Sunday, March 26, 2017

First World Problems

Sometimes when you're little, you don't realize when you start growing up. When a job with health insurance seems a lot more of a better deal (it always was) than a couple of jobs to make ends meet. When you always figured you'd be "forever alone" and some guy comes around and gives you the time of day.

When you go seven and a half months without household internet and are on the verge of pulling your hair out.

That's what my life's been like. Fortunately, that changed as of yesterday.

See, I've always been an internet baby. And when my boyfriend warned me that there was no high speed services in his childhood home when I packed up my stuff from Florida and moved with him to Ohio, I figured I would be okay. I mean, they're not like total barbarians, they have cable. But the internet was my thing, my social outlet and I am always running out of data with AT&T (as soon as I pay off my and my mom's iPhones, I'm done). Lately, my need for internet revolves around advertisement free movies and YouTube videos.

Truthfully, I did want those past seven and a half months without internet to be a gateway for me to write again. It's true, I haven't been writing lately. Here and there I'll splash a paragraph or so, but sitting down to do the nitty-gritty hasn't been on my agenda. I'd like to not think of myself as a failure but more as a person in need of a creative break (but hey, I did read a lot!)

But, if I like it so much, why would I need a break?

When I graduated college in May of 2015, I had no idea where I wanted to go from there. Financial stability was my main concern and now that I'm stable, healthcare is next. But I'm not here to talk about my job concerns (because its boring and it actually does worry mebut thank God I have my health at the moment).

I always dreamily envisioned myself to be a best selling author, that's what most writers hope for anyway. Though it may be a glimmering possibility, my lovely boyfriend revealed to me what I should really be aspiring for.

That is, write for myself. I used to do it quite naturally (Criminal Offence :X), however, college has sort of killed the positive writing vibes. It certainly has made me a better writer, but its made me want to stay away from it because it has drained my energy. I don't regret going to college for my English degree (I try not too I still have monthly loans to pay back) but I think I overworked myself and killed the fun spirit of writing, making it work.

I want it to be fun again. I want to write stories that will make me happy and, hopefully, some others as well.

So here it goes, round...whatever.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Paul Zindel Reviews

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/03/PaulZindel.gifPaul Zindel was an incredible writer. He had touched the lives of many, myself included, and has ignited a sense of creating characters that are not standardized by any means.

I didn't fully start getting into Paul Zindel books until my senior year of high school in which I read all his classic YA's while struggling with homework and college expense worries. I was lucky that my high school library practically carried all of his books (even though towards the end they seemed to be disappearing--the high school librarians weren't fond of me and my friend bumming around in there during lunch, I suspect).

I was first introduced The Pigman in my 7th grade remedial reading class, so I wasn't quite too sure if anyone else in regular the 7th grade reading classes got a chance to read the book because my friends at the time never mentioned it once.

I don't really remember what I thought when I first read The Pigman. I know I didn't immediately think he was a literary genius or that I had to get my hands on every book he's written since then, but I do recall it's display of an older adult getting along with two teen misfits and how interesting that was since most books I have read before didn't show such a dynamic that adults and kids could be friends. And I don't know what made me want to read his other books besides the fact that they were all in my high school library--easy access!

So here I go--I am making it a "life" goal to write a review for all of his YA classics, so I will not be discussing his middle grade adventure books or his playwriting (with exception of two).

This list (not in order of what I will be reviewing) is as follows:

The Pigman
The Pigman's Legacy
The Pigman and Me
My Darling, My Hamburger
Pardon Me, You're Stepping on My Eyeball!
The Undertaker's Gone Bananas
Confessions of a Teenage Baboon
The Amazing and Death-Defying Diary of Eugene Dingman
A Begonia For Miss Applebaum
I Never Loved Your Mind
Harry and Hortense at Hormone High
The Girl Who Wanted a Boy
David & Della
To Take a Dare
A Star for the Latecomer
Love & Centipedes (short story from Places I Never Meant to Be)
The Effects of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds (play)
Every Seventeen Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy (play)

As I post these reviews I will update this page with link and dates.

I also want to leave with this blog post of author A.S. King, discussing how Paul Zindel's works have helped her with her own writing. I read this long before I read her novel Please Ignore Vera Dietz and I can gladly say I see the inspiration in her works: A.S. King on Paul Zindel

Wish me the best of luck.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

New book (finally, right?)--Night of Revelation

Hello, friends! I'm excited to announce "Night of Revelation" is available to pre-order for $1.99 via Smashwords and is set to be released soon!


Quinn invaded Carmen's life in such a delicate way, that the best favor in return would be present the night Quinn decides to confess her affections to Milton, the upperclassman every girl had it for. However, plans go under when disruption occurs, causing Quinn more heartache than intended and Carmen further reflection on the endearing significance behind a "friendship."

I hope you're as excited as I am. I've worked real hard on this one and hope it won't disappoint! Will talk more on it as the date approaches.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The problems of being a new 20-something

As a recent college graduate, I've entered the pool of young adults in search of financial stability. Some in my graduating class were fortunate enough to land a job in their respective fields right after graduation, but some, like myself, avidly search for employment anywhere that's hiring (that is if these graduates haven't already attained a position during their attendance at college and just stick around).

I live in the burden of student loans and unknown life goals. I'm not exactly sure what I want to do with my life—everything seems kind of bleak right now—but I do know what my dreams are, and making that a reality is a work-in-progress, on the side job. I can't be passive about that, as I tend to be with anything important due to my overall nervousness. And I often find myself running these lines in my head: "Life is what you make of it" and "It's not forever." The problem with it not being forever is that the present seems like forever. Stuck in a drooling cycle of low hope, even when you're trying to be optimistic and peppy about anything that comes to you.

Assertiveness brings you far as I've learned these past couple of months. And sometimes assuming that role is hard for shy, anxious 20-somethings who just want everything to go according to plan (because we do have a plan—just not a very good one).

A friend of mine gave me advice when I witnessed her exchange pleasantries with a cashier at a gas station. As we settled in her car, I looked at her and said with serious awe, "How do you do that?"

"Do what?" she asked.

"Talk to strangers with such ease, like it comes so easy to you, it's no big deal. With me, I'm like so awkward and don't really know what to say most times."

She took a moment to consider what I said, then replied smoothly, "You know what it is: I just don't care."

I think that's what everyone is slowly beginning to realize in this generation, if they haven't already—and it's still a concept to me that I'm trying to open myself up to. Not concerning yourself with what other people think of you is the bases of making it through life. I'm still having trouble with it as I constantly rehearse my answers for job interviews and standard conversation when dealing with customer service. I want to go at it with a care-free attitude but having set responses give me a vague piece of mind, even if it makes me look a bit boring.

This was just a thought in the downtime. Good luck to those in the same boat as me!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On "Criminal Offence :X"

It's been about a solid four years since I finished, thought I might come forward and talk about it. By that, I mean the writing process and general idea behind it.

PLEASE ONLY READ THIS IF YOU FINISHED IT BECAUSE SPOILERS AHEAD. OKAY, THANKS!! (:

I began writing this in my sophomore year of high school, after my parents presented me with my very first laptop in the summer! For without the laptop, I don't believe I would been able to dedicate such time in having to hog the family computer for my writing endeavors. (the said laptop is now currently being used by my mother, a bit slow now though, but it's sturdy).


Here are five facts I did on twitter (because I do daily tweet cleanse, it's deleted) before I get into major detail, I covered the basics:


yeah, this is how i normally convey myself through twitter.

I guess I was always the creative-writer type; did some diary entries through elementary and middle school, got aboard the ff.net bus with my take on terrible Bleach fan-fiction, then even wanted to start my own paranormal-esque series when the Twilight epidemic began to spread.

But I don't believe I was cut out for creating anything other than realistic fiction. I like real-life too much, mainly high school life (my own high school life inane and boring, sad really). And I enjoyed writing about people just hanging out. Explaining it any further would be weird.

So, I'm a hopeless romantic and I love the whole cliche of "two people falling in love when they really shouldn't" ordeal. That, and the drawing interest of Stockholm syndrome (I'm still fascinated by it). Thus, my Dorothy and Eric were born!

Developing them wasn't too hard, I had influences of other writings to work off of. Dorothy was my first protagonist so everything just kind of flowed, and her reactions were mine, basically. And Eric was just every guy I've ever had a crush on come true (ha).

Another thing I worked to develop was the side characters. I wanted to write a story that wasn't all about Dorothy and Eric, I wanted other characters in the play. I've read so many stories, too much in fact, that was so focused on the romantic interests and simply used side characters to build up the romance. I didn't want Janaki, Shannon, Travis or Aaron tossed aside like they didn't matter, they were important. They're their own people too and I wanted to make that very clear. (I'm not saying I did this well, I didn't. But I tried and am trying further with future novels.)

 I guess what I'm saying is I wanted to also write a story about friendship. Because to me, personally, stories about friendship are foreshadowed by stories about romance. I love romance, but as I'm growing older, I realize friendships are so much more significant!

-THE BIG SPOILER

Okay, so, before or at least the first couple of chapters into writing, I knew Eric would die. I barely gave it a second thought too, so I still don't understand my motives behind it other than the fact of him living would cause a whole mess of the police getting heavily involved and the two lovebirds never being able to see each other ever again, probably (of course, they can't with this ending either, sorry). I also believed (in the very back of my mind) Eric was too much of a mess and him and Dorothy would be damaged in the long-run. It just wouldn't work out. It would never work out.

 When I finished writing the story, I was in disbelief. It took about a year to edit it out, then put it up on Smashwords (bad idea, still needed editing). Then it took this summer to put some time aside and really go forth in editing now that I've actually, hopefully improved in my writing (but it still needs editing).

So, I got a kick out of writing this story! I was passionate about it, as I'm sure every writer is passionate about their first story. 

However, this story is not noteworthy. 

It's just another story in the millions of independent teen realistic romances out there. But I'm so glad that anyone would take a chance on reading it and even giving it feedback (good or bad, I don't care). To have people reading it, it's the best feeling! So thanks. Thanks so much! I appreciate the heck outta you all! 

Please, pass it along if you enjoyed it, and here's the playlist if you want to listen to the music behind the writing.

Thanks to all who read it. I mean it. THANK YOU. (:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Liebster Award (for writers/bloggers)

 

The Rules!
  1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them: Cheyenne Trumbo (thanks again)!
  2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator. 
  3. Nominate some other bloggers for this award [I'll get back to this once I bond with other authors because I really have no one I could turn to at this point, I suck, I'm sorry--I don't know many people]
  4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer: I don’t feel like coming up with new questions, (much like K.R. Green) so we’ll keep it to the same ten, yeah? (Cheyenne)
  5. Notify nominees.

 

MY ANSWERS!

1. Why do you write?
Because my life is hecka mundane that I need an array of characters to throw into some crazy plots which I can mess around with. And pointless character dialogue, absolutely cannot live without it.

2. What do you hope to achieve with your writing? (E.g. raise awareness of something, tell a story, teach a lesson…)
Characters are a big thing to me, and I just hope that my characters will amuse as well as become memorable beings. I just write in hopes that I can entertain an audience with a good story--and friendships are a huge thing in all my stories so bonding with people (which is something real-life me really sucks at) is some kind of subliminal thing I guess. Haha.

3. If you could go back in time and give yourself some writing advice what would it be?
Take some editing classes, because it would be really helpful to know grammar and formatting, luckily I live in the age of Google. And stop leaving the novel halfway through, I've got so much more work on my hands now. ):

4. Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what sort of music?
Sometimes, yes. It varies. Maybe I'll listen to soundtracks of my favorite tv shows/videogames/movies (Akira Yamaoka, Angelo Badalamenti, Shiro Sagisu, Petri Alanko, Michael Andrews just to name a few favorites), or I'll listen to my novel playlists (and then get distracted and edit said novel playlists). Sometimes it's whatever playing on my iTunes at the moment. I also like background sounds Coffitivity is great!

5. Where do you get your ideas from?
People, really. Or from other characters (from one particular series I absolutely love, haha). I can meet a person or see a person and instantly feel a "novel connection" and I get some ideas from their appearance or they way they do something. A lot of my novels start off like that, with just one person I either hear talked about or have seen around. Plots develop afterwards.

6. What is your writing process? Are you a pantser, a plotter or a mixture?
Maaaan, sometimes I'm both, depending. I've started writing a sequel to another novel of mine and I haven't planned anything other than the general idea of its purpose, and now not planning is coming back to bite me in the a** (especially since I'm using this writing project for Julno). Most times I do a brief outline with where I want my stories to go. Sometimes I do detailed outlines.

7. Where do you write best? (E.g. at your desk, in bed, in a cafe…)
For a majority of my writing career (which started when I began high school), I didn't have a desk in my room (still don't aside from dorms). So I wrote everything from my bed, and I've gotten so used to doing all my work in bed that I even write my academic papers for college in bed (unless I'm stressing out which I rush to the quiet rooms in the library and shut myself from the world completely).

8. Is there anyone that keeps you writing despite struggles? If so, who?
I would say my mom, who is a little oblivious about what being a novelist really means, believing that I'm going to be the next best-seller (I don't want to break it to her and tell her most writers make sh*t, even though I partially haveshe still doesn't get it). Other than that, my friends root me on but that's about it. I write generally for myself and in a hopes that I can make good stories for others to read!

9. If you could meet any author who would it be?
A bunch of my YA favorites: Sarah Dessen, John Green, Rainbow Rowell! And if he hadn't already passed, Paul Zindel would have been my ultimate. His YA classics are so wonderful. Such an inspiration!

10. What is your favourite book of all time?
I still feel strongly for Melissa Bank's The Wonder Spot. Her writing style is top-notch, so cut and clean. Seriously, I read that book when I was in middle school and I was so infatuated with how it was written so perfectly. And especially the story; about a girl through her teenaged years into adulthood, trying to learn more about life and about herself (told you, I'm big on characters).

As I said, I'll come back to nominating eventually. But if you read this and wanna do it, I NOMINATE YOU. Get at it. :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

in which i introduce myself for the tenth time

Hey, I'm Briana Lagos. I've been well acquainted with blogging and have been an avid blogger since I was 14 years old in fact. But of course, as any right-minded young adult, I took the old me down (I still read back on posts, cringing at my past self's ideology).

I'm new and improved, but I don't think I'll be blogging as frequently as I used to. I could never grasp how to blog correctly—I either went too personal or ranted on about things I knew no one cared to read. Truth be told, infrequent blogging is the safest bet for me. Although I'm very active on Twitter, so if you wanna get in my life hit me up on there (I also delete a lot of tweets, cringing at past self from three hours ago).

I'm a writer, well, an author. I'm the chick that wrote Criminal Offence :X, which—let's not lie—is a super emo love story. I wrote it all in the tenth grade during my first Nanowrimo, so I do cringe at it a little. I edited it the best I could just recently, but there are still mistakes within the final text. Sorry folks.

Over the course of re-reading it, I learned to be proud of that dumb book. It made me realize I freakin' love to write and feedback has been overall well (someone told me I've got talent, thanks--you're sweet). After that book, I've written four others, that's right. Four. I've got plans for another and one's got a sequel (just a sequel, no book series for me). Problem is they're all incompletes (except one). I've got a nasty habit of leaving things undone.

If you read my first novel and liked it, I want to take this moment to say thank you! You reading it means that all my efforts in writing were worth it. If you didn't like it, that's fine. I wonder if I like it much either, most days. I'm still working on my writing style and trying to find the right voice I want to convey in future novels. And characters, characters are super important to me.

Stick with me if you want. And talk to me if you want too! That's it for this introduction. :)