NaNoWriMo, Day 1

My family and I have a tradition of wishing each other a happy first of the month. I’m not entirely sure when or why it started, but I’ve always liked the sentiment of it: Happy First. We made it through one month. We have a brand new start ahead of us.

So, in that spirit: Happy Nov. 1, everyone!

What that also means for writers: Day one of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

If you’re not familiar with it, NaNo is when writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in one month (about the length of a short novel).

It’s definitely quite a feat, and not something I’ve ever technically accomplished. (Several years ago, I did manage to finish a novel, but it was short the 50k mark. What can I say…. The story was just finished.)

This year, though, I’m doing something a little bit different. The novel I started for NaNo last year is still unfinished. I’ve worked on it throughout the year, made some decent headway, hit a roadblock—lather, rinse, repeat.

So my goal for NaNo is not to hit that 50k. It’s just to finish this particular manuscript.

I’m hoping NaNo will give me a kick-in-the-pants and that blogging about my progress each day will keep me motivated and honest.

Because lately, I haven’t had much time to write. I’ve been focusing on other goals…. Namely, losing weight.

I feel like I kind of need to explain why this blog about writing has had fewer updates about me… you know… writing. All year, I’ve been exercising and adjusting my eating habits. And for the most part, I could still squeeze in time to write. But I kind of hit a point where I needed to kick my routine into high gear if I still wanted to see the scale decreasing.

So that has been priority one. I’m hoping with NaNo, though, I’ll be able to re-find that balance and make progress with both of my main goals: Writing and being healthy.

And, in case anyone is curious, I started the year at 162 pounds. (Not great for someone who isn’t even 5-foot.) My most recent lowest weight was 136.6. (Though trick-or-treat kinda got in the way…. Darn you, delicious Halloween candy!!!)

To sum up: NaNo = Finish last year’s project. Blog = Hold me accountable. Weight = Keep going down!

Wish me luck. With all those goals and only so many hours in a day (and a full-time job), I kind of feel like I’m going to need it.

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 6: Review

From Goodreads.com

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 6 by Kiiro Yumi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Sweet and fun with lots of moments that make you smile. Plus, it’s a manga about why books shouldn’t be censored–which was particularly interesting in this installment since the story’s library actually decided to not include a magazine in their collection (one that specifically broke the law by printing the name of a minor serial killer). Yeah… talk about shades of gray and some interesting fodder for a debate/discussion. In short, this is a book that makes you think while also being a nice, sweet little rom-com. Not an easy balance to achieve, but it somehow manages it perfectly–which is saying something coming from someone who does not typically enjoy rom-coms.



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The Fade Out, Act Three: Review

From Goodreads.com

The Fade Out, Act Three by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*This is the final book in a three-part graphic novel series.*

A pretty solid read. If I’m being honest, it was more “mature” than I usually prefer, but the story was still engaging. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how the mystery would be solved–and if justice would be served. I won’t answer that question because… spoilers… but I will say if you want a gritty tale of ’40s Hollywood that deals with everything from murder and conspiracy to PTSD and alcoholism… well, then this is a book that will give you that in a well-written–albeit at times uncomfortable–way.



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Ms. Marvel: Review

I’m planning on adding reviews to Word-Maleerie! I write them anyways–because when you read over 200 books a year (not as impressive as it sounds; a lot of them are graphic novels), you need SOMETHING to help keep the stories straight. And I figured… what better one to start with than my library’s most recent Comic Book Club read!

From Goodreads.com

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was a re-read for my library’s Comic Book Club. And… yeah, I loved it just as much as I did the first time. Maybe even more, since it was really fun to go back to where these characters first began and compare them to who they are now. I love a good character evolution, and Ms. Marvel is full of that! Plus, lots of emphasis on family and community, while still being a story about finding your own identity and…. well, just a darn good superhero origin. Seriously, if you haven’t read Ms. Marvel, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
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I’ve been wanting to read Ms. Marvel for ages, and now I finally have. In short, I found the entire graphic novel… delightful. I LOVE KAMALA. She is nerdy and fun! I feel like she would be most readers if we lived in the Marvel Universe and got superpowers. (But not in a Mary Sue way. She is totally her own person and unique–which was kind of the whole theme of this particular volume–but just also very relatable.) I can’t wait to see what other adventures are waiting for Ms. Marvel!



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Looking Back on Series that Shaped Me

I’ve had another week where there wasn’t much time for any sort of writing–even very short stories. So I thought I’d take another moment to write about some of stories that have most inspired me. This time: Favorite series. I’m only going to include series I’ve actually finished, so the list is pretty short.

My Favorite Book Series

(4) Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

(3) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett

(2) Wayward Pines by Blake Crouch

(1) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

(Wow… only four. I think I need to actually finish some of the series I’ve started. Other great ones that are still “in progress:” Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.)

What are your favorite series? I’d love to hear them!

Words of Advice

I’ve not had much time this week for writing, so instead of a story (even a short one), I thought I’d share some quotes on writing that either: (A) Inspired me to be a writer myself, or (B) Have helped me figure out what kind of writer I want to be.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” — Stephen King


“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” — Neil Gaiman


“Wasn’t writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?” — Ian McEwan


“To hell with facts! We need stories!” — Ken Kesey


“Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” — Mark Twain


“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” — Robert Frost


“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” — Ray Bradbury


“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” — Dr. Seuss


“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London


“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

What quotes inspire you? I’d love to hear them!

