Monday, August 16, 2010

Research, Rambling, and Katsa beating up Edward Cullen...

I’ll give you this link first, so that you can see the awesomeness that is this website before reading about my latest thoughts about research and nonfiction! (Gasp! Sounds exciting, right?)

Muchas gracias to Kristin Cashore (amazing author of Graceling and Fire) for posting the link on You rock!

Now, on to the research-related rambling.

Lately, I’ve hit a stall in my actual writing. Not sure exactly why… I’m in that awkward place stuck between a rough draft I should be editing, a half-done novel I really want to work on but haven’t touched in months (T-T) and various short stories I allowed myself to put out, thus wasting some of my motivation/inspiration/time-ation – and before you say anything, yes I know time-ation isn’t a word. I added the suffix for the sake of symmetry.

I also blame my stall on the fact that I’ve been reading the numerous 30-60 year-old short story anthologies I snagged from my school when they were weeding out all the boring books no one wanted to read. At the time, I figured, “Hey! Free books!” Little did I realize many of them completely ignored all the tips and advice I’ve been reading on writers’ blogs lately.

Not to put down the good old classics – it worked for them! But that was a different era of writing, I think, and all their dead dialogue, info-dumping, and pages of condensed boredom are making it hard for me to get into my own groove. :(

Luckily, I’ve found a way to stay productive during this awkward phase of my work! Among those 30-60 year old books I found some non-fictioney ones that address pretty interesting topics I may or may not use in my own writing.

So I read a book on split personalities, not even skimming at all except for the places that were pure statistics and psychology babble you’d have to be a psychologist in order to even understand! It was interesting, and gave me quite a bit to think about on that topic…

Then I actually managed to start a short piece I need to do for a writer’s group, based on some birdy beings who live in canyons. I tried to do an illustration, and the results of that led me to think about gargoyles… Which led to a possible story inkling. So I looked them up on Wikipedia (forgive my sources XD) and was further interested. Did you know gargoyles are technically in architecture carvings/whatever with waterspouts in them to direct water away from a building so the mortar between the blocks won’t erode? The ‘gargoyles’ that are just for decoration are actually known as ‘grotesques’. :D

Now I’m part of the way through another old book about the Bermuda Triangle…

And I finished watching the third episode of ‘The Colony’, a ‘bold new series’ on the Discovery Channel about an experiment to see if seven strangers could rebuild society after a virus wipes out 90% (or something like that) of the Earth’s population. It’s like hard-core survivor with no prize money at the end and no official ‘challenges’. It’s really interesting, I’ve already learned a lot, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in writing post-apocalyptic fiction. :) I’m gonna tape it to DVD! >.< New episode tonight ~ <3

(After looking for a proper Colony picture on the Discovery channel website): Aw, FAIL! T-T I just realized I'm watching the SECOND season! Where was the first? Me wants to see it! :'(
Oh, and a couple weeks ago I watched a documentary on giant rats… But that’s just for my novel rough draft, so maybe you aren’t interested on that. XD

Usually I’m not very into research/nonfiction, so this is an interesting stage I’m going though. Who said you couldn’t learn something during the summer? ^^ School starts tomorrow for me though, so maybe I’ll go back to writing once I’m already learning more stuff than I want to there. T-T

Still. I’ve been surprised by how interesting research can be, if it’s something you’re interesting in. I’ve been keeping notes on some things (the Colony, especially >.<) and I know I’ll probably be going back to look at them later. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catching Fire -- Review/Musings/Contemplation

NOTE: Some vague-ish spoilers... If you haven't read the book yet and plan to... I leave it up to you.

Recently, I read “Catching Fire” – the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy - by Suzanne Collins. It’s one of those books that make me want to pick up a pen and work on my own novel. It has a lot of the things I love in a book: corrupt government, rebellion, uncertainty (in choosing sides of a battle AND in choosing a love…) and filled me with an irrepressible urge to squeal like an idiot at the end of each chapter.

That said, there were a few things I wasn’t… ‘ecstatic’ about. Things that made me remember other things I’d forgotten from the first book (which I also immensely enjoyed… Or I think I did. It’s been a while).

Mainly, I think, it’s Katniss. Although there may be a few other things I can’t really put a name to… She’s a strong character, she’s committed to her loved ones… And her witty sarcasm made me grin. But I kept hitting a snag; a burr in her character that made me, at least, cringe a bit.

Every so often, I couldn’t help but think to myself that Katniss seems kind of self-centered, selfish, etc. Using Peeta, wanting to keep Peeta but still wanting Gale, hurting both of them and others, making fun of her prep crew, and other things like that I can’t think of right now.

Not to mention that trait of hers where she takes the uncertainty I love and overdoes it like a Twilight Fan on premiere night of the newest movie.

Rebellion’s bad. She’ll help stop it. Rebellion’s good! She wants it to happen! She doesn’t want to help; she’ll run away. She’ll take Gale! She’ll leave Gale. She’ll stay, she’ll help rebellion. She’ll be with Gale forever and ever! She’ll marry Peeta, and be with him forever. Trust victors, don’t trust them, trust them again! This inner conflict is okay up to a certain extent, but I like the characters I read about to have some convictions, and Katniss was starting to come across as fickle and/or a push over, doing whatever she was told to.

Yet, she actually acknowledges most of these things. More than once, she expresses regrets about the way she treats people, thinks of herself as selfish and cruel, and in other ways bemoans what an awful person she is. I’m not sure if that makes her a stronger character, or a weaker one. :/

I’m rather indecisive about Katniss… Maybe I just feel like she’s annoying and selfish in comparison to the selfless, oft-strong characters around her. Haymitch, who’s a million times more deep and caring than you’d first guess. Cinna, who makes her shine and is so much more epic than the rest of her silly prep team. Peeta… Well, Peeta’s not my favorite character, either, with that tendency of his to drop bombshells unexpectedly. But he’s always so devoted to her… Gale, her mother and Prim, Madge, and all these other characters who surround her, try to keep her safe, help her… Everything seems to center around Katniss… And honestly I’m not sure she deserves it yet.

Well… Even with my misgivings about Katniss… I love the books so far. They inspire me, and captivate me, and perhaps Katniss can redeem herself in my eyes in Mockingjay, when it comes out.

For now… I should probably be focusing more on my own characters. T-T

What do you think of the book? Of Katniss? Of the other characters? Is it just me who thinks the two main characters are actually some of my least favorite ones? :(

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Page One - 'An Introduction'

Welcome. If you’re reading this, then my blog has already surpassed all expectations I had for it.

One reader down, many more to go…

This is an introduction of sorts. Sorry if I do all the talking; I find it unbearable to sit by a keyboard without touching it.

For the purposes of this blog, I shall be known only as ‘The Writer’ (I know, how positively boring and unoriginal. T-T) since I haven’t yet decided on a pen name, and my real name is both private, and bleh.

There are a few things you should know about me… First, and most importantly (aside from my being a Christian, of course <3) I am a writer. That fact overshadows almost anything else you could know about me.

Yes, I am a writer. You know what this means. My hands are perpetually ink-stained - If they aren’t, it means I’m either procrastinating or using a keyboard - and there’s a bump on my right middle finger from where I hold my pen. I carry around a ridiculous amount of books, notebooks, and sketchbooks due to an overwhelming but undiagnosed case of thaasophobia (fear of boredom).

I have too many people in my head, which the people outside my head don’t always understand. I have a tendency to daydream, carrying myself off to worlds of the future and worlds of my own imagination, where characters struggle, and I struggle to write down the accounts of their magnificent fights.

Certain things keep showing up in my stories, again and again, no matter what fantasy or sci-fi plot I’m working on. Government, kings, and queens (both corrupt and stable, but mostly the former). Secrets, lies, misconceptions. War, legends, heroes… And tunnels. All of these are relatively normal things to keep showing up in books, except for maybe the last one. I’m not exactly sure why, but for some reason my characters just always end up sneaking around in underground tunnels, caves, and caverns…

My mind can spark at just about anything. And a lot of these sparks fly off and flame up into stories.

I don’t have anything published yet, sad to say… But it’s always been part of the plan. The main obstacle in this plan is me. However, after years of failed attempts and long ‘breaks’, I’m finally starting to overcome that obstacle! I’m actually begun to finish significantly long and planned out novels!

Edit them? Not so much.

Right now I have many plots, many half-finished novels, a few finished rough drafts I’m rather excited about… I just need to sit down and edit, and prepare to actually try to get my stuff out there.

I feel like I’m closer than I’ve ever been. Closer to actually trying to act on doing the things I’ve always talked about.

Closer to my dreams, my schemes, and hopefully my career.

I am a writer. But the main part of my writing has yet to begin.

This is the prologue of my story. Stick around for the rest.

-The Writer