Frustrated Rants of a Victim of Self Publishing

frustratedrants

Perhaps I should clarify: this is not about self-publishing per se. And it is not intended to bash any author or any book. This is more about what I call republishing: the power that self-published authors have to tweak or rewrite their own books after “publication” (especially e-books); how this power impacts readers, and whether this is good or not.

I don’t have answers. This is just a rant about some problems I have seen or experienced. Proceed at your own risk. Thank you.


“Publishing” doesn’t seem to have the same meaning anymore. A published book used to be fairly final. Maybe there would be some typos fixed in later printings, or perhaps a second edition or whatever. But it was more of a complicated process, involving lots of people, and therefore used somewhat sparingly.

With self-publishing, particularly with e-books, the author can change the book any time they want, and in any way. Which makes it easier for fixing typos, of course (huzzah!).

But what about more than that?

It seems to this reader that many self-published books this reader has run into, were published by a youngish author (not even necessarily young; maybe just less experienced) awhile ago… and even could have been a very good book… and then the author decides they’ve improved as a writer and decide to majorly tweak or rewrite said “published” book.

This is what I call republishing, and I am a victim of it.

I’m not naming names or titles. There’s doubtless always a reason for such things being done, and often I even agree with them. This is not for any person(s) or book(s) in particular. I’m not bashing anyone! Anyone who may have done this… I still love them. This is just an accumulation in my mind that requires this reader to rant.

So rant I shall.

What if you’ve bought the old version…

…and haven’t read it?

If I’ve bought a book and haven’t read it yet, and then hear it’s being rewritten, or has been, since I bought it… well, that makes me not want to read the version I own. Why should I bother? It’s an old version. It’s no longer current. It does make me feel rather depressed — I bought this book, but it’s no longer a “real” book so I’m not going to read it… or if I do, I’ll know it’s not “real” any longer. And if I’m not going to read this version, that I bought, why should I bother buying and reading the new version? It rather puts me off the whole idea, which is a sadness indeed. Especially when I really wanted to read that book!

If someone sends me a copy of their unpublished work-in-progress to beta-read, and I’m busy and don’t get around to it right away, and then they send me an updated version before I’ve read the first… am I going to read the first version or the new one? The new one, of course.

It’s like that, except that it’s unpublished and is expected to change.

A published book is supposed to be finished, right?

Right?

What if you’ve bought the old version

…and HAVE read it?

Oftentimes it seems that authors who do this republishing are very aware of what they’re doing, and very kindly put their republished book up for free for a time, so that buyers of the previous version (read, or unread) can have the new version and won’t be victims. This is very considerate of them, and I appreciate the sentiment. Maybe it works for most people.

I for one have never managed to make this work. Allegedly you can delete your version on your kindle or kindle app, and re-order the book from amazon, and it should be the new version. For me, that’s never worked. It always keeps the original version, no matter what I do. Again, this may just be me.

But, along that line…

What if it does work?

What if the e-book of the old version is whisked magically (scientifically; whatever) away into the nether-ness of deleted data, and replaced with a shiny, new, updated version just as the author wishes it to be.

What if you have the new version, but…

What if you liked the older version better?

This has happened to me. I’ve read books that the author has later rewritten or changed now that they’re a better writer… and I have infinitely preferred the previous version. Fortunately, the particular one I’m thinking about, the old was a physical copy, and the new version an e-book. So I could compare the changes, read both versions, and realize that I preferred the old… and still had it so I can still read that version. Happy day!

But. If I had preferred the old version, and it had been a replaced e-book (if it had worked), then the version I liked better would have been gone.

Forever.

Something about that idea makes this book-loving reader’s heart bleed and this reader’s word-devouring eyes cry.

(It also reminds me of, in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, how Mr. Norrell made all the copies of Mr. Strange’s book on magic disappear, because he didn’t like Strange’s take on things. Granted, that’s someone else getting rid of it, which is not quite the same as the author doing so. But still.)

True, it would be the version the author liked better.

But what of the reader?

Isn’t the reader important too?

Aren’t books for readers?

Who is right: the author, or the reader?

Well, I believe both are right. That’s why things get complicated. (This could easily trail off into a discussion of Tolkien and the Tree of Tales… but that’s a ginormous topic for another day.)

But if I read a book and love it and recommend it to everyone… and then the author changes it… how will I know if it’s still the book I recommended? What if it isn’t? How can I recommend it? What if I want to recommend the old version but it’s not available anymore?

As I said, when beta-reading an unpublished manuscript, you know it’s not the final product and will change. Sometimes I prefer an earlier version to the final one, personal reader preference versus author-decision; author has the final word, which is as it should be since it’s their story. But at least, then, I know it’s subject to change. It’s not finished. It’s not finalized. It’s not PUBLISHED.

Now, it seems that “published” doesn’t necessarily mean anything anymore.

Self-published books seem to just mean it’s available for people to read.

But it’s not safe. It could change at any time.

From a reader’s point of view, this is frightening.

From an author’s?

