October 31, 2014

What's Up in the Marvel Universe

There's a lot going on in the land of Marvel right now. I, for one, have been geeking out almost nonstop for the past week or so. A lot of this stuff is really awesome- for example, Marvel's first movies led by a woman and a POC have been announced. Also, the Age of Ultron Trailer has been released and it is perfection.

So let's take a look, shall we?


First off, the absolutely perfect Age of Ultron trailer I mentioned. Gaze at the glorious thing that is this trailer. Done? (I'm not kidding. You need to watch it.) Good.

First off, the creepy Pinnochio music in the background needs to be mentioned. *shudders* And poor Bruce on the jet.

But what I really want to talk about? BALLET DANCERS. If my memory serves me correctly, one of Black Widow's covers back when she was with the Red Room was as a ballet dancer. So does this mean that we get to see more backstory for Nat in the Cinematic Universe? Let's hope so.


Second, we got a full list of all the movies for Phase Three! For those of you who aren't IN the Marvel fandom and are more like casual bystanders, the Marvel movies are set up in "phases". Phase One was everything up to The Avengers, and Phase Two will include everything between Iron Man 3 and Ant-Man.

No Black Widow movie, unfortunately- but look what we do get! Carol Danvers AND Black Panther! DC did beat Marvel to the punch with Wonder Woman and Cyborg, but honestly, I'm not going to complain. I'm just happy that these two major companies are both starting to introduce more diversity into their films.

So, anyway, here's the list:

Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Captain America: Civil War was announced. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, and Chadwick Boseman will star as Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Panther, respectively.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Doctor Strange was announced. Benedict Cumberbatch is in final negotiations to star in the title role.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Guardians of the Galaxy 2's release date was announced to have been moved up, and the logo was revealed.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Thor: Ragnarok was announced. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston will return as Thor and Loki, respectively, but no other details were confirmed.
Logo for Marvel's Black Panther movie that was announced yesterday
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Avengers: Infinity War was announced. The movie will be split into two parts, with Captain Marvel and Inhumans released in between them.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Captain Marvel was announced. Plot and cast details are completely unknown.
Today at the Marvel Studios press event, Inhumans was announced. Absolutely no plot or cast details are known yet.

Pretty awesome, huh? I'm loving these gorgeous logos. Also, the introduction of Carol Danvers and the Inhumans means a future Kamala Khan movie is a possibility!


And, in miscellaneous-but-still-awesome Marvel news (yes, there's more)...

  • The Guardians of the Galaxy are getting their own animated TV show on Disney XD!First look at Marvel's animated Guardians of the Galaxy TV show
  • For those of you who haven't heard already, there's an alternate universe where Gwen Stacey got spider powers instead of Peter Parker. Well, Spider-Gwen (as she's been dubbed by fans) is getting her own ongoing comic series! Also, several other fantastic Marvel ladies, including Gamora, Peggy Carter, and Silk are getting their own series as well. Marvel announces several new female led and written comic series, including Gamora, Spider-Gwen, Silk, and Peggy Carter, along with a YA novel about Black Widow!
  • The new Thor series (starring a mysterious woman as the new Thor) has started off with a bang. 
  • And finally, the amazing Natasha Romanoff is getting a YA novel! It will be written by Margaret Stohl (author of the Beautiful Creatures series), and will come out in May 2015.

So, anyway, I hope I haven't missed anything (but I probably did)! What are you looking forward to the most?

October 16, 2014

Planning for NaNoWriMo

I'll be doing the YWP again this year! My word count goal is currently 25,000 words, although I'll have to see how doable that is since I have a busier schedule than last time. You can check out the page on my WIP if you want to know more about it.

But enough about me- you want to know about how to plan for your novels, don't you?

Well, don't worry! I've got some tips coming!

One of my favorite parts of writing is seeing the characters come alive in my mind- there's a kind of magic to it. Character creation, for me, is a very long process, that starts with a concept and develops in my mind until I feel ready to write it all down.

I've always character questionnaires to be quite fun, so you might want to look around for one you like. Here's a link to one I've found that I liked.

Character story arcs are very important (but also fun!) These are woven in throughout your plot (or at least, that's how I do it). Basically, your character(s) should undergo some change through the novel. Maybe they mature a bit, or learn to trust their friends a bit more, or similar. So write that down.

Another thing that I find handy is to create timelines for my characters- a year by year (or month by month, or whatever) list of the major events in their life and influences on their personality.

Doodling your characters (if you like to draw) is fun as well, and can help clear up the picture in your mind.

Or throw your characters into a random situation, like a sit down dinner, and see what happens.

Basically, whatever works.

Story Arcs

Last year, my creative writing teacher gave me some excellent tips about this magical thing called the 8 Point Story Arc. It's basically eight "points" used to structure to main plot of your novel.

Stasis/ The Normal World
This is what life is like for your main characters before what most people call "the inciting incident". It should basically be a snapshot of day-to-day life for your characters before the action starts. And like a snapshot, it should be short- only a couple of pages at the most.

Trigger/ The Inciting Incident
This is what sets your character on their big adventure- something that the main character can't control. Sort of like Cinderella's fairy godmother.

The Quest
This is simple enough- it's whatever adventure the trigger set off. On your basic story arc, this is one part of the Rising Action.

You may just have one of these, or you may have several. But the important thing is, the reader has to go "I did not see that coming."

Critical Choice
This is where your protagonist(s) make the big choice- the one that decides which direction the rest of your novel goes in. Many times choice is between hard but good or easy but bad. This point is what causes the climax.

The Climax
The highest peak of tension in your story. This event should ideally be caused by your character's critical choice.

The reversal is the end of the critical choice and climax. It should change the status of your characters, like Cinderella going from a peasant to a princess.

The Resolution
This is where the story comes full circle. Any questions the reader had should have been answered by now, and your characters should have undergone some change through the story.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How do you plan to outline? Let me know in the comments!

October 7, 2014

Shipping and OTPs

Before we get started on the actual post, I'd like to let you know that I've written a co-review of "Kill the Moon" (S08, E07 of Doctor Who) with nevillegirl at Musings from Neville's Navel. You can find the post here.

For those of you who aren't neck deep in nerd culture and fandoms, I'm going to define what these mysterious "ships" and "OTPs" are (No, it has nothing to do with FedEx).

Shipping (Ship is short for relationship, I think?) generally means that you think two characters would make/ are a cute couple. Sometimes people also ship characters as just friends- they don't necessarily have to be in a relationship.

OTP stands for "one true pairing". The thing is, most people have multiple OTPs. It can be taken in different ways, like you have one OTP per fandom, or even per character.

So, anyway, now that I've defined those critical terms and self-promoted a bit (as usual), let's get started! I'm going to be listing my OTPs and my thoughts on them/ why I ship them. Hopefully, this one will have a bit more substance than my horrendous INTJ characters post.

Let the shipping begin!

Clint Barton/ Natasha Romanoff- Marvel Cinematic Universe

"Agent Barton was sent to kill me. He made a different call." -Natasha Romanoff, The Avengers

How could anyone not ship this? I mean, they're just so perfect for each other. You want chemistry? They've got chemistry. I can totally imagine them going on this super romantic dinner date and then right afterwards going out to kick some HYDRA butt or something.

Cecil/ Carlos- Welcome to Night Vale

Awww it's like Night Vale meets Disney

"Neat!" -Cecil Baldwin, WTNV Episode 16 (The Phone Call)

Why do I ship them, you ask? HAHAHA Cecil and Carlos are just... They're just... so cuuuuute together. Also I have a weakness for ships where one or both of the people in it are super awkward and nerdy and obviously in love but have a really hard time expressing it and I just... It's perfect. They're perfect for each other.

Jenny/ Madame Vastra- Doctor Who

"I'm a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife." -Madame Vastra, The Snowmen

Jenny and Vastra are really one of the only reasons I'm still watching this Moffat stuff. I don't have as much to say on this one, but... PERFECTION.

Sherlock Holmes/ Molly Hooper- Sherlock

"You've always counted." -Sherlock Holmes, The Reichenbach Fall

As I said, awkward-nerdy-but-still-adorable ships are one of my weaknesses. I don't really have a whole lot to say on Sherlolly either, though, aside from that it's cute.

Billy Kaplan and Teddy Altman- The Young Avengers

"Oh, ugh. Is love really going to save us all?" -Loki, Young Avengers #13

Why, you ask? Excuse me if I laugh at you again. Billy and Teddy are the best together, there's no denying it. They understand each other, and they're just such a (I feel like I'm really overusing this word but) cute couple.

Gertrude Yorkes and Chase Stein- The Runaways

"I was reventilating him. Anyone who says different gets fed to my dinosaur." -Gertrude Yorkes, Runaways #16

Throughout most of the original series, they hated each other (Well, at least, Gert hated Chase. I have no idea if Chase hated Gert or not.) and then BOOM.  They were absolutely in love and it was perfect. And it wasn't perfect, either. It was realistic. They had their ups and downs. It wasn't all just fluffiness and rainbows, but they still stayed together, and... I think that makes it all the better.

Let me know what your ships and OTPs are in the comments!