NaNo Plot Ideas

If you’re stuck looking for a plot idea for your NaNoWriMo novel (since NaNo starts tomorrow), look no further! While googling some logline writing tips, I stumbled upon a random logline generator. Perhaps you can write your NaNo novel about one of these:

A balloonist takes a walk with a psychotic baby in a football stadium.

A kleptomaniac hypnotist, a sword-fighting junkyard owner, and a singer plan a wedding.

The CIA agent mother of a nanny takes care of a baby found at an alligator farm.

Or … maybe not. 😉 While these might not be the most useful plots for NaNo, you may be able to glean some crazy character ideas as well as being very entertained! 🙂

http://www.lifeformz.com/cgi-bin/idea/idea.fcgi

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Quote of the Week

Happy “Quote of the Week” day! Today’s quote comes from James Taylor, a five-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter. While he was referring to writing songs in this quote, I think the idea applies to novel writing as well. I’m sure many writers participating in NaNo will be turning off their phones to get their word count written. I know I’ll be!

“There’ll come a writing phase where there’s more method to it, where you have to defend the time, clear out the time, unplug the phone, and put in the hours to get it done.” – James Taylor

~ Kayla

The Adventure Begins – Part 2

“The Adventure Begins” is an interlude between Bag End, where Nerissa started her adventure, and the next major scene with the three trolls. It’s a time when Nerissa is adjusting to her new life on the road. Here’s part 2:

“You better get up, young lady,” came the voice above me. I felt a gentle kick. I groaned.

“Go away, Mother. I’m sleeping!”

I heard a deep laugh, “Do I look like your mother?”

I opened my eyes and saw Bofur looking at me.

I closed my eyes again. “Why so early, every morning?” I muttered.

“Well, Thorin himself said to get you up. Actually he said something more like, ‘If that loafer of a girl refuses to rise … ,'” Bofur stopped himself, and then continued cheerily, “But what he said isn’t important. Now, you need to get up. After all, line 238 of the contract says that all signees are to rise at this time every morning for the duration of the adventure.”

I sighed, sat up, and started gathering my gear. I shoved my blanket into my pack, but it wouldn’t fit. Grumpily, I grabbed my pack and shook it as hard as I could. Everything  I had just packed tumbled to the ground along with a folded piece of paper. Kneeling, I picked it up. My name was neatly spelled out on the front of the slightly-peachy colored stationery that Mother always used. I felt a lump in my throat as I slowly unfolded the paper. It didn’t matter that Thorin wanted to get started; I had to read the letter. I began reading my mother’s precise writing.

My dearest daughter,

When we said no to you going on this quest, I knew in my heart you wouldn’t obey. I really hope I’m wrong and that this letter will never be opened, but something tells me you’re going to leave home, and nothing will stop you. I want to say right now that I love you, and I forgive you for leaving. It pains me, but I understand you’re excited to try life on your own and desire to make your own decisions. I was young once, too. In fact, I’m sure you remember the story about how my own parents were furious at my decision to leave home and marry your father, as it was unthinkable that I would marry a Rohirrim! That’s why I’m letting you go – because I do understand. My promise to you is that you’ll always have a home to come back to, and that I’ll always love you. I hope your adventure is everything you dreamed of. Be good and obey Gandalf.

Just remember that the world is bigger than you realize. The world isn’t like our tiny town. I’ll be praying for your safe return.

Mother

I gently folded the letter, and felt the tears well up in my eyes. I suddenly just wanted to run home, back to the safety and care of my family. “I love you too, Mother,” I whispered to the letter, hugging it to me for a moment. The lump in my throat got bigger and bigger, and the tears started to fall.

“Nerissa?”

I turned around, quickly wiping my eyes. “Yes?”

Bilbo Baggins, our Hobbit, stood in front of me, and he looked concerned. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine, thank you,” I said briskly, turning around and tucking the pale paper back into my bag.

“You’re homesick,” Bilbo touched my elbow. “I know.”

I turned on him. “How do you know?”

“Because I’m homesick myself,” Bilbo smiled sympathetically.

“I found a letter from my mother. I never knew she wrote it,” I choked up. “I miss her. I miss my family. I miss Rohan. I even miss having to make my bed every morning.” I laughed despite myself, re-rolling the blanket and placing it in my pack.

“You better get moving, both of you, or Thorin will have your heads!” growled Dwalin as he passed us.

Bilbo picked up the pack he’d dropped and glanced over at me.“I miss my arm chair. I miss my books. I miss Bag End.”

“I miss my books, too. And my bath tub!” For a moment I remembered how good it felt to be clean.

“I miss my tea kettle. I miss my slippers. I miss not being sore every morning.”

“I miss my mother’s cooking.” The thought of my mother began my tears afresh.

Bilbo handed me something. It was a handkerchief that one of the dwarves had given him. “Here,” he smiled up at me. I dried my eyes and handed it back to him.

“Hannon le … I mean, thank you,” I smiled. Bilbo nodded, and we walked in silence to our horses. Gildin leaned down and nuzzled my hair. “Hello, boy. How are you?” He nickered back. I rubbed his nose, and swung up on his back.

“Let’s get moving! We’re already behind.” I heard Thorin’s gruff command. I sighed and urged Gildin forward.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be posting part 3 next week.

~ Kayla

NaNo Approacheth

I have exactly three days until NaNo starts. AH!  I’ve been waiting so long, I can’t believe it’s finally here. I’m all signed up and ready to go.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNo, as it is called, is a challenge where writers try to complete a 50,000 word novel in one month. And that month is November, which is only a few days away! You can’t have anything written beforehand, and it can’t be a second draft. You can, however, plan out your novel as much as you’d like (as long as not a word of your actual novel is written!), and I’ve been planning busily for the past week or so. Anyone can participate by signing up on their site, which can be found here: http://nanowrimo.org/ They also have a program for kids and teens, called the Young Writer’s Program, which is the exact same thing, only you can pick your own word count. You can find that here: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/

Now that everyone knows what NaNo is and why it’s approacheth-ing  (“NaNo approacheth” has been my catch phrase for about 3 months now.), I thought I’d share my plans for NaNo.

I’m going to be doing the YWP (Young Writer’s Program). I was going to go with the traditional 50,000 word NaNo, but after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t have enough time in one day to complete my word count. That being said, I’m going for a total word count of 35,000 words. My daily word count will be about 1,167 words, a little over what I’m writing now. I plan to try the 50,000 word count goal during the summer for Camp NaNo when I’ll have the time to actually get all my writing done. Now, what will I be writing all 35,000 words about? Here’s the logline for my book:

Returning after 150 years, alien invaders make a second attempt to take over the earth, and a brother and sister pair, caught behind enemy lines, are left to grow up alone and to defend their devastated home against the alien authorities, and in the end find out a disturbing truth.

I came up with the plot a few months ago and decided to use it for my NaNo novel. Writing the logline, I realize the story sounds a little corny, but I have a few twists and surprises planned that I think will make for an original novel.  I’m in love with the characters I’ve created, and I’m really excited to try my hand at designing an alien race. The only thing I need is a good title.

What are your NaNo plans? Leave a comment and tell me. 🙂

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: October 18 – 24

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 8118

Top Writing Day: Sunday was my top writing day with 1981

What I Worked On: I worked on planning out my NaNo novel and Hobbit fanfiction.

The Good News: I got most of my main character development done this week, and they’re named! Yeah!

The Bad News: I didn’t make my goal Monday, sadly.

Lesson Learned: Interviews are great for character development! I feel like I really know the characters a lot more than I usually do when I start writing a novel.

Goal for Next Week: My goal for next week is to keep my word count at 1000 words each day.

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

~ Kayla

Character Names – Thane and Ailey

During the past few days, I’ve started to feel the pressure of planning out my upcoming NaNo novel before November is here. One of the things I still had yet to do was name my characters. I did finally end up finding all of them names, but I feel as if I’ve been living on baby name sites for the last couple of days. Anyway, during my rather frantic name search, I’ve dug up a few names that didn’t work for this novel, but might work for yours. As always, feel free to use these names in your writing, but there’s no guarantee that I won’t use them myself in another novel. 🙂

Thane is a Scottish boy’s name. Its first known use was in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, as Thane is actually an early Scottish title. Macbeth was originally “Thane of Glamis” and then became “Thane of Cawdor.”  According to Nameberry (http://nameberry.com/babyname/Thane), Thane means “clan chieftain.” I like this name quite a bit, and my main guy character in my NaNo novel was almost named this. I decided another name was a better fit for him, though. I wouldn’t use Thane in a historical fiction novel since Thane is also a title in early Scotland, but I do think it would be great for most other genres, though.

Ailey is an Irish girl’s name. It is pronounced “Eye-lee.” The name means “light.” I couldn’t find a ton of information on this name, unfortunately. If you’re looking for a not-so-popular character name, Ailey is definitely not used a lot. Ailey was a name I considered for my main girl character. I decided that it might have been a little too difficult for the reader to know how to pronounce it (and the name just didn’t fit my character), and ease of pronunciation is definitely something to consider in naming characters. I think Ailey would be perfect in a contemporary novel or fantasy one.

I hope that these two names are useful for naming your two newest characters!

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Welcome to the quote of the week! Today’s quote comes from John Steinbeck, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath. I really like this quote because with NaNo coming up in just over a week or so, I’m definitely thinking (worrying) about if I’m going to be able to finish the goal or not.

“Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished you are always surprised.” – John Steinbeck

~ Kayla

The Adventure Begins – Part 1

Last week, I posted the final part of “Bag End,” the first part of my OC Hobbit fanfiction. Well, this week, I’m posting the next scene, called “The Adventure Begins.” Hope you enjoy!

It’s amazing how quickly an exciting adventure can become routine. Every day began with Thorin rousing us at the crack of dawn. (If I had known getting up early was to be part of this adventure, I might have chosen a different quest.) We’d ride for hours, which was exhilarating for me, as being Rohirrim, I’d spent half my life on the back of my silver horse, Gildin and was quite comfortable there. I was certainly one of the only ones able to move the next day without sore muscles. Finally, we’d camp for the night, eat awful dwarvish cooking, sleep, and the cycle would start over again the next morning. With the day-to-day routine, the easy riding, and the new friendships I was making with the company, I felt quite in charge of my life and very brave. After all, there was nothing to this adventuring that I couldn’t handle, except for the early mornings, of course. That was until one night when I found out how much I didn’t know about the world.

I tossed and turned, covering my ears and burying my head under my blanket, silently cursing them under my breath. It was no use. The oh-so-loud chorus of snores, whistles, moans and groans made it impossible for me to rest. I sat up, gazing groggily out into the darkness. All I wanted to do was sleep. Sighing, I snatched up my cloak, pulled it around my shoulders and decided to join Kili and Fili who were guarding the camp. I cautiously stepped over the hands and arms flung across my path, seriously wanting to step on Bombur’s hand in retaliation for his wheezy nighttime snufflings. Lost in my thoughts of revenge, I tripped over a backpack, spun half-way around, and fell on my backside beside the fire.

Witnessing my less than graceful appearance, Kili and Fili hid smiles. “Hello, Nerissa. Nice of you to drop by,” teased Kili.

“Nice to see you, too,” I answered with hopefully less irritation than I felt. I picked myself up and tried to regain my lost dignity.

“What are you doing up? It is awfully late,” Fili asked.

“I can’t sleep,” I said simply, deciding not to divulge my frustrations. Fili nodded.

“Want to join us?” Kili moved over slightly, and motioned beside him, moving his bow and arrow over so I could sit down.

“Sure,” I agreed, taking a seat on his left. Though I could still hear the dwarves’ snoring, it was at least warmer than in the camp. I leaned against the wall and shut my eyes, trying to block out the noise as best I could.

A horrible scream yanked me upright again, my heart pounding.

“What was that?” Bilbo, our Hobbit, ran up and stood before us.

“Yes, what was that?” I gasped.

Kili glanced up from cleaning his pipe, “Orcs.”

Another blood-curdling scream resounded throughout the quiet forest. I shut my eyes and shuddered.

Bilbo swallowed hard and asked, “Orcs?”

“Throat-cutters. There’ll be dozens of them out there. The lowlands are crawling with them,” Fili informed Bilbo.

I slowly pressed my back against the wall, hoping that would keep me safe from those throat-cutters.

“They strike in the wee small hours, when everyone’s asleep. Quick and quiet, no screams, just lots of blood.” Kili accented the “lots of blood” part.

I hugged my knees to my chest, trying to make myself smaller.

“What do you say to that, Nissa?” Kili asked.

I stared at him, too frightened to even talk. Living in relative safety with my family, protected in the small town I called home, I had never considered the reality of orcs. I had heard of them, yes, but had not thought I’d truly ever encounter one.

“Scared of orcs? Well, you should be. They have inch long fangs and glowing yellow eyes.” Kili did his best impression of an orc’s expression and started reaching his hands out, as if they were an orc’s teeth. “You know what they do?” he asked. I swore his eyes were starting to glow yellow. Shaking my head, I tried to push myself even closer to the wall, my eyes fixed on him. “They eat frightened girls, like you, one piece at a time. They bite, chew, and gnaw girls, piece by piece. They start with your hands and move to your arms …” I felt something grip my shoulder, something that I could have sworn was sharp and tooth-like, and panicked.

“AH!” I screeched. I gripped his arm, shaking from fright, waiting for the orc to turn me into his midnight snack. Instead of hearing the orc crunch on my bones, I heard only laughter.

“Ha! I got you!” laughed Kili gleefully. He seemed absolutely thrilled his joke had worked at the expense of my pride.

I went from being terrified to being indignant at his embarrassing game. I jumped up and stood in front of Kili, scolding him. “You! How could you? How could you be so mean to me like that?”

Kili grinned, not looking the least bit guilty. “It was only a bit of fun, Nerissa. You looked absolutely terrified!” He chuckled at the memory.

“Well, I wasn’t scared at all! Not too scared, that is.” I tried to regain a scrap of dignity, as I clutched at my cloak, as if it could protect me.

“So, if I said there was an orc behind you…” Kili hid a smile.

I wasn’t going to be fooled twice, but I chanced a cautious glance behind me, just to make sure. I expected to see nothing. I saw something. I almost fell over Kili’s bow and arrows to get out of the way. It took a moment, but I suddenly realized who it was. “T-T-T-Thorin!” I sputtered.

Thorin stood glaring at us. “Do think that’s funny? You think a night raid by orcs is a joke?” Thorin rebuked his nephews.

Kili glanced down, and then back up, looking hurt. “We didn’t mean anything by it,” he quietly protested.

“No, you didn’t. You know nothing of the world,” Thorin growled at us and stalked away.

Kili’s brown eyes suddenly found the ground a lot more interesting. I lost the will to scold him, and simply sat back down. I tucked my cloak around me tighter and leaned my head against the rock. The world was definitely a more dangerous and scary place than I had imagined. And my courage was definitely not as great as I imagined.

After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Balin walked up. “Don’t mind him, laddie…” Balin started his story of the Battle of Moria. I tried to force my eyes to stay awake, to listen to the story, but my energy was gone, and I was way too sleepy, and I soon drifted off…

Check in next week to find out what happens next!

~ Kayla

5 of the Best and 5 of the Worst

For most works of classic literature, a movie has been made. Whether it follows the book or not, well, that’s a different story. In almost every book-to-film adaptation, parts end up being changed or altogether cut from the original novel, and, of course, some movies adapt a book better than others. What makes a good adaptation? A good adaptation doesn’t have to quote the entire book to be faithful, although it is important that it include portions of the original text. But just as importantly, it should capture the spirit and feel of the book, and the cast needs to capture the personality and essence of the characters. Here, listed below, are the top 5 best film adaptations I’ve seen followed by 5 of the worst.

Best:

5. Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1985 and 1987, starring Megan Follows)

These two were terrific. They followed the books very closely (especially the first book), and the casting was absolutely perfect. Megan Follows made such a great Anne. The second one is my personal favorite, but they are both faithful adaptations.

4. Sense and Sensibility (1995, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet)  

While this movie didn’t follow the book exactly, and some characters were missing, it certainly did a fantastic job. It really captured the spirit of Austen’s novel, and the added scenes were ones that you could imagine actually happening in the book.

3. Sherlock Holmes (TV series, 1984, starring Jeremy Brett)

This was the absolute best Sherlock Holmes adaptation. There were moments when I was quoting the book as Mr. Brett was speaking his lines. There were a few episodes where I was like, “What? This never happened!” but 99% of the time, it stuck super-close to the book. And you can’t beat Jeremy Brett’s Holmes. He was Holmes. Absolutely fantastic.

