started Creative Writing I today. I must say, I didn't have the highest expectations for it, but it's turning out to be pretty awesome so far (yeah, there's only been 1.5 hours of it, but still). We talked about common character constructs (like the Gandalf figure and the Orphan Hero Who Knows Not Of His True Background (Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Eragon)), the problems of writing urban fantasy in today's market (Twilight, it's all your fault the agents are tired of your genre), writing in general, reading, and mostly characters.
My teacher wrote some of these things on the board. There were ten total:

  1. a lovesick dragon
  2. Space Commander Jezlak
  3. "The Creature"
  4. a repeating 8th grader
  5. a homicide detective in Baltimore
  6. a demon on holiday
  7. a time-shifting android
  8. a navy bomber in Vietnam
And I don't remember what the other ones were.
Our assignment for homework was to pick 3 of these things (the three I chose are up there, of course) and write character profiles of them. There was a lot of emphasis on the importance of characters today.
The first one I wrote (Jezlak) was just a paragraph describing him. Then I got bored with that mode of expression. This is creative writing. So the next one (the Creature) was dialog. Only dialog, no quotation marks or words in between. The third is a letter (the 8th grader).

We're supposed to bring a "popular book" (meaning something that is the sort of thing we'd like to write, meaning not Great Expectations) every day. Some days will just be Reading Days, some days we'll do exercises with the books, some days will be B.I.C. days (Butt In Chair) on which we write and only write, and some days we'll do other stuff like today.

My wrist is sore from typing. Why is this? I haven't even been doing much of it today...

In other news, I'm also taking Healthful Living I (NOOOOO), Algebra II (meh), and Band (yay).

A Contest and Fantasizing About Said Contest

Has anyone besides me noticed that my post count for this month has almost exceeded the post count for last YEAR? That's unexpected. I'm glad I'm using this blog more often.

There's this contest that just opened up for any writers with a novel to publish. I think you're technically supposed to have a finished manuscript, but since there's NO FEASIBLE WAY I'm going to finish Clockwork by February 7th, I'm going to submit what I have along with a summary of the rest of the plot.


The idea is for people with unpublished books to get a chance at getting published. There are two winners: one for general fiction and one for young adult fiction. The winner gets a contract with Penguin Publishing and $15,000 advance money. Pretty sweet.
Now I'm going to have a little fantasy here about the 99.99% chance of me winning (actually, there's probably slightly better odds than that). My parents have a policy about any amount of money my sisters and I make disregarding birthdays and Christmas. We have to give 80% of it to college, and then the rest is free for us to use as we will (within limits, of course). D'you know what 20% of 15000 is? $3,000. That's still a lot of money. **daydreams happily about Harry Potter conferences and a new computer**.

I'm looking forward to the meeting tomorrow, for both listening (I love listening to you guys read) and getting feedback on my own stuff. Who's bringing what?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Clockwork Turns

After the party this morning (the one for my neighbor's son's 1st birthday, did I mention that in the last post?), we came home and I sat down at the table with my sister's laptop (for some reason I have problems writing at my own computer) with my flashdrive and started working on Clockwork. I intended to just edit a couple of chapters (ironically focusing on eliminating the words "just" and "back" wherever possible, since I use them way too much). That didn't happen. I ended up moving to the couch and plowing through about 20 chapters in around 3.5 hours. I'm quite pleased with how things are going.

The robot-related accidental infrastructure is still showing up, which is good, and I'm discovering hints about the (new) climax that I unknowingly dropped. Some part of my brain was definitely heading in this direction anyway: it was just the rest of me that was ignoring that bit. The magic was considerably easier to delete than I thought it was going to be. Now the common populace of the Province thinks my shero (female hero) is a robot instead of a witch. Special effects can do wonders when combined with stupidity can work wonders.

I've found myself talking to my computer screen several times today saying "Oh, Reymfla. You're so naiive. I'm sorry I made you this way," and giggling to myself because I know what's going to happen and my characters don't. Ha. I see through Remnil's riddles and metaphors.
Speaking of Remnil's metaphors, it turns out that a passage of dialog between him and Remfla that originally had no purpose whatsoever has slightly altered into a delightful bit of symbolism. Pages 60-61 (when the pages are 8.5x11) completely reveal pretty much everything, but it's hard to notice unless you already know what happens. Ha, I love foreshadowing that only functions that way in hindsight. All I will say about that is this: stay away from the mosquitoes, guys, and don't make the mistake of accidentally becoming a spider.
It also turns out that the main male character in the book has remarkable similarities to one of my friends when it comes to appearance and food. This was completely accidental, and I find it amusing. Of all the things he could be eating in a particular scene, it was tacos.

