Thursday, April 28, 2016

How Watching Kdramas Helps My Writing

LOL! I had to post this because I'm watching BOF this very moment,
well, as soon as I hit the publish button!
I'm truly part of the club now!

If nothing else, watching kdramas is reinforcing to me the components of what makes a good story, and what keeps people watching/reading. And that even if tropes and cliches are used, they still work, even if they are used over and over again... they work! So I give you:

Ten Ways Kdramas Will Help With Writing
1. There's always always a sad and tragic back story. Why is this person scared to swim? Or drive? Or drive in the rain? Or why are they so closed off? Or obnoxious? Or why do they not care about living? Why are they so worried about their looks? You can bet there's a story behind it all! And you can bet that we'll get a flashback or a clue some other way. Everyone has a story before the story. It makes characters so much more dynamic and layered.
This back flash incident explains many things.

2. All the characters are facing so many issues. Well of course this is a must or there's no story, right? Seems like characters are often facing unemployment, or bullying, or PTSD, or body image issues, or abandonment issues, or friend troubles.. and on and on and on.

Working off the fat!

3. There's always a symbolic talisman. Sometimes a puzzle piece symbolizes a friendship from the past and it that's lost then, all is lost. Or a random pen chosen from a pile of random pens suddenly defines a whole relationship. Or perhaps a certain flower suddenly embodies all the emotions of the characters. Or a rock picked up on a beach now stands for endurance and consistency.  I love it how writers manage to always fit something like this in and give random things such meanings!

Ah, that flower! It becomes so much more!

4. All the lovely quirky characters. There's always a sidekick friend, or a colleague, or boss, or family member that is a little bit crazy. Usually in a fun comedic relief sort of way. They sure have a way of stealing the scene sometimes and keeping things real.

Crazy characters / scene stealers!

5. Here's to vulnerable sympathetic villains. (Usually.) I mean usually the villain or antagonist gets their sad and tragic back story too and then you're all like, oh... now I get it! Now I understand them! And sometimes the villains are just too dang cool to hate. But also, it's true, sometimes they are awful and you just want to wring their necks!

One of my favorite "cool" villains!

6. That first kiss is a long long long time coming! Ah, the "almost" kisses! So many! Almost... and then bam, interruption. Or bam someone changes their mind, or bam they fall asleep, or fall down, or the rain comes, or they are too drunk... or... or...or... but then finally, just when you can't stand it anymore. It happens! Ah, it's the best... book, movie, TV, drama!

Will they or won't they?

7. And then, once they finally get together then so so many things continue to keep them apart. So now we as viewers/readers are on the edge of our seats again. Will it all be okay? Will everything work out? We kept guessing, even though we are pretty sure it's going to be happy ending. It's the best kind of torture!
And then... an earthquake happens!

8. Hospital scenes are so very cathartic! Wow, what's with the so many hospital scenes?! (Actually I was just watching one last night where they faked a hospital scene and the girl was pouring out her heart and then he opened his eyes and said... "Yes, what do you want to say to me?" I was dying! So...real or not real, hospital scenes bring out ALL THE EMOTIONS and are perfect for causing all the defenses and walls to drop. I better stick some into my stories!

And now, he lets it all out!

9. Chapter/episode cliffhangers are a thing. Want your readers to keep turning pages? Want your watchers to never ever go to bed? Cliffhangers! Even if you don't like them they WORK! I've taken to stopping my drama watching in the middle of episodes instead of the the end because it's pretty much impossible to ever quit otherwise.
In which we have a literal cliffhanger!

10. Happy endings! Is this a spoiler? I hope not, but no matter how bad things get there's almost always a happy ending, and we can all get behind that, can't we!? Yes, yes, we can! Here's to happily ever afters!
And they lived happily ever after!

And that, my friends, is how I'm justifying the kdrama thing for now...I can incorporate it all back into the writing! Agreed?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Book: Winter by Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I remember the day we, a bunch of bloggers and I, got to have a special gathering at the library with an unknown author, Marissa Meyer, who was launching her first book, Cinder. I remember thinking, eh, a Cinderella retelling. Maybe. We'll see. I don't know.

Flash forward a few years and out comes the fourth (or fifth. or sixth...depending on how you look at it) book and this author is now extremely popular and everyone is in love with her characters and this series.

I love it when that happens.

I read the first books reluctantly thinking they would just be the same old same old, but then I was sucked into one of the best retelling worlds I've ever read and absolutely loved it.

This, the final book in the series, was a fabulous, though a bit long, ending to the adventure. All our people are together, finally, trying to stop the evil queen and reclaim her kingdom (aka. the moon.) There are a gazillion ups and downs so much in fact, that I sort of got whiplash, with our characters together, then separated, hurt, then better, lost, then found, captured then escaped. Over and over and over again! But even with that, I was hanging on to every page and turn and event.

I loved that even though the book was long, the chapters were very short, which makes a reader feel like they are totally flying through it! (Still, how long did it take me to read this? Way too long!)

I won't go through the specific things that happen in this book, but just know if you are a fan of this series, I'm pretty sure you'll eat this book right up.

Here's to looking forward to whatever Marissa Meyer has in store for us next!

Bottom Line: Would you love and extremely mash up of fairy tale retellings and genres? Then you MUST read this series!

Other Reviews:

Meyer has really been so incredibly thoughtful in her creation and it truly is a lovely masterpiece of storytelling. From Don't Be Afraid of the Dork

At some point I forgot this series was based on fairytales because of how original Meyer's world building is. Sometimes I would catch glimpses of the original tales and it really shows how a good adaptation can work, especially with Winter's story. From Books and Sensibility

All in all I loved the series. It's easy to overlook some minor annoyances when you love the characters and world the author has created. From Alternate Readality

This series has a wonderful intricate plot and amazing characters! You CAN have both! From Kami's Library Thouhts

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kdrama Review: She Was Pretty

Drama: She Was Pretty
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Starring: Park Seo Joon, Hwang Jung Eum, Choi Siwon, Go Jun Hee
Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

With the review of this drama, I will have caught up with past dramas watched and can now add this link to my new drama page. Yes!

This drama has a soft spot in my heart. It's the one I feel is perfect to start newbies out with, because it has all the aspects that make these dramas so much fun. It's also the drama that started the whole Super Junior craze and the drama that once I was done watching I knew that I for sure had been captured into whatever this thing is... the Korean Wave, the kdrama rabbit hole, the obsession...pick your description. This drama sealed the deal.

So here's the sum up of the story: Our girl is looking for a job, and as she is on the computer, she sees that she has an email from her childhood friend and first love. She is so excited that he's back in Korea after living in New York for years and she makes plans to meet him and get reacquainted.

Well, when she goes and sees him from afar she realizes that he has changed quite a bit. He has gone from a pudgy shy awkward kid to a gorgeous confident businessman. She looks at herself. She has also changed. She has gone from a popular pretty girl to a frumpy skinny unemployed frazzle haired crazy woman. She chickens out in meeting this guy and has her gorgeous friend and roommate fill in and pretend to be her. They think they can pull this off because the friend tells the guy that she is going to study abroad the very next day.

The two roommates

Well. Of course that doesn't work and things get WAY out of hand from there. The biggest problem being that when our girl does get a job, guess who ends up being her boss? Yep. It's him. And he's NASTY! He's a big fat mean jerk and she's all like... what happened to him and why would I want to be his friend???
The crazy boss

Well, of course, she still does and the connection runs deep. But he is, you know, thinking that his childhood friend is her gorgeous roommate. And the gorgeous roommate is all like, wow, this guy is pretty sweet and wow, I think I like him. (She doesn't see his nasty boss side!)


Meanwhile, one of the other guys she works with (aka. Reporter Kim) sees through EVERYTHING and figures it all out and falls in love with her in the meantime. (And again here we go with the second male lead syndrome!)
Siwon as Reporter Kim

Siwon in Super Junior

So complicated!

I love it!

The acting in this one is fun and fabulous. The situations are crazy funny. And heartwarming. And even sad at times. The messages about relationships, all kinds, and finding yourself and your place in the world are awesome. As I said, at first these dramas might seem superficial and silly, but always always, there is a lovely deep thought and message to ponder in the end.

Clips to the theme song of the show:

And here's Siwon himself singing another song from the show with clips that illustrate the second male lead syndrome that I keep talking about:

Anyway, this is a really good one to start with if you want to give a Korean drama a try!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sunday Serenade Spotlight at The Novel Life

Hey everyone! So Stacy from The Novel Life has a fun Sunday feature on her blog called Sunday Serenade where she highlights bloggers every week... and guess who was up for inspection yesterday?

You know you want to click on over and check it out, yes? 

And besides, you never know what you're going to get with me and how I answer questions, so just do it!  I'll be over there waiting to see what you have to say. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saturday Snapshot and Sing Along... on Sunday

Because of the readathon, I didn't do my "new" Saturday memes yesterday, so here they are together in one post today. Enjoy!

Saturday Snapshot hosted by Melinda from West Metro Mommy Reads

Wow, it's been an eventful week and I took a TON of pictures to document it all. But I will share just this one, a candid of my daughter and son-in-law after college graduation, with their 2 month old baby girl.

What picture or pictures of the week would you like to share? Come and link up!


Saturday Sing Along hosted by Katrina from Bookish Things and More

The theme for our song choice this week: Favorite Soundtrack Song.

Are you kidding me???? This is like pick a favorite kid or something. Or a favorite book! There is not JUST ONE! There are gazillions! But...I have decided to share the one that made me realize, back when I was just a wee little kid, that I totally loved soundtrack music. Like... totally. And so I give you, the Throne Room song from the original Star Wars. It never fails to give me chills.

Do join in the song sharing fun! Link up here!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Readathon April 2016 Updates

Let's Read!

Around five Jenni Elyse joined our readathon party. We tried to read. We really did. But we also did a lot of talking, music listening, and eating some much needed dinner. It was a readathon PARTY... and it was fun.

I did manage to finish Winter, which was my main goal. So in the end, altogether, I read about 450 pages of much drama. What a great series! Love it!

We had several readers join us (my daughter and I) during the day. Her friend came in the morning and then again in the evening. Then Jenni as mentioned above, and then my son and his girlfriend for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. They used the readathon to study for finals. Perfect.

It was a great day. Massively relaxing which is just what I needed. Let's do it again sometime!


Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
Still reading Winter. About 100 pages left.
2. How many books have you read so far?
Yeah, just 100s of pages in Winter.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
It would be nice to give Summerlost a try.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Lots of readers coming and going.  It's like a reading revolving door around here. It's awesome. Other than that, not many inturruptions going on. It's been a very quiet, very chill day. 
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
Um, it seems really quiet. Like around the bloggin and tweeting places. Unless I'm just missing stuff. 

Hour About Nine:

120 more pages read in Winter
A quote shared from my last chapter read: "You can't leave me again. I can't do this without you." Sure you can. It won't be as much fun, but you'll figure it out." 
A book selfie taken:

Snacks dug into:

A nap taken.

And so it goes. Read on!



I've read 100 pages from Winter.
I had breakfast and took a shower.
I wrote a five word #readathon story: Reading books all day long!
I wrote a postcard to Kai: 
       Dear Kai, Cinder and I are so sad you couldn't come with us, but we are having a blast! We even found the perfect song to rock out to, one that reminds Cinder of you so she won't miss you too much. This country is awesome. Thanks for saving it from Levana for us! See you soon!

I had reading buddies for a bit but they left. Maybe they'll come back here in a bit.
I had a hard time keeping my eyes open from the get go, but I think the shower will help!

That's my update. Read on!


Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

The very fine part of Utah USA.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Finishing Winter!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

As always, homemade caramel popcorn!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

My daughter graduated from college yesterday, the same daughter that made me become a grandma two months ago, and... I've been in a reading slump for three months. Maybe that will change today?

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Nothing at all different! I have this gig DOWN!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Readathon Plans

It appears, and I'm still a bit wary, but I truly think we have Saturday free from other obligations and so that means:

So excited! I mean, I've not been that into reading lately, but I'm excited to see if I can get BACK into it by readathon-ing! It's bound to help, right?

Here's my small little stack. Mostly I just want to finish Winter and if that happens, I'll try out one of these others:

We plan to make our traditional carmel popcorn too, hopefully. I have no idea what else we'll be eating, but something. We might have a few friends join us and if so, I'll be sure to document and share!

You too should join the fun! Check out the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon website here for all the details!


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