Saturday, March 31, 2012

DOUBT: the writer's public enemy #2

In case you haven't guessed, WRITER'S BLOCK would be public enemy #1... although that's more of a private thing, but a common thing.

Maybe I have become a little too overcritical of my work, but getting maybe 10 rejections over the course of a year... not to mention getting published is the only career choice I'm aspiring to.
Yeah, I have a marine biology degree that I most likely (as of this current rut I'd been in for a little more than a year... I'm not even counting months anymore) will do nothing with... I'll leave it at that because if I throw out numbers, it could make me look really bad...

To this day, it's something I still aspire to because I have no other finite skills in my skillset. I'd already kinda went into this a bit during my last entry and cooled off after 10 minutes before I could do much of anything else.

One day I really do hope to use some of the marine bio knowledge learned in school in my writing, then it would be legit... kinda like what Herman Meville and Michael Criton... wait... Michael Criton didn't write "Jaws" did he? Peter Benchley wrote "Jaws"... they did actual research and used that research to back themselves up. Well, actually I don't know about Herman Meville researching for "Moby Dick," I could possibly have that backwards (in that I'd heard that the book is a good read for marine biology because there's a lot in the background, but hey, I have no interest in reading about whalers and when a whale is painted as the bad guy... if anyone's a bad guy, it's Jaws... I mean, he's a man-eating shark... Sperm Whales eat fish and squid, they're not man-eaters and don't harbor vendettas against ships... if anything, the whalers provoked him)...

Isn't it ironic that I am so anti-whaler because some of my ancestors did that for a living?

God, that really sucks. I get reminded of this pretty often, like whenever it comes up and I'm just short of swearing like a sailor.
Kinda funny how I never watched that animal planet series about... "Whale Wars"... never saw that

On the positive, it seems that our whale populations have had ample time to, well, repopulate... the numbers are steadily increasing and getting back to normal.

The only people I wouldn't mind going after whales are native Inuits that use every part of the animal, much the way the Native Americans did with buffalos way back when... they understand how the whole thing works. Much ado respect for those guys.

I got totally side-tracked, my apologies :-P

but anyway, I'm hoping to one day incorporate all that marine bio knowledge into a story I write. Most likely the sequel to Orion, where he goes around the world's oceans, solving different crises and eventually takes on the main villian. I haven't figured out too many details yet, but I got one scene from a dream that I had. A very interesting one, plus a very interesting concept.

It is pretty foolish, ridiculous and downright idiotic that I've dismissed every other career choice but this one: publishing a novel. Judging from the book shelves in Target and Wal-Mart, people are getting published, so it's not like there's no demand for new authors and books.
My problem is that nothing I have is publishing ready... heck, DOUBT should be #3 with LACK OF INTEREST being #2... I've suffered from a great deal of that. What happened to my perservence back in the day?

One too many agent rejections stomped that out of me... I'm nowhere near Kathryn Stockett numbers, but hearing she got rejected 60 times, that gave me a boost of enthusaism and confidence that lasted me maybe 3-4 months before I could flat out get nobody's attention. It may sound like I'm whining a lot. Maybe I am. I figure, just gotta wait for the right person. The right person will see what I wrote and want to fight for me.

I've come around to DOUBT just how little faith I have in my project. Is Jonas's background strong enough? The rejections are all very impersonal too. How do I even know if he needs work or not? I hear that my story isn't quite right for the person I sent it too, they have too much of a workload to get through, or that I didn't catch their attention fast enough.

Heck, I should probably try to send it to one more agent, leaving out the prologue entirely. Maybe that's what my problem was. Nobody wants to read my prologue or it's so long that it leaves me with a handicap, not enough pages of actual storyline to catch anyone's attention.

But even then, I doubt how much I could really get through or if any publisher would be interested in me.

I have a great backstory that is backed by one of the biggest clichés in writing: a battle of good versus evil.

After that, what do I have?

New girl to a new place, new school. She unexpectedly befriends a guy who has no friends because he's a loner with social anxiety. That doesn't sound very exciting, does it?
Oh God... my apologies, Jonas, I didn't mean to make you sound so terribly boring. He deserves so much better.

I just don't know how many people are going to buy into it. I already went over this in previous entries. How people interpret anti-social tendancies like this. For similar reasons, someone in one of my classes thought I came from an abusive household... mainly because I don't speak up or really talk to anyone (despite the fact I sat next to the inspiration behind Jonas's eyes during that semester). With stuff going on the way it is today, you could put a different spin on it and suggest that maybe he's a closeted gay that isn't comfortable in his own skin, or maybe he suffers from depression.

Aw heck with it, I could just research right now other things people could deduce.

ummm.... I gotta be really careful with the words I use... apparently "anti-social" behavior is a synonym for delinquency... you'd think that "anti-" would mean the opposite of being social... apparently, it means anti-society...

I'm looking under anxiety disorders instead... and social anxiety primarily... man my computer's slow today...
yeah, this would be a good time for that oh too cliché saying: "it's like looking in a mirror, isn't it?"

A lot of the stuff here sounds a lot like me... but whatever, a part of me is in all my characters and I figured that it would work off nicely with him.

Yeah, it's most of the same old stuff... there's genetics, family situations, social situations...

Sure, Nina could easily suspect the abusive household thing, but I'd never want to write that down and give my readers the wrong idea... Jonas being adopted and raised by someone who isn't family could be an angle I could use, but I'm not sure if I will...

I think I'm relying primarily on that one bad example he had when he discovered having those psychic abilities... that can't be explained... he was born that way :-P

Yeah, I think to a degree, if I could write his bio perfectly, I could pitch him to Lady Gaga and she would have thought it would be a good idea to have a character like him in book stores. Hasn't been done a whole lot, I don't think.

The thing is: I want him to be a very accessible character, someone that people can get behind and cheer for.

The one rule I've pretty much set is that nobody can really force him into anything. Like there's no way I could have Nina or even his guardian telling him that he can't live life the way that he does because any amount of turmoil could occur. It has to be that he eventually gains the courage because he has someone other than his guardian supporting him. And through that friendship, he discovers a strength in him he never knew.

I've had a few experiences with the same thing. I'm very isolated and prefer my loneliness. Then when I've made friends, I've become a better person. Being around them enables me to feel at ease and more relaxed at expressing myself.
The only thing that people might not buy into with him is that he's a very inactive protagonist for a while. Nina helps nudge him in the right direction and the rest falls into place.

I seem to do that a lot, have a lot of inactive protagonists. And most of my heroines are very neurotic, dependant individuals. Mainly because I'd been feeling very neurotic in my everyday life about stuff seemingly out of my control.
Probably the strongest character I'd come up with recently was Casey Carlton, who served me twice so far where she was working her beside manner magic with a couple people, although the 2nd of the two was borrowed from another source. But if I get more stories out of that character, I could put them together in an anthology or book of short stories... just all I'd have to do is change one name. Surely I changed enough details around and kept things simple enough where it wouldn't necessarily be mistaken for whatever it came from.

I have to be clever with Jonas to get to the core issues of his storyline and character. But it's impossible to make sure everyone who reads his story will perceive him the same way I do. It's not so easy where I could just say that it wasn't all those things I said it wasn't, but if I leave those things out, people still might interpret it that way based on their own experiences.
Aside from Mai the gossip queen, who questions his self-imposed isolation and why nobody knows anything about him, despite the fact they'd been in school together for years... Nina's parents are the only other people... okay, Nina's mom... mainly because she's being maternal and according to some rewrites, a little overprotective :-P whereas her dad is the calm-minded one. She has a couple lines and instances of saying that he shouldn't be all alone like that and should be socialized :roll: yeah, noisy mom a bit...
She insists on inviting him and his guardian to dinner as a way to know the neighbors despite Nina not being sure if it's a good idea. Then she mentions once or twice, never in Jonas's company, that his lifestyle isn't healthy.

I'd make her a psychiatrist or something like that, but I've already done that with another character... that I created a couple years later... she could have been a school guidance counselor... but if I add too much of her opinion into the piece, some people might be swayed and think "oh yeah, she has a point"...
It would just be a little out there, especially if she was a counselor at the high school and sees him regularly. Heck, I don't believe Jonas ever had any therapy, though considering his M.O. (I should just call it that from now on, only so many ways I can explain it the other way) he really should have at some point.

Going back to my own history, when I was in 3rd grade, whenever progress reports came home every quarter, it was marked down that I don't socialize with anyone or have any friends.
Geesh... I mean, I'd be at recess completely by myself. I never really "got" recess. Never had anyone to really hang out with... I think the next year, one of the girls introduced me two others that I spent some time with for that year.

I really hate going back into my childhood, recalling those sad memories and I feel so guilty looking back at myself... mostly seeing that most of that really hasn't changed.

I never thought it was a big deal as all the adults did.
Like, seriously? What did they think? That I was chronically depressed? Maybe the abusive household thing (geesh, the more times I say it, people might start to think that I'm lying to cover stuff up that isn't true)...
Humans are social creatures by nature. Somehow it was my nature not to be and I always got along fine on my own.
Ironic saying that when I'd been thinking these past few days that I need an editor or a partner to go through my work with me and point out stuff I need to tighten up and work on... but the only way I see that happening is I could clone myself, but the clone was better with critical thinking and had more vision beyond the initial creative process.

