Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jane Eyre

I've been looking back through my blog and it seems that I haven't done a real post in quite a while- a "real" post being anything other than me talking about my day and what I like and don't like. I've done several rather boring posts in a row and mentioned my "writer's block" enough times that I think you get the picture.

So I think today I will talk about one of my favorite books, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, in honor of the new Jane Eyre movie which is coming out in the spring. I think the movie looks amazing, I think it's going to capture the spirit of the book really well. Most of the adaptions of this story play up the romance side of it and make it just another period romance in the English countryside.

The story is romantic, but it has many elements that mirror the gothic novels of the era and the focus should never be on the relationship between Jane and Rochester.

Jane Eyre is a story about one woman's life. It shows us her personality, what she dreams of, the influences on her life and how they affect her. It shows her growth from a young girl who is oppressed and doesn't know how to deal with her loneliness into a strong young woman who knows her own mind and acts on it.

I'm currently reading it again and I was struck by how the language of that era made the story so deep and powerful. You can't get away with such heavy prose in the modern world of publishing, but I love it anyway. I wish that I had the ability to use languge with such skill. Bronte's sentences are woven so intricately and her characters are rich because of it.

Ok, this post has turned into me ranting about how much I love this book. Maybe I will post more when I've finished re-reading it and have something a little more clever or at least more substantial to say.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! I slept in, ate a huge meal and just lounged around with my family watching "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends" all day. That show is hilarious.

I still have writer's block. I know I'm going to have to just keep writing and know that I can fix it later if I make a mistake. I just don't know what needs to happen next. Argh.

I also need to rewrite my essay on Hamlet, and finish writing a research paper entitled "Communication Across the Generation Gap." Yay.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New goal

As I am in school and am consequently very busy this  month writing papers and studying, I have decided to change my novel writing goal to something a little more attainable.

I am not exactly quitting Nanowrimo (although I really am) I'm just changing my goal to having a first draft completed by the end of December. Two months to finish a novel is a good amount of time I think.

I have 19,000 words now, so I will just need to have at least 25,000 by the end of this month, and at least 50,000 by the end of the year.

Speaking of my novel, does anyone have an idea of what Professor Moriarty's plan might be? He has escaped into our world but I'm not sure why. Any ideas? Even silly speculations will help me in thinking over the problem.

How are your Nano novels coming along? Anyone as far behind as me who is still going to finish?


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm an aunt

For anyone interested, here is my new baby nephew, Blake!

Isn't he perfect? He was born Tuesday morning just before 1am. I had been up until midnight waiting and had just gone to sleep when my mom called to let me know.

I am now an aunt for the first time, and I'm so excited. I can't wait to watch this little boy grow up and become a young man, though I hope he doesn't grow up too fast!

Why isn't there a word for "neice or nephew?" The word "cousin" means male or female, and for "brothers and sisters" you can say "siblings." There is a need for a word to cover neices and nephews so you can say "This is my first _______"
Seeing this need, my siblings and I created one.
The new word is "Sibkid" as in "My sibling's kid."

Blake, you are my first sibkid.


Shaynie of The Book Blog tagged anyone who is interested in the conflicts of the 20th century. As I am very interested in the conflicts of the 20th century, including the Russian Civil War, the Great Depression and World War 2, I have taken this tag.

The rules are simple: Answer the questions, come up with eight questions of your own, and tag eight people.
(Note: If this sounds familiar, it's because I think I have done his tag before... just with different questions.)

Are you afraid of the dark?
A little bit. I used to be terrified of the dark, but I've mostly gotten over it now. I have to have the lights out to go to sleep, but if I'm still up I need lights on or I start feeling creeped out.

Do spiders freak you out?
Yes. Very yes. I think I have a mild phobia of spiders. Even though I know they can't hurt me, I tense up and feel sick whenever I see one. Especially the big, fast, hairy kind. Yuck.