Well, from an author’s point of view, it’s wonderful. You (this is a generic “you”. It doesn’t mean you who are reading this or anyone in particular) can publish your book, people can read it, everything can be great… Then if you decide that you’ve grown as a writer and hate your old version or think it needs a lot of tweaking, if you’re self-published and especially with e-books, you can just go in and fix it — easy-peasy — and feel that all’s right with the world and whoever buys it from now on (and whoever successfully downloads the copy you put available for free for awhile) will have the new, the updated, the REAL version that’s the version you like.

. . . For now.

Until you decide to change it again.

Published doesn’t apparently mean “finished” anymore.

Am I judging anyone?

Heck no.

If I had anything published and — horror of horrors — found a typo, I’d go right in and change it.

If I had self-published my first finished novel back when I was thinking about publishing it, I’d be in the exact same boat as all these republishers. I look back at that fourteen-or-however-old-I-was writing and I cringe and am very glad that I was not prevailed upon (as the pressure was) to publish right away, back when I felt like it was “ready”. (Ha.) Otherwise I would be rushing right in to republish an updated, rewritten version. Probably multiple times. Especially since my first finished book is now in the middle of a series, and will require massive rewrites and perhaps a complete overhaul by the time I get the other books written.

Which brings us to another aspect of this discussion…

Continuity in series

I will admit that Tolkien himself ended up changing part of a chapter of The Hobbit, after its publication, before The Lord of the Rings was published. Without it, maybe The Lord of the Rings wouldn’t have made sense. *shrug* Or maybe it would. But it was a fairly big deal and he even went to lengths to make the change fit in within the story-world itself (i.e., the old version was the version Bilbo wrote in his book, since The Hobbit was his memoir, and it was different than what truly happened and was published later, because the Ring was already working on him and he didn’t want to tell the whole story about getting it, and Gollum, and everything).

How about the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. The first book, Redwall, was published almost without the author’s knowledge; he had just written it to amuse the blind children at the school he delivered milk to, and had no real plans to publish it, but somebody just basically did. Huzzah! Consequently, when he began to write more stories there were a lot of continuity errors between Redwall and the later (and earlier) books, and also between them as he was writing them. Did he go back and rewrite/edit them to fit together better? No, he did not. Do readers sometimes complain about this? Yes, they do. But I for one am glad of it (the not-changing; not the complainers). They may not make entire sense all together, but they’d be different if they did, and I like them how they are, and I’m much happier that he went on to write many other delightful Redwall adventures instead of mucking about trying to make the published ones all seamlessly fit together.

Authors are human. There are errors, especially in huge series. And that’s okay.

Also, I can’t let a discussion of republishing end without mentioning the republished versions of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys series. The original versions (Hardy Boys books started in 1927, Nancy Drew in 1930) were “modernized” in the ’50s and ’80s and also since then, and basically entirely rewritten AND PUBLISHED AGAIN UNDER THE SAME TITLES. What even is this nonsense.

Now, I positively loved the original Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys stories (though the Rick Brant books were my favorites of those kind of old series. SCOTTY. <3). They’re so much fun and just… yes. Awesome. But the newer ones, edited to be more “socially acceptable” or some rubbish, are ick. Like, the original characters were awesome and noble and heroic and fun. The old books are wonderful and the new ones are awful and TOTALLY different. And yet they’re hailed as the real versions these days because the old ones are old and rare and… the new ones are masquerading as the old ones and pretending to be the actual books but they’re NOT. This really bothers me…

So there is a case of a “real” publisher republishing things… It’s not just self-publishers, I know… But any version of this can be annoying is all I’m saying.

Also on that note… Abridged. JUST… NO. I do not like books being abridged! It feels just… so so wrong. -_-

My rant is trailing off down several rabbit trails, as rants are wont to do…

I can see the point of editing a book so that it will make sense with the later books in the series, or editing it because otherwise there can be no sequels at all because the story doesn’t fit.

But that doesn’t mean, as a reader, that I have to like it.

And maybe the first book should have waited to be published until the later ones were finished if continuity is that big of a concern.

Yes, I suppose it’s somewhat cool that anyone can publish their own book; freedom and all that.

I can see a certain benefit to being able to go back and redo a book one wrote as a teen, or even as a generally younger person who was not yet as advanced of a writer as one currently is.

But maybe one shouldn’t have published it yet if it wasn’t ready.

William Goldman said that The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (movie) were the only things he wrote that he can look back on without humiliation, because he dislikes his own writing. But he didn’t go back and try to fix them.

All writers grow as they continue writing.

And as long as their work(s) is unpublished, they should feel free to write and rewrite and tweak to their heart’s content. But it’s quite possible that once it’s published it should be finished and done with and largely unchanged, aside from minor things like typos (yes, my perfectionist self will make allowances for that) and, yes, there can be a second edition or maybe a tweaked this or that… Traditionally published books do seem to sometimes do things like that. But it’s purposefully slow and difficult.

Because published books are supposed to be basically finished.

That’s why they’re published and not still manuscripts.

Conclusion

Ignore this post or disagree with it or argue with it or hate it as you will.

I don’t have answers.

I’m not pretending to.

This is a rant of a confused victim of self-publishing and consequently republishing, who no longer knows what to think.

I’m torn because, as a writer myself, I see the author’s point of view, and I know if it came right down to it and I was published (fortunately, I am not) I would probably be doing the same thing, and be glad about it.

But as I said, I’m torn. Because as a reader, I want my books to be just that. Books. Not ever-changing manuscripts. I want BOOKS.

I may never be an author.

I’ve been a writer for a long time and hope to be for even longer, as long as I have stories to write down.

But I’ve always been and hopefully always will be a reader.

And with so many writers and self-publishers in the world today (this can be both good and bad; again, I don’t have answers) I feel like it’s time that a reader’s opinion is heard.

This reader had something to say, decided to embrace free speech, whether or not it was a good idea, and has now said it.

Do with it what ye will.

fin

#WritersLife Tag: NaNo Edition

I wasn’t specifically tagged for this, but writerly stuff is pressing on my mind what with NaNo coming in less than a month (EXCUSE ME? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??), and Cait did say to consider yourself tagged if you’re a writer, and she stole this herself, so… Yes. I’m just going to do this tag because I want to. 😉 So I’m stealing it from Cait @ Paper Fury and using it for my own purposes. *devious laughter*

I’m NaNo-theming this #WritersLife tag because NaNo is coming sooner than any of us are going to be ready for it.

writerslifetag
WRITE FUEL:

WHAT DO YOU EAT/DRINK WHILE WRITING?

I actually don’t usually, because food is messy around laptops (ask my character Baz about the properties of Devious Mustard…) and I’m not really a snacker… I will sometimes drink hot tea or something during NaNo while I’m writing because, let’s face it, November can be cold sometimes, and if I’m going to be writing for like three hours in a day, I might want to drink something warm.

WRITE SOUNDS:

WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE WRITING?

Generally instrumental music like soundtracks or Celtic music I have around… During NaNo it either has to be inspirational (i.e. sound gorgeous or epic) or it has to be REALLY fast for ideal typing speeds. I’ll listen to stuff with lyrics if I really like it and if it won’t distract me. I haven’t yet decided what my music of choice is going to be this NaNo, but last year when I was word-warring myself against a timer, I listened basically non-stop to this song which is stupendous for fast typing.

WRITE VICE:

WHAT’S YOUR MOST DEBILITATING DISTRACTION?

During NaNo, every. single. thing. that I can come up with. I’m a horrible procrastinator. But probably the internet. I know, that’s sooo surprising. But it only takes a minute to check email, the NaNo forums, Goodreads, etc., right? …Right? *hours later* “Oops, I should have been writing, now it’s bedtime.” #fail This year I’m going to have to set some serious rules about internet (even though I have super-good excuses like being an ML who should be keeping track of stuff. But I must write too!).

onedoesnotsimplywrite

WRITE HORROR:

WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE WRITING?

When I lose some writing because I was stupid and didn’t back it up. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened TOO often… During NaNo, it’s being behind and feeling completely and utterly stuck, writers-blocked, and despairing. That’s generic, though. The worst thing that HAS happened is probably my first year of NaNo, when the final day dawned and I still had 8k left to write, absolutely no plot figured out, and no inspiration. (I overcame it though! Nearly five years later, I’m still amazed I managed to write 8k of utterly pantsed NaNo novel that day.)

WRITE JOY:

WHAT’S THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED WHILE WRITING OR HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES?

The best thing is when you finish something. That never, ever gets old. But, during NaNo, it’s easily hitting the wordcount goal for the day and being super inspired/on a roll and ahead of schedule. Fabulous feelings! I don’t celebrate much, usually, other than being excited and maybe shouting it through the house or posting somewhere online to squeal about accomplishments. For big things, I might reward myself with some chocolate or reading a Diana Wynne Jones book or playing on Pinterest.

dianawynnejonesbook

WRITE CREW:

WHO DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH OR NOT COMMUNICATE WITH WHILE WRITING?

My sister gets the main load of writing complaints and excitements. My lovely braintwin/writing buddy Christine, too, gets a lot of that. And during NaNo, there’s a wealth of forum places on the NaNo site to celebrate and commiserate, especially with people in your age-range, or genre, or region. So some of that goes on.

WRITE SECRET:

WHAT’S YOUR WRITING SECRET TO SUCCESS OR HIDDEN FLAW?

Secret to success during NaNo is setting a timer and word-warring against it to really fast music. It works. I only survived last NaNo (on a road trip) because of that. Because, wonder of wonders, if you actually start writing and write for 5 or 10 or 15 minutes, at the end of that, you WILL have words. And that’s going to add up. Who knew, right?

Hidden flaw? I’m a procrastinator, a perfectionist, and I don’t actually sit down and START writing during NaNo. …Not that those are all that hidden. *cough*

WRITE-SPIRATION:

WHAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU PRODUCTIVE?

I want to repeat the above writing secret. NaNo wordwars, either with yourself or someone else, are super productive-inducing.

WRITE PEEVE:

WHAT’S ONE THING WRITERS DO (OR YOU DO) THAT’S ANNOYING?

It’s really annoying when I don’t write. Like, when I say I’m going to write and I don’t. Or anytime during NaNo when I SHOULD be writing and am not…

(Thanks, Mal. I needed that…)

WRITE WORDS:

SHARE ONE SENTENCE FROM A PROJECT, PAST OR PRESENT.

