Tag Archives: writing

Review: The Indispensable Heroes of Guards! GuardS

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When a book dedicates itself to fantasy’s expendable Red Shirt Army with the witticism of a P.G. Wodehouse novel, you know you hold a diamond. When I given Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! to read, I was a little weary to give it a try. The dull artwork of a strange looking dragon on its cover wasn’t eye catching. The summary on the back was about as appealing as a very moldy ham and egg sandwich. But, encouraged by my friend’s enthusiasm, I trudged on like a good soldier and opened the book.

Six words in, I knew I was infected.

Guards! Guards! is full of clever sentences that get right under your skin. It opens in a fictional place of Terry Pratchett’s own imagination called Discworld. Our unlikely heroes are the Night Watchmen of Ankh-Morpork who dedicate themselves to alcoholism and never running too fast lest they actually catch a criminal. It’s these four characters Vimes, Colon, Nobbs and Carrot drew me closer to the pages. I felt as though I were a part of their crew.

The plot begins when an incompetent secret brotherhood schemes to replace the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork with a puppet king of their own. In order to accomplish their evil deed, they summon a dragon using a stolen magical book and that’s when the mayhem starts. It’s up to Captain Vimes of the Night Watch and his rag-tag team to stop this dragon and restore order. My favorite character out of this crew was Carrot. Having lived his entire life in the underground caverns of the dwarves, Carrot discovers a whole new world when he steps foot into Ankh-Morpork. He volunteers with the Night Watch which we are told nobody would ever think of doing. His naive yet bold nature reminds me of myself when I moved out of my parents’ house and discovered the life of a city girl.

The voice and style of Guards! Guards! is marinated in Pratchett’s love of good British farce. A ridiculous cast of characters find themselves tangled in improbable scenarios and complications. The heroes and villains are silly enough for us not to take seriously yet so thoroughly well done they seem almost tangible. Our antagonist, the Supreme Grand Master, is a whimsical parody of an egotistical maniac driven by his hatred of humanity’s stupidity. Lady Ramkin, a potential love interest of our protagonist Captain Vimes, is overweight, hazardously confident and sharply eccentric with her fondness for dragons. The story is full of action and spotted here and there by extreme cuteness such as the scenes with the swamp dragons. Also, hidden in the text is a treasure trove of references to Hollywood films.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wishes a great read.

Biography Writing Can Get Hairy

Type Writer

This must be the tenth time I’ve written my about me. In the past, I’ve religiously read posts and articles on how to write a short/long bio. But when it came down to it, I’d always feel stumped. I’d turn on my laptop, enter chrome and log onto WordPress. Then the blank page of infinite possibilities would stare at me like some terrifying creature.

I believe that’s a writer’s worse nightmare. A blank page. It has countless opportunities. A billion things it could be. But when one single letter is typed, its infinite universe becomes grounded. It is now chained to that single letter or word and is slowly molded into a thought.

The difficult part is the thought. There are two types of thoughts. One, a concept that explodes into the human consciousness and orders to be written down. Two, the idea that grows slowly yet surely like a vine with no general direction.

When I started working on my bio, I knew I wanted it to be good. The best. Something that’d make readers’ attention pop. But how the hell do I go about it? As Nike repeatedly says, Just Do It. So I just did it. I started typing. I grounded the page with a single letter. The letter transformed into a word and then a phrase. My beautiful bio was like young tree sprouting. But then I hit a brick wall. I became stuck. I found it profoundly hard to write about who I was. I toyed with the question of my identity repeatedly.

After many brick walls and attempts, I finally discovered the secret to writing. Be true. Be honest. Be yourself. I know it sounds like some cheap advice taken from some self-help guide book. “Just be yourself,” says Disney. Yes, Disney. I promise I’ll try.

Stay true to who you are. You’re not here to impress some date. You’re here to share yourself with your audience. Readers can tell real quick when a writer is trying too hard to please them or make himself shine. Have you ever read one of those bullshit bios? The ones where the author introduces themselves but says absolutely nothing about themselves? Yeah, that was me a few bios ago.

I admit, I was timid to write a single sentence about myself. So I settled for the “hi, I love to write and here’s not why.” It was a mistake and I bet some readers left my site thinking.. “That’s bs.” Remember, don’t be afraid to be you. If somebody doesn’t like your bio, then they can just leave your site and not come back. The internet is full of personalities and weirdos. Even if you write something really crazy or out there, I bet you, you won’t be the first.

A Final Decision

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I’ve been quiet on here as of late. It’s been hectic in the life of me. Recently, I took some time to pause and reflect on my life. On the things I’d love to be doing and how to get to the point where I can do them.

My book as for now is on standby. I’m burnt out on it. I need some time to step back and take a deep breath. I’ve been pressuring myself to get it done. A few months ago, I approached a couple of editors who loved the idea of my book. They handed me their business cards and said to shoot them an email. I did. And I have waited. No reply yet. Which is typical considering they’re editors. I was told by one that I probably wouldn’t hear from them until November. Since I last spoke to them, I’ve been working my butt off trying to finish my book by November. I’ve come to realize how that is totally not going to happen. Apart from writers block, stressful stuff happening and other things, I’m burnt.

I won’t stop blogging or writing though. I’ve decided to fulfill one of my old dreams: to fly. I’d like to take off up into the blue atmosphere and buzz around the sun and clouds. I don’t usually mention my personal life on here but I happen to work at an airport. My boss just so happens to be giving me a crazy, once in a lifetime deal. He said he’d like to help me pursue my dream of flying. So pursue I will.

I’ve started another blog called Just A Plane Girl where I blog about my aviator adventures. I will still write on here about my misadventures as a writer and the progress on my book. I’m not, by all means, giving up on my book. I will still continue to write and work on it until it’s finished. I’ve been saying for the past year it feels like that my book is almost done or that the skeleton is there and it just needs filling in. There’s research that needs to be done. Details that need filling in. Dots needing to be connected. It’s coming along but very slowly. Hopefully one day… Scratch that. One day I will be sharing it with all of you. 🙂

Broken Bicycle

Bicycle

Have you ever tried taking a bicycle apart? Or a car or plane or something that would be a huge project to put back together?

I was sick for the past week. I took work off. I did nothing but lay in bed. I hated every minute of it. I had a nasty cold – the worst cold I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t think about my book for a week. I put it out of my thoughts entirely. I still have the cold, but I’m getting over it slowly.

Today, I started to work on it. But then stopped. I feel lost all of a sudden. As if, I’d taken apart a bicycle and couldn’t figure out how to put it back together. All the pieces lay surrounding me. I just don’t know what to do exactly.

The entire book, everything… It’s finished and it’s isn’t. I know what I want to have happen. I have the characters pretty much figured out. I have a ton of parts already written. It’s just figuring out the finer details and how to connect the dots.

Oh boy… It feels like it’s going to be the long haul.

Of Stale Baguettes and Black Lagoons

Stale Baguette

There are parts of my book I’m totally satisfied with. These parts are the fresh tidbits I’ve been adding. The scenes I’m very dissatisfied with are the ones I’ve written long ago. They feel very stale to me like an ancient baguette and probably because I’ve read them over a million times. I come to write these scenes and edit them… And I find myself eternally stuck. I absolutely hate it.

What will I ever do?

I’ll probably end up printing them off and try different ways of rewriting the parts. I just don’t know how to go about doing it. I mean to say, I don’t know what I should change or keep. It feels like I’m slowly beginning to sink into a black lagoon. I need to quickly find my way out of this swampy No Man’s Land.

The Fascination of Drying Paint

Staring Out A Window

I’m stuck on a scene… Or rather I should say I’m stuck on several scenes and probably the rest of my book.

The problem isn’t that I don’t where to take the scene. The problem is that I feel as if my engine has been used up. As though there is no gas left in the tank. This is a horrible, awful, terrible feeling if you happen to be on a deadline and constantly trying to push yourself to write more.

My book is due to be published… Well, the editors should be getting back to me by November-ish. At which time I have to send them my entire book in its completed state. It’s current state is about eight chapters out of thirty. I’ve a lot of material written from previous drafts. Some of it I’ve been using and it’s helped.

My favorite feeling in the world is that sense of fire you get from inspiration. The flame that burns and burns and propels you to write a really, really good piece. It’s as if the words themselves are coming from some celestial place in the universe. A place of divine inspiration. A place that happens… Not as often as we’d like.

The worst feeling is the moment you start writing and it’s like watching paint dry. Each sentence, description, everything sounds absolutely stark. Forced. I’ve tried everything to bring my words to life this morning. I was completely productive and cleaned. I showered. I did chores. I went for a jog. I came home feeling refreshed and ready to fight the world. But then, I get on here and start typing. The words won’t obey me. My creativity is kaput.

Sometimes, when I feel like this I’ll stick a really good soundtrack on that’s full of energy. A few times it has worked and vitalized my writing. This time however… I’m still watching paint dry.

Shooting Blanks

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I’m trying to finish up a chapter. I know what should be in the chapter but I can’t find the sentences at the moment to do so. I’m on a very tight deadline for my book. In two months, maybe less.. I need it done. Which is a scary thought considering how little I have actually done. Today was a long day at work and my eyelids feel droopy. Half of me is considering brewing some coffee and chugging a cup of dark espresso. While on the other hand, I really just want to crash.

It’s interesting how movies and books are so BS. In TV shows or films, the hero of the story will chug a cup of coffee while working hard on the project that will save the world. Even though he has work in the morning and most likely get no sleep… That doesn’t faze our hero. He runs on zero sleep and gallons of coffee. If only!

There are actually people in this world who only need 4 hours of sleep. These people astound me. I envy them. All the things I could do with the extra time. I once knew someone like that. She’d fall asleep around midnight and wake up at 4am refreshed. She didn’t have work until 8am and would use the free time to teach herself coding.

Lately, I’ve been drinking way too much coffee. It’s not healthy and I’m trying to lay off. I’d usually drink it to stimulate my mind which helps me to write. But then, I’d have difficulty sleeping and would wake up all groggy. Not fun. Coffee and Cigarettes. The addictions of the world.

Tonight, instead of writing. I’m on here shooting blanks. The idea of coffee is a deadly temptation.