Giving Some Credit to Inspiration

I’ve been a little bit busy here lately (the aforementioned, you’re-probably-tired-of-hearing-it Summer Reading), so I don’t have a poem quite ready for this week. But I thought I’d try something a little different: Today, I’m going to share some of the words that have inspired me. For me, music plays a huge role, especially when it comes to poetry. Here are just a few lyrics from songs that helped me find the poet in me. In short: These are all moments in songs that made me go: “Whoa… words can do that.”

“You can go through motions with your magic spells/ Buy all the potions that Fifth Avenue sells/You can try to call down all the stars above/But you can’t make love.” — Don Henley, “You Can’t Make Love”


“People speak of love, don’t know what they’re thinking of/Wait around for the one who fits just like a glove/Speak in terms of a life and a living/Try to find the word for forgiving.”–Jackson Brown, “The Shape of a Heart”


“Oh, life’s a maze of doors and they all open from the side you’re on/ Just keep on pushing hard, boy, try as you may, you’re gonna wind up where you started from.”–Cat Stevens, “Sitting”


“And it comes to you how it all slips away/Youth and beauty are gone one day/No matter what you dream, or feel, or say/It ends in dust and disarray/Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass/Waves rolling in with the tide/Dreams die hard and we watch them erode/But we cannot be denied/The fire inside.”–Bob Seger, “The Fire Inside”


“Don’t you hear my call though you’re many years away?/Don’t you hear me calling you?/Write your letters in the sand for the day I take your hand in the land that our grandchildren knew.”–Queen, “’39”


“I’ve really learned a lot, I’ve really learned a lot/Love is like a flame/It burns you when it’s hot/Love hurts.”–Nazareth, “Love Hurts”


“Walked out this morning/Don’t believe what I saw/A hundred million bottles/Washed up on the shore/Seems I’m not alone in being alone/A hundred million castaways looking for a home.”–The Police, “Message in a Bottle”


“If everything is nothing, then are we anything?/Is it better to be better than to be anything?”–Counting Crows, “Einstein on a Beach”


“I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good.”–Pearl Jam, “Wish List”


“Now I think I know/What you tried to say to me/And how you suffered for your sanity/How you tried to set them free/They would not listen, they’re not listening still/Perhaps they never will.”–Don McLean, “Vincent”

Do you have any lyrics that really connect with you? I’d love to hear them!

Some Inspiration

I’m doing something a little different. I haven’t had the time to write (even one of my short 500-word flash fictions), but I thought I’d take some time share some of the stories that have most inspired me–the stories that I got completely lost within and that made me think, “Wow, I want to be able to do what this author has done.”

My Top 10 Favorite Books

(10) Atonement by Ian McEwan

(9) Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

(8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky

(7) Looking for Alaska by John Green

(6) The Help by Kathryn Stockett

(5) Recursion by Blake Crouch

(4) The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

(3) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

(2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

(1) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

What are your favorite books? I’d love to hear them!

Wanderlust: Living in a Book

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just the usual blah-ness of March, but I’m getting anxious for travel. So I thought I’d share some travel memories with these kind of mini-reviews of vacation spots.

I don’t know what else I can say about Universal Studio’s Wizarding World that hasn’t already been said. If you grew up with Harry Potter, you will feel like you’ve leapt right into the books. When I was going through different vacation pictures for this “Wanderlust” series, though, I couldn’t resist including them. I mean… there’s a fire-breathing dragon! Where else can you see a fire-breathing dragon?!?

But this post got me wondering…. What other books would be fun to walk through? To experience beyond the pages and imagination, but with real-life sight, and taste, and smell? My first thoughts went to other series…. The Hunger Games? A Series of Unfortunate Events? Percy Jackson?

But then I started wondering about other books. Being a nerd at heart, I wondered what it would be like to walk the streets of Gotham or Metropolis. Or Marvel’s New York.

I’m sure some theme park somewhere has done that… and if they haven’t… please feel free to take my idea! I want to walk down the street and see Spider-Man swinging above me! Or wander through the Bat Cave and take my picture beside the T-Rex! (For those non-comic nerds, yes, Batman has a T-Rex. And yes, it is awesome.)

And then I started to think outside of fandoms. I’m not much of Jane Austen reader, but I have friends who would love to stroll through her books. Or maybe to wander through the streets of Shakespeare’s time. Ooh… or visit Dracula’s castle! Or Dr. Frankenstein’s lab!

The point I’m making is this: Why isn’t there a literary theme park? (I mean, obviously money and copyrights, but besides that boring stuff….) Could you imagine a place where you could visit so many different genres and live through your favorite stories, both old and new?

I don’t think I’d ever leave.

And I know quite a few bookworms who would agree.

In short, to quote the meme: Take my money!

So let’s say such a theme park could exist. What “lands” would you want to be included? What sort of rides or attractions would you line up to experience?

Tell me in the comments! Let’s make Literature Land together!

Sometimes the Monsters Win

1) The Shining by Stephen King

From Goodreads.com

Why this book?

Alright… it would have been really, REALLY easy to for this entire countdown to be nothing but Stephen King books. In all honesty, I don’t read a ton of horror, but when I do, it tends to be from Mr. King. So when I sat down to write this list, I decided I had to pick only one book of his to be the absolute scariest. I asked myself, “Which one really lingered the most long after I’d closed the book?” The answer was an easy one: The Shining. The scariest question it asks: How much of the horror is from the ghosts? And how much is from Jack Torrance going slowly insane? You’re left wondering: How many of our nightmares come from, not outside, unknowable forces–but from within ourselves?

Scary Quote

“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.”


Sources:

Book cover and quote from Goodreads.com. The Shining written by Stephen King.