Tag Archives: The Great Gatsby

Reading Tips

14 Aug

Announcements:

Honya’s Bookshelf reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, “I was gripped and impressed by how intense it is, not just in terms of action but also in emotional impact. This story deals with a number of difficult, even controversial, topics in a thoughtful way, while still leaving the conclusions up to the reader. The characters are vivid and thoroughly developed–I love the attention to detail that is placed into each of them.” Read more details by reading her full review here or checking out the YA, dystopian novel here. 

The Bibliophilic Book Blog reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, “The descriptions of the powers of both the shades and the light were enthralling and beautiful. I enjoyed Minutes Before Sunset, but I was saddened by the ending. Perhaps there is more to the prophecy than meets the eye!” Read the entire review here to find out if Jessica and Eric can bear to discover their truths or…you know…check out the book by clicking here. :]

Reading Tips:

Is there such a thing? Probably not. But that doesn’t stop me from writing about it. As an avid reader myself, there is an endless TBR pile sitting on my bookshelf, my nightstand, my desk, and…pretty much everywhere, really. But that doesn’t stop me from adding to it for various reasons, and many of those reasons include the top three lessons I learned, which I’ve turned into “tips” for today’s post. Enjoy!

1. Keep an Open Mind

This means picking up that book your friend INSISTED you read, even though it sounds horribly dry and lacking in the entertainment department. If I hadn’t taken suggestions, I would’ve never found The Mortal Instruments (still one of my favorite YA fantasies despite the major movie fail) or The Art of Racing in the Rain (yes, a book told from a racer’s dog is serious…and you will cry. Trust me.)

2. Try something new

Instead of walking to the same bookshelves in the same bookstore you go to every Friday night and Wednesday afternoon, try a new shelf. Walk without reading the genre titles. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, force yourself not to even look at the book covers. Just walk until you stop. Try not to run into anyone. And find a book in a section you would’ve never tried before. Who knows? You might find out you like poetry, too.

3. Try something old

Remember how much you hated The Great Gatsby in high school? It might not hurt to try reading it again. You might hate it again. I did. (I know. I know. The horror!) But I did end up loving other books, particularly The Scarlet Letter, and it never hurts to re-read 1984.

Silhouette from bookforfun.com

Silhouette from bookforfun.com

And finally: Just Read

The more you read, the more you’ll want to read, and the more you’ll realize that it is IMPOSSIBLE to read everything (a true tragedy.) But you will find literature you love, stories you hate, and words that string together so beautifully you felt like you just stared at a painting instead of black and white text.

Do you have any reading lessons or tips for book lovers? Add them to the comments below!

~SAT

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Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous”

25 Apr

Two announcements before we begin:

An exclusive excerpt from Seconds Before Sunrise can be read on Making My Mark as well as a review. “The first book, Minutes before Sunset was a great hook to the series and I couldn’t wait for the second book to be released.” Read the rest of the review and excerpt by clicking here. You can also check out Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise.

Speaking of my novels, I asked you all on my Facebook page if you wanted me to have a progress bar for my future projects. Since you said yes, I have added a progress bar which you can see on the right side of my website. (And below this paragraph.) I’ll update it every two weeks. Once “TMT” is turned into my final editor, I will release more information on the name and what it is about. “Death Before Daylight” will be released after TMT, so the order shows the order of the releases.

mynext

It will make you laugh. It will make you nod. And it might even push some of your writer pet peeves – which is exactly why you should take 93 minutes out of your day to watch it.

“Authors Anonymous” is a mockumentary about aspiring writers.

Before I explain in detail (without spoilers, believe it or not. Never mind, I’m using spoilers, but they aren’t awful) about why I think you should watch it, here is the synopsis and trailer from IMDB:

“When a dysfunctional group of unpublished writers accept Hannah into their fold, the last thing they expect is her overnight success. Can these lovable misfits achieve their artistic dreams and avoid killing one another in the process?”

Yes. That is the girl from The Big Bang Theory. Her name is Kaley Cuoco, and she does a good job.

If you think this movie is going to be a serious, deep discussion of a writer’s life, this isn’t for you. This movie is for the writer who just wants to laugh at all the ridiculousness that happens in this writing world. I am one of those writers. I even giggled in delight at the things that normally make my blood pressure rise.

Being able to laugh at myself is how I stay sane (to the best of my ability anyway.) Being able to laugh at this is how I remind myself that we are – in fact – in this together. Even then, the film is simple, light-hearted, and not to be taken too seriously, but…

“Authors Anonymous” tackles a lot of clichés, stereotypes, and exceptions in the publishing world, which is why it’s so fantastic. In fact, I AM some of these clichés, and I think it’s okay to be some of these stereotypical writers. The sad part is when writers try to hurt one another. The good part is that we can be honest about these things, and we can laugh, knowing that we’ve faced many of these issues together. 

Here are just some of my favorites:

Writer Groups:

We hear about them. We attend them. We love them. Then, we hate them. (In private, of course – and not all of the time. Only when we have been judged too harshly or someone else’s work was too perfect. And we only tell our “non-writer” friends how we secretly feel about this confliction.)

It’s a cliché we all know.

Writers help other writers until one writer gets too good. Then, shit jealousy hits the fan, and no one knows who “deserves” to be published more. It’s all a game of luck anyway…wait, did we seriously just say that out loud?

Note: I love you Kansas City Writers Meetup Group

“Who is your favorite writer?”

If you’re a writer, you’ve definitely been asked this. It’s one of those top five questions you find yourself explaining over and over because you answered it once and you’re too afraid a dedicated reader will see you contradict yourself in a new interview. So you have this script, and you are now forced to keep for LIFE. Unless you get a new pen name and start all over.

Note: Why do we ask questions like this? I can’t fathom having a single favorite of anything, let alone a favorite of something I’m incredibly passionate and borderline obsessed with. Please don’t make me pick my favorite color (merlot) or my favorite drink (merlot.)

The I-never-actually-write writer

“I’ll write a book one day.” “I have a great idea.” “I’ve started something that is going to be a best-seller, but I’m just stuck for now.” “I know what you should write.” Need I explain any further?

Note: I’ll fill in this note later.

Storyboards and other writing methods:

The great part of this movie is how they never come out and say everything. In a couple of scenes, you see one author’s storyboard in the background. It’s little things like that where I found myself laughing (for no apparent reason to my friend in the room who isn’t a writer.) There was also this fantastic moment I wish I could share but it would be too big of a spoiler, but I will say this: there is a limit to “researching” for a novel. I think we’ve all heard of a writer who’s taken research a little too far.

Note: “I may have a restraining order, but it happened when I was doing research” is not a line someone wants to hear from you on a first, second, or thirty-fifth date.

Traditionally published vs. Self-published

I am published. You are published. She is published. We’re all published! Why does there have to be a label in front of “published”? This movie had no fear in exposing that writers are often the worst offenders of this – and sometimes at the expense of their own friends.

Note: This is where I shamelessly link to one of my previous posts about this topic because I just want this publishing world to be a better place: Why Are Authors “Hating” On One Another?

The Awful Author Mills

So, wait. You’ll publish my book, but it’s going to cost me $6,000 and the name of my first born? Oh, you mean my character’s first born…Well…okay. If that’s my only option…It isn’t? You’ll do it for free? But I won’t see any of the earnings or marketing or anything? I…Uh…Okay. That’s better than the first deal. I’ll take it.

Note: We’re sorry. You own no rights now. Ever. And this phone service has been disconnected or is no longer in service.

Sitting in a café, park, etc. sipping on coffee while writing:

There’s a scene where this author is showing her “peaceful” garden that she writes in. At first, it’s this beautiful little couch with a desk, photos, and flowers. And then she puts in ear buds to block out the construction less than one foot away from her. Sitting in public isn’t for everyone. Neither is sitting at home.

Note: I am guilty of this. I totally sit in public when I write, and Instagram is filled with my coffee photos. No shame.

Tom Clancy

That is all.

The showcasing of a successful writer who isn’t “well-read.”

This was my favorite part. I loved this. The writer who is deemed the most successful person in the group doesn’t even know what The Great Gatsby is. I only thought this was funny because – let’s be honest – there is a constant pressure on authors to have not only read all of the classics but to have also read everything that’s ever been released. (Which is ridiculous.)

It’s great to be able to read, and I think we would all agree when I say we wish we had more time to read. But it’s okay to tell people you haven’t read that novel everyone else has read, even though it’s popular, sitting on your bookshelf, or even the best author in the genre you write in. It’s also okay to say you do or do not like something.

Note: “Best” is subjective anyway.

Note 2: I dislike The Great Gatsby novel, mainly because Nick’s narration was as annoying to me as Toby Maguire was in Spider-Man 3. On the other hand, I loved Kristen Stewart as Marylou in On the Road, a movie adaptation of one of my favorite Kerorac novels. This seems to blow everyone’s minds. We are all allowed to say how we feel, aren’t we?

Note 3: No. No, we are not.

Note 4: Did I just participate in the whole “well-read” cliche without realizing it?

Note 5: Yes. Yes, I did.

In the end, this isn’t about a movie. I’m not reviewing a film. I am sharing a movie that reviews some of the very cliché moments that happen in our publishing world every day. But the movie itself is amateur…Wait. No. No, it’s not. It’s absolutely amazing – but again, don’t expect something deep. It’s simply a good story to sit back, relax, and have a good laugh at when you think, “Been there. Done that.” We authors aren’t alone. We’re sitting in parks and coffee shops filled with one another. (Just kidding.)

We’re in this writing adventure together, and we should support one another as we venture along. The publishing world will continue to change, but we can handle any challenge in the future. In fact, we may even have a good laugh as we overcome it.

~SAT

The Oscars: Who I Want to Win This Year

2 Mar

Before you indulge in the Oscars like I did, I hope you’ll take the time to read my latest interview. When Jera’s Jamboree asked me where I get inspiration for my novels, I wasn’t sure what I would say, but I am glad she asked. Yes, at 22, I still have night terrors as well as nightmares that are difficult to differentiate from reality, but I also tackled social barriers in this interview. Please read it by clicking here

Last year, I confessed that my favorite awards show is the Oscars, and I shared who I wanted to win. This year, I am doing the same thing, and I would love to hear who you are rooting for! The ones I completely bolded are the  ones I feel the strongest about.

Best Picture: I predict that 12 Years a Slave will win, but I personally loved American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street so much that I cannot chose between them.

walfhustle

Actor in Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street. Not only does he already deserve an Oscar, he did an amazing job in this movie. His range was unbelievable. 

Actress in Leading Role: Amy Adams in American Hustle. Although I truly enjoyed Meryl Streep’s performance in August: Osage County, I feel like Adams rocked this role beyond any expectations people had for her.

Actor in Supporting Role: Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street. I thought he showed serious skill in this roll since he normally does comedies.

Actress in Supporting Role: Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle. That being said, I found Lupita Nyong’o was really talented in 12 Years a Slave. I thought she played a very difficult role very well. It’s just extremely difficult to look at two, very different roles.

Animated Feature Film: Frozen. I don’t even feel like it needs an explanation. If you haven’t imagesalready seen this movie, go watch it now. It’s beautiful.

Cinematography: Gravity – which I feel like went (sadly) unnoticed.

Costume Design: The Great Gatsby. I think everyone remembers those costumes. They were beautifully done.

Directing: Gravity – again, I feel like it deserves attention.

Film Editing: Gravity – I saw some of the behind the scenes, and it’s absolutely amazing how much which into this movie.

Makeup and HairstylingThe Lone Ranger – Honestly, I didn’t see the other two (Dallas Buyers Club and Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa) but I still think the makeup was pretty neat in this remake, and I liked that Tonto finally got to say something.

Music: Although it’s difficult to remember the soundtracks of these films, I recall Gravity the most.

Music “Original Song” – Let It Go from Frozen. It’s safe to say this song went viral for a reason.

Production Design: The Great Gatsby – the scenes were like the clothes, carefully constructed and lively.

Visual Effects: Gravity. The trailer alone blew me away.

Writing: Adapted Screenplay: Philomena: I don’t know what will win this category, but Philomena’s story is so sad and also very true for many women. I feel like it is a very important movie that many overlooked.

Writing: Original Screenplay: American Hustle or Her: I would just say American Hustle, but I also think Her has some relevance in the world today. I just watched a documentary about Japanese men dating their cell phones instead of their wives.

Topics I’m not voting on (because I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of the movies.)

oscars-2013-3Foreign Language Film

Documentary Feature

Documentary Short Subject

Short Film Animated

Short Film Live Action

Topics I’m not voting on (because I don’t know that much about it):

Sound Editing

Sound Mixing

What do you think? Who are you cheering on tonight? 

~SAT

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