Monday, June 29, 2015

Ring Around the Rose: Stories and Pixar

We've got two questions again for this week's Ring Around the Rose! Yay!

What is the first story you ever wrote?

I wrote my first story when I was twelve years old. I was working through a high school curriculum called Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings. One of the sections explored the King Arthur legends and the effects it had upon Tolkien and his works. The main assignment was to select or invent a knight of the round table, and then write a story about him.

Before this, my mom had encouraged me to try writing. I was too scared to try it. I have always loved to read, and I felt that if my story was not instantly as good as all of the books I had read then I would not be a good writer. Basically, I thought books were the only things you could write and I knew I could not write a book. I had no idea short stories even existed until the knight of the round table assignment.

Short stories did not sound so bad.

The first character I ever invented was a sixteen-year old hothead named Javen. Javen was the squire of one of the knights, desperate to prove himself and become a knight like his mentor. When an enormous angry crow attacks Camelot and injures Javen's mentor, Javen leaps at the chance to finally gain King Arthur's attention. He would slay the beast and return to the castle with it's head!

Aaand, that's about all of the plotting I put into the story. I decided I would work out the ending as I wrote.

Javen ended up taking a wrong turn, falling into an oil well (...the heck???), fighting a troll, coming out of the tunnel an inconceivable distance from Camelot (maaaagic!),  taking a ship back to Camelot, getting shipwrecked on an island where three spunky princesses were being held captive, capturing a griffin and flying to Camelot with the princesses, hiking to the castle, finding the crow (who turned out to be Morgan le Fay), completely and utterly fails in his attempt to kill the beast (Katrina, the princess, kills it because girl power, duh), and then returns to Camelot where he and Katrina are knighted.

It was silly. It was inconsistent. It was bad.

It was one of the most fun, most memorable, most awesome 23,000 words worth of time spent at a computer.

It's funny thinking about this story, actually, because I can see the barest hint of the foundation of my writing voice. Thus far, all of the main characters in my stories- Javen, Julia, Ember, Cecilia, and Hail- are trying to prove something to someone. I have always loved plot twists that stem from the world-building, particularly the magic part of the world-building. I always write headstrong or forceful female characters.

A lot of writers say they look back and cringe at their old writing. Sure, there's a bit of that for me, but my old writing mostly just makes me smile.


And now for something completely different! (though just as awesome!)

Which Pixar movie is your favorite and why?

Monsters Inc. I had trouble deciding between Monsters Inc. and Monsters University, but in the end, the nostalgia factor won out.

My favorite movies are the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They have been my favorite movies ever since I was ten years old. But before I saw the trilogy, my favorite movie had been Monsters Inc..

Unlike many of my friends at the time, I loved the idea of monsters in my closet. I loved the thought that an entirely different world lived and thrived just beyond the shadow of my door. Even though I couldn't see it, even though I couldn't go to it, I loved the idea that it could be there. And maybe, just maybe, I could stumble into it.

I loved the world itself. I loved how much it felt like my world, but with some very drastic differences as well. It made me realize, as a kid, that everybody is the same. We just might have some little differences that lead to bigger differences.

I loved the story. I loved the humor. I loved Sully, Mike, and Boo. I loved the colors and designs of the monsters. I just loved it.

While I have enjoyed most of the other Pixar movies, none of them came close to my love for Monsters Inc. That is, until Monsters University.

I was extremely skeptical when this one came out. Actually, I didn't like the idea of seeing a movie mess with Mike and Sully. I just didn't want them to ruin it.

They didn't. Monsters University is not only an excellent and heart-wrenching movie in it's own right, but it also adds so much to the world and story of Monsters Inc.. The friendship between Mike and Sully, Randall's backstory, Sully's laid-backness, Mike's high-strungness. It evens makes the ending of MI more meaningful- that Mike is now the one to go into the rooms and get the energy. It makes me a bit sad how underrated MU is.

While we're on the topic of Pixar...

GO SEE INSIDE OUT! Seriously. It's amazing and adorable and awesome. Go see it.

So what about you? What was the first story you ever wrote? Which Pixar movie is your favorite and why? I'd love to know!

If you're interested in reading about other authors and writing and stories and things, check out these posts!

Savannah at Savannah Jay's Workshop
Jenelle at Jenelle Schmidt
Dorian at Dorian Writes
Hayden at The Story Girl
Grace at A Live Masterpiece
Heidi at Along the Brandywine

Be sure to check out Savannah's blog tomorrow to find out what her first story was about, and which Pixar movie is her favorite!



    ahem. I may love Monsters Inc. a little too much, haha. And the sequel is pretty awesome, too. :)

    1. OH MY GOODNESS, ARE YOU SERIOUS??? I have never met ANYONE else who's favorite Pixar is Monsters Inc.! *sends virtual high five and hug*

    2. I know! I don't understand why it's not more popular. :/

  2. :) my old stories make me cringe a little... but only because I know that nobody else would appreciate them. When thinking about them just for ME, they make me smile, because every one of them was a stepping stone to the author I am today, to the person I am today. I love them dearly... I just don't want them to be mocked by anyone else.

    I love Pixar. That was a very very difficult question. The Monsters movies are DEFINITELY up there, but my favorite is, and shall remain.....

    Psych! :)

    You'll just have to wait until Wednesday to find out!

    *cue evil laughter*

  3. It was difficult for me to choose between the Toy Story movies and Monsters Inc, but in the end Toy Story won out. Monsters Inc is a close second however, it is so adorable, and I think Sully would be the Pixar character I would be most eager to hug (he just looks like a good hugger).

    1. My post.

  4. Yes, I don't really cringe when looking at my early writing either.... I do end up grinning sometimes. :)

    And my answers here! --