Saturday, May 25, 2013

Editing. Ugh.

"If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works." - John Dos Passos

Yep. Pretty much.


No seriously. That's all I've got for this post.





Does anyone have a two ton bag of chocolate they don't need???



Okay, so maybe this post does have a bit more! (I just ate peanut butter and chocolate. Can you tell??? :P )

I'm about to email my awesome cover designer about changing the synopsis on the back of Ember Flame. Any suggestions? (Book descriptions are NOT my strong suit.)

"Orphan brat Les has longed to discover her true self outside of the dense forest of Grel for her entire life. However, her own insecurity keeps her permanently trapped ... until soldiers incinerate the forest and slaughter the other woodcutters.  Vowing revenge, Les is forced to escape the forest and enter Holdinus- a world plagued with an all-powerful dictatorship, a tyrannical lord, and scattered children with dangerous powers known as the Leverage.

Les must accept her place in the world as Ember Flame, one of the six Leverage. If she cannot find her destiny and the other Leverage, the souls of the people will perish. Will she sacrifice her desires for a world that has been nothing but cruel to her? Or will she succumb to the wills of a tyrant and live a life of numbness?"

Have a great memorial day weekend! :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Once Upon a Time Season 2

 (This first post will have no spoilers)

Where do I start???

Season 2 of ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' was an interesting and perplexing conglomeration of many ideas, people, plots, and story lines.  At times it felt very slow, particularly through the first ten episodes.  Then after that it began whirring through story after story at breakneck speed.  It was a lot more confusing than the first season. 

Overall, I enjoyed the first season more because it had more of a "formula" to it.  (Storybrooke, flashback, Storybrooke, flashback)  Season 2 could be pretty crazy.  (Storybrooke, enchanted forest present, flashback, modern world flashback, enchanted forest present etc.)  The second season also seemed to grab onto random story lines and plots, as if the writers were grasping for threads that they didn't know what to do with, yet they just knew they would need it later.  I'm not saying the writing was bad.  The writing was excellent.  I'm not saying they didn't outline.  They did manage to tie it all together rather nicely, though rather suddenly, in the last two episodes.  It just all seemed a bit, "It's getting boring, now what?" "Throw Lancelot in!" "But what's his backstory???" "We'll think of it later, just go go go!" 

I feel bad for the writers though.  I understand just how difficult it would be to pick up and create a story after the incredible finale of the first season.  And they did it very well, considering.  There was a few things I would have done differently, but all in all, I think they did an excellent job with what they had to work with. 

The themes of the story were much the same as the first season.  Most of the emphasis was again on family.  I was happy that it was a bit less "true lovey" than the first season, probably because Snow and Charming's story was resolved.  I was surprised at a new theme though: that of redemption.  All of the characters, even the baddies, ponder and strive for redemption in various ways.  I found it encouraging that a public TV show would go into something that deep, but it was also sad for me as a Christian to see how hopeless it is for people who do not know Christ, therefore, not knowing the only way for redemption.  More on this in a later post. 

Forgiveness, trust, guilt, honesty, and compassion also made an appearance. 

On a more superficial note, the costuming, sets, make-up, and hair styles were all fabulous.  I especially liked how they showed the change in Emma through her outfits.  I actually wasn't a fan of most of her outfits (not my style) but it was cute how they showed her slowly letting her walls down.

There was more humor the second season.  Just funny, quick little quips like:

(David and Mr. Gold in Granny's Diner, talking)
David:  "Wait, you're asking me for help?"
Mr. Gold: "Well I'm certainly not here for the overpriced lasagna."

(In the Enchanted Forest)
Belle: "No!  I cannot just stand by and watch you kill and innocent man!"
Rumpel: "You can sit if you like."

I think it's a tad obvious who my favorite character is.  XD

All in all, the second season was a ton of fun to watch and was extremely exciting.  The first season was better, but like I said before, the writers did excellently with what they had to work with.  I would not say the second season was a disappointment though.   A lot of new, fascinating characters and stories were introduced.  Some new concepts were explored.  It just could have used a bit more structure.

However, I am extremely excited about the third season of Once Upon a Time starting this fall.  The finale set the next season up perfectly for a whole new adventure which has the capability of being a better story than the first season.  I'm hoping the writers are able to accomplish this.     

Friday, May 17, 2013

Genres (and other news...)

I guess I'll start with the other news.  If you don't want to read the other news, skip down to the picture of the poodle and begin reading there.

Once Upon a Time season 2 has ended (WAHH!!!) so expect my depressed fangirling highly intuitive thoughts on it soon.  Don't worry, I'll tell when spoilers are coming.

I've just spent a few days in Georgia with my grandparents.  It was awesome and relaxing, but very infuriating.  Awesome cuz my relatives are awesome.  Relaxing cuz it's way out in the country and very beautiful.  Infuriating because I planned on spending hours and hours editing Ember Flame.  Instead, I ended up getting addicted to the Mistborn trilogy and read the entire first book and half of the second one!  Grr...

School is closing out.  Already finished chemistry, English, logic, and Latin.  All I've got left is history, literature, and math!  (I'll be doing math all summer though...hehe...)

While in Georgia, I was griping and complaining incessantly brainstorming ideas for the next Leverage book with my very patient little sister.  ("But I don't want to do that, but I'll have to for the story to flow, but I think it's cliche, and I can't fix it!"  "I see."  "Yeah!  It's awful!  Maybe I should trash the whole thing!"  "Maybe."  "But I can't do that!  I've got to tell this guy's backstory but I don't know what the heck his problem is!  I don't know his backstory!  What kind've author doesn't know their characters backstory???" "Your kind of author.")  AHEM.  Anyway, during all that, I did manage to come up with this crazy awesome idea for the next Leverage book.  I'm finally getting excited about writing it.

Why wasn't I excited?  Well I've been slightly distracted by this new story idea which I will tell about later....

Okay!  Enough news!  Onto the actual post!  (The poodle has nothing to do with this post.  I just like him.  Don't you like him?  I like him.)

On the National Novel Writing Month Young Writers forums, there was a forum called "Genre Junction."  The purpose of it was for young writers to help other young writers find out what genre their story fit in.  The person needing help would write about paragraph describing their story, and then other peeps would ask questions and reply what genre they think the story belongs in.  I would go on occasionally to help other young writers.  I never actually used it because I always knew what genre my story fit in.  It was strange to me that others didn't.

Anyway, I was on there once and some trolling kid just randomly said, "Genres are stupid!  They try to put you in a box!  You can do all the genres at once if you want!  Who are publishing houses to try and wash down your possibilites?"

I didn't reply, but it did make me chuckle.  (Uhh...they're the publishers?  They can do whatever the heck they want. Cuz they're the publishers.)  It also made me think though.  I understand the purpose of genres. They are to help readers find books in the type of form they like them.  But are they good for something more?  I mean, after all, you can combine genres...sort of.  You can have romance in a fantasy novel.  You can have sea monsters and fantastical elements in a historical novel.  The actual genre is just based on what there is most of, right?

That is true.  But I personally use genres to help me stay true to my story and writing.  By remembering that my novel is a fantasy novel, I remind myself not to put too many angsty teen problem scenes.  I remind myself not to rely too heavily on explaining the magic...cuz it's magic.

So that's why I believe genre is neccessary.  It helps you pin down what you need to stick with in your story.  But the aforementioned troll went on (during the obligatory heated debate that  to say that narrowing down your age group for your book was mean and hateful by those awful publishing companies.

It was a funny debate, I assure you.

Anyway, I really disagree with this.  Not only do age groups help kids and adults find appropriate books, but they also help me, the author, keep in mind what I should or shouldn't do, and how far I should describe something. 

For example, while I was writing 'Hail Frost,' I had a movie in my head of what it should look like.  I let my fingers just type what I saw in my mind.  However, some of what I saw ended up being too gory for a book for 11-14 year olds. You know, being a Christian really does have many, many perks.  Every time I would write something too violent, I could sense the Holy Spirit gently telling me that that was too much.  Yeah, it was obnoxious sometimes.  But I listened every time, and every time I went back and changed or softened the scene, I always ended up with an idea a lot better than the one I originally had.

What I had written before wouldn't have been bad or sinful.  I've read stories with a lot worse violence than anything I wrote.  However, it was wrong for the age group I was writing for. 

So yeah.  After this very rambly post, I guess my point is that genres are helpful, not hindering, tools for authors to use.  :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

...May already???

I can NOT believe it is May!

I mean seriously.  Where did the year go?

This happens to me every year.   I always seem to come out of my 'I-hate-school-so-much-so-I'll-just-shut-up-and-pretend-I'm-a-zombie-till-it-ends' funk around May.  Usually, I'm ecstatic.  This year I feel more like hyperventilating and hiding in my closet until it's Christmas.

Frankly, I have quite a bit of school to do over the summer.  And it is mostly (bum bum bummm) math.  I've had to do Algebra 1 and Geometry this year because...well...I didn't like math in the ninth grade either.  And it didn't get better with age.  So guess what?  Algebra 1 and Geometry all summer for me!  Yippee.

And that's not my only real issue.  I still have to log sixty hours to get my driver's license, which I REALLY want to get because I plan on interning at a publishing house or film company this summer.  (Either that or work at Chick-Fil-A...)  On top of it all, it seems like 'Ember Flame' and 'Hail Frost' will NEVER be fully edited.  My life is nuts.  I wish I could stay in zombie mode for awhile longer.

I guess it's good I've come out of it though.  Maybe next year I won't procrastinate for so long on everything.  Because seriously, I'm scared to death.  Mom is helping me make a schedule and pace myself.  I'm good at doing that in subjects I like, but I would win the award for 'world's most ginormous mound of worthless sludge' when it comes to actually PLANNING my MATH.

*sigh*  I'm not here to rant completely.  I promise.  Here, my very good friend May "ponified" my characters from 'Ember Flame.'  Ain't she incredible?  (She did the cover for 'Ember Flame' too.)

(sorry, couldn't figure out how to flip them...but aren't they so cute???)

Well, my sister just brought me some cookies.  Cookies make me happy.  Maybe it's not so bad NOT being a zombie...  :P

I'll have more writerish things to talk about soon.  :)