Ten (Sip) Impressions and Observations – RGAT

10 (sip). I spent about $10 today total. (For three meals, a snack, and a Walmart run.)

9 (gao). Everyone drives however the heck they want to. (On the left side of the road, mind you.)

8 (paet). On the lake, there are houses, restaurants, and hotels floating on bamboo. (They rise and fall with the water and are reached by boat. But not during a storm. Then you’re stranded until it passes. Because that happened.)

7 (jet). Everything here is so delicious. And spicy. Such variety! (How can anyone have sinus issues when eating Thai food?!)

6 (hok). Breakfast foods are essentially nonexistent. (We just had fresh fruit. Our other options were pork or chicken over rice or noodles.)

5 (hah). Their 7/11 has more interesting purchases than ours. (Like lychee juice? And sticky rice burgers! And mama! Mmmm…)

4 (see). Texas is a very recognizable place to be from. (As well as New York. But Texas has the cowboy stereotype. Everyone assumed I was from New York until told otherwise. That’s a compliment, I guess.)

3 (sahm). It’s awesome to see all the brands I know and love written in Thai. (Picture to follow.)

2 (song). In Thailand, being light skinned is considered more attractive. (My soap is for “White & Firm Skin”.)

1 (nueng). America kind of pales in comparison. (Ba dum bum ch!)


Renee’s Great Adventure Thailand (Intro and Excitement)

So far, it’s been a lot of waiting. Obviously I didn’t expect the adventure to start immediately, but my excitement isn’t wearing down with exhaustion. Traveling to Thailand is an opportunity of a lifetime for me. In 12 hours, I’ll be in tomorrow and across the sea.

As I’ve said, if you need to contact me, the best way will be through Facebook messaging. I do have internet so I should get back to you fairly promptly. Also, I will post here at the very least once a week! I’ll tweet, Facebook, and tumbl the links, so if you’re curious as to how my adventure is going, you should be able to keep up. I’ll also be journaling and taking lots of pictures!

For those who aren’t aware, I have a two month internship in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Since I was little, I dreamed of going to Thailand. My parents went 26 years ago and I loved flipping through their photo albums. This is my chance to go! I’m a little anxious. I’ve never been so far from home. Ever. And not for so long. But overall, I truly believe this will be an amazing, life-changing experience that I will be immensely blessed by. Prayers and support are always appreciated!

A couple of things I’m already looking forward to:

I’m actually super excited to fly across the ocean. My friend told me it was only exciting for a few minutes, but I am truly fascinated by the ocean. The depth, the beauty, the mystery… Maybe at some point I’ll do a post about it. (Because I have a borderline obsession with water and the color blue). I love imagining the adventures of a world below the surface that I can never quite be a part of but can still appreciate and enjoy. The ocean, guys.

I can’t wait to make friends! I make friends everywhere! I met this lovely Korean woman on the plane to San Fran. Her nickname is Mango because she loves them so much! I may never see her again, but she was great company on the flight. Really, though, I hope to learn a lot about Thai culture through the Thai people by making strong, lasting bonds of friendship with them. That’s what this trip is all about: being a blessing to others and allowing myself to be blessed by others.

I’m also super excited about the cuisine. I get to have Thai food every day. I don’t think I can express how much I appreciate Thai food. And this Thai food will be the legit made-by-Thai-for-Thai food! One of the things I appreciate about the culture already is the treatment of the food as an art, mixing flavors in harmony to satisfy the taste. This trip will be so great.

I imagine I’ll do a “first impressions” sort of post once I arrive. I do have a couple other friends doing blogs while we’re there. If you’re interested, I’ll post the links to them and you can find them. Of course, expect writing posts mingled in as I continue editing SOL. I hope that everyone back home in the States (which I technically haven’t left yet) has a fabulous summer and I’ll see you at the end of July!

Pruning a Plant (Or Weed-Whacking It)

I always dreaded the editing process. Not that I’d ever actually gone through it with a full-length project. In ways, I was right to fear it. The editing process is scary because I know I’m going to have to take crap and make it coherent. Not to mention, it involves much more critical thinking than just the creative flow that the first draft involves. I dread the massive amounts of time consuming editing involves, in order to be thorough. That is hard as a college student! (Tests, papers, short stories, reading, studying, presentations, blah, blah, blah… How do you sit down to edit a novel in the midst of that?!)

But, now that I’m sitting down to focus on it, I don’t get why so many people complain about it! Or why I ever was so afraid!

Editing has been so thrilling. I’m effectively hacking it to bits: cutting the crap, keeping the gems, and making it work.

I can see my novel getting smoother before my eyes. I can sense the flow of the story improving. The characters are establishing themselves more. The scenes aren’t needlessly wordy. The puzzle pieces of plot are fitting perfectly into place one at a time. It’s such a relief to know that, once I’ve finished, I won’t be ashamed to let other people read my work.

It’s like pruning a plant. I’m slowly and carefully picking off the crumpled dead leaves so that the flowers can live, thrive, and grow. The more dead leaves I pull away, the lovelier the plant becomes. It’s a delicate process. I’m picking off the inconsistencies, the extra words, the typos, the wrong words.

Not like I’m taking a blade to it or anything. But I am hacking a lot of stuff. Some doesn’t fit, some is unnecessary, and some just isn’t right. Like right now there is a weed entwined with my flower and I’m completely destroying it. It’s choking out my flower right now. And what good does pruning the dead leaves do if the weed is still there killing the plant?

And it feels good. Seeing the progress I’ve made so far, looking at how much better it is (and I’m only 1/20 of the way done). Pruning (and hacking) is such a rewarding experience. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll find myself dreading editing again. I’ll just be really excited to prune and hack away to the final product.

Coming Out (as an author)

April is over and so is my excuse that I was too busy with other writing projects to blog. Not that I’m stopping all writing projects. In fact, with the onset of summer, I hope to shift this blog from failed attempts at depth to something more practical for an aspiring author. Not that more personal ponderings won’t be posted on occasion. (“Ponderings” is a made up word. I’m a writer, I can do that, right?) But in the high hopes that one day I will actually have fans who read this ridiculous blog, I need to start toward a writing-oriented goal.

Also with the onset of summer, I’m sitting down to focus on some of my completed works. They need pruning, refining, and a lot of editing. Consistent consistency issues all up in that draft. I anticipate sending out queries by the end of the summer. So, before I go back to classes in August. Which means I have to work quickly. I have three completed works (abbreviated for my own convenience):

KM: an epic fantasy that probably needs to be altogether scrapped and rewritten

SOL: a modern fantasy with extensive character sheets, first draft totaling at 90,000 words

SOTS: a sci-fi/action, first draft totaling at 52,000 words

RS (in progress as of two days ago): a modern paranormal fantasy because why not (1,700 so far)

I like YA fiction. My mom still likes YA fiction. I will probably still like YA fiction when I am my mom’s age. Not all of my ideas are sci-fi/fantasy. Promise. I have several adaption ideas, two romances in mind (though I hate reading them so we’ll see how writing one goes), and I want to write crime novels once the complexity of a mystery plot line stops intimidating me. Still, the four listed above are rather varied sub-genres.

This poses a huge question: which one of them do I focus on prepping to pitch? Which one of these do I want to come out with as an author? Whatever I choose–assuming it’s picked up–would establish my career for life. Not that I need to stick specifically to a genre to keep fans, but how do I want to be remembered? Which is the most important and which one best represents my style and voice?

At this point, I think I know. I think I’ll be focusing on editing SOL this summer, alongside my new project RS. (My dog just came traipsing across the keyboard. I guess she says hi!) I just want to be sure that whatever I pick represents me well and makes a positive impact.