Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews

Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry [MINIMAL SPOILERS]

Gathering Blue is one of four sci-fi / utopian stories by Lois Lowry, known informally as The Giver QuartetThe Giver, I’d say, is the most well-known of these books, and for me, it was a mixture of disturbing, fascinating, and thought-provoking content.  The way it handled human emotions, even the beginnings of puberty, was delicate and unoffensive.  Whether you’re reading Number the Stars or The Giver Quartet, I feel like the most important message that Ms. Lowry conveys here is that progress and modernity do not necessarily equal the extinguishing of evil from the world.

The world of Gathering Blue is far more rural and (dare I say) backwards than the world of The Giver, but many of the social problems are the same.  The village people practice euthanasia, albeit a more “natural” type, where disabled or sickly people are usually cast out into the Field for “the Beasts” to devour, or to simply die of neglect and starvation.  Speaking of disabled people, ableism (discrimination in favor of “able-bodied” people) is a very big theme in this book. Continue reading “Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry [MINIMAL SPOILERS]”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Writer's Jukebox

The Friendship Genre (!!!!)

My lovely friend “Mage” made a phenomenal proposal for a new literary genre:

There should be a friendship genre, if there isn’t one already!

It would be a lot like the romance genre, but the focus will be more on the platonic bonds between the characters. Instead of struggling to get together with the person that they want to be in a relationship with, the protagonist would be trying to make a new friend over the course of the novel. Or, if they already have a friend in the beginning, the novel would be about keeping that friendship going despite all the rough patches that might spring up.

And, like the romance genre, it can take place pretty much anywhere! It could be about the budding friendship of a spaceship’s alien pilot and her human passenger. It could be about two friends surviving against the odds in a dystopian world where friendship is forbidden. It could be about two high school students meeting through clubs and discovering their identities together.

The possibilities are endless!

The best part is that it wouldn’t be restricted to books. There could be movies, TV shows and even podcasts that could all be classified as the same genre.

It would be such a wonderful genre to become immersed in!

I want to write this.  I want to read this.  I am all for this.  Who’s with me?!?!

 

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

10 reasons why I might not be a *real* writer

This is all quite tongue-in-cheek, of course. 😛

  1. I don’t drink tons and tons of coffee.  I love the occasional iced coffee, especially if it’s a slushy iced coffee.  Occasionally, I’ll drink caffeine-free herbal teas to soothe my throat for my voice acting.
  2. I rarely stay up late to write.
  3. I’ve never won a real NaNoWriMo which requires 50k words in 30 days.
  4. I don’t have an agent.
  5. I don’t have stacks and stacks (or the ashes of) rejection letters from publishers.  I rarely enter writing contests.  I submitted a short story to a lit-mag and heard back from them once.
  6. I’ve never read Stephen King’s On Writing.  I read a short story by Stephen King once for school, and thought it was okay.
  7. I’ve never been a New York Times Bestselling author.
  8. My books don’t have love triangles in them.  Well, not seriously, anyway.
  9. I’ve never killed my darlings on-page. Not yet.
  10. I think I’ve only sold, like, three copies of my first self-published book, and given copies to four or five other people.
Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

Beautiful People #26 – Author Writing Process Edition

I had so much fun in May participating in Cait (PaperFury) and Sky’s (Further Up and Further In) Beautiful People meme for writers, that I’ve decided to join in again.  This time, we’re talking about my writing process (or lack thereof, haha)!

 

How do you decide which project to work on?

It’s rare that I’ll obsess over a single project.  I usually work on multiple and rotate between them depending on what subjects I’m inspired to cover that day.

 

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

It really depends on the project and how motivated I am.  It took me three months to finish Secrets in Seaport, but that’s hardly an example of how long it takes for me to write well.  I think it took me about five months to finish my most recent project, Cliche, and I owe my fast pace to Aerin, my dear critique partner, co-writer, and muse. 🙂

 

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

I don’t have an established routine for getting into the writing mood.  I take the opportunities as they come.  I never know when inspiration will strike next.  But in the past, listening to music that fits the mood or even just reading books have helped me break the cycle of writer’s block, at least for short periods.

If you know of any good ones, I’m all ears!

 

What time of day do you write best?

Extremely early in the morning or extremely late at night.  The best, albeit most absurd, madness-ridden pieces of writing typically come to fruition at unearthly hours.  I think the self-scrutinizing parts of my brain goes dormant when I’m half-asleep, which enables me to write more freely.

 

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

My tenth grade English teacher compared my writing style to that of Douglas Adams.  I tried reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that year and never finished it, so I can’t verify that comparison for myself.  Still, Adams was a Whovian and considered a terrific writer by many, so I appreciate the comparison.

Oddly, my writing style is easily influenced by whatever I’m reading at the time.

For example, I wrote Cliche on the heels of finishing A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix – there’s a chapter entitled Meanwhile, Back at the Bookstore.

If I’ve been reading a lot of Conan Doyle, my first-person narrative pieces include many “said I’s” and other quirky Doyleisms.  (One of these days, I’ll read enough that I’m motivated to continue my Sherlock Holmes genderswap story.)

I also try (but don’t often succeed) to read Dickens when I’m doing freelance writing, paid by the word. 😛

 

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I started writing chapter books in word processor files at age ten because it was a quiet and not particularly costly way of making art.  People didn’t take notice, so they didn’t make a huge fuss about it at family gatherings, as they did with my musical dabbles.

Today, I write because first and foremost to entertain myself.  In my tweens and early teens, I had a hard time digesting books with vulgar content.  (I still do, though I have a clearer idea of my current comfort zone.)  Anyway, I tried writing the kinds of stories that wouldn’t make me blush or feel very indignant as a kid.  I want to publish them someday because I hope others like me, with my sensitivities, might benefit from them too.

 

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

One of the hardest thing I’ve written so far, for a story, is a diary entry from the perspective of a character who has fallen in love.  As a headstrong young prude, it took me a while to embrace the reality that attraction, love, and the creation of new life needn’t necessarily be cheap, dirty, promiscuous things simply because the mainstream media portrays them as such so often.  The least I can do is portray those beautiful facts of life in a clean, tasteful way; once I realized that, I was able to tell the story of how After the Fall’s protagonist came to be.

 

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

Rewriting Adventures with my Time-Traveling Uncle.  It’s such a neat project, but at the time I wrote it, I really didn’t have the skills to convey the story in a compelling, publishable fashion.  I printed a single copy for myself and it’s around here somewhere, but I never sold it.  It was 50 book-pages long, approximately.  I have one-third a mind to retell the important parts as a short story, because I need to get back into the habit of writing those.

 

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I didn’t make any. 😀  That way, I was pleasantly surprised when I was suddenly able to churn out an entire first draft in about six months’ time!

 

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

Spontaneous. Passionate. Progressive.

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Q&A, Readerly Rants

Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag

I happened upon this tag in the YouTube bookish community.  It apparently originated in a video by a YouTuber called littlespider9.  I’m a blogger, so I thought I’d bring the tag to this medium!

 

1) A really hyped book you’re not interested in reading?

Twilight.  I did a little research on the series, as I’m attempting to poke a little fun at it in my Cliche stories.  In Wikipedia-entry synopsis form, parts of it actually sounded pretty gripping, especially towards the end of the saga.  In full-length book-form, however, I think it’s really not for me.  It’s a long, paranormal romance novel with sparkly vampires and werewolf dudes – I can only imagine how gross that’s going to get. Continue reading “Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants

On being an older prude

I might as well come out and say it.  I’m prudish and very proud of it.  I don’t like exposing myself to materials containing inappropriate content.  I don’t listen to most modern music, I don’t watch movies rated PG-13 or more unless there’s a good reason, and I especially, especially, especially do not read books with excessive vulgar language or sexual content.

It’s been 3 years since I made that self-righteous declaration.  Things have changed a little.

First off, “inappropriate content” is either a very generalizing term which suggests what isn’t appropriate for me is universally inappropriate for all.  Either that, or it’s a euphemism for, y’know, stuff (which is what I actually meant, I hope).

In the past three years, I’ve learned to express my feelings with a bit more sensitivity to other people’s preferences.  After all, if you’re a young adult who has no qualms reading swear words in your books, that doesn’t make you a pervert, so I’ll try not to use language which implies it does.  And of course, being prudish certainly doesn’t make me saintly.  (I’ve been known to swear like a retired sailor’s sheltered grandchild’s parrot if riled up enough!)

Time has passed, so naturally, I’m older.  I’ve become less sensitive to certain subjects that made me alternatively blush or indignant as an eleven year old.  I realized this as I was reading Jelly Bean Summer in May; as an older reader, I wasn’t bothered by the fleeting puberty-talk or the couple of times the protagonist said “d*mn.”

I don’t listen to most modern music.

That was a dumb thing to say.  It’s true, as social norms change and loosen up, so do the guidelines for what’s acceptable to say in music, and there are plenty of contemporary songs that make me blush.  But if you look carefully, you can still find plenty of amazing, contemporary artists and acts who, for the most part, compose and perform wholesome music.  I’m glad I did.

I don’t watch movies rated PG-13 or more unless there’s a good reason.

Guess what?  I watched The Matrix, and that’s rated R.  And there was a good reason for it.  The violence and the grossness and the Lady in the Red Dress thing definitely bugged me, but that was a more “gentle,” “tame” R-rated film that wasn’t all nasty and creepy.  (I’m not going to watch the sequels a) because I’m told they got pretty stupid pretty quickly and b) they’re unfortunately not as tame.)

I would not have been able to handle that movie three years ago, mostly due to the violence, but I’ve learned to appraise movies based on their redeeming and detracting values and decide for myself, based on my preferences and maturity level, whether watching it is worth it.

Not all movies are rated R because they border on being pornographic.  Sometimes it’s because someone uses strong language on par with Samuel L. Jackson’s rather infamous repertoire – if that’s easy enough to mute as it comes up, and the rest of the movie’s a-okay, I can deal with that.

I especially, especially, especially do not read books with excessive vulgar language or sexual content.

That is unchanged. 😛

Well, that was me then – here is where I am now:

I’m prudish.  That means, in my case, that I am uncomfortable consuming media with excessively vulgar or sexually explicit content.   I wondered if I would grow out of this, but it seems that I have not and won’t be doing so anytime soon.  This rules out most R-rated films and these days, most PG-13 films as well, but there are exceptions and I will watch many of those exceptions.  Same goes with Young Adult (YA) fiction – I have to look carefully for books at my reading level which do not trigger my sensitivities, but these days, I welcome the challenge.

In these past three years, as I changed, I worried that I was being hypocritical to myself and to everyone I’d convinced that I’m a self-proclaimed, so-called prude.  I’m still prudish, but like everything else in beautiful nature, I’ve continued to change over time.  I’m a prude who grew up and still remains prudish – this is just a more open-minded, grown-up kind of prudish.