I Won Camp(!) + Discussing Battle Song’s Problems & Positives + Too Much Parenthetical Commentary

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Photo by samsommer on Unsplash–thank you!

Okay, so my Camp NaNoWriMo goal was less than any other NaNo goal I’ve had in the 4.5 years I’ve done it (only 20,000 words). But it’s been over a year since I won a NaNoWriMo event, so just winning felt awesome and like I could do amazing things.

Screenshot 2017-08-01 at 4.16.21 PMLook at my lovely chart…. Clearly, I did not do very well during the first half of the month (partly because I went on vacation for an entire week), but I pulled in by the very last day. (Go procrastination!) Not quite as awesome as the NaNo where I wrote 12K the last day to win, but still pretty great.

Also, this draft (rewrite?) is turning out much better than the first one–and also very different. It’s become more emotional (I hope) and a lot more centered on war and fighting and the results of that/how that affects people. But also still about family and religion and love and all of that fun stuff. (Not sure if I told you this, but there’s an actually semi-decent synopsis/blurb on the Battle Song page! *nudges you to check it out*)

But there’s still some stuff that I have yet to figure out. My biggest problem right now is figuring out what exactly Amrya traded with the sea witch. You see, the whole idea of this novel came about from the idea that the little mermaid traded in her beauty instead of her voice. But then…that didn’t work. It didn’t affect the story at all because it’s not about beauty or about a society that really cares about beauty.

So then I decided that she was going to trade out her fighting skills, but that didn’t work because when I began writing this second draft, Amrya’s personality changed a bit. Rather than liking being a warrior, she hates fighting and killing but feels honor-bound to do it. So giving up her fighting skills was not going to challenge her enough.

When I wrote the scene between her and the sea witch, I had her trade some heartscales, which are like tokens of war + mer currency, which worked but also doesn’t affect her after she becomes human.

Now I’m wondering, should I just have her lose her voice like the original? It would better follow the original fairy tale narrative, and I think I can make it work and still have decent character development, but I still don’t know if it will affect her enough. The story isn’t about not being able to communicate; it’s about not wanting to fight. And though having her lose her voice could work, I’m afraid that it’ll detract from the point I’m trying to get across.

(What is that point? you may ask… Well, probably something along these lines: life has value + war is sometimes necessary + family is important + faith + true love and friendship + something else maybe? But that’s what it seems like it’s heading toward.)

So…what do you think? Do you think that it’s okay to have her not trade anything that really affects her (considering that the part that really affects her is that she has to marry one specific person)? Should I have her lose her voice at the risk of it sounding like it was just put there because of the original fairy tale or would it work because it’s from the original fairy tale? Or maybe she just loses it partly (like only the magic part or only for a certain amount of time)? Or do I need to find something else entirely that would make it hard? I don’t know, but I just really need someone’s opinion besides my own.

Okay, we’ve talked about my issues with Battle Song; what about the good parts? Well, there are actually quite a few.

1. The mer culture decided it wanted to be something different and it was awesome. Like, it’s still the same basic warrior clan idea thing, and there’s still a lot I have to develop more fully, but there’s magic that’s awesome and relates to singing! (Points for reference to the little mermaid’s voice being important.) And I kind of figured out why they’re fighting…which kind of leads to the next point.

2. The big problems with the mers got figured out and incorporated into the plotline! The problems were:

  • Where did the mers come from?
  • Why don’t they have immortal souls while the humans do?
  • Why are they always fighting?
  • And I also figured out why the humans are fighting, so points for that too!

And I can’t tell you the answers (because spoilers) but they’re pretty great and are actually important to the plot.

3. The minor character becomes more important. So in the original, after the little mermaid saves the prince, some girls from a convent/temple find him and he thinks one of them was the one to rescue him (and the little mermaid can’t tell him otherwise because she can’t talk). Of course, he thinks he’ll never see her again (she is in a convent, after all), but–surprise! Turns out she’s a princess from a neighboring kingdom, just put there to learn “every royal virtue.” And then the prince falls in love with her and the little mermaid turns into seafoam and that’s the end.

Anyway, this princess (Malena is her name) made a brief appearance in the first draft of Battle Song, but she becomes much more important in this draft. Not only as the character from the original fairy tale but also as Amrya’s friend and the one who introduces her to the religion of the island (which I just now realize should probably get a name). And I wrote a scene with her yesterday and I learned some deep stuff about her and she’s a great character.

So yes, I have been having fun with it (despite all of the struggles)! Somehow I doubt I will finish this first draft before the end of summer…but I do want to keep writing every day and make this story as awesome as it can be!


let’s talk!

How much do you think I should write this August? 30K? More/less? And please help me and give me some advice for what Amrya should trade! (Or at least commiserate with me and offer me chocolate?) And what did you write for Camp NaNo (if you did)? How did it go? And have you ever read the original little mermaid fairy tale, and what did you think of it and its ending?

Also I hope you enjoyed the rambling because I did and I will probably ramble more about stuff in Battle Song, hehe.

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Should Books Be Made Into Movies?

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I’ve been wanting to do a discussion post where I can hear your thoughts. So, after watching the third Hobbit movie yesterday, I wanted to ask you the big question: should books be made into movies? And what are the pros and cons of doing so?

I think every author, at least once, dreams of seeing their novel on the silver screen. And yet, readers are almost always unsatisfied with the job that the movie producers do.

So, should books be made into movies?

Ultimately, I want to hear your thoughts & your ideas, but I’m going to share some of the pros and cons of movie adaptations. Tell me if you agree or disagree with them!


PROS OF A MOVIE ADAPTATION

  • It brings more people to the book and gives the author a greater reading community.
  • It shares a good story with more people. Some people who don’t read books will watch the movie and get to share in the genius.
  • It’s easier on your mind when the book is hard to understand (*cough*Lord of the Rings*cough*) or when you’re just tired.
  • It has music! Which is awesome! Especially when you get a really cool soundtrack (Lord of the Rings, again!).
  • It helps you visualize. Especially when you’re like me and you can’t visualize what characters or settings look like. Plus, there can be awesome landscapes that are just awesome.
  • It can add new meaning to the story. Sometimes movies give me new perspective on the characters and story, and they can occasionally move me even more than the actual story does, or be a companion to it and make them both feel even awesome-er.

CONS OF A MOVIE ADAPTATION

  • The producers sometimes don’t read the book! Okay, not really, but they sometimes veer so far from the actual story line that it’s ridiculous. I’m looking at you, The Lightning Thief and Ella Enchanted.
  • People don’t always read the book (which is generally better) after seeing the movie. Isn’t it so frustrating when someone says they’ve seen the movie, whether or not they like it–and then they refuse to read the book? And it’s so awesome, but they just won’t.
  • Or, people don’t know it was a book in the first place! Has anyone else read How to Train Your Dragon? (I like the movie better…)
  • The story is reduced to a shorter time frame. Except in The Hobbit, when they made it longer. This means that things have to be cut (S.P.E.W. from Harry Potter!) and sometimes those things were important to the original plot, so it changes it. Sometimes, this can be a good thing, but most of the time it’s just frustrating.
  • It’s limited to what you can see. Which means that if a book uses a lot of internal dialogue and conflicts, it’s a lot harder to show those. So either those conflicts get changed, or they develop and resolve it through different means that don’t occur in the book.

Obviously, there are good and bad things about movie adaptations. So I want to hear your opinion:

Should books be made into movies? What movies are actually better than the books, if any? What are your favorite and least favorite movie adaptations? What components are needed in a good movie adaptation? If you could make any book into a movie, what would it be, and what would you change?

Ramble away, and we’ll discuss it!