I Am a Weary World-Builder | #AmWriting

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As I mentioned in last week’s post (Before I Start Writing | #AmWriting), the most work I need to do at this point is world-building. I know that most people have no problem doing this and, in fact, find this the most exciting part of pre-writing. I personally struggle a bit with this, I think because as I imagine stories I do so within a blend of worlds that I’ve experienced in other people’s works. Does anyone else do this?

As I really want for the world to be able to inform the writing as I work on my first draft, I’m prioritizing world-building at the moment. The first thing I did was open a new Scrivener project so that everything could be in one place, so I’ll start there.

Scrivener Binder

At the very top of the binder is my Seven-Point Plot Structure summary that kicked off this new writing project. Right below that is a page with my Series Trajectory. I really want Hollow Combs to be the first in a six-book series, so I have a general idea of what will happen to my protagonist in subsequent books. I find it handy because it reminds me of the direction I ultimately want for certain characters’ futures as I’m writing so I remember what can and can’t (or shouldn’t) happen.

Then I have my Manuscript which is divided into three folders for the three acts of my story (which I’m using as a loose framework right now). My aim is that I’ll be able to plot the story a bit more than I have already before I finally start writing, so I’ll have nine chapters within each folder and 27 total. I think in the final draft I’ll actually have more than that though.

Magic System

The thing I most needed to work on was the magic system for my story. I knew I wanted magic to be commonplace and to have a growing societal tension around its use, but I didn’t know much more than that. I don’t really want to go into all the details of it, but I will say that there are differing school of thought on magical practice within the world. And anyone can do magic, but some are better predisposed to become great at it. But I don’t see this magical necessarily existing within people, but being more science-like.

My protagonist is special in that her relationship with magic is different. She is not exactly more powerful than others, but she can do things that others can’t because of a secret that will be discovered possibly later in the series. The antogonist becomes who she is because she abuses and corrupts the natural order of magic.

 End Note

For next time, I’m hoping to get more into the finer details of how magic training works and how my protagonist will learn it in this book. Then I think more about who my side characters will be in this story because my protagonist will need to interact with others and make allies. I also want to think about how I can responsibly depict diversity in this novel. It’s been a big topic of discussion on social media recently and I want to do my part, even if my story is in a more traditional fantasy vein.

Even though I’m 100% hispanic, I think I’ve always pictured all my characters as white. I don’t know what to think about it. Maybe it’s because of the white-washed culture and history I’ve grown up and feel most comfortable within as I’m fairly light-skinned. So I want to see if there’s anything I can do that promotes a different cultural influence in the landscape, and perhaps in the magic as well, without it feeling like tokenism or appropriation.

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September ’16 TBR

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It turns out that I have enough books on my September TBR to warrant a full post talking about them! Two of my most anticipated releases come out in September, but I also have books I’ll need to read for class and books which correspond with a read-a-thon I’ll be participating in this month. Below are some of the books I want/need to finish this month, in roughly the order I think I will be getting to them.

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Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. I started reading this book at the end of August after Bout of Books 17.0, but it was very hard to find time to read it during the school week and I’ve just been dragging my feet over it now. I’m actually hoping to finish this quite soon so that I can move onto other things. (Update: I finished it the day before this post went up.)

Film: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Wood. This is a a very short book that I had to read most of already for my Introduction to Film Studies class last month. There are a few more readings I’ll need to read for future class meetings, but I figure I can just finish this book up easily and chalk it off as another book read!

Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks. This is the textbook I was asked to buy by my advisor for my TA studies. I think it will be different from much of the pedagogy I got while I was an English Education major during my undergraduate career.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. This is the latest installment of Maas’ Throne of Glass series and the first time that I’m eagerly awaiting a new debut. I did not absolutely love Queen of the Shadows (#4), which is why I’m not dedicating time to a thorough rereading of it, but I am committed to sticking with this series through the end and can’t wait to see what will happen next!

