Sunday, October 30, 2011

BOOK PUMPKIN!!!

I AM SO EXCITED, because look what I did!!!

I MADE A HUNGER GAMES PUMPKIN!!!! (Er... carved...)


I am  mostly excited because seriously usually when I try and do these things it totally does not work AT ALL but I was clever this time and worked hard to get it right!!! And it's really cool when it's lit because it kind of looks like the Mockingjay is on fire and yeah, Katniss is the Girl on Fire, right???

I'm so excited this is the most awesome pumpkin I've ever carved!!!! :D:D:D:D:D

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Interview with A Real Live Bookworm! (aka My Best Friend)


One thing I am fascinated by  is different people's reading habits. It's cool to see the very, very different kinds of books that people enjoy. So what I've been doing once in a while is interviewing some people I know about their reading habits. I started with my brother, and then I interviewed my dad, and now I'm going interview one of my close friends, Emily. If you would like to be interviewed about your reading habits (it doesn't matter if you read a lot or not) then go the "Contact" page above to e-mail me.

Okay, so some more about Emily before we start:

Emily is 17 years old, an avid reader, and a slightly avid writer. She lives with cats galore, piles of books in the hallway and lots of bruises from walking into things since she always has her nose in a book. Wait.... that’s from the picture book The Library... In real life, Emily is allergic to cats, has only two piles of book in her room, and still has lots of bruises from walking into things since she always has her nose in a book. She also loves to sing.
You can find Emily here at her book review blog.

Now to the questions!

What are your favourite kinds of books and why?


I guess that would have to be fiction that mimics real life, like in the Christy Miller series because it could happen. It’s like a fictional character in real life. Also things still based in real life but you know would never happen, like the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa where this girl finds out that she’s half fairy and her dad is king Oberon from a midsummer night’s dream. Percy Jackson as well -you know greek gods aren’t real but it’s still a fun series.

Male or female MCs [Main Characters]?

Actually I don’t have a preference, both are fun to read.

How do you go about picking books to read?

When I'm at home, I look for books I already read and loved and I read those.

When I go to the library, I pull random books off shelves, and then I go sit at a table and read the jackets and then leave the ones I don’t want on the table. I don’t like prejudicing myself by covers.

I also use book review sites sometimes: goodreads, teen readers book club (through our library), blogs... I use one blog a lot called
Belle's Bookshelf. [I love that blog too! You guys should definitely check it out.]What makes you put down a book without finishing it?
Poor writing quality, idiotic characters (those characters that just ramble on and don’t shut up), a slow storyline (I had to put down War and Peace because it went so slow), too weird. I’ll only keep reading a book when I don’t enjoy it if a family member has given it to me.

What is your favourite book?

Can I pick like, 15? I guess it would have to be Make Way for Ducklings, because that was my favourite when I was younger. I love those little duckies!!

Does age of the MC matter to you?

Actually no. Most appealing to read would be middle grade, because honestly high schools in books do not match what my high school is like in the slightest.

What do you have to say about relationships in books? What kinds of relationships are your favourite, etc?

I’m... in one? Oh, in books! Haha... I don’t really care whether its friendship or romantic, but I don’t like it when the relationship between two characters takes away from the story.
Is there a certain element of a book that would guarantee that you would read it?Something that will draw me to books is adventure. That’s why I like the Warriors, Percy Jackson and Iron Fey series. How long does it take you to read a book? How many books to you read in a week?On average, it takes me a day and a half to read a book considering I read during class all the time... in a week, on average three or four. I read incredibly fast! (Unfortunately then people don’t believe that I don’t absorb all the information... but I don’t scan the pages!) What makes you buy a book?
Either it’s part of a series I’ve already read, and the next book has come out OR it’s a book I’ve read before after borrowing from the library or a friend and I have to have it because I love it so much.

---


Thank you so much, Emily! If any of you guys have any more questions for Emily, I'm sure she'll answer them. Or if you guys want to answer any of the questions in the comments, feel free! Oh and don't forget to check out her
blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why You Should Save (AND BACKUP!!!) Your Work


What Marlin and Dory found in THE ABYSS... no
lost stories, though... :(

While checking out posts for the "Oh, The Early Work" Blogfest, I noticed a pattern of people saying things like "unfortunately I've lost all my childhood stories I wrote" or "yeah somehow all my work got deleted" before they went on to describe their early work. But it isn't just recently that I've been hearing this kind of thing. I've seen a lot of people say they've lost their work because they didn't save or back it up and then it got deleted or flushed down the toilet or thrown into the great, giant abyss.

