26 March 2015

Tests, Allies, and Enemies

After the Hero has crossed the first threshold, the bulk of the story begins. Most of the story takes place in the stage Tests, Allies, and Enemies. During this stage, the Hero is tested in preparation for the Ordeal, makes allies who help him, and enemies who hinder him.
Tests: The series of trials the Hero goes through and overcomes help him prepare for the ultimate Ordeal. The Mentor may or may not be present at this stage. Tests include natural disasters/terrain that must be crossed, such as rivers, storms, mountains, etc. There can also be man-made obstacles, such as walls, tollbooths, checkpoints, etc. Also, with a Special World comes different atmosphere, rules, culture, and such, so the Hero must learn to live in the Special World as a trial. Every time the Hero passes the test, he knows a little bit more about dealing with the Shadow.
Allies: Along the way, the Hero makes friends. They may have a common goal, or just be along for the ride, or be special Allies called sidekicks. Either way, there is a sense of camaraderie and unity among the Hero and his allies. Sometimes there's a whole group of them, all working together to defeat the Shadow. (Think Fellowship of the Ring, etc.) The sidekick, or any Ally, can act as the reader by asking questions the reader would have, thus filling in important backstory or information crucial to the plot through dialogue.
Enemies: Of course, the Hero is also going to make enemies. They may be minions of the Shadow, or just characters with their own agenda. The goals of the Enemies clash or directly interfere with that of the Hero and his Allies, resulting in more trials. There is a special enemy called the Rival, who may have the same goal as the Hero, but is competing with him to achieve it first or better. The Rival may hinder the Hero's progress on the Journey, making him an enemy, but really he is out for the same reward.
The stage of Tests, Allies, and Enemies is arguably the most important of the Hero's Journey. In it he grows, learns, adapts, and prepares for the stages ahead.

23 March 2015


At the end of my sophomore year I'll have seven high school foreign language credits. Now what?

Something tells me the AP Latin test is coming up soon...

I might take dual-enrollment college-level French next year!

17 March 2015

16th Birthday Party!

This past weekend I had a party to celebrate my 16th birthday, a few weeks early. (Besides this weekend, schedules wouldn't coincide until May, so we went for two weeks early rather than a month late.) First we went to a high school/ home school improv night (the third of its kind), then drove the 45 minutes from the Kanes' house at 11pm. Everyone was still awake, weirdly enough.
This was waiting for us when we arrived! But we didn't eat the cake until Sunday.

Anyway, we slept in and went to 11 am Mass after a delicious brunch of French toast, bacon, filled pastry, and limeade.

After Mass we went out for sushi. It was Katie's first time at the sushi place!

When we got back to the house we opened presents, some of which I have photos.

An Ethiopian picture of Jesus washing Peter's feet from Dad.

A scarf from godmother Mrs. Gerdes. (The pin was from Tessie.)

Jane Austen-themed tea stuff from the twins.

A t-shirt from Mom. I had asked for a pro-life t-shirt.
Then, since the weather was a beautiful 75°, we went for a walk and spent a while outside. Soon after that the friends had to leave, and we went to a 1st birthday party for one of the Brazilians in town. 

Over all, a lovely and tons-of-fun birthday party!

14 March 2015

Writing Update

My blog posts lately have been few and far between...not because I'm especially busy, but because the weather has been beautiful! Why blog when you can go for a walk in the sunshine?
Anyway, I've been making  a lot of progress on my story. Recently I was working on the Ordinary World, which was pretty much nonexistent. This week I finished that and connected it to the Call to Adventure. I've also been revising heavily for a couple of months now, so lots of unneeded passages are flying away. I began the story before I had fully worked out the plot, and changed the plot several times (still am), so it was in great need of revision, especially the beginning. Plus, since I added three or four chapters in the beginning, I could take out a lot of backstory from the rest of it since I was able to show it in the Ordinary World.
Yesterday I began the major death scene. It takes place on Holy Thursday, so some of my family members will understand the reason for my questions about Eucharistic processions, etc. Today I plan to actually write the part where the character dies. (Not telling you which one, I'm a spoiler-free blogger!)
The scene I plan to write after that is the climax, then maybe I'll weave in the major Shapeshifter scene. I sometimes write in a linear fashion, just continuing the story chapter by chapter, but currently I need to know what I'm leading up to so I can structure it well. So I'm writing major scenes, then I'll go back and fill in the important-but-less-crucial stuff.
I love this picture.

13 March 2015

Homemade Chocolate Pudding!

This past Sunday I made chocolate pudding for the first time. It turned out amazingly! It was also really easy, unless you think whisking milk over the stove constantly is hard. The consistency was just a little thicker than store-bought pudding, and the taste was way better. The ingredient that made it thick was cornstarch.
I have a screen capture of the recipe I used:
I recommend trying it! Probably the only thing I would do differently is add a bit more cocoa and put in less vanilla. It was quite vanilla-y. But delicious nonetheless!

11 March 2015

Piano Festival

This past Saturday was piano festival! I know you're probably thinking, "Why hasn't she mentioned it until now?" And really that's a good question. But in my defense it's been a busy week, and the weather has been glorious!
Anyway. I played Invention #9 in F minor by J.S. Bach, and Dance Scherzo by Denes Agay. They both went quite well, despite my apprehensions. I had been practicing on the grand piano at church all week, since the piano in our townhouse is dreadful. It paid off. Also, the piano I played on at Lincoln Music Hall is realllllllly nice, so that was a treat.
I got a superior! It was my first time doing Piano Festival, so I was happy about that. Also, we ran into my old organ teacher and talked to her for a while.
Afterwards we went out for coffee and brunch, which was de-lish!

05 March 2015

Crossing the First Threshold

Now comes the really juicy part of the story. After meeting with the Mentor, the Hero crosses the first threshold into the Special World. Gone are the doubts and excuses, gone are the fears and protestations. The Hero commits to the journey, for better or worse. Usually something happens to spur this kind of commitment in the Hero, such as the raising of stakes or intensifying of motivation.
Often at the Threshold lives the Threshold Guardian (big surprise there), who must be overcome in order to cross the Threshold. After doing so, the Hero crosses in to the Special World and commences Act II of his Journey.
Sometimes the Special World is not as glittering as the Hero thought. Sometimes the other side of the Threshold is dark, disorienting, dismal. Commitment is not the only problem the Hero faces. After committing there are tests, enemies, and challenges throughout the Journey. Sometimes a problem comes up immediately after the Threshold has been crossed.
The Second Act is when the Hero can put to use the advice, experience, and equipment the Mentor has supplied him with. The Mentor may accompany the Hero on his Journey (think Gandalf and Frodo), but more often he stays behind in the Ordinary World and lets the Hero exercise his new abilities.
The Threshold is often a physical barrier or portal that must be crossed. It could be a bridge, gate, river, international border, tunnel, mountain pass, or anything else that symbolizes the border between Ordinary and Special Worlds.
Crossing the first Threshold is not the end of the Hero's difficulties. It may be just the beginning, in fact.

03 March 2015

Various Art

We are in the midst of blizzard, so naturally my thoughts turn to art!
This past week I did a watercolor study of Fra Angelico's painting of Christ Crucified.

The yellow splotch is some paint I dropped...oops!
 Then, on Sunday, a man was selling figurines made of olive wood from Bethlehem to help persecuted Christians in Israel. I showed Mom my favorite one and she bought it for me as an early birthday present!
I love images of the Blessed Virgin with a baby bump.

On Monday I had a voice lesson in which we selected new repertoire. One of the pieces I chose is by J. S. Bach, called "Bist du bei Mir." I think it is gorgeous! I'm really excited to learn it. I don't really know anything about pronouncing German so it will be a fun challenge. 

It has been an artful week! You kind of need art to survive March blizzards.