Category Archives: Pencil and Paper and Words Oh My!

Why Write?|My Influences

Since I was small, I’ve wanted to be a writer. That’s always been the dream. In fact, recently, while cleaning out my closet, I found a few of my first “books”. They were stories written on notebook paper accompanied by illustrations drawn with crayons. As I got older, I got more sophisticated tools of the trade. My grandma gave me my first laptop: a big clunker from the early 2000’s that she had gotten from the school where she taught Computer Science. Now, I scribble away in notebooks and transfer my brainstorming mess to an equally messy Google Drive. While my goals have changed many times over the years, one has always remained a constant: I’ve wanted to write things that impact others. 

I have had such a wide range of influences over the years. My mom was very encouraging of my reading habits. Early memories of Arthur, Berenstain Bears, and countless other picture books are still stuck in my head. I quickly caught on to the chapter book craze, taking out at least ten new books every time I visited the library. I’m convinced that about 70% of my upper body strength came from my reading addiction; carrying a huge stack can be tough when you’re 3’0” tall (still can be difficult when you’re 5’0”).

As I’ve grown up, I’ve found several writers that have really shaped my reading tastes and have inspired my own writings. C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series will forever be one of my favorites, followed closely by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The magical stories easily carry you off and make you forget about the rest of the world. On the opposite side of the spectrum, John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down and Stephen Emond’s Wintertown are two contemporary pieces that deal with real life issues in humorous ways. While both novels have heavy subjects in them, the reader is still able to relate to the characters, which is extremely important. As someone who struggles with mental health, these are two books I have come back to many times for a reminder that I am not alone.

The real influence for me though seems to be in adventure stories, particularly the ones that deal with extraordinary powers and/or circumstances. Books like Hunger Games, Rot and Ruin, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are so much fun to read because you feel as though you are part of the action yourself. Then there’s film and television writers like George Lucas (Star Wars) and Alex Hirsh (Gravity Falls). Finally, I can’t forget to mention comic books and graphic novels. As they rise in popularity, the more detailed and deep the stories get in this visual form of literature. Stan Lee, the creator of Marvel Comics, is one of my writing idols. His dynamic and relatable characters have been some of my favorites for years. A good writer is needs to be able to create characters that will be loved for years, not just for a phase of time. Some books, movies, and shows are popular for a little while, but if the characters aren’t truly dynamic and grab onto the audience, the audience will move onto something new, forgetting them almost entirely. Characters from Stan Lee’s books like Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man have stood the test of time and are still as popular, if not more so, as when they first got published. 

As I grow older and surround myself with other creators, my new inspiration has come from my friends. I always get super hyped when my buddy Nathan sends me new drafts of his scripts. I’ve had the pleasure of acting in two of my pal Andy’s screenplays which provided great challenges to me as an actress due to their complexity. Sweet Ben has made me laugh, cry and laugh so hard that I’ve cried while reading his plays. Dozens of other peers have inspired me over the years. It’s astounding to see how my friends have become my writing influencers. I am grateful that I have people around me that inspire me to continue to better my craft and that have supported my ideas as I unscramble them from my head. Whatever you want to be good, whether it’s dancing, video gaming, cooking, running, singing, fishing or bowling, find people to share in the journey of learning. Life is so much better when you surround yourself with people who inspire you to be the best at what you love.  
Until Next Time,

Abby

Turning One

A year ago today, I decided to take the plunge into blogging. My mom had been doing it for a while, and I thought it might be something that would help me with writing, since I’m working towards a career in the creative writing/illustration field. Not only has working on this blog opened up new discoveries in writing, it has helped me discover, well, me.

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When I started this blog a year ago, I was not in a good spot. I was not happy. I was struggling with depression. I had a hard time being social, always feeling like I was putting on a mask when I went out with friends. Over the course of this year, I learned to channel my emotions that I was struggling to balance out through art and my writing. Through God’s wonderful timing, He brought me through a rough time by giving me inspiration for creative projects, as well as surrounding me with wonderful people.

