Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunshine and the Next Big Thing

So I usually put awards and memes on my awards & memes page, but since I haven't blogged in a while, I thought posting some Q&As in my actual blogging space would be a good way to get back into the swing of things. (Except not really because I'm on vacation in the States right now, so it probably won't work, haha.)


Thanks, Sophia, for passing this to me (and our fellow cabinmates from this summer's Camp Nanowrimo)! :)

I'm going with the set of questions Sophia posted, so here goes:

1: Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? 

Um, basically in whatever configuration they're in when I fall asleep. Most of the time one would be open because I like the convenience and am too lazy to bother closing them, but sometimes I close the doors for aesthetic purposes.

2: Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels? 

Not often. I don't like taking random free things unless I'm likely to use it (I dislike clutter), so I'd only take them if I really like them and would use them in the near future.

3: Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

Hm, the only sheet on my bed is the bed sheet; I don't use a top sheet. But in hotels, they usually tuck in that top sheet and it always annoys me because it's so uncomfortable! If it's hot, I want want to be able to uncover my legs sometimes, and if it's cold, I want the blanket tucked around ME, not the entire bed. Warming up all that extra space is a waste of my body heat!

4: Have you ever stolen a street sign before? 

No. See above re: dislike of free things that will just become clutter. I guess a really cool street sign would make an awesome decoration for some people, but that's not really my style.

5. What is your favorite time of year?

Vacation time! I like being lazy. Weather-wise, whenever it's not too hot or too rainy. In Taiwan, that would be autumn. It's the best time to visit!

6. What is your favorite time of day?

Late afternoon, for the pretty golden glow, and nighttime, because that's when I get to do my own things. Mornings are the WORST. Do not try to make conversation with me at breakfast unless you like monosyllabic answers served with a side of scowl.

7. Which are better, Legos or Lincoln Logs? 

I never played much with either when I was a kid. Legos, maybe? I feel like they're more versatile. And also they have more books on the NYT Bestseller List. (WHICH IS TOTALLY LAME, btw.)

8. Do you always smile for pictures? 

Ha. I'm one of those people the photographer is always telling to smile more. To which I usually want to say, "But I'm already smiling!" I guess I prefer smirks and small smiles to big, toothy grins, and have a tendency to err on the side of not being smiley enough. People have told me I look mad when I thought I was being perfectly neutral. (Poll: Do I look mad in that photo of me in the sidebar? I think I look relatively neutral. But I'm pretty sure I thought I was smiling, at least a little bit, when that photo was taken. See how much effort it takes me to even get to neutral? Sigh.)


I was tagged by Lura, whose non-traditional epic fantasy sounds fascinating! Thanks for thinking of me, Lura. :)

What is the working title of your book?

Ahh... I don't really have one yet. For Camp Nanowrio I just went with "PURE AWESOMENESS" because I'm optimistic like that. :P I really suck at naming things.

Where did the idea come from for this book?

I still remember reading Deep Wizardry by Diane Duane and becoming fascinated with the idea of a magical reenactment of past events. I think I've seen that in other books as well, but that was the book that really made an impression on me. I love the idea of people having to take on the roles of great legendary figures of the past, and going through a ritual reenactment of an important major event, and having it actually do something magical rather than just for symbolism. So that's how the premise came to be.

How long did it take to write the first draft?

*cries* It's not done yet! I have random beginnings and free-writes but no draft of even a full outline yet. I do mull over my idea a lot and I do have some of the characters and pieces of the plot figured out, but my progress is sooooo slow. I'm someone who needs to have everything planned out before I write, and plotting is SO HARD, so I'm still very much in the brainstorming/plotting/outlining phase. Where I've been for a really long time. But I really don't want to plot AND write at the same time — I'm determined to come up with a good outline, with most of the holes filled in, before I officially begin drafting.

What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?

Meh, I'm not really fond of this whole choosing-actors-for-book-characters activity. I don't care much about matching book characters to photographs of real people. Plus I don't watch a ton of movies, so the only actors I can think of are the major stars, and none of them really fit for my story. Since my characters' looks would be similar to that of East Asians in our world, ideally they'd be cast with Asian American actors. (Which I think would be preferable to stars brought over from Asia, but even that would be better than — universe forbid — WHITE ACTORS *shudder*). Ooh, maybe Sophia can be in it, since she totally qualifies as an Asian American actress. :D

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Gah, I suck at this one-sentence thing! It sounds so dumb when I try to condense the story. Didn't realize how impossible it is until I had to do it myself. And I don't even have definitive names for people yet (yes I suck at names)! This will probably be revised later, but here's my (terrible, horrible, no good, very bad) shot at it for now:

Confident and talented [protagonist] fully expects to be her goddess's representative for the Empire's most important ritual reenactment; but when an inexperienced newcomer is chosen instead, she takes it upon herself to make sure the girl's incompetence — and the rebel group determined to see a different outcome for the ritual — won't put the entire Empire at risk.

Will it be self published or represented by an agency?

Eh, dunno. Possibly neither. I'll worry about it after I've actually written the thing; I feel like it's too early for me to be thinking about this stuff already. I'm mainly interested in writing this story as a fun thing for myself. If it turns out to be decent then I'll think about monetizing it. Haha.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

If you follow me on Goodreads or have discussed books with me, there is a good chance you've noticed that I have an inordinate amount of pet peeves (and Alz says they're even peevier than hers, so you know how bad they are!). Given how particular I am, it can be hard for me to find books that don't push my RAGE buttons while hitting all the right notes, like making me laugh or having characters I love or a brilliant plot (and all of that is very subjective and personal). So I guess I wanted to write a book for myself — one that includes my favorite tropes and stomps on the ones I hate. You know, like making a custom pasta dish yourself instead of going to a fancy Italian restaurant and picking one of the ones they have. Sure, the execution might not be as good (I'm a terrible cook), and some people will probably think my custom pasta is gross, but at least I will like it because it will have all of my favorite ingredients and NO MUSHROOMS!!!

Ahem. Mushroom hate aside, here's an old blog post about why I want to write that goes a little deeper.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Other than the YA Asian fantasies already out there, I'd want to compare it to Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst. Vessel also features a PoC heroine in a non-traditional epic fantasy setting who is involved in magical rituals that are important to her people, and decides on her own to take up a quest to fix an unexpected complication that pops up after years of training and dedication. At least that's my impression from reviews I've seen, since I haven't read it yet, so... yeah. But I got the ebook so I'll be reading it soon, and I'll let you know how it goes! (Also crossing my fingers that it doesn't have TOO many similarities with my story.)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Hm. I guess you could say that it's the story of someone who'd usually be the "bitchy mean girl." I mean, there's a special snowflake in this story — she's suddenly swept into a new life, surprises everyone with an incredibly rare and powerful ability; she's expected to do great things; she doesn't think she's beautiful, but catches the eye of the Most Desirable Male on the first day (along with many of the slightly-less-desirable ones); she doesn't fit in with the popular girls, and her quirky sidekick — er, loyal friend — assures her that they're just jealous. But though she'd usually be the protagonist, she's not for this story.

One of the popular girls is the actual protagonist. She cares about looks, can be kind of conceited, and isn't particularly warm toward strangers. But she's also fiercely ambitious and practices her spells in the early hours because she's determined to be the best. She also has a close group of girlfriends (the other "popular girls") with whom she enjoys jokes and banter and gossip — particularly about Most Desirable Male, who she's been crushing on for longer than she'd like to admit. ;)

It might not work out, I know, but I thought it'd be kinda fun to try anyway. :P

That's it, and I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to these questions! Now I'm so curious about what everyone is working on. If this is something you'd be interested in doing, PLEASE steal these questions from me and do your own post about your WIP. I'd LOVE to hear about your inspirations and ideas! :)


  1. Your one sentence synopsis doesn't sound stupid at all. I love stories about protagonists that aren't your usual protagonists; I think they're much more interesting. And smashing tropes is a lot of fun! Tropes have a lot of power, mostly because they become the default, so being able to take control of one and break it apart is really satisfying.

    I hope the story does work out! It sounds interesting. :)

  2. Aww, thanks, Lura! :) I hope it works out, too!

  3. Linda! I still love the sound of your story and hope that you will write it soon-ish so I can read it. :)

    I also have to say, YES about the sheets! I don't use a top sheet either and Alz has totally been giving me crap for that. I'm like, omg, but it's so POINTLESS and annoying and I like my blankets just fine! Haha.

  4. Your story sounds so fun! I love that it goes against conventions, and written by you, I'm sure it'll be brilliant. Please write it soon! (Because I'd love to read it. :))

    And your writing philosophy is mine exactly: To write the book I'd love to read, stocking it full of tropes I love, even if some of them might be cliches.

  5. Thanks Krispy! As you can see I decided to try out the conceited protag anyway. :P We'll see if it works!

    Whaaaaaa why is Alz giving you crap for it? What's the point of the top sheet? Is it to keep the blanket cleaner or something? *confused about the point of its existence*

  6. Hehe thanks Emy! I hope I'd get it drafted soon, too. I don't think it'd be anywhere near as brilliant as I'd like it to be, but I guess that would only be to expected. And I'm looking forward to Chronos as well! :D

  7. Also, hope you and Alz will consider doing the Next Big Thing meme! I'd love to hear more about your stories! (Or you can email me if you don't want to blog about it. haha.)

  8. I really liked the one sentence synopsis!

    I hope you're having a lovely holiday.

  9. Alz, wth????? Who in the world uses a top sheet???? What is the purpose???? Haha Linda I didn't even know you'd completed this - love your answers! I am simultaneously in fear and love with you.