Choosing the Losing Love Triangle Team

Welcome class, please take a seat. In case you’re unaware, my name is Amy, and today I will be your guest lecturer for Love Triangles 101 (hosted by A Novel Idea). Before I get into today’s topic, “Choosing the Losing Triangle Team,” I wanted to answer the age-old question (OK, maybe it’s not that old…): “Why do you think love triangles are so prevalent in YA, and how do you feel about them?”

I feel I have a somewhat unique perspective as someone who is an aspiring author. I know there are times I have started writing a story and I have the idea that Miss X and Mr. Y are going to hook up. So I start the story, things are grand, and then… in walks Mr. Z. Where did he come from?! Sometimes, I planned for him to be a character, but not one to ruin Miss X and Mr. Y’s blooming romance! Or sometimes, I don’t even know where Mr. Z came from, it’s just like he literally walked into my story and said, “This is a nice story, and I’mma gonna let you finish, but Miss X and I could be the greatest love story of all time. OF ALL TIME!”

Oh dear. What am I supposed to do now? Well, I continue writing, allowing Mr. Z in the picture. Or I stop. (I stop writing a lot of times when I hit roadblocks… which is why I am no where remotely ready to be published…) The fun thing about writing is your characters do take on a life of their own. But it’s also frustrating when you realize that means you don’t even know what direction the story is headed in. Will Mr. Z and Miss X end up together? Sometimes the answer’s yes, sometimes it’s no.

All this being said, I think some writers could legitimately experience this. Sometimes, it’s obvious the whole premise of the story is romantic, and the love triangle is probably pre-arranged in order to add drama and excitement. I have to admit, adding a love triangle to a story is a very easy way to spice it up. But if you’re not careful, it can also be annoying or cliche.

Why this happens so much in young adult specifically, I’m not sure, but it could possibly be a part of “The Hunger Games Effect.”

Microsoft Word Document 3292013 23945 PM-001Though I personally feel there is a lot more to The Hunger Games than its love triangle, it is an element present that I’m sure left publishers interested in seeing more. And of course, there is also Twilight and its infamous love triangle, where I first heard about people choosing “teams” for the guy they preferred. If it sells, it’ll be written.

What do I think about this? Well, it all just depends on the love triangle: how it is woven into the story, its emphasis in the story, and of course, the ultimate outcome! Which leads me to today’s topic, the frustration that occurs when you choose the wrong team. Warning: below the picture, I will be spoiling The Maze Runner series, The  Matched Trilogy, and The Hunger Games trilogy. You have been warned!

I think The Hunger Games was the first YA book I read where I really noticed the love triangle. In this instance, I actually choose the winning team, loved Peeta the moment we met him. Coming off this winning streak, I guess I figured I would always choose the winning side, because obviously the most likable choice is the right choice for our main character. Right?

Enter in Teresa and Xander, dashing these hopes to the ground!

First, here is a trend I noticed with the three books I have mentioned…

Exhibit A

Introduced First: Gale

Introduced Second: Peeta

Winner: Peeta

Exhibit B

Introduced First: Xander

Introduced Second: Ky

Winner: Ky

Exhibit C

Introduced First: Teresa

Introduced Second: Brenda

Winner: Brenda

I’m sure this doesn’t happen with every love triangle, but seriously, can person #1 never catch a break? Sometimes the new mysterious guy (or gal) probably isn’t all they are cracked up to be!

Back to Exhibit C: The Maze Runner

team-teresaWe are first introduced to Teresa in The Maze Runner when she is the first girl to arrive in the Glade. She almost immediately goes comatose, but our main character Thomas still feels a strong connection to her, even believing that he is speaking with her telepathically. She is trying to give him a message about their past lives, about what the maze means, etc. And Thomas allows himself to wonder just how close he and Teresa had been. The readers wonder too.

Then in The Scorch Trials, Teresa seemingly does a personality switch. We find out later why and it’s all sort of weird and shady, but in the meantime Thomas meets Brenda. She’s nice enough, but a little too eager to come onto Thomas in my opinion. I was still holding out hope that Teresa’s weirdness would turn around and we would get the real her again.

