Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Pentatonix Edition

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly writerly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. I'm reading

I got a copy of Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab to review! This book looks like fun. I've been reading more Middle Grade lately, and I like it a lot. I also read and reviewed Asylum. I didn't like it, and only finished it so that I could write a fair review. Various aspects didn't really sit well with me, and the writing fell flat. Others might like it, but for me it was "meh."

I am also feeling the urge to re-read some of my favorites: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lies of Locke Lamora, All The World's A Grave, and even A Game of Thrones. There's a reason I put all these books waaaay up high on the shelf. I have no business re-reading right now when I have so much material to get through...

What I'm writing

Contracted is pushing 60k. My progress on this WIP continues to surprise me. I can't believe I started this thinking it would be a short story.

Right now, the characters are stuck in the dreaded journey-through-the-woods montage and I'm scrambling to come up with names of all these people that I have to introduce.

What I'm supposed to be writing

Ha. I feel like I should include this section because all the college coursework is coming crashing down right now. I have a paper due in a few weeks (that I should start now), and I have two contracts and bibliographies due...and ugh.

What else I'm up to

I'm beta-reading for the seriously cool Patrice Caldwell. I'm knitting a scarf (because if I ever hope to open a side Etsy shop, I need things to put there...) 

What inspires me right now

These lovely people!

Pentatonix, a five-member a cappella group. I'm a Pentaholic (a silly fandom name for a Pentatonix fan). Their album PTX Vol. 2 is available for pre-order! AND, the ENTIRE album is available for preview right now on billboard! You should listen to it. SERIOUSLY. Their vocal effects are amazing. All they do in studio is add reverb and mix the balance. It might sound like they use a drum machine...but that's just Kevin (aka the beatboxing cello guy). They always inspire me, and the quality of their music is always good.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This Was a Weird Wednesday

It's Wednesday again. What's up with you?

What I'm Reading

I just finished MILA 2.0. It's a great book! I would probably give it four stars, because five stars for me is me jumping up and down and pestering all my friends to read it. I wasn't quite that crazy over it, but it's still good. And I cried at the end. MILA 2.0 also gets major points for one of the best mom-daughter dynamics I've read in a long time.

What I'm Writing

Contracted, as usual. Big oops. I kind of...accidentally reached 50,000 words. :P Before November. Bad me! Oh well; I was going to NaNoRebel this one anyway. Now my NaNo goal will be to finish the story, I guess. I have no idea how many words that will take.

What Else I'm Up To

Making ravioli. And, weirdly, crying a lot for no known reason. I did just get new contacts, so it's probably a reaction from the rest of my body to my eyes feeling watery and irritated a lot. I also just finished a stage role where I had to cry, so I had to practice making myself cry. And now I'm crying at everything (though MILA 2.0 was a valid thing to cry about). 

I cried during a commercial. I cried watching Legend of Korra. I cried when I was brushing my hair. WTF. There doesn't seem to be any emotion attached to most of these things; it's just a physical reaction. But I'm not the weepy kind of hormonal (I'm the bitchy kind). Oops, there I go again. I'm tearing up writing this blogpost. I don't get it. I hope this is a phase.

What Inspires Me Right Now

I'm knitting a pillow and it has turned out really nicely. It still needs more stuffing, though. Also, I had great heaps of fun writing a Sub-genre Party post, and it needs comment love. :) People sometimes assume fantasy is stagnant or formulaic, but there are so many angles you can take on it. I am reminded of why I love to read and write fantasy.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Subgenre Party!

Since signing up for NaNoWriMo, I've been spending a lot of time on the forums. They're a great resource. 

Because Contracted is fantasy, I've been hanging out on the Fantasy forum a lot. In the process, I've found out some things about the WIP that I didn't know myself. It fits into sub-genres I didn't initially realize, including some that I didn't even know existed. Such as:

High Fantasy: fantasy that takes place in a non-Earth dimension, alternate world, or universe. (Contrast with Low Fantasy, which takes place on Earth.) Lumped in with Epic Fantasy, and the terms are interchangeable (although I prefer to differentiate between the two because High refers to the setting while Epic refers to the nature of the story).

Epic Fantasy: lumped in with High Fantasy. Fantasy that features a quest, journey, multiple locales, a sense of sweeping scope and scale, or characters with epic stature, such as monarchs and heroes. More likely to have an episodic plot. The stakes are about Saving the World.

Dark Fantasy: fantasy where the gothic, horror, or gruesome elements are emphasized; fantasy where grim and scary themes, motifs, and characters are emphasized; sometimes called "horror fantasy."

Fairy-Tale Retelling: a retelling of a classic fairy tale or myth. May or may not be Fantasy.

Twisted Fairy Tale: May or may not be fantasy, but when it is, it's the Dark Fantasy or Horror version of Fairy-Tale Retelling. Many are fairy tales retold as horror stories.

Gritty Fantasy: a sister to Dark Fantasy, but where Dark Fantasy is more about horror/gruesome elements, Gritty Fantasy is more about amorality. Characters are often forced to be or become amoral/morally ambiguous in order to survive in a cruel, harsh world. There's a focus on character realism rather than heroic ideals. 

Political Fantasy: fantasy that focuses on political intrigue, where political conniving, scheming, and intrigue is central to the plot. Tends to have less magic.

Sword and Sorcery: fantasy crossed with action/adventure, taking place in a High Fantasy setting, often involving magic and a romantic element. The characters have many battles, fights, and adventures, but the stakes are less about Saving the World and more about personal battles. Has gained a bit of a reputation for being campy.

LGBT Fantasy: as I define it, fantasy where a non-hetero character or romantic relationship is central to the plot. Alternately, it's fantasy that is in discourse with LGBT issues and that seeks to create social change for LGBT people today (an "issue" novel). 

How useful are sub-genres, though? Does it matter whether something fits better in High/Epic Fantasy or Dark Fantasy? Apart from Feminist and LGBT Fantasy, which are used as vehicles for social change, the rest of these seem like sub-genres without a cause.

Sub-genres seem most useful for talking about books...after reading them. And after writing them. Genre is often more a marketing thing.
But none of that matters right now.

November is for writing, and it's nearly here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Government Shutdown Edition

What I'm reading

 MILA 2.0 has been sitting over in the sidebar since summer, and sitting sadly on my Nook for PC since I downloaded it. I want to get back into it -- I left off right when things started to pick up -- but I feel really guilty whenever I read anything that isn't related to class.

I also ordered The Weir and Other Plays and 'night Mother to read as possibles for my senior thesis. It's getting down to the wire and I can't really afford to read for fun right now.

"Senior year," they said. "It will be fun," they said...

What I'm writing

The action is picking up in Contracted. The characters are also developing in ways I didn't originally plan, and that I'm not sure I like. It's interesting, but at the same time I'm thinking, "Why did I write this scene?? She's not supposed to have feelings!!"  Feelings are hard. I don't like them. :(

Also, I don't buy the "My characters ran away with me! I'm just writing them how they want to be written!" line. I control the characters; I write the story. Writing different emotions and dynamics makes sense for where the story is now; however, it doesn't quite reconcile with my original ideas. And while I like these new developments, I don't want to totally sacrifice those. I'm afraid it will read as inconsistency. 

What else I'm up to

I am so annoyed that they broke the government like I can't even. Like if you lose a soccer game you can't just coerce the other team into giving you more points or else you'll ban soccer or something. I. Am. So. Annoyed. My parents both have government jobs, too. They won't "lose" their jobs, but they can't work/be paid until a budget is figured out, at which point they get all the pay they didn't get while the politicians were having a pissing contest. And on that note:

What inspires me right now
I'm playing Desdemona and Bianca in my friend's senior project. She's studying the villains of Shakespeare, taking the angle of, "What happens when you regender them from man to woman?" It's an extremely interesting project, and if you want to read more, my post What if Iago was a Woman? explains further. It might seem strange that I find this "inspiring," but as a Shakespeare nut I'm a sucker for tragedy, and also, good theatre is ALWAYS inspiring.

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.

Review: Style by Chelsea Cameron

A book I read was good, and I want to share it with you all via a review! :) I'm reading more of Chelsea Cameron's stuff, and this...