Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: June 19 – 25

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 4,569

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Thursday with 1,298 words.

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

The Good News: My writing has gone really smoothly this past week, which is awesome!

The Bad News: I’m anticipating a hectic week next week so I might not be able to get as much writing in.

Lesson Learned: I’m so grateful for my writer friends! I’ve been writing from a guy’s point of view, and this guy has been giving me problems. I’ve been relying on my friends who have brothers and guy friends for help, and I’m so grateful I can ask them all sorts of questions and get their feedback on scenes!

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! Remember that I won’t be posting next week, but I’ll be back the following week.

~ Kayla

Quick Book Review: The Dog Who Rescued Cats by Philip Gonzalez and Leonore Fleischer

It’s assumed that dogs hate cats. However, one little dog named Ginny proved that some actually love them. In this book, her owner Philip Gonzalez relates the story of Ginny and her remarkable ability to find injured cats and rescue them.

The Dog Who Rescued Cats by Philip Gonzalez and Leonore Fleischer

The Dog Who Rescued Cats by Philip Gonzalez and Leonore Fleischer

“This is the true story of my dog. Her name is Ginny.” – Philip, pg. 1

What I Liked:

1. It was such a sweet story about how Ginny first helped Mr. Gonzalez recover from depression and then started helping the stray cats.

2. I’m a cat lover, so it was really cool to see how Mr. Gonzalez and his friend, Sheilah Harris, eventually came around to loving cats.

3. My favorite story was Topsy’s rescue. Ginny found this brain damaged cat at a construction site. The poor thing could only roll where she wanted to go, but Ginny and Mr. Gonzalez took her in anyway.

4. Ginny was absolutely adorable. She was part schnauzer and part Siberian husky.

5. Mr. Gonzalez came up with some great cat names – Solomon, Calliope, Revlon, Vogue, and Van Gogh were some of my favorites.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. The beginning was a bit slow.

2. It made me want to cuddle my two kitties, neither of which were too thrilled with that! 😉

3. The book was written in 1995, and I wanted to see what had happened to Ginny since then. Sadly, she died in 2005.

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 Louis L’Amour, author of The Walking Drum. I’ve heard this advice at lot when writing beginnings, and it was a mistake I made with Snow at first. I ended up having to cut quite a bit since I started the very beginning of her story way too early.

“Begin every story in the middle. The reader doesn’t care how it begins, he wants to get on with it.” – Louis L’Amour

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 2 – Part 5

Today I’m posting the final part of Chapter 2 of my novel, Snow! Next week I’ll be taking a break from the blog for a week, but I’ll be back after that. 🙂

I finish gathering my gear, give my dad a final kiss, and step outside, forcing myself to start walking away from my home. I climb up the path that leads out of the town. I glance back over my shoulder, staring at the white dome that’s been my home for so long. I want one last look at the place before the fog swallows it up.

I hike quickly along the ridge and into the forest, the snowflakes blowing around me, burying the tracks I made. Moving through familiar paths, I put more and more distance between me and the men from NAUFA, but also between me and my dad and my home. I stop for a moment, unable to catch my breath, not because of the quick pace I’m keeping, but because I can’t stop thinking about what’s going to happen to them. It’s all my fault. I’m sentencing them to imprisonment and possibly death. I can’t do this, no matter what my father says.  “What am I doing? I can’t run.” I shake my head, my voice disrupting the stillness of the forest. “No. I’ve got to go back. I can’t leave them alone.”

I turn around, and start running back to the village, my feet pounding against the ground. I’m filled with a sense of dread, feeling like I have to get back to the village before NAUFA has a chance to hurt them.

The world becomes lighter again as I exit the edge of the forest and run through the clearing. My foot catches on a stone, and I stumble to the ground. I pull myself up, and as I do I catch sight of the billowing column of smoke that fills the sky. Fire. The village is burning. I start running towards the ridge above town, the fear and panic in me pushing me to run faster and faster. I skid to a halt near the edge, catching my breath, staring down at Northolt. NAUFA is back, their soldiers rounding up the villagers and arresting them. I see soldiers firing blasts at the domes, the flames consuming the buildings. I scramble down the hill, half-sliding, half-falling, screaming, “Stop! Nooooo!”

I dash into the village, skidding on the slick snow that glows red from the flames.

“Snow! Run!” Dad yells at me as soon as he sees me.

“Now that you’re here, you can stop this, Snow.” Finley’s standing there, arms crossed, glaring at me. Turning to his soldiers, he waves his hand towards my father.

The soldiers grab Dad and push him towards the helicopter. “Hurry up,” the one soldier growls at Dad, pressing his gun into Dad’s back.

“WAIT!” I shout.

Finely looks over at me. “Yes?”

“I said I’d come voluntarily, and I’m not one to go back on my word.” I lick my dry lips, trying to keep my voice as steady and as firm as I can.

Finley shakes his head a bit. “You’ve already gone back on your word once. How can I trust you?”

“I’ll come right now, completely voluntarily. Just let my Dad go.” I hold out my wrists, offering to be handcuffed.

Finley looks at his soldiers, then at my dad. “All right. Let him go. Handcuff the girl.”

“Snow! Don’t do it! Run!” Dad protests.

I shake my head. If this is what it takes to save Northolt and my dad, then I’ll do it.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: June 12 – 18

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 4,569

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Wednesday with 1,223 words.

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

The Good News: I had another good writing week, and I even edited!

The Bad News: I had to rewrite one scene two times before I could move on. 😛

Lesson Learned: I’ve been writing from a guy’s POV for this novel, and my character has been very difficult! I’ve wanted to make sure that I’m writing a realistic guy, and this article was helpful! http://inkandquills.com/2015/02/25/how-to-write-from-a-guys-pov/

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

Quick Book Review – As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” “Inconceivable!” “Have fun storming the castle!” Today, The Princess Bride is one of the most beloved and quoted movies of all time. It wasn’t always this well-loved though. Cary Elwes, who played Westley, recounts the stories of its uncertain beginning, making the movie, and how it became the cult classic that it is today.  

As You Wish by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

As You Wish by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

“And, if they’d like to know a little bit more about how their favorite film was made, as seen through the eyes of a young actor who got much more than he bargained for, then all I can say is…As you wish.” – Introduction pg. 10

What I Liked:

1. I loved learning about what goes into auditioning and how an actor is chosen for casting.

2. One of my favorite stories was how Mr. Elwes broke his toe. You can actually see him favoring his foot in the movie.

3. The amount of training the actors went through to film “The Greatest Sword Fight in Modern Times” was very interesting. The actors actually performed the duel which was really cool!

4. I loved the pictures from the set that were included in the book.

5. The story behind the scene where Westley is knocked out by the hilt of Count Rugen’s sword was one of my favorites. Mr. Elwes was actually accidentally knocked out. He asked Christopher Guest, who played Count Rugen, to hit his head so he’d feel it and be able to time his fall, and it ended up being a little too hard!

6. Another one of my favorite stories was how frustrated the American director, Rob Reiner, was upon finding out that the English crew was allowed multiple “tea breaks” throughout the day.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. I wanted the book to be longer!

2. Now I’m compelled to rewatch the movie to find all the scenes I read about in the book. 😉

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 comes from Lisa Tucker, author of Once Upon a Day. While sometimes I still get writer’s block, I’ve found that it’s a lot harder to suffer a block as long as I’m writing.

“Though I love to hear writers talk about inspiration, I’ve found that work is the key to keeping my creativity flowing. [That entails] sitting at a desk everyday, whether I feel like it or not. Of course, some days are better than others, but honestly, I never know which kind of day I’m going to have until I plant myself in my chair and get started.” – Lisa Tucker

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 2 – Part 4

Last week in part 3, Snow’s dad told her that she was leaving. In this part, we find out what he meant by that and if he planned to turn Snow over to NAUFA. In my first draft, this scene didn’t even exist as Snow went with Finley almost right away. Originally, I made the kidnap scene short because I was in a hurry to get Snow out of the village and onto her training and learning about her powers, which I was much more excited about writing!

“Leave?” My trembling voice is barely audible. “With the soldiers?” He’s really going hand me over to NAUFA.

“No.” Dad shakes his head. “I want you to escape from the village.”

I instantly relax a bit, letting out a breath, filled with relief that I’m not being turned over to them. Then the words sink in. “Escape?”

“Yes. You’ve lived in these woods all your life, evading the drones.” Dad shifts in bed, obviously in pain. “NAUFA can use all the helicopters and soldiers they want to try and track you, and they wouldn’t stand a chance.” He gives me a proud smile, which quickly fades into a grimace.

“What about Northolt? I can’t leave you to deal with NAUFA by yourselves.” I grip the edge of his nightstand tightly as if I could hang onto my home and my life that way. I almost don’t believe he actually wants me to run.

“We’ll be okay. We’ve been through worse.” Dad looks up at me. “We’ve been dealing with NAUFA long before you were born, Snow. We’ll get through this. Don’t worry about the village, just go.” Dad gives me a stern look, before it dissolves into a warm one. “I want you to be safe.” He gives me an almost sad smile, reaching out to grip my hand.

“I made a deal with them. I said I’d go. I’d be going back on my promise.” The words come tumbling out.

Dad shakes his head a bit. “He forced you into making that promise. It doesn’t count. I won’t have my daughter stolen from me. When it’s safe, you can come back.”

And if it’s never safe for me again? I don’t dare ask the question, because I have a feeling I know the answer.

Instead of asking my question, I manage to force the words, “What about you?” out of my mouth.

“I’ll be fine. Go, Snow.” Dad takes my hand in his for a moment. “You need to go now. He gave you four hours. It’s been three already. Get as far away from here as you can, hear me?” Dad’s voice is stern.

“All right. I’ll go.” With these words, I grip my Dad’s hand for a moment longer and then step out of the room to grab the few things I’ll need.

Thanks for reading! Part 5 will be up next week.

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: June 5 – 11

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 4,589

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Wednesday with 998 words.

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

The Good News: My story is still going really well, I made my goal of writing every day, and I even edited. Yay! 🙂

The Bad News: I didn’t write as much as I would have liked. 😛

Lesson Learned: Editing is not something I particularly enjoy. I’ve been trying to think about my story from different angles, and see if the plot needs to be changed. This post from Go Teen Writers had some great suggestions on making editing fun. Check it out here.

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

Quick Book Review: Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Cleopatra has always been a mysterious figure. Hollywood presented her as a beautiful temptress, while the Romans wrote about her as if she were the devil himself. Who the last Pharaoh of Egypt really was, however, has always been a bit of a mystery. In this book, Vicky Alvear Shecter strives to present the true life of Egypt’s teen queen.

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“Either way, you’ll get a more balanced look at Cleopatra the queen, the ruler, and mother of four. So on your knees, commoner. The last great queen of Egypt is about to take the stage!” – Introduction, pg. 8

What I Liked:

1. I love Ms. Shecter’s humorous writing style and the modern jokes she works in.

2. I like how she included pictures of actresses who had played Cleopatra.

3. It was so interesting, I read the whole book in just a few hours!

What I Didn’t Like:

1. It wasn’t a completely fair account (as it was biased towards Cleopatra), but then again, no history book is.

2. I already knew most of what the book had to say about Cleopatra. I would have liked it if it went a bit deeper.

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