Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: February 21 – 27

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 7827

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Thursday with 1,511 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on my Snow novel.

The Good News: I made my goal this week! Also, I believe I should be finished Snow in 4-5 more days. I’m so excited, and yet not sure that I’m quite ready to let her go. 🙂

The Bad News: Alas, the trials of becoming too emotionally attached to your characters. I had to write the scene where Snow finds out she’s going to die, and wow, that was a hard one to write. When I was writing the scene, I just kept apologizing, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it! I’m sorry I must torture you!”

Lesson Learned: With Homeland, I was so excited to finish my novel and win NaNo, I didn’t have any trouble letting go of that novel’s rough draft. With Snow, just thinking about ending the story makes me hold onto my word document with a virtual death grip. My continuing ‘lesson learned’ is knowing when to end a story, even if I’m not exactly ready. 🙂

Goal for Next Week: My goal for this week is 900 words, again.

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

~ Kayla

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Word Usage – Myriad

(Note: There is no proof that this conversation is canonical, nor do I know if this word is used in the Shire. Also, I do not own Merry or Pippin; however, they had so much fun helping me out with the grammar rule post, that they decided to help me out with this word usage post. 🙂 )

It was time for afternoon tea, and Merry and his friend Pippin were coming home after a long walk in the Shire.

“I’m starving, Merry!” Pippin said suddenly. “I could eat a myriad of mushrooms I’m so hungry!”

“Oh, but Pippin, I don’t think you’re using myriad right,” Merry said, concerned for his friend’s improper word usage. “It should be myriad mushrooms since myriad is an adjective,” corrected Merry. This seemed to go over Pippin’s head, so Merry tried clarifying. “You wouldn’t say I could eat countless of mushrooms would you?”

Pippin shook his head.

“Then you shouldn’t use myriad of, since countless of is essentially what you are saying,” finished Merry.

“I don’t think so,” Pippin said. “I’ve always heard myriad of. After all, it is a noun.”

“No,” replied Merry, “Myriad is an adjective.”

They couldn’t agree on myriad’s part of speech. The two Hobbits were confused (as well as hungry!). What were they going to do? Well, Merry and Pippin, read this post, and you’ll have your answer. 🙂

The question is whether the word myriad is a noun or an adjective. To use an “of” or not to use an “of” after the word. Which is correct? To answer this question, let’s start at the beginning. The very beginning. Back to the Ancient Greeks, actually. Myriad used to be the Greek word myrias meaning “ten thousand,” and it was used most commonly as a noun. From there it can be traced to the Latin word myrias and then to the French word myriade in the 1550s. What does this have to do with knowing whether to use an “of” after it or not? Well, a lot actually. You see, myriad started life most commonly as a noun. Even in our English language it was used as a noun. Then around 1800, the adjective form of myriad came along and was so frequently used, it came to be thought, even today, to be the only correct usage of the word. However, both uses of the word are correct.

So, the point of this long-drawn-out story is that both Hobbits are right.

“You see, Merry, we’re both right!” cried a triumphant Pippin.

Merry shook his head. “Well, I guess you were right, Pippin. But I still don’t think you can eat a myriad of mushrooms. That’s a lot.”

Pippin rubbed his stomach, “You’d be surprised, Merry. I think I can eat myriad mushrooms, and I’d like to start now!”

With this dilemma out of the way, the Hobbits could focus on the more important things in life – such as finally enjoying their afternoon tea and seeing just how many mushrooms Pippin could eat.

In case you’re still a bit confused or want to read more about this word, here’s a link to a really helpful article I found:

http://www.talkwordy.com/2009/02/a-myriad-of-misconceptions-well-just-one-really/

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Merry and Pippin for their help! 🙂

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Welcome to today’s quote of the week! It comes from Edgar Rice Burroughs, best known for writing Tarzan of the Apes. I love this quote since it’s such an encouragement to keep writing no matter how bad your first novel may be. 🙂

“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.” – Edgar Rice Burroughs

~ Kayla

What I’ve Read This Month

Today I’m posting a list of the books I’ve read this month. I’ve made it a goal to read at least four books monthly to reach my bigger goal of reading more this year. I made and exceeded my goal this month by reading six books.

