Monday, September 18, 2017

The Writing Path: Keep Your Machete Sharp and Your Cake Fork Handy


"THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE EASY, AND THE PATH IS NEVER GOING TO BE CLEAR. THE BEST YOU CAN DO IS KEEP YOUR MACHETE SHARP AND WHACK AWAY AT THE FOLIAGE TILL YOU CLEAR YOUR PATH."
(Janet Reid)

So, how's your writing path looking lately? Is it neat and edged, lined with flowers? Or is it more like mine:




I recently took a blogging break in the hopes of organizing my writing and writing-related work, of making huge progress on my novella, of revising and submitting more stories, etc. Well, for a number of reasons, including one that blew away my focus and rattled my nerves - I'm looking at you, Hurricane Irma! - little to nothing got done. Throw in a few rejections and a possible new project I'm torn about pursuing, and I might as well grow roots I'm so stuck.

But I'm starting to see some sunlight beckoning to me through the brambles and the branches, and I know my writing and I will be okay. Eventually. I just really hope there's some cake and a big glass of milk up ahead for sustenance. (Hey, you have your path, I have mine. If you want boring old trail mix, that's your problem.) 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: The Creep Factor


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How important is it to you that a writer's blog/website match the genre he or she writes in?

As you can see, my blog is not creepy or dark or edgy. It's relatively pleasant in terms of colors and pics and overall content. 

Now, if you had read my published stories or my flash fiction collections then paid a visit to the blog, how would you feel? Deceived? Disappointed? Would you wonder if you were in the right place? Would you be expecting darker colors, more horror-related posts? Would you wonder if this was really the online home of the person who wrote about ghost children and spiders as man's best friend? 

Or does it not matter at all? Would you just be relieved to know that some light does manage to get through all my mind shadows? Would you enjoy the photos of the beach and the palm trees and the tortoises? (Who, let's face it, are really in charge here, and I'll need to run any blog changes by them first anyway....) 

I'm not trying to promote stereotypes or anything like that. For me, it's more about expectations. And what I really don't want to do is let my readers down.

*****

With the tortoises' approval, I'm taking a brief blogging break (go ahead, say that five times fast.) I'll pop in and out but won't post anything new until Monday, the 18th. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Go the Distance . . . Then Keep Going

Many of us have been at this writing gig a long time. Some of us, a very long time. (Hello, gray hair! Where did you come from?) We often worry about not writing quickly, not having enough work out in the world. We worry that if too much time elapses between one published work and the next, our readers will forget about us.

Sure, this is possible, but "Publishing Moves On. Do Readers?" by Jael McHenry over on Writer Unboxed makes an excellent point. Even though "publishing coverage is about the new" that isn't always the case for readers.

She talks about how her debut novel was published six years ago, but she still hears from readers today. Even now, "...the book lives on in thousands of copies in thousands of places: on readers' nightstands and bookshelves, in Little Free Libraries, for sale at used bookstores and in church basements, and, of course, eternally available in e-book with just a few clicks."

I absolutely relate to this! My flash fiction collections have been out for a few years now, but just the other day, I heard that a family member and two blogger buddies recently read and enjoyed my work. I was thrilled!

So, please don't beat yourselves up or rush your work or think your words, your stories don't matter. They absolutely do. Like Ms. McHenry says -

"I'm here to say this: whatever happens, you'll have readers. You may hear from them and you may not. They may number in the thousands or the hundreds or the dozens or the ones. But any book that you put out into the world will have a life longer than you can know, and it'll touch people in ways you never foresaw."

Monday, August 21, 2017

You Know Who You Are

Some writerly gratitude, from me to you -

" . . . WE PUSH EACH OTHER 
TO WORK HARD AND TO KEEP AT IT.
IN A WORLD FILLED WITH PEOPLE
WHO THINK WHAT WE DO 
IS A NICE LITTLE HOBBY,
I ALWAYS KNOW 
THAT I HAVE A FRIEND
WHO UNDERSTANDS EXACTLY 
WHAT'S AT STAKE."
(David Hicks)

Thank you, friends!


Monday, August 14, 2017

How About Some Cheese With That Whine?

I would love to say that I am brave, resilient, tough, that I zoom back like one of those super bouncy balls. But I'm really just a big mush. I admit it - I whine. I wallow. I mope. I cry.

Now, I believe there's a time for this (hello, one millionth rejection!) I also believe in treating ourselves with gentleness and kindness and respect. Beating ourselves up doesn't do much good. 

However, there comes a point - for me, anyway - when even I can't stand the sound of my own whimpering, and that is when I turn to one of my all time favorite lines from The Big Bang Theory

BUCK UP, SISSY PANTS!



How's that for some Monday Motivation? Too harsh or just what you needed to hear today? What do you tell yourself when you need some tough love?

Monday, August 7, 2017

We All Float Down Here

Way back, in 1987, I read this:


Today, the pages are yellowed, the print is probably too small for me to read, and it smells like old books and memories. It's one of my favorite King books.

In 1990, I watched this:


Not on DVD but on TV over the two nights it was broadcast. I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep either of those nights or many of the ones after. Tim Curry terrifies me to this day.

In about a month from now, a new version of IT returns. While I'm usually skeptical of remakes, the trailers for this not only look true enough to the core story, but they also make me want to pee my pants. Seriously. I'm not sure I'll be able to see this movie in the theater.

I've included the teaser trailer below because it's my favorite so far. If you have two minutes to spare, if you're in a well-lit place, and if you're not afraid of clowns or red balloons, I'd give it a look. (Okay, honestly, I just don't want to be the only one with nightmares . . . . )




Have you read IT? Seen the original miniseries? Plan on seeing the movie? If so, are you brave enough to go to the theater or will you wait for viewing from the safety of your couch? Do you have any favorite horror novels or movies? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: Sand Dollar or Stinky Fish?


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When I walk on the beach, I search for dolphins out at sea, smile at skittering sandpipers, prod at shells wedged into wet sand. I also peer into piles of sea stuff - seaweed, driftwood, shells - washed up on shore because you never know what you'll find. Sometimes a huge, whole sand dollar. Sometimes a stinky fish.

This WiP, this new novella, has become that fish. I dig through ideas, characters, dialogue, excitement and passion only to end up with something so smelly it makes my eyes water.

However, I don't think it's time to move on to another pile - or another project - just yet. I hope that if I just nudge aside some clingy kelp, if I sift through more broken shells, I'll find that sand dollar, find that story. It might be dirty and stained. It might even be inside that fish. But if it's there, I'll find it. I'll unearth it. I'll clean it up. And I will make it glow.