YOU GUYS. SAVE YOUR WORK. BACK UP YOUR WORK.

Wait, I don't think you got the message yet:

SAAAAAAAAAAAAVVVVVVVVEEEE!!!!!!!!! BACKUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So WHY am I so passionate about saving and backing up your work? Wait, before I tell you, if you're working on something right now, go save it. You did? All right, good. We can continue.

So, why does it even MATTER if you don't save/backup your work? Especially, like, old embarassing stories you wrote when you were little and childish and didn't know anything? Or even some of the stories you write now that you know you're not going to want later because you're just kind of barfing stuff onto the page anyway?

Well, let's make a list.

1. You really DON'T know if you'll want to use those ideas later.

Let's say that you, I don't know, wrote this weird paragraph-long prologue-sort of thing one time when you were bored at Christmas (and you wanted to try out your new office folder you got) and you pretty much thought you'd never use it again. BUT THEN later you had a whole bunch of other ideas and then it turned out that you could actually incorporate that old prologue thing you wrote at Christmas into your new ideas. And you gasp and realize you actually KEPT that prologue and it's in your filing cabinet RIGHT NOW and you are so HAPPY because for once when you're writing you ACTUALLY KNOW WHERE TO START. And then the story that branched from the prologue becomes a trilogy and it's all because you kept that one paragraph.


Yup, it's true... I'm the kind of person that loves getting office
supplies for Christmas. Oh yeah, I'm that cool.

SO if you didn't catch that, it is AWESOME if, when you realize you can use an idea you had way back when, it turns out that you still have some scrappy writings to start from. It is quite awesome not to have to start from a blank page, right writers? I think this would be the biggest reason to save your work.

2. You can see how far you've come.


(source)
 Obviously as you write more, you'll become better at the craft of writing (as happens with anything you practise). When you look back at old stuff you've written years ago, you realize exactly how far you have come, and I think that's pretty cool. You feel proud of yourself when you see that.

3. You can laugh at your silly self later.


I had a fascination with dragons when I was younger...
quite a few of my stories featured them. GO DRAGONS!!

Kind of like I did here. This one isn't quite as useful a reason as the other two, but still. It is fun.

And as for backing up your work....

4. Your work WILL get lost/deleted/whathaveyou.
And guess what? If you have backups, then that won't matter. Go out there and figure out a way to backup your work automatically, or make extra copies and store them in different places, or whatever. But do it, in case you lose your work or it gets deleted.

---
I'm not the best person to ask exactly how you should save or backup your work (although while you're writing I think you should press Ctrl/Command+S after every sentence) but I would like to tell you that YES, IT IS WORTH IT to put the effort in to take the time to set up something so that your work gets backed up in case something happens. Better safe than sorry, right?



(source: http://www.thingsihavelearnedinmylife.com/)

Why do you think it is important to save or backup your work? How do you go about backing up your work?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Art of Blogfesting: Guest Post by "The Golden Eagle"

Hello everyone! Today I have a special guest post for you by The Golden Eagle, which is a penname for a teenager writer/blogger who blogs at The Eagle's Aerial Perspective here. Here's some more about her:

The Golden Eagle is the pseudonym of a teenage Chinese-American girl who loves to write, read, and blog, among other things. Her favorite genre to read and to write is Science Fiction, along with some Fantasy and other genres on the side.

Oh, and she gets bonus points from me because she uses an online-name, like I do! :D

Anyway, I asked her to post on the topic of blogfests because you should see the number of blogfests that girl does! I don't know how she has time for all of them... take it away, Golden Eagle!

The Best of Blogging Events

When Gracie asked me to write a post on blogfests, I jumped at the chance. I love participating in them; they're interesting, fun, relatively easy to do, and best of all? You're likely to meet people who share your interests.

Where to find them:

Pages and sidebars are great places to find blogfests. Many bloggers put buttons created by the blogfest hosts on their sidebars, or if there isn't a button, a link instead. I have a separate page where I list blogfests and other events--I find it's an easy way of bringing them all together.

Watch for posts that mention them: a lot of people put out the word about a blogfest if they plan to participate and/or find it interesting. Certainly the hosts will bring it up on their blog!

How to be the best participant possible:

Pay attention to the rules. Of course, you don't have to follow absolutely everything down to the letter, but it's a good idea to give the impression you read the post about the blogfest before you signed up.

I would suggest putting up an individual post if the blogfest falls on a day when you have something else planned. While I know some people will combine both their regular post and a blogfest, a separate post makes it easier to identify what's what. If you think you'll have commenters coming by for both the regular post and the blogfest, put links at the top of whichever post was put up last so they don't have to scroll.

Comment, comment, comment on the blogs of others participating. This is how you meet people interested in the same thing and possibly get new followers--the list of links (called Linky Lists if hosted by Linky Tools and Collections if hosted by InLinkz) included with most blogfests is very handy.

Benefits:

Foremost, the content. If it's a writing challenge, then you get the opportunity to showcase your work. If it's something with a theme, you get to learn about other bloggers and (often) discuss the theme with them. In addition, depending on the subject, you can find out about some great book/movie, an interesting fact, a helpful tip. Those are just a few examples: there are blogfests on so many subjects! And if you read enough posts written by others and comment/follow, you will probably find at least a few new people reading your blog.

Conclusion:

Blogfests are a lot of fun. They're beneficial for you and your blog in that they increase your audience, and they're an excellent way of finding new friends in the blogosphere.
 
Thank you so much, Golden Eagle! Now here are some links to blogfests that are going on right now:

The Rule of Three Blogfest
Halloween Hop (Oct 28-31 visit as many Halloween Hop blogs as you can!)
Casting Call Character Blog Hop
Killer Characters Blogfest (Oct 24, 26, 28)
Oh, The Early Work Blogfest (have your post written by Oct 28, my post for this one is here)
YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesdays (not a blogfest, but a weekly prompt for you!)


What blogfests are you participating in right now? Post a link to the explanation post and I'll add it to the list!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Early Works Blogfest: My Awesome Childhood in Writing

I think that there is a time when writers are still in their "baby" stage, if you will. A writer is a baby if they've only written a couple of WIPs, and are still going through growth spurts of learning and such. They still have a long way to go, but they'll get there once they've matured or done enough writing. For most people, their baby stage of writing happens when they first start seriously writing, somewhere in adulthood. Since I've been writing since I was five (maybe before that?) it just so happens that my baby stage of writing and my actual childhood line up! :)

Anyway... today I'm going to do a post for the Early Works blogfest that is being hosted by Juliemy here. You have to post about your early days of writing. I'm not going to write about every single thing I've written from the beginning until now, because that would honestly take weeks, but I'll post some excerpts of my favourites. :)



6 years old: I'm sure if you've been following my blog for awhile, you know about Linda and the Dragon. If you don't, click the link to read it. Basically, it's a story about Linda and a dragon (bet you couldn't guess that from the title) and it has absolutely no paragraphs for dialogue and pretty much no punctuation.







appx 9 years old. I wrote a story called "Bear" about a girl who lives with a bear.

 Bear and Girl lived together in a cozy cave. They did everything together. In Winter they slept. In Spring they pranced and danced about the meadow. In Summer they swam and caught fish in the lake. In Autumn they jumped in and out of the fluttering leaves. Girl didn’t know about her life before Bear. She thought that Bear was her life, but in the end she was very, very wrong.

Yeah, apparently I aced the show-don't-tell rule back then... NOT. (But this was one of my favourite stories when I was younger... until I realized that the main idea -a girl being brought up by a bear- was terribly unrealistic.)


appx 8 or 9 years old. So my brother and I were obsessed with these toys called "Bionicles" when we were younger... we still have all the Bionicle movies, I think, and I'm pretty sure there were books, too. Anyway, one time when I was at my grandma's house for the day I wrote a Bionicle story:

A New Island.



“Gali, my sister! There you are,” exclaimed Tahu. “No, my brother, I am here,” said Gali. “Stop sillytalk,” said Lewa. The toa were talking of things to come and things of the past, by the water’s of Ga-Koro. “I feel a great new place coming to be…” said Gali. Tahu rolled his eyes and put his hand on Gali’s shoulder. A deep rumbling sound came suddenly. “Do you know of this earthrumble, my brothers?” asked Lewa...
 
Haha, still makes me laugh. (Although now I can't really understand it since I'm not into Bionicles anymore....) Also notice how I still haven't learned to make a new paragraph for new dialogue...
 
13 years old. So I didn't want to clean out the recycling bucket and my dad suggested I write a story about it. So, I did.

Once, a long, long time ago in the year of 2008, there was a girl named Pip. Her job was to clean out the recycling bucket because over time, it had collected lots of mess. Tomato sauce splotches, pineapple juice, and other unidentifiable smudges. It had come time to wash it out.


“But I don’t want to!” Pip complained.


Her father placed the bucket in plain sight on the stairs, but each time Pip passed she ignored it.


“That’s it!” the father said, “I’m going to lock you away with that bucket until you wash it out!”


So Pip’s father locked her away in a tall tower, out in the middle of the desert, with the messy recycling bucket. He also left her with some cleaning supplies just in case she changed her mind, and decided to do what her father asked.


“Never!” Pip declared.


So day after day, and night after night, Pip entertained herself by making up stories. Sometimes she would lean out her tower window and call out across the desert. Sometimes she would sing. There was lots of things to do in the tower, so Pip was hardly ever bored. But what Pip didn’t notice was the bacteria growing in the recycling bucket. Pip had stashed it away in a corner, so it wouldn’t get in the way.


Six more months passed, and then one day something grabbed Pip on the shoulder.


“Finally!” Pip shrieked, “Some company.”


But the hand on her shoulder was not ordinary company at all. It was a monster made from the bacteria in the recycling bucket! Pip turned around, and saw the ugliest thing she had ever seen in her life.


It was a disgusting green and purple and brown colour, and it didn’t have any particular shape. The one thing that was definite about the monster was it’s size. It took up the entire tower room.


“Don’t eat me!” Pip whimpered.


But Pip didn’t have a chance. The monster or thing or whatever it was trapped Pip in it’s massive figure and –somehow- swallowed Pip whole.


And that is the story of the girl who didn’t clean out the recycling bucket.


And... I could post more, but I won't. This is actually really fun... maybe I'll post a childhood story of mine each week or something. :) Anyway, go check out the blogfest and have a great day!

What were some of your old stories about?



Friday, October 7, 2011

Symptoms of Falling in Love...With A Book



"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." -Paul Sweeney

1. You cannot put the book down.

That thing is so good it's glued to your fingers. You bring the book wherever you go and sneak a sentence every single chance you get. You will sacrifice everything if only to read onward!

2. You cannot stop thinking about the book.

When someone eventually rips that book out of your hands, you cannot think of anything else. You can't stop reliving your favourite scenes in your head, or agonizing over what could happen next. And, of course, you're plotting the perfect time to make an escape and go back to your book to pick it up once again. Oh, how your heart longs for those words!

source


3. You want to know everything about that book.

You want to find out every single little detail about the story-world in that book. The book itself just simply isn't enough. Who cares if you have to resort to poorly written fan-fiction. All you want is to frolick for the rest of your days with those characters and those settings. Or maybe you just try to find something written by the same author. It doesn't really matter, you just want MORE!

Unfortunately, love can sometimes border on obsession and I would advise you to be careful when spending time with your significant other favourite book. Be aware of how much time you are spending with them as opposed to your friends and family in the real world.

Happy reading!

What books have YOU fallen in love with?

(Mine would be.... Harry Potter series, Christy Miller series, and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta)

---

So, sorry I haven't been blogging as much lately... school, y'know. Anyway, as I was looking for quotes to put above... I found this AWESOME quote by Oscar Wilde that basically sums up everything that I was trying to say in my last post: "The books the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame." Have a great weekend! (Oh, and in Canada, this weekend is Thanksgiving weekend... yeah don't really know why it's a month earlier than Americans but anyway... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!)

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