Life

Smart or Not #1

Welcome to a brand new series on my blog: Smart or Not. Basically, the concept of this series is that although I have a 4.0 GPA, I often do or think things that make me wonder if my intelligence is closer to that of a jellyfish. I hope you enjoy!

Ever since reading Finally by Wendy Mass I’ve been scared of waxing. Reading about Rory’s experience pretty much traumatized me, and, for a long time, I didn’t want to use body wax unless it was going to save me from a painful death by electric eels. Well, eventually, I got my nerve up, and I decided to let my mom help me wax my eyebrows. The funny thing is that when we were getting ready to do the waxing, I told my mom I wanted to do it, and she was like, “Uh, you might want to let me.” So I agreed, and as she was doing it I noticed that she was only spreading it around certain parts of my eyebrow.

“I thought you do it over the whole thing,” I said, looking confused.

Oh yeah, you heard right. I thought that when you wax your eyebrows you spread it over the entire eyebrow and that the wax knew which hairs to take off. This is the mark of a genius for sure. So, taking into consideration the fact that I thought “smart wax” was a thing, you tell me, do you think I’m smart or not?

Anyway, taking into consideration the fact that I thought “smart wax” was a thing, you tell me, do you think I’m smart or not?

writing

The Pros and Cons of Writing a Fairy Tale Retelling: a Guest Post by Lila Red

Today I come to you with my first ever guest post, written by a friend of mine, Lila Red from The Cheapskate Bibliomaniac. This post is all about the pros and cons of fairy tale retellings, and I really hope you enjoy it! I also did a guest post on Lila’s blog about the pros and cons of co-authoring, so when you’re done reading this, head over to her blog and check it out. Without further ado, here are the reasons you should and shouldn’t write a fairy tale retelling:

PRO: You can do a lot with the simple stories.

Think Red Riding Hood. Think Snow White. Goldilocks. Cinderella. Etc., etc. These tales are short and sweet, leaving plenty of room for twisting and deforming until you have – for instance – a long, complex science fiction novel based on the incredibly short Goldilocks story. Hansel and Gretel is spacious enough for many intriguing side plots, Red Riding Hood practically begs to be transformed to a different genre, and Snow White drips with potential for romantic conflict. I could give you many other similar examples. The possibilities are l i m i t l e s s.

 

CON: It’s easy to borrow too much from the original.

Be creative. Be very, very creative. I don’t think many readers want Cinderella simply rewritten, with only several tiny elements twisted into something only slightly different. What readers often love to see is the elements of the fairy tale bent and woven into the story so that they have to make at least a small effort to spot them. They often want an immensely altered story, and yet they want the old fairy tale to remain noticeable. Unfortunately, it can be easy for writers to use the retelling as an excuse not to pump their creative juices. They can sit back, relax, and keep many of the elements the exact same.

I’m not saying it’s a rule. I’m not saying there aren’t commendable exceptions. The retelling I’m currently writing holds to a lot of the original aspects of the tale, and most of my characters have the same names as they do in the original stories. What I’ve done to make up for that is woven several fairy tales into one. What I’m focusing on is knitting them together in creative ways.

I’m just saying it’s easy to borrow too much. I leave you to find other meanings of that phrase. XD

 

PRO: Fairy tale retellings are popular.

At least, in the YA realm they’re popular.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Beastly by Alex Flinn

I haven’t read all of these, nor do I have any intention of reading most of them. I’m not supporting these books in any way – I’m only pointing out that there are a lot of popular fairy tale retellings out there. What better way to up your chances of your book becoming popular than to make it a fairy tale retelling? Readers seem to be falling all over themselves for fresh new twists on age-old stories.

CON: Fairy tale retellings are popular.

Yes, this is also a con. If you’re at the lowest stage of writing a retelling – the “considering” stage – then you have a long road ahead of you. Let’s say you plan on publishing traditionally. There’s the first drafting, then the rewriting, then the storyline editing, then the copy editing, then the querying, then the waiting, then the rejections, then the more waiting and more rejections, and so on and so forth. It’ll be months, perhaps even years, before you get an agent. From there it’ll take even longer for your book to hit the shelves.

By the time your retelling is finally published, it could be that the trend will have faded, if it hasn’t begun to already. I know that some readers are fed up with all the fairy tale twists – although I personally don’t understand how anyone could grow tired of them. Thankfully, there are still PLENTY of die-hard fans out there! But trends normally disappear as something new and fresh starts to attract attention.

It’s my belief and hope that fairy tale retellings will defy the norm and always hold an elevated position in the bookosphere, but you never know.

Writing a fairy tale retelling has been heaps of fun for me, but every writer is different. I hope this list was helpful, and I strongly encourage you to give a retelling a try even if you’re doubtful that it’s the right genre for you. It’s always healthy to expand your writing experience by attempting to write stories of many genres.

Alright, that wraps it up, Thanks so much, Lila! Hope everyone enjoyed this great post, and don’t forget to go check out my post!

books

The Literary Dinner Party Tag

Okay so I have never, ever, in the history of this blog or any other, done a tag of any kind; but, due to my lack of inspiration, here I am. No, actually this tag sounded like fun, so that, in part at least, is why I’m here. (Disclaimer: This tag was created by NEHOMAS2 on Youtube, and is absolutely truly not my idea.)

Alright, let’s do this.

So the basic idea of this tag is that you are having a dinner party for eleven people, one of them is you, and you can invite ten fictional characters, one from each category, so that is exactly what I’m going to do. Side note: If we want to get technical, you are having a dinner party for twelve people since one of the categories is a couple, but yeah…anyway, let’s get to the tag.

  1. One character who can cook/likes to cook. I don’t know if it’s just me, but most of the middle grade and young adult books that I read don’t have many characters that can cook or like to cook. Still, that’s beside the point since I do know a few who can cook. It’s kind of a toss up between Mrs. Vey, from the Michael Vey series, Calpurnia, from To Kill a Mockingbird, and Imogen, from The Ascendance Trilogy, but since this is a dinner party, and what Mrs. Vey does best is breakfast food, and Imogen cooks medival food, which kinda scares the crap out of me, I’m going to go with Calpurnia.
  2. One character who has money to fund the party. The first person who comes to mind for this one is-HOLD IT. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST BOOK IN THE ASCENDANCE TRILOGY, THE FALSE PRINCE, I’M ABOUT TO RUIN IT. Just a warning-Okay, as I was saying, the first person that comes to mind is Jaron Eckbert III. He is a king, so he probably has a lot of money laying around.
  3.  One character who might cause a scene. One? Hahaha. There are SO many characters that could cause a scene.  I would say Jaron if I hadn’t just invited him, but I did, so I won’t. Okay. Who would cause a scene? Macey, from the Gallagher Girls series, if she was being a brat, maybe Ani, from The Scourge, because, well, she’s Ani, or Fink, from The Ascendance Trilogy, because Fink is pretty much a mini Jaron, even Bex, also from The Gallagher Girls series, might cause a scene because if someone insulted one of her friends or she just felt like doing something Bexish. Alright, since I have to pick one, I’m just going to pick my favorite out of these, or the one I most want to meet, and go with Bex. Or, now that I think about it, Grace from Embassy Row is much more likely to cause a scene because that’s what she does.
  4. One character who is funny/amusing. This is also really hard because if a character doesn’t have a sense of humor, I probably don’t like them all that much. I could say Weevil, from The Scourge, or Sherm, from Goodbye Stranger, even though he wasn’t THAT funny of a character, or Puck, from the Sisters Grimm series, which, now that I think about it, would likely to cause a scene with his stench alone, but whatever, or Zeus, from the Michael Vey series, although when Zeus says something funny, it’s generally a threat, gotta love that, or even Matt, from The Worst Class Trip Ever and The Worst Night Ever, since Matt is just such an adorably hilarious idiot. Okay, once again, I’m going to have to pick the one I want to meet the most, so I’m going to go with Weevil.
  5. One character who is super social/popular. Hmm, I don’t know as many of these, fortunately for you, dear reader. The first person that comes to mind is Taylor, from the Michael Vey series, since she was super popular in book one, is still a cheerleader at heart, and is pretty much second in command with Zeus and Jack, when Michael can’t lead.
  6. One villian. This is hard. Like really hard. There aren’t’ too many villains I’m in love with, but, there are a couple I would LOVE to meet. There’s Hatch, from the Michael Vey series, Catherine, from the Gallagher Girls series, BIG SPOILER, Mr. Solomon, from the Gallagher Girls series, even though he isn’t exactly a villain, and Princess Ann (or is it Anne?), from the Embassy Row series. Really I would be scared to invite any of these people within a million-mile radius of me, but, assuming that whichever one I invite to the party promises not to kill me or any of the other guests, at least for the night, I would say…Mr. Solomon, because, who am I kidding, I WOULD LOVE TO MEET MR. SOLOMON, and maybe, if we’re not too busy keeping Jaron and Taylor from fighting, because I have a feeling they just would not get along, kind of like Zach and Macey, take a CoveOps class.
  7. One couple – doesn’t have to be romantic. Doesn’t have to be, but will be you mean? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Well right off the bat I’m going to go with Cammie and Zach, from the Gallagher Girls series, if for no other reason than they are two of my all time favorite characters…EVER.
  8.  One hero/heroine. Okay I would probably have said Jaron or Cammie, had they not already been invited to this fantastic shindig, but, since they are, I’m going to go with Michael, from the Michael Vey series, because Michael is pretty much the definition of a hero.
  9. One underappreciated character. Oh this is hard. So many characters come to mind. Charlie from Saving Lucas Biggs. Danny Meyers from Holly’s Heart, who probably no one has heard of in years, but he really is a hilariously condescending character. Sherm from Goodbye Stranger. Leo from Willow Falls. Rory from Willow Falls. Ray from Willow Falls. Okay, anyone, except for Jake (Yes, you heard right, Lila Red) from Willow Falls. Maya Davis from The Maya Davis series. Jare from Connect the Stars. Rosie from The Embassy Row series. Truly, Lucas, Scooter, Calhoun, Cha Cha, or Pippa from The Pumpkin Falls series. Rupert, Kevin, and Cassidy from The Mother-Daughter Book Club. Okay, there are a ton of these, so I’m going to stop listing them and pick ONE. It’s between Charlie and Leo, and maybe even Lucas, Scooter, or Truly. Who do I want to meet more? I’m gonna go with…Charlie. Or Scooter. This is hard. Really hard. Okay, let’s go with Scooter. He is really wonderfully rotten, so I really want to meet him.
  10. One character of your own choosing. Okay, since I betrayed Leo in the last one, I’m gonna go with him for this one, even though I really, really would like to meet Alexei, or Noah, or Jamie from the Embassy Row series. Okay, maybe I’m going to go with someone else…I’m so sorry, Leo. Let’s go with Alexei.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what you think! And, as far as tagging someone else, I’m going to tag Lila Red from the The Cheapskate Bibliomaniac.

Life

Motivation: Every Writer’s Greatest Enemy

If Motivation doesn’t come to you, do without. Yes, some days the characters refuse to stay in character, no song is the right song, and it would be way easier to write if you only had the perfect picture of your main character. But giving it a rest doesn’t get a book written. Taking a break doesn’t make your book Barnes and Noble worthy. Nothing will make you a better writer than ignoring Motivation’s absence and making yourself write.

books

Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague Review

stars2

About the Book: Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague is a middle grade standalone that has 352 pages and a Lexile measure of 840. It was published on September 22nd, 2015 by HarperCollins, and follows Audrey and Aaron, two thirteen-year-olds who meet at a wilderness camp.

My Review: Although I didn’t enjoy Connect the Stars quite as much as Saving Lucas Biggs, it was still a great read that showed the power of teamwork. I’ll admit I was a little bored with this book until Audrey and Aaron arrived at wilderness camp, probably because both of them were kind of loners and I really don’t like books where the main character(s) don’t have a awesome best friend to talk to, but once they got to camp things started to get a lot more interesting. For one, Jared. Even if he is a little on the mean side of things, some of his lines were so fantastic that I just can’t help loving him. Also, once Audrey and Aaron got assigned to their team and began to form a friendship with Louis and Kate, everything started to get better. I loved how despite all of their problems and weaknesses, together the four made a fantastic team and really went out of their way to watch out for each other. From the awesome character development and the strong messages about teamwork, love, and forgiveness, this was a truly awesome book.

Life

Revenge Against My English Textbook

So a while back I was tasked with a writing assignment. Basically, I was to explain how to complete any task that I chose, to a highly detailed extent. Now, as most of you know, I love writing, after all, would I write a blog if I didn’t? Probably not. Well, my love for writing aside, I really didn’t want to write this paper. It just looked like an utterly boring assignment and wanted no part of it. Nevertheless, I had to do it, so I decided to get my silent, passive-aggressive revenge by writing the paper on the most boring task I could imagine: digging a hole. Below is the paper, hope you enjoy!

At some point in every person’s life, there will come a time when they are required to dig a hole. Therefore, when one’s time comes, it can pay to be well-versed in the art of hole digging. Although it may seem simple and monotonous, one can never be too prepared when venturing into the outdoors.

Before one even begins to start digging a hole, it is important to make sure that one has the correct supplies. The most basic item one will need is a pointed, gardening shovel, but it would also be quite beneficial if one were to be in the possession of a pair of gardening gloves. Other than these simple objects, not much else is required to dig the perfect hole

When one begins digging a hole the very first step is to don one’s gloves, if they are available, then one should take the shovel in one’s hands and push it into the dirt. Once the shovel has been inserted into the dirt and pushed down several inches, one should lift the shovel back up in a horizontal position. After the shovel has emerged from the dirt, one should take the dirt that is being held by the shovel and dump it to one side, then repeat the aforementioned processes until the hole is the desired depth and width.

As soon as the hole is the size that is desired, one might assume that the job is done, but much still is left to be accomplished. Once one has finished, they should take off their gloves, and place them in a safe place, should they need to be used again. In addition, the shovel should be placed somewhere where the rain cannot reach it and ruin it. When these tasks have been completed one is free to enjoy their hole in any way they see fit.

Although it might seem a boring task, digging a hole can be a simple job despite its grueling nature. First, one should ensure they possess the correct supplies, after that they should begin digging in an orderly fashion, finally, they should put away their supplies and enjoy their hole. It is clear that with these simple steps, anyone can dig a hole.