The Maze Runner: A Review

Hey, you!

Just a heads-up: this post may or may not contain spoilers concerning the film, The Maze Runner. You have been warned. 😉

Disclaimer: I didn’t finish the book before I saw the movie. I know! I’m such a loser. *hides face in shame*

My dad took my sister and myself to see The Maze Runner last night. I really, thoroughly, enjoyed it. There were several parallels between the film and our lives that I noticed throughout the screening. To me, it was sort of a wake up call and a shot of hope. Let’s take a look at a few different scenes and what I took away from them, shall we?

The Elevator

My dad actually pointed this out. He said that he found The Elevator sort of represented life and death. Before we were born, we came from another place. We don’t remember it (praise the Lord). We know nothing about this strange new world and we’ve got to make the best of it. As for death, if you’re religious, you believe you go to another place when life here is over. It, too, will be a strange new place.

Thomas’ Curiosity:

This section can be split into two parts:

1) We can either live or we can exist. Most of those boys in the Glade were content to be there. They were comfortable (and afraid of angering the Grievers which kept them from making any risky moves).

But then Thomas came. He wanted out. He was scared and uncomfortable, but he was willing to risk a lot to actually live while the others were simply existing. Thomas showed them a new way of life.

And I think a lot of us are those other boys. We’re comfortable. We go to school, we do our work, we hang out. That’s it. Shouldn’t we be living for so much more? If that’s all there is to life, then it’s worthless. But I think there’s more. I have to believe there’s more. If there wasn’t, then why the heck have we been surviving all this time? For Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? I think not.

Humans are survivors. We find a way to live. We always make it.

Thomas shows us that there is more to life than just existing. I want that. I want to be the Thomas in a world of goodhearted but merely existential Albys, Newts, Minhos, and Chucks.

2) The second point here is that it’s always good to get a fresh perspective on something. Minho and Alby – they thought they knew every inch of the Maze and the Glade. But Thomas came with a new idea. He wasn’t going to be held back by fear. He knew who the enemy was and he fought them.

The Grievers: Our Daily Demons

           I think the Grievers can be interchanged with our personal demons. Society? The kids at school? Now, I’m not saying go get them squashed in whatever metaphorical maze you’ve got going on in your head. 😉 I’m saying that it’s okay to disagree and think for yourself.

Society’s screwed up. It’s obsessed with fake. Show them something real.

Are you faking it for the kids at school? Why? Are what they stand for worthy enough for you to not be who you are? I’ve fallen into that trap. I used to hate myself because I wasn’t like the kids at school (and then I started homeschooling and, suddenly, the students were all too similar). Nothing I did was cool enough, funny enough. Nothing I wore met their ridiculously low standards (“You don’t know what Limited Too is??? You must be so sheltered!”). None of the shows I watched were good enough for their tastes (“You don’t watch Hannah Montana? Does your mom even let you watch T.V.?”). I wasn’t skinny. My hair wasn’t cut like theirs. I didn’t eat white bread with no crusts.

I didn’t eat white bread with no crusts.

How petty was I?

It Doesn’t Matter What We Did Before…

…it matters what we do now. People change, learn, and they move on. Be the best version of yourself, baby. The world needs it.

Chuck is Your Little Sibling/Cousin/Niece/Nephew…

Chuck, I think, represents the kids of today. Who do they look up to? Us. What are we showing them?

All you have to do is starve yourself to be cool.

All you have to do is eat white bread (when you eat).

All you have to do is wear Abercrombie & Fitch.

All you have to do is not be single (because you have no identity if someone else isn’t constantly defining you).

All you have to do is be addicted to [fill in the blank].

All you have to do is listen to everything everyone else is listening to.

All you have to do is rebel against your parents because they’re stupid and know nothing.

All you have to do is be the popular kid in school.

All  you have to do is swear up a storm because you’re not mature if you think for yourself and choose not to go with the flow.

All you have to do is be diagnosed with some “cool” disorder. When did depression become cool? When did a lack of hope become cool? When did no reason to live become cool?

Is that what we’re showing Chuck? If so, what’s he got to live for, hm? Nothing on that list gives me hope.

“Cool” is such a subjective concept. If that’s what standard you’re holding your life to, I’m sorry. Chuck knew only what the other boys told him. How much hope do you think they really had of getting out? If they were smart, I doubt if they had any. Thomas gave them hope.

Conclusion

You don’t have to risk your life to be a hero like Thomas. All you have to do is think for yourself and do what you believe to be right because the rest of the world is screaming lies at you, darling. And when the truth is only a little whisper, we need to listen hard. But the more Thomases we have, the easier it is to know the difference.

If you saw the film, what did you think? Do you agree with my thoughts? Any I looked over? I’d love to hear about it in the comments, lovely!

God bless!

Rana

United, We Stand

Hello, lovely!

I trust everything’s been going well since yesterday. ❤

Today, I wanted to ramble a bit on what is and isn’t freedom of religion/speech in regards to the Satanic Black Mass happening in Oklahoma later on today.

1) It’s not freedom of religion and here’s why:

Want to be a satanist? Fine. Don’t steal a consecrated Host from a Catholic Church so you can desecrate our Savior (although I believe the stolen Host was returned to the Church). I don’t care if you hate Him. You wouldn’t be allowed to get a bunch of people to rally and use a stolen Koran as toilet paper. That would get shut down immediately.

It’s not freedom of religion. It’s the sick and twisted parody of religion designed to mock a true God. Just as abortion is a sick parody of the words Jesus spoke at the Last Supper when He said, “This is My Body,” satanists twist the Catholic Mass to spit in God’s face.

2) It’s not freedom of speech and here’s why:

It’s hateful. Want to set up a rally for Nazis to publicly announce their hate for Jews? I doubt if you could. It’s offensive and totally wrong.

Free speech should be limited to only the laws of libel, obscenity, sedition, and slander. This would fall under obscenity and slander. I have no clue why the state would legally allow this to happen other than the fact that they don’t care and are part of a society that hates God.

Fact: Satanists only go for consecrated Hosts from the Catholic Church because they know it’s the true Host – they know it’s Jesus Christ. I read an interview done with a former satanist who said that the ones who are really in deep could pick out of several identical pieces of bread which was a consecrated Host. The Host is not a symbol or replica of Christ. It IS Christ.

Further more, at this black mass, it’s said that they will perform a reverse exorcism – they’ll cast the Holy Spirit out of a person. It’s so sick. Disgusting.

And you know what? It doesn’t matter if you believe the Catholic Church is right or not. We’re all Christians. An attack on one denomination is an attack on all denominations. We should be unified as it says in the Bible. Let’s take a moment (or between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. – the Holy Hour) and pray together that God intercedes and doesn’t allow this blasphemous thing to happen. Let’s pray for a change of heart of those participating in the Black Mass.

United, we stand. Divided, we fall.

To help stop this event, click here(I don’t know if you can still sign the petition to stop it, but just in case…)

God bless!

Rana

Our Constant Choice

Good morning, darling!

I hope you had a phenomenal week. ^_^ I’ve been fighting some sort of sickness. Maybe the flu. I’m still not over it. Oh, well.

Today, I just wanted to share something with you. I was reading my Bible last night and stumbled across Sirach 15:11-20.

11 Don’t blame the Lord for your sin; the Lord does not cause what he hates. (He may allow undesirable things to happen, but He Our Constant Choicedoes not cause them and will not lead you into temptation.)

12 Don’t claim that he has misled you; he doesn’t need the help of sinners to accomplish his purposes.

13 The Lord hates evil in all its forms, and those who fear the Lord find nothing attractive in evil.

14 When, in the beginning, the Lord created human beings, he left them free to do as they wished. (“Free will, though it makes evil possible, also makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” – C.S. Lewis)

15 If you want to, you can keep the Lord’s commands. You can decide whether you will be loyal to him or not.

16 He has placed fire and water before you; reach out and take whichever you want.

17 You have a choice between life and death; you will get whichever you choose.

18 The Lord’s wisdom and power are great and he sees everything.

19 He is aware of everything a person does, and he takes care of those who fear him.

20 He has never commanded anyone to be wicked or given anyone permission to sin.

What struck me was the fact that life is a constant choice. Being a Christian is a constant choice. It’s not a once-and-done sort of thing. You can lose your salvation (Matt. 7:21-23; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 2 Tim. 2:11-12 …)

But you know what? You can also get it back.

Salvation is a process and God wants to help us through it. As a proud (practicing) Catholic, I believe that I have been saved (Mark 16:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Romans 6:3-4), am being saved through cooperation with grace (I Cor. 1:18, I Cor. 15:1-3; II Cor. 6:1), and I will be saved if I persevere in the Faith (Matt. 10:22; Romans 2:6-7; Gal. 6:7-9).

You see, if I say I’m a Christian, but go and murder someone, I’m not acting like a Christian; therefore, I’m not a Christian. Actions are more important than words. You can say whatever you want all day long, but in the end, what matters is what you did.

We’re not saved by our works, but without them, we’re useless. (Contrary to what many believe, Catholics do not believe works save them. We believe they are necessary, but we cannot earn salvation.)

In James 2:17, we’re reminded that, “faith of itself, if it does not have work, is dead.” And in verse 24, James says, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” And later: “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (2:26).

I encourage you all to choose life with me. 🙂

God bless!

Rana

A lesson never learned…

Let It Burn

RED

I watch the city burn
These passions slowly smoldering
A lesson never learned
Only violence
Is your world just a broken promise?
Is your love just a drop of rain?
Will we all just burn like fire?
Are you still there?
Tell me now…

Thirteen years later, we’re still fighting.

Why do people get so caught up in the lie that power, wealth, fame, will make you happy?

Why don’t we learn?

Time and time again, we see the effects of humans falling for it.

  • Heath Ledger – he had money, fame, “love” and was still unhappy. And overdose of diazepam killed him.
  • Robin Williams – he, too, had money, fame, and so many loved him. He committed suicide.
  • Earnest Hemingway – fame, family, wealth. Shotgun to the head.
  • Cleopatra – 30 B.C. Things haven’t changed, guys.

The list goes on. It’s heartbreaking.

Why do terrorist do what they do and what does that have to do with suicide?

Terrorists, although some say religion is the cause (which I believe is false – power, greed, money, etc. are the roots of most wars/terrorist actions), do what they do because:

a. …they believe so firmly in a lie that this will be good for them (behind that lie is, most likely, a greedy, selfish, power-hungry jerk).

b. …they’re intolerant of a difference in opinion.

c. …they want to feel something.

I’m sure that’s not everything. But those are a few things I think make sense.

But what does that have to do with suicide? Well, humans are naturally prideful and selfish beings. We do most things because they make us feel good about ourselves. Even altruists like myself sacrifice our immediate happiness for the sake of another because we know that it’s going to make us feel good – if not now, later. It’s better for us in the long run.

People commit suicide because they:

a. …believe it will end their pain.

b. …are hopeless.

I have so much love for those hurting. Especially for those entertaining thoughts of suicide. (If you’re that person, let me know so I can pray for you. I already do, but you know. ❤ )

Terrorists do what they do because they believe it’s good for them.

People commit suicide because they believe it’s good for them.

I promise I’m not equating a person with suicidal thoughts to terrorists. Unless you’re a kamikaze or something.

I’m just making the point that, no matter what you’ve got, it won’t be enough until you satisfy yourself with it. And, at the risk of sounding preachy and cliche, until you’ve contented yourself with the love and sacrifice of Christ.

You can keep getting, getting, and getting. But it’s never going to be enough because we were created for so much more. Guys, we’ve settled for so much and we shouldn’t have. The next iPhone, the next Wii U, the next video game, and even the next book — these things will not satisfy us. And rightfully so.

We can be happy. But happiness is a feeling. A fleeting emotion.

We can’t rely on that to get us to tomorrow because it’s as easy to catch and hold as a shadow (if you’re not Peter Pan). Enjoy it while you’ve got it, but don’t depend on it.

We need to be joyful. Joy is something that goes so much deeper than happiness. It’s a state of being. It’s something we should actively choose to be every day. That doesn’t mean we need to be happy all the time. That’s stupid and annoying.

What it does mean is that we should immerse ourselves in love (not the superficial, gross romantic kind 😉 ). Love is a sacrifice. It’s the action of willing good for others and possibly giving up your immediate happiness for their benefit. It’s not a feeling, contrary to the media’s portrayal of it.

For instance, if you’re in a bad mood, but put that aside to smile at someone who looks rather down, you’ve just shown them some love. Or when you do the dishes so your mom won’t have to – that’s love. Sharing your candy bar with a little sibling – that’s love.

Unless it’s forced.

Then it’s socialism.

Or parenting. You know, whichever. It depends on who’s doing the forcing. *shrugs*

I think if everyone smiled a little more, loved a little more seriously, and thought of more than themselves, the world would be a much better place.

What are your thoughts today as we remember the victims of the tragic 9/11/01 terrorist attacks and the current state of our world? What can we do to make it a better place to live?

God bless you, lovely. ❤

Rana

You Want Net Neutrality and Here’s Why

Good evening, darling!

This is just going to be a quick post on the problems with the government trying to censor the internet.

What is net neutrality?

Essentially, it’s free speech online.

Why do I want it?

Because it’s cheaper, wrong to censor free citizens, and your right to not get blocked or slowed down by tyrannical companies with too much power.

A lack of net neutrality is unconstitutional.

As Americans, we’re guaranteed the right to freedom of speech. Check the Bill of Rights, First Amendment. No one has the right to put my speech on a slow lane or block my voice. And that’s what would happen if there were to be a lack of net neutrality. Fast and slow internet lanes and a higher internet price. Check this out from Save the Internet:

The January 2014 court decision has destroyed protections that keep the Internet open and safeguards its users’ privacy and individual choice.
ISPs like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon want to take the worst aspects of the cable TV system and impose them on the Internet.
Expect Internet blackouts that extend far beyond the popular content vendors as smaller websites are caught in the crossfire. Tweets, emails and texts will be mysteriously delayed or dropped. Videos will load slowly, if at all. Websites will work fine one minute, and time out another. Your ISP will claim it’s not their fault, and you’ll have no idea who is to blame. You also won’t be able to vote with your feet and wallet, as there’s no competition in broadband, and all ISPs will be playing this game.
ISPs hate the idea that they’re nothing more than providers of “dumb pipes,” or connections that simply carry our traffic. Now that they’re free from any legal restraints, the ISPs will try to get Internet companies to pay tolls and threaten to block or delay them if they don’t. Exclusive deals could become the norm, with AT&T exclusively bringing you Netflix or Time Warner Cable as the sole source for YouTube.

A government’s purpose is to protect its citizens’ lives, liberties, and their pursuit of happiness.

It’s gone waaaaaay beyond that and this is terrifying. “The more laws, the less justice.” I think Aristotle said that. If we give the government the power to give power to larger companies to silence whomever they wish (did you follow that?), we’ve basically signed our own death sentence as a country.

Basically, big companies will have to power to discriminate against whomever they wish online and ensure that those websites run very slowly.

I’m not a genius and I don’t explain stuff very well, so check this out for quick, concise answers and support net neutrality.

God bless!

Rana

Writing Tips for Instant Improvement

‘Ello, you!

I hope your week’s been going just splendidly! ❤ Today, we’ll take a look at a few writing tips that will help with showing vs. telling, something most (every?) author has difficulty with. These pretty much help make the writing style instantaneously better. But find what works for you. 😉

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts on how you should show and don’t tell, and I can see how it works in their examples, but I wasn’t really sure how to do that in my writing until recently.

Here are a few tips you might want to keep in mind while writing. I’ll provide examples of my own to show the difference between rough draft and third draft. I hope they help. 🙂

Tip #1: Use Dialogue Tags Sparingly

To cut down the telling and up the showing element, I’ve tried to use fewer dialogue tags. Take a look at the following passages from the first chapter of The Reset and notice how the writing flows as well as how you can sort of get the implied tone of the characters as opposed to me telling you how they’re speaking.

Pay attention to the words in bold in the second excerpt. That’s where I cut the tags/inserted action.

Draft 1: Excerpt 1

“What do you want?” I snap, not in the mood for any sort of conversation.

“I came to see if you’ve discovered anything,” he yawns.

“I haven’t. Now go away.”

“My dear girl, you didn’t even look. I’d bet my cat on it.”

The feline looks up at me with that strange golden eye. The other one is hidden by an eye patch.

“What do you want?” I sigh, pouring myself a cup of coffee.

“I want his blood.”

When I turn around, Fëar is standing right in front of me.

