Posted in Uncategorized

My Name Is Jackson Bowman and I Want People To Like My Stuff

I don’t know if this is a rant or a vent or what, but it’s here.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be famous. That sounds shallow. That sounds dumb. It’s one of those things you’re never supposed to say out loud, because it makes you look bad. But it’s also true. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be famous. But not for just any old reason. No, I’ve always wanted something of mine to be famous. I don’t want to be the famous one so much as I want my creations to be famous. I’m not supposed to be the exciting one. It’s my characters, my stories, the things that I pour my life and soul into creating. I want so badly to create a TV show, a book series, a movie, a big something that I get to sit back and watch people love. I don’t care if they have no idea who made the thing, I just want to see people obsess over characters and stories that mean so, so much to me. Because that’s me. I want to be the name in the credits that nobody reads, because at least they watched the whole movie.

I’m that person that obsesses over characters. I’m that person that comes up with theories and ideas for things that I’m into. I’m that person that spends every day caught in someone else’s fictional weird, so incredibly happy to lose myself there. I write fan-fiction, I draw fan-art, and I consume just as much as I produce. I’ve made best friends through fandoms online. I’ve spent hours of my life absorbed in fiction. The only reason I’m able to live a happy life right now is because other people supply entertainment for me and I have the ability to create entertainment of my own.

The very thought that my creations could become other people’s happy getaways as well… That’s wild. I want nothing more than to Google my creation’s name and see a hilariously bad fan-fiction about my characters. That’s my dream.

I love my characters. They mean a lot to me. There’s a piece of me in each of them, no matter how different it may be from the source material. Drawing them makes me happy, writing them makes me happy, and sitting around thinking about them makes me undeniably happy. I have worlds so well thought out, characters so in-depth due to years of development, that I’m sure getting to create a series with them would be wildly successful. People would love it. They would sit around waiting for each new episode to air, just like I do with shows that I like.

But that’s kind of the thing. Actually having the ability to create a series, is… Close to impossible. I mean, a million people have great ideas for a show. A million people have characters they’ve developed for years that they love dearly. A million people can draw. A million people can write. But about 0.9999999% of those people get to see their creations come to life.

I strive to be that minuscule percentage. Maybe I strive too hard. Maybe I strive too obsessively. Maybe I’ll wind up broke, living in a cardboard box on the side of an L.A. street eating Cup Noodles™. But I want to be able to say that even if I never got to live the dream, I did try my absolute hardest. Because if I never even try, I’ll live the rest of my life wishing that I had.

Now you guys know that I’m an ambitious, shallow kid who still thinks she can create a TV show. I know I’ll need a normal job to fall back on, I know I need to start figuring out my major, and I know that nothing ever works out perfectly. You’re talking to the person who was deported from India at age 15. I definitely know that life sucks. I get sick and tired of people telling me things like: “Well, that’s cute and all, but you know it’ll never happen, right?”

Like, yes, Bertha. I know it’ll never happen. Thanks for reminding me. But trying to make the impossible happen, will make me happier than sitting around wondering what would have happened if I’d just tried. J.K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter because it was a cool idea and it made her happy. Not because she thought it would make her a killing. (The fact that it later did, of course, makes her that lucky 1%.)

Nobody believes that I can do it, including myself most of the time. Your discouraging comments aren’t helping. I live in a trailer in south Georgia and all of my friends are wealthier than me. Let me imagine that one day I’ll have that dream come true.

I will strive to be that 1% so that at least if I fall down, I’ll do so knowing that I tried my hardest to fly.

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Posted in The Going Ons Of Thegirlnamedjack's Life

Hi.

It’s me. It’s slightly older, more mentally and emotionally developed me, but it is still me. It was me when I started this blog as a tiny ten year old who thought that “famous author” was a career, and it’s me now that I know better but still wish that I could be a famous author.

A lot has happened that I’ve never been fully comfortable talking about online, and maybe I never will. I want to start blogging again because it feels nice. But I’ve found that every time I go to write a post, I can’t seem to write about myself without getting the cruddy stuff out there first. I am apparently unable to enjoy myself if I just ignore all of the other stuff that’s happened. The not so happy stuff. This blog has been a weird catalog of my life, so I guess I just can’t pretend that 2015-2017 didn’t happen.

Because of this, I’m going to first summarize the negativity of the last few years. Dumping out negativity really isn’t something I do here, so if I am doing so, it’s kind of a big deal:

