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Archive for January, 2012

For me the hardest part of the writing process is not paying attention to possible grammar and structural mistakes or dwelling on the first pages for too long. Regardless of how inspired I feel, the moment can get ruined (quite cruelly at that), since I cannot bring myself to focus on the writing itself; I already skip to tweaking whatever words I’ve managed to spit out, correcting a plethora of mistakes that may not actually be there… chiselling, shaping it into what, by my standards, might be perfection.

This is a mistake every writer should avoid doing.

The time for corrections and polishing your baby will come soon enough – for now you ought to be entirely immersed in the notion of sharing the story, getting to know the characters.. Not the most tiresome and boring process. Once you plunge into the depths of correcting and thesaurus-ing (don’t ask), you become nervous. You shy away from writing more because somehow you make yourself believe that you’re not good enough if you gave birth to so many errors! At least that’s the case with me.

Your self-esteem and the will to fight may, as a result, wither away, slowly, deliberately giving way to higher expectations.

Don’t do this. Focus on the joy of telling a story instead. Focus on unfolding history, doing research, an occasional rendez-vous with the lovely and charming thesaurus (spending every minute with the guy can be destructive for your relationship), but don’t overdo it. Too many cooks spoil the broth, as they say.

Nowadays, I tend to ditch the urge to go back and check everything I’ve typed/written by hand, as it has finally occurred to me that doing so inevitably leads to the Bloody Writer’s Block.
Said Bloody Writer’s Block usually clinges to me for weeks on end, months even, and eventually I am left with nothing, standing on the crossro… I mean, I feel abused by my own conviction (deeply rooted inside me since the beginnings of time) that my first draft should be perfect.

WRONG.

The second draft won’t be perfect, either. Same goes to the final draft! I am not telling you to suck big time and to pay little to no attention to what you’re scribbling. The point is, it’s what makes all authors different from one another. We make different mistakes, our outlooks on life are never the same, we create our own voices through those errors and victories. Every single one of us is unique and it shows through writing.

However, make sure you learn from your mistakes as you go because that’s important as well.

And happy writing!

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I had a hard time choosing the right poem, you know? I was seeking one that would not reveal too much, nor be too vague. Had to have something in the middle; a balance.

With the written word I strip myself bare, admit things I would have never utterred out loud, even to myself. Some of my works can easily be deemed incomprehensible, however, they all serve a purpose: to make myself comprehend how my mind works. With the written word comes a bargain I couldn’t refuse.

The bigger portion of my poems orbits around forest imagery; around lakes, rivers, waterscapes; around the darkness, the stars and the moon; around mythical surroundings that breathe life into them. This are my ‘panic rooms’, so to speak. Let’s take all this one step further, then!


I TURNED TO GAZE UPON A GROVE

I turned to gaze upon a grove

Those quivering grasses

Tall to my thighs, palms of my hands;

Air claims the trees

As they sway in the liquid rhythm

The greens, the browns

Crouching between the grays



The grove in which I was born

The dryads have tended to

By force of habit, by rule of the forest;

Their giggles flew right to the bark

And crawled inside it, feeding, testing,

Gorging the treacherous tree-leeches,

Bankrupt gone the evil worm world


With sunrays detached from the sight

At times the core of the woods is gloomy

Its ghost-like demeanour

Stings the eyes

Of the newcomers who do not see the

Miniscule sun-symbols carved into the bark;

A lion’s share is what’s inside



I turned to gaze upon a grove,

Arrived to clean the branches

Render it unblurred and seemly

The perfect house to dwell in

The shift in space

And time occurred

And I – the fresh air – remain still

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 Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend—the “rivals” to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds—pandemonium breaks loose. 

Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day! [snagged from Goodreads]

Let me tell you one thing: this is the most delightful and hilarious play I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

It is a humour-packed mockery of the best kind, the one that attacks the tenets imposed on the Victorian Society, the ever-present matchmaking process , the snobbery and, of course, hypocrisy of the Victorian people.  Last year, when I was writing my Master’s thesis I stumbled upon this particular book in a bookstore. I instantly latched onto it, read the synopsis and knew all at once my dissertation would greatly profit from it. I had no idea I would profit as well. Prior to reading it I spent my days immersed in books on Victorian Society, the societal analyses, books on females in Victorian fiction, the Victorian history, books by Thackeray, Dickens, Disraeli… The Importance of Being Earnest was a breath of fresh air: not only did it serve as a relaxation factor, it also made me fall head over heels with Wilde’s writing.

This play’s an insightful fast-paced read, Algernon is – to my mind – one of the most adorable and lovable protagonists ever, the girls are fantastic and Aunt Augusta is a perfect example of the Victorian snobbishness. Not only that – the book  almost in its entirety is deliciously quotable. It also lacks the seriousness that represents the majority of Victorian works. Which alone makes for a very entertaining adventure.

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It has become apparent to me over the course of years that one of the Things I Must Get Done Or Else I Will Never Forgive Myself is having my collection of poems published.

With the poetry not being in demand nowadays it may border on impossibility.

However, have you ever seen how thriving the poetry tag on Tumblr is? It’s not as much about quality but the quantity of people who are genuinely into poetry. And it will persevere, so long as people do not give up on their dreams. One can bump into true gems while browsing through Tumblr. Myself, I have had an account solely devoted to poetry over there, and it was extremely rewarding to find that people actually appreciated my input. It filled me with hope up to the brim. That was then when I decided upon giving it a try.

Inaction is not in order if you love doing something. I have a fair share of poems saved on my hard drive, all awaiting their glorious moment of seeing the light of day and they simply cannot be ignored. I won’t rely on literary magazines; most of the publishers won’t accept work from rookies, explaining that since there’s no demand they only stick to well-known poets. Which is bull.

I will self-publish. It’s the desire to share that ignites all the feelings within me, and share I will. If the Tumblr users were fond of my creations, there may, indubitably, be more readers who would do the same. Someone may smile or cry, or sigh, or wonder while reading a poem or two of mine, and that’s enough for me.

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Stephen King, to my mind, has mastered the skill of storytelling. Even though some of his books and short story compilations I regard as ‘meh’, there are a couple of his works I consider masterpieces… Masterpieces, even. Throughout my life I have read 31 books by this wonderful, ingenious man, and I cannot express enough gratitude for having been able to do that. If anything, he has taught me to be brave in my writing. He does not shy away from depicting the worst things and people, the goriest occurrences, the darkest demons that dwell within his characters’ heads. He conceives a multitude of subplots that are eventually combined into one epic plot, and he does it well. What strikes me as one of the most fascinating things a writer could do is intertwining the worlds about which he’s writing. A female character from Desperation can be found in Rose Madder, for instance. A symbol of the turtle emerges in several works of his. Everything is interconnected.

Originally, I was supposed to compile a list of my favourite novels, never narrowing them down to one author. However, later on, it dawned on me that I should do this instead. My favourite novels by Stephen King, that is.

1. The Dark Tower saga:

       

This particular saga has changed my life. The first book is, honestly, one of the worst books I have ever stumbled across. Nevertheless, if one wants to delve into the series, one has to give it a try, no matter how tedious the task may be, no matter how muddy the water you’re wading through. It’s not good. In actuality, it may be considered one of his ‘fail’ works, although some claim otherwise.

The rest of the saga is absolutely PERFECT, so no fear, young padawans, if your desire to join me in my fangirling and utter bliss ignites, recall my words: it gets SO MUCH better.

2. The Tommyknockers:

This one I had to approach twice. Initially, I decided – after being about 20 pages into the story – that I wouldn’t poke it with a 50-mile stick. My godfather insisted I keep on reading, and I’m immensely glad I listened to him. If you’re looking for a fantastically developed story with rising suspense that will forever keep you at the edge of your seat, this one’s for you. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

3. Lisey’s Story:

Lisey’s Story may, as a matter of fact, be one of the most beautiful, unadulterated love stories ever written. Tragic to boot, with vivid imagery, the world of Boo’ya Moon and the things two people in love shared together. Coupled with the elements of horror it is a feast for both an eye and the soul.

4. Rose Madder:

An amazing female lead who decides to take life into her own hands after she’s had enough of her husband’s abuse – she runs away from home. We accompany her through all the changes she undergoes, we keep cheering her on, we want her to be the happiest woman alive because she deserves it. And the husband comes after her. So we, the readers, want him to suffer the cruelest of deaths and Rose to punish him for everything he’s ever dared do to her.

5. Under the Dome:

Just for the record, indecisiveness is my middle name. I had a hard time choosing the fifth book because of From a Buick 8. It’s equally brilliant, and has an ending I fully enjoyed. However, Under the Dome is the winner, even though the ending is not exactly the most riveting thing on Earth.

It is the sort of a book that will force you to read it, no matter how exhausted you are. It is the sort of a book that will make you squirm, cry, will make you prone to bouts of outrage every now and then.

And keep you entertained till the very last page.

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I hereby vow not to buy anymore books until I have read every single one out of these two stacks:

Now, this task is bound to prove difficult, as I am on a constant bookhunt. I must stay strong, for the greater good.

At the moment, I am making my way through A Clash of Kings. Deeming the first installment inThe Song of Ice and Fire series a masterpiece I quite possibly set the bar way too high. This one’s pretty good, however not as gripping as A Game of Thrones. I do hope it gets better further on. I will also make an attempt at writing a review for this one. Much fangirling over Jon will undoubtedly ensue; same goes to Sansa. These two hold a special place in my heart.

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The Hunger Games – review

Title: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

Author: Suzanne Collins

Genre: YA, dystopia, sci-fi

Number of pages: 374

Rating: 4.5 stars

A short synopsis for those who have yet to read the book or are debating doing so, while thinking it’s too hyped to be good:

Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from District 12 in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem ruled by the overbearing, unfair and cruel Capitol lives her not-so-merry life trying to make ends meet, feed her family and earn some money via hunting. She is a survivor and will do everything to protect her younger sister.

One day the tributes for the annual Hunger Games are about to be chosen – one boy and one girl from each district – in order to battle with each other to death in the Games. The Capitol clearly thrives on the entertainment the Hunger Games provide, and the fact that they’re exerting punishment on the districts makes them feel even more powerful. The Games are shown throughout the entire country, everyone watches children aged 12-18 slaughter each other, cheering on their favourites. Only one person can win.

When Primrose Everdeen, Katniss’ little sister, is chosen as a tribute, the latter rushes to volunteer. She is to be thrown into the merciless world with equally merciless opponents, and struggle hard to keep herself alive… and not lose herself or her sanity. And this is how the nightmare begins.

***

My initial reaction would be best described as ‘No way, it’s narrated in the 1st person, I won’t be able to get through this.’

Truth be told, I have a love-hate relationship with 1st person POVs, since – to my mind – it is quite easy to destroy a well-moulded character by giving them the power of narration. Thus, loads of Mary Sues and Gary Stus commence springing up, little wretched blossoms. At first I thought I would not be able to stomach Katniss.

As the story progressed the author managed to prove me wrong.

I actually took a liking to Katniss. She’s strong, loyal, uses her brain and is everything Bella Swan could never be. Most importantly: she’s independent. Other characters I thought I might not be able to like either, but eventually I began caring for them in a way I had never thought I would. Haymitch has a depth to himself and is actually very likable, Peeta is a wonderful human being, Rue is a person everyone will get attached to… Gale, on the other hand, strikes me as a Cancer so I’m not really fond of him, forgive me 😉 Everyone seems quite genuine.

It is a well-crafted story, full to the brim of twists and turns, characters with personalities and fast-paced action which makes for a quick and enjoyable read. Moreover, even the romantic sub-plot did not succeed in putting me off. The plot itself holds a strong semblance to Battle Royale so any fan of the latter will find something for themselves in The Hunger Games.

Suzanne Collins does not seem to dwell on useless descriptions too often, and for this I am thankful. She’s to-the-point and willing to share even the most gruesome details with her readers; she’s not at all afraid to put the gory and uncomfortable moments into the plot. Her writing feels real. It’s made me cry like a baby, and that’s one of the reasons I’m highly recommending it.

My answer to the ‘Is this book any good?’ question would be ‘Hell yes. Why are you even asking? Go grab it, NOW.’

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