Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Beautiful People: Helen Cambria



Okay, so this is a linkup hosted by Paperfury and Further Up and Further In where you answer questions about your characters. I recently found this over on Victoria Grace Howell's blog, you can find the link to that post here: http://storitorigrace.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/beautiful-people-13-caleb.html
I thought it looked fun, so here we go.

I chose the main character from my new currently untitled WIP, Helen Cambria

1. They’re in a crisis: who would they really like to see right now?
Her brother, Hector or her best friend, Edmund.

2. Are they easy to get along with?
Helen can be difficult, simply because she tends to push people away a lot. But once you do make friends with her, you’ll likely get on very well and she will be eternally loyal to you.

3. Who was the last person they had a deep conversation with?
Edmund.

4. They’re in the middle of a huge crowd of people: how do they feel?
Helen would feel comfortable, as she would feel more hidden and able to carry out her objective.

5. Do they believe in luck or miracles?
She doesn’t believe in either.

6. Do they like and get along with their neighbors?
She lives in one of the roughest parts of Layabout (Liverpool), but she is on friendly terms with a lot of her neighbours (where she lives this mostly amounts to not turning them into the police). 

7. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?
She’d go to Greece, because she loves Greek mythology and history.

8. How do they feel about their body?
She doesn’t really care either way. She’s aware that she’s underweight, due to malnourishment, so she rarely worries about fat. She doesn’t think she’s particularly pretty, but doesn’t really care about it.

9. What is the cruellest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?
The cruellest thing anyone ever said to her….well, she’s been insulted a lot, due to her abusive upbringing and where she grew up but it probably hurt the most when Deirdre, someone she believed was her friend, said that she couldn’t possibly be friends with a poverty-stricken illiterate. She reacted by punching her, then crying in a hole somewhere that no one could find her in.

10. What’s the kindest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?
When Carlisle told her that she was beautiful and that he would teach her to read.



Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Retellings

Here we go! Promised post. I told you I'd do it.

I don't want to talk about how long it took me to learn how to do that.
So, retellings.
First of all, I'll tell you exactly what I mean by 'retelling'. I mean taking a story that's been around for a while, such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella or even the stories of King Arthur, and re-writing it. Typically there'll be a twist on it, but not always.
You'll have seen these around. Disney films are retellings, even though they're films. BBC's Merlin was a retelling.
People have been retelling stories since stories were first invented. It's why there's no such thing as a full 'original' idea. Because everyone is inspired by something and they'll often include bits from their favourite stories in their own.
So why do these exist? Why do we retell stories over and over again?
Well, partly because it is really fun.

And partly because those stories resonate with us. We retell stories because they meant something to us and we want to share that with others.
We also do it because it gives us the opportunity to change some things that we may not have liked in the original story, as well as allow us to dive in deeper with the characters.
A good example of a retelling would be one of my own personal favourites 'The Goose Girl', by Shannon Hale. It retells the story of, well, the Goose Girl as the title implies. Originally, 'The Goose Girl' was a German fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm.
It tells the story of a princess who on a journey to another kingdom, through the treachery of her maid-servant, is brought low and becomes a goose girl. Eventually, as in a lot of fairy tales, she meets and falls in love with the prince of the other kingdom and eventually marries him.
Hale retells this perfectly, keeping in the characters' personalities, but giving them more depth and adding in new ones. She also manages to communicate the same tone and themes with her novel as were in the original fairy tale.
When it comes to writing your own retellings, I recommend rereading the original (or as close to the original as you can get) and keeping it in mind. Even if you change some of it a lot, you should still attempt to keep the same themes as the original. Particularly the characters should always remain recognizably themselves.
An example of this is Cinderella. She has been retold recently in two different manners. One was in the live-action Disney film, where she was very similar to the original. She was kind, she was sweet and all that jazz.
Shush, I needed this in here somewhere, okay? *drools* That dress is so pretty...
Anyway, the other was in 'The Lunar Chronicles' by Marissa Meyer, specifically 'Cinder'. Cinder is a very different Cinderella. She's tough, snarky, a cyborg and an engineer (I think) among other things. But when you actually look at her personality and beliefs, she's still Cinderella even if Marissa Meyer changed a few things. She's still kind and compassionate. She still has love for others. She's still very self-sacrificing and caring.
My point here is that 'Cinder' and 'Cinderella' are two different adaptions of the same material. They just handled it in different ways. But no matter the differences, the character at the heart is still the Cinderella from the fairy tale. And that is always important in a retelling.

