Flash Fiction Challenge: EPIC GAME OF ASPECTS REDUX!

That title needed CAPSLOCK hardcore.

Okay, so over at Terribleminds.com, like every week, there’s a flash fiction challenge. And there’s a prize involved.

Here’s my entry. The aspects, chosen randomly were: Alien Invasion/Revenge/Sea Monster.

By far the weirdest thing I’ve ever written.

Continue reading “Flash Fiction Challenge: EPIC GAME OF ASPECTS REDUX!”

Advertisements

Under Construction

No post…if you don’t count this as a post…

It’s more like an announcement.

Restructuring some things, working on something that will hopefully pay off, and developing a new look and a new focus for the site.

No posts for a week or two, but…

 

Stay tuned. 😉

 

 

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Now I know why one of the key blogging advice you hear out there is to be sure on what you want to write about and have plenty of material/posts available ahead of time.

Otherwise, you get a sloppy mess like the current state of my blog.

If anything, this has become a blog showcasing what you SHOULDN’T do.

Learn from my inexperience and insecurity, damn you!

But I am learning. Slowly, painfully slowly.  But it’s happening!

So here’s a little update on what I’ve been doing and things that have changed.

First, NaNoWriMo.

Heh. Remind me to do a post of Self-Sabotage. My NaNo2011 had no chance of success from Day 1, mostly because I sort of pretended I was completely ready when I wasn’t. I still haven’t completed that outline. I don’t know how or why I convinced myself I could write 3k when I knew I wouldn’t start writing till the entire outline was completed.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t made progress.

In fact, I made a critical breakthrough!

I started a novel writing course from Long Ridge Writers Group () (I totally recommend their courses. The quality one-on-one instructor-student relationship is totally worth the price in my opinion) via email.  For the first Assignment, you have to submit to your instructor two novel ideas. I submitted both PROPHECY, my current 2008 WIP that needs to be DONE ALREADY, and BEASTS.

My wonderful instructor gave me insight I had craved for since the moment I finished the rough/zero draft of PROPHECY. She told me that the story, while strong, had an ending that wouldn’t work for a first novel from an unpublished author.

Thus, after two years of working on PROPHECY OF THE ETERNALS on and off (mostly off), I’ve finally decided to temporarily shelve the project and work on something else. She explained the reasons who clearly and logically, that I was able to do it without any resistance. It felt right.

So now I’ve started working with my YA urban fantasy novel, BEASTS. This time, I have no plans on taking 2 years to get to a second draft.

One step back, two steps forward…in a new and hopefully better direction.

Next, I need a better paying job.

I needed it yesterday.

But, as is painfully clear, I take forever to get around writing anything. So making any money from my writing anytime soon is out of the question. Putting pressure on myself just made it worse.

Okay, I’ll take off the pressure a little. I’m still gonna try to make it work, but even if I did get published or self-published I probably wouldn’t make what I need to make…or at least not soon enough.

Thus, I’ve decided to search for a bonafide job job.

One I can do from my computer here in Puerto Rico, until I can move to the States. One where I work with amazing people I WANT to help and learn from.

Still, with no college degree, this is going to be interesting.

Oh! I nearly forgot.

Thirdly! My return to college. It was a hard decision, but in the end, I decided to not do it.

The school I wanted to go to…well…wasn’t exactly cheap. And I doubt I can find any other college degree course that appeals to my extremely limited budget that doesn’t put me neck deep in debt.

Thus, I’ll take the more difficult path and carve my own way with the skills I have now.

So to whoever’s keeping score: that’s three plans/goals down the drain. They just wouldn’t work.

It’s hard to accept sometimes. But to realize something isn’t working than keep trying to force it to work and waste a lot of time.

In summary, my new goals:

–          LRWG Novel Course: Working on new YA fantasy novel, BEASTS.

–          Short Stories for submission and/or/maybe self-publishing.

–          A writing/publishing/entertainment related job.

–          Art Practice Habit – 3 hours a day.

What changed:

–          Not going to Art School anymore.

–          Not working on Prophecy anymore.

–          On the job hunt.

 

Have you ever had to drop plans and goals that just weren’t working out? When do you know it’s time to call it quits and try something else?

Out of My Mind

 

I got into a downward spiral of anxiety, depression and procrastination.

It was not pretty.

It wasn’t until I was inbed, after worrying about my situation for hours that the solution struck me.

Stop thinking.

Get up.

And DO THE DAMN WORK.

Felt waaaaay better once I had done even a small amount of progress towards my goals.

Most unhappiness is just a product of the mind. Eckhart Tolle had it right in his book, The Power Of Now (which I recommend to EVERYONE). When I’m out of my mind, I find that I can better function and do the things I need to do.

I just keep forgetting to do that.

 

When you’re in a downward spiral of anxiety, depression and procrastination, what do you do to get out of it?

The Publishing Civil War: It’s All About Money.

Allegory of Peace and War by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, 1776

 

You know what I’ve learned looking around the internet?

The biggest problem between the whole civil war between self-publishing authors and traditionally published author is money.

Money, my friends.

The truth is…you don’t have to be a good writer to make money as a writer.

That is what self-publishing is proving. At least, that’s what it’s proving to me.

You still need a good story, the better the story, the better the money. But a lot of readers aren’t nitpickers. You can get by with a wordy sentence or grammar mishaps, even lazy writing, as long as the story is good enough, addictive enough.

You can make money.

This is where the war gets ugly. That fact creates this argument: If you can make money with a good story and not good writing, then anyone with a good story should just publish right now!

Well, I doubt self-publishing authors actually think that way and not all of them are bad writers. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed as the #1 complaint about a bestselling self-pub e-book is the grammar and the writing, perhaps even the logic.

Never the plot.  Just the details.

I bet those authors just don’t care. If they’re making money, that’s all that matters. Those who criticize are just haters.

And of course the traditionalists (?) get ruffled up because their entire lives are/were devoted to publishing the best quality writing possible.

So the war battles on. Writing vs Story. Style vs Plot.

Funny thing is… I like both.

Writers should strive to learn to write the best they possibly can.

But know they can make some money before they hit their prime (and you can be traditionally published BEFORE you’re good too, it’s not a guarantee).

A lot of writers break in by writing articles or copy or technical writing while they write the perfect book so they can quit the day job and be a full time novelist.

And I wonder, why can’t they just write their stories and publish themselves until they get good enough to write that perfect book?

I like traditional publishing. I like the gatekeepers. I want to win their approval. I really do.

But for most jobs, you start knowing nothing. You learn as you work.  The thing is you still get paid for your work, even if it’s not the best yet and you’re still learning.

Why must writers toil without being paid behind the scenes, learning their craft, without being paid until they’re already good enough?

I propose a truce! Both ways are good! Let everyone do both!

Let self-publishing be on-the-job training where you can even hide under a pseudonym in case things don’t work out. Then when you’ve learned, you try the Traditional publishing route again as a test of the strength of your skill (though it’s not the ultimate fail safe test, since some publishers don’t have any clue what’s good or bad either sometimes, but it still gets your work under experienced eyes). If they treat you badly or don’t pay you, it won’t be that bad because you’re already making money elsewhere writing stories.

Why can’t we do both? I honestly don’t get the hate.

Peace & Love, people.

Peace & Love.

I’m Scared

I’m scared.

I’m scared I will fail.

I’m scared I will never publish anything – not my writing, not my art, not my skills, not my potential, nothing.

I’m scared I will quit and settle for a job I hate.

I’m scared of financial ruin because of my unrealistic expectations and standards.

I’m scared my decisions are based on fear or illogical thinking and thus, I’m scared I can never trust myself.

I’m scared I will never leave Puerto Rico. I’m scared of dying on this island without ever leaving.

I’m scared I will never fulfill my potential.

I’m scared I will never live fully.

I’m scared I will never be financially independent.

I’m scared I will settle with a man I do not love just so I can survive on his support.

I’m scared I will die alone, penniless in the street, forgotten.

I’m scared I will never fall in love with someone who loves me back.

I’m scared I’ll squander my youth and beauty.

I’m scared I will get cancer and die before I turn fifty.

I’m scared I will never achieve anything.

I’m scared I will be told, “I told you so.”

I’m scared I am wrong.

I’m scared of doing poor work.

I’m scared I will die by my own hands.

I’m scared I have ADD, bipolar disorder, or some other mental illness that will forever keep me from achieving my goals.

I’m scared my spine will become even more crooked than it already is.

I’m scared of going blind.

I’m scared my car or house will break down beyond repair.

I’m scared I will continue to build debt till I have to file for bankruptcy.

I’m scared I will never learn from my mistakes.

I’m scared my situation will never change, will never improve.

I’m scared I will always choose the wrong path, the wrong choices.

I’m scared of turning thirty and still be where I am today in regards to the progress of the goals I had as a teenager.

I’m scared I will end up like my mother.

I’m scared I have no control over my behavior, my future nor my thoughts.

I’m scared I will never master a single skill in my lifetime.

I’m scared I will never make a single physical, emotional and intimate connection with another human being.

I’m scared I will be proven wrong.

I’m scared of doing things differently.

I’m scared of putting myself out there. I’m scared of making myself vulnerable.

I’m scared of going outside my comfort zone.

I’m scared of making my own path because it might be the incorrect one.

I’m scared I will make an irreversible mistake.

I’m scared I will be proven right.

I’m scared my head is in the clouds and not in reality.

I’m scared I’m doomed.

I’m just scared.

 

What are you scared of?

 

 

Preach what you Practice

I heard this phrase from writer and…name tag wearer (?) Scott Ginsberg (hellomynameisblog.com) and it struck me how wise those words are.

So I’m going to follow that advice right now…and get back to you guys once I get some more practicing done.

So just a question for today/yesterday (since I missed it).

 

Do you Preach what you Practice? Do you Practice what you Preach?

The Word War is a Crutch…

 

…if you let it become one.

For the past few days, I’ve finally started to kick the habit of always being connected to the internet and begin working on my novel without that distraction.

It wasn’t easy. I had to move to a internet-free room to resist the temptation, bringing my computer to the dining room table (funny how now the table is just as if not more cluttered than my work desk. It seems being surrounded by books and notebooks = productivity).

Before, when I was on my computer, I was online. The only time I did writing while not being connected was when I was working in my notebook, which I rarely did.

One of the things I noticed I also did is I went into writing chat rooms whenever I began to work. The idea was that being in a chat full of other writers would help me focus.

Sometimes this worked, sometimes it didn’t.

In one way it helped me to focus was being able to participate in word wars. If you don’t know, a word war is when two or more writers race each other at the keyboard for a specific amount of time. The object is to write more words than the other person during that bit of time, but usually any words written is praised.

I started doing word wars a few years ago when I was first introduced to NaNoWriMo. Back then I faced off a monster of a typist who I could never beat, so I never even tried, right from the beginning. Mostly they were 15 – 30 mins long. But then I learned about the glorious 1hour word war, which was a godsend that helped me write my NaNo08 WIP. For me, the word war just needed me to get started, then I took care of the rest myself and I hated stopping early because it ruined my flow, so the longer the word war, the better.

But soon it became something like a trigger. A crutch. Whenever the internet fell, the chat didn’t work, or no one was interested in writing or warring, I didn’t write. I couldn’t focus. And the internet itself didn’t help much either way (Damn you adultwimgames.com. Damn you.) So I was always online and logged in to one form of online social media network or another.

When I first tried working offline, I couldn’t do it. It felt weird. I felt like something was missing, and my mind wondered. Eventually the internet itch needed to be scratched and I was back online.

But I had to keep working at it.  Cold-turkey I went! I mentioned this before, wanting to work more by myself. It makes a lot more sense once I realized that most of any writing gets done offline, when you’re alone. So it made sense to spend more time there.

What really convinced me I needed to embrace doing it on my own was when I realized I wasn’t really warring unless I was in the mood to write to begin with. I couldn’t force a word war if I was in the wrong mood. It was much easier to pretend I was warring in order to keep procrastinating and not have the other person judge me.

I had to accept the reality that I wasn’t getting anything done this way, or it definitely wasn’t helping anymore. In the end, I realized the word war and the writing chat room was just a need to be watched, for my work to be acknowledged before it was even close to being completed.

It was just a way to get that sense of satisfaction without actually doing the work.

The other day, I met with a passionate, 15-year-old writer. It was looking in a mirror of how I was when I was his age (or maybe even now?). He couldn’t stop talking about his story. He was in love with it. Obsessed. But he was all over the place and hadn’t completed anything.

I felt like one of the transitions between an aspiring writer and a working writer is that there’s a whole lot less talking and a whole lot more writing.

Of course, complete isolation doesn’t work either. The writing community is a wonderful thing. But I think should be like a place you go to unload after a full day of work and productivity, rather than before.

Where do you get most of your work done? Connected or Offline?

I Love Humans

I find mankind to be fascinating.

Now true, I haven’t studied sociology or psychology or looked into this any deeper than casual observations, so I’m probably about to make a million misconceptions.  So, this is just a thought that popped into my head as I went about my day.

I find it amazing the things humans have done, have created.  From cars to spaceships. From indoor plumbing to electricity to the internet. I always found that humans were freaking geniuses and have the potential to go even further. Better.

Let’s not get into if we’re getting better  morally. I’ve been more in my share of “debate” regarding that one.

But I suppose that does touch on the idea I found especially interesting.

Isn’t it strange that we often call humans flawed and imperfect?

Of course, that seems like such a fact. But I state this:

In comparison to what?

I love how humans can look at what we do and deem ourselves inferior or superior to nature, to each other, and to life-forms and ideas that we’ve conceived ourselves (God, demigods, Angels, aliens, robots with superior A.I., computers, elves, dragons, and vampires and other immortal/ancient creatures, etc.)

We have our idea of what is perfect or is superior and humans always fall below that.

Even more interesting is that in most fiction, even if we’ve convinced ourselves of our flawed nature, in most stories, humans always rise up against the more intelligent, more peaceful, or more powerful nonhuman.  We love the underdog because we identify with him.

In Lord of the Rings, the Elves leave and Middle Earth enters the Age of Man.

In Greek mythology, I think there’re a few stories where humans (or at least half humans) win against the Gods.

In the movies iRobot, Terminator and The Matrix, the humans beat the more powerful/intelligent super computers (sorry for the shocking spoilers).

Hans Solo was so much better than Luke, despite all of Luke’s Jedi powers!

Ahem. You get the idea.

 

I find it fascinating because we’re comparing ourselves to ideas that don’t exist or at least, there’s no hard proof they exist. We’re comparing ourselves to an idea of perfection and superiority that we’ve invented and sort of taken a life on its own.

It’s a little schizophrenic.

Instead of accepting our flawed nature or make excuses for it…maybe we can come to a different conclusion that it’s not flawed or imperfect.

Maybe mankind is simply growing. You wouldn’t call a child before it learned to walk, imperfect or flawed. She’s learning.

I don’t know.

But I do know that fiction is a great way to showcase the great aspects of mankind that may have been forgotten. To remind the world that humans are still amazing and are capable or amazing things.

Of course, you can also just take a look around and see it in everyday life.

Basically what I’m trying to say is…

I love humans.

We’re so cool.

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