Figgy Idol

Figgy Idol

I’ve moved on to Round Two of Figgy Idol! And not only that, but I made Top Writer of Round One with my story A Real Fighter.

But Round Two is giving me serious difficulties.

When summed up, the prompt told us to create a plot driven story in which there is a death neither at the beginning or the end that will affect the reader with the strength of the writing. The issue is that we only have 6000 words total, which means at the most 4k words with which to attach the readers firmly to the characters we kill off and leave to deal with the aftermath. And then we have to sew up the plot completely afterwards!

If that wasn’t hard enough, I’ve selected a crime story as my genre. Crime, mystery, detectives… I read very little of this as compared to other genres growing up (I didn’t have the patience) so it’s far from my forte.

Which is exactly what Figgy Idol is supposed to do; it’s there to push you out of your comfort zone and force you to grow. But geeze, I sure can pick ’em.

Anyways, here’s the summary of Haint. Although I’m considering changing it to A Real Witch to match my other stories.

Haint Blue paint is said to keep away evil spirits. But practical Sheriff Lance knows that no amount of Appalachian superstition will keep away the bad guys found in his line of work. When a girl obsessed with the occult goes missing, however, Lance will have to rely on the local “Granny Witch”–a young woman named Nona–to help him with the case.

Where his mind fails him, hers works wonders, and when her herbs can’t save a life, his bullets just may.

As to other writing, I’m extremely close to finishing Queen. That makes me so excited! It’s considerably longer than Beast already, coming in at around 80k. Whereas Beast is a mere little 30k in need of lots of editing. After some discussion with a few writing (and reading!) friends, I’ve decided to not expand as much as I’d planned and leave a little more up to the publishers. I’ll just be adding in the second part for introductions to Snow for Book Two, and a little more setup for some sub-plots of Beast and overarching plots of the trilogy as a whole. Overall, I’m really excited about how this is turning out!

In non-writing news, my family is still awaiting military orders on where to move next. We hope to know by the end of this week! It sure would make planning a lot easier if we knew what side of the world we’d be on.

Those are all the updates for now! Keep your eyes peeled for a Book Blab later on this week!

Blessings,

J.A.

Challenger Deep

My family and I recently took a little trip to L.A. While the intent of the visit was Universal Studios (which was very cool), we also stopped at some watch shops, quilt shops… and book shops.

They were independently owned book stores that my mom researched before going, like Book Soup or The Last Bookstore. At Book Soup, I picked up a book called Challenger Deep. And I believe it could very well be one of my favorite stand-alone books I’ve ever read.

 

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Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Basic Summary- Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

 

My Thoughts- That’s the summary that the book came with, and I really liked it. A summary that gives a little more away is that Caden has a mess of mental illnesses, most prominently schizophrenia.  Neal Shusterman did a masterful job of showing a thought process eerily similar to my own in a way that is both poetic, but also deeply connects you to the character. Neal managed to make me feel like Caden, which is a connection that the neurodivergent community desperately needs.

What Can Authors Learn From This Book?

Tackle the Big Stuff

I’m not going to lie to you. Challenger Deep goes deep. Mental illness is not a joke, and while this book has its humorous lines, it knows that. They cover topics as simple as wanting your family to understand you, to the issue of suicide. This is a difficult book to read from that standpoint.

But it proves an important point. These are the things that people need to be reading. Whether it’s to know that they are understood by the world, or to show someone how to understand another person, these are topics that have been ignored by far too long for the majority of the world.

Schizophrenia is a joke, depression is misunderstood, bipolar is taboo. This book tears that all down and proves that it doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be that way. Those are the kinds of strong, world-changing points that I wish every piece of writing to make.

I Understand Nothing

 

On a less deep note, this book makes zero sense about 90% of the time. As a reader, you have to just sort of accept the fact that it will make sense eventually. And when it does, it’s both mind-blowing and poignant. But my complete lack of understanding–while overdone for most books–urged me to keep reading.

Mystery, mystery, mystery. It’s not an action scene that makes someone keep reading; it’s the wondering if the character will survive it. It isn’t the romance that keeps a person involved in the story; it’s the burning desire to know if it works out in the end. Mystery is one of your most valuable tools. Learn how to wield it wisely.

 

Overall

 

This book was amazing. It could be a struggle for some readers, either from the dark tones or the sometimes confusing plot. (Or the slightly slow beginning, I’ll admit.) But it’s a thrilling ride that opened my eyes in many ways, and proves that no one is beyond being understood, and everyone is capable of being saved from drowning.

Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story

Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story

So on the amazing website of Figment, some users are holding Season 4 of Figgy Idol. Figgy Idol is a writing competition that mirrors American Idol and similar competitions.

I’m lucky enough to join for the fourth season, and things are booming. My audition story–A Real Fighter–served well enough to get me into Round One. Today was the deadline for the first real part of the competition however.

The prompt was simple, but also infuriating. The focus was creativity, and the goal was to create a legendary character, much in the same style as Greek and Roman mythology.

Please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments! Even though I’ve turned in my submission already, I would still love to expand my abilities.

A brief explanation of my strange schedule lately: My family just took a vacation, so I missed two updates. I apologize for that! I also decided to put off my Book Blab until next Monday, where I’ll be reviewing Challenger Deep.

So, with that aside, I’m proud to present A Real Hero!

 

Continue reading “Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story”

The Images of Writing – Part II

This time I come not just with maps, but with character concepts too! (I have maps too, of course, but if you’ve been keeping up with my Tumblr you’ll see that they’re a little different.)

Tale

I’m so happy with how the ref for Belle went. I know that I want Terian to have a Hungarian/Romani culture (which means some name changes for Belle and the kingdom) so I wanted to reflect that in her clothing. It’s brightly colored with designs that are reminiscent of calico. (Note to self- Look up the history of calico.)

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And here is a promised map! In case you were thinking, “Geeze. Her mapmaking skills are way better than in that last image post,” put yourself at ease. I didn’t art this myself. I used an amazing tool called Inkarnate. It’s abilities are rather stunning, although there are a few suggestions that I made.

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Beast

These two are the lovely Tilverune and Kryiol. (As you can tell, I only have a female base right now. Male characters are put on hold.)

Tilverune has a lot of Inuit influence, both in her culture and fashion. Which is really, really fun.

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Kryiol, on the other hand, is a mutt. A little Romani, a little Grecian, a little Super-Futuristic. Inspiration for Kryiol came almost entirely from my friend TRG.

 

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And finally, a map for KISA! This one is a lot more basic, as I was getting frustrated with how large the mountains and trees were. (You can only scale it down so far, which is one of my software suggestions.) So I stuck to icons and rivers, although I now wish that I had kept the land a parchment color rather than showing the ice/greenery/desert. But oh well.

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(Please take time to notice the beautiful little Skelside and dragon off to the right, folks.)

So there’s my images of art update! I’m currently working on concept art for Ella of Tale (Polynesian/Samoan influence), and will get to work on Snow’s armor as soon as I’ve gone over Slavic fashion with TRG! You can expect a research post pretty soon about what I’ve been finding out, because it’s actually pretty cool.

Speaking of expecting things, this is as good a time as any to relay my Devious Plan™. I’ll be posting Book Blab reviews on Fridays/Saturdays, and anything else comes out on Tuesdays/Wednesdays. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t give myself leeway like that, but we’ll see how the scheduling works itself out.

 

If you enjoy my writing, please hit the follow button or fill in your email for updates. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or you can email me at j.a.apricity@gmail.com. Thank you for reading!