Friday, December 23, 2011

New Goals

I love making goals. Much like my affinity to list-making, they follow kinda the same principles.  It's so satisfying, crossing something of your list, the same way it is with meeting a goal, especially if that goal was really challenging.  (Striving!  Pushing through!  Pep talks!)  I think I'm going to make my goal, though I've been feeling pretty burnt lately.  I have about 20/30 pages to revise before the New Year.  Hoo-rah!  

The only thing is, I rewrote so much in the last 1/4 of the book, I think I have to revise those again.  I am a little bit of a perfectionist (if there is a such thing as a little bit of a perfectionist...) and I want to make sure everything gets a real revision before I send it to CPs.  Seeing as I rewrote about a 1/4 of it, it didn't get any revisions; it was just new writing.  And the ending is the most important part so I need to make sure everything makes sense and that I answered all the big questions.  So I'm going to set another goal.  The end of the year is still the goal for 1st pass revisions, but I'm going to give myself until the start of the new semester, Jan 15th, to revise the last newly written part.  I think this is doable, since I have time off between Christmas and New Year's to get a head start on everything. 

This will be my last post until the New Year.  (I will be stuck without internet for most of break, oh the agonyyyy!)  Hope ya'll have a happy holiday!

PS. For some reason, the clock on this blog is wrong.  It keeps saying I post at like 6 am, which is definitely not something I would do.  My computer clock is the correct time though.  Anyone have ideas on how to change it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Characters, Plot or Setting

Someone once told me, that writers are usually exceptionally good at one thing (characters, plot or setting) in writing and then have to work on the others.  I can totes see this; in your mind, you might have one great idea, whether it's characters, plot or a different world, that sticks, which makes you want to write that novel; you just can't get it out of your head.  Or maybe it's just a natural ability to see that part of the book really clearly, and therefore you're exceptionally good at writing the one part.  

For me, I think it's setting, which to me is kinda the lamest, lol, especially if I were to write contemporary.  Readers usually care most about plot and characters rather than setting; it's almost an after thought.  Readers remember great characters and interesting plots and twists.  Done correctly, readers don't think about setting because it should flow so naturally that they don't notice the world building.  But having that be my one forte is lucky because I'm writing a fantasy novel, so setting is a BIG deal; I'm trying to create a completely different world so having a strong sense of setting really helps envelope the reader.  Maybe that's why I chose to do a fantasy world in the first place.  

As for characters, in my head I know what I want them to do, but they don't always come across that way on paper.  I find myself revising and editing them a lot, trying to get the right voice and the right motivations for all of them.  I think I get it eventually, because at the outlining stage, I usually have the clearest sense of the characters.  Plot is definitely the hardest for me, which is ironic, because I like plot-driven books the best.  I usually have a premise, but then finding a problem or something that needs solving, takes a lot of brain-storming.  And then the plot holes!  ugh.  I don't think my brain works linearly, so it constantly goes off on plot tangents that I find myself having to reign in.  Revising is definitely key.  For now I think I'll stick with fantasy world building.

What do you think?  Which part of writing are you the best at?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gossip Girl - A Study

So I just started watching Gossip Girl.  (I know I'm a little late to the party, which I'm sure no one from Constance would allow...)  People either love or hate Gossip Girl, and I can totally see why.  At the superficial level, it's like ugh, why are we watching a bunch of spoiled melodramatic people and their rich people problems?  Yes, I can totes understand and that's probably why I didn't start watching it til now.  (Why did I start watching?  I don't really remember).  But I just finished season 1 and I am enthralled; I really can't get enough.  I think, as writers, there's actually a LOT of things we can learn from GG.  (This is purely from the TV show -- the book is actually quite different).

1) DIALOGUE - The dialogue is amazing; the writers really did a great job with it.  It's teenage without being over the top.  Everything seems true to the characters and flows naturally.  I find the only character who kinda gets a little cliche sometimes is Jenny.  She is super melodramatic (too much in my taste) and then has these ridiculous quips.  I guess because she's supposed to be 14, that they wanted to make her more angsty than the others, and I don't know if it translated as well as the others.

2) PLOT - The plots are ridiculous!  They do the old adage "make it worse" perfectly.  Just when you though something was awful, something even worse happens; they add another plot twist or another character to mess everything up (*cough* Georgina).  It keeps you on the edge of your seat and every episode keeps you wanting to watch more.  And boy do I wanna watch more.  (I've only finished the 1st season, but that's what I've seen so far).

