Monday, January 30, 2012

My Romantasy Portfolio [part 2]

I hope to get through this post and finish it before I completely blow this off...
during part one, I took the reader through the first number of original stories I wrote... most of which fit the bill of this blog... a couple did not...

although if I really get down to it and make the idea as good as I saw it in my head... heck, I don't think I had any pure intentions about that. I wanted to rewrite my life with that story and when it proved to be too close to the real thing, it got to be too much... but taking all that into account, if I did this story right... it could bridge romance/science fiction... but the phenomenon of multiple-personality disorder isn't entirely science fiction... its just that a few soaps including "One life to live" used characters who had two personalities in one body... later on, Jess & Tess gained another personality called Bess (which I still believe to be one of the stupidest names I'd ever heard in my life... who names their kid 'Bess' anyway? and don't give me that whole 'it's short for Elizabeth' BS... how in the name of god is that possible?)

Soaps tend to take a lot of things to extremes and I did that with Jamie... to the point I really do regret making things so horrible, building up all that drama. I actually read a book review in the paper about a kid after he attempts to commit suicide, how his life changed and all that... it'd be interesting to read that just to see how they approached that oh-so-sensitive subject
It's called "Trying not to breathe" by Jennifer R. Hubbard

It's a story I certainly don't want to fade to obscurity where I can't find a good way to write it without it being too depressing and without it making me sound suicidal...
the closest I came to that, ever... was me thinking during the darkest and loneliest of times... between the time I was 15 to now... the past 10 years... I thought that "I really wish I wasn't here anymore, I can't take much more"... maybe somewhere between 4-6 times... but never so much where I elaborately planned anything out... just the mere desire to not be facing what I was facing at the time. But when I was in high school, the two times I was really in a dark places... 9th and 11th grade, it was my grades... I was so afraid to disappoint anyone that... well, at the time, the alternative was an easier idea... but it never came to that

I'd go into more detail about it, but to save myself trouble, I'll end the conversation there and pick up where I left off

I started writing my short story "The Ghost of Leo" August of 2005 and probably only got to the first 10 pages before I had to go away to college...
between this and that and other things, I guess the fact I kept missing out on watching Danny Phantom really took its toll on my pool of inspiration... I started writing the story cuz I loved that show... was kinda crazy about him too... trust me, not the first of my cartoon crushes :-P

for a number of months, my personal life got in the way... or rather, you know how they say "life happened"... it was kinda like that... trying to find my way around campus, getting around, making friends... I only had a couple... one lived in the bottom floor of our dormitory, he was a big nerd like me and we went to a couple anime club meetings together... but after the first couple, he either found interest in other places or just stopped coming... I guess in part cuz they didn't do the kind of anime he wanted to watch...
and of course my other good friend was my roommate... lol... omg, I'm thinking about the way I felt about her, it's almost something out of "Mean Girls" when Regina was explaining to Cady the time she and Janis Ian were best friends.
a little while later, "I started seeing my first boyfriend... who was totally gorgeous... and Janis was weirdly jealous of him... I'd be out with him and she'd be like 'why didn't you call me back' and I said 'why are you so obsessed with me'..." then she said that she couldn't invite her to her pool party because she thought she was a lesbian... after being outcasted by that rumor, Janis came back the following year with that goth look going for her
there were times where I literally felt obsessed... I would make excuses to spend time with her just because it was a helluva lot easier since we roomed together than for me to go out and find my own friends... then a couple of her friends kinda became my friends, which was kinda nice. Both happened to be gay men who were real theater types... espeically one of them... oh now I remember, and through him, I met another group of people... three other people... Nikki was one of their girlfriends and omg, she was so cool... had this 'take no prisoners' attitude about her

but yeah, with my roommate, I just loved spending time with her... then it got to the point sometimes where I felt I wanted her all to myself... but its not like it was a new phenomenon... I feel oddly possessive of my girl friends. All of them seem to be extremely popular and I'd fall between the cracks because I wasn't the most outgoing in the bunch... I lost one or two of my girl friends because they had so many other friends... what was I to them? the sort of thing
also it got to the point where I'd always be in the room and girls would stop by looking for her and I'd say that she wasn't around... she was busy between class and ballet and stuff like that... but seriously, almost never would anyone come to the room to see me... I put more of the blame on them than her... I shouldn't have been too surprised how popular she was because she just had this loving, gregarious personality

I could go on that forever... she's one of a couple people I'd love to write about in length right out of my real life... in fact I started to... it was meant to be a sequel to that multiple personality storyline, where I find out that the guy I spent the whole story wanting to be with was gay... a total buzz-kill too... I guess at the time, he was still figuring things out (well, in the story, not in real life, we never became more than casual acquaintances)...

I've so gone off  the handle with this... I took it the point where I wrote about this encounter I had with this guy who asked me out through Facebook and he wanted to jump right into making out and all that when we hadn't spent any physical time together before... it left me so sick and not liking anything in romance for a couple months... I guess that helped open the door to fanfiction too cuz I couldn't do much of anything else... after that, I started to wonder if whether I have grown to distrust men because of that one incident...
the story ended where I come out to her and say that I might have feelings for her beyond friendship... didn't find any way to reinvigorate that story after that... what else could I say?

Anyway, take all that aside and so sorry it took me this long to get here:

White Tiger Demon, Princess Chihiro
genre: YA, romantasy
fantast"ical" qualities: another world, beasts with magical powers and anthropomorophic attributes

this started out, originally, as an InuYasha fanfiction... I started writing it in March of 2006... right after I discovered YouTube and was really getting into the show (I was it a few times on Adult Swim but at the time I couldn't physically stay up super late... my night owl habits didn't start until a couple months later, lol... Facebook and a Prince messageboard took it to extremes)...
and after I fell head over heels for my character, I wanted to make changes so I could one day see her story published... it is still in midst of heavy duty edits :-P I started by starting the prologue in greater detail....

I'm someone who loves prologues, apparently :-P

here's kinda how the story goes...
there's this big issue in InuYasha that helps booster the plot every now and then: the fact that he's half-demon who's father was this great powerful demon, he had a human mother and his older brother Sesshomaru (who is the handsome beast I've been using as my blogging profile picture for years) is pure demon and wants to become as powerful as his father...

I took that and ran with it... would it be like if Inuyasha came across another half-demon and developed a friendship with them? there were a couple of other half-demons in the series, but they were only there for a storyline and more or less disappeared for the rest of the series...

Chihiro ( three guesses where I got the name from, lol) had a human father, born into a clan of tigers and her mother was the leader... war breaks out and her family is destroyed... she gets away, not wanting to live anymore because she has nothing now, she comes across Lucas (my Inuyasha-esque character) who was near fatally injured... apparently she has this power of healing because she knows how to heal his wounds. Because of that, she gets the courage to keep going in life and he's able to live to fight another day.

they meet again several years later. She's almost ready to take over for her new clan and he helps teach her how to fight. throughout the story, she starts to fall in love with him and (SPOILER ALERT) it gets to the point where she would give her life for him... and makes that noble sarcifice... just so encumbered by love that nothing else seems to matter

I usually go out of my way (well, not really, its a lot easier than that) to not kill off my characters... but I didn't see it go any other way... it was inevitable, based on who she is, how selfless she is, that she would give her life to save his in a heartbeat...

let's see if I have this right... when I was in high school, I was uber prolific with my writing where I'd have multiple stories going at once... I started slowly, but I think I finished them a lot quicker than I do now (for a number of reasons... strangely I wrote in greater length back then than I do now)...

Jamie's story- started in Oct 2002 and finished... umm.... I dunno, 2006 could be when I finished this rehash rather than the first draft... I'm sure it was in a shorter amount of time just before I got the next idea
Jonas's story- March 2003 through... I'm sure the first draft I finished in maybe June or July
Orion's story- October 2003 through June 2005 (sounds about right)

a bunch of stories in between, I think I stared writing sequels and all this other stuff... most of them are gone because I didn't like how they turned out and/or I couldn't do much else with them...

I think my sequel to Jonas's story and Orion were going on around the same time... or I was in edits for Orion while starting the sequel

I've been meaning to write a sequel to Orion that includes my knowledge on sea life, my idea of Atlantis and more good versus evil... my favorite clich├ęd conflict for sure

but in most cases I'd be writing one story at a time, but I'd usually start another halfway through when I got bored or just had writer's block... or just an emergency brainstorm session I had to take care of
8-)

usually, though, and its more the case in college than anywhere else... I average a story a year... either takes me that long to finish or otherwise I spend an entire semester working on it.

my 2nd semester (spring 2006) belonged to my white tiger... between the fanfiction and the conversion to otherwise... that took me beyond that semester... and I'd been tweaking it and going very experimental with another type of storyline specifically revolving around her. I can't really explain it any better than saying it's very pro-life heavy, even though under most circumstances, I lean more towards pro-choice... it depends on the person and the situation... rape/incest/danger of life, absolutely... but the exact opposite... in the words of one of my friends "it's ridiculous when some girls talk about going in for their 10th abortion"... that is utterly ridiculous and when I start to think that the pro-life people are right in pushing their beliefs
this has me primed to go on another rant on those branch of things... I do that elsewhere and I'd already been sidetracking enough as it is

I usually start writing heavily about my latest interest... that interest became Prince as of February 2007... so this year, it'll be 5 years...
I not only started visiting messageboards to discuss his music and build my collection, but I started my first blog to discuss his music... and before I even saw Purple Rain in its entirity, I started writing based on whatever perceptions I had of Prince at that time... being an up & coming musician who loved his music to the point it was all he lived for... and in case you're wondering, there's nothing relating to suicide in this story, thankfully...

It more or less is a story about an artist and who becomes his greatest admirer/supporter/muse...

this might be actually be the first thing I wrote in the style of The Great Gatsby and Sherlock Holmes... you see how the main protagonist and the admirer get along from both sides of the equation in my case, but the other party is heralded as being an eccentric genius, paid all these compliments and written as to hoist the protagonist to almost god-like status... well, that's the case in Sherlock Holmes more than Gatsby, lol...

I had only read Sherlock Holmes recently so that wasn't at all my intention 4 years ago

the only downside to "Joshua Isaiah Prince" was that the ending was kinda... anti-climatic... just ended... I wrote an epilogue and everything, so it isn't quite like the end of The Sopranos... but anyone else aside from me might not buy into it... that I just ran out of ideas and let it go :shrug:
maybe an epilogue wasn't even necessary, there was no prologue

I went down that rabbit hole and listened to Prince almost exclusively for a little more than a year.
focused my writing mostly on him and my blog... a lot of which was pretty insightful and yet reaching at points... I was trying to explain his eccentricity in layman's terms... though I'm not sure if anyone got more out of my blog than I did... I find that I understand things a lot easier after writing them down...
I wrote that story in a span of 2-3 months, starting it in Feb/March and ending it May... roughly...

perhaps much all of 2007 was dominated by this phenomenon... much the way 2011 was dominated about my favorite actor

my last novel-length, romantasy story, I wrote between January and December of 2008

"Hope in Alaska"
genre: YA, romance with a tough of fantasy

I don't know how long "White Tiger" is because of all the rewrites I'd put it through, but aside from that, I think this story is my longest... okay, not really... "Joshua Isaiah Prince" caps off at 199 pages with the epilogue

I've had an affinity for wolves for more years than I can count. What inspired me to finally write something about that... well, that's also not entirely true, I started writing a story about wolves, but it ended up getting deleted off my computer cuz I didn't know where to take it, continue it... etc, etc. the story wasn't entirely about that either.

when watching "Ratatouille" on DVD, there was a trailer that looked like it was going to be another sled dog movie... instead it was "Snow Buddies" about golden retreiver puppies pulling a sled... I called for blasphemy... haven't gotten over it since...

I think at the time I had just finished reading "Twilight" and just fell in love with the series... so the beginning kinda takes on the same tone, Bella going to Forks, which she loathes but does so to spend time with her dad and give her mom more alone time with her new husband...

I think since the Parent Trap remake, I've loved the name Hallie. so I used that for my heroine... I find its harder to write a female lead because they're a little too much like me or take on too many of my negative attributes...

she's kinda like my own incarnation of Holden Caulfield, but without the foul language or fragmented grammar... but definitely a cynic...
the story kinda begins in tragedy... she and her dad were in a car accident, she survived and he didn't. She now has to move up to Alaska to live with her free-spirited mom who was such a free spirit that she abandoned her family... she lives in a different place every 2-3 years, but Alaska will be her home at least until Hallie graduates high school.

In the beginning, Hallie is still grieving for her dad, has harbored a grudge against her mom for years. In the outdoor shopping village of Nanook (it's an Alaskan name, but I doubt that's the name of an actual place), Hallie meets Joey Stevens, the son of one of her mom's closest friends... it's kinda the same thing that happens in Forks... it's such a small area that everyone knows everyone and hears about Hallie coming.
She hangs out with him and his friends. I guess at the time and I make allusion to this, I was still hyper aware of Edward Cullen, just being taken in by him as much as Bella (its hard not to when she's narrating her story)... and some of those things made their way into this character. Joey is of Inuit descent, chestnut brown hair and eyes to match and he's more old-fashioned than his friends. He opposes commercialism and wants to keep the art/sport of dog sledding alive because those were the old ways.

Anyway, the wolf aspect. Well, first of all, Hallie has a boyfriend named Andrew that she leaves behind with all of her friends, but they want to make the long distance relationship work. She hasn't told her mom about him at all so when she finds out about him, Hallie blows a fit and gives her a piece of her mind... actually letting her know how she feels about her, that her leaving left her dad with a broken heart that he'd harbored ever since she left....
fueled by anger, therefore clouding her judgement, she runs off... their house is maybe 20 minutes away from Nanook village, but it's almost in the middle of nowhere. She gets lost in the wilderness, wakes up the next morning and discovers that a wolf had saved her.

She sees this wolf a number of other times and they have this interesting relationship. He's a cautious individual, but neither seem to be afraid of one another. More or less, I got this idea that the spirit of her dad is living on in the wolf, who is looking out for her under mysterious pretenses.

After that, she and Joey start to get close and she more or less forgets about Andrew up until the most crucial point of the story. A lot of the plot builds up to the fictional Alpine Ridge dog sled race, both of them enter because they want to use the prize money to save an outdoorsman shop from being bought out and replaced by a snowboarding boutique (an idea being supported by Joey's cousin Nathaniel, who's the exact opposite of him in almost every way and is at least 10-15 years older than him)
I started writing the first chapter in a computer lab one day, but only had a short amount of time before my next class. I started carrying a notepad with me so when inspiration struck, I would be writing in between classes and during class break... eventually, the institution stuck... I just couldn't get in a rhythm on the computer like I had been able to for years.
I actually had this notepad with me at the SuperBowl party they had for the Giants/Patriots game... I wrote maybe some of the 5th chapter at the time, just before that fight breaks out and Hallie runs off... even more funny, I had this with me everywhere so my friends saw me writing it. One of them was talking about reading it when it got published so he could say he knew me when, lol

if only... this story is still being looked through. I started doing track changes a couple years ago to fix some of the odd language I put in my narration, stuff that more or less didn't make sense... haven't gone through a lot of it because of everything else that started going on

but with "The Grey" being out in theaters and me being totally opposed to, if not offended by, wolves being used as villians... I might start working through this again, if not reading it

Friday, January 27, 2012

renewing biographies and a new casting choice

The most interesting things seem to come out in my re-edits lately, all of which are extremely welcome. The only thing not welcome: a friend of mine forwarding me a link to an Amazon "breakthrough writer" contest... when I don't even have a completed novel I want to enter.
Granted, I'd love to enter Jonas's story into the running, but after the things I'd come across in the editing bay, especially over the past week where I've been rehashing/polishing storylines for the minor characters... I'd like my audience to see my final edits rather than ripping them off with my previous version just because I'm in a hurry to get the story published.

As far as I can tell, I'm nowhere near ready for it to be published. The one thing I seem to have found fault in, the reason why a lot of people don't want to answer my queries: when they ask for sample chapters, I'd been including my prologue, which I have found out to be a turn-off. You send the first couple chapters with no previous stuff and if including the prologue at all, call it chapter one...

Hell no am I selling myself short in calling my prologue "chapter 1"... not to mention I'd have to include a little blip about it being in present day or the prologue being eons ago... going from prologue to chapter 1 in general has got to be a little jarring... especially when you're in a completely different environment in chapter 1... must be a true WTF moment to people not familiar with my material

Anyway, the whole matter of that contest had me almost having panic and anxiety attacks because that would mean I'd have to be working non-stop up to Feb 5th... and there's no way I'd be able to do that. And this is something I've natured and allowed to grow (the most growth has happened in the past 6 months, moreso than the past 8 years I'd been writing it and tweaking it for publication) for a long time... I'm not going to do a rush job just for even a CHANCE at winning

Romantasy probably wouldn't get that many votes to begin with.

In the strangest of ways and also in the most commonplace of ways (best of both worlds, insanity mixed with renewed common sense), in watching several of his interviews, most of which several times each, Robert Downey Jr. has become somewhat of an inspiration, an influence and otherwise anything he has to say when it comes to movies, just because he can choose his words with so much ease and spontaneity that it's a talent I'd kill to have. I make the most sense when I'm writing things down.
Just to cut matters short (I've spent the past 51 weeks on my other blog with all the fanatical comments and repetition, so no need to bring that crazyness here), there are two things I've brought into the project this time around.

1) the way he can pitch a movie & the character he plays so well, I would like to know my characters that well, really getting down to the bare bones, knowing them as well as, if not better than, the back of my hand.
Thus: the renovation of a lot of my minor characters, really figuring out what makes them tick and giving them more importance than just for me to have a person to bring into a scene as part of the scenery

2) He hates motives, so as far as the hypothetical casting goes, I'd like to keep that in mind. Like I've considering casting some of the actors (including him) in certain roles just because of the off-chance I'd get to meet them during the auditioning process... I tend to get extremely fanatical about celebrities so I kinda don't go about things the right way.
Yesterday I was considering the idea, after watching one of his earlier films (i.e. pre-"Chaplin" and post-"Less than Zero"), to cast him as Peter Bronson, Jonas's guardian... then I remembered what he said about motives. I'm more or less doing this with that realm of impossibility in mind, having a hidden agenda about things.

I was merely looking for an excuse to cast him in this movie with that motive in mind... but if I'm being completely truthful and I totally am, he's a big name that could give the whole thing a boost cuz he's hot right now. Even if he'd consider it himself, I doubt he could fill the shoes of this important character and use him to his full potential.

