aether

Review: The Girl with the Windup Heart

1:39 PM

As you may notice when you read the book information further down, this is an ARC of a book that was published in May.

*cough* I'm catching up on reading.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy! But be aware that some things may have changed since the version I read was not the final copy. Tallyhoooo.



Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley
Format: ebook ARC
Series: Steampunk Chronicles (#4)

London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End's most dazzling circus.

Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends.

Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.



Okay, you may or may not know that I love this series. Especially books one and two. So, after being slightly disappointed with book three, I came into this one a little nervous.

For this review, I decided to do lists. Lists are very nice.


1. More Jack Dandy. Erm, that is, learning more about Dandy and his family and history. He's been in all of the books but he's always pretty mysterious. So it was fun learning more!

Also, why does everybody in the books think his Cockney accent is awful? It's awesome. And some of the lines he delivered wouldn't be the same without it. #fact

2. Mila, whom we know from book three, is evolving rapidly into a human. BUT, she still has areas that are a little blacked out for her--things she doesn't naturally know or think. I think the author did a really great job of writing for Mila with that in mind. Plus, it was fun seeing her smash things.

...What are you looking at?

3. Learning more about the Aether and the afterworld. This is something I've only read (in depth) about in this particular series. And it's such a neat concept. The author really dived into more explanations and experiences having to do with the Aether in this book.

4. I really loved how, when certain relationships matured (the ones with the physically strong girls-- Go Finley and Mila!), the guys weren't threatened by or disapproving of the girls' unique qualities. They're secure in their relationships, even in ones where the girls can pick them up easily. I think that's a great thing to be incorporated in the story.

5. Wait for it. Wait for it.... Steampunkishness! I LOVE everything about steampunk. The vehicles, the clothes (especially the clothes), the weapons. The steampunk world is a world that is, in a lot of ways I think, much more advanced than our world even. *hugs everything* Everything is awesome. (Kudos to you if you got that movie reference ;))


1. Mila's flashbacks of her and Jack doing things together. While I did sort of like it because I got to see them interacting and learn little things important to the story, it was kind of disruptive to the reading flow. I would be reading along and then be ripped back in time. This is more of a personal preference.

2. Also, I loved the focus on Mila and Jack, but I also really missed the other characters a lot. Even though Finley and Griffin had a point-of-view, I missed stepping into Emily's, Sam's, and Jasper's head. Especially Jasper. Wildcat also really intrigued me. E-novella maybe Kady Cross? *wink wink*

3. This has to do with the characters too, but I wished that the whole cast could have done things together more often. For a majority of the book, they were kind of split in half taking care of different problems. I just like them all together like a big family. :D Even though it's not the most logical wish. WHO CARES ABOUT LIGICALITY. NOT I.

Anyways, the "things I liked" outnumber the "things I didn't like" by quite a bit (obviously). I really liked this book and it was a great ending to the series.

I recommend this book to readers who like steampunk, action, paranormal, awesomely kick-butt girls (ehem, women), and ghosts. Wooooooo.

That was a scary ghost noise.

My Rating:

Disclaimer: I was given this book by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

bookish

55 Quirky Questions for Readers (Pt. 2)

1:07 PM

Hooray for long lists of questions! Here's the second half of the Quirky Questions for Readers. Read, laugh, and answer the questions along with me if you feel like it (either in the comments or on a post). Have a beautiful day with much chocolate and books. :D


29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience: Well, I haven't read Allegiant yet but that's because 1) it's never in at the library and 2) exactly because the hype for the Divergent series made it extremely easy to find spoilers everywhere. Particularly ONE SPOILER. So..yeah. *sigh*

Also (don't hate me), I discovered Daughter of Smoke & Bone because of the hype, but I feel like it gave me really high expectations of the book. Soo I was disappointed when it didn't meet those expectations.

30. How often do you agree with the critics about about a book? Psh, critics? I'm a rebel. I'm not about that life. *tosses hair*

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I feel a little bad about it, especially if I know the person (emailed them a few times, etc.) or if it's part of a book tour. I hate having to tell someone who worked really hard on their book that...it's still not that good (at least to me).

