Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kill Me Now

I feel so...

No words can describe how I feel right now.

Depressed? Angry? Saddened?

Call it what you will.

Life might be over for me. At least for now.

The last few days, my creativeness has been soaring. I wrote the ending, like I told you. I also made a fantastic opening that was just...perfect.

I stayed up until 2 AM last night connecting the beginning to middle #1. All that was left was possibly a good 10-15 pages to connect middle #1 to middle #2.

I was so close to being finished.

And then hell broke loose.

My flash drive, which held my novel in its new entirety (with the new beginning and finished ending).

There is a way of repairing it...but it could take up to 3 weeks and cost me up to $400 dollars.

My deadline...which was one week from now...is completely gone. After spring break, there is almost no time in which I could write this.

I'm lost. This book has been my life and I can't lose it now.

Kill me now? Please?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mad Woman on a Mission

Hello all!

So I was ready my Blogger statistics the other day and noticed that my number of readers are growing. You're getting through my bouts of insanity, hooray!

Secondly, I've had the Bruno Mars song "Grenade" stuck in my head for the last few days. Want some good reading music? Here you are: Click on me!

"Tell the devil I say hey when you go back to where you're from." That line makes me smile every time. :)

Now you're probably wondering why I'm babbling on. For two reasons: First, I'm procrastinating on my English homework (an annotated bibliography with 35 sources! No thank you!). And secondly, I was up until about 1:30 AM last night (this morning?).

So that must mean I'm tired and am loopy right?

Yes!

But, also, for those of you who don't know I'm most productive at night. Remember my last post when I was debating killing off my main character, and how to open up my story?? Well, I've found the cure to the second of those problems (I'm not yet a murderer). My book no longer opens as a story telling session anymore. No.

I had an epiphany whilst I was being bored yesterday. I tried imagining my book as a movie (because who doesn't want their works on the Silver Screen...sometimes authors are desperate and go for any producation {cough, cough, Stephenie Meyer, cough}). Anyways...I imagined how boring it would be to open up with a story...what viewers want is a BANG!!!! And so that's what I did.

And since that happened, things are moving on a lot more quickly, pieces fitting in quite easily (through a little bit of rearrangement).

Spring Break is when I hope to be finished. And it might be reachable yet.

As long as I keep procrastinating in English.

--Emma

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crying and a Killer's Debate

Sometimes I think I'm too emotional.

I wrote the ending to my book today. I didn't finish it, but I wrote the ending. If that doesn't make sense, then perhaps I should explain that I have a habit of writing books like the Star Wars films: I start somewhere in the center, sometimes having a beginning to base things on all. Then I'll go to the end, and fill in the holes earlier in the story. I find I write better backwards because then I have a definitive idea of where I'm heading.

Anyway...yeah, I wrote the ending. And I felt like crying. Call me crazy, but everytime I get to the end of a book, whether I'm reading it or writing it, I tend to cry (if the story is good, at least). And if I don't cry, I feel sort of depressed inside. Like there's some sort of weight in my heart that I don't know how to release.

It's not a really sad ending at all. Actually, in my mind at least, it's pretty inspirational.

But its still an ending.

However, I'm sort of stuck in two areas of writing this book.

First, is the actual ending. It's a debate I'm having on whether to kill off the romantic interest or not. Part of me thinks it would be sort of macabre to do so, but the other part thinks that it would be a sort of twist on the story, something to make it a bit more gripping. As of now, he is alive. I might wait a while before I choose which ending I want.

And now I feel so sick because I'm debating the death of someone who is, in my mind, very real. To me, he exists, has a name, has habits, interests, emotions, thoughts... I would say I've fallen in love with him, but that would be an understatement (and just sound even weirder).

The second area is the beginning. This part has been giving me trouble since day 1. I started writing this almost 3 years ago. Back then, I was writing it for the me of that age. But now, I'm writing it for the me of this age and beyond. And so the beginning, at first, was sort of generalized...like the starting to most books. Introductions, yadda yadda.  And now I'm trying to redo it, and it's taking place in form of a story. The only problem is...I don't know if making the beginning a story would be pushing it. I mean, there's SOOOO much that needs to be explained that it can't happen slowly...this book is already 250 pages and growing everyday. I mean, there's a bunch of people, different creatures, different places...and they all need to have a proper introduction.

I mean, is telling it like a story too much? Or just write? (Haha, that was a pun!)

GAH!!!!!!

There. You just got a taste of my aggravation that I'm experiencing on this.

Maybe it will come to me in a dream?

--Genevieve

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Picture is Worth...85,200 words?

So I have bad news. And good news.

I seriously messed up my back at work last night, doing heavy lifting. I was in such pain that I had to call out sick to work today.

But the good news is that I got to do some writing. Actually, a lot. My book now stands at 231 pages; this morning it started out at 219. When I started this blog it was at about 205.

Current word count is 85,200 (exactly). I'm nearing the ending of the book...but of course I have to go back and write some parts in the middle.

I'm trying to get my first draft completely finished by Spring Break...a mere three weeks from now. And because I think I'm getting so close, I've started looking for a temporary coverart. So here's what I found today:

This is my first choice. Very simple, elegant.

I love this one. Unfortunately, it has no connection to my story.

Choice three...a little dull but I love the flowing skirt.

Have you noticed a pattern here?

Period piece.

Oil painting...both a yes, and a no.

Royale.
 Of course, all of these are just on a temporary basis. Something that I'll use for my drafts that my friends will read and/or edit for me (I have such wonderful friends). But when it's officially published, I'm hoping that something similar can be created. So...anonymous reader...do you have an opinion?

I'm off to do more writing.

--Margaret

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Auto Pilot

Do you ever find yourself in a rut? Going through the actions of your everyday life without paying much attention to the details. Without really stopping to smell the reasons. Without listening to what your own voice sounds like? And then, all of a sudden, it's like someone stuck you in a vat of boiling water and just for a moment you are totally alert. You see everything, you know you're talking but don't even recognize your own voice...it's hard to believe that you're actually living.

I just had one of those moments.

Over the past 8 months or so I've been having them every once in a while. And when I do this temporary wake-up, I don't believe that I'm actually living. That this is my life and that I'm actually doing something every second of everyday of my entire life. It almost frightens me to wake up because I'm so used to going with the flow, of just being in my bubble.

When I go off auto pilot, I get this temporary moment where I feel like I don't even want to live anymore. This isn't my life, is it? I mean, I'm not complaining about my life at this time or anything...but waking up and seeing where I am just doesn't flow for some reason.

I know I'm probably sounding like someone who's espcaped from an insane asylum over the past few posts. I can't help that. After all, we're all just a little crazy aren't we?

What I'm trying to say by all of this is that maybe we need to wake up from our cruise control every once in a while. Need to put our feet on the gas peddle, take control of the wheel, and get to where we need to be.

Anyways...what's been up with me over the last few days...?

Sunday night I couldn't sleep. So what do I do when it's 2 AM and I'm wide awake? Fill out the application for the Walt Disney World College Program, of course.

This is something I've been debating on doing over the past 6 months or so. When I started off at my community college in the fall, still very bitter about having graduated high school as I had, I was bound and determined to get outta here as fast as possible. Disney College Program was gonna be my one-way ticket out. However, I didn't meet some of the requirements for the Spring semester so i was stuck once more. I set my College Program date as the first week of June...at least inside my own mind.

But then life happened. I started to enjoy school (itself, not my particular school). I applied for several 4 year universities. I fell in love with almost all of them when I visited over winter vacation. And I learned about their study abroad programs that interested me more than the College Program. Instead of Walt Disney World, I started setting my sights on school.

Why, then, did I apply for the College Program?

