Friday, November 14, 2014

My Words of Motivation

Sometimes I wonder, what if I put in all this work, and I never succeed? But then I remind myself, you only fail if you quit. And if I never get published, I know I gave it my all. I will have no regrets or doubts.

My hope for you, if you can't find your motivation, or don't know how to keep going, that you never give up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The First Line

You have to hook your readers with the first line. Rewritten it so many times and will probably rewrite it again. Here it is, currently:

        “Is it alive?” Jack poked its pale, rubbery arm with a stick. “Yuki, check if it’s breathing.”

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Still Dreaming

When I was fifteen and almost failing English class, I decided I wanted to write a book. Why would someone who hated the subject at school suddenly want to write a book? An idea came to me when I was washing the dishes and I had to get it out.

I wrote that book in a few months. And I wrote another one...and another one...and another... I'm on my 4th middle grade novel now. It'll be a long work in progress but I feel like I have good people and good direction and am finally on the right track.

I wasn't always self motivated. I had it pounded (literally) into my head after 15 years of martial arts that taught me to keep a positive attitude and to never give up. I used to be very negative to myself, thinking I can't do that, I'm not smart enough for this, or I'm just not good enough. But when I reached my first goal of becoming a black belt, I was compelled to succeed again. And my next goal was to get a degree in engineering, even though I had to start at classes below college level. When I completed that goal, I felt invincible. I can do anything! And I've always wanted to publish a book and even though I have no publishing credit to date after 14 years, I truly believe if you want something and work hard for it, you will succeed.

I hope this will inspire you to dream big, work hard, expect to fail, and persist!

Beetle Boy by Margaret Willey

First of all, props to the marketing department for creating such a modern cover. Loved the sleek design and the size/handle of the book. They say don't judge a book by its cover, but let's face it, we all do it. It is a short book, less than 200 pages.

This book is very sad and depressing. If you're looking for a happy story to read on the beach, maybe wait on this one. But if you're in a deep place in your life and don't know how to accept the past, maybe this book will help. It doesn't follow the life of just the main character, Charlie, but of his entire family. It shows how neglect and abuse can propagate each generation. And Charlie wasn't just the victim, he also abandoned his little brother as well. It fluctuates between the current Charlie at 18, who reads very older at times, to his younger self as the worlds youngest published author. There is swearing and sex, which makes this a young adult novel. I wanted there to be a happy ending, but alas, just like in real life, there sometimes isn't a happy ending. In writing class we're always told that the main character needs to grow by the end, needs to have learned something. And I struggled with what exactly Charlie learned by the end, because he was the same whiny, un-empathetic person he was from the beginning. But after some thinking, I came to the conclusion that Charlie accepted his life and would move on. The last line: I think I got this, Mrs. M., is all you get to the new Charlie. The reader is left wondering: Why did the mother leave in the beginning? Does he talk to his dad again? and Did Charlie ever reconcile with his brother?  This is exactly how life is, you don't always get all your why? to life answered.

This book was assigning for the Weekend on the Water retreat that I went to this weekend. The retreat was a part of SCBWI Western Washington. It was my first retreat, and was super excited that I went and had a great experience.

I met the editor of Beetle Boy, Andrew Karre, at the retreat. Someone asked why Clara, the girlfriend of Charlie, had dialogue in bold in the beginning, and he said to keep her as a somewhat controlling person, someone from above. But when Charlie starts to see her as being just like everyone else in his life, her dialogue turns normal. He listened to our comments (summarized above) and said that was exactly what the book was meant to make you think.