Literary Musings

Organize Your Shelf

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “How do you organize your bookshelves? (Ebook shelves count too!)”

In a dream world (or maybe just someday when I have a house instead of an 800 square foot apartment) I would have a room with more than enough bookshelf space to hold all of my books, as well as some of my bookish merchandise. (Such as the awesome, beautiful mugs that I keep getting in book related subscription boxes. I love them and I use them but I’d also like to be able to display them. Plus, I’m running out of room in my cupboards for all of them.)

In my ideal world I would have my books arranged alphabetically by author. (But I would keep series together even if it’s the kind of series where different authors write books for the same series because otherwise it just gets confusing.)

In reality, I have far too many books to fit on my shelves properly. The Harry Potter series and companion books are mostly in order, pretty much taking up a whole shelf by themselves, but then I have other books stacked on top of and in front of those books. All of the other shelves are the same, with stacks and piles all stacked and piled pretty haphazardly. Which I find unfortunate, I really would like it if my books were organized, I just don’t have the space for it!

My ebook collection is pretty haphazard as well. I started out with genre folders then I struggled to classify some titles and next thing I knew it was out of control and I gave up there as well.

One of the only drawbacks to owning so many books!

Literary Musings

A New Year: 2019

Another year has ended and a new year has begun. 2018 was full of excitement with fun programs at my library, new board games that I played with friends and family, and ended with my reaching my reading goal for the year just 72 hours before the end of the year. There were also issues of course. Anxiety and stress and worries, mostly over things that I can’t really control. I also didn’t reach as many of my writing related goals as I had hoped, barely keeping up with the maintenance of this blog and publishing fewer fanfiction updates than the previous five years.

So I’m hoping that 2019 will be even better. I’m getting married in May, after having been dating my fiance for a decade and being engaged for about half of those years. My future brother-in-law is also getting married this year so it’ll be a whirlwind of stressful planning but hopefully also super fun.

I also hope to continue checking off books on my TBR and catching up on some series that I’ve started but haven’t yet finished. I also hope to write and post more fanfiction and get one of my novels edited and maybe even start the process of self-publishing or finding an agent.

Another thing I’d like to keep at is using Instagram for book related posts. I just love seeing all sorts of posts about books and people who love reading and I enjoy posting those types of pictures as well. In December I completed an Instagram challenge, posting a picture answering certain prompts every day and I’d like to continue that as best as I can.

Overall, I have tons of goals for 2019 and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep up the momentum I had coming out of last year. I also hope for happiness and health for my friends and family.

Literary Musings

Bad Mood Reviews

I apologize because this post is more of a rant than anything else.

Yesterday I opened up my email and to my surprise I had a review of a fanfiction I wrote and posted online more than two years ago. And it’s not one that I left dangling and unfinished. No, it’s something that I had meticulously updated over the course of a few months, until said story was complete. So it was a little surprising that someone had just recently run across it and decided to leave a review.

Then I read the damn thing and was put into a funk for the rest of the of the day because it was not a good review.

Now I understand the importance of constructive criticism in regards to my writing, I do. And I welcome that. Definitely tell me if I have an established canon fact wrong or if my characterization of someone is off and doesn’t fit. Let me know if my spelling is wrong or my piece witches PoV with no warning.

But this review was not constructive. Honestly, it was a little bit all over the place and it didn’t make all that much sense.

Let me set the scene here.

A long, long time ago I was inspired to write a fanfiction which was a crossover between Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’d read a couple over the years and the two worlds work surprisingly well together, though you kind of have to mess with the timelines to make it work.

My idea was that, when Willow made it so that all of the Potentials became Slayers, one of the Slayers that was activated happened to be Hermione Granger. And I set it up so that Draco Malfoy was conveniently around Hermione when she was activated and he also conveniently knew about Slayers because he’d stumbled upon a Watcher’s Handbook in Malfoy Manor.

So began a twisted web of Slayer Hermione and Watcher Draco and how they felt like they had to hide when Buffy and the Scooby gang came to teach at Hogwarts.

Now, my negative reviewer took issue more than halfway through my story because they could tell I was leading up to a Hermione and Draco romance. And I get that. Hermione and Draco are not everyone’s cup of tea. But said reviewer seemed to suggest that I was shipping them because I thought Hermione had a kink for redeemed characters (while they said she wasn’t into redeemed characters, she was into “heroes”) and they said that didn’t make any sense or else she would have been into Snape or Sirius as well. This shocked me.

Yes, in my story I worked to redeem Draco. I made him sympathetic and helpful and a partner who saves Hermione’s life on multiple occasions. I put thought and time into developing their relationship and yet this reviewer suggested that I had no clue how sexual attraction works and that she would in no way be attracted to Malfoy, apparently not even with the character growth I wrote. Which is a little strange since I know so many other Hermione and Draco shippers and that it’s a big thing because of the whole good girl/bad boy trope that definitely happens in real life. I had many crushes on boys in high school that were just downright assholes and very rude to myself and my friends. Yes, I know it didn’t make sense and wasn’t a good thing but the attraction was definitely there.

They also said that Hermione and Draco is just as unlikely and unhealthy as a Hermione/Ron pairing. Which I kind of agree with, I don’t necessarily like Hermione with Ron either and think the relationship wouldn’t work all that well in the long run but clearly this reviewer didn’t even like the story as J.K. Rowling herself had written it. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they weren’t enjoying my take on things either.

But their questioning of Rowling’s pairings as well honestly makes me question a lot of things in regard to my mysterious bad reviewer. And I’m trying not to worry about it.

