The Production Blog

A new project by Valentina Vee, Heartstrong is a first-of-its-kind videobook, currently in pre-production. 50 is the new 20.

Watch Valentina on YouTube!
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Valentina Vee

Valentina Vee

Learn about the writer and reader of the Heartstrong Series and look at some other things she's done.
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Tyla Strong

She's 59 years YOUNG! Read about Tyla's life and family, a Tyla-pedia, if you will.
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Sylvia

Sylvia

The Snake's fashion blog is just like Sylvia - pink, crass, and incredibly outspoken.
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Crazy Mazie

Crazy Mazie

Follow Mazie's Tumblr right here and see what she's making for Comic Con this year.
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I HATE My First Draft

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Okay – here’s the deal. I’m not loving my situation right now. I’m basically unemployed (though still freelancing), and I live in someone’s garage. Life is not too sweet for this 21-year-old go-getter. But hey, I’m not complaining! I just paid $12 for an all-you-can-eat lunch (that ended up being my one meal of the day, but whatever).

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The only thing I really have going for me is that I’m a part-time exercise instructor.

 

I know it’s terrible to read your first draft without having finished it. But I can’t help it – it’s so blas√©¬†that I’m starting to have second thoughts about this project. Mind you – not “100%-going-to-quit” thoughts, but still – I’m not loving it.

I think one of the problems has to do with my voice within the story. Throughout the writing of this novel, I’ve read several books, each author influencing me greatly by their own tone of writing. Therefore, when I read the first draft of Heartstrong, I can tell which chapters are influenced by John Green and which by Malcolm Gladwell. Recently, my writing has been heavily favoring the stories of Stephen Tobolowsky, so I’ve been sounding like him.

I’m not trying to put these authors down. On the contrary, I’m saying that I love these men so much that I’ve started writing like them, therefore my own voice has gotten lost somewhere in the margins of my first draft. I know that this will all hopefully be fixed with subsequent re-draftings, but I’m a little worried if that time will ever come. And if it does – how laborious will these re-draftings be? I guess I’ll find out.

WHERE You Write MATTERS!

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As you can probably tell from this blogpost, I am currently unhappy with the state of the book. Once I had the story down, I thought that the actual writing of the thing would be a breeze. I won’t get into too much about it here, but seriously, erhhhhhhghghghhghghg.

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This is where I currently live – not because my parents hate me but because this is all I can afford on my own dime.

What I HAVE found helpful is the venue in which I write, seeing as how the most uninspiring, terrible venue that could ever exist is my own room – a small, dingy converted garage.

At the left, you can see a picture of said living space – this is actually a still image from a YouTube video I made about what happens when one leaves college (hint: not a whole lot).

The second-worst location to do any work is a place where there’s too much going on, such as the beach or basically all of outdoor Los Angeles. I love LA too much to divert my attention from people-watching tourists almost getting pickpocketed on street corners (while in the meantime trying to protect myself from the same fate).

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The guy on the left looks like he’s having fun.

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Plus, more often than not, your get booted out of your seat by a disabled person and/or you can’t find an outlet.

The third place where I should never really work is a coffee shop. Not only is writing your novel at a coffee shop too cliche for to guarantee that your novel is anything but mediocre, but a coffee shop is mainly for people who are trying to buy coffee – not for people who are spending hours mooching off the free wifi while having their manuscripts open for all who are getting their fix of Sweet N Low to see.

No, I gather that the very best place one can write a book is in … drumroll please … THE LIBRARY! Obviously this does nothing for the content or lucidity of your prose, but at least you’re in an environment of quiet pensiveness. There are also several distinct advantages.

1. There’s free wifi with no time limit, and you don’t feel guilty for using it.

2. There are plenty of outlets everywhere. They’re even built into the tables!

3. There’s nothing much to look at to distract you from your work.

4. People won’t bother you.

5. If you need to look up something or there’s inspiration to be had, you’ve got quite literally a shit-ton of books around you.

6. There are plenty of accessible bathrooms.

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Therefore, I think, from now on I will make visiting the library a daily activity. It’s honestly the most productive place. And here at UCLA – it’s also one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

 

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