I read a short article a little while ago, one of the many writer's digest newsletter articles I click on to read more. Writing about teenagers and such. It said to not make the parents/guardians an opposing force... in other words, don't baby your characters. Almost like what Dory said to Marlin in "Finding Nemo"... "that's a silly thing to promise. Well, you can't have nothing happen to him, or else nothing will happen to him" (I threw that quote in for good measure cuz I'd become such a movie buff lately).
In some stories, the more dramatic ones, you have abusive parents or overprotective parents that shelter the kids and nothing really comes of their tribulations... in other words, having the parents stand out of the way would allow more things to happen to the story.

I swear I had the idea in my head last night and I can't remember... but there was one other story I read where... or maybe it was a movie... where a parent worked behind the scenes to support their kid in whatever it was they were trying to achieve...
I have Peter Bronson written as: "a tall 55-year old man with a charcoal beard & whiskers. A former English lit professor (I wrote about having several bookshelves in the den yesterday). He accepts Jonas for who he is, enables him and supports him in the most dire of times without question. [I might not make it clear in my narration, but] he knows a lot more than he lets on and people give him credit for."

The whole persona seems like somewhat of a challenge for Mr. Downey. I can't recall him playing anything close to that before.
But still... I'd like to think that after seeing 30+ of his movies in the past year (6-7 more than once, 3-4 of those more than 5 times) that I know a little bit about what he brings to a role. I'd be brown-nosing by saying, to paraphase his words, this isn't a role that would enrich his life or help him learn anything about himself. He did do movies like Iron-Man, Sherlock Holmes, A Scanner Darkly and Fur where you're expected to accept a little more than what you can see on the surface... so I have my doubts he'd buy into the concept of my book even if I slaved away for hours on how to explain it in layman's terms
But that's something I can totally live with. He doesn't have to get anything I throw at him.
It's just that I'd like to aspire to slave over my craft and really know it backwards and forwards, live by it, the way he does with his acting... so I have my writing going for me rather than superfluous comments on pop culture, not wasting as much time with stuff leading nowhere but perhaps driving me more and more insane.

Between a number of things, though, Gary Oldman came to mind. The more I thought about it, the more I thought he could bring something great to this character. I'd only seen him playing good guys (Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series and Commisioner Gordon in the Dark Knight films-- one of the few good things I took away from them), but there was just a certain spark where I figured... yeah, I really do believe that Gary Oldman could make this part everything I thought it would be, if not better.

So for the part of the chapter that went between Peter, Jonas and Nina, I wrote a few bits and pieces as if picturing Gary Oldman reading the lines... trying to find what works and what doesn't. A lot of actors are attracted to roles by good writing and putting two things together, I went through each sentence to make sure that they all had their purpose and weren't just filler.

As far as the other roles I'd assigned... I think I went for the non-biased approach... trying to put faces to names that would really bring them to life rather than me trying to get something out of it.
Taylor Swift is the only casting choice that might have had me with a hidden agenda, but at the given moment, unless someone else comes out of nowhere, I can't see anyone else bringing to life this character who really is the catalyst for this story to get going. The activating incident, if you will... it's almost funny how she's the new girl, but this is really Jonas's story more than hers.

Just checking into my go-to fiction book real quick: "Master Class in Fiction writing: techniques from Austen, Hemingway and other greats" by Adam Sexton.
I'm getting this from an Internet site: Nostalgia Chick made a comment that "The Little Mermaid" (her least favorite movie in the entire world) is more about King Triton than Ariel because he changes as a character from start to finish while she only has one goal and achieves it rather than learning one of life's lessons.

Anyway, I'm trying to determine whether Nina has the composition of a well-rounded secondary character or if she's a primary character.
When I think about it, she really doesn't change all that much from start to finish. She's a very kind, generous, open-minded, accepting person. The only change is that she meets Jonas and falls in love, simultaneously falling into this other world that she really doesn't question... just accepts the fact that Jonas has this mysterious persona and this would explain a lot of it.

The one thing I want to avoid are the same critics who ripped apart "Twilight" and the rest of Stephenie Meyer's vampire stories. Aside from the people that hated what she did to vampires, giving them emotions and not having them be monsters... there are the people who really don't buy into the plot in general.
I read someone that a couple people thought that Jasper, Rosalie and Alice were more interesting characters than Bella & Edward... which I guess you could say I somewhat agree with a bit...

There are people who loathe the set-up... this plain uninteresting girl ending up with someone who she thinks is perfect, but really isn't as perfect as she thinks... :sigh: take away the vampires, though, Bella definitely lived my life's story in high school, not really fitting in anywhere or knowing what she wanted out of life. I'm a bit of a nerd myself and don't think I'm the prettiest girl in any given room (otherwise people would have asked me out throughout high school and college... nobody was interested and simultaneously, the two people interested in me... I really wasn't interested in them... maybe because I still am figuring myself out)

The comment I loathe the most is people calling Bella a lackluster character who is stubborn, helpless and otherwise unable to stand on her own feet without Edward around (not just because she's the world's biggest klutz)... she's dependant on Edward too much and has no sense of self.
some of those same people wondering what is wrong with her because she detests surprises and birthdays... as if that's such a big red flag that she's not normal :roll:

Selfish is another word that gets thrown around a lot.
Me, I don't see that so much. A lot of people neglect to notice in the 3rd act of "Twilight" (oh great, he's got me using that phrase too... 3rd act), the book, Bella is uber-freaked out that everyone around her is going to get killed because of her. She's frantic about Charlie, the reason why she wants to go back to her house to make sure James doesn't go after him. She's frantic that her friends will get hurt more than worrying about herself getting hurt. Then she's frantic that James will go after the rest of her family, ultimately saying that the Cullens can't protect everyone she cares about forever.

Man did I take a long time to get there.
My point is that, in addition to hoping nobody thinks I'm ripping off "Twilight" especially when it comes to Jonas (trust me, there are enough differences where only the Twi-haters could nit-pick until they find similar faults in him), I'd hate for people to think that the two characters are too dependant on one another. That Nina's new life completely revolves around Jonas, that she can't stand on her own without him.
In response to all that, I think I'm going to cut down on the dramatics just a tad.

There are a number of incidents that start piling up. Most of which really aren't necessarily or pivotal to the plot.
The first, of course, is important. He gets struck by lightning and Nina's there to witness the occurrence. She learns that this strange phenomenon is the reason behind his explicit absences.
He returns to school and has somewhat of a panic attack... which has Nina a little shaken up and he believes that she no longer trusts him... one thing leads to another, he gets thrown off the back of one of his horses into the iced over river and goes temporarily deaf.

If anything, the only function of his deafness is that he misunderstands Corey and Nina spending time together and he feels left out because he can't hear the song they're working on for Mai... long story there, but otherwise, I can't really see his deafness having any real use. Not to mention I worm my way around it using his mind-reading ability

I mean, the incident that has Nina temporarily freaked out... a little of that might be good for her, but the consequences of it really have no point. Not to mention he's put out of commission three times scattered over maybe 2 weeks... the first time makes sense, but after that, people might get bored with it. Not to mention that's around the part of the story, the middle, where I start to lag in all kinds of places.
Not to mention the panic attack in the middle of Social Studies... kinda pointless... especially because a case of deja vu occurs later on... Eric is put out because Mai chose Corey over him and eventually, Jonas becomes an unwilling participiant in the fight and he loses control

After which, everyone clearly remembers what he's capable of.
I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. And if none of this is making any sense, my humblest apologies. I'm just thinking aloud here, answering my most crucial questions that have been bugging me since I decided to go into full-on rewrites

He might be a little old to play the part now, but after seeing Kris Allen perform "Heartless" on YouTube (better version than what he recorded for his album) and listening to his album for the first time in sevearl months... I remembered what a great contestant he was on American Idol and the great attitude and presence he had. Some people might say they don't even remember Kris because Adam Lambert stole the show because he was oh-so interesting... not to be confused with talent... there were maybe 2 performances the entire season that I liked at all... the rest he just was over the top and I'm still getting the ear-piercing screams out of my head a couple years later...

Kris's lackluster performance on the charts amounts to two things:
Adam Lambert has Max Martin writing his songs, the Swedish king of catchy songwriting (Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Katy Perry to name a few)... with Kris, the only name I recognize writing his songs aside from him on maybe 3-4, is that guy from Train... and I don't even like their music to begin with.
Therefore the music's not nearly as catchy and memorable to the casual music fans.
...and secondly, the marketing and promotion of the album has been appalling... I've heard two different songs on my primary radio station and the one played the most is "Live like you're dying"... which is possibly the weakest, worst song on the album that they could have put on the radio... the guy from Train co-wrote "The Truth"... but there are at least 4-5 other songs that were better for the radio, so people would remember them and therefore go out and buy the record...

okay, that's another rant that should be on my other blog.

