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Monday, September 26, 2011

My Reading Timeline

Hi,

Pretend that it hasn't been so long since I posted anything and that this article is actually okay-ish. Are you pretending? Thanks, I appreciate that.

For my YA lit (Young Adult Literature) class we had to write a paper about our personal reading histories. So here's mine. It's only a handful of remembrances since I only skimmed the surface but I like it (I'm biased...heh heh). I'll probably try to improve and expand on it later but I still thought it was worth posting if only because I learned so much from writing this and it also brought back some good memories. Our reading histories are important because reading plays such a big role in our society, especially to writers! If you don't have the time to read a wide variety of books...I don't think that you'd have the time or desire to write. So here it is:


My Reading Timeline

It all begins with our parents, doesn’t it? Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my parents reading to me before bed. My favorites from that early period were “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and “Goodnight Gorilla”. I liked active stories were things happened and the imaginative element was high.

When I moved to Logan and started first grade and (finally!) began to learn the “secret” language of reading and writing. I remember that it was so awkward at first. You’d have to read aloud to your parents and I’d stumble across words like “canoe” in a book (I remember it was about whales) but eventually after a lot of practice and help from my parents, I became a proficient reader. The key was to find something that interested me...

I can’t actually remember reading much of what I checked out from my elementary school library in those early years, I remember thinking that their selection was limited. However, there was a picture book section, a fiction section, and a non-fiction section; surely I could find something worth reading in there! I checked out books about black and white horror movies, the paranormal, a Disney book about thought, the story of Archimedes, books about soccer, and I even attempted Sherlock Holmes. But I was still an early reader; I needed to find my niche to help develop my reading skills to the next level of chapter books.

Then like a flame, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone appeared, or actually was read aloud to me in second grade. The mythology of old made new in J.K. Rowling’s series spoke to me and to a lot others as well. It helped me make the transition to the new world of chapter books much like the Hogwarts Express took Harry to his. I could now find plenty of books to keep me engaged (my parents might argue that there were too many) I was now a bibliophile for life.

Growing up with Harry Potter, Star Wars, and other Sci-Fi/Fantasy books helped get me through some of the more boring books my teachers chose as part of their curriculum. However, my tastes weren’t just limited to “the awesome”, my parents instilled in me an importance for meaningful books via bribe around fourth and fifth grade. They told me that if I read the entire Newberry list or equivalent books, I could go on a trip anywhere in the U.S. Two great things resulted from this challenge: first, I learned that these were profound books that may not have space battles or wizards but that they were still fun- just in a different way and second; I got to go to Disney World.

I think that the High School teachers design their reading lists to be as boring as possible. I can only remember reading two books in High school English classes that I actually liked: “Something wicked this way Comes” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That’s it, end of list. Thankfully I had Chris Stewarts’ “The Great and Terrible” series to keep me occupied. This is when I discovered mainstream LDS fiction, I have to admit I ignore the romances like the plague but I love just about everything else.

Senior year I didn’t really have any required reading. So I started “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell to understand story and myth better (did I mention that I want to be a writer?) and the threshold YA book for me: “The Dark Divine” by Bree Despain. These two books are on my top five books list. They are great in different ways. “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” has helped me see how interconnected our stories are with our psyche and how we’ve always used these impulses to create stories old myths or new books alike. “The Dark Divine” helped me realize that the YA market wasn’t just comprised of pithy “Twilight” knockoff books about vampires, werewolves, demon hunters, and fallen angels. There are some high quality books out there; you just have to look in the right places.

Not much has changed since then, I’m still reading however there are more textbooks, writing instruction, and YA books thrown in now and I’m now on goodreads. (I love it! It does the math of how far you are in books for you!) I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to be literate. I can’t imagine life without books or reading, I’d be miserable without them. I know that if we keep on reading and writing though, we can change the world.

And that's it! Any comments, concerns, advice, or emotional outbursts? Leave them in the comments section! I love to read them.

See you guys later!

-Katie

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Inspiration can come from weird places...

Hi,

Pretend that it hasn't been an insanely long time since I blogged. Are you pretending? Good.

Our minds are strange things. What comes up with even stranger things is our subconscious, specifically in the dream realm. What is more amazing to me is psychoanalysis; making sense of dreams. (I wish I were capable of that, I'll have to read up on it and/or take a class on it.) But I invite you to attempt to psychoanalyze me.

