Friday, 22 March 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: Why I Don't Want to Get Published

If my mom comes across this post she will probably let out a gasp. But seriously, everyone in my personal life has just assumed that since I am pursuing creative writing in school, I want to be a writer as a career. For the purpose of this post, I am talking about being a full-time writer of fiction, because I know there are a ton of jobs that fall under the category of writing. We will get to that later. For a long time, I thought that my lifelong dream was to be published. I knew that you could not exit university and immediately become a bestseller, however I expected to do other things on the side, with the ultimate goal being writing full-time. However, I am now here to exclaim that I do not want to write as a career. Quite frankly, I'm not even sure if I want to get published.

Here's the thing, I have never had the time to finish a work. I pretty much only write fiction when I am doing exercises during my class, however on my spare time, you will never see me just pick up my laptop and start writing. I like to think I have a WIP, but the truth is, I haven't touched it in about a year and the only use it has been to me is using it for university assignments.

I'm beginning to find that I force myself to write. I pick up my laptop expecting to find enjoyment from entering a world of fiction, however I am more focused on checking the time to decide when I can be done. I often feel like I am on some sort of clock, that I need to start forming this WIP because if I want to get published in 5-10 years, the process needs to start now.

The others in my program often talk about their extensive plans to immediately start editing after uni, start sending out query letters, and even self-publishing. However, those goals never excite me. I already get so unbelievably anxious when people in my class edit my work, that the thought of some successful executive at a publishing company reading it makes my heart pound. The truth is, I don't think I will ever be at the point where I want to share my writing with the world.

I understand getting published is a dream that everyone in my program, and pretty much every writer shares, but it's not mine. I am perfectly fine with not worrying about a deadline, with not worrying about my writing being perfect, original, flowing nicely with no plot holes. Instead, I would like to just ramble, to write something that makes no sense and sharing it with myself and myself only. I want to do it for fun, but I don't want to do it for my job.

So recently, a girl in one of my classes who I had helped edit an essay before, asked me to edit something else for her. She said that she loves the feedback I give her and that I would be a great editor. That's when I got thinking, maybe I don't want to write the work, maybe I want to edit it? Now forgive my ignorance, I honestly have no idea if you can even edit professionally without having published anything yourself, but I really want to expand my editing skills and maybe see if I can reach out to others and lend my expertise. I understand that editing does fall under the category of a writing job, but I quite like the idea of keeping my personal writing to myself, and helping others who have a dream that I just cannot share.

So I've finally said it: I don't think getting published is for me. The process, quite frankly, stresses me out, and I don't think I will ever even finish something that is worth being put out there. This is not me just being cynical, or "giving up," this is just me being a realist. And this is certainly NOT me telling anyone else that there's no point in them trying to get published either. I have just found that with my habits, my anxieties, and my future, publishing just doesn't line up with it. Who knows, maybe one day I will change my mind, but for now, I'm just living my life without that goal in mind.

What are some of your writing goals?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 15 March 2019

Poetry Review: Secrets of a Broken Heart by: Lee Martens

*Please note, I received a copy of this poetry collection from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Genre: Poetry
Published: October 26, 2018 by: Secret Midnight Press
Pages: 216
Rating: 4/5 stars

In this poetry collection, Lee Martens explores themes of love, heartbreak, mental health and healing. Using poems of varying lengths, Martens uses her past experiences of journeying into adulthood to guide the reader along a path of healing after a heartbreak. Her poems each tell a different journey, but all stem from the same goal: sometimes when you have a broken heart, you need to learn to pick up the pieces and heal yourself.

I'll be honest, I don't read a lot of poetry. I will pretty much always pick up the standard book over a poetry collection in a book store. I think I've also harboured some resentment towards it in the past because I have never been able to write it myself haha! However, I usually find that when I do read it, it is extremely easy to get through and easy to get lost in. That is exactly what I found with this collection.

I loved the themes in this collection, as sometimes the meanings in poetry can go straight over my head and I don't understand them. However, these poems had a sort of simplicity to them, they didn't try too hard to be overly metaphorical, instead, they spoke for themselves. And I thought that was beautiful.

I had a special appreciation for the poem, "Unrealistic Television." As an avid watcher of dating shows, particularly The Bachelor, that one really stuck with me. I also liked the poems that dealt with some sort of holiday or special event, such as "Valentine's Day," and "I Wrote this On my Birthday." I felt as if those poems really gave me the sense that the collection was moving me through a passage of time, almost a year in the life, and it was really cool.

I wasn't able to give this collection a perfect review, and that's just simply because of personal preference. Like I mentioned before, I tend to prefer regular books over poetry collections, so I don't think that poetry will ever really resonate with me as much as the average book does. That being said, I'm still really happy I gave this book a shot, and I think that if you are a regular poetry reader, it is worth checking this one out!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Month in Review: February

This is LONG overdue, but the shortness of the month underestimated me, so this post is going up in March. I am not one to stray from routine! Here's what happened in February:

What I Read:

Mockingjay by: Suzanne Collins: 4/5 stars
Divergent by: Veronica Roth: 4/5 stars
The Prisoner and the Chaplain by: Michelle Berry: 5/5 stars
Abeng by: Michelle Cliff: 3/5 stars

Favourite Book: I had to read The Prisoner and the Chaplain for my creative writing class, and the exciting thing is, I am going to interview the author! This is a fantastic crime novel from a great Canadian author.

What I Blogged:

I really enjoyed my compilation of Books for People Who Hate Reading. It was fun revisiting some old favourites!

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Lais discusses Outlining Characters vs. Outlining Plots 

Cee asks: What is a Wall? 

Life Stuff: 

February flew by! I had my reading week, so I got to go home from uni, which was really nice. I also started therapy, ended therapy, and now am starting up therapy again! It's a long story (sighs) but, I think I am finally starting to sort out my issues :)

I am really looking forward to this month because it is the last full month of the school year! Then I can relax, and hopefully have a great summer.

That was my February! How was yours?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 1 March 2019

Eclipse by: Stephenie Meyer

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Published: August 7, 2007 by: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 629
Rating: 4/5 stars

After a string of mysterious murders happen around Seattle, Bella and the Cullen's know that it must be the work of a vampire. As they start to prepare for what is sure to be a lengthy and bloody battle, Bella also struggles with her strong friendship with Jacob, and the possibility that it could be something more. Jacob's feelings threaten to reopen and age-old fight between vampires and werewolves, and Bella must choose between life with Jacob, or death with Edward.

This is my favourite movie of the Twilight series. Mostly because Seth Clearwater is my favourite character of Twilight and in this movie he truly blossoms. What a sweetheart. He must be protected. Anyways, this book also made me change my feelings towards Jacob. In the first two books, he is the best friend Bella could ask for. However in this book, he becomes aggressive and possessive, and also forces a kiss on Bella on multiple occasions. Not cool. Bella has been known to use emotional blackmail before, but in this book, this is all on Jacob, who manipulates her to give him what he wants, or she'll loose him. C'mon Jacob, I was rooting for you!!!

As my professor pointed out, this novel shows a lot of Bella's mortal, and moral dilemma. Her mortal dilemma is whether or not she wants to become a vampire, and her moral dilemma is whether or not she wants to sleep with Edward. Edward, being born in the 1900's, wants to be abstinent, however she wants to explore her sexuality. I find Edward kind of patronizing in this book because he kind of talks down to her and makes her feel bad for wanting to have sex, hence why it's called a "moral" dilemma, but at the same time, consent has to come from both sides.

I found it particularly fascinating to learn that Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon. My professor brought up the question of whether or not her Mormon religion is what persuaded such a focus on abstinence and chastity within the text. We learnt that the novel has been championed by abstinence-only education groups because this novel frequently does make pre-marital sex look like such a bad thing. As a huge opposer of abstinence-only education, it does make me wonder a lot about the book. Then again, who says that having sex is a requirement in YA, and people should be free to make their own choices.

Whatever your stance on this is, I just wanted to bring it up, because a lot of the focus in my course is on aspects of girlhood and the politics behind virginity and abstinence within the series. I just thought I'd put my new-found knowledge to use!

Anyways, back to the plot itself and what I thought, I generally liked Eclipse. While Jacob's character took a huge beating, I have always loved the wolf pack, and they really got to shine in this novel. I also found this battle to be the best out of all the novels. Despite it being a lengthy read, I flew through it.

What did you think of Eclipse? Do you have any opinions on the stance of abstinence that the book takes? Let's have a discussion!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 22 February 2019

Little Fires Everywhere by: Celeste Ng

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Published: September 12, 2017 by: Penguin Press
Pages: 338
Rating: 5/5 stars

Shaker Heights is a neighbourhood that plays by the rules. It's residents are successful and orderly, and everybody knows their place. So when Mia Warren enters town, an eccentric artist with her daughter Pearl, suspicions arise. Elena Richardson, one of Shaker Heights' most prominent residents, soon becomes weary of Mia when the adoption of a Chinese-American baby by Elena's friend puts Elena and Mia on opposing sides. Soon Elena will try to uncover the secrets of Mia's past out of spite, but it will have devastating costs for both her family, and Mia's.

This book BLEW MY MIND. It was so cleverly written, with well-rounded, developed characters and a kickass setting. It kinda had the feeling of Big Little Lies to me, but this book truly can stand on it's own of being an amazing read.

