Character Interview – Arden

A few months ago, I took the interviewer’s seat and interviewed my character, Lexi, from The Last Four. I had such a great time getting to interview her, I decided to do it again with another one of my characters. (The Hobbit stars still haven’t gotten back to me about an interview. I wonder why … ;)) Today I’m interviewing Arden from my Owl City fanfiction, Hot Air Balloon!

What is your name?

My name’s Arden Bellatrix Hart. Isn’t that a great name? My father likes to call me Bella, but everyone else just calls me Arden.

Bellatrix? Is that your real middle name?

Yep! It’s the name of a star in the Orion constellation. My mom’s an astrophysicist. Her favorite star is the Bellatrix star because of its blue color. So, she named me after it.

What do you want to be when you grow up? An astrophysicist like your mom?

I’m not as into the universe as my mother is. I’d rather be a chef, fashion designer, or dentist. Or maybe an animal trainer. I’d love to be a singer, but I can’t sing. Or maybe I can work in Ben’s parents’ candy store, Sweet Stuff. Mmmm … that would be yummy.

Where are you from?

I’m from the third planet in the Alpha Centauri system.

Are you really?

Naw! My friend Ben seems to think I’m from outer space though. I’m actually from a teeny tiny town in Minnesota. It gets sooooo cold in the winter!

How old are you?

I’m 14 years old. My birthday is in July, and I love that it’s actually nice and warm! I like the warm weather because you can go outside and do stuff, like ride in hot air balloons.

Do you have any siblings?

Nope! It’s just me, myself, and I. Which is neat because I’m fun to talk to.

Who are your parents?

Andra and Daniel Hart. If Ben and I got married, and he took my last name, he’d be Ben Sweet-Hart. Hehe! Anyway, my mom is originally from Iceland, and my dad was born and raised in Minnesota. I already told you she’s an astrophysicist, and my dad’s an ornithologist who’s researching the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Did you know that the Grosbeak’s nest is so flimsy you can actually see the eggs through the bottom of the nest?

No, I didn’t. Interesting. Do you go to school?

Uh-huh. I’m in high school now.

What is your favorite subject in school?

I really like my art class. I also got a chance to perform in a play when my school did a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I played the fairy, Moth. I had two whole lines! Everyone said that I was the best Moth they’d ever seen.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to draw, listen to music, pretend, dance, build race tracks, play video games, bake, read, sew  … there’s not much I don’t enjoy doing, actually!

Do you have any pets?

My dad’s allergic to dogs, so we have a cat named Kalliope.

Who named the cat?

My mom did. It’s the name of an asteroid.

Do you have a best friend?

He might not agree, but I consider Ben to be my best friend. He lives right next door, so I get to see him all the time. Whenever he comes over, we have a blast!

What are your favorite books?

My favorite books are The Phantom Tollbooth and The Hobbit. I would love to have a chance to travel to Dictionopolis and Erebor.

What is your favorite food?

Easy! My mom is from Iceland, and she makes Bláberjasúpa, which in English is blueberry soup.

Blueberry soup?

Yeah! It’s delicious. My mom said in Iceland it’s made with something called bilberries, which kind of sounds like “Bilbo – berries!” Hehe! Over here in the US, it’s easier to get blueberries than bilberries.

You said you like to listen to music. What kind of music do you like?

Yes! I love listening to music. I especially enjoy Owl City. Some of the songs sound like they were written about my life. It’s the weirdest thing.

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: September 20 – 26

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week!

Total Word Count for the Week: 6889

Top Writing Day: Tuesday was my top day with 1572 words.

What I Worked On: It was another fanfiction week. 😉 I’m trying to complete all running fanfics before NaNo starts.

The Good News: I made my goal! YEAH!

The Bad News: I found I had a tendency to meet my goal … and that was it. I’d meet my 700 goal and then stop writing.

Lesson Learned: I have to not only meet my goal, but to actually write past my goal as well. I’m going to work on that this week.

Goal for Next Week: My goal for next week is to keep my word count above 800 words each day. Also, I’d like to have my Arden and Ben story or my Hobbit fanfiction for Rivendell completed this week.

If you’d like to share your weekly wrap-up, go ahead and post it in the comments below!