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Looking back on this past year, it’s kind of incredible how much I have changed as a person. I have gained so much more confidence and a genuine happiness in my work and relationships. Embracing change and running head on into new opportunities has been full of ups and downs, but through it all, I have become all the more stronger. There are times I look back with regret and wish I could change things, but that’s part of life. You remember the good and bad, but you can’t live in those past memories. As Wilbur would say, you have to “keep moving forward.”tumblr_m88rv7CGku1rcebrco1_500

 

My biggest goal for the New Year is to do just that: Keep Moving Forward. There are going to be bad, awful times, but there are also going to be really great times, too. Over this next year, I hope to be able to spread some encouragement through writing, and maybe even be able to give some light to people who are going through some rough times.

 

Merry Christmas to you all! I look forward to this new year of adventures!

 

 

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

Being Jealous of My Main Character

I like to think that I’m a decent writer. I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while, and I’ve dabbled in the script writing and poetry realm. But, my biggest goal as a writer is to become a published novelist. The program that has helped me work on this goal is NaNoWriMo. I’ve mentioned this program in the past, but as a quick over view, you write a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days. That’s about 100 pages in a Word document. I tried back in April with Camp NaNoWriMo to write just 10,000 words for another project, and I utterly failed. This month though, I have hit the half way mark on my current project, which is rewriting the novel that I wrote in middle school called Drawn to Life.

While I’ve been working on the project, I’ve come to find out that my main character is someone I really want to be. In all honesty, she has a lot of the characteristics that I have, but as the story as progressed, I’ve become jealous of how my main character handles certain situations. This is making me feel slightly crazy, because I’m the one who created her. I’m the one who has made her a person who doesn’t take crap and always stands up for herself. So why am I jealous of a fictional girl of my own creation?

As a writer, I often write characters with attributes that I wish I had. For example, I once wrote a short story for a school assignment about a surfer  because surfing is something I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a long time. I love writing about superheros, because I think having some sort of super power would be extremely awesome. So, when I write a character who is assertive and sticks up for herself, it’s a wake up call for me. It’s a reminder to me that I think about being a person that does not let people walk all over her, but sometimes, I don’t put those thoughts into action.

I guess my biggest hope to get out of writing this story is that I grow as not only a writer, but as a person. I want to learn from my characters how to be stronger, which is basically learning from myself. Man, it’s really weird being a novelist.

I made a video on this topic, so check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v

If you are a fellow writer, let me know if you’ve had any of these kinds before! I’d love to know if I’m not the only crazy one ;P

Now, time for me to go back to noveling.

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Until next time,

Abby

Camp NaNoWriMo (April 2015)

Ah NaNoWriMo. An adventure only the bravest of writers attempt, and a challenge that only the most courageous win. It’s a battle that you fight with your biggest enemy: yourself.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. The official month is November, where you spend the 30 days working to write a 50,000 word novel (Around 1,700 words a day). I have participated since 2012, and this year, I decided to join the camp experience (which started yesterday). The camp is a little less daunting; you get to set your own writing goal. Due to my work load with school and Godspell, I set my word out goal to 10,000, which is roughly 333 words a day.

It’s been a little rough for me writing wise over the past six months. Last November, I came no where near close to finishing the 50,000 word goal. It was really frustrating, and it kind of put me in a funk. But this year, I have made it a goal of mine to get something, ANYTHING, finished and published. I have about five novel/series projects started, but I have only finished one, and that was in eighth grade (and it sucked). Through trial and error, I have learned what I like to/am good at writing, so I have chosen to work on a story titled “Almost Twins” that has been outlined and reworked multiple times. It is a big goal of mine to get a rough draft done by June, so Camp NaNoWriMo will give me a jump start on that.

I hope to give you a great report at the end of this month giving you an update on my novel. If you are interested in a challenge like this, check out these websites below! They have great writing resources and are constantly updating with videos, pep talks and challenges. It’s a good way to get motivated to get those awesome stories out of your head 🙂

http://campnanowrimo.org

http://nanowrimo.org

Until Next Time,

Abby