Well, since I haven’t started my NaNo yet (obviously) I can’t NaNo-theme this answer…

R&RA line from The Rose and the Raven, my current Sleeping Beauty retelling project:

Whatever it was, it wrapped around his heart—the feeling of an almost insubstantial web . . . the shadow of a black cloak, a whisper’s echo, a ripple in a midnight pool; an invisible spiderweb, greyed with ashes, clinging to him somewhere that he could not shake off.

I’m not tagging anyone, since I did after all “steal” this, but if you’d like to do it on your blog, feel free to take it as well, NaNo-themed or otherwise!

Ishness of a September Variety {2015}

It’s time for another foray into Ishness…

ChasingShadowsCoverBut first! A note…

Ashley Townsend is having an awesome giveaway running from this Sunday (Oct 4) to the 16th, to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Chasing Shadows having been released. So make sure to stop by her blog for the details! It’s going to be epic, there’s signed books and giftcards, and you’re not going want to miss it! #TeamHood, everyone! 🙂

And another note…

I was interviewed by Abi Pearson on her blog!

Go check it out, do! 🙂

ishness

I sort of blinked and then September was over. It was basically a whirlwind of me being busy and somehow not getting the things done I wanted to but still doing lots of stuff.

Highlights of the Month

Library Book Sale. I went to a library sale, where I got a stack of books and old videos. (Now I must just find more time…)

BookHome

My room will eventually look like this.

Vacationing. I was gone on vacation for a few days — road trips and English Country Dancing and kayaking, huzzah! (I’d never kayaked before. I found out that it’s tremendous fun.)

My first interviews! I was interviewed by Jenelle Schmidt on her website, as I mentioned way back when it happened, and also yesterday by Abi Pearson on her blog, as I said above. So exciting! I’d never been interviewed, and then it happens twice in one month. 🙂

I had my 2 year blogoversary!

That was exciting. I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for two years! Last month I also hit 10,000 hits, 2,000 comments (techinically half of the comments are probably me replying, since I always do that… But still. 😉 ), and over 220 followers. Thanks so much, everyone!! Readers and commenters are the absolute BEST thing about blogging! You make it worth it and are all awesome and make me happy. ❤

2 Years of Blogging! Happy Day!

Writing

August was a big writerly month for me… September, not so much. Life was so busy and hectic that I couldn’t really focus on writing much. Plus, I’d finished Darkling Reflections and hit a roadblock on The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2). So I wasn’t really working directly on anything…

…And then I randomly started writing The Rose and the Raven.

R&R

What happens . . .

. . . when both the princess and the prince who’s supposed to kiss her . . .

. . . fall asleep . . .

. . . half way across the country from each other?

I may have mentioned it a few times, but basically it’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and I haven’t decided yet if it might be a candidate for entering the Rooglewood Press contest or not. That would depend on a.) if I finish it, b.) if it’s short enough, c.) if I like it enough, and d.) if I actually have time to finish writing it before the deadline… which, considering the madness that is NaNo prep and NaNo, I actually rather doubt. Regardless, it’s an idea I’ve had for quite some time (parts of it… Other parts “clicked” a couple months ago) that I’ve really been wanting to write.

I’m going back and forth between being in love with it and thinking it’s stupid/loathing it with the loathing of a hundred seasons.

Sigh.

#Writerproblems

Anyways, I’m hoping it will be a novella and I wrote 3500 words of it in September and will be continuing if I can untangle myself from the writer’s block I seem to have run into at a million miles an hour (i.e., I’m kind of stuck).

But it has a number of twists that I’m very excited about, including the fact that the curse is kind of skewed differently than the fairy who cast it planned, and the thing in question to be pricked on is not actually a spindle. It also involves a prince and princess being adorable as they grow up together and (hopefully) fall in love (I wouldn’t know; I haven’t gotten that far…); forbidden love; a fairy and her evil twin; and lots and lots of outlawed roses.

Anyway, despite typical writer problems of loathing and writer’s block, I’m “enjoying” setting foot tentatively in The Rose and the Raven and getting to know Prince Derrick and Princess Brie (a.k.a. Brier-Rose, which is awkward considering roses were banned soon after she was born. So now she’s just Princess Brier, or Brie to her friends) and the fairy Ev (who some may remember from my Blogoversary post…).

I’ve also thrown myself into planning for NaNo. Not REAL NaNo planning, like actual plotting for the story I’m actally going to write (only a little of that so far). No. Nothing so extreme. That’s what October’s for, right? …Right? But rather pre-NaNo-prep prep, like schedules and to-do lists and lots and lots of scheming regarding my NaNo region involving what I plan to do as an ML (NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison).

nanostuff

(A glimpse at prepping for my ML life. Look at all that NaNo stuff! I didn’t even plan that picture, I was just doing stuff with all the NaNo things, and suddenly realized it was all spread out for a perfect photo opportunity. Ta-da!)

Read

I was mostly too busy to read… Insanity, right?

I did finish The Scarlet Pimpernel and really enjoyed it! Plus, the Scarlet Pimpernel himself was AWESOME, naturally, and not in this book enough. Fortunately, I hear there are sequels. *schemes to read several of the sequels because some are free on gutenberg.org and some are also at my library so mwahaha*

And because I was starving for books and hadn’t read in a few weeks, I randomly up and read a Diana Wynne Jones books I had around and (miraculously) hadn’t read yet — Power of Three. I LOVED IT SO MUCH OH MY GOODNESS. ❤ The twist. The characters. The world. The epicness. The humor (of course). Classic Diana Wynne Jones. It was stupendous!