To understand we must go back to my first whack at going to universities. I got into all 3 that I applied to, however I only really loved 1. So I set my sights on going there and all was ok. And then the day before graduation, they sent out the financial aid package and it was over my budget. Waaaaaaaay over my budget. About 30,000$ worth. One of the colleges I had already withdrawn my application from, and the school that I desperately loved had to go into that pile as well. Which left one...a university upstate that I desperately deplored. I went to orientation, got a class schedule, and went through the normal pre-student process--but I was still heartsick over my "dream school". So a month before school started I withdrew and chose to stay home. Maybe a mistake on my part, maybe not.

And now I have 3 schools that I really want to go to...but getting in as a transfer is much more difficult than as a freshman. So chances are slim, but could be in my favor.

I applied for the College Program because I didn't want a repeat of last year. I did not want to fall in love with a school, not be able to go, and then be stuck making mistake after mistake of school choices. If I don't get in, then the Disney College Program is a good back-up...even if that does mean I have to submit applications for schools for a 3rd time and most likely be about 2 years behind in school.

Life is hard. Life as a college student is harder.

--Kendra

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Somebody to Love....

I've been thinking a lot lately.

I mean, I usually think things through a lot. Maybe too much.

But lately, it's becoming too much. Here's a few things that have been on my mind in the last few hours:

Wanting a Starbucks, realizing how many calories are in said Starbucks, how I desperately need a new job, how much I don't want to write my English paper (that's what I'm procrastinating on now), different ideas for what to do for my upcoming birthday, going to Disneyland in 2 months, stupid English essay, Ashton Kutcher's butt, wanting a skin for my new ipod, how frustrated I get in crowds, wondering if I'll ever get my books published, my apparent lack of friends lately....

It's this sort of continuing whirlwind of thoughts.

My most recent and nagging is this sort of loneliness I have in my heart. Perhaps its because tomorrow is Valentines Day...and the anniversary of the final break-up I had with the one guy I could have almost imagined living my life with.

I'm young, I know that. And as such, I have this sort of fairy tale romantic notion. I will find Mr. Right, fireworks will go off, life will be better than ever imagined, and I will live on a cloud with him, my unicorn, and the glittery butterflies.

How naive...

This is the reason I write. To get out my romantic notions. To put myself in the feet of my heroine who always falls in love with the greatest guy in the world. Most likely, there's a problem, but their love never stops. They live, like Katy Perry's song suggests, in a "teenage dream".

My dream.

This hole in my heart does not seem to ever ease. Especially since I've started falling for this guy. As my sister and I would say any time there's a a new crush...

"So there's this boy...."

I can't help myself. There's no hope for us to ever be together for many reasons. I am positive he feels no attraction for me and I don't even know why I feel the way I do for him. And yet.....

I'm in this continuous state of torment. Feeling so many things, having such a vivid imagination, and constantly having this emotion dangling in front of me...so close and yet so impossibly far away.

The other night I had a dream that someone was quoting lines to Romeo and Juliet to me. Terribly romantic, you'd think: Most any girl's dream. One would believe that until they heard that I told him that I couldn't be with him. And we both cried tears of both love and hearbreak. I was incapable of love.

Valentine's Day is no help to this. Nor is the fact that I think of how many years in my life have passed, how another is about to pass, and...nothing.

I don't go out and party. Don't get drunk on a night out. Don't do drugs or smoke. No one night stands. I'm not one of those extreme extroverts. Perhaps if I did, I wouldn't feel this way. Or maybe it would be worse.

I don't know what else to say. Sure I have lots of ideas...but nothing that will come from concept to words.

I'm lonely. Is that too much to come right out and say? Those two little words....

And yet they sum up the whole of what I feel right now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reincarnation.

I've been debating something over the past few days.

Let me start out by saying that my religious views vary. I find some sort of truth in nearly every faith...yet I find myself without one true religion (much to my family's dismay). I believe in a form of Higher Being, but I will leave it at that.

