Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: November 28 – December 4

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 4,674

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Thursday with 1,460 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on fanfiction and a Snow story.

The Good News: I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of work done on the fanfictions I wanted to finish this week.

The Bad News: I didn’t make my goal the first two days of the week.

Lesson Learned: I’ve actually felt a little guilty for working on fanfictions this week instead of a novel. However, it’s been nice to take a break from working on a original idea and working out the fanfic ideas I came up with during NaNo and didn’t have a chance to write. It’s actually helped me generate more novel ideas, and I feel more ready to work on my next original writing project. So, my lesson learned is that sometimes a fun writing break is just what I need to help get those creative juices flowing.

Goal for Next Week:  My goal is to write to write 700 words a day.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

An Interesting Word – Gyascutus

Imagine this: you’re taking a hike on a mountain trail. The trail wraps around the mountain, and as you walk, you admire the beautiful striations in the rock beside you.  The sky is blue, and there’s not a cloud in sight. Everything is perfect, and you can’t imagine the day being any better. Then, you hear a noise behind you. You turn around, but there’s nothing there. You relax, thinking it was just your imagination. Still, you can’t shake the feeling of dread that’s come over you. You continue on your hike, but glance back every few minutes, though you keep telling yourself you’re being silly. This time you turn around, knowing that you weren’t imagining the scratching sound behind you. It almost sounds like claws scrambling across the stones. That’s silly. There are no monsters on the mountain, you tell yourself. Forcing yourself to turn around and keep walking, you take shaky step after shaky step. Suddenly, a roar sounds behind you, and you spin around to find yourself face to face with a hideous monster hanging from the mountainside. Foam drips from the tips of its sharp teeth, and its long claws grip the side of the mountain. Its green eyes are wild and filled with rage. You take off running, your heart pounding as the four-legged creature follows you, somehow running around the side of the mountain like a spider. Oh, no! What do you do?

Well, if you know that this is a gyascutus, you won’t be terribly worried. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a gyascutus is the name of “an imaginary, large, four-legged beast with legs on one side longer than those on the other, for walking on hillsides.” This crazy creature is also called a sidehill gouger. They are depicted as living in burrows in the hillside and are herbivores, although that doesn’t mean they won’t attack. Wikipedia says, “When a clockwise gouger meets a counter-clockwise gouger, they have to fight to the death since they can only go in one direction.” The origin of the word gyascutus is unknown. It first appeared in an 1840s American newspaper article by Frank C. Whitmore and Nicholas Hotton though legends of a creature similar to a gyascutus are also found in Europe. There is a real life gyascutus, but it isn’t quite so big. It’s the genus name of a family of beetles.

Knowing what a gyascutus is, you quickly form a plan. You run as fast as you can along the mountain path, knowing there is a clearing up ahead. The gyascutus is right behind you, gnashing its teeth. You arrive in the clearing, and take a deep breath. Because the gyascutus’s legs are longer on one side than the other, if they come off the mountainside, they can’t walk. The gyascutus knows this and growls at you from the mountain, and finally moves on. You’re safe! You continue on your hike, thankful your vocabulary has saved the day.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Five Least Favorite Classic Novels

From Shakespeare to Twain to Defoe, I’ve enjoyed a lot of classic novels from a lot of different authors. I loved reading The Merchant of Venice, The Prince and the Pauper, Robinson Crusoe, and many other great classics. Alas, not every classic novel can be that enjoyable. Today I’m sharing some classics that I downright disliked and never, ever want to read again.

5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I didn’t fully dislike this novel. In fact, there were some parts I really did enjoy. However, the novel seemed to drag on and on. Parts like the scenery, the story about the cabin and the people Frankenstein’s monster met, and the letters from the captain to his sister in the beginning bogged down the actual plot of the book, making it hard for me to enjoy the story.

4. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I’m not sure how this ever became a children’s classic because this is one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read. I could deal with the talking White Rabbit, the Unbirthday celebration, and even the Cheshire Cat. However, I found the potions and cakes that sometimes shrunk Alice or made her nine feet tall, the baby who turned into a pig, and the playing card soldiers just a little too strange for my taste.

3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels is a book I read last year for school and, boy, was I glad when it was finished! I really disliked Gulliver. At one point, I was actually hoping he might get squished. Because the book was supposed to be a travelogue, the descriptions of the people Gulliver met and the lands he visited were incredibly detailed and long. Also, there was a ton of bathroom humor/references in the novel, and that just made the book even worse.

2. 1984 by George Orwell

I love the dystopian genre, so I was excited to read the most famous and classic of all dystopian novels. What a disappointment! I found it boring. I couldn’t get interested in the long descriptions of the world in which Winston lived. I also didn’t care about Winston. Not a bit. It went from boring to unreadable when Winston got involved with Julia. I eventually just put the book down. It’s strange because I really enjoyed reading Animal Farm and some of Orwell’s essays, but I couldn’t get through 1984.

1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

This title strikes fear into my heart. I tried to love the book, and then I tried to like the book, and then I just tried to get through it. I failed. I was bored stiff from the insane amount of detail about the story of Nantucket, whale hunting, and even an entire sermon on Jonah. I later learned that when the novel was first published, no one liked it. I agree with the original readers and place it at the top of my dislike list.

Have you read any of these novels on my list, and if so, what did you think of them? What are your least favorite classic novels?

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: February 7 – 13

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

Total Word Count for the Week: 8093

Top Writing Day: Wednesday was my top writing day with 1,327 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on my Snow/Finley novel and a little bit of fanfiction.

The Good News: I met and exceeded my goal this week! Yeah!

The Bad News: I’ve been so single minded in writing my Snow/Finley novel that I haven’t gotten any of my other writing projects done such as Hobbit fanfiction for the Desolation of Smaug.

Lesson Learned: When I wrote Homeland, I wrote a huge outline to go along with it, and never really used the detailed plot points I wrote. The outline was comforting to have, knowing I had to write a novel in a month, but not as useful as I had hoped. With Snow, I jumped into it thinking I’d never go far with the novel, and so I didn’t write an outline for it at all.  Surprisingly, I’m doing okay without the super-detailed outline I did for Homeland, and I love the freedom of making it up as I go along! So, my “lesson learned” is that next time I start a novel, I’m just jumping into it, and only outlining later if needed!

Goal for Next Week: My goal for next week is 800 words. 🙂

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

~ Kayla