When Super Junior Came to Town

(Okay, I just need to get this out of my system before I get back to writing again. I’m experiencing what my friend Liz calls “concert withdrawals”, so just let me indulge my inner fangirl before I return to Neverland. Promise I’ll get the words out again!)

So I’ve been too busy fangirling this past week to blog, which I know is a very sorry excuse.

Geddit? SORRY? Haha.

But Super Show 6 only comes by once! And pricey concert ticket aside, it was completely worth it. So I just had to drop everything and go catch Super Junior live (for one day only!) when they came to town last Saturday. SS6 Singapore is the second last show before they wrap up their world tour. Plus, it’s the last before a couple of key members enlist (trying not to think about that because NOOOOOOO).

So this concert noob went to see SJ.

People selling official idol merchandise around the concert venue. I got the SS6 jersey and varsity jacket (because, you know, you always need clothes)!

The concert tickets for SS6 sold out in 10 minutes! I had to log in at noon sharp to snatch up mine. And here you can see why.

A sea of sapphire blue lights, the colour of the fandom

My bae.

 

Yes, they cosplayed Elsa in various forms – just one of the crazy thing this group does.
Everyone remembered to mount the rotating platform this time! *claps*
Hae was right in front of us!

(The following images are from SMTOWN’s official website)

 

Baby looks nervous

It’s so different watching them dance live. Hae’s moves look a lot more powerful in real life than on the screen!
Forever rebel, Kim Heechul
I’m wearing this jersey to sleep, just so you know

Thanks for the memories, SJ! You completely SLAYED. I only wish the concert had been longer, because 3.5 hours with you guys just isn’t enough!

What was YOUR first concert experience like?? :0)

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Can you tell I’m on procrastination mode?

UGH. Thanks to my general laziness and obsession with pretty faces, I failed to come up with a short story for this week. I keep vowing to get off Tumblr and Pinterest, but damn those pretty things. Namely, this:

 
 

Ugh, you’re a life ruiner. I hope you know that.

Although I wasn’t COMPLETELY idle. I’m almost done rewriting Blood Promise! Added one major character, dug into one of the main ones and ripped out his guts, and thickened the plot. All that’s left to do now is rewrite part of the climax and denouement, and trim and tighten the entire manuscript.

Hopefully, I can complete all that in a week. I’ve dragged this on for too long. Damn distractions.

Promise – PROMISE – I’ll finish up the rewrites in a week. And then after that I can work on some short stories!

 

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And now, please allow me some time and space to unleash my inner fangirl.

SUPER JUNIOR IS BAAAAAACK! With their 7th album! After two years! Much excited! Can’t handle! Will implode in minutes!

Yes, these are the dorks I’m in love with.

Now that their leader is back, 7th album let’s go!

 

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Speaking of fangirl, I’ve finally gotten started on Rainbow Rowell’s book.

It’s been on my to-read list for the longest time, but there were just so many books in the way. Please don’t disappoint, Fangirl!

Hope you’re having a lovely week! :0)

(Also, promise: longer post next week!)

9 awkward moments with that office eye candy

1. Weird eye contact

When he walks past your table and you’re secretly like

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But then he suddenly looks your way and you’re like

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Wait … is that a smile? Should I smile back?

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Too late.

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2. The water cooler walk

Is he heading for the water cooler now? Damn, I’m thirsty too.

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3. Facebook stalking

Nothing?! Why is he so mysterious?

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4. Lunch break

He’s lunching at his table alone again! Should you ask him out for lunch?

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… Yeah, just a thought.

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5. At the cafeteria

Oh, shit. He’s there getting lunch. Turn back or say hi?

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6. When you’re lunching in

Do I have food down my shirt? Oh crap, please don’t let him turn around when I’m wolfing down this chicken.

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7. At office parties

Some cake for you? Not you. You.

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8. Lift encounters

You’re in the same lift as him! Enclosed space! BUT. He’s with a friend and they’re talking about some trip he just came back from. Should you join in or hope for this unending lift ride to end?

9. Klutz alert!

When you think you’re all

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That’s the moment you end up like this

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And he TOTALLY SAW.

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Crushes are much more effort than they’re worth sometimes.

a few things before I fly off

Ugh, packing. Travelling would be a lot more fun if we didn’t have to care about the nitty-gritty details like how many pairs of socks to bring or whether we’ve bought travel-sized cleansers or how much money to exchange blabbity blah blah blah.

Anyway, I’ll be gone until 29 March, so be prepared for photo-dumping when I get around to blogging on the 31st!

And so I shall leave you with these happy things:

Plus, you get to swim ALL DAY. Heaven.
Speaking of whom,

Now you know what I do when I’m trying to put off writing the novel.

It is that easy.
And in celebration of finally finishing the final final FINAL (no, really – FINAL) draft of Until Morning, here’s something that my characters kept going on about:
The soft colours at the corners of the world

The exact words were:

“There are times when all magic in the
world seems possible: in dreams, in a story, a painting, in the hour between
night and day when the light at the corners of the world appears the softest. I
call them the soft hours. They are ones that you cling on to long after you
wake up, long after you grow up.”

~ Lexi, Until Morning

In related news, I’m starting to query agents again so FINGERS CROSSED!!!

I really wish for Until Morning to reach you guys. I loved writing it,
and it would be the – sorry for the cliche – biggest dream come true if
it got published on an international platform.

 
Pink makes everything look better

And finally, but most importantly,

Have a great weekend guys! I’ll be back when I get back :0)

the immediate reading list and writers on writing

On this month’s reading list, there’s:

1. Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce, which I’m currently reading.

I think it’s safe to say I’m finally, properly excited about her book! Three chapters in and it’s proving to be bookshelf-worthy.

A gorgeous cover doesn’t hurt, either!

 

Sure, there are wolves in this one too (what is it with Jackson Pearce and wolves? 3 books of hers I’ve read and even The Little Mermaid retelling has something to do with wolves), but since Cold Spell is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, the imagery in this one is rich – roses and snow and icy-blue eyes and pale blonde hair.

And now I have frost and roses and the snow queen on my mind. I had to look for images of them on Pinterest.

Pearce’s prose gets better with each book, too. There is tension in every scene and sentence, particularly with the mysterious new girl, Mora, who threatens to steal Kai’s heart. I love the relationship between the main character, Ginny, and her childhood best friend/lover Kai. They are best friends first, lovers second – which is what makes the stakes even higher when Mora enters the picture and Kai begins to forget Ginny.

LOVE LOVE LOVE! It’s taken me four books to finally get excited about Jackson Pearce’s writing, but – don’t flay me for the cliche! – better late than never.

2. Another Andersen retelling currently on my reading list is Tinder by Sally Gardner.

It’s inspired by The Tinderbox, a short story by Anderson, so you KNOW it has to be good. Anderson’s fairytales are so lovely and rich – also slightly melancholic and dark – that any retelling would already have something beautiful to build on. Totally looking forward to reading this!

3. Tiger Lily, by Jodie Lynn Anderson

Peter Pan. Enough said.

4. Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve bought that book for ages, and planned to read it for even longer, but with so much urban fantasy in my diet lately, a good old contemporary YA a much needed respite.

5. Days of Blood and Starlight, by Laini Taylor

Okay. Technically, this shouldn’t be on this list, but since the FINAL INSTALLMENT IN THE TRILOGY, DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, IS COMING OUT IN APRIL (sorry, got too excited there) a re-read of the second book is required.

Don’t you just hate when books in a series take so long to be released you’ve pretty much forgotten what happened in the last book? I can’t remember how many series I’ve given up on because I couldn’t be bothered to re-read the last book to remember where the story left off.

But this one, this one I know will be entirely worth the re-read. The re-read itself is already a treat!

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Okay. Need. To. Stop. Gushing.

There are a lot more books on that reading list, but I don’t think I have time to talk about all 184 of them.

 

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Okay, confession time: it’s been almost a week since I last visited No Room in Neverland. What I’ve been doing in the meantime is polishing up other, completed manuscripts like Until Morning and, um, blogging, and um, reading and um, trying to write some flash fiction and watching videos like this on YouTube:

Well, you get the idea.

So to my writer friends (and myself) who are still wading through the first draft and in need of some motivation to press on,

Enjoy the weekend, guys! :0)

k-dramas: the winning formula (plus, your weekly mood-lifters!)

Despite my efforts to focus on writing Neverland, I finally decided to watch You Who Came from the Stars last week.

(Not that I’m validating my drama obsession, but I’ve found the more material I expose myself to – be it books or TV shows or music – the easier it is to coax the plot bunnies out, and the easier the words flow when I work on my stories. So I shall stick to this line of reasoning whenever I feel guilty about watching dramas when I could be writing. At least I’m not obsessively watching all the episodes in a day! Right? I totally pace myself – one episode a day – if only to make the show last longer.)

So it’s no secret that ever since Secret Garden,

I’ve been properly sold over by Korean dramas. I don’t watch a lot of them, though, just those that come highly recommended – and even then I don’t always follow through *cough* 49 Days *cough cough* Lie To Me.

But Secret Garden was INCREDIBLE. Thanks, Felicia, for recommending it! I am forever grateful.

It had a great story line: an arrogant CEO who, due to an fateful misunderstanding – falls in love with a poor stunt-woman?

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Toss in a narcissistic washed-out pop star:

A body switch (a plot device done to death, but so funny in the hands of scriptwriter Kim Eun Sook):

A traumatic repressed memory that links the two leads together dramatically and you get a recipe for an undeniably entertaining series.

Plus, it’s got one of the most beautiful soundtracks I’ve ever heard for a k-drama – perhaps even THE most beautiful:

And a very watchable cast … by which I mean:

Hyun Bin! ❤

And, okay, her too:

Ha Ji Won

And the dialogue is simply hysterical:

It was all SO ENTIRELY PERFECT that I wrote a script for EN3271 Advanced Playwriting influenced by the mood of Secret Garden, and a novel, Until Morning, that was – I hope! – as funny and bittersweet and dramatic and whimsical as the drama.

Don’t you just love stories that inspire you to write your own stories?

Anyway, after Secret Garden and Heirs, I hadn’t really found another drama that I HAD to follow, mostly because I’m picky when it comes to dramas (and wouldn’t you be, if you were going to spend hours watching an entire series?): is the cast watchable, are the characters layered, is the story cliched, is the dialogue snappy or funny or insightful? I’ve tried watching a few since Heirs, including Bel Ami, starring Jang Geun Suk, but got bored after two episodes.

You Who Came From the Stars, though, is funnier and more gripping than I’d expected. I thought it was completely ridiculous at first. A 400-year-old alien (yes, really – think Clark Kent instead of E.T.) who is stuck on Earth and is finally about to go back to his own planet, but then he falls for this narcissistic actress who reminds him of his first love and things get complicated?

But with a murder subplot to keep things moving and raise the stakes, I haven’t been able to extricate myself from the drama since episode 2!

Actual dialogue from the drama! The female character is a bit on the psychotic side.

I’m on episode 13 now, so no spoilers if you’ve watched the latest episodes already! I’ll have to start looking for the next drama to get sucked into, though.

Find another, that’s what!

Any other recommendations?

While we’re on the topic of the success formula of k-dramas, here’s another cogent breakdown.

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Also, I started reading Fathomless, by Jackson Pearce over the weekend.

And can I just say, I am SO in love with this book! I read her earlier novels, Sisters Red (Red Riding Hood retelling):

And Sweetly (Hansel and Gretel retelling):

They were enjoyable enough, but didn’t really wow me in terms of plot or prose. Maybe because I have an obsession with mermaids – along with Peter Pan and the Little Prince and winged beasties – but Fathomless TOTALLY does it for me.

Plus, the prose is so much prettier this time, the setting painted more vividly. Jackson Pearce’s niche is fairytale retellings, and even though Fathomless is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, it has a very original plot without veering too much from the original story.

Jackson Pearce, nailed it

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So I raced down to the library yesterday and borrowed Cold Spell (The Snow Queen retelling) too:

Can’t wait to delve into this too! Big yay for folks who write good books!

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A little random, but lately, there’s this song that keeps buzzing in my head:

Gulliver, by Super Junior

I found this song COMPLETELY IRRITATING at first. But after hearing Donghae’s rapping bit at 1:15, I can’t get it out of my head. Dayyyum, that voice! (He’s the one on the left with the pretty face and nice guns, in case you’re wondering.)

Okay, okay. I’m done fangirling.

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I’m still not done reading Laini’s old blog – there are just too many things to learn from her, too much to enjoy!

For today, this:

… be willing to change anything and everything about the idea you thought you had. Nothing is set in stone. There’s a natural impulse to grip onto whatever your initial idea for the story was, but don’t. It may be that the reason you’re stuck is that there wasn’t enough there to begin with, or that it wasn’t quite right. If it was, you wouldn’t be stuck, right?

You have be rigorous. You don’t sit around waiting for the perfect idea to land on you like a butterfly. You go after it with a net. You climb out to the end of slender tree branches reaching for it.

Basically: think think think. Think in writing. Think far past anything you’ve come up with so far. Be willing to discard any of your fixed “sacred” ideas. Be willing even to tear down the very foundation of your story and replace it with something new, if that’s what you have to do.

I don’t know if she’ll ever see this, but THANK YOU, Laini, for sharing all your writing wisdom with us, and all your encouragements. I ❤ you big time.

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And now for some pretty:

Tsaritsyno Park in Moscow, Russia
Umbrella lights!

And some happy

Owl cookies!

And some funnies:

Miss The O.C.!

Have a great week, everyone! :0)

a post of random things (it’s Friday – anything goes!)

This is going to be a whole post about random, unrelated stuff. But whatever. Nobody said everything in life has to be related.

1. Have you seen Zuhair Murad’s spring/summer 2014 collection?!?! IT. IS. INSANE. SO. GORGEOUS. CAN’T. FORM. COHERENT. SENTENCES. THOUGHTS. WHAT? PRETTY. I DIE.

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Get ready for the onslaught of pretty! (Pictures all found from Pinterest – I swear, that site is a Black Hole!)

Don’t these remind you of Elie Saab’s designs? Murad’s creations are pretty similar to Elie Saab (also a Lebanese designer), except that the latter’s designs are a tad more girly and feminine and dreamy, while Murad’s are a little bolder, more risque, and contain sexier elements.

Saab’s designs:

Elie Saab can do no wrong.

Soooooo dreamy and ethereal!!

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❤❤❤

I’ve been in love with Elie Saab’s designs ever since I first laid eyes on them, while Zuhair Murad’s designs are usually a hit or miss for me. Remember those crazy numbers Kristen Stewart wore to the Breaking Dawn premieres?

… Yeah. Not completely crazy about those. Good thing for her makeup in both instances, though.

But Murad’s SS14 collection is LOVE. LOOOOOVE!

2. So it seems apart from writing good stories, being a people person is also vital to a lucrative writing career:

If you’re in business, you’ve got to be a people person … Be genuine, be funny, be yourself. Reach out to your contacts and connections to build bridges. Go to writer’s workshops and befriend everyone there. Talk to everyone you meet in your town, and tell them what you do. Organic and sincere networking is the best way to develop a bridge to success. The friend you meet at the workshop could introduce you to his or her agent. However, don’t go into it thinking about what you’ll get out. Just focus on relationship building and the rest will flow naturally.

This does not bode well for a hermit like me. For the sake of my dream, however, I will do what needs to be done.

3. Here’s something funny that English majors can probably relate to. I know there a quite a few that ring true for me. Most ardently ;0)

Crush on fictional characters?

Check.

(Shiver remains my favourite book from Maggie Stiefvater. There is nothing quite like reading that beautiful, intense story for the first time.)

Geeking out on authors?

YesIWouldThinkSo.

Wow. I really seem thisclose to kissing the ground she walks on. So, check.

In love with my book collection?

Check.

(Speaking of books, I headed down to the bookstore two days ago and got my hands on Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby. Yay for new book purchases!)

And one more thing:

Isn’t that the worst?

4. An update on Neverland: it’s slow going but it’s going. Can’t ask for more than that sometimes. I don’t know where it will take me for sure, or how it will meander towards the end, but I’m having fun on this journey so far.

At least Neverland isn’t as disappointing as Blood Promise.

My critique partner has just finished reading Blood Promise (a million thanks, Jenna!!), and although she was very very kind and constructive with her feedback, the bottom-line is that she didn’t love it like I hoped she would.

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I feel SO BAD, like I’d just wasted her time making her read a substandard story. I actually don’t hate Blood Promise. I actually thought it was better than it had been previously. But I get this way: I’d love my story if people gave me positive feedback, and absolutely hate it when they’re not crazy about it.

And once Jenna said it out, I saw the truth in her words. It did need more work. I probably did need some time away from it, until I heard the story that begged to be told. Because Jenna may just be one reader, but she’s also representative of my target audience. Listen to your readers, I say!

If anyone’s willing to invest some time in reading my manuscript, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on it! In the meantime, I’m hiding out in Neverland.

5. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed after reading Jenna’s email. While I deeply appreciate her forthrightness (why are people so afraid of hurting a writer’s feelings? Just tell me honestly what you think and I’ll be eternally grateful!), I am desperate for some perk-me-up right now.

So…

Awwww!
Paros, Greece
FABULOUS pink hair! LOVE, WISH, WANT.
Russian doll cookies! SO cute.

Can you tell I’m a sucker for guys with hair falling over their eyes?

And finally:

Love these boys (plus the drummer, Harry, who isn’t in here)! They’re one of the few groups that sound good live, write their own songs and have lasted for almost a decade (has it really been that long?!). Long live McFly!