Roping in my friend

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I have a talented friend who told me today that her life was meaningless. I told her that I spent most of my life waiting for it to start, like a man sitting in a car and expecting the engines to spontaneously run; it’s not going to happen unless he turns the key. “Turn on the key,” I said, “give it meaning.”

Yet, it is simple to dish out advice like party favors. The truth is; I’m still waiting. I secretly believe that my life will start when I finish my first novel- which is an illusion. But even my waiting gives my life meaning and purpose. I have something to work towards, and that’s better than having nothing to go on. She is still suck on the limbo before deciding.

My talented friend doesn’t even know what she wants. She doesn’t even believe me when I say she’s talented in fashion design and writing. She has been beaten down by the reality of things that it’s hard for her to imagine things working out ever. There is a stirring wheel right in her reach- a luxury most people don’t have- but no compass. A ship sailing with no destination is going to end up in wreckage on some shore, right?

In this blog, I ask “Will I make it or not”. That’s my purpose; to make it. So, like all bad friends, I’m going to force her into an awkward situation and force her into realizing what I think is her dream (Best friends know better!). I started a blog for her to post her writing and designs. Whether she does it or not, that’s her choice, but I’m giving her the first post.

Here is the link to the blog:http://myfriendpushedmeintothis.wordpress.com/

And babe, if you are reading this post, I’m sorry I’m being an overbearing friend. I love you too much and have too much faith in you to stay still.

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Tempted to cheat

His lure is pulling me in and it’s hard to resist. Not just him, but there are other too; Romantic once, adventurous ones, supernatural ones and some even of the horror genre.

The thing is, I made a commitment to finish Teacup Rebel before moving on to any other of my novel ideas, but as it gets harder (and it does towards the middle of the story, and perhaps it will get even more testing towards the end) I get more attracted to the idea of pursuing another story.

Yesterday, I caught myself thinking, maybe I could just write a little bit about character’s background in “The after-death club” and coming up with a joke that would go great in the scene where- And there I was! Running down a slope of almost writing a scene.

It’s tempting. It is so freaking tempting. New ideas are fun. They are still not complicated and they have all sorts of potential. There are no roadblocks with them. But I can’t get side tracked. If I write a scene in “The after-death club” today, next week I’ll be drooling over “The moderation race”, and then the week after …

I’ve got to finish my baby, before going on and chasing tails and undeveloped plots.

Beware of the editing Succubus

The editing succubus, or in my case Incubus, has seduced me again. I’ve been stuck at 44,000 words for a while now, trying to fix the story line and add more details into the old chapter. On the good side, I’m still oppressing my obsession about spelling and sticky sentences- I keep telling myself there is no point in editing now when I could easily remove a chunk of text and toss it tomorrow. On the other not-so-good side, I keep rewriting chapter 3 and trying to come up with ways to improve it and then going back. I’m stuck in Groundhog Day, and it’s tiring! 

Anyway I’ve got to get over this hiccup, vanquish my demons, and get some wordage down. Any tips?

Moving from Fanfiction to writing original stories

I know a lot of writers frown upon fan fiction, but I’ve done it and loved it.

I published my first in 2009, and it sucked. The next few ones sucked even more, with no plots and the punctuation of two year old. Yet, with every review I got, the need to improve filled me, and it pushed me to put more effort into my writing.

About a two years later, I wasn’t a huge success but I had a bunch of people following my stories. I got hooked watching the stats of my chapters move up; views from tens rising to hundreds or thousands with one or two of my most popular stories. I enjoyed opening up my email after posting a new chapter, and having notifications with reviews and comments that I didn’t need to beg for. I don’t write for the stats, but knowing that what I wrote was being read was almost orgasmic (sorry, didn’t mean to sound like a perve).

Fan fiction is easy. The people read your work not because it’s amazing, but because it’s about characters they love. Plus, give anyone two interesting characters, and the scenes basically write themselves. It came to me effortless, especially that I was writing uncomplicated stories that I didn’t need to research. I knew I needed to write something that was 100% mine.

So I moved on to original fiction. When I posted a chapter, and it maybe got one or two comments, and only because I begged for them. I wasn’t getting my fix of views or comments anymore. I wasn’t being read; and it went right through my self-confidence, like a hammer through a vase.

I didn’t write fan fiction for a while afterwards, and somehow it managed to wean me off the gratification of the stats. I put my fingers to the keyboard, and I decided not to care because ‘I was working up to having stories that deserved to be read’. 

Anyway, today I opened up my email to a message from girl with fan art she had drawn based on my fan fiction. She dedicated it to me, and it made me miss my stats and my readers. I wonder if in the future someone will draw fan art based on my original stories…

 Any experiences moving from fan fiction to original one?

Snippet from “Teacup Rebel” and an update

The black-hole of editing and rewriting had sucked me back in. For some reason I stopped at chapter 11, and decided to go back and re-write a couple of earlier chapters. I’m suck at 45,500 words! 

This is the opening of the novel, right before the first chapter. I wrote it a couple of years ago. If you have any thoughts, please let me know. 

 

Coal black eyes gazed out of the window onto the gleaming city lights. As the breeze gusted against his pale flesh, his lips parted in a supple smile. Looking from the summit onto the small buildings far beneath; he felt gigantic for the first time in his life.

Suddenly, huge hands pulled the curtains shut; stripping away his freedom. He backed away from the closed window, and could only see steal. Rods of cold metal caged him inside. Realization set on him.

Tatsuo turned around and glared in resentment at the aloof interior of the pet shop he had spent his life trapped inside. Dozens of his kind enslaved in cages and stacked over the shelves. They were smaller than a child’s Barbie; tiny in size and frail, yet so similar to humans in appearance.

Like his kind, he had a petite body and an ‘insignificant’ soul. Why would he matter? He was a forlorn Chibi.

The real giants, humans, were the ones in command of his life. He would starve if the Chibi store owner didn’t feed him. He would be mauled if he ever tried to break out; Escaping was out of the question if he didn’t want to face the same end his mother had suffered.

He shivered as a cat peeked at him from outside the cage. The feline bared its fangs, forcing him to crawl into one corner. His heart hitched; face tainting in a hue of red. He was vulnerable and exposed.

That was when something snapped inside of him. He had had enough fear. He would not feel puny and helpless again. Unfaltering, he decided that someday he would take the world by a storm.

‘One day’, he swore, ‘Chibis will get their revenge.’

The pros and cons of an overly supportive friend

Isn’t it just swell to have friend who is supportive, and not a meat-ball sub (you know, ‘cause food can’t judge). They are a rare breed, the rarest of all, but we all have that one friend who thinks (or tells us) we are super-duper awesome, talented, blessed from God humans. You know who I’m talking about; that colorfully encouraging angel with a brain that produces more dopamine than the rest of us, (the Grinch). So here is the good, the bad, and the ugly about those fluffy muffins.

Good- You always have a fan in a world where everyone wants to *poop* on your confidence.

Bad- They don’t want to hurt your feelings, and thus they don’t make great critics (Not that all critics are cruel). Basically, they’re your mom. They’ll never tell you something you did sucked because they don’t want to break your spirit. We all need to be told  “this sucks, work on it” sometimes; it’s one of the ways we learn to do things better.

Good- It is easy to find inspiration because of their ambiance. I have a friend that lifts me up when I’m down (Thanks Nabs), and suddenly I can write again.

Bad- When the sun is dark, don’t you think it’s night? I mean, imagine if that friend is depressed, don’t you feel like all the hope in humanity is lost? Maybe? Sometimes we get accustomed to seeing people in certain roles, and it’s a shock to our system when we see them in another. It’s basically like learning your father was not a superhero when you turned five.

Anyway, you should be glad you have a friend like him/her. Good or bad, you’re lucky!

Finding inspiration to write through demanding times

We’ve all been through it. Bad days, bad weeks, bad years. Those times when it’s hard to get out of bed, and when even breathing feels like a chore. It’s not one day at a time; it’s one breath at a time. It’s scouring in yourself just to keep your lungs from giving out.

So you come back home, and you’ve already waited two hours in traffic, fought with a friend, and had an incident with your boss. Now, you have to sit and write. Writing is a release for you, but so much is going on with your life, you can’t handle your characters’ problems as well. That’s the thing about writing; you have to be willing to put yourself in you character’s shoes, and exposing parts of yourself that might be draining.

What now? You’re in front of the keyboard and your mind is blank. You are anxious; and the fact that your can’t conjure the writer inside of you is rubbing salt on your wounds.

Now, I don’t have a solution. Some times it takes over me as well, but here is what I do, and sometimes it works. Try it and let me know if it works for you to;

1-    Put all anger into one thing that you can control (and that one ‘thing’ can’t be a human). For instance, fix something or toss out all the old food in your fridge Seek release.

2-    Set up worry times- with caution. You can’t go around feeling bad for yourself all day long. Set up one hour a day where you can hate your life as much as you want, complain about it to yourself and mope. When the timer is done, get up and refuse to think about it again for the rest of the day. Tell yourself, ‘I fed the beast for today, but I will not let it eat me whole’. (FYI, this might backfire.)

3-    Choose to be unrealistic. How happy were you as a five year old who thought he could be a president? Believe that your book is going to rival Harry Potter. The only cost we pay for hope is disappointment. The cost for not having hopes and dreams thought is losing your flavor and your soul. I don’t know which is worse, but personally, I’d take disappointment anyway.

4-    Cheer up your friend. We are great at telling others why they should be happy, but we suck when it comes to telling ourselves. So once you are done, write down all the cases you made her/him, and read them out loud. Or you could just write a blog post like this one!

5-    Indulge: Read a book from cover to cover, go to a spa, watch a horrible movie and make fun of it. I think you deserve that thing you wanted to buy for two years but thought it was over priced! Sadly, don’t go over board- you won’t be happy eating ramen noodles for three months because you spent your food money.

Lastly, life just sucks. But ride out the bad times. Don’t let the tide drown you. Your arms will get stronger and the waves won’t be able to pull you down. You have it in you to be something extraordinary.