Friday, January 31, 2014

Random Fridays: Opening Lines
Hey'a, all! Time for another Random Fridays post! I'm really excited about this week's theme: Favorite Opening Lines in Literature
"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or eat: it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort." -The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
It's always best to start with the classics. And the beginning of The Hobbit has got to be one of my all-time favorites. Technically, this is the first two lines, but it's still an excellent beginning. It lays out nicely the life of a hobbit, which if you ask me sounds like a very happy life, and makes you want to visit the particular hobbit in question.
"My name is Sunday Woodcutter, and I am doomed to a happy life." - Enchanted, Alethea Kontis
We think of people as being doomed to many things, but never to a happy life. Why is Sunday doomed to happiness? And why does she make it sound like it's a bad thing?
"Have you ever watched an immortal die?"- Dragonwitch, Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Technically, this isn't the first first line. There's a prologue before this, which starts out, "Let me tell you a story". That is also a lovely first line, since you probably wouldn't be reading the book if you didn't enjoy stories. However, the one I actually included is far more intriguing. After all, immortals, by nature of their name, aren't supposed to die . . . are they?
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin
Another classic that I of course had to include. 
"In the land of Ingary, where things such as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three."- Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
Seven-league boots? Cloaks of invisibility? And what's so unfortunate about the eldest of three? You know there has to be a good story coming after this line- and believe me, there is.
"Because he had once been human, King Under Stone sometimes found himself plagued by human emotions. He was experiencing one now, as he faced the mortal woman before him but it took him a moment to give it a name. After a pause, he labeled it 'triumph'."- Princess of the Midnight Ball, Jessica Day George
If he's not human, what is he now? Why does he feel triumphant? And why do we readers have such a sense of foreboding? (And yes, this is technically three lines, but the first line is quite good even on its own.)
"There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."- Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis
We finish off with one more classic that I couldn't possibly leave out. What does someone have to do to deserve a name like that? You probably know already (and if you don't, go read the Chronicles of Narnia now!), but it's still an excellent first line.

Well, that's all for this week. What are some of your favorite first lines? Feel free to tell me in the comments or to make your own Random Fridays post! Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  

Want to join in the Random Fridays fun? Feel free to make a post of your own on the week's topic! Please just be sure to use the Random Fridays banner, link back to Awkwordly Emma, and post the link to your post on the Awkwordly Emma blog so other participants can check out your post. For a list of future Random Friday topics, click here

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Lives I WOULDN'T Want To Have
Hey'a, everyone! Sorry for no posts since last Tuesday. I do have more posts planned for the future; I just have to find time to write them. (My hopes of writing a ton of blog posts over Christmas break didn't exactly work out, obviously.) But today I have a new Top Ten Tuesdays post! There were two topic choices for this week: Worlds I'd Never Want to Live In and Characters I Wouldn't Want to Trade Places With. I really liked these topic options; a lot of the time, if I'm having a bad day, I'll start mentally listing all the characters whose place I'd happily take instead of dealing with my own problems, all the worlds I think would be better than my own. But let's face it: there are quite a few characters who I wouldn't want to be and worlds I wouldn't want to visit. And since I couldn't decide which topic I liked better, I decided to combine them into Lives I Wouldn't Want to Have.

  1. World: Panem (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins). Yeah. Obvious choice. Who wants to live in any world under the thumb of an evil dictator where you run the risk of dying for the entertainment of the elite once a year? And it's not like the elite probably have it all that great either. Yes, they probably have everything they could possibly want, but things can't make you content.
  2. Character: Frodo Baggins (The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien). I would possibly trade places with just about any other character in LOTR who survives the trilogy. I'd even trade places with Sam and go to Mordor with Frodo. But I wouldn't want to take Frodo's place because I know it would end in disaster for Middle Earth. 
  3. Character: Una (Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl). Part of me actually would trade places with Una because I like to think I'd make all the right choices and never get in half the trouble she goes through. But at the same time, I suspect I wouldn't do much better than she did. 
  4. World: Cantral (The Cantral Chronicles by Amanda Davis). Granted, you don't see a whole lot of Cantral society. But what you do see is enough for me. And the tracking chip concept . . . Yeah. Getting zapped by a microchip for being curious, late, or anything else isn't exactly on my list of things I want to experience.
  5. Character: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer). Yes, she's possibly the coolest female lead in the Lunar Chronicles. However, she also has it rougher than any other female lead, possibly more than any other surviving character. I couldn't handle it.
  6. World: Thomas's Dreams (The Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker). Ok, I wouldn't mind living there during Black, since it's essentially paradise. After that, no thanks. It's a pretty awesome world, but I don't think I could be happy with any of the prevalent cultures.
  7. Character: Bonnie Silver (Dragons in Our Midst and its sequel series by Bryan Davis). Some might argue that Bonnie has it comparatively good in some respects, for reasons I can't go into due to spoilers. And I can't deny that I'd like to be like Bonnie in some ways. But I wouldn't want to be her. 
  8. Character: Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini). Actually, I wouldn't mind switching places with him for the first book of the series. (One word: dragon!) After that? No. Even the awesomeness of a dragon couldn't make up for that life.
  9. Character: Tris (Divergent by Veronica Roth). Of all the dystopian/sci-fi worlds I've read about, Tris's seems to be one of the top three that I think I could survive living in. (The other two are the Star Wars galaxy and the world of the Lunar Chronicles.) It's not perfect, but it's also not bad, as dystopian futures go. However, I definitely would not want to be Tris, or Four for that matter. I wouldn't be able to handle it.
Well, that's all. Are there any characters you wouldn't want to trade places with? Worlds you wouldn't want to live in? Feel free to tell me in the comments, or you can make your own Top Ten Tuesdays post. Just be sure to link back to the Broke and Bookish blog and post the link to your post on their site.
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Pen and the Sword

