Thursday, February 28, 2013

Music and Myself

Happy last day of the month! The ending of a February, the beginning of a March. It's been a rough February, I'm not gonna lie: and March will probably be worse. But Spring Break is the first week of April! Yay!

Anyways, I don't have much to post about. I'm rewriting my rough draft again. I really need to work on my pacing and detailing; my last draft's topped at 50k words. I feel like my character hates me for this, but I'm also reworking the plot. Again.

I hate that I have an entire world and an entire person, and I cannot seem to write her story because I have no actual plot. Every plot I contrive feels, unsurprisingly, contrived.

But I didn't write this to rant about writing. (Ooh, I love alliteration. =D) I can't really remember why I sat down to write this post, either, so I thought I'd post you some music suggestions, songs I listen to for a certain mood. Like a lot of writers, I like music on while I'm working. Look them up on youtube, if you have a chance. They are generally free of swear words and have deeper meanings than parties! (And I'm not so good with music genres, and I focus more on songs, so it really would do best to actually listen to the songs.)

Welcome to the Masquerade -- Thousand Foot Krutch
Frontline -- Pillar

The Good Left Undone -- Rise Against
Iris -- Goo Goo Dolls

I Dare You To Move -- Switchfoot
It Ends Tonight -- All American Rejects

Boomin' -- Toby Mac
Live It Up -- Group 1 Crew

Odd/Creepy/Crazy/I don't really know what to call this one....
Mordred's Lullaby -- Heather Dale
Better Dig Two -- The Band Perry

Even If It Breaks Your Heart -- Eli Young Band
The Lost Get Found -- Britt Nicole

Wow, I did not realize how much music I listen to. This is the briefest sample of my favorite music; I had to delete two from each section so you wouldn't get freaked out by the length of this blog post. It was kind of cool to go back through my notebook of songs and write some down for you -- I should do this more often. My blog is the Inky Melody, after all.

Anyways, I hope you listen to some of these songs, if you don't know them already. And if you do know them, congratulations! You can listen to them more. If you don't end up liking these songs, that's alright, too.

Have a blessed Thursday! =D

Monday, February 25, 2013

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly.
Ida's daddy was a pilot, and when he took her flying, she never wanted to come down again. But after his death, the sky is off-limits to a young black woman such as herself. When America enters World War II, the Army forms the WASP -- Women Airforce Service Pilots -- and Ida has a chance to join, if she's willing to use her light skin to pass as a white girl. She wants to fly more than anything, but Ida soon learns that denying one's identity and family is a heavy burden. Can she fulfill her dream without herself?

~Print copy, 271 pages
Publsihed: 2010 (copyright 2008) by Speak

I can't seem to find the place to begin about this novel.

I came into this novel expecting the author to be one of those authors who heavy-handedly dole out political lessons on racism and sexism. Not that I am for either of those; indeed, I am so against racism and sexism that I feel no more words should have to be said on it, and certainly not to me.

But this novel was so much more than that. This wasn't a lesson, or some fantasy adventure story, or some essay. But it tackled some important lessons on the topic of The Future and of the very definition of black and white and man and woman, and I am still a little bowled over.

How to define this novel in my own words: Ida Mae wants to be a pilot. But the war starts, and her brother enlists, and she's stuck at home, cleaning houses and saving bacon fat for the war effot. So when her little brother hands her a newspaper article for the WASP, giving her hope for a future in flying, she takes it.

This is a story of one woman, searching for not just a future, meted out to her by society; but for her future, the role she was born to play.

Honestly speaking, I cried at parts in this novel. It brings you close to the heart of the story, the way all the best books are written. I felt for the characters; I felt for Ida, I felt for her friends in the WASP, I felt for everything and everyone.

I finished this book in two days. Actually, I literally finished it about an hour ago. This isn't some fantasy book like Narnia or Eragon, where you're a little distanced and feeling for a wole cast of characters and their meanings; Flygirl gives you the perspective of one colored woman, fighting against a world that's intent to drag her down, and you begin to love her friends as she loves her friends.

Another thing to note is the tone, the colloquialism, of the novel. Not that I've ever been to Louisiana, but it sounds plausibly Deep-Southern-Authentic. A good writing style, casual and flowing yet still digs deep to the meaning.

Overall, I loved this novel. I kind of hated it, too, for the way it made me cry. But that makes me love it all the more, because there are so few novels that can do so. Five stars, definitely.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Follow Friday #34

Follow friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee.(!) (I wanted to put an exclamation point there for some reason, but I thought it would sound too preppy.)

Q: We always talk about books WE want. Let's turn it on its head. What books have you give other people lately?

Oh, goodness. I tend to buy or keep books for myself. (That is, when I'm not borrowing them from the library.) I don't often give other people books unless I've read them myself and didn't like them, or if I've somehow garnered enough self-control (goodness forbid!) to give away a book I haven't read yet.

I did give my mother a copy of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. I've never read it before; but I've been dying to read it. I don't want to read her copy, because that makes it seem like I bought the book for her just so I can read it. But it's really tempting. I mean, look at that title!

I gave my friend a copy of After by Amy Efaw. I'd read it and was kind of iffed about the ending (can't remember why). And I gave my other friend a copy of a series called Wolves of the Beyond (Kathryn Lasky). Haven't read that book.

So, really, I can't stand giving away books I've read because it feels icky. I keep thinking the book feels somehow betrayed that I've just given it away. (I think of books like most people think of babies. Quite literally, apparently, reading over that last sentence.) Giving away books I've never read -- and therefore, never bonded with, in either a good or bad way -- is a bit easier.

Gah! Listen to me, going on about babies books. Anyways, what do you think? Do you give away books easily, and if so, what sort of books? Let me know!

Have a blessed Friday! =D

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Poetry and Other Stuff

So, I'm still reading Narnia -- the reason I didn't post Monday. But I'm back now. =D

I don't have too much to say. I've got links to my pinterest and tumblr and twitter -- I happen to repin or reblog a lot of cats, flowers, random-fandom stuffs, and whatever I think is funny. I can have a weird, nerdy sense of humor.

I might eventually begin posting arguments on here. Argumentative essays. I'm taking AP language, and I need to know things like how to construct and deconstruct an argument. So, I'll need practice; and y'all will be my guinea pig audience. (Hopefully you're not actual guinea pigs behind the screen. I kinda imagine this rodent army of guinea pigs staring at the screen, eating my words up. It's kind of a creepy mental image.) Don't worry, I'll steer clear of sensitive topics, or political topics or disturbing social norms or whatever you feel like calling them.

But other than that, there's not much to say. so I wrote some poems the other day, and I decided to share one with you. Don't know why.

Inky Starlight

On a clear night,
When the stars glisten like
Drops of white ink
On black paper;
I go outside,
Sit in my backyard,
Staring up at the brilliant mystery.
And I take my glasses off,
To see the moon properly,
Big and fuzzy:
The friendly moon of my childhood.

(Do they even make white ink?) This is not my favorite work. But it is my work, so I love it. (Wow, I think I just paralleled Stephen Crane there, with his poem on the creature who ate his heart.)

Anyways, I don't... really have anything else to say. Just wanted to let you know I'm not dead. I'm still coming up with writing stuffs. And, have a blessed Wednesday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Follow Friday #33

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee.

Q: Write a letter to your favorite character. Rant, rave, or gush... just pretend like they are real and you just want to let them know a "few things".

Dear Emily Strange,

You. Are. Awesome. 'Nuff said.

You are a genius; you are a weird genius, who knows how to build a golem and an amnesia machine and a duplicator; you are an antisocial genius, who is destined to become a Dark Aunt with magical black rock...

In my book, you are one of those few lady characters who was written right. I love how you can invent the best things ever -- like, as I mentioned, a duplicator -- and how you have the wierdest, randomest talents.

I don't know why more people wouldn't want to be friends with a cat-loving, skateboard master, sewer-mural-painting prankster such as yourself. Their loss.


(*Emily the Strange: the Lost Days by Rob Reger. Published: 2009 by HarperTeen. It's worth reading, guys.*)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Another On My Mind

I know, I know, I've written update after update. Internet's still acting up a little; but it should work better in the next couple days.

In the meantime, this is what has been on my mind lately:

  • Our report cards have come out, and since I'm a junior, it includes my GPA and class rank -- my GPA is just shy of a 4.0! I'm really happy. I worked hard for those Cs, Bs, and As.
  • I have an AP American History test tomorrow. Meh. :(
  • I also have a vocabulary test in AP language. :(
  • Tomorrow is Vanlentine's Day, so Happy Valentine's Day, people who celebrate it! I don't. So, really, I just hope one of my teachers does and they give me candy.
  • I've been waist deep in AP History homework. Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson, oh my!
  • My writings are wandering and confused. I don't know why I decided to pull griffins into the mix, no matter for how short a time.
  • I really want pizza, for some reason. Or chocolate. But I can't have either, because I have no money.
  • I wrote a play in Creative Writing. What possessed me to write a play about love? It sounds so melodramatic.
  • I'm reading Narnia! Meep! :D I've only read the Magician's Nephew before. Well, really, my mom read me the Magician's Nephew when I was like, eight years old.
  • I keep repeating the lyrics of the Battle Hymn of the Republic in my mind for some reason.

I've reached about 27k words. I told myself I would have 39k words by today, but I got sidetracked on Monday. I was watching the Next Great Baker on... I think it was the Food Network. I've never watched the show, but on Monday I watched like, six straight hours of it and then the finale. Dang, those people are cutthroat. No wonder I was glued to it.

Anyways, I've learned some interesting things about my writing:

For one thing, I make weird, unconscious literary references. Like when my MC calls everyone "little honey", that's actually the name of a baby in a Netherlands fairy tale, called the Cat and the Cradle. I came across that fairy tale again in a book of cat fairy tales, so when I saw the baby's name, I was like, "Weird. That's just like -- oh, wait. I've read this book before. No wonder."

I use the word "I" a lot. Wow. It starts off most sentences; I really need to fix that.

And, also, it feels really list-like. This is the 2nd draft; it feels kinda like the first, where I'm just listing my MC's actions, and her emotions. It only feels alive when I go into extreme detail. Perhaps you can expect a future post about extreme details in the future; though that subject has been pounded to death by the mallets of much more experienced writers than I.*

Anyways, have a blessed Wednesday. And Valentine's Day. :)

*I don't remember what writers. I think I've been reading too many internet articles and not been spending enough time writing.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Quick Update

My internet's being really weird. I haven't had proper connection in days. So, this is a short post on updates.

For one thing: I actually joined Twitter. *whew* What a big leap for me. I haven't actually been on it for awhile, because as I said, my inernet's hates me. But I did it. (I'm not a technology sort of person. Or a people person. So, joining Twitter is akin to leaping off a cliff for me.)

Another thing: Since I have no internet, I've been writing! Sort of. I hope to reach 84,000 words of my re-worked second draft by the end of February. This is also feels like a cliff jump.

Thank you for voting on my poll! I will try to write more on Wednesdays. In fact, this was supposed to be on a Wednesday. But my internet didn't work at all yesterday, so I ended up writing 3k words and listening to my radio.

I don't know yet, but I might post the link to my Twitter. And possibly my Tumblr and Pinterest as well, but those contain pictures of randomness, art, cats, Doctor Who, bad word puns, and possible-future-ideas-for-stories.

I currently do not know about Monday's book review. Or tomorrow's Follow Friday for that matter, but for different reasons. Tomorrow, I don't know how my internet will be acting; and Monday, because I've been reading a book of cat fairy tales, and ignoring my usual reading schedule. I can summarize some pretty interesting cat stories on Monday, if it comes down to it.

Lastly, I plan on trying to up my reading-and-commenting-random-blog-posts. I know, I take on a lot at once (84k and blog reading!?) but I hope I'll manage it. And, at worst, I'll try again in March. (Not the writing; at that point, I hoep to simply be editing, not rewriting.)

So, please enjoy this pictureswhile I wish you a blessed Thursday. =D

(this is a picture of my cat, Nala. Ain't she a pretty Siamese?)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Inside by Maria V. Snyder

Four walls. Four levels. Eighteen thousand people. No escape -- ever.
The world of Inside is simple. Do your job, stay out of the way and don't dream of anything better. Because as every Scrub knows, there are no other options.
Until Trella -- the Queen of the Pipes, as some call her -- gets involved with a revolution that will rock her world...
Trealla was just doing a favor for a friend -- her only friend. Hiding an injured man from the Pop Cops seemed easy enough -- though dangerous. But then she discovered that the myths of Outside might be real...
Being Inside's hero only left Trella with more work. Ducking those responsibilities, she continued to explore her stark world -- and found something she never expected. Strangers. From Outside...

~Print copy, 599 pages
Published: 2012 by Harlequin Teen

So, this was two novels in one. It took me about a week to read. There are a lot of hyphens in that summary. But the writing wasn't too bad in the books themselves, I don't think. (I finished these last Thursday. I'm writing this on Monday.)

What did I think?.... It's kind of hard to articulate.

On the one hand, the premise is cool. I mean, an overcrowded cube, full of people who think the outside world's a myth, or heaven or some such? Also, I liked Trella in the beginning. She was kind of... rough, but smart. Street smarts, or cuve smarts; she hid in pipes away from other people, and relied on no one but herself. And maybe her friend, Cog.

On the other hand, I didn't realize this involved romance. I'm not saying with who. Go read it yourself. But especially in Outside In, the romance kind of distracted from the action for me, and I am very displeased with romance-in-general. I did not want to hear of Trella's hormones; I wanted to hear about her actions, and reactions.

The book I read before this one also had romance in it, and the pair of them sort of sent me into a moping-about. It threw off my normal reading; and not really in a good way. All weekend, I've been picking up books and setting them back down after 10 pages, even if I was sort of interested. I kept thinking, why read when all I'll find is romance? Romance, which I've never been inclined to experience myself and don't appreciate finding in books?

Yes, it's bad to bring other books into this when I'm reviewing only this (these) book(s). But books are all about what you bring to them, and I sort of brought a depressed little oh-romance-sucks-why-me? cloud to this duo.

This is why I write, I tell myself. So that I can find my soul reflected in books, and hopefully some asexual teenager like myself one day picks it up and smiles in relief, knowing s/he's found a reflected soul in my book.

But I digress. This is a book review, not my ramble on romance.

Overall, the book had a cool premise. I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. Good writing. Decent characters. Trella, actually, gets a little shakier near and through the 2nd book, in my opinion. She was cool in the first book, because she knows her way around and doesn't listen or care about anyone, but then in the second book she's sort of limited to and starts acting like the Uppers, who are the equivalent of ignorant rich people with cushy jobs.

The romance threw me off the deep end a little. I should read more MG. It has less hormones. YA is full of romance disguised as fantasy, sci-fi, etc. What I define romance, though, is: the presence, no matter how slight, of a romantic relationship between the main or one of the major-minor characters and someone else. Which, when I put it that way, is quite a few YA books. I hope to change that with my own writing, even if I have to write 80 YA-books-without-any-hint-of-romance by myself.

Gah! Another mini-rant! I'm getting better at catching myself.

Anyways... this book I'd recommend to anyone who doesn't have a problem. Which is pretty much 99% of the population. I'm that 1%. Or rather, I'm that .09% and there's a few more non-romance-lovers who make up the other... however-much%.

The first I would rate, maybe, a 3.25 stars. The second is a solid 3 stars, or maybe even 2.75 stars. I'm sorry, but I can never get past serious romance, like the 2nd book had. (Not sex or anything, just an actual relationship.) So together, they're a 3.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Follow Friday #32

Happy First of February! (That alliterated! Sweet! =D Sorry, I love alliteration perhaps too much.) Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

Q: What is the first thing you would do if you woke up to find yourself in your favorite book?

It depends on which I'd get to wake up in. I have a lot of favorites, really. I have so many favorites, I have to separate them between my greater-favorites bookcase and my lesser-favorites bookcase. But of course, I am in love with fantasy, so I would probably first of all perform magic.

Magic is epic. If I woke up in Hogwarts, I'd try to levitate myself. (Or a feather, perhaps.) If I woke up in Inkheart (or Inkspell, really), I'd go sightseeing. (Fairies, underwater creatures, oh-goodness-the-possibilities...)

Or I'd go riding on a dragon. Find an invisible spell in some world. Capture a tooth fairy!*

It really, really, depends on the world. But you can bet your giraffe the first thing I'd do involves observing or performing magic. Your giraffe would be perfectly safe, and the person you bet against would mournfully hand over their panda bear. Or you could be nice and tell them they can keep their panda bear; there's really not enough space in your house for more than one bigger-than-a-human animal.

How about you? What would you do? What obscure books have you read that would be lovely (or at least epic; don't want to go into some of these book-conflicts!) to jump into? Have a blessed Friday!

*What the Dickens: the Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Maguire. Truck yea, I pick good books.