Sept2015Books

And that’s it. Yup. I read 2 books this last month. That’s a new low for me this year. *dies a little inside because neeeeeeed booooooks*

Oh, and it doesn’t count as a “book” exactly, more of an essay, but I also just last night finished a delightful little book (can one call it a pamphlet if it’s an ebook…?) of 60-ish pages from 1908 called “How to Live on 24 Hours a Day” by Arnold Bennett. I heard about it I believe from some random NaNo pep-talk or news email or something… Chris Baty or some person with a high position at NaNo randomly mentioned it (wish I could remember where!) and linked to it being free on kindle or gutenberg.org, so I randomly downloaded it at the time and promptly didn’t read it for a year or so. I finally did. And I found to be fascinating, hilarious, well-written, with some good tips, and basically awesome. No, I don’t in fact know how to live on 24 hours a day now, but still, it has great ides and I’ll hopefully put some of it to use eventually. Regardless, it’s a splendid read (and short!) and I’m just amazed how brilliant and articulate and funny people from back then were — think the authors of Holmes and Bertie Wooster and Around the World in 80 Days. I’ve rarely if ever read non-fiction that was as hilarious but also useful as this little pamphlet. Lots of fun and also enlightening! I kept reading bits of it aloud for the wit and wisdom. 😀 (Find it on Goodreads too.)

I’m not doing a Nightstand Books/Upcoming Reads for this month, because while I do have a few ebooks I hope to read before NaNo, and a stack of other books that I would love to read the first chance I get, I really don’t know how much I’ll get to this month. For the record, I AM starving to read some books, so I hope I’ll get to do some of that this month. Because BOOOOKS. There’s at least one that I’m VERRRY much looking forward to reading, and you should see a review for it later this month if I can get through it on time… I can’t wait!

Watched

Well, since I wasn’t reading much, I had to get my story fix from somewhere. So I’ve been watching films and shows a little more than I usually do. Normally I’m not a big watcher, not because I’m against watching things or anything, I just normally have more books to read than things to see and I’d normally rather spend my time reading; but these happened this month:

moviesSept2015

  • Yes, I finally saw Mulan and The Lion King. I know, I know, everyone’s shocked I hadn’t before… They were fairly adorbz.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel from the ’30s was fun to see, just to see the story on screen (but honestly it got rid of most of the tension, and all of the ingenious stuff the Scarlet Pimpernel himself did at the end).
  • I’ll be honest: I only watched Little Women because of Christian Bale. I didn’t remember the story much except to know that I dislike it. *more heart attacks from the audience* Yeah, sorry; it seems it’s my fate in life to shock my blog readers beyond repair. (But the whole story is depressing; and you-know-who died which was NOT okay; and Laurie married the wrong girl. Just sayin’. I guess Jo maybe started the whole “just friends” thing… *cough*)
  • I’m also re-watching the Hunger Games movies before the new one (one down; one and a half to go…).
  • And re-watching some Sherlock. Because Sherlock.

Kanan

One of the best things I’ve seen this year is Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1). Asdflksjdflkjdf. It is just SO much fun!!! *flails around* I’m not the most enormous Star Wars fan in the world — I enjoy it a lot but I’m not obsessed. And I never really liked the Clone Wars animated show, what little I’ve seen of it. But the Rebels show, set about fifteen years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (and so a few years before Episode IV: A New Hope), is hilarious and fun and I just love the characters, especially Ezra (the hero) and Kanan. They are quite simply AWESOME. Just sayin’. And the rest are super cool and fun too Seriously, I’ve rarely come across such a wonderful dynamic crew of characters — I just love them all and their hilarious interactions. So much awesome and fun!!! It may be a little simple to some, but I just ENJOY it. Lots. Sometimes you just want to laugh, you know? It’s just so awesome. I can’t flail enough. ^_^ ❤

ezra

Ezra Bridger

And of course, I saw Beyond the Mask again, now that it’s on DVD! Love that movie!! ❤ Also one of the best things I’ve seen this year. SO. GOOD.

beyondthemaskDVDshelf

(I know, the camera flash masked his face even better than his mask does. Of course I did it on purpose…)

(This is also a good excuse to go: LOOK AT THE BEAUTIFUL BOOKS I NEED TO READ. Ahem.)

October Plans?

October is going to be insane for me. I have lots of catching up to do, lots of NaNo prep that must be done, a whole NaNo novel to plan, several writing events and things I need to go to, a lot of planning still to be done relating to my position as a NaNo ML, and I wouldn’t say no to finishing my Sleeping Beauty novella if I possibly could. Not to mention the daily insanity of every-day life.

I have a massive, exhaustive, comprehensive to-do list that is currently running at 5 pages, of stuff I would like to get done before November 1st brings with it the storm that is NaNoWriMo. …Yeah, probably not happening. *cough cough*

Oh, and I have some upcoming bookish posts and writerly posts (NaNo prep, huzzah!) so watch for that!

So. That’s my September. How was yours? Do you have October plans?

