Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Novel Planning

Once again, I've got another novel in my head- that make's six now: 1 series (3 novels), half a series (2 novels) and the first of another series. Usually, when I finish a novel or short story I wonder, just for fun, how it would go if I continued it. Most of the time, nothing comes from it but sometimes the idea plants itself in my mind and I can't help but create scene after scene until it becomes a full blown story.

Even before I do any character mapping or world building, everything becomes real. Some characters aren't even fully fleshed out but they seem as real the characters I've spent a lot of time developing. Their situations fit so well into the previous novel without me planning it that way. Even the world, which undoubtedly needs some work, becomes a real place in my mind.

Although I've worked on 2 novels extensively, they're still pretty rough. When I first wrote them, I didn't intend them to be a part of a series so, now I have to take into account other books will build off of them. The novels I plan on working on well into the future, I write in a journal only. To me, putting it in a Word Doc is a commitment to seriously work on it and right now, those novels are really really rough drafts. I call them the draft before the draft.

Despite this,  I've been able to keep to my one-novel-at-a-time plan. I'm not feeling overwhelmed and I don't feel I'm neglecting the novel I'd been working on for months simply because another came to mind. Wiring the new novels only in a journal helps me prioritize. All my novels are important but the ones on the computer get my attention first.

I wrote the first novel of the first series years ago and loved it. Now, I'm going through it again and realizing some of the mistakes I've made. I've learned and am still learning about writing. The second novel in the series is one I've been working on for a really long time, like since I was a kid. I actually started working on this one well before the one I mentioned above. The idea stayed with me and kept developing. I've rewritten this story so many times but kept the same characters and same basic premise. Maybe it's not the story itself but the characters that continue to grow, resisting any effort to be shelved.
Creative Commons
It's funny how these novels are turning into series because I was resistant to the idea for a long time. I understood why people wrote series I just didn't want to. But, because of these stories, I love figuring out creative ways of telling the story over three books. I'm still having trouble, though, with the overarching story for the first series. I've written the character's origins- how the first creature came to be, how each generation led to creatures with different abilities and where the villains came from but I don't like it. I can't figure out why though. This is where the journal comes in again. Typing on a computer is great but writing it out helps me visualize. Writing novels, building worlds is a puzzle. You have all the pieces and now you must make them all fit together seamlessly.
by Eeliass
I keep thinking, for an unpublished writer, having 6 novels planned may be a bit much but I can't help it. They just keep coming to me. The stories commit to me before I commit to them. But even if I could stop them, I wouldn't.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D


Ocarina of Time is one of the best games I've ever played! I get so sucked into the story and the spectacular visuals I pay no attention to time. In my mind, I'm like okay, after this part I'll save and quit, no this part, no, this part. Okay, NOW I'll quit and then I end up playing for another hour. As a kid, I never understood how anyone could play a video game for hours. Now I can.

I thought, at first, I wasn't familiar with the original N64 version until I started playing. I reached the Temple of Time and thought, I've seen this before. Turns out, I watched my brother play it years ago but even still, I won't be comparing this Ocarina of Time to the original. I'm still new to the gaming world (I hated video games as a kid, can you believe it?) and this is the first time I've discussed a game this way, so bear with me, but, I had to do it because Zelda is pure awesomeness.

Ocarina of Time didn't have the long narrative at the beginning I'd come to expect from Zelda. The story was interesting and short enough not to be annoying. All the stories were spectacular in 3D especially the one about the 3 goddesses. I'm a big fan of this 3D trend but, I usually turn the 3D off while playing. It gets in the way and it's not meant to be looked at for a long time and, 3D eats up battery life. But even in 2D, Ocarina of Time is still pretty nice. I turn on the 3D for the back-stories and while running through Hyrule Field. It is great to look at just not when I'm doing something else- like fighting.

I like navigating with the Circle Pad. My only problem is my thumb keeps sliding. The controls are pretty easy to learn. I won't go into them except to say I have no trouble with them.

