March 2017 Books

I’m still a little behind in my reading challenge, but I think I did better this month than I did in February. So let’s get right into it!

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The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Lucy is one of the three members of a ghost-hunting company called Lockwood and co. One day, they are asked to resolve a haunting, and Lucy unwittingly takes the Source of the ghost. But the mission turns sour and it leads their company into near ruin. They decide to solve the mystery of the ghost to attract more customers. But when a too-good-to-be-true offer comes their way, is it really the opportunity they’re waiting for or someone who has a different agenda?

Let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The premise of ghost-busting isn’t particularly original, and the plot was quite predictable at times. However, the twist of having only children sense ghosts was part of the reason Lockwood and co. was such an entertaining group to read about. The characters were fun, empathetic, and flawed. Lucy’s narration was so smooth. It’s one of those writing styles that just really suck you into the story. The worldbuilding was clever; actually what I really love about it is that it took a common concept and just gave it a little twist, and I was really excited to see what the story will do with it.

For most of the book, one of the things I really enjoyed is the way Lucy was never considered inferior to her peers because she’s a girl. It really seemed as if everyone just had this expectation that when it comes to ghost-hunting, girls and boys were equally skilled, and nobody expected otherwise. But this sadly got subverted near the end of the book, where even Lucy was forced to admit that as a girl, she’s more sensitive. I just didn’t think this was very fair for her.

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One of Those Days

I remember looking at the time on my computer this morning at 11:35 and thinking, “It’s not even noon yet and I’ve had a really crappy day already.”

One of those days, I guess.

I really don’t want this blog to end up like my previous one at LJ where I ranted all the time, but the fact is, writing is therapeutic for me, so when I experience a lot of bummers, one of the best things I can do for myself is just write about them. Don’t worry, I’ll keep this one nice and short.

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Streamlining My Story By Controlling Character Knowledge

If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, no doubt you’ve come across one of my many Writing Woes posts. Most of the time, these posts deal with my angst about having to refactor my story, because as I write the outlines for the drafts, or the drafts themselves, I keep finding that my story is too complex. When I say complexity, I don’t necessarily mean the substance or message of the story, or even the style and vocabulary I use. Instead, what I mean is the layers and elements interwoven in the story.

It’s not easy to remove an element or a thread from a story, especially if, like me, you love big, epic things and you tend to plan or outline before writing. Removing an element could unravel other foundational threads, and then you find yourself with all kinds of plot holes that cannot be plugged no matter how much you try. After finishing another streamlining last night after weeks of reviewing my story again, I realized that I’ve been using the same revamping technique to tame the wild mess I’ve planned:

When I want to discard a thread from my story, I make the outcome of that thread already known to the characters.

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February 2018 Art

In my last update about my Schoolism subscription, I mentioned that I switched momentarily from the Pictorial Composition course to take a lighting course. I’ve been watching Sam Nielson’s Fundamentals of Lighting, because I think I lack even the most basic grasp of light and colour. That said, I still proceeded with the 2nd assignment for Pictorial Composition, just so I don’t lag too much behind. Here’s some of my compositions:Read More »

February 2018 Books

Unfortunately I am lagging behind my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal. I’ve been on a bit of a slump lately. I got hit by The Queen’s  Thief feels again, which means that nothing I read seems to be interesting enough to pull me out of it. I sit on my hour-long train ride, looking out of the window, entertaining angsty scenes about Attolia. So uhm, yeah. I haven’t been very productive at all in terms of my reading.

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The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

This has been on my TBR list for years! But it’s only recently that my library got an electronic copy. So I was really excited to read it.

It was quite good. I really loved how Caribbean myths came alive in this story. I know next to nothing about Caribbean culture, so I’m always excited to learn something new about other cultures, especially through fantasy books. Also, this is #OwnVoices, which makes it better! The plot was very fast-moving. I remember thinking “Whoa, I must be nearing the end of the book now,” only to find out I was only 40% of the way through. It is packed! That said, I do wish that the plot could have slowed down sometimes so the story could explore more of the inner world of the characters and show a bit of introspection. Corinne was great, but I would have loved to hear more of what went on in her head, because the writing style was like “this happened, then that happened.”

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