Answers – and how teenagers are like cats

I’m closer to some kind of answer to this thick, heavy period of doubt and dread. What I’m thinking of doing, and have started, but will have to work through in order to see how it goes, is to rewrite my characters as teenagers and have the story be that of a coming-of-age one. It’s one idea, anyway. Which is to say it was the original idea.

They will start off teenagers and end up young adults. It will be a series that focuses on growth. And this ought to be good for sales because YA fiction is now a Big Thing these days.

I’m interested in how they will fit in – or not – to an apocalypse novel, that’s for sure. And that said, they’ll be my characters, filtered through my crazy brainspace.

Now to get those damn kids off my lawn. *reaches for shotgun. Just kidding! …It’s an assault rifle.*

 

 

And now for some comparisons between teens and cats.

http://www.siliconhell.com/madcat/cathumour/teenagers.htm

Teenagers Are Like Cats

For all of you with teenagers or who have had teenagers, you may want to know why they really have a lot in common with cats:

1. Neither teenagers nor cats turn their heads when you call them by name.

2. No matter what you do for them, it is not enough. Indeed, all humane efforts are barely adequate to compensate for the privilege of waiting on them hand and foot.

3. You rarely see a cat walking outside of the house with an adult human being, and it can be safely said that no teenager in his or her right mind wants to be seen in public with his or her parents.

4. Even if you tell jokes as well as Jasper Carrot, neither your cat nor your teen will ever crack a smile.

5. No cat or teenager shares you taste in music.

6. Cats and teenagers can lie on the living-room sofa for hours on end without moving, barely breathing.

7. Cats have nine lives. Teenagers carry on as if they did.

8. Cats and teenagers yawn in exactly the same manner, communicating that ultimate human ecstasy — a sense of complete and utter boredom.

9. Cats and teenagers do not improve anyone’s furniture.

10. Cats that are free to roam outside sometimes have been known to return in the middle of the night to deposit a dead animal in your bedroom. Teenagers are not above that sort of behaviour.

Thus, if you must raise teenagers, the best sources of advice are not other parents, but veterinarians. It is also a good idea to keep a guidebook on cats at hand at all times. And remember, above all else, put out the food and do not make any sudden moves in their direction. When they make up their minds, they will finally come to you for some affection and comfort, and it will be a triumphant moment for all concerned.

Sent in by Maureen Taylor, Wigan UK

 

Apocalypse themes and tropes

If you’ve been reading this blog the last month or so (or from the beginning) you’ll know about my struggles with writing an apocalypse story. Maybe it’s a tough genre to write in. Maybe it’s not for me. Maybe I just need to approach it with certain themes and tropes in mind. Maybe I should go back to basics, to where these characters originated. Maybe I’d be better off writing the YA story I thought up when I was that age. Or maybe not. As you can no doubt tell, I’m having a crisis of… something. Identity? Faith? Conscience? Probably more the first one than the rest.

Writing a story with a theme in mind is probably the thing I need to do. Every attempt so far has, I feel as a writer, fallen flat because I wasn’t writing with a theme in mind. I guess I just wanted to write away and let the theme drift to the surface naturally. The other approach is to choose a theme, something you’re passionate about writing about, and write that. Definitely time for me to research themes. I mean, I’ve researched apocalypse tropes via http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ApocalypticIndex, so I may as well research theme more in-depth than I have thus far. It’s an area that needs attention.

Or maybe my work doesn’t need to have a theme. This is for entertainment, not education. If I wanted to educate, I’d write non-fiction.

And I think I’ve exhausted the basic tenet of what I’m going through. Thanks for putting up with it. I’ll try to write more positive stuff for the next few posts.

In more positive news, I am really digging this new WordPress theme, called, rather nicely, ‘My Life’.

Passions

No, not that soap opera by that name. Nor Harlequin use of the word. I’m talking about writing passions. As in…

 

#1 Writing Rule: Write what you’re passionate about. (well, a few authors say it’s the number one rule, although for some it’s writing well)

So, what am I passionate about? That might be worth knowing! In no particular order:

Movies.

My god, movies. The number I’ve seen. The number I own. There’s something about screen magic that speaks to my AS mind. I am in fact a cinephile. That would probably be the subject of a horror novel, if I ever wrote one.

Writing.

It’s what I want to do, and be, but I’m having doubts and struggling to keep going. My identity is officially in crisis. Hence this important public service announcement reminder.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 7. I took a degree in writing. I am now a published author. One day, I hope to get Stephen Spielberg interested in my writing (or another filmmaker I respect, I’m picky but there’s lots of options I’d be happy with). Mostly I want to mesmerise people with my writing. I have to remember that – why I do it. It’ll no doubt be beaten out of me at some point and I’ll have to be reminded of the magic, the good reasons for writing.

Games.

Not so much these days, but I love RPGs (especially D&D titles), some FPS games, some RTS games. I even started a course in designing games. I did well at the writing portion – I had a level I designed used for a demonstration. Games – good ones with plots – need writers. There is a market for games writers. Games are the new movies, and movies are the new books, so…

D&D.

There is nothing more satisfying when a play session goes just right. Monsters, magic, weapons, tactics, dice rolls, character sheets, roleplaying – everything D&D.

Apocalypse stories.

These have always fascinated me. Mum hates them. I love them. Falling Skies rocks. Be it nuclear, religious, virus, or whatever, the end of days has always fascinated me and I’ve always wanted to write about the end – and the beginning of a new world. It’s a baptism by fire and only the strong survive.

Superheroes.

So far it’s been mainly movies and books, but maybe I could branch out into comics themselves; they’re a big Creative Industry now, and they are the sort of thing I would be into, if I knew where to start and wasn’t so intimidated by the sheer number of them. I don’t know how they’re written, but I know a bit about their history: they started off as merely exhibitions of super-human feats of strength, skill, toughness, speed, smarts, etc. They then moved into unbelievable, alien powers like lasers and ice breath and mutations and psychic powers. These were usually conferred by radiation or radioactive animals/aliens. Or they were born with them as aliens, ie Superman. There were several ages of comics, Golden, Silver and Dark (the latter mostly due to Allan Moore and Frank Miller). Batman is everyone’s favourite superhero, because he’s super-human tough, strong, fast, stealthy, prepared but actually possible in real life. Superman is the hardest to believe, since he has the power of plot – his are determined by whoever’s writing him at the time.

Children of Fire is about superheroes with magic powers and monsters in the apocalypse, which combines D&D, comics, and books.

So there you have it, the stuff I’m most passionate about.

Summer and Winter

As a kid, I loved winter and loathed summer. That was before we got air conditioning. Now, it’s kind of the other way around. A bit. Not fully reversed, but definitely the other way around: I like summer, though sometimes it’s too fricken hot, and I sort of dislike winter, though it’s nice sometimes. Weird as hell. When did I get these two confused? 

Old influences

Once upon a time, I wrote 16 novellas. Or long short stories. Depends how you measure them.

Back at the time, when I was just starting out as a writer (this was in my teenager years) I had ideas for episodes, like a tv series, and wrote up a storm. That was age 15, and that was a good year. It was around about when I saw Neon Genesis: Evangelion and Dragonball Z and played Final Fantasy 8 (the best of them all). In my mind, those are the holy trinity of Japanese entertainment and things that I recall most fondly indeed.

When I was 15, I thought my writing was top shit. Everyone does, when they’re at that age and that level. If you come to writing later in life, I can’t say what your skill level will be like. But I imagine you’ll be more experienced in fiction, at any rate, having seen more, heard more, experienced more. But that’s neither here nor there.

What I’m getting at is my nostalgia is flaring up lately. I’m pining for the good old days when things like anime and movies were new to me. Well, movies weren’t new to me, just M-rated ones. I had strict parents, they didn’t let me see M-rated stuff until I was 15. Then the floodgates opened and the local Video Ezy knew me by name. Not really. But they would have come to recognize my family, we were there all the time. I think my brother actually got to watch M-rated stuff at 12, come to think of it. He would have been allowed to watch them with me present. That or mum and dad didn’t care.

I had this whole new source of entertainment, this whole new realm of experience just about downloaded straight into my brain, I binged so much. And those anime and video games I mentioned, they were some of my biggest influences. I wrote fiction that combined all three into one. They were like the Megazord or Voltron of genres to me. So i wrote a little series called Supertron (remember, 15) and it merged the Super Saiyan ability of DBZ with the magic and weapons of Final Fantasy 8 and the giant ‘robots’ of Evangelion. My writing was shit – I looked back upon it recently, so I can say this honestly (and I was 15, so I can say it objectively) – but I remember it fondly as a series I loved writing. I wrote about 16 parts, they went from 8000 words to 16000 words, and to me, they were awesome. My whole grade at school seemed to think so. I asked my grade 10 English teacher if I could hand in the first one as an assignment. He agreed. I submitted 8000 words on a grade 10 English paper. My grade bowed to my awesomeness.

Those were the days. Now I struggle to write anything. I’m not sure what it is that’s holding me back. Maybe I’ve just grown jaded with the experience I’ve accumulated since then. Oh well. I will keep trying.

But I wonder if people could handle the awesomeness of Eva + DBZ + FF8? In concept, it rocks. On paper, it probably would, too. I’d have to alter everything so as to not infringe upon copyright, naturally.

Of course this is all just fancy and nostalgia. I don’t plan to actually write these old stories. Originality and all that.

Breaking up with my novel

I don’t think I can do this any more. Writing a novel, I mean. I think it’s time that we go our separate ways. It’s just not working out between us. I just feel that we’re too different to make it work, together. It’s been 6 years, and you’re still a work in progress. I don’t know. I’m just not feeling as in love as I was at the start. My brother suggested I write you, and I tried, I really tried. But there’s been so many roadblocks… I just can’t go on living a lie. I’m not a novel writer. I work better in shorter forms. A full -length commitment to you is stretching me thin and I don’t know if I can handle 50,000 words. I’ve been trying to write you for so long. I think we need to see other projects. I’m going to go back to basics. I’m sorry you had to hear it this way, but I just can’t. I just… can’t even… with this. You know?