For the first installment of this series (and later ones in the future!) go to the right, look for "Categories," and click the link for "College 101". Those, by the way, are my new blog tags! Hopefully, they're simple enough to follow. (Editor's Note: Tags have since changed.)
Rule #9: If you have diet limitations, the dining hall will get real boring real fast.
I'm lucky enough to be trying a gluten-free diet for my fibromyalgia right now. If you're a vegetarian, or gluten-intolerant, or have a corn allergy, or something big like that, you are going to have problems. The food people will tell you they will help you, but probably they won't, unless you are brave and go talk to the mean-looking cafeteria lady about getting more food. Which I haven't done so far. Instead, I've been eating this: Breakfast: eggs. Lunch: bunless hot dog (sometimes a hamburger patty) with fries. Snack: salad and a bit of fro yo. Dinner: bunless hot dog (or hamburger) and fries. I'm dying for pizza. Or even just BREAD. Yeesh.
Today, I shall share my opinions on a number of superhero movies. I realized my senior year of high school, after seeing The Avengers, that I hadn't seen almost any superhero movies. Young Justice was my favorite TV show before that, and I'd seen one of the old Superman movies, but other than that, my superhero movie experience was very limited. Ironic, considering how much I love superhero-style fiction.
So this summer, to make up for that, i watched a plethora of superhero movies recommended to me by friends. Now, I'm going to grant you the awesomeness of my opinion on them.
In the X-Men world, people with superpowers are known as mutants and are often outcasts. The conflict is not only between humans and mutants, but also between the X-Men, who want a free world for all, and Magneto's team, who would rather just kill all the humans and take over.
X-Men was a pretty decent movie, I think. I related deeply to Rogue and Wolverine, which surprised me. Rogue, whose power doesn't permit her to touch anyone's skin, I expected. Wolverine, the more animalistic character, I've never been a huge fan of. But the movie did a very good job of humanizing them. In the story, Rogue and Wolverine (who remembers little of his previous life) run from society and end up getting brought into the X-Men to protect them from Magneto. However, Magneto uses his best mutant, Mystique, to lure Rogue out. Wolverine follows with little success, and in the end, all the X-Men have to go in to stop Magneto from turning all humans into mutants with technology more likely to kill them and Rogue in particular. Rogue and Wolverine's father/daughter-type relationship came off very well in this movie.
Today, I'm starting my first regular blog installment! Since I came to college, I've been writing down rules in my diary based off of what I've learned in my time here so far. So every Wednesday until I get too bored of it, I'm going to post my rules from the past week. These aren't your generic college rules. This is my life experience, in rule form, shared in the hope that somehow it can make your life better.
Rule #1: Wear your contacts/glasses to the bathroom.
Especially if you are half-blind without them, like me. Especially if your dorm floor is co-ed. Because if you don't, you might end up standing blind in the hallway trying to figure out how to open the bathroom door and having an African-American dude who calls you "brah" try to help you and then having to go downstairs to get your roommate to open it for you, even though you can't see a freaking thing.
Rule #2: When living in a new place, everything has a gimmick.
At first, my roommate and I couldn't figure out why the showers were always cold. Then we realized that whoever installed them mixed up the labels, and the side of the knob that said "cold" was actually hot.
So everything has a gimmick. Whether it's mixed-up shower knobs, door locks that take forever to accept your key, or window blinds that open funny, there is something different about it. You have to puzzle it out like the genius college kid you are.
As promised, here's the summary of WriteOnCon's second day! I'm coming to you from college Orientation, which is driving me crazy, because there is TOO MUCH BEING SOCIAL. Grrr. I just want to go to class
But life and writing go on as usual. You all appear to have chosen #MermaidPlayStory for my new NaNoNovel, which is funny. That's probably what I least expected. I've put it off twice already! But I guess I'm going for it.
Now it's time for the second day of WriteOnCon, originally presented on 8/15:
HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR MS IS READY TO BE SENT OUT
Literary agent Laura Perkins wrote a great article on this. Here are her questions to ask yourself.
1. Is my manuscript finished?
2. No, really, is my manuscript finished?
“Finished” means that you’ve completed your first draft, spent some time away from it, and gone back and revised it to the best of your ability, probably multiple times.
So yesterday was the first day of WriteOnCon, and it was A-MAZ-ING. I don't think I left my computer for more than a single hour all day. I was driving my family crazy, becoming limp and ragged, and learning so much. I haven't spent so much time on preparing for publishing and stuff in years. It kinda brought back the old excitement I used to get when I'd start sending out a book for the first time.
After 75 rejections, you kinda lose sight of all that.
Today and Saturday, I'll be giving you a summary of what I learned. Today's summary comes from the first day of WriteOnCon, which was yesterday, 8/14. Saturday's will come from today, 8/15. To begin...
QUERY LETTERS TAKE WORK
The first thing I learned during WriteOnCon actually came from a few weeks ago, when I was allowed into the forums and began posting work. On the forums, you can post query letters and sample pages, and Ninja Agents will stalk the forums during the conference for their next piece to peruse. You also get lots of editing advice.