  • The summer of 2015 I moved to India.
  • The summer of 2016 I was kicked out of India (yes, really). I came back to America after being a mess for an entire year, to continue being a mess for about another year and a half. Life took a huge dump on me so needless to say I felt crappy. For a good two years I hated everything. I saw only the worst in people, I stopped caring about taking care of myself (mentally, emotionally and physically), and everything made me cry because I was upset all of the time by default.
  • I moved into the crappiest home I’ve ever lived in (an ancient mobile home from the 50s or 60s) and started sharing a room with one of my brothers (which I hated, and still don’t like).
  • I started attending high school after being home schooled since the 3rd grade. Not exactly an easy adjustment.
  • I was held back a grade due to not having credits/prior experience in high school.
  • I had an absolute madman for a bus driver. I don’t just mean that they drove a little crazy (because that’s not worth mentioning), I mean that they were a little crazy. A lot of crazy, actually. I could write a book about things this person did, but to give a small taste of what they’re like: You must hold your backpack in front of you when you board or else you will be written up. You must keep your leg in your seat and your backpack on your knees at all times or I will pull to the side of the interstate, while shouting, to write you up. You must keep all bottles zipped up inside of your bag, not in the side pockets, even if they’re empty I will write you up. You must not whistle. You must not hum. You must not sneeze or cough loudly. You must not lean your head against the window or the seat(s). You must sit up straight. If you’re too short to be seen over the seat, I will write you up. What’s funny is that half of that sounds like over exaggeration… But those are all real examples I’ve been witness to.
  • I had to learn algebra from scratch despite everyone else having years of experience in math that I didn’t.
  • I was lonely. So lonely that I latched onto the first person to offer me any kind of attention, and basically substituted that person as a best friend despite the way they treated me. I just wanted a friend so badly and had felt that way for so long, that I was willing to keep someone around even though they purposefully hurt me. We’ve since drifted far apart. Partly because it was for the best, partly because they ghosted on me, and partly because I made some friends who are, well, a lot friendlier.
  • That same school year I had a bonkers crazy teacher who started off everyday by calling us useless, dumb, worthless, etc. To a kid who was already going through a lot and wasn’t exactly what you would call confident, this was not a good little speech to hear every morning. It resulted in a lot of tears, a couple of full blown melt downs, and a whooole lot of anxiety.
  • I met someone within the first two days of arriving to high school (we’ll call them Dick) who was… A real character. The first thing Dick ever did was harass me about sex. This continued until Dick was suspended for some unrelated issue. The next year I met Dick again in a new class and got to hear and see them say a lot of scary/offensive/idiotic stuff. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to write down a lot of it, since I already had to write it down for the police. So skipping past a lot of gritty details; I overheard Dick talking about how they wanted to kill me in a very graphic, well-described way. I told everyone I could think to tell, but nothing really came of it since it was passed off as an empty threat from a dumb kid. Eventually Dick brought a knife to school and “playfully” pinned their “friend” (gotta use a lot of air quotes for this person) in a headlock and “playfully” tried to slice the friend’s neck. You know… As friends do. Long story short, Dick is gone now. They don’t really use social media (at all) so they pretty much don’t exist online. Trust me, I’ve looked. Dick is someone who put me on edge for a long time, to the point of having incredibly vivid nightmares about them. I didn’t even feel safe walking from class to class. I’m extremely relieved to see them go.
  • Speaking of crappy people, the very next semester I met someone who I wish so dearly I could share all of the details of, but sadly that’s illegal. This particular individual was one of those greasy teenagers who can’t not make a sex joke about anything and everything. Except this person was a little different, because they dressed in The Joker cosplay everyday (even dyed and styled their hair like the Joker’s…) and apparently thought it would be okay to grab my boobs from behind during a group project. I started shouting at them, other girls began shouting at them, and all this person had to say was: “Okay, jeez! I didn’t know it would offend you so much…” Usually when I tell this story people laugh, but it’s honestly not funny to me. It’s alright though. Later they threatened to shoot up the school, so I don’t have to worry about them anymore. I guess.

And that’s… All of the biggest negatives, I think. Excluding stuff I still don’t feel comfortable sharing, or (again) possibly never will. But because all of that was so depressing, here are some well deserved positives.

  • I’m currently getting free college through dual enrollment. Half my day is at my college, half the day is at my high school. 2-3 days a week I don’t have college classes, so I get to stay home in the morning and work in blissful silence, which is amazing.
  • Last winter I started biking everyday to every other day. I’m not a hardcore biker, but it’s nice to say that I do something outside that I actually enjoy. Semi-toned legs are a nice plus too.
  • I got a bird! A beautiful little budgie named Fiddleford, after the Gravity Falls character. Have I mentioned that I love Gravity Falls? Because I do. I’m not obsessed with it like I used to be, but I could definitely see it happening again. Anyways, I love my bird and he really brightens up my day.
  • I have some pretty good friends at my school now. My absolute best friend is an internet friend I met in a DeviantArt comments section back in early 2015. That sounds a lot weirder than it is.
  • Speaking of said best friend, I’ve gotten to meet up with her three times now! The first time was just a couple of hours, but it was so much to us. The second time was actually a couple of weeks during the summer, and the third time was three weeks this summer! I definitely look forward to our next meet-up, because they’re honestly the highlights of my entire year. I wait for them all year despite never knowing when the next one will be. I can’t put into words how much it hurts me that I can’t just see her whenever I want to.
  • Uhhh I’m seventeen now, turning eighteen in November. That’s a positive I guess, since ages 14-16 were dumb aaaand that’s when almost all of the worst stuff happened.
  • I’m still working on that book I’ve been talking about for years now. It’s come a long, long way… I’m actually glad that fifteen-year-old me didn’t finish it because the way I wrote the characters (and wrote in general) back then was horrendous. Looking back through that first draft, all I can think is: “That character would never do that!” It’s like a bad Fan-Fiction of what the actual story is.
  • I’m also still drawing, and still want to create a series one day. Preferably with my best friend, since we’ve actually had stories developing for years now. When we were younger, creating a show together was mainly something we wistfully joked about, but now it feels much more serious. Not like it could actually happen, but… Still, if we ever get the opportunity, you can bet we’ll seize it. I’m going to work myself to the bone trying to make that dream come true.
  • Things are a lot better now. Nothing crazy has happened in awhile. My bitterness still exists but not as strong and not everyday. I’m just focusing on school, attempting to maintain the friendships I’ve managed to make, actually taking care of myself for the first time in way too long, aaaaand… I guess that’s kind of it. Sometimes I still cry over dumb stuff, but it’s over normal dumb stuff now rather than: I Got Held Back A Grade After Being Deported From A Country, Also Like Seven Million Other Sucky Things Happened -By Fall Out Boy

With that said, I guess it’s time to end this post and go work on some more schoolwork. College is a lot more fun than high school so far, not gonna lie. There’s a 45% chance I’ll actually start posting here again, but the last time I was consistent on here was when I was eleven years old.

Fun fact about me: 11-13 years old was the best time of my life. I don’t know if anyone else has a favorite age that they’ve been, but I guess preteen-hood was it for me. Maybe I’ll hit a more enjoyable age, but there’s nothing like the sweet innocence of writing horrible Transformers fan-fictions and staying up late in DeviantArt chat rooms to role-play with my internet buddies.

Fiddleford
Fiddleford ❤
Posted in Animals, Holidays

Art Commissions – HUGE Christmas Sale!

Want to own art of your favorite character? Want to own a personalized drawing of your pet in a cute Christmas outfit? Want to surprise someone you know with a drawing of their pet? I can draw it! All commissions are currently on sale from November 26 to December 31st!

Headshots $20 $40

I'm Just A Poor Boy From A Poor Family by Clockwork-JackIt'sa Me, Jackio! by Clockwork-Jack

 

Busts $25 $45 (Per character)

 

Full Body Animal Drawing (Pets or other!) $40 $70

 Helpony by Clockwork-Jack

Storyboard-Styled Drawings

$20 $40 ($8+ for every character added)

    Kevin In The Bathroom by Clockwork-Jack
Not an actual video, but a single picture drawn in a storyboard style!


Gray Scale Traditional Headshot $25 $50 

(plus shipping if you want it to be shipped to you!)

Kevin But Chinese Intensifies by Clockwork-Jack

 

Monochrome Traditional Headshot $35 $65

(plus shipping if you want it to be shipped to you!)

Blue Lips by Clockwork-JackBubblegum B*st*rd by Clockwork-Jack

Comment below or email me at authorjack2000@gmail.com if you are interested!

Posted in Writing

How To Get Through NaNoWriMo Despite The Hell Fires of High School

nano-2017-participant-badgeA couple years back somebody over on NaNo’ asked me how I manage to meet my word goal of 50,000 every November without falling behind in school. At the time I felt almost sorry to tell them that I was home schooled and living on the side of a mountain in a remote town of South Asia. No one was around to bother me and I wasn’t going to school (granted, Woodstock was next door but as someone from a family of prols we couldn’t afford to attend) so the answer was simple. I was able to meet my word goal every year because I had literally nothing else to do. I would go well past my goal each year, spending every waking moment channeling Alexander Hamilton’s fiery will to write.

I moved back to America soon afterward and am now in my second year of public high school. I think I’m finally ready to give a helpful answer to that question.

MAKING WINNING EASY (the do’s)

  1. I’m going to say this and you’re going to hate it, but do your schoolwork first. Homework, projects and studying should not be put off until the last moment. Not only will it stress you out to have lowering grades and work constantly hovering over your head, but it’s just better for you all around if you get that pesky school stuff out of the way first. Responsibility sucks and so does school 95% of the time, but it’ll keep you, your teachers and your parents happy. Even more so if your parents are the type that like to take your electronics (AKA: your NaNo’) when your grades drop.
  2. Write whenever you have the time. Twenty spare minutes until you need to go to school? Write. Sitting around the house for forty minutes until you promised someone you’d hang out? Write. Need to take a shower but someone else is in there? Write.
  3. Keep a little notebook that you can jot ideas in whenever you’re unable to write. You’d be amazed at how many of those ideas will be forgotten as soon as you get time to write.
  4. Write wherever. Those 50,000 words don’t care where you are, they still need you. I’ve written in the car, on the train, in school, at my dad’s college, in cafes, at my grandma’s house, on a four-day-long slumber party and the list goes on. Laptops are portable computers for a reason. Can’t bring your laptop to school, or only have an ancient desktop computer that sits in your dad’s office? There are school computers. Make sure your book is backed up somewhere like Google Drive so you can write from wherever by simply signing in to your Google. (Also, make sure to sign back out when you’re done! The world is full of snoops.) I had a graphic design class last year that gave me a lot of free time, so I would start writing once I was done with my current project.
  5. Stay caffeinated. Don’t mix Redbull with coffee or anything crazy like that, but if you seriously don’t have time to write until late at night, try to keep yourself awake enough to write coherent sentences. I can always go back through my writing and tell when I wrote it. 2:00 PM: “The dog shook its fur free, slinging water all over the kitchen.” 2:00 AM: “Teh ogd slkunged water from its fur all over theh kitchen getting everyhtgin wet. Bad dog.”
  6. Word sprints. They’re the cheer leaders to your novel, motivating you to keep going. On the NaNo’ website hover over ‘My NaNoWriMo’ and click ‘My Word Sprints’ from the drop down menu. From there you can set a timer and try to write as much as you can before it goes off. There’s even a ‘Dare Me’ button beneath the timer that will throw random ideas at you.
  7. Attend a local Write In. (Regions < Come Write In) If you can’t attend a Write In, read the pep talks NaNo’ sends you. There’s also public chat rooms on NaNo’ where you can talk with other writers from your region. If you aren’t up to that or can’t find one, the forums are your best friend. The forums have everything from prompts to character games to how exactly a character can be killed off with a bread tie. Every question you will ever have can be answered by someone in the forums, so don’t be afraid to post there! The NaNo’ website is a great source of inspiration. Even if you’re the most introverted hermit in the world, talking with other authors about writing can do you a world of good.

WHERE WINNING GETS HARD (the don’ts)

  1. NaNoWriMo is basically a 30-day case of verbal diarrhea. Words are spewed out in gross amounts until your story is lost somewhere in between. While descriptions are great, try to keep them to an amount that won’t make readers skip a few lines. For instance, if a character walks into a beautiful meadow, don’t describe the meadow in intense detail unless it is vital to the plot in some way. If a character picks up a sword that’s significant to them (it was passed down to them by their ancestors, they activated its magical energy, they pulled it out of a stone, etc)  then take the time to describe it. This sword is important to the character or the plot somehow so the readers should have a solid image in their heads. But if it’s just some random weapon the character picks up to defend themselves, it isn’t necessary to write a sonnet about it. Yes, chucking an entire dictionary at your characters will help you meet your word goal. But it will also give them a concussion and turn your story into the modern rendition of Les Misérables. Don’t abuse the power of word sprints. Please, your readers are begging you.
  2. Remember how I said that caffeine is great for late night noveling? Well, that’s true. However caffeine can quickly be used against you if you have school or work the next morning. Don’t overdo it. Coffee, tea and whatever else is awesome as long as you’re still getting a healthy amount of sleep so you can actually focus in school and don’t end up exhausted with a headache by 12:00 PM. The more efficiently you get your work done the more efficiently you can write. It’s a vicious circle of: “Who’s more bitter? Me or coffee?”
  3. Writing whenever and wherever is great, but remember that other people exist and have feelings. It’s true that I had to write 1,667 words everyday during a four-day sleepover with my friend. However, I wasn’t ignoring her. She understood how much NaNo’ meant to me so we scheduled times to do this. While she straightened her hair and listened to music, I wrote. While she took a shower, I wrote. While she worked on schoolwork and studied, I wrote. I never wrote while we were talking or watching movies together. My characters are very important to me but my friends are even more important, because friends are real people who notice if they’re being neglected. Basically don’t be a butt hole hipster by pulling out your laptop and writing at inappropriate times.
  4. Keeping a little idea notebook is awesome, but don’t leave it on a train. I left mine on a train two years ago and sometimes when I’m laying in bed trying to fall asleep I still wonder if anyone read it. My opening page said “Kill the cute one” in red ink so I’m honestly hoping no one got the wrong idea. Just a tip for you.

That’s all for now! I may update this later, but until then I hope this comes in handy to all of the students out there participating in NaNo’!

Posted in Writing

Why I Started Reading (and Writing)

IMG_3950

My blog has been dead for years now, but every once in awhile I get into this, “I’ve got to post again, I just can’t drop it for forever,” mood. I’ve finally found something to post about. No promises but maybe, just maybe I’ll start posting more than once a year.

I’m a reader and a writer.

Nowadays I’m primarily the latter, but as a kid (when I started this blog, yikes) I was the perfect specimen of an avid reader. I never went anywhere without a book and I finished each one within mere milliseconds of seeing the cover for the first time. The local librarians always raised a brow at how many I checked out at a time, thinking surely this pixie of a girl isn’t about to read all of these within such a short time. Little did they know that the reason I was (and still am) a shrimpy kid was because I spent all my time reading, writing and drawing rather than wrestling bears or climbing mountains or whatever it is people do outside. In summary: I read a lot.

But no one is born knowing how to read just as no one is born with a pen in their hand. Except Victor Hugo, whose book Les Miserables was 1,900 pages (and that was only one of his books).

This is the story of why I started reading and writing. Spoiler alert: I’m not as cool as Victor Hugo.

When I was in Kindergarten my school was the definition of underpaid Californian public education, so my parents pulled me out to home school me. My mom started teaching me to read and I hated it right off the bat. I caught on quickly and could read anything she gave me, but I was (and still am) a stubborn kid so I didn’t like being made to do things. That was my sole reason for disliking it.

This continued until one day I heard my mom talking to her friend about how she wanted me to read Shel Silverstein’s poems, but didn’t believe I was ready to start reading something that advanced. I didn’t know who Shel Silverstein was but hearing someone say that I wasn’t advanced enough to do something… Again, I was a stubborn kid.
The next morning I woke up early, got a book of Shel Silverstein’s poems (possibly Falling Up), sat in my chair and began to read while I waited for her to wake up. When she walked downstairs I tried to play it cool by saying something along the lines of: “Oh I just found this on the bookshelf. It’s pretty good so far, have you read it?” From there I began to read everything I could get my hands on.

I started writing stories in the 1st(?) grade for essentially the same reason. My mom said “You can’t be a wild mustang tamer”, but I heard, “Go write endlessly about horses to prove that you can be a wild mustang tamer.” That impossible dream of mine actually turned into a slightly less impossible dream: publish a book.

By the time I was ten I finished reading the Harry Potter series and was completely infatuated with the idea of becoming a world renowned author like our lord and master JK Rowling. An ambitious dream if there ever was one, but still one I like to toy with to this day.

Nowadays I still write, but my goal is just to find personal happiness within the book I’ve spent the past two (going on three) years writing. If that book is published one day, good for it! But for now the writing is what’s important.

How’s that for a return?

For those of you interested, my email is in my ‘About’ section, but I’m most active on my DeviantArt, Clockwork-Jack! I post my art and (some) writing there, since it’s become a substitute for my blog over the years. If you have any questions about writing (or anything?) shoot me a message via either of those!

Posted in Writing

Tip For Story-Tellers Of All Kinds

Whether you’re a writer, comic artist, script writer, or anything that involves creating characters and putting down story–this is a tip that I recommend you all take to heart. (I can’t remember if I’ve posted this before, so I’m doing it now. I can’t stress this enough.)

When you create a character, you may find that over time it becomes boring to work with that same character in the same environment, over and over and over. (I’ll use the story I’m writing as an example.)

For me, with Barnaby (character of mine), I sometimes find myself growing bored of just writing about him being on a deserted island. It’s still fun, but I have to throw new elements in there once in awhile, otherwise I begin to grow bored with my own story. This keeps the story going–which is great–but it also makes it more enjoyable for me to write. I actually have a separate document of just side notes and to-dos for the story. So that if I ever don’t know where to go next, I can open up that document, look at the ideas I’ve written down, and pick one that seems fun.

However, it is a really good idea to take a break from writing, to draw. Or crochet, or sing–or do anything else, so that the writing side of you is always getting new inspiration, and never tiring (at least, not as often) of writing. Writing for hours on end is great, if you’re getting stuff done–but you also need to take a break, to do anything else. Take a walk, sit outside with a cup of tea, read a book. Literally anything that isn’t writing, for a little while, often. Because otherwise, you will run dry of valuable inspiration, and you won’t want to keep working on your book if you’re going at it 24/7.

One thing I love to do, is take a break everyday (for me, in the evening) to traditionally sketch some character concepts. It’s sketching. It’s free, no critiques needed, accepted or wanted. Draw your characters doing anything. The artist side of me goes crazy over character designs, so I often draw my characters as all sorts of different things. This really helps me experiment with how they look, probe into new ideas for the characters, and glean some inspiration for my book.

I’ve drawn Barnaby as a sonic character, Anime, realism, general Western cartoon style, Chibi, sort-of-a-stick-figure, in all sorts of poses that he would never actually make (ballerina ones are my favorite). I’ve drawn him as a humanoid dog, fox, cat, an actual dog wearing an aviator jacket and helmet, the opposite gender–anything and everything that I could think of. It was all in good fun, none of it serious, and helped me a lot.

So, that’s my recommendation for you. Explore your story, your characters, in other mediums. Draw the most ridiculous scene, the most awkward poses, and in designs that you know you will never actually use. It’s really, really fun. And clears the mind, to allow more writing inspiration.

Also–you know–take a break from the story every now and then. Think about it, work on it in other mediums when you’re not writing, make an effort to continue it at least a little bit everyday–but make sure to live in-between the words of your book. Or comic–or whatever it is that you’re working on. As enthusiastic as you may be, there are going to be times when–to prevent writers’ block–you should pull away from what you’re doing, and live. Go window shopping, take a long walk, fail to bake cookies, watch a TV show. Sometimes even doing different stuff on the same screen, helps. (Though I recommend that you don’t always go from one screen to another.)

That’s all. Good luck with your projects–keep on working at them–take a breather every now and again–and have fun!

barnaby___rlly_bruh_by_authorjack-d9iylze

 

Posted in funny, Uncategorized

Death-Legs

Story time, children. This is going to be a little long because I enjoy the details and theatrics.

There are few things in life that I will always disagree with, always back away from (in the most literal sense) and always find myself scared of. But things running at me—anything running or even walking at a brisk pace—towards me, gets me every time. Er—not literally.

I have—um—some good reasons, too! I’ve had cows run at me, dogs run at me (including that one that actually did get me), people, yada yada yada. When I was nine a poolball (from the game, not the happy-fun-times water in somebody’s rich backyard) flew at my face, shattering one of my front teeth. Overall I’ve had a whole life-time to supply me with reasons for flinching so much. Also I flinch a lot.

Now, it just so happens that spiders don’t really bother me. Y’know, they’re okay. They catch the other bugs—like the roaches—so we’ve formed a mutual friendship. Like, I might add them on Facebook, if they requested me first. Buuut I don’t go out of my way to be pals with them. If I see them in my bathroom but they aren’t bothering me, that’s okay. Forget the fact that the spiders in my house are named (I think) ‘Jungle Spiders’ and are always around the size of my hand.

However, I don’t like them in my bedroom. Sorry, spiders. We’re not that close. You’re a strictly pop-out-from-behind-the-mirror-while-I’m-brushing-my-teeth kinda friend. Stay there. Just there.

This morning I woke up to a nice thunderstorm. The internet was off, it wasn’t safe to plug in our devices. My laptop was at 5% battery (because I’m a careful person who doesn’t leave it plugged in at night), so I sat down in my floor, in the dark, and set about to deleting tons of useless photos from my phone.

I should have known that thunderstorms mean bad things. I’ve read the Horror stories. I’ve seen the cliches. It was 10:00 AM, but close enough to a ‘dark and stormy night’.

And so, I sat there, where I would never sit. Never before have I sat in my floor. It’s not comfortable, for one. I have a stool at my desk and a bed beside it, for another. But for some reason I decided to sit in the floor, fiddling with my phone.

Several minutes later—after deleting all the excess junk off of my phone—I looked up. Jerked in surprise at the spider—several feet away, on the wall right next to the bathroom door—and got up to get the electric flyswatter. Or, ‘spider zapper’. Spider couldn’t be in my room, I wouldn’t allow it.

So, I get up to the spider. Press the button on the swatter that makes it spark (sometimes literally) to life, which is signaled to me by the faintest buzz and a small red light flicking on. Raise it over the spider. And slap. It gets away, only nicking a couple legs. They’re huge, and fast—as it fell I heard a thump.

You’re not supposed to slap things with a clunky, plastic, electric spider zapper. My mom heard the slap, called my over, reprimanded me, so did my dad. I went back, looked around, didn’t see the spider anywhere. Okay, that’s semi-cool. I don’t want to find him/her later, but hey. If it’s gone, or curled up somewhere dead, that’s good. Right?

Fast-forward to a few minutes later. I’m walking into my bathroom. Separating my room’s floor from my bathroom’s floor, is a small bar of wood, laid across the doorway. Right as I’m stepping over, I see the spider pressed up—somewhat injured looking—against the bathroom side of the wood. I’m like: “Oh!” jump over, into the bathroom.

Why didn’t I step back, instead of in?

So I hover there, a foot or so from the door for a moment. I’m in the bathroom, but not at all ready to brush my teeth—which would turn my back to the fast-and-furious-leggy-of-death. So I’m all like: “Okay leggy, I’ma jump right ovah you and is’ gon’ be OK.”

Thank God for long legs. I started to step-hop over the doorway. The spider had LONGER LEGS.

IT. RAN. RIGHT. AT. ME. IN THIS WAYWARD. FREAKING. TWO-LEGS INJURED PATTERN. THIS EIGHT-LEGGED, BROWN, STARVED TURANTULA COMES SKITTER-SKITTERING AT ME AT HYPERSPEED. STARS START FLYING BY—IT MILLENIUM FALCONED ITS WAY RIGHT UP TO MY FREAKING FOOT.

SO I DID A DANCE FROM FOOT TO FOOT, WHOOPING AT DIFFERENT PITCHES WITH EVERY HOP.

OUT THE DAGUM  DOOR. IT CHASED ME OUT THE DOOR. INTO MY OWN BEDROOM. IT LEFT ITS BOUNDARIES—BREACHED THE BASE ENTRYWAY. SKITTER-SKATTERED INTO THE PLACE WHERE MY BRAIN HAD LIED TO ME, TELLING ME I WAS SAFE HERE. IT. CHASED. ME.

My mom saw that, she started to laugh. And I was laughing. And I was like: “It’s cool yo, I gets the spider zapper agin ‘cuz i, lik, know whur it be now.” (Internet talk doesn’t work in real life by the waydon’t try it with anyone you care to impress.)

I walk back into my room—peering all around for it. Didn’t see it. Pulled aside something farther into the room, didn’t see it. Okay then. That’s… Disconcerting.

My middle brother walks in, pipes up: “What’re you doing?” no wonder he noticed, I was half-bent, velociraptor-ing in the doorway-corner it was supposed to be lurking in.

To which I responded: “Searching for a spider—please turn on the light.”

He turned on the light, and I spotted it—curled in the most beautifully camouflaged place—right beside my door where it was still dark. In the corner RIGHT beside where I would have walked through next time. Again, I raised the spider zapper. This time slow, precise as a dork can be, hanging over the death-legs before descending. Without slapping.

It didn’t die. These spiders are muscular. They don’t just squish. It was in the corner—the one place my zap couldn’t get it. The plastic edge of the zapper got it, but not the electric part. It was just muscled underneath a piece of plastic, such an infuriating little leg-body.

I lifted it just a little, and the spider come SHOOTING AT OUT AT ME. SO I GET IT AGAIN, AND IT BARELY MAKES A SPARK. SO I GET IT AGAIN, AND IT SPARKS A LOT, AND CURLS UP AGAINST THE ELECTRIC “SCREEN”.

So I proceed to knock it off into the toilet, and brush my teeth. It just floats there on the surface, as dead things of certain weights and air tend to do. I brush my teeth.

Something caught my eye. I turned, stared at the dead spider. Decided to experiment—because I’m too curious for my own good. I blew on it. It moved. Not from air. From being just a LITTLE bit still alive. I blew on it. It’s haywire death-leggies move again. Not a twitch. An alive slide, across the water.

When God invented spiders, did he know we were going to put on such a fun show every time one EIGHT-LEGS GALLOPS AT US.

3t11ub
Stolen from the “web”
Posted in Writing

Character Creation And Development – Things To Consider

A friend asked me: “How do you build characters?”

Wow, that’s not a question I can answer in a simple sentence. Not just because I tend to ramble, either. (Speaking of which, brace yourselves.)

This is a subject that I enjoy mulling over, being a creator of countless characters. Many of them go to waste as fun side-projects, never to be written into a story. But that doesn’t mean they were pointless. It’s good practice!

After giving this some further thought, it seems worth posting online. So, buckle your seat-belts, and prepare to take off.

 

Character Creation

Getting right to it–this is the hardest part, for me. Laying the base for your character. Figuring them out. What they’re going to look like, their name, job, ambitions–no development required yet, because the character themselves is in–well–development.

Imagine you’re writing a sketch. Put together a simple reference sheet, on paper, digitally–both–whatever works for you. (For this I’ll be using my NaNo’ character as an example.)

As an artist and a writer, I tend to draw a lot of character concepts, while also writing one out. (It’s wisest to write it first, otherwise they could end up looking veeery different from their–you know–intended character. I’ve seen multiple artists experience this issue.)

Here’s a fleshed out ref’, taken from the notes of this year’s NaNoWriMo book.

 

 

Main Character

Name: Barnaby Hugh Button

Gender: Male

Birthday: Born 1915, January 13th (age: 30)

From: Liverpool, England

Occupation: Airmail Pilot (UK)

Appearance: Curly red hair (different type of curly from Helmut’s—like cousin Zack’s old hair), with blue eyes. Average height, about five ft 4 inches. Healthy, grows stronger and swifter after spending time on the island—but not always the most agile—especially at first, he’s rather dorky.

Fun fact: Puts gross amounts of pomade in his hair, in a desperate attempt to keep his red curls tame. It doesn’t work. Poor guy can’t keep with 1940s fashion.

 

Most of this reference has been added while writing the book, as new ideas spring up that I don’t want to forget. As you can see, there’s some references in there to stuff that… You just can’t get. There’s no way that the reader is going to see ‘like cousin Zack’s old hair’, and understand that. These are my notes, and if I picture his hair as a certain real-life person’s hair, that’s what I’ll note. It really doesn’t matter–don’t be OCD with the sketchy writing. Put a joke in there, reference your cousin’s hair–do whatever that helps you flesh it out. Consider this your character’s 1st draft.

I consider this next part to be important, but understand if you aren’t a big drawer, why you may skip this.

Sketches. Concepts. On paper, no matter the medium, draw that character. Figure their appearance out. You wrote it, now draw it. Or maybe you drew it first, after setting the rest of the base down.

It doesn’t have to be the strictest character drawing. Don’t stress yourself out, it’s called a concept for a reason. Do whatever. Draw them interacting with another character, their world, an animal. Doodle what they’d look like as a dog, the opposite gender, in a different art style–it’s also a great break from writing.

barnaby_button___stubble_faced_by_authorjack-d9hlg1jbarnaby_button___he_a_dog_by_authorjack-d9hlhdgbarnaby_and_brown___stubby_legged_run_by_authorjack-d9hlhqq

For the hardest part? The Dreaded Name. For some reason, this is always the most difficult for me.

Many, many, many, many times I have slapped a generic name onto a character, because I couldn’t make up my mind. But over time I’ve found that the best names, are the ones that have a meaning to me.

This doesn’t have to make any sense to anybody who isn’t you. This name could be special to you for the oddest reason, but it feels great on the character. Make it something from a childhood movie if need be, just as long as you don’t say something like ‘Darth Vader’.

Onto the more interesting part.

 

Character Development

This is important. Vital to the outcome of not just your characters, but your overall story.

If there’s anything I beg that you do not do, it’s create a generic hero. The best, most relatable, interesting characters are the ones with flaws. They’re more like real people. It makes the story more intense, knowing that the character can fail, might fail, and maybe are failing.

My favorite characters–not just my own, but from shows/books/other–are the ones who aren’t perfect. They’re obnoxious, religious, overbearing, disappointing to their families–any number of things. They are no Superman. And that’s great.

Take Sherlock Holmes for example. He’s a butt-hole to everyone he meets (pardon), flaunts his ridiculous intelligence everywhere, smokes/has smoked, is on drugs (at least in the stories), and is often a tad misunderstanding of normal human emotions. But he’s loved by generations of readers, and now watchers. He is not a God among characters, but by being so perfectly imperfect, he is.

Give your character a mental disorder, make them extremely opinionated, stubborn. Make them afraid of dogs because of multiple past experiences. Maybe they’re horrible with children. Perhaps they’re divorced, a crappy dad/mom. A stuttering teacher who hardly knows what he’s/she’s teaching. Or a moody teen who’s set on wearing fifty earrings and making the irresponsible decisions in life.

I’m not saying that it’s your duty to create a self-righteous religious nut (like Javert), but it’s not out of the question, and it’s still more interesting than a perfect, blank slate. Especially if your flawed character does end up making the right choices–it shows more. It’s stronger. Because people are like that. The kid from the bad neighborhood could have better manors and a higher maturity level than the one from the great, wealthy family. Stereotypes aside.

To develop the character, release backstory a little bit a time. Not all at once. Develop them, over the course of the book–or series. You can’t start it off with ‘he’s super depressed and hates goldfish’. Reveal these things as you go. Don’t start off the book with a page about the character’s personality, appearance and attitude. Write these things as they come up–so the reader becomes attached to them in time.

They happen to see themselves in a reflective surface. Describe their appearance. Throw in small details, like saying: “She pushed her frizzy, black waves from eyes and scoffed.” But don’t start the book off describing them in full detail. It just doesn’t work as well.

Have deep conversations with another character. Show their relationship growing. Take a break, crack a joke. Show how your character reacts to jokes–what’s their sense of humor? Put them under stress, show how they react when under pressure. Show them happy–happier than they’ve ever been.

Characters are people on paper. Getting to know a person means seeing them in many different elements, exposing all their sides. An okay or a good friend is the one you see at church once a week. The great friend is the one who you’ve seen go through a lot. Because you’ve witnessed how they act in different situations, with different people, in different settings. Humans are not so simple that you can see them in one mood, and know all about them. Personalities are straaange things.

With that said, go off and write your person! The flawed, interesting thing in development that they are.

Posted in The Going Ons Of Thegirlnamedjack's Life

Fifteenth Date Of World-Entering Celebration – Yaaaay!

I present to you, the first blog post that I have ever written, as a fifteen-year-old.

Saturday was my birthday! We (family and I) had a great time, even though I wasn’t with more family—like grandparents—to celebrate with. This isn’t the first time I’ve been away from close relatives during a major holiday, or a birthday. That doesn’t make it not disappointing, but at least—out of all the new adjustments I’ve made within the past few months—that doesn’t have to be one!

We went to a local cafe—which takes a good walk through crowded, noisy bazaar to reach. Frappes are worth it! (Translation: frothy ice-cream coffee smoothie for white girls.)

My brothers and I each got a cupcake, and my mom cried a little when the cafe TV started playing kid shows that I used to watch. No bigs. Just fifteen now. (It’s okay, mom. I’m not eager to grow up, either.)

She (mom) also bought me a really cool necklace that I’ve had my eye on! I dig that Steampunk look. It’s fun to draw, it’s fun to wear!

steampunk_ish_necklace__gift__by_authorjack-d9hlevu

Once we were back home, I opened some presents that people back home/other places had sent me! A couple movies (courtesy of my grandma), season one of Once Upon A Time (which my brothers are all old enough to watch—yissssssssss), a funny hand-written card from a great internet friend (OUAT also came from her), and Sour Patch Kids. (Also from *insert Generic Internet Friend name here*. Sour Patch is my favorite type of candy, heh.)

Annnnd, a very exciting gift… Copic Ciao markers! Twelve Copic Ciao markers! I have a set of primaries, skin-tones, and grays—all sent previously from a very nice, fellow artist. But those were planned, and picked beforehand. I knew they were coming. These ones weren’t expected at all! I have two shades of purple, eeeeeeeeeeee—

To make things more interesting, these Copics came from a mystery person. They weren’t signed. (Thank you, Generic Mystery Person! I already have a drawing in mind, concerning those two purples.)

DSCN1392

Annnd my mom surprised me with something… I should have known. It’s her favorite thing to do. Next to complaining about the state of my hair. *Pointed look*

On Friday (day before said fifteenth birth date), she forced me to go with her to Hindi tutoring. I already take two classes in the morning (with her), at a local language school. I want all my big stuff to be finished early in the day, because I can’t have fun when responsibilities are hanging over my head. So I wasn’t too keen on going to a tutor later that afternoon.

Which is a fancy way of saying: I was mad.

We went down into the bazaar. She seemed happy. Or, normal. And I just kind of stalked, I guess. Or slumped, as moody teenagers do. Walked (slumped) into her tutor’s house. Sat (slump) on the couch. Said hello.

And then she turns to me, and says: “Jackson… We didn’t come here for tutoring. We came here to get mehndi.”

WHAT.

BUT YOU SAID.

OKAY THEN.

Her tutor gave us mehndi! Which is like drawing on your skin in fancy South Asian patterns, letting it harden, scraping off the hard stuff, later—and revealing the stain. Viola, you have a beautiful, traditional skin-stain for a few days!

birthday_mehndi_by_authorjack-d9hledg

Probably should have explained that to my American friends. They thought I’d gotten a tattoo.

For the rest of the actual birthday, I spent my time lazing around, playing Don’t Starve. No homework. Putting of NaNo’ until that night. Just birthday-ing.

Overall, it was a great day/weekend! Thank you everybody who sent gifts—they’re all great, and will be used not-sparingly!

Posted in The Going Ons Of Thegirlnamedjack's Life

Devices End, Stories Don’t?

The day before last, I got a phone! My first phone, used, pretty cheap—thanks to these non-American prices—and much faster than my iPod.

The iPod was last year’s birthday gift, and by far the most expensive gift I’d/I’ve ever received. It was a refurbished device, a couple generations old, but worked well. However, about a month or so after I got, Apple released some new iOS thing, which didn’t allow the older iPods to download… Er… Anything. Anymore.

But despite not being able to get anything useful, it worked great! Until several months ago, when it started to… Visibly die? Battery draining really fast, texts not sending or receiving half the time, taking forever to load anything, freezing, unable to turn off, etc. Which is pretty upsetting, because I made sure to be very careful with it. I never cracked it, never dropped it in water, you name any other disaster that could have befallen it, and it was prevented.

But that’s Apple devices for you. Now with my newer and clearly superior device, I can have an Instagram. I have gone through the right of passage, to become a real man teenager. (Speaking of which, I’m ‘thegirlnamedjack’ on there. Promise I post scenery more than selfies.)

Personal update and mini rant aside, onto more interesting things.

NaNoWriMo, this year, has probably been more fun for me than it has been any other year. Disregarding last year, because I didn’t really “compete” in 2014… I don’t remember what happened last year, but I just didn’t have the drive to write.

But since my first few NaNos’, I’ve grown better as a writer, character-creator and just story-comer-upper in general. So I’ve found myself enjoying the story almost as if I were reading it myself. And thanks to being a full-fledged teen, I cried during a death scene. And the following funeral scene. But it was fun.

And if I can write something so sad that the reader cries and not the teenage girl writing it, than that’ll be an accomplishment. Perhaps mean. But in a twisted way, a compliment to the author.

As for the book itself, my problem right now is that it doesn’t look like the end of November will be the end of the book. It’s going very well right now, but there’s still a lot more to write. (This was the first NaNo’ that I actually planned beforehand. I loosely planned the story, studied my facts, studied some more, took notes, took more notes… Fell asleep… Woke up some time around November. I hibernated early this year so that I could stay awake this month.)

Continuing isn’t hard! I’m on chapter seven, page fifty-seven—which is more words than I’ve ever written in this amount of time. Considering this is the first year I’m aiming for that big 50,000, that looks encouraging!

Ending it, though… How do I end it.

*Screams of anguish*

My user on NaNoWriMo.org is Sticky Computer Keys. Feel free to add me as a buddy!

Barnaby Hugh Button (this year’s main character), stalked by a wildcat. (Art by me, please don’t use without my permission.)