Aspiring to inspire…

On Writing

Checking In…

I said I had goals, yes? Well, I got sick. The beginning of the year always sucks for me. And so… I have fallen a bit short thus far.

But let’s not focus on what I haven’t done. What have I accomplished thus far?

I have read 7 books so far this year. Two of which were under 200 pages. But I’m not sure they count as novellas.
I thought I was going slow… but that’s actually rather impressive considering how I’ve been feeling.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The Children And The Wolves by Adam Rapp*
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith**
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor*
Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

* Both of these were under 200 pages.
** This was for a Read Aloud Book Club thing I do. But I read it. So it counts.

I’m currently working on reading 4 books. Two adult and two YA. I’ll happily add those to the list when I finish them.

As for writing. That’s been slower. I try not to write when I feel too much of anything. Because I feel like what I feel seeps into the writing, and then it’s more about me and less about the story. That’s when I normally turn to poetry. But my mind has really been in wanting to write fiction. And I already explained why I haven’t been doing that. Fun circle I get myself into there. But… let’s check in with the writing anyway.

If Words Hold Weight
— 6 poems I’ve not really shown anyone yet
— 4 poems I haven’t finished yet
Flash Fiction:
Sweet And Heavy
Short Stories:
— Three starts, no finished ones as of yet
Novels Worked On:
— None

And I’ve been blogging at least once a month, improvement there!

I’ve got some cool and exciting things in the works, however. So even when I’m not writing, I’m staying immersed and that’s what is important. I dedicated yesterday to reading and watching videos dealing with the craft of writing. I bounced around an idea in my head for a potential short story. There is progress, even if it’s not entirely tangible just yet. And I think that’s worth the down time.


Good Writing, Romance, and Abuse

I mentioned in my previous post that I think more authors should really try to perfect their craft. This is not to say I’m a super fancy writer, obviously I’m not or I’d be published rather than writing a blog post that few will actually read. But I figure, since I picked at mainstream lit, I should explain my thinking. And it should be noted, I’m referring to YA here. Adult novels, intrinsically not focusing on coming-of-age tales, do not fall into the same problems, though they do have their own. And, obviously, all of this is my personal opinion. I am no expert, and as my wonderful friend Kim recently said to me, art has a bias and no one is ever stating fact.

I do read the sort of books I was poking in my previous post. People say “OMG this book was amaaaaaaazing you have to read it do it you must you know you want to it was absolutely wonderful please for me to make me happy and feel like I shared something worth sharing read it omg now.” (Painful run on sentence. I’m so sorry you had to read that.)

Also, sometimes the synopsis sounds like it could be a brilliant book. A book just waiting to make the favorites list. And then they don’t. And then I give them 2 stars and people tell me I’m too picky, too critical, too snobby, too… whatever they think is bad to make me feel stupid for disliking something I didn’t think was up to par. And the funny thing is… no one asks the important questions.

A lot of these books had a good idea, they just fell through in execution. A lot of these books also focus heavily on the romantic aspect and you don’t need TRUE LOVE to sell a book to me. I actually get along just fine without a heavy romantic element. Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough did a wonderful job of capturing my attention and holding it without romance. On the other hand, you can include romance without smothering me with it, making it the focal point to an unhealthy degree, and/or failing to keep it real within the context of the story. Divergent by Veronica Roth is by far the best I’ve seen that keeps the romance in perspective, builds up to it in a logical manner, and never overwhelms me with need, which is not what love or romance is all about.

There are books I wanted to like, but the writing was never up to the challenge the story presented. Flat characters are flat. Obvious, I know. But I don’t want to read two dimensional characters. I want them to jump out of the page and feel real to me. If an author can’t do that, I can’t be their target audience. Complex plot lines are wonderful. Convoluted ones are not. If you tried to do so much in your story that I need a manual to navigate through your knotted up sub-plots and around your gaping holes, I can’t be your target audience.

am critical. If your story is set in a mental hospital and you mention a patient hearing clinking silverware, I will put the story down. Because the only way that’s real is if the patient is hallucinating. And if she is, you might want to tell me before she hears the impossible and I tune out. If your werewolves, with their increased sense of smell, can’t sniff out a person is actually another werewolf, I will check out of your story. Because that is illogical. If your Hero deadpan tells your Heroine that he wants to kill her, stalks her, blatantly tries to restrict her freedom as a person, and/or treats her as lesser because of who she is but tries to say he loves her anyway… at any point in the story and she does not get scared, fear for her life, call the police, run away, or at least acknowledge that this is not correct,  I will probably chuck the book across the room because abuse is not sexy and I will not tolerate the romanticizing of it. I am happily critical about inconsistencies, fallacies, plot holes, and downright romanticizing things that have no right to be.

And let’s talk a moment about abuse and literature, shall we? If you’ve got a BDSM book (which would likely not be YA, but humor me anyway), and a fantasy the couple is acting out is a serial killer who wants to kill the girl but wants to have sex with her more, so they spare her, for now… dun dun dun! That’s fine. Because the characters acknowledge it’s fantasy and are consenting, and theoretically sane. But a love interest is not sexy because they could hurt you, yet choose not to. They’re sexy because they doesn’t want to hurt you. If your love interest wants to kill you, if they stalk you, if they restrict your freedom as a person, if they treat you like they are superior to you… they are abusive. And that’s not cute or sexy. That’s not loving possessiveness, that’s not loving anything. Abuse is abuse. And it’s not something to romanticize, because it truly could hurt you.

I have a high standard for what I consider good writing. And I think plenty of authors have the potential to reach that level. But I honestly do think a lot of them settle for mediocracy. My saying that is actually a compliment. I’m saying they could do better and they choose not to, as opposed to saying they are incapable of doing better. The goal is not quantity, but quality. I understand writers want to make a living off of their words, but perhaps it’s the love of words that should take the foreground.

Thus Far… and Resolutions

It’s that time again. End of the year babble and resolutions and all that. So… let’s take stock of what I accomplished.

2012 Resolutions
Writing Goal:

1. Complete short stories:
-The Door Home
-Life Size
2. Complete novellas:
-End Game
-Solitary King
3. Complete Transforming Silence
4. Revise Transforming Silence
5. Complete first draft of Tempting Defiance

Reading goal:
50 books

Okay that looks rather sad, right? Here’s why. I wrote plenty of things not on that list.

2012 Scribblings:
1. Five Flash Fiction (under 500 words)-
Woeful Disposition
Feathers to Guard You
Deliciously New
Possessively New
2. Five Short Stories
Gathering Darkness
—Morning Routine
—Rescue Me Before the Supernova
—Much Too Calm
—Once Upon a Dream
3. Twenty Poems 

And I’m still working. I have a short story, presently titled Lies, which I’m working on. And a flash fiction that was actually requested. I started to revize Transforming Silence and realized I needed to finish Tempting Defiance to know where to go with it. I started Tempting Defiance and realized that needs to simmer until I can go there. I started working out details for an entirely different novel idea. A standalone. Something I want to read but haven’t seen yet.

And I did a lot of not working. And that’s on me. And for personal reasons. 2012 was a year of discovering, of what-happens-if-I-play-with-this, of turning 25 and realizing I’m not a kid anymore. I mean… I knew that. But I think I finally shed the last of the things that held me back. The last shreds of I-need-distraction-because-woes. I spent the last couple months of 2012 looking at the things I’d been consuming for “inspiration” and realizing they were holding me back, not propelling me forward. I spent the last two months reading only things of quality, only things that stir the senses and make me think and feel. I’m trying everything, with my writing and my reading. Like I used to before my heart was first broken. Before I knew that darkness forming was depression. Before the first scar.

As for reading in 2012. I read thirteen novels, one novella, one anthology, and nineteen manga. Not impressive. And that’s because I spent months trying to force myself to finish books I wasn’t enjoying. What aren’t I doing in 2013? Hmmmmm.

So moving onward…

2013 Resolutions
Writing Goal:
1. Write at least 52 flash fiction pieces
2. Write at least 52 poems
3. Write at least 25 short stories*
4. Write at least one first draft of a novel

Reading Goal:
30 novels**

Less specific writing goals. But that is attainable, realistic, and yet still challenging. If I can write one poem and one flash fiction piece a week, I can be sure I’m constantly writing. And that’s what keeps me going.

Also, I’d like to post often in 2013. But I don’t always know what to post about that relates to writing. And no one wants to read about writing from someone who isn’t even published yet. So! I will start posting about books that truly inspired me or that I’d like to pick apart. Thoughts or Rants I have about society or humanity or… whatever I have to say really. And these are relevant to my writing because I believe my views show in my writing. So yeah. Goals. I have them.

What are your goals for 2013?

*As per the rules of my prompt project, they don’t have to be short stories. But I predict they will be. On the off chance I do something different one week, I hope to make up for it with a short story on the side but… we’ll see how that goes.
** I can read as many Manga or Novellas as I like. But I need to read a diverse selection of novels as well. So my goal is specific to novels.

Short Story Writing

I have a habit of writing short stories when I’m stuck on a character. I was thinking about a character in Book Two who was the least developed… when suddenly an opportunity presented itself to write his back story and enter a contest at the same time.

So I give to you… Jai. I learned a lot about him while writing this short story. Jai was inspired by a conversation… and then built upon in my imagination… until we get the poor guy you see in my story. I entered the Defy The Dark contest that Figment and Harper Teen were holding… and if I win the following link will be removed and replaced with a link to buy the story (or a link to the story on the Defy The Dark website, depending). In the meantime… you can read Jai’s origin story here:

Gathering Darkness

Beginnings and Ends

I finished Transforming Silence in March. And I was going to revise it right away but I figured a break was in order, to reassess and get my bearings on where it needed tweaking.

In that break I realized a massive flaw… It’s not dark enough. Not remotely. Not enough for where the story continues to go. So as I continue the story… I have a complete re-write in mind. Especially since I have sweet talked some super cute help who sees literature in a very unique way.

So this is to stories… to beginnings and ends… starts and stops… and rewrites.

I have big plans and big dreams and I plan to make them real… one word at a time.

I’ll write again, soon I hope, and presumably less vague and worldly, more amusing and descriptive. Maybe. ^__^

Writing Resolutions

I did not write a whole lot in 2011. I did a lot of plotting and tinkering and excuse-making. I moved three times, Orlando to Nantucket to Salt Lake City to Santa Rosa. I wrote poetry and worked on my graphic skills, which you can see on my poetry tumblr. And then I finished the year working on short stories for friends and family as Christmas presents.

In about a week and a half I wrote 16 pages worth of short stories. That was actually the combined page count of two stories. I’ve got plot outlines and ideas and songs and plans… for several more short stories along with plans to finish my novel, edit, and start in on book two. But 2011 seemed to be the year of drama, the year of I-don’t-feel-like-doing-anything, the year of sigh-groan-grumble. And I am determined to make 2012 my year. And to prove it… I give you my resolutions. Which I will periodically repost to cross off what I’ve accomplished.

Writing Resolutions:
1. Complete short stories:
-The Door Home
-Life Size
2. Complete novellas:
-End Game
-Solitary King
3. Complete Transforming Silence
4. Revise Transforming Silence
5. Complete first draft of Tempting Defiance

Ambitious? Yes. But I have faith in myself… if only I’d apply myself I could get all that done.

I would like to read at least 50 books this coming year. I’ve aimed for this two years in a row and both years I only got to 46. Perhaps this year I will get there. But it’s not really the end of the world if I don’t. The writing plan is more important.

New Problems

I’ve been doing research to lock down a location in Book One. And every time I come to some conclusion, new problems arise. I fix those problems and get brand new ones.

I’ve got two kids wandering around a forest. With very specific requirements for the forest size and proximity to the city.

I find a perfect location…
But it messes up other aspects.
I solve those aspects…
But I need a new park/forest.
Not to mention my solution poses personal problems for me as well.

So then I’m back to no location… and now a whole new problem to fix as well.

And I’m just tempted to say “SCREW IT ALL! I don’t feel like fixing this story!”

Hopefully I’m not the only person to get to this point while being *so close* to done.

What Is In A Name?

I’ve been looking at character names and deciding if they honestly fit the characters. Names are important to me. And I don’t just mean in writing. Obviously names are important in writing. But as a whole. I look at my friends’ names. What they mean, what they say about the person, how they sound. This is what I do with my time, yes.

The significance of this whole thing… is an important character with a POV is having an identity crisis. Her name doesn’t seem to fit her. And the names I like that do fit her are too similar to other character names. So… do I re-name other characters as well or just give her a name that is slightly less than perfect?

Oh the dilemmas we face.

Long Time No Talk!

Look at the dust around here. Such a bad blog-keeper. I’ve been focusing on my poetry lately since that tends to be emotion based and my life is a bit… oh… we’ll just got with chaotic… lately. Mhm. There’s been drama (the bad kind), several moves, and general craziness. So poetry has been coming out of me in waves and I have only done a whole lot of thinking on the Novel(s). Which means the blog gets a bit neglected. Oops.

But! I do have novel info for you. I do.

Solidified some plot point ideas on book 2. -_- Yes. The muse is still messing with me. I’ve been playing with some of the character names as well. One character has a pretty name but it doesn’t feel right at the moment.

And then I realized something. A lot of my characters deal with abuse of some kind, mostly sexual, and a lot of characters get kidnapped. o_O I’m thinking some things might need to be reworked a bit. Insert big heaving sigh here. I’ll figure out what’s going on… soon… ish.

Hope any of you readers are well!

Music and the Muse

Last night I was listening to character playlist music before bed. This means that I woke up today with story information swirling around in my head. Always pleasant. But sometimes I wish these big ideas and revelations didn’t change what I thought I knew. -_-

So now… I’m not writing a trilogy anymore. There are at least 4. And the roles of two of my characters were reversed. And I have the name Mynx floating around in my brain so I feel like this has to be used somewhere. o_O

Dear Muse, I love that music inspires you so much. But would you mind giving me inspiration on… oh, I don’t know… the FIRST novel. I’d like to finish the last 20k words sometime this year before I start tackling the rest in the series. Kay? Thanks.