le français and Book Lists

posted by Jory on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 2 comments links to me
Yesterday was a much better day. Not that French had anything to do with it. (Though I did at least understand a little more...). I visited Scribd.com for some grammar help and found a nice little workbook that I can practice on. This website is excellent, because you can find documents such as the one I found last night - the piano sheet music for Bella's Lullaby.

I for sure have a place to live after I graduate. I also picked up an application to teach at a school. I'm not setting my hopes high on that one, but I do happen to know that one of the teachers will be going on maternity leave and they will need to fill her position. It's worth a shot.


I am once again TAing for a professor in my department. However, my work for her is more in line of an administerial assistant. She is a literary agent in addition to being a professor. For me, this is the best of both worlds, because I can finish my degree in film while at the same time learning some of the inner workings of the publishing biz. My first assignmet for her is to read a book written by one of her clients and write coverage. I breezed through four chapters last night in the bathtub.


So now I start my book list for my novel writing class. They are supposed to be books that we haven't read before, but I feel that I should start with Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot. I will re-read it, and this time I will read it from the perspective of a writer. So here is my list so far:

1. Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

2. Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella

3. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (this counts! Yeah, I've seen the movie, but I haven't read the book...)

4. Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell

5. Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Especially if you can think of any chick-lit mysteries, since that is the genre I intend to write.

A Bad Day and Then Some

posted by Jory on Monday, January 26, 2009 0 comments links to me
I came home tonight to find that my pantry shelf had been taken over by an army of ants. They are coming through the cupboards and up and down the wall, but they leave my roommate's shelf alone. Lucky her. I'm not sure why they choose to hate me? Or like me, I guess. I didn't leave any food unopened. The only thing they actually got into was my cereal, but still. Gross. This seems to always happen after it rains. Why does such a beautiful thing (rain) have to bring about such madness?

On top of that, I had to add two more classes to my schedule, bringing me up to 19 units. The 19th unit is going to cost me another $1,100. Yay me.

I am taking Intermediate French. This really sucks. It's been five years since I took a French class, and I don't remember much. I've been reading the text book (which cost $160 btw), and I can understand most stuff while I'm reading it, but when the prof speaks, I can't understand 95% of what he says. I'm just going to focus on passing, however.

Also, a certain undesirable is in one of my classes. I was really hoping to avoid this, but alas, there is nothing to be done. I need the class to graduate. This is the only section offered. Whatever. To quote a certain vampire, "I'll just have to endure it."

The one great thing about today was my novel writing class. I don't think I mentioned it, but I am taking this class. And I'm so glad I am. Not only is it a lot of fun, and entertaining, but my old roommate who spent the last semester in London is in it with me and I really missed her. So YAY! Also, my assignment is to read five books in the genre that I want to write, so....Meg Cabot for homework!!!

Anyways, back to the homework and the writing. Oh, and listening to Deathly Hallows on audiotape, which always makes me feel better. Good writing is so soothing, don't you think?

P.S. Can I just say that I CAN'T WAIT for Half Blood Prince to come out in July. I don't blame them for pushing it back. I really don't. But it had better not dissapoint because the longer I wait the more my expectations are built up.

Lessons

posted by Jory on Thursday, January 22, 2009 1 comments links to me
Lesson #1: Don't lift weights with your fish.


Lesson #2: Choose your Best Man wisely.


Lesson #3: Sliding is a sport?


Lesson #4: Don't drink and drive.


Lesson #5: These things never work out for the best.


Lesson #6: Stop sitting around all day watching YouTube videos.

My Twilight Follow Up

posted by Jory on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 1 comments links to me
After finishing the rest of the series, I feel I should say a few more things.

I know, I know. Just grin in bear it.

Overall, I felt the series was, at the very least, entertaining. It's really hard to clarify my opinion because I'm not always sure of it myself. There were parts I liked and parts I really, really didn't like.

Getting through the final book felt absurdly close to reading fan fiction, and that irritated me. The characters changed so much, and not the way a character is supposed to change. What I mean by this is that the characters didn't make any natural changes, they just became inconsistent to their former selves in order for convenience.

I also felt that as the series got longer, the imaginary world created became more and more ridiculous.

I concluded by dismissing the series as YA. However, that doesn't make me feel any better about it, because I've read really good YA that didn't leave me feeling like this. I was frustrated with the author because I could see that she had some talent, but I felt like she tried to hard to draw out what didn't need to be drawn out.

For example, the twists were predictable. I accurately guessed all of them at least a chapter ahead (sometimes two) and then had to suffer the agony of waiting for the words to slowly catch up to me.

Also, as much as I loved some of her descriptions, especially the passage of time (when it was done fairly quickly) and many of the action sequences, I felt that the character interactions were unnatural.

After the first few chapters of the first book I was never again able to imagine Edward as a "17 year old," and nothing like he was portrayed in the movie. Rather he looked, in my mind, as more of a contemporary of Carlisle. More of a leader than a son. And Bella also stopped feeling like a snappy, headstrong 17-year old, and instead she starting feeling like a whiny, self conscious preteen.

Like I said, the book was entertaining, and if I had just picked it up off the shelf by myself without having any expectations due to the mass hysteria, then I might have just enjoyed it, flaws and all, and then put it out of my mind without a second thought.

But instead it nags at me because of the hysteria, which I feel is undeserved.

Other fantastical stories, such as Harry Potter (I compare because I know it well), are successful and worthy of their recognition because of the sheer talent of the writer. Instead of the writer making up the story and then telling it, it is obvious that the story revealed itself to the writer, who then expertly retold it. I caught minor glimpses of this in Twilight, but not enough for me to think it warrented the praise it received.

All and all, I do not regard it as a literary classic. I don't think it's worthy of the mania that has erupted from it, and I don't think it will impact the world much after that mania dies down. I'm not saying its going to die down now, but after the last movie comes out...maybe. It was entertaining. But it makes me sad, because it could have been a lot better.

I think I'm going to go read Harry Potter again.

I'm no fangirl...but I read Twilight

posted by Jory on Sunday, January 11, 2009 2 comments links to me
If you loved everything about Twilight, you may not want to read this review. If you want an honest, un-sugar coated opinion, read on.

I started reading Twilight on Wednesday. I finished yesterday. Then I watched the movie.

Since the book came first, it gets priority in my discussion. Before I say anything further, I want to point out that I didn't hate the book, or even dislike it. I don't really understand what kept me turning the page (possibly the fact that I had seen the movie trailer), but I was intrigued enough to finish it, and also to order the next books from my library. Which is something to be said.

Twilight was a long book. A lot longer than I felt it needed to be. (Nearly 600 pages...yikes!)

It's not that I mind reading a 600 page novel, but the fact that I didn't see the real plot show up until page 375 was what got me. If I hadn't known from the movie trailer that there was going to be some kind of conflict, I would have put the book down.

The beginning doesn't do much to develop the character of Bella Swan other than to tell where she comes from and why she's in a town that she hates. Other than her physical description, a little bit of spunk, and the fact that she loves her truck, there's not much of a personality assigned to her.

Instead, the first two-thirds of the book focus on the developing relationship between Bella and the vampire Edward Cullen. Edward is an intriguing character, a bit of a mystery, and I have to admit that if I were to meet him on the street I would probably fall over myself.

But was he worth 375 pages? Cliff notes please.

I also want to note on the quality of the writing. I will say that Meyer has a way with words. Her descriptions were believable and pleasing. But I think she needs to take a refresher course on the mechanics of dialogue.

Not only was much of it cheesy and not believable - the continuous, "I love you so much it hurts," and the likes - but it also got downright confusing at times over who was speaking. This was due to the fact that she often placed one character's action with a different character's dialogue.

(Ex. "You can't go in there, it's a restricted zone," I warned. John just glared at me, then pushed the door open.
"Watch me," he said.)

In the example above, John's action should not be in the same paragraph as Jane's dialogue. Instead, it should start a new paragraph and go with his dialogue.

Today, I finished the next volume in the series, New Moon. I think I liked this one a lot better. It opened the plot up a lot sooner, and even along the way there were sub-conflicts to keep me interested. So interested, in fact, that I read it in about twelve hours. And that's no less pages.

Bella's character was a lot more round and dynamic in this one, and I really appreciated the first person insight. I had no trouble relating with her or connecting with her emotions (tears, laughter, fear, etc.).

The dialogue was much better, though the words passed between Bella and Edward were still a little overbearing. Improved, yes, but still.

It still had the same formatting flaws as the first, but because I was more captured into the story, I was more prone to overlook them.

After I finished the first volume, I immediately watched the movie. I can't really say I liked it better or less than the book because I'm still undecided about the book.

The film obviously takes a lot of liberties, cutting out a lot of the getting-to-know-you parts, and I didn't really like that. Even though I expressed before that those parts of the novel dragged on a bit in the book, there was still too much there to be rushed through in the film.

The first thing I noticed was the makeup. It was heavy, especially at the very beginning. I mean, I know Edward is supposed to be the undead and whatever, but does he have to look like a girl? I mean, really? It looks a lot better toward the end (i.e. he blends in a lot more) but at the beginning I find it really hard to believe that people can't just tell he's a vampire from looking at him. Pale skin, bright red lips, and circles under the eyes just doesn't scream healthy human male to me.

Another thing that bothered me about the film was the music. There were a few songs on the soundtrack that I liked, and I was very pleased that they kept Clair de Lune in the film. The song Edward plays on the piano (Bella's Lullaby) was beautiful. But much of the rest of the score and a few soundtrack selections seemed very inappropriate.

I'm going to be brutally honest. Outside of Twilight (i.e. tabloid photos, interviews, etc.) I really do not think Kristen Stewart is very attractive. Maybe it's just the way she wears her makeup, or styles her hair, or seems to always be wearing a dead expression - really, is she incapable of smiling? However, I thought she was perfect as Bella, subtly beautiful, spunky, the right voice tonality - she was as close to how I imagined her as possible.

Robert Pattinson, though also beautiful as Edward, kind of made me cringe in real life. The hair...egh.


Suffice it to say, I preferred him as Cedric Diggory.

(Cedric. Sigh.)

By the way, does anyone else seem to think that Daniel looks a little bit like Frodo here?

Hmm, maybe it's just me.

All in all, despite Twilight's many flaws, and the fact that it is clearly written to appeal more to the pre-teen set, I'm going to keep reading. I do, actually, like it. Still not a fangirl, though.

However, people, please stop putting it in league with Harry Potter. There's no contest.

Why 2009 Is Going To Be a Better Year

posted by Jory on Thursday, January 08, 2009 1 comments links to me
So, 2008 most definately was NOT a great year for me.

Sure, it had some nice things going for it, not that I can think of any right now, but...

Mostly, it just kind of sucked.

However, I am determined to make 2009 great. Here is why:
  1. I am going to finish my novel. I really am. I don't know how...or when, but it will be done, oh yes, it will be done. (That was a Wayne's World reference to anyone who didn't catch that.)
  2. I'm going to save my money so that I can buy a car. My best friend just bought on like this... and I'm pretty much in love. And if I can find a job, then I can ::maybe:: afford to finance one.
  3.  I will graduate from college. The whole going-out-into-the-world-without-school-as-a-security-blanket thing kind of scares me, I'm not gonna lie. But, having time to read books I want to read, watch my shows, write my novel instead of doing busy work for some class....is all pretty appealing. Which brings me to,
  4. I will find a job. I have absolutely no idea what job it will be, or where it will be at, or how soon I will find it... but again, it will be done. It most likely will not be my dream job, and I'll probably hate more aspects of it than I'll love, at least at first, but I can manage.
  5. I will lose weight and look fabulous. I have put on a bit of weight since last summer, not having time to breathe, let alone work out, and all. And the healthy food choices on my campus leave much to be desired. It's going to be hard. But I will do it. I've already started pushing myself to use the fitness center on campus. I like it, and am possibly becoming addicted to it, especially because when I'm walking on the treadmills (at a high incline, I feel I must add) I can be catching up on my reading. Awesome.
  6. I'm going to live somewhere. That was really deep wasn't it? I know. I could tell as I was writing it. But really. What I mean is that I'm not going to be living with my parents, or as a dependent of my parents. I'm going to be living in an apartment which I will pay for with MY money, that is not a dorm or a school owned apartment. I will really be on my own.
  7. I'm going to turn 22. This is kind of an easy one, because I don't actually have to do anything to make this one happen. Unless you count not dying. Which I won't. Because that just seems slightly morbid and weird. But I can't actually help giggling at that thought, because "Hey guys! My New Year's resolution is to NOT DIE this year. Yeah, I know, it's going to be tough. Last year really took its toll, you know, with me dying like three times. But in my defense that last one wasn't really my fault..." I know. I'm odd. Embrace it. But anyway, back to the turning 22 thing. I have a tendency to prefer the year after the milestones. 16? The freshmen of drivers. 18? The freshmen of adults/voters. 20? The freshmen of the non-teenagers. 21? Freshman drinkers. Well, maybe not really, but at least on paper. So I'd prefer to be 22, or maybe even 23, and then just stay in that age forever. It could happen, right?
Anyway, there's just a few. I'm determined. And when it's over, I'm going to look back at 2008 and be like, "What do you have to say to me now?"
       

it's a new year...

posted by Jory on Thursday, January 01, 2009 1 comments links to me
So why do I feel like nothing has changed?

(Except for my layout, of course. What do you think, by the way? I don't know if this one is here to stay, but it will for a while at least because I'm getting tired of the amount of work it takes to change it.)

(Oh, and see over there to the right? That's my first attempt at creating a vector image. Not bad huh?)

So. I had a breakdown yesterday. I even started crying, which I don't do very often anymore. It felt good. The crying, I mean. I'm beginning to think I maybe bottle too much up. But I really don't like to complain. I hate when other people are constantly complaining, and I seem to have been hearing a lot this past year, so I think thats why my own have gone mostly unsaid.

Anyway, I've still come to the conclusion that the root of my problem is that I still have school to worry about, and therefore do not have time to do what I want to do. I know I can make time, er whatever, but if I do it also takes away my focus. I tried that last semester. Didn't work out so well.

So here's my problem:
I have to take my last screenwriting class this semester, it is required for my major. Because my major is focused predominantly on screenwriting (being film and all) I did not get to take other writing classes. Which is why I was super stoked when I found out that my creative writing professor was offering a novel writing class this semester.

Numerous people have told me that it's not a good idea to try to work on two projects at once. In this case I would be writing both my feature film script and my novel.

So now I have to figure out if I should attempt, once more, to do both at the same time, or if I need to give up the class I so badly want to take in order to focus on what I need to get done to graduate.

I'm not going to switch majors, because the screenwriting class is the last class I need for my degree, and I'm not going to stay another semester to add a double major because, lets face it, college is expensive.

I could possibly audit the class, so that I could get the information but not have to do the work. However, it's not worth the cost if it's a workshop, because I won't have anything TO workshop. If its a lecture, well, than thats another story. That would be ideal.

But I have no idea. Thus my breakdown. I'm a worrier.

Oh, and I didn't mention before that my soon to be neice, Enid, is now a Vivienne.
 

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