What if….?

All throughout any writer’s life there are “what if” moments. I’m not talking about the usual “what if” moments where you ask yourself, “what if I didn’t say yes to going out with Henry?” or even “what if I didn’t join the Glee club?” No, a writer’s “what if” moments are those moments that they think of a story idea. Like, “what if Peter Pan was really a ghost andFor i he haunts dreams?” Those are the “what if” moments I am talking about.

These moments is what makes writing fun.  For instance, when you get to the middle of a story and you’re stumped at what to write next. If you ask yourself, “what if..” maybe you will get somewhere.

I’m not talking about switching points of view. Cause really, those authors who write books using different perspectives, such as that book “Grey” and that book that Stephanie Meyer almost wrote, “Midnight Sun,” are all just money loving amateurs. If you are forced to write from an entirely new perspective, it probably means you just want more income.  Plenty of people will disagree with me, but it’s what I believe.

Switching points of view is a cheap way to go about writing. If your piece doesn’t have what it takes to really peak a reader’s interest, changing the point of view won’t do it any good. Go back to those “what if” moments.

I will give you an example from my short story. Halfway through writing my piece, I had no clue what I wanted to do for the conflict and ending resolution. An amateur writer probably would have said to change the perspective and the story will come to you. However, I did not think about that. I mean, I did actually analyze the other characters and what they would be thinking in their heads, but I didn’t consider changing the perspective. What I did was ask, “what if we had the main character cry?” It’s such a simple thing, but what would make my character actually shed a tear? I wanted my character to be sort of tough on the outside, so that it would be very significant if she was to cry. As soon as I started thinking that, I knew that there had to be something really drastic to have her cry. That is why I feel like I have to go back and try to make the relationship between Hazel and Aaron more substantial. Also, I need to change the girl’s name since I only used it as a placeholder.

Again, I am not a professional writer. I do not make any money off my writing and so all of what I am saying is just advice. Thanks for reading and I hope you will continue to follow my blog.

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Keep me in the pocket of your ripped jeans

With 21 more days until I leave for Wales, I wanted to keep everyone in the loop with what is happening with that move. Also I wanted to take some time to go on about my hopes and my fears about moving to another country.

Starting with the fears, since that is what is literally on my mind all of the time. I think part of me is slacking in the getting ready department because I’m so terrified. I mean, I keep asking myself, WHAT SHOULD I BRING???!!! I mean, will I even bring enough to last me a full year? I know that I could always get my mom to send them to me, but think about it. Shipping it costs money and there’s also the tedious task of having to explain what I want shipped and yadda yadda yadda.

I didn’t buy a return ticket home because I don’t have that much money to spare. And who knows when I’m able to come back during the year. Also, I have no clue what my plans are for after the year. I guess my fear is that even though it is only a year, what if I don’t come back? Not in the death kind of way, but just that I choose to stay there. I have so many little trinkets that make up my room. I would hate to leave that for my mom to take care of during the year. Also, those books I have are a huge part of my life. They say I should go digital but no thank you. I cannot concentrate while reading anything on an electronic device.

Another fear I have is that I’ll be the only one with an American accent over there. I don’t want to be the weird American girl. I know this is just crazy nonsense to be worried about and it probably shouldn’t be on my top list of fears, but it’s scary for me. At least when I went to Macau I was surrounded by a bunch of people very similar to me. This time I’ll be alone to wander those amazing Welsh, British, Scottish and maybe some Australian accents.

There are other fears, but they aren’t that prevalent in my nightmares. These fears will all come to be little things compared to the amazing adventure I’m about to embark on. I have a few friends who are traveling the world and I get so envious that they are doing it right now. I would kill to be in London, Paris, or Scotland right now. It’s all about the waiting game now.

My big hope for this trip is to discover myself outside of my comfort zone. I’ll be thousands of miles away from my family and friends. I will have to develop INDEPENDENT THOUGHT!!! AHHH! I feel like most of my life has been in subtle fear of being judged by friends and family members. Being so far away will give me the chance to really find out who I am. One thing I would like to kick is this little voice in my head that worries about what other people think.

As for progress in this process (hey that rhymed!!!) I have been approved for my visa. I just paid for the return shipping so they should be sending it to me in the next two days. I have just started putting things I want to bring in a box. I will then sort it into what can go into the suitcases after I put in all my clothes. Hopefully that works out. I have to do more research on phone coverage, but it looks like if anyone wanted to contact me they would have to do it through the internet. I’m sure when I get there it will be a bit easier to get a hold of a cheap phone.

I put in my two week’s notice at work. I’m kind of sad that it’s finally over. I’ve worked at my job for three years. I’ve seen plenty of people come and go and have made interesting friendships because of my job. Just… wow.

So I wanted to end on a creative piece I’ve been thinking about in my head. These are from little moments in my life.

***

That time that guy said he could see Lara Croft’s boobs in Tomb Raider so he could impress you. Or that time someone jumped from the slide and got send to the hospital. Or when a kid got his forehead bashed in playing kickball. His teeth were inside his head. Or even that time a wild dog strolled into the elementary school campus. These moments play an interesting part of my young life. Moments that sit in my head like honey. I sit and watch the world go by; all while walking down from the store. The ocean dances into view as I take the hill down to my house. Moments of pure innocence, the only kind I ever want to think about. Watch me drift into the void of space and reality, while still holding my head high. I’m searching for this object of infinity that I won’t find at the store.

***

It’s kind of poetic, I think. I kind of wanted to give the feel of trying to find infinity and getting lost in the past. I think we are all trying to find that piece of infinity. This adventure will be my route to finding it. I think the best feel for what I am going for is this:

We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
Times forever frozen still

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket
Of your ripped jeans
Holdin’ me closer
‘Til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone
Wait for me to come home

***

It’s from “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran. Definitely go give it a listen if you’re interested. I hope you liked reading this as much as I liked writing it. Will definitely add more stuff later on to this blog. I’m so thankful for my 79 followers and everyone who supports me.

Writing distortion and characterization

Update: The read a thon won’t be happening since I did not get enough volunteers.

When I first sat down to write a blog post, I had no clue what I wanted to write about. I want this blog to reflect how I think as a writer and the many different aspects of my life.There are a few points I would like to make about writing in general. First of all, it is a laborious task that does not come naturally to ANY ONE! If ever you hear that it comes naturally to someone, chances are that they are lying. I embarked on this journey of writing to hone the skill I’m so passionate about and to also see the world in a different perspective.

Writing may seem intimidating at times, but it’s all worth it.

I wanted to speak on the topic of reality distortion in fiction. We all know the effects of photoshop. Like with Photoshop, writing can paint an unrealistic view of the world. And sometimes that is alright. But other times, it takes away from the enjoyment of the subject. Take most of the book to movie adaptations we have seen in the past three years. The actors playing the characters are not real! No one is ever that perfect and honestly? I don’t like it. The distortion between reality and books can harm many people. You come to expect certain things and then you are majorly let down by the reality you see around you.

Fiction can bring us closer to our humanity by seeing the good in the world. I mean how many times have you cursed out Voldemort for being such a bad guy? Fiction gives us that sense of humanity and morality. I am in no way saying that this is harmful, but I’m just pointing out that there is a distortion between reality and the world of young adult novels. The best portrayal of this is “Paper Towns.” I have already stated that I hated the book and movie. But the movie totally distorted my view on the book. I mean Cara Delevigne (is that how you spell her last name?) is a fiery force to be reckoned with and she is your idea of a “popular girl” if I ever did see one. She hangs out with Taylor Swift for crying out loud. I’m not entirely sure what my point is, but all I know is that people in books, films, songs and other forms of entertainment are distorting our perception of how human beings look like.

Now that I have got that out of the way, I would like to talk about characterization. I love characters. It’s fascinating how a character can go from two dimensional to 3-D and abstract by the end of the novel. I think the best books have always had very complex characters. Even “Game of Thrones” has some intense characters. By the way, I have about 200 more pages till I finish the fifth book! It’s picking up, like I knew it would towards the end. One of the best ways to come up with characters, at least for me, is to imagine that they are going to be the next companion on Doctor Who. Since I’m loving Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, I set them up with him and see what happens then. Sometimes writing fan fiction can actually help save you from writer’s block. I’ll write an exercise now.

There isn’t much to say about me. I observe the unobservant and wander through life. Always getting by, that is me. I’m Emily Durham and I live in Cardiff, Wales. One day when I’m laying down in an alley, I hear a weird noise.

***

Honestly, that didn’t go so well. I want her to be kind of a mystery, but also a badass like Amy or Rose. I don’t want her to be like Clara. Anyways, I will go now. Only 27 more days to go!

I’m going to be studying at Cardiff University 2015-2016!

So I have yet to hear back from anyone who may be interested in the August read a thon. If you are interested, please comment here.

Anyways, I wanted to write a blog about my life. And what is happening right now. What made me really think about this was when I saw people who I haven’t seen in months. They had no clue that I was leaving the country for a year. I think it bothers me that people don’t see my posts, especially when it’s life changing stuff. I always blame Facebook and to be quite honest, myself. I have so many insecurities that sometimes I’m under the delusion that I’m not a fun and amazing person to be around. I mean sure, I have my rough patches, but there’s nothing that really makes me unlikable. Sometimes I think that people are intentionally not seeing my posts because they’re too scared to unfriend me. Or they pity me… or something. But I’m blaming everything on Facebook being stupid. Cause you know when you see a friend on Facebook like a bunch of posts of a mutual friend, but never any of your posts? It doesn’t feel that great. But hey, it’s Facebook weeding out people they think aren’t important to you. It’s all about variables. Math and statistics is all well and good, but you always have to account for variables.

So maybe I went on a little rant there. Great. I sound like a dork even on the internet! XD.

On with this post! I have been busy lately trying to get my trip to Wales settled. And when I say busy, I mean spending time watching movies and reading books. But there is only so much you can do while waiting for certain aspects of the process to come through.

I have applied for my visa. I have an appointment on Monday to get my picture and fingerprint done. If that all goes well, then it’s a done deal. Well, except I still have to hear back from the registrar about tuition. They said they would email me three weeks before school starts about signing up for classes, financial aid, and when to pay tuition. I applied as an individual for FAFSA so I should hopefully qualify for work study. That would help so many things.

I did a virtual tour of where I will be staying. It looks pretty nice. It is one of the nicest places to stay in student housing apparently. I got my own bathroom, so no waiting in line for the bathroom. My place is a ten to fifteen minute walk to campus, which should not be a problem.

When I get nervous sometimes I go on Facebook to check out the event beforehand. I was looking at all these international organizations on campus and there are plenty of trips to places such as Dublin or Glasgow. I’m so excited! The mascot for my school is a dragon.

Oh and I should mention I’m going to Cardiff University in Wales. If any of you guys have any questions so far about my trip to Wales, feel free to ask.

August Read-a-thon with Jillian!

Hey there fellow readers!

I’ve come up with a fun and exciting thing to do. I want to host a READ-A-THON!!! That means that we will be reading a book together. So here are the basic requirements. 1. Get the book. 2. I know there are some slow readers out there. But, this will encourage you to read more faster and to experience reading with others. So the second requirement is that you try your hardest. 3. Lastly, just have fun! Books are amazing!

This month we will be reading “Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King. Yeah, his books are pretty long, but this one seems okay. The only two books I’ve read by this author were a breeze to read. So this one should be a page turner. I have already started reading it and let me say… I know it will be a page turner.

I’ve never done a virtual read a thon before. So lets say we aim for fifty pages per week. Since this is the first week it will be starting, read up till page 50. Then check back here for discussion. You may discuss the topic of the book and your thoughts as you go along in between each week. So all comments for the first fifty pages go on this blog post. Then so forth as we go through the book. If you would kindly comment here on if you will be participating, that will be great.

  • Jillian

My Macau Speech 2015

This weekend I attended the UMA (Uniao Macanese Association) evening dinner. I got to write a speech about my Macau trip. I didn’t do that bad. A lot of people liked what I had to say. Here is what I wrote.

BOH-ah NOY-teh, my name is Jillian Rogers. I am 23 years old and will be attending the University of Cardiff in the fall to obtain my masters in Creative Writing. I recently attended the Youth Encontro de Macau. The experience was one I will never forget. I would like to personally thank UMA for the opportunity to learn about the amazing culture my ancestors came from. The experience to visit not only Macau but China as well was very eye opening. Up until this year, I didn’t have that big of an idea of what it meant to be Macanese. Because of this trip, I was able to connect with my Macanese roots and learn about the rich cultural heritage that is Macau.

When people think of Macau, it is normally centered on this idea of gambling. Macau is in fact the gambling capitol of the world. It is even getting its own Eiffel Tower (like the one in Vegas!) But it is so much more than that.

I am not big on gambling. When I heard about this opportunity, I only thought about the historical buildings I might see and hopefully some of what Macau was like back when my mother was there.

This was my first time outside of the US. I had no clue what to expect. Coming from foggy Bay Area, I rarely got to experience humidity. When we got off the plane, we had to take a bus to the Ferry Building in Hong Kong. It was such a shock to get outside, after being in an air conditioned plane for thirteen hours, and to experience the intense humidity. Ninety degrees over here is nothing compared to how it felt at 80 degrees over there.  After a long day of traveling, we all wanted to go to bed. I unfortunately had to get up earlier than the others in my group because I was the chosen leader of our chapter. I got to meet the consulate of Macau and listen to his very kind words about keeping the heritage alive. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to witness this.

I was very impressed with the transportation. When we went to Macau, we had to take the Turbo Jet, which was this pretty big ship. All the transportation was very cheap and easy to navigate. I’ve always been interested in travel and I was so happy to get to experience this aspect of travel. When I was in Hong Kong after the trip Encontro, it only cost $40 to cross three bridges, each bigger than the bay bridge. I’m sure if I took a taxi the same distance here it would cost $200. Also in Hong Kong is the longest suspension bridge in the world. That is so cool!

There were several amazing places that I got to see. From the A Ma Temple to the Ruins of St. Paul, there were plenty of awe inspiring sights. There was one place we went to called the Mandarin House, which had 65 rooms in it and was how a house looked like when Macau was first getting started. The house had Chinese and Western influence. Definitely a place I would have loved to stay in… if it had TV and internet. There was also the dragon boat races. Our own Bay Area dragon boat team was in attendance at the races! Man, did I really enjoy dragon boat racing! Galaxy NUMBA ONE! It was too bad it rained on our chance to actually dragon boat ourselves. There was a Typhoon warning that changed most of our plans. We did get to visit a temple that looked like it was from that movie “Skyfall.” And we visited a Macanese house. I even got to experience a very interesting way of making coffee. So the rain didn’t totally “rain on our parade.”

Our trip consisted of plenty of activities, museum viewing, and oh yeah. The food! It was amazing! We had all kinds of Portuguese dishes, Chinese dishes, and Macanese dishes. I didn’t know how much I love Egg custards until this trip! I even got a free copy of a Macanese cookbook, which I intend to make use of right away with some Minchie. The dinners were very organized and it seemed like all they wanted to do was fatten us up. One dish that I did not like at all was the Snails. Snails over there are ten times bigger than the ones over here. I have an irrational fear of snails and I had to sit next to a guy who was eating a whole plate of them at the closing ceremony. His name was Julian and every time someone said my name or his name, we would both look up. It was kind of hilarious.

There were plenty of activities that we did over the trip. We did an Amazing Race game, go to a soccer match, and also folk dancing! I’ve been in a quite a number of musical plays and know how to follow steps. This dance was crazy intricate. I always forgot a step or miscounted. It was so fun though! The Amazing Race game was something I will never forget. Halfway through the game, my teammates left me and I had to walk by myself to the next checkpoint. Even walking through the streets of San Francisco alone makes me scared, but somehow I felt okay. There were plenty of signs and friendly people who were willing to help point the way.

The trip was very educational and fun. I learned that the Chinese government has a plan to help connect the countries more efficiently by creating bridges that run from Macau to China, helping to reduce the amount of traffic in the area. They are also trying to make China more Eco-friendly. They are already starting up their work on new buildings that are environmentally friendlier to the Earth. Their hope is to create a better China by at least 2017.

I went to Macau to get closer to my roots and to connect with where my grandmother was from. Recently, my grandmother, Maria Conceição, passed away. My grandma was an amazing person and she is truly missed by me and my family. While in Macau, I felt like I was at home. The people were very welcoming and I had this feeling that I was meant to be there. The second to last night, I found what I was looking for. I went on a walk to the Ruins of St. Paul at midnight. I forgot my phone and all I had on me was my wallet. Halfway through the walk, I felt like I was being watched. When I did finally reach the ruins, I could see a bright light illuminating the ruins. Maybe it was just the light behind the structure, but I knew as I walked up to it, that it was my grandma looking over me the whole time.

One of my favorite souvenirs from Macau was this picture frame. I had this picture from when I graduated from high school. I hold it very near to my heart. It’s of me and my grandma. Every morning I wake up and see this and remember her. It always reminds me of how proud she was of me. It gives me courage. On the trip I even brought along a letter she gave me when I graduated college last year. It reads: “To my dearest granddaughter Jillian. Hoping, wishing you a very bright future. Love you very much as always, Nana and Balbino Cruz.”

This trip inspired me to be more involved with my Macanese heritage. It is a beautiful thing to be Macanese. We must not let our heritage die out. By supporting Macanese youth to go explore our heritage, we are continuing our traditions and hopefully our children’s children will be as involved with our Macanese heritage as I hope to be in the future.

As the leader of our group, I got to go on stage during the opening and closing ceremonies for pictures. We even got our pictures on the front page of the Macau newspaper. I am so glad that I got to be the leader of our group. I wasn’t sure at first, but in the end it turned out that it was a fun experience being the chosen leader.

Everyone was really nice on the trip and we all got along nicely. There were people from Canada, Australia, Rio De Janerro and Portugal. The people from Rio gave these amazing gifts to each of the leaders. I got a little bottle of Portuguese Tequila, a pen, chocolate, and some coffee beans. Each casa had their own leaders. We had three leaders in the USA alone. It was great to hear from all of these different groups about what their casas were doing.

I would like to also say how great it was to go with Emily and Stephanie, the other youths who went on the Encontro. They were very nice to be around and were very helpful whenever I needed advice. They were also very helpful when I cut my trip short. I was supposed to spend four extra days in Hong Kong, but plans got changed. Emily and Stephanie missed their flight home and stayed overnight in Hong Kong. They graciously let me stay with them so I would have company before I left for home. I’m so glad that they were to help me out. I could not have asked for a better group to lead.

I am so happy and thankful that I got to have this experience. I learned a lot about not only my heritage, but also about what I want to keep doing in my life. I want to travel more and see the world and what it has to offer. I will definitely go visit Macau again and hopefully bring my mom and sisters with me. If I could travel back in time and relive it again, I would. Thanks for listening to my amazing experience and I hope you all have a wonderful evening.