Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blog Chain: From Page To Screen

So. This blog chain round is brought to you by the awesome Michelle, who wants to know the following:

There are so many book-to-movie adaptations out there. Which are your favorites? Which are your least favorites? Why? Do you make sure you've read a book before you go see the movie adaptation, or do you prefer to read it after, or not at all?

LOVE this topic. *dances* Okay. My favorite book-to-movie adaptations tend to be those who either stay pretty faithful to the book or make me love the book even more after watching it. Here are two of my absolute faves:


Super, duper faithful to the book. Also, Liam Hemsworth. *sigh*


Not totally faithful to the book, but honestly, I get SO EXCITED whenever I'm about to watch this movie. It makes me want to pick up the book and read it again, even though reading the book was a traumatizing experience for me (Harry pissed off at his friends? Dolores Umbridge invading Hogwarts? WHY SIRIUS WHY????). 

And here are two of my least fave adaptations:


I liked this movie, but it is nowhere near as suspense-y, intricately layered, and HARDCORE as the book. It did let me stare at Garrett Hedlund, though, and I shall be forever grateful for that.


This is my favorite Harry Potter book. No, really, it is. But the movie disappointed me. No Dumbledore's Army battling the Death Eaters as they invade Hogwarts. No funeral for Dumbledore. AND THAT KISS WITH GINNY WHAT WAS THAT I CAN'T EVEN. *sigh* 

As for reading the book before seeing the movie, I always try to do so. BUT only if I like what the book's about. I saw Water For Elephants without reading the book first, for example, thinking it wasn't going to leave a humongous impression on me. I ended up liking the movie a lot, and now I want to read the book! *makes grabby hands* I'm the kind of person who gets OMG excited when film rights are sold for books I love, though. I don't really worry about the quality of the movie until I actually see the movie. Or a trailer. I can be fickle like that. :)

I just want someone to bring November 2013 here already so I can watch Catching Fire. Because obviously.

Make sure you check out Cole's post for the chain, and stay tuned tomorrow for Margie's!

Now tell me: did you like any of these adaptations? Are there other adaptations you're head over heels for?? 

Monday, October 22, 2012

On Binders Full Of Women & The Power Of No Intentions In Your Writing

So. Last week, Governor Mitt Romney told the whole world he'd been handed binders full of women to consider as potential members of his cabinet. I'm sadly incapable of reading minds, but I'm 99.9% confident Romney had no intention of starting a Tumblr page mocking his alleged binders full of women. He didn't foresee a Facebook page, either.

And yet they happened.

What does Romney's binders full of women have anything to do with writing, you ask? More than I like to admit. You see, when you write those painful, gut-wrenching words on your manuscript, you do it intentionally. Every word is chosen, whether it's before you even begin the manuscript or during the actual writing process. You want those words to have an effect on your reader, and gosh darn it, you'll do whatever it takes to guarantee that effect.

But you can't control what anyone gets out of your book. The reading experience, like every other experience, is subjective. You might want to convey OMG SHOCK at a certain turning point. One reader might be genuinely shocked. Another reader might've seen it coming a billion miles away. Your intentions matter, of course, but they don't dictate what your reader will feel. 

Ask Romney if he intended to offend millions of women. I'm guessing he didn't. Does that mean those millions of women are wrong in feeling how they feel? Nope. Same thing applies to writing, if you ask me. Which is why I think it's crucial all writers embrace the Power Of No Intentions--your work will evoke things you never meant it to, and that's okay. This isn't to say you shouldn't guide your readers toward a particular feeling. You should, but there's always room for the unexpected. Don't be afraid of it. 

Sometimes, it's the unexpected that makes you and your work memorable.

Happy Monday! :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing. Or Not.

So. There's this blog hop going on. It is called The Next Big Thing. I feel silly even typing that, seeing as I have no reason to believe I could participate in such a blog hop. BUT I'm a sucker for a blog hop. So there's that. 

*sighs in defeat*

My buddy Michelle tagged me for this, so feel free to blame her. :) The rules of this particular hop are simple: 1) answer the following questions about your current WIP; 2) tag 5 people after you're done. *cracks knuckles* Let's get to it, then.

What is the working title of your book?

I tend to stress over my titles, but for this WIP, it came pretty easily. I'm calling it We Are The Uprising. But most of the time, I use WATU for short :)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Warning: long story ahead.

