Saturday, October 22, 2016

Get To Know Me Tag

   Well. I'm back. 
   I wasn't planning on posting again this month, but then I remembered that this was sitting in my drafts and figured that talking about myself was a good way to celebrating my birthday(which was yesterday).
   Or something.
   I literally got tagged for this by my dear sweet Carlyn back in February, I believe. And I totally forgot. But at least I remembered!! Eventually. Sigh.

look at my lovely blurry selfie. i tried.

Name: Kristana Collene Aleman
Nickname: Krissy, K, Tana (by myself, when I was tiny), Stana (by the two-year-old I used to nanny) Naw (by my precious three-year-old cousin)
Birthday: October 21, 1998. (I'm an adult now. Waht is life.)
Place of birth: Anaheim, California. The same city as Disneyland.
Star sign: Libra (but I hate it, ugh)
Occupation: writer, college student, occasional nanny

Hair color: dark brown, but I really want to dye it someday.
Hair length: To the bottom of my shoulder blades, when I straighten it.
Eye color: Blue!
Best feature: Um. My dimples? Everyone always comments on them.
Braces: Fun fact: when I was like, ten, I really wanted braces because a boy I had a crush on had braces. Then I learned more about them.
Piercings: Just one in each ear.
Tattoos: Nope!
Righty or lefty: Righty
Best friend: Emma when I was nine. She moved away two years ago (rude), but we try to stay in contact.
Award: The first one I remember getting is a silver medal from my piano teacher.
Sport: Tennis. The teacher was a friend of my mom's, I believe. I was like, six.
Real holiday: Halloween. I was ten days old.
Concert: Imagine Dragons! My friend took me for my birthday during the Night Visions tour, and it was awesome.
*cue nostalgia, even though this picture isn't mine*

Film: Tangled. But also HTTYD (1 & 2), Rise of the Guardians, The Force Awakens, The Giver, Pride & Prejudice (2005), Harry Potter, LotR/The Hobbit, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, and Hercules. And like, a million others.
TV Show: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Studio C, Granite Flats
Color: Black and hot pink
Song: *literally cannot pick just one and just links you to my Spotify instead*
Restaurant: This AMAZING Thai restaurant near my mom's work. Also In-N-Out.
Shop: Half Price Books, probably, because I'm poor.
Books: The Lunar Chronicles, Fablehaven, The Giver, Harry Potter... *continues for seven years*
Shoes: Converse and combat boots
Feeling: in a good, relatively peaceful mood
Single or taken: Married to Aimee Meester's character Havard. 
eternally screaming over this precious, mistreated, wonderful human being
Eating: Cereal. Never mind that it's almost two in the afternoon. I'm eating cereal.
Thinking About: Havard, dang it.
Watching: ...the words as I type them? do people actually watch movies/shows while doing other things?
Wearing: a green plaid dress I got for my birthday yesterday and black leggings
Want children: Yes? But also no? I know I'll have kids, but I'm mildly terrified.
Want to be married: YES PLEASE
Careers in mind: writer(duh), chiropractor/natural medicine doctor
Where you want to live: Everywhere.
God: Shakily, sometimes, but I'm trying.
Miracles: God and miracles go hand in hand, I think.
Love at first sight: There's definitely attraction at first sight, but you can't truly love someone if you don't know them. 
Ghosts: Sorta? Angels/spirits are a definitely a thing.
Aliens: Who knows.
Soul mates: *cue that one scene in Ever After* (go to the 50 second mark)
Heaven: Yup
Hell: Can you believe in one without the other??
Kissing on the first date: Well I mean, it depends on the situation?
Yourself: 80% of the time, maybe.

   I tag Hannah @ Ink Blots and Coffee Stains, Katie @ A Writer's Faith, Imogen Elvis @ Gossiping With Dragons, and Abbiee @ Sing. Write. Eat Waffles. (i don't actually know the name of her blog??? i'm just guessing because that's in her header. this is tragic)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beautiful Books — NaNoWriMo 2016 Edition

   In case you didn't notice, October has arrived. For most people, this means pumpkin spice everything, sweaters, my birthday, and Halloween. But for the odd breed of humans called "writers", it means something completely different.
   NaNoWriMo prep.
   Some plot their novels like the world depends on it. Some do nothing but scream and create a Pinterest board. Still others do a weird combination of the two. Either way, there's lot of panic involved.
   I'm doing NaNo again this year. And to keep my mind off the impending terror, I'm joining Cait and Sky for their annual linkup, Beautiful Books.

   "Oh no," I hear you secretly moaning. "Not another chance for Krissy to ramble about Children of the Nameless."
   Cease your moaning, my little blogglings.   Because I'M NOT WRITING CHILDREN OF THE NAMELESS FOR NANO.

   I see the disbelief on your faces, but it's true. Truth be told, I've felt stuck with CotN for a while. It's not that I don't love the characters(I do) or don't think it has potential(it definitely does). But I've been writing this story since I was fifteen. I'm almost eighteen now. I need something else to work on. I need to expand my writing horizons and explore new stories.
   Also, my friend Emily demanded that I write it now and I am easily peer pressured.

   So, without further ado, onto the questions!!

Describe what your novel is about!

   The short version? Disabled, mostly POC fairytale retellings of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood, all squooshed into one book.
   Okay, that was a lot longer than I expected. And, if you think I'm biting off a lot more than I can chew, you're probably right don't worry. Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood only make small cameos in the story.
   I also a quick, sloppy synopsis. But hey I tried.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

   A large conglomeration of things, honestly. The first part came to me a year or two ago. It went like this.
   "Whoa, what if the prince couldn't recognize Cinderella, the girl he'd danced with all night and was apparently in love with, because he was blind?"
   Genius, I tell you.
   So, I made a Pinterest board but promptly got distracted by all the other shiny new ideas. Then, not too long ago, I had another brilliant idea.
   "What if Ariel was a paralyzed girl who worked on the first floor of a library and had a crush on one of the workers from the upper stories?"
   A bit more specific, mind you, but still a good idea.
   So, I combined the two ideas and made a new Pinterest board, because that's what I do with my plot bunnies. Then, a few weeks ago, my mom and I were talking about fairy tale retellings (because she's a Cool Mom), and I remembered my idea and sUDDENLY I WAS SCREECHING WITH EXCITEMENT ABOUT IT and I haven't stopped since.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

   The aesthetic is very lovely but rather...odd. (you can check out the Pinterest board or Spotify playlist to get a feel for the feel of it. ha I'm funny.)

   rustic. victorian. magic and technology all at once. tiny skulls and old books. souls and barbed wire. dirt and anger and fear. rusty wheels and bright smiles. rough stone walls and old gowns. household dragons and love.

Introduce us to each of your characters!

   So, if you didn't know already, I think I am physically incapable of writing anything but ensemble casts. When I was first brainstorming for the story, there were ten potential main characters.
   I almost cried, I tell you.
   After doing some brainstorming/planning, all of the characters are still in the book, but with varying levels of importance/POV time. The Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty characters play minor roles, so I'm not going to include them below. And since the girls are the only ones who really get any POV time, they're the only ones who get collages. Deal with it.

"Beauty". the Stern Mom Friend. sharp-witted and a hard worker. caring words hidden behind a sharp tongue. barbed wire and dirt under your fingernails. the responsible one. her trust is a treasure: hard to earn and something to be valued. loves with all her strength.

"The Beast". quiet, cautious. thinks it's easier for people to fear him than love him. has epilepsy. a good leader with a good heart. a mask of strength, the night sky, a hand to hold. misses his family.

"Ariel". book lover. lonely like a winter night. organized, punctual, sticks to the rules. the scent of old books, the squeal of a rusty wheel, a soft sigh that no one else hears. longs for something more. uses a wheelchair. clever words swallowed by a fear of speaking up.

"Prince Eric". a little too prideful and a little too selfless. loves to laugh, which isn't the best idea when you work in a library. is friend to everyone but has no one to confide in. hushed laughter, a sly wink, the comfort of everything being in its place.

"Rapunzel". lover of the strange, the peculiar, the unusual. definitely a dog person. speaks her mind, even though there's no one around to hear it. longs for freedom. could totally shoot you but probably won't. long wild hair, dry and cracking earth, freckles. a toothy grin.

"Flynn/Eugene". angry. doesn't know what he's doing 90% of the time, should probably chill. born with only one leg, resistant to all kinds of magic. an outcast, but it's partly his fault. bitter words, bunched-up anger, rough leather, a deep breath. loves his little sister.

"Cinderella". tries so hard to be brave and kind. slave to a coven of witches. keeps her own magic mostly hidden. a shy smile, a newly hatched dragon, thick dark hair, fragile hope. no stranger to sacrifice. believes the world is a good place, despite everything.

"Prince Charming". if sunshine could be contained in a human form, it would be him. blind. next in line for the throne. piano music, soft wax, a steady hand. wants to do the right thing, always. mama's boy. a smile as warm as a summer's day.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

   Outlining. In past NaNo events, I only wrote Children of the Nameless. I haven't worked on a new story for over two years. Because I'd been working on CotN for so long, I had a basic idea of the plot, and that was enough. But I have less than a month to figure out this story's plot, so I'm doing I'm doing some serious planning. 
   Plotting this story is a little tricky. I know the villain's goal and how she plans to accomplish it, and I know the plot lines of each of the main characters, but it's tricky weaving it all together. I'm using this story format from the GTW blog to make sure I include all the main points of a good story, and I'm also outlining it like I would an essay for school. Each section is a chapter, and I write down the things I want to happen in that chapter.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

   I've felt a little trapped by Children of the Nameless. It's really the only thing I've allowed myself to think about for almost two and a half years. So it feels good to break out of that rut and explore a new world. This one doesn't deal with so many heavy themes, which means there's less mostly self-imposed pressure. Also, there won't be as many fight scenes. Thank goodness. I suck at fight scenes.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

1. Stone cities, full of people
2. Open fields full of golden grass
3. Dry earth and hardy trees growing in a thousand shades of green and brown and red

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

   Oh boy. 
   Jane's initial goal is to earn enough money to help her father, and while that never goes away, helping Thayer soon becomes very important to her. #ishipit The main thing that stands in the way of her second goal is everyone's disapproval of a servant girl and a lord having a relationship.
   Clara's main goal is to get Cole to fall in love with her, which is hard because she, y'know, can't talk.

   Essi's main goal is for freedom and happiness. Ryker is both a help and a hinderance. He encourages her to escape and is a good friend, but he freaks out slightly at the idea of a relationship. And by slightly I mean that he yells at her and runs away. He's got issues. We're working on it.
   Afrah just wants to be a good person, but when she discovers that her owner may or may not be attempting treason, her goal because to uncover the plot, no matter the cost. Which is difficult, because no one trusts a slave.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

   Jane becomes more selfless, Clara changes bodies twice, Essi becomes smarter and stronger, and Afrah gets braver. Beyond that, I've got no idea.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

   Do people actually know their book's themes before they write it? Everyone I've heard from is like "I've got no idea, man.". 
   For real though, I want people to be happy when they finish it. It's a fairy tale retelling, for heaven's sake. I want it to be fun but terrifying at times. Because what's the point of a book without some drama?
   And, if I had to pick one thing I want the readers to come away with, it's that ordinary people can make a big difference. You don't have to be incredibly special or unique to do something big.

   So, congratulations if you made it to the end of this post. I didn't mean for it to get so long. *hands you congratulatory Skittles* But hey, I had fun writing it, and hopefully you had fun reading it. I probably won't post again before November, so good luck to all of those doing NaNo! Speedy writing, frens.