Saturday, April 30, 2011

Writing- Writer? Author? What's the Difference?

Okay, so it's been a while since I blogged. I've been very busy this past week. Anyways! Today is Saturday so that means I get to give you lovely writing advice. 

This has nothing to do with the tpoc but it does have something to do with writing. I was asked a while ago what exactly is a writer. According to, a writer is:
 1) a person engaged in writing  books, articles, stories, etc.,especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist. 
2) a scribe.
3) a person who commits his or her thoughts, ideas, etc., to writing.

So according to number three, anyone who writes anything is a writer. But according to number one, a writer is someone who writes as a profession/occupation or because they like to write. Well then, what do you think a "writer" is? 

The statement at the bottom of number one bring another part of this to mind. Is there a difference between an author and a writer? 
A conversation between my friend and I went like this:
 she asked, "Wait, i thought you were an author?"
I replied, "Well I'm not published yet, so I'm a writer."
And another friend asked, "Well aren't they the same thing?"
Another of my friends said, "Well, I write essays for school all the time, so that must mean I'm a writer." 

So then we got into this discussion about what the difference between a writer and an author. According once again to an author is
 a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of a literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist. 
Well in my opinion, an author is someone who makes a living off of writing while a writer who writes for the fun of it without getting money for it. I went online to my writing site and asked around and most people agreed. One of the people on the site says that "author" is more of a title. 

So then, do you think there is a difference between an author and a writer? Or could they be interchangeable? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review- Plague

It's been eight months since all the adults disappeared. Gone.
They've survived hunger. They've survived lies. But the stakes keep rising, and the dystopian horror keeps building. Yet despite the simmering unrest left behind by so many battles, power struggles, and angry divides, there is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach.
But enemies in the FAYZ don't just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating, and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate. Sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they'll escape—or even survive—life in the FAYZ. With so much turmoil surrounding them, what desperate choices will they make when it comes to saving themselves and those they love?
I fell in love with the Gone series a couple months ago, after finally picking up Gone at my library. I was happy to find a book filled with thought provoking ideas and horrific scenes that kept me wanting more. In the newest installment of the Gone series we meet Sam and his friends once again and are treated to several comebacks of characters. 
Like in the rest of the books, Sam must not only save the kids of the FAYZ from hunger and sicknesses, but defeat Drake/Brittney who has escaped from their prison cell. But in this book, Sam is up against bugs that breed inside of a person and kill them as they eat through the skin. These bugs are made of metal and reflect Sam's light beams. But with those to kill, there is also a deadly sickness that makes the ill person literally cough up their organs. 
We also come across Astrid who is very smart. Here she must question her morals as she decides wether or not to kill her little brother, Petey. Little Pete, has autism and is the creator of the FAYZ. He also seems to have the power to get rid of FAYZ and make things disappear when under stress. Astrid wants to kill her brother because she thinks that by doing so, she may destroy the FAYZ and everything in it. 
Besides the boy/girl with a whip-hand, the metal bugs are a new creepy mutation in FAYZ. Previously, we came across talking coyotes, worms that think and eat through skin, flying snakes, and weird blue bats. 
What I loved about this book was that not only does it capture your attention and make you want more, but it provokes thought and you see the characters question everything they've been taught. You see them change, whether it's for good or for worse, but you also see what happens because of their desions. 
Although I thought this was very good, it left me with questions that I dearly hope will be answered in the next book if he does make one. And I do hope so! 
My question for you today is, what would you do if there was no adults? What would your role in the new society be and how would it affect you?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Historical Fact Sunday- Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly I think is an inspiring figure. She is one of America's most famous reporters from the 1800s who is most famous for getting committed to an insane asylum in order to report what it was like there (10 Days in a Madhouse) and traveling around the world in seventy-five days (Nellie's Bly's Book: Around the World in Seventy-five Days). She paved the way for women everywhere and was a champion for the working citizen.

Some information about this reporter:
Nellie Bly's real name is Elizabeth Jane Cochrane Seaman. As the story goes, a writer for the Pittsburgh Dispatch wrote a column saying that women belonged at home and were not fit to work. In response to this letter, our young to-be-reporter wrote a letter to the editor signed "Lonely Orphan Girl". Impressed with the letter, the editor put out an ad asking for the writer of the letter to reveal him or herself. When Elizabeth went in, the editor offered her a job.  Nellie then went on to write two reports, one about working women and another about divorce. But because it was considered improper for a woman to reveal her true identity, Elizabeth picked the pen name, Nellie Bly, after a famous popular song.

Nellie was born on May 5, 1864, in Cochran Mills, Pennsylvania. Interestingly enough, the town was actually named after her father, Micheal Cochran. When Nellie was six, her father died and her family became virtually penniless. Hoping to give her children a better life, Nellie's mother remarried but the marriage ended because the man she had married was abusive. In order to help her family, Nellie went to a school to become a teacher. At this time, teaching and nursing were two of the few careers a women could have. While Nellie was not the best teacher, she was a good writer. When Nellie was sixteen, her family moved to Pittsburgh.

As a reporter for Pittsburgh, Nellie first reported on the lives of working  people and the conditions in which they lived and worked. Known for bringer readers a first hand look at things, Nellie caused several reforms in businesses and how their employees were treated. But when the businesses became mad, Nellie's editor had her report on fashion, the arts, and society. Disliking these topics, Nellie traveled to Mexico where she reported on the conditions there, sending letters back to the Dispatch to publish (Six Months on Mexico). After angering the president of Mexico, Nellie went back to Pittsburgh where she was once again put on covering fashion. Upset with this, she quit the Dispatch and traveled to New York where she got another reporting job here.

It was here in New York, working for the New York World, that Nellie became famous for her stunt in the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island. Two years later, she had become the World's best stunt reporter. She was known for getting herself arrested so she could spend the night in a women's prison and among other, uncovering corruption in the state government. In later years she reported on the National Woman Suffrage Convention in Washington, D.C., interviewed many famous politicians of her day, and reported on  WWI.

She also married a seventy year old at the age of thirty one. When her husband died she took over the company but after it when bankrupt, she went back to reporting. After the Great War (WWI) she went back to her beloved New York where she told the stories of unwed mothers and their children. Through her efforts, thousands of children ended up in happy homes. She died on January 27, 1922.

Do you have a favorite historical figure? Is he/she well-known? What for? Or what did they do to earn your respect?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Writing tips- Realistic characters

We've all read that book where we've fallen in love with a character. And then there's those books where we down right hate a character. Sometimes it's intentional by the author and other times the author didn't intend for that to happen.

A character can make or break the story. Usually when people read a story, it is the characters that they remember. As writers we want the reader to experience what the character is feeling. If a character is grieving because her dog died, we want to grieve with her. If a character is excited because he's going to see his favorite team play, we want to be excited with him. But if a character is bland or is fake, a reader can almost instantly tell and that will turn a reader off.

If your worried about your characters seeming real, try picturing a really emotional scene and write it down as it comes to you. There's been times when I get so caught up in a scene that I start to cry. I want to make my readers cry at that part, so I write it down as if I'm going through it myself. Of course if you've experience these feelings yourself, it's easier to make that seem real because you know what it's like. I probably wouldn't do such a great job writing a scene where a character grieves for someone because I've been blessed to have never lost someone really close to me.

Other important factors when creating characters are how they interact to their environment, their emotional and mental states, and how they look. If there is a house on fire or someone got shot, most often than not, people will either run towards the event or run away. The only reason someone would run into a burning building is if they could help or they were a fireman. You would not stay inside a burning building unless you a) have a death wish, b) you don't notice the fire, or c) are trapped. If someone is shooting gunfire into a crowd the natural reaction is to run away from the danger.

Adding mental issues to characters can help and explain why they do something. Most people love going on roller coasters, unless you're like me and you have a phobia of roller coasters. Adding phobias or compulsions is a great way to learn more about a character. You can find lists of really odd phobias and compulsions by looking in a dictionary of them or on a mental health site/book. For example, did you know that triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number thirteen?

Deciding how a character looks is harder than you think. I've probably changed Anastasia's eye color at least five or six times before finally deciding on blue. Their appearance may even effect how they are treated or how they view themselves. A character may have an abnormal birthmark and therefore will try to cover it up in order to avoid teasing. Their appearance may even show that there is something different about them. In my  novel, The High Prince, Anastasia's blue eyes turn purple when she is using her gift. And the Fairies and Faerie (yes in my books, they are two different species) have tattoos to show their accomplishments or powers.

So, my question for you is, who is your favorite/most hated character? Why? What made you feel that way about them? What books because of the characters did you love or hate? Why so?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review- Delirium

Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

In Lauren Oliver's new book, Delirium, seventeen year old Lena Halloway is just weeks away from her eighteenth birthday- and from the Cure. The Cure to love. But what happens when she meets a mysterious boy? 

I wasn't really sure what book I wanted to review tonight (I'm reading Mary Hoffman's City of Ships right now), but I decided to have a Dystopian theme for this week in books. Anyways, I was impressed with this book as I was with Matched. I've never read Lauren Oliver's other book Before I Fall so I wasn't sure if I would like her books. But I do now!

One of the things I liked about this book was the little clips/passages/or whatever you want to call them at the beginning of each chapter. The various snippets were interesting and they gave you a better look into their society. Plus the Book of Shh sounds interesting. One thing I noticed, was that while The Hunger Games and Matched have a very tightly controlled society, Lena's seems a bit more relaxed. They are allowed to choose their own activities and such. Although I'll have to admit the Raids do sound scary. I mean, who would want someone randomly breaking into your house? 

Another thing I liked was the emotion. I could clearly feel Lena's emotions and all the characters seemed very real. I'd love to meet some of them! Lena is shy and mouse like in the beginning but as the book progresses, you clearly see how she grows. Plus, you can also see how the death of her mother still affects her. 

I don't think I would like to get the cure. I mean, if I did, I would probably hate writing. And I adore writing. So that'd be a bummer. And my love for animals- I'd hate to lose that too. But in ways I can see how they would think love is bad but in truth, love is very good. And we need love to live. 

A thing I didn't like was how at times, Alex seemed...a little too perfect at times. He seemed to be one of those people who could do no wrong. But I do admit, I'd love to have him as my own boyfriend. Him...or Dale from Tamora Pierce's Bloodhound or David from The Specialists series. Although I did like the part where Alex brings Lena into the Wilds and reads poetry to her. I thought that was romantic. 

I thought how they could put messages in the statue's hand was a neat idea and I also thought how the the Cured were portrayed was good. They did seem..bland. 

If I had a star rating system, I'd rate this with five stars and I recommend for you to read this book! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Movie Review- Sphere

Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone and Samuel L. Jackson star as a group of scientists recruited by the Navy to conduct a secret underwater mission to explore an alien spaceship.
If you ask me, that synopsis isn't very informative!
Anyways, I just watched this Sci-fi movie yesterday while I was lying on the couch sick. To give you a better idea of what happens, I'm going to give you my own version of the synopsis.
So this guy writes a book where he recomends what to do in case of a contact with aliens. So years later the navy finds him and these people he recomended in his book. He orginally thinks he's going to help surviors of a plane crash, but then finds out he's going to meet aliens...maybe. There's this spaceship which has been underground for over three hundred years and is somehow still running. So they go down over 1000 ft and go into the spaceship. Going in there, they find a mysterious giant sphere. After that..weird things start to happen.
There I hope that's better!
What I did like: The mystery. If you watch this you will be confused and nothing is really revealed until the end of the movie. It kept me guessing and I wanted to find out why things were happening. I also wanted to find out how the sphere all tied into this. The acting was very good as well were the graphics for this 1998 movie. I liked the idea of how they ended up being able to make things come true from their mind.
What I didn't like: Some things I thought they could have explained better or shown you. Like they never tell you what the inside of the shpere was like (even though they all went in it). And I didn't understand how the ship ended up down there. They tell you it's an american ship, yet that's all I really got out of it. And then in the end when the whole thing blows up, the sphere flys up into the sky and disappears. And so I don't know what the sphere was or what it's purpose was on the ship. Now with their powers, I didn't understand if they could only make their fears come true. Because it says they can, but then in the end of the movie they say that they can still use their powers and implies that they can make anything real. And then...they use their powers to forget everything. But my question is, even if you force yourself to forget you had powers, wouldn't you still be able to use them afterwards?
Overall I give this movie a 4 and half stars.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review- Matched

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
When I first heard about Ally Condie's book, Matched, I'll admit I was a little hesitant to read it. I'd never heard about either the author or any of her books before. Plus I've only just begun to discover the wonderful genre called Dystopia. I'd heard about it through, a writing website for YA writers, who was having an Author Chat with Ms. Condie (An Author Chat is where people on Inkpop get to post their questions for the author). So after reading through this interveiw and hearing more about Matched, I decided, "Why not?"

To tell you the truth, the only other dystopian novels I've read is The Hunger Games Series (which was pretty good, but I'll save that for another post) and The Giver. So I decided to download a free sample on my Kindle.

And it was so good.
So I bought it.

Reading through this book, I discovered that Cassia was a character I could relate to almost instantly. She was likable and seemed like a real person. Not only that, but the world Ms. Condie has built seems real enough I could visit it. Which I love having that feeling when I read a book. I want to experience what the character feels and get to know him/her. I want to experience their world as if it is mine and I am the character in this story.

The plot is also good. We could clearly see the good and the bad sides to the Society. While the system keeps poeple in line and prevents trouble, it also creates even more rules. So many rules that it should be in fact, easier to break. The Society scares people into obeying and gets rid of anything that might cause independant thinking. At first Cassia belived the Society was fully good but as she progresses through the story, she learns the darker sides to the Society. She slowly changes too. In the beginning we met a girl who has never taken a risk, has never done wrong. But in the end we see a girl who is not afraid to take risks and challenge things she does not agree with.

Now besides the good things, there were some parts of the story that I didn't like. Towards the end, Cassia and Ky do spend time together but for a chapter or too, that's all we see. Them. Together. While I have no problem with this, I would have liked to have seen more scenes with Xander in it. He was her Match, after all. Did they go on more dates? What did they talk about? What all can they do now that they are Matched? I also would have liked to see what it said on Xander's card.

I would also like to learn more about the Outer Providences. What are they like? What kind of stuff do they import? Are all the other Providences rebelling?

The part I would have to say I'm most impressed with, is the way she ended her chapters and sections. I loved those sentences. The provoked thought and keep me reading.

"Every minute you spend with someone gives them a part of your life and takes part of theirs.""Only when I hold onto nothing can I be the best, only then can I be what they expect me to be.""In the absence of thunder, he is making his own."

^--- That's just a few to show you what I mean.

Overall, I would have to give it a four and a half rating. The ending bothered me, but in a good way. It makes me wonder what Cassia is going to do next and how. Plus at the ending, you truly saw the love of family and friends, even when Cassia cause them pain, they still loved her and wanted her to be happy.

So have you read this? What do you think of it? What was your favorite part and did anything disappoint you? If you haven't read this, you should!
Till next time,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Defeating the Evil Overlord- Otherwise Known as Writer's Block!

If you've been hit by Writer's Block, here are some ideas to try while you're waiting for your car to be repaired.
  • Get exercise! Run, take the dog for a walk, or finish cleaning the house! As long as you're not writing. Sometimes people spend too much time thinking about something and they fry their brain. Doing something else will get those juices flowing again.
  • Do nothing. Yeah, you read that right! Do nothing! Sit down, turn off the music, the TV, get away from whatever could distract you and just let your mind drift. Try to not think. Or you could just think about whatever. As long as you're not doing anything. And it doesn't have to be for long, five to ten minutes even.
  • Go read something! There's been times where I'm stuck on something and when I'm reading I'll suddenly get an idea.
  • Talk about it over with a friend. They may help you brainstorm new ideas you may have never thought of.
  • Do something really homework. (This is great for if you can't sleep too!)
  • Draw something! I love drawing maps for my stories, they help me plan things.
  • Get to know your characters better. Some stories are character driven. If you're having trouble thinking of a scene or something doesn't seem right, try filling out a character sheet. Character sheet are lists of things about your character (eye color, hair color, hobbies, relationships, dislikes/loves, etc).
  • Sleep on it. It's proven that sleep may help you overcome problems. A dream may help you find that jewel your Main Character (MC) is looking for, or it may introduce you to another character. Plus, not only will you be feeling better, you'll know what to do!
  • Tackle another problem that is bothering you. If you can't write and it's the night before that big test, studying for it may help. Not only will you do better on that test, but you won't have to worry about it when you wake up.
  • Just write! Turn off anything that distracts you and write for a certain amount of time or till you reach a certain word count. Don't stop to go through the spelling errors or grammar errors. Wait to get to those once you're done. And write about anything! Let it go in any direction. Even if you're rambling about your day, that's fine too!
  • Start at the end, middle, or beginning! Say you know how you want it to end, but you don't know how to begin a story. That's fine! Write that ending and try to come up with events leading to that ending.
  • Write a spin off. Have a favorite character besides the MC? Try writing a spin off about them! You never know will it will go and it may even give you new insight to your story.
  • Write in a Journal. Journals are extremely helpful because you can write in it whenever you want and you can write about anything you want. Plus no one has to see it. You can even put pictures in it, record conversations, draw, the possibilities are limitless. 
  • Learn about a new culture. Always wanted to learn about Ancient Egypt, well go ahead and do it! You never know, something from a new culture might give you inspiration and you'll learn new things. 
  • Travel! If you always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, why not? And if you can't travel or take a vacation, look around your backyard or town. Talk to your neighbors. Explore the baseball park or even go see a game. 
  • Look at pictures. I've found several ideas for stories by looking at pictures. And if it helps, print out those pictures and put them wherever you write or keep them in a folder so you can pull them out whenever you want to. 
So do you have any other tips for overcoming Writer's Block? If you feel like sharing, post a comment!


Writing like is Driving

So today as I was driving along a thought came to me.
Writing is alot like driving.
How? You asked.
Well, just let me tell you.
Imagine that you're driving, you're probably comfortable (or not) passing on a seventy mph highway. It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining, you just got a promotion in your job or you passed that really important test. You've been driving just fine for a while and as you pass that slow car, bam! Some stupid driver slams into you. Or you hit a patch of ice. Let's say you have some damage to your car, but thankfully you're just fine.
Writing is like driving because you may be writing just fine one day, you're getting alot done, when out of nowhere, you get stuck. Getting stuck is like get hit by that stupid driver. You may have to sue the guy, slug through getting repairs, and then, when you're finally able to stop carpooling to work or school, you sit then in your car the first time after you get it back. You're hesitating to go out in it.

You may be feeling scared to drive again because you're afriad another idiot may hit you. Or you may be feeling fine and you turn on the car and drive away. Some people when they get Writer's Block may quit and never write anything again, or they plow on through the Block. They may struggle and finally overcome any trouble the Block throws out them.

Sure it may look bleak while you can't think of anything, but don't worry, for you CAN overcome Writer's Block! It may take a while and it may be hard, but I'm positive you can do it! There's alot of exercises you can do to help. Sure it might be weeks or even years before you think of something, but one day you'll wake up and suddenly that really weird dream you've been pondering over gives you an idea.

So, what I'm trying to say is that, instead of moping about how you can't think of anything, do something about it! Hop in that car and drive again! It may be scary to look at that blinking cursor- or whatever it is called- but you can defeat that!

How's your writing going?

Friday, April 15, 2011


To all the writers out there!
There is a pitch contest being held on one of my favorite blogs, YAtopia.
If you have a finished manuscript and want a chance for a real agent to take a look at it, hop over to Yatopia today!

Welcome One and All!

What you can expect from this blog:
  • Awesome reviews on books and movies
  • Interesting facts
  • Random posts
  • Posts about writing
  • and much more!


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