Ramblings of a Princess

Category: books (page 1 of 2)

What I Love About (Real) Books

By “real books” I mean physical, honest-to-goodness books that you can actually touch.

Photo originally posted here.

Although I love the efficiency of Googling as opposed to flipping through a heavy volume just to check what I need, and of course the convenience of accessing content in smartphones—when it comes to sitting down and reading, eBooks don’t really do it for me, especially when what I want to read is of the classic literature variety. (Which is a lot of times.)

There’s something about actually holding the paper in your hands that makes it special. Continue reading

My Lightning Thief

Okay, so, to be honest, I didn’t love the movie adaptation of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief very much. I thought it was just…okay. Enjoyable, but it made me roll my eyes more than a few times. But what it made me feel, though, was want for the book.

Last night when I was browsing around at National Bookstore, I saw a medium-sized stack of the book—the saleslady I asked told me that it was selling really fast, which was understandable—with the movie poster as the cover. Now, I actually like the movie poster. Very much, actually.


This one.

But the thing is: I don’t like having movie posters on my book covers, regardless of my opinion of the movie adaptation. For example, I actually liked the Pride and Prejudice movie (both the BBC and the 2005 one with Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightley), but for my new copy of the book I hunted for a good cover that wasn’t a movie poster. I’m picky like that.

Anyway. I spent a full 30 seconds staring at The Lightning Thief book with the poster. I finally decided to let it go and hunt for an edition with the old cover. And then, just as I turned away to go, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a hardbound book with the old cover.

My Lightning Thief
This one.

Well, okay. It wasn’t fully the old cover, but it was close enough. It was beautiful. It was hardbound. It was THE LAST COPY. But it was 800 pesos. Pretty cheap for a beautiful harbound, but it wasn’t in my budget.

But… I stared at it for one full minute.

And then I walked away.

And then I turned around.

My Lightning Thief
I bought it.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee~ I love how it looks like an old book. I love how it feels like an old book. I love that it’s sitting on my shelf.

Fruitcake Book to be released December 2008!

This is the moment a million of the Eraserheads fans around the world are waiting for! (Or, since the moment was the Eraserheads reunion concert, let’s make this one of the moments.)
By popular demand, Anvil Publishing is releasing the Fruitcake book! According to Anvil’s Facebook Ani V Habulan announces:

pahabol releases for last-minute christmas shopping: if all goes well, we’ll be releasing the reprinted edition of the ERASERHEADS’ short YA novel, *Fruitcake*, with a tweaked cover layout (thanks to the amazing Cynthia Bauzon-Arre) tomorrow!

WOW! This is awesome, awesome news! And reason for all of us to celebrate! I’m excited to see what the new cover looks like. 🙂 Now, there’s going to be Fruitcake for everybody!
Take a bite, it’s all right~

How to Create Characters and Make People Love Them

How do you make such intriguing, solid, and consistent characters in your stories? It’s so easy to feel for them! How do you do it?

Even though I’m not exactly an expert writer, I’ve been asked that so much recently that I finally decided to blog about it.

I’ve heard many writers ending up getting stuck in the middle of writing a story not because they run out of ideas, but because they don’t like their characters anymore. Sometimes it seems like their characters aren’t behaving the way they should, and are therefore ruining the storyline. This is a pretty common problem, I think, and a problem that could have been avoided if the characters had been planned well.

So how do I make my characters consistent?

Read full post…1.) Determine who (and what) they are
This one’s a pretty obvious answer.

In the early planning stages, I decide what I want my characters to be like. You can do this before or after mapping out your storyline. Decide what they look like, and how they act. Are they tall, or short? Are they outgoing, or shy? Short tempered or incredibly patient? Playful or strict?

When you have pictured your character, you can make an draft how you’re going to introduce them in your story. But you can save that for later.

2.) Imagine who they will be
This one is important, and weaves very well with your story plot. You have to know what your characters will be like by the end of the story.

I always, always plan this out at the early stages of story creation. You see, when you’ve determined the “final form” of your character, you can mix that with your general plot to form the events that will shape your story. That way, the direction of the story will be clear to you, and you would immediately know if your players are already going out of character or not.

Sometimes I even think of what they were like before the actual storyline, just in case I suddenly find the need to do flashbacks. I did this when I was writing Blue Star, and ended up writing a sequel and a prequel. The prequel, Ribbon, got more readers and positive reviews than the first story. And the sequel, Kaji o Sagashite, got even more response from the audience!

