January 24, 2010

Creative Writing Classes

1. Lower-division requirements (20 units; five courses)

Two Creative Writing survey courses from CRWT 046A, CRWT 046B(Fall 2010), or CRWT 046C


Two Creative Writing introductory courses from CRWT 057A, CRWT 057B, or CRWT 057C


One literature survey course from CRWT 043 (Summer 2010)

2. Upper-division requirements (60 units)

a) Three workshop courses in primary genre:
Fiction CRWT 152, CRWT 162, CRWT 172(Spring 2010)

b) Repeat one advanced workshop  CRWT 172 (Fall 2010) or other course approved by the department

c) Two workshop in second genre:  CRWT 164A(Summer 2010), CRWT 166A(Fall 2010)

e) Three upper-division courses in Creative Writing: CRWT 143, CRWT 146 (E-Z), CRWT 155, CRWT 165, CRWT 171, CRWT 173, CRWT 174, CRWT 175, CRWT 176 (E-Z), CRWT 185 (E-Z), CRWT 187/CPLT 187, CRWT 191 (may be taken twice but used only once for major credit), CRWT 198I (may be taken only once, for 4 units)

f) One upper-division course in Art, Art History, Music, Dance, or Theatre (must be a 4-unit course)

g) Four (4) units of CRWT 195 or CRWT 195H (Senior Honors Thesis) or approved course from list available in department

h) Four upper-division courses of concentration in another discipline or set of disciplines approved by advisor

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Date Started: Jan 24, 2010
Date Finished: Jan 26, 2010

Summary: After Stargirl's adventures in Arizona come to an end, she and her family move to Pennsylvania where new adventures can take place. Stargirl meets all the people in her new neighborhood that are more accepting of Stargirl's uniqueness. She meets the lovable and precocious six year old Dootsie, a shut-in named Betty-Lou, Perry and the Honeybees and many other characters that shape Stargirl's world and her thoughts about the situations she gets involved in.

Likes: I read the original Stargirl years ago, but the sequel or rather companion novel still alludes to the first novel without being completely obvious. I enjoyed this book and it was fun to see a story where Stargirl's antics are enjoyed during the whole course of the book and not until the end. All of the characters are well rounded, even though we get glimpses and snapshots of some of the characters such as Charlie and Arnold. We get a lot of the story through snapshots of the days and events, but all the characters are well written and interesting, but flawed through these small little glimpses that we get through Stargirl's journal entries or the longest letter in the world to Leo.

Dislikes: There wasn't much that I didn't like about this book. Dootsie is a little annoying at times, but her cuteness outshines her irritating qualities. I wish there could be more about Perry and Stargirl, but it is clear that Stargirl still loves Leo, which is sweet.

Overall: This was a cute book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd recommend reading (or re-reading) the first book, Stargirl, before reading the second and decide whether Stargirl's love of Leo is warranted and even deserved. It was a light read that takes you along slowly on one girl's adventures about the town and coming-of-age in a new and unique place. It was good to hear Stargirl's side of the story this time.

January 21, 2010

Race in Publishing: Discussion Part 1

Magic Under Glass, a debut novel by Jacyln Dolamore has been garnering great reviews for its writing, storyline, and characters. On some blogs that I've read, it's being compared to the next Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray, which is amazing because that book series is amazing. Anyway, my only problem with this has been the book cover, which features a white girl on the cover of a book about a person of color. Thankfully they are changing the cover, but I wonder what made them do that in the first place and hopefully what can we do to prevent them from doing it again.

I was writing my Psych 168 paper on the Liar controversy when news about Magic Under Glass started spreading. I wish I would have said something earlier, but there were so many people who can say it more eloquently than I could ever hope to try. By the time I got my thoughts to say about the matter, the incident was handled and the problem with this one particular book was solved. Besides, I think my paper on the Liar controversy was much more interesting than what I had to say in my blog. I wanted to get my grade in that before I posted it anywhere else.

I never got my paper back anyway, so I never had my chance to give my thoughts to the general public before then. Waiting instead of taking action. I don't want to be accused of plagiarism just in case, but now that I have my paper turned in and hopefully graded with an A+. This blog has my name written all over it, so I hope that if the teacher does manage to read this, she'll know that it's me. (Hello Dr. Murray).

An interesting blog post about book covers and race started by Justine Larbalestier caused an interesting discussion on whether book covers represent or in this case, misrepresent, the characters portrayed in the novel. Larbalestier discusses the book covers that had been chosen for different versions of her book entitled Liar. The author states that her main character, Micah, is "black with nappy hair which she wears natural and short." The United States edition of this book is in black and white, but the girl on the cover is clearly white.

Larbalestier, an Australian author, states that none of her Australian fans were concerned about Micah's ethnicity and in fact, most of her fans from around the world admire the author for writing about non-white characters. In outrage to the white-washing of her American edition book cover, she asked how other authors, both white and non-white, dealt with white-washed covers. Larbalestier saw a reoccurring theme in the publishing world. "...Authors have told me that their books with black covers are frequently not shelved in the same part of the library as other YA [young adult literature]...and many bookshops simply don’t stock them at all. How welcome is a black teen going to feel in the YA section when all the covers are white?" This is a good question and one I will attempt to answer from my perspective as a black woman. My perspective is only one unique perspective about the black experience.

I am an young adult literature reader, but I will admit that most of the stories I do read about are about white main characters or written by white authors. I fully enjoyed those books and I even kept a record of how many books I read, who wrote them, and what the book was about. At the end of the year, I reviewed this record and realized that out of the thirty traditionally published books I managed to read this past year, none of them were written by African-American authors. Even though they had some African-American characters, none of them portrayed African-Americans as the main character. This was disconcerting for me. It made me wonder why this was the case? I didn't actively seek out books based on the characters' race. In some books race was never mentioned, but it was assumed that a character was white by certain characteristics, and in others, race was only mentioned to say that a character was non-white. This implied that my default setting for most characters was(and probably still is) white. Why is this?

First there is a stereotype in the publishing companies that books written by black authors are only written for a black audience. If I were to seek out a book about African-American characters written by African-American authors, these would normally be categorized in the "Urban Fiction" section, regardless of whether the setting is urban or otherwise. This is what black authors have become associated with and while it's not necessarily a bad thing to have an author have a defined niche, most books will never reach a wide distribution beyond their niches. The niche is for African-Americans, which only supports the publishing paradigm of black authors writing for black readers. If I wanted a book with a character that looked like me, I'd have to go to the "Urban Fiction" section, but I don't think my local bookstore or library has an 'urban fiction' section. Where do I have to go to find good books with African-American main characters?

The strange thing is that there are white authors writing about Black main characters all the time and those books aren't directed towards black audiences nor do I see them shelved in the Urban Fiction section. A Black author writing about a White character has an easier time than a White author does writing about a non-white character. This is because African-Americans are bombarded with ideals of a Eurocentric pop culture. Most white writers are scared to try writing about non-white characters, which is unfortunate, because at this point they have the majority of the market. I believe that many authors would want to portray a non-white character correctly by doing adequate research and observations of different types of people. It would be to their benefit and credibility to do so. If there were more books about black characters in general, whether written by black authors or not, perhaps this would allow my default setting and as well as others in my position to expand a little bit to encompass the way the world truly is.

January 13, 2010

Updated Schedule

Spring 2010
Psych 12
Psych 140
Crwt 172
Crwt 57C

Summer 2010
First Session:
Psych 150
Psych 160

Second Session:
Psych 134
CRWT 172

Fall 2010
Crwt 187
CRWT upper div
CRWT Upper Div

January 9, 2010

Works in Progress 2

January 2010

* Revise Ms. Desena----January 18. Up for critique Jan 6.-Jan 11. on Critique Circle.
* Update Riverless City. Submit for Critique January 24 January 12. Changed into a prose poetry format and turning it in for workshop.
* Continue writing Infinite Alice. Get up to episode 10 by the end of January. Roughly 3 chapters a week.(0/10)
* Finish Part One (10 Episodes) Script Bible of It's All Relative. (0/10)

January 7, 2010

One Of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Date Started: Jan 7, 2010
Data Finished: Jan 7, 2010

Summary: Ruby's mother died and now Ruby has been sent to her famous movie star father all the way in Los Angeles. She has to adjust to the weather, the traffic, and being followed by the paparazzi. She's thinking about her boyfriend, her best friend, and all the strange but friendly kids at school. However, she can't forgive her father for deserting her as a little girl.

Likes: This is a pretty interesting premise to me. I don't think I've read a story about this subject matter before and it was really entertaining. It was a quick read, which worked and didn't work for me. What worked was the characters, especially all the famous kids at Ruby's school. I wanted to know more about them and get to know them more. I wanted to know more about Ruby and her mom, even though the glimpses we do help. I wanted to especially know more about Ruby and her father and a little more about her father's secret.

Dislikes: I don't think the poem form works for me in this novel. There are some heavy ideas and themes with interesting characters and situations that the poem form doesn't do justice. Or rather, the poem isn't used to it's maximum potential. The ending seems a little gimmicky. I can understand the situation, but for the character to forgive her father that easily is strange. I would rather have where the father's secret was revealed earlier and the rest of the story was of Ruby coming to terms with her father's lifestyle. The story just wallows along and saves that until the end to the point where it's not even relevant or interesting anymore.

Overall: Interesting premise, but I'm not in love with the format. It's cute but at the end of the day, it lacks the depth I'm looking for because the format makes it such a quick read. Things aren't very subtle either, so the depth isn't gleaned from reading between the lines or what goes unsaid. The story is pretty straightforward though, though the ending isn't really satisfying.

January 6, 2010

Is your story a busted geo storm?

Early when It's All Relative hit the interwebs, I submitted my story to a critique group online on LJ. I won't say any group names, but those who know me know what/who I'm talking about. I have to say that it's probably one of the worst critique groups out there. Why? They aren't nurturing (because they don't like to "coddle") and they like to team up and tear people down. Groups like this have their place for authors who are used to this sort of thing, but it seems to me their rules are misleading and obscure to lure unsuspecting writers

At any rate, someone mentioned that It's All Relative is/was like a busted ford truck and that I should leave it alone and work on something different. I told them that change that ford truck into a geo storm and you have the story of my life--writing and otherwise.
I am a somewhat proud owner of a 1990 geo storm named Susie(named after the cartoon).

Before: This is my mom's car. It was cute, it was functional and it rarely broke down.

After: The car has dents in the side panel, the paint is virtually bleached and striped from its once teal exterior to a combination of silver, rust, and chipping aquamarine paint. The interior is cracked on the door panels, the seat in the back is torn apart and the seats won't go down. The air conditioner doesn't work on one side and the lights have a bad habit of cutting off while I'm driving. The car can hit 80+ miles no problem, but when it goes back down to 50 and below it's starts acting funky. It starts when it wants. It breaks down during extreme heat or cold.
It frequently breaks down and needs to be towed.

We shell out money for repairs. Every time the damn thing breaks down I want to get a new car. I start frantically searching for the car of my short term dreams. I know I can't afford it, but it's such a hassle dealing with an unreliable car.  I can't afford a new car just yet, all I can do is look, save, and try to make the storm look presentable.

What does any of this have to do with writing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (This isn't my actual car, but my car looked just as bad if not worse)

Do you remember what I said early about what someone said about my story, It's All Relative. Your first draft is going to be awful and broken down. It's going to be full of grammatical errors and whatnot. That's okay. No one expects your first draft to be perfect. If it is perfect, you are either a brilliant writer or you are disillusioned.

You can try to get as damn near perfect as you can, that's your duty as a writer. You wouldn't buy a new car that was broken right off the bat right? Learning things like grammar and sentence structure (one thing I admittedly struggle with/is probably obvious) and all that good stuff. That is like the transmission of the car. You wouldn't want to drive without a transmission, right? The engine of the car is your voice. That's what drives your story, pushes your story forward. One thing I learned is that you can have the most interesting characters in the world, but if you can't translate that into words, you're damn near doomed.

IAR is my busted geo storm story. I've been pushing it along and working on it little by little, gathering bits and pieces from different things. The same with Susie. We've bought little pieces here and there and ultimately they will add up until a complete car. I don't have the money to afford a new car. I don't have the time or experience to work on a different story. I've driven better cars, but still wanted my car back. I've tried to write other stories and just went back to the same old story. Maybe you've written other stories but you want to work on your idea? All I can do is drive Susie around and fix her up while I save for a new car. All I can do is working on IAR while getting experience to have the skills to work on one of my better ideas. Maybe all you can do is working on your little story until you finish it and have a story to call your own.

I'm not ashamed for having a busted looking car. It is a little embarrassing pulling up in the car, but laughing about it's flaws. At least I know what's wrong with it, that gives me the chance to fix it. I'm not ashamed of writing about It's All Relative, which is just build up every single idea from an anime I've watched since I was in tenth grade. I'm glad to have something to get around in, it's not the best car, but it's my car. I'm glad I have something to write, it's not the best story, but it's my story and that's a lot more than most people can say.

Do you have any busted stories that you can't bear to let go? Share!

Next: Editing Process.

January 5, 2010

Apocalypse Blog

Apocalypse Blog

Summary: A bomb goes off and Faith, a once superficial woman getting over a hard break up, becomes a leader of a ragtag group of survivors during an apocalypse.
Likes: This is such a great story with great writing. All the characters were fully rounded and flawed, such as Faith herself. She tries to take care of everyone, but she isn't always successful. Unfortunately, some characters die, some character we've come to love die. This is life and it's written so well in this piece of web fiction that it make the story meaningful and more compelling to read.

Dislikes: This was a depressing story. The moment you don't it can get any worse, it gets worse. The story is pretty much written in real time, but reading about the situation doesn't translate well for web fiction in my opinion. It utilizes the blog fic genre very well, but the story is so heavy that it's not a quick read like other web fiction. It requires a reader's undivided attention, something that is nearly impossible on the internet. The story is so well written, that the medium doesn't do the story justice. Perhaps if the story was in print or took full advantage of the internet by being a bit more interactive.

Overall: I stopped reading after Zombies and skipped around a bit. The story seems like it should have stopped after Zombies to me and that's why I stopped there. I will continue eventually, but I feel like the second half of the book is an entirely different story with different characters and I need to take a break from all the sadness.

I read most of the story in one night with little distractions. The writing is so good that it deserves ones full attention, so I'd recommend setting some time aside for doing this.

January 2, 2010

Works in Progress Schedule

Infinite Alice- 20 chapters plotted out, first chapter 1/2 written.  
Ms. Desena- Up for critique Jan 5-Jan 12 on Critique Circle. Revision scheduled for January 18.
Against Giants- Need to rework the plot. Rework scheduled for February 2010.
Catch a Star- Need to rework plot. Scheduled for Spring 2010 (possibly for another creative writing assignment depending on what classes I get)
Welcome to Indiana- On Hold
Untitled Romance- Scheduled for Winter 2010. This may be my assignment for my Prose Poetry class, depending on how the class is structured.
Love in London(Tentative Title)- An idea I had on the way to pick up my dog from the vet. It is based on my adventures in London. Scheduled to write Spring 2010 (possibly for a creative writing assignment, depending on what classes I get)
Riverless City- a poem about my school. I will need to update it. Scheduled to write second part Janurary 2010. Due by Feburary 2010.

Three Month Plan:
January 2010
  • Revise Ms. Desena----January 18
  • Update Riverless City. Submit for Critique January 24
  • Continue writing Infinite Alice. Get up to episode 10 by the end of January. Roughly 3 chapters a week.  
  • Finish Part One (10 Episodes) Script Bible of It's All Relative
February 2010
  • Submit Riverless City to literary journal
  • Rework Against Giants.
  • Finish First Draft of Infinite Alice by the end of February.
March 2010
  • Rework Catch a Star.
  • Submit Third Draft of Ms. Desena for Final Critique March 21.
  • Line Edit of Infinite Alice by the end of March. 
  • Finish Part Two (10 Episodes) Script Bible of It's All Relative
  • Brainstorm and Character Development for Love in London.

January 1, 2010

A Journey Back: A Decade in Review

I stole this idea from my friend, Aneesah, and a few others so I figure why not join the bandwagon. To the best of my knowledge I will try to remember what happened in these years. I'm trying not to use names, but if your name comes up, uh... I guess I apologize, but I couldn't think of good nickname to refer to you as without A) embarrassing you (B)letting people know the evil nicknames we gave to you at the time. More...

2000-01- I was graduating from 6th grade at the Academy of Performing Arts and Foreign Language. I was 11 and I was going to be starting 7th grade at Cobalt Middle School, which was nothing but a bunch of portables. I was going from fairly popular 6th grader to loser 7th grader with braces. I resolved to stop liking Pokemon before I started 7th grade, that's when I started watching Toonami and Adult Swim. I went to summer school and met some of my good friends whom I'll refer to as D and Mizu. 7th grade started and I hung out with D and her friends. This year I went from saxophone player to trumpet player, went to San Francisco for a band trip, and joined Cadet Corp. I went to my first school dance.

2001-02-8th grade. I started hanging out with Mizu and her group of friends, which would include T and M/L. I still hung out with my old group of friends, but I was slowly transitioning away from them because new people joined us and started talking shit about another friend in our group. Plus, they didn't like anime. I had T and M/L in Mr.Buckhave's algebra class and in my English class, so I think we started our first fan fiction which was a Ronin Warriors Fan Fiction (lol).  I got bullied a lot by some ghetto ass black girls (and their ghetto ass brothers and boyfriends) and I got "suspended" for socking this stupid bitch in the face after they smashed an egg into the back of my head.

2002-03- 9th grade. 9th grade was pretty much the same. I had all the same friends and was into all the same things. This was the year I met U and she became a part of our group. I would say this was one of the best years because there was no fighting and no drama between any of us. We threw food off the balcony and hit people and did "bad" things and hung out in Mr. Alcorn's class during lunch. I ditched my first class and purposely got myself caught to see what would happen. I met A in my algebra class and made fun of our teacher's accent. This is the year we started the Fan Fiction in the red notebook,  Coo Coo Cachoo, which I'm pretty sure you can find floating around fanfiction.net

2003-04- 10th grade. Arguably one of the best years ever. Not really, but it was the year I think I did the most growing up. This is the year Anime Club got started and I met Nosaju, Yohi, Ichigo, Jin, and Toma. M/L didn't go to our school anymore. I also met the 04ers, Jade, Sirod, and a few others. I also met Namida, Rehtaeha, and errr... started dating Takun(the guy for which the fictional Takun is based on.*gag*). Yes, this was the year I got my first and only boyfriend so far. We went out together for a whole five months. (I will admit that it was fun while it lasted. It was a whirlwind of ditching classes to go to the tennis courts, goofing off in spanish and journalism, and playing DDR during lunch in Mr. Branstrator's and Halo in Mr. Henderson's class. I went to London for a week and I have been itching to get back ever since. The BF and I broke up a month after London (yes we went together with a group in our school). I had to apologize to all the friends I snubbed and get my life back together.

2004-05- 11th grade. Summer school was spent ditching to go to Del Taco and Jack in the Box with Kagome (a guy) and T. Another good year. I started taking Avid and met my friend Andrew. We goofed off and played "Peanut Butter Jelly Time Song" everyday before leaving class. We hung out in Ms. Gollimeyer's class during lunch just about everyday.  Matt, Omar, Chad and some other people started hanging out with us. I was still friends with the anime club people, but not so much. I said good-bye to my anime club friends and other demonic 05ers, went to Six Flags for the first time with the band kids, and Disneyland several times in a span of 3 months (and every year before that since 7th grade).

2005-2006- 12th grade. Admittedly one of the worst years ever. Anyway, this year started off okay, I reconnected with A and all the demonic 05ers were gone. Everything was peachy until someone (again, I'm not saying names) thought it would be a good idea to spread rumors/tell personal information about someone else and start a shit load of drama that virtually tore up a six year friendship. I ditched many classes with T to work on college apps. with Ms. Parola or watch CSI/House in Mr. Voight's. Got my first paid job working at Sylvan Learning Center. I went to prom, got into CSU Fullerton, UC San Diego and UC Riverside. In the end, I decided to go to UC Riverside and never looked back.

2006-2007- Summer that TASU formed. I started college. I got into the Honors program(and subsequently dropped the honors program) and lived in the honors hall in Pentland Hills. I went through FastStart for 5 weeks. I muddled through chemistry and biology classes. Didn't really party, stayed to myself, and met some friends. A moved to Colorado.

2007-2008- Second year of college. Started drinking and going to parties, but never enough to mess with grades. Meet two of the worst roommates I've ever had. Met some of the best friends I've ever had in RHA.

2008-2009- Third year of college. Got my car and got another job working at Mad Science. Got stuck with the same retarded roommate from the year before, but two good ones. A bunch of people either got knocked up,married, or both back in Victorville. Proud to say nobody I particularly care about was in this group (although I do know most of these people. =/ ). 

2009- Fourth year of college. Grades were all fucked up because someone didn't put my research grade in the comp. Changed my major and looking forward to graduating, sorta... Got awesome roommates.

I love how things became less complicated in college. Anyway, here's looking forward to new decade and an awesome year.

2011 100+ Book Challenge

Book List
*Denotes a story with an author or main character of color.
  1. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (YA: dystopian)
  2. Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger* (YA: contemporary)
  3. The Duff by Kody Keplinger (YA: contemporary/audiobook)  
  4. What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez* (YA: contemporary, ARC)
  5. Anacaona: Golden Flower by Edwidge Danticat* (MG: historical)
  6. What You Have Left by Will Allison (Adult; literary)
  7. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu (YA: contemporary)
  8. Plan B by Charnan Simon (YA: contemporary, ARC) 
  9. Glass by Ellen Hopkins (YA: contemporary) 
  10. White Cat by Holly Black (YA; urban fantasy)


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