Black Roses announcements!

Thanksgiving comes to a close at last with a visit from my brother this weekend. I have so much to be thankful for this year, including the support of my Patrons and family and friends. So accordingly, I thought I would share a little gift.

I’ve pretty much only been talking about my NaNoWriMo goal of finishing the first Black Roses novella this month. Well, here we are, nearly at the end of NaNoWriMo, and while the novella is a bit longer than I thought I expect I will be finished very soon! Which means that, following some initial editing, I will be all set up for the roll out of the first Black Roses novella, All the Roses Black, a weekly installment of a creepy Bluebeard retelling. You can find out more about this project and support it for access at my Patreon.

But to sweeten the pot a little and encourage you to participate, I’ve put together this brief excerpt of my writing playlist with all of my favorite songs for this story. I’ve also made a Youtube version for those who want an easy link.

I hope you enjoy these songs! We are so close to the goal for this project to come alive, and I’m very excited.


To get this serial novella as it comes out, all you have to do is pledge! Check out my Patreon for more information.

Falling down the hill

It’s nearly the end of NaNoWriMo and the Thanksgiving season has begun. So far I have attended three Thanksgivings of one stripe or another, and I’m crazy behind on wordcount. I’m convinced that whoever placed NaNo in November did it specifically because they thought only children and college-aged folks would be interested. Adults spend far too much time in November cooking for other people to be able to summon the creative juices to write 50k.

Luckily, I am not writing that much. My NaNo goal was only 20k. I could conceivably do that in four (terrible) days if I had to, and I have already gotten pretty far along so I won’t have to do that to myself. And, despite being behind, there’s good news!

You may have seen this post, so let me explain what this means.

My writing process is sort of strange. As with most people, the process changes from book to book. However, with most stories I hit a moment when things start to cohere. Last weekend, as I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for a friend, I realized that I had finally discovery-written enough that things were starting to come together.

You see, I’m not a pantser, but I’m not a planner either. I’m more of a baker of stories, when it comes down to it. I plan out the ingredients according to the recipe I come up with, and then I start mixing things together. The end-goal remains consistent but sometimes the steps can be malleable. As any good baker knows, there’s usually a point part of the way through where you’re not sure if you’re doing it right. Maybe you didn’t add enough water or milk, and it needs a little more. Maybe you didn’t add enough flour. Whatever it was, you need intuition to take you in that direction, to get you to the perfect consistency of dough or batter.

And once you have that consistency right, the rest of it is just patting and rolling the story into shape.

Anyway, it’s an imperfect metaphor, but I’m living proof that you don’t need to outline 100% or to free-write 100%. I’m pretty sure if I did either the story that would come out would be dead, lacking the spark that makes it worth reading. For this story, I had a clear idea of the two main characters, parts of the setting, and the end I was working towards. I knew the bones. As I have written, I’ve been adding flesh and color in ways that, honestly, often surprise me. The story is beginning to take on a life of its own, and that means I’m doing something right.

Just in time, too, since NaNo is nearly over.


 
Want to support this blog? Buy books, make a Paypal donation, or subscribe to my Patreon.

Revisiting old loves: Van Helsing

Have you ever rewatched a movie and realized how much it shaped you?

For Halloween, the S.O. and I were looking for a spooky watch. I don’t really like horror in the gory sense, but I am into anything with vampires, werewolves, and monsters of various stripes, especially if there’s some good action involved. While we were zooming through Netflix options, the S.O. mentioned he had never seen Van Helsing. I gasped, grasped my wounded heart, and immediately demanded that we rectify the situation.

For those unfamiliar with the title, Van Helsing is a pulpy, ridiculous, lovely movie that is riddled with issues. It is not a feminist work by any means, despite featuring several named female characters with distinctive personalities. It’s got fridging, and my least favorite trope of sex-in-exchange-for-being-saved. But it remains one of my favorite movies from my teenage years. The S.O. hated it, which I kind of expected. And I, upon watching it as an adult, realized that I had been profoundly influenced as a writer by this film.

There’s a wonderful scene in this movie where Van Helsing is attempting to rescue Anna Valerious from the clutches of Dracula. You know the one – the ball, the dance, the bright red dress. The moment when Anna looks in the mirror and realizes that everyone you see, all the beauty and glitter, is a lie – no one will help her.

van-helsing

I realized that some iteration of that moment happens in one of my books. The red dress, the powerlessness, made it into a scene in Child of Brii. The sense of disorientation I felt in that moment was shocking. Sure, I loved this movie, but that bit of inspiration wasn’t a conscious decision. The red dress, I would have said, was based off of any number of other things. But in that moment I realized that the red dress came from this film.

Recently, I read an article by Kameron Hurley for Locus Magazine, where she said:

I found myself sharing the many real-life stories, anec­dotes, experiences, and other things I’d read over the last 30-some years that went into building the worlds and people and concepts for this single piece of fiction. I was fascinated at the reminder that I was the only one who could have written this story in just this way. These were pieces of my life, all bundled up and remixed. It’s this unique blend of experiences that helps make up a writer’s voice.

For better or worse, Van Helsing and every other pulpy, delicious thing that I love is part of my voice. For a long time, I wrestled with feeling ashamed of wanting to write things that weren’t “heavy” enough, that held romance as an element, that featured women in fancy clothes or with female friends – and of writing stories that contained werewolves and demons purely for the delight of them. Maybe getting older has changed my tastes, or maybe I just don’t care as much anymore. Either way, I think the kinds of stories I’m willing and able to tell are becoming more balanced.

I still want to write works that show women as more than just pretty baubles, and I no doubt will. But I don’t think the red dress is a bad decision either. The glitter is worth writing as much as the gore. I need both. So I’ll take to heart this lesson from my old problematic favorite. They say to steal like an artist. I’m happy to steal from the stories that have shaped me, and to make those stories my own.


Want to support this blog? Buy books, make a Paypal donation, or subscribe to my Patreon.

Good news!

Hey guys, guess what? We reached our $20 goal on Patreon. Which means we get poetry!!!

I’m so excited about this, so I wanted to share the graphics I’ve made for the poems Patrons will get this month. If you want to read the full poem and get future information, you’ll have to subscribe. Images are from Pexels and edited with Canva.

Anyway, enjoy! I’m back to the word mines!

If you If only you (1)cold fall day (1)How does one come to kill_ (1)River green, rocks black, blood red (1)

Welcome to November

Good morning everyone. We are officially one day in to National Novel Writing Month.

Excuse me.

*Screams in writer*

Okay, that’s better. So yeah, NaNoWriMo is here, and this year I have a personal goal to finish this WIP. I will finish the first Black Roses novella in November or die trying. There is enormous probability of the latter, but such is life.

welcome to november.gif

I’ve never successfully done NaNoWriMo to the national standard. I mean, I’ve written 50,000 words in a month, but only when I was unemployed. It was awesome. When I think back on that time of my life, I recognize that I was in some ways miserable (I ate a lot of soup) but in other ways close to reaching some kind of writing enlightenment. My average wordcount when I’m unemployed and writing full time is about 1700 words a day. Which is…really not a lot of words when you get down to it. About five pages, give or take.

By the way, that’s just over what it takes, every single day of November, to get to the goal of 50,000 words.

So yes, I’ve never successfully finished NaNoWriMo in November, not least because it occurs right as we are ramping up into the Holiday Season, which means that I am very busy with the required efforts to connect to distant family members and friends that this time of year entails. I will definitely not make it through 50,000 words this year, and I know this. But I’m hoping for a good 20,000, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Which, by the way, is still a really daunting number for me with all the writing I do for the day job, even though it comes in at about 667 words a day. All of it depends on how long this story wants to be told of course. It’s totally possible that the first draft will come out longer or shorter than that. I’ve given up trying to predict the exact number of words in one of my drafts. Ballparks of plus or minus about 5,000 words are safer.

Anyway, Welcome to November. My blog posts may be a little bit short this month. They do not count towards wordcount, after all. Good luck with all of your writing endeavors, if you’re setting your own goals for this month. And if you’re trying to reach those 50,000 words, you are in my thoughts.


Want to support this blog? Buy books, make a Paypal donation, or subscribe to my Patreon.

 

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