Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 In Review

I apologize for the length of this post, but I've got to be brief.

This has been a pretty good year for me. I've done well in school, made some friends, read way more books for pleasure than previous years, and have been actively working on multiple writing projects.

Also I think I'm getting better at this Tweeting thing; I've been working in my humor and personality into what I Tweet rather than just random comments, which is something I have yet to figure out how to do here on my blog.

And yes, I apologize for not releasing anything as a Christmas present this year, but, similar to last year, my original plan as a gift fell through. This year I decided to not release anything rather than release something stupid and meaningless like last year.
Why did it fall through? I have bigger and better plans for it.

So what are my hopes for 2013?

  • Firstly is that I graduate college and get a full-time job ASAP.
  • Secondly is that I can continue to write at my current pace and release something substantial within the next two or three years (depending on the post-writing process).
  • Thirdly is that I continue to get more and more readers on my blog, so show your friends!
  • Fourthly is that I read even more than this year!
  • Oh yeah, and I want to lose weight by my next birthday. Progress has been admittedly slow in that area so far...
I hope everyone has a great 2013 and had a great 2012!

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Short Story Incoming!

Back in September I talked about how I was starting to realize that the more I wrote of my novel, the less sense it made. Then in October I talked about how I came to decide that I would start it over for the second time.
I can tell you that I've finished the first draft and have moved on to the second, and it's turned out pretty well so far. I have yet to get any feedback from anyone, but I'm confident it will be positive.

The novel which was previously tentatively titled "The Slightest Moment" and sometimes referred to here as the Megan and Danny Novel is now a short story called "Asshole Liar", which sounds a lot more interesting already.
Here's the synopsis:
A short story about a man in the middle of cheating on his fiancee, thinking back on what made him the way he is, and knowing that soon he'll have to pay for what he's done.

I wrote the story partially as a project for a writing class, in which I was to mimic the style of a contemporary author, so those of you who enjoy the style of Chuck Palahniuk should find it enjoyable.
I will be posting that short story on this blog/site so that everyone can read it for free once I'm confident that it's ready to be released to the public, and I'll make sure to let you know as soon as that is.

Maybe I'll have it out in time for the holidays?
Remember to follow me on Twitter if you're into that sort of thing!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Last Semester Incoming!

As I'm sure I've mentioned, this is my last year of college. With December approaching that means that my last semester is coming up, I've already explained how busy my current semester has been so let's see what I can expect for the next semester.

I've only signed up for four classes next semester, as that's the minimum amount I need in order to graduate. Of those four classes only one is a requirement. Theoretically I was able to decide what class to take in order to fill that requirement, unfortunately out of about seven choices there was only one offered next semester, and it happened to be the one I least wanted to take: Technical Writing.

The rest of my classes were electives that I got to choose for myself. One of these is a sociology online class that should be interesting but is ultimately just filler. My last two choices are classes that I'm quite excited for, as they apply directly to my two interests in professions: writing and advertising. They're both ultimately going to help me work on honing my craft.

The interesting thing is that both of those classes are capstone courses. This means that I've got two classes I don't care too much about, and two that I care about but are going to be difficult. I'm not too worried about it, but it is unsettling that my last semester probably won't be as relaxed and fun as I had planned.
The other interesting thing is that I've scheduled my semester so I only have to go to class two days a week, and I signed up to work on the other days of the week.

To sum it all up: I'll have a bigger workload, and be working more hours, yet I'll have just about the same if not more time at home to get things done and relax.

Overall I'd say that's a pretty good deal.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Being Busy

 Haiku Time:
So little Free Time
To do what I want and Love ...
Well, I guess that's Life

Busy, busy, busy. This semester I've had quite the workload. People always tell you that you should spend at least an hour a night on homework per class (or maybe it was two), and I'm just going to tell you that I've never done that and gotten perfectly fine grades all through college. I'm sure that if you want to excel as an A+ student you may want to follow that advice better, but I've never been interested in being in the top of a class I don't give a rat's tail about.
That being said, this is the first semester in my whole life that I've consistently been unable to have a weekend free of homework. Yes, there has been the odd weekend that I knew I wouldn't have time to do anything and therefor worked hard the whole week to get ahead on homework before the weekend, but that's just too hard to do every week while still having time to relax.

What especially frustrates me, as you might guess, is that I've had so little time to write. The real kick in the pants about this is that I spent the entire summer working on a novel that I decided to scrap, and I was really hoping to have something to show publicly for all that work by now. Instead all I've got are unfinished projects, newly conceived ideas, and a large unfinished draft of a novel. None of it is ready to be shown to anybody.
I guess the good thing about having so little time to write my current projects is that I've got time to think about and develop my future projects, and I can assure you that my future projects are shaping up to be much more complete and improved than they were when I had so much time to write.

Now let's hope I eventually get time to write down those good, complete ideas.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The College Forty

It has occurred to me that this blog has strayed in the past few months. I've been writing mostly about my writing, with the occasional other topics popping up here and there. While writing is a huge part of my life, it isn't the only part. I found myself thinking of this as more of a blog about writing instead of a blog about myself, and as a result I was often forcing myself to talk about things that just weren't interesting. (For example, in my last post, for some reason I decided to write about something I already wrote about.) While I do have a lot to say about the world of creative literature, it is not all I should be talking about.
So without further ado:

I've grown fat since college began. From what I've seen and heard this is not unique to me, but in a way that makes it an even better topic to talk about because it's so common.
At my most fit, I was about 130 lbs. sometime around the beginning and middle of my junior year in high school. This is mostly the result of being employed as a cart pusher at a busy grocery store, as I remember that I had apparently lost some weight as a result (and the doctors were worried it was diabetes, which runs in my family).
Here's a photo taken around that time:

If I am correct, this is not exactly me at my thinnest, but shortly after. However it is the only photo I can find that shows my entire body. As you can see I am a proud and awkwardly skinny teen. In other photos I seem almost to be too skinny; as though my structure was meant to be heavier.

So what happened? Well several things contributed to my gain of weight. Firstly is that I quit my job as a cart pusher to become a dishwasher at a restaurant. Secondly I started dating for the first time and met my now-fiancée, and apparently studies have shown that men tend to subconsciously eat more when around women so as to impress them. Thirdly I grew addicted to ice cream and had found lots of time to eat it. Fourthly I began college and was left to regulate my own diet, which I had decided would consist of only things that I knew I liked (as opposed to when my parents cooked new things for me that I would only eat half of if I didn't like it very much).

So now about four years after that photo was taken, here I am now:
I now weigh 173 lbs. and absolutely hate it. Let's get something straight though, I'm fully aware that I'm still totally handsome when viewed from most angles. What bothers me is that I don't look as thin as I feel. I feel like I should weigh no more than 150 lbs. and that I shouldn't be embarrassed to wear medium-sized shirts. What's worse is that I feel like I don't look like the guy that my fiancée deserves. My fiancée is taller than me and has maintained her thin figure the whole time I've known her. When we go out together I can't help but feel like we don't look right for each other.
Of course this inevitably leads to me feeling like I don't deserve her.
I don't intend to just whine about this. For more than a year I had been trying various forms of exercise to work it off, but to put it bluntly I was doing everything half-assed. At one time I was jogging half a mile every other day, and then I gave that up to do a few push-ups and sit-ups every day, and then I told myself I would bike to work every day but gave that up when the summer got too hot.
I honestly haven't seen any progress.
Instead of letting this get me down and trick myself into thinking "I just can't loose it, so why bother trying?" I've become more and more determined to look good for my girl. I bought a scale that tracks my weight and tells if I've lost or gained compared to the average of the last five times I've checked, I've started going to my apartment complex's exercise room more regularly (usually every day) to run at least a mile and do some weight-lifting and other physical stuff, and I've been researching the best ways to boost my metabolism without going on any commercial diets.

I'm making this public because keeping it private meant keeping my failure private. I need people to know what I'm trying to do so they can tell me if I'm doing it wrong and tell me when I'm failing. I need people to keep me in check.
My ultimate goal is to get down to 150 lbs. in time for my wedding, but since that's still over a year away let's say I want to be down to 150 lbs by my next birthday. If I didn't have school or a job and knew my way around a gym this would be a piece of cake, but I have limited time and limited knowledge so I expect it to be a slow process.

This will be my birthday present to myself.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Starting Anew ... Again

Wow, yeah. I hate to do this again so soon, but you should have seen this coming.

Yup, I started over. Again. What started off as a crappy novella, and was then restarted to become a badass novel, turned into a bland mediocre novel.
So now I'm restarting it to be a short story.
As was made obvious by my last post I wasn't happy with where my novel was going. I wasn't completely sure what to do until I let my amazing, smart, and insightful fiancée read the draft.

Boy am I glad I had her read it. She came back at me with the brutal honesty that a wannabe author needs to hear from the people that care. Two of the characters didn't make sense (and one came off as a bitch), the main character's motives didn't make any sense, and the plot was thin as a wafer (which I knew from the beginning, but I hoped depth would occur naturally -- it didn't).
So, like the last time this happened, I've gone back and started over with no regrets; I knew what had to be done.
I've thought of an angle that will make the story way more my style, way more fun to write, and I swear that if it doesn't work out this third time then I'll give up on it for good. However after already starting the rewrite I'm really feeling that the third time is the charm.

Yes, I liked the direction that the second draft was going, and I liked that I was trying my hand at a new style, but it feels so good going back to a style (and the short story format) that I'm familiar with.

I swear this is the last time I restart this story.

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's the Point?

I recently stumbled upon many lists and articles about how to write better stories, characters, etc. and they made me question my own novel.
More specifically, what's the point?
I've noticed that while writing my novel, as much fun as it has been, I've not been completely sure of what the point of it is. Yes I know who it revolves around and what happens, but I don't know what its focus is.
Even more alarming is that it's becoming very obvious that the novel that I'm having so much fun writing is not one that I could ever see myself picking up and reading for fun. It's simply not my style or preferred genre, yet I have thoroughly loved writing it.
Then comes the fact that, with the revisions I've been making in my rewrite, the original plot's conclusion makes less and less sense with every page I type.

Let's put it this way; the story is about persons X, Y, and Z. Person Y is the only of the three to carry the Y chromosome. Persons X, Y, and Z form a love triangle throughout the book, and person Y ends up with person X in the original draft. Except the more I write out their characters, it doesn't make any sense that persons X and Y would end up together.

I had no idea how to deal with this for the longest time, then I suddenly had an epiphany whilst watching a football game that person Y should end up with person Z, given certain events. I quickly ran the sequence of how that would happen and what the result would be in my head to find that it made perfect sense! It wouldn't even require me to change around certain later scenes too much, and in fact would make them even more dramatically interesting!
This slight change even completely shifts the focus of the novel, and more importantly, gives it one that's much more my style. All I would have to do is rewrite a few parts and continue on with the new plan!

Ryan's Brain enters the scene.

Ryan's Brain: Wait, but can I really make the entire thing work with just a few changes? With the new shift in focus, shouldn't there also be a brand new rewrite so that the new focus stays persistent throughout the entire novel? Maybe I should even shift the perspective the entire story is told in ... but then that would be undoing all the progress I've made in practicing with the current perspective I've chosen as well as the character development that goes hand-in-hand with the exact way I've written the story currently and---

Ryan's Brain melts onstage.

Yes. This complicates things quite a bit. While this little idea theoretically fixes all the issues I've been having, it opens the novel up to a barrel full of new problems. The fact of the matter is that I see no other choices than to either start everything over from scratch again (with a story that I still consider as practice and not representative of my best ideas), continue onward with the current style and see where it takes me (it is practice, after all), or drop the entire thing and move on to some other project that is more my style (and I have lists full of those ideas).
I just don't see a hybrid mash-up of original story and new ideas working.

Give me some advice by commenting on this post, or just tell me which option to take.
Don't forget to follow me on twitter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

College Major vs. Minor

The dichotomy between my chosen major and minor in college is certainly an interesting one.
For those of you who do not know, I am majoring in advertising and minoring in English writing. This decision came to me at the tail end of my sophomore year after I realized that as much as I liked the idea of becoming an English teacher for high school, I just didn't feel passionate about it. I watched a few episodes of Friends, talked to a career counselor, and took a few personality/career tests, and they all pointed me into the direction of advertising. It turns out my interests all happen to translate to skills that are necessary to create effective advertisements.
Of course, I knew that I was very passionate about writing, and that not only would an English Writing minor help me to hone my skills at the craft, but it would also look good that a person trying to get into the advertising world happens to have a knack for creativity.
Sometimes creativity involves holding a pen with my chin.
To this day I am confident that these were the best choices for me. I have come to love learning and practicing advertising, and I have come to learn a lot about how to be a better writer. The thing that makes all of this interesting, however, is that in a perfect world they would match my true feelings and be the other way around; I would be majoring in English writing and minoring in advertising.
After all, if you can't tell from reading my blog, my true passion lies in writing. As much as I love advertising, I know I'd love to just spend my life writing novels for a living.

Also, this post happens to be the 22nd, which surpasses last year's amount of 21.
For more of my thoughts; follow me on twitter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Last Proper Summer Ending

Well this is the end to my last summer vacation ever.
But it's also the beginning of my last school year ever, and since I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy, I choose to think of it that way.

Last summer I gave a brief summary of the books I had read over the summer, of which there was only one. This summer I am pleased to say that I passed my personal record of books read for pleasure in a short timespan (in this case, Summer) to four and a third ... and some other random pages.
But that doesn't really accurately portray how much more I actually read, considering the first three books were massive novels which together made up The Millennium Trilogy. Each of those novels had above 600 pages or so (depending on the cover and edition) and were an absolutely massive undertaking for me to read.
Easily three of the best books I've ever read.
(image from here)

I had always thought that I was more of a writer than a reader; that I just didn't like reading. Well it turns out instead I had just never found much that I actually loved reading until now (I raced through the second book of the trilogy very quickly).
I followed up The Millennium Trilogy with the latest book by Chuck Palahniuk: Damned, which was an excellent change of pace from the seriousness and drama of the trilogy. It's about a fat thirteen-year-old girl who has died and gone to hell. It was a quick and easy read which I started and finished in a weekend (yet another personal milestone).
Then I moved on to  reading a book that was very important to me at one time, but after getting a third of the way through it I stopped (you can read more about that in my previous post).
Finally I moved on to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but it's not as interesting as it sounds and the novelty wears off quite quickly, and I've since abandoned reading that as well.
It can also be noted that I actually picked up and read the first few chapters of Fifty Shades of Grey somewhere in between all of that, but once all the "does he actually like me?" tension wore off and it turned into erotica I lost interest (though I admit it was quite good up to that point).

So where do I go from here? Four finished books and three unfinished seems like quite the ratio, but the fact of the matter is that I'm still figuring exactly what it is that I like to read, since I'm somewhat new to this. My goal is to next read the classic novel by George Orwell: 1984, which I look forward to very much as I've wanted to read it for quite some time now.

And of course on the side I continue to write. As those who follow me on Twitter saw, I achieved a milestone in my novel a few days ago (which relates to this old post), I've been fiddling with some flash fiction, and I've been making slow but steady steps towards publication of a certain something.

So my "last summer vacation" turned out to be a pretty good one, overall.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Knowing When To Stop Reading

Before I Begin:
I've gone back and added the label "[Megan and Danny Novel]" to (hopefully) all of the posts in which I blogged about my tentatively titled novel. Feel free to click on that tag to see all those posts, and perhaps get a better picture of what it's about overall. As usual you can select any of the other labels from the group of them displayed to the lower right of the page just above the list of followers of the blog (and you may notice a second new one if you look carefully).

Now Here We Go:
Last Monday I began reading a book that bears great significance on my origins as a writer for the first time. Unfortunately I found that I grew bored of the book very quickly, and put it down to resume later.
Awhile after resuming, I grew bored again and put it down, assuring myself that it will get much better soon enough and I only need to keep on trying.
This happened several more times, but it didn't take that long to begin questioning whether or not to continue reading the novel at all, and I found myself questioning at what point I would be able to best decide whether to continue reading or to forget it and start another.

I will not name the novel, however I assure you it was written by a very famous author and was a bestseller.
...also it had a lot of trees.
On one hand I have this burning passion to finally read the novel that accidentally inspired me to be a writer long before I'd read a single word of it.
On the other hand, it was incredibly dull and felt like a chore to get through.

A professor once told me that she decided if she was going to read a book based solely on the first sentence. If the first sentence didn't grab her complete attention and pull her in, she put the book back on the shelf and continued to browse. I was finding myself a fourth of the way through the novel and had absolutely no idea what I was going to do.
A friend of mine suggested I decide after reading a third of the book, and conveniently the first third of the book ended almost exactly at the end of the chapter I was reading. I took his advice and powered through the rest of the chapter.
Or at least that's what I intended to do. Somehow the book actually got more dull in the last six pages of the chapter and I ended up skimming through them annoyed. I then put the book down, removed the bookmark, and read the entire plot summary online.

Sometimes it can be very hard to figure out if it's worth reading a book once you've started it. In the back of your mind you may keep telling yourself that it's got to get better eventually, which may be true, but does that mean it's going to feel like any less of a chore? In this instance it was obvious to me especially after reading the plot summary that the book was definitely going to get much more interesting, but it was still obvious to me that there was more boring me about it than just the story itself.

In the end I'm glad I gave up, because now I can focus on reading something that interests me more.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Proof of Insanity

(The following post expands greatly upon this previous post about being uncertain about my future. I felt like I was holding back the true extent of my neurosis on the topic and so this time around, thanks to a friend's advice, I'm just letting it all out.)

Writing a novel.
For practice, I assure you
Yet it wears me out

Let me tell you a story about a story. Two years ago I whipped out a blank notebook in class and started writing what I had anticipated to be a tragedy tentatively titled "Megan and Danny" after the main two characters. The notebook was missing a few pages so I only had about 50 or so to write on, and I was too foolish to use the front and back of each (so I had to condense). What resulted was a notebook filled from beginning to end with a detailed skeleton of a story.

Last year I started moving the story from the notebook to my laptop, while expanding upon areas I felt needed to be fleshed out. I gave the characters more characteristics and the scenes more detail. I wanted to present a finished version of that draft to my Fiction Writing class for feedback, so I finished the draft in a hurry and changed the ending from a tragic one to a hopeful one.

The overwhelming majority of the class seemed to be trying their best to let me down easy. They offered vague suggestions and complaints. I heard the dreaded phrase "It has potential", which is code for "it was a waste of my time". Also, someone told me it was a waste of their time.
One person seemed genuinely interested in the sexual tension; exclaiming that they wanted to read more when things got a little heated.
I got the message: this is far from finished.
I couldn't just drop the story; it was the first I'd ever written with a real driving passion. I spent about a month planning what the next draft should be like and then started over with a brand new document.

It's so much better, but it's still just practice.
The plot is unoriginal, which is a shame because I promise you that I have dozens of original ideas written down that haven't been done before (to my knowledge), so I've been focusing on beefing up the characters and events to make them the center focus of the story. At this rate the story will finish at double the length of the previous draft.

It's changing so much for the better.
Thematically it's still about how people change as they grow up, how time affects all of us in some way, and how some of us refuse to accept that. The scary thing is that there's a good chance that the theme is the only thing staying completely intact. Names are changing, character lists are expanding, inside jokes are being included, my memories are sneaking in, plots are thickening, alliances are being drawn, drama is brewing, love is blooming, and betrayal (and maybe even death) is looming.

I don't even know what genre it is anymore.
Whatever it is, it's fun. It's been exhilarating to create these characters and then put them through these events. (also some of the characters and events are based on real people and things that have happened, which makes it more fun because it's like keeping a journal of my favorite people and memories in a creative and productive format.) Yet it's been consuming my mind on a day-to-day basis. I'm obsessing over details I'm not including, I've been considering drastic plot changes that alter the entire tone and focus of the story, and all the while I've been more afraid than ever before that I'll never amount to anything.

