Friday, April 30, 2010

Are you sure it's Friday?

First, I'm sorry I haven't posted the review. It'll appear next week sometime, maybe Tuesday since that's Dead Day. To make up for it, I'll also be posting the review of The Luxe's sequel, Rumors ('cause I just finished it last night!).

Second, is it just me, or does it not even feel like a weekend right now? It's Friday afternoon, and all that's on my mind is homework. Lots of homework. Here's what I have to do:

  • 8-10 page research paper over the use of the "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale in Mercedes Lackey's The Fire Rose
  • 5-7 page research paper over any topic I want having to do with Shakespeare
  • 3 500-word reading responses
  • Chapter 12 online workbook for Spanish
On top of all that, my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota, is throwing a benefit ball tomorrow, and I'm in charge of set-up and decorations. Woo!

As far as writing goes, I'm starting on character sheets. Today during my Shakespeare class I started the character sheet for my MC, and I got her physical description done. :) I'm hoping during my downtime during finals week I can more accomplished.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Writer Moment

I had a total writer moment last night, and I thought I'd share it with you. I pictured my MC. I saw her. Plain as day. I freaked out, guys. You would have, too. She is fierce!

Right now I'm too busy with school (Finals start next week!) to really get down to writing, but character sheets will begin soon! I'm really excited to get to know this girl.

Yesterday I finished reading The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, and I started the sequel, Rumors. I really liked it, so expect a review soon. Sorry this post is so short. Life is seriously getting in the way of blogging. :/

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review: Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Back Cover:

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her archnemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West--a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

What I Thought:

I had been meaning to read this book for years. Seriously, years. I was in high school the first time I saw anyone reading it, and the idea intrigued me. Four years later, I spot a used copy on my local bookstore's shelf for only four dollars. Naturally, I snatched it right up. I even took the time to read L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz before I opened Wicked. I wanted to be well-informed about Baum's Oz when I read Maguire's take on it.

The story starts off wonderfully, but the time the book spends at Shiz University is probably my favorite part of the book. At this point, Maguire makes it apparent just how complex Elphaba is. He sets out her principles, her values, and her morals through her years at Shiz. He makes her character easy to relate to, even if she is a fictional, green-skinned resident of Oz. Maguire also takes this time as an opportunity to point out all the political problems in Oz and what Elphaba's take on them is, from religion to Animal rights.

My least favorite part of the book is the last half or so, when Elphaba moves out to the Vinkus. It's such a strange and slow part. When I got to this part, I had to make myself keep reading, but it wasn't a complete deal breaker.

What kills Wicked for me is the characterization of Glinda and Elphaba. Glinda was so affected by what happened to Doctor Dillamond that she changed her name from Galinda to Glinda, which was the way he pronounced it. She became more serious and cared less about silliness and her society friends, but by the end of the book, she's content to be a high society lady in frilly dresses. What happened to her changes? Elphaba's actions at the end contradict everything Maguire has done with her throughout the entire book. Her strong-willed and calm character resorts to stalking a little girl. Yes, she always had conspiracy theories, but this one is just blown up out of proportion. Elphaba is a logical person, but when Dorothy comes calling, she just goes crazy on her. In my opinion, it's inconsistent with her character, and I was irritated by it. It killed the book for me, and that made me sad.

Rating: 3/5

Title: Wicked
Author: Gregory Maguire
MMP: 538
Publisher: Harper

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hello, my name is Katie, and I am a writer.

For a long time, I've resisted the idea of writing. I have always been content to be the reader. It's not that I haven't tried writing; I have, and I've given up many times. Now, I'm admitting it. I'm "coming out" as a writer. I have plans for a novel, and I will write said novel. Eventually.

Although I'm giving writing a shot, being a published author is not my career goal. I aspire to be an editor or literary agent. I like the idea of reading things before other people and helping decide what gets published. I want to work in publishing, but I would like to be published as well.

I knew I wanted to be an editor when I first got involved with fan fiction. It sounds silly, but you'd be surprised at what a strong community can be provided by the readers and writers of fan fiction. I started lurking around websites reading Harry Potter fan fiction, mostly at MuggleNet Fan Fiction (which is a wonderful site full of wonderful people and stories). I noticed some of the poorly written stories were difficult to read because of their mistakes. Then I heard about beta readers. I thought, "Hey, I could be a beta reader!" I knew I wasn't up to writing, but I could definitely proof others' writing.

So, I began beta reading stories for people, and I loved it. Then, I got a little braver and considered writing one. It didn't make it past a few paragraphs. I thought it was crap. I didn't have anywhere for it to go. I just shoved it aside.

The summer after I graduated high school I tried to write once more. This time I wanted to do original fiction. I had an idea for the book. The main character was semi-autobiographical. The story contained elements of magic. There would be romance. I made character sheets with detailed descriptions of my characters. I wrote the first chapter and the beginning of the second. I let a few close friends and family read the first chapter. My sister and friends raved about it (though I'm sure they were being too kind), and then my mother brought me down. I asked her what she thought, and she laughed and said it was a funny story and basically told me it was cute that I was trying to write.

I went off to college and gave up any notion of writing. I became an English major and set my sights on a publishing career. I read books constantly, wrote tons of papers, and slept a lot. Typical English major stuff. Now, almost two years later, I have decided to try again. I'm not going to resist it anymore. I have my dear friend Amanda to thank for this. She is a writer and has been for some time; she's written one novel and is currently working on her second one. She is the one who pushed me to give it another shot.

We were in my car one night, bouncing some ideas off each other, and one good one came up. She said, "If you don't write it, I will." (She had been insisting for some time that I was a closeted writer. Lol.) I said, "Okay, I'll try it; I've got some ideas." Then I sat down in my Shakespeare class, and I started taking down story notes about characters and the world in which the story is set, and suddenly, the story just transformed. A whole new plot line emerged, and it was much more awesome and detailed than the first one, and I was super excited about getting it down on paper.

Then I knew I was a writer.

Super Cool Contest

The good people over at Romance Yardsale are having a super awesome contest. They have all kinds of super awesome gifts for writers and English majors, which, of course, made me completely ecstatic.

This shirt is my personal favorite. I like it because I am a fledgling writer, and sometimes I feel a little awkward or...insane when I'm writing down story details, especially if someone tries to look over my shoulder. This shirt makes me feel like I'm not alone! Plus, the color is pretty. :)

To enter the contest, you just pick your favorite item (which will be difficult because they have lots of cool stuff). Then you blog about it, tweet about it, or comment about it on the Romance Yardsale website. Super easy.