Saturday, March 23, 2013

Payment

Reddit helps a lot, it seems. In /r/writing someone was kind enough to make a chart of magazines that actually pay for fiction/poetry (I died a little bit here) and I'm sitting here like, "50$ per page!? 700$ FOR A STORY?!"

But then I go to the website, and I start clicking around, trying to see what type of magazine it is, what they publish, who it's for, and the closer I get to "SEND THE STORY, SEND IT SEND IT SEND ITTTT" I start hesitating. I don't even get it, what is it that I'm so terrified about? It's not like they'll know how old I am yes they will I write and sound like a teenager and it's not like it'll change anything if I'm not published yes it will it would mean FAILURE. I just rationalized my way out of submitting Daylight Runaway because it's technically a Christmas story (as in, Christmas day is briefly mentioned) and we're in March. And then I rationalized my way out of sending The Magic Trick because my professor had a bit of a problem with the climax and it's...it might be boring.

JUST DO IT says about 68% of my brain. It's the majority and yet I'm doing a great job at ignoring it. The other problem being that apparently no one likes to receive stuff mid March? I don't...I don't even know.

Submitsubmitsubmit.

Maybe~

A small fight broke out in the comments of that post, by the way. It seems a lot of people are offended that some writers are so concerned with the money aspect. While I would technically agree that going into writing for the sole purpose of making money is ridiculous, I don't understand why some people want to vilify those who wish to get paid for their fiction.

I always feel a little naive and ridiculous when speaking with older, wiser authors/writers about my plans for the future. I feel like saying my dream is to be a published novelist will lead some to take it as a personal insult. Like I'm going against the whole nature of art and its beauty by trying to get some cash out of it.

I already picked a career that barely qualifies as a career and might make me homeless if I don't have some other job backing me up--I think one can rest assure I'm not in this for the money. I could always pick a more secure way to gain income, like armed robbery.

But I'm picking writing, and it'd be more than heaven if I could live off of it, so I will pursue that.

(That sounded defensive... it was)
~Becky

P.S: This post isn't anything special. So...here's a flash fiction I wrote on the bus based off one of an early scene from Enkindled With Chains.

I may or may not submit it to Teen Ink since I doubt it'll be published there >_> Problematic in so many ways..

(Edited and Professionally Feels Tested by Giselle: The Batman) The Road to Awe
She knew that was the day she’d die.
When Esther woke up that morning, she untangled the garbage from her hair and hummed a little lullaby. She washed her face in the black water from the canal and tried to straighten her clothes. It was perfectly silly, but for the first time in her life, she wished she had more shoes than just one old, black boot, and prettier dresses than the faded blue one she’d been wearing for months now. In the end, she supposed, it probably didn’t matter. She took off to the streets with a hazy look in her eyes and a faint smile upon her lips.
A subway station.
That’s where she needed to go.
Underground transportation reminded the thirteen year old of the only time she’d ever had enough coins in her pocket to trade for a little bit of freedom. As Esther gingerly stepped over the concrete’s cracks and puddles of spilled coffee, she allowed her mind to drift to the past. Her memories were a steam of vibrant colors, flashing behind her eyelids whenever she blinked. The monochromatic station threatened to fade away at first, but the chattering of the crowd, the hissing of train doors, and the screeching of wheels against the tracks kept it alive.
She stepped up close to a train as people flowed out of it, drifting into other compartments, down hallways, up stairs and into the surface. The train began to move again and the lights in the tunnel flickered over her face as the compartments whizzed by. Esther took in a deep breath as the noises filled her mind; footsteps, conversations, trains darting into the darkness, laughter in the distance. It was uncontrolled and loud, and it made her wonder about the next world. How would it sound like?
She hooked her blonde hair behind her ears and then held her fingertips there. Esther would miss this noise. The buzzing and humming that made the grey station pulse with life. When she cupped her ears with her hands, it wasn’t because she was trying to shield away from the static of this world. She was trying to hold it there. She didn’t want to lose it.
Another train was approaching. There was no need to turn around to know—Esther could see faint light crawling through the length of the passage. She could hear the coming shuttle and the footsteps of people as they backed away. She could hear everything.
            “Excuse me.”
            Someone was trying to reach her.
            “L-little girl? Please, step back.”
 Whoever was calling to her was hurrying their step, but the light in the passage grew. The noise of wheels rattling over tracks elevated, drowning out distant sounds.
            “Excuse me!
The train was closer, so much closer, five seconds away. Esther couldn’t tell if she felt fear or excitement—all she could do was grin from ear to ear. She couldn’t wait for what came next.
            “GET BACK!”
            She leaped onto the tracks.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Conversations (1)

Now Playing:
  • Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK (guitar hero 3 cover) and God Save the Queen
  • Alice Cooper - School's Out
  • Kiss - I Love It Loud and I Was Made For Lovin' You
  • The Runaways - I Wanna Be Where The Boys Are
  • Suzi Quatro - The Wild One
  • The Doors - Break On Through (To The Other Side)
  • Wolfmother - Woman
"Tour?"

"Yes!"

"Like leaving?"

"Yup!"

"Like leaving school?"

"Christ, I didn't say the world was going to explode tomorrow, we're going on a tour. Why aren't you screaming?"

"Because we can't go?"

"The fuck--why wouldn't we go, Logan?"

"School, Kim! It's senior year and-"

"It's technically sophomore year for Roxy."

"She's coming with us?!"

"She's your back up, dumbass."

"I thought Jason was back-up."

"She's the back-up's back-up."

"No, she isn't."

"Hair and make up?"

"She can't leave school, Kim. She's just a kid!"

"She's sixteen. It's valid. When are we telling your folks?"

"We're not telling them anything! They'll...oh god...oh my god, they'll..."

"Are you having an attack?"

"Contemplating death."

"If you don't want to tell them, I will."

"That's a fucking terrible idea."

"Hey congrats, your first curse word."

"This isn't a joke."

"You fucking bet it's not a joke. We're wasting so much goddamn time standing around instead of preparing for the road--this better not be a joke, Logan. We have to go pack. Think I can take my motorcycle rather than ride with you guys?"

"We're not taking a plane?"

"Does it look like I have 300 dollars for each of us plus the roadies?"

"What are you going to tell your dad?"

"...I...I haven't thought of that...yet."

"Won't he be disappointed?"

"I don't give a shit if he is-"

"Yes you do."

"Well even if I did, that's not enough to stop me. Besides, I could send back money. Assuming we make any."

"You say that like it doesn't matter."

"It really doesn't."

"Yes it does! If we were making money...hell, not even then, but on the slight chance we became millionaires, then maybe leaving school would make sense. But not right now."

"What does it matter? Nick and I are failing over half our classes."

"I'm not! And--you're failing? What about those two AP classes you're taking?"

"Not failing those, failing the others."

"Kim...that's..."

"The reason why pointless subjects like social studies and English shouldn't exist. Then I wouldn't be failing my classes. But I am. So I'm leaving. School's never done anything good for anyone, with or without a diploma or degree, but at least my way is much more fun."

"But Kim-"

"Do you want to stay with your parents?"

"I just-"

"Do you want them to lock you up? Shove you to that pretty little church every day and trap you in an eternity of expectations and neckties?"

"You know that's not-"

"Stay here then, Logan. God knows this town's done so much for us--for all of us. What'll you do? Inherit the business, marry a nice girl, have two point five children."

"What's wrong with wanting a nice, peaceful life?"

"Nothing wrong. But that's not what you want. That's what they want you to want. You know it, and I know it, and they know it. Only difference between us all is that I can admit it. Think you can admit it too?"

(Pause. She moves in closer)

"Come with us, Logan. Come with me?"

"Is that an order or a request?"

"Depends how you like it."

"...you are impossible."

"And you haven't answered my request slash possible order. Come with me--please? You can be the Nancy to my Sid."

"And that means...?"

"Sid Vicious, Logan."

"Jesus. I'm definitely not going."

"Wait--what, why? That was a joke!"

"I don't...I just don't think I'm up for this. Not--god, not that I want to quit. But this might not be good for me, personally, for my future. Wait. That's not what I'm saying."

"Then what are you saying?"

"I don't know if this...lifestyle is for me?"

"Is that a question I'm meant to answer?"

"Kim...you know what I mean."

"Nope. I don't get your worries. Are you afraid you're going to find me in some hotel bathroom with a needle in my arm? Or suicide, maybe? That's a popular one. I know better. We know better. Just come with us."

"But we're still dropping out of school?"

"Yup. Ready to go?"

"...I'll have to tell my parents now. Before I lose my nerve."

"I'll go with you."

"Oh that's not-"

"Come on. I'll go with you. I want to see their faces when you tell them. You can't rob me of that."

"Why is it when you say things like that they sound so...?"

"Easy?"

"Nonlethal."

"It's a gift."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
(From Still Life...apparently.)
~Becky

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Glance

*The Magic Trick
Thomas Newman - Dead Already
It all started when I was seven years old. The memory comes to me clearly and easily. I’m passing circus tents and heading towards one of the caravans reserved for the performers while holding my mom’s hand. She wants to go speak with her brother, whom we saw on stage less than twenty minutes ago. When we get there he’s taking off his top hat and locking away all his props. As soon as my eyes land on him, I remember that he made pigeons and cards appear and disappear from thin air, walked through a steel door, read the mind of an elderly woman, caught a bullet with his hands, and teleported his assistants from inside cages made of pure metal walls to seats in the audience.
And I knew he’d faked all of it.
I’d been practically dragged to the circus. Earlier that day, I had brought to light a shocking revelation to Mom: her brother was a big phony and he was disgustingly tricking all the people who were paying to watch him. Magic wasn’t real. Father had said so, and my father never lied to me. He told me often that he didn’t want me to be just another gullible kid who grew up into a na├»ve adult. In fact, whenever my classmates started rambling off about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny, I rolled my eyes and set the record straight. Santa Claus wasn’t real, fairies weren’t real, and magic was most definitely not real.


Jasmine Tracks

Clint Mansell - Stay With Me
After Tanika turned five, there wasn’t a day in her life where she wasn’t covered in the chalky remnants of pulverized stones. For four years, she crushed rock after rock in between her small hands, surrounding herself in clouds of white dust that never seemed to settle anywhere but on her skin.
            Her face had never been truly cleaned off of it until now. The tears she shed carried off the dust from her cheeks, leaving behind clear paths that started up from her eyes down to her jaw line. As she knew the blood of her fingers would stain her face even more, Tanika did not bother wiping her tears away, despite desperately wanting to.
Just two days had passed since she lost Juhi at the market; she couldn’t sleep, concentrate, or think of anything but getting her back.
She had known that district was dangerously crowded. She had known begging at the intersections would end badly if someone alerted the police of all the child beggars.
But after she missed the stones and cracked her fingers open, Tanika didn’t leave the fields that day with the usual 18 rupees. All she had was aching, bleeding hands and near paralyzing fear. She needed the money.
That’s why two days prior, Tanika crossed through the market, tapped on the window of cars, and pointed to her broken hands until she was kindly handed the valuable paper.
Then someone called the police. And she ran through the streets, ignoring her burning lungs and the screaming, broken tissue of her fingers. She didn’t know what happened if you got caught, but she didn’t want to find out.
When she made it out to a safe place, she realized Juhi was nowhere to be seen. Tanika called out her name and waited for her to appear—to materialize in front of her eyes as she often did—but Juhi was gone.


*Equilibrium

Gustavo Santaolalla - Sendero
The playground had been constructed at the heart of the forest. It was vibrantly colorful, echoing with the laughter of children and the scolds of adults. There was no earthly reason for a grimacing, irritated old man to perch himself on a bench near the noisy, erratic kids; tranquility could only be found by walking away from the playground, not sitting near it.
But after he emerged from the forest, the old man settled down over the bench closest to the swing sets, sighing in relief. He set aside his cane and held his hand over his right knee, every now and then glancing up whenever a child squealed in delight. Not five minutes later, a little girl with ribbons in her hair and blood dripping from her limbs bounced up to the bench and climbed on top of it. She sat with her legs dangling over the ground, rocking from side to side with a gentle smile on her face.
            “Did you fall down?” the old man asked, taking one look down at her skinned knees.
            “Yeah,” the little girl answered, staring off at the other children without turning to the man, “Five times.”
            “Five?”
            “Well four. I leaped the first time because Kitty was trying to run away from me.”
            “Is that a friend?”
            “No. Kitty is a black cat.”
            “You named your cat ‘Kitty’?”
            “She’s not mine. I met her today. Chased her here. Did you see her?”
            “No.”
            “Well I was trying to pet her, but cats are so quick, you know? I tried to get near her and she started hissing and throwing a fit—she was way too much trouble. But she was so cute. I just wanted a hug. So I pounced on her. I got to grab her for a few seconds before she squiggled out and ran.”
            “Is that why your arms are bleeding?”
            “They are?”
The little girl stretched out her arms in front of her. Red lines crisscrossed over her already scarred forearms. That’s when he noticed her left hand was pealing, covered in blotches of pink skin
            “Well Kitty did try to fight back…” she mumbled after a pause.


(Untitled, barely started - Nikki and Vlad)


Martin O'Donnell - In Amber Clad (extended)
I was born without a name. It’s hopeful to know I will die with one.
There was a lot of color at first. I’m certain because I remember my early life being polluted by electric blues, vibrant reds, and degrees of sunlight. The colors didn’t last forever, of course. Soon after I could properly walk, everything began to fade and turn gray. I can’t remember if I was taken away from the color or if the color was taken away from me, but I do know things grew uniformed and orderly as I became a capable young girl who could follow protocol.
I had a partner all my life. We studied languages and mathematics together. We ran side by side in distances races and I was always right behind her when we sprinted in the track. For all intents and purposes, we had been born at the exact same time and would live and die at the exact same time. There was no clear beginning to our partnership, so it was safe to assume there would not be an ending either. My life was an uninterrupted streak of following orders, fighting, learning, and running. Lots of running.


*An Evolution
Nine Inch Nails - Lights In The Sky and Corona Radiata

It started with my back.
I was six. That year, Mother cried a lot at night.
I was shifting and breaking slowly, all in front of her eyes. She realized what was happening long before I did.
Being six years old and forever lost somewhere in the realm between my mind and the world around me, I probably couldn’t comprehend much of what was taking place. I’m sure I knew there was something wrong, but the wonderful thing about being six is that tragedy’s not a looming specter. My tragedy was a ghost who visited in the dead of night but disappeared once the sun’s rays peeked through the bedroom window. It only hurt when it was happening.
Mother remembers waking up to my screams. She remembers the echoing cries of a little girl trapped in a body that was falling apart. She remembers the shock of watching my bones break and bulge out underneath my skin. She remembers running hot water behind my back to sooth away the pain.
It started with my back. A year later, it crawled down to my legs.
And my ghost? It wasn’t afraid of the daylight anymore.
I could be running around the house, picking flowers from the forest, or wandering around my bedroom before a high pitch scream exploded past my lips and I collapsed. My legs would shake beneath me and I would cry as I tried to drag myself across the ground. Whenever Mother ran to me, guided by my screams, she would find me on the floor, pulling forward with my arms. She said it looked like I was trying to crawl away from the pain, to drag myself away from my own legs.


Bonus: *Daylight Runaway
Ellie Goulding - Lights
Ophelia was a girl who chased for the light every day, hoping it would embed on her skin and transform her into a daughter of the sun.
At thirteen, she was too old to place ribbons in her hair, stamp her foot mid-temper tantrum, and have imaginary friends, but she was too young to hitchhike away from home, dress in tiny shorts, carry around a 9mm, and imagine an independent, accomplished life in the brightest and most dangerous city of the world.
But she wasn’t going to let an arbitrary number stop her.
The highway was a hazy backdrop with the gloss of the sun shimmering against her eyes, blinding her to the truck drivers and vacationing families who glanced back at her in curiosity. They were not used to seeing a tiny girl standing alone in the desert, her thumb stretched out against the wind. With each backward step she took, Ophelia tracked dirt all over her only good pair of converse, and with each dreaded, passing minute, she entertained herself with nothing but her mind.
In midst of a random, unclear fantasy about adventure and treasure and wonder, Ophelia hiked up the strap of her backpack and stuck her tongue out at all the drivers who whizzed by her.
It was Christmas Eve and Tommy would not stop yammering about home.
She would have ignored him, but even if the sun stung her eyes, the rays swallowing away much of the real world, it could not make Tommy disappear. It was impossible to tune out or ignore a loud, lanky man dressed head to toe in an ugly glittering suit of orange streaks and yellow dots.


~*~*~*~

I don't like a lot of these openings. I'm always bad at beginnings, pretty good at the middle, and then a mystery at the end. It usually varies between being a mediocre finale or a satisfying resolution (there's a dirty joke somewhere here). I think the problem is a lot of these are terribly passive and the first 250-300 words are suppose to make you want to spend the next couple pages with these people. If not, why continue reading? Either way, I'm documenting them here so when I rewrite them ten or twenty times I'll be able to go back and see what changes I made.

An Evolution ended up being a little stranger than I thought. It sort of surprised me. The setting switched as did the direction and note of the narrative. Even the Mother character is confusing me. I'm not sure if I liked it well enough, but I'm going to awkwardly show that one and Equilibrium to my professor. Odd how the former has no dialogue and the latter is composed mostly of two people talking.

They both take place in a forest, though.

~Becky

*Finished first or subsequent drafts. (Or about a paragraph away from finishing, as is the case for Equilibrium.)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

GISELLE

It really freaks me out that you found this blog >______>

~Becky
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.