Suilaid, mellyn nin!* How is everyone today? Hopefully you're all doing well.

I've got a new-ish poem to post! (It's not new new, but it's new to you. Or most of you.) I wrote this for the Summer Creative Writing class I took this year. It was my final assignment and probably one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it as well!

The Pen and the Sword

For the life of a novel, the battle was fought
Between our good Writer and foul Writer’s Block.
It started when Writer’s Block swooped in one day,
Captured the novel, and carried it away.
When the Writer discovered what had occurred,
He knew that his story could not go unheard.
So, armed with his pen, the Writer set out
To find Writer’s Block and challenge him to a bout!
The villain was soon found and the challenge was given,
Writer’s Block laughed. “Have you a wish to stop living?
I am the slayer of stories, the terror of tales,
And the bane of all writers- surely you’ll fail.
But if you wish to attempt it, I’ll gladly comply,
And so on the same day, you and your novel will die.”
So he stepped out of his fortress and drew his dark blade-
Still bloody from all of the tales he had slain.
The Writer looked at the sword and then at his pen,
And prayed for a miracle right there and then.
The trumpet-call sounded for the fight to begin
And Writer’s Block charged, as if with one blow to win.
The Writer dodged, leaping aside,
Then again! And again! At this Writer’s Block cried,
“Stand and fight like a man, you cowardly cur!
You’re even more of a pansy than I thought you were.”
But the Writer kept dodging each stroke, stab, and strike,
In unending dread of losing his life.
But finally he found himself trapped by his foe,
With nowhere to run, nowhere to go.
Writer’s Block laughed and raised his blade.
“Now ‘tis time to add to the writers I’ve slain!”
It seemed that the Writer’s fate was now sealed
As down came Writer’s Block’s sword, the deathblow to deal.
But suddenly the villain found his stroke stopped,
Much to the surprise of both Writer and Block.
The pen of the Writer, which was still in his grasp,
Miraculously transformed until, at last,
It became not a pen but a sword, shining bright,
That blocked the deathblow and saved the Writer’s life!
For the first time that night, the Writer saw fear and surprise
Replace the anger and cruelty in Writer’s Block’s eyes.
Emboldened by the miracle that had just taken place,
The Writer swung his new sword and his foe dodged away.
And now, at last, the true battle began
And the swords clashed together again and again.
Back and forth the two fought, shadow against light,
Cliché against creative, all through the night.
At last Writer’s Block fell, his dark blade shattered-
Alive, to be sure, but much bruised and battered.
He lay there, defeated, waiting for the sword to come down.
But then he looked up- what was this now?
In his hand the Writer held not a sword but a pen.
He knelt by Writer’s Block and began to write then:
“For the life of a novel, the battle was fought
Between our good Writer and foul Writer’s Block . . .”
And so Writer’s Block died, not by the sword,
But by what’s mightier still, the pen and the word.
I do feel the need to say one thing before I end this post. This poem wouldn't have happened without Jake of Teenage Writer (and also of the Underground, which is where I met him). His Personification Challenge back in 2011 inspired me to write stories and poems in which Writer's Block is personified. I highly doubt he'll see this, but if he does, thank you, Jake.

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by! 
Garo arad vaer!**
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
*Greetings, my friends!
**Have a good day!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Random Fridays: Simple Beauty
Hello, everyone! This week's Random Friday theme is Simple Beauty. For this post, I'm challenging myself to write a short poem, probably a haiku, to go with each picture. I can't promise how good they'll be, but I'll try my best. Here goes!

Butterfly leaves dance
As they flutter away from
The coming winter.

Tall green mountains reach
For the heavens, towering
Over our small world.

Small flower stretching
Towards the bright sunshine,
Reaching towards life.

Into the forest,
Home behind, journey ahead,
We follow the Path.

 Watch the sun lifting
Over the mountains, chasing
The darkness away.

Well, there you have it. Hope you enjoyed my poetry (or at least didn't think it was terrible). Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Want to join in the Random Fridays fun? Feel free to make a post of your own on the week's topic! Please just be sure to use the Random Fridays banner, link back to Awkwordly Emma, and post the link to your post on the Awkwordly Emma blog so other participants can check out your post. For a list of future Random Friday topics, click here

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Death to Life

Hey'a, everyone! I actually had a Top Ten Tuesdays post all written up for today, but then I realized that, whoops, I got this week's theme mixed up with the theme for the last week of January. Silly me. Instead, I have a poem to share with you. I hope you enjoy it!
Onward, onward, onward she strode,
Onward, onward, on her unending road.
Far away, far away were the paths that she tread;
Far away, far away, in a land forgotten and dead.
Lonely, lonely, she walked all alone.
Lonely, lonely, so far from home.
Shadowy, shadowy, the path led through night;
Shadowy, shadowy, for she had no light.
Wandering, wandering, not found but lost,
Wandering, wandering, her punishment’s cost.
Dying, dying, never truly alive;
Dying, dying, rotten inside.
Searching, searching, for that which gives life;
Searching, searching, unsure what she’d find.
Calling, calling, a voice from the dark.
Calling, calling for someone to hark.
Shining, shining, it broke through the night;
Shining, shining, a glorious Light.
Falling, falling, she fell to her knees,
Falling, falling, for she was unworthy.
Guilty, guilty, deserving of death;
Guilty, guilty, all her life, and yet,
Forgiven, forgiven, the Light-Bearer says she can be!
Forgiven, forgiven, made alive and set free!
Living, living, at last given life!
Living, living, through the grace of the Light!
Forever, forever, this gift will endure.
Forever, forever, nothing can take it from her.
Once again, once again, onward she strode,
Once again, once again, but on a new road.
Always, always, she spread the Light that is Life,
Always, always, until the whole land shown bright.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays: 2014 Goals
Hey'a, everyone! In honor of the new year, this week's Top Ten Tuesdays theme is Goals for 2014, bookish and otherwise. I don't usually do a lot of goal/resolution making, but I do have a few things, mostly writing-related, that I'd like to accomplish.
  1. Write at least a page (100 words) a day, 6 days a week. Ideally, I'll actually write every day, but some days (especially Tuesdays) are pretty busy.
  2. Finish my drafts of Monster in the Castle and Destinies and Decisions. Preferably before the next Camp NaNoWriMo. I can't really start another novel until I've finished these two. 
  3. Work on rewriting Danger in the Tower. I'm up to my second draft on this one, which is usually where I stop editing my stories and novels. However, I'd like to try to publish this series, so I need to do a lot more work on it. 
  4. Enter more writing contests. I always intend to enter contests but don't get anything entered in time. This year, I intend to change that. I especially want to enter the Tales of Goldstone Wood fanfiction contest, since I have a few ideas I really like.
  5. Do more photography. I really didn't do much photography at all in 2013, and I regret that. It's something I enjoy, but it often gets pushed aside by school, writing, reading, and the internet.
  6. Keep a semi-regular blog schedule. This was another thing that got pushed aside a lot this year, especially during the summer. I hope that I won't spend 2014 constantly apologizing for not posting.
  7. Procrastinate less. Yeah, not sure how well this'll work out. I procrastinate so much that I wrote a poem about it. But I can try, at least, and that's better than nothing. Right?
And I can't think of any others. Oh well. What are your goals for this year? Feel free to tell me in the comments, or you can make your own Top Ten Tuesdays post. Just be sure to link back to the Broke and Bookish blog and post the link to your post on their site.
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Time-Thief

Hello, all! I thought that this week, I'd do something different and post a poem instead of a Random Fridays post. Enjoy!
The Time-Thief
Beware Distraction, the creeping thief
Who steals the precious gems of Time.
From his attacks there’s no relief;
He seeks you out wherever you hide.
He draws your mind with want-to-do’s,
With should’ve-done’s and curious thoughts.
Every trick he has, he’ll use
‘Til your focus turns where it should not.
Then while you’re bound and unaware,
He finds your Time and plucks the jewels.
And with no sign he was ever there,
He leaves to torment other fools.
So be wary, watchful, and focused stay,
‘Lest Distraction steal your entire day.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

2014! HUZZAH!

Yes, this probably should've gone up at midnight or something. I was busy yesterday.

Also: what the thrice-baked pumpernickel happened to 2013? I feel like the year just flew by. Or like I accidentally fell through a time portal (are time portals a thing?) a few times and skipped some days.

Anyway, 2014!

I'll be posting about my goals for 2014, writing, bookish, and otherwise, in next week's Top Ten Tuesdays post. So you can look forward to that. (Or not look forward to it, if you prefer.)

In conclusion, there's an Irish/Celtic New Year's song that I really like. It's called "Let the Good Guys Win". I couldn't find the version I listened to, but I did find another version that seemed all right, so, enjoy!
Yes, I know, this video probably doesn't sound very Celtic. I listened to the Celtic version first, and it's an Irish song.

Idhrin-eden 'elir!*

*Happy new year!