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? Chinese. I think it'd help me be able to have more stuff in common with my mom. I'd be able to read things she can read and talk about books written in Chinese and all that good stuff.

33. Most intimidating book I’ve read: Oh my gosh. ANYTHING and I mean anything BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE. His books are so complicated and creepy and confusing and supposed to be symbolic and I just don't get it. I had to muscle my way through The House of the Seven Gables and wasn't even able to finish The Scarlet Letter. Because ugh.

34. Most intimidating book I’m too nervous to begin: Uhhh. Any classic? Yeah, basically.

Probably books that deal with murder and horror and all that too.

35. Favourite Poet: Favorite poet! I'll just go check my list of twenty. ;)

Just kidding. I--I um don't have a favorite poet. I have a favorite poem though.

I love Full House.
It's Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe. LOVE it.

"But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;"

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time? Well, my library card has a 10 book limit (and I used to make full use of that) but now I usually get three to five because of other things I'm busy with.

37. How often do you return books to the library unread? Very rarely. I really hate doing that, but sometimes I have to because I didn't like it at all or because I have other books I need to read first and the due date is there just....looming.

38. Favourite fictional character: These kinds of questions aren't allowed. Sorry.

Some of my favorites are Sophie (Hex Hall), Zara (Need), Mara & Noah (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer), and loads more but these are the ones that stand out to me right now. Oh my gosh, wait. I can't believe I almost forgot the whole Raven Boys' cast. Every. single. person.

39. Favourite fictional villain: I don't tend to like villains. (Sorry, Cait) But my favorite would have to be Romeo from Juliet Immortal.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation: I actually don't usually read on vacation because I so rarely go on vacation that when I do I want to just take it all in. If I do bring anything it'll probably be some light YA--most likely contemporary.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading: Probably a month. I don't keep track of these things, peoples.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish: Save the Enemy by Arin Greenwood and As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott. I'll be nice and not rant.



43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? TV, any TV. And my attention's gone like that *snaps fingers* Also, beautiful (as in weather) days.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel: Pride and Prejudice. The 2005 version. I think Kiera Knightley was the perfect Lizzie Bennet and same for Matthew Macfadyen (Mr. Darcy). It also follows the book (yes, I've read it) really closely. (Originially, I was going to say The Book Thief but *gasp* I haven't read the book yet. Oops.)


45. Most disappointing film adaptation: Ender's Game. Not because the movie itself was horrible or anything like that. I loved the movie! But it didn't stick to the book at all. SO MANY THINGS were different or re-invented that, as a bookworm, I was not impressed.

46. Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time: Not a lot. Probably around twenty dollars. :D

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Ehm, fifty percent or less probably. I usually flip through it if I'm thinking about buying it or if I've never heard of it before. Otherwise, schwoomp into my bag/basket/arms it goes.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? An annoying main character (or just many annoying characters) which to me means extremely selfish, thinks-about-things-that-do-not-matter-when-the-world's-ending, and yeah my blood pressure's rising just thinking about it. Boring plot. If nothing happens then *yawn*. Also, I don't really know how to explain this but if there's something I don't like about the author's writing style like it's too choppy or tells way too much (instead of showing) or the writing is too descriptive (Ugh this one kills me. Yes, I wouldn't mind knowing what color the curtains are but I don't care what material and quality they are. You would know this if you saw my curtains) I can't do it.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Yeees and then no. Because I like all (or most) of my books to be in my bookcase but once they're there it doesn't really matter to me. I'm cool like that. ;)

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they’ve been read? MINE. I almost always keep them. Why would I want to give them away? If they have beautiful covers and even passable enough stories I'll keep them.

I paid good money for them. Stay away *hisses*

51. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding? Hahahahahaha--yes. The Evolution of Mara Dyer (book 2) has been sitting in my bookcase for weeks. Let's just say that the first book ended in a shaky spot and my sister further freaked me out by telling me that this one will, and I quote, "break my heart". I like my heart in one piece thank you.

52. Name a book that made you angry: The Help made me angry because of the disgusting prejudice shown by so many of the people in it. How could/can people treat each other that way? It doesn't matter what your skin color is, you are still a person. They just couldn't get that through their thick (stupid) skulls.

53. A book I didn’t expect to like but did: Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin. I don't know...I mean, beachy contemporaries aren't really my thing. But I really enjoyed this one. The main character was awesome and so was her best friend. I guess it just really hit the spot for me since it was all about finding your own way and that transition period before college.

54. A book I expected to like but didn’t: Save the Enemy didn't meet my expectations at all. I had an extremely hate-filled (and we all know those aren't good) relationship with the main character. I couldn't stand her. :/

55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading: I don't know...I don't think I really have one.

And that completes the huge list of 55 questions! I had a lot of fun doing this, and again, if you want to go make a post on it and put the link in the comments. I'll make sure to check it out. :)

What's a book that made you angry? and Favorite film adaption of a novel?

So guys...about the computer problem. It persists, unfortunately. I am at this moment looking for a new one so hopefully I'll have that pretty soon. You can keep commenting on my posts since I can reply with my phone. If you tweet me, I probably won't be able to respond right away but I will respond. :)

Stay awesome!





announcement

Really Quick Announcement (My Computer's Being Bad)

8:20 PM

As you've probably guessed, my computer is giving me problems. Problems like: Oh, I've decided not to turn on today problems.

Facts are-- I only need it to turn on one more time so I can save all my stuff. Crossed fingers this happens. :/

Aaaanyways, I won't be able to post too much. I'll still post using my mom's computer sometimes but the sad part is she actually uses it quite a bit. I will be getting a new computer but not for a little while yet. In the mean time, hugs and chocolate to you guys and sorry for yet another lull in posts :(

books

55 Quirky Questions for Readers (Pt. 1)

7:16 PM

I discovered this questionnaire at Cait and Mime's blog The Notebook Sisters, where I learned that the origin of these questions is most likely here.

Thanks for bringing this awesomesauce questionnaire to my attention, Notebook Sisters! You guys need to check out their post. It's hilarious.

I'm going to follow their lead because fifty-five questions is WAY too many to post at one time. So here's the first half... *drumroll*


1. Favourite childhood book: Unfortunately, I don't remember childhood reading too well. :/ But probably, all the horse books by Marguerite Henry and the American Girl books, especially the Kit Kittredge ones. :) 

2. What are you reading right now? I'm in between books! So nothing right now. Even though I have a Mount Everest of books waiting to be read.

3. What books do you have on request at the library? Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins and Splintered by A.G. Howard. I've heard they're good. ;)

4. Bad book habit: None...I'm perfect.


Okay, okay, fine. I'd say my bad habit is borrowing loads of books from the library even when I know I already have many to read that I need to read at home. It's a disease.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? Demonglass and Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (GUYS GO READ THIS SERIES), Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter, and The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (which I am terrified of reading because...gosh..I just am OKAY. My sister tells me it will break my heart.).

6. Do you have an e-reader? I'm poor (that's another way of me saying "No."). I mean, I have the Kindle app on everything possible but *sigh* no e-reader.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? One at a time. I tend to get confused or not grasp all the important stuff if I do too much more than that.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? Absolutely! I read a much bigger variety of books now.

9.Least favourite book you read this year: I just rubbed my hands together. I have no idea why. Don't look at me like that.

Mind Games by Kiersten White or Louder Than Words by Laurie Plissner. I couldn't stand the main character (the younger sister) in Mind Games. She just annoyed me so. much. Grr. Louder Than Words was way to sexual.

10. Favourite book I’ve read this year: Just one? The Raven Boys, Cruel Beauty, Hex Hall trilogy, Juliet Immortal...The list could go on. Do you want it to go on?

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? Definitely more than I used to. Uhhh...thirty to forty percent of the time?

12. What is your reading comfort zone? Probably dystopian or fantasy (the kind with fairies or mystical creatures).

13. Can you read on the bus? I cannot read on any moving vehicle. It makes me sick to my stomach and then I start thinking about throwing up or, rather, about trying to not throw up.