Draft 3: Excerpt 1 of the Same Passage

I sighed and ran a hand through my hair. “What do you want?”

He yawned and stretched. “I came to see if you’d been issued your new target.”

“I haven’t.” I rubbed my temples as a migraine began to torment me. “Now do please go away.”

“My dear girl, you didn’t even go in to find out.” Fëar sat up straight as his feet hit the floor. He swept the room with a quick glance. “I’d bet my cat on it.”

The feline regarded me with that strange golden eye. It adopted a defensive position as if afraid its owner might lose the wager.

I repeated the question as I poured myself a mug of steaming black coffee. “What do you want?”

“Blood.” His words were a snarl in my ear, thick as the crimson liquid he desired oozing out of a fresh wound.

Tip #2: Don’t Let the Cat Out of the Bag Too Soon/The Curse of Knowledge

This is something I’m having to work on. In my first and second drafts, I think I dropped too much backstory/fact at once. It gave the reader nothing to wonder about. Don’t do that. 😛 You want your reader to be curious. They can’t be that if you have an info-dump at the beginning or even throughout your story.

Let’s take a look at how this plays out.

Draft 1: Excerpt 2

“Tough, isn’t it?” Fëar looks sympathetic for a moment, but I know he can’t really be feeling that way. He’s incapable of feeling whatsoever. “You’re still so human. It’s a tough phase. You’ll get over it one day.”

Draft 3: Excerpt 2 of the Same Passage

“Tough, isn’t it?” Fëar appeared sympathetic for a moment, but I knew better. “You’re still so human. It’s a tough phase. You’ll get over it one day.”

Notice how Althea didn’t explain why she knew better. This is what I’ll call the curse of knowledge.

You know how there are some really smart people and they’ll be talking about how one interior angle of a heptagon is 128 4/7 degrees or they’ll go off about the current crisis in Crimea or about how ISIS is beheading people in Iran and you’ll still be wondering what the heck a heptagon is, who Putin is, and what ISIS stands for or if it’s just a name of some Egyptian goddess from times long gone.

The people talking in those situations would have what we call the “burden/curse of knowledge.” They know something, so they think you know it too. But you don’t.

In 1PPOV* novels, we, as readers, are limited to only what the MC** knows. When the book starts in media res***, we miss some information – information that makes us curious. So don’t start off with an info-dump. Keep us guessing for a while. 😉

Tip #3: Don’t State a Character’s Emotions

This implies telling rather than showing. “Felt” is often a clue word that indicates you’re telling. Try not to use it, or feeling adjectives. Avoid:

  • Felt
  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Happy
  • Mad

Instead, try to show those emotions through a character’s actions.

Example 1:

“Leave my computer alone!” I screamed, angry.

Example 1: Edited

My fingers curled into my palms. When I spoke, my voice had risen several octaves and increased in volume. “Leave my computer alone!”

Not the best example, but does this make sense?

Hope this helps, darling. 🙂

How about you? Have you got any editing tips for us? Any tidbits to keep in mind while writing?

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

For better posts on this stuff, check out:

Go Teen Writers and Helping Writers Become Authors.

* = First Person Point of View

** = Main Character

*** = in the midst of things (basically starting in the middle)

 

{season: autumn}

She glanced to the left and then to the right. Her voice came through as a low, excited whisper. “It’s not official.” Her fingers tangled themselves in a plaid scarf, draped around her neck. “But guys… It’s autumn!”

That time for over-sized sweaters, long pj pants (if we’re blessed enough to get a cold front), boots, mugs of hot chocolate wrapped up in chilled fingers, thoughts of Halloween costumes, pies, red and orange leaves, and pumpkin-scented candles.

I’ve made apple cheddar biscuits (well, we didn’t have enough cheddar, so a more accurate description would be apple cheddar-and-Parmesan biscuits), a failed spice cake (through no fault of my own other than the fact that I used some out-of-date ingredient), and a chocolate velvet cake with butter-cream frosting (that I ended up half messing up because I’m an impatient cook/baker and I forgot to think when I decided to frost the cake before allowing it to cool completely…).

We decorated the house yesterday and pulled out the pumpkin-scented candles.

Here in Florida, we don’t get the seasons. But we like to pretend. 😉

What season is it in your house?

God bless!

Rana