Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kara Peterson

I know for the other's I sort of wrote my own description of their story process and all of that, but with Kara I got a much different answer to "what was your inspiration". I was given a very long and very insightful paragraph that described her reasons for writing her novel "A Different Kind". When asked "What was your inspiration?", Kara provided me with this answer....

"I was first inspired to write this story in my junior year of high school. I was sitting in my Forensic Science class and we were learning about the bruising patterns caused during a car accident. We discussed how the car would pull the weight of its passengers in certain directions and an idea came into my head. I began writing a car crash scene soon after, which set up the basic foundation of my story. It has evolved and changed in the 5 years since I began, and has evolved more into a story about fitting into the kinds of molds we set for ourselves and other people, and the pressure we feel to fit into them. I also was inspired by John Green’s (author of Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, The Fault in our stars) writing. In interviews and online forums, he has discussed his perspective on YA writing and the male obsession with the “manic pixie girl,” as he referrers to the crazy dream girl of most male geared fiction. I wanted to write a story that wasn’t centered on a love story per-se. I wanted to write something that battled the “boy obsessed,” creepy stalker vibe books, like Twilight, promote. I wanted to write a strong female character that is just an everyday kind of person.

As Kara said everything I would have needed too, I have pasted her work below. The writing speaks for itself in comparison to the inspiration and story behind it."

The main character, Aubrey, is at a party, getting very inebriated. She enters a bathroom, after an encounter with a boy, Mark whom she finds repulsive.
A knock on the door made me jump. The knob turned and Mark poked his head in. He smiled and slithered into the room, his size taking up much of whatever space remained in the bathroom. He closed the door behind him and I made my way back over to the toilet. The bathtub was right next to it so I opted to sit on the floor, with my back against the side of the tub. Mark came and sat down across from me. He picked up the bottle from the floor, unscrewed the cap and took a swig. He passed the bottle to me and I looked at it for a moment before taking a long sip, letting go of any reservations I had been having in the short time since he entered the room. 
We passed the bottle back and forth a few more times before I felt my head get heavy and I slumped closer to the floor. Eventually Mark was leaning over me, inches from my face. He began to kiss me and, at first, I began to pull back. He looked me in the eye as I took the final pull from the bottle before letting it slip from my hand and he leaned in again to kiss me. This time I let him and began kissing him back as I slid to the floor, his weight shifting above me. I ignored the little part of my brain that was still working, which blanched at the thought of his lips on mine, as I felt his weight push on top of me. I turned my head, breaking the kiss, trying to catch my breath so I could think clearly. 
Stop, my thoughts screaming the word that my mouth was unable to form; a small moan of disapproval was all I could muster, as his mouth found my neck. I felt his hand slide up my bare side and under my shirt. His hand was cold and I gasped. My hands found his chest and I pushed as hard as I could, my arms feeling as if they were no longer attached, my muscles felt like Jell-O.  My heart was pounding and I tried to squirm out from beneath him, but he was too heavy, too strong, and I had no control over my limbs, which seemed to be working on a delay.
Suddenly his hand was on the button of my jean shorts when the door to the bathroom burst open. In the doorway stood a boy, with brown hair, in a black t-shirt. Mark stopped kissing me and looked at the boy, who was just staring, this odd sadness in his eyes. I wondered briefly if that was how my eyes looked to other people. Almost desperate, like he’d been betrayed; like a dog who’d been kicked as a puppy, who couldn’t believe someone could be so cruel.
"Can I help you with something, buddy?" Mark said, as he rolled off me slightly to get a better look at the boy in the doorway. I took a deep breath, gasping for air now that I had been relieved of his weight. Behind him I saw the couple from earlier, the red-headed girl and the boy with dark hair. The boy in the doorway said nothing as he turned to look at Mark. I felt a tension in the air and I got a pang in my stomach. My heart pounded in my ears and I tried to focus on the other people in the small room as it swayed and spun around me. I looked from Mark to the boy, wondering if they were just going to stare at each other forever when suddenly Mark got up and left the room. 
The boy turned from me and walked down the hallway while the red-head and her boyfriend stared after him. I let my head fall back to the ground as the tension slipped away. I don't know how long I laid there, but the red head eventually entered the room and pulled me to my feet. She put my arm around her shoulder and guided me back to the hall. When we reached him, the dark haired boy put my other arm around him and they brought me through the house and out to the front yard. We approached a black SUV that had the engine running. The boy chuckled as he spoke: 
"You'd better do it here ‘cause I will never forgive you if you do it in my truck." 
I barely had time to question what he meant before I turned my head, and puked in the bushes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Christina Delloso