The books I've read this month

The books I’ve read this month

Green by Ted Dekker

Green is both the first and last book in the four book Circle series. How does that work? Well, you can read them in this order: Green, Black, Red, White or read them in this order: Black, Red, White, Green. Any way you read them, they are terrific. Green was an absolutely fantastic story, and, truthfully, I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about it. The characters were incredibly well-done, likeable, and made great heroes to cheer for and villains to hate.

Black by Ted Dekker

Black is the official first book of the Circle Trilogy (Green is considered book 0). In this book, we meet Thomas Hunter and learn that he has the ability to travel between two worlds through his dreams. Just like Green, this book was absolutely fantastic!

The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen by Geraldine McCaughrean

This is the unique story of a group of children, Cissy, Kookie, and Tibbie, with their school teacher, Miss May March, who must leave their town for fear of diphtheria. They travel with an acting company aboard a steamship called the Sunshine Queen. This is a strange, entertaining, wonderful book that I picked up randomly off the shelf at my library, and I’m sure glad I did! The characters are wacky and lovable, and the plot is unbelievable in the best kind of crazy way. I actually laughed out loud while reading this one, and it’s a definite favorite!

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

Theodore Boone is the son of two great lawyers, and dreams of becoming a lawyer himself one day. Theodore has a chance to help out in a murder trial when he becomes the only person who knows of a secret witness that would prove the right man guilty. Unfortunately, the witness doesn’t want to tell his story, and it’s up to Theodore to figure out what to do so that justice can prevail. The book is for a slightly younger audience, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying it! The mystery was great, and I sped through the book really quickly. I especially liked the fact that Theodore actually worked together with his parents instead of disobeying them. Definitely a good book and well-worth the read!

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels is the classic novel about a man named Lemuel Gulliver who travels to distant, unknown lands populated with strange inhabitants like men only six inches high, horses who are rational, giants, and people who live on floating islands. We read this one for school. I must say, this is one classic that is not going on my list of favorites. I finished it today, and I was glad to be done reading it.

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

I wrote a book review on this book last week. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here: https://concerningwriting.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/book-review-sherlock-holmes-and-the-baker-street-irregulars-the-fall-of-the-amazing-zalindas/

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

“Y” So Many Paranormal Romances? – A Short Rant

I’m in high school. Apparently a magical thing happened when I entered high school. Suddenly the only kinds of books I wanted to read were paranormal romances and supernatural love affairs! (By paranormal, I mean werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc. Elves, dwarves, and dragons are neither supernatural nor paranormal, as I have occasionally seen them classified. But that’s another rant… 😉 ) It’s amazing! I gobble down one after another without the desire to read anything else. I just can’t get enough of them! At least, that’s what my local library system seems to think.

In reality, I desire nothing of the kind. I would like to let the librarians know, some of us don’t like to read that type of book. I know that is a shocking revelation so let me repeat the concept: just because I’m a teenaged girl doesn’t automatically make me want to read about dating vampires, kissing werewolves, or falling in love with fallen angels. I really don’t want to read dark books like that. I’m guessing I’m probably not the only one.

Have you looked in your local library’s “Y” or “YA” section recently? Well, I did and this is what I found (please excuse the slightly blurry picture):

The paranormal romance section at my library. There's another whole shelf to the left with just supernatural books as well.

The paranormal romance section at my library. There’s another whole shelf to the left with more paranormal books.

My library has a small section of teen books, most of which are paranormal romance. Granted, there are other genres available to read, but not in the same vast quantities as paranormal romance.

So, what I’m asking, dear librarians, is to please stop. We have enough. No more paranormal romances. I do understand that there are some teens who love that category of books, but they already have plenty to read.

What do you think? Do you think that the “Y” section has been commandeered by sparkly vampires or do you think it’s just fine the way it is? Do you have any suggestions for a great teen novel not involving paranormal characters? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

One last comment: I have found refuge in the “J” section. They are for a bit younger audience, but you can find some really well-written and entertaining books there. I recently read two “J” books that I really loved. It’s amazing that a good story can actually be written that doesn’t involve paranormal/supernatural romance in some way.

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: February 14 – 20

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 8387

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Saturday with 1930 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on Snow and one Star Trek fanfiction.

The Good News: I’ve met and exceeded my goal for this week once again! Also, I’m almost done my novel. I don’t have too much left to go! 😀

The Bad News: The one scene in my novel when Snow returns home after almost a year did not work exactly as I’d planned.

Lesson Learned: I was disappointed that my scene did not work out as I had hoped. I had planned something totally different and that’s not at all how the scene ended up flowing. Even though the scene didn’t go according to plan, my ‘lesson learned’ is to just keep writing and to remember I can fix whatever didn’t work in the second draft.

Goal for Next Week: My goal for this week is 900 words.

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

~ Kayla

Character Names – Chakotay and Kes

Star Trek characters have some great names. From Jean-Luc to Jadzia, the names in the series are original and unique. In fact, they are so cool, I decided to feature two of them in this blog post! This set of Trekkie names comes from Voyager. I went with Voyager this time around since it’s the Star Trek series I’m currently watching. Feel free to use these names, but with fair warning: Star Trek had them first! 😉

Chakotay is a boy’s name created for Voyager‘s first officer who is of Native American descent and a former Maquis. The funny thing about this Star Trek name is that it’s not actually Native American. It’s just a name created by the writers of the show for the character. The name is supposed to mean “Man Who Walks the Earth But Who Only Sees the Sky,” but the meaning is made up as well. Still, Chakotay is a pretty cool name, made up or not. However, this name might be a little hard to use on a character since the name was created specifically for the Star Trek character. Of course, if you’re looking for a name with Star Trek connections, then Chakotay might be the one!

Kes is a character from the first three seasons of Voyager. She is an Ocampa and is telepathic. Also, in my opinion, she has the cutest outfits in the entire series, hands down. 😉 The name Kes is actually a very rare English boy’s name meaning “falcon,” although I think it still works fine for Star Trek‘s Kes. However, if you’re looking to minimize the Trek connection, I think it would be better to use it as a boy’s name.

What do you think of these Trekkie names? Would you use them for your characters or does the connection to Star Trek rule them out?

Live long and prosper!

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote of the week is from R.A. Salvatore, who wrote The DemonWars Saga. I actually found this quote on Pinterest, and I really loved it because it’s so true. I know that I’d never be able to stop writing, no matter what!

“If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, you’re a writer.”
― R.A. Salvatore

~ Kayla

Book Review – Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

They are like a magnet to me. I see the words “Sherlock Holmes” on the spine of a book, and I’m instantly doing a Gollum impression. “My preciousssss…” Okay, maybe I’m not that bad, but since finishing Doyle’s works about Holmes, I’ve been deprived of my favorite mysteries! I have so missed my favorite characters! So, when I was browsing at my local library trying to find interesting, new reading material, and I viewed those magnetic words, I grabbed the book up. I was so excited that, despite the fact that this book is meant for a slightly younger age group, I had to give it a try.

Sherlock Holmes and The Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin is a Sherlock Holmes mystery using some minor characters, the Baker Street Irregulars, from the original Doyle mysteries as the main characters. The Irregulars are a group of street boys hired by Holmes to be his “eyes and ears” on the street. The mystery is told from the boys’ perspectives, as Holmes utilizes their talents to help solve an important mystery. The story starts out with the mysterious deaths of three circus performers, the Zalindas. Holmes sends the Irregulars to check out the circus and gather as much information as they can. Wiggins, the gang’s leader, discovers that Holmes is also working for the Crown and there is more to the mystery than just the Zalinda’s deaths. To add to the fun, the reader has to figure out a secret message hidden in the text. Really, who doesn’t like secret codes and messages? 😉

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Even though it was meant for a younger audience, the book offered an opportunity to read about Sherlock Holmes from another perspective, that of the street urchins. When I started reading the book, I was afraid I was going to find the boys annoying and whiny (I can’t stand whiny characters). Thankfully, they weren’t! I thought the authors did a great job portraying Wiggins, the only boy specifically named in Doyle’s books, in a canonical way, while still adding to his character. The rest of the boys were likable, and I definitely cared what happened to them! The mystery was easy to solve, and I’m sure any Holmes fan would be able to figure out who the main bad guy was from the clues given. Since the book was meant for a younger audience, I can understand why the authors chose to create a more simplistic mystery rather than copy Doyle’s complicated plot lines. Still, the mystery wasn’t overly mysterious. I also didn’t like the fact that Holmes’s dialogue didn’t have that Holmesian flair to it and that Watson was portrayed as a grumpy idiot to an extreme that was never found in Doyle’s books. Still, it was an entertaining read that gives a younger reader a taste of Sherlock Holmes. It was also a great way for this older reader to experience the world of 221B Baker Street through other characters’ eyes.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Captain Jack Sparrow, meet Bard the Bowman – Part 3

Welcome to the final part of my POTC/Hobbit fanfiction! In the last part, Jack and Bard met, and Jack tried to escape from the men of Lake-town. Find out what happens to Jack and Bard next! 🙂

With that, the pursuit began. Captain Jack Sparrow took the men of Lake-town on a chase that looped all around the city, through homes and businesses, over roofs and under bridges. Jack, exhausted, ducked into a building and stood there panting as the men of the town went running by.

“It looks like you could use some help,” a voice said right beside Jack.

Jack jumped, startled by the sound, and almost dropped his jar of dirt. Next to him stood Bard the Bowman.“Will! I knew I could count on you, mate. I always could. Well, except that time when you hit me over the head … ”

“Stop calling me Will!” Bard glanced out the window, watching for the men. “I am helping you because I believe you were unjustly accused. The Master is greedy, and he uses any opportunity to get … what are you doing? Get away from me!”

Jack, now inches from the Bowman, peered intently into Bard’s face, tilting his head back and forth and squinting his eyes to study the man more closely. “You know for a man who claims that he isn’t Will Turner, you look just like him. Same hair, same eyes … you do look a bit older, mate, but then again, having your heart cut out will do that to you.”

“I think, you crazy pirate, that you have been drinking too much rum!” Bard accused.

“Mate,” Jack said, “you can NEVER have too much rum.” Jack returned to the most pressing matter at hand. “So what’s your plan, Will?” asked Jack.

Bard shook his head, unwilling to argue again. “I’m not sure.”

“Good. Because I have a plan. We shall need a crossbow, an hourglass, three goats, one of us must learn to play the trumpet, whilst the other one goes like this.” At ‘this,’ Jack made a crazy motion with his hands.

Bard stared at him. “You know, I suddenly have a plan.”

“Are you sure, mate, because I know someone with a goat,” Jack offered.

Bard shook his head. “I’ve got a better plan.”

What that ‘better plan’ was, though, no one found out, for one of the Lake-town men had overheard Jack and Bard’s conversation, and the two of them were forced to run. Bard led Jack through the back passageways of Lake-town. “Your ship! It’s over here!” Bard and Jack began running down the dock.

They were almost at the Pearl, when Alfrid and his men cut them off, their swords drawn and barring the way. “Ah ha! At last, we’ve caught the smuggler!” Alfrid grinned happily.

Bard stepped in front of Jack. “When has carrying a jar of dirt become a crime here in Lake-town? Do you not see what the Master is doing to this town? He’s prohibits free trade causing our businesses to die. He imposes laws to keep us under his thumb. He taxes us until we can barely afford to feed our families. He is crippling our town! This man might be a pirate, but he is no smuggler! He should be allowed to keep his jar of dirt!”

All the men stood in shocked silence at Bard’s words, trying to take it all in.

Jack broke the silence and said, “I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically. And if you don’t mind, mates, I think I’ll be going.” He made his way through Alfrid’s stunned men and to his ship. Jar of dirt tucked under his arm, he started to climb the netting up to the deck. Turning back he announced, “Friends… This is the day that you will ALWAYS remember as the day that you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!” With those words, he jumped aboard his ship. The anchor raised, the sails unfurled, and the Black Pearl sailed off into the water.

“Will!” Jack called back to Bard on the shore. “Thanks for your help, mate!”

“For the last time, MY NAME IS NOT WILL!” Bard shouted back.

A faint “whatever you say, mate” echoed back from the Pearl. The people stood and stared out into the water, as the strange ship sailed away.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla