Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Blog Challenge: Looking Forward To...

Now Playing: The Pretty Reckless - My Medicine and Since You've Gone

So quick updates: I'm still getting weird moments of just being all frowny-face, but for the most part, I feel pretty good. Cleaning the house while listening to an audiobook seems to be a good distraction. (It's helping me catch up with The Lunar Chronicles before the last book comes out this year).

Oh!

And good news.

Luna and Isadora were trying their best to stay afloat, but on Saturday, my parents finally decided to buy me a new laptop (probably so I'd stop my daily panic attacks at the thought of losing data).

It's an Aspire Switch 10. I was going to make it so that all my Dells were versions of Isadora (Isadora001, Isadora002), and all Acers were versions of Luna, but this one ended up with a new name!

It's named after another important A.I. of Vanguard's Exodus, the one who operates the entire ship and has the avatar of a little boy in viking chainmail armor.

Yesh--CYRANO!
Isn't he so cute? So tinyyyy. So lighttt. It's magic.

It's probably my last present for a while >_> But at least it'll last me a little over four years or so, and by then, I'll have my own job and money, right? (PLEASE SWEET BATMAN LET IT BE THAT WAY).

And I forgot something else from last week! Ren had vouchers for a buffet sushi restaurant, and she took me and Silvia to it.
Welp, this wasn't the sushi place, it was some sweets shop we stopped by.
Didn't buy anything but look--so cute! I love pretty pastries.
In other news--Hannibal is a total jerk about selfies.
Quality tanked >.> But we're all smiling brightly, so I'm posting it.
That's it for updates~

Week 2: Something You Look Forward To In The Next 12 Months.

Finishing up Millennium Girl and getting it up to the querying stage.

It's weird to say I'm looking forward to it since I know it's going to pain me so much. Revisions and I...are not the best of friends. I'm an impulsive writer. I like to shove my characters in random directions and then see if they stick to what I planned or if they just laugh in my face and go running off. Revisions don't exactly allow for that to happen and requires...like...actual planning and structure and looking at the forest and the trees.

I've never successfully revised a manuscript to a point where I've looked at it and thought, "yes, this is ready, this is publishable." Because of this, I really am looking forward to having something that I'm proud of--and it might never get picked up by an agent, might never sell to editors, might never find an audience. But getting it done is about the only thing that'll get me close to any of those three things.

Do expect a lot of complaining though. Maybe not here, but on my journals, and at three AM to myself, as I stare out a window and blast music in my ears.

I'm also looking forward to finally driving. I've been avoiding learning and getting a licence because Miami drivers are nuts and I have a crapload of statistics to back me up on that. But it's impossible to properly navigate around this city without a car, so I needed to bite the bullet. And if I get proficiently good at it, it might be easier to learn how to ride a motorcycle in a few years. (That's still the goal. Maybe the Miami drivers will scare me out of that goal/wish in the coming months).

So I'm looking forward to: moving my writing career forward and moving myself up on the road on my own.

I think I did the Growing Up thing all over the place, btw. I was supposed to get my license at sixteen, but that never happened.

Hey, at least I'm learning now? Not like I would have had a car to run around with in college.
~Becky

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Silliness and Sadness

Now Playing: Metro 2033 OST - Ending Theme

Ugh. I was actually doing so well this week.

Time for me to be all blahhh :I

Post-graduation sadness keeps slamming into me. I keep spacing out, lying down, listening to sad music (like right now), and being annoyed at myself.

I think about dumb stuff. For about a year now, I haven't been able to find this USB of mine that I am fairly certain had a very early copy of Millennium Girl (right before she goes out to confront Ansel--I think) and the first completed draft of Ataraxia. It was attached to a dog tag my parents had made for me when I was thirteen or so, but the dog tag doesn't have my name, it has the name of VE's Amber Jackson--because it's her dog tag. It even has the original name for the voyage. Back then, I'd called it The Gemini Project. It even has Redemption's Bellatrix's identification number from the Memento Camp (If I'm not mistaken, it was ECC 17-18). That all meant a lot to me.

And lately, I've desperately wanted that USB and dog tag back. I keep imagining someone finding it and reading the partial copy of Millennium Girl. I kind of hope if it got lost somewhere, someone just picked it up, tossed away the dog tag and deleted all the contents inside. I don't know where I lost it because I moved around so much during that first year at university, and I haven't seen it since maybe last March or so.

It makes me worry a lot--too much. I don't know why. It's such a silly thing to focus on in the grand scheme of things.

I have to pick up Millennium Girl again soon. VE is going well, but I'm not done yet, and it doesn't feel like I'm writing fast enough.

Despite how quickly I jumped through college and ran to the adult stage, everything related to my writing feels unbearably sluggish. I don't know why I'm in a hurry. Just because I declared nineteen some kind of meaningful age a few months ago doesn't mean it's somehow the time of Change and Wisdom and Talent. It may take me another twenty, thirty years to publish. Or I'll never get there.

I'm starting to see where this desperation came from. I was a student before, and I got by. I've been going through the motions. Go to high school, graduate, move out to college, graduate, apply for jobs, do the interviews, etc.

But now I kind of have to wait for that next step. And being in debt, back at home, worrying about money...

It's been hard to write. The want is there and when the right song kicks in from my playlist, I feel like I could write ten thousand words in two hours. But it's not the same. Because it doesn't even feel like a hobby anymore, it feels like a fruitless endeavor. Like now, I really, truly need a better answer to "why do you write?"

"Because I love it" doesn't feel sufficient anymore. It feels like someone else is saying, "but it's a waste of time."

I don't know what's wrong with me.

I'm still writing. I'm advancing in VE and it's a mess--even more of a mess than Ataraxia and MG ever were--but it's there, and it's growing, and I'm racing to the finish line (even if it feels like I'm getting super exhausted at a moderately paced jog).

I wish I didn't feel so anxious every time I finished a sentence.

And I wish I knew where that stupid USB and dog tag went. Or even when I lost them.
~Becky

P.S: You know...the caffeine and lack of sleep probably has something to do with it. This happened last year when I was finishing Millennium Girl over the summer too. I didn't sleep at all and if not, I slept till like two in the afternoon. It certainly helps. It only took a few days before I got 100k in Vanguard's Exodus, and with MG, I was writing over 10k a week. But it's not good for my stress level.

...yeah, a 100k...
It's mocking me.
(And the page count is actually higher than that)
-and I still have a million things to get done with that story. This crap's gonna be a doorstopper in desperate need of editing, isn't it?

Anyways, I'm going to try and get back to a regular schedule, even wake up early in the mornings to write and make breakfast and have a few hours to myself.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Blog Challenge: Basics

Now Playing: The Lumineers - Scotland (Reign soundtrack)

Like I mentioned in the last post, I saw Mad Max: Fury Road last Saturday with Giselle and Anthony. And even right now, I cannot stop thinking about it. Ughhh. I think I'm gonna go ahead and rank it among my favorite movies of all time. I can't deny my love for it.

It makes me want to go back to Ataraxia, as if I wasn't already battling that need to begin with. A world of criminals, a world of madness...what's not to love? D:<

(And just like I said before, it was really weird to watch that movie and see the shit that went down on Game of Thrones a few days later. Since so many people have already discussed it and talked about it, I'm not gonna do it, especially since I'd have to put spoiler warnings everywhere. I'm probably never watching the show again and I've stopped considering it being part of my favorites. But hey, if I start to feel sad about it and how women in general are written, I'll think of Mad Max: Fury Road and try to feel a little bit better :D Plus, I've still got ASOIAF. And the long, grueling wait for TWOW returnssss in full-force.)

Quick updates on other stuff: I hit 90k in Vanguard's Exodus, and I also got around to redoing the end of the outline to accommodate some things and make others more clear. That and so I'd get the excuse to add more blue into my new wall of sticky-notes.
Slightly far view to show the general set-up.
Ahh yiss. It's making a come back with all new content, and since that's just the tiny area next to my desk, I'll be able to move on to this one pretty soon:
All that empty space. Look how it waits for me.
This reminds me--last week or something, when Silvia took me to go see Ex Machina, the mad-scientist creator Oscar Isaac dude had a giantttt wall full of sticky-notes behind his computer.

I felt immediate kinship and shouted "DATS MY WALL!"

(Well, more like whispered it. We were in a theater after all.)

I also got new glasses! Which is about as exciting as my life has gotten this week.
Yes, this is a bathroom selfie. I can hear your judgement.

(Look, Hannibal is finally making an appearance!)

I'd apologize for my inability to take decent selfies or for the state of my hair--but I just wanted to show off quickly. They're so clearrr. I didn't realize how blurrier my vision had gotten in the last few years. And I really like these glasses more than I liked my old ones. These are actually kind of cute, in my opinion, and the clarity means I feel a bit more encouraged to keep writing for hoursss.

Speaking of which, that's kind of a struggle for technical reasons. My computer, Luna Athena, is slowllyyy trying to die on me. It got slapped the other day by a paperback book of mine and though it wasn't the finishing blow, it's getting real close.

To give it a break I've been writing on the desktop of the living room, but on Wednesday afternoon, after my brother kicked me out, I resorted to a backup. First my brother's gaming laptop, which is older than Luna Athena and therefore dyinggggg as well.

And then, surprisingly, to my very first laptop, Isadora001.

I'm shocked it's still working. The mouse functions are kind of all over the place and the battery isn't in the best of states (was dead, after charging it in full, dies in like 10 minutes without warning me first), but after I set it up in the second desk on the living room, connected it to my brother's charger, and cleaned the keyboard...it worked!
It already had the Legion background too!
Which is kinda weird since I stopped using this laptop back in like 2010/2011.
Like her sister Luna, it takes her about thirty minutes to start overheating. And the worst part is, plugging in the external USB fan to it does nothing. It just doesn't work! But Isa also cools down faster, so, you win some, you lose some.

It's so weirddd to be using it again after all this time. I got it when I was eleven. I wrote The Night Kingdom, Broken, and Redemption on it. And it's heavier than I remembered.

Anyways, enough for updates. We're back to the weekly blog challenge! I've picked Friday mornings for it, just to switch things up a little bit. Since I managed to finish the last one I started and I feel weird not updating my blog on a regular basis, I've decided to do this one.

Original challenge found here!

Week 1: Basic Things About Yourself.

Let's do this in bullet points!
  • I'm nineteen years old--and that's scary.
  • I'm a college graduate--and that's scarier.
    • from FSU, majored in English, minored in Film History.
  • I type really fast.
  • I read moderately fast.
  • I'm bilingual but I've always wished I could speak more languages. It's too bad I suck at learning them >:(
    • And I think I compensate this by always having characters that speak multiple languages. Srsly.
  • I was born in Ecuador, became an American citizen.
  • I'm a sci-fi and fantasy nerd.
  • I'm a feminist.
  • I'm tiny--barely break five feet, one inch in height.
  • I'm the eldest of two children--have a lil brother who's not so little anymore. (Jerk. I should still be the tallest).
  • I'm always a rogue in video games. 
  • I've done competitive swimming in the past, and even though my form kind of sucks now and I'm slower than I used to be, it seems I've never forgotten that training. Or all that yelling. The echoing sounds that a crowded pool makes often makes me anxious. And the smell of chlorine makes me super nostalgic and flashback-y >_>
  • I'm not too sure if any of this still counts as basic info.
  • Favorite color is electric blue.
  • Favorite motorcycle series is the Kawasaki ninja. Kind of hope I'll own one some day~
  • I'm a writer. Forgot to add that first <.< 
And that's it, I think? Kinda a broad question, but that's all I could think of :P
Becky

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Heroines

Now Playing: Martin O'Donnell and Micheal Salvatori - Excerpt from the Union and All Ends Are Beginnings (Destiny OST)

Short post because I've been thinking about this a lot and finally sorted out my thoughts.


Something odd happened this weekend, where I saw Mad Max Fury Road, loved it, praised it, want it to make a million thousand hundred dollars so the most successful MM movie is a feminist icon of awesomeness, and then I saw Game of Thrones on Sunday and every little bit of love I had left for the show got ran over, set on fire, pushed off a cliff, and--

Okay, you get the point.

It's weird to think about it. To know I am actively and constantly writing about women, focusing on women, sometimes explicitly alluding to "women" issues, sometimes (hell, most of the time) completely ignoring them in favor of other, more broad issues. And I look at something like Mad Max 4, and I think...yeah, that's what I want. I want us to be written as people. I want our issues to be our issues, and I want them to be varied, and different, and bold, and explored to the fullest consequences. But I also want us to be heroines for ourselves, not to be trampled over because it's what's shocking or because it'll help someone else grow. I want our gender to be acknowledge and then sometimes I want it not to be acknowledge. I want there to be a balance, and I want it to be smart.

In Mad Max, there are so many women with so many different wants and needs. Yes, partially, some of them are escaping a lifetime of horror, of rape and abuse and slavery. But others are in it for redemption, and hope, and changing their world for the better. It has the more common "women" issues that we so often see in media, but it also has the broader issues. It's a balance. And it's just so brilliant, because it's so simple, and it's so human.

That's where I want to be in my writing. I want to get to Fury Road levels.

But there's also this tendency to look down on the more...pandering side of fiction.

(I don't actually know who this is IRL.
But the picture was in the book's wiki...)
Over the week, I've been thinking a lot about this series by Tahereh Mafi called Shatter Me. Keep in mind, on Goodreads, I gave each of those books like, one star. I think I gave the first one two stars because it made me laugh for all the wrong reasons. They're not really well written, though I sort of applaud Mafi for trying to be original in her prose--it certainly was an attempt, though not a particularly successful one. In terms of characters and plot, they are so, so stupid.

But oh my god, you guys. On top of just making no logical sense in terms of worldbuilding and even character-wise, those books are cheesy as hell. They explode with the Girl Power atmosphere. The protagonist is just such a beautiful, lethal young woman. Her very touch makes you collapse in pain and potentially could kill you. And she's loved by two guys--one of them who is a) at first evil and b) promptly obsessive over her--and she makes friends easily, and at first she's a Tortured Soul but THEN her powers develop and oh my goddd. She's not just untouchable, by the time the last book is ending, she's crashing through walls, flinging entire crowds to the side and at her feet. She's using a gun to put two bullets in the antagonist. She wears fashionable clothes but she doesn't have to because she's already so fucking beautiful. At the end, even though she's just a teenage girl who spent most of her adolescence locked up and had barely developed into a warrior, let alone a leader, she's all, "lol I'mma rule the nation now even though I have no idea how to restructure this government, all I did was shoot someone in the face."

And you know what...?

Two years ago--hell, even a year ago, I hated this book. And I've hated all stories like it. Because I want stories like Mad Max Fury Road, where we're human, and we're scared, and some of us have suffered atrocities, and we're not magically stronger for them. And some of us rise, and some of us fall.

But I'm starting to understand why something like Shatter Me exists. Hell, even think of the concept. When we live in a society that makes us feel in peril, that wants to hurt our bodies and our minds, how fucking awesome would it be to be untouchable? To be dangerous? And, even if it's at first scary and isolating, how fucking incredible would it be if we just wielded that power and made it our own?

I don't think I hate the Shatter Me series anymore. I don't think I'm going to read about Mary Sue's and want to set them on fire. Because there's a place for them.

Boys get to have their brooding, tortured, brilliant, millionaire playboy with the complex backstory and the ability to kick ass and take names. And sometimes he can be more complex, sometimes he can be super flat and boring and just have a really cool nickname and even cooler gadgets.

So we should be able to have that too. There's a place for stories like it, and theirs might be part of a path toward other, more complex stories.

I have no doubt that we can go from Juliette Ferrars to Imperator Furiosa. They'll co-exist, and as the world grows and learns, we'll see more of them. (Though not gonna lie, I'm gonna want to see more Furiosa's).

I guess what I'm saying is--I'll keep writing and hope one day I can create something like Mad Max. But I doubt I'll be hating the other variations of heroines any time soon,
Becky

Thursday, May 14, 2015

BRB having crisis #5

Now Playing: Peter Murphy - A Strange Kind of Love

I don't think I'm taking this...post graduation stuff too well.

I started looking for jobs like the day after I came back home, even though I don't even have a copy of my diploma yet. I somewhat got a phone interview, but it was somewhere too far away and I wasn't too sure about the job in general. In the last few days I've been freaking out, have cried a little, started to wonder where my life would lead, contemplated taking a maid job or something to pay back my loans, wondered why I hadn't gotten emails or regular mail or whatever about said loans, tried to decipher what I was going to do now, how fast someone can learn how to drive, where I would have to go in the city and what buses to take to certain parts-

And my dad has been like, "You graduated like a week ago."

Yeah. Most of the panic happened last Monday. Before I even got my grades in for the semester. (Straight A's! Suck it, Doubt-From-The-Beginning-Of-The-Term. Yes, even in that workshop class. I still can't believe it).

I'm applying. I'm seeing friends. I'm reading a lot--listening to a few audiobooks while I clean and wander around. I'm going to the gym. I'm trying not to panic. I'm writing. I'm playing Destiny as a Bladedancer and slaughtering everyone in my path. (It's aweeee-some. Hunter masterrace).

Writing wise, I've done a couple of things. VE is starting to feel like a doorstopper. I'm 85k words in, and I don't remotely feel close to the end. There's still a chance I'll finish at, say, 110k words or something. But it could get way farther than that. 150k is danger zone for an adult sci-fi novel.

A part of me wishes I had the luxury to write an epic. I want to write up a 250k word manuscript one of these days. But it has to feel justified, not like I felt so enamored by certain sections and ideas that I just rambled on for ages. It's why I can't let Exodus get that far. It'll mean I'll start to lose control of the story and editing the useless stuff out will be all the more difficult.

So we'll see where that takes me...

Revision wise, I did decide on something. I'm going to make Millennium Girl take place in Chicago.

The first time I wrote it, I set it in Generic Metropolitan City #248932 and didn't really think about it that much. The problem is, Urban Fantasy is very much ingrained in the place you pick and how your characters interact with it. Out of laziness, I was going to make it take place in New York City, probably Brooklyn or Manhattan or something, but I'm so sick and tired of seeing NYC in every single genre and story and book and movie and tv show imaginable. Granted, Chicago is a pretty popular place too, but my hands are kind of tied given what I've already written. I needed to set it in a big city where people, you know, actually walk around and stuff since Wendy, Yuki, and Lilith don't own cars.

I'll have to figure out some other logistics later, and of course I'm doing major rewritings of the beginning, but I'm moving forward...slowly. Still hoping I'll meet my own dumb, self-imposed December 12 deadline.

I have some hope regarding my writing. I mean, yeah, like I said, I'm starting to fear the fact that VE is going to be a total doorstopper and I haven't even started the rewrites of MG. But I did improve a bit in the two years I was in university. And it wasn't just because of the workshop classes, it was also because I actually sought out outside critique from beta readers online. I thought I was going to get a C from that workshop class I was complaining so much about before, a I didn't! Last day of class, righttt as my professor was handing me back my papers, she said, "I really enjoyed reading your remixes this semester."


Say whatttttt.

I got the impression for ages that she just didn't think anything of me and she just kind of forgot about my work ten seconds after I turned it in. But on the remixes, I got 10 points on all but one--and the one I didn't get a 10 on was a 9.

That' was awesome. I excel at something! And I guess that means I'm a pretty good imitator D:<

It doesn't mean I'm ready to publish anything. It just means on days where I feel terrible, I gotta remember I'm not terrible at the written word >_> And I did get an A in the class in the end :D

So I'm trying to stay positive, despite the post-graduation fear, and since I suck at updating this blog without some incentive, I googled around for another blog challenge. I found a 30 day one, but I'm too lazy to do one of those, so I'll just convert it into another 30 week challenge.

I found it here and I'll hopefully get started on it sometime next week.

See you guys then,
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.