Archive for March, 2013

ROW80 – Round 1 – Final Check-in

Posted: March 31, 2013 in ROW80
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ROW80LogocopyMarch is coming to a close, and so is the first round of 2013. It wasn’t a spectacular round in terms of accomplishing my goals, but I’ve been busy. Regardless, I’m still working toward the things I want to accomplish and doing some things I truly love to do.

This round has been a productive one overall, and it definitely showed me what I’m capable of. Writing 1,000 words a day is tough, but I’m going to try to carry that goal into all subsequent rounds. It definitely allows you to get some serious writing done. I’ve started a lot of projects and even finished a few of them.

Here’s to a solid round 1 and an even better round 2!

Here’s a list of my accomplishments for this first round:

-Decided to rewrite some major plot points of L1.

-Got Google Verified, which means my picture will show up next to articles I’ve written for Hypable!

-I wrote 5,000 words in one day. Considering how busy I’ve been, this is pretty amazing to me.

-Finished writing W1!

-Started writing W2!

-I decided and started implementing working at home more often. I can’t even begin to tell you how appreciative I am of my boss. It’s been such a life-saver to have more flexible hours.

-Saw Warm Bodies and LOVED it!

-Finished Divergent, The Darkest Minds, Beautiful Creatures, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

-Hypable hit 20,000 published articles, and I’ve written over 100!

-I went to Philadelphia to catch a pre-screening of The Host. I also went to a book signing with Stephenie Meyer, Jake Abel, and Max Irons. The best part, though, was meeting two of my Hypable coworkers – Mitch and Laura!

-Hypable was at the Oscars. THE OSCARS, PEOPLE.

-I AM GOING TO COMIC CON IN JULY. No, I can’t write that sentence without putting it in caps. It’s against the laws of the universe.

-Hypable started up ReWatchable and Book Hype, two new and totally awesome podcasts that I’m particularly proud to be a part of.

-I have a friend working on a cover for my short story collection. It’s going to be awesome.

-I got a signed George Watsky CD, which is kind of a dream come true.

-I got an interview with one of my favorite authors and an artist I really admire. Both of those should be going up sometime soon.

Total points earned in Round 1: 580

Total words written for this round: 57,514

Total words written since January 1, 2013: 57,514

This round really didn’t feel like anything spectacular, but looking over my list, I’m pretty happy with it! Especially considering I wrote almost 60,000 words in just a couple of months. That’s insane!

What surprised you about your final check-in/round 1 recap? Who’s going to be around for round 2?

It’s kind of a loaded question, isn’t it? There are a lot of factors. How well known the artist was. If he had backers that chose to endorse him (or her!). If he got a lot of commissions. If his work was preserved well enough. If he had a lot of friends or a lot of money. Even trivial things like what city he worked out of, whether or not he was a menace to society, or if he had powerful enemies.

But, then again, all of that could be thrown out the window. Van Gogh was never quite in line with the other painters of his time. Michelangelo and da Vinci hated each other. Marcel Duchamp is quite widely hated by those that don’t appreciate modern art, and yet he is one of the most recognizable names of that period.

La Guernica Pablo Picasso

La Guernica by Pablo PIcasso

I guess my question is more based on opinion and less based on fact. Why do certain artists and works speak to us after all this time? Some of them are no longer immediately relevant, like Picasso’s La Guernica. And it takes someone who has studied art to understand what is being depicted in this particular painting. It isn’t exactly for the layman.

And yet people flock to museums every day. They enjoy looking at these works, even if they don’t necessarily understand them. I have a B.A. in Art History, but I wouldn’t even begin to know the meanings of half the paintings I’ve seen. But they still speak to me. I still appreciate them. I still find them beautiful.

But why?

Is it because we’re meant to? Is it because we know that Michelangelo was an incredible artist? Or that da Vinci was a brilliant inventor? Or that Gauguin was truly ahead of his time? Is it based on fact, or is it based on opinion?

The Birth of Venus Sandro Botticelli

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

If you were to look at a painting by Botticelli, without any preconceived biases or notions, would you still enjoy it? Would you still appreciate its beauty? Or, compared to what we can do with computers these days, would you find it primitive? Say it was The Birth of Venus. Could you still relate to its story? Could you understand the meaning?

I guess the notion is a morbid one. Do we appreciate art because we were told to? Because certain people in history, due to influence or money, preserved the works they liked the best? They say that history is told by the winning side. Can the same principle be applied here?

What do you think? Do we appreciate the Greats because we were told they are great, or do we appreciate them because we still connect to their artwork? If it’s the latter, what makes them still relevant to our modern world?

I’m sure you guys will, because you’re a lot like me. Avid readers, avid writers, avid TV and movie watchers. Those characters, they’re real. Not in the physical sense, of course. We’re not crazy. But in the sense that we’ve spent time with these people, we  know their stories, we understand their pain, and we want to see them succeed.

That’s what makes them real. In some ways, we know these characters better than some of our friends. There are no walls when you read a book. There are no secrets once you reach the end. You’re like an invisible watcher, able to sit back and see the events in their lives unfold.

So when someone dies, when someone is rescued, when someone succeeds, it’s sad and exciting and thrilling. Those are real emotions that fake characters produce in you. And if the only reason they’re not real is because they don’t exist in this world, then I don’t buy that.

When you know someone that well, when you care about someone that deeply, when you understand their story so much that it inspires you to be a better human being, that person takes shape and they become real to you.

But some people don’t understand that.

I was having a conversation with a certain someone the other day, and she just didn’t understand why I got so emotionally attached to things. We were talking about StarKid and their latest play, A Very Potter Senior Year. For me, and a lot of other StarKid fans, it was an emotional thing to watch. It was the final installment in their Very Potter trilogy. It was hard to watch because it was over, and I knew those characters would never be coming back for something new. I laughed and I cried in equal measures.

This person just looked at me and said, “Why?”

I didn’t bother explaining. If you don’t get it, you never will. If you’re not invested, you won’t understand how incredibly powerful seeing those characters reach the end of their stories is.

Since I know a lot of you aren’t into StarKid, I’ll put it into perspective. It’s like someone asking you why you’re upset that Fred died. Or Dumbledore. Or Sirius.

If those character deaths didn’t bother you, then there’s no point in explaining. It won’t help, and you won’t feel the things we felt.

(And if those character deaths didn’t bother you, by the way, then you’re doing it wrong. So very wrong.)

What I don’t understand is how you could not get invested in stories like this. This person reads for entertainment, which is fine, but I think she misses a huge part of what it is to be a reader. That investment, pain, and joy that comes from living a character’s life through their actions on the page.

I read for a deeper meaning. I read so that book can change my life. I read to forget about the world, to be sure, but also to understand it.

As corny as it sounds, I think reading is a serious business. Not everyone is meant to be a deep reader, but I struggle with the concept of not reading a book for meaning, depth, and understanding. If I didn’t do that, it just…wouldn’t seem worth it.

What do you think? Do you read for entertainment only, or do you want to take something away from what you read? Do you get so deep into the story that you feel like the characters are real people? Do you feel pain or joy when they do?

ROW80 – R1C11 – Strong Finish

Posted: March 24, 2013 in ROW80
Tags: ,

ROW80LogocopyI actually had a pretty solid week this week, you guys! Lots of writing and lots of reading. Much better than I’ve been doing recently. I wanted to make my final check-in count, and it definitely did!

Main Goals

  1. Write or edit every day. 6/7 I edited one day this week, and wrote on the remaining five. I finished up that second short story I was working on, but I don’t like the direction it went it. I’ll have to go back and rewrite about half of it, but it’s not long, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ve been pumping away on W2 these last few days, and I’m less than 10K away from the end!
  2. Read every day. 6/7 I not only managed to finish Beautiful Creatures, but I also started and finished Perks of Being a Wallflower too! Beautiful Creatures had a great ending, it’s just too bad we had to muddle through 500+ pages to get there. Perks was not at all what I was expecting, but by the time I got to the end of it, I really appreciated what the story was about. I’m now reading City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster for our next Book Hype book.
  3. Exercise twice a week. 3/2 The week started out strong, but I dropped the ball halfway through. Still, I’m pretty happy I managed three days.

Bonus Goals

  1. Rewrite chapter 1 of L1. Believe it or not, this was on my agenda. I was so busy writing W2, however, that I didn’t get a chance to work on it. I’m looking forward to jumping back into this though.
  2. Keep writing W2. Yes! Lots of words!
  3. Update my contests doc. This was also on my list, but I didn’t have time to get to it either. Writing trumps pretty much everything though, so I don’t feel too bad about this.

List of Awesome

  1. As I mentioned on Friday, Affliction Z: Patient Zero is now live! Check it out if you like zombies. 🙂
  2. StarKid is coming up with a new musical called Twisted, and it’s like Wicked but for Jafar. They used Kickstarter this time because they just didn’t have the money to do the production themselves. They wanted to raise $35,000, but they’re already at $85,000 with most of the campaign left! I think this is going to be one of their best musicals to date, and I’m so excited for it!
  3. We got the first images from the Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters movie. AND I AM SO EXCITED.

Points and Words

Each of my main goals gets FIVE POINTS. Bonus goals get TEN POINTS if they’re completed.

  • Week 1 – 95 points
  • Week 2 – 100 points
  • Week 3 – 50 points
  • Week 4 – 90 points
  • Week 5 – 60 points
  • Week 6 – 10 points
  • Week 7 – 0 points
  • Week 8 – 5 points
  • Week 9 – 50 points
  • Week 10 – 35 points
  • Week 11 – 85 points

This week I wrote:

  • Week 1 – 8,284 words
  • Week 2 – 13,697 words
  • Week 3 – 5,365 words
  • Week 4 – 9,310 words
  • Week 5 – 2,777 words
  • Week 6 – 0 words
  • Week 7 – 0 words
  • Week 8 – 0 words
  • Week 9 – 2943 words
  • Week 10 – 537 words
  • Week 11 – 4,978 words

That brings my total words for the year up to: 57,514 words written since January 1, 2013

What books have you been reading lately? Has there ever been a book that you didn’t really like, but kind of appreciated anyway?

Affliction Z Patient ZeroIf you like zombies or stories of the zombie apocalypse, I highly recommend you check out Affliction Z: Patient Zero.

The cool thing about this book is that, while zombie stories are nothing new, the concept is still fairly unique to its genre. The zombies are truly frightening. Some of them are those slow, steady shufflers. But others can move faster than you would ever think possible. They keep you on your toes, and this makes the story truly unpredictable.

The story is well written and the characters pop on the page. The beginning was my favorite. It really grabs you and never lets go. The mystery starts right from the first chapter, and it’s a quick and action packed book.

This will be a series of books, and the end of this one sets up its sequel perfectly. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one and find out how our main characters deal with the zombie apocalypse!

Book HypeAs most of you know, I write for Hypable.com. I’m also on several podcasts that cover a variety of TV shows. However, one of the podcasts I’m on, Book Hype, actually talks all about – you guessed it – books!

Our first episode was an introduction of sorts, but we also covered the book The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. In the second episode, we covered both New Adult and self-publishing. It was an interesting thing to talk about, especially given that two of the other hosts are more readers than writers. It gives you a nice little insight into a reader’s mind, and I think all writer’s could benefit from listening to this.

And readers too, of course. The podcast is ONLY bound by the world of books. We’re going to be talking about anything we can come up with, both specific books like in the first episode, general topics like in the second episode, and so much more.

I hope you guys will give it a listen. We’re all just a bunch of book worms that happen to be addicted to podcasting. I think you’ll really enjoy it, both from a reader’s POV and a writer’s POV as well.

And, hey, if you’ve got book or topic suggestions, send them my way and I’ll pass them along!

If you did listen to either episode (or both!), let me know what you thought.

Related question: How do you guys feels about New Adult?

I just couldn’t help myself as soon as I saw this video. I had to share it with you guys.

Hilarious and obviously talented, this guy is spot on with the lyrics to these songs. I love the way he executed it too!


 

Which one was your favorite? I’m pretty particular to Pocahontas’. I hope he does a second one!

(P.S. This guy is really clever. Check out his YouTube channel.)