Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banned Books Week!

So Tahereh and The Rejectionist are hosting an epic bonanza of banned book reviews today, in which everyone talks about their favorite banned book.

And I'm going to pull the oh-my-God-obvious card. Right about now. Ready? Okay.

Harry Potter.

Now, while I love the Harry Potter series, it is not my favorite series of books in the world. I get easily irritated with the last few books in the series. They're not the greatest works of literature ever written.

But the thing I love most about Harry Potter is that it has done something that no other book I know of has done - it has connected us on a global level. Talk to just about anyone around the world and you will be able to formulate some kind of conversation about Harry Potter. Maybe they grew up reading Harry Potter. Maybe, like me, Harry Potter taught them to love reading. Maybe their kids read Harry Potter. Maybe they don't have kids but they still read it anyway. Maybe they're ten years old and are just getting into the series for the first time. Maybe they've only seen the movies.

And because we are all so connected because of these books, we can really carry out their message - that it's worth fighting for the good in this world. The fact that something like the Harry Potter Alliance exists and helps real people in real ways, like sending FIVE planes of supplies to Haiti, makes me so, so happy. It's amazing that a book can connect so many people around the world and motivate them to do so many good things. (Although really, what better than a book to do all that?)

Why in God's name would anyone want to try banning that?

Oh yeah. Right.

I'm not even going to bother getting into the fact that the magic in Harry Potter is obviously not real and we are not stupid enough to believe it is. I just have one question for the book banners of the world:

Who died and made you king of the universe?

Seriously, I understand that you're trying to protect morality here. Great. Fine. Good. But it is not your job to tell other people what they can and cannot read. I personally lived a very sheltered childhood, and because of that I'm very sensitive to people reading or watching "inappropriate" things at a young age. I am really disturbed by all the ten-year-olds in the world reading Twilight, 'cause, come on, that's just wrong.

But it is NOT MY JOB to tell them not to read it.

I mean, yeah, if a friend asked me about it, I would say READ HARRY POTTER AND DON'T READ TWILIGHT. EVER. But what you would say to a friend and banning a book from a school library are completely different. My friend could choose to ignore me, but completely removing the opportunity for a child to read a book is just plain wrong.

Many of the books on the ALA list could really help someone who is going through a tough time. Many of them are the classics that we all read in English class. And many of them you look at and just say "huh???"

Maybe Harry Potter isn't the most "important" book in the world. But even though the magic in it is not real, the spirit of it is clearly very, very real indeed. We don't need magic spells to do what Harry did - make friends, believe in himself, stand up for what's right. But we do need books that might show us how to do that.

I wasn't an avid reader as a little kid, but all that changed when my mom got me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. How could something that has instilled a lifelong love of reading be bad? Why would you ever want to stop a child from learning to love to read?

Banning books is not okay, and it should never be allowed to be okay. Reading is far too important a thing to try and stifle.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday:

Guess who hit 20,000 words yesterday?


This is part of what I wrote yesterday. Rose gets some more laundry shoved at her, and she has a conversation with Avar's younger cousin Sergei while she does it.




A side note: This week is Banned Books Week! Huzzah! Go read some banned books!

On Thursday, along with the rest of the internet, I shall be reviewing my favorite banned book. (Uh, yeah, of course I know what I'm going to say already...)

And either tomorrow or Friday, I plan to say what I think about book banning in general. Be prepared for a rant.

In any case, enjoy your Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Laundry Day

Guess who finished another chapter this weekend?

Yes! Me!!! *is very excited*

I also think I've worked out what the plot is (I hope). It's entirely character-driven, though, so that might be a problem...

Anyway, I've been trying to give little tidbits of what Rose's life was like before she got kidnapped by werewolves, but I don't really want to expressly say. I'm hoping that little pieces like this will weave together and create the whole picture without my expressly saying exactly what her life was like.

I hope it's working.



Sunday, September 19, 2010

High School as Hogwarts

So I have this pretty awesome little sister.

And said little sister has some pretty awesome friends.

They decided that high school would be rather more interesting if it were more like Hogwarts.

And since Hogwarts must operate under some form of block scheduling (like we have at my old high school; classes rotate so you don't have the same classes every day), they made a list of all their classes and what they would be if they were classes at Hogwarts.

It goes something like this:

Biology: Herbology
Math: Arithmancy
Chemistry: Potions (lab days: Double Potions.)
Environmental Science: Care of Magical Creatures
English: Charms
Physics: Transfiguration
French (or any foreign language class): Ancient Runes
History: History of Magic
Health: Muggle Studies
Driver's Ed: Flying
Gym: Quidditch
Band: Defense against the Dark Arts
Pass offs-Practical Exams
Creative Writing: Divination

Now of course there are some imperfect comparisons - the band teacher at our high school has been around far too long to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, for instance. But still, it's amusing how many things line up quite nicely.

And I don't know about you, but I would be much more inclined to go to gym class if it was Quidditch, or to physics if it was Transfiguration.

Maybe if high school was more like Hogwarts more people would be more interested in it. Which would be nice. Wouldn't it? I think so. High school gets treated as kind of useless by a lot of people, but I think there's a lot to learn from it (and I'm not just saying that because I write books for high school aged people).

I mean, I might never use algebra again but I learned about symbolism (which I use all the time) and writing DBQs (which I'm currently being paid to tutor about) and that I love theatre and writing, and it led me to my awesome friends and my geeky self. Which I don't think is a waste of time.

So turn high school into Hogwarts and capture people's attention! Sounds good to me.

I shall leave you with this:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Road Trip... Thursday?

So I'm sure most of you know about YA Highway and the cool stuff that gets posted over there. I'm especially fond of Field Trip Fridays and the This Week in Random section.

I always glance over there on Wednesdays and read their prompt and think, "hmm, I should do this, that would be a good idea." And then I never do.

But yesterday, when I saw that the prompt was "If you could travel back to any historical era for research purposes, which would you choose?", I said "OH MY GOD I HAVE TO DO THIS."

And then I promptly fell asleep. For the entire afternoon. (Which was great, but did not leave time for blogging.)

But because I am a history dork, I'm going to post this anyway.

What I *should* say is that I'd like to go to Paris right before the Revolution. It would help if this time-traveling involved instant translation (can I go with the Doctor? Pretty please?) so I could wander around and see what life was like in the months before the Bastille fell. I mean, I know generally - no one had enough to eat, etc etc. But how much did the common Parisian girl know about what was going on with the Estates General? How much did she care?

And while that would be the most useful instance of time travel, it wouldn't be my first choice. My abiding obsession... ahem, I mean love, of the Victorian Era would come in first. After all, in my English class junior year, when we were playing the "what time period do you want to be from?" game and everyone was saying the 60s or the 80s, my entire class turned to me and dubbed me reincarnated from Victorian nobility. I don't think I'd want to stay long - maybe about a monthlong holiday, long enough to have fun in period clothes and dancing with gentlemen who can actually dance and such, but not long enough to get bored of making calls every morning.

Seriously, once time travel is invented, someone is going to make a fortune catering historical vacations. I know I'd be first on line.

So... can I go now? Bustles and dance cards? Please?

How about you guys?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I'm sorry for the lack of a teaser today, guys. School is eating my life. Hopefully I'll be able to write some this weekend.

Until then:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Metaphors are Cool

As are bowties. And fezzes.

I meant to put this up this morning, but I have been having a profoundly bad day, so that didn't happen.

Again, this is short, because it is STILL from the same chapter as last time. I think I might have finally gotten somewhere with all my myriad outlining attempts. I hope. Argh. Maybe some actual writing will happen soon. That'd be nice.

Anyway, I am quite fond of the metaphors in this, so I hope you like it too. :)



Saturday, September 4, 2010

So Am I Crazy?

I'm taking two writing classes this semester. And in writing classes, one is rather frequently expected to do free writes. And I hate free writes.

Does that make me a bad person?

All these things exist to help make you a better writer - free writes, thought maps, character interviews - and I just can't stand any of them. I've always felt like they're gimmicky and forced. Right now, I am desperately trying to outline A Bridge to War, because I seriously need to, and it is so hard. I'm kind of failing at it.

The way I plot things out (from essays to novels) is sort of a weird method of internal half-outlining. I'll know major points and plan those out meticulously in my head, and then I'll start writing, eventually connecting all those major points together (because yes, I am really picky about writing in order).

But because of class I have to free write. And I suspect that some thought map type things are forthcoming. And I dread that.

At the same time, though, I'm trying to keep an open mind about it, because last year I did learn some good things that I wouldn't have been open to previously. Such as how to let things go and rewrite them, for instance.

But at the same time, I am not sure I can get over my hatred of free writes.

I don't know, guys. Is this one of those writerly matters of personal preference? Or should I just stop whinging and learn to like the free write?

How do you guys organize your thoughts when writing? How do you get started? (Don't worry, I won't hate YOU if you free write. :) )