14. Favourite place to read: Sitting against a wall in my room, sprawled across my bed on my stomach, or in our old comfy recliner.

15. What’s your policy on book lending? 

Be nice to the book. Or else.

Replace "start the car" with "be nice to the book".
I really like my books well taken care of. I really don't like it when they're not. So...just be nice to my books, dude. 


One time (it was forever ago but still) I lent a hardcover book to my cousins. And when it came back IT HAD TEETH MARKS ON THE COVER. Like for reals.

16. Do you dogear your books? Absolutely NOT.

17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books? Are you a real bookworm?

18. Do you break/crack the spine of your books? Not intentionally. >.> Sometimes they're already that way when I get them though.

19. What is your favourite language to read? Greek, Spanish, Chinese, anything really. When I'm looking to really relax, I do Latin. I joke, I joke. It's English (the only language I can read in).

20. What makes you love a book? The characters. If the characters win me over, then the book is great but other things like really unique premises and humor help too.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?


22. Favourite genre: Urban fantasy or paranormal....I used to really love dystopian but now it seems like almost every one is just a variation of another one. This makes me unhappy. :D

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did): Regular old contemporary and historical fiction.

24. Favourite Biography: It was a Mother Teresa biography. I couldn't remember the title so I did an Amazon search and I think it was Mother Teresa: Missionary of Charity (Heroes of the Faith) by Sam Wellman. I loved it because it was all about Mother Teresa leaving everything she knew and helping the poor, abandoned, and helpless in India regardless of nationality or religion. That's real Christianity.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? (And, was it actually helpful?) Yes! I've read self-help books on drawing and crafts stuff. It was a little helpful I guess...I still don't see the point of drawing things with circles. Meh.

26. Favourite Cookbook: Um....

......

I don't read cookbooks. If I need a recipe, I go online.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction): The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt. They both inspired me to be a better or stronger person in different ways.

28. Favourite reading snack: I don't eat and read. True story. If anything, CHOCOLATE. ;)


And that's the end of the first part of this questionnaire, guys. Hope you liked it and feel free to join in!

awesomeness

Flash Reviews: Demonglass & Spell Bound

9:50 PM

Hi-ho and away we go....to more shopping... >.< (Actually, I haven't had to do any for a few days. Thank the stars.) On the bright side, I did a review for Kate @The Magic Violinist onhttp://themagicviolinist.blogspot.com/2014/07/alice-in-zombieland-book-review.html. You can visit her blog and check it out if you love books that are dark, twisted, and feature zombies. WEIRD zombies. Not that any kind of zombie isn't weird but--nevermind, you'll find out if you go read the review. ;) I'll be doing reviews on her blog on a regular basis, so take a moment and check it out. :) She's one awesome girl.

Also, writing update: I was so encouraged by all of your comments on the post where I talked about writing being hard for me. Thank you so much! I love you guys :) So, along that line, I've been writing almost every day. Not necessarily on my WIPs but also blogging and journaling. They're not huge amounts either. I know most of you are fantabulous, superhero writers ;) but 1,000 words a day is good for me. So a few days ago when I typed out a little over 800 without any straining of my imaginative/writing powers I was really happy. Again, you're the best and your comments really made my day!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Flash Review is something I do on my blog once in a while when I'm not in the mood or don't have the time to do a full review of a book. I got the name from the term flash fiction--REALLY short-length fiction. Wallah! (I'm so proud.) Hope you like!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I liked the Hex Hall trilogy so much that I decided to go ahead and do small reviews for both the second and third books because I love them SO. DARN. MUCH. 

Also, spoiler alert. If you haven't read Hex Hall or whichever book came before the one I'm reviewing, then I wouldn't recommend reading these reviews. If you don't care about getting spoiled then, of course, read your heart out. ;)


Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 359
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Cover Rating: Awesomely cool. I love the contrast of the black and orange! Also, don't know if it's the outfits or what, but I like this cover waaay better than Hex Hall's cover.