I'm rereading where I left off to see where I need to do a little rehashing. I think the biggest question more was a little bit of a bio I did on Scorch, to somewhat introduce him a bit as a character... It's good stuff, but my gut feeling tells me that that scene is all wrong. I could use some of the dialogue for later, but for now... maybe I'll just post it here and I'll know where to look for it later.

Looking on it now, I'm also rethinking Jonas's entrance when Nina comes to his house the first time.
It was one thing for the news of the non-existence of his parents and Peter's lack of genetic link to him to be discussed between Peter and Nina before Jonas comes downstairs... and he's down in the dumps about it.
But it's another thing where he appears out of nowhere the way he does...

Edward Cullen is one thing, but I wouldn't want Jonas to be thought of that way...
although how many people who draw the connection (undoubtedly doing so if I mention it too many times), how many are going to buy...
oh, he's not a vampire, but he was an angel that fought for good in his last life...

They're really gonna buy into that, lol
I'm kinda wondering if he needs to make a grand entrance at all. He could already be in the den when she walks in. That feels a little better, has a little better vibe. Though I don't know if I can leave this response to "how are you" as just "I am great"... Subtlety is key with Jonas's demeanor, can't really have him say things that have another meaning behind them, pushing the readers in any particular degree.

Okay, who's launching fireworks at 1am? ...someone's getting a jump on their April Fool's jokes, I guess, lol
Someone at the Delaware Water Gap, it seems, I can see the lights... it stops, was only a couple minutes...

So, gotta connect a to b here... how to do I make it so I connect this conversation and the comment Nina makes about Jonas calling Peter by his first name.
Although I might have to remember mentioning seeing more of the woods. It seems ideal that Spring Lake is accessible by a scenic route through the woods. Then I'll definitely have to brush up on some North Carolinian wildlife.
I'm also somewhat aware that I'll have lost most of my readers by this point, so there's no point to talk as if I still have an audience. But it never stopped me from blogging in the past.

There's maybe one passage I have a problem with... Nina just seeing this iguana the first time and Jonas asks her to watch it while he goes into the other room to take care of a "battle wound" with Scorch.

I've got a better feeling about this scene now, so maybe tomorrow, I'll finally get some work done on it, get a little further into realizing this project. Also knowing it so well that I can promote it a lot better, maybe catch a little attention from the right people.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Ludicrous Oversight

I haven't gone into too much detail about this on this particular blog. Usually I leave the really heavy stuff (as well as the really loopy stuff) for another blog I operate, but under a pseudonym so nobody I know in reality knows about it.
Heck, the only person who reads and regularly gets back to me on that, I'd never met, but we'd been shooting email and online chats back and forth for 5 years. That's bound to count for something.

I'd been out of work for so long that I'd lost track of how long it's been. It's a little less than two years. It's one thing that the economy is blah. It's another thing where there's not a lot of call for marine biology work in Pennsylvania of all places. But I'd had it up to here about a number of things.

I'll do my best not to get too down on or critical of myself here, since I said I wouldn't do that anymore... at least until Easter comes and goes. Lent is usually a time for giving up a vice or something you love for a while and I'm not officially religious or anything... but I think I'd become really apt at beating myself up a lot.

Outside of the classroom, I'm not good at a lot of things. I have social anxiety to a degree, especially when it comes to the workplace and people I don't know too well. At the same time, I'm hesitant in letting people get to know me. It takes me a while to trust people, knowing which buttons are okay to push and which aren't. I'm by no means confrontation and I'd rather people liked me by keeping quiet than them hating me for being outspoken.

So anything that is in the food industry, dealing with the public, I'd be no good with that.
I'm not good with manual labor, so all that is out.

I have a science degree and apparently, it simultaneously disqualifies me from entry level retail positions (I'd done millions of online applications, which seem like the most ridiculous idea even because I don't get a response from any of them when I do send them in... and all the regular chains do their application process online... what's the point if it doesn't even get results)... and underqualifies me for every local position... apparently you need a couple years of experience, if not a Master's degree for anyone to give you a look these days.

That's kinda what makes the angle for my vampire story, it becoming a story of revenge, a good idea... some sort of ire that I can definitely use (heck, if I can keep it going for a good amount of time after I finish this entry, I could use it to write a later chapter)...
why not use this little predicament as something to write about, let off steam?

The story is that I was employed for about a year with a company. I figure that that's a good start, otherwise what good is any experience if you haven't been there at least a year... my plan, more or less, was to continue there for a minimum of three years, where I could meditate on what I was going to go to grad school for.

The crux: I was fired after 15 months... well, almost... it roughly a year, 2 months and such & such days...
and apparently, people see a year and don't think its very impressive. Plus there's not a lot of call for microbiologists. That would at least be an area where I'd have some experience in and some expertise in. The only downside is that I have no references to really back me up: they fired ME, I didn't quit.

So it looks my only chance is to take more classes in a few areas and hopefully something will open up that will be perfect for me.
I just don't want to have to go through 4 more years of schooling in something like accounting, which would be throwing more money away... and that would be like saying "oh, and the last four years I did in college served me any better." or they were good for nothing...

You can't really predict where the most economic growth is going to be in, but everyone in my house is assuming that computers are the future, so why not brush up some Word and maybe Quickbooks because a lot of secretary work is involved in that...
strange, the anger kinda burned out of me while looking at those microbiology things... but still, my folks are pushing me in a million directions. Not just my mom and dad, but all of my aunts have different directions.

As if my degree was a complete waste because I can't use it... but it's not like there is a lot of current use for it. I might have been better off just majoring in biology. Marine biology limits me a little bit, though a couple people think/have thought that was interesting and more or less made me sound interesting. But all the resources I checked into online said that it isn't recommended you major in marine biology and it's something you narrow down to in your master's.
If that's the case, my dad screwed me over by suggesting marine biology rather than just biology or even chemistry... that might have suited me a little better in the long run.

I realized that I left two things completely open.. said I'd disclose what they meant and totally passed that over (tee-hee, kinda reminds me in a movie where the narrator stopped the movie and cursed himself for mentioning something and not coming back to it)... I tend to do that a lot when I'm blogging.
I tend to overlook and pass over my blog titles more often than not... but my ranting might be my inner Holden Caulfield, he did that a lot in "The Catcher in the Rye"... but eventually he could come back around to make his point, as will I.

Concerning the second thing, mentioning how it would be good for my story to really use this anger and put it in my writing (although right now I'm feeling a little light-headed and relaxed so I doubt I can do that right now.
It would be pretty sick if after a few days of back story and all that, I do somewhat of a montage within the story, going over a few things that I did to try to get back out there and each time the door getting shut in my face.

I came to the conclusion that maybe, for the story's sake, in some twisted way, the company has prevented anyone else from taking me on. They got wind of it somehow, told  them why I was fired and therefore I never got called up for an interview.
Only in fiction would such conspiracies exist and why come after one person in particular like that? I'm still trying to figure it out for my own needs.

Or better yet, maybe they could have something to do with recent things that have been in place recently... about how it seems like there is discrimination against people who aren't currently employed... that would be a stretch, though. I mean, fictionally speaking, they could spread the word around anyone who operates through those job finder sites and all the labs certified by OSHA... which would be super ironic and heck, it'd make even less sense...

No, wait... it actually could, I'll get that down right now...

When I was working there, we had an accident that required some revamping of our methods. We used microwaves to melt our agar and one of them exploded. There were two causalities, okay, injuries that prompted hospital attempt... and dozens of other people went home early because it proved too stressful to continue that day...
a lot of work was done at the lab before OSHA came to run an inspection. One of the people I worked with made a comment about how we weren't prepared to handle an accident like this and a lot of stuff was thrown away and "swept under the rug" to cover things up... it would be a helluva twist if the revenge plot of the story takes hold and ultimately, OSHA removes its certification from the place and it goes under.

Yeah, I'll definitely have to log that down for later... very interesting if I could somewhat get all of this stuff to work as means of explanation...
could even go do some research on that and if there are actually rules regarding certification and what could take it away...

so anyway... shoot, I'd run out of steam to really go into my title, to hammer into it

I was just thinking how ludicrous it is that my folks are saying that I'd had enough time to figure out what I want to do with my life or at least what I want to do next...
I think that there isn't a lot that I'm good at.

Here's what's ludicrous:
I'm a good writer. My folks know I'm a good writer... but they aren't pushing me in that direction at all. That's probably the only thing that I'm exclusively good, more so than a lot of people I know.

Sure there's that whole thing about: "unless you write nonfiction, you can't make a living as a writer"

When I had just started writing my own work, I got told that I can't make my living that way... pretty much discouraged from pursing that professionally... doing that is better than nothing.

But I'd recently come into another problem.

I'd done the work in writing several novels... well, not super novel length... the closest thing I have is something with 60,000 words... and the standard is 80,000-100,000...
some of which I haven't looked at in a LONG time... I think the story with the longest window was about mermaids and the last time I looked at it was 2005... very long time.

Heck, so long that I shudder at the idea of going back to it and rereading it... because it was when I still finding my identity as a writer and it probably sounds so juvenile compared to what I'd done in recent years.
I was a big sucker for melodrama back then too, so I don't know if a lot of the stuff that went on still resonates with me to this day.

Strangely enough, writing the stories was the easy part... editing and polishing them for consideration, that's another matter entirely.

So I got to thinking... at some point, if I really want to get serious about this writing business, I'm going to need professional help.

No, not THAT kind, lol... don't get me started on how many times I write or think that every week...

What I ought to do is make myself available to other writers and editors... have them take an interest in me and after we get to know each other a bit, I can have them take a look at my stuff and give me an opinion on it.

The only downside to all of that... such a thing might be so tooth & nail that there might be payment involved... I don't want to have to pay anyone for anything... seems like a royal pain in the butt...
But I don't think I'm selfless enough to get into an arrangement with another person where we look over each other's stuff and offer constant feedback.

I realize you have to give a little before you get to take, that you have to earn someone's trust and respect before they can grant you favors like this... darn that equivalent exchange...

by trade, being a writer seems like a very self-efficient, very self-absorbed career choice... especially on those message board websites when you need to give feedback so people will notice you and take interest to give you some back...
Patience is a virtue, but in some ways, I'm not very good at it.

I have the material, but a lot of it needs polishing... some more than others...

I can't even get started with Jonas... and I feel really bad about that. I spend a couple years screaming his name to the hilltops, saying how much his story needs to be told... except nobody really wanted to listen, so I got into revamping and ironing out a lot of wrinkles and details. I've had zero desire over the past several weeks to even try to start back where I left off...

The two that needs the most attention... perhaps three...

My story revolves through teen suicide. At Barnes & Nobles the other day, I considered picking up a book I read a review about in the paper... it's called "Trying not to breathe" and its narrated by a teen about life after his suicide attempt... how his mom is overprotective, and he later meets a girl who asks him the hard questions... mainly "Why?"... the stuff that other people were afraid to ask... I thought it'd be a good read so I could use that to figure out how to address the psyche of suicide without making it sound too depressing or too personal.
But that $17.95 seemed like a lot of money to pay for a book...

I love bookstores, but I forget sometimes how overpriced they are, especially with paperbacks... I came across some short non-fiction paperbacks that ran a minimum of $15... how's that for a WTF moment...

Then there's my story about wish fulfillment that I'm afraid to let anyone see that I went to high school with... particularly the choir and drama departments...
There has to be a way to not only incorporate more lyrical daydreaming into it while keeping things believable and simultaneously someone that people like rather than hate... each time I read, I hate myself because I think that when I'm not inhibited, I could potentially be the ultimate back-stabbing bitch.

I highly doubt that Rebel Diana will see the light of day or a bookstore shelf, but at least with my teen suicide story, I have a chance.

Then there's one more story... about my White Tiger princess... I started revamping that story a bit and I think I might have cut and run the same way I did recently with Jonas... except I got a great deal further into the story.
I might be in more need of working out details or at least working on more separation between it and the storyline that ultimately inspired it... it did start out as fanfiction after all... but I love my heroine a little too much to let her stay in the realm. She deserves more...
although she does get herself killed by the end of the story... which seems counterintutive... why promise and love someone so much if you just kill them off?

Even more strange, how can I stand by that decision... that it's inevitable she gave her life for love because that's who she is... yet I totally disregarded the decision of Bret Easton Ellis of killing off Julian via drug overdose because it was his personality to become self-destructive...

considering everything, I still stand by the way I see things... though I'd never before had so much faith that a drug addict could turn things around, to think that I could go outside the box like that...

Another great shortcoming of my story, aside from how much it still resembles the original material... heck, I might be able to get along if I took out the character based on Koga...
I'd already narrowed the main characters down to Inuyasha, Kagome and Miroku... and there's still the principle bad guy...
I gotta maybe change things around regarding my version of Sesshomaru... love him...but anyway, I could keep the principle storyline in place...but maybe if I don't make him and my version of Inuyasha brothers like they still are, there's a lot of potential I could get away with a lot...

Probably shouldn't broadcast that on my blog, blatant plagarism, :falloff:

My other shortcoming, before I forget... a little too much backstory... my prologue is way too long... heck, it could make for a great novella, rather than something I start the story with... wouldn't want to dizzy my readers with a lot of background and backstory.

so yeah, why not encourage me to write for a living if you know I can do it?

Sometimes, I just don't get it :shrug: