Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am raging.

I really am.

There are three bookstores in my area plus Volumes, which is a cafe/bookstore and a Borders down at Doncaster.


Two of those bookstores closed down months ago, and the third is shutting down soon. Borders closed a while back and with it our A&R. Volumes is more a cafe than a bookstore--there's like one shelf of YA and the rest are cookbooks and knitting books.

Sure, there's a little replacement bookstore in the plaza to sell all the books that A&R hadn't sold before they got kicked out and every book is only five bucks (!!!) but that'll be gone soon.

All I'll have is Volumes. And to get there, I have to take like two buses. It's always been a last resort. I don't have that kind of time! It's totally out of the way and everything.
Not to mention all the ferals that hang out near there. It's right by the train station and a major bus station. All the school kids stop by there and they're always smoking. Yuck. There's nothing ranker than second-hand smoke.  But because every other bookstore has disappeared, I have to.

So people aren't buying as many books anymore. And when I say books I mean the real kind, the ones with pages you flip and covers you can stroke all Gollum-like and whisper sweet nothings to. E-books are great yeah. They're easy to buy, easy to store, and the author gets the money from them. Just as good yeah?

No. No-freakin'-way.

Bookstores are dying, people. DYING. Bookstores are dropping like flies because a lot of us buy the e-books instead of going out and getting them.

Yes, there's a lot of people who don't read much, but they can't be blamed for not liking reading, the crazies. It's up to US, the people who like reading, love it, and want to be able to see books on our shelf in the future (and by that I don't mean the one on your iPad or Kindle), to pick up their slack. Cut down on e-books, buy ACTUAL BOOKS.

I just had to yell at someone about that.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What day is it again?

I am not very good with dates. Due dates, birthday's, excursions...all of them!

For those invisible spirits that lurk around this abandoned blog, you may have used your ingenuity and keen eyes to already figure this out. It's also super obvious, if you check out the archives.

I just really, really suck at it. Homework, writing, blogging, permission forms, phone calls to people I rarely see (even if they're my best friend!). My school planner lies in my school bag, unused and probably feeling really useless and depressed (sorry, planner). I have at least three calenders given to me by friends, all of which are floating around my room searching for a purpose. Not even the Buffy calender, or the Dolly calender with all the hot guys on it, will get any attention from me. It's a sorry state of affairs.

I have a Humanities essay due on Wednesday. I'm writing about Australian Prime Ministers and how they've affected the world before, after and during their term. It's really interesting. Six of our PM's were in the war. One was a doctor and another had to get all these plastic surgery after crashing in Singapore as a fighter jet. Go us. Anyway,the point here is that although I'm kind of liking my topic (even though it's got politics in it) I didn't start writing it properly, as in typing meaningful words on abused keyboard, until today. I had notes, yeah, but I lost them and didn't bother trying to re-research them all until this arvo.

And I have a band concert tomorrow night in which I shall WOW the audience from 7pm onwards! If that other clarinetist doesn't show up which'll probably happen, he hardly ever comes, I will have to solo the melody all by my lonesome in front of the school and the hot saxophone players. *sigh* It's a huge chunk of time, concerts, and I KNOW this, but I still thought "Nahh, I'll keep procrastinating doing this essay because I am clearly superhuman."

Yeah, no. The future looks none too bright for me.

*slams head against brick wall*

Pray for me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Writing Rules?

This is a post I recently wrote for my group blog The Escapism Project (I think you should click that!) about how we take the words of others too seriously when it comes to the rules of writing. Enjoy!

Look, Escapists. We're all friends here...aren't we?
I bloody well hope so, because I'm going to rant a bit here and I bet it'll raise eyebrows. Oh, and sorry for swearing.

Anyway, we all know there are some rules when it comes to writing. Basic stuff like grammar, spelling and punctuation are a must. But rules are sometimes meant to be broken. Writers spell a lot of words differently. Most of them are simple things like adding a u or replacing a z with an s. Some writers write expressions and slang-ish words differently: Oh my God. Oh my god. OMG. Ohmigod. OK. O.K.. Okay. Ok.

That's cool. We can't edit the way they write oh my god, because there's so many ways it can be done. So when someone tells you that no, you can't write okay then don't listen to them! No one knows everything, and even then there are millions of ways of interpreting or writing a word. Tell them to go shove it (or maybe don't). But you get my drift.

I've heard of heaps of things you should and shouldn't do when writing a book. Don't start a novel with dialogue. Don't start sentences with "I" more than twice in a row. Don't give two characters the same first initial. Don't walk under a ladder. Don't go swimming straight after eating. Do we walk under ladders and go swimming straight after eating? Yeah. Some of us do. And that is FINE. Perfectly fine!

I'd always thought writers were non-conformists. We didn't like the way normal life ran, so we decided to take things into our own hands and plunge the school bus off of a cliff. I'd learnt the SPaG rules in school, but even now I'm learning all these new rules I supposedly have to follow and all I can think is "Seriously?"

You may have heard of inkpop, the writing community. I was on that. I am on that. But I hardly go on any more and it's not just because of the crappy new changes. People were throwing "rules" at me left and right. Someone would tell me I did this wrong, so I fix it, and then days later another person practically tells me I had it right the first time. It drove me up the wall. So I simply stopped listening. I took everything as a suggestion. The only things I now accept as set rules are the absolute basics of writing and SPaG, the rules of writing you'd get marked on in any piece of writing at all, fiction or not. And I am a lot less stressed because of it and because I don't feel so pressured to follow all these made-up rules, my writing is getting better.

People can write a number of ways. The way someone's style might change, or the way they describe things, the rules of writing can also change. They definitely have changed through time.

In the "old days" like when Pride and Prejudice was written, people used SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) a hell of a lot differently than us. Open up a Jane Austen book and look at the semi-colons and commas and lines of uninterrupted dialogue and try not to have a heart attack. But Jane Austen's books are still considered classics, and are loved by many. We accept that they wrote differently then, but we can't accept the way different people write now.

Which, if you ask me, is more ridiculous than a kangaroo in skis.

If Shakespeare had written Romeo and Juliet in our current time, we'd have chased him down with pitchforks and torches for having an underdeveloped romance and unrealistic characters with no background whatsoever. Poor guy. The way we write changes over time, and I think it's awful we give ourselves so many rules to follow and telling ourselves we have to do this and that otherwise we're awful writers.


I've told people this before and now I'm going to tell you guys: write the way you want to write. Use the Oxford comma, or don't, even if other skeptics tell you NO, NO. Write slang different to the person beside you if that's how you think it's written. Start a novel off with dialogue if that's the way the book should start off.

You don't always have to listen to what other people say. Because, more often that not, if they think they are right, they are most likely wrong.

Write your way and no one else's. After all, it's your writing.