Rebecca's PenThe creative works of R.E.W.

About R.E.W

I am author, artist, history buff, wishing to share these three passions of mine with anyone who cares to read this blog. The main drive between these three deep interests of mine is imagination.

History isn't just people and events in a dusty book. Writing isn't just words in a tome. Art isn't just random images in a photograph, sketch or painting. I'll give you examples of what they really are.

I find myself awarded by Katie over at Whisperings of the Pen, and thus I shall follow this tag accordingly–it looks quite interesting, and in the meantime people out somewhere will learn eleven random things about Rebecca into the bargain, in addition to writing advice which I hope will be comprehensible . . . sometimes I don’t understand the writing process and just write with abandon, which isn’t necessarily the best thing. Now, I begin . . .
Rules: You must post eleven random facts about yourself, in addition to answering the eleven questions the person who tagged you brought to the table. Then, you must conjure eleven questions of your own to ask the eleven people you will tag.Remember to notify those chosen 11 that you tagged them.
The Randomness of Rebecca (eleven facts about her)
1. I’m obsessed with history. No doubt about that. If you met me in real life, you would know after the first day. :0
2. If I could have my wish, I would eat chocolate for dinner every night, and not be the worse for it.
3. I used to homeschool, but now I attend private school.
4. I like to stay up to unholy hours, and then wake up early to run.
5. My great grandfather’s family of old Maryland is closely intertwined with the Lee family of Virginia (Robert E. Lee’s family)
6. I was in a boat accident when I was 6 years old and bear the scars today on my right arm
7. I want to major in literature at Patrick Henry College in Virginia <3
8. Why did Euclid invent Geometry?
9. I’m an Idealist Healer from Kiersey’s Please Understand Me II
10. Adam Young’s songs that people say are nonsensical make perfect sense to me.
11. Lewis and Clark. They’re awesome.
Katie’s 11 questions:
1. Do you outline before starting a novel? If so, how extensive an outline do you create?
I’m sorry to say that ever since I began writing I neglected the outline process till my last novel, Strong Hearts. I was stuck fast at the beginning and found myself wretchedly clueless as to where to go next. So, I sat down, drew in a deep, shaky breath, and began outlining–as in, sketching out roughly what event would be the climax, and also deciding other various turning points. I sorted out the dilemmas and conflicts, spreading them out through the novel, and deciding how I would conclude the story. My outline of Strong Hearts is shamefully rough, and not extremely organized. But it helps, and I’ll probably use this same method for future stories (rough outlines)
2. Do you profile your characters to flesh them out and make them as realistic as possible? If so, would you share the template or basic outline you use?
I used One Year Adventure Novel’s template, which consisted of several full pages of questions about the protagonist, including the age, main ideals, flaws, strengths, etc., and provided an efficient (and fun) way to befriend my characters. As for my side characters/antagonists/love I used some of the other templates for side characters OYAN provided. I drew ideas and questionnaires from a lot of different sources. Interviews also help. :)
3. How do you balance the busyness of life with your writing goals? (Give a girl some advice here.)
I’m not the one to ask in this sort of situation. I have done a very poor job of balancing the busyness of life with my writing goals. As much as I love writing, I have to say that at the moment school comes first in my life, but when I can snatch greedily at time to write I readily do so. But balance is the last thing I have hold of at present. *head on desk*
4. Do you force yourself to finish a writing project before starting on a new one?
Again, I blush in shame. I am learning that as a writer, discipline and patience are crucial virtues one must master. I have not mastered them yet. Since I began writing it has been a haphazard process of starting a story and then skipping off to pursue another idea that flitted by. The past few months, however, I have resolved to keep on with Strong Hearts, to write it to the end, and on the side restrict myself to short stories and poems.
Gosh . . . as you can see, I have a nasty problem with plot-bunnies. They distract me to no end, and in the past I relented to their beckoning, and chased them around madly. Over the past few months while writing Strong Hearts, I have succumbed to the lure of these adorable plot-bunnies, and I started writing several other novels. This set me back in the writing process of Strong Hearts. Now, whenever I get an idea for one of those other novels or random inspiration for a whole new tale, I write it down in a document or in a notebook, and then set it aside. NO MORE DISTRACTIONS!!! DIE plot-bunnies, in spite of your adorableness!!!
6. Once in a while, we all write characters that scare us for one reason or other. How do you deal with these characters and the emotions they evoke in you?
Oh, wow. This is a tough question! Whenever I find myself face to face with a character whose personality radiates power and conflict, I struggle out of bemusement to the core of the matter. I ask myself, “What part it this character going to have in my story?” and “How will this character influence the other the characters? How will he influence the entire story?” I find myself struggling with historical figures who take large roles in my stories. I want to portray them vividly but accurately, I want readers to see the real people behind the names they know from history books. I want readers to visualize the emotional reactions and tribulations these historical people must have faced. And I’m always terrified that I’ll fall flat on my face in this attempt. But as a writer, you have to work with these fears and doubts and thrills that certain powerful characters might evoke. You can wield these emotions to the benefit of your own writing by using them as inspiration and stimulation. When you feel fear or doubt when writing a difficult scene with that particularly complicated and daunting character, fuse that fear into the story itself. Perhaps make this character fearsome to the rest of the cast. Intertwine these emotions into your story, and you’ll get a stronger tale out of it.
7. Bronte sisters or Jane Austen?
As much as I love Persuasion and Jane Austen’s other clever romances, I admit that I will always prefer the Bronte sisters and their stories that brim with passion, drama, tragedy, and dark beauty. Jane Austen sometimes seems too light and airy, while my heart connects with the fiery stories the Bronte sisters weave.
8. Peeta or Gale? (This has everything to do with everything.)
I’m afraid I have little to do with the Hunger Games, and so I cannot answer this question fairly. Sorry!
9. Do you people-watch? Do you find this inspires you to create more relatable, three-dimensional characters based on your observations?
What an interesting question! And yes, I do people-watch, which might be called stalking–I prefer to call it seeking inspiration. When I started attending private school this fall, it was a drastic change from my quiet homeschooling life. I was a rather stunned and overwhelmed and pessimistic about the whole ordeal. I’m still getting used to it.  But I’m learning that while I had more time for my hobbies as a homeschooler, I had very little exposure to people, and my writing became stagnant, somewhat. Looking back, I see that I have grown in the past few months, however much I am loathe to admit it. I find it easier to write the diverse personalities of my characters, to write dialogue in conflict, to enhance my stories with conflict that does not have to necessarily be melodramatic. Being around people all day has really helped, and I understand human reactions and behaviors considerably better than before. There’s a long, complex answer to your question, Katie! :)
10. Do you write best when warm and cozy indoors, or outdoors with the sun in your face and the wind in your hair?
I will always prefer the warm, cozy indoors, the taste of hot chocolate on my tongue as I type out a story on my computer. As much as I love the outdoors, I have to say, indoors is where I’ll always want to dream, write and create.
11. How do you keep your writing new and original? How do you avoid falling into cliches?
As one of my teachers pointed out so memorably, people sometimes take the fear of being unoriginal too far. My teacher made a good point–artists of all kinds have fallen into the trap of fearing unoriginality, and thus creating things that, though original, lack form and comprehensibility.
“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.”~T.S. Eliot
I believe Mr. Eliot is saying that the “immature poet” will imitate the style of other poets because he is either too lazy or too far gone in creativity to develop his own personal style that will become the trademark of his work. The “mature poet” will steal–steal as in, ‘stealing’ the successful techniques of other writers, and emulating them into his own work to enhance and develop his personal style. This is why reading is so important. You draw techniques from the great writers that make them truly great, while at the same time using these methods to develop your own style, and freeing yourself from needing to use cliches. You can find inspiration from the authors whose names are imprinted in the history of literature.
The 11 Rebecca-Questions:
1. L.M. Montgomery or Louisa May Alcott?
2. Do you listen to music while writing? If so, how important is music to your writing process? Do you do anything special to integrate music into your story-writing? (Okay, so I asked three questions. Oh well.)

3. If you could have one of your original characters meet a character from your favorite book, who who would these characters be?

4. What is your biggest crush on a fictional character, if you ever had one?

5. If you were writing a historical fiction novel, what time period would you choose for the setting? Why would you choose that time period?

6. Would you want your story illustrated? If so, what kind of artistic style would you prefer? (manga, traditional, cartoonish, sketchy . . .?)

7. What is the biggest distraction for you while writing?

8. If you have done or are currently doing NaNoWriMo, how do you set aside the entire month of November for writing?

9. What are your thoughts on college as a writer? Do you view college positively, or as a hindrance to a writer?

10. If you had to choose, would you emulate from Charles Dickens’ writing style, or from George Eliot’s? Explain your choice.

11. What do people in your life think of you writing? Do they approve, or do they think you’re strange? :)

The chosen 11: (the people I tagged)
(Even though Katie tagged most of you, and even though Katie tagged me, I was curious about your answers to my questions)

Pepper Darcy
Miss Dashwood

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2 Responses to Ah, the glory of ink!

  1. Mary Young says:

    I loved this post, thank you! I heard some good advice today from Aaron Sorokin on writing characters: “I try not to tell the audience who a character is; I try to show the audience what the character wants.” He writes mostly screenplays but this advice could apply somewhat to novels too.

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