NaNoWriMo Success!

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Well, I’ve successfully completed National Novel Writing Month for 2014! It was a close call, as I was about 8,000 words behind in the last two days of November. Luckily, I managed to pull through, mostly because I word-sprinted as if my life depended on it.

Of course, my novel will probably never see the light of day, as it’s a piece of trash for the most part. But I loved journeying with my three main characters, and I had the extraordinary opportunity to right everything that annoyed me about books I’ve read recently:

  • Books with too much subplot? FIXED IT: only one main plot in my book.
  • Books with obnoxious love triangles? FIXED IT: my plot, to my despair, was heading in that direction – so instead, I just made my three main characters a polyamorous threesome.
  • Books with not enough queer characters? FIXED IT: my threesome is 2/3 queer, which pleased me greatly.
  • Books with only white characters? FIXED IT: made sure to incorporate plenty of multicultural characters and POC, though it’s debatable how well I did with accurately portraying their cultures.

I had originally intended on editing my manuscript, but I think I’ll just let this one go. I came up with ten better ideas for stories before this one was even written. The experience was plenty of fun, though, and I learned quite a bit about myself as a person and as a writer. And the writing process was just as cathartic as ever!

I’m also happy to report that because I’m no longer slaving over my word count, my book reviews will soon continue as regularly scheduled.

I hope your November went swimmingly; I know mine did, and I have the finished novel to prove it. If you did NaNo, let me know in the comments how your writing went! And happy December.

Tara

Meeting that Word Count!

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It’s November, which means NaNoWriMo is upon us. Billed as “Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon,” November is the time of the year in which thousands of would-be authors attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just one month.

Sounds crazy, right?

Right. It is. It’s completely insane – but that won’t stop any of us.

I’m 9,752 words into my novel as I type this, and I’m about 2,000 words behind. But I did want to drop by and explain the reason for my absence. Once December hits, my book reviews will continue as normal. Until then, I’ll just be writing. And best of luck to you as well, if you’re hopping on the crazy train.

May the word count be ever in our favor!

Tara

I was nominated for the Liebster Award!

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Thanks so much to Sabina from Library of Cats for nominating me for this award!

The Liebster Award is targeted towards bloggers with less than 200 followers, in order for us to learn about each other and our wonderful community. I think this is a great idea and a wonderful opportunity to interact with the fabulous bookworms in the blogosphere!

Part of being nominated means answering the 11 questions posed by the nominator – so here are my answers!

What or who inspires you to create? My answer depends on what I’m creating. When it comes to writing, generally it’s an idea I’ve had for a long time and a need to put words together on the page. When it comes to painting, my inspiration comes from the nature of colors and the songs they sing. When it comes to book-binding, I’m inspired by my professor from university who taught our book-binding class. And when it comes to writing music, it’s usually boredom.

How do you handle a creative block? I read, listen to music, or find art in the world. If I’m trying to create something of my own and it’s not working, I dive right into others’ creations for a while, and usually that helps me get my spark back.

Do you have a favorite writer or artist? For writing – oh, that’s hard. Either Carlos Ruiz Zafon, J.D. Salinger, T.S. Eliot, or Ernest Hemingway. I’m going to have to say, for art, it’s Julianne Swartz.

If you had a childhood pet, what was the first one? I did! We had a Yorkshire Terrier named Reggie (which was short for “The Reginald’s Crowning Touch” – we didn’t name him). He was the sweetest, though not the brightest bulb in the box.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, what kind of stuffing do you prefer? I don’t really like my food to touch or mix? Which is weird, I know. So I don’t like stuffing.

Do you have a favorite charity and why? I’m going to have to say Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control, because they’re great and they do a lot for the animal community around here.

If you went on a year-long trip around the world and could only bring one luxury item, what would it be and why? It would definitely be my laptop – my thinking is that I wouldn’t have my phone, because my plan would be too expensive, so that way I could upload all of my photos and also blog about the journey.

Are you a collector? If yes, what? If no, why not? I collect books, postcards from places I’ve been and from places my friends have been, and rubber ducks. Also, I collect flowers made out of things that aren’t flowers (feathers, metal, wood, chocolate, etc).

Which season: Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter? The weather in autumn is sublime.

Name one person no longer living you wish you could have spent time with. I’m going to go ahead and say… my first instinct is to say Shakespeare, but I know our meeting wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Gertrude Stein. I would have wanted to spend some time with Gertrude Stein.