Now, out of the three, Christina is by far the most unique. she's also one who I don't know if you'd consider what she did fiction. At least not for the purposes of this class. Instead of writing a children's book or a novel, as the other two mentioned here are, Christina took her love for writing and storytelling and her love for animation and put them together to create her animated short: “Take Out The Trash”. The short is about a boy who is told by his mother to take the trash out on a winter day. Instead, he decides to try and make his dog take out the trash for him. The short is cute, however, due to the fact that it is currently being graded as a school project, I could not get a link to the actual short. Christina was able to get me a few stills however, and they are below. If at any point I can get access to the film, i'll be sure to post it here!!

Preforming and Literary Arts Thesis Presentations

For class, we had to go to a reading of Fiction of some sort. I decided that I would go to the Honor's College Preforming and Literary Arts Thesis Presentations. For this track in the Honors Program, students get to write novels and short stories and poems and scripts that are at least 50 pages in length. This track is run by Dr. Phillip Cioffari, who is a published author, play wright, and screen writer. He is the professor that guides the student's work and mentors them throughout the writing process in hopes to have them finish, and publish, a work upon graduating.

The student's I chose to blog about are Ruti Frankel, Catherine Matteucci, Kara Peterson, and Christina Dellosso. I chose these four for two reasons...

1) I believe that their projects show creativity and the merits and beauty of fiction
2) These four are friends of mine who dedicated countless hours and passion to there projects and I feel      that each of their dedication to their writing is an example to be followed. Also, I know the story behind each story.

For the sake of length, each of the four will get their own blog, which will be linked below....

Catie Matteucci

Ruti Frankel

Christina Delloso

Kara Peterson

Catherine Matteucci:

Catherine "Catie" Matteucci decided to write a children's book titled "Charlie’s Nightmare" for her Honor's Thesis. When she was a little girl, her brother and her had a stuffed monkey and a stuffed tiger and used to write stories about their adventures. One such adventure revolved around the idea that when the two children slept, their stuffed animals went into their dreams and protected them. This is the story that Catie used to inspired her now published and soon to be sold on Amazon children's book.

Catie spent hours sitting in her room and in the studio sketching and drawing and, most importantly, taking a story that held the key to her childhood and getting it down on paper. Below is a sample page and illustration from Catie's work.

Ruti Frankel:

Ruti Frankel has always been interested in writing. It interested her beyond belief that stories could yield such emotions from readers and she yearned to make a story of her own one day. In high school she was  a writer, but had never found her story. she came up with ides and threw them around, but she didn't come up with the story that she felt she needed. When she found the William Paterson Honors College's Preforming and Literary Arts thesis program, she felt she found where she would get to that story. Yeah, it was a long road of not knowing and not having that story, but then one day she started writing and and "The Unveiling
" came out of the end of her pen (more likely her keyboard considering not many people still write by hand). 

"The Unveiling" is a story that Ruti says takes her love for fantasy and places she wishes she could visit and puts them to life. It is currently unfinished, but being worked on by Ruti and she can't wait to finish it. Below is a short excerpt. 

“I assure you, kind sir,” the drunk, having trouble keeping his eyes open, began in a slow whisper, causing Casmir to strain to hear, “no damage will transpire to your little tavern. You need not worry. This will be a clean fight that will last all of two minutes and will end with my challenger on the floor – by that very table. His faithful companions who offer service to help will ultimately fail, as all foolish enough to join will land hurt, if not unconscious. I will try my best to keep the blood at bay, but I do promise, nothing will break.

“So I now ask you, are you quite certain, sir, that you wish to not permit this inevitable fight to occur? Take note that your answer could lead to an unpleasant end for you, as well.”

Blog 8: On Revision

Revision. Dear lord, I hate the process of revision. I've just never liked taking something I felt was right, sitting down, and taking stuff out. Or changing things. Or looking for grammar and spelling errors. I'm also not very good at it, and a personal fault if mine is my hatred of things I'm not very good at. Math? I don't like it. Languages? Noooope. Revision? double nope.

despite this, I can understand why, especially this semester, it was so important. When writing a longer piece, it became necessary to revise. I would get so lost in the story and the process that i'd sometimes loose sight of things that were important. Going back, reading over, and changing things is necessary when writing a long story, any story really. This class helped me realize the importance of revision.

In terms of the actual process I use, it's a little unconventional. I read over it myself, change things and use the in class workshops as a guideline to lead the way, but on top of everything I use my roommate. My roommate, Rachael, is interested in one day becoming an editor. Because of that, we made an agreement that when I right, she reads it. She's the first one to see it and often she's the only one besides the teacher. She offers me grammar advice and even helps to fix the story a bit. She is probably my strongest revision technique. Without her, i'd be a mess of run on sentences.

Because i'm not the best at explaining revision, i decided to link two sites below to really help someone understand revision! One of them is a blog post on revision, the other is a blog devoted to it.

Revision Warriors

Essential Writing Skills: Editing and Revision

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Blog 7: Writing & Workshopping versus Blogging & Publishing

~I Apologize Now Because This One Is Going To Be A Long One~

This blog has to be about the processes of writing and workshopping versus blogging and publishing. By this, I mean that I am going to contrast my semester's experiences of writing and helping others write through in class workshops and the process of writing this blog and posting work online.

Now, I'm a slightly different case than some of my classmates when it comes to the publishing side. I have had work posted online for a few years now on a website known as Figment. I have also had a writing blog where I take requests and write anything from short stories to fanfictions based on those requests. I haven't been very active on these sites since I started this scholastic year as my load has been very large. But I have always loved the art of blogging and/or publishing my work. For me, it is actually easier to get outside criticism from anyone and everyone on the internet than my peers in group workshops! There is just something so alluring about those little user icons giving me critiques!

In regards to the writing and workshopping side within the classroom and off the web, I personally love writing in script. I can't get enough of taking out a notebook and pen that will probably smear all over my knuckles and hand and just sitting there and writing. Especially over the summer! As a lifeguard of three years now, I find that over the summer I have a lot of time where I am cut off from technology and have nothing my imagination and a notebook or book to entertain me. This is when I get the most writing done. Or at least the most idea building. Over the semester I try and replicate this feel by leaving my phone and laptop behind and bringing a notebook with me whenever I am going to just sit by myself and collect my thoughts. Even just writing little one liners or thoughts down helps generate that feeling of being a part of my own mind enough to create something new and original.

In truth, however, I hate in person workshops. I feel that my ideas are never able to be articulated and shared when i am critiquing others and I often get nervous and anxious when my own writing will be looked over by a number of people who know my name and face and, to a point, my life. It gets rid of the disconnect I had grown so comfortable with while posting my work online for such a long time. It's also a lot harder to correct my spelling or very clearly spell out my thoughts when I am speaking aloud and not typing on my laptop.

In truth, if I had to chose between the two different sides of this blog, I'd have to go with writing and workshopping. No matter how much sitting in front of 16 of my peers and reading aloud scares me, I'd much rather hand write something, put it into a word document, and then get the critiques of people I know I can trust. People I know will be brutally honest with me. People who aren't afraid to be a little mean in order to give the best critique because they expect the same treatment in return. It's a different experience sitting in front of the class and being workshopped, but to a point it is better. It gives you that intimacy you need to truly get a good critique. Yeah, it's scary, but so are a lot of other things about writing. That doesn't result in a world is suddenly devoid of fiction so why should workshopping scare people away from writing classes and sharing their writing with peers?

