Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Somewhere in the Middle

Today's my 19th birthday.  Do I have anything planned?  Sure:  Go to class, ask about doing stuff for Honors, read, write, take care of the animals, wait for the stuff I ordered...

The 19th birthday is really weird.  I mean, the last few were really special.

15 - I could go get my learner's permit.  And I still have the damn thing.

16 - Well, 16's just a big year.  It's supposed to be the year of magic in a girl's life.  I was supposed to get my license.  Ha ha, yeah, real magical.  Curse-magic.  But I'm not bitter about it or anything...

17 - I could give blood at the school's blood drive.  I remember I turned 17 that Monday, gave blood that Thursday.  I could go see R-rated movies, no more legal curfew...  I think my favorite b-day was my 17th, actually.  I mean, that whole year was big.

18 - I could now vote and buy cigarettes if I wanted.

19 - uh....  anyway.  It's my last year as a teenager?  I guess that counts for something.  I remember discussing in English Comp II about how, when you're 19, you're past 18, but not quite 21.  It's kind of like limbo, really.

Vin's birthday is today too.  We are exactly 13 years apart.  He's six now, in first grade, and as boy as boy gets.

He was born 2 days after Katrina.  He's had some form or party (well me too, really, but it's because of him) almost every year.  

Well, here's to the year ahead.

Even More Fairy Tellings: The Gancanagh

My other favorite villain is the Gancanagh.  I've found a little bit on him, but not much.

The most common description is:
"A Gancanagh (from Irish: Gean C├ínach meaning "love talker") is a male faerie in Irish mythology that is known for seducing human women. 
"The Gancanagh are thought to have an addictive toxin in their skin that make the humans they seduce literally addicted to them. The women seduced by this type of faerie typically die from the withdrawal, pining away for the Ganacanagh's love or fighting to the death for his love. 
The faerie is typically depicted carrying a clay pipe, though he does not smoke it because faeries generally detest smoke. 
It is said to have died out or to be the last of its kind."
-Wikipedia, although you can get this description a lot of other places too. 

There's no accounting for taste, really.  I mean, this is the perfect romantic tragedy villain.  Sexy, debonair, charming and then...

WHAM!  Pining away for love that'll never be.

I've used this faerie as inspiration to a villain once before, and am planning to use a creature closer to this description, and by this name, in another WiP.

The romantic side of me (because there is one despite how hard I try to hide it) would kind of like to see a gancanagh as the protagonist of the story.  He could tell his story about how many mortal women fell prey to his grasp.

What if he didn't know he was a gancanagh at first?  What if he lost his first love and, trying to get over her, constantly staying in a relationship, even if he eventually killed the unfortunate mortal?

Okay, that sounds interesting, and if there is a book like this, I'm gonna have to look for it.  If not, oh well.  It's an interesting thing.

Vampires, what used to be considered demons, are now these tragic, romantic figures, why not the Casanova of faeries too?  Let everything get romanticized now!

Personally, I like them how I life my vamps, though:  the villains, unless it's Underworld.

Isn't he just sooo irresistable (this is the most common image of him):

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Fairy Tellings: Trolls

I use trolls as villians a lot.  This is probably due to the fact I'm a sucker for Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, and he always uses trolls for villians.  The Haugaard translations of "The Snow Queen" and "The Traveling Companion," my two favorite fairy tales, call the baddies trolls.

It also may have something to do with the fact that, when I was little, I was terrified of the troll dolls.  Even now, just a day away from turning 19, they still make me uncomfortable.

*uncontrollable shuttering*

Instant bad guy.  Just add darkness.  When you get tired of them, just add light.

Also, according to my Microsoft Works dictionary:  Troll: Early 17th century. Via Swedish or Norwegian < Old Norse , "demon"

I grew up in a Christian home.  Demon = evil.  For a lot of reasons, trolls just seem to be the perfect villian for me.

Trolls can be dwarf or giant-sized.  They're supposted to turn to stone when hit with sunlight.  They are usually associated with the Earth elementals.  They eat human flesh some times, which is what I wanted them for.

Anyone ever hear of a good troll in a book/story?  Please tell.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Fairy Tellings

fairy painting
I'm brushing up my knowledge of fairy lore.

In some fairy folklore, fairies were originally angels. However, when God cast the devil out of heaven, some angels weren't bad enough to follow Lucifer, but they weren't good enough to stay with God either. They became fairies on Earth. The stories about the tithe, or tiend, come into play here, which involves a sacrifice to the devil, as they are his subjects. Some fairies are just supposed to be neutral. We'll be coming back to this.*

Other legends say that they're just a different race of people that were driven out by invaders. True recounts of these little people faded into legends and it became questionable that they ever existed at all. Simple.

Beings that were once revered as gods and goddesses were diminished when Christianity gained a grip on the world. They were still a folk belief, but they lost their stature as deities and went on to be known as fairies.

They are sometimes just dead people or a subclass of the dead. People who haven't gone on to heaven or hell. They just wander here.

*I use some version of this story for my writings. In one story, they're the ones that wanted to be neutral when heaven split. In effect, they're damned as much as any labeled demon. The Judeo-Christian God is an all-or-nothing God. Most gods are, really.

In a happier story where some of the fairies are actually on the side of Light, the fairies are the descendants of the angels that were in the wrong place at the wrong time (on Earth on whatever errand when Heaven split). Their children born on Earth are thereby confined to earth and mortal, but talented. They're not angels, but not humans either.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Where Does It Start, Now?

In some fantasy books, there's a few chapters before the actual story starts.  Usually it's because of the plot of the book.

I moved my WiP's and potential WiP's to Google Docs.  While waiting on Lacey for lunch, I sat at a computer in the library (my happy place!) and started writing what would be the new first chapter if I decided to add it to the WiP.  I wrote over 1000 words.

It would be crucial to the plot, because it was a very important event in the character's childhood.  It's actually the story really starts, in a way, although the character may not have known it then.  

If I didn't do it there, it would just be a flash back later in the story anyway, albeit condensed  So, make it all chronological or do flashbacks?  Mention it in the dialogue?

So so so many options.

Even if I don't use it, I'm still glad I'm writing it.  I may flesh out the back story more completely that way, and may even just rewrite it from there.

Hmm...that may be a good idea.  My problem is that I don't write anything that's fully novel-length.  The typical length for my books is usually between 40-60k before I go back and add essential scenes that I may have left out in the first go around.

When Lacey came, I clicked on the "word count" to show her all I'd done in the hour and a half I'd been in the library.  She wasn't as excited about it as I was for some reason.  Wonder why...


I had Walking this morning.  I had Honors Forum this afternoon.

Walking:  come to class, walk, and you get an A.

Honors:  Extra work, find two teachers to do an Honors project for, keep a journal, figure out which colleges you're going to transfer to, etc...

Lacey and I were sitting in Honors Forum.  It was full of people who had 26+ on their ACTs, did a bunch of extra credit, you name it.

Um, I made a 22 on my ACT, I spend all my free time writing/reading, taking care of animals, and living at the beck-n-call of my little brother.

"Damn, we don't belong here" was my thought.  Sigh...

I was surrounded by overachievers and intimidated.  Not just a little intimidated.  I mean, I was really really intimidated.  We don't meet again, however, until after Labor Day.  Thank God.

It was pretty eventful.  We had to mix-n-mingle at the beginning of the class.  Had to sign a contract that we'd behave and everything.

My classes eligible for a Honors Class:  Public Speaking, World Lit, and Bio II.  I'm going to ask around with all three teachers.  Regardless, I want to do World Lit, because I'm certain I can do it.

So, the run-off is between Public Speaking and Bio II.  I'm pretty sure I'll do Public Speaking, because then, I'd probably just have to do an extra speech.  I don't know what my Bio II teacher would have me do.  I'll ask him AFTER I've talked to the other two instructors.

Well, won't this semester be fun.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sweet Irony

Last Friday, I sat in my first ever college-level creative writing course.  Yes, I was going to meet other writers attending the same college as me.  So young and hopeful...

