Monday, June 29, 2015

Monthly Highlights: June 2015


Hello Everyone! How has everyone's month of blogging, writing, and being awesome been going? The purpose of these monthly highlights is to help me and you get the bigger picture of what's been going on this month. If don't make the habit of following Forgotten Featherpen (which you should) you can come here to check out the highlights of what's been going on in the blog, my writing projects, and life in general. So let's get started!


First off, did every have a good National Donut Day?? I did! I can't remember the last time I actually made a decision to go out and eat a donut. It's just not normal behavior for me. Then Mom suggested I take my brother and two youngest siblings out for a day of adventure to get those free donuts. Turns out...they're not "Free". You have to buy a drink too. That part wasn't fun, but the donuts were fantastic! Who else enjoyed National Donut Day to it's fullest?





Yay for posting every week this month! Between school and life I had a little trouble with post ideas. But thanks to a bank of topic ideas and some nice Link-Ups I managed pretty well.


Recent Articles

- The Creative Blogger Award (a late edition from May)

- Top Ten Books I'd Love to See as Movies (part of the Top Ten Tuesday Tag)

- What Anime taught me about Memorable Characters

- Running to Finish, Still not Enough (in which I ramble)

- The Research Chronicles: June 2015 (a fun research-related link up!)


So this month I've kinda been going over how my hobbies have shaped my perspectives as a creative writer. It's been a light-hearted month for the most part. But I am a hopeful writer of historical fiction, so next month I hope to spend more time posting about my interests in ancient history. Hopefully, I'll introduce y'all to the accessibility of this seeming dry topic. I can make history fun, I promise!






I mentioned last month that I started on a full college class load this summer. Well it's really been biting into my time so I'm learning the hard lessons of how to balance my writing and other hobbies with a full school schedule. I can't wait to see what my schedule will be like on an actual college campus!


One of the upsides to my classes this semester has been my American Literature class. I'm reading so many fantastic autobiographies, essays, and short stories! I see a lot of people doing lists of books that they're reading. Well I have a crazy long list of amazing literature that I've been reading thanks to this class I wonder how many of you have read Uncle Tom's Cabin? Who's heard of the Blithedale Romance? Just sayin, that book deserves to be made into an incredible movie! And the Philosophy of Composition by Edgar Allen Poe is something every writer should read I think. It was very insightful. Here a list of some of the other amazing things I've been reading this month:


The Raven by Poe

Ligeia by Poe

The Philosophy of Composition by Poe

The American Scholar by Emerson

Self Reliance by Emerson

Woman in the Nineteenth Century by Margaret Fuller

Selections from Uncle Tom's Cabin by Stowe

Civil Disobedience by Thoreau

Walden by Thoreau

Selections from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Jacobs

The Blithedale Romance by Hawthorne

Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass by Douglass



I've also been given the oppurtunity to provide a creative response to my American Literature and Western Thought and Culture classes. I decided on two companion paintings. Each will be representing a perspective that I've picked up from the classes. This month I did the creative response for Western Thought and Culture. I call it "Culture's Modern Priest." You can see the progression from sketch to finished product below.




That about wraps it up for the highlights for this month! Before I lose you, check out some of my favorite posts from other bloggers this month. Enjoy! And thanks for stopping my for the highlights this month.


Posts I've read:

- The Difference between Heroes and Protagonists @ Writer and Proud

- 9 1/2 Ways to get to know your Character @ Writer and Proud

- Dream Chaser @ Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant

- Why I Don't Tell People I'm a Writer @ Pages from My Journal







Monday, June 22, 2015

The Research Chronicles: June 2015


Hello everyone, and welcome to my first participation in the Research Chronicles! I was super excited when I found out about this particular link-up. I'm the sort of person who adores doing research. I'll research just about anything I can get my hands on. Lately it's been blogging and writing tips, but I have an ongoing love for researching ancient history. (as you can see from my Ancient Man Articles) Also, I want to write historical fiction so research is kinda what I do. I know there are lots of you out there that love research too, so you should enjoy this.

So what are The Research Chronicles? Well it's a blog hop/link-up of sorts that is free for anyone to join in at any time. Around the end of the month you get to share a post displaying what you've researched the past month. You can include research for your writing project, links to helpful writing articles, videos, or whatever! It's a win-win. You get the chance to put all your research into one place, and everyone else gets to benifit from what you share.

Sound fun? I thought so. If you want to get in on this link-up too then just follow the rules below and enjoy yourself!





1. Gather a list of all the research you did

2. Put it together in a fun and funky post!

3. Post it! (Time to share with your readers! You never know how your research might help them)

4. Link back to Adriana Gabrielle's Blog and leave a comment with the link to your post.


That's it! Now on to the research!





Writing Articles

Obviously this month in my writing research I've been on the look-out for people who are working through what I'm working through: trying to write a book while being a full-time college student. I'm still learning how toeffectively plan out how I spend my time. All of these articles were extremely helpful in that respect. I am also somewhat of a perfectionist. Not a perfect on, but the tendancies are there. The acticle about perfectionism and how it sabotages you was like me talking to me! Three of the below were written by Mandy Wallace...which probably means I should follow her now. Enjoy the read!


~ 17 Signs Perfectionism is Killing Your Writing Dreams

~ How Writing to a Daily Word Count Can Sabotage Your Writing Success

~ How To Be A Writer (Part II): Writing On A Busy Schedule

~ Too Scared To Write? The One-Two Punch Approach That Finally Got Me Writing




Ancient History Articles


Yes, I do love Ancient History. Unfortunately this month I had to love school more that digging through articles about the fascinating ancient world. I promise next month there will be more interesting tidbits here for you to take a look at. I'm even thinking of writing up some posts here to talk about my interests in ancient history. If y'all have any ideas of what you'd like to know, let me know in the comment section.

~Visoko: An Astronomical Map of More than 100,000 Years

~ The Rise and Fall of Sumer and Akkad




That's it for my first link-up in the Research Chronicles! Next month I'm going to spend more time preparing so I can have more links for ya'll to visit. Spread the word about this link-up! I'm sure it will become a useful tool for everyone. Any of you guys struggle with perfectionism like I do? What about time management? Any questions or comments feel free to leave them below!









Monday, June 15, 2015

Running to Finish, Still not Enough

I'm not even awake yet and I'm already stressed. When I was little I ground my teeth when I slept. I still spot gray hairs even though I'm only twenty-two. I know, I don't have the most hectic schedule. Compared to others what I have is probably easy. But I still manage to stress myself out.

A full class schedule through the summer to prepare for more classes in the Fall. A desire for good workouts every morning. Research for a historical novel needs to be done perfectly. I want to be a helpful daughter and an available sister. Oh yeah, and I want to have longer devotional times.

I wake up in the morning with a mental list and a clock telling me I'm almost about to be late to start on the first item. When my feet hit the carpet I start running to accomplish the list with time to spare. I'm running to finish the day well. I want to say I spent it wisely, that I did everything that needed to be done.

But all it takes is a moment of distraction, a moment caught of guard, to throw me off track. The schedule changes suddenly or someone said something that made me frustrated. Suddenly I've been thrown off my groove and the rest of the day utterly fails. Even when I'm dedicating so much energy to spend my time wisely it's still not enough. I still run out to time to do everything. I still end every day with regrets and promise myself I'll do better starting tomorrow morning.

I kept wondering why I went on this way. I was doing everything right, so why didn't I feel content and satisfied at the end of the day? My Bible reading this month helped shed some light on my problem. In all my running, racing to get everything done, I was running in my own strength. I should know my own strength will never get me farther than a little way down the track. I still need to rely on God's strength to carry me through each day. Leaning on Him I can end each day content and satisfied, looking forward to walking even further with Him tomorrow.

I'm still learning to run each day with endurance, through Christ, and not to be such a perfectionist.

I suppose I was mainly rambling today. Has anyone else every felt this way? How do you refocus yourself when you get derailed from your schedule? Anyone else get encouragement from their Bible Reading lately for their time management?



Monday, June 8, 2015

What Anime taught me about Memorable Characters

I may have mentioned it once or twice before. I have this thing going on with Anime. What that basically means is I really enjoy watching animated series that come from Japan. (And yes, I watch them all in English Sub. No Dub for me.) These animated series have a type of storytelling that I absoulutely love and I wanted to be able to share a bit of that love with you today.

(Two Disclaimers: Just before we get started. One is that not all anime are created equal. I'm not reccomending anime to younger audiences. I'll save was constitutes good and bad anime for another article. Two is that, besides the header, none of the images included in this article are mine. I got them all off my Anime Board on my Pinterest.)

Besides the fact that I love anime for the unique storytelling style and the awesome fight sequences, I love anime for the memorable characters. A lot of these characters have made me laugh and have even made me cry. (I ain't afraid to admit it) I've noticed over the course of watching all these series that there are certain things within the Japanese style of storytelling that makes this characters memorable. Now not all of these are directly applicable to writing. However, I think the basic concepts could be useful when creating your own memorable characters. So let's get started!


Backstory Effects Everything

Anime has this bad habit of dedicating long stints of episodes to backstory. Sometimes it can get a bit annoying, but honestly, after watching those episodes you gain a whole new perspective of the characters. A good example of backstory in anime would be Naruto. I'm pretty sure if you cut that series into parts a whole two thirds of it would be backstory. The other third is simply the awesome action the backstory put into motion. Spending time on the backstory filled up the somewhat flat characters we "liked" into massive, dynamic characters that we Loved.

Now in a book it is not always the wisest choice to spend so much time walking your reader through the backstory. In fact most experts would tell you not to spell out your backstory at all. However, I would suggest that you as the writer go through all those backstory "episodes" in your head. Imagine them or write them down. If you know everywhere and everything your character has been before they appear in your story then they will naturally have that mass that makes them memorable to your reader.

They Fight For Something

Similar to backstory, anime characters also have a surplus of drive. They all have something they are fighting for. It could be acing that test in school or getting the attention of their crush. It could be protecting their family or becoming a stronger ninja.

I find this aspect of memorable characters in almost every anime I've ever watched. But if I had to pick one that stood out as the best possible example, that would be Fullmetal Alchemist. The drive behind the Elric Brothers' quest is rooted in the desire to restore the other to the way they were before the accident that claimed Al's body and Edward's arm and leg. Ultimately this stems from a theme of redemption, restoration, and the cost of one mistake. But you get what I'm saying, right?

This element of memorable characters is rooted in the backstory and fleshed out through the plot. Make sure you have a drive that characterizes your character's journey from their backstory and through their plot.

Diversity Is Possible

When I think of diverse characters in anime, I think of the Squad Captains in Bleach. These guys were packed with individual physical qualities, backstories, and layers of intricacies for how they related to each other and the world around them. They taught me that diversity is possible with a set of characters. The work just needs to be put in to develop each individual until they feel that real in a story.

Bonds Build Plot

I'm constantly amazed by how musch emphasis is put on friendship and family in Anime shows. I think it's a fundamental part of the Japanese culture to be an individual who draws strength from a group. Whereas in America the ideal is to be an individual who draws strength from their individuality. From what I have observed of Anime the strongest characters are those who value the family/friends/tribe more than they value themselves.

What does this have to do with memorable characters? Think of the power of bonds when it comes to plot. I like to think of Avatar: The Last Airbender for this area. In such an epic journey every person Aang and the gang meet along the way has the possibility to become a pivotol player later on in the series. Like Suki and the Kyoshi warriors for example. The bonds built over one tiny episode served as a building block for the plot later on.

Nothing happens by accident. Keep that in mind when your character bumps into someone and makes a bond of some sort. That bond does not have to become pivotol right away either. But when danger comes the character will remember his friends, and they will remember him. Dedicated friends make some of the most memorable characters.

Rivals Build on Each Other

Every Anime has a rival situation. A rival is like the Japanese version of frenemies. Two people who know each other, maybe even respect each other, but they clash against one another to see who is stronger. Why this makes memorable characters is because it is literally iron sharpening iron. Through the rivalry both characters develop physically, mentally, and emotionally.

A rivalry can be over something as petty as who gets the girl, like between Inuyasha and Koga over Kagome. Another simple rivalry can be who has the stronger powers, like Gray Fullbuster and Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail. There's the competitive sort of rivalry of who can get stronger faster, like with Ichigo and Renji from Bleach. Each of these rivalries build on the character's friendships and their bonds which can later influence plot development.

Less tame rivalries would include Naruto vs. Sasuke and Hinata vs. Neji from Naruto. What started as a tame rivalry between Naruto and Sasuke evolved into Naruto's determination to save his friend from himself. All the while each was trying to surpass the other. What resulted (besides awesomeness) was incredible character development. Hinata and Neji's rivalry spawned from political roots. One was born to power and the other was born to servitude. One was weak and the other was physically powerful. Their rivalry on such strangely equal ground changed both of them and contributed greatly to the plot.

So, is your character trying to become better? Are they fighting for something? Try giving them a rival who will challenge, teach, and give your character the oppurtunity to grow.

Sometimes They Don't Get Together

(WARNING: Possible Spoilers from here on out)

"Just kiss, darn it all!" I cannot tell you how many times I've shouted that at my screen whilst watching anime. Anime just loves to draaaaaggggg it out as much as they can! These characters really have no luck in the love department sometimes. They're too busy being awesome ninjas, saving the fuedal era, or being totally oblivious to get this whole love thing right. But this irritating part of Anime is a good lesson in what makes a memorable character. Sometimes love interests just don't get together.

Love interests might never have time to get together. One might die before they can get together. Or, they could both be so awful at communication that you as the audience never get to see them get their act together before the story ends! I really hate that last one. The trick for us, the writers, is to make whatever happens realistic.

My best examples in this department come from Naruto. The debate rages as to whether Sasuke deserves Sakura because she's had a crush on him forever. But Naruto has had a crush on Sakura forever too! While in the background Hinata harbors feelings for the oblivious Naruto. What is that? A love square? I have no idea. Anyway, no one expresses their feelings verbally. It's all through actions and that's what makes it real for the viewer. I don't even think I've heard an anime character say, "I love you." It would be weird if they did.

Sometimes love interests are never resolved. Even if they aren't, they have got to feel real. None of the gushy words of devotion. Try some acts of devotion instead.

Real Love is Possible

YES! Yes, it exists! Thank you, thank you to whoever created Kirito and Asuna! *gestures wildly to Sword Art Online* Still a better love story than Twlight. Sorry, I couldn't resist that one. Anime has taught me that real love in possible in traditional and unexpected ways between characters. Those two ways might seem simple, but they make for really memorable characters.

The first example is obviousble Kirito and Asuna. First off: They're Mature. They don't beat around the bush. They acknowledge their feelings and move ahead. Second reason: They Get Married. (Sort of) They actually make it official and it happens at the midpoint in the story as opposed to the end. Kirito is dependable and Asuna is a strong woman without being unfeminine. Win-Win! This taught me that it's okay to make characters that can actually make mature decisions. Two well-developed characters can actually get married in the middle of a story and the story still be awesome.

Real love can come out in ways that are not common in our literature today. Memorable characters often have that quality.


Death is Where Your Character Teaches Their Lesson

We really need to stop killing off characters just for the fun of it. The same goes for killing off a character because their death is the only thing to jar your protagonist into doing the right things or whatnot. Deaths in anime almost always come unexpectedly, and at the worst possible time. A prime example is once again Naruto. Granted, the ninja in this series expect to have short lives and sudden deaths, but that's not the point!

The character deaths in Naruto (I'll try not to spoil things) are used as the pivotal point in the character's development where they can finally pass along the lesson they have been trying to live out throughout the ups and downs of their life. The characters are at their most transparent at the moment of death. Anime has this bad habit of monologing but in the case of character deaths it's worth it. I learned that if I am going to kill a character in one of my stories then they had better be passing on a lesson/truth that will alter the other character's paths for good or evil.


So how about that? Never knew anime could teach you so much about memorable characters did you? What do y'all think? Did I miss any lessons about awesome characters? What are some of your favorite animes? Any other hints for making memorable characters? If you have any questions or comments feel free to post below!










Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Top Ten Books I'd love to see as Movies

Yay! My first Top Ten Tuesday! I'm super excited to put this list together and share some of my favorite books with you at the same time. So the prompt for this week? (Wanna know more about Top Ten Tuesday? Take a peek here.)


I picked all these books right from the prized shelf where my all-time favorite books reside. A lot of them were read when I was a teen (so that should explain why about half of them are geared towards children) and others are more recent. They're listed in no particular order. Because trying to make me list them in order of importance is like trying to make me pick my best friend. I don't have many so they're all equal! (*whispers* but I like East the best) So anyway, on with the list!


  • Redwall Series by Brian Jacques

I don't have kids. But when I do, these books will be what I read to them every night. Brian Jacques is a master storyteller who wrote over twenty books within the Redwall Series. The tales of Redwall follow the adventures and dangers that come to the woodland creatures who live in Redwall Abbey. I would love to see this series as a movie or series of movies because of where we are technologically today. We could actually make the gallant hares, the noble badgers, the sly foxes, and the humble mice real on the screen! There was an animated series that tried to capture the spirit of these utterly failed. This series needs to be captured on screen like it deserves!

  • Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques

Written by the same author as the Redwall Series but this story is far from heroic woodland animals in a fantasy world. This book tells the tale of a boy and his dog who were aboard the Flying Dutchman when it was cursed by an Angel. They are now the immortal castaways who roam the countryside looking for those in need. I think this movie and it's companion sequels would make an excellent movie because it fits right in with the pirate/immortal/ghost/supernatural thing going on in movie business right now. Who could resist an immortal boy and his dog?


  • Picture Maker by Penina Keen Spinka

Haunting and Epic in scale, this historical fiction captured my heart when I first discovered it in the library. This book tells the story of a young Mohawk girl called Picture Maker and her race for survival that takes her from her home in North America to the frigid north, and finally to Greenland. This is one of the better historical fictions I have read, though certainly still for an older audience. I think it would be a great movie because it spans so many indian cultures and paints an accurate life story.


  • Ingo by Helen Dunmore

This is the only mermaid book I have ever bought. It stole my heart when I was a teen and I have never been tempted to take it off the Favorites shelf. Ingo is about a girl who feels called to the sea. She longs for it. Secrets in her family's past may explain this mysterious, magical pull toward the underwater kingdom of Ingo. This rich fantasy belongs on the big screen. Granted, the book is written for a younger audience, but what's wrong with a clean fantasy flick?? Nothing. Go read the book.


  • East by Edith Pattou

This is, by far, one of my most favorite books ever. It is geared towards a younger audience but I still love re-reading it. This is an example of epic, beautiful tale telling. The story follows Rose and her journey to combat the fate of her Birth Direction. She's forced to make a deal with an enormous white bear to save her family and is whisked away to an enchanted castle full of mystery and the overhanging danger of the troll queen of the north. The story is absolutely beautiful and belongs on the big screen because of that.


  • Ranger's Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

Talk about an epic series that needs a movie! The Ranger's Apprentice series follows the life and adventures of the clever orphan Will in a fantastical land very similar to our own. The Ranger Corp act as the Kingdom's special forces and are known for their uncanny ability to move unseen and their skills with the longbow. Will and his master Halt, along with a group of unforgetable characters, dive into the darkness and intrigue to save the kingdom. These characters and the world they live in would be perfectly at home in a theater. At the same time, it would make a killer TV series!


  • The Watchers by Mark Andrew Olsen

A novel of suspense on a spiritual battle level. This tale follows the unseen saga of war against the forces of evil in our world today. I can see this as a movie because of how fast and startling this novel is. Despite how I disagree on some theological points, this book and it's companion The Warriors is certainly one to check out.



  • Binding of the Blade Series by L.B. Graham

I've seriously got to go back and read this series again. I had just finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I was like..11) when I read it the first time. This series follows in the footsteps of grand, sweeping fantasy just like Tolkien's work of genius. I could see the series mashed into one grand movie (which would ruin it) or strung out to three movies. I don't want to give away any spoilers! But the series combines a grand-scale plot with Christian themes and comes out a fantastic read.


  • Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers

I found A Voice in the Wind (the first book of the series) tucked into the bottom shelf in the corner of a dark room on a still, snowy day. I didn't read it that day, but it found me again later and begged to be read. I fell in love. This is a re-definition of Christian Historical Fiction. The series is honest, unflinching, and powerful as it relates the lives of people in the first-century Roman Empire. This one is definitely not for kids. The story follows a Jewish girl who is torn from her family and land to become a slave in Rome. Her journey touches lives in ways that go beyond Rome. Good historical fiction like this deserves to be made into a good movie!


  • Veil of Fire by Marlo Shalesky

It's a small, unimpressive little book. Yet the images inside will sear secrets and haunting imagry into your mind. Fire razes the town of Hinckley to the ground. Where almost everyone recovered from the devastation, one man rejoiced. Now his secrets have been carried away in the wind with the ashes. Or have they? A scorched child of God stands to reveal the truth that brings freedom and restoration. This historical christian fiction is a must-read, and I think it would make a striking movie as well.






Well this was really fun! I can't wait to do another Top Ten Tuesday!


What about you guys? Recognize any of the books here? What are some of your favorites? Who here has more awesome christian historical fiction, or just fantastic historical fiction to share? I'm craving some new books soon. Any suggestions?