Wedding Plans & A New Story Idea

pencil-3326180_1280.jpg

The past several months have been a whirlwind. It all started December 2017 with a proposal from my boyfriend. From there I started the new year in the wedding pre-planning stages. It is now almost May – which means it’s now less than 6 months away. Wow, that scared me when I typed it out. Anyways, it’s May-ish and we’ve got almost everything planned out. Yet there is still a ton to do.

I’m designing our invitations, place settings, and eventually the website once we get that set up. Basically all the printing stuff at the wedding. Good thing I was/am a graphic designer. Still, I’m anxious to get our website up, our engagement photos done and start worrying and working on decorating the hall we’ve rented. 

It also means that since December the action of writing anything that isn’t wedding related has taken a back seat to everything else. Which is a little disappointing when you work out that it’s been almost four or five months since I’ve written anything towards the novel I’m working on. Which is a shame, I’ve been trying to re-write my last drafted manuscript, going through and outlining the book again, adding in more character development and details. I’m hoping once this is all over I’ll be able to tackle this draft once and for all. 

At the moment, every time I get on my computer my mind is on wedding stuff, searching pintrest, figuring out images for the invitation, looking at webpage designs and templates. I can’t even get my head focused to write book review and movie reviews. Yet this past week – while my fiancé was out of the country on a business trip – I managed to start writing some random scene that had popped into my mind. 

Let’s face it. I’m a sucker for the paranormal. As much as I enjoy writing fantasy and sci-fi, somehow anything paranormal I seem to gobble up. TV shows, movies, now even podcasts (Thanks #ATWWD!). So obviously I’m once more diving into a paranormal themed story idea. This time the character felt like it came out of nowhere. Well I guess not. I started a new character on my Star Wars fan site who has a cyber eye – okay… it got that idea from a dystopian novel idea I’m also working on. Anyways… the idea of a main character with a unusual eye starting filtering through my imagination and day dreams until I arrived at this character who has a magical eye. By magical I mean a pentagram in her eye that allows her to see aura’s and ghosts. 

I don’t know where this is going to go. But I’m writing one scene where her friend drags her out to a local abandoned mill to test her abilities on camera. It feels great getting back into fictional writing. I’m starting to really like this new character and her friend. I’m hoping part 2 of this story will flow just as well and I can get into trying to write some real suspenseful/horror elements. Everything I try to write suspense it turns out to be more of an adventure style writing… so I’d like this one to try to get more into the thriller and suspense genre – if possible. Once the story is finished I’ll try to post the more polished draft.

Anyways, maybe this dry spell of non-writing just needed a new jump in inspiration to get me back in the swing of things. Something to do to get my mind off of wedding stuff and maybe give me a little bit of hope that I can one day quit my day job and write full-time. (Still hoping I can get away with that when I’m married). Either way, my imagination is just as wild and crazy as ever and I hope one day I’ll be able to share all the random stories that constantly run around in my head.

Advertisements

In the Mood for a Scare

forest-2328562_1280

I don’t know what it is, but as of late I’ve been trying to find things that would shake me to the bone. Anything spooky. Ghost, legends, aliens, bigfoots, you name it, if there’s a story of a boogyman under a bed I want to hear about it. It’s not even October and I’m already gearing up to get myself shaking with fright.

Unknown

In particular, I’ve recently began to follow two more paranormal themed podcasts. I’ve already been following Aaron Mahnke’s Lore podcast which always thrill me. I know if I want something quick, something surreal and based on a legend he’s the place I go to. Already he’s inspired me and given me ideas on expand my own paranormal novels of ghost hunters in new directions.

