Thursday, October 27, 2011

Writing Therapy

Journal writing dug into my soul and pulled out things I never knew about myself. Writing all thoughts, never lifting pen from paper, helped me sort through some emotions. I stopped journaling awhile ago, though, and focused on stories. Writing, no matter the form, is therapy right?

The answer isn't that simple.

For me, it seems, writing my thoughts in a journal, working on stories and blogging affects me differently. Writing stories lifts me above the world. Because of this blog, things that used to bother me seem so small now. These two forms dig into the soul but nothing is brought to light unless I analyze my blog entries and stories. Unlikely. 

Writing in a journal was my way of soul searching. Though I never liked the idea of soul searching, I see how important it is. I need to let my thoughts lead the pen and see what develops.

I bought this gorgeous journal yesterday.


I didn't have any plans for it. Now I do. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3


Paranormal Activity 3 sure knows how to make people jump. As someone who has been reading and writing horror and dark fiction since they were a kid, I will admit- I jumped, a lot. I wouldn't call it scary but I'm not a good judge of what is or isn't scary. I did enjoy myself though.

It's not a typical haunted house story. A demon has attached itself to a little girl and throws temper-tantrums when it doesn't get its way. The story is told entirely from a video camera so we only see what the camera sees. Other movies have done this and failed but Paranormal Activity does this well. They use what people can and cannot see to scare them.

Like the previous movies, nothing big happens at the beginning. It is a brilliant way of building suspense. The real action doesn't take place until the end but it was so worth the wait. I did not see that coming.

Paranormal Activity 3 was unpredictable. Since I've been a horror movie fan for like forever, I can sometimes predict what would happen next but with this movie, I was wrong every time. I loved it.

Just so you know, most of the clips from the trailer are not in the movie. When I read about this beforehand, I was kind of disappointed. But, after seeing the movie, I understand why they did that. The movie is supposed to be unpredictable, it's supposed to make you jump, to "mess you up."

If you've seen the trailer (if you haven't, you can watch it below), you'll remember the part where the little girl is painting and the mother is beside her. The girl throws water at the "imaginary friend" to prove something corporal is there and the demon freaks out.

The part where the girl threw the water at it wasn't in the movie and I was glad. Knowing what was going to happen would've ruined the scene. It's an interesting technique to use scenes not in the movie for the trailer. Paranormal Activity may be the only movies that could get away with it.

I'm not going to say this is the best horror movie I've ever seen because it isn't but it was entertaining. I like movies that make me jump and the storyline was interesting. Though Paranormal Activity 3 didn't scare me, I don't feel it was a waste of money. I'd watch it again. Although it wanted to freak you out, it didn't resort to unnecessary gore. Paranormal Activity 3 was subtle. It required you to pay attention. 

***
I knew about saying Bloody Mary in the mirror three times since I was a kid. I never believed anything would happen but I still never did it so- a hand-clap to the little girl for being brave enough or naive enough to turn off the lights and say Bloody Mary in the mirror three times. I'm 26 and I still have no desire to do it. I've watched way too many horror movies.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Keeping Language Alive

I love words. I love experimenting with them. My favorite author is E.A. Poe because he uses familiar words in ways I never thought of. I was blown away by Prince of Thorns because the language was gritty; it had a bite to it- same with Anne Bishop's The Black Jewels and Ephemera series. I love reading works where the author uses creative ways to get a simple point across- without drawing out the scene unnecessarily.

I want to write beautiful language with an attitude. Some parts of my novel make me smile because (I don't mean to brag) the language is amazing. It's exactly the style I love. Keeping it alive for several hundred pages is turning out to be one impressive obstacle.

For some scenes, the language pops but the majority of the novel is less than ordinary. I have this problem with my short stories too but it's easier to edit language for only 20 pages. Even then, it takes a long time and a lot of thesaurus consulting (usually more than one). I think for my novel, I'll do it by chapter. I may need to focus on language exclusively. I've never tried it but it may work. What do you think? Does anyone else have this problem?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comic Con NYC 2011

While riding through NY, I kept seeing this:
I thought, why in the world am I looking at the Umbrella Corporation's symbol? First, let's process that I actually knew what this was without hesitation. For those who don't know, it's from Resident Evil. I soon realized this symbol was on a Comic Con poster!
This made me really happy. I returned to that street the next day and took these pictures.
***
I went to Comic Con for the first time on Friday. I've wanted to go for awhile but haven't been able to so, this time, I put the date in my iCal. I didn't go to see anything in particular - just to see what it was all about.

