Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Announcement: Update on my WIP

Well, my dear followers…I have a rather big announcement to make.

At 4:00 PM, October 30, 2013, I completed the first draft for my current WIP, The Descendants of Drasia: The Prequel.

I. am. SHOCKED. Literally shocked. Lately I'd been setting a goal of getting the draft done by the new year, but yesterday I began writing like a madman. I don't know how it happened, but I was hit with immense inspiration and couldn't keep my fingers from the keyboard. I wrote and wrote and everything just started coming together. Halfway through yesterday I decided I'd probably be done by Thanksgiving, and then I started writing today in another fevered manner. Next thing I knew, I was writing the final words of the epilogue.

My hands are shaking but there is still so much work to be done. Editing, revising, figuring out what to do from here, outlining and planning the next books to follow… However, today, I'm going to set it all aside and simply revel in the feeling of accomplishment ;)

I want to thank EVERYONE who has given me encouragement, advice, and support since I began this story in September 2012. On to the next adventure!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Character Examination: Tony Stark


     Last week I reviewed Iron Man 3. I was asked afterwards to dig a little deeper into Tony Stark's character in this new movie, being questioned on whether or not Stark was more vulnerable here. The answer being yes, I decided it would be a good idea to examine how his character changed from Iron Man to The Avengers to Iron Man 3.

    If you haven't seen any of these movies, you may not be able to relate to this in the fullest sense. However, I'd still encourage you to read it for two reasons. 1) It's always good to read about how a character grows through his/her story, whether you're completely familiar with the character or not; it can give you ideas on how to add growth and depth to your own characters. 2) My slightly selfish reason: I'd like to know what you think of the post and if you'd like to see more "Character Examinations" in the future.

Tony Stark

     In Iron Man, we met Tony Stark, a genius on just about everything scientific, mathematical, and...who knows what else. He was arrogant, self-confident, and you could almost allow with good excuse; he is, literally, a know-it-all. I don't know about you, but I enjoy characters with such personalities and knowledge. I'm by no means even slightly knowledgeable in those areas, so it's fun to watch someone else who is, plus his snarky attitude can be a fun character on which to play off. Also, usually a character such as he comes with baggage, a ghost, some sort of secret. (Throughout the movies, we discover a big factor with this in that his father was also a genius and didn't show his son much attention or love.) 

      Does this stop Tony from being his usual self-serving persona? Nope, not really. We do discover he has a heart, of course, but a personality such as his can never truly be changed; at least certainly not overnight, or for that matter over the course of a couple movies. 

      In The Avengers, we see Stark is still ticked off about not being chosen to join the Avengers Initiative, the elite of the elitist. However, when he is finally recruited to join the ranks, his ego is boosted and his pride replenished. We start to see probably his first sign of real change in this story, though. For instance, his repulsion at being called a soldier by Captain America. Why do you think this is? Perhaps he doesn't want to be associated with the government; he'd rather keep himself free, dependent on only himself, not hindered by someone telling him what to do. Perhaps it's the association with war, death, and tyrants that makes his blood boil. Maybe it's because he's reminded of the soldiers he traveled with that died in the beginning of Iron Man
        He also makes a self-sacrifice by risking his life in order to protect his fellow superheroes and friends and the earth itself; a seemingly very contradictory action to his usual. 
        Finally, he opened himself up completely to a relationship with the woman he loved, Pepper Potts, and at the end of The Avengers we saw they were engaged (which, if you read my review on Iron Man 3, was never mentioned afterwards...annoying!!)

      However, in Iron Man 3, we see a side of Tony Stark that is shocking and never-seen-before. The confidence is gone, the self-reliance still there but full of doubt. He experiences PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and panic attacks (which, I pause to say as someone who has experienced PTSD and has anxiety/panic attacks, those scenes were done quite well). He's literally scared to open up to anyone, to be close to Pepper, though his only desire is to keep her safe. As he said to her, "Things are different now. I have to protect the one thing that's important to me. That's you." Vulnerability isn't something we're use to seeing in this character, and yet you could say "overnight" it became his biggest issue.  
        When one's normal routine is heavily interrupted and the things we love most threatened, it's natural that we should experience raw emotions and discord. Stark's transition is a human process, but due to his previous disposition, the addition of these elements is a bit of a shock for the viewers. Empathy more than likely will arise with this character we are so used to, and the writers have employed this to catch our undivided attention and make us care about Stark's journey through dealing with his struggles.
        This brilliant component is a great tool for writer's when adding, as I mentioned before, growth to a character needing depth. In warning, though, just be sure not to give your character an immediate reversal. Stark still had his sense of humor and sarcasm. He wasn't made a new man from this experience, just a changed one.
What did you think of Tony Stark's change?
Have you ever written a character who had a complete turnabout as result of trauma?
Would you like to see more Character Examinations? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Movie Review: Iron Man 3

I've seen Iron Man 3 twice now; once just watching for pleasure with the family, the second mostly for taking notes for this post.

Again, I do my best to not reveal spoilers, or at least major plot points. So let's get started.

First, I will say this movie would be very confusing if one hadn't seen The Avengers (or Iron Man 1, for that matter), though there is one quick flashback to the battle in New York and viewers could get the idea of what's happening. Still, you'll be better off if you make sure to see The Avengers before this movie.

