NaNo Day 29: Hello, 50K, It’s Me


Also just almost had an asthma attack for the first time since middle school, thanks to accidentally going off my allergy meds for the first time since June. (PSA: Do not accidentally go off your allergy meds.)

This NaNoWriMo has been a roller coaster way more than any other year. I think I spent more time this month behind on my word goals than actually keeping up with them.

However, I’m also doing more this year than I have other years. (Way more.) And I somehow managed to get through this month without neglecting sleep or personal hygiene too much. So I’m proud of myself.

And, despite spending most of the month behind, I somehow finished on time today. So, like, yay?

I am now going to go finish the homework I have due tomorrow and go to bed early, because almost-semi-heading-in-the-direction-of-near-death experiences and hitting 50,000 words on NaNoWriMo for the eighth year in a row deserve a reward like sleep.

(Also, possibly, a slice of pie.)

Goal for Today: 3,000
Overall Goal: 50,000
Current Word Count: 50,278


NaNo Day 28: Forever Go Blue

I spent today at the last football game of my senior year.

We lost. (By a lot.) And it was COOOLD. But I also had fun with my friends and participating in all the weird traditions of the student section and just finding myself surrounded by that many of my fellow Wolverines.

This was my first year getting season tickets for football. Actually, before this the only time I’d actually attended a regular game was junior year, because I was singing at halftime with the university choirs.

I don’t like football. It’s probably my least favorite mainstream sport. (Even in high school, I generally only attended homecoming every year.) So with that in mind, I don’t really regret not going to more games before this season. It was always really nice getting a break from everyone in the dorms on game day to write and watch TV in peace.

But I am surprisingly glad that I got the season tickets this year.

Because going to the football games every couple weeks was a reminder that I’m part of something bigger, here. There are so many students at this university, and we all are studying different things, and most of us will never have a chance to meet, let alone get to know one another. But when we’re all crushed together in the student section, cheering or singing (or booing) together, we do at least have that in common.

And now I’m back at the apartment and I just ate a crapload of carbs and Hannah and I are watching Dirty Dancing on TV. (So, one might say that with this season’s football games I’ve had the time of my life.) (Eh? Eh?) (I’ll see myself out.)

Anyway: No writing scheduled for today, because of the game. But I might slip in a couple hundred words, since I’m running a virtual write-in for Ch1Con right now. (Come join us, if you’re a young writer and see this before 10 PM EST!)

Goal for Today: 0
Overall Goal: 47,000
Current Word Count: 47,352


NaNo Day 27: Focus

I’m back at school! Tomorrow’s the last football game of senior year, so my family dropped me off at my apartment on their way to another Thanksgiving celebration out of state.

I’ve spent the day trying to get caught up on things: Christmas shopping (all online, mind you; no Black Friday madness today, thank God), answering emails, working on my honors thesis, cleaning my room, cleaning the ancient icky food out of the refrigerator, etc., etc.

What this has meant is less time spent on NaNoWriMo today than I had planned. (Really, I had planned to spend the entire day on it.) But real life was stressing me out and I knew I had to get stuff done before I’d ever be able to focus.

Despite getting all that work done ahead of writing, I still was having a lot of trouble focusing tonight, though. All I wanted to do was watch Netflix or work out or even do more homework. (Really: anything but write.) And that lack of ability to focus was stressing me out all over again.

Normally when this has happened in years past, I’ve turned to my critique partners for help. That group of writers is all about the word wars. (Last year we got to the point where if you weren’t writing at least 1,000 words every fifteen minutes, there wasn’t even a point in competing.)

But this year none of my critique partners are doing traditional NaNoWriMo. And not being able to get my brain to let me write, sitting alone in my dorm room in an empty apartment with my family off having fun in another state–it all felt very isolating.

So I turned to the NaNoWriMo forums for the first time this year for help, and they reminded me that @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter exists, so I decided to check that out. And after doing endless word sprints from a little after eight until now, a little before eleven, I managed to not only focus on writing, but to beat my goal of 5.5k for the day.

I wrote 5,800 words in under three hours today. They are all pretty terrible (I was aware of how terrible they are as I was writing them), but I’m proud of them just because they’re there. On the page. And I am caught up and a little ahead and SO CLOSE to being done with NaNoWriMo 2015.

The main reason I love NaNoWriMo so much is that it’s such a community affair. For one month out of the year, writers stop writing alone and start writing alone-but-together. We attend write-ins, do writing sprints and word wars, compare word counts, and more than anything we cheer one another on.

I’ve been missing that aspect a lot this year, because of the no-critique-partners-competing thing. It’s hard to focus when you feel all alone. But tonight reminded me that I’m not doing this alone.

Over half a million people are competing in NaNoWriMo this year, from what I’ve heard. More than ever before.

If you’re feeling alone this NaNoWriMo as well, go out and find a few of those writers. Do a word sprint. Cheer one another on.

It’s incredible how much a little interaction with someone else spending the month with the same goal as you can help you focus.

Goal for Today: 5,000 + 500 (from yesterday)
Overall Goal: 47,000
Current Word Count: 47,352



NaNo Day 26: Thank You

Hey there and HAPPY THANKSGIVING (if you’re American)!!

It’s been a long day (but a very, very good one). I forgot to turn off my alarms for school, so one woke me up at nine o’clock this morning, after I ended up staying up until like two chopping sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner and reading Emma for homework.

Despite how tired I was though, I was Very Awake at that point, so I grabbed my laptop and managed to get in 2.5k before heading downstairs for a late breakfast.

Watched the end of the Detroit Thanksgiving parade with my family. Ate lots of carbs. Did a grocery run, showered, and made a Rice Krispie turkey. (All in a day’s work for Julia the Vegetarian Girl.)

Then, it was off to my grandparents’ house for more cooking. Made mac and cheese (my specialty, obvs). Aaand finally, in the late afternoon, sat down to dinner. At which point I ate so much I felt like I was going to explode. (My mom and I spent some time after dessert conjugating different ways of saying that in Spanish. Voy a explotar. Exploto. Estoy explotando. Exploté.)

During the Rest & Digest period between dinner and dessert, I played cell phone games with my dad with football on in the background and somehow managed to get in another 1.5k.

Around nine, everyone said goodbye, we packed up all of the leftovers, and my family headed home. And now I’m finishing up my writing for the day, with another 500 words, which brings me to 41,552 words overall currently.

I’m going to try to get in one last 500 in an effort to reach my goal for the day of 42k, but I’m really sleepy from all that food, so we’ll see.

In the meantime, a few of the things I’m thankful for today:

  1. Family and friends I wouldn’t trade for the world (including a chubby little beagle curled up on the chair beside me).
  2. All the amazing people involved in Ch1Con these days. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would grow into what it’s becoming. I’m so overjoyed to see my little baby conference all growed up.
  3. My amazing critique partners, who always know exactly what to say (whether it’s to threaten me with increasingly cruel and unusual punishments until I fix something in a MS or to reassure me my writing really isn’t That Bad when something doesn’t work out the way I want it to).
  4. Also, my non-critique partner writing friends, who are so supportive and smart and sarcastic and kind and lovely and exactly the sort of people who prove the true reason you shouldn’t make friends on the internet is because friends on the internet live far too far away.
  5. Pumpkin pie.
  6. I know I say it every year, but: You. I don’t know what I would do without you and your beautiful face, dear reader. This blog is going on four years old now (today’s post is my 476th one published on here) and that is absolutely mind-boggling. I started this blog when I was a senior in high school; now I’m a senior in college. And through all the changes, through all the ups and downs, you (at least metaphorically–because let’s be real, this could be the first post you’ve ever read–but NO MATTER) have been there.

Thank you. So much.

Love you. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Goal for Today: 2,000 + 1,000 (from yesterday) + 3,000 (from Monday)
Overall Goal: 42,000
Current Word Count: 41,552


PS. I know you’re wondering about that Rice Krispie turkey. It fell apart a bit on the car ride over the river and through the woods to my grandparents’ house, but this is basically what it looked like. (I say “looked,” because you had better bet we demolished this thing.)


Wordy Wednesday: Tomorrow

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post. About, err, not writing.

Another short post today, because it’s after 11:00 PM and I ended up getting exactly zero writing done on NaNo, for the third day in a row.

I had a paper due this evening that shouldn’t have been a big deal to write (it was only supposed to be like three pages), but I ended up spending the entire day on it because, you know, day before Thanksgiving and all. But I did manage to get it done and in on time, so I’m now officially on break, thank God. Hopefully I’ll be finally have a little time to write now.

This evening my family wanted to do stuff together, so I made dinner (pasta with homemade sauce and fresh mozzarella, garlic bread, and fried red-skin potatoes) and now we’re watching Flight. (By the way, if you haven’t seen it, much more depressing than expected. Happy holidays.)

My mom has promised me a couple hours to spend on NaNo in the morning, before Thanksgiving stuff starts, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to catching up then.

Tonight: I’m finishing this movie and going to bed.

In the morning: Writing Warrior Mode activates.

Goal for Today: 1,000 + 3,000 (from Monday)
Overall Goal: 40,000
Current Word Count: 37,027


NaNo Day 24: Home for the Holiday

Hey there! Just popping in today to say I’m now on break for Thanksgiving (although I still have a paper due tomorrow) and I am exhausted and I am about to go curl up with my dog and go to sleep early.

Clearly, no writing today. But once the work I need to get done tomorrow is, you know, done, hopefully I’ll get a chance to log a few thousand words.

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

Goal for Today: 0 + 3,000 (from yesterday)

Overall Goal: 39,000

Current Word Count: 37,027


NaNo Day 23: Bookshelf Tour

Well, I’m back to drowning a little bit today.

I had 3k words of NaNoWriMo scheduled, but I’m going to have to put that off for another day to focus on school and work. HOWEVER, this actually works out, because I only had 1k planned for Wednesday–because I thought I was going to be in classes all day–but literally every single one of my classes ended up getting cancelled in preparation for Thanksgiving. So now I’m going to have the whole day to catch up.

With that in mind though, I’m kind of erasing the words I’m technically behind from not writing enough over the weekend, since I essentially just wrote them a few days early, with that random 8.3k Wednesday. (A mind game I like to play with myself during NaNo is to tell myself I owe the daily scheduled word goal, even when I’m ahead from writing extra another day. It helps me keep on top of things. But right now, it’s easier just to blot out those scheduled words, because yeah, life.)

Cool thing that happened today: one of my classes got to Skype with Stephen Chbosky, the author/screenwriter/director behind The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He’s such a smart, funny, inspirational dude and it was such an awesome experience. (And I took lots of notes, so I’ll hopefully get a chance to share those soon?)

In the meantime: Today’s post is a tour of my bookshelf! (Err, shelves.)

When I moved into my apartment a little over a year ago, I convinced my parents to upgrade from one bookcase to two, since I have more space now than I did in the dorms. This has given me the opportunity to keep a lot more books at school–still not all my books (or even the majority of them), but I keep most of my favorites here, along with the majority of the books I haven’t read yet.

Asterisks denote books that are signed.

Here we go.

So, first we’ve got an overall shot. Outside of the books I’m currently reading, these two cases are where I keep all of the books in my school bedroom. (The multi-colored bins hold other stuff, like my curling iron and massive first aid kit.)


First shelf: This one is kind of a catch all for stuff that doesn’t go anywhere else, so I have a couple picture books and magazines, lots of nonfiction and writing guides, books in Spanish, my Bible, a couple CDs, etc.

Specifically: Yonder by Tony Johnston (illustrated by Lloyd Bloom), Un beso en mi mano by Audrey Penn (the Spanish edition of my favorite book when I was little), the Mockingjay – Part 2 copy of Entertainment Weekly, the Collector’s Edition Us about Catching Fire, a collection of student writing my first creative writing class at U of M put together, The Making of Harry Potter from the Leavesden set tour, the Collector’s Edition Us about Mockingjay – Part 1, Quick Strength Training for Runners by Jeff Horowitz (I’m not a runner, but it’s got good tips for anyone), I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, The Little Book of London by David Long, Animal Stories by James Herriot, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, The Action Hero’s Handbook by David Borgenicht and Joe Borgenicht, The Handbook of Practical Spying from the International Spy Museum, a map of Paris, Marley y yo by John Grogan, the Holy Bible, the Merriam-Webster Spanish-English Dictionary, the Merriam-Webster Pocket Dictionary, The Bard’s Guide to Abuses and Affronts, a couple Evensong CDs, Sweet, Savory and Sometimes Boozy Cupcakes by Alison Riede, and finally a photobook from the Hunger Games exhibition in New York.