In high school my hormones decided I would suffer from light depression for no good reason whatsoever, and now life is telling me that, while the meaningless depression is over, the stress I create for myself is present more than ever. Also my psychological tendency to doubt my significance on this planet has been heightened and partnered up with a legitimate fear of the future as my last year of college looms on the horizon.
I second guess everything.
Why am I writing a story I have so little faith in?
Why aren't I writing one of my more original ideas?

Why does it take me so long to finish a single page?
Why do I get so hung up on details that don't matter?
What if nobody likes my writing style?
What if nobody likes my ideas?
What if this is the best it ever gets?
What if I get distracted by life and never write again?

What if everyone tells me that my stories are terrible and I never write again?
What if I get into a car accident, lose my motor functions and never write again?
What if I step off the curb at the exact moment that a dragonfly passes by, causing me to lose balance and fall into oncoming traffic, killing me instantly and causing me to never write again?
What if the world ends tomorrow and I never get a chance to write again?

I guess I'll just have to write more and faster, which I admit will likely contribute to more stress.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Limitless Impact of Music on Writing

Every author has a ritual when writing. For example one of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk, chooses to write in places like crowded parks where he will be completely and utterly distracted.
I'm a bit different, and what you might consider more traditional, depending on your knowledge of writers.

I prefer to be left isolated in a room with my noise-cancelling headphones on while a steady stream of music drifts into my ears.
Let's get the obvious out of the way; music is inspiring. It is the single greatest medium for expresing emotions and tones. You hear a happy song and you feel like smiling, you hear an angry song and you want to shout it out, or you hear a sad song and get reminded of memories you wish you could forget. The best songs not only do this, but they beg to be sung or played along with, and every time you hear them you can't resist imagining it was you who wrote and performed that song.

My greatest wish when writing is that I can somehow convey that same calibur of emotion through storytelling alone.
This is somewhat the tone I listen to.
Beautiful, yet hiding something darker.
Typically this is where my modest library of soundtracks comes in. Soundtracks are nothing but moods, and they're typically wordless so I don't need to worry about getting distracted and singing along. My stories have always tended to have dark undertones, so two of my favorite soundtracks to fall back on are The Fight Club Soundtrack and The Social Network Soundtrack. It's important to note that these are surely not for everyone, but that in fact Fight Club is my favorite movie and The Social Network's soundtrack was composed by my favorite musician. The two movies also happen to have been directed by my favorite director, so it's no doubt that the reason I fall back on these soundtracks so often is not just because of their quality and parallel tones to what I want to write, but also because these are the movies and people that inspire and influence me.

Another album worth mentioning is, Ghosts I-IV, of which the first nine songs are free to download from that (the official) website. The reason it is great to listen to whilst writing is best explained by the artist's explanation of the album itself: "This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective - dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams."

The music doesn't have to be wordless or composed for a movie, of course (and not every soundtrack I have is the same tone as those mentioned above). That's just what I tend to fall back on. I've listened to video game music, metal, pop, and all other sorts of music to get me into whatever mood I need. In my most recent novel I've even been experimenting with listening to the favorite style of music or favorite band of whichever particular character I'm focusing on at that instance; that way it's more like I'm getting into the character's head and seeing things from their perspective. It's actually very enlightening.

Perhaps someday a story or two of mine will have their own soundtracks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Certainly Uncertain

My future is certainly, like anyone else's, uncertain.

As of very recently my interest in writing has been pulling me in multiple directions that it previously never did before. I've been writing a novel and flash fiction stories, I've been pursuing the idea of self-publishing, I've been looking into freelancing for a particular website, and just today I had a great idea for another short story to write. I guess my transition from being a gamer is coming on stronger than even I thought.
With all of that coupled with this upcoming year being my last year at school, my future is headed towards me faster than ever before. It seems that the question of "what will I be when I grow up?" will soon be answered.
I've come a long way, and there's still so much to come.
I am frightened.
It's not that I've been thinking I'll be successfully rich and famous, but the thought of failure still lingers in my mind like a ghost under a bed, and often I'm afraid to set my foot on the ground. Just because I write for the fun of it (though I admit at this stage in life the idea of profiting from it is alluring as well) doesn't mean I won't be completely shattered if nobody wants to read a word I write, and I can't help but wonder if I'll even have the yearning to keep on trying if I miserably fail time after time.

You have no need to fear, of course. I know that the only direction to move is forward. I must set out to fail if I want to succeed. As scary as this is, this is what I love doing.

I'm so fortunate if only to know and be able to do what I love.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Flash Fiction and Publishing

A while ago I wrote about some experimentation that I wanted to get into. Among this was the idea that "I want to try some of the quicker things first, such as flash fiction, since I have dozens of simple scenarios or stories that I want to tell before I lose interest in them".

Well I'm finally getting around to that. I've written one story down that's a page long (single-spaced) and have plans for a few others to write in the near future. The idea is to use these micro-sized stories to give myself a break from the brain-gymnastics of writing and planning out my novel as well as to get some completed content out there into the world as soon and quickly as possible.

I plan on getting some form of new content up on the site before the summer ends, so right now the two likeliest possibilities are my finished short story or a collection of flash fiction stories. Of these two I really have no idea which has a better chance of being released by the end of the summer, as I need to talk to my editor regarding my short story, and I need to have enough completed works of flash fiction to justify a collection. I also hope to self-publish both of these on e-readers.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Transition from Gamer to Reader

I've undergone an interesting change over this past year.
As I mentioned in a previous post I obtained a Nook Color at the end of last year. It may come as a shock that I never read much for pleasure. My hobby was always to play video games every chance I got. Needless to say my request for a Nook at Christmas was somewhat out of character.
I had been spending less and less time playing video games for the past few months due simply to a lack of time and an altered interest in writing. But still, I hadn't exactly been spending a lot of time reading before I asked for a $200 e-reader as a gift. However I knew that with my reinvigorated desire to write that reading was something I definitely wanted to get into.
The result has been pretty good, so far. It turns out books can be pretty awesome, and I can crunch a bit of reading into a smaller time frame than gaming requires me to have. Essentially, reading has been a great hobby that works within my busy twenty-something-year-old schedule.
A busy schedule that somehow includes catching snakes.
What does this mean for you, my friends and anonymous fans? Well hopefully it means that I'll learn a thing or two about what makes a good book good, and it will translate to my stories being a little bit more epic. I think it's working, too. I just read through The Girl Who Played With Fire and then read the beginning of my work-in-progress novel. In doing so I realized that I definitely need to rewrite the beginning of my novel because it's rubbish by comparison.
See? Progress.

