parallax23: (Default)
2017-01-28 11:10 pm
Entry tags:

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Growing up in NYC, a favorite joke among the teachers was that a tourist walks up to someone and asks, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" and the person replies, "Practice, practice, practice."

I've been noticing lately from random comments that the idea of 'effortless talent' is becoming absurdly common. If I'm good at something that other people admire, they'll say that it's something that just comes naturally to me and it would be too difficult for them to emulate. While I do sometimes forget that I've got a bit of an edge over most people - I can admit to being a slacker savant - much of the time I practice to improve myself.

When I was in high school, I hardly paid attention in class, skipped SAT prep, and I did my homework for 3rd period in 2nd period (if I bothered to do it at all), evenutally rounding out as an A minus student and getting into a great school with scholarships. Another friend tried to emulate me, but I pointed out that I got away with it because I had As on the assignments I did turn in, but she was getting Cs. If those were my grades, I wouldn't play so fast and loose with assignments - that was how I managed to survive physics and math, which weren't my favorite subjects.

As another friend would later point out, I also have another inate talent, which is to know what my weaknesses are and being willing to address them. I don't consider this a talent, but just a part of how I was raised - my parents lived through a lot of hardships in life, and they never gave up trying to achieve what they thought they deserved. Nothing was handed to us, and sometimes I feel like an impostor because of my family's humble beginnings.

I don't just wake up good at everything. My parents and my brother spend their entire lives as underdogs, and they feel validated by proving that they're skilled after being overlooked. I somehow ended up with the opposite problem (okay, the real answer is that I won the genetic lottery to have my dad's ability to learn things and my mom's tenacity) - nothing I accomplish matters because it's expected that I just happen to be good everything, whether I had to work for it or not.

Just because something doesn't come easily doesn't mean you should just write it off. Sometimes it just requires a few practices and a YouTube tutorial to accomplish. I had no idea I liked financial analysis and that I was good at it until I tried it. Sometimes I never master what I set out to do, but it doesn't stop me from trying it. Like I know I'll never be an artist or amazing multi-linguist, but I like to experiment, and I find a new appreciation of other people's talents.

Some people don't even bother to try, and they never know if they could have been good at something if all they did was practice.
parallax23: (hands of time)
2017-01-08 05:43 pm

Where Does the Time Go?

It's so bizarre that it's been almost a year since I've done any posts here or anywhere in general.  I was writing more chapters for fics well into the summer, but I didn't edit them.  As I get older, it's strange how time seems to speed up every year that passes.
parallax23: (no midnight)
2016-02-07 07:34 pm

Death and Ice Cream

Death and Ice Cream.jpg

Death and Ice Cream

Episode: Post 5x09

Summary: Ivan and Carolina’s friendship is put to the test when her mother passes away during the summer.


Read more... )
parallax23: (no midnight)
2016-01-26 11:41 pm

Fans & Their Fiction

I was meandering around the internet when I stumbled across some articles for and against writing fanfic.  It's funny because I've lived through both sides of the lens for equal amounts of time.

When I started writing as a teenager, I was really against fanfic.  My 15-year-old self is throwing all kinds of shade at me right now, and my revised stance on fanfic is probably not in the top ten grievances.  Back then, I thought fanfic was a perversion of what the writers' wanted for their stories, it was using other people's ideas, etc., etc., etc...  I was really caught up writing my own works and I didn't like the idea of someone else using my work in their own ways.  It's everything that's ever been said against fanfic.  Until I was about 22, fanfic did not exist to me, and it was the equivalent of blasphemy.

So what changed?

I had come across an old TV series, Dark Angel, that I was a huge fan of back in the day (no kidding).  Unfortunately, the series ended on a cliffhanger in 2002.  So on a whim, I decided enough time had gone by that I could see if anyone wrote an ending to it.  In 2008, my world changed and I suppose it was a catalyst for me to do the same.  I thought about what a shame it was that the story wasn't complete, and maybe it was okay if someone else took a chance on making it work.  Luckily enough, I had arrived during an upswing in the fandom (from what I could tell, the teen generation that watched Dark Angel in its original run had been hit hard by the economic recession, so I'm not sure how lucky that was).  As I began reading, I realized that none of the stories satisfied how I imagined the story ending, though I had a lot of fun reading the ones that I had read.  Also, I was particularly heartbroken over my career situation, and I used it as a place to escape reality.  I decided to publish my DA fics because I remembered how reading other people's work made my days better, and I imagined that my story would be a nice little escape for someone else. It was also a way to practice writing when I hadn't been inspired for any original ideas.  As of today, the last DA fic update was on June 13, 2010 for an outtake scene from Against Time, which was meant to be the finale that the series never had, and likely never will.  I planned to return to my original works, so when inspiration for DA faded, I decided to let it go.

However, in the interceding years between 2010 and 2014, I didn't make any notable strides when it came to writing. For 3 of those years, I was in grad school and I didn't have much time for anything.  Due to my work and school situations, I was mentally worn out, but I was lucky to have a great set of friends to keep me going.

By the end of 2014, I had graduated from grad school and found a new job.  Things were looking up...  until this time last year (2015), when the organization decided to restructure my division...  It's hard to imagine that it was a year ago, because it feels like an entire lifetime passed between now and then.  Around the same time, I had been watching El Internado: Laguna Negra.  To prevent myself from becoming depressed, I threw myself into writing scenes for the series   as an outlet for my stress.  I ended up with a ton of one-shots and snippets, which I've been progressively posting since last year.  I didn't really decide to return to writing fanfic, it was a fluke more than anything else.  And why lock away my writing?  Wouldn't it do more good shared with the world than locked in a drawer with some dried out pens? Besides, I'm not turning any benefit from it besides sharpening my writing skills (the show was great to help me with an old story I wrote about a mysterious boarding school back in the day).

I think there's more sides to the world than what you're supposed to do.  I write because it's how I express myself, it's how I function as a person.  I share that writing, because I've seen the good that sharing experiences and ideas brings.
parallax23: (on your own)
2016-01-23 06:37 pm

This Is How A Heart Breaks

This Is How a Heart Breaks.jpg


This Is How A Heart Breaks

Episode: 4x06

Summary: Roque is heartbroken when he discovers Ivan and Julia planning their midnight escape.

Read more... )
parallax23: (reading)
2016-01-21 09:15 pm

"Those words aren't going to wait for you whether you're inspired or not..."

I always found writing on paper far more liberating than typing for a first draft.  I need to feel it, every strike, every word choice, to really get into the story.

Neil Gaiman succintly puts into words what it feels like to write a draft on paper.  It's also been helpful to inspire me to keep writing and that it's necessary to finish what I've written.  These last few weeks, I've been stuck with work and I want to get back to writing.  I've been using the blog here to be my outlet for getting to air some of my ideas, particularly since last year I found my voice again.  Somewhere along the way, I got lost in those years.

At first, I took a break from writing when I started college.  I had lived in my head all through my life until then, and it was during that time in college that I had the chance to go out of my world and be in a place I had only dreamed of before.  I had started to write again right after college, in bits and pieces, but I had lost my focus because my job situation didn't settle down and I felt like a desolate failure.  I think I lost my voice in those years, and some parts of myself I may never get back.  Then I went to grad school.  Now, after all that time and those experiences, for better or worse, will shape my writing going forward.



parallax23: (reading)
2016-01-17 08:21 pm

The Shortest Distance -- Chapter 5

The Shortest Distance

Summary: When Kris and Junior’s fairy tale ending hits a snag, they return home to Raintree to find themselves again.

Chapter 5

“It’s been two days,” Ken Davis said.  He stood in what was supposed to be his home office, but it had been taken over by his son. “Get out of here and go talk to your wife.”

Read more... )


 
parallax23: (reading)
2016-01-17 08:17 pm

The Shortest Distance -- Chapter 4

The Shortest Distance

Summary: When Kris and Junior’s fairy tale ending hits a snag, they return home to Raintree to find themselves again.

Chapter 4

Dani couldn’t believe her eyes.  One minute Kris and Junior were dancing like love-struck teenagers, and the next Kris was running off to escape him.  Dani sighed and followed after Kris.  Her brother didn’t deserve that.  Kris had to stop torturing both of them.

Read more... )
parallax23: (reading)
2016-01-17 08:15 pm

The Shortest Distance -- Chapter 3

The Shortest Distance

Summary: When Kris and Junior’s fairy tale ending hits a snag, they return home to Raintree to find themselves again.

Chapter 3

“Let me guess, you felt a disturbance in the force and dragged your brother away to wring it out of him?” Kris asked Dani, as she leaned against the kitchen counter with her arms crossed.

Read more... )

 
parallax23: (reading)
2016-01-17 08:09 pm

The Shortest Distance -- Chapter 2

The Shortest Distance

Summary: When Kris and Junior’s fairy tale ending hits a snag, they return home to Raintree to find themselves again.

Chapter 2

“Kris! Junior! Stop hiding inside the house!” called Matt’s voice from the foyer.  He had spotted Junior’s new Prius in the yard when he came back from his ride with Light in the Meadow.

Read more... )
parallax23: (reading)
2016-01-17 08:07 pm

The Shortest Distance -- Chapter 1

The Shortest Distance

Summary: When Kris and Junior’s fairy tale ending hits a snag, they return home to Raintree to find themselves again.

Chapter 1

“You know, whoever said that you can’t go home again probably never had Jean’s famous chili,” said Junior as he drove through Raintree Farm’s front gate. “I swear I feel like I’m ten years old every time she hands me a bowl.”

Kris remained silent in the passenger seat.

Junior let out a sigh.  “Still not talking to me? Fine.  Most husbands dream of this…”

Read more... )
parallax23: (no midnight)
2016-01-16 01:25 pm

The Year of "Looking Up"

I found this new song on Spotify.  I decided to look up the band, and I discovered that the song was released on my birthday last year.  It's silly, but it made me feel hopeful after the challenges I've had this week.






Lyrics )
parallax23: (stagger)
2016-01-09 08:15 pm

A Year of Strange New Beginnings and the Ghosts of Old Habits

When I look back at 2015, I can hardly imagine that so much took place in one year.  I can hardly wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to be 30 years old this year.  When I was 28, I dreaded the thought of how much time felt like it had slipped away from me since the time I had finished college.  I hadn't achieved what I wanted in life, and nothing turned out the way I expected it.  But when I turned 29 about 2 months ago, I realized that a lot of things had changed.  I began to think about what made me happy, not about expectations.  Life's too short to worry about where you haven't gone, make sure you get where you want to be today.

I finally made it to San Francisco, Paris, Belgium and Amsterdam last year.  It wasn't well planned out outside of 'To hell with everything, I'm going to do what I want for once.'  I joined an improv class and took a class in comedy sketch writing.  The main thing I've taken away from writing class is that writing by trade is much much different than writing on inspiration.  It pushed me to new creative places, which is what I wanted.

I started writing again last year.  Not for anyone but me.  Sure, it was fanfiction, but that's like complaining that professional athletes train during their off-season.  At the same time, I'm haunted by old bad habits of not finishing what I've written.  It's always fun to start a new story... finishing it?  Well, that's the hard part.

The strangest thing of all?  I'm into fantasy again, the genre that has always been my one true calling to read and write for.  It felt like an odd sense of homecoming when I sat through watching The Shannara Chronicles on MTV, like I'd stepped back into the wardrobe and walked past the lamp post, into my adolescent kingdom.

And so we begin 2016...


parallax23: (reading)
2015-12-29 08:43 pm

"Alter the Ending" Commentary

Alter the Ending is my take on what happened when the characters left Laguna Negra, primarily Marcos, Julia and Ivan as they wrap up their final year and a half of education in public school.  It's a serial of 'one-shots' since it skips around to random events until the finale - Ivan and Julia's wedding.  Other major characters make appearances.

There's a few major arcs:

  • The kids adjust to life in a new setting, but they're hounded by the press - this is the subplot that runs through the fics, as Julia's mother will unwittingly date a reporter, Sergio, who is looking to know more about the events at the school.  Eventually, they find out and never speak to him again, especially when he chooses to continue writing about Laguna Negra instead of being with Julia's mother.

  • Each of the students meets with the school guidance counselor, and they have to decide what career paths they want to take.  This is a difficult process for each of them, particularly Ivan.

  • Marcos meets a new girl, but he's not sure if he's ready to move on.

  • Ivan's cousin Manuela attends school with them, and manages to cause trouble for him and Julia.

  • OTTOX is under investigation, but Ivan is still a shareholder.  When the charges against OTTOX go to trial, Ivan is accused of supporting them, which impacts his interactions with everyone who doesn't know him.  Sergio writes an article proclaiming his innocence and presenting the public with some of Ivan's videos.  When Ivan tries to reach out to him, Sergio explains that he was just writing the truth.  He tells Ivan there have been too many secrets for too long without a voice, and this will be the story that he will leave his legacy with, telling the truth about Laguna Negra, but he cannot have a personal connection to the story because it would ruin his credibility.

  • Hector and Maria start dating a year later, getting married two years afterwards.

  • There will be a moment when everyone is watching the World Cup in 2010, and Spain wins.

  • The closing story will be about Ivan and Julia's wedding, where they come across a box of old photos, and close off some dark memories to move on completely with their lives.

parallax23: (reading)
2015-11-21 06:48 pm

The Things You Live to See...

Well, while driving in my neighborhood today, I saw someone had graffiti-ed something unusual onto the garage door of a house by my train station.  It wasn't the usual street tags or random messages, but a literary quote. (Gentrification in action!)

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." -- Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath has been one of my favorite writers since high school.  In fact, that particular quote has been on my fanfiction.net profile since I joined the site.  It's actually in the second entry I've ever posted on LJ back in 2008...

I started my sketch writing class last Monday, and our first sketch is due next Monday.  I got a little stuck on writing it, then all of a sudden, two days ago crazy, quirky things started happening around me again...  My life was pretty boring for a while... Okay, looking back, maybe it wasn't.  For the past year, my life could put an entire season of Girls to shame.  Talk about strange coincidences. 
parallax23: (sweet)
2015-11-14 02:46 am

The Shortest Distance - Soundtrack & Commentary

The Shortest Distance

The Full Story Rundown: Four years after getting married, Kris and Junior are having a few problems, causing a rift between them.  They arrive at Raintree hoping to regain what they've lost over the course of time and travel, leading to several revelations about Kris - 1) her brother Jace wants to reunite the family for a long lost half-sister's wedding and 2) after an accident during training, Kris found out that she was going to have a baby, which effectively would end her career as a jockey.  Along with a few other mishaps, Kris's world is shifted off its axis, leading her to want some space from Junior and going back to Raintree for its familiarity, hoping to find herself again.  Eventually, she realizes that she can't go back to the way things were, she has to move forward.

Chapter 1 - "Distance" by Christina Perri
Chapter 2 - "Spaces" by One Direction
Chapter 3 - "Wild Heart" & "The World We Knew" by Daughtry
Chapter 4 - "Let It All Go" by Birdy & Rhodes
Chapter 5 - "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran


I don't think this story will be broken up any differently at this point.  Chapter 1 is when Kris and Junior return to Raintree, Chapter 2 is their interactions with Matt and Dani, Chapter 3 is the party, Chapter 4 is when Kris finally spills what's on her mind, and Chapter 5 is when Kris and Junior make up.