7053

One of my new podcasts that I decided to follow is The Paranormal Podcast by Jim Harold. I’m only able to pull up the previous years on my iPod, but obviously as I started looking back I realize Jim has been busy and had the podcast out for a number of years prior. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to listen to all of them, but of the few I’ve already managed to listen to I’m stuck. In particular my first episode I listened to dealt with ‘Black Eyed Kids’ and lets say I should not have listened to it in the dark. It creeped me out and gave me a whole new paranormal case I’ve never knew existed.

and-that-s-why-we-drink

So on to the third, or rather the second NEW podcast I stumbled upon. “And That’s Why We Drink.” I seriously just ‘stumbled’ upon it last week. I needed to listen to something while I quilt, and didn’t feel like music or my D&D podcast and wanted to hear more spooky stories. I was on spotify at this point and found their ‘podcast’ area and well, this one was right at the top of the ‘recommended for you’.  I was hooked by episode 2, and I’ve been binge listening to them since. The podcast is not only talking about paranormal events/objects/haunting, but also true crime. So the two hosts share a paranormal story and a true crime story each episode. I’m currently on episode 7 and enjoy listening to Em and Christine. The two are so enjoyable, down to earth and casual in their podcast. They ramble and go on tangents every once in a while and I seriously don’t care. They have this dynamic about them that keeps the podcast fresh. I seriously can’t get enough of them and they just found a new long term follower. Out of all of my spooky listening, these two are the best so far.

But it hasn’t all been podcasts. That being said, those three above are probably the only podcasts I listen to… and still can’t find enough time to catch up on all of them.

maxresdefault-1

The other bit of spookiness in my life currently is a new visual novel I’ve started on the game app “Choices”. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Choices is an app that have several ‘visual novels’ to choose from… mostly romantic but there are a few mystery and adventure and even on fantasy themed story to follow. In each story there are choices you can make as the main character, those choices affect the end of your story. This is the fourth story on this app that I’m working through and I’m really enjoying this new story called “It Lives in the Woods”. The only issue I have with the app, which I understand why they did it this way – is that despite it binge free, there are choices that require ‘diamond’s to unlock. If you don’t have enough you are unable to take that special path and miss out on uncovering new information, more of the mystery or a weapon you may need in the future. It’s very much a combination of a novel and a game except I never like paying for extra game bits. That being said – I just made my first purchase in this app for extra diamonds… so… they got to me.

It Lives in the Woods is a story about a bunch of high school kids who realize the ‘ghost’ or as they name him ‘Mr. Redfield’ they played with as a kid and most likely the cause of one of their friend’s death as a kid is back. Strange occurrences have been happening in their small town, and all can be traced back to their youth and the woods.

Seriously, just the opening sequences is enough to put a shiver down your spine.

If anyone else has any suggestions of something spooky to either listen to, watch or read, let me know, I’m in the mood and would love some recommendations.

So many ideas… So little plot lines…

light-681540_1280

For the past several months, my new job schedule had been all over the place. One day I’m up at 5am, the next I’m working until 10:30pm. It left me little time to write anything, anywhere, at all. Now, finally after ten months I finally have a stretch of days off that I can actually put time towards my projects.

But which one to start with?

My paranormal novel needs a new re-write. I need to dive deeper into my main characters, giving them better goals, character arcs and make sure the structure is all there to show when needed throughout the novel. I am desperate to get this done, but I want to do it right. I know many authors struggle with multiple drafts and starting my 5th feels al little depressing. I am still passionate about this story, but another part of me wants to start with the next one in the series and keep moving forward.

Then I have more ideas for different stories swirling around in my head. I have a dystopian/utopian steaming on the back burner. A supernatural Victorian era mystery series idea with a Succubus and Vampire as the detectives. Then a new mystery idea surrounding a fantasy setting with a teenage witch/orphan.

It’s easy to say that ideas come easily to me. Characters, settings, a simple plot or goal for a character to achieve. They are all there, swirling around in my head – but trying to structure them, create a plot worthy to write out, some sort of outline is more fleeting.

Perhaps it’s my doubt, that miserable voice in the back of my head telling me I’m not good enough to write such stories. Or maybe its the countless out projects I want to work on that cloud my mind and make everything more daunting than it really is. Quilting, crafting, writing, reading and gaming that intrigue me. I only have so much time in my day.

Then there is the wedding. Yup. This past December my boyfriend of the last 4 years proposed to me. Not only do I have my writing projects to work on this year, but a wedding to plan. Unlike some girls/women, I have not been planing my wedding since I was a little girl. Part of me never thought this day will come. I haven’t even started planning and feel overwhelmed. As exciting as it is, my free time will be crunched even further now.

For now it’s one day at a time. I have a couple of books on Character Arcs and How to Write a Mystery to read before I start my hand at these stories and novels. I only hope with the more resources I read, the more confident I become and my writing improves with each new draft, idea and project completed.

YA or NA?

question-mark-1872634_1280

I never thought I’d be debating this in my head.

After sending my Paranormal/Urban Fantasy off to a new editor I got an interesting exchange and an introduction to NA (New Adult). I’m now on the fence on how to proceed… the editor gave me the option of moving to NA and introducing more mature themes, including sexual themes or changing the entire setting to High School and keeping with the YA themes/style that it currently sounds like.

Currently my novel is set in a university with a freshmen (aged 18). I created this entire town/university with the idea of exploring themes of starting post-secondary school, creating a blank slate away from parents. It’s a huge moment in anyone’s life and I’m drawing on my own experiences when I moved away from home to start college years ago. But I don’t want to dive into romance or sexual relationships. It’s not the focus of my story which is still a Paranormal Mystery.

I guess I’m confused. Do I write what I like and ignore the market and the editor’s notes on the subject – or do I take her advice and restructure my story?

It also comes down to WHY does NA have to be about sex? Or my character reacting to others and their sexual lives? Couldn’t I focus on the evil spirit instead and deal with my character’s rough background and struggle to share with others her ability to see and interact with ghosts? Sure I have a romance going on the side, but throughout the story this relationship gets sabotaged and it ends on a rough note. It’s something I will deal with in the second book, but for now I want it to end on a more realistic note.

So you see my dilemma – I hope. I’m confused, frustrated and at a standstill until I discover what I want for my book.

Thankfully after talking to a few of my other fellow writers on a Facebook page they assured me that the NA genre isn’t as solidified as I first thought. That there are a few books under the YA genre that do take place in College/University – especially now when students are attending these facilities when they are still 17 & 18. I most likely will grow into some ’sexual’ content with my characters, they are reaching that age, but I don’t want to focus on it – unless I’m specifically writing erotica – which may happen in the future lol.

A question to all those Editors/Writers: How much do you take from your editor? If their advice doesn’t jive with you, do you ignore it and continue with what you want to do or do you give in and make the changes?

Utopian Plot – Maybe???

notes-514998_1280

Some time ago I posted about the desire to write something of an utopian story. It’s been dancing around my head for a while, and I’ve brainstormed a few ideas – mostly what a utopian society would look like to me; what would it include, how would the people survive, and what would make it so ideal that to many it’s a paradise.

Tough questions that need answering. I think I’ve cemented my world, most of it. I have the utopia setting in the cities and how they work not only a self-reliant communities but also putting the focus on the good of the community/world and away from personal gain that would be the corrupting factor. Clean, reusable energy is used throughout the cities, and even in transportation – which I’ve limited to internal city trains/streetcars and external transport vehicles that ship excess material/food/technology to other cities. (I’ve basically got rid of the personal car and hop that everything inside the city can run on public transportation.)

I’ve also created a spark of a conflict. Not everyone in this futuristic time period would want to live in a utopian city – there are always rebels of some kind and thus they have branched off into their own network of towns but end up preying on the cities and their convoy’s, making leaving a city more dangerous and less likely to happen on a regular basis. Of course with futuristic technology and holo-displays/video chat, there’s little need to travel anyways lol.

But despite working out some groups and the basics of the world, I still lack a real plot or in particular a real conflict. I mean how can a utopia have conflict? My first idea of my main character being an outsider to the city, a scanner who works for those in the lower ends/underground markets may work, but it’ll show the darker belly of the utopia society, which would obvious exist, but I feel if I start with that, I’ll make the utopia sound more like a dystopia… or somewhere in between. I’m holding on to this idea, in the end it may take a form of an “Indiana Jones”, “Tomb Raider”, “Uncharted” story instead. Which can work, but I’ll need to work out my “McGuffin” first.

Originally I had an idea that I dismissed but is coming back to me now with new potential. I watched an anime called “My Lie In April” with a heart wrenching and tear draining ending. I loved the music theme and wondered if I can do something about it in a futuristic setting. In this story/plot, I have my main character as an overachiever with a musical talent that many applaud but she herself lacks the heart of playing. In this futuristic society children/teens are given career tests to help them focus on their future path, this MC has talents enough to pursue a life in music or a life in any other field. Her mother is pushing towards politics – like herself, impressing on her family name and tradition that helped formed this particular city into it’s utopian self.  The MC has no heart for either career path and is placed in a state of emo limbo on what to do with her life.

Her friends take her out one night, I’m thinking musical friends whom she competes with on the ‘orchestra’ stage, they take her to one of the underground pubs, somewhere they aren’t supposed to be (given age and status), where live bands perform. There they meet a band made up of Nomads from the last nomad convoy that arrived earlier that day. The lead singer/guitar player is full of life and energy that creates a spark in the MC. It is afterwards they discover they know one another from childhood when the guitar player girl and stayed in the city to complete a year of schooling before traveling back with her family. As they fill each other in on old times, the guitar girls asks the MC to play with them, which she refuses.

From here I have an idea of the MC learning to find the heart in her music with the help of the guitar girl, ending with a choice of following her friend as a nomad to sing at different city pubs for money, or to remain in the city. She could still play music but it won’t be the same without the guitarist. The conflict arises when her mother learns of these late night shenanigans and gives her an ultimatum about either staying in the city or leaving, if she leaves she’ll be disowned.

Perhaps a bit over-dramatic… but I feel the MC needs to make a tough choice on whether to follow her heart or stay the path that is safe and secure. I’m also not sure what type of music the MC would play; instrumental I would think the piano or maybe the violin, something sophisticated for orchestra/symphony use but could also transfer into a rock band. The second idea would be her own set of pipes or voice…

This story is still miles away from being written, and I doubt I’ll find time to research and fill in the blanks before this year’s nanowrimo, but I’d love to hear any feedback on my idea so far.  Also, any ideas on what your utopia would look like?

One of those days…

controller-1837125_1280

… or months really.

I mean to say that despite a new growing deadline to finish the fourth draft of my Urban Fantasy/Paranormal by September – I have found myself working on outlines for other novel ideas. Some of my efforts are towards adding details to a first draft, prepping it for an overhaul of a re-write, while the rest of my efforts go back into a particular character that never leaves my mind.

*Sigh*

It seems my day job is finally starting to die down in hours and stress by July. I hope that means I’ll get into a better routine for writing. As it stands, being on my feet all day exhausts me and as much as my mind is ready to type, my body won’t let me most days. It doesn’t help that my schedule is all over the place. This is the first week that I’ve got the same hours 6 days in a row. Who knows, by Friday I may have tackled another few chapters if things continue as they are.

On a side note, I’ve discovered a new outlining program available on Amazon put together by an author named K. M. Weiland, called “Outlining Your Novel”. The program is based on her book of the same name. Basically instead of filling in the spaces she provides in the book, you now can create multiple projects, without working about filling out a book and having to buy a second. I’m new to her newsletters but find her articles and blog very interesting and helpful. I find this program a great way to put all those scattered bits and pieces of a novel idea together into one comprehensive outline. I’ve yet to see a project to completion, but I’m enjoying the steps i’m taking along the way.

As you can see, a new program means huge distraction from what’s really important. By inserting pieces of a past NaNoWriMo novel into it, I’ve found myself asking more questions and diving much deeper into the personality and characters of my story, not to mention working out a better structure for the all around plot. Let’s hope the second draft is much more organized and coherent than the first.

In other news I’m getting overwhelmed with games to play. I’ve been downloading a few games for my PC and there are so many for my PS3 and now PS4 I need to finish! Every time I feel that I’m satisfied, I find a new game that’s calling my name, or my boyfriend suggests one of his that I’ve never played before. Video Games are great for inspiration for me, but also a great distraction when time is already limited on my end.

Here’s a list of a few games I’m in the middle of:

PS3: The Force Unleashed, Deathspank, Final Fantasy 6, Life is Strange, Skyrim

PS4: Uncharted 4, Lego Avengers, the newest Star Ocean, Fallout 4

PC: Syberia 2, Knights of the Old Republic, Death in Paradise, The Falconers, Don’t Die Together, Stardew Valley

It’s a wide assortment of games, which I like but daunting at the same time. I’d love to finish a few first before starting something different, but doubt that’s going to happen. I should write out a few reviews though, some of these games are a lot of fun and would love to share my opinion of them. It’s my first time playing games like Fallout and Skyrim, so getting the hang of an open universe is problematic for me, so I’m sure my opinions of them my differ from everyone else.

It’s a lot to take in, but I hope I can find room to see to everything that’s on my plate. Summer has officially started, so maybe there’s a chance of moving my laptop outside for a few days. Will that help or be a further distraction? I have no idea. Take care and enjoy the nice weather!

Weight Loss Challenge – Update

belly-weightloss

Back in January, I posted about my goal this year to lose weight and become healthier. It’s been over five months and I’m proud to say that I’ve lost just over 18 lbs and 42% towards my ultimate goal. It’s been challenging and these past five months included a number of set backs, of gaining a pound here and there and struggling to keep on track.

What really seemed to help me out was when I started working again. This time, I’m not at a desk all day, but in retail – on my feet – for a good 8 hours. I tracked my steps and on average I was doing close to 20k steps a day – I’ve since changed departments and am in an outdoor Garden Centre doing even more running around. I haven’t clocked my steps there yet, because I’m worried about breaking my fit bit with all the stones and bags of mulch I have to haul around, but I should try to see if I’m getting more steps in now or not. But the point is, I’m much more active. Meaning I’m burning more calories. Unfortunately it also means I’m able to eat more….

I’m still working on my snacking and food portions. When I’m working I don’t need to worry so much as I’m burning most of it off, but when I’m not working I do try to make a conscious choice of eating lighter and not so much starch and fats. I’m trying but it’s hard when you’ve bought a bunch of unhealthy snack food and chocolate to help you overcome the stress of your day at work. I’m still a work in progress… but I have noticed a change and so have others.

I’ve gone down a pant size and I’ve also managed to go down another belt hole. People (my parents) noticed an impressive change in my face and neck where the excess fat/weight has disappeared – always the place I’m least worried about – but my waist is getting smaller so there is hope that I’ll get to my goal by the end of the summer. Of course the challenge continues on keeping the weight off once I’m there.

I’m quite happy with my results so far, and I’ll be sure to share any more positive updates in the future.

Ghost In The Shell

MPW-119450

I’ve been debating on writing this post for a couple of weeks now. Debating because when I saw the movie – and enjoyed it. I’m a huge fan of the original anime and I wanted to watch the movie to see how well they handled it. There are several issues surrounding GITS including the ‘whitewashing’ and the ‘westernization’ of it. I understand and agree with it all and there is enough to fill another blog post, but I wanted to focus this post on the plot, visualization and themes the movie explores. At least at this point. I may work on a second related post talking about whitewashing in Hollywood cinema, but there are several of those out right now that are more informative, researched and presented than I could ever write.

Before I continue, please be aware there are spoilers! Many of the points I’m writing about deals with knowledge of both the original anime and the live action version. If you haven’t seen them and want to – avoid reading this post until you do.

HO00003940
Plot:
In the live-action Ghost In The Shell the plot revolves around The Major, a cybernetic body with a human mind inside. Placed on a task-force called Section 9 that deals with terrorism and stopping terrorists, they face a new threat called ‘The Puppet Master’. While tracking down this terrorist, the Major faces her own suppressed memories and questions her existence and learns that Haka Robotics lied to her about her past.

This plot differs slightly from the original anime version. Though elements are the same, there is enough of a difference to change the outcome of the movie. In the original there was never any ‘origin’ moment. There is a well animated opening sequence of the Major’s body in development, but when the movie begins with the Major taking down a terrorist attack, we are to accept everything without explanation. We learn throughout the movie of her cybernetic body and Haka’s involvement with that but there was no story arc in that regards. She works for Section 9 and in all honesty there is little character development with the Major other than her curiosity over the identity of the Puppet Master that borders on obsession.

The new plot for the live-action GITS is interesting, once it gets to the point about the Major’s memories. In the early stages of the movie there are scenes with Major in her apartment injecting herself with Haka Robotics approved packets in the back of her neck (where she connects to devices and uploads information) to help her mind accept her cybernetic body and not reject it. At first it makes sense, but as Major has more and more memories surface – those that don’t line up with the story Haka Robotics told her what happened, she questions everything and also the Puppet Master. These sensations and flashbacks get stronger after the Major ‘dives’ into a robot the Puppet Master had hacked and taken control of in the earlier terrorist attack to find the Puppet Master, his identity and where he’s holding up. It is through this first connection and a few others later on that we get the pieces of the Major’s real past and the secrets behind Haka Robotics and her own existence.

The Puppet Master:
The main ‘villain’ of the movie is the Puppet Master. Believed to be a super hacker with the ability to ‘ghost hack’ – taking control of a cyberized person’s body without their knowledge.

Even the identity of the Puppet Master changed between the original anime and the new live-action version. In the new version, we discover the Puppet Master is just like the Major, a previous test subject of Haka Robotics by placing a human mind in a cybernetic body. To control them, they give them the same fake story of them being a sole survivor of a terrorist attack. Thus giving them a purpose to use their new power towards fighting terrorism for them. The story gets much deeper than that!
It turns out that to find the test subjects for this process, Haka Robotics took several runaway kids, the Major and the Puppet Master are just two of them. Once Haka learns that Major is rebelling against them, they order her termination, and threaten Section 9 with closing down their division if they don’t give up the Major. The Chief of Section 9 sides with the Major and against the president of Haka Robotics and we see some amazing scenes the show how bad-ass members of Section 9 are!

In the original anime, the Puppet Master is a program created by Section 6 called Project 2501. An advance AI that went rogue, escaping it’s firewall confines that Section 6 put in place by using a factory produced robot body. After being hit in the road by a truck and sent to Section 9, it surprises everyone by asking for asylum as a sentient creature. Claiming self-preservation of its programming does not differ from DNA. At the end of the anime movie Major links or dive with the Puppet Master and converses with it, learning it wishes to pass on its ideas and evolve like any other biological creature instead of just making copies. Before Section 6 shoots both the robot body of the Puppet Master AND Major, Major agrees and merges. Having her own body shot up and destroyed along with the Puppet Master, she wakes up in a new prosthetic body – a new body for a new being.

Ending:
As you can see above, by changing the identity of the Puppet Master the endings of the live action movie is different. Where Major gets a new body and a new identity in the anime, the live action avoids that and we see Major in her original body all fixed. How that happens when she’s on the black list of Haka Robotics – I don’t know. Yes, she has her original memories, a mother, but does that count as a new identity? Sorry, as you can tell I prefer the anime’s ending over the live action one. Maybe, just maybe had they placed her in a new body, made it Asian… could that have saved the movie from the onslaught of bad reviews?

Ghost Hacking:
The main theme, idea that struck me the strongest throughout the movie (both anime and live action) is the ‘ghost-hacking’ the ability or potential ability to hack a person’s mind. In the GITS setting, we are in this futurist world where cyber implants is everywhere and all the rave. Not just physical parts, but also it seems mental parts, downloading holographic images of the mind and so forth. But with that comes the potential of being hacked. In particular in this movie, the people don’t know their hacked. The only way to tell is the alternating of memories.
Given the way technology is moving, this feels like something to worry about. Not to mention how frightening it could be to not even be able to trust your own memories! How could you defend against that?
thumbnail_25981

Visuals:
The visuals of the live action movie was amazing. Full of large holographic images on sides of buildings for ads – the new build boards, the depiction of diving or linking with robotic programs, and the creation of the Major’s body – and to add to that the way the body is mended after being cut/broken. The entire live action movie had a brighter-cleaner sleekness to it. It was a little different from what I remember from the anime, both my boyfriend and I agree the original anime seemed to depict more of a ‘Blade Runner’ feel, so a little dirtier, worn in feel. But still, the bright lights and look of the technology used in the movie is spectacular.

Themes:
In the live action movie the main theme that seemed to come out is that of identity, and what a ‘ghost’ means. In the movie we hear reference to the Major to trust her ghost, or her soul. But being in a full cybernetic body with only a human mind, were does the soul come from, or where is it stored? I’m using ‘ghost’ and ‘soul’ interchangeably thinking they are meaning the same thing. So as the Major discovers the meaning behind her dreams, and her real identity she is also forced to deal with herself, whom she become and who she wants to be. Basic questions that hall humans experience and goes through. It is a better story arch than the anime – at lest in my opinion, but they could have gone further.

In the movie we learn that the Major was in fact Asian, and her mind placed in a Caucasian looking body. There could have been a theme surrounding that aspect – but I understand by then there was no time for her to dwell on that one aspect as the climax was approaching and ending in sight.

Another theme I wanted to touch on was the roles of woman in technological fields. I hear a lot about the lack of women in science fields and the lack of role models to help young girls get interested in such studies and fields. In this movie we see at least two prominent women in leading cybernetic and robotic fields. Dr. Ouelet and Dr. Dahlin. Outlet had direct correspondence with Major and deals with both her psyche and body, and shares almost a mentor/student or mother/daughter relationship. Although I still understand the issues surrounding the whitewashing, I still like seeing at least two female scientists in the movie with lines and a personality.

In Conclusion:
I enjoyed the movie, the visual and themes within the movie. As much as there are problems with the live action movie, if wish to avoid that, at least find the anime and watch it that way. There are now several new versions of anime relating to Ghost in the Shell, and I’m sure there will be other new versions like this western one. I hope if there will be a next live-action movie the makers of the first will learn their lesson and listen to the fans and treat their audience with respect.

Do you keep your old drafts?

notes-514998_1280

This feels like an embarrassing question.

I hear writers talk about all their drafts as they work to hone their story after edit after edit – and I wonder …. Do they keep all their different drafts? Really, I’m starting a fourth draft for one of my stories after having an editor and a few beta readers read over my third draft and I’m wondering what to do with my previous drafts. Given how easy it is to just write overtop of your first draft with your second, third and so forth – does anyone keep their original drafts or do they just take the electronic document and write over top of it again and again?

Right now, for this particular novel – I’m keeping all my previous drafts – well most of them. Draft 2 I started editing within that draft for half way through the story before taking a break and going back later to start a third separate draft. Having multiple drafts feel a little confusing, but given how much I’ve changed things – especially with my fourth draft I don’t want to get ride of for fear I may need to go back to a previous draft and pull up a scene once deleted but should be included again. Just trying to remember past scenes I’ve changed, deleted or just passed over is difficult so I’m glad I have an old drafts to go back to if necessary.

This is why I think this is an embarrassing question. It feels like many writers have old drafts around to keep track of what they’ve changed. But with today’s style of just deleting and re-typing have things changed?

This fourth draft has fallen to a snail’s pace. I’ve reached chapter 7 and hit a bit of a wall. I’ve taken out one of the secondary characters which has helped but this chapter doesn’t have a good flow in my mind in relation to scene structure. I’m not sure how to really fix it at the moment. I have the main goal of the chapter – which is achieved, but I think I’ve forced my character to stay in her previous characterization to leave feeling freaked out after confronting an evil spirit. Now in this new draft she is more confident and more in control of her choices. Given this change of my main characters personality, she wouldn’t just leave or run away. Maybe at first but after the walk from the haunted zone back to the headquarters she’d cooled off. So… now my chapters have really changed. This one chapter will really change the entire feel of the book I think. I’m not sure what that is yet so I’ve taken a break and tried to think of a better way to deal with the chapter and how it is affecting the rest of the book.

As I write my fourth draft, I feel I’ll be going back more to my original or second draft for help or to find old scenes that may help my novel get back on its feet. In the meantime any answers to my question, or suggestions how others deal with multiple drafts and where they keep the old ones would be great!

Utopian/Dystopian Worlds

light-681540_1280

So, surprisingly enough this topic came to light while in discussion with my dad and my boyfriend’s dad. I’m not sure entirely how we got onto the subject, but I’m sure we were talking about the rising cost of hydro, gas and government both here and across the border in the US. Anyways, the topic turned to the future and perspectives we had towards it. Mostly towards the decline of knowledge in certain life-skills. For example how many people today actually know how the electrical grid works? Or the water treatment plants or sewage? What would happen if we lost that knowledge all together? Now, I may be more optimistic in certain areas – humans to me are adaptable. Even if we lost knowledge in a particular area, I feel that the human mind will find an alternative solution to achieve the same goal. It may take time – but I think it is possible.

The discussion continued on other areas as my dad began to talk about how he felt the world should move in – basically into more self-reliant smaller communities. They turned to me – the writer – and said I should write a book on that. Great… write a book on a self-reliant city where there are little to no problems – that’s not dystopian. Of course it’s closer to a Utopian, for which I know little about in the fictional world. Yet – their ideas did make me think and by that evening I jotted a few of them down.

Do I have a plot – NOPE!

Do I have any characters – NOPE!

Do I have a crises, or an issue to explore/exploit – NOPE!

I get what they mean. Hollywood has defiantly gone the way of dystopian lately, from the Hunger Games to Mad Max: Fury Road. All dark, depressing and showing a negative outlook with a few heroes that push the hope of a change or something different forward. I get those moves and books and I get why they are so popular at the moment. I also think the fad is on the decline and we may get a different outlook in the new future – I’m only guessing here. Anyways, their ideas that day did resonate with me and I began to wonder if there was a story in there at all.

My typically pet peeve about these dystopian novels is how there is a wall of some kind that keeps the character inside their surroundings. Just go and get out and explore the world around you! Of course by the sounds of the discussion we had such an idea wouldn’t fit for them. I’ll just have to save that for something else.

So… here’s my world so far. I picture it like a circle with three zones. The external are the agriculture fields, the producers of the food. There’ll be greenhouses and natural sources of water. The next zone will be manufacturing plants, water treatment and the like. The final zone would be the core where the city’s government, education and medical facilities are located. I don’t like the idea of getting rid of technology, there are enough minds out there that if something did happen with electricity and the internet, a new infrastructure should emerge with a new wave of technology that would fit with the needs of this new futuristic world.  Travel between countries will be limited, gas is highly expensive and out of reach for several, making these cities more close-knit. Population should be reasonable to support their needs. (This is the one issue that was brought up – that cities are too populated and can’t become self-reliant because of that). That could be an issue for the book – the population of the city is getting too high and something needs to be done. But the more I think about it, the more I feel there would be an underground, another zone below the city – perhaps living in the remnants of the old world that has mostly been forgotten as the city rose and was built on top of it. So, all together there are four zones now within this ‘utopian’ city, and only one issue I can foresee that could be a conflict.

But then again – who says there needs to be a conflict in the utopian? There are other stories where conflict happens between people, I could make a love story with this city in the back ground – but I don’t do well writing romances… I’m still spit-balling ideas around. What I have thought about is the idea of travelling convoy’s. Of a certain type of people who move from city to city in this futuristic world making trade. As much as travel is limited, it’s not impossible, and there would be some cities with deals with others and have to transfer goods from place to place. Having these nomads be there makes some sense – unless robots take over which I doubt I will have in my future world. ;-P

Having a character as part of this convoy nomad group may be the view-point I need to examine this new world, as she travels from community to community to see the differences across a country. I’m not sure if that idea would work, but it’s a start. Or, if anything start the story from someone within the community and switch to the nomad later on? Finding a conflict, or theme for this genre is difficult for me and it may not be my speciality. I’m still wanting to accept the challenge, but I obviously need to think about the world I’m creating and what my characters think of it.

I have gone online and found several other books written either in dystopian style or utopian style. I need to read them and see their ideas before I get carried away with this one. If any of you have a utopian or dystopian novel that would be good to research and read let me know and I’ll add it to my list.