Stick your whole arm into the dragon’s throat

“The one who drew this should die”

That was from Hayao Miyazaki, the director of most of Studio Ghibli’s films, in regards to an animation sequence he was editing. Of course it was in jest, but you can also tell Miyazaki didn’t have time for that shit.

He went on to describe the timid nature of the drawing–how it wasn’t Ashitaka’s character to be so hesitant (it was from Princess Mononoke). And when I write, I try to remember that. I have to separate myself from my characters and really step into their shoes. Today, I struggled immensely with a scene and I had to stop and ask myself, “Why is this in here? What would they do given this situation?” If Ilya was mean to Nick, would Pierre step in? What of the innkeeper? Why did she help Nick? And then I found my answer.

I highly recommend watching some documentaries on Miyazaki because you see the blood he squeezes into every film. I say this because I am angry about

CHILDREN WHO SEARCH FOR VOICES FROM DEEP BELOW

which I think was 70% crap. But it was good at hiding it. I felt like I was watching something so shoddy. Maybe it was because its animation budget wasn’t that great, but if you are going to have that kind of ambition, then give it your all.

It made me feel angry because it had all the elements of a Miyazaki movie and none of the soul. It was a soulless, clean, and shallow beast. The designs–half the time I was wondering to myself if the director didn’t pull various Ghibli characters into his film.

I wasn’t emotionally invested with any of the characters. It was terrible, but I think that’s the way a lot of YA books are being written now. Clean and with excellent structure but with no heart.

I thought a heart was beating in my manuscript. The faintest sound. But now, I’m not so sure. I think I’m reading too many publishing and agent blogs….

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Fuck High School

If I could go back in time to give myself advice, it’d be this: Fuck. High. School. I’ve reached a point in my life where I can love myself enough to say that the ONLY regret about that period of time is that I cared so much about shit that didn’t matter. Pep flags? Drama? Grades? Teachers hate you? Wondering why you can’t fit in?

No.

No. NO. NO.

Past self, you poor, love-starved girl, I wish you had a clue.

Writing the book I am now, I had to delve a lot into the girl that I once was, tap into that insecurity and anguish and it just brings out anger in me every time. Girl, the only thing you needed to know was that you were GOOD ENOUGH and NO ONE could change that. You were the one who gave permission to others to make you feel any less than that, but you were also the one who had the power to take it back.

I had some semblance of this idea, but I wasn’t strong enough then to implement it.

Build your foundation. Maybe that’s your family or your friends, but don’t let anyone tell you that you’re stuck with either. Don’t be a dick either–EVERYONE is struggling, even the bitches you thought had it all.

I was so insanely jealous of this one girl in my high school. She was pretty, funny, and was really smart. I was so jealous that I hated her.

Guess what.

She wound up anorexic and almost flunking out of school. Yea.

Be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle. It’s hard to expand beyond that circle of people you personally know. Most people in the world is just a background character in the show that is your life. And that’s a good thing, if only for your sanity, because you will crumble if you spread yourself too thin.

But be kind to the bag boy at your super market.

Be kind to the telemarketer who calls.

Be kind to your stupid co-worker.

We are all human and more alike than different.

AND FUCK HIGH SCHOOL. Stop glorifying it, it wasn’t as good as you remember. Even if you had friends. Even if you didn’t have life shattering problems. Youth is clumsy and painful–it’s part of the past and you KNOW that just one year ago you were stupider than you are now.

And that’s all for today.

What I Learned About Writers

Writers are insane.

There was one common thread I noticed while listening to authors speak at the book festival and it was that there were voices in their head that wouldn’t go away until they were written down. Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a coping tactic for a serious disease.

And as I learn more about crafting my own stories and writing more, it’s getting me too.

I have a long drive home and I do a lot of thinking in my car. Yesterday, on my way to my car, I decided that a minor throwaway character is actually a secondary character. And then, suddenly I went into how he fit into this story and who he was, because as I wrote him during my session yesterday, he showed himself to be more than a background man. I felt his struggles and the man he was trying to be, but also, the man he thought he wasn’t.

I’m not going to lie I fell head over heels for this guy and suddenly he was the love interest for my girl.

I had a love interest. His name was Matteo. He was going to be clever and funny but instead I replaced him with this absolute brute of a guy who is short with his words and can crush your head between his biceps. Crush it like a sparrow egg.

Don’t even get me started on my main girl and her step-daughter.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if a story like this is marketable. Haha, Pierre is certainly no Flynn Rider. But maybe it’s also my way of bringing to life what Flynn Rider was supposed to be. If you look at his early concept art, it sort of fits my image of Pierre, but Flynn was toned down and made less threatening.

My other character Bianca began as my princess archetype but slowly she’s taken a life of her own. She’s the queen that Ilya wants to be. And man, when I figured out what she actually was, I discovered a whole new story there. It’s disgusting how far I’ve veered from my outline and I don’t know where to go now. Sigh.

 

LA Times Book Festival

What a weekend!

I don’t think I am gifted enough to fully express in words the utter rapture I was in meeting and listening to all of these AMAZING PEOPLE.

I think I’m going to review a few books, at least the ones that came out very recently and also my first ARC?!!!!! It was the Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter and I didn’t know she was giving out ARCs but.but. but. I got one anyway and I’m ashamed to say I admitted I didn’t finish reading the first book yet. Or the second one. I didn’t know the ARC was the third book. Please forgive me Aimee.

I got a sunburn for the first time in…9 years almost? I suffered for those books in the hot sun. I met some cool people. And boy, I should have realized that it’s a different world out there than what I imagined. More like an anime convention than I thought it would be. A lot of fangirls especially since Cassandra Clare and Veronica Roth were there. I saw both. >_> I will not admit the shameful way I skipped the line to get my book (freshly bought, because I only have the ebook). Okay it was completely legitimate, I did not CUT, I am not entirely without morals. I just, you know, got my books signed by Victoria Schwab who was next to her and….asked if she could sign mine after. She was so cool and so intimidating. I will sound like a creeper if I continue any more, but man, she is to me, DAUNTLESS.

Ok, because I am a little monkey girl, I just about died haha. I also saw Sarah Maas on Sunday and I am not ashamed to admit I shelled out for parking just to get two books signed by her. There wasn’t really anyone I wanted to listen to that day, but since she was there I had to go. I missed Marie Lu on Saturday which I’m kind of sad, but I didn’t know she was going to be there. I follow her on Twitter did she announce anything??? Haha…..

But some really famous authors were there and I hope next year is just as great. Also I sat in on two YA panels and they were SO DIFFERENT from each other. Both all women, but one was about like…High school and romances/coming of age and the other was DYSTOPIAN SCIENCE FICTION. I prefer the second genre, but it was really, really interesting and at heart I love all of these authors who pour their souls into words that glow bright.

Stay tuned for possible book reviews. Or not. Nobody reads this blog hahah I am free.

Remember what you have

Dear me,

You got really frustrated with your life today and I thought it was time to bring you back to the center. You are a very, very, very lucky girl.

Your family is wonderful. Your brothers are wonderful. You lucked out.

You’re not disfigured and you have all your limbs, fingers and toes. You have a full head of black hair.

You have a job that pays well and lets you read a lot more than you should.

You’re going to a good law school on a generous scholarship.

You live in the 1rst world and not in the 3rd world.

You are still young and sharp in the head.

You can form words enough to write a book.

You have good friends.

You know how to use computers and even build one.

You’re open to change and well educated.

The world is ahead of you and it always will be ahead of you no matter how old you are. Don’t back down.

You are alive.

Writing again

I trunked SoaW and am going to try a new project to see if I can work better with a thorough outline of what is going to happen. I worry at times that my resolution is too silly, but I’m trying to make it so that it ties into everything. For now, the working title is A Queen Hidden and it’s about a girl, kidnapped on her wedding day who escapes and goes into hiding. It’s a loose, loose retelling inspired by Snow White except it’s told from the queen’s perspective. Also it’s a loose retelling, did I mention? I don’t think many people are going to pick up that it is even related to Snow White.

SoaW was kind of a retelling of Sleeping Beauty except the prince was asleep.

Maybe I can rework SoaW into a short story??

Sigh. So my friend wants to do a writing challenge and this time I think I’m going to work really hard to produce something polished and publishable. I don’t have much time before law school starts and I really want to at least have a solid draft ready to send out.

Re-reading the old entries of an author where she details the days before she got published for moral support.