Sunday, February 21, 2016

On Writing: Untitled Duology

I have been working on this duo for over a year and it still has no title. This is infuriating to the highest degree, and a very big insult to my naming capabilities. (I usually name an idea seconds after having it-- in some cases, I even have the name before the idea).

But this idea is basically my child now. And yes, I love all my ideas (that's a lie. some I just stash in broken corners and ignore the existence of. I'm the most loving mother ever what are you talking about) but I'd be lying if I said this one didn't have a special place in my heart.

This "On Writing" post isn't going to be like my last one, where I briefly talked about what the book is about and then touched on the two most important characters extremely briefly. Yes, I'm still going to be talking about characters (and yes, there's two of them again), but it's not going to be brief and I don't talk about the plot at all.

Before I get in to it, I would like to mention: This is a stabby sequence of books. There is blood. (A LOT of blood). People die. (A LOT of people die). And the reason is this: It's a post-apocolyptic sci-fi-ish, dystopian-ish novel and I really wanted to touch up on the forever-question of Can you kill people and do horrible things and still have your humanity? After a lot of writing on this topic, the answer is both yes and no. Just... don't stab things alone. Have a friend. Make it a party. (Obviously, I'm kidding, please don't stab things omg).

The main character is Quinn Rivera.

Quinn is bottled up rage and pain at the age of seventeen. She's probably the most complex character I've ever written-- she has such deep fears and hopes, and even though she acts like a walking icicle armed with way too much sarcasm, love is her guiding force.

I filled out a character chart today about her characteristics. Basically, what makes her tick. And I realized, despite what I'd originally planned, she's not a broken person. She's one of the strongest character that's ever graced my thoughts, actually.

And even though that seems kind of obvious-- she's a bounty hunter so of course she's strong in the literal sense-- she was never meant to be. Quinn was always supposed to be fragile. Breakable. Forever on the brink of losing her mind but too afraid to let herself show it. Now, I know she was always strong, despite the cracks and the tears and the anger that rushed to disguise them.

Can you tell she's my favorite.


Ahem.

If Quinn is chaos, then Luna is the calm.

Luna is Quinn's older sister-- she's nineteen years old-- and she's pretty much Quinn's polar opposite.

She suffers through things quietly and softly. Never enough for anyone to notice, and just so little than everyone thinks she's fine. Better than fine. Happy.

Luna was always meant to be the hero of the story, and Quinn the sidekick, even though Quinn is the main character. From the moment I sat down and started plotting, that was just how it was going to be. In my mind, Luna was... well, the closest thing to perfect.

She's gentle and loving despite all that she's experienced. She's held on to the parts of herself that Quinn abandoned. She still finds it in herself to be able to love and trust those who probably don't deserve it.

And yes, she's still all these things. But now, she's so much more. She's a girl who doesn't know who she is, just that she's her little sister's protector. She didn't mean to be a hero-- she just didn't want to watch the world burn again. She's lost just as much as Quinn is, if not more.


So, yes, this is a book with aliens and guns and war. It features a lot of bruised knuckles and broken bones. But I never really wanted that to be all. I wanted it to be about Luna and Quinn. Sisters who would do anything to hold on to each other, even if it meant losing themselves.

I'm currently writing the second book-- I have everything plotted and this is the first time this has ever happened. Seriously. It's a miracle. And I'm also super excited-- which hasn't happened in a while. I'm over halfway done (!!!) and I'm actually not hating my writing (!!!!!!!). (And then after that comes edits and more edits and more edits and more edits and...). 


_____

This is the shortest post ever and I am super sorry because my brain is basically falling apart from exhaustion right now. Anyways. I may not be able to post next week. I probably will. This is just a precaution, so you know what I'm doing if I suddenly disappear. 


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Reviewing: Believe Me, I'm Lying by Jordan Lynde




When 17 year old Harley finds herself jobless, she needs a new job-- and quick. Her uncle comes to her house with a job offer. For her to become a teacher at his school. A school for delinquents.


Published December 10, 2010 by Random House






Not gonna lie: When I first read the synopsis, I thought this was going to be a lot like How to Lead a Life of Crime-- which, if I'm being honest, I completely loved-- so my expectations were a little high. However, after the first couple of chapters, the author says that this is supposed to be a romantic comedy with a little action thrown in. So-- probably no psychos trying to murder each other in between kisses. She also adds that this book does not have a plot, and that it's not supposed to. (I think what she actually meant by that is that there is no goal of the story, since technically every book has a plot, even if it's not very good).

I'm going to go ahead and say there was a lot that I didn't love about this book-- but most (read: not all) of them could be fixed with a little editing.

This is a review of the unedited version. It's like the first first draft-- there are plenty of typos and rough descriptions and the like. So, in order to be fairer, I'm going to be discussing/reviewing the story and characters. Not the grammar. (This is basically a warning for those of you who are considering reading this: If bad grammar makes your head hurt, try to find the published version).

Harley associates bad things with the rain. Her pet was killed in the rain, her grandfather passed away from cancer when it was raining, her parents were killed in a car accident when it was raining, and now, when she's fired from her job-- it's raining. Obviously, Harley is not a very happy person-- she's stressed out, she's trying to take care of her little brother, and... she's how old? Seventeen. This girl is seventeen. 

Maybe I'm just being picky, but LEGALITIES, peoples. They exist-- and they're kinda hard to avoid. She can't be a legal guardian until she's eighteen but she is.

Before you say that being a teacher at seventeen is also impossible, Harley is pretending to be twenty-one so that she can have this job.

Conveniently, the entire senior class (the one most of the book focuses on) is made up of boys. All boys. And, not to sound extremely rude, but are all teenage boys complete apes? I've never been to public school so I have no idea how it works, but how the heck are they allowed to treat her like that. Obviously, this is fiction, but I must know-- does this actually happen???

Harley is about as naive and innocent as a newborn child. In the time it took her eyes well up and her cheeks to flush ten times, I'd plotted each of their deaths three different ways. This is arguably a side-effect of writing so many deaths, but oh, well. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS.

This is not an insult to her personality. Harley is sweet-- but that's about it. She's nice and trusting and thinks everyone should get along all the time. (Which drove me insane, to be completely honest). These are all good qualities! BUT. She is also incredibly stubborn. Illogically so. She won't take a job that could save her and her brother because it's offered by someone she knows so it's therefore "charity". She won't stop trying to see the good in people when they've harassed her 1332374687846 times and they've physically assaulted her.


I do not understand.

Seriously.

Someone explain.

On to the love triangle. Or should I say love octagon, because literally every guy has a thing for Harley. And they all like her because she's helpless. What. Also, before I talk about how completely abrupt it is (Example: "Hello, you are covered in flour because I dumped it on you and also you look sad let me help you up-- WAIT you are also a cute human... WHAT ARE THESE FEELINGS I AM A MANLY CRIMINAL") let me just mention how much Harley has no idea what she's doing.

She literally yells, at a classroom full of teenage delinquent boys whilst covered in flour, that they must respect her.


I felt real, physical pain. 

Now, back to topic: Oliver and Arden are the love interests. The main love interests. They are nearly polar opposites in personality, with Oliver being cold and moody and Arden being flirtatious and outgoing, and they are leaders of two opposing school gangs. They're also ex-bffs but they don't like to talk about it. Both of them have their own secrets and bad qualities (Oliver has possibly the worst temper in the world and Arden has a tendency to lie about everything), but they're each also endearing in each of their ways. I will say this: It is adorable how all of Harley's students come to care for her as a person. 

The ending is about as vague as it can possibly be as to who Harley actually sticks with, but I've heard the ending has been dramatically changed and that there's a new epilogue in the published version.

There are maybe three women who are mentioned more than once-- one is never actually shown, another is mentioned in passing, and another is there as a friend but it's never shown why they became friends at all. And they spend very little time together. 

Now, peoples, don't get me wrong. This wasn't an awful book, no matter how much I've ranted about it. I was expecting an action-y, mystery-y, thriller-y book, and, obviously, that's not what this book is about. If you're looking for a light, cutesy read, full of cliches, then definitely go for it. If you're looking for something darker and more suspenseful, this is about the opposite of that.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Reviewing: Follow Me Back by A. V. Geiger

Tessa Hart has a secret - but she's too scared to tell a soul. She dropped out of school six months ago for reasons she doesn't dare speak aloud. Not to her mother. Not to her therapists. Not even to her brand new Twitter BFF...

Eric Thorn has a secret of his own - one that none of the girls would guess. He's dreamed his whole life of making it in the music industry, but no one seems to understand the harsh realities of fame. Not his manager. Not his record label. And certainly not the fan girl he starts talking to on Twitter late at night, for reasons he can't explain...

Now Tessa follows Eric, and Eric follows Tessa. But this is no fan-fiction come to life. This is a story of fan accounts and fake profiles, where no one is exactly who they seem, and where a simple tap of the "Follow" button has the power to lead to love... Or to something far more sinister.



Expected publication: 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire


Spoilers are between these: [  ] Highlight to read.

This was really good. It's not that often that I find an awesome book on Wattpad, either-- and this is the first draft. The unedited version. Which means it's going to get even better. *flails*

First of all, this is a mystery/thriller novel. It focuses on Tessa, a girl who dropped out of college in her freshman year due to reasons and is now terrified of being touched/watched/etc., and Eric... a celebrity in a downward spiral of paranoia after a fellow celebrity/popstar is murdered by a psychotic fan.

This is told sort of like Dangerous Girls-- you're given information from after everything happens, and then, in between these snippets of tantalizing clues of what the heck is actually going on, you get a few chapters filled with what happened a few weeks, hours, or months ago. It jumps around some, but that never felt like an issue as I was reading it.

Is it super intense? Yep. It is. But not in the don't-forget-to-dodge-the-bullets way. More in the... don't-turn-around-someone-is-watching-you sort of way. I was right at the most creepy part when I went to bed, and I actually did not want to close my eyes because of the creepery (that's a word) I had just read. Like... no. I felt pretty exposed and vulnerable, and I'm guessing that's what the author wants you to feel... [...so you get a glimpse of the horror Tessa felt. Can I just say that thanks to Blair I am never sleeping 100% comfortably again? I can't imagine how horrified Tessa must have felt to see all those pictures of herself and realize that, no matter what she did, someone had always been watching her every move.]

May I add that I'm already kind of a scared person. Like, when I go out in public, I'm always checking where people are in the room/building in relation to me. I hate it when someone walks behind me. I hate it when people are paying a lot of attention to me. The curtains have to be shut at night. It's not like a phobia, but it's something that just makes me feel more nervous and anxious. This is the first book I've read that deals with stalkery, and may I just say it creeped me the heck out and made me want to nail boards over all the windows in the house.

When it comes to trusting people... HA. No such thing exists. You can't trust anyone. Not Tessa, not Eric, not any of the secondary characters, because EVERYONE is hiding something, everyone is a suspect, and everyone, at some point, seems like they're the one who is responsible for all the bad things ever. I felt so stressed while reading this, and it would be a severe understatement to say that I rushed. I did not simply rush. I did some amazingly epic Flash level of speed-reading that is deserving of a trophy and multiple pieces of chocolate.


The only things that I found iffy were A) the romance and B) some of the most important parts of the story happen in the POV of the character who wasn't there to witness it. For A, I liked the romance until nearing the end-- Eric was being a little bit of a prick. And he was jumping around with tactics. And it felt like he was being super inconsiderate. It was very out of character (to me). For B, I'm not sure if this was because the author didn't know how to write the intense scenes so she skipped to the other person, or if it's because she wants you to completely flip out with the lack of knowing happening. If it's the second, I salute her. I was so impatient to find out what happened that I think I sprained my thumb trying to scroll down the page at hyperspeed.

Follow Me Back ties very, extremely closely with the pressure a celebrity faces (and really makes being a celebrity seem horrible), as well as mental illnesses and how they affect a person.

There was a lot of "WHAT DO YOU MEAN"'s and "NOPE *throws phone" involved. Each of the police transcripts scattered throughout show a different part of the story. Parts that completely contradict each other at first glance but, after you read the whole story, make complete sense.


Also... the ending. I need all of my friends to read this so that we can trade ideas about what that ending meant. [ The way it was put makes it seem like Tessa just traded one stalker for another. Blair to Eric. Both convinced they love her and want to be around her 24/7. Is it showing that Eric became his worst fear??? I HAVE NO IDEA SOMEONE TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS.]

In conclusion: This was very tense and very twisty and I have ALL the theories and observations so someone needs to read this so I can talk to them about it.

Also: This book has ruined the name "Blair" for me. Like 100% RUINED. Apologies to any future Blair's I meet. You know who to blame.


Monday, February 1, 2016

What's Happening in February AKA The Game Plan

I'm probably going to have to check this post every time I come up with an idea for a post, just so I don't forget what I'm supposed to be doing, but here we go: The Game Plan for 2016. Otherwise known as: This post really should have happened in January but oh well. This is basically going to be a summary of different types of posts and what I'm going to be doing with them... or not doing.

Just in case you forgot who you were dealing with.

Reviews

This month, I am only going to be reading and reviewing books that were first published on Wattpad. I have a serious problem with discovering new authors (AKA I never do unless the book is super hyped), and a serious problem with reading at all once school starts (for some reason I don't read paper books, I only read books that are online) so hopefully this will fix both problems. 

This is only going to be going on in February. In March, it'll be something else, but from here on out every month is going to have a theme. Ex: In March, I might only read high fantasy, and in April I might pick steampunk. 

Life Posts

There are going to be almost none of these. And that's because my life is ridiculously boring. 

Moving on.

On Writing

I'm going to be doing these approximately once a month. Sometimes it might be a little more, sometimes I might not do them at all (if I'm not currently writing anything), but these will just be about different aspects of my current WIPs. Like characters, plots, world building, etc.

Since I just did one last week, another one probably will have to wait until near the end of this month.

Link Ups

I hardly ever do these as it is, but now I am thinking of doing them once a month. Again, hopefully. I don't really know about a lot of link-ups, so that's going to be another thing I try to know more about this year. Also I don't really read a lot of blogs. I only religiously check three blogs for new posts and that is terrible. 


Other than the types of posts I talked about above, there isn't anything else that I'm thinking about posting about. Occasionally there might be some lists (because, seriously, who doesn't like a good list)-- probably like the Top 5 Villains post I did forever ago. I am completely open to any other ideas, but for right now this is what to expect. 

I'll be posting on either Sunday or Monday each week.