News for July 2012

What 50 Shades of Gray taught me about writing

Even though I didn’t finish the trilogy and didn’t think too highly about the whole thing. What I did read, and my constant and upsetting thoughts about the entire situation with it being the best selling paper back of all time taught me a lot, and it made me realize a lot about writing that I wouldn’t have ever FULLY realized with the pure biased readings of great works (biased as in: this is great, i love this, this is …great isn’t it?)

I never seem to be able to trust my own judgement when it comes to a novel or any piece of writing really. I can’t seem to grasp the difference between good and bad. No, I’m not saying that 50 shades is good, I am definitely not saying that. But there must be something to be said about it, it’s ..sort of a phenomenon, albeit a bad one in my opinion.

I enjoy some classic works and I cannot even seemed to finish some. I bought a copy of Gravity’s Rainbow out of a rather enthusiastic love for the cover design and the fact that I need like $15 more to get free shipping at Amazon.com. I bought it and haven’t touched it since. It is a difficult reading, one that I’d rather not tackle at the moment at least.

Even though I don’t have a great authority to say what a writer does or doesn’t do. I have come up with a few obvious realizations upon my reading of 50 shades and the aftermath.

A writer writes to be read, most of the time. A lot of the times, a writer probably also writes to make oneself suffer, because writing hurts, it hurts your pride, it hurts your brain, it hurts your innards, it just goddamn fucking hurts. And for some reason, a lot of writers think they should suffer, they deserve to suffer, and through their sufferings they might achieve something. Or they are already suffering and they must escape their suffering through writing. But the point is, a lot of the time, the uncomfortable life makes a good writer.

It is a little bit different with fanfiction writing. I have written fanfiction and I have read fanfiction, and that shit is all about pleasure. You write for the love of the story, the characters, the people that are looking forward to your pieces in 2000 word bite sized chapters, they leave enthusiastic comments and you adjust your story line to their liking or disliking.

It’s fun.

And you get instant results.

I keep forgetting about the fact that writing is supposed to be fun. I am not suffering necessarily but a lot of the times i am not having fun when I am writing. I am always trying to be someone I’m not when I’m writing, does this sentence look good with that? Is there enough goddamn symbolism in the tree, will the reader get it, will it make them feel stuff?

Is sad good? Is sad bad? Is funny good? funny is good, but funny is un-graspable when I am sad too, but I am supposed to be sad because I am writing right?

I am not having fun when I am writing and I’ll bet you anything that E.L. James was having fun when she was writing 50 shades because people were giving her positive feedback (I assume) and that the story was fun for her.

Secondly,

no matter what you’re writing, how great these sentences are individually, the novel cannot be good if it doesn’t have a plot. I enjoy writing plotless things, because sometimes I’d rather think up a beautiful sentence then come up with a great story.

I am the type of person who enjoys writing about the middle of a moment, fuck beginnings and endings and plots that need sense made. I like moments. I like a glance into someone’s life as they drink a canned beer at the bottom of a slide in the middle of the night. I’m always curious about that person. But i am not all that curious about how that person got there or where they are going to be later. Ironically, I am not someone that lives in the moment, I think too much and doubt too much and I am always stuck in the middle of nowhere….

But unfortunately, for a novel writer, you must write about beginnings and endings…

That’s the other main thing that I fully realized through 50 Shades, albeit it being mostly a piece of shit, the plot actually stacked together fairly well, even though it is a contrived piece of shit with the worst characterization that I have seen…since ever! The plot is what kept the readers going.

My friend, and I quote, “it is a love story” and the surprising, “the story is so GOOD”
A lot of the times, I’ve read books that had a captivating story with a fairly weak writing style. YET WE KEPT GOING, because we wanted to know what happened next….

and that’s what I need to work on.

Even though I think I knew all of this before as my first novel was called plot less, I really fully realize this now.

But one person from the internet (portugal) that I know that read the novel told me it made her cry and that the ending was poignant so fuck yeah!

okay … alright, good afternoon ….

Posted: July 29th, 2012
Categories: Uncategorized
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Lucky Jim

By Kingsley Amis

A friend made a strong recommendation of this book and naturally I picked it up and read it. It took me a long time to read it because I am absolutely no good with any language that’s not modern. I did horribly when I studied Shakespeare. To me, the study of Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing was one long dream………. very long dream.

Nevertheless, this is of course still a lot easier to read and understand than Shakespeare, even though the story did progressively pick up and the characterization is always something to talk about.

This book was also recommended to me because the main character, Jim, is apparently similar to me. For we are both
bright, disaffected, depressed, impatient w/ authority and w/ false/inauthentic people.

I’d have to agree with most of it, especially with the impatient with authority one…

it’s no good, that’s no good isn’t it?

But as I read more, I found myself disliking some of the things that Jim was doing… and I started to dislike Jim as a character. But, at the same time I felt like I could also understand why he does what he does, or perhaps I was trying to understand why he does what he does because often at times I find my own behavior extremely hypocritical.

But all in all, it was a happy ending for Jim, which was surprising for me. I didn’t expect it to go down that road, yet I am happy for him, because perhaps there is hope for us yet.

I have some quotes:

“Words change the thing, and anyway the whole procedure’s different. People get themselves all steamed up about whether they’re in love or not, and can’t work it out, and their decisions go all to pot. It’s happening everyday. They thought to realize that the love part’s perfectly easy; the hard part is the working out, not about love, but about what they’re going to do. that difference is that they can get their brains going on that, instead of taking the sound of the word ‘love’ as a signal for switching them off. They can get somewhere, instead of indulging in a sort of orgy of emotional self-catechizing about how you know you’re in love, and what love is anyway, and all the rest of it. You don’t ask yourself what greengages are, or how you know whether you like them or not, do you? right?”

“It was on the tip of Dixon’s tongue to tell Carol not to think she was fooling anyone by talking and behaving so much more drunkenly than she was in fact feeling, but he didn’t, guessing that she needed some sort of mask and knowing by experience that this was a much more efficient one than drunkenness itself. he only said : ‘Bertrand?’”

“‘You know how I mean, Jim, unless you go about with your eyes shut. And you don’t do that, do you? No I’m sick and tired of being pushed around. I don’t mind telling you this, because i know you. i do know you, don’t I? In fact, I’ve got to tell someone, so I pick you. You don’t mind?’”

“It was doubtful, he considered, whether he was capable of being at all sweet, much less ‘so’ sweet, to anybody at all. Whatever passably decent treatment Margaret had had from him was the result of a temporary victory of fear over irritation and / or pity over boredom. That behavior of such origin could seem ‘so sweet’ to her might be taken as a reflection on her sensitivity, but it was also a terrible commentary on her frustration and loneliness.”

“Because you’re so sweet to me and i’m getting much too fond of you.” She said this in a tone that combined the vibrant with the flat, like a great actress demonstrating the economical conveyance of strong emotion. This was her habit when making her avowals.”

Posted: July 21st, 2012
Categories: BOOKS
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Transparent Pear Soap

I finally bought a box of Transparent Pear Soap

it’s not an old brand without any fancy packaging or marketing but i heard about the product through Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family which I highly recommend….

our English teacher at the time stressed to us the luxury of the item, especially given the conditions that Michael Ondaatje was writing in…

this is the quote from the book.

“This thing has walked off with my bar of Pears Transparent Soap? Why not my copy of Rumi poetry? Or Merwin translations? That soap was aristocratic and kept me feeling good all through the filthy hotels of Africa”

After using it, I’d have to agree.

Posted: July 19th, 2012
Categories: BOOKS
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50 shades of gray + 77% of 50 shades darker

the whole thing, it just kept on getting worse and i’ll explain why beyond the reasoning of , this is the biggest piece of shit i have ever laid my eyes on

I forgot why but one day my friend strongly recommended it to me. She reads a lot of different types of books, mostly fantasy and apparently, romance. She told me that out of all of the romance books that she had read, this had an excellent story line and that despite all the b d s m sex, it is a LOVE STORY. No, it’s not a love story, even Twilight had a better love story and that says a lot.

Alright, sure okay, maybe I should believe her. By the time of her recommendation, the horrendous writing of 50 shades had already been plastered on all sorts of different feeds. It’s bad, but just HOW BAD?

I later found out that it is basically Twilight fanfiction, so I eagerly asked my friend, so it’s like a vampire named Christian and a human named Anastasia?

No no, she insisted to me, there’s no vampires in this. So how is this FAN fiction?
Apparently that doesn’t matter, other than the fact that it was popular on the internet and now that it is a hugely popular best seller.

Earlier today, I read on some website, that E.L. James, the author makes $1.5 million dollars a week from the earnings of her book, and that it is currently no.1 on Amazon’s top 100 list (i checked, it’s no. 1 – 4) And that combining the sales of all of the other books on the amazon best seller’s list, all the way through to place 1000, add them all together, it doesn’t even outrank 50 Shades. So that means, 50 Shades of Gray the trilogy out sold the top 1000 books on amazon.com

WOW, that’s one popular book.

