Thursday, January 29, 2009

Must. Read. More. Books!

Okay, so I've almost finished Darkside, and I'm totally loving it, but I've run into a rather annoying problem. I'm getting bored with the book. Don't get me wrong, it's a great book, good characters, interesting story, excellent writing, but I have problems reading about the same characters and/or events for too long. In fact, I spent about two hours sitting in the parking lot of a Barnes & Noble for the midnight release of Deathly Hallows, and I started the book as soon as I got home. I finished about half of it that night... then I put it down for about two/three months. So, it's a problem that has effected my ability to finish one book without starting another since at least 2007.

I'm currently reading three books, and I'm considering starting a fourth. Maybe Howl's Moving Castle? I recall a few people saying I should read that next, but then I got a library book and forgot to start HMC.

I think my problem of getting bored with interesting characters has even found it's way into my writing. The book I finished writing last year is narrated by at least nine different characters. It switches every to every other chapter and the chapters are short. But then, when a book is written first-person, it's really the only way to get everyone's opinion on the situation in.

Well, you now know my oh so irritating reading dilemma. I have to go find another book to start.

Monday, January 26, 2009

OMG, This Post Isn't a Quiz!

I've noticed that I haven't done many real posts lately, just a bunch of quiz things. So, here is a real post with a real update on my life in the world of writing.

Holland Petalpockets (formerly 6, though still 6 on 13 and Co.) has yet to read B1. It is driving me insane!!! I've given her the book on multiple occasions (and took it back once when going through a writer's crisis), and she still hasn't read it. It's really killing me because I keep thinking B1 is bad and that makes me want to lock it away somewhere where no one can find it (that would be a writer's crisis).
Since Holland hasn't read B1, I haven't been able to start B2, which is annoying Orchid and 21, who really want to read the sequel.
Another thing I haven't been able to do because Holland won't read the book is send my query letter. I have to do one more round of revisions on B1 before I can send the dreaded query letter but I can't do those revisions until she reads the book.

Enough about B1, I actually have some other books to kind of sort of talk about.
I have completed plans for a two book series as well as a single book. There are about four or five other books in the works that are driving me crazy because they just won't come together. I'm currently working on plans for another book. I almost have all the plans worked out and just need to write them down (and come up with names and whatnot for all but the main character). I will get around to updating the numbers on the About Me just as soon as I'm totally sure on how many plans are finished (I tend to lose track after a while, particularly when the plot of a single book changes a lot).

On a different note, I have been neglecting my guitar. I've been meaning to practice for... well, since New Years, but I've been procrastinating or something. I should just sit down and force myself to practice, no matter how much it hurts (I absolutely hate fretting, but sadly music can't exist without it).
If I ever practice and actually get to a point where I can play music, and not just something barely resembling music, I want to start a band. My dream band consists of a drummer and bass player (obviously), a singer that won't ever abandon the rest of us for a solo career, two violinists, two cellists, and possibly another guitarists because two guitars always sound better than one. It would be awesome!!! But only if I buckle down and practice playing, otherwise I'll just be holding the rest of them back and could quite possibly get kicked out of my own band.

So, now you know why I haven't been posting much. And now, to make up for boring you with this really long post, here's a funny cat picture.

 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Unfinished Books

Okay, so today I will be going to the library to return Generation Dead, Restless Dead, and Teen, Inc. I finished one out of three of those books, but not for a lack of trying. Missed my review of Teen, Inc.?

I was really excited when I found Generation Dead at the library, and was really looking forward to reading it. But when I got home and started it I was quickly bored with the story. The beginning was very slow, and I only got about five chapters in. The characters were overly cliche, but at the same time their personalities didn't match their appearances, and not in a 'they're so original' sort of way, more like the author didn't know what he was doing. I just found the book boring, though that doesn't mean I won't recommend it to other people. It just wasn't my thing, like so many other things (because I'm super picky).

As for Restless Dead, I just couldn't get into it. I started the first short story and never finished it. I could have skipped to one of the stories by an author I've heard of, but didn't. I just don't think I'm a short story person. I prefer stories that take more than twenty or so pages to fit everything.

So, that's my semi-review of the books I didn't finish. I would have given them full reviews, but I thought that would have been unfair since I didn't even read the whole thing. Now, I have to go find at least one book off my list to start reading, even though I'm already reading two other books. If there's any book on my list that you would like me to review soon, leave a comment (but the book must be on the list).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Creative Forecast

Hola people.
I can't really think of anything massively important to blog about today. I think I'm entering into a huge brain storm. I get these every few months to every other year. It's just a couple of weeks when I come up with a bunch of different book ideas and have to spend hours writing down synopses, coming up with names and personalities for characters, thinking up sub plots, and of course running my ideas by my friends to make sure I'm not plagiarizing someone else's work.

Due to this brain storm (with scattered showers of random thoughts), I probably won't be blogging much over the next few weeks. This started just before Christmas, so I'm predicting that it will pass sometime around... late March to early April. Okay, so it actually lasts a couple of months, but I tend to lose track of time when I work too much.

I'll try to keep you updated on books I'm reading and how many ideas make the Must Write list. Keep an eye on my About Me to see if the number of books I plan to write goes up.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Worst Possible Thing To Say

I got my hair cut today. I've been wanting to cut it short for a while now and I finally did it. However, I had a bit of a scare over the end result when my mom came over and asked "What have you done?"
Definitely not what you want to hear when there's a pile of hair on the floor and not much left on your head to undo any damages (though I totally love my new haircut. my mom was just over-reacting). So in honor of that comment, I have decided to make a list of Things You Should Never Say To Someone Getting A Haircut.

  1. The aforementioned "What have you done?" It not only freaks out the hair cutter, but also the hair cuttee. Should never be said when scissors are near hair.
  2. "Oh..." This one is only bad when said in a worried or uncertain tone. Though this should never be said during hair cutting just to avoid worrying the subject of the haircut.
  3. "That's... pretty." There are a number of words that can be used after the pause that will send anyone getting a haircut into a panic.
  4. "Are you sure about this?" Not the best words of encouragement.
  5. "Can we fix that?" usually said in a hushed tone to a close friend, but the subject of said 'fixing' will likely hear and possibly be brought to tears.
  6. "It'll grow out." This is something you're only likely to hear after all the hair cutting has been done, normally after passing negative judgment on it yourself.
  7. "You know that hat you really wanted?" This obviously implies that the person doesn't want to be seen with you while your hair looks the way it does.
  8. "I hear it's all the rage in Europe." Said normally with a forced smile as the speaker attempts to comfort someone on an outrageous haircut that isn't cool anywhere.
  9. "I think we could take off a little more here." This could be said by either a friend, family member or stylist. Be sure you know exactly where they want to take more off and exactly how much, otherwise you could end up hearing 1-8.
  10. "OH MY GOD!!!" This is usually used when the speaker is absent for the entire hair cutting, had no idea what you were going in for, and probably when your hair has been dyed as well. Though, depending on the tone, it could be a good thing too.
Well, that's all I can think of. Have you heard any of these while getting a haircut? Have any others to add to the list?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Avatar Casting Revisited

I have temporarily changed my opinion on the Avatar casting. I was really mad because the actors didn't really look like the characters did in the show, but I have decided that their looks don't matter so much as their voice (they also better be able to act). The voice-overs are a big part of what made the characters who they were, they were all so perfect. Did you know that Sokka was meant to be a smaller character, but they changed that because of his voice-over? THAT'S JUST HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE!
I think my favorite Avatar voice-over was Grey Delisle, the voice of Azula. Just watch the finale and you'll know what I mean. If I were to do a full review on her performance as Azula, I would give it Too Much Rock For One Hand, my highest rating. I really wish she could play Azula in the movie, but I think she's too old.

It makes me think of this other show I used to watch, Skyland. It was a great story, excellent animation, good characters, but the whole thing was almost ruined by the voice-overs. They didn't match the characters, things were said in the wrong way, it just wasn't right. A great show with huge potential ruined by some bad voice acting. (though the show was still massively good)

So, I will not be mad about the casting choices anymore. As long as they sound right, I'll be happy. Also, the guys playing Aang, Sokka and Zuko better not wimp out on shaving their heads for the roles. Seriously, Sokka would not be the same without his Warrior Wolf Tail (he also better be willing to wear a dress when they visit Kyoshi Island), or Zuko without his... ponytail (I don't think it had a special name). I don't think there's much to worry about with the Aang kid, they'll make him shave his head no matter what (and put on a fake tattoo), because if he didn't the whole character would be ruined.

Well, I think I'll leave it at that for now. I'll revisit the subject when the movie comes out (or at least when they start showing previews for it). What are your thoughts on the casting choices? Do you care more about looks or voice?

Monday, January 12, 2009

When Authors Are Awesome

All this month Justine Larbalestier is answering writing questions on her blog. A few days ago I submitted a question and last night I got an answer. You can read it here. I was so excited to see my question answered! And the post was quite helpful too. I suggest you go read Justine's blog, and if you have a writing question, you can ask here. She has a bunch of tips on writing, and they're all written in a none-know-it-all-y way (she plainly says many times that she doesn't have all the answers). She seems like a really cool author and her books sound really good (I should really read one those books, but I'd have to find one at the library first).

I love it when authors do stuff like this. I think it's really cool and I plan to do a lot of similar things if/when I get published. You probably all recall my post about suggestions for being a reader friendly author, I'm still taking comments on that subject (and probably won't stop accepting suggestions until I've heard every one possible).


Well, that's all for now. Au revoir.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just Some Ramblings About Writing

Hello readers.
Just thought I'd drop a quick update on the whole B1 situation. 21 and Dame Orchid have finished reading it, and I'm still trying to get 6 to read it. I've been holding off on revisions until she reads it, which is also holding up the start of the second book. I think 21 and Orchid are a little mad at 6 right now for not reading, as they really want to read the sequel.
Other than the actual writing aspect of it, B2 is finished. I have written the plot, subplots (so many subplots), and I've almost finished all the new characters' histories (I've finished all the important ones). Yep, I'm all ready to start writing B2. If only 6 would read B1. 6, if you are reading this you better go pick up that book and read it cover. to. cover. D:< *grr* I have recently come up with two new ideas for books, one of which is just about complete (except for actually being written, of course). I have another idea, which I've had for months, but I'm severely stuck with it. All I really have is a main character, but there's no plot (at least, no point to the plot).

Well, that's really all I wanted to say. Now, I have a long list of books to get back to, and hopefully a turn on the Wii sometime in the next few minutes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Teen, Inc. by Stefan Petrucha

I stayed up late into the night reading, and have finally finished one of the eighteen books on my list.
The book in question was Teen, Inc. by Stefan Petrucha. It was pretty good.

Spoiler Zone (highlight to read) Teen, Inc. is about Jaiden Beale, a fourteen year old boy adopted by NECorp after a faulty valve caused an explosion that killed his parents when he was a baby.
The first half of the book almost seems unnecessary, being mostly sarcasm and misadventures. Jaiden runs away from NECorp after they ruin his 'date', and ends up getting into a bit of trouble, involving four older teens, a stolen statuette, one police officer, some barbed wire and the dirtiest runoff you've ever seen. Jaiden gets a big cut on his arm from the barbed wire and ends up getting mercury poisoning when he falls into the runoff. He also sprained his ankle while climbing the fence, but that seemed to heal overnight.
The very middle of the book seemed a little boring to me, but it really picked up near the end. The villain seemed kind of lame for a while, until Jaiden, Nate and Jenny find found out just how much he was poisoning the water. Also, the villain started shooting at them.
The books ending was half predictable, half not. The bad guy lost, and I mean he lost everything; Jaiden and Jenny started dating, as with the end of any book/movie that has a male and female character. The somewhat unexpected part was when Jaiden was given the opportunity to leave NECorp and be adopted by a family near his school, or stay with NECorp, despite how much NECorp has ruined his life. He stayed with NECorp.



Overall, the book was good. A little slow in places, a lot of stuff that seemed like filler but might have been necessary. The characters were pretty good, though I think the author was a little out of touch with the way teenagers dress. Seriously, Jenny's clothes (the only ones really described in the book) were straight out of the 90s (though she was always saying how uncool she was. hehe). I noticed a lot of typos that not only bothered me, but actually disrupted the flow of the book a bit.


I give this book 3 0f 5 Fists of Rock:


Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oodles of Books

As I'm sure at least a few of you have noticed, I've added a Currently Reading/Upcoming Reviews section on the sidebar. I plan to do more book reviews this year, better ones too. I'm currently reading four books: Teen, Inc. by Stefan Petrucha, Specials by Scott Westerfeld, Generation Dead by Daniel Waters, and The Restless Dead by M.T. Anderson, Holly Black, Libba Bray, Herbie Brennan, Nancy Etchemendy, Annette Curtis Klause, Kelly Link, Deborah Noyes, Marcus Sedgwick, and Chris Wooding.

I spent the whole day going through all the books in my house, and I found fourteen that I plan to read and review:
  1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  3. Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  5. Prom Nights From Hell by Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Lauren Myracle, and Stephenie Meyer
  6. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
  7. Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones
  8. Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney
  9. Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
  10. East by Edith Pattou
  11. Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
  12. And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander
  13. Good Night, Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas
  14. Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
I have a long list, and a pretty diversified one too. BTW, the only reason Nancy Drew made the list is because the book has been in my house for ages ad I've never read it. Also, I think Nancy Drew is pretty cool. I mean, it takes two Hardy Boys to solve mysteries of equal or lesser difficulty/quality (I don't really know what the Hardy Boys solve, I've never read any of their books).
You can expect to see reviews of the above books in the comings weeks/months (not sure how long it will take to read them all). Any book with a movie that I've seen will have a special double review with my thoughts on both versions.
Well, I have to go get back to reading. Later.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tag, I'm it :)

A while ago I was reading a post on Holly's Randomness about an online tag game. I wasn't originally going to participate because it seemed kind of long, but I've had a change of heart.
The rules of the game are as follows: Type your answers to the questions below into Google Image Search. Pick the best pictures and post them on your blog with little to no explanation.

I would like to go to...


My favorite place is...
My favorite foods are...




Favorite articles of clothing...




Least favorite article of clothing...

Favorite TV shows...




Town in which I live...


Screen name/nickname...


First job...

Dream job...


What I would buy if I had a million billion dollars...


Go to:


My one wish...
Kidding, it's really...

I tag my two most frequent commenters, Dame Orchid and Nadia Murti, as well as my friend (who doesn't comment nearly enough) 21.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Query Letters and Lit Agents

Hello readers.

Even though it's technically a holiday, I spent the better part of the day working. Not at a job, I don't have one... yet. After a few days of work and heavy consideration as to what went into it, I have finished my first ever query letter. I've been asking around online for authors to post their query letters, just to help me out a little. Let's just say I didn't get many replies, and the ones I did get weren't really satisfactory.
I think it's safe to say that, at this point in my writing career, the query letter was the hardest thing I've ever had to do for my book. Have you ever tried to sound professional and fun at the same time??? Didn't think so.

I just recently took a break from looking for other literary agents, just in case things don't work out with my first option, Nelson Literary Agency. After a couple hours of searching and visiting many websites, I only found four that sound right for me, only two of them have authors I recognize. But based on the little bit about what they usually represent, they all sound like they might work for me.
How did I find so many literary agencies, you ask? Simple, really. All I did was google literary agents, one of the results that came up was Agentquery.com. It has a long list of agents, and you can search based on what kind of book you're looking to publish. It also tells you whether or not an agent accepts queries, and gives a link to the site for their agency. All in all, it was very helpful in my search.


I have decided that after my friends and family finish reading B1 and after another round of revisions/editing, I will send my query letter. It's a little scary to think about. I mean, they could, dare I say it, reject me. Hopefully that won't happen.
Now, I know I'm not going to be picked up by the first agent I send a query letter to, what I meant to say was 'hopefully it won't happen much'.


Well, I've been staring at the computer for way too long, so I think I'm going to start ending this post.
I'll be back soon. And hopefully, in the coming months, I'll be able to write about actually sending a query letter. I really hope I can write about getting picked up by an agent. Wish me luck! :)