Monday, February 27, 2012

I've been interviewed

Yes, exactly what the title of this blog post states. I have been interviewed by Sarah over at Homeschool Authors.

Read the interview HERE.

Thanks again, Sarah, for asking if I would be interested in an interview! I really enjoyed it.

Chazak,

- Hannah

[Media Monday] The Way



An "official" music video! By Jeremy Camp, one of my absolute--if not absolute--favorite music artists.

I love the story that the video tells. It's really neat.

Chazak,
- Hannah

Friday, February 24, 2012

[Review] In His Steps

In His StepsIn His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


From a theme/message standpoint, this book is phenomenal and adds huge depth and meaning to the all too-lightly used phrase, "What would Jesus do?"/WWJD?



For this I love the book. It made me think. Hard.



From an author's standpoint, some of it didn't end up very...satisfying. While all the central characters were mentioned at the end, I didn't like how the book would follow a character for a few chapters and then drop their part of the story seemingly without warning and only make reference to them from that point forward.

As to the style, it's consistent with the style of the late 1800's, actually being more simple and straightforward than some other books from that time period that I have read.



All in all it's a wonderful book, one I would highly reccomend, for Christians and non-Christians alike.



View all my reviews

Chazak,
- Hannah

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Speech on today's popular YA Lit.



Please take the time to watch this speech done by Joy, Sally Clarkson's daughter.

It is thought-provoking, and I think it makes a lot of sense.

We're in a war, and smart soldiers always know who and what they are up against.

Chazak,
- Hannah

[Beautiful People] Erin Wolfe



It is time for another Beautiful People post! Now....who to pick.
Erin Wolfe. I don't know her very well yet, so this should be interesting for me to figure out.

1. If your character could be played by an actor, who would it be?
I haven't seen an actor yet that looks like her. She is 5'7", and has a slim, athletic build. Her eyes are hazel and her hair is dirty blonde and reaches somewhere between her shoulders and her shoulder blades. She looks somewhat like this photo.

2. Does your character have a specific theme song?
Hmm. She does, I'm just not sure if I've found it yet. Dear X, You Don't Own Me by Disciple might be her song. One of them, anyway, for later in her life--not her growing-up/very young adult years.

3. What's their worst childhood memory?
I don't know much about her childhood, but her worst memory as a teenager is the night her sister died.

4. If your character had a superpower, what would it be?
If Erin could pick a superpower, she would probably pick "heightened awareness" or "superhuman speed".

5. If your character crashed on an island with a bunch of other people, how could your character help the group survive?
She could help with her skills as a stealth soldier who was trained to be self-relient. She has a basic understanding of emergency medical care, etc.

6. Are they married? If not, do they someday wish to be?
No, Erin isn't married. She doesn't really care either way, but isn't a romantic in the least, so she doesn't think about it much.

7. What is a cause they would die for?
She would die fighting for Justice and Freedom.

8. Would they rather die fighting valiantly, or quietly at home?
She would much rather go down fighting.

9. If a stranger walked up to them and told them they were the child of the prophesy, would they believe them?
Erin would probably give the person a weird look and ask them if they were taking drugs.

10. Do they prefer the country, or the city?
She has never been outside of the city; that's all she knows.

Chazak,
- Hannah

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

[Review] This Present Darkness

This Present Darkness (Darkness, #1)This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Great storyline. Packed, never slowed down, the action had a great build-up with several twists that are unexpected enough to surprise, yet logical enough to make any reader say, "Aw, I should've seen that coming!"
The only thing that really annoyed me were some tense-changes.



View all my reviews

Monday, February 20, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fall into a Vortex

Fortune suddenly smiled upon Jo, and dropped a good-luck penny in her path. Not a golden penny, exactly, but I doubt if half a million would have given more real happiness than did the little sum that came to her in this wise.

Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and "fall into a vortex," as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace. Her "scribbling suit" consisted of a black woolen pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action.

This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who during these periods kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semioccasionally, to ask, with interest, "Does genius burn, Jo?"
They did not always venture even to ask this question, but took an observation of the cap and judged accordingly. If this expressive article of dress was drawn low upon the forehead, it was a sign that hard work was going on; in exciting moments it was pushed rakishly askew; and when despair siezed the author it was plucked wholly off, and cast upon the floor. At such times the intruder silently withdrew; and not until the red bow was seen gaily erect upon the gifted brow did anyone dare address Jo.

She did not think herself a genius by any means; but when the writing fit came on, she gave herself up to it with entire abandon, and led a blissful life, unconsious of want, care or bad weather, while she sat safe and happy in an imaginary world, full of friends almost as real and dear to her as any in the flesh.

Sleep forsook her eyes, meals stood untasted, day and night were all too short to enjoy the happiness which blessed her only at such times, and made these hours worth living, even if they bore no other fruit. The divine afflatus usually lasted a week or two, and then she emerged from her "vortex" hungry, sleepy, cross, or despondent.


- Little Women, excerpt from Chapter 27

This week has been crazy, and since I have not had the opportunity to write a proper blog post, a quote describing a writer that is very much after my own heart will have to suffice.

Chazak,
- Hannah

Monday, February 13, 2012

[Media Monday] On and On



Beautiful, beautiful song by one of my favorite groups, Tenth Avenue North.

Chazak,
- Hannah

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Complicated

People are complicated.

And sometimes, I can’t quite frankly understand them. But I try to. Many times I’ve asked myself, “Why does s/he do/say that?”
I’m pretty sure you’ve asked yourself that as well.
There are a lot of reasons—valid and otherwise—why people do, say, think, and feel things.

But sometimes things can be attributed to a person’s past, or in more author-like terms, their back-story: what happened in their life before you knew them, the prequel to the life you see them leading now.
This is just as true in fiction as it is in real life.

In Called, my character Victoria has a claustrophobic panic attack over spending the night in a cave.
Why? Because when she was a small child, a tunnel collapsed on top of her.

In the movie Toy Story 3, Lots’o is a cold-hearted, loveless bear that is adamant that no child ever really loves a toy, and that all the toys at Sunnyside are castoffs, unwanted, unloved, and their end will ultimately involve a one-way trip to the dump.

Again, why? Come to find out, Lots’o, Big Baby, and Chuckles belonged to a little girl once, and Lots’o was her favorite. They were accidentally left behind at a rest area while on a road trip, and by the time the three toys made their way home, Lots’o had been replaced with another Lots’o-Huggin’-Bear. According to Chuckles the clown, “something inside him snapped,” when Lots’o realized he had been replaced.

This past week, I had another experience that often seems downright bizarre to non-writers: I discovered something about a character’s past.

Yep. Discovered.

You can imagine the incredulous, amused looks garnered from several of my family members with that statement.

I have been doing a “Character Development Lounge” with a friend of mine for over two years now, and this time, I have my character Erin Wolfe (side-character in Shadow of Glory and protagonist in its currently-unwritten sequel, Ashes of Light) involved.

My friend and I keep putting Erin and the other character, Sayris, into tight spots from their story-worlds.
Erin, who is usually pretty standoffish, has grown very attached to Sayris and I couldn’t figure out why, because it was so out of character. Then she started trying to block something from her past…and I had no idea what it was.

Then it happened: I discovered that Erin had a sister, who had died. And Sayris reminds Erin of her sister.

Eureka! Things started to make sense. Things began making further sense when I realized that Erin blamed herself for her sister’s death, but as a good friend of mine so aptly put, that…is kind of cliché.

So with that same good friend’s—Luke Alistar’s—help, what little I knew of Erin’s back-story was turned on it’s head and given a good, creative shake. In a half-hour or less, I had a solid, workable background for Erin that made so many things about her make sense that I hadn’t fully understood before. Apparently I had done a lot of foreshadowing with her last summer and didn’t even know what I was foreshadowing, or that I was foreshadowing (God-thing, anyone?).

