Sunday, November 21, 2010

Character Sacrifices = Greatness

I've noticed this often and have said it a few times, but never in detail or on this blog. Mostly because I was too chicken to use what I think is the greatest example of what I'm about to talk about. And what am I about to talk about?

Sacrifices.

But not personal sacrifices, which I also think are a big part of the writing journey, but sacrifices in stories and movies.

Has anyone noticed that really amazing stories have characters that make a huge sacrifice in the end? And the bigger the sacrifice, the better the story?




The following contains some spoilers to really awesome stories.




You have been warned.




In Lord of the Rings, we have Frodo's sacrifice of, well, his sanity. Also the other hobbits sacrifice their innocence, and Gandalf sacrificed his life in the first book/movie (yeah, okay, I never finished reading the books), and so forth.

In Harry Potter, we have...well we have a whole ton of sacrifices, but for me what really hit home was Snape's sacrifice. What did he sacrifice? Read/watch to find out.

In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, my favorite of the three, Jack Sparrow was sacrificed in the end (okay true, it didn't look like he had a choice, but I think he was fine with that end).

In the Night Angel Trilogy's third book, Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks (well okay, not so famous, but I think it's AMAZING), Dorian, Kylar, Durzo, Elene, etc made sacrifices in the end. And Dorian, my favorite character, made the biggest sacrifice*. Coincidence, I think not!

In Ptolemy's Gate, another personal favorite and the final book of the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, Nathaniel makes a huge sacrifice at the end. I bawled like a baby at the end of that story.

And the list goes on.

But there is one character, one story, one sacrifice that could be considered the greatest ever.

Two words.

Jesus Christ.

Now, for the record, I'm not debating whether or not it's fact or fiction. I'm not even Christian, but still believe the possibility of it being true. But that's not the point. The point is, this story has been around for thousands of years. It may not be the oldest story, but I would definitely bet it's the oldest most famous story of all time.

And why? Because if you actually do think it's true, if you actually believed that this guy, who was absolute good, was tortured and murdered to save the world, that it ACTUALLY happened and with your knowledge/experience of how everyday people actually are....

It becomes one of the biggest sacrifices in history. An overwhelming sense of love and gratitude for this person washes over everyone. A whole religion is built around this sacrifice and people buy his book by the billions.

That's what sacrifices can do.

Why do you think Gandhi, John Lennon, Martin Luther King and the many others who have sacrificed time, energy, reputation, dignity and/or their own lives for worthy causes are so loved long after their untimely deaths? For their great achievements of course, but they made a difference because they made monumental sacrifices for what they believed in.

Now we humans are often....well, lazy, selfish cowards. I know I am.

So we only see these great acts of sacrifice once in a blue moon, which probably makes them even more attractive. So we get our fix of these sacrifices from fiction and maybe this is a good thing. Maybe these stories can inspire real people to come forth and make personal sacrifices (like time, energy, reputation, personal pleasures, sense of security, etc) to make this world a better place (and hopefully next time we can appreciate their bravery and passion BEFORE we kill them and you know...NOT kill them).

So I encourage all writers and screenwriters, do your worse to your characters! Make them self-sacrificing heroes! Rape them, torture them, and kill them for the greater good!

It makes one hell of a story.



*About Beyond the Shadows: Big Spoilers here because I want to rant for a bit about this story. STOP READING NOW IF YOU WANT TO READ THE NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY BY BRENT WEEKS.


You have been warned.


Dorian's was the biggest sacrifice because he didn't HAVE to do anything and he lost EVERYTHING.

Kylar had no choice, Durzo was all emo giving up the ka'kari and then dying, Elene gave up her life (and that of her unborn child) way too happily.

Meanwhile, Dorian pretty much saved the world for absolutely NO GAIN and he didn't have to do CRAP. Hell, a heroic death would have been preferable. Or he could have just stayed far far away from all this insanity, but NO he felt he had to use his power for good and pay for what he did, despite what happened HAD to happen (If he hadn't become the next Godking, then how would all the armies be at the right place at the right time?).