See, I thought I was a big, genius query letter writer because I've been doing it since I was twelve, right? Well, apparently not. Maybe that helps explain the rejections. I mean, I had all my basics: professional business letter format, one page only, address the agent/editor by name, include summary/word count/genre/previous credits. However, apparently I lacked in the actual writing-something-interesting sector. I blame my inability to write anything short.
Today I'm taking you through a mini-journey of my life. Why? Because I'm leaving for my freshman year of college in less than a week, and you're supposed to do sappy stuff like this. The world might also want this official biography once I'm a famous author, LOL.
I was born in one of the larger cities of the partly-desert, more-cattle-than-people state of New Mexico, which is the only state I've ever lived in. I was an adorable little thing, super talkative and precocious. Even before anyone could understand, I was talking, because words are the most important thing to me (besides love). But I wasn't so good at walking and stuff. I had this amusing habit of shuffling along on my knees instead of actually walking.
The recommendations continue today!
WriteOnCon is coming up, and it looks like it'll be tough and informative. I've had a lot of critique on my query letter already through the forums, which is both terribly disheartening and a good sign. Otherwise, life putters on. So here are my favorite movies for your perusal!
The Phantom of the Opera (PG-13)
This is the story of a genius composer with a disfigured face who "haunts" an opera house and stalks one of the dancers. Christine, who becomes a singer in the opera house through his help, falls in love with another man, which causes a whole bunch of crazy drama.
My favorite is the Joel Schumacher film based off of Andrew Lloyd Weber's popular musical. I love this story because it's passionate, with romantic elements, deep and thoughtful concepts and images, a touch of creepiness, and great music, naturally.
Snow White and the Huntsman (PG-13)
Snow White, amidst an Old England style world with witches, is locked in a tower by her evil stepmother. Snow White escapes, and the Huntsman, suffering from a recent loss, is hired to kill her. But he, Snow White, some dwarfs, and a royal fellow from Snow's past end up turning around to take back the kingdom.
Never mind all the recent drama with Kristen Stewart. This movie, which hasn't yet been released on DVD, is spectacular. It's got a great soundtrack, incredible visuals, and a very true-to-life sort of fairy tale plot. It's dark and intense, but in the end, extremely powerful. It also has a gorgeous, low-key romance.
There's less than two weeks until college for me, and I just discovered the existence of a roommate, who is actually very cool. I'm pretty happy right now. And I'm excited about WriteOnCon!
Today, I'm going to list some books that, against the odds, I actually really like.
The first is Veronica Roth's Divergent Trilogy. Like many YA readers, I've developed dystopian fatigue recently with the post-Hunger Games trend. However, Divergent caught my attention, and the second book in the trilogy, unlike most dystopian second installments, didn't let me down. I'm excited to see what happens in the last book! (Editor's Note: This series ultimately did not live up to my expectations.)
Divergent follows a girl who lives in a society where everyone is divided into one of five factions that have different main traits and responsibilities. She tests as Divergent, which means she doesn't fit into any one faction. She has to hide the truth in order to survive as she joins the Dauntless faction (the courageous enforcers) and gets pulled into a deadly conspiracy that threatens everyone she loves. There's a well-written romance in this trilogy that doesn't have a love triangle! The story is also interesting and has an awesome main character. (4.5-star average, downgraded later to 3.83)
The second book is The Host by Stephenie Meyer. This is against the odds simply because it's by Stephenie Meyer, whom many people hate thanks to Twilight. (I don't necessarily hate Twilight, but that's because I have a different perspective than most people.) The Host is better than Twilight because it lacks the clumsy helplessness of Bella. The central female character, Wanda, reminds me of myself.
The Host is a sci-fi romance where a parasitic alien species has taken over Earth. Wanda is one of these "Souls." The Souls are actually very kind, selfless, generally altruistic people. Wanda is one of the most altruistic of their kind, which she proves throughout the story. The Souls travel between the planets they've taken over, connecting to hosts in order to experience the full variety of the universe. Usually, a Soul will pick a planet to stay on as their home. Wanda is unique because she's been through a record number of lives without choosing a home.
Now that I'm done with the private writer's conference, which went well and is in preparation for next year, I'm getting ready for WriteOnCon, which will be right before I leave for college. I've also found one more online writing conference to attend!
Today, I'm writing about music, which is very important to me, almost as much as writing is. I'm both a singer and a cellist and will be starting out at college as a music minor.
I wanted to share movie soundtracks that I enjoy--by which I mean the scores. Once upon a time, "soundtrack" and "score" were synonymous. Then someone decided to start creating full CDs of vocal tracks that usually don't even show up in the movie but which feature famous artists and bring in a lot of money, I'm sure. A few of these are decent, but mostly, I love all the background orchestral music that plays in the movie. This is a mix of my orchestra dorkiness, the pure awesomeness of movie scores, and the fact that I'm writing books I hope someday will BE movies.
Here are my favorite movie scores for you to check out. Take note: I only buy scores for movies I've seen.
Alexandre Desplat's Music
Desplat is pretty much my favorite score composer. He composed for movies like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Twilight: New Moon. He's got a great, lush, string-focused sound, perfect for epic fantasy or romance stuff, and he makes my day every time I listen. His music doesn't have a happy vibe, exactly, but it's definitely very emotional. Sometimes I cry listening to it. Of course, that could also be because of my Harry Potter obsession....
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