Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Banned Books

Photo Cred: The Daily Dot
All right so today is the day in which I tackle, or attempt to anyway, Banned Books. I have to tell you this list is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read! For those of you that are unfamiliar with this topic the Banned Book List is a compiling of different literary materials that include all genres of literature; from to fiction to non-fiction, biographies and fairytales, and everything in between! Some of the more notable additions to this list include, but not limited to, The Bible, The Diary of Anne Frank, Of Mice and Men, The Communist Manifesto, Catcher in the Rye, and many others.

In truth there isn't even one Banned Books list, there are in fact several and they all have variations to them. But there are several novels on each list that are considered classics that always seem to make the cut. Now I attended a private Catholic high school and grade school and guess what every English /Lit teacher I ever had always seemed to be teaching us books from this list. I read Catcher in the Rye sophomore year of high school, Of Mice and Men we did my freshman year, not to mention the Canterbury Tales!

These classics that are considered offensive or including inappropriate materials or topics are some of the better written books. They're classics for a reason and cover topics that should be discussed and studied freely. I truly enjoyed Of Mice and Men when I was a freshman, it was a well-written piece of literature that I'm glad I was given the opportunity to study in a classroom setting. Because literature affects each person in their own individual way and studying/discussing books as a group gives you the chance to open up your mind to different perspectives and ideas.

The Banned Books list has always been a source of amusement and annoyance in my world. As an avid reader and writer I constantly struggle with my stance on banned books or restricted reading materials. While I do think that age ratings, much like a movie rating, are a good thing I never understood the point of trying to ban something simply because one small group was in some way offended.

But really, have we gotten to the point in society where even a free giveaway must be policed because, again, one small sect disapproves of the materials being given away. In a generation where texting, emailing, Netflix, TV, computers it's become a rarity that anyone just sits down and reads anymore. Why read the book when the movie is just around the corner? So when someone finds something they want to read, want to lose themselves in I think that's something that should be celebrated!

So yes a school can limit what they want to expose their students to, maybe it's not appropriate for the age group or goes against their beliefs and principles. But how can parents try to limit a business from giving items away? No one is forcing your kids to take the free item, no one forces anyone to take the item. It's a giveaway and it is solely the individual person's choice to take it or walk right on by, that choice is something no one else has the right to take away.

***Read more at: The Daily Dot***

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Two Jobs


Writing, while it is my passion, it is also something that doesn't always come naturally. It's not something I do on a daily basis, although I know I should. There are days when characters just don't speak to me, I can't see the errors I should during the editing process, it's a job and like any job sometimes I just need a break.

But the amazing part of this job is that inspiration can literally come from anywhere. I'll think of something to drive a plot forward while I'm washing my hair. I'll read a word or phrase in a book, an article, on Facebook that kicks my brain into gear. I think the most influential aspect of my process though is sound, music in particular because it influences my own feelings/emotions.

I don't care how long it takes. I'll listen to a particular song a dozen times or more in an effort to capture the right feel of a scene, to make everything work as well as it should. Because when writing can make a reader feel emotional that's when you know it's good.

So if I can make even one person feel awkward, uncomfortable, pain, sadness, joy, excitement or anything at all then I know I'm doing my job right and doing it well. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Did I Miss The Memo?

Did I miss the memo? Since when does spending four years in school and getting a degree make me a baby? Sure maybe I'm not working in my field that I studied for but I'm working! I'm an adult and taking charge of my life by at least working to support myself rather than depending on someone else to pay my bills and my lifestyle. Because it's just not me!

I've been working since I was fifteen years old, I held two jobs while I was an undergrad and still managed to maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. I know how to work hard; I managed to stay in school and graduate on time which in this day and age seems to  be a feat in an of itself. When I started school it was right around the time of one of the worst financial periods in our history since the Great Depression and I still managed to stay in school. I don't appreciate the insinuation that I may be a princess or a brat, don't pity my parents because I still live with them. Don't pity any potential future husband because he will have to support me! Because that's not how I work.

I'll admit that it kind of stinks that I spent four years in school and yet I'm not really utilizing my degree in the ways I had hoped. But that being said I chose my major knowing full well that my career choice, my passion, was not an ad I would find in the classifieds of employers looking to hire. In fact it's pretty non-existent that you see an ad for creative fiction writers, so I work. I'm a car girl and just seemed to fall right into place in a dealership not far from my home. I like my job and I'm good at it; I don't plan on it being my career but it's my job now so I'll give it 110%.

Now I understand I went to school and studied English, I have a BA in it. But once again, did I miss some sort of memo that gives other permission to belittle my degree? So because I didn't get a degree in medicine, or physical therapy, or some sort of trade it allows others to turn their noses up at my degree? Believe it or not guys I worked hard for my degree, and all you other English majors can agree, it's not exactly as easy as everyone else seems to think. I read Shakespeare, I know how to think critically and dissect stories that I read, I spent an entire semester studying Chaucer! CHAUCER!

My degree is something that I am proud of, something that I earned! So I do not appreciate being talked down to just because I chose to study English. I don't enjoy being told that I picked wrong when I declared! Or that I'm a fool because I would like to one day get my MFA in Creative Writing! That's the fast way to tick me off and put me on the offensive and if you haven't gone toe to toe with before I give as good as I get, especially when what I'm fighting for I have a passion for.

So please someone, if there was a memo sent out that declared an English degree to be akin to a degree in comedy I'd love a copy of it. Otherwise keep the side comments out of my earshot; they're not appreciated.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Agents of SHIELD

So my blog is a little late this week and I've been waiting to post this until after Agents of SHIELD tonight. And wow! Let me just say ABC & Marvel have taken me for quite a ride!

I literally am left speechless after tonight's episode! So many twists and turns, so many unexpected betrayals and turn of events! There's just … wow!

But this is what the Marvel universe is all about I guess. Once you think you know it all and have everything figured out … When you think you know who's who and which team everyone plays for … that's usually when Marvel says NOPE! Not today! Try this one on for size!

And considering everything that has happened tonight I am so glad I only have to wait until next week for an episode! But dear lord is it really changing to 9 o'clock? That's so going to clash with Supernatural! I need to work on my scheduling!

Source: http://abc.go.com/shows/marvels-agents-of-shield

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Think Before You Review ...

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
- Ernest Hemingway

Honestly no truer words were ever spoken about a writer. Especially for a writer that is offering up their hard work to someone else to essentially read, critique and rip to shreds. I'm an unpublished author and I desperately want to join the ranks of those that are published. But I know that when that day comes, if I put my work out there in the world, I will of course be subject to the same reviews that all my favorite authors are subject too.
I've read some of these reviews, on apps such as Goodreads, websites like Amazon and B&N, seen posts on Tumblr and Facebook. While some reviews have merit and come from a genuine place of critique and objectivity a large majority of them make my blood boil.
For instance completely writing off any series, story, or author because the two characters you 'ship' don't end up together is an opinion that is uniquely your own. Now while others may share your sentiments and agree with your opinion, it is not however a justified review of a book. Or perhaps the author threw in a plot twist to up the ante and make the story more exciting and interesting to the reader. Honestly those plot twists are fun to write, you keep thinking to yourself 'no one will see this coming'. If you didn't like the plot twist, well too bad, it's there for a reason and it serves a larger purpose to the story.
Moving on to characters, for anyone that is not a writer and simply enjoys the thrill of reading and a new book characters are probably some of the most difficult aspects to control when writing. Characters soon become their own person and sometimes, as hard as you try, you have no control over them. They take on a life of their own and sometimes they tell you, the writer, where they want to go next and what's going to happen. Trust me it is just as much a shock to the writer as it is the reader. But that being said the author has a plan for their characters, they each serve a specific purpose to the overall storyline, whether it's to be a martyr, to be a love interest, or to just get the ball rolling for the main character. They all serve a purpose!
Now there are many other review aspects that I can go into but it seems to me the trend of these so called 'reviewers' is to complain when the characters don't do what the reader wants. "Shippers" really make my blood boil because for some reason it seems to be a thing now if the main characters of any story don't end up in love, in lust or in bed together before the end of the book. I don't seem justifying the hatred of a book or story because 'so and so' didn't end up with 'what's her face', if that's the case and how you want to base your opinion stick to Disney movies; they always have a happy ending.

The Blacklist

I think I've found a new favorite TV show! Granted I'm coming in a little late and episodes have already aired, that being said thank god for Hulu!
Started watching last night and watching James Spader has made me miss what I loved so much about Boston Legal. I'm not a Pretty in Pink type of girl. Actually I've never even seen the movie the entire way through. When it comes to Pop Culture I always seem to be in a world of my own, I find the things that I like and follow them regardless of what other's like or think.
But then again I was always that kid at recess that would rather read than play kickball. I'm not really coordinated enough for sports anyway; though apparently archery is the exception to that rule and that is after I only had one lesson at a shooting range.
Sometimes I'm a frontrunner ... I really think only a true fan of Supernatural watches the show for the show! And a real fan remembers the disclaimer that was on the screen for thirty second prior to the premiere of the pilot. Do you remember it? Because I sure do. Plus a real fan remembers that Supernatural originally aired on a Tuesday night, it's been bouncing around ever since, nine years later it's back on Tuesdays nights.
But I digress ... The Blacklist. A criminal mastermind that comes in out of the cold, supplying secrets to the FBI in exchange for a few creature comforts. Now I have my theories about this show, why Red came in out of the cold on such a specific day. Why he's choosing so meticulously who he works with and whom he will reveal his secrets to. But I'm a firm believer in not divulging spoilers, plus I could be completely wrong. But for the moment I think I'm just going to enjoy the ride and see what comes of Raymond Reddington.
And to anyone else that loves criminal mastermind, mind games and trickery, this is the show for you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

From Page to Screen

Okay so here it goes …
And in this week's post guys keep this one question in mind 'Is my nerd showing?'

Here's the deal recently the world of YA fiction has been blowing up, series are getting adapted into movies and hitting the big screen. Let's just get the obvious out of the way and say that this is AMAZING! Authors have put their blood, sweat and tears into these stories. People have worked for years and years to get to this point. Characters that have become almost like family or friends to them are becoming tangible, they're being brought to life. The world's that have, until recently, only existed in the author and the reader's mind are coming to life. Concept becomes reality and that is just truly an accomplishment unlike any other.

But the flip side to that accomplishment is opening your life's work up to even more hate and criticism. Now of course critics are expected to be very critical and even at times harsh, but that's their job! They're supposed to critique these things and while reviews from critics are supposed to be objective human nature does not always allow for that. But it's the viewer's choice, the reader's choice, everybody's choice to take the reviews at face value or ignore them all together and form your own opinion.

It seems to me though that lately the critics aren't even the ones to watch out for, it's the fans. Fans that have read the books and have fallen in love with the characters, the worlds, the author in one way or another. And I agree the fans of the books should be critical, they after all have given years to these series! I myself gave Harry Potter more than ten years! More than a DECADE! Out of that I got seven books, eight movies, three heroes and I am part of a generation that is unlike any other. As a self-proclaimed Potterhead I'm part of the original "fandom." A fandom that basically all others strive to become, the following and the success that only one franchise has successfully claimed and kept the crown of having the most loyal fans. As a Harry Potter fan from the start; I read the first book in the fourth grade and followed the entire series to completion in 2011.

And yes I am guilty of being critical of a series that I love so much, an example would be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie. Of all the movies in that series I felt this was the movie that was least like the book. There were plot points missing from the movie that I just wish had not been cut; I still enjoy the movie but in terms of my own rating system it's not my favorite of the bunch.

That being said I spent the last few days scrolling through different tags on Tumblr, where a majority of the ranting and raving seems to happen, and found every type of fan review possible. Those that praised the book to movie adaptations, those that hated them and justified their reasoning behind their hatred. But then there were those reviews in which the writer simply felt the need to nitpick and gripe over every little minuscule detail that was changed or omitted from page to screen. These are the reviews that bother me the most and hopefully others as well.

Now the reviews I spent my days reading focused largely on The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I chose these three because they're not only some of the most current adaptations but they are also ones that I myself have both read the books and seen the movies. They're not the only YA books I've read, I'm up to date on Twilight, obviously Harry Potter, Hush Hush, The Gallagher Girls series, etc. and I'll admit I have not yet read Insurgent or Allegiant; so if I'm short on a few details that potentially come back in later books I won't comment on those changes either.

There are still plenty of things I can share my opinion on, such as many viewers apparent hatred of the fact that Christina (Zoe Kravitz) is not significantly taller that Tris (Shailene Woodley) in the Divergent movie. The point of a casting of a particular actor/actress for any adaptation is that they capture the essence of the character, the life that you felt from them in the book and needs to be translated onto the screen. Now Zoe Kravitz playing Candor turned Dauntless Christina I enjoyed very much and chopping a couple inches off her height is not in the long run a big deal! It does nothing to affect the overall performance of Zoe or the portrayal of the character.

It's little details like this that fans hang onto so hard that it blinds them and makes them hate the conversion. Jennifer Lawrence is a natural blonde, therefore she was a terrible choice for Katniss Everdeen. Hair dye people! That is a fixable problem! And JLaw really does Katniss justice. All the Shadowhunters have accents; are we completely forgetting that the country they all originate from is Idris? Smack dab in the middle of Europe? I think I would've been disappointed if they were completely Americanized considering while Jace, Alec and Isabelle live in New York they rarely socialize with its inhabitants. The Shadowhunters have always held, in my opinion, and old world air about that that makes them mysterious and seem almost as if they were from another world entirely. In a way though they really are.

Now I'm up to date on Twilight but I'm not even going to touch that one, because let's face it a blog about Twilight could be it's own post all together. But seriously guys let's not focus on the fact that Effie's dress was a different color at the Reaping from the book to movie. Madge? I'm sorry but she's not a major character and if you haven't read Mockingjay yet, trust me overall she's not necessary to the series itself. Madge Undersee's job was to get the Mockingjay pin to Katniss and as long as Katniss ultimately gets the pin it really does not matter how she gets, just that she does. Seeing things from the Gamemakers point of view? It's necessary to telling the story; Madge is not!

City of Bones' Simon, no he didn't become a rat and yes I was looking forward to that but it's not a deal breaker that Robert Sheehan remained human throughout the entire movie. If I were to nitpick it would be more about the ending of the movie and the current location of the Mortal Cup. The filmmakers dug themselves into a nice little hole with that one, getting out of it will be interesting. But really I've read a review and the reviewer is angered over leaving out Church! A cat! People it's a cat! Church is awesome but what role does he play other than tour guide? Even Peeves got cut from Harry Potter and Peeves was in every book in several different ways, he was a tormentor, an ally, an enemy; part of Hogwarts!

Things get changed from page to screen, pieces get cut and things are added. It's part of the process, making something flow on the page is different from making it live on a screen. What is described in several paragraphs of exposition and detail can be done in seconds on film. And once again these are all adaptations! The stories are made to fit their new format while trying to remain as true to the original as possible. I highly doubt the writers, producers, directors and actors go into these projects with the objective to butcher much loved books and anger the existing fans. The point of these is to please the existing fans while bringing on new ones to the franchise.

So yes there are some cases in which I would love a 17 hour long retelling of the story, with no detail left out but that's simply not reality. I go into a theater and look at the movie for what it is and where it came from, if I can leave that theater and have the same or similar feeling I had reading the books then I'm happy. If the characters had the same energy and feel that they did on the page, I'm good. But for the love of god don't change the endings! They're written the way they are for a reason!

Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/0QLOq 
Above are some quotes from the different blogs I found on Tumblr reviewing these movies. These quotes are taken from larger pieces but are otherwise unedited. The blog URLs are listed with their related quotes beneath them.