And what did he get in return? Insanity. He's a drooling idiot now and no one will ever realize the extent of what he did save for a tiny few. He can't even enjoy the world he helped save. I love him so much! SEE! We love SACRIFICES! We're masochistic, sadistic bastards!

And I love it!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Have Unshakable Faith



I love how even though I may be failing my goals, procrastinating like crazy, and just not getting anything done, I can watch myself and still learn lessons from my mistakes even as I make them.

For example, I realized that, for me, having faith in myself is crucial. If I don't think that eventually I will make it, that my writing and stories are worth it, then I won't write. Or it's like pulling teeth and I stop early to plunge myself into the pit of despair that is my bed.

Faith has a lot to do with real life as well. Faith has gotten me through the dark times after my mother died. And it was a stupid faith, really. A tiny little belief that no matter how bad it is, I can change it. I can still make my amazing dreams come true no matter what.

When I say faith, I don't mean religion. Though, I guess it is a bit spiritual.

It's like magic almost. By believing, even if I have no evidence to support it, that I am something, can do something, will be and have something, and it's only a matter of time before that happens, everything becomes much easier.

It's easier to breathe. It's easier to get up in the morning. It's easier to smile.

Often, that feeling is good enough. I don't even need for it to actually happen, the feeling is enough. But I will get up and take actions to make it happen, strengthening my faith. If I don't, my faith wavers and inactivity and unhappiness ensues.

I think that's key. I have to take action without every REALLY knowing if I'm going to make it or if my dreams are going to come true. Focusing on the current moment where I am actually taking action and making things happen does something wonderful.

It takes away the worry, the stress, and desire to procrastinate.

I feel like my dream has already come true, and that's the most important thing.

I encourage everyone to seek that state, that feeling that it's already happened. I am a writer (or whatever it is you want to be). I am living the life I have always dreamed of. And do the things you would do if as if you really were living that life.

True, there are somethings you can't change right away. I know I would LOVE to leave my current job and move to the USA right now. I mean, if it's my dream life, that would be two of the things that would happen. Of course, at the moment, my faith isn't strong enough to believe that I can actually do that without starving to death.

So instead, I will focus on what I CAN do. If I were the person I've always craved to be, what would she do first thing in the morning? What would she eat? What would she write? What would her day look like? How would she treat herself and others?

I may not be able to control certain things, but I can control my behavior, attitude and state of mind. And if I can control these things, then I control my life.

It starts with having faith in myself.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Music = Instant Inspiration (just press play)

I'm writing this as I'm sitting at a laundromat doing my laundry and getting some work done. I got my headphones one, listening to "Summer 78" from the Good Bye Lennin! Soundtrack by Yann Tiersen on my iPod. And I have to say, I don't know how I'd be able to get anything done without music.

I'm pretty sure I have ADD or just have an easily distracted mind, and music helps me focus on a point. Sometimes, when I have a particular scene to write and have the perfect song that evokes the perfect feeling for it, I put it on repeat and let it play over and over till I'm barely even registering the music as I type, lost in the movie in the mind.

Sometimes, when you go to see a movie, you don't even notice the music. It sort of blends in with the plot. And I always noticed that when you listen to a soundtrack without seeing the movie, the effect is less than after you see the movie. The emotions behind the music become clearer and it's like a natural high.

Well, for me anyways. I'm crazy like that.

I have plenty of playlists. Tons even. I have playlists that share the same songs except for maybe a few. Each categorized not just by novel or story, but by mood. I have an angry list, an action list, a dramatic moment list, an emotional list. And when I don't know what I need for the moment, I just hit shuffle and discover forgotten gems.

I wonder how many others also use music as a way to invoke inspiration when it doesn't come naturally. For me, I need movie music, which are pretty much DESIGNED to evoke emotion. But the good dramatic, emotional rock song or classical music by J.S. Bach works for me as well.

So what about you? What music do you listen to when writing/working?

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit





Happy NaNoWriMo!

Or what I like to call, when writing is fun day!

Lately, I've been focusing way too much on "OMG I MUST GET PUBLISHED" and honestly, I'm not even close to that stage yet. I can't even keep a blog updated every couple of months. So starting...yesterday (hey, I'm a work on progress), I will be updating every Sunday. If I can update once a week and my blog is actually benefiting other people, then I shall be the professional I wish to be and update on more days.

Deal? Good.


I'm doing NaNoWriMo again, but I have this feeling this time will be better than 2009. I feel motivated as I was in 2008, which is good since that is my first and only NaNo win. The project shall be the sequel to my NaNo 2008 novel (Prophecy of the Eternals), currently titled Reign of the Eternals.

It's subject to change.

Now, back to the subject of this post. NaNoWriMo. What tools do I use to make sure this year would be a successful one?

First, I have my laptop of course. Last NaNo, I used Q10 to get most of my writing done (I am very easily distracted), but this year I discovered FocusWriter which is amazing! It's Q10 but better! The timer which also tells you how much you've written in the time you set alone is worth it! I have the theme set up the way I like it, black background with red text. I also love that you can use an image for the background. Really awesome.




Second, I have music. My iTunes and Pandora Radio are godsends. I don't know where my novels would be without them. Music is my main source of inspiration. Finding the right song could lead to discovering the perfect plot twist, perfect line of dialogue, the perfect scene...

(Thank You Hans Zimmer, Craig Armstrong, E.S. Posthumus, Lisa Gerrard, Muse, 30 Seconds to Mars, Dethklok, etc. You all should have a mention in my acknowledgments.)

Third, I have my Redbull. I LOVE Redbull. I drink it and it's like I'm awake. Sometimes I feel buzzed, but for the most part I just feel not-sleepy anymore and that is awesome. All other drinks give me a weird feeling, but not Redbull! *nuzzles* I also have green tea, which I drink every morning.

Fourth, are my commitment posters. I have a calendar, telling me my days, I have my daily and weekly NaNo goals, and my NaNo schedule. I also have a print out of the email nanowrimo.org sends us participants at on the 30th of October, charting out your NaNoWriMo journey.





Needless to say, I'm very clear on what needs to be done to win NaNoWriMo. All that's necessary now is to take action and DO IT.

Fifth, I have my writing buddies from Wriye Forums and Absolute Write Water Cooler through IRC and AIM chat for encouragement and companionship in this crazy adventure.

This is my attempt at getting back into "Writing is for Fun!" mentality. And writing SHOULD be fun. It shouldn't be a means to an end (unless that end is entertainment and fulfillment). It shouldn't be just to get the agent and get published so I can quit the job I hate. That's just the bonus benefit.

I would read comments and posts about people so frustrated with the publishing process, about how long it takes and how hard it is. Impatient as I am, I also got very frustrated with it all too and understood why people self-published. But then I decided to do this with a different mentality.

My novel is for me. For my own pleasure, pride and satisfaction I will make it the best it can be. After writing, revising it, getting feedback and polishing it to a shine, I will be happy with that. Those who want to read it, such as my friends, need only to ask and they can read it. I will go and seek out agents to publish, but if it doesn't sell or get any attention, then that's okay too.

That's their loss of an opportunity. I've lost nothing. I'm still where I was before I queried. So there's no need to be upset. Nothing has changed.


If my novel never sells, then it shall be cherished on my shelf for my own amusement and my friends as I write the next one that might have better luck (which it should just by all that I've learned from the previous one alone).

From that mentality, I never lose. There is no stress. It becomes easier. I still have my inner critic nagging me at the change and I still keep switching back to the I MUST BE PRODUCTIVE/MAKE MONEY/GET PUBLISHED mentality occasionally, but it takes practice to change a way of thinking and doing something.

I'm simply progressing through my always changing journey through life. It's really exciting and fun.

So to all who are doing NaNoWriMo this month and to all those who are simply doing what they were born to do...

Have Fun!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Going on a Writing Diet

I may have to give up roleplaying and I suppose blogging as well, though it wasn't like I was blogging much anyways.

A while ago, I read a blog post (I don't remember which unfortunately) about, I believe, how inside of true writers we have a writing quota of a sort. There's an amount of words that we NEED to put down. If we don't, it's like hunger. We start suffering. (These are my own words, by the way, on how I understand it).

