A New Chapter Begins

There’s no way to determine what will happen in a few days, or hours. We can guess, we can assume. But there’s no way to know.

Two weeks ago, I had written about change. Change has happened, and it will take time to heal. But it’s okay. There are no regrets. Things happened the way they were supposed to. The journey has taken us halfway around the world — and was worth it.

I’ve written this post over the course of a few days, to reflect on all the things that have happened since the beginning of September. It feels like a lifetime ago now, but I’m so glad we made it.

The last time I wrote, Grandma was very ill. She had pneumonia, and had been in and out of hospital, mostly ER, 15 times in 16 months. When we arrived in Singapore and went to visit on Sunday, she had just been discharged from hospital the day before. We were hopeful we would spend several weeks with her. It was nearing five p.m. when we visited.

Grandma was half asleep. Everything seemed alright. We had dinner with Grandpa, and decided to stay longer. At nine p.m., we were about to leave. Suddenly, as the caregiver was feeding Grandma, my aunt noticed that Grandma’s oxygen levels was falling… fast. An ambulance arrived. The EMT people gave her an oxygen mask, and her breathing calmed. The rest of us followed the ambulance to the hospital. Around 10:38, we were in a little room off of ER (A&E). We were sitting across from a doctor and nurse. Listening. Trying to absorb what was being said.

My grandmother passed away on Sunday, September 10. Her wake was held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. She was buried on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

As Dad says, change is the one constant. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you are, what status you may have. When something happens, it happens. What matters is that we were there with her, in those few hours. My parents and I have heard relatives say, “It’s a good thing you were there in time.” It’s true. I’m grateful that the flight went smoothly, and that we arrived when we did. And I strongly believe Grandma was waiting for us. She knew we were there. The phlegm in her lungs prevented her from speaking, but Grandma opened her eyes once, for a few moments, when we were there. She saw us.

I’m extremely grateful to our family and friends who came, who shared the memories and reminisced in the good times. Even though we were hurting inside, it helped to talk about Grandma. It helped to become reacquainted with people we haven’t seen in so long. Now we’re doing our best to be there for Grandpa, and also give him time to heal. I hope he will remember, and rejoice in, all the years he and Grandma had together.

Ruby was there the whole time, at the funeral parlor: her arms always open for a hug, her smile the sweetest, most endearing comfort. I put her on top of Grandma’s coffin in the daytime, to watch over and protect her. Even though Grandma never saw her – Ruby had stayed at the hotel while we went to visit, planning to bring her the next day – I think she left Ruby with us to remind us that she’s always there, watching over us. Ruby reminds us to rejoice in all the wonderful times we had with Grandma. I’m grateful to Team Bamboletta, for creating such a special, cherished member of the family. Ruby arrived just before we left, and has witnessed so much in such a short time. She will be with us for many, many years to come.

So much of our time is spent chasing something, or avoiding it. It’s important not to take for granted what’s right in front of us. I know those words sound cliché. But they’re true. We’re not going to linger on all the things that could have, should have, would have happened. Instead, we’re grateful for the things that did happen. All the blessings that unfolded.

When change comes, it comes. When life suddenly takes a different turn, a different path, there’s no way to be ready for it… but you can find comfort and gratitude in the journey.

I hope Grandma is having, or has had, a safe journey. I hope she knows how much we love her. Maybe now, Grandma can get some rest. Maybe now, she’ll be more comfortable. Maybe, just maybe, she’s smiling down at us.

In a way, things have sorted out. Everything will be alright. Grandma is with us. She always will be.

A Sudden Change

To those new to Homeschool Adventures, or those who have come to this site from Crochet Buddies, or the CB Online Store… I’m trying my hardest to make this site truly “official,” and get everything in order. But something urgent has come up. I had hoped never to write the words family emergency, but now it has to be.

Homeschool Adventures and the other websites may not have any new posts for awhile, as my family and I try to figure out travels. Internet access will be limited, and not the most reliable for some time. I hope to be able to post more on HS-A, eventually. But until then, don’t feel disheartened if this site does not have any new content. Stay positive. And, if you can, please pray for my grandmother.

Book Writing Basics – Characters

Good morning world! Tis I, Olive again, here with another wonderful episode of “Book Writing Basics”! This week I’ll be covering the basics of creating characters for your storyline. In the future, I’ll have another series of posts covering character types and how to write them (writing a protagonist vs an antagonist), how to develop your character, and much more! For the purposes of the “basics” posts, I shall keep this to the bare bones of what to consider when putting together your arsenal of characters.

Number of characters: The amount of characters in your story really determines the shape of your story. You can’t have 20-some (main) characters and then only develop 5 of them because you do not have enough space to write extensively about the rest. If you can only properly develop and connect with 5 characters, make your story a 5-character story (not including passersby – characters that are only there to be temporary shopkeepers, persons walking by on the street, bystanders. Ordinary folk who make your world have a decent population). A couple important things to remember when determining the size of your cast is:

  1. Each character is a person – is there enough space in the story to develop them as living beings with pasts, or are they just empty role-fillers?
  2. What role does you character play in the story? If you need to make your cast smaller, can that role be transferred to a more rounded character? Oftentimes, stories with a minimal cast of Villain, hero, sidekick(s), love-interest(depending on your plot), and mentor are all that is needed for a well-rounded story. Of course, this outline can always be expanded upon (and roles can have multiple characters within them) as you find needs in your story.

Role: The character’s role in your story is the most important thing to think about when deciding what and how many characters to use in your story. All your characters need jobs. Ask each of your preexisting characters (if you have any) what purpose they have in the story. They should “answer” with things like, “I am a close friend and confidant of the protagonist, but I betray them.” Or “My skills and connections with this city’s criminals are a vital tool in our mission.” And the list could go on for eternity. On the other hand, responses like, “I am the love-interest,” or, “I die and cause tension,” is too weak of a purpose. The characters must not only serve a purpose for the protagonist (works against them, is their love-interest, etc), but they must have their own agenda. Sometimes, that agenda works in harmony with the protagonists, but other times it causes them to clash. It is always important when writing the characters to make sure they have their own lives and plans, that don’t always revolve around the protagonist.

Personality: If you wanted to classify your character by a personality test, there are many tests out there that can do it, each with their own style of determining and classifying your characters. I would recommend the “Myers-Briggs” personality type indicator; more specifically, the “16 Personalities” site (which uses the Myers-Briggs system to create detailed assessments on your/your character’s personality). Not only will you get a better idea of how your character will realistically react to situations, but during the quiz you may find questions you may never have thought about asking your character before. (Also, the system is free.) There are also hundreds of character questionnaires (for developing your character) to be found online if you really want to dive into the deep end of knowing your character inside and out.

Appearance: The appearance of your character(s) is important because: a) you need to have their likeness in your head; and b) your readers also need an image in their head that they can relate to your character. A common mistake when describing these qualities, is somewhere near the beginning of the book, giving a laundry-list of the characteristic of the main character. What I would recommend for solving this problem is simply tell the reader (at the beginning) what things stand out about the character. Like, if you were to meet the character for the first time, what would stand out? Tattoos? Shaved hair? Tall and intimidating? You get the point. Over the course of the story, you can drop hints as to what the character looks like (though I would not focus on that, it could prove to be distracting from the main storyline). Though, one of the reasons you could add more detail to your description over the course of the book, is if your character views appearance as a priority in their life.

Background: Every character has a past, and that past determines everything about who they are in your story. Tragic backstories can either lead to heroes who have become strong because of their endurance through trial, or villains who didn’t know how to deal with the pain, causing them to turn to things that they think will make them feel better. Even the characters that don’t always take center-stage have lives before the protagonist. It’s always a balance between unrealistic or over-the-top tragic back-stories, and backstories that are downright boring. You don’t want the character to have too tragic a backstory (nor do you want to bring it up often) lest your readers start to not sympathize with your character because they think your character whines or is unrealistic. On the other hand, if a character has had a relatively pampered life, that luxury way of living may prove to give the character obstacles to overcome later down the road (and during the story). Everyone has trials in some form or another in their life; you just have to decide which trials you think will equal the growth you want from your characters.

Relationships: Relationships between characters are vastly important for your story. Inter-character relations, good or bad, can make or break your story. Dating characters that are too sappy and love-struck can make your readers roll their eyes every time they confess their love for each other.  The relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist is especially crucial. Aside from downright hating each other, you can make them fall in love, but with completely polar goals and personalities. Nothing is just good and evil. A well-rounded character is some good, some bad, making it harder for both your reader and the other characters to fully determine what is right and wrong. To keep your story from being one-dimensional, think of ways to blur the lines between good and evil with your characters’ relationships. The “good side” doesn’t always have to get along. Agenda can get in the way and relationships can crumble under pressure. The “bad” side doesn’t have to be pure evil. The evil henchman association goes bowling every Tuesday for fun, and sometimes Mr. Bad The Great has a great personal relationship with each of his underlings, going out of his way to memorize and greet them by name. Point is, mix up the relationships in the story. If you have a lull in your story, or things are going too well, redefine the relationships and turn everything on its head.

Realism: This is a point that has been laced into almost all of the previous categories above. Realism, even in the most fanciful of stories, is what will tie your reader to the story and keep them immersed into everything you write.  Characters that don’t have “human” flaws will be shallow and unrelatable. Worlds that have too many completely unrealistic traits, unrecognizable from our reality, will simply be confusing for all parties involved. Realism doesn’t mean keeping to all the guidelines that make reality what it is for us, but it means drawing clear guidelines for your own story, and presenting them in such a way that when the reader steps into your world, they can almost touch it.

 

And that’s all for this week’s Writing Advice post and, the Book Writing Basics series! Thank you all for reading! Feel free to leave comments for anything you found particularly insightful or useful in your book-writing travels~

Until next time!

Weekly Wonder, The Twelfth

Goooood morning world! Tis I, Olive again, here to hijack the weekly wonder post for the next 2 weeks!

You may remember I took over a Weekly Wonder post awhile back (Weekly Wonder, the Seventh to be exact). I focused on my grandpa’s acreage and the variety of flowers and fruits scattered around his place. This week, I shall be doing the same, showing off the growth of some of the fruits and some new flowers I found while walking around last week~
So! Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Just outside the house, are Nanjing cherries. They are ripe and SO good~ In just a month or two though it will be like a hive with all the wasps, hornets, and bees eating the fruits.

By grandpa’s tack shed, were Hooded Monks:


Now, as you may or may not remember from my last Weekly Wonder post, I took pictures of Grandpa’s walnuts. Since then, they have grown considerably!

For comparison sake – the walnuts before:

Grandpa has several apple trees (both cooking apples and eating apples) around his acreage, and they are just brimming with fruit!

There are other apple trees that have more apples on them, but this was all I took pictures of.

I checked up on the Saskatoons (a fruit I also took pictures of last time), they are almost all ripe and picked, but I got some stunning pictures of the remainders~

Further along in the yard, were cooking pears. There seems like there will be quite a few this year, but they are very high up! I had to stand on my tiptoes – arms outstretched – to get pictures of some of the pears.

Another cherry tree (not sure what this one is called); it is absolutely covered in cherries! Most of them are still orange/yellow, or just days away from ripeness, but soon there will be pails upon pails of delicious cherries~

On the way back to the house, I noticed some milkweed that looked quite dainty and beautiful:

Also on my back, I found some Red Osier Dogwood berries. They’ll be there into most of the fall, and when fall hits, the leaves will turn a gorgeous shade of red, which I hope to capture when that time comes~

On the way out from grandpa’s acreage, I took a picture of a passing field, which turned out surprisingly well considering it was taken in a moving vehicle.

That’s all for this week! Thank you all for reading~
See you next week! <3

Writing Advice – Finding Inspiration

Goood morning everyone! I hope everyone’s summer has been going well so far! On this week’s episode of “Writing Advice”, I’ll be sharing different tips and ideas for finding inspiration starting your very own book! Over the course of future writing posts, I will write about ways you can find inspiration for specific aspects of your writing, but for the purpose of this post, I will be covering ways you can find inspiration for everything creative you do. Since this is a writing advice post, I will treat this like you’re also writing a novel, but all of these suggestions can be easily implemented into other aspects of writing or creative endeavors.

Now, before I dive right in, I must apologize. I realize last week I said that I would be covering Plot-types this week, but for some reason I cannot find what I had in mind for the post, so I’ll need an extra week or two to do the research.  So, this week I’m going to take a quick detour into finding inspiration for your writing.

