Tag Archives: musings

NaNoWriMo: It’s Alive!

1 Nov

NaNoWriMo officially started at midnight last night and I was all geared to go, had my writing utensils and tablet to hand and was getting in the Halloween spirit by catching up on this season of The Walking Dead.

I was alseep before we hit midnight in my time zone, down for the count because of the excess of Halloween treats I had consumed.

Therefore today NaNo has been all I’ve been thinking about until I’ve got some free time to really sit down and write.

For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, the goal is simple. Write. That is the one commandment. If you reach 50,000 words by the end of November you are officially a “novelist.” For many, this is a chance to try something new, a new way to approach writer’s block, or a simple way to pound out 50,000 words worth of post-secondary essays.

For me, it really set a deadline on something I’ve wanted to accomplish my whole life — to create the skeleton of a novel that I could later come back and revise. After all, the 50,000 words don’t need to be good words.

However, I didn’t want this exercise to be fruitless. So I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to flesh out the plot and characters that my NaNo will be based on and I’m happy to say that I got a lot more done than I thought I would. I am still nowhere near where I would like to be, but hopefully by the end of the month I will have hammered out that 50,000 words and will be able to continue forward with the monster I have created.

So look forward to some somewhat irregular updates on my progress and setbacks, or at least a place to commiserate with fellow NaNos.

Word Count as of 2013-11-01: 1536

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In Defense Of The Things I Like and How That Translates Into The Classroom

22 Apr

I just spent the last few days reading Tess of the D’Ubervilles. I was asked why. Then I moved on to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy Series. I was asked why. I read Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. Asked why. Was reading the Wikipedia entry for The Uncanny Effect. I was asked why.

My questions to my enquisitors — “Why do you want to know why?”

I receive blank stares. Their response, “Is it for school-related research? Is it for a new job? Did someone ask you to research this?” Depending what they are asking me the answer can range from yes — reading many YA novels will hopefully help me out when I get a position as a high school English teacher — to no — I’m just curious. What astonishes me is the response I get back from people. They are absolutely astonished that I would “waste” my time on some of these things.

I currently hold a position at the Royal Alberta Museum staffing the admissions desk. A major part of my job is answering questions regarding past, current, and future exhibits. This past weekend I answered a visitor’s question about the current exhibit. I fired off some facts and had my coworker turn to me in surprise, “How did you know all of that?” 

I actually went into the exhibit and read about it.

It boggles my mind that people aren’t more curious about things. I’m inquisitive by nature, I used to (still do!) drive my parents insane with the amount of questions I ask. I will spend three hours researching a topic that I came upon tangentially on the internet. I will go to the bookstore and purchase books at random from the non-fiction section because their subject matter caught my eye. I have read the majority of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium including the many volumes of the History of Middle Earth and The Silmarillion. I have read some of the correspondence between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway during their heydey.

Why? Because I can. Because it interests me. I’ve had more than a few people suggest that I may have A.D.D. And maybe I do (which would explain a lot).

But whether I enjoy the occassional Miley Cyrus song, the bombardment of twitter, LOLCats, gifs, the Wikipedia random button, viral youtube videos, and television shows broadcast by a certain network *cough* The CW *cough.* Or if I like to play jazz, read research articals out for peer review, peruse the New York Times, or only watch the news, does it really matter? I enjoy all of those things. Among many, many other things.

So when I am in a classroom and I hear a student or teacher tell someone why they shouldn’t be interested in what interests them, it really bothers me. You are taking a golden opportunity to interact with the student or with your class on a base level and wasting it. Everyone likes to talk about what interests them. So to create a dialogue with students, friends, coworkers, anybody — I always try to ask them about their interests. It gets them talking, and engaging, and interacting with one another, which often doesn’t happen if you just stand up at the front of the classroom and lecture at them.

On New Adult

17 Jan
Jessica Darling Novels

Jessica Darling Novels

Lately, New Adult (NA) is a term that’s being tossed around the book world. The good people over at NA Alley have put together a great post entitled, “What Is New Adult?” which lays it all out. NA Alley’s view of NA:

We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood.

Protagonists typically fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.

Allegedly, NA was first tossed around in 2009 by St. Martin’s Press and the term has been on a steady rise since then. Trawling around some NA book lists, most of what you find are contemporaries. Though the term has been kicking around since 2009 what I consider to be NA has been around for quite awhile.

When I was in high school Megan McCafferty published Sloppy Firsts in 2001. I was OBSESSED. Jessica Darling was me. To this day there is not a single literary character that I have connected with more. Jessica had some triumphs and difficulties along the way and she felt real. So I eagerly awaited each book, following Jessica throughout the rest of the series (Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings, and Perfect Fifths) and am gleefully awaiting the prequel series, “The It List.”

So when I hear “New Adult” being tossed around, I’m not surprised. These were the types of books I liked to read in high school (heck, I still do). New Adult encapsulates a very difficult transitionary time for many teenagers and new adults. I’m twenty-six and I’m still not completely sure what I want to do with my life. So I’m glad that NA is getting more press and recognition, because in my opinion, it is a separate genre from children’s, YA, and adult literature.

And then she taught!

A journey through the nooks and crannies of Secondary Education with a lady who sometimes misplaces her maps.

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KATERINA ANDREA

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