I'm starting to think that someone like Kris Allen would be perfect to play Corey... the guy who becomes Mai's boyfriend, one of Jonas's best friends and the two of them have a role to play later on. He has the right look and attitude, the only thing off is his age :-P

Before I completely go off the handle again, here are the biographies I renewed.
I may/may not split Chapter 4 in half because there are two different settings... too big for one chapter (kinda makes the other chapters look tiny in comparison)... I just finished the first part of it that introduces Peter and the iguanas Sparky & Scorch

I had an epiphany, a couple actually, while writing the introduction. I had decided that at their size, they might be too large for a single cage that Jonas carries downstairs... and considering the relationship that builds between him and Scorch, only one iguana makes an appearance.
He comes down the stairs with Sparky and coincidentally, Nina isn't one of those girls who can't stand to be around reptiles... he eases the transition to her because he has to tend to a new wound he's acquired: "Scorch was a little less than cooperative"... went to explain how he found the two of them, how they used to get along, but Scorch turned nasty after he had to move them into separate enclosures. Nina considers jealousy as a factor because Sparky's terrarium is closer to his bed. That gets shot down after Jonas tries to switch them around, still getting bitten. The vet attributes it to Scorch getting on in age, losing sight in one eye, but Jonas thinks its more the fact he separated them than the fact Scorch is getting oddly senile.
Iguanas rely more on smell than sight, so he's not sold on that explanation.

What I'm not explaining in this chapter will be explained later:
he found the two of them shortly after his first incident of lightning (the day after his first public panic attack).
In the past, the elements of fire and lightning were under the sorcerer's control, but after his defeat, the dragons came under Jonas's allegience.
But something went wrong somewhere. He may not have officially gained ownership of the elements. He gave the dragon of lightning (and the pegasus of thunder) the power of speech, so fire could have taken that as an insult. Somehow, though, the power of lightning is still under Nightariel's alliegence. For whatever reason, that explains the lightning strikes that keep happening (and you'd think that Jonas would just stay indoors after the first couple times, but he has to go to the stables to feed the horses... that can't be avoided)...

quite possibly... I kinda put that Sparky had a scar on his tail in the original draft, but I omitted it for the time being cuz it has no relevence... Jonas never saw the iguanas fight so he didn't think it was from one. But I'm thinking Scorch became unforgiving because Jonas separated them... knowing that was going to happen, he takes a bite out of Sparky's tail... perhaps taking hold of some of his power... dealing under the table, if you will, to Nightariel...
between him believing that together they're a stronger opposing force and a number of other things, the separation of the two is the activating incident for the vendetta that emerges

Huh... I can't help but feel I might have overcomplicated that just a little bit. :-?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Much ado about Iguanas and guardianship

Whoa... can I just say that my mind is completely blown?
I mean, yeah, I know I should have done the research like... YEARS ago when I started writing this. I'm not sure what I was watching. I think it was the first Ace Ventura movie... there were a couple of iguanas in that movie and they were pretty big. So much so that I started to panic a bit.
The only research I really did was seeing how long they lived because that question came up. I don't know why that's even relevant. I mean, with the horses, I guess it kinda makes sense. Establishing the age between them, with Rain being the oldest, Thunder in the middle and Windy being the youngest (explaining the fact she's very coy and has an energetic personality... phew, I haven't used that word in a long time. Though I'd forgotten how to spell it). Can't spell relevance to save my life.

I am so glad that I decided to do this... finally. Because other than, yeah go figure. I have no experience with any of these animals, but I did do my research with the horses more than I did for these two characters. One of which becomes extremely important to a certain plot twist.

Well, anyway... long story short... I was checking out Google Images to see if I could find a few candidates. As it turns out, wow I consider myself so lucky that everything worked out this way, aside from your common green iguana, there are other colors available. Two of which are ones I definitely needed for the plot to work, but I didn't think I'd get this lucky.

There are actually albino iguanas that look just like this. Wow, he's a beauty.
And maybe for Scorch, I was thinking about something like this (he's on the right)

Or better yet... just so I don't have to write about this huge age gap between the two
Ain't he a beauty?

Okay, I sound too overly pleased with myself. But I can't help it. I simply had no idea... yeah, goes to show that I really haven't done a lot of research. I usually don't have to sort to that cuz I'm so good at making stuff up. But I'd printed out just a few little things about iguana care.

The only thing is maybe.. I'll have to rewrite/rethink my introduction scene with the two of them.

Another thing is that I'm trying to really work on the whole situation between Jonas and Peter because I got really concerned writing it a couple nights ago. Kinda shell-shocked and been afraid to go back ever since. I have a feeling that I went too far in the other direction, so instead of Jonas being angry and somewhat moody, he's become the exact opposite, dejected and almost on the verge of having one of his panic attacks.
Sure, he's a little embarrassed and ashamed of his living situation... not knowing what happened to his parents, but I dunno... I just can't help but think he and Peter have a really good relationship. There's just this really intangible integer that's been buzzing around my head that I can't quite touch up on.

The story goes like this:
in the somewhat dramatic, literary fashion, Jonas was left on Peter's doorstep 13 years ago... I admit when I wrote this that Harry Potter's origin story kinda came to mind and I may have borrowed from that. But it's not like J.K. Rowling was the first and only person to do this.
It really doesn't make sense, especially the fact that Jonas's parents have mysteriously disappeared... not leaving so much as a last name... which is REALLY strange. Then again, none of my characters have last names, so that's almost like an inside joke, isn't it?

Peter doesn't know how or why, but somehow Jonas was on his doorstep... okay, that really doesn't make a huge amount of sense. Why his house of all the houses? Did their car stop in the middle of nowhere and it so happens that nobody was residing in what would become Nina's house... oh wait, maybe the house wasn't even built yet... maybe that's where they lived... I wanted to keep it as mysterious as possible so I really didn't care to elaborate at any point... whichever way it becomes clear to Jonas what happened to his parents... on Christmas no less... it's really hard to explain and it really pushes the envelope just a little bit, unless of course it's not the only incident of this: touching something and through that, seeing into the past or something like that. I DON'T KNOW.

Certainly if I don't find it believable, I doubt anyone else will. Now if anyone can get through my whole prologue about reincarnation and whatnot, I doubt too much else is going to rattle them too much... that and the whole "psychic abilities" thing that Jonas deals with when social anxiety flares up.

Speaking of flaring up, I don't know what is with me today, but I'm not feeling good. I think something I did or didn't do yesterday is giving me an ulcer... the same old story "denying and staying far out," except now I know what to call it... just that.

I think the thing is that I'm very unsure as to what to make of this relationship... it is freaking me out to say the least.

So get past the whole thing of how the two of them came together.
huh... would it be a little extreme if I said Jonas's birthday happened to coincide with Christmas day? I mean, he was an angel in his previous life and had been the one summoned to relinquish the current embodiment of evil... but I don't know. It's one thing that I wrote about the story beginning in the very distant past... I think my timeline unnerved one of my friends, who happened to be the inspiration for Jonas's pale blue eyes, his most distinguishing feature.... I think I had it listed as the first chapter dating 66 million years later... as if the angel and evil sorcerer were around just after the dinosaurs were just destroyed...by the sorcerer himself... yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.
But it's another to somewhat make Jonas synonymous with... what the hell, people are born on Christmas and Christmas eve all the time... it doesn't mean that they're the second coming or anything like that...

I just came up with a brilliant idea, corresponding to all this.
Supposing Jonas turns... I dunno... 14 going on 15... what's so significant about him turning 15?
on Christmas... or Christmas eve or whatever...
either way you look at it, whether Peter just got a reply from the FBI after several years of trying to find out about Jonas's parents, or this idea... he has the worst timing in the world because Jonas was having a great holiday/birthday and this bomb drops on him

Here's what I have in mind, though.
Peter Bronson is Jonas's guardian (his uncle for all intensive purposes when it comes to Nina's parents... and I'm not sure how far I'm willing to stretch that anymore). He operates a lot behind the scenes, knowing what's going on with Jonas getting struck by lightning on a conspicuous basis, and somehow... well, not really somehow... it doesn't have to be explained really, but he knows a lot more about Jonas's destiny that people give him credit for... he's very observant about things but doesn't readily ask Jonas about them because he respects his privacy and all that. He's merely there to provide for him and to support him no matter what it comes down to.

The story is more or less going back and forth between Nina and Jonas's POV... with it being in 3rd person. I'm just saying that the story follows them around, showing what they're seeing and experiencing... therefore we don't see their classmates or their parents/guardian unless they're in the same room. But from my POV as the writer, I have that planned out that... I guess saying he's the 12th man on the field... like the crowd is at a football game, they don't directly influence the action that takes place, just creating an atmosphere and cheering their team on.

The one thing that Jonas... well, maybe not that one thing, because there are a lot of things about him that he doesn't know... but the biggest unanswered question is where he came from, as in his parents and what they were like.
My idea is that when Jonas turns 15, Peter offers an explanation... I believe it's something he said that he'd tell him when he was ready, whenever he asked... what gets him believing that Jonas is ready at this age can just come down to the fact his destiny is upon him and the information might be helpful to him.
Supposedly, after he found Jonas on his doorstep, once he found a suitable sitter for a couple hours, he reported Jonas to the police, asking if anything came up recently about... well, anything in relation to his parents and what happened to them. A few DNA tests are run because the authorities or whoever was in charge suspected that his parents were recent burn victims that were found maybe a few yards away from the residence... I'm just trying to figure out where the bodies were found, like what the most logical location would be... too near or too far away from the residence would be pushing it just a little bit, not to mention if they were anywhere near Nina's or Jonas's... maybe one neck of the woods somewhere where a bunch of the trees burned and never completely recovered from... that might be the most logical location.

Anyway, someone stops by the house to report his findings, giving a envelope full of information about it. Peter decides that all of it must be kept secret from Jonas until he's old enough to handle the loss and understand it.

I just have a lot of trouble, at the moment, depicting Nina and Peter's first meeting when she stops by the house. What kind of conversation do they have? How far can I push the envelope (coincidingly, Jonas) without things (him) bending too far in one direction? It has to be handled very carefully because I want him to be sympathetic, but the same one-tier countenance that he has. Showing too much emotion too early bugs the hell out of me and I surely can't see it being believable, should I go that route.

After that, though, I have another idea about how to introduce the two iguanas. Jonas has two terrariums in his bedroom because the two of them are obviously too big to be in the same cage. Meaning I can't just have him bringing this terrarium downstairs with him.
He comes down the staircase with Sparky on his arm. Right now, I'm picturing it and its almost comical that he comes off this way, as if its no big deal that there's this huge lizard that's about as big as his arm hanging onto it. He leans towards Nina, asking if she'd like to pet him and of course, yes... this scene doesn't last too long. Maybe he brings down a lettuce leaf or something for him to munch while he explains where they came from. Both of them, he found at Spring Lake, but Scorch arrived a little more recently. He then proceeds to show Nina a picture of Scorch rather than taking the care to bring him down also or asking her to come upstairs... that's a little too foreward.

Anyway, he says that Scorch can sometimes get into moods where he doesn't want to be touched... like he could come down the stairs with his thumb wrapped up because he bit him or whatever. The moods have been a bit more frequent lately so he uses extra caution during feeding time... and also he maybe doesn't want to scare Nina away too easily.

Yeah, once I get that first conversation off the ground, everything else should fall into place nicely.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Romantasy Portfolio [part 1]

This has been one of the crazier weeks I'd had as far as my writing and my subconsicous.
Everything kicking off with probably one of the strangest, out of sorts dreams I'd ever had... and the first to deserve an R-rating.

Pretty insane stuff... no nudity cuz I shirk about it in real life, but let's say there was a lot of "adult content"... an impending sex scene, but my subconscious wasn't "generous" enough to keep the focus on that particular detail... before things got super racy and hot, it had been all done already.
Wow... I'd come such a long way as to what I'm comfortable with in the past year, particularly when it comes to my writing, testing the waters... but maybe it's a little demented, a little sad, that I have no experience in relationships aside from this one guy who asked me out through Facebook and let's just say the feelings weren't mutual... yet I'd written some racy stuff recently. It's a good exercise for me, but nothing I feel comfortable with anyone seeing just yet... unless they're my closest friends that I trust to open myself up to (maybe 3 people).

Anyway, after seeing a couple of posts about stuff on Writer's Digest forums, I decided that I was going to go through all the stories I'd written... note the ones that fall into the category of my so-called "specialty"... Romantasy was my thing when I was between high school and college, not so much now. Trying to break into the real world has made it difficult to create fantasies other than ones that involve a few certain celebrities as my muses.
And pretty much noting next to each one how good they are (as in how much editing needs to be done), how publishable they are (if people who read them will enjoy them as well), what they're about (obviously) and so on, so forth.

I'd had a couple of glasses of wine tonight, so I'm a little intoxicated at the moment... nothing super serious, but have a little bit of a headache. I'll try to make this a entry a quickie.

[temporary title] 4 years
genre: teenage angst/drama
questionable content: depression, domestic abuse, suicide attempt
I wrote this starting October of '02 with two sources of inspiration: my research of the soap "All my Children" (which I later became a die-hard fan of until the very end), specifically JR Chandler as a teenager, and a teen's suicide at my school plus reasons that would drive me to the same extremes if it were me.
It was one of the few, if not the only story, I outlined beforehand. Using JR's checkered history as a weak guideline (the only elements that made it to 'print' were his appearance, the divorce of his parents- which his mom being the one cheating, and just his overall troubled psyche), I added bits and pieces of events that'd happen during the course of the years.
There were conflicts between him and his older (of 2) stepbrother(s) [bullying], him and his mother (kinda the same friction that occurred between JR and Dixie after she cheated with David Hayward, but I didn't have a full grasp of what their relationship was like until watching the show), him and his stepdad [domestic abuse], and within himself...
His brother going away to college was a catalyst that started all of this, which is kinda strange... as if Sean was the only reason why his and Jamie's parents were together this long...
The stepbrother relationship was pretty weak, I admit... with his stepmom being very one-sided about the whole thing (taking Jamie's side instead of her own son's... that's kinda of a red flag too).
The stepdad was abusive because he had a very hardcore attitude, wanted to mold Jamie into what he thought a man should be, including getting on his case about his grades... which obviously started slipping because the abuse made it difficult for him to concentrate...
At the time, grades were a pretty difficult/stressful thing for me and once or twice, I rather wouldn't exist anymore than fail.

The tragic flaw of the whole story was that I put so much emphasis, so much time into putting together the ultimate 'suicide attempt' scene and all of the mental psycho-babble that followed. There were a lot of scenes that were otherwise put together but had no real flow to them... I found them boring to write that I dreaded having to reread them, and you know how they say that if you're not enjoying your work, nobody else will.
I tried to change things so it'd be a first person narrative... Jamie being at a group therapy session as part of his senior project, but it's almost all narration... he just took over the whole session, telling them his life's story... and there's almost no objection from the other people he's in the session with.
There are a million ways to just redo the whole thing... considering how much "Less than Zero" affected me, I could turn him into a drug addict and he nearly dies from an overdose... but I'd already kinda visited that territory already in another story. I don't think I can revisit that area again without completely losing my mind.

What I could do is just make it a novella/short story where there's the majority of the focus is on the climax.
It's all very up in the air. I'd had to just leave it hanging like this with me more or less regretting how I'd treated this material. I guess it got really warped when I was trying to plug the holes so people wouldn't think I'm super depressed cuz how else would I have written something like this? And it is depressing, but there is truth in its message.
Teenage suicide or suicide in general is not something to be taken lightly...
the new title could be (4 years later... the anatomy of teenage suicide)

Nina & the Voice in the Wind (aka: Jonas's story)genre: YA romantasy
"fantas"tic content: reincarnation, magic, sorcerery, pegasuses, dragons, physical embodiments of nature's elements

This blog has more or less been constructed to promote and start a platform for this story in particular. THE one story I must see published first. For more information, see the previous entries.
Current pitfall is trying to map out the relationships between my characters... I've been thinking lately that Jonas's overreaction to the reiteration of the fact he doesn't know what happened to his parents... that might be a little too much for this particular scene... I don't think he has it in his personality, but then again, he needs to have some fight in him about SOMETHING. I might have made him a little too nice :-P

Orion & The Ocean Odyssesy (aka: Orion's story)genre: YA fantasy (with a few hints of romance)
magical content: reincarnation, fauns, centaurs, Greek gods & goddesses, telepathy, sea dragons, mermaids

I haven't discussed this story too much at all, if not ever on this blog. I haven't modified the document since 2005, but I may have read it once within the last 3 years. I have the feeling that over time, the neglect has really shown. I'm probably gonna look back on it and think a lot of is UBER-cheesy.

Orion is a soul that has been through a couple of lives already. He was a faun in his first life and as they're a weak species, he didn't live past his 10th year. With the aid of Athena and Aphrodite, Zeus reincarnates Orion as a centaur. In this life, he falls in love with Penelope. During the day when the centaurs chose their mates for life, a love recentangle forms. Well, not really... Misty is a flirty character that wants Orion for herself, but feels inferior compared to Penelope's beauty. Penelope was with Adam, but she broke up with him a little while ago... that whole story. Except that he discovers and makes it known that Orion was reborn as a centaur.
After the goddesses give them their blessing as a mated pair, Orion finds himself on a neverending journey to find his place in the world. It's something that more or less robs him of his life. Zeus still believes Orion is meant for so much more, but reincarnates him to his final life without any assistance.

In the present, Orion and Penelope are together, been friends for their whole lives. The only stipulation: he's bound to a wheelchair after his nerves were damaged in a car accident and he's always felt subconscious of that. That yearning in his past life is still with him, however.
On a vacation, Orion takes a snorkeling trip (I know, doesn't quite make sense, why would they let him go if he doesn't have use of his legs? accomodations or not) where he nearly drowns. Instead, he wakes up to find himself transformed into a merman. Misty's reincarnation made the transformation to save his life.
A great deal of time is spent yearning to return to Penelope (btw, her name was one of the few I picked out specificially for this purpose... because of the story of The Odyssesy... Orion was just a mythological name, I didn't know the story of Orion until long after the fact... not even close and it is a tragic one), but he slowly discovers his destiny lies with the merpeople. Along the way, he aids the white diamond sea dragon Oceana defeat her counterpart, Dragoonas, a black diamond dragon under the control of Adam... who happens to be the twin brother of Gemini, the queen of the mermaid realm

I wrote this story maybe 5 months after Jonas's completion... I wanted to dabble in the same areas of dragons, reincarnations and I just had a thing for mermaids at the time... felt like a good idea, but I dunno if my writing style held up after all these years

sequel to Jonas's story-- Ceceila & the black rose
something about a dream I had, featuring a girl that ultimately became Ceceila (yep, in addition to the fact Jonas didn't know until recently what happened to his parents, but that he had a twin sister that has explicably disappeared)

The story took me a good 2 years to write, apparently... it started where it did... me picking up where the other story left off, making Jonas a bit stronger when it comes to his social anxiety. He has a dream about his sister, which he knows to be true... no idea where she is, but she needs his help. For his senior project, he volunteers at a homeless shelter and helps integrate a group of teens into his high school... here he meets Ceceila, oddly enough going on for months without any idea of who she was, but coming to care for her like a sister. She also happens to fall into a relationship with Eric, who gets a second chance in this story... I felt bad for giving him a raw deal in the story I'm working on now.
The story stalled for a good couple months... maybe 2-3... after that "date" gone horribly wrong... I had no desire to write anything romantic after that kiss that just didn't feel right... blaeck...
when "Phantom of the Opera" became a huge thing for me, I used it as part of the storyline... cuz the Phantom (at least the way Joel Schumaker did it) and Jonas had their similarities...

I don't care what anyone says, I loved the 2004 version of the movie... it made The Phantom seem more human, if not an equally appealing "love interest"... though I gotta admit... a 40/50 year old man being in love with a 16-year old girl... that's kinda creepy (the book says that she's 16, no joke)

The ending kinda went array... Ceceila thought Jonas chose Nina over her and she completely goes dark side on him... Eric is the raw end of the deal again, he starts to turn to the dark side as well... it kinda came out like the last Lord of the Rings movie... neverending battle of good and evil... it got very spiritual/theological at the end where, in his mind, Jonas was trapped undergound by Hades, who'd been trying to bring him down using Nightariel... then after escaping, Jonas meets Zeus and learns of Orion's existence (in my first draft, the two of them met, but I'm not sure if any mention of Orion is still in the story)...

and [spoiler alert], Eric is actually Jonas's friend, Johnny... the guy that supposedly freaked out so much after seeing Jonas's powers first hand that he had to switch schools to get away from him... a lot of that was hype... he moved because his father got transferred elsewhere so he had to go to another school district

I think I was in a lull for a while during that period... I was just starting to write the sequel...
for a while, I think I was going back and forth between Jonas and Orion... until my senior year... well, the year before that, I wrote a story about being in a relationship with this actor I fell in love with at our school... it's also a little improbable. Becoming close friends with his inner circle for one thing... and in real life, he's gay, so there'd be nothing happening between us anyway... It's one of two stories I'm kinda afraid for people to see because they might draw up similarities between this and reality

The other story was inspired by Lindsay Lohan's "Speak" album... the songs were really powerful in some places that different scenes would come to mind... it was like an album fic, but after a while, the songs had little connection to what happened in the story

Rebel Diana
genre: sci-fi/romance
magical content: ...

not even close... the only outlandish thing about the plot can be explained simply as an expression of multiple personality disorder... "One life to live" was huge about that (I only saw it in the previews, never watched the show)...
my character, Diana, has a crush on this really popular guy in the performing arts program... she's jealous that he has friends with more access to him than she does, plus the fact he has a girlfriend... this other personality she has wants to help her achieve her goal and temporary assumes control of her thoughts and actions...
a lot of it really is fantasy because I can't see this happening in real life... a guy slowly falling for a girl who is suddenly much more outgoing than she used to be, and ends up being spell-bound by her that he leaves little time for the rest of his friends and dumps his current girlfriend...
then the other personality, who I called Rebel Diana, starts to regret her decisions to assume control and whatever else was a consequence of that... and it just went horribly array after a while. I doubt anyone who reads it will believe any of it... it just seems very one-sided and contrived...
I found out maybe a couple months after completing the story: my inspiration for the love interest came out that fall...

geesh, I sure know how to pick 'em, huh... I crush on the guys I literally have no chance with... well, not all of them... but whatever... I'm very supportive of the homosexual/bisexual crowd


Ghost of Leogenre: sci-fi/romance
I tried to sum up the magical content of this short story, but I guess I just didn't want to sound crazy...

The story starts at midnight... a young man with a ghostly light appears in the bedroom of Tricia, our heroine, he says that he misses her or is sorry for something, wanting to reunite with her... heck, I don't even remember.
It was a story that gathered dust for a while, since college was starting and I just didn't have the ample inspiration to keep going with it...
Leo comes back into Tricia's life, which is a shattered life... after a car accident that killed her parents, she has no recollection of life before the age she's at now, 16/17... part due to the accident, but part was repression... because her boyfriend died in the accident... somehow Leo manages to take on physical form to reunite with her, she remembers her past... and there's a little bit of dark magic, talk of Indian burial grounds... Leo having to save the day again, but this time, he won't be coming back...
Overall, I decided I was going to commit a cop-out... resolve the story really quickly with some outrageous circumstances... and the ending/epilogue is almost exactly like "Just like Heaven"... the setting on the roof anyway... great movie, by the way

You know something... I'm getting kinda tired... it's getting kinda late... I'll post this and finish up sometime tomorrow. I'm sure all of this is more than enough to think about, in case anyone is brave and patient enough to stay with me to this point.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

re-reading Chapter 4 [scroll down for commentary]

I attempted to write an entry about this several months ago... I ended up getting side-tracked by one thing or another (I have my suspicions about who..) and whatever, the thing just kinda fell apart.

What I did do was map out a little bit of a timeline as to what would happen in the next couple chapters via the calendar. I got as far as the weekend of September 21/22... I'm not sure how I picked my dates in particular... I just have it written that Nina's first day at school is September 13th, a Thursday. That was the day I met "David," one of many inspirations for Jonas... the key ingredient being his pale blue eyes that I simply lost myself in for hours every week (we had one 'class' together: lunch).

It was a little strange, but I guess a little cathartic that once everything happened that year, I'd have drama class with him the following year... when I decided to take drama for two semesters instead of just the one. I don't know what the hell happened because after the first couple exercises, it just turned into a study hall.
And there was this small little, I wouldn't call it an incident, but it was out of the ordinary. One of the seniors gave me a note, commenting on the fact I kept to myself and that she was taking a psychology course, in which she learned that people who come from abusive households develop into loners... I had to write back in saying that she was off the mark.
No joking, and I don't mean to make light of any situation with similarity to that. At the time, I felt a little insulted. First of all, I wasn't even entirely alone. "David" was sitting right next to me most days and we'd talk on occasion. And second of all, I don't know... I suppose its an easy mistake to make, but c'mon... I chose to live my life the way I did. There's no need to analyze that to death. And my decision to live that way didn't come from the household I grew up in. I could say this and that about how things were, how there was a lot of pressure on my part (still is, but in my teens, the weight was a lot heavier).
Ultimately, I've pinpointed the method to my madness down to a single incident in kindergarten, the first time I was told by one of my peers that I couldn't participate. After that, I never intentionally wanted to encrouch on anyone's territory because I never knew if I was wanted there.

I commented how strange it was that I focus a lot of my stories in high school, but I really didn't like high school very much. Aside from the fun I had with the musicals, dramas and whatever else in the performing arts (when I was just another face in the crowd or auditionee), I was stressing out over grades. And I'd be lying if there wasn't once or twice where I thought that it would be best if I just put myself out of my own misery. Ironic how much the notion of teenage suicide and what brings people to those choices fascinates me, I have considered it myself, but never put so much as a plan together. Because once you punch your own ticket, that's it, there's no second chances.

My high school had at least 6 incidents of suicide in the three years I went there... only one time when it was someone that I knew. She was in the peforming arts programs, was in my concert choir class one year and that year, she was part of my biology class. Her aspirations were for West Point. On a trip with a group of her classmates (with similiar aspirations), she was berated by one of the officers and ran off. The next day, around gym class, a lot of people were broken up about something and I suspected that her body was found.

Yeah... when it comes to suicide, I'm under the equal impressions that the people in question have simultaneously been contemplating it or rather, there wasn't just one isolated incident, but several until one proved to be too much.... and that it is a last-minute decision that happens rather quickly.
It's a tough gig.

So yeah,  high school was tough for me. Most grades were tough to a certain degree. I'd estimate that grades 5 through 7 were among the easiest to endure because I had at least one best friend. 8th grade was a little bit tougher, especially when it came to one of my friends and my lack of vision/reality on a certain subject. 9th grade was uber-tough, the first time where I was driven to that kind of depression... the burden was made greater and simultaneously easier to bare because of one band that rocked my world that year 8-)

10th and 12th grade were easier than 11th. 11th and 9th were equally hard to endure because of grades... I fell into bad streaks of getting C's or lower on my tests in my honors classes.
I attempted after news of the first suicide leaked in 10th grade to write about a boy who endured so much pain, between his broken home and his grades, that he attempts suicide, only to find later on in recovery that he didn't have to go through it alone. He has a circle of friendship but too ashamed of his situation to confess anything to them. Certainly, if it was me, my motive would be my grades... hmm... a little too "Breakfast Club"-y?

Anyway, yeah, the way I lived life was because I didn't know how to interact with my peers. Clearly there was a clique system in my high school... pretty much defined by the fact that there are the athletes and the non-athletes... I learned this fact for sure in maybe 9th grade, when the athletic types laughed me off and clearly didn't take me seriously... thinking they were in a class by themselves (one of them, I had a crush on in 6th grade and it took me until our next social studies class together 2-3 years later to realize he wasn't worth it)... then there was the performers and the pretenders... I always figured there was a bias in the auditions towards the extroverted, theatrical types with the big voices and no nerves to speak of. I admired the hell out of the senior class when I was a junior (made one of them a fan site too... that hasn't been updated since he graduated... last I heard, he was part of a theater company in White Plains, NY so he's not entirely in obscurity).

I really need to stop doing that... probably lost all my readers by this point.

I guess one part of the discussion that I had with myself that has some relevence to this... Nina asks Jonas sometime in the previous chapter about his family and when she hears about his "uncle," she first asks if he's nice... as if she's kinda guessing that he's come from that type of household too.
But seriously, the one incident he speaks of when he loses control of his abilities and it generates a force-field around him, moving everyone out of his personal space... that sounds like more than enough to be freaked out about. He doesn't need to come from a broken home in addition to that... although he is very embarassed, it seems, of his situation where he doesn't even know his last name or what became of his parents.

Heck, I could even go the extra mile and have Mai pose a question about his homelife. But I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with that.
I certainly didn't come into writing the story with child abuse in mind for a piece of the plot or background of anything. In fact, I don't know if I'm even comfortable with addressing that with this story.
I already kinda did that with the suicide storyline... at the beginning of the 4 years of reckoning, the character's older brother leaves for college and he's the closest friend he has (in addition to his small circle). Then word gets out that his mom was having an affair with another man, so there's a divorce. It's one thing for him to be bullied around by his older stepbrother, but another that the other man his mom was having the affair was... yeah, there was definitely a bit of child abuse there.
I wrote this with a soap opera like storyline in mind and with suicide as the end result of 4 years of suffering...

GEESH... I was a sadistically, sick puppy at that time...
When I showed that story to my mom and my grandma a few months later, I couldn't help but think they thought I had mental problems. It's kinda hard to write about suicide without people thinking that the mentality of it is based on reality.

That's a story I'd been meaning to work out for years, but nothing ever comes out completely right.

And I'd really gone out of my way to avoid reading this chapter.

COMMENTARY STARTS HERE

Here's what's happened in the story so far:
  • Nina arrives at a new school
  • She is accepted into a group of cheerleaders
  • She bumps into someone in the cafeteria, rendering her helpless. He takes her to the nurse
  • Nina tells the cheerleaders about Jonas
  • Mai points Jonas out to Nina and the two of them officially meet for the first time
  • Jonas shows up at Nina's, and confesses about his 'powers' and why he stays away from people
  • Jonas invites Nina to see her the next day
Chapter 4:

returning characters: Nina, one or both of her parents,  Jonas

introducing: Peter Bronson (Jonas's guardian),iguanas (Sparky & Scorch), horses (Thunder, Windy and Rain)

This commentary is going to be about my latest draft, which runs for about 13 pages (double-spaced) and a little less than 4,000 words.
What I tend to do with each chapter is that I note the events of importance, guidelines from the outline I didn't construct until AFTER finishing the actual story. (It often isn't in my style to outline... my suicidal storyline was the only time I did and the way it turned out makes me cringe in part because of it). Then I paste another copy of my most recent draft and just make my rewrites and edits where they're needed.

Example of my events of importance:
  • Nina meets Peter and the iguanas
  • Nina invites the two to her parents’ house for dinner
  • Jonas introduces Nina to his horses
  • They go riding in the enclosure
  • Nina tells Jonas about riding camp
  • Jonas tells Nina about the “bedtime story” (which is ironically about his past life)
And it seems I'm stuck in writing in Arial font, but that's okay. It's my go-to for all intensive purposes. I'll see how much I can get through before the first game starts (Houston & Baltimore, really no preference on who wins cuz the Patriots can beat either of them).

first, gotta single space it so it's easier to read/get through (makes it 7 pages to get through rather than 13)

huh... that's strange... I coulda sworn a conversation took place between Nina and her parents before she left. The previous chapter ends with her mom insisting that she invite them over for dinner... sort of a "get to know the neighbors" type of thing... but nope, all I have is that she puts on some not-so-nice clothes for when she goes riding.

Having that she's checking her watch to see what time it is might be pushing it. I'm extremely punctual to the point it was my obsession when I was in school, had to get to class on time (yeah, my first semester of college had a few incidents as a result of that... I missed one or two classes completely by oversleeping and I got there maybe an hour later to one of them).

I think between her and Jonas, he is the one that's a bit more punctual, by the clock or whatever... if I knew a little more on the subject, I could have written that he was diagnosed with Asperberger's or a highly functioning version of autism... that would explain his behavior a little more too...
:sigh: but no, once again, I'll have to turn down the opportunity to address it from that manner. Supposing he didn't have psychic abilities he wanted to keep secret, him being diagnosed with anything like that definitely would help support his self-impose isolation.


(okay, this is me trying to keep going with my entry after I'd been away for a couple of hours. I'll leave all the Hollywood/NFL commentary for my other blog, but prognosis is definitely great).

The inspiration for this little trip through the woods that Nina takes to get to Jonas's house... actually, just the whole idea of where he lived... one of my aunts has massive woods in her backyard that goes on for quite a while. On the other side of it, I've seen a couple of houses. There's also a river that runs through it that's about four or five feet wide. I haven't been there in ages, feels like a long time, but whenever I get a chance, I'll be sure to remember to bring a camera. All the more to add to the picture I'm trying to instill into this story. Definitely a few more sentences of exposition and description couldn't hurt here.
There was another instance here, I used the word "assumed" and that's something else I need to cut out. I can't have my characters being that hyper-aware of their surroundings or just me narrating as if the narrator knows what they're thinking. That clairvoyence I mentioned a few entries ago.

I may have miswritten that both houses had a screen door. I can't remember if it was one in particular or both, but I might have done both. And I put that it was white... it's on the other side of these woods that are at least half an acre to an acre. Maybe something a little more earthy than just white for description.

Here, I introduce Peter Bronson as being a man about the age of 55 (which feels kinda weird now because my dad is going to be 57 this year... which would make him close to mid-40's around the time I wrote this... it was meant to be an average age, not too old, not too young)... the age isn't a huge detail, but its been locked in for years. Despite the fact all of these celebrities look damn good in their 50's, I'm not about to change that.
I don't quite remember how much of the original conversation about him went into the previous chapter, but again, I can't help but notice how odd it is that Nina say the things she does. Asking "is [Peter] nice?" and saying to Peter "I'm glad he's well brought up"... those are major observations for a 14 year old girl to make. That might just be me being a little more on that mid-aged side from a mental stand-point

I was hoping to get through this before midnight, but as I only have 15 minutes, I might not be able to do all at the rate I'm going. I'm just afradi that if I let this entry sit for too long I'm going to forget about it...
maybe I ought to break it down into two parts... just need to find a good halfway/cut-off point

Already, I'm rereading this and Peter seems very aloof, unassuming about the whole thing... says nothing but nice things about Jonas. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with this conversation, if anything at all. I mean, he practically raised him for the past 13-14 years, so you'd think he'd be a little more concerned for him coming into this age and having this attitude about his peers. I'm not sure how many people would find this type of relationship believable.

Heck, Peter Bronson could be British for all I know, he offers Nina a cup of tea :-P
that might be a little stereotypical of the Brits, but hey, it might make things a little more interesting when it comes to the possibility of casting this part. I was thinking someone along the lines of Peter Gallagher and if I'm really shooting, George Clooney (but last I heard, he's not up for acting too much these days, more on the directing side of things).
Definitely not Michael Caine, he'd be a little too old (plus he played Alfred in the latest Batman franchise, not the direction I want to go with at all). Colin Firth is definitely too young for the role as is Hugh Grant. They're laidback fellows, but definitely not for this type of role. 


Nah, for the moment I'll just stick to Americans... I'm already making things too complicated.
Peter isn't much of a father figure to Jonas and is more or less someone that looks after him according to the marriage vows... you know "for better & worse" and "in sickness and health" that sort of thing... he's very laid-back about things because Jonas has kept up with his grades despite everything he's gone through.
If I were a little more awake, I'd compliment ideas of origin stories... detailing the relationship he has with Jonas.


One thing that is going to stay in place, no matter what goes on, is the fact when Nina arrives that Saturday morning, Peter is the one who answers the door and ushers her inside. Then he comes down the stairs to answer a question Nina poses about her mom's 'neighbors' dinner' idea. I can almost picture him rushing down the stairs to get the door, but stops halfway down the steps when he hears that Peter had beaten him to it... during which he keeps himself hidden until he believes his presence is required.

It's one thing for Peter to be super laid-back and an easy-going type of 'father figure.' But taking into account what happened the previous day, Jonas willingly putting himself out there, telling Nina all about himself in a single afternoon... isn't it a little strange that he has reverted a little bit to his old self when he comes into the conversation later on?
Then there's the whole conversation where Jonas kinda gives away how uptight he is about the fact he doesn't know what happened to his parents. It starts with Peter saying that Jonas doesn't like taking his last name for his own and in Jonas's words "I’m not really your son so I wouldn’t take your last name. As far as I know, I don’t have a last name" strange, I copied/pasted Arial and it came out in serif font...


I'm not sure if there's a way I can completely legitimize this 180, this totally different demeanor coming from my character... it's just... strange. In fact, he even sounds angry when I'm rereading this sentence... considering who I'm dealing with here, that sounds like cause for alarm.
And really, why now is it going down this way? The way I pictured it, with the exception of this scene, the relationship between these two people is great...

and now it seems I'm starting to really overcomplicate things. But it's true... it's a really big reversal here to have Jonas visually upset about clarifying this and bringing this out into the open. Bringing up his parents being more of a hot button than his other abilities leaking to the school's gossip line.

Hmm... there seems to be all kinds of possibilities for this to work out different ways... in one draft, I can definitely see Jonas being close to losing it and Nina's presence reassures him that everything's going to be okay. And if anything, I want to keep the motif of there being subtltes of emotion when it comes to Jonas... he can't be too much far in one direction except in some very drastic situations... this isn't one of them.

Embarassment and shame are the two key emotions I want to play with here rather than anger.

This conversation comes and goes. Jonas introduces Nina to his two iguanas, a short conversation I don't really want to do too much to. Nina and Peter exchange a few words that I'd like to keep in there

After Jonas disappeared up the stairs, Peter commended Nina. “That was very sweet of you to say. It means a great deal to him to have someone support him the way you just did.”
 “I just didn’t want to see him sad… that’s all.”

One key thing about Peter is that he operates from behind the scenes a lot. He and Jonas really don't discuss things after one of those incidents occurs in the rainy season. He knows that Peter knows all about what happens, and they both accept that there's nothing that can be done to change the situation. He's also not the type of person who pushes Jonas into situations he doesn't want to go into... he merely acts as a source of advice, if he wants it, but doesn't allow himself to get too involved in his private life. Perhaps it was because he always knew Jonas was destined for greatness.

I just pretty much scrolled through the last couple pages and not going to add too much... I think the majority of what happens can stay, but I need to polish the narration and the dialogue a tiny bit.

One thing I keep going back to is when Jonas takes Nina out to the stables, she makes a comment about Peter and he changes the subject rather than talking about it. Practicing that whole manevuer of "avoidance."
I can't help but feel this is something I need to iron out a great deal... geesh, and I thought Jonas and Mai had a lot of kinks in their relationship that I needed to work on. Peter is a very supportive character throughout this story so it really doesn't make sense of Jonas to have that sort of disdain for him that he exhibits in this chapter.

Subtly is the key, for sure... figuring out how much is too much... a little bit of embarassment and shame is good to continue with the self-confidence problem. And if they have a good relationship in general, it makes no sense for Jonas to act this way or talk this way when he's in the same room with them. It's a little rude, I guess... yeah, there's definitely a lot I gotta fix with that.
As far as Jonas and his animal companions, all of that seems to be playing out exactly the way it needs to be.

So to conclude this, I have two things to figure out:

-what does Jonas really think of Mai and her rumors?
- how does Jonas feel about Peter and his living situation?/how does Peter feel about Jonas and the way he chooses to live his life...

With that last, it seems that he doesn't want to say it aloud, but deep down, he worries sometimes that Jonas might not to able to live a full, happy life if he continues on along this trek of loneliness.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the very reason why I list Hayao Miyazaki as one of my influences

My love for Japanese animation goes back to the days when Pokemon was my greatest interest, soon to become one of many great obsessions I'd had over the years.
I'd since checked into other 4kids anime (most of which are frowned upon by the masses of anime fans, but I could care less) like Yu-Gi-Oh, Sailor moon and CardCaptors. My college days allowed me the late hours to check into Adult Swim, from which I derived even more anime, plus there was my school's anime club where I made friends and... oh man, those were good times.

All of the things I mentioned definitely inspired a load of fanfiction, but a few bits here and there have become a baseline for where I wanted to go. A launchpad if you will. Some were characters and others were just ideas.

My prolific period, when I churned out maybe 6-8 stories, the majority of my work, I was between the ages of 16 and 22. Naturally, I work with a lot of young characters because it's all I know. Most of the time, it takes place in a high school setting. It's kinda ironic when you think about it, considering how much I really didn't like high school, with the exception of my time working in the company of high school musicals and concert choir.

Aww... I just saw another commercial for that movie "The Vow" with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. I like her a lot, but don't care too much for him. But... what appears to be another Nicholas Sparks film (the credits next to their names are the NS movies they starred in), has me really wanting to see it on the grounds that they used "Enchanted" in the commerical.

Taylor Swift has a way with words, definitely, and after seeing her concert DVD "Journey to Fearless," I know she is very creative in the visual sense as well. The set up for the performance of "Love Story" is not to be missed.
"Enchanted" is very much in the same school of things, if not more extraordinary. So yeah, naturally because of the association, the commercial worked its subliminal magic on me and knows how to sell a movie that will, no doubt about it, make me cry my eyes out like a complete wimp by the end of it.

I'm also incredibly interested in seeing that post-9/11 drama "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." It was snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press for a Golden Globe, but I still think it could be Oscar-nominated.

So today I was feeling extra daring and decided to send a fan letter to Taylor Swift full of compliments and congratulations for her unbelievable successes. I also gave her a little preview of my story because being the romantic she is, she might appreciate it. Sometimes it never hurts to put yourself out there even though nothing may never come of it.
But enough about that.

I tend to do that a lot with my regular blog, side-tracking. With my writer's blog, I hope to work on my focus just a little bit more or I'm apt to lose whatever readers I get pretty quickly.

Hopefully I can get my mind where it needs to be to start this entry.

I'd be entertaining the idea of an epic story for a while, one that has elements like fire, water and wind taking on physical form, using mythological creatures and that good old battle between good and evil. But there was something missing. The secret ingredient was what the hero of my story would be like. At the time, there was this guy at my lunch table. To say I had a crush on him would be an understatement, but the most extraordinary thing about him were these pale blue eyes of his. I would literally lose myself in them for hours and hours and lunch time was never the same again.

But there was still something missing. Around that time, I remember "Spirited Away" beating out 4 other animated films, all which I'd seen, for an Oscar. Few things pissed me off like something winning an award and I had never heard of it. If it was so great, why hasn't it gotten a lot of press and advertisment?
Naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about and rented it from Blockbuster.

I was regretting my ire within the first 10 minutes, haha... it happens that way sometimes, I guess. I never banked anything quite like this.
I had never seen anything quite like it before, however magical the world and however lovable the characters were. The movie stayed with me so much that I had to see it again, had to own it... the only thing I don't really remember is how soon afterwards I sat down in front of the computer and wrote my prologue. It could have been a couple hours afterwards, it could have been the following afternoon. I only wish my memory was that good.

I'd gone on and on about how greatly influential this movie was on me that it got one of my friends interested in seeing it. He offered an interesting second opinion on it and I couldn't help but look into some of his quips while watching it today.

Someone else who read my story in its earlier stage said that it was pretty easy to see where I'd gotten my inspiration from the movie.
The scary thing was, in my most recent look over the story, there were a lot of things in the movie that found their way into my story on the subconscous level. A lot of them were moments that had me going "oops" and "I had no idea that I did that."

This time around, I was a little on edge about getting interrupted or otherwise getting some sort of news that could derail my enjoyment of the flick. But one way or another, it always gets me just the same as it did that first time around.

The easiest thing to derive from my story that's similair to the movie is the beginning. I'm almost ashamed to say that the opening scene of the movie where Chihiro and her parents are driving to their new home is almost shot for shot where my story begins... after the prologue of course.

That's the most obvious detail aside from bits and pieces of characters. Then there were the little things, most of which were just plain coincidences. In the most recent draft, I orchestrated Nina's mom being a little worrisome and her dad being a little more laid-back... Chihiro's parents were oddly enough the same way.

Lin takes Chihiro under the wing when she starts working in the bath house much the way that Mai did with Nina. Both happen to share the same attitude of the young man in question. I don't know if I did it intentionally or not, but somehow, it just worked out the way it did.

Of all the really cool things I took in about the movie, Haku was probably the biggest piece quote "took home with me." When she becomes trapped in the spirit world, Haku helps Chihiro and is very kind to her. But there are a couple of moments where the audience is left to wonder if he's good or not. His actions are a little unusual and this time around, I was trying to explain it for myself. I never really thought about it when I was younger. It was just a gut feeling that I had and I never once questioned it.
:sigh: now I feel really bad that I was questioning myself this time around, never occurred to me before to doubt him

There was just something about him that stuck with me the whole movie. Then by the end of it, not only did I not want for it to end or to leave that world behind, I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next. When Chihiro got settled into her home and got to her new school, would she see him there or someone like him?

I guess its that kind of thing that goes way back for me, this being the first example of me doing this. I see something or someone in a movie that I feel to be a kindred spirit and I want to write about what happens next. I did that recently after seeing "Remember Me," wanting to see what it'd be like afterwards, how the loved ones of someone who died in the war on terror carried on afterwards.
I wouldn't exactly say that "Less than Zero" was the same thing because I spent a couple months reworking things for a completely different ending... I couldn't live with how it turned out so I wrote my own story for how Julian kicked the habit.

Jonas does somewhat introduce Nina to a different world, but they come by it accidentally rather than on purpose. It turns out that he was the reincarnation of an angel and there's a destiny he needs to fulfill.

Yeah, as I'm writing, I can find myself losing focus. There were details about Haku that made it into Jonas's characterization, but the most important thing I took with me was the feeling of what it was like to be around. Just wanting to heed his every word because he was looking out for Chihiro's best interests. The comfort level was unlike anything I felt before.

Before my next post, I hope to put together and post that collage of photos for my tentative cast. The lightning picture is good for starters, but I want to take things to the next level here.