Two ladies inspired this WIP: Eowyn from Lord of the Rings, and Queen Gorgo of ancient Sparta. You see, I have this Christmas tradition. I watch the LOTR trilogy a few days before my birthday. In 2008, as I was swooning over Aragorn and feeling super bad for Eowyn because he didn't love her back, I thought, "Oh, Eowyn. You are SUCH a badass and you need to star in your own book/movie, woman!" And every time I watched 300, I had the exact same reaction to Queen Gorgo. These ladies were powerful in different ways, and I reeeeeeally wanted to read something with a female character that embodied those kinds of fire.

I just didn't know how to weave the two together.

Fast forward to September 2009. I started querying my first novel, and of course, I got my first rejections. So I decided to start brainstorming my next novel. Eowyn and Gorgo sprang to mind immediately. Problem? I still had no idea what kind of story I wanted to tell. I only knew who I wanted to put in it.

Fast forward to January 2012. I finally know what my story's about. So I get over my fear of serious suckage and start writing it.

What genre does your book fall under?

YA high fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My main character is pretty much Jessica Parker Kennedy's twin, only with much wavier hair:

Her love interest is a teen, slimmer, and facial hairless Tom Hardy. You can't see it in this pic, but Tom's sporting the same short ponytail as the love interest in le WIP:


As for the rest of the characters, I have vague ideas of actors they look like. But that post is WAY too long. Trust me.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After her city's soldiers are defeated, Melania Torvajal--a seventeen-year-old maid who trades her broom for a sword--leads their wives and daughters into battle against the invading army.

It was either that or GURL THESE EVIL DUDES ARE COMING FOR YOU SO DO SOMETHING OKAY THANKS BYE. I liked this one much better, actually.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm going to query this sucker next year. Hopefully, it'll nab me an awesomesauce agent. *crosses fingers*

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?

It took me five months to actually write the first draft, but since I took breaks in between, the whole process lasted seven months.

Here's the opening line so far: Papa won't let me touch the blood.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel and Kristin Cashore's Graceling. There's also a book coming out in January by Alex Lidell, and it's titled The Cadet of Tildor. It sounds like a possible match for my WIP as well. I'll be sure to check it out!

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

Please refer to Question #2 :)

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

It has gender stereotypes turned on their heads, religious people who aren't fanatics, beasts who emerge out of boulders, a magical tooth made of ice, Rammstein-inspired fight sequences, and a broken elf who hides behind his smirk.

Among other things. Naturally.

So there you have it. My WIP. I'm going to start revisions in November, so PRETTY PLEASE pray for my sanity. It is much appreciated.

Now for the tag! With the power invested in me by the state of the Next Blog Hop, I pronounce the following peeps as tagged: everyone! :) No, seriously. If you haven't done this yet, go for it. Although I think EVERYONE has done it already. So yeah.

Thanks for reading about my WIP! And have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blog Chain: What's In A Name?

Today's blog chain topic is brought to you by the awesome Kate, whose YA novel ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE sounds amazeballs and I can't wait to read!! *clears throat* Anyway. Here's her question:

What's in a name? What if Harry Potter had been Larry Snotter? What if Edward was Jacob and Jacob was Edward? What favorite books had character names that you loved or hated? And how do you come up with your own character names? 

So. One of my absolute favorite things to do is find the PERFECT names for my characters. Sometimes I find them quickly. Sometimes it takes forever and a half. Sometimes I take the name's meaning into consideration. Sometimes I just love a name so much and pick it on that love alone. For example, I once thought of naming a character Rourke because he felt like a Rourke to me--badass warrior dude. Another one of my characters is named Alejandra, which I chose for her based on its meaning ("defender of mankind") and Hispanic heritage. Bottom line? I hold names in high regard. They're my first intro to a story's characters, and no matter how shallow that sounds, it's a first impression that sticks with me. Of course, behavior and voice matter a lot, but the name is the appetizer, folks. 

And you gotta love an appetizer.

I also think it's important to take your novel's premise and tone into consideration when naming your characters. Larry Snotter doesn't sound like the name of a wizard dude who defeated Voldemort. It sounds like the parody of the wizard dude who defeated Voldemort. And while I'd totally read both books, my mood while reading each one would shift. Likewise, Edward sounds like a serious and seriously old name, which resembles Edward himself. Jacob is less heavy to me, and so is the guy who bears it. Switching them would feel super off.

