Archive | November, 2011

nanowrimo: domination!

29 Nov

Though the novel is not yet complete, I validated about an hour ago! Goal achieved at 50,109!!

If you’ve been NaNo-ing, and have won, or are almost there, or you’ve given up, I would love to congratulate you, motivate you or commiserate with you! Drop me a comment or an email at dallyingwiththewriter@gmail.com.

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READING: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

15 Nov

Reading: The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

Why you should read it: Character, Plotting

(Photo Credit)

With the trailer for the movie released yesterday morning, The Hunger Games fans are in a tizzy (well, at least I am) for the movie based on the series of books. The Hunger Games and the subsequent books in the trilogy (Catching Fire and Mockingjay) have just about something for everyone. A little romance, suspense, a sprinkling of sci-fi, action and intrigue, all set in a futuristic nation. For those who haven’t read them (honestly, what is wrong with you?) I’ll do a quick and non-spoiler tease for the first book.

Set sometime in the future in the nation of Panem (which is created after the destruction of North America as we know it). Panem consists of a greedy, wealthy capitol and 12 much poorer districts. Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, lives in coal-mining District 12, which Collins says is about the area that used to be Appalachia. Katniss has suffered a lot in her life, but doesn’t even know the half of what’s coming her way.

As punishment for a rebellion against the Capitol that occurred years before the book begins, there is an annual Hunger Games. A boy and a girl from each district between the ages of 12 and 18 must enter the Hunger Games, which is essentially a reality television show wherein the children literally fight to death for the amusement of the people in Capitol.

This year is the first year that Katniss’ sister, Primrose is eligible for the Hunger Games, but Katniss doesn’t believe her name will be drawn. It is, and Katniss volunteers herself for the challenge in her place. Nominated along with Katniss is Peeta Mellark, and together they leave for the Hunger Games. From the moment, they enter the challenge, the game is on, and every second is race for life or death.

And that’s just the first portion of the first book. I can’t reveal who lives or who dies, but I can recommend you read them, and go into a little more detail as to why.

 

CHARACTER

Collin’s has a great and intimate understanding of her main character (and all the others, really) from the moment the story begins. I know you might be thinking that any writer has an amazing connection with their characters, but not always. It seems to me that Collin’s knows everything there is to know about Katniss down to the kind of underwear she likes. She does a wonderful job of laying the groundwork for not only Katniss’ decisions but her reactions, skills, and foibles. When we first meet Katniss, she’s doing some (illegal) hunting in the woods with her best friend, Gale. Because of this hunting, she’s great with a bow and arrow, and she’s got nice survival skills, and she’s good at plant identification. Naturally, these will all come in handy in the Hunger Games arena.

In another part of Katniss’ personality, we learn that she hunts to feed her family, who she is fiercely protective off, which explains why she would so quickly and willingly take Primrose’s place in the Games. While this may seem obvious in fiction writing, it is really poor writing when authors don’t lay the groundwork for their characters personalties. It’s fine to reveal different facets of a character as the story progresses, but don’t tell me the main character is entering a knitting competition because she needs the grand prize money before you’ve told me that she’s a great knitter. You may know that about your character, but the reader doesn’t.

 

PLOTTING 

The Hunger Games trilogy is a work of art, where the plot is concerned. Though it remains a mystery to the reader, by the end of the series, it’s clear that Collins knew what would happen at the end from page one, book one, and she wrote unwaveringly toward that end. I’ve read books with distracting subplots or a plethora of characters that end up being poorly woven into the main plot (or not at all). Things aren’t so with Collins who’s plotting is reminiscent of other tight plotters, like J.K. Rowling, or James Patterson.

Collins’ plot is straightforward, and blazes along quickly, but it’s cushioned in the feelings, emotions and thoughts of Katniss. The interweaving of character and plot is seems effortless which is why hoards of people of all ages have flocked to The Hunger Games. You have plenty of time to read the series between now and the 2012 release of the movie, so, catch up already!

If you have read The Hunger Games, was there anything you were able to take away from it as a writer? Or did you just enjoy the ride? Excited for the movie? Drop a comment—let’s chat!

 

Sookie Stackhouse Novels: Deadlocked

12 Nov

(Photo Credit)

I’m going to share: I’m a HUGE True Blood fanatic. I can, and have, talked about this show for hours. I can watch marathons, and never get bored. I love everything about it. I own all three seasons on DVD and regularly watch the season four episodes on HBO Go. With that having been said, I’m equally devoted to the books. (For those of you who are also into the True Blood/ Southern Vampire Mysteries world, don’t ask if I’m more into the show, or if I’m a “bookie.” I honestly love both and see them as two separate entities.)

So naturally, I lost my freaking mind when I saw the book cover and read the UNOFFICIAL synopsis for the upcoming 12th book in the series, Deadlocked in this post from Sookieverseblog.com. Without going into too much detail about this for people who don’t read the books/haven’t read them yet, I’ll just say that the cover art, which I hadn’t seen until today is offering up some pretty good teases.

Do you watch True Blood? Is the wait for the new season or the new book just killing you? Do you need someone to talk  to about it? Drop me a comment or drop me an email! Let’s chat!

