Posts Tagged ‘novel’

just written

 

I stumbled upon an article while browsing for tips and tricks on writing, and thought it was really helpful. Writing can be intimidating, especially with a first draft. It’s so overwhelming, and hard to decide where to start. Some writers argue that you should start at the end of the novel. Some argue that you should begin with crafting your characters. I’m sort of in that place right now where I’m stuck with my writing, and this lays out a customizable formula for how to write your novel.

 

Here it is if you want to check it out!

Advertisements

etc

There are a large portion of words that make sense.
Undergarments: articles of clothing that you wear under your garments.
Tablecloth: a cloth that you put on top of a table.
These words just make sense.
However, I would say that the greater portion of words don’t make sense.

My friend and I recently had a thoughtful conversation about the meaning of words. Now you may be thinking that the meaning of words could elicit a philosophical discussion to rival Socrates, Aristotle, and Confucius (*sarcasm).

However, this conversation basically consisted of us repeating the word “shoe” over and over again, saying, “the more you say it, the weirder it sounds! Shoe, shoe, shoe, shoe, shoe!” We discussed the thought process behind the term “shoe.”

The way we imagined it was as follows: “I don’t like walking outside, it hurts my feet. If only there was something I could make to protect my feet… I WILL CRAFT THEM AND I WILL CALL THEM SHOES.”

I highly doubt it was anything like that, but whatever.

The next word we covered was the imponderable et cetera. You may recognize its shorthand, “etc. The word et cetera is of Greek origin, meaning “and other things,” or “and so on.” That makes sense, because that’s exactly how et cetera is used. But I just wonder why that particular combination of letters to describe “there are more items on this list, but I don’t want to write them all.”

I’m sure there’s a logical reason, but sometimes speculating is more fun.

I imagine someone just sitting at their desk in ancient Greece, writing a letter. He probably has an incredible jaw line, an impressive beard rivaling that of Grizzly Adams, and is most likely donning a fashionable toga. Let’s call him Leonidas (because why not?). His letter would sound something like this… hypothetically:

“Dearest Isidora,

I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to share with you a story I recently read. It’s called The Odyssey. It was written by Homer, the guy who wrote The Iliad. There are a lot of cool gods and goddesses that make appearances in this story. It talks about Athena, Zeus, Poseidon..”

Leonidas has a thought.

He doesn’t want to list the rest of them. What could he write to indicate that there are additional deities mentioned in The Odyssey? He decides that he will just put “etc.” at the end, short for et cetera. He took the liberty of creating this word, because there should be a word that means, “there’s more, but I don’t really feel like listing the rest.”

Now Leonidas has this letter:

“Dearest Isidora,

I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to share with you a story I recently read. It’s called The Odyssey. It was written by Homer, the guy who wrote The Iliad. There are a lot of cool gods and goddesses that make appearances in this story. It talks about Athena, Zeus, Poseidon, etc. I really suggest you give it a read! Until next time,

-Leonidas”

[Disclaimer: This post has little to no historical validity. I did not do well in my World Empires class. Also, Grizzly Adams was not an ancient Greek.]


 

I was thinking that if you guys have any words that you find exceptionally weird, you could write your own account of how you believe the word came to be. If you choose to do so, tag this post – I want to read them! Thanks for checking out this post! 

I think vending machines have a personal vendetta against me. It’s not something I noticed at a young age, but after countless incidents, I began to wonder if they were conspiring against me. 

When I was a kid, I would always make my grandpa hand over all his quarters so I could put them in the 25 cent machine. Gum balls, plastic rings, temporary tattoos, you know the drill. I was always convinced that I would get the exact color, flavor, or design that I wanted. Obviously this was not the case. Never once did I get the Barbie tattoo I so desired. Instead, I ended up with a drawer full of temporary tattoos of dragons, flames, and skulls. I was very girly, and wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than Mattel’s finest. And so began my lifelong battle against vending machines.

When I moved into my dorm last fall, I was happy to see a diverse array of vending options. There were lots of snacks, sodas, a machine with specialty drinks (Snapple, Vitamin Water, Starbucks Frappuchino, etc.) and best of all a refrigerated vending machine with yogurt, White Castle burgers, mini pizzas, muffins, and more. About a month into the school year, the refrigerated vending machine became neglected. Its supply dwindled until it was empty, and it was never refilled again for the remainder of the year.

I found solace in the regular snack machine that featured Doritos, fruit snacks, Cheetos, Skittles, and the like. Pretty much your standard snack machine. However, I quickly discovered a major flaw in this particular vending machine. I suppose it was an effort to provide more variety, but it posed a serious issue. Instead of nacho cheese Doritos being B7 and cool ranch being B8, the flavors were both in B7, alternating cool ranch and nacho cheese. I was particularly fond of the Combos. They’re delicious stuffed pretzels, with many flavor options for the filling. The nacho cheese Combos were the only ones I liked, but the machine offered cheddar cheese, pepperoni pizza, and jalapeño cheddar in addition to my beloved nacho cheese pretzel snacks. I was rarely lucky enough to find the nacho cheese Combos in the front.

Combos-Coupon

I went downstairs around midnight one night to get a snack to carry me through the rest of a research paper. I swiped my meal card once. Pepperoni pizza. I swiped my meal card again. Cheddar cheese. I swiped my card once more. Pepperoni pizza again. This was followed by another bag of cheddar cheese Combos. I swiped my card AGAIN. Jalapeño cheddar. See, I wasn’t joking when I said that vending machines conspire against me. But once the jalapeño cheddar bag fell into the bottom of the machine, where a feast was quickly accumulating, I saw the nacho cheese combos in all their glory.

Finally! I swiped my card and carefully entered A4. The spiraling arm began to release my beloved snacks… Wait. It stopped. The nacho cheese Combos dangled from the A4 slot, but they didn’t fall within my reach. This is not a joke; this is my life in a nutshell. There were people in the lobby, so I didn’t want to violently shake the machine, demanding they release my flavored pretzel snacks. I saw that a bag of cheddar cheese Combos were next in queue. I kept my cool and swiped my card again, and entered A4. My nacho cheese Combos were released, followed closely by the exceptionally repulsive cheddar cheese Combos. I opened the bottom of the machine to retrieve my snacks. I struggled to push the flap back to extract my winnings, realizing that the trough where the snacks fell was full.

I was going to make a spectacle of myself, cradling 7 bags of pretzel snacks back to my room. Should I leave them? Someone left a snack that I was fortunate enough to discover once. I was excited until I discovered that it was an oatmeal raisin cookie, no doubt abandoned in a quest for a honey bun. What choice did I have? I grabbed the snacks and tried to make a clean escape. Of course the elevator was full of people. By the time I reached the 7th floor where I lived, I had given away the bags I didn’t want and rid myself of the less desirable flavors, left only with one bag of nacho cheese Combos. This became a regular occurrence in my quest for nacho cheese goodness.


 

My first thought when I read The Daily Post’s prompt, Vending Wishes, was that I would create a vending machine that dispensed ideas. In theory, it would be groundbreaking. If you were experiencing writer’s block, all you would have to do was go to the vending machine for some inspiration.
Ideas for horror fiction in B8. Romance in F6. Crime drama in G3.
Then I remembered my struggles with vending machines.

Something would go wrong, no matter how simple it seems. I would likely spend 30 minutes in front of the idea vending machine, trying desperately to bust writer’s block and get that idea for a mind-blowing fantasy novel as I flooded the machine with unwanted ideas for comic strips, biographies, and children’s books. 

You’re catching up with extended family at a Christmas get together. When you’re home for winter break, all your family members are asking, “how is school going?”

Then your aunt asks the question you’ve been dreading.

What’s your major?

You sigh, because you know it’s coming. “English,” I answer. I brace myself for what is sure to follow. I always hope there will be just a nod of approval, but that is never the case.

“What are you planning on doing with that major? Are you going to be a teacher?”
(There was a whole day of my life, when I was in 7th grade, that I wanted to be a teacher. After serving as a student assistant to a 3rd grade teacher for one hour a day for one semester, that notion had vanished. If you don’t think teachers are underpaid, I highly recommend sitting in on a classroom for a day.)