 The story is very well written- I'm a writer, I had to go there. I keep thinking what a great imagination the designers have. The world building is spectacular. I love the side quests like collecting the cuccos for the lady in Kakariko Village. I made the mistake of hitting one chicken too many times and was pecked to death by a swarm of cuccos. It sucked but it was still hilarious. I love how Zelda has different puzzles requiring you to exercise your brain. For Phantom Hourglass for the DS, I kind of abused the walkthrough, this time, I'm trying to play without it. Navi and the visions of the future help a lot.

Nintendo kept the same story and characters from the original. Why fix something that's not broken right? I may not be as well versed in the original as others but I love my flashback moments. They make me so happy especially when I hear Zelda's Lullaby.

Also, I'm not easily startled but I was so into this game I actually jumped at some parts. While running through Hyrule Field for the first time at night, I nearly jumped out of my skin when Stalchildren, skeletal monsters, appeared. They aren't scary but they seemed to come out of nowhere. And, in Goron City, I used the Bomb Flowers to blow out a series of walls. I got through all of them and nearly chocked because a massive Goron was at the end of the tunnel. I had not expected that either. I took a break because I couldn't stop coughing or laughing at myself. Speaking of Goron, I was a bit freaked out when Darunia started dancing after Link played him Saria's Song. His moves were so erratic it was ridiculous and he danced for like forever.

Nintendo has more than made up for their less then satisfying starting lineup for the 3DS. Zelda: Ocarina of Time is what the 3DS was made for. I hope this game is a peek of things to come.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pottermore

So everyone, well almost everyone, has been talking about Pottermore. It's Harry Potter related- that's all anyone knew for sure. I heard it was going to be an Augment Reality Game which would have been really interesting. J.K Rolwing announced today on Youtube what Pottermore is.
First of all, what a great video. I like how they used the book to create pictures.

Pottermore is like social media for Harry Potter fans or maybe it's similar to Second Life. Anyway, how cool is that? What a spectacular idea! Releasing any more Harry Potter books would destroy the series but no one wants to see HP go. Pottermore is a great way to keep HP alive, not that it needs much help. Pottermore will ease the sting you'll feel after watching HP7 Part 2 and realize no more new Harry Potter will be released.

A lot of people, including me, have practically grown up with the series. I'm about to turn 26 and have been reading HP since I was like 13 or 14. No other characters have been in my life that long. HP has been and will always be my favorite series. I've read a lot of well-written books but none of them spurred excitement in me as much as HP does. I own all 7 books and reread them more often than any other book in my collection. I hear a lot of people saying HP got them back into reading which, in of itself, is awesome. The last four books are about 700 pages but because they are so well written and so engaging, no one really cares.

Pottermore is not up and running yet but check out the website at http://www.pottermore.com/. I'm so excited to see what this involves. I'm glad now, after July, I'll have more Harry Potter to look forward to. Now I just have to find a countdown gadget for Pottermore.

Also, I just saw a website with pictures of what Pottermore might look like. Check out Harry Potter Review.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Green Latern 3D


I like this trend of summer movies mixing great plot and epic action. I loved the story line of Green Lantern and the action scenes fit in with the story without over shadowing it. Ryan Reynolds worked as Green Lantern. I had no trouble believing it. The movie was funny without making light of the serious undertone. They made a lot of green jokes but it did not diminish the sheer awesomeness of the Green Lantern Corps. I liked the green jokes.

One of my favorite parts was when Hal, in his Green Lantern costume, visited Carol Ferris played by Blake Lively. He tried to be all hero like but she looked closely at him and freaked because she recognized him. He was stunned she recognized him and she said "I've known you since we were kids, do you think I wouldn't recognize you because I can't see your cheek bones?" That- was- hilarious. It made me think of the whole Clark Kent/Superman thing. Hal wore a mask barely covering the top half of his face; it did not hide his identity well. During the first part of the scene, I kept thinking, how can she not know it's him, he doesn't look that different? Score 1 for the writers!

The basis of the plot was man gets powers he doesn't believe he deserves which I liked because it made Hal more likable, more human. I also like movies where the bad guys aren't necessarily bad or, at least, they didn't start off that way.  Even though Hector, played by Peter Sarsgaard, did some awful things, you kind of understood why he did them. Overall, I enjoyed myself. The visuals were stunning especially when they were on the planet Oa. Seeing Green Lantern was a nice end to a great day and I really loved the weapons Hal created with his green power. Mark Strong was awesome as Sinestro.
 