P.S. NaNoWriMo has been sucking up all my time like…a vampire. I’m for sure satisfied with that comparison. Sorry! The blog will get back to normal soon, fret not!

INSPIRATION: November Playlist (the nanowrimo special!)

5 Nov

Track listing:

 

This is kind of early for a playlist post, but this post is kind of special. This is a selection of songs that I’ve been listening to while writing my NaNo-novel! Maybe they’ll inspire you while you write yours. If you’re NaNo-ing, you should add my as a writing buddy, or simply email me and we can talk noveling!

Listen to the playlist in its entirety HERE, and be my writing buddy HERE.

 

nanowrimo: boo-yeah!

4 Nov

8156 words.

#isthisreallife? #nanowrimo.

Be my writing buddy here!

nanowrimo: be my buddy!

4 Nov

NaNoWriMo, which I heard about some four or five years ago, was always a fear for a perfectionist like myself. I’ve literally spent hours aching over one paragraph, hoping I’ve crafted beautiful sentences.

But this year, I’m NaNoWriMo-ing, and if you are, we should chat about it, in-between typing until our fingers ache. Add me as a writing buddy on NaNoWriMo here. Whether things are going really well, or you’re stuck, or you need someone to bounce ideas off of, I’m so here!

Drop me a comment below, or even email me and we can revel in the NaNoWriMo-y goodness together.

WATCHING: American Horror Story

3 Nov

Watching: American Horror Story
Why you should be watching: ????

 

(Photo Credit)

 

From Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the minds behind Nip/Tuck and Glee, the FX show American Horror Story is honestly one hot clustermess. However, that’s not to say its not a good clustermess. I first decided to tune into the show when I heard about the cast. Dylan McDermott has proven himself to be extremely attractive a fantastic actor on many occasions, and Connie Britton (who was TOTALLY stiffed at the 2011 Emmy Awards, but I’ll try not to be too mad about it. But seriously. A couple of years as The Good Wife trumps five amazing seasons as Tami Taylor? Okay, sure. Rant over.) can do no wrong in my eyes. And you guys already know how I feel about super-awesome Denis O’Hare and, of course, Jessica Lange. So I thought I’d give it a try.

The show is off the rails, to be honest. Billed as a “psychosexual thriller” and a horror, both by name and content, it seems a little impossible. If you ask me, the beauty of the horror movie is that there are two hours or so to build fear and suspense and at some point—it has to give. The point is that it must end. How do you keep an audience strung along and scared week after week after week?

To be honest, I don’t know that American Horror Story is keeping me scared, but it is keeping me interested. I’ll try not to be too spoilerish for people who haven’t seen the first few episodes and might want to tune in. The show opens with two boys in the 1970s who venture into an abandoned house in an Los Angeles neighborhood, despite the warning of a little girl with Down’s Syndrome who insists they’re going to “die in there.” They do, massacred by something in the basement of the house. Cut to present-day Boston where Connie Britton’s Vivian Harmon is being examined by a doctor, post-miscarriage. She heads home after the appointment to find her husband, Ben, played by Dylan McDermott, in bed with another woman. Then, there’s a very creepy title sequence showing images of fetuses in jars and creepy pictures of babies.

The four members of the Harmon family (Ben, Vivian, their teenaged daughter Violet, and dog Halleigh) uproot and move cross-country to, of course, the very same house those boys were killed in, and almost immediately the strangeness of the house begins to act on the family.

In almost all of the episodes so far, we’ve been shown some weird glimpse into the house’s past which includes all the murder, mayhem and bad energy one might expect of a house in a horror show (it still sounds weird.) Add to that people who appear to shift ages, who are definitely dead and the freakshow bizarre-o-land thing down in the basement, and I’m not entirely sure what the heck is going on here, as far as horror stories go. However, they do have a ton of material to work with, I’ll give them that.

Otherwise, the show is basically about the struggle of two people trying to keep their family together, and where people with ulterior motives invade someone’s life in any regular drama, ghosts (or something) do the same on American Horror Story.

As for why writers should be watching American Horror Story, I honestly can’t point to any specifics. But I will say this: the show is super-compelling. Besides the interesting familial drama, the mystery of the house and the buzz around the show (can a horror television show be done?) all make it good viewing. I’m waiting to see whether or not the show’s strange and crazy pieces can be pieced together in a decent pay-off with the fans before I decided what to take away from it. But, I just plain enjoy it, and they’ve got me tuning in!

But I want to know, as writers, what is your opinion on the show? Are you taking anything from it? Do you think its getting press for its strangeness, or because it is actually good? (or because it’s from the Glee guys?) As viewers, are they keeping your attention? Are they scaring you? Watch the show and get in on the talk about it on Twitter with the hashtag #ahsfx. Drop a comment and let me know!

it’s upon us: nanowrimo.

3 Nov

NaNoWriMo is here! Are you NaNoWriMo-ing?? I am–sort of. I didn’t write any yesterday. So, I’m already behind. UGH. I don’t know that I’ll make my goal, but there’s no point in loosing faith, right? Let me know if you’re doing the challenge and we can commiserate  and motivate each other! Is anyone writing in a group? Anyone else going it alone? Anyone else already behind?

Drop a comment below and we can chat!