From my acting class to writing my books.

From my acting class to writing my books.

Let me tell you about one of the most powerful acting classes I’ve ever experienced.

It was in my first month at my acting school, and my Meisner professor gave us a peculiar dynamic to work on. We had to think of a dramatic situation involving something that has happened or might happen in your life. Something that would trigger strong emotions from you (ex. a sick loved one, someone’s death, terrible news). The situation required a simple question with a yes, or no answer, “Will my brother survive the accident? “Does my mother have cancer?” You get the picture.

To create the mood, he dimmed the lights in the room and asked us to be silent for a few minutes, while a friend of your choice would be outside waiting to enter with your yes or no answer. The professor asked us to pray in whatever religion we believed in to add more depth to the scene.

At first, I was skeptical the exercise would bring any reaction from us. It all seemed too distant, too much imagination to work. How wrong I was.

Some of my friends went on the first day, and I was stunned by how much they would cry or even yell. It made me anxious to get over with my scene because the whole situation left me on the edge.

But my time came only on the second day of the class. Even after watching my classmates, I still didn’t believe I could get any reaction from the scene. But when I stepped in the middle of the room, with the dimmed lights, complete silence, my eyes closed and praying for my answer to be no, I felt as if everything was truly happening.

When my friend entered the room nearly crying (the deep emotions also struck those who had the weight of the answer), and said yes, the tears fell down my eyes, and my sobs filled the emptiness of the room. I trembled; I cried in her arms, and my heart felt broken beyond repair. In my mind, the doctors just told me my mom had cancer, and I felt as if it were real—as if I could truly lose her.

When the scene ended, I had to breathe to bring me back to reality. The professor waited until I was ready to speak. It was surreal as if I stepped into another person’s life.

I knew it was just imagination, which was the beauty of the safety of a scene. You can experience those emotions, without actually suffering the consequences.

I believe the same happens in writing. We need to experience what our characters are feeling and actually put ourselves in their positions, to bring out the truest reactions.

Don’t be afraid to experience those emotions. It will only add more soul into your writing and your characters. Even if your story is more plot-driven, the characters are the ones who live in it, who connect with your readers. We read to understand us as humans and to experience transformation.

I’m not an actor anymore, but those lessons stayed with me. It’s amazing how human nature works. That’s what artists do. We study it and represent it in our art the way we understand it.

Have you ever felt something so powerful, either reading a book, writing, or acting? 

The World of Wattpad – a social media for writers.

The World of Wattpad – a social media for writers.

Hello lovely readers,

I wanted to talk about the reason I have been MIA lately. Besides school, work, and daily life, I’ve joined the social website called Wattpad. Have you ever heard of it?

Wattpad is a social platform that allows you to publish your stories daily (full books, short stories, poetry). You can update every day, once a week, or whenever you feel like it, plus you get to interact with other writers and readers through club chats. Also, your story can be voted and commented on, some people even reach a million views and get deals to get published.

Since I was feeling a bit distant from the writing world, I decided to join in and publish my first completed book, and start writing a new one. It’s been a rocky road, since Wattpad has a lot, and I mean A LOT, of writers and books.

Sometimes you can get lost with the comparison. Some books have millions of views while you still struggle to reach 1K. However, it’s a great way to put your work out there, get quick feedback on your story, and just force yourself to actually write.

Some people post their first draft chapter by chapter, while others post the whole thing at once. You can delete your story and start fresh or even edit as you go. It has many possibilities, besides you can create a fanbase for you as a writer.

It’s a great platform for beginners and even professional writers. Why don’t you give it a try? Perhaps you will find the motivation you needed to finish that story you’ve kept in the drawer.

Here is my Wattpad Profile

Have you tried Wattpad? What did you think of the platform?

Goal or Dream?

Goal or Dream?

Do you know the difference between having a dream and a goal? A dream is something you wish to have or accomplish, while a goal is an objective, something you have a designed plan to accomplish.

See how they work differently? One might never come true, while the other you will work step by step, failure after failure, to achieve. Sometimes we get so caught up in our dreams that we don’t realize they can come true if we work towards it. No, they will not happen when you are fast asleep, or when you find the genie’s bottle. Which means you have to get up, shake the negativity and go fight.

That’s what I’m doing here if only to force me to keep writing and not give up on my goal (not a dream) of becoming a published author. The only way of doing that is by what? Actually doing the work. My negativity has stopped me so far, but I say enough is enough. I can accomplish my goal because I study, practice and work for it. Do you want to be a writer as well? Then you have to write, even if you feel like you are not good enough. Because guess what? You can improve. Writing is not just pure talent, it’s a craft, and like any craft, you can learn, master and use it in your favor.

Maybe a writing course will help you (I’ve tried many, and yes they are very helpful), or a writing technique book, or perhaps even a writing club (if you are shy, you can try some online platforms like Wattpad). What matters is if you keep writing and are open to criticism.

When I think back on my first book, I see how much I have already improved. But I also know I have a lot to grow, and that’s why I won’t give up on learning. Because in the end what matters is the journey to get there.

So, will you wake up and work towards your goal, or just keep dreaming?

Are you a writer? Are you working towards your goal? Share with me your thoughts and tips.

 

Throne of Glass – Review

Throne of Glass – Review

Hello dearies,

This is the second review I’m writing, and just like the previous, I won’t be rating the book from 1 to 5 stars. I don’t believe in rating because I think it’s super subjective. What might be a five for me, might be a three for you and you might have enjoyed it the same way, though your critics might be towards something else.

Therefore, I will only write how the book made me feel and the things I liked about it, instead of just writing a synopsis of it.

Here we go:

Book: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while since I’ve seen so many reviews and pictures of it (I love bookstagrams). It was a fast read for me; I wouldn’t put the book down, and got really hooked in the story. We follow a young trained assassin, Celaena Sardothien,  through a life-death contest to become the King of Adarlan’s Champion, and with that winning her freedom (she’s been on a slave camp for over a year). I expected a lot more action from this book, since the real juice only started to appear on the second half of the story. I think the writer lost way too much time with love triangles that are poorly developed (I’m a little tired of love triangles) and frivolous conversations, instead of showing more of the assassins ability and strength (sometimes she came out a little too whiny making me wonder how did she became the best assassin of the Kingdom). For example, the contest is designed with many tests, but we only read a few of them, others are just skimmed through.

With that being said, I liked the character development, since we learn she is not just a cold-hearted assassin, but more of a girl that was thrown into this world and had to do anything to survive. We see her starting to care for other people than herself, which shows that her soul is way more human than what people thought of her. The end leaves you wanting to understand more since some important information lightly appears towards the final chapters. Who is she? Who is her family? How powerful is she? We start to learn that there is a big secret around her, and the author is pretty clever at giving bits and pieces of information throughout the story that the reader must connect. Instead of throwing everything at once, she kind of turns us into little detectives, trying to figure out what is actually going on, before the heroine does.

I definitely recommend reading it, it is a well-developed story, that catches your attention from beginning to end and definitely makes you want more. The author did a great job at creating this new universe, with different customs, religion, and history. I loved the writing style and her POV choice. I’ve grown very accustomed to first person POV, so it was a nice break from it. The way she writes is smooth, simple, yet it fits the genre, setting, and atmosphere of the book perfectly. I’m already on my way to get the second book of the series since I have to kill my curiosity.

Have you read Throne of Glass? What were your thoughts on it?

My Top 5 80’s Movies

My Top 5 80’s Movies

Hello, lovelies!

Recently I spent a really quiet weekend at home relaxing, and for my surprise, The Princess Bride was on TV. I haven’t seen it in a while, so naturally, I’ve stopped whatever else I was (not) doing and enjoyed the moment. The movie may be a few decades old, but it can still make me laugh. I love the romance, the sarcasm, the cinematography, and quick comebacks (I think the jokes are so clever!)

Then I started to make a mental list of all the 80’s movies I’ve seen that I would see again or recommend others to watch, even though I am a nineties’ baby.

Warning: spoiler alert!

So, without further ado, here are my top five 80’s movies of all time:

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1. Can’t Buy Me Love,

I’ve seen this movie for the first time a couple of years ago, and boy, did I love it. It got me hooked from start to finish, and I thought that Patrick Dempsey’s acting, even though exaggerated at times, was extremely refreshing. I believed him to be that nerdy and bubbly character who just wants to be popular more than anything. I’ve seen a lot of movies with this actor, but overall (in my opinion) he plays the same type of character over and over again. So it was really nice to see how he started and how dynamic he was at a young age (when he wasn’t the sexy serious guy).

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2. Back to the Future

Oh Marty Mcfly, how much do I enjoy your adventures with time travel. But I must say, the first movie has always been my favorite. Him accidentally going back in the past, and almost ruining his parent’s entire relationship was so precious and fun to watch. The more he tried to make things right, the worse they got. But, thankfully everything turned out more than okay for him at the end. Go, Marty! And I don’t even have to mention that one of my favorite’s band’s name comes from his last name Mcfly. That alone should make me love the movie (but honestly I liked way before I knew the band).

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3. The Breakfast Club

Well, not only the movie has an iconic ending that has been remade and celebrated through generations after it, but the depth and exploration of the angst of teenagers in High School is mind-blowing. This entire movie happens during these five kids’ detention time (with only them and two school staff to support the story), and it is able to show you their distinct personalities and break cliches of people’s appearances. Who you seem to be in High School doesn’t necessarily is who you are. And sometimes someone who looks so different from you may actually have more similarities than disparities. The movie makes you wonder whether these five kids will remain friends after this glorious and unique day. But who knows? Maybe they will go back to their daily lives. But for us, those hours were the truest and sincerest moments of these teenager’s High School years.

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4. The Princess Bride

But of course, I wouldn’t miss the movie that started this whole post. The Princess Bride is one of those movies you must see. It’s light and quirky and makes you laugh not only with the story but about it (the movie constantly makes jokes about itself). You end up falling in love with Westley’s wit and his love for Buttercup (though I must admit, her character falls a bit flat). Also, one of the most famous lines in movies’ history can’t be missed, when Inigo Montoya finally meets his father’s killer and says, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” STRIKE ONE! Fun fact: Ben Barnes was inspired by Inigo’s accent to create his Prince Caspian character in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

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5. Just One of the Guys.

Ok, so I’ve seen She’s the Man with Amanda Bynes many times, where she pretends to be her brother in order to convince her ex-boyfriend and her previous coach that girls are as good as guys on soccer. However, I didn’t know there was an 80’s movie with a similar plot (seems like they are both loosely based on the same play by Shakespeare). In Just One of The Guys, the main character pretends to be a guy just so she can prove that her article for the school newspaper was rejected because she was a girl. The plot twist is when she finds out that it actually was because it wasn’t good enough (even as a guy). She becomes friends with this loser guy and ta-da starts falling in love with him. The whole experience as a guy inspires her to write a new article that ends up being published. Oh, and the reveal scene (where people find out she is a girl) is very much like in She’s the Man. I quite liked the movie, it was amusing, smart, and ahead of its time.

 

Did your favorite 80’s movie make the cut? If not, leave a comment below sharing your top choices.

5 Things I learned from Acting School

5 Things I learned from Acting School

Hello everyone,

I went to acting school when I was only nineteen years old, in a completely different country, and had to re-start my life over there. It was a great experience, first time alone, in a country with different language, different culture, no parents, nor anyone to solve my problems. Let’s say it was a crucial time to shape me into the woman I am today. I have come to discover who I really am because I had the time and permission to do so.

So here they are, the five things I learned in acting school that I will take with me for life: Ready? ACTION!

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  1. Engage with people, and learn to listen.

When someone (the cashier at the grocery store for example) asks you “How are you?” Really take time to answer. We usually say, “I’m fine, and you?” And that’s it. Engage them in conversation. After one of my teachers told me that, I started doing this all the time. Eventually, everyone knew me at my local Grocery Store because I always engaged them in conversation. It’s so automatic now that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it. Take time to really know people, it will make a difference and really LISTEN.

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     2. Fail, fail again, but fail better. 

I believe is one of the most important things for me to remember. One of my teachers used to say that if we felt like we failed at the scene, we should do it again, but do it better. If you failed the scene again, you should keep going, because each try would only be better than the last, and we would always learn something. This is so important to use in our daily lives, when applying for a new job, working out, or trying something you are afraid of. Just take a chance, and keep fighting. Failure is just one step away from success.

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  3. Write about your experiences.

They always encouraged us to keep journals. We should write our experiences, write what we see, write about people we see in the street, write about anything, actually. When we write, we are doing a study of the Human psyche, and in acting, we need to understand humans. We need to know how different people feel, react, their objectives in life, etc… So, I’m really trying to work on writing more what I see.

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  4. Respect each other’s background.

In my class, we had people from all over the world, of different ages, cultures, colors, languages, and background. We had to share some pretty personal things in order to learn how to trust each other (which could only make a scene better) and to be vulnerable. I got to learn great stories, as well as sad ones from so many people, and that taught me we shouldn’t judge someone based on what we think we know. We don’t know each other’s past and struggle. We can only be supportive of one another.

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      5. Do not compare yourself with others.

This one is a biggie for me because I am terrible at it. We learned that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others because everyone was different, with a different strength or talent. We could only compare ourselves with ourselves because that was the only way we would see our true growth. If you compare where you are to where others are, you will end up frustrated. But if you stop to realize how much you improved, you will feel the fire to keep improving. That is a must for anything in life: health, body image, personal projects, work etc. Do not compare yourself with others. Only you can be the true measure of your growth. You will always be enough because no one else can be a better you than you.

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What did you think of my 5 lessons from acting school? Make sure to leave a comment!

A Book is a Book: Literary Vs. Commercial

A Book is a Book: Literary Vs. Commercial

Hello everyone,

What do you see in the picture? Books, right? A book means someone (the author) is trying to give you a message. Trying to transport you to a different place, time, or simply to make you see your own world in a different point of view. The whole purpose of a book is simply to give you a message, to make you think critically, or to make you stop thinking about your daily life, and just drown within its pages. The same for a movie, play, music, painting, or any form of art that triggers something inside you.

But I was astonished to discover over the weekend, while I was taking a self-publishing course, that here in Brazil some books are not considered Literature because they are more commercial or because their writing style isn’t as refined as others. I felt like these types of books were underestimated, as if they weren’t as good or valued as the others.

I always thought we had one Young-Adult genre, where all the sub-genres derived from, however, we have a Literary YA, and a commercial YA. (The names are different in Portuguese but won’t change the meaning of what I’m saying.) So where does this in-between commercial YA lies? Why Brazilians are not publishing Young-Adult novels that are not so refined (but still sends you a message clearly), and are more commercial? Most of the books we consume here are Young-Adult novels that come from English speaking countries, however, we ourselves are not writing them.

Doesn’t a book still have the same value even if it’s simply entertaining, and not didactic or refined, or stylistic more polished? I believe that books, no matter what genre, should all have the same value, because they are all trying to teach you something, entertain you, or make you feel something. The more rules we put on how books should look like, the fewer people will read it, because they will stay within one category. A book is supposed to make you feel fun, silly, courageous, strong, vulnerable, and intelligent. Just like we have different moods and tastes, so should books. Yes, some people think that YA books are silly or for teenagers, but they still make me feel good. Isn’t that the whole point of reading something? Having a good time?

If we want to stop complaining that the new generation doesn’t read that many books, why don’t we stop discriminating books in the first place? If it makes you feel happy, whole, and overall satisfied that is all that matters.

Don’t give up reading,

Fernanda.