Saturday, September 27, 2008

NaNoWriMo Site Relaunched

The people over at Office of Letters and Light decided to be sneaky on us and relaunch the NaNo site early. You can see the new layout and features at Now I know I said that I would launch the redesign of this blog on the same day as the NaNo folks did, however I'm still going to wait till October 1st. That's less than a week away! So check back on that day to see the blog's new look!

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Letter Game Update and a New Blog design in the Works!

Letter #1 is done and on it's way! Now I'm just waiting for the next one to come from my friend. This game is so fun! It's very motivating to write as you have to wait for the other person to respond. Since you have to wait, you're very ready to write when it's your turn.

On another note, I have a new blog design and layout in store especially for NaNoWriMo. It'll premiere on October 1st, the same day that the NaNoWriMo site is officially reopened to the public with it's new design and updates. So look forward to it! From October 1st to November 30th the blog will feature the new design and layout and then on December 1st I'll either go back to the current design/layout or create a new one. I have to think on that for a bit because I'd have to plan for the second new layout in October.

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The final product!

The latest issue of the Whetstone just came out today! I've got pictures of it and of my article/interview inside. It is something to see your name in print for the first time. I know, this isn't my first published piece, but it was "printed" in an ezine. It wasn't printed on actual paper. This is the first time I've been able to hold my article in my hand. Tis very exciting! And here are the pictures!

Now, on another note, the creative writing club at school just had it's first meeting yesterday and that went off very well. There's a lot of exciting things in store for it, including a possible literary festival! I'm looking forward to our next meeting.

I'm also looking forward to a "phone call" with a fellow writer tomorrow afternoon. She's in Scotland so we had to prearrange our meeting time (as she is 5 hours ahead of me). We've chatted once and talked through Skype another time purely for fun and getting to know one another. However, this conversation has a different purpose. Last meeting I proposed to her the idea of us playing the Letter game. This meeting is to plan out the setting that we want and think up our characters. After that, game time! Some of you may be wondering what the letter game is, so I shall give a brief explaination. The Letter game is where 2 or more participants take on the personality of a character and write letters to each other detailing what's happening to their character. Of course, each person/character responds to the other(s). There are only two rules. 1) The characters may never meet, and 2)you can't let the other(s) know what the plot is. The second rule is where things get interesting. We shall see what happens between us as the game progresses. Hopefully I can report back tomorrow with more details on how it's going and what we've decided.

Until next time!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hunting the Unicorn Interview

Hey everyone! My article for the student newspaper is finally done. It went in the layout today and will be published soon. My second piece total to be published (but the first non-fiction piece). And I thought I'd post it here for you all (along with a link of course for the book I was conducting the interview about). It's only half of the interview that I conducted, but that's all I was able to fit into 500 words.

“Hunting the Unicorn: An Interview with Don King”
By Anna Mittower

I was very excited when the opportunity presented itself to interview Don King about his new book “Hunting the Unicorn”. As an English major he is one of my main professors, and therefore I have learned enough about him to be interested to learn more. On a Friday morning between classes, I managed to sit down with him and ask a few questions about his book.
Q: For those who don’t know, what is your book about?
A: It’s about a 20th century poet named Ruth Pitter. She was well known in her time ( 1930-1970). I found out about her because she was friends with CS Lewis.
Q: What lead you to write about Ruth Pitter?
A: I was working on my C.S. Lewis: The Poet book and came across a letter from Ruth Pitter asking if she could transcribe the last few pages of Killishandra (book three of Lewis’s Science Trilogy) into poetry. In my search for the transcriptions I came to know a lot about Ruth Pitter and decided to write a book about her.
Q: What was your favorite part of the book to write or research?
A: The first third of “Hunting the Unicorn” deals with Ruth Pitter’s relationship with C.S. Lewis. Also it deals with her early life. Her family rented a small cottage out in the middle of a forest and they’d spend their summers there. It was because of this that Ruth Pitter was influence to write mostly nature poems.
Q: And did anything unusual occur during the writing or research?
A: I mentioned before about the poetry transcription of Killishandra that Ruth Pitter did. I went hunting for it because I thought it would provide the key for what I was trying to prove in my other book about C.S. Lewis. I called the C.S. Lewis family and Ruth Pitter’s family and both didn’t have it or even know of its existence. I was really discouraged that I wasn’t able to find it and was about to give up when I decided to stop by the Bodlyin library at Oxford. I asked if they had any of Ruth Pitter’s letters and they said yes. I asked if I could see them and they said no because they weren’t catalogued yet. I came back and asked again to see them and they said that I could but they only had a sheet with descriptions of what they thought was in each box. I looked through the sheet and picked the three most likely candidates out of 36 boxes. It wasn’t in the first box, but in the second to last box that I found what I was looking for. I was really excited.
Q: How did you come up with the title “Hunting the Unicorn”?
A: It’s not a title of my own invention. Ruth Pitter gave several radio talks on BBC and one was titled “Hunting the Unicorn”. I thought that was really neat title so I used it.

You can buy "Hunting the Unicorn: A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter" on Amazon.
Also, Don King will be holding a booksigning on October 3rd at 3:00 pm. It will be held in the Library of Montreat College (NC). If you can attend, that would be great for him! I know that I'll be there.

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I, Reporter

And so I am. A reporter for the Whetstone, that is. I just signed the deal with the managing editor to do a piece on one of the professors, Dr. Don King. He just published a new book, "Hunting the Unicorn", about the British poet Ruth Pitter. My assignment is to interview him about it. However, I'm going to add a twist to it. For my writing tutor class I have to interview several professors about their approach to writing both personal and in the classroom, so I shall work some of that into the interview to give it a more student friendly approach. I shall definitely ask my professor about any pet peeves he has regarding student papers and that will definitely go in the final article! So the interview is set for Friday at 11 am. Now I just need to come up with the questions to ask him.

I have already begun work on at least coming up with an idea for the 1 act play which I shall write, direct, and produce for playwriting class. I'm technically supposed to have an idea of what I'm doing by tomorrow. I'll do some brainstorming and see if I can think of anything. I don't think I'll be able to adapt a story I have already written, though I did look to see if that was possible. Ah well, I'm just not in an inspired mood right now. It'll hit me when I'm trying to go to sleep probably or when I wake up in the morning. I just hope that I can get it written down fast enough.

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Timber! and other news

Hey everyone! College has started along with a lot of other stuff. The biggest event that has happened is that my Grandfather passed away a week from last Sunday. I had to drop everything in the middle of last week to attend the viewing and funeral. I'm still sad about it. Christmas will be the big reminder that he's dead. At Christmas (well, around that time) all my Mom's family gets together for a Christmas celebration and we always went to my Grandfather's house. I don't know where or if we'll meet this Christmas. We'll see what happens.

I've contacted the Whetstone (went to a dinner of theirs) and signed up to do at least 1 article per semester. I can't commit to more because my schedule's still being decided. So, my getting to know the people there has begun. I'm really considering taking over from the current managing editor after she graduates next spring. That would look good on a resume.

I was still catching up on homework from last week this morning and the last bit I had to do was to write a short mini-play (1 scene with minimal number of characters). It was due today at 12:30pm (hence why I sat down and wrote it this morning and not tonight) so I got to work this morning and actually had it done in time. Anyways, this is the first part in an experiment of mine this semester. That experiment is a course in playwriting. We shall see if I survive. If I do, then I'll come out of it with another method and perspective of writing. If I don't, I'll know that playwriting is not my thing. This course will definitely help with fleshing out my characters, though.

About the play now. I received the comment that I need to show more through my dialogue, but my scene directions were vivid. Mind you, this is a short scene so there is not much room to play around with the characters. The assignment was to find a picture and write a scene off of it. My picture was of a young man bundled up in winter clothes posing beside the roots of a fallen tree.

Oh and as a parting note, NaNo is on the way (less than 2 months to go!). I've already got my story idea ready. It's an idea that's been floating around in my head for a while. It revolves around one of two sci-fi characters that I have created in my head. However, I have appropriated it for my Lwyn: A Space Trader's Daughter series. It shall be the book that explains how it all began. Now I just need to finish Adventure at Anwar first. I've got less than 2 months to do it! I'll use it to train for the crazy marathon that is NaNo.

Do you know what NaNo is? I've been referring to it without explaining it. A bit of explaination for those who do not know of it is in order. NaNo (short for National Novel Writing Month) takes place during the month of November. The goal is to write the 1st draft of a 50,000 word novel, in 30 days. Crazy, eh? Well it's all good fun. I did it last year for the first time and had a lovely, hectic blast. Second time around should prove to be even more fun as I know what I am doing this time. As for last year, Firequeen was the novel (novella) I started. I didn't win last year (I only wrote 17,000 words) but I think I have a better chance of doing so this year as I write a sci-fi novel this time around.

Until next time!

(finally, here's the play!)


by Anna Mittower

Cast of Characters

DERRICK, male in his early 20s (college age) Nicholas’s roommate, strongly opinionated and quick to voice his opinions, quarterback on the school football team, popular and always dressed in the latest fashion, goofs off but still gets good grades, acts rashly.

NICHOLAS, male in his early 20s (college age) goes by Nick, Derrick’s roommate, loves the outdoors, doesn’t speak up much outside of close friends, but is still opinionated, dressed comfortably, doesn’t really care about fashion, cautious.

REPORTER, female in her 20s, dressed smartly in a suit, very curious, and wears a big smile constantly.

FIREFIGHTER, male in his 40s, looks like he’s been on the job for many years, a veteran, heavy build, about average height.


(It’s the middle of winter and Nicholas and Derrick are standing at the base of a very large and old oak outside their dorm on campus. Both are bundled up against the cold. Ground is saturated from the previous night’s heavy rain. A strong breeze is making the oak tree sway ominously.)


Are you sure it’s wise to climb up that tree? It looks like it might fall any minute.


Give me a break. It’s perfectly safe and I have to do this.

(starts climbing up tree and pauses at first branch. He shouts.)

My honor is at stake. I can’t back down now, not after Gordon dared me. Anway, I’ve been wanting to test it out for myself.


(shouts up to Derrick)

You’re mad to take him up on his dare! He only wants to see you hurt yourself. You’re stupid!


(Derrick has climbed beyond earshot. Doesn’t hear Nicholas’s last line.)

What a view!

(climbs onto the branch that is his destination and stares around the campus. Shouts down to Nicholas)

You should climb up here and see this!

(Remembers what he’s supposed to do and stares down at the branch he’s on. Gordon’s dare is to cross to the next tree over on a branch bridge. The two branches intertwine, but as Derrick starts across the branch feels less stable as the tree rocks in the wind.)


(watching from the ground gives him a better view of the oak starting to lean. Shouts to Derrick)

Get down Derrick! The tree is falling!

(waves arms wildly to attract Derrick’s attention. Derrick doesn’t look. Nicholas stands looking horrified as he watches the tree falling. Once Derrick falls Nicholas kicks into action and rushes under the falling tree to try and catch Derrick. He half succeeds and Derrick knocks both of them to the ground. Nicholas tries to drag Derrick out of the way of the falling tree but a branch lands on him and Nicholas can’t get it off.)

Don’t move Derrick! I’m going to call for help.

(Runs to the dorm.)


Hurry up!


(comes back at a run)

Help’s on the way, Derrick. Hold on.


My leg’s killing me, and my back.


Well that’s where the branch is laying on you. Is there any other place that hurts?


I am sore all over.

(He groans)

Just wait till Gordon sees me like this. He’ll have a good laugh at how stupid I was. Sorry for not listening to you earlier.

(Siren wails in the distance before Nicholas can speak. Firetruck pulls up followed by an ambulance and people dash over to Nicholas and Derrick. They cut the tree branch and put Derrick on a stretcher and then put him in the ambulance.)


Are you alright?


I’m fine. I’ll probably be sore all over from being a cushion for Derrick like that.

(laughs quickly)


Do you know why he was up there in the first place? A warning was issued for this area about the possibility of old trees falling in the high winds today.


Someone dared him to cross from this tree to that one by going across a branch bridge. I tried to talk him out of it, but he went right on ahead and did it.


(shakes head)

That was very foolish of him.


I think he realizes that. He admitted that was he did was stupid while we were waiting for help to arrive.

(Another vehicle pulls up quickly. It’s a white news van with a large number 21 on the side. Reporter gets out followed by a camera man and comes over to where Nicholas and the Firefighter are standing.)


Hello. I’m a reporter for Channel 21. What happened here?

(Eyes the fallen tree and the obvious scrapes and bruises on Nicholas’s face and hands. Thrusts a microphone at the Firefighter.)


A young man climbed up that tree and fell out of it when the tree toppled in the winds.


Is this the young man who climbed the tree standing here?


No, it was my roommate, Derrick, who climbed the tree. An ambulance just took him to the hospital.

(Is nervous because the camera is pointing his direction and the reporter has transferred the microphone to him)

I’m all scraped up because I tried to catch him when he fell.

(grins sheepishly)

He was a bit too heavy to catch and used me instead as a cushion to land on.


(laughs lightly then turns to the camera)

So here we have a young hero in the making. He has just saved his first victim from death.

(Nicholas looks skeptical at this. Reporter turns back to him, microphone ready)

So how does it feel to be a hero?


I-I don’t feel any different. I’m just glad I was able to help.


(turns back to camera)

So there you have it. A young hero.

(turns back to Nicholas)

Now, can we get a picture of you beside that tree? An angle showing the roots of the tree would be best I think.

(Nicholas and camera man follow her around to the other side of the tree)


(Climbs up onto the tree’s roots and poses with a triumphant look on his face like he just conquered the tree.)

How’s this?



(Picture is taken and the reporter looks satisfied. Everyone but Nicholas exits. He walks back his dorm. Curtain)

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