Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hiatus|| In Which I Leave You All and It's Very Sad

As the title suggests, I have decided to take a small hiatus from blogging. No, this isn't your fault. Me being the ridiculous human that I am, I've been slowly turning it into a Have-To, which isn't fun at all. I actually wrote a post recently on doing something just because you love it, and that, for me, has been blogging, but recently...not so much.

I haven't been in the mood to blog recently, and I really don't want blogging to become a chore or something that I dread because IT'S SO FUN. So, I think I'm going to be MIA for the rest of February, and see how I feel. I've actually felt like I should take a hiatus since November, but then I had all these posts I wanted to write, so of course I couldn't, but now I'm thinking it's the right time.

RIP An Odd Blog 
(until March probably)

Image result for take a break gif
Just so you know...
Feel free to cry if it makes you feel better.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Expectation vs. Reality| Plotting a Mystery Novel

So. It turns out that mysteries are harder to plot than I expected. What's with that? I've written fantasy, contemporary, and sci-fi, but until now, I hadn't tried to tackle the mystery genre yet. In my mind, it was like tackling a kitten, but little did I know that someone had snuck that kitten steroids (I'm pretty sure that's illegal, so...yeah), waiting for the day that I would test the waters of mystery (ooo, great novel title. I call it).

For the past month, I have been plotting my latest novel, Strange Sights. I've had it as an idea for the past year or so, and it has been driving me crazy to not be able to write it! I assumed that as soon as I got to immerse myself into the marvelous world that I wanted to create, I would be happy. Well, it turns out that it's still driving me crazy, but in a different way. Less of a picturesque "oh no, I'm a writer who just has too many things to write. Woe is me." but more of a "HOW THE ACTUAL HECK AM I GOING TO PULL THIS OFF?"

Image result for chris traeger I am 100% sure

This has definitely been a learning process for me, which is good, but important is learning, really?

This learning process (Learning Process: the phrase that I use to describe why I'm crying over math or have my foot stuck in the oven after trying to cook dinner) has changed how I see the mystery genre.
Expectation vs. Reality: Plotting a Mystery
(because boy, did I have expectations...)

Expectation: Mysteries aren't that much different from every other genre. You plot it just like every other genre, you do the same kind of research, etc.

Reality: Actually, you delusional pancake, mysteries are exactly that, A MYSTERY. 
I doubt that any writer has the perfect formula to writing (unless you are a writing god like Maggie Stiefvater), and I doubt that any mystery writer knows exactly what they're doing, but GOODNESS GRACIOUS, was this a learning experience. Each genre comes with its own challenges.
  • Fantasy can be difficult for those with a limited imagination.
  • Sci-Fi can be hard for those who don't like space or shooty things (usually sci-fi includes shooty things that go pew-pew. #hardfacts).
  • Comedy can be hard for those who have as much humor and wit as a dried apricot.
  • Romance can be hard for those whose soulmate is 5 cats.
  • Horror can be difficult for those who are afraid of shadows. And light (because light creates shadows, so...that's scary, too).
  • Historical Fiction can be hard for those who fell asleep in class and aren't actually sure whether World War I was a zombie invasion or if the moon landing was faked by an alien named Neil Armstrong. 
  • A series can be hard for those with commitment issues.
  • BUT MOST OF ALL: the mystery. A beast that lurks in the shadows, waiting for the unsuspecting writer who thinks they can Pants this.
Which leads me to my next expectation.

Expectation: I can Pants this. 
It is totally within my power to write this by the seat of my pants. I'll just let the story go where it goes, like the other novels I've written.

Reality: giRL, listen to a thing.
Murders take planning, schedules, and a reasonable motive (I promise I'm a writer. Please don't call the cops). Murders take multiple suspects that have to all have probable suspicion yet still be as innocent as a butterfly. Murders have to have a little flair that makes them interesting. THESE THINGS TAKE PLANNING.

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Expectation: Writing a Fantasy-Contemporary-Mystery will be a piece of cake.
If I take these three genres and mash them together, that means 1/3 of the work for me!! Because if I can just combine a few things here and there, I won't have to come up with my own original ideas. It's a win-win for everyone.

Reality: Genre x 3 = MORE WORK, YOU CRACKED WALNUT. 
What did you think it would be? A walk in the park? No. The parks closed: you get to walk in the cactus-filled desert (not to be confused with cactus-filled dessert. I will not be making that mistake twice...). It's 3x the work trying to find the right way to get all three genres to mix perfectly without being too busy or insane.

Expectation: I will never use math in life.
Well of course I would never need addition or subtraction. I don't need to know how many apples Johnny has. All that matters is how many apples I have, which better be more than Johnny, otherwise Johnny is going down.

Reality: Fractions, division, and percentages exist in all worlds, not just evil ones (aka any world where you're forced to do math).
It turns out my villain is very much so into using math and percentages for his evil schemes. What is with that? That leaves me trying to accommodate his shenanigans by doing said math. I suppose I could hire someone to do the math for me, but then I'd have to do math to figure out how much I had to pay them if they worked for x hours. MATH IS EVERYWHERE.

Image result for math is everywhere gif

Expectation: Since I'm basing this in a real-world environment, I don't need to focus at all on world-building because I've been to the location many times. I know it well enough.
Like all crazy things, this novel is taking place in Portland (also a little in Ireland, but we won't talk about that). Since I myself have been to Portland many times, I don't have to research much. I know the vibe, the businesses, and the terrain well enough to be able to rely on my own brain over Google for this one.

Reality: Just kidding, I have the memory of a goldfish, and I also have to create a whole other community and tie it in with the residing one. 
So it turns out that magical communities are very different from normal ones, what with their wings and floating cats...

Expectation: Detectiving will be simple.
I'm a relatively intelligent human. I can Sherlock my way out of any situation. I can find proper evidence and clues at the click of a key.

Reality: I am as intelligent as Anderson.

Image result for anderson sherlock gif

True story. I have the mind of a middle-aged man who wears a lot of sweaters and falls against the wall crying. Why can't clues present themselves in a reasonable way? Why can't there be a Clue Line where the detective is shown the evidence straight up? Because then all the Sherlocks of the world would become Andersons. (Then again, Anderson believed that Sherlock was alive, so he may actually be the smart one here. Hmm, food for thought).

Expectation: I'm smart enough to write all this. Totally. 

Reality: To be decided.

What genre is your favorite (to write or read)? For all my writer peeps: What is the hardest thing about plotting? Did I miss any Expectations vs. Realities? 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Rewind| Agent Carter - A Love Letter to Edwin Jarvis

This is a post that I wrote around June of last year and never got around to actually posting it. Even though now Agent Carter isn't running...
  I figured I would finally bless the world with it (you're welcome). Enjoy.

By now, Agent Carter has climbed to the place of one of my favorite TV shows.

If you don't know what Agent Carter is, what rock have you been living under? Just kidding, I'm sure I already know and have bumped into you during one of those rock housewarming parties. Hint: I was the one that showed up late and brought the veggie platter nobody liked. 

Anywho, Agent Carter is about Peggy Carter, an awesome woman who goes around being awesome in a secret agent-y way and getting stuff done. Also, it's set in the 1930s 40s  olden days. She wears a signature red hat and makes you wish that you looked that good playing dress up. 
She's a fantastic character and kind of revolutionary I think, but she's not what this is about. No, this is about the best character of them all.
No, not him (though he is awesome).
Image result for edwin jarvis gif
Edwin Jarvis is a classy (and sassy) dude that always has Peggy's back. What I love most about him is that he is portrayed as doing "feminine" things i.e. baking, housekeeping, tending the wounded, being a bit...skittish, but they never have even implied that he is in anyway less of a man or awesome person.

He's very wise, and takes care of Peggy even when she doesn't think she needs it. I love how strong and platonic their friendship really is. Usually when shows have friends of the opposite genders, there is at least some semblance of romantic tension between them at one point or another, but not here. Peggy and Jarvis are just bro's, and that's really refreshing.

He's a man of many talents, he's dedicated to his job, and overall an awesome character. If nothing else, you should watch Agent Carter for Jarvis, 'cuz he's da bomb-diggity. Also, if you watch it, I promise never to say 'da bomb-diggity' again. It's a win-win.