Also from a personal accomplishment standpoint, reading just feels more meaningful. Sure, video games are the way the future is heading, but our society still holds reading to a higher regard, and it's easy to see why.

Remember to follow me on Twitter, if you're into that sort of thing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All The Little Things

As I've been rewriting my novel tentatively titled "The Slightest Moment" I've been greatly expanding on what I had written in my first and second drafts. For example, so far I've extended the events of the first chapter to go beyond the length of the first two chapters of the second draft, and I have plans to expand upon every chapter thereafter in a similar fashion.

What I do is come up with more plot points to intertwine with what I had already planned. The challenge is that it has to be in a way that not only lengthens the story, but enhances it as well. One way that I've been trying to enhance the story actually has a bit to do with a blog post I made over a year ago about the crisis of how to deal with technology in stories today. Specifically in this case I'm experimenting with lots of modern culture references.
Modern culture is so rich and fascinating, after all.

My last two drafts, while based in the modern day, could have easily been based in an earlier year with a few tweaks to minor details. There were few mentions of texting on cell phones, but otherwise absolutely no references to anything else that would tell you what time the story takes place in. I was completely focused on telling the plot (so much so that I forgot to make the characters likable, but that's a different topic) which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but now it's time to try something different.

I'm even attempting to use a modernization as a key subplot point. I think it's going along well so far, though nobody else has read it to tell me otherwise.

Hopefully this isn't all going to blow up in my face.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beginning My "Last Summer" Ever

Wow, I didn't realize that this is my last "Summer Vacation" ever until exactly when I was trying to think of a title for this blog post.


Then again I've never been one to look at a glass with 50% water and call it half empty. I typically fill it all the way up instead (though that's not the point I was trying to make). This summer is actually shaping up to be a good one; I've got my job back from last year except this time with two of my friends working alongside me, I've continued being health-conscious by riding my bike to and from work as well as working out in the weight room (though I still love eating slightly large portions), and this year my lovely fiancee works almost the exact same hours that I do (as opposed to the complete opposite like last summer).
Work productivity has never been so fun!
As for what this summer is leading to? I suppose next year will be my last year of school in the foreseeable future, and after that I have to start my life as a real adult with a real job and everything like that, but it doesn't worry me too much when I think about how fortunate I am to be able to share all of that with my fiancee. After all, we're planning to get married shortly after college, how can I not look forward to that? I proposed over a year ago!

Yes, I admit it scares the crap out of me to have no idea what my life is going to be like after college, but at least I've got a great network of friends and family who would all gladly lend a helping hand at a moment's notice. My best friend has already offered to let me stay at his place in the event that anything happens between my fiancee and I (don't worry, I haven't had to and don't plan on needing to), which is incredibly thoughtful.

Lastly, did I mention that to kick summer off with a bang my fiancee bought us two tickets to see one of my favorite bands, Eve 6, live next Wednesday? And then right after that we're off to go up north for a relaxing weekend at her family's cottage with one of the largest groups of family and friends that I've ever been among!

What's there to be scared of?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love is Not a Choice

This past weekend a friend and work associate of mine enthusiastically detailed her plans to enjoy her birthday the following day. Among these plans, she stated that she was going to get a tattoo.
"Where and what?" I asked curiously.
"It's going to say 'love is a choice' really tiny on my wrist" she explained.
"I don't get it" I replied with a puzzled glance.
She then went on to explain that she believed it was the truth about love; that you don't just feel love for someone that lasts forever, it comes and goes and you have to choose whether or not to love somebody. And for some reason she felt so strongly about this that she felt it necessary to get it perminantly written on her wrist.
I replied with the first thought that came to me: "you've never been in love, have you?"
Time to get educational.
As someone raised on Catholic teachings, the idea of choosing to love is not a foreign concept to me. The Bible bombards us with messages like "love your neighbor even if they take a dump on your dog" and overall teaches to love people despite the dozens of reasons you don't want to. Let me distinguish this idea of love from LOVE.
The love that my friend had in mind was an action, not a feeling.
You can choose to show love, but you cannot choose to feel love. Similarly to friendship, it's not a decision you sit down and make a rational or logical choice about, it's a feeling, an instinct. My friend argued that there must be times when my fiancee and I are fighting that I do not like her but choose to love her. I say from experience that this is false. I love her no matter how things are between us, and there have even been times that I wished I could choose to not love her, but I can't help but care so deeply for her that I overcome my frustration.
I do not choose to love her, if anything I am choosing to give in to that love.

The moral of the story is as follows: don't get a tattoo with a phrase that represents your opinions of something, especially when it's something you've never experienced. Opinions change. I have a feeling that my friend will look at her tattoo many years in the future (and how can she not? It's right on her wrist) and while she may not regret getting it, it will be a constant reminder of her naivete.
You know what? I hope she changes her mind someday not only because I like to be right, but also because everyone deserves to know what real love feels like. The kind of love that's not an action, but a feeling. The kind of love that's not a choice.
~~Haiku Time!~~
Love is not a choice
You feel it within yourself
Someday you will see
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Congratulations to the Happy Couple!

I had the honor of being a groomsman in the wedding of two friends of mine. My fiancee had the honor of being the maid of honor.
It was a truly magnificent experience that I will never forget. The energy and nerves felt during the morning of the wedding by myself, the best man, and the groom were par none. Part of that may have been because of the best man's aggressive driving, but that only added to the fun as we raced from one end of town to the other to grab a quick lunch (which took 15 minutes in the drive through), eat it back at the groom's house, and get dressed into our tuxedos as quickly as possible.
The wedding went off without a hitch, so to speak, though literally speaking the couple did end up hitched. I hate to spread the stereotype, but it really didn't hit me that it was a  real wedding until the bride was halfway down the isle. Until then it just felt like a fun thing that we were all doing together. I talked to my fiancee the day after and it turns out that it really didn't hit her until then either, so I suppose this particular stereotype has just cause for being so popular.
The photo-taking after the wedding was equally as fun as we walked around a park waiting for the photographer to get inspired by a tree or bridge and have us all pose for the camera on or near it. The flower girl even seemed to have a lot of fun, though I suspect that was because she didn't realize that nobody had told her that we weren't actually at the park to play and race (The best man and I raced her around anyway).

And then of course there was the reception. And wouldn't you know it, that was also awesome and fun! The food was delicious (if you picked the right stuff), the drinks were free to the bridal party, and the music was loud; the maid of honor's speech left the audience in tears, and the best man's speech left them in stitches.
The great thing about a reception is that as the night goes on the people that don't really matter just leave, so it only gets more awesome, until at midnight you're left with only the guests and friends that are the most fun. In laymen's terms that means the old people leave and us young people were left to hang out, have fun, and dance the night away.

On the off chance that they read this, thank you Katie and Kevin for making me a part of your special, amazing, and important day, and I wish you all the luck and love the world has to offer! Congratulations!

I'd be totally okay if you did this again (together) sometime.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Small Victory Dance

Well it's about time I accomplished something significant, don't you think?
The good news is that I finally did!
Each year I submit a little something for consideration to be published in my college annual literary magazine, and every year I hear nothing back.
Finally that has changed.
This year I submitted about five of what I thought were my best poems, because despite poetry not being my main interest, I didn't have any short stories good enough to submit. After waiting longer than I was told I would have to wait to hear back, I found out that my poem "Aim for the Head" was accepted into the magazine (you can read it here)!
Don't worry, the poem is about zombies. Not real people.
(I drew this. Copyright Ryan Matejka)

The punchline is I actually submitted that poem last year and heard nothing back.
Also it was written during my junior year at high school.
Also I haven't cared to write a poem in about a year. So here's a haiku:

My poetry sucks
I would rather write fiction
But haikus are fun

So yeah, I'm getting published. Next year I guess I'll submit some stories and hope for the best.

Cool beans.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Starting Anew

Remember this post about the long story I was writing?
Well to keep you up-to-date, I finished it at just under twenty thousand words.
Remember this post about the nice things people said about my short story?
Well to bring you up-to-speed, I went through that same workshop process for the almost twenty thousand word story.

Which meant a lot more of these.

It's hard to explain exactly what I mean, but I guess the best way to say it is that the problems that people had with it this time had more to do with the fundamentals of the story itself. The issues people had with the story, even if they liked it overall, weren't the kind of issues that could be solved with an addition or deletion of a sentence or two like they were in my short story.The response, while still a good mix of positive and negative opinions, had a very different tone to it.
As this became clear to me while listening to the students in my class discuss their opinions of the story, I didn't hesitate to decide that the best solution would be to rewrite the entire story from the beginning. So while the classroom was still telling me what they liked or thought could fix the draft of the story in front of them, I was already planning out a brand new version of the story in my head. In the span of a week I went through several ideas that would drastically affect the original concept for the story.

Seasons just seemed like a cool motif. (source of photo)

Let me explain what I mean about the concept:
The story was to cycle through various different character's perspectives, one at a time, from a third-person perspective. The story was separated into five different parts/chapters, each of which took place in the season following that of the chapter before (winter, spring, summer, fall, winter), but the story did not span a single year, instead it spanned fourteen years (originally over sixty years). The distance in time between the chapters was to increase somewhat exponentially. I also wanted to emphasize certain aspects of a lifetime, such as that you don't bring all of your friends along with you through your entire life, which meant that several characters key to the first chapter or two were completely missing in the third, fourth, and fifth chapters.

What on Earth was I thinking?
I was so wrapped up in what I thought was the "poetic" structure of the story, that I didn't focus on the characters or the story itself. The result was that the writing was boring and the characters were mostly unlikable. I quickly began brainstorming remedies, including changing the perspective of the story, forgoing the seasonal chapter format and starting the story years before the original beginning, and, of course, figuring out ways to make the characters likable.
"This time I'll try not to waste dozens of
hours screwing up." (source of photo)

I went from breaking my personal word count record by several thousand, to scrapping it all and starting over at zero. And honestly it doesn't bother me at all. For one thing I've completely scrapped then rewrote an entire story before, so this isn't the first time, and for another thing I know it's for the best and that the new direction in which I'm going feels much better than the original concept. There were a few moments that I considered the story to be a lost cause that I should forget about and put behind me, but then I reminded myself how important this particular story is to me. Not just that it's my first full-length story, but that it's something unlike anything I've written before, and I feel some sort of attachment to the characters and plot that I can't just walk away from. This is a story that means something to me.

I'm debating making the process of rewriting this story more public, as in I would reference specific parts of the story directly in the blog to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about, since I imagine it's hard to follow me at times when you know nothing about the story. I could even do some side-by-side comparisons of the original and new version.

By the way:


  • I uploaded a new comic strip of "Stupid Phrases" called "What's Up?" to the Humor tab.
  • I uploaded a new poem called "Bad Advice" to the Poems tab.
Now, if only I had a good quality story to upload...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finding My Genre

Think of your favorite author. Now think about what kind of books they write.
I venture to say that the majority of popular authors have a specific genre, or narrow set of relatable genres, that they primarily stick to writing. Even if they don't stick to the same genre they probably stick to the same tone or style because it's what they love to write most or it's what they're good at.
I'm at an age where, without the pressure of monetary gain or fans to please, I don't even know what my genre, style, or tone is.
Figuring out which direction to go can be hard.

When I first started writing as a serious enthusiast (around age twelve) I most enjoyed writing Stephen King-style horror short stories because that was all I could grasp having not read much and understanding that Stephen King was a popular author that I had heard of. I assumed it was the smartest person to mirror, but I also knew that I had no idea how to write anything longer than what was, in retrospect, flash fiction.

Now I've written a postmodernist meta-fiction short story with an ironic sense of humor, a romantic love-epic, and have plans to write a science-fiction trilogy, a dystopian future novel, and a drama or two. Not to mention that I have random little ideas to base short stories on weekly, some serious and some humorous. Besides the obvious fact that I have no idea what my style is or will be yet, if I become published for one or all of these ideas, how will people see me? I don't want to settle on one genre, and while that may change over time, right now I have too many fun ideas for all sorts of stories.

For now I guess I'll take things one step at a time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The First Year In Review

One year ago Today, this blog's first post went live.
In it I talked about the very first blog I started, and why I was starting this one. I expressed that I did not expect anyone to find it interesting to read when I said: "So maybe I have high hopes and low expectations, but isn't that what a lot of great achievers start out with? A dream with a lack of confidence?".
I am happy to report to my past-self that last month I had a record high of 161 views, compared to the 40 I had in my first month, I'd say that's progress.
My First Blog ("Yackemflaber" is my web name)

It was after that post that I immediately got into talking about my novella, which became somewhat of a long-running subject of my blog for the past year.

I also enjoyed scattering in some of my philosophies on certain subjects within writing. I even played around with talking about a childhood favorite video game. Sometimes I even confessed about something from my personal life.

Also in the past year, this blog has undergone some pretty notable changes, among them is that I changed the name, merged it with my website, and added twitter.

I believe this image is relevant yet again.
Believe it or not, with everything I've done, there are actually two blog posts that never saw the light of day. One was never written but was going to be a book review for one of my recent favorites, and one actually a pretty significant and mostly-finished post about how a particular idea of mine was drastically changing and taking shape before my very eyes.

So what's remained the same among all these changes? Well I still write in a personal journal as often as I can (though that's becoming less and less often it seems), I still have a passion for writing, I still have a passion for my fiancée, and I still love blogging.

So what do I see in the year to come? Well I hope my readers will be pleased to know I intend to do more of the same, and maybe try a few things I didn't get around to trying last year (like the book review, does anyone have an interest in reading that sort of stuff?). I also hope to upload even more content to the story, poem, and humor pages (though that all depends on dozens of factors). I'd even like to try doing something with videos in my blog, even if it's just linking to one of my recent YouTube videos and going on about it.
This photo is here for the sole purpose of keeping your eyes interested.
Lastly, I'd like to blog even more often in the next year. I currently average 2 blog posts a month, but would love to bring that up to three or four, which I think will be very possible because I typically have a lot to talk about, and maybe that means expanding this blog to talk about my other hobbies more (like video games, books, and movies), but we'll leave that up to time to tell.

Happy First Anniversary to this Blog! May there be millions more!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You Can't Please Everybody

I read through that stack of critiques from my fellow students regarding my latest short story.
This stack.
I admit I didn't go through that entire stack because some of it is copies of my story with edits written in (instead I read all the critiques), and I'm still thoroughly going through my professor's edited copy which I hold to be more valuable than the other edits which I may not even read through unless a person's critique prompts me to.

I am happy to report that I got a lot of good suggestions and input. Some of it was said in class and some wasn't. I made a list of all the suggestions and problems I found most useful, and I even made a list of the names of people who loved the story beyond an average amount, calling it the  "Fan List". There are a total of six names on the Fan List.
I also made a list of the people who did not like the story at all. Calling it the "Hit List" (sarcastically, I assure you). There are two names on the Hit List.
The class is 25 students, counting myself. That means 24% of the class loved my story, 8% hated it, 64% enjoyed it a normal amount (or didn't specify their opinion), and 4% wrote it (that's me).

I'm going to take the time to explain what some people said, and rebuttal their claims if necessary.
"As long as your story was, I read it fast because it kept my attention the whole time." 
 "Awesome story! The plot was really interesting, especially to me being a psychology major ... it's making my head spin, in a good way."
 "Wow. This story was awesome ... My favorite story of the class so far."
"All I can really say is wow. This is by far the best draft that I have read so far. I think that it is an extremely novel approach to writing."
"What did I like about it? A lot of things. I think this has great potential to be published."
"I kept reading because I wanted to figure it all out ... It almost seemed like an inside joke to the English world ... I am now questioning my own reality."
A special thank you to all the people who said these amazingly nice things. Others complimented my story, but you six praised it. It's hard to describe how it feels to read such wonderful comments from my intended audience. It reassures me that this is what I want to do with my life. Thank you all.
"Beyond page 2, I found it to be very uninteresting. I had to force myself to keep reading because it was an assignment, and I feel compelled to always complete assignments ... I had no vested interest in any of the characters, and the storyline was confusing."
"The punctuation in the entire story is horrible. Please take the time to learn how to punctuate [dialogue] properly. Without the proper punctuation the story becomes very difficult to read ... You have large chunks of exposition where a sentence or two would be more than enough ... I call it tedious because it doesn't add to the story ... By page 8 I was bored and wondering what the point was ... I was completely fed up with the story ... I was dreading having to read ten more pages of this. What was the point? ... plus do you have any idea what [rape] would be like for a girl?"
Hater #1, you were kind enough to give me constructive criticism, and I genuinely understand that the story can be hard to understand, especially when you lose interest after page two. It wasn't your cup of tea and I can respect that, and I thank you for giving it a fair shot by reading all the way through for the sake of your compulsion to complete assignments.
Hater #2, I can forgive you for not understanding the story because frankly you are not my demographic and you seemed to not read into the story beyond the face value of the printed words. I will reassure you though, that I do know what quotation marks are, and I'm sorry you spent so much time marking them around every line of dialogue in the story without realizing the significant reason they were missing. It would have helped if you were constructive with your criticism, and I wish you'd not been so harsh with your criticisms, but I still respect your opinion. Also I don't personally know how rape would feel, but I can imagine it would be intensely unpleasant, and I hope you realize that I did not intend to glorify it at all (hence why the victim in the story is traumatized by it). I'm very sorry if you felt I was somehow promoting rape.
There are just a few other comments I would like to address from people that seemed to neither completely love nor completely hate the story (though most of them expressed liking it)
"If you have a rape scene in your piece, or anything resembling a rape scene, you must include a trigger warning so people can either a. chose not to read it or b. be prepared to read it"
I can see how you would think that, because this is such a sensitive topic with  many people, and I see given the tone of the rest of the story how you would not be expecting this and be more disturbed by it. I will rebuttal by simply saying; isn't that the point?
"While other writers might find it amusing, this kind of meta-humor doesn't really appeal to a very wide audience. If you're okay with that, it's fine, but you should keep that in mind."
 This goes back to my previous point of my targeted demographic. I was writing this story for a Fiction Writing class, and had that in mind 100% while writing it (why else would I have a story-within-a-story taking place in a night class?). The overall class seemed to genuinely like it, so I believe I was successful in that regard, and I've actually shared it with several non-writers who found it to be equally as fun to read even if they didn't get all the writer references. So I respectfully disagree.

The point is that nobody can please everybody all the time. This is something I always knew, but this is my first experience in which people had drastically different opinions from the majority of others about something I've done. The good news is that the majority in this case was in favor for my story.
I hope to have the final edit done shortly and upload it to the site for everyone to read eventually.

Also, March 19th seems to be the first Anniversary of this blog!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

21 and Reaffirmed

Two days ago I turned 21 years old. One day ago I got to sit in class while my fellow students and professor critiqued a work of short fiction I wrote.

Let's start with the obvious. I live in America where the drinking age is 21 and the culture around alcohol encourages getting drunk and having a party. For the record I've never really drank before, aside from a sip or two of some things more recently to see if I would potentially enjoy the taste. Therefore I didn't feel the need to get drunk on my birthday because I've never seen the benefit of becoming less rational and in control of myself.
I spent the night before my birthday hanging out with some friends, playing pool and video games, and trying out a few drinks. A friend of mine offered to mix me a drink, but didn't tell me the alcoholic content of it and I didn't feel the need to ask. One minute I was fine and the next I was quite goofy to say the least.
Pictured: The drink in question ... glowing.

Yes there are videos. No you cannot see them.
While I still stand by my opinion that there's no rational reason to get drunk, I admit I see the appeal now.
But beyond that my birthday weekened was amazing. I had a total of three parties; one with my family, the one mentioned above, and one the day of my birthday which wasn't a party for me but it turned out everyone there knew about it. I had a different cake for each, the highlight easily being a professionally designed cake that looked exactly like an old book supposedly written by me that tasted like a chocolate peanut butter cup.
Pictured: A cake (courtesy of
Overall it was a fantastic birthday weekend, and I'd like to thank those of you reading this who were either a part of it or even simply who wished that I have a happy birthday.

The fun didn't stop there, however. As mentioned in my previous post I was scheduled to listen to my night class critique a short story I wrote last night. They saved mine for last, and so I was nervous but excited to say the least. I had heard positive feedback from some family members and friends I had shown the story to,  but to hear an entire classroom (and published professor) critique my story seemed like a whole other ballgame. I hoped it was so good that the class would end up analyzing the story instead of critiquing it, which has always been a dream of mine that my stories would be so deep that future students would study them. My expectation was that the classroom would instead do as it always did and critique the story, pointing out what they liked and didn't like about it whilst offering suggestions on how to improve it.

For the most part my dream came true.
Pictured: The stack of critiques I was given to look over.
While there were definitely things mentioned that I could do to improve the story, there were no real particular improvements to be made ... more like general suggestions for deeper meaning and clarity. Instead my story inspired the classroom to dissect the story as best they could and the professor to give a short lesson on postmodernism and meta-fiction. Even the most pessimistic guy I've ever known who sits in class and rips every other story we've read to shreds seemed to have very little to say about his distaste in the short story.
What I got from this experience (besides a 50-minute-long audio recording of the analysis itself) was much more than euphoria from excessive praise. I got some amazing feedback that has inspired me to make some tweaks to the story and the inspiration to push onward in my quest to become a published author.

This new year is looking up already.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Eyes on the Horizon

Well this has certainly been a busy past few weeks. My work shifts are a bit shorter but much more demanding, classes are in full swing and I've already had two tests (of which I finished first in my class, confidently), and my time off is spent catching up on homework and apartment chores.

Pictured: The horizon I have my metaphorical eyes on.
(photo by buck82; some rights reserved.)

If there's one thing I'm loving so far though, it's the mixture of classes I have this semester. I don't dislike any single class this semester so far, and more excitingly is that as opposed to last semester in which I had nothing but advertising-related classes (which are typically serious-focused and demanding classes), this semester I have a good mix of (more relaxing) advertising classes as well as some English classes which are a breath of fresh air to take.

Upon entering my first English class of the semester I was reminded why I used to enjoy school so much. The atmosphere is so much more relaxed and upbeat than at most advertising classes. I get to actually have fun applying my knowledge and discussing the area I'm most passionate about in English classes as opposed to simply declaring whether an ad is effective or not.

One English class in particular that I'm excited about and enjoying so far is my night "Fiction Writing" class in which the main long-term assignment is to write two short stories (one to be critiqued by the whole class), and the weekly assignments are to read and critique the short stories written by everybody in class (as well to read and discuss one published short story a week). It's so fun to be among people that, generally speaking, have the same interest in writing fiction as I do, and have fun reading and discussing everyone else's.

I had decided almost immediately that I would submit my unfinished novella for at least the teacher to read and critique, which meant that I had to think of and then begin writing a new idea for the class to read.
Pictured: The reaction I do not want from my readers.
(photo by Aidras; some rights reserved.)
My immediate goal was to do something different than what I expect the rest of the class to write. I want my story to stand out right away from everyone else's. It is no easy task to think of something you expect to be different than some 25 other stories without knowing what they are or even much about the people writing them. Luckily I had come up with an idea just unique enough that, to my recollection, it had only been done popularly once before. As I began to write out the ideas, though, it became apparent that while it was a good idea and it was certainly unique, there was something too typical about it; the tone. The originality of the tone is just as important as the originality of the story itself, and in this way my idea would be too similar to other people's because it was a serious and dramatic tone; much like most short stories seem to be.

So it was back to the drawing board, except with time running out until my deadline I decided to go back to my the drawing board on which I keep all of my old ideas I've yet to use. My eyes fixated on an idea I had summarized in one character quote: "You're not even the main character".
So I took this idea and am running with it. The story and tone are both unlike anything I expect to read from my classmates, and to ease my paranoia that if nobody likes it I'm a failure as an aspiring author I've recruited four of my closest friends to read it over before I submit it to class.

Expect to read it yourself in the "Stories" section of this site before the semester is over, and wish me luck!

PS: My birthday is this month.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Twitter, Death n Friends, and School

Hey everybody! I thought I'd squeeze in one more blog post this month in hopes that the "three posts a month" thing will catch on as a regular thing.

This post will have more to do with some technical updates rather than it being a rambling of my struggles and views on the craft of writing. Yes, I know I keep saying in my posts that there are little things that I'll "get to later" or something (last time I said my 'lifelong tragic love epic' was now a 'love story' and that I would get to that later), but don't worry as I really will be getting to it later. Later just isn't now quite yet.

Firstly as you probably already noticed, I have a little Twitter thingy on the right side of the page now that lets you see my latest "tweets". I admit that when I first heard of Twitter a few years ago (or was it one year ago? This internet thing moves too fast) I thought it was useless to me as I could simply say whatever short thing I wanted to say in a Facebook status instead of a "tweet". And honestly it was pretty useless to me, and the only reason I created an account was so I could get the quick little updates about my favorite band, Nine Inch Nails.
But now it seems it could actually be of more use. I am going to try using it in conjunction with this blog. Meaning that I will update it with little things that wouldn't fit a whole blog post or that I just don't have time to write about in a whole post yet, as well as announce via Twitter when I post something new on my blog, so feel free to follow me, "RyanMatejka", to get all those little updates.

An example of the quality you can
expect out of my comics.
Secondly if you like my sense of humor (who doesn't?) then you'll be happy to know that there are three new comics posted on the Humor page of this blog. They're honestly nothing to get too excited about, as I simply doodled them at various times in school (you may notice the first one is dated a few years ago, while the second two were written this past uear and are not dated) and there's not much depth or maturity to their humor. Nonetheless they're called "Death n Friends", (which makes as much sense as the strips themselves) there's three of them, and they're located in the Humor tab above. Enjoy!

Lastly it should be known that the second semester of my Junior year of college has begun, so for all I know you won't be hearing from me as often simply as a result of having too little time to write stories or blog about anything, though I vow to update the blog at least once a month. Also it helps that I am in a fiction writing class and plan to write a whole short story just for that class which I will inevitably post about on here.

So yeah, that pretty much sums everything up. "Twitter, Death n Friends, and School", as the title indicates. I hope to update you all on the progress of my love story in the coming weeks, as progress has been better and bigger than expected.

Stay classy interwebs.