This is the second part of my personal story/college advice blog installment. For the first one (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 on 10 October 2016: Tags have since changed.*
Rule #9: If you have a food allergy, the dining hall meals will get real boring real fast.
I know this because I'm lucky enough to be trying a gluten-free diet for my fibromyalgia. So, some food allergies, you won't have a problem with, like nuts. You're probably OK, nut people. But if you're a vegetarian, or gluten-intolerant, or have a corn allergy, or maybe even a veggie allergy, 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.
As a gluten intolerant personage, this is my standard college diet. Breakfast: eggs. Lunch: hot dog (sometimes a hamburger patty) w/out a bun, and fries. Snack: salad and a bit of fro yo. Dinner: hot dog (or hamburger) and fries.
So if you have an allergy like mine, good luck guys. Eat whatever food you can when you visit home. Like CARBS!!!!!!!!!!!! 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. I know some about the comic world, and the C4 series is on the borderline of that genre.
So this summer, to make up for that, i watched a huge number of superhero movies recommended to me by friends. And now, I'm going to grant you the awesomeness of my opinion on them. Cuz I'm sure you care that much, haha.
*Spoilers for multiple superhero movies*
Well, guys, I'm starting my first regular blog installment! See, 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 and start failing at life, I'm going to post my rules from the past week. These aren't your generic college rules you can get anywhere online. This is my life experience, in blog/rule form, hoping that somehow it can make your life better.
SO ENJOY. OR ELSE.
Rule #1: Wear your contacts/glasses to the bathroom.
Especially if you are half-blind without them, like me. And 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 "bra" trying 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. NOT FUN.
Rule #2: Living in a new place, everything has a gimmick.
At first, my roommate and I couldn't figure out why the showers were always totally cold. Then we realized, whoever installed them mixed up the labels, and the side of the knob that said "cold" was actually hot. Don't ask me why.
So, everything has a gimmick. Whether it's the showers, the door locks that take forever to accept your key, or the window blinds that open funny, there is something different about it. You have to puzzle it out like the genius college kid you are.
So, as promised, 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 and see where my peeps are.
But life and writing goes on as usual. You all appear to have chosen PULLED UNDERWATER for my new NaNoNovel, which is funny. That's probably what I least expected. I've put it off twice already! But I guess ATM I'm going for it.
So here's the second day of WriteOnCon, originally presented on 8/15.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR MS IS READY TO BE SENT OUT
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, gone back and revised it to the best of your ability, probably multiple times.
3. Have I shown my manuscript to at least three people and seriously considered their feedback?
4. Does my story have a hook? Will it make an agent sit up and take notice?
If I reach page fifty and I don’t need to keep reading, it’s usually a “no”. But some minor inconsistencies won't throw me off.
5. Does my manuscript work on a high level?
An agent-ready manuscript does not have to be perfect, but the story, the voice, and the characters need to be very strong and compelling. So what I mean by “working on a high level” is that all of the important, big-picture elements are there and are developed, unique, and gripping.
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 on from 8am-3pm and then 4pm-9pm, driving my family crazy, becoming limp and ragged, and learning so freaking 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.
So today, and then Saturday (first weekend at college!!) I'll be giving you a summary of what I learned at WriteOnCon. 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 started a few weeks ago, when I was allowed into the forums and began posting work. On the forums, see, you can post query letters and sample pages because Ninja Agents will stalk the forums during the conference for their next piece to peruse. You also get lots of editing advice. LOTS.
As previously said, today I'm taking you through a mini-journey of my life. Why? Because for the moment I'm bored of recommending stuff to you and want to be a little more personal. Also, I'm now leaving for my freshman year of college in less than a week, and you're supposed to do sappy stuff like that.
So here we go...
OK, I'm not going to talk too much about location and all because, hey, internet creepers, but I will say that I have lived in New Mexico all my life. So yes, I was born in New Mexico, in one of the larger cities of the partly-desert, more-cattle-than-people state. The picture at left shows what I looked like. I was a cute baby. I know it's real blurry, but you're gonna have to deal with that.
From birth up through my toddlerhood, I was an adorable little thing, super talkative and all. Even when no one could understand, I was talking... because words are the most important thing to me, ever. Besides love. Anyway, I learned how to talk for real relatively fast. Both my younger brothers had speech defects, but not me. I had to communicate. But I wasn't so good at how to walk and stuff. I had this amusing habit of shuffling along on my knees instead of actually walking. Therefore, we see that I am more mentally oriented than physically.
And the recommendations continue...
Coming up is Write On Con, which looks like it'll be tough and informative. I've had a lot of issues editing my query already with the forums, which is both terribly disheartening and a good sign. Otherwise, life plutters 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 is involved with one of the dancers, Christine, who becomes a singer in the opera house through his help, falls in love with another man, and causes a whole bunch of crazy drama.
In this case, I'm referring to the Joel Schumacher film, based off of Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical of the same title. I love this story because it's driven with romantic elements, deep and thoughtful premises, a touch of creepiness, and has great music, naturally.
It's a really beautiful story, tragic but thorough, and has great imagery throughout. Really, it's amazing.
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 Write On Con!
Today I'm going to list some books that, despite the odds (in my eyes), are actually very good. I know, you're probably tired of all the recommendations now... I'd like to share more about THE CHOSEN FOUR, but that could be spoiler-y. We shall see. For now...
Book number one is Divergent by Veronica Roth, along with the next in the series, Insurgent. I consider this book to be good against the odds because it is one of many series that has come out post-Hunger Games with a strong female character in a dystopian world, a central love story, and revolution. I'm at the point with this trend where I'm tired. I liked the first book for most books in this trend, but then when you get past that, it flubs out. This one did not.
Insurgent, the second book, was unique and incredible, and thus this series made a name for itself in my mind. Divergent follows Tris as she is initiated fully into her society by making a choice of which faction to join. These factions are based off of what value the person considers highest--there's Candor, the honest, Erudite, the intelligent, Amity, the peaceful, Dauntless, the courageous, and Abnegation, the selfless. Tris comes from Abnegation but proves in the testing to be Divergent, a dangerous situation in which she fits more than one of the factions. She chooses to go Dauntless, which is where the story gets really epic. Dauntless is the craziest, most intense, most violent group ever, I swear. I'm amazed at how tough Tris is. Not only that, but there are simulations in this world that show you your inner thoughts--in this case, your fears. Tris is almost immune to these because she's Divergent, and it's awesome to watch. Then there's the romance--Four/Tobias is a great romantic lead because he's not stereotypical, which fits Tris. Anyway, no spoilers, but let's just say there's a sort of coup for power, and things go terribly wrong. As Tris fights through Insurgent, different things are revealed until the shocking final conclusion. And it's great, and original, and I love it.
Now that I've finished the private writer's conference, which went well and is now in preparation for next year, I'm getting ready for Write On Con, which will be right before I leave for college. I've also found one more online writing conference to go to! (Editor's Note on 20 October 2012: I would not recommend the new conference after having attended.)
Today, I'm writing about music! Music is very important to me, almost (but not quite) as important as writing. It makes since given that I'm both a singer and a cellist and will be starting out at college as a music minor.
So today, I'm writing about movie soundtracks that I enjoy--by which I mean the scores. Once upon a time, "soundtrack" and "score" were synonymous words. 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 (check out "Come Away to the Water" from The Hunger Games soundtrack for example, or "Breath of Life" from Snow White and the Huntsman.) But mostly, I love the scores, all the background orchestral music that plays in the movie. This is because of a mix of my orch 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):
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Desplat is pretty much my all time favorite score composer. He composed works for movies including 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-centric 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 intense and emotional. Sometimes I cry listening to it. Of course, that could also be because of my Harry Potter obsession....
Some of Desplat's best tracks are "You're Alive" from Twilight, "Obliviate" and "The Elder Wand" from HPDH1, and "Lily's Theme" and "Courtyard Apocalypse" from HPDH2. Actually, most of HPDH2 is really good. Take a listen!
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