Man of Straw by Heinrich Mann. This is the first full length book I need to read for my German Lit & Ideas class for next week. I also will have to do a presentation on this author and his brother (the more famous Thomas Mann), so I’ll need to do a fairly close reading of this book.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I might not actually have time to get to this book until Mystery-A-Thon, which will work out fine! But I had been hoping to read it before the read-a-thon, just because I know it will be a fast read and I’m loving those right now. ^_^

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. I think this will be the first book I start for Mystery-A-Thon next week, as I’m at least familiar with the author and am fairly sure I won’t DNF it. I’m just hoping that even though it’s a long book that it won’t take too long to finish.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. This might be the only book on this list that I’m not feeling like I’ll finish if it doesn’t immediately grip me. It’s another long one and, the more I think about it, I’m not sure I’ll mange to read one contemporary mystery after another, specifically given the size of these books. So this book I might just put a hold on.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. This is the second book I will need to read for my German Lit. & Ideas class this month. I’m actually a little embarrassed to have not read this book already. I think I had a chance my sophomore year of high school in AP World History, as just didn’t feel like it. To be fair, I wasn’t interested to read any books about war in high school.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Even though I’ve already read this book this year, I am so excited to read it again to prepare for Crooked Kingdom‘s debut! I would have reread this book earlier already if I had less restraint. I loved this book and cannot wait to jump into this world again. I especially can’t wait to get my hands on Crooked Kingdom, which I’m thinking will arrive early October. T.T

End Note

September sure will be a busy month, but I’m excited to get through all of these books. I am worried I won’t be reading much that will inspire my own writing, but as always this list is not set in stone. If one of the elective readings I’ve selected is just not working for me, I’ll not waste time trying to trudge through it. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought!

Thank you for reading!
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August ’16 Notes

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Welcome back to another in my monthly Notes series. As I have a lot of new followers this month, I thought I’d explain that you can essentially think of this as a monthly wrap up. I tend to hit on more than just the reading highlights, so I call it my Notes. I realize I forgot (or didn’t finish) my June or July ’16 Notes…whoops! If you want to read my last one, it was my May Notes. Anywho, August was an eventful month! I went back to Dallas for my second year of graduate school and I dyed the remainder of the blue out of my hair. Despite how busy I’ve become, I also managed to read a great deal this month.

What I Read

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My goal, as stated in my August ’16 TBR, was to read ten books, but I only managed to finish seven books in the end for a few reasons. I struggled at the beginning of the month because I was reading some books I just did not enjoy all that much. But I am pleased to say with the help of the Bout of Books 17.0 Read-A-Thon, and in general just not having access to WiFi at my Airbnb place this month, I’ve managed to do some good reading in the end!

The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud. This was the first book I decided to tick off my August TBR, and in hindsight I kind of regret starting here. It took forever for me to finish. I just could not get into enough to power through as I normally do with a book I’m thoroughly enjoying.

Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud. After struggling through The Golem’s Eye, I felt determined to finish this series once and for all. Once again, I found myself struggling with this book. It was slightly better than The Golem’s Eye, just because it tied up a lot of loose ends that had been dangling since the first book. I was unsatisfied with the character development and the quite put off by the ending. It just felt lazy to me with specific regards to Kitty’s character and the state of the world. I think I might have enjoyed these books much more if I had read them in middle school as I did The Amulet of Samarkand. If I had not had the emotional attachment to the first book, I would have put such effort into finishing this series.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. By the time I had returned to Dallas, I knew I needed to kick my reading into high gear to make up for the first half of the month. I remembered fondly reading Murder on the Orient Express last year and how quickly I was able to do it. So I picked up this book and And Then There Were None knowing they’d help me catch up on my Goodreads Challenge again. Roger Ackroyd was indeed an entertaining read, making me once again marvel at the genius of Ms. Christie.

How to Do Media and Cultural Studies by Jane Stokes. I’ve been reading this small tome all summer and realized I could very easily just finish it if I made my mind up to do so, so that’s what I did immediately after completing The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I have found this book valuable in numerous ways, but it isn’t all that applicable to the Capstone project I had in mind.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer. I wasn’t willing to buy this anthology, but I was very happy find it stocked in my school library. I started it the Sunday before Bout of Books just because I couldn’t wait and who was to say I couldn’t?! It turned out to be nothing more or less than I expected. It was a nice revisiting of characters I loved from the Lunar Chronicles, but didn’t introduce any new insight to those books.

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. This book was one of my most anticipated Bout of Books reads in my TBR after reading the first book in this series in April. It was no where near as amazing as the first book was for me (especially in terms of plot and conflict), especially as it felt unnecessary and removed from the first book focusing much more on Shahrzad’s family (which I didn’t want).

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Salt to the Sea feels like my most random read of August mostly because I’d not felt any great urgency to pick it up. The appeal was based on two things: Ely’s glowing review earlier this year and its shortness (a great trait for a read-a-thon pick). It might be my surprise favorite of the month, however, as it is still on my mind. It was also a great book to read as I’ve been learning about history of Germany in my German Lit. & Ideas class and this book gave me some context of the racial/ethnic tensions.

What I Watched

At the beginning of August I managed to binge-watch two Netflix original series: Stranger Things (2016) and Jessica Jones (2015). I loved them both and was sad to run out of episodes of each. I can’t help but feel like Stranger Things, while awesome, has been slightly overhyped at this point as I did have some criticism of certain story choices (like how unnecessary a character was my Mike’s little sister?). I am excited to see what will happen with Eleven and Hopper. Luckily Jessica Jones should be back sooner for me with a new season this fall, right? I know there are some loose ends with Simpson and how Jessica got her powers that will need to be explored!

What I Wrote

I’ve not managed to write any words for a few months, but I did make some great strides in my story at the end of August! I feel like I have a better idea of the overall plot structure of this novel and also the world conflict. Even the magic system I have a loose idea of where I want to go with it. So now I’m thinking I might start writing either in October or November for NaNoWriMo. I’m shooting more for October, though. I really want to be able to finish this draft by the end of the year and like the quality of my words.

End Note

August ended up becoming a pretty successful month with some great reading, watching, and writing. I’m sure September will also bring some great productivity and inspiration. I will be post my September ’16 TBR tomorrow night, as there are quite a few books I know I need/want to read this September. I also am tentatively planning two other posts for this week! We’ll see if they materialize. I currently have about two days left here in Conroe before I need to return to Dallas, then I’ll only be there for two nights before returning back to Conroe to house-sit. So time will be of the essence until next weekend!

Thank you for reading!
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Mystery-A-Thon Announcement + TBR

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I love me a good mystery right now and I’m so excited to announce this new read-a-thon hosted my good pal Ely @ Tea & Titles (see her announcement + TBR). It’ll be running from September 12–19th this month, and the aim is to read books of the mystery genre, specifically those my Agatha Christie if you’re able to get your hands on any. They are very quick, fun reads that are classics that everyone should experience at least once.

I’ve so far read three books by Agatha Christie, the first two being Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, in that order. So I can strongly recommend either of these to new Christie readers. They both star the famous detective genius of Hercule Poirot who is a lot of fun to follow as he gathers clues to solve these murder mysteries. There’s also what is probably Christie’s most famous work: And Then There Were None, which I personally might read right before this read-a-thon!

Since my library is limited on Agatha Christie novels and I don’t expect to be able to finish more than two books this read-a-thon, I’ve decided to pick up just two books, both contemporary mystery novels which have come out over the last few years. They’re both also humongous, so I’ll be really happy if I manage to finish only one!

TBR

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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. I’ve long been waiting for a good reason to give J.K. Rowling’s adult literature a chance, and this read-a-thon provides a great excuse. I think it will be interesting because this mystery is centered in a world of the wealthy and famous, so it will be unlike anything I’ve ever read.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. This is a book has been under my radar for a little over a year now, and I’m finally able to pick it up. After reading the book blurb on the inside cover, I think this book will also have links to the entertainment industry through a mysterious director character. So once again, this book should open my mind’s eye to a different world existing in ours that I rarely think about.

End Note

In the comments, let me know if you’re participating in this read-a-thon. Also let me know if you have any really good contemporary mystery recommendations, as I’d like to explore more in the genre that is set in this day and age. I’m really excited about the books on my TBR, so if you want to read along with me, I’ll probably be doing daily blog updates again (just because I had so much fun with it during Bout of Books 17.0).

Thank you for reading!
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Before I Start Writing | #AmWriting

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As I explained in my last post (News After a Long Drought | #AmWriting), I have finally established the main gist of my novel’s storyline. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to start writing just yet. I’ve long been a pantser when it comes to writing, doing next to no planning and just hoping that I end up with something coherent by the end. And while that freedom can be fun, I’m at a point in my life where I really want to write something good. So I’m loathe to start writing until I know much more details about the world and my characters, so that there’s not inconsistencies as I’m writing from forgetting important, defining details.

In this post, I’m sharing the list of things I want to do before I start writing. If you’re a proud & dedicated pantser, you may not gain anything from reading this. But if you’re interested in reforming your writing self, maybe you’ll gain something from reading about one writer’s pre-writing to-do list. My hope is you might read it and find there’s something you’ve never thought about but which might make all the difference in your writing. But this list is as much for me (as I do not know everything yet) as it is for you!

To-Do List

A Working Title

I’ve always had a working title while I drafted in order to keep different my story versions separate. In particular, the story I’ve been trying to write all year has evolved from past story drafts, so I find it really useful to keep it separate from old discarded drafts and the ideas discarded with them. Last night, I think I came up with a good working title, so good I almost don’t want to share it, but I will: Hollow Combs. I won’t explain it, but there you go! I’ll refer to my novel as Hollow Combs from this point forward. ^_^

Plot Diagram

I already have a pretty good idea of what my MC will be doing throughout the course of the novel, having established a seven-point plot structure for her story which is the main story of the novel. But I feel like I need something a lot more visual to look at as I write. It will also be useful when it comes to plotting my antagonist’s and other side characters’ action throughout the story. I’m not yet sure what perspective I want to write my story from, so this diagram will be help me whether or not I stick solely with my MC.

Map

I created a world map earlier this year, but I’ve not stuck to it in my head as I’ve worked on my story in recent months, so I need to see what I might want to tweak. This is also useful for series trajectory plotting, as I can see the places where my MC can go. It gives me boundaries with which I can write.

World-building

This is the biggest thing I need to work on before I start writing. I know enough about my MC’s world as far as it relates to the plot and her conflicts. But I don’t have the concrete details. I think novels with really good world-building have specific words and terms related things that make the world unique. So I want to do that, and do it by referencing history as the world of my story has so far in my head been something of an alternate universe of our world in the early 20th century. So I think it would be a good idea to do some research.

Character Building

All the characters I thus far know will be in the story have evolved as my story’s evolved this year. So I really need to create updated records to which I can refer if I ever lapse as I write in what would make sense for them. This is thing I am the least excited to do, so it might take me a little longer to get organized here. I might actually start writing before I finish these records, but there are a few characters I know I ought to work on.

End Note

Once again, I hope you find this post as useful to read as it was for me to write. This post has literally been my to-do list as I work my way toward finally feeling like I’m ready to write. I’ve written novel drafts in the past during the official NaNoWriMo season and found I had no idea where to go with them next, and I think it’s because I didn’t know what story I wanted to tell. Now I feel like I do, but at the same time, I feel like doing a lot of prep work now will save me a lot more trouble in the future when I’m editing.

I’m planning to do a post on world-building next week, as that is the area that needs the most work. I’ll be working on world-building this week, so next week’s post will be a combination of the things I’ve learned and resources I’ve found helpful. If you have any suggestions, feel free to the leave them in the comments and you’ll likely get a shout-out! ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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Bout of Books 17.0 Wrap Up!

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Bout of Books 17.0 ended last night with nary a bang. I did not end up doing a Day 5 or 6 update because I left Dallas Friday evening after my daylong TA orientation and just did not have time to read much while I’ve been back in Conroe. So I didn’t have any reading progress worth mentioning, and my school week was essentially over.

This weekend was just what I needed after such a long exhausting first week back at school. I was able to relax, eat well, and do some late back-to-school shopping. Saturday afternoon was defined by going to the Willowbrook Mall in Houston, where I bought a couple of light-weight sweaters for the weird Texas autumns we have here. And Sunday was defined by touching up my hair color with a home kit. I also went to Target and Kohl’s for a few more blouses for school. I also bought an awesome new floor lamp that matches my bookshelves beautifully, but is currently sitting beside my bed.

