New Year, New Adventures

Hello, everyone!

After taking a brief break from the world, I am ready to get going, go do it (whatever ‘it’ may be), and rock out.

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It’s been a year of a lot of ups and downs, but on the whole I think it’s been a net positive, there were a lot of great things that happened to to me, so despite the not-so-great things, I’m looking forward to the future.

Some of the Good Stuff:

  • I finally published my serialized novel inter_linked the Series which has been an amazing and wild ride. I finished the entire manuscript basically within the year and got it up and running about two months ago and I am super excited to be able to share the world of Anny, WISR, and the zany robots they meet with you.
    Big huge special thanks to the spectacular people who have supported me along this madcap journey, especially including: M.T, M.V., W.H., J.K., the lovely and talented R.C., The Artist Currently Known as Plaid, an Other of Significance Who Would Appreciate Not Being Named, and Mom. Dad too!
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I don’t know what this thing is, but man is it adorable!
  • I started a new job working on trains, which has been weird and exciting both! In the past eight months, I’ve learned how to say words like ballast and consist and track alignment like I’m a Person Who Knows Things. Heck, I almost do Know Things! Rad!
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I LIKE TRAINS!
  • I have an Other of Some Significance! They would rather I not go into detail publicly, but we’re celebrating our first anniversary this January and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their love and support. Here’s to another year, love!
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  • I started taking better care of my mental health. This has been an absolutely crazy journey of self-discovery and I learned so much about myself this year alone. I took some huge tests, tried a bunch of colorful pills (some of them were even prescribed! okay, all of them were, don’t @ me) and I’m learning how to better take care of myself and my brain. It’s been really eye-opening and I’m looking forward to putting all this new knowledge to good use in the coming year.
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Some of the Lame Stuff:

  • Unfortunately, my wonderful (if a little stressful) job in the rail industry came to an end which made me very sad. I am less than happy to leave behind the fantastic people I worked with and the project I adored but hey. That’s the life of contract work.
    If you know anyone in the NYC area looking for a writer, illustrator, photoshop expert, or just cheery and friendly (and highly skilled!) administrative assistant, you know where to find me!
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  • I sort of hibernated this year, turning from a social butterfly back into a flobberworm in my downy duvet nest of Not Being Around People. Which is okay, it means I finished a manuscript in a year and bounced around online writing communities a bunch, which ruled. But I’m starting to miss the outside world again. I hear the new “green” edition is coming out soon!
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2020 Vision

(because I’m the first person ever to make this joke ever aren’t I so clever)

  • inter_linked the Series will return Monday, January 6th! Stay tuned for more sarcasm, more friendship, and best of all MORE ROBOTS!
    Don’t forget that my lovely and wonderful patrons (like W.H. and M.T. whose monetary support has purchased several beers!) get lots of free goodies like exclusive content and reading chapters a day early!
    Feel free to join your fellow fans on our Discord as well!
  • I’ve started a bullet journal! Don’t tell my parents who bought me a bunch of paper already for Decemberween, but I definitely got myself a dotted journal and $50 worth of washi tapes and stickers and I’m trying to get a setup I like going.
    It’s been very overwhelming and I see a lot of ideas I want to try and do (and I might do a flip-through video in a bit to show you my progress!) and it makes my ADHD-addled brain squish in hyperactive bounciness so I spell ‘February’ wrong a lot, but hey. All a part of the journey!
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  • I’m writing a musical! The title hasn’t come to me yet, but it’s about Nick Drake, a musician from the 70s who died very young and under mysterious circumstances. No clue when it’ll be finished because I’ve never written anything like this before (not seriously anyway) but my goal is to have it shown somewhere publicly by 2021, the 50th anniversary of Nick’s final album, “Pink Moon”.
    I highly recommend his music for rainy days, chilly days, and days where you just want to curl up and feel a little sad.

    Other Projects That Might Be In the Works Maybe:
  • An indie movie about a family who can only express their feelings through music.
  • This idea I had of teaching an AI my writing style by feeding it everything I’ve ever written ever (we’re talking 7th grade awkward fanfiction here) and then getting it to do a full novel manuscript and submitting it around to actual publishers and see if it can get published and then I’ll go on This American Life and be famous for five minutes.

And thank YOU so much, dear reader, for A. Making it this far and B. Sticking with me this year.

May the next one be even better and brighter!

“Read It And Weep” Re-Read

Read it and Weep is peak DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie, for those who never experienced this magic). It has the best of somewhere-in-Canada-or-California-Suburbia sets, not-bad-but-not-great acting, and a ridiculous concept that could only be dreamt up by a mouse-brained maniac.

In this film, a high-school aged girl, Jamie, “accidentally” publishes her personal diaries (thanks to some dubious direction from Mom) which becomes a mega blockbuster bestseller.

While I’d love to delve into the intricacies of the Hallmark movie level filmmaking, fabulously iffy writing, or… whatever it is she’s wearing here:

(SCREAMS IN 2006)

What I will be reviewing today is the accuracy of how they portray the world writing and publishing.

While I may be only a self-published author (read inter_linked The Series – it’s free!) I’ve done a lot of research on publishing and done a little querying on my own, not to mention reading just about every entry in Query Shark and very briefly interning at an agency. So I’m almost an expert.

