Spelling bees and I go way back. Even in kindergarten, I represented my grade in the school spelling bee (Though we do not speak of this, because even though I memorized the entire list, I was so excited to have gotten an easy word, that I rushed and proudly said, "Jazz, J-A-Z, jazz... Wait!"). Luckily, I had another 365 days to think about it, and plenty of 5-year-old rage to fuel my next spelling endeavor. And thus began my spelling bee career. Fast-forward to middle school, I was the last fifth grader standing, placed third the next year, and won the bee in seventh grade, getting the chance to compete in the central Texas regional bee!
I'd never been to the regional competition before, and I was over the moon at the possibility to advance to the next level of speller-ly glory and other"word"ly wisdom. And I did go strong for a large chunk of it. But after a solid 3 hours of spelling, my brain was fried. I was out for saying "G" when I meant "J" in Meiji. Frustratingly, I had the correct spelling in my head. There were only four other spellers left at that point. After that, I was determined to get another shot at regionals after getting so close.
This year was my last Scripps spelling bee. Even though I spent the majority of the night before playing Jimi Hendrix on my electric guitar, I was serious about doing well. I'd studied the list all through break (and reviewed a few of the words I already knew, so as not to repeat kindergarten history). I felt the standard jitters spelling in front of the whole school, and had a few close-calls with words I'd been mispronouncing in my studies, but the first leg of the spelling bee went pretty smoothly.
When it was down to myself and two others, the announcer went off the word list. After a few rounds, the sixth-grader was eliminated, and I got nailed with an unfamiliar word (tamara, only I thought the announcer was saying "tomorrow" in a Brooklyn accent). My classmate won, and I placed second. My initial frustration for adding another "r" was pretty much squeezed out of me by a series of bear hugs from my parents who'd come to support me, and from a throng of my buddies who were waiting to congratulate me as soon as I left the stage. Honestly, I was happy to come home to a celebratory tres leches cake. Thank you, Scripps spelling bee, for fun times-- and for giving me the opportunity to learn more words than I could possibly use in my novel.
*Title is a nod to the amazing CEO of Me and The Bees Lemonade, Mikaila U, my boss/bestie.
My family and I love to travel, so I already have it sorted out in my mind what to take with me. Most importantly, I bring three notebooks: one for writing actual scenes from my book, one for writing ideas for other stuff (stories, poems, characters, et cetera), and a third for notes for another novel idea that's forming in my brain. Add around two to five novels to read (depending on the length of the trip), and a sketchbook, and mix well.
Congratulations-- you now have the recipe for a writer's-retreat-in-a-box... er, backpack. Side effects may include your bag starting to expel dragons due to an excessive fantasy intake, and a sore back after lugging around ten pounds of paper through a TSA line. But once you board that plane/car, you're golden (*coughs, Ponyboy*).
I get a ton of scenes done in planes; there's something about being in one place for hours, with few distractions, that lets your imagination (along with the rest of you) soar through the air, so to speak. An inspirational view is just a glance out the window, and, once you land, there'll be plenty of more new adventures for you to write about.
What are some of your must-haves in your carry-on bag? Comment below.
It's a new year, and a time for new beginnings--and, for me, that means starting a blog. So... Welcome to Lorena Lore!
My journey here started four years ago, when I was nine years old. I loved to read, I loved to write, and, naturally, I decided to start a full-length fantasy novel. You know, like every other little kid does.
Two months ago, I finished the first draft (yes, that's a picture of it up there!). When I typed that last word, I cried out for joy.(Or, perhaps that was exhaustion...) Either way, I promptly collapsed on my bed, a feeling of exuberance rushing through my head.
Now, I'm sharing my journey with you: the people and places that inspire me, the rather convenient habit of dreaming up complicated plot twists(literally, they come to me in dreams now), the thrill of finishing a long, long scene, and those despicable "writer's block" days.
So thank you for the opportunity to share my writing world with you. And, feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comment section down below. Please subscribe on the HOME page if you would like updates on publication! (It's that easy!)
I am 15 years old, and started my first novel when I was 9, in response to a lack of smart female protagonists, interesting plots, and high-quality writing in the middle-grade genre. I have published an article in Writer’s Digest, “From YA to YEAH: 4 Ways to Keep Teen & Young Adult Readers Hooked,” and am featured in both The New Yorker and LitHub in cartoons by Bob Eckstein. I'm now working to get my debut fantasy, The Shadow in Her Pocket, published. When I’m not writing, I’m a sophomore in high school and a rock musician.