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.

Short Stories

Witch, Please! NaNoWriMo Excerpt

Even though I didn’t finish the novel I started writing in November I figured I should give my readers a little taste of what I spent the month working on.

So, without further ado, here’s an excerpt from Witch, Please! A Riverdale/The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina-esque YA novel about high school and witches.

Fiona whipped into the school parking lot and right into the prime spot closest to the entrance. Well, the closest spot that wasn’t designated for a handicap accessible vehicle because even though those two spots were a tad bit better she wasn’t bitch enough to take them. At least not since that one incident at the mall where she would have been absolutely humiliated if there had been any witnesses.

Once she was parked Fiona slid flicked down the visor so she could access the mirror there, giving herself one last look over before she left to enter the school. She didn’t look at anything but her own reflection and yet she knew that Veronica was doing the exact same thing in the passenger seat and that Beth and Rachel would have their compact mirrors out in the backseat.

She’d taught her friends well, with the same advice her mother had given her when she’d started picking out her own clothes. “Don’t go anywhere unless you can go perfect.”

Fiona did a last little swipe of lip gloss, tossed the tube into her purse, and then addressed her friends. “Are we all ready to go?” she asked but didn’t wait for an answer before getting out of the car. If the other girls weren’t ready then they would be real fast, not wanting to get left behind. And Fiona would leave them behind.

She’d barely even shut her car door when Maggie, one of the Junior Varsity cheerleaders, approached them, juggling a cardboard drink tray with four iced coffee drinks from Fiona’s favorite coffee shop.

“I have your drinks. And good morning!” Maggie trilled as she handed a cup to each girl. (Fortunately for her, each of the girls had the same drink order, an iced caramel latte with almond milk so it was easy to pass out the drinks. Once winter hit and the girls switched to hot beverages it would get a lot more complicated. Beth and Veronica liked the seasonal drinks while Fiona and Rachel did not.)

Maggie trailed after the older girls as they made their way to their lockers even though she was a sophomore and her own locker and most of her classes would be in a completely different part of the building. And, depending on how demanding the older girls were, she could end up being very late for homeroom. But it was a risk that Maggie and a handful of the other younger girls took because they knew that Fiona ruled the school and that being on her good side was the best place to be if they wanted to make a name for themselves at Eastgate High.

“How were your summers?” Maggie asked as the older girls spun the dials on their lockers. They didn’t really have books they needed to pick up or drop off yet. No, they needed a few minutes for something more important than that: locker decorations.

“We spent three weeks at Fi’s vacation house in St. Lucia,” Beth offered up when it became clear that the others weren’t going to contribute to the conversation.

“Which we’ve done every summer for years,” Rachel pointed out as she took a few steps back from her locker to see how the photos and the magnetized mirror that she’d placed there looked.

“I would love to see St. Lucia,” Maggie said in a wistful little voice. “I’ve never been out of the country before.”

“Maybe next time we’ll bring you with us,” Fiona said, giving the younger girl a wide smile that had Maggie smiling in return. “You know, if one of our maids doesn’t return for the season next year.”

Maggie’s face fell and Fiona just snorted. “Stop trying so hard sweetie and maybe next time the offer will be real. You’re dismissed,” she added as she slammed her locker shut.

“Why do you have to be so mean?” Beth asked once the younger girl was out of earshot.

Fiona leaned against her locker and glared at Beth. “They have to learn eventually that you don’t always get what you want. Unless you’re one of us of course.”

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.

Literary Musings

NaNoWriMo 2018

Tomorrow is the first of November and so a lot of us know what that means: it’s the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). If you don’t know what that is, it’s this crazy thing that a whole bunch of writers do where they attempt to write/type their fingers off and write 50,000 words of a novel in a single month.

I’ve participated in the challenge quite a few times (and succeeded less than half the time) and will do so again this year. Why? I don’t know! Because honestly it hurts my brain to try to hold down a full time job and still do other things I want to do during the month like reading and taking long hot baths because it’s winter and it’s cold and spending time with family during the holidays.

