Thursday, May 30, 2013

Writing Thoughts: Workshop Groups

Yesterday I had my final class with my writing workshop group and it made me very sad. The only consolation I have is that everyone seems to want to stay in touch and get together from time to time to workshop each other's stories (the one thing I'm disappointed about not staying in Eugene over the summer is that I won't be able to physically workshop with them). However, it also brought to my attention how important workshop groups are. Not only the feedback you get from people critiquing your stories, but the sense of community it builds. I've had the same group of 8 people reading and critiquing my stories all school year (about 9 months) and they've gotten to know my writing style and the types of errors I tend to make. As time went on, their comments became a lot more helpful as they became familiar with my writing. I also got familiar with their writing and learned a lot from their strengths. We really did grow and improve as a group. Plus, I got a few more friends!


I like the idea of just dropping into a random writing circle or posting my writing on forums to get feedback. It's a great way to hear new viewpoints and opinions after you've become sick and tired of staring at the same Word document for weeks, even months. However, I think if a person is able to find a small group of people to workshop consistently with, it improves his or her writing so much more. Once again, I think it's the sense of community that can help a writer's talent thrive. If you're comfortable with the people you workshop with, you may be more willing to be experimental, to try something completely new from the norm, or to be honest with yourself. In addition, both your group's feedback to you and your feedback to the group will be much more useful as no one will be shy about saying exactly what they think about the story.

Now, I'll also take this time to address receiving feedback from non-writerly folks. All feedback is good! BUT, sometimes those people who read your stuff will not provide helpful information. For instance, family or friends may want to shield you from getting your feelings hurt and will only praise and not critique your work. That is helpful for confidence, but not necessarily with the writing on a large scale. I've had lots of experience with this and if you find yourself in a similar situation (longing to hear what you can improve on and not just what you do well), the solution is simple. Tell them that, although hearing praise is great, you want them to be 100% honest with feedback. It may take a couple of times of reminding or coaxing the information out of them, but it'll be worth it and eventually they'll remember. But make sure you tell them to give constructive criticism, not complaints. On another note, some may give back only negative feedback. That's more helpful than all positive, but still isn't great. I think that writer's need to hear both the good and bad, that way they know what to improve on but aren't discouraged from trying again. The go is delicate and hearing constantly what you suck at isn't going to make you eager to try improving your skills.

All in all, I think also that having feedback from writers and non-writers in essential. Writer friends can offer help and new ideas, as well as pick up on those small but important details that need to be changed. On the other hand, non-writers are very important because they represent your potential audience. They are the people that can tell you when they were bored, what they remember, and what they wished there was more of.

If you can find a physical writer's workshop you can join in on, that is the best. But, online forums are also helpful and perhaps you and a few others can form an internet based writer's circle. Get creative and, mot importantly, get people to read your stuff and give feedback!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy World Goth Day, Creepy Cats!

So today is World Goth Day, so I decided to make a special post. Okay, it's not actually all that special, just I usually don't post on week days since I'm so swamped with school. But as this one is mainly pictures, it's not too much of a hassle.

For my outfit for World Goth Day, I wanted to try making a "romantic" look. Not sure if I achieved that, but I like how I look at least (it's something).

For my makeup (please excuse the terrible eyelashes, I still haven't replaced my broken eyelash curler), I used Sugarpill in Love, which is a fantastic red eyeshadow that's really pigmented. I also used some light pink and white eyeshadows I had laying around.And some black on the bottom.

Now for the clothes...

Most of this outfit I got at various thrift stores, but the waist cincher I got from Ebay (man, I love that website, a little too much by the looks of my bank account), the gloves are from Sockdreams, and the boots are Demonia Disorder 204 (have I mentioned before how much I love these boots? Well, I really really love them.). Oh, and my chocker (which is my favourite piece of jewellery I must say) is from Claire's (see, fabulously cute stuff doesn't have to be expensive).

Okay, I promise not so many pictures in the next post (at least pictures of myself).

Have an awesomely spooky World Goth Day, everyone!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Story: Empty

This is a flash fiction that I wrote for my creative writing portfolio. The idea came to me randomly one evening, but I think I was somewhat inspired by the extremely short flash fiction by Ernest Hemingway: For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.


