Writing Sample: Novel Excerpt

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been writing a book series for basically my entire teenaged life, but I rarely share any of my writing — for multiple different reasons. Recently, though, I’ve found part of a chapter that I enjoy submitting to writing contests on occasion, and I thought I might share here. The excerpt, although not heavily weighted with the story, I imagine to be a piece that represents the spirit and feel of the book fairly well.

Character names and events are mine and cannot be used without permission.

Division Excerpt

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Mastering Internships: Time Management

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Fellow Heritage interns pay their respects to the Washingtons at an intern field trip to Mt. Vernon.

Whenever a friend of someone at church would ask me how I was enjoying my summer, most of the time I would let a dreamy smile wash over my face and assure them that the summer was absolutely wonderful, relaxing, and all-around lazy.

Well, not this summer!

This summer has been the busiest I’ve ever had. Mornings start at 7:15 with a Pop-Tart and a ride into Washington via the slug line, and I have successfully mastered the art of the Metro station.

Before applying for the Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders’ Program, a paid summer internship practically on the steps of our nation’s Capitol, I couldn’t really picture what I would be doing. I knew I wanted to apply for something related to graphic design or video editing, but I simply couldn’t see myself working a 9-5:30 weekday office job.

Now the fogginess has cleared and I’m sucking up knowledge and information as fast as I can. Yes, I’m learning valuable skill sets that will help me in my future career, but that’s just the beginning of it.

During the summer, I’ve discovered that time management is everything.

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New film hobbies amongst young people have creative and educational benefits (Editorial)

For my journalism class this semester, we had to write what our teacher called a “packet project.” A packet is a collection of different news stories on one broad topic. I chose my topic to focus on the impact of online videos, which was both fun and challenging. We had to write a feature story, profile, and an editorial, which took us about half a semester.

This is the last of my packet stories. For my editorial I got to interview high school filmmaker Elijah Perry, a founder of Coming in the Clouds Productions, who’s a YouTube friend of mine. Through our common ground of filming, we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit and hope to collaborate with one another in the future.

For my feature story, click here.

For my profile story, click here.


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Perry as his lead role in CITC’s short film, Paladin’s Conquest.

PENSACOLA. Fla. —In the late ’80s, the average cost of a camcorder was about $1,500, according to Videomaker.com. Modern young people, however, have access to video and multimedia content wherever they turn. If a child or teen doesn’t have a smartphone, tablet, GoPro, or camcorder of his own, his parents or friends probably do. With the rise of the digital era, young people are adopting a new hobby to fill their post-school evenings and hot summer afternoons: filmography.

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Teenager creates online presence with YouTube (Profile Story)

This is the second of my packet stories. For my journalism class this semester, we had to write what our teacher called a “packet project.” A packet is a collection of different news stories on one broad topic. I chose my topic to focus on the impact of online videos, which was both fun and challenging. We had to write a feature story, profile, and an editorial, which took us about half a semester.

For my profile story, I got to interview Kenneth Knight, a high school teenager who enjoys video editing and spent long hours building an online presence through YouTube.

For my feature story, click here.

For my editorial story, click here.


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Knight: “I liked YouTube because I could put up whatever I wanted and I also could get feedback from anyone in the world.”

PENSACOLA. Fla. —It’s one in the morning with everything silent in the house save for a single voice coming deep from within a walk-in closet on the second floor. Inside the closet is set up like a studio, complete with cameras, a large desk and computer, and even sound panels mounted to the back wall. At the desk is a teenager known by YouTubers as KnightDukeGaming, RestartBurger, and ActualKenny — depending on the name of his YouTube channel at the time — as he busies himself with filming his newest YouTube upload. With giant noise-canceling headphones clapped over his ears, a Blue Yeti microphone, a webcam hooked up to his computer, and several empty Mountain Dew cans scattered around him, he cracks jokes and talks video game lingo to his online viewers.

Kenneth Knight, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, has enjoyed video editing and creating YouTube videos for several years. With nearly 4,000 subscribers on his channel, Knight is just one of many teenagers who have delved into the current YouTube trend, a trend that allows anyone to establish an online presence by filming videos, creating content, and voicing opinions for others to enjoy or learn from.

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Organizations turn to online videos to further reach their audience (Feature Story)

For my journalism class this semester, we had to write what our teacher called a “packet project.” A packet is a collection of different news stories on one broad topic. I chose my topic to focus on the impact of online videos, which was both fun and challenging. We had to write a feature story, profile, and an editorial, which took us about half a semester.

This is the first of the packet stories. For my feature I had the opportunity to interview Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation‘s Daily Signal. Probably the best thing that’s come out of this project isn’t the paper or grade itself, but that I scored an internship with Mr. Bluey for this summer after the interview. At the beginning of the semester, I applied for Heritage’s Young Leaders Program (a highly competitive internship position that selected forty college students out of 470 applicants). After contacting Mr. Bluey for an interview request, I received word that he would be happy to help me with the project, but also wondered if I’d let him interview me. By the end of the interview, he sent me an official request to join the team.

For my profile story, click here.

For my editorial story, click here.


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Rob Bluey is the editor in chief of the Daily Signal as well as vice president of publishing at the Heritage Foundation.

PENSACOLA. Fla. —An ordinary day for Rob Bluey often consists of a single idea. A single idea that is then bounced around with members of his multimedia team, who then draws up an outline including budget, headlines, and interview questions. After filming and careful editing, Bluey and his team release a new video to the Daily Signal’s website.

Organizations are now turning to online videos to promote themselves and reach the public.

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Late New Year’s Resolutions

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Twenty-sixteen has been a year of intense emotional turmoil, starting from even just the first week of January. Several unexpected changes in friends’ families, drama in my community, the most deaths and permanent accidents on college campus in recent history, a cruelly busy semester of my own design, the build-up to elections that left me in such a panic that I could barely keep from crying as I walked to classes because just thinking about the potential future of our country made me physically sick….

Although I’m not a superstitious person, I was really looking forward to 2017. Continue reading

Five Steps to Character Interviews and How to Use Them to Write

I’ve been working on a single story for over six years now, ever since junior high when the idea for a YA science fiction popped into my head late one night after most of my family was in bed. Eager to tell the tale, I began writing. The first things that appeared in my head were automatically “canon” to the novel for no other reason other than I needed content and a story; I wrote what I’ve since called a “word vomit.”

Seven months later, when I finished the draft, I was so proud of it. But as I took time off, learned how to write better, read more of the YA genre, I realized I was woefully unprepared for the publishing house at the eager age of fourteen. One of the things my mom told me when she read over it was that my characters needed work, and that, when I wrote the second draft, I would better learn who they were and be able to write them consistently.

Six years later, I’m still working on the same series, but this time my characters are completely different people from when I started out. I started considering them to be friends — friends I didn’t try to bend to my will, but friends that had their own personalities, beliefs, likes and dislikes. Suddenly my two main female characters weren’t carbon copies of my “good side” and “bad side,” but their own persons.

One of the ways I solved problems for underdeveloped characters is through character interviews. These are different from character journals, which I’ve been told also work, but never did well for me. Maybe because I was still pulling the strings of my character’s marionette instead of jumping into the story myself as my own character.

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