Sunday, April 26, 2015

More Music

Hey everyone! I don't really have time for a proper post, so I thought I'd share some more music that has inspired Esprit de la Rose and Hail Frost.

Esprit de la Rose

Come A Little Closer by Cage the Elephants

I'm not actually a huge fan of this band, but they had a free concert a little while back and my bestie and I went to go see it because why not? This was one of the few songs that actually grabbed my attention.

It fits Pepin PERFECTLY. The meaning is ambiguous, you can twist the words to mean almost anything you want them to mean. Everything is so utterly perfect. That's all I can really say. ;)

Beautiful Cruel World by Yoko Hikasa, English cover by Adriana Figuro (adrisaurus)

I'm a sucker for Japanese songs. They tend to have much more depth and ambiguity than mainstream American music. This one fits both Cecilia and the entire theme of Esprit de la Rose fairly well. Plus, it's just beautiful. I listened to it a lot while writing.

Hoist the Colours from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

The Pirates of the Caribbean films are some of my favorite movies of all time. I put some references to the Pirates films in Esprit. How could I not listen to this song while writing, even if it doesn't have anything to do with the actual story? It's so mysterious and... pirate-y. I love it.

Look At Me by TheOneOffAccount

(SPOILERS for Harry Potter in the song and in the below paragraph)

I mentioned the beach trip where I started writing Esprit in my last post. I read through the entire Harry Potter series for the first time during that same beach trip. Though I did not do it on purpose, I can definitely see how Harry Potter affected Esprit de la Rose, particularly the Severus Snape plot of Harry Potter. Though the song is romantic, the anguish and intensity reminds me starkly of one of the Esprit characters.

Hail Frost

I'm just now starting to write Hail Frost again! Yay! Here are some of the songs I've been listening to.

Crossing Fields by LiSa, English cover by Amanda Lee (LeeandLie)

Yeah, yeah, so I'm into anime now. As my brother said when he found out, "And I thought you couldn't get any nerdier." I take it as a compliment. Anyway, this song doesn't really fit Hail Frost- too romantic- but I find myself listening to it anyway. Maybe it's because Kirito, the protagonist of Sword Art Online, is very much like Hail. Maybe it's because a couple of lines resonate with Hail Frost, like "I was never right for a hero type of role" and "I will become your sword and shield this crossing field's the path that we select".

Mordred's Lullaby by Heather Dale

This song is so eerily beautiful. It makes me think of ancient times, myths, storms, and secrets. It definitely fits one of the Hail Frost arcs, which is no doubt why I've been listening to it so much.

May It Be by Enya

It's so peaceful, soothing, and nostalgic- something Hail Frost decidedly is not. I think Hail would like to be though. Poor guy never gets a break. Maybe that's why I keep listening to it- it helps me think of Hail as a person, of his hopes, his dreams, and his fears, rather than the mask of depth he uses to push people away.

Once Upon a Dream by Lana Del Rey

Hail would probably be a bit miffed if he knew I was listening to a fairy tale song to gather inspiration for his story, but it's true. There's a lot of mystery and magic surrounding Holdinus, something that goes much deeper than even the Leverage legacy. The song sounds both threatening and enticing, as if daring someone to come a little closer. It's almost like Holdinus singing to the Leverage. But I'll leave that for Hail Frost to explain. ;)

Hope you all have a fantastic week! I'll try to post again soon, but alas, I can make no promises. :(

What are songs that have inspired your recent writing? Love to hear 'em! I'm completely rubbish at finding new music, so I'd love any recommendations!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Exploring Esprit: First Inspirations

Esprit de la Rose started as something akin to therapy.

In March of 2014, my grandfather passed away. Of all of my relatives outside my direct family, he had been the most encouraging, the most talkative, and the most kind when it came to my writing. He read my little short stories and poems, even though they probably weren't very good. He read Ember Flame, even though he had never read nor watched anything resembling fantasy before. He was awesome.

I've never been one for overt displays of emotion. When I'm happy, I tend to smile a bit more. When I'm sad, I tend to be a bit more quiet. But that's it. I rarely cry, and when I do, it is never in front of anyone else. I managed to find time to be alone once during the week following his death, and I cried for about five minutes, then I wiped my face and it was over. I didn't cry again.

After we came back from the funeral, I immediately dove into studying for finals, the ACT and SAT, and AP English. I thought about Grandad a bit, and I was sad, but it never really hurt that much. In the back of my mind, it bothered me that I wasn't hurting a bit more. I felt like something was wrong, but I was too busy to really think about it.

I did well on all of my tests. Then it was summer, and I tried to work on Hail Frost.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing happened. I've had writer's block before, and the best solution is just to push through it and keep writing. It didn't work. I literally could not write. I could not remember my plot. I could not make my words form sentences. My characters weren't talking. It was like they were grieving because I was too busy to grieve. It was scary.

During the summer, we took a two week vacation to Daytona Beach in Florida. I was sure that the change in scenery would jumpstart Hail Frost. I was excited, and after a long day of playing with my siblings on the beach, feeling tired and happy and smelling like ocean, I flopped down onto my bed and opened my laptop. I opened Hail Frost... and stared at the blinking cursor.


I was upset, and I nearly cried, but I shared a room with my sisters so I didn't. Instead, I logged into the slow wi-fi and clicked aimlessly through the blogs I followed, feeling jealous at the writing that seemed to come so easily for them. One of the blogs, I don't remember which, had a post about the author's excitement for the new Five Enchanted Roses contest.

