Welcome To Fake Paradise!

This is the personal writing blog for Joana Hill, creative writing major extraordinaire! Here you'll find the random ramblings and occasional writings of a girl obsessed with gay romance and the yaoi manga FAKE. You've been warned.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

50k and beyond

Fortissimo officially hit 50k on the eighteenth, but I'm still going strong. My actual goal for NaNo is 65k, which is more on-par with how long a YA novel (or at least a YA general fiction novel) is.

I know I have a lot of editing before me. Fortissimo isn't completely unsalvagable, but there are places in it that are just a mess. But you know what? I'm fine with that. I wanted to tell this story and I did. Besides, with a month of Christmas vacation before me in December/January, all I'll really have to do is write and edit.

So I guess what I have before me is editing both Fortissimo and Artistic License. I'm not sure what I want to do with Fortissimo at this point. Given the popularity of shows like Glee, maybe it has a chance of making it. Of course, who knows if Glee will even still be going strong when I feel ready to put Fortissimo out there.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Your favorite YA novel?

So with Christmas coming up in about a month, my mind has, of course, been set to what I want for Christmas. Being twenty years old, my relatives pretty much have no idea what I like and just give me money. This is all well and good, but I like books :(

So what's your favorite? As the title says, preferably YA since that is what I read and write the most. Even if you think I've already read something, mention it anyway! I'd love to just get a discussion going about this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fortissimo progress

I've come to a part in NaNo I dread: when I know I want to change something. But NaNoWriMo is about chugging through the novel no matter what. It doesn't matter that I want to completely change the ending; I can keep writing like I had and change the ending in December when I'm not restrained by that 65k I'm determined to get by the thirtieth.

That said, Fortissimo is turning into a clusterfuck (if you'll excuse the language; I'm assuming anyone who's following this blog already knows I swear like a drunken sailor). I have Christmas vacation for a month, in which time I will be editing both Fortissimo and Artistic License. AL will be sent into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award when it starts up for 2011, so here's hoping it works out :)

That's all for now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Update on NaNo

It's day four, and I'm up to 12,828 words so far. It's not even noon, though, so you can bet that will be increasing :) And here's a bit of the novel to tie you over until this thing hits shelves *crosses fingers*

I stared at the man sitting at the piano. He was the same one form the Spring concert. If I asked Noelle, she’d probably roll her eyes and tell me if I listened, I would've known he was going to be our new pianist.

“Good morning,” he said, finally looking away from the music sheets in his hands. I stiffened in my place, but he didn’t seem to notice. “You’re Rin, right?”

I swallowed the lump in my throat and nodded. “Yeah, but how did you know?”

“Mr. Kais talks about his students a lot.” He smiled in a secretive sort of way and turned back around so he was facing the piano. And then he moved to the side, giving me room to sit beside him as I approached.

I glanced around. There were some students around, but they were too wrapped up in their own conversations to notice us. So I sat.

“Do you know how to play?” he asked. I was just sitting there, staring at the white and black keys before me. “You don’t have to look so terrified; it won’t bite you.” He took one of my hands and arranged my fingers over some keys. “Just try playing some scales.”

I pounded down, and a horrible combination of sour notes sounded. He let go of my hand, and I leaned back, blushing. “Sorry,” I muttered.

“You’re not a very subtle person, are you Rin?” He didn’t say it meanly, but he still looked like he was trying not to laugh.

The door opened, and I hunched my shoulders.

“Good morning, Ritchie.”

I looked up to see the choir director, Mr. Kais. He was a bit older, probably mid-thirties, not that he had ever told me. He was a great director, but he often looked tired, and his brown hair was starting to get grey patches.

Ritchie stood up from the piano bench and followed Mr. Kais to his office. They both disappeared inside, closing the heavy, soundproof door behind them. I sighed and fell forward, letting my forehead hit some piano keys. Surprisingly, it sounded better than when I had been trying.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Excerpt from Fortissimo

Hey! How's NaNoWriMo going for everyone? I'm well-past my goal for the day but I plan to keep going! I just thought I'd pop in and post a scene I've written that I had in my head for a long time before NaNo actually started :D


Skate City was completely crowded as Noelle pulled me by my wrist into the facility. Not that I didn’t expect it to be, being a Saturday and everything, but with my luck, I’d probably crash into someone in the skating rink and make a situation that was incredibly awkward. I’d had plenty of those in the few weeks school had been in session; I didn’t need them with random strangers.

“Oh we’re not going skating right away,” Noelle said. When I looked at her like I thought she was insane, she smiled and continued. “Keith, Aurora, Gus and one of Aurora’s friends are supposed to be here. We’re all going to play laser tag!”

I cringed at the thought. It’s not that I didn’t want to play laser tag; I’d done it a few times before and had a pretty good time of it. But the thought of being in a dark room with Keith? Fucking terrifying if you asked me. I didn’t think he was going to rape me or anything, but well…

“Oh, there they are!” Noelle exclaimed, and she tugged on my arm, signaling me to keep going. She hadn’t let go of my arm since we had gotten there, and I had a feeling that she wouldn’t anytime soon. This was the kind of situation she probably thought I would run away from if I was given the chance, and to tell the truth, it was.

I don’t know why I was surprised that Keith wasn’t wearing one of his Hawaiian shirts; I’d seen him outside of choir class a few times and he wasn’t, and he also wasn’t the times we had seen each other the summer before. In a way I was curious about why he wore them, but at the same time, I had a hard time forming coherent sentences every time he smiled at me. Not that I thought I had a chance, considering he was pretty much going out with Aurora at that point.

“I’ve never played laser tag before!” Gus said as we headed over towards the arena, where there was a booth to check in at. There was a guy about our age sitting there, looking bored, but he smiled and looked quite a bit more entertained as Noelle leaned forward and gave him the details of our reservation.

Keith glanced at me as Noelle flirted shamelessly with the guy, but neither of us said anything. I knew that a lot of people thought Noelle and I were going out, and I had learned it was best to just not say anything. It wasn’t like I was making an effort to let people know I was gay, anyway.

Finally Noelle was done being, well, Noelle, and the guy got up from his chair and signaled for us to follow him. The lights were still on in the arena, but I could see strips of lights along the floor and ceiling that would be helping us find our way around once the game began.

“How do you wanna do this?” the guy asked of us as he pulled out some huge drawers with laser guns and parkas. “You can have it be a free-for-all or teams, whatever you want.”

Aurora started jumping up and down, clapping her hands together. “We brought Aria so we could have even teams!”

I was really dreading what she meant by ‘even teams,’ but Aria grinned and high-fived Noelle as everyone started shuffling themselves around. It appeared that it would be me, Gus and Keith against Aurora, Noelle and Aria. This would end spectacularly or in tears for all involved, I just knew it.

“Well don’t look so happy about this,” Keith said as he was handed his equipment. He slipped the laser-detection parka on.

I shook my head and quickly put my own equipment on, setting the gun down on the floor so I could have both hands free. Gus already had his ready, but he was kind of tipping to the side since the equipment was so heavy. The girls giggled as they watched him, and Aurora caught him before he actually fell on the floor. “I’m fine,” I finally said.

“Is he always this… cute?” Keith whispered it to me, leaning in close so the guy explaining the rules to us (rules we all already knew but that he was probably required to recite every time someone used the arena) wouldn’t get mad and snap at us. I could feel my face getting hot at the close proximity, but I managed to fight it down.

“It’s not like he does all this on purpose,” I said. “It’s just how he is. And since when would another guy call Gus ‘cute’?”

Keith leaned away and shook his head, smiling. “I’ve called you cute, haven’t I?”

He patted me on the back before following everyone else deeper into the arena. We were all supposed to find our own places to camp out until the lights went out and the game began, though, so I stayed where I was.

After about two minutes, I saw the guy climb some stairs and go up into a room with a glass front that he could see us out of. “You ready kids?” he said, his voice coming out of the speakers around us. Like he had any right to call us kids. No one responded, though, considering we were supposed to be in stealth mode, and he took that as meaning it was time to turn off the lights.

As soon as they went off, I heard a high-pitched scream. I couldn’t tell who it was, but it sounded like one of the girls. I shook my head and tossed my laser gun from one hand to another, trying to figure out what I wanted to do first. We had twenty minutes, and the score for each team would be by how many times they could get members of the other team; there wasn’t a set number of times before we were completely out of the game.

I ended up just wandering around, not encountering anybody. I heard them once in a while, usually swears when someone had shot someone else and frozen them for a few seconds.

“Gotcha!” came a voice, and I screamed and ducked out of the way just as I heard the click of a laser gun being fired. Apparently I had avoided it, because my parka wasn’t vibrating.

I turned around to see it was Aria. I narrowed my eyes and held up my gun, shooting it off just before she got the chance to run. “You were saying?” I said. I could barely see it, but I knew Aria was scowling as she just stood there, waiting for her frozen time to be over. I couldn’t see anyone in the immediate vicinity, but I still took the free time to get out of there before Aria’s gun activated again.

Another few minutes of wandering yielded me coming across Gus, who had been
shot by Noelle, or at least that’s what he told me.

“I heard her voice, but I never saw her.” He sounded horrified at the thought, like Noelle was a ninja and he had gotten hit by shuriken. Of course, for Gus, that kind of situation would be cooler than he could handle, if I knew him well enough. Just as I was about to abandon Gus for my own safety, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I practically jumped out of my own skin and reared around, getting my gun ready to shoot.

“Rin, it’s just me,” Keith said right in my ear. Why he felt the need to whisper in the my ear so much was something I didn’t want to think about. So I just scowled and pushed him away.

“The hell you think you’re doing, sneaking around like that? I could’ve shot you!” I said.

“Uh, Rin, we’re kind of supposed to be sneaking around. You know, we don’t get shot, but we shoot them. That’s the point.” Keith patted me on the shoulder and started to run off again. “Anyway, we shouldn’t all be in the same place; it’ll make it easier for them to get us.” He patted me on the shoulder, and it was too dark to see, but I just knew he was smiling again. “I’ll see you in about thirteen minutes, Rin!”

Gus’ park had finally stopped vibrating, which means that he wasn’t frozen anymore. I pointed him off in one direction of the maze of walls we were in, and he nodded enthusiastically and went on his way.

“Got you!” It was Aria again, and it seemed like she hadn’t learned from last time. I ran for my life, avoiding her gun’s range every time she shot by ducking or veering right or left. We ended up running through the entire facility a few times, because Aria just didn’t want to give up in getting me frozen. What the hell did she have against me in the first place?

Finally, we got to the front, where there was a big, open space. I still managed to jump around and avoid when she shot at me, even when Keith emerged from one of the entrances into the maze and stared at us.

“Who the hell do you think you are, Vash the Stampede?” he asked, looking partly amused and partly confused.

I stopped right where I was. “Who?” And just like that, I was shot. My parka vibrated and my gun was useless when I tried to use it. Keith smacked his forehead, and Aria took his distraction as an opportunity to shoot him as well.

“Well, so much for making up for Gus being shot right away,” he said. The open area was lit a little better than the corridors of the maze, so I could see him smile this time. I nodded, not sure what else to do.

Finally, our freeze time was over. Keith glanced around, but it didn’t seem like any of the girls were in the immediate vicinity. Aria had run off after exacting her revenge on me, so had probably lost interest and gone off in search of Gus so that she had a three-for-three record. I had no idea how many times the girls had been shot, but I was determined to even the score.

“Rin, get out of the way,” Keith said calmly.

I blinked a couple times, and he ended up pushing me out of the way and shooting his gun. I turned to see Noelle scowling as she stared at her gun, which was temporarily useless since Keith had gotten her.

“I think we should get out of here,” Keith said. All I could do was nod in agreement.