In Which: There Are Notes Of Books

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The orange mini-note is my traveling notebook since it’s built in pocket makes sure I always have something to write with on hand. I’m pretty sure needing to write but having nothing to write with is one of those dark circles of afterlife punishment. (Most boring DOOM level idea ever)

I don’t have a problem…

Okay, maybe I do. Today, since I am sick with a bug that is going around through my hometown countryside, I thought I’d do another small post. This time to share my notebook collection. This is only about half of it, but I think you can see my slow slide from ‘Writing must be serious every step of the way’ to ‘Darn it if I’m going to be writing for hours and hours I want something that makes me happy.’ Back to school sales always fill me with a renewed drive to write more, so those newest two sparkling silver and black books were just too good to pass up.

 In my case, I use notebooks to get out certain scenes and bits of dialogue that need to come into being right this moment, and then my laptop to slap them into place in the bigger scheme of things, plotwise. 

Do you have a favorite notebook? (Or if you don’t write on paper a favorite program or app?) What gets you fired up to write?

Do you have something you’d like to hear me talk about on my blog? Drop me a line below!

In Which: Romance: Love is UnLoved

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I love romance novels. There seems to be some inherent reluctance to admit that online, most of all if you also read  classic novels like I do. After all romance novels are a dime a dozen, easy reads, and hardly memorable, right? (Note: I don’t agree with any of this, but that’s a topic or two for my next few blogs). 

But of all the hate aimed at romance, no subject seems to get more internet flames fired up than the romance sub-plot in a normal novel. The common gripe is that romance is unneeded and hurts a story rather than helps, most of all in YA. Sometimes even in books where romance is the actual stories sub-genre, front and center, with no frills or theme masks to hide behind.  But, why? Rather than focus on how romance is a failing in of itself to a story like I’ve seen ranted about many times before, I thought I’d talk about the topic from  my romance fan reader\writer pov of:

Reasons Why Romance Fails To Be Feel Necessary In A Romantic Plot 

1) Characters Are Unrelatable.

This is a big one. Romance is about two characters getting to know and love one another. If the characters are not somehow enduring to the reader, how can they be the same to each other? This doesn’t mean, of course, that the reader has to know first hand about a character’s favorite hobby or pastime. But the basic human emotions and failings that ground all of us should be there somehow in fictional form. Speaking of emotions….

2) The Only Emotion Characters Show Is Love\Love Related

Characters are little fictional people. People are more than just love\lust even when they are in love. When the only thing that the characters talk about\angst about is love, most of all if other things are happening that are equally important that have a long standing in the characters life years before they met their lover, something feels off. Of course, there are cases where they forget everything swept up in the moment, but what makes those moments so great is their momentary coming and going , just like in real life.

3) The Romance In The Story Does Not Match In Tone

A war is raging, soldiers are dying, rebel fighters are firing elemental arrows from their crossbows, and the couple of the story is fighting over a package of jerky in a foxhole because the hero looked at another girl once.  This problem is probably the one that gets to me most in YA fiction with a subplot. I understand a case can be made (and a good one to) for characters acting their age, but I also see it in romance subplots with adults. The main plot is placed on a grand scale, while the romance subplot is treated like a cheerful Saved By The Bell episode of the week. The drama and cold, hard, reality of maybe dying, or at least being badly hurt, seems to have no bearing on how the lovers act or value one another. They could as easily be sharing a milkstake at a diner fighting with each other and the scene would play out no differently.  

4) A Character Says ‘I love you’ But Shows ‘Meh’

The characters say they are in love. They have sex. They call out for each other whenever they’ve been away too long. But that’s it. They go through the motions, and have long talks with themselves in silence about their true love, but their actions fall flatter than a pancake with the word ‘love’ written on it in crayon.  Sometimes the plot tries to throw in characters fighting  over and over and over as a placeholder for hidden passion but this only ends in more sex, and little else. While sex is great, it can become wearing if it is the only gesture of affection characters ever use to show that they are in love and not simply lust. 

5) The Characters Don’t Grow 

Growing up is hard to do. Most of all when you find out that no matter your age you’re still a work in progress. A good romance should foster growth in someway, adding to characters knowledge of not only the other person, but themselves. When romance is at its best it makes people into a newer, fresher, better version of themselves somehow, at its worst, weaker and scarred. Sometimes this growth is so dramatic that even after a romance ends the character will carry  that changed, matured version of themselves onward in life always. But the problem comes when the character we’re introduced to at the beginning of the story is already a fixed personality that never changes. They are already great at everything they try, self assured (even if they have bad self-esteem) and unswayed by any actions of the surrounding world, much less their romantic  partner. The characters spend time with each other and their mindsets are never  challenged. They fight, but afterward act like nothing happened. They have realizations late at night, only to wake up, shrug them off, and  go right back to treating their lover the same way they did on page 5 as page 355. While a ‘perfect’ character can be a placeholder for the everywoman/man reader to see themselves as while reading, this perfection and unchanging pov can also be a placeholder for ‘boring’.

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Feelings on what is good writing and what isn’t varies, of course :). But I still like thinking about it now and then. I will be doing a couple more romance themed posts . One I’ve been stewing on for a while is vampires, which I’ve been a fan of long before they sparkled like snow. Back in my day they sparkled like gold and were half elf! But that’s another story… 

In Which: The Bookmark Lives Up To Its Name #1

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It’s no secret I love bookmarks. Whenever I am lucky enough to see some anywhere, I always pick up one or two.

Todays feature bookmarks  are some emotional little guys from China called ‘Sunny Dolls’.  They are the more interesting ‘ hairclip’ form bookmarks, and their cutest comes in a trade for meh quality

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Still, $4 or so for six little bookmarks is not the worst deal I’ve ever heard of, and they are something to look into if you are a fan of the cute chibi/anime emo vibe like I am.

(Note: Future reviews will be done using my own pictures of the bookmarks and a rating system. Right now my camera isn’t talking to my computer. I’m getting tech counseling for them both to work out their issues peacefully)  

In Which: I Ask You Something

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Hello everyone! So nice to meet you!

I’m very new to this whole ‘Use blogging professionally’ scene, so I may not always sound professional.   I’m sorry in advance for this. 

Anyway, onto the reason for this post:

What would you like to see me post more of in the way of topic/theme/tone? Do you feel once a day is too often? Would you rather I take on a multi- topic format but only update once and a while? Of the types of posts I’ve done so far which are your favorites? I aim to please :)!

In Which: I Don’t Know Where My Books Are From

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Book stores were a rare thing for me to visit even before the internet. A big part of it was my family did not have a car, and my not-living-with-us family didn’t visit often. 

Books were mostly:  Hand me downs I got as gifts, where I was grateful for anything with pages. Or, well chosen glossy marvels, eating up money from School Book Club tissue paper order forms. ( My promises of any other birthday or Christmas gifts vanishing as soon as they arrived) 

Now, Amazon seems to all but made used book stores in my area as mythical as I once thought them to be. The one shop nearest us that sold brand new books died even sooner, some ten years ago.

But Amazon has not felt like an evil being to me because, well, I never had the freedom without it that I now have with it. In a few clicks I can hear about a book, search for a book, and buy that book, easy peasy. No mess, no fuss, no tissue paper form or  ‘please wait 3-5 weeks for delivery’.

Well, that last part varies. For my cool $3.99 I’ve seen Amazon take anywhere from two days to three months to get a book to me.  Sellers on Amazon, most of all penny sellers, do not seem required to act like the company they say they are and list a location. Even just a notice to say they are in the US somewhere.

I ordered a copy of Taming The Forest King by Claudia Edwards (a rec from a forum I belong to) on the 1st of this month, only to finally get it yesterday. The postmarks proudly proclaimed it had traveled all the way from the UK to my little slice of Nowheresville, CA, USA.

Normally this wouldn’t get to me. I love getting objects from far off places. But the fact that I don’t know where my books are actually coming from anymore hits a nerve I didn’t even know was there  Silly, I guess, really.

Here’s to you Amazon. Please be careful with our books, won’t you? 

In Which: Loving What You Love Is Good

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Shame is very common on the internet.

For all the good that collective sites do, bringing together like minded fans of everything from action figures, to glamorous  musical shows, there is a dark side.

This side is almost always dedicated to saying how much of a guilty pleasure what you love is. It calls you a geek if you dare step into the limelight and say ‘You know what? I’m proud to love FILL IN THE BLANK!’

 Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things certain groups love that are worth being ashamed of, things that hurt themselves and other people.

But we’re talking about the harmless geek pursuits here along the lines of colorful cartoons, or action figures or lava lamps or whatever you may be a fan of. As long as you’re not using your rent money on a  new limited edition object of your choosing, or selling your first born for tickets, things are well within normal levels (hopefully).

Sometimes, we feel ashamed of liking something because others around us in our day to day lives don’t have the same passion for them.  It can be lonely when you love a movie or show so much and then turn to see the person you were trying to share it with has fallen asleep. 

But, in the end I think we may too often forget: There’s nothing truly wrong with being geeky. Sometimes that shame is only a shadow of others opinions and not our own true feelings.

There’s a good life lesson in there somewhere.