Picture hunt: This is a bit dangerous, if only because the internet sometimes has a way with keeping you from what you should be doing – writing. However, if you don’t let your internet time cut into your writing time, you should be okay! What I love to do is go on Pinterest and see all of the gorgeous artwork by various artists, that inspire me to create characters, improve them, and create my world. You may see an artwork that makes you go, “oh my goodness, that looks just like my character!” It is actually incredibly helpful to have those various artworks that look so similar to what you have in you head, as it makes it easier to visualize and describe in your book/story. Other websites that you can do that with is DeviantArt, Pixiv, and Tumblr (those are the most popular sites for art, but there are plenty others). If you want to spend even more time (and possibly even some money) on seeing exactly what your characters look like, you can draw them yourself, or commission someone to draw them for you. (There are quite a few artists that do it on DeviantArt.) You may find that you don’t know as much as you think about your character, and this provides the drive you need to completely fill out your character.

People watch: Whether you go out with the purpose of people watching, or you find yourself in the perfect position to people watch, this is great for filling out characters and understanding the psychology of people as a whole. You can people watch anywhere: A cafe, a train station, sport events, really anywhere people are! Take note of what people are wearing, what their personality might be based on the expression on their face, and what stands out that makes them unique from the people around them. Depending on how you want to take note of things, you can bring a friend and talk about it with them, write everything you can down in the moment, or take quick notes to expound upon later!

Dream: Dreaming – I know – is completely out of your control. You may remember your dreams, you may not, but if you are enough of a morning person to do a quick exercise every time you remember a dream (or at least, an interesting dream) it could provide some unique inspiration for your writing! Dreams tend to fade over the course of the day, whether you want them to or not, so when you remember them first thing in the morning, write them down. If your dreams are a little too personal to be accidentally (or not-so-accidentally) seen by others, you can easily find lock diaries or lock note/diary apps that are cheap and effective. Not only will writing them down help with your future writing, but it can boost your memory so you remember more of your dreams. Besides, it would make a good pastime in the future to sit down and re-visit your dreams~

Daydream: Daydreaming is something we do often, whether we’re bored in class, or worrying about a future encounter. If circumstances permit, try daydreaming about your story. With the natural thinking process of your brain, you may find some hidden gems for your story! Something a touch more strange you can also try (and I can personally attest to doing) is acting out your scenes. This may be as simple as reading your pre-written lines (by yourself or with a friend) or taking a scene fresh in your head and working through it. You are the voice to all characters, embodying their dynamic personalities, and acting as they would. When I have an idea for a scene, it is often very vivid in my head, so what I do is take that scene, visualize it, and (when I’m by myself) act out the scene. Most of it, isn’t all that conscious. My acting can go from anything, from leaping across the room to mumbling to myself as I do laundry. Work around with how you see the scene and how you can embody your characters in a way that helps you make it more real for yourself.

Just write! Of course, as any good writer will tell you, if all else fails, just sit down and write (or as Orchid would say “Just. Do it!”). You can write according to your mood (sad scenes with a sad mood, happy scenes for a happy mood, etc), or just power-write it from front to back. Just, whatever you do, make sure you write. I often make the mistake of working through the vivid scenes in my head until I’m sick of them, never transferring them into an actual chapter or scene for the book. Therefore I would recommend working through the scenes, but schedule time every day/week/something so that you get those scenes down on paper. There are going to be times where you reaaaally don’t want to do it, or you can’t seem to write the scene just right, but do it anyway. Edit only enough to let yourself move onto the next bit of writing, and always have a trusty notebook (or notebook app) that holds all of your ideas and scene ideas, so that when you’ve gotten yourself reluctantly sat down to write, you aren’t wasting your time internet surfing because you are out of ideas.

That’s all for today! Thank you all for reading, I hope this will help you find your creative stride!
If you have any comments or questions or want to share your experiences finding inspiration, please feel free to either comment below or contact us via the contact form on the Contact page.

Until next time!

Weekly Wonder, The Eleventh

Today I decided it would be fun to share some photos from this afternoon, rather than go through the photo archives and post about ages-old adventures–hence the lateness of this post. It’s that time of year, when university students have moved out or are in the process of doing so. I must say, in the last couple weeks, this area has gone from peaceful and quiet to Arts Festival hub to peaceful and quiet again. (Just wait until mid-August, though… won’t be so tranquil. But by then we’ll have continued our travels anyway.)

Dad had to stay indoors and work, so Mom and I set out on a little adventure, trying to combat the heat. The weather here seems to be all over the place. The evening before yesterday, there was a flood watch in the area. Last night it was freezing. Now it’s hot and sticky. Guess I’ll never understand the climate. 😛

In the photo above I was trying to photograph an intricate little cobweb, hanging over a bus sign. It was so perfect, but the camera on my phone just wouldn’t focus. At least it got a little bit of a reflection on the mini masterpiece.

That wasn’t the only interesting we saw during our walk…

Mom has officially dubbed this as “Couch Pickup Day,” because of all the furniture on the curb. I mean, LOOK at the number of couches on that one sidewalk! Six, excluding all the other bits of furniture! There were at least five other streets full of neglected items; some for trash, others left for whoever had the guts to bring it all home. C

Most of them pieces were in icky condition… not too surprising. What was kind of shocking, was the fact that a couple blocks away, two undergrads stopped to look at some couches, and when Mom and I walked back through the neighborhood, one couch was gone! Can you believe it?!

There were plenty of amazing flowers around… not captured with the best image quality, though. I realize how many times I’ve neglected to actually get the camera in proper focus, as I’m in the habit of snapping a photo in the midst of walking, or don’t want to spend too much time on one thing or another. Sigh. Really should work on image quality, over quantity.

You knew the telephone wires would be photographed, didn’t you? 😉 (Just because I find them extremely fascinating… don’t know why, it’s just a thing.)

Now this is probably the reason you clicked on this post… when Mom and I were turning up the driveway, guess what we saw! A gorgeous little rabbit! And a very photogenic one, at that.

I stayed very still and snapped a few photos, two of which turned out half decent…

I swear, he didn’t move an inch while he was being photographed. (Or was it a she…?)

Well, that’s it for now! Tomorrow I’ll put together a compilation of all posts from July 2017. I will have to count the number of posts that are actually relevant to crochet, in some way or other… oh, well! Hope you’ve been enjoying these kinds of posts. 🙂 Until then!

Writing Advice – Book Writing Basics 2

Goood morning world! I hope everyone’s summer has been nice and warm~

Last week we went over the first installment of “Book Writing Basics 1” focused on genre and the pros and cons of each of the most popular genres. This week I’ll be covering setting and its role in your novel~

Setting (also known as “World-building”) is vital to your story – it plays a significant role in who your character is and how they see the world. Very much like all of us ‘real’ people, the fundamental ‘truths’ about the world that we perceive are based on how we are raised, what our culture is like, and what our situation in life is. Now, there are many many different things to consider when creating the world for your book, but for the sake of this post, let’s just assume you are just starting your book and you need a base for your setting. So without further ado, the things to keep in mind when starting to build your book’s world.


Where does your story take place?
  Regardless of genre, one of the first things you need to think about even before developing your full cast of characters, is where your story takes place. Does it take place in a realistic world, with bustling cities and cars and vast countrysides, or do you want to create a world of your own? It’s hard to give advice on this, because when it comes to your setting, you can do anything you want; you just have to convey it to your reader so that they are immersed in your world. Where your story takes place, may also depend on the genre you picked. Of course, all genres can be placed in all sorts of fantasy or hyper-realistic worlds, but if you are writing certain sub-sets of genres, it might make the creating process a little easier. If your story is historical crime fiction, you’ll need to do research on the policies and punishments for criminals, and the regulations for the police who try to catch them. On the other hand, if your world is set in the far future, what might help you to get a grasp on your world is looking at what today’s scientists and philosophers say about the future. If your story includes space travel, how far have we gotten, and how available is it to the public? If your story is set in the ruins of the greatest cities the world ever saw, how do people survive? Do they have means of enjoying life, despite the conditions? The options are limitless, and I’ll be expanding upon this in a “Writing advice” post in the future.

How closed off is your world/the characters? Books like the “Divergent”, “Maze-Runner”, and “Hunger games” series are predicated on the closed-off-ness of their world. The world they live in is a controlled environment where the ‘average’ person doesn’t question what lies beyond the lies. If your world is such a world, does your character want to leave the supposed safety of normality and fight for freedom? Or does your story rely less on there being a suppression associated with the closed nature of their world, and more on other conflicts inside the walls? Regardless of how open or closed off your world is, you have to be careful about how much you let your reader know about the world. You yourself may know everything from how your world treats waste, to if aliens are planning to have a house-call on your world in a couple hundred years–but your reader can’t possibly know all of that. That’s why it’s important to establish the things your reader definitely needs to know. (Like, your main character is blind, or the police are so painfully lazy that crime runs rampant.) Some details can come as you move along in your story, and some need to be established right off the bat.

In what time period is your story? Like I’ve been mentioning in the past paragraphs, when your story is set is a very important deciding factor for how your world will look. The more realistic your story, the more you may want to stay within the confines of history for the past, and the plausible eventualities for the future. The past could mean castles, racism, or superstition, and the future could be flying cars, aliens, or a desert wasteland of an earth. On the other hand, if you have decided on a world of your own creation, unlimited by reality, feel free to stick any sort of year number on your story. You may need some lea-way for writing the history of your world, but otherwise, the year is minimally important.

 

That’s all for this week’s “Writing Advice”! I hope this has provided you with some insight into how you will create your own world. Sometime in the future, I will go into setting and how to develop it in more advanced detail, but for now, I’ll see you all next week when I talk about the different types of plot-lines!

If you have any questions or comments on this post, please feel free to comment below or contact us through the contact form on the Contact page, I’d love to hear from you guys!

Until next time!

Weekly Wonder, The Ninth

We’ve done it. We’ve reached our tenth Weekly Wonder post. Whoohoooooooo! To be honest, I didn’t think there would be so many photographs to post here, and in such epic quantities. But it’s happened, it’s wonderful, and it’s here to stay. 🙂

A couple weeks ago, after a very wet and slightly humid downpour, Mom and I went for a walk. The advantage of being so close to campus/downtown is that you can literally be immersed in everything around you: the trees, the flowers, all the buildings and people. This was before the Central PA Festival of the Arts, prior to all the crowds, music and other festivities…

I thought it would be fun to share these two different images of the same flower below. The first is unedited, the second I worked on a little to alter the effect:

If you look closely at some of the flowers, you’ll notice tiny dewdrops preserved on some of the petals. It was so much fun photographing the dewy scenery!

Speaking of rain, there’s supposed to be more on the way soon… lovely. What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? 🙂

Alright, now back for a few projects I’ve yet to finish. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Writing Advice – Book Writing Basics 1

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone has enjoyed their week~!

In last week’s addition of “Writing advice“, we talked about Prequels and the things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to write a prequel. Now we are going take a quick step back and talk about the basics of book writing. When you first decide that you want to write a book, you don’t realize how much of a mammoth task it is (*cough* personal experience *cough*), so over the next few weeks, I’m going to provide advice  for what you need to keep an eye on when writing a book, one hurtle at a time.

This week’s category is genre! If you are starting a book completely from scratch (no characters, no plot-line, nothing), I would recommend thinking about what your genre is first. It’ll give you the parts from which to build a base for your story.

Fantasy: This genre gives you creative licence to make anything you want real. There are no real boundaries, as the term”magic” really just means anything you want it to mean. The thing you need to look out for though when writing a fantasy book is structure. While having everything you could ever want completely realistic is great, you also need to watch and make sure there is still something for the reader to hold onto. A prophecy, character arcs, the main story (what your characters are doing), and maybe even origins for your creations, are things to always keep in mind so you don’t lose your reader to the unknown. And, if you want, mythology often can provide a solid base or inspiration for your fantasy realm.

Sci-fi: This genre is the main genre of my books. It is a healthy mixture of the whimsical nature of fantasy and the realistic structure of historical or non-fiction genres. While you can have wild and wonderful aliens, animals, and mutant humans, there is always a rhyme and reason to them. Aliens are.. well aliens, not a whole lot more explanation needed there. Strange animals can be hybrids of a variety of species, experiments, or on the verge of extinction and very rare (and easy to hide if it lives underwater). Furthermore, mutant humans (often with supernatural powers) can be naturally born mutant, the products of experiments, or caused by a freak accident. There are many different settings that also fit quite snugly into the science fiction genre. This genre does require research to back up any of your unnatural occurrences in your story. The point is to have an unrealistic world that is provable enough that the reader can hope and dream that maybe it is actually true.