Demonglass was definitely slower paced than Hex Hall. There was less action, fewer shocking villain reveals (or...yeah, now that I think about it, the villains were still there), and more dedication to learning things. Things like the extent of Sophie's powers, her family history, the COUNCIL, and the enemies of the Prodigium.

I really enjoyed it. I'm glad Hawkins took the time to explore these important factors while also keeping the same adventuresome and humorous feel that the first book had. Of course, I can't go without mentioning that, again, I loved Sophie's voice (especially the jokes and sarcasm). I really liked seeing her and her dad get to know each other too.

Here we meet more demons besides Sophie and her dad (Who is also the head of the COUNCIL. Surpriiiise.). These demons, a guy and a girl around Sophie's age, have a way more dark and edgy feel about them. More dangerous.

I said there were villains. These villains are so unexpected but kind of in the way that there are suspicious signs and hints of something going on but you tell yourself it's not them because there is NO way--oh wait. It was them. I saw some of it coming in that I didn't trust one person at all when I met them. No one that preppy and cheerful is real. Not to be a pessimist or anything. ;)

We learn more about Cal. We learn that he is awesome and hugely sweet and kinda kick butt with healing powers. (*whispers* We also learn that he likes Sophie and Sophie kind of likes him back. Which I totally saw coming, but I'll pretend I didn't.) We learn that, in fact, Jenna is the best friend in all the friends in the universe because she has Sophie's back even when she's mad at her. And she never doesn't care about her.

I learn that *cough...cough* I actually do ship Archer and Sophie somewhat, slightly hard. I CAN'T HELP IT. And I'm kind of annoyed that I can't because of what I said before about...um...Noah clone? Welllll, turns out he's less clone more uniquely (annoyingly) him. And he and Sophie are adorable together. Oh my gosh, it cost me a lot to say that. But he won me over. Darn it. Go on preciouses *shoves them together* be a couple.

My Rating:
 



Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 327
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Cover Rating: Bling-tastic. The sword is awesome and so is her (top) outfit. I also really like the look that the old barn/shed wall gives the cover. 















And now we come to Spellbound.

No words. End of review.

Haha just kidding (sort of). I just finished this book today so I still have feels roiling around in my soul. Beware the emotions.

I wasn't sure whether Spell Bound was going to be slow or fast or somewhere in the middle but it definitely brought back the heat in a plot filled with action and explosiveness (whether that explosiveness was literal or not I'll let you find out for yourself). There were mysteries and twists and all manner of awesomeness. I have no idea how Hawkins fit it all together so nicely.

As for the romantical parts, there's a lot of confusion. Sophie is confused about her feelings relating to Archer and Cal. She knows she really likes Archer (maybe even loves) but she also really likes Cal and it takes her a little while to get it all figured out. I mean, both dudes are awesome. This isn't the kind of situation where you resent the girl for having two love interests. Nope. Sophie is awesome...it's no wonder two guys like her if you think about it. And she didn't try to lead anyone on. My respect for her SOARED at that.

Sophie lost her powers in Demonglass under some really tough, infuriating circumstances. Because of this, she spends around half or more of this book without them. It was weird. Both for her and for me. So when she gets them back, she's all bad-a, I-can-take-care-of-these-baddos-no-problem (yes, baddos is a word). I feel like she got more control over them too after all she'd gone through. More precision, more accuracy, and more smoothness. We already knew she was almighty powerful. :D

There's also meeting new family members, her dad getting used to being without powers (which was really sad), and a weird warlock that got himself stuck in a mirror hundreds of years ago and apparently can prophesy. He has lace cuffs.

Throughout all this, I admit that my shipping of Archer and Sophie rose higher...and higher. *grins* No shame, baby (well, maybe a little).

THE ENDING. Or maybe I should say THAT PART JUST BEFORE THE ENDING THAT IS SO HEARTRENDINGLY SAD AND OH MY GOSH MY HEART IS LITERALLY IN PIECES ALL OVER THE FLOOR LIKE MY BROTHER'S PLAY DOUGH. I told you there would be emotions.

All I'm going to say is that somebody important dies.

Oh, and there is lots and lots of demons and demon-y stuff in this book.

My Rating:

Oh my gosh. I can't handle this. There will be a blacked out part beneath this where I will lament more for those of you who have read this book.

But for now, quotes from the book that made me happy:

My heart was still hammering. "Then what the heck are you?"

Archer almost looked sheepish as he reached inside his shirt and pulled out some kind of amulet on a thin silver chain. "It's a speaking stone. Lets you appear to people kind of like a hologram. You know. 'Help me, Sophie-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.'"

"Did you steal it from the cellar at Hecate, too?"

"No," he said, offended. "I found it at a...store. For magical stuff. Okay, yes, I stole it from the cellar."


Now I don't know what you call that but I call that seriously bonding. Hehe. Also, when you read the book there's a bit more after that that made me snort with amusement.

"We could go to Lough Bealach," Aislinn answered.

"Is that a place, or are you choking?" I asked, earning me a glare in return. 

Golden, just golden.

"I'm okay," he said at last. "I know that's hard to believe, but nothing hurts. I mean, except for my mind and soul, but those were always a little broken."

No explanation needed here.

Cal, Archer, Jenna, and I managed to achieve something truly impressive: the four-way glance. "It's really complicated," Jenna said at last. 

I chose this one because I felt like it summed up what a great team they are. How they had each other's backs. Worked on the same side. 

And now for the super spoiler-y part (Those who have not read, DO NOT READ THIS): I can't believe Cal died! My eyes are literally tearing up right now. And that scene where he saw something in the Underworld but didn't want to tell Sophie? Where she heard herself screaming? After he said that maybe the Underworld showed the future too and all that, he glanced at Archer really quickly. At the time, I thought it was because he saw that something was going to happen to Archer. But he was actually realizing that Archer would be the one to live and have Sophie and be around her and protect her, and he would die. *wails* HE KNEW. HE KNEW AND ACKNOWLEDGED AND STILL WENT AND SAVED SOPHIE. And he actually died. And he was so accepting when it happened. *buries head in hands and sobs* And then afterwards when he waved at Sophie at Hex Hall and then it showed him healing the grass around the pond and talked about how he loved that island, gosh, I couldn't handle it. TEARS, PEOPLE. I'm sitting here mourning. 
  
Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. I have written it solely for the entertainment of the readers of this blog and myself.

Catherine

Ideas: A Journey of Thought and Change (Guest Post)

9:23 PM

   



Hello, Life of a Random readers! If I don’t know you already, it’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance :)


When Skylar asked if I would write a guest post, she suggested I write about a specific part of writing, which was good because a) I love writing and b) I know a lot about writing.


But then a little problem arose. You see, while I might know a lot about writing, I have yet to master the art of applying these "skills." I'm still floundering, knowing exactly what I need to be doing, but having trouble transferring my perfect, nebulous vision onto paper.


Ideas are a different story (was that a pun?) I'm not usually the kind of person who struggles for ideas. I can hear almost anything and start constructing a premise around it. Call it a blessing. Call it a curse. All I know is that it makes math class somewhat bearable.


But ideas are fragile. They might be powerful—like, the ideal challenging, oppression opposing, truth bleeding, mending a broken heart kind-of-powerful—but even the most powerful of ideas are easy to misuse. Drop it once, and you're probably fine. A little smatter of glue and it's good as new. Drop it a few more times, and it'll shatter to pieces.


In short, once you've already used an idea a certain way—a bad way—it's hard to reconstruct that first glimmer into something new and tangible.


Sometimes, finding your way sucks.


I’m a plotter—I like figuring out my story before I start it. Otherwise, I’m fighting through murky water, and that’s not my thing. I assume these same principles of adapting are the same for pantsing. Just replace the word "outlining" with revision, and you’re set.


It takes a lot of dreaming to construct an idea with plot points. It takes even more time to expand further. And then you have to throw logic in the mix—because logic.


