Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happenings of 2017

Well, I definitely owe you all something of a year-end wrap up, since I didn’t keep you very updated during the year, did I? So much for my grand plans in March. Oh well. Such is life. I’m here now.

Happenings of 2017

Entertainment of the Year:

  • Movies/TV

I’ll be honest: There weren’t any stellar standout movies for me this year. There were good spots, but nothing that I really feel like raving about. I was really excited to see Wonder Woman but found myself kind of disappointed by it. There were certainly parts I enjoyed, but, overall, it fell kind of flat. I’m still not entirely sure why. I did see Dunkirk, which was very different in about every way from what I normally watch. I can’t say I loved it, but it was a different experience, for sure. I also saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which was hilarious and entertaining, if more crude than I appreciated. I finally saw Thor: Ragnarok a couple of weeks ago and thought it was great. The level of violence was a bit much for me in places, but I really liked what they did with Thor’s character. And the soundtrack… Ugh, so good!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Flash Fiction Challenge #5–Let’s Begin

Yay! It’s time to get writing, everyone. For a quick review, this challenge includes:

  • A writing prompt someone gives to you
  • A writing prompt you give to someone else
  • Feedback for each of the participants by the various participants

“Flash fiction” is a genre of short fiction, generally around 500 words, but examples can be up to 1000 words. In our challenge, the maximum length will be 1000 words, but each person may assign a shorter length with their prompt. Prompts can be anything from a concept to a sentence starter to a picture, etc. If it can prompt a story, you can use it. Below are your partners. Clicking on the name will lead you to the person’s blog.

No profanity, graphic violence, or sexual scenes in your prompts or stories. Find your partner and give them their prompt, along with a word count of your choice (but no more than 1000 words). Visit your partner’s blog and comment on their most recent post. Assign their prompt before you start work on your own flash fiction.

Because of the holidays, you will have three, instead of the normal two, weeks to write your story. It should be posted on Friday, February 12th, by 3pm Central Time. I will gather the stories and post links to them all as a late post on that Friday. Then you’ll give feedback both to the person who gave you a prompt and the person you gave a prompt to. I’ll remind you about that on the 12th. If you have any questions at all, feel free to comment here or email me at rachelleoneilwriter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have fun!

We’re back to a small group for this challenge, but that’s okay. We’ll still have fun!

I will give a prompt to Athelas Hale

Athelas will give a prompt to Blue

And Blue will give a prompt to me

I look forward to writing with you!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Flash Fiction Challenge #5

Hello again, everybody! Wow, I’ve missed this blog! So much for keeping up with it, huh? Well, I’ll have more of an update post for you later this month. For now, though, I’ve decided to get back to both blogging and writing with a flash fiction challenge! Can you believe it’s been almost two years since I hosted one? You can see the results from that challenge here.

Flash Fiction Challenge 5

For those of you who haven’t heard about my flash fiction challenges, every so often, I host a challenge that includes three elements:

  • A writing prompt someone gives to you
  • A writing prompt you give to someone else
  • Feedback for each of the participants by the various participants

“Flash fiction” is a genre of short fiction, generally around 500 words, but examples can be up to 1000 words. In our challenge, the maximum length will be 1000 words, but each person may assign a shorter length with his or her prompt. Prompts can be anything from a concept to a sentence starter to a picture, etc. If it can prompt a story, you can use it.

If you’d like to participate, comment on this post with the name of the blog you would be posting your story on. If you don’t have a blog, you can still take part! You do, however, need a way to comment. If you do have a Google account or some other way of commenting on blogs, comment here and email me at rachelleoneilwriter [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ll make sure to put you on the list.  On Friday, December 22, two weeks from today, I will pair you each with your partners and give the official rule list. You may sign up anytime between now and then. For now, remember the following:

1. Your prompt is dependent on someone I assign to you. You do not come up with your own prompt.

2. No profanity, sexual scenes, or excessive violence.

3. If you do sign up, do me a favor and spread the word about the challenge via Twitter, Pinterest, your blog, or some other method. You may use the above image to do so.

If you have any questions at all, please comment or email me. These are always a blast, and  I’d love to have you take part!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happenings of the Month: March 2017

Uff, what happened to March??? It's like I blinked, and now it's over. Maybe that's why I keep having overdue library books…

Happenings of the Month March 2017

Entertainment of the Month:

  • Movies/TV Shows:

Yeah… I got nothin'. As explanation, I refer you to my earlier comments on the ridiculousness pace of March.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Some Thoughts on La La Land

I was disappointed by La La Land.

I know, gasp. Yes, I am going against the critical acclaim of the Academy Awards (not that I actually care) and the opinion of some dear friends (sorry, Katie), but I will say it again.

La La Land disappointed me.

I was extremely excited after seeing the trailers and hearing the buzz. A musical molded in classic Hollywood style? Dancing, singing, and romance? I was so ready for it.

La La Land

Then I saw it. And it was beautiful. And fun. And then utterly terrible. And I left the theater feeling completely empty.

Caution: Spoilers ahead.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Reading Through My Bookshelf:: January and February's Reads

All right, I'm just going to admit it. My reading thus far has been pathetic. I just haven't read much. Or perhaps a more accurate statement is that I haven't finished much. I'm in the midst of a couple of large books that I'm reading slowly on purpose. In addition, I've started researching for a history paper about Ronald Reagan (which I am ecstatic about, by the way), and that's eating up my reading time, too.

Reading Through My Bookshelf Jan and Feb

At any rate, that's why I didn't do a books post for January. Because I only read two books, and that was just a little too pointless to post about. Anyway, here's my combined list from January and February.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Does Our Culture Understand God's Love?

The fact that God loves us is an integral part of Christianity. We love to say "God loves you." We get fed it from the pulpit on Sunday. We hear it in our songs and stories. And we feel the need to pour it out on other people, specifically non-Christians.

I can't help but wonder, though, what people hear when they're coming from a background that has changed the definition of love. In a culture that's gone as crazy as ours, do people even understand what we're trying to say? With that in mind, I think it might be good to clarify some definitions.

Does Our Culture Understand God's Love

God's Love is Sacrificial – This is the very essence of God's love. John 3:16 says God gave His Son up because of His great love for us. The gospels are the story of God's sacrifice, sending His Son to Earth as a baby Who then grew up, died to make a way to Heaven for us, and rose again, breaking the power of death.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happenings of the Month: February 2017

You know, it has suddenly struck me that it's a little weird to be writing 2017 after these things. Somehow that didn't occur to me at all last month, but it's pretty crazy. I've been doing these Happenings of the Month posts since December of 2015. Over a year now. And I really enjoy writing them. I hope you all enjoy reading them.

Happenings of the Month Feb 2017

Entertainment of the Month:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Psalms: Chapters 80, 81, and 84

Today's verses are all about perspective, and I find that they contain important revelations about human decision-making.

Sunday Psalms Chap. 80, 81, and 84

Psalm 80:19 "Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved."

This refrain occurs three times in this passage, amidst pleas for God to remove His anger from His people. It's an interesting passage that talks about God bringing a vine from Egypt and causing it to grow. Yet something has happened; God has removed His protection from the vine.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Outlining Raiders' Rise: My Plotting Process

In school, I outline probably about 95% of the essays I write. I fell in love with outlining during high school, when I figured out that it actually saves me an incredible amount of work and frustration. Now I do most of the work for the paper while outlining; drafting is a simple matter of mashing everything together.

Outlining Raiders' Rise

When writing fiction, I also find outlining to be extremely helpful. For novels, I am not a pantser. I'm not sure I can be. If I just start writing, things are going to get crazy fast. Part of me wishes that I could use essay outlines for stories, that it could be a clear progression of stair-step ideas. Up to this point, though, I haven't been able to make that work.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Christian Genre: On Age, Content, and Renewing Our Minds

Last month, I wrote a post about the "Christian" genre, introducing some of my thoughts about the concept. Today, I'd like to go more in-depth on one of the concepts I mentioned – the concept of different purposes for Christian stuff. I will largely be focusing on books and movies today.

Christian Genre Age and Content


Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Lost Girl of Astor Street Clue Hunt #23 & #24

Stephanie Morrill's latest book, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, releases today! It's a very exciting event, all around. I was lucky enough to have the chance to read the book ahead of time, and it is fabulous. It's going to be a hit, I'm sure, and you should definitely check it out. This is both stop #23 and stop #24 on the clue hunt celebrating the release. This stop's clue will appear in bold at the bottom of the post. If you've gotten lost along the way or want to start from the beginning, here's the complete list of stops.

Clue 1: Stephanie's Morrill's Blog

Clue 2: Some Books Are

Clue 3: Gabriella Slade

Clue 4: Page by Page, Book by Book

Clue 5: Pens and Scrolls

Clue 6: Singing Librarian Books

Clue 7: Heather Manning

Clue 8: Annie Louise Twitchell

Clue 9: Noveling Novelties

Clue 10: Kaitee Hart

Clue 11: Classics and Craziness

Clue 12: Zerina Blossom

Clue 13: Rebecca Morgan

Clue 14: Keturah's Korner

Clue 15: That Book Gal

Clue 16: Anna Schaeffer

Clue 17: Hadley Grace

Clue 18: Lydia Howe

Clue 19: Ramblings by Bethany

Clue 20: Matilda Sjöholm

Clue 21: Lydia Carns

Clue 22: Broken Birdsong

Clue 23 & Clue 24: The Ink Loft

Clue 25: Roseanna M. White

I'm a history lover, so, instead of a book review, I decided to introduce you to some of the history of the period.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Happenings of the Month: January 2017

I feel like it's been so long since I did any kind of life update, since I skipped my Happenings post for December. Ultimately, it hasn't been that long, but some of December's stuff may bleed into this post.

Happenings of the Month Jan 2017

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Psalms: Chapters 77-78

Sunday Psalms Chap. 77 and 78

Psalm 77:19 "Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though Your footprints were not seen."

In this chapter, a man despairs and wonders if God has forgotten him. Then he remembers all that the Lord has done. This verse, of course, is a reference to the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Talking About the "Christian" Genre

Last month, Aimee Meester of To The Barricade wrote a post about the Christian genre of movies, books, and music. It delved a little bit into what quality work is and why the genre exists. The discussion got a lot more in-depth in the numerous comments that followed. You can read the original post and comments here.

I don't follow Aimee, but a lot of the people in my circles do, so that's how I found out about the post. And, I will admit, at first I was offended. In reading the post a second time and scrolling through the comments, though, I was able to see more of Aimee's heart in writing it. This isn't a post meant in any way to bash Aimee (or anyone else) or her opinions. I just have a lot of thoughts about the issue in general that I want to introduce here.

Christian Genre Intro 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Breaking Down the Adam Young Scores Project

In 2016, Adam Young of Owl City chose to take a break from his normal music to work on his first love: soundtrack music. From February to December, he released one album a month based on a historical event that inspires him. The project was purely creative for him, and he offered each score completely free. You can read more about the project and his reasons for doing it here. I was really excited when I heard about the project, for a few reasons: 1) I'm already a fan of his, 2) I love history, and 3) I love soundtrack music.

Breaking Down Adam Young Scores

I'll admit that I didn't always get what I was expecting. I write to soundtrack music, and I can't always write to everything Young has put out for this project. But his albums are tied tightly to their inspiration, and I've found that I deeply enjoy hearing an album illustrate the arc of a historical event. I eagerly waited each and every month to see what the new score would be; Adam Young's scores were a highlight of 2016 for me. With that in mind, I'd like to break down my thoughts on the project for you. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Psalms: Chapters 72, 73, & 75

Sunday Psalms Chap. 72, 73, 75

Psalm 72:18-19 "Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen."

This is an interesting passage. For most of it, David describes the role of a righteous king – protecting the innocent, punishing the wicked, etc. But he begins by appealing to God's wisdom, asking for God to "endow the king with [His] justice." And he ends with these verses, putting everything into perspective. A righteous ruler is a gift to his or her people, but everything that ruler does is subject to God's authority.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Reading Through My Bookshelf: December's Reads

December brought about the reading of only five books, but two of those were stories that I have been excited about for months.

Reading Through My Bookshelf December


Friday, January 6, 2017

Creating an Informal Pitch, Part 2

Last week, I considered the terrifying moment when we're asked what our stories are about. To be prepared for such an occurrence, I began the process of creating an informal pitch for two of my projects: my novella, Through Time, and my novel (possibly duology or trilogy), Raiders' Rise. You can read the post here, where we gathered all the building blocks for our pitches. Today we're going to make them into something coherent.

Creating Informal Pitch Part 2

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday Psalms: Chapters 67-69

Sunday Psalms Chap. 67-69

Psalm 67:1-2 "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us, that Your ways be known on earth, Your salvation among the nations."

This passage is incredibly soothing to me. It's such a benediction of peace. And of purpose. I want God's face to shine on me. Of course I do. There can be no greater blessing than His Presence. Yet He has set His people as a testimony upon earth, a testimony to His greatness, His salvation, His love.