October 31, 2016

Creative Corner

Welcome to a new (hopefully) monthly segment called Creative Corner. This is a post where I'll share some of the things I've created in a month. It could be art, poetry, jewelry, anything creative. (Hence the name.)

I decided to do this both as a way to share some of the things I love to do, and to help me remember to create. Each month I want to have at least one or two things to share, so I'll see how it goes.

My first thing to share is a picture I drew of the Power Rangers. I made it using pencil, pen, and colored pencil. My siblings and I recently discovered Power Rangers and we love them. These are the Dino Charge ones.

These two I technically created last month, but I want to share them. The first is the protagonist from my NaNo novel. Her name's Elle, if you remember from my beautiful books post.

And this is the antagonist, Whitlock. Drawing a cyborg is tricky, if you were wondering. Also, Victorian men wore a lot of clothes.

Here we have a family tradition. Every year we get mini pumpkins and paint them. We've been doing this for as long as I can remember. For my pumpkin this year I did Spock. Isn't he cute?

Lastly, I'm my family's pumpkin carver. I took it up several years ago and have gotten pretty good at it. This year was a tough choice between Baby Groot and BB-8. The latter won.

That's this month's creativity. As you know, November and NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. For the duration of the challenge, I'll be doing one post a week on Thursday. I'll write about something and give you an update on how things are going.

What do you think of this new post? How have you been creative this month? Let me know in the comments.

October 27, 2016

Book of the Month: The Twistrose Key

The Twistrose Key
by Tone Almhjell

Cover Review: Uh, totally awesome? Just take a minute to fully appreciate this cover There's so much detail, it can take you several minutes to absorb everything. And all of it draws your eye back to the title, with an awesome key included. A great cover in my opinion.

The blurb: When a mysterious parcel arrives at her family’s new home, eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist has a curious feeling she’s meant to discover what’s inside.

Much to Lin’s surprise, the ornate key contained in the parcel unlocks a spellbinding world called Sylver, hidden behind the cellar door. Sylver is an enchanting land of eternal winter, inhabited by animals that shared a special connection with children in the real world, either as beloved pets or tamed wild animals. In death, they are delivered to Sylver, where they take on a curiously human-like form and still watch over the children they cherish. While Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with her beloved pet, Rufus, she soon learns that the magic of the Petlings and Wilders is failing, and snow trolls want to claim Sylver for themselves. Lin must discover a way to stop them and save this enchanted world.

My Thoughts

This book quickly became one of my favorites as soon as I read it. Let's start with the plot. It is a classic quest plot, where the hero is taken into a new world an can't get back until they find someone or do something. The author did a great job of using this plot and making it special. I thought the plot twists were especially well done.

Lin is a great character. She's a girl with a great imagination and strong as well as flawed. I love her spirit. She's one of the few humans in Sylver adding a fish out of water feel. Rufus is one of my favorites of all the animals. The author gave him a lot of personality using his animal body. Nose twitches, tail movements, that sort of thing.

And the world. When I read the blurb, I was a bit wary. I thought it might be that whole animal heaven sort of thing. But it's really more of a second life for these animals. In all, the world reminds me a little of Narnia. But it's also completely original.

Plus, it has a great map and cute ink drawings. She even includes the music for an important song in the story. I love it when authors have lots of fun stuff.

The map

My rating:

I would recommend this book for fans of Narnia and other fantasy with talking animals and a bit of magic. It would be a great read aloud for kids too.

Have you read The Twistrose Key? Do you like books about animals? Let me know in the comments.

October 24, 2016

A Simple Makeup Look

As a girl with glasses, I've often had problems finding makeup that doesn't disappear behind them. In this post I'll be showing you a super simple look that looks great on anyone, but especially bespectacled people. (Sorry if these pictures aren't very good, I've never tried to take photos of my own face before.)

You'll Need:

Three colors of grey eye shadow- light, medium, and dark (or use black)
Eye shadow brushes
Lip stick or lip gloss

Step 1: Prep your face. Make sure your face is clean and ready for makeup.

Step 2: Apply your lightest grey in an arc from the inner corner of your eye to above, but not touching the outer corner. It should be thicker towards the outside edge and pretty close to your eyebrow.

Step 3: Apply the medium shade from the inner corner of your eye, arching down towards the outside. It will almost be a sideways diamond.

Step 4: Apply the darkest grey from the outside to the intersection between the light and medium shades. It should end in a point.

Step 5: Gently blend the edges of the colors so you can't see where one ends and another begins. Bonus: curl your eyelashes so your eyes look more open.

Step 6: Line the upper lid all the way across or just halfway. Add a little bit of a cat's eye. If you wear mascara, apply it now.

Step 7: Finish with a vibrant or sparkly shade of lip gloss or lip stick.

Voila, you look amazing. I especially love this look for parties or church. It's easy and the colors can be changed to compliment your outfit.

The nice thing about wearing glasses is you can get away with brighter colors of eye-shadow and not look overdone, because your glasses take away from the effect.

What do you think of this look? Do you have a favorite eye shadow color? Let me know in the comments.

October 21, 2016

Tolkien Lover Book Tag

This is a tag was just started by Kristen Kieffer on her author website blog. (Which you should totally check out by the way.) As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to participate. Tolkien is one of the favorite authors. I can't wait to answer the questions. Here I go!

1. The Lord of the Rings is Tolkien's most famous work. But did you read the books or see the movies first? What are your opinions on each?

My answer about whether I read the books first or watch the movies first is an interesting one actually. I was finally allowed to watch The Lord of the Rings movies when I was 13. (Fun fact: for a long time I thought Master Yoda was a hobbit, because I hadn't seen either LOTR or Star Wars. Embarrassing, but true.) Anyway, I got through a movie and a half before I picked up the books and read them in a week. So my answer is I did both.

My opinions on each are. . . they're both great. My thoughts on the original books are that they are some of the greatest books ever written. I'm always re-reading them because I love them so much.

The Peter Jackson movies are also great. I've always had a relaxed view towards movie versions of books. I understand that they have to change things to make it work better cinematically. Their casting, shooting, location, soundtrack, everything was well done. They're some of my favorite movies, even if the Hobbit ones weren't as good as I hoped.

2. Who is your favorite member of the fellowship? Does this person differ from your favorite Lord of the Rings character in general?

Legolas. Legolas all the way. He's kick-butt, sarcastic, and an elf. How much better can he get? I've always had a thing for elves. As for favorite character in The Lord of the Rings, how can I choose? I like them all.

3. If you could be any character from The Hobbit, which would it be and why?

Either Bilbo or Gandalf. I like Bilbo because he's sneaky and sweet. And I like Gandalf because he's always there when you need him and he's so wise. I love the characters that always know what to say, because I've never been that sort of person.

4. Tolkien's work goes beyond The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Have you ever read any of his other books? How about books about Tolkien?

One of my life goals is to read everything Tolkien's written. I think I've read about half at the moment. But they keep finding new books so my list keeps growing. I'll do it though.

As for books about Tolkien, I did a whole study on him in school. Besides the biographies I read for that, I've read several books about his works. I enjoy reading what other people have to say about them. As long as they don't dis them. Then shame on them.

5. Pooling from all of Tolkien's work, which two characters do you ship together most?

Probably Aragorn and Arwen. They have a happy ending at least. Lots of the other couples in Middle Earth have tragic endings. One dies or both do or something drives them apart. So yeah, Aragorn and Arwen win.

6. We all have at least one thing from Tolkien's work that makes us way too giddy and excited. Something that we could talk about for days. What's yours?

Probably the mythology. I love talking about how Middle Earth was created and all the different stories Tolkien created. How the elves and dwarves became enemies. Galadriel and her brothers. Oh, I could keep going for days. Also, I need to read the Silmarillion again.

I tag anyone who wants to participate. Tolkien lovers unit!

What do you think of Tolkien? Which is your favorite book? Let me know in the comments.

October 20, 2016

NaNoWriMo Part 4: The Last Bits

Ahh, those last few weeks before NaNoWriMo begins. Whether you've just started prep or are almost done, panic is starting to set in. You've got so much to do before November starts. In my final NaNoWriMo post, I'm going to cover the last things you'll need before your month long adventure. Let's start.

1: Pack Prep

Every NaNo-er (if that's a word) needs a well packed bag all ready to go. It will help keep your things in one place, because who wants to lose something when you only have thirty days to write, and should you go somewhere, it will all be right there so you can grab it and go.

Before you can gather the things to put inside, you need the perfect bag to put it all in. Note: this is the perfect opportunity to buy a new bag. Your bag should be big enough so that you can fit everything in nicely, but not so big you look like Mary Poppins trying to get something out. (Although, her bag would be quite handy sometimes.) It should also be sturdy, and look good.

Bag Essentials-

Laptop (for computer writers)
Lined paper (for paper writers)
Pencils, at least two
Pencil sharpener or extra lead if it's a mechanical pencil
Outline, character sketches, and setting notes
Scene list

Less Essential-

Pencil bag (for organization)
Story inspiration

Do your best to keep your bag organized so you can find things when you need them. Keep it somewhere safe and don't forget to plug in your electronics. You don't want them to die when you need them most.

2: Goals

Having goals for yourself during the month can be helpful. And not only for your story. As you know, you have to write 1,666 words a day. You should make goals for yourself on when you should be hitting major amounts, like 10,000, 20,000, and so on. This helps you keep on track.

Because you'll be spending so much time writing, you may also want to set little goals for other things you need to accomplish. You may also want to completely clear your schedule and spend all of November living like a hermit, except Thanksgiving Day. Whatever floats your boat.

3: Rewards and Motivation

This ties in to the goal setting part. When you accomplish something, like finishing your daily word count, or each ten thousand words, you should reward yourself. Have thirty pieces of chocolate, one for each day, but only if you reach your word count. Decide on bigger goals for every ten thousand words, and plan something really special if you win. This really helped me last year to keep going.

You also need to keep motivated. There are many ways to do this. Encourage yourself with how writing 50,000 words will feel. Imagine the shame of not accomplishing your goal after telling everyone you know. Tell everyone you know first, so you can't back out. This post from K. M. Weiland has several good ideas.

4: Resources

And lastly, here's a list of many resources for you to read through, to help you with NaNoWriMo. (You can also follow my NaNoWriMo Pinterest board.)

6 Tasks You'll Love Yourself for Checking Off Your NaNo Pre-Write List

5 Ways to Prep for NaNoWriMo

Everything You'd Ever Need to Write a Novel: The Ultimate Camp NaNoWriMo Packing List (totally applicable to NaNoWriMo as well)

Write a Novel In a Month

How to Survive+ Conquer NaNoWriMo

K. M. Weiland from Helping Writers Become Authors and Kristen Kieffer from She's Novel are also having NaNoWriMo series on their websites, so be sure to check them out as well.

And there you have it. The end of my NaNoWriMo series. Don't forget to read parts one, two, and three. This has been fun and I personally can't wait for November.

What's in your NaNo bag? What rewards do you have planned for yourself? Let me know in the comments.

October 18, 2016

Chapter Headings: Choosing Right for Your Novel

If you look through books, you'll notice there a several types of chapter headings. Choosing the right one to go with your novel can be tricky. I don't pretend to be an expert, but here are my thoughts on choosing what type of heading goes best with your novel.

Type 1: Names

This is one of the most common types of chapter headings. It will say Chapter 1: The Beginning, or One: The Beginning, or something like that. They're fun to come up with and can give the reader an idea of what happens in the next chapter. But it can also be tricky to name chapters without giving away everything or sounding dumb.

Books with named chapter titles include The Lightning Thief, Artemis Fowl, and Eragon. I notice that a lot of fantasy and humor books have this type of chapter heading. They should be used to both help you, as a writer, and when you have chapters that need more explanation.

Type 2: Numbers

Numbering is the second popular type of heading. They're either titled Chapter 1 (or One) or simply the number. Plain and unobtrusive, these don't distract the reader at all, just alerting her that this is a new section.

Books with number titles include The Giver, Cinder, and Divergent. After looking at that list, I realize most dystopian books have number headings. But other genres that have that a lot are realistic fiction, historical fiction, and sci-fi. It should be used when you want to keep attention on the story.

Other Types

Some books, if told from multiple POVs, will use the character who's talking for the chapter heading, sometimes along with the chapter number. This is helpful so the reader remembers who's telling this section.

There are also books that include something after the chapter number, like a quote, a word definition, or things like that. This is often used for humorous effect, or to fit who the character is. I've personally never used this type, but to me it works best for funny books.

Which Type to Use

A general rule of thumb for chapter headings is if it's more serious, use numbers, if less so, use titles. This is something I have noticed, and doesn't work for all novels. But it is a good place to start. Always try to match the feel of your book to the type of chapter headings you use. And remember that rules are more guidelines anyway.

How do you decide which type of chapter heading to use? Do you have a favorite type? Let me know in the comments.

October 13, 2016

Choosing Colors

Remember the post I did last month on color theory? I had so much left to say about color, I had to write a whole other post. This one in fact. Today we're talking more about choosing and using colors.

There are several factors you want to consider when picking colors for your project. They are: color scheme, warm or cool, and feel. Let's go over those one at a time.

Color Scheme

I covered the basic color schemes in the last post. If you want help creating color schemes, if you're having problems or are unsure where to start, all you have to do is research color scheme creators. 

They allow you can choose the type you want, monochrome, analogous, or triad, and they automatically place it for you. From there you can choose the tones and positioning. It's both easy and fun.

Warm or Cool

Most colors fall into two categories. Warm or cool. Warm colors have more red in them, and include red, orange, and yellow. 

Cool colors have more blue undertones, including colors like blue and green. Purple can fall in both categories, depending on whether red or blue is the more prominent undertone.

There's also a third, less official category, called earth tones. Those are colors like brown, green, and blue. If it makes you think of colors you'd see in nature, it's an earth tone.


Last is feel, the most difficult of all factors to understand. Different colors suggest different things to our minds. I don't know how that works exactly, but it's cool.

For example, colors like green and purple suggest evil to us. White and blue make us think clean. Pink makes reminds us of love. The list of examples goes on and on. But that's why villains always seem to wear black and red and heroes wear primary colors (unless you're Batman. Then you only work in black, and sometimes, really, really dark grey).

How to Use This

It's really easy to use this information for whatever you do, whether that's designing a book cover, making a piece of jewelry, or coloring a coloring page. First, look at what you're making. Figure out the feel you want first, if you want to have a specific feel. If not, skip ahead.

The next step is to decide your color scheme and what sort of colors you want to use. And remember, you can always just go with whatever you want. However, if you want to be professional, try to think about all of these things.

I hope you enjoyed this and it will help you whatever you need. Go forth and use color like a pro.

How do you like to use color? Do you like warm colors or cool colors better? Let me know in the comments.

October 10, 2016

Classic of the Month: Anne of Green Gables

Anne is one of my favorite book characters. She's always inspired me. I've read the whole of her series, some of the books multiple times. That's why I had to choose this book as one of my classics. Shall we begin?

Anne of Green Gables

An elderly couple sends off for a boy to help on their farm. Due to a mix-up, they get Anne Shirley, a spunky, red-headed girl instead. She wins them over and convinces them to let her stay. She makes friends, and enemies, gets in trouble, and learns to grow up. At the same time, the people around her benefit from her presence as well.

Why I Like It

Anne Shirley has always been one of my favorite female characters ever. She has the best imagination, is always willing to take a stand, and doesn't take no for an answer. Anne may be positive, but unlike characters like Pollyanna, she isn't always cheerful. She, along with all the characters in this book, are iconic and memorable. You never forget them, one of the signs of a truly great story.

Two, the setting. Everyone knows Green Gables and Prince Edward Island. The author turned the setting into a major part of the story and allowed it to shine through.

And, of course, the story. It's a story about family, about growing up, about friendship. It covers many bases, but manages to hit them all. That's why this book is a classic.


I have to talk about the only version I've ever watched, the TV movies that came out starting in 1985. The first two were superb. The actors are great, the story lines are great. It was perfect. Plus, Gilbert Blythe. Here's a picture for those of you who haven't seen it, or if you have.

What do you like about Anne of Green Gables? Have you seen the TV movies, and what's your opinion about them? Let me know in the comments.

October 7, 2016

Beautiful Books: A Link-Up for Writers

So, I saw this over on Paper Fury and decided, why not? This way I can easily tell you more about my NaNoWriMo novel. Shall we get started?

First off, the name of my NaNoWriMo novel is Goggles, Corsets, and Cyborgs. Here's the cover. (What do you think?)

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I first became aware of the genre steampunk when I went to a talk at the Library of Congress by a steampunk author. The idea intrigued me and I decided one day I'd write a steampunk novel one day.

Last year I started a novel course (which I never finished; it didn't work for me), and I decided to write a Victorian novel. When I looked for an idea for this year's NaNoWriMo novel, I went back to that idea. But instead of simply being a story set in Victorian England, I turned it into a steampunk adventure. So I haven't had the idea that long, but I'm excited to write it.

2. Describe what your novel is about!

A high born girl+machines+cyborgs+a bit of love+traitors+gears+mystery. Here's my official synopsis.

In England, the 1890s, with cyborgs, automatons, and flying machines, lives Elle, daughter of a lord. Unlike other young ladies of her station and age, she has a dream to build machines. In the upper class where women are simply meant to be ornaments of grace and gentility, that's something likely to get her shunned forever. However, Elle's never cared about what they think. She gets her father's begrudging permission and heads off to a school to achieve her dream.

At the same time, a cyborg lord named Whitlock begins to put in motion a terrible plan to exterminate machines throughout all England as revenge for ruining his life.

As Elle discovers, school is hard, especially since she is the only girl and must deal with the doubt of the male students. Before she can truly become comfortable, the school is shut down due to recent mechanical mishaps. Elle, along with several friends, sets out learn what's going on. The plot she discovers runs deeper and farther back than anyone realizes. She and her friends must stop the mastermind behind it, Whitlock, before his deadly plan kills thousands.

3. What is your book's aesthetic? Use photos or words or whatever you like!

Lots of steampunk has a gritty feel. Mine is more smooth. Shiny metals, with a mix of steam and gear technology. Lindsey Sterling's video, Roundtable Rival, has a similar clothing look to my novel, except not in the west. I have a hard time finding pictures that I like, but here's a few.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters.

Ellenor "Elle" Beechworth is the main character. She's the daughter of Lord Beechworth. Her mother was killed in a mysterious accident. Her personality type is ENFJ. She's the sort of person to act before thinking, using her heart more than her head.

Lydia White is her best friend. She's middle class and has her own shop. Elle gets most of her corsets and hats from Lydia. Her mother and Elle's mother were best friends and passed that on to their daughters.

Nathan "Nate" Green is a student at the mechanical engineering school Elle attends. They eventually fall in love, despite the fact he thought a girl could do as well as a man (the poor misguided soul.) He can also cook.

Ethan Connell is another student. He's from a pretty poor family and abusive father. He's had to work hard for everything he has. Ethan is mean to Elle at first, but only because he thinks she's another stuck up Crat (the name the middle class call the upper class).

And Roderick. I can't tell you much about him without spoilers, so you'll just have to live with the mystery.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I like to do plenty of preparation. I write character sketches, worldbuild, and outline. I also like to have rewards for myself, whether it's chocolate or playing a game for fifteen minutes. I love making Pinterest storyboards and I'm trying to start making novel soundtracks. So far the one for this story is eluding me.

6. What are you most looking forward to in this novel?

Writing steampunk. I can't wait to write about crazy inventions like flying machines and automaton butlers. I'm also looking forward to writing about Elle. She's more outgoing than a lot of my characters, so it'll be fun to try something so different.

7. List three things about your novel's setting.

1. Major class division. There's the upper class, called the elite by themselves or Crats by the lower class. They're extravagant and love to show off their wealth. The middle class, called Commons by the upper class, do most of the work. Then there are the poor people, called Low Lives by everyone. They have only the worst jobs, like chimney sweeps and factory workers. Each class hates the ones above and looks down on the ones below.

2. Cyborgs. Many people, especially if they're poor, have been in accidents that take limbs. With the technology available, they can get mechanical limbs.

3. Victorian-type England. The story takes place in and around London.

8. What's your character's goal and who (or what) stands in  the way?

Elle's goal is to build machines that can help lots of people. What stands in her way is a man named Whitlock. He's a cyborg himself and wants to destroy all machines. They ruined his life, and despite the fact he has machines in his body, he wants them gone.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

In the beginning, she's too emotional and doesn't think enough. She wants to do great things but she doesn't have the skills she needs. At the end of the story, she's learned to keep her emotions in check. She's become a more capable person and able to do more than she cold before.

10. What are your book's themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

My theme is kindness. If more people in my story had been kind to other people in different classes, then many of the problems would have been avoided.

I want people to feel hopeful when they finish my story. I want them to think more about how they treat others.

There you have it. My novel. Before I finish, I've got a quick announcement. Starting today, I plan to post a simple Halloween costume on Facebook each Friday. Be sure to like my Facebook page if you want to see them (there's a button in the right sidebar).

So, what do you think? What's your novel for NaNoWriMo about? Let me know in the comments.

October 6, 2016

NaNoWriMo Part 3: Final Details and NaNoWriMo Account

Welcome to part three of my NaNoWriMo series. Today we're talking about the final details you might want for your novel, some of which you may or may not need, and all about NaNoWriMo accounts. Shall we dive in?

Final Details

There are a few last things besides your outline, character notes, and worldbuilding that you might want before you dive into the all important part of actually writing your novel in thirty days. They are: chapter divisions, beginning, and scene ideas. I'll go over them one at a time and why they might be helpful.

First, chapter divisions. For me, it's useful to know where the chapter breaks are and what exactly is in each chapter. That way I can make sure my chapters come out similar lengths. This doesn't always happen, like in last years novel which ended up with a couple of gigantic chapters among the others.

The idea of figuring out your beginning I picked up from the Ready, Set, Novel! book. (It's written by the founder of NaNoWriMo and you should totally read it and No Plot, No Problem.) It has an exercise where you play around with different ways to open your novel, so you avoid that staring at the page or screen for hours while you decide the perfect opening for your masterpiece. See how that can be helpful?

And scene ideas. We all have ideas for scenes we'd like to put in, whether they're actually helpful or just fluff. Either way, you should keep a running list of scenes to include and refer to it frequently. I've often forgotten scenes I wanted to put in because I didn't write it down.

NaNoWriMo Account

You don't need an official account to participate or win NaNoWriMo. But there are several reasons why it's good to have one. 1) You can fill out your novel information and win badges for motivation. 2) Connection with other writers. There are forums, regions, and buddies so you're never noveling alone. 3) A word counter so you feel responsible. 4) A winners certificate and deals on things like Scrivener if you win.

As you can see, having an account is super helpful. It's also super easy to set up. I'll walk you through it. First, go to www.nanowrimo.org. You'll see a sign up button on the left, as well as information to the right. Click the button.

Once you've clicked it, just fill in the information they ask you. You have to be at least thirteen and have an email, or one you can borrow. Choose your username carefully, it can't be changed. Later, you can add a profile picture and fill in the rest of your information.

From now on, when you pull up the website, you'll see your dashboard. It shows your novel, your badges, and has links to everything you need. Take time to fill in your profile and novel information and explore the site so you can find everything you need come November.

Yes, I blacked out the title of my novel. I'll be announcing that tomorrow, so unless you find me on the NaNoWriMo site, you'll have to find out then. (P.S. If you want to be buddies, just drop me a comment below.)

So, that's all for part three. Don't forget to read part one and part two if you haven't seen them yet.

Which final details do you like to have before you start writing? What's your favorite thing about the NaNoWriMo website? Let me know in the comments.

October 3, 2016

Strange Magic: Does It Work Or Not?

Strange Magic is a strange tale. It takes place in a fantasy world populated with all manner of magical creatures. It's produced by Lucas Films, but it's nothing like some of their other work. Today we're going to look at the movie and figure out whether or not it works. (Caution: spoilers ahead.)

The Good

Let's start with the good parts of this movie. It does have several, so let's take a look.

1. The look

This movie is beautifully animated. If nothing else, you should watch this movie for the visuals. At times, they try a bit too hard, but most of it is great.

2. Kristen Chenoweth

Need I say more? I may not agree with her on all points, but I do love her as an actress. She's a beautiful singer and has the bubbliest personality. She brings loads of fun to any character she plays. In this case, it's the Sugar Plum Fairy.

3. The characters

The characters in Strange Magic are great, if only they had a better story to be in. Marianne is my favorite. Humorous and strong, I love her. The other characters are great too with plenty of growth. I especially enjoy the relationship between Marianne and her sister Dawn. They did a great job with that.

4. Funny

It does score on humor as well. Like the recurring joke between two of the minions, where the first one always convinces the second one to do something that gets him in trouble. The laughs are one of the few high points in this movie.

5. The imp

He's adorable, he's a mischief maker, and I love him. He's certainly one of the best parts of the movie.

The Bad

1. It's cliche

One side of the kingdom is ruled by a nice fairy king and populated with lots of pretty, adorable creatures. The other half is ruled by the evil bog king who lives in a log castle with goblins and ugly creatures as his minions. Why is it always this way? The point I can appreciate is that they make a point to show that things that are ugly aren't always bad and visa versa.

2. Pop music everywhere

Instead of writing original songs for this movie, instead the film makers just dumped in pop music that fit with the scene. This can be done successfully, like in the Alvin and the Chipmunk movies, but this film wan't like that. They sang about every five minutes. I wouldn't have minded a musical, but that just felt sloppy.

3. Moves too fast

The story moves too quickly for you to get a good grasp on what's happening. The first time I watched it, I was totally confused. This is partially because of my next point.

4. Too much going on

There is way too much happening at once in this story. People are running back and forth between the Fairy Kingdom and the Dark Forest, there are love potions, fights, kidnappings, and jinxed love. How is anyone supposed to keep everything straight? Because they stuffed so much in, the plot is almost impossible to describe or follow.

5. Tacked on moral

The theme of this movie and the tagline is that everyone deserves to be loved. But at the end, the king, who I think the story would have been better without, states that out loud. Come on, what is this, a cheesy kids show where every episode has a lesson to learn?

6. Main character issues

Marianne is supposed to be the main character, I think. But she has to share screen time with so many other characters (there are at least eight other characters that are part of it) that it's hard to tell. If she's supposed to be the main character, the story should have focused more on her.

7. No clear story goal

This is the worst part of the movie. Between my sister and me, neither of us could come up with the goal of the story. Like I said, too much is going on and there's no cohesive goal driving the story forward. Every story should have a goal, as should it's hero, which as I said is hard to find.

Ultimately, this movie just doesn't work. The good points can't overcome the bad points. So what can we learn from this movie?

Make sure your main character(s) are easy to identify and give them a clear goal.

Don't cram so much stuff into your story that the plot can't be followed. Stories should be complex, but not to the point where you can't tell the story in a few sentences.

Don't be cliché. Take those cliche's and change them up into something new. Or make complete fun of them, like some writers do.

Let the reader find the theme themselves, not pound them over the head with it.

Make the goal of the story clear from the beginning, or at least before the end of the first act.

Have you watched Strange Magic? What are thoughts: did it work or not? Let me know in the comments.