Monday, January 17, 2011

Being "BUSY" is an excuse.

Well, I haven't posted in well over two months. Can I say I was "busy"? Hm, I think that's an overused excuse.

Why do people procrastinate? It's within my nature to procrastinate. Let's look at the things I've wanted to do so badly but have yet to:

- Publish a book: nope.
- Come close to publishing a book: nope.
- Writing in this blog: nope.
- Getting readers in this blog: nope.
- Cleaning my room: big fat nope.
- Being a better person: well...

My last few months, however, have not been totally unproductive :) I visited a new country (Taiwan) and I learned a new skill (snowboarding). Taiwan was an interesting place although I felt more culture shock there than in Hong Kong. The food is VERY unique. Not quite my cup of tea, but the night market culture is quite fascinating. Snowboarding has remained my obsession since the beginning of the winter season. I can go down a green run without embarrassing myself! Yippeeeee!!!!

Well, at least I'm not THAT empty of new plans. I'm working to finish (at least decently) my NaNoWriMo project. Not gonna talk about it now, but it's totally different from Dancers. Also, I've started a new YouTube channel and there's actually going to be half-decent stuff on it. A short film is slated for release by February 1, and a music video featuring one of my musician-friends is also in line. Not to mention a slew of ideas of Vlogs.

Suddenly, after spending around 3 hours a day surfing YouTube, the video-sharing site may be a better blogosphere for me. I mean, I like writing, but I'm a talker too...if you've met me :D

For now, though, it's just a matter of waiting for January 27, aka Ski Day, aka my whole high school attacking Whistler Blackcomb Mountain. Yes, it's gonna be fun...and I hope we watch that horror movie "Frozen" about people stranded on ski lifts as we hit the Sea to Sky Highway ;P

--~Shark out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things I just don't understand.

  1. Why Hallowe'en is such a big deal.
  2. Why people fight wars.
  3. Why patriotism is such a big deal.
  4. Why there is still so much racism.
  5. What makes X Japan such an epic, incredible, talented, amazing, awesome band.
  6. Why Oriental people are almost never portrayed in mainstream media.
  7. Why my parents like eggplant.
  8. Why it's so disgusting for some people that that their friend wants to be friends with someone they don't like.
  9. Why people waste time holding grudges.
  10. Why people waste time hating other people.
  11. Why it is always the youth who care about the important issues, and the adults seem to have given up.
  12. Why yellow is such a terrible colour.
  13. Why rap is so popular.
  14. Why young girls are so ready to throw themselves at Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers.
  15. Why Jews, Christians, and Muslims have spent centuries killing each other when they're basically worshiping the same God, just in different ways and different interpretations. And even if they dislike each other's interpretation, why are they causing so much destruction? Did God not say "Love your neighbour as yourself." And aren't we just all neighbours together in this world?
More to come once I've thought of it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What makes a good book? Excitement, Meaning, Originality?

Yeah, that's the million-dollar question, is it? The one we all strive to answer: for readers on the quest to find the best book, and for us writers, it's our ticket to "win" in the business.

My criteria of a good book has changed over as I grew older. As a kid, I liked books about adventure, about places that don't exist, about characters with impossible special abilities and, of course, talking animals. I was a huge fan of talking animals, whether they be dogs or cats or mice or dragons. In fact I was a Redwall junkie for most of the duration of my pre-teen reading career. Something about talking mice and rats, rabbits and stoats, otters and weasels, squirrels, and moles with their quaint mole-speech engrossed me. Throw in a few warring kingdoms, hordes of vermin beasts, swords, arrows, epic battles and, of course, the small warrior hero, and you have a "good book."

But Redwall (by Brian Jacques) wasn't immortal. I grew bored of the cliche characters for a while. The plotlines seemed to be all the same, and if was always this: rats were evil, mice were not, with very few exceptions in the entire series. The series was not totally absent of theme (it actually holds a few precious words on good vs. evil) but as a teen it lacks the weight I now seek.

I still like swords and battles and adventures (less so on the talking animals part), but I'm starting to look for other stuff. Nowadays, when I read a book, I'm more receptive of originality, writing style, character development, and an interesting theme. For the last few years, I've broken my criteria down to 2 rules. If a book succeeds these 2 rules, I label it a "good book." Note this is all personal opinion.

Rule #1 - The book must be entertaining and exciting. It must make me read more. It must make me eager to know what will happen next. In other words, it can't be boring.

Rule #2 - The book must be rich in meaning. There has to be a deeper theme than a human exploring a new planet while living in a shell grown out of his own DNA and meeting very tall blue people who ride flying lizards (know what I'm talking about?) The book must have a THEME. Otherwise, it's just shallow.

Among my most favourite books of all time are "The Sight", "The Golden Compass", and "The Hunger Games."

Author: Susanne Collins
Rule 1: Lots of action, witty prose, great "voice" from the POV of the main character. This book is an Epic Win.
Rule 2: Addresses ideas of freedom of speech, government, power, childhood innocence and a wary view into what the world may become in the future...

Author: Phillip Pullman
Rule 1: A whirlwind of adventure! Throw in a few talking bears and the beautiful Aurora Borealis in the wild North, and you've got yourself a cinematic book.
Rule 2: BIG themes like criticism of the power of religious authority, evolution, and the ongoing battle between science and religion; also, what it means to be human.

(childhood favourite)
Author: David Clement Davies
Rule 1: It is actually not as fast as I would like normally, but it is well-written. Talking wolves in Transylvania For The Win.
Rule 2: Family within the wolf pack, good and evil, some suggestions of man's relationship with animals. Also very educational in the biology area.

Perhaps a third rule that I think about from time to time is ORIGINALITY. It's getting harder and harder to be original these days, isn't it, my fellow writers? After Tolkien and Lewis, almost every other fantasy book is accused of being unoriginal. After Rowling, every magician character is accused of being unoriginal. After Stephanie Meyer, every...well, you get the idea with that one...

No doubt originality is going to be a hurdle each and every one of us will meet for the duration of our writing lives!


I know I haven't posted in a very long while. I've been struggling really with "what to post" for this blog. There really isn't much of a central theme...some writing stuff, I guess, but sometimes it's just me talking about the weather...

I will make another tab dedicated to explaining the PURPOSE of this blog (although now it seems void of purpose). The world has been leaning towards shambles recently, and I DO have some "article-like" post ideas. One of my career options is journalism, after all.

Yes I know no one reads this blog, so if you have stuck with me up to this point, PLEASE TELL ME SO!!! It means the world to me. This is more like my online journal now, but I do have a voice (somewhat small but whatever).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RTW: Friending up with characters

This Week's Topic:
If you went to high school with your characters, would you be friends?

Wow, now this is definitely a GREAT topic!

Sadly though, I don't think we'd be close friends. We'd probably be friendly, since I like to model my characters after my own psyche, but the truth is, my characters would probably end up being either the "cool kids" or the "loners" and I'd just either be a "geek" or an average joe.

You see, most of my characters either have special abilities or can leap 10 feet in the air with a cutlass and hijack a pirate ship.

This is why I create characters who seem so much cooler than I am...lack of self-confidence?

Anyways, this is actually a good question to reflect upon. I'm really tired right now - it's been a hell of a week - but I WILL think about this all through tomorrow's boring classes because it's a good way to get to know your characters. In fact, if I was in high school with them, I'd like to ask them a few questions...

What are your favourite classes?

Which teacher do you hate?

Like the caf food?

You failing classes? Yeah, I thought so...

But most importantly...

(I'm hopeless when mapping out romantic relationships...)

So what kind of questions would YOU ask your character if they suddenly showed up at your high school one day and you were the given the duty of showing them around?

I apologize for the randomness of my writing this post. Just kinda overwhelmed by now...but have a few blogging topics I can talk about in the near future.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The autumn rains have arrived. Winter approaches.

Much to everyone's annoyance, the change of seasons has come early for Vancouver this year.

Yep, it's that rainy weather again. Rains about once every two days or every single day now. Most annoying thing about it is during those pouring nights when I'm trying to sleep there's a steady "PLUNKPLUNKPLUNK!" rhythm of the rain hitting the pipes. And it is loud. And it is irritating. And it get the point.

Fall brings about a change of mood. The mood I'm experiencing right now is stress. Actually, that isn't the right way to express it...


Okay that's more like it.

Actually, Grade 11 is so far better than I expected. There are interesting courses this year where I'm actually inclined to read the textbook (amazing, right?!) And the stuff I'm learning can actually make my writing better. Which is good. Very good... I'm also taking a writing class and you'll probably agree that having fellow writers' support is a giant bonus as a writer. Life doesn't seem so lonely after all...

The biggest challenge right now is FINDING TIME TO WRITE. My teachers have a passion with tests, and it feels like no matter how much I enjoy my courses there's always a heap of work waiting for me. And at the end of the day...I have to sleep.

And then I found a good piece of advice here.

You see, even though I am a student, a daughter, a friend, a musician (kind of), and an insane psychopath, I have to keep chanting this mantra to myself "You are a writer, you are a writer, you are a writer, you are a writer, so WRITE. NOW."

So how do YOU tell yourself to get off your butt and write? In the wind and the rain?

Ok, end of random musings here. I've been skipping out alot on blogging lately. I'm a real nutcase when it comes to SCHEDULING. Forgive me :(

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

RTW: Historical eras!

This week's RTW!

This Week's Topic:
If you could travel back to any historical era for research purposes, which would you choose?

Wow, this one's fitting. In writing class today we had to do an exercise where we pulled genres out of a hat and wrote on them. One of them was historical fiction, and although I didn't pick historical fiction (mystery/suspense and sci-fi FTW) I had a backup plan as to where I would set it.

There is no question.

18th century Austria.

Why? Because that is the era of a great man I admire called Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Possibly the most gifted (and likely eccentric) musician to grace our planet.

Whenever someone asks me what kind of autograph I would like, the first name that bounces in my head would be "MOZART!" And then my shoulder slump as I realize "Oh right, he died when he was 35.." Almost all artists hold sad stories...

It's true, though. I'm a music junkie. I love Mozart. I love Debussy too but there is a quality to Mozartean music I can never get enough of. It's true that he is a simple composer. Compared to the complexities of Bach counterpoint and 19th-20th century chord exploration, Mozart's a doodler. But it's because of his simplicity that I admire his genius. You really have to listen to understand...

Okay I'm getting off topic here but really, I'd love to research that era FIRST HAND!

So I really wanna meet Mozart... :( *fangirls*

Where would YOU go if you suddenly found a time machine in the inner bowels of that mysterious thing we call our government?


Monday, September 13, 2010

How to factor writing into your busy life

Ok, I gotta admit I am probably the worst advisor on this million-dollar philosophical question. I'm a professional procrastinator, after all. Then again, I feel exactly how you procrastinators feel too, so perhaps I have some insight :DD

Right now I am a 16 year-old Canadian high school student in Grade 11. I have school 8:35-3:07 (yeah, I know, weird times...) five days a week. Depending on the day, I usually have an average of about 2-3 hours of homework to do (more if it's math because I suck). Some weeks I try to factor in 30 to 45 minutes of piano-practicing per day (it's part of a volunteering job). I also need to exercise 150 mins per week for Graduation Transitions. Last but not least, I need to volunteer for as much as I can (we need 30 hours, but most people do up to like 100). In addition, we all have stuff like church, family, friends, clubs, exasperating phone calls where the person can't stop blabbing, books that make you stay awake until 2 in the morning and, of course, we need time to WRITE.

So here are my tips for a student-writer-person like me. I hope they work, and I'll have the entire 2010-2011 school year to figure out if they do! So wish me luck.

1.) Don't overbook yourself. This goes for anyone doing anything. Seriously, it's a headache. I was in 5 clubs last year. Stressful, I know. This year I'll just be focussing on newspaper, and perhaps environmental, but that's about it.

2.) Make a time to write. For me, this is usually later in the night, when I've done all my homework, when my friends have gone to bed so as to not call me, and when the house is quiet and my parents are safely snoring in their beds... I'm a night owl who doesn't need to sleep too much, so it's not a big problem for me if I stay up (which I usually do). I've always had an assumption that writers are typically night owls, but if you're not, factor in a time - even just a little time - to write regularly.
*DO NOT compromise sleep. I learn this the hard way. It'll make you a zombie in the morning. Sometimes I have too much confidence in myself and wake up in the morning feeling like a vampire in daylight.

3.) Join a writing class. If you're still in HS, chances are there's a writing class. I'm in one right now. It gives you a time to write without wasting anytime. Actually, school seems even USEFUL if you join one,, you can form a convenient critique group and have a free professional help you (your teacher!).

4.) Don't procrastinate. I was meaning to finally start revising Dancers last weekend, but I didn't. Procrastination leads to guilt. Even if you're just going to write a few sentences, do it. It'll feel much better and it won't take long!

5.) Try not to be a hermit. We all have that writer's high where you just want to shut off the world and do your own thing. But take the time to talk to a friend, walk outside, or just close your eyes and give yourself a breather. Life is busy, and writing is just one facet of the business. Try to balance everything. (I suck at this.)

6.) Don't forget to read. I read somewhere that a good way to read at night yet not lose sleep is to tell yourself beforehand where you're going to stop, preferably at a place where there's not much of a cliffhanger :)

7.) Write in between. Perhaps you can write in short little breaks. My only problem with this is I'll get pulled into it and those "breaks" turn into 5-hour sessions.

8.) Tools. One of the best books I've read is "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Covey. There's also a version for Highly Effective People. I also use iCal and if you don't have a Mac Google Calendar is a good alternative.

9.) Never ever neglect homework/other work/other important stuff. I think that's self-explanatory...although I think I'm ready to see my grades drop this term as Dancers is going to be a biiiig part of my daily life!