Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but last week I came across a word that I already knew, but had forgotten about. Poor forgotten words! They're usually such fun words, and grievously underused, in my opinion.

For example:

fusty |ˈfəstē|adjective ( fustier , fustiest )smelling stale, damp, or stuffy : the fusty odor of decay.old-fashioned in attitude or style : grammar in the classroom became a fusty notion.

As in fusty old grandparents, which is the context I heard it in last week. ;) Or:

tallyho |ˈtalēˈhō| (also tally-ho)exclamationa huntsman's cry to the hounds on sighting a fox.

I actually didn't know the exact use of that word until just now. I thought it was some sort of greeting. Silly me!

My friend and I used to listen to the Slumdog Millionaire version of Jai Ho and think they were saying "tallyho". We were ever so disappointed when we found out we were wrong. (Although one would have expected us to clue in sooner, given the name of the song. XD)

Anyhow, this concludes my blathering for today. Ta, lovelies!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just Another Little Update

To tell you that the universe must apparently remain in balance. When something goes up, it must come down. After a bout of bad luck comes a bout of good. After you get accepted into your first and second choice universities, you are going to be burned by boiling oil and then your desk lamp will go kaplooey.

Which is to say, YESS! MY FUTURE IS NOT DOOMED! I got two acceptance letters yesterday from my top two choices of uni programs. *dances around*

Mind you, my top choice program has astronomical tuition fees and no scholarships, whereas the my second choice is $5000 less in tuition and is offering me at least $4000 more in scholarships, so now I actually have to put some thought into where to go, but who really cares because I GOT IN!!! *gloats*

I gloat because the number of pasty white females who get accepted to this program is remarkably small.

But anyway, yes, long story short: educational future not doomed. Financial future obscure. WIP still not finished. It just goes to show how much of a mutant this thing is when I've been saying for a week, "I'm almost done, I'm almost done!" But I suppose the ending must be proportional in size to the rest of the book. ;)

Anyhow, that's all I've got to say! Ta for now!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Random Update on my Uneventful Life

So, I realized I haven't blogged in two weeks. I blame this on three things, first and foremost the never-ending supply of calculus work that perpetually hounds me. Secondly, I spent March Break at my aunt's and my cousins tend to keep me away from the internet. And thirdly, I've found myself with very little to talk about.

I considered blogging about the alarming trends in some YA love interests, and I might yet formulate some coherent thoughts on the matter, but for now, everyone should go see what Para has to say. She's much more eloquent about it than I am. ;)

In other news, I drove a standard for the first time while I was down at my aunt's! (A standard car, that is. With a clutch and a stick shift and all that nonsense.) Now I can properly appreciate the convenience of automatic transmission. Seriously. I was only driving around a parking lot (with one poor unsuspecting car parked in the middle) and I thought I had too many things to think about. Clutch in, car on, shift to first, clutch off, gas on, stall out, fml, car not starting, wtf, oh right forgot about the clutch...and so on and so forth.

And oh, the poor puppies in the backseat! Or on the back floor, I should say, after I stalled out for the first time. Heheh.

I am in awe of those people who can drive a standard car an actual traffic-filled road and not die.

And on a more writing related note, my mutant WIP is SO CLOSE to being finished. Monstrous word count to be announced.

I think I'm going to ignore my Calculus and go work on it now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Trouble with Multiple Characters

I'm reading this zombie book right now, and it's one of those books that shifts focus amongst several characters. Sort of like split POVs but in third person. (I hesitate to say there are several MCs because there are so many and the focus is evenly distributed.) In any case, I've come to the conclusion that this style is very difficult to pull off well.

And I have to say I've tried it. When I was 13 I wrote a multi-MC book. It didn't really work out for plenty of reasons -- lack of character development, total angst-fests on every other page, plain old bad writing, and, I think, the whole multi-character thing, to name a few.

I had five "main characters" to begin with, but a few chapters in it became clear that I was developing a favourite, and this favourite was dominating the page-space. Eventually one character disappeared almost completely when his plot sputtered out and I got bored.

Obviously, the author of the book I'm reading now is not thirteen, and as such did a much better job of planning out the plot distribution. But the problem of favouritism remains, not from the author, but from the reader. I've started to like some characters better than others. I can relate to Character A better than Character B and Character L's problems are way more interesting than Character M's. As such, I want to read about Character A and L. When Character B and M show up for their respective scenes, I find myself skimming, waiting for the story to get back to something I care about, which isn't all that great.

This brings me to another problem. With so many characters to cover, there's not a whole lot of time for character development. There's a lot of telling rather than showing, and I'm not interested in Characters B and M because the author doesn't have time to make me interested. If Character A didn't happen to be in a situation I can relate to, I probably wouldn't care much about her either. If I hadn't been told that Character B had political views that were the complete opposite of mine (or if there had been time for him to show me he had some redeeming qualities), I might actually be sad when his brain got eaten. In other words, the reader suffers a certain lack of emotional investment in the characters and their lives.

These are all bad things. It makes it too easy for me to put the book down. In fact, at times, when I look at the number of pages there are left, I think I might not even want to finish it. Anf of course, the absolute lastlastLAST thing an author wants a reader to do is put the book down and never pick it up again.

So to sum this all up, the trouble I run into with multi-MC books is as follows:

1) Readers (and sometimes authors) develop favourites.

2) Readers (and sometimes authors) have some characters that are definitely less than favourites, and must suffer through scenes that involve those characters and no others.

3) Chronic amounts of telling are often present in an attempt to quickly develop characters and relationships in the limited amount of page-space.

