Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday (Actually On A Wednesday)

I'm going to actually officially participate in a What's Up Wednesday today! (Even if it's kind of late. Whatever.) I'll even do the official thing: What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to help writers stay in touch.

What I'm Reading:

I'm currently reading stuff for my A to Z Book Review Challenge, mostly completely out of order because half of them weren't available from the library yet. I just finished Corked by Kathryn Borel, which was awesome (full review to come). Now I'm starting on Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi although I might end up reading a different one first depending on which books I have to return to the library first.

What I'm Writing:

I am failing at working on my book about a world of invisible people. I'm at least thinking about it again, which is more than I can say I was doing a few months ago. I've gotten to the middle of my outline, but after that I just... can't think of where I want the story to end up. It's a lot easier for me to write when I have an ending in mind, and right now I just can't think of one that doesn't make me sigh with frustration at how incompetent my storytelling abilities are.

I also started something new (which of course is what happens when you're struggling with an MS). It is a contemp road trip/travel story, drawing largely on my experiences from when I lived in the Philippines last year. I know it will be terrible because I'm terrible at writing contemp (despite it being one of my favourite genres to read), but it sure is fun.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Music! Through the internet I've discovered a whole bunch of random indie music that I really like. I love the band Typhoon, especially the song The Sickness Unto Death, which not only sounds beautiful but has awesome lyrics. I am also weirdly into Andrew Huang's rap music (I am not really a rap person). My favourites are For Love and Ash. Such good lyrics. (Also, the music videos are beautiful. Watch them.)

For something lighter, I love this song called "Waterproof" which is a song by one of the high school students who went to the school I worked at last year. It is about the "waterproof" Filipino spirit during Typhoon Haiyan a few months ago. If you buy it (which you can do here), all the proceeds go to typhoon relief! It is such a cute, uplifting song. You should at least listen to it, even if you don't buy it.

What Else I've Been Up To:

Freaking out that school is going to be over in like, two months, and freaking out over what I'm going to do this summer.

I'm also planning further reading "challenges" for myself after I finish A to Z. I think I am going to dub May "Marchetta Month", and reread all Melina Marchetta's books while basking in their awesomeness. I also want to reread some books I read as a kid and see if they're still as good as I thought then, and I also want to do some sort of diverse reading challenge. I want to either read a truckload of books with non-white narrators, or read a truckload of books by non-Western authors. Or both. We shall see!

What about you?

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Short List of Endlessly Fascinating Characters

Everyone is always pushing for complexity in characters. ("Everyone" being writer/publishing people I see online). Complex characters are good characters. They are good characters because characters should be complex, just like humans.

Sometimes the complexity of certain characters takes a hold of my brain and just won't let go. I cannot stop thinking about the character and their intricacies. I have to analyze everything about them. They are so very real and human to me. They are endlessly fascinating.

These are some characters that I've found (and still find) endlessly fascinating:

1. Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I find it absolutely fascinating about how Malfoy is not just this great big bully enemy with a capital E. I mean, Harry and co obviously see him that way (especially Harry) but it's easy to see past that. It's easy to see how he's in a very similar position to Harry, but how he's failing. The scene in Half Blood Prince where Draco is crying over the sink gets me every time. He's just a boy with goals and fears and everything just like Harry. See this gifset as well.

2. Massie from the Clique series by Lisi Harrison

Yes I read all the Clique books obsessively; they were/are my guilty pleasure books but CHARACTERS. One of the things I appreciated about the Clique books (and probably the reason I was into them for so long) was how Lisi Harrison really digs into the characters. Massie is the most popular girl and leader of her group of best friends. She's responsible for holding it all together and basically being perfect, or her face goes down the drain. The chapters from her POV were always fascinating - seeing how hard she works to keep up appearances and keep everything together, even when things are falling apart. She does anything to get her way, and sometimes she does give up hope and just wants a friend. Those are her best moments, but even still she insists on returning to keeping up appearances. From anyone on the outside, it's really, really hard to empathize with Massie. For anyone on the inside (the reader), it's almost impossible not to.

3. Dustfinger from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Dustfinger sort of just gets caught up in all this stuff with Mo being able to read things into existence completely by accident. I love love how he is not really a bad guy, but not really a good guy either. He has his own interests at heart, and will do anything to do what's best for himself. But he still ends up feeling for other's causes anyway until... well, spoilers. Dustfinger is one of my favourite characters ever and he definitely deserves his own book.

4. Quintana from Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

By Simini Blocker!

Quintana is one of the most fascinating characters of all, because she's absolutely horrible. She does not deserve love or acceptance from anyone, and deservedly doesn't get it. She's kind of crazy and you never really understand her. The fact that you never really understand her is part of the fascination of her character. She comes from places that are really hard to understand. By the end of Quintana of Charyn I only began to understand her character. There is so much to her, so much complexity and hurt and... gahh. She's absolutely brilliant.

Which characters fascinate YOU to no end? I'd love to know.


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