So I decided to read it, it’s a very VERY easy read and you can basically skim through the entire thing and still get a very good idea of the story without even have to try.

After I read 50 shades of Gray, I actually didn’t think it was THAT bad, a lot of it is laughable but it’s not THAT bad. The story isn’t that original and the characters aren’t fantastic, but sometimes people just need someone to kill some time.

Ana as a character is fairly believable, Christian is believable too, his estate on the other hand, is not.

I could ignore a lot of the faults of a book because sometimes they aren’t nearly as apparent if nobody points them out to you. I skimmed it with lightning fast speed so a lot of the typos didn’t jump out at me until I went on this website, which is a fantastic website if you want to make fun of 50 shades of gray http://50shadesofsuck.tumblr.com/

So now that I’m almost done 50 shades darker, why aren’t i going to stick it out and finish the whole thing? I’ll TELL YOU WHY!

1. I hate Ana, I god damn fucking hate Ana. It pisses me off more because the main character in my first novel is named Ana, not short of Anastasia, just ANA because we are cool like that (more on why I hate Ana later).
2. Nobody blushes that much and still have enough blood to be pumped through the body.
3. The way christian talks ‘business’ on the phone, why does he never fucking finish a sentence?! Because there’s no business on the other line.
4. Ana bites her lip so fucking much that she should definitely have overbite by now.
5. The fact that in Darker Leana? didn’t shoot Ana when she had the chance.
6. For a guy that makes $100000 an hour, why is he driving a fucking Audi? Why is the only car in his repertoire Audis? If Audi paid to be in the book, please, fire your marketing director right now.
7. “i love my ipad”, no Ana you sound like a douchebag
8. the fact that Christian insists Ana use a blackberry for all their “secure” emails, come on Christian, for a smart guy you sure are stupid, RIM networks are not secure.
9. WHY DOES EVERYONE DRIVE AN AUDI?
10. More product placement: “i love my macbook” “i just checked email on my macbook” ……………. why why why why why
11. everything that Ana wears (later on) is from neiman marcus, pshawww Christian, don’t you know that Barney’s New York is far better and that there is one in Seattle?
12. Ana doesn’t want to work and support herself but definitely willingly accept the car gifted.
13. the Audi gets trashed and Chris (too long to type out his name) gives her a Saab x____x
14. every single one of their fights are identical later on.
15. Chris, for a dominant, you aren’t very dominating.
16. Ana, for a supposedly defiant and innocent girl, you sure sleep with him a lot, or at least, you seem wayyyy more horny than he is AND HE’s supposedly into the weird shit!
17. How many times can you compliment a girl using the same words before she gets bored? “Oh Ana, you’re the smartest, beautiful, confident, surprising..etc”
18. here are some more specific parts that really bothered me.

given the fact that this is like a sexed up version of a chick lit.

the type of character that ana is, she should be so giving and nice that you are starting to wonder if she’s not right in the head. but for someone that’s so brave and kind and giving to Christian, she is one stuck up bitch.

“Great car, sir,” he mumbles as he hands over the keys. Christian winks and gives him an obscenely large tip. I frown at him. Honestly.

so it’s okay for him to shower u with money and stuff but he can’t even TIP people? Ana’s a huge hoarder when it comes to this and it is apparent in several places in the book. I started highlighting them because well, someone has to!

Ana was supposedly poor or at least not rich, but when she starts living together with Christian she looks down on people QUITE a lot. When they go and buy the Saab she really looks down on the car salesman.

Troy Turniansky, the salesman, is all over Fifty like a cheap suit. He can smell a sale.

19. the complete lack of sympathy Ana has for …well…anyone that’s a woman! (this is what I realized, Ana is a woman hater)

her best friend, Kate or whatever, who basically disappears to Barbados for most of the books, was more than generous to Ana in giving her a place to live because of course god forbid our heroine live in a shit hole and isn’t rescued by her rich friends. It’s so strange that Ana feels weird about taking hand outs from Christian when she’s been doing that for her entire college life.

Ana complained that Kate was being too nosy and “getting in the way” even though in my opinion at least, that Kate was trying to be a good friend and giving her a push that many of us may need to get through an embarrassing/tough situation…

Things get serious when one of Christian’s ex-submissive try to kill herself because she loves Christian sooooo much. And of course she decides to do this by sort of putting Ana in basically no danger at all. I felt bad for encouraging the use of violence but I wished she had killed Ana, man I would applaud this book if that happened.

But of course not, there needs to be more instant orgasms!

When Christian chooses to stay with his ex-submissive after she tries to kill herself, hurt Ana this is what Ana thinks.

Angry at me? Surely not. Please – No I feel like he’s slapped me hard. Why does he want to stay with her?

GEEZ ANA, I don’t know! Maybe human empathy? MAYBE Christian feels bad that he made her this way, for making her a submissive? YOU EVER THOUGHT OF THAT YOU SELFISH BITCH?

Also Ana says Jeez 1.99786 million times. she says it every time she’s confronted with a poor person or a woman that might get in the way of her undying love for Christian and vice versa yet they constantly have to “get into fights” to prove it to each other “by leaving” and then the other person would “fall apart” without them and so on.

Here is Christian explaining to Ana why he chose to stay with the suicidal girl.

“To see her like that – so different, so broken. I care about her, one human being to another.” He shrugs as if to shake off an unpleasant memory, Jeez, is he expecting my sympathy?

bitch, this bitch man.

some more inappropriate use of Jeez here…

I can’t. I know that if I do, I will burst into tears. This is just too much to absorb. I’m like an overflowing tank of gasoline – full, beyond capacity. There is no room for any more. I simply cannot cope with any more crap. I will combust and explode, and it will be ugly if I try. Jeez!

the author is british, maybe she doesn’t fully get how Jeez is used in a sentence? It’s not used in a situation where you feel too many emotions, it’s mostly used by spoiled rich brats.

20. The technology, omfg it’s sO NEW!

this is the scene when Ana gets into the new Saab w/ Chris. omfg I can’t believe they bought a Saab!

“You can play your iPod and mp3 discs as well as CDs on this,” he murmurs.

first of all, why is he murmuring? WHY is he murmuring to explain something like this? BTW: mp3 discs …and CDs are the same format….normally if it can play MP3 discs, you can bet your 100k / hour salary that it can play a CD. goddamit Christian, i thought you went to a good school.

21. Selfish …and irresponsible.

“You’re very distracted. concentrate, Ana,” he scolds. “Accidents happen when you don’t concentrate.”

Oh for heaven’s sake – and suddenly I’m catapulted back in time to when Ray was teaching me to drive. I don’t need another father. A husband maybe, a kinky husband.”

I don’t know about you but when I drive I try to take into account that if I drive irresponsibly I could kill myself as well as others, this bitch, someone hike up her insurance. Well her rich bf can pay for it.

And many more situations in which Ana makes me cringe and cringe and cringe and hence I give up on the book.

I really really hate Ana as a character, and the whole story line as based on this dominant / submissive role that was at least interesting for a little bit then the author just gave up and Christian just wants boring vanilla sex (but all over the map) and LOVE AND TRUE LOVE. goddamit christian you aren’t gonna find it w/ this girl.

okay that’s it for now, i am sure there are more things for me to complain about but i’d rather not waste anymore time on this than i already have.

thank you for reading and to end this off

i have a quote

“I got over it, and I’m now a firm advocate of instant gratification, Carpe diem, Ana,” he whispers.”

YOLO ANA, HE’S TRYING TO SAY, YOLO

Posted: July 12th, 2012
Categories: Uncategorized
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OGILVY ON ADVERTISING

by David Oglivy

Oglivy of Oglivy & Mather, the advertising agency…

it’s so old school, everything about it, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not true or no longer prove to be true in a new modern era. I ended up buying the book simply because i like the typeface which is actually quite a plain and normal typeface.

To me, someone who wants to work in advertising but is unsure, this book doesn’t necessarily help to sway me to either side of the spectrum. I enjoyed reading it, but thinking about my career, that’s another daunting task

page 32

‘Most good copywriters’, says William Maynard of the Bates agency, ‘fall into two categories. Poets. And Killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers as a means to an end.’ If you are both killer and poet, you get rich.

page 46

When you are appointed to head an office in the Ogilvy & Mather chain, I send you one of these Russian dolls. Inside the smallest you will find this message: ‘If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, Ogilvy & Mather will become a company of giants.’

Posted: July 4th, 2012
Categories: BOOKS
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short story: i should be crying now

download it here

Posted: July 2nd, 2012
Categories: ORIGINAL WORK
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