Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Essence of Good Writing (and good books)

Hi! So I noticed it has been another long two months since I've last posted and I apologize for that, but I have finally gotten around to make a post. I haven't been reading as much lately, so this post will focus on a different aspect of what I like to do relating to books: writing.

Lately, I've been trying to focus on writing more than reading. Of course, that is hard, because to write well, you need to read a lot.

Which lead me to ask myself: what makes a story good?

When I first got into YA books, I really enjoyed the cliche plots. After awhile, the cliche books annoyed me, and that has got me to search for what I truly like to read in the YA genre.

I've noticed a trend in the books I like: a strong heroine, a heart-melting love interest, and a good plot. I loved dystopian books at one point in my life (which you may or may not have noticed in my previous blog posts), and I like contemporary books too. However, it is not the genre that makes a story good, I realize.

It's the writing. You may have noticed that I am not a big fan of The Fault in Our Stars but even I have to admit: the writing is heart-wrenching. It's the type of writing that everyone can relate to. And If I Stay -- you can definitely relate to it.

I also really like beautiful descriptions. In the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, the beautiful writing was what sucked me into it. It was absolutely flawless, as was the writing in Kat Zhang's What's Left of Me.

I guess bottom line is: the writing matters a lot. In fact, to me, it rivals the importance of a good plot.

By focusing on my own writing sometimes, it helps me read with a critical eye. And it makes me wonder how important a writing style is.

The writing project I am currently writing is (surprisingly) a paranormal story. It's far from perfect, and it definitely isn't put together like published books are. Yet, I've been trying to focus on vivid details, and shaping the plot subtly. It's hard to get the character of your story correct (and make her strong), but that's one of the challenges, I guess.

Anyways, to motivate myself to update from now on, I've decided to make a post about each important element in a story over the next two weeks or so. Stay tuned! I promise to update more regularly from now. (:

As always, thanks for reading & feel free to comment below! I would love hear about your writing experiences and what you think is most important in a good book.

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's Been Awhile

Hello! Remember me? It really has been awhile. Like a year, I think? Anyways, I apologize for not posting for the past year. I suppose it has been an unannounced hiatus, and I can't say for sure I will be posting regularly, but I am here today, and I will be here and there this summer. Today, I went and saw The Fault in Our Stars. The movie came out awhile ago as well, but I saw it with Sarah today. We had a discussion about the movie afterward, and here are our condensed thoughts:

May Contain Spoilers

Sarah's thoughts: It was funny although not realistic.

Nicole's thoughts: I don't know how Sarah found it "funny" but there was humor here and there. However, I thought the movie didn't meet up to my expectations until the very end. The eulogy Augustus wrote for Hazel made me cry, but that was the only part that made me cry.

In my opinion, the movie was really light. It wasn't as deep as I thought it would be; in a way, I enjoyed the infinity thing, the math concepts and certain quotes, because I'm quirky like that, but a lot of it was typical. My friends have recommended that I see the movie, and I don't regret seeing it, but I wouldn't see it again.

Another plus though, was that the movie was really similar to the book. I especially loved the narration of Shailene Woodley, and she played a really good Hazel. 

Overall Average Between Sarah and I: 7/10

But what I am obsessed with right now is the movie trailer for If I Stay (which I saw as a trailer advertisement before The Fault in our Stars). It's coming out August 22, 2014 and I NEED TO SEE IT NOW.

What are your thoughts, both about The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay? Leave your
thoughts below.