Second shelf: This is my Oxford shelf. Here I keep all my Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Lewis Carroll books. (Also my JK-Rowling-writing-as-Robert-Galbraith and a book by the lovely Sarah Hilary, since I met both of them while studying in England.)

Specifically: The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, Unfinished Tales by Tolkien, The Hobbit by Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien, The Silmarillion by Tolkien, The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, The Silkworm* by Robert Galbraith, Tolkien: A Dictionary by David Day, Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland + Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.


Third shelf: This one’s packed. It’s the majority of my adult fiction, with a few nonfiction titles and poetry books and plays thrown in as well (including all of my books for class this semester).

Specifically: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape* by Peter Hedges, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Thank You Notes* by Jimmy Fallon (with the Writers of Late Night), The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, Native Guard* by Natasha Trethewey, The Royal Wedding* by Meg Cabot, The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, In the Unlikely Event* by Judy Blume, Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Also known as: Go Home Racist Atticus, You’re Drunk), 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry by Paul McDonald and Janet Wasko, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Bossypants* by Tina Fey, The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, The Two Gentlemen of Verona by Billy Shakes, Death of a Salesman* by Arthur Miller, Landline* by Rainbow Rowell (ARC), The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank by Willy Lindwer, Wool by Hugh Howey, 1984 by George Orwell, and finally (FINALLY) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.


Fourth shelf: These are a bunch of copies of anthologies and lit mags that I’ve been published in.

Specifically: LOOK AT THE PRETTY.


Fifth shelf: These are some YA fantasy series. (The empty spot is because one of the books normally stored here is in the Currently Reading stack on my bedside table.)

Specifically: Brisingr and Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, Scarlet and Fairest* by Marissa Meyer, Something Strange and Deadly* by Susan Dennard, and The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas


Sixth shelf (and first of the second bookcase): These are all my Lauren Oliver and Elizabeth Wein books (since they’ve written my two favorite books ever), along with a couple other random books that seemed like they fit here.

Specifically: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, the British edition of Before I Fall* by Lauren Oliver, the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver (including an ARC of Requiem*), the British edition of Panic* by Lauren Oliver, Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater


Seventh shelf: These are my middle grade books.

Specifically: the 50th Anniversary Edition of The Phantom Tollbooth* by Norton Juster, Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr, Shiloh* by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, The School Story by Andrew Clements, George (ARC) by Alex Gino, Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures* (ARC) by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater, Upside-Down Magic (ARC) by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins, The Doldrums (ARC) by Nicholas Gannon, Rules for Stealing Stars* (ARC) by Corey Ann Haydou, and The Thing About Jellyfish* (ARC) by Ali Benjamin


Eighth shelf: This is kind of a catchall “not contemporary realistic fiction” shelf for YA.

Specifically: Another Day (ARC) by David Levithan, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, The Rest of Us Just Live Here* by Patrick Ness, More Happy Than Not* by Adam Silvera, Dove Arising* by Karen Bao, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, a sneak peak of Nightmares!: The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, a chapter sampler of Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl, an advance reader’s excerpt of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia day, a free preview of “Books You Must Read if You Love John Green,” a sampler of The Young Elites by Marie Lu, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, the Hybrid Chronicles series* by Kat Zhang, Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, The Eye of Minds* by James Dashner, The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare* by MG Buehrlen, and The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy


Ninth shelf: This one is for two of my favorite writers of kickbutt girls, Ally Carter and Suzanne Collins.

Specifically: the Gallagher Girls series* by Ally Carter, the Heist Society series* so far by Ally Carter, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, All Fall Down by Ally Carter, and The World of the Hunger Games from the Hunger Games Exhibition in New York.



Tenth shelf: This shelf is all Harry Potter.

Specifically: American editions of the entire series and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, plus the British editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them


Eleventh shelf: More YA (because come on, let’s be real). These three authors all appear to like like each other a lot, so it seemed nice to put their books together.

Specifically: Four* by Veronica Roth, the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth (I have signed editions of these, but I keep them at home), the 10th Anniversary Edition of Looking for Alaska* by John Green, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, the Collector’s Edition of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


Twelfth shelf: Here’s all my Rick Riordan. I’ve read all his books except a couple of the Kane Chronicles installments. However, I’ve found that I like getting his stuff as ebooks and audio-books, so I don’t have some of them in print editions.

Specifically: the Percy Jackson series, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, and The House of Hades (I have a signed copy of one of these, but it must be at home.)


Thirteenth shelf: And finally, the last of the bookcases: (mostly) contemporary/realistic YA.

Specifically: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, The Impossible Knife of Memory* by Laurie Halse Anderson, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda* by Becky Albertalli, Falling into Place* by Amy Zhang, All the Bright Places* by Jennifer Niven, We Were Liars* by E. Lockhart, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Everything, Everything* (ARC) by Nicola Yoon, My Last Kiss* by Bethany Neal, Between the Stars and Sky* by David James, and Words and Their Meanings* by Kate Bassett


Currently Reading: This is the stack of books on my bedside table that I’m currently reading (or planning to start very, very soon.)

Specifically: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, Emma by Jane Austen, The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Twisted Web by Tom Grace, and last but MOST CERTAINLY not least: Illuminae (ARC) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


And, thank God, that brings us to the end. (That just took me about two hours to put together. I now remember why I chose not to do one of these last year.)

I’m not sure how many books exactly I have at school with me at the moment, but when I counted how many I had that were unread at the end of junior year, that number alone was well over one hundred. (And yet I keep getting new books anyway.) (I have a problem.)

Goal for Today: 3,000
Overall Goal: 39,000
Current Word Count: 37,027


PS. Hannah just reminded me that my copy of I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is currently in her room. (It usually goes on the contemporary YA shelf.) Seemed relevant.

PPS. I FORGOT TO MENTION: The Ch1Con team announced our 2016 conference location and date today! The 2016 Chapter One Young Writers Conference will take place Saturday, August 6th at the Hilton Garden Inn in St. Charles, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago. You should come!

NaNo Day 22: Home Stretch

Another day, another excuse for not putting up my Mockingjay – Part 2 gush-rant. I’m not getting to start this post today until close to 11:30 PM and I want to make sure it goes up before midnight, so my movie reaction post will have to wait, once again, for tomorrow.

In the meantime, though, my (shorter and more organized) review of the movie is now up on [art]seen! Check it out here.

After the play last night (it was a murder mystery dinner theatre; very fun), I ended up getting a little over 1k in on NaNo, which actually did ultimately bring me up to my goal for the day of 36,000 words, thanks to my binge-writing on Wednesday. I meant to write a bunch today to get ahead again, but homework and work-work and life in general got in the way, so I only got like another 1k in. (Totally not a problem, since I didn’t have any writing scheduled for today anyway. But yeah. I had been hoping to push ahead to 40k.)

We’re in the home stretch of NaNoWriMo now, with only eight days to go. I have 13,000 words left to write. Fingers crossed, but as long as nothing comes up, I should be able to finish by Sunday as planned (leaving Monday–the last day of November–as my contingency writing day).

NaNoWriMo so far this year has been a lesson in being a human mule (as in: it takes a lot of stubborn determination to slowly jog towards a goal over time, rather than sprint for it all at once).

Here’s to the last week. Let’s make it a good (aka productive) one.

Goal for Today: 0 + 5,000 (from yesterday)
Overall Goal: 36,000
Current Word Count: 37,027


NaNo Day 21: #Lyfe, Part 2

So I only ended up getting in a little under 500 words written yesterday. Not really a problem, considering my goal for the day was only 1,000 and that means I’m still several thousand words ahead of schedule. Buuut my goal for today, on the other hand, is 5,000. And, after a last minute change to my plan for the weekend, it turns out that there’s no way I have time to do that.

Which means I’m going to be back to being behind by the end of the day, more than likely.


