Wednesday, June 29, 2011

RTW: Flavor of the Month


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic:
(Back by popular demand!) What's the best book you've read this month?

The best book I've read this month? Somebody give me an easier question.

Do WIPs count? Because I would totally say one of Kelsey Sutton's WIPs completely hooked me and if she doesn't finish it, I will surely die of not knowing what happens. The end. (And I hope she reads this and feels compelled to finish it. Yes, I'm looking at you, Kills. Right at you. But seriously, finish that rewrite of the other WIP first.)

But as for published books (which I know that WIP will be someday), I have to say that the best I've read this June was States of Confusion by Paul Jury. And watch the video that his name links to. It's great.



I don't usually read memoirs, but this one was hilarious, and I don't say that lightly. There were moments when I was reading it that I almost choked on my own laughter. Surprisingly, that can be done. I was planning on doing a more in-depth review of the book next month after my book review of it was published in the upcoming July issue of The Vanguard, but might as well mention it now.

Well, that's all for this Road Trip! See y'all next week!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

RTW: Burn, Baby, Burn! Oh Wait, I Need These Things!


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.



This Week's Topic:
The house is on fire and you've only got time to grab five things. What are they?


Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. I've actually thought about this before and come up with a great solution to being able to only grab a few things, but first I'm going to do a list of the items I must have.

1. Laptop
2. Harry Potter books
3. Cellphone
4. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
Hermione GrangerImage via Wikipedia
She's totally BA. Which is why I want her bottomless bag.
5. My pillow

Now, as you can see, books are included. I would have liked to be able to get all of my books, but seeing as my entire room is a library, I don't think I'd be able to. Sad, I know. I would totally cry like a little lost baby in a supermarket if a fire actually happened and all of my books were lost to the flames.

Since I live in a state of delusion some of the time, my solution to this problem is to steal Hermione's handbag so I can put all of my crap in there and have a portable library. However, at the moment I'm dwelling in "reality" (which may change at any given moment) and I realize that Hermione could probably prevent me from stealing her bag.

In comes Plan B. My five duffle bags. Aha! This is how it goes. There are five duffle bags in my closet, for when I need to move large quantities of my stuff, duh, and coincidentally there are five people in my family! Voila! Problem solved. I just fill those bags with all of the stuff I can't live without, and then there are my five "items" ready to be saved from a house fire.

I'm a genius, I know this. Please, leave your praise for the end of the post. I do have a small head that could use some growing, but I'm not quite done with my answer.

Since I have five duffle bags and the requisite person-power to carry them, I have another, longer list of things I would save from the hungry flames.

1-5 The same as first list.
6. Strange Angels series.
7. Jane Austen complete novel anthology
8. Douglas Adams "
9. Tolkien collection
10. Wand
11. Shakespeare complete works
12. Printer
13. Dvd collection
14. Tv
15. Wolf fur blanket
16. Any other books I can cram into bags

Well, I think that's it. I'm actually bored of this post now, but I feel like I'm forgetting something important...books, laptop, wand...oh well, I'm sure I'll actually remember whatever it is if there's an actual fire.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Calm down; I can't read what you're saying over your adjectives.


I shouldn't have to say it, but somehow I feel the need to state that when I read a book, I want the experience to be a good one. Now, I often find myself in the situation that requires me to read things that aren't particularly up to my standards. That's okay. The authors are in 10th grade and haven't quite mastered the ability of cohesive writing yet.

gstatic.com
I can't even say that I've mastered that art yet. Hey, I'm honest. It's in my DNA. As I was saying, when I pick up a book or someone says, "Hey, you like books, read this one. You'll like it. People do stuff and it makes you laugh," I expect that book to at least entertain me long enough for me to finish it. Goodness knows I've had to struggle through some books, but I'm not here to discuss them.

I'm here to discuss some authors' use of language, and to be even more concise, their use of diction. I can hear your brains whirling trying to recall the exact definition that your 11th grade English teacher drilled into your adolescent brain all those years ago (or not depending on your age.)

Diction = word choice. Some people, like myself, use a fairly average vocabulary in their day to day lives with bursts of dollar words to keep other people on their toes. I've been told too many times in my short life that I need to speak in "simpler" terms because the people in my life can't understand me. And that's okay. I understand where they are coming from, and I've simplified for their benefit with only a few slip-ups now and then after reading an Austen novel.

But, when I'm reading a book, I follow a certain set of expectations. I like it to be well-written (duh), to use terms most people will understand, and to keep me entertained. It's not a list that should scare any authors.

I do not like to read novels that feel like a giant info-dump right into my brain, or that require me to slow down my reading pace in order to understand what's happening. I look on books like those as tragedies. Sadly, there have been a number of tragedies in recent days.

The tragic tome that sparked this little reflection was an excerpt from a book (I won't name it or the author) and the overwhelming use of adjectives and adverbs. It really threw me off when I first started reading it and that is something that isn't easily done. I've been reading on the college level since I was in grade school. At first, I merely tried to adjust my mind to the fact that I was getting deluged with tons of sensory details. Way too many. Then I realized that it wasn't just the diction and syntax that was off, it was the style as well.

I'm not normally one for nitpicky things when it comes to an author's delivery or writing style, but as I was reading, I couldn't help but be slightly nauseated by the blatant "telling" that the author was doing in the story. Sure, it's in first person, but when the reader is told every few paragraphs that the MC went through something big and that was why he or she was the way he or she was, it makes the entire plot tedious.

So very tedious. Honestly, I couldn't even get through the second chapter. There was so much more that I could have commented on, but...I don't have the energy. I just want to know this:

How the hell did that person get that book published in the first place?



Addendum:
I totally went and found out the answer to my own question before posting this blog entry. Self-publishing. *Le Sigh* For the love of all things written, people, please do not self-publish your books unless you are a very good editor or you have an agent (which means someone in the business actually thinks you can write and your book might be good) and you've exhausted all other options. Otherwise, just...don't do what that author did. I'm begging you. My brain folds are still trying to recover. I'm not making any guarantees, it's too early to tell, but I think I may be allergic to adverbs. Or bad books.
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

More Potter, or is it Pottermore?

quickquotesquill.tumblr.com
The end of the dedication for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Attention all Potter fans! I don't know how late to the party I am or not, but J.K. will be making a huge announcement in 3 days, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I squeeeeee'd when I found out. It's about something called Pottermore. No one knows what it is...and it's frustrating.

There's a YouTube countdown going on right now (here) and the gathering owls are making me more excited! Because whenever the owls gather you know something big is going to happen!! Squeeeeeeeeee!!!

Calm down. Caaaalm. Okay. I'm good for now. Whew. As to what the announcement will be, or even what Pottermore is all about, I haven't got a clue. A troll would have a better guess than me. I'm really horrible at guessing games. Always have been.

But, I do know that it will be awesome. If it's Potter related and J.K. Rowling has got her golden hands on it, it can't help but blow my mind and the minds of Potter fans everywhere. We're a super loyal crowd. I even have a Deathly Hallows tattoo to prove it.

But that's enough about me and my obsession with all things Harry Potter. Pottermore is rumored to be an online community for Potter fans. I don't know how that will work, maybe like Facebook or MySpace? I have no idea. But if you're a fan, just keep your eyes open for J.K.'s announcement.

Until then, stay magical!!



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Happy Daddy Day!

Daddy Day CareImage via WikipediaFor a while, my favorite movie was Daddy Day Care. I still quote parts of it, like "I missed." "What do you mean, you missed?" "I missed." *cue scary music as Eddie Murphy looks in horror at what "missed" meant for his wallpaper*

I still can't help but chuckle at the thought of three men trying to take care of the demon spawn that some of those kids were. It's hilarious. The entire movie is, in a way, a testament to the fact that daddies do exist and can contribute to their children's well-being.

While I know that there are exceptions to everything, I can't help but be grateful that I've had my Dad to count on my entire life. He's been a great role model, and although at times he can seem to be a little overbearing, I know it's just because he loves me.

Thankfully though, he's pretty cool most of the time. I like to think he's a mixture of Mr. Weasley and Tim "The Tool-man" Taylor. (He looks a lot like "The Tool-man" in my opinion.)

It's funny now that I think about it, but Mr. Weasley is the only literary dad that I can actually think of. There has to be more. Maybe I'm just having early-morning, caffeine-deprivation block. If y'all can think of any more, let me know. I'd appreciate it!

Happy Father's Day to all those dads out there!!
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

RTW: Try This Hat On For Size


Well, I think it's only appropriate to get back into the swing of blogging by doing a YA Highway: Road Trip Wednesday, don't y'all?

This Week's Topic:

You're re-reading one of your favs when someone asks the dreaded question: "What's that book about?" Give us your best off-the-cuff blurb of any book, any genre, and have your readers try to guess the title in the comments!


The Pitch:

A girl is from a family famous for doing big things and always fighting the good fight. When she finds herself in another kingdom, she has to keep everyone she knows in the dark about her family's illustrious history while simultaneously using her own set of unique skills to aid in a rebellion against tyranny. Oh, and she has some help from some pretty cool creatures/beings/people.

Well? Name that book!