November 2010


The idea seems… rather impossible, when you think about it seeing as we’re usually procrastinating about writing but in some cases, we use writing to get out of the things we don’t really feel like doing. Take for example, washing the car, going to get those groceries, or moving furniture. For me, it is frequently employed as a method to avoid doing things like dishes. Which is sort of odd, seeing as when I do dishes, I have time to think about plots… if I end up thinking about those instead of some exciting book or TV show. So, I got a brilliant idea: Do those things you don’t want to do, they give you time to think about story ideas (if the thing doesn’t really require much thought) or figure out your plot. Of course, if you mainly write without really planning anything and find this easier for yourself……… Don’t expect me to figure out an excuse for you to do what you’ve gotta do!

Please note, if you’re the sort of person who thinks about your characters/plot/how you should have changed that bit of dialogue almost obsessively, then I can’t garauntee that my brilliant world dominating helpful plan will be able to work for you. You’ll just have to test it and see. And when you’ve been turned into mindless enforcers of my will able to try it, please tell me the results in the comments (if you’re into leaving comments on blogs). I am curious to see how it works for you, mainly because I’m only 99.9 percent sure it’s effective, and this is coming from someone who’s never actually tried this herself.

Have fun losing your minds finding a way to make progress faster!

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Hi! So this review will be for two things, instead of one. Luckily for you (or maybe me) they are related. Awhile ago, around the time that Mr. DiTerlizzi posted on his blog about the sketchbooks for The Search for WondLa (only available to people who showed up on the WondLaful tour, if I remember correctly), I posted on my other blog about it. This post was more of a pity-party, seeing as I myself would not have been able to go to any of the places where he’d be appearing. Imagine my surprise when he used the contact form I’d set up to e-mail me  and told me that if I gave him my address he’d send me one of these sketchbooks!

The Search for WondLa sketchbook: title page

Oh my.... *faint*

Of course, having this on the inside only served to make me even more anxious than I had originally been about the publishing of the actual book. Until then though, I could look through the sketchbook and I could pretend to know everything about the characters when talking about them to other people. Sometimes I can be a little… odd, with my behavior :D The sketchbook went almost everywhere with me for awhile, until I remembered that it could possibly be torn or damaged by something like water or food, so I hid it in my shelf safely, between two art books by John Howe. From there, I’d pull it out and read it in my room, before carefully returning it. Did I mention that I would tell my friends about it and almost immediately after that I’d start telling them how I got it and that Mr. DiTerlizzi’s signature was inside, thanking me for being a fan?

Rovender Kitt sketches

I love all the designs that were made for Rovender.

The blurriness of this picture is unfortunate but I can’t seem to keep myself completely still when taking pictures. After awhile, I had to do other things and thus couldn’t bring out the sketchbook that often. Recently, as I said in my post “The Search is OverNa,” I acquired a copy, thanks to my Aunt, Miss Kitty (thank you once again). I couldn’t read it that night, seeing as I was watching Tomb Raider with Grandma but the next morning around ten I picked it up. The previous night, I had promised to put aside all other items on my list of books that I was currently working through and I did. With lots of interruptions, I couldn’t finish it within three hours at the most like I usually would with few distractions but I did get it finished that day. My Aunt couldn’t believe I’d finished it so fast and we talked about what WondLa was, which we both found to be delightful!

 

I adore the artwork in this book!

Rating: 5/5

Reason: The concept was simply delicious, and the artwork (with how it conveyed the mood of the scene so well) was excellent! The characters were very believable to me and the description of the world Eva is going through is astounding.

If my reason didn’t make you think I’m totally in love with the story, then maybe the fact that I was already hugging it to my chest and cackling madly before I’d even read it will inform you. I had read an eighty page preview on iBooks but I have to say the digital format does not hold a candle to having a physical copy of the book in your hands. The illustrations look better on paper, too. If you have read the summary for the book then you will know that Eva lives with the robot Muthr, and that their lives are disrupted when a bounty hunter by the name of Besteel comes and breaks into their underground home called a Sanctuary. Eva escapes up a vent in the kitchen but Muthr is caught by Besteel. For awhile, we don’t know what has happened to Muthr because Eva is the main focus.

Eva checks her Omnipod for messages, and finds one from Muthr, who tells her to get as far away as possible then signal another Sanctuary. Eva does not wait though, and sends out the distress signal while she is still very near where the vent comes up. This allows her to see the intruder (Besteel) when he comes up. Unfortunately for her, Besteel somehow figures out exactly what tree she’s hiding behind and shoots it with his sonic boomrod. A chase scene follows this and Eva eventually climbs up a tree. Besteel circles around its base for awhile until she throws a nutriment pellet to create a distraction. This works, and Besteel shoots off in the direction of the sound. Eva spends the night in the tree, and in the morning when she wakes up, she finds that she’s not in the forest anymore, and strange birds are around her.

The tree she’s on is moving, so she climbs off. In the distance, she sees weeping-willow like trees eating the birds, which her Omnipod can’t seem to identify. Which is odd, because it has all knowledge that mankind has in it, and its identicapture feature should be able to tell her what anything is. Of course, she believes she is on Earth, just like Muthr believes. When wandering around, she comes across another Sanctuary. This one is quite obviously abandoned. She calls down and a flock of flying crabs come out, which are promptly eaten by a whale. Eva initiates a LifeScan on the Ominpod, and it identifies some sort of life form, however, it can’t tell if it’s human or robot. This life form turns out to be my favorite character: Rovender Kitt.

After taking her Omnipod and going back inside the Sanctuary, Eva goes off on her own and gets stuck in some sticky plant, which he comes and rescues her from. Most unfortunately, Besteel finds them and captures them. Or maybe not unfortunately, seeing as this led to Eva meeting (and bonding with) Otto, and getting to understand Rovender, through use of a transcoder. Of course, at first she thought that he was trying to kill her with the ‘dust’ coming out of it, but it actually allows her to understand him and vice versa. I thought this idea was particularly cool, because I like the idea of tiny machines that can translate things for you. Now if only I actually had one…

The escape from the camp was harrowing, seeing as I kept on tensing whenever it seemed like Besteel was going to get them, or that they weren’t going to make it. Actually, that encompasses the whole scene. After they escaped the camp and Eva got the transcoder, they camped. The next day, they headed back to Eva’s Sanctuary to check on Muthr. They find her in a swimming pool, missing her battery. After she repairs herself, and Eva gets the Sanctuary to release Muthr from her duties (namely, staying there for all eternity) they leave. Reluctantly, Rovender agrees to help them get to Solas to see if they can find any clues about what happened to the other humans. Of course, Otto accompanies them.

Other than the reasons I gave for the five star rating, I think that I have to say that what Orbona and WondLa actually turned out to be is what made me love it so much. That, and Rovender and Muthr’s occasionally non-too-cordial interactions. Needless to say, I’d recommend this to everyone, as long as they won’t get too disturbed by what happens to a water bear in the taxidermist’s place in Solas. Because that was, I have to admit, a little creepy, and made me become a bit of a wet rag, just like part of the ending of the book.

The Search for WondLa: original drawings

The original illustrations. I absolutely adore Otto's!

Thank you to Mr. DiTerlizzi, who gave me the sketchbook, to my Aunt, who purchased the book for me! Life is good!!

My sister Zoe sent me a link to a blog called Lethal Inheritence. Tahlia Newland is trying to get her book published and had the first chapter up for people to read (go comment on that please). Curious, I read it. My opinion? This book needs to get published! From what I’ve read the writing is fantastic and so is what I understand of the plot. Seeing as first lines are so important, here’s the first line of the chapter:

Exponential logarithms. Uggh.

Why that hooked me, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe it was because I was wondering what the heck logarithms are. Of course, I still don’t know but that doesn’t matter does it? I read the chapter and found it exciting and that’s all that matters. Please help this book get published because I really want to read the rest! Thank you for your time and contribution to the book’s publishing journey. :)

Now I have to go finish reading some of those other books I currently have in my possession. If you’ll excuse me….  :D

Well, my infinitely helpful Aunt (who is helping me find some of the topics for my posts) gave me a link to an article about what writing methods some people use. Here is my own:

Sit, put your hands on the keyboard, bob head to music, get brilliant idea for story/or/ to take you away from the current story, start typing and there you go. If I’m cold, I might use my iPod for notes or a bit of brainstorming and occasionally, I’ll have a glass of water on hand or something munchable. But the stuff I listed is my main writing ritual of sorts. Perhaps I should try different methods…. writing directly after exercising, or listening to things that make me giggle while I write. No music, a ten day writeathon? Or should it be writeaton? That looks like writ eat on. O_o Anyvay…. What are your writing methods? Just out of curiosity. If it involves a dog or cat or something, I’ll have to see if it’s possible to borrow my friends’ pets, seeing as I only have two budgies.

And one more thing: as much as I wish I could have candy on hand to munch on while writing I’d probably spend more time eating than writing. And I’d probably use it as an excuse to not force writer’s block down (and it better STAY down dammit!).

A short story about a young fairy named Oonzil Windlestraw, trying to get the other fairies to stop calling his father an oathbreaker. Now, that doesn’t sound like much of a story but it is. As the summary says, this is not your typical fairytale, mainly because Oonzil has a bit of an attitude. What sort of fairytale fae actually beats up other fairies over a name? None I know of (except, perhaps, Tinkerbell). Mr. Mathias introduced the story of how the oath Oonzil’s father made was broken very skillfully, in my opinion. I probably would have had the wizard ask Oonzil if he knew the story, then launch into it, lost-in-thought-old-man style.

As it is, the story starts with Oonzil being given a talking to because of the aforementioned tendency to hit other fairies who call his father an oathbreaker. The wizard remembers the details of the oath breaking, without going into a sort of flashback mode. From there, the wizard hasn’t yet decided what punishment to give Oonzil, so he has him clean out his eagle’s cage. Oonzil does so, and then the eagle comes back. The fairy and the eagle talk a bit, and then Oonzil gets the idea for them to work together to catch the whole wasps that the wizard wants. They do so, using a doily, and the wizard strikes a deal with Oonzil. I won’t say how that all ends, because the story is only (I think) thirty pages long, and I’ve given away most of the stuff already.

I got a copy (digital, not paperback or anything unfortunately) on Smashwords for free, thanks to a coupon Mr. Mathias put up in a Goodreads event for his October giveaway. :) I highly recommend it, because it’s very fun, and the ending is very satisfying.

That little girl's bathroom needs got just plain weird at points

Recently, I watched a movie called The Apple Dumpling Gang (thank you Z, for renting that on iTunes so we could watch it! ^_^). The humor was good, but at times painful, and I’m amazed that the actors could keep straight faces. At some points, the humor flew over my head, though Mom and Dad got it. Of course, I wouldn’t have expected anything else but the point is that it sort of got me thinking about what sort of things might go completely over a person’s head and how this might restrict you when you write. Let’s say you’re an older write and there’s something that you think (and many of your friends agree) would be an excellent piece of dialogue or a scene that’s a stroke of genius but then, when a younger person reads it, they stare at you blankly when you ask what you thought about it, and they say something along the lines of “I have no idea what it was implying.” This would be rather tough, especially if you’re writing the book with their age group as your target audience.

Another movie in need of a walking stick (in my opinion) is Fantastic Planet. Yes, I will find excuses to mention this movie often. It starts with a pair of frightened eyes. The problem I am thinking of is one I’ve tackled often: sometimes, you can picture a scene so perfectly in your head and you know it would win you the largest fandom in history but when you try to write/type it out it comes out all wrong. The original image becomes ruined by scribbles that make it almost impossible to make out, except for the fact that your main character is there, an important item is there, and there’s a window. You can’t see what furnishings the room has, or if there’s another character. Or if you can, you can’t see them clearly enough to describe them properly.

Now this one isn’t a movie but it’s something I love a whole lot! The Gargoyles show, which they never should have ended. And they shouldn’t have done season three the way they did. Fangirl indignation aside, the show is (in my mind) a lesson on how to prevent infodumping. There’s tons of information in it, and yes, I know it’s not a book, but I don’t think it would have been infodumping if it was originally a book in the first place. We start in the past, jump to the future, and we don’t know why. But they don’t infodump, they don’t give flashbacks, they simply show you. Okay maybe I’m losing my point but I truly do think it’s a good example of well-thought-out packages of info. They’re bite sized and never make your mental jaws work hard to minimize them so you can take them in and digest them, thoroughly absorbing the knowledge. The surprises are well dispersed, and the dialogue is engaging. And you fall in love with the characters. Of course, I wish there was a show that taught you how to create characters like that but if there were, lots of books would have turned out very differently. Now I’m not a Twilight hater but I do think the characters could have been better. With more work, Edward and Bella could have been my favorite couple of all time! Before the next book with romantic undertones came along of course.

The point of this whole post is mainly to ramble and say that I watched The Apple Dumpling Gang, but these thoughts did honestly occur to me. After all, if I hadn’t, they wouldn’t be here would they? Now to go and watch How To Train Your Dragon for the sixth time and see what writerly lessons I might glean from it. However, I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up making adoring noises about Toothless and his purring. ‘Cause darn it that dragon is just plain cute!