Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Goals and Aspirations (And a look back at 2014)

Today's topic is Top Ten Resolutions/Goals for 2015, bookish, blogging, or otherwise. But before we begin, I though I'd look back at 2014 and see how well I did. :-)

I read... a lot of books?

I only got a Goodreads in the middle of the year, so I have no clue how many books I read. I don't keep track of those things. But I know it was a less than usually because, you know, college.

I explored a lot more genres.

YA is now my friend. On a larger level, I am now more amicable with living authors and their books. On that topic...

I met my first Real Live Author!

I flail about this whenever I get a chance. MARISSA MEYER

I'm on social media!

You can find me/Ravens and Writing Desks on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Bloglovin, AND PINTEREST now. This is so very exciting! I get to meet so many more lovely bookish people!

I tried some challenges... and didn't really finish them.

Let's break this down.
The Bible Project:
Goal: Read the Bible in a year.
Result: Had to modify it to "Read the Old Testament in a year" because of... college. Seriously, the point where it stopped was when college began. It's a direct correlation. But I am still plugging along.

The Arthurian Lit Challenge:
Goal: Read this list of books.
Result: I read Gawain and the Green Knight, The Mabinogion, Le Morte D'Arthur in their entirety. I read PARTS of Arthurian Romances, and am currently finishing up Once and Future King. Didn't even get to any Mary Stewart books. I'd give myself a solid B since I got through the older works.

The Classics Club:
Well, this one isn't supposed to be done this year, but I only read six books from my list. I'm going to have to step up my game if I'm really going to finish this thing in five years!

My most popular post was....

Are Abridged Books Bad?, a discussion inspired by a conversation I had with my friend. I feel like this is a topic that really has no defined right answer. Check it out and let me know what you think!

I think I should mention that coming in second was my review of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The reasons for this are quite obvious.

So that was my year! Now on to resolutions, goals, plans, and aspirations for 2015. These are a smattering of bookish, writerly, blogging, and general life goals.

(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, as always!)

1. Find a classics/modern balance.
I used to read a lot of classics, and not much of anything else. This past summer, I was reading a lot of YA and not much of anything else. I'm on a mission to find a balance between living and dead authors. Don't want to be ageist.

2. Write a book that I actually want to edit.

I've never edited a book. EVER. (I have finished a few, if you want to know, but it was a struggle.) Plot bunnies are my bane - they never line up neatly like I tell them to, and instead they hop about with their shiny new ideas and I just can't keep working on my actual WIP.
This year, I will attempt the impossible - the training of plot bunnies!

3. Vlog.

Or just explore the options of YouTube. I know I promised a few people that I would make a vlog in December. WELL. That first vlog was supposed to be a bookshelf tour and it was supposed to happen upon the completion of Operation Take Over Mother's Bookshelves.
That Operation is going quite slowly.
The vlog has been postponed indefinitely, but once I have full control of the bookshelves I can promise you that it will happen.

I'd also like to do other things on YouTube. I have a plan for musical bookish magical videos, but that's still in the embryonic phase. And you will hear nothing else about it until it's completion. SECRETS.
Mwahaha. I plot.

4. Operation Take Over Mother's Bookshelves.

I mentioned this above, and the title sort of explains itself. It was supposed to happen over Christmas break, but didn't. So far I have the upper right shelf-square. There are about sixteen total. WE GAIN GROUND.

5. Reread all my favorite classic fantasy.

This summer, I am planning to embark on a grand quest: to reread all the fantasy books that defined my childhood. Narnia, LOTR, Harry Potter - it's all in. Also, I'd like to watch (or rewatch) the movies, too. More concrete planning is needed, but for now - I welcome anyone who would like to join. WHO IS WITH ME? *clangs sword to shield dramatically*

6. Go to the Renaissance Faire.

I have dreamed of going to the Ren Faire my entire life. I was OBSESSED with the middle ages since I was two, and ADORED historical reenactments. I never thought we went to enough of them. (I still don't.) So now that I am an adult and make my own decisions, some time this summer I am going to abduct my sister (and maybe some friends) and drive off towards Bristol and the Faire.

7. Read whatever the heck I want.

I've realized that I dislike reading challenges. Reading is supposed to be relaxing time for me, and when I think that one genre is going to do the trick, I do not want to feel guilty that I should be reading a different one, just to fulfill a challenge. That's not how I work.

