Finding Your Tribe

We all take breaks.

We all need breaks.

In the last few months I’ve been back and gone and back and gone and back and gone… Well you get the point.

Why so many breaks Kimchi?

I wish I could pinpoint it to one thing really. But when things happen they happen all at once. Then you don’t notice that you are falling until you’ve reach the bottom.

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From there you still have a choice. You can rise up or keep falling down.

Sometimes you can’t do it on your own.

Tribe

I’ve been open about my struggle with suicide and depression. It is a miracle that I am here today. Due to my dear friend answering my text, it was the life line I needed and I grabbed on with shaking hands and a still empty heart.

In these last few years I formed groups with other writers. We video chat on a weekly basis. We talk about our writing, help each other with writers block, and support each other when we need it.

These last few months I was riding high in January after finishing my third book and I really saw it as my best work yet, which made me so excited to see improvement.

Then I tried to start the next book.

It was slow going but I was getting there. Then I stopped.

Then I got sick.

Then I got into more debt due to health.

Three things kept me afloat these years. I had three goals I was working on and as long as one was going strong I felt like the depression was kept at bay.

Writing. Heath. Paying off debt.

Then in March all three went to shit.

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Then I started to stay in bed. Part of me almost realized what was happening. I would go to work (barely it look me forever to get out of bed in the morning). Then I would come home and stay in bed. No yoga, no writing. I guess in my defense I was very sick but you know even things that are out of your control just add more to the pile.

Last week my mind started a dangerous game.

It started to tell me to give up writing. It told me that there was no point since no one would read my books. My mind told me that I shouldn’t bother since I will never be as good as so and so. My mind told me to give up something that brought me so much joy in the last few years. It told me to quit.

Tribe

This time I had backup. I had writers gathered around me to support me. They were going through the same things as me. I wasn’t alone anymore. They asked me what they could do to help me. Honestly just seeing their faces every week helped me.

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I knew I couldn’t give up writing. My depression isn’t going to win this round. Even though I had to put aside this book to work on something different. I didn’t lose.

It is a battle. All the time. It is a battle we have to fight. I will say it a thousand times. If you feel like you ever need someone to talk to send me a message. I want you to know that you are not alone.

March ended like a lion for me. However, I’m back on track and I know that I have a tribe to back me up.

And all you wonderful anime nerds to hang out with. You are part of my tribe and I’m thankful to have something like this in my life. I can’t promise I won’t disappear again but I want you to know I’m fighting. Thank you for being you :).

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Things that make me Happy!

I was nominated by Lilisblissfulpages to list 50 things that make me happy

Check out her blog for read book insights and also the Read-A-Thon (Did you just rename it?) 24 hours of straight reading! I have yet to make it that long haha!

This is really a good time of year to be thinking of these things in our lives. We just pasted Thanksgiving in the states and we are coming up on Christmas. These last few years it has been good to focus on non-material things since I haven’t had the money to buy my family any gifts. I always tell them to not get me anything either. It really is nice just to be with them. I have brothers that I rarely get to see and most of the time they don’t come to Christmas so it tends to just be me and my parents.

So lets see how far I get down this list of 50!

  1. Dogs- and honestly animal in general. I love my four rescues and they are really like my children.

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    So freaking cute! The white fluff is my first adopted one when I lived in Korea 😀
  2. Writing- It is always fun to put down writing as something that makes me happy. Because if you write (hey bloggers) you know how frustrating writing can be. How you find that you used the word slowly 175 times in your manuscript. When you just can’t seem to put a comma in the write place. Also when you stare at a blank screen and those damn words just don’t seem to cooperate. Then in the end you struggled through those 500 words and you find that really fun moment where you realize you are doing something you love. Yes, happiness is a funny word to describe writing but in the end things in our life that make us happy are things we work for.
  3. My room- I get my own writing room. It really is nice to close the door and be able to have some focus
  4. Theatre- I used to act and I loved it. I still find so much magic in going to live theatre.
  5. Slow snow- Nothing is more peaceful than slow falling snow. It just kind of sparkles.
  6. Anime- Yeah this will always pop up. The stories, the characters, the abs… There really is something for everyone. I just wrote a post on why I love anime. I’m just always happy that I found it.
  7. Urban Fantasy- Gosh I love this genre. The sarcasm really is right up my alley. The action the bit of darkness. The struggle of the characters. It is something I will always enjoy reading.
  8. YA Fantasy- This is a genre that has grown so much and I wish I had this many amazing and diverse books to read when I was a teen. I love the fact that it is something that can be enjoyed for any age and there is something for everyone.
  9. The manga Mars- This was a manga that put me in a reading slump for over a month. The longest ever. Nothing I read could compare to it. I loved the tragic characters. The story. The relationship. It really hit me in a hard way and I want to reread it but I also don’t want to…
  10. Ella Enchanted- This is a ya book that I read every year. I love fractured fairy tales and I love Cinderella stories. Something about an underdog you know? This was one of the first books I read as a young girl that had this spunky female lead. I think before I was used to reading about “nice girls” I loved the character. I think it is safe to say that you will see a bit of Ella in a lot of my female characters. But with more swearing…
  11. Chocolate – This makes me a bit too happy and I think I enjoy it too much.
  12. Hak- Also I have a full post about my husbando.
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    But in case you forgot… ha

    13. Christmas trees- I don’t have one up in my house but honestly I can stare at a Christmas tree for hours. I don’t know what it is about the lights or the tree or the memories in the ornaments. It just makes me feel so happy!

14. The aniblogger community- It makes me so happy to take about anime on here. I don’t get to talk about it much in my life. I’m just so happy I have a safe place to write about anime and talk about it with others.

15. Is this the place where I have to list individual anime? hahaha Honestly 50 things isn’t much but it is a lot to write.

16. Warm socks – My feet are usually really hot but dang in the winter cozy socks are amazing!

17. Writing Conferences- I’m so lucky to go to places that really recharge me as a writer. A place where I met other writers and we check in with each other. I hope you have found a small group of other people that encourage you with what you love to do. If you don’t you can always send me a message and we can talk! I’m awkward but I love to hear about what you love!

18. The fact that I can’t make it to 50 since I rambled on too much but I know you all won’t judge me. Right?

Thank you you again to Lili for the nomination and I’m sorry it took me so long to get to doing this post.

So take some time in this holiday season to think about the things that make you happy!

Happy Watching!

When you need something more

My weekly insight on Run With the Wind is late this week. I’m sorry about that but honestly it gave me a bit of time to think about what I wanted to say.

This episode six focused on King and I think this episode really could speak to a lot of those who are in their college or after college life.

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We are often told that we can do or be whatever we want. Honestly I fall a bit into the dreamer side of the world. I also have a mean realistic streak. King is trying is hardest to interview and find a job after his time in the university. He wants to make money and he doesn’t seem to care what job he gets as long as he gets one.

This is honestly a fact of life. We want to have that security of a job.

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I have pushed aside my dreams for most of my life. Make money writing and selling books? Nah. I needed to find a job to support my “hobby” and that led to me not writing. I like to do things always on the extreme side. All or nothing baby!

Now that I’m at the point where I can find a happy medium between writing and teaching. I’ve noticed that my depression has faded. There are some days where writing still gets cut out but I’m working to make it a priority. Writing isn’t easy and it is funny that I can find happiness in something that can be so frustrating.

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Because seeing the reason that King decided to run really ran a bit true. He needed something else in his life. Running will help him handle the stress of the job and the job hunt. It is something to do that brings joy and a release of stress.

Now, I can argue the fact that running wasn’t really his own choice. However, it is a nice statement that we really need to have something in our lives that gives us happiness.

We can get wrapped up in our jobs and day to day stresses. Those thing never really go away. If you are in a job that is your dream hold onto that sucker until the day you die. I can hope that one day my my books will support me enough but until then I can enjoy the moments where I can set aside time to write. It is a frustrating wonderful thing, writing, but it really is fulfilling.

Now for your weekly prince update….

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Hang in there Prince!

Happy Watching!

Why I Still Love Anime

I’m honored that Ty-chama tagged me in her post. She is newer to the world of aniblogging and has wonderful  blog posts. So I encourage you all to check out her blog!

In this challenge we are to:

  • Write a post about why you love anime. It could be your favourite thing about it or one of your favourite things about it, it doesn’t matter which, but just pick one!
  • You can get as personal or as impersonal as you like. You might want to write about how anime helped you through a tough time or something that it has taught you or you might want to write about just how much fun you’ve had watching it over the years. Your choice
  • Nominate three bloggers to do the same
  • Link back to this post. I would love to see what you’ve written and I may compile a list of my favourite entries further down the line

Sometimes we can have a love hate thing with anime. I don’t know how many times I quit watching something when another kick ass female character became mush over a potato of a lead male. (Wow do I have some issues haha. I’ve been burned too many times before).

However, from amazing stories (Psycho Pass) to unique world building (Made in the Abyss) to freaking awesome characters (Yona of the Dawn) I have a deep love for anime.

But one thing over the last two years has really become my favorite thing about anime. It is like a secret instant friendship.

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When you meet someone who likes the same anime

Some may already have heard this story many times but I never wanted to tell people about my healthy *cough* obsession with anime. It was something that even among my friends was looked down on that I would watch child “cartoons”  or be a weeb (spoken with a sneer).

Then to make a long story short I honestly stopped letting other people steal my  joy. I subscribed to anime boxes and got awesome shirts. I hung posters of anime in my classroom. I proudly wore my AoT hoodie. Then I notices a shift. My pride in liking something drew in others.

It was like you could form an instant bond with anyone just by liking anime… And it was AWESOME!

 

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You like Yona? ME TOO!

I found students coming up to me recommending anime. I started a blog about anime and found more awesome people. I honestly feel like I can be the most open on this blog about my healthy *cough* obsession with 2D boys.

And I kid you not, just happened yesterday, during the last fifteen minutes of my creative writing class we just talked about anime. Anime is helping me build relationships with students. To me that is the most important thing a teacher can do!

Now I know that there always will be those who say that you can’t be a true anime fan for reason blah blah or blah blah… Honestly, I just have to laugh and wish them well. They are missing out of one of my favorite things about anime. The bond you can share with other anime lovers.

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Walk proud my fellow otakus!

Thank you again Ty-chama for the nomination and I hope you all take a moment to think about your favorite things in anime.

In the mean time I will tag (and no pressure especially coming from me the queen of forgetting to answer tags)

Raistlin

magicconan

The Otaku Judge

Happy watching!

 

A Debt Paid

Always in my writing and in watching anime I love finding ‘villains’ that are more than just one note. It goes from watching sports anime where I feel bad if the rival team loses to those characters who I really don’t want to see die. Those are the stories that I love to read and watch.

If you are planning on watching akame ga kill– this will not be spoiler free.
You have been warned.

Also in my writing I want to make sure my antagonists are moving and changing. You never want a static character. It is tempting to have them be bad just to be bad. The antagonists need powerful motivation just like your protagonists. In using Bols from akame ga kill as my example on how to give your characters agency.

Background

In Akame Ga Kill there are basically two forces opposing each other:  Night Raid and the Jaegers. They are both tools in the bigger pictures of the rebellion against the capital. We are viewing Night Raid as those who are trying to free the people from a corrupt government and the Jaegers are those who are fighting for the government.

Bols is a part of the Jaegers.

Humanize your antagonist

Bols father

In the anime so far we are introduced to many antagonists and there is a brief history of Liver but nothing as in depth as what we get from the introduction of the Jaegers. What this anime does well is that Bols, who can look scary, is humanized.

First we find out that he is actually shy. Aww. Also he is a good cook. Then we find out that he has a wife and daughter. Who come into bring him lunch. It is a sweet moment. So we start to wonder if we are supposed to hate the guy. When he is giving these small human traits it helps us sympathize with him. We start to care about this strange man in a mask that has this adorable family.

Give your antagonist a backstory

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Sometimes when we write it is easy to spend days writing out the backstory for our protag. Give your antagonist just as much time. Giving your characters a backstory helps in giving them motivation.

In the anime they don’t take forever to explain Bols backstory (Nothing ruins a story like too much exposition!). They give just enough hints about where he came from. We learn that he was part of the incendiary squad that burned down villages. We learn that he had to ask his wife out multiples times. We learn that he can cook. These are just small hints that help the watcher form this strange character in their minds and connect with him.

Because even as we learn that he burned people alive, it is in his tone and stature that we see his regret. This deepens Bols so much. We start to wonder… “Why is he part of the Jaegers? Doesn’t he want to pay his debts in a different way?

You want the reader/view to ask these questions about your characters. That is what makes them interesting. If you keep the readers wanting to know more then they will keep reading.

Give your antagonist motivation that makes sense in their story

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The most powerful development in any good character. Motivation.

Again if your antagonists are just being bad to be bad or if they are just soooooo evil, it turns into a snore fest.

The reader and viewer need to believe that your antagonist has legitimate reasons for their choices.

In Bols case he is part of the Jaegers for a couple reasons. One is is protecting his wife and child and two he believes that if he follows these orders and helps his teammates he is getting some retribution for his past deeds. He also knows that he will pay for his crimes of killing others someday but with his wife and child he hopes it isn’t too soon.

So we have motivation for our character. We can then understand why he does what he does even if we don’t agree with it. This in itself is powerful. I think most can understand that as a husband and father that is very powerful motivation for Bols.

Make the death (if they die) bittersweet

Bols Dying

When or if your antagonist dies you want the reader to care. Its seems strange but if you have humanized and given your character motivation, there is a large chance that the reader/viewer will feel sad at their passing.

I think Bols death was one of the saddest that I have seen in a long time. Before this moment there were other ‘good guys’ who died and yeah it was sad but it didn’t have the heart wrenching feeling the same as Bols death.

In his final moments he shows that he understands why he was killed. He knew that he deserved this death in some way. But he starts to crawl home and reaches for his wife and daughter. He wants to see them one more time before he goes.

The build up of Bols is what makes this moment so bittersweet. We know that he is working for the wrong side but inside we want him to see his wife and child. It saddens the viewer that he doesn’t get his final wish.

 

So if you are writing out your characters don’t ignore how powerful it can be to have an antagonist that we can care for… even if it’s just a little. It will let the reader/viewer have that moment where we question why we care about them. It lets us see that even if they are evil, they are still human. In that way we can see their struggle. We can see our own struggle and how maybe if life was different we could have ended up in the same situation as them.

That is an antagonist that we can get behind and maybe in some small way we hope that they get redemption.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed my writing lesson and thank you all for your kind words and your support in a darker time these last few months. You all really are Me Reasons Why.

Happy Watching!

 

The writing of MEGALOBOX

In most reviews it is easy to analyze the holes in the writing. Sometimes it is harder to pinpoint what the anime does right. Usually it all starts and ends with the writing. Characters/plot/conflict I’ve noticed that MEGALOBOX has great writing so far and the last two episodes really are an opportunity for a lesson in writing.

You thought school was out huh?

If you are a writer you may have heard of something called the try-fail cycle. It is the nuts and bolts of conflict in a story you can basically break it down into four answers:

1. Yes

2. Yes, BUT

3. No

4. No, AND

In most stories you want to stick with the last three it is a pretty boring story if the character always gets what they want. This is what is making the conflict in MEGALOBOX so good the lovely episodes of the try fail cycle.

For this I’m going to focus on the end of episode 7 and then 8. There are spoilers.

Conflict: Joe needs to beat Mikio to get the last spot in Megalonia

Cycle: No, AND

This is the starting point. Joe needs to face Mikio and his body is already messed up from his last fight. The viewer is expecting a hard fight for him, but Mikio surprises us by telling Joe that he knows that his ID is fake and if he goes out to the ring he will expose it to the world. So not only does Joe fail at getting to fight Mikio he also has the new threat of getting exposed for his illegal ID. Thus No, AND

Conflict: Nanbu needs to convince the CEO Shirato to let Joe fight Mikio

Cycle: No, AND

Nanbu (Joes coach) goes in to make an appeal for Joe. Trying to explain to her why they didn’t fight. She isn’t buying his story. There is a moment of hope and usually as an anime watcher this would be the point of success. The moment Nanbu mentions that Joe is the “genuine article”. We have a moment of a flash back to Yuri and we think that this is the moment where she will let Joe fight again. However, she doesn’t still doesn’t trust them so she not only turns him down, but locks him in the room so he doesn’t have a chance to contact Joe and the team. Thus No, AND

Conflict: Joe gets detained and makes a last attempt to get into Megalonia

Cycle: Yes, BUT

So Joes goes ahead and barges in on the ceremony that announces that Mikio will be the last fighter in Megalonia. As he is being dragged away Mikio taunts him that he is not the “genuine article” and those words finally reach Yukiko. So she decides to rip the ticket in half and give half to each. So he is successful on getting closer to the big fight, but he still has one more fight left. Thus Yes, BUT.

In breaking these things down the main lesson is that you need conflict… Duh. However, these are great episodes that really let you see the try-fail cycles and it isn’t always the answer that you expect. Which also makes it great writing. In the end never give your characters what they want right away. Make them suffer… haha.

That concludes the lesson for today!

Happy Watching!

Only 50 in blog posts- not in years…

These last two weeks in blogger land I’ve had to play a bit of catch up with reading posts and I hope I didn’t miss any. The wordpress reader tends to be fickle like that. I am still living off the conference high and this last weekend was amazing! Not only were all the writers super friendly I met some amazing people and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.

I’m still a bit blurry eyed since I drove through the night to get home. Paying for hotels for these conferences can be a killer so I tried to save a bit of money lol.

Once again thank you all for your supportive comments and reading your posts helped me get a bit of a break since networking can be super weird for an introvert.

The first conference, I didn’t get asked to send any pages. At that moment those editors and agents weren’t looking for a story like mine. There is a bit of luck throw in to trying to get published traditionally and if your genre isn’t being bought then it can be even harder.

However, this last conference I got a request for 50 pages to be sent. That was a nice feeling and I’m excited to send off my little pages and see if anything happens. I guess I’m better at verbal pitching which is a bit funny to me. Since sometimes it can go a bit like this…

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If any of you are familiar with the publishing word most agencies only take on about 2% new clients requests every year. So even if you get pages requested it is still a bit of a long shot. And like I said before… Most publishers aren’t buying urban fantasy right now so most agents will not want to take me on at the moment.

In the end, I feel this lovely feeling of hope inside of me. I know it is a long hard road to get published, but I’m so excited about writing and my book that I just can’t help but feeling happy. For each form rejection letter I get and add to the pile I just feel even more motivated. It is weird… Last year a rejection would have crushed me. But I’ve come to realize that writing is what I love and as long as I am writing the other thing tend to fall to the side. Giving up isn’t an option. Not writing isn’t an option. Just have to keep going.

Now that my conference trips are done for now, I’ll be back to the regular world of blogging and watching anime. This was kind of a weird 50th blog post…

But!

But!

But!

I will share something special with you all! I went on deviant art and found an artist to draw my main character in my book! Jéssica Pegoraro took on my commission and did a beautiful job! If any of you want her email for commissions just shoot me a message and I will send it your way!

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I know it may sound a bit silly, but I wanted to get my main character drawn… She had been living in my head for so long it is really fun to see her. I may commission the rest of my main characters as well.

So I will get back to writing and anime watching and I hope you all have been well!

Happy Watching!