3. ) Give them habits that’ll make them unique (and make people laugh, while you’re at it)
Aside from thinking up the general things, it’s always helpful to think up something that makes each character unique.

Do they have habits (twirling a lock of hair around their finger when thinking) or speech patterns (adding a syllable at the end of sentences, or maybe a favorite word to use)? Do they passionately like something (chocolate ice cream), or hate something (cockroaches)? Whatever it may be, make sure it becomes prominent, as this will help in making each character unique and constant. Be careful: and don’t over-use these habits, because they may become annoying.

Of course, make sure to match this with your story genre. Like, if you’re writing comedy, exaggerate them a bit. And if you’re writing a drama, don’t make the habits too comedic, unless you’re planning to make it serve as a comic relief.

4.) Throw realistic situations at them
People love it when they can sympathize with at least one of characters. Otherwise, the story won’t have a connection with the audience.

I’ll clarify, though, that when I say “realistic” situations, I don’t mean that everything that happens in your story needs to be within the bounds of possible. Aliens invading the earth may be unrealistic (depending on your school of thought), but the realistic situation there would be when your lead character is faced with the challenge of protecting his loved ones. Or something like that.

Bottom line is: make your readership watch your character and think, “That’s exactly what I would do if I was in his shoes!!!”

5.) Let them LIIIIIIIIVE!!!
So now you’ve got awesome characteristics listed down for your players, and you know exactly how they’re supposed to act.

But, you know, you gotta give them space to breathe. Sometimes it’s unavoidable for some adjustments to happen. Your characters may suddenly seem to have a life of their own and move differently from what you had planned. This is perfectly all right. Plans really are just guidelines, and they are not meant to box our creativity.

Stories are more beautiful if they are given space to flow and evolve. Sort of like how a ballroom is HUGE so that there is more space for free expression. I always let my characters dance, or whisper in my ear, “Won’t it be more fun if I did this other thing?” More often than not, by the end of the story, I end up with my characters being more established and interesting and…ALIVE… more than I had originally planned.

Conclusion
Plan your characters properly before letting them run free. If you let them loose too early, you might have trouble reining them in by the middle of the story. Yes, guide your characters, but don’t be a dictator. Play with them! Have fun with them! Love them, let your story show why you love them, and I’m sure your audience will love them, too!

I hope this helps all you writers struggling with your characters…

And if you’re a writer, too, share your thoughts! How do you create your characters?


This is also a submission to Problogger‘s Killer Titles group writing project.

Thou mammering idle-headed ratsbane!

Just when I was thinking that I wanted to read Twelfth Night again —which I can’t, not without buying the book again because a classmate in high school lost it for me— a friend of mine posts something on her blog, which somehow leads us to a discussion on Shakespeare. I won’t explain how exactly that happened (her blog post was about IT work). And yes, I’m fully aware that my first sentence sounded totally geeky.

Anyway, the topic of discussion is the definition of “wherefore”, one of the words in one of the lines in one of the most famous Shakespearean scenes —the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet. “Wherefore”, my friends, means “why”. Not “where”, but “why”. Okay? “WHY“.

Moving on.

That lead me to check what Shakespeare used for “where”. The search at one point took me to the most exciting post ever —which, if I may say so, is also one of the funniest I read in a while, especially if you read the conversation that followed in the comments— and then to the Shakespearean dictionary, where I got where I needed. “Where” in Shakesperean is…”where”. Surprise, surprise.

And then this little text link catches my attention, and brings me to the site that will most likely be one of my favorites from now on.

The Shakesperean Insult Generator

Okay, okay, so I don’t really like insulting people (it just ruins my day), but the generated insults are just so hilarious! Add the Shakespeare graphic… Bwahahaha! Cheers to you, Master Shakespeare!

read :: October 2007

readI was replying to a post in the Crystal Skies forums. I didn’t intend the reply to be comprehensive, but when I finished writing it, I looked it over… and decided to post it here, as well.

This time last year, I was watching Victorian Romance Emma, Ouran High School Host Club, and The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, among others. I was also a new employee in my company. The months went by, and more and more I got sucked into the lovely thing called WORK. My time for anything else was lessened, and… yeah. I won’t get into any more details lest I begin to rant.

Anyway, I’m still a workaholic, but I’m proud to say that I’ve been slipping my hobbies back into my schedule. Hobbies, that is, that don’t involve web design. I’ve been writing again, I’ve been playing the piano again, and I’ve been reading again. Wheeeee~ Right now, my stories have been getting good feedbacks, I’ve remastered three (going four) piano pieces, and my reading list is getting long.

Among the things I’m reading now is manga. Before, I was more into anime than the original manga, but somewhere in between, I saw the light. Read full post…

So, going back to my first sentence: I was replying to a post in a manga recommendation forum in Clear Skies. So here’s my top 5 manga at the moment. Most of ’em are light romantic comedies, but they’re all hilarious. Yey for comedy! Hehe.

I’ve been planning to write reviews for these five titles, but I never really got to. Meh. I already blogged about HanaKimi. It’s more on the TV series, I suppose, but…anyway.

Here’s my Top 5 ultimate favorite manga as of October 2007.

HanaKimiHanazakiri no Kimitachi E
(For You in Full Blossom)
Summary: A girl begins to admire a high jumper, so she transfers to the high school he attends so that she could meet him. The catch, though, is that it’s an all-boys’ school. Does she fool everyone? Hell, yeah! …right? (Mehehehehe.)
Genre: [shoujo] high school romantic comedy (it’s got sports in it, too, but it’s not a sports manga)
Status: Finished
What I love about it: The comedy! Oh my goodness the comedy. I love how insane things get while still amazingly staying within the boundaries of realism. Another thing is the dialogue and plot flow: Punch lines are delivered effortlessly, and serious points, when they do surface, always hit home. And the art? This is the perfect example of how comic books are so awesome because they convey emotions, be it inner turmoil or bubbling laughter, in a single frame.

HagaRenHagane no Renkenjutsushi
(Fullmetal Alchemist)
Summary: In a world where alchemy is a significant part of of life, a child prodigy attaches his dying brother’s soul onto a suit of armor in order to save the younger boy’s life. Guilt-ridden, he sets out with fierce determination to make things right and return his brother to his body. And he could do that with the Philosopher’s Stone.

I initially wanted to type out “If you haven’t read (or, at the very least, heard of) Fullmetal Alchemist, then you must be living under a rock.” But that might be a little too harsh. HagaRen is extremely popular –and has full rights of being so– but I discovered that a lot of anime and manga enthusiasts haven’t ventured into the world of Edward Elric.
Genre: [shounen] action/adventure, fantasy (alchemy)
Status: Ongoing
What I love about it: Awesome action, surprising twists, superb art, incredibly hilarious ROFL comedy. Read the manga. It’s far, far, FAR more awesome than the anime.

Nodame CantabileNodame Cantabile
Summary: Extremely talented pianist and naturally gifted conductor. Another extremely talented pianist and your all-around weird girl. Put them together and what do you get? An impossibly addicting manga on classical music, love, and the love of music. And, yes, it’s hilarious, too.
Genre: [josei] music, romantic comedy
Status: ongoing
What I love about it: If I’m to be totally blunt, I’d say that I wasn’t really impressed with the art when I first started reading this. But since Miii recommended it to me (and since Miii is one of the girls I’ve been watching anime with since high school) I decided to give it a chance. Ha. I’m so very glad I did, because once the melody started floating a few pages into the series, I was hooked. (And I realized that the art is nice, after all.)

Musical types will appreciate this manga, lovers of comedy will enjoy the chemistry between the characters, romantics will love the hilarious scenes, and everyone’s going to have a sudden renaissance and be interested in classical music. That’s what I think, anyway.

Koukou DebutKoukou Debut
(High School Debut)
Summary: Haruna had dedicated her life up until junior high to softball (and she’s pretty good at it, too). So, upon stepping into high school, she sets out to get a boyfriend. Grow out the hair, put on the make-up, revamp the wardrobe. Easy, right? NOT!

Salvation comes, however, in the form of school heartthrob Yoh, whom Haruna believes can teach her what guys want. At first Yoh refuses because he hates women, but eventually agrees, on one condition: Haruna must never fall in love with him.
Genre: [shoujo] high school romantic comedy. COMEDY! Lol!
Status: ongoing
What I love about it: If you don’t laugh at least once while reading this manga, I’d be surprised. What I love about this series (apart from the seamless movement from insanity to normalcy to seriousness to romance and back again) is its ability to make you all giddy or warm and fuzzy even without the usual things that make you giddy or warm and fuzzy. Heh. A breath of fresh air, really. Wonderful characters, awesome plotl
ines. Love it!

SaiMonoSaiunkoku Monogatari
(Tales of Saiunkoku)
Summary: Shuurei, a profit-conscious heiress of a noble (but very bankrupt) family is asked to be join the royal court in order to make the emperor more responsible. But in order to make someone more responsible, that said someone must be responsible to some degree. But, to Shuurei’s dismay, it appears that the Emperor of the realm is a lazy slacker with the enthusiasm and cluelessness of a child, and with no interest in politics whatsoever. And, by the way, he’s extremely handsome. How unfortunate. *sarcasm*

A manga dealing with politics and intrigue abounding in comedy… plus a whole lot of bishounen. *giggle*
Genre: [josei] politics, comedy, romance
Status: ongoing
What I love about it: This series is actually pretty serious, although it definitely doesn’t feel like it. I love how surprises keep popping out: people aren’t what they seem, plot twists spring out of nowhere, the character developments are addicting… The more you read, the more you’d be impatient for the next chapter. Haha!

Yahoo~ So those are my Top 5 manga, and 5 of the many volumes I’m reading now. Heh. I hope you saw something that sparked your interest, so you can laugh along with me. ^_^

You Know You’re A Writer When…

Oh my goodness, I just had to read this thread when I chanced upon it in the Meg Cabot forum. Not surprisingly, I found myself nodding and laughing about nearly each and every item because it precisely describes me. I compiled a list from the thread — there had to be about several hundred items there. Here are the ones that are my favorites because they’re funny and/or they really apply to me, and they apply to me a bit too frequently. XD Enjoy!

—–

You Know You’re A Writer When…

1) you think of your friends as characters

2) you write them into your story

3) you get revenge on people by basing a mean character off of them in your story.

4) you have conversations with your characters — the fictional ones, not your friends in the real world — and, most usually, they hate you for making their life miserable (or WAY too exciting for their liking)

5) you have some books you read for enjoyment, some you read for school, and others you read just to get ideas on how to make your stories flow better

6) everyday, you daydream about how to plug today into your story.

7) the end of your pinky is usually stained with ink (if you’re left-handed) or pencil lead.

8) you have way to many saved Word docs in your computer.

9) your drawer is overflowing with copy-paper of your printed stories/filled notebooks.

10) you mentally correct anything you read subconsciously with better words and phrasing.

11) even in the most dire of situations, you’re thinking about how it would be best written

12) you hear a song on the radio and you automatically think ‘Hey that’s a good plot idea…’

13) you constantly play the same song over and over to get into a ‘mood’ for one of the chapters

14) you wake up in the middle of the night to search for a pen/laptop/notebook to write down a story idea because you’re afraid that you’ll forget it by morning

15) you cannot, cannot stop your characters’ dialogue in your head and you start laughing out of nowhere because they said something utterly funny. And then everyone thinks you’re a freak.

16) you actually alternate between using words like comments, reminds, asks, instead of just using ‘said’ for every single paper you write

17) you cannot control yourself if someone uses the same adjective twice within two/three sentences (unless if it’s for emphasis)

18) you end sentences with ‘for lack of a better word.’ and people look at you weird and say that they don’t know what the original word meant in the first place

19) you refuse to throw away old notebooks because of little phrases or things you wrote on the margin of the page concerning a story you were plotting at the time

20) there are so many things in your head when you’re in the middle of writing that you can’t type them out fast enough

21) you type full words with proper grammar faster than your friends replying in chatspeak

22) you make up alternative endings for books you’ve read, movies you’ve watched, and about every other story out there

23) you make up alternative “endings” for situations in your real life

24) you think about what your characters would do in a situation you’re in

25) you hear some guys cursing in the hallway you turn around quickly and tell them that they “have a charming vocabulary” before stalking off to wherever it is your going.

26) you are known as “the girl who read books during recess” by those you knew in second grade.

27) you’ve never had a boyfriend in real life, but in the world of fiction you are very taken.

28) you have never played a videogame. People act as if you’re from Mars because of this. And if you do play videogames… you write stories about them…

29) anytime anyone speaks, you add a mental description. (“she said while stroking her head thoughtfully”)

30) you find your self speaking in your writing style. (“Yes, Mrs. Smith, I did complete the assignment, however, I found numbers 7 and 12 quite difficult, to say the least.”)

—–

And, WOW I’m just halfway through the thread! I’ll post more soon, I think. Hehehe.

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