Writing Lessons From Hamilton

Not long ago, I was listening to Hamilton: An American Musical non-stop all the way through, and while I was listening, I realized three fundamental (writing) truths at the exact same time.

Forced references aside, for those unfamiliar with it, Hamilton is a hip-hop musical that tells the story of the American historical figure Alexander Hamilton. The musical gained popularity when it first debuted on Broadway in 2015 due to its unique music, diverse cast, fascinating story, and modern relevancy. I’ve been interested in it for a few months now, and while listening to it, I’ve noticed there are a lot of great storytelling lessons to be learned from it.

Hamilton is heavily based on historical events, and for the most part is accurate to the facts. However, it is still fictionalized in some ways, and for the purpose of this blog post, I’m focusing on the way that characters, events, and storytelling is presented in the musical. If I say something that’s inaccurate to history, just remember that I’m solely basing these observations on the musical.

Also, as a minor disclaimer: if you haven’t listened to Hamilton before, there are a number of instances with crude language, so just know that going in.

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Week In Review – August 18

Happy Friday!

This week I have a shorter WIR post (kinda like last week – oops). I’ve been spending this week getting ready to move back in at school, and I finally did yesterday, so you can understand that it’s been a bit busy around here. But anyway, more on that in a second.

On Monday, I wrote a blog post called “Talking About Things You Love.” This is something that’s been on my mind for a while, and I finally put it all into words. If talking about your passions is hard, I have some thoughts on that here.

And this week from the Musings Archives, I have the follow-up to my Top 5 Heroines post, my Top 5 Heroes. It’s always fun to put together these lists of characters and whatnot, so maybe I’ll do more sometime.

Finally, for anyone who was wondering, I had a great time with my friend last weekend! I had a safe drive both ways, and we had a good time together, talking and exploring the area. I’m really glad I was able to make the trip!

As for the rest of the week…

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Talking About Things You Love

Imagine yourself in a conversation with some of your friends. One person mentions something – maybe it’s a new movie that just came out, your favorite book, or a hobby of yours – whatever it is, it’s something you’re passionate about. Suddenly, you find yourself exclaiming, “Oh my gosh, I love [that thing]!” and you end up talking a mile a minute, expressing your enjoyment of the aforementioned Thing.

Okay, so maybe it doesn’t always happen that way, but we’ve all had those moments where the conversation turns towards something that we love, and we can’t help talking about it. Whether it’s a hobby, a form of media, a cause, or just one of our favorite things, we all have stuff that we’re passionate about and love talking about.

However, I think we’ve all also had those moments where we feel like we’re talking too much about The Thing. It’s the feeling of self-doubt creeping in and telling you that you’re talking too much, no one cares, and you should just shut up.

Today, I want to talk about talking, specifically, talking about the things we love. It’s hard, it’s awkward, and sometimes, it can be embarrassing. But we all have things we enjoy and want to share with the world, so how do we do it? For me, it really just comes down to two simple principles.

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Week In Review – August 11

Happy Friday everyone!

Long time, no WIR! Good news is, we’re back in action once again, so the weekly updates will keep on coming!

On Monday, I wrote a blog post about the summer job I was doing these past four weeks with Christian Endeavor. If you’d like to hear about what I did, you can check it out here: Summer Job Summary.

This week in Musings History, I wrote about my Top 5 Heroines in books! This was another list I really enjoyed putting together, and even though I’ve read a lot of books since last year, I still think these characters are pretty cool.

How was the rest of the week? Click below to find out!

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Summer Job Summary

Guess who’s back?

Yes, last Tuesday I returned home after spending five weeks serving on Christian Endeavor’s summer staff, and now that I’m finally rested up (well, mostly), it’s time to get back into the blogging routine. What better way to do that than by giving you a summary* of what I’ve been up to for the past month?

For those who may have missed my Blogkeeping announcement at the end of June and are totally confused by everything I just said, here’s a quick rundown:  This summer, I got a job with an organization called Christian Endeavor, which, among other things, hosts four weeks of summer missions trips called “Mission Weeks.” As part of their summer staff, I traveled with the team to our sites in West Virginia and North Carolina and ran the “Camp Office,” among other responsibilities I picked up as needed.

So, now that you’re all caught up, here’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks!

*see what I did there? Sorry, I can’t resist a good pun

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My Five Favorite Fictional Worlds

Have you ever played a video game, watched a movie, or read a book that made you want to live in that world? In all stories, no matter what the medium is, the setting plays an important role. Because of that, we often find ourselves wanting to visit that world – myself included. I’ve experienced a lot of stories, and while setting isn’t always a prominent factor, the best storytellers know how to utilize this element to their advantage.

Today, I’d like to dedicate some time to my favorite fictional worlds. Not only would I love to visit these universes myself (well, if they weren’t so dangerous), but they’ve also influenced my own writing in a number of ways.

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A Few of My Favorite Writing Blogs

When I was a kid, I had a blog just for my own amusement that went through various phases of activity and inactivity. Eventually, I put that website to rest for good and moved on. But I’m back in the blogosphere, which begs the question: What inspired me to blog again?

My blogging revival, so to speak, has a lot to do with myself personally becoming more involved in the blogging community as I entered my final year of high school. As a writer hoping to improve my craft, I looked to writing blogs for tips and advice to help me in my journey. Reading posts from these different sites is what inspired me to start up a new blog, and to this day, I’m still learning a lot from them with each post.

Today, I want to share a few of my favorite writing blogs with you. Not all of them are the ones that initially inspired me to blog again, but they all provide assistance and encouragement for me as I continue to grow as a writer.

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How To Stop Frustrating Your Single Friends

I don’t really talk about relationships much. There are a couple reasons for this, the biggest of which being that it’s not something I really care to discuss at length. Sure, I’m happy to offer some common-sense advice when asked, but most of the time I’d rather let the matter drop. Today, however, I have something to say.

Over the past couple of years, it’s become more common for people my age to be single. It wasn’t strange to see people in my parents’ generation get married in their early 20s, but lately, it seems to me that people aren’t getting married until later on in life. I’m not here to discuss the pros/cons of that or even why it happens, but I have noticed one result: people have become more single-person-friendly.

Generally, this isn’t a bad thing. However, there are other times when this conversation comes off as demeaning or insensitive, even though that isn’t the intention. I don’t mean to say that all people in relationships have malicious intentions towards single people, but sometimes, we can get pretty frustrated. If you’re wondering how to stop inadvertently frustrating us, here are a few things you can keep in mind (as illustrated by pipe cleaner stick figures).

stick figures 10

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7 Spectacular Songs from Video Games

One of the most overlooked aspects video games is its soundtrack. Like movies and TV shows, you often don’t notice the music in the background as you play your favorite games, but those tunes are just as vital to creating the game’s atmosphere as any other element. The beauty of soundtracks is that they aren’t in-your-face, and yet they can still affect your mood and thoughts during the game. After all, who can forget the intensity they felt as Tetris taunted them with its catchy tune?

Although I’ve always appreciated video game soundtracks, I started really listening to them a few months ago, since the (typical) lack of lyrics and fast-paced music helps me focus on homework, writing, and other things that require concentration. Plus, because they’re usually intended to be played for indefinite period of time, I can listen to them on repeat for as long as I want. In light of that, I’ve compiled a list of seven songs from video games that I love – perhaps you’ll find a new favorite as well!

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3 Benefits of Writer Friends

Writing is often thought of as a solitary activity. When you think of a writer, do you think of a person who sits at their desk until the early hours of the morning, the room only lit by the soft glow of their laptop? Sometimes, especially during events like NaNoWriMo, we do shut ourselves away from the world, but that isn’t always the case.

Contrary to popular belief, writers actually rely on each other quite a bit. Without the support, encouragement, and feedback that other writers provide, we probably wouldn’t get as far as we do. At the very least, we wouldn’t grow much as writers. Having someone to challenge us and show us where we can improve is crucial, otherwise our writing would always stay the same, and where’s the fun in that?

Having writer friends is important for a number of reasons, but in the end, it all comes down to three main benefits. What are they, you ask? Read on to find out!

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