TCWT November 2014 Blog Chain|Lots of Random Cool Stuff

[I know, I should not be blogging–I should be writing. But I just have to post stuffs! I’m really behind. Also, I apologize in advance for the length of this post.]

tcwt-3[1]It’s that time of the month again–the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain. This month’s theme is the meaning of being a teenager, expressed in words and images. I took this to a different level and added in not just personal and positive things, but the negative aspects of being a teenager that don’t always apply to me. I made a Wordle!

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Yeah, how awesome is that? Now let’s get on with things. Oh, btw, here’s the list of other awesome peoples who are participating in the linkup:

5th – http://vergeofexisting.wordpress.com/

6th – http://irisbloomsblog.wordpress.com/

7th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

8th – https://freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/

9th – http://clockworkdesires.wordpress.com/

10th – http://www.pamelanicolewrites.com/

11th – http://randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com/

12th – http://www.kirabudge.weebly.com/my-blog

13th – http://semilegacy.blogspot.com/

14th – http://oliviarivers.wordpress.com/

15th – http://miriamjoywrites.com/

16th – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

17th – http://maralaurey.wordpress.com/

18th – http://quirkyteenwriter.wordpress.com/

19th – http://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

20th – http://www.juliathewritergirl.com/

21st – http://whileishouldbedoingprecal.weebly.com/

22nd – http://paperdaydreams.com/

23rd – http://theedfiles.blogspot.com/

24th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for December’s chain!)

1. Be honest: how is your writing going?

I’m mostly on-target and I am trying not to be distracted. It’s fairly easy to write, but that will change very soon, I think…

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?

“Hey, honey,” my mom said, entering the kitchen, “your aunt, Lindsay, just emailed me to tell me that Jessica—you know, your cousin—has just reached the one year anniversary of her blog. Isn’t that great?”

I know, it’s a quite uneventful first sentence. But it’s in the prologue.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

bloggish_cover I know, it’s beautiful. I made it on PicMonkey and I’m so proud of myself.

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters?

I have pictures of the main thirteen bloggers, but I will not show you all of them.

Cait, the MC; Belle, Cait’s BFF; Dean, the love interest; Jazmine (Jaz), the lesbian book blogger who wants to marry Starbucks.

caitbelledeanjazmine

[Guess who’s my favorite. :P]

5. What scene are you most excited to write?

The scene when Cait finds out about…the surprise, and basically the entire night. I get to describe beautiful gowns, a dazzling night, and an overall glamorous night.

6. Share a snippet or scene that you really enjoyed writing!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw shaggy black hair and blue eyes and shirt that very clearly read, “Hi, I’m Dean.” I dropped my purse and partially-full Starbucks cup and sprinted into his arms. I didn’t care that my friends were there, that they were definitely staring. It was him. Dean.

            “Caity?”

            “Dean.”

            I looked up to see him smile wildly.

            “Damn.”

            “What?”

            “You’re even better in real life.”

            I giggled, embarrassed yet relieved, and before I could catch my breath, Dean dropped his bags and picked me up by the waist—he was so strong—and spun me around. When he set me down, I was all smiles and blushing.

            And he kissed me.

            My world melted before my eyes into one shapeless puddle of color and noise. But the sounds of people were muted, just Dean and me, and his soft lips, the way he gripped my shoulder, my hands around his torso, my feet on tiptoe. My eyes closed, fluttering quietly.

            When we finally broke apart, I still hugged his body. I nestled my head into the crook of his arm.

            Annoyingly, Belle applauded. Several people whistled. I blushed a deep crimson, but Dean didn’t seem to mind. He just pecked me quickly on the cheek and picked up his bags. We walked back to our friends, my hand on his arm, his gaze mostly on me, like I was the only person in the world. And to him, maybe I was.

            Dean bro-hugged the guys, and one-armed hugged the girls. But he saved most of his affection for me.

            Jaz pulled me aside for a second and said quietly, “You were really worried?” before grinning and making her way back to the group.

            I got a good look at Dean as he gazed at me. He had a strong jawline, black hair that was the perfect balance of short and long. His eyes were an electric blue framed by long, dark eyelashes. His skin was pale, probably from living in Seattle.

            “Damn,” he said again, “you’re just so beautiful.”

            I blushed happily.

It’s just so adorable. <3

7. Now that you’re writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

  1. Shelly, Cait’s aunt who lives in NYC, is a bit strange. That was made up on the spot, and it seems to be working, so…
  2. Dean is nicer. Grr. WHY IS HE SO NICE AND SWEET AND ADORABLE???

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that’s difficult to write?

I have thirteen characters interacting at one time, which is very hard to write because:

a) I forget that some characters are here

and

b) They all have to speak!

So it’s not easy. I have to check who’s there, and separate them more.

I also have a hard time writing humor, which I really want to be in this piece. I always love funny books. But I’m not very good at writing funny things.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of the novel so far? Favorite character?

I just love the romance. I am a total romantic, and this is everything I want in a relationship [Well, except the drama].

Choosing a favorite character is like choosing a favorite child! But I LOVE Jazmine. She’s lesbian/gay/whatever, which I really wanted to be in this book. And she’s the perfect mix of maturity and immaturity. She’s also Indian, so is a bit reserved because of her background. She was originally going to be a background character, but she has begun to be Cait’s good friend.

10. Have you drawn off any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?

Definitely experiences. I wanted to really be able to connect to Cait’s feelings when I was planning this novel, and her experiences are based off my own. I love to put pain and crying into words [is that weird?], too, and I try to draw from my experiences of that feeling of helplessness and dread.

I didn’t realize this until I started writing, but if you follow Notebook Sisters, an awesome blog, you know that the main contributor is named Cait. Like my MC. Oops. This didn’t even cross my mind, I swear! I just love the name.

Belle is kind of like Evi @ Where Books never End, because she is my good friend, just like Cait and Belle are good friends. :) In retrospect, I see similarities between Jaz and Engie @ Musings From Neville’s Navel. They’re both respected and accomplished bloggers, but have a silly side, too. Kat has Cait @ Notebook Sisters silliness. :P

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

I actually have a playlist titled “Bloggish” on my iPhone. It consists of these twenty songs:

“All You Had to Do Was Stay”, 1989, Taylor Swift

“Amnesia”, 5 Seconds of Summer, 5 Seconds of Summer

“Back to December”, Speak Now, Taylor Swift

“Bad Blood”, 1989, Taylor Swift

“Blank Space”, 1989, Taylor Swift

“Classic”, MKTO, MKTO

“Come In With the Rain”, Fearless (Platinum Edition), Taylor Swift

“Enchanted”, Speak Now, Taylor Swift

“I Knew You Were Trouble”, Red, Taylor Swift

“If This Was a Movie”, If This Was a Movie-Single, Taylor Swift

“Jump Then Fall”, Fearless (Platinum Edition), Taylor Swift

“Mine”, Speak Now, Taylor Swift

“Out of the Woods”, 1989, Taylor Swift

“Red”, Red, Taylor Swift

“Round & Round”, A Year Without Rain, Selena Gomez and the Scene

“Shake It Off”, 1989, Taylor Swift

“The Story of Us”, Speak Now, Taylor Swift

“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”, Stronger (Deluxe Version), Kelly Clarkson

“Style”, 1989, Taylor Swift

“Welcome to New York”, 1989, Taylor Swift

12. Let’s have some fun: imagine you are transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

I would be at Starbucks with Jazmine. Duh.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily word count? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

A Tip: Don’t do what I’m doing right now. Do not blog.

I set my timer on my phone for 20-30 minutes, turn on my music, and write. Then I take a 5-minute break and play on my phone, check my email, etc. I am actually very disciplined, believe it or not. I do have chocolate that I eat frequently. Maybe that’s the secret.

14. What’s your favourite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

For NaNoWriMo: “It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.”

I had to search on Google, but one that I remember seeing before and I love is: “If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.” -Anne Taylor

It is so true.

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

It makes me feel:

  • nostalgic
  • happy
  • pink [there’s no way to describe it]

Basically, it’s a fluffy pink ConRom, and it’s absolutely adorable and heart-wrenching and unpredictable. >:)

You know what these tweets mean? Yeah, I only heard today.

ELEANOR AND PARK IS BECOMING A MOVIE!

I am sooooo excited. They better not mess it up. For more details, click here. I am just really scared that Eleanor will be Hollywood-thin, and the entire movie will be messed up. In the comments section of this article, some people suggested in the comments that Jennifer Stone be Eleanor, and I think that would be amazing. I mean, doesn’t it just work? Anyway, I’m just so excited about the movie. YAAY!!!!! Anybody else psyched?

See?

This blog will be experiencing some changes soon. Hopefully this week.

  1. I am going to get the customizable thingy so my colors of text and size and stuff will be different. It will just look cooler and more amazing.
  2. I will not be switching to a new domain.
  3. I am considering changing my blog name to “Writerly,” so it’s a bit more bookish. It isn’t very bookish right now. Tell me what you think in the comments! :D

I have decided that if I win NaNoWriMo 2014, I will buy myself these three Stephanie Perkins books that go together.

I have heard good things about them and am eager to read them. So lets hope I win!

One last before I end this extremely long post.

Today was the first day of #MortalsMonday on Instagram! Assuming you don’t know, #MortalsMonday is a day where PJO/HoO fans look up hashtags like #hooverdam and #mtsthelens on IG and comment, “The mortals don’t even know.” If someone who is not in the fandom responds cluelessly, we respond with, “It’s a dam Percy Jackson thing, cupcake.” :)

image1 - Copy image2 See? It’s hilarious! I encourage you to join in on the fun. :)

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Weekly Wrap-Up #4

Another week has gone by. I’ve had projects due, more homework, and I read a book (or two). I also lent If I Stay and Fangirl to some friends. Let’s get on to the posts!

On Saturday, I did the TCWT blog chain. It was about my favorite book endings and beginnings. Go see the Teens Can Write, Too blog here. The question was really fun and I had a blast [Does that sound weird?] answering the question. If you have a blog and haven’t done the TCWT chain before, do it!

On Sunday, I reviewed Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which I loved so much.

On Monday, I introduced 10 simple things to do for a blogger. Dare you to do all ten today! :P

On Tuesday, I participated in Top Ten Tuesday and talked about Banned Books Week. What *banned* books did you read this week?

On Wednesday, I added Chapter Twenty-Three to Nakoma and reviewed Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. [And my power cord for my computer broke.]

On Thursday, I participated in the first ever linkup for Loony Blurbs, hosted by Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer, whose blog you can see here.

I’m still going at the 100-4-100 challenge…Except I didn’t write yesterday. But I will today! Promise!

Also: I want some beta readers for my novel. I want people who:

  1. Will give me honest feedback.
  2. Will give me constructive criticism.
  3. Know their way around a novel.
  4. Have enough time to be a beta reader.
  5. Enjoy the plot/genre of my novel.
  6. Are supportive.

If you can say YES to at least half of these and are interested, please comment below. I will have to email you each chapter, so be sure you’re comfortable with that. If not, and you still really want to, we can work something out.

Do you participate in TCWT blog chains? Do you like them? Did you read any *banned* books this week? Did you participate in Loony Blurbs? Are you interested in being one of my beta readers? Tell me in the comments below.

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Banned Books Week and Top Ten Tuesday

Thank you to Ava for recommending that I post about Banned Books Week.

This week, Sep. 21-Sep. 27, is Banned Books Week!

What is BBW?

Well, I didn’t know until I looked it up. Here is an overview, straight from their official website.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported.

This week celebrates the freedom of reading and, mostly, banned books.

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What types of books are considered banned?

Here are the top three reasons for banned books:

  1. Material considered to be sexually explicit.
  2. Material has offensive language.
  3. Material is “unsuited to any age group.”

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What can I do to celebrate BBW?

Most obviously, read! Read anytime you can, to show others that you can read and you are allowed to. No one can tell you not to. [Except maybe your teacher…] And read banned books. You can find a list of challenged authors from the 21st century, up to 2012, here. J. K. Rowling and John Green make the list! Basically, you can read almost any YA book. Because most contain “offensive language.”

You can also participate in some events. If you live in the USA, here is a list of states and their events.

And you can participate in a Virtual Read-Out. More information about that can be found here.

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For TTT, I decided it would be fun to make a list of [in my opinion] top ten books that should be/are challenged. This doesn’t mean I don’t like them; this is for fun!

TTT is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

TTT is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

My Top Ten Banned Books

1. Paper Towns by John Green

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

3. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

4. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

5. Ink by Amanda Sun

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

7. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

8. A Dark Sky by Giselle Rocha

9. The Princess and the Pauper by Kate Brian

10. Geek High by Piper Banks

Sorry I didn’t include pictures. I’m too lazy. XD

This post was extra-long!

[Added after a comment I saw.]

I find the whole concept of BBW to be a joke. These books are normal, everyday books that everyone reads. There’s no point of them being banned, in my opinion.

What are you doing to celebrate Banned Books Week? [BTW, I made up the acronym.] And what books are on your banned books list? Tell me in the comments below.

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Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Number of Pages: 445

Genre: YA Contemporary

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary From Cover: A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

 Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

 Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind

Discussion: Right from the start of this book, I was hooked. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. [Mind you, there were some slow parts. But I pushed through!] Let’s do this as a list.

  1. Cath. She is super-sweet, and absolutely brilliant. I’m very surprised she’s not a blogger, because as I was reading, I was thinking, Hm, sounds like something Emily would do. Oh! Sam would so do that. Cath is the very definition of “fangirl” and “bookish.” This is Cath talking about Simon Snow. Imagine that she’s saying “Simon Snow” instead of whatever else.mila kunis animated GIF
  2. Cavi/Leth. Those are supposed to be ship names. IDK. :P But I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Cath and Levi’s relationship. I just wish Cath wasn’t so secretive and closed off sometimes. Grr. Super-introverted people annoy me sometimes. [I couldn’t find a GIF for this, so, whatever.]
  3. The writing. OMG. Have I mentioned before that I love Rowell’s writing? Because I do. It is truly awesome. despicable me animated GIF

This is a really bad review. I’m sorry. I’m kind of rushed, so this is hard. I don’t do well under pressure.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Here are some negatives:

  • I didn’t like when there were excerpts from Simon Snow. They were boring to me. Boring, but clever.
  • It makes college seem really scary! O.O Like, really.
  • There were some slow parts. But only a few.

I recommend this book to people that like:

a) love stories

b) fanfiction

c) fangirling

d) fandoms

and

e) contemporary

This was the lamest book review ever. I promise to try harder next post. Gimme a break, anyway. It’s 9 AM. I haven’t had my tea yet.

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Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Number of Pages: 325

Genre: YA Contemporary

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary From Cover: Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Discussion: My god. This book. Somehow, destiny maybe, it found its way into my hands, and as I turned each page, I fell even more in love. In love with what? The pages, the words, the plot, the characters, everything. It all seemed to speak to me in a way too real for words to describe.

I knew what Eleanor and Park were feeling, and not because of Rowell. I know the feeling of spending time together, in your own little bubble, and then having to go separate ways. I know. This book, this story, once in my hands, consumed me, went inside of me.

Afterword? Major book hangover.

It brought back so many memories I’ve been trying to push down deeper and forget, resurfacing them, shoving them in my face and saying, “Here. Remember?” This book was so painful to read. But it brought me joy.

I’m not actually totally sure if I should post this. It’s a bit…personal. And I know people personally, IRL, who are reading this. Too late now, I suppose, if you’re reading this. Which you are. I do ask one thing of you. Please don’t ask questions. Even if I will see you tomorrow or whenever, please don’t ask questions.

Now that we’re past the personal part, I get to be silly and free and myself.

ROWELL. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS SUCH A HEAVY BOOK? I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT.

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And I’m not talking about the weight. [Isn’t that pug so adorable?!] The stepdad stuff?

a) Plain scary

b) Why didn’t the mom call the police???

c) At the end…OMG. Just warning you, kind of a weird part near-ish the end.

And the music! I love how that brings them together (and comic books). Music is such an awesome way for people to connect. I seem to be reading about music a lot lately… [Remember Where She Went?]

I found the characters so realistic and loveable. Eleanor is the greatest. So down-to-earth and real. And she doesn’t let her family life mess her up. [I really hate it when bullies use “problems at home” as excuses. Even if you have a bad home situation, you don’t have the right to be mean to people!] Park. He reminds me somewhat of Leo from Stagirl. In love with a girl who’s different from everyone else, and has a hard time trying not to be embarrassed of her.

But I love-love-love-loved this book with aaaaall my heart. It was so sweet, and totally realistic. And even though it’s set in 1986, I didn’t feel the time difference; it could have just happened in 2014. Even though I’m reading The Darkest Minds [by Alexandra Bracken], I might reread Eleanor and Park, kind of as therapy. And I just want to hug it!

This is so perfect!!!

{end book review}

So I’m reading The Darkest Minds as soon as I reread Eleanor and Park. With sticky notes.

I’m leaving Nakoma until the weekend. Chapter Twenty-three might be a while; sorry.

Have you read Eleanor and Park? What did you think? And if not, will you now? Tell me in the comments below.

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Book Reviews

I’m a big believer in writing a book review right after I read the book. I know lots of bloggers spend days perfecting their reviews, but for me, it’s all about the raw emotion and my thoughts right after. I don’t take notes when I read, so I’m bound to forget [important] things if I take a few days.

Why am I telling you this right now? I already posted today. I’m telling you this because although I just finished Eleanor and Park, I’m not reviewing it today. Maybe tomorrow. I don’t know.

That book was kind of like…a slap in the face. It kind of woke me up, in a way. The book spoke to me on a very personal level, and in the space of time I read this book, I realized a few things. So I’m still processing. I’m having a bit of book hangover, if you’ve ever seen that image floating around the web.

I promise I’ll review it soon. But today I just want to listen to Pandora on my phone until the battery dies. [I might be dragged out to go shopping, too. And not of the bookish kind.] Feel free to send me warm thoughts, as I am in need of them now. I can’t explain my actual condition, but…well, you get the point.

P.S. I’m also not dying.

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