Liebsterish Encore and Versatile Blogger Award

Firstly, I want to say — WOW, I love all the discussion that came out of my last post on books! That was fantastic. Thanks for weighing in in the comments, y’all! You are all so awesome, with such great thoughts, and discussing books is the BEST. 😀

Secondly, if you haven’t heard, Beyond the Mask just released on DVD!!! *cue excited squealing* I just rewatched it and alksdjflksjdlkj IT’S SO FABULOUS I LOVE IT SO MUCH. ❤ If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, you simply MUST. It’s such a wonderful movie, so much fun, so well done, so epic…! Masked-man, humor, 1700s, right before the Revolutionary War, John Rhys-Davies, fabulous acting, awesome costumes and sets, HUMOR, action, a touch of sweet romance, a theme of redemption, lovable characters, sheer epicness… WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? It’s at bunches of Walmarts (at the moment), and, I hear, also Christian bookstores, and online. So go find it! Go go!

ISN’T IT SO PRETTY???

IMG_4325

Okay, now I got those important thoughts out of the way, onward to the actual post! It’s about time I caught up on some tags again… *rubs hands gleefully*

liebster-award-3

I was, once again, nominated for the Liebster Award, this time by Sara Letourneau — thank you, Sara!

I’ve done it before but thought it would be fun to answer the questions anyway.

Rules

Here are the rules, which I’m mostly ignoring today because I am lazy. 😉 But feel free to snag this tag for your own blog if you wish!

  1. Once you are nominated, make a post that thanks the person who nominated you and links back to their article.
  2. Include the Liebster Award sticker in your post.
  3. Nominate 7 to 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Answer the 10 questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
  5. Make 10 questions of your own for your nominees.
  6. Lastly, copy these rules in the post.
  7. All of the nominees are free to accept or reject the nomination.

Questions

1. Pick one of your favorite writers. What do you admire most about their work?

Diana Wynne Jones. And… everything? Her books are just so hilarious but also have wonderful story worlds, fabulous mind-blowing plot twists, and brilliant characters who I love; and they’re even deep books when you go to look beyond the surface. But… well, I guess, mostly the humor and the characters. I wish I could write like that. I just… love everything of hers I’ve read. ❤

2. Do you have any weaknesses or guilty pleasures when it comes to food? If so, what?

Well, chocolate? But I maintain that’s not a weakness — it’s necessary. 😉 I like sweets; I guess that’s a guilty pleasure, even if I don’t necessarily eat them often. Also anything noodley/Italian. YES. ❤

3. What was the most daring or adventurous thing you did as a child?

Ha! Haha. How about… nothing? I don’t think I’ve ever been a very adventurous person. I do remember once sleeping in a non-heated house on an extremely cold night, just to prove I could. That’s probably the most daring thing I can come up with, and it wasn’t very. 😛

4. If you could visit any city, country, or landmark in the world that you’ve haven’t been to yet, where would you go?

The British Isles! All of the scenery and history… Mostly Scotland and Ireland, but also Wales and Cornwall and Stonehenge and… Yes.

5. What is your favorite type of setting? In other words, do you prefer beaches, lakes, mountains, cities, forests, etc.?

Forests, hands-down! They are the most beautiful, and relaxing-feeling, but also mysterious and… I don’t know. They just feel the best and look the best and I love forests.

6. What literary trope are you most tired of reading about?

I think I’ve mentioned this before, and I’m not sure if it counts, but I’m sick of the tough-girls. They simply annoy me to no end.

7. On the flipside, what is one thing you’d like to see more of in published novels?

Heists and con-artists, please! There are not enough of these tales. But they are just so fun. I keep looking for more…

8. What birthday or holiday gift do you cherish most?

The latest was Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. I so enjoyed that book! *flailing and fangirling squeals* *huggles it*

9. If you could invent one thing (technology, household appliance, computer program or app, etc.) that currently doesn’t exist, what would it be?

Well, probably some sort of thing to manipulate time so that I wouldn’t always waste it (ha!) and so I’d have time to do all the things I want; or maybe something that automatically transfers my stories in my head, perfectly, into words on paper. Yes. I’d like that.

10. What’s your favorite kind of weather? Do you prefer rainy days over sun, snow over heat, etc.?

After such a hot summer, I’m thinking COOL WEATHER AND RAIN PLEASE. But I don’t really know. I tend to change my mind to whatever is NOT currently happening. (I’m difficult to please and flighty like that.)

***

Versatile-Blogger-Award

I was also tagged by Rachana for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you, Rachana! I’d never gotten this one before… Makes me feel specials. ^_^ Check out her blog, do!

Rules

  • Thank the person who gave you this award — of course.
  • Include a link to their blog. They deserve to have some credits too.
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

I’m once again ignoring rules; sorry, I’m a rebel today. But here are some random facts…

7 Things About Me

1 – I’m really really super bad at coming up with facts about myself. (That’s a fact!)

2 – My hair is brown and longish and has a reddish tint in sunlight; I say it’s because of my Irish ancestors.

3 – I can play the pennywhistle, and I’m better at it with my eyes closed than open; my fingers know where to go unless I’m looking at them trying to remember for them.

