NaNoWriMo 2017: My Novel’s Characters, Part 2

Is it really the third week of NaNoWriMo already? Yeah, it is. I’m at over 8,000 of my 20,000 word goal, and I’m having a complete blast writing this novel so far.

Last week I introduced to you Princess Amira, and this week I’d like to introduce you to Prince Nikolai, my other narrator.

Nikolai Uverrenost is the Crown Prince of Dratvia, a country modeled after Russia. He’s eighteen years old and is skilled with a sword, but his true talent is drawing. He can be a little standoff-ish at times but still pays respect where respect is due. He has a good relationship with both of his parents, although he is closer to his mother than his father. He’s betrothed to the Princess of Aria. Since he turned sixteen, he’s had the same nightmare every night and only wishes it would stop.

Aesthetics:

nikolai aesthetic

 

Nikolai will narrate the second half of the novel.

Next week, I’m hoping to share with you all a playlist for what’s temporarily called The Nikolai Project.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? 

-Clara

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NaNoWriMo 2017: My Novel’s Characters, Part One

NaNoWriMo is in full swing, so I’m going to be talking about my project repeatedly throughout the month. I’d like to begin by devoting a couple posts to introducing my main characters.

Let’s begin with Princess Amira.

Amira is from Aria, a country modeled after Arabia. She’s seventeen years old and has a knack for throwing knives. She hates the way her culture regards women and doesn’t have a good relationship with either of her parents. She’s betrothed to the Prince of Dratvia. Since the day she turned sixteen, she’s had the same nightmare every night and has no idea why, only wishes that it would stop.

Aesthetics (this is my first time ever doing this; tell me what you think!):

Amira Aesthetic
Images via Pinterest/Google

Amira is the narrator for part one of the novel (which is still untitled; I’ve never had a harder time naming something in my life). Part two will be told from the point of view of Prince Nikolai, who I’ll introduce next.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What do you think of my aesthetic for Amira? 

Thanks for reading!

-Clara

Thor: Ragnarok: Movie Review (Spoilers)

I got into Marvel just in the past year and a half or so, despite thinking I’d hate superhero movies, but once I saw the first Thor film I fell in love. Hard. Thor will, forever and always, be my favorite superhero.

So, naturally, I’ve been completely ecstatic about Thor: Ragnarok. I saw it Thursday night and was, for the most part, not disappointed.

This movie is just plain fun. It’s one to watch over and over just because it’s so incredibly fun to watch. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a film so much. And it’s hilarious! Thor, as usual, had his own charming humor, but we also had multiple other characters who added to the hilarity. Loki was back, and he makes everything better. There were multiple references to previous Marvel films (my favorite being the moment in the Hulk/Thor fight when Thor is bashed and Loki goes “That’s how it feels!” I laughed so hard I almost thought I’d cry). The Doctor Strange cameo added a little more humor, because Strange is so serious you can’t help but laugh.

I loved that we got a talking Hulk this time around- it was marvelous. Hulk was one of the funniest parts of the movie and seeing Thor befriend our favorite big green monster was amazing.

And Valkyrie was awesome. She may just be one of my new favorite female characters in the MCU.

If you want something fun and entertaining, you’ve got to go see this. It’s worth the price of admission just for that.

As much as I loved it, there were a few things I didn’t like very much. This section will contain spoilers, possibly major ones.

Let’s start with the one I’ve had a problem with since I saw the first pictures for this movie: Thor’s hair.

Ahem, what was wrong with that beautiful blond hair? It was gorgeous, ok? So I do have an issue with that. Kinda funny story: during the scene when Thor’s hair was cut and he was being all like, “Please don’t cut my hair!”, I was sitting in the seat trying not to scream “Please don’t cut his hair!”. Yeah. That was fun.