And now onto the recommendations.
I highly recommend all of the above books, so I'll include them in this list. Bear in mind, this is in no particular order. Also, I'm going to rate them out of a hundred because this is my blog and I do what I want.


1)
 'The Lunar Chronicles' Series by Marissa Meyer.
I'd give it ninety-five stars out of a hundred, excellent and well-worth the read. The other books are 'Scarlet', 'Cress' and 'Fairest' (though I've yet to finish Cress or read Fairest). The next book comes out...sometime.

2)

'The Goose Girl' by Shannon Hale.
I'd give this one ninety-seven stars out of a hundred. Well-written, moving and an awesome main character. 

3) 

'Shadows on Snow: A Flipped Fairy Tale' by Starla Huchton.
In case you couldn't tell, this is a retelling of Snow White with the twist that Snow is a boy and the Prince is a girl. There are other differences as well, but I'm not going to summarize everything. I'd give it ninety stars out of a hundred. Loved it. 

4) 

'The Squire's Tale' Series by Gerald Morris.
All of them. Just...all of them. Terrance is an absolute legend. This series is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur and I'd give it a good ninety six stars out of a hundred. Just...go read it. Now. Do it.

5) 

'Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold' by C.S. Lewis.
I just...gah! I love this book so much. It's a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche and you should all go and read it. Right now. A hundred out of a hundred stars. Brilliant. (Just like pretty much anything by C.S. Lewis of course, but I digress).

There are more retellings than these, but these are my top five. I love them all so much. 

What about you lot? What are some of your favourite retellings? Bear in mind, I only recommended books but you can all talk about your favourite TV shows or films. 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Brief Updates

Hi guys!

Sorry I haven't posted for awhile, but anyway, a few things.
First of all, here is the link to my Fixers Project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WilWf0Ck-I0
Feel free to watch it and so on. I promised in my last post that I'd get the link up, so here it is. Have fun with that.

Anyway, onto the stuff I was actually posting about. I'm going to attempt to get up a blog-post a week, so we'll see how that goes.
The next one should be up this week, as this really isn't a blog-post, and will be about story retellings and a few recommendations of my personal favourite retelling books. That should be up either tomorrow or Wednesday.
I'll get another up next week and, hopefully, the week after.
Also, the promised editing process post will be up, but I'll probably wait until I get back from holiday. It will happen, I'm telling you.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

My Fixers Project

Hey guys!
So since the summer, I've been working on this project for Fixers. In case you were unaware (which you almost certainly are), Fixers is a organisation that helps young people to, in the words of the website, use 'their past to fix the future'. The website is here: http://www.fixers.org.uk/home/about.php
So I've been working on this for a bit. It's about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is a chronic illness that I have.
I first wrote a short story for it, that was then adapted into a short film.  The story can be seen below. As the film is only supposed to be about five minutes long at most, it isn't a very long story. Only around 1100 words, which is fairly short for me.


