Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

August 27, 2009 -- 1:37 a.m.

I finally figured out what had my subsconscious up in arms. The moon, of all things!

I wrote a scene so that the moon was still full nine days apart. Okay, yeah, that was an error, but couldn't my subconscious have just pointed that out to me rather than let me writhe for days in agony, wondering what was wrong? That was the unsolvable error? That was the reaosn for my writer's block? The freaking moon?

Today was a good day. Until my computer shredded everything I had worked on. I finally hammered the emotional scene into a shape I liked but...BAM! It's gone. And I can't remember a bloody thing I did. I heard a strange whirring sound and tried to save but it died a moment before the little blue bar crossed the screen. Curse you, little blue bar!

I don't know why auto-save failed. But I'm almost ready to chuck this laptop out of my window. It's impossible for me to remember to save things myself when I'm drowning so deeply in Rachell's world.

I'm trying to look at it as an opportunity to create a new and better revision, but it's hard not to be discouraged. I worked so hard.

Writing Prompt (no number, because it's not an official one): Write a flash-fiction (or longer, whatever) horror story involving a frustrated writer and a supposedly "innocent" computer.

Oh well. Time to relax and cuddle up with some episodes of House. I've been having the most delicious dreams about Hugh Laurie.

(Though sometimes I wish Cuddy would just kick him in the groin, just for the sake of strong women everywhere.)


Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

August 26, 2009 -- 1:38 a.m.

I don't usually get writer's block. I call it "writer's hesitation." I'm reluctant to write because I know something is wrong, and I'm afraid, by writing, I'll just make it worse.

John Brown calls this a gift because we knowing we need to stop, think and fix is better than progressing in ignorance. Usually I agree with him. Usually I can figure out what if I look at something closely enough. But this sense of wrongness has been growing for weeks and I can't figure it out. It's ssssooooooooooooooooo frustrating.

I thought my revisions would be done by now. But I'm 80,000 words in and stuck. I'm struggling with writing this emotional, painful scene. I'm struggling with trying to add dialogue tags that aren't melodramatic. I'm struggling to add new descriptions, new metaphors that I haven't used already. How do authors come up with new imagery book after book? How many sunsets and forests and river scenes can you write without them being repetitive, both intra-textually and inter-textually.

I'm struggling with the fact that I hate the book's ending, but I don't know how to make it better. ARGH!!! A little voice in my head says I need to have faith in myself and I'm just cranky because it's not my "original vision" which would have been 500,000 words, probably.

I'm struggling with the fact that my gut says I should cut out one of the main characters. But I really don't want to do it. I tell myself, I'll leave her least until I get some beta readers to look at my book. Then we'll see.

But you know it's really bad when I start doing laundry. Doing laundry and cleaning my room to instead of writing? Talk about your pigs-ice-skating-in-hell scenarios.

It's probably a little bit my own life too. I need some new stimulation--read a new book, do something new, see something new. Maybe I just need to take a week off and think really hard about where I want this to go. And I'm still a little pissed at a girl who insulted me for wearing baggy jeans. I thought I was above the high school mentality, but there's something about the little, flippant "heh" that really pisses me off.

Meanwhile, I had an awesome dream for a Y.A. book called "My Own Personal Prince Charming." The concept's been done to death, but maybe I'll work on that next. The basic premise is a prince drops out of the sky in modern L.A. on top of a modern teenage girl who despises him for his boorishness and poor dental hygiene. After fighting off a bunch of bad guys, she learns that the boy next door is much better than some screwed-up fairy tale tall-dark-and-handsome. Though of course that doesn't stop her from saving his world.

Oddly enough, in my dream, it was the other way around. A princess from our time had to come to the magic fairy tale kingdom to keep it from collapsing, and when the prince learned about VCRs... he went happy-nuts. But the "princess" was patronizing him the whole time, accepting the living situation because she needed to escape from some mafia peoples.

Sometimes, I have the coolest dreams.


Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

August 10, 2009 -- 1:34 a.m.

The ward went mini-golfing for family home evening. When I got back to the church parking lot (after dark) I found a note on my steering wheel (my window was rolled down a little too low, whoops) that said "Look in your trunk". The note was covered with greasy lip marks, apparently someone wearing chapstick had kissed the paper twice (once in the center and once as a seal). I looked at my trunk and couldn't find anything. The handwriting is a little sloppy, probably male, possibly left-handed.

Needless to say, since I found this note when I was a) alone and b) in a dark parking lot, I freaked out. I drove home at sixty miles per hour, tires screeching.

The ex denies doing it. I doubt he would lie, since I asked in a very non-judgmental way. So that means someone new.


Anyway, my grandparents view it as harmlessly strange, I view it as insanely creepy and threatening. Probably because of my unique dating history.

And what was on/in my trunk? I couldn't find any notes or chocolates or flowers or anything.

So I'm a little scared and curious. If it's not the ex-, who is it? My car was behind the building, not visible, so it was likely to be somebody from our ward. Failed attempt to ask me out? Stupid prank? Who knows?

Well I hope I find out. I like mystery books, but I like finishing them too. All the odd ends wrapped up in one neat little package.

Lucky for me, I have Fred to come home too. And Fred has nice, big biceps from all his time working on motorcycles.

Dating writers

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

August 4, 2oo9 -- 1:45 p.m.

I don't think I can date other writers.

I've been trying to date around lately, and I've found that nothing turns me off more than someone who says they have a novel. This happens often since I'm fishing a pool of book-lovin' nerds.

I think part of it is my own self-contempt, easier vented on someone else. "They think they could be a writer? I'm an aspiring writer and I'm pretty pathetic, so they must be too! I should look down on them!"

Part of it comes from my snobby self-appreciation. "So, how many awards have you won? Huh? Shall I show you all my shiny certificates and publication credits? I made a career at it and ended up a freaking editor until the economy tanked!"

I also have this odd tendency to assume that a writer's writing/bragging are set up on a reverse ratio. The more they talk about their book, the worse it is. Though I've only had limited experience reading other people's unpublished works, so this could be, of course, a total fallacy.

But it's not just my strangeness. Often people who call themselves writers have a certain unjustified conceit. They seem to think they're somehow better people than anyone else because they've suffered for their art. Or this could be my own projecting.

The name-dropping isn't. "Oh, I've taken Brandon Sanderson's class. I also spoke to David Farland and he said he thought I had a great idea and had thought of doing something similiar."

Wow, you've totally impressed me there. A person who we've all met on the convention circuit said some nice things to you. And you've taken a writing class, woo-hoo! That doesn't qualify you to talk about how awesome you are until my ears bleed.

This happens all the time, mostly because us writers are trying to build connections as well as building up our own fragile egos. We like hearing cornered people with forced smiles tell us how awesome our ideas are.

But part of my dislike comes from these so-called writer's "qualifications." Yes, I'm a bit of a snob. Minus the "bit of a" part. If you're a published writer or someone who's been through the rejection process, then we're cool. We'd get along great. But then there are those who consider themselves writers even though a) they've never had ANYTHING published. b) they aren't past the first two chapters of their novel.

Since I didn't live up to my own qualifications until fairly recently, I don't have much right to cast stones. Then again, I didn't run around talking about the fabulous books I'd been writing, either. When I took a creative writing class, I let the work speak for itself.

I think there ought to be a qualification before you can call yourself a writer. I hate putting myself in the same category with someone who has an idea but doesn't put pen to paper. I don't think morally you should call yourself a writer unless you actually, I dunno, write.

Writing is awesome. Everyone should do it. And you don't have to think about getting published. You can do it for yourself.

Yet at the same time...if you brag about the book that's never going to get published, you open up yourself to my contempt. Not because I don't agree that the publishing world is broken, but because I think you're doing it to feed your ego and not because you're actually devoted to the craft. My eyes glaze over when you're talking. And I mean literally. Like a tasty doughnut.


Especially because writers always brag about their unique idea. Ideas, if you look at it, really aren't important. It's execution that's important. A novel about space aliens that come to earth and eat brains--you could get something really good or something really bad, depending on execution.

Maybe that's why I hate talking about my book. A novel isn't an idea so much as a collection of ideas. As such, I have a hard time summing up the basic theme. And, there's the natural suspicion that if I talk about it with complete strangers, someone's going to rip off all the good parts. After all, I'm so paranoid, there's a small part of me that actually believes that Robert Jordan ripped off the idea I had when I was 8 years old. I wanted to write about a world where only women would have magic. And they all live in a big, white bell-tower. Until a male sorcerer falls in love with a woman and they run up the stairs and ring the bells and make a speech about how he ought not to be executed just because he's not a woman. It was going to be called "Freedom of Magic" and I think I finished a whole two pages of it before I went off to go play Nintendo.

Oh, and did I mention my main character's name was going to be Jennaria? Pure. Awesomeness. Robert Jordan so wanted a piece of that :)

So my paranoia keeps my mouth clammed shut even though I know it's completely crazy. It's esepcially strange since I just said the execution's the thing, it doesn't matter whether someone does a little creative borrowing, right?

Well, I never said I was rational. Only bigoted against other writers.

I had a writer date last week. To his credit, he'd finished the first three chapters of the book. And he was going to take it to one of the fantasy conventions and shop said chapters with agents.

Not so much to his credit, he figured he could finish the book if any of the agents were interested in seeing more...GROAN. I probably should have advised strongly against it, but it was a date, not a class, so I didn't feel like it would be date-like to point out that a book banged out at break-neck speed to satisfy an agent's request for a full probably wouldn't be good. Not to mention you couldn't rework the beginning after you ran into problems later, the whole "re-arranging the mantelpiece" concept.

I stole that ideal from Lee Ann or Louisa. See? People steal ideas from all over the place. CONSTANT VIGILENCE!!!

I mentioned to my date, for polite conversation, that I, too, was writing a novel (breaking my own rules, but he brought it up first). When he naturally asked what it's about, I said, "a girl goes to fight an evil empire full of twisted, soul-sucking creatures and ends up getting corrupted by it."

And he asked in a bored been-there-done-that tone, "So what's different about it?"

(Definitely a good way to win the girl, by the way).

What could I say? The writing. The characters. The structure. Everything. Nothing. After all, in genre fiction, if it works, it's not new. If it's new, then chances are, it won't work. I just muttered something about the female focus and went back to talking about Star Trek. That's the best way to get rid of bad dates.

However, I will have to be more on my toes in case an agent ever asks me that same question. They probably never will because they understand that talking a good game and writing a good story are completely different, but it never hurts to be sure.

The moral of the story is that I've grown a deep-seeded fear of people who call themselves writers. That's why Fred, my invisible boyfriend, is a motorcycle mechanic and not an artsy type with a novel in hand. He doesn't mind me going on dates, by the way. He understands that there are some needs (very few) that an imaginary boyfriend just can't meet.

I wish I could avoid the stigma attached to being an aspiring writer. Like someone who's bisexual resents the college girls who kiss each other as a performance stunt in front of frat boys at drunken parties and wishes to avoid being grouped in the same catagory. There are writers, and then there are yucky people willing to stick their tongues down other people's throats for a little ego boost.

So instead of a writer, I will now be calling myself a content producer.

Thank you.


PS: Boy, this is going to get me killed if I ever get famous and anyone actually reads this... Note to future disgruntled fans: I'm talking about everyone else but you. Hear that: NOT YOU.

Reading list

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

August 4, 2oo9 -- 1:12 a.m.

Good short story. Worth reading. Not sci-fi/fantasy, but love the format.

Reminds me a little of Flowers for Algernon, which has to be one of my favorite stories of all time.

Godsplay has reached the halfway mark in terms of revision, more or less. Another month or two and it'll be done, hopefully. Sometimes, I think I'll never write again... It was so hard.

But it's wonderful because new ideas keep zapping me. "Oh! The Elv chieftain is blind! He gave his two eyes to the Emperor to make reparations for killing the Emperor's two best generals..."

Little things that don't matter to the plot whatsoever, but that I love anyway so I toss them in. They bring the struggle to life.

There's too much going on, still. The book is overstuffed and flowing out the edges. Well, hopefully the threads will be tied tightly enough for the readers to endure.