Writing

5 Fun Facts About My MG Horror Thesis!

Since I’m done with midterms and haven’t had a non-life update blog post in a while, I’m going to be sharing a bit more information about my thesis. I’ve previously posted about it here, and now I have finished the draft!

WORKING TITLE: Fearful Symmetry (I’m thinking about changing this though, as apparently quite a lot of works have also used this title)

WORD COUNT: 15161 words (55 pgs on Word)

I’ve sent off the draft to my advisors, and while it will obviously need work, I’m really excited about this project. So today I’m going to share some fun facts about the project!

1. It’s heavily inspired by Asian horror movies 

I love, love, love Asian genre film. I’m fascinated by how extreme and twisted yet beautiful movies like The Raid and Oldboy are. The idea for this project literally came about when I thought, it’d be really cool if someone wrote a middle grade horror novel that captured the feel of Extreme Asian Cinema but for kids. (Incidentally, “too dark for MG” is a recurring problem I face in my work.) I ended up watching some pretty nasty Asian horror films over winter break for inspiration–and to my surprise, it actually worked, inspiring not only the general mood and tone but several plot points as well. More about this in a future post!

2. It’s also a satire of my Asian-American upbringing

This will also get a future blog post, but for now I’ll say that the story’s setting, Avalon, is a parody of my own predominantly Asian hometown in Southern California.

3. The central characters, the Chen family, have pet stingrays. 

Believe it or not, this was also inspired by real life. My grandmother has a friend whose son is a private practice dentist, which naturally means they’re loaded. I went to their house once and I was startled to discover a tank of stingrays right in the living room.

4. Bikini Kill songs show up several times 

I was really interested in Riot Grrrl a few years back, and when compiling my inspiration playlist, I noticed that the lyrics of “Rah! Rah! Replica!” was quite apt. Later I decided to have the protagonist’s sister, who’s a ghost, actually name drop Bikini Kill–I had already decided that she would undergo a drastic personality change after, well, dying, and since piano is important to the story, I thought it would be funny if she came back as a ghost and apparently has been listening to more angry girl punk. It was supposed to be a one-off joke, but then I noticed that some other songs fit quite well and it ended up being a recurring thing! So now, lyrics of “Daddy’s Li’l Girl” and “Alien She” are in there too.

5. Yiyun Li is consulting it 

Okay, this is totally bragging, but I’m seriously so incredibly honored to have not just one but TWO amazing and brilliant people as my advisors for this project. One is Fran Dolan, my favorite professor, and I just love her. But I have to flail about the other one for a minute because she’s Yiyun Li, who’s an incredible, incredible writer whose work I’ve admired even before I came to this school and gah, I’m so excited that she’s actually going to be consulting my work. I’m also nervous–she’s never read my stuff before and I just read Kinder Than Solitude and she’s so talented and brilliant and ack. But I’m excited.

That’s all about my thesis for now! I’m definitely going to blog more in the near future. Until then, I’ll be waiting for feedback from my advisors. I’m excited. Also nervous. But I’m excited.

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