When I started this story, it was supposed to be about Kris finally meeting her father.  The reference to Kris's half-sister comes from the webisodes, when Jace wonders out loud if they have more siblings by their father that they don't know about.  Jace's story with Kris never got completed during the series' run for whatever reason, as he appears for most of the webisodes detailing Kris's life before Raintree (ending with a cliffhanger about the guys from the chop shop) and the third to last episode of Season 3, leaving on an ominous note that he would be there to pick up the pieces for Kris if/when something went wrong at the ranch.  (Considering how much went wrong in the Season 3 finale, it seemed like he was being set up as a main character in Season 4.) Kris would attend the wedding, confront her father, and reconcile with Jace that both of them were wrong in how they dealt with each other.  At the wedding, Junior would find out that the groom was a relative of Dani's, leading to Dani finally meeting her mother.  Then that would be a wrap for this fandom.  But as seen above, I felt like this fic was getting too out of hand (it was supposed to be a one-shot, but the momentum to get to these scenes was more than anticipated), and I left the ending open to interpretation.

If I was going to invest time into a Wildfire fic, I would have done it with rewriting the Season 3 finale and all of Season 4.  Season 3 wouldn't have the illegal match race, but a deal going south between Dani and Sheik Omar, bringing Junior back into the Davis fold, and an another event causing Matt and Kris to put their relationship on pause, all of it subtly tying back to the Raintree/Davis rivalry hitting a new peak with Raintree back in a steady economic position.  Season 4 would involve Junior turning into his father, Dani trying to find herself outside of the horse business, Matt looking at whether he thinks the farm should become more like Davis to compete or remain solely a family endeavor, and Kris managing her family's tumultuous re-entry into her life.  Gillian's exit would be more played out, in like the first or second chapter.  Then Kris and Junior would hook up in secret a couple of times, but then get caught via pictures published on the internet.  It would lead to the industry questioning if Kris and Junior had an agreement about what races were won and lost, because he's owner of a horse farm and she's the jockey for the rival farm, eventually causing problems with their families.  The situation would be particularly ugly with their private lives getting dragged out in public, which is hard on them because they're both trying to be taken seriously.  Junior realizes that he doesn't want to be his father.  Kris learns how to set boundaries with her family, and to recognize that she needs to reform her decision making process.  While Kris and Junior would remain apart for some time to defer the fallout, they come to a moment when they are forced to decide whether they're friends, rivals or lovers.  It won't be an easy decision for them, but they finally choose each other.  Junior proposes but Kris turns him down, saying that if they're together for one year and one day (their relationship was always on and off again, Kris wanted to see if they could make it work long term), he can ask again and she'll say yes.  In the meantime, Matt would get a new love interest more suited to him, but he'll have to work hard to not screw it up.  The show would end with Matt's wedding at Raintree, and Junior quietly proposing to Kris at the reception in the barn with Wildfire.  She tells him that it's been one year and six days, so she's not required to say yes, but she will anyway.
parallax23: (sweet)
2015-11-07 12:41 am

Random Fandom Insert - Wildfire

While I was working on Alter the Ending, I stumbled onto the Wildfire TV series again.  (Seriously, what is my deal with dead fandoms?  This is the second one revolving around 2008, the year the show ended.  El Internado Seasons 3 to 7 took place in 2008.  I started writing Dark Angel fanfic in 2008.  I graduated from college in 2008.  Clearly, I have a subconscious problem.)  After watching the show all over again, I wrote a random post-series fic for the show, The Shortest Distance,  that was supposed to be a 'one-shot.'  Now that I'm typing it up, it's actually longer than I realized...  I'm somehow up to a third chapter now, and that's the midpoint!  When I wrote it, it was just a free flow into a notebook that I had, which ran a couple of pages because I thought it would be one chapter.  I blame the long commute, but this is a good thing / bad thing situation - it's good because this is shows that I've got the stride to build an entire novel again, but it's bad because it takes a lot of time to work on.  It just needs to be edited and posted, then I'll have more of Alter the Ending typed and also another few one/two-shots for El Internado (Ivan and Julia's wedding, Noiret's funeral, Christmas post-finale, another S4 'Roque finds out about Ivan and Julia' fic, and a fic about between S4 and S5 about how Ivan and Julia began dating, summer scenes), then it's lights out on the fandom.  Okay, I'm looking at that list, and I'm not sure how I wrote that much...  Or how in the world I can edit all of that in a timely manner...

