Sunday, October 20, 2013

Disappointment

Now Playing:
  • Ennio Morricone - Il tramonto and L'arena.
  • Luis Bacalov - Summertime Killer
Quick post because I have homework and had about five hours of sleep last night (for some reason I woke up at four and couldn't go back to sleep) but I gotta get this out of my system.

I should have known better than to read an article discussing the many genres agents just can't sell anymore, but it was probably the wake up call I needed. Fantasy with creatures is a no-go. No werewolves, no fairies, no vampires, no witches, no mermaids.

Back in planning, I think I thought I'd get away with it in Anne's story because the mermaids don't really play that big of a part. Or they do, but they're very much just like any other creatures? I don't know how to explain it or why it made sense in my head, but none of them are named, and there's no way Anne can even interact with them. It'd be like trying to talk to sharks.

The novel is more about Anne's life as a pirate, her relationship with Captain Hali, Ru, Shin, and Jane the Reaper, and the Brothers' influence on the mortal people. Plus all this other stuff involving the other nations and some random feminist undertones I was playing around with. It's also technically high fantasy, not paranormal. It isn't part of a trilogy, which I had heard some agents were pretty sick off--and thank god because I don't think I'll have the energy to write a trilogy till I'm in my thirties.

But it's not going to be enough. A few minutes back, I sort of tried to accept querying Anne's story somewhere in the near future would just not bring anything positive to me. When I accepted that I also accepted that my writing is nowhere near ready for publication, and it probably won't be in the next year either.

So I've been sitting here thinking, maybe after I'm done writing and revising Anne's story, I'll write and try to publish The Band/Still Life, a YA contemporary. It's been in my head for a little while and I adore the voice of the main character. It has a diverse cast in terms of sexuality, races, gender, and class--main character is Asian, her best friend is asexual, one of her two male friends is black, the siblings are lower class while her love interest is upper class, and a bunch more LGBT and POC characters. It's a coming-of-age story and involves a group of teenagers trying to form a rock band. I don't think it'd be a New York Times best seller but with solid writing, a good voice, interesting characters, and an entertaining premise, it should do well, right?

Except the market is already seeing a huge wave of YA contemporaries. This book wouldn't be ready till at least two years from now. And that's assuming my writing's improved enough to be publishable. It probably won't be.

I know it's not a race. These things take time. I won't be a failure if I publish my first novel at the age of 67. And I'll still write and revise these unpublishable novels because being a story-teller makes me happy.

But I hate that I keep pushing it back, because I'm not ready, or because of things that are out of my control.

I'm trying not to let it get to me, but it makes me nervous. What if I'm never ready? What if I just keep falling behind? I guess it won't kill me if it takes me twenty years to get an agent and a book deal, but I can't shake off the disappointment.

I guess that's life.
~Becky

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Internships Might Eat My Soul

...and I actually kind of hope they do.

Now Playing: Nine Inch Nails - The Good Soldier

(Forgive the following nonsense. I'm just trying to map this out).

I miscalculated big time. For some reason, even though FSU accepted my A.A. they didn't exactly seem to take all 60...something credits (64? I can't remember how much I finished with) and so technically, I could be falling behind. I got 6 credits on the summer and 12 this semester, which accumulates to 73 credits. Even though FSU requires 9 credits acquired through summer semesters, I heard students with A.As technically don't have to do that, so I won't need to stay for summer 2014 to get that extra class/3 credits. Which...please, god, let it be true.  I can't keep taking out loans to pay for the dorms and I haven't had a free summer since before 9th grade because of year-round dual enrollment classes.

But because of that, I'm in trouble. If I'd taken five classes instead of four this semester, I'd be in the clear. But I didn't. I sort of panicked so I could take it easy. Which means I still have 47 credits to go. I want to graduate by Spring 2015, which means I'm looking at a variation of this:

Spring 2014: 15 credits.
Fall 2014: 18 credits.
Spring 2015: 15 credits.
Total: 121 credits, cleared for graduation!

GHA. I'm going to dieee. How am I going to handle six classes in one semester, particularly because I'm trying to do a dozen other things?

See, the problem with graduating in two years is how little time I have to get extra credentials, and how young I'm going to be when I enter the work force. Especially because...no grad school. I can't do it. No way. No money and not enough motivation to keep studying for a thousand more years.

Back in orientation, the first time I spoke with my adviser, she recommended I stay for all four years even though I didn't need to. After all, FSU doesn't immediately kick A.A students out as soon as they hit 120 credits. If not, stay at least for three years. She said I might as well get two majors with two minors, travel abroad, do crazy internships in random fields, just spread everything out because nineteen is too young to graduate. According to her and several people, a) I'll be missing a lot of the college experience and b) no job or grad school would want to take someone so young.

BUT I REFUSEEE.

I like college so far but I have plentyyy more reasons to graduate early than to stay. One, I'm apparently already in debt even though I'm trying to take as little loans as possible. (And goddammit, why did I take out unsubsidised loans? Stupid impulses). Two, the pre-paid money my parents saved up for me can take care of four years of classes, but my brother only has enough pre-paid to last him for two years. Even though he's also graduating with an A.A, as a biology major with current hopes of becoming a vet, he probably WILL have to get a Masters and PhD. He needs the money more than I do. If I don't use up all the money on my pre-paid, whatever's left will be transferred to his account. And if he gets a scholarship that pays for everything, the money will just go back to my parents, so they'll be able to pay off bills and maybe even finally save up for a house.

And three...I honestly don't care that much about the college experience. I can already hear it: ten years from now, you're going to regret it! You're going to regret not going to parties and being able to live so close to friends and getting to study abroad and a hundred other things.

Meh.

It's not that I don't appreciate the education I'm getting. My classes have been a delight and I've gotten to meet some really cool people, but I'm not exactly feeling the total liberation that's supposed to come with college. Too many of the opportunities require money I don't have or time I can't waste. Yeah, college is ten thousand times better than high school, middle school, etc, but I'm not in love with it. I just like it. I don't think a long term relationship is really going to work out.

I'm dying to graduate, have my own job, my own apartment (please god, no more roommates) in a super populated city that has more than just clubs, my own money and financial security--which is admittedly not totally possible since my ultimate goal is to be a writer but whatever, it's still my dream!

The only problem of course, aside from the credits thing, is that 19 is really young to graduate. Not only that, two years is hardly enough time to build up credentials that will impress future employers. So what am I planning?

Basically, I'm going to overload myself. I just sent my resume to my school's literary magazine since they had an editorial assistant position open, and I emailed the fashion magazine because they recently opened up positions for writers. And no, I don't really know that much about fashion but I can learn. And I will learn! I hope one of the magazines consider me.

Not to mention, I recently found that a ton of literary agencies allow for virtual/distance internships. Since the agencies pretty much need people to read through slush piles, some partials, write reader reports, etc, it means the English department will let me earn credits if I get hired.

That said, applying is intimidating. My resume is kind of...boring-ish, I don't know the first thing about writing a cover letter, and some of these agencies ask for the last few books I've read. I can just imagine the thoughts of the person going over that list: "Mediocre YA, cliche fantasy classic, mediocre YA fantasy, book from a literature class, cliche sci-fi classic, another cliche sci-fi classic, unknown book assigned from another literature class, more YA, and cliche sci-fi classic again...next."

I should really expand the genre of books I read.

But getting an internship for next semester might be a dream come true. Especially if I get the workshop class I want and an editorial assistant position for the magazine!

Sigh. I guess I know where my luck lies, and those three things probably won't happen. So for now, here's what I think I should do: ideally, Spring 2014 I'm taking two lit classes (signed up for), Hispanic cinema (also signed up for), 4000 level Fiction Workshop (ughhhh gotta go through loops to get approved and signed up for), internship at a literary agency, and a position with one of the magazines.

Sadly, that probably won't happen, so I'll plan accordingly. If I don't get a position in one of the magazines, I'll add an extra class, probably Chinese or Japanese cinema. If I have the internship, that'll be 18 credits.

For sure, if I don't get the internship, it won't matter if I get to work for one of the magazines, I'll add the extra class nonetheless to end up with 15 credits. Plus, I refuse not to get that workshop class. If fiction technique won't take me this semester, I'll force my way into a non-fiction workshop.

And that's the plan.

Oh god wish me luck.

On lighter news, I got my NaNo page updated. I had to change my hometown so not to get bombarded with messages about NaNo events going on in Miami and found some pleasant, local upcoming parties. I'm still sketchy about Tallahassee since everything except clubs and burger places close after 6 p.m on weekends and Friday night and being underage, broke, and in fear of the Freshman 15 means I can't enjoy those things. But turns out the place where the Tally NaNo kick off party is going to happen is like a ten minute walk from my dorm. And it's not on a super scary street. And I've been there before. Woohoo! I'm excited, but also getting a little restless. October's been a busy, stressing month. I can't wait for NaNo and Thanksgiving and then just two weeks left before the semester is over.

I really miss Miami, especially the public transportation. When I get back for December, the first thing I'm doing is taking the bus to Downtown, going around in loops on the metromover, then walking through the lovely Brickell district to go visit my mom at her job.

And maybe I'll get to live in that neighborhood some day.

(HAH, with what money?)
~Becky

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A to Z book survey!

Now Playing: Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks (album)

First, a quick update: I should be writing (yeah, what else is new?). I have a short story due tomorrow to be workshopped next Friday. A ten page maximum limit is going to kill me, but I think maybe I can squeeze in a couple of more pages and my teacher won't explode and fail me. (I mean, someone posted a seventeen page story so...clearly if I drift into twelve or thirteen pages, I won't be committing an unforgivable crime).

I barely started Anne's story before having to stop to work on the two short stories needed for Fiction Technique. Not to mention I was hit with school related papers. If I can't get anything done in October, I'll use NaNoWriMo to get it off the ground. It helped Ataraxia and Redemption, after all, and October seems to be the month I gotta produce the most essays. Maybe it won't be so bad to put off a novel till I've got more time. I realize this sounds like one of those dreaded, "You're making excuses D< you're not acting like a real, dedicated writer!" but ehhhhhh. Finishing Ataraxia was a massive boost of confidence, even if it did take me forever and a half. I'm not worried about not being able to finish the next work. Plus, by November, I should be able to figure out if I want to write the story in third or first person >.>

So anyways, because I hadn't updated in a while, I decided to do a little book survey! I saw it on Julie/Swankivy's writing blog, so I decided to go ahead and fill it out here.

Author You've Read The Most Books From
I was thinking about using my Goodreads to figure this out, but I haven't managed to really rate all the books I've read. I'm fairly certain it's Daniel Handler, if I'm counting his Lemony Snicket books. I read all the A Series of Unfortunate Events, most of the bonus material (such as The Beatrice Letters and The Unauthorized Autobiography), as well as his (young?) adult novel, the super awesome The Basic Eight.

Best Sequel Ever
This is also kind of difficult because I almost never read full series, but I'm going to say The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman.

Currently Reading
A classic! Dune by Frank Herbert.

Drink of Choice While Reading
Coffee if early in the morning, hot tea in the afternoon, or cool lemonade at nighttime.

E-reader or Physical Book?
Blame my brother for wrecking my poor mother's kindle; we used to have an e-reader. Now, I have the little Kindle reader thing on my computer, though it sadly doesn't have a lot of books. So physical books, even though I read a lot of classic, public domain books on the e-reader.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School
Instead of high school dating, can I have a childhood crush/sweetheart thing with Ender, Petra, or Valentine from Ender's Game instead?

Glad You Gave This Book a Chance
It's between two Stephen King novels. I read his debut, Carrie, first, despite hearing he'd written much better works later. It's one of my favorite novels now. The second is Christine. I started reading that one without knowing what the premise was--and I would have probably left it alone if I'd known. It managed to grab me pretty early on and I surprisingly like it a lot.

Hidden Gem Book
THE BASIC EIGHT. I've never personally met anyone else who's read it :( Which sucks because it's like one of the most perfect novels everrr. Granted it's a little weird.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life
So when I was a little kid (four? five?) and entered my first years of schooling, I was really proud of the fact I could read things, like signs on the street, comics around the house, or the little warnings underneath cigarette packets. One random day, I was sitting with my dad as my mom finished preparing dinner. We had the first few Harry Potter books in the house (in Spanish) and my dad picked up Philosopher's Stone and was like, "Hey, since you know how to read now, why don't you try reading this book?" So I did! I quickly realized I could read the whole thing if I wanted. Whenever I spaced out or didn't understand something, my mom would read passages out loud to me while I followed along on the page. And so my love for Harry Potter and literature in general began.

Just Finished
Err...Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and a buttload of Yeats poetry. But that's mostly because of my Modern British Lit class Dx

Kinds of Books You Won't Read
YA Paranormal Romances bore me to tears, not to mention they often have the most abusive, disgusting relationships and boring, push-over heroines. And after giving Legend and Divergent a chance (and really only liking Legend), then trying and failing to get into other novels of that category, I'm done with YA Dystopians.

Longest Book You've Read
Does the Bible count? I read the King James version and I think the Reina-Valera version at the same time, since the text my mom and dad gave me had the Spanish and English translations side by side. I switched it up whenever I didn't understand something in one language. I read it when I was eleven to thirteen, though I probably skimmed a lot and don't remember much.

Major Book Hangover Because Of
Whenever Giselle and I spoke about the awesomeness of Ender's Game, we got hit with massive anger+sadness because we remembered Orson Scott Card is such a jerk. I guessing that counts. Whenever I reread Ender's Game, I get really happy. Then when I put it down or just pause halfway through, I get hit with that angry sadness again @_@

Number of Bookcases You Own
In my dorm? Zero T_T In my parent's home? One and a quarter? I only got my parents to buy me one after the little shelf above my desk started falling apart because I was piling up too many books on it.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, which is surprising because I didn't really like the protagonist until the end and the book made me physically ill. I'm not even kidding, I actually ran to the bathroom to throw up after reading a particular passage. I can get through massive, super detailed scenes of carnage and rape without as much as a wince, but I have a weak stomach when it comes to anorexia, bulimia, and self-harm. However, I was still fascinated with the writing, so I read a lot of the scenes over and over again.

Preferred Place to Read
Sitting at the back of a bus.

Quote that Inspires You
Uh... Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus (I love that motto >.> Andddd I'm really bad at finding good inspirational quotes and remembering them Dx)

Reading Regret
I read all of the Twilight Saga in eighth grade despite knowing it wasn't going to get any better. And no, I don't know why I did it. I can't call it a guilty pleasure because I certainly didn't even get any pleasure out of it Dx I guess the cliche about not being able to look away from the train wreck applies here.

(Completed) Series You Started and Need To Finish
Even though it technically shouldn't be here, I'm going to say A Song of Ice and Fire, since I didn't stop because there's no more books, I stopped because I haven't found the time to go through the rest.

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, and The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler.

Unapologetic Fangirl (Filthy Stalker) Of
Stephen King! Ever since On Writing I've been pretty obsessed with watching and reading his interviews and the essays/introductions he has in some of his novels.

Very Excited for This Release More Than All the Others
Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein has, hands down, one of the best written blurbs of all time. The subject matter is super tricky, so it's got potential for greatness and potential to crash and burn. Either way, I'm so excited for it!

Worst Bookish Habit
Buying a ton of books at once and failing to finish them all before going out to buy (or start reading) more books.

Your Latest Book Purchase
I don't want to count all my school related books so I'll chose Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

ZZZ-Snatcher Book (last one that kept you up way too late)
It's actually been a while since I've stayed way up late to finish a novel. But when I reread Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a few years back (and read it for the first time in English), I did the classic hiding-under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight thing.

~Becky
P.S: Yes, I did post the link to the NIN store >.> I love the album, I love how different it sounds from some of his other albums, and I'm sadfaced I can't go to one of the concerts. So...this is my contribution? I know it's lame.
"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.