yes to no-angst Mondays!

Funny how jaded you get the more the year wears on. It’s May now and you realise you haven’t really done anything to take you a step closer to your goals. All you’ve got for your efforts is:

A) a pile of rejection letters (even worse, agents who don’t reply) for a story you miss writing and wish for people to read (the ache is real, people!),

B) no novel actually completed (I’m looking – glaring – at you, Neverland!),

C) a bunch of short stories you don’t know what to do with to get started on your Shiny New Novel, which you haven’t even started plotting

D) a completed novel you’re unravelling (i.e. rewriting). Hopefully, you’ll make it better. Hopefully, it’ll be good enough for the literary agent who requested for a revise-and-resubmit. Hopefully, this will be the one that will get you published again.

But that’s a big hope you’re holding out on. And you don’t know if all this time and effort you’re putting into this is going to be worth anything at all eventually, or you’re just wasting your time and you’re actually not good enough to get published and you probably never will and sob sob self-pity I’m a loser I should just quit.

That was the reason for last Monday’s post on writing quotes.

Okay, pity party over. Time for some happy!

I’m sorry, but once you get started on Harry Potter memes, there is no end to it.

Speaking of Harry Potter (no, I will never stop talking about it or loving it, so get with the programme or drop out), here’s a compilation of all the times Harry was the Queen of Sass.

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One thing led to another (damn you, Buzzfeed!), and I came across this one on Supernatural (otherwise known as The Show That Broke My Heart), as told by someone who’s never watched it:

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Castiel is the only badass who gets away with calling someone an assbutt while holding a Molotov cocktail … okay, not quite.

Another Supernatural post caught my eye:

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Don’t you just love it when good-looking people behave like dorks?

Okay okay, I’m done. Back to writing!

Have a lovely 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!

excuse me, aren’t you supposed to be writing?

Okay, okay. This will be a quick one, I promise. I’m just dropping off some quotes from Laini’s blog before I dash.

Laini on reading:

… readers inhabit fiction. We experience novels from the inside, and they change us.

This is just so true. There are some books so lovely I just want to crawl inside them and live there.  

Like that!

And this one, back when she first started on Daughter of Smoke and Bone (THREE MORE MONTHS TO DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, GUYS!!!):

I had the most beautiful, brilliant, joyous writing day yesterday! Every word was sheer fun. The air crackled with ideas so that my hair got static and stood on end. A shimmering window opened in the air and butterflies flew in. A polite goblin brought me a key on a golden pillow. I don’t know what it opens yet, but I’m sure it’s something awesome.”

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My god, I am OBSESSED with her prose. O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D. Such pretty imagery! Ugh, what goes on in that wonderful, brilliant mind of hers that she can so easily create such beautiful writing that ignites the imagination? Can I inhale the same air as her? Read the same books, look at the same art, go to the same places? (She doesn’t really watch TV.) 

This is probably the reason why I read her blog. 

Not just because her tone is so conversational and upbeat and engaging. 

Not just because I love reading about her lovely, loving family and her glamorous writer’s life (book tours! book parties! readings! award ceremonies! talks!).

But because I want to know the sort of life she leads so that I can, in my own meagre way, expose myself to the influences, the sights and sounds, that she is exposed to. So that I can somehow translate that into my writing like how she has translated that into her writing, in some way (although given how bright and happy everything in her life is, her prose is incongruously dark and dramatic.

Okay, I should probably tone this down a notch. I’m starting to sound like a creepy stalker.

Speaking of toning it down, here’s someone else who needs to calm down.

And something from Laini on keeping the love alive:

I’m sure you’ve been there on the first day with a new idea. Like a relationship, a book will not always maintain that same level of infatuation, but hopefully like a relationship it can sustain deep affection and attraction and commitment. Love.

It’s true. Everything is always so much fun at the beginning. The mood is fresh and new, and there a song that constantly plays in your head as you craft your scenes and develop your characters. It’s all skip-hop and twinkly toes and flower petals in the air, until you realise you need to develop some conflict and everything starts to get complicated – or worse, convoluted – and what do you know, you’re halfway through the story!

That, my friends, is when the mid-story goblin starts his awful cackle, rubbing his hands with unbridled glee.

No. You are not getting me this time, you little sucker.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Good question, Castiel. What am I doing blogging so often when I should be writing?!

You know what I’m really doing? Procrastinating, that’s what. Because blogging is much easier and doesn’t deplete my brain juices as much as, say, WRITING A NOVEL, I’m hiding out here instead of working on bumping my word count as I ought to be doing.

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Don’t judge me, Belle!

Okay okay. I think I’ve held this off long enough. Back to Neverland.

Supernatural Season 5 kicks butt!

I know I am way late with this review, seeing as how SUPERNATURAL is already in its seventh (seventh!) season and I’ve only just finished watching Season 5. I like to think I’m pacing myself so I don’t finish watching everything so soon. Because that’s how amazing SUPERNATURAL is.
I thought I’d take a break from the show for a while, after I was done writing THE DREAMCATCHERS. Because fantasy was all I read and watched while writing it. So once I was done, I was craving stories that were more grounded in reality. Which was why I turned to Asian dramas and Sarah Dessen (yes, I’m rereading WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, one of the favourites so far). But a few days ago, I decided to return to it, and just watching half of one episode reminded me why I love that show so damn much. I must have said this before, but I’ll say it again. Those writers – especially Eric Kripke – are complete geniuses. I think the best stories are those you wish you’d written yourself. And SUPERNATURAL is definitely one that I wish I was creative and original and smart (and neurotic) enough to write myself. Just the storyline itself is enough to blow your mind. And don’t even get me started on the characters. I believe they’re what make the story.
I think SUPERNATURAL is more character-driven than plot-driven, despite its reliance on, well, supernatural phenomenon. The relationship between the two brothers, Sam and Dean, is what most viewers (and die-hard fans) are really invested in. So even though it’s a fantastical narrative, the story is grounded in our most basic instinct: love. My playwriting instructor said that all fantasy stories, no matter how fantastical, have a universal theme (or two) that readers or viewers can all relate to. In the case of SUPERNATURAL, it’s family. Sam and Dean are all they’ve got, ever since their parents were killed by demons.
I heard a lot of the fans were disgruntled by how Season 5 ended. But I didn’t feel a smidgen of disappointment. Because for me, SUPERNATURAL was never about the demons and the Apocalypse; it was about the brothers. And Swan Song (the season finale) delivered that beautifully. It tied up enough loose ends and left enough for viewers to want to hold on tight for Season 6. The ending, especially, left me in tears, because (and for those of you who haven’t watched it yet, this is a spoiler – although I must be the only one who’s watching at this rate) Sam basically sacrificed himself to cage Lucifer and now Dean is left all alone without his little brother. He made a promise to Sam that he wouldn’t try to bring him back and that he’d go back to Lisa and start afresh with her and embark on a new, normal life. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
I’ve watched a fair number of American dramas. But while the rest are all about oh, my best friend slept with my guy, my guy cheated on me and then proceeded to sleep with everyone else in the show, I’m in love with a bad boy (I’m looking at you, GOSSIP GIRL), I have a deep dark secret and I’m in love with you and you’re stupid enough to want to be with me, my mom is sleeping with my friend’s dad, I’m so bored I’m going to seduce that young hot gardener, yadda yadda yadda, SUPERNATURAL has an actual storyline that isn’t filled just to satisfy the ratings. A lot of the shows should’ve ended with Season 1, but because the ratings were good, they proceeded with Season 2, 3, 4, 5…. Until the show becomes done to death and meaningless. I doubt the writers for SUPERNATURAL will let the show go down that road. It’s been 5 seasons, and they’re still delivering while being completely true to the show.
So while I’m aware that the writers (and cast – every one of them brings their characters to life and I can’t imagine anyone else playing them) of the show won’t be able to see this, here’s a big thank you from a fan. Thank you for creating such a magnificent, inspiring, original, witty, poignant, first-class show. Even though the show has to end some day, I know you won’t let your fans down; every episode will be relevant, amazing and true to the original essence of the story.
I shall stop gushing now. On to Season 6!

Guess it’s time to blog.

I don’t know where to begin. Maybe making a list will be easier.

1. Okay, I’m obsessed with Supernatural at the moment, as you can probably tell from all the name-changing on Facebook and uploading of Jared&Jensen clips here. Can’t friggin wait for Season 4’s DVD. It’s going to last only 5 seasons, which is a waste, because Eric Kripke is a genius and should keep writing some more. And because of Supernatural (best TV show on earth to date), I’ve recently been listening to something I don’t really listen to normally: classic rock. Ie, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Kansas (head over to my playlist and check out the bottom of the list for the newest additions). I’ve got Eye of the Tiger and Carry on, My Wayward Son and Dead or Alive stuck in my head in auto-replay! So loving it.

2. Am at home working on my story now, Bedful of Moonlight. And I am friggin stuck. I don’t know if it’s a writer’s block or just plain old cluelessness as to how the story should progress, but this sucks. I don’t wish to abort this project. Maybe that’s why I feeling kinda blah lately.

3. Another reason why I’m not so chipper at the moment is because I’ve queried probably close to EIGHTY effin literary agents so far, and none of them are interested. Jerm and Ger tell me it’s cause of the recession and financial downturn (that’s an understatement) that no agency is willing to pick up new writers. I guess. Still, it’s so demoralising. I’ve queried this local publisher, Lance Ng, from Renaissance Publishing, but he hasn’t replied. I just hope I’ll get a positive response soon, or I’m just going to go nuts. I mean, 80 rejections slips. That’s really sad. It’s why I’ve been looking for competitions to enter so I can build up my resume. But overseas competitions need credit card payment of entry fees, and I don’t have one. And Singapore isn’t exactly bursting with a lot of opportunities for aspiring writers to break into the market.

Oh well. I guess no one ever said this will be easy. Still, I’ll keep going. I’ve got it all planned out. I’m going to study English Language in NUS, and then apply for teaching for two years (or maybe not, depending on the economic climate when I graduate) and then move on to work in a magazine company, like Cleo or Seventeen, and I’ll work my way up to editor. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I love – creative writing – and sending them for competitions.

I don’t think I’ll go into journalism. As in, newsroom journalism. I can’t stand that kinda writing. Feeding people with the bare facts isn’t writing; it’s reporting. You’d have to follow a certain format and lose whatever style you might call your own, and just tell people what they want to know. That sounds really … boring. I mean, it’s not for me, okay.

4. I don’t really know what I’m living for right now. Like, I’m not being financially-productive, and writing my stories … well, I’m stuck, what the hell can I do other than take a break from it? Watching Supernatural… It doesn’t feel productive, know what I mean? So right now, I am WANDERING, man. I hate being so aimless. At least when I was studying, I had something to work towards.

Wtv. This sucks. Ima go listen to some Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi) right now. (And think of the Winchester boys butchering it – although Dean/Jensen is actually a pretty darn good singer.) Talk to you when I’m less zoned out.

Below: Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) and Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester). I run with Dean, duh. Chiselled cheekbones, maculine jaw, smouldering gaze, deep sexy voice, strong muscled back, badass/tongue-in-cheek attitude (as Dean, that is), but shy and humble in real life. Seriously, it’s no competition. Jensen Ackles is HOTTTT, and such a talented actor. Although Sam/Jared does have a cute smile (see picture on the right).