I couldn't stop smiling on my way to the Jacob Javits Center. I've been to this center before for the Auto Show but Comic Con felt BIGGER.



So many people were there in some awesome costumes and there was so much stuff to look at. It was a little overwhelming. 





These costumes, especially the Green Ranger (top left) and Midna (bottom right) made me really happy. After I got my bearings, I enjoyed myself. I knew, on top of comic books, video games would be there but I was still stunned to see this:
Wii, like Playstation and Xbox, had TVs and not-yet-released video games set up. Zelda Skyward Sword is like the most anticipated game for the Wii. I watched people play it and it looks kind of awesome.


I will be preordering this and the golden Wii remote.

What got me into trouble was the anime.Comic Con had tones of anime costumes, swords, artworks, banners and on and on for purchase. I always wondered where people got their anime costumes from, now I know. I bought an amazing drawing of Toshiro, he is one of my favorite characters after all. Then, I was in even more trouble at the Anime Festival.

I got stuck trying to decided between an artwork of Kenpachi and one of Naruto and Saske. Both were amazing but I could only afford one. It took me awhile, but I went with Kenpachi.

Since I'm a writer and interested in the publishing industry, I had to check out Penguin, Disney Publishing, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group. A lot of people had Suvudu bags. I really wanted one but I guess Random House-Del Ray was all out. I did get a nice anime bag which I will be using. Next time, I'll have a plan of attack.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mark Lawrence- Prince of Thorns


"It is time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what's rightfully his. Since the day he hung pinned on the thorns of a Brair patch and watched Count Renar's men slaughter his mother and younger brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him- and he has nothing left to lose."

I don't generally buy books with people on the cover or books by authors I'm not familiar with, but I made an exception for Prince of Thorns. This cover is vicious. I love it and the blurb on the inside cover drew me in immediately. I was determined to have it.

The story is told from Jorg's perspective. He's only 13 but the way he behaves and speaks makes him seem much older. He's an anti-hero- an awful human being but I can't help but love him. I prefer characters like him anyway. Jorg knows what he is and is unapologetic about it.
 "It's what I am, and if you want excuses, come and take them." (Awesomeness)
Despite him being vile, Jorg isn't nearly as awful as some other characters.

The book starts in the middle of things and does not slow down. At first, I was a little turned off by this. The world building is brilliant but Lawrence never stopped to explain anything. I was pulled out of the story every time I came across an unfamiliar word.

But that didn't last long. You don't need to fully understand the world to know what is going on in the story. Eventually, Lawrence makes it all clear.

At one point, Jorg is making plans to take down Castle Red. Shortly after, we find ourselves traveling through a cave. I had no idea why we were in the cave or what it had to do with Castle Red. But the book is such a fun ride; I sat back and enjoyed knowing Lawrence would eventually connect the dots.

Lawrence's language is beautiful with a bite to it. I love it. I haven't been this blown away by a story's language in a long time.
"Brother Gains convinced Gorgoth to call a rest halt by stumbling into space, and wailing for a good ten second before the unseen floor convinced him to shut up."
What a creative way to tell us someone fell off a cliff! It still makes me smile. Jorg is not afraid to tell it like it is. Prince of Thorns is going on my favorite's shelf. Can't wait for book 2!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Wall Street


I heard about the Occupy Wall Street Movement but never understood what it was about. So, I decided to see it for myself. I don't know what I expected but I did not expect to be completely blown away. I knew, in the back of my mind, the protesters were sleeping there but it didn't click until I saw this:


The atmosphere was... beautiful is the only word I can come with and all I did was walk around and take in the sights. As a booklover, I especialy loved this:


I understand now what it's about. They're frustrated with the way things are.
"We are protesting for the rights of the 99% - for our most basic rights as citizens, to convene, to express ourselves and to be heard. We are unified by our sense of economic injustice, as a result of both domestic, and foreign, policy."
 



I understand where they're coming from. Throughout high school, I was shown charts, graphs, statistics convincing me I should go to college because those who did had a better quality of life in the long run. So, I went to college, got into debt, worked hard and graduated only to have a really hard time finding a full-time job. I'd heard so many people say they just graduated and couldn't find a job so I know it wasn't me. Where was the better quality of life?

I then decided to go for my masters because I believed I'd have a better chance of getting a good job if I did. I'm about to graduate and find myself in the same predicament I was in when I got my B.A. What's the point in doing all this work for years when in the end, the only thing we have to show for it is an impressive pile of debt? There's little we can do about this. We can't just stop going to college. For people like me, the American Dream has perched itself on top of Mt. Everest.