Romance: There are many romance books on the market, though I have yet to get into the genre as a whole. Romance can often be tied as an extra layer to your book, on top of another genre. You probably know what I’m talking about, but let me give an example. A war is going on in a world completely dominated by sentient (or AI) robots. The reason for the robot’s war is yet to be seen, but two robots fall in love in the mist of the chaos. Maybe they are some wild reenactment of Romeo and Juliet, maybe they don’t even know what love is, but they feel “it”. Whatever the case, the war and its struggles are the main plotline, and the romance is secondary, but gives a little more heart and reliability to the characters.  Of course, there is still doing romance as the main plot-line, in which case i recommend: READ. Read like crazy. Read the most popular romantic novels (The Fault in Our Stars, the whole collection of Jane Austin), and maybe pick out some less-known books too. Figure out what makes those book great, or “meh”, and use what you learn to craft your story.

Mystery/Crime fiction: This was my favorite genre to read when I was younger. I read Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, anything mystery related that I could get my hands on. The age-group of the audience you’re writing for will really determine how much research and detail you put into your mysteries. While more youth-targeting (ages 6-13) books will require simpler language and lighter crimes (theft, missing persons, etc), more teenage/adult targeted series will have more technical terms, procedures, and more intense/graphic crimes (murder mainly). This doesn’t mean if you want to write a more grown-up series you have to resort to really graphic crimes, in fact some adults would prefer if it was not; it just means you have to put just a little more attention to detail than might be necessary in a youth novel. Something to look out for while writing a mystery novel: keep it realistic. Even if your story in set in the far future, or a completely different world, you need to set out guild-lines, laws, and policies that will govern your police-type characters.

Historical fiction: The only reason I know anything about writing this genre is because a few months ago, I tried taking a writing course on fiction, but I accidentally watched how to write historical fiction instead. I didn’t finish, but what I did learn was that you don’t make stuff up. Unlike the other forms of fiction writing, historical fiction is very rigid and requires heavy attention to accuracy and detail. You need to choose a person or event to follow, then do as much research as possible. Even though its fiction, evidently you don’t make stuff up. You can make educated guess as to what the characters did and said, but you don’t get to plot 21st century mannerisms on someone from the 1800s.

No matter what genre you end up choosing for your novel, reading in your genre is always a really good idea. It not only gives you a feel for the genre, and what other authors have done, but it can help you improve your own writing by reading what other authors have done in their novels.  I know of a lot of people (including myself at one point) who are worried that reading in your genre will make you accidentally plagiarize what they’ve written. I say: don’t worry about it. If you happen to accidentally write something belonging to that writer, you’ll probably either catch it in your second draft, or eventually edit it so much that it becomes your own. (no, not changing around the words and calling it yours, but using their ideas to springboard into your own, wonderful world). By the time your final draft comes around, there may be many things from your first draft, that were placed aside for something better.  If you’re still concerned, ask a friend who’s read the story you think you copied from and show them the parts you think might be too close to the original and see what they think!

Thank you for reading~ If you have anything to you’d like to comment, or ask about, please feel free to write a comment below; I’d love to hear from you!

Weekly Wonder, The Ninth

To conclude this week’s posts, here are some photos of previous travels. The first selection was photographed in Philadelphia, near Drexel University. The weather was absolutely lovely that day:

Then we headed back toward the center of the city, and I got the chance to photograph the landscape by the water:

One of the structures up above:

And, I couldn’t resist… the pics below were taken on a different day, when Mom and I were grocery shopping, and found these flowers near the exit:

You can guess what they are, right? 😉

Orchids!!!

Annnnnnnnnd so ends another week! I must say, after all the outings and adventures of this year’s Central PA Festival of the Arts, and relative festivals/events, I almost can’t wait for next year. It’s been incredible, truly incredible. I have tons of craft-related posts to share with you, in the near future!

I hope you, Dear Reader and Fellow Crafter, have a terrific rest of the week, and many more weeks to come.