Stephen King On Writing: Review

A wonderful read for Stephen King fans. Provides an autobiographical look into his success and career. In the later half of the book he gives advice on how to approach the hard, grueling work of being a writer. He often has quotable snippets, such as “the road to hell is filled with adverbs.”

This is an uplifting kick in the pants to sit down and write. However, this is less of a writing guide, or a how-to book, and is a collection of his experiences with a bit of guidance to the art and development of becoming a writer.

In the end, this resource is more motivational rather than technical.

 

Story Genius: Review

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)

This is an excellent breakdown of character backstory and depth. It has an odd nomenclature, but can blend with more traditional terms. The prescribed story structure is more for literary fiction, but is adaptable for genre fiction. It’s not great for understanding story structure, but workable for building a story blueprint. Overall, it’s not as useful for developing a plot outside of a character’s psyche.

Would highly recommend to anyone who wants or needs an in depth understanding of how to make characters feel like real, flawed human beings.

Great for character—amazing, even, but not so great for everything else.

Sailor Moon Nostalgia

If there is one show that sums up my childhood, it’s Sailor Moon. I was raised on sparkly, super-powered, kick-ass girls, and then wondered why other shows lacked pizzazz. I needed strong women and amazing friendships! Oh, and epic love stories, good fighting against evil, and, of course, the encouragement to believe in oneself.

I was obsessed with this show. To the point where my parents considered therapy. Fast forward a good twenty years, and I’m a functioning adult who still loves that stupid show (and manga, and remake, and pretty much anything related to it).

But why?

As a six year old, I identified with the whiny crybaby Usagi, who’s alter ego was powerful, dedicated, and invincible. I believed there was a part of myself that was strong, too. I’d been told I was too sensitive, too emotional, and was constantly referred to as the “annoying little sister,” but if Usagi could become Sailor Moon, then I could become more.

Sailor Moon

In my adult life I maintain a balance of childlike wonder, but tempered with the lessons of life I’ve learned. Secretly, I worry I’m losing touch with my inner child, so on the occasion of my 30th birthday, I binge watched the new Sailor Moon Crystal to reconnect with the girl I once was.

Is it weird to feel like I both haven’t changed, and yet have become someone completely new at the same time?

Like Usagi, I’ve honed my full depth of character. I’m there for my friends and bring them together to make sure they know how amazing they are. I spend my time ignoring adult “responsibilities” (who really needs a clean house anyway?) and instead follow the dreams that bring me hope and happiness.

Yet I’m still as flawed, as hopeless, and as insecure as the woman I looked up to for my entire childhood.

Sometimes there are stories that touch us so intimately we wonder how we ever survived without them. Is it too much to hope that I might write a story influencing someone as strongly as Sailor Moon influenced me? To show them that they, too, can be more than pesky expectations?

There is a magic embedded in stories that gripped me when I was a child and refused to let go. Yet, like the food critique in Ratatouille, I rejected any books, TV, and tales that didn’t do justice to the complexity of hope and humanity I craved. I think it had to do with that first, most beloved story of my youth. Nothing could hold a candle to the lives of those fictional women.

So I’ll write and give readers my all, because anyone out there like me deserves every ounce of authentic storytelling I can manage.

 

 

 

In a completely unrelated note, I’m totally in love with Haruka.

 

Book Club—Lilac Girls

A different kind of book, but surprisingly no less nerdy. Nerds come in all shapes and sizes, and although I classically think of pop-culture when discussing nerds, it’s possible to nerd-out on any subject.

I was intrigued by how in-depth the author went with her research while preparing for Lilac Girls. For that reason alone, this book gets an honorary nod into the nerdverse. After all, it worked for Hamilton, right?

This World War II historical fiction follows the sometimes tragic, sometimes heroic lives of three women from completely different cultural perspectives, giving readers a fascinating glimpse into  the era.

Lilac Girls Book Club

 

Happy Holidays

Welcome to my favorite gut-busting time of the year. A merry time of overindulgence mixed with magic.  Oh and also, FANTASTIC MOVIES.

Did you see Thor: Ragnarok? What about Star Wars? Coco?

I don’t even care if there were critiques a plenty, because my inner fangirl has been fed a feast of geeking out. Am I the only one who feels alive when the shipping is strong or the mind-blowing power erupts from the MC? Like, yes please. All. The. Yes.

Some housekeeping: I’ve been depressed and stressed in my current living situation, which is killing my creativity. It happens, shit happens, life happens. I’ll get over it, but in the mean time my blog is less of a priority while I struggle to find a way to stay sane.

I’ve not read anything that truly captured my attention as of late, but here’s a list of recent reads:

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher – Filled with tropes, like, painfully so.

First book collection of Elfquest from 1978 by Wendy and Richard Pini – Surprisingly delightful, though it took me a while to get over the dated art style. Has a very classic INSTA-LOVE connection, but hey, 1978, I’ll forgive it.

Fables graphic novel 1 & 2 by Bill Willlingham – Not bad, but not my thing. Kind of like a gritty Once Upon A time.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Claire – Yeah yeah, I know, I’m behind. Interesting steampunk flare, fun male protagonists, and a surprisingly good job portraying a woman with the ideals of the time (aka internalized sexism). I’ll probably read the rest of the trilogy.

More updates next time. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

 

Happy Halloween!

Sailor Moon

Tomorrow marks three months of living off family and being jobless—talk about scary.

If my husband doesn’t find a real job soon, then I’m worried we’ll be living with my in-laws for another three months. It’s not that I’m unwilling to work, on the contrary I’ve been editing myself blind on my most recent manuscript, but as many other writers can attest, it’s not lucrative when you’re starting out.

I’m in a period of my writing career where I’m desperately questioning everything. Am I good enough? Are my stories original ? Do they capture the audience? Yet I know I’ve improved, I’ve learned so much and yet there’s just as much I don’t understand.

Then again fuck it. If I’m going to be unsuccessful then so be it. I’ll live off baked potatoes and figure out how to build a tiny house. Because you know what’s scarier than failing?

Not bothering to try.

The Long Awaited Return

Kind of.

I’m a little disgusted how quickly the rest of summer passed. It’s two weeks from Halloween and I haven’t quite got a handle on things yet. We are still in the process of moving, but not the pick-up-boxes-and-unpack kind of moving. 95% of our belongings are still in storage, and still in Virginia. We, on the other hand, are living with my in-laws in WA with whatever we managed to jam into our cars for the cross-country drive.

In general we are well taken care of, the fall is beautiful and blustery, and I’m finally around family. So naturally, I’m depressed, because making sense was never required for my emotions.

I’m pushing through though. I finished a rewrite, I’m working through the primary editing stages with my editor, and I’m starting to go to the gym again. All good things.

Give me a little more time to figure this all out and hopefully I’ll be back to weekly posts.

Let me know if you have requests!

 

Book Club—The Hate U Give

This month for Nerdy Book Club we delve into one of the most moving YA novel I’ve read in years. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas stays with you long after you’ve finished the pages.

Gather some friends online or in person and discuss the importance of Thomas’s words, the character’s journey, and the reality reflected inside.

Check out the Nerdy Book Club page for a list of other novels and printable discussion questions!

Click for full size printable version!

As a personal update I’m officially taking a month off for my cross country move. I managed to finish my newest manuscript and get it out to beta readers, so by the time we’re settled in our new state I’ll be able to edit to my heart’s content. Unfortunately for now I have to go clean out the fridge. Goodie.

But don’t worry, in my down time I’m going to read, read, read, and take plenty of notes so when I get back I’ll be itching to post a dozen book club updates!

 

 

Happy 4th!

I’m working on a deadline, but I had to take a moment to say happy 4th of July!  Of all the gifs I’ve seen today, that is one of my favorites.

My deadline is up on Friday. I’m planning to celebrate by finally reading a book for fun! Also, by packing for the move. I’ll be offline for a couple weeks while that is happening, so don’t expect to hear from me much in August.

Now get out there and be awesome!