The next chapter I have to edit is going to be the most difficult so far, I think, which is partially why I stopped for the day when I did. There's a great deal of plot holes and irrelevancy to the new main plot. I might have to twist it around and drive the big gathering in an entirely different direction. It also needs to give reason for Reymfla's future confrontation of the High Tribunal of the Dark Side.
There's also the matter of the following chapter in which a development in the romantic subplot depends on magic. I might have to replace it with accidentally taken drugs in this case (not random drugs I invented just for this purpose-- this particular plant is mentioned a few times beforehand).

Anyway, I hope I didn't spoil too much for you. Today was a productive day, but now all I want to do is sleep. This may be because I was up past 11 Friday night watching Star Trek: First Contact and up past 11 again last night watching Caprica.

So here's the big question: Do you guys want me to read some of The Clockwork Experiment next week, or Part 4 of Ascension: Enlightenment?

Caprica and America's Culturally Blank Children

The above is an ad for the new show on Syfy called Caprica, as you can tell. My dad was looking forward to it all week (it was on last night), and talking about the ad. When showing it to my sister (who is 13), he remarked on the apple and asked her if she knew what it symbolized and what it was a reference to.

My Sister: Umm, OH, TWILIGHT!
Me: That's pathetic.
Her: What?
Dad: (laughs)
Me: How could you not know what the apple represents?
Her: Ummm, Snow White?
Me: NO!
Dad: (laughs)
Me: Have you ever heard of this book called the Bible, (insert her name here, but she has requested that I don't mention it)?
Dad: Snow White was a fair guess.
Me: No it wasn't! Oh, come on, (name), Twilight? Are you serious?
Dad: (laughs)
Dad: Adam and Eve. Temptation. It represents a choice.
Me: Well, I suppose Twilight is about a choice too, but still.
Her: Oh.

I might have been a bit hard on my sister, but really. What have we come to that people see the apple and think Twilight? The apple in Twilight was chosen as a reference to the story of the Fall. a might equal b, but b equals c, so let's follow it through to the natural conclusion that a=c. Transitive Property of equality (and I'm reviewing for math next semester [not really]).

Summary of the Episode: SPOILERS

Caprica itself was really cool. It's a spin-off from Battlestar Galactica (which I have never seen, but it sounds cool). It begins with a subtitle "58 years before the Fall." Cut to a virtual night-club. These were invented so teens can go and do stuff without suffering any consequences in the real world. It is entered through a Holo-Band. The three real people in the night clun, Zoe, Lacey, and Ben, are part of a secret terrorist organization of a monotheistic religion (they decline to tell us which one, but it could be any monotheistic religion. That's not the point. The point is that they're radicals because the rest of the worlds (yes, there are several) are all polytheistic). Zoe & Ben blow up a train while Lacey bails out. Zoe's dad, working on androids for the military, enters the nightclub and finds a version of Zoe living inside. Zoe created her and had been trying to get her into the real world. Zoe's dad begins working with the father of a girl who had been on the train to get the virtual version of Zoe into the robot body.

Something I thought was funny: Zoe's parents are yelling at her because she's never had to work for anything, always has stuff handed to her, has no idea what it is like to "build something".... and she says to her mother "I guess I'll just have to learn how to marry into money then."

End of tangent.

He also tries to create a virtual version of the other guy's daughter, but that doesn't work very well. Zoe did/knew something that he didn't. Her virtual self feels real, while the other girl knows she's fake and can't feel her heart beating. Zoe's digital self gets transfered into the robot. She's really pissed because she didn't want to leave the virtual world in the first place, and she definitely didn't want to be a robot. According to my dad, who has watched Battlestar Galatctica, her rebellious nature will cause the robots to rebel and form the Silon, which are apparently important in Battlestar.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Writing Elementary School Style

