Countdown to NaNoWriMo: T-7 hours!

I’m hard at work trying to do some research for my NaNoWriMo since I’m a hardcore Pantser this year, and I discovered a fun fact: Greenland isn’t a country, it’s a territory of Denmark. WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME THIS?

We always call it a country, on maps it’s not labeled as a territory, and even google contradicts itself in the fine print!

db791ee1fbee647b9a8605c913ca686b5e88dbbe

As you may have guessed, I am writing my story set in Greenland! I was torn between Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Nunavut, and Greenland. My friend suggested Svalbard or Greenland, and I remember a TV show about mysterious murders set in Svalbard, so Greenland it is!

My 2016 NaNo project is about a scientific research facility in Greenland where a series of mysterious murders take place.

That’s what I’ve got so far.

I don’t have any characters yet, but I have a name: Noah Garfield. No idea who he will be yet, but he’s going to be one of the people in the story. Who should he be? The hero? The killer? First to die? The guy back on the mainland running the radio? WHO KNOWS!

I think I’m going to do something very unusual in the spirit of Pantsing and I’m going to embrace my laziness and not decide who the killer is yet! Usually when writing a mystery, you need to know the motivation before you start, even if you don’t know anything else. However, I think I’m going to wait until after at least the first murder before I decide who the killer is. This is a huge risk, and maybe it will fail, but who knows, maybe it will be a massive success. What better way to write believable suspense than to have it so that the writer herself doesn’t know who the killer is?!

At Midnight (EST), I begin writing, and whatever planning I’m doing before the word ‘Go’ is all I get before I start writing. I’m not waiting a minute past midnight to get myself started, because last year I didn’t start for 3 days and it made it hard to catch up and stay ahead of the ‘words per day’ goal, that’s for sure.

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, feel free to give me suggestions and ideas, and who knows, maybe your idea will make it into my story!

It’s That Time Again: NaNoWriMo!

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month, for those who don’t know) for years, but last year was the first time I participated. I wrote this love story I had been thinking about for a few years and I won NaNo (Winning means you wrote 50,000 words in the month of November) but I still, to this day, haven’t done anything else with my novel. I still have to re-write the ending and proof-read and edit and then start looking into publishing. I told myself at the time that I would take a break until winter break from College to do all of that, but I never did.

11215180_1007907115939419_2049633382029720502_n
See? I won! haha

However, this year, I’m going to do it again, and unlike last year, instead of an idea I’ve planned on for ages, I have STILL not picked a story idea! NaNo starts Tuesday and so far I’ve chosen a genre: Murder Mystery.

I’m a big fan of Murder Mysteries and especially the classic “murderer is picking us off one by one” stories that take place in an isolated location. I think this year, I’m writing one of those types of mysteries set in some sort of scientific research expedition. However, that’s as far as I’ve got. I have no real plot, no characters, no setting, and no idea what to write about.

Currently I’m considering possibly a polar research facility that’s cut off by an arctic storm while a killer takes his time picking people off one by one (a la Fortitude, the TV show that took a very different turn near the end than just a killer), or possibly some sort of research expedition camping in the wilderness and someone is picking them off one by one. I also thought maybe keep with the wilderness theme, but it’s like the classic ‘research facility up in the mountains miles away from civilization and someone cut all the fuel lines to the vehicles’ type thing.

I also thought of maybe a research vessel murder mystery where they’re on a ship floating around in the ocean and the radios are dead so there’s no calling the coast guard, but the problem there is that there are so many technological reasons that wouldn’t work. I had that same problem with the first idea I had where the murderer is picking off people living in a future space colony. Obviously, there would be no way a space colony wouldn’t have complete coverage from cameras and life support systems and just basic statistic data measurement devices to make that impossible.

Or who knows, I could go 30 Days of Night and have a whole town being ravaged by a nightly killer but, since they’re an isolated village, there’s not enough manpower from the police to protect everybody and find the killer.

I honestly don’t know what I want to do, but I’m closer now than I was before, because at least I have a vague idea of what I want to do. I know it’s a pretty tired basic plot, but I love it. I could read fifty different versions of this basic idea and still be entertained. I hope others might be the same. What would you guys suggest? Do you have any thoughts?

3-Frame Story

This week in my NMAC 3145 class, we approached the idea of telling a story through photographs alone. The idea is that you don’t use any words to tell your story, but I’m going to address the restrictions that caused me to have such a haphazard sequence of shots.

Simply put, I was going for comedy, so I made a choice about a GREAT idea and didn’t think up any alternatives. My original idea was going to be my sister Dallas standing at the base of a tree, then beginning to climb the tree, and then splayed on the ground after falling from the tree. However, both Tuesday and today, I didn’t get home until after dark, so that wasn’t doable. I thought for a while that I was not going to be able to get anything lined up to fulfill the requirements. Last minute, I got this idea and I rushed to my sisters’ room where Dallas was nearly asleep (Graysie was still up, but she doesn’t own heels so she wasn’t an option), and begged her to get out of bed and let me take just THREE pictures of her for my assignment. She really did mean just three photos, so this is what I got and what I had to work with.
I’m sorry that they aren’t better, but I edited the color and lighting so that they matched and they are framed as well as I could get them in one try. Here we go!

20161026_21381720161026_21385220161026_213947

Book Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Not really a review as much as a ‘hey, read this!’ but I just learned how to auto-post my Goodreads reviews to my blog, so this is probably gonna become a thing in the future! Hopefully next book I read will have an actual review to it besides “I loved this book, you should, too!”

The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Horror)The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an absolutely incredible thrill ride! The vivid imagery, the intense emotional moments, all of it is absolutely wonderful! A perfect book to read for October. So glad I finally read this.

View all my reviews

Photographed Shapes Project

This week in NMAC 3145, we had to take photographs of objects all of one shape and the shape I chose was circles.

Taking photos with a cell phone is hard.

The shape photography assignment was an exercise in frustration. We all know how frustrating it can be to take photos of anything, but that was absolutely the worst. Using a cellphone to take photos is going the extra mile of frustration, because it is nearly impossible to take good photos of anything up close with a phone. I have never seen a cellphone camera that offers manual focus in any of the settings, so trying to focus on things up close is practically impossible, meaning that you have to take dozens of photos to find the shot you need. It drove me crazy.

I ended up taking about thirty photos and it was all multiples of the same items. The only thing that I took a photo of that didn’t end up in this set of six photos was a pumpkin, and I decided it wasn’t really a circle. I chose circles at random. I had no long, hard choice in choosing to photograph circles. I like them and I wanted to take a photo of things I had on hand, and my key chain of Captain America’s shield is a circle. I ended up finding plenty of other things that are circular that I just couldn’t get a photo of. Things too far away, for example. Things I couldn’t stop and photograph because I was driving or walking and running late. The things I ended up choosing where my Captain America shield key chain, the top of my vitamin bottle, one of the wheels on my car, the lid on a bottle of lemon soda, a cupcake, and the logo on my purple converses.

Honestly, the choice in which six photos I would choose came down to ‘which is the least blurry’, because after taking photo upon photo, there were some items I just could not get clear. They would focus and then when I tried to snap the picture, it would re-focus and blur. That happened so many times. There is a reason most of the things I take pictures of with my cellphone are full sized things that aren’t close to me. Maybe some people with better phone cameras have less trouble than I did, but I pretty much gave up and chose what was clearest without any further creative side to my choices.

A Day In The Life of Me: A Learning Experience In Cellphone Videography

In my NMAC 3145 class, we were tasked with making a short ‘intro to you’ video with a camera you own, meaning for most of us, our cellphone cameras. Now, having never used a cellphone to film anything that wasn’t going on Instagram of Snapchat, I was not super sure of myself in this one, and it shows.

I’m not the best cinematographer with a professional camera, nonetheless with a Samsung Galaxy S5 that I bought refurbished because I’m too poor to buy a newer phone, but I’m not entirely disappointed with my finished product.

My biggest issue was trying to film myself with my phone. I had only my own arm-length to use. I tried propping it up, but other than in my car, where there are softer surfaces that allow for propping more easily without sliding, it was very difficult. I had wanted to include some video of me doing yoga, since I am a yoga lover, but not a single place in my home has enough room to lay out my mat and prop my phone somewhere that it can film me.

Also, as you can see, I did not know that filming with the phone upright would make it do the vertical black bars thing. On Snapchat and Instagram, that’s how you film. Also, on the phone screen itself, if yo turn it on it’s side, THEN it has black bars.

All in all, it was a very good learning experience that I would love to try again some time with a different subject than myself so that I can film a lot better than just from arm-length.

Do you guys have any experience in cellphone videography? Be sure to comment and tell me how well it has worked out for you!