A Voice From The Dark

Back in my college days, I discovered a website full of reviewers. I went to this website everyday, falling in love with the community that came from such a unique group of people. Unfortunately, that community has fallen apart recently. The content creators have moved on, making their own videos on YouTube. However, there was still a part of me that misses the old camaraderie.

One month ago, Linkara, one of the biggest former content creators of the website I used to love, released a trailer for a project he’d been working on:

Now usually, I’m not into audio dramas. I could never get into Welcome to Nightvale because the show was way too absurd for me. However, the trailer was enough to get me interested. The first episode was released onto YouTube on June 17. I decided to blog about this in order to help promote the audio play.

Right from the start, the story immerses the listener into this creepy, atmospheric haunted house. The premise is simple enough: about a couple dozen content creators have gathered in Scarsdale Mansion for what they assumed would be some kind of escape room style party. Unfortunately, things start to go wrong right away as the house collapses and splits the producers into four different groups. The next few parts of the series unfold a nefarious plot involving some kind of monster called The Voice.

I tend to be picky when it comes to horror. One thing I can say is a benefit of this audio play is that it’s not really that gory. For one thing, it relies solely on pictures of the characters so that you know who’s talking, so there’s no visuals of blood or torture. There’s a room full of corpses that gets mentioned, but that’s about as gory as this story gets. It also plays on a lot of familiar horror tropes, such as the mad scientist, ghosts, and zombies.

What I love most about this audio drama, however, is the added catharsis factor. A lot of grievances get aired and it filled me with bittersweet longing for those happier times. (I’m actually kinda tearing up just thinking about it.) However, I do realize that the catharsis factor is a personal one for me.

With all that said, A Voice From The Dark holds really well on its own and I don’t think you don’t have to know all the details of what happened in order to fully enjoy it. If I was gonna recommend this to someone who had no clue who anyone was, I would say that this audio drama focuses on a group of people who used to work together and suffered from losing their sense of community.

The conclusion to this horrific tale will be uploaded to YouTube tomorrow. Have fun listening, but proceed with caution. You do not want to listen to all of it in the dark with the lights off.

Seven Quick Takes: Vlogs About Outlining

I love following vlogs about writing on YouTube. The writing community is just so amazing and supportive. So for today, check out these vlogs that talk about outlining. If you like what you see, subscribe to their channels.

— 1 —

I mentioned Jenna Moreci before, but she’s seriously one of my favorites. Her vlogs are very honest, encouraging, and easy to understand. Jenna has two vlogs on outlining so far, so I’ll share the first video here:

— 2 —

Katytastic’s 27 Chapter outline is another favorite of mine because it allows for a long story. It also allows for a consistent chapter length, which is good when writing a first draft. Not to mention all the plot points are basically spelled out. If you’re blocked as to what you think should happen, this outline will help you keep track of where you are in the story and guide you to whatever happens next for your character.

— 3 —

Shaelin is an author of 8 novels and in the process of getting her Bachelor in Fine Arts. This video really speaks to pantsers because she says that she struggles with giving her plot structure. This particular plot structure is inspired by the “Save the Cat Beat Sheet,” but Shaelin explains those plot points with detail, in a way that’s easy to understand.

— 4 —

Kristen Martin is someone who identifies as somewhere between a plotter and a pantser, or a “plotser,” as she calls it. If you want an outline that allows you to know the major events and keep things organize, but allows room to expand things, check out this video.

— 5 —

You might know Brandon Sanderson if you’re a fan of the Mistborn series. He’s one of the most well-renowned fantasy and sci-fi writers. He has tons of videos on YouTube where he teaches writing to a class. Watching one of them is just as good as paying for a writing class. This is one of the many videos he has on outlining and story structure.

— 6 —

Vivian Reis is a sci-fi writer who believes in plotting out a story. She’s self-published, so if you plan on publishing your novel yourself, check out her channel. This is one of the videos she has on outlining.

— 7 —

Kim Chance is about to publish her first book, but she’s been vlogging about writing for a while. I love her channel because she’s very friendly and relatable. In this video, Kim explains different types of outlines. Here’s hoping you find the outline that works best for you!

 

Women of Christ Wednesday: Relationship Edition

Rachel, Tristan, and Kateri. Kateri is Rachel's sister and the other half of "Your Face is Catholic." Posted with permission from Rachel Hitchcock.

Rachel, Tristan, and Kateri. Kateri is Rachel’s sister and the other half of “Your Face is Catholic.”
Posted with permission from Rachel Hitchcock.

 

Today, I interview two people who are part of a group called “New Catholic Generation.” New Catholic Generation is a group of teens and young adults who film Catholic video blogs for YouTube.

Rachel Claire Hitchcock and her sister, Kateri are the creators of the YouTube vlog “Your Face is Catholic.” Rachel currently teaches two-year-olds while going to community college in Arizona. She aspires to work with people with disabilities and to be a saint.

Tristan Rios is the creator of the YouTube vlog “Catholic Athlete” and evangelizes through his Twitter @Cathlete4Christ. He currently studies health sciences at Colorado State University.

Rachel and Tristan also happen to be in a lovely, adorable, so-sweet-you’ll-get-cavities relationship.

 

What inspired you to start a Youtube channel?

Rachel: I kind of went into it reluctantly at first. Kateri had to talk me into it, but I’m really glad that she did. We both really like to talk. Specifically, we like to talk about Jesus. Our family has always enjoyed making videos as a hobby, and we enjoyed watching different youtube channels like SheisCatholic and Blimey Cow. Those two were definitely our main inspirations. We created a youtube channel with those two in mind and then talked about Jesus as much as our darling little hearts desired to. And good things came out of that.

Ttristan: I actually began as an anonymous Twitter account because I could not find a Twitter personality producing Catholic and athletic content. After about two months I followed Rachel Claire on Twitter, and three months after that we began Skyping on a weekly basis. She suggested that I try making a few videos, which is something I had thought of before since, similar to the Twitter situation, I had not seen any YouTube personality producing videos about Catholicism and athletics. So I made a couple videos and Rachel (already being a member of New Catholic Generation) sent my channel to the founder who added me to the website.

 

When did the transition from friends to “Tweethearts” happen?

T: I would say it happened as soon as we met. I had always admired Rachel from afar, and after we skyped for the first time I could not stop smiling. I was very nervous and apparently  so was she, but I could not tell at all. I had a huge crush on her since the moment she slid into my DM’s and it has grown exponentially ever since.

R: I always liked his Twitter account, even though I couldn’t relate to its message personally. (I’ve exercised, like, once. Kind of.) I knew from his tweets that he was a solid Catholic who was passionate about his faith just as I was, but I really wasn’t looking to be in a relationship until months after we started talking.

 

How did your families react?

R: It took them awhile for them to realize that we were serious. But my family has been supportive ever since they met him in person and got to know him better.

T: Yeah, I was definitely not looking for a significant other, especially online. I mean, who dates someone they meet over the internet anyway?

R: I do, sweetheart. It’s the Holy Spirit. He tends to wow people in ways that we don’t expect.

T: Seriously, that has been the theme of our relationship.

 

Theme of your relationship? What do you mean by that?

R: I mean, we had crushes on each other from when we first started skyping and praying with each other regularly, but we didn’t actually talk about discerning with each other until about 6 months later, in June 2014. While we were discerning since then, we didn’t consider ourselves “official” until he asked my dad for his permission to date me over winter break.

T: To answer the theme of our relationship question, basically we both come from very different backgrounds, Rachel was homeschooled, I went to public school, Rachel has six siblings, I have one, Rachel was into dance while I participate in contact sports, Rachel prefers indie hipster music  while I enjoy Catholic rap. Normally two people from our respective  backgrounds wouldn’t have much reason to talk to each other let alone pursue  a relationship,  but that’s where the surprise comes in. On the surface we are almost polar opposites, but what unites us intimately is our love of Christ and His Church and our equally intense desire for holiness. Our differences compliment each other. God continues to surprise us with how well we compliment each other despite our superficial differences.

 

How do you guys deal with being in a long-distance relationship?

T: We pray a Rosary every day either by means of  phone, Skype, or Facetime. Prayers is how we grow in sanctity, and by praying together we grow in holiness together. It helps that we focus more on the friendship and emotional qualities of a relationship and that we are not as distracted with the temptations of inappropriate physical affection.

R: Obviously, it’s not easy at all. We miss each other a ton and plane tickets are expensive, but it’s actually a lot more fruitful than I thought it would be. I’ve always kind of detested practicing patience. So naturally, God gave me a way to practice this fruit in a form that had the appearance of Pier Giorgio Frassati and a holiness to compare. We make extra effort to talk everyday. If we can’t Skype, we talk on the phone. Our relationship is completely in the hands of the Blessed Mother. We pray her rosary together in this way every day, and we’ll begin the Total Consecration together shortly. While we can’t attend Mass together, we offer up our moments in front of the Eucharist for each other. We’re using this time apart as a time of waiting and preparation. We see these years that we’ll have to be apart as a gift given to us so that we may use it to grow stronger in our faith and mature as people.

 

Your boyfriend looks like Pier Giorgio Frassati?

R: That was one of the first things I noticed about him.

Copyright Rachel Hitchcock. The resemblance is uncanny.

Copyright Rachel Hitchcock. The resemblance is uncanny.

I don’t believe in coincidence.

 

Who are your go-to saints?

R: I’ve definitely prayed to Frassati for my future husband. Our Lady is the biggest one, obviously. We’ve recently prayed novenas to St. Therese, St. Anne, and St. Joseph.

T: Mine would definitely be Saint Sebastian as he is the patron of Athletes. I also greatly admire Saint Joseph as an excellent model for genuine masculinity. Besides those two I also ask Saint Kateri, Saint John Paul II, Saint Benedict, Saint Christopher, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Anthony (yes, mainly when I lose things). I have an intense devotion to Our Lady of Grace, her image is beautiful and I love wearing the Miraculous Medal. Rachel has inspired me to take a devotion to Queen of the Most Holy Rosary since that is our most frequent form of prayer in our relationship right now.

 

What advice would you give to teenagers and young adults who are either in a relationship or want to be in a relationship?

R: Make it holy, of course. Have a purpose. If you aren’t actively discerning marriage, then take a step back and ask yourself why you’re in a relationship at all. And if you’re a teenager in high school or the beginning years of college, really, REALLY ask yourself if you really, REALLY think that God is calling you to discern marriage at this point in your life. And I know this is said a lot, but make God the center. God should be the center of everything you do anyways, but this is especially important with relationships because this has the opportunity to either become something imperfectly beautiful and holy or it can lead you down an emotional and painful path away from sainthood. Satan likes to toy with those in relationships Be open with priests about your relationship, too. This can be either in confession, formal spiritual direction, or even simply casually, at least at first. Be holy, in all things. Especially things that are concerning your heart.

T: Don’t jump into one the moment you see a girl in a mantilla and think of the Blessed Mother. The first thing you should do is make sure that you  have properly discerned the priesthood/consecrated life. After that, discern if  you are in the position to  be in a relationship at that moment in your life. There may be some other details in your life you need to figure out first, like getting your high school diploma. Make sure that your intentions are pure so as to not damage yourself and the woman you are attracted to. Also, be careful if you meet someone online. Rachel and I broke almost every online safety rule, but only after we affirmed that we are indeed who we said we were. The important part is that we were not looking for a relationship online, we just introduced ourselves before moving forward.