I've made it my goal to either edit or write two chapters of The Clockwork Experiment per day that I either don't have school or get out at 12:00 or earlier. In other words, that's weekends, early release days, and this past week.
If you look at the time stamp of this post, it will occur to you that I should probably be in school right now. It's a Friday that's not a holiday, and it's almost 10:30. I'm not sick, and I'm not skipping. It's exam week, and I completed and passed all of mine, so I have the day off (yes!).
Since  I didn't complete the above goal for any of the days this week, I'm at my old elementary school where my mom works catching up on the chapters I need to do. She's not in her office today, so I've got full run of the computer. The only downside is that YouTube is blocked here (oh no, whatever will I do?).
I might have mentioned this in a previous post, but I'll say it again in case I haven't: it turns out that I already have a good deal of the infrastructure needed to give the robots a more prominent role (no spoilers for those who weren't there last week). The problem was: I wasn't doing anything with it. I dropped all of these suspicious hints, but they never came to fruition. The entire plot line the title is based around never came to fruition according to the outline taped to my wall at home next to my computer. What kind of a novel is that? Not a very well planned one, that's for sure.
The good news is that I haven't had much trouble changing things around (yet). Actually, most of the changes I've had to make so far are phrasing and grammatical stuff. The plot elements that need altering haven't even come into play yet (as of the beginning of Chapter 15, which is where I'm at now). Note: my chapters tend to be short. Some are scarecely more than a page long.
The even better good news is that I've found I still really like the story itself. I like the idea, I like the characters, and I like the world. My dad is always worrying I'll get bored with an idea before I finish it. So far, he's been wrong. Out of all of the ideas I've abandoned (or put on hold until further notice), it wasn't because I was bored with it. There's always been a different reason. I plan on staying in the Capital for a while yet.
It's pretty fun being here at the school. I kind of feel like a "proper writer" with my mug of hot chocolate and half a cinnamon roll. :) I know there really isn't a definition of a "proper writer," but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it. All I'm missing is a MacBookPro and coffee instead of hot chocolate.
My old principal is giving me a hard time about growing up (actually, he was the assistant principal when I was here), as well as some of the other teachers who knew me before I graduated.
Being here brings back all sorts of memories, both good and bad. I miss coming over here in the afternoons after middle school let out. I'll be coming in for the afternoon on Monday as well, to hang out with my friends who are also teacher's children like we used to do. I just hope there will be some chicken in the teacher's lounge like there was that one, was that good chicken.

When you guys were in elementary school, did they talk to you about personality types? (social, artistic, investigative, and one or two other ones). I never saw that until CFNC, but the video my mom's putting into the computer right now for a teacher's National Boards exam is of a lesson about that.

Speaking of which, I'd like to talk about our way of life for a few paragraphs.

Before we start school, our parents prepare us for school by teaching us things. This is all well and good.
Once we get to preschool, it's about preparing us for kindergarten. More about kindergarten later. The latter half of elementary school is filled with emphasis on "in middle school, such and such and such. It's my job to prepare you for middle school." In middle school, from the very first month, it's about preparing for high school. Now that I'm in high school, all of the emphasis is on preparing for college or "the workforce," or whatever it is we plan on doing post-graduation. I've never been to college, of course, but I'd bet lots of money that the emphasis there is on preparing the student for Adult Life. According to commercials on TV and tips on working I've seen at school, it is considered wise to begin saving for retirement as soon as you start work. If/when one gets married and has children, it becomes about preparing the children for their lives. Where's the actual living happening? It's all about preparing for whatever comes next. What about actually doing stuff just for the sake of doing it? This seems wrong. Preparing is good, but shouldn't we have a chance to stop preparing and jump into the pool? Or, since this is a writer's blog, stop prewriting and begin with chapter 1?

Now about kindergarten. In kindergarten, we had this thing called DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read). There were a few problems concerning this.
  1. Many of the kids in kindergarten can't read, or can't read well
  2. We were asked to bring in a mat or a towel to lay down on
  3. They turned off the lights
How was I supposed to read when the lights were off? This was just a disguised version of Nap Time. I don't know if anyone actually slept, but it was awful for me. I had books. I wanted to read them. But I couldn't see a thing! Fortunately, I found a solution. I would spread my towel out next to the door, so I'd have a sliver of light coming in from the hallway.
In preschool, we also had DEAR. There was a basket of picture books (many of them pertaining to Bible stories, since my preschool was at a church), yet they still turned off the lights. Our classroom happened to have many big windows with open blinds, so it wasn't as much of a problem. Unlike in kindergarten, however, I didn't read during DEAR time in preschool. I could read, but it was much more fun to look at the pictures in the Zoobooks. I couldn't read the Zoobooks, but the pictures of hippos running full-throttle at people with their mouths wide open were fascinating.

Speaking of reading (I've got all day here, so this post is going to be longer than most), you know how kids learn to read by reading aloud to their parents or whoever is teaching them? I always thought that you had to read out loud. When I saw my mom sitting on the couch with a book, not saying anything, I was confused. The conversation, to my memory, went a lot like this:

Me: Mommy, what are you doing?
Mom: I'm reading.
Me: But you're not saying anything.
Mom: I'm reading inside my head.
Me: (incredulously) Oh.

Obviously, I remember learning to read and that there was a time before I could read, but I also remember looking at words, and not seeing them. There's a sign near my house that says "Terminex," and I remember a time when the sign was an orange blur. Then, somewhere in my memory, it becomes words. Is that normal, or do most kids not pay attention to words before they can read?

On a related note, I've started reading Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World for the 6th time. I've never finished it before. I'm currently at Chapter 17 or so (less than 1/4 of the way through), and this is the farthest I've ever gotten. Have I posted this before? I don't think so, but maybe. Every time I started, I liked the book and wanted to finish, but it never happened. I'm noticing that there's some similarities between it and Lord of the Rings and Eragon, but it's not really bothering me. There are 11 books in the series. I'm taking a break after this one to read some books my friend David has recommended to me (Parallel Worlds and Hyperspace, both written by the same physicist (David's favorite) whose name I can't remember because it's hard to pronounce.

I've sort of run out of things to write about now, which is probably good, since this post is pretty long and I have more Clockwork to do.
I will add one last completely unrelated thing that I'm pretty excited about: I scored a 100 on my World History exam (yay!).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Epic Announcement

Earlier today, a certain Henry Green was born. He is the son of John and Sarah Green. John is the award-winning author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns, and is also a very famous video-blogger along with his brother Hank. They are both extremely freaking awesome people.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Quote

"The Venn Diagram of guys who don't like smart girls and guys you don't want to date is a circle" - John Green

My, I really am keeping to my commitment of posting more often.


     Ezra, last week you remarked that I liked writing about Goths. This is true, and I just realized why. In the community of people I watch on YouTube (many of which watch each other), there has been a lot of talk recently about who you wanted to "be" when you were younger.
     For example, Alex Day (nerimon on YouTube) says he once wanted to be a (specific, I just don't remember who) member of Green Day. He played the songs from American Idiot over and over again. His friend Charlie (one of the most prominent UK YouTubers)'s mom made a video on the subject, and asked her viewers to tell her who they idolized.
     I was thinking about it, and discovered the answer to both questions. When I was younger, I wanted to be Thorn from the Hex Girls (that band on Scooby Doo, first featured in Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost and brought back later). She and her "sisters" are "eco-goths," and Thorn herself is a Wiccan who later defeats the Witch's Ghost. I thought she was the coolest person ever: a rockstar who can do magic on a show in which it is emphasized that magic is not real? YES.
     I didn't sing their songs over and over again (I'm not sure exactly what I did), but my dad remembers that I was "very into them," and I can't help but agree.
    D'you remember when I wrote my 4-year-old-friend sending the Evil Wizard into the black hole when I was six? I did "worse".
     A lot of litle kids are scared of witches. I never was. I always wanted to be the witch. That was my Halloween costume for years, under different names (two years it was just "witch," then "Harriet Potter," "Death," "Darkness," and this past year I was Hecate (the Greek goddess of magic and witches)). This flow was interrupted just once by being a pirate. My youngest sister used to have nightmares about being chased by the Wicked Witch of the West, while I had dreams about becoming her apprentice. I was always the Medicine Woman when we played Indians with my neighbors. You get the point.
     So there's your answer, Ms. Coollike (Charlie's username is charlieissocoollike, so his parents are Mr. and Ms. Coollike). There is also the reason I write about goths so much, and also probably why I wanted magic in The Clockwork Experiment (which I have now begun revising what I have written so far).  I guess I never really got over my fascination with Thorn and the Hex Girls, and I'm definitely not over witches.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Class About Life

I probably shouldn't have posted last night after I got home. I should have gone to bed, seeing as how exams start tomorrow.
Speaking of exams, the one I have tomorrow is in World History. This afternoon, we had a "review session," which was really just a massive competition of Bozo Buckets (a review game in which one member from each team tries to answer a question before the other, and the winner throws a ball into a trashcan to win extra points)- 1st period (us) vs. 2nd period (them). Oh, the adrenaline. Oh, the awesome. Have you ever seen 20 people chanting "Sexy bacon" at the same time? I didn't think so. That was our battle cry, for some reason.
We ended up winning, after an extremely tense tie and much hilarity (Chaney: What is the name of the code knights lived by? Cameron: NI! Competitor: Chivalry! Us: WHOOOOO!).
During this last quarter, we've been having "Storytime With Olivia" on Fridays, in which I read something to the class. It started out being for assignments, with other people presenting before and after me, but it developed into a regular occurence in which I read other things as well (such as "Paper Trenches").
After we won, most of my class ran out into the hall to do "victory cartwheels." Chaney called them back in for a few words, telling us that we were his two favorite WH classes ever. Before he dismissed us for the afternoon (this was after school), I jokingly asked Chaney, paper in hand, if I could have "one last moment in the spotlight". He said yes, and my class, eagerly cheering and telling the other class overly-inflated praise of my work. I try to tell them their opinions of me are enormously inaccurate and overestimated, but they refuse to listen. Here is the poem I read. I will explain the stuff you probably don't understand at the end.

A Class About Life
On the first day of school

We were told to memorize

The names of all these strangers

And build some friendly ties

Now we're a family of Spartans

We've been through thick and thin

Although divided down the center

We're united in the end

Taking notes and making jokes

Learning all the while

About to play Trench Warfare

Under guise of leaked ceiling tiles

Although Anna took forever

We finally got some fish

Toga day, movie day

Feast on many a dish

Growing stronger together

While learning about the past

Infalliable team of Bozo Buckets Power

Awesome until the last

Skit battles and projects

Test with no multiple guess

Turns out war is much more than

A tactical game of chess

Dancing outside in hopes of snow

Caroling from door to door

Thanks, Chaney, and class as well

I couldn't have asked for more.

Explanation: Part of our first test in the class was to fill out a seating chart with everyone's names. Chaney told us that we were going to be doing lots of group work, and we were really going to be more of a family than a class. We "didn't have to be best buds," but he hoped we would get to the point where we'd all say hi to each other in the hallway and such.
Our class, upon reaching the unit on Greece, immediately adopted the name of Spartans for our own (this was mostly a bunch of war-happy guys on the other side of the room). That's what we've been ever since.
"Divided down the center" is in reference to the aisle providing a walking space as well as dictating the teams when we play intramural Bozo Buckets and other games.
If you heard "Paper Trenches," you will know what Trench Warfare is in reference to, but since Cindy wasn't there, I will explain it. We were learning about WWI. One morning, there was a sign on the door saying "Sorry guys, room is flooded. Please go to room 2330. Love, Chaney." The room was flooded last year, and we had stains on the ceiling from something, so we believed him. It turned out that he had built trenches out of desks inside the room and we had a massive battle later in the period. I'll post the story to the Google Group.
Kenzie offered to bring in fish to be a class pet, and Anna volunteered her fish bowl, but she kept forgetting.
At the end of the Greece/Rome unit, we had Toga Day (wearing a toga over our clothes was a grade),watched clips from movies (Gladiator, 300, Troy), and had a potluck.
"Infalliable Bozo Buckets power" was heavily dependent on us winning, so I was glad for that.
We often had to do skits on various topics (since most of us loved acting, and Chaney loved watching what we would come up with), and certain groups of the die-hard Spartans always managed to work in our plastic sword and violent battles.
Chaney never gave us multiple choice tests or quizzes. He firmly believed that those were too easy and didn't require any thinking. I happen to agree with him on this.
Toward the end of the year, culminating when we watched the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan (TANGENT: It's rated R, permission slips hadn't been sent home, so we technically weren't supposed to be watching it. We all got out paper and set up the Powerpoint on the wall, and Chaney sat by the door with the remote. If anyone were to enter the room, we would pretend to be taking notes.), he began to focus on showing us how horrible war really is, with emphasis on all of the social, economic, and political consequences, instead of just "and then they fought a huge battle" "AWESOME".
The day before Holiday Break started, we went outside and did a Snow Dance (like a Rain Dance, but for snow), and then went caroling from classroom to classroom.
There. The explanation is done. This was a much longer post than I intended it to be. Sorry about that. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Grapefruit Sky of Doom (that'll make you read the post, won't it?)