Every night, she woke up. Always at the same time. 2:57 AM. That had been the time when she had felt it. The stabbing in her lower abdomen, the wetness between her legs. And the dread, the anguish. Not fear. Fear required a notion of uncertainty, of confusion. She had known exactly what was happening. She had only wished for it to stop. Of course it hadn’t. Even now, it hadn’t gone away. This pain, this deep ache within her body and her heart still pulsed and woke her each night to remind her why she felt this way.
Next to her, she felt him move. He wasn’t asleep, he couldn’t fool her.

While she fell asleep only to reawaken, he couldn’t fall asleep anymore. For two weeks, his eyes would grow heavy but the tides of sleep never carried him away to sweet slumber. Instead, when his body could no longer withstand exhaustion, nightmares came. Terrible images of red stained sheets and his wife crying and cradling something small, red, and motionless in her arms. Her wails echoed through his mind until he woke, his heart racing and his pillow saturated with sweat. He would lie there, waiting for her to awake and sit up. She would stay silent, just sitting there, staring down at her legs, not daring to spread them. A hand rubbing over her abdomen, as if checking to make sure she hadn’t been mistaken. He had tried to talk to her at first, to see if there was any way he could put her mind at ease. To put his own mind at ease. But she never answered him and her silence was more painful than that awful night had been.
            He wondered if she blamed him.

            She didn’t answer him because he couldn’t help. How could he? He didn’t even understand. Yes, it had been a loss for both of them, but it was far worse for her. She had lost a part of herself. For months, she had been caring for it, nourishing it, loving it even though she had never laid eyes upon it. But now, it was gone, lost forever with no way of replacing it. She didn’t even want to try to replace it. The hole within her was too big, too deep. There was no way he or anyone else could make her feel whole again.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Movie Review: Evil Dead (2013)

This weekend I went with my buddy to see the new Evil Dead movie. While I don't pretend to be a movie critic or a movie buff even, I do have some comments about this movie. This post contains some minor spoilers (mostly of details of the movies and less of actual plot points) so beware!

(I decided to celebrate with a zombie themed outfit. It was super fun to wear, though unfortunately it was over 80 degrees outside...)

First off, I am a big fan of the original trilogy (and of Bruce Campbell). The reason I love the originals so much is that not only are they horror movies, but also satire (at least in my opinion). There are many moments of humour, particularly poking fun of the movies themselves and of horror movies in general. The memorable decomposition scene in the first Evil Dead that seems to last five minutes is a great example, as well as that all of the movies (including the newest) contain a lot of blood/gore. A lot. In addition, I also think that the original movies, Evil Dead 2 in particular, show the character arc of Ash very well. At first, he's scared out of his mind about what's happening and then as the movie progresses, he gets so fed up he decides to fuck everything and kill the evil.

"Give me some sugar, baby"
Now, I know that everyone is calling the new movie a remake of the original Evil Dead, but I don't feel that it is. I like to think of Evil Dead (2013) as a reimagination of the original movie. To begin with, they changed so many details of the cast and situation that I can't consider it a remake. I'm not saying I did not like the changes, I feel they worked just as well as the original details of the trilogy, but just that I can't comfortably call it a remake because of those changes.

There are many things about the new movie that I liked and many that I did not like. Let's start with what I liked:

First, I liked all the references to the original movies that were included. They were subtle but detectable to fans of the original trilogy, so I enjoyed those greatly. The music also reflected the music of the originals, and on its own it was fabulous and intense. Also, I liked some of the acting. Jane Levy did an excellent job of acting all crazy and evil and she did freak me out many times. The prosthetics and makeup were great and gorey. That leads me to the gore: it was just the right amount of grossness. I, personally, can't stomach slasher films but do like some gore. I feel that this movie came right up to the brim of my gore tolerance and I loved it. It was realistic and disgusting and uncomfortable (I mean, seeing huge nails penetrating out of someone's face or watching someone pull a hypodermic needle out from beneath their eye is pretty gross). Another thing: the build up on tension in most scenes was done very well. (SPOILER HERE!!!) In one scene in particular, I was dreading the moment when a character pulled back the shower curtain to reveal another character mutilating her face because the entire time you know what she is doing and can hear it too. Also, I'm freaked out by the idea of someone pealing off their skin.

There are some things I didn't like too. For one, they cut to a black screen and silence a bit too much for my tastes. This is a popular technique in horror movies and in some situations it works very well. In fact, in this movie there were instances where it worked incredibly well (when Mia runs her car into the water and hits her head on the car wheel for instance). When there is a natural transition, black screen can work. But there were a couple of times when they would cut to black screen randomly or just because an intense scene just happened. Then, it didn't work very well for me. Also, earlier I said I liked some of the acting and that is true. But there was some acting I hated. Shiloh Fernandez's acting was horrifically flat and boring. He delivered almost all of his lines (many of which are packed fully of emotional context) in monotone. If there's one thing I hate in this world, it is monotone acting.

But there are two major things about this movie that really got on my nerves (SPOILERS are in this section heavily, beware):
1. They twisted the plot too much. I had heard before hand that they had changed the main character from male to female. Obviously, the beginning of the movie makes it clear that Mia is the protagonist, so I was very surprised (having been familiar with the story of the originals) that she was the first to become one of the dead. The focus then shifted to David being the protagonist and thus would be the one to save the day and make the horrible sacrifice of killing his sister. BUT, then they pulled bullshit and had him resuscitate Mia. Now, in the second Evil Dead, Ash does become "infected" by the dead, but unlike the new movie, it is through his own strength that he resists and defeats it (plus cutting off his hand helped). But in this movie, Mia does not fight the evil off herself, she actually succumbs to it. It is only through the help of her brother that she survives. I was actually very afraid that after she came back from the dead that she would still be evil. But nope, she's perfectly fine and continues on to save the day! That felt a little forced and too plot twisty/deus ex machina to me (but that's just my opinion).
2. Mia jumped to being determined to kill the evil too suddenly. Like I mentioned before, the original trilogy (The Evil Dead 2, specifically) showed the transition to scared-shitless Ash to let's-kill-this-mother Ash gradually and you actually got to see him become fed up to the point wear her attaches a chainsaw to his arm to kill it. However, we do not get much if any transformation for Mia. She goes straight from scared for her life to ready to say a witty line and thrust a chainsaw through the thing's head. She is the heroine so she has to do something like that I guess, it just felt forced and sudden to me. I would have liked it more if she had undergone some sort of transformation. Then again, it would have been hard to show that since for the majority of the movie she's threatening to kill all of her friends and "feast of their souls". Maybe she shouldn't have been evil for so long...

Anywhosers, there's my two cents on Evil Dead (2013). Overall, I did enjoy the movie. It was gorey and scary. It was not very much like the original movies apart from the basic story line, however. Besides the apparent changes in details, the movie had none of the satirical humour the original trilogy had. This is not necessarily bad. I feel the serious tone fit this movie, just as the satirical tone fit the originals. It was just very different, hence way I assert that it is not a remake. So, I did like this movie, but I still love the original Evil Dead movies more.

For those of you who are fans of the originals like me, I'd saw this movie is worth seeing (if you haven't seen it already, I know this has been out for a month now...). Plus, if you do go see it, stay for the end credits! There is a special, special treat after the credits and you will be very happy if you see it (I think it actually my favourite part of the movie).

To wrap up once again, this movie was good! Everyone go see it and watch the original Bruce Campbell Evil Dead movies!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Make Up and Hair Post: Smokey Purple and Bouffant Ponytail

Yes, this is another post filled of pictures of me. I had more to add onto the previous post, but I realised it was getting too long. So, hence, another separate post.

So, I know I am by no means talented when it comes to make up. I've been struggling quite recently to get it looking good and like I have some idea of what I'm doing. But today I had a pretty good make up day, so I decided I would share it.

I do love the black make up, but sometimes it's fun to jazz it up with some colour. I love purple because it looks so mystical and so I made it nice and smokey/smudgy. My camera doesn't capture it exactly like it is, so I'll explain how I applied it.

First, I started with a medium purple on the lip near the inner end. Then, I blended out to the outer half of the lid with a rich amethyst purple. The crease I filled with a smokey purple and then with some black. I lined the bottom of my eye with black pencil eyeliner, smudged that around and then added some more liner to actually line the eye, then brushed some of the smokey purple and the black over the liner. Put some bright lipstick on and voilĂ !

(Also, my hair isn't short, just tied back in a pony tail)

Now, onto the hair. I didn't actually do this today, it was a few weeks ago (hence why I'm not wearing the same make up in these sets of pictures). I really love this style and I think it's perfect for keeping your hair off your neck during the hot summer.

So, what I did was make a messy bouffant. To do this, I first flopped the hair that I wanted up in front of my face and then proceeded to backcomb the crap out of it. Then, once it was all tangle and knotted, I swept it up on my head, got it the way I wanted, then pinned it with bobby pins and hairsprayed it. Then, I gathered the rest of my hair into a ponytail near the bottom of the bouffant so that it looked like one thing. Fixed my bangs and tada!

I love this style for many reasons. One, it's super easy. Two, it keeps my hair off my neck, which I love in the summer. Three, backcombing is awesome so, thus, this style is awesome. Four, it's cute, what other reason do you need?

That's it for these outfit/makeup/hair posts. At least for now. I promise a far more intellectually interesting post is on the way (I might even get to posting it this weekend, who knows?)

Stay creepy and cool, everyone :)

Cat Hat and Summer Outfit Post

So, I'm not doing as many of these as I used to, but I still think I will post these kinds of things, just in smaller amounts. But, I've put these ones off for too long and now it's a giant massive post, so my apologies. After this, you'll never want to see my face again ;)

First off, I recently bought myself an adorable fuzzy kitty cat hat. I've wanted one for a long time, because secretly I want to be a cat (really now, who doesn't?). It's black, of course, and I try to wear it as often as possible. It's too bad that I wanted until the end of spring to do it, but, well, there's my logic for you.

Bad kitty!
Just me getting in touch with my feline side (haha, excuse the bad jokes). If you're interested in buying a cat hat, you can buy it the way I did: off eBay from kittyinthebox. They sell cat hats in all sorts of lovely colours, as well as many other items.

And now for something not so completely different.

Ah, summer is not quite here, but it sure feels like it. At least in Oregon (I hear in places such as Colorado there is still snow on the ground, yikes!). Yep, in good old Oregonian tradition the wether went from rainy winter to a few days of nice breezy spring and then railroaded right into summer mugginess with full vigour. And besides the obvious drawback of me not being able to wear my cat hat outside, hot weather does not agree with me. Really, it doesn't agree with many goths because of the spectrum of our wardrobe (I am of course talking about black, black, and, yes, you guessed it, more black). I've had to say goodbye to my black jeans and arm warmers and embrace my black shorts and silver bracelets. Which isn't all that bad. But it is increasingly hard to find good outfits that are creative, fun, and keep one's creepy self cool (also because I am paranoid of the sun and not only wear tons of sunscreen but also tend to want to keep on a jacket in spite of 80 degree weather). So, I decided to post this little sample of what I came up with one day as a good summer outfit and also to brainstorm some other options.

What I'm wearing:
          -Joy Division T-shirt: Rivithead
          -Black shorts: H&M
          -Black and White Stripey Thigh-Highs: Sock Dreams
          -Boots: Demonia Disorder 204 (I love these boots sooooo much!)
          -Bracelets: studded leather armband (Rivithead), "Rebel" and Union Jack stretchy bracelets (can't remember where I got them...), gold thin bangle (also can't remember where I got that...)

For me, in the summer it helps to wear items that are comfortable and allow breeze to penetrate them. Comfort, because when you're hot and sticky, wearing tight and/or uncomfortable clothes is not helpful. Breeze penetrable, because that will help cool you off a ton. Today, I'm wearing a light cotton sundress and let me tell you, it has helped keep me cool all day. Also, just because it's summer doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the black or layering, you just have to be smart about it. I understand I'm not layering in these pictures, but let's imagine. A black tank under a lacy shirt, fun socks or tights and a skirt, a ton of bracelets or some light gloves/armwarmers. Perfect! I understand hot weather can make it so hard that you don't even want to bother trying because it will all get gross anyway, but let me tell you: make the effort. Looking good will make you feel good.

Here are some other bits of inspiration to get those gears going!

The ever lovely Lady of the Manners
For you deathrockers out there
Fun with layers
1920s inspired
Also, invest in a parasol. Not only are they adorable, but they help cut down the heat (provided they aren't incredibly lacy sheer things that are purely decorative. Those are nice too, just keep in mind that those are not practical for sun protection).

Hope that helps you battle the heat. Stay cool, creepy cats.
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