2. My Fair Lady (1964, starring Audrey Hepburn)

I adore My Fair Lady. It stuck to the play, Pygmalion (the play it was based on), faithfully, added some great songs, and even a satisfying ending, making it a wonderful adaptation. Hepburn perfectly captured the main character, Eliza Doolittle. Here’s one of my favorite songs from the movie:

1. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (2001-2003 and 2012-2014, starring Elijah Wood in The Lord of the Rings and Martin Freeman in The Hobbit)

I know, I know. I know what the Tolkien purists are saying now, “What? Peter Jackson … he ruined the books! He changed so much!” Yeah, he changed stuff, but the changes he made, made sense. He created a fantastic series of movies, and without them, I doubt there would be as many Tolkienites as there are now. Even though there were changes, I still believe the movies did a great job of presenting and adapting the books for screen. And just in case there’s someone who hasn’t seen it yet (and because I want to share it!) here’s trailer number 2 for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.

Worst:

5. Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (2000, starring Megan Follows)

What happened?! How could the people who made the first two wonderful Anne of Green Gables movies make this bomb of a third. Did they lose their minds? It was as if they took the characters of Anne and Gilbert and ran with them off to Europe and a World War and forgot there was ever a book.

4. Treasure Planet (2002, starring Joseph Gordon-Levett)

One time when I was sick with a cold and bored, I decided to try this animated movie. It couldn’t be horrible, right? Oh, yes, it could. I didn’t even finish it, it was so bad. It’s based around Treasure Island, and boy, did they ruin it. They stuck everyone in space, for one. For two, Jim Hawkins was a whiny, troubled teen, and I couldn’t stand him. Lastly, they ruined Captain Smollett. They turned him into a her, named Captain Amelia. The worst part was … Amelia was a cat. Yes, a cat. Now, I like cats, I just don’t like cats to be Smollett. Right now for school I am reading the book, and every time I read about Smollett, I just picture Amelia. I’m forever confused because of this bad movie. XD

3. The Jungle Book (1967, starring Phil Harris)

The reason it made my worst list is because it barely followed the book. You can disagree, but in this case, I think it was a good thing. I didn’t particularly enjoy the novel The Jungle Book (except for Rikki Tikki Tavi), but I loved the movie. So, in a way, this could be considered a great adaptation because it took a book I disliked and turned it into a great movie.

2. Frankenstein (1931, starring Colin Clive)

In my post called “Going Where No Book Has Gone Before,” I related that the novel Frankenstein was mentioned in Star Trek: Enterprise. Well, in the episode, Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker told Sub-Commander T’Pol that the film selected for that night’s movie night was Frankenstein. Now, Trip is my favorite character from Enterprise, but he has no taste in movies. In Frankenstein no one could act, and the movie didn’t follow the book at all. They changed Victor Frankenstein’s name to Henry. Elizabeth wasn’t killed by the monster either. The monster was laughable, at best. I guess the public liked it though, because the filmmakers went on to make the movies The Bride of Frankenstein, The Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, and The House of Frankenstein. Here’s the trailer:

1. Heidi (1937, starring Shirley Temple)

It’s been years since I’ve seen this, but the very first movie that came to mind for the worst category was this one. The movie had very little of the original book in it. It was really just a showcase for Shirley Temple who made a terrible Heidi. The scene I can still picture is Grandfather running through the streets of a city, screaming for Heidi because she was kidnapped by gypsies, which, of course, never happened in the book. Actually, after some digging, I managed to find the clip on YouTube. It’s as horrible as I remember.

From Heidi to The Lord of the Rings, I hoped you’ve enjoyed my list of the best and worst film adaptations. Do you agree with my choices or disagree? Which ones are your favorites?

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: October 11 – 17

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 5764

Top Writing Day: Saturday was my top writing day with 1456 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on a new novel idea set in Victorian England and Hobbit fanfiction.

The Good News: I started a new novel idea, and I’m totally in love with it.

The Bad News: I didn’t make my goal every day this week – too many busy days.

Lesson Learned: Outlining works! I never thought it would work for me. In a post entitled “How I Write,” I even said I never outlined and never found it necessary. I had no idea what I was missing! I actually outlined my Victorian novel’s plot, and it’s been wonderful. I know exactly what to do and where to go next. I’m really enjoying having everything planned out!

Goal for Next Week: My goal for next week is to keep my word count at 900 words each day. Since I failed this week, I want to try that again. Also, I need to move onto the next chapter in Go Teen Writers and name my NaNo characters before NaNo comes around.

If you’d like to share your weekly wrap-up (or have some great character names for me to use), go ahead and post it in the comments below!

~ Kayla