Friday, November 27, 2009

The Looking Glass Wars

Symbols ran down the right side of the paper, but what he noticed first was the horribly drawn picture that filled the rest of the space. The eyes were too big and the lips too small, the head too round, and the ears too pointed, but it was Tsira. He choked as he read the bold symbols, crushing the page in his fist.

I've written the opening of my FanFic, and I had a dream the other night that I think may end up as an interesting story. My mind just has ideas that it wants to express, and I know that it's not going to be easy, but I can do it. Even if others don't like them, I will like them, and that's really all that matters.

I read The Looking Glass Wars this week. It's a book by Frank Beddor about Princess Alyss Heart of Wonderland--the pretense is that Lewis Carroll got poor Alyss's story all wrong. She jumped through the Pool of Tears to escape The Cat and her murderous aunt Redd, landing in England in the 1850's, where she met the Reverend Dodgson (Carroll), who thought she'd made it all up. Though it's written at maybe a sixth or seventh grade level, it's pretty violent. Redd, or the false Queen of Hearts, kills her sister Genevieve by cutting off her head. The Cat has nine lives, so when he dies, he simply gets up again. The fighters consist of Card Soldiers and Chessmen, with guns like the AD52 (automatic dealer), cannonball spiders, and every imaginable medieval weapon. There's flesh-eating roses and corpses everywhere. As the title states, it is very much a war--a war that takes place over thirteen years.

I found that the ideas and characters were interesting, transforming the far-out tale of Alice in Wonderland into something believable while still maintaining that fantastic aura. People often say that Carroll was on an opiate trip when he conjured the classic story, but it had some very poignant thoughts, as does The Looking Glass Wars. I loved the book and recommend it to anyone with a taste for fantasy--except those with a weak stomach.

-Tsira

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coraline

Octras was glad they weren't looking at him as his face flushed with embarrassment. He smiled halfheartedly. His mind reeled with things they might have said, wondering why they left him out of the joke. He envied their fast friendship, knowing all too well that he no longer afforded such dangerous things. Tsira was his employer, nothing more, and he meant nothing to her except as a nameless shield. The boiling laughter was sour, and he left the apartment.

My friend Jaron and I went to see the new Disney A Christmas Carol. He posted a review that echoed my thoughts perfectly, so I won't waste time writing my own. I will say, however, that it really couldn't decide what it wanted to be--it was not a kids' movie, as it advertises. If my nieces and nephews went to see it, they'd cry and have nightmares for months.

I intended to do NaNoWriMo this year, but it didn't happen. I wrote 1000 words the first day. My new job takes up so much energy that when I'm home I just want to relax and play video games... but I keep reminding myself how good writing makes me feel, and when I do it, I am relaxing. It's just hard to get started. Past that kick in the rear, writing is love. I sometimes think that maybe I have misled myself by wanting to make a book, but when I actually sit down to write, I'm so... happy.

I read Coraline again last night. It's such an interesting piece of fiction. I love Neil Gaiman's style, how he brings out the perfect tone and voice, making the writing have so much purpose. It's like he hand-selected every single word. Even though Coraline is a children's story, I think it is very clever and witty. I laughed out loud several times last night reading the book. In Coraline's boredom, she writes a little story that says a girl danced until her feet "TURND INTO SOSSAJES". I couldn't help myself; I just had to laugh. I find it interesting that the movie is so different and yet so similar. I know that some things in the film were done for visual effect, but there were other added elements to the story. There's no Whybe in the book, and no doll. Yet they work. It's like another version of the tale, just like any fairytale that changes over time. I do think that in the book Coraline is more clever than she is in the show. Oh well.

-Tsira

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Eye of the World

Footsteps backed out of the room, leaving Octras alone with his thoughts once again. Cleansing his mind had never been prayer to him--he worshipped no deity, though he envied the confidence of those who did. No creator, no divine being, had ever done anything for him, though perhaps it was because he had never asked one for help.

I finished the Eye of the World last week, and I really enjoyed it. Despite my reluctance to start the story, the intricate plot and the little details sucked me in. In the first hundred or so pages we're introduced to a whole village of people, and though many aren't in the rest of the book (but perhaps the series, I wouldn't know) Robert Jordan launches into explanations of even the trivial characters. We meet Rand, who sees a Fade on the road as he's going into town. After that it settles down and shows us his friends and talks about a festival that is supposed to happen the next day. The story doesn't leave Emond's Field until... let's say 200 pages. That was the really tough part for me to get through. The book sat in my room untouched for a long time because of the slow beginning. I persevered only because my younger sister and my sister-in-law raved about the book, and Liz expected me to read it because she bought it for me.

I always laugh when I read books where the main character is conveniently clueless about the world so the author has an excuse to explain it. This was the case here, but he actually wrote it quite well. Robert Jordan had lengthy passages about specific details (the story is over 700 pages long) but the characters had depth I haven't read in a fantasy in a long time. So it was a little war for me--the verbose but eloquent writing, the intricate but sometimes boring storyline, and the deep but convenient characters.

In the end, I decided I like the book, especially at the end. The climax was clear and strong, and it left me satisfied enough as a single book should. I know that in a series it can be hard to leave room for more without sacrificing some of the climactic value--but I think it's important that the book should be able to stand on its own, not leaning too much on the others in the series. Robert Jordan did that very well. I'll probably be picking up the second book in a month or so.

-Tsira

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stevie Wants to Know

Octras could see their temple from the outskirts of town. A clear pillar stabbed at the sky from the center of the healers' circle. As they neared it, chanting and chattering surrounded them. Blue cloaks covered every lean figure. A few yellow beards showed under the hoods, but they were mostly a uniform body, with robes the color of the sky and cream rings around the sleeves. Most had three or four of these odd bracelets around their wrists...

I'm not doing so well with the writing. I set a goal to help me write the last 35,000 words of my draft, and then it's break time. I love revision; it makes my story so much stronger. And I know my writing sucks. It will get better, though. Rough drafts are made to handle my horrible attempts at getting my thoughts into words--and revision picks through the scraps for the good stuff. It's funny; usually when I see other writers' revisions, there's comments here and there, and the occasional rewritten sentence, but mine is different. For a half a page of typed work, there's another two of editing. I scribble, scratch, make asterisks, underline--no word goes by unchecked. It's beautiful. I love tearing my work apart and building it up again. It always comes out better.

So, I'd lost contact with the outside world for two weeks (*gasp*). The reason for my lack of posts is that I had no internet. Qwest took it away because of a possible virus warning. As it turned out, the only thing on this computer was a tracking cookie. The computer downstairs had some, but honestly, they weren't doing any damage to anyone, and seriously, that's not how the internet works. You don't just take away someone's internet when they're paying you a fortune to use it. I've never even heard of something like that happening. It's ridiculous.

On any note, I'm alive and well, settling into my new job happily. And tiredly. It's interesting to see such strong personalities all mixed together. My kids could be book characters, and they wouldn't even need to be exaggerated. They are exaggerations. Quirky, full of conflict, and wonderful.

-Tsira

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Tale of Work and Play

Tsira tripped again, but he caught her waist. She pushed him away and stared at the sky in wonder. He looked, too; the clouds were dark, as if they were about to burst with rain. Each shape was outlined with white sunlight, and the sky around it was a pasty orange like the dirt beneath them. So much of the world was red and yellow and brown. Only a sunny blue sky and lively green broke the monotony, but with the cold all the color in the world was fading. After the harvest, it would be black and white until spring.

I started my new job today, and although I'm scared, I really think that this will be a good place to work. I'm not even sure how much it pays. But the pay period ends pretty soon and I'll get my first check and then we'll see. So far my day has been exhausting. I didn't sleep well, wondering how I was going to survive my first day at the school, and wondering how Katniss was going to win the Hunger Games, and wondering how to approach the next scene of my novel, and wondering about Rand, and just about everything else.

I don't know how I feel about Hunger Games. I'll have to sort that out in my discussion with Andy, Jaron, and Julie. I guess I really am picky, not so much about what I like, but about what I love. It seems like Andy and Julie love the book. They are drooling over the cover of the second one, but they want to wait to read it until after our little book club meets. I know I enjoyed it... but... I guess I'll tell you about it when I'm done with that, too. I'm really curious about what Jaron thinks of it. I think it threw me off to be reading Eye of the World at the same time--I kept thinking, "the world is dying; how is she still finding so much food?" but I had to remind myself that was a different story.

I haven't really written anything today, but I do want to get that scene out. I'm just so exhausted. My body is finally giving on the whole vitamin thing. It doesn't want vitamins anymore. I'm starting to think that's why I was sick on Sunday morning. *sigh* My body wants to eat unhealthful things and sleep for two days straight. It wants to make me give up on work already, and never read or write again. It wants to die, I think. Fortunately, this is not what my mind wants. The two are in a constant, epic struggle. In any case, I'm still determined to finish my novel.

I have to play Pokemon today. I want a Shaymin. I love Pokemon. It's not over when it's supposed to be--you can just keep going, if you want. After you finish the main storyline, you still have to get all eight badges, and once you beat the Elite Four, there's still the Battle Tower and the GTS and Mystery Gifts. You still have to work really hard to catch them all--unless you're cheating, and if you're cheating, there's really no point to playing that game. I admire the game's ability to bring interaction. The last time I traded with someone, they had attached a letter to their loved pet, and it said to promise to take care of it, and listed its moves. Anyway. I'm going to go dip my head in a bucket of cold wake-up water now.

-Tsira

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The First Day

A small white flower had made its way through the soil, poking up on the road with the weeds. Its neck was broken, yet it still tried to stand tall among the passersby. A few people stepped on it before Octras noticed it. He'd never seen a flower growing in Crescent before. How sad it looked; he wanted to help it somehow, but he knew there was not a way, so he stepped around it and continued down the street.

Today I cranked out a scene even though I spent the entire morning puking my guts out. It always feels so good to write. Even on the days where I don't feel like doing it, I'm happy when I write. I tend to get really involved in what I'm putting on paper (I almost always write longhand before putting anything on the computer) and sometimes that means some measure of pain or headaches or sleepiness. Yesterday I was writing out a drowsy morning, and it made me so tired, and a few days before that I had a sharp pain in my elbow after writing about someone getting a nail in their arm. Some people will probably tell me that this is strange, but I've always felt that it made my work better, somehow. If I'm experiencing what my main character is, then I can more accurately portray what it is really like for him. (At least, with my current project it's a him...)

On a side note, I've been playing Fish Tycoon every time I get on the computer to do something. It's a slow-moving game, so I can just work on other stuff while I'm waiting for my fishies to grow up, and such. You may not like it, but I think it's awesome.

-Tsira

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome to the Story

Hello, world.

Blogging, as I have been told, is often said to be this way:

"Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few."

But don't despair. I had a blog that was for all my personal problems, all my rants, and eventually, I realized I really had nothing I wanted to say there. I think this is partly because my reason for starting my blog was all wrong.

I did it for a boy.

As it turns out, the personal blog did help me figure out some things, and it helped the few who read it understand me better, but it really wasn't what I wanted. It wasn't what I wanted it to be. I'm no longer the depressed child I was, and I realized, "I don't want anyone to read all my rants from two years ago."

This blog, I hope, will be more of a public journal than a private one; it will be the place where I can talk about books, music, movies, and all sorts of good things, but mostly it will be for my story. I'll soon be posting snippets of what I'm working on, and if something gets published, it will also be a place to answer questions about my world.

But for today, I'm just going to say welcome. Welcome, world, to mine.

-Tsira