Because I don't know what really happens after death (none of us really do) I chose to lay my faith in the Buddhist belief in reincarnation...that when we die, we are reborn into a new form. While I don't agree with the grasshopper, fish, gorilla, or human idea of it...I do think that part of us comes from others.

Remember how in my first posting, I explained that I tend to have a different obsession every few months? Well, there is one particular point in history that I feel is an intimate part of me. More than just a simple interest...but rather like somewhere, in the deep crevices of my mind, I know that I've been there.

The Holocaust.

There's always been something so eerily familiar about that whole portion of WWII that has always struck a chord with me. I devoured books about this subject for years when I was younger. Even now I find myself being sucked into these tales. One particular reason that I believe what I do is because of a simple quote.

For years, I thought I had read it on the back of a book cover. It's a macabre scene of Nazi soldiers laughing at a group of children...their parents now departed. For years, I searched for this book. I went to every bookstore, and scoured the shelves of anything having to do for WWII. I went to the library and checked out nearly every book. But I could not find it. It's been more than 10 years and still nothing.

The scene is so vivid...so ingrained in my memory that I feel positive that it had to have happened.

And what if I didn't imagine it it? That's the question that's been nagging at me all this time. What if that was my memory?

I understand that I sound crazy. For all I know, I am.

But I have other points to ponder about. They always say that we are affected by those in our lives and that they make up a big part of who we are.

With that being said, I must also explain that my last remaining grandmother passed away two days ago. Before the condolences begin...I have to say that I am devoid of emotion on the subject. For the past 5 or 6 years, she has suffered from strokes, dementia, various forms of cancer, infections, disease, malnutrition, and terrible hospice care. She has had many close encounters with death. I learned to let go about 3 years ago when I stopped visiting her. Now she's finally out of pain.

My family is saying that I'm not upset because I didn't know her that well. But that's not really true. I did know her, even if it wasn't as well as the rest of my family. I think that she's truly affected my life, whether or not I realize it or not. She's now with the aunt I never met (due to her untimely death at age 13) and her own mother. Women who affected her life.

They are a part of me. Everything, whether or not we realize it or not, is a part of me. Perhaps I'm the reincarnation of Anne Frank (not that I try to sound egotistical). Perhaps the revival of my long departed aunt who had such a bright future ahead of her. Maybe a million different people are inside of me, effecting every movement I make. I am them and they are me.

I feel like I'm supposed to make a difference in this world. That something great it going to happen. I'm sure that many people feel that way, but I earnestly believe it. Some way or other, I'm meant to have the bright future of the people who were not able to live theirs out--like Anne and my aunt.

Perhaps that is what true reincarnation is: Not letting those who have passed down.

--Wendy

Monday, February 7, 2011

Painful Memories Create Beautiful Writing

He grabbed my hand and pulled me from my seat and into the middle of their ruckus. In their game, the Pawnan tribe and my family has joined forces against the pirates (a certain few from the other group, who had pulled the short straw). They were planning to invade the ship, so it was up to I to make the final attack. There was no seriousness to this game in the least, and we wound up spinning in circles. It was so much fun, being here with my boys. Enjoying these precious moments that I’m sure were quite fleeting now. Moments that I had not had with them for seven years.
As I whirled around, taking a few of the Pawnan children and the boys with me, I spotted Damon and Ana back where I had left them. They were sitting cross-legged facing each other. Smiles were on both of their faces, as were expressions that I believed could only mean one thing.
My heart stopped and beat at three times its normal rate, all at the same time. Blood rushed to my ears. As I spun, time seemed to move in slow motion. Damon said something, a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. It made Ana burst into a fit of giggles. I felt like I was going to vomit.
So many great things had happened in the last day, and yet now, it seemed as if none of that mattered.
Ana glanced at me, being pulled around in what had just been a joyous game. She smiled at me slyly, before returning to her conversation.
All of this time…I thought that Damon had feelings for me. Before I even left this home, I had felt something for him. It continued during my first two years in London. And even when I refused to remember, I had still loved him. And all the while, Ana had known about it. That day on the cliffs, she had told me that I needed to tell him. All of the hints at the two of us being together…she’d known.
I felt so utterly betrayed that I could almost cry.
For seven years, while I had been away, the two of them had grown closer. Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if the boys had even mistakenly called her “Mother” at least once. Had Damon really tried to find me during all of that time? Or had he really been glad that I, simple, na├»ve, Elizabeth had been out of the way?
Sadness turned quickly to anger, as I realized all that Ana was capable of. She was a better craftsman, swordsman, huntress, and fighter than I was. Why had Damon even brought me back if I was nothing compared to the powerful Ana? To mock me of a life that I had missed out on because of a stupid mistake I made as a child?
I sat out on the rest of the games, but stayed close to the boys. I didn’t dare go anywhere closer to the two lovebirds.
Soon, the sun was beginning its final descent and it was time for us to go, before the Shadows haunted once more.
As we were about to leave, Ana pulled me aside. “Your next lesson begins tomorrow,” she started. “This time, your family will not be a part of it. You will be alone. Are you ready for that?”
I nodded, not daring to look her in the eye.
“What’s the matter with you?” she asked. I shrugged and she shook her head, obviously brushing it off to something external. “Tomorrow,” she reminded.
I left her, making my way up the path to the woods. I soon overtook the boys, and became the leader. My pace was almost frantic. I suppose I was eager to be alone to wallow.
Halfway through the journey, another pair of footsteps matched the tempo of my own. I sighed to myself, looking down. I did not want to meet those golden eyes that I could feel boring into me, searching for a clue as to why I was acting the way I was. They would not see through me now. Not like this.

Betrayal. Dissapointment.

Those are perhaps the most raw human feelings...they open up our very souls and make us break up, break down and slowly fall apart piece by piece.

What you just read was an excerpt from my book (names and locations were changed for legal reasons, but you got the most of it). For the few years that I've been writing this book, this love triangle has been something I've been anticipating on writing. I knew that my main character, "Elizabeth" had to be in love with "Damon". She always had been. When she was taken away at the age of 10, she never knew if she was going to see "Damon" again. "Ana" was her 2nd best friend at that time. When E returns home, she falls for D again. However, she begins to believe that D & A are really the ones destined to love each other.

For all this time, I've been trying to determine just how to bring on this discovery. The hurt, the anger, betrayal, sadness, disappointment, confusion...all of it had to form one emotion that doesn't really have a name. But we all experience it at some point or other in our lives.

When I started this book and began to plot this scene, I was not experienced enough in the area of love. To tell the truth, I don't quite know what it's all about now either. However, there were experiences these past few years that lead me to understand how Elizabeth would feel.

The first one happened with this boy who became one of my best guy friends over the course of the school year. We were close. We flirted. I fell head over heels and I thought he had done the same. All was right in the world. On the night I thought he was going to officially ask me out, he made another love confession. One for one of my best girl friends. He wanted me to set them up.

I felt like killing myself to be perfectly honest. That year was tough enough, but this just threw me over the edge. All the love that I had pent up inside, ready to share, wound up deflating and turning into that emotion with no words.

The next story happened about a year and a half ago. There was this boy... He was something special. We related on many different levels. It seemed perfect. Except...he lived 700 miles away. I was foolish enough back then to believe that what we called love would surpass that distance. However, we broke up soon. He went out with another girl and I set my sight on one closer to home. We stayed friends.

But the long distance love happened again not 2 months later. This time it lasted quite a while. We grew closer, living for the times when we could talk with one another. Waiting until we could finally be together in the same place (I was supposed to go to a college 10 minutes from him). But when I went to visit that college, and him, he backed out of seeing me. As it turned out, he didn't know if he could truly deal with the relationship at such a close level. That hurt more than the first "love". We broke up, if you could even call it that through the distance, and remained friends for a time before I finally ended all communication with him.

So you see, dear reader, before the first love--when I first started this book--I had absolutely no experience with the pain that this scene would have needed. I knew the feelings of love, even if just kept to myself (that is, afterall, how "Elizabeth" keeps hers). But pain is a far more intricate emotion. It involves multiple facets.

You might make this as an everything happens for a reason post. But what I really take it as is a way to say that writers must take from what they know. What they have experienced. As much as I would love to, I couldn't write about the death of a loved one accurately, because the only relatives I've known who have died, did so when I was too young to have a true relationship with them.

I write what I know in hopes that it becomes more real. Because who really wants to read something made up rather than what we already know and feel?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Copy Cat

I've been asked before how I got into writing.

Does anyone remember Harry Potter? Yeah, that thing that's been popular for, like, 13 years now. Well, so in love with that series was I. In fact, more like obsessive compulsive.

In 4th and 5th grade, we had this thing called SSR (I know you remember Silent Sustained Reading too). In my 5th grade class, we had to write reviews on all of the books that we read. In one year, I submitted 21 about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

No joke.

My teacher got so mad at me for reading this over and over (yes, I read a few dozen other books too) that she began buying books for our class, but giving me them to me first just so I wouldn't read Harry Potter. It didn't really work (but I did enjoy those books too).

Anyway, let's get back to the story here.

When people ask me how I started writing, I describe my obsession. Then I'll go on to say how I started having ideas about different plot lines within the series. And so I would write about those. Thus, I had joined the Harry Potter Fanfiction community.

That's the truth, but not the whole truth.

Here's what really happened. Back when my family had AOL (you remember dial-up????), the "pre-teen" section had areas for fancfiction. One of them happened to be about J.K. Rowling's books. Having already read all 4 books that were out at that point, I devoured these stories. One of them I wanted to read over and over, so I would copy and paste it into my computer (this was a cool thing in the early 2000's).

Then, I would work through kinks in that story. The basic plot line would still be there, as well as a majority of the dialogue, but I would edit it just a bit. Being young and impressionable, I called it a story of my own.

Yes, I plagiarised. Of course, when I was 10, I didn't know that.

This is something that I haven't admitted to my own parents yet. It might sound silly, but I still feel ashamed about this one story that I wasn't even clever enough to call my own.

However, the story gets better.

That is how the first story went. After that, a combination of events occurred. First, my Harry Potter obsession got to my parents. They outright banned me from talking about the books or movies...and took away most of my things that had something to do with the boy wizard. Secondly, we switched from dial-up to high speed. That meant an end to the stories that I had once devoured.

So now I had a great deal of time on my hands, and a void that had been filled with the wizarding world. So I wrote. Yes, it was still about Harry Potter, but I began to create my own stories. They were from my mind, and mine alone. In the following year or so, I wrote 3 or 4 more stories of my own, often writing at recess with one of my good friends at the time.

For an 11 year old, these stories were good. I'm not gonna lie and I don't say this out of ego. But they were pretty well written. I had taken all that I had read in my life, and began to combine it into my writing. My parents, who had let up on my obsession, even began reading them.

I remember my mom sitting me down one night after she had read my latest story and said "you have a gift for this [insert name here]. These emotions that you described" (she was talking about two characters who were in love) "are so accurate. You haven't even experienced them, and you sound like an expert."

Then came the summer between elementary school and junior high. I was watching The Simpsons one night, and Marge wrote a book, using inspiration from a picture on her wall (it's still my favorite). I looked up on my own wall to the painting...a little cottage in the middle of the woods, with a little creek next to it--a wooden bridge crossing over it. Suddenly, inspiration struck and I began to write my first book. Entirely my own.

Although that idea was scrapped soon after, I had started something. For the first time, I began to create my own worlds.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I began to write. By first being a Copy Cat, and then taking what I learned and making it my own.

--Stephanie