Final Reflection

Today is June 6th, 2016. Four months ago the second semester of Propel had just begun and I was considering dropping out. Now, four months later, I couldn’t be happier that I didn’t. Propel is a project based learning program that focuses on your passions, and turns them into a project for you to focus on all semester. Over the next five paragraphs I will go over my project, the learning process, my successes as well as my struggles.

For my project I decided to write a novel. My novel is called Cadaver Blue and it is about a boy who goes through a traumatic event that transports him to another world, where he proceeds to struggle with right and wrong, as well as a new found power inside of himself.  I outlined my novel with a three act, nine block and twenty-seven-chapter outline. I ended up actually changing it from the original quite a bit but I’m happy with the way the book came out.  I wrote my novel using a program called Scrivener that made the process much easier than it would have been had I done it all in Microsoft Word. Since Scrivener allows you to organize your work into folders and provides you templates for outlining.  I wrote, edited and formatted the novel myself, and I printed with McNally Robinson, a book store/self publishing company located in Winnipeg.

It ended up taking me quite a while to plan out and brainstorm for the novel itself, I had to use many of the 6c’s we were taught through Propel to plan as well as write my book. Pages upon pages of character concepts, sketches, world building and even just scenes or ideas that were never used in the final product, were created. I had to utilize creativity for the ideas, characters and world of my novel. I had to use communication as well as collaboration since many of my ideas and even some characters were shared between myself and Rae Rivers. We discussed many of my ideas and some of his characters even make an appearance in my novel. I also had to use critical thinking for the accuracy and planning of my book. Many questions were posed about words, ideas, concepts, characters, plot and the world.

All in all, my project has been quite successful. I’m actually quite proud with the way my novel turned out. One of my successes is that my characters turned out very well, I was able to completely flesh them out and make them into memorable people. I worked out a theory for Magic as well as completely plan out the plot of my book, except for the ending which I only figured out as I wrote it. I’m really happy with all the different concepts that I got to put onto paper for my book, even if a lot of them ended up staying in my notes. I love the fact that I was given time to speculate and work on worlds and characters that I developed myself. As I was writing I made reference to a lot of my notes, and I also asked my peers a lot of questions about the concepts or ideas I’d already discussed. Coupled with simply pitching an idea or concept to them to bounce it off and see what their thoughts were.

Throughout my project I encountered many struggles and issues that I had to overcome. Initially I underestimated the complete time it would take to plan, write, edit, format and print my novel. The planning took much longer than expected, since I had to brainstorm the plot as well as completely flesh out my world, characters and concepts. I also got stuck quite often on writing the story itself. I had to stop on conflicting ideas, plot holes and even just filler chapters. I changed my story so many times throughout the writing process that it barely resembles my original plot summary at all. The editing and formatting of my completed manuscript was especially challenging. The amount of work that it really takes to edit and format a book all by yourself went completely over my head. Because there is a lot of work that really goes into it. Editing a book is a very big job, you need to correct basic spelling and grammar as well as plot-holes or anything you changed along the process of writing. As well as formatting, changing the size of margins, tabs, etc.

On top of that, not that long ago we discovered that it would simply take much too long for us to send my book to the company we originally picked out to print/publish the manuscript. So we found a more expensive one here in Winnipeg, thinking we’d just saved ourselves a lot of time. However, we found out that using this specific company to print would take a lot more work than we’d thought. The machine they use to print books is very specific and I had to go through the PDF manual and follow all of their instructions so the book will print properly. I can’t even describe the amount of formatting they expect you to do before bringing in your final copy for printing. I won’t lie, it was a bit of a let down to find out that I still had quite a lot of work ahead of me, even after finishing my book. I was still determined to have a solid copy of my book in my hands at the end of the semester.

Propel is an amazing program and I’m extremely grateful to have been chosen to participate in it. This semester has been filled with ups and downs, and I couldn’t be happier to have been here for all of it. One of my fondest memories of Propel has got to be at the beginning of the semester when we were all painting the class. It was fun and even though we’d all just met we were forced to work together, and we actually all got along really well. We got to play music while we painted and we actually got to know each other in the process. I think it was the start of everyone beginning to bond with each other. It was the first time ever that I’d ever felt so comfortable in school, it was kind of amazing. Here in Propel we’re all a big family and it makes coming in here every morning bearable. Propel has created the most comfortable workspace I’ve ever had the luxury of working in. The best part of it isn’t the bean bag chairs or the colour of the room, it’s the people that you get to work with and around. They make you feel accepted, like you’re apart of a family, which you pretty much are. That’s what Propel is, a big family.

To summarize, I’ve done a lot with my time at Propel. I’ve had successes, gotten through struggles and made a lot of memories. My project itself has been quite a ride and I’ll never regret doing it. Propel has helped me make my first real book and I’ll always be grateful for that, but I’ll be taking away much more than that since we’ve learned a lot here; collaboration, communication, character, critical thinking, creativity and citizenship. Propel is an incredible program and I really hope they continue to do it for many years to come. I for one, will always remember my time here and I hope everyone else who participated, students and teachers, will as well.

 

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Blog 8

Hey. So Blog 8 huh. The last blog before the reflection thing we’re doing. Propel is nearly over and I have to admit I’m a little bit stressed out. I have been on a roll lately though, getting out nearly two chapters a day. I’m getting really into my book. I still don’t know how it ends so that’s a little worrying I suppose. But I have a couple choices for the endings in mind I just have to decide on which one I think will fit my book well enough. We have a lot to do in Propel now. What with rounding up the last of everyone’s hours for gym and the extra credit. Not to mention all the presentations, Mr. Magnifico, the Gym Inquiry, and the final presentation.  We also have a final reflection we have to write, posted as a blog. So yeah I’m a little stressed, but I think everyone is to be honest. Especially since we’re going back to Samuel Burland again to watch their presentations. I think it’ll all work itself out though. Anyways, that’s all I really have to say. So bye.

May 9th

Hello. So today is the 9th of May and Propel is almost over. I honestly can’t believe it. It really doesn’t feel like that long ago that I was just meeting everyone. We only have 5-6 weeks left before final presentations. I have to admit, I’m a little stressed out since presenting isn’t really my favourite thing to do. But since I’m only talking about my book I think I’ll be able to handle it. I’ve completed the first act of my book and I have two more to go and not much time to finish it in. It’s a little bit stressful but I care a lot about this project and I really want to finish it. I want to be able to hold my hardcover copy in my hand and say “look, I did this.” I know some of the other students are stressed out as well. I really hope we can all finish. As for my project, well, I cut out two chapters and just combined them into one. Since it would have just been two shorter chapters I just combined each one into the one that came before. Now It’s 25 chapters long. I’ve written up to chapter 8 so far so you can see how I worry. However, I think if I work enough I should be able to complete everything in time. So yeah, that’s all for now I think. Bye.

Book Stuff

Hello, hello, so I am now two complete chapters into my 27-chapter book and it is exciting. Only 25 chapters left to write, I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it really is a lot for me. Especially since the beginning of the book is always the hardest for me to write. But I’ve already got past the first super heavy chapter, it really yanks on the feels, but I’m actually really proud of it. I don’t really have that much to talk about besides my book, so I guess I’ll talk about my book. I’m really happy with how it’s turning out so far, the second chapter’s scenes are really in depth and descriptive. I really enjoy it and I hope other people will like to read it as well. I aim to make people like my writing as much as I do myself. I’ve added a few characters for future scenes and chapters, like they won’t come into play right away but later they’ll be important. I’ve also tried to flesh out my side-characters a bit more, since they still kind of matter to my plot, as in they help further it. I’ll probably completely flesh out all of my characters later, just for a reference sheet for stuff about my book. After I’ve finished my book, I want to practice art so I can draw more of my characters and comics for the book. Like prologue comics and epilogue comics. If the book turns out well, and I really like it, I might even write a shorter, novella type thing, about my antagonist’s previous life. I’d also really like to make, comics of scenes of my book that were cut or just never written, tiny side plots that actually tie into the main plot but weren’t important enough to include in my main script. So yeah, I guess that’s all? Bye.

Spring Break

So, hey, yeah spring break right? Fun times. Just before it began we had our open house and that was scary but honestly not all that eventful. It was alright, we just showed our parent(s) and family/friends all the stuff we’ve done in Propel so far. I’ve made some progress of my book over spring break, and I’ve been able to practice a lot of my drawing since I brought the tablet home with me. But I’ve been pretty pre-occupied with my friend Nova since he finally arrived. His flight was set back a few days for reasons I honestly do not want to get into. But he’s here now and I could not be happier about it. I’m just very glad that he’s safe and here with me, I’m still hoping my teachers, and the principal of Nelson Mac let him come to school with me since my mom still wants me to attend. In my opinion spending time with him is more important, especially after everything that’s happened, but it’s not up to me. I finished my prologue to my book and actually practiced writing by writing a quick short story for a thing that I like to do in my spare time. I mostly just write those things for pleasure and to get feed back from the people who read them. I finished my character sheet so far, as well as fleshing out most of my characters. I really didn’t have that much time to work on my project with everything going on so I’m kind of at a loss at what to write about here. So I suppose I’ll just stop here? Bye.

4

Hello. It’s the fourth blog of propel. Yes, blog number four. It’s just about spring break and I’m excited. The time has passed so quickly it’s hard to believe it’s already been this long. I’m well into my novel now. I’ve begun writing, finished a lot of characters and I have my first act completely planned out. I’ve also done a few character sketches and I just have to figure out how to get the drawing tablets to hook up to my laptop. I’m really excited since a friend of mine is visiting me all the way from Belgium in two days.

I’m hoping the principal will allow him to attend school with me, since it’s only two days and I’d rather not leave him at my home alone for six hours. I think it would be really educational for him, since he’s never even been to this continent before. Anyways, scrivener has been magical for me, it’s helping so much with my writing and fleshing everything out. I don’t know how I’m going to finish my book yet, I have so many ideas but I have no idea how to finish it. I really hope I have enough time to actually finish it, finish and edit it anyway.

Sometimes I worry that we won’t be given enough time for projects, since there has been a lot of other stuff going on lately, and I have another class on top of things. We actually have quite a workload handed to us each weak, it’s not that bad, I just worry for projects. I’m excited to use some of my old favourite characters from ideas that I’ve had, in my new book. I want to finally flesh them out to their full potential and explore them more. Characters are always my favourite part of reading so I want to make my characters into real people.

Characters are made of words, I think it would be amazing to make people really relate to, well basically an idea. How cool would it be to make people cry over a being made of words. I want to make people really feel for my work, and get upset over what happens to my characters. I mean, I want to make people cry, and scream and throw my book at a wall. I want to make people feel things with my words, it’s my ultimate goal for my writing.

Novel

Well hello, yes it is the third blog post. I’ve started my novel! Oh, what was that? You want to hear all about it? Well you’re in luck because you will, all about it. But first I’m just going to go over some of the stuff we’ve done here at Propel recently. So, we started up our projects, personalized our blogs and went to WAG, the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
I really enjoyed it because we got to see the Greek Mythology exhibit that’s there right now and it was awesome. They got all of their pieces borrowed from the museum in Berlin because they’re renovating. I think we’re extremely lucky to have gotten to have it and I’m even more lucky to have seen it. It was so cool, the Greek Gods and Myths have always been something I’m interested in and it was amazing to finally see real statues of their depictions in person like that.
I mean, some of the stuff there was over 2000 years old, that alone is amazing. Okay, so anyway my novel. Rae helped me come up with a title, as in they actually gave me the title. I might change it later but I really like it right now. Cadaver Blue, that’s pretty cool huh? Cadaver means corpse. In my book there is a barrier between two worlds, our modern world and this other world where magic exists.
Okay anyway so the barrier is called the Cadaver, or the great Cadaver, or the Blue Cadaver…or Cadaver Blue. So they call it this because the barrier is literally made of death, made of corpses, made of souls tied with magic. It’s a pale blue colour so that’s why they call it the Cadaver Blue, also I like the colour blue and I can do what I want it’s my book. I could go over each character that I have and each tiny subplot but I really don’t want to explain it all I mean if you want to read the book when it’s done you can.
So far I’ve finished my outline in scrivener since I got the program finally, did I mention that? I can’t quite remember. Anyways I’ve got my outline done now and I’m really happy about that. Here’s a picture.

scriv.png
So yeah it looks like that, and then this is what my outliner looks like. I’m just going to copy paste it here. It’s a 3 act, 9 blocks and 27-chapter outline that I found online and I really love it so I use it for all my stories. I usually just tweak it to my specific storyline.

outline