Don’t Discount the Value of Subtle Representation

Broader representation is starting to become cool, which is great for a lot of people. I for one have been starved for certain kinds of media since I knew how to read, and occasionally, things got a little desperate and I’d find myself searching the bottom of the barrel on fanfiction sites. I’d say those weren’t my proudest moments, but I regret nothing.

The other cool thing is that a lot of people want to get into writing with representation in mind, and while that comes with a host of issues all on its own — e.g., people attempting to write experiences that aren’t their own and falling flat, or accidentally misrepresenting something badly — it’s nice to see that people see the value in it. For a while it was an uphill climb to explain to people just why it was important that everyone see a bit of themselves out there, and how lonely it can feel when not even fictional worlds have people like you in them. Continue reading

Writing and Plotting, Then and Now

As I work on my sixth book, Ghost Walk, which is a wholly different type of project than anything I’ve ever worked on before, I’m reflecting on the kind of writer I used to be vs the type of writer I am now. Somewhere along the way, things changed significantly. I didn’t really have a process for my first few books; I was a pantser at heart and in practice, and it worked. There was little to no outlining; I just took anything I had that remotely resembled an idea and ran with it. Now, while I still give myself plenty of freedom, I actually have a process from beginning to end, and I’m starting to think I like it.

These days, here’s how it works. Continue reading

My Top Five Subject Recommendations

Anyone who’s been to college, or has ever flipped through a course catalogue, knows there’s a metric butt load of classes you can possibly take. Even if you’ve already decided your major, you might need some filler classes. If you ask for advice on what to take, you’ll probably get a different answer from every person, and those classes will customarily completely coincidentally coincide with their major. (We all love what we do.) I want to try to take more of an objective approach, though there’s still a goal I have in mind when I recommend the classes I do, so if your goal differs from mine, these recommendations might seem wholly unimportant. Keep in mind that these aren’t suggestions for majors, just basic, introductory courses that I think are the most useful.

I’m also slightly limited in that I won’t be talking about classes I haven’t taken or don’t have much knowledge of, because I’m just not informed enough about those subjects to talk about them. But here’s my list! Continue reading

How’s School Going, Anyway?

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This is only really here so I can show off a second picture of my school’s library.

One of the reasons I update less frequently than I used to is because going to school full time has me as about as busy as it’s possible to be. Another reason is that I’m secretly boring and running out of ideas, but at least with school I have something to talk about.

This is my fourth semester, and while it’s been stressful, it’s been a wonderful experience. For those not in the know, this is my second attempt at college. My first try was in 2007 after I graduated high school, and I don’t remember how that went. I quite literally don’t remember anything that happened between roughly mid-2007 to late 2009, so something tells me it didn’t go very well. My transcripts also back that up. But this time it’s a new school obnoxiously far from home with a new major and new goals, and I feel like now that I’m going completely of my own volition and doing what I’m interested in, I’m much more equipped to deal with it. Continue reading

Top Four Books of the Winter

When I wrote my list of top five books last summer, I got the idea in my head that I was going to do this twice a year. School has me busy, but I get winters and summers off, so during that time I was going to read a lot and then choose the best five books from that particular vacation and run with it. Seems foolproof, no?

Yet here I am, barely getting started, and I have to break tradition. I read plenty of books this winter, but as luck would have it, I just didn’t enjoy very many of them at all. So here we have my top four books of the winter, and you can blame school for that for starting so early. (It’s actually starting at a perfectly reasonable time, but I’m sad break is over, and I personally feel like my school did not put forth its best effort to alter the space-time continuum, or whatever would make this break last longer.) Continue reading

Top Five Books of the Summer

I spent a lot of time reading this summer, and even though I did a lot of cover judging and reading based purely on recommendation, most of them were pretty great. There were only a few that were bad enough that I won’t be keeping my copies. But a few do deserve some honorable mentions because I loved them that much.

Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis. This was a really cute book with good characterization and development, a fun story, and a satisfying ending. It wasn’t particularly deep or intense, but it had its surprises. I also like a character who is constantly pushed down but ends up coming out on top. It’s definitely one that has guaranteed a read for its sequel. Continue reading

I’ve Been Sucked Into Pokemon Go

2016-07-16 04.21.33In retrospect it’s not surprising that I’ve been sucked into a video game, because that happens all the time. But this one is something special. Not just because of what I take from it, but because of what I’ve seen it do to and for the people around me. It was also inevitable. As a long-time Pokemon player (it was my very first game for my very first handheld console), the dream to catch Pokemon in real life was always there, and now we have this — far, far sooner than I ever expected.

I’ve had it for about a week now, and I love it for a number of reasons. On the surface it’s pretty simple, and it’s a lot like Ingress, which I also enjoyed. But last night I went downtown where a bunch of people decided to get together and throw a Pokemon Go event. By “a bunch,” of course, I mean “about five thousand at least.” Every parking structure in the area was full, and there were so many people it was hard to get around. Bands were playing, people were handing out badges and water bottles, grouping up to help each other find Pokemon, etc. And everyone was so friendly. My friends and I met up with a couple hunting a Bulbasaur and we walked together for hours. And there were so many PokeStops I almost couldn’t get to them all before the first ones were refreshing again. Not to mention everyone had a lure. Continue reading