Monday, May 31, 2010

Making Sense

I went to the beach over the weekend.
This morning, my mom and I were sitting (well, technically I was lying down) on the sand and talking.
Something came up that we were arguing about. She took it as an attack, and I told her that I was just trying to understand, because what she was saying wasn't making much sense to me.
She angrily told me that not everything makes sense.
I told her that everything can make sense- we just haven't discovered the explanations behind everything yet.

She said "Does it make sense for millions of people to die in Haiti?" (her implied answer was no, of course.)
I said "Well, yeah, actually. There was an earthquake. Of course people were going to die. It wouldn't have made sense if they hadn't."
She ignored me and said "Does war make sense?"
And I was going to say yes, there are logical reasons to go to war, even if I/we/some people don't think those reasons are sufficient to make it worthwhile, some people do find them acceptable.
But then I realized that neither of those things would make sense to someone who expects the world to be perfect, or thinks the world should be. (Notice I say "thinks the world should be" as opposed to "wants the world to be.")

Thinking/expecting the world to be perfect is a problem. It makes the person angry when things disobey that expectation. That may often be the reason behind the conflicts between my mom and I.
And I'm not saying I don't subconsciously expect/think the world should be perfect. Who doesn't?

Loads of things in the world don't make sense if the world is supposed to be perfect. That leads me to believe that it isn't.
Extrapolate from that what you wish.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Fantastic Day

Today I told thirty elementary schoolers that a writer spends most of their time sitting in a little room trying to resist the urge to go online, typing every now and then, and talking to his or herself. And in the case of Cory Doctorow, in their underwear.
They laughed at me.
They tend to talk a lot.

Today was the last meeting of the elementary school's writing club. We will probably continue next year.
Today's prompt was "Something mysterious happens during EOGs..." (EOGs are End of Grade Tests, for you home-schoolers who may or may not know). That prompt generated the best stories I've heard from them all year.

It was loads of fun.

Speaking of which, my day so far has been fantastic.


I did better on my fitness testing in gym than I thought I would.
I got a better grade on my math test than I thought I would.
I got to look up sci-fi magazines and agents in Creative Writing
Lunch was lunch. Which means it was good.
And then there was band.
And then I got to hang out with my best friend for awhile.
And then I went to writing club.
And then I got home where my other best friends (the real Matthew from "The Adventures of the Magic Bed," and his brother James) had just arrived.
And then I did some writing while talking to them.
And then I ate pizza.
And now I'm writing this.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On Reading

"The beauty of reading (is that) you can do whatever the hell you want and it doesn’t matter at all. You can shut the book and return to normal life at any time. So many more things can be experienced through books than would be possible, practical, or legal in reality."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow (a science fiction author) came to our school today to talk to us about his new book For The Win, as well as answer questions about stuff.
He's the 2nd author I've met in the past 4 days. That's pretty good.
He talked a lot about the human tendency to copy others, and his experiences in the writing world, and other such things. Also gold-farmers, for games such as World of Warcraft. I like World of Warcraft, but I don't play it anymore, and why is a long and very complicated story. But it was very fun while it lasted.
His books are available for free on his website, which I am going to go to now.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Red Pyramid

The new TARDIS is starting to grow on me.

I started reading The Red Pyramid with Emily while we were at Lake Gaston. We took turns reading aloud to each other, and are now at around page 184. It's fantastic. Possibly better than the Percy Jackson books, possibly not.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Meeting John Flanagan

Today I met John Flanagan, the author of the Ranger's Apprentice books. He traveled all the way here from Australia, and is still trying to recover from jet-lag. He also invited all of us to come over to Australia some time, because "we're one of the places in the world who likes Americans."

He talked about the origins of the books (he wrote them for his son Michael, then around 10, now in his 30s. They started out as short stories, but since then he's based the books around them), he talked about his own personal history in the writing industry, shared some anecdotes, and then answered questions.

I met a boy in line (he was maybe 9 or so) who had read all 9 of the books (9 isn't going to be published in American until October). He didn't seem to like talking to me. So I went back to my place in line.

And I got 7 of these. Pretty sweet, yes? Book 1, The Ruins of Gorlan was left at home, because the rest of them were in a bag because Emily had been borrowing them and brought them all back at once.

My dad said something about how I was a writer, and he asked me if I'd finished a book yet, and I told him yes, but I was still editing, and he gave me some advice/support. It was pretty great.

There are currently 10 books (10 is going to be published in Australia around when 9 is published here), he's editing the 11th, and there's definitely going to be a 12th. There might be more, but he doesn't have any ideas for them yet. And (and this is the part I love), he doesn't write the books just for the sake of continuing the series/making more money. He writes more only when he has an additional story to tell.

And they're making a movie of The Ruins of Gorlan. It was supposed to start filming last September, but got delayed for some reason.

Me & Emily are leaving for Lake Gaston tomorrow morning to stay with her grandparents at their lake house. It's going to be great. I had a fantastic time last time I went. Very little (meaning none, or nearly so) writing will be done by either of us, but lots of fun will be had. And I might convince her cousin (if he comes) to read Ranger's Apprentice.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson: The Truth

1. Read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. And also read the Ranger's Apprentice series. Both are absolutely fantastic.

2. As a result of my reading the first of those, I'm listening to a podcast episode about it, which made this thought occur to me:

Have you ever had something that involves someone else, and you haven't told them, and it occurs to you to tell them, even though you know you won't, you go and open a new email and address it to them and stare at the blank email for awhile?
(This is relating to a quote about truth in WGWG.)
I haven't. But that thought occurred to me today, and I found it very appealing. Why is that? Why bother, if I knew that I'd never actually write it, much less send it?
Is it because the person not sending the email has the power to provide or withhold information? And we like that power?
Or is it because "Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia." (Sarah Green)?
The truth has power, obviously, so maybe we like wrapping that power up in a little ball and holding it close.
Or maybe we're just cowards and like the thought of telling the given person the given thing.

There I go with the generalizations of the global population again. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Wow, I've been posting a lot lately.

But I have good reason this time, instead of just being bored and in possession of a topic.

Tonight I finished the first complete editing of Clockwork. Of course, as you know, different parts are in different stages of revision.

But the next stage of the operation is to grab all of my sticky notes from the depths of my binder and go through it again, obeying the Notes.

This writing magazine I get has a list of agencies and what they want in each issue, so those should be useful come July...

And unfortunately, I'm starting Driver's Ed the week of the 23rd (of June), so that'll take away time from working before the Deadline of Getting One Free Copy.

And I changed the font/spacing of Clockwork to Times New Roman double-spaced to see what would happen page-count-wise (since my Creative Writing teacher says that one page in TNR, DS, 12-point font is worth about one page in a published book), and it came out to slightly over 300. That's a decent length.

Now to read a bit of Ender's Shadow before going to bed. My god, I love that book. I suggest that you all read it ASAP, but after Ender's Game.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Important Question

I'm posting this as a new post because I realized the other one was so long that none of you would make it to the end. And this bit's the important bit.

A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION that I may or may not listen to your feedback on:

This November, for NaNoWriMo, should I write The Family Business like I was planning, or should I start over on Ishaera (have I even mentioned that to you guys?), or start over on When The Sun Was In Your Hair?

Brief summary of each:

Ishaera is fantasy. It's about a 17 year-old princess who is half human, half sea-elf. She also happens to be The Sea Storm Personified. She, with the help of her six handmaidens (some of these may be changed to men), plus her boyfriend (although they don't use that word, of course) Eodred, who completes the set of seven, must fight the (insert name of Antagonists From The South) alongside the human army of the island country Ishaera. I started writing this during math class in 6th grade. It's pretty far along (halfway?), but I need to start over because it ended up being very similar to Stuart Hill's The Cry of the Icemark.

When the Sun Was In Your Hair mostly takes place inside the main character (Rose Trendafil)'s head, which sounds weird, and it is, but it's not as weird as it sounds. She meets her true love in a dream. He says that he needs to go on a journey, but will come back at some point. He doesn't know when. Now, since it's a dream, she doesn't know whether or not to believe it, but she hopes. In a different dream, she meets a guy named Zach, who is horribly in lust with her. She must use her magickal powers (did I mention that she is a novice, self-taught witch?) to break his Claim on her, in order for her love (Draven) to be able to return to her. When Zach suddenly escapes from her mind into the real world...things get worse. This also needs to be completely rewritten. From the beginning.

Now CHOOSE ON PAIN OF DEATH. (That phrase doesn't make much sense, does it? No, not really.)

Y'know what? I think I'll make a little poll about this and stick it in the sidebar for your convenience.

Music & Writing

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Oh, wait, that's been used already. Right. Let me try again.

A long time ago, in a bookstore not so far away...

A group of people of or near the age of 14 were gathered around a table. Plus their facilitator. They
 were discussing how each of them had more than one outlet for their creativity, the first being writing (else they would not be there), and the second being theater, art, or music. The second is often tied into the first in some way, shape, or form, as well as functioning on its own. Some of them write scripts to supplement their interest in theater. Some of them draw while listening to others read aloud. Some of them listen to music while they write.

We are allowed (and encouraged) to listen to our iPods during Creative Writing, since sometimes that helps. Even outside of class, I frequently have a window open to my favorite band's MySpace, or have my headphones in.

But what exactly is the relationship between the words in our ears and the words on our paper (or screen)?
Does listening to music that fits the mood of our story help us to write it better? Or is it just the fact that it is music? It's well known that music as a generality is important to humans, throughout history.

In class, I'll often listen to lyric-less music (for instance, I have five lengthy thunderstorm/rain tracks), or I'll put my iPod on shuffle and skip past the ones that are distracting. Sometimes I do choose music that fits my subject matter. But not always.

When I was plotting The Family Business two weeks ago (I think), I listened to the thunderstorm tracks. Not because it was good background sound, but because the opening image of the story is Jake, sitting on his bed, reading while thunder shakes the house.

If I were to continue with that sort of correlation, what would the music be for Clockwork? I've no idea. Back when I was working on When The Sun Was In Your Hair (which is so bad, for a number of reasons, that I don't even want to think about it), I'd listen to, well, a song by the Blibbering Humdingers called "When the Sun Was In Your Hair." (Strangely enough, I'd come up with the plot significantly before I heard the song, but the plot happened to match up with the lyrics quite well). But The Clockwork Experiment?

Well, I don't listen to mood-appropriate music on that one. I listen to ALL CAPS. The music (for those of you who didn't click on the link and listen to some of it, shame on you) is energetic, electronic, "bubbly," and generally not mood-fitting to pretty much anything I've written. The lyrics are also really, really catchy, which usually results in me singing along. Except for when I'm writing. Sometimes I do sing, but I still remain intensely focused. It blends into the back of my mind, giving me familiar external stimuli to shut out all the random and erratic sounds of my house. It works absurdly well.

But I don't know why.
So what is you guys' relationship between your writing and music? What do you listen to when you work? Or do you not listen to anything? And why does ALL CAPS work so well for me?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another Quote

This showed up in my Google Reader a few minutes ago. It's a quote from John Green's book Paper Towsn, which is one of my very favorite books ever. And once again, it relates.

“You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpunctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend - but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you. My parents have a shit ton of black Santas, but that’s okay. They’re them. I’m too obsessed with a reference website to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.”

Quote of the Day

I was checking my Google Reader today, and this quote appeared there, and since it relates to my post on philosophy, I thought I'd post it here.

"Admiration, n.: Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves." - Ambrose Bierce

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Theories About River Song

Instead of talking about last weekend's Doctor Who episode, I'm going to share with you the two theories about River Song my dad and I came up with this week.

1. River Song is the Doctor.

Problems with this:

  • She's a woman (and we've seen no evidence that time lords switch genders upon regeneration)
  • Why does she call the Doctor "sweetheart" if she's him?
  • Where is her TARDIS?
  • She says she killed a man, who sounds like the Doctor.
  • Why is she an archaeologist? The Doctor "points and laughs at archaeologists."
Things that support this:

  • The Doctor says (to Father Octavian?) "That's her diary," and she says "Our diary."
  • She says she killed a man, who sounds like the Doctor, and we know that regeneration is a lot like dying.
  • She's "Doctor River Song." Cover-up?
  • It explains why she knows Secret Time Lord Code and how to fly the TARDIS.

2. River is the TARDIS in human form.

Problems with this:

  • How did she become human?
  • Is that even likely?
  • Where's the Doctor?

Things that support this:

  • It explains why she knows Secret Time Lord Code and how to fly the TARDIS.
  • It makes sense for her to call the Doctor "sweetheart."
  • She killed a man, who sounds like the Doctor, which explains where he is.

Thoughts? Which is more likely? What are your theories?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Which I Get Very Philosophical

Do you ever say "No one cares" or "What are you talking about? Everyone  loves (chocolate/bacon/cheesecake/other food here)"? Or something of that sort?
I do. All the time. I'll probably do it within this post accidentally. (I almost just typed "everyone does," but then I caught myself).
Most people do.
Of course, there are exceptions to everyone liking bacon, and no one caring. In fact, whenever I say that, usually there are people who care quite a lot.
But the point is: why do we do that? Don't we move past that stage at some point in our childhood? I am of course referring to the stage where we are the only "real" thing in the universe. "I can't see them, so they can't see me." The stage where we only write stories in which the main character is ourselves. Now don't get me wrong. I quite often have stories in which my main characters are similar to me. But at least now I (we) try to distance ourselves from them. We give them different names, for one thing. We invent characters for them to be friends with that don't actually exist. But at the same time, they are our mirrors, to a point. Fun house mirrors, that distort us enough that we can ignore the fact that we're looking at ourselves. I am, of course, referring only to myself, and using "we" because I'm the only real person in the universe. Sorry. You are all fake. :)

But maybe you identify with what I'm saying.

But enough about characters. I don't want to talk about them. I want to talk about people.

Quote: "Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real."

I know you guys are real. And you know I'm real (well, I hope you do). Theoretically. But saying statements like those at the beginning is proof that we don't. Not really. This is why we're surprised by people's actions. We forget to imagine them as complex human beings like ourselves, instead of simple robots following simple programs. That should really be a theme in Clockwork, actually. Robots would make a good metaphor for something like that. (I hate when I get good ideas like that that require enormous amounts of editing to integrate).

So what if I propose this:

The goal of the individual is to, over the course of life, come to understand others as independent like-beings, as opposed extensions of the self, and to love them anyway.

Why do we get mad when people don't give us/let us do what we want? Is it because we can't understand why that person doesn't want us to have it? They are us, after all.

This post is going in a very different direction than what I originally intended.

Do we get angry only when we are confronted with the fact that someone is not us?

I was watching Furturama, and Bender got a sex-change to be a FemBot in order to win gold medals. A celebrity robot fell in love with him/her, and kept saying how he/she "understood the male mind." Did he love him/her so much because he was a mind he could understand in a female body? Do we really only love ourselves (at first, anyway)?

So is learning to unconditionally love someone different from you a sign of maturation? Or is it perfectly fine to love someone who happens to be rather similar to yourself? I happen to lean toward the second, but maybe the first is true as well. That's why I'm asking.

My, I'm being philosophical today. I even tackled "the meaning of life." Worship me in all of my glory, for I am the only True Being in this universe, and you are all reflections of Me. So love Me, for how can you not? You are of Me. MUHAHAHAHAHA. That sounded like an attack on Christianity. Sorry if I offended anyone. I didn't mean for it to be that way. Yet I don't erase it. Why? Because maybe I did mean it. It's hard to know.

Oh, and what if someone hates themselves? What then? Does hating the world really just mean you hate yourself?

I mean, this is the main reason my mom gets mad at me. I refuse to "be her" in a given situation, and so get in trouble. So when we talk about whether or not we want a clone, and I say "no, I don't want a clone," maybe I do want a clone. But then again, if there was another me, we'd have to compete for copyrights, and who has to do what, and role in society/family, and romance (because we'd naturally fall in love with the same person, since we'd be the same person) maybe I don't want a clone. **such a quandry**

I'm going to go to bed now, like I should have awhile ago.