Now we talk about 3D. I had to see Green Lantern in 3D out of curiosity and I was impressed. It made shelling out the extra dollars worth it. It wasn't on par with Avatar but what movie is.  If you can afford it, Green Lantern is worth a watch in 3D.

Since we're on the topic, it seems 3D is becoming more than just a way to trick people out of their money. Transformers looks like it too would be worth watching in 3D so does Immortals, which is being released this winter. I love the idea of 3D movies so I hope this means it'll be more than just an expensive waste of time.

Off topic- the blond female in Transformers: Dark of the Moon- what's the point of her?

Back to Green Lantern. Critics hated it but people, generally, loved it so it got me wondering- what's the point of a critic? I know they're giving their professional opinion but I can't help notice their opinion is opposite what people actually think. I read critic reviews out of curiosity but never give them much merit. Their opinion has never convinced me to see a movie or talked me out of it. Many people, in their reviews, say don't listen to them. So, does anyone really care what the critics have to say?



Look forward to my review of Transformers: Dark of the Moon!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

HP7 Part 2

Just returned from the movies and saw an epic preview for Harry Potter 7 Part 2. This one is better then the first.  I had to share it! I cannot wait for July!! I do not cry during movies but some tears might be shed for this one.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Awesomeness that is the Summer Movie

I'm gonna have to save up!  Zelda is coming out on Nintendo 3DS- Zelda in 3D, come on, how can that not be the coolest thing ever. On top of that, they are rolling with the summer movies. So far, I've been impressed and more epicness is coming.  I know epicness is not a word but it's so fitting to describe the movies being released in the next couple of months. I hope they are as awesome as their trailers.

First up



Next


Then the summer movie that will EAT all other summer movies and it'll be in 3D!

And finally


Talk about nerd heaven. Cool action, comic book heroes and an epic Harry Potter finale. 

And let's not forget
There hasn't been any good horror movies since Devil but Don't be Afraid of the Dark looks like it's going to be the type of scary I like-one that keeps your heart in your throat and no unnecessary gore. To me, gore is not scary.

Look forward to my reviews people- this is gonna to fun!

Oh, and I have to mention this even though it's not a summer movie

Friday, June 10, 2011

Enjoy

The world showed signs of summer’s death.  People walked past Mike Waters with their heads down against the wind. No more pleasant talk.  No more social events.  People only left their homes when they had to.  Night’s tendrils touched the daylight hours and infected the warmth, making people want to pull out their souls and scrub it.  


The Fountain, Mike’s apartment building, did not reflect these changes.  The grass was still green, the path to the front door was lined with red, purple, yellow and white flowers and the trees showed no signs of giving up their leaves to fall. The city wanted this place with blind desperation but the gate was a shield.  If The Fountain didn’t want it, it wasn’t getting in. 


The landscape was a legion of greenery emitting delightful fragrances, inducing an almost muscle weakening euphoria when inhaled.  His neighbors milled around, smiled and greeted each other as though they’d been long time friends.  Mike turned and jumped off the cobblestone path as two children raced past and further into the garden. Their parents, two people Mike never met but knew by face, smiled their apology.  Mike smiled back and walked through the front door.  

Along the walls and ceilings were shadows of the past refusing to be suppressed by this modern world.  Dozens of paintings had been put up at The Fountain’s construction and they still occupied the lobby. They thwarted any attempt to be removed.  Any modern art put on those walls was wiped clean in minutes.  

The elevator moaned under the stress of constant use.  It was past its prime and, like the building, looked like it hadn’t been change since its installation. The elevator opened on his floor.  Mike's breath steamed but he ignored it as he greeted his neighbors in passing.  The rent was right, the amenities were amazing and the location was convenient; why would they complain about a draft or an old elevator?  It was easy to ignore the eighteenth century theme and if no one put new decoration in public spaces, they could forget the building was alive.  But they knew, somehow, The Fountain protected them and for this they were grateful and forgiving.  

“Good Afternoon Mike,” his neighbor Loraine Allen said.  

