Friday, March 25, 2011

Writing, Screnzy, Busyness

I'll start off this post by saying that I have come to a realization that's kind of startling. Recently, I was thinking about writing, and I realized that sometime between NaNoWriMo and now, I stopped writing for ME. Writing became something I "should" do; finishing a project became something stressful that had to be completed by a deadline; and it just wasn't the same anymore. I was writing for my teachers and to try and get published, but I had lost the reason I'd originally started writing: because I love it.

It seems this happens to most people when they do something they love. I'm glad it happened to me now, and that I realized it so quickly.

This realization led to a decision: I'm still going to try and ROUGHLY stick to the writing "schedule" I had planned out for this year, but I'm not going to stress over it. I'm going to go back to writing for me, and no one else.

THIS further led to my final realization about Script Frenzy, just in time.

I'm not going to participate.

I realized (I have used that word WAY too many times now, but I've been doing a lot of it lately) that I felt obligated to do Script Frenzy; again, it was something I "should" do. A lot of my indecision was because it felt somehow WRONG to skip it, but here's the thing: I don't want to write a script right now. None of the ideas I have excite me and I'm working on a novel, and THAT's what I want to focus on.

Onto other topics; another thing that guided my decision about Script Frenzy is how busy I'm going to be for the next few weeks. One, my english/writing teacher assigned me two massive essays - not massive as in they have to be such-and-such-a-legnth, but massive as in they really need to be well-researched and well-written because there's a chance that they might get published in our local Historical Society's newsletter. (She sent in an essay I did back in November and it was recently published, which I'm really excited about - along with an interview my friend did with a local author and a short story a boy in the class below mine wrote.) So I really need to focus on those.

Two, Art in the Dark, which is at our library, is on April 1st. It's an all-night art marathon, from 8 PM on Friday to 8 AM on Saturday. It was a ton of fun last year, and I'm guessing it'll be awesome again this year.

Then, my friend is having a dress swap for her senior project (she's a sophomore, go figure - she wanted to get it out of the way) which will be on April ninth. Not only am I going to go down and search for my dress for the event in the next paragraph, but she also wants me to put together a playlist for some background music, AND talk to my grandpa (who owns a store) about letting her borrow some clothing racks.

Finally, my church is having their annual Christian Prom. (This is what I need the dress for - I hate spending money on dresses that I'll only wear once, so the swap came at the perfect time.) It's on April 16, and I'm extremely excited. I love dances. ;)

Oh wait. There's something else - I believe it's on the FIFTEENTH of April. Open Mic Night for our school's choir. My friend and I (yes, this is the same friend who's having the dress swap; no, it is not the one who wrote the interview in the english/writing class) are performing "Long Live" by Taylor Swift.

So with all the song practicing, playlist-making, and event-going-to, I'm going to be a bit too busy to write a script that I don't even really want to write in the first place.

Anyway. I'll keep anyone who reads this (I'm sure there's SOMEONE out there who finds this interesting, right?) updated on how all of these things go.

Off to try and figure out how all of this is going to fit in one month,

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Top Ten Artists

Taking a break from writing-oriented posts, this one focuses on another favorite topic of mine: music. Because narrowing my list of favorite songs down to just ten would require extensive surgery, I decided to make my top-ten list on a slightly easier subject: my favorite bands/artists/singers/groups, whatever you'd like to call them. It was only marginally easier to decide on ten of these; I had to make some REALLY tough calls when it got down to the final twelve. I just want to say that I still really love the band "Circus Envy", but they got points off because they make it really DIFFICULT to be a fan of them - I lost some of their songs when my old computer crashed, then found out they were no longer available on iTunes or their website - which is why they didn't make the list.

Anyway. Without further ado:


10. Boys Like Girls
Favorite Song: Up Against the Wall or She's Got a Boyfriend Now
Favorite Album: Boys Like Girls

What I Like: I love the electric guitar in their songs. The lyrics are open and honest, but at the same time they're catchy; the songs are fast-paced even when they're dealing with melancholy subjects like in "Learning to Fall"; other songs, like "Five Minutes to Midnight" are just fun to listen and dance to.

9. The Academy Is
Favorite Song: Skeptics and True Believers
Favorite Album: Almost Here

What I Like: Their sound is similar to Boys Like Girls in several ways, especially the punk-rock-but-not-heavy-metal feel and the electric guitar, but they also have something that makes them unique, although it's hard to pinpoint what it is. Maybe it's because they're not as fast-paced? Because they seem a little more serious? Maybe because I just cannot get over the awesomeness of their song "Skeptics and True Believers"? Whatever it is, they're awesome, and I hope they have a new album out soon.

8. Audrey Assad
Favorite Song: For the Love of You
Favorite Album: The House You're Building

What I Like: Well, the fact that she's a Christian artist is an immediate plus; the fact that I love her songs, obviously, is the main reason she's on the list. A lot of her songs have prominent piano, which is something I'm very drawn to; they're also something I can relate too, which is really important to me when I'm listening to Christian music. The only problem I can find with her? She must be a soprano, because when I try to sing along with her, I fail epically unless I drop it down an octave. Or two.

7. Taylor Swift
(Top Five) Favorite Song(s): Long Live, Sparks Fly, Haunted, Better Than Revenge, Teardrops On My Guitar
Favorite Albun: Speak Now

What I Like: What I love about Taylor is that she's so REAL. You can tell in every one of her songs that she really feels every word she sings. Nothing seems forced. From album to album you can tell that she's growing as an artist, but her sound is still the same fundamentally, and her songs are still things that everyone can relate too. I think the first song I heard of hers was "Our Song", but I didn't really consider myself a fan of her "sound" until I heard some of the songs from Fearless. Even then, I didn't consider myself a true fan, just someone who kinda liked her music; and then Speak Now came out and I was totally blown away. All I could think was, "Holy cow, this girl is AMAZING. I can't wait to see what's next."

6. Owl City
Favorite Song: Butterfly Wings
Favorite Album: Ocean Eyes

What I Like: The fanciful, imaginative nature of their songs. Adam Young is clearly not afraid to show that he's still a kid at heart; and yet his songs aren't "childish", per say. There's still love songs; they're just intermixed with songs about panda bears and strawberries. I guess that last sentence really sums up why I love Owl City. I mean, who doesn't love panda bears and strawberries?

5. Vanessa Carlton
Favorite Song: A Thousand Miles
Favorite Album: Heroes & Thieves or Be Not Nobody

What I Like: Two words: the piano. In all of her songs, it's absolutely beautiful. It's been my goal to learn "A Thousand Miles" for YEARS. One of the reasons I play piano, actually. A lot of her songs feature violins, too, which I love. Aside from that, I adore her voice. There's often an element of fantasy in her songs, especially on her Heroes & Thieves album, another thing I adore. I guess I could have just put "everything" for what I like. I'm really looking forward to her next album.

4. Sara Bareilles
Favorite Song: Let The Rain
Favorite Album: Kaleidoscope Heart

What I Like: Sara Bareilles says everything that I want to say, and she says it beautifully. And she says it accompanied by piano, which we already know I love. Her songs are so open and honest; you can really tell that she loves music and pours her soul into it. I love her songs because I can relate to them and apply almost all of them to a situation in my life. But most of all, what I love about this fantastic singer is her ATTITUDE. She makes it perfectly clear in "King of Anything" and "Love Song" that no one's going to boss her around; she's not going to fit into anyone's stereotypical "Fairytale", but a lot of the songs on Kaleidoscope Heart show a different side of her. She's strong, but she's not afraid to let people see her weaknesses.

Oh, and she said in an interview that she's a fan of Coldplay. Gotta love her for that, too.

3. OneRepublic
Favorite Song: Mercy or Good Life
Favorite Album: Waking Up

What I Like: Where can I possibly start? The cello seems like a good place. Oh my gosh. I am in love with the sound of that instrument in their songs. What else? Their love songs. "Come Home", which features Sara Bareilles (Yes, I did almost die of happiness) is the most beautiful song I have ever heard. "All We Are" is definitely in my list of favorite songs, ever. What's next on the list? So many things. I would marry "Good Life" if it were legal to marry songs. The epicness of "Marchin On." The music video to "All The Right Moves" is second only to the music video for Coldplay's "Life in Technicolor ii" video. The total amazingness of "Mercy", which basically describes my life and the message in "Waking Up." I could go on for much longer, but let's just say they are INCREDIBLE.

2. The Fray
Favorite Song: Where The Story Ends (Piano Version)
Favorite Album: The Fray

What I Like: Once again, I love the fact that a lot of their songs feature prominent piano...but aside from that, their songs are so serious and thought-provoking...sometimes sad, but I love that they're not afraid to shy away from some serious issues and melancholy feelings in their songs. It makes them really moving - I admit I've cried while listening to How to Save a Life and Never Say Never. Their song "You Found Me" - all their songs, really - is just so brutally honest, and that's what I love about them.

1. Coldplay
Favorite Song: Life in Technicolor ii
Favorite Album: Viva La Vida

What I Like: The instrumentals in their songs. Ohhh my. Whether it's being played with or without vocals, every second of the instrumentals on their songs is AMAZING. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with Viva La Vida, which is the first song of theirs I ever heard. And don't get me started on Clocks. I could die for that piano. Beyond that? I really do like Chris Martin's voice. Of course, there's also the fact that their songs are just amazing. I love the meaning behind them...well, the ones I can figure out. Some of their songs are pretty cryptic, but that's also another factor that I like. Coldplay doesn't tell you what their songs are about - you have to figure it out for yourselves, and I've heard so many comments about "Well, I'm not sure what this song really means, but for me..." -their songs have an individual meaning for everyone, which is just great. A lot of their songs are really...I guess thoughtful and reflective would be the best way to describe it. Pondering the meaning of it all, maybe. Some that jump to mind are "White Shadows" (You're part of the human race, all of the stars in the outer space, are part of a system, a plan) "Speed of Sound" (And birds go flying at the speed of sound, to show you how it all began; birds came flying from the underground, when you see it then you'll understand), "Glass of Water" (He heard you can see your future inside a glass of water, the ripples and the lines...will I see heaven in mine?) and "Things That I Don't Understand" (It's hard to quote the song, so just go YouTube it.) Other songs are just plain epic. Viva La Vida, Clocks, Life in Technicolor, Violet Hill. Still other songs are really haunting and beautiful - Cemeteries of London gives me chills every time I listen to it, and Life In Technicolor ii always leaves me breathless. Christmas Lights is so sweet and beautiful. And then you have others that are just kind of fun to listen to, like Lovers in Japan, Strawberry Swing or Rainy Day. (Rainy Day is another reason I love Coldplay - I adore rainy days, and so any band that writes a song about them is immediately awesome.)

So I guess to summarize...It's impossible to summarize the awesomeness of Coldplay. That's why they're my favorite band, ever.

So there you have the conclusion of my top ten favorite artists. Hope this was interesting for you and that maybe you found some new artists or songs to listen too.


P.S. I know that Coldplay's not necessarily popular with everyone, although I can't for the life of me figure out WHY. However, if you are one of the people who for whatever reason don't like Coldplay, here's the thing: I don't mind if you dislike them, just...don't tell me about it, k? Nothing bothers me more than someone making fun of my favorite band on my blog/facebook wall/to my face etc. I like my music, you like your music, whatever. It's all cool, because I don't have to listen to your iPod and you don't have to listen to mine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More on Script Frenzy

As you probably know from my last post, I've been trying to decide whether I'm going to participate in Script Frenzy this year. I'm still not entirely sure, but here's an update on my decision making process.

1. I want to do Script Frenzy. I enjoy writing scripts, and because I managed to write more than 100 pages last year with time to spare, I don't think I would find it too stressful.

2. I don't have any idea what I want to write. My original idea was a murder-mystery script set in the fifties. I still like the idea, but I really don't have much to go on for the plot. I have some other ideas hanging around in the back of my head, but most of them are the ones I rejected last year, and the others are too short to get me to 100 pages. (I considered taking some of the ones I could see maxing out at 20 pages tops and writing a collection of short films. I may still do that, but again, I'm not sure I have enough material.) A part of me is extremely worried and a part of me is not. I went through a similar thing last year, and the idea I ended up writing - and loving to pieces - just hit me one day. I've found that my scriptwriting process is different than my novel-writing process, which means I'm able to fly a little more by the seat of my pants.

3. I still have some other projects to finish up. (My 2010 NaNoWriMo novel comes to mind. The amount of writing I've done since NaNoWriMo is pathetic. Somehow, between December 1 and now I've only managed to write about 25,000 words on it. The sad thing is, I'm so close to the ending, but the closing is screwing me up. Oh, how I hate having to end a novel. I'm never sure what an acceptable amount of loose ends to leave is if you're not planning on writing a sequel.) Anyway, I'm going to have to write my butt off between now and April 1.

So...yeah. I do *want* to do Script Frenzy...there's still the issue of it not really being *practical* - but we'll see.

Off to finish some novels, come up with some ideas for scripts, and try to keep up on homework...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To Screnzy or not to Screnzy? That is the question....

So, it's the beginning of March. Can you believe we're this far into the year already? Because I can't. Where did the first two months of 2011 GO? (Oh, that's right. I got sick, had to scramble to catch up on school, then went to Florida, then to Youth Retreat, then got sick again. It doesn't seem like I've been that busy.)

Anyways, at the beginning of March, the fine folks at NaNoWriMo switch into Script Frenzy mode. (If you're not familiar with it, Script Frenzy is a scriptwriting challenge similar to National Novel Writing Month that takes place form April 1-30. Normally, I would too, but this year, I have a dilemma. I'm right in the middle of the second draft of a novel that I had planned to finish in June of last year. In order to have it finished in time - and by "in time", I mean, "before it officially crosses into the realm of INSANELY behind schedule", I'm going to have to write at least 2,000 words a day from now until April. That's going to be intense - possibly more intense than NaNoWriMo. After that, I plan to write another novel over the summer, from May to August. That's also going to require some serious discipline.

All of this may just drive me crazy. So I'm thinking about doing something drastic - or rather, not doing something drastic. I'm thinking of taking a year off from Script Frenzy.

Is it just me, or has a shocked silence filled the room?

I know, I'm a diehard Offices of Letters and Light Writing Challenge Participant, but frankly, it just makes sense this year. I don't really have the time. It's going to be a lot of really intense writing, which, with my other projects, will give me basically no breathing time from now until September. It would allow me a bit of extra time to finish up my novel and some breathing time between this novel and the next one. I have a few possible ideas for Screnzy but nothing with a really developed plot that really excites me. I'd rather be a novelist than a scriptwriter anyway.

It's actually a really convincing argument not to do Script Frenzy this year. However, there are two things holding me back from making the decision.

One is, since when has anything Offices of Letters and Light related been about making SENSE?

The other is the new merchandise at the OLL store. There's a new tee shirt, stickers, a coffee cup...and a tote bag.

I want that tote bag.

It feels wrong to buy it if I'm not going to participate. And I really, really want that tote bag. (As anyone who knows me well can tell you, tote bags are one of my weaknesses. I don't do purses - they're too small. So I have a variety of tote bags, messenger bags, and backpacks that I use to haul around my books and papers.)

So I'm still debating the question of "To screnzy or not to screnzy." Who knows? Last year I finished my script - and I mean, wrote "FADE OUT" - with three days to spare, and it was 131 pages. There were some days when I was able to write 20 pages or more. Maybe I'll be one of those awesome-crazy-writer people who reach 100 pages on day five. It starts on a Friday, which means we've got a weekend right away. That'll help.

...I think I've just convinced myself to participate. It's scary that I managed to write both sides of the argument in one post. Maybe I really should become a lawyer. Anyway. At this point, I'm rambling. I'll keep you updated about my final decision.