But the problem is, what we write to fill in this quota doesn't necessarily have to be the story or novel you've been procrastinating on for months. There's still that immense fear of failure since that writing matters more. Instead, we fill in our quota with easier writing such as blogging or message board posting, or (in my case) roleplaying. Thus, after all this – what I like to call – easy writing, we are full and no longer need to write anymore.

Once the need to write is gone, the chance of making yourself write becomes less.

I proved this (for myself at least) this week when my roleplaying partner went on a short vacation and thus I haven't roleplayed or even talked about roleplaying in a while, my main source for my inner writing quota.

I was still procrastinating on my stories and novel, but as days went by I became more frustrated. Then today, without warning, I just started to write. Out of nowhere and without any resistance.

But as you can see, instead of working on the story that has been sitting on the side for more than a week, I've unconsciously leaned towards blogging instead, which is easier for me. (Humans do seem to always go with what is easiest for them.)

So now I wonder...if I starved myself by not allowing myself to write ANYTHING but fiction and nonfiction I mean to sell, I wonder what would happen...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July Blog Chain Entry

Recently I decided to participate in a monthly Blog Chain at Absolute Write Water Cooler forums, which involves many bloggers and one topic to write about. This month was to cast your antagonist in a sympathetic light. My turn is up! So here I go!

This is the first time I've written about my writing and even shared a piece of the worlds that solely exist in my head. So consider it a treat!

This topic should be easy for me because I have a soft stop for bad guys who have redeeming qualities, and even more for heroes who were once evil who turned good. So I have many to choose from. I have a bully who is abused at home, I have a psychopath who watched his parents be skinned alive, I have a female villain who had sacrificed everything for a lover who dumped her, and the list goes on.

I think I'll use the story I'm working on right now. This was a prologue until I decided it was unnecessary and scrapped it.

The story is set in a medieval world where flesh-eating demons have brought mankind to the brink of extinction...but it wasn't always like this. Hundreds of years ago, demons were weapons created and bred by humans to be used as weapons for war. The main antagonist comes from this time and this is where her utter hatred for mankind comes from.

This scene takes place all those hundreds of years ago when the antagonist, known later as the Mistress and here as Lilian, was still enslaved.

I hope you enjoy and check out the other participants of the Blog Chain by clicking on the links at the end of the post.

~~~~~


Lilian lodged the end of her pointy tail into the lock. It was the twentieth night since she came up with the brilliant plan. But now—with the end of her tail reduced to a tiny red stub covered in cuts—it didn’t seem so brilliant anymore. Every time she pressed and turned against the intricate metal nooks, she bit back a whimper of pain. Yet her blue diamond shaped eyes—against black where it should be white—held hope. This time...this time it will work.

That night had been particularly bad. The humans had a new experiment that they wanted to try—one that required more blood. It left Lilian weak and docile. Usually she scratched, bit, kicked, burned and spat the entire trip to and from her cage. She was desperate to hurt them enough to slip out of their grasps. Her prison was outdoors, surrounded by a thick forest. All she had to do was escape her cell and dart into a small gap between the trees that formed the compound’s walls. Once in the forest, the humans would never catch her. Never.

There was a noise. Lilian froze. Her milky white skin turned coal black, blending in with the shadows.

"I heard something." Two guards were making their rounds, walking towards the back.

Torches of blue flames flickered light over the stacks of cages and crates, piled high against the tree trunks. They were divided into two sections: the creatures who slept at night and those who slept during the day. Some cages were large with more than one creature inside. Others were small with barely any room for the demons to lift their heads. There were also the crates with only slivers in the wood for breathing. The creatures kept in those had long since gone blind, and the guards held their breath when they passed to avoid the lingering stench of dung.

"Just the nocturnals,” one guard said. “Bloody monsters.”

"Looks like Little Lilian’s finally awake," the other guard said, pointing at the two glowing blue diamonds that glared in his direction, giving her away.

The human grinned. "Took me forever to get her out, but putting her back was a cinch. Wish it was always that easy. I heard Orwell lost a finger trying to get her back in…"

The first human banged the butt of his spear against the bars of Lilian's cage and the demon child scurried to a corner. "Go to bed! It's nearly dawn!"

The clatter was loud enough to wake the diurnals from their slumber next door. They shrieked, roared, hissed and moaned. Their cages shook and rattled. Stacks threatened to fall over from the mindless flapping and clawing and biting of the bars, the beasts going into a collective bloodthirsty frenzy.

"Quiet the lot of ya! Shaddup!" The guard grabbed a torch from a nearby tree and shoved it against the nearest cages. The demons yelped and hid. The blue firelight momentarily lit up their faces—from the grotesque to the strangely beautiful. They went quiet at once.

Satisfied, the guards finally left. Lilian waited till everything was silent and still once more before carefully crawling back to the bars. She looked out. The coast was clear. She slipped her tail through the bars and up to the heavy lock on the cage door again, careful not to make a sound.

Hours crawled by and the sky began to lighten. Lilian’s tail continued to turn and turn, much slowly than before. She was slumped against the bars—barely holding herself upright. Her glazed eyes were half-way closed, heavy with weariness.

Click!

Lilian’s eyes snapped open, startled by the sound. It had been deafening in the silence of pre-dawn. She blinked and looked around, uncertain where it came from. She leaned against the door to better peer outside the bars and it creaked open. Lilian jumped, but her fear quickly turned into wide-eyed amazement. The door was open. It had worked.

She pulled her tail into a tight hug, kissing the sensitive tip, almost letting out a squeal of delight. As quietly as possible, she crawled on hands and feet outside. The grass was cold and damp with morning dew and the wide blue sky stretched above her. Finally! Finally free! She could hardly contain her excitement. But she reminded herself that she was not completely free yet and danger still loomed close by.

“Sister! Big Sis!”

Lilian crawled to the back of her large cage where two forms were huddled tightly together, asleep. One was as small as Lilian, wearing the same filthy earth-colored rags. But this one had yellowish skin and shoulder length brown hair, while Lilian had white skin again and a sheet of silky black hair that reached her waist.

She raised her head, rubbing her large lavender eyes. They were also diamond shaped and stood against black where it should be white. She pouted, grumpy.

“What? It’s almost dawn. Go to sleep, Lilian.”

“Don’t call me that,” Lilian snapped quietly. “And who cares what time it is. I did it, sister! We’re free! We must escape quickly. Wake Big Sis. Hurry!”

But the third demon was already stirring. She was much larger than the other two—almost as tall as the guards--with glimmering light blue skin and chopped red hair that framed her elegant face. The humans had given her a blue dress to wear and often visited her when Lilian and her sister were elsewhere.

It didn’t worry Lilian. Big Sis was special. She couldn’t be hurt by anyone. And now, they were free.

“Big Sis, I did it! I did it.” Pride was etched in her voice as she shook Big Sis awake, eager for her approval and gratitude. “We’ll leave and the humans will never hurt us again. Just like you said!”

Big Sis’ eyes opened. Two misty white orbs turned to Lilian. She appeared blind, but Lilian knew better. Big Sis’ sight could penetrate the heavens.

She lifted her head and whispered, “The door is open. The time has come.”

Lilian’s face split into a grin and she nodded with true zeal. “Yes! Your vision has come true. Now let’s go, before the humans wake.”

Together, they slipped out of the cage and darted across the grass for the forest. But Lilian slid to a halt when an idea struck her. As desperate as she was for freedom, there was something she wanted even more. Enough to risk the very thing she slaved so hard for.

“What are you doing!” her sister hissed, hesitating at the edge of the forest where Big Sis had already disappeared within the dark foliage.

Lilian didn’t reply as she climbed a stack of cages in the diurnal section. She shoved the top crate over the edge and it shattered apart against the ground, releasing the small, blind, bird-like demon inside. Its black wings--deformed and useless from its captivity—flopped about as it let out a blood curdling screech, surprisingly loud for such a tiny creature.

Soon the entire enclosure was engulfed in a cacophony of ear splitting shrieks, roars, hisses and moans. Under it all, Lilian could hear the guards coming. She hid in the shadows between two cages, her fingers tingling with anticipation.

“Bloody hell! Damn thing fell over!” One guard stood watch as the first stabbed the creature with its spear, ending its wail and spilling its lavender blood.

“But how—”

Lilian cut him short by pouncing onto his back, digging her nails into his skin as she climb up to his head, and clawed out his face and eyes. The man screamed, but was silenced when Lilian shoved her fingers into his neck and yanked violently, blood pouring down his front.

Lilian rode the body as it fell to the ground, taken over by uncontrollable giggles. Her mania was cut short when she saw the remaining guard reach for a torch. She knew she wouldn’t reach him time and was ready to flee from the wretched flame when the man screamed. Her sister had jumped, grabbed his arm and bit down on his wrist, the bones cracking under the pressure of her small, powerful jaws. Lilian quickly aided her and soon the screams turned into wet gurgles and then silence.

“Quickly.”

Her hands trembling, Lilian grabbed the guard’s key and threw them to her sister. Taking the keys of the other guard for herself, she started unlocking cages. They worked quickly opening the cages—smashing the crates open since it was easier—and soon the entire enclosure was swarming with bloodthirsty, mindless demons. Those with intelligence like Lilian and her sisters fled into the forest, but the remaining creatures flocked to the rest of the compound.

Their hungry wails alerted the guards, but it was useless. They were outnumbered. The last guard was soon ripped to shreds. The mindless swarm found the doctors’ and mages dormitories next. They were slain in their beds, screaming. A fire breather set the buildings ablaze and soon the entire compound was a bright ball of heat and chaos. It was hell on earth. Shrieks, roars, wails, hisses, moans, and dying screams of demons and humans alike joined in a mad cacophony, the fanfare of the apocalypse.

The sun broke above the horizon in a dazzling display of gold and orange light. Lilian and her sister left when the fires started, and scrambled up the hill where Big Sis waited. They watched the havoc they caused as it continued for hours. The last human scream went silent and a strong wind carried the scent of burnt flesh.

A highly pleased smirk spread across Lilian’s small face. Her eyes—filled with joy—glittered as they reflected the light of the fires down below. She looked forward to the years to come when the choking screams of humans and the sweet smell of their burnt flesh will overwhelm her senses once again.

And it will—again and again.


~~~

Here is the list of participants to the July Blog Chain:

CScottMorris: http://cscottmorrisbooks.com/ and direct link to his post
Aheïla: http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: http://clairegillian.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
DavidZahir: http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/ and direct link to his post
IrishAnnie: http://superpenpower.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Anarchicq: http://anarchicq.com/ and direct link to her post
Proach: http://everythinghistorical.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
devero: http://mysticcrossroads.wordpress.com/ and direct link to his post
hillaryjacques: http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
LadyMage: http://www.katherinegilraine.com/ and direct link to her post
M.R.J. Le Blanc: http://libraryofandunien.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post

Mariekeme: http://www.mariekenijkamp.com/ and direct link to her post
aimeelaine: http://www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog and direct link to her post
CowgirlPoet: http://frontnotes.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Collectonian: http://collectonian.livejournal.com/ and direct link to her post
Amb The Creative: http://ambthecreative.blogspot.com/
defyalllogic: http://tavialewis.com/hyperbolicallyspeaking/
Alpha Echo: http://writersramblings81.blogspot.com/
cryaegm: http://enigmainklings.blogspot.com/
Irissel: http://irissel.blogspot.com/

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Character Defeats Plot!

Yesterday I saw the movie "Knight and Day". I knew I was at least going to get a good laugh based on the commercials alone, but I didn't expect it to be so damn entertaining.

Thing is, I don't usually watch this type of movie. I don't usually go for the secret-agent-saves-the-day type of movie. Even less, movies where the plot centers around an object that everyone wants. In fact, this is the first time in a VERY long time I saw a storyline like this. I suppose, it being something I haven't seen in a while also made it feel "new" to me.

But that's not why I loved this movie. And though large amounts of comedy in such a serious action movie was a major plus. The one thing I kept thinking about as I lying in bed later that night was Tom Cruise's character: Roy Miller.

What follows may be considered a SPOILER, so don't read if you want to see the movie!



He was so INTERESTING!

Roy was such a noble hero, but an odd one. He was like a little kid and a grown up wrapped in one. His character grew on me so much that I have this craving to see it again just to see him again!

And it made me realize that as long as you have an interesting enough character(s), the plot really doesn't matter too much. Maybe I should spend more time working my characters to make them as memorable as possible before working to make the plot as memorable as possible.

Imagine having both? Now THAT would be a movie I've love to see.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Domino Effect of Productivity

I re-discovered the cure for procrastination today. Unfortunately, you have to DO something in order for it to work.

But that's pretty much it. You DO something and once you've done something, any tiny achievement and BOOM, you want to keep on going.

For example, I've been back to my depressed, lazy self for the past few days. But today I made an appointment to be somewhere. Now, while I have no qualms disappointing myself, I hate breaking promises with others. So -- albeit a little late -- I got myself out of bed, took a shower and went out into the world.

The meeting may have been a bust, but I did make a doctor's appointment I've been putting of as a result. With that little check mark done, I went home with the desire to continue being productive.

I think the intensity of that productive feeling increases if what you did was something that you've particularly been putting off for a while and/or it was a MUST DO task.

Feeling great, I managed to clean the kitchen -- the sink is all shiny and everything! -- and my office (which I want to write a whole blog post about one of these days). I've been ignoring my house since I moved back in and unfortunately it's a bit obvious the place has been suffering from neglect. So this is a BIG achievement for me.

Then...I sat down to write. That's when it got a little hard. I wanted to edit a short story to get it ready for a new market I have my eye on. And for some reason, I started to open all the other short stories that would also work for that market if I tweaked them a bit.

That was a rapid fire way of overwhelming myself, but I realized this in time and closed all the files save the one I was originally gonna work on. I then tried to put in some new words, but my inner critic rose to the occasion and chewed me out.

Still, the fact I added over 300 words to that story is a major improvement from writing zilch since...god knows when.

It's not even over yet! This blog post is another check on the neglected to-do list! And I plan on working on my novel right after I'm done here.

And it all started with taking a shower.

So if you find yourself doing nothing when you should be doing something...DO SOMETHING.


The rest will do itself.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Piece of Me (a.k.a How Metalocalypse Saved Me)

When I first made this blog, I was determined not to make any post too personal. I didn't want to rant and I didn't want to talk about my personal life. I wanted to stay focused and stay on topic...which was supposed to be writing if I'm correct.

Well, I also planned to update three times a week, so what's one more broken promise?

I'm going to tell whoever will read this where I have been and what I have been doing.

I haven't posted since March. And that post was a weak attempt of a comeback. But here I am again, but what does that really mean? Will I keep posting? Or will this be my last post for a few more months or even years?

To get an idea of what I've been going through, ask yourself: Have you ever committed yourself to something? Anything, like a goal? A resolution? Or even a marriage, I don't know. Something that will change your life forever?

Well, most likely you have. Everyone has at one point in their lives. Did you succeed? Did you fail? How did you take that success or failure? If you failed, did you try again?

In March 2006, my life descended into a very dark place. I was 20. In the darkness, I reached for a light. That light, that sense of hope that pulled me out of the abyss of depression were my dreams.

Thanks to "The Secret" I believed I could achieve anything as long as I went at it with all my heart. I studied it until I pretty much gasped the idea of the "Law of Attraction." I understood it.

Ever since the day, I've been living for my goals.

I must emphasize this. I LIVE for my goals.

Now, I have pretty lofty goals. I pretty much wanted to completely rewrite my personality. So of course, it wasn't going to be easy. I understood that.

But I made progress. A lot of progress. But I fell a lot too. Procrastination, depression, anxiety, obsession, addiction, etc. Whatever the reason, I fell.

I know you're supposed to get back up when you fall, but I think recently I fell one too many times.

The fall had been too serious. My anxiety was running and ruining my life. Despite everything I've learned, I didn't know how to overcome it. So I let it get the best of me. I ran away from my problems that terrified me. I fell. Hard.

I failed all my classes. I left school. I'm no longer studying and I have no income. I have no job. I'm tired of living on this island. And I'm afraid for my health -- well, to be more specific, a certain lump in a certain place in my body has me in a state of absolute paralyzing terror.

Worst of all, I haven't written anything new for months.

I made several attempts to shake it off and get back up, remain positive and keep moving, but it's more like a little wobble. I take a few steps and stumble face down into the dirt again.

I've been doing this sort of shuffle of getting up and falling down and getting up and falling down since the beginning of this year and it came to the point where I couldn't get myself up anymore. I mean, what was the point? I was gonna fall down again anyways. Might as well just stay there.

Thus, my goals started to slip out of grasp. I started to despair. I was not only falling, I was now sinking.

Like I said before, I live for my goals.

Without them, I am nothing.

Thus for the last couple of months, I have been like a ghost. I'm 24, but I may as well been 80, waiting for death to claim me.

My life has lost its meaning. So, how come I'm here?

The most peculiar thing woke me up. I started to obsess over a show I discovered. This is nothing new.

When I get into these depressions, I often obsess and become addicted to a certain form of entertainment (a novel, a t.v. show, a video game, a comic, etc) and do absolutely nothing NOTHING -- not even eat or sleep -- but read, watch and listen to any little bit of media or information regarding the "flavor of the week" (Final Fantasy 12, Fullmetal Alchemist, Skip Beat, Eyeshield 21, D-Gray Man, Night Angel Trilogy, Bartimaeus Trilogy to name a few of my binges over the years).

This time, it was from a peculiar source. An Adult Swim show called Metalocalypse. I started to watch it since I stopped going to bed at normal hours and caught it at 1am.

It was different from anything I've ever watched, and I've always loved things that were different.

It's about a black metal band (I don't even listen to metal!) called Dethklok who are the most famous and popular band in the world. The show is full of stupid humor and mindless violence. But I LOVE the characters. I don't know why. I love comedies that have a touch of seriousness and a subtle yet complex hidden plot.

But what REALLY surprised me was that I also LOVED the music.

So I went online and started watching every single episode, clip, interview, quote and whatever I could get my hands on -- binging heavily on anything regarding this show.

Soon, an old demon woke inside me. The demon that demanded I learned how to play the electric guitar.

Let me explain. I have three demons/passions: music, drawing and writing.

When they wake up, they literally possess me. I can't think of anything else. I want to spend riddiculous amounts of money on materials, books and classes, I want to do nothing else but write, or draw or practice music. Each one I've started and stopped, started and stopped.

I thought I put music -- along with art -- behind me when I decided I was going to concentrate on being a published author. But Metalocalypse has resurfaced this desire. Art has also been nagging at me. Every time I pass by an ad for music or art classes, I take notice and have to force myself to look away.

But now after so long of feeling nothing, I'm passionate again. This one song -- "Black Fire Upon Us" by Dethklok (the episode in Metalocalypse where it plays is also AWESOME) has captivated me utterly. It has nothing to do with the words. It's the sound, it's the feeling it gives me.

It resonates with my heart.

I need to do something. I can't just die without a fight. I can't let this fire that has been re-lit inside me die or go to waste. There's gotta be some way for me to incorporate all three passions into my life in a balanced, simultaneous and consistent way.

There has to be a way to keep myself from losing my focus and purpose in living.

There's gotta be a way to stop falling.

So once again, here I am. I still want to be a published author. That is still my main focus (mostly cause its the cheapest and easiest to practice). So everyday I will do something that says I am a writer.


Hopefully, I'll keep this promise this time ~_^

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Look - Simplicity

Despite how much I loved my old layout, something was wrong with it and I didn't really have the energy to fix it. So! New simple layout.

Sometimes I wonder if all anyone needs when life gets too complicated or full of turmoil is more simplicity. Make things as simple as possible and things will work out. Is that even possible? Life is full of so many possibilities and opportunities. I often just want to do it all. Big mistake.

So here I am, attempting this one more time and this time i'm going to focus on being as simple as possible.

I know I've been absent for a while, but in case anyone still reads, I want to ask...

When life starts getting overcomplicated, how do you get things back in control?