A Funk of Many Different Sorts

Lately I think the main thing I’ve been feeling is frustration with my craft. I switch over to drawing when it gets to be too much, but the same kind of pattern emerges. Basically, it’s a growing feeling of dread, of anger, both at myself and the work in front of me: WHY CAN’T I GET THIS RIGHT.

So to inspire myself, I seek out writing advice. People and words to tell me not to give up, that one day it will all be worth it. Lately, that just isn’t cutting it. Because no matter what I do, my story just isn’t clever. It doesn’t delight me. It’s like the ugly child I birthed that I cannot help but dote on, but feel pity for. It’s just wrong wrong wrong.

So I think to myself, why not write a blog post? Haha, maybe I’ll look back on this one day and laugh. And then I think, wow, how many posts can one person have about feeling like a terrible writer? Too many.

ANYWAY.

In happier news, I finished up the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo today. So so good. As I read through it, it just felt like magic. Before I knew it, it was midnight and I was laying there, staring at my ceiling wondering how the author had done it. She lives in LA. Plausibly, I could stalk her and find her and SHAKE HER AND DEMAND TO KNOW WHAT KIND OF WITCHCRAFT SHE POSSESSES. But that’s crazy. I’ll just settle for obsessive surgery on her books. Because this is the kind of book I want to write. Something amazing, magical, funny, sad, and beautiful all at the same time. I just feel like all of my old favorites dull next to this sparkling masterpiece…AND I LOVED THOSE BOOKS TOO!

Most importantly though, these books are genuinely funny. Lately, I haven’t been able to get books that don’t have an inkling of humor in them. They’re good, well written, and possess great worlds, but I’m ashamed to admit I’ve put down more than a dozen books this summer because they weren’t funny. I think that’s really important to me and I’m glad to have discovered that because MY story is NOT funny.

There are glimmers of humor here and there, but it is definitely not funny for the majority of the ride. Near the end, I simply typed out word after word with a dull glaze over my eyes. That’s not fucking good mate. So I’m re-evaluating. Obviously I’m a little child who needs to snort at her own jokes so my book needs to change to accommodate me. Sorry Ilya. Sorry Pierre (who may not even exist in the 3rd draft).

Hmph. Writing.

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Overcome

A few days ago, Hyperbole and a Half returned. For those of you who don’t know, that is a blog run by Allie Brosh. It’s clever, it’s funny, and it makes me cry.

For nearly a year? Two years? It was static. Nothing on her twitter, not even replies. I thought it was done for good.

Until she posted again.

And you guys? She was seriously depressed for the longest time. And here I am whining about how I can’t push out work because my voices won’t talk to me, or putting it to some other excuse. No, the truth is, I’m afraid to push into it. I need to sit my ass down and just write, but everything in me is fighting it.

Being unhappy is easy.

Changing that, trying to be happy again, is hard. Being unhappy is about being passive and letting your surroundings affect you. You are no longer the main character, the protagonist, in that case.

Be the protagonist.

Take charge of your narrative.

You. Affect. Things. They don’t affect you.

When you have all the time in the world

What would you do?

In two weeks, my time with my current job is coming to an end. I’m leaving on good terms and everyone was kind to me during my tenure here. I’m glad it didn’t explode in my face as it normally does.

So soon I’ll have all the free time I could want and I’m trying to plan for that. I know I want to write a lot, but as I discovered that one terrible day where I made it a ‘work’ day and wrote for 8 hours…it burns me out. It burns me out terribly. Which I don’t understand because I write a lot during my ACTUAL work days and those are 8 hours too?? It’s not like I was writing the ENTIRE time. I spent like, half of it on the internet and playing games. It burned me out so much that I couldn’t write for the next few days.

My analysis of those events is that I write most when I’m procrastinating and when I don’t watch TV as mentioned in a previous post. I still had some go-go juice on that Saturday, but I also watched TV on Sunday and just gave up. So I think my Saturday evenings I’m going to watch Doctor Who and Gravity Falls with my brother, catch up on shows…and then take a rest day on Sunday. Get back into it on Monday and just write write write.

I made a new tumblr about writing…basically it’s mostly reaction gifs. It’s starting to get bigger now and I can’t stop CHECKING IT. UGH. IT”S WORSE THAN WHEN I GET VIEWS HERE. HAHA.

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….

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.