Mystery Blogger Award!!!!!

The lovely Tom Burton has nominated me for a Mystery Blogger Award!

What’s that, you ask?

“An award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.” — Okoto Enigma

Essentially: it’s a wonderfully kind compliment. A true honor to receive.

Thank you Tom!!!!

Now, there are some rules to the award. Which, usually, rules make me go “bleh!” but these rules aren’t nearly as painful as most rules.

They are as follows:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

One through four are already taken care of.

See! Not so bad, right?

Pretty simple rules.

Though I will say that I’m going to skip 6-8. Mostly because I don’t know that many bloggers.

But, I have no problem continuing with the rest of the rules!

Three things about me:

1. I absolutely love steak. Like, love love love steak. Medium rare is my style, and I love caramelized onions as a topping (or grilled! I also love onions).

2. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but: my family owns goats! Four, at the moment. My favorite being the baby of our herd. She’s very sweet and lovable. She was born right before winter set in, which means that she got held a lot when she was a baby. She’s the cuddliest goat we have. An absolute lover, and a cutie to boot.

3. I’m a rollercoaster fanatic. I grew up in Florida and we lived only about an hour and a half away from Busch Gardens in Tampa, and about three hours from Disney/Universal Studios (I-4 willing, that is). My mom and dad both love rollercoasters too, so they were more than happy to take us when we had the money. In fact, every year for my mom’s birthday, I would pay for three or four of us to go to Universal for a weekend. It was always a fun time with the family, plus I loved showing off my shootin’ skills in the MIB Alien Attack ride. I always get the high score 🙂

Five questions from Tom:

1. What makes you happiest about your blog? 

I would say that I really enjoy when I make something and someone goes “wow! This was great! This inspired me/touched me/made me realize ___!” That’s usually my goal as a writer. I like writing about things that seem like they matter, and I definitely write about things that matter to me. So, when someone communicates that they resonate with a story I wrote, it makes me downright giddy. When that happens, I definitely feel like I’m succeeding in my writing. It makes my day!

2. What motivates you to continue blogging?

The rush of posting a story that I resonate with.

Some days, I write just because I need the practice. But, originally, this blog started as a way to de-clutter my mind and help me sort my feelings (truth be told, I am not very skilled at either of those things on my own/without the proper tools, lol). And, when I post a story that really helps me do that, I feel a weight lifted. Like I’ve truly done something to lighten the burden on my mind. It’s self-help, I guess, or self-therapy. A way to detox, and, when I find the exact right story my mind is looking to release, it feels great.

3. Favorite blogging/writing advice?

Do it your way.

A lot of time, grammar rules get in the way of your emotional flow. We don’t talk grammatically correct, so, often times, when you write like a grammar nazi, you don’t evoke any emotion. Or, you don’t evoke the right emotion, or, perhaps, you’re just not evoking to the level you want to. Grammar is important, and your sentences have to be understandable, but, at the same time, don’t sacrifice your emotional flow for the sake of grammar. Like I said, we don’t often speak to one another in strict grammar rules. So then, why should we write creative stories within the confines of those rules?

I read a book recently that was part of a series and, in this particular book, the author killed off one of my favorite characters. This was the third book of the series, and the character she killed off had been around since Book One, and I absolutely loved this character. But, when the moment came:

I felt nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Nothing!

Looking at the writing, I realized it was the grammar rules that kept the author from being able to bust out of the robotics of writing and punch me in the gut with the loss. It made me so sad that the author couldn’t accurately express the sadness of the main character—the sadness I was supposed to share in, because I’m the reader—due to grammar. It felt so disingenuous when the main character talked about their sadness, because it was so logically confined. Constructed so carefully in the midst of this unexpected loss of her friend.

And that’s why it felt so limp.

Emotions aren’t logical people!!! They’re wild horses that you suddenly find yourself trying to tame!! They toss you and turn you and buck you a few times before you finally get yourself settled!!! Wild emotions aren’t meant to be tamed by rules!!! Especially not grammar rules!! They’re meant to be strung together like a train wreck.