This past year, reading sometimes became a chore for me. THIS IS NOT COOL. I've got enough deadlines without having to add another one for reading this many of this certain type of book before this date. NO. I am freeing myself.

8. Buy lots of books.

I'm extremely frugal when it comes to buying books. Why own them when I've got a library two blocks away? But I realized this year: sometimes, when you just LOVE a book, you've got to OWN it, so you can stroke it and whisper sweet nothings to it WHENEVER you feel like. Right?

Barnes and Noble, here I come.

9. Keep a notebook.

I've already sort of started one - it's mostly for character ideas - but I want to develop this notebooking habit. I think it'll help with creativity and story plot ideas.


Oh well. I always give in to them. They're just so cute.

10. Write consistently. 

I say this every single year.
I fail every single year.
Will 2015 be the year of truth? I hope so.

What are some of your 2015 plans and resolutions? How was 2014 for you? Did it treat you well? And link me your TTT in the comments!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Writing Wish List (and BUNNIES!)

There are a lot of stories in my head.

Actually, let's change that.

There are a lot of plot bunnies in my head. A huge messy rabbit cage of cuddly little plot bunnies hopping about and bumping into each other.

I'd like to write them all someday, and this post is a list of some of them.

Other bloggers' writerly wish lists have been floating around the internet lately, and I believe the first one originated at Kara's blog, Diary of a Teen Writer. (*cheers*) 
Some other lists I've read are Emily's and Cait's. And now here's mine!


1. Slavic Fantasy

You all know how much I love that the Grisha Trilogy is Slavic fantasy. We need more of it, and I plan to contribute to this most worthy endeavor!

2. Actually, any Non-Western Fantasy

You know who was the king of fantasy-diversity? Lloyd Alexander. That guy experimented with a bunch of different cultures in his books. And I want to try some. Nordic fantasy? African fantasy? East Asian fantasy? Inuit fantasy? Middle eastern fantasy? GIVE ME ALL THE CULTURES. I will rock them all.

3. Something Paranormal

I've never written anything supernatural or paranormal. It seems like it would be so much fun! I would do all my research on all the details of paranormal activity - and it would all be super ancient and traditional-like. It would also have a girl werewolf with a completely normal, average, boring (ie, human) boyfriend who has no clue that his girlfriend is... kind of different.
(This also has a Pinterest board attached to it.)

4. Something Arthurian - but with a modern twist.
King Arthur is a college kid, and his round table is his gang. I don't know where I would go with this, but it would be fun writing the characters!

5. A romance in which the girl chooses herself

I'm getting a bit tired of love triangles, but done well, they can still succeed. What I absolutely dislike is when there is some greater danger, but the girl is pondering whom to marry. Romance isn't everything! Sometimes, there's, like, danger of death, perhaps? coughKatnisscough

just no
I'd love to write a book in which the girl realizes that a relationship just isn't working out right now - and chooses herself.
(Actually, this is sort of in the works. I haven't started actually writing it, but I DO have a Pinterest board. So that's something.)
(Of course, I could also go with the guy choosing himself. It works either way.)

6. A mystery that involves a code within music.

I've written one mystery before - a short story - and it was fun. But it was also super hard. Making sure all the clues line up, all the paths lead to the ending, all the motivations make sense - gosh, that was a lot of work. But I'd like to try it again. And I'd like it to involve music. 
Something like: a violinist sounds bad, but he's actually sending a code to his friend outside his window.

7. A story with super twist ending.
 (I suppose this could sort of fall into #7.)
Because plotting isn't my forte, twist endings generally don't happen for me. But I'd love to write a story (probably a short story) where the last sentence reveals that whole extra dimension and the reader goes WHOA DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING

Wouldn't that be cool? But it would take a LOT of skill. Gonna have to work on that.

8. An underwater/mermaid book

I've just recently started thinking about mermaids a lot. They're usually not my thing. But perhaps I should experiment?

9. Something with mirrors as the gateway to an alternate reality 

Because that's both creepy and awesome at the same time.

So now you've met some of my favorite plot bunnies! (I'm not a very fair bunny mama. I play favorites.)

Come, my plot bunnies! I will feed you and you shall grow into big strong novels!

Tell me about YOUR writerly wish list! Introduce me to your plot bunnies! (You know this entire post has been an excuse for me to google adorable bunny gifs.) And tell me which one of my story ideas absolutely MUST happen. 

goodbye for now