NaNoWriMo Week 2: Snowball Effect

NaNoWriMo Week 2- tips, games and inspiration for the snowball week https://sonorahillsauthor.com/It is week 2. Day 12. Technically week 2.5. Already, NaNo participants, you have done incredible things. For example, Germany who have a combined total of 31 MILLION words from 3,787 people so far (I didn’t realise this region scoreboard existed–it’s really cool!). Week 2 is all about rolling out from week one with a purpose: you know your characters, you know what they want, you know their world–now you can get down to creating drama; the beautiful snowy hill is in front of you and it’s time to get on that sledge.

If instead of this, you’re still struggling with the actual forming of your snowball story, don’t worry. As the data from the region scoreboard indicates, there are so many people in your shoes. But you’ve started and you’re going to do this thing! I’ve compiled some games, some tips, and some very fun quotes from authors to try and help all of you, struggling or not, to stay motivated. Hope they help! Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo 2018

NaNoWriMo 2018-why you should be writing a novel this month https://sonorahillsauthor.com/From the exact moment this is posted, it will be two days and fourteen hours until NaNoWriMo. Or exactly 3,720 minutes.

It’s coming.

And I’m so excited!!!

For those of you who pay attention: yes, today is a Monday and I usually post on Thursdays. But not this month, folks. For November I will be posting every Monday with NaNo themed content–prompts, pep-talks, and commiseration galore–as well as my usual Thursday posts. For me, NaNoWriMo has always been about trying something new–this bi-weekly posting is new for me, we’ll see how it goes!

What will your new be? A lot of people’s reasons for not doing NaNo is based on incorrect facts. I’m not here telling you that you have to do it–I’m just going to tell you how you’re missing out, and why your reasons for not doing it are wrong. Because I’m nice like that. Continue reading

Star Wars: The Last Jedi–Where it Went Wrong and Where it Went Right

1512369111_star-wars-last-jediI know I wasn’t the only one who shelled it out for the midnight iMax showing of The Last Jedi–the eighth film of the most iconic sci-fi series of all time. And I also know I wasn’t the only one who found it a little bit disappointing upon closer analysis in the taxi home (spoiler-free review).

It is a visually stunning film and it’s Star Wars–don’t get me wrong, I liked it. If you’ve not seen it, you should.

But I did have a few issues with the complicated plot.

I considered trying to write a spoiler-free review, but that would make it difficult to get specific about the plot from a literary viewpoint–the entire point of this post. So prepare yourself.

(WARNING–contains spoilers. A lot of them.) Continue reading

Review of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All-the-Bright-PlacesAll the Bright Places puzzled me. While reading it, I was never sure what to think. After reading it, I’m still not sure what to think.

The story certainly shines with its own light. It’s about two teens, Violet and Finch, who meet each other on the roof of the school tower during a rough spot in their lives. It explores the irony of someone wanting to die but teaching someone else how to live and is based off a true experience the author had. It’s cute and funny–hitting upon some deep topics about loss and recovery in an elegant way. Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

printable-name-tags-r0zxxuni.jpgWith possibly the most cliched title ever, this post will discuss one of my favorite things about writing–naming characters.

A character’s name can speak volumes about who they are, or it can say nothing. Sometimes the fact that the name says nothing, says everything. But that’s getting too philosophical for a Thursday.

I believe there are two general types of names: ones that someone else made up years and years ago, or ones that you make up. Continue reading

Dream Sequence!

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“Well, I was dreaming until you woke me up…”

Dreams are weird.

On second thought, the above three words seem vague. I might as well make statements like, ‘life is weird’ (it is), so let me go into some more detail on the subject of dreams.

I would argue that our concept of fantasy, and our ability to imagine fantastical situations, comes from dreams. It’s an interesting idea–one’s database of sensual information is all that’s needed to create a myriad of bizarre situations. Perhaps that is the only difference between a creative person and someone who is ‘not creative’. The person with the greater imagination is just better able to re-combine their memories while in a lucid state; they don’t have to be unconscious to make stuff up. Continue reading

The Evolution of Aza’s Character Growth

All stories must have character growth.

Growth can be subtle: the character realizes something they didn’t know before. Or profound: the character goes from ugly, wimpy nobody to strong, world-saving beauty.

Most novels go for somewhere in the middle. But whatever the case, the character in the last chapter must in some way be superior to the person we met on page one.

Basically, they must have fixed or improved upon their flaws. Continue reading

Literary Persuasion–The Hunger Games

In an age where easy-to-watch films are everywhere, what makes us continue to dedicate our time to reading books?

I was kindly invited to guest post on the blog Propaganda for Change. I tried my hand at a more scientific post that talks about the persuasive content hidden in the pages of our papery friends, using the impressive Hunger Games Trilogy as an example.

If you’re reading this, then chances are you like to read. And you almost certainly like stories.
 
From an evolutionary viewpoint, the reason for loving stories is clear; prehistoric man could listen to his friend talking about a close encounter with a wolf in a cave and then he could use that knowledge to stay alive on his search for food. Stories were sugar coated pills of important information. They were also a way of creating beauty to bond with other humans and increase one’s survival (1). Even today, it’s a well-known fact that we tend to enjoy things that lengthen our lifespans–mother nature is funny that way.
 

Granted, the ‘don’t eat those red berries, because…’ story is extremely different from the modern fictional sagas, but we’re captivated by them just the same.
However, this still doesn’t explain our love of books in particular. These days, most books have been turned into films, which require little effort or time to watch. Reading a 700-page book is an entirely different form of crazy. It requires days, and sometimes weeks, of dedicated page flipping. Why do we do this?
 
One simple answer could be ‘the book is better than the film’. But why would we say this? What powerful force would make us struggle through not just one book, but a whole series because it’s ‘better’ than anything on the screen?
 
I believe the answer is ‘persuasion’. The writer is trying, and often succeeding, to convince you that those 100,000 words are worth your time. Essentially, a book is a never-ending stream of propaganda that tells you to read more propaganda. 

Fantastical Creatures

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Electoad– the electricity producer

Some writers have a specific genre or style that they love to use. For me, it really depends on what I’m writing. I love experimenting– I’m like a crazy artist playing with mediums. But some genres don’t appear to like me. For instance, if it’s modern realism, anything longer than a flash piece sort of… well… morphs into fantasy.

Fantasy ≠ modern realism. Yeah.

I have several theories as to why my unconscious writer-mind appears to be smitten with fantasy: it could be the ability to bring in flying carpets or sea monsters when things ‘go bad’, or maybe it’s the free pass to ignore the laws of physics, but most likely it’s the ability to create my own creatures. Continue reading

Writing Memorable Characters

The man was standing stiff and upright, which made his stomach strain at the buttons of his white shirt. His face was screwed up like a bulldog, and his beady eyes shifted slowly back and forth over the crowd like everyone was up to no good.

If I was writing about a security guard, I might describe him something like that. Capturing someone’s character is an important skill to have, because without characters you have no story. Continue reading