NaNo Day 30: Here We Go

I’m home! By which I mean I’m back snuggled up in my desk chair at my apartment and suddenly it’s the end of the semester.

I’ve been kind of pretending this semester wasn’t this close to over the past few weeks, but now that Thanksgiving is over and I have final projects beginning to be due this week, I figured it was time to risk looking at my finals schedule. And these next few weeks are going to be hell.

I’ve loved this semester. I love my classes and my professors and my terrible schedule. Which is probably why finals exist. (They’re making us take them to pick off the few lone optimists who have clung to their love of school to the end to make sure everyone properly enjoys their winter break away.)

NaNoWriMo already feels like ages ago, even though November’s technically not over yet, since I finished on Tuesday. Now I’m halfway through my first term paper of the semester and I’ve got that, a term paper proposal, a final project and presentation, and a choir concert this week. So definitely no time for writing for a while, but hopefully I can get back to my NaNo novel soon.

NaNoWriMo was really weird this year. I spent most of the month either super behind or ahead of schedule, with all kinds of unexpected craziness going on. And this novel sucks–like, really, really sucks–but I also got to the point with it where I could write a thousand words in fifteen minutes (which is a fourth of my average from before this month) and I’ve had a lot of fun writing something so stupid and terrible.

It was nice to take the pressure off myself of trying to make it something that could someday be decent, and in turn the Terrible Novel actually has helped me get back into being able to write more easily for the things I actually have been taking seriously. (The amount I’ve been struggling to write short stories for creative writing this semester is ridiculous, but I wrote two of my best ones in one night this month. I’ve been doing better in a couple of my other classes, too. There’s just something about actively writing that makes everything easier.) (You know. Besides, like, having time to bathe, work out, and socialize.)

Whether you’ve reached your goal for the month or not, I hope NaNoWriMo has helped you in some way too. And I hope you’re proud of what you’ve done, because no matter how much you wrote, you made the choice to write, and that means so, so much.

As far as I’m concerned, we’re all champions.

Goal for today: 0.

Overall goal: 50,000.

Final word count: 50,127.

Onto finals and the holidays and all that entails. Thanks for sticking with me through this month of blogging daily, and look out for the return to twice a week blogging in December. 🙂

Here we go.

~Julia

NaNo Day 29: Family Time

I’m writing today’s post on my phone because I’m at some relatives’ house and I’m too cozy in bed to go ask them for the wifi password, so apologies in advance for any extra typos or anything.

I spent most of yesterday in the car on the way here, but I got very little work of any kind done, so I’m starting to get nervous for this term paper. (I’m 1.5 of 12 pages in and it’s due Tuesday. Um.)

Fingers crossed I manage to get the majority of that written somehow on the drive home tomorrow?

Meanwhile: Thanksgiving dinners are finally done for the year and I officially need to get back into exercising regularly, I’m spending the day hanging with relatives, and we’re supposedly going to check out a cool bookstore today.

If you’re still battling through the end of NaNoWriMo, YOU CAN DO IT! Get off my blog and write.

If you’re done, CONGRATS! Eat some pie. (Not that you shouldn’t eat pie if you haven’t won already, because you should always eat pie. But yeah.)

I’m off to venture out of bed.

~Julia

NaNo Day 28: Interview with Patrice Caldwell

Happy Day After Thanksgiving! I’m about to leave on a road trip to my fourth and final Thanksgiving dinner of the year, out in Chicago. And I need to work on my twelve page film history term paper in the car, so today should be fun. (Benefits of finishing NaNo early: Writing my term paper earlier. Downsides of finishing NaNo early: Writing my term paper earlier.)

Like last year, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.) In addition, all of this year’s interviewees are Ch1Con team members!

Today’s interview is with Patrice Caldwell, Ch1Con’s Master of Marketing and all around brilliant human being. Patrice and I met online what feels like ages ago–I think through a group for college writers on WriteOnCon? (You know it’s been a while if I don’t even remember.) Long story short: I’ve been following her blog forever and she is intelligent, and passionate, and hilarious, and you have no idea how grateful I am to have her as part of the Ch1Con team. Take it away, Patrice.

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patrice-caldwell_(1)Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about?

A: One sentence, yikes! *cracks knuckles* Okay.

Set in a land where magic is strictly forbidden HEIRS OF FIRE AND ICE is the story of two young women, Zahra, a trader of items of questionable means (call her a pirate and she’ll have your tongue), and Aaliyah, a princess without a country, who are forced together by unforeseen circumstances and must journey to uncover their mysteriously linked pasts and save their empire.

Vague. I know, but I’m working on it. I will say this it’s set in a land based on medieval African civilizations, and my Pinterest board is to die for… now if only my novel could reach that level :/

Q: What is your favorite part of NaNoWriMo?

A: The accessibility of it. I love how it breaks down the myth that you have to have studied writing for years, yada, yada, yada. NaNoWriMo is all about jumping in and doing a crazy/scary/usually thought of as unrealistic thing. To me it never matters if you’re actually able to reach 50,000 words. Let me be honest, I never have. It’s the fact that you tried, that you started, and for me, NaNo is the burst of energy and support I need to finish the MS by the end of the year since most of my manuscripts/most MSs are longer than 50,000 words anyway.

Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals you follow?

A: Ha! Can Write Anywhere, Anytime type of person…do they actually exist? TEACH ME. No, but seriously. I wish I could do that. Being a college student, I would write so much more if I could write anywhere (of course I have been known to plot stories and figure out entire scenes during class when I should be taking notes). I, however, have some rituals. The main one being that I like to brew me a nice (hot) cup of green tea (I’m a bit of a green tea snob) before I start writing (usually in the morning). I sit at my desk (or stand at my standing desk) near my window with a great view of campus and I write. I also make sure I have one of my yellow legal pads with several multi-color ink pens beside my laptop so I can take notes, etc. if need be. My writing process also involves a lot of pacing and talking aloud (mostly to my stuffed animals, LOL) so I like my room to be clean so I have a clear path.

…See what I mean. I must seem like a (writing) diva.

Q: What’s your secret to juggling life and NaNo at the same time?

No secret. I firmly believe if something’s important enough to you, you MUST make time for it. It’s something I struggle with every day. But, writing is my life. It’s the way I relax, and so when I don’t write I get stressed. It’s crucial to my well being that I make time for writing whether it’s 30 minutes before class, during class (haha), or before I go to bed I always try to make time to “put pen to paper.” It’s hard though but discipline really is the key to success (and happiness).

Q: Any advice for the troops? 

I love the quote do what you love, the rest will follow. And so I like to say write what you love the rest (the story) will follow. Laini Taylor has this great quote where she talks about the importance of “just writing.” Don’t stare at a blank screen. Writing about writing is better than not writing. Eventually you’ll figure out where you got lost or stuck. It’s currently my desktop background so I thought I’d leave it here for you along with a quote by Isabelle Allende:

It’s what helps me. Taking it word by word, and not thinking or stressing about the rest.

Also, I have a collection of resources for writers on my blog. They’re posts, videos, etc. that have helped me get through certain points of the writing process. Hope that helps. Good luck! You’ve got this 😀 Carry on.

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Thanks for letting me interview you, Patrice!

Want to learn more about Patrice? You can find her at the following links.

Goal for today: 3,000.

Overall goal: 50,000.

Current word count: 50,127.

How was your Thanksgiving?

~Julia

NaNo Day 27: Happy Thanksgiving!

There are a lot of hard and terrible things going on all over the place right now, which is why it’s nice to have this excuse to spend a day remembering that there are good things too.

I’m thankful for my family and friends and the wonderful writing community, especially those involved in Teens Can Write, Too! and the Chapter One Young Writers Conference. I’m thankful for the critique partners currently slaving away over one of my MSs and those who’ll be getting it at the end of the year. (You are my heroes, each and every one of you.)

I’m thankful for my roommates and professors and the fact that I am able to go to a school I love, and thankful for everyone at Oxford (and elsewhere in Europe) who made my summer the most amazing of my life.

I’m so, so, SO thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had this year. I’m thankful for all the books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen and plays I’ve loved and music I’ve listened to on repeat for weeks on end. (Still not over 1989.)

I’m thankful for the places I’ve been and people I’ve met and really, just, like: this life. I am so incredibly thankful for this life.

A lot of stuff sucks right now. I’m not going to go into details, because I’m going to assume you’ve been keeping up with the news, and the stuff that isn’t on the news isn’t mine to share either. And I get that I am privileged to be able to stop for a day and be thankful for the good things despite the bad. But the least I can do is be grateful.

If you are lucky enough to have good things in your life, don’t throw them away. Even if they’re teeny, tiny good things. (Actually: especially then. Those are the most important to hang onto. They can so easily slip between the cracks.)

Eat too much turkey. Stuff yourself with pie. Hug whoever you’re celebrating with. And let’s make this a Thanksgiving worth being thankful for.

Happy Turkey Day!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Afternoon with You

I WON NANOWRIMO 2014!

After taking Monday off, yesterday I shoved through the last 2.5K to hit 50,000 words and won at 8:58 PM. Which means I somehow finished three days ahead of schedule, despite all my setbacks.

The Awful Novel still isn’t anywhere close to finished, so I’ve got a lot more writing to do. But that can wait until after finals. (Or at least after the twelve page term paper due Tuesday.)

This makes seven years in a row of winning National Novel Writing Month. I can’t believe I’ve been competing for so long, but I also can’t imagine my November without it.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote back in May.

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[G, C, Am, D]
VERSE1
We have a little time
With the sunshine
It’s cold outside
But warm in here

Blue skies with puffy clouds
Playing our music too loud
Legs stretched out
On the couch

CHORUS
Let’s make
A movie of today
It won’t make a good film,
But we’ll have a lot to say

There won’t be conflict
To get the rave reviews
But I would trade a thousand Oscars
For this afternoon with you

VERSE2
We go for an adventure
Around the backyard pond
Climb a tree and don’t come down
’til the shadows are long

We pick some clovers
Make wishes on dandelions
Dance to the sound of the breeze and
Laugh until we’re crying

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE [Am, G, C, D]
Tomorrow you’ll be on
A train away
But we’ll have the videos
Of this May day

ENDING [G, C, Am, D]
I’m so glad
We made a movie of today
It’s a beautiful film
It has just enough to say

It has no conflict,
But we don’t need the rave reviews
I would trade a million Oscars
For another afternoon with you

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Thanks for reading, and good luck if you’re still trudging through the trenches! You can do it!

Goal for today: 0.

Overall goal: 47,000.

Current word count: 50,127.

~Julia

NaNo Day 25: Interview with Aisha Al-Amin

Last day of classes before Thanksgiving! I’m so excited to go home and see my friends and family. And I’m going to Chicago in a couple days to celebrate with some relatives out there, so I’m obviously excited for that too. Now it’s just a matter of getting through these last few hours and assignments so I’ll have enough time to relax over break before I need to kick it into high gear on final projects.

Like last year, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.) In addition, all of this year’s interviewees are Ch1Con team members!

Today’s interview is with Aisha Al-Amin, one of Ch1Con’s new Creative Consultants. She’s hilarious and brilliant and she seems to be the only team member Google+ actually likes during our monthly Ch1Con Chats (so obviously Google agrees that she’s awesome). Take it away, Aisha.

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Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about? 

A: In the year 2050 for the first time in history humans discover another world with intelligent life.

Q: What is your favorite part of Nanowrimo?

A: I would have to say the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end of the month, even if you haven’t won, it’s still amazing.

Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals you follow? 

A: Yes, yes I do! I have to have a cup of my Grandma’s hot chocolate with creamer, and a sweater that goes to my fingers.

Q: What’s your secret to juggling life and Nano at the same time? 

A: I always make sure to write extra when I have the time, because I know some days I just won’t have the energy -so the days that I do have the energy I make sure to put in extra work.

Q: Any advice for the troops?

A: I would say don’t be discouraged because someone else has written more than you! It’s all about you this month and challenging yourself.

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Thanks for letting me interview you, Aisha!

Want to learn more about Aisha? You can find her at the following links.

https://twitter.com/miss_hijabi

http://hijabionhilltop.tumblr.com/

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/aishamonet

Goal for today: 1,000.

Overall goal: 47,000.

Current word count: 47,537.

~Julia

NaNo Day 24: Movies I’m Excited to See

No NaNoing so far today, and I probably won’t work tonight, because I have a couple projects due tomorrow. But if all goes well, I’m hoping to write that last 2.5K tomorrow. (In which case I get to spend all of Thanksgiving break working on a term paper instead. Yayyy.)

This morning I got my stitches out, and while my dermatologist says the nerves in my arm won’t grow back for another six months to two years, I’m really glad we went through with the semi-emergency surgery, because the weird mole did turn out to be moderately dysplastic. (Read: pre-cancerous.) Which obviously isn’t a big deal (I end up with one basically every time I get a sunburn)–but, like, it COULD have been if we’d left it in. So take that as a warning, please. Get your skin checked every once in a while.

After that, my dad drove me back to school, and I’ve been floating between classes and group projects and trying not to get blown away by the fifty MPH gusts of wind ever since. And now I just got back from a screening for one of my film classes, which reminded me: There are a lot of movies coming out at the end of this year and during 2015 that look REALLY, REALLY GOOD. And I’m super excited for a lot of them.

So: Movies I’m Excited to See. November 2014 Edition.

This of course isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the ones that came to mind that have trailers out.

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Birdman

Release Date: November 14, 2014 (Out Now)

What It’s About: An actor, once famous for portraying an iconic superhero, tries to reclaim some of his lost fame by acting in a Broadway show.

Why I’m Excited: Besides the plot itself (which sounds awesome), I’m excited to see this because they shot it so that nearly the entire film looks like one, super long take. Like whoa.

The Theory of Everything

Release Date: November 26, 2014

What It’s About: It’s the love story of Stephen Hawking and his first wife.

Why I’m Excited: Stephen Hawking fascinates me and this just looks really beautifully done. And I’ve heard great things about Eddie Redmayne in this.

Into the Woods

Release Date: December 25, 2014

What It’s About: All your favorite fairytales interwoven into a complex, twisted, dark, mess of wonderful.

Why I’m Excited: Into the Woods is far from my favorite musical, but it’s still a really cool story, the majority of the cast should be awesome, and it has some great music. (Also some music that will be stuck in your head forever and always, if the fact I sometimes still find myself singing it after playing Little Red in a production of Into the Woods Jr. my junior year of high school is any indication.)

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Release Date: December 19, 2014

What It’s About: The magic in the tablet that makes everything in the Museum of Natural History come to life at night is running out, so the museum gang journey to London to figure out how to save themselves.

Why I’m Excited: This movie was not at all necessary to make, but it looks hilarious and, ugh, Robin Williams. (Disclaimer: I got free passes to an advance screening, so I’m possibly biased.)

Annie

Release Date: December 19, 2014

What It’s About: It’s Annie, updated to modern day circumstances with modern day sounds.

Why I’m Excited: I’m a tiny bit nervous for updating the music and storyline of such a classic, but this looks WAY too adorable for that to keep me from being excited for it.

Pitch Perfect 2

Release Date: May 15, 2015

What It’s About: The college a cappella competition goes international.

Why I’m Excited: Do I even need to say?

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Date: May 1, 2015

What It’s About: I’m honestly not even sure, except that it involves the Avengers and a creepy robot dude singing about puppets. (According to imdb: “When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to The Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans…”)

Why I’m Excited: I love the Marvel universe and this looks like it will be sort of like Avengers meets Winter Soldier. Which I am really, really okay with.

Tomorrowland

Release Date: May 22, 2015

What It’s About: George Clooney and Random Teenage Girl share memories of a mysterious place called Tomorrowland and try to figure out what it is. (So basically what everyone’s going to be doing until the movie comes out.)

Why I’m Excited: It’s based on part of Disney World and the editing in this trailer is beautiful.

Inside Out

Release Date: June 19, 2015

What It’s About: It’s the story of a little girl whose family moves and all the emotional upheaval caused by that–from the perspective of the emotions.

Why I’m Excited: Pixar. The cast. Also it vaguely reminds me Osmosis Jones, which was a highly underrated film (or at least seemed like one when I was six).

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So those are some of the movies I’m excited to see over the course of the next half a year or so. What movies are you excited for? Any really awesome ones I missed?

Goal for today: 1,000.

Overall goal: 46,000.

Current word count: 47,537.

~Julia

NaNo Day 23: Friendsgiving, Etc.

Today I was an extra in a friend’s student film, wrote 1.2K in NaNo, started work on another writing project, then helped host a Friendsgiving in my apartment. (So much delicious Thanksgiving food and amazing people and we sang along to Frozen.) Then my parents picked me up to take me home-home because I’M GETTING MY STITCHES OUT TOMORROW, and I got to talk with them for a while and cuddle my puppy. Also there was a nap at some point in there.

So, today was all over the place in the best way possible. And now I am very, very sleepy despite my nap, so I’m going to call it a night. (Sorry about that. I was going to do a bookshelf tour today, but, ya know, not exactly near my bookshelves to take pictures now.)

Hope you had a great Sunday. 🙂 Thanksgiving’s so close! (I can never get enough pumpkin pie.)

Goal for today: 2,000.

Overall goal: 45,000.

Current word count: 47,537.

~Julia

NaNo Day 22: Flow

I was going to do a room tour today, but my room is a mess and I’m exhausted, so it’s going to have to wait until post-November, likely. (I just finally partially unpacked yesterday after being home last weekend, if that gives any indication of the state of things.)

Due to said exhaustion, I’m not going to ramble on too much today. But what I will say is that today I had brunch with friends, and chiseled away a little at my never ending mountain of homework, and hosted a couple Ch1Con online events, and, oh yeah, WROTE 10,210 WORDS AND GOT AHEAD OF MY SCHEDULE.

It’s the most I’ve done in a single day this NaNoWriMo and I don’t even know how it happened. It’s not like I was working extra hard or anything. But I did finally reach that sweet spot in the novel when my love interest is actually around a lot and, like, bantering with my protagonist and making her fall in love with him, and I love that part.

The fact that it didn’t come until nearly forty thousand words into the novel proves that if I choose to revise this thing once it’s finished, I’m going to have a LOT of cutting and restructuring to do. But right now I don’t care. I’m just excited to watch their relationship come together.

Anyway, I’m going to go read or Netflix until I fall asleep (which probably will be soon).

It’s days like today that remind me why writing is a thing. When it just starts to flow, and it’s so easy, and maybe the writing isn’t amazing, or even good, but it’s there.

Less than 4K left in NaNoWriMo 2014. Let’s give these last nine days our all.

Goal for today: 2,000.

Overall goal: 43,000.

Current word count: 46,333.

~Julia

NaNo Day 21: Mockingjay – Part 1 Reaction

Spoiler-free part of my review:

So, I saw Mockingjay – Part 1 last night and it exceeded my expectations by far.

Of course, my expectations were low. I loooved Catching Fire–it would have taken a freaking incredible movie to top that–and after early reviews talked about how Mockingjay – Part 1 felt more like a prologue to Part 2 than an independent entry to the Hunger Games franchise, I went in expecting a pretty bad movie.

Mockingjay – Part 1 is not bad. At all.

It’s not a masterpiece by any means, of course. Part 1 has a lot of weaknesses. But I also really, really enjoyed it.

Movie (and book, if you are the one human being alive who still has not read the book nor at least been spoiled for it) spoilers below. (Additional Warning: This is about to be a very jumbled up mess of my jumbled up thoughts.)

We open a little earlier in the movie than in the book, in order to get some of the back story of what has happened since Catching Fire, which is a nice way of immediately grounding us in the world and situations at hand. Other significant changes I noticed include the addition of Effie as a key player (replacing Katniss’s prep team, along with inheriting some of Finnick and Plutarch’s lines), added scenes from Snow and Gale’s perspectives, added scenes from the district rebels’ perspectives, Katniss’s role within key conflicts became more active (especially in what became the climax for Part 1, when Gale and the others rescue the Victors) (thank God), and the disappearance of THE BEST SCENE IN THE BOOK (aka when Boggs makes the wonderful comment about seeing Finnick in his underwear).

While I loved having Effie back (Elizabeth Banks is incredible), some of her inclusion feels a little forced and I’m annoyed they cut the scene when Katniss finds her prep team basically being tortured in the bowels of Thirteen. It’s supposed to be the first time we realize quite how awful Thirteen can be, which is something we need to have in mind in Part 2. But hopefully they’ll have something to make up for that at the beginning of Part 2.

Making Katniss more involved in conflicts throughout the film was a much appreciated change from the book, in which people do things around her a lot while she sits there and cries. While that was probably a more realistic portrayal of her grief and PTSD, it’s important to remember that we aren’t talking about reality, here. We’re talking about a book/movie. And to keep the reader/viewer invested and on decent terms with your narrator, you kind of need the narrator to be involved in what’s going on. (Note: I love the Mockingjay book. I know I’m in the minority for saying that, and I don’t disagree that it has numerous shortcomings, but I still really enjoy it.)

Both Finnick and Annie seem like they’re a little, well, less broken here than in the book. Possibly all the characters do. But I like that. It feels like a more natural transition from where they were at the end of Catching Fire than the dramatic, sudden shift the books present. (Also, I reread up until the halfway point before seeing the movie, because that seemed like the most obvious point to split at–and yay, I was right–but then I made the mistake of finishing Mockingjay this morning and OMG I AM NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE SOME OF THESE DEATHS IN PART 2.)

(Also also, I hope they give more time to Finnick in the movie than the book, because Katniss doesn’t even register him as someone she knew well in the book when he dies, and THAT IS NOT OKAY. FINNICK IS YO’ FRIEND, MISS EVERDEEN. GIVE HIS SACRIFICING HIMSELF FOR YOU AT LEAST A MOMENT OF ATTENTION, PLEASE.)

Speaking of the translation from book to film: I really, really like where they chose to split the movies. It leaves enough plot for the second half to be more than just be an extended montage of the final battle while also giving Part 1 enough plot to work as a complete movie. While I agree that it does feel like it’s the prologue to the second half to an extent, the filmmakers have fit enough dramatic structure to make Part 1 work on its own.

The script’s decent. I love how many lines they took pretty much verbatim from the book, because wow, Suzanne Collins had some good stuff in this one.

The biggest things I took fault with were the inclusion of the random rebel fight scenes and the music.

The first because despite being beautifully shot and acted, they often felt random and we had no one specific to root for in them; they felt like these out-of-nowhere scenes spliced amongst the actual plot and characters. These scenes had SO MUCH POTENTIAL and they’ve proven they can do these sorts of inclusions well, like in The Hunger Games when we cut to District 11 after Rue’s death, but they were poorly handled.

The second because, like in Catching Fire, I felt like they reused too much music, to the point that a lot of it felt out of place and clunky and took me out of the scenes. (Also, because of the way they moved suddenly between silence and pathos-inducing sweeping score pieces, the music felt wayyy too manipulative to me.)

Those are ultimately minor things, though, and I’m yet to hear a single other person complain about any of the music in this franchise, so I think that’s just me.

Jennifer Lawrence is amazing, once again, as our Mockingjay. Holy crap. Can we cast her in every movie ever for the rest of time?

Josh Hutcherson does well with what they give him and I’m excited to see more hijacked Peeta in the next movie. I LOVED the way they did the scene when he attacks Katniss and him thrashing against the hospital bed with her watching at the end is haunting.

Liam Hemsworth has finally come into his own in this franchise. Maybe it’s because he finally had some real scenes to play with, probably it’s because he finally learned how to do an American accent, but wow. For the first time ever, I actually like Gale as a character. And I can’t wait to watch his relationship with Katniss fall apart.

Overall, the cast is great. I loved the new members and the returning actors all once again did great. They’re definitely the strongest point of the film.

Great use of special effects. District 12 was appropriately disturbing and really showed how the filmmakers are no longer scared of scaring off the audience, like in the shaky cam-obsessed scenes around the Cornucopia in the first film. The action sequences here are awesome and definitely show how much bigger in scale the conclusion to The Hunger Games is in comparison with the first couple. (Also how much more money they have. Lol at the first movie.)

WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHANNA? She’s in the movie for approximately five seconds, which makes zero sense after they used her in so much of the advertising. (Also, I wish some of the ads had been included in some way in the final film, because this movie had a brilliant marketing campaign.)

The propos kind of definitely made me laugh when they probably weren’t supposed to. I think it was the inclusion of Rue’s four note whistle. I’m just so used to it being used that way in the trailers for these films themselves that it seemed off to use within them. And now I’m not sure if we, as spectators, are supposed to be the Capitol or District 13.

Maybe this entire time we’ve been seeing the Hunger Games world from the perspective of the people in Thirteen–who in many ways resemble the Capitol citizens–and this has been the filmmakers’ big reveal. Or at the least, that’s who we are now.

Because no longer are we the complacent Capitol citizens who get amusement out of teenagers killing each other in the Arena; we’re rebels fighting alongside Katniss as she tries to figure out where she stands in a changing world.

Mockingjay – Part 1 is far from perfect, but it’s also far from bad. And I am both excited and terrified to see where they go from here.

Fire is catching, indeed.

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NaNo Update:

I’m supposed to write 7K today to catch up, but instead I finished rereading Mockingjay and caught up on things and did homework and talked to friends and now I’m about to spend my evening at a play. Oops?

Goal for today: 5,000 + Wednesday’s leftover 2,000 + Monday’s 2,000 + Sunday’s 1,000

Overall goal: 43,000.

Current word count: 36,123

~Julia