No, I want to be a writer…

They just look at you for a moment, trying to formulate their response as best they can. If they’re trying to be polite, their response is usually something along the lines of, “wow, that’s a tough industry.” At a glance you may think that they’re admiring your determination, but they’re silently evaluating your audacious, risky career choice.
The bolder, less polite family members may give you something like this: “A writer? Hm, not much job security in that. Good luck, though.”

Sigh.

I’m not trying to be a jerk here, really. I love my family and I know they mean well, but are they expecting their comments to give me some sort of revelation? It’s as if they’re expecting me to have an epiphany right before their eyes as I shout, “by George, you’re right! I need to get started on a med school application ASAP!”

I mean, technically they are right. There isn’t a lot of job security as a writer, or any job in the entertainment industry for that matter. However, there are a few things about writing that only writers will understand. And it is precisely these things that make being a writer worthwhile.


 

As a doctor, you would be taught about diseases, symptoms, diagnoses, procedures and treatments. The majority of a doctor’s arsenal of knowledge is learned.
Imagine if your doctor said, “I believe that your memory loss and seizures are occurring because you have a brain tumor. I haven’t been to medical school, so I’m not exactly sure how to interpret your MRI to pinpoint the location of the mass, but if you let me cut open your head and get a better look at your frontal lobe, I’m sure I’ll find it eventually.”

I think I’ll get a second opinion, but thanks anyway, Doc.

Medicine is a science; I believe that writing is an innate ability.

Sure, you can learn to diagram sentences, how to spell, and how to properly punctuate your writing. All that is very important, but if any of you are writers, I would be willing to bet that you’ve always been somewhat inclined to it; it comes easier to you than the kids who prospered in Geometry, while you struggled to understand Pythagorean Theorem.
(Maybe you were good at both writing and math, but I like to assume that the world is not that unfair.
-Sincerely, I have never made an A in math.
)

I’m not saying that formalized training isn’t important as a writer, because it is. Practice, guidance, constructive criticism and encouragement help writers’ skills to flourish. However, I can’t think of a way to teach someone to be creative. There’s no book to memorize that holds the key to imagination. There’s no formula that will give you creativity when you solve for x. Creativity is 100% your own, and that’s what makes it so special. If you were blessed with creativity, cherish it. Use it. It was given to you for a reason.

writing fabric

Writers and non-writers can both agree that writing is not a job. 
To writers, though, the reason we don’t consider it a job is because it’s simply doing what we love. It was a little known talent that fell into our laps. With a little practice, it turned into a hobby. With experience, it turned into an addiction.

If you’re truly a writer, writing does become a sort of addiction. The good kind, mostly.
The more you write, the more your fingers ache to reconnect with the keys the minute you walk away.
Some days it makes you feel hopeless. You sit down and nothing happens. You try to write, because you know you can, but it’s all garbage. You walk away clouded with frustration. Better luck next time.
Other days, the days that writers live for, words flow from your fingertips like blood from a vein. You get lost in your writing. Sometimes I feel as if it traveled from my mind to the page so quickly I wasn’t even fully aware of what I was writing. However, you know better than to stop. Finally you’ve emptied your heart, mind, and soul onto the paper. You step back to read what you’ve written. Sure, there are some spelling errors, you’re missing a few commas, and since your protagonist does not yet have a name, all the places where his or her name should be is the name of your favorite pet. It’s exactly what you wanted. You keep re-reading it, adding apostrophes and quotation marks as you go. You’ve read through it close to fifteen times now, but you don’t mind.
This is what I wish I could convey to all those people concerned with a writer’s job security.

If writing is important to you, then you understand the little things like that, which make writing worthwhile. All the stress over a title, creating the perfect characters, and crafting a story that is worthy of them. When it comes down to it, none of that matters. When you look at a finished product, I guarantee you won’t feel bitter about all the problems you had creating it. You will feel accomplished and infinitely proud. And let’s face it, it’s something that non-writers will never understand.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you guys deal with negative influence about writing, and what makes it all worthwhile to you! 
Thanks for reading!

Aren’t you too old for Disney World?