I say that because I've recently hit an important milestone: I've had 20 dreams that were crazy and memorable enough to make it to my: "Weird Dream List". Here it is:

"Weird Dream List":

1. Star Trek Canyon
2. Dark and depressing “Singing in the rain”
3. Weird interview at Sports Academy
4. Four pronged trident
5. Three kids try to steal my car
6. I time-traveled to the D.C. of the early 1900’s
7. Greek Temple/ Hogwarts/ Logan High
8. I meet my sister and her classmates in Israel
9. Alternate ending to “New Moon” bonanza
10. I disrupt a class and the Teacher and all the students are angry at me
11. Two pairs of socks on with my shoes
12. The BYU “The Help/ Book of Mormon” play
13. Low Budget “Doctor Who” Episode Parodying the “Wizard of Oz”
14. Lindsey and I go to a college fair in Canada
15. The Harry Potter 7 part 2 movie involved water slides, submarines, and the tune to “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, all on top of a snowy vista
16. My Mom is given a baby sheep as a gift and we decide to keep it as a pet. We go to a gift shop to buy supplies for it
17. Three robins hatch fully-grown but one robin has a deformed arm and its mother abandons it so I decide to raise it
18. Giant Vikings replace the mountains and reenact “The Sword in the Stone” in the middle of a snowstorm and it scared me
19. I fly around a ballroom that has a painted three-dimensional sky in it. I get a bit cold from all the flying
20. Grave marker dogs that guard dead Spartan warriors come to life and I keep them. I also discover the grave of a young girl who wasn’t actually dead but in a coma and delegate her rescue

Why show them to you? Roald Dahl advised prospective writers to keep a pen and paper by their bedside so they could write down as many of their dreams as they could, because maybe one of them could lead you to "THE IDEA". (And their kind of fun just to read back on.) Oh, and you're welcome to use any of these dreams for an idea, the funny thing about dreams like stories I think, is that two people can be looking at the same thing but they end up seeing two complete different things.

So this was a little bit of a different article. Be sure to tell me if you liked it or not and if you want to psychoanalyze me go right ahead! ;)

On another note, school starts back up again for me tomorrow so I might be updating even less than usual, but who knows?

Thanks for your time!

-Katie

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's been awhile, but at least I've been tweeting!

Hi!

It's been awhile but I promise that we will update more this summer! I just thought that I'd leave you with something light but substantial.

Here are my first 10 writing tips from twitter:

Tip #1:Read and write a wide variety.
Tip #2: Avoid the passive voice.
Tip #3: Write down all of your plot bunnies. Even if nothing comes from it, it's good practice.
Tip #4: If you're too tired to keep writing, you probably need to sleep.
Tip #5: Build up your wealth of knowledge, because it will show in your writing.
Tip #6:Read and write everyday.
Tip #7: Never forget your deadlines!
Tip #8: Prepare for a lot of rejection. A LOT.
Tip #9: "Follow your bliss." - Joseph Campbell
Tip #10: You have to actually sit down and write eventually.

And there you go! Also, have you guys seen my new twitter icon? It was drawn by a good friend and I think that she nailed it. When I get it scanned and colored I'll post the finished mascot here. (Do you guys get why we chose a goat? It's cause it's an animal that climbs on cliffs to go with our name. You probably already figured that out but oh well....)

'Til next time!

-Katie

Friday, April 15, 2011

JK Website Entrance and...Twitter?

Yo,

So, we've decided that we have our hands full already with this blog and our twitter account that we can't invest the time it would take to make the website great and not just a rehash of what we already have...so we've deleted it. (Sorry if that dashes any of your hopes)

But hey! We have created a twitter channel today!If you want to follow us search for "TheCliffhangers". I'm pretty excited about it.

See you around,

Katie

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So...it's been awhile

Hi!

So we're just in the middle of planning an action/fight scene heavy Cliff Hanger meeting, (which is going to be awesome by the way) we're trying to have it before Lindsey heads up back to the uninhabited land up north called Idaho for college. While we've been sorting this out I thought that maybe we should do a check up of where we were at on our old list of activity ideas. Here it is! Bolded ones are completed (or missed).

1. Behind the names
2. April Fools Day exchange We kind of forgot about this one...April fools?
3. Character exchange
4. Ski and write a-thon I guess that the skiing season is over, maybe we can change it to another Spring/Summer/Fall activity.
5. Write or die
6. Story playlists
7. Story prompt a day Lindsey and I did this when we were hanging out (it was a smaller meeting).
8. Board game stories
9. Ipod stories Completed! I'm working on polishing up mine so I can sell it to a magazine as a short story. :)
10. Box Stories
11. Edit Twilight
12. Movie review

We've done right by some and wrong by others as you can tell. We've done pretty good for starving freshmen/aspiring writers though in my humble opinion. One thing at a time!