I've been requested to post more often, which is something I've been meaning to do anyway. Hopefully this will be the start of a trend.

I'd forgotten how much I love going to Writing Club. Now I remember. It made up for the boringness that is Biology class, and my day turned out to be pretty excellent overall. Thanks, Ezra (and Cindy), for all of the great feedback and ideas. I've needed someone to kick me back into gear on The Clockwork Experiment, and this evening definitely did the trick. Now I'm just conflicted whether or not to wish for the weekend (in order to get started revising and continuing) or want the rest of the week to multiply into several more days at least (since I love my 1st and 2nd periods and don't want them to end).

Comments on Imps From Heaven please?

I've finished the Lost Symbol. I was disappointed with the end, but I realize that Dan Brown's a writer, not a high-level Mason with enormous secrets( OR IS HE????), so what did I expect? I enjoyed the book, though, so don't let me discourage you from reading it.
Now I'm borrowing the 4th Diary of a Wimpy Kid from my almost-9-year-old cousin. Then I'll probably start in on the sci-fi book my dad bought tonight (it includes washing machines gossiping based on the data from the clothing analyzations). It sounds very funny.

On other news, I've finished the 4th part of Ascension, which I will probably be reading next meeting depending on whether or not Sam is there (since she seems to really like those). If I were to give it a humorous title, it would be something like "Grapefruit Sky of Doom." As for a serious title...maybe "Enlightenment"?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Trailer: Imps From Heaven

I came up with an idea for a story, but didn't want to write it. This was because it had no plot. This was last weekend. And it literally had NO plot whatsoever. It had a premise, and that was all. This being the case, I made a movie trailer for it instead, since I didn't actually need a plot to make a fairly good trailer (as homemade trailers go). I'm going to be posting this to the Google Group as well, for those of you (which is currently ALL of you) who are in that.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

An Actual Post About Writing...With More Doctor Who Gushing

This blog is supposed to be about writing. It hasn't been. This post is to bring it back to center, at least a little bit.

I was going to start working on my NaNoWriMo (The Clockwork Experiment) again today. Really. I was. Something came up. Two things, actually.
The first was that my mom gave me some stuff I need to do today. Chores.
The second was the discovery that BBC America is playing Doctor Who ALL DAY up until around 10:00. This means that I will eat lunch, do the chores, and then be happily seated in front of the TV from at least 4:15 till the end of Part 2 of the End of Time. Unfortunately, this will probably not work out to ideal perfection. Dinner has to fit in somewhere, and my mom prefers us all to sit down and eat together at the table.
About this forthcoming epic finale: I will cry. I will most definitely cry, seeing as how immersed within any given episode I usually become. I cried when Rose got trapped in the parallel world. I almost cried when the Doctor was treated as the Master's dog. I teared up when he was painfully human in the Family of Blood (and whatever the first part of it was). I am not ashamed of this. It means that I enjoy the show. I'm bracing myself for whatever there is to come, and my fan gene is getting excited for the next season. I've dilligently stayed off of YouTube and away from spoilers. Tonight is going to be great.

But this is not supposed to be a post about me crying over the death of my doctor (yes, another is coming and he will probably be awesome, but too bad). This is supposed to be a post about writing. So here we go:

I've been rewriting the beginning of The Family Business (since all that there ever was of it was the beginning). It has gotten considerably longer, but still covers the same amount of plot and information. I read it to my sister (since I also read her the original). She was sad over the changing of a few minor details, but still liked it. More importantly, I am far more pleased with this new version than the old one. It reads better, has less tangents, more dialog, and is generally better. There's just one or two sentences I need to change before I bring it to writing club to read, since you can't turn on lights when there is no power.

On reading, I've started The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. It's fascinating, and I'm enjoying it immensely. I just have to wonder how much of the stuff is true (which is why I plan to read one of the books written precisely on that subject). Noetic Science is an extremely interesting topic.