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


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….