Now I know why and how her sister died, why she blames herself, why she joined the Dragon Scourge Division (elite military force, akin to our Navy Seals and Army Rangers), what she was involved in before that, and even why she has built up such a wall around herself.

She is as complicated as any “real” person.
And it’s a beautiful thing.


Rak Chazak Amats,
- Hannah

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Of Childishness: annoyance and...humor?

Anybody with young siblings or relatives has experienced the oh-so-wonderful joy of little people that don’t act their age. You know, when your five year old brother is whining for food for the millionth time—two hours after breakfast. Or when a sixteen year old is acting like a ten year old.
Yeah. Those times.
It’s annoying, isn’t it? You think—and sometimes say—“Why can’t you just act your age? Please grow up!”
It’s not much fun in daily life, but while watching the movie Elf* several nights ago, it got me to thinking, why is it that real people who act childish are annoying, but in the movies and in books, they can sometimes be funny?

Dennis the Menace. Buddy in Elf. Russell in Up. Jerry Van Dyke in The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show. And of course, others that I either haven’t seen or who’s names and respective movies escape me.

Well, I have been thinking about it, mostly in the context of Elf and Up.
Buddy is a child in a man’s body. He pretty much embodies innocence, optimism, and naivety. In a world so populated with and influenced by pessimists and perjurers of innocence, it’s a change of pace to see an adult that still possesses the qualities of a little kid. Or a little kid who hasn’t been forced to grow up too fast.
Combine Buddy with the other characters in the movie, namely his birth-dad, Walter, you have an instant recipe for humor. Walter is a “man of the world”: prone to pessimism, easily frustrated, and quite the greedy workaholic. The contrast between Buddy and Walter and the way the two opposite personalities played off each other is hilarious.

Buddy is still stuck in his elf-mindset, thinking that anything can be cured by a smile, a hug, eating candy, or singing Christmas carols—very loudly. He has no idea how to act like a normal adult in the “normal” world.

And in Pixar’s Up, Russell is a cute Asian-American boy. He has his own hurts and needs, but has a zest for life and an endless curiosity. He isn’t a smart-aleck with zero respect for other people, but a little boy with big dreams, who, despite being from a broken home, isn’t jaded.

He’s still innocent and loveable.
His attempts at being helpful, along with his childish enthusiasm, provide a fun, comedic balance between him and the older main character of the film, Carl Fredrickson.

I think the factor here that makes it all work is the combination of naivety and innocence, with a little dash of childlike wonder.

I’ve seen several episodes of the Disney Channel sitcoms, Good Luck Charlie and Hannah Montana.

And you know what? I can’t stand those shows.
Yes, a lot of the characters act like children—petty, annoying children—but instead of thinking it’s cute and funny, I kept wanting to give the characters a good shake and tell them to grow up.

The childishness was there, but the innocence wasn't. There was some naivety, but it wasn’t combined with a childlike awe.
Instead you had teenagers and adults acting, well…not very funny. In the two sitcoms, from what I remember, most of the characters acted immature and very similar.

In my opinion, good humor based off child-like characters can’t be forced. It has to flow naturally. In Elf and Up it flowed as a result of character contrasts combined with situations. The characters in both of those movies were different enough that they inevitably clashed and created conflict, the pull-push of opposites.


And conflict always leads to a story.

Chazak,
- Hannah


*Elf is a hilarious movie that, despite being kind of stupid, I enjoy. However it does involve rather heavy language in two places, I believe, and one scene where my younger brothers are instructed to turn their heads. Best watched with TV Guardian/ClearPlay.



[Image credits:
Elf: http://www.christmasmovieslist.com/christmas-movie-reviews/elf.aspx
Up: http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/65/65up.php
Good Luck Charlie: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/03/good-luck-charlie-finally-a-disney-sitcom-you-might-actually-want-to-watch/
Tug-of-war: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=18760&picture=tug-of-war-2 ]