Seven Things I’ve Come To Love In 2017

7 things blog header

1.Retellings

I think I used to know fairy tale retellings existed, but I’d never read any of them. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with fairy tales—at the same time, they are so stupid and illogical and yet lovely and super cool—so, I’d never really been interested in reading a retelling (I’d tried Ella Enchanted, but didn’t like it). And then I read Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

My goodness, wasn’t it amazing? I loved it. And that just sparked a love for retellings.  Since then, I’ve read Scarlet, Heartless, Fairest (by Gail Carson Levine, not Marissa Meyer), and Barefoot on the Wind. All of them have been really good. So, yeah, I have a newfound love for retellings, and that inspired me to write a Beauty and the Beast/Phantom of the Opera retelling, and a Les Mis retelling too.

2.    Musicals

I think you already know the extent of my love for musicals, as I’ve spoken about it quite extensively on here already! I never liked musicals before, since I tended to equate them with The Lion King and Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Not that there is anything wrong with those stories. It just never appealed to me. However, Cats managed to appeal to my love of dance and my endless admiration for people who can dance better than I ever will be able to, and then it went from there. I started listening to The Phantom of the Opera, after years of forgetting its existence, and then my mum suggested I might like Les Miserables. After that, it was Newsies, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Dear Evan Hanson and Anastasia.  

3.    Dancing

I’ve actually always loved dancing. I’ve been Highland dancing since I was six, and I’ve always adored it. However, last year, I had several injuries which meant I had to take the whole year off, and I wasn’t able to start back again until February this year. Taking a break rekindled my love of dancing and I’m super passionate about it again. I’m going to share a pic or two with you, because of my love of all things Tartan and Gaelic.

 

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moi

 

4.    Deaf Culture and Sign Language

In March this year I started a book called Black & White. Within the first chapter I had struck my main character, Conlan, with lightning and deafened him. It occurred to me as I wrote the scene when he woke up in hospital, deaf, that I didn’t really know anything about deaf people. So I started researching! I even started learning Auslan—Australian sign language—and I found a real love and interest in it. I’ve actually changed the beginning of my book, so that instead of a melodramatic deafening, Conlan has always been deaf. Anyway, this is a hugely interesting subject which I’ve really loved researching.

5.    France

Salut, ca va? (I’m now fluent in French :P)

I’m incurably obsessed with France now. Ever since listening to The Phantom of the Opera for the first time in several years, I’ve been obsessed with all things France. Les Miserables (book, musical and movie) cemented that love and since then I’ve been devouring anything that has anything to do with France—including Scarlet (Marissa Meyer), the majority of which takes place in a futuristic France. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo), The Scarlet Pimpernel (Baronness Orczy), which doesn’t entirely take place in France, but is about the aftermath of the French Revolution. And Kids Like Us (Hilary Reyl), which I only finished today. I liked Reyl’s modern view of France, rather than the dystopian France of Meyer’s book, or the ancient France of Hugo. Oh, and there’s also Anastasia the musical, which sets its second act in Paris.

I definitely have to write a novel set in Paris now.

 

Paris 2
Lyrics from ‘In My Dreams’ from Anastasia the Musical. Graphic made by moi. 😀

 

6.    Writing Female Characters

It might strike you as odd that, despite being a girl myself, I hardly ever write female characters. Sometimes, this is just because the kind of things I like writing would appeal to more boys than girls, so I automatically create a male character. Sometimes it’s because the setting calls for it (you can’t write a WW1 novel about a gunner on the frontlines, without the gunner being male). However, this year I’ve been delving into writing more female characters. I added a female lead to a novel that had been previously all male. And for my NaNo novel—Stars Fill Infinity—I had two female leads, who were sisters.

It was so nice to write a story from the point of view of two girls. I didn’t have to think about how a man might react in a situation, what he would say or how he would cope. I just wrote about girls from the perspective of being a girl myself. And I fell in love with it. So, I’ll be writing more novels from the POV of women from now on. Not that I’ll give up on my samurai stories or war stories, which I feel should be more masculine, just saying.

7.    Spiders

I’ve never disliked spiders, but this year my mum has become obsessed with spiders. And eventually, you learn to live with it, and decide that some spiders are pretty cool, and some of them are even kind of cute.

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7.5 I wanted to add another point, but I’d already made the header, and I couldn’t be bothered to go back and change it. Another thing I’ve loved learning about this year is photography. My mum bought a nice camera and I’ve enjoyed taking photos with it. All the pictures you see in my posts were either taken by myself, my mother or my brother.

What new things have you tried and loved this year? Can you speak French? Do you know what the proper way to answer ‘ca va?’ is? Do you like spiders?

38 thoughts on “Seven Things I’ve Come To Love In 2017

  1. I don’t know if I really tried anything new this year.

    I am a massive musical fan. Favorites include Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Rent, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked and so on

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  2. Wow, so many things. I am obsessed about Japan the way you are obsessed about France, although I am obsessed with French food. hahaha Got to learn a lot these days. All the best for 2018 and learn a lot. 🙂 Have fun.

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  3. Ahh, retellings… 😛
    I actually wrote one this year, after being corrupted by a writer friend (to whom I swore I would never ever write a retelling) and introduced to a retelling contest. Snow White. I’m actually pretty happy with it, though it’s only a novella and I usually don’t do well with shorter stories. 😛
    And I totally get what you mean about female characters. I’ve always written predominantly male, but now that I’ve had a chance to put some fairly major (not protagonists, but still fairly major) females in my work I absolutely love it. I’ve actually had to un-learn some of the masculine traits I was accustomed to writing and ‘teach’ myself to be more natural and let my own femininity shine through. XD

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  4. I’ve been obsessed with Japan for years, it’s an amazing, complex place, that is beautiful and harsh at the same time (kind of like Paris). I actually set two of my novels in feudal Japan, and it was such a fun setting to play with.
    I actually know nothing about French food, I will admit. Though I do like croissants (at least what are bought in Australia as croissants).
    Thank you for commenting!

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  5. I did think about entering the Snow White Rooglewood contest, but I ended up deciding against it because I don’t really like Snow White and I think there are so many retellings of it out there. I prefer retellings that focus on lesser known stories. Having said that though, Marissa Meyer uses very popular tales and she does it very well.

    Ah yes, neither of my girls are “princesses”, but I’ve had to keep reminding myself that they aren’t boys and don’t have to act like them! It was a bit of a struggle at first, but after 85k, I think I’m finally back into the swing of things, and enjoying it so much!

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  6. I have been to my theatre since elementary school and I am in college now and boy they have changed a lot over the years. My understanding of the emotions has matured over the years and what musicals are capable of

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  7. I also learned to love retellings this year! Like you, it was the Lunar Chronicles that really made me think “Oh, hey! Retellings are actually a lot of fun!” Also, I think that the fact that you’ve written/are writing a Beauty of the Beast/Phantom and Les Miz retelling is awesome!
    As for musicals, I think that my favorite one that I tried out this year for the first time is Cats. I bought the DVD a few months ago and fell in love with it!

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  8. Well, my view of them has changed a lot too! I mostly thought they were silly, fun things that Disney made a lot of. But there’s so much emotion in them, not just comedy!

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  9. Prior to Wicked, I did not yet know about the emotional side of musicals. Than Wicked enters and I began to understand the emotional side of musicals. But I still interpreted ALL musicals as HAPPY up until the end of high school.

    Than Les Mis becomes around and it challenges what I knew. I already knew sad was a musical emotion. But Les Mis is like are you sure you know the entire scope of musicals. It confused me a lot when I saw that movie and I was like “hold on a sec Les Mis is a tragedy, musicals aren’t supposed to be tragedies”. By the end of that movie, had no idea if I liked it or not. But it took seeing the movie a second time to become a fan of the musicals. It literally made me see musicals with a fresh eye and a different perspective

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  10. Ooh, Spanish! I did try to learn that once, but I couldn’t stick with it. I much prefer the sound of German and French.
    They are, aren’t they! velvet jackets weren’t really made for the Australian summer climate though. I have my Christmas concert this weekend, and I’m praying that it won’t be too hot!

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  11. Yes, the Lunar Chronicles were so unique and fun, but they also stayed true to the original stories and twisted them in such fun ways. I’ve only read the first two so far, but I enjoyed both of them greatly.
    The Phantom/Beast one was a lot of fun! I’ve actually been considering publishing it as a blog series some time next year :D. And the Les Mis one has been so tricky, but a lot of fun too!!
    Cats is amazing!! I have so much love for that show, especially for the movie version, which is astounding!

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  12. There’s so much depth in Les Mis! It’s comedic, and romantic and sad, and heartbreaking. That’s what I look for in a good musical :D. And the score is beautiful as well. I just love it 😀

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  13. I tend to look for spectacle or dance, comic moments, positive and negative emotions in the score, complexity romance, and a strong emotional connection-that came from my foundation growing up.

    Something makes up for the loss of spectacle and dance in Les Mis-the emotional impact is a rare beauty in itself

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  14. I probably wouldn’t have entered either except I had one of those completely weird, random and brilliant ideas of what I could do with the plot and it sort of went from there. It’s not my favorite thing that I’ve written, but I’m fairly proud of it. 😉

    Yeah; frankly, I’m more comfortable writing men at this point than I am women. Weird, isn’t it? 😛

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  15. Its so cool to see all that you’ve been up to this year, discovered, and fallen in love with! You’ve taken great leaps and bounds in writing, reading and watching…. I didn’t realised you’d done so much just this year! A deeper appreciation and learning of things like musicals and sign language. They’re all so cool! (Mind you, I don’t think you’ll really be able to convert me to liking spiders… some are just too ‘ugh’). All your novels and writing in a year too, so good! 😀

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  16. oui! je parle un peu français. I’m better at understanding Spanish, since I grew up with that influence at home, but I really love the French language.

    and my French teacher, who was from Paris, told us that the correct way to respond to ‘ça va?’ is either ‘ça va bien’ or ‘mal’ depending on how you feel, or just ‘ça va’, but I’ve heard other replies too

    and no, I don’t like spiders 😬 but I hate flying bugs even more, like moths and stuff like that. ugh *shudders*

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  17. Wow… You have two novels set in Japan. Is there anything about it on your blog too? I would like to know. Please do tell. I am not sure if I would like all French food but that is not going to stop me from trying. 😀

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  18. Yeah, and I don’t think that all the comedy and dancing that you find in other musicals would be appropriate in Les Mis. I think it would take away from the story instead of adding to it. However, the dancing in Newsies and Cats are among my favourite things ever!

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  19. I did have an idea for a story that I liked quite a lot (a Japanese version of Snow White), but I couldn’t be bothered, amongst all the other stories that were clamouring for my attention. I’m glad I didn’t end up doing it, because it’s allowed me to work on other things instead of an idea I was only half passionate about.

    It is weird how some things just “click” with you!

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  20. Thank you for commenting, Sarah, that’s so sweet of you :D. I didn’t really realise how much I’d done either, until I wrote it all down! Just wait until you see my End of Year wrapup 😛
    Some spiders are still pretty disgusting, but some are pretty cute. 😀

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  21. *I am so fluent in French that I used Google translate to work out what you were saying :P* French does sound really nice and looks pretty when it’s written down.
    I think “Ca va?” has many different replies, but the one I’ve seen is just “Ca va”.
    Moths are pretty too. 🙂 Do you like butterflies?

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  22. Yes! There’s not much on my blog about that duology, because I’d written them before I started this blog, so didn’t do updates or synopsises on here, like I have done with my later novels. However, you can read about it on My Books page and I’ll be posting some updates on all of my WIPs (including that one) in a week or two.
    I’ve always wondered if they really do eat snails and frog legs. That would put me off French food forever. 😛

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  23. The dancing in Newsies is mind-blowing. Dancing is a huge part of the musical world.

    I am glad Les Mis entered my life. It gave me a fresh perspective when it comes to musicals.

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  24. haha, I couldn’t remember how to say that either, so I had to look it up lol

    yes, I do like butterflies. ladybugs and dragonflies too. but most other flying bugs, especially the big June bugs and ones like that elicit a ‘NOPE’ from me 😛

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  25. Bien, merci! I started taking French this year, and I am far from fluent, but it has been fun to learn!
    You like Anastasia? Huzzah! I love Anastasia too, as well as several of the other musicals you mentioned. Musicals are a huge part of my life. I also discovered Dear Evan Hansen this year. I didn’t think I would like it, but it really grew on me and now I love it.

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  26. I really should learn it properly. 😀 (also, you said “Good thanks” and I didn’t need Google Translate for that).
    I love Anastasia!! It’s one of my favourite musicals and I’m really hoping it comes to Australia so that I might be able to see it! I didn’t think I would like Dear Evan Hansen either, but my YouTube just started playing it, so I listened to it and it’s okay. Not my favourite, but definitely really good!

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  27. Accessibility to Broadway shows is always something of an issue. We can’t all hop on a plane to New York, so we have to wait and hope that they bring the shows to us! I really want to see Anastasia someday too. My sister has seen it and I am a tad jealous. 🙂

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