WRITE Wednesday

WRITE Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by my dear friend Poppy Simeri and Vera James every Wednesday. As What’s Up, Wednesday has wrapped up, I’m excited to jump into this new feature! It will focus on writing & reading, regular blogging, and blog friendships.

W: Writing

I’m wrapping up the first round of edits on Delia this week so I can send them to some friends for initial critiques. I can’t believe I’ve managed to cut over 30,000 words already. (It was depressingly necessary.) But I’m more excited about the story than ever since it finally has some coherency. And just yesterday Poppy herself texted me about an exciting new writing project for us to work on together. It’s going to be fun and challenging and I’m already frantically brainstorming fun things to put into it.

R: Reading

I still haven’t finished my Great Harry Potter Re-read, but I have made it to the 7th book so. It’s on the horizon. I’m hoping to be done by September 1st so that I can have read them in one year.

I also just picked up City of Bones by Cassandra Clare on a couple of friends’ recommendation. I’m about five chapters in, and I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m not 100% sold, but it’s something I can read pretty quickly, so I’ll stick with it.

I: Inspiration

I’m inspired by good writing. Books that are so good I have to set them aside to write something of my own. Books that are so beautifully written I want to do yet another round of edits to make my writing stronger. Having author-crushes makes something warm bloom in my chest that pushes me to be better, better, better.

T: Thinking Ahead

Having these Delia edits done! Seeing what wonderful and terrifying and insightful notes my friends will have for me and how I’ll possibly manage to do them while balancing grad school.

E: Encouragement

Writing friendships and crit partners! Knowing there are people cheering for me that are excited about what I’m doing is the best inspiration to keep me writing. They especially help push me toward the finish line and make the best version of the book possible. I try my best to be my writer friends’ cheerleader as well, because they’re all so amazing and I am so amazed by how talented they are.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

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Cripes, I’ve been busy. Since the last time I’ve posted I feel like my life has gone from boring to stand-still to FULL THROTTLE. I can’t stop effusing about how happy I am and it’s such a great change, it feels so wonderful, that y’all are just going to have to deal with good-mood Molly.

Let’s see. I guess the last thing I mentioned about life changes was that I’d heard back from grad schools. I was fortunate to get in to every school that I applied to (all three of them), and I settled on Syracuse University where I am happily, besottedly studying Television, Radio, and Film. I’m half-way through the summer semester and head over heels in love with it.

Which means that since my lease in DC ended in May, I have moved twice. First was a short stint at my parents’ house back in Cleveland. It was nice to be home. I think being able to spend some quality time with my family and have some semblance of a summer vacation was the best thing I could have done for my mental health. Then, on the first of July, my Dad and I each packed up a car and I moved to Syracuse, the place that I’ll call home for the next year. My house is super cute, and I’m more than a little in love with the front porch. (I will admit to desperately missing air conditioning.)

Clocking in at eleven months, 160 pages, and 67,000 words, I finished the first draft of That Golf Story. Kate and Bailey kept convincing me to add more make-out scenes, but I am done! It feels great to have another manuscript under my belt and it’s given me a chance to really sit down and focus on editing Delia. I managed to shred the first half and really rebuild it. With 50 pages left to edit, I’ve already cut out 30,000 words. I’m hoping to get the rest done in time to send it to K & B by the end of the month for preliminary feedback.

Life is almost moving too quickly, but I’m loving every second of it. I’d managed to forget that productivity breeds productivity, so after having a quiet six weeks at my parents’ house, I’m getting an absurd amount of work done. Aside from my personal writing projects, I just revised a script that my production class and I will be turning into a short film over the next three weeks. I’ll also be starring in it!

I’ve never felt a closer kinship with my heroine Hermione Granger in my entire life. We’ve been sorted (into production teams), the class selection is so overwhelming I feel like I need a time-turner, my hand snaps into the air at every opportunity, and there’s even a castle-like building on (the surprisingly gorgeous) campus!

Also, I keep forgetting and then remembering that Aaron Sorkin went to school here, and I keep dying little happy deaths. I hope you, too, are having the best July of all time.

