The Classics: What Do You Think?

Ms. Darroway. Pride and Prejudice. The Great Gatsby. War and Peace. CLASSIC

These are just a few of the “classic” novels of literature that have been praised the world over by just about everyone it seems: literary critics, professors, celebrities, Joe Shmoe.

They have lasted for hundreds of years because they are the pinnacle of literary genius and are capable of speaking to the hearts of millions regardless of a person’s background – immortality has graced these novels, so much so, that the whole world recognizes them sitting in the background of an overcrowded bookstore.

But do we really love these books like our culture says we do?

Of course, I appreciate what these talented authors have created. Their works are full of wonderful prose and poetry – its no wonder that they’ve lasted so long on writing ability alone.

Now, story wise? That’s another tale.

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The plots of some of the “classics,”…I don’t know about you, but they’re not the most exciting or interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed plenty of “classics:” To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Dead (which until the epiphanous end, was a trial to get through), Huck Finn, and others.

But some just don’t have relatable characters or stories (like any book). Now, these were written for another time and another audience, but if these books are labeled “classics,” doesn’t that mean that anybody and everybody needs to read them and discover themselves among the pages of literary masters?throwing-book-silver-linings-playbook-gif

What does it mean to be a “classic?” Is it based on number of books sold? The story? The characters? The prose? The poetry? Why are these works the ones that have lived through generations?

Will any modern authors, like Stephen King or John Green, go down in history to take their seat at the literary round table next to Hemingway and Bronte? Or will they fade, their works turning to dust because society and culture have deemed them unworthy of the being the face of a Penguin Classic?

What do you guys think? Do you love/hate/like/meh the classics? Do you refuse to read them? Do you only read them?

On that note, always remember:

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Please note: I am not bashing the classics, or saying that they are bad. Rather, I am asking why you think that have endured. Obviously they have to be good to have lived for so long, but why these particular novels/authors? There are a lot of brilliant writers who are not so famous or read the world over. Why give certain titles the brand of “classic?” Ultimately, its left up to one’s personal opinion, but I find that interesting. I find it interesting we are so in love with these books – even people who don’t read know what they are. It’s amazing the impact these works of art have created.

(Love that Hemingway quote from the film, Midnight in Paris..and every other quote he said in that movie)

 

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Fanfiction: A Way To Hone the Craft of Writing or The Pathetic Ramblings of a Nerd?

fanfic time

Fanfiction is defined by Urban Dictionary as: “Fanfiction is when someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, wheter it be a novel, tv show, movie, etc, and create their own story based on it.”

I know that fanfiction is really easy to brush off and call it nonsense and horrible, but why? Now, if you’re thinking about 50 Shades of Gray and how it was originally Twilight fanfiction and are loading up your cannons, hold on a second before you light that fuse.

We all have that one book, show, or movie that we absolutely love. We get entranced by the characters and their stories, and they inspired us. In our excitement, we begin to imagine potential storylines and let the world take us away. Is there anything wrong with that?

No.

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So, when it comes to fanfiction, why is it so easy to attack? It really makes no sense.

Instead of keeping the feelings of being swept away within us, we create our own stories about our favorite band of characters. It gives us the freedom to express our love with other fans, and ultimately, it gets people reading and writing. We are writing the stories we want to read.

Isn’t that what writing is all about?

Yeah, not all fanfiction is written well and it sometimes becomes saturated with sex, but so do “real” and published works of fiction. Is there really any difference between the two? The main difference is that one is a published in the traditional sense, and the other is usually on the Internet specifically written for other members of that fandom.

I personally do not write fanfiction, but there’s absolutely no reason to put down people for doing so. They’re writing and reading something, and that’s what is important. People are exercising their creativity through a different medium, and that is great. If it makes them happy, and makes them feel like apart of a community of other fans, then keep on writing.

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I Did It!

I entered my short story in the Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Contest!

I’m really excited at the possibility of this story being published in a real-life magazine. The thought is just so euphoric. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud or thrilled about something in my entire life.

I worked extremely hard on this story, and it wouldn’t be what it ended up being thanks to one of my closest friends looking it over and critiquing it. To be honest, having my story critiqued was one of my greatest fears, and I think I’ve moved past it (a little) due to her honest review.

So, do you guys have any stories in progress? Are you anxious about people reading your work? Have you entered a contest before, either sponsored by Writer’s Digest or some other organization?

SO EXCITED

SO EXCITED

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Book Review: It’s Kind of A Funny Story

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It’s Kind of A Funny Story was written by Ned Vizzini.

I loved this book! It was funny, heartfelt, and real.

The book follows Craig Gilner, a high-school freshman who has practically worked himself to death in order to get into one of the most prestigious high schools in New York. He become overwhelmed by all the stress, and decides to kill himself one night. After calling a Suicide Hotline, he goes and checks himself into a Psych Ward at a hospital. And it’s there where Craig becomes whole.

The book was written with so much heart, and you can’t help but fall in love with all of the characters. It’s incredibly relatable due to the stress that all teenagers and young adults go through while trying to make their way in this messed up, high pressure world.

I don’t want to say too much about the characters, because of spoilers, but they are all full of life and you’ll be rooting for every single one of them.

If you love Perks of Being A Wallflower (my fav), then you need to pick this book up immediately. You”ll love it.

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Check out this Buzzfeed Article!

If you’re an aspiring writer, you’ll find this list hilariously relatable.

“21 Creative Struggles Any Writer Will Understand

http://www.buzzfeed.com/nalavezos/21-creative-struggles-any-writer-will-understand-xlbs 

The struggle is real.

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Sanderson’s Laws of Magic

Who doesn’t like magic? It creates a sense of wonder and excitement when we read about it or watch it. It makes viewers and readers alike go, “I wish I could do that! Having magic would be awesome!”

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This goes for superheroes too. Who wouldn’t want to be an X-Man, Captain America, or any other super being? They have these extraordinary powers that allow them to live fantastical, extraordinary lives.

But just like everything in life, there are usually consequences when we make the choice to use such power. The students at Hogwarts had to battle Death Eaters, no matter their skill level – and the consequence of being bested by Voldemort or his Death Eaters was death. Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton leaves him susceptible to Magneto’s powers. And the most famous weakness of all: Kryptonite.  The Man of Steel, the most powerful being on Earth, is affected by a glowing, green rock.

And cats. Let's not forget cats.

And cats. Let’s not forget cats.

Consequences, or weaknesses, is what makes characters interesting. Yeah, it’s totally awesome that a character can do all these cool and crazy things, but it’s what they can’t do or fail to do that adds depth and makes the story, its world, and its characters more interesting.

This leads me to Brandon Sanderson.

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Brandon Sanderson is an author of fantasy books and he has written three Laws of Magic that I have found to be very helpful and interesting. Reading his list has made me realize that, yes, the limitations of our heroes is what makes us care about them and makes them whole. As a viewer, this can be overlooked. Yes, we know that Magneto can manipulate Wolverine’s body at any given time, but do we realize that making this a weakness of the practically impervious and immortal X-Man makes him more sympathetic and interesting?

I thought his list made a lot of sense, and it is one of the best pieces of writing advice on fantasy elements that I have read. It totally opened my eyes, and made me realize that limitations DO make characters and the world more interesting and other awesome things.

Here’s the link to his website, where it details his laws: http://brandonsanderson.com/writing-advice/

Check it out if you’re writing fantasy, science fiction, whatever! His list does not only apply to epic fantasy – I think it can be applied to just about any genre that deals with fantastical or sci-fi elements.

(Disclaimer: I am not an expert. This post was inspired by Mr. Sanderson’s Laws of Magic. He came up with it, and I am simply sharing it. I did not come up with this. Seriously, go to his website to read his essays. DO IT NOW! http://brandonsanderson.com)

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TV Review: Sleepy Hollow Season 2 Premiere and Gotham Series Premiere

Last night was both the return of Sleepy Hollow, and the debut of Gotham. Both shows are broadcast on FOX.

Let’s start with Sleepy Hollow.

Sleepy Hollow cast pic

IT WAS AWESOME!

The premiere picked up immediately after where the season one finale left off. It was fast paced, witty, and action packed like it always has been and will continue to be. This show has the perfect mixture of fantasy, mystery, history, and horror. It is one of the best shows on network television. I watched the episode twice, because it was that good. Honestly, I think this show can do no wrong, and I can’t wait for future episodes and to see where the intricate story will take us.

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Now to Gotham.

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This is probably the most talked about new show of the Fall, which is not surprising. Who doesn’t love Batman and the mythos surrounding the famous superhero? And this is what the show wants to accomplish: exploring the mythos surrounding Batman.

Gotham focuses on Jim Gordon before he is Commissioner of the Gotham P.D. and before Bruce even fathomed being a vigilante. The pilot explored the Gotham Police Department, as well as the city’s crime.

I watched this episode twice as well. Not because it was simply that good like Sleepy Hollow, but because I didn’t know how I felt about it when I first watched it. Upon first viewing, I felt like it was trying too hard to be a gritty crime drama in primetime and that they pushed the “Hey, we’re in the Batman universe! See? See? See?!” a little too hard. And that bugged me.

However, after the second viewing, I felt better about the drama. The pushing of familiar Batman characters didn’t irk me as much, and I got a better feel for the show. It is a gritty crime show trying to respect to the original material, yet stand on its own two feet. It is also nice to see a crime show that is going to explore out-of-the-box villains, in a world obsessed with realistic crime shows like NCIS or CSI. A crime show with comic book roots is a refreshing change to see.

Even though I was uncertain about it at first, I think Gotham will prove itself worthy in the primetime lineup, and I am certain it will be renewed.

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I didn’t make this, but I think it’s cute

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