Despite not having posted much in a while or really been a part of the community, I thought I'd share my profile from I plan on being more active come the summer and might even post some of my work from this semester!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Point of View Exercise

So, in class we had to take a story beginning and re-write it using a variety of points of view to sort of take us further into editing and revising and show us what we could do to change up our writing. This activity helped me discover the new way I wanted to write my story, "The Montgomery Chronicles", which I had been having trouble expand. I think that each POV (First reliable, First unreliable, Third omniscient, Third close, Dialogue only, and other) really has it's own strengths, but the one I found I favored has to be Third Person Close. I enjoy the intimacy it gives you with a character, and by switching character POVs every chapter, you could really develop a character well using this POV method. The one I disliked most was First Person Unreliable. I don't know why, but I have trouble making my character's in the first chapter or so of this story unreliable. I solved this by, instead, choosing a slightly different part of the beginning that features an antagonist and writing from his perspective, allowing me a conduit for the unreliability.

Below is my favorite POV snippet, Third Person Close.

I hope you enjoy!

"Sarafina stepped out of the shower, her hands running through her hair before moving to in front of the mirror. Her right hand flounced her hair forward over her shoulder as her left hand lifted her clumpy glasses to her pale face. “This is alright…” she thought as she examined herself, her hands running down her naked side and legs; her lips turning down at any jiggle.
            She grabbed a bra and underwear and slid them on before grabbing her hair dryer and trying to tame her blondish-gray waves. “My hair always looks so blah” she thought as she pulled and worked one inch pieces, “How the hell did it get this long?
            Once she was pleased with how her hair fell, Sarafina took her glasses off and began to apply a light coat of make-up. She never put too much on, just enough to hide her occasional acne and take away the shadows her glasses cast on her cadet blue eyes." 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blog #6: The Pink Institution

There is a lot of interesting writing eing published recently. It's like we, as a society of writers, have decided that it's time to take that plain old format of paragraphs on a page from start to end of a book and throw it out the window. No book that i've read recently shows this change in style than Selah Saterstrom's "The Pink Institution". Styled like it's a play or show, with an opening act and the sections of the book set up as if parts of a preformance, Pink Instution starts it's unique aura right off with the table of contents. It contains pictures, pages where all the words have huge gaps in between them and seem to not always flow, program guides from The Confederate Ball of 1938, and what could loosely be considered annoatated lists. It goes even deeper then formatting, however, as once you start reading you realize that Satersstrom not only changed from the conventional format, but also how a book is written. The story feels disjuncted and confusing at first. Clips of a person's life that turn into clips of a family's life that extends into an umbrella effect of lists and details that give you the entire lives and personalities of the people involved in the story. No character is left unexplored and at the end of the book, it feels like you have grown to know each and everyone of th characters.

At risk of spoilers I wont delve into the plot all too much (which I wouldn't normally do as this is an assignment but my god please go read this book!), but all I can say is that you get the gritty and realistic life stories of a set of almost absurdly unfortunate people. Saterstrom gives up this wave of emotion that I think can only be obtained through the unqiue style that Straterstrom has employed.

This book is so different from anything I have ever read that a comparison between two is almost impossible. It doesn't flow normally, it doesn't develop characters normally, it doesn't really do anything normally at all. The only book that even comes close in my mind is "The Great Gatsby", and purely from a perspective part. We see this story through the storytelling mind of a character that, despite being involved, feels almost outside and thirdperson to the entire story. Other than this comparison, I have no clue how to compare such a unique and extraordinarily new book to any other.

All in all, go read this book! It's a quick read that I personally couldn't put down.
You can find it here:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog #5: A Literary Website

For this blog, we were instructed to pick a literary blog/website and blog a bit about it. I chose to do my short presentation/blog on, a writing community created by John and Hank Green (also known as the Vlogbrothers on Youtube). Now, this website isn't exactly a writing blog (it does, however feature a blog called the Dailyfig which posts about writing contests and the winners of those contests as well as books to check out and the sorts), but it is a community that fosters and shares creativity. I personally love Figment as it provides a way for you to get your own writing out there, to look at other's writing, and to actually critique and comment on that writing. It allows you to learn about writers on the internet who are just starting or writers who have been writing forever but are utilizing this forum to meet and share with other writers. I have been able to grow confident in sharing my work and even grow as a writer due to the communication and critique I have gotten from using this website. On top of all that, it allows you to gain recognition for your writing through contests.

I love this website and I think that any writer should make an account and start to share their writing! It's an amazing experience and it truly makes you more confident about your writing in the long run.