Tuesday, 30 May 2017

What makes a good title?


Gone with the Wind . To Kill a Mockingbird . The Diary of a Young Girl . Pride and Prejudice . Under the Greenwood Tree . Anne of Green Gables . Rilla of Ingleside . Crazy Love . The Book Thief . The Little House on the Prairie .

I love all these titles. They've got something about them; a punch, a dash of whimsy - an air of unforgettable-ness. Maybe it's because their content is good (although I've never read Under the Greenwood Tree - I just like the title) - maybe we remember these titles just because they happen to be famous... but seriously, these are some good titles. Like, how did Margaret Mitchell come up with something as epic as Gone with the Wind?! It sums up her book in four words and it doesn't give away any spoilers. How does she do that?! How did Harper Lee find such an intriguing title for her masterpiece? To Kill a Mockingbird sounds exactly like the kind of book you'd want to open to find out more.

With all these amazing titles in the world, I have a dilemma. I CANNOT NAME MY BOOK. It isn't finished yet (although slowly the end is in sight!) but man, I am bad at thinking of a title. Either Google search shows me there are already 100 books with the same title (yes, slight exaggeration, I apologise), or either it sounds so stupid I just roll my eyes at my own laptop screen.

What I'd (ideally) want in a title are 1. Something personal to the book. 2. Something that sounds pretty (not ya know, something like, Amy Stubbins' life in London)  and 3. Something that sounds good... something that rolls on the tongue. (However much I love The Guernsey Literary Potatoe Peel Pie Society, I am not searching for something in that field.)

I have identified six types of titles. You must tell me which you like best (after all, you are my imagined future audience.):

1. The snappy one. Such as: Crazy Love . Cool! . Not a Fan . These are often for learn-more-about-life books. Their title sparks interest. Their title isn't, perhaps, what the book subject might seem. It's a punchy title and it's what makes hands grab books. I like a snappy title. (However, it would not suit my book. My book is an historical piece of fiction with a fair amount of deaths. A flashy-punchy-colourful title would be... odd.)

2. The whimsical one. This is where I should paste basically all L.M.Montgomery's book titles. Especially Magic for Marigold and Jane of Lantern Hill and Anne of Avonlea. They all sound exquisite. I wish I had the knack for such beautiful title but whenever I do they sounds laughably ridiculous, like I'm just trying way too hard. Ha.

3. The This-is-what-the-book-basically-is-in-short title. Such as The Diary of Anne Frank or The Book Thief or A Series of Unfortunate Events or The Little House on the Prairie. It's like a tiny resume but it sounds really good on the front cover. I want one like this but ah how do I do this. For my book that would be something like, The Girl who has Problems and other people too and then it Slowly gets Resolved. That's not an ideal title, you've got to admit.

4. The monstrously epic one. We've touched this subject. Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird and other titles such as Pride and Prejudice and The Hunger Games are like this. But probably just because they're famous. But still. These kinda books are epic even without trying. The title does all the work. (I've given up on one like this. :-/)

5. The one word one. These CAN be cool but they're often, in my 'umble opinion, boring and/or cheesy. Some books pull it off: Emma . Christy . Persuasion . Homestead . (I thought of naming my book Blessed but then I looked it up on Goodreads and bam, about 10 books with the same title came up. I never thought I'd say this, but I wish there were less books in the world, haha.)

6. The this-title-could-do-for-any-book one. These are the ones I generally go for because they're easy. Romance novels have these. Titles like Back Home or Far Away from Home or In His Arms or Stealing His Name or Only when We're Apart or stuff like Waves of Love. They sound original, but they're not because switch the two titles from two Christian Fiction novels around and it won't matter - the title will still suit the content. Basically. (I thought of Only if it's You and Green Eyes for my novel but one, these books already exist and two, they could be the title of 90% of the books out there. And I don't want that.)

So there you go. The struggle of finding a title for my novel. I guess I'll just finish the novel first and then decide. Or better still, I have Emma read the manuscript and she can name it. She is wickedly good at naming things. (As I write, she is probably naming cows and horses in Texas.)

What are some of your favourite titles? What makes a good title? Any tips for the titling-my-novel-process? Cuz I need tips.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Outernet


Outernet is those little magic moments like that puffy cloud of milk in tea or coffee when your pour it in, or that dark-reddish-dark-blue sky in the small bathroom window, or the bubbly smile of a small toddler, or the hug of a dear friend.

Internet may be that. Recorded. On a screen.

THAT'S COOL TOO BUT YOU'VE GOTTA ADMIT IT'S LESS COOL.

Outernet is the laughing and the happy raw sobbing after an amazing movie. It's the taste of good food and the feeling of group hugs or bro-pats. 

Internet may be that. Recorded and on a screen. Through videos and pictures and hashtags and blog posts and facebook posts and gifs and snapchat filters.

THAT'S COOL TOO BUT YOU'VE GOTTA ADMIT IT'S LESS COOL.

Outernet is the experiences of the Holy Spirit, the personal intimacy between yourself and your Saviour; the unexplicable joy of Faith and Hope and Purpose and Joy. 

Internet or any form of media, word, picture, statement CANNOT do that. That's so real and NOW and gah, it's so outernet. It's OuterLIFE. It's something out of this world and something further than the skope of human recording and explaining. Something so unexplainable. 

Point proven: OUTERNET IS BETTER.

It just is.


Yes, I am very grateful for the Internet and I love blogging and I've met dear dear friends online and I've seen Internet being used in really good and inspiring ways. But man, it's so easy to be all about the online life when seriously, it can mess up your brain because I think our generation does not really fully understand what it's like to live in the now. It's more like 'live in the now and wait yeah let's make sure everyone KNOWS we're living in the now.' That's not the same.

Also, the obsession of wanting to know what everybody else is up to! Like, it's great to keep in touch with friends but personally, I know I take this to far. I'm living MY LIFE. And that's a life with a lot of purpose and potential because of the God I serve - and the way I live my days is obviously the way I live my life. (Wow, I need to hear these words myself. I'm basically educating myself here, seriously.) Yes, I like knowing what my friends are up to but becoming obsessed with that the way the Internet encourages us to be is just unhealthy. 

There are so so many priorities.

I try again every day! It's hard for me, I'll admit. But I'll keep on trying.


I got myself an Instagram account several months ago and I love it - it's really cool and yeah, it's fun. But I also really, really hate it. Sometimes its become my worst enemy and I have to really tell myself to STOP being on it because really it shouldn't be able to control me. I am a human being and that's AN APP. We should be able to not coexist and we should be able to be really separate 90% of the time. 

AMIRITE.

The main thing that annoys me about Instagram (and I guess the internet as a whole) is how I feel like I have to document all the 'fun' things in my life.

Like, I'd almost like to start a challenge. Here's the challenge guys. Do something really fun and beautiful and DON'T TELL/SHOW ANYONE. JUST DO THE THING AS IT IS THE THING. Make it a memory encarved in the brain rather than a picture with emoji comments and 145 likes or whatever. Go out with a friend and have an ice cream with sprinkles and DON'T POST THE PIC YOU TOOK. Just take a picture for you and make it your special nice ice-cream-date day. Go to the cinema with that rad group of pals and actually forget about posting about it online. Not saying it's not special when you do tell people about it and post it online and I'm not saying there's something wrong with doing that but ya know... ARE WE CAPABLE OF DOING THAT? (Also yelling at myself here, mind you. ;-))


I had an amazing evening yesterday, for instance, and this morning. (And yes right now I'm talking about it online haha but hey, it's to make a point ;-P) I went to Youth Group and then went a slept over at a friend and we had midnight talks about Jesus and faith struggles and deep topics and it was awesome. But then at one point I was thinking in the back of my brain I must take a selfie with her tomorrow morning so I can post about this awesome evening.

Like nooooo. That's not the point. (I didn't do it and I'm glad I didn't.)

Sometimes I feel like a day becomes less special after I post about it. It's like the lovely day and personal meaning become a picture and a 'look I have a life' status. Even though I don't mean it that way, I feel like it feels that way sometimes and it soooort of makes the memory less special for me. I don't know. Some thoughts. :-P

What do YOU think? Do you struggle with this too? (Maybe you're like nope I don't relate at all in which case good for you.) I WANNA DISCUSS THIS. Let's have a deep discussion in the comment section. :-) 

(Also, I challenge you to do something really cool - go out with a group of friends or whatever, go somewhere very instagram-feed-pleasant, and don't post anything about it. JUST TO SEE IF YOU CAN.)

PS: Pippa Middleton wedding dress. Google it. I want it. So. Gorgeous.

Monday, 8 May 2017

7 images + 7 thoughts


1. Sometimes you've just gotta curl up in bed and watch an old black-and-white movie. I did that the other day. (That is, several weeks ago.) I watched Top Hat on my phone and it was uncomfortable and I had a stiff neck but it was fine. Not the best movie, and some stuff in it made me roll my eyes but Ginger and Fred are a fine duo and nothing beats their tappin' shoes and her swoony gowns next to his dapper tux. You've got to love these two. Pretty classic. (*Goes off singing I'm fancy free, I'm free from everything faaaancy*)

2. Just a random picture of a couple holding hands. I like me some sappiness. Also I love the sleeves of the wedding gown. I do like a wedding dress with long sleeves. I was looking at Kate Middleton's wedding dress the other day (because t'was their wedding anniversary last month so I had such a legitimate reason you know) and for real, her dress was a beauty.

3. Give me this outfit. Rather cute. And yes, I know this post is random.

4. Okay, so walls. I LOVE A GOOD WALL. I need to redo mine because I keep on seeing such artistic and wanderlustlike pictures of walls filled with gorgeous things that mine feels like a two-year-old's handywork. I love the boho-feel of this one here. (I'm rolling my eyes at my randomness right now. But I know you don't mind. And neither do I. #randomnessforthewin.) (The only thing I don't like about random posts is that they're kind of embarrassing if someone I know 'in real life' reads my blog. There's something about random posts that makes me sound embarrassing. But write the posts I shall.)

5. I DO SO APPRECIATE SUNSETS AND THE WAY THEY SHED LIGHT ON PEOPLE'S SILHOUETTES.

6. So this was a pin on pinterest and it says "Does it bother anyone else that there are parts in your life that you don't remember? You have done and said things that you don't even know about anymore. That means you don't even have the right perception of yourself because you don't even fully know who we are. However, something you have forgotten about could be a prominent memory in somebody else's mind. It trips me out." << That made me think and feel powerless. I love things that remind us of how powerless and small we are and how we don't have our own existence under control because it makes me trust all the more in my God.

7. Ah, Ecclesiastes. The book where I can underline all verses to claim them my favourite. And now I've discovered another. Here's the whole verse: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet  no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Isn't that beautiful? I find it hard sometimes to remember that eternity is what really matters - in fact, it's the only thing that lasts and thus the only thing that matters. No matter how exciting summer planning is, no matter how stressful exams are... eternity has been stitched into my heart. (The translation with the word stitched in it... I love it.)

I'll be off. Hope everyone's doing well. Enjoy the last shreds of blossom while they're there; a great summer is looming ahead. (Yes, Aussies, not talking to you. ;-))

Monday, 1 May 2017

You are beautiful in a non-cliché way.


Confession time: I roll my eyes at stuff like, "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL." And "BE YOU." And even the plausible "YOU ARE UNIQUE."

When I was fourteen, I used to hang these kinds of words up on my wall. I was all about the positive-Pinterest-y-Naomi's-da-bomb-because-she-says-she-is-phase. I was like 'boo yeah I'm Me' and honestly, I was getting excited about nothing. I was doing it in selfish la-di-da-feelsies and I needed those words to make me feel good. I needed constant convincing.

Then I realised that wow, God, I need to humble myself; I am a sinner; and I should not be who I am by human nature because without you, I am nothing. I still agree with all of this, of course, but I had a phase where I swung a little too far in the opposite direction. I was like, nah, we shouldn't be ourselves because what if you're selfish by nature? We should strive to be who God wants us to be.

THAT IS ALSO TRUE. We all naturally have sin and the 'BE YOU' phrase should not mean 'be who you aaaaarrree and get druuunk and steaaal and sleep arouuund because that's who you aaarrreee.' In a sense, we should, therefore, not be who we are as humans in a world of sin. We should strive to be as non-human-like as possible.

But I took this idea too far for a while, I think. We are creations of God and to disregard the 'you are perfeeect' message is saying that God does not create people perfectly. I mean, God made us unique, right? So now I'm sort of re-learning the non-cliché-ness of the cliché message: "You are beautiful just the way you are. You are unique. Be yourself."


Yes, I still roll my eyes at that. Because let's be real, it is overdone and it's pretty stupid when you forget about the Maker. It is stupid when you leave out the Very Reason Why we are beautiful and unique and the Reason why we can achieve amazing things and why we should be confident in our own quirks and our personal dreams and talents. If you're just like, drumming it in yourself: I am epic. I am cool. I am hashtag queen.... then I'm like, "OKAY. WHY."

And the reason why is God. And theeen it all makes sense. Then self-love becomes a beautiful, important thing rather than this selfish cliché thing for 'positive vibes's sake. Yes, socially, some are prettier than others. I'm not going to deny that. Some are more talented. Some are in better condition. 

But isn't everyone worth the same sacrifice of Jesus?

If you're think you're not unique and special and beautiful, then you're saying God's not a good artist. AND HE MADE THIS:

(random picture from pinterest duh)

I want to quickly change the subject and talk about mountains. I love love love mountains. There are literally no ugly mountains in the world. Each one is different and each one is wretchedly perfectly gorgeous. Why... WHY are they so beautiful? "Just because they... are." No, no, not satisfied with that answer. WHY ARE THEY SO RIDICULOUSLY GORGEOUS. Why did my heart fill with this swell when I stood on one last year at the Alps in France; looking down on clouds and sunshine and rocks and white tops and trees. WHY. Why is rock and tree so beautiful? WHY. Why. 

I'll tell ya why. God. It's a snippet of God's glory.

And us then? Aren't we snippets of God's glory? Aren't we? Aren't we the one creation made in God's image? 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH US. Why do we not think we are beautiful?! Unique? Each and every one of us individually and specially designed with a different purpose?!

Today I wrote a kids book. It's only 16 pages and 500-something words; with tons of blank spaces for pictures I haven't drawn yet (and will probably not be that pretty.) It's written in rhyme (bringing out my inner Dr Suess here ya know) and it's about this 'perfect' mountain who tells all the other mountains that they're not good-looking with their weird shapes and rocks sticking out in odd places, and then a girl comes along and she can't believe that these mountains believe that they're not beautiful. 


Have you ever seen an ugly mountain? Well, God has never seen an ugly person. 

That's the little moral of the story. Anyway. I made it on a whim because it is an important message, and I'm kinda proud with the way it turned out, so I'll show you the last two verses.

No matter how spotty, different, dirty and sooty 
Listen to God because He should know about beauty 
He made those mountains, and He also made zillions of stars, 
He made little lambs, colourful flowers and huge planets like Mars 
 
And the One that made all these gorgeous things, 
The lions, the colours, the rainbows, the birds’ tiny wings  
He also decided to make you; I know, it’s kinda bizarre, 
But that means that you are beautiful just the way you are.

Yes, you are beautiful. Yes, you should accept yourself and embrace your quirks.  Yes, you are more beautiful in God's eyes than mountains are to your eyes. Yes, you are a sinner and probably not that beautiful on the inside. But you're covered by a huge love; your worth is tons and you are crazy beautiful as a result.


But please remember who to give the credit to.