In The Death Cure, when Thomas finally gets around the forgiving Teresa, she makes a choice, sacrificing herself to save others. I was absolutely crushed when I read this, realizing exactly what it would mean. Sure enough, when Thomas, Brenda, and the others are safe in their little preserved habitat, she’s basically like, “Hey, we get to procreate this place.” *wink*nudge*. Seriously?! Teresa just died! Is there no sympathy?! So now we know Teresa was the better person, and she’s dead, but oh well. Life goes on. Uh, no. You cannot treat Teresa that way James Dashner, YOU CANNOT.

james-dashnerBoo.

Back to Exhibit B: Matched

team-xander

The beginning of Matched swept me off my feet with the swoon-worthiness of Xander and Cassia, best friends from childhood, being matched as life partners. Yes, it was done by the government, which is stupid, but I loved the two of them together. I could not help it. They could still fight the government together. Right, right?!

Why did you steal my joy, Ally Condie?!

Enter Ky Markham, home-wrecker. He’s a nice enough guy, mysterious and whatnot, but seriously, he’s no Xander. Cassia’s captivated by him because he represents something different. That doesn’t mean he’s the right guy for her!

An Interjection About Psychology

Valentine’s Day 2008 I walked into one of my psychology classes in college and the professor lectured us that day on why love does not exist. It was all in good fun, but something he said did make a lot of sense. That often times, people claim to be in love after they have gone through something dangerous or high intensity together. What happened scientifically, of course, was that their adrenaline went up during this circumstance, and because of a person’s association of that adrenaline with the other person, whenever they see that person, their adrenaline spikes again, and they take it to be love.

Notice what some of these people in these stories went through together: Thomas and Brenda had to run for their lives away from crazy zombie-like people. Cassia and Ky committed many little rebellious acts together that made Cassia crave for more. Katniss and Peeta went through the freaking Hunger Games together… twice! But with Katniss and Peeta, they are able to help each other through these shared trials. They are the only ones who can truly understand  each other. And they have also developed a true companionship and devotion for one another over time, and that’s what I love about their relationship.

Ky doesn’t even want to be a part of the Rising that Cassia does. Xander does. We learn in Reached that the Rising isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, but Ky doesn’t even try to explain why to Cassia. And oddly she doesn’t seem to care that they don’t have this in common. If my boyfriend wasn’t jumping on an important bandwagon with me, I’d want  to have a conversation as to WHY. (Apparently it’s good enough that the poetry she finds sings to her soul and reminds her of Ky… BLEH… barf bag please!)

How The Love Triangle Ends

Let’s face it though, these love triangles can be quite subjective, otherwise there wouldn’t be teams. Sometimes the writers make both guys (or gals) kind of appealing and split the readers. I think I could deal with being on a losing team better, however, if the triangles did not end so badly.

Gale randomly leaves for District 2.

Xander suddenly falls for another girl.

Teresa just flat out DIES.

Can’t we make these love triangles end just a little better? Maybe a more mutual parting of ways?

How To Cope

I’m no expert in coping mechanisms, otherwise I still wouldn’t be filled with such bitterness still towards the disregard for Teresa and Xander. Here’s ways I try:

– Give the book with the lousy love triangle end a two star review and tell everyone how lousy of an end it was. Maybe someone will sympathize.

– Head canon. Just change it all in your head.

– Denial. These books do not exist…

That’s all I have for now. Let me know if you have more!

In Conclusion

Love triangles are fragile things, and they can be quite difficult to deal with. Both authors and readers should handle with care. Just be warned, the new guy/gal who shows up offering up something new and exciting is most likely to get picked, so if you don’t like them as much as guy/gal #1, you might not want to continue.

team-wrongguy

What do you think? How do you cope when you’re on the losing team? What losing teams have you been on? 

Class dismissed! And don’t forget to check out the other Love Triangle 101 lectures!

Catch Me If You Can: An Awesome Non-Fiction Adaptation

Awesome Adaptations is a weekly meme hosted by Picture Me Reading, focusing on the book to movie adaptations we love. This week’s topic is an Awesome Non-Fiction Adaptation.

book-movie-catchme

As mentioned on yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday, I have actually read the non-fiction account of Frank Abgnale, Catch Me If You Can. In the book he tells the story of how as a brilliant but bored young man he went from conning his dad with a gas card to how he passed himself off as a doctor, a lawyer, and a pilot.

catchme-quote2There are differences between the two stories, obviously. The movie does dramatize and condense some events. One of the main ways the film dramatizes the true story is by giving Abagnale (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) one clear protagonist in Carl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks. In the film, the two are engaged in a true cat and mouse hunt, that begins when Abagnale dupes Hanratty into thinking he is an agent also looking for the con artist, to their annual phone conversations on Christmas Eve. And at the end, the two actually end up learning a lot from each other. I really enjoy watching the dynamic between the two of them on the screen.

This scene is a true standout for me, so much so that every time I hear “The Christmas Song,” I can’t not think about this scene:

Though I do find the movie more enjoyable, I do appreciate the additional insight the book brings, especially in who Frank Abagnale is as a person, and what exactly was going through his mind throughout his exploitations.

catchme-quote

He also feels remorse for what he has done in the past, especially for the people he had hurt. And as explained in both the book and the movie, Frank is now working to help stop fraud.

Catch Me If You Can is an easy and interesting read; and the movie is a fun romp with serious undertones, and I feel a standout early performance of Leonardo DiCaprio’s.

Have you seen the movie or read the book? What are your thoughts? 

My Top Ten Best Movie Adaptations

There are so many movies based on books that sometimes, we might see a movie multiple times before we realize that it was actually based on a book! Usually in these cases, the movie has become something bigger than the book ever was. On the flip side, some movies have a built-in audience because of the wide popularity of the book. The Broke and The Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday topic this week fits in perfectly with the idea behind this blog, because it honors what I love about various forms of storytelling. My Top 10 for the week consist of the Top 5 (plus an honorable mention) Movie Adaptations where I have read the book, and the Top 5 (plus an honorable mention) Movie Adaptations where I have not read the book (but the movie makes me want to!). Here’s my list in no particular order.

Top 5 Movie Adaptations of Books I Have Actually Read

1. Pride and Prejudice

book-movie-pandpThis is a case where I saw the movie first, LOVED IT, then read the book. Though I appreciate the content from the original source, I have to admit, the movie make me swoon much more! Of course, it helps to see it all play out before your eyes. And is just me, or does Mr. Darcy seriously become more attractive to us as the viewer the moment he becomes more attractive to Lizzie? How do they do that?!

2. Sherlock Holmes

book-movie-holmesthink I have read all of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but if not, I’ve read at least a large portion of it. From my first Holmes story I was really intrigued with the character of Sherlock and his amazing skills of deduction. When I heard about the movie version with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, I was beyond excited. Some people seemed to doubt it would work, but I felt it would be a perfect match, and I believe it was! Though it is not a strict adaptation in terms of using one of Doyle’s story, all the elements of a great Sherlock mystery are there for both the first and second of this Holmes franchise.

3. The Hunger Games

book-movie-hg

I started reading The Hunger Games in August 2011 after hearing a couple of recommendations for it as well as seeing hype for the upcoming movie. Since I was out of town and not constricted to my regular work schedule, I was able to fly through the first book in two days. I could barely stop reading. The same was true for the next two, even when I did have to go back to regular life schedule. I had high hopes for the movie, but I also knew a lot could change. Overall, I liked what they did with the film, though there was a little more I would have liked to have seen. However, Catching Fire looks like it is going to be completely amazing and I can hardly wait!

4. Catch Me If You Can

book-movie-catchme

I will be going into more detail about this film tomorrow for Awesome Adaptations, so stay tuned! Just briefly I will say that despite some differences with the actual account of Frank Abagnale and his conning schemes, this movie really serves his story justice. To learn more, come back tomorrow! 🙂

5. Little Women

book-movie-little

I completely adore both the book and the movie, and feel the 1994 movie does a good job with highlighting the main elements of the novel. And hello, Christian Bale as Laurie?! What’s not to love?

Honorable Mention: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

lionwitchwardrobeI completely love the book, and I love how the Disney movie really brought the story to life. I think all the children were perfectly cast, it’s just too bad that Prince Caspian was not quite as good.

Top 5 Movie Adaptations of Books I Haven’t Read (Yet!)

1. The Prestige

book-movie-prestige

I have listened to part of The Prestige the novel in audio book format, and the only reason I stopped was due to the fact that apparently listening from Overdrive (the app/program my library uses to borrow audio books) was apparently streaming the book with my phone’s data and totally eating it up. I definitely intend to finish one day, as I was intrigued by both the differences and similarities between the book and movie (I discussed them in a previous post). But regardless of the fact I have not finished the novel, I feel like the movie does capture the spirit of the book. It is also just a fantastic film that really got me to recognize Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker.

2. Emma

bool-movie-emma

Though I enjoy the Gwyneth Paltrow version, I absolutely love the more recent BBC minis-series version, starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller. And though I have not read the book yet, since there are many similarities between it and the Gwyneth version (though this one is more detailed), I feel it must be fairly true to the book.

3. Phantom of the Opera

book-movie-phantom

Technically the movie is based on the musical based on the book. I have not read the book and am not sure how much the musical and movie hold true to it, but the movie is pretty close to the musical (which I saw on Broadway in New York when I was in college, scratching an item off my bucket list!). Joel Schumaker gets a lot of flack for many of his directional efforts, but Phantom is a beautiful film to watch and listen to. And it makes me more curious about the original story!

4. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

hitchhiker

The movie is such a fun romp, and though greatly condensed from the book, it was fortunate to have the author of the book as a screenwriter. So while I have not the book for comparison yet, I feel comfortable saying that the spirit of the movie is much the same as the book.

5. A Beautiful Mind

book-movie-beautiful

I first saw this movie in my high school psychology class and fell in love with it. It’s beautifully shot, and the story is powerful as well. Though I have not read the book, I know of some of the differences, especially in the portrayal of schizophrenia. Schizophrenic hallucinations are based on hearing things and if I recall correctly, even smelling things, but not so much seeing things. For film, however, this had to be adjusted. I definitely want to read the book though, as schizophrenia is a subject that has fascinated me since watching this film.

Honorable Mention: The Return of The King

book-movie-kingAll these movies are great, albeit very different from the books based on what I have been told. I find The Return of the King to be a very powerful conclusion to the franchise, even with its ridiculously long and screenwriting-rule-breaking ending.

What book-to-movie adaptations are your favorite? And have you actually read the books? 

Weekend Blog Update

I don’t normally do this, but I wanted to give everyone a head’s up for some of the upcoming posts on the blog here, with a special emphasis on one in particular. First off, while I generally try to follow the schedule of blogging every other day, this week I will be posting three days in a row on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday! Here’s what you have to (hopefully) look forward to:

Tuesday: My Top Ten Movie Adaptations 

This was a hard list to compile, as there are so many books-to-movies I love, but of course I have been sharing some, and will continue to do so, on Wednesdays with Awesome Adaptations. But for this list I reserved my absolute favorites, and while many of these books and movies have been discussed on this blog before, I think it’s a nice range of genres.

Wednesday: An Awesome Non-Fiction Adaptation

Here’s a hint: Wednesday’s post will be about a movie featured on the previous day’s Top 10 list, and I will delve deeper into the differences between the book and movie (complete with book quotes and a scene from the movie!).

Thursday: Choosing the Losing Love Triangle “Team” 

This was the post I really wanted to highlight, as it is a part of a larger event taking place. 

A Novel Idea is hosting Love Triangles 101, a fun discussion event all about the dreaded (or desired?) love triangle we find frequently in stories, particularly in young adult books! I will be discussing the woes of choosing the losing team, but be sure to check out the other bloggers involved in the event as well (click on picture for event schedule). I’ll be sharing the day with one of my favorite bloggers, Asti from A Bookish Heart, so definitely be sure to check out her post on the same day! Other posts I am looking forward to: Signs You’re in a Love Triangle, Love Triangles from Literature to Film, and Love Triangles in Jane Austen. 

Next Weekend: Star Trek 101?

After all this, I will probably be taking a break until Saturday or Sunday, and by then I hope to be ready for my Star Trek post! This is actually for all you non-Trekkies who feel uncertain about the series. As some of you know, I am a big fan of the series, but this only came about in the last few years after I married my husband. Though he introduced me to some Trek while we were dating (namely The Original Series), he waited until we were married to expose me to the vast majority of it. We would have watched more while dating, but after watching the first few episodes of The Next Generation I said NO WAY. It was just not good in the beginning! I’m no glad he made me give it a second chance because the show grew and developed, and not only did I come to love that particular incarnation of Star Trek, but the subsequent series of Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise as well. (Oh, and we did watch the animated series as well but… no comment.) And of course there are the movies, most of which I have a love-hate (or just hate-hate) relationship with, but more on that later. 

In order to help prepare me for this particular post, I would love to know from Trekkies, what episodes of Star Trek would you recommend to someone who has never seen the show? And to the non-Trekkies, what are some of your conceptions or ideas of Star Trek? If you’re not interested in the show, why not? Be honest, and this should help me pick episodes that would be the right fit to ease your ideas and help you realize that it’s actually awesome! 

DNF Review: Under the Never Sky

The unfinished book: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Stopped reading at: Chapter 25, page 162 out of 264

When I first considered not finishing: Somewhere in the 40s. Why? I was completely bored with the story. Everything was slow and I was not connecting with anyone. Why keep reading? First I wanted  to wait for the one-quarter mark, which is when a story is supposed to enter the second act. It was looking like it might be showing some progress, so I decided to reconsider around page 100. Once I reached that mark, the story seemed like it was getting slightly better. But then it just got incredibly boring again.

What ultimately sealed the deal: The fact that I had read over half the book with a little over 100 pages left, and nothing in the story was improving, and neither were the characters.

Breakup line: It’s not me, it’s definitely YOU.

UNS hi res

Guys, I wanted to like this one, I really did. I heard so many great things about it and I wanted to enjoy it the way everyone else did. I even thought the opening paragraph was great: “They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod ‘the Death Shop.’ A million ways to die out there. Aria never thought she’d get so close.” Then it was all downhill from there…

The best way to explain my problems with this book is to do a chapter by chapter synopsis of how I interpreted each chapter while reading it. By the way, this review is not meant to bash the book. I am trying to explain what I disliked about the story with both constructive criticism and humor.

Chapter One, Aria: The Real sucks, I want the Realms.

Chapter Two, Aria: The Real sucks, I want the Realms.

Chapter Three, Perry: Look at me, I’m tough and I’ll kill you.

Chapter Four, Perry: My brother’s an idiot, but I love my nephew.

Chapter Five, Aria: The Real sucks, I want the Realms.

Chapter Six, Perry: My brother’s an idiot, but I love my nephew.

Chapter Seven, Aria: Not only does the Real suck, but now I have been abandoned to die here! (Side note: What the heck, Aria’s society?!)

Chapter Eight, Perry: My brother’s an idiot, but I love my nephew. And I need to leave town before I kill my brother.

Chapter Nine, Aria: *Sulking*

(Aria and Perry run into each other in the most anti-climatic way possible and then get stuck in a cave together where Aria sleeps for two days.)

Chapter Twelve, Perry: I hate this Dweller.

(Boring stuff…)

Chapter Eighteen, Perry: I like this girl now because she’s on her period.

Chapter Nineteen, Aria:  (An interesting person named Roar!) Then… I hate Perry because he can sense what I’m feeling… whine.

Chapter Twenty, Perry: Aria, I want you to talk to me now that you are on your period, dangit. *Sulk*.

Chapter Twenty-One, Aria: For some reason, I have started caring about Perry, but no one knows why.

(We are introduced to a new character Marron, and his awesome home. Can we just make the rest of the book be about him? Alas, it does not appear that way…)

Stuff happens in Chapter Twenty-Two…

Chapter Twenty-Three, Aria: This girl that I just met is randomly telling me not to hook up with Perry because he’s a heart-breaker. How does she know that I don’t hate him because I totally do don’t all of a sudden.

They have dinner…

This was the point when I stopped and asked myself the same question I asked myself before I DNF’d Delirium last year: If I never find out happens for the rest of the story, would I care?

And the answer was no.

So after that, reading a couple of 1 and 2 star reviews, and reading the first paragraph of Chapter 25, I ultimately decided to call it quits.

Just a few things I wanted to note in addition to my chapter summaries, in all seriousness…

I never got the premise. I’m sure if I had finished I would have understood more, but the world building was vague, the plot was quite thin (guys burns down place, girl gets blame for it and gets tossed out, another guy loses his nephew for reasons that defy logic and seeks to find girl who he deems responsible, they conveniently meet and go on boring journey to fix her communication link to her mother so he can find his nephew), and nothing seemed to serve a real purpose. The very beginning of the story where we learn about where Aria lives showed some promise, but I got lost somewhere in the middle of Aether storm talk.

The characters were bland. They had some sort of personality, but they were two-dimensional versions of these personalities, especially Perry and Aria. They also whined a lot, which was annoying. I understood they were going through hard times, but I don’t think I ever once really felt sorry for them or what they were going through. I never felt a connection to them. For some reason, I liked Roar; he was more interesting. I also kind of liked Marron, and Talon was kind of cute. 

The action was practically non-existent. Anytime there was a scene of action, it was over before I even knew what happened. The first couple of times I read through such sequences I thought maybe I was not reading thoroughly enough, but when I kept feeling like characters were suddenly in a different place or involved in something that they won’t two seconds ago without seeing any cohesive transition, I felt it was a writing issue and not a reading issue. There is a lot of walking and running and moping, at least for the first twenty-ish chapters.

The writing read like a first draft. My apologies to Veronica Rossi, who I am sure is a talented and nice person, but I thought her writing in this book seemed like it had not gone through any beta readers. If anything, it read the way I imagine well-edited-for-grammar-but-not-content self-published writing would. I think there was potential here, but this book falls very short of what I think a published book ought to in terms of interesting content.

DNF

Maybe I am missing something. So if you’ve read Under the Never Sky, here’s your chance, defend it and tell me what you love about it! Or if not, tell me what book you feel just didn’t live up to its hype. 

Martian Child: An Awesome Adaptation

When I saw that this week’s topic for “Awesome Adaptations” (hosted by Picture Me Reading) was “An Awesome Adaptation of Your Choice,” I knew I might as well pick one that was fresh on my mind due to a recent re-watch, Martian Child.

mc2

The movie, released in 2007, is somewhat based on the novelette (later expanded into a novel) The Martian Child by science fiction author David Gerrold. In the film, David (last name changed to Gordon) has been a widower for two years when he finally has the chance to adopt a child, as he and his wife were trying to do before her death. The child is Dennis, a boy who believes he’s from Mars, a reaction to how alienated he feels and how he copes with having lost his parents. Since I have not read the book, I once again do not know much about the differences between the two, but I do believe that the heart of the story must largely be the same.

One thing in the film that stands out to me is the beginning, where David Gordon is being interviewed about his books. He explains how it’s true that authors often times do insert themselves into a character in their story. But for him in one of his books, it’s not who you would expect, because he identifies the most with the creature. This interview sets the tone of the film, of how alike David and Dennis truly are and how much they can learn from loving each other.

It’s real and raw and sad and funny and heartwarming all at once. Check it out sometime if you haven’t already, and here’s a clip that might wet your appetite:

If you’ve seen Martian Child, what were your thoughts? Or is there a movie you saw recently that was an adaptation of a book? 

Blog Facelifting

Since I have started this blog in February, I have been relatively pleased with the look of it, especially for the great deal of $0. Sometimes I look at blogs and envy the blogger’s design skills (or perhaps their friend’s design skills), but overall I am generally content. But then this weekend I had the itch to maybe try to make better graphics for my blog.

True story: I really considered majoring in graphic design in college, but I did not. Sometimes I wish I had. But sometimes I wish I had majored in psychology and gone to grad school right after, so what can I do? It’s all in the past.

I have Photoshop Elements, which I primarily got to edit pictures I take.  I can’t do a lot with it, really. The aforementioned editing of photos quickly came to me learning about these things called “actions” that basically does it all for you, and then seeking out free actions for Photoshop Elements to install and use. (Side note: This is fine if you’re taking pictures for fun. But in the name of all things Canon and Nikon, don’t call yourself a serious photographer just because you’re you’ve got a DSLR and can run your pictures through actions. Real photography/editing takes more knowledge and effort. I think actions have a place for sure, but they don’t fix bad lighting and such. Rant over.) And I certainly don’t know how to “draw” anything with my computer (or in real life for that matter). I was not sure what I could do beyond this:

graphic-quotable

The speech bubble is provided as a preset shape through Elements, of course, not drawn by myself.

But I decided to play around with it. I also looked into different fonts. I had some fun with it:

font-choicesThe decision to play with fonts and graphics largely came into play after I accidentally discovered a Premium WordPress theme that I loved and felt was so perfect that I almost considered shelling out $75 for it. Almost. But for now, this is too much of a hobby for me to justify it, I decided. But just so you can see how cute it looked, here’s the free live preview I captured:

on-a-whim-themeI also played around with the extra fonts you can get by paying $30, but they weren’t what I wanted. So again, I decided to play around just to see what I could come up with. I was surprised when I came up with this:

thoughts2

As you might have noticed, I decided to go with the Maiden Orange font (found through Font Squirrel). The arrows were also a pre-drawn shape with Elements, but with a little bit of creativity, I had made a chevron pattern, which goes nicely with my Twitter background I might add:

twitter

(Side note about my Twitter account: That it neither my Nikon nor my cat, but I do own a Nikon similar to that one and a cat who looks similar to that one, who I think would nom my camera if given the chance.) I am attempting to create a sense of coherency among my social networks, which is why you see the same profile picture everywhere, so I was pleased to have found a way to include chevrons. I also liked the idea of not majorly changing anything, but keeping things simple with the gray/teal color scheme.

I have also been playing around with how I include quotes in my reviews. “At first, I would just bold them and put them in quotation marks,”  sometimes after the “Quotable” section marker seen above. Then I decided I wanted to connect them with the story…

theselection-reviewgraphic3But I thought maybe I could still do better. So this is what I came with for now:

quote-tillwehavefaces

Elements did not have pre-drawn quotation marks, so instead I just typed quotation marks in the Maiden Orange font and chose a very large font size for it.

So now I have a few new graphics, so what? My blog design itself it still basic. But I still appreciate its modern, clean look, even if it’s the most exciting or eye-catching thing ever. One thing I would like to change is my header, but I’m still working on how to insert a graphic up there that doesn’t look funky.

So you may notice these minor changes, from the new quote blocks to my new sidebar image to my new star graphic which will be going from this:

3stars

to this:

3stars2It’s just all a part of a slow blog evolution process. As the blog grows I try to find ways to improve my post content and decided it was time to face-lift the look as well. If I am ever so fortunate to become a published author, I do intend to seek out a professional web designer and buy my own domain name and all that jazz, because as much as I love Suzanne Collins for bringing us The Hunger Games, her website is not cutting it:

suzanne-collinsAnd I’m sure there will be more changes for my blog to come.

What changes have you made to your blog or considered making to your blog?