'I have always considered parks to be some of the worst places to visit. Granted, there’s grass, and trees and lovely flowers, but there’s also a lot of people. And I really don’t like being around a lot of people.
My brother, Mike, is the complete opposite to me. He’s already gotten into a conversation with a woman near the lake.
I grimace and lean back against the bench. He’s crazy. My hand absently starts to trace the gap between the wood on the bench.
“Ow!” I yelp, pulling my hand back. A tiny splinter of wood has taken it upon itself to embed itself into my finger. I scowl, and inspect the tiny wound.
I can barely see the splinter, but I can certainly see the blood starting to leak from it. Tiny splinters are the worst.
“Katie,” Mike runs over to me, “What’s the name of that tree over there?” He pointed to the tree in question.
I raise an eyebrow. “It’s an oak tree. Why?”
“No reason!” Mike runs off again, returning to the woman. I should probably be concerned that he’s talking to a total stranger, but he can take care of himself. Besides, I can still see him.
I yelp slightly, as my back twinges in pain. I reach back and rub the spot. It doesn’t help much.
I sigh. Maybe I’ll go and sit on that other bench. It’s closer to the lake, so I can keep an eye on Mike better. Besides, lakes are fun to look at.
I stand up, and a wave of dizziness forces me back to a sitting position. “Great.” I mutter under my breath, and I pull my wheelchair closer. I hate having to use it, but ever since we came on holiday to Cornwall, I’ve been finding it difficult to do anything else.
I stand up, and transfer to the wheelchair. I sigh in relief once I’m sitting down. The chair is far more comfortable than that bench. The twinge in my back seems to be fading a little.
“Hey!” A voice sounds behind me, and I turn. A tall boy, perhaps my age or a little older, is standing there. He’s surrounded by other teenagers, both male and female.
“Nice chair! Sure you need it anymore. You seem to have been healed!”
I feel my face heat up, but I force down my anger. It’s not the first time I’ve got that response from someone, and it won’t be the last. Don’t listen, just go.
I begin to wheel away, but I can still hear them yelling as I go away. “Miracle, miracle!” They chant, and continue to do so as I get further and further.
Mike seems to materialise next to me. He always seems to know when I’m in trouble. He glares over at them, but turns back to me quickly. “Need any help?” he asks.
I nod. “Would you help push my chair?” I ask. I can feel my wrists starting to ache from the strain.
He nods and takes a hold of the handles.
“Don’t listen to them, Katie. They’re just idiots.”
I give him my brightest smile. “I know, Mike. I don’t mind.”
He doesn’t look convinced, but leaves the subject alone.


***


I sit on my bed. The room is empty, far more empty than the one at home. But then again, my bedroom is exceedingly messy. So this is probably better.
I sigh and stare at my hands. I have literally never realised before how much I bite my nails. Wow. Impressive stuff. Mum got the splinter out once Mike and I got back from the park. It’s a little sore, but not too bad.
I cringe at the memory of the park.
No matter how many times people say things like that to me, they’ll never stop hurting. I still stand by what I said to Mike earlier, I know those kids were just idiots who didn’t understand what they were talking about. But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt. It just means that I don’t hate them for saying it.
I sigh. “Mike.” I say.
“Huh?” Mike appears in the doorway, and I hide a smile at his oh-so-intelligent response. And the fact that he was definitely listening in. The paranoid wombat. “Yeah?”
“Do you think that I’m making things up?” I ask.
He frowns. “No, of course not. Why would you think that?”
I shrug. “No reason. I guess I’m still a little worked up from earlier.”
“They really upset you, didn’t they?” He sits on the bed beside me.
“A little.”
“Oh come on, it was more than a little.”
“Okay, a lot. But it doesn’t really matter.” Even though I brought it up, I still don’t want to talk about it.
“Look, Katie, you’re not making it up. I’ve seen you, remember? I’ve seen you fall over after nearly passing out. I’ve seen you start to limp after just a few minutes of walking. I know you are not making anything up.” Mike seems convinced. Me, not so much.
“But what if I’m making things seem worse than they are.” This is something I’ve thought about a lot. I often worry that I’m just exaggerating, and I don’t even realise I’m doing it.
“Nah. I’d know if you were.”
I roll my eyes. “Why, because you’re an expert in Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?”
“No. Because I’m an expert in you. We’re twins, remember? I know everything about you, and you know everything about me. That’s just how it works.” Mike grins and I laugh.
“I guess so.” I say. My voice is soft.
“I know so.” He looks at me, right in the eyes. “Look, don’t let people like that bother you. They don’t know anything about you. If they did, then they’d agree with me!”
I shake my head at him. “Since when did you become all mature?”
“You know, I really don’t know. Oh no. Maybe you’re rubbing off on me!” He makes a face. “Oh, the horrors!”
I burst out laughing at his antics. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe you’ll finally stop talking to random strangers if I continue to rub off on you.”
“Hey,” he says. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
I just shake my head at him.
Maybe he’s right. Maybe I really don’t make things up. I wish I could know for certain, but I guess it’s not so bad. At least I have an brother who’ll tell me that sort of thing. I might tease Mike, but I can’t imagine life without him. I don’t even want to.'


This was, over a period of a few months, turned into a screen-play. Because of my complete inability to figure out how computers work, I couldn't put the screen-play itself into this article, but if you really want to read it, I could probably find a way. Anyway, today, we filmed the video.
While the video is not yet finished, below are some of the pictures taken by my mother during the filming. Well, technically, the photography, as the film will be pictures with a voice-over.
There's me on the left side, then my brother and the photographer. In case you couldn't tell, I was attempting to stay hidden from the camera. As I was supposed to be in the photos, this was a particularly complicated endeavour.
Here's my little sister and the photographer. My sister is using my wheelchair here.
Me and my dad. The photographer was working with my sister.
I'll put the video up once it's ready, which should be in around two weeks.

Next week, however, I will be putting up a post about the first stage of the editing process for a novel, and how I've gone about it with mine. Until then, however, I bid you farewell.



Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sparkly Thoughts

So, I was having a conversation with my mum earlier today. We were talking about conversations. Heh. A conversation about conversations.
Ahem. Sorry.
That is actually exactly the topic that we eventually got onto. Sparkly thoughts. My mum said that I often look bored or miserable during group conversations. I said that I wasn't bored, I was, in fact, very interested. Except I was constantly distracted by sparkly thoughts.
She asked me to clarify.
Essentially, what I mean by the aforementioned sparkly thoughts, is that I can be having a conversation. I can be listening closely. I could even be interested. But then along comes a new sparkly thought.
I find that new thought so fascinating, that I proceed to follow it off into the sunset. For example, I may be talking to some people about a new film that just came out. Then along comes the sparkly thought. It's about caterpillars. I, being intensely curious, follow the thought. It leads me off, until I end up thinking about 'The Hungry Caterpillar'. Then I start reciting 'The Hungry Caterpillar' to myself. Then somebody asks me a question.
By this point, I have been zoned out of the conversation for a while. I have no idea what they're talking about. I just know that it's unlikely to pertain to 'The Hungry Caterpillar'. I stammer for a while, before asking them to repeat themselves.
Thus, everyone seems to think that I am extremely bored by them. I am not. The caterpillars are simply a sparkly thought.
Sparkly thoughts can come in all shapes and sizes. They do not have to be about caterpillars. But they are extremely distracting.
Think of the White Rabbit from 'Alice in Wonderland'. I'm Alice in this particular scenario. Along comes the White Rabbit, wearing a waistcoat. I am fascinated by this White Rabbit, and particularly fascinated because of its waistcoat. Normal rabbits don't wear waistcoats. So, off I follow the White Rabbit, finally falling down a rabbit-hole.
This is exactly what a sparkly thought does. It leads you off, into a rabbit-hole.
An example of this that just happened to me occurred at the end of aforementioned conversation. I can't remember where the conversation had gone by this point, but I was deeply engrossed. Then the sparkly thought came along. This thought surrounded vampires (no, the fact that I speak of vampires and sparkles in the same blog-post has nothing to do with Twilight), and the fact that they would, if they really existed, need a special vampire dentist to take care of their blood-sucking teeth. I then thought about the fact that it must be a terrifying prospect to be a vampire's dentist, as one would constantly be terrified of being killed by said vampires. In this manner, my thoughts wandered off.
This is a perfect example of a sparky thought.
So, if you are one of the people to have the misfortune of knowing me, when I zone out, or ignore you, know this. You are not boring me, nor are you uninteresting. I am simply too distracted by the White Rabbit of Sparkly Thoughts to pay you any attention.

Do you have any experience with Sparkly Thoughts? If so, comment below, and tell me about it.