Rant over.

Literary Musings

Favorite Book Present

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “Do you have a favorite book that you received as a gift?”

I don’t often receive books as presents unless they were specifically requested by me so of course I’ve liked most of them. But last year my fiance did surprise with a book (I can’t remember if it was for my birthday or if it was for Christmas) and though it wasn’t my all time favorite read it definitely has tons of sentimental value.

In the weeks leading up to the holiday last year my fiance Sean was super excited about one of my gifts, saying that he’d heard about it from his dad and that, after some research, he thought the book would be perfect for me. It made me very curious because Sean and I occasionally have the same taste in books but I knew his dad and I would not have any reading interests in common so I wondered what kind of book he would hear about and think I’d love.

And the book, Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence was an interesting read. There were a lot of book related thoughts that I completely agreed with though the passages mentioning books I’d never read weren’t all that intriguing.

But what made the book even better was just how excited Sean had been to give it to me.

Literary Musings

Gifting Books

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “Do you gift books to people? What’s your favorite book to share with others?”

The only way that I will give a book as a present is if someone has requested a specific title or has a wishlist of books they would like to own. This is because I am personally very picky about books and would usually prefer to pick them out myself.

And I’d also be afraid that if I were to just randomly buy a book for someone else that one: they wouldn’t like it and it would therefore have been a waste of my money and a waste of their time or two: I’d buy them something that they already own.

These reasons are why I stick to wishlists and gift cards. I just find it hard to recommend books because I feel as though reading is such a personal thing and even if you know someone pretty well you may not always know their tastes when it comes to reading. For example: there are a few authors that it seems like I like everything they come out with and then suddenly they release something off the wall or not up to their usual writing and so I’d feel bad if someone got me that book. I’d feel obligated to read it and then would feel bad if I didn’t like it. And I don’t want to put other people in that same situation. So, as I said, I’d rather stick to gift cards or perhaps suggesting someone check a certain item out of the library instead of one of us potentially wasting money on something a person will never read or like.

This is also why I don’t really have an answer to the second question. I have Goodreads and this blog to tell people when I really like a particular book and I’ll chat with people at work but I usually don’t like to share my favorites unless asked/or an in depth discussion of book tastes has happened.

Literary Musings

On the Timeliness of Holiday Fanfiction

During the month or two around a holiday I really get into the mood for holiday fiction. In February I read more romances than I normally would. In October I go for horror. And in November and December I go for books set in winter, especially ones set around Christmas.

I’m sure a lot of people do this. It just makes sense. But the problem is that when I’m reading said books I also start looking for similarly themed fanfiction stories. Then once I’ve read a few stories about various Harry Potter characters meeting one another at a Halloween masquerade or getting caught under the mistletoe I invariably decide that I want to write a story with the same type of theme and idea.

Unfortunately that just doesn’t work with my style of writing because what happens is that I come up with an idea for a one shot short story. I hand write it out and it almost always becomes a multiple chapter story and then by the time I’m finished and ready to type it up the holiday in question is already upon us.

This happened last year and by Christmas I had a nearly twenty page holiday themed Avengers story that wasn’t even finished by New Year’s Eve. So instead of completing it while I still knew where it was going, I shelved it in hopes to return to it this year. I did. I started working on it again a couple of weeks ago but the ending isn’t anywhere near as strong as the beginning because I didn’t leave myself notes on how I wanted to finish the story.

And now I’ve started getting inklings of more holiday themed stories I may want to write. I’m pretty sure I should probably curb the urge though since I have so many other things I’m in the middle of and I’m not even sure that Avengers piece is going to be ready by the time Santa’s in his sleigh.

Literary Musings

NaNoWriMo 2018: The Aftermath

If you hadn’t already guessed by my lack of November updates, National Novel Writing Month 2018 was kind of a failure. I got off to a pretty decent start with over one thousand words being written every day during the first week. I’d call it a pretty decent start and not a great one because 1,000 words a day isn’t too shabby but not great considering that one needs to write about 1,667 words a day in order to complete the challenge on time.

But that start foundered pretty early on because, as I’ve mentioned on this blog about a zillion times, I traditionally start out my fanfiction pieces and novels in handwritten format and then type them. However, for some reason, it’s really hard to hand write five or more pages a day when you’re also working a full time job. So about 1/3 of the way into the month I decided I needed to switch gears and start typing my novel, assuming that even typing my ideas slowly and deleting tons of words would be quicker than handwriting in the long run. And it was.

Unfortunately my OCD got the best of me and instead of doing the smart thing and just leaving the first bit of my novel in hand written form and then typing from there I needed everything to be in the same format. That meant spending hours transcribing over 10,000 words from loopy cursive to typed pages. By the time I’d finished I knew it was too late for me to catch up, especially with the holidays hitting at the end of the month.

In addition, my brain also suddenly decided to start thinking about a whole slew of fanfiction ideas and plotting those out instead of focusing on my novel. Which honestly shouldn’t have been a surprise because that’s my trouble most of the time. Starting a project and then deciding to start something new and forgetting all about my original intent. It’s very sad and has resulted in quite a few partially written stories over the years, many of which I have yet to continue because I can’t find my outlines or never had a written outline to begin with.

So, once again, I end a NaNoWriMo with a partially finished novel and a feeling of uncertainty about where said novel was going anyways.

Honestly, I’m not sure if the attempt is worth it anymore since I just seem to start writing nonsense by the midpoint anyways, in a struggle to keep my word count goal.