But I do it anyways, usually hitting a decent stride and then having it completely go to shit by about the second or third week of the month. This time around I have a pretty well-detailed outline which I know will help me considerably. And I’m also seriously considering taking some time off of work in order to accomplish my goals. (Partially because I really want to “win” this year and partially just because I have tons of time that I can take off and why not get paid to sleep in and then work on my reading/writing all day while wearing comfy pajamas?)

And even though I’ll be focusing on NaNo during the month of November, I also want to keep my blog updated. So, I think what I’m going to do is only do posts about NaNo during November. I’m thinking posts that include passages from the novel I’ll be working on as well as keeping everyone abreast of my word counts, etc. The more people who see if I’m keeping on track or failing, the more likely I will be to want to stay on track! (I hope!)

Literary Musings

10 Ships I Ship

“Shipping” or ‘to ship.” Words/phrases that have an entirely different meaning to fanfiction writers and members of fandoms. It has nothing to do with watercraft but with relationships, fictional characters that you want to be together. Some of the relationships that I ship include:

  1. Hermione Granger and Fred OR George Weasley (definitely not Fred AND George) from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: I never really liked the idea of Hermione ending up with Ron. It always seemed like they spent more time fighting than anything and that Ron wasn’t intellectual enough for Hermione. But, I also felt like she needed someone more chill/”fun” to balance out how serious she was. Enter the twins. They’re playful and though they aren’t shown to get good grades they have to be pretty darn intelligent in order to make their joke products work. I think either one of them would be a perfect fit for Hermione.
  2. Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: I know, I know. I just said that I didn’t think Hermione and Ron worked because of how often they fought and here I am, pairing her with someone who verbally abused Hermione quite a bit. But, for some reason, I still like the whole idea of Hermione making this bad boy turn good. Though, whenever I write or read Hermione/Draco I have to add a lot of backstory usually involving Draco having had a rough family life where he felt pressured to behave a certain way or risk harm. Which totally fits with the little we know of him.
  3. Natasha Romanov and Steve Rogers from Marvel’s The Avengers: Ever since I started watching Avengers related shows I’ve thought there was a flirty dynamic between the Black Widow and Captain America, especially solidified by their friendship in Winter Soldier. I like the idea of Nat, who always seems to be down on herself about her past, finally feeling like she’s good enough to be with America’s golden child.
  4. Natasha Romanov and Bucky Barnes from Marvel’s The Avengers: On the flip side, I also know that in a lot of the comics Nat and Bucky had a history and I also like the idea of that pairing. Two people who were kind of trained/brainwashed to fight and who have issues with memory coming together, possibly because they’ve met in the past. It would be interesting and I would love to see the current actors explore that but I also feel like it’s too late in the MCU for them to address it.
  5. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Now I’m not the biggest fan of The Hunger Games but I did enjoy reading it. And I do get angry when I read reviews that just don’t get certain plot points that I thought were pretty obvious. And I know that lots of people also didn’t think it right that Katniss ended up with Peeta but to me that was the only pairing that made sense, even before the possibility of what Gale did during the war. They needed each other and balanced each other out.
  6. Kady Grant and Ezra Mason from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff : During The Illuminae files I really liked the evolution of Kady and Ezra’s relationship from their start as exes to how they came back together. They were a fun pair and I thought the relationship was very believable.
  7. Merlin and Morgana from the Merlin TV series on BBC One: If only they’d gotten together and studied magic together then the shit show of the last couple of seasons never would have happened.
  8. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen from the Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: I remember thinking the first book in the series with Lilac and Tarver was very Titanic-esque. And Lilac and Tarver were very much like Rose and Jack. Two kids from opposite sides of the world but who grow together through adversity.
  9. Aelin Galathynius and Rowan Whitethorn from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: I think my favorite book in this series was where Aelin was training with Rowan and as soon as they started fighting I just knew they were end game. Strong characters who needed each other and just had to learn that.
  10. Rey and Kylo Ren from Star Wars: Another one of my pairings where I feel as though the good girl needs to turn the bad guy. I know that doesn’t really work in real life but I seem to be drawn to those kinds of relationships in fiction.