Posted in Uncategorized, Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews, Readerly Rants

Allison Reads Bronte – Jane Eyre, Part 3 [AUDIO EDITION]

I was too lazy to jot down my thoughts in full, so I decided to record them instead.  Yay, now you get to hear what I sound like when I’m not acting.  (Truth be told, I’m not the most polished speech-giver/speaker, so this is actually a good exercise in skill and confidence for me.  It’s scary enough sharing my voice with the world when I’m reading other people’s words.)

For context, I marked various points of interest with paperclips as I was reading this section, and flipped through the pages to find them as I was recording.  (I’ve done my best to edit out all the page-flipping noises.)  Plus, because my hands were full with the book, I couldn’t hold the pop filter over my mic, so #nofilter! 😛

Also, before we begin – this portion of the book deals with a lot of romance and briefly mentions a character’s past affair and the possibility of this character’s illegitimate offspring.  This book, while not vulgar, is not for six-year-olds.

For those of you who are worried about how fast I talk without pausing to take a breath, yes, it’s true, I talk pretty fast, but I also edited most of the particularly long, awkward pauses between my sentences.

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

Musings on Poetry

When I first decided I wanted to be a writer, a lot of the well-intended adults in my life suggested I hold off on trying to write a novel first-thing.  Instead, I ought to write short stories.  Being the overconfident kid I was, I paid them no mind.  Several years later, I think I’m finally capable of writing middle-grade-novel-length books.  And I’m still not particularly good at cramming my story plotlines into short story form.  I can’t help but wonder, if I’d honed my short-story-writing skills in this time, would I be better off?  I don’t know.

Still, now that I run a blog and am trying to update it every-other-weekly with new content, I do see the appeal of producing short, bite-sized content.  I’m hesitant to share serialized excerpts of a story that I plan on printing in its entirety and selling – and, as noted, I am neither good at nor easily able to enjoy writing short stories.  So I’ve taken to sharing my poetry, however badly it’s written.

One of my recently completed voice acting projects involved reciting some obscure poetry from a classic writer.  From reading what other, more experienced poets have written, I feel like I’ve internalized some elements that improved my own poetry writing technique; it has certainly influenced the way I want my writing read back to me when I’m done with it.

Despite my greater interest in reciting poetry, I’ve never been a fan of reading it for fun.  I’m by no means a poetry aficionado, or even a casual reader yet.  But it’s an interest I’m starting to cultivate to the point that I’m now comfortable reading my own writings aloud and to other people.

I always enjoyed the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, particularly the ones where nameless, first-person-POV characters (whom I always nickname Edgar) sink deeper and deeper into pits of insanity, with or without pendulums.  But he also wrote poetry, which I’m hoping to explore.  And as you know, I’m exploring the literary world of the Bronte siblings.  Under the collective pseudonym of the Bell brothers, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne wrote loads of poems.  I’m starting with the authors I’m already familiar with for their stories, and getting to know them anew for their poetic works.

On a final note, several of my friends and readers have asked me to explain the meaning of my poems, and whether or not their interpretations are accurate.  I never know how to respond.

One of the things I resented in grade school was being given a poem and told there was only one right way to interpret it – the way the textbook said it was.  I don’t think that’s the way poetry is meant to be read.

For me, the beauty of poetry is that it doesn’t have to be blunt and straightforward.  I can be a lot more wishy-washy about the words I’m using  than I can with regular storytelling, and still classify it as art – word-art.  This leaves the reader wondering what they’ve just read, and what any of it even means, and each one has their own unique perspective to offer.

Some poems are meant to be obvious, but my poetry is intended to be cryptic.  Even if I had at least one idea in mind when I wrote the thing, I want it to be interpreted in as many ways as possible.  Do you think I’m just going to give away the one idea I had in mind when I was writing it, and take away your ability to interpret it in a million and one ways?

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

S.J. Penner: a writerly vlogger you should totally watch

When I hear the word “vlog,” YouTubers like Casey Neistat, Elise Buch, and Alyshia Ford (PsychoTraveler) Presley Alexander (ActOutGames) come to my mind – YouTubers who frequently document themselves doing things.  Things which require moving around and going places and opening things.  But a vlog doesn’t need to be those things – it can involve sitting-down things too.  Like writing.  S.J. Penner does just that.  I’ve recently become Twitter-friendly with S.J., and when she started vlogging, I subscribed to her YouTube channel right away because I was hooked!

Vlogs like Mr. Neistat or Ms. Ford’s take me to places I’ve never gone and show me adventurous things I don’t see myself doing – things that are beyond me, way out of my league.  S.J.’s vlog shows me things I do do (or try to do) on a tri-weekly basis, things that I see as attainable and doable, like editing one’s manuscript, and it motivates me to get those those things done in my life.  (Also, can we talk about S.J.’s adorable pet bird, Marvin?  He’s quite the character, and S.J. often adds subtitles to his “Musings” whenever he chirps in the background. 😀 )

I’ve been working on putting the finishing touches to my WIP, Cliche, but there have been countless times where I had time to work on it, but simply didn’t feel motivated.  While watching S.J. write / edit her projects in her videos while trying to work on my own helped a ton – it made it feel like we were hanging out and doing these writerly things together.  S.J. shows us we’re not alone in the writerly world, with its ups and downs.