~ Kayla

Character Names – Nils and Kitra

Today I’m sharing two of my favorite names for a character, Nils and Kitra. You can use these in your next project if you’d like. No promises you won’t see these names in my writing, though! 😉

Let’s start with the first name, Nils. The name is used in Scandinavian countries, as well as English ones, though the name is actually Greek. This Greek boy’s name is a form of “Nikolaos” meaning “victory of the people” according to Baby Names World (http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/meaning_of_Nils.html). Nils is pronounced “Neels.” I did a Google search on famous people named Nils, and I actually found a penguin. There is a penguin named Nils Olav. He is the mascot of the Norwegian Royal Guard and resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. (you can read about  him here: http://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/animals/SirNilsOlav.html) If any reader has been/lives in Scotland and has seen the penguin, please comment and tell me about it! 🙂 My character in my newest novel idea is named Nils as well. I haven’t really fleshed out his character at all, but he’s a stage actor and is moving towards turning traitor, dragging the main character with him.

The second name is the girl’s name, Kitra. I adore this name. It has such a cool sound to it. The first time I heard it, I desperately wanted to use it. I still haven’t found the character to fit the name, but I will use it one day! Kitra is a Hebrew name that means “crowned one.” It’s pronounced “KIT-trah” according to http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Kitra. It’s not a very popular name and still fairly uncommon. I think this one would be especially cool as a more scifi/fantasy name.

Would you use these names for a character (or a penguin)? What do you think of them?

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Actually, this week, it’s a “Poem of the Week.” While looking for a good quote, I came across this poem written by none other than Dr. Seuss! I used to love One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish when I was younger. It was such a fun children’s book. Anyway, I’ve read plenty of books where the author goes on and on and on and on and on in some long flowery description or backstory, making reading it miserable. I would either skip through those parts or not even finish the story. So, as an author myself, I’ve made it a goal not to bore my readers to death with long descriptions.

“It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That’s why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader’s relief is.

And that’s why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)”
― Dr. Seuss

~ Kayla

Dear Juliet – Letter 2

Last week, I posted the first letter in my Shakespeare “fanfic” where Juliet’s best friend, Livia, is writing her letters to give her advice. Here Livia advises an alternate plan for avoiding marriage with Paris. If only Juliet would have listened …

April 17, 1592

Dear Juliet,

I heard the bad news about Romeo being banished to Mantua. I’m so sorry (even if you didn’t take my advice about marrying Romeo). I also found out that your parents are forcing you to marry Paris. Oh, Juliet, that’s terrible! Although quite wealthy, he is a thoroughly unattractive man. But don’t worry, your faithful Liv has a plan! It’s pretty risky and a little crazy (like me!), but I think it will work. I swear you won’t have to drink nasty tasting potions that may or may not be effective or wake up in a grave.  What you must do is first write a letter to Romeo explaining the plan (which I’ll share in a minute), then confront your father and refuse to marry Paris, and finally escape Verona. If everything goes as planned, you’ll be happily living with Romeo and not Paris!

The first thing you’ll need to do is write a letter to Romeo. Explain to him what is going on, how your father is forcing you to marry Paris, and that if you don’t, you’ll be disowned. Tell Romeo that the night before the wedding, you will refuse to marry Paris.  Instruct Romeo or a trusted servant to meet you at Verona’s south gate at dawn on Wednesday. He is to take you to Mantua where you’ll live happily ever after. Once you’ve written the letter, secretly give it to a messenger and have him take it quickly to Mantua where Romeo is. Or if you can’t, I, of course, can always send it. One last thing, make sure you get a ladder and a pair of breeches. Don’t ask why right now. It’s for Step 3. Now that you’ve completed the first step in the plan, we move on to Step 2.

Step 2 is better suited for my personality than yours because you were always the obedient daughter, but I’m sure you’ll do just fine. This may be quite shocking and not in the least bit proper, but trust me. Have I ever steered you wrong (except for that one time with Benvolio, but we won’t review past history right now)? I need you to go to your father on Tuesday evening and bluntly tell him you will not marry Paris under any condition. Tell him as forcefully as you can that he can disown you if he must, but you will not marry Paris. He will probably threaten to drag you there himself, but don’t worry about it. You’re clever Juliet, and I’m sure you can come up with some witty response back. Besides, you won’t be there in the morning for him to drag you anywhere. At this point, he’ll probably be ready to explode. I would suggest getting out of there. Go up to your room, and lock the door. Under no circumstance let anybody in. Get your belongings together. Pack as little as possible, but if you have anything really special go ahead and get that organized. You can leave a note for your nurse if you’d like, but don’t say where you’re going or when you’ll be back. More importantly, don’t tell her who put you up to this! Change into the breeches. Finally, if you can, get some rest. The final step demands quite a bit of energy.

Step 3 will require you to be very, very brave. An hour before dawn let the ladder down off your balcony, just like you did for Romeo on your wedding night. Now climb down. I know it’s scary, but trust me. If Romeo could climb up the ladder, you can climb down. The breeches will make the descent much easier, and besides, what’s the worst that could happen? So you have a little fall into the bushes below. Isn’t a bruised backside better than marrying Paris? Anyway, climb down the ladder and into your garden. Now, make your way out and follow the map of Verona I sent along with this letter all the way to the south gate. Once you are there, wait by the gate for Romeo or the servant to come. When he comes, follow him to Mantua. There you can start a new life with your Romeo!

Juliet, I hope you’ll take my advice this time. I have checked on everything, and I believe this plan will work. Please don’t be stupid or rash like you were in marrying Romeo. I swear that if you follow the plan, everything will go just fine. I think you’ll like Mantua. I’ve heard it’s very nice and a lot like Verona. In fact, if I were you, I’d make room in my new house for a guest, because I might join you if I’m forced to marry Paris!

Love,

Livia

Going Where No Book has Gone Before

“Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise …” Star Trek is my favorite TV show. I’ve watched 3 of the 5 Star Trek series, and my very favorite is The Next Generation. (Kirk fans, don’t hate me.) One thing that really impressed me was the writers’ use of classic literature. Works by greats like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shakespeare, and Mark Twain are found in episode after episode. Here are nine classic authors and works referenced in Star Trek:

1. Gilgamesh (TNG: “Darmok”)

In the episode “Darmok,” Captain Picard is transported to the surface of an alien planet with the captain of a Tamarian ship.  Captain Picard and the alien captain, although unable to communicate, must still work together to defeat a beast that lives on the planet. In one scene, the alien captain communicates to Picard that he wants a story. Picard tells him a version of the epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient Babylonian legend about a cruel king. Here’s the scene:

2. Mark Twain (TNG: “Time’s Arrow, Parts 1 & 2”)

Mark Twain actually makes a guest appearance on Star Trek! In the episode “Time’s Arrow,” Data is sent back in time to the 19th century, and he runs into Mark Twain. Twain makes several references to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, believing that Data has come back in time to tamper with his century, just like his protagonist, Hank Morgan, did in 6th century Camelot. Twain even visits the Enterprise, before deciding to return to his century. Jack London also makes an appearance in the episode, as a helpful bellboy. Twain talks to London, encouraging him to live his dream of going to Alaska and writing a book about it. Before leaving the room, London tells Twain to look for his name in print.

3. Cyrano De Bergerac (TNG: “The Nth Degree”)

One of my favorite “guest” characters in The Next Generation is Barclay (Or Broccoli, depending which pronunciation you choose. ;)). In the very beginning of “The Nth Degree,” Barclay is playing the character Cyrano De Bergerac from the play, and at first, Barclay is a terrible actor. Doctor Crusher plays Roxane, the woman Cyrano loves.  I can’t wait to re-watch the episode after reading the play this year in school.

4. Shakespeare (TNG: “The Defector,” “Time’s Arrow Part 2,” and “Hide and Q”)

Shakespeare is quoted and performed many times on the starship Enterprise. In “The Defector,” the episode opens with Data and Picard performing one of the scenes from Henry V. In “Time’s Arrow Part 2,” the crew tells the landlady they are performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and even has the landlady rehearse with them, reading off a passage from Act 2. Q borrows a quote from As You Like, in “Hide and Q,” when he says, “All the galaxy’s a stage.” Several episodes in the series had names taken from Shakespearian works, such as Remember Me, which is from Hamlet. A really good article about Shakespeare references in Star Trek is found here: http://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/shakespeare/star.trek.html

5. William Butler Yeats (ENT: “Rogue Planet”)

I recently starting watching Star Trek: Enterprise with my mom, and it’s been really good so far, despite how much it was hated. (Yes, I even like the beginning song. :)) In this episode, Captain Archer and several of his crew travel down to a planet where it is always night. Archer continually sees a beautiful woman in the forest, who’s actually a shape shifter trying to convince Archer to help her. At the end of the episode, Archer finally figures out why the creature revealed itself to him as a blonde-haired woman with apple blossoms in her hair. When he was a child, he enjoyed a poem by William Butler Yeats called The Song of the Wandering Aengus. The poem depicts the story of a man who caught a trout that turned into a beautiful woman with apple blossoms in her hair.