Everything for these fics was pre-written, unlike Dark Angel's series, which I eventually fell behind with over time.  Managing a long running series rather than one-shots is definitely different and more difficult because of the momentum that has to be maintained.  El Internado fics came about by a sheer fluke, and I had no idea that I'd write so much for the fandom.  It's especially ironic because the show isn't in English, not all of fans are Spanish (the show was big in several international markets around the world) and no one reviews.  Sometimes I don't know if that means that I'm a good writer or not.  I thought it would be a waste for these stories to never have anyone read them, so I'm excited that at least I can imagine that someone else in the wide world is deriving some amusement from them.
parallax23: (reading)
2015-10-13 08:30 pm

Alter the Ending -- Chapter 1

Alter 7.jpg
Alter the Ending

Episode: Post-7x15 “El Fin”

Summary: Life after El Internado Laguna Negra isn’t quite the happily ever after that they were expecting…

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 1: The Story of a Lifetime

Read more... )

------------------------------------------------
parallax23: (reading)
2015-10-04 09:54 pm
Entry tags:

"This is New York City. Who waits for a sign?"

While Keeping the Faith (2000) is a funny though unremarkable film, this scene and this line has always stayed with me.  Well, some months ago, I waited for a sign with Snoopy that said 'Keep looking up... That's the secret of life.'  At the same time, how I got the sign involved me taking my own initiative to get it, and it proved that we can't expect to wait for things to happen on their own, we have to go after them too...

Some days, it feels like it's been the longest 5 years of my life.  I started and completed grad school.  I worked for a different company every year in that time span -- coinciding with every major storm to hit the tri-state area in the last 5 years (I kid you not).  I started taking improv classes and programming classes.  The whole business really put a damper on my ability to write because I was constantly putting every effort into keeping my head above water.  Now, I'm finally home.  The storm skipped over us this time.  If that's not a sign that my trials are over (at least temporarily), I don't know what is...

Anyway, I was browsing my fanfiction.net stats and noticed that folks are still very interested in Against Time, but I want to finish Between the Lines since it only has 3-4 chapters to go.  Another big blip on my stats radar is that one of my El Internado stories has been getting quite a views compared to the others.  In fact, it's the second chapter of a two part fic, so I'm curious how/why it would have triple as many visitors and views as the first chapter.  Weird.  One shots from El Internado will keep coming, as I have a bunch of them stored up.
parallax23: (not again)
2015-09-11 11:23 pm
Entry tags:

Falling from the Skyline and to the Ground Floor

The general malaise has really seeped into everything at work.  So many people are gone... It's unfathomable that so much has happened in a year...  The reason I dropped the ball on writing again this time is due to work.  It was announced that our team was moving to another state as I was editing my El Internado fics.  It was a rough blow, so I had to scramble and devote my time to getting a new job lined up ASAP.  Now that I've partially gotten that squared away, I still have a few items on my agenda that need to be taken care of...  It makes me wonder when I'll really have the time again to write before 2016...

I tried to resume El Internado, but vividness from it is gone now.  While there's great new things on my horizon, it all feels empty somehow.  Perhaps it's because the current situation and history make me suspicious...  Maybe when I actually get to live it, I'll realize that I'm happy?