Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Do You Organize Your Bookshelves? (A SOI Linkup)

Fun story: I like organizing things, and so I have a bunch of “How Do You Organize?” posts on my do-list (for example, How Do You Organize Your Writing?), and Sunny at A Splash of Ink totally beat me to it in her linkup. Today I’m participating in The Bookshelf Linkup, because I can, and because organization.

Go me.

1. If you can, share a picture of your bookshelves (piles of books, boxes of books, anywhere you store your books) or describe the set-up you have.


2. How do you sort your books? Author, genre, not at all?


We’re going to do these together because I think having the picture next to the explanation will make more sense.


This is my Favorite Bookshelf, where I keep my best-loved books for easy access and special distinction. They are sorted by author’s last name.


This is the Big Bookshelf, where I keep all my things. The top shelf holds my CDs in the upper left, which I don’t organize, but the mostly-DVDs that take up the rest of the shelf are more or less in alphabetical order by title (all of the Avengers movies are in alphabetical order within the “A” section, because they’re a series).

At the very end of the top shelf the fiction book section begins, which is organized mostly by author’s last name. The exception is The 39 Clues Series, which has multiple authors and so is the end of the fiction section. The magazines/comics/poetry books section comes directly after that.

The bottom shelf is non-fiction, which is more or less organized first by genre/subject (history, writing, religion etc.) and then by author’s last name, if available.



Also, this is part of the “R” Section, that was originally the Harry Potter shelf until I didn’t have enough space to treat Harry like a pompous prig unworthy of touching other books and so now it is the Riordan/Rowling block of books.

3. Do you have any special trinkets or decorations on your shelves, or are they purely business?


If you go back and look up at the photos, you’ll notice I have pointed out some of the highlights of things that are located on my shelves!

4. What genre dominates your bookshelf? Or what genres make up your bookshelf?


Well, it’s mostly YA. There’s some fantasy things. Sci-fi things. A few realistic fiction, but I’m over that phase. Mostly I like books with a small band of heroes who work for the government and overcome threats to society or small bands of threats to society who overcome the government. Um… yeah.

5. Are there any books on your shelf that you're particularly proud of?


Erm, no. Not exactly.

6. What is the ratio between read books and TBR books on your shelf?


Well, here is my “official” TBR pile, but there are six or seven other books I mean to read lying around the rest of the room. So, that’s like 14 books versus the 200+ that sit on all the shelves… Pretty good ratio, I’d say.

7. What is the most recent addition to your bookshelf?


I just got Reapers by Brian Davis from a giveaway at Stori Tori’s Blog!

8. Describe your dream bookshelf setup.


…You know, I think my dreams have already come true.


And there you have it! Thanks so much to Sunny for hosting this fabulous linkup, and I look forward to reading more of these over the next few weeks!

How do you organize your bookshelves? If you do the linkup, be sure to send me your link so I can be sure to visit!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Some Concerns I Have About You Ruling the World

Totally not naming names, but I’ve noticed that there are more than a few constituents of the writing/blogging/fictional community who have plans for world domination—or, alternatively, some who believe they are already in possession of it.

This concerns me.

I say this not only as a citizen of the to-be-dominated world, but as someone who pays a lot of attention to would-be rulers in general.

That being said, I have a few thoughts I just want you to think about before you (or your characters) announce yourself as a world-dominator.

1. There is More Than One Applicant For the Position


Life got pretty bad when there were three Popes, and the Pope is head of a church. If there are upwards of a hundred applicants, not nearly as holy, wanting to rule the world, they’re going to have to duke it out, or go by “a ruler of the world” instead of “the ruler of the world.” Is that what you really have in mind?

2. No One Ever Talks About Politics


Partitioning Africa meant making rival cultures get along using force. That was one continent. If you do this to the whole world, I have a problem because...

3. Where Are Your Guns? Where Are Your Armies?


People really don’t like being taken over. Pick a war! Any war! People fight against new management, and if you want to make changes, you need to be able to enforce them. Besides, if everybody wants to rule the world, you’re going to need a defense plan.

4. Charm Isn’t Enough


No, you say, I don’t need guns—people will accept me because I am not evil! Spoiler alert, niceness doesn’t put food on the table. Hitler wouldn’t have been an effective ruler if he didn’t offer solutions for his people; there are a lot of solution-less people in the world and a smile isn’t going to help them.

5. You Don’t Talk About Your Programs


Speaking of solution-less people, they will allege themselves to solution-makers. One time in France a ruling class didn’t make solutions for their impoverished people. This guy named Robespierre really hated it, so he killed them. What exactly are you offering that would make people not want to kill you?

6. You Don’t Have Goals


“Rule the World” is not a goal. This is a goal: “By the end of 2025, I will be Earth’s benevolent dictator and presiding lawmaker after obtaining and consolidating the world’s militaries as my own police force and leveling the global standard of living.”

7. You Don’t Have an Action Plan


After making that goal, how are you going to get there? A goal without a plan is just a wish, and if taking over the world were easy, everyone would do it. Where will you get the money, resources, manpower, financial support, etcetera?

8. Where’s the Fan Club?


Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Nine pirates, everyone always votes for himself, there is never a majority, and you can never elect a pirate king. You need a fan club. Someone like Jack Sparrow, who will vote for you, stand behind you as you go to war, and defend you against the other would-be rulers. Bonus points for being sassy. Who’s in your posse?

9. Will You Solve Anything Other than First World Problems?


If I ruled the world, all baristas would be required to make cool designs in every latte, because everybody knows it tastes better when it looks cool. Wow. How profound am I? I’m sure this is why Africa has children who are dying of starvation—they won’t drink design-less lattes. If the point of your ruling the world is to solve the minor inconveniences of the first world, maybe you should just get a degree in business instead.

10. If You Don’t Do Anything, What is the Point Of You Being In Charge?


Last thing. If all you do is take a title and don’t invest in your new planet, what is the point of you being in charge? If nothing changes, did it ever happen?



And that is just my food for thought for all you world-rulers out there. Don’t worry, I realize that I’m not a good leader and have no desires to compete with you. However, as a concerned citizen, I’d like you to work out the kinks BEFORE your stunning takeover.

I’d appreciate it. Thank you.

Are you (still) a potential ruler of the world? If so, please don’t have me assassinated for blowing holes in your plans. 


(P.S. Yes, I know—most of the world-takeover plans are in jest, but if doing WBIs on Friday has changed me at all, it’s in never taking world management lightly. Go figure.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

First Drafting

I did Nano once and I wrote 35,000 words and the only purpose it served was to show me that yes, I actually can write stuff in greater amounts than I’m used to. I will not be doing it again for two reasons:

1) I’ve already learned the bit about writing long stuff.
2) I hate writing long first drafts.

I don’t know how everyone else does it. Like, details and characters are so BORING and FLEETING the first time. I want to get to the END. I want all my ideas out, I want the plot there, I want to go BOOM BOOM BOOM and have a book.
Skeleton
Flickr Credit: Sue Clark

Not a publishable book, obviously. Just a skeleton. You can work with a skeleton—it’s hard to have a person be alive if they are missing all their body parts from the ribs down. (And I tend to get bored in the area of the ribs.)

(I sound like such a mean writer; I’m going to stop in and say that it’s totally okay if you like writing Nano-style and I applaud you if you can write long. But this is my story.)

So, I’m working out my own way of getting through first drafts.

Notebook Spawn, a WIP I’ve mentioned before, is over 60,000 words at this moment. If I take a look at my first draft, it was 15,340 words, including notes. I zoomed through the story with little regard for plot or characterization or sense-making. Through the magic of editing, I am working on something that is not perfect, but there’s more plot and characterization and sense-making than that first draft did.

I have done it again!

I wrote a new first draft over the last while, currently in the range of 16,000 words, which is the magical accountant story I also mentioned somewhere else. I thought it might be fun to share a few snippets just to show the attitude in which I write these things. Enjoy.

In which I change my mind about what just happened:

Bai eventually came back, and then there was silence until a low gurgle filled the enclave.
“Do you think Deuce will return at all?” Bai asked. “I’m hungry, and if we have to hunt, or steal—”
“Well actually I went with him so never mind,” said Silverhand.
Deuce returned with the food and tapped me back into reality.

In which modern slang replaces anything medieval-industrial: 

“King Noel went to the border last week,” he said. “He has been captured, and may be held for ransom. It super sucks.”

In which I make technology that does not exist appear:

We went, we crawled, we hid, and then we worked to make the phone call with the fairy I needed to see. The fairy who would make the prince safe at last.

In which the characters ruminate regarding the direction of the plot:

“We could maybe split up or something in the next draft and see where that goes since the setup for the illegal trade of drugs is really important in the next book when we all go to the East and Minty gets to enjoy playing with the black market due to the apartment rent ceiling present in my country.”
“Ah, yes,” said Silverhand. “Very important piece of the plot, but still a problem because who will stay and who will go?”