Reading Wrap Up

I had hoped to read four books this read-a-thon, and it is only by rounding up that I’m saying I only finished three! But I’m rather pleased with what I got to and happy that I’m that much closer to being on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge. In fact, I think if I read two more books this week, I’ll officially be all caught up! So that’s most definitely the plan. Anyway, here’s the list of the books I read for Bout of Books 17.0:

  1. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer.
  2. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh.
  3. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

Because I’ll be summarizing my thoughts on each of these books in my August wrap up later this week, I’ll not go into them here. If you’ve been reading my daily blogs or are friends with me on Goodreads, you probably already know what I thought anyway! I will say that, overall, these were all pretty pleasant reads and good read-a-thon selections.

For my own ease to look back on this read-a-thon (as well as yours, if it suits your fancy), I’ve provided a list of the blog posts from last week below:

Bout of Books 17.0 Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

End Note

Bout of Books 17.0 could not have come at a better time. Last week was so frantic with things I needed to do concerning my TA position and getting into the swing of going to class. The read-a-thon gave my life a semblance of structure and probably helped me keep my head above water, which is weird because I’ve always felt like read-a-thons make my life busier; this time it helped me keep my sanity.

I have a lot of posts in the queue for the next couple of weeks, starting with a new writing post going up this Wednesday! I also will be doing an August wrap up and a read-a-thon announcement this coming weekend, so there’s lots of fun things ahead!

Thank you for reading!
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Bout of Books 17.0 | Day 4

Thursday turned out to be a miserable day for me. I woke up after only about 5 hours of sleep with a head ache, but I had to get going because I’ve just found that it’s easiest to get where I need to go as early as feasible. Knowing I’d be on campus all afternoon, I wanted to gas up my car for the trip back to Conroe on Saturday. It ended up being a horrible mistake, though, as I literally had to drive around campus for over 30 minutes looking for parking, only to find I needed to accept a back lot spot.

And it was a super hot, disgusting day so walking outside made me melt.

I had my final first day of class on Thursday which was Introduction to Film Studies. I was happy to have at least one person I knew it that class, but things quickly took a turn for the worse for me as the teacher was introducing herself and the talking through the syllabus. I honestly felt like I was either going to faint or throw up, and I didn’t want to be rude and walk out on the class. Luckily neither happened, but I regret not being able to fully enjoy learning about what to expect this semester.

Reading Progress

Salt-To-The-SeaI did not manage to get much of any writing done on-campus Thursday, as I had the previous days. I didn’t even begin to read right when I got back to my room. I was only able to read after a much needed three-hour nap. First thing I did was I finish the last hundred or so pages left in The Rose and the Dagger.

Having finally read the whole thing through, I stand by my assertion that this story should have either been one book or a trilogy. This sequel, while enjoyable because Renee Ahdieh is a very good writer, felt very rushed to me. There were new characters introduced (that I talked about yesterday) that ended up playing very little role in the story by the end. And every major plot point in the story felt…anti-climactic. Overall, I think I would still give it 3.5 stars.

Next I picked up Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I managed to read 50 pages and they’re been very enjoyable and fast-paced. This book alternates in its characters’ first-person perspectives very rapidly, but it hasn’t been hard to keep them straight as most of these characters are interacting with each other. Because of the short chapters, this format style has not been intimidating. And it’s actually probably helped me to read more than I would have being as I was so tired. I hope this will become a very quick read as soon as I have more time to dive into it.

End Note

I’m happy to be finishing this blog post up early Friday morning, as I have another TA orientation today spanning from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. So I doubt I’d be able to finish it during the lunch break as last Friday I ended up talking to people a lot more than I thought I would have to. Not that I minded! Anyway, I’m sorry if it’s a little on the short side. Tomorrow is Saturday and I barely contain my excitement! If you want to catch up on past days of this read-a-thon, I’ve provided a list of the blog posts below.

Bout of Books 17.0 Day 1 | 2 | 3

Thank you for reading!
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Bout of Books 17.0 | Day 3

backpackI apologize for the fact that this post is coming a little later than usual. It’s been a fairly busy week and it’s finally catching up with me! Wednesday was not a great day for reading as I was on-campus most of the day once again and had a bunch of mini-tasks to complete, most of them in the shopping department!

I had to visit Off Campus Books to find some of the books I will be needing sooner rather than later for classes, including The Feminist Reader, All Quiet on the Western Front, and A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888–1889.

I also wanted to go to Target again, specifically to buy a new backpack as the one I’ve had for almost two years now has a mesh back and has ruined the backs of numerous articles of clothing. Also it’s a heavy backpack, even when there’s not much in it. Great for heavy duty tasks, but just not what I need right now. I need something light weight and I love what I found.

It’s green with white polka dots and has camel-colored suede flatslining the bottom, which is kind of reminiscent of classic Jansport backpacks which I love. I also ended up buying a pair of black jeggings, because I needed something that wasn’t blue jeans, and a new pair of plum-colored ballet flats to replace my old ones that I’ve had since 2013 and finally decided to donate this summer.

After a short nap, I had to return to campus for my Wednesday night class: Social Science Perspectives of Emerging Media and Communication. This has been the class I’ve been most excited about because I’d get to see all the people I meet last year! And the class did not disappoint. I was able to catch up a little with most of them. I can tell it’s going to be a very relaxing environment in which to learn, and the instructor seems fantastic. I actually met her the Friday before for my first TA orientation so I knew she would be awesome. This could easily be my favorite class this semester.

 Reading Progress

rosedaggerI did actually get a lot more reading done yesterday than I had thought I would and most it is because I read while I was at the library waiting for my class to start. And the story got really good pretty quickly! Shahrzad was reunited with Khalid about a third of the way into the book, and there have been two new characters introduced into the story that I’m really loving so far.

First, there’s Shahrzad’s sister who I didn’t remember from the first book. She is almost nothing like her sister, as she’s very timid and dutiful. In this novel, she’s discovering her first love and coming out of her shell, which is a pleasure to watch. She’s such a fun contrast to Shahrzad, who I also love. Then, there’s the mysterious and unruly Artan whose aunt might be the only one who can help Shahrzad break Khalid’s curse so they can live happily ever after and bring peace to Khorasan.

I don’t want to get into potentially spoiler-y details, so the last thing I will say is that I’m really happy with how the novel’s turned out. I really didn’t like the cliffhanger the first book was left on as it was clearly a set-up for a sequel, which I still think was unnecessary. It could have been one big book, if there was less focus on characters from Shahrzad’s previous life (which is what this book does). I’m now 71% done with the novel and expect to finish it on Thursday.

End Note

It is almost noon on Thursday as I wrap this up and I’m about to try and read a bit more of The Rose and the Dagger before I need to go to the class I will be observing this semester (which runs T/R from 1–2:15 p.m.). Then I will have my final class of the week, Introduction to Film Studies.

I’ve been doing a lot of blog post drafting and have quite a lot planned to go up after Bout of Books 17.0 is over, specifically writing posts! And there’s another read-a-thon happening in September which I fully plan to participate in centered on mystery novels. I hope you’re enjoying these posts! I’m quite enjoying writing them as they’re a nice change of pace for me a blogger. See you tomorrow with another one.

Thank you for reading!
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Bout of Books 17.0 | Day 2

Tuesday was another fairly long day spent primarily on campus until about 3:00 p.m. I’ve been coming to the library to take advantage of the WiFi and to thrive in the productive atmosphere. After spilling some of my lunch on myself an hour before I was to begin my “TA duties”, I had a mad dash to Target to find something else to wear. All I ended up getting was a new cardigan, which I’ve desperately needed anyway.

While I did not have any new classes start yesterday, I did get together with my TA faculty supervisor and have my first TA observation. I’ve learned that while I will not have my own classroom this semester, I am being trained in pedagogical observations that will help prepare me for having my own classroom, perhaps as early as next semester. So I will be observing my supervisor during her 4000-level Networked Identities class, have some outside reading, and observe a few others additionally.

I also have some workshops throughout the semester which I will need attend, but that should be the extent of my workload this semester. Sounds completely manageable.

Reading Progress

rosedaggerMonday night I was not sure what I wanted to read more: The Rose and the Dagger or And Then There Were None. So I opened the question up to Twitter and The Rose and the Dagger won! After my Monday night class, I was too tired to read more than 14 pages though.

Tuesday I had all evening to read, but I only managed to get to page 128! I was having trouble fully submerging into the story. Partially because I could not fully remember the intricacies of why Shahrzad was in her current predicament, and I’m not liking the position she finds herself in anyway. At the end of The Wrath and the Dawn, she is forced to leave Khalid when a major storm decimates the city. So I figure this book is going to be all about her trying to find her way back to him.

I like the direction in which it was going when I finally had to put the book down and submit to my drowsiness. I suspect I will be able to finish the book on Wednesday before my night class, as it will become a quick read as soon as I become invested in the story. Right now, though, I’m just excited to finish it so I can tick another book off my TBR. Also my Goodreads Challenge now tells me I’m only three books behind! So if I can read two more books after this, I’ll be caught up! So that’s the plan!

End Note

It is Wednesday as I write this post and I’m at the library about to start trying to work on my story a little bit. I’ve been posting daily over the past few days as I go through the Bout of Books 17.0 Read-a-Thon, so here’s a list of my most recent posts you might have missed:

Bout of Books 17.0 | Day 1
News After a Long Drought | #AmWriting
Bout of Books 17.0 Read-A-Thon TBR

Thank you for reading!
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Bout of Books 17.0 | Day 1

As I explained in my Bout of Books 17.0 read-a-thon announcement and TBR, I’ve decided to do daily updates on my reading progress as well as some general life highlights from the day as this is my first week of school and quite an exciting time for me as I learn about my new job. I also might have some short writing updates on occasion.

Monday night I had my first class, German Lit & Ideas (1870–1960). As I explained in my post about my class schedule this semester, this is a free elective I chose because of interest in the content and thoughts that the class might prove useful for my writing. After attending my first class meeting last night, I feel like I’ll gain a lot.

It is a small class with between seven to nine students. The instructor is ancient, but I can tell she’s passionate about the readings and the history. She’s also Hungarian and came over to the U.S. probably around the 40s or 50s. She also just seems really sweet, and I don’t think I’ll be nervous asking her for help or speaking up. I can tell she knows she talks a lot and will want us to speak up, so that’s reassuring! ^_^

After introductions, going over the syllabus, and a mini-history lesson relating to artistic/literary movements (romantic, realistic, expressionist, etc.) we watched the first hour of a silent film called Metropolis (1927), which is a critique of the bourgeois class’ exploitation of workers. It’s a very abstract and strange film that I was worried I’d have nightmares over to be honest! (All the actors looked deranged and scary to me!) But I’m hoping to finish the movie soon. Maybe this weekend. (I found it on YouTube, here.) If you’re familiar with it, or would like to watch it & chat about it, please let me know!

Reading Progress

StarsAboveI decided to start reading off my TBR on Sunday after finishing The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, because I couldn’t see why not! I’ve been so behind on my reading challenge, I wasn’t going to not read because I was waiting for Bout of Books 17.0 to officially start in my time zone. So I started Stars Above Sunday evening and got about half way through before I finally went to sleep.

Most of the stories I read that night introduced no new insights into the characters from the Lunar Chronicles. In fact most of these stories felt like deleted scenes, because their content was explained away much more simply in the books. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles and did not mind revisiting these characters, even if was just to see them as they were as children.

I don’t know which of these stories were new or what had already been published, but stuff that truly felt new to me came at the end, starting with “The Little Android.” I was confused at first as the protagonist is a new character that meets Cinder as the mechanic, and she’s another android with a personality (like Iko, minus the sass). But it was sweet and reinforced the idea of cyborg-android rights that are such a big problem in this world. I also enjoyed seeing the whole gang back together for a wedding in the final story. It was just a sweet revisiting.

After returning to my place after class Monday night, I tried to read some of The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, but I was so knackered I decided to call it an early night (it was nearly midnight, but that’s early for me!)

End Note

Just as a reminder, these posts will be going up the morning after the day they record. So as I finish up this post it is Tuesday morning and I have set up camp at the library. In case you missed it, I published a new writing update yesterday as I had a lot to share, too much for this post in fact! So go see, News After Another Long Drought | #AmWriting is you’re feeling so inclined.

See you tomorrow with another post! Good luck with you’re own reading and writing. <3

Thank you for reading!
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