4 – I love owls and have a painting of one on my wall, and also a wooden key-chain of one from Japan that my dear cousin gave me. It is adorable and I love it. ❤

5 – I love doing calligraphy, especially with Tolkien’s Elvish alphabet, Tengwar, even if I haven’t done much with it in a very long time.

6 – I dream a lot, and my dreams are usually extremely strange and fairly vivid; many of my story ideas are from dreams.

7 – I will sit and endlessly stare at the books on my bookshelf and daydream about what the books will be like when I read them. (Yes, I should probably just READ them to find out; but time! Time is key! And I don’t have it! Plus, books are just gorgeous to look at. DO NOT DENY IT.)

Tagging

(By the way, for the record… Who DOES like being tagged? Because I like being tagged — even if I don’t always get around to it — but I always have a hard time coming up with bloggers to tag in turn, especially not wanting to tag people all the time… And I’m not sure who likes tags?)

I’m not officially tagging anybody, but like I said, if you want to do either (or both!) on your blog, consider yourself officially tagged!

A Reaction: Should We Read What Everyone Else Is Reading?

Note: This started out as a comment I was writing after reading Cait @ Paper Fury‘s post “Should We Read What Everyone Else Is Reading” and the comments afterward.

It was an interesting post about a fascinating quote, namely:

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Haruki Murakami

My comment got REALLY long and kind of unrelated so I decided to turn my comment into a blog post, so here it is.

But first, do go read Cait’s post so that you understand mine! (Hers is a quicky post and very amusing so it won’t be hard to read, I promise).

Okay, have you read it? Good.

On to my reply:

Wow. This is an intense discussion. o.o I have mixed thoughts as well.

Okay, so for ME, I’m actually NOT a book blogger! *gasp* I read books primarily for ME and occasionally someone will ask me to review their book, or I’ll see a book I
wanted to read up for review.

But mostly I don’t read a lot of the modern/mainstream books simply because they don’t come my way/don’t sound interesting. Me and my life/background/thoughts are entirely different than most people out there. Some of these just DON’T APPEAL TO ME even though they are are totally relateable to everyone else out there. And that’s what I’m trying to say here.

The Hunger Games, Divergent… I hate dystopian; it depresses me. I like a little HOPE in my books, please and thank you, and reading about a bunch of people living in the dirt being oppressed by an evil government living in luxury is just… not my idea of fun reading.

Harry Potter? Any and every contemporary YA book of ever? I was homeschooled; I just don’t GET any of the books set in a public school (magical or not) because I don’t understand the classroom politics and groups and cliques and obsessions and backstabbing and jerks and bullies and “popular girls” and “popular guys” and football and sports and things. It’s not a culture I find interesting/relateable, or anything I WANT to read about because it is not me. IT JUST DOES NOT INTEREST ME AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY IT INTERESTS OTHER PEOPLE. (I mean, I know WHY but… again, not me.) (And no, it doesn’t help to read books about homeschoolers because, contrary to popular belief, all homeschoolers are actually super different than each other.)

City of Bones? Twilight? I’m just not the biggest fan of paranormal. *shrug*

Cinder? Again, not a fan of dystopian and not very much of sci-fi either.

Percy Jackson? The modern thing again, AND I’ve never been a fan of Greek myths… Dunno why, but I prefer Celtic stuff and King Arthur and fairytales… Greek stuff has always felt… greasy to me. 😛

I could go on and on with lists of popular books and why the sound of them just doesn’t interest me. That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t enjoy them if I read them — I very well might! I just don’t want to spend all of that time finding out, when I could be reading books I think I’ll want to read.

Time (especially reading time) is precious.

And I don’t see a point in reading a whole lot of books that do not appeal to me, just because they appeal to everyone else.

And that’s my point. I’m so “out there” MYSELF that I don’t find the popular books interesting at all because I’m just different from everyone else.

And I do think a lot of that is BECAUSE I grew up reading different books. I grew up reading old books and fantasy recommended by family members and really close friends (recommendations are good, actually — I’m not saying otherwise!) and random interesting-looking fantasy books that I found second-hand at library sales. I find gems that nobody’s heard of, and yes it’s sad when I don’t have anyone to talk to about it…

But again, I read for ME.

So discussion or bookblogging isn’t a big thing for me, I guess. I read what I want to read, and most of the time that happens to be something not many people have heard about.

Books do shape you. So what I grew up reading has shaped me, and what others grew up reading has shaped them, and I think that’s the point of the quote. If we all read the same books, yes we’ll still be different people because everyone IS unique and we all have our own thoughts — but we’ll still be more similar.

I like to compare it to TV shows.

Nearly everyone I know LOVES Doctor Who. I think that’s because there’s a little bit of something in it for everyone. So it reaches the broadest range of audience — and consequently everyone loves it because they found the part in it to click for them. I enjoy some Doctor Who (fun! The Doctor himself!), but I’m not obsessed with it, simply because I don’t feel like every single episode/part appeals to me. But then you take a lesser-known show, like Leverage, or Hustle, or especially Firefly, and those are much less heard about/talked about, but I love them so much more! I think they’re directed to a certain smaller select audience, and tailored directly for them instead of aiming for EVERYONE, and therefore to the select audience, it’s ten-times better.

