Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween, NaNo, and Movember

NaNo WriMo starts tomorrow.

I wasn't going to participate.  I write when I write and that's pretty much how I've been doing things since, well, I've been writing.  I produce at least four thousand words a week, something I'm content with given the hectic load I have to deal with in terms of academics.

Speaking of which, I'm so swept up in school to the point where that was my primary reason to not do this.  (I'm not going to lie, school is a big reason why my writing has definitely fallen to the wayside.)

But I've come to realize something: writing keeps me sane.  It gives me something to hold onto at a pretty chaotic time in my life.  I need to write.

So I'm going to.  No, I don't think I'll get 50,000 words and no, I'm not going to hold myself to it.  If anyone can put a ridiculous amount of pressure on me, it's me, and I do that enough with school.  So whatever I accomplish will be more than if I chose not to participate, which, for me, is enough.

*A quick note!  I have two projects I'm currently working on: one is in the editing process while the second one is ten chapters in what I'm hoping is a thirty chapter YA novel.  However, I'm setting the latter aside in order to start an entirely new project that's been pestering me for a while.  That's my main focus for NaNo.  BUT if inspiration strikes for my second project, I have no qualms writing that as well.

**Starting tomorrow is Movember.  It's where men, today, shave their moustaches/facial hair and then let it grow out for the entire month in order to bring awareness to men's health, especially prostate cancer.  Yes, it's a hockey thing but it should definitely be talked about more.  If you want to learn more about it, feel free to go here.

Happy Halloween (surprise, surprise I'm a pirate), Happy NaNo (good luck and have fun!), and Happy Movember!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rekindling the flame

Midterms kicked my butt.  Not in the oh-man-I-totally-bombed-them, but I've-been-studying-so-hard-my-brain-is-going-to-explode.

Luckily it didn't.  And luckily, I survived last week.  I thought it would be fast since I had three midterms back-to-back.  It wasn't. 

But it's over.

Last week was horrible for writing, though.  I was uber focused on midterms and I looked at writing - for the first time in a while - as a job.  I didn't do any this week.  Yesterday was a day I still had to go to school despite being completely burned out in order to start the learning process in preparation for finals all over again.

But I started writing again.  And it was like a breath of fresh air.

Tonight, my friend and I are going to Disneyland for Mickey's Haunted Halloween Party.  It's been planned since the beginning of October, like a present for suffering through midterms.  I'm really, really excited.

And the cherry on top?  The Ducks broke a 3-game losing streak last night, beating Minnesota 3 to 2.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Girling out

I am such a girl.

And I love it.

I grew up as a tomboy.  I played soccer and my friends were pretty much guys and I never wore dresses or skirts unless I was attending something formal.

I like to think of myself now as a feminine tomboy.  I still love jeans, but I realize my legs look nice in dresses and skirts and I'm addicted to boots and eyeliner makes my eyes pop.  (Although, I do digress, unless I'm going out with my friends, I totally forgo makeup.  I'm just too darn lazy.)

Remember how I told you about that hockey charity event I'm going to?  Well, it's coming up.  Like, soon.  And I have to be a girl.  It's a cocktail party, after all.  As such, I ordered my shoes from (which you can see here) early because I need to break in the shoes and, you know, make sure I can walk in them.


I also bought makeup, and, okay, I totally girled out.  I was at Target and was bombarded with cheap but high-end makeup.  I bought everything I needed for the night (including three brushes for eyeshadow) for $22.  (My shoes were just less that $20.)  The makeup is e.l.f. by the way.  The website is here if you're interested.

Finally, I found the hairstyle I'm going to attempt.

Note that I said attempt.

Last thing I need to get are earrings.

As things start coming together, I'm getting more and more excited.  When do I ever get a chance to dress up like some kind of cynical, closet-romantic Cinderella off to a ball filled with hockey players?  Um, never.

So I'm going all out, and that means girling out too.

I'll let you know how my progress goes.  I am planning on practicing the hairstyle and the makeup before the actual day of the event.  You know me; I am a perfectionist after all.  But I'm even excited about the practicing.

Because I love being a girl and doing girly things.  While still talking about hockey, of course.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hey you

Yeah, you.

I just wanted to remind you that you're important.  And beautiful.  And the guy/girl you're crushing on does notice you, but you overthink too much and try to talk yourself out of hope to protect your heart.

But guess what?  The heart was built for this kind of pain.  I've learned that my heart is one of the most reliable, crazy, and spontaneous organs I have (and seems to have a fighting brother-sister relationship with my head.  Why can't they ever agree?).  It gets beat up.  Like, a lot.  But it's still in there, beating, waiting for The One to walk into my life.  (My head still doesn't believe in this romanticism, but my heart is waning on it.)

It hopes.

