Friday, May 29, 2015

Is Game of Thrones an Elemental Fantasy?

For about two years, I have been playing with a story idea revolving around elemental magic. After reading Limyaael's Rant on Elemental Magic, I began to doubt myself.

Yeah, yeah, I know she is just a person, and the things she says are just her ideas. She is clearly well-versed in reading fantasy, however, and I take her opinions as representations of how other well-read fantasy fans feel about the topic. Besides, I don't exactly have a writing community with which to share my doubts and concerns, so her article left me with a lot of unanswered questions about my own writing.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Too Racy to Read: Censorship on the Grounds of "Adult Content"

Book banning is probably one of the most ludicrous things anyone could ever do. A lot of school officials, parents, and community leaders site "political incorrectness" and "adult content" as reasons for prohibiting students from accessing certain books, like this school in Texas.

Below is a chart citing some of the various reasons books have been challenged in the United States.

Let's take a look at some of those books that were too racy to read because of their "adult content."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

5 Dystopian Films to Binge Watch (Plus 3 Dystopian Films Marketed for Teens)

I have always loved dystopian stories, but I have been focusing recently on the process behind writing such stories. Time and again, I have turned to several dystopian films to get a feel for the nuances of the subgenre and how I can utilize such elements in my own writing.

Here are five dystopian movies I strongly suggest you watch if you are interested in a) indulging in awesomeness, and b) learning more about what dystopias actually are:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Purdue Owl, College and 7-12

I had a great high school English teacher, but even in school I knew she was spread too thin to impart all of her writing and literary knowledge (she was the only English teacher for 7th-12th grade).

I got to college, and I found out there was a lot about writing and comprehending literature that I did not know. My writing improved (mostly because of stern Comp teachers and harsh/critical peers), and I got hired on at my university's Writing Center. It was at the SAU Writing Center that I found out about an amazing website, one to which I referred frequently clients and still use myself.

Monday, May 25, 2015

There IS a Way to Save that Lost Word Document!

A friend sent this to me via Tumblr>Imgur>email:

If only I had known this in college . . . so many tears could have been saved! So many papers not completely/partly re-written!

This is a game changer for me, but is this "new news" to anyone else?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Miniature Literature Book Giveaway!

It is that time again! BookieBlogs is giving away four Miniature Literature books!

Great as an addition to your personal collection or as a gift to a friend, these four compact, pocketsize collections feature synopses, character profiles, and illustrations of some of the world's best classics, complete with letterpress covers.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Limyaael's Fantasy Rants

I came across Limyaael's blog a couple of months ago, and I find her work absolutely fascinating. Rumored to have been a PhD student in the early 2000s, she has written over 440 "rants" on reading and writing fiction, particularly fantasy.

Her rants are entertaining, easy to read, and one of the places I turn when I am trying to expand my knowledge of fiction writing. Click on the links below to read some of her work.

A complete archive of Limyaael's rants can be accessed at Curiosity Quills Press.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Game of Thrones: The Musical

So this is a thing . . .

Game of Thrones cast members are teaming up with the band Coldplay to make a musical, all to encourage fundraising for Red Nose Day.

The purpose of Red Nose Day is to raise money to fight youth poverty.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

9 Phrases to Avoid During an Argument

"You mean you can actually think?!"

Nothing really detracts from your argument or opinion more than the following nine phrases:
  1. "I believe"
  2. "I think"
  3. "I feel"
  4. "To me"
  5. "To my understanding"
  6. "It seems to me"
  7. "I kind of think"
  8. "I personally feel"
  9. "My interpretation of this (play, poem, story, song, etc.)"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: A Feminist's Perspective

Every once in a while, a book comes along that puts society at polar ends of the agreement spectrum. E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey is a book that does just that.

Many people view Fifty Shades as a pariahitical text -- it doesn't represent the BDSM culture faithfully, it is poorly written, it is demeaning to women and goes against the foundations of feminism -- and the good writers at the New York Post and Huffington Post could tell you all about how horrible the book is for feminism.  But is it really? Despite opinions to the contrary, Fifty Shades of Grey could easily be viewed as a feminist text.

What bullshit is this?! Hear me out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Raping of Sansa Stark (TRIGGER WARNING)

Screen shot from Episode 6.
Image: HBO

Getting away from how blatantly obvious the differences between the books and show are (GRRM even comments on such differences here), episode 6 thankfully had some substantial plot movement: Arya has finally earned her first face, Jorah and Tyrion have been picked up by slavers, Bronn and Jaime's rescue of Myrcella was botched, and Queen Margaery has been arrested by the Faith Militant. One of the most notable plot advances, however, was Sansa's marriage to Ramsay Bolton.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Illustrating Utopias/Dystopias

As a next step in our discussions on dystopia, students illustrated their own utopias and accompanying dystopias. Students had to present and defend their utopias/dystopias to their peers.

The entire day was an interesting exercise in world creation. Each student thought his/her ideas were really strong, but once their classmates started asking questions, students realized the importance of thinking about a world/story from multiple angles. Students had good ideas, but almost all students were lacking extended understanding about those ideas.

Thinking about the many ways in which our worlds function and how our utopias can be dystopias to others is a primary part of creating a strong, believable world.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My First SciFi Story: A Success!

"Orion, battle spaceship" by Cronus Caelestis

So excited! I have always loved reading fantasy and science fiction, but I typically lean toward writing fantasy or realist fiction. When Southern Arkansas University hosted its annual Writing Contest, I decided I would write a scifi short fiction piece.

I had been reading Orson Scott Card's Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction, and had been inspired by the idea of generational ships and space/time travel. The resulting story, "Last Hope," won first place in the fiction category and will be published in Emergence, SAU's student literary publication!

I have placed in the SAU writing contest before, but never first place in fiction. It was a great moment for me, especially because "Last Hope" is my first real scifi story. I am getting more serious about my writing, and feel amazing that my first shot at scifi was successful.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dystopian Fiction: 7th/8th Grade Fiction Project/Seniors' Final Project

After reading Jonathon Swift's "A Modest Proposal" with my seniors, I decided it would be a great idea to make their final project revolve around dystopia.

In fact, I liked the idea so much that I extended the lesson over to my 7th and 8th Grade classes as well. That is the beauty of dystopia: the central ideas of the genre can be understood by people of all ages.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What Are the Stone Men? and Other Crazy Plot Changes in AGOT (SPOILERS)

I view film adaptations of books as creative works in their own right, separate from the books that inspired their creations. However, Game of Thrones Season 5 is deviating way too far from the books, especially Episode 5.

5.v Promo

To start with, nothing has been said thus far about Griff and Young Griff (who is actually Aegon Targaryen, Rhaegar's son). In the books, Griff and Aegon are the ones bringing Tyrion to Volantis/Meereen (at first), not Jorah; this set-up introduces the reader to Griff and Aegon while explaining how Tyrion is traveling to Volantis from Illyrio Mopatis's residence in Pentos.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Near Enemy Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Billie Kasper, the winner of the Near Enemy giveaway*!

Thank you to everyone who entered  :)
Keep a lookout for up-and-coming BookieBlog giveaways!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Poetry Unit, Day 5: Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop

The day after PARCC testing, we sat down and workshopped students' poems.

Just as we went over protocol for poetry readings, we discussed proper workshop etiquette. Our basic rules for workshopping poems are:
  1. No empty praise or criticism ("This is awesome!" or "This poem sucks.")
  2. All comments should be specific and constructive (exp: "I like this poem because . . . " or "I would have liked this poem more if . . .")
  3. Take your role as a peer-reader seriously (don't make jokes or poke fun at people)
Folded in our discussion of workshop etiquette was a discussion on being helpful vs. being hurtful. It took a little bit for students to understand how "I love this poem!" is hurtful and "I don't like this poem because . . . " is helpful, but they got the gist after a while.