First Article+Flash Fiction

Hey, guess what? I wrote an article for Superhero Nation! 

Despite the name, it covers writing in general, along with information on superheroes (and psychics). It's a great blog that you should check out. The other day, I saw the "Write For Us" post on their site. So I brainstormed, trying to figure out an article that few people on the Internet have written.

Quick, name a website that did a post/article on character voices, besides dialects and slang. Three...two...

So I did that: How to write distinct character voices. From my writing experience, I drew several factors that writers can keep in mind when writing dialogue. Besides word choice, there's stuff like force and situations. After rewriting it when the first draft fell through (spectrums don't really work. It came off as gimmicky), I send it over to the owner of the site, B Mac.

He kindly gave a few suggestions and added a few revisions, mostly examples. After I did a few more changes, he posted it up. When I saw the link to it on my e-mail, a jolt of excitement came to me.

In general, I'm glad with the article. It's not the best, but it's something that isn't covered often. If you can find similar articles to it, let me know. I would like to read them.

Now, I took most of the advice I wrote for character voice for the main and core characters. For example, take Finn, my co-protagonist. He's timid, modest, clumsy, and a psychic. For his dialogue, I focused on his self-identity. The main quirk is that he rarely refers to himself, and prefers referring to the group he's in or to the person he's talking too. When he does use "I", he's depraving himself. This emphasizes his mysterious background and his social awkwardness. But I'm still having trouble with his word choice. It would make sense to make it formal, but he's far from snobby, so I'm aiming for a mix.

Bryan is a more interesting case, since he's the narrator. I'm still working on his narrative voice, but his dialogue takes self-identity in the other direction. He starts his sentences with "I think" and such, and he mixes short and long sentences with his snarks. His catchphrase is "Wait a minute...".

For other characters, it varies. For example, one of my minor ones, which I describe as if he was a traumatized squirrel, uses lots of hesitation and tics. An important character uses loose language; one uses more elaborate language, and one I'm trying to inject with spunk. In short, I'm using their personalities to make their language distinct and make them pop out of the pages and be more memorable.


The other day, I wrote a couple of flash fiction for Communication Arts class. My teacher gave our class the assignment of finding the definitions of vocabulary words, and then using all of them in a story. Although mine are higher than average (compared to the class) the quality varies. Yet, I'm posting them anyways. Beware, they are rough drafts.

Joe was done with his boss's derision, the way he fed on his stifled talent. Joe was done being suavity, letting his boss do whatever he likes, even promoting that ditzy blonde. Hoe possessed the sagacity needed to see that his boss couldn't be fired by legal and moral means.
 So Joe snuck into his boss's office, brandished the blonde's sweater, and vehemently smothered him to death. For once, Joe felt pleasure in his boss as he took his final breath against the bookcase.

That was a bit mood swinging. Now, for the second one, which is slightly better, but has information chucked together:

There was a day where one can lark, but it was no more. Trains went through the junction with monotony. Same gray hue, same whistling tone. Lots of assurance was put on the rails so everything ran like clockworks.
 A long man slumped as he walked through the station, face obscured by his coat, collar, and hat. He trended carefully, as the wet floor caused many to slip and be promptly removed. Water leaked from the roof above. Perfection went elsewhere--to the rails.
 He saw it. In the cracks of the ravaged floor, a phosphorescent object was lodged between two pieces. It was hope. Hope for more than perfection.

The first paragraph could have been discarded, but I shoved most of my vocabulary words in there. Rachel pretty much ranted about the limitations in one of them. At least it's a story.

Organizing Manifestation Files

Since I'm working with the 2nd draft of Manifestation Files right now, I will have new material to present.

September 1st is the offical date I will start writing, but I already written out three chapters. I should be planning and outlining though, but I will try to focus on that tonight, since I don't have my laptop (and Team Fortress 2) with me.

I would like to talk about how I organize my writing. Every author or writer has a different way they organize it. Some of them write the whole thing on paper before typing it up, some of them keep their writing in file cabinents some of them write on one large document, others do it on several of them. And so on.

Here how I set it up: After I was done with my 1st draft, I took the folder from my laptop and copied it over to the 4GB flash drive I got for free. With that, I renamed that folder "1st Draft" and then created a folder called "2nd Draft". In that same collumn, I kept a document called "Sandbox" where I will put scraped parts into. More than one author had said to keep everything you write.

But then I put several more folders into that. First, I have the Chapters folders. Since typing up the entire novel onto one document can be both laggy and a pain to find stuff, I put each chapter into their own file. Therefore, I can bring one up and focus on that without the rest crowding up. I hadn't implimented this yet, but once I start revising them more, I will create a new file for each revision, and then stick the old version into another folder. The files will be cyling out.

I also created other folders. One for Outlines, one for Characters (it only has part of Bryan's character sketch in there right now. I will go over that in the future), and one for Research. For the Research folder, I stick relevant pictures and links into there. For example, I have pictures for Memphis International Airport (where Chapter One takes place), Hurley's Burgers (where Chapter Two takes place), Overton Park (where Chapter Three no longer takes place, as of this revision) and Williamson Park (where the first major fight scene in Chapter Four takes place). I almost considered pulling some pictures and a menu from Starbucks for Chapter Five, but I am scrapping that location due to pacing reasons. Having characters move from one place to another for a scene of pure expospeak can kill the narrative.

As of this date, I have about 3500 words for three of the chapters that I typed up. At the bottom of this post, I'll put up a word count meter for both of our convience. My goal is 50000 words. In my rough draft, I reach 65K to 70K, a good amount. My goal is to get around that range, or even more. A 300 page urban fantasy book is better in my tastes than a 250 page one. Sure, the latter is still sellable, but I want to write a book that I would want to read if I didn't write it.

No more to talk about right now. C0 Out.

Hip-Hop Auditions

First post in since a few days. I written up a review for The Shifter and an interpretation of Lady Gaga's "You and I", but I'll have to revise those before posting them.

(Plain writing ahoy)

Remember those auditions I mentioned in an earlier post? I took one of them today, the hip-hop one. I almost thought that Mom had forgotten about them, but today she brought me over to the performance arts school and signed me up. I got number 53 pinned onto my shirt.

A few minutes later, I went down with about twenty other auditioners into a dance studio in the basement. It had black walls, mirrors all around, and a table with some grapes and cheese. The four hip-hop teachers sat at the table. One of them was my hip-hop teacher (RW). RW is probably the most professional of them, once getting a featured article in my local newspaper, and also performing under Lady Gaga. Don't try to find him.

The dance audition went like this: We went into three lines to stretch, and then we went straight to learning our first dance. We took about thirty minutes or so learning the choreography, which was to a song called "Yeah Three Times". Although my mind wandered, as usual, it was easy memorizing the steps.

After going over it with the music, we broke off into groups of five. We first practiced in front of the mirror, then we turned around to dance to the judges. To show off, we were allowed several measures of free-dance before and after the choreography. To paraphrase what RW said:

 "It's not the steps that matter. It's the energy."

So, when I went in front of the judges, I placed myself in the center of the formation...and rocked the floor.

Although I'm a very introverted guy, that doesn't bleed over into stage presence. Social interaction, and attention-grabbing are two different creatures. My drama teacher than testify that. Also, there is a dissonance between the performers and the audience, so as long as you don't have stage fright, you can focus on the moves, the audience connections.

That what I did. I played up to the levels, and the musicality, and the energy. After that, the other groups tried to top themselves, but I'm sure I did really well, even if I flob some of the steps. I walked back in line, excited, giggly, and humming the song under my breath.

But then there was the second dance.

The second dance was brutal. The speed was fast, the dance was longer and harder, and I couldn't absorb the dance moves in such a short time. It's a problem I have in hip-hop class: Sometimes, I don't maintain the dance moves. Short-term memory didn't work for me. Although I got the gist of it, the moves were not exactly punctual.

Before we separated into groups to do that dance, RW gave a speech to us.

He addressed us and said that we shouldn't worry about flubbing the choreography. Everyone was struggling, even him. He made it up on the spot. Even him, the one that danced with Lady Gaga, makes mistakes at auditions. But sometimes, those mistakes get him the job.

The real thing the judges were looking for is positive energy. It's all about the energy. If someone had negative energy, thinking that they won't do well and they shouldn't try, they wouldn't get past the door.

Those words were reassuring. Although I only had the gist of it, ninety percent of the class only had the gist too. The playing field was even. The only deciding factor was energy.

So for the free-style portion, I played to it.

After the audition was done, the photographer took a few photos of the groups for reference. I asked when we were going to get the results. One of the teachers said Friday.

Five more days until I find out if I make it or not. But since I'm an idealist and an optimist at heart, I know I did. Even if I didn't, I don't care. It was still an thrilling experience, one that was worth sacrificing my writing time over. I only wrote one and a half pages today, but I'm should I'll make it up once Monday comes.


Now I have a proper story to use when I'll have to write a personal narrative for Creative Writing. I can tell you why personal narratives are the stories that I dislike writing the most, but that's for another day.

C0 Out.

More School+Foreshadowing?

So, another day of school:

  • 1: Nothing much. There was no homework, so we combined with another class and read a script abridged version of Friday Night Lights. I could've taken the time to write, but instead I read along with the magazine.
  • 2: We actually started playing today. We got this African Traditional song as our first piece. It gave me a chill the first time the teachers played it. I practiced on it this night.
  • 3: Nothing much here for science.
  • 4: We further assigned groups for "The Room of Requirements" (I'm going to lead that "Writer's Workshop", and then we played a game of Werewolf, a variation of Mafia. Mrs. G. was the moderator. Her death descriptions were rich with words but very graphic. One person got his blood written on a wall. Another one got skinned. My brother became the only heir.
  • 5: For American History, we arranged ourselves in a timeline. I got June 1788, the month the Constitution was ratified. Also, we went over the student handbook, and discussed why it was written in lawyer-speak (loopholes).
  • 6: For PE, we got our height and weight, put our locks back onto our lockers, and went outside.
  • 7: We explored the math site to see where we can see the study guide, the explanations for them, and the textbooks.
  • 8: We got our journals and took a grammar pre-test. I'm a bit rusty. What is an infinitive again? I should be knowing this, considering I'm going to become an author.

In short, another day at school...

...In writing news, there's a writing contest over at the Writer's Block forum of TV Tropes. I'm considering whatever to judge or write for it.

First Day of School

Now, a brief overview of my day via a bulleted list:

  • Morning: It was cold. The windows on the bus were open, and I wore a short-sleeve shirt and khaki shorts. Fall is creeping in, and it's only August. But aren't first day of schools supposed to be cold? Maybe the weather decided to be theatrics.
  • Period One: Study hall. You heard it right: study hall first thing. It's for homework from the last day. Only two other students are in my class. Don't know why. Also, the teacher for this class is my History teacher.
  • Period Two: Orchestra. We didn't play today. Instead, it was simple explaining about the rules, handing out of forums, telling something about our summers...did I mention I was in a flash mob?
  • Period Three: Science. This is one of the few classes that we had actual class the first day.
  • Lunch: The school replaced the card system with PINs, so now the lunch line is faster. My regular lunch table was replaced with two long tables. I love the pizza. The dough's soft and tasty.
  • Period Four: General class that Mrs. G., my favorite teacher, dubs "The Room of Requirements", since we're going to do a lot of stuff. We're going to do an Espionage unit next week. And my suggestion for a shared setting/creative writing got approved. Score one for writers!
  • Period Five: American History. We list stuff about what America is to us. Nothing much here.
  • Period Six: PE. Since it was the first day, we did a "Minute to Win It"-style game. My "cracker from forehead to mouth" skills needs brushing up.
  • Period Seven: Advanced Math. Nothing much, except that the two people next to me in this period were next to me in 8th period. Strange...
  • Period Eight: Advanced Communication Arts. We looked at what we're doing this year. We can read The Help as one of our books, and we're writing four essays...but no story writing. Oh well, at least I have Creative Writing next semester.

Writing wise: I snuck about two and a half pages of writing while at school. I took advantage of the time between classes, and lulls in the middle of the class, and lunch time. It piles up so fast, so if you are also at school, you should try long-hand and write when you can. Hopefully, the teachers won't mind.

Basics of Manifestation Files

[Note: This blog post used to have some personal stuff that has been retroactively removed as a precaution]

On a reading note, I finished a book on Ashes, Ashes, a YA post-apocalyptic book. It was good. Although the large use of to-be verbs bothered me at first, the rest of the word choice was beautiful. The characters were round in a subtle way, their traits peeking out in a way that adds depth. The antagonist also caught me off guard too. I would recommend it.

Now, about my project: Manifestation Files. I might as well describe it to get you readers interested (once you readers come).

To put it simply, it's a Young Adult Urban Fantasy. It's about a Memphis highschooler (Bryan) who is more than bitter with people around him. When an exchange student from England (Finn) comes over to live in his house, Bryan stumbles into a Manifestation. A Manifestation in my story is a spirit that spawned from human emotions.

It turns out that Finn is a psychic. Bryan gets turned into a psychic. They fight crime Manifestations.
I'm trying to find the way to brush up the premise. The "human emotion" part should be interesting enough, but it's all in the execution. I have 260 pages in my rough draft, and it all needs rewriting. By reading the first page of my second draft, I can see that I'll have to revise it once or twice before I could release a beta version. If my draft is riddled in grammar errors and awkward wording, my critiquers won't be able to focus on the plot. I'm still smoothing out the kinks.
So, some things to note about Manifestation Files:

  • Bryan is the 1st person narrator. He sees the world through jaded glasses, and comments on people around him in a less-than-nice way. He also snarks about their actions, and drops a pop reference or two in the most subtle of ways. He has good intentions though, acting like a jerk but yet making sure his classmates (or Finn) doesn't do anything bad. However, my goal is to have the readers emphasize with his bitterness on some level, or at least like him enough to see character development.
  • Finn is the co-protagonist. He's reserved, timid, modest, clumsy, overly-apologetic to the point of having Bryan asking him to stop apologizing. He's good-hearted though. But there is an air of mystery surrounding him. He talks little of his psychic life, or psychics in general. This leads Bryan--and possibly the readers--speculating about him.
  • The magic system, or rather the mechanics of psychic powers, are split into three branches: sensory (enhancing the senses/body), internal (affecting the mind), and external (affecting the outside world).
  • There are positive and negative Manifestations, which are created when a person has high emotions. Their only motive is to drain other people of all their emotion but the one that they were created from, leaving them either empty, or dead. Positive Manifestations are slightly better, but also can be harmless.
  • The exact nature of psychics aren't revealed until half-way through the book.

I think that's all the basics. I'll talk about it more in the future.

End of Art, Start of School

A lot happened to me today.

Well, not too much, but there's a lot of notes that I took. For the sake of this blog, I took a moleskin notebook and kept it in my pocket for short-note diary taking. I only wrote the bare-bone basics, since I'm recalling all the details here.

First of all, the performance for my performance art camp was today. The performance consisted of the Tony Awards as a framing device, with five songs: "Seasons of Love", Express Yourself" (dance only), "Mama Who Bore Me" (since it's a family-friendly establishment, that's the only song we could do from that musical), "I'm Alive", and "Who Can Stop the Beat".

If you happen to read this and recognize this song order, keep quiet.

I wished I had a larger role in it. I only had one line as a solo ("If they try to stop us, Seaweed...") I took the role of one of the announcers for Mama Who Bore Me, and since we weren't allowed to draw attention to its racy nature, and I didn't want to do a lame joke on the title, we stated some facts. However, I described the musical in the most PG way possible:

Me: Spring Awakening is a coming-of-age story that ends in tragedy.

More like "failed to come to age", but you get the point. I wonder if there's a way to rewrite it for a teenage audience, since one of my classmates said that she was in a junior production of it.

Oh, I had one more role: I dragged the host off the stage before she could announce the winner. A little of a cop-out, but it works.

Other highlights: Since my mom works at the same place that I took the summer camp in, she asked me to find some sticks to use as wands for a Harry Potter camp. She also asked me earlier this week to describe the Sorting Hat, since she didn't have the time to read the books. Fortunately, it is the kids who do most of the scripting, although writing isn't the establishment's forte...

Finished "The Necromancer" of "The Secret of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel" series while watching another production of some ten year olds. I read the climax while "Midnight" from Cats was being sung. Unsuitable, but I zoned it out so I could enjoy the thrill while using the light from the sound booth.

Although the author fancy up dialogue tags like overly strong deodorant, I liked the grayish morality of the characters. The Flamels had done more than a few shady things in the past, the divine beings care for humans in varying degrees, usually in indifference, and the protagonists, especially Josh, are troubled. One character that stood out was Machiavelli. Even though his objective is quite cruel, I'm conflicted to whatever he should die or not. The Elders can be quite cruel to those who fail. Also, Josh dips into the Dark Side a little, and it's convincing.

Read the series. Its use of mythology along with its own mythos makes it a good urban fantasy--if you can ignore the fact that the first four books take place in a week. Considering how long a lot of the characters lived, that's pretty ironic.

I would've read past the climax without stopping, but "Popular" was sung, and I closed the book for a few minutes. Even though the singer was young, she was good--for a kid. It was cute.

After the show, I picked up a sheet with audition details. The establishment has groups for singing, acting, and dancing. Especially the dancing, as the building has more than one person that made it big. For example, one of my hip-hop teachers danced alongside a pop star. I'll let you guess who.

However, I'm considering auditioning for more than one of them. I already have sheet music, and I seriously need to get back into ballet....It's a little crazy, but I need the experience for college. I can't just focus on writing. I'm an artistic person, and exploring that part of me would lead me to a lot of opportunities, like a high-paying day job.

Last thing: School. This evening, I went there to pick up my schedule and check out my classrooms. I'm excited about school. Since I write better in a focused atmosphere like school (or a performance arts camp), I should be able to sneak at least three pages per day.

Some observations about my schedule though:

  • Except for two classes in the basement, all of them are in the same wing.
  • Study hall/study support is during first period.
  • Creative writing is next semester.

Now for something writing related: I'm foregoing the break and take out my manila folder. I'm using a new one for the 2nd draft, one with an author's signature in Sharpie. I won't write a lot until I create a proper outline, but my goal is to get a draft done by December. After that, I'll prepare it for beta-reading.

Thanks for reading more than three pages of words. Tell me if it's too long or if I can go longer. C0 out.

First Words

As I wrote my final words, a discussion on dress code went on in the room.

Out of context, this sounds like as if people were planning my attire for my funeral, so I will elaborate. This week, I'm in a performance arts camp, and the camp is based in a music room half of the day. Two pianos are by one wall, a bunch of violin stands by one corner, and a lot of chairs scattered around. I was sitting by one of the pianos while a few of the students asked what types of clothes were acceptable for the performance Friday. Apparently, as long as it isn't something like short shorts or bikinis, anything goes. "In olden days a glimpse of stocking..."

Sorry about that. I sang that song a few weeks ago in another performance art camp. In the chair I sat in, I held my manila folder, writing a story down on loose leaf. As I wrote the final words of Chapter 36, a slight rush of accomplishment came to me.

At a young age, after two failed attempts, I actually got a rough draft of a novel done. Writer's high is a great feeling.


Now that I'm done practicing description and avoiding passive voice, along with giving a short opening of prose (good authors too, who once knew better words...) in a blog of all places, I will do some explaining.

I'm C0, which is short for Chihuahua0. You can call me Chihuahua, Chi, Chio, Cho, Chi-Chi, Cee Zero, Zero...anything except Chihuhua. If you go the lengths to spell it out, at least get it right. But since some of you may think of this as a kiddy name, I will provide a cooler but cheesier alternate: C0.

Of course, this is a nickname. I'm not giving out my real name--yet.

Okay. So, I'm a teenager, ranging from age 12 to age 17. I won't specify yet, although my exact age should become apparent during the long run. I live somewhere in the Midwest, I go to a secondary school, I hang out with mostly girls at the lunch table, and I'm in an advanced Comm Art class.

I am an aspiring novelist. My goal is to get published before the age of eighteen, or once I graduate from high school.

This may come off as a pipe dream, since it takes lots of effort to not only write like an adult, but also stand out among many other aspiring novelists. However, I know pipe dreams (like the one where I'm playing alongside Lady Gaga on that double-sided piano), and if I persist, I might actually make it. Might is the keyword. I can't really rely on "will".

I believe it never hurts to set your goals high if you think you can do it. I think I can. As of right now, the manila folder that I mentioned at the beginning is next to my Mac. I'm going to type out the last two chapters once I get the time. But I'm using that time typing this blog up, and thinking about writing that article I promised to send on Friday. I have a few hours tonight and tomorrow to work on it, so I should be able to finish it, or at least get a rough draft and revise it a little.

So, why am I doing this? (bad school-like transition ahead) I'll demonstrate it to you with a list:

  1. I need to write more. The more I write, the better I get, even if it's not prose.
  2. I hadn't been able to keep a journal. Maybe by making this blog and forcing myself each day (or at least a few times a week) to write something down, I'll be able to keep it for years to come.
  3. I want to talk about myself
  4. I'm a member of 750 Words. I used that site to write my rough draft daily (it worked). However, I'm going to use it for its intended purpose.
  5. Some writing articles says that having an established readership helps.

That's five.

Now, since this is pretty long, I'll save some more basic information for later. For example, what my novel is about, my writing experience, about me, etc.

Be kind and comment/subscribe. I'll promise to respond if you direct something to me. At DeviantART, some of the best artists (or at least the most fun ones) are the ones who have conversations in the comments. I want to be one of those people.

Now, I'm going to go type up my novel. Goodbye now.