Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why Do You Write?

Okay, so, I figured it'd been a while since I tried to do a deep post. (Heck, I haven't done any this year). So why not now?

The question occurred to me a few months ago and then got sort of shoved into my messy brain-closet (as all of my ideas eventually do), but then I was reminded of it when my Algebra teacher set up a discussion asking What do you want to do in your future?

What career do you want? Why do you want it? What are you going to do to get there?

I'd been thinking about careers, actually, even though I'm just a freshman in high school. (I saw my sister panicking about picking a degree last minute and had a moment of horror thinking that could be me in the future(sorry, sis)). Plus, I'm a natural-born worrier. To cut down the worry, I make lists. I make plans.

So, anyways, back to the topic-- while I was thinking about what career I wanted to go into (I was making a mental list that went something like: teaching, engineering, computer science...(I didn't think about writing right off because I had always planned to have a degree for a job that would support me while I worked towards making it big in writing)) it hit me that I didn't really know anything about those things. I hadn't worked towards those careers. I didn't know anything about the communities or what you had to do to get there. I couldn't answer some of his questions because I didn't know.

But then I thought, "Okay, I'm going to stop approaching this so logically and just roll with it" and put in creative writing as my answer to what career/job I wanted. And then I knew every answer.

I've wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. (Before that, I think I just wanted ice cream.)

I have worked hard to get better at writing. I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone multiple times and each time I've gotten a little more confident, a little more determined.

But why do I love it so much?

Do I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish writing a first draft?
The thrill of a new idea?

Well, yeah. Both of those things, and so much more. More than I could fit into this blog post. But I suppose what it really comes down to is that hidden in the characters, the worlds, the rush of adventure, I find myself.

I don't know. Maybe it doesn't make sense. (Let's face it, not a whole lot I say makes sense). But I know that writing is something I can always count on to make me feel better. It's one of the only things I do because I really, really want to. It's inspiring. It's empowering.

Why do you write?


Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Book Tag


Huge thanks to Skylar@Life of a Random for nominating me! I'll be sure to give you lots of chocolate and possibly hugs.

Onwards!

1. Do you have a specific place for reading?

Yeah. I read on beds. It doesn't really matter what bed. I even have a specific position. I have to be lying down on my stomach.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmark usually, but sometimes random pieces of paper. I went through this phase where I made a ton of bookmarks but then somehow I lost most of them.

3. Can you stop reading anywhere in a book or do you have to finish a chapter?

It depends on the book. Sometimes I can stop in the middle of a sentence and leave it for weeks. If I have to stay for a chapter then I stay for the book. It doesn't really matter if I have responsibilities (who cares about those*) -- I will finish the book.

*Me. I care. A ridiculous amount, actually, which is why I'm stressed out 90% of the time.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Eh, not really. When I read, I usually zero in completely until it's done. If I'm distressed about the ending or how much everything is going wrong, I'll eat half the house. (I can confirm that this has happened before).

5. Music or TV while reading?

My attention span is a wonder, seriously. I can hardly focus on one thing for more than a few minutes, so if I'm going to read I can't be doing anything else. So, no to TV. Music...only if I've already read the book once.

6. One book at a time or several?

One at a time, all the way. (Unless I don't like it. Then I get distracted by all the other shiny things).

7. Reading at home or elsewhere?

Home. For some reason, I don't like reading anywhere else. It makes me all tense and blegh. Contrary to popular belief, I am very alert whenever I'm not home and hyper-aware of everything (it's exhausting), which makes reading a task because it requires my full attention.

8. Read out loud or silently?

I only read out loud if forced.

Sometimes I do it to be funny, too, because I like trying out accents, but most of the time I read silently. I can't really focus on the content if I'm too busy trying to make each person's voice distinct. (That being said my favorite accent to read in BY FAR is the scottish accent).

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

*awkward shuffling* WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT I HAVE NEVER SKIPPED.

Yeah. I have. It's... It's bad. It used to be to the point where I would start a book, think it was slow, and skip straight to the ending.

I hardly ever do that now, but sometimes when I'm reading my brain gets all hyped about what's going to happen so I speed read to the point where I don't read ANYTHING except the words my brain picks out. Ex: I will be reading and pinpoint a name that is important. My brain will only pick out words associated with that name.

Example of Example:

My Brain: THERE IS A GUN TO JAKE'S HEAD, AND EMMA AND THE VILLAIN ARE TALKING ABOUT THINGS THAT DON'T MATTER AS MUCH AS JAKE POSSIBLY DYING

The book:

"Blah, blah, blah," said someone, "blah, blah."
"Blah?" someone asked.
JAKE GAVE A SMALL SMILE, AS IF TO SAY EVERYTHING WAS OKAY.
"Blah." Said someone with a facial expression.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

What kind of person do you think I am? I really hate it when I accidentally break the spine, so definitely keeping it like new.

This question sounds so terribly violent out of context.

11. Do you write in your books?

*strangled noises* NEVER

I'll admit, I have been tempted. But no, never. Sometimes I put sticky notes in them, but only if the book infuriated me or I didn't like it AT ALL. So if you ever see me holding a book with sticky notes sticking out of it, know that I am not enjoying it at all.

12. Who are you tagging?

Aimee@To The Barricade!

and

Briana@Reader, Writer, Critic

and anyone else who wants to join in. Put the link in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out! :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

5 Things You Should Know About K-pop

I was going to write "5 Things I'm Obsessed With" but then I realized that the first thing on my list (k-pop, in case you were wondering) was taking a suspicious amount of space.

And then I realized:

Each list must absolutely have a sub-list. (I'm weirdly complicated like that).

So that's what I'm going to do (along with a bunch of links if you want). When I first watched k-pop, I was horrified. Why are they all so CUTESY?? Why are the guys dressed like that??? What is happening????

Turns out I was wrong about a lot of things, and a bunch of other people are too when they draw assumptions about what k-pop is.

1. Most of the time, yes, it is colorful and crazy and looks like Lady Gaga's spawn. Ex: Big Bang, 2NE1... But that's fine--it's actually really great, to me--and if that's not your thing then no worries. Korea has just as many types of music as anywhere else.

2. It's not always techno and wild dancing! There are these things called ballads and there are quite a lot of them.

3. The guys do not always look like girls. Yes, there are exceptions (think Ren from Nu'est), but most of the time it's pretty dang obvious if the person is a male. If you don't like happy, fun music where the guys act all overly-cutesy (that is called aegyo, btw) then there are plenty of options. Ex: B.A.P., BTS, and tons more.

4. Please do not say everyone looks the same. I know at first it's really confusing-- but isn't it always? K-pop groups are dressed to look alike in mv's because they're a team. Don't even try and tell me that this guy:

CHANYEOL FROM EXO, IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING.
Looks EXACTLY like this guy:

CHEN, FROM THE SAME GROUP.

Or that this girl:
KRYSTAL FROM F(X)
Looks exactly like this girl:

SUNNY FROM GIRL'S GENERATION

5. Last but not least--the dancing is awesome and each song has its own choreography. It might look easy sometimes but just try it. It is really friggin' difficult, and the physical strength it takes to do the choreography and sing at the same time is incredible. (I can barely breathe after dancing like that.)

Now for the list of songs (be warned. this list is really freaking long):

GOT7 (this group puts martial arts tricking into their choreography and has more of a retro-y(?) style. also they have 3 members who can speak fluent english)
BTS (this group is more hip-hop and their lyrics are generally super meaningful--plus their rapper line is incredible)
  • N.O. 
  • No More Dream (note that this mv has a very useful introduction thingy before the music starts)
EXO (this group is more of what you think when someone says "pop"--their vocals are amazing)

***Note: EXO-M and EXO-K are subgroups. Overall there are ten members (two left). EXO-K performs in Korean and EXO-M in Mandarin. 
  • Growl (they perform all together in this one, but it's the Korean version)
  • Overdose (EXO-K version) Overdose (EXO-M version)
SHINEE (they have a lot more "cutesy" songs, but occasionally do slightly darker(not really) music)
B.A.P (they're one of the "baddest" groups out there and have awesome stage presence and kick butt choreography. pretty much every rapper has their "thing" and Yongguk's is CHYEAH. listen to one song and you'll know which one he is)
2NE1 (one of the toughest-seeming girl groups out there that have never, to my knowledge, released a cutesy song)
VIXX (I really don't have much to say except that they are all idiots in real life okay do not be fooled)
And here's a bunch of others that I didn't include: B1A4, Orange Caramel, Tiny-G (and here's another one 'cause I can't help it), Purfles, UNIQ, Super Junior, Big Bang, BTOB, BEAST, BLOCK B, 2PM, Madtown, B.I.G., Hotshot, KARA, Boyfriend, C-CLOWN, etc. (Each link takes you to one of their songs.)

And guys, you need to watch Big Byung. They're hilarious.

Also, here is a song that I've been listening to a lot today. 

OKAY WOW THAT TOOK FOREVER. (And you definitely do not need to watch all of them oh my word I really went overboard).

Ahem. So. I have more writerly things planned for this week and next week so don't worry I won't spend all my time telling you about k-pop. 

That being said, if you listened/watched any of the music above please let me know what you thought! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

How I Make Book Covers

Note: You shouldn't take me too seriously. I'm not particularly good at this and it's definitely not the best way to do it but it works for me.


First things first: I have often wanted to make book covers for WIPs-- just as inspiration or to take a break from writing. At first, they were awful, because all I had was Picasa.

And then I got into Polyvore. Polyvore is actually a fashion site. But hey-- rules were made to be broken.

Step 1: Go to Polyvore.

Step 2: Click "CREATE."


I'm going to make a sample book cover just as an example and it's not very good, but it'll do for this post. I decided to work on a cover for a contemporary YA book.

Leggo.

When you click on create you'll come across a blank screen (if it's not blank just click the "new" button on the upper left) and something that looks like this on the right of it:


As you could probably tell from the very messy yellow circle, we will be mainly using the embellishments tab.

First things first: pick a color for your cover. There are hundreds.

I like lime green so that's what I'm going with.

Next pick symbols you want. (Ex: clouds, arrows, etc.)

I chose these babies:

Okay. So, now you pick whatever else you want on the cover. People? Cats? Unicorns? Polyvore has a search engine and a TON of pics. Be warned that a lot of it is fashion centered so you'll have to be specific.

I added a messily cropped girl. (You can crop images by clicking on them and selecting the "Custom..." button on the upper right of the blank space.)


I put the girl behind the green and, since she was no longer visible, decided to mute down the green and make it semi-see through. You do that using the little thingy next to "certain frogs." (See this is why I shouldn't do tutorials. My descriptions are terrible.)

BUT WAIT, I thought, SOMETHING IS MISSING.


Since this is a contemporary, I wanted to add something that would make that more obvious.


What could be better than lined paper?

Remember to put the pattern/overlay behind the color unless you want it to be black and white. You do that by clicking the "backwards" button.

And then I added my name and finished.


Another Note:

This site has a bunch of cool stuff like paper hearts, tape, pencil smudges, etc. to add to covers. It's definitely not limited to what I chose to use.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Short Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...


This is only the second John Green book I've read, mostly because I was always distracted by other books or school, but also because I don't love contemporary. 

In the past, contemporary was always sort of... boring. It seemed to have a lot of romance and not much else. It was two teenagers in the modern world, falling in love. That's not to say it's not enjoyable-- love is great! It's just that I am a huge fan of action so I need stuff to always be happening.

John Green changed my mind. 

Also, real quick so I don't forget-- spoilers are in these babies: [   ] Highlight to read.

First things first-- the characters.

I related a lot to Quentin, actually. (Although I doubt I would get out of bed and have adventures until five in the morning for anyone. When I get in bed, I'm staying there for as long as possible, thank you very much.) However, even though I related, I didn't get why he was so in love with Margo. 

I get that they knew each other since childhood, but really. Did he fall in love with her recklessness? Her bluntness? The way she saw life as an opportunity to change the world, not disappear into it? 

I dunno. I feel like Quentin never really touches up on why he loves her so deeply. The entire time, I was thinking: Quentin, you don't know this girl. Not really. Why are you doing this?



On the other hand, I sort of got it. I mean, for Pete's sake [Margo left SUICIDE NOTES. I'd want to try my hardest to save someone from killing themselves, too.].

Q's friends were wonderful. In the dark, depressedness (that is a word now) of Paper Towns, they added a lot of humor. I didn't laugh, because I'm soulless, but I came pretty close. Yay humor! Every book needs it at some point.

And Margo. Margo was... well... I'm not entirely sure how to put this without sounding entirely rude. I thought Margo was incredibly selfish. And she wasn't even there for most of the book. Pushing someone way beyond their boundaries when they've told you multiple times that they're uncomfortable with the situation should not be praised. That doesn't make you bold and passionate. It makes you a jerk.

I understand that some people need that extra push to free themselves from the boundaries they've created, but as someone who has severe anxiety, forcing them into the situation is not the way to go. [Quentin said that his college wouldn't accept him if he was arrested. His future was on the line]. But in the end, I suppose it was Quentin's decision, even though he never really puts his foot down throughout the entire book.

And hey, shocker! [No one died. I really expected someone to die. Margo, to be exact. I was a little disappointed when I found out she was alive and incredibly mean.]

While I didn't fully understand the Why of the decisions made, I did love the writing style. It was depressing and sad and I adore writing that makes me feel. Plus, I wanted to know where Margo was. I wanted to know why she did the things she did, why she was so... unattached from everything. I wanted to see the real her. [However, Green never really does tell us who the "real" her is. Maybe that's just it. Maybe the real Margo is a mystery.] That's another thing. Everyone in this book is three-dimensional. No one falls flat. Not one is just a nerd or just a popular girl. I loved that.