On the upside: the reason I’m not getting much writing done this weekend is because I’ve had fun things going on. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Undergraduate English Association’s annual Write-a-Thon at Espresso Royale (where I got very little actual writing done, because I got distracted working on Ch1Con stuff). Then, in the evening, my roommates and I hosted our second annual Friendsgiving (and it was really lovely getting to see friends and eat so much good food, because I basically cut myself off from all social events during November).

And now I’m at my family’s house for the rest of the weekend, because I’m going to a play tonight with my mom and a family friend (and also I will never pass up an opportunity to see Sammy).

All this to say: I’m okay with falling a little behind in NaNoWriMo this weekend, because it’s for a good reason. I don’t know where I’m going to be this time next year. I want to take advantage of this time with my family and friends while I know I have it.

I promise I will do my Mockingjay Part 2 reaction post very, very soon. But I currently need to get some homework done before the play tonight, or I’m going to drown. (Funny how these “responsibility” things creep up on ya, eh?)

I hope you’re having a good weekend, whether you’re getting your words in or not! Only a little over a week left of NaNoWriMo. (I know I ask this every year, but: HOW IS THIS MONTH GOING SO FAST?)

Goal for Today: 5,000 + 500 (from yesterday)
Overall Goal: 36,000
Current Word Count: 35,014


PS. Seriously, who would ever pass up seeing this face.


NaNo Day 20: What Katniss Taught Me [TWNP Blog Chain]

Normally I ramble about big YA film adaptations the day after I see them, but today I’m holding off on my Mockingjay – Part 2 post for a couple reasons:

  1. I promised the lovely Kate Gold that I would participate in her Today’s Word Nerd Ponderings blog chain today.
  2. I owe a review of the movie for [art]seen (the blog I write for here at U of M) and I should probably get that shorter and more organized post up before I write my gushy/ranty/super unorganized one for here. (Hopefully I’ll get a chance to spew my feelings all over you tomorrow, though?)

What I will say though is that–as pretty much always–this movie left me a bundle of mixed feelings. I have such a love/hate relationship with this series of adaptations. But overall Mockingjay Part 2 is very good and you should very much go see it.

Still, in the meantime: TWNP blog chain! This month’s prompt is:

This prompt centers around the theme of valuable lessons, especially that we have taken away from books. You might answer:
What is the coolest thing you have taken away from a book you have read? What sorts of things have your characters learned, as embedded in a story you have written? Or, what sort of message do you want to share with others, either in writing or through your own life?

All three options for this prompt are really good questions, but I think I’m going to answer the first one. About, well, The Hunger Games*.

I’m not sure if it qualifies as like the “coolest” thing I’ve ever taken away from a book, but one of my favorite parts of the Hunger Games trilogy is the fact that life DESTROYS Katniss. Repeatedly. And she somehow always finds a way to keep going.

Katniss is a really interesting example of the traditional “strong female protagonist.” I adore her. She’s one of my favorite characters ever. But this is less because of her physical strength as much as the way she deals with things emotionally. Katniss endures SO MUCH, yet she keeps going. Even after she falls apart, she finds the strength to keep going.

Katniss taught me that even someone who is broken can pick up the pieces and find the strength to continue on.

I’ve heard so many complaints about how Katniss reacts to things in Mockingjay, and I HATE THAT. People are convinced that to be a Strong Female Protagonist, characters aren’t allowed to break. This POV is harmful. Katniss isn’t strong because she physically survives the Hunger Games. She’s strong because she mentally and emotionally does.

Yes, she breaks. Yes, she’s selfish and hysterical and numb and HURT. But she finds her way back to being human again. And THAT is what makes Katniss so amazing.

A strong female protagonist is someone who tries her best despite her circumstances and flaws. Being strong isn’t about being invincible; it’s about moving forward, doing your best, while knowing you’re not.

It’s about looking at a world as screwed up as the one the Hunger Games series takes place in, and not losing hope for a better one.

Goal for Today: 1,000
Overall Goal: 31,000
Current Word Count: 34,514


PS. For anyone who has seen Mockingjay Part 2: WHAT IS WITH THE ASIAN BABY?

*If this looks familiar, it’s because I’m essentially plagiarizing myself off a rant I did on Twitter back in June. #Oops