Thursday, 28 March 2013

Series review: Weather Wardens by Rachel Caine

I have finally finished reading all nine books of the Weather Wardens series, and I thought I'd tell you what a gem it is just in case you've never found it before.
Because, Darlin', this is the best thing that will cross your TBR shelf.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Writing, a double post: Your plots and your Internets

Neither of these points currently merits its own posts, so I decided to squidge them into one.

First of all, your Internets. There are a lot of brilliantissimo writing-y blogs and websites out there. To name just a few that I follow:
This is all well and good and helpful... but beware, my little minions. I e-mail followed maybe six or seven blogs. I now spend an hour reading my e-mails. Now, that isn't really helpful when you're trying to get stuff done, so beware. You can learn how to be a good writer all you want, but if you never put that into practice...
Just a word of warning to the wise.

And now onto plotting. Unfortunately, I've already given you a link to the wonderful Liam, who has basically explained all the things that I might want to say about plotting before.
Let's go with it anyway.
I've always hated plotting. I like my characters to drive, and they can't exactly do that when they have to work to a given point -- if they don't have free will -- right?
Wrong. Or at least, I think so.
Because it depends on what you mean by plotting. At writer's group lately, we have plotted and tried to write a short story as so:
  1. What is the spark that starts the story off?
  2. What is the main character's motive?
  3. What's the obstacle to this motive or goal?
  4. What's the first thing to go wrong?
  5. Where's the point of no return, where it looks like there's no way out?
  6. How do they get out of it?
  7. Now tie up those loose ends.
Or something like that. It might seem like a lot of things to get sorted, but that doesn't mean that your story is done, dusted, told and explained, oh no. Because, not only can you change these things if you want to, this isn't the story. It's just the plot, and one plot can be told a thousand times in a thousand different ways, especially if it's character-based. You need an example? --sigh-- Okay. Let's say I'm writing a short story about a guy who finds out that his uncle killed his father for his crown and this guy plots to kill that uncle. Basically, I'm writing Hamlet, yes? No. My Hamlet could be a girl instead of a guy. She could be sassy instead of moody. Her mother could have been in on the whole thing. The uncle could be a much nicer dude than the dad.
 You get the point. My story could be almost unrecognisable from the original but still use the same plot. Hurrah! The story might be plotted, but that don't mean it's been written yet, sistah.
I apologise from the random faux-US-style-language. I don't know what came over me.
 So that story hasn't been written yet. But maybe you're scared of jumping in quite so close to the deep end. Maybe you've got a series planned out, like I have, and you've got stories where the beginings and endings have to fit together, but no more. Does that count as plotting? And is it possible to do?
 From my experience, I would say no. I've been trying to write a series where each book gets to a certain end. The only book I have finished that has done what I've told it to is the first book, and I only found the ending mid-way through in a flash of inspiration. I've tried writing all five other books, but they just... they basically die half way through. So, if I were you, and I was going to plot, I'd try to plot out more than the beginning and the end. It seems like the middle actually seems to matter.

 I think that's all the 'wisdom' I've got to share with you. Thanks, and comment if you've got something to say (*facepalm* duh, Chaz, your readers aren't idiotic enough to not know why people comment on posts...

...are they?)

Writer out!

Sort-of Book Review: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

It's a sort of review because, people, I only got a quarter of the way through before 'taking a break'. This 'break' was going to be one book that I was reading. It became about five books. I will get around to reading it, I'm sure, but if I try to read it exclusively, this blog will slowly die from maltreatment and lack of posts.
 Why is it taking me so long? Well, apart from the fact that it's about 960 pages long, I blame the film.
Wait a second, I hear you say, the last time you posted about Les Mis you said that you could only read it because of the film.
 You're right, I think. Otherwise, I just said that in my head, and you've somehow been looking into my thoughts.
 I wouldn't have started to read it without the film, and I wouldn't have stuck with it after the first ten pages if I didn't know the film was amazeballs. But... I want the pacing of the film. I don't care about the ruddy Battle of Waterloo, Mr Hugo, I want to see Valjean go pick up Cosette, dammit!
 As I've said before, I don't have a very long attention span. And this doesn't grab at it. I think I spent an hour or two waiting for Valjean to storm into the courtroom.
Yeah. It was maybe a five-second thing in the film.

So. I'd still say that Les Mis is worth a read, and I'm definitely going to keep persevering. But don't try to stick to it like exclusive glue. It will do you no good, I can tell you.

Tired reader out!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Music is Fun.!

It's been a while since I've posted about music, maybe a year or longer (I've been blogging for a year or longer?!) but lately, I've been listening to some stuff that's slightly different to my usual stuff, so I thought I would post about why it is all awesome enough to get through my rock-only barrier of prejudice.

But before we go all crazy: Funeral For A Friend's album Conduit is very nice. I don't tend to like screamy types, but it kind of works as soothing white noise when I'm writing, and you can also actually listen to it and get a bit of an emotional-mood-set-up thing. No, I don't know what I mean, either.

I am now going what might be called 'old skool' in the popish world: Marina and the Diamonds' album, The Family Jewels. If, like me, you heart your sarky, kicky girl characters, then you'll love this. It's just filled with sass... and just a tiny bit of the always-needed angst. Lovely. I feel like dancing to it.

Next? More stuff I want to dance to, and this one comes with a story. I went to see Paramore a while back (they have a new album coming out, BTW), when their third album, Brand New Eyes, came out. They had B.o.B supporting them. I didn't like B.o.B. They also had another band supporting them, too. They were on first, and I was too busy getting into the arena and then buying a tshirt to listen to them. I only caught their last song, a cover of Queen's Radio Gaga, as I wandered over to my seat. I didn't think that much of it.
Worst thing I ever did in my music-related life. Why? Because, as the title of this post suggests, that band was Fun.
I know. Now, I'm listening to their album, Some Nights, and hating myself. Because, dude, this band is brilliant to a scale factor of a million! It's dance-worthy, it's sit-and-cry-worthy, and it's different, and I love it. Missing them live might have been the worst thing I've done, but listening to their album (my mum bought it, I'm not a pirate-type)? One of the best things.

So that's all the awesome music I am currently listening to. Oh, and MCR's Conventional Weapons. The fact that I forgot about MCR (who split up on Saturday, BTW) has got to show you how awesome all these people are. Listen, buy, and support the artists, damn you!

Music-lover out!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A couple more things to say before normal viewing resumes...

I know, I know. You hate me right now. But I have a few more things to mention before you get all those lovely posts I've been promising.

First of all: I have Tumblr now! As if I didn't have a busy enough Internet life as it was. My Tumblr blog, when I can remember, will have links to this blog's writing/reading/music posts, for those of you who can't follow thanks to the lovely Google (I'm working on that). It will also be a lot more open to actually bits of writing what I write, and various other things that I take an interest in. So take a look:

And now, for the bad news. Take a deep breath and get ready to cry.
My Chemical Romance have split up.
I know.

But, as someone on Twitter pointed out, "I am not afraid to keep on living/I am not afraid to walk this world alone". We will live, Killjoys, MCRmy. We will live, because, without them ever existing in the first place, we might not have.

Killjoy out!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

I have several things to say before normal viewing resumes...

Okay, number one: I have a lot of ideas (more on why in a later post) so you are going to get a lot more posts from me than usual in the next few days/weeks, depending on when I want to share them, since I'm gonna draft them now, mwahahaha... they'll be (hopefully) exciting!

 Number two: yes, for those of you who noticed that I did a book review yesterday, I have stopped reading Les Miserables. There'll be more on that later too.

Number three: I am attempting to write my first ever script (it's for a drama thing at school) so if anyone has any general tips, comment away!

Number four: I am also (yes I always put a lot on my own plate, I'm greedy and have an attention defecit) writing a modern-times-set short story retelling of Hamlet. Exciting!

Number five: It is snowing buckets here. Yay! Apocalypse time!

Number six: I'll leave you with this... FIERY HEART EXERPTS! THANK YOU RICHELLE MEAD AND PENGUIN! They are here and here. Exciting!

Bloodlines fan out!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Book Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

( For those of you crazy folks who actually follow all my posts, yes, I have hit pause on the Les Mis reading. More on that later, hopefully.)
 Evie thought she had a lot on her plate with staying out of the teen asylum -- thanks to her mum and her visions. She was wrong, of course. Her visions came true in a shocking, apocalyptic flash, and now she's fighting for her life. Add a bad boy to the mix, and what do you get? Tarot cards.

Friday, 8 March 2013

TCWT Blog Chain!

Yes, it's here! The Teens Can Write Too! Blog Chain! Yay!
And here's all the awesome blogs involved:
March 28th (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain)

 So, the prompt was 'Write a letter to an antagonist'. To be honest, I found it pretty hard to find an antagonist who I had the feels for, because I honestly have the mind of an actual sieve. However, if there's one antagonist that I feel kinda sorry for/has irritating ideas to cause havoc, it's Valentine Morgernstern from The Mortal Instruments. I apologise to those of you who haven't read TMI, because, although everyone hates spoilers (even River Song, chaotic murderer-extrordinaire), my letter might have just a few spoilers for the first three books of TMI. Sorry.

Charlotte Hall,
Eat My Book,
TCWT Blog Chain

Valentine Morgenstern,
A ditch somewhere,

Dear Valentine,

This is not a Valentine’s Day letter. Do not worry about that. Sheesh. Mucho creepy. Besides, it was last month – I suppose all your scheming makes the days fly by. It’s March, in case it was bothering you.

Anywho, I know you don't have a clue who I am and don't really care, but I just thought I’d write you to tell you about these brilliant parenting classes that they have on at my local library (they do all sorts there). I’m sure they’d benefit you. They cover all sorts of things, like how to teach your children to love. That’s one you have to work on, I’m afraid. You spend a lot of time teaching them how not to love, which isn’t beneficial. There’s other things too, of course, like health and safety; being cruel to be kind probably comes up – it’s right up your alley, you see?

How do you know all these things, I don't hear you say? Well, I've been hanging with some demon types, you know, that lot who are best friends with you and all that? The ones that you hate but actually are basically your work colleagues... woah. You're like the supernatural version of my dad. I'll hook you two up, see if you can't sort your problemos out together.

 But back to the point: health and safety is probably one of the most important parts of the parenting class. That’s what it says on the leaflet. It’s all about putting covers over fireplaces, cooking things thoroughly, not poisoning your children with demon and angel blood while they’re in the womb, that kind of thing.

 However, I’m afraid to say that, as far as I can tell, sibling relationships don’t come up, which is a bit of a let-down, I know. You really could have handled that whole thing better, especially since you told them they were brother and sister when they weren't. On the bright side, the class probably does cover lying to your children, which I'm sure is a bonus.

 Don’t get me wrong, I know it’ll be hard for you to get here, since you’re both dead and in Idris, but I honestly think it’ll be worth your while. Truly. Plus, if the parenting class goes well, there’s also this other class on for divorced men. You could learn how not to kidnap and torture your ex-wife.

 I hope you take what I’ve said into consideration. This class could really change your life, if you let it.

Yours sincerely,
Charlotte Hall

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Editing Isn't Murder. Hurrah!

So, I'm twelve percent into Les Mis, and this thing is meandery-meandering and going all sorts of places just for a while before hopping back to everyone's favourite saint, Monsieur Valjean who-doesn't-tell-anyone-his-actual-name-of-coursey-course.
 Some people -- most people in fact -- would say this lovely little thing NEEDS ATTACKING WITH SCISSORS, and they're right.

 But that doesn't mean it isn't brilliant (I think -- my brain isn't too super-duper with my double negatives right now). The language is fllowery, but it's beautiful, pretty, insightful...

 Anyway, to get back to the title, editing is murder. The book Les Mis is obviously Victor Hugo's baby. Fact is, it's indulgent AND NEEDS ATTACKING WITH SCISSORS. Maybe. It's brilliant as it it is, of course...

Okay, obviously too late at night for me to make sense. Basics: let's see the film as THE EDITED VERSION, and the book as the UNEDITED VERSION. They're both good -- both brilliant, in fact -- and neither of them is better than the other. Just different.

 But, if we're honest, which of 'em would be most likely to sell: the 1000-ish page version or the short, snappy, hit-you-with-it version.


Yes, I realise that this might actually be more verbose and self-indulgent than the book.

Charlie out!