What’s Up, Wednesday? //10\\

Welcome back to WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY,hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. To learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages. I use it to keep me writing, to make myself think about writing, and to force myself to think positive and find things to look forward to.

What I’m Reading

Well, let’s see. As predicted, I cried my way through the last 50 pages of Code Name Verity. It was agonizingly beautiful and I already picked up Rose Under Fire from the library.

I’m almost done with Adverbs by Daniel Handler. I loved A Series of Unfortunate Events by Handler (written as Lemony Snicket) and I didn’t expect Adverbs to be the same, it’s an adult book after all. But I don’t love it the way I wanted to. The vignettes are all woven together with a common cast of characters, but none of them feel compelling. None of them feel fleshed out nor the world well-developed enough for me to really be hooked.

The Great Harry Potter re-read is still underway, and I’m currently working my way through Order of the Phoenix. I expect to sprint through the first four hundred pages and have to force myself to finish it. I’m not ready for that kind of emotional pain.

What I’m Writing

That Golf Story – I’m making some serious progress! Just about three chapters to go if all of my plotting and pacing in my outline is accurate. Everything’s coming together and it’s equally exciting and nerve-wracking because I’m not ready to let go of these characters yet. But only one more golf match to write (thankfully – you can only make them so interesting) and there are relationship developments happening between the main characters. It’s all coming together.

Delia – I’m trying to use the weekends to revise, but *insert panicked laughter here* oh boy is that difficult to dive into. So I’m still just trying to jigsaw the plot of the first half together, re-tooling character introductions and meet-cutes alike.

What Works for Me

Bribes. I’m not even kidding. Once, I put off writing a kissing scene for literally weeks until Kate bribed me with a bottle of wine to finish it. And now it’s not been explicitly stated or anything, but I really revel in it when Bailey and Kate send me positive feedback and general exclamation points as they read new chapters. It gets me excited to keep writing and to think of how they’ll react to what’s to come.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

I heard back from grad schools! I got in! The relief and joy have now taken a back-burner to my frantic list-making. I have a spreadsheet of pros and cons and costs and benefits for the two programs I’m seriously considering, so that’s been my main focus.

What’s Up, Wednesday? //9\\

Welcome back to WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY,hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. To learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages. I use it to keep me writing, to make myself think about writing, and to force myself to think positive and find things to look forward to.

What I’m Reading

I just finished The Wonder Boys. It was like reading a mid-life crisis.

Tonight I’m very excited to re-start Code Name Verity. I started it last summer and put a pin in it because, while I loved it, it had to go back to the library. Then, because I couldn’t bear to see the story disappear from my life, I bought a copy. Unfortunately it arrived right after I got distracted by my Great Book Marathon of 2014 when I got Unmade, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue and had to re-read all those series before I could sink my teeth into the new additions. But now I’m ready to start it again and give it the attention it deserves because I was so in love with it last summer and I can’t wait to revisit that feeling.

What I’m Writing

That Golf Story – Last night I finished up a super fun chapter for Bailey and Kate. I can’t wait for them to read it for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I know something about how the chapter ends that they don’t. Making them wait for the next chapter will be really fun for me to torture them with.

Delia – I think I might implement a system where I force myself to revise a chunk of Delia for every chapter of TGS that I finish. Since there aren’t that many chapters of TGS left to be written, this might be a good ramp-up to the serious revision this story needs.

What Works for Me

I’d been using Google Docs to work on my WIP while away from my laptop and it was fine. Sometimes it got laggy, but on the whole it was good. My problem was actually that I kept my outline and draft in the same document and it felt cluttered. Last week I switched to using Celtx as my browser platform and I really like it. It feels cleaner and more efficient than GDocs. I also like that I can insert chapter breaks that correspond to a handy navigator. I’d only used Celtx for screenplays in the past, but it’s really easy to use and I’ve been really productive since switching to it.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Despite having the cold from hell last week, Friday was a great day! I woke up from a nap to an email that notified me of my acceptance to grad school!!! Immediately after, my roommate invited me to go see Jupiter Ascending (which was a-mah-zing), and on the way to the theater we stopped at a book store so I could finally get my hands on a copy of VE Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic.