She stopped so Mike stopped.  Ameren wasn’t dying for caffeine.  

“Good Afternoon Loraine.”

“I hear Ameren is as vocal as ever.”

Mike smiled.  It was his turn to get coffee, he knew it despite Ameren's loud reminders but he really hadn’t wanted to go.  He chuckled.  

Loraine nodded.  

“It's amazing though, The Fountain lets her stay here.  She doesn’t go home often does she?”

Mike shook her head.  It was amazing and something he and Ameren discussed often.  The only people staying in The Fountain were those paying rent and their children.  Anyone else couldn’t get through the gate. The guard at the front desk had to go to the street to get the mail.  

“I don’t see how you of all people could hold your own against her.  It seems she has such a fiery spirit that even this place recognizes and likes.” 

She looked up at the ceiling and waved her hands dramatically.
 
He liked Loraine well enough but sometimes she listened too much.  Ameren practically lived with him but she never had a conversation with Loraine. Something about the woman made her itch, she said often.  Mike had to admit although she was pleasant; the air Loraine carried made his lips chap.  

Not knowing how to respond, he smiled and walked past her.  Balancing the two coffees in one hand, he uprooted the door key from his pocket.  He kicked the door closed behind him as he moved the second coffee to his other hand.  

“Oh darn, darn, darn, darn.” 

He shook his head. Ameren Smith was on her hands and knees in front of the DVD player.  Her butt was in the air and was wrapped in pair of shorts made to tease.  Mike stared at the round work of art and almost missed the glass table by the door when he released the coffee.  He pulled his eyes away in time and managed to save them.  To avoid any more accidents, he put the cups down and removed his coat.  He couldn’t stop staring.  

“Like what you see?”

He met her eyes. 

“Even for you that line's pedestrian.”

“Even for me… what the hell does that mean?” 

She clamped her hand over her mouth and glared at Mike. He smiled. It was a game he always won. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

X-Men First Class


First of all, there must be a better way to arrange theater seats so people aren't sitting under the screen. That screen is too big to be watching a movie from that angle for two hours. I was looking at the screen from those front seats for only a couple of minutes and my head started to hurt then, half-way through the movie my neck cramped. There must be a better way. Those seats are pure torture.

Now that's out of the way... X-Men: First Class was awesome. I went in skeptical because they keep doing X-Men movies and they just- kept- failing. I have some serious problems with the first three movies which I won't go into but, I wasn't going to see this one. The trailer was epic so I decided to give them another chance.

Just for the occasion, I bought X-Men: First Class graphic novel hoping to compare it to the movie. The GN wasn't about the history of Professor X and Magneto but the first class of X-men (hence the name) - Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Angel, and Beast. The GN was great but it wasn't what I expected and I can't compare it to the movie.

 I enjoyed the movie overall but someone things were a bit obvious. Like when the characters were coming up with code names. I know it's a movie but the names shouldn't feel like they were fed to them. Fortunately, the rest of the movie wasn't forced. I know only a little about the X-Men story but, from what I know, they did Professor X and Magneto justice. The part where Erik is lifting the submarine out of the water was as awesome as it looked in the trailer! X-Men had some great action but it didn't leave the story behind. It was more about Erik and Charles; the other characters, the plot were seasoning- all ways to show how they were before they became Professor X and Magneto. The other characters were forgettable but Charles and Erik were portrayed so brilliantly they carried the movie. Out of the X-Men movies to date, I enjoyed this one the most. They finally got it right. I wasn't disappointed.

I have to say, though, while watching the movie, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking something was off about the story and that it might make die hard X-men fans a little angry. I read user reviews who said they, as fans of the comic, were satisfied so I could be wrong. My hang-up may have been because Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman and Angel weren't in the movie. They had an Angel but it was a female with fairy wings. But as I said, excellent summer movie, not one that will be forgotten. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will be downloading this one once its available on iTunes.

BTW, a Planet of the Apes prequel sounds like a stupid idea but the preview looked kind of awesome.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Florence

Check out my post Adventures to be Had, it's the first of this series.

We arrived at the train terminal, Termini in Rome, early and had to sit on the floor because we didn't see any seats. It was ridiculous! That had to have been our third time sitting on the floor at a terminal. It's a good thing I don't mind it. (We started our Italy adventure in Rome. I'm going out of order but I wanted to blog about Florence first even though it wasn't our first stop.) When it was almost time for our departure, we went further into the station, towards the tracks, to see which one our train would be leaving from. We looked at the board and had a mini panic attack because we didn't see Florence. Fortunately, one of our friends knew why. In Italy, they do not call the city Florence but Firenze. Remember that. If you're traveling to Florence know there won't be many signs saying Florence. We took a moment to discuss why people call it Florence if no one in Italy calls it that. It's not like Firenze is hard to pronounce.

The conversation ended when our train arrived. I had my Harry Potter moment because the cars on the train were like the ones on Hogwarts Express. I hadn't expected it which made it even more exciting. It was even more amazing when the snack cart rolled by, too bad the person didn't say "Anything from the trolley." I would've died.

The weather was nasty when we arrived, on top of that, we didn't know how to get to the hostel and had issues finding someone who spoke English. As it happened, one our friends had been sitting on the train with people who spoke Italian and they spent the ride teaching her some common phrases. With her help and hand gestures, we managed to communicate what we needed and got directions.  Unfortunately, when we arrived at our stop, we didn't know which way to go. We managed to find the street the hostel was on but the building numbers were a nightmare. They made no sense. We looked like we were lost so someone pointed us in the right direction. The hostel had beds for all of us in two rooms.

As I said in Adventures to be Had, the hostel is called Hostel Archi Rossi and it was awesome! It had art everywhere and cost 25 euro a night which included warm breakfast, internet and television, not that we watched much television.

We were starving so, after putting down our bags, we searched for food. Restaurants have their menus posted outside. We looked at them first and if too many items are far above 10 euro, we walk away. We were college students. We weren't made of money. And if they didn't offer tap water, which is free, we didn't order drinks. We found a nice place, reasonably priced, with a hilarious place-mate that I took as a souvenir.  Their Lasagna and Vegetable Soup was delicious. I don't know if this is a European thing, but in both England and Italy their vegetable soup is not chucks of vegetables; it looks more like split pea soup, like they blend the vegetables together then cook them in a soup. I don't know how they cook it but it's the best vegetable soup ever. I wish I could find it here.

Since the weather was so bad, we relaxed the rest of the day. By the way, I bought a pair of great sunglasses in Rome but they were gone when I got to Florence. They must've fallen out my bag on the train. I was so mad.

We started the next day with our first warm breakfast in two days. The Hostel in Rome gave us cold breakfast, not that we complained. It was just nice to have warm breakfast. The weather was much better though windy. We walked through Piazza Duomo which was magnificent. It had so many beautiful buildings. We didn't go in any of them though. We didn't have time. Our destination was Galleria degli Uffizi, a famous art gallery. It was a two hour wait to get in but it was so worth it. Admission was 10 euro, again, worth it. I saw so many paintings I'd studied. I never dreamed I'd be able to see them. Pictures do not do them justice. They're massive with gorgeous frames. The frames were a work of art in themselves. We spent hours roaming the gallery.

We had lunch afterwards then headed to The Hills which, as the name suggests, is a hill giving you a great view of the city.

The Hill is a tourist trap so a lot of people were selling things. In Italy, the merchants are aggressive and you can haggle. I never tried it but one of our friends was great at it. If one of us wanted to buy something we just got her and she'd talk the merchant down to a better price.

Italy has great outdoor markets. At the one in Florence, I replace the sunglasses I lost, bought this nice sweatshirt, two pairs of earrings I haven't seen anywhere else since and a white long sleeve shirt. Everything I bought I still have and they're in great condition. They didn't cost me much either- remember college student. I saw a lovely coat at an unbelievable price but I didn't get it because I'd over-packed and didn't have a place to put it. I regret not getting the coat. It was so nice. The material used for the clothing is so soft and warm.   

By the way, the first night in our hostel was freezing but by the second night, we learned each room had a heater so we turned it on and the room was so comfortable. After the horrible bathrooms in Rome, we were so happy to have nice ones with hot water. Each of us took longer than usual showers. It was such a beautiful trip.

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