6. Sherlock Holmes (TNG: “The Lonely Among Us,” “Elementary, Dear Data,” and “Ship in a Bottle”)

I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and somehow, the writers of The Next Generation combined two of my favorite fandoms into some great episodes. Throughout the series, Data is continually fascinated with Holmes, and in “Elementary, Dear Data,” and “Ship in a Bottle,” La Forge and Data dress up as Watson and Holmes and enjoy adventures on the holodeck. Moriarty even joins the party, showing up in a few episodes as a hologram who has gained consciousness.

7. Robin Hood (TNG: “Qpid”)

Episodes with Q were always my favorite. Qpid is no exception to the “Rule of Q!” The entire episode is based off the classic tale of Robin Hood, who is portrayed by Captain Picard. Maid Marian is Captain Picard’s love interest, Vash. The rest of the crew play Robin Hood’s Merry Men, in the little fantasy world that Q has built for them. Here’s one of the best lines from the episode:

8. Frankenstein (ENT: “Horizon”)

Frankenstein even has its moment on Star Trek. In “Horizon,” Trip Tucker attempts to convince Vulcan Science Officer T’Pol to join the crew for movie night to see Frankenstein, by mentioning the movie is from a famous novel by Mary Shelley. Archer decides he’ll take her, and a skeptical T’Pol watches the movie. She seems to enjoy it for she quotes it on the bridge and says she’ll recommend the movie to Ambassador Soval, the Vulcan ambassador to Earth, to help him understand humans better. T’Pol even draws parallels between the way the humans treated the Vulcans when they first arrived on Earth and the way the characters treated Frankenstein’s creation, though Archer points out that the humans didn’t exactly chase the Vulcans with pitchforks.

9. A Christmas Carol (TNG: “Devil’s Due”)

When the episode opens, Data is acting on the holodeck as Ebenezer Scrooge. The scene is from the beginning of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol where Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old friend, Jacob Marley. The holographic scene is paused as Captain Picard is shown, critiquing Data’s acting techniques.

Star Trek is not only entertaining, but also educational. 😉 Thanks for reading, and live long and prosper! *holds up hand in Vulcan salute*

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: September 13 – 19

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week!

Total Word Count for the Week: 7723

Top Writing Day: Saturday was my top day, with 2534 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on fanfiction this week, including new Arden and Ben stories.

The Good News: Except for Friday, I made my goal of 600 words a day every day this week! YEAH!

The Bad News: This is kind of both good and bad. Because I was so focused on making my goals, I really didn’t focus on how I was writing. It made my writing a lot rougher than usual. Of course, it also allowed me to get more writing done.

Lesson Learned: I kept berating myself for writing “just” fanfiction, and not working on one of my original ideas. I finally came to the conclusion that fanfiction is still writing, even if it’s not an “original idea.” Some weeks are novel weeks, and others are fanfic weeks. 🙂

Goal for Next Week: My goal for next week is to keep my word count above 700 words each day. Since I made my goal this week, I want to slowly start inching my way up to 1,000 words a day for NaNoWriMo. I’m starting small, though.

If you’d like to share your weekly wrap-up, go ahead and post it in the comments below!

~ Kayla

An Interesting Word – Foofaraw

This is a very strange word. It sounds funny, and it looks funny. I first saw the word on my favorite internet thesaurus (thesaurus.com), after clicking on a slideshow called, “Seven Wacky Words Born in the USA.”

So, just what is a foofaraw? No, it’s not some strange exotic bird or an alien race from Star Trek. It actually has two different meanings. From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the first definition is “frills or flashy finery.” Definition number two is a little surprising, since foofaraw also means, “a disturbance or to-do over trifles.” In both cases it is used as a noun. The word seems to come from the Spanish word fanfarron, which means a braggart or a blusterer. Another possible source for the word is from the French word, frou -frou, which means frills.

A very interesting article about this word is found here: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-foo1.htm

I couldn’t find any great quotes containing the word foofaraw (I wasn’t too surprised). But please, no foofaraws about no quotes with foofaraw. I did find a video:

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Happy “Quote of the Week-day!” Today’s quote comes from Ruth Stout, author of The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book. I’m not a published author yet, but I definitely hope to one day write a book “that people can be bothered to read.” Disclaimer: I do not advocate stealing books, novels, or written work of any kind, no matter how happy that may make an author and prove to them that their book is popular; I’m sure they would still appreciate getting paid. 😉

“It’s a fair-sized job to write a book that people can be bothered just to read; when they begin to steal copies, you are really getting some place.” – Ruth Stout

~ Kayla

Writing Sample – Dear Juliet – Letter 1

I have written fanfictions for a lot of fandoms. That even includes Shakespeare! Last year for school, I studied two Shakespeare plays, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice. For “R & J” (Romeo and Juliet), I was supposed to write a letter to Juliet as if I were her best friend giving her advice. That assignment created Livia. In Act 1, Scene 2 of the play, Romeo is asked to read a guest list by one of Capulet’s servants. He reads the list, “my fair niece Rosaline; Livia; Signior Valentio … ” I took this mention of a girl named Livia and turned her into Juliet’s best friend. I wrote three “Liv Letters” over the course of studying the play. This week, I’m posting letter 1. Enjoy!

April 15, 1592

Dear Juliet,

News travels fast here in Verona. So you shouldn’t be surprised that I heard from your nurse (you how she likes to come here and chat with the servants) that you are planning to marry that Montague, Romeo! I was very shocked, especially when I heard that you only met last night. You were always rash, and I guess that hasn’t changed much! Juliet, you know that I want the best for you, and as your friend, I want you to think this through. From what I’ve heard and what I know, I think there are three things you need to think over before you marry him; first, Romeo has been “in love” two times in two days with two different girls, he is, after all, a Montague, and you really know nothing about him.

My first concern I want you to consider is that your Romeo has been “in love” two times with two different girls in two days. Knowing you, you’ll just deny it, but I heard from Benvolio (Romeo’s cousin, in case you didn’t know) himself that Romeo was in love with Rosaline, my sister! Do you know what Romeo said of her? Benvolio quoted Romeo, who was talking about Rosaline, “One fairer than my love? The all – seeing sun ne’er saw her match since the world begun.” Later that night, he’d forgotten all about Rosaline and was chasing after you! In fact, when he was visiting you, Benvolio and Mercutio thought he was with Rosaline. Juliet, Romeo may say he loves you, and maybe he does, but his love changes at a moment’s notice! He “loves” whatever girl suits him at the time. Think about this, and make sure he’s going to continue loving you no matter what “Rosaline” comes along!

My next objection may be rather obvious, but he’s a Montague! In case you have forgotten, he is the son of your sworn enemy! By marrying him, you’ll be giving up your name and defecting to the Montague side.  Is your love “not Romeo, and a Montague?” Besides, marrying Romeo will complicate your family’s Christmas party! I know you’re laughing at me right now, but it’s true! Your family will never trust Romeo or you. Be careful and don’t take this decision lightly. Do you love your family or Romeo more?

The last point I’d like you to think about is that you really know nothing about Romeo. You only met last night! What do you know about him? You know he’s a Montague, he kisses nicely (yes, I heard about that, Juliet! I was at the party, remember?), and that he’s handsome. That’s not a lot to base a marriage on.  You need to learn more about him than “you kiss by the book”! Take some time to get to know him before you run off and get married. If you find he’s a good man, gentle, and kind, then marry him.

My advice, Juliet, would be to wait. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but you’ll be better off if you do. Wait for a bit to see if you continue loving him after you’ve been apart. Wait to see if he will be able to wait for you, or if he starts chasing after some other girl. Just wait. Things may happen that won’t allow you two to be together. That being said, if you know he’ll be faithful, you can live without your family’s blessing, and you know him better, then marry him.  I wish only the greatest happiness to you and Romeo, if you decide to get married.  All I’m asking is don’t be so hasty and bring about unfortunate circumstances.

With all my love, your friend,

Livia

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla