Friday, May 9, 2014

All about Workshopping

Even though I've been absent, disappeared, vanished, Houdini'd my ass out of class, doesn't mean I'm not there in spirit.  What the hell does that even mean?  Honestly, it means nothing because feedback is very important in writing, which I've lost out on which is my fault.  However, in the past when I had a pretty good attendance record, I was there for quite a few workshops and also because it wasn't my first time at the rodeo.  I feel that workshops can really show a writer what they can't see themselves whether it is small punctuation problems or that the reader gets lost from beginning to end (hopefully not).  I think that a good writer gets feedback and acknowledges it when they edit.

However, sometimes getting feedback through an online database may be a totally different ball game.  The internet gives many people masks that allow them to be whoever they want and since everyone wants to be a critic...well you get the idea.  People have the protection of a computer screen which means they can tell a writer that what they write is complete crap or if they have a heart and a conscious they might give some constructive criticism.  Point is that if people don't know you and don't have to look you in the face while giving you criticism that will be a way for them to let loose and not have to beat around the bush.

Either way, feedback is feedback and at the end of the day it's your writing.

Friday, April 11, 2014

POV stands for Point of View!

When we talk about point of view in literature and writing, we're not talking about at what angle the picture was taken, or referring to the saying, "take a walk in their shoes."  Point of view is about the narrator of a story and what the supply for the reader from what they know.  There is obviously 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person which involve point of view.  Each point of view gives a different angle to the story.  When a story is written from a first person narrative, the reader can understand more about the narrator and know how they feel.  While when the narrator is a third person narrator, the reader can lose how the characters may feel, but through there actions and the narrator's descriptions of the settings and situations, the story can have a completely new perspective.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

ReDo: A Blog About a Blog

Well MY BAD, I clearly did the wrong thing in my last blog for the assignment.  I picked out a blog that reviewed books, in fact I picked two blogs, so let's do a redo.

So I think I found one that I am thoroughly enjoying, and isn't that hard to figure out.  This one is called fictionaut and it is a blog that allows writers to submit, read, and comment.  The usual.  There is a lot of flash fiction, which I like a lot, but there are plenty of other categories to explore.  I read a lot of stories on there because I wanted to make sure it was something that I would actually use.  One that I really liked was "My First Serial Killer", if you have the time, read it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A blog about a blog

Hey it's three o'clock in the morning, probably the perfect time to write a blog, right?
Well, I'm going to be honest with my multitudes of readers in saying that this was the first time I ever looked at a literary blog.  I will continue with honesty policy by saying I also GOOGLED it.  Kill me.  Yes, I punched in literary blogs into google and got what seems to be a bunch of links of links leading me to more links.  It was overwhelming, and most of the links were generally too broad for me, or didn't spike an interest.  I saw many interesting ones, but I wanted something that wasn't a general overview of books, I wanted something that specified to me.  I didn't really find it, (continuing with the honesty) but I did manage to find something I could see myself checking into.
I admire those whose job is to read and review because as English majors, that sounds sweet!  I don't know if these girls make any money off of it, but this is xpressoreads.  It is made up of two girls that used their bookaholic addiction for good, unlike me who has spent hundreds of dollars at Barnes&Nobles and  Anyways, this blog devotes it's URL to Young Adult Fiction reviews for people who actually care.  I've always been one to look up reviews on the book I may pick up unless it has wrapped me in from either the first page or how it feels in my hands.  Seriously, I have passed on books with a rough texture that makes me think of sandpaper when I touch it.  However, the majority of the time that I have looked up reviews it's been on since they usually are pretty worthy.  Just recently, I was in Barnes&Noble on my weekly visit (exaggeration, sort of) when I saw a book at the register that caught my eye.  "Rush" by Maya Banks, and I thought hey this looks good (and it felt nice in my hands).  So I made a mental note of it to pick it up the next time I came, but my bank account balance provoked me to look up the book to see if it was worth it. gave it four stars!  I was half sold until I Googled it.  Since reviews are opinions, it's like a box of chocolates (think Forrest Gump) and I got gross frickin' chocolates.  The book was looked at as a new Fifty Shades of Gray, which I never read because S&M topics aren't my cup of tea, hence why I leaned towards xpressoreads as my blog (horrible transition).
Xpressoreads is a website with a huge list of books that have been reviewed.  The reviews are interesting and sell the book to the reader.  The best part is they don't give away the whole book, I hate that in a book review especially when they say "spoiler alert."  My eyes are Adam and Eve and can't help but to keep going into the forbidden zone.  Anyways, I thought that their book choices were all enticing and by having two bloggers it gives more of a variety in the Young Adult Literature.  The only bad thing is many of the books are Young Adult Romance and I think after seeing the Twilight craze I'm scared of picking up another YA romance.  However, they are able to sell many of the books well and I also like that they give a page or plot overview in their review to give you an idea of what you might indulge into.  I picked a book, called Crank, that I had read before to see if they did a good job of reviewing and they passed.  I also read a review of a book I had never read that I chose at random, called Fire & Flood, to see if they could sell it to me, and I am definitely intrigued.  This has definitely provoked a new way of choosing what I want to read and I'm so happy Spring Break is around the corner!

On a complete side note, I also found through my journey another literary blog/website dearauthor.  This website gives reviews by grades (literally A- to F) which really helps at skimming through the good and the bad books.

Friday, February 28, 2014

All about Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

I think I was mainly drawn to this story because of the author's name.  I don't know anyone named Jamaica, but the thought of someone having the name Jamaica simply intrigued me.  So let's talk Jamaica's story "Girl."

The beginning of a story is very important in general, but Jamaica's story doesn't seem to have a distinct beginning, middle, and end.  It's simply one big paragraph with important advice of a woman passed down from mother to daughter.  In fact, the entire story is basically one sentence with two breaks caused by questions from the daughter.  The pieces of advice are separated by semi colons, and there are italics for when the daughter says something.

I thought the story or prose whatever it may be was very interesting and enjoyable.  Although it was short, I did read it a few times because these short pieces of advice have so much impact and how so much about the mother and daughter.  The reader gets the idea that their poor, that the mother worries her daughter will become a slut, and the mother is teaching her daughter how to become a woman for her future husband.  Kincaid seems to want to express what her mother or what a mother teaches her daughter in the country that she came from.  She also shows the relationship they have, even though in some points it doesn't seem very nice.  Kincaid does a great job at expressing the characters, the settings, and the "plot" of the story through advice from her mother.  She also shows the amount of work a young woman goes through with the constant pieces of advice and pressure the daughter carries all through Kincaid's prose.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Catching Up: Favorite Book

As I look to my bookshelf, an array of books bring back memories, some don't, but for the sake of the assignment, let's stick to those that bring back memories.  I look to my recent reads that are stacked on top of the books, due to the lack of space, that have collected dust in an alphabetical row.  Some are awesome books, but fit too well within a category I like to call, "mass media reads."  You know those books that everyone and their mother's, father's and even dog's have read.  So I looked to Lucy Christopher's Stolen.  This book was in my purse for the entire summer of 2012.  It went with me to work, the beach, and on airplanes.  So now, the sleeve is disheveled and is marked by wrinkles and creases, which I don't mind.
The Story: We meet Gemma who is a regular girl going on holiday with her parents, when she is kidnapped by Ty in the airport.  Ty is tan, blue eyed, much older than 16 year old Gemma, but still young enough to be considered handsome by her.  While reading the book, I always envisioned him to be in his thirties, because he first met Gemma when she was very young at the age of about five.  We learn later on in the book, that he has stalked Gemma from that point on, which is why Gemma thinks he looks familiar in the airport.  Ty is in love with Gemma, and he wants her to fall in love with him, so he takes her to the middle of nowhere in Australia where there is only heat and sand.  Gemma is constantly seeking to runaway, obviously, but soon realizes that there is nowhere to run.  Ty never hurts her, sexually abuses her, or anything close to it, he is simply captivated by her, so he makes her his captive.  Gemma starts connecting with the nature that she is surrounded by and as she feels less of a captive, she starts believing that she is in love with Ty.  Even the reader can fall in love with Ty because he is caring for not only Gemma, but everything around him.  He has also had a troubling childhood that the reader is slowly introduced to, which makes us sympthatic for Ty.  At times, the reader can forget that Ty is a kidnapper, which is the same situation that Gemma confuses herself with.  Eventually, the reader learns that Gemma's story is actually a letter to Ty after she is released and rescued.  The lawsuit is just about done, but Gemma wanted to tell her story directly to Ty before he is sentenced.
Mechanics/Dynamics: The entire story is written in second person and past tense.  Since we learn that Gemma is writing this story to Ty, she addresses him as "you" during her narrative.  She writes from her point of view, which can also make it first person, so I guess it is both first and second person.  This causes the reader to become part of the story instead of an omniscient watcher.  Christopher is thorough with her vivid details.  The reader can put themselves in not only Gemma's shoes, but in the setting Christopher has placed her in.  Both characters are detailed well, which makes them come alive, and gives them depth to their personal stories, especially Ty.  Also, Christopher's specific details, makes it seem like Gemma has remembered all of them due to trauma as if the details are stuck in head for the rest of her life.
The Author: Lucy Christopher is from Wales, UK, but moved to Melbourne Australia when she was nine.  This experience and the adventures in Australia inspired her to write her first published book Stolen.  She explains this on her website, "Suddenly I was in a new country I didn’t understand; a place that was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying.  I’ve always been fascinated by wild Australian land and, when younger, my favourite memories are of camping in the bush and exploring the overgrown creek at the back of our first Melbourne house.  But this landscape scared me too, and I didn’t feel like I fitted in.  I used these feelings of being simultaneously entranced and repulsed by something in order to write Gemma’s feelings for both Ty and the landscape he takes her to."   Lucy Christopher's About
A Quote:  I think the best part of this book is the ending because the reason why Gemma has been writing in second person is revealed, but Gemma also shows herself more.  She shows the connection she had with Ty and what it did to her.  The reader saw something in Gemma, that is now explained in the end, and that is that she sees Ty in a different light other than a kidnapper.
"You told me once of the plants that lie dormant through the drought, that wait, half-dead, deep in the earth.  The plants that wait for the rain.  You said they'd wait for years, if they had to; that they'd almost kill themselves before they grew again.  But as soon as those first drops of water fall, those plants begin to stretch and spread their roots.  They travel up through the soil and sand to reach the surface.  There's a chance for them again.
"One day they'll let you out of that dry, empty cell.  You'll return to the Separates [Gemma's nickname for where she was held captive due to the landscape of the mountains], and you'll feel the rain once more.  And you'll grow straight, this time, toward this sunlight.  I know you will."
The story itself is beautifully written, but it is also an interesting plot because we see a kidnapper, but also a possible romance blossoming.  The book is not a personal Stockholm syndrome story because I felt like if Gemma and Ty met on different circumstances, they would have truly been in love.