MISSION ABORT

It turns out that I really, really hate doing a niche blog. It also turns out that when I’m doing cool things I want to write about my life, and when I’m not doing cool things I want to write articles. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of cool things, so I want to write personal posts, so I don’t want to write articles, and if I’m doing a niche blog, I can’t do personal stuff.

OneTeenLiving is just. So. ORGANIZED. And I have to act like an expert. I’m not an expert. There is no part of me which has any kind of expertise. I can spell. That’s a thing I can do. I am a walking dictionary. Also, I am sad because I’m not getting enough traffic/followers. I already have tons of traffic and followers here. (Well, I say tons…) Why did I leave?! What was I thinking?

I’m returning to a more personal blogging style, okay? More of what I feel about things instead of what I know about things. It’s all gonna be about me guys. You’re reading the Me blog. I’m sticking to a Mon-Wed-Fri schedule though, because otherwise I stress. There will be extra posts, but I have to do the Mon-Wed-Fri posts. Yay, consistency and quality!

(I’m going to go back and mess with the categories because the category names make zero sense.)

Also, I am reading tons and tons of material on writing good articles, and writing about yourself, and making information into stories. If you guys have any helpful resources or even just really good articles for me to read, I would love that.

See you Monday, my faithful readers!

Posted in Blogging About Blogging, Things I've Written | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Moving Along.

For my New Year’s resolution, I have decided to start taking this blogging thing seriously. Unfortunately, it’s kind of hard for me to do that right now, because this blog is all over the place, I don’t have any kind of niche like the experts recommend, and the posts don’t fit very well into the categories. Also, the aforementioned posts are pretty low quality, because I have to pump them out in massive quantities in order to reach my once-per-day quota.

I want to become a freelance writer, so this stuff is really important to me. I need to build a professional-looking website with some quality articles. This blog was recently suspended by an automated spambot, and during the interval between sending the WordPress people a message about it and waiting for them to get back to me, about two days, I started a new blog. It’s called OneTeenLiving, and it’s geared towards other teenagers, specifically teenagers who have big dreams– Or no dreams at all– and want to start working towards them now. Screw waiting to grow up.

I’m taking the Blogging 101 course WordPress is providing, and I’ll be recycling some of my more pertinent posts from this blog, edited, of course, and geared more towards teens. If you want to preemptively follow my new blog before I’ve got any posts up. I would be delighted to have you. Here’s the link: OneTeenLiving.

Also, comment below if you’d like me to follow you under my new account. Ciao, guys.

blo

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Points2Shop

p2s

Recently, in my ongoing search for ways to make money as a 15-year-old girl, I happened upon a website called Points2Shop. It’s a survey/offers site where you do things like watch videos, download apps, and fill out surveys in exchange for points. Watching videos usually only nets you about 1 point. A survey can give you 40-60 points, and app offers tend to be in the 10-20 zone. 1 point is equivalent to about 1 cent, and 1000 points can be redeemed for a 10 dollar Amazon gift card, and there are thousands of other available rewards. I have been working on the site for… four or five days, now? Maybe a week? and I have 350 points.

amazon-gift-card

It WILL be mine.

It’s not a scam, at least according to several people on the internet, and if you click on someone’s profile in the included Points2Shop “Shoutbox”, or chat, you can see the things they’ve earned. One person’s profile indicated that they’d saved up for and received a Nintendo 3Ds, two Pokemon games, and a few other things over the course of a year. That’s a pretty hefty amount of cash for simply filling out surveys.

If you’re interested in joining the site, here are a few things you need to know:

1. Sign up under this link, which is a referral code which will net me 50 points. Shameless, I know, but if you’re going to do it anyway…

money money money

This is British money. It’s like money, but British.

2. It is approximately 50 times easier to earn points through the mobile app. Simply download an app, play, oh, the first level or so, and BAM! 15 points. That’s two minutes, tops, whereas a 20 minute survey will earn you around 50 points. You can make three times the money in the same amount of time using the mobile app.

3. Incidentally, when downloading apps, the NativeX section pays much better than the other sections for the same offers.

4. You will be disqualified from many, many surveys. That’s okay. It happens to everybody. Although apparently Hispanic parents of under-eights are a hot commodity. It’s a demographics thing.

5. A few offers can take up to a week to credit. That’s okay. However, if it takes more than a week, you’re probably out of luck. Sorry about that ten minutes you wasted, and consider contacting Points2Shop if the offer is high value.

tiniest_violin

I am playing the world’s saddest song on the tiniest violin just for you.

6. It says you can play games to earn money, but nooooooo. You bet 5 points, and then play against 1 or more other players, winner takes all. Unless you are a very, very good gamer, I would not recommend it.

That’s about it, I guess. See you there!

Posted in Check This Out!, Going For My Goals, Look At All The Things I'm Doing! | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Ways To Drum Up Christmas Spirit

tumblr_static_decorated-christmas-tree

The first image that popped up when I typed “Christmas” into Google.

I am feeling extremely Christmassy right now, so, as an early Christmas gift to all of my beloved readers, have a massive list of EPICLY FESTIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO INSPIRE AN INTENSE FEELING OF CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.

1. Activate the snow feature on your blog. It’s under general settings, the little box at the bottom that says “Have your blog snow until January 5th.” When you move your mouse the snow moves away from it or towards it at varying speeds depending on the day. Look, I have it on, just move your mouse from side to side and giggle gleefully to yourself.

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See that little checkbox at the bottom? Yeah, that. Hurry, there’s only, like, ten days until the feature evaporates into the aether.

2. Wear the ugliest and most garish festive clothing you can. Such as one of the hats from this list. Or one of the sweaters from this list. Don’t bother trying to look cute, guys, just embrace the tacky. Otherwise you’ll end up looking unintentionally tacky, which is so much worse than having an eye-wateringly ugly conversation piece. Go big or go home.

12-Tablet-Fireplace

Look at this it’s amazing. There’s a pouch to put an iPad in with the live fireplace app, and the Christmas lights over the hearth and the stockings are both real.

3. Blast funky free Christmas music incessantly. Such as these lovely free Christmas songs from Amazon. All of which deserve a listen. At least half of them will make your eyes water from laughing so hard. Such as the funky and unique song Eggnog. “I’m describing you as if you were a glass of eggnog/ but you’re not you’re my favorite glass of human.” And also the rap remix version of Let It Snow. And Jingle Farts, which is basically someone farting to the tune of Jingle Bells over the delicate sounds of bells and guitar.

4. Go Christmas-Light spotting. Look up the winners of your local Christmas Light contest, and drive from house to house blasting the aforementioned funky free Christmas music and wearing an ugly sweater. Or, better yet, participate in the contest. There are several categories where I live, such as Debatable Inflatables, which requires a minimum of eight inflatables to enter, the Clark Gable category, which is an exercise in “How Many Lights Can You Fit On Your House At Once” and usually has the lights flashing in time with a Christmas song that is played on incessant repeat on a specific radio station the homeowner has rented. It’s intense. And then there’s the Norman Rockwell category, which is old fashioned, traditional, and nostalgic. There’s a few others, but those are the most interesting.

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My family in front of the winner for this year’s Debatable Inflatables category. Griff, the tiny one in the front, spent the entire night screaming “LOOKITTHAT” in excitement every time he saw Christmas lights.

5. Put tinsel on everything. EVERYTHING. In fact, why not just make a festive cannon for MAXIMUM TINSEL EXPLOSIONS. Come on, do it for science! Do it for Christmas! Do it for the vine! In fact, why don’t you cover your tinsel cannon with TINSEL?! (Warning: Apparently, if you try this, there is a moderate chance your tinsel cannon will explode and send you to the emergency room, and a very small chance of aggressively festive death. DO. NOT. OVERPRESSURIZE. YOUR. CANNON.)

6. Make Christmas cookies. Gingerbread, sugar cookies with little Christmas trees on them, snickerdoodles, candy cane cookies, shortbread, the entire AllRecipes Cookie Countdown list. All the cookies. All of them. Put them out for Santa or EAT THEM ALL, it doesn’t matter, it’s Christmas. Well. I mean. If you have a severe peanut allergy you probably shouldn’t gobble peanut butter cookies because it’s Christmas. Or diabetes. BUT ANYWAY EAT ALL THE COOKIES.

Making the Ginger Snaps

7. Watch a few epic and hilarious Christmas commercials, like the Santa Wants Bacon commercial by Farmland Passion for Pork, the Kmart Jingle Bells Commercial, and this amazing Harvey Nichols Avoid A Same Dress Disaster commercial, which is not necessarily limited to Christmas. BONUS: This stunningly adorable snowman love story by the UK department store chain John Lewis.

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Adventures In Editing: Part Two.

NaNo-Winner-2014-Web-Banner

After some trial and error and considerable research, I have decided that I’ve been doing this editing thing all wrong, particularly considering the ways in which I work best, and the gradual disintegration of any kind of logical order or consistency that happens near the end of the book. I’m not sure there is an end. There’s a climactic scene, but I need to rewrite it from a different viewpoint, and after the climactic scene there are four more scenes that need to go before the climactic scene and the writing stops in the middle of a sentence.

Ah, NaNoWriMo. The mother of sprawling, incoherent, mostly-finished first drafts. It was very educational though, and I will salvage this wince-worthy disaster of a thing, even if I end up rewriting it. And I will. I’m going to bet that not a single sentence will come out in the second draft unchanged.

The first thing I’m going to do is reread the 50k word tentacled squid of incoherency that I have produced, taking notes for things I need to change, plot holes, motivations, characters that need a better development, unnecessary scenes, scenes out of order, etc. The second thing I’ll do is outline the second draft, mostly-plot-hole-free, sensible, and correctly ordered. I already have a document where I’ve started listing my subplots and describing my main plot, and only scenes which advance one of these plots in a meaningful manner are allowed.

Böcker

I’m researching a lot, particularly since my main character’s black and I’m a white chick, and I don’t want to be accidentally racist or demeaning. For example, I recently figured out that having only one character, who is morally ambiguous, be black in a whole cast of otherwise white people is called “tokenism” and is super bad because you’re basically just making the character black to prove you aren’t racist. I’m also remembering things I did like handwave the ancient history of the Rochester family, a clan of werewolves (A clan is like a big, interconnected family made up of individual packs who work together and are usually related) as immigrating from Europe, when it makes more sense for them to be Native American so that their ancient territories can, you know, actually be ancient as opposed to less than three hundred years old. Because I wanted them to be white.

Anyway, now I need to do research into Native American customs so I don’t accidentally disrespect someone’s culture and figure out why my MMC has a Scandinavian name. I’ll probably make his mom come from a Scandinavian family. I think there is a Native American tradition with werewolves, so I can draw off that.

Screenshot (8)

This is the header from a very, very helpful website called Writing With Color, at writingwithcolor.tumblr.com. The image links back, for your education.

I’m also playing around with viewpoint and style, so I rewrote the first few paragraphs from a first person point of view and I was shocked at how cool and different it was. It feels very immediate, and the style’s a little more splintered. Here you go:

I step around the corner with my backpack heavy on my shoulders,  and my eyes go straight to the shining white car pulled even by the curb. Phew. I can almost smell the money coming off this thing, and maybe bleach, it’s that white. There’s a man in the front seat sitting up straight like there’s a crowbar embedded in his spine, spindly glasses on his nose, the glint of metal on the breast pocket of his white shirt. I walk a little closer, casual, hook my thumb into my backpack strap to ease the weight. His eyes slide sideways to watch me.

“Hey,” I say, and nod at him. Flick of the eyes and I can see the metal. It’s a pin. A delicate silver cross slicing through an infinity symbol. Two merging circles, divided by holiness. He catches me looking, and the sharp lines of his face stretch into a smile like a shark’s, mad and vicious. I’ve been seeing that symbol a lot, and if I look up– there, even on Ms. Johanna’s shop wall, spray painted in messy red. It’s been there for about three weeks longer than Ms. Johanna generally allows graffiti to stay.

See? Cool, right?

typewriter

I’ve always wanted a typewriter. 🙂

Oh, also, in the second draft I’m making a bit of a setting change, so that instead of the hackneyed nobody-knows-about-werewolves it’s everyone-knows-about-werewolves-it’s-taught-in-schools. Psychic shops are taken way more seriously, and there are magic shops where people pay for spells like enchanted objects and healing spells and curses and blessings and the removal of curses. The magic system is based on a half-sentient magical force which demands sacrifices from its users, with different kinds of magic users being separated by the kinds of sacrifices they make. There are blood witches, who sacrifice a certain amount of blood in exchange for a certain amount of magic, sorcerers, who sacrifice other creatures’ life force in exchange for magic, killing or prematurely aging animals or people or sometimes plants, wizards, who sacrifice their own life force at a considerably higher value than the sorcerers get for other people’s, and warlocks, who make one huge permanent sacrifice and get a certain amount of magic doled out to them every day at noon, which they can either save to cast one immensely powerful spell or spend in lots of little spells.

Wow, okay, that was a bit of a digression. See you next time, guys!

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Why Emoticons Are The New Punctuation ;)

Let’s start with a sentence. “I think that’s really great.” Punctuation, traditionally, has been what changes the intended tone of the sentence. “I think that’s really great!” I think that’s really great?” “I think that’s really great…”

Let’s change to a different sentence for the next example, because “great” has stopped looking like a word. “Jane told John she wasn’t coming.” There, basic, boring sentence. With punctuation, respectively: “Jane told John she wasn’t coming!” “Jane told John she wasn’t coming?” “Jane told John she wasn’t coming…”.  Here’s where emoticons enter the picture. “Jane told John she wasn’t coming :)” “Jane told John she wasn’t coming :(” “Jane told John she wasn’t coming ;)” “Jane told John she wasn’t coming >:(” “Jane told John she wasn’t coming o_o”

Punctuation is meant to convey tone. Emoticons are meant to convey body language, as a symbolic representation of the other person’s expression, because otherwise there are a whole mess of misunderstandings. Normally, you can’t convey sarcasm through plain text, or joy, or sadness, except through explicitly stating it, and it hinders communication. Look at the example sentence above. There is a completely different context to each sentence provided by the emoticons.

There are other tools than punctuation and emoticons to distinguish tone in text. Italics, to emphasize, and bold, to make your words stand out. IF YOU PUT YOUR WORDS IN ALL CAPS YOU LOOK LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING. ifyouremovethespacesitlookslikeyou’remumbling. When you surround key words by asterisks, it looks *really* sarcastic. Describing actions surrounded by asterisks conveys the impression that this is what you were doing when you wrote these words. *smirk* *shrug*. Drawing out the letters of words makes it souuuuund like you’re whiiiiiining.

I honestly just find it fascinating how many ways we’ve created to express ourselves in a world where most of the expressing done is in text, online.

Posted in Crazy Cool Stuff I've Learned, Look At All The Things I'm Doing! | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where I Live.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

No, I’m not going to give you my address. What kind of moron do you think I am? I’m also not going to tell you what town I live in, or the directions to my house, or major landmarks nearby. Nope. That’s like, rule #1 of internet safety.

However, I did think you guys would like to see what my environment basically looks like. No street signs, no landmarks, just plants and hills and cute little apartments and signs of fall. Not winter. This is California. We have no winter. I mean, we have a rainy season, although not for the past few years, but it doesn’t get below 40 degrees. Except at night, when it can plunge to 20 degrees. *sigh* Deserts.

Awesomely enough, I recently learned how to create a slideshow in my WordPress blog post, as you can see above.  I’m super excited about it, all like “Look at my awesomesauce photo presenting skills.” Yeaaaaaaah.

Anyway, now you can picture me strolling down the street with rather more accuracy than before. Setting is important, after all. 🙂

Posted in Look At All The Things I'm Doing!, Places I'm Going, Things I'm Seeing | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments