Saturday, August 17, 2013

Beta Readers: The Death and Rebirth of Your Manuscript (And Just the Death of You)

The hardest thing for me so far (other than writing the dang novel) has been patience and beta readers.

Basically, everything that is somewhat out of my control.

When you write a ms, you're kind of like a God. You are creating. You are removing. Destroying. Renovating. I mean, sometimes I'm ready to write a chapter only for me to realize "Hey, it doesn't have to go like this." And sometimes I follow that notion. And sometimes I don't. Cause I'm a freakin' God.

But the manuscript is done and now I feel powerless. I wrote this thing for other people to be affected by it. To celebrate me. And I want those Godly feelings back. But because I'm not stupid, I know that the MS I wrote and love dearly needs to be helped. So I enlisted in some.

Now, I would recomend only getting about 3-5 impartial beta reader. Any more and you'll have a headache, any less and you'll brush off what they say. It's a rule of thumb that if more than one person has a problem with something it's worth looking into.

Also learn how to listen. Just hear them out. Remember that you don't have to do what they say.

For example, I let my older sister read through the story. She wasn't one of my beta readers, but I kind of just wanted someone to skim through it and point out HUGE things. She's very opinionated. So after taking a couple of hours to skim, she told me that she didn't like that one of the characters was someones brother. I asked her why. She said she just didn't like it.

That's helpful right?

Anyway, sometimes beta readers do this. Sometimes you do this when you read a story. And it's okay. But if you can't support why it bothers you (can be as simple as awkward wording or conflicts with characterizations) then it really isn't warranted. You're not saying what you would have done, you're saying what can be done to make the novel better for your reading consumption.

And when you can get some beta readers who have that in mind, you'll surprised how far your novel will go.

And if I ever get published I'll tell you what the CR in The CR stands for.

I just CAN'T right now.

How Your Query is Your American Idol Audition (Or the Voice)


I sent my query out to some agents a few days ago. Ideally, everything is out of my hands. Well, except for going back and tweaking the MS (I know I shouldn't, but I can't help it!). After attending Write On Con. There are two different scenerios to the basic things that I learned:

 You're query needs a hook, log  lines work pretty well.

You can't give away too little

You can't give away EVERYTHING

And you can't, absolutely can't, leave the reader feeling bored. Or insulted.

The query is the gateway to your story. It sucks in a sense. I mean, you had the endurance to sit down for months to write a story and now everything depends on a pitch?

Yeah, kind off.

Which brings me to the connecting theme of this blog post. A query is your American Idol audition. My friend auditioned once, and although she is a wonderful singer, she didn't make it. But she did clue me in on who did make it, which were pretty much one of the following: Normal looking, but Drop Dead Amazing Singers who made Xtina and Beyonce look like back-up, or really interesting looking people who's voices weren't anything special, but they were.

And I find that's the issue with many people's query. Sometimes the premise (the voice) of an novel is very good--so original that you hate yourself. But the presentation of the query is so lackluster that you convince yourself that it must be like everything else on the market. Or worse, the writing of the book is just as uncompelling.

Other times books don't sound that interesting. Girl meets boy. Been there, done that. But it's a combination of a unique writing style, as well as a creative hook (something that makes the novel special to every girl meets boy and makes everything diferent-OMG). I'm talking mostly of contemporaries here. Just real people, doing real stuff. That's usually unremarkable. But for an author to present something boring in a compelling way will hold your interest is very important.

High concept is great. But I don't read plot. I read words. And if your words are shitty, you lose.

Going more so into the audition aspect, what my friend told me is that you also only have about five to ten seconds to sell your voice. Yourself. Because there are a ton of other people there. And this is very true in a query. If your pitch is off (Get it?) agents are not going to bat an eye. They have hundreds (thousands) of other submissions to choose from.

But agents get it. No true author is the same. Just like not all successful singers are that good at actually singing (cough, Taylor Swift, cough). But why do they make it? Because they're using what works to their advantage. Some people can write about paint drying and make you shed a tear. If you know you are not the best writer sell yourself with concept. Gear toward an audience that wouldn't care about it. And maybe take a writing workshop.

Do something different.

Something interesting.

And get plenty of feedback before you query.

But even if you get rejected, hopefully that agent will supply feedback as to why. If not, don't give up hope immediately. Sometimes you do everything right in your power, but the agent wasn't feeling it or maybe they just picked on a client that has a similar concept. Maybe they don't like your voice. But that doesn't mean no one else will.

Which brings me to the next important thing after writing the novel and querying. To keep trying.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Um, there IS an 'i' in Abnegation

I'm not selfless. 

But because I said that, you probably think that I mean the opposite. So I am selfless.

Random blog reader: Wait, what?


But moving on, one of the most interesting things I learned from Divergent was the connection between selflessness and bravery. That in order to be selfless you must be brave. And in order to be brave you must be selfless. To an extent.

But the greater idea I felt that came from the comparison of two very different virtues was the effectiveness of either one in society. As in, if you fully commit to one--specifically in choosing to be selfless--what good does that actually do?

The Abnegation seem to be the "nicer" people compared to their faction counterparts. Yes the Amity are peaceful, but they seem more delusional than kind. Whereas the Abnegation are expected to put aside their wants and desires--even going as far to sacrifice their needs for the better good of servings humanity. Sounds like you'd want them to be your friend.

Need something? Gray best friend to the rescue!

Except they wouldn't use an explanation point. But just like there is an 'i' in Abnegation, there is also an 'i' in life. So how can I be selfless without compromising the own quality of my life? I can't.

And to some extent, I'm fine with that. It feels good to sacrifice my needs for others. Sometimes. But if I did it all the time--with no question, ever--wouldn't that be selfish? To myself?


Divergent is a dystopian novel due to the attempt to create an utopian society. Even selfless intentions are flawed. Even though I'm trying to sound like I'm making sense, not everyone is going to follow what I'm saying. This world is corrupt. Sadly, most efforts to fix it only exposes new problems.

So we try to be better people. Selfless. And then the corrupt cycle repeats.

Look at how happy I am.

 But you're not happy.

I'm going to throw this at your face, Peter.

And then you leave your faction. And then you throw your sweater at Peter. It's okay to throw your sweater at Peter.

And now I'm beginning to sound like a Direct TV commercial.

A bit overdue, but still a cause for celebration

I just finished the first manuscript I've ever considered for publication. Like almost a month ago (June 27th to be specific). Anyway, I made this face.

Victory is mine, witches!
And I am proud of this face.

Now. Finishing something like writing a book is one of the most relieving, fulfilling experiences out there. At least to me it was. And I'd like to think of my written works as my literary babies. I mean, I was there for them when they were only a simple thought in my rather sporadic head. It's an extension of myself, and I am eager to share it with the rest of the world. To show how great she is. Yes, The CR is a girl .

So, even though I have no children of my own (I'm a soon-to-be sophomore in college, so please don't judge me), I'd like to think about the initial completion a manuscript (before the revisions, the 300 pages of un-edited word vomit you're so proud it's almost gross) as the moment a kid graduates from high school.

They're pretty much done in terms of solely needing your overprotective guidance. It's the same with books. I know some people have friends look over their work as they write it, but for me it's sort of a race to the finish. I just have to get it done. Because even if I try to waste my time by editing (though, I will edit little things--necessary things--that come to mind so I don't forget) I'm still going to have to edit later. Like, a lot.

So now that your work can officially be called a "complete manuscript", just like a child has graduated from high school, they're out in the free world.

You can't protect your manuscript from scrutiny (beta readers, critique partners) if you want it to get better. Just like you can't keep your kid at home forever if you want them to make their own mistakes and grow from there. But it still hurts to see your manuscript/child being attacked--I mean, helped.

I'll write another post about my reaction to my beta readers and having to grow a thick skin. I'll also go into some of the specifics of things that tend to be wrong with manuscripts. My manuscripts. And something Divergent related.

Remember. The manuscript will always be your baby. The CR is mine.

But nobody likes a wimp, and once the glow of writing something that is yours wears off a little(usually a month later), you will grow to see the flaws that everyone else tried to point out to you.

And then you'll be crying to your mama.

Don't cry to your mama.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Not About Originality (It's About Not Being Blind)

Look around you.

Everything you see, everything you do, everything you associate yourself with is guilty of unoriginality in some way or another.

Originality! Wait, I don't see it.

This is where most of my dread comes from in writing. I constantly worry that what I have written has it been done before, better even. And that people will brush my work away, wrinkling their noses in disgust. Because I am garbage.

But we hear it. We hear people say that The Hunger Games is just a teen angst version of Battle Royale. We hear people say that Divergent is just a less intense, matrix-themed Hunger Games. But on what grounds? Where do we stop looking at something as it's own entity and see it merely as an unrelated expansion of what's already been done? And then done again?

So far, Harry Potter is the only novel set that I hear people go on about how original it was, and how special it was. I never finished the Harry Potter series, partially because my sister's obsession with it sort of led me astray, but what I read didn't seem any more original than the books I mentioned above. Stronger, more dynamic world building, perhaps, but nothing that truly appealed to my interests.

Everything is original. And everything is cliche. You really can't avoid it. And when you think you are, you're usually falling into another trap. That's why I have to stress that character motivation their choices, and they choices the author makes are essential for a less contrived product.

Example: Two boys were the best of friends, until friend A (let's call him Aaron) grows up to be a sexy beast over the summer and is instantly thrown into popularity when he returns to high school in the fall. Friend B (Baron!) has no such luck. Still short and stick bone skinny, he watches his friend get sucked into the limelight while he's left in the dark.

Sound familiar? Good!

A million people could write a story with this premise and people would still buy more than one of these books. One, people may like to read certain plots. Over and over. Two, if the stories are told in different, interesting ways, then you are not going to feel like you're reading the same thing. Over and over.

Because a lot of things could happen. Maybe the story is told to the more popular guy's point of view, which usually doesn't happen. Maybe Baron becomes the unlikely bad guy by teaming up with someone and wreaking chaos on the populars. Maybe they were gay lovers, and the story progresses beyond high school and their journeys of navigating adulthood without each other's support. Maybe Baron has a disability. Maybe Aaron doesn't want to be popular. Maybe he doesn't want to be friends with Baron anymore either. Hmmm....

Cliches are only cliche because they work. The important thing is not to be outright cliche because no one wants to hear the same story over again. Because even if you have different characters and a different setting, people aren't stupid. They're not going to see past your gimmick. And if they do read it, they're probably not going to like it.

Life's a competition. I think when the author realizes this, two things happen.

1. You try to replicate what has been done before. It's less creative, but safer.

2. You try to push yourself as far as you can and come out with a work of staggering genius. Maybe.

Your pick.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Good Bye Lullaby

I'm feeling nostalgic today.

It could be the rain. It's probably the rain--but I feel like singing a song. But I don't want to make you tone deaf.

So listen to this  and write on.

What's Your Super Power?

My sister tells me that I have the power to annoy people without trying.

I don't know how useful that is, but I'll accept her statement. I'm annoying. I talk to much at home because I never say anything at school, and I sing at random, high pitched intervals for reasons I don't even know.

But if I had a choice, I think I know what it would be.

Yes. I would want to be a blue man.
Teleportation and agility.

Now, I'm not going to go all geeky on you and tell you the extent of Night Crawler's powers ( you can read all about it right here) but just know that he has the basic ability to teleport place to place, and has athletic abilities that rival any Olympian.

Only, unlike NC, I would like to be able to teleport anywhere and everywhere without it exhausting me. Plus it would eliminate travel expenses and stress. Which are the two reasons why I hate traveling. And I would like to have great agility because that only goes hand in hand with teleportation, right?

So this isn't a post about writing. Shocker. But I'd like to think writing is my normal person power.

Tell me, what's yours?

And don't pick something stupid like being about to eat whatever you want without getting fat and dying of high cholesterol.

 Too easy and not very super.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Motivation is Motion (So Stop Thinking)

I'm not going to pretend to be a motivational speaker.

Because even when my younger brother asks me for advice, he always mumbles away how terrible it is. I think this is because even if you try to advise someone (no matter how well you know them) the advice you give them can never be authentic.

My words aren't to help him. They are to help him if I were him.

I don't know if that completely makes sense, but it goes into the whole if you put yourself in someone else's shoes mentality. I like my shoes. Hell, I don't even think that I'm that fond of wearing shoes.

So what am I supposed to do in your shoes? Let alone my brother's size twelve shoes?

And as I used to think of ways to help someone vocally, it occurred to me that I do not get much out of someone telling me things. If I see you do something, or if you encourage me to do something, then there's some progress.

There's motivation.

This kind of reminds me of a TV show. I don't know if you've seen the episode of How I Met Your Mother where the character Barney tells his friend-hitman-compadre Ted to stop thinking. But Ted's a thinker. He probably read the book "Oh, the Thinks you Can Think!" repetitively as a child. Anyway, once Ted has this mentality (and a little alcohol) in his system, he ends up doing some pretty courageous (and stupid) things he would have never attempted.

A pineapple? Holy crap, I messed up bad...

Now I'm not saying, "Go out! Be as reckless as possible! Just do, don't think!" But I'm not advocating a total think-happy existence. Because it's not a happy one. It's actually sort of dismal.

Because when you think about things, you remember the odds of life. Like the fact that your book might not get published. Or the fact that you probably won't even finish it. You think about how many other people are trying to do whatever it is you want to do. And a lot of them are better at it then you, too.

You think about how much high school sucked. Not really in the sense that you were bullied, or mocked out-rightly, but in some sense you wished you were. You think about how being completely ignored hurts in a numbing kind of way. But it hurt all the same.

Okay, okay. Enough of the sad feelings. I'm trying to say that your mind can destroy you before anyone else does. Or it can produce great things. But sometimes you have to distance yourself from your thoughts, and just do something.

Stop thinking about how much you hate math and just finish your math homework.

Stop thinking about how scared you are of your audition and just rock it.

Stop thinking about how hard it is to publish a novel and just write it.

Just do it.

And see what happens.

Expectations and Sequels (It's a Deadly Combination)

Expectations are a terrible thing.

And when you have a sequel, expectations come out with vengeance. Why?

I'll tell you.

Book One 

Maybe you've heard of the book you're about to pick up. Maybe you haven't. But the cover's pretty, the summary sounds interesting, and there's money in your pocket. You buy it. You read it, no expectations. You grow with these characters. You decide which ones you like, which ones you hate, which one(s) become(s) your new fictional lover(s). You enjoy the action and setting. You put down the book.

That was a good book.

Post Book One 
Now you have opinions. There are certain things characters did in the first book that made you love them. So now you expect those characters to do those same things. But in a different way/setting. You begin to formulate how this and that is going to happen in the sequel. Nancy and Ralph are going to become lovers. Merlin Prep will be taken over by a zombie apocalypse. Duffy will realize that she's in love with Ralph and that her favorite teacher was turned into a zombie. Duffy will become a zombie slayer.

Wait, this sounds familiar....

Duffy the zombie slayer.

Book Two

It was nothing you expected. At all. And frankly you're a little bit peeved at the author. How dare he/she not think your ideas were wonderful? With every page you read, you begin to loath the text more and more. You finish it, admit that it wasn't all that bad, but not as good as the first you read impartially. Ultimate conclusion? You hate this book.

You know, unless you're that happy-go-lucky person who gives five stars to everything they read. Then your expectations were blown. Immensely.

But you're not them. You're still mumbling. Bemoaning.

"The trilogy better be better!"  You say, not realizing your doing it again. Expecting...

And then the cycle repeats. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Shine Bright Like Erudite

When I asked my brother (who had just finished reading Divergent) what faction I would be, I was surprised that he didn't suggest that I would be Erudite. My younger brother has the tendency to go on irritated tangents about how 'smart' I am, how 'highly' our parents seem to regard me compared to him and our other siblings.

Because I have swag like that (whatever swag is...) I usually dismiss him. I brush my hand in the air and then through my hair and tell him that I just study and manipulate situations to my favor (see my Candor post). I'm no smarter than anyone else. Anyone who thinks they're not smart are dumbing themselves down.

But am I an intellectual? Do I constantly strive to know how the world works? Do I want to be an astro-physist?

No. Not really. And I can't say. Though, being an astro-physist sounds really cool.

But I'm pretty sure that the only reasons I well in school are for insecure, very non-abnegation reasons such as:

1. I'm very jealous when it comes to others succeeding. But I try to see how/why those people got there and try to emulate them.

2. I don't like to look bad. I look bad without trying, so I'm not going to look bad at my own hand. Even if I personally prefer to be lazy. You know, until I get bored.

I do not actively pursue all knowledge. I am not Erudite.

Why are you taking my picture? I am supposed to be planning a hostile invasion. Ahem, I mean studying.

But everyone has the potential to learn something--to be intelligent--if they want to. Intelligence comes in many forms. And everyone has taken that test in middle school that tells you what type of intelligence you are. I tested highest for mathematical-logical intelligence.

 Hostile invasion....I mean, math...

But my feelings for math range anywhere between neutral and the occasional pure hatred for the subject. I prefer reading, writing, and music far more. But I am a very logical person. I am a little bit more reasonable than I wish I was, and I always tried to act smarter than everyone else when I was a young girl. Now I'm just trying to be me. Whoever I am. And you should try to be the smartest you. You decide what that smartness is. Smartness is a word, right?

Big book of diseases + hipster glasses = erudite swag

A Piece of Cake (If Only Writing Was One)

Writing a novel is one of those things where you can have your cake and eat it too.

You know, if you can finish it. And recently I read some statistics that I'm too lazy to pull up a link to (okay not really) that says that 75% of the people who attempt to create a novel won't finish it.

Why is that? Especially when we all thought publishing was the biggest obstacle?

Because it really isn't.

The finished product is what you are trying to sell. So if you can't finish that, there's nothing to be sold.

And even if you are that glorious 25% that makes it through their manuscript, that doesn't mean that you've baked a good product. And that fact--the fact that you could have poured your soul into something for months and years only to be left with an undesirable product is enough to make you scared of actually trying in the first place.

But a lot of things are scary. A lot of things scare me. Cake usually doesn't, but it might as well if I'm too afraid to write.

If you haven't guessed the them of this post, then the following picture will explain it for you.

Scared of me already? Just wait and see what I'll do to your thighs!

Cake! Somewhere along getting dressed for the day and coming down stairs, the thought randomly occurred to me. I wasn't looking for an analogy of how writing was for me, but it came anyway.

Written works and the confection are similar in the sense of how they are both made, how they are supposed to appear, and how they are ultimately made for public consumption.  I've broken it down into three categories.

You put in a bunch of ingredients in a pan, put it in the oven and hope that everything turns out well. Writing is sort of the same. Except your pan is your word processor, your oven = your computer, and your ingredients are words.

When you bake, you try no to deviate from the from the instructions. However, when you write, you kind of have to if you want to come across as being original.

But there is a balance between adding your own personal kick and making something completely bogus. And you can taste the batter, decide if you're really on the right track, but once its in the oven there's not much you can do. And when the cake comes out all done, whether it's deflating on the side, or plump and tasty looking, the product is usually much different than you could have ever imagined in it's elementary stages. And its a sight--good, but usually kind of bad--worth seeing. Don't give up too quickly.

Don't judge a book by its cover. But we do anyway. I do. Personally I resist books that look old and books that have people on them. Why? I don't know. I'm just picky in the worst possible ways. Now going back to cakes. Most people expect a cake to have frosting on it, right? Right. So does that mean that you have to have sparklers on the end, and miniature cars and figurines dancing to a micro-music chip inside the cake? No. Actually, most would prefer one without that. An author needs to know what is necessary. Most cakes are not complete without frosting. So have frosting. But don't slap in on and say "There. Are you happy now world?" Because no one likes a half-assed attempt. They are paying money for that cake/book. So have a nice cover. A dynamic summary. Something that you know will catch someone's attention. Because at a bake sale/ book store what is going to make your work special? Eye-popping frosting!

So someone has bought your book/cake! But is that all you want? Or do you want that person to actually enjoy it, instead of spitting it out back at your face, and writing hurtful reviews about you on their blog/goodreeds? I don't think I have to answer that for you. Pay attention to the substance. Try to be original (please refer to preparation) but not too far fetched. Because people would probably prefer a bland cake/book over a disgusting one. Writing is work. And that work should shine above everything else. And if it's not shining, you may have to start over again. And again. And until you've mastered the culinary art of the story you want to tell.

So what are you waiting for? Go bake your f*#@ing cake! It doesn't really matter if you don't know what your getting into. Just know what you're getting out of it.

Just don't over-indulge in the cake eating. Then writing won't be your only problem...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why Being a Writer Makes you Just as Crazy as you are Creative


I've taken a few days off from writing my manuscript, and in doing so, I've been doing a lot of reflecting. And although I have not had separation anxiety just yet, I know I would have if I wasn't writing this.

So speaking about writing, I just wanted to take a little time to discuss how it makes me--us--crazy. With creativity.

So here are the top five things I've noticed I've been doing ever since I've been in writing overdrive, starting around May 12th.

1. You say things internally (and sometimes out loud) like, "What the hell should I make Scarlet's hair color?" or "Ugh, I have to kill Raymond today."

2. You see people in public who look just like the characters you envisioned/created in your stories. So you smile at them all giddy and mesmerized until they walk off, thinking you're a freak. But sadly less of a freak then you actually are.

3. You get discouraged at least four times a day. The usual reason being: holy-crap-my-manuscript-isn't-original-or-good-enough-why-is-this-so-hard-stop-laughing-at-me-other-published-authors-and-life. Then you're inspired, just like that, by pretty uninspiring things, like banana peels, a stapler or Ke$ha.

4. You daydream. A lot. Sometimes great ideas just pop in your head and you get lost a labyrinth of your own thoughts. And no one can find you until you've straightened them out. This will take months and/or years.

5. People (non-writer people) stop asking what you're doing. Because they tried, and just can't understand. And you don't have the time to tell them. They can read about it later, after all.

Now back to math. Or writing.

Writing is good.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Can You Trust a Candor? (How Manipulation is Everything)

I wouldn't. 

You know, unless I was one. Because if you can't trust yourself, who can you trust?

And don't answer Candor. 

Moving on, I've been talking about choices and decisions lately, and I feel that truth is an important virtue. But it's not everything.

And I know that you probably can't see it from my sporadic, air-headed appeal, but I'm actually a very manipulative person.

Like, I can get you to do all of my bidding without a blink of an eye. 

Well, maybe if I really wanted to. But that kind of control takes work. And if you haven't heard from my friendly friends and family, I've been very unmotivated lately. But don't worry. I'm not bossy, particularly stuck up, or downright unpleasant. Most of the time. 

But I feel like manipulation only works if you trust yourself. Then you can prey on the weaknesses of others.

And that's always fun.

Got a secret? I'll destroy you with it.

Secrets are destructive. My good friends (I wish we were...) the Pierces sing it best here. Secrets fall hand in hand (ha, Abnegation) with trust, and ultimately manipulation.

To have control in any situation (or over people) you have to trust in yourself, and expel truths that are necessary to be known. For example, if you know that you have to be a eighteen or older to participate in an event in college, and you are only a humble 17 year-old college sophomore (That's me!) who doesn't  blab about your age to random strangers (oops, guilty...) everyone's probably going to assume that you are old enough to partake in the activity. After all, sophomore undergrads tend to range from 19-20 in age. So here's where manipulation comes in. Playing with public assumptions.

Don't assume yourself. No, that can be as destructive as telling secrets. Keep your secrets. But let others assume. And when they do, use their ignorance to your advantage.

But I'm getting a bit off topic. The point of this post was to say that I dressed up like the Candor. Black and white and no grays in between. But we all know life doesn't work like that. Because my favorite color just so happens to be gray.

How's the look on my face? Candor? Dauntless? Candaunt? Ugh, choices!

So the ultimate question now is, would I chose Candor as my faction?

Well, I'm smiling, aren't I?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Oh, the lack of decisions...

I know. It sort of sounds like I'm talking about choices again.

But I'm not. So don't cut me off.

Sorry, if that came off as rude. Still feeling a little Dauntless...

Moving on, I just wanted to share a few words with you about my feelings on the writing process and what I've been struggling with the most as I write my manuscript. Decisions. Of the lack of them.

You've heard it all. Either you have writer's block, or you know where you'd like to go with a story, but you just have no damn idea how to get there. And as you go on your journey, you find your options limited. The road to success (aka the completion of your manuscript because I'm not guaranteeing it's going to get you published once you finish it, you silly kid!) is blocked for today. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Curse, limitations.

And then you wonder. Like how on earth can something that requires your imagination seems so hard to put together? After all, a fictional story is made from the fabric of your thoughts sewn together by the words you use to describe them. It's all you. That's suppose to be good! Writers tend to introverts anyways!

But its hard. Ridiculously hard. And the worst thing about it is that as you try to go through with it, the more you hate the manuscript. And every other written work you see seems to shine like a diamond compared to your dull, overexposed-only-to-you story.

And maybe those other novels are diamonds. But that's because they've been polished, and gone through whatever long process it takes to make a rock of a rough first draft into a sparkly, hard covered work of blinding creative genius.

So keep motivated. I keep motivated by keeping deadlines. At the same time, I assure myself that even if I really, really, absolutely hate my manuscript at the end of this process, I can hide it away--burn it in the back yard even.

And if I roast marshmallows over the ashes of hours and hours of hard work and dedication, its not a complete waste because I completed something. I am stronger for next time. I am still a success.

So my point in all of this? We often feel limited midway through our stories, when the appeal of writing a best seller, or just something you can be proud of is being drowned by all of the work it takes to get to that point.

But ask yourself, is it really writer's block, or a lack of motivation?

Decide quickly.

Don't Mess With Me. I'm Dauntless.

SEE. I told you I'd post about Divergent!
Putting my sick obsession aside (which could only mean me bringing it out...) I mentioned that I was tie in how discipline is related to choices. And choices is a strong theme of Divergent

So I made some choices today. I woke up on time. Did math even through I really didn't want to (discipline!). And got dressed.

And when I walked to the mirror in my dinning room to examine myself, I couldn't help but stand frozen, mesmerized at myself. No, I am not self-absorbed. Well, not that self-absorbed. 

Anyway, it wasn't me that I found particularly impressive. It was my outfit choice. I had subconsciously chosen my faction. And that faction was Dauntless.

You really wanna mess with me, pansycake? 

Naturally, I did the un-Dauntless thing after I came to this conclusion, which was squealing at my reflection internally and trying to act cool for the rest of the day. I tried to do that eyebrow narrowing, squint thing that hardcore people like Four and Tris are capable of, but because it's me we're talking about, I looked more like Christina, and it came out more like this:

You scared, Peter? 

And this: 

What about you, Four?

Personally, I don't think the last one was that bad. But all in all, everything was in good fun. And as I still wear my dauntless-inspired clothing to type this post, there are three important things I feel should be considered and accepted:

1. Your choices define you. But you also define your choices. It's your homework to decipher what the latter means. Clue: It's all in this post. And sometimes the clothes. 

2. Oh my gargoyles, I have to dress up as every other faction and post it on my blog! And don't worry, I don't feel foolish, because this is just way too much fun. Because as we all know, I should be doing my math homework. Thank heavens for choices, right? I might be feeling Erudite tomorrow...

3. Veronica Roth is one of the most visionary-badass-creative people on earth. Don't pretend you don't know who she is.

Dauntless out. 

Discipline, and Other Things I Don't Have Time For

I hate math.

I hate math because I could be writing. And when I could be writing, I could be happier. And when I'm happier, I'm not stressed. And when you're stressed, you die a premature death.

I do not want to die a premature death.

So instead I expel all of the annoying negativity in my life with this face. It's pretty, isn't it?

I am the master of my mind! Wait, why does it feel like it's exploding?

The point I'm trying to make is that we often have to do things we don't want. And even when we are doing things we do want to *cough* work on the CR manuscript *cough* there are still things I have to do that I don't entirely want to.Like writing out certain scenes. Research. Math.

I don't think that I hate anything, but often its easier to point out what we don't like verses what we actually like and want to pursue.

So push on, even if you don't want to. Because most of the time you have no choice.

But we'll talk about choices if I discuss Divergent.

Sigh. Discipline, remember?

When I discuss Divergent.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Over-thinking, Overachieving and How it All Leads to Suffering

I don't know how I became such an anal person. 

It's scary actually, to think that when I started writing the CR, that I honestly thought that I would craft, and mold a work of staggering genius. After all, a book--as it once seemed to me--was just a collection of well organized thoughts. But then I realized something.

I'm not that organized. 

Yet, some how I'm picky in the kind of way that calls for random order. 
Example: All of the bathrooms in my house have to be clean. I'll even clean my parent's room for fun (or favorite child points, but either way). 

My room on the other hand, is an obstacle course of abandoned clothing, designed to keep me fit, and confused. 

It may seem like I'm going off focus, but the point is (if you didn't think I had one) is that life is filled with contradictions and things that happen for reasons you don't think even God could explain. Like writing a book, no matter how hard you try to come out with a perfect product, because you've been told that perfection is the key of life, it's not going to happen. Overthinking, trying to go above and beyond--not bad things. But evaluate the costs. 

So try not to be tedious. Because as you look at your final draft, whether it be in life or your novel (pick the novel!) you will notice how flawed, cliched it is or was, sadly. You'll wonder if the time you spent on it was worth it.

But above all, you'll appreciate it. And there's some peace in that.