If that sounds at all interesting to you, I highly recommend checking out her YouTube channel.  Happy writing! 🙂

 

 

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Uncategorized

Allison Reads Bronte: Jane Eyre, Part Two

And now for another edition of the Brontesaurus.  (Yeah, I don’t think I’m keeping that name….)  I don’t know why I’m sharing this blow-by-blow reaction to Jane Eyre, but I think this blog’s the best place to do it.

I finished the Lowood School story arc in Jane Eyre.  One thing that really jumped out at me at the final chapters of this arc is the irony of the spring season at Lowood.  Inside the school’s walls, the students are stricken with a devastating plague, but on the outside, Jane vividly describes the beautiful changes in nature, the renewal of plant life, that comes with the new season.  Oh, and Helen Burns dies from the plague.  That’s pretty tragic.

Following the plague, people in power take note of Brocklehurst’s corruption, and start making improvements in the students’ living conditions.  Things take a turn for the better in this regard. Continue reading “Allison Reads Bronte: Jane Eyre, Part Two”

Posted in Guest Posts, Miscelaneous Musings, Q&A, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

2017 Ch1Con Blog Tour

Hello readers! It’s that time of the year again – I’m participating in the Ch1Con 2017 Blog Tour, an annual tour in preparation for this year’s conference, which brings original content from the Chapter One Young Writers Conference team to a number of fantastic, writing-related blogs. You’re on one of those right now!

If you haven’t heard of it, the Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con) is a writing conference entirely by and for young writers. The team is composed of a number of high school, college, and early-twenty-something writers, who work to create a unique, inclusive experience for young attendees. The conference, with its subset focus on the young adult novel, brings teens together to hear from accomplished speakers their own age, participate in professional workshops, and celebrate the influence young writers have on the world.

The first Ch1Con took place in Chicago in 2012 with six teenagers in attendance in person and countless others attending via an online live stream. It was an experiment limited to members of the Scholastic’s Write It community and their friends: could a group of teenagers from across North America really get together and run their own conference? The answer soon became apparent: yes. So, eager to get others involved in the fun as well, the team took the conference public in 2014.

This year, Ch1Con is bigger and brighter than ever, with more opportunities, cooler giveaways, and a new roundup of fantastic speakers headlining the conference on Saturday, August 5th in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers ages eleven to twenty-three and at an early bird discounted price of $49.99. The speaker lineup is up on the website now, featuring Kody Keplinger, author of a bevy of YA hits including THE DUFF (now a major motion picture!), literary agent superstar Brent Taylor, more.  (There’s also pizza, but more on that later….)

For my stop on the tour, I had the opportunity to interview not one, but three really awesome people who are involved with Ch1Con: Ariel Kalati (Associate Online Administrator), Emma Rose Ryan (Tumblr Expert), and Brett Jonas, Chief Creative Consultant.  All three are terrific writers, and through Thursday night Ch1Con Twitter chats, we’ve become Twitter-friendly in the past few months. 🙂

Here’s how our conversation went: Continue reading “2017 Ch1Con Blog Tour”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

Beautiful People #24 ~ Parental Edition

I’m taking part in the May linkup for the Beautiful People writing meme, co-hosted by Cait from PaperFury and Sky from Further Up, Further In.  Because May is the month of Mother’s Day (it is?!?! :O ), this month’s meme theme has to do with parents.

I have the perfect character to write about:

xanderp
Xander Portmanteau, roguish rogue of the kingdom of Landria (art by Aerin S. Grey)

 

Xander comes from my current and most successfully written WIP, Cliche, where poorly written characters come out of their poorly written books to confront their authors about it, and hilarity ensues.  (Morgan Freeman’s kind of there too, because who could have a good story without a fictional character who at least looks like Morgan Freeman in my mind’s eye?)

Anyway, enough gabbing from me.  On to the questions!  Continue reading “Beautiful People #24 ~ Parental Edition”

Posted in Uncategorized

On Star Wars and Writing – Guest Post by Julia Byers

May the Fourth be with you!

Allison the Writer

Hi everyone!  I’ve been invited to take part in the 2016 Chapter One Young Writers Conference blog tour, featuring guest posts, interviews, and giveaways from the esteemed founders all around the writerly blogosphere.  Julia, Ch1Con’s amazing founder, is here with us today to talk about how the Star Wars film franchise has influenced her as a writer.  But wait, there’s more – we’re also hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for a complete YA or middle-grade manuscript critique by Julia!  (Because WordPress.com is a spoilsport, I can’t be cool and embed the raffle widget in-post – click the link, please.  I promise, it’s 100% Rickroll-free.)

That said, take it away, Julia! 🙂

* * * *

Hey, guys! My name is Julia and I’m the founder of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference, an annual writing conference for and by teens and young adults.

Our 2016 conference will take place Saturday…

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