Jill

Jill

Jill Cabrera is a writer by passion and an editor by discipline. English is her second language, and also her true love. She two-times English Lit with Manga and Webtoons.

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Latest Topics

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Writing and the Dark Place

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and I thought that her positive disposition towards writing admirable. While it is obviously fluffy, and Gilbert’s magnum opus is the fluff piece Eat, Pray, Love, I just wanted to read something on writing and mental health state of writers (e.g. Edgar Allan Poe=seminal Gothic author=also alcoholic, incredibly erratic life, Ernest Hemingway=PTSD sufferer, alcoholic, etc.= recognized for writing style… etc., Virginia Woolf = well known modernist authors = depression and suicide). Do you think the tragic plot of the author’s life made them more famous? Did the torture of the soul make for beautiful writing? This can be too big, so feel free to trim this down. It can also extend to other artistic medium (think Van Gogh= cut off his ear… )

  • Hi Jill, what a great choice of topic. You've provided wonderful starting points, though it's a little broad at the moment, so I'd advise anyone hoping to pick this up to perhaps narrow it down a bit (pick one perhaps, Alcoholism, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, etc). The question of whether an artist requires a struggle with something innate for the production of good art has been around for quite a while, so it'd also be interesting to see examples of those who've conquered their demons, or whose demons play little part in their pursuit of creating art. – Matchbox 2 years ago
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  • I've thought about this topic a lot, and what I find so interesting about it is how people who are so broken manage to create beautiful works of art, even if they are very dark works. I think because these authors were dealing with things such as mental illness, drugs and alcohol, etc., it allowed them to gain a new perspective on the world (and maybe on themselves as writers), one that "normal" people cannot not see. I don't necessarily think that these authors' tragic lives is what made them famous, but I think it is the work that came out of such a tragic life that is remarkable. Even if they didn't think these works were any good, these authors created something curious, beautiful, and appealing. I'm not sure how helpful this note is, but I hope I sparked some thinking! This is a really cool topic! – oqville5 2 years ago
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  • I was very drawn to this topic during high school and then I read Samuel Beckett--I can't even remember what it was--but it really turned me off to the idea that one has to suffer to produce great art. That doesn't seem to be what you mean, but so many people think it's "necessary", not just something an artist overcomes or deals with. One of my favorite lines in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums was when he visits his depressing home and his father gives a sermon about how suffering makes you grow. Kerouac replied, "If that was true, I'd be the size of a house." I couldn't stop laughing! Later, I really turned away from miserable artists like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Celine and Van Gogh, to embrace people who really did suffer, yet managed not to focus on it. Mozart comes to mind. He even appears in Hesse's novel Steppenwolf, to tell protagonist Harry Haller, "Learn to laugh at yourself." I was in a dark place when I read that and suddenly, everything became brighter and less important! I'd like to focus on those artists who did suffer yet had a sort of cosmic sense of humor about it. – SharonGenet 2 years ago
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  • It would be useful to look at how unhealthy it can be for the public to buy into the idea that the dark parts of one's soul make for beautiful literature, because you can also have beautiful literature the other way round, and still have it be a portrayal of the human life for example. I think that the authors you have used as examples, have that talent for writing regardless of their mental state. – Zohal99 2 years ago
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How to Revise Your Own Story

There are many guides on how to write, but the published story is not the art of the first draft. I would love to see someone write revision tips, but not the usual found in the web like "read aloud," "leave it for a few weeks" (Of course you can go that path too.), but their own unique editing style that other writers would find useful.

  • This is an interesting idea, though I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of tips are merely common ones that websites would suggest. Maybe it can be written in realtime, as if the person is actually going through a revision process and acting out what they are doing. That may be a fun way of allowing the readers to really see a "day in the life" scenario of someone revising a story. – Filippo 4 years ago
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  • Oh. Or someone who would review revision tips? LOL Like someone who does all the steps with a sample short story draft and then, he/she would work on editing through popular editing tips and would show the final product? Is that even possible? LOL – Jill 4 years ago
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  • Honestly, my revision style is just constant reading and rereading. I don't read aloud, though perhaps I should. I rely on my eyes to catch mistakes. Some mistakes slip through the cracks, but generally, after a few revisions, I have caught all the major ones. Another thing I do is take notes. For instance, if I name a character's childhood best friend Beatrice, I want to note that down and make sure that in the rest of the story I continue to refer to her as Beatrice. Writing out timelines to keep dates correct, ages right, and other timing consistent is also helpful when revising. The main mistakes I make (and many other authors make) is little inconsistencies in their first drafts, when they forget previous details while writing on. They forget timing, names, and other details. Revising is all about making these details consistent. – Robyn McComb 4 years ago
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literature
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Dystopia in Children's and YA Literature

Literature usually indicates a generation anxiety (i.e. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Rings, anxiety about racial wars, modernization, etc; Gibb’s Neuromancer, anxiety about technology). It would be interesting if someone wrote an analysis about the predominance of dystopia in popular culture (Hunger Games, Divergence… I can’t think of another example.)

  • Other dystopian YA novels might include: Cinder of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer Incarceron by Catherine Fisher Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles) by Gena Showalter The Demon Trapper's Daughter: A Demon Trappers Novel by Jana Oliver I'm sure there are plenty more... But those are the first ones that came to mind – crispychips 5 years ago
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  • The Maze Runner series by James Dashner and The Uglies series by Scott Westerfield, and The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth are some more examples, this is a fascinating topic! – MRichens 5 years ago
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  • I feel The Hunger Games trilogy is quite contradictory to its message of fighting the powers that be (I.e. the government oppressing poor societies.) While the story itself is blatantly a "stick it to the man" narrative, that is all it does to go against convention. The novels openly acknowledge the three-act structure (the narrative structure used in pretty much all books/films etc.) and the films have also come into mainstream populairty, earning money for huge corporations that the characters in the stories, are openly against. As for what the books reflect in terms of a nation's anxieties, I don't think it really stretches beyond the going against the oppresive powers, which is in itself, not really an anxiety or infact anything new. – Jamie White 5 years ago
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  • To further this analysis, one might take a look in to what the popularity in dystopian figures mean in relation to what our culture/society values today. In other words, what values in today's society make dystopian figures so popular? Or even, are there any relations between what is happening in today's society that correlate with the dystopian themes? – AutamnDarling 4 years ago
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  • This is a great topic, and I think it would be important to have a balance of bestselling novels turned into blockbusters, and lesser-known novels/series such as Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Exodus by Julie Bertagna. The focus on dystopian YA fiction as opposed to regular/adult literature such as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 is important. Why are dystopian future societies so appealing to younger readers in recent years? When did the line between fantasy and sci-fi disappear and why is that important? – Claire 4 years ago
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Latest Comments

Jill

This reminds me of my confusion in the casting of Kristen Kreuk in The legends of Chun Li. After research, I found out that she is indeed half Chinese, but her Dutch background pretty much toned down her Asian features to mute. Also, Dragonball Evolution was dominantly cast white, which was again very confusing.

Whitewashing of Asian Characters in Hollywood Anime/Manga Adaptations
Jill

I personally think Mulan is bad ass and it takes female issues head on, specifically in the scene where she asks for help and Mushu says “Sorry, I can’t hear you. You’re just a woman again.” and when Mulan says, “You said you trusted Ping, what makes Mulan any different?” I really loved this movie since I was a child, and it tells girls to take pride in being different. I though this was a better movie than The Princess and the Frog (who still found her fulfillment in love and marriage). Mulan became a hero. Captain Shang was just the cherry on top. LOL

Feminism and the Disney Princesses
Jill

I think FMAB is better just cause it how Arakawa visualized the story. There were more fighting that felt like how it was supposed to be. FMAB is, shall we say, more “shounen”. I loved 2003 FMA, but I think a lot of it was sensationalized, very dramatic, the touch with sloth as their mom was super sad but I thought it was too much of stretch in terms of the storyline. Like because the story was foundationally tragic, the writers just found the saddest route they could go… even Scar being in love with Lust’s original… it got too sappy. I think FMAB delved more into philosophy, war, alchemy which was what FMA was about, imho.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Differences between the 2003 Version & Brotherhood
Jill

Interesting article. I wonder how you picked which characters you were going to write about. I think Katsura-sensei had intended for D.Grayman to explore gray areas throughout. Even the concept of the main villains group “Noah” descendents and with Allen being part of their group. The anti-akuma device that makes the exorcist coincidentally make the parasite-type exorcist monsters (Alen with a deformed hand, Crowley with fangs). I think this article just skimmed the surface of the manga, but I think it’s great nonetheless.

How D. Gray-man Challenges Readers to Look Deeper
Jill

This is such great news that I had to reply even if this comment was posted 8 months ago. I heard that there was a dispute with the publisher? I hope this manga gets continued though. This was one of my favourites before it was discontinued.

How D. Gray-man Challenges Readers to Look Deeper
Jill

I thought, like Yaoi, Yuri is a term that includes sexual content. Shoujo-ai (girl-love) and shounen-ai (boy-love) would be the ones that exclude sexual content… No?

Yuri: An Indepth Look at Women in Love
Jill

Ack. Super insightful comment. I kind of like your comment more than the article. Whoops. Sorry, OP.

I personally found the DEEN adaptation boring. The concept was huge and the storyline basically failed the epic storyline.

I enjoyed Fate/Zero though. What did you think of F/Z?

Fate/Stay Night: Setting Up for a Decade of Quality Success
Jill

Interesting read. I’ve been a fanfictionist for about thirteen years, though I hope those writing never surface. LOL. There are very valuable learning in writing fanfiction and because the writing and reading is more lax within a fandom intent on enjoyment rather than producing “art” compared to, say, actually writing professionally, I must say my taste for experimentation in form and ideas has developed exponentially. Of course there are drawbacks because editing doesn’t play much role in fanfiction. It’s supposed to be “fun” not work. Of course there are tight a$$es that use beta-readers but really fanfiction is very much a grammar mayhem. I believe writing fanfiction has made me grammar-careless. It’s the mentality of I-must-produce-for-my-fans that quality suffers a lot. I am actually earning a degree in Publishing and Editing and we spoke a lot about Fifty Shades of Grey which has not been edited properly. It speaks a lot about the Millennial generation… that we demand entertainment right now and to hell with quality. As a fanfictionist who primarily writes, I think it’s really useful in building a sense of your writing self. As a reader though, I cringe. It’s not a matter of originality, because I think at this point of history, all literature is influenced by something, right? It’s like the chicken-and-the-egg debate. It’s a matter of quality at this point, so I still wish for the reemergence of traditional publishing. Maybe it’s still a question of can “popular” be “art”. Who defines art? Why is there a need for hierarchy in a art, anyway?

Fanfiction: The Merits of Originality