And then… He lost an eye. Not that Thor isn’t handsome anymore. He is still my favorite superhero because personality is more important than hair or eyes. I just wish they’d left his physical appearance alone. It’s honestly tempting to write a formal letter of complaint to the dear people in charge of this. But I think I should play some young pretty witch girl in Infinity War and I can restore his hair and eye, and then he can fall in love with me and marry me. And my best friend can come along and marry Loki (although I kinda think he and Valkyrie might be a thing?).

Aside from all that, I wish there had been a little more emotion to this one. One of the reasons I love the first two Thor movies is because it had a love story. Sure, Jane isn’t my favorite love interest in the world, but romance makes everything better. At least for me. But if you want a movie that won’t make you cry… Ragnarok is fabulous.

End of spoilers.

I’d rate this movie 4.25/5 stars. It was seriously fun to watch and is well worth the price of admission, but there were a couple things I had issues with (notably the loss of that blond hair).

Have you seen Thor: Ragnarok? What did you think? If you haven’t, do you want to see it?

-Clara

 

On Being Overwhelmed

Hello there. I’ve been meaning to post for over a week, reviewing a novel I recently read, but as you can tell, that hasn’t happened. 

Today I feel like I need to get some things out of my system. I didn’t know if I really wanted to share this with the world (I still don’t, honestly), but I know there are others out there who feel exactly like I do at this very moment. 

I am overwhelmed. And it’s not the busyness that is overwhelming; I love being busy. It’s what I’m busy doing that is draining me completely. Some days, like today, I don’t feel like doing anything. I can’t find the joy in things I love some days, and that includes writing and playing the piano. Most weekdays, I dread getting out of bed because as a type A personality I hate feeling like I’m wasting time and that is exactly what a lot of my activities feel like: wasted time. 

I’ve mentioned my distaste for school before. It’s only grown. Because no matter what people say to me, I feel like the hours I spend on it are wasted. I could be doing so many other things, better things that will be of more use to me in the future. I won’t use geometry (and someone, please wipe it off the face of the earth), I won’t go into any STEM fields so I really don’t need chemistry, and I’ve already established my political views so government (or at least so much of it) isn’t necessary. It’s school that overwhelms me.

It’s not that I hate it. In fact, the only subject I truly detest is math. It’s just that, on top of the things I do that make me feel like I’ve accomplished something worthwhile, I have to spend the majority of my day on school. So in that sense, I do hate it. 

It’s just frustrating, really, to have a million things you feel like you should be doing, but you can’t because you’re forced to do other things. And there’s a couple verses in Ephesians (5:15-16) that talk about making the best use of the time. And, at least for me, school is not the best use of the time. 

There’s also chores, piano, books to write, my job, and other things. I don’t mind chores; I’d take them over school because at least it feels like I’m doing something worth my time. And my job is amazing; the girls I babysit are awesome and I love them so much.

The play I was recently in had testimonies from Hell. It was a Christian production, and I can’t put into words how powerful it was, especially as a cast member. But one of these “Hell testimonies” is from a woman who was so busy she didn’t have time for Jesus. Oh, it’s relatable. Since hearing the testimony, I’ve started trying to make God a part of everything I do, no matter how busy. I do my best to pray throughout the day and to read Scripture each morning. But the way this testimony is delivered, as the woman lists everything she had to do in a way that sounds like she is drowning… I know what that feels like. Some days I do feel like I’m drowning. But unlike the woman in the play, I have Jesus. 

So I guess the whole reason I’m writing this is to get things off my chest, and to be thankful that I’ve got God, because He is amazing and He whispers “you can do this” when I need it. 

This is also why I haven’t posted this past week. I’ve felt more overwhelmed than usual, and just haven’t been able to get on here and blog. 

Thank you for reading this. And it would mean the world to me if you’d say a little prayer for me sometime. 🙂 And know that I’ll pray for you, too.

-Clara

Effie Trinket Makeup Tutorial

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Hello, my darling Tributes!

Yesterday was my annual end-of-season cross-country banquet and costume run, and I dressed as Effie Trinket (no surprise there). I went for an outfit inspired by her Mockingjay Part One costume because a) I had the stuff to do it and b) it was easier to run in. My makeup, however, was Capitol Effie: lots of glitter, pink eye makeup, and crazy eyelashes.

As Halloween approaches, I thought I’d share with you how I achieved my Effie-esque makeup in case you’re planning on being everyone’s favorite Capitol escort this Halloween!

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You know what could use a revolution? That hair. 

To start, I wanted to make my face a bit paler, so I combined my regular foundation  with the white cream makeup you can find in almost any Halloween makeup kit. I mixed the two products together on a paper plate and then applied it using a makeup sponge. I also put some on my lips.

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After foundation.

I used a little bit of translucent powder (mine is Maybelline) to set the foundation. I didn’t really use blush for this look; instead I took some pink cream makeup from that Halloween makeup kit I mentioned earlier and, using a sponge, applied it to my cheekbones. Over top of it I dusted some of Rue 21’s shade “Showtime” from the Bare Nudes palette. Then I used the glitter gel from the Halloween kit over my cheeks.

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You can kinda see the pink shimmer on my cheeks.

Next, I did my eyebrows. Effie’s brows are very pale, so I took the old mascara wand I use as an eyebrow brush and rolled it in the leftover cream foundation mixture, then brushed it through my brows. I had to blend it in with my fingers to keep it from being clumpy, then brushed my brows again and put a little glitter gel on them.

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I think I made them a little paler post-picture, but you get the idea.

Now for the eyes… I have this dollar-store palette of crazy colors. As a matter of fact, most of what I used on my eyes came from the dollar store.

I took a cream-colored shimmery shadow and put it all over my lid; it came from Maybelline’s The Blushed Nudes palette (I love that palette so much; it was about $10 at Walmart and works for every makeup occasion). Then, taking the aforementioned dollar-store palette (pretty sure the brand is L.A. Colors), I took the hot pink shadow and put some on my outer corner, then took the purple shade from the same palette and put it out towards my temple. In the center of my eye, I took the lipstick I ended up using on my lips (a very, very bright pearlescent pink from the dollar store as well; I believe the brand is Wet’n’Wild) and put a little on my lid and blended it in. In my inner corner I used a shimmery white color from the most recent Clinique Bonus Time palette; I don’t know if it’s still available, but any light shimmery shade will work.

Taking a sponge, my mom came behind me and blended that purple shadow into a point, then I put a little more glitter gel on it, being careful not to get it too close to my eyes.

Swipe on some mascara.

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Finished eye makeup.

I finished with some false eyelashes from Walmart, from the Halloween department, and then using the lash glue I attached a rhinestone as a beauty mark. For my lips, I used a bright pearlescent pink, blotted it, and then put some shimmery light pink eyeshadow over it.

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Finished makeup!

That’s it! Finish with your costume, and you’re ready to go as Effie Trinket!

Who are you planning to dress up as this Halloween? 

-Clara

NaNoWriMo is Less than a Month Away…

So I am back from one of the craziest weeks of my life… If you’ve ever done theater, you understand the insanity that is tech week and a three-show weekend. But everything went well and we had a good crowd for every performance.

But anyway…

How is it already NaNo prep season?

If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Essentially, you try to write a novel in a month. Only I’m cheating a little this year because I’ve already started my project.

I’m still able to do the blessed Young Writers Program and set my own word count goal, so no 50,000 word-counts for me. Not in a single insane month. One day, perhaps, when I’m no longer trying to release books in November.

This will be my third year of NaNoWriMo. The first year, I had a 30,000 word count goal and I reached it on November 29th. That book is Captain Guinevere, and the sequel should *hopefully* be out in late November, but no guarantees. The second year I didn’t hit my word count goal at all because killing beloved characters induces terrible writer’s block for months on end. No lies; that is the reason the sequel to the aforementioned novel is still not even fully edited.

So. NaNoWriMo 2017. What am I going to write? Well, I’m not going to write the third book of the Gwendolyn Trilogy. I will eventually, of course, but book 2 has really exhausted me and Gwen and I need some distance. It’s not that I’m not excited about it, as a matter of fact I’m very excited about it (emotional drama! Yay!), but I really need to take a break from those characters. No matter how beloved they are to me. Especially Aldric. He is my love and I just want to give him a hug. I’m planning to start book three around late December/early January.

Instead, I’m going to work on this idea I’ve been formulating for a couple months. I’ve already got close to 6,000 words and have set my word count goal for at least 20,000 more in November. It’ll be no where close to done by the end of the month, but it’ll be well on its way.

I haven’t titled it yet, but it’s kinda The Wrath and the Dawn meets Falling Kingdoms. But more Wrath and the Dawn than anything. I need to write a synopsis, but I’m still figuring out major plot points.

Essentially, it concerns a prince (I’d planned for him to be dark and brooding à la Magnus Damora, but he’s more like a Russian version of Khalid) and a princess (she’s from an Arab style country) and of course I forced them to marry each other. I love arranged marriage stories, if you haven’t noticed. So the prince, Nikolai, has a curse that needs to be broken (how that’s gonna happen I don’t know yet) and then there’s some political intrigue and romance. Lots of romance.

It’s rather loose right now, but I have a feeling as I flesh out the characters some more things will start to fall into place. But it’s a very fun project so far and I love writing it.

So as NaNoWriMo begins, I’m hoping to do weekly updates on the project and share some aesthetics/mood boards and maybe a playlist for the book if I feel up to making one. If you have anything you want to know about my writing projects, please let me know!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it before? Let’s talk!

-Clara

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Spoiler Free)

To put it simply: this is the creepiest book I’ve ever read. But I loved it. 

And to put it not-so-simply:

I’m not much of a mystery reader, and I really don’t know why. Because I always enjoy them (even when I want to make sure all the lights are on and glance over my shoulder every five seconds), and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None was no exception. It was very creepy. Much creepier than her other novel I read, Murder on the Orient Express (that I also enjoyed). 

For a bit of a summary: 

10 people are lured to a mysterious island, and one by one they begin to die, counting down and following a nursery rhyme.

Honestly, the nursery rhyme is what made it scary. I know that original fairy tales and the like really aren’t kid friendly, but all the same, the whole thing about the soldier boys and all the deaths that really followed the thing… Yeah. It was just scary. 

It was a very well done novel and I couldn’t guess who was the murderer. But I felt really stupid when Agatha revealed it. As is often the case with me and mysteries. Have you read And Then There Were None? Do you like mysteries? Tell me your favorite mystery story in the comments!

Also: in case there are no posts from me next week, I am in a play and it will be tech week so my schedule will be even more hectic than usual. So if you don’t hear from me, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the Earth. 🙂 

-Clara

The Cake Book Tag

Hello y’all! Lauren tagged me to do the Cake Book Tag! (I can’t find the creator anywhere…)

Also, I stole the gifs from Lauren’s post because they’re lovely.

Chocolate Cake: A dark book you absolutely love. 

chocolate cake

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Yes, Heartless starts out very light and whimsical… But it gets gradually darker. And the ending is rather depressing, really. Marissa did amazingly with this book and I’m super excited for her next book, Renegades!

Vanilla Cake: A Light Read

vanilla cake

two summers

I absolutely loved Two Summers it was light and adorable and the perfect contemporary summer read. And the French setting made it all the more amazing.

Red Velvet: A Book that Gave you Mixed Emotions

red velvet

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Seeker was good. It was interesting and I liked the characters for the most part, but there were a lot of things I didn’t like, too.

Cheesecake: A Book You’d Recommend to Everyone

cheesecake

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Even if you don’t like reading, this series will not bore you. Honestly, it never stops being amazing. It’s got a tense, gripping plot and some of the most memorable characters to ever grace the world of YA fiction.

Coffee Cake: A Book you Started but Never Finished

coffee cake

red queen 2

I just could not get through Red QueenJust no. It felt like a bad Hunger Games knockoff to me and I found Mare extremely whiny.

Carrot Cake: A Book with Great Writing

(This gif won’t work for me…)

I could rave about Roshani’s writing for ages. It’s just plain gorgeous! She uses the most elegant words. And don’t get me started on the way she describes food…

Tiramisu: A Book that Left You Wanting More

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(Now I’m hungry. I adore tiramisu.)

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I really enjoyed this duology (thanks to Khalid, my love), but there were a lot of loose ends in this one that left me needing answers that I didn’t get.

Cupcakes: A Series with 4+ Books

cupcakes

the alcemyst

I don’t talk about this series enough! It’s absolutely fantastic and very hard to put down.

Fruitcake: A Book that wasn’t what you Anticipated

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Reached, specifically. I was expecting a lot of fighting and suspense, but it really didn’t have it. I did enjoy this series, however, book three just wasn’t what I’d expected it to be.

I tag:
Angelica

Annabeth

What’s a book that left you wanting more? What’s your favorite type of cake? 

-Clara

 

The Timelessness of King Arthur: A Discussion

I’ve adored the King Arthur legends for almost as long as I can remember. There was always something intriguing and fascinating about the stories: the noble, just king and his beautiful queen, the knights of the Round Table who were always on adventures… But I never really realized just what it was that made them so memorable.

I was in my British literature class last week, and the teacher posed the question, “Why have these stories stayed so popular for so long? What makes them so memorable?” And I think I realized just what it is. I’m sure it’s different for everyone who’s ever experienced the famous tales, but for me, it’s because the characters are all so incredibly human.

They all have flaws, and they all sin. None of them are perfect. Neither are we. And no character is ever flawless, but the people who populate Camelot are realistic yet still otherworldly. Each one is so very relatable in one way or another. They go through almost every emotion, and it makes you want to laugh with them, cry with them. It is their undeniable human-ness that makes them so endearing. King Arthur has stood the test of time.

There are countless versions of the legends: books, movies, TV shows, plays. And each one I see only makes me love it more. That beautiful city of Camelot and all the knights of the round table, from Lancelot to Tristan, and the lovely ladies, from Guinevere to Iseult, it’s impossible not to love them all. They all do things that are wrong, but so do we. And it’s nice to know that we’re never alone.

I think I love King Arthur so much for two reasons: I was very young when I started reading it, and now that I’m older, I’ve started to realize its beauty much more than I ever have. I’ve come to respect each and every one of the characters, to understand their motives more and more, and to love them deeper as each day passes. Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere have been with me even longer than Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase. They’re not just characters in a book anymore. They’re friends, dear friends, who won’t ever leave. I know some people just don’t get it when others get so emotionally attached to fictional people. They say “how can you love someone who doesn’t exist?” But here’s the thing: they may not be alive in the real world, but they exist in my heart. It’s no different from a loved one who has passed away. They’re not here anymore, but they still live on in our hearts.

They may be fictional, all the inhabitants of England in the days of King Arthur, but they are alive in my heart. I love each and every one of them, and I don’t think anything will ever change that. I grew up with them continually with me, and even if I wasn’t watching or reading it, it was always there.

So, let’s discuss: have you read King Arthur? Do you love it or hate it? What do you believe makes it so memorable? Is there a character that really sticks out to you? Let’s talk in the comments!

Clara

100 Followers!

THANK YOU GUYS SO SO MUCH!!!

I hit 100 followers on Sunday, I think, and I’ve been meaning to do this post since. 

I just want to say thanks to all of you who have liked, commented, shared, or even just viewed my posts. You’re all amazing and it means so much to me to be part of the wonderful book blogging community. 

Once again, I can’t say thank you enough. But thank you so much for helping me on this journey.

xo,

Clara