I was 13 years old the first time I had my heart broken. It happened when my grandma spoke those words to me. Too old for Disney World? Is that even possible? Even if it is, I thought I had at least 4 more summers of Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. The thoughts of never again being able to sit in one of the Mad Hatter’s spinning teacups was completely devastating.

Spoiler Alert: At 19 years old, I still wholeheartedly believe that Disney World truly is the happiest place on Earth.

I hate to hear people say things like, “aren’t you too old for that?” I don’t think there should be an expiration date on things you love and enjoy. In fact, I think there are a lot of things from childhood that stay in our lives forever. It’s nostalgic and you can’t help but smile thinking about the “little things” that you cherished from growing up. Most of my favorite memories occurred in the first ten years of my life.

With that being said, I still love fairy tales. I always have. I don’t know what it is about them, but I adore fairy tales. There has been a recent wave of popular TV shows centered around fairy tales including GrimmOnce Upon a Time, and Beauty & the Beast. Hollywood has been churning out scores of movies based on fairy tales for years. The best among these, in my opinion, include Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, and of course Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I haven’t been to see Maleficent yet, but I have every intention of doing so.

I’m sure most of you have seen a Hollywood movie or TV series based on a fairy tale, and perhaps even read one of the original stories. Many of the stories, in their original form, are actually quite dark. In the original version of Cinderella, one of the evil stepsisters cuts off one of her toes in order to make the shoe fit her. The Grimm Brothers, who are responsible for many of the fairy tales that you know and love, have written over 200 stories – You can read a lot of the stories here.

One of my favorite stories from Grimm’s Fairy Tales is called Godfather Death. I encourage you guys to read this one. I should warn you, this one is a fairly dark story, if you didn’t gather that from the title. I hope you guys enjoy this story as much as I do. I had actually started writing a story based around this Grimm fairy tale a while back. Unsurprisingly, it has been filed away with countless other stories I have begun with every intention of finishing, but have yet to do so.

hepburn fairy tales


So now I ask: Are you a fan of fairy tales? Do you prefer the original stories or the refashioned tellings that you can see on the big screen? Which stories are your favorite, and which are your least favorite? Leave a comment and let me know! Thank you for reading!

Every time I hear any promise of alleviation when it comes to writer’s block, I am immediately overcome with excitement, determined I have found the cure. Each and every time this happens, I am disappointed to find that I have not, in fact, discovered a groundbreaking tactic for overcoming the dreaded writer’s block. Some are more helpful than others, but when you find a technique that improves your writing or motivation, that’s a win in my book.

In a recent post, I explained the dynamics of writer’s block and other struggles that we, as writers, face. Well, I’m here to offer you a solution. Okay, there is no solution for writer’s block… But sitting around waiting for inspiration is for the weak! Go find inspiration, don’t wait for it to come to you. This post will help you learn to generate your own inspiration; it will give you new ideas, improve the ones you have, and eliminate the ones you don’t need.

The technique I am going to share with you all is inspired by two parts. One is a great post I stumbled upon called Squirrels and Killing My Inner Editor. Give this post a read, because it’s awesome. The writer of this post shared a tool that she found to be useful.

This wonderful tool is called Scrawl. Once you open Scrawl, you’ll be faced with a message telling you to “write something!” Scrawl encourages unfiltered writing; it allows you to set a writing timer, and if you stop typing for ___ amount of seconds, Scrawl will, ahem, redirect your attention back to your writing (read: make sure your volume is set to a level that won’t burst your eardrums.) You can also instruct Scrawl to keep you from deleting anything you’ve written. Explore the options, see what is most helpful to you.

writing-journal275

In writing my morning pages as Julia Cameron instructs, I have discovered how helpful unfiltered writing can be. Essentially as I’m writing, I’m just thinking out loud. I was facing a bad case of writer’s block working while working on my novel, so I turned to my morning pages. I had a conversation with the journal. I bounced ideas off of the journal. It was a huge help. Sometimes just thinking about it isn’t enough, but trying to formally organize your plot is a little too overwhelming. As you’re writing it, you will probably feel as if you’re accomplishing nothing, but give it time.

I find it most beneficial to begin with the absolute basics of your story. Start with a less details. As you ease into the part of the story that you’re stuck on, start giving more details. Every possible path the story could take, write it down. For example: your main character has just been offered a job in New York City to work for a fashion magazine. Does she give in to her controlling boyfriend’s urging and stay in rural Oklahoma? Does she break up with him and accept her dream job? If she stays in Oklahoma, will their relationship even last? If she moves to New York, will she find love in the city? Will her dream job turn out to be a nightmare, leaving her wondering why she ever left her hometown? How would each of these outcomes play out? How would they affect your story? Write it all down. It may seem redundant, but you never know what will inspire you, so try not to take shortcuts. If it would be more beneficial for you to draw instead of, or in addition to writing, I don’t see any reason why you can’t. Doodle away! Finish out your 3 daily morning pages, and then look back over them. It should look a little bit like this:

So I’m stuck figuring out where my main character, Peter Parker, is going to turn now. Now that he’s been bitten by a mutated turtle, he might not be able to run as fast as before. Maybe I should change it to a more lethal, intimidating animal. What about a raccoon? That could work. Peter gets rabies and turns into a raccoon. Hmm.. There has to be something better. If I was Mary Jane Watson, I totally wouldn’t be cool with my boyfriend turning into a raccoon. What about a spider? A radioactive spider. That’s it! Peter Parker by day, Spider-Man by night!

It doesn’t have to be neat. It doesn’t have to have correct spelling or proper punctuation. I encourage you to write in pen, so you’re not tempted to erase. Don’t over-think this! My reason for incorporating Scrawl into this post, is for those of you who would prefer to type your morning pages, as opposed to writing them in a journal. It’s up to you. Scrawl is a really useful resource regardless, don’t limit yourself to using it only for this exercise.

Side note: The website where you can find Scrawl has some other helpful tools. Know Thyself is a character building exercise; the computer asks you a series of rapid fire questions about your characters; answer as fast as you can. When you complete the questions, the website compiles a character profile from your answers. Even if you think you know your characters inside and out, it really makes you think. Try it out!


 

To anyone who has previously used these methods, or decides to try it after reading this post, let me know what you think. Is there something else that works better for you? Don’t hesitate to share! I’m sure I am not the only one who wants to collect as many tips and tricks as possible. Thanks for reading!

When I read today’s topic from The Daily Post, countless ideas flooded my mind. If I could be any celebrity for one day, who would it be?

My first thought was whatever supermodel was fortunate enough to be currently dating Leonardo DiCaprio. No, that would be a waste of the day. (I’ll come back for you, Leo.)

After that notion faded, my mind came to a few of my favorite directors. Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Green Mile), Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight), or Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist). I can’t imagine what fifteen minutes inside the mind of any one of these men would be like. Maybe it would inspire a new way of thinking that would skyrocket me to fame, my name mentioned with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino. I kind of envision me just walking around in their minds as if they were museums. I would see all the fantastic ideas they had already claimed as their own, without thinking of any for myself.

Okay, maybe I’ll be an actress. Working under the direction of one of the greatest directors to ever life has to be inspiring, right? My favorite actress is definitely Kathy Bates. If you haven’t seen the movie Misery, watch it and tell me she isn’t the most incredible actress to ever walk the earth. Or maybe I could play a Victorian era goddess compliments of Keira Knightley. Can I go back in time to be Christian Bale in American Psycho? I have the Huey Lewis & The News scene memorized, I would blow everyone away. Then again, I feel like there is never a day that being Bruce Willis is a bad idea. That could work. I can do Die Hard. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Smith, Sandra Bullock and Emma Watson are also among my favorites. Or I could be Bethenny Frankel from The Real Housewives of New York. (The last one is a joke.)

Then the answer came to me.

The most brilliant writer to ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Horror maven, Mr. Stephen King. The man responsible for The Shining, It, Carrie, The Mist, Misery, The Green Mile.. Shall I continue? Clearly this man’s imagination is a gold mine. If I could think like Stephen King, there was nothing I couldn’t do. Although, I wouldn’t just want to inhabit his body and live as him for a day. Can I just sit in a dark corner of his flourishing mind and see how his imagination works?

Come to think of it, Stephen King’s mind is a celebrity in itself. That is who I would be. A fly on the wall in the mind of the Master of the Macabre, himself.

Quotation-Stephen-King-sympathy-Meetville-Quotes-37601

Being home for summer, you have to get creative to keep yourself entertained. And I figured a good way to keep busy would be to start putting a dent in the infinite stack of books I have purchased but not read.

I decided on Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I bought this book a while back. It was on sale for $5 at Barnes and Noble in honor of the upcoming release of the final book in the series. The book had a really interesting cover and a great sale price. The synopsis written on the back cover was interesting enough for me to seal the deal.

hush-hush

So here’s the plot, in a nutshell: Awkward high school girl, Nora Grey, is assigned a new lab partner in biology. He is elusive, uncooperative, and refuses to answer any of her questions. She figures out that his name is Patch, but that’s about all she learns. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and despite being endlessly frustrating, she finds herself strangely attracted to him. He begins showing up at the same places she is, claiming it was coincidence. She later finds out that he is something more than what he seems. Their romance plays out in a gloomy, rainy locale (for example: Maine or Washington.)

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Nora Grey is basically a reinvented Bella Swan. Nora is more annoying than the book version of Bella, but less annoying than the movie version of Bella. Patch and Nora meet in biology class, just like Edward and Bella. Patch descends into frustratingly mysterious behavior, also just like Edward. Nora’s friend Vee Sky is seemingly intended to be the comedic relief, but just comes off as kind of annoying, not unlike Jessica Stanley in Twilight. Nora gets into trouble when she travels to a nearby town, Portland, only to be rescued by her elusive love interest. Maybe it’s just me but that sounds strikingly similar to when Bella gets scared in the alley while on a trip to Port Angeles, only to have Edward come to her rescue in the nick of time. There was no secret in beginning Twilight or Hush, Hush that the male leads were superhuman.

I don’t know about you, but when I read Twilight, I knew Edward was a vampire from the beginning. I read the book before all the hype began to generate from the movie, so there weren’t endless spoilers everywhere I turned. It just wasn’t that hard to figure out. As for Hush, Hush, all you had to do to realize that Patch was a fallen angel, was look at the cover of the novel. If there was any doubt left in your mind, the summary on the back would surely clear it up for you.

There were some good things about this book, and some bad things. I think Becca Fitzpatrick does a good job of creating this Hush, Hush world that readers just fall into. Some may disagree, but this book was a page turner for me. I finished it in just a couple hours. While it was easy to read, that doesn’t mean the story was great. It most definitely doesn’t mean that the story was original. I am certain I would’ve appreciated this book if it was the first of its kind. I read Twilight when I was about 12 years old, and I was completely enamored by it. I had never read anything like it. Now, 7 years later, Barnes & Noble has a section dedicated solely to “paranormal romance.” Hush, Hush just seems stale. It was entertaining and I enjoyed reading it, but books like that are a dime a dozen. There wasn’t really anything special about it. I intend to read the rest of the books in the series (Crescendo, Silence, and Finale.)

This is the summary from the back of the novel, if you want a better idea of what the story is about:
When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. But before long, Nora’s defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she’s thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back? As their connection grows stronger, Nora’s own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

Upon doing a little research for this post, I learned a film adaptation of Hush, Hush is in the very early stages of production (fingers crossed for Thomas Dekker to play Patch.) Patrick Sean Smith, writer behind ABC Family’s Greek, has been commissioned to write the script for the film. If you want to get ahead of the movie hype, now is your chance.

If you enjoyed Twilight, and are just looking for a quick, easy read, Hush, Hush isn’t a bad choice. If you’re looking for groundbreaking literature, I don’t think I need to tell you to look elsewhere.

Let The Right One In, released in 2008, is a Swedish horror film starring Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. You can watch the trailer for the film here, or watch it in its entirety on Netflix. The film is based off of a novel of the same name by John Adjvide Lindqvist. If there’s one thing about Let The Right One In, it’s that it cannot be easily categorized. While it is considered both a horror film, and a vampire film, it really doesn’t seem right to categorize it as either.

Kare Hedebrant plays 12-year-old Oskar. He is the quiet, socially awkward target of school bullies. He notices a girl around his age and her father moving into the apartment next to his family’s. He later finds out that the girl’s name is Eli, and the man with her is not, in fact, her father. His job is to get blood for Eli. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Eli is a vampire. After letting her borrow his Rubik’s cube, which she returns solved, she and Oskar begin to form a friendship.

let_the_right_one_in

I had heard countless rave reviews about this film, claiming that it was much better than the U.S. version, Let Me In (starring Chloe Grace Moretz, also available to stream on Netflix). Reviews said not to be put off by the fact that this is a “vampire movie.” It’s more of just a movie, that happens to have a vampire in it. That’s mostly true; it’s unlike any other vampire film I’ve ever seen. There are definitely no sparkling Edward Cullens in this film. While there are still age old vampire tropes included (aversion to sunlight, being unable to cross a threshold without being invited in) it is still quite unique. It sounds pretty generic in the summary I provided above, but I kept it short to avoid major spoilers.

Here’s where I’m probably going to upset some fans. I didn’t think this movie was all it’s cracked up to be. After reading 100 positive reviews for every 1 negative review, I was convinced I was about to see something profound. I enjoyed watching this movie, but I was quite disappointed. The story didn’t waste time getting started, but nothing exceptionally eventful really happened until the first hour had passed. Going in to the film, I was thinking that I would like Eli because she was a “good” vampire; a misunderstood, tortured soul. I found myself pretty indifferent to her. Oskar elicited more emotion from me. I was rooting for him to fight back and stop letting the bullies get the better of him. I think the only reason I really like Eli at all was because she seemed to be the only thing that made Oskar happy.

To be completely honest, and this is just my opinion that 99% of people will disagree with: I found Twilight more entertaining than Let The Right One In. I’m not saying that Twilight has a better story, but I didn’t find myself bored at times, like I did while watching Let The Right One In. (Yes, I enjoyed watching Twilight. Judge me.)

The story, as I said, is very unique. I can appreciate that. It’s not at all a bad film, in fact, it’s a pretty good one as far as story quality goes. I just didn’t enjoy watching it as much as I had anticipated. It’s possible I would have felt different if I had watched the film without hearing all the hype, but as it stands, it was really just okay for me.

If any have you have seen this film (or the American version, which I haven’t seen) let me know what you thought! I would love to hear your opinions (aside from bashing me for saying I liked Twilight.) Thanks for reading!

I stumbled across this excerpt from a commencement speech that actor Jim Carrey gave at Maharishi University of Management. You can find the speech in its entirety here, but what Carrey says in this excerpt is so profound. He talks about why you should go after your dreams, and how his father inspired him to do so.

Carrey’s father, instead of embracing his talent as a comedian, decided to take a safer course and become an accountant. Later on, his father ended up losing his accounting job, leaving his family to do whatever they could to survive. So Jim Carrey brings up a good point; you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. He claims that we come to believe that our dreams are too big and too far out of reach, that we can’t ask the universe to make them come true. Instead, we choose our paths “out of fear disguised as practicality.”


I’m sure I’m not alone in that I have struggled in choosing between the safe route and what I truly love. As long as I can remember, writing has been my passion. I knew I wanted to write stories and make movies. And yet, everything I did was to ensure my path to medical school. Then I realized that, while I did find it interesting, and it would probably be a satisfying job, I didn’t think I could ever be satisfied with not following my dreams.

It started with me changing my major at Appalachian State from Natural Science (a psychology major that includes all the classes necessary for applying to medical school) to Creative Writing. At first I was worried that I was throwing away a sure thing based on a chance that my dreams might come true. Already fearing that I may had made a poor decision, naturally I decided to take it a step further.

I made the decision to not return to ASU this fall. Instead, I will spend the year working, and compiling a portfolio to apply at the North Carolina School of the Arts. I’m hoping to get into their school of filmmaking, concentrating in either directing or screenwriting.

I always think of the quote: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” 
My mind always fills with ideas. The sky is the limit. Then I step back and realize how much fear of failure truly holds us back.

Have any of you ever deviated from the “safe route” in order to pursue your dreams? What was it, and what made you decide to take a chance?

Thanks for reading!