I’m also obsessively refreshing the Classic Alice indiegogo page. Please donate if you can!

Television Tuesdays: Classic Alice

Classic Alice is not, as I first thought, about Alice in Wonderland. It is about a girl named Alice, though. A girl who allows herself to be immersed in fictional worlds. But it’s about so much more than that.

Per the Classic Alice Indiegogo page, Classic Alice is the brainchild of series creator and star, Kate Hackett. When over-achiever Alice Rackham gets a bad grade on an essay because she isn’t emotionally connecting to material, she decides to live her life according to classic novels. Her friend, Andrew Prichard, uses the opportunity to make a vlog-style documentary about the process, and together they create ‘Classic Alice’.

When I began watching, I immediately felt a kinship with Alice. The bad grade she got on her essay sent her into an emotional tailspin and in that moment, I saw myself. I’ve obsessed over papers and cried when I got grades that weren’t As. Alice immediately freaks out because we are one and the same and sometimes anything that’s not an A feels like a failure.

Alice’s long-time friend Andrew not only films Alice’s exploits, he occasionally joins her. And throughout all of this, we get glimpses of other characters in Alice’s life: her roommate Cara (who is the absolute best), her cousin Reagan, and other students at her college. And they all get fleshed out. They get backstory and depth and motivation and interests beyond their role in Alice’s life.

Throughout Alice’s project to live her life according to these classic books, she’s forced to examine her values and her goals. She makes mistakes, and it’s so refreshing to see that they’re not simply glossed over. She struggles. A lot. And sometimes she triumphs.

There’s a love story, too. I’ve found it impossible not to cheer for it (he wears plaid a lot! he’s great!) and I don’t want to resist it. The chemistry, the story, all of it’s amazing. But the most amazing part of this love story is that, for once, the creators and the show itself believes that “A relationship should not, is not, the end of a human being’s story.”

Classic Alice is wonderful. It’s addictive. It’s fun and funny and thought-provoking. More than that, it was created by a woman, it’s feminist, and it has LGBTQ characters. In short, the show is delightful, and you should be watching.

The first run of the show is over, but the amazing, brilliant people behind Classic Alice want to make more episodes. I want it to make more episodes. You should want there to be more episodes. Luckily, there’s an Indiegogo fundraiser for the show. Please donate what you can. Support this beautiful little show.

What’s Up, Wednesday? //8\\

Welcome back to WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY, hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. To learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages. I use it to keep me writing, to make myself think about writing, and to force myself to think positive and find things to look forward to.

What I’m Reading

I’m still reading Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. I’m struggling through it a bit, because it’s very, uh, self-aggrandizing. I absolutely think that is due to the main character and not the author, though. It’s written in the first-person perspective of a struggling author who’s working on his masterpiece novel. Bye-the-bye it’s also about a white dude’s mid-life crisis and I kind of want to tell Michael Chabon to stop wanking. After I give that some thought, though, I wonder if that’s spectacularly effective writing. Because the writing is good, and I’m obviously still reading. I want to see where the story goes. I’m just a little bit over reading about self-destructive white dudes.

What I’m Writing

That Golf Story – I’ve made it back to a chapter that I am deliriously happy to be writing. It’s fun, playful, and energetic, and there will be kissing.

Delia – Oh, god. I actually started revising Delia and I hate everything. I  made myself a note to “cut everything that doesn’t involve kissing, snark, or blood.” Which actually sounds like a pretty solid revision strategy. And then I realize that I’ve already cut 20k and it feels like nothing happened. Regardless, I’ve written a new opening scene and I’m cutting and pasting and crying and writing. Definitely trying not to think about the complete overhaul the first half needs.

What Works for Me

I’ve never written more quickly or been as excited to finish a section than I have since I started talking to Kate and Bailey about my work. In the past I’ve always been supremely reluctant to talk about my writing at all, but having two people that I like and trust to bounce ideas off of and get positive reinforcement from has been a blessing.

