My On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With Twilight

When I first read Twilight, I loved it.  Loved.  It.  I became a total Twi-hard, and I have the movie posters to prove it.  I argued Team Jacob versus Team Edward (because Jacob was clearly the better choice), sang the praises of Stephenie Meyer, and even…dare I say it?

Saw Eclipse at midnight.

It was my first midnight premiere, and I was one of the fangirls.

And then I got my act together.  With the help of the Internet and logic, I veered away from my fangirl days and began to dislike Twilight, if not despise it.  Bella Swan’s helplessness came to sicken me, as did the very thought of sparkling vampires.  Edward’s habit of watching his girl sleep turned from sweet to downright creepy.  And the movies?  Don’t get me started.

I came to laugh at the way I had once cherished this series. Everything* about it seemed ridiculous (and yet somehow in this period I wanted the rest of the books when they came to me for free).  I vowed that I would never see such a monstrosity as Breaking Dawn, the movie.

There are some things better left unseen.

Thank you, Hermione Granger.

Lately, though, I’ve been rethinking my opinion of Twilight.  Sure, I’ve read about other people’s hatreds of it, but I never really investigated the books for myself with that purpose in mind.  I’ll never love it again; my opinion of the story is too far gone for that, and that can’t be changed with a rereading.  And besides, when it comes to this rivalry that this series seems to have with Harry Potter, I’ll take the boy wizard any day of the week.  Not to mention with all these Hunger Games/Twilight arguments going around, I’ll have to be doubly against the vamps.

But perhaps a rereading can cause me to solidly plant my literary feet in this camp I’ve chosen.

So this is my promise to you, readers: When all this LOTR business** is over, and after I reread a certain Harry Potter book, I will reread Twilight.  Possibly all of the books.  And then I will come back to you, readers, and give you my verdict.

Because, after all, I can’t give a verdict without hearing the evidence first.

But I’m still not seeing Breaking Dawn.

As a closing note, I’d like to direct you all to a similar post by fellow teen blogger Allegra, who beat me to the punch while this post was still little more than a draft and a dream.

Happy reading!

*Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING.  I still think Alice is pretty cool.  But that’s about it.

**I finished The Two Towers last night!  *clapping* Yay me!  (I cannot believe I just used that reference…*facepalm*)

A Google Adventure

I think I picked the wrong name for my blog.

This post got its birth from this one over at The Jackie Blog.  If you’re too lazy to click the link, it’s all about the author’s struggle to have her blog higher in the Almighty Listings of Google.  Which got me thinking.

What do people get when they search for the term “novel journeys?”

And so I embarked on the journey that has culminated in this post.  I figured it was time for something a bit different than a rant on all things book related.  Also, this post is relatively short, which is good because I have an essay due next week that I really need to start, plus all those books (I’m still on The Two Towers).

I used Google for this, because it’s the logical choice (really, does anyone really use Yahoo or Bing?).  It’s the one I use all the time.  So, I typed in the search term.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the first link that popped up was the home page for this blog.  But Google knows that I go there all the time.  Of course it would put that first.  So I scrolled down a bit and got…

This.  A travel agency.  For vacations to places where books took place.  Interesting?  Yes.  But I don’t want my blog to be found by people looking for a vacation.  But then I actually looked at the vacations.  Don Quixote, Anna Karenina- okay.  I can deal with this.  It’s fine sharing my name with one-

What’s this?!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s true.  My blog shares a name with more than one book-related travel company.  Except this particular one deals with one series in particular.  Twilight.

Don’t get me wrong- I liked Twilight.  I did.  But the series has a lot of haters.  Plus, I don’t specialize in Twilight.  If anything, I specialize in The Hunger Games, with Harry Potter at a close second.*

Anyway, that wasn’t the point I was making.  The point is there are a lot of other things, too.  Like this.  And this.

I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.  At least not in terms of blog names.  Here I was, coming up with this clever double-meaning (but in a good way) name that would become my way of launching into the blogosphere.  And here it is, already taken by countless other things.

Does that mean it’s a bad name?  Not in my book.  So it’s not completely original.  Did I really expect it to be in the first place?  In the days of its infancy, when I was coming up with usernames and domains, did I think I had something special- especially when that something was such a simply brilliant thing?

I suppose this is a learning experience for me.  I mean, there really are no new stories, either- just new ways of telling them.  So even though the name of my blog isn’t unique in this world, the content is.  I am unique.  So are my posts.  The title doesn’t make it any less valuable to me.  And that goes for my books as well.  They’re going to be similar to other things, sure, but in the end it’s all my own.

Well, I suppose that’s it for now.  I’d better go work on my essay.  On Tuesday I’ll be posting my contribution to the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain, so tune in for that.