Cat or Dog? I want to adopt a cat so terribly.

 

Now that I’ve answered my questions, it’s time to get to the nominating!

Here are the rules!

  • Link & thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator gives you.
  • Tag 11 other bloggers who have 200 or less followers.
  • Ask the 11 bloggers you nominated 11 questions and let them know you nominated them!

 

Here are my 11 nominees: 

1. Tessa from Tessellated Tales

2. Chelsea from Chels & a Book

3. Holly from Bookaholic Confessions

4. Charmaine from Storybook Town

5 & 6. Both Ashley and Veronica from City Girl Scapes

7 & 8. Both Ashley and Katie from After the Last Page

9. Shannon from For the Love of Words

10. Ramblings of an Elfpire

11. Confessions of a Bookaholic

All of these individuals have fabulous blogs and you should definitely check them out.

 

And finally, here are the questions for my nominees to answer:

1. What is the one book that every human should read before they die?

2. If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would you pick and why?

3. What’s the one thing that will automatically turn you off from a book?

4. Who is your fictional doppleganger (what fictional character would be you if you were from a book)?

5. Where is your favorite place to read and why?

6. If you were to write a memoir about some aspect of your life, what would you call it?

Now for the non-book questions!

7. What flavor of ice cream would you be, and why?

8. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

9. What’s your Patronus memory (the happiest memory you can think of)?

10. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

11. What superpower would you want to have and why?

 

Thanks again to Sabina for the nomination! And to all of my fellow bloggers – let’s keep bloggin’ away.

Tara

Presenting: A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

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As I mentioned in last month’s catch-up post, I’ve been working all summer with the fine fellows from Shakespeare from the Heart in order to produce “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Tonight is our opening night, so if you live in northwest Indiana, you should come out and see us!

The goal of our troupe is to have fun together making Shakespeare accessible to the general public while also raising money for charity. Our shows are presented at no charge, but should the audience members wish to make a donation, all of the money we receive goes to our charity for the year. This year, we’re focusing on helping the Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic, a clinic in downtown Fort Wayne which provides services for low or no cost to people who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

Showtimes are at 6 pm tonight (July 25), 6 pm tomorrow (July 26), and 2 pm Sunday (July 27).

I’m extraordinarily proud of our cast and what we’ve managed to accomplish in the two months we’ve been working on the show. I still laugh every time we practice the show – it just keeps getting funnier and funnier. As the first fairy, I just have a few lines (plus a song!), but I have had so much fun with these fine actors, whether it be messing with the Pucks backstage or practicing my bubble-blowing with the fairies. Our sense of camaraderie is really like nothing I’ve experienced in a show before, and I think that’s because we all share the same love for Shakespeare and performing.

Yes, this is me as the first fairy - with bonus Pucks making fun of me in the background.

Yes, this is me as the first fairy – with bonus Pucks making fun of me in the background.

If you’re interested in learning more about our group, you can check out the Phoenix Productions website, and while you’re at it, like our Shakespeare from the Heart facebook page! And remember to come see our show if you can.

Tara

What I’m Up To: June 2014.

So I thought it would be a good idea to do periodical updates about what’s going on in my Real Life. Fortunately/unfortunately (I can’t decide which), I am heading at full speed towards adulthood. Very exciting things have happened in the past month, so here’s the news:

  • I am EMPLOYED. I was offered a teaching position at my old high school after an interview with the principal and most of the English department, and I accepted right away. I’ll be teaching 10th grade English and Honors English starting in August, which is less than two months from now! I can’t believe this is actually happening, and I am equal parts excited and terrified.
  • I will be playing a role in Shakespeare From the Heart‘s summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the end of July! I’ll give more information about show dates and times closer to the date, but the show is free and all donations will go to our summer charity. I’ll be playing the First Fairy, Titania’s second-in-command. I have a monologue, a scene with Puck, and even a song or two. I can’t wait for real rehearsals to start – we had our first read-through last week, and I know the show is going to be amazing.
  • I will also be volunteering at the Karpeles Manuscript Library in Fort Wayne, starting shortly. They have traveling exhibits that show manuscripts, first editions, and maps to the public for free. I’ll be giving tours and sharing information, for the most part. I also might be pulling weeds out front. We’ll see how that goes.

Other than that, I’ve just been reading, relaxing, and marathoning “Orphan Black” and “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix. It’s been a pretty great summer so far.

I’ll update again in July when I’ll know more about my new teaching job and when I can share more information about our play!

Tara