I perked up a bit. Oh yeah, that.

I had followed the news about the Five Glass Slippers contest, though I hadn't entered. I had already read the collection earlier that summer, and absolutely LOVED it. I had been giddy when I had seen that the next contest would be about Beauty and the Beast, my favorite fairy tale and Disney movie. I had considered entering, but decided I had too much work to do with Hail Frost.

Except that nothing was working.

I allowed myself a moment of fanciful consideration. If, just if, I entered the contest, what would I write about?

The answer came immediately. Pirates.

The first novel I had ever written had been a pirate adventure. I was spending two glorious weeks at a picturesque beach. My favorite childhood books were Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Swiss Family Robinson, Isle of Swords, and The Blood Ship. Heck, my first crush had been Captain Jack Sparrow.

Okay, brain, but how could one possibly write a Beauty and the Beast story with pirates?

I didn't expect an answer. If my brain could not even write a novel that had been completely outlined and obsessed over for years, how could it help me with this?

I instantly had the plot. I instantly had the characters. I instantly had the theme.

I started scribbling. Then I outlined. And then I started writing.

The writing came easily, and it was fun. Esprit de la Rose was an exciting, swashbuckling, hair-raising writing adventure. I hope some of my feelings while simply writing the story transferred into the story itself. Some of the themes were a bit hard for me to write, since I was making the villains of the story reflections of how I used to be, and it made me a little sad, because this was the first story Grandad wouldn't have his ear talked off about. But it was nice to write it and think about Grandad while writing it. I feel like the theme expresses who he was as a person better than any dedication or obituary could. He was selfless and adventurous and filled with grace, seeing the roses in people when it would be so much easier to only see the thorns. He even had a piece of paper stuck to his fridge that said "You can complain because the rosebush has thorns, or you can rejoice because the thornbush has roses". He obviously took that message to heart.

There are lots of other contributing factors that went into the making of Esprit, but the story would not have even existed were it not for Grandad and grace.

I hope all of you have as much fun reading Esprit de la Rose as I did writing it! Your support means so much to me. Thank you!

You might have already seen this floating about the Internet, but here is the title page for Esprit de la Rose!

Isn't it amazing? I love all the little details, like the fog, the still water, and the mysterious mermaid off to the side. It definitely captures the feel of the story. I think the artist did a wonderful job!

Be sure to check out the other title pages!

Wither by Savannah Jezowski

Stone Curse by Jenelle Schmidt

The Wulver's Rose by Hayden Wand

Thanks for being awesome, guys! ^_^

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What I'm Up To

Hey y'all! I'm sorry it has been so quiet in the Pink Cave recently. This is just a quick blog post to say what I've been up to and to share some exciting news at the end!

I sent in Esprit de la Rose! Yep, I finally finished the edits and I sent the manuscript back to Rooglewood. I hope they like it!

Senioritis. I used to subconsciously disregard senioritis. I mean, surely it is not an actual thing, right? Your brain doesn't just decide to stop with school. Stress can't do that, right? Yes. Yes it can. I have become so sick of my schoolwork that I have decided to finish most of my remaining classes this week. I've been holed up in my room for hours on end doing nothing but studying ever since I sent Esprit back. I finished my government class, I'm almost finished with my marketing class, and then I just have to finish some math and my art history class. After that...

I'm going to spend hours in my room holed up alone writing Hail Frost!!! I am so crazy excited about finally getting to write it again! It's making me giddy. I can't wait.

I started a semi-nannying job. I'm watching my cousins, and let me tell ya, they are the best bunch of kids in existence! I absolutely love it! But it is one of the reasons I have not been blogging as much.

So that's what I've been up to! Now... for the exciting news...

I have the title page for Esprit de la Rose!!! It is absolutely gorgeous and fits the story perfectly! I will be revealing it on Friday, along with the writing journey Esprit took me on last summer. :)

Sorry for the lack of blogging! Once I finish all my school, I'm going to re-start my Myers-Briggs posts as well.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Maze Runner

I love novels written for middle-schoolers. I especially love novels for middle-schoolers when they have deep themes, thought-provoking elements, and are still appropriate for the age range.

The Maze Runner has deep themes. It has thought-provoking elements. And it is appropriate for middle-schoolers.

Unfortunately, I still have very mixed feelings about this book.

James Dashner has created an incredibly compelling and fascinating world in the Maze- a freak arena crawling with questions and monsters, inhabited by a group of teenage boys constantly teetering on the brink of despair. However, the world outside of the Maze, and the reason for the Maze, are both so silly it is nearly impossible to suspend my disbelief. Perhaps the world and the reason are not any sillier than an all-powerful Capitol that has forced teens to fight to the death for 75 years surviving with no real repercussions. But, since both the world and the reason for the Maze are introduced at the END of a novel that had theretofore been fairly realistic and interesting, it felt ridiculous.

The characters themselves were, all of them, shallow and bland. The story would have been much more poignant and interesting had the characters possessed depth. The two characters that I felt had the possibility of being deeper- Gally and Minho- were never utilized.

The plot within the Maze was exciting, fast-paced, and quite surprising and clever. However, the climax of the novel was, again, silly, so it tarnished some of the shine the plot would have otherwise had.

All in all, The Maze Runner feels like just another fairly average dystopian. It's a bit disappointing, because the novel had the potential to be truly mind-blowing. It just never utilized that potential.

3 out of 5 stars.