Why I love Mythology Adaptations

When I was a young girl, I lived in a world of stories. Bedtime stories full of adventures and the lives of little women, TV shows teaching me to read, and more. When I could put the sentences together on my own, I opened myself up to a new world of imagination. One day, my mom bought me a kid’s version of Greek mythology and the rest is history. 

Since that time around the age of 7, I’ve gone through an on and off relationship with mythology. It was fascinating to hear the stories of people thousands of years back in time. I could understand their version of why the sun set, why the seasons change, even the origin of arachnids. During my off time with mythology, I came across a series that many know well: Percy Jackson.

Percy Jackson introduced me to a new world of storytelling: adaptations of mythology. Through Percy’s snarky point of view, I relearned some things and even learned a few new things along the way. It was a wonderful combination of a more dynamic tone with a nod to the stories I knew and loved. After devouring that series, I went on a quest to find more stories adapting all types of mythology. 

 Twelve years later, I’m still drawn to these adaptations. I love the way these storytellers breathe new life into stories. From podcasts to musicals, the opportunities are endless. I can see the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice in a new time. Modern storytellers can weave the stories in a modern tone and bring a new understanding. What brings me the most joy about these is not only the new life it creates for these stories. It is the knowledge that somewhere, someone will pick up an adaptation for the first time. And after their interest has peaked, they might go down the mythology rabbit hole and find a new thing to love. 

What do you think of mythology adaptations? Do you have a favorite one? Let me know in the comments below! After many years as a fan of mythology, I’m always excited to find a new version of a classic story. Bonus points if it introduces me to a new world of mythology that I’ve never visited before. Thanks so much for tuning in to my nerdy gushing, and happy reading!

Researching as a Writer

Writing a story involves a lot of steps. That’s stating the obvious to any writer who’s ever gotten a story idea. With things like world building, writers spend immense time on stories before the storytelling begins. Character design? With the character sheets out there, who knows how long that could take. Depending on the story and writer, one of these time-consuming steps is research. 

Research is the bane of some people’s existence. There are those who write and then decide to go back and research later to confirm. I am not one of those people. As you’ve most likely gathered from my previous posts, I am a fan of research. In fact, I find myself journeying down research rabbit holes instead of writing.  I can sit down for an hour of writing and spend thirty minutes of that time researching historical facts. 

During my trips down the research path, I’ve learned some very random and strange facts. Many of these things I have found through the glory of writing boards on Pinterest or the land of Google. If you’ve ever befriended a writer, they will tell you that the research is only for storytelling. And remind you often. This is not to concern you, only to make you less freaked when you check out their Pinterest. I’ve had friends ask me what I was up to because I kept pinning stuff about gunshot wounds and fighting tactics. Now they know not to ask questions because I’ve taken to pinning these oddities to my writing board.

Researching leaves you with information that’s useless outside of writing and trivia games. As someone who loves learning, I get excited when I have the opportunity to tell someone one of these facts. Is someone curious about ways to find out if someone’s lying via body language, I have a few suggestions. You never know, your research may pay off in the real world too.

What is something interesting you’ve learned while researching for a story? Do you like to research before or after you finish a rough draft? Let me know in the comments below! I’m excited to learn about other people’s process during this stage. Thanks for reading everyone, and happy writing!

A Goodreads 2020 Update!

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow we’ll be into month seven of 2020! To call this year a wild-ride would most likely be an understatement. Every week I have thought “I wonder what surprise occurrence will happen this time.” Like I said in my last post, I have been able to focus more on my hobbies to keep my spirits up. One of the small silver linings of this time is that I have more time to read. And since I’ve laid out a more challenging Goodreads goal this year, it’s a welcome opportunity.

When I discovered the Goodreads challenge a few years ago, I found it a way to make my reading feel productive. Recently, I’ve been procrastinating on doing some productive things by doing others. Instead of vacuuming, I’m watching a video about a historical figure. When I should be searching the internet for blog inspiration, I’m reading. It has been a great way to feel that I’ve accomplished something during this weird time vortex.