In attempting to plot these vague ideas of mine into stories, I’ve tried my best to come up with a system that works for me. This has lead me to two principles:



1) Think Ideas Through

Stories are hard, so when a supposed solution to your plot problem presents itself, it’s easy to just accept it and move on. But that solution might not be the best. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, I know you’re probably lazy (I am, too.) But make sure to think it through. Does it make sense with the rest of the plot? Will it allow for forward momentum? Is it consistent with your character development? Is it something readers will actually want to read?



2) Let Ideas Change


Okay, so you’ve finished outlining your new work in progress (or you’ve finished the first draft, if that’s your cup of tea) and now you read it through. But OH NO, something’s off. The plot point you labored tirelessly over, the plot point you spilled your tears into, the plot point you fell in love with—it’s garbage (no offense). And the last thing you want to do is put in more effort to a) come up with something new, and b) have it make sense with the rest of the story. You’ll probably try to convince yourself it actually does work or that maybe you can just tweak a few things and make it all right, that this one little blip isn’t affecting the story that much. Don’t. You’ll thank yourself later.



Have you had any bad experiences with ideas? How do you go about formulating a plot despite of these obstacles? Do you agree with my two principles?



Well, that’s all from me! Thank you so much for having me, Skylar! (No problem! Great post :))

 
Now that was some pretty awesomesauce advise. Going along with that whole awesome vibe, Catherine agreed to answer some questions ;) Here they are! Now we shall know ALL her secrets. Mwahaha. 


1. Do you make covers for your WIPs? What programs/tools do you use if you do?


I’ve made one once before because it was an option on NaNoWriMo to add a cover for my WIP. Naturally, I took this as an excuse to spend a day playing around with the various photo-editing tools at my disposal. I had just bought one of those Bamboo drawing tablets for computer graphics, and it came with a sketchbook app and Photoshop Elements, so I played around with those until I created a somewhat acceptable cover.



2. Favorite type of female MC to write?


I really like my female MCs to be dry, snarky, and bold—but human, too. It always bothers me when characters are only defined by their strength and not allowed to have emotions like real, complex people. In my head, this is how I act, though my real-life persona has decided I’m better suited to be socially inept when faced with strangers.



3. Favorite type of male MC to write?


Similar to my favorite female MCs, I like snarky male MCs. I’ve actually never written from the point of view of a guy, so I can’t testify from experience (though I do plan to change that soon.) But my favorite guy minor characters have fit a similar—yet different--mold.



4. Do you write best with a computer or pen and paper?


That’s a great question. I’ve actually been experimenting recently with both. I’ve started writing the first drafts of my reviews and posts in messy, almost-illegible cursive, and it’s seemed to work wonders compared to the hours I used to spend staring at a blank screen. As for fiction writing, I’ve never tried writing without a computer. It seems like it would be too much work to transfer thousands of words onto a word processor. It does help me to zoom out the screen enough so that I can’t see what I’m writing. That way, I’m less tempted to re-read or try to blend the next sentence perfectly with the last. The same principle applies when I’m writing by hand.



5. What's your favorite genre of book to read?


Who knows? I used to think it was dystopian, but recently I’ve been leaning towards other genres like contemporary and fantasy. I’m really not picky when it comes to genre. If a premise sounds good or my blog friends rave about it, I’ll read it regardless.



6. Do you have a pen name like mwah?


Nope. I’ve thought about it, but I’m not sure if I could come up with a suitable new name. If I come up with something good, I might start using one, but it might be a little confusing since I’ve already been blogging for a year under “Catherine.” (A pen name does sound nice though. I’d be like a spy in disguise, morphing my persona for my own selfish needs. Watch out, blogosphere.)



7. How are you getting Internet connection in space? (Ehh. It'll make sense if you check out Catherine's About page.)


I made a deal with a couple of shady aliens. Why do you ask?

  
8. What's your favorite expression/voice adjective (for example: befuddled, screeched, snickered)?


Hmm… I quite like it when people confess—or mumble, proclaim, promise, and whimper. A snickering sidekick is also a nice surprise.


~~~~~~
There you have it. Watch out when dealing with Catherine. She has alien connections. If you still want to risk it, then you can find her in loads of places like:


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