There are so many layers to this book. There are themes of motherhood, of adoption, and importantly, of culture. I think Shaker Heights as a whole was an amazing setting to place this story in because you really see how this perfect neighbourhood breaks down as the story goes on.

The characters were incredibly well-written. Elena, I loved to hate, I had such a respect for Mia as a mother, and even the Richardson children and Pearl were really developed characters. I think that Ng really succeeded in writing such complex characters that you can rally behind, but also scoff at their decisions. (But in a good way!)

Overall, the plot of this book was fascinating; the themes, really well-written, and I could not put it down. It was suspenseful, shocking, also funny at times, and I think Ng is a brilliant writer.

Have you read Little Fires Everywhere? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Saturday, 16 February 2019

My Favourite Books for People Who Hate Reading

I think we all know at least one person in our personal lives who hates to read. I know a couple, and I am even taking a literature class currently where a guy in it said that he "hated reading and would not read a single book in the course." I was as baffled as you are. Anyways, I am a firm believer that those who hate to read maybe just haven't found the right book yet, so today I am providing some novels that I think are perfect for people who hate to read.

1. The Outsiders by: S.E. Hinton

It's no secret that I love this book, but I can honestly say that I have witnessed so many people who aren't into reading, pick this up, and never put it down. My sister is included. It's short, gets the action going right away, and when you're finished it, you can reward yourself with the movie which is as good as the book!

2. The Hunger Games series by: Suzanne Collins

You might think it's stupid to recommend a whole series to people who may not even like picking up a standalone, but just trust me. I recently re-read the series and found a whole new appreciation for it. I think it is really easy to follow, as well as not too long and heavy for being a series. If you have tweens in your life who struggle to find books they like, I think this series is a great introduction to YA as well.

3. The Glass Castle by: Jeannette Walls

For people who may not be too keen on fiction, I think this memoir will totally work for you! It has a really beautiful descriptive quality without being boring, and I guarantee you will be completely immersed in Walls' story.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by: Celeste Ng

I think this book is perfect for people who get caught up in dramatic television shows and forget to read. This book has it all: drama, crime, dysfunctional families in wealthy neighbourhoods. If you love reality TV, you will love this book.

5. Maus by: Art Spiegelman

Yet another recommendation courtesy of my sister, someone who hates reading. This is a graphic novel, so it won't be too dialogue heavy and the illustrations are as harrowing as the words. It is incredibly emotional.

6. The Hate U Give by: Angie Thomas

Even if you're not a reader, you'd have to be living under a rock if you haven't heard of this book. This incredible YA is full of current social issues that everyone should be aware of, as well as a lot of pop-culture references sprinkled through. This book is really up on the current times and is so easy just to fly through.

7. The Great Gatsby by: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Classics can be daunting, especially if you're not a reader. I myself am not the biggest fan of them, though one that I truly loved is The Great Gatsby. It's very short, so you don't have to be worried about boring descriptions and heavy language. The characters are very intriguing that I think it's hard not to be captivated by the writing.

So those are my recommendations! What are your book recommendations for non-readers?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 8 February 2019

New Moon by: Stephenie Meyer

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Published: September 6, 2006 by: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 563
Rating: 5/5 stars

Bella is ready to start a the school year with her new boyfriend Edward Cullen. But just as she begins to grow closer to him and his family, the Cullens unexpectedly leave Forks for good, leaving Bella devastated for most of the year. In the spring however, she finds solace in Jacob Black, her kind friend who helps her to live again. But, Jacob also hides a paranormal secret, and Bella may be forced to choose between her friend, and her former love.

This is by far my favourite of the series. I thought Jacob really shone in this book and it's hard not to love him. Bella kind of conflicts me in this book. She shuts down after Edward leaves, which really annoyed me, because she makes it seem like she can only live when Edward is with her. She also engages in some self-destructive behaviour, which is quite problematic.

I loved how the werewolves really got the spotlight in this novel. I have always preferred them to the Cullen's, and their back stories. While I do think some of the indigenous representation in this novel could have done well with actual indigenous people approving it, I still love the entire wolf pack and everything they represent. A fun thing to note though, as my professor explained, the Blacks aren't actually werewolves, rather shape shifters. My mind was blown!

Edward and Bella really annoyed me in this novel. I thought their communication sucked, and the chemistry just wasn't really there. Bella finding the need to shut down after he leaves was just plain weird and wrong, and made me loose a little faith in her. The book definitely is redeemed when Jacob comes into her life.

Overall, this is the book that really made my Team Jacob come through. I don't think I paid it much attention when I first read this novel, but now, I think that what Bella really needed in this book was a friend, and she got that. Although, we all know that Jacob wants to be more, but more on that in the next novel.

Have you read New Moon? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess