Monday, February 29, 2016

I'll Take It

Moon 2
Flickr Credit: Ana Sofia Guerreirinho

It’s 11:28 PM, February 28, 2016.

To be perfectly honest, I’d like to be in bed right now. I’d be snuggled under my blankets flipping villainous stories through my fingers while the moon outside drips oil onto the windows—that way they’ll be ready when the sun sets them alight tomorrow at dawn.

I should be in the bathroom. My alveoli remind me that there’s an inhaler in the cupboard with my name on it. It won’t feel right to end the day without minty toothpaste, and of course, there’s the flossing. Always the flossing.

But I’m here, writing a blog post and falling asleep.

I didn’t do a lot today. I went to church. I used social media more than was strictly necessary. I tried writing blog posts. I watched a movie. I wrote. It wasn’t a lot. Not like that.

But how heavy those little things weigh together.

I went to church, but it was kind of scary. One of my World Music assignments during spring break is to visit a church that isn’t of our own denomination and study the significance of music in a service. I’ve always wondered about that church, and going inside, I was very much an outsider. I didn’t know the customs or the practices, and at the end I had to interview a (nice) stranger about the events of the service. I’ve been dreading this assignment all semester, and it was hard to go someplace new and appreciate someone else’s traditions among unfamiliar faces. The good news is, I lived.

I spent time on Twitter and Facebook. But it was a time I enjoyed. This last week has been hectic with midterms and the death of my grandfather—it’s sure to be more hectic this week, too—and I haven’t spent as much time among my blogging neighbors and friends as I’d like. But I talked to my friends. I talked to my neighbors. I got to smile because other people held a conversation with me and it was fun and it was nice. Sometimes I forget how much I love my community. No one I care about lets me forget it very long.

I tried writing blog posts. I tried writing this blog post a lot of ways. It was hard. I didn’t write a lot this week because of midterms, going to musical productions (yes, three), and work. And I wanted to write about how you are the best person to tell your story, to catch up on my WIP wish list, to say something worth saying about being a writer. But I didn’t feel like a writer, and I kept getting distracted.

So I watched a movie. I played 2048 with my youngest sister and we watched Over the Hedge. It made me think about our traditions and our innovations. Some things stay the same and some things change but you try to find a balance and an identity but at the same time, everything can be lost. Such is the way of time and black holes.

But most importantly, I wrote. I wrote fan fiction. And the words were there, they were new and they were stilted but they weren’t something I’d been working on for months so I could bask in their novelty and smile at the sadness captured in their Calibri-built cages. I wrote fan fiction, and I looked on as they looked on, too. And I wrote! I sat down and pulled up my WIP and I wrote 900 words and it was 900 more words than I’d had on Monday. My characters melted like wax into puddles on the floor and I couldn’t splash them, but there will be time to strike a match tomorrow, and then we’ll see what forms we find hidden there.

I wrote and it was beautiful and my puddles welled back up because even though I want to be in my bed with delicate strands of malice twisting towards the ceiling I did something and it meant something and I want to do it again.

I went to church. I used Twitter and Facebook. I tried to be a writer but had to be patient for solitude. I watched Over the Hedge and got to the 512 key in 2048. And I wrote about secrets and withholding forgiveness and love.

I didn’t do very much today, but even those little things brought their small successes. Whatever the worth of the day may be, I’ll take it. Sunlight can’t jingle in my pockets but that’s okay. I don’t really like going outside that much anyway.

In the meantime, I’ll get ready for bed. I’ll crawl into bed with that evil I’ve been yapping about. The lamp will turn off and the moon will quit splashing her oil around to wink once—her good night salute.

It’s 11:54 PM, February 28, 2016.

Don’t stall the sunrise on my account.

Can you tell that I was tired and listening to Disney instrumentals when I wrote this? 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dinner Party: Dads and Daughters

Sometimes it’s fun to pull one of these out of a hat. My Thursentary plans went down the drain due to the three midterms/quizzes I have today. I’ll save that awesome post for a time when I can give it the attention it deserves.

Instead, it’s dinner party time!

If you aren’t familiar with my Dinner Party bit, every once in a while I decide to invite a group of fictional characters to my house for a meal. My dining room table seats twelve, so I can invite ten characters to eat with me—I am reserving two seats for myself and my father because our theme this time is adorable father/daughter duos. Yay!

via Goodreads

Brimstone and Karou (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor)

I have only just finished Days of Blood and Starlight, so nobody spoil anything for me. I’ll try to do the same for you.

I think the phrase that makes me the most happy about these two is when Brimstone calls Karou “Daughter of My Heart.” They aren’t blood relations, by any stretch of the imagination. But they’re kin. They are family—they chose to be family. Brimstone raised Karou. He cradled her when she was shot and he lectured her about Kaz and he saved for her a hope she could only realize once grown. And in turn, Karou helped him and loved him back. And other things I can’t say because spoilers.

Still. “Daughter of My Heart.” *squee*

via Goodreads

Dr. Nero and Raven (H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden)

There are those in the H.I.V.E. fandom who ship these two romantically. I don’t. There is a level of intimacy and cuteness between these two—the villainous headmaster and the tortured assassin—but it comes from a relationship of guidance and trust. In Aftershock especially, we see that Nero was the one who salvaged Raven from the abuse she suffered in her training. He offered her kindness and a chance to start over, which allowed her to gain his trust and her freedom. Those initial foundations of trust and freedom set the framework for the unbreakable devotion and support they show for one another throughout the entire series.

And it’s all because Dr. Nero wasn’t afraid to read a murderous assassin a bedtime story.

via FanPop

Simba and Kiara (The Lion King II)

On the one hand, I love how Simba and Kiara’s relationship echo that between Mufasa and Simba in the first movie—there’s an obvious love that fosters an environment where Kiara can learn how to be a leader within her pride. Unlike Mufasa, though, Simba sees his child grow up. He sees her face danger alone. And that is terrifying for him (annoying for Kiara, though, which I get). Simba begins as his daughter’s teacher and protector; Kiara challenges him by proving she must teach and protect him someday as well. But they still love each other. It’s the best.

If you would like to relish in their adorableness, please watch “We Are One,” which is one of my favorite Disney songs of all time.

via Goodreads

Prometheus and Pandora (Pandora’s Mythic Misadventures by Carolyn Hennesy)

Though I haven’t read this series in a long time, the father/daughter relationship of the story is among the things I remember best. Pandora royally screws up—a phrase which more or less recaps the entire premise. Yes, Pandora screws up. She explodes her mom. She ruins her dad. The entire planet is doomed. Things suck. And yet, despite all that, Prometheus still does whatever he can for his daughter in his position while she saves the world. He still takes pride in her, he still pulls strings with the gods, and he still tells her story to those who need to hear it.

*sighs happily*

via Goodreads

Charlie and Bella Swan (The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer)

I include these two because they are the most realistic and most like me and my dad. They watch TV and eat food and say sarcastic things and use dry humor while hanging out. I mean, Charlie is more into sports and stuff, which is not our style, but they have the calm and quiet demeanor of people who can enjoy comfortable silences and do not feel compelled to force things between them.

Charlie and Bella would probably be the ones invited to stay late, because they would be quiet. And that would be great.

Kaboom. The cutest father/daughter duos I could think of off the top of my head. I think that deserves some high fives.

Who are some of your favorite fictional father/daughter duos?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Nostalgia Book Review Tag

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a phrase which here means “October,” Alyssa from The Devil Orders Takeout tagged me for the Nostalgic Book Review Tag. Thanks, Alyssa! (And I know, this is the second Alyssa-y thing posted this week but I’ll be unique on Thursday.)


Le Regole (the more complete version of which can be found here):

  • Find a book you read more than three years ago
  • Provide a summary of the book
  • Discuss your thoughts on the book
  • Look up the book and fill in the blanks of your discussion
Though I actually have reading log data stretching back to 2008, I’m actually going to discuss a book I first read in 2009 and reread in 2010: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.


A Summary

Cimorene is a princess less interested in princess things like being nice to foreign emissaries and more into things like learning swordsmanship and not sewing. As her parents might marry her off soon, Cimorene decides to take hold of her life and on the advice of a talking toad decides to seek employment as a Dragon’s Princess. Usually dragons kidnap princesses, so it is bizarre and unheard of that a princess should go off trying to be a Dragon’s Princess on purpose, but a dragon named Kazul isn’t that arrogant and takes her on anyway.

Kazul is a pretty chill dragon, as far as dragons go. She likes the desserts Cimorene makes and is usually practical and understanding, and her best friend is a witch named Morwen who has many cats and a house with a door to anywhere, and lots of riches. Cimorene divides her time between serving Kazul, learning magic, and turning away the knights and princes who have come to rescue her (her father offered half the kingdom to the lad who rescues and marries her, which Cimorene obviously doesn’t want).

The bad guys in the midst of all this are the wizards. Or maybe sorcerers. They’re evil men who do magic. They kill the Dragon King, which means all the dragons must compete to be the new King, which also means that they’re all nicely collected for some mass-killing. However, as it turns out, water with a little soap and lemon melts wizards and Cimorene and Morwen save the day with cleaning supplies. Also, Kazul becomes the new King. The end.



Most of all, I remember how practical these characters were. Everyone, of course, has their flaws, but they weren’t stupid ones. Kazul would sometimes be demanding, Cimorene was occasionally too industrious and acted without thinking. Occasionally they lost their tempers.

But really, practicality won out. Cimorene took her work as Kazul’s princess seriously, and she put a lot of effort into cataloguing her treasures for her and being careful to identify what the various magical items might be so they could be stored safely. One time, she ran into a jinn who would grant her a wish, and she wished for ground hen’s teeth, because nobody else had any and she needed some for a spell.

Also, melting wizards with soap and lemon water is hilarious.


Epilogue (via)

It turns out that fencing wasn’t the only forbidden thing—cooking, magic, and Latin were also forbidden to a princess (because sewing is much more useful, apparently) which, funnily enough, are all the things Cimorene uses in her job as Kazul’s princess.

OH YEAH She makes friends with a princess named Alianora who lives in the caves next door. There’s also another princess who is prissy and selfish and normal and she gets rescued by a prince or a knight or somebody so we don’t have to deal with her anymore.

And also Alianora’s dragon was helping the wizards as an inside man. There was more antagonisting going on than I remembered.

I can’t blame myself for not remembering too much of the evil dragon part… I hadn’t read H.I.V.E. yet, so I wasn’t as interested in villains, and the strong female characters that dominate this book really stole my heart. Cimorene, Kazul, and Morwen really demonstrate beautiful, beautiful characterization that young girls should be exposed to—more than anything, I think this book demonstrates that being a princess is really about using your own talents to your fullest extent in useful ways.

With that in mind, if I did reread this (and I have half a mind to now) I would be reading this as someone thinking about how this would impact and influence younger girls. It wouldn’t be just about my reactions, but wanting other girls to get something from it, too. It was a favorite of mine when I was younger… Yes. I’d like to read it again. I’d feel differently, but I also believe I’d want to pass it on to a new generation of girls who need another awesome princess in their lives.

Thanks again for tagging me, Alyssa!

What is a book you loved when you were younger? Do you think if you reread it now you’d feel differently?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Snoozzy Snooppoots

I knew it! I knew it! That Mulan was a troublemakerfromthestart!

Just kidding. I actually knew that this month’s Snazzy Snippets (hosted by Alyssa and Emily!) was a bimonthly event, and this broke the pattern—but I guess we have to make exceptions for Valentine’s Day and stuff. Admittedly, Valentine’s Day was two-ish weeks ago.

On top of that, this round’s prompts request heartwarming scenes, kissing, or depicting love interests together for the first time.

I searched my MS—in the 140+ pages I’ve edited so far the word “kiss” has only appeared twice. Let’s just agree to give me a break. This is one of the two times that a kiss appears—I guess where the love interests interact the first time. Sort of.

Like I said. A break.

Caitlyn looks surprised, or maybe alarmed. Probably because I’m crying. In reality, I am not the type of person to cry at any little thing on an average day. But this has not been an average day. 
“Was it something I said?” she whispers to Quinn.  
He shakes his head. “Nah. She’s been acting super weird since we got on this island. I think her fear of lizards set her off.” 
“What?” Caitlyn’s brow furrows. “Lindsay isn’t afraid of lizards—she had one in third grade until it died.” 
“Sorry,” Trog whispers. 
I don’t want to talk about it so I continue to work the twine between my fingers. Because I won’t let them go. I won’t. I won’t.  
“Lindsay?” Caitlyn squats beside me. “Listen to me. I’m going to take you home, okay? Just give me your hand, and we’ll go.” 
“Aaaaargh!” I shout, and punch her in the face. We both groan at the same time. Of course, Uncle Chris wouldn’t have let me go to middle school without learning to punch someone without breaking my thumb, but her face is hard. I stuff my throbbing knuckles into my stomach to try and stifle the pain. 
Caitlyn looks at me, both hurt and surprise written on her face. I look away. An unexpected shame wraps around my chest and squeezes until I’m not sure I can breathe. I don’t know what came over me, really. Maybe it was that lizard shell’s desire to kill. Maybe I’m just upset. But mostly, I think I’m done being treated like other people know better than me when it comes to my chimeras.  
“Are you okay?” Quinn kneels at Caitlyn’s side. She grimaces, but nods. Quinn leans down and kisses her cheek where I punched her, more tenderly than I would have expected from, well, anyone our age. “Better?” 
Caitlyn smiles in a way she probably imagines is brave. “Yes, thank you,” she says, accepting his hand as he helps her up. She leans into him, so that when she next looks at me, she is cocooned in his arms. She gets to look down from somewhere safe. 
“I really was trying to help,” Caitlyn whispers. “Quinn?” 
Without a moment’s hesitation, Quinn slides his arms out from around her stomach and goes to the corner. A dog-eared notebook lays on the seat of the chair there, but Quinn reaches underneath and pulls out a roll of duct tape.  
“Time for you to cooperate,” he says. He passes Caitlyn the notebook, and she writes something down. Unbidden, my wrists rise out before me, and Quinn wraps them firmly in duct tape. Then he sits me down against the wall, and does the same to my ankles. Caitlyn, sitting primly in that little chair, draws her pen across the paper and my butt sticks into place on the ground. I can’t move, and I can’t pretend I can move, either. Quinn pulls the gun from his waistband.

That’s probably a good stopping spot, eh? Thanks for reading, and thanks to our marvelous hostesses for doing as they do.

Have you participated in Snazzy Snippets? Are you going to?

Friday, February 19, 2016

WBI: The Volturi

We did James. We did Victoria. Now, at the end of all things, we will do the Volturi, from The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. We couldn't just leave them.

The Volturi have ruled vampiredom since ancient times, ensuring that the existence of vampires never comes to light in the human world. They cull those who threaten their existence and collect special individuals to ensure they remain on top, unchallenged—that is, until the rise of the Cullens…

WBI Profile

Classification :: Γ2567!$#*&@
Role :: Body (vampire government)
Motivations :: idealism (upholding laws), lifestyle (blood drinkers), desperation (preventing extinction), personal/material gain (gifted individuals), power/influence (unchallenged authority)
Bonus :: superpowers (lots of them), money (I’d wager), minions (so many minions), lair (Volterra), family ties (coven, ish), names (especially Aro)


Their Significance To…

Aro, Caius, Marcus—as head honchos, the Volturi operation is their great legacy; these three share the greatest power in the vampire world, and the greatest enemies: each other.

All Volturi—these elite vampires are bound by convenience and mutual desire for human blood, among other benefits. Admittedly, some of them are in debt to Aro’s “mercy,” and will be killed if they turn on their superiors, but whatever.

Edward and Alice—gifted with telepathy and precognition, Aro covets the power to use their powers. As Edward and Alice would never abandon their family, the Volturi need to eliminate the family.

Bella—at first, the Volturi wanted to kill Bella for knowing about vampires (thanks, Caius). Alice’s vision of her future as a vampire saves Bella at the time, but they return when they believe she created her daughter, Nessie, illegally. Then it was war.

Carlisle—after living among them, Carlisle shares civilized relations with the Volturi, though they don’t understand him. Carlisle hopes to live in peace with them, but as head of the Cullen coven, he still poses a threat.

Cullen Family—after the Volturi, the Cullens are the largest coven in existence, and their radicalism jeopardizes Volturi standards. They keep company with humans and vampires and even breed a dhampir child. They walk a narrow line there, and if other vampires got the same idea, they'll jeopardize the entire power structure.

Denali Coven—the Volturi murdered their mother after she created a vampire child (which are illegal due to their uncontrollability, which is bad for secrecy). Only their ignorance spared them from death, so they tread carefully.

All Vampires—as long as you remain unobtrusive, they will not come and rip off your head and burn your corpse.


Notable Actions

releasing Bella and Edward—the Volturi drop their charges against these two in both New Moon and Breaking Dawn. While they have a corrupt justice system, the Volturi aren’t inflexible. They strategically pick their battles, and they’ll choose the illusion of justice over utter victory any day.

observing—though the Volturi hold back during Eclipse, they’re still around. The best battle is one someone else fights for them, which is why they don’t prevent Victoria from attacking the Cullens. As it turns out, observation is their strongest tactical move in picking their battles.

endangering the Cullens—Nessie is the battle they choose to fight. They can fight it under the illusion of justice, trusted and respected, and even saving all vampires from exposure. In the end, the chance to disband the Cullens, gain Alice and Edward’s powers, and remove opposition is the most tantalizing opportunity they have, and why the Cullens must work so hard to fight back.


Big Idea

“family” ties—the Volturi are a coven; the Cullens are a family. Where the latter hold together through loyalty, respect, and love, the former uses fear, convenience, determination, usefulness, and obligation as indicators of their relationships. They’ve survived as a coven, but it’s important to remember that this is only because it’s the most efficient way to enforce their will.

necessary evil—they are corrupt and wicked. Not upstanding vampire citizens. Okay. Yeah. Fine. But for all of that, they need to exist. There’s a level of balance needed between vampires and humans in the world. The Volturi keep the world working as it should. For both humans and vampire, it might very well be that a venal government is better than none at all.

no defeat—to some it may seem anticlimactic for Breaking Dawn to end with the Volturi getting peacefully defeated and being like, “Oops, our bad. We’ll just be on our way.” Why no awesome battle? Well, because it wouldn’t fit. The Volturi pick their battles. They keep their power. And the Cullens can prove them unjust to an audience, but they’ll still take that over an uncertain battle. They refuse to prioritize pride over risk, and just accept the loss. After all, they have centuries to destroy the Cullens… but that’s a story for another day.

You can’t beat the Volturi. You can’t. They just win. They never sacrifice their power and they aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to do that. To be honest, I admire them so much for that reason. They’ve built an amazing empire for themselves. I almost hope they keep it.
“Then we are free to go now?” Edward asked in an even voice. 
“Yes, yes,” Aro said pleasantly. “But please visit again. It’s been absolutely enthralling!” 
“And we will visit you as well,” Caius promised, his eyes suddenly half-closed like the heavy-lidded gaze of a lizard. “To be sure that you follow through on your side. Were I you, I would not delay too long. We do not offer second chances.” –New Moon, Stephenie Meyer, pg 481

What do you think of the Volturi? Would you ever write villains like them (please, please do)?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

ARC Review: BEYOND THE RED by Ava Jae

Behold! The rare and elusive book review! Rarely seen on the plains of Sometimes I’m a Story, observe its timid and meek persona as it eats grass. Pay close attention—if it gets any sight of us, we’ll never catch up with it!

(Er, yeah. I rarely post book reviews. But I like Ava Jae as a blogger. And as a writer for that matter. Plus I got Beyond the Red for free. So. That’s what we’re doing today.)

Summary (via Goodreads)

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

Top 6 Thoughts:

Kora and Eros :: these two. I love them and hate them, which is actually a good thing because I admire books featuring imperfect or morally questionable protagonists. Kora is my favorite because she's soft and fierce, but all in all, they’re sympathetic and make you want to knock heads.

worldbuilding :: I’ve got to say… between religion, description, species, language, culture, we get a picture at this hugely complex society and it is AWESOME. Like if it weren’t for the villains (and the hatred of humans) (and the outer space) I’d totally study abroad on this planet. Forreal.

fast-paced :: as a plus, there are not boring, drawn-out explanations that are sooo boring and you want to rip your eyes out; however, sometimes I felt like the plot was ready to move on before I was. I’ll need to reread to really enjoy the details.

feels :: Ava knows how to kill people. That hurt my feels. BECAUSE IT WAS A REALLY GOOD PEOPLE GAH. Although, there are also other feels in relation to kissing and adorableness and whatnot. Those are good too. Just not as good as my dead people.

villains ::  mer. Mer mer mer. I didn’t dislike the villains. I feel like I’d remember them in more detail and with more fondness if I reread the book. After the first read, though, I thought they were good for the story, but my heart does not cling to them in a fangirlish fervor. I really need to reread…

ending :: the ending is mysterious without being urgent. In the event of a sequel I would totally get it and find out where in Kala’s name this is going, but I’m also not dying. Despite the loose ends, this could probably work as a standalone (and it might be. I can’t remember the news on that and Twitter probably won’t help me find tweets from a couple months ago). Either way, it’s casually open-ended, and it works for me.

TL; DR: The characters won my heart, the storyworld was intricate and AWESOME, my feels got bruised in a good way, and even if the villains and pacing weren’t my favorite, I would read more.

And, even if there isn’t a sequel, I still look forward to whatever Ava Jae writes next! Because it was good writing.

Finally… I don’t even know who to thank for my ARC. Ava Jae? Sky Pony Press? YABC? I have no idea, but my thanks to that entity. (#reasonsIdontusuallypostreviews) Anyway: Beyond the Red comes out on March 1!

4/5 Stars

Do you plan on reading Beyond the Red? 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Writing Villains and Antagonists in Different Kinds of Conflict

I believe that every type of conflict can use a villain. Every conflict has the potential to foster a certain evil someone… *cackles evilly* I mean, obviously, just because there is a conflict doesn’t mean there has to be a villain, either.

That said, I want to examine six kinds of conflicts and how they might employ villains and antagonists. Take note: when I say “antagonist,” I mean the conflict involves a conflict of interest (COI), but the person’s character may not be corrupt in that context. When I say “villain,” I mean someone who is wicked and immoral, at least from somebody’s perspective.

via Giphy

Person vs. Self

COI—a person is at odds with their own self, maybe because of a moral or personal issue

Villain—a person is at odds with their own self, maybe because they are an enemy to themselves, they are evil, or there is some lack of self control involved

Jean Valjean (Les Misérables) faces a COI when his desire for freedom and the freedom of an innocent man require that he submit to justice or face the consequences for his sin. Henry Jekyll (Jekyll and Hyde) finds himself to be a villain when he gives identity to his dark side and neither persona will surrender to the other.

via ReactionGifs

Person vs. Person

COI—two people disagree, argue, or oppose one another, but one side isn’t “evil” or worse than the other

Villain—two (or more, I guess) entities grapple for something of value and at the very least, they themselves have some idea about who is righteous and justified and who is not

Sam-I-Am (Green Eggs and Ham) has a friend who doesn’t want to try green eggs and ham in a COI, but his resistance doesn’t make him evil—he tries the food and likes it, but it would be perfectly valid for him to reject the food without moral consequences. Victor and Eli (Vicious) face off in a battle of good and evil, but there’s a twist: Victor, the traditional “villain” is the protagonist. (I say this so you know there is room for innovation.)

via Bookish

Person vs. Nature

COI—usually a person ends up stranded in the wilderness and learns that nature is overpowering, and they  must learn to survive

Villain—nature itself is evil (industrialist propaganda?) or perhaps is personified to represent some sort of negative-ish force

Katsa (Graceling) must fight to keep Princess Bitterblue and herself alive in the biting cold with scarce resources (COI). Usually Mother Nature isn’t evil, but in this episode of Hercules, Gaia is personified as kind of a righteous jerk (not exactly a villain, but I bet you could!) because Adonis did cause offense, but she could have been nicer.

via Ooquotes

Person vs. Society/Government

COI—there are legitimate social disputes that don’t revolve around what is evil, but what is best for that society, which is always tense, even in real life

Villain—then again, sometimes society itself is evil and promotes immorality and injustice, etcetera

Alexander Hamilton’s first cabinet meeting (Hamilton) demonstrates a COI in that the southern states resist his suggested economic policy as it does not benefit them. Not exactly evil, but still tense. And fine, a series like The Hunger Games does portray a corrupt government that enforces poverty and kills children to rule through fear. It is indeed villainous. 

via Funny or Die

Person vs. Technology

COI—the existence/evolution of technology threatens “the way things are,” and may put things like industry, values, and people in jeopardy

Villain—technology itself is evil, sometimes sentient, and commits immoral deeds usually threatening humanity

Matty and her friends (Cranford) face a COI with the railway coming to their small town. They don’t want the noise, danger, negative values, and disruption it would bring to their perfectly happy lives—they must come to terms with change and its value to their society. But in Overlord Protocol by Mark Walden technology itself is evil in that an Artificial Intelligence turns out to have engineered the protagonist and plans to murder every human on the planet.

via Animato Joe

Person vs. Fate

COI—destiny does its thing, someone tries to avoid its negative consequences, and they happen anyway

Villain—destiny itself enforces something evil and it must be resisted or changed for the benefit of the team we’re rooting for

Fate is hard, usually because it isn’t personified (minus Greek mythology). Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex describes a sorta-COI, wherein Oedipus met his fate and now fate is punishing him for it until he atones for his sin—fate insists upon balance that makes him suffer. A situation where fate is a villain might be when Nyx (Cruel Beauty) finds that the Kindly Ones try to enforce an existence that cannot stand. When she calls them out on it, their power fades.

Well, that was long. It could have been longer if I decided to do Person vs. Supernatural but that one confuses me and my research on the point of it was inconclusive.

Regardless: you can have awesome stories with conflicts produced by awesome villains. And you can have awesome stories with conflicts produced by awesome antagonists. What's more, you can even have awesome stories with multiple conflicts with both awesome villains and awesome antagonists.

Go make them awesomely.

What kinds of conflicts do you use in your writing? Do you use villains or antagonists?

Monday, February 8, 2016

An Update

Ahoy there!

Alas, it looks like I'm going to have to take off a week from blogging. School and stuff. BUT WORRY NOT. I shall return soon.

Have a great week, and see you next Monday!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Bookshelf Tag

It is February, and for the most part my life has settled down. School is back in gear, I am sleeping in my own room, all of my boxes are unpacked, and things can go back to normal.

Thus, I can finally get to a tag awarded to me in September by Liz at Out of Coffee, Out of Mind—The Bookshelf Tag! (Muchas gracias, Liz!) I don’t believe I have done this before, but if you are interested in seeing what my bookshelves looked like a year ago, then you can see the before pics from a link-up with Sunny at A Splash of Ink!

Also, I did this picture-scavenger-hunt style, so with the exception of a few stories and title lists, there will be a lot of pictures but not lots of reading.

Les Règles:

The book(s) you answer with must be from your bookshelf.
Include a picture of your bookshelf, if possible, or you could include pictures of your dream shelf.
Tag some folks, apparently.

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books—it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!)

My Favorite Bookshelf
(The white box is because I have mosaicked sample art from a nearby art school on my wall and I don't want to be sharing their work publicly on the Internet without permission.)

My Bookshelf
Harry Potter

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?

Poe Collection, 1020 pages

What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?

The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, 54 pages

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?

Gifts to Me
Many: Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), Olympians (O’Connor), Artemis Fowl (Colfer), 642 Things to Write About (San Francisco Writer’s Grotto), Undivided (Shusterman), Myth-o-Mania (McMullen), etc. Many people are generous to me.

What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

Pocket Ancient Egypt
3.75” x 5”

What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology
12” x ?

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Most expensive book?

Voces de Hispanoamerica

(Also, the trash can is there for aesthetic purposes. I value Spanish. As well as the sale of old textbooks.)

The last book you read on your shelf?

Sherman's Lagoon
It is actually my dad’s book but his Sherman’s Lagoon collection is the only thing I’ve wanted to inherit since I was about nine. So they’re a future investment.

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

Books by Carl Norac

Do you have more than one copy of a book?


Do you have the complete series of any book series?

Complete Series I Own
(from upper-left corner, going counterclockwise) Scarlet Trilogy (Gaughen), The Ranger’s Apprentice (Flanagan), Twilight Saga (Meyer), Artemis Fowl (Colfer), Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Riordan), The Ever-Expanding Universe Trilogy (Leicht and Neal), Cycle of Inheritance (Paolini), The 39 Clues Series (Scholastic), Elsie Dinsmore (Finley), Serenity (Realbuzz)

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

Beloved, by Toni Morrison, but it’s for school, so I haven’t read it yet. Thus, no picture.

What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?

The answer is always H.I.V.E.

What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?

Beyond the Red
Do you one better—Beyond the Red by Ava Jae is coming out next month and that’s like, negative publishing. I will be posting a review of it in two weeks. Also, my camera has interesting filters for darkness and motion and I decided to only take a picture of the red. Ta-da.

The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?

The Outsiders

A book you won?

Beyond the Red and Almost Super
(Beyond the Red by Ava Jae and Almost Super by Marion Jensen)

A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you’d never let someone borrow)? 

I don’t think there is one, within reasonable bounds. You have to live within a few miles of me to be allowed to borrow.

Most beat up book?

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Ze spine. Eet ees dead.

Most pristine book?

The Innocent
Maybe it’s the color, but this book always makes me think of cleanliness. Even though it’s about assassinations.

A book from your childhood?

The Maze of Bones

A book that’s not actually your book?

Princess Bride
(My Dad’s. I stole it. Also, I stole Earnest.)

A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?

I have none, I believe.

A book that is your favorite color? 

Gray Books

A book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read?

Books I haven’t read don’t go on my shelves.

Any signed books?

Six of Crows, Beyond the Red, Tesla's Attic
Technically Six of Crows has a signed book plate but I put it in so nicely without any air bubbles that it honestly has to count.


I am not actually a photographer so if you are and my skills offended your eyes… whelp. I had fun playing scavenger hunt in my room on a snow day.

Alyssa, Bailey, Victoria: I am curious about your shelves. Consider yourselves tagged. And if you are not among the tagged but want to display your shelves for all to see, then go for it. I’d love to see yours, too.

You know the drill! Pick two of the above questions and tell me what your answers to them would be!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Just 100 Words

It's 8:25
Flickr Credit: Sheri Terris

I am a school person.

I'm good at school, I like school, and it's been that way since basically forever. I keep deadlines and turn things in and follow directions. I actually read everything that is assigned to me and I edit my essays many times over and most of the time I even remember do format my papers to the fullest of MLA extents, with my last name and the page number at the top—which is very easy for me to forget, by the way.

On top of that, I go to a really good school for me. I am asked important questions and am invited to find my place in the world and how to mingle what I learn in one class with all of my other classes. It's fun, and thought-provoking, and engaging, and I don't want to give that up.

But also, it eats up my life, and I hate it.

Other things eat up my life, too, of course. I spend way too much time talking to my friends, and on Pinterest, and watching Castle when I should probably be off killing characters people like or something writerly like that.

At the same time, if it ever comes down to crunch time between a writing deadline and a school deadline, I will always pick the school deadline.

It drives me nuts, because the thing that is teaching me how to follow my dreams is of a higher priority to me than actually going out and following my dreams. And on the one hand, yeah, I am paying a lot of money to go to school and I need to keep up my grades or I will lose some grants and it is very, very important that I do well in school.

But on the other hand... school is only going to be about four years. Several people expect me to go on to get a higher degree of some sort, and maybe I will, but definitely not right after I graduate this round. I have to go out and get a job. And of course I don't expect it to be anything more than an unskilled low-pay job, but when I all I've got is an unskilled low-pay job then writing is going to be the main, possibly only, thing left to me that will challenge and teach me and encourage me to get out of my comfort zone.

I would like to not get out of practice of writing from Point A to Point B.

But I have. School started three weeks ago and I haven't written a word since. I mean, maybe I tried that first weekend, but it was hardly anything. I just let it all go. And the MS I am working on gathered dust in the depths of my computer, right next to the idea that I would finish this year with three new drafts from three different projects.

I decided I'm not okay with that.

Right before I started writing this post, I sat down and wrote one hundred words of my MS. And compared to probably anybody else who is talking about writing on Twitter tonight, it is a feeble number—laughable, silly, unproductive.

But it is still one hundred more words than I have written in the last three weeks.

And I'm gonna do it again tomorrow.

Take that.

via Giphy

Do you ever get out of your writing habits? How do you get back into them again?