4) Readers have a lack of emotional investment. In other words, they don't really care what happens to any of the characters - even their favourites - because they never had time to really get to know any of them.

5) Zombies jumping out of shadows, chasing after the protags, and eating their friends' brains gets old quick, and never comes across in a book as well as it would in a movie. (Because movies have soundtracks and can have various stringed instruments screech at deafening pitches when the zombie jumps out, thereby giving the viewer a heart attack. Authors do not have the luxury of sound effects.*)

That last point is obviously specific to the book I'm reading it, and I only added it because I felt like 5 was a nice, round number. But on that note, my lukewarm response to this book is probably based on a number of factors, many of which may stem from the above multi-MC-based problems, but none of which are unavoidable. That is to say, I'm sure some people can pull off these sorts of books without having these problems.

Just not this author. Or me. Or the author of that other book I read when I was ten and got so, so confused by the fact that I was reading about a different character in every chapter.

Ahem. Anyhow, there's my rambly two cents on the matter.

* Stay tuned for next week's blog post, entitled Why Books Should Have Soundtracks. ;)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lovely contests!

Hello, my lovelies!

I am blogging for the sole purpose of trying to win a shiny free book from Choco, over on In Which a Girl Reads. The contest ends at 11 (EST) tonight!

Me? Leave things to the last minute? Never!

Okay, seriously, I delayed because I was hoping to find a slightly less obnoxious way to post about this. But my blogging muse is on vacation, so this will have to do.

So, um, yes, that's about all I have to say. Go check out Choco's awesomeness!

And if you're bored you can listen to this song, because it makes me want to break into weird, empowered dancing when I hear it. For what reason, I do not know.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shiny Awards for Shiny People

Well! Sumayyah's got perfect timing! I haven't been able to think of anything to post about for days and days. Now she has given me warm and fuzzy and shiny awards! *huggles Sumayyah*

The first is the Creative Writer Award.

Upon receiving this award, I am told I must list 10 things that brighten my day. So, here we go!

1) Writing. (Figured I ought to start with the obvious.) It gives me such a happy buzz and my characters are always so entertaining and if not for writing, I never would have met...

2) The twifties! Who are all such amazing and wonderful people and shall live in a twiftie castle after they have taken over the world with their awesome books. Mark my words! It shall happen! :)

3) Music. Good music can get me out of any foul mood and motivates my muse.

4) Yummy food. I love yummy food. Gruyere cheese, and salmon wellington, and that creamy salmon thing with gherkins, and tuna melts, and chocolate chip pancakes with peaches and a hotdog/sausage...Om nom nom nom!

5) Nice weather. The kind that isn't too hot and isn't too cold and makes the air smell sweet and fresh and inspires me to actually leave my hermit-hole!

6) M*A*S*H. I don't know why exactly, but this show always leaves me with a happy, fuzzy feeling. I luuuurves it.

7) Humming one note of an entirely random song (i.e. that song the captured pirates sing at the beginning of the third Pirates movie) and having my little sister join in with me.

8) Swinging. Like, on a swing set. I used to swing for hours when I was little, daydreaming about my characters (then total LOTR rip-offs). I still love it. I just can't always find a convenient swing set.

9) Not having anything that I have to do. It's a lovely feeling, to be able to write without a little voice in the back of my head telling me I really should be doing something else.

10) Spending time with my aunt and cousins. They're gonna give me laugh lines by the time I'm 20, I swear. My face is stuck that way the entire time I'm down there.

And there we have it!

The second award is the Sunshine Award which is bright and happy and prettiful:

The rules for the Sunshine Award are as follows:

1) Put the logo within your post or on your sidebar.
2) Share the love and pass the award to 12 other bloggers.
3) Link the nominees inside of your post.
4) Comment on the nominees' blogs to let them know you've just given them props. :)
5) Give a shout-out to the person who nominated, and post a ling to his/her blog as well.

Now, I'm going to do what Sumayyah did and pass both these awards out to the following 12 people -- some of whom have already gotten them, but they're so awesome they deserve doubles. ;)

In no particular order:

1) Caitlin because she writes with such a beautiful voice and comments on so much of my rambling.

2) Amna (whose blog I all of a sudden cannot find to link! o.O) because she makes me giggle so frequently.

3) Choco because she makes shiny literary magazines and posts so much awesomeness on her blog.

4) Vero because she understands what I'm complaining about when I say it's freezing up here, she's going to send lovely chocolatey care packages to our deprived southern neighbours, and because everyone should go look at her shiny new blog layout!

5) B because she just recently started an amazing blog and already has a big ol' following (as she should!)

6) Race because she snared an agent with her awesomeness and has a shiny new website that must be shown off!

7) Margo because she's part of an amazing crit group and she writes awesome books about kelpies!

8) Bee because she made me feel all warm and fuzzy about my attempt at a plot summary and she must be encouraged to start blogging again! *facepalm* She is blogging! With much more regularity than me! XD I somehow managed to misread the date of her last post as May 3, rather than March 3. Oooops.

9) Emilia because she SINGS!

10) Leasie because she recently completed the first draft of her WIP, Mortal Affairs and the snippets I've read are awesome!

11) Krista because I just stumbled across her blog (YAY! She blogs!) when I was Googling around for Amna's and cannot leave such an awesome Opwifter out.

12) Dystophil because I also just found HER blog and she's been sticking with the same (awesome) WIP for YEARS! I is awed.

And now I really must be off to bed because 12:22 has somehow crept up on me and I actually have to get out of bed at a reasonable time tomorrow.

*scuttles off*