Here we go:

For Reals

Sometimes Your Characters Will Talk to You and No, They Don’t Shut Up

One of the main elements of Read It and Weep is that Jamie and her wish-fulfillment character Isabella, or “Is”, are played by sisters Kay and Danielle Panabaker and they snip and sass and argue with each other constantly.

This is basically what a day in the life of a writer is. Getting into real actual out loud fights with these imaginary people until they tell you what they want to say.

Being An Author Is Just a Ton Of Work

Jamie is seen doing book signing after endless book signings, TV appearances, and just a load of parties rife with schmoozing and being friendly to annoying executives.

Being an author these days is a LOT of work. Most authors – even those with “Big Five” publishing houses! – have to do their own promotional work, schedule their own signings, and then are sent on lengthy book tours. Sorry, Jamie. This is just how it goes.

Backlash Is Inevitable

When everyone finds out what Jamie wrote, they are instantly mad at her, harassing her in school, vandalizing her author events, and making her life generally just kind of miserable.

While I can’t personally say that I’ve gotten any backlash for my books – aside from a few choice comments on my opinion on video games – but that’s really common, especially when writing directly about people you know.

Life protip: Do NOT do this. Do not write about your teachers or your parents or your friends or even places in your hometown. There will always be someone who be upset, and it’s generally pretty uncool. Even if you’re saying nice things, being put up on a pedestal isn’t exactly somewhere you want to be.
You can probably sneak in your dog, though. Dogs have no shame when it comes to flattery and can’t write angry tweets with their lack of opposable thumbs.

This is the face of 7/10 reviews and double-quadruple starred reviews

As You Wish

“Is Saves the World” (the in-universe, megabestseller novel) is wish fulfillment. Any time Is comes across something daunting, dangerous, or something she just doesn’t like, she ZAPs away the problem and all is perfect and fine.

While this may seem unrealistic and short on anything resembling a plot, think about Twilight. Ender’s Game. Ready Player One. Or just about any book you can think of. They’re power fantasies, stories of ordinary people who rose above to become extraordinary. And these stories sell.

Even give the movie itself a think, what is it actually about? A teenage girl getting something every teenage girl dreams about: attention, power, stardom, to be heard. The movie in itself is a power fantasy, and I definitely had high hopes for becoming a blockbuster writer at 14 after this film!

For Shame

Secret Agents

Photo by Mohammad Danish on Pexels.com

The plot kicks off when a mysterious “they” finds out about Jamie’s contest-winning essay (which turned out to be several hundred pages of her illustrated diaries that somehow also got printed in the school newspaper which I guess kids care about now). The publishing company only gets mentioned once offhandedly and Jamie has a “handler” for her PR events and photoshoots.

In real life, 90% of books are discovered by “querying”, or writing a very specific letter to an agent. If that agent likes your letter, they will request a “partial”, or a part of your manuscript to read, or a “full request” which is the entire thing, and that’s pretty rare.

After that, your book gets shopped around to editors, publishers, and sometimes even other agents in the same house if they have a relationship with a publisher who might be interested.

Honestly, I think that would make a much more interesting story – at least to me. The story of how Jamie’s very personal words get twisted around to be this monster of a “bestseller”, how something “zappy” that caught the hearts and minds of a small town becomes the bland, vanilla, formulaic blah that will end up on the 50% off table at Barnes and Noble within a month.

But maybe I was the only tween who enjoyed rants about the finer points of the Oxford Comma.

Name in the Game

Let’s not forget the fact that Jamie is a minor. She’s 15 or 16 at most. Young enough that she couldn’t sign her own contracts (which is horrifying when you think about it, her parents pretty much signed her up for this harassment and mistreatment by her peers, way to go.)

So the fact that she doesn’t write under a pseudonym or even her initials – which many female authors do to begin with – is baffling.

Sure, the folks of her hometown know exactly who she is and what she’s written, that’s inevitable. But consider that we know for a fact that this is the mid-early days of the internet. Someone could easily Google her name and come up with her phone number and home address.

Sure, it might have taken some convincing to get herself to pick something that’s not Selene Lunesta Maximillion McAllisterCrowley, but it would be worth it. Not using a nom de plume, especially that young, is just asking for trouble.

It Also Has No Plot, Just Saying

Is comes across a big bad monster who is also the big bad cheerleader of her school. Is ZAPs the monster away. Is wins. Is gets the boy. Yay.

If you’ve paid even the smallest modicum of attention to this film, you’ll notice that this is basically the “plot” of the entire book, the Not Oprah interviewing Jamie even says so. (Her meltdown on that show would land her on “Top 10 Celebrity Freakouts” lists for at least a decade to come).

Were this the real world, a developmental editor would have sat her down and showed her a three-act structure chart from ‘go’, if her manuscript even got a partial request to begin with. There’s no way this kind of thing would fly, even in a Middle Grade novel.

Final Thoughts

Read It And Weep is not a bad movie, just wildly inaccurate. Authors do not end up on TRL, have to put in a lot more work, and “Is Saves The World” probably wouldn’t get very far on its own merits.

But I love this movie. It’s the most mid-00s film ever made (she has a tablet PC with a touch screen, but not her own blog for crispysakes!)

This may look cool and modern, but that computer ways 20lbs, minimum

But it has a special place in my nostalgic little heart.

Have you seen this film or watched it after this breakdown?
What did you think?
Leave me a comment below!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:
www.interlinkedtheseries.com

All photos copyright Disney unless otherwise stated, used for review purposes only. Please don’t sue, I don’t have any money because I’m a self-published author.