Very few people experience loss and think so logically while sobbing. Loss makes your mind wild with grief, regret, disbelieve—and a million other things. When people experience loss, they don’t generally express themselves with articulate inner musings. Hell, I remember when I lost my best friend my brain went completely blank, and then it was a train wreck mishmash of random words, sobs, and doing my damndest to get myself to form one coherent thought or sentence. And, factually speaking, I’m not an outwardly emotional person, nor am I an inwardly emotional person. So, the fact that that’s how I responded says a lot about loss and its impact.

THAT’S how most people respond. So, if your character doesn’t respond the same way, or in a way that’s similar, you’re going to loose your reader. Emotions and compassion and identifying with characters is what keeps a reader engaged. If your story doesn’t properly sell the emotions in the book, your readers will lose interest.

I digress, but, that’s the general gist. My main point is:

If you find that grammar is messing with the emotional flow, then, break the rules. Do it your way to get the kind of response you want. That’s the beauty of English, and the essence of writing: communicating effectively. Including emotions.

4. Do you have a favorite book, film, or TV series that you never get tired of?

For books, I’d say its the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater, or An Inheritance of Ash by Leah Bobbit. I love all of those books very dearly.

For movies, I’d say The Lion King or A Nightmare Before Christmas. I’ve always enjoyed them, and the music in those movies is stellar.

As for TV series… well, I don’t watch much TV. I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer pretty well though (depending on which season we’re talking about) and I definitely don’t tire of My Hero Academia (the themes in that show are incredible, lots of great philosophy to explore).

5. Celebrate a flaw of yours; is there a particular imperfection that you’ve accepted, embraced and turned into a personal strength?

I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but, I have PTSD which makes me very paranoid about my surroundings. Actually, it makes me paranoid in general, lol (though, because of what I’ve been through, I definitely see it as justified. And, if I told the whole story, you’d probably catch some of my paranoia too).

That said, it used to be a weakness of mine. I always thought that everyone was out to get me. That no one could be trusted. My survival instincts were always in overdrive, and I was constantly on the watch for possible attack (which, you still shouldn’t startle me when I’m tired. That’s all I’ll say on that).

Over the years though, some of that has faded. After moving to the midwest, I realized that strangers can talk to you in a grocery store and not have an ulterior motive. Just because someone is asking you how you like your car doesn’t mean they’re fixing to steal it. People can approach you and have no intention of doing you harm. They really might just be trying to find the nearest gas station.

Anyway, I digress.

My main point was that: my PTSD used to keep me from doing things (I won’t lie, sometimes, it still does) but, my survival instincts haven given me a great attention to detail, which generally comes in handy.

For instance, if something is off in a room—if a room doesn’t look how it usually does—I notice. If there’s something strange sitting on my desk, or my boss’s desk or my mom’s desk, I’ll make a mental note of it out of instinct. There have been plenty of times when someone is looking for something and I randomly know where it’s at because my brain automatically picks up on those strange types of things. Though, honestly, that’s just one example of my developed instincts’ uses.

Over the years, my Survival Brain (as I sometimes call it) has developed into something really, extremely useful, rather than holding me down in some pit of fear—like some people’s Survival Brains do. Granted, PTSD is never fun, and I never know what will trigger me or where, but, it has taught me some very important things, and it’s given me an excellent amount of perseverance as well as some good survival instincts.

Still wouldn’t recommend PTSD to anyone though.

As per the rules I’m following (sorry 6-8, maybe next time) I’m also supposed to link to my best posts.

Weekend Wolf, despite being an older story (and not one of my most well-written) is still one of my top stories. Shortly followed by To Be Trifled With, and, as the third place winner, Lone Wolf!

Honestly though, those three stories are probably some of my favorites (despite Weekend Wolf feeling so different to me than my newer style and my more well-edited posts). I very much enjoyed writing all three of them.

And, that’s it for the Mystery Blogger Award! Again, a big thanks to Tom for nominating me.

If you’re here, odds are that you like stories, and Tom does stories excellently.

So, if you’re looking for something good to read, you ought to head over there. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

Mystery Blogger Award!!!!

