mid-week link salad (and some happy things!)

Writing for a living takes a lot more than just ample cash in your bank vault, according to literary agent Carly Watters.




It takes luck, a wide readership, years of dedication, luck, perseverance and ability to roll with the punches, and oh did I mention luck? Luck for agents and publishing houses to take a chance on your book (of course, substance counts for a lot too), luck for the RIGHT agent and publishing house to pick up your book and sign you on, luck for ever-changing reader diet, luck for movie producers and bookstores to decide to buy the rights from you, luck that you can write full-time and live comfortably, not paycheck to paycheck.


Watters paints a stark picture of what it’s like for most writers who aren’t international best-selling ones. Kind of a depressing reality, but no one said this path was easy. Literally, no one. The publishing market is one of the toughest ones to break into. Aside from dealing with writerly angst (don’t dismiss it until you’ve experienced it), the business itself makes being a novelist a difficult game to play.


Okay, enough doom and gloom. This was supposed to be an upbeat post!


Over at Mythic Scribes, they offered some tips for developing characters in romance novels.


And here’s some mind-boggling architecture for you. Number 19 and 21 are my favourites. Imagine living in a spiral building! The rooftop is just begging for a sled race, no? So much potential for a story setting, too.


Impulse buy: greeting cards!



You never know when you need one. And even if you don’t, they make a great mood-lifting collection that you can admire once in a while. I mean, look how cute these are! I ended up buying just six, even though there were a lot more adorable designs available.


Other happy things for this thundery week:



Speaking of TVD, I refuse to believe ***spoiler alert!*** Katherine is dead. She just can’t be dead. She’s one of the most delicious characters on the show – so much potential for mischief and havoc and eventual pathos (see season 5 episode 12). It would really suck if she left and we’re stuck with boring, whiny, indecisive Elena with whom, for some reason, the boys are in love.


And speaking of boys, here’s a gorgeous one:



Yes, they are the same person, in case you were wondering.


Also, if you’ve watched the Korean drama, Secret Garden, you’ll definitely appreciate this parody done by Big Bang:



*choke*gasp*splutter*laugh my ass off*


This video has been around for a while, but it still gets me every time! Can I humbly request for Super Junior to do a drama parody too? That would be awesome, thank you.


Speaking of awesome (see how neat and connected is today? Ha!), here’s something that will hopefully get you through the rest of this week:



monday happy things!

So, a few things:


1. Singapore is in bloom!







Said it before, and I’ll say it again. The world is more beautiful with flowers in it.



2. On a whim, Dad and I visited the zoo on his birthday last Saturday. Pictures will come … soon enough. But first, this:


Saturdays – this polar bear is doing it right.


3. I am thisclose to giving up on Neverland.


 photo harrypotterrollseyes_zpsef20b6e7.gif


I know, I know. Yet another story that didn’t make it. (To be fair, I might have given up on Until Morning – then called Mint – but I went back to complete it eventually.)


But I’ve tried to hold on for as long as I can – 198 pages, in fact – but I can’t ignore the voice that’s telling me this is all wrong – the story is told wrongly, the characters are weak, the conflict falls flat, there’s no heart in the story anymore, and it’s futile to press on for the sake of pressing on.



I hate quitting in the middle of a story. I feel like a failure, like oh there she goes again, unable to see things through and giving up halfway. But I know that the more I drag this on, the worse the story is going to get, and at some point I won’t be able to return to the place where the story fell apart because I’ve lost sight of it.




So maybe I’m not going to divorce myself from Neverland completely, but I’m definitely taking a break from it. Problem is, I tried getting started on Indigo Tides, and my brain just got equally blocked.





Over at Writers Helping Writers, they pointed out three signs you should take a break from your novel, and I ticked every one of them:

… here’s the best thing about these often sad experiences. They really aren’t failures. They’re just stepping stones. As Samuel Beckett said: Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

If you feel you’re writing a dead-end story, take a moment to evaluate your future with it. More likely than not, you’re going to keep on writing, edit your way to a fabulous book, and end your relationship with this story on a victorious note. But if it doesn’t quite work out that way—if you realize you need to move on—don’t count it as a failure. Close the file on your computer, take stock of what you’ve learned, and move on to write your next masterpiece.


Rachel Coker over at Go Teen Writers offers equally upbeat advice.


But then YA writer Malinda Lo, advises against giving up during the drafting stage:

I think the main thing that causes discouragement during the drafting stage is the idea that writing a novel is an exciting, fun-filled, joyful experience full of blissful, genius inspiration and creativity. Any writer who sits down expecting this experience is going to be thoroughly disappointed and will probably want to give up.

For years and years I struggled with discouragement because those moments of genius came so few and far between. I’d have fabulous ideas and launch right into writing novels, and a few chapters in I’d come to a screeching halt when all the fun seemed to get sucked right out of the story. I’d struggle with continuing for a little while, but soon I’d give up.

In retrospect, I know why I gave up. Those story ideas weren’t exciting enough. The characters weren’t interesting enough. And I expected writing to be fun, because it used to be fun.

I know exactly when writing ceased being 100% fun and games for me: when I decided that I wanted to get published.

In my case, this is how I learned how to not get so discouraged that I wanted to give up:

I chose to write a story that I’d wanted to write forever: a retelling of Cinderella.

When I encountered things in life that forced me to stop writing for awhile, I tried to not beat myself up about not writing.

When I felt ready to write again, I picked up from where I’d left off.

I stopped expecting writing to be 100% fun and games.

I didn’t give myself a deadline; I let myself take my time.

I didn’t start other projects when things got difficult.

I didn’t allow myself to think about getting published while writing the first draft. I wrote the story for me.


Yes, maybe some distance will help. Neverland, I will be back! (I promise.)


Meanwhile, if you’re experiencing a brain fart like I am right now, here’s something to chase the writer’s blues away.


Also, Mondays may be the busiest day of the week, but there’s always time for a little happy:





Super Junior M is back! And Donghae is in glasses!



Oh, Park Bom!


Remember when Stefan was the Ripper?



A very liberating quote

A very empowering quote


Have a great week, everyone! :0)

vampire diaries season 5 catch-up – OMGOMGOMG and more OMG moments!

Okay, I’m waaaaay behind on this, I know. But I finally caught up with the recent episodes of Vampire Diaries season 5 and


 photo ginnyshocked_zpsa4bd9d11.gif


 photo joeyshocked_zpsb45d16b1.gif


 photo samanddeanomg_zpsfc988f24.gif



That is all.






Well, of course that’s not all. Have I ever left you hanging on a blog post like that? No, this is just the beginning of a rave. Because damn, that was one good episode!

I’m talking about episode 11. (Hey, I said recent episodes, not the latest – so NO SPOILERS!)

KATHERINE PIERCE. Katherine “oh no she didn’t” Pierce.

 photo kpierce2_zps9abba007.gif

 photo kpierce_zps8bd84569.gif

Yes, her.

She’s one of those annoying villains you just love to hate. That sneaky little bitch is awesome! I LOOOOOVE what the writers did with her character, made us empathise with her (yes, I cried over her murderous, vindictive, manipulative, selfish lying ass) before having her pull a HUGE SHOCKING TWIST that is totally – TOTALLY – characteristic of her.


She’s a survivor, and she has always been a teensy bit jealous of Elena (despite how annoyed she is by her – and I do agree because Elena can be incredibly self-righteous and whiny) because of Stefan’s love for Elena – OF COURSE SHE WOULD DO WHAT SHE DID!!!

 photo large_zpsa5c67ee7.gif

And SURVIVORS DO WHAT THEY HAVE TO IN ORDER TO SURVIVE. There, no spoilers! (Although I’m quite possibly the only person who has only just caught that episode.)

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE TVD.

5 seasons on and it still has that power over me. Powerful storyline, powerful characters, powerful emotions! The writers never seem to run out of ideas, and each story thread is woven masterfully into the main narrative arc. HOW DO THEY DO IT?!? I’ve been studying it for years, and I still can’t generate ideas like theirs to develop a story as compelling as that.

I know what the naysayers think about TVD. They think it’s another Twilight, with a whiny protagonist and hot vampires.

illustration by antlergirl

That is where the similarity ends.

Yes, TVD might involve vampires and a love triangle – which, frankly, is starting to wear on me (still, STELENA IS END-GAME) – but it is NOTHING like Twilight.

TVD has a fantastic plot that keeps you on (sorry for the cliche) the edge of your seat; moments that take you by the shoulders and plant you in the characters’ shoes so that their pain is your pain, their joy, their love, their anguish and hate are all yours too; moments that rock you in those very shoes and make you go OMG (as demonstrated amply above).

 photo thefeels_zpsa96c11e2.gif

Plus, the writers go deep with each character, fleshing out each of their personalities, making you love them and love to hate them, even the seemingly irredeemable ones like Klaus (KLAUS! I’ll get to him in a bit). In fact, so fully developed every character is that there’s even a spinoff, (although I’m still crazier about TVD than The Originals).

Okay. Klaus. KLAUS! HE’S BACK! THE ORIGINALS ARE BACK! Finally! (And no, I don’t care if I’m using too many exclamation marks!)

((Or parentheses, for that matter.))

Tyler WHO?! Oh, you mean the jerk who chose revenge over Caroline, the one who broke her heart?

 photo Tyler-Caroline-5x05-break-up-_zpsda0f952a.gif

 photo Tyler-Caroline-5x05-break-up-tyler-and-caroline-35993013-245-150_zps622b0623.gif

 photo Tyler-Caroline-5x05-break-up-tyler-and-caroline-35993015-245-150_zps82ccd643.gif

I get where Tyler’s coming from, but his relationship with Caroline never felt balanced, like Caroline was the one always giving her all and he’s just there for the sex.

Klaus, though.

 photo klaroline_zps13ff7620.gif

Klaus curbs his darker intentions for Caroline. I mean, yes he’s not the healthiest person to be with, but his love for Caroline is purer than anything he’s ever done.

I ship Klaroline as much as I ship Stelena. Although Elena has been deluded for so many seasons, being with Damon, I kind of just want Stefan to be happy without her already. I’m willing to root for Stefarine (that’s Stefan and Katherine) if that’s what it takes.

 photo yourekatherinepierce_zps24f6e06f.gif

 photo suckitup_zpsdd14a5d6.gif

Stefan has been my favourite male character since the beginning. If you recall, I was hooked onto the show since episode 1 of season 1, mostly because of Stefan. His humanity, his gentleness with Elena, who was still grieving over the premature death of her parents, his comforting presence – everything about him spelled solace.

Stelena in 1×01:


It was the final scene in the episode. See why I was hooked?

And here’s Stelena in 5×04:

Sigh. Stelena scenes are always so perfect. So pure and sweet.

Damon, on the other hand, is volatile and psychopathic and self-loathing. I’d absolutely hate him if he weren’t so funny and hot.

And Delena scenes are just (I run the risk of getting severely flamed here) MEH. They’re cute in real life (Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder used to date), but not so much in the show.

Still love Damon’s character, though.

Funny how what started out as an excuse to ogle at Ian Somerhalder became a full-blown obsession with a TV show. At least I can justify that with the things about writing I’ve learned from it!

Any TVD fans out there? Or any TV shows to recommend that’s as brilliant as TVD? :0)