23 September 2009

NaNoWriMo and Writer's Workshops

The Union started a writer's workshop that meets Mondays at 7p. It's called Working Title. My first meeting with them was last Monday, one week after the kick-off. It was a very welcoming atmosphere. We reviewed poems written by our own Sarah. I enjoyed those poems. They had depth, good symbolism, and interesting themes. One of the poems was about something none of us were familiar with, which I commend her for. "Write what you don't know," my high school creative writing teacher said once.

I plan on going back. They were a good group of people. And I liked their insight into the small things, which isn't usually taken with people who read your stories. "This is good," is the most annoying feedback you can get as a writer.

Speaking of writing, NaNoWriMo is November. I just made my account.
Username: Morike

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. More details can be found on their official site. Basically, the point is to get writers to write 50,000-plus words during the entire month of November. They even have tips on what to do when you finish. My November looks pretty promising at the moment, but we'll see how things go. I have a paper, a midterm, and a shot-by-shot movie analysis due that month. We'll see how this goes . . . .

Haven't gotten a chance to read much lately, besides TC's occasional short story. I may not review anything for a while, but stay tuned anyway.

14 September 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Grade: A

The moment I realized my homework has been discarded for a full day (a few hours at the time of realization), I knew that I had to finish this book if I needed to stay on top of things academically. Surprisingly, it was easier than I thought to focus in lecture this morning when I had fifty pages left to read. I just finished this book and here are my immediate reactions.

We still have old Katniss from The Hunger Games with us. She continues to be stubborn, thoughtful to a fault, and skilled in activities we could only dream about doing ourselves (like knot-tying and archery). Despite her ability to work through Haymitch's subtle messages, she still can't figure out the larger picture, hence her "smart to a fault" comment. The moment the new Head Gamemaker flashed his fancy one-of-a-kind watch, I knew Katniss had an ally when she didn't. The realization of the full rebellion falls short from her lack of ciphering through this information, so do the reasons that she wasn't fully informed in the first place. I'm hoping the next book will even this out.

I was slightly disappointed in Cinna's character in this book. The Hunger Games featured him as a charismatic friend and confidant who will help Katniss through a revolution. Because of circumstances in the book, however, she loses him as a confidant. The more we got of him, the more I felt we lost some of his charisma too. He was no longer a guiding light, just a helping hand. I expected him to be more involved in a rebellion than was revealed and to answer the question of why he specifically chose District 12 to be his district. His stunt involving Katniss's dress made up for some of that, but not all. By the way, that was fantastically surprising in all the good ways. Despite his fading, the last you see of him still hurts. Pull through, Cinna!

I also have something to say about the pace of the book. At first, I thought it was quick, jumping over bits of information from the first book and skipping some of the more boring but develomental scenes. Still, I have to give the benefit of the doubt to the author. If you're writing a YA book with this much information and story and a page limit, what else are you going to cut out? Of course, information from the previous book shouldn't have to be elaborated upon. This is a sequel, so whatever happened in the first book should be knowledge for all who read the second. As for the scenes, sometimes it felt like jumping around. First she's walking in the woods, and the next thing you know, she's talking to Prim without a hint of doing anything else. Of course, we as readers should be able to know what she'll do between the woods and home, but I still got the jumping feeling.

To add to all this, I absolutely love this book. Peeta is just amazing, and his reconciliation in the beginning makes things much easier on bith the reader and Katniss. Haymitch is his usual self, but more bareable. Katniss's mother gets a bit more of a spotlight, and we finally see how Haymitch won his Games. We also get more of Gale in terms of what went on with him during and after the previous book. To add to this characterization, Katniss is personally threatened by President Snow. So now she must choose between trying to win over the president to smooth things over, and letting the rebellion take place while risking everything she holds dear.

A great book, a great story, and highly recommended.

09 September 2009

Student Orgs and Dorms

Apart from learning a ton about studying abroad, I also checked the Student Organization Fair. And I found a creative writing group calling themselves Working Titles that meets Mondays at seven. It works with my schedule because I'm open on Mondays and would love to get feedback for my work. Now the question is, which should I bring for the kick-off?

There's always The White Lady, which is the first story I think whenever I hear about something like this. And there's also We Were Once Friends which is set in my Modified world but more character driven than most other stories. And I'm also daydreaming about working on a third story, longer than the others, but more fiction based. It's a love story between two teenagers, except they're both young women. I tried writing this when I first got to the dorm, but I wasn't inspired much. And now that school started, and I looked through the latest draft of Resistence, I'm writing that now. But that's something I don't want to show anyone until I'm absolutely sure I'm finish with it. Just because it's gone through so many changes over the years that I don't want to show someone one version, and then completely change it on them a few months later.

Oh the possibilities!

I'm also interested in the WUD Publishing Committee. I wonder if I can drag anyone with me to the kick-off. Except I don't know any other writers in the dorm, and I haven't been advertising that I like to write. Asking to read something is so annoying. I don't want to give them some half-assed story only to get the same lame feedback ("This was good."). That's so annoying.

06 September 2009

Journalism Assignment

As my first assignment as a second-year college student, I am challenged by figuring out which form of media has made the biggest impact of my life. It should be noted that I am currently multi-tasking by blogging and watching Firefly at the same time. "Two by two, hands of blue." I feel sorry for those officers who died.

So which media has made the biggest impact of my life? Certainly not television. Yes, yes, I'm watching Firefly (and easily distracted by it, I might add) but it's not the biggest media impact of my life.

So then I thought about the Internet. You know, social networking and Facebook and all that fun stuff. That seems reasonable enough. But then I got caught with the evidence backing up my claim. Or rather, I didn't make a thesis the way the professor wants it. That's worth looking into.

I also thought about books. Where would my life be if I couldn't read and write? Can I include notebooks and word processors as part of the media? But that's not a few people broadcasting/delivering information to many people. Mass media suggests a few people talking to many people. Notebooks and word processors are not mass media, but books certainly are. I like reading, and I like reading what's interesting. But between Tamora Pierce and Sarah Dessen, I can't tell you what kind of books I like. I mostly read fantasy, but I'm currently reading Edgar Allen Poe for English. There are many authors I haven't read, but I have definitely read some of the basics, discluding Danielle Steel. My claim?

Books have the greatest impact in my life. Why? Because they are interesting? W?hat is my warrant (a phrase left unstated that must be true for the thesis to be true)? I like interesting books.

The hard part is evidence. What's my evidence that books have the greatest impact on my life? Well, the amount I read for one. I have the ability to read two books a week. Does that always happen? No. But I can still do it.

There's got to be more to the evidence than that. We can also add that I'm aspiring to be a writer. Therefore, it is logical that books would have a great impact on me if my life choice is to become a writer. A writer has to read to improve their writing, just like an athlete has to watch sports to improve their game. A singer must listen to others sing to improve themselves. If you cannot see the competition and learn their techniques, then you might as well not improve your skills. That is why a writer reads a lot. Besides, it's fun.

And because good things come in threes, we need a third piece of evidence. It shall be the feeling of being lost whenever I do not have a book to read. I could be a textbook, or a newspaper; I just need something to read so I don't go crazy by myself in my dorm room. Some sort of recreational reading is preferred, but I have read some interesting news artcles before. I also enjoy the occasional magazine and graphic novel.

Here's my evidence.

Evidence #1: I can read two to three books in a calendar week.
Evidence #2: I aspire to become an author.
Evidence #3: I feel lost whenever I do not have a book to read.

Thank you for reading through my outlining troubles. Your prescence in my blog is much appreciated. Please comment.

03 September 2009

This Scar Better be Awesome

In which I go to college and kind of lose inspiration. Isn't that wonderful?

And what's more, I cut my finger at work. It's kind of gross but kind of cool at the same time. Mom said that nothing is cool and gross at the same time ~ I beg to differ. Yes, going to the hospital alone was kind of frightening, but I got through it. And now that I've talked about it, I can think about it without tearing up anymore.

For some reason, I'm the sort of person who feels emotional and understands why well after the episode. I guess I'm too analytical when it comes to something like that, or the habit of constantly asking myself "Why?"

Why am I crying? Because I've waited an hour to get my finger fixed and now the blood is too clotted for stitches, which I would feel much more comfortable with instead of this dinky clear band-aid. But I'm not about to argue with a doctor. I'm just a ComArts and English student. What do I know about medical science and treatment?

Mostly what my mom taught me and what I learned in books, but that wasn't supposed to be answered.

I'd post a picture, but it's covered in band-aids. At least for now. Until the skin meshes back together. When that happens, I am anticipating a pretty awesome scar.

What's your favorite scar?