Hello everybody! It’s good to be back from my unintentional hiatus. Tomorrow (or maybe sometime later today, I’m itching to write) I’ll post a story, but, for now, I’m going to post about this:

MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD!!!!!

Tom Burton was kind enough to nominate me for the Mystery Blogger Award!

What is that? Well, the Mystery Blogger Award is:

“An award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.”

Okoto Enigma 

Which, I have to say, is a very high honor. I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year now, so I’ve still got a lot of learning to do. For anyone to say that my blog is ingenious or that it inspires or motivates… well, honestly, I’m kind of floored. This has been a wonderful ride so far, and I absolutely love blogging. Everyone I talk to on this site is very wonderful, and I’ve enjoyed this whole experience very much.

So, thank you Tom for nominating me 🙂

GENERAL RULES:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 5 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to your best post(s).

 

TOM’S QUESTIONS:

  1. What motivates you to continue blogging?

I like writing, and I like sharing what I’ve written. Even if only a handful of people read a story, that still feels like a confirmation. Sort of like saying that the stories I’ve written do exist (for better or worse, lol) and they are out there, they’re reachable. They’re not just taking up space in my head anymore, they’re taking up space in the world, and I like that. It’s good to know that these strange passing thoughts I have aren’t just passing thoughts, they’re ideas that I can craft into something more. That’s why I started blogging: so I could have a place to throw all these strange ideas that waltz through my brain. Sometimes, I write stories just to keep in practice. But, most of the time, when I write a story, it’s because the idea came to me and I need to find a way to let it go. Writing helps me do that.

So, self-therapy, I guess, lol.

And, the wonderful people I meet on this site are a blessing of a bonus 🙂

2. Favorite blogging or writing advice?

Do it your way. I was in a strange, wonderful, and rare position throughout middle school and high school. I was blessed to have an English teacher who, herself, was constantly learning and re-shaping her understanding of our language and writing. I had this teacher for all of middle school, and all of high school, and she immensely encouraged my creative mind and the way I write. My style is very unconventional, very out of the norm, but I like to focus on feeling and character rather than setting. Sometimes, my short stories barely have any plot when I begin to write them and, sometimes, it kind of stays that way until the end, lol. But I find that a lot of people connect with the feelings of that character and, to me—both as a reader and a writer—I find that to be the most important. Setting is important—I promise, it is—but you can describe a place perfectly, have your reader picture it inch by inch, and still, it can be unreal to them because they can’t feel that place. They can only see it—like a picture rather than an experience, and I firmly believe that reading should be an experience. So, when I write, I do a lot of fragmented sentences, or dashes (which I consider to be interjecting thoughts), and things of that nature to inject as much reality and feeling into my writing as possible. And, for some readers, it works well. For others, it’s too chaotic for them to focus. Either is fine. I simply write the way that makes sense to me as a reader, and, if it doesn’t work for someone, that’s okay. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s definitely more than one way to communicate something effectively. So, what I’m getting at is:

Do it your way. Don’t let “the norm” or rules stop you.

Write to gratify your inner reader.

3. What do you hope 2019 will bring for your blog?

Oh man. I don’t generally think about the far future. Silly as that seems. Personally, I just find that plans often fall apart. Something about life doing its own thing or whatever. I’m also slightly (just slightly, I promise) superstitious. I hate telling anyone my plans, even if I have them. I feel like it jinxes me.

So, short answer: I hope to keep writing as I do, and I hope to strengthen my writing.

4. Do you have a favorite book or film that you never get tired of?

I really like C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces. I could talk about that book for decades. I also really enjoy The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bag Pig by Eugene Trivizas. It’s a kid’s book, but I absolutely love how the author flips all the conventional expectations. It’s hysterical to me now that I’m older, and I found it mesmerizing as a kid. (Plus, I like that the wolves are the good guys. If you’ve wandered through my blog, you know I’m very fond of wolves.) As for movies, I’d say that I really like Gremlins and, if I need to throw on a movie for comfort/background noise, I throw on The Nightmare Before Christmas.

5. What four words describe you?

Oh man, this one is a tough one. A friend of my mom’s once called me skittish, and I think it’s (unfortunately) quite accurate. I’d say tough, but not in the “I eat nails for breakfast” kind of way. I tend to roll with the punches as they come rather than let stuff knock me down, that’s why. I’d say I’m very understanding as well. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt—you never know what someone is going through. And, lastly, I’d say intuitive. I tend to have a lot of gut-instinct, and my gut usually isn’t wrong. Tiny behaviorisms or mannerisms don’t go unnoticed by me, and I can generally tell when something is up. It’s very hard to surprise me.

THREE THINGS ABOUT MYSELF:

—I like to sleep. A lot. My mom always talks about how I used to put myself to bed, even at a young age. Apparently, I’d stand by my crib and scream until someone came and dropped me in. Then I’d go right to sleep. Apparently, I’ve always been a very sleepy person.

—I have a lot of nightmares. Like, a lot. I’d say four or five nights a week I have at least one—sometimes I have three or four nightmares in one night, it just depends. They can be pretty brutal, or gruesome, depending. They’re hardly every triggered by horror movies though. Last time I had a horror movie trigger a nightmare was the new It movie, and I think that was mostly because the subjects of the horror were kids, and I can relate to that. I had a pretty traumatic childhood, so I think that triggered it for me. Though, before then, I can’t really remember a horror movie triggering nightmares. Either Gremlins or Poltergeist was my first horror movie (I watched those when I was under 7), and those DEFINITELY triggered nightmares for me. But, aside from those three, I can’t really recall any horror movies that trigger my nightmares. They’re mostly things of my own imagination.

Go figure.

—I like running. I haven’t done it in a few months now (I’ve moved recently, and gotten a new job that seems to fluctuate every month, so I haven’t had a schedule that’s been set enough to squeeze in time for it) but I absolutely love it. Whether I’m running outdoors, or on a treadmill, I absolutely love running.

BEST POST:

Well, I don’t know if I’d consider it my best post, but Weekend Wolf seems to be a pretty popular one on my site. To Be Trifled With was also pretty up-there in the ranks. But, one of my own personal favorites is The Stellar Path. Something about stars and space pirates is just… too much fun. And, since I’m more of a fantasy person, I’ll go ahead and share the link for Gryphon’s Disciple too.

MY NOMINEES:

I don’t do too much reading on this site. Unfortunately, I just don’t have a lot of time between writing and work. But when I do manage to read, I read the britchy one‘s blog (because she’s always got something interesting/funny/touching posted) or I read George F.’s blog (which I can never seem to find when I want to, lol). They’re both wonderful bloggers, and definitely worth the time to check out. Their stories are vastly different, but they’re both incredible!

That said, I’d like to nominate you two. If you would prefer not to pass the award forward, I completely understand. It’s just that your two blogs are what I think of when I read the paragraph that describes what the award is 🙂

That said, if anyone would like to respond to my five questions (in the comments or on their own blog) feel free 🙂

FIVE QUESTIONS:

  1. What was your favorite book/movie as a kid?
  2. Did you have a childhood pet?
  3. Snow or no snow?
  4. Are you a vivid dreamer?
  5. What song do you blast over the radio/in the car?

Again, thank you so much Tom for nominating me! It’s truly an honor.

Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday!!!!!

Not Your Average Port

You know why people dislike stories that start off with “it was a dark and stormy night”?

Because it’s lazy.

Utter and complete laziness at its weakest low.

Sure, we’ve all been through storms before. I’m sure that you’ve been present for at least one dark and stormy night. So it might seem useless to go into detail. The audience ought to understand, right?

But there are all types of storms.

All types. Continue reading “Not Your Average Port”

Character–A Study

In which I vomit up mumbo jumbo about characters I love and why that’s important.

Spoilers to: Spider-man, The Lion King, Six of Crows Duology, and The Grisha Trilogy—warning may or may not apply.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

Okay, so, I’m going to do something a little different today.

THIS IS NOT A STORY.

I repeat:

THIS IS NOT A STORY.

This is a bit of a look into character and how it relates to writing. So, I guess you could say that this is a bit of a writing tip. Really, it’s more of a “food for thought” post regarding something that can either make or break your story:

Character.

Let’s study this a moment. Continue reading “Character–A Study”