Though I may change my tune when I need them to start actively critiquing.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Last week I went to an event at the Smithsonian where I got to meet Martin Sheen! Not to sound dramatic, but it was everything I’ve ever dreamed of (and more!). The whole event was basically a conversation about his character on The West Wing and he was wonderful and funny and kind and we made so much eye contact. Watching him watch The West Wing is also my new favorite hobby.

On Friday I officially tendered my letter of resignation! Keep your fingers crossed that I get accepted to grad school or I may be in Cleveland for more than the summer. But that’s alright (eh), because I’m pretty okay with my contingency plans.

Television Tuesdays: The 100

Here, have a deceptively light-hearted gif before the show destroys your soul.

The second of The 100 is wrapping up (Wednesdays, 9pm EST, the CW) and I’m not ready. I only started watching this show over Thanksgiving break, but I caught up, I caught up fast, and I fell hard. I honestly don’t know what I was doing with my life before I started watching The 100 because it’s everything I never knew I needed.

Overview

Roughly 97 years in the future, Earth’s remaining humans are living in a giant space station, like in Zenon. Except with a lot less lycra and a lot more “oh god, our oxygen supply is running low”. A space station where committing a crime, any crime, is grounds for being jettisoned into space unless you’re lucky enough to be a minor.

Except for 100 of those criminal minors who are put on a rinky-dink escape pod and sent to Earth to see if, a century after a nuclear apocalypse, the radiation levels have gone down enough to support human life once again.

Good news! It has. But apparently not all of humanity died out and there are factions not so happy to have the ‘Sky People’ raining down hellfire and the like. Wars start, factions are formed, and, oh yeah, those parents who jettisoned their kids down to the planet’s surface? Eventually they come down to join them.

Basically, each week is an hour’s worth of chaos, bloodshed, and beautiful, beautiful politics and pretty much everyone in charge is a woman.

Hey Ladies

Clarke and Abby Griffin: Clarke Griffin is one of the 100 teenagers sent to Earth to see if it’s habitable. Her mother, Abby, sits on the council that made the decision to jettison the kids. Their relationship is a little fraught because of it. Abby’s worked her way up to being Chancellor of the Sky People in their political system. Clarke, meanwhile, has evolved from Princess to HBIC of the 100 and each week we get to witness her growing into her leadership.

Raven Reyes. Raven’s a teenager, but not one of the initial 100. Her first season arc deals with a love triangle I didn’t have the energy for, but turned out better than I could have anticipated. Instead of Raven and Clarke fighting over a dumb boy, they became friends and allies. Raven is an electrical engineer and manufactured her own ankle brace when she became disabled. Raven Reyes is a badass.

Octavia Blake. At first, Octavia seems like a character out of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Among the Hidden book series. She was born in secrecy on the space station (there was a strictly enforced one kid rule) and has lived the first 16 or so years of her life basically in captivity. Because of this, it seemed like a lot of her early interactions with everyone were both a rebellion and a lingering case of Stockholm Syndrome. Now, though, I can’t wait to rewatch the series and pay more attention to her. Sometimes I think I discount her a little because of her whole Great Love Story with Lincoln, who looks like double her age, which kind of threw me off. But over the last two seasons she’s grown from a newly freed girl to a powerhouse of a woman. I love that she’s throwing her lot in with the Grounders and is basically an ambassador. Like, she has dual-citizenship with the Sky People and the Grounders. I love that she’s Indra’s second and that she wears the Grounder braided hair style. I love that she’s taken control and plotting and learning their language and I didn’t expect to respect Octavia this much, but I am into it.

Lexa. Terrifyingly brilliant leader of the Grounders, the most Machiavellian character we’ve gotten from any show in ages. Whereas Clarke tends to act (or react) with some immediacy, Lexa is a Big Picture kind of woman. She’s ruthless, and not in a “I don’t have feelings” way, it’s just an “I care so much about my people and their survival I will do whatever it takes” way and she terrifies me, but in a good way. Feared and respected, that one.

