Friday, September 30, 2005
If you've looked at my profile on here, you might have noticed my AOL Instant Message screen name is AlterEgoxIV. Initially I wanted it to be AlterEgox4, but that was taken, so I had to imporvise using Roman numerals (how many of you knew that?!). Anyway, I used to be SSJAkira1 (and as you can see, the address for this blog still contains the name Akira), but I'd had that name for as long as I can remember (ever since I first got on AIM I believe), and I figured now was the time for change.
So what does this have to do with today's journal prompt? Well, first let me say this is the most awesome question ever (whoo!). Moving on, AlterEgoxIV refers to all the characters that reflect me best. When it comes to my favorite of all time, it's going to be Akira, heroine of Book #2 and created entirely from scratch in my brain. The other 3 are Tathalia, Alora, and Visseri, only now I think Annatisse (aka Anna, my most recent creation) should be added to the list. I have a thing for A names. But let's move on.
It's really hard for me to say which character reflects me best because each of these is a representation of a part of my personality, only magnified about 3-fold:
Akira is super aggressive, a fighter to the end (I mean, she could be dying of blood loss and still be going at it). She has tons of skill and can best a lot of men, including her father (who is the ultimate hardcore warrior). She does have a softer side; a little more mellow when she is laid back, with friends, etc. Her ultimate weak spot is near the end of the series when she falls in love, but even she makes the statement, "It's like someone like me isn't supposed to fall in love." Because of the life she's lead. But don't worry - it's a happy ending. She's the martyr, messiah, mother, protector, everything all in one. I love her.
Tathalia was my first creation. She is somewhat timid, proper - an actual princess. She is my more vulnerable side and it takes a lot of pushing to see her stronger side, but she is not a fighter. She resists love for certain reasons, but finds it in the end and ultimately finds her place as ruler of, well, everything, and becomes stronger willed - going from girl to woman in a short time. As I used to be Akira on AIM, for a long time I was Tathalia during my chatroom days when I first started writing.
Alora was accidental. She was actually a typo resulting from Akira's name (check the keyboard - o,l; i,k?)She's my mysitical side - the side of me that shows itself when I am moody or angry and I don't let anyone know what is going on inside my head because I prefer them to guess or just keep wondering without any satisfaction. She is nearly emotionless, deals in magic and resolves matters quickly in a fight. She is her own woman and the ultimate mysterious being, no one gets close, and I'm still having issues resolving her love life (which is virutually nonexistant until the very, very end of the story). But love is not really involved at all in any of her exploits unlike Akira or Tathalia.
Visseri isn't very strong at all - she happens to be a fairy actually. I created her a few years ago and she is based on my weakest part of my personality, hence her weakness. She does not handle conflict well, but will sacrifice herself to save those she loves (as would any of my characters, except maybe Alora). She has no physical power, little magic, and does not understand the world around her. She's not necessarily weak in a bad way, but because of her innocence and being thrown into the world around her, she is just not able to cope well and needs to get back to where she is safe.
Annatisse, nicknamed Anna by the characters around her. She was the result of my 60 page frenzy over the summer. She is like Akira in her ability to fight, actually uses a weapon, but when she is not fighting she is just a normal being in her society, governs justly, and is honest in all respects. She finds herself in a situation where she must choose between two men (took me a while to decide, but one finally won against the others - for once I have a character not hooking up with a warrior-like figure), and is genuinely distressed like most of us would be in such a situation. She is rather down to earth, and a lot like me when it comes to making rational decisions, and has a pleasant personality, conversing with friends, making jokes, just natural.
So because all of these characters put together make up my personality as a whole (some needing to be diluted more than others in order to fit), I can't really pick one. I'm so flat compared to them, but only because I've never been in a strained situation dealing with either fighting physically or deeply (if at all) in love. A lot of my books have female characters that are tiny pieces of my personality, but some don't have any of me at all, like Books #1C, #1E, #1, #3, etc. But yeah...otherwise, that's me.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I was just thinking that all I want to do is write. I don't want to bother with taking the GRE or to get into graduate school. I just want my house in Colorado and one or two huskies by my side and a notebook and computer to write with. I just want to write whatever I want to write. I've already written what I want to write - now I just have to keep it going.
Yes, there's nothing stopping me. When I told my parents what I wanted to do with my life, they've supported me ever since. Never once have they stepped on my dreams - all they want is for me to be happy and for me to succeed. In this way, I think I'm luckier than a lot of other writers out there who have stories about how their parents and even teachers have discouraged them.
So I've said that I've written what I want already. It's true - I have. I currently have 4 books finished. I just need to go through, tweak them, and then start sending them off. Have I? No, but the thought of printing out Book #1 and going through it has run through my mind so many times as of late I think I should probably just do it. Book #2 is my favorite. Book #4 was what started it all, and Book #1F is...mm, meh. Haha. It needs some tweaking too.
What? Yes, they have titles, but it's just easier to refer to them by numbers. Here's the story since I've sort of started already, haha. It all started at Book #4 (it goes farther back than that but I'll just stick to the books - if you ever want to know the rest I'll tell you). It was just going to be one thing. But then with the way it was going, I thought, "You know, I could probably have something in front of this..." So then it was sort of Book #2. But then I thought, "Well, I really should have a story that explains where all this started. So then it was Book #3. It was Book #3 for the longest time, with another book after it. So I had a total of 4 hanging around, one of which was actively being written. However, as all writers tend to have, a lull in my writing occured. It was one of those filler parts - it had to be there but it just wasn't exciting to write. It was about that time I started writing a fanfic for an anime series (anime = one of my most inspirating muses; thank God for the Japanese), and it was a hell of a lot more fun. I just kept on going, it wouldn't stop. I held off Book #3 and went all out on the fanfic. It ended up (once typed) as about 100 pages of material, and it could have kept going. But I had exhausted myself on something I considered wasteful at the time (I mean, I didn't think it was totally stupid because it was so fun to write, but I didn't think I was going to use it anywhere), even though some people encouraged me to find ways of using it. I declined. I didn't want to copy anyone, even though it was more like an artist using the "borrow and modify" technique. But I kept thinking about it and let the idea simmer on the backburner of my mind for a while.
So I finished Book #3 on a Greyhound bus to D.C. - it was a glorious finish. And then I began work on what I decided was going to be Book #2 - the fanfic - pushing back the other to the place of Book #4. Book #2 was fabulous. I rewrote everything; characters' personalities changed, looks changed, I gave one a family, merged 4 others into 1, deleted several others, changed the entire story, kept components that would be the most beneficial, etc. It was done in record time, if I recall. It was glorious - it's my favorite to date. This was the book that inspired me to be like Tolkien and create my own language; the dictionary now has over 400 words with several rules.
Ideas kept cropping up. For Christmas one year I gave each friend of mine a character profile - I turned them into a specific character. Then I had an inspiration after seeing the first Lord of the Rings in the theater and set to writing a story involving them. It was done after quite a lot of work. I had done the same my freshman year for some friends and came up with my most unique idea (inspired by nothing in particular, hence the most unique), and it's been hanging around ever since. I haven't worked on it. I think because it's mostly a chase and catch/journey sort of thing instead of a world in great peril or characters in mortal peril like I tend to do since I enjoy it so much. And I don't like the idea of starting something else while I'm in the middle of somthing, even though I've been a total slacker on it. It's sad, and sort of driving me bonkers, but it's true. I have ideas waiting...would you like to see the branch?
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 - now at the end of #2 the heroine dies, thus spawning another set off of it (another 5 I believe for another set of 6)
Then there is #1A, #1B, #1C, #1D, #1E, and #1F (my current work that I'm slacking on). And with the random 60 pages I thought up over the summer, #1G and possible #2G are in the oven. Some ideas are a lot stronger than others. For example, #1C is very weak with just an outline whereas #6 I might as well write. Others just have pieces with summaries etc. etc.
So I need to get on the ball. I need to stop slacking off. Must stop slacking....must stop slacking...
Monday, September 26, 2005
No, not really. I don't have any problems whatsoever with this class. In fact, this is the most freedom I've ever felt in a writing class and I truly enjoy it. Especially with my notebook. In past classes if a notebook has been involved, I've been a little self-conscious about it because I know the teacher is eventually going to read it. Usually I relax, but in my poetry class it was a little harder to keep a notebook just for poetry. It's difficult for me to force out poetry but near the end of the notebook I thought, "Forget this" and needed to write down an idea I had in my head even though it took up about 5 or more pages of sheer prose. Lucky for me he didn't mind.
Anyway, I was a little unsure with this class too, not sure if I wanted to put something down or not becuase I knew it was going to be read. A person's prose and style and such changes when they know people are going to be flipping through the pages. Especially a professor. They don't want to swear or be politically incorrect or anything else that might creep the professor out. Not that I do that (there is occasional swearing, but meh, oh well), but there are certain things that, at the time, I felt a little uncomfortable mentioning. But after a while I thought, "What the heck...besides, this is my notebook," and haven't had a problem since.
Anyway, back to the class itself. Hehe. The only thing I really would like is a date (even just a tentative one) for each project's final form to be due. I'm a slacker. I'm not going to lie. I should be more productive, but I'm not. I need to be. I know I do. But in the end, I am a lazy slob, but at the same time, when I know for a fact I need to get such-and-such done now I work my ass off. When I do work, I don't half-ass it. Or at least do my best not to. Sometimes when a piece hasn't come out the way I want it I feel annoyed because it's as though I haven't worked my hardest because it's not the best it could be. Besides, with a final date I can schedule everything else around it so I have time when I want to do what I want.
Other than that, it's good times. I'm content in this class and it helps that our professor (^_~) is so happy and perky and willing to read whatever we have to offer instead of coming across as biased towards one particular type of writing. Sure, you might be, but you don't put it out there like other teachers tend to. I've mentioned how I feel awkward in other classes due to what the teacher likes best and what I write.
Anyway, I'm rambling hardcore, so I'm going to stop now and go back to my notebook and write about I-don't-know-what-but-it-sounds-cool. Hehe.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I think the best advice is just "Don't give up." But then I think that if a person is going to be a writer, that's pretty standard. I mean, you can't do anything if you give up, right? Doy. But that's not what I always think about.
What has always and forever stuck in my mind is not a piece of advice I've gleaned from a book, but a little factoid snatched from the pages of Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul. Just the fact that Stephen King was rejected over 100 times before self publishing, and J.K. Rowling was turned down almost just as much (if not the same amount). I don't remember the exact numbers. That's not what's important. What is important to me is that authors that famous with work that good had an editor somewhere saying, "Sorry, but this isn't going to sell," or "Sorry, it's not what we're looking for," and that same editor a million copies later thinking to himself, "Wow, am I the biggest idiot ever." Now an editor may stand by his decision, and by all means, he or she is allowed to do so. They made that decision based on what information they had at the time and it just happened to turn out the opposite way. The book selling world is kind of like a storm at sea - it could change at any minute from just a cloud to a huge, whirling hurricane. What might not sell on Monday might be the biggest thing since sliced bread on Tuesday. Editors are just like weather forcasters - they can only predict, they don't know for sure.
What I'm getting at is if big name authors used to get those goofy form letters the same way I do, then in some ways, I'm not much different from them. I tuck them away in a little folder and hope for better things next time. The knowledge that rejection is a part of writing is ingrained in me - I accept it. It still sucks, but hey, you gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, right? There are people out there who are going to think their story is the next big thing; their baby all grown up. But then they get rejected from one place and shut down forever. No thanks. I know I'm not perfect, and I know my writing isn't perfect, so I'm going to keep on moving until I see something in print. I don't care how long it takes. It's a very specific "don't give up."
And you know, when I do get published, I can just look at all my rejection letters and smile, and say, "Thanks guys, for helping me to get where I am now."
Monday, September 19, 2005
Like I've said before, toting around a notebook isn't new to me. I had one with about 4 pages left in it and decided just to start a new one for this class. Before that notebook there was a magenta one, and before that I think it was a blue one. Either way, while I might have another notebook devoted entirely to a certain story I'm writing, I always have another notebook full of random bits and pieces of stuff I might or might not use, poetry, quotes, random phrases, words, names, rambles, and so on.
In this notebook I'd already done certain things that Fletcher suggests a writer tries. I've already mentioned that as a writer who hasn't lost her way (not entirely anyway, just can't seem to focus on one major project for myself sounds more like it) and who isn't new to the world of writing, this book actually isn't meant for me. I recall reading about random things a person might copy down since you never know when they'll be used later. Well, several days before reading that, I'd written down a quote (from my own head - it was just something I knew a character somewhere could say) right around bedtime (which was around 2am). Maybe ten minutes later I realized I knew where it was supposed to go and got out of bed and wrote the piece, eventually going to bed at 4am. I mention this in my notebook.
I never have trouble with notebooks. Naturally there are going to be times when I have a lull in, well, creativity or desire to put something down, or whatever else you want to call it (such as currently), but I'm up to entry #42 I think. I know I'm past 40 anyway. Some are as small as a single name, others as large as a few pages. Oh, and while I'm talking about the entries, I feel I should explain a little something. Normally in any other notebook there are no numbered entries. Instead I separate entries by 3 asterisks (* * *) the way they occasionally do in books (hence the usage). Sometimes I'll transition from one thought to another while working. So in this notebook I've decided that whenever I open the notebook for a new thought I'll number it and if within a reasonable amount of time I change thoughts, I'll use the asterisks to switch. However, if I close the notebook or a substantial amount of time has passed (say maybe an hour?) I'll begin a new numbered entry. There - now you know.
As for influences and inspiriation, nothing in the Fletcher book has struck me, seeing as I do all of them already (maybe not in this notebook of the now, but I know I've done it in the past). The Writer's Crawls have been fun, but as of yet nothing to influence me to something bigger. Actually I seem to be using those more as means of practicing my description than anything else...which is a good thing. I'm sure you will, when you decide to snag it, notice in my notebook the presence of a woman named Anna. I created her over the summer when I was lying in bed one morning - you know, that story. And I worked 3-4 days and got about 60 pages out of it? Yeah. I should be stuck in the middle of another book, but because it's just not exciting me like it should, I've been focusing on Anna - she's a lot more fun. I've been constantly trying to think of situations for her to get into - and actually trying now to avoid dealing with situations where it's just her and Ballard, even though those are hella fun and I don't think I'll be able to stop for a while, especially with some of the music I've been finding (music is a huge mover for me).
All in all, there is nothing slow about my notebook. I think we're supposed to, what?, try and write at least two a week or something? Haha...yeah. That's a good one. >=D
Friday, September 16, 2005
Web portfolios huh?
When it comes to my experience with web goodies, I've dealt with my fair share, at least, that's what I'd like to think. I'm quick to pick up on a lot of programs, careful when pressing buttons if I don't completely understand what they do and knowing how to undo things when necessary. I made my first website when I was still in junior high (and it still exists today - I don't know what people do with it, but I think it still gets visitors), and then moved on to an InifiniteProfile when my AOL Instant Messenger profile was too small to hold all my thoughts. However, ever since the InfiniteProfile site's program became slow and annoying, I went back to my old website address and moved all my content to new pages.
Currently the profile houses things such as pictures, random thoughts, daily goofy stories, longer, more involved stories, random things to do, and a sort of blog which will move to this site once this class is over. It doesn't have any kind of fancy format, but as much as I enjoy a good format, I don't really think one is necessary. The important part is the content, and considering how it is all just for my friends to enjoy, I'm not trying to impress anyone. Then I do reviews at Epinions.com and after seeking a bit of help I've found out how to customize my profile there.
When it comes to the web portfolio we're going to make, I'm not sure what to expect. I don't know what program we're going to use and all that jazz, but I'm pretty much convinced that for me, it will be cake. I know a limited amount of HTML code, though I doubt we'll be using that here since it's more advanced. And even if we do, I'm sure it will still be cake.
I don't fear computers - I only get angry when they don't do what I tell them to do. Hehe.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
No one says "criticize" anymore. It sounds to negative. The new thing these days is a "critique." Sounds much nicer doesn't it? And it encompasses both the negative and positive aspects of a critical review. Jolly good.
I used to be (and sort of still am) in an online workshop group for short story writers. There I honed my style of critiquing and always hoped that when people worked with my writings I got the same courtesty back from them. Critters is the name of the place because that's what we are. Short name for a critique? A crit. hehe.
Ok, so what do I want to see? Well I'm not the type that believes an initial piece of work is perfect. Granted, like most people it's hard to take tidbits that tell you what bites about your story, even when it is put in a nice, diplomatic way. But I want to know. Be nice, but tell me what does indeed suck about my story. I mean, after all, if you can't find the kink in the software, how the hell else are you going to fix it so that it works? Besides, knowing what people don't like can help me adapt to things that work for everyone. That way, when people tell me things that they thought were magically delicious in my manuscript, I can either keep them or find ways to work around them. It all boils down to finding that happy medium between what you want and what your audience wants. Granted, I don't use everyone's suggestions - if only one person out of ten doesn't like something, there's a good chance I won't bother with it. But I've had work come back with the same mentionings of certain spots in my story, so when 99% of those who look at my work think something needs to change, usually they have a point. Many times I've looked at what they've said, looked back at my story and thought "Oh yeah...duh."
I like things to be written though. I don't always need to hear people explain this and that because things are much easier when they're written down. That way I can go back and look at what they've had to say instead of trying to remember what so-and-so had to say. It makes things much easier to compare as well - easier to see how many people said "this part isn't very good" so I can then decide what exactly I should do with said part, if anything.
It's good to know that I'm not perfect. Makes it much easier to accept that my writing isn't either.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Pencils, hands down. I guess I should get more specific because I really do actually hate those mass produced #2 pencils with the hard lead. You don't get a good line out of them - they drive me nuts. So soft lead pencils were my heroes - even more so when I found a really awesome pencil sharpener and then they would be nice and pointy and last for a while.
Then sometime during my high school career I discovered the joy of mechanical pencils. Not those little flimsy ones that have lead that breaks all the time and you have to buy a new pencil every month or so. No, these are Techniclick pencils. Though they're a little thicker than a normal pencil, I got used to them fast and now they're my best friends. Good erasing capability, soft lead (either .5 or .7 works), and they're hard to break. Heck, even the lead is hard to break - even when dropped. I've dropped these pencils several times but can only remember maybe 5 instances of the lead breaking. They rock my socks.
So why pencils? Easy. Well, for me anyway. Until rather recently (which will be explained in a moment), I found that if I sat down at a computer to write a serious piece (things like this don't count) my mind goes blank. I can't think of anything. I don't think my muse likes electronics. And pens? Good gravy - you can't erase with one of those things unless you get an erasable pen and those are just icky. There are one or two pens I like, but still, I won't write with them unless I have to (i.e. I can't find a pencil...dammit). Besides, my favorite pen is reserved for drawing maps. Pencil first, of course. But lovely black ink later. Besides, I love the texture of pencils; the
smooth feeling of the pencil sliding over the paper. I'm the one making the symbols that ultimately make up my story. If people say that typewriters make them feel more connected to their writing, then the pencil is the ultimate way to do so. Besides, I always get excited when I hear things like how J.K. Rowling wrote longhand.
The exception I mentioned earlier was this summer when I woke up one morning at somewhere before 10am and laid in bed until 11, my mind just running through the longest thought ever and I realized I had to put it down somewhere - I couldn't let it get away, as ridiculous as it was. So I got up and for 3-4 days straight (with breaks of course) I wrote everything possible on the computer. I think my muse had hit me so hard she allowed me to work on the computer without any real difficulty. Naturally I plan to rewrite it, longhand of course, and fill in details (which is what it needs the most). But either way, it all comes back to a piece of lead...or rather graphite .
Additional Note: Am I the only one not afraid of blogging? After looking around at the others I see everyone writing in Word. Do they fear the outside world looking in? Hahaha. Well, to each his own. When it comes to my thoughts, I will admit I like a computer over pencil and paper - there's no need for my muse here because things are more train of thought and the computer allows me to put them down much quicker.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
My ideal writing space eh? Well that's actually a lot tougher than most people might think. I used to be able to write anywhere - even in cafeterias full of shouting students in high school. As of late I find that it's been more difficult for me to find a snug place for me to settle down and work hard on something. I've gotten really lazy about serious projects and though for the most part I know why, there's a small part of me that thinks, "Damn, this sucks."
I can go to Barnes & Noble and sit down and force myself to get going, which has worked on several occasions, once being that 8 hour spree that got a lot done. At my house I managed to get things moving once my mother, father, and little sister went on vacation, as I had to stay home and watch the dog (which was cool). I think I couldn't ever get comfortable writing during the summer was because I didn't want to get on a roll and then hear, "NIKKI!" from my dad, totally derailing my train of thought because he needs help with some random thing or another. I hate when people interrupt me when I'm on a roll...I get like Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets.
But I'm not getting to where I should be. My ideal writing place is somewhere that I don't get distracted and start daydreaming. Even being alone in my dining room with not-quite-right music playing will detour me. But then again if I'm in the library with no music I still start zoning out. Ironically, I think my most productive areas are in the classroom, before and occasionally during a class, both in high school and college. It's like my secret way of not paying attention. No...I know what it is. I read once (pretty sure it was in my Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul book) that writers love to write and hate to write (because it's fun and yet it's still work). So true. When it's as a distraction to things I don't mind avoiding (not like I want to avoid my classes, but it makes for something to do when one gets bored...or something like that), then it's a lot more fun. But when I have to actually sit down and force myself to think of things (time to go lasso a muse), it's work and some of the fun gets sucked out of it. Kind of like when you're working at Dairy Queen and you get free ice cream but you still have to deal with stupid customers.
So yes. At a desk with chattering people around me is my ideal place to write, where there are things I want to ignore so that I focus entirely on my work. Weird huh? =D
Friday, September 02, 2005
Here it is...my blog. I might have to come back and edit because first I want to putz around...
Ok, good enough. I guess I technically already have a blog...it's hanging out on Yahoo!Geocities, without any fancy layouts, in simple brown font color, etc. etc. I'm going to have to go back and add in my past journals...or maybe not. I'll have to see. I'm also going to have to add some images and make this all sorts of fun.
This isn't going to be anything super personal though, if all I journal are the things from the Daily Notes. Which might actually be a good idea considering I can talk about some pretty crazy things sometimes. Or just things that don't make sense to anyone but me, which is fine, because then it looks like prose-poetry anyway. Too bad they don't have a lot of fun fonts to choose from...
After this class, however, I might enhance this bad boy into much more, but then it depends on what exactly I can do. There's still a lot I'm going to have to look at and examine before I make any definite decisions. But at home is where all the real fun is...on my computer...just wait until I get into that and mesh the two......
My blog is going to rock. *muwahahahaha!*