More Revision? Ugh…

Hey all!  I know I would usually do a food review today, but I haven’t really been anywhere.  I could gush about Dad’s cooking for a while if you wanted, but I don’t know if you want me to, so I won’t.  I do plan on going somewhere this week, so hopefully I’ll have something delicious for you next Wednesday.  Anyway, what shall we talk about today?  How about another discussion about revision?  Namely, my revision process (which is being quite evil this go around).

So, I don’t recall if I’ve shared this, but I’ve recently started revising G&G (see a description here).  My problem is that I’ve never really revised anything on this large of a scale.  I only ever wrote short stories before.  Needless to say, my usual approach to revision failed me miserably.  Normally, I do a read-through then another read-through/dive right into revising.  I did my read-through (of course I hated it again), then I hit a wall.

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Kind of like that.

I tried to work my way through it, but when I hit the third day of staring at the screen with my eye twitching, I decided something had to give.  I went and I added an extra step (a read-through with notes), which I finished Monday.  It actually went pretty well.  I feel much better about going in and skinning my baby alive then fattening her up and making her all pretty again.

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Maybe?

Part of me wonders if maybe I was simply suffering from some random bout of angst or something.  I normally don’t have any major attachment to my writing (don’t judge me), but maybe after nursing this thing for two or more years, I was feeling a little clingy.  However, when you write yourself a note that says “Is it necessary or was it simply to meet word count?,” it becomes a lot easier to take a knife to that section.  Ah well.  At least I feel much more confident about getting into the big changes now.

I guess what I’m trying to say is be open to tweaking your routine.  A lot of people call me OCD because I like to do things certain ways, but at the same time, if something isn’t working, I’m willing to change it.  Writers need to be flexible when it comes to these things.  After all, we all know the definition of insanity.

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If you say so…

Anyway, enough about me!  Let’s hear about you.  What’s your revision process?  Do you just jump right in?  Maybe you make notecards or charts or something.  Do you print your manuscript and lay it out everywhere?  What kind of revision magic do you work?

Until next week!

My Heroes (Part Two)

Konnichiwa (Ohayou? Konbanwa?)!  I suppose it all depends on when you’re reading this.  Anyway, I’ve decided to continue with my hero chat.  You can see the previous installment here if you missed it.  This week, I’ll be focusing more on my anime and manga heroes and heroines.  Like I said before, most of my favorite female role models came from anime and manga, so I suppose this should be called “My Heroines” instead.  Ah well.  Too late now.

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Who’s your favorite Sailor Scout?

First up (of course) is Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon.  Now, my first experience with this show was the horrible dub where they tried change all the things they thought our little brains couldn’t handle (remember when Neptune and Uranus were “cousins?”), but I still fell in love with it.  Imagine my delight a few years later when I was first exposed to its pure awesomeness in fansubs, when everything actually started making sense!

Much like with X-Men, I never really had a reason for liking the show beyond the fact that I adored all of the characters and had a huge crush on Prince Demando (Diamond if you prefer).  My favorite Scouts were Mercury (super smart and kind of a loner) and Saturn (a sickly girl with the power to destroy the world).  Nowadays, I could argue that it was my first experience where an eclectic group of girls kicked monster ass (yeah, Tuxedo Kamen helped, but the girls did the hard part) while working through personal issues and differences.  It’s something that I quickly found out wasn’t an unusual thing in the magical girl genre.

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Sakura is another favorite.

Just look at Cardcaptor Sakura.  I admit my love for this show wasn’t solidified until after I read the manga and saw a fansub.  The dub tried to give Li a bigger role to appeal to a male audience, plus they tried (and failed miserably) to gloss over the shounen-ai (boy love) aspects of the story.  Aside from that, I always liked that Sakura was a major klutz who tried her best at everything she did.  Yeah, she got discouraged, but she worked through it.   That’s what the whole magical girl thing always seemed to be about and it was something I needed to be exposed to when I was a kid.

As I grew older, I moved away from things like Sailor Moon and Digimon and the like to things like Fullmetal Alchemist (still my favorite dub to this day!) and Neon Genesis Evangelion and Trigun.  All of which are favorites in some way or another, but I think my last mention will be Angel Sanctuary.  That manga is all kinds of screwed up, which is why I love it.  Some of my favorite characters are Alexiel (an angel who is punished for taking actions against the other angels who are slaughtering demons for the fun of it), Kira Sakuya (I can’t tell you much about him unless you like spoilers, but he is greatness), and Kurai (one of the demons Alexiel saved).  It’s all about angels who are worse than devils and demons who just want to survive and a bunch of other deeply disturbing things.

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So much awesome.

I suppose my real attraction to the heroes and heroines of Angel Sanctuary (you can decide which characters you consider heroic for yourself) is because of the fact that they’re all deeply flawed.  Whether they’re humans or angels or demons, they are seriously screwed up and they all (even the bad ones) believe what they’re doing is in the best interest of some group of beings.

I mean, yeah, I love a lot of the obvious “heroes,” but sometimes it’s good to see  a hero who falls on a spectrum of good to evil, rather than fitting into a specific mold.  What about you?  Do you like your heroes clear cut or more of a mix?

My Heroes (Part One)

Hello there!  I’ve been thinking a lot about Stonecoast and all of the awesome people I’m missing right now (it’s summer residency and I’m not there *sadness*), plus all of the conversations I’ve had with these people.  One topic that never seemed to lose its attractiveness was superheroes.  A hazard of specializing in popular fiction, I guess.  These talks ranged from debates about who would beat who to the lack of females (as strong primary characters) and POC (persons of color) characters when we were growing up.

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The Sailor Scouts!

Personally, I grew up with the Bishoujo Senshi and a ton of other magical girl anime (a topic for another time), so I never really noticed a lack of strong female role models in my superheroes.  I suppose I should thank my obsession with anime and manga for that.  Honestly, I never really paid attention to any of the lacking qualities of the genre until I got to grad school.  Even when the flaws were pointed out, they didn’t really bother me much.  I was always the kind of person who could find some character to relate to regardless of how dissimilar our outer appearances were.  I mean, come on.  Do you know how hard it is to find a wheelchair bound superhero?  Let alone someone who started out that way (meaning their disabilities weren’t caused by accidents and injuries).  Yeah… Charles Xavier and Barbara Gordon as Oracle are the two who spring to mind most readily (both of whom were injured, not born that way).

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Professor X
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Oracle

Actually, Oracle never really interested me that much anyway, so I’m not entirely sure she even counts as one of my heroes.  Yeah, Batman will always hold a special place in my list of favorites because he was one of the superheroes my dad and I always followed together.  Bats, Gargoyles (does anyone else even remember that show?), some Superman stuff.  It was all daddy-daughter time, thus it was all special.  I still love all of those heroes, but they were never my favorites.  The X-Men held the number one spot in my ranking from the very beginning.

Now, I could go into some deep philosophical debate as to why they were my favorite, but it’d be a load of crap.  I could tell you that I fell in love with the idea that a random genetic screw up could lead to superpowers instead of crippleness and the like.  I could tell you it gave me role models who were similar to me in the fact that nature had messed with us and turned us into freaks.  Today, yeah, that might be part of why they continue to hold the number one place for me.  When I was a kid, though?  No way!  Rogue and Storm were kickass, I was utterly in love with Gambit, and I totally adored so many of the “villains.”  There was no deeper meaning.  I was simply enamored by the X-Men.

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How can you not love them?

So, who were/are your (super)heroes?  Are they all from western comic books?  I have way too many from both comic books and manga (hence the “part one”).  I’ll talk more about my anime and manga heroes later.  Now, I kind of want to binge watch all the X-Men things.

Until next time!

Knowing when to Stop and Breathe

Hi everyone!  So, I’m not really the best person to talk about stopping and smelling the roses, mostly because I’ve never been really good at that when I have specific goals to achieve.  In fact, if I have goals, chances are that nothing else in the world will exist for me, especially roses.  But when that happens, I have a tendency to burn myself out and end up overcompensating in the other direction (a.k.a. goals suck, let’s just veg in front of Netflix forever).  It’s an annoying balancing act that I can never really get… well, balanced.

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I traced a photo of a rose, then colored it in Photoshop a long time ago.

Is this a common problem among writers?  Honestly, I don’t know.  A lot of the people I talk to seem to have more problems meeting goals rather than being obsessed with them, so of course I feel like the odd man (woman?) out.  I guess my biggest problem is knowing when to let goals slide.  Granted, I’m more apt to look at my list of goals and push reading off to make time for writing, but it makes me feel super guilty.  I also push the things on my list that are for other people higher than things like my word count.  I can always make up my word count tomorrow, right?  Like that ever happens.  It actually usually means not taking that second day off.  *eye-twitch*

And, of course, when I do find a nice balance, I have to start changing things.  I recently decided to try upping my word count from 900 words five days a week to 1500 words.  Throw some new obligations on top of that, and I end up spending all my time doing everything except having a life.  It got a little rough this past week, which is what brought on this ramble.

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A random thing I made a long time ago. I like structure.

I needed to stop and take a breath, which I did.  I’ve proven to myself that, under normal circumstances, I can do 1500 words five days a week with no problem.  Right now, I can’t.  As much as it ticks me off to say that, I just can’t do 1500 words AND everything else I need to do AND have time to relax.  It’s impossible.  Thus, my new plan for balance!

I will continue with the new obligations for as long as they last (three to six months at the moment), because I made a promise, I enjoy what I’m doing, and I’m gaining a lot of experience should I decide to teach at some point in the future.  That’s my first priority.  Second, instead of worrying about words for a while, I’m going to work on revising my first novel again (surprisingly not as time consuming or stressful as writing all the words!).  When I do get back to writing toward a word count, I’ve decided 1000 words are good enough until I have fewer things to worry about.  And apparently I have to add a goal to my list that boils down to “have fun away from the computer, or  GO OUTSIDE, IDIOT!”

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I should probably add “draw something” to that list.

It’s not an easy thing to achieve, but balance is necessary.  We can’t always focus on work (that’s a fast-track to insanity), just like we can’t always focus on fun (unless you’re a billionaire, then yeah).  Remember to stop and take a breath, or smell the roses, or whatever.  Just don’t kill yourself to achieve all the things on a list that doesn’t account for spontaneous interruptions or miscalculated times (we all have those things we say will take half an hour, then three hours later it’s still not done).  Take some time and go outside!  Or whatever.

The Writing Space of Doom!

Howdy, howdy!  Happy (almost) Fourth of July to all of my American peoples!  Also, happy Canada day to all of my Canadian friends!  If I’m missing any other holidays being celebrated this week, let me know.  Anyway,  today I wanted to share my writing space (more commonly known as my bedroom) with you.  I haven’t done that yet, right?  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  Not really.  But do be prepared for extra pictures!

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My desk and armoires, built by Dad (he installed the floor, too)! That’s where the writing happens.

Not sure if I’d call it magic, but this is where it happens!  It’s a very busy space, I know, but I like it that way.  I don’t understand how people can get anything creative done when surrounded by white walls and an empty desk.  That’s so boring to me.  I really like the fact that everywhere I look, there’s some kind of inspiration.  And mirrors!  I can’t turn my head without moving my whole chair, so my mirrors let me see all around me at once.  If I want to stare out of the window, there’s a mirror for that!  Want to check my door to make sure no one’s sneaking up on me?  Mirror!  Okay, maybe I’m just lazy.

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Better view of the beer signs (they’re Dad’s, but they look better in my room), and my stuffed animals.

The best part about being able to glance up at all of these knickknacks and things is that each one has a number of stories to tell.  There’s the story of how I received each one (and I fully admit many of those tales are long forgotten), the story each one immediately brings to mind, and all of the stories they inspire or take part in after hours of staring at them.  And, of course, sometimes they’re stubborn and won’t give me any ideas to work with.

That’s my basic writing area.  It’s where I’m facing 90% of the time when I’m doing writerly things.  However, I do get stuck.  Some days, nothing in that little corner helps me.  What do I do then?  Well, I stop relying on the mirrors, and I turn around.  What?  You think my desk is the only interesting part of my room?  You’re funny.

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My doorway. It’s been redecorated a bit, but you get the gist.

Posters, pictures, weapons, musical paraphernalia (up above the door).  Ignore the nightstand.  Dad hasn’t gotten around to making one of those, yet.  But anyway, you can see how nowhere in my room is boring.  I keep myself immersed in stories.  Is that what a writer does?  Oh, and if you’re noticing a severe lack of books, that’s because the spare room doubles as a library, so they’re all in there.

Up last, is the actual bed area.  Definitely no magic going on there, but there’s even a lot of inspiration there, too.

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The tree Dad painted above my bed!
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Okay. Now, I might just be showing off Dad’s skill.

So, that’s my writing space!  What’s your workspace like?  Are you like me, where you enjoy a ton of stimuli?  Or do you prefer more of a blank canvas kind of space?  Maybe you’re in between?  Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook, or Twitter, or G+!