Music Monday

So in addition to loving writing, geeky things and comics, I’m a huge fan of all kinds of music.  I regularly make playlists for what I’m working on or have playlists about random things that help me get into the right writing mood.

Each Monday, I’ll give you my recommended tracks for the week, as well as a link to a spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.  Sometimes there will be a theme, other times there won’t be.

This week, I’m just going to share some of stuff I’ve recently discovered, or found myself listening to all over again.

  1. Force of Nature – Bea Miller
  2. Somebody New – Joywave
  3. The Ghosts of Beverly Drive – Death Cab for Cutie
  4. Adventure of a Lifetime – Coldplay
  5. Cream on Chrome – Ratatat
  6. Compass – Zella Day
  7. Lose It – Oh Wonder
  8. Run – Daughter
  9. I Found – Amber Run
  10. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1 – The Flaming Lips

Here’s the Spotify Link/Playlist:

Let me know what you liked, or share a track you fell in love with this week.


Fail Better: Part 2

The first post I wrote about this subject was mostly about what writers hear as they journey through their path to becoming published.  This post will be about how you can actually fail upward.  I’m not sure we can actually call it a failure, as long as you learn something.

Over the past two years I’ve sent out short stories, worked on novels, sent out comic scripts, all in hopes of getting my work published.  A few times those things have worked out beautifully, but more often than not I’ve either gotten “This wasn’t quite what we were looking for.” or no response at all.  But most of the time?  I learned something about submitting, something about writing, or just something about myself in the process.

Don’t get me wrong.  I did not receive those rejects with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.  Rejection always hurts, but if I don’t keep trying and working at it, I’ll never reach my goals.

Speaking of goals, my dear friend Yen wrote an really great post about goals and resolutions over on Virtuosity11.11.  She specifically talks about how to break goals down so that they are easier to accomplish and she’s actually the person who helped me figure out how to make some of my resolutions measurable.

Once you have a goal in mind, failure doesn’t quite sting as strongly, because you can remind yourself that everything you do is in service of that goal.  Goals help you plan for the future and figure out steps toward what you want.

For example, one of my goals this year is to submit at least two short stories for publication each month.  I’ve had this goal in the past, but now, I approach goals on a yearly, monthly, weekly basis.  I look at my month, at my deadlines and figure out when I need the first drafts, second drafts and final versions done of my stories.

Now, even after all this work and all the revisions, there’s still a rather good chance I won’t get every story published.  The only way to get better at writing, is to continue to do it.  So even if each story does not work out, I’m still practicing my craft, studying more about the art I love so dearly.  There’s something to be said for sticking with it, even when it seems like nothing is going right.

None of the authors, screen writers or comic writers got where they are today because they took rejection to heart and never wrote again.

So fail.  Fail a lot.  But always try again.



Media · Movies

When one isn’t enough.

My friends and family have probably gotten a little sick of me asking “How many women are in it?” when they recommend TV shows or movies to me.  Trust me, I’m a little tired of it too.  Why do I keep asking though?  A several years ago I was introduced to the “Bechdel Test” by Alison Bechdel.  Initially Bechdel created a comic that became a rule of thumb for meeting the most basic rule for gender diversity in media.

It’s pretty simple.  The piece of media must have at least 2 female characters who have names, and at some point in the film, those two must talk to each other about something other than a man.   Some movies I truly love don’t pass this test, including Pacific Rim, which does include a strong female character with a solid backstory.

The Bechdel Test = The piece of media must have at least 2 female characters who have names, and at some point in the film, those two must talk to each other about something other than a man.

The Bechdel test is not the end-all be-all rule of thumb for representing women, it’s a rather low standard which should be used for evaluation and critical thinking.  The fundamental problem is, you can flip this test on its head, make it 2 male characters and a lot more films pass.  It’s not an odd thing to see a cast of 5-10 men and one woman among them.

And you might be saying, what’s the problem with that?

The problem is, it doesn’t reflect reality.  Women make up half the population.

If you follow my blog, you saw that I linked to my tumblr post about my love for the new Star Wars film a few weeks ago.  That post has gotten 300+ reblogs/likes, which blows any other tumblr post I’ve made out of the water.  Most of the comments were positive from other people who identified with how I felt and my love of seeing women all over the place in the new Star Wars film, and how I, as a life long female fan, finally felt truly welcome in the Star Wars fandom.

One reblogger stated, in a somewhat condescending way, how they did not understand how I could not feel welcome initially, “Have you met Princess Leia?”  It took me back a bit, because, of course I knew who Leia was.  I had mentioned Leia in my initial post and my love for her.  At first I wanted to respond politely and re-affirm that I loved Leia and the original trilogy, but then it hit me.

I responded in a very different way.

I pointed out that sort of gate keeping mentality is exactly why women don’t feel welcome.

I pointed out that sort of gate keeping mentality is exactly why women don’t feel welcome. One female character, even a strong one, does not a warm welcome to fandom make.

My initial post has mentioned how much I loved Leia and the expanded universe novels.  It clearly stated that I had been a Star Wars fan most of my life, but just because I’m a fan of something, doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with one strong female character in a film.  The original trilogy gave me Leia, but the Force Awakens gave me Leia as a General, Rey, Captain Phasma, Maz Kanata and many women in background roles of pilots, resistance fighters and even storm troopers.

Because of this representation, which had me over joyed, the film was boycotted by a group of men (who I will not name, because I do not want to give them more fame than they’ve already gotten) because of the films diverse main characters.  A woman and a black man.  Of course, that boycott is barely a drop in the bucket.  But it is still an interesting thing to look at.  Why would it be upsetting to have a film more strongly reflect reality in terms of diversity?8d550275660caec4515f06af4627e996

This is truly just the start for me.  I want not only more than one woman in a film with a name and an important role, I want to see the varied and interesting inner lives of women.  I want to see scenes where women have friendships and relationships that do not revolve around competition for a man’s attention, because that is what my reality looks like.  I have close female friends who cheer each other on, who build each other up.  When I watch a film that lacks this representation, I quickly lose interest.

Not because there aren’t more women in it, but because it’s usually a story I’ve seen many times before.  The women watch as the men do.

With my own writing, I hope to portray the rich inner lives of both men and women, but especially women, because I am one.  I can speak to my own life and experiences as a woman.  Hopefully movies like Star Wars and Mad Max symbolize a shift in the narrative, that Hollywood and other media facets will realize that women and men want more from their media.  I’m happy to continue to provide those stories from my little corner of the writing world, and I hope you will consider doing so as well.

Uncategorized · Writing

And we begin again.

I spent a lot of 2015 figuring out the direction I wanted for my life.  I actually started this blog about two years ago, but for the first year or so it  laid dormant, until a friend of mine asked if I would write a guest blog for his website’s blog (Which has some amazing/inspirational posts).  At that point, I blew the dust off this blog and started to try post regularly.

I plan to do a lot of things in 2016.  Finish a novel, including all the revisions of it, so I can start publishing.  Submit short stories, hope they get published as well.  Make comics.  And blog a lot more.

I started this blog to highlight my writing, but as it has gone on, I’ve used it to share what I’ve learned about writing along the way.  I also wanted to hear from others and find out what they’ve learned along the way.  Our greatest resource is always the people around us.  I want to share things I love, and perhaps don’t love so much, over the next year.

One thing I’ve learned in the last year that I want to share with you is this:

If you don’t make a goal, a real and measurable goal, you aren’t going to get anywhere.

Let’s break that down for a second here.  The goal has to be real.  I want to write professionally and write comics professionally someday.  That is a real goal, but it would not be real if I put that I wanted to work for Marvel in 2 months.  That’s not achievable for me, yet.

How do I make a real goal that reflects that dream?  I could say that I’ll make my own comics, reach out to artists to collaborate, learn more about writing  comics over the next year.

Next, it has to be measurable.  I learned a lot about measurable goals when I taught special education.  Each student has to have individual goals that you can show real progress on.  If you can’t measure a goal, you can’t show progress.

One of my goals this year was to revise the novel I made last year.  At first I just wrote down “Revise VF novel” which is vague and not really measurable.  With encouragement from my best friend I wrote down deadlines for the completed first revision, when I wanted to send it to beta readers, when I wanted to start draft two, and finally, when I wanted to start publishing it.  That’s measurable progress.  If I miss deadlines, I’m not making the progress I need to complete that goal.

So make some goals.  Make them measurable and real.  Make sure they are something you can achieve in the time frame you plan to finish them in.

What are your goals for the year?  How are you going to work towards them?  Tell me how you do it, I’d love to hear your feedback!