Monthly Archives: March 2012

Bad habits and new ideas

I have a really awful habit. It’s because I’m addicted to the smell of crisp pages, to the look of bright, well-designed covers. It’s because I’m motivated by the mystery of what story is being told within, and because I am completely unmotivated within the confines of my own home.

I am addicted to buying books – and never reading them.

My father used to think that purchasing books was a waste of money. He never understood the value in spending money on something that you could borrow for free from your friends or from the library. His views are completely valid – besides supporting the author, what’s the point in having a whole bunch of books that you will only, in most cases, read once (or in my case, never read?)

Okay, I shouldn’t say that I’ll never read them. One of the most important parts of being a[/n aspiring] novelist is reading. You read what’s good, you read what’s bad. You read what works and you read what doesn’t. You learn from established professionals, and you try not to be too offended when you’re sure you could write better than this or that debut author. (Here’s a hint – all writers are egotistical to an extent. I’d argue that this can be said about any creative professional – photogs, designers, ect.)

Here’s a sampling of many of the books I own but have never read:

Lots of words by the average and the amazing that have yet to meet my eyes. (Sorry, John Green! I guess there are three of yours there!)

Another one of my book woes is the space. I am constantly purchasing new novels, but have virtually nowhere to put them. Currently, they are overloading my dresser and our shelving unit. There are also a whole bunch boxed up in our storage room somewhere. (Read: small bedroom jam-packed with two computer stations and a million boxes. It’s a disaster.)

(Yes, you’re looking at some bona-fide old Hardy Boys books there. I collect them. It’s odd.)

We do actually own a bookcase. Unfortunately, it houses a couple hundred or more DVDs. That we never watch. And don’t expand on anymore. Because as geeks, we’re far too swept up in the digital age to be bothered by hard copies anymore*!

(A little bit of daily cuteness – Ada popped by to see what I was doing with the camera and all that flashing.)

Anyway, so this is my plan: I am going to make a list of all of the DVDs I want to get rid of and sell them for $2-$3 each to my family and friends in order to make space for my books. Then, I’ll take that money and put it directly into our wedding fund! Every little bit counts, because we’re paying for everything ourselves. And I demand an Italian honeymoon. He knows about it, I swear.

What do you think? Do you think my plan will pay off, or will cataloging my movies be a waste of my time?

*I realize that this statement is ironic after writing a post about purchasing non-stop hard-copy books. I bought an eReader. I used it to read one book. And I still can’t stop purchasing paperbacks. I told you it was an addiction, alright? Besides… there is nothing – NOTHING – in the world like a book in you hand. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


It totally takes time!

I just read a great blog post by literary agent Janet Reid on how good writing takes time and really wanted to share it.

She speaks about how some of the best writers took years and years to write their famous works. Some of her examples, like T.S. Elliot, surprised me. Others did not – it should take a large chunk of time to write an extremely long and arduous piece. Did you know that Tolkien took twelve years to write the Lord of the Rings trilogy? I used to think that was a long time, but when you factor in that he created an entire world and developed several full languages… it’s not so hard to believe.

In my neck of the woods, YA fiction, I believe that it takes John Green about two years or more to write a book.

The fact that good writing takes a long time is a interesting point-of-view, as other esteemed novelists, such as Stephen King, insist that to be a good author you must write something like 2,000 words a day.

I’m okay floating in the good-writing-takes-time boat – at the beginning of April, it will be two years I have been working on my novel! Eep! I’m looking forward to finally having something to show for all of my hard work and the hundreds and hundreds of hours. Something to show the people who said, “Well, you don’t have to write.” Maybe I don’t get paid for this job, but it is a job. And yes, I do have to do it!

Being a traditionally published author has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. What’s yours?


Let the battle begin!

It’s finally arrived! It is Hunger Games day!

Today I am leaving work early to see the film with a few co-workers, and in my opinion there is no better way to kick off the weekend!

Recently one of my friends read the first book in the trilogy for the first time and admitted that she was underwhelmed by it. This is always a major risk when a piece of fiction – be it a movie, book or otherwise – is hyped by pop culture. But, to be honest, all of her reasons were completely valid and it reminded me of my initial thought when I first read The Hunger Games – how on earth did it become so popular?

First of all, it’s well-written. The pace is incredible, and although many would argue (especially Battle Royale fans,) it is a story that is finally original to the mainstream eye.

But Hunger Games is dark. It’s creepy. It’s dystopian and apocalyptic. Its protagonist is not someone you necessarily like – she is selfish and frustrating at best. Its ending is hardly more than dismal. All of these things are the types of elements that attract me, but that are rarely present in popular culture.

There is no ditzy, innocent, too-good female main. There is no overtly omg-I’m-so-in-love-with-you love story. In fact, this doesn’t come close to romance at all (another thing that I love!) The characters feel real, their relationships feel real. It’s a very different dynamic. (Please, folks all over, stop referring it to the “new Twilight.”)

I have to wonder how much Hollywood will gloss over the events in The Hunger Games. Depending on how I feel, I might end up sharing my thoughts about this with you soon!

What do you think the world loves so much about Hunger Games?


Playlists and words

A little while ago  my youngest sister (not the one you met in my previous post) texted me to inquire about my favourite song. I was taken aback for a couple of reasons – firstly, because she never really said why and isn’t known to be much of a communicator, and secondly, because I do not have just one favourite song.

The question made me realize that I could probably list a top ten, and that most of my favourite songs also appear in my writing playlist.

One of the key components that inspires me while writing is music. Music can define a mood, lend a word and become an integral part of the process, especially when the coffee shop’s tunes are just way too loud/obnoxious/quiet/clashing with the book store’s music.

I figured that it was time to share my usual playlist with the world! Though it often switches up, the following is pretty much always there. Some will make you laugh, some may make you cringe but hopefully there are a few songs you’ll find inspiring as well. Complete with footnotes:

“Reclaimation” – Lamb of God*‡
“Set Apart This Dream” – Flyleaf†
“Broken Pieces” – Apocalyptica*†
“Sleepwalking” – Kittie*‡
“Wanted Dead or Alive” – Bon Jovi*
“Incomplete” – Backstreet Boys*
“Siberia” – Backstreet Boys*
“In the Dark” – Flyleaf
“Treasure” – Flyleaf
“Circle” – Flyleaf
“Arise” – Flyleaf
“Night Comes Clean” – Soilwork‡
“Everything You Ever” – Dr. Horrible Soundtrack
“Genetic Emancipation” – Repo! Soundtrack
“One” – Apocalyptica*
“One Winged Angel” FFVII Advent Children Soundtrack
“The Melencholy Spirit” – Agalloch†‡
“Serenity Painted Death” – Opeth†‡
“Funeral Portrait” – Opeth‡
“My Heart is Broken” – Evanescence†
“Broken” Seether feat. Amy Lee*
“Lost in Paradise” – Evanescence
“Lost” – Within Temptation†
“Spellbound” – Stream of Passion†
“Your Star” – Evanescence

*Favourite song
† Artist is good for writing in general
‡ Not mother-approved

(I wish this close to the Backstreet Boys. You know you wish you were me.)


Glitter and spring

It’s been a trying couple of weeks for myself and a few of my friends, but that was as long as I could bear to be away from writing and blogging and the gym and wedding stuff!

Last Sunday, I went to a low-key bridal fashion show with my sister and a couple of our friends. It was great – my sister came in from out of town. There was cake-testing, champagne-drinking and some inspirational table settings for us to view.

Though there weren’t a lot of dresses that I loved, it’s safe to say that I know almost exactly what I want in a dress (though I’m slightly worried about finding it within my budget!) I promised my mother that I wouldn’t step foot into a dress store (or into a dress) until she  was with me, so I made my sister try on a couple instead!

(I love the above post! I’m on the right.)

I feel like I have almost everything pegged down in my mind. But that’s a long ways away, and if you know anything about me, you know I have the tendancy to change my mind. A lot.

If you’re interested at all in what I like and am thinking about for a wedding, you can view me on Pinterest! Feel free to give feedback if you have an account (or ping me if you need one!)

P.S. Happy Spring!

What is your vision of the ideal wedding?