In which I didn’t feel like doing research:

“Oh, that happened to me all the time. Once I was so mad, I accidentally gave my sister tuberculosis (or some other weird coughing disease; look it up) and we panicked for days about whether or not she would make it until I could figure out how to send it away.”

In which I didn’t feel like writing an emotional breakup:

“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go.”
And so we went wee wee wee all the way home. Also, I learned that Deuce was vile and I didn’t want to feel anymore of his romantic advances.

In which I roughly summarize the queen:

She had been crying, clearly, but it hadn’t diminished her strength of face or the stuff that made her look badass and momish and a pretty darn good ruler of her kingdom.

In which the prince decides he’s completely done with this war stuff: 

“Well, we’ll find allies and crap later because I’m done with this situation for now,” Derren replied. “Let’s eat cheese balls. I’m hungry.”

There you go. Onto phase two: making it make more sense!

What do your first drafts look like?


Friday, April 24, 2015

Editing is Like Dissecting a Cat

I’ve wanted to dissect a cat since eighth grade, and now I am finally realizing my dream. It’s like the climax of my academic career.

Now, I’m not saying dissecting a cat is easy, because it isn’t, but it does give you a lot of time to think. Especially when you’re pulling bits of fat off the kidneys for half an hour. Your mind is pretty free. And while my mind was enjoying its freedom it realized—dissecting a cat is kind of like editing.

Allow me to explain.

via Buzzfeed

1. It all USED to work.


The cat used to be alive, all the organs used to function. And everything made sense right before you took a break after writing the first draft. But now? The draft is dead, too.

via Dose

2. It’s more work than you thought.


I didn’t know much about skinning the cat. Cutting through a fetal pig’s ribs is nothing compared to the struggle it is to get through a full-grown cat’s. And that first draft of The Novel? After a long, hard day of editing, you won’t know what hit you.

via Buzzfeed

3. You never know what you’re going to find.


Two of the cats that were supposed to be pregnant are not pregnant. Another group found a B.B. gun pellet by their cat’s heart. And apparently in my WIP the prince character talks about cheese balls, which would be inaccurate for his time period.

via Buzzfeed

4. You don’t know where anything is.


In cats, it’s because everything is covered in fat and tissue and pericardiums with thymus glands you didn’t realize you weren’t supposed to take off. In books, it’s because everything is all over the place and you’re supposed to put it all back together.

via Socks on an Octopus

5. It’s messy.


This goes without saying.

via Buzzfeed

6. You aren’t sure what’s okay to take out and what isn’t.


On the one hand, this thing might just be really ugly pockets of fat. Or, maybe it’s the bladder. Hard to say. I’ll just leave it there and take out this other thing—oops. On that note, does this paragraph work here? Should I take out that character? Oh, but I love him. I’ll take out this other event instead—oops.

via Buzzfeed

7. You’re reluctant to put anything back in.


There were these weird black-brown things on the lungs that weren’t the lungs (probably) and so I took them out and put them back in and then took them out again. Now they are thrown away. When you write, it’s also hard to decide what goes and what stays and what gets added, because what if it’s important, or what if it’s not?

via Buzzfeed

8. You’ve got to make time.


I spent almost an hour after school doing extra dissection stuff because I didn’t clear all the fat out of the lower portion of my cat. Fat is the thing that really smells, so twice today I got the distinct desire to puke. Would I have rather been doing something else? Yeah. But it was important. Clearing out the painful details from a novel? Also worthy of nausea. But you’ve got to make time to do it, too.

via Bloglovin'

9. It’s a good learning experience.


In a cat, we learn a little bit about anatomy in cats and even ourselves when we take apart the body and get a hands-on look at what makes us function. Did you know that nerves look like dental floss? They’re hard to break, but that is what a scalpel is for. In writing, we can learn a little more about our novel and our patterns, and what makes us function as writers. Did you know that I sometimes have trouble characterizing secondary characters? They sometimes slip under my radar, but that is what editing is for.

via Sploid

10. There’s blood everywhere.


Let’s not even pretend.

(It’s not liquid, by the way. It kind of looks like moonsand, and is just clumps of hematite-red cell bundles that kind of look like bacon bits.)

(Also, those are cat lungs, not really bloody things. Sorry if I made you throw up.)

via Mashable

11. We love to talk about it!


I love sharing what I got to see in my cat with anyone who will listen (that is, I would if anybody wanted to listen…). It is awesome getting to see a cat’s insides first-hand and marveling at the little organs that somehow made this cat alive once. Likewise, we writers love to share our projects with other people who are willing to listen and understand, and for most of us, it’s fun to compare that magical experience with others.


Keep dissecting, keep editing, and don’t think about fat, because it smells bad and gets your gloves and papers greasy and looks like little pork chops on a paper towel. It’s nasty.

I’m not sure what to ask because I don’t know if anyone else has dissected a cat. What do you think is like editing?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursentary: George O'Connor

This is me: if I believe something, I believe it wholeheartedly no matter how many questions I have, and if I don’t believe something, I refuse to believe it until I am sufficiently convinced.

From fifth grade to eighth grade, I loved Greek Mythology, and there was nothing I believed more than this: Zeus and Hera SUCKED.

In all the ways. I mean, if you asked me, I couldn’t even say something I liked about them—it was a long list of this-and-this-and-this-and-this against them. To be fair, a lot of my mythology material supported my opinion:

  • Myth-o-Mania—Zeus is a fat, lying turd and Hera is superficial and whiny
  • Percy Jackson—Zeus is ignorant and rude, and Hera is corrupt and manipulative
  • Pandora—Zeus punishes the protagonist and Hera is the actual antagonist
  • Iris, Messenger—Zeus is a fat bastard on a couch and Hera is his fat, bitter wife
  • Cronus Chronicles—I don’t recall exactly, but by the time I got to the end of this trilogy I believe I was pretty fed up with ALL the gods
  • Hercules (Disney)—well, Zeus and Hera weren’t evil, but Hades was, and who’s going to trust a movie where Hades is the bad guy?

Sure, I read Edith Hamilton’s rendition. I was so myth-crazy I read every page of the Western mythology in my mythology encyclopedia. (It’s small print and at over a foot long; I don’t know what I was thinking.)

Everything just confirmed my fears: Hera was abusive, vindictive, jealous, and idiotic; Zeus was unfaithful, unwise, a major jerk, and ugly. This I believed with all my heart, and NO ONE was going to tell me I was wrong.

Enter George O’Connor.

I picked up the first two books of the Olympians graphic novel series on a whim: Athena and Zeus. Athena I liked, but Zeus? I didn’t have much hope: I fully anticipated the disgusting hatred for Zeus I’d always had.

via Goodreads
First I was frustrated. How on earth could this guy write Zeus like a normal person? Like he wasn’t an immoral poopface and the epitome of boorish, brainless idiocy in human society? Who did he think he was?

I was so confused, I read it again. And again. And dang it all—I got it.

There was something about Zeus. It’s not that he was completely evil, I realized. It was just that he wasn’t completely good. 

Okay, fine, I thought. FINE. I concede. Zeus is okay. Only okay. But no way, no how, by any means or any miracle of God would he convince me in his next book that Hera was anything like that.

via Goodreads
I managed to get through the book with that mindset, scoffing as I finished. But, the author’s note is where he saves the surprises to blow your mind. My mind exploded.

Hera is his favorite goddess.

What the flipping what what? I flipped straight back to the beginning—because no way in Tartarus could this guy consider HERA of all people to be best! Had no one told him about the vindictive jealousy? Did he not realize that he drew Hera being a complete *censored* to the whole Olympian population?

But… Again… It isn’t that Hera is completely evil. It’s just that she isn’t completely good.

Zeus was a father. A husband. He loved his family and wanted what was best for everyone—he sought justice and peace and compromise; he did great things. Hera was a mom. She made Hercules into a hero. She had her girlish days. She hurt on the inside but she never let it break her—she was strong.

What I’d never stopped to think about in the mythology fiction I read was that some authors commit terrible, terrible crimes by sorting the gods into two parties: “good guys” and “bad guys.” But that’s not how Greek philosophy worked. The gods are imperfect, because humanity isn’t perfect, either. What I find in every one of George O’Connor’s books is not some story about good and evil, but tales of heroes, gods, and monsters.

No perfect men. No perfect gods. No perfect ending. 

We can’t limit the gods to one simple ideal or opinion. Because they’re ambiguous. Because we’re ambiguous, too.

There are only a handful of authors who have given my perspective a 180, and this is one place I never expected it to happen. But, if we expected it, perhaps we wouldn’t change. That begs the question:

Have you ever read anything that completely changed your perspective on something? Who was it and what changed? (And, just for kicks, do you have a favorite/least favorite Greek god?)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Share the Love Challenge: Alexa, from Summer Snowflakes

The fantastic Alexa of Summer Snowflakes also tagged me for the Share the Love Challenge! It was originally started by Audrey at The Measure of a Book (and yes, I did this tag for Ana last week).

Here we go again!

Here are the tag instructions: 

  • Display the tag on your post along with the instructions.
  • Display the link to the blog whose author tagged you.
  • Insert their ‘about me’, biography, or profile text (unless they don’t have one). And if you wanna go all-out, add their picture too (if they have one)!
  • List or talk about some things you LOVE about their blog.
  • Mention your favorite post by that blogger.
  • Tag as many bloggers as you can! Share the love! (And remember, the more you tag, the more people will hear about you and your blog.)
  • And don’t forget to let the bloggers know you’ve tagged them.


Le Blogger: Alexa at Summer Snowflakes

Le About Me: Alexa S. Winters is a teen homeschooler working her way through high school. When she was little, Alexa wanted to be an artist, but later, she realized that being a writer is an art in its own right. Besides, everyone knows it’s way easier to write a few paragraphs than to copy the Mona Lisa. At least, she thought it would be. Then, she tried editing fifty thousand words and started to rethink that Mona Lisa thing.

Le Enjoyments: Alexa participates in a lot of fun activities and also shares some pretty realistic thoughts about life as a writer and all the strings that come with it. It’s nice to see her journey as a writer and how she shares her story, and the calm, measured way she writes make the posts easy and enjoyable to read. Also, she never has an end to the music to share! It’s graceful and tasteful, and in my humble opinion, worth the read.

Le Posts: Watch Me Write | Three Not-So-Wonderful Things About Writing | Fan Month: My Time in Fanland | Thoughtful Thursdays: Expectation Vs. Reality: Writer’s Edition | Thoughtful Thursdays: Expectation vs. Reality 2: Publishing Edition

Now, why not go visit? Thanks for tagging me, Alexa!

Have you read Alexa’s blog? What’s your favorite thing about it?

Monday, April 20, 2015

TCWT April Blog Chain: Twoo Wuv

Today I am supposed to write a letter to a fictional couple. That’s the TCWT prompt, you see. I don’t really want to, but I will. Because unhealthy obsessions for fictional characters should probably be shared with other characters sometimes.

So, that being said, here are letters. More than one letters. Here we go.

via Goodreads
Dear Nyx and Lux,

Congratulations. I shipped you so much I had to read your book twice in two weeks, and whenever I think about you I still turn into a melted glob of cheese.

I mean, your story is hilarious and enchanting—of all the people to fall in love with, who would have guessed it would be your own spouse? I’ve stripped Ignifex and Shade to a psychological perspective so many times it’s disrespectful. And Nyx, I understand you perfectly.

I could gush and gush, but in the end, I think I can sum up why I love you two in a few simple sentences. Your commitment spanned timelines. Your marriage was bound first by duty, then with respect, and then with love. You learned what it meant to be each other’s perfect servant.

And you ended up living by the Helen Thermopolis rule of marriage: “Being married is about being yourself, only with someone else.”

Neither of you are perfect, and that’s the point. We don’t need to be perfect to have perfect love—and in the end, it was your sacrifice that made you relatable, beautiful people.

*dreamy sigh* You guys are so awesome.

All my love,

Heather
via Warped Factor
Dear Sorsha and Madmartigan,

Okay, okay, okay, okay. Other than being my favorite people in the entire movie, the things you keep and the things you leave behind just make you the perfect examples of change.

I mean, Madmartigan, we don’t let our babies get kidnapped by brownies while we’re peeing in the bushes. Sorsha, your mother doesn’t know everything. You let yourselves fall into skewed versions of yourselves and let yourselves get locked into cages (Mad, yes, you did that literally and you can’t blame Erik for leaving you in there) because you didn’t see what leaving would do for you.

But you changed. You learned what it’s like to love. You learned what it’s like to face your demons, to act with honor, to help others more than to help yourself. You both showed tremendous courage on the battlefield and you both played a crucial role in the climax to see Bavmorda brought to her doom. Especially you, Sorsha. That couldn’t have been easy.

But now you’re parents. Now you’re a king and a queen. And now you will see that the princess will grow to a strong and beautiful warrior like yourselves and make sure she has enough blackroot to put hair on her chest.

Love,

Heather

P.S. By the way, we’re going to pretend I never dared open the book. Not that book. No. Screw George Lucas.

via Forbes
Dear Carlisle and Esme,

DO YOU EVEN KNOW YOU ARE SUCH PERFECT SYMBOLISM OF JESUS AND THE CHURCH?

I’m never going to get over that. Your whole family is adorable. Can I come over for dinner?

Yours,

Heather
via Buzzfeed
Dear Wash and Zoe,

Let’s keep this a secret. You guys are perfect. And not just because Wash plays with dinosaurs or because Zoe is an ISTJ, although those things help. You guys have conflict. You’re different people with real struggles and it’s hard for you guys to work together because you do come at the world with different perspectives.

Zoe, I know what it’s like to be you. You have to make tough decisions and the war is never really over. You know that you want to spend time with Wash but you have to do the work as well. And it’s not that you love the work… it’s just that work always comes first—and that includes Mal. You’re strong, you’re a good shot, and you can get down to business. 

Wash, you’re different. You play while you work. You want to leave—you want to have that romance. Yes, you like your job. Who the heck wouldn’t love driving through space in a Firefly? Serenity more than any. But your life isn’t your job—your life is what you have with Zoe, and your friends, and you don’t want your work to get in the way.

That is conflict. But you still love each other. And I like that, because all too often we see romances without conflict, and those that do have conflict simply end—and in your case, that isn’t true. You guys make each other better. 

Because Zoe has feelings. That stupidhead kid seemed to think she didn’t have any, but what he didn’t realize was that Zoe has always had feelings—but being around Wash makes her willing to share them. Wash doesn’t like being excluded, and sometimes that’s a problem for him, too. But being with Zoe means that there’s always a place where he belongs, and where his someone will make him wife soup if he’s been a good boy.

That’s you guys. You’re funny, you’re conflicting, you struggle, but most of all, you complement each other, so that you are a perfect pair. You guys are my leaves on the wind, and I will never stop watching how you soar.

I need to stop now before I start to die of feels. Love you, love your work, say hello to Emma for me.

Fly true,

Heather


If you ARE in the blog chain—drop me a link to your letters if I haven’t read them yet. Who did you write to?

If you ARE NOT in the blog chain—what are a few couples you would write to? What would you say? And, be sure to check out the other lovely folks hanging out in this month’s lovely chain for even better letters!

Prompt: “Write a letter to a fictional couple.”

5th April Blog Chain

6thHello, Ms. Romanoff

7thLove Letters, Sort Of

8th – http://freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/

9thIs This Love?

10thDear Lovers

11thThe Princess, The Puppet, and the Pirate

12thViolent Fangirl Cries

13thApril TCWT Chain

14thA Normal Hopeless Romantic

15thTCWT Blog Chain Post

16th A Letter of Titanic Proportions

17th – https://clockworkdesires.wordpress.com/

18th Dear Jo and Laurie...

19th – http://from-stacy.blogspot.com/

20thTwoo Wuv

21stDear OTP

22ndTCWT April Blog Chain

23rdLetters to Ships

24thOh Romeo...

25th – http://theboardingblogger.wordpress.com/

26th – http://allisonthewriter.wordpress.com/

27th – http://stayandwatchthestars.wordpress.com/

28th – http://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

and http://abookishflower.wordpress.com/

29thLetter to Pair and https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Book-Gap/603228309718111

30th – http://hautehealthhails.blogspot.co.uk/ and https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

Friday, April 17, 2015

WBI: John Douglas Keller

My best friend hooked me on the show Leverage, and I enjoy it (by enjoy it I mean I weep tears of blood whenever I’m not watching it). In almost every episode there’s a new bad guy to defeat—we have to meet him, hate him, and defeat him in less than forty-five minutes.

Thursday I watched “The King George Job” (3x12), wherein we got the inside look at John Douglas Keller, a smuggler and employee of the show’s main villain, Damien Moreau. Small presence, but WBI principles are still at work, my friends.

Photo Credit: Leverage Wiki

WBI Profile


Classification :: γ457$#
Role :: Body (representative of a larger infrastructure)
Motivation :: Insubordination (Moreau’s employee), lifestyle (art collector, history aficionado), gain (barony)
Bonus :: money, minions

Click Me to Big Me!

A Study


financier—he’s a rich guy, so we could potentially consider him a delta villain

body—for the purpose of the episode, Keller is a step up to a larger villain, Moreau; he essentially personifies a part of a bigger, faceless organization to create the episode’s manageable goal

employee—coincidentally, that relationship to Moreau is the reason the Leverage team is interested in Keller; he is a step up the ladder

smuggler—among other things, Keller using Iraqi children immigrating to America to smuggle goods that are sold; the money is then used to buy arms and men for his employer

cold—Keller is willing to leave a little girl in an immigration cell because she is an acceptable financial loss; the other things he smuggled are enough to cover his costs

collector—he collects trinkets from the Georgian era, not because they have monetary value, but rather their emotional value

expert—he can smell a statue and tell you where it came from; he knows his trade as an art dealer very well

ambitious—he has a slight obsession with royal titles, as in, he wants his own

disinterested in money—he already has money, he doesn’t need more; he opens a deal with the group because they offer him something money can’t buy—a barony

connected—he called up another duchess for tea merely to see if another duchess was for real; he knows people

driven—he was willing to buy a diary for $300,000 to get his barony (with a little neuro-linguistic programming from Sophie)

employer—although working within a large organization, it appears as though he hires men loyal to his own enterprise

colder—he freaking ordered his men to kill Eliot (my favorite character; don’t worry, he beat them all up)

not detail oriented—he didn’t notice that the box the diary was in was made of stolen Russian icons, which are eventually what got him caught

fallible—in the end, he was duped by a fake diary as the Hacker hacked history; his weaknesses brought him down flat

Big Idea


short stories need deep characters—we can wait to learn about the main characters because they’re there the whole show; for one-shot characters, the directors and writers take extra care to emphasize their traits. In general, Keller has fewer motivations and fewer traits, but the traits he did have were emphasized several times to give us the impression of a good, strong character we could hate, even for only one episode.

connect the dots—Keller has a lowercase gamma on this one; he’s a part of the Body, not a villain out on his own. Even though this is only one episode, he has played an important role because it has set us up for the next time we run into Moreau.

children melt hearts—here’s a pro tip: using wartorn families separated from their children as the victims is just going to make some people (*cough*) upset. You’ll win their sympathies and they’ll dislike the antagonist. Hit them where it hurts. Children, puppies, kittens. Don’t hold back.

Have you seen any successful one-episode villains? How did they cement themselves as a hated, but temporary, figure?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Favorite Screen Characters Tag

Brett  and Opal were awesome enough to tag me for the Favorite Screen and Game Characters tag! (You should go look at theirs, by the way.) Basically, I am to discuss my ten different characters on screen—a hard one, simply because I enjoy watching movies more than I like reading books, probably.


Loki


Okay, okay—I’m a fangirl. I’m sorry. But he has a delicious character arc, for starters, and I like his sibling action with Thor. Initially it sounded like he was supposed to be a maniacal evil guy, but he turned into this deeply emotional and justice-seeking individual. ♥ Also, Tom Hiddleston.


Olivia Dunham

One of my favorite things that has been said about Fringe is that it’s the show where the girls get the guns—and she shoots plenty of things. Also, by the way, she’s close with her sister Rachel. AND SHE GETS TO BE WITH PETER AND LINCOLN WITHOUT AN AWKWARD PAINT YOUR WAGON REDO!

Mal Reynolds

I don’t know when I started adoring Mal. Maybe after the third episode—he finally proved that he is a very moral character, but he’s also morally ambiguous. Funny, firm, kind, and a good leader. He also looks lovely in a pretty floral bonnet.

Zoe Washburne

First of all, I like that she’s a female ISTJ—lots of times they are guys and that is depressing when you like to look up to both genders instead of just one. Elizabeth and I had this discussion the other day—Zoe is good at being a woman. She loves her husband exclusively and passionately, is respectful of authority (unless the authority is stupid), can shoot a gun, and will fight for what she believes in. Yet, she’s kind and nurturing, a strong leader. She’s feminine and emotional, but she doesn’t let those things define or get in the way of what she wants to do.

Also, when she is handed her best friend’s ear, she doesn’t even blink, she just sticks that thing in her bra and drags her husband away like nothing.

Simba

Simba is awesome. His story just goes full circle—he begins as a fearful child in need of forgiveness, and when he confronts his past and accepts his rightful responsibility, he receives it and administers justice in the land. Then, as his daughter reaches adulthood, he learns to step back and give that same forgiveness as well.

Geraldine Granger

I understand why this show got some hate mail—Geraldine is a vicar (that’s British for pastor) and she does some pretty sinful things. She’s been known to sleep around, she turns to food instead of God, she can say bad words, and she almost married Mr. Horton. But I can’t be more grateful that Dawn French asked that Geraldine be more naughty, because pastors aren’t perfect. She shows, in many ways, that your faults do not make you feckless. Sometimes it’s the people closest to God who need the most forgiveness.

Mr. Magorium

I don’t know why I don’t own this movie; it always makes me cry. It’s funny, because I never think I’m going to love it as much as I did last time. But I do. He ignites joy in live, speaks wisdom amid strife, and whispers poignant words facing death. He isn’t afraid of anything, and his defining traits are forgiveness and love. He knows the value of a gift. More than that, he never undervalues what he has already been given: life.

Guinan

Guinan is awesome. She’s wise, and unorthodox. She listens to people’s stories and always delivers calm, measured advice. She takes advantage of the opportunities out there and isn’t afraid to jump on beds, nor is she afraid to confront her captain when there is something he needs to hear. My dad’s favorite Star Trek episode is “Darmok” (which is undeniably awesome) but despite the many I have seen, I really like the one following: “Ensign Ro.” She reminds me of myself, and that Guinan would go out of her way to help Ro Laren made me happy.


Madmartigan

Madmartigan has the best character arc, too. He’s in a cage left to die, and maybe even for good reason, but he learns to fall in love, learns to work as part of a team, and learns to love a little baby girl he eventually takes as his own. He learns responsibility, and despite the fact that he is the traditional swashbuckling hero he doesn’t arrive at the scene of the climax until the battle has already been won. And he’s funny.

Charlotte La Bouf

Lottie is so funny. She’s the spoiled rich girl who is hankering for a husband—we all know the trope. But I still like her. She’s kind to Tiana and shares her belongings without hesitation. She’s enthusiastic. She’s the blond babe but she doesn’t get a singing role. She loves her dad. When her wedding goes all to pieces and she learns that she was going to marry Lawrence, she still holds it together and is willing to kiss Naveen—no marriage required. She doesn’t get married. She goes to Tiana’s restaurant, dances with Naveen’s six-year-old brother, and she’s happy.

Eliot

Surprise, Eliot from made his way in here. Maybe an eleventh character is against the rules but in the month that I’ve known him I have fallen for him, head over heels. He cooks, he beats people up, he has amazing hair, he’s smart, he’s funny, and he’s the best. That is all.

Um, yeah. Really. That is all. *ahem*

Who are some of your favorite screen characters? Let me know in the comments or, better yet, link me to your own post!


(Also... I got all these pictures from Pinterest. I do not own them. Obviously. If I owned The Lion King I would probably not have to get a job this summer.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Share the Love Challenge: Ana, from Butterflies of the Imagination

Today I have the privilege of bringing to you the Share the Love Challenge, as initiated by Audrey at The Measure of a Book. I’ve been tagged by Ana at Butterflies of the Imagination!

Here are the tag instructions: 

  • Display the tag on your post along with the instructions.
  • Display the link to the blog whose author tagged you.
  • Insert their ‘about me’, biography, or profile text (unless they don’t have one). And if you wanna go all-out, add their picture too (if they have one)!
  • List or talk about some things you LOVE about their blog.
  • Mention your favorite post by that blogger.
  • Tag as many bloggers as you can! Share the love! (And remember, the more you tag, the more people will hear about you and your blog.)
  • And don’t forget to let the bloggers know you’ve tagged them.


Le Blogger: Ana, from Butterflies of the Imagination

Le About Me: Hi, I'm Ana. I'm a teen book blogger and I love posting book reviews and discussions.
When I'm not blogging or studying like crazy I love to run long distances and get muddy in the process. You can also find me devouring the pages of a book, furiously scribbling down stories, sewing my own clothes and coding up a storm. I believe that one can never consume enough peppermint and chocolate. New followers and comments make my day. Hint. Hint.

Le Enjoyments: Ana always writes the sweetest, most sincere comments on my blog posts, so you can imagine that it’s obviously going to show through in her own posts! She writes about blogging, writing, and reading, and I like knowing that she will be honest in her reviews and she’s going to be awesome in her discussions about writing and reading. Also, I think the butterflies are pretty. Maybe that’s me judging a book by its cover but butterflies became a lot cooler for me when I learned they can’t poop.

Le Posts: How Do You Prepare for Camp Nano? Quiz | A Message to Book Bloggers: You Should Try Creative Writing! | I Ain’t Gonna Let Anyone Rain on My Parade: Thoughts on Go Set a Watchman | 5 Ways to Find Books You Will Enjoy | Fangirls: We Come in All Shapes and Sizes

And so pretty much I have just figured out that I am way behind on reading Ana’s blog. Go me. Go me.

Anyway, Ana has a totally awesome blog and if you haven’t already, you should go check it out! Thanks for tagging me, Ana!

Have you read Ana’s blog? What do you love about it?