The first 10 minutes are a rather confusing style as far as filming goes. The scenes skip around a little, making you wonder if you missed something small in the story. Most of this confusion, however, in the story aspect is explained later on in the film. I do feel like they could've fixed this to make it a little more understandable without giving away the plot for the rest of the movie, however this could just be a personal preference. I don't mind a little skipping around, but for the most part I like my movie to be straight on in the action and story.

Another little "issue" I had with the plot line is the relationship between Pepper and Stark. The movie takes place immediately after The Avengers, and at the end of that movie we saw that Pepper was wearing an engagement ring. However, in Iron Man 3, not only was their engagement not mentioned once, but she wasn't even wearing the ring. Diiiiid they forget???

As usual, the dry, sarcastic wit of Tony Stark was enjoyable; I always enjoy his kind of personality in characters. However, in this movie it was the weakest. I almost felt as though the writers were overdoing his usual, "subtle" comebacks, pushing for him to be so snarky that Stark's dialogue ended up being weak. His comebacks were forced, as if the well of inspiration had been run dry.

However, on to the positive points. For those of you who have seen the movie, who else loved the kid?! Ty Simpkins played Harley, a mini Tony Stark. This is a great kid actor that I hope to see again. And as far as his character - I wonder if he'll reappear? I got the feeling he was introduced now so as to become a major character in the future. As far as I know, he's completely fictional and not even in the comics, but still...I wouldn't mind if he reappeared!

The acting, as always, was top-notch (Ben Kingsley's performance was amazing), the action sequences were great, and as I said I enjoyed it enough to watch a second time.

Sarah's Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ask the Blogger!

Now, before you accuse me of taking the easy way out of a blog post, just hold your horses. I have a few blog post ideas I'm currently working on developing, but due to some personal things that have come up these past few weeks, I honestly haven't had a lot of time to work on my blog.

So, I thought while I'm fleshing out those other posts, why not ask my followers what THEY would like to see on the blog? This is your chance to contribute and get any sort of your questions answered!

What kind of questions am I looking for, you ask? Absolutely anything! Just to get you started:

1) Some of you know more about my writing specifically - do you have any curiosities that need answered (though I'm not guaranteeing I'll be able to answer them if they give huge spoilers ;) )?

2) Do you have a question about writing and can't seem to find the specific answer anywhere else?

3) Did you just read a great book, fiction or writing-related, and want to recommend it for me to review? Or what about a great movie?

4) Are you currently working on a story or finally getting that manuscript published? I might consider setting up a short interview for promotion of the story/yourself.

It's your turn to let your questions be made known. Underneath the header of my blog you'll see a tab that says "Ask!" I would prefer you ask your questions/give your recommendations in that section, however I won't be too upset if you just comment under this post. If you're unable to comment on the blog, you can also comment on my pinterest board (link given specifically for the board, please comment on the picture corresponding to this post: ) I'm counting on you! :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

October Favorites

Once a month I'm going to share with you a few of my favorite things - a favorite book, a picture I thought was extra inspiring, an interesting article...just about whatever, all somehow tying into writing, movies, and/or inspiration. I thought this would be a fun little post to lighten things up and hopefully give you something to look forward to at the beginning of each month.

Let's not waste any time!

1) Half(dot)com

This place is awesome. It's a part of ebay, and you can find extremely cheap books, some just a dollar. (You do have to be careful and read the descriptions on each price to make sure you're getting a book that's still in good condition). Now, I am cheating a little; I haven't actually ordered anything yet. I've been trying to figure out which books to get for starting me off in my online writing studies, and so far I've tallied an almost $200 list of books. This site cuts that at least in half; I'm going to be able to save a lot of my graduation money! Definitely check this site before any purchases (they also have movies and and games and music)!

2) My High School Diploma

A little random, but I can't help but include it. I graduated from high school this summer, and I'm finally ready to really embark on focusing on my writing career. I'm anxious to begin my studies at home (which begin this month), schedule everything myself, and take classes only I want to take (I'm not going for a particular degree). The diploma symbolizes a measure of freedom for me that I've been waiting for a long time.

3) Exhortations by Elizabeth blog post "Intelligence."

(**Elizabeth's own blog header)

Elizabeth Lewis has a wonderful blog,, on which she posts anything from book reviews and inspiring music for her stories to hosting writing contests. However, today I'm drawing attention to one particular post she labeled, "Intelligence." Like me, Elizabeth is a die-hard fan of the BBC series Sherlock, and for any of you who have seen this amazing series or at least know of Mr. Holmes, he loves to make life deductions based on the tiniest of details. Elizabeth creatively took this idea and wondered what Sherlock Holmes would deduce about her if he stepped into her room, and so she wrote a little piece on what he just might see. It was so inspiring and fun to read, I couldn't help but feel a little giddy.
However, she didn't just stop there. She then went on to explain different parts that play in intelligence, and by so showed us her amazing mind and grip on her characters themselves. I would rant and rave on a little longer, but I've already written enough. You'll just have to go read this tremendous blog post (copy and paste link in tab - I'm no technological whiz kid; I still don't know how to do direct links):

4) My typewriter book ends:

(I celebrated my birthday this month and these were my "big gift." I ADORE them!! Thanks, Mom and Dad ;) )

Do you have any favorites for this month? Sound off in the comments!