Happy reading!

 

*And now I really want a travel agency with Potter-themed tours…can someone research that for me?

 

 

 

 

Lost In Translation

Let me get one thing straight before I start today’s rant: I don’t hate movies based on books.  I really don’t…so long as it’s a good adaptation (read: caters to my nitpicky needs for everything to be exactly the same).  But there’s something about putting a book written in first-person into film form that kind of bugs me- at least the idea of it.

I suppose this post arose from my contemplating how TOTALLY AWESOME the Hunger Games movie will be.  Then I started thinking about exactly how certain parts would pan out.  This was me: “Hmm, Katniss has a lot of inner dialogue and turmoil throughout the book.  Considering she’s working alone and the circumstances she’s in, it wouldn’t make much sense for her to be talking to herself all the time.  So how does that work out?”

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, let me give you some context.  This is a highly political series with strong themes of rebellion and the horrors of war.  Katniss is constantly thinking about her strategies and how far she might go to survive, as well as analyzing her current situation.  This is all done quite neatly in her head, as talking to herself isn’t the best thing when there are bloodthirsty Careers after you.

So my question is: how do you make that into a movie, where you can’t just read everything the character is thinking?

The simple answer is that you can’t.  Sure you could try what Twilight did, and have voiceovers (sorry, that’s the only movie I can think of on the spot).  But that gets boring after a while, so you can’t do it all the time.  Another thing is to have her say the stuff to another character, perhaps Peeta.  But her questioning the Capitol would be seen as too rebellious, and over the years Katniss has become guarded in her words and actions, so that’s out if we’re staying true to the characters.

You can see why I’m so nervous.  If none of the things she thinks in the books are said, the film will lose a lot of its core.  What Katniss thinks and what she shows us of her world, and the revelations she gives through that, make up a huge part of the overall storyline, especially when we get into the final book.  If that’s gone, what do we have?  A girl fighting and having people close to her die with little context to put it in.

This is what can make or break a movie.  And I so want this one to be good.

This artist has some more AWESOME artwork (and not just Hunger Games...Doctor Who, anyone?) at the linked site.

I suppose that’s my point for today: you can’t make everything into a film.  Some things just won’t work.  A character’s inner dialogue is one of those things.  That’s why the book is nearly always better; we understand more in a book.  The only way I could see The Hunger Games passing this test is some kind of clear visual reference for understanding the evils of the Capitol (other than the Games themselves) and the tension felt by the people in the districts.

Understanding a character is vital.  Films just don’t do it for me for that reason.  Something gets lost in the translation*, something that allows us to see as the character is seeing.  Maybe this is why I don’t get attached as much to movies (or maybe it’s just that I don’t watch that many).  In a film, characters are so clearly other people, and their thoughts are hidden from us.

There are times when that doesn’t cut it.

Reading over this post, I think I’ve been rambling for about the past three paragraphs, so I’m just going to stop here…

Happy reading.

P.S. In a fit of teenage rebellion, my creativity has taken my money and run like Abigail in The Crucible.  Which means…I need ideas for blog posts!  Feel free to comment with any book related (or nerd/geek related) topic you want to hear my thoughts on.  My creativity did leave me with a few things, but I have a sneaking suspicion they’re all the old, boring topics no one wants to hear about.

*See what I did there?

Late Night Brain Parties

I don’t know about you, but it seems that my brain does most of its thinking when it’s least wanted.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience.  It can come upon you at any time: you’re minding your own business when suddenly you slip into daydreaming.  Your mind wanders and you end up thinking about tons of unrelated things.  According to my personal experience, as well as what Facebook tells me, I find that most of this kind of thought happens at night, before one goes to sleep.  I suppose there’s just something about the lack of stimuli that allows me to process the events of the day in peace.  Unfortunately this leads to my brain touching on every subject known to man, none of them having anything to do with sleep.

Someone get this dude some sleeping pills.

Most of the time it will be some obscure topic having to do with a TV show, or a book I’ve read.  It can be anything, really.  Sometimes I’ll think about plots I’ve made up, work through a problem or consider how a certain character would react in a certain situation (kind of like the nighttime equivalent of a short story).  Or maybe I’ll come up with a few ideas for future blog posts.  It really depends on the night, I suppose, as well as on the person doing the thinking.

Maybe this is our brains’ way of connecting things, the way dreams do.  Maybe we’re just so pummeled with other things during the day that there is literally no other way to get this stuff out there in the open.

Searching "Daydreaming" to get this made me think of that Adele song...

It seems that even published authors have this problem, if it even is a problem.  In The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, there is an interview between Stephenie Meyer and author Shannon Hale.  In the interview, “SH” is Hale and “SM” is Meyer, just in case you’re confused, and part of it goes like this:

SH: It’s like having a newborn, writing a book, isn’t it?

SM: It is.  Well, because you lie there in bed- and, oh, heaven help you if you start thinking about plotline.  If you start getting a little bit of dialogue in your head, you’re doomed- you’ll never get to sleep.

SH: It is so true…If, for whatever reason, I wake up…and if my mind, for one second, goes back to the book I’m writing right now, I’m done for the rest of the night.  I can’t go back to sleep, because my mind starts working over and over it…so when I sit down to write it it’s more productive, because I’ve been working over it in my brain.  But…when you do that in the middle of the night you’re doomed.

SM: …I have about fourteen different books, and every night it’s a new one.  And I’m coming up with solutions for this one point that really bothered me in one story.  I thought maybe I couldn’t write it because of this one point.  But then I’ll wake up at four o’clock in the morning with a perfect solution, and then I can’t go back to sleep.

The book in question.

Maybe this is just a symptom of having a writer’s brain.  Maybe this makes me a better writer by helping me work things out and never letting go of something until it’s done.  It’s like school for my creative side in that respect.  (And here I go, “NO!  Not more school!  Why did I just make that connection for myself?!”)

Whatever the effect, it would be nice to fall asleep tonight before sunrise…*

Also.  Just wondering about this, but: I’ve written a couple of song parodies.  They’re about Harry Potter and The Hunger Games (so far- maybe I’ll expand in the future), and I was wondering if you guys would want to see those.  Just an idea.  Comment if you have an opinion on this.  If it seems agreeable, I’ll work a couple in someplace.

Also again.  There’s a new blog out there, and it’s called Teens Can Write, Too!  As you can probably see from the name, it’s about teens (of which I am one) who can and do write.  The plan is for various teen bloggers to contribute a post in a blog chain for each month, centered around a theme.  It’s a group effort, which is really cool.  I’m glad to say I will be a part of October’s blog chain.  If you want to check it out, click on that link and subscribe if you are so inclined.

Happy reading!

*Kidding!

Let It Wrock

I’m not a musical person, let’s get that out in the open right now.  My attempts at piano playing were disastrous and ended shortly after they began.  However, I somehow always have some song or another playing in my head on any given day.  I quite like to listen to music, actually, as long as the “artist” isn’t so autotuned s/he sounds more robotic than GLaDOS during the credits of Portal.*

That being said, I LOVE when music and books come together.  This happens both with the author and the fans.  On the author side, we have playlists that some put out for their books.  A book playlist is made up of songs that go along with certain scenes in a book, or whose music goes with the emotions and themes, usually that the author listened to when needing some inspiration.  Some of them are quite nice, actually.  Stephenie Meyer has playlists for all four books in her Saga up on her website.  And, of course, my favorite blogger author, Maggie Stiefvater, has made some too.  In hers, though, it’s even cooler.  Most of her protagonists are musicians, so they make up songs.  Eventually, this led to actual artists doing covers of one of them.  Here’s my favorite (of two):

That was a good day for me.

On to the fans.  As you can see from the title of this post, the most prominent fan-made homages to books are songs written about said books.  Such as Wrock, which is the shortened version of Wizard Rock.  Meaning Harry Potter music.  You can find a bunch of it on iTunes.

Epic.

And it doesn’t stop with the boy wizard.  There are songs for Dr. Who (called Trock, for Time Lord Rock [yes, I know it’s not a book, but it’s too geeky-cool to resist a mention]) and for the Hunger Games (otherwise known as Rockingjay).  There may be more, but those three are the ones I know of that have more than a couple of bands.

I think this is so cool, guys.  When someone is creative enough and talented enough to mix two art forms?  Absolutely awesome.  Plus it’s like extra stuff to go along with your favorite fandom!  And who doesn’t like belonging to an amazing fandom?

Lastly, there are the fan-made playlists.  You’ve probably done this before, though you might not have realized it at the time.  It’s when you listen to a song and you realize, hey, this song is exactly like that one scene in that one book I once read.  I definitely do this all the time.  Some examples:

This Taylor Swift song describes Bella in New Moon PERFECTLY:

There actually are videos on YouTube that show clips of Bella and Edward, but none of them seemed right, so I went with just the lyrics.

My second example is one I’ve been thinking about A LOT lately.  This song could be used in a couple of different specific situations, so I’m just going to call it a theme.  This theme, in my head, is about the Gale/Katniss relationship from the time she goes into the Games on:

There are a couple of others I could share (including a Haymitch song- which I think is pretty interesting), but I think this is enough for one post.

Happy reading!

*If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please, in the name of all that is geeky, watch this.  I guarantee it will get stuck in your head.

What to Look For In Your Fictional Boyfriend

Or Girlfriend, If You Are So Inclined.

But I’m going to be talking about boys in this case, so if you’re not into guys, just substitute the word “girl” in there, ok?

Ok.

Here’s the deal.  Fictional boys are always perfect.  Always.  The heroine ends up with the perfect guy.  Every time.  There’s a reason girls will pick Teams and fight viciously over which one is better.  It’s because most of them wish their chosen dude was real.

Truth.

(It’s kind of depressing, when you think about it, considering none of them will ever really exist.  Sigh.)

However, I learned recently that there is such thing as too perfect.  As in, this guy is handsome, he’s athletic, he’s smart, and he’s student body president.  The kind of guy that does everything right, all the time.  This example is Ian, a character in Carrie Jones’ book, Need.

Behold, thine visual!

Since the first time Ian showed up, I was wary of him.  The protagonist was a new girl, and kind of emotionally dead (but I won’t get into that).  Ian didn’t care.  He was just there, showing up, all the time, always with a gigantic smile and just the right thing to say.

It wasn’t sweet.  It was creepy.  Ian was a creep.  A friend who had loaned me the book asked who I thought was a pixie (because, oh yeah, this book involves pixies).  I automatically answered with Ian.  He was too perfect.  No human could act like that, all the time.

I suppose it’s confusing that a guy’s perfection can be exactly the reason I don’t like him.  After all, aren’t all women searching for “the perfect guy?”  This book helped me learn that technical perfection is not the same as what a protagonist actually needs.  Writing a good boyfriend-type figure is much harder than it seems.

The protagonist needs someone who is kind, and understands her, and sure, let’s put good looks into the equation, because what fictional boyfriend doesn’t have those?  But the guy should also have enough flaws that he seems real.  Ian didn’t seem real to me.  Every person has flaws, but he didn’t appear to have any.  No matter how good the guy, they have to be believable, and that means putting some kind of vulnerability or vice in there.  This is something I think all writers have to remember when creating romance within their works.

I guess what I’m trying to say is the perfect fictional boyfriend isn’t perfect.  He’s flawed.  He’s real.  He’s human.

And he’s mine.

Happy reading!

 

P.S. Oh, and the pixie bit?  Yeah, I’m not telling whether I was right or not.

P.P.S. Quick review: Need was an awesome book.  Even with Ian in it.  My only negative thought is that it was EXTREMELY Twilight-ish.  Not exactly, but close enough to make some pretty major comparisons.  I think I like Need better, though, because the protagonist ends up with the guy she SHOULD end up with.  Tomorrow, though, I’m most likely going to talk about Divergent, which is AMAZING.  So stay tuned!

P.P.P.S. This is my 50th post!  WOO!  Party!

This is basically our Golden Anniversary. But with posts.

Snowball Is WHO?!

I mentioned symbolism in yesterday’s fangirl post about companion books, which got me thinking.  Symbolism crops up a lot in novels, especially in popular ones.  The Twilight covers all symbolize something.  Harry Potter carries a lot of it in everything from names (which I’ve already talked about) to the type of wood used in wands.

I’m not even going to mention The Hunger Games.  You’re probably sick of me fangirling about that anyway.

Want.

But does a book need symbols to be popular?  Sure, they add a heck of a lot of depth to the book, and create a better way of storytelling, but not every good book has so many symbols.  (But I can’t be sure on that front.  As I mentioned yesterday, I’m not the type to recognize that sort of thing.  At least not much.  All I’m saying is it’s a good thing we went over Animal Farm in reading class.)

I don’t think a book absolutely needs to have this stuff to make it big.  I do think, though, that for a YA book (which is the genre I’m interested in) to gain a substantial adult audience, the way all three series above did (I think I’ll call them the Big Three), a book needs something deeper, something more than love triangles and ohmygosh who am I going to the dance with???  And a lot of the time that richer element comes from intricate symbolism that is woven throughout the story.

And the rest of the time it comes from, well, books having a much better plot than above dancing.

SO...MANY...SYMBOLS...*eye twitch*

And there’s where I come to a halt: I’m not good at symbolism.  At least not yet.  Which means I can’t put it into my stories without everything being really cheesy.  I can’t even imagine the first step in creating a good symbol.  Do other authors even do it consciously?  I read once that Rick Riordan didn’t even realize one of his books had symbolism.

So does this inadequacy mean I’m not going to be a super popular writer?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It all depends on what I’m able to write, if my plot is good enough to go on without symbolism.

Sigh.  That’s really too bad, because I absolutely love reading books with symbols in them.  You know, at least the ones I can spot.

WHY IS BEING A WRITER SO HARD???

Happy reading.