make way for 2015

I’m sure all of you have had your fair share of recurring, unticked items on your New Year’s Resolution every year–I know I do. I know it’s difficult, really, to fulfill these items on that godforsaken, never-changing list, and we always feel as though it’s easier to not try at all.

That’s where most of us are wrong.

You are a work in progress. You may not feel it, but everyday, you are changing. They may not be big, dramatic changes, but they still exist, and that’s all that matters.

If you put an item on your New Year’s Resolution this coming 2015, don’t stress yourself out trying to make it happen instantly. It will happen, gradually, eventually, as long as you put your mind into it. It may not be today, or tomorrow, or next week, or even the next year, but that’s the thing about trying to change yourself: Growing up takes time, just as change does too.

This is why we have to keep writing down that list, even if it’s just a carbon copy of the one we made the past year. This is why you shouldn’t give up on it just because 2014 ended without any visible changes.

TIPS:

1) Be realistic. Sure, you can dream big, but make your goals attainable. Setting unreachable goals will only result to failure, and, more often than not, failure results in giving up. If you set your goals just right, the chances of fulfilling them are much, much higher. When you accomplish them, you will begin to feel as though you are doing progress.

2) Plan. Break down your goal into different sub-goals. It will give you a sense of direction, a set of steps that you should follow to get to your destination.

3) Look for positive quotes whenever you need motivation. Seriously. I can’t tell you enough how much this will help. If you just failed an exam and you’re feeling down, head to Google and search for quotes about failure or grades or school. Google can be one of your best friends. I actually suggest looking for a good quote everyday, even when you don’t feel like you need them. Write all of them down in a notebook or paper or whatever.

I still have a lot of shit to deal with before the year ends, but I’m really looking forward to 2015. I may be writing down the same things from this year’s list, but I’m fine with that.

Keep going.

We’ll get there someday.

a quick announcement

Okay so maybe it’s not really that quick. If you’ve read my first post, then you would already know this, but if you haven’t, then here goes: The Heartbroken Heartbreaker (insert me cringing at the incredibly stupid title my younger self came up with) will (hopefully) be published by Pop Fiction next year. (If I don’t manage to mess the deal up, of course. Hahaha.)

I first started writing THH as an experiment. I never really expected I would ever finish it because I was never serious about writing it at first. It was only two years after I first published the first chapter did I actually realize that a lot of people were reading it (I don’t even know how you guys haven’t plucked your eyes out yet) and decided to finish writing it.

Still, I was only writing it for the sake of getting it done for the readers. I felt like I owed you (and yes, I really do owe you) at least a decent ending.

Case in point, though, this is an opportunity I never really thought would ever come my way, so I am incredibly excited and scared at the same time.

WHAT NOW?

I have constantly told everyone that I, to be perfectly honest, think THH sucks. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t deserve even half the recognition it had gotten so far. I’ve been given six months to pass the manuscript and even though I could pass it as it is now, I refuse to do so—not until I edit it.

I’m not even talking about that surface editing on typos and grammar errors; I’m planning on rewriting at least the first half of it and heavily revising a lot of the scenes. The general story will remain the same—I don’t intend to change the story’s essence in any way—but I will work on refining the language and making the scenes more realistic. At the moment, it all seems pretty childish to me.

Even now, I already know that some of you might try to talk me out of revising the story, but I stand by what I think I should do to make it better. It’s not even a matter of satisfying the readers, at this point, but more about giving myself the satisfaction of the knowledge that I did my best to make it worthy of getting published.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP ME

Okay. So here’s the thing: I know I said I’m editing it more for myself than the readers, but that doesn’t mean I value your opinions less. I hate editing. I absolutely, definitely, completely fucking hate it. Still, I can’t bring myself to send in this half-assed manuscript of THH that I have. I am opening myself to your suggestions.

If anything, I hope you can comment below and tell me:

  1. Which parts of the story do you think should I keep as they are?
  2. Which parts of the story do you think should I remove completely?
  3. Which parts of the story do you think should I keep and edit?
  4. What do you think are the three major flaws of the story in terms of plot?
  5. What do you think are the three major flaws of the story in terms of its writing?

I know you guys probably don’t have time to actually answer these, but insert me giving you the puppy-dog eyes here because I really do genuinely want to know how you guys would edit THH if you were given the chance to do so. 🙂

(Perhaps the one who gives me the most constructive answers will have the chance to win a signed copy of the book? HAHAHAHAHAHA then again, though that’s still soooooooo far off the future, but still.)

because the young elites ruined me

In a good way.

I recently finished reading The Young Elites and I desperately need someone to talk to about it but THERE IS NO ONE so I’m making a review instead.

If you’ve read the Legend trilogy before, then your familiar with Marie Lu’s (awesome and fabulous) writing. I loved the Legend trilogy and for a second, I was worried that The Young Elites might not be as good, but I’m telling you, it does not disappoint.

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

The main character Adelina is a (very, very, VERY) far cry from the cool and collected June Iparis of Legend, but she is just as strong. Her character was well-developed throughout the whole book–her thoughts and emotions were successfully painted by Lu, making her a very complex character.

The story plays on a lot of dark themes. Adelina swims in a vengeful haze from her father’s maltreatment of her; her jealousy towards her somewhat perfect sister; her thirst to get back at all those who have wronged her. Put simply, Adelina is the villain the story. It’s very risky to make such an unstable and non-traditional character as the protagonist of the story, but Lu’s artful storytelling pulled it off perfectly.

While I have my own reservations on Adelina (perhaps it’s because there’s a sharp contrast between June’s levelheaded thoughts), I can’t see the book being told through a different point of view.

At first I thought it was another dystopian story set in the future, but it’s actually set in a medieval age of a different world altogether. Lu’s world-building is incredibly convincing–the way she described the different cultures and integrated familiar themes to let readers imagine the world she created was perfect. (Maybe the fact that I’m a gamer and the setting seemed familiar in some RPGs I’ve played also helped a lot.)

Perhaps the only things I didn’t quite like about this is the lack of dialogue and the fact that it seems like a prequel. I’m a sucker for good dialogues. I think it’s the only way that will honestly depict the growing relationships of characters, so I wasn’t entirely gripped by the other characters and how Adelina feels about them. (Though I stll got the feels over the Adelina-Enzo moments.)

For the second point, I feel as though the second book (that is yet to come) is where the series should have begun because that’s where the story really begins. At the moment, it feels as though the book was just painting a background for the second book.

Still, it’s a great book. I couldn’t stop reading it–I finished it in less than five hours–and I’ve gasped, groaned, laughed, squealed and cried through it. If you enjoy fantasy, magic, action, romance and complex characters, then I definitely suggest reading this.

Rating: 4/5

crossroad

I may not be a good writer, but writing is the only thing that I actually want to keep doing, at least for now. To be perfectly honest, I’m not even confident about my writing, so to think that having people read my stories and actually tell me that they’re decent is something I never would have thought would ever happen to me.

Another thing I hadn’t ever expected would be my story possibly getting published next year. I haven’t really said any details about this to majority of my readers, but to anyone who’s possibly reading this, then yes, it is possible that we might see The Heartbroken Heartbreaker in print by 2015, but I’m not going into details for now. (Filipinos will probably know what publishing company approached me anyway.)

Now, I am completely psyched about this. I’ve known this for quite a while now and it’s been really hard to keep a secret this big. It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up on–not just because I want to get published, or because of the money I might get from it–but also because my Mom and my close relatives are rooting for this to happen, and I guess that’s my main motivation.

Recently, however, I have been stuck at a crossroad, and from here on, I’m finding it hard to move.

First off, I’ve been re-reading THH for days now. I have to, because I want to edit the shit out of it so that it’s not going to be just another of “those Wattpad books.” I want it to be perfect. To be different. To be deserving. And to be perfectly, absolutely, completely honest? It. Sucks. 

THH is, and always will be, something I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life. That, however, doesn’t mean that I can’t see its flaws (cliche plot, tendency to have childish scenes written from an immature 14 year old’s perspective, CLICHE PLOT, moments that make me go WTF). I know it’s a far cry from perfection, at least by my standards, and it does not deserve to be published. At least not as it is right now. Which brings me to my second point:

I want to revise it. A lot. If anything, I want to scrap the whole thing. This is a matter of importance to me because years from now, I want to be able to look back and not be embarrassed of my first published novel. I don’t want to be associated with a work that I am not entirely proud of.

However, while I want to revise it, I also want to keep most of it. If anything, the first few chapters will take most of the hit, and the rest of the chapters will only be slightly changed, but I want to keep its essence, to recapture it so it’s not changed so much as it has improved. And I’m all right with this, because I seriously want THH to be the best that it can be, and I don’t mind having sleepless nights just so I can edit it.

There’s a catch though.

I’ve been told that I should omit cuss words. Especially the word “fuck.”

Well, fuck. I use the word “fuck” a lot when I write. I’ve used it so much that it doesn’t even seem like a cuss word to me anymore. And I stand by my opinion that “bad words” are only “bad” because “society says so” because what the fuck is wrong with the word fuck? Nothing. People just see it as something bad because we’ve been told that it is bad. It’s just a word, along with all the other “bad words.” THEY’RE JUST WORDS. And if this is the way I write, then I don’t want to fucking change it because this is the way I fucking write. 

When I found out about this whole cussing thing, I literally felt miserable. Confession: Not just once had I thought about declining this opportunity because I honestly, honestly, honestly don’t want my first published novel to be something that only ever got this far because it’s cliche, and people love cliches, therefore people loved it. But I figured it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up on. Even if I want to decline, I wouldn’t be able to, because I would always think of what my mom or my aunts or my uncles or my big brother would say about not grabbing this chance, about letting go of all that money, about being too choosy when i should be happy that I even got lucky enough to be offered a publishing contract when I’m barely 18 years old.

But not only do I have to edit something I don’t even want to be read by the people I know, I also have to remove the “bad words” because it’s “teen fiction.”

What? Do they honestly believe that teenagers don’t toss the word “fuck” around? If anything, teenagers are probably one of the age groups that cuss a lot. Fuck that. That’s not the way freedom of expression works. I should not be forced to change the way I write just to get the big bucks, but in a world where money is the only thing that keeps the world turning (note the sarcasm), I can’t help but feel like I have to value my financial gain from the publishing deal over my need to write the way I want to.

*insert melodramatic sigh*

I guess I’m just frustrated because my family keeps on telling me to start editing it already when I’m barely passing my classes and I hardly ever sleep before 2 am just to finish my daily schoolwork. Oh, and they will probably antagonize me when they find out how badly I’ve been doing lately. I don’t even know what to feel anymore.

I want to reject the offer because I don’t want to fucking deal with this anymore, but I honestly can’t when I think about it and try to take everything into consideration. I’m just upset that while it may seem like I have a choice, that I can decide whether I should accept the offer or not, the truth is that the circumstances I’m going through and have gone through have become restrictions that make it impossible for me not to choose the former.

And it’s not a fucking choice.

(Sorry if the first post is a bit heavy, but posts will depend on my mood, and I assure you that not everything will be this dull. On another note, you can drop me comments here or on http://ask.fm/iamsammadison. i’ll probably accept post requests or whatever)