Lights, Camera, Summer

Lights, Camera, Summer

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After many stressful months, summer is finally here and we couldn't be happier. This is our opportunity to finally sit back, relax, and enjoy some time away from the classroom. No more homework, no more 8 a.m. classes, and no more studying. Typically, summer is a time spent at the beach, or on vacation, or (if you're anything like me) working tiresome hours. But who says that's the only way to spend your summer vacation? We suggest a little trip (or two, or three, or four) to the movie theater. There are some big films being released this summer that you just have to see.


Star Trek Beyond - Set to be released in theaters on Friday July 22, 2016, directed by Justin Lin. In the third installment of Paramount's rebooted Star Trek franchise, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto), Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and the rest of the Enterprise crew face an alien threat.


X-Men: Apocalypse - Set to be released in theaters on Friday May 27, 2016, Bryan Singer. In the ninth installment of the X-Men film series, we learn of Apocalypse; the first and most powerful mutant in the X-Men universe. Apocalypse awakens, disillusioned, after thousands of years and recruits a team of young x-men, including Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Raven (Jennifer Lawerence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) lead the team to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind. [Featuring Evan Peters as Quicksilver.]


Finding Dory - Set to be released in theaters on Friday June 17, 2016, directed by Andrew Stanton. In this friendly welcome back to the big screen, we find Dory (voice of Ellen Degeneres) residing in the reef along with Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks). Dory remembers she has a family out there that might be looking for her and they set off on a life changing journey. The trio endures quite the adventure across the ocean in an effort to find Dory's mom.


Now You See Me 2 - Set to be released in theaters on Friday June 10, 2016, directed by Jon Chu. The four horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Lizzy Caplan [taking the place of Isla Fisher]) are back at it again with another mind-bending adventure. With this comeback performance, they hope to expose the unethical practices of a tech magnate. Can their latest unprecedented stunt clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all? [Also featuring Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry.]


Suicide Squad - Set to be released in theaters on Friday August 5, 2016, directed by David Ayer. An interesting mix of super-villains (Deadshot [Will Smith], King Shark [], Captain Boomerang [Jai Courtney], and Harley Quinn [Margot Robbie]) are recruited for a mission deemed too dangerous for superheroes. They must set their personal conflicts aside and combine their efforts to accomplish their duties. [Also featuring Jared Leto as the Joker and Ben Affleck as Batman.]


With all of these captivating new films coming out over the next few months, it's going to be hard to stay away from the movie theater! Take this time to take a step back from your school work and recharge for the fall. You know what? You should treat yourself. Go twice. (We promise, we won't tell!)

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The Key To Ending Your First Draft Blues

Or at least getting through the next chapter with your hair intact
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Ah, the first draft. We’ve all been there as writers. The day we decide to turn a blank word document into a 70,000 word (or more) masterpiece. Or, at least, that’s always the aim. Often as first-time writers, we go into the experience blind, learning as we go, and never really knowing whether what we’re doing is right or wrong.

It can be frustrating at times, as most first drafts are a test of sanity. As somebody who had written ten first draft books (nearing eleven) in six years, I have had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to first drafts.

My first book ever took me four years just to write it, I started at the age of sixteen and finished by the time I was twenty. A year later I had written another. I then wrote one in thirty days, and nowadays I write about three to four books a year.

My point is, there is no science to writing. It is all about learning how to do it, and finding the methods that suit you best. I just wish I could have had someone to tell me all of that when I started.

With that in mind, here are my five pieces of advice on how to write your first draft:

#5 Embrace the Terribleness

The first draft is always the worst version of any story. The sooner you accept it, the easier it is to move forward with your work. So you misspell a few words so bad that even Word can't help you. That shouldn't stop you from going with the flow. Your dialogue will feel hammier than a "Star Wars" film, but you'll clean it up the second time around. You're not expected to create a masterpiece on the first go, so just enjoy the ride.

#4 Suffer for your Art

Writing can be hard. I've said it enough times already, but it's true. You have to be prepared to suffer for it. The reason my first book took four years to write was because I didn't commit to it. The reason I wrote 80,000 words in thirty days was because I committed myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. Now I average 3,000 daily. Is it painful to force 3,000 words to the page every day? Yes, but that's what you have to do to get the draft finished.

#3 Take your Time

Now I know this goes against what I just said, but it's important that you go at the pace you want to. I was happier writing 1,000 words a day, but I was eighteen then. At twenty-three, I'll never get everything done going at 1,000 words a day. Commit yourself to writing every day, even if its only 200 words. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll get to the finishing line quicker if you jog a steady pace rather than adopting a sprint and rest mentality.

#2 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Yes, it's important to remember what colour your character's hair is, which one is taller, and what weapon they are carrying. Although with that said, it is important to keep going forward. In my editing, I go over everything with a fine comb, often with a character profile at my side. Don't get bogged down giving every little detail the first time around, you'll have time for that later. The hardest thing is getting it down the first time.

#1 Keep the Story Going at All Costs

This kind of goes without saying, but it is by far the most important step for me. You have to keep moving forward. It doesn't matter if you have to use the biggest Deus ex machina to get your plot going again, you can always edit it away in the re-draft. I use a technique called automatic writing, which means that I don't plan every detail of a chapter. I simply write it as I go. This allows me to give my characters natural reactions as events often come as a surprise to me too.

Obviously it is good to have a rough idea of what is meant to happen, but as long as you can get your characters from A to B, then you are half way there. The other half will be polishing it to the point you can see your reflection.

Good luck, and happy writing.

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writer%27s_Block_I.jpg

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4 Steps To Writing a Haiku

It's Fun I Promise
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You've probably had to write a haiku for English sometime in your school career. You most likely found it boring, or difficult, or just plain stupid. I am going to try and show you a more fun way to write a haiku.

1. The Basics: What You Should Know

In case you don't know, a haiku is a Japanese poem that is only three lines long. It is usually taught that the syllables in each line should go 5-7-5. But really, as long as there are 17 syllables or less in the three lines, it's a haiku.

2. Write to Get a Reaction

When you write a haiku, you are aiming to get one of three reactions: Aaaahhh, aha!, or ha ha! For example...

Aaahhh: Laying in bed/dog next to me under blanket/my furry heater

Aha!: Life is too short to love people/who do not deserve/your whole heart

Ha ha!: I'm on the toilet/and my stomach drops/the roll is empty

3. Create an Image

In your writing, you want to create a new image in your readers mind with each line. Take my first haiku for example. I first talk about laying in bed. Then, I say there is a dog next to me under the blanket, so you picture a lump under the covers. In my last line, I call him a furry heater so you imagine a heater covered in fur. The image you create is more important than the syllables.

4. Performing

Lastly, you need to think about performing your haiku. As always, when you're speaking in front of a room of people, you need to project so the whole room can hear you and you need to make eye contact. Another thing to remember is the tone of your voice while you are saying your poem. Dramatic pauses can keep people on the edge of their seat, waiting for what you're going to say next. You also have to remember to be confident! And if you're not confident, fake it till you make it!

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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