Adventures in NYC: Part IV- Hamilton

Well…Hamilton was just as spectacular as I remembered!

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My friend and I arrived at the theater a little excessively early, because frankly I’m still a little paranoid about resale tickets. I like to be one of the first few people in line because I get it into my head that somehow the person who originally owned my ticket will show up and their ticket will work, and then I’ll be stuck without a ticket. It’s nonsense, I know. But it gives me some peace of mind to be there early. Which is just as well, because my friend is fully embracing the whole “tourist” thing and has been snapping pictures of anything and everything since we got off the plane. She wanted to get some pictures (and some selfies, and some somewhat-unwanted candid pictures of me) of the theater and the silhouettes on the doors outside.

Anyway, the show was amazing and I’m completely sure I’ll do a more comprehensive write-up of it after our trip, but you guys. It. Is. Fantastic. I’m so glad we decided to see it (again, in my case).

We were in the room where it happens, and the energy was absolutely electric. The buzz for the show has gotten way more intense in the eight months or so since I saw it the first time, and you can feel it in the theater. People were excited back in October, but there were plenty of people who didn’t seem to care that much. This time, the entire theater was full of people who were so clearly invested in the show and so thrilled to be in that room. It was amazing.

Aladdin is up next, tomorrow night.

~Sofia

Suck It, Cancellation Bear

Currently watching: Galavant

Are you watching ABC’s Galavant? If not, why not? Last night, Galavant returned for it’s ridiculously improbable second season, and it felt absolutely no qualms with rubbing its renewal in everyone’s faces (with both its title–“Suck It, Cancellation Bear”–and in the episode itself). Just check out the opening number for last night’s premiere episode:

And the opening song from the first season:

 

I love this stupid, stupid show so damn much. I can’t even tell if it’s the theater geek in me, or the fairytale-lover, or something else entirely. If you don’t know what Galavant is, that video up above pretty much lays the premise out: it’s a series about a knight (named Galavant) who, in the first season, was on a quest to win back his true love (who had been kidnapped by a king) and help a princess save her kingdom (which had been invaded by that same king). It’s a basic fairytale setup, but it gleefully goes completely off the rails. And it’s got music by Alan Menken, which should be reason enough to watch it, really.

I have nothing writing-related to say; I’m just still giggling a little about the fact that Galavant is back on for another season. Long live Galavant, may ABC continue to indulge the creative team even after they put together a nearly-five-minute song that is basically a glorious, musical “Screw You” to everyone from the network itself, to competing programming that will probably decimate Galavant’s viewership again.

~Sofia

Your Arguments Against NaNoWriMo Are Invalid

A great defense of National Novel Writing Month. Honestly, I know a lot of people either can’t wrap their heads around the idea of it or don’t like it, but NaNo is the one time of year where no matter how busy my life is, I make time to write.

Two years ago, I was working on a psychology thesis experiment, a seminar for my second major, and an overload of courses aside from those two things. Plus work. I was the busiest, most stressed-out undergrad senior you have ever seen. But when November came around, I still tackled NaNo. I made time to write–I wrote in classes, I wrote in the middle of the night, and I wrote (thanks to the “note” app on my phone) while I walked to classes. Even though I was busy beyond belief, it was worth it. I came out on the other side of November with a 75k word mostly-finished first draft of my novel.

NaNo might not be your “thing”, and that’s fine. But for the people who enjoy it? Why not just let us be, instead of all of the “Here’s why NaNo is awful” posts every November?

Of Work and Writing

Currently listening to “Circus of your Mind” by Paloma Faith

It’s been too long since I last updated this blog! I could rattle off all kinds of excuses, but it all boils down to work and school. I just started a new job, you see, and I’m trying to get into the swing of things. I was lucky enough to get a graduate assistantship for the next academic year, which also includes work this summer. So I haven’t had much time to get things done, writing-wise.

My book is available for purchase on Amazon, of course, and my short stories can be found on QuarterReads.com. I hope to get back to more regular entries here soon!

~Sofia

Writing “Exotic” Locales (Or, “Always do your research!”)

Currently listening to: Pageant, from the KÀ soundtrack (Cirque du Soleil)

 

I live in the middle of a cornfield. Not literally, but really. I can see a cornfield from my window, and no, I don’t live on a farm. This makes it a little bit difficult to draw from my environment to create interesting settings for my writing. Or, interesting to me. I suppose there are some people who would be fascinated by something set in Middle of Nowhere, Midwest United States. Probably mostly people who don’t live there themselves. So there’s a serious impulse to set my writing somewhere–anywhere–else. So I’d like to talk a bit about doing just that.

Not too long ago, I read a work set in Italy. In a part of Italy I’ve been to a couple of times, and really enjoy visiting.

There were so many inaccuracies. I ended up having to put the book down. It would have been fine, perhaps, if the novel dealt with some sort of alternate-history, or alternate-Earth or something like that. But it wasn’t. It was just Italy.

Do not be that writer. If you’re going to set a work somewhere that you don’t live, somewhere that you’ve never been to or only been to a few times? Do the research. Get it right. Don’t just click a travel website about Rome, and assume that’s the most accurate picture of the entire city. Don’t watch some silly rom-com set in Paris and think you’re an expert.

Oh, and as far as languages are concerned: if you’re dealing with a country in which a different language is spoken from that of the novel’s protagonist, address that! It adds a little bit of difficulty for your character(s), but it also adds a little more authenticity. And I can think of few situations where a little bit of a language barrier is going to completely derail the plot. Unless you’re dealing with an alternate universe, your character’s chances of meeting someone who doesn’t speak English in a country where a language other than English is spoken is pretty high. Hell-I’ve been lost and alone in parts of France and Italy where–despite there being throngs of English-speaking tourists–none of the shopkeepers, waiters, or random passerby on the street spoke more than a few words of English. And as a general rule, the further away you get from tourist centers, the fewer people speak English. Not to mention the fact that sometimes, the locals just don’t want to talk to you in English, no matter how polite you are about it*. Or English isn’t the predominant tourist language (for example, there are places in Italy where most shopkeepers and such speak German, French, and Italian, and they’re a little surprised to find out you speak English because that’s not their usual tourist stock).

Basically, do your research before picking a setting. Venice might seem like a great locale for your WIP, but if you try to write that everyone travels via gondola, you should probably take a step away from your notebook or keyboard. Research is your friend, and you don’t want future agents, publishers, or readers, to roll their eyes and think you’re a fool for misrepresenting the geography, history, or culture of wherever you’ve set your work.

~Sofia

*I’m looking at you, mean French sandwich-lady at Place St. Michel. I even asked in French if you spoke English, and you act like you don’t until the moment I leave, and then you’re suddenly Miss Chatty McSpeaksPerfectEnglish

A Break from Writing

Currently listening to Rude, by MAGIC!

That’s right, a break from writing. Sometimes I forget that it’s important to sit back and take a break for a while. I mean, you’ll go absolutely mad if you do nothing but write all day, every day. So today, I am determined to take a break*. I’ve tried before, and I fail every time. I get a new idea, of think of a plot point or a chunk of dialogue for one of my works in progress. And I have a lot of WIPs, so odds are, I’ll think of something to write on one of them at some point during any breaks I try to take. And even if I don’t have my laptop or a notebook, I’ve always got my phone on hand, and that lovely “note” function makes it so easy to copy and paste whatever bits and pieces I come up with into the appropriate Word document later. But still, it’s like as soon as I decide to take a break, that’s when thoughts about my WIPs come flooding to the front of my mind and they won’t let go of me until they’re written down.

Honestly, I kind of like that, though. And if something brilliant comes to me today, I’ll definitely try to remember it. But no typing. No jotting down notes. Today, I am absolutely not writing. It might even be better for my work this way. After all, if I can’t remember something I think of today long enough to write it down tomorrow, then odds are it wasn’t all that good or important an idea. But if I do remember something that comes to me today, then it’s stood the test of time and some part of my mind must think it really is something special that ought to be put in whichever WIP it belongs to.

Oh, and I did finally get a rough draft of that pesky #PitchWars query written. Seven days until submissions.

 

~Sofia

 

*I make it sound far more intentional and significant than it is. Honestly, I’m at work most of the day today with very little downtime, and after work I have to finish a presentation for one of my courses. So it’s more of a forced break than anything, if I’m being honest.