Luna Lovegood is an example of a character name I love. I've always been a fan of 'Luna' and its variations, and 'Lovegood' gives me a strong hint that this girl is someone I can trust (see? Shallow!). Also, for reasons I can never explain, I love alliteration. It's just... awesome. Luna Lovegood is not only a bossypants name, but so is the character. 

A character name I could do without? PEETA MELLARK. I mean. I MEAN. Okay, I don't mind the Mellark much, but Peeta? I can't help but get hungry every time I hear it. Perhaps that was the brilliant Suzanne Collins' intention? To make me super hungry? *ponders* Geniuses work in mysterious ways, so I've learned to embrace the name. But OMG, I'm hungry.

Make sure you check out Cole's post, and stay tuned for Margie's tomorrow! And thanks to Kate for such a fun topic!

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Here! The Announcement Is FINALLY Here!

Remember when I teased y'all about an announcement Operation Awesome was making today? Well, the wait is over!! I have officially released our super secret news over at the OA blog!!


And have a great Monday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Announcement!!! Well, Sort Of...

So. Next Monday. You should be online. 


Because we over at Operation Awesome have an ANNOUNCEMENT. And it is a SUPER BADASS one. I wish I could tell you rightthissecond what we have to share, but nope. I have been instructed to keep my trap shut until then. Impossible, you say? ALMOST. Which is why I'm teasing you with this post :)

But trust me. The wait will be worth it. Oh, yes it will. 

*shakes with anticipation* 

So yeah. Next Monday. See you then!

Have an awesome weekend!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

That Awkward Moment When You Don't Like That Book Anymore

So. I love books. Obvi.

Sometimes I love a certain book for years. Sometimes I love a certain book for years, then one day go, "Whoa. That's... not my thing at all."

This doesn't happen often, but it's happened. Usually, it's because I've grown as a reader, and the elements I once enjoyed in a particular book become either meh or annoying. Or it could be because I've grown as a writer and have learned how to improve my craft. As I re-read That Book, I discover a lot of things I don't find as impressive anymore. It doesn't have to be grammatical/structure concerns, but also characterization and depth and emotional resonance. These are more important to me, mainly because as a writer, I devote more care to those three first and foremost. 

So how about you? Do you have That Book in your life, too? Why do you think you loved it once upon a time? Warning: Name dropping and book/author bashing isn't necessary, so please refrain from doing so. I'm in a lovely mood today. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Character + Depth Series: Values

So, so, SO sorry for posting the second part in this series later than promised! *slaps wrist* Life, man. It gets in the way sometimes.

ANYWAY. I've already discussed attitudes in part one. Today, let's talk about the second item on the psychographics list:


Here's what the Free Dictionary has to say about the word 'value':

A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable: "The speech was a summons back to the patrician values of restraint and responsibility" (Jonathan Alter).

Similar to attitudes, values deal with your character's past heavily. The present is important, of course, but the road that's led your character toward his/her present matters a whole bunch. I believe values are passed down to your character from the following sources:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. The outside world

What does your character learn from each of them? What are they exposed to on a daily basis? Violence? Love? Fear? Bliss? It's these circumstances that will teach them whether to be hopeful or disdainful, kind or apathetic. But just because your character's faced with a life of torment doesn't mean they'll choose to be tormented--some people rise above their ugly circumstances and seek prettier ones. Same goes for the opposite. Your character might have sunshine and daises for breakfast every day, but with one small flip of the switch, everything is blown to smithereens. Their family might hold on to hope and love, but your character's all about revenge or selfishness.

Similar to the attitudes list, you have to pay close attention to how and why your character processes information a certain way. Here, however, your focus will be on deepening both the how and why through the what if. What if my character hadn't lived this particular life? Would they still be remorseful/forgiving? And more importantly, how does this answer affect your novel? Do your character's values play a significant role in their choices (they totally should!)? 

So there you have it, folks. Values. Your fake people need them. :)

Make sure you stay tuned for next week's installment, which I promise I won't forget to post!!

Now tell me: how do you come up with your character's values? Are they something you enjoy brainstorming or not?