Do you like any kids' shows still?
Yes, absolutely! I still watch Arthur when I can. Wordgirl is a newer show that's also a favorite. It's very witty and funny. Sometimes I watch it with my 17 year old brother and my 13 year old sister and we are all laughing so hard.

I also unashamedly watch Jonas when we can find it on Netflix. It is also funny, one of the top three Disney Channel shows I've ever seen.

(Why do I like the Jonas Brothers? See this post.)

If you had been in WWII Europe, would have helped hide the Jews, or not have become involved at all?
This is one of those questions I can never really answer. I would hope that I would help the Jews as much as I could, and I'm sure if the opportunity came up I would hide them. I just don't know if I would actively try to help them if the opportunity didn't readily present itself. I'm not very politically active because I just don't know what to do to help, so I probably would have just tried to stay out of it as much as possible.

You have one wish. It will be granted. What is it?
This question is too hard. I thought about it for a solid two minutes before I realized I was taking it way too seriously.
It is a serious question though. One wish, guaranteed to be granted, is an opportunity to do some good in the world.
I don't know.

How is NaNo going for you, if you're doing it? If you aren't doing it, WHY NOT?!?!
Yay for Nano! Of course I'm doing it. This is my third year, I'm not going to let a silly thing like not having any time stop me.
It's going well... sort of. I love what I have so far, and my plot is progressing well, but I only have 15,000ish words right now and I'm supposed to have somewhere around 28,000. Every morning I decide that I can still catch up and every night a say it's hopeless and decide to quit. I am not giving up yet however. I've had kind of a crazy week (my sister had her baby, [yep, I'm now an aunt!] tons of homework, not feeling well) but now that week is over and I think I can do this.

Summer or winter?
In the past I would have said winter, but now that I'm in school and I have to go to class in the snow, I understand why people don't like winter. I loved winter because I was homeschooled, and I got to stay indoors and do schoolwork in my pajamas when it was cold.
Now I'm more of a summer person. I'm still not a fan of some of the things that come along with summer (bugs, spiders, excessive heat, spiders, poison ivy) but I do enjoy the warmth and the flowers and all that good summery stuff.
My favorite season is fall, seconded by spring.
What sort of food product are you addicted to?
Does coffee count as a food product? I love coffee.
Recently my throat has been hurting so I've been drinking ginger ale mixed with 100% apple-cranberry-blueberry juice. It makes it fizzy and the juice is good for you. I wish I could get the real ginger ale that has actual pieces of ginger floating in it, but this is the cheap kind that probably isn't real ginger at all.
I can't think of any food product that I'm currently addicted to.
My questions:
1. What is your first name and why was it chosen by your parents? Is there any story behind it? (If you use an online alias as I do, you can look up the meaning of your online name or just tell me why you chose it.)
2. Who was your favorite teacher and why? For the students currently being homeschooled: What is the best unit or study you have ever done in your homeschool? Tell me about it.
3. What was the best family vacation you have ever been on?
4. People who do and write amazing things often never see the results of their efforts. If you could bring back one person to see the effect of their life on the world, who would it be and why?
5. Is there something you wish you could do? A talent or dream you don't expect to accomplish but you wish for it all the same?
6. What book that you have read made you laugh or cry the hardest?
7. What is the background picture on your computer? Mine is a bunch of colorful diagonal lines I drew on 'paint'. I didn't realize until later that it matches my laptop case.
8. Without looking, how many comments do you think you have gotten total, over the whole life of your blog? Once you've guessed, go count them and post that number too. It may be more than you think.
I don't have time to tag anyone right now specifically right now.
If you are currently reading, or have ever read something by Shakespeare, consider yourself tagged. Or if you just want to do it but have never read any Shakespeare, you may find a Shakespeare quote and comment on this post with it, telling me what play it came from, and you can then consider yourself tagged.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Excerpt: In which Julie and Ned travel into a story

The machine whirred to life, humming like an engine. Ned picked up two tiny devices and handed one to me. It looked like a garage door opener, but with only one button, and it was smaller, about the size of a matchbox. Ned strapped his around his wrist and spoke to me over the noise.

“This is how we’ll get back,” he said. “You just push the button when you’re ready.”

I strapped it tightly around my wrist. A sick feeling of anticipation was beginning to settle in my stomach and I took a deep breath.

Ned gestured for me to come and we went through the side door into the room with the machine. It was even louder in here, yet somehow it was not unpleasant. The noise screamed at my ears but it was a soothing sound. I had never heard anything like it. Ned pushed a button on the side of the machine and something changed.

The air began to shimmer and tongues of golden light flicked across my eyes. The light grew stronger and brighter and danced in the room like fire. It seemed to overtake the room and my eyes couldn’t take it anymore. I shut them tight but I could feel the shifting air move around me like water. The light grew bright behind my eyelids and the noise escalated as I felt time melt away from me. At the last second I felt Ned take my hand and give it a reassuring squeeze.

I gasped, breathing in cool misty air. A clatter of wheels on cobblestone streets met my ears. I opened my eyes.

Ned and I were standing on a sidewalk surrounded by people in Victorian clothes. Some of them looked at us strangely as they passed but we were ignored for the most part. Carriages rattle by in the street and people went in and out of shops. Three children ran by, filthy and wearing rags. A stench reached my nose. We were near the fish market. A ragged and tired looking woman on the street corner held a crying baby in one arm and limp flowers in the other. She called out her ware over the noise on the street.

I took all this in for a moment. It was unnerving to be suddenly dropped into another world and I was trembling.

“Are you ok?” Ned asked, and with a start I realized that I was still holding his hand. I dropped it hastily, nodding. He took his jacket off and draped it around my shoulders. His eyes were scanning the area with a critical eye and I realized that I was not looking for clues. I looked around, not sure of what kind of clue could be hidden on such a busy street.

“We appeared here facing a book store,” Ned said. “I wonder if that means anything. Do you want to go in?”

I nodded. I think I was still in shock a little bit. We waited for the traffic to slow and crossed the street as soon as there was a moment where it was clear.

When we entered the store the shopkeeper stared at us in amazement, and then glared at me. We quickly walked by towards the back of the store before he kicked us out.

“We are going to have to find some decent clothes,” Ned said. “In this time period you are extremely immodest.”

“Not just me,” I said, gesturing at his modern clothes. “I don’t think they wore ripped jeans and t-shirts in the Victorian era. Even the lower class would have better clothes than that.”

We browsed the books for a few minutes, trying to stay out of sight of the shopkeeper. I loved the cloth bound books with the titles written upright on the spine. I wanted to flip through some of them but the spines hadn’t been cracked yet so I couldn’t. There were a few books by Dickens and I found a few by Jane Austen as well, attributed to “a lady” or “the author of Pride and Prejudice” rather than her real name.

Ned went to the window and peeked out to see if the clue was outside somewhere from this angle.

“Julie,” He called me over in a hushed whisper. “Come here, look at this.”

I came to the window and stood so he was shielding me from the stares of the shopkeeper.

“What?” I said.

“Do you recognize where we are?”

I looked out the window. At first I didn’t see it. There was the street, the flower girl on the corner, the carriages and street urchins. There were a few more shops across the street, but directly across from us there was a row of flats. On the wall next to the flat door directly across from us was a number: 221.

I gasped. “Are we on Baker Street?” I asked.

Ned nodded grinning. “We appeared right in front of the home of Sherlock Holmes and we didn’t even know it.”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Excerpt: In which Julie meets Mr. Sherrinford Sigerson

Suddenly the door opened and a man strode out, scowling. He was thin and tall and he glanced down at me over his hooked nose as he passed. His steely grey eyes swept over me, seeming to see every detail. I felt as though he could see through me, if that were possible. A small spark of amusement leapt into his eye and he stopped walking and turned back to me, offering a hand.

“Miss Julie Reid, I presume?” He spoke in a clipped British accent. “I believe you are in one or two of my classes.”

I shook his hand and said I was glad to meet him.

His eyes crinkled up as though he were about to make a joke. “I have to run to my next class. I’m sure we will have time to get acquainted later. Let me just say that I’m glad you have been placed in an attic room. The windows open onto the roof and from there you can continue your habit of stargazing every night. Good day.” He turned and strode away down the hall, leaving me bewildered. I turned to Idina who laughed at the sight of my expression.

“How did he-?” I hadn’t told anyone about stargazing, not even my mother.

“He does that to everyone,” She said. “I’m not sure how he figures it out, but he’s hardly ever wrong. Maybe he’s psychic.”

I didn’t think he was a psychic. There was too much of an air of scientific reason about him. Somehow he had seen something about me that no one else had seen before. I was shaken by this, but I didn’t have time to think it over because the door was standing open and Mrs. Wright was waiting for me behind her desk.

I'm still here

Hello again, fellow bloggers. (And anyone else who reads this blog but doesn't have one of their own.)

I am falling behind on my Nanowrimo word count. I have about 14,300 words so far, and the midway point is Monday. That means I am almost 10,000 words behind. I've decided not to worry about it too much. I will try to finish, but I can't make it a priority because I have so much going on.

I have an essay on Hamlet due Tuesday. Today I finally figured out which aspect I am going to write about, and I still can't figure out what exactly my thesis is. I'm going to write it tomorrow.

Also due on Tuesday is an argument essay. I am writing a response to the opposers of Nanowrimo, and an argument for why it is a valuable thing to try. Is it ironic that I am failing Nanowrimo because I'm busy writing a defense of it?

Going back to the progress of my novel, something unexpected has happened. My two main characters, Julie and Ned, have just travelled into a Sherlock Holmes story. Now I'm stuck. Moriarty has to escape, he gets out when they leave, I just don't know why they encounter him in the first place.

The problem is that it would make sense for them to talk to Sherlock. They are right outside his house, and Ned is searching for his missing father. It makes perfect sense that they would ask him for help, but it's not possible for my novel because if they see Sherlock, part of the mystery is revealed that isn't supposed to be revealed yet, and the rest of the story doesn't work.

Any ideas on how they could not see Sherlock and how they could get involved with Moriarty?

Another question: Would any of you be interested in reading an excerpt from this book? Let me know in the comments. I won't post one if nobody is interested.


Monday, November 8, 2010


My Monday so far:


School (I got an A on my midterm!)



Writing (I'm almost to 10,000 words. Still behind but getting closer.)

Grocery shopping


Next up:


Reading Hamlet (Act 5)

More writing

Sherlock (I love that show.)



Mondays are boring. I will try to write a real post this week, as soon as I'm caught up on my word count. I like how my story is going so far!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Novel writing time

How is your Nanowrimo novel going? Mine is going about as well as I had hoped. I've got about 1,800 words so far, and I'm hoping to get to 4,000 by the end of the day.

My characters are already surprising me. For example, I had planned on Julie seeing Ned in this scene but not really meeting him yet. I wasn't sure how to do that though. As soon as Julie had arrived at the school and was walking up the steps, Ned came bursting out of the doors and ran into her, knocking all of her things down the stairs. I hadn't planned on that until the moment I was writing it, and it was a little surprising but I said, "Ok, Ned... not what I had planned for you, but it does make you more interesting." It was a natural way for them to meet without me forcing it. I had planned on him being a little more shy than that, but this works even better.

I went to the doctor yesterday about my back, which is still hurting. She gave me some medicine to try that might help clear up the muscle tension. I took it last night, but it was really late, and she said it takes 6-8 hours for the drowsiness to wear off. So when I woke up this morning to go to class I still felt all weird from that and didn't go. Then when I went to my second class it was cancelled. I came to a coffee shop instead to work on my novel and that is where I am now.

If you are doing Nanowrimo, let me know in the comments! I want to hear how your novels are coming along.