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.

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