I've been meaning to make an announcement for a while, and since it's time to pick a new word, I figured I would kill two birds with one stone.
PART 1: Recap of "2015: Write" (no special order)
Sorry this review is SO late. A lot has been happening in my life, but since Into The Woods is being released on iTunes today, I thought it was about time to post my thoughts on the movie adaptation of my favorite Sondheim musical. You can also get a filmed version of the original Broadway production on iTunes.
You may remember a while back I posted about "evil" characters and how evil isn't born, but made. Given it was tied to the OUAT finale, I think it's a good "companion" post of sorts since Into The Woods is an amalgam of multiple fairytales with the new storyline of the baker and his wife. While I would never call The Witch in this musical evil, she definitely does some not so nice things. But, as Meryl Streep sings in "Last Midnight," she says: "I'm the hitch, I'm what no one believes, I'm the witch!" Basically, she's the jaded-mostly cynical (but annoyingly realistic) force in life that pushes people to action and makes them deal with the consequences. The last song of the musical says, "Wishes come true, not free," which I think perfectly encapsulates the show.
So! My actual review: I loved it. I cried, laughed, and everything in between while watching this star-studded cast belt out some of my favorite musical theater numbers in awesome costumes (designed by the legendary Colleen Atwood) while being directed by the best (in my opinion) musical-to-movie director, Rob Marshall. If you're not a fan of the same-old girl waits for a prince trope, but still want to experience some of the "classics," this movie is for you.
On a random note, I got super excited when I saw the movie alluding to the original Broadway poster.
Also, enjoy this cool GIF of Meryl Streep as The Witch:
2015 has just started. Okay, that was yesterday, but close enough. The point is, barely 24 hours after making a vow to focus on my writing this year, I had a burst of inspiration to continue writing the first book in the Fearful Fairytales series, Glowing Embers.
My new team of beta readers have been REALLY into this story, and that just warms my somewhat insecure author heart. Basically, it's the best thing an author can have—besides actual good reviews and sales. Below are some of the comments by my zealous alphas.
Last year, I joined my friend in joining OneWord365, where you choose 1 word to epitomize your new year goals instead of a list of New Year's Resolutions. I liked it a lot because it was simple and convenient. My 2014 word was BRAVE. You can read why I chose that word.
This year, my word is WRITE because I will be doing a lot more of that this year. I'm taking a creative writing class for my English credit this semester, I will continue working on finishing and publishing the 2nd and 3rd books of The Belgrave Legacy and writing the first few books in the Fearful Fairytales series. I'm currently writing Glowing Embers.
So, that's it! Are you joining the movement? If so, comment what word tribe you're in.
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated ~ Mark Twain
While the above quote is true, last week, I had such a bad migraine (that still hasn't gone away), that I was unable to do anything and may as well have been 6 feet under. I am starting to get better (not really, but I'm back in school now) and am trying not to be crushed by the amount of homework, college applications, and internship responsibilities all while trying to stick with the Go Teen Writers 4th 100 for 100 challenge (see blog sidebar).
Anyway, an update on Book 2: After finishing the 7th draft (5 rewrites and 2 revisions) I handed Tears of an Angel off to my editor and am still waiting to work more on that. In the meantime, I have started working on Book 3: The Witch's War (book 3 in The Belgrave Legacy).
While I was stuck in my many headache and medicine-induced rests, I kept dreaming scenes for some of my Fearful Fairytale novels too, but was unable to write most of them down because focusing on anything for more than 5 seconds hurt.
So, that sounds like a lot of bad news, right?
Well, it is. Kind of. All that time bedridden gave my imagination free reign and once I have lots of time to write after college applications are done, I'll be on fire and will hopefully be more productive than I have been in the past few months.
That's it for now. Will check in soon. While you're waiting, check out the My Novels page and see what my crazy brain is cooking up.
Some of you may remember my OUAT Sunday Soup where I talked about the importance (and my obsession) with complicated, layered villains. If not, read it after you finish this post.
Anyway, "I must say, I felt quite" elated to hear about this movie. I mean, come on, it's Angelina Jolie playing the "Mistress of All Evil" and mother of Disney Villains. Like the star, I never identified with Aurora. She sleeps for more than half the film and has fewer words (sung and spoken) than Maleficent according to this awesome post about why the character Maleficent is amazing. (search "words" and read the paragraph in this article).
I loved this movie. It was a visual spectacle, Angelina's performance blew me away, and the plot was moving (albeit different from the animated Disney film). In all actuality, Maleficent was more along the lines of the original Sleeping Beauty tales (minus the princess becoming impregnated in her sleep—Disney does have a reputation to keep) where the "Evil Fairy" has agency (which back then was considered bad). You can read a whole history lesson on that.
One of my favorite YouTube reviewers, Grace of Beyond the Trailer, said that this was another example of Linda Woolverton's feminist agenda... I don't necessarily agree. Strong women do not necessarily equate to feminism in the sense of an angry woman protesting all the sins of men (although there certainly is that aspect in the movie).
As a PG film, even the darkest elements of this film remained brief. I do agree with Grace in her wish that we got to see the iconic villain we loved from the animated film. Again, the audience is treated to some episodes of her reveling in the terror she causes, but not as much as I would have liked. Which goes back to the film's relation to its Disney source material.
The marketing team portrayed this film as the classic told from Maleficent's perspective. And while it is her story, it is not merely a flip-side account of the animated tale where Maleficent curses Aurora, Aurora goes to live in a cottage, meets a prince, falls asleep, prince fights & kills dragon. The two really only overlap as far as the curse, Aurora's life in the cottage, and meeting Prince Phillip in the woods. People who were expecting a Disney-fied Wicked (where the reputation of the Wicked Witch is false, but the events still seemingly happen) will be somewhat disappointed. I can't blame them for that. But, if you take it as an adaptation, not a "retelling" as they kept saying in all the promos and interviews, then one will thoroughly enjoy this new Disney masterpiece.
Who doesn't like reading series? You get to stay with your beloved characters for multiple books instead of just one. And series also usually mean film adaptations, allowing you to stay immersed in the fictional world for longer than usual.
Writing a series is arguably harder than writing a standalone novel because the author has to maintain continuity over a larger number of pages and come up with a compelling plot that can withstand the length of the series while also thinking of the individual plots for each book. A lot of things can go wrong if one isn't careful in the planning stage.
Miss Literati, a writing website, offers great advice on this topic.
Go Teen Writers: How to Write a Sequel
Susan Dennard: Planning a Series
I've bookmarked all these pages and plan to visit them regularly as I write The Belgrave Legacy trilogy. And although I am planning to do a fairytale-retelling series (Fearful Fairytales), which is full of stand-alone books (not really addressed in these articles), and the Kingpin Killers series.
Which one of my series are you most excited for? Comment below and you could win an eBook copy of The Belgrave Daughter.
For those who have been regularly checking up on My Novels, you may be wondering what I'm actually working on next because of many scattered word count meters for the ever-growing number of story ideas.
For those who have read my debut novel, The Belgrave Daughter, and are waiting for the sequel, Tears of an Angel (especially after that cliffhanger, sorry about that—well, not really), don't worry. I haven't abandoned The Belgrave Legacy for one of my other series (Fearful Fairytales or Kingpin Killers). I am waiting for my editor to finish with the second book in The Belgrave Legacy, but am staying busy with school Finals and drafting the final novel in the trilogy, The Witch's War.
The reason for the stray word meters, if anyone is wondering, is because I needed to write new stories for my Creative Writing class this year, and working on already planned stories seemed a good way to kill 2 birds with one stone. In the future, I do intend to stay within a series and write linearly, but there still may be some jumping around if I ever get stuck.
Hope you all understand. Please be patient with me. I promise it'll be worth your while. In the mean time, why don't you continue exploring my website and maybe buy a copy of my debut novel?
Every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain. ~ Jim Moriarty (BBC Sherlock)
In recent years, entertainment has taken a particular interest in delving deeper into the back stories of infamous fictional villains. Wicked (book or musical), Once Upon a Time (OUAT), and the upcoming film Maleficent are just a few examples among many.
What draws us to bad-boys, evil queens, and other baddies? It's certainly not their stellar morals or victory stories (except maybe the first because they seem to get the girl in a lot of romance novels). It's their pasts. What led them to become evil/wicked/whatever-you-call-it.
Evil has a beginning. ~Maleficent tag line
As you know, in addition to my Belgrave Legacy, I also am writing a series of stand-alone novels that are fairytale retellings with a twist: there's no magic. I already have four planned: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, and Swan Lake (read more here), and I was recently inspired to add a 5th one based on The Little Mermaid. The problem is that I don't have a title for it!
Here is the synopsis:
Tired of pining for her crush Ethan Dawson, Ava Trevino enlists the popular girl Jessica Vega to help transform her into someone he'll notice. But appearances aren't everything.
Comment a title idea below (must be at least one original aka not commented by someone else), and you could win a copy of The Belgrave Daughter by entering the Giveaway (below).
BONUS: If I end up choosing your title (which by entering, you give me permission to use no questions asked), you will be mentioned in the Acknowledgements when the book comes out.
Tears of an Angel Status Update
School has been really crazy for about the past month, and I won't get a reprieve in the foreseeable future, either. I am not abandoning the prospect of working on the second Belgrave Legacy novel, but it is unlikely I will get to work on it before another month passes. Hopefully by then, things will slow down enough that I can catch up, finish the draft, and start editing for publication (most likely Winter 2014 or as late as Spring 2015).
All opinions featured on this blog are mine unless otherwise marked as a sponsored or guest post. All book links are affiliate links.
I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,