Category Archives: Books

Katniss, the cold-hearted bit-ca?

I’m trying to be very, very patient for NaNoWriMo to start. I’ve been cleaning — you would not believe how many things were expired in my bathroom — and cooking new things to keep me distracted. Also, I’ve started in on the second Hunger Games book. The girly part of me is very curious about the romance aspect of it, but the other part wants to know what’s going to happen next in the land of Panem. I swear, if it’s only about who’s going to be Katniss’ boyfriend, I’m going to be ticked off.

Now, a friend of mine who has already finished all of the books told me the other day that she didn’t like Katniss, that she saw her as too cold-hearted and indifferent. I have to admit that I was a little surprised at this. I’d only read the first book, but I hadn’t really pictured Katniss as such. My friend told me to tell her if I saw anything as I was reading that said otherwise, and so I agreed.

So, I thought about it a little and as I was reading last night I had a few thoughts, the first being that my friend might be believing everything that Katniss says. What does that mean? It means that these books are in first person and therefore the narrator cannot be reliable. The parts that I had been considering to be moments of self-denial and self-editing on Katniss’ part, my friend might have taken at face value. There are moments when she describes how she honestly feels, but her character isn’t the type to fully understand or want to fully understand her own feelings. Her character has many faults, but being cold-hearted is not one of them.

And that’s it for my character analysis. If I say anymore, I might start writing in circles. For those who have read the books, what do you think? For those who hate the books, please make your way to the nearest exit. I admit that it’s not my usual read, but it’s a whole lot better than Twilight. Sorry if I offended any Twilight fans.


Eat. Sleep. Read. Write.

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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Books, Writing


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Boy Adventure Novel?

I was thinking, as I often do — gets me in a lot of trouble, doing that — about all sorts of writing things. Recently, you may know, I submitted a short story to my writer’s group for them to heavily critique. It’s been some time since then and while I said I would do some major work on it, I’ve been holding back.


Well, while I agreed completely with all of their grammatical critiques, I was still bothered by some of what they said about the story itself. I know that a few posts back I said that I’d probably go along with what they said and turn it into a novel, but after the initial shock of the critique wore off I thought to myself, “it might not be finished, but why make it a novel?” I like short story writing, and I still feel that this story should be one.

Now, the second issue: They didn’t see the main character change.

I thought and thought about this one. Did my protagonist really never change? Was the tale pointless? I was feeling rather depressed after a few thoughts like those. Then, a few revelations hit me.

1) My group members want a happy ending.

2) I might be going too young with my target audience.


When my group members said that they wanted to see the character change, they were saying it from a very different mindset than myself. They assume that a character must change for the better in order for it to be an actual change. They wanted to see the protagonist overcome and meanwhile I was thinking, “but this is a horror, protagonists are usually traumatized at the end.” Okay, so it is true that I could work on portraying this trauma a little better but I am adamantly holding on to my “no real happy ending” mentality for this story.

Which brings me to the target audience. Alright. I admit it. I told them that the intended audience was a middle school boy and that was a big no-no. Why? Because, who wants their kid to read a story about another kid their age being killed by a monster? To be honest, I only told them that because someone else thought it was meant for a younger audience. A reader does NOT necessarily need to be in the same age group as the characters, and I was ignoring this fact for other people’s opinions.

So, I’m going for the audience that I initially thought of when I was writing this. Adults. Hah, take that. True, there are some changes I still have in mind but I’m going to show them what this story was really meant to be. It’s not some middle school boy’s adventure novel. It’s a weird tale, a horror, pretty much anything but an adventure novel.

Eat. Sleep. Read. Write. Repeat.

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Books, Writing


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I am not a serial reader

Do you know that type? Are you that type? Can you pick up a book and read it from start to finish without having the urge to pick up one or two — maybe four? — more books or stories to read? Kudos to you if you are.  I admire your focus level. Wish I could do it sometimes.

I, however, am more of the piles-of-books-to-read-how-’bout-I-just-start-this-next-book-now type. There are some pros and cons to this mad method.


– If you get to a lull in one story you can move to another story to take a break, then dive back in.

– You get to take in more writing styles at once.


– Takes longer to finish whatever you’re reading.

– …. wait, did that happen in this book or that one?


There’s sometimes too great a difference in the reading materials for that last one to be a problem, but… it’s happened. I enjoy my book juggling, I suppose, so long as I don’t compare how long it takes me to get through a book to others’ speed. I am considered a bit of a slow reader even without the way I jump from one thing to another though. Again, I don’t really mind. I want to absorb the story and bring it to life in my head. I feel that if I read it any faster I might miss something, like when you fast-forward a movie.

Anyway, whatever type of reader you are I think the important thing is the fact that you’re reading. Doesn’t matter what your speed or method is, so long as you have the interest. I can get pretty annoyed with those that think highly of themselves simply because they can get through a book in one day that might have taken you three instead.

And, oh look, where did this soap box come from? Had no idea I was standing on it…

Okay, I should be sleeping. Toodles.

Eat. Sleep. Read. Write. Repeat.

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Posted by on January 8, 2012 in Books, Life


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Sweet Rejection

I had an interesting thing happen last night/this morning. I was up later than usual and around 4 am I got an email from a magazine I’d submitted to. I had just been thinking about it earlier, why I hadn’t given up on getting a reply from them even though I knew that they were having issues that were delaying submission responses. They must have heard my mental wonderings, because there was a personalized reply, waiting in my inbox.

Sadly, and not so sadly it was a rejection letter. Why not so sadly, you ask? Because of what they said in the email. They thought it would be more suitable for a younger audience, actually, and that was basically why they decided not to go with it even though they enjoyed the story. I practically slapped myself and said, “of course!”

 I had been hesitant to go younger because I wasn’t sure if parents would want their kids reading a story where a boy gets snatched up by a monster, but then I remembered the type of stories I read around that age. I definitely read worse things in books meant for 12 and under. So, I’m starting anew with this story and looking for children’s magazines.

I should have thought of that sooner, really. One of my earlier drafts of the story was read to an elementary class a while back — which I didn’t know about until after the fact. That is what happens when a parent takes a copy of your story to work and shows it to an English teacher.

I’m also taking this chance to change the title of the story. I’m bad at thinking of titles, if you haven’t noticed by some of the ones I have for my posts. Soon after I got the email though, a new title popped into my head that finally fit. Took me months, but I did it! I don’t think the story felt quite finished because of the constantly changing, boring titles.

Anyway, I’ll get back to hunting down children’s magazines, and writing for NaNoWriMo, and writing something else… Let’s just say I’m going to be doing a lot of writing this week.

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Books, Life, Writing


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Careful what you think!

You know how sometimes you fall into this funk or find yourself in a seemingly never-ending dry spell and then – wham! – someone wants you to finish a project within 12 hours and another person is asking for a 500 word article? No?

Well, I spent most of my day today thinking up names for pieces of jewelry and writing up paragraphs. This is what happens when you say to yourself, “Self, I’m going to pick up the pace on my writing.” It’s kind of like the time that I’d grieved over the fact that my roommate had to sleep with a lamp on, and wound up losing electricity that same night.

I didn’t mean it!

Anyway, I’m a little tired of squinting at pictures of opals and pearls. Time to think about fiction.

I’ve been reading this book called “The Ice Cradle” by Mary Ann Winkowski and Maureen Foley. When I picked it up, the title made me think that it might be a disturbing and creepy story. Not so much. It reminds me of the show Ghost Whisperer. I mean it really reminds me of it. Woman can see spirits and helps them into the light, her grandmother took her to funerals and deathbeds when she was young to teach her about her abilities…

Oh, and yes I have watched many episodes of Ghost Whisperer. What can I say? I’m a girl. I like things like tearful moments, and chocolate. And, like many of the fairer sex I will consume copious amounts of each whether or not it’s good for me.

So, I’m going to finish the book — probably some time tomorrow morning — and then go look for something a bit more bone chilling.

I have been looking at this book as both a source of entertainment and learning. I don’t usually turn off the writer’s side of my brain anymore when I’m reading, because I like to make note of things I like and don’t like. There are some points in this book that I would like to keep in mind when working on my own stories, but there are some that I also want to avoid.

Moral of the story: Read a lot. Best-sellers, new authors, old authors, books with pretty and plain covers. Avoid the ones that may make you want to gouge your eyes out, but keep on reading. You might be surprised at what you find.

Oh, and any suggestions for a good, chilling ghost story? I’m in the Halloween mood.

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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Books, Life, Writing


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It’s About Time!

I’ve been Miss Avoid-ee for, well, a very long time. I’ve been avoiding posting, avoiding life… just plain avoiding. I’m going to be posting a blurb about a nifty award I got — around the time that I started my avoiding phase — but right now I’m going to be catching you up with my life.

I went to a writers’ group. Yup. With writers. Whodda thunk? It was an all women group that I kind of found myself plopped into by my mother. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t too thrilled at first. That was thanks to the dear ol’ mom I mentioned before. She essentially planned it for me like someone signs up their four year old up for day camp during the summer.

“She needs this,” she said, while I was sitting there, rather unmotivated to defend myself because I was just getting over a cold. The same night that this happened, she gave me a lecture on being prepared with answers to people’s questions for me.

That requires some back story. We were at an event: large room filled with chatting people, who also happened to be eating around tables crowded close together. I was asked a question by someone two seats down, and it took me a good moment to get the answer out to them. My brain was addled, okay?! The constant drone around me, cold medicine still lurking in my bloodstream and the fact that I’d just gone to take a bite of pie all played into that mess of a moment.

But, no, my mom has to only remember the times when I’m socially awkward and stumbling over my own feet. She ignored the fact that I had a rather good conversation with the girl right next to me, who I didn’t know at all.

Now, we were talking about the writing group. It was like coming up for air. I got to talk, face to face, about writing with people who understood writing. No one was in awe or telling me that they bet they’d see my novels out their some time soon. No one asked me what the “trick” to writing was, or tried to give me an idea for a book.

It was a relief, and the most important thing was that everyone there understood that it’s not always that easy to write. It’s sometimes difficult to get an idea out of your head when it doesn’t want to be out yet. Last month I felt like when I told people my story was coming slowly, they thought I was just trying to put the square block through the circle when, OBVIOUSLY, it should go in the square hole.

Oh, yes, obviously. I should have already written my entire story according to the same people who are constantly asking me writing questions that usually have an obvious answer to me. And, yes, I’m starting to sound like an arrogant idiot. I’ll leave you with this quote then, from an author I’ve grown fond of in the past year.

I had a roommate that said that you couldn’t tell that Stephen King could write all the terrifying and creepy things that he does just by looking at him. Though I never said anything, I had always been able to tell by looking at his eyes. I did, however, remind her that I — a quiet, unassuming person who many referred to as “nice” and “sweet” — love Halloween, grin excitedly at fear farms, and am willing to write a story that ends with a middle school boy being eaten by a monster. Perhaps this is a like-knows-like situation?

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” -Stephen King


Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Books, Life, Writing


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Think, Think, Think

I feel a little like Shia Labeouf’s character in Disturbia sometimes. I’m not under house arrest — even if I did anything that could result in that, I wouldn’t get caught, pah! 😉 — but I’ve been spying on my neighbors. You would too if strange things were happening across the street. Trucks in and out of the gates, police cars, noises at night, moving vans, etc. It’s a situation just begging me to concoct wild ideas.

The house now appears empty, but you never know…

One of these days I’m going to wake up to discover that a strange family has moved into the house overnight. They’ll keep to themselves and they’ll have a large black dog that sits at the gate and just stares at you, curling its lip while it growls viciously. I’m sure they’ve made a few slasher movies like that.

I should probably talk about writing, eh? What I really want to talk about is the thinking you do before you put a pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or typewriter, or chisel to stone. Whatever your preference. Some like to dive head first into a story, deciding that they’ll figure out the twists and turns along the way. Others might find that this sort of method simply takes them in circles and into dead ends. I’m one of those people, to be honest.

Instead, I spend a lot of time thinking about the story, though mostly my thoughts dwell on the characters. I’ve always had the habit of “figuring out” people, and I do the same with many of the characters that pop into my head. I might as well be sitting across a table from them, going “hmmm” and “aha”. 

I feel, however, that if I can understand the character better I can then understand their motivation and the sort of situation they might find themselves in for a story. Even though occasionally I have a scene come to mind that I desperately want to write, sometimes I have to put it aside for another time when I find that the characters I currently have don’t have the motivation to see them through. I might as well be trying to make a jellyfish walk, if I tried to force the wrong character into the wrong situation.

Thinking over the situation, the characters and the story before you actually start writing it can help tie up loose ends too and make the writing process easier in the end. It’s much like editing in that sense. You can kind of think of it as making mental mark-ups and notes.

And there we go, something about writing. I do have to mention that the thinking part before the writing can sometimes be troublesome. I more often than not get my head stuck in the clouds when I’m around other people and, while I’m thinking about a character or plot, those around me want to talk instead. (The audacity!) So, they’ll strike up a conversation while I’m still half out of it.

I know, I know, it wouldn’t hurt to be more social and in the moment. Therefore, I suggest finding time to be alone while you think. And, screw up your face in deep concentration if you have to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been mentally busy with a story, only to have someone interrupt because they thought I wasn’t doing anything. If you have to, say you’re really tired and go take a “nap”. Even if you do fall asleep, at least you won’t likely be interrupted. Dreams can be inspirational too.

So, keep on writing, even if it’s just in your head for a while. I’m going to go think now…


Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Books, Life, Writing


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