-Katie

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Website

Hey Y'all

The Cliff Hangers finally created a website. It still in the work in progress stage but shortly it should have some awesome features.

Heres the link:

www.thecliffhangers.weebly.com


-Jori, Katie, Danny, and Lindsey

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Final Key to Writing

The Key to Writing –Part 3
By Lindsey with Katie
Hello,
I am picking up where Katie left off in “The 3 Keys to Writing Series”. The first two keys according to her were writing and revision. The final key is editing. In her previous article she stressed that rewriting and revision were different from editing. She described rewriting and revision focusing on flow and editing more being focused on the grammar and correctness of your writing. For me however, they are one in the same. I do both at once so it’s hard for me to differentiate one from the other. So, here is how I would suggest how to edit your work.

The thesis is the most important part of any paper. It’s where you declare the purpose and reason of your paper. I would also argue that a thesis plays an important part in creative writing. It doesn’t have to look like a thesis statement that you would find in a persuasive essay but if your story doesn’t have a clear purpose or idea that you’re trying to convey then why write it? As you’re editing making sure your main idea and/or purpose is identifiable.

Beginning and endings are equally important as well. You could have the best story on planet with interesting characters and an amazing plot but if you have a sub-par introduction, no one will read further than the first page or so. Write an introduction that catches the reader. Avoid focusing on something that the reader could care less about. (EX: A character waking up and going through their morning routine, the weather, eating etc.) Show us something different. Once you have nailed the introduction don’t neglect the conclusion. The worst kind of endings are those that feel contrived or tacked on with unresolved tensions and loose ends hanging all over the place.

Make sure your writing has a consistent tone and voice. An author always needs to have their audience in mind; you don’t want to alienate them by confusing them. Also, never come off as condescending to your audience or assume superiority over them. They will leave you. The voices of your narrator and other characters need to fit their personalities.

Grammar is important. English is a very complicated language, and for me it is hard to remember all the correct rules. Luckily, we are better off than writers of the past, we have spell-check, dictionary.com, thesaurus’s etc. This also means that we are held to a higher standard of writing. Today, we have no excuse for a misspelled word and these tools also can help you with correcting your grammar. Another great way to correct grammar is through peer editing and writing groups. Be open to new ideas. Another perspective can help you catch the mistakes that you didn’t find.

Editing is the longest and most frustrating process of writing. As humans we are always striving for perfection. Though we will most always find fault somewhere in our writing, the editing process will bring our writing closer to that unattainable perfection.


- Lindsey

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Fake Future Wedding Album

Hi!

So some people wanted me to post the tracks that I used for my fake future wedding album (NO, I am not getting married- I did it for fun.) and for me to explain why I chose those songs I did and them in the order of songs I did. (Please note that I tried to source them as best as I could.)

My Future Wedding Album Part 1: (The reason there are two parts is because a blank CD only lets you upload 18 songs and my playlist had 22 songs and I didn’t want to shorten the list and compromise the selection just to get it to fit it...so I split the playlist into two segments that would each fit on a CD.)
1. “Silly Love Songs” Paul McCartney. Wingspan: Hits [Disc 1] – So I used this one to start the mix because it sort of justifies a silly love song compilation and it also sets a good encompassing mood over the album.
2. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) [Remastered]” Eurythmics. Eurythmics: Ultimate Collection –Ha ha, this is where our album really begins...I was kind of going for “BOOM! This is the real world; it’s going to be had to find “the one”, there’s a lot of people out there and not all of them are good. (And I love the beat...)
3. “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) Journey. Journey: Greatest Hits –This is such a great song, I’m glad I’m starting to like 80’s songs now. I was trying to go for, “even though finding “the one” will be hard, true love will find you.” (Well, if you do your part.)
4. “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) Mamma Mia! Film Cast. Mamma Mia! –Sometimes, you just want a guy preferably “the one” to come and save you from the figurative darkness of the dating world. Let’s face it; there are a lot of losers out there.
5. “Sweetest Thing” U2. The Best Of 1980-1990 –I added this because I think we forget that love is “the sweetest thing” in our rush to find “the one”.
6. “Take A Chance On Me” Mamma Mia! Film Cast. Mamma Mia! –So, there’s this guy you really like and you want to be more than friends with...and now you are waiting for him to ask you out. So, you start dropping hints.
7. “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) [Mono]” The Beatles. Past Masters, Vol. 2 [2009 Stereo Remaster] – You’ve been dropping hints the size of anvils on him waiting for him to ask you out...and he just doesn’t get it. This is the song for all of those people who want to scream “ASK ME OUT FOR GOODNESS SAKES!” at the top of their lungs.
8. “The Bird And The Worm” Owl City. Ocean Eyes –This is just a cute song about a couple slowly making the transition from friends to boyfriend/girlfriend and still remaining the best of friends.
9. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” The Beatles. Past Masters, Vol. 1 [2009 Stereo Remaster] -Why wouldn’t this song be on here? It’s about a couple making it official and it’s from the Beatlemania era!
10. “On The Wing” Owl City. Ocean Eyes –Uh oh! The “L” word is entering the equation and it’s both thrilling and troublesome...are they both invested?
11. Never Knew I Needed” Ne-Yo. The Princess And The Frog – Sometimes it takes you by surprise that falling in love- surrendering yourself to another person was just what you needed. It completes you.

