Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Design a Book Cover Contest: "Breathless"

Hope you all are having a wonderful week so far! Today marks the Design a Book Cover Contest, hosted by Teralyn Rose Pilgram over at A Writer's Journey. Check out the other entries below, and vote on your favorites! 

Below, you can see my entry: 

What do you guys think? :) The background of the book cover is part of a photo that I took of a stained glass window in one of the chapels back home. I think there are many different ways you can interpret what you see on cover...whether it's a certain shape created by the different pieces of glass or a deeper, more subtle and emotional abstraction embedded within the image itself. 

Breathless is a writing project that I may be working on during National Novel Writing Month, which is honestly the most awesome and craziest writing event you could EVER have the insanity to participate in (if you didn't already dive in last year and figure that out yourself). 

I really, really loved working on my entry for the contest solely because it gave me even more inspiration to continue the project (I will stay very ambiguous about "the project" because no writer is supposed to actually talk about what they are working on, right? Therefore, I am going to keep this in "hush-hush mode") and sparked that kind of initial fiery interest and passion I had felt when I first started it. 

Creating the book cover also made me realize that I REALLY enjoy the art of making book covers....thinking about what colors and images to use, how to arrange the text, and--most importantly--pondering over what a book cover should (and shouldn't) reveal and depict about the story inside. 

I think I found my new procrastination hobby. ;)


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mean Irene

To all those who live on the East Coast (particularly to my family and friends living in North Carolina and up in the Massachusetts/New York area), take care and be safe!! Hurricane Irene has done a lot of damage so far, let's hope that the storm subsides soon.

Please pray for the North Carolinian who lost his life today in the storm.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Four Secrets to a Successful Application

QOTD: What do you think is the best measure for intelligence?
At some point during your life, you will find yourself in a situation in which you will have to apply for something--perhaps a job, college, scholarships, or even a higher position at work. I hope you find these four key steps I've listed below to be a beneficial and encouraging guide towards making your application stick out from all the rest.
1. Avoid wordiness, and vary your sentence structure. Cut out any unnecessary phrases that might be 1) stating the obvious, 2) repetitious of another similar phrase you wrote, or 3) is less than flattering/doesn't help your case. Every word in your application should have a purpose. That being said, vary your syntax and diction use--try not to use an adjective (such as "enthusiastic" or "inspiring" or "transforming") more than twice and avoid using the same phrase more than once. If you have to, paraphrase or reword a sentence. Also, try not to use useless words like "very, extremely, hardly, etc." Get the point and be straightforward.
2. Remember, when you are filling out an application, you are selling yourself. Don't feel like you need to be too modest or timid, but at the same time don't come off as arrogant or snooty. Tell the truth without exaggerating. For instance, don't say "I often try to stay positive during hard situations as best as I can." Instead, say "I am a positive person, and always focus on keeping a positive outlook when I am faced with a difficult situation." This shows that you have a sense of confidence and truly packs a punch. Application readers remember and are impressed by applicants who know and recognize their strengths and play at them.
3. Use your anecdotes wisely. Anecdotes are a great way for you to make your application unique. Just as every word should have a purpose, every anecdote you use should too. They should tell something about yourself and who you are in terms of values, personality, and/or preferences. However, in an essay, an anecdote should only be a third of the essay, and the other two-thirds should be focused on providing reasoning and persuasion of why the readers should pick you, using your anecdote as an example and as proof to help you back up what you say.
4. As closely as you can without going insane, pay attention to the little things. This not only includes making sure your spelling and grammar is correct, but also the format. If your application ends up being two pages and two sentences, you should eliminate those last two so that your entire paper takes up two neat little pages. You don’t want any tails hanging on at the end, printed on yet another brand new page with the rest being occupied by white space. Same with sentences--try to avoid trailing tails. Be consistent when you bold/italicize/underline and make sure you have no careless mistakes such as extra spaces between words or the absence of a period at the end of a sentence. This may seem really nit-picky, but it can really irk readers to find an easily avoidable error that "pops out" and takes away their attention from what's important--your application.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Home, finally.

QOTD: Imagine you have one full day to drop all obligations (chores, work, cooking, blogging) and go anywhere you wanted regardless of money/time/travel constraints. Where would you go?

Home sweet home, finally!

It feels absolutely AMAZING to be back home, snuggling in my own squishy bed and eating endless slices of real pizza with real cheese on top. This year's trip to China was definitely the longest we've ever had, setting a record of one month and one week! And I could definitely feel the effects of such longevity away from home.

When we stepped off the airplane and into the airport, I got almost excited when I saw Americans walking around with their luggage trolleys and speaking English. I got even more excited when I visited the ladies' room and realized, no longer did I have to use my own toilet paper--it was provided! Those were the beginning moments of what would become a renewed appreciation for the amazing country that is America. (Yeah, I know Fourth of July is over but it's never too late to celebrate your country, right?)

Though I am more than happy to be back here in the States, it goes without saying that during the next several months, I will be missing China very much and won't forget all that I learned this past July. While I do return annually, every single trip offers something new and exhilarating, whether it's a dubious dish that can't look more foreign but turns out delicious, or a glimpse at the Chinese countryside, or perhaps a beautiful garden museum filled with Chinese ancient historical tales that seems more fit to be in a fairy storybook.

If you didn't get the chance to follow my China blog posts at SHB, don't worry! I have decided to keep a portfolio of "traveling chronicles," a new project which I have begun and will add on to as I continue to travel in the future. Check back in a day or two, and you can find the portfolio (with "The China Chronicles") above as a new link on the blog!

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