The Mind of a Wavering Future Author

How is that every time I think I know what I want,
I don’t?
How can half my life be devoted to one thing

Books

And one thought can upset an entire dream?

I want to write

yes

But what to write about? What for?

I could be a screenwriter,
A writer of films.

I’ve always loved movies. Why not?

I could write children’s books,
the next J.K. Rowling.

I like kids. Kids like me. Why not?

I could write textbooks,
The How-To of life.

I hate textbooks. Better job security. Why not?

I could write reviews for a magazine or paper,
Ebert for a new age.

Maybe they’ll give me free things. Opinions are nice. Why not?

I could be a film director, photographer, artist,
But just maybe on the side.

I don’t know enough about those things to do them for a life.

I could work in a bookstore,
Just to get me on my feet.

What if I end up liking it? Owner of a bookstore. Why not?

I could be an editor,
Of a magazine or for publishing.

But really that’s not writing at all.
And what I love is that I love to write.
And despite all these questions, that’s what I want to do.
But how do I know if what I’ll write is right?
Will it make me happy
Forever?

And if I finally do decide on a job, where will I be jobbing from?
Probably in the same place
Where all the jobbers go.

What about books? That’s what I’d always planned to do,
Is it bad to have these thoughts,
To feel like I’m cheating
on my dreams?

And what is it about college,
where you’re supposed to

Find yourself,

that makes you question

Everything.

Quote #9

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” — Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

Book Review: Me and Mr. Darcy

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Click above to check out this book at Barnes & Noble

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, when writing a book review, it is imperative that one does not give away important plot points.

But when the plot of the reviewed novel is a play on the exact same plot of a far more famous and thoroughly studied novel, how could you not?

And like what would have been perhaps a more stimulating review had it not been forced to focus so much on basic storyline, Alexandra Potter’s Me and Mr. Darcy also suffers from an overindulgence in plot.

Just not it’s own plot.

Aimed at Jane Austen fans, this novel tells the tale of one Pride and Prejudice fanatic who travels to England for an Austen-themed tour and ends up having a romance of her own — exactly like the one in Pride and Prejudice. There’s pride, prejudice, and a whole lot of misunderstandings. As main character Emily Albright is swept off into her own fantasy world by Mr. Darcy (literally, he appears out of the book), she is annoyingly ignorant of the fact that Pride and Prejudice is playing out, word for word, in her very own life: She meets a seemingly rude man who insults her behind her back. She loathes him for a while as he attempts to be friendlier with her. There’s a misunderstanding about a man who seemed nice but really isn’t, and the rude man proclaims his love for the girl all so that she can yell at him and then decide she loves him later.

And as a huge P&P fan she couldn’t notice these similarities before the end of the book?

Anyone who’s even remotely familiar with this plot will find Me and Mr. Darcy a tad too predictable. Yet the similarities don’t end there. After a while, the characters even spout the exact same lines from the novel. Really? I knew just by looking at the cover that this was going to be a typical Pride and Prejudice spin-off/parody/homage/fangirl story, so I suppose a little similarity is necessary, but I think the author took it a little too far.

However, this book is not without its redeeming qualities. For instance, it was a very light and enjoyable summer read. I was able to move through the pages quickly once I was able to get into it. A few of the characters were fun, though I would have liked to have seen a little more development, and the dialogue, although at times unbelievable, was current.

But it was during the times in which the dialogue was not so believable that I really cringed. Not only was the speech teetering awkwardly between exaggeratingly-current to I’m-pretty-sure-no-one-talks-like-that-anymore, but it was also mainly coupled with our star character Emily Albright. She too stood oddly between two ends of the spectrum. Initially, we are told that Emily is a bit of a nerd. She works in a bookstore, would rather pack books in her suitcase than clothes, would prefer doing anything other than partying in Mexico with her polar-opposite best friend, and is a hopeless romantic. Yet further along in the book, we soon are met with Emily smoking a joint, thinking about her partying college lifestyle, and, for some unnecessary reason, deciding she now likes fashion more than books. A little unbelievable? I’d say yes.

And while perhaps all this unbelievability stems from a British author trying and failing to write from an American perspective, she does wrap it all up with a nice moral: Ladies, lower your standards a little bit. Your fantasies are lovely and all, but you know what’s great about non-fictional guys? They’re real.

So just like Emily fell in love with Mr. Darcy for all the wrong reasons, I think that readers have fallen in love with Pride and Prejudice for all the wrong reasons as well. Yes, the love story was in there, but Austen’s book said so much more about society, people’s character, and their views at that point in time. I think such updates of the original novel mask what was truly good and important about it in the first place, and I’d be more interested in another adaptation than a plot-twister (kind of?) like this book any day.

Quote #7

“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.” — John Steinbeck

Quote #6

“If you’re reading this…Congratulations, you’re alive. If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.” — Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head

Organized Writing is the Best Writing

Interestingly enough, the idea for this post came off a napkin.

 

Or rather, I wrote the idea down on a napkin.

 

I do that a lot. If you opened the drawer of my nightstand, you’d find a small notebook full of ripped paper, napkins, and sticky notes all covered with late-night scrawls of half-thought out ideas. Not all of them are good, but I generally find that my best story ideas come to me as I’m lying awake at night, unable to sleep. For this reason, I keep a pad of blank paper in the drawer next to the notebook.

 

Now, the idea for this post didn’t happen late at night (hopefully not indicating non-goodness), but it did come to me in the middle of work, which isn’t necessarily the most convenient time to have a thought. What’d I have available in a kitchen? A napkin. Works for me.

 

It’s pretty easy to write down ideas as they come to you on anything that you happen to have nearby (and honestly, I’d recommend it), but that also means those written thoughts are pretty easy to lose. Organization is the key to writing and writing well, because if your thoughts are a jumbled up mess, so is your writing.

 

Not so good at keeping organized? Don’t worry. I got you covered with a few tips for jumpstarting your organization.

 

1) Transfer your scribbles to one location. I’m not really the best at this (as you can tell by the description of my notebook), but I can attest to the fact that it’s very difficult to put together a story with all your ideas on random pieces of junk. Not only is it hard to store all these objects, but it can also be difficult to read the hurried writing, which means ideas could become skewed or even forgotten if left alone for too long. Rewriting or typing these thoughts onto regular paper in a timely fashion can save you the headache of writer’s block later on.

 

2) Store your rewrites in one spot. In addition to the messy notebook, I’ve also got various ideas typed out on several word documents, each with a similar title to the others (“story ideas,” “musings,” etc.). Why have I done this? I’m not sure. It would certainly be a lot easier to have all my ideas in one word document or on one pad of paper where I can easily read and see them. Don’t follow my example.

 

3) Categorize. Categorize. Categorize. Start by making headings for each novel or piece of writing you’re working on. Then, make subcategories for character descriptions, locations, plot, dialogue, etc. Write down any of your ideas under the appropriate category so that they’re easier to go back to and find. Writing made easy. If that sounds like too much work, there’s a lovely little app that organizes for you, which I highlighted in a post here.

 

Of course, these tips are just to help really unorganized writers like me start to create some order in their writing process. If organized writing makes for easy writing, and easy writing makes for good writing, then that must mean that organization leads to good writing (If O = E and E = G then O = G. Hey, look. Math.).

Got your own way of organizing your writing? Tell me in the comments. Or, click on the picture below to see how famous authors kept notes.

J.K. Rowling’s method

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines

There’s a saying out there somewhere which describes the intense odor of fail that so often emanates from the unturned pages of authors’ first novels.

 

However, since I can’t seem to produce that actual quote, I’ll just assume that I made that up and this is all just based on my own opinion.

 

See this book at Barnes & Noble

See this book at Barnes & Noble

Nevertheless, debut novels (whether they get thrown out or actually published) usually don’t measure up to the quality of work put out by authors later on in their careers. And as I was under the impression that An Abundance of Katherines was John Green’s debut novel, I was ready to write it off as a sloppy yet decent first try. Turns out his real first novel, Looking for Alaska, was pretty successful and I actually just finished reading his second (and clearly less successful) book.

 

Well that doesn’t fit the formula.

 

But, while I can’t tell you why the quality of his work seems to have declined during his career, I can explain to you a formula which is intended to predict the outcome of your romantic relationships. Yes, the main character of this book spent much time obsessing over creating this formula…also math…and anagrams…and his unfulfilled genius…and girls named Katherine.

 

He also enjoyed engaging in what I believe was very unrealistic dialogue and overly cliché post-break up behavior. After being dumped by his 19th Katherine, Colin (main character) and Hassan (trusty sidekick, AKA “Daddy”) embark on a road trip that spans about .0034% of the book, after which the plot becomes increasingly predictable.

 

As an unpublished and still-learning writer, I really have no room to give this criticism. Maybe the incessant footnotes, factual tangents, anagrams, math, and constant use of the fake word “fug” are supposed to be reflections of the boy’s genius (did I mention he’s an alleged child prodigy?). I have no idea. But as a reader, I found these factors majorly unappealing.

 

What I found interesting (but still not that appealing) is that the main character Colin is really just John Green. For those of you who are familiar with Green’s personality (either because you’ve met him or are a member of his immense Nerdfighter following), you’ll know that he often goes off on factual tangents himself and is an all-around smart guy. I think that’s why I was so disappointed by this book.

 

John Green comes off as this very intelligent and witty guy, so I expected a very complex and well thought out story line that would challenge me as a reader. What I got was basically like one of his YouTube videos. Seen it. I need something new.

 

I wanted to like this book. I did. Katherines honestly had the potential to be like one of those quirky indie comedies that always casts Michael Cera as the lead role, but it fell short for me.  Though I’m giving this novel a thumbs down, I do promise to revisit Green’s work later on so I can better evaluate his work through the more successful of his novels.

 

 big news

 

This past week, LifeAccordinglee hit 200 followers. I just want to thank you guys so much for reading my posts and sticking with me through this journey. It’s been a rough few weeks of change for my blog, and I want to let you all know how much I truly appreciate your constant support. I’d have no reason to write if I didn’t have readers, so you guys mean the world to me. I hope you all are learning about yourselves along the way, because I’ve learned so much about myself since starting this blog. I feel so lucky to have so much support for my passion. With your guys’ help, I know it will continue to grow. Thanks!