Back to the protesters. I expected them to be on Wall Street but they're based in Zuccotti Park which is nearby. Wall Street is fenced off with police everywhere. I don't go to that area often but I don't think I've ever seen it so empty. It was impressive.  



Only a few protesters were there
But they were told to move along.
I couldn't leave without seeing the Bull. As, like, the symbol of Wall Street, I was sure they'd be protesting around it. They weren't but I wasn't surprised by what I saw.

Don't sleep on these protesters. This is just the beginning.

To see more of my photos check out my Album

Monday, October 10, 2011

Real Steel



Real Steel was amazing. People were so into it they clapped and cheered at all the right places. It was very well written. I can't think of anything I don't like about it. The writers took a plot that's been done to death and turned it into something spectacular.

Although it was set in the future, the world didn't look different from ours. You only knew this was the future because the technology was different (cooler looking). I like this subtly. It was still a world we could relate to.

Real Steel is a feel-good family movie, which I'm not usually into, but the action (robots bashing away at each other), balanced it out nicely. Putting aside the great plot, I wouldn't have paid $14 to see this move if it hadn't been for the robots.

They had personality even though they didn't talk or function on their own. They were so cooling looking. Some even looked so vicious. I loved it! You could feel them hitting each other. Real Steel had a way of sucking you in. The robots, the actors, everything was on point.

The kid, Max played by Dakota Goyo, was a riot. The child was so bold and man did he have a mouth on him. He could talk back to anyone and make them look bad. He was hilarious! Max was more of an adult than his dad.

Charlie, played by Hugh Jackman, was bile in the beginning but it was done in a way that didn't make him unlikable. At least he was honest about caring for no one but himself.

The touching parts between him and his son, Max, weren't overdone. Even someone like me, (someone who doesn't like mushy stuffy) smiled at those parts. The balance in Real Steel was perfect. I have no complaints. It was the ultimate underdog story.



Saturday, October 8, 2011

Enjoy

This is the first new short story I've written in years. I've been so focused on polishing my novels, I haven't worked on any new projects. It's still a work-in-progress. I don't even know how it'll end but I'm having a lot of fun with it!
***

Because of the monsters, people no longer stood while riding the subway. If all seats were taken, they'd wait for the next train. The two wrestling males must've been living in a cave for the past 100 years. A muscular older male threw a little boy across the car. The small one was only fragile in size. His face, as he stared up at the big lout, held impressive strength. Even Contessa Torain felt a twinge in her spine. He stood and dusted himself off as though he hadn’t been handled like some discarded stuffed doll. The muscled male balked at the child's lack of fear but hid his surprise under hatred.

“All freaks deserve to die.” The male's voice tried to coax Contessa's hand around his throat. 

He grabbed the small one by the collar and slammed his back against the car doors. The little one stared with eyes that encased Contessa's soul in ice. His face held no expression, no indication he knew or even cared he was about to die. The male squeezed the little one’s collar. Everyone knew both were going to die but this time, people actually watched. They wanted the monster to devour the small boy. They believed this child was something abominable because he didn't fight death. Their desire to see him eaten became strength that weaved into the larger male's resolve. He was a necessary sacrifice to kill the evil they believed the child possessed. 

“When your superior speaks to you, you answer. When he tells you to jump you say, how high.”

Contessa chuckled.

The muscles turned to her. She held his gaze making her face a blank mask. His mouth moved like a dying fish. Hatred flowed from his eyes and soured the frigid air. Everyone looked at her now. People squirmed on either side of her. The older male turned back to the child. He had more brains than she thought.

He lifted his fist and brought it down hard into the little one’s side. The force of the blow lifted the child from the ground but still his face was empty. The big one did it again. The child showed no pain or fear.

“Such a waste,” she said.

Contessa stood and walked to the pair. They didn't look up as she grabbed the big male by the scruff of his neck and pulled him back. She threw the little one behind her then pressed the older male to the doors. The muscles struggled against her grip but his strength was no match for hers. He managed to squeeze a few foul words through his crushing windpipe. Contessa never understood why humans reduced themselves to using such boorish words when they wished to insult someone. Far better words could set fire to a person’s self- worth.

 People's hatred tried to eat through her strength. To them, she had stopped the large male from obliterating evil. Their desire transformed into malice- a deadly fuel that could push the smartest person into making moronic decisions. But fear in this city was a constant thing, nothing, not even hatred, could silence the little voice telling them to keep to themselves and run when they had the chance.

But what Contessa cared about more was the intangible hand reaching through the doors and into the older male. The hand pulled out his repulsive, screaming soul. Even the noise it emitted as the SoulEater devoured it was nauseating. At the same time, another intangible hand reached through her arm. It grabbed for her soul but recoiled with a scream to release it from pain and death but both were far stronger than its will. Everyone heard its death song even though humans could never see its form while it hunted.

“Cretinous SoulEater.”

Contessa released the shell of the older male. The sound, as it hit the ground, was louder than expected. 

Fear tightened the rope around the passengers' necks. Contessa wasn't dumb enough to return to her seat. She stood in the spotlight until the next stop came. People rushed for the exit. Contessa, the dead body and the small boy were the only ones in the car.

It was a pity human eyes couldn't see what she could. This child had a brilliant soul. It would've been such a waste to let it get devoured. The little one looked at neither her nor the body but was very aware of her. He wasn't afraid. Contessa was fine as long as he didn't speak to her.

She was not surprised when the boy followed her out the train and out the station.

Want to know what happened next? Read HERE.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, died yesterday at age 56.

I was very late to the Apple party. Until recently, I wanted nothing to do with Macs or iPods or even iPhones. I didn't understand why people would stand in line for hours just to have the first iPhone (I still don't actually). I'd used an iPod a couple of times over the years and wasn't impressed. I couldn't stand Macs.

Not long ago, my media player broke and, for some reason, I got it in my head to replace it with an iPod Touch. I still have no idea where that thought came from. I'd used an iPod Touch before but wasn't impressed. I always figured people bought Apple products simply to be cool.

But, the day my media player broke I went to Best Buy and made a beeline for the iPods. I played around with one and started geekin' out. It was like those times when I'd pick up a book or a journal in a bookstore and couldn't put them down. No matter how many times I rationalized or walked around the store- book in hand, I just couldn't see myself walking out without it. Those moments don't happen often (or I'd go broke) but when they do, I listen to my instincts.

Now, I carry my iPod everywhere. When my iPod did a face plant onto the street I thought the world had ended. I stood there for awhile looking at it like I cannot believe that just happened.

Having it helps me a lot. I use it to manage my social networking. If I'm walking around and a brilliant story idea hits me or I come across a great name for a character or place, I no longer have to fish for pen and paper. I just pull out my iPod and open NoteMaster. I don't even go to the movies to buy tickets anymore. I buy them through the Fandango app. I use the calendar far more than my paper one or even my dry erase board. I no longer use a print bible- there's an app for that. I even use the thing as my morning alarm clock! I get my news from Twitter and the Breaking News app.

The iPod has made managing my life a lot simpler. Thanks for that Steve Jobs.

Here are some great articles about him on Wired and CNN World.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bentley Little- The Disappearance


I love Bentley Little's writing style but I don't know how I feel about The Disappearance. It was entertaining. At some points, I was so into it I couldn't put it down. The story was fairly well-written. (Little is a great writer after all.) But, it was so different from his other books. 

It didn't have the supernatural element I like. Also, Little's books didn't have any boundaries. It was something I always admired about his writing. He wasn't afraid to experiment. He created some really disturbing images but this book was very tame. It was far too normal for me.

For a Horror novel, The Disappearance wasn't scary or even mildly chilling. A cult has kidnapped Joan, a college student. Her friends, in their search to find her, become enemies of a cult that's determined to keep Joan by any means necessary. Not the most original plot but that's fine. Unfortunately, Little decided to check is usual flair at the door. The cult leader wasn't terrifying, he was just annoying.

But, I'm probably not a good judge of what is or isn't scary. So far, I haven't been scared by any modern horror story, and I've read quite a few. I can watch a horror movie alone in the dark with no problem and be able to sleep soundly at night. I didn't go into this story looking to be scared. I was expecting to at least be mildly creeped out. Sadly, I didn't even feel a small tingle in my spine.

On top of that, the characters were so flat. Little could've wiped them all out and I wouldn't have cared. I didn't believe their situation. The only one I had any interest in was Reyn and it was simply because he had an awesome name. They didn't become real. They were merely tools to advance the plot.

Little's novels are usually plot-drive though; character development always goes out the window. The plots in his previous books were usually good enough to carry the story but The Disappearance would've been better if it had been both plot and character driven.

If Little wasn't going to make this story more character focused, he should've come up with another way of immersing us into this cult. I'm not sure I'll be rereading this one. It was nowhere near what I expected.

By the way, who writes the blurb on the back of a book? This is the second Little novel I've read where the blurb was nowhere near what the book was actually about.
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