...Today, I dropped the class.

I told you I was going to, stop looking so surprised.  Truth is, I felt a lot better about it.  Even my other two "problem classes" Bio II and Public Speaking didn't seem so bad since I knew there was one class I didn't have to go to.

I talked to my mom's friend that works in the library (the one that brought me home since my mom forgot me on my first day last year) and she said half the people in the class don't read the other people's stuff anyway.

Well, less work for me to do, but also, if the people don't take it seriously, I wouldn't have gotten much, if anything, out of it anyway.  Go figure.

So, that was one bullet dodged.  Now, on to surviving Bio II, and becoming so great a public speaker, I'll make Obama look like Bush.


...hey, don't ruin my fantasy.  I can dream, right?

Friday, August 19, 2011

First Day...?

Take note, today, I say that this will be the single most worst semester of my college career.

This may change.  I don't know.  Keep a positive attitude, Jadi, keep a positive attitude.

My first class went well.  It's Computer Applications and I looked at our syllabus.  All of that stuff I've been doing since 8th grade.  It's like Computer Discovery all over again.

Next hour:  Bio II.  I've heard countless--and I mean countless--horror stories about this teacher.  He's hard, his class is hard to pass...  Labs, tests, he's hard.  Study, study, study.

Public Speaking came next.  This was the prof everybody told me to take.  He's funny, he'll make it fun, blah blah blah.  We won't get to the actual speeches until the second half of the semester, and there's only four.  I'm still apprehensive.  He covers a lot of material during the lecture time.  He says it's really, really hard.

This was the biggest disappointment:  Creative Writing.  I knew one person in there.  The instructor talks like Popeye.  We have to write 3 short stories, 3 prose poems, and 3 other-type poems.  And the whole class has to read our stuff.  And we have to read everything everybody else writes.  We have to print it out, read it, critique it.  And it's like 20 stories a week.

Now, add that to studying for Public Speaking, studying even harder for Bio II and the writing I do for Long Ridge, and farm work, and my reading and writing time that I do to wind down.

Call me lazy.  I call myself lazy all the time.  

But I do not like taking the risk of over-extending myself.  My friends do it.  College students around the country do it.  I do not.

When I don't write for me, I'm a bitch.  Ask anybody who knows me personally.  Well, I'm one most of the time anyway, but it's exponentially worse when I'm not writing for me.

I am in the process of trying to get out of that class without it counting against me.  I found another one online that I can try...

Which, the reason that I won't drop the other two is that they're requirements to graduate from MGCCC.  I don't have to take Creative Writing while I'm there (especially if I can't go beyond that anyway).  But the other two, I'd just have to take next semester anyway.

Finally, finally, finally, I made it to World Literature.  I'm the only one in there with English as my declared major.  I was kind of disappointed, because I really thought that would be the class where I could meet other English majors that I haven't met.  There's so few...

But, the teacher was kind of excited that she had an English major and I talked to her a little after class.

So, at least my day ends well.

EDIT:  And yes, I am well aware of the fact that the Creative Writing Prof's system is a great one.  I just don't want to do that this semester.  I'm not in college to write.  I'm in college because I want a day job/career other than novel and/or freelance writing that'll allow me to move out my parents' house some day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

College Prep Work

Classes start Friday.

I picked up my books today.

What classes am I taking?

  • Computer Applications I (pre-req to graduation)
  • General Biology II (pre-req) 
  • Public Speaking (pre-req)  
  • Creative Writing (towards my major:  English.  Or at least that's the reason I'm giving)  ;-)
  • World Literature I (towards major)
  • Walking (pre-req, I have to have a PE-type class and I'm too lazy to do anything more strenuous.  Although, I may take Aerobics next semester, depending how this semester goes.)
  • Honors Forum (I'm smart!)

To graduate from the college I attend with an Associate's degree, I need 64 credit hours.  That's 16 hours a semester, if you want to spread the whole thing out.

My first semester I took 15.  My second semester I took 13.  I really wish I had known how many hours I needed before the end of last semester.  I would've taken the 16 both times.

However, if I take 18 hours this semester and another 18 next semester, and don't fail any classes, I'll have the 64 hours in 2 years.  I won't have to go an extra semester.

Of course, I want to take all of the English courses they offer.  That's classes I don't have to take at a University if I'm even able to transfer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Help: The Movie

I really enjoyed the movie, although, the book is still better.

D'oh!  And the things they changed:  kind of annoying.  Although, I loved the movie anyway.

Mom, one of my mom's friends (the one I loan books to on occasion) and I all went.  It was nice, and, yes, I was one of the youngest ones in the theatre, except for the babies some people brought.

We went to the Dollar Tree for candy to sneak into the theatre, and before that we went to Ridiculous Books, a local used bookstore.

I bought a David Eddings trilogy, and one of of Stephen King's Dark Tower books.  I haven't read any of them yet.  But I have 1-3, and then I bought 5 today.  I'm just buying them as I find them, and will read them straight through afterwards. 

Until we got to the movie theatre and had bought the tickets, my nice, dressy shirt was inside out.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Enjoy the Ride...

I got a smart phone.  A Blackberry Torch.  I got it two days ago (I think).  Mom and I both got them.

So, I'm figuring out my new toy--er, phone.

It's really cool.  I finally get to have all the cool ringtones like my friends used to have when the whole ringtone thing started.  Lots of country music, obviously.  And Gollum saying "My precious..." At first Gollum was my text tone, but it got a little creepy after a while so I changed it.  But it's still on there.

Well anyway, the novelty of finally getting online from my phone's worn off.  I like my big, clunky, outdated, desktop monitor just fine.  It's 17-18 inches, something like that.  Lots and lots of room.

So, where has The Help been in all of this?  Well, I'm almost done with it, actually.  Not done, but almost.  I like it.  

Okay, I love it.  The characters, the premise, so not what I thought I was getting into.  But then again, because I want to be a published writer someday, it'd go against my nature to dislike a book in which the main characters are writing a book.  If it ends right, it may even make my favorites list on Goodreads.

And since I stopped worrying about finishing all those other books I started years other than this one, I am so going on to read my Vesper Holly books.  And Westmark.  And the other Lloyd Alexander book that came in not too long ago.

I return to classes next Friday.  Better read as much as I can.  Once classes start, while it won't stop completely, it'll slow down.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Cracked...

...for the right reason.

Mom wants to go see The Help.  She read the book somewhere around January-February and originally wanted to go see it with her friend that she'd gotten the book for for Christmas.

Said friend was seeing my uncle, which is how she met us.  She and my uncle are not together anymore.  Lot of relationship drama.

Personally, when my uncle's (now) ex was talking about it back in December, I really wasn't that interested in it.  "These ladies telling their stories" translates in my mind, "literary, character-driven, no plot or point, stay away from at all costs."

So, Mom really really wants to go see The Help.

Personally, I am suspicious of any book that becomes a best-seller/movie/"you better read this book, it's the best book ever."

Mainly because most of the books I read that went celebrity are usually no better than the ones I read just because I found it in a bookstore and it looks interesting.

It's like the Angry Bird hype.  I'd never played and everybody was talking about it.  I played it on somebody's phone.

Is this it?  That's all it is?

I guess it is addicting, and maybe it's fun once you've been playing a while, but...all that hype for that?!?

I admit to being a cynic.  I admit that I go into these celebrity books with higher expectations.  I mean, I thought the Twilight books would blow me away.  Um...okay.  I guess I liked it at first, and I understand the hype:

1.  Easy to read.
2.  Hot guys.  Who cares that they're both psychotic jerks, they're hot as hell.  (I don't know personally, as I've never been there, but hell's supposed to be unbearably hot.)

I think the only well-known books that I read that didn't disappoint me or leave me with nothing were the Stephen Kings I've read.  The few that I have read, that is.  Of course, I didn't read any of the well-known ones.  But everybody knows who SK is.

Once classes start back up again, because my mom doesn't necessarily approve of my owning SK books,* I'll get them from the library.  She doesn't oppose to that, or if she does, she keeps it to herself.  She hasn't said, "Don't bring that trash into my house!" yet.

Now if I brought a Harry Potter home, she'd just kill me.  No warning.  No yelling.  She'd just kill me.  She drilled into me while I was still a very young and impressionable child that Harry Potter was of the devil and I was never to read it.**

So, once I move out on my own, Lord-willing that ever happens, I want to try the first one.

But, I heard the last one was a disappointment, which is a big turn-off for me to start reading them now.  You know how I feel about endings.  If the last book sucks, the whole bottom falls out as a series.  Because that's how it all ends!

I'm reading The Help.  If we can manage it, Mom and I will go see it.  So far, the "Negro" grammar is just flat-out annoying.  We know they didn't talk properly way back then, but do you have to butcher the language on the page?  So what if it's realistic?  It's irritating and a little hard to understand at times.  Second, I HATE books that are first person with multiple people telling different stories.  It's confusing.  I understand all the stories are about to weave into this wonderful tapestry, according to the reviews, but it's just annoying at the beginning.

That's what I get for reading outside my usual genre.

But it is interesting.

*Because she doesn't want it taking a semi-permanent residence in her home, and I don't think I want them there either, really.  Books are magical.  It's like all that horror will just seep out... 

**Add that to her popping in a cassette tape of Revelations (the one about how God was going to end the world), and you have a nice snapshot--not the whole thing, just a snapshot--of my childhood before I even really liked to read as a hobby.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Offend Me Please

So, if you're like me and live in a box (or the closet), you heard that editors wanted to edit Mark Twain's work due to some of the offensive language (this was back in January).  It may have already been done, actually.

There are also some Dr. Dolittle books that were edited.

Disrespectful.  You don't change great works because somebody gets offended.

Books, in their very nature, are offensive.  I think any good writer will offend somebody, at some point, in their books.  God-willing I ever get published, somebody's going to get mad at my MC.

Books have been the only things that haven't been forced to political correctness.  They offend.  They each show the world in the way it is, or the way it could be.  Or even as it should be.

Assuming readers are more intelligent than the average person, they should be intelligent enough to respect the work for what it was, and for what it still is.  It's not personal.

Shoot, you don't have to agree on every little thing to like somebody.  I didn't agree with everything I read in Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  Just because I didn't agree with everything didn't mean I didn't like it.  I loved it, actually.

I would like to say I'm a tolerant person, but it's really apathy.  It's not so much as "I accept it."  It's "I don't care."

Here's to offending people!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Don't Care

I haven't cracked yet.

But I have decided to get rid of another book.  I just don't care about these characters anymore. The book, while the premise is great, is boring.

It'll be great credit at the used bookstore.  Well, maybe.  Considering it's a genre I NEVER look at over there but...

Meanwhile, there's another book that I have that I only have 77 pages left to read.  I need to finish that one, really.

I thought about putting The Secret Country back on the TBR shelf, however, I'm already over 100 pages into it.

So not starting it over.  I just wish I could recap because it gets confusing with 5 main characters that are ALWAYS together.  The only one I can remember really well is that Ruth is the Enchantress in their "Secret."   Laura's the young one, I think.  Ted's the Prince, I think.   But it's REALLY interesting, so I'll forgive the confusing parts and finish out that series.

So, that's 3 books I'm getting rid of.  Let's see what's next.  At the rate I'm going, I could just get rid of them all and start over.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

3 Down, 13 To Go!

I really wanna crack with this no-starting-anymore-books until I'm done with the ones I have already started.

But all of my Vesper Holly books are in.  They're just little day reads.  They won't take me long...

But if I stop now, it may be YEARS before I attempt this again.

So, what did I finish?

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine.  Eh, it was okay.  Finished it yesterday and then went on to...

Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand.  Like it.  I particularly liked the ending.  Finished it today.  After that, I continued on in...

Unafraid by Francine Rivers.  Finished it today.  I'm like, so on a roll.

I would love to finish all of these before classes start, but that's wishful thinking.  If I could just get down to under 10 would be great.  It'll be a race to see what comes first.  My allowing to start a new book or my 8am class on August 19.

But I can almost guarantee you that if I don't crack and see this out (all the way to the nonfiction, although I'm not holding myself to those), I will start to read multiple books at a time again.  It'll only be a matter of time.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I'll Take Bets

I went through the books I have bookmarked last night.  The earliest I had started in 2004.

Six of them, because I wasn't that far into them, went back on the TBR shelf.  I decided to get rid of two.  Not including Jane Eyre*, I still have three books that I started this year, five that are nonfiction,** two story collections,^ and eleven novels that I started anywhere from last year all the way back to 2004.

Why am I saying this?

I want to finish reading all of them before I start another book.^^  I'm eleven books ahead on my reading challenge for the year, so now would be the time for a Mass Finishing of Never-Finished Books.

Can I do it?  Will I wimp out and start The El Dorado Adventure?  Stay tuned!

* I'm reading it as an ebook
** 6 nonfiction books if you count the Bible
^One of them, I started reading this year.  The other one I started in my junior year of high school.
^^Or at least most of them, but I'd like to read them all.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Magic Words

I was reading a review for a book on Goodreads.  The reviewer complained that the book was very plot-driven.

After that, I was done reading the review.  Some people don't like plot-driven books and prefer the characters more fleshed out.

Not me.  I prefer plot-driven books.  Not that I don't like character-driven books too, because I read them, but I was thinking, "Plot-driven?  I'm sold."

Of course, it was a fantasy, so it really should be plot-driven anyway.

Other magic words to make me want to read something:

"Wales" particularly, but the other Celtic countries too, "Ireland, Scotland, etc" because of all of the Stephen Lawhead books I've read.  Talk about molding somebody's tastes.

"Dragon(s)."  'nuff said.

"Spin off of (insert whatever fairy-tale/folklore here)"

A mention of a mythology in general (uh, hello?  Twelve Labors of Hercules in 1816 England?)

Sometimes names.  In the case of Nectar from a Stone:  Gwydion.

If the description implies it'll be humorous.

Thinking up more now...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Asymmetriphobia and Bibliophilia

Asymmetriphobia- Fear of asymmetrical things.

Bibliophilia- love of books

Two of my books came in today through the mail.  The Stephen Lawhead, and another Lloyd Alexander.

They are both Book 2's.

The Stephen Lawhead matches my edition of Book 1.

The Lloyd Alexander is a hardback.  My first book of that series is a paperback.


I get this from my mother.  All of my books have to be in similar format.  If not, it's just annoying.  It's like having mass market paperback in Book 1 and having a trade paper back in Book 2.

On a brighter note, I picked out some books at a second-hand store today.  One of which is the first book in a fantasy series.

Let's face it, how many standalone fantasy novels can you think of off the top of your head?  Not very many.

Actually, the other one is a standalone fantasy.  However, it's a parody.  Do those count?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Give Up the Goods, Man

Some stuff I ordered from Amazon came in today.  One package was from FedEx, and then I got two in the regular mail.

When my package from FedEx came in, my mom said something like, "Well, that's exciting."

Of course, I had to show her the books that had come in.  The Kestrel by Lloyd Alexander, and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones, which I've been talking about.  It's not at all what I expected, but I LOVE it.

I think my mom caught the delivery bug too.  Must be nice, she says, just getting stuff delivered to your door.

So, we may be ordering some more stuff from Amazon.  YAY!

It is exciting.  I'd ordered her Third Day's Offerings 2-Disc boxed set, which came in last Friday, and today, Matthew West's Happy came in through the mail.  I'd been telling my mom I'd ordered it.  I don't think she knew I'd ordered it for her.

Lately, we've been checking prices there, and comparing them to those in the stores.  Wonder if Wal-Mart would match that!  Because sometimes, it is cheaper.  And worth the wait besides.