Thursday, July 26, 2012

To be finished revisions

So today is the day I'm going to finish revisions.  I have 20 pages left but a lot to do in those 20 pages.  After that, it gets one more read-through and then it's off to (hopefully the final round) of CPs.  I've been working on this book in earnest since March 2011 (with dribbles before that).  While I love COTF, I'm ready to be done.  I don't want to get stuck on this book and never be able to move on.  But I also don't want to finish it without it being the best book it can be.  I want it to be complete.  So depending on the feedback I get, I may have another round of revisions on my hands, but at some point I have to say enough is enough.

I started drafting a second MS a while ago, and I'd like to be able to get back to it.  (I'm the type of person who can only focus on one project at a time).  It's different from COTF, but still me, and I love it.  It has its own problems but I'm excited to be focusing on something different.

So that's why today I must finish this draft.  I go on vacation tonight, so I'm hoping to finish before then.  Otherwise I'll be lounging by the pool with my laptop in hand :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Promise Ring and emotions

he's so left-handed!!
So I just got back from one of my favorite band's shows and I'm still high on music.  The Promise Ring broke up pretty much right as I started to discover them so I have never been able to see them live. UNTIL NOW.

And guys?  ohemgee.

I forgot how much I like live shows.  It's the feeling of community.  The emotions shared from singer to audience.  It's a shared story that everyone can relate to.

And that's what I'm trying to do in my writing too.

I've been revising COTF for who knows how long (I've stopped counting...), but overall I'm just trying to get readers to relate to the story and the emotions that go into it.  First love.  Being different.  Feeling like an outsider.  Wishing someone would understand you.  Becoming a stronger person.  The emotions of all of it.  These are all common things in my story that I think everyone can relate to.

Thinking back to The Promise Ring, one of the reason I feel in love with their music was because the lyrics spoke to me.  I could relate to what they were saying; it was like he was singing what was in my brain.  Plus some of their songs were really catchy.

So every time I doubt myself with questions of structure or plot or what-have-you, I just need to go back and make sure these characters are connecting with the reader.  That the audience can relate to them.  And that there's emotion.  Because I think that's what reading books is really all about.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman

So I finally saw the new reboot of Spiderman. Let me preface this with I love superhero movies. From The Avengers to the X-men, to even Transformers. There's something about these larger than life characters that I just cannot get enough of. Plus I love action movies. I also haven't read the comics.

Andrew Garfield worried me in the first scene with his Peter Parker voice, because he sounded like a Brit trying to speak in an American accent. Which he is. But after that, I was impressed with his accent. I know if I ever tried to act in a British accent, I would be fumbling over every single word. (Or if I tried to act in general, but I've never tried and probs never will. ahem. tangent.) I also like him better than Tobey Maguire, but I don't know if he made a better Spiderman. For me, Tobey was a super nerd, so he had a greater transformation into Spiderman. Andrew was never weak like Tobey was, though Andrew did get beat-up in the first scene protecting someone from being bullied (save the cat scene!), but he didn't seem as weak to me as Peter Parker should be.

I also had some problems with Gwen Stacey. I know from my comic-expert (aka The Boy) she's supposed to be very confident and sure-of-herself. They set her up to be this way when she confronts the bully after Peter and the other guy get beat, but then at times she seems fumbling. She gets timid around Peter after they've already had some conversations. It didn't make sense to me and seemed out of character. All of Peter and Gwen's interactions were mega awkward and uncomfortable. But I do love Emma Stone. (And The Boy said he liked this Gwen better than the comic-book Gwen).

I did like the back story of Peter's father being a scientist, but that could just be the science nerd in me. But I thought it added to the story, since it made Peter want to find out what had happened to him and made him keep going back to Oscorp. I liked the villain of this story, though I don't know if anyone can be better than Alferd Molina as Doc Ock. Also Stan Lee's cameo was awesome.

Overall, I liked it but it wasn't great. Andrew Garfield is charming, maybe too much for Peter. I'll be interested to see how everything plays out in the sequel, though I might have to find someone else to go with because I might not be able to convince The Boy to go...

Monday, July 16, 2012

titles and save the cat

So I started reading Save the Cat! the screen writing book by Blake Snyder.  I read the first chapter and he's already gotten me thinking about my MS in a different way.

He talks about loglines and titles being the one-two punch for pitching a story.  And not just pitching, but making sure the story sharper, less convoluted and actually knowing what the story is about.  It makes a lot of sense.  The title and logline have to be what the focus of the story is about and not peripheral subplots.  But it also has to be specific to the novel, and not a vague title that could be any story.  Snyder also talks about a hint of irony, which I don't think is quite necessary for books as it is for movies.  He says the irony is the hook, but I just think a hook is necessary so that the reader is intrigued.

I've been thinking for a while that I need to change the title of Code of the Fireflies.  The title itself doesn't quite make sense until it's read, so it's not really hooky, (because if you have to read it to understand the title, it's not really doing it's job) though it is quite specific to the book.

So I've come up with some alternate titles.  Any feedback (good or bad) about the new titles or current titles would be much appreciated!

Pendant of the Firefly
Onvala's Pendant
Pendant of Onvala
The Lost Pendent
The Lost Firefly
World of Fae and Fireflies
The Magic of the Firefly
The Magic of the Pendent
Song of the Firefly

And while we're at it, here's my logline, but you can find a better summery here on my "what I'm working on" page.

When Elle finds out her grandmother's firefly pendent is more than mere jewelry, she is thrown into the world of Fae to stop the Dark Fae leader from destroying the world and to find out where her place is in the midst of these worlds.

Friday, July 13, 2012

emotions in books

So I finished a book a while ago that sort of us left me feeling nothing.  I was very disappointed because the book was about musicians, which I am, and obviously about music, which I love.  All my MSs have music themes and my next book is going to be straight up about musicians, so I was reading this for research.

But despite all these things that I thought I would love, it left me feeling stale.  There was no emotion in the writing.  I felt little for the protagonist and I wanted to like the love interest but I just didn't.  To me, they felt like paper characters.  And all the musical allusions seemed cheesy and not heartfelt.  Then at the end the love interest died!  I should have felt heartbroken but I didn't really feel anything.  Well except anger because I didn't really understand the point of why he died.

I think one of the reasons we read is to relate to characters, especially when it comes to emotions and what they are feeling.  Are they love-sick?  Teenagers and adults can relate to that.  But if they go through the whole book being a shell of a character, I'm not going to feel anything for them and I won't care about them. That's why I think emotions and characters are the most important aspect of a book and something that I'm working on in my MS to make sure it rings trues.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

writing quirky characters

John Green creates some amazing characters.  In all his books, each character has a quirk that makes that character feel real.  In Looking For Alaska, his MC, Miles, reads biographies of authors but not the work that they became famous for.  He's also obsessed with last words.  In An Abundance of Katherines, the MC, Colin, loves anagramming.

I think these character quirks help create interesting characters that feel real and different.  His characters aren't run-of-the-mill and they're likable.  That is key: to have likable characters.

While I think my MC for COTF is likable, I'm not sure if she stands out enough.  I've been having problems trying to make her the main character.  The love interest is interesting, but he's not the main character.  Elle is obsessed with music but I don't know if that's enough to push her over the edge of interesting.  I mean, the story is about her, so she has to be the most interesting person!  Or at least likable enough that you care what she has to do and will keep reading.

That's one of the revisions I'm doing right now for COTF.  I've still got a lot to do, but at least I'm headed in the right direction.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thoughts on Pixar's Brave

So I am late to the Brave party but I just saw it a  few days ago.  I've been hearing very mixed reviews so going into it I didn't really know what to expect.

While I liked it, there was something missing for me.  Thinking back to other Pixar movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, it just wasn't in the same category.  It's hard to put my finger on why though.

I loved the strong female heroine, her mischief brothers were adorbs, her hair, oh her hair! was super awesome, and the Irish setting/culture was cool too.  But for me the essence of the movie wasn't the same as the other Pixar films.  The other films you can pretty much sum up in a sentence and it's very tangible.  Toy Story is about toys coming to life.  Finding Nemo is about fish looking for his father.  The Incredibles is about a superhero family.  Brave is about... a mother-daughter relationship?  That's really what it's about at its core and for me, I'm not as interested about that.

Now it's Pixar so it was still good, and I would say you have to go see it for at least that reason alone, (it had great animations and some really great parts) but for me, it just wasn't my favorite of the Pixar films.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Coming back from a writing hiatus

So I'm officially back!  And in honor of that I made a vlog!  I'm a little bit repetitive but I discuss coming back from a writing hiatus, which is my current status, so I thought it was a good topic.  Hopefully I'll be back to a normal blogging schedule soon, but for now I'm catching up on all the blog posts I missed :)