Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Context

Now Playing: Type O Negative - Christian Woman (shortened)

...hey...

can you tell I have a 7:30 am final exam tomorrow because I'm avoiding studying by writing a blog post?

(Yes. Yes, you can).

Things are calming down a bit. I graduate in two days. I chopped off my hair impulsively last Friday night and I've been surviving off Publix chocolate chip cookies for the last week. I can't picture anything past this Friday, I just want to make it alive out of a three hour long graduation ceremony so I can sleep forever.

I finished a final today and turned in my portfolio for workshop. The reason for why I'm avoiding studying is because I have a pretty good idea of what my Vampire exam is going to be composed of--plus, I really dug Night Watch and I remember Dracula and The Vampire Armand pretty well, so I'm not sweating it right now. (I will be panicking first thing tomorrow morning--that's guaranteed).

I'm not really ready for some introspection about university. I'll have to give that more time. And I'll probably have a lot to talk about (dreams for the future, what--if anything--I learned of myself in the past two years, how weird it is that one of my friends got married just a couple of weeks ago, how I'm suddenly dying to learn how to drive, etc).

No, that's not what I want to talk about.

I want to ramble~

The wonderful thing about getting dumped with a crapload of work and worries is that I try to block it all out by thinking about my imaginary head people. I find myself missing Caesar and Sonya and the rest of the Ataraxia gang. I keep thinking, yeah, that first draft I wrote as a silly little sixteen/seventeen year old in my senior year of high school/freshman year of college, it doesn't work for a shitload of reasons. But Oh My God do I want to go back. Not to the world. The world wasn't dark enough. But to the people. I want to go back to something harsher, and I want to push Caesar and Sonya more than before, and I want that environment to feel dangerous but also with a twinge of fun, and I just want it to be bigger and stranger and more complicated than ever before.

And I think about Millennium Girl too, about revisiting the characters, rewriting entire sections, introducing new scenes and people. (I think I'm going to write a Halloween chapter. How cool would that be?) And about VE.

That's the unofficial trilogy right now. First is Ataraxia. Then it's Millennium Girl. Then it's Vanguard's Exodus. And it's the three of them because they feel interconnected. One grows after the other, one scene starts in one, develops in another.

Something happens in Ataraxia that happens, slash by slash, in Millennium Girl. But the context is different, the relationships are different, the motivations are different--though I suppose you could boil it down to "one punishes the other." In Ataraxia, it's two sisters, and one is maddeningly angry and conflicted and the other one is terrified and confused, unsure, saddened. In fact, they're probably both experiencing the same emotions. In Millennium Girl, it's the cat and the mouse, and though the former is angry, it's more desperation than a cold, calculated act born of fury that pushes him into acting. And the outcomes are different. I don't know why right now--maybe it all boils down to me, and how different I was at eighteen writing MG than at sixteen writing Ataraxia--but the little mouse seems to suffer and hurt for far longer and far more deeply after her wounding.

Context comes in when I think about those scenes--the things that precede (how something like that can be just the breaking point, the last shove that shatters her into a million pieces after discovering something infinitely more horrifying) and the relationships (how it would tear her apart to know the sister she loved and had been closed to would do something so despicable).

Then comes Vanguard's Exodus. Not gonna lie, I'm not the most the romantic person. My friend who got married can attest to that--she's seen me gag at romantic talk more than a number of times, and it's effectively convinced her I'm against marriage or long term relationships or just romance in general. And I'm not, I just don't believe it is supposed to be an unquestionable component of my future.

I used to think there was no greater evidence of how unromantic I was than Millennium Girl, but I think Wendy and Yukiko contradict that. I loved them together, I'm glad that they're happy, I'm overjoyed that I could write a functioning couple that fights and argues and compromises and never stops loving and respecting one another. (Hopefully. That's how I see it--but writers aren't always 100% sure about the interpretations of their own work). But there's also a lot of weird in MG, and maybe it was because I was at such an angry place when I wrote that first draft, because I was reminiscing of other things that happened that I've still not 100% come to terms with.

And something happens in Millennium Girl, with that cat and mouse, boy and girl. And it's terrifying for her, and borderline disgustingly titillating for him. But it's weird on the surface. Clothes are getting removed and there's far too much staring involved--quite a bit of an emphasis on the flesh too. But on the surface, it's not sexual, it's not romantic. Because that's not what he wants. He doesn't want sex, he doesn't want romance. He wants something else.

But when a scene exactly like it happens in Vanguard's Exodus, it manages to be different. And there, it is sexual, and it is romantic. And it is a boy and a girl again--a boy and a girl who, just like the two immortals of MG, are not exactly a normal couple (this case, it's a genetically engineered cyborg and an android in a robotic platform with sensory receptors). But the context changes it, and it becomes the girl's choice rather than a thing she's doing under fear and adrenaline with a half-baked plan, and he's not seeing her as flesh and power, he doesn't want to take anything from her, he just sees her for her. And I don't know where this romance came from or why I become so invested in it--but that scene feels so important and so substantial. Just as the one in MG did, but for obvious different reasons.

There are other things that overlap, different variables that seem to have chased one after the other. I barely have to think over my books to see repeated patterns. Main characters deal with guilt, main characters question their humanity. Interracial, often LGBT relationships are pretty much the norm. Children and the future are discussed. Wolves show up often. Dragons are second. Powers often get developed. People really like to get into fights no matter how much their author sucks at writing them.

Sometimes, when I think about A & MG & VE and I see overlaps and things that I keep returning to, I can just imagine the book reviews. I mean, granted, none of these books have a chance of all being published. I'd be lucky if I get one out there, and if by some miracle all three are out there, I wonder just how many returning readers would go from one story to the next. But if it did happen, if I had somehow published the three in the state that they're in, I try and imagine how many people would accuse me of being a hack, of having scenes happen in one book and then somehow happen again in a second, completely unrelated novel.

And I wouldn't be able to defend myself, but I would want to. And I wouldn't change those scenes. I mean, I might alter some of the execution, I might tweak some of the reactions after learning more about the characters and understanding the situations better. But I wouldn't want to remove them. Because in some ways, I can see that change in myself through the writing. I can see why one moment was more traumatizing than the other, even if the other made more technical sense. I can see why this scenario was terrifying in one novel but so significantly different (and perhaps sweet and romantic) in another.

I'm trying to think about these things as I move forward in my life. There's a lot of uncertainty right now. I don't know where I'm going and I don't know how much I still have to learn. I don't know if I ran too fast through my education or if I needed the speed to ensure I'd get to the finish line. But things are changing and shifting, and though it's a slow process, I hope my writing is showing some degree of complexity because of it. And I hope it'll keep doing that.

We're almost five months into 2015, and yet it feels like the year just started. Although there's uncertainty, I have this weird feeling that I'm going to be really busy. With Amber and Miranda, with Lilith and Wendy. Maybe Sonya and Caesar again. Hell, Breathtaker and Serena could get a chance to show up if I have some time near the end.

Even if these stories don't ever make it anywhere, I'll always know where they took me, and how one grew out of the other.

(Though I suppose if you want to call me a one trick pony because of that...yeah, I'll admit, it's a fair accusation).
Becky

PS: This post took less time than I thought it would. Maybe that's a sign. Like...I probably should study for the next couple of hours.

Monday, April 6, 2015

30 Week Writing Survey - Week 30: Tag

Now Playing: Hiroyuki Sawano - Counter Attack Mankind (Attack on Titan OST)

Quick updates: I was actually a good child last week.

Or well...kind of.

I mean...aside from the fact that I started marathoning yet another K-drama. I couldn't help it! I finished Healer and My Love From The Star, then randomly started one called High School Love On--and I have the sneaking suspicion that's not...translated exactly right.

As I was watching the first episode, I was all "this girl--she's so cute D: how is this level of cuteness possible?"
She plays an angel.
Isn't that just perfect casting?

And I looked up the actors and got a bunch of 20something year olds playing high schoolers. Which is annoying but expected.

And then

and thennn

I saw

THAT SHE'S FOURTEEN

AND NOW I CAN'T UNSEE IT.

It's so weird. It's like the second I saw how old she was, it just clicked into place that yes, she really does look like a fourteen year old. She might have even been younger if they filmed the episodes while she was just thirteen.

The actual drama is meh, but she's such a good actress. So adobz.

But I can't get over the fact that a love triangle romance thingy is getting built up >__> Like, what in all hell...??

Anywayssss. The reason for my good child-ness: I finished stuff! I did actual homework!

I messed up my sleep schedule mega hardcore for like three days straight, but I got a lot of work done, even some household stuff (laundry and cooking). By the time Saturday happened, I had the weekend open to just writing. So I did. I rewrote a little flash fiction story of mine that I'm considering sending somewhere, and I wrote in Vanguard's Exodus.

And do you know how much I have now? :D

Guess. Guess guess guess.

77k words! D:<

Which means, I am almost at the incredible 80k. And I've already written one of the larger action scenes I'd been dreading for a while. Granted, it totally reads like crap at the moment, but getting it down rather than just imagining it is the only way it's going to improve. Which...is how the whole novel feels like at the moment >.> The entire manuscript is a totalll mess, especially Miranda's chapters since they focus a lot more on the science and the planning and have a lot more conversations.

I won't worry about that now. I'll have plenty of time to think of how to fix it while I'm fixing MG. For that one, I've already considered a lot of changes, and I'm imagining a lot of fun scenes to add in at the first half of the story. It's going to be fun~ And it'll give me a lot to work on in between job hunting.

Anyway, here's the last blog challenge thingy D: it's not really even a question...


QUESTION 30: Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

I don't follow too many mutual writers so I don't know who to tag D; I guess I could maybe ask Ava Jae of Writeability fame whenever she's up for a weekly survey. I've sadly never read anything from hers, but her blog is pretty informative and fun. Plus I think she has a book coming out soon--like this or next year. It should be fun to finally read something fictional from hers after following her advice for so long :D We tend to agree about a lot of things, and I think her blog was one of the reasons I jumped back in on the NaNo train in 2012. When I saw how excited she was (among other bloggers), it kind of gave me this Christmas Eve level of anticipation and energy. I'm really glad I got back into the NaNo-ing, because without it I wouldn't have Ataraxia or VE.

But yeah, I guess that's it for the writing survey challenge. I actually finished it this time around @_@ Go meeeeee. I accomplished something!

I'll have to think of something else now that'll force me into weekly updates >.> We'll see what I find. I guess I could finally pick up the other challenge I abandoned--won't that make the tags a huge confusing mess? ;D

Also, thank Batman I finished this right before finals week could hit me. Blog challenges get abandoned when the evil semester comes to an end :P
~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.