"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Need a Hero

A few days ago I started working on a novella for Nocturne Bites.

So I spent a couple of days working on an outline and I was pretty happy with how it was all fitting together. Then I talked about the story and characters with my husband over lunch, and he pointed out why it didn't make a whole lot of sense. More specifically, he said if that's how this type of supernatural that's supposed to be incredibly rare is created, then there'd be a whole army of these basically half-breed guys running around. Being that I only want there to be one of these "half-breeds" running around, I figured that would be a good thing to change. Which led to a whole change in plot.

So I rewrote the plot, or at least tried to based on his suggestions. And I didn't like it. There just wasn't any emotion to it.

So I rewrote it again. And I really like it this time. My husband likes it too.

Now I just need to figure out what the hero looks like. I can almost catch glimpses of what he looks like in my head, so I'm hoping that by writing the story, it'll come to me. Or I'll have to drag my husband to the HobbyOff to search the anime and game figuringes for a suitable match, like I have for the heroine.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

An Excerpt From Butterfly Mask (Kitsune)

Here's an excerpt from Butterfly Mask. I'm still editing it, so this is from my most recent draft.

I like this scene because it's the first meeting between Kitsu and Natsuke after not seeing each other for 2 years, and the setting shows some of the conflict between them being together. There is some mild language.

* * *

I squeezed his hand one last time. “What the hell did you even come here for?” Because I knew it wasn’t for an intragalactic booty call.

“You.” He turned back to face me, his chocolate brown eyes embraced mine.


“I want you to come to Elea with me.”

I stared at him.

“Aren’t you going to ask why? Or how I knew where to find you, Sombra Alara?” He quirked his sexy lips at me.

“Get out.”

“I’ve been working on something big,” he said. “Something so big, it’ll change our understanding of science. It’ll change our understanding of religion.”

There was nothing that could have that great of an impact on the galaxy.

“I’ve been working on a theory that proves humans came from a single Human Homeworld.”

Except that. “That’s heresy.”

“I know.” He looked down at me, hopeful. “Come with me.”

“I can’t.”

He looked around the trashy hotel room, with the faded pink wallpaper coming apart at the seams, the paint fractures on the wall behind the bed, the water stains on the ceiling, and the glass bowl full of condoms for all sizes, pleasures, flavors, and species.

“Why? Am I keeping you from some other affair?”

“You know it’s not like that.”

“What else would you be doing here?” He didn’t bother hiding the disgust from his eyes.

I got up, marched Natsuke to the door, and reached around him to enter the keycode. “Out.”

The door slid close between us.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sci Fi Movie Fun

I saw this on a blog and thought it looked like fun.

Here’s how this works. Copy the list below. Mark in bold the movie titles for which you read the book. Italicize the ones you’ve watched.

1. Jurassic Park
2. War of the Worlds
3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
4. I, Robot
5. Contact
6. Congo
7. Cocoon
8. The Stepford Wives
9. The Time Machine
10. Starship Troopers
11. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
12. K-PAX
13. 2010
14. The Running Man
15. Sphere
16. The Mothman Prophecies
17. Dreamcatcher
18. Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
19. Dune
20. The Island of Dr. Moreau
21. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
22. The Iron Giant (The Iron Man)
23. Battlefield Earth
24. The Incredible Shrinking Woman
25. Fire in the Sky
26. Altered States
27. Timeline
28. The Postman
29. Freejack (Immortality, Inc.)
30. Solaris
31. Memoirs of an Invisible Man
32. The Thing (Who Goes There?)
33. The Thirteenth Floor
34. Lifeforce (Space Vampires)
35. Deadly Friend
36. The Puppet Masters
37. 1984
38. A Scanner Darkly
39. Creator
40. Monkey Shines
41. Solo (Weapon)
42. The Handmaid’s Tale
43. Communion
44. Carnosaur
45. From Beyond
46. Nightflyers
47. Watchers
48. Body Snatchers

Okay, so I didn't read all of Jurassic Park or War of the Worlds, but I tried. I had to return War of the Worlds to the library before I could finish it, and the writing was probably above me at the time I tried reading it. But I did listen to the radio broadcast on audio cassette, if that makes up for it. Oh, and for Dune, I saw the newer miniseries, or at least part of it, but I own a couple of the books (all unread).

Also, I, Robot shouldn't count, or at least the one with Will Smith since that was originally an original screenplay. (It was the producers or someone who said to add some Asmovian elements to it to make it appeal to a wider audience.)

I might have watched Cocoon, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Thing, and some others, but I don't remember.

Monday, August 18, 2008

On the Origin of Stories

This is modified from my original post to the Fangs, Fur, & Fey LJ community.

I think my favorite stories to work on are ones that come to me in pieces, where I get a glimpse of something here (like a character, an image, a title, etc.) and I get a glimpse of something there. For a while I think these glimpses have nothing to do with each other--and for the most part they don't.

Then something happens where I need to work on an actual story (rather than filling notebooks with random notes), and all these different, previously unconnected pieces just fit together.

So I can start with an opening line ("An angel and a demon can never be friends."), an image (all the fishes gathering at spawning time), a title (Dragon Rose: A Dragon's Love Story), a character (Pai's drawing, Rose and Striker from role-playing games), or a "what if . . ." (What if you made this a sci fi?, What would it be like to live in a world where . . . ?, or What if he didn't know that she [his girlfriend] was the supernatural he's supposed to be hunting?), but usually one of these isn't enough to get the full story. Also, I mostly rely on the "what ifs" to fill in the missing pieces of character and plot.

Because I know the origin of Pai's story the best, I will use it as an example of how one of my stories came into being.

When I was in 11th grade, I drew a picture of a girl wearing a Chinese-style dress, wore a cape, and had a sword. I named her Pai after a video game character I used to always play at my friend's house, but for the life of me can't remember the game. At the time, I think I had some notion of turning her into a superhero.

A few years later, I got this idea for a "magical girl" story (which is a Japanese manga/anime genre about a young girl who gets magical powers and can be like a superhero). Around the same time, I wanted to write about a character who had a sleepwalking dream, much like my own experience. So I named this "magical girl" story "Nothing Else Matters" in memory of the boy I had the dream about.

The story didn't really go anywhere. Fast forward a couple years to my creative writing class in my last year of college where I needed a short story to write. I had planned on working on another short story, but I got this image of a teenage girl holding a sword after a long battle with blood running down her hands, but not from the actual fighting.

My mind placed all these things together, so when it came time to write the short story (which was really chapter 1 of my new WIP), everything just fell into place. The short story was titled "Esper" (a type of magical girl who uses psychic powers or has ESP), though the title of the book changed to "Bleeding Hands". I didn't like "Bleeding Hands" as a title, because while it captures that image I had, I don't think it sounds good, plus I wanted to continue with the Metallica-themed title since I was dropping "Nothing Else Matters". So the new title is "No Leaf Clover" which I think fits the theme or the events much better.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

When Writing Worlds Collide

When I first started writing all the stuff I've worked on since high school, I thought that each story took place in a different world. But the more I learned about each story, the more I realized that they were all practically taking place in the same world anyway, or in a world so similar that it would be more difficult to keep the many worlds apart than it would be to combine the characters and histories all into one world.

Actually, I should mention that not all of my worlds have become one. Just that it's only been the more recent stuff that I started earlier this year that isn't part of the main world. Though I keep trying to figure out ways that they could be only to say, 1. I don't want them to be in the same world, 2. That makes absolutely no sense for them to be in the same world, or 3. That's contradictory to what I already have established in the main world.

At first I thought my characters all existed in different worlds, but then I realized that three of my characters shared a cousin. The cousin isn't even mentioned in any of the writing or the notes, only in some vague impression I have of their backstories. But that led to two characters being sisters, and the older sister's boyfriend's friend being their cousin. Though yesterday or the day before, I might have added one of my other characters and her older sister to the mix of cousins. This family is somehow highly supernatural or affected by the supernatural and the majority of them don't know it. Which begs the question: why?

I'll try not to think about this too much for the time being since I really want to finish editing Kitsune/Butterfly Mask. But who knows, maybe that'll be important somehow. Though I'm looking forward to finding out the secret behind this supernatural family.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Some Writing and a Much Needed Vacation

For the time being, I've set Kitsune aside to work on a submission for a YA book I started a while ago. Hopefully, it's just a short distraction, and then a really good motivator to finish Kitsune so I can work on this other story (called No Leaf Clover).

I don't know if I'm going to do NaNo this year or not either. It depends on if I finish both Kitsune and No Leaf Clover. And if I can figure out what to write about. So if I get the other two books done, I might work on book 2 in my vampire trilogy, so we'll see.

Other than that, I'm on a much desired vacation, but don't have much time to work, since my mom and my husband's parents are here and my husband and I get to act as tour guides. It's kind of amazing how much more I'm understanding or remembering just by being here long enough, and how the different parts of history connect.

So far, we've visited the house where the Mori daimyo (feudal lord) lived in Hofu, Yamaguchi and we went to Hiroshima Castle that was built by Mori to be a very defensive castle. And tomorrow, we'll be going to Shoin Shrine in Hagi, Yamaguchi that's dedicated to Yoshido Shoin, one of the people that Mori signed a death warrant for.

Writing this makes me think of my trip to Brazil and how learning about the history there just fascinated me. While in Brazil, I had one of my good friends (who's from Brazil) explain the history to me (well, he translated what the tour guide said in Portuguese to English). And when we go to Hagi, one of my students who's a volunteer tour guide and has spent a lot of time studying the history of Hagi will give us a tour.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Urban Fantasy Fans

I joined the LiveJournal community Urban Fantasy Fans today. I figured I've been reading posts there often enough that I should just join it.

Here's my introduction post, cross-posted from UFF.

LJ Name/Nickname: yttar

Are you a writer? Yes.

Are you trying to get published? Yes and no. As soon as I'm finished editing, I'll try to get my book published.

What do you write about? Right now I'm working with fox shapeshifters, but I've also written about hunters, witches, espers, vampires, faeries, and other shapeshifters. I also write a mix of modern and futuristic fantasy.

What are you reading now? Man of Many Minds by E. Everett Evans, a 1950s sci fi novel about a telepathic spy.

Who is your favorite urban fantasy author? YA author Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

What urban fantasy book is your favorite? It's a toss up between Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong, Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, and Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

Who is your favorite character? Either Sarah Vida from Shattered Mirror, Risika from In the Forests of the Night, or Hai from the Kiesha'Ra Series.

Do you write fanfic? What fandoms? No.

Anything else? Currently, I'm living in the Land of the Rising Sun where I teach English as a Second Language to Japanese people of most ages, from kindergarteners to retirees.

Oh yeah, I also added a new picture. Well, it's the only one I have here, but oh well.

My husband took the picture after our first trip back from Hiroshima when we stopped at one of the rest stops off of the Interchange (the IC). While there, he got hotdogs from a vending machine.

And while I'm making changes, I think I'm changing the title of my current book from Kitsune to Butterfly Mask. I really like Kitsune as a title. And I really like Butterfly Mask. But as I've been going through the edits, I think Butterfly Mask is a more suiting title. Especially since it goes back to the first title I had for Kitsu's story, which was Butterfly Kiss, which goes back to the naming scheme of my second and third books I wrote (Whale Song and Dragon Rose).