Thursday, December 23, 2010
The problem with this is I have received the odd compliments and from people I don't think would bother to flatter me if they didn't have too. Really the problem is I lack any confidence at all. It probably wouldn't matter if the greatest author on earth said to me "You are totally ready! Just finish that novel and it's sure to be a best seller!" I STILL wouldn't believe them. There isn't enough confidence in the world to matter if it is all external. It has to come from with in. And isn't that where we all fail. The creeping rot disease of doubt?
I fall prey to that more than anything, the crippling elf doubt that my words will never be good enough. Once in awhile people do tell me I'm good. That my work is smooth and engaging. But there is the constant inner nagging doubt that whispers to me they are just blowing smoke.
My only solution is slog onward and hope for the best. Go forward and hope I'm not wasting yet more time. I feel like I wasted my whole life on doing all the wrong things and now I'm running out of time if I ever want to be published.
I sincerely hope this isn't the case.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
There is no way to finish a book like this! There is some issue holding them back from moving forward and I'm sure it varies from person to person. But if you find your self doing this STOP.
I don't even re-read my WIPs as I write them. All that editing. all that futzing- that's for the END. That's for the next draft.
Now I do need to look things up in the manuscript from time to time, a last name I forgot, a street name, things like that. But I never spend too long reading. I find what I was looking for, or not, and then I go back to writing the scene I'm working on.
If you are one of the chronic re-writers STOP! Find a rewriting sponsor and get them to browbeat you into continuing your manuscript. Find a writing buddy and submit to them only new words- NO REWRITES.
Many will plead- it needs to be perfect before I move on! Oh Hell NO! You know why? You'll never make it perfect. It doesn't exist. Perfectionism is an excuse to not do anything. It is the most insidious of procrastination techniques. And I know this from experience. Perfectionism=paralysis. And paralysis will not finish a book either.
I keep to writing in the mornings when I'm freshest. I get up, make breakfast and write while I eat. Then the rest of the day is pent doing whatever I have to. Sometimes I can write a little at night once I put my pet bird Igor to bed. But that is rare, my brain is fried by the end of the day and writing becomes a chore.
But that little bit in the morning. I try for 45 minutes but frequently end up with less. BUT even with that little bit, 15 min some days, I can add to my manuscript. A paragraph, two paragraphs, if I'm lucky two or three pages.
As slow going as it is it will all add up in the end.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
1- I skipped ahead to the good bits! I abandoned the linear scene I was stuck on and I skipped ahead to events I have a clearer picture of. That turned out to be the events leading up to the climax and then I'll probably go on through to the climax and then in draft 2 I'll try to patch it all together. I've never done this before but so far so good.
2- A cheer partner. I found someone to turn pages in to every day and we mutually cheer each other on. I'd like to find a few more of these but I'm not sure I want to go begging on AW... I want it to be someone either more published than I am or at least someone who's name I recognize from the forums.
And that's about it so far. I am NOT a believer in editing you work as you go. Forward, ever forward is my continued motto! And if the only way to go forward is to skip ahead so be it!
Believe it or not my MG book also continues slow forward momentum. I work on it less than T3 but it is a side project.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
It is my great lament and constant refrain that I can't just pound out a book in the space of three months. How will I ever succeed at my snail's pace? How will I ever finish the fucking book? Why I can't I write 5 things at once and grind them out at say the pace of... I dunno James Patterson? He seems to have a lot of new releases all at once. Anyone else out there fast? Anyone else out there finish a novel in under 6 months time?
Crap. I just want to cry. I also work on my MG horror/mystery from time to time. Inventing as I go. Fingers crossed that any of this sees the light of day. I guess this is the point where writers with a support system get help.
Don't you just love how every famous author is super writing/crit group uber buddies with every other famous author? I don't. Just sayin.
I bought the brand new Dragon- the soft ware that types for you thinking I can catch up on some of the typing backlog I have. Turns out my 3 year old laptop doesn't have the memory to run it. My 3 yr old laptop also has hard drive issues and an 'S' key that is a pain in my ass.
And no, I haven't written in a week or more because every morning is spent vacuuming ants and puttying shut the holes in the wall they a boiling forth from. Then the rest of the day is spent vacuuming and finding the next tiny crack they are coming in from. Also vacuuming.
Sorry for the self-indulgent post. I'll try to do better next time.
In the mean time, please to enjoy a cute photo of one of my dollies taken yesterday.
Her name is Charybdis and she is Scylla's sister. She has fangs and little bat wings and hooved feet.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Of course I WISH I could say I'm thankful for an agent, or even "I'm thankful my book is finished" but that is not to be! Maybe next year!
1- My house. Hey, I have a roof over my head, a spanky new dishwasher arriving, and a place to keep my stuff
2- My lovebird Igor. He has a bad viral disease which he will never be rid of but the virus has retreated and he is happy and healthy and as obnoxious as any other lovebird and he makes me laugh everyday
3- My friends, the few I have are good for the most part ;)
4- My WIPs. I'm glad I have ideas. I'm glad I've stuck with them. I think they will do something in the world- fingers crossed!
5- My Mom who is super supportive
6- The gym- I love the gym. I try to go at least 5 days a week but even when I don't I'm lookin' good :)
7- My massive doll collection. I love these dolls! Some of you on AW may have noticed my new avatar. That is just one of the many dolls I own!
8-Cable TV- nuff said- I lurvs me TV
10- Otaku USA- who pays me to read Yaoi!
11- The library- because it's full of books!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
My name is Che and I'm a writer published in the field of graphic novels and comic books but nothing past a e-zine prose wise. I am looking for other writers to be friends with! This sounds easy right?
Well, not so much. I live in a small town you've never heard of and the nearest big city is again, probably one you've never heard of... There is one local author I'm friends with but we write different genres and she has no interest in mine.
So, like any other lonely person I turned to the Internet. LJ and forums and most recently Absolute Write, where I thought- At last! I will make friends!
But to be honest, it's not going so well. Everyone knows each other, especially in the YA Old People Writing for Teens thread where I hang out, look at everyone get agented and published and addressing each other by real world first names, and I slink away. The Children's Writing thread is friendly enough *waves*. But I still haven't made any lasting friends- yet.
So how do you do it? I hear stories of people making best friends on the interweb, meeting authors, getting mentors. Etc. And all of that seems to completely elude me.
I need someone to talk about writing with as of right now I have NO ONE. No sounding board, no one to shoot the bull with, no one to talk plot, and "I'm stuck right now" with.
I could go complain on the forums I guess, and I see people making the 'I'm stuck' posts once in awhile but what I want is not random strangers but focused help.
The lengths I have considered going to to get author/writer friends- I want to go to Clarion San Diego because maybe I could make friends there. But let's break this down- Clarion SD cots some $5000. All to make friends?! OR I was just looking at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA. What. The. Fuck. I don't have a degree in anything -art school drop out (not for the reasons your thinking either!) but seriously? Who the fuck GOES TO COLLEGE AS AN OLD PERSON JUST TO MAKE FRIENDS??
Ok. Complaints over.
Maybe someday right.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Perhaps I should return to outlining. Believe it or not waaaaay back when I dropped out of college I wrote 3 books, one middle grade, and two YA. And I had them outlined perfectly, chapter by chapter, and I finished all three. Now, I won't say they were that good. They were not horrible, but not good enough to be published. And they were short. Like 50,000 words.
But they were DONE. And I had a plan and I executed it.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Which also means I am 99% fantasy author and 1% contemporary. But even the com temporary short stories I have written were genre- mystery to be exact. EXCEPT for one little flash piece called Collections which was literary.
BUT a lot of people seem to be questioning the possible market saturation of genre fiction lately. Particularly in YA. Now I don't have a finished YA piece but who knows, I may someday. And I can guarantee that it will be genre. Because I love genre. Now, what happens if everyone is sick of genre? Do I try contemp? Or hope that genre comes back into vogue?
I'm going with neither. There was an interesting discussion on LJ about manga my friend Jason Thompson put up, but in one of my replies I said that genre readers don't suddenly 'grow up' and start reading literary just because they are supposedly too old for genre.
Genre will never die. It is both a useful marketing tool and makes it easy on the genre reader to find books they want. I can tell you in a bookstore I go straight to the fantasy/sci-fi shelves, then horror if they have it, then swing round to YA and then the middle grade shelves. And on the MG and YA shelves I'm looking for- you guessed it- fantasy. 9 times out of 10 that's what I want to read and buy.
So genre will never go away. There will simply be a constant jockeying for first place among all the genres and sub-genres. One will rise but only for a time.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Who's with me?
Friday, October 29, 2010
So my worry about Tx3 comes from the fact that it is not a typical fantasy, urban fantasy, or paranormal romance. It is a mosaic novel following a town and therefore while the witches are the main catalysts for everything that happens they have less screen time then the main characters of the typical fantasy/paranormal.
I have been waffling on genre and it's giving me fits because I need to target the right agents! I did find this blog post immensely helpful http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2010/10/big-ol-genre-glossary.html Thank you! I have narrowed my genre down to paranormal or fantasy but I'm really leaning toward paranormal because fantasy implies a secondary world. So I'm 90% sure I'll go with paranormal.
There is appalling LACK of magic in Tx3 which gives me pause as well. I mean I think I've barely squeaked out of the realm of magical realism. The witch's use magic hardly at all! And then it's either off screen or for some very mundane purpose. I have a scene where Brulee- the eternal optimist finally breaks down and cries in the bathroom of the tea shop and she uses a spell to get rid of her puffy red eyes before going out to talk to Anglaise. And that's it! That's about as good as the magic gets...
There is a third (dark horse) genre I could call Tx3 is contemporary fantasy since it takes place in the relatively real world of a made up town in Maine. There are no unicorns prancing about the town square and no other magical beings other than witches. I VOWED early on not to put in anything else, so despite my deep love for vampires this is not their book (I have Ambriel for that). However type contemporary fantasy into the Amazon search and a potpourri of non-fiction, horror, paranormal romance, and Spectrum illustration volumes pop up. So how much of a true genre can it be?
So when it's ready I guess it's off to the fantasy and paranormal agents.
A lot changed from script to prose but I still open with Geoffry. That MAY be changed in the final draft because I worry that Geoffry isn't the strongest opener. I'm also going to need to go back and add scenes to the novel showing Geoffry's change of attitude toward the witches. He begins suspicious of them but then comes to be very sympathetic toward them as struggling business owners. But Geoffry disappears in the middle of the book... I'm also not sure HOW to show this. But I do have the advantage of having written Tx3 in a strict scene format- and each scene in each chapter is numbered, so going back and adding discreet scenes will be easy.
Tea Times Three
By Ché Gilson
Page 0 – Chapter 1 title page art
Panel 1: Early morning exterior of an idyllic British village.
Panel 2: The only people about are the greengrocer who is unlocking the front door of his shop.
Panel 3: A small truck/van pulls up. The greengrocer waves.
Panel 1: A young boy hops out the back of the van. He has a stack of newspapers which he sets on the sidewalk.
Boy: Morning Mr. Callister!
Callister: Morning Jake.
Panel 2: Callister goes over to pick up the newspapers. Jake chats.
Jake: So, who’s re-opening the teashop?
Callister: The teashop? No one is.
Panel 3: Jake points across the street to a quaint teashop – windows papered over. Under the windows are flower boxes with blooming flowers planted in them, over the windows are striped awnings. A sign in the window says: Opening Soon.
Panel 4: Callister looks very surprised and scratches his head.
Callister: That wasn’t there yesterday!
Jake: Teashops don’t just sprout up overnight.
Panel 5: Callister frowns at Jake.
Callister: Not the teashop! The opening soon, and the paper on the windows …
Panel 1: Jake climbs back into the news van. Callister still stares at the teashop across the street.
Jake: New owners must’ve done that in the night.
Callister: Yeah. I suppose …
Weird though. No one’s touched the shop since Mrs. Sheeply died two years ago.
Panel 2: The van starts to leave. Jake hollers from the back as he closes one of the doors in the back.
Jake: It’s a right mystery then!
See you tomorrow!
Panel 3: Callister is alone on the street. He looks around to make sure no one is about.
Panel 4: He crosses the street to the tea shop.
Panel 5: He tries the door which doesn’t budge.
Callister: Locked …
Panel 1: The town is abuzz with rumors about the teashop and most everyone is gossiping about it in the grocery store. Mr. Callister is behind the register pleased to be the center of attention. Various townsfolk buy small items as an excuse to talk in line and to Mr. Callister. A pretty 20-something girl named Matilda is buying a pack of gum.
Matilda: Rumor has it you noticed the teashop is reopening.
A sign points to Mr. Callister: He spread the rumor.
Callister: Yeah, it was the strangest thing. I was opening up this morning and noticed the “Opening Soon” sign.
Panel 2: A younger handsome man behind Matilda cuts in on the conversation.
Man: I hope it’s a Coffeebuck’s coffee Shop. They make a great Mocha Frappacino.
Panel 3: An old lady behind him smacks him with her purse.
Old Lady: Bite your tongue Hugh! Major Corporations are destroying small town business.
Panel 4: Callister chimes in.
Callister: I think the sign would say if it was a Coffeebuck’s.
Matilda: He’s right. I heard it’s a retired millionaire from the city.
Panel 5: Hugh looks dubious.
Hugh: Where’d you get that?
Panel 6: Matilda looks very knowing.
Matilda: Mrs. Owens.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Deepening a stories resonance
OK, that is a pretty long list of everything that all the blogs and how-to books tell you to consider before tarting your manuscript and probably while you write as well.
If I did that I'd go insane.
You know what I DO think about while I'm writing?
The start of the next sentence, the right words to begin the next paragraph o every paragraph doesn't begin with someones name. I actually worry that a lot! Sometimes I try and make the clever prose, mostly I just want the reader to be able to understand and follow what is taking place. I think about getting to the next scene, transitions, and WHAT THE HELL HAPPENS NEXT?? Because I don't know! Putting words on paper is may main goal. Making them make sense is cake and if they are intersting that is frosting.
I write back story a I go, same with motivation. Voice will hopefully sort itself out. Themes will emerge organically. Foreshadowing is added subconsciously, the rest of it. Hell if I know. Things seems to work out for the most part. What can I say.
I begin a story with an idea and at least one character and the rest just goes along.
Just yesterday I reached a point in Tea Times Three where Reverend Austin is protesting the tea shop and the witches are baking cookies. The cookie smell comes out to the sidewalk and all the protesters stop to smell the awesome cookie smell and Reverend Austin recalls his mother baking for him when the other kids would pick on him. Then in the next paragraph I write that his mother died in a diabetic coma. Did I know this before hand? No. I didn't know it until I wrote it.
I'm also not a poetic writer. I don't use words beautifully or craft polished gems of metaphors and similes. I don't devote myself to the short punchy sentences all in vogue right now. My sentences are as long as they need to be. Sometimes short, sometimes long. I do not fear the word AND or the comma (although I frequently misplace them). I don't try hard to be clever or sarcastic. I try to give my characters human reactions to events. If they are in pain they scream, if they think something is funny they laugh or smile.
Quite possibly I how more than tell. Quite possibly I have a good balance of both.
What I strive for is not artfulness but clarity and readability. Fun and adventure not poetry.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I was trying to add a link list to my blog (here) and managed to put one link up to a story on the now defunct Drops of Crimson. BUT I can't seem to add more links. What am I doing wrong?
Oh! And stay tuned for a Contest Reboot! With all thanks going to Emily Cross Chronicles for the suggetions
Prize remains the same but consider old contest DEFUNCT! Sorry! I will reboot soon! Mostly I will just copy and paste her very helpful comment! :)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Finally I began pondering the idea of turning some of my languishing comic/manga ideas into books. (Which my mother had been telling me to do for a couple years but who listens to their mother?) The problem with Tea Times Three was that it had young YA age protagonists but alo followed the residents of a town who ran the gamut from other teenagers to senior citizens. And what teenager gives a crap about a 72 year old retired school teacher trying to take care of her younger sister who has severe rheumatoid arthritis? It all clicked when my friend Sunny aid age them up.
Then I had a novel! I started writing in April and have 340 handwritten pages. I'm closing in the climax and my word count goal of 65000+.
But now I'm pondering another comic book idea I have called (temporarily) Ex Libris about a group of war orphans who are raised in a magical library. That one also features a group of teenage protagonists.
Let me pause to explain why everyone in my books are teenage girls. I love shoujo manga- that's girl's comics in Japan. They are overwhelmingly about teen girls, romance, (sweet often very vanilla romance which I like) and high school. Some are more fantasy based with vampires, fantasy world settings, or just a few paranormal elements. BUT I like these books because they are the comics that were NEVER made for me in America. AND they are a large market share of the U.S. graphic novel market because they are comics made for girls. So shoujo is everything I love- strong female leads and art.
I love YA fiction- which is odd because as a teen I never read it. That aside though I did at one time have a gaol to write MG and YA fiction after I had to drop out of art school because my arm hurt too much to do the work. So in a lot of ways I'm trying to get BACK to an early goal, but I also really want to write novels for adults too- mostly fantasy since that is what I love to read.
Now- back to Ex Libris. I've been thinking about reviving it as a book. But I've also been thinking about aging it DOWN to middle grade. A reversal of what I did for T3. There was a romance- a sort of love triangle going that would work well in a shoujo manga but is done to death in YA. Remove the romance and teen girls wouldn't like it as much. So the alternative is focus on the action and adventure, have the tiny inkling of romance, and age everyone down to 12/13 year olds.
I'll let you know if anything comes of this.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
So as I have been working away on Tea Times Three I decided from chapter one to name my chapters. An unusual move for an adult book. The naming of chapters dies out around YA or earlier, same with illustrations. I even came across a post on AW in a thread about naming chapters in novels that called chapter titles cliche! I think this is a little harsh.
I am an adult and I like chapter titles. It gives you a sort of overview of the book without giving away the story and I like that. I will also go one step further and say I like illustrations! I think I have an idea why these two things fade out by the time you get to novels.
Chapter titles in middle grade fiction tell you about the chapter to come and keep the reader keep reading, especially if the chapter titles are punny, or particularly interesting. Pictures of course help the young reader visualize the action.
By the time we are all grown up we don't need these things anymore. Chapters only break a book into sections and o no more thought than a number need be put into them. And illustrations are for kids.
But you know what? As an artist I LIKE pictures. I can visualize the action just fine but darn it- I like art. And I like the author willing to title chapters to give us that little tease of what's to come. I like the effort. I like a table contents too so I can see all the chapter titles and refer back to it to see where the book is going.
These things add an element of fun which seems so often absent in adult fiction, because we are all trying to be oh-so-serious novelists.
I thought I'd post all the chapter titles of Tea Times Three that I have thought of so far. Some may be changed but they are OK for now.
Chapter 1- Opening Soon
Chapter 2- Grand Opening
Chapter 3- Phone Tag
Chapter 4- Now Open
Chapter 5- Sunday
Chapter 6- Free Samples
Chapter 7- First Customer
Chapter 8- Around Back
Chapter 9- Plans
Chapter 10- (unnamed so far)
Contest updates! There aren't any! Maybe I didn't explain it very well in the first two posts so here is a further attempt to explain the contest. Apologies for the confusion! I think I have too few followers for this to have actually worked anyway. Serves me right for trying to build a platform without a book, or fans, or an audience, or friends...
1- In order to win you must be a follower of my blog.
2- You must get your friends to sign up to follow my blog and they should post a comment saying "PERSON sent me to your blog" The person who gets the most friends to sign up to follow my blog wins!
I hope this helps.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
One of the authors, a YA author I was very keen to meet wasn't at her table. There were a couple books sitting in front of an empty chair. This also happened with another of the authors there. Then, when I spotted the YA author (not at her table) signing a book in the small crowd I got up the nerve to go talk to her. I thought a good opener would be to say "I saw your book on Amazon and it looks interesting." To which she said something along the lines of "Thank you, I hope it sells so I can write more." And then she ran off. I stood there and then moved on to talk to other authors who had the time to speak to me.
I understand that authors are only human, maybe she just wanted to hang out with her friends the whole time. Whatever. But it helps to engage the public! In a friendly way. I felt that not only did he not care to take the time to discuss her book with her, but that she didn't want to be talking to me at all. Now she smiled the entire sentence he spoke to me but it was still off putting. Obviously I wasn't important enough to speak with at length.
I have to say as interested in her book as I was I'm not interested anymore.
On the other side of the table- when you are the important published author it can be hard to remember that for some people- meeting you will be the highlight of their day. Or month! A little kindness, a little regard, can go a long way in cementing the trust your readers and turning readers into fans. Even if you don't remember everyone you talk to at a signing or convention or conference- rest assured THEY will remember YOU. Because you are one of the people they left the house to go see.
Needless to say I won't be buying that particular book. And maybe that sounds petty but that iss 90% how the world works. If you leave a bad impression on potential buyers they won't buy the book.
So please, dear authors- be kind to the humble supplicant's and wannabes that show up to the events you attend. Their money is as green as anyone else's.
And for the love of God it behind your table. I don't what the hell you look like. Although now that I think about it, the fact that she wasn't behind her table says something about how seriously she was taking the event in the first place.
Monday, October 4, 2010
This post sums up so much of what is wrong with America and books, and the perception of intelligence in the United States that I want to fucking hit someone.
There is an assumption that EVERYTHING smacking of intelligence is elitist and irrelevant. There is an assumption that teenagers can't/won't/and don't appreciate anything not involving tons of ex, drugs, and pop culture references. That some how we should expect LESS from today's teens, because as the post says they ALL have ADD and ADHD and therefore we shouldn't expect them to like anything.
Therefore I posit that all book for the YA audience should be composed solely of the following words so teenagers will actually read something.
The list of approved vocabulary: Boobs, cock, fuck, shit, Paris Hilton, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, sex, orgasm, R. Kelly, tits, oral sex (although this is two words and the kids may lose interest after the first word), zombies, vampire, money, poop, piss, hell, bitch, Nintendo, billionaire, PS3 and luxury car (again two words and that may be expecting too much from their little chestnut brains).
These words can be strung together in any order for the space of 280 pages. Any longer than that and the target teens will lose interest. Plot not required. Extra words like the, it, is, were, to, too, and, that are optional- just be sure not to bog down your manuscript. We want the kids to read something- anything.
I also find that post hypocritical. If one reads anything about the how-to of writing for teens everyone says "Don't talk down to your audience". But isn't this the assumption being made? That literature is irrelevant. Intelligence is passe. And no proper teen would or ever could sit through To Kill a Mockingbird? Or worse yet ENJOY the book. Some where out there MUST be teenagers reading a book written before 2009 and enjoying it.
For the record this is my reply to the post itself on YA Highway. I am the sole voice of dissent as well, which seems to be my chronic state.
Either I am a freak of nature or this post is rather insulting.
I will admit to being old now (36) but when I was a teen I #1)didn't read YA and #2) voluntarily, on my own read Beowulf after reading a small section in class.
I LIKED the Scarlet Letter and infact enjoyed a lot of what we read in English class including Pygmalion and Shakespeare. In college I read Jane Eyre of my own volition and loved it.
I also have to disagree with your analysis of the opening of To Kill A Mockingbird it states that Jem is the narrator's brother.
I actually had a 'wait hold up' moment during the opening of Neil Gaiman's book. What is the hand in the darkness attached to?
Perhaps you meant this post facetiously in which case sorry for coming down on it.
I'm just so tired of really good literature taking a beating when these books ARE SO WORTHWHILE. They have stood the test of time and till offer worthy and valid perspectives even in this modern age. NONE of that can be aid of either of the two contemporary books you quote and portray as being so much more relevant.
Perhaps in 100 years we will see if anyone is still reading Neil Gaiman or 'It's Kind of a Funny Story'.
To avoid embarrassing myself even more I fixed the spelling in my posted reply to the blog here because I could! For the best hilarity read it on YA Highway as I argue for intelligence and spell horrifically! The irony is not lost...
Sunday, October 3, 2010
AND NO PORN. I'm not gonna draw your character doing anything nasty because I don't feel like it. And because I am only offering to draw a single character.
The contest!Bring me followers! For the next few weeks if you- my followers can get your friends to follow my blog I will draw a character from your book/WIP (or fan art if you choose) and send you a print of the original work!!! How it works- Have you friend follow my blog and have them post a comment saying 'So and So sent me over to follow you' or some such comment. The person who sends me the most followers wins!Contest ends October 23. Ok?Your character will look like anime though! That is the only 'catch' here is a link to my Deviant Art Gallery so you can see what your character will potentially look like http://spiderliing666.deviantart.com/Send me followers!!!
Friday, October 1, 2010
First of all a titanic thank you to my now 12 followers :D Not bad for having just started up! (Apparently the key is to post about things I hate LOL!)
But I would like to increase the number of followers I have in the event of finishing my novel and getting an agent and publisher.
So! To build my platform and look good online I am having a CONTEST!
Bring me followers! For the next few weeks if you- my followers can get your friends to follow my blog I will draw a character from your book/WIP (or fan art if you choose) and send you a print of the original work!!!
How it works- Have you friend follow my blog and have them post a comment saying 'So and So sent me over to follow you' or some such comment. The person who sends me the most followers wins!
Contest ends October 23. Ok?
Your character will look like anime though! That is the only 'catch' here is a link to my Deviant Art Gallery so you can see what your character will potentially look like http://spiderliing666.deviantart.com/
Send me followers!!!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I have done my utter best to avoid acknowledging the existence of 'mash-up' novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and it's slew of imitators. But this trend of bastardization keeps on going! Where has originality gone? How hard is it to rewrite other people's (better) novels?
OK- I haven't read any of the titles mentioned above, and I don't want to. I like authors who create their own worlds, rely on their skills and plot their own books.
But, in either an attempt to one-up the mash-ups OR an attempt by publishers to cash in on a trend comes--- I don't even know what to call them so I'll call them this Historic Figure is actually demon/vampire/werewolf Slayer. These at least have the possibility to be original, maybe even interesting, but there are too many of them out there to make me care. And you know what? I like history for what it was. It's not necessary to turn every head of state/famous author into some kind of undead or undead slayer. FYI: The only exception to this Kim Newman but he did it first and better!
AND to one up the Historic Figure is actually demon/vampire/werewolf Slayer comes the Modern Retelling of Literature because what was wrong with it in the first place? Books like Jane http://www.amazon.com/Jane-April-Lindner/dp/0316084204/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285728602&sr=1-1 This is why there are 3 versions of King Kong each one worse and longer than the one before it. People equate classics with boring so by God someone out there needs to make it all modern/better/now with computers and cell phones and things the KIDS can relate to.
Lastly there are the "sequels" to great books which honestly are fanfic-lit-wank.
I guess I just don't understand this need to bastardize everything. Is it because the original wasn't interesting enough? Is it because the authors were hurting for an idea? I like Jane Austin as much as anyone but I don't feel the need to steal her books and insert vampires. I have my own ideas, my own worlds, that I want to get out on paper. I don't need to beg, borrow or steal from anyone. Certainly other authors inspire me but to make Anna Karenina a steampunk rewrite with robots? No thanks. I have a few other things up my sleeve.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Some people lament the end of a novel but I'm looking forward to it because it means I CAN write a novel. I can also make it better through editing. And then the fun starts! Finishing a novel is only the beginning and that's exciting!
I think I found the agent I want and they are the first one I want to try. I have heard people talk about 'dream agents' before but honestly my dream agent was one that would have me as a client! But I did find a dream agent- and not through Internet research. Through reading the dedications in an ARC which I picked up a couple years ago at ComiCon. The dedication to the agent stuck in my head for all these years but I never dreamed of ever trying to send the agent anything and back then of course I had nothing to send. I thought I would be working in comics happily scripting Dark Moon Diary for Tokyopop.
Well, this was a rambling post!
Monday, September 20, 2010
This is what I do. When I'm writing I write, I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know if I'm telling or showing.
Too much showing makes the character seem entirely disengaged from their world. A character that doesn't pause to reflect or think becomes a list of actions. A character that doesn't say "I love this show." or stop and wonder why they feel so bad even when things are going well feel to me like they are floating in an endless world of actions strung together without a single self reflection.
But is a character that thinks about things just an endless dull teller? A lecturer on the inner world which no one cares about? Is that what I'm doing?
What I try to do is have the character do something but also think about why they are doing it. I put on a page their unvoiced concerns and pit-of-the-stomach feelings.
I couldn't even begin to tell you what I'm doing and whether it's any good or not because I have no idea. The more time I spend on Absolute Write the more I feel like I'm doing everything wrong.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
If you would like to check it follow this link http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191599
Now it's back to T3.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
However this laser perception fails- sometimes more and sometimes when faced with my own work. That's not to say that my rewrites are completely unhelpful, but they lack the insight which I can level at someone else's. This is the same principle as the shoemaker's children have no shoes or the matchmaker is always single. In some instances it's just easier to do for others.
There is a lot of advice on brutal self editing, everything from putting your manuscript in a drawer for a month to reading it aloud. The reading it aloud option is a very good one, BUT even that sage advice only goes o far.
When the time comes, after as many edits as I can stand I will be sending out Tea Times Three to beta readers far and wide and I only hope they skewer it to the wall, rip it apart, and help me make it better.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
OK! Swearing! In my own life I swear like a sailor. However in my fiction nary a character drops the F*bomb. In fact, they don't swear a lot at all. Obviously I don't mind swearing. I've read books where every other word was fuck. Layer Cake is linguistic genius, full of British slang and tons of swearing. I swear a lot on my Live Journal http://www.spiderling.livejournal.com but it is near absent in my fiction.
There is very little in Tea Times Three and I carefully consider my choices when characters do swear and what words they use. So far not much cursing has happened in T3 but there are has been a bit.
My friend Sunny http://sunnyfrazier.com/ has some very firm opinions on swearing in books. That very often a lot of gratuitous swearing will alienate certain readers. I'd like to add that I think a lot of swearing becomes back ground noise. Which is fine if you are writing Layer Cake which is all about drug dealing Londoners. But ask yourself this: does the swearing have a purpose? Does it add to the characters? Reflect their socio-economic back ground? Show a culture or sub-culture they take part in? Or is it just bad habit (as is my case...) :) which could make a nice character trait especially, if like me again, they are trying to curb their potty mouth.
In a weird reversal of this I was recently reading an urban fantasy where all the characters used 'fantasy' swears throughout the book peppered with the usual mid-level swears of 'shit' and 'damn' . So when I came to the one and only 'fuck' in the entire book it was glaring and felt very inappropriate.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
So, this is where the magic happens!!
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thing is, it's not. More like I'm so happy to have found a community of author and writer that I'm dying for some kind of acceptance of me and my work. Like the new kid bragging about all the cool stuff they have at home in the hopes that someone will take an interest and be their friend.
But I've never been good at making friends so history is just repeating. Let me wallow for a moment. I'm sure I'll piss of everyone on the board and they will all hate me and then I'll never get published because everyone thinks I'm stoopid. People can probably smell the desperate for friends odor coming off me even through their modems and are going to steer well clear. I think I have 'trying to hard' stamped on my forehead.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The two things I hate right now in characters are:
1- The Sarcasmbot. This is when a character is snarky for the sake of snark, and or, to show off how clever and witty the author is by using sarcastic acrobatics mid-sentence, every sentence. Since when is sarcasm a substitute for an actual personality? These characters often have only one other character trait and that is being Miserable Bitches. They have no sense of humor (aside from constant snark) and it doesn't make them well rounded or interesting.
2- The Miserable Bitch. This often goes hand in hand with the Sarcasmbot and acts as the Sarcasmbot's secondary personality trait. These characters are joyless and quite frankly boring. Just because your character is a miserable pathos ridden bitch who the universe has decided to shit upon repeatedly, doesn't mean I have to care. Too often the sad sack only engenders feelings of annoyance because that much misery becomes only so much irritating white noise.
Now the theory is that the author has set up some kind of back story for the character where in the Miserable Bitch was happy for about 5 minutes before something ubertragic happens and it's all swept away in a wave of tears and sadness. The problem is that often only one or two chapters deals with the character being happy before it's all taken away so the reader never gets to live in the characters happiness. Handing me a character in chapter one that has a happy family and then killing the family in chapter two hasn't given the reader time to like any of the characters involved and therefore when 'oh-so-sad!' the characters die, no ones cares!
OK, I'm going to add a third character I don't like to this list.
3- Ubertragic Melancholy Pityme. When a character goes on and on about how terrible there life is and how nothing ever works out for them, and how put upon they are. Just staple the back of your hand to your forehead and find a fainting couch to drape yourself across because I don't care you joyless sack of crap. Telling me how miserable you are all the time does not foster sympathy
Basically my message is this; you the author can't just TELL me how tragic your character is and magically make me the reader, care. That's not how it works. There has to be more to it. Throwing already emotionally fucked up characters with miserable lives into miserable circumstances loses all contrast! If the character is already miserable in the beginning and nothing improves how do we tell the character has learned anything or grown at all?
And snark does NOT equal personality! It does not equal spunk, it does not equal wit, and it does NOT equal anything close to a multi-dimensional character.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
At least the way T3 is written I can go back to the very beginning and add a an arc for the neighboring proprietors. I think I will also be able to work Geoffry, owner of Callister's Dry Goods in more along with the other business owners.
That can wait until draft two thankfully. Until then it's onward and upward!!
I'm researching an idea for a middle grade book and as further research I have checked out a bunch of MG from the library. I think I've sunk myself a little, I have too many books to read!! Oh my!
Lately I have had so many ideas for books I can't believe it! I'm getting down what I can without actually starting another book! Bad Che! No starting new book until one is done! I hit upon an idea for a YA horror novel. Very early Thomas Ligotti, a little bit Lovecraft, and a teeny bit Sights Unseen.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I have a list of interesting research and web crawling I need to do during the first edit. I have been following the maxim of 'Forward! Ever forward!' with this book and it's actually getting the book written!
I'm also very proud of myself for hitting the halfway mark and NOT starting another novel! I think there is some self destructive urge in writers to shoot ourselves in the foot and start new projects in the middle of other projects. That doesn't mean that I'm not RESEARCHING another book however. But it's secret right now! We'll see if I wimp out on it too...
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I am writing two things currently. I have an idea for a fantasy novel which is well researched but not plotted, and an idea for a MG book that is a seedling at best and needs research. The ever growing R.F.N. which I work on on and off as inspiration strikes. The main work Tea Times Three which is now 106 pgs handwritten (yay) and a few other odds and ends.
I fear losing focus and failing to get T3 done. But I want to write, more and more. More quantity. If I can get something DONE surely at least one project will net me the ever coveted Agent. I'm hoping it will T3 honestly but I worry a bit about how much T3 does NOT fit into a tidy genre nook.
But if I can up the quantity of my production and finish projects then maybe I will be on to something.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I know that this is FAR in the future, (and up to the publisher if and when I get one) but I would like to include a map of the town, something like the maps in the Mitford series. The first couple of Mitford books also have chapter illustration which I think is really cool for a literary book. All books should have pictures in my opinion!
At some point I will also need to begin working on the recipes which I hope the publisher will also include.
Friday, July 30, 2010
When I was younger I lover to give all my characters depressing back stories, tragic circumstances and deep seated issues. As I've gotten older I find that I have tired a bit of constant melancholy and some of the anime I love the most have been sweet stories where nothing really terrible happens.
I'm sort of banking on the fact that I may not be alone in this. That somewhere out there are fantasy fans tired of having only having a few market choices. Epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and the occasional outliers like literary fantasy, magical realism, and steampunk.
But I find myself wondering if anyone will be interested and more importantly if publishers will be interested. Or if Tea Time Three is too hard to catagorize.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
BUT! That didn't stop me from writing! I am up to page 183 which is ten pages over the approximate halfway mark!
I have also joined Absolute Write http://absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php and I have been poking around on the forum there. Well, I just got back.
Anyway, I'm very proud of myself :) I mean if I'm not who will be right? I gotta keep myself going somehow. This is a big milestone for my book and I'm happy I got there.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Often when I write I put in a sort of throw away line about something and then pages later realize I have solved a problem even before it arose. Does this happen to anyone else? I don't plan foreshadowing at all and I'm not even very good at it. I will even say I'm bad at it. But I seem to achieve a certain amount either by accident or or psychic premonition, I'm not sure which. Perhaps it is subconscious planning ahead. I don't know. But things magically click into place and I have foreshadowing!
Maybe that isn't such a good thing. Maybe I need to push harder to be a better writer. Or maybe I'm doing pretty well and don't know it. My friend, author Sunny Frazier, once told me "You don't know when you're doing well." Thar tuck in my head. I have an unwillingness to acknowledge any of my skills and accomplishments.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Aside from just scoping out publishers that take un-agented submissions I am looking at agents too. I really hope to get on too. I think I'll write up a list on all the reasons I want one too and pot that.
I also have to scan in the layout I drew of the Tea Times Three tea shop which is uncreatively enough named Tea Times Three.
I also really want an "S" key that works! I do all my internet on my laptop. I have a separate art computer for my artwork but my laptop i my internet work horse and now the "S" key is super sticky. It doesn't type the 's' the first most of the time. I complained on LJ about feeling like the main character of Stephen King's "Misery" who had to fill in all the 'n's in his manuscript by hand.
I think my computer is going into the shop anyway, there are a few other things wrong too.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
But this bring up another idea. To submit to Penguin and DAW I need to reach 80,000 words. Pyr wants no less than 85,000 words. I have seen some small publishers with novel submissions that start at 60,000 words. My initial goal for T3 was to achieve a sort of NANIWRIMO result of 50,000 in a month. But that was two months ago or so.
So if I don't reach that do I start to pad? Will that weaken the story? Mot of my personal editing, on my short stories involves cutting out non-essential words, which I use a lot of. (My worst offenses are 'that' and 'really' and a few others, maybe I'll go into that later! SEE! LOL!) So I have to be careful with any padding I do. I'll need add meaningful detail about the characters and their lives. Maybe more descriptions, both of the characters physical appearance, and of the town. Perhaps even add a character arc.
But I figure I'm doing well if I'm doing well if I'm still going strong at 30,000 words.
Remind me next time- I drew a floor plan for the Tea Time Three teashop :)
Monday, June 28, 2010
But then sometimes I find links to wonderful things, agent sites that look promising, a writers conference that looks like the perfect place to pitch when Tea Times Three is done and polished. I often wonder where my books will fit in. Or if they will.
I also got a very pleasant and heartening reply to a comment I posted on Stacia Kane's Livejournal
This was my comment: I sure hope the doom and gloom is an exaggeration too! I'm working on something really good right now, but every time I look around the Internet all it seems to say is "You'll never get a publisher/agent/book in print ever! So give up already" And then I feel my hopes and dreams start to shrivel and die.
And her kind reply: All those people saying that? They're WRONG. WRONG. I promise. They said the same thing a few years ago when I got published, and when I got my agent, and when I sold my second series.
I just read something on another blog about someone feeling multiple POVs are a cop out. Tea 3 has lots of multiple POV. Each scene is described from one characters point of view and I chose the character I feel can reveal the most about the scene. But I also have little snippets of their pasts at times and in either the blog or the replies another person said if it's important enough to be included make us feel it. But where is the line? If I include richly detailed past lives for everyone in the little town of Midswich I'd have a 900 novels to write. I'm writing a book about a town as much as anything else.
Well, I suppose a lot of these ponderings can wait until editing. FINISH THE BOOK! My mantra goes! I'm 142 handwritten pages!
And still no followers!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
So the genre I'm inventing is called Cozy Fantasy and it's defined by books like Tea Times Three, slice of life fantasy devoid of lots of guns, chicks in leather, detectives, corpses and lots of violence. LOL!
There are a few people who would argue that there are such sub-genres of suburban fantasy, and rural fantasy. In fact I went to panel on that at the last World Fantasy Convention 09. It was a great panel. But I still feel like that doesn't really fit for Tea Three. But it is a cozy story, where nothing really bad ever happens.
Friday, June 18, 2010
1. It keeps me off the streets.
2. It's better than getting a real job.
3. I seem to have all these ideas that insist on being put on paper.
4. It gives me an excuse go to Staples and buy paper.
5. I live in a small town and there isn't a lot to do.
6. I don't have any friends to distract me.
7. Going to the gym a lot sends blood to my brain making it work overtime.
8. If I don't channel my imagination somehow I will not sleep at night for fear of ghosts.
9. The words are coming out good for once.
10. It's really hot outside.
LOL! The real reason is because I have stories I want to tell and I've always had stories. Ever since I was a little kid I was a world builder. Making up my own characters and thinking up stories for them. I thought I was going to be a comic book author and write and draw my own comics but in art school I discovered I HATE drawing my own comics. I had some success as an author of comics but it's difficult to find artists to work with.
Tea Times Three is actually an idea for a comic which I tried to find an artist for. After two or three quit and or were never heard from again, I decided to turn it into a novel. Sunny gave me a few suggestions for it that galvanized me. I'm on page 130 (hand written) and still going strong!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
And check out this link about Diversion Books :)http://www.theresameyers.com/blog/index.php/2010/04/28/introducing-diversion-books-an-exclusive-interview-with-scott-waxman/
This is entirely the post of a novice you understand but I've been thinking about this issue awhile now and I'd like to weigh in with an opinion in opposite of the esteemed Stacia Kane.
While I completely understand the potential horror stories of an agent who opens up an e-publisher which I think we can all well imagine, it doesn't seem like all the fears inherent in it are valid. Authors get ripped off all the time by publishers with questionable practices so when a literary agent of such standing opens a publishing house it has as much chance of succeeding and turning into a legit house as anything else.
BUT, the main point I'd like to get to is this: Agents to make money have to sell books. They represent lots of authors whose work they have the highest intention to sell. But what happens when you have a great manuscript that you love and want to see published and none of the major publishing houses will take it? What happens when your mid-list author is cut off and no one picks up their series? There must be an immense amount of frustration on the part of agents who have a good book in hand and have no where to place it. Book agents got in to publishing because they love books and authors and I imagine they face some disappointment when a book is rejected, and not just from the lost income they are facing.
Violation of ethics aside if I had an agent who had exhausted every avenue for my book and came to me and said "I'm starting an e-book publishing house would you like in?" I would unequivocally say yes. Why? Because I want my work to be read. I want more legitimacy than self publishing affords (and I want an agent too!). Because almost any publication is better than no publication at all.
The advice about being careful; what publisher you sign up with or what agent represents you, holds no matter what format the book is being published in and o matter the background of the publisher. Scams abound. Do the research and fist and foremost: FINISH THAT BOOK! That's what I keep telling myself!
Tea Times Three is up to 124 handwritten pages!! 50 or so more and I'll be at about 30,000 words!
Monday, June 7, 2010
Setting aside those thoughts is sometimes hard to do. Especially in genre fiction where despite a longing for new visions there also seems to be a deep abiding set of expectations. More so that in literary fiction.
I think I'm going to invent a new genre :) LOL! It's called un-epic fantasy and it's stories that are the slice of life, day to day workings of people's lives but set in a fantasy world. No armies marching, no swords hacking limbs, no massing invasion of Orcs or trolls. Just people, who, despite the local wizard/dragon/vampire/werewolf pack, still have to live their lives.
Friday, June 4, 2010
This blog I would like dedicate entirely to writing. My writing anyway, my hopes to get published- outside the realm of comic books anyway, and the struggles that may or may not entail.
I was originally going to name the blog after the book I'm currently writing Tea Times Three but hopefully I'll have more to talk about than just the one book! So I thought I'd name it after HOW I write which is entirely in longhand. Every book, every comic book script, and short story is written by hand on 3-hole binder paper, college ruled, which I buy from Staples in the 400 sheet pack.
Currently I'm writing two books. The unnamed RFN which stands for the Russian Fucking Novel because I've been writing it for 2 years, it's up to 700+ handwritten pages and is approximately 100,000 word and more. Otherwise I just call it Ambriel after the main character. I don't like to discuss the RFN too much because I don't know what to do it once I finish. It's rather unclassifiable beyond just being 'fantasy'.
Tea Times Three on the other hand I think and very much hope has a place in the world. It too is fantasy but sort of falls more into urban fantasy. The book lacks all resemblance to what I think most people think of as UF though. There are no guns, detectives, chick in leather, or vampires. There is no mystery to solve, no apocalypse to avert and nothing what so ever explodes.