My Future Wedding Album Part 2:
1. “Something” The Beatles. Abbey Road – This is just a beautiful song about someone realizing how in love they are. I think that it’s one of the greatest love songs ever.
2. “Meteor Shower” Owl City. Ocean Eyes – This song is short but incredibly sweet. Love is something that gives you something more than you could ever gain on your own.
3. “Lay All Your Love On Me” Mamma Mia! Film Cast. Mamma Mia! – Love is great but it can make you crazy. The bad kind of crazy that can lead to possessiveness and other similar things. The key is to learn how to be in love but not crazy. Yep, it’s that simple.
4. “All I Want is You” U2. Rattle and Hum – People make a lot of crazy promises and get fancy gifts for the object of their affection when all they really need is their love.
5. “No More Lonely Nights” Paul McCartney. Wingspan: Hits [Disc 1] – People fight. If your love is really worth it, you’ll make it through together.
6. “Where The Streets Have No Name” U2. The Best Of 1980-1990 – Some things are beyond our control, but we can find peace and something that will last forever with those we love.
7. “You and me and One Spotlight” Yellowcard. Paper Walls – This is just the best song you could slow dance to EVER.
8. “My Love” Paul McCartney & Wings. Wingspan: Hits [Disc 1] – This song is about a couple that has complete faith in each other and devotion to each other.
9. “Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)” Muse. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Version] – This is a beautiful song that overarches the entire album, it was difficult to get there, but their love will last forever.
10. “Love Story Meets Love Story (Taylor Swift Remix)” Jon Schmidt. Bonus Tracks – And here’s a nice (if cliché) outro that’s the perfect “happy ending” song that concludes the album...
11. “ The Song That Goes Like This” Spamalot (Original Broadway Cast). Spamalot – Except it isn’t actually over yet! I had to throw this in because of its sheer ridiculousness; it pokes fun at about every love song in existence. I don’t want my album to come off too self important, it’s just a fake future wedding album, not the opera. ☺

Thanks for reading!

-Katie

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Entry for USU's Bad Poetry Contest

Hey,

So if you want to write good poetry- don't do what I did. :)

Here it is:

"What is Love"

Love is like liking someone a lot

Uh, it's like, uh, dot dot dot...

I need to get more things to rhyme...

Should've put in more time

Polar Bears.

The End.

Sorry if I offended your good tastes!

See you!

-Katie

P.S. I probably should've posted this on Valentines...my bad!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The USU Creative Writing Club

Hey,

So recently I finally found out where and when USU's elusive Creative Writing Club took place. Yesterday, I attended for my second time and I brought Lindsey with me who had never gone before. The members are doing some cool things!

They start out with a prompt where everyone free-writes for about ten minutes to get the mind going. Then after that is either a lesson and a critique or a full time critique. (They switch off every week.) The atmosphere there is very friendly but professional. I've met some cool people that are a lot of fun but we get a lot of work done as well. (Sometimes there's even treats!)

I had a lot of fun and I encourage my fellow Cliff Hangers and friends to come to one of the meetings sometime in the future. They take place on Thursdays at 7 pm in the Business Building in room 116.

Oh, and before I go here's the address to their site: "http://sites.google.com/site/usucreativewritingclub/
". (Sorry, I wasn't able to link it for some reason...so you'll just have to copy and paste! Heh, heh...)They have all sorts of cool prompts, lessons and other information on there. Check it out!

See you later!

-Katie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Our ideas for 2011

Hey y'all!

Here are some of our ideas for activities this year:


1. Behind the names
2. April Fools Day exchange
3. Character exchange
4. Ski and write a-thon
5. Write or die
6. Story playlists
7. Story prompt a day
8. Board game stories
9. Ipod stories
10. Box Stories
11. Edit Twilight
12. Movie review

-Lindsey