Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of the Year Book Survey!

I never do end of the year surveys >.> Like I said in this post, I never get enough done in the year to warrant one. Butttt despite the fact that I fell short in my reading goal (grumble, grumble, why can't fanfiction and stupid textbooks count they take up so much of my time grumble) I didddd read a fair amount to complete a book survey.

Original is here, but I found it on Julie's blog page (as always. She's literally the only blogger I follow who ever does surveys or challenges >_>)

Number Of Books You Read: 37
Number of Re-Reads: Uhhhh probably like four or five. This I do at random and never pay attention to.
Genre You Read The Most From: Science fiction.

1. Best Book You Read In 2014? 

A classic~ Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? 

Minders by Michele Jaffe. It has an awesomeee concept and the first 30 pages or so are super interesting and cool. Then there's like some dumbass murder plot underneath the Awesome Concept and an out of nowhere one sided romance with a Boring Blankface Girl and a Jerkass. I got all sadfaced.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

Where She Went by Gayle Forman. I heard a lot of good things about If I Stay, and even though the prose was pretty beautiful and the emotion sometimes felt real it was...err...kind of boring? Like at times, I found myself skimming and hoping for something more to happen. I only picked up the sequel because I saw it was written from the POV of the male lead and even though it doesn't deal with death and trauma, it somehow packs a more emotional punch.

Plus I love books that take place in a single night and somehow encompass so much in so little.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014? 

I don't push people to read anything. I'm more a follower than a leader--I just end up reading what everyone else is reading.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014? 

The hardest question of all! It always makes me feel all awkward that I rarely follow through with sequels or prequels or whatevers. But I did read The Gunslinger by Stephen King, and even though my trek through the rest of the series is a slowww one (much to other people's annoyance >.>) I did like that first book.

Best sequel goes to Where She Went, of course :P

Best series ender is probz Champion by Marie Lu, though it's not fantastic by any means. Still, while I think it certainly could have been better, it was pretty good, all things considered. Plus I like Lu's writing--I'll probably always read everything she writes.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014? 

James Tiptree, Jr. AKA Alice Bradley Sheldon. (AKA the forerunner of cyberpunk, AKA another important figure of science fiction who's a) a woman and b) often forgotten >_> COINCIDENCE? I think not T_T)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? 

Probably Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I don't think I'll be going back for too much YA contemporaries in the coming years as I seem to be moving farther and farther away from them, especially super romance centered ones. But this book is just so cute and so soul crushing all at the same time. I adored it.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? 

Ugh. Not so much unputdownable or thrilling, but yes on the action packed. No contest, but not in a good way, Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson. It has so many goddamn action scenes the line between Oh I Guess That's Mindless And Cool and CHRIST WILL THIS END ALREADY IT'S SO BORING start to blur.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 

Frankenstein--but mostly because I need to quote or reference it like a madwoman for my own novel.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014? 

It's somewhere between the Minders cover,


and the now kind-of-famous These Broken Stars cover.


That last one is somehow even more gorgeous in the printed version.

Also. Huh. I guess I have a thing for redheads in book covers? (Though I must admit, the amount of redheads I read about in books is...like...too much >_> For such a rare hair color, it sure is mega common in fiction)

11. Most memorable character of 2014? 

Oh my god. It's gotta be Dred from, well, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp by Harriet Beecher Stowe. He shows up at like the 100 page mark, but holy shit is this guy memorable. He even talks like a prophet, and pops in and out of nowhere with a loaded gun all the time. He's a total badass.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014? 

I fully admit that this is a total cheat and probably doesn't even count because it's a translation, but I DON'T CARE. I'm doing it. I loved Beowulf, and this was my first time reading it. It's weird how engaging it is, so I'm picking it.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014? 

I kind of want to pick a short story here since I ended up reading so many of them this year--plus, I can't keep picking Frankenstein for everything. So I'm going with a combined short story pick, a tie between I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison and The Girl Who Was Plugged In by Alice Bradley Sheldon. Especially the latter...

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Not that I completely agree with his view of androids, but I've had a collection of his work for agesss. The dude's a great writer, even if he does make me feel at times like I'm on an acid trip. Plus, I read this book right after watching Blade Runner for the first time, and it was great to see the differences.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014? 

Gushing time! This moment was so important for me. Everything I currently love and ever loved about science fiction and writing and artificial intelligence and Mary Shelley probably started with:

"A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw, felt, heard, and smelt, at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses. By degrees, I remember, a stronger light pressed upon my nerves, so that I was obliged to shut my eyes. Darkness then came over me, and troubled me; but hardly had I felt this, when, by opening my eyes, as I now suppose, the light poured in upon me again. I walked, and, I believe, descended; but I presently found a great alteration in my sensations. Before, dark and opaque bodies had surrounded me, impervious to my touch or sight; but I now found that I could wander on at liberty, with no obstacles which I could not either surmount or avoid."

from Frankenstein. 

Maybe I'll go further into why it's so life changing later...maybe when I finish and edit Vanguard's Exodus.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

Longest was It by Stephen King. Shortest was probably one of the short story collections, like the appropriately named Flash Fiction Forward: 80 Very Short Stories, edited by James Thomas.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.) 

I wasn't feeling The Young Elites for a good chunk of the story, then at the eleventh hour, a certain character died in the best way ever. I threw my fists in the air and CHEERED LIKE AHHHHH.

I applaud Marie Lu for taking that risk-but she better not try to retcon it. The epilogue makes me think she'll bring this character back in a sequel, and that will make me rage.

But even if it does happen, the death still made the The Young Elites sooooo much better. Same with the kind-of-but-not-really-twist-but-still-awesome-moment involving Adelina's sister, Violetta.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)?

KORRASAMI

oh wait, wrong medium.

Uhhhh. Y'know, going through Dune a thorough second time and actually getting far into the book was a good idea, because I finally get to appreciate the cute scenes with Paul and Chani. So that's my OTP in books this year.

Though I'm probably just picking it because Sihaya is the cutest nickname ever for an SO. And it reminds me of Thane from ME, of course~

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?

I can count manga right? Cuz if so, pretty much everyone in Attack on Titan and how they interact with each other. If I have to narrow it down, then the main trio, Mikasa, Eren, and Armin.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

I guess The Gunslinger takes this spot too. It's not my favorite Stephen King book, but I did enjoy it a lot.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?

The entire Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. I...did not believe people when they said it was terrible. And once I started, I couldn't stop. You know how it is with me and the special, special train wreck trilogies...

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Pfffft. Nobody captured my heart this year :P

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Uhhhh. Wow. I didn't read a single debut in 2014. I mean, some were 2013 debuts, like, from December, and a couple more from 2012. The 2014 releases I read came from already published authors.

So...whoops! No answer here.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Gotta go with the classics again--Dune vs. Hyperion. Pick a side, though both are hardcore awesomeness.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Jeez, I only read super depressing stuff this year. I guess I can focus on that first half of the question.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai is tense to read at times just because of the situations, but seeing how much Malala accomplished and how hard she's pushing for her education and the education of other girls is inspiring. So once I was done, I was grinning out of  sheer admiration and hope.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

TOO MANY TO COUNT. Frankenstein, The Girl Who Was Plugged In, Eleanor & Park, Before I Fall, Where She Went. All were emotional roller coasters and I was a mess afterwards, even though I didn't actually cry.

But I think I got the closest to it with Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall. And that's mostly because having to read about the crap this poor lady went through at fourteen is infuriating on top of being heartbreaking.

27. Hidden Gem Of the Year?

Silence: A Thirteen-Century French Romance.

...what? How much more hidden can you get than an anonymously written medieval story about gender identity, total jerkass Merlin, Nurture vs. Nature, and awesome knights? >.>

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It was almost too much for me, but I loved how unexpectedly good it got.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

HAH, I'm gonna twist this question too and pick Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi--in that it most definitely tried to be unique and succeeded in not so great ways.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

OH I HATED THIS BOOK.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson is so infuriatingggg. There's just so much crap wrong with it! The story telling style isn't my cup of tea--it's very much in the format of World War Z--but I could have gotten past it if it'd at least had interesting characters or concepts. But this did not. And I heard this unoriginal piece of shit is getting a movie adaption, produced by Steven Spielberg--and here I  thought I couldn't dislike Spielberg even more than I do now. If he gets this thing to the big screen, my dislike may just turn to hate.

The antagonist, Archos, is such a total cliche of a cliche. Dudebot sprouts the most pretentious dialogue in the world. There's just so much wrong with the idea that an A.I would go trigger happy once it becomes sentient and try to wipe out humanity, but if you're going to do that, you need to have an actual reason, you need to explore those implications, you need to make them complex.

But here, Archos has no reason to wipe out humanity! He's just all "welp, you created sentient life. That's honestly as good as you're gonna get. That's it, you've peaked...so...why even keep living, y'know? Time to kill you!" Hell, there's some philosophizing bullshit about the nature of man and God. Vs Creator talks in the first chapter. Every time there was a chapter with the villain, it was like a pretentious-off.

Allll the human characters are either dumbasses, boring, or boring dumbasses, which makes all the action scenes stitching the narrative together super annoying. I don't care that these people are in danger, I don't know them. And when I do finally get to know them, I still don't care.

It also does this annoying thing where sometimes there'll be quotes of a piece of dialogue or prose at the top of a chapter, and then that same line will appear in said chapter. WHY ARE YOU SELF-QUOTING? WHAT PURPOSE DOES THIS SERVE? I WAS ALREADY GOING TO READ THIS LINE TWO PAGES LATER?

AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT DUMBASS ENDING.

Ahem >.>

I have a lot of feelings...

But yes. That book...inspires a rage in me :P

I'm gonna skip the book blogger questions, and go straight to

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2015:

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015? 

I started Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen and didn't get to finish it. I accidentally left it at my dorm when I left for winter break  D: So that's definitely what I'm reading the second I get back.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)? 

I haven't even caught up with The Lunar Chronicles and yet I'm still super mega hyped for Winter by Marissa Meyer. Once it comes out, I'll probably speed read all books in one month.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? 

Not super hyped, but Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard seems interesting.

And let's just put The Winds of Winter on here even though, at best, we're getting a winter 2016 release...assuming he's more than past the halfway point.

*sobs*

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015? 

Actually read 50 books in a year Dx. I have so many books lying around that there is no excuse for me to fall short. Then if I manage, I can up it to 60 books for 2016.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Pshh. The one time I got an advance reading copy (On The Fence by Kasie West) I accidentally let it wait it out for three months at my university's PO box. So let's just say, I don't ever get ARCs anymore... Dx.

Weeee~ This was fun. Hopefully this time next year I can fill out this survey again with some interesting reads.

But at least 2014 was a pretty good bookish year :D
~Becky

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Seasons

Now Playing

Rambling post!

I was thinking about this song from ASOIAF, Seasons of my Love.
I loved a maid as fair as summer
                with sunlight in her hair.
I loved a maid as red as autumn
                with sunset in her hair.
I loved a maid as white as winter
                with moonglow in her hair

And...that's a thing I do. Too much. Probably like every other young writer, but still. I'm trying to figure out why.

It came to me earlier. I was thinking about Serena, my inquisitor from DA:I (which I just finished). I've grown to love her appearance a lot and I keep thinking about returning to it sometime in the future. I've only ever written one character with albinism, and I didn't go as into it as I think I should have...

Back in character design, I became a little too obsessed with her lashes. (I'm...yeah, I'm weird. But don't judge my weirdness). I wanted her to have dark make up because I'd already picked the black lipstick, but the eyeshadow and eyeliner options looked really strange if she didn't have dark lashes. I thought about changing them so I could have the make up, but I didn't think it was right to do so.

And I'm glad I didn't. Her eyelashes kind of stand out a lot more in gameplay--at least to me. I ended up giving her a nickname because of it, as I've done before. Back in Mass Effect, my renegade Shepard had red hair and green eyes, so I kept calling her Christmas Morning--which is not very original, mind you, but was amusing because I only called her that when she was being a jerkass. Here, Serena's white lashes were so captivating to me I started calling her Snowfall.

Yesterday I read a fanfic with an elf inquisitor, but I really loved one of the lines that went like "Scent in the air. Lavender like her dress, lavender like her eyes." (not a direct quote, but I can't find the fanfic right now and I just want the general point across)

And I thought about Serena. If some bard--even a really crappy one--from Thedas was writing about this particular Herald of Andraste, how would they describe her? Moonlight hair and lavender eyes. Lashes like snowflakes. Lips kissed by the midnight sky.

Does that sound corny? Probably. But if I stuck her in a fanfic, I'd find it difficult to get around that description. And it's not the first time I'd done something like it.

Back for my NaNo novel, I spent ages thinking about Amber's design. If she's the genetically engineered perfect woman of the 25th century, she'll end up with something a little different than a regular pretty face, whether or not that matters to her. She needed to have some sort of peculiar appearance, even if her facial features and bone structure were still slightly symmetrical and leaning toward conventional beauty. I've known her for years, but it's sometimes difficult to see her. I only really got a good description of her when Miranda saw her for the first time, and it was all nature terms. And--trying to be vague so not to give too much away--this almost ends up becoming a plot point. Her peculiar appearance becomes important to a certain robot.

In a way, it seems lazy, but also like it was brought on by something else. Like, you (random reader) know how everyone in fiction has blue eyes? Or green eyes? Or pretty much every shade possible but brown. And if it is brown, it's just not mentioned?

And you know how almost every white writer in the world struggles to write people of color without resulting to food metaphors? Y'know, the offensive ways in which a WOC's skin is described as being like chocolate, caramel, cocoa, etc? Basically, a woman's body as consumable goods...ugh.

I'm not the only one who ever noticed that. Few years ago, I read a post somewhere asking writers to please, please try to describe brown hair, brown skin, brown eyes just as poetically as other colors are described. The subtext was kind of there, even if it wasn't written out: POCs and whoever else need to know they can be just as beautiful as the blonde, blue eyed pale boys and girls of yesterday and today. So if blue eyes can be sea blue and sky blue, then brown hair can be like sunlight shinning on the bark of a tree, eyes like fine whiskey, skin an earthly brown.

And that's what it was. That post was all about the sun, all about the Earth. (Don't ask why alcohol got thrown in there, but I remember it for some reason). I guess it got stuck. Amber's race is kind of ambiguous, but she's definitely supposed to be a WOC, mixed raced and beautiful. And the only way I can think of doing that is through terms of nature. I'll have to find a way around this in the coming years. Not every pretty girl I write can be autumn and winter. And...pretty girls are actually not so common in my stories, so that's another thing to ponder over.

Believe me, these screenshots don't
do her lashes justice >_>
But why sunlight? The color yellow keeps coming back. It's not my favorite, but there it is, in Lilith's rain jacket and motorcycle, in Dream's hair, in Amber's eyes, in Silentium's cloak.

Sigh. Sometimes I get trapped in certain images and they don't let me go for a while. When I realize I've been using the same terms to describe a thing or a person or feeling, I write it down, bold it, force myself to stop, but it becomes more difficult than you think. Will Amber and Serena be the last of my nature beauties...at least for a while? A decade, maybe? Half a decade! no...cuz then I'd just be 24. That's too little time.

Maybe I do nature because other approaches are kind of disturbing. Nature is alive and flawed. Sometimes I see beautiful people being described as statues or paintings. Blue is the Warmest Color got a lot of shit because the lesbian sex scenes border on pornography, and when the director was asked to comment, he said he filmed them as what he found beautiful, "...so we shot them like paintings, like sculptures."

...lifeless. Objects. That's what it sounds like :/

Sigh. I don't know. I'll figure it out. My writer's view is still super limited, and it's really annoying.

Epiphany: these out of context posts never make that much sense unless you're me >_>
~Becky

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!

Now Playing: Rob Scallon (w/ Doug Walker) - I Fucking Love Christmas

^I've been overplaying that Christmas song all December.

Yesterday I rambled about peace and serenity and blah, so today IT'S JUST JOYYY. Another reason to love this holiday. It can be all whimsical and magical and sweet or it can be so fucking weird and energized. I'm still a bit bouncy--though that might be the three cups of coffee and two cokes I drowned with the Chinese food. Been a bouncing mess everywhere.

So quick things with a picture heavy post!

First, Legend of Korra ended last Friday, and as sad as I am to see such a great show go, I'm also bouncing around at the fact that Korrasami actually, no bullshit, creator confirmed, became canon in the cutest way possible.




So here's some fanart found on tumblr so you can share my happiness :D



*disco dances*

And yeah, a ton of stuff happened in that episode, and Kuvira was the best villain ever, and the Avatar world just continues to be my favorite thing in existence--but I'm just really happy for that one moment. I don't know how many times I've replayed that last minute, but it just gets cuter every time. Fanfiction in the next few weeks is going to be divine~

Second, Silvia's birthday, on the 20th. We went to the shooting range, then to dinner, and then back at her house for present exchange and cake. Twas awesome:





Cautiously eyeing armed!Silvia in this picture--she demonstrated
deadly accuracy with the AR-15...and a hate of the binder clips holding up our targets >_>








Silvia and Ren got me an awesome N7 hoodie which I've been obsessively wearing. My brother almost dueled me for it >.>


Third, my Christmas decorations in my room. Because we were fixing up the living room for so long, we couldn't put the tree up till about the 23rd. I love Christmas too much to let it go undecorated, so as soon as was possible, I decorated my room (with my new desk--which is just the old living room desk) with lights, a snow globe, tiny tree, whatever I could think of!

I also suddenly feel like starting a masquerade mask collection.
(The plague doctor one is my brother's--the frilly white one is mine.
We bought them two or three Halloween's ago.)

(That's a collection of Charles Dickens stories.
Obviously, it's opened to A Christmas Carol).
Fourth, presents!
I woke up at around 5:30 am and went to the tree half an hour later.
Isn't it pretty? :D


So I have to pause to talk about this. I did ask my dad to get me the To Boldly Flee DVD even though he's generally against purchasing DVD's. (He doesn't watch movies a million times like I do). But I really wanted this one for the behind the scenes, bloopers, and commentaries. I really admire Doug Walker and I don't mind supporting him and his little movies.

BUT

Not only did my dad keep me in the dark about whether or not he would actually get it, I had no idea he and my mom had not just purchased a sign copy of the DVD but also a little photograph with some of the Channel Awesome producers. (I recognize the clothes some of them are wearing from interviews they did last Christmas, which just makes it kind of funny and cool).

My dad said he sent them a message too telling them how much I like their work and with a link to this blog. I doubt anyone actually went here since they probably get spammed with a million links to blogs and YouTube pages and whatever, but it's such a nice gesture on behalf of my parents that I felt like gushing about it here.

Anyways, the classic presents: books and clothes!

Amazon disappeared a couple more books--including the third Halo novel in
the Forerunner Trilogy--so my parents will have to fight for a refund later.
Still, I got a lot!
I now officially have two red starfleet dresses.
I didn't take pictures of the Christmas dinner from the 24th, sadly enough, but suffice to say it was delicious. (And it was turkey, since my parents accidentally had ham for Thanksgiving and I had chicken out of laziness).

Been playing a lot of Destiny and Dragon Age: Inquisition too. I kind of love the black lipstick with these girls for some reason. I might make this a thing...




(Can you see the purple in her eyes? :D)

They're both ranged fighters, rogues who use explosions and black lipstick (my author appeal in that regard). Serena--my inquisitor--is an archer, while my as-of-yet-unnamed guardian is fond of sniper rifles.

And I'm gushing about them...for...reasons that may end up connecting back here in the future :D

It's been funnnn. I've been mostly going through the To Boldly Flee DVD and wearing my N7 hoodie and reindeer headband. Had a fun Christmas this year, and though I'm sad to see the day come to an end, I get to panic about 2015 now.

WOO!
Becky

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

One Hundred Years

Now Playing: Trevor Morris - The Dawn Will Come (Dragon Age Inquisition OST)

I'm a little restless. No matter how much older I get, I'm always jumpy the day before and on Christmas. It's been a busy couple of days, and on Monday night, I had a not so pleasant argument with my parents. I'm also feeling a bit weird. Lonely, I think, but not in a way that's constant or even has much reason. I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

But I set a reminder about this a few months back because it's kind of a really sweet story to talk about during Christmas, so that's what I want to ramble about today: it's been exactly one hundred years since the Christmas truce of World War 1.

To quote Wikipedia (yeah, yeah, historians and college professors everywhere hiss at me):

"Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides—as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units—independently ventured into "no man's land", where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another, in one of the truce's most enduring images...

The Christmas truces were particularly significant due to the number of men involved and the level of their participation – even in very peaceful sectors, dozens of men openly congregating in daylight was remarkable – and are often seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of human history."

I think it's that last line that gets to me. I know there's a movie about it, Joyeux Noël, that I'm thinking of watching as the day comes to a close.

I get all kinds of odd when Christmas comes around, and I feel oddly connected to it despite the fact that there's never been any inherent reason for it other than "there's pretty lights, people give presents, on occasion you eat good food."

But just like birthdays and anniversaries and overly long and boring graduation ceremonies, holidays feel like days where I can come to rest and reflect on the present. I don't think of future Christmases, I don't think of the upcoming semester, I barely even think of the new year.

Christmas makes me happy, even when things get bad or when not so happy thoughts start to annoy me. It calms me down, for absolutely no reason. It's a made up thing, just another day on the calender. It could be easily ignored. But it's never really that way with me. I can't ignore it no matter how much I try, and even when things are bad, the holiday is still good. I hope it's the same for you.
~Becky

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Nineteen

Now Playing: James Newton Howard ft. Jennifer Lawrence - The Hanging Tree

It's become a bit of a tradition of mine to quote Stephen King's On Being Nineteen (And A Few Other Things) to people who are turning nineteen. And since it's finally my turn, I'm going to share my reason for being so excited to turn this age >:D

From the essay:

“In 1967, I didn’t have any idea what my kind of story might be, but that didn’t matter; I felt positive I’d know it when it passed me on the street. I was nineteen and arrogant…at nineteen, it seems to me, one has a right to be arrogant; time has usually not begun its stealthy and rotten subtraction...

Nineteen’s a selfish age and finds one’s cares tightly circumscribed. I had a lot of reach, and I cared about that. I had a lot of ambition, and I cared about that. I had a typerwriter that I carried from one shithole apartment to the next, always with a deck of smokes on my pocket and a smile on my face. The compromises of middle age were distant, the insults of old age over the horizon. Like the protagonist in that Bob Seger song they now use to sell the trucks, I felt endlessly powerful and endlessly optimistic; my pockets were empty, but my head was full of things I wanted to say and my heart was full of stories I wanted to tell.

Sounds corny now; felt wonderful then. Felt very cool. More than anything else I wanted to get inside my readers’ defenses, wanted to rip them and ravish them and change them forever with nothing but story. And I felt I could do those things. I felt I had been made to do those things.

How conceited does that sound? A lot or a little? Either way, I don’t apologize. I was nineteen. There was not so much as a strand of gray in my beard. I had three pairs of jeans, one pair of boots, the idea that the world was my oyster, and nothing that happened in the next twenty years proved me wrong.

Then, around the age of thirty-nine, my troubles set in: drink, drugs, a road accident that changed the way I walked (among other things). I’ve written about them at length and need not write about them here. Besides, it’s the same for you, right? The world eventually sends out a mean-ass Patrol Boy to slow your progress and show you who’s boss. You reading this have undoubtedly met yours (or will); I met mine, and I’m sure he’ll be back. He’s got my address. He’s a mean guy, a Bad Lieutenant, the sworn enemy of goofery, fuckery, pride, ambition, loud music, and all things nineteen.

But I still think that’s a pretty fine age. Maybe the best age. You can rock and roll all night, but when the music dies out and the beer wears off, you’re able to think. And dream big dreams. The mean Patrol Boy cuts you down to size eventually, and if you start out small, why, there’s almost nothing left but the cuffs of your pants when he’s done with you. “Got another one!” he shouts, and strides on with his citation book in his hand.

So a little arrogance (or even a lot) isn’t such a bad thing, although your mother undoubtedly told you different. Mine did. Pride goeth before a fall, Stephen, she said[…]and then I found out—right around the age that is 19 x 2—that eventually you fall down, anyway. Or get pushed into the ditch.

At nineteen they can card you in the bars and tell you to get the fuck out, put your sorry act (and sorrier ass) back on the street, but they can’t card you when you sit down to paint a picture, write a poem, or tell a story, by God, and if you reading this happen to be very young, don’t let your elders and supposed betters tell you any different. Sure, you’ve never been to Paris. No, you never ran with the bulls at Pamplona. Yes, you’re a puissant who had no hair in your armpits until three years ago—but so what? If you don’t start out too big for your britches, how are you gonna fill ‘em when you grow up? Let it rip regardless of what anybody tell you, that’s my idea; sit down and smoke that baby.”


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I love that essay so much--and that's just a tiny part of it.

It's silly to place importance on ages like they're the only thing that can define your life for that year, but though I get the usual apprehension at the idea of turning twenty, thirty, forty, I'm not truly afraid of getting older. I'm not going to dread my twenty-nine birthday like my life will end right afterwards.

But it seems birthdays, more so than any other days of celebration or importance, are times of reflections. So that's what I'm doing right now. Reflecting. And thinking ahead.

A few years ago, I promised myself I'd start querying once I turned nineteen. It was a bit of a dangerous promise since it was likely I would have never finished anything by this age or even gotten well enough at writing to be publishable. But I have seen a growth in it, as have my professors. I have a novel that needs to be revised and edited, another that needs to be finished and expanded, plus two more story ideas. I know how to get in contact with CPs and beta readers, and I know how long to wait in between edits so I don't hit burn out.

Even if I send my first query at December 12th, 2015, I think I'll consider it an accomplishment. I just want to try. And if--well, when--I get rejected, I know I'm going to be happy I gave it a shot. Oh, I'm sure there'll be tears and frustrated fits of anger, but who cares? I have to try. It won't kill me to try.

Besides, this is supposed to be a fearless age. If this is really what I want to do the rest of my life, I might as well start now. I'll probably get kicked down a lot, but I doubt I'll have a single regret ten years from now.

I don't know yet what'll happen this year. I'm graduating, and that's kind of scary. But it's also kind of a relief. I finally feel like I'm moving forward--at a snail's pace, but still, I'm advancing, and nothing's more important than that.
~Becky

Monday, December 8, 2014

30 Week Writing Survey - Week 16: Romance

Now Playing: Rob Scallon - Tamara

HOMEEEE. I am homeeeeeeee :D

I've never gotten on a plane all by myself but I DID EEET. Did not accidentally board a flight to Zimbabwe or get my luggage sent to South Korea, so clearly, I have accomplished a great Adult Thing.

Before I left my dorm room, I took this quick picture of the presents I got my family:


And yes, I'm going to be wearing that little headband the rest of December >.> Try and stop me.

Obligatory airport/plane/adventure pictures:


Have I ever mentioned how much I love airports? Maybe it's because I've only been on them like...less than five times all my life, but they're sooo cool. I love the little sitting areas and I love the cafes and I get so happy seeing people move around everywhere with their luggage. I dun even know why. It just makes me all joyous.

I have more pictures of stuff my mom gave me. She's been knitting me a million hats and sweaters, but I'll probably show those off later >>

And because there's already going to be a lot of posts this December and I have games to play and books to read and friends to tackle and an apartment to clean, I'll probably skip the next few weekly challenges. I'll pick them right back up come January, though >.> Cuz I dun wanna abandon another survey.

But at least here's the 16th week answer! :D


QUESTION 16: Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? ;)

The level of romance in my novels has gone down a lot, but on the off chance it's happened, I think I've managed to mature the relationships a little bit the older I grow. (Uh. Hopefully). I'm only going to talk about some from the past rather than the more recent ones:

In the original The Night Kingdom, there's no focus on romance, though Arkana and Jacob are develop crushes on each other, which, in a 20-years-later epilogue*, ends in marriage. (Ignore the fact that he's a Prince and she's a, well, "heathen witch" who hasn't got a drop of royal blood in her. Yeahhh, great job with that 12-year-old author-me.) Later drafts made this a more focused romance, but it also brought up a lot more problems for them, since they start out as enemies, and Jacob's side is responsible for the genocide of Arkana's people. It's no wonder those two have issues >_>

My fanfictions had the most romance, so Broken and Miss Murder take that top spot. The YA contemporary I wrote in 8th grade, creatively titled The Band, had a romance between the lead guitarist girl and her vocalist. However, if I ever rewrite this, there's a 90% chance this relationship will be a lot more flawed and might end in their break up. The original was just too...shoujo-y. Cute confused feelings and then kissing and never a conflict in sight after they get together. I'd rather write something a tad more realistic than something cute.

With the RP's, a lot of the conflict between Legion and Dragon involves the fallout after the romance. She loved him, he loved her, he betrayed her, she's going to get her revenge. It's very Bill vs. The Bride >.>

The cutest thing ever, though, was Dream's eventual relationship with Spirit. THOSE TWO ARE ADORABLE, even though Carp and I have talked about how it's not the best kind of relationship. Spirit idolizes Dream too much and, in a way, Dream idolizes Spirit too. They love each other, but they'll never admit the other one has any faults, which can prove problematic.

Ataraxia had nothing except for mentions of Charlie and Xuan's marriage, which I think is rather sweet when Xuan talks about it.

As for how "far" I take it, I've made it clear which characters are and aren't having sex, but I don't write explicit scenes >_> Because I know how quickly I'd mess that up. Oh! And weirdly enough, I have some characters that mention having worked in the sex industry through several periods of their life, BUT still no erotica from me.

Cuz that'd be awkward.
~Becky

*Or was it 10 years later? Pfft. Dun remember. It's still dumb >.>

Thursday, December 4, 2014

MARS!

I'm typing this with Hannibal's help because I'M JUST SO EXCITED.

By 2035, humanity could be heading to Mars! AHHH SOMEONE HOLD ME DOWN!

I just read the news on reddit, then went looking for more info on Twitter and google and and and I just can't I'm so HYPED hdjsjwisbrriwnimzbccajaisjs.

I mean yeah I'll be 40-ish years old when it happens and a lot could delay or even (nuhhhh) cancel the mission, but I can't help but be hopeful. And how long will they be there for? Will they hear the message from Carl Sagan? How many of them will be relatively young--say in their 30's? Making them just teenagers now!? Imagine growing up your whole life preparing just for that...@-@

Ahhhh. I'm so excited. And happy. And now I'm not going to be able to sleep.
~Becky

EDIT (December 5th): I had to share this

Monday, December 1, 2014

30 Week Writing Survey - Week 15: Writer I Admire

Now Playing: Dragon Age Inquisition OST - Nightingale's Eyes

Happy December! Might be a quick post since there's some things I have to get done--I have some last minute errands to run before leaving for Miami this weekend.

I don't have too many updates since I barely went out this Thanksgiving break. I did accomplish one thing, at least. After a lot of painful rewrites, I managed to finish the Ignited short story for my creative writing workshop. The story was kind of a pain (I'm not good with short stuff) but it made me realize that I kind of miss writing witches >.>

But I'll do that laterrrr. After all this is over, I'm going back to Vanguard's Exodus and hopefully I'll finish the first draft within the next few weeks, maybe months.

Oh. I also have to, like, panic at the fact that in thirteen days, I'm turning nineteen. I've been...kind of looking forward to that birthday for a few years now, even if it does cause me some stress. (But I'll get more into that on December 13th).

Anyways, here's my response to the survey today :D


QUESTION 15: Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not! 

So I was going to say JK Rowling at first, because I admire her for her charity work and for being brave enough to write and seek publication at the darkest period of her life. I feel like I'd do the opposite of that. Whenever I'm stressed out or really nervous about something, I neglect my writing rather than lose myself in it. I don't know how I would manage to write and publish while battling depression.

But though she was my childhood idol, I think I'm going to go with a classic writer. I love, love, love Mary Shelley. She (along with an essay I read once written by Stephen King) is the reason I am so focused on being nineteen. She was that exact age when she wrote Frankenstein, pioneering the modern science fiction genre we know now and changing literature forever.

It almost makes me sad that her legacy has been obscured by pop culture. When people hear the word "Frankenstein", they think of some protozombie creature, unintelligent, childlike, slow, a mumbling, groaning mess, a mistake of science, etc. And there's just so much fundamentally wrong with that.

But this isn't a review of the book. It's of Shelley. I'm so jealous of her talent, and so in awe of it too. I wish I could be as great as she was at nineteen, but even if I'm not, I'm so thankful I got to read her novel before I turned that age.

And it's specially important that I mention her now, right as NaNoWriMo has come to an end. On a grand scale and a personal one, I wouldn't be writing Vanguard's Exodus if it wasn't for Frankenstein. I'm so proud of this story, no matter how flawed it is, and how much I have left to work on. And I wouldn't be here without Mary.
~Becky
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.