Thanks to the miracle of book tapes and intriguing storytelling, I’ve clocked myself in at 24 books as of the publication of this post. To my utter excitement, I’m 5 books ahead of schedule. According to the Goodreads site, that is. There’s hope that I’ll wrap up with 40 books, or maybe even more, by Jan 1, 2021!

While this is exciting, I haven’t challenged myself with a book recently. I’ve been diving into the glorious world of beach mysteries and fun rom-coms. These are lovely books to read, but I wanted to add some classics and “challenging” reads to my reading list. I want to learn, to grow as a person in this crazy world we live in. I also want to beef up my random fact repertoire, which I feel has been a bit stagnant since I graduated college. Either way, I’m looking forward to the new worlds and stories that are in my future

Do you have any book recommendations that you think I should add to my list? How is your Goodreads challenge going? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks so much for checking out my blog. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for around eight months! It makes me so happy that my words are interesting enough for you to return for new posts. I hope y’all have a great week, and happy reading!

Rejuvenating with Writing

 It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that things have been a bit rough for a lot of people recently.  We’re all grasping at straws to find some hint of what used to be normal, while trying to grow and change at the same time. On the whole, it can get a bit exhausting. Sometimes you have to take a break from the glaring reality flashing in your face. Whether it’s gardening, Zoom calling your friends, or reading a book, you need something to rejuvenate your spirit. To keep you on the path towards a brighter future.

For the longest time, the only thing that fell into this category for me was reading. Then music joined the mix, but it’s a bit difficult to quietly practice a clarinet in an apartment complex. Especially when everyone is at home to hear your cringey attempts at relearning scales. Reading has been a comfort to me, but I’ve also found that writing has joined the ranks as well. When I write, that is. Writing can ebb and flow in my life to extreme degrees. So, when it is in my grasp, I snatch it up like a child catching a lightning bug. Cupped firmly-but delicately- in two hands, to see the glow of inspiration between fingers. 

Writing this blog has been a mixed bag for me right now. Some days, I can feel the ideas for future content flowing from me. But only when I’m in a location where writing said ideas down is an impossibility. Most days it feels like a chore, but one that I enjoy doing once I’m in the middle of it. I’m sure you have something in your life like that right now. 

But the nice thing about writing right now, despite my lack of inspiration, is time. Time to focus on research rabbit holes about 1920s archaeologists, or invent an underground network of spies. If you feel stuck in the rejuvenating hobby, try a new strategy. For me, this new strategy is research or character sheets. I can pull myself into parts of writing that normally won’t cross my mind until I’m in the thick of a writing session. Researching might not add words to the page, but it can add ideas to my mind that I can pluck out later when I’m stuck. Designing a new character might put their words on the page in a new way. It’s also a great way to learn about how your characters will interact differently with each of the characters in your novel.  

If you’re like me, staring at your lack of life progress in frustration, take time to rejuvenate. If you feel stuck, try that new strategy. Take a new look at another piece of it that will help the big picture. Rabbit holes of researching or learning about writing are some ways that I’ve kept my big picture. How will you help yours? What are you doing, or are wishing that you could do, to reignite your spirit? Let me know in the comments below. Stay safe out there everyone, and happy writing. 

 

10 things I want to see in the Percy Jackson Adaptation on Disney+

A few weeks ago, Rick Riordan confirmed something that Percy Jackson fans hoped for years. In the future, Disney+ will release a Percy Jackson series! As someone who grew up loving the original series, I was ecstatic to hear the news. The series is full of amazing moments that were either altered or cut in the movies that won’t be named. With a series lead by Uncle Rick, it’s likely that we’ll get to see some of our favorite moments in live-action.  In anticipation, I tried to imagine some of the moments I’m dying to see on screen. There are countless quips, hilarious moments, and even heart wrenching scenes. Here are a few that I can’t wait to see in the series. 

  1. The Nobody jokes from Sea of Monsters

 As a mythology nerd and someone with fond memories of the Odyssey, I was so happy to see these jokes in the books. It’s not as long running as the dam joke, but it’s still pretty great. It’s a cool mix of informative and a way to highlight the sass and quick wit of the characters in the book. 

  1. Mr. D being Mr D.

Something that I missed in the movies was the full character of Mr. D, aka Dionysus. I loved the dynamic between Percy and Mr. D, especially in the later stories.  At the beginning, their relationship is more for laughs and sass. This part of the story offers a lot of great comedic opportunities. In the later books, we start to see a more “human” side of Mr. D through all the intentional name-calling. It was nice to see a god care about his kids, especially during a book where many half-bloods were struggling with their absentee godly parents. 

  1. Grover and Percy’s bond 

Something that I really liked about the story was Grover and Percy’s mental bond. The dreams and mental communication added a lot to the story and their friendship. We got to see a bit of their friendship in the movies, but we missed what made their bond so special. It would also be a fun thing to shoot in tv show format, so I hope we get to see that done well.

  1. The sassy chapter titles… in any way possible please

This is a lot harder to include than the other items on this list, but I hope they can find a way. The chapter titles were one of my favorite parts of the series because they illustrate the tone of the book so well. And this girl loves creative sass, so they need to include them somehow. Maybe episode titles? I’m sure Uncle Rick will think of something.

  1. Apollo’s puns and crappy poetry

Apollo is more of a side character in this series, but he has some memorable moments in the series. As a pun lover, I loved his puns and hilariously crappy poetry. It was a fun juxtaposition from the Greek mythology version of Apollo. It also makes his more serious moments more impactful to the series. 

  1. Tyson and Percy’s Relationship

Tyson and Percy’s relationship is something that I want to see grow on screen. At the beginning, Percy was definitely frustrated at the fact that there was another son of Poseidon. But overtime, there’s a great growth in their relationship that also helps Percy and Tyson grow as demigods. It’s a great example of how sibling relationships can help you grow, even if you aren’t on great terms at the start. Also, I loved their interactions in the book. I want to see that wholesome mix of annoyed brother and cinnamon-roll brother on screen!

  1. Rachel Dare

I have to admit, Rachel Dare annoyed me a bit when we first met her. But over time, I grew to appreciate her character and arc. She can see through the mist, which is rare for anyone mortal. In fact, one of the few who can in the books is Luke’s mom. Rachel’s story has the risk of going down the same path as Luke’s mom, but she instead takes the reigns of the Oracle with determination. Being chosen by Apollo is a huge help to avoid Mrs. Castellan’s fate. I also want to see Rachel’s story arc because she is a dynamic person who, despite her lack of demigod strength, plays a big role in saving the world. So awesome.

  1. Blackjack and Mrs. O’Leary

Blackjack and Mrs. O’Leary are a great part of the series. They may not be primary characters of the books, but they help the primary characters move the plot along in great ways. Blackjack, as Percy’s Pegasus, is helpful to him in battle or when the demigods are trying to escape. Also, he’s hilarious and helps keep the sassy tone of the books with his quips. I just want to see a flying horse demand donuts. Is that too much to ask? Mrs. O’Leary is a great character, because she expands the lore of the story and is a great dynamic for Percy. Giant hellhound with the personality of a puppy? So many great situations to play out on screen. 

  1. The stakes

Something that I appreciate about the Percy Jackson series is that it’s real to an extent about the cost of war. You know why these kids are choosing to spend their summers learning to fight. There are stakes when the impending battle against Kronos grows closer. People die, people get hurt, and even betray each other. In the movies, it felt like the stakes weren’t at the same level. It is a Disney+ show for kids, so they obviously can’t go too far, but it’s important to show that the kids at Camp Half-Blood are fighting a dividing battle. A few of these moments for me that were super important was when Bekendorf died, and Silena’s betrayal afterwards. It  reminded the readers that those fighting in this war were teenagers. It also showed the sacrifices they had to make to get them to the Battle of Manhattan.

  1. More of the campers and their shenanigans 

The quests are an exciting part of what makes the Percy Jackson series great, but the camp is just as important. It’s the home base, where Percy learns more about being a demigod and trains for his future adventures. Another great thing about the camp is that we get to see the other demigod’s shenanigans and personalities. The Hermes cabin is always up for a prank, and the fun rivalries always brought about fun moments. I hope that the show will include some of these not only so we get to know more demigods, but also to change up the pace a bit. Quests back to back is fun, but after awhile it can get boring. That’s why the books have the camp adventures woven in, and why the show needs to include these moments also. 

What are some things you want to see in the Percy Jackson adaptation? Do you have any theories about casting or what they’re going to include? Let me know in the comments below! I’m so excited see the series, and hope it goes well. Happy reading everyone!

6 Tips for Naming a Character

There are many things to figure out when creating a story. Where does it take place? What’s going on? Why are your characters involved? One of the most important aspects to figure out is something that can be deceivingly difficult; your character’s names. Naming a character can be a walk in the park for some, but others can struggle to find that perfect name. Even when you find a good name, it might be up in the air. It might not work for them later on in the story, and then you’re back to square one. When faced with the character-naming struggle, there are a few ways you can find the perfect name. Here are a few tips to help get you on the right path.

1.  Consult the Census

If you are writing a historical novel, or even one that takes place in our modern world, the census is a great asset. This is especially true if you are in the United States and your story takes place in the US as well. First, figure out when your story is taking place. Then, look up “census names for” and then the year or decade of the story. Try to focus on the top 100 or top 150 names when considering your options. This gives you a lot of options, and allows you to use a more unique name if you want. It can also be fun to switch it up a little! If you’re writing a fantasy novel, it might be fun to name your characters names from the 1920s or 1800s. Keep your mind open. You never know what you’ll find!

2.  Graveyards 

This option is a bit creepy, but many authors have used this tactic to name their characters. If you are visiting or live in a city with old graveyards, it’s a huge bonus. Take a notebook with you and write  down names that you find interesting. Write down first and last names so that you can mix and match when you get home. You might find a great name for a character among many tombstones. This option is great for any novel, not only historic ones. If you do this, there are of course a few rules. Most important, be respectful. Don’t write down the name of someone who’s family is in the cemetery with you. Also, only visit when the cemetery is open and you are able to go inside. As long as you follow these rules, this is a great option to get those creative juices flowing. 

3. Baby Name Sites

This a more obvious option, but still a great way to find a name for your character. You can search baby names by region, time-period, origin, and meaning.  If you’ve already figured out some attributes of your character, try searching names with meanings that match. Or, you can name your character a name that represents who they will become by the end of the story. Baby name sites are also great because they have an endless list of names that can expand your horizons. If you want your character to have an E name but you’re avoiding Emily or Edward, these sites will give you some great options. They also have names by region and origin, which you can use to find names that match your character’s family background or location. 

4. Shakespeare…and other historical texts

He’s back on my blog already! This might not be ideal for all genres, but Shakespeare is a great resource for character names. His plays have interesting names and names that are common even today. You can edit these names to fit in a modern setting, such as a character named Titania who goes by Nia. Many of these names also work in a fantasy setting. After all, Hermione from Harry Potter got her name from Shakespeare! You can also check out classics novels and mythology for name inspiration. 

5. Name Generators

When all else fails, these are a great inspiration for character names.  There are generators that spit out completely random names. They’re both fun and helpful for characters in our world. There are also generators where you can narrow down the name options by many factors. Either way, you should get many name ideas from this option. As you go, write down the names that the generator recommends to you. Then you can go back to these options later and choose between them. You can also get inspiration for other characters in the future! There are so many generators to choose from, but I found Name-Generator.org.uk has some good options. You can check them out here

6. Family Tree

This might seem a bit weird, but it’s a great way to find names. If your story takes places in the 1930s, consult your family tree (if you have one) for the time that your characters were born. So if your characters are in their 20s in the 1930s, look at your family tree for peopl born in the 1910s. If you have the information available to you, looking at names on both sides of your family is a great way to come up with a unique name. For one of my stories, I named a character after the first name of my great-great paternal grandmother. Her last name was from my maternal great-grandmother’s side of the family. This is also a great way to get to know your family better while you’re writing a story! Or find some wacky names in your family history. 

Have you ever tried these tactics to name your characters? What is your favorite way to find names for your characters? Let me know in the comments below! If you’ve found a way to name your characters that I haven’t mentioned, leave a comment. I’m always looking for new ways to approach the writing process! I hope this post has helped you jump start your character-naming process. Thanks so much for reading and happy writing!

10 Iconic Shakespeare Insults

If someone mentioned William Shakespeare, what would first come to mind? Great plays? A ton of sonnets? Or maybe you’re someone who recalls falling asleep to Shakespeare in English class. Either way, Shakespeare’s name usually brings back memories. Due to prose and old language in his plays, many people forget one of the best parts about Shakespeare: his witty remarks. Shakespeare’s work is full of iconic insults and comebacks that are still great to this day. Here are a few iconic insults and comebacks that you might even want to use in your own life.

  1. This comeback for someone being an idiot
  1. When an obnoxious person pisses you off
  1. The sassiest burn…no pun intended.
  1. A great response for a person being sassy for no reason
  1. For anyone being a terrible person. Or for laughs
  1. A creative comeback
  1. A burn destined for the biggest idiot
  1. The most modern sounding Shakespeare insult ever.
  1. One of the best bants from Much Ado About Nothing
  1. The perfect comeback to use when you’re done with someone.

What are some of your favorite Shakespeare insults or comebacks? Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? Let me know in the comments below! I had such a great time looking into witty Shakespeare comebacks. If you need something to spice up your day, take the time to look up some more great Shakespeare comebacks. You won’t regret it. Happy reading!

Impostor Syndrome: A Writer’s Worst Nightmare

It’s that time of the day. Time to crack open a notebook or open your laptop with a mission to write. Before jumping into the creative pool inside your mind, the blank space makes your brain pause. Your brain starts to buzz, thoughts blurring together into a frenzy. Among the sound of trapped bees buzzing in your head, one thought is loudest of all. Can I really do this? 

Creativity is a vast and diverse landscape, but people still deal with this question. It’s an unfortunate side-effect of pulling stories or notes out of thin air to create new projects. While it’s prevalent in all fields, it blossoms in creative ones like a weed. If you’re not careful, it can kill the flowers in your garden of creativity. Impostor syndrome is a tricky thing, after all.

Impostor syndrome is hard to ignore. When all you want to do is write, but you can’t help thinking about those who are better than you. It doesn’t matter that those authors have been practicing for ages to get where they are. The evil impostor syndrome plays a Jedi mind trick on you to miss those obvious facts. As someone who often faces this looming figure, it can be a daunting obstacle. Especially in a creative city.

A few years ago, I moved to the creative and bustling city of Nashville, TN. It was so exciting to surround myself with music, art and writers. When I did my first year of NaNoWriMo in Nashville, I realized that so many people had the same skill as me. But they wrote like they had perfected their writing skills at Oxford or Yale. Meanwhile, I was in the corner creating middle-school level stuff in comparison. Instead of meeting with groups to discuss my writing, I hid in a local Panera and worked by myself. I felt terrified that they would look down on me for my writing, even though I never met them. I was an impostor in the writing community, and it was only a matter of time before they found out.

Not much has changed since I first dipped my toe into the writing world. I often look at the wonderful, creative people and have that same question floating in my head. It even almost prevented me from starting this blog. I started it four times before I finally shut up that doubting voice and hit post. I have to remind myself that practicing is as important for writing as it is for playing instrument. I can’t reach my potential without taking the time to fail. 

That’s something I would encourage everyone in a creative field to remind themselves. You have to fail to learn, and it’s okay if you keep stumbling. What matters is that you get back up and keep going. Who knows what might lay in store for you down the path you’re traveling. When impostor syndrome blocks the path, you have to stand tall and deal with the obstacle. The other side of it might bring out something new in you that you could never predict.

Happy writing everyone! Never let impostor syndrome stop you from doing what you love.

The Mind of a Writer

To the outside world, writers can seem like an enigma. They pull plots and characters out of thin air. Creations that pull us into new worlds and exciting lives much different than our own. How can a person scribbling into a notebook or typing like a madman on a computer create these new worlds?  People have been doing it since we learned to write, but it can still be baffling to those lacking a writer’s brain. What is it like inside their heads? 

A writer’s brain is different from person to person, much like their writing process. Some writers have a fountain of ideas that they can pull out of their mind on a rainy day. Others have ideas pop into their heads rarely and at inconvenient moments. They have to scramble to get things down, otherwise it will flutter away on the wind. 

Despite the varying ways writers approach writing, the minds of writers are similar. Most people pulling characters out of thin air have brains full of little details. Details about the world and the people in it that they use to build characters. I’ve often found myself people-watching to figure out how people walk or speak to file away for later. Or I’ve taken a gazillion pictures of an area that I want to include in a story. Writers have a knack for observation. You never know, you may find a story idea in the color of a flower or an overheard conversation. 

Writing also calls for an ability to come up with tough situations for your characters to deal with. Some are familiar to the writer, while others are out there in a magical realm with no context. Some writers have an overthinking brain, which they can use in this situation. Writers with this type of brain can come up with worse case scenarios for anything. While it’s not great for everyday life, it can create compelling stories. It’s also helpful for those with writer’s block needing to up the ante on a story. If a writer can’t figure out all the details, Google is their BFF. It creates a weird search history, but helps get the job done. 

One of the most important things in a writer’s brain is empathy. Sure, creativity is up there, but compassion is key. Empathy helps a writer get inside the head of a character who is nothing like them. It’s hard to create someone who appears to be a fully-fledged human in the world of the story. With an understanding of those different to them, writer’s can create those characters. It’s more interesting to learn about characters who are different from their creator. Yet they still came out of that person’s mind. 

If you think about it, writing is weird, especially fiction writing. Pulling these things out of thin air takes a mind geared for the challenge. Across the genres, writers have to tap into a side of them that others might not use often. It’s how we’ve been able to visit our favorite worlds and meet the characters we love. Without a writer’s brain, weirdness and all, the world would be a boring place.

10 Iconic Percy Jackson Quotes to Make You Laugh

Over the years, I’ve read countless book series. There are many iconic ones that changed my life, like a story involving a boy wizard on quite the adventure. When I was in middle school, a new series began that brought me as much joy as searching for the Philosopher’s Stone. Percy Jackson, written by Rick Riordan, was a series that had it all. Greek mythology, a snarky hero, a cool female character, and a lovable best friend, and more! Throughout reading the first series, I found myself laughing, and on the edge of my seat.  The fan-named Uncle Rick is a master at blending humor, action and heart. But the hilarity of the series is one of the most iconic attributes. Here are a few of the iconic lines from the amazing series Percy Jackson.

  1. This gem, in which Percy is all of us.
  1. A famous quote…with a twist!
  1. Leo is all of us hour 10 of studying after 5 caffeinated beverages.
  1. The moment when Percy speaks the truth.
  1. The Percy Jackson origin story. And the reason why I’m occasionally tempted to dye my cookies blue.
  1. The beginning of my shipping problem.
  1. This quote, aka the series in a nutshell.
  1. This vivid description of going to the Underworld
  1. The dam classic that is still funny to my 25 year-old brain.
  1. Last but not least, proof that being a demigod is a wild ride.

What are your favorite Percy Jackson quotes?  Who do you think has the best lines? Let me know in the comments below! This was so hard to narrow down to 10 quotes, that I’m already itching to dive back into Percy’s world! In fact, why don’t we take a trip back to Camp Half-Blood together? I’ll be in Apollo’s cabin if you need me. Happy reading Half-Bloods!