3) CHARACTERS - ohemgee are they flawed.  Everyone has a flaw they have to work through which makes the characters feel like real people.  You can believe that people in that society would act that way and have those problems.  No one person is completely bad or completely good; everyone has different facets of their personality.  Plus SECRETS EVERYWHERE.  Secrets are part of what makes characters and shows intriguing. You're just wondering when that secret is going to get out and mess everything up for the characters or when a secret is going to be revealed to the audience; it makes you want to watch more.

So there you have it.  Everything you need for a great story.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Best Fix-it Ever

Ever have a day where you're plugging along in revisions -- you totally know how you're going to fix that annoying plot hole, and then realize you just created another plot hole?  Ugh, that was me two days ago.  I was so excited to fix the first plot hole; I had it all planned out in my head.  Then when I actually got to my computer I realized I would have to change everrrrything.  It just didn't flow with the story.  So I took the rest of the night off to just think.  I kept thinking, throwing around a few ideas in my head but nothing seemed right.  I decided to just go to bed and figure it out in the morning.  When I woke up, I had the perfect way to fix it!  I feel like a lot of times, I just need to sleep on it and the I wake up and *poof*, perfect explanation.

On the other hand, it's been a bunch of weeks since I've started thinking about how to fix my magic system and I haven't figured out anything perfect yet.  I probably just need to sleep on it for a few more days.  (Sleep until it's finally vacation?)  Zzzzzz.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Building Realistic Magic Systems (lol)

I'm starting to think trying to tackle a fantasy book as my first book was probably a poor choice... lol.  There's so much world building, which is my favorite part and probably why I wanted to do fantasy in the first place, but that on top of writing a plot line that doesn't fall apart and characters that come alive, it's a lot.  I don't mind; I'm really enjoying it.  But I am getting stuck with the magic and it's limitations.  Magic can't be endless, otherwise everything can just be solved by magic, and I'm having trouble setting realistic boundaries.  (haha, ironic right?  Realistic magical boundaries...)  There has to be a reason for why certain people can do specific magic and why others can't and how magic runs out or what happens with too much magic.

Let's take Harry Potter.  First, wizards have to be schooled in magic otherwise they can't really do much.  A untrained wizard could potentially be dangerous, or they just don't have defined/focused powers.  If HP loses his wand, he can't do magic, so losing his wand is a real potential problem.  Plus his magic isn't endless and something has to facilitate it.

Now let's take The Seven Realms novels by Cinda Williams Chima.  Her wizards are highly dangerous and destructive if untrained; they basically have to go to wizard school or they're a danger even to themselves.  They don't have wands, but they have flashpieces, where they store up their "flash", basically the energy that let's them do magic.  If they have no flash saved, they can't do magic, making another real potential problem if they find themselves in need of magic and they already used up their flash.  And the more flash they save, the more powerful/greater magic they can do.

Both magic systems have a way of creating problems (losing wand or using up flash) and a defined way of increasing power (going to school to train to be a wizard).  I haven't defined my magic to that degree but in order for the story to work, I have to make sure I know all the rules.  Which I don't.  Which I have to create.  More stuff to edit, hooray!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Okay so I said I was going to post about how much I loved the Snow White/Prince Charming story-line in the TV show Once Upon a Time.  Anyone else watch it?  At first, I was unconvinced; the first 3 episodes dragged and the alternating worlds was a little disconcerting.  Plus there were two fairy tale TV shows coming out at the same time.  (Anyone watch Grimm?)  Also, two Snow White movies are coming out next year.  What's with everyone liking fairy tales again all of a sudden?  I figured I'd give both shows a try (I do love a fairy tale) and see what they were all about.  Grimm is more of a detective show, with the fairy tale characters committing crimes.  It's interesting but after the Snow White/Prince Charming story-line came to the surface of Once Upon a Time, I was hooked to that show.  (Though I still watch Grimm because of Monroe, the reformed "big bad wolf", but its on the low end of my TV-watching cue).

If you don't watch Once Upon a Time, it's a show about fairy tale characters who are trapped in the modern world, specifically one two in Maine (I think it's Maine.  There has also been a trend in books of having the setting in Maine, but I won't get into that).  It alternates between the fairy tale world and the modern world where they have a completely different story in each because they don't remember the fairy world at all.  (Think Wizard of Oz where the people who show up in Oz also show up in Dorothy's reality).  The fairy tale world is a little over the top (as are most fairy tale worlds) and the modern world is a little boring (which I guess is also true).  BUT the story line of Snow White and Prince Charming in both worlds is awesome.  Snow White is a badass in the fairy tale world; think Snow White and the Huntsmen (which is one of the Snow White movies that is coming out).  She's daring, adventurous, not afraid to get a little dirt on her clothes.  A very cool twist to the story of Snow White.  She's not the damsel in distress which I like.  It's about time there was a princess who could defend herself!

I'm not going to give away what happens, but Prince Charming also has a very cool and original story line.  The episode about him is what really cemented me into watching the series.  Plus I guess I'm sort of a sucker for a love story (as long as it's not over the top) and this one was very believable.  This could also have something to do with it...

You'd have to get through the first three or so episodes but after that, I think it really takes off.  I haven't watched yesterday's episode yet (I don't get ABC... I have no idea why (it's a basic cable channel!) but I just watch it on hulu as always) but I'm excited to see where it left off!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

emotional dialogue

So I've made it to the halfway point of revisions for CotF, woohoo!  There are still a few major things that need to be changed in that first part, so I'm kind of ruminating about how to fix them.  I have some ideas, but I have to make sure they fit with the story.  I think I'm still on track to finish by Dec 31st, but it's still going to be challenging (which is good!  I like challenges!  Bring it on!)

One problem I'm having is emotional dialogue.  I think I do okay with emotions and how the MC is feeling in her head (she can be at bit dramatic at times...) but when it comes to believable dialogue that still has a lot of emotion, it seems a little forced to me.  (It could also just be me because I'm the one writing it, so I think it's forced).  Everyone loves kissing scenes (supposedly) and I think one of my romantic scenes is good, but there's hardly any dialogue in it.  It's more like looking into each others eyes and all that nonsense.  One of my scenes in the beginning is between the MC and her potential love interest; they're bonding over similar losses and I'm trying to get the emotion they feel into the dialogue but I just don't think it sounds real.  I'm like come on!  I know how you're feeling; why can't you just say it??  It's not that hard.  Yet for some reason, it's not sticking.  I think I need to let it sit for a little while and then come back to it with fresh eyes.  Maybe I'll have an epiphany moment and then everything will be fixed...

I'm also having problems with a romantic scene at the end where the love interest finally tells the MC how he feels.  I don't want it to be cheesy or cliche but the problem is, I usually feel like parts like that are cheesy or cliche.  Especially when dealing with teenage protagonists.  So I'm still thinking about on how to get a unique way for them to get their feelings out in the open without sounding too teenage.  Songs?  Sign language?  Actual signs?  *grumbles*

Who ever knew love would be this hard?  (haha).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Plugged In - photo story

I updated the photos page if ya'll want to check it out.  There are four stand-alone pictures from various projects I did and then the bottom four are from my semester project, also posted below.

The pictures are titled "Plugged In", as I made it into a photo story.  All of the pictures have people plugged in to objects that aren't usually plugged in.  Everyone can interpret it differently, so I'd love to hear other people's opinions of what they think.  (It's not the best scanner so some of the plugs are kind of hard to tell.  Sorry about that!)

"Plugged In"
Listening to a sandwich.

Surfing the internet bathtub.

Singing in the shower.

Rocking out to a stop sign.

Also, after I had taken the above pictures, I was surfing the internet and just happened to find these pictures of Darren Criss.  I wasn't looking for pictures of him or anything...  I just happened to find them.  riiiight...

I do not own these awesome pictures.

Kinda similar, right?  I think that means we both have good taste.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Revisions and Goals update

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  I didn't eat nearly enough mashed potatoes but that's probably for the better...

Anywho, I did get a fair amount of revision done over the holiday.  Picking lofty goals actually makes me strive to complete them.  I'm not one of those people who set the goal low just so that I can make it; I want to push myself and if I don't make my goal every time, I'm okay with that.  So I got more revisions done than I thought I would, but I did less than I wanted.  And I haven't done anything since, lol.  Work has been hectic, trying to catch up with the holiday vacation/time-off, so every night so far this week I've been left exhausted and just wanting to veg out with the TV.  Plus it was The Sing-Off season finale, so I got a little distracted...

It's always nice to be able to cross things off your list.  Tons of lists are strewn about my apartment and my office about everything.  Sometimes I add stuff I already did just so I can cross it off.  (I know you all do that too...)  So it was nice to be able to cross off a bunch of chapter revisions.  I'm about 1/3 done so I think I'll be able to make my goal of the end of the year.  This weekend is looking relatively free so I'm hoping to buckle down and finish what I wanted to finish over Thanksgiving plus a few extra chapters.  I may even be able to sneak in a trip to the movies since I still haven't seen the latest Twilight... but only if I finish my goals, right?  Maybe...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Revisions and Goals

Revisions are hard.  My goal for revisions was to be done the first set by the new year, that way I can let the story sit while I work on something else for awhile.  I plan on taking some bass lessons in the Spring Semester, instead of more writing classes, so I thought it would be the perfect time to let it sit.  Plus I have another idea for a story that I figured I could work on while I'm letting my brain take a few months off of the current project.

But revisions are going sloooowly.  Life always gets in the way and I have little time.  (Happens to everyone).  I know I have to MAKE time for writing and I'm trying, truly, but I'm taking a writing class and I keep getting bogged down with the homework.  Juggling the HW and my novel is not working as well as I wanted it to.  The term project for the class is the first 10,000 words of our novel, which I already have, but they need to be revised.  I've realized that my first drafts are terrrrible, which I'm okay with because I know first drafts are supposed to be terrible, but they're definitely a lot worse than I'd like them to be.  So revision for me is basically an overhaul of everything.  And this WiP is especially hard because I started it before I knew anything about writing, before I took any sort of writing classes; I was a science major in college so the only writing I ever did was lab reports.  I always liked creative writing but I never got around to taking a class on it because I had so many labs that needed to get done.  So now that I know a little bit about the writing process, I know where I went wrong (which is good!) and know where I can change it, but it's a massive task.

Thanksgiving right around the corner gives me a little hope since I basically do nothing but read during the holidays anyways.  So this holiday I'll just be reading my own stuff :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Top Chef Fantasy

So this post had nothing to do with writing, just a fair warning for everyone.

Last year, some of my friends and I were really excited for Top Chef: All Stars.  Seeing all the old chefs back in the kitchen competing made everyone giddy.  Would Blais finally win?  Would Angelo win since he was just coming off a finale loss?  Questions were flying everywhere and since we were all familiar with the chefs, we already had predictions.  One of my friends had the brilliant idea of doing a fantasy league for Top Chef.  I'm used to a lot of my friends doing fantasy football and fantasy baseball leagues but I could never participate since I am really only familiar with the Philadelphia teams.  (Why would I care about anyone else?  Never really made sense to me...)  Anyways, this was an awesome idea because I could actually participate in a fantasy league with a show I already watch.  Plus I love competition.

Last year, I had first pick (woohoo random ordering!) and won the whole competition, having bragging rights for the whole year.  Now that a new season is upon us, it is once again time for Top Chef fantasy.  This season is a lot harder since none of us are familiar with the cheftestants (the show's word, not mine...).  We decided since the first two episodes were just narrowing down the contestants from 29 to 16, that we would watch the two preliminary episodes, get a feel for the chefs, and then pick.  So, fantasy started last night and I'm excited.  I don't get to watch it live because I don't have cable so I have to wait til it's up on the website.  But I think I picked some good people so hopefully I have a chance to win again.  Have I mentioned I love winning?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trends in Titles

There has been a recent craze with one-word titles.  Most probably because of Twilight and the sequels (thought the last is two words.  I can only assume she ran out of one-word ideas).  Everywhere I look, they're popping up.  Twilight, Envy, Evermore, Divergent, Possession, Levithan, Graceling, Evernight, Hourglass, Delirium.

So what makes a good title?  A good title is something that hooks you, pulls you in and has you asking questions, making you as the reader want to, well, read on.  The best title I've heard in awhile was Anna Dressed in Blood.  That title is soooo intriguing.  Why is she dressed in blood?  I just have to knooow.  It hooks me even before I've started reading.  I haven't been able to read it yet but it is on the tippy top of my to-read pile.  I was also really interested in The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  It's really great imagery, leaving such a clear picture in my head.  Also an amazing book.  The sequels, The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hallow Places are awesome titles.  I wish I knew how she came up with titles...

That's why I'm not really into the one-word titles.  Possession, which is probably the most interesting to me of the one word titles, is still vague and doesn't give me any kind of picture of what the book will be about.  I want something a little more telling and a little more hooky.  My WiP is called Code of the Firefly.  I've had a few people say that they liked that title and I've had a person say it sounded too Middle Grade.  Originally it was called Fireflies but in my novel group, everyone kept mixing up which book it was or forgetting the title; that was when I knew I had to change it to something that would stick better in people's mind.  I'm not sure if I'm completely there yet but I'm also told not to get too attached to titles because they always get changed anyways :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pop Culture References

So I have a lot of pop culture references in my WiP.  Most are lyrics or allusions to bands; I'm heavily influenced by music so those types of references always seems to crop up.  The thing I'm worried about is those details dating my storyline and making it not "current".  I tried to keep most of the bands obscure or semi-unknown so that it won't just be a fad that goes out of style too quickly but it will still be exciting to those who know those bands.  (I hope that makes sense).  Recently I read a excerpt that had an allusion to Ian Curtis and got really excited.  It's not something everyone would know but to me it made the story better and that's what I want to do with my stories.  It's a fine line trying to include pop culture without making the story dated.  There are some pop culture icons that I think will never be dated like The Beatles or Aerosmith.  To me, I include Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift in that category also.  (I hope for my WiP's sake I'm not wrong...)

I've heard the flip side, that authors make up their own bands in order to not date their books.  This is okay in my opinion but if you're trying to convey a really popular band or singer in the story, it's hard to make up the name and have that same connotation (since the readers have never actually heard of them).  I'm thinking about this for my next novel because I'm toying with the idea of featuring a lot of bands/singers, some who I want to be really popular, some that I want to be on the cusp and one that will be the MC's band (which will be easy).  I haven't come to any good conclusion yet on how to show instant popularity without going the pop culture reference route.  The other thing about authors making up their own band names is, I can always tell when they're made up.  They just don't flow as well.  This could be because I was in a band, so constantly coming up with band names is something very familiar to me.

Anyways, that's the idea I'm struggling with right now.  Coming up with a band that has to be obviously huge will require a lot of detail and probably a lot of backstory but it's the decision I'm leaning toward in order to not date my novel, even though using an already very popular band or singer would be so much easier.  But writing isn't supposed to be easy :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Insights from Glee

Oh em gee glee.  Okay, now that I've gotten my inner high schooler out I can actually blog about this.  I'm a glee fan; it reminds me of my time in a cappella in high school.  Sometimes I could do without the plot lines and just have them sing all day 'cause really that's what I'm interested.  But every so often, there's just a few lines that always get me.  (Not to mention Darren Criss' voice... swoon).  And the lines always seem to come from Blaine (played by Darren Criss, as we sensing a pattern perhaps?)  Anyways, last night's episode had a really good line that I couldn't stop thinking about.  It was a brief scene when Blaine and Kurt were at their lockers.  Blaine asks Kurt if he thinks they were too sheltered to be artists and that they should try to live outside their little world, that they should wake up every day and be adventurous and experience everything in life that you can.

Oh man can I relate.  I've always wanted to do everything.  In high school I played sports, danced, sang and played multiple instruments.  I had little down time during the week and that's how I liked it.  In college, I couldn't do as much naturally but I always tried.  And I still want to do everything I can.  My weeks are filled to the brim (obviously leaving time for Glee and a few other shows) and I'm constantly wondering how I can fit everything in that I want to do.  It's all these experiences that I love and trying to experience everything possible.  My dad once told me, when I was trying whether to go to some activity that I was a little ambivalent towards, that most people regret not going to something more often than they regret going to something (if that vague sentence makes sense...)  So I've tried to do as much as possible.  And then I can take from all these experiences and put them down on paper, turning them into something everyone can relate to, hopefully.  I definitely think it's important to experience a wide range of things, so that you can pull out an emotion or detail from your bag of tricks when you need it most for you story.  Anyways, Blaine's words just kind stuck with me so I had to get my thoughts out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can you hear me now? (voice)

I've been reading a lot of blog posts about voice.  Supposedly it's the part of writing that sets writers apart from authors and I can totally see that.  Books with a good voice can really make the story so much better.  I find that a lot of times, the voice of the character echoes the voices of the author.  Now this is where I come into a problem.

I've been told before, that I don't have a personality.  This is obviously not true; everyone has to have a personality but I used to be extremely shy that it seemed like I didn't.  I've made a lot of progress with this (I am still shy but no longer quiet which sometimes confuses people because they don't understand the difference) but when I was a freshman in college I still didn't really talk much.  At the end of the year, the ultimate frisbee team gives people "paper plate awards".  They're usually funny awards that tease people about things they did, whatever.  I was so shy that I got nominated for the "no personality" award.  I didn't win.  I was so shy, that I wasn't even unique enough to win a no personality the award.  It was like an anti-personality.

As I've said above, I've pretty much outgrown that but I still tend towards a serious personality.  How is this going to come through in my voice for writing?  Am I going to have to find a voice that doesn't come naturally to me?

Yes, there are all kinds of voices and it depends on the story you're writing.  Sometimes a serious voice is needed.  Sometimes a humorous voice makes it a better story.  Either way, I'm going to have to find something that is right for my story.  I think it's going to be a mix between serious and throwing in a few jokes every now and then to lighten the mood (because I mean, saving the world is serious business).

I've been told finding your voice is the hardest part of writing so I'll continue to work on that until I can find something that is me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In Time

So I went to see that new movie In Time yesterday.  I thought the premise was really interesting.  In the movie, everyone is genetically engineered to stop aging at 25.  When you hit 25, you have just one more year to live unless you can get more "time" which people do by whatever means possible: working, stealing it, beg whatever.  Time is literally the currency.  The rich can live forever.

Cool premise, right?  Justin Timberlake was the main dude and he was fine at the acting.  (Obvi I would prefer him singing instead but he's pretty much given that up).  I'm not an Amanda Seyfried fan but I love Cillian Murphy, who was the villain.  Over all the movie was okay; there were waaay too many "time" puns so the writing could have been way better.

Why I wanted to see In Time was because it was a very original concept.  I thought maybe it was a book first, it seems like it would be a sweet book, but I haven't been able to find anything about it being based off a book.  There was definitely a lot of world building since it's kind of uptopian (or dystopian depending on which part of town you were from) so I could totally see it as a book.  So I was pretty impressed with Hollywood and coming up with such an original concept.  If they could have just made the writing better it would have been a much better film.  But it was a good try.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gratitude for books

Holy shenanigans! Beth Revis' has a crazy giveaway on her blog so go check it out!  19 free books!!

Picking the book I am most grateful for is pretty hard; there are so many great books out there.  But ultimately it has to be Harry Potter (I know that's actually 7 books but whatever).  People might say that's an obvious choice because of it's so acclaimed but really, when was the last time you read the first HP?  There is a reason why everyone loves it.  I read HP probably once a year and every time I read them they are still amazing.  J.K. really knows how to entice the reader.  And she has such great little details, like how Dumbledore loves lemon drops; it really gives it a fantastic feel.

She's the type of writer I want to be.  (hahaha, sorry, that was funny.  Like I could ever be like J.K.).  Every single chapter in her book does double duty for plot or character or world-building, whatever.  It is just so clever.  For example (if for some reason you haven't read HP1, you probably shouldn't read on since it will contain spoilers), when Harry first gets on the train to Hogwarts he buys chocolate frogs.  This scene alone shows a million different points.  1) It's world building.  Shows the different types of candies in the wizarding world.  Plus the trading cards which have photos that move.  Super cool just itself but that is not the only thing.  2) Character building, shows Ron not having enough money to buy said chocolate frogs but Harry shows generosity and sharing with Ron.  Harry's also not used to having money to buy anything so he's happy to share.  It shows how loyal and kind Harry can be toward his friends.  But again that is not all!  3) It foreshadows to the end of the book.  The chocolate frog card that Harry gets is Dumbledore and on it the card says Dumbledore is friends with Nicholas Flammel.  So by introducing just the chocolate frog cards you get that scene doing triple duty on the book.  Ridiculous!

And she does this in. every. scene.  ohemgee.  Really when I reread this book for like the 15 millionth time, I was still blown away.  And this is just the first book!  It gets better with everyone.

I'm grateful for HP because it shows me how clever a book really can be and a fantasy one at that!  It's even a THEME park now.  Wow.  Just wow.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Everybody make a scene (This is Halloween)

So I love Halloween.  Whether it's because my birthday is the day after (what is better than candy AND presents?) or the fact that I just love costumes, it's always been my favorite holiday.  Even though now I have a "real" job and can't dress up during the day (I still wore my skeleton shirt - take that academia!), the essence of Halloween is still amazing: all the "scary" decorations of fake spider webs, ghosts hanging on trees, pumpkins carved into jack-o-lanterns!

But what is it that I love so much?  I no longer care that much about candy (really it's less exciting when you can buy it any time you want) but I still get excited about Halloween.  I think it's because you have the ability to be whoever you want.  Dress up in a sheet and poof you're a ghost.  A point hat and wig?  Instant witch.  (Though I hope you're more creative than that...)  For me it was always finding the perfect non-store bought costume, a costume that really looked like the person would wear it.  I was Princess Leia for 3 years in a row using a tunic I found at a thrift store, white leggings I already had, my mom's silver belt and a whole lot of bobby pins.  Now Star Wars is also one of my favorite movies, so combining my favorite holiday with my favorite movie was pure bliss.  I could pretend I was Princess Leia, fighting against the Empire, and living in her world (though not the one that blew up cause that wouldn't be good...)

I think it's why I love books so much too.  As the reader, you are inserted into the pages of the world, whether it's fantastical or not, and can get away from the mundane for a little while.  You're on a new adventure that only exists within the bindings.  You forget that other things are going on outside of the world of the book and get lost within the pages.  That's what I want my books to be.  Completely enveloping.  Time stopping and losing yourself.  I know I'm a long way away from that right now but a girl can wish.

ps. I was Ramona Flowers for Halloween this year.  Half the people guessed "that girl from Scott Pilgrim", half guessed Nicki Minaj (I guess she does wear a lot of wigs) and one person thought I was Lola from Run Lola Run.  I'm pretty okay with all of those responses, as long as you don't make me rap... :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ultimate Frisbee Nationals aka distractions

So I'm totally getting distracted by Nationals.  I have a lot of stuff on my to-do list but it's just so exciting!    Did anyone really think they could beat SF Fury?  They've won Nationals like 6 times in a row.  Ridic!  I can't stop watching so thankfully it's almost over.  Then I can actually start working on my plot holes.  yeesh

Not from Nationals but still a sweet picture of a layout.

Reading YA

I was talking with some friends about YA books.  Being in my early- (ack mid-!) 20s, very few of my friends read YA.  Whether they look down on it or are just generally disinterested, I don't know, but doing something no one else does never stopped me from doing it.  (Did that sentence even make sense?  It was late when I wrote this...)  ANYWAYS, I was talking to two friends who do read YA and giving them recommendations.  I recommended a book I LOVE and know that other readers love (because it's being made into a movie, so lots of people must have liked it, right?) but they were saying they couldn't get into it because the writing was only okay. 

I stopped to think about this.

I really couldn't remember if the writing was good because I was so enthralled with the characters and plot line.  To me, if the plot makes sense (and there are no obvious holes or stupid things going on) and the characters are good (not falling in love just because the dude looks pretty) then I will probably like the book.  I read one book where the author was hitting me over the head with a plot point.  I get it.  (I guess that could be bad writing too but it was mainly plot).  This thing is magical.  It took the author too many pages to actually get to the magical part despite dropping hints like it was a hot frying pan.  I had to stop reading.  I never finished the book.  The plot was dumb and I couldn't get over it.  I don't care how many times someone's eyes sparkle, if the character is interesting will be hooked.

My friends ended up finishing the series but they didn't gush about the books nearly as much as I did.  (They'll be proven wrong when(ever) the movie comes out.  It's going to be totally awesome!)  I guess I'm just a sucker for a good character and plot.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Holes and points

So I've been working on my WiP.  (That's kind of the point, right?)  I'm at 59K so I still have a fair amount of the story to flesh out.  I've been working on all the plot holes trying to unconvolute (that's totally a word...) my ending.  I made another story board with all my scenes and the questions I had about the story.  Then I put all the questions in the scenes where I think those questions need to be answered.  I also rewrote all my plot points and realized I needed to revamp plot point 2.  So I think I've figured out most of the plot holes and how to fix them but it's just going to be taking the time to actually fix them since I have to rearrange other parts of the novel.  Buckling down is always the hard part.

But I want to fix the ending by Nov 3rd, my last meeting with my writer's group before we start a new group.  I'm giving the last half of the WiP to my CP so that she can point out all the holes that I missed and she's giving me back the first half.  So I'm pretty excited about that though I know it just means more work.  But the good kind of work.  Knowing that once I fix the holes, it will be a much better story.  Then I just have to work on the characters...  hooray!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

hooray blogging!

So I decided to start a blog.  It will probably take me a few days to get it exactly how I want it but this is the overall idea: writing stuff, book reviews, music reviews. maybe posting pictures but probably not.  We'll see.