Chuck Wendig’s Friday flash fiction challenge this past Friday was for *punk pieces, and one of the suggestions he listed—bloodpunk—pinged me in all of my writing places. This wants to be something larger (the file in my dropbox is called “airship circus demons.doc”) but for now have a 900-word glimpse into this world:
Category Archives: word factory
…that Chuck Wendig speaks the pure terrifying truth (often, but particularly today) — The Varied Emotional Stages of Writing a Book. Everything Is Nuclear Dogshit. I Should Not Be a Writer and My Soul Is Forfeit. The Blank Page Is a Terrifying Polar Expanse Where I Will Die.
But the alternative is not trying anymore, and that’s… no. Not an option.
So send a Saint Bernard with some good whiskey; I’m going to brave the slopes.
Welcome to the Queer Romance Blog Hop, where queer writers and readers of queer romance share their thoughts on the genre, as well as a few recommendations for books to read! Everyone participating in this blog hop identifies as queer and also reads and/or writes (or edits, or reviews!) queer romance. For our purposes, queer romance refers to books with:
1. LGBTQ+ main characters
2. In romantic relationships
3. That have a happy ending. (No Brokeback Mountain here, folks!)
Hi there! I’m Laylah Hunter, and I sort of accidentally sparked this thing. I got on chat with Heidi Belleau and basically said “let me whine at yooouuuu,” and she said “let’s do something constructive and fun instead!” and then she did all the work. I am a writer of queer fiction, usually sf/f/h, usually romantic and/or erotic. I have a variety of short pieces out now and my first novel, Gabriel’s City: A tale of fables and fortunes, will be published by Riptide in 2014.
Also, as you’ll see below, I CAN’T STOP TALKING ONCE YOU GET ME STARTED.
I think we should see other people. I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me, and I think we’ve both grown and learned a lot over the years, but it’s just not working out the way it used to. I’m sure you can see my enthusiasm flagging. The excitement just isn’t there for me anymore; I keep feeling like a failure. I think it’s best to just stop now, while we can still be friends. I hope you understand.
There are things I do still like about NaNo, but the more I struggle with it the more I feel like my peg just isn’t cut out for this hole ifyouknowwhatimean. The discipline of “write every day” is useful and important; the idea that the only way out of a block is through, also important. But too much else about it is arbitrary in a way that does me more harm than good. It’s an imaginary deadline for a form that doesn’t come easily to me at a pace that I can’t sustain consistently. The timing during the year is terrible (and no, I don’t subscribe to the party line that making it more inconvenient adds to the excitement). The tracking tools on the website wind up demoralizing me further — “I wrote 1200 words today! Now I’m… further behind than I was yesterday, shit.”
So. Thