Sunday, September 16, 2018

WIP SPOTLIGHT: The Inhumans

This is it, folks: the moment you’ve all been waiting for.

There was a blog post foreshadowing it. I’ve been meaning to put a page up about it. But still, you haven’t the faintest idea what exactly it is.

Never fear: your curiosities will be put to rest. It’s time for:


also let’s not point out my poor naming skills, shall we?

Yes, it’s about time you heard about my current Work-In-Progress, otherwise known as the Reason I Lose Sleep At Night.

Honestly, I’m kind of freaking out. Only two people (besides me) have any idea what this book is about. Which means . . . you are one of the FIRST PEOPLE EVER to hear about The Inhumans! *chocolate party*

But, because backstory always makes everything more interesting:
(SPOILERS FOR "MURDER, SHE WROTE" AND "HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE")

So, if you will, turn back time to August of last year (that’s 2017, for any of you from the future). My family had just finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and my brother and I were on a major Murder, She Wrote bingeing spree. (Both are excellent, by the way. 10/10 recommend) And yes, both these points are relevant.

There are many differences about this book and this TV show, but they have exactly one thing in common: there is a murder, or at least an attempted murder. This is also important.

One day, I sat down and watched an episode of Murder, She Wrote that the rest of my family had seen, but I hadn’t. It was called Lone Witness. In case you’re not familiar with the episode, here’s a brief summary: a teenage boy named Tommy witnesses the murder of his crush, and the murderer begins to hunt him down. It’s a great episode (TWO CHARACTERS ARE WRITERS!!!!!) but I couldn’t help wondering: wouldn’t Tommy be a little paranoid after these events?


I believe it was the same week that I watched the movie The Half-Blood Prince. Now, I am a firm believer that the book is always better than the movie, and this applies to the sixth Harry Potter movie. However, the movie did something that I sorely wish the book did: they gave us some scenes from Draco Malfoy’s perspective.

I used to hate Draco Malfoy. He was a pretentious little jerk who clearly thought himself superior. But the sixth movie made me pity him. I mean, come on, he had to kill a mentor figure! And he was a conflicted character! (Yes, I’m a sucker for those.) And - the important part - he couldn’t kill Dumbledore.

And then one night, those two pieces mashed together in my head: a boy who was hunted, and a boy reluctant to kill his target.

Thus, The Inhumans was born. *rousing applause*
“So, Nicole,” you’re probably asking, “what the heck is this book even about?”

Well. *rubs hands together* I’ve prepared this little synopsis for you just for this occasion:

Three months ago, Ben Evans was hunted down by a hooded figure. His life was threatened four times. Then, his attacker vanished.
Now, with summer just beginning, Ben’s eager-to-please cousin Shannon tells him that she saw his attacker in her home town, Monsoon. Desperate to find the person who changed his life, Ben embarks on an almost impossible mission: find someone that he’s never actually seen before. He reluctantly teams up with Shannon, the only one who’s seen him. 
But what Ben doesn’t realize is that there’s more to this attacker than meets the eye. Before he can comprehend what’s happening, he and Shannon are thrust into an underground society of people who may not be completely human.
And Ben might just be one of them. 

This is a rough synopsis for a rough draft (that I’m just NOW outlining, my word), so this is subject to change. In fact, everything from here on out is subject to change.

It’s mainly told in dual perspectives, although that might change to three. I don’t know.

Oh yeah. And this is a trilogy. Because APPARENTLY ONE BOOK JUST WASN'T ENOUGH.
So. On to the most important part of any story: characters.

Some people will make aesthetics about their characters and post them here. I almost did that. Then I decided to just do bullet points because to me that’s easier on the eyes. Also, after each character, I’ll put a little snippet about them!

Ben Evans:
  • Main character 
  • Was hunted by someone he never saw for four weeks straight
  • Wants to go into forensics
  • Likes country music (I don’t understand why, though.....)
  • Is hopefully smarter than the average protagonist
  • MOST LIKELY TO obsess over stupid wrongdoings for 48 years
  • Has an EXCELLENT character arc that isn’t wrapped up until book 3

Shannon Anderson: 
  • Probably the subject of many Matrix references
  • Pretty much the second main character
  • Loves to watch sunrises
  • Wants to please everyone
  • MOST LIKELY TO do something stupid to please her friends
  • Also has a character arc that . . . is wrapped up in book 2. (Yeah, I need to fix that.

Elly Moore:
  • Doesn’t come in until halfway through book 1
  • A strong girl - but don’t worry! She’s feminine too!
  • Likes to knit 
  • Is fiercely loyal to a fault
  • MOST LIKELY TO boss everyone around on a group project
  • MIGHT have a character arc???? I don’t know, and I would explain, but SPOILERS. 

Askari Ø
  • And yes, the ø is significant but I can’t say because SPOILERS 
  • In fact I can’t tell you practically anything about Askari because SPOILERS
  • But he is the “reluctant assassin” 
  • Also he’s based off of Draco Malfoy. And don’t try to read into that, because he’s so COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
  • He’s also my favorite character #noregrets

I was so close to putting a villain profile in here, but I didn’t because SPOILERS. But I’m trying not to make him the idiotic bad guy you see in Marvel movies. (Yep, that’s right, I’m talking to you, Mr. Dark Elf and Ant-Man Suit Maker.)



——————————————————————————-
So, yeah! That’s my story.

I don’t know if it’s the One I Will Publish or not, but for right now I’m going to act as though it is. And I don’t know if I will go traditional or indie as of yet. Everything’s up in the air right now.

Anyways, if you read this whole thing, congratulations! I hope this was fun to read.

-Nicole

How are you WIPs going? What inspired them? Do you have any conflicted characters in them? Let’s talk!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

This is a Serious One

Okay . . . how do I write this?

This is something that’s really hard for me personally to write about, partly because it has had a major impact on my life, as well as countless others.

It’s hard to talk about. It really is.

This is not especially going to be a “fun” post. I don’t know how much I’m going to format this. Some posts just have to be blunt and raw. Some things just have to be said. (and honestly I’m exhausted right now.)

Okay. Here we go.



How much do you think about what you do? I mean, really? Do you ever stop and think about the words coming out of your mouth? About the words you post online in comments and tweets and posts? About the way you treat others, even unconsciously?

More specifically: how much do you think about this: how anything you do can affect someone’s life for better - or for worse?

It’s kind of a hard topic to think about. Maybe it’s because you have a hard time putting yourself into someone else’s shoes. That can definitely be hard for everyone.

Answer this question honestly: Do you try to make a positive impact on everyone’s life?

I know this isn’t making much sense yet, but bear with me.

Why do we even say cruel things? Does it make us feel better? Does it convince us that nobody’s perfect? Do we think “Oh, they can take it”?

Or do we think about the kid who sits alone? Do we think about their life, and how we can make a difference in it?



Almost one and a half years ago, a classmate of mine committed suicide.

It was completely unexpected.

He’d been a good, quiet kid. I’d admired him for his ability to listen and for his determination. But I didn’t really know that much about him. Not really. I should have gotten to know him, though.

And then, one day, my family and I were coming home from my brother’s basketball game, and my mom and I saw an email saying that he had passed away. They didn’t say how or when. Not surprising.

I’m not gonna lie: that week was the worst week of my life.

It’s one thing to have someone in your family die. It’s another thing to have a classmate die, and then go through days of school, where everyone knew him, and everyone is trying very hard not to lose it in class. I’m tearing up just writing about this.

I’m not saying this for a pity party. I’m using this as an example.

No one truly knows what goes on in someone’s head. Only that person and God knows (unless the person tells). We don’t know how bad their mental state is. So why do we intentionally hurt others?

If we truly knew the impact our words had, we would start saying more positive things. And if we truly knew the impact our prescence had on others, we would spend more time with the people we love and the people who need it.



Please. If you get nothing out of this post, please don’t just drift through life. Actively try to help people. Actively make a difference in people’s lives. And don’t take life too lightly. We only get one. Don’t waste it.

Thousands of people commit suicide every year. And yet, this is becoming a norm.

Why? Why are we as a society becoming used to this?

Let’s do something about it. Let’s be a positive influence in everyone’s lives. Let us be selfless, caring, and above all, loving.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

-Nicole

As I said, that was a serious post. What did you guys think? Let’s talk!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Am I Being Authentic?

Happy Sunday, guys! Congratulations - you have survived another week of school! *hands out dark chocolate*

(Completely unrelated note: I tried 72% dark chocolate for the first time this month and WOW. I was definitely not expecting how bitter it would be. I liked it, but I’m sticking to Hershey’s Special Dark now, thank you.)

———end of irrelevant tangent———

However, I’m not here to talk about dark chocolate, as fun as that may be. (Sorry, guys.) Instead, I’m coming at you with a slightly more serious post. So, as always, prepare for potentially incoherent ramblings.



I get it. We all get it. It’s really, really hard to “be ourselves” in society. Our culture keeps pulling us in different directions, to write what they want us to write, to do what they want us to do, to be who they want us to be. 

How many times have we actually changed ourselves because we wanted to “fit in”? To say that we belong in this world? To be accepted in a world that might never accept us for who we really are? 

I gotta say, that’s really, really depressing to think that people might not like us for being ourselves. (But seriously, no one can be liked by everyone. That would be really nice, but I’m not sure how to do that. If someone knows, please inform me and we can rule the galaxy together.)  p

But first - what do I mean by “being ourselves”?
I feel like in this day and age, the phrase being ourselves is being warped. It seems like people use this as an excuse to do whatever the heck they want, and then call it “part of their personality.”

What????

Sorry. That just makes no sense to me.

For the record here, I’m not talking about mental illness. I’m talking about this.

"Oh, yeah, the two of us just can’t get along. Our personalities just clash, and there’s nothing I can do to get along with him. So I’m just not going to like him. It’s embedded in my genetic code."

Um . . . does anyone else see a problem here?

So (because I feel like some clarification is in order) I’m not going to use that phrase. Instead, I will use the word authentic.

Authentic is a beautiful word. Here’s how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it:

not false or imitation; true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

I’m not going to be using that definition. Here’s how I define authentic: because you all want to know my opinion on things 

being the best version of yourself, remembering that at your core, you are God’s creation 

Because isn’t the whole point of life to get to Heaven? God created you specifically for that reason: to know His love and share it with the world, and then, one day, see Him in Heaven.
So what does this have to do with “being ourselves”?

(Here it is, guys, the big build-up has led to this)

Don’t let the world define who you are. Let God define who you are. The world doesn’t know you. It didn’t create you.

Now, God knows who you were created to be. He knows all your strengths and your flaws, your passions and your dislikes, your worries and your joys.

Being authentic is more than “being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” It’s about being the holiest person you can be. It’s about being a God-honoring, God-loving, God-fearing person in day-to-day life.

And yes, it’s about getting to know your personality. But I feel like if you don’t know God, you’re missing a crucial piece of your identity.

So what if you’re not popular? So what if you’re going against the crowd? So what if people don’t like you for following God and being authentic? If you are truly striving to live a God-honoring life, then these people shouldn’t really bother you.

Come on, you really think I was going to let this opportunity pass me by?

(Besides, God never promised to make your life better after you begin to follow Him. In fact, His Mother told St. Bernadette, “I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but the next.”)
So, now I’m getting into the title of this post.

Am I an authentic person? Is this blog reflecting who I am as a person, and is it reflecting God?

I don’t claim to have a perfect relationship with God or have everything figured out in life. (Ha ha. Ha. Ha. That would be amazing.) But I am trying to think about who God wants me to be as a person.

As a result, there might be a couple slight modifications to this blog. *clears throat* These include:
  1. Me not dropping off the face of the blogosphere. Sorry, guys, that’s not happening for a while. You’re stuck with me for now. *cackle* 
  2. Changing the title graphic. The name will stay the same (for now, anyways) but I thought of a better motto, and, unfortunately, that means changing the whole thing. 
  3. Me trying my very hardest not to completely redo my blog look.
  4. Me epically failing on not completely redoing my blog look.
  5. The voice of my posts might change??? Honestly, I’m not sure yet about this. But if my posts start sounding different, it’s still me, Nicole! I haven’t been kidnapped and taken into another dimension! 
  6. Me rewriting my About page for about the six millionth time. 
And . . . I think that’s it? 

Basically: I want my blog to reflect God and my personality. Which means that there might be changes over here if school doesn’t take over my life

So. *deep breath* I hope that made coherent sense. Probably not. But it’s fine.

Also, I actually have a posting schedule for this month?????? Who are you and what have you done with Nicole?

September 9th - I’m not going to talk about this one yet, but it’s kind of a touchy post that’s close to my heart. *leaves you in suspense* 
September 16th - In which you FINALLY HEAR ABOUT THE JUNK EXCELLENT BOOK I’M REWRITING!!
September 23rd - A book review. Probably. Don’t ask me about what book, because I have no idea. Yet. (I know, I plan this stuff out so well. XD) 
September 30th - Monthly recap. 

(I actually have October planned out too. WHAT IS HAPPENING)

But, of course, this is subject to change. Because, come on, am I really this reliable in sticking to blog topics? NOPE.

So. I think I got through it all. *collapses from really long monologue*

See you guys around the blogosphere!

-Nicole

Any thoughts, guys? Is it easy for you to be authentic online and in real life? If so, any tips? Let’s talk!