My mind, it tries to keep me focused on what's really plausible.

I'm ashamed to say that the past year or so, I've been leaning more on my mind.  My heart's been through the ringer and I want to protect it from the excruciating pain of disappointment.

But my heart doesn't need nor does it want that protection.  It wants the opportunity to take a chance, and if it hurts, well then it hurts.  It doesn't matter. 

My mind likes to be in control.  My heart?  Not so much.  It lives to be out of control.  And for someone as organized as I am, this is scary.  Letting go, giving my heart the reigns, terrifies me.  But I think I'm ready to start taking chances again.

Which means that I need a little reassurance.  A confidence boost, if you will.  Then, as I kept thinking about it, I realized we all need pick-me-ups.

So you - yes, you.

You're beautiful.  And funny.  And smart.  And talented.  You are perfect.  You are going to be okay in life.  The world is a better place because YOU are in it.  And before you ask, yes, I truly believe anything in life is possible.  You just have to let your heart take over in order to start believing it yourself.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Taking a break

I should apologize for the lack of updates these past couple of weeks.  They've been incredibly hectic, thanks to midterms next week and me getting over being sick.  I've barely read for fun, barely written anything.  It's pretty much school, school, school.

And that's great... until it isn't.

Looking on the bright side, as I try to do, I needed this break from my creative side.  I needed to focus on school until I simply couldn't anymore.

Because I didn't force myself to write, when I started writing again, the words flowed from my mind to my pen to the sheet of paper. I got new ideas that I didn't know I needed until I received them.  They fit with my story perfectly.

It's scary to take a break.  I understand completely.  You feel like you're lazy or you're giving up or that writing has fallen to the wayside and you're not sure you'll ever get it back to being a priority.  But everyone needs a break from everything sometimes.  And with that break comes inspiration and a renewed enthusiasm for writing.

So take a break.  Calm down.  Watch TV.  Listen to music.  Take a walk.  Study.  (And study, and study.)  Go to a hockey game.  (Might I suggest the Ducks game tonight against the Dallas Stars at 7PM?  Anyone?  Anyone?)  Then, when the time comes, and it will and you'll know, write.  Because once you start up again, you might not stop.

And that's the best feeling in the world for any writer.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Music Monday

1)  blink-182's "All of This."  I've mentioned this song before, but seriously, I cannot get enough of it.  I got the CD a few weeks ago and I've listened to this song nearly one hundred times.  It's a simple song and the verses tend to repeat, but you can feel what the singer's going through.  That, paired with Tom Delonge's bridge of "Use me, Holly, come on and use me" gets me every time.

2)  Demi Lovato's "Unbroken."  This song is just perfection.  It's edgy but hopeful, strong but vulnerable.  You can hear the power and determination in her voice.  I love it because when she gets to the chorus and tells her guy, "I'm gonna love you like I've never been broken," I want to sound as sure as she is about falling in love and not worrying about if he's there to catch her or not.  It's inspiring but still such a great song to dance to.

3)  Lady Antebellum's "As You Turn Away."  This song is just heartbreaking.  I've listened to a lot of sad songs since Goatboy and I broke up, and this is one of the few that manages to capture what I felt during that time but in a way that makes it relatable to everyone.  My heart always clenches hearing Hillary's voice crack when she sings, "The door is closing and I just can't change it..."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunshine Sunday

1)  Hockey.  I know, I know, this one's obvious but after yesterday's game (triple overtime, an amazing winning goal from Bobby Ryan), I'm even more excited for games than ever.  Friday is the Ducks home opener and then Sunday is Corey Perry Night in honor of him winning the Hart Trophy!

2)  Music.  Evanescence has their first album out in five years.  I love Amy Lee's haunting voice.  It'll be interesting to see where where the primarily new (besides Amy) band takes their music and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

3)  I get my dress back.  Remember the dress I'm wearing to the charity event I was tellig you about?  I had to take it in to a tailor's in order to get cups so I wouldn't fall out (if you know what I mean).  Once I get the dress back, all I need for the event is makeup, jewelry, and shoes!

What about you?  Anything you're excited for?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Unconventional ships

We all have 'em: our favorite ships.  It's one of the reasons we watch a particular show, they inspire us to write numerous fanfiction, and, if the ship is unconventional, the mere chemistry between the two characters is the soul reason we shippers keep our hope even though it's most likely never going to happen.  Below are my favorite ships, some unconventional, some not, in no particular order:

1)  Penny and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.  I'm all about opposites attracting and balance, and these two have that in spades.  Plus, the undeniable chemistry between the two actors is just sizzling.  I know Sheldon's supposed to be above romantic entanglements, but he's still a man, and if anyone can convert him - however tentatively - it would be Penny.  Plus, please tell me that you too saw how he looked at her in the pilot?

2)  Jeff and Annie from Community.  When I first started shipping this couple, I'll admit it was a pipe dream.  Older guy, younger girl is rarely portrayed realistically on television despite the fact that age gaps do happen in life.  The chemistry between Joel McHale and Alison Brie, like the actors above, is undeniable.  Instead of denying it like the producers and writers of The Big Bang Theory, Dan Harmon, creator of Community, decided to use it.  And now, as crazy and as unconventional as it seems, Jeff and Annie is canon.  See?  Dreams do come true.

3)  Booth and Brennan from Bones.  I know, I know.  Totally canon.  But I love those two together.  They just make me so incredibly happy.  It'll be interesting to see how the (SPOILER ALERT) baby will affect them.  I can't wait!

4)  House and Thirteen from House, MD.  Never going to happen, I know.  The chemistry is great, and out of all the potential people House could be with, I seriously think Thirteen would never ask him to change and accept him for who he is.  (It should be noted that in the first couple of seasons, I shipped House and Cameron, but then she got all crazy and I just went, "No.")

5)  Sookie and Eric from True Blood.  Please don't tell me I have to explain this one.  Seriously, I get burned just watching the two of them interact.

Bonus 6)  Gibbs and Abby from NCIS.  I don't really watch this show, but if any couple defines unconventional, it's these two, but I can't help it.  I love them.  They, too, have chemistry. 

Obviously chemistry is big for me.  So are the looks that pass between the actors (characters?) that might or might not be on purpose but are nonetheless there.  Logic has nothing to do with it, though I think I could give a good argument for all of these couples about why they should be together.  For me, though, it's more of a gut reaction, that these two should be together.  And I just go with my gut, more so than with my head.  Which explains a lot.

What are your favorite television ship and why?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fictionpress Friday

Tip #4:  Write a good first chapter

Catchy title?  Check.

Piquing summary?  Check.

It's time to write your first chapter.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you do so:

1)  Good grammar and spelling is a must!   I know that Fictionpress doesn't have a screening process, but you're representing you and your work.  To be taken seriously, make sure your work is the best it can be.  I understand there might be an instance where time is short and you can't edit it.  I always write a little note apologizing for my errors just to let my readers know I'm aware of them. 

Also, I understand that once you finish a chapter - especially the first one - you're super excited to post it.  I've felt this and I've done it.  But please, wait.  Sleep on the chapter for at least a day so your eyes will be clear and focused and able to spot any errors than you might editing the same day as writing it.

2)  Introduce your couple, or, if there isn't romance in your story,your main characters to your readers.  We don't need to know everything, but we need to know enough in order to care about them.  If we care about them, more than likely we'll invest in the story and follow it to its completion.

3)  End on a cliff-hanger.  As a reader, I hate it, but as a writer I know my readers will come back to find out what happened (especially if I've made my characters likeable, and if I update my story regularly <-- more on that later!). 

4)  Introduce the conflict of the story.  It doesn't have to be detailed, but we need to be aware of potential problems the MC will face.  It goes hand in hand with caring about the characters.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Gary-Stus

I have a confession: I still watch Disney movies.

As a blonde, I tend to gravitate towards other blonde heroines in order to find a physical similarity of which I can relate. 

But I'm not drawn towards the blonde Disney Princesses (Rapunzel doesn't count because SPOILER ALERT she was originally a brunette.  I was not happy with that surprise.)  Anyways, I digress.  The reason I'm not drawn to Cinderella or Aurora or Snow White (besides the fact that she has raven-colored hair) is because, quite frankly, their princes are kind of lame.  And if a girl falls for a lame prince, then her whole character is suspect.

Belle and Pochanhontas and Jasmine and Mulan (I know, I know, she's technically not a princess.  But I've met her more times at Disneyland's Princess Parade than Pochahontas.  In fact, I still haven't met Pochahontas, and I frequent Disneyland pretty often!) have great male opposites because while they're imperfect, they're likeable.

(I know that Ariel has been left off the list and I'll tell you why: while I adore her character and while I admit Eric is very nice to look at, he's clueless.  Oh, and I'm not looking at princesses after Mulan.)

Aladdin is a "street rat."  There's no way he can ever give Jasmine the life she's use to.  But he fights for her, first by lying to her and claiming to be a prince and then literally, against Jafar.

John Smith is ambitious.  He likes adventure and exploring and immersing himself into new things.  That curiosity eventually gets him in trouble, subsequently forcing him back home, parting himself from Pochahontas forever.  (I know that the second movie and real life differ, but I don't care.  I'm in denial.) 

Shang is prideful but fair, an excellent military man.  He's disciplined and cautious, strict and blunt.  But he believes in Mulan, even when the safest bet is to go against her, a woman.

Beast has a temper.  He yells and throws things and he's arrogant and selfish.  But he learns.  He saves Belle's life and lets her father go, wanting her happiness before his own.

Obviously these men aren't perfect.  But that's what makes them real and interesting and men we girls would fall in love with.

That's the secret with writing heroes.  Make them men you'd want to fall in love with (or want to be friends with).  You know when you first start dating a guy and he has this annoying habit that you find endearing?  That's an imperfection.  Everyone has them, and sometimes (let's face it - most of the time) those are imperfections we fall in love with.

Perfect guys are boring.  Lame.  They have nothing to learn, which makes them stagnant. 

Make them real because ultimately it's the real guys we fall in love with.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunshine Sunday

1)  The Ducks arrived in Finland safe and sound!  Tuesday, they have an exhibition game in Helsinki and then their season opener Friday in Finland against the Sabres and Saturday in Sweden against the Rangers.

2)  South Park and House, M.D. start back up!  I love those shows (I really am hoping House steps it up!)

3)  It's October!  This is one of my favorite months (after November, of course!), and even though I live in the stagnant Southern California, the sunsets are beautiful, the trees change, the leaves fall...  I love it.  Plus, there's Halloween and Halloween at both Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm (traditions me and Jeshicka will not give up!).  The only downside is that all of my midterms are this month as well.  Eh.  We all have to take them.  Oh, and best of all, hockey season officially starts!

4)  I found my dress for the Ducks charity event!  It's navy blue and a couple of inches from my knees from Victoria's Secret.  Now if only tickets would come on sale...  (Here)

5)  My mom's getting a new television installed this week.  It's better than our new one and she seems to be really excited about it, so I'm happy for her.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A mixture of contradictions

I am obviously a girl, a young woman, a lady, or whatever politically correct term you might call a twenty-one year old female.

When I was a kid, I was a tomboy.  I hung out with boys in elementary school and played six years of soccer.

Then, my body went through puberty   You know how that goes.  Still, I was a tomboy.

And then I moved.  I made friends that were girls and got clothes that fit my body - including bras.  By thirteen, I was shaving my legs and by eighth grade, I wanted to buy thongs in order to erase the dreaded panty line.  Of course, Mom said no.  Apparently, I was too young.

Then high school.  I'd always liked boys.  My first-ever crush was on Shaggy from Scooby Doo and my first crush on a real person was (is, let's be honest) Jim Carrey.  High school introduced me to lots of boys and gave me a good reason for wearing tight jeans.

I got my ears pierced my sophomore year of high school a couple of months before my homecoming dance at Claire's.  I was happy it didn't hurt, that I didn't see a needle (for whatever reason, I do not like needles.  At all.), and that the process was maybe five minutes if that.

Of course, I was still somewhat of a tomboy, and as such, really didn't wear earrings after my six weeks and homecoming dance was finished.  My ears closed up.  It didn't particularly bother me because I don't really wear earrings anyway.

Then college hit.  I dated Goatboy.  We broke up.  I started at a university.  During this time, I started getting more feminine.  I started buying dresses (currently, I'm obsessed with dresses) and even wear them occasionally, along with pencil-skirts, heels, and cute flats.  I actually do my hair when I go out rather than run a brush through it and leave it down.  I shop at Forever 21.

But.  As you all well know, I am obsessed with hockey.  I watch every game.  If the Ducks are playing but the game isn't televised, I'll listen to it on the radio.  I watch pre and post-interviews and I try to go to as much of the charity events as I can.

Which brings me to the point of this little blog: there happens to be a charity event the Ducks host every year that allows me to dress up (cocktail attire which means super-cute dress) yet immerse myself with hockey.

Which is why, yesterday, I got my ears pierced again.  Not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous, but besides a quick pinch, there was still no needle, no pain, and in five minutes, I was out.  I'm preparing for the event.  I want to look elegant and classy and beautiful.  I know that when people see me, they won't take me seriously.  They might think I'm there with my family (I'm not) or that I'm there to flirt with hot hockey players (I plead the Fifth on that one), but really, I want to have conversations with people who care about the sport as much as I do.  I love my friends, but they know nothing about hockey.  One-sided conversations about something you love gets tiring after a while when all you want to talk about is how great Dan Ellis is.  But more than that, I want to support the Anaheim Ducks Foundation and be a girl while still doing something in relation to hockey.  Of course, as usual, I will be underestimated.  But I'll prove them wrong.  I always do.

I'm really looking forward to looking and feeling quite feminine while talking seriously and knowledgeably about something so masculine.

(Speaking of hockey, the Ducks are on a plane right now to Finland in order to open their season.  I wish them the best of luck, and a safe and super-fun journey!)