Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: The Outsiders

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is about a 'greaser' named Ponyboy who is living with his two older brothers since his parents are gone. They, and their gang of friends are all 'greasers' or poorer people with long, greased up hair. They don't get along with the 'socs' or socials, which are the more privileged people. When things go bad and someone in their friend group kills a soc, ponyboy and the murderer, have to run away and hide from the police.
With the help of the toughest guy from the group, they hide out until disaster strikes. When the abandoned building they are staying in catches on fire while elementary school students are staying inside, the boys go in to save them, and they both come out burned, almost to the point of death.
Ponyboy recovers, but his friend is still in the hospital trying to keep breathing. With one friend at death's door, a murder, and social rivalries, there is nothing left to do but have a brawl... right?

The Outsiders was a good book, but it didn't live up to all of the hype that came with it. People kept raising my expectations with all of their wonderful reviews, I expected it to be magnificent, not just good. The storyline was mind-blowing, the characters were touching, and the writing was good. Overall, it was a good book.
The movie is good, but, like usual, not as good as the book. There is only so much a movie can show in the two hours they have been allotted.

Reading like a Writer

Most writers like to read too, and if they don't they should. Not only is reading enjoyable, it is a great way to improve your writing or learn how to write. Those authors are good authors because they know how to write and create a good story. Even if you don't like to read a lot, that's okay. A page a day is a good goal, but make sure your goal is realistic, not too high or too low. Otherwise you might find that you're hurting yourself instead of helping yourself.
Before you read the book, do a little research. What do the readers say about this book? What is the genre? Who is the author? Who published the book? Read the summary and the about the author section. Read the author's note and the dedication page. Doing this will not only help you get to know the book but also learn how to write sections like author's notes and summaries. Studies show that looking at examples then trying something and then repeating the process is the best way to learn, so try to write some of these things.
While you are reading, find literary devices. Our language arts teachers where not lying when they said metaphors and similes are important. Look for the author's strengths and weaknesses. Look for successes and failures of the story. How do the characters make you feel? Do you hate the bad guy? Why? How are you supposed to weite great characters if you can't even identify them yourself? You can't, it would be extremely difficult to say the very least.
Last but not least, after you have read the book, make a plot outline of the story. Does it follow the hero's journey graph? Identity the themes and motifs of the book. If you're feeling very ambitious you can create a list of all the characters and their traits. Not only will these things help you as a writer, they will help you as a reader too. You will understand the story better.
You can do these things in many different ways. You could write right on the book (gasp!), or use a notebook, or sticky notes. I personally use both a notebook and stickynotes. I use the sticky notes on the book. Then, once I've finished, I move them all to the notebook and do my after reading techniques in the notebook. Make sure to put page and paragraph numbers on your stickynotes so that you can go back and look at it if you would like. You can even get creative and invent a new way if you would like. :)

Happy reading!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is the story of a girl named Lia who is anorexic and struggling to understand the world around her. When her ex-best friend dies, she starts to slip back into the world of crunching numbers in order to be a 'perfect' girl but her ex-best friend's death is not the only thing haunting her. Her divorced father and mother, the mother who pushes her too far and the father who pushes her too little, are talking about her again, reminding her of all of the yelling that led up to a divorce she might never recover from.
Even though this is not something I would usually read, it is amazing. I could not put it down. Lia is a smart girl, and Anderson shows that as she weaves you through Lia's life and story. I'm going to be honest, it was hard to stomach some of the things that happen in this book, but it isn't so terrible that I had to stop reading it. I really like the way Anderson chose to tell this story, but I thought the motel guy (you'll have to read it to find out who I'm talking about) was pushed away, like she ran out of ideas for his character.
Comments, questions, and suggestions for books are always welcome!

Monday, November 16, 2015

NaNoWriMo: How's it going?

Well, National Novel Writing Month is officially more than half way over. How are your novels coming?
I have noticed that things start to die down, so I've decided to give you all a little motivation, just maybe not the kind you're used to.
When I first started writing, I felt like I was the king of the world. I could do anything and it was super fun to do all that stuff, but writing has changed for me. It is still fun, I still feel like I'm on top of the world,  but it has changed to a more therapeutic agent. Writing is my escape, and I'm sure for some of you, it's yours too.
So here's the question, why do you write so hard at the beginning, only to give it all up at the end? You are on top of the world. Why would you deny yourself that power feeling or the calm from your "therapy"? Keep going. I know it seems hard, but once your fingers hit the keyboard, everything will be just fine.
Good luck!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


So NaNoWrimo is here!
Happy National Writing Month!
For those of you who don't know what NaNoWrimo is, it is a competition that dare I say thousands of people do every November. These writers, me included, attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It is free and I really recommend it to you all. I know November has already started, sorry guys, but it's not too late! The contest is free and there are prizes! If you'd like to join go to I started participating in this contest last year, so you and I can figure it out together!
You know all about NaNoWrimo, so now what? Well, you should plan your novel out, it helps a lot, but you don't have to. I didn't plan the first year, but this year I am, and so far it is working better. There are these things called write ins that are be in your area, where you just go and write with other people. You don't have to go to these but they are kinda fun, plus there's usually food which is always a bonus.
Well, now you know pretty much everything about NaNoWrimo. If you have questions feel free to ask me or go to this website for help.
Happy Writing and good luck!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Photography for writers

Photography is one of those things that show, in a realistic and easy to understand how creative a person is. As writers, we have to be creative, so photography is a tool that can help us be creative but also help our writing. Photos from your vacation, every day life, or extraordinary events can give you writing prompts with no words to limit your creative ability.
-Take pictures of anything and everything. These pictures could spark something later and result in a  novel that the world would not be complete without. You don't have to print them out if you don't want to, simple save them to your computer (I would tell you how to do that, but I have other people do it for me so I don't know how, sorry guys).
-Look at the pictures you take and write about them. You don't have to write about the person or the main idea of the pictures, you can write about anything, the little dog in the background, the girl in the yellow dress, describe the sky, or even explain how the gum got on the sidewalk. These pictures will have no words to limit you and they are connected to memories, which makes it a two for one type of deal.
Your pictures don't have to be good, believe me when I say that sometimes the best pictures to write about are the blurry ones where there is someone falling and the cameraman is running to them as he takes the picture.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to help your writing, by just going to school!

For many young writers, and experienced writers, life gets too busy, and there is no writing done, whether it be because of no new material, no time, or exhaustion,  there is still a way to write during your busy schedule. As a highschooler, my writing suffers when I go back to school and have no time to write and no time to brainstorm, but it doesn't have to be that way.
I was sitting in English class the other day and my teacher started to talk about writing. And it hit me. Why should my writing suffer when I have new material around me all the time. How does that make sense? I'll give you a hint, it doesn't. Look at the people around and see all that material? All those ideas you could never dream to come up with on your own? Use them!

Ways to use school, or any other activity, to help your writing:

- Like I said above, use the material given to you. People are all different and yet they still are able to react with each other. Write about interactions with other people, reactions to different situations, even just what they had for lunch.

- Use any time to write. Got extra time in a class? Write! The bus ride home? Write! It doesn't have to be good. It doesn't have to be amazing, just an outline even.

- Pay attention in English class (this one is pretty much just for school, sorry guys) You think I'm joking? What publisher is going to publish a writer who doesn't have any clue what a sentence structure is? Or how to use writing techniques? Come on guys! Prove to the teacher, and yourself that you know how to write!

- Bounce ideas off the people around you. You're with people, you may as well bounce ideas off of the readers. Believe me, there is always atleast one big reader in every large group, find them, and talk to them.

- Peer editing. Use the people around you, your Friends or coworkers to peer edit. They don't have to read the whole thing, just a snippet or a sentence you've been struggling with. You'll be amazed at how much other people can help your writing.

This list may not be long but it could change your writing for the better if you do it every day.

Happy writing!