Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: May 22 – 28

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for the week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 4,236

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Thursday with 1,456 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on Hunger Games fanfiction, my new novel, and editing Snow.

The Good News: My novel is still going really well. Yay! 🙂

The Bad News: I didn’t have as much time this week to write.

Lesson Learned: I’ve never really been good at breaking my novel into chapters (in fact, I don’t do it at all in my rough draft), and this article by Go Teen Writers has some great advice for how to create a good hook at the beginning and end of a chapter. You can read the blog post here: http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2015/05/chapters-beginnings-and-ending-that-work.html

Goal for Next Week: My goal for next week is to continue to work on editing and make sure I write every day.

Thanks for reading!

~Kayla

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Quick Book Review: Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

It’s finally summer! I’m very glad to be out of school for the year and to have some extra time now. Since it is summer, I wanted to use my free time to get some reading in. I’m going to try and read a book a week, and then on Thursday, post a quick book review of what I read. I’m not sure I’ll be able to every week, but I’m certainly going to try. 🙂 This week I’m reviewing Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald.

When her grandfather Jack dies, Theodora Tenpenny, better known as Theo, is left with the old family house, exactly $463 to live on, and a large painting of an egg that has always hung over the fireplace. While trying to make sense of her grandfather’s last words, Theo accidentally spills rubbing alcohol on the egg painting and discovers what seems to be a priceless masterpiece underneath. Instead of being thrilled, the only thing Theo can think is that her grandfather, who used to work as security at an art museum, was actually a thief.

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

What I Liked:

1. The story was very original, and it kept me guessing from page to page.

2. I liked Theo a lot. I thought she had a great, no-nonsense personality that worked really well for the novel.

3. I loved the bits of real art history that were woven into the book, like the story of Rembrandt’s mistress and how to tell if a painting was really old or not.

4. I thought the ending was realistic, and that it was a really cool history tie-in.

What I Didn’t Like:

1.  I thought the beginning was a bit confusing. I wasn’t really sure who Jack was or what was going on.

2. I also wasn’t sure when the book was taking place. I thought at first it might have been during the Great Depression, but it was actually modern day.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it was a “J” novel. I read it all in one day, and it’s definitely one to check out if you’re looking for a quick and entertaining read.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote of the week comes from Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. He had some really good advice for polishing your writing.

“Writing simply means no dependent clauses, no dangling things, no flashbacks, and keeping the subject near the predicate. We throw in as many fresh words we can get away with. Simple, short sentences don’t always work. You have to do tricks with the pacing, alternate long sentences with short, to keep it vital and alive … Virtually every page is a cliffhanger — you’ve got to force them to turn it.” – Dr. Seuss

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 2 – Part 1

A few months ago, I finally posted the first chapter of my novel, Snow. Snow is the story of 16-year-old Snow who has lived all of her life in the peaceful town of Northolt. Only, it’s not so peaceful right now. A government official named Finley has arrived in her town demanding that she come with him. If you’d like to read chapter 1, you can find that here. Today I’m continuing the story by posting the first part of Chapter 2!

What do I do? I look around at the villagers who have gathered, Finley and his soldiers waiting for me, my father hunched over in pain, Kiska dead on the snow. Take a deep breath and think, Snow. I’m obviously very important to Finley, and it’s very important that I come voluntarily. In fact, I bet he’d be willing to do almost anything for me so long as I come voluntarily. Time. I need time. I take a deep breath and look up, forcing myself to meet Finley’s eyes. “I want a day,” I demand.

Finley crosses his arms. “No, I want your decision now.”

“Give me a day and I’ll come voluntarily. I need time. Time to say good-bye … ” I glance down at Kiska in the snow, and swallow hard, trying to keep the tears down, before looking back up and forcing myself to focus. “Time to pack my things.”

“I’ll give you four hours. No more.” He glances at the guards, reminding me that I really have no choice in the matter.

“Deal.” My voice is shaking, my fists unclenching and clenching by my sides.

Finley holds out his hand to shake on our deal. I just stare at him, refusing to grip the hand of the man who is turning my world upside down. If he’s offended by my refusal to shake, he doesn’t show it, and only shrugs a bit and puts his hand back in his pocket. “See you soon.” His mouth curls up in a smirk before he turns away.

I shudder, watching to make sure he and his soldiers really fly away, even if it’s just for a few hours. The helicopter’s engine starts with a roar that’s so loud I can barely hear myself think, and as it takes off I have to lift my arms up to help block some of the wind coming from the blades. It rises higher and higher until it’s only a speck.

As if nothing had ever disturbed it, the silence settles back down over the village. I catch sight of my hands, coated in Kiska’s blood. I don’t have time to cry right now. I have to take care of Dad. I turn to my father who’s leaning against the stone, arm wrapped around his stomach. He’s trying hard not to show how much pain he’s in, but I can tell. I hurry to him. “We should get you inside,” I say.

“Help me to walk,” he says, his voice strained. I nod and loop my arm around his shoulders, as he leans on me, half-bent over, trudging through the snow.

The short walk from the stone to our house has never seemed so long. We stumble in the door, and I help Dad into bed. He winces, pressing a hand against his side.

“Do you need anything?” I ask.

“Some water,” he tells me. “Then go take care of Kiska.”

I nod, and walk into the kitchen, hands shaking as I pore the water. The pitcher clinks against the glass and almost sends it on the floor, but I push it back in time. I run a cloth under the cold water for a minute, and then walk back and hand the glass to Dad, who takes a sip. I wipe the blood off his face trying to be gentle.

“Thank you.” He looks up at me, smiling a little bit. “Go take care of Kiska.”

“I don’t want to leave you,” I protest. He shakes his head. “I’ll be fine. Go.”

I hesitate and he gives me a stern look. “Go.” I nod, and walk to the door, hesitating one more time, before stepping outside into the fog.

Thanks for reading! Part 2 is next week.

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: May 15 – 21

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for the week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 6,794

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Wednesday with 2,456 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on Hunger Games fanfiction and my new novel.

The Good News: I had a GREAT writing week.

The Bad News: In fact it was such a great writing week, I didn’t want to stop to edit. 😛

Lesson Learned: I am so glad I did not give up on my new novel idea when I was having such a hard time with the beginning. I love my novel now, and everything is flowing along smoothly. I have to remember to persevere with an idea even when it is hard.

Goal for Next Week: My goal is to work on my editing this week.

Thanks for reading!

~Kayla

An Interesting Word – Selcouth

Imagine you wake up one morning, open your eyes, and the first thing you see is a tiny, pink dinosaur staring you in the face. Once you get over your initial shock and fear (the dinosaur is a herbivore, so you’re safe), you climb out of bed, and, stepping from your room, you find that your whole house is filled with mouse-sized pink dinosaurs all wearing cowboy hats and dancing to the radio. If you woke up to this scenario, you would definitely be experiencing a selcouth event.

What is selcouth, you ask? Well, selcouth is an adjective that means “strange or uncommon” according to dictionary.com. It comes from the Old English word seldcūth, which, according to wordsmith.com, is the words seldan meaning “seldom” and cuth meaning “known” put together. Selcouth is considered an archaic word; however, I think it’s time to bring it back!

The famous writer Sir Walter Scott used this word in Thomas the Rhymer:

“Then forth they rushed: by Leader’s tide, A selcouth sight they see.”

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote of the week is from Sadie Jones, author of The Outcast. When I’m writing, I find I work best under pressure. Time constraints and word goals keep me from being distracted.

“You might not have the luxury of a great deal of time, but that can be to your advantage. Knowing you have exactly an hour to write before you must stop is often more useful than knowing you have six hours stretching ahead.” – Sadie Jones

~ Kayla

More Fan Art – Part 2

Last Tuesday, I posted some of the fan art I’ve been creating lately. Today I thought I’d share a few more drawings that I’ve been working on. 🙂

I’ve mentioned Rhett and Link before on my blog and how much I’ve been enjoying their videos. So, I thought it’d be super cool to try drawing chibi versions of them.

Chibi Rhett and Link

Chibi Rhett and Link

I drew this one of Peter Quill or Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy a few months ago right after I saw the movie for the second time. 

Peter Quill

Peter Quill

Chibi Loki was my first attempt at drawing in Photoshop. I think he ended up turning out pretty good! 🙂

Chibi Loki

Chibi Loki

Finally, this is a painting I did of Snow’s home, Northolt, from my novel, Snow.

Snow's home of Northolt

Snow’s home of Northolt

Have you done any fanart or fanfiction? If so, let me know in the comments below! 🙂

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: May 8 – 14

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for the week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 3,356

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Tuesday with 1,396 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on Hunger Games fanfiction, my new novel, and editing Snow.

The Good News: I got back on track with my writing!

The Bad News: I didn’t write every day.

Lesson Learned: On one of my less-busy afternoons, I sat down and made myself write through my writer’s block. I’m still wrestling with my uncooperative characters, but I worked through my writer’s block and at least got my story flowing again!

Goal for Next Week: My goal is to work on writing every day this next week.

Thanks for reading!

~Kayla

First Words of my Novel

For the past couple weeks in my Weekly Writing Wrap-Ups, I’ve mentioned that I’ve been working on a new novel. So today, I thought I’d share some of that story with my readers. 🙂

I just started the book, so I haven’t worked out all of the details yet. However, I’ve decided that it’s a dystopian story of a girl named Rani. In Rani’s world, when someone turns 18, they take a test that measures where they would best fit into society. The top score is a 10 and when someone earns a 10 (which is very rare), they are sent to the royal city to be trained as the new leader. This snippet is from the very beginning of the novel when Rani wakes up after taking the test.

The first thing I see is a white ceiling. I’m trying to clear my vision when I feel a sharp pain on the side of my head, and then hear a woman’s voice. “Hello, sweetheart.”

I glance over and see a lady in front of me, dressed in a white nurse’s uniform. “Hello,” I respond out of habit, noticing that my words are slurred. “I’m tired.”

“I’m sure you are. After all, you’ve just had a seven hour test.” The woman chuckles, pulling the sticky electrode off my neck.

Test? That’s right. Today’s my eighteenth birthday. Today I find out my score.

“You might feel a bit groggy and confused from the numbing agent they gave you.” She flashes me a sympathetic smile.

I nod a bit, my eyes feeling so heavy I can barely keep them open.

“Hey, honey. You can’t go to sleep right now,” she tells me. “Why don’t you sit up?”

I make several attempts and finally swing my legs off the table, and the nurse smiles at me again, encouraging me to continue. Sliding off the bed, I wince as my bare feet hit the cold floor. I have to hold onto the bed as my legs are unsteady.

“All right. You can go get changed and wait with the rest of your class. We’ll announce your score soon.”

I’m so tired it takes a few moments for her words to register. “Okay,” I finally say before stumbling out of the room to change.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla