Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blog Chain: Wuthering Heights With DRAGONS

It's blog chain time! For this round, the awesome Margie asks:

Pick a book or story and imagine it in a new genre. For example, what would Oliver Twist be like if it was a sci-fi novel. Would Fagin have been a robot? Do you prefer you new creation or the original?

Let me just say I am in love with this topic.

So in love, in fact, that my brain broke and I couldn't figure out how to answer it.

But I have found my answer at last. And it is this...






meets this...


the dragon Kilgharrah from Merlin


I think Wuthering Heights re-envisioned as a high fantasy with DRAGONS would be bossypants. Heathcliff wouldn't be some gypsy dude, but a DRAGONMASTER. And this would be a SECRET. Because in the country of Wuthering Heights, DRAGONS are the ENEMY. They are the uber-smart and terrifying beasts who threaten humankind. They must be slain at all costs. So when Heathcliff hides his DRAGON from the judgmental, posh family who's taken him in as their own, he forms an unexpected bond with the one person who understands him: Cathy.

Why? Because Cathy is a SECRET DRAGONOLOGIST. She's researched all there is to know about DRAGONS and she's convinced they're not the enemy, but she's never seen one in real life. So Heathcliff introduces her to his DRAGON. They all get along. Cathy and Heathcliff fall in love. But they can't be together because Heathcliff hates her family and what she's bound to become if she remains with them and drama drama drama.

I'd totally read that.

As long as the DRAGON gets to roast Mr. Lockwood.

Because obviously.


A huge thanks to Margie for the topic! Make sure you check out Cole's post, and stay tuned for Margie's tomorrow!

Monday, February 25, 2013

How To Get Nothing Done: The SHERLOCK Edition

So. I am sick. Very, very sick. 

*coughs*

Naturally, my sickness has led me to Netflix. Again. Oh, how my sickness messes with daily plans... 

Anyway. Netflix. I was browsing through a bunch of shows I haven't seen yet, trying to decide which one I'd dive into after the awesomeness that is Merlin. There's this one show that kept taunting me with its presence. The same show I SWORE to anyone and everyone I'd stay away from.

Anyone and everyone: "But it's a great show, Amparo! You should watch it!"

Me: "No. I am not interested."

Anyone and everyone: "But it's a great show with great acting! Watch it now!!!"

Me: "No."

Anyone and everyone: "BUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU YOU ARE MISSING OUT."

Me: "HAHA NO I'M NOT."

You know what I'm going to say. You know who ended up losing this futile war of wills.

BBC One's Sherlock

Sherlock owns my soul. It owns my soul the way puppies with wagging tails and clumsy feet own my soul. It is the kind of love that is healthy and unhealthy at the same time. The kind that glues me to the TV while coughing and burning up and crying from my congestion and makes me forget I'm coughing and burning up and crying from my congestion.

The writing? Clever. Hilarious. Touching.

The acting? SUPERB (I know Cumberbatch is a favorite of many peeps, but OMG, Martin Freeman is a subtle genius).

The villain? THE VILLAIN???? I. Am. Obsessed. With the Moriarty on this show. I CANNOT even tell you. No. I really can't. I often quote him and mimic his voice and it's just not something I should be confessing. But there you go.

Also, Mrs. Hudson. *gives her ALL the hugs*

For those of you who aren't huge Sherlock Holmes fans, I'm right there with you. I wasn't excited about starting this show at all. But as a writer, a lover of stories, and a lover of stories about allies who fight against crime, I am fascinated with the tight, unapologetic plotting of twists and LOL moments. It's an art, really. An art I do not master. The relationship between Sherlock and John is far more heartwarming than I was expecting, too. They work and live together but they're not friends but oh wait yes they are but nope they're arguing again but nope they've made up but OH SNAP Sherlock has just ruined it again. 

One of the most awesome roller coasters in the land of television.

I cannot wait for Season 3---> words I thought I'd never say. *sigh*


Do you watch Sherlock? If so, what's your favorite thing about the show?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why Robert Pattinson's Twilight Hair Is Like Revision

So. I am revising my WIP. I believe I've mentioned how much I love the revision process. I am, however, rather slow. But in the Land of Why Can't I Just Finish This Draft Already, there is one thing that keeps me going, folks. 

One thing to rule them all, and in the glossiness bind them.

Robert Pattinson's hair in the Twilight movies.

*is ashamed*

*a little*

*okay, a lot*

So. I've come to a realization. You know how revision is all about adding and removing things from your manuscript? And how it's also about looking at your words through a different lens?

Well.

In the Twilight movies, Robert Pattinson can style his hair like this:

'tis an art form to brood. oh, yes it is


Or like this:

 broody mcbroodster, they used to call me



Or like this:

 broody mcbroodster--suburban edition


And his hair always looks nice. 

He always looks nice. 

These are different ways of envisioning his character, but at his core, Edward Cullen remains a messed up stalker vampire who will risk everything to keep his true love safe. My point? Revisions are for changing the way you present your story, but its core remains the same. Take a scene out. Put a new one in. These things will happen during revisions. But remember to ask yourself: why am I making these changes? How do they improve my core? 

In the case of Robert's hair, I think his style evolution is meant to suggest that he goes from boy (bedhead-us maximus) to married man with a kid (tame-us maximus). Or something. 

So. Robert Pattinson's Twilight hair is like revision, folks. It has many ways of looking good, even if they're radically different from each other. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to beat my WIP into submission.

*runs off*


Are you currently revising? If so, any tips and tricks for keeping your story's core?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Teen Girls And The Things They Love

"As soon as teenage girls start to profess love for something, everyone else becomes totally dismissive of it. Teenage girls are open season for the cruelest bullying that our society can dream up. Everyone's vicious to them. They're vicious to each other. Hell, they're even vicious to themselves. It's terrible.
So if teenage girls have something that they love, isn't that a good thing? Isn't it better for them to find some words they believe in, words like the 'fire-proof and fearless' lyrics that Jacqui wrote? Isn't it better for them to put those words on their arm in a tattoo than for them to cut gashes in that same skin? Shouldn't we be grateful when teenage girls love our work? Shouldn't that be a fucking honor?
It's used as the cheapest, easiest test of crap, isn't it? If teenage girls love a movie, a book, a band, then it's immediately classified as mediocre shit. Well, I'm not going to stand for that. Someone needs to treat them like they're precious, and if nobody else is ready to step up, I guess it's up to us to put them on the path to recognizing that about themselves."

                                           --Ben in Mary Borsellino's The Devil's Mixtape, page 108 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Blog Chain: Balancing Stuff With Other Stuff

Happy Valentine's Day!!! *tosses sprinkles* 


Now. It's blog chain time! This round features a question from Lisa. She wants to know the following:

The balancing act. How do you balance your writing time with everything else in your life--including kids, job, book promotion.

This is a pretty simple post for me. I don't have kids. I don't have a job (although I'm going on the prowl for one soon). Right now, I don't have to worry about book promotion because I don't have a book coming out in the near future (but I am querying one later this year).

What I do have is a thesis to write. And a family. A friends. Lots of friends who, for some reason, like seeing me and hanging out with me. So I've come up with a bit of a system: during weekdays, I work on my thesis (proposal, at this stage) in the mornings, then spend the afternoon working on my WIP. I make it a point to revise one page, though. This usually tempts me to work on at least a second page because I'm just too amped and feel like one page isn't enough. On weekends, no thesis whatsoever. I work on my WIP and hang out with my family, or I work on my WIP and catch up with friends, or I don't work on my WIP and watch a lot of TV/read awesome books.

It's been a blast so far. Let's hope I can keep this balancing act for a little while longer. *crosses fingers*

Thanks to Lisa for the topic! Make sure to check out Cole's post, then stay tuned tomorrow for Margie's post!
  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Books You Should Read: ELEANOR & PARK By Rainbow Rowell

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.





 Why You Should Read It:

This is an example of what I like to call YA perfection. 

Both Eleanor and Park narrate the story. Their voices are a master class on how one should deepen characterization. Eleanor (my personal fave of the two) struggles not only with coping with a difficult situation at home, but also with self-acceptance. Her weight is cause for plenty of insecurities. She doesn't think she's worthy of many things, including Park's affection. Some readers might find her voice to be on the nagging side, but not me. I understand how someone in her shoes would react the way she reacts to things/people/ideas. I understand how fear and pain shape the way she sees the world. But what I understand most of all is how Eleanor is someone who doubts, doubts, doubts, and later on fights for a better life. It's this fight that makes her even more human than her other character traits to me. It's this fight that forces Eleanor to start off as a passive observer in her own life, then grows into an active force for change. 

Then there's Park. Oh, Park. He's got an awesome name. He's of Asian descent, so he stands out in his predominantly white neighborhood. He loves comic books (X-Men!). His taste in music rules (Joy Division!). And he pissed me off in the beginning chapters. Why? Well, like Eleanor, Park is very much human. He has insecurities, too. When he first meets Eleanor on the school bus, he doesn't want an overweight redhead who dresses in men's clothes to sit next to him. If she does, he'll get teased. Eleanor sits next to him. It's not pretty, folks. It is tense and awkward and OMG did I mention awkward? But what could've turned into a hellish experience for the two of them turns into an unconventional friendship, sparked by Eleanor's interest in the comics Park loves. Their friendship later turns into one of the sweetest, most turbulent romances I've read in YA fiction.

Let me end this gushfest by sharing a little snippet from the book. This is Park's POV:

Eleanor was right: She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.

I couldn't agree more. Eleanor & Park might be messy and not very pleasant to read at times, but it never stopped making me feel. The ending will stay with me for a long, long time. 


Make sure you get your copy when Eleanor & Park hits bookshelves on February 26th!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Amparo Goes Old School. Or, I Should've Read These Classics A Long Time Ago

Yep. It's true. I am a Literature grad student and I haven't read some of the most beloved classics. 

*slaps wrist*

But hey, new year, new goals, right? Well, one of those goals will be to rectify my shameful behavior. I've chosen to read ten novels I should've read a long time ago. Like, CENTURIES ago. Not only because they're classics, but also because they sound like books I will enjoy. So. This classics-reading endeavor will be chronicled on my blog, of course. I'll be writing about what each book taught me (even if I don't end up loving them).

This new feature will be called:













And here's le list of ten classics:


  • Pride & Prejudice
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Anna Karenina
  • David Copperfield
  • Villette
  • Northanger Abbey
  • The Castle Of Otranto
  • Madame Bovary
  • The Mysteries Of Udolpho


So there you have them. The books I shall devour... or read verrrryyyyyyy slooooooowlyyyy... throughout this year. I hope to survive this mission, folks. I really do. *crosses fingers*


Now tell me: have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think??

 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

So You Want To Redesign Your Blog: Let Writer Caroline Richmond Help!

So. I'm fairly obsessed with blog templates, websites, the whole enchilada. I love staring at The Pretty for hours and hours and hours. When it comes to actually designing stuff, I am made of fail (I did design my current blog header, though, so maybe that's not so much a fail? *blinks*). There are TONS of designers in the blogosphere and beyond that do amazeballs work. But I'm here today to talk about one in particular: YA/MG writer and one of my fave blogging buddies, Caroline Richmond!




Caroline was the one who led me down the designing rabbit hole, folks. Not only did she create my blog header for Reel YA, she also gave me pointers on how to make my own headers. AND GUESS WHAT? Now she's offering a few of her blog designs FOR FREE. Yep. You read that right. For free. You can check out her designs here.

So what are you waiting for? Go stalk Caroline and her awesomeness! :)


Now tell me: do you like designing your own blog/website? If not, would you like to learn how?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How To Get Nothing Done: The MERLIN Edition

So. This post is about a week late, but I have reasons. They involve feelings. Lots of them.

Anyway. I returned from my vacation trip to Vegas on January 8th. Not only did I suffer a bit of an injury in Vegas, I made the mistake of mixing my jet lag with fast food on the way home (don't do this, folks!). I was so sick and messed up that I settled for doing nothing. Then I remembered a show I'd heard about a week before my trip. I'd found out about a MASSIVE spoiler for its series finale and was all, "Oh. Well, that was... intense." For a minute, I thought Twitter and Tumblr were going to break from all the VENTING. There was me discovering the show for the first time and all these fans going ballistic over an ending five years in the making!

So I decided to give the show a shot once I returned from Vegas. 

Which show?



BBC's MERLIN


This is pretty much what went through my mind: "Arthurian legend told from Merlin's perspective as a young warlock who's destined to protect an arrogant Prince Arthur against his will? Cool!"

Then I did some digging and discovered this:


 

GILES IS KING UTHER. HE IS KING UTHER AND HE IS GILES AT THE SAME TIME. I AM SOLD BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY.

Naturally, I watched the first episode on Netflix. I told myself to try just one episode. After that, I could either stick with it or abandon it forever.

I finished all five seasons in 2 weeks.

I am still in the mourning period. It's going to take a while to accept the fact that the show is over and that I was stupid enough to not know about it before. *shakes fist* I have been avoiding this post because I'm afraid my feelings will overpower me and I will cry ugly, ugly tears. But alas, gush I must. Merlin is a wonderful gem of a show, folks. Forbidden magic, destiny vs free will, complicated family issues, dragons, romance, bromance (oh, the bromance...)--some of my fave things ever all put together in one story. 

Also:





I like me some Sir Percival.

So yeah. Merlin. Watch it. Feel the feelings. Thank me later. :)