Maya. Maya’s one of the people that lives in the Mount Weather complex, a nuclear shelter that allowed some of humanity to escape the radiation of the ground. The people of Mount Weather have realized that the 1oo’s bone marrow is the key to their finally be able to survive the radiation of the outside world, but their methodology is brutal. Maya’s not here for that. Last week we finally got some back-story on her and while it felt a little weak that explanation necessary. Thank you, show, for at long last giving a fairly important character motivation for doing what she’s done. It couldn’t have lasted much longer. I was kind of wishy-washy on Maya but when she told Jasper that she had no problem dying for them I was like, “Okay, girl. You can stay.”

(Potential spoilers from here on out.)

Politics

Abby & Clarke. I’m so glad that they’re trying to find a balance. I know that Abby’s been looking at Clarke and seeing a monster where her daughter should be. I get that. But like, Abby actually jettisoned Clarke to Earth, knowing it could be her daughter’s death sentence. You kind of sever your parental rights with that one. Like, maybe the real monster in this scenario is you?

We got a scene last week with Abby and her council-member friend Kane discussing Clarke’s leadership, and I’m glad Kane pointed out that maybe they are the monsters. Clarke is making some heavy decisions, some of them with dire consequences, but Kane points out that where would Clarke have learned this from but Abby? She needed to hear it and if Clarke had said it, Abby would’ve rolled her eyes and been like “ugh, petulant teenagers amirite???”. So it’s nice to see that while Clarke’s not staging an outright coup, Abby’s got to learn to respect her as the leader Clarke made herself among the 100.

It seemed like, with the end of last week’s episode, Abby was realizing that she has to back off a bit from acting like Clarke’s mother and act more like a colleague. Because they’re both leaders in their own right and they both command their own factions of people and (god that’s so cool) they have to actually respect each other’s decisions. Like Abby telling everyone at the missile site to get back to work was spot on and totally called for. She was right. But Clarke is also right to go save her friends [Sidenote: It’s such a subtle thing but such a dig, like what an asshole thing to do, to keep referring the the 47 (of the 100, being held captive in Mount Weather) as Clarke’s ‘friends’ instead of her people. Clarke is their rightful leader, goddammit, Abby.] and Lexa was not necessarily wrong to let the missile strike play out.

If you haven’t seen any of the show, this all seems fairly convoluted, I’m sure. But know that the politics of the show are so masterfully done. Sometimes I don’t realize how amazing all of the interplay between the characters was until I sit down and let it ruminate. I forgot how much I like political theory until I was writing about this show.

Relationships

I love that romance isn’t the forefront of this show. Really, I feel like I could give or take it because there’s so much else happening. Instead, the show fixates on relationships of all kinds, and every single one of them feel super organic (except with Clarke and you-know-who, I don’t buy they were in love, they knew each other, like, 10 days).

Bellamy & Octavia Blake Bellamy and Octavia have the distinction on being the only siblings we get on the show because of that pesky one-child rule. Their dynamic in the first season is really ruled by the way that Octavia was forced to stay hidden, and Bellamy’s protectiveness of her. The flashbacks we got of them growing up were wonderful. I think my favorite thing about them has been watching Bellamy kind of see Octavia as an adult, and watching her grow into herself.

Bellamy & Clarke Okay, endgame for me is Bellamy x Clarke. She will be queen and he will be her knight. I need it. But they started out with Bellamy trying to lead The 100 and Clarke just trying to keep them alive. The slow, subtle shift in their power dynamic from feuding pseudo-leaders to allies and respected co-leaders has been beautiful. Bellamy defers to Clarke now. They’ve stopped fighting and the chemistry is simmering. I’m happy to back-burner any romance between these two to see a really strong, solid foundation of trust and respect. So far, so good.

Clarke & Raven When we first saw Clarke & Raven interact I was a bit worried we were going to get a trite love triangle. I kind of find love triangles exhausting unless they’re executed really well, and I just didn’t care about Finn enough for that to be possible. But we didn’t. We got friendship. We Clarke telling Raven, “I’d pick you first.” And every time they fight it is justified, I understand why, and they only end up raising the other up. They make each other stronger and it’s beautiful to watch.

Clarke & Lexa Clarke and Lexa, my reigning queens. At first I wanted them to just be allies and decimate the awful people in Mount Weather and stop the Grounders and Sky People from waging war but… like two weeks ago their chemistry was so strong that I found myself yelling “MAKE OUT” at the screen. I’m not sure what I want from these two, but I want to see them together all the time.

Jasper & Monty If nothing else, these two are fun to watch together. Their friendship is so strong and so clearly evident (that dumb high-five they have!) that they’re fun to watch no matter what. Every week I’m torn between enjoying their brOTP and shipping them, and that’s kind of fun. Either way, please don’t kill Jasper and/or Monty!

Morality

When Abby and Kane are discussing Clarke as a leader, it’s wonderful to see that Kane gets it. He totally sees where Clarke’s coming from in allowing the missile strike to play out. He and Clarke have been forced to live in a moral grey area and Abby’s futilely trying to cling to black & white.

Despite the (at times) multi-front war they’re fighting, I think rather than everyone letting go of their morals, they’re clinging to them even more. The 100 and the Sky People (and even the Grounders) are fighting the Mountain People because of the Mountain’s complete disregard of humanity. They’re not treating the 47 like people. And when Clarke lashes out or fights the hardest it’s because someone is acting out of line with her moral code.

Clarke (spoiler) abided and aided Finn’s death because he was morally compromised. When Bellamy killed that kid’s dad he did it out of survival and then still felt supremely guilty about it. The 100 are still morally stringent characters, they’re just living in a very grey world and responding accordingly. They don’t lash out preemptively or vindictively, really. Clarke wasn’t flooded with relief when she killed the sniper last week, but she doesn’t regret it either.

Violence

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The number of times I shout expletives at the screen during any given episode of The 100 is truly kind of astounding. People are dying every week in this show and it’s kind of amazing. Don’t get me wrong, some of the deaths have been heartbreaking. Others, though, have left me feeling vindicated.

It’s an interesting balance the show manages to strike, between shots fired that feel justified and yet having so much of the violence seem senseless while still making the audience understand exactly why it’s occurring.

There’s a great scene in the first season when Bellamy Blake (be still, my heart) and Clarke find a weapons cache. Bellamy teaches Clarke to shoot and the scene is kind of mesmerizing. At first I wanted to cringe because handing a bunch of bitter teenagers automatic weapons sounds like an awful idea, but so does leaving themselves unprotected. A season later and I’m honestly not sure if I’m more in love with Bellamy or Clarke, especially after witnessing Clarke kill a man by shooting through a hostage’s shoulder. Just, Clarke Griffin’s shooting skills… I’ll be in my bunk.

In Mount Weather, Jasper has had to become a leader in his own right. In the first season all he really cared about were Monty and Octavia. Now, though, we have a Jasper with a manic glint in his eye. He is 1000% done with the hand he’s been dealt – seeing his friends be detained, experimented on, murdered. Now, at the end of the second season, we have a new Jasper. An angry Jasper, fucking shit up, getting blood spatter on his face like he’s Dexter. The entire scene when the 47 fight back against their captors felt like the Cornucopia at the Hunger Games but EVEN BLOODIER. How a network show can get away with that slaughter but an actual blockbuster movie couldn’t is fascinating to me. Jasper led the 47 (more like 41 at this point, but whatever) in a battle that made the uniformed, riot gear-ed, gun-wielding thugs retreat. It was terrifying and amazing and chilling and wonderful.

Out of all of the remaining 100 (except perhaps Murphy), Jasper is the one who is, while not necessarily the least moral, the closest to it. He’s clearly reached the end of his rope when it comes to living every day in fear. I don’t think he’ll snap like Finn or Murphy did, but he’s at his wit’s end and I can’t wait for him to exact his revenge.

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