I think there’s a sense in which that quote just means if everyone was ONLY reading Twilight/Hunger Games/Harry Potter, and not branching out at all (which is not true — you all say you read other things and find new gems and we all end up reading things nobody’s read as well) there just would not be a bunch of NEW ideas from DIFFERENT books coming into our heads. It’s not meant to say we all think the same — which is definitely not true, as Cait and others are pointing out — it’s just that if we all only read the same things, where would the recommendations of the random book nobody’s heard of but is awesome come from? And how can different, important, more “out there” ideas find their way to us, if we all only read the generally popular stuff? It’s just… new ideas and new books have to come from somewhere, and if everyone ONLY reads the “mainstream”, “popular” ones, there would be less new thoughts showing up EXCEPT ABOUT THOSE BOOKS. That’s all. 🙂

But really, again, I only read FOR ME, and because I’m not a book blogger, it’s not that big of a deal to me like it is to you guys, I think. And occasionally I do feel a resistance to reading a book if EVERYONE had recommended it because in my experience if everyone loves a book, it’s usually more of a case of what I said about the TV shows (something for everyone, but not everything for me) and so I generally don’t care as much for said book… OR I just have a rebellious tendency because I AM very much about reading what *I* want to read, not what everyone else says I should — because I want to make my own way! A rebel… that’s me. 😉

So part of it is stubbornness, part of it is past experience, and part of it is just not being interested in most of the popular books, simply because of personal taste and life experience and cultural background.

BUT don’t get me wrong: I DO LOVE GETTING BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS.

(I feel like this entire post should come with an enormous disclaimer. XD Especially when I say generic things like “everyone”, which I don’t REALLY mean… It’s just general… >.>)

That being said, nobody should read books ONLY because they’re popular and I think everyone should read what they want to, but as was pointed out, there is a reason things become popular, yes, and sometimes it’s useful to read popular things just so you can understand the culture around you.

Like (back to shows) I understand the internet SO much better having seen some Doctor Who and knowing at least a bit about Supernatural, and having seen Sherlock. (Sherlock is awesome, BTW.) There are just some things that are so cultural that one needs to understand them to understand people. Like, I might end up reading the Harry Potter books (that’s a big controversy too because some people hate them but I’m not going into that today) not because everyone says I have to or because they interest me a SUPER amount, but because it’s gotten to the point where enough of my friends have HP as their “core fandom” that I just can’t understand them very well without reading it… Just like most people wouldn’t necessarily understand me without having read (or at least seen) MY “core fandom” which is The Lord of the Rings. And I might read The Hunger Games because I’ve been seeing the movies with my brother, and again it’s a cultural understanding thing. Sometimes it’s not worth holding out against “popular” or against “uninterested” if it means that if you DO read them you will have a deeper friendship with your friends and understand them better. But those popular books aren’t a real high priority right now, because I read for ME. I might read them, eventually… I might not. I have other stuff to read right now because I’m excited about other things, and that’s the point.

I do love it when I read someone’s blog and they mention a book and I’m like I’VE READ THAT! YES!!! But I read slowly enough and there are so many books I DO want to read, that I’m not going to specifically tailor my reading just so that I can read all the books everyone else is reading, just so I can talk about them with everyone.

I’ve run across a very small handful of books that I consider to be “perfect”. The more popular on the list would be The Lord of the Rings, The Penderwicks, and The Horse and His Boy. But a lot of them most people have never heard of. Howl’s Moving Castle, The Gammage Cup, The Ordinary Princess, Prince Valiant (YES!), Searching for Dragons, The Kestrel, The Boggart, The Reluctant Dragon, more recently Broken Glass in the Five Glass Slippers collection, and near the very top a book that’s not even PUBLISHED yet, Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal.

And I have others that are top favorites of mine, but even favorites sometimes have something you didn’t like quite as much, but as far as I-HAVE-LITERALLY-NO-COMPLAINTS-ABOUT-THIS-BOOK those are pretty few and far between and I don’t think one will run across those little gems if one only reads the “popular” books. NOT because popular books aren’t good, but because they’re aimed toward everyone, not the specific smaller group that is you.

But those books I mentioned, I just think of them and I’m happy without any reservation, and I always want to reread them. They’re not necessarily my FAVORITES (okay, so some of them are) but they’re the most perfect books I’ve ever read.

And I do love talking with people about books we’ve both read — it’s the funnest thing in the world! — but it’s even BETTER when I meet someone who has read and liked one of my favorites or one of these “perfect” books because they ARE more rare and less popular, and they’re a part of my heart, and if someone has read and loved one or several of them, I know this person is a kindred soul. 🙂 It wouldn’t be QUITE the same if it was a book I loved that EVERYONE had read and everyone had loved, you know what I mean? In a way, it wouldn’t be as special.

Books are extremely subjective. We all come to a book differently and take something different away, and that’s as it should be! A book that one person might love, another might hate, and yet another might feel meh about. I’m not disagreeing with Cait, or with any of her brilliant commenters, I’m just putting my own thoughts out there. 🙂

I don’t know if there’s a point to this. I just started typing reactions to Cait’s post and this is what came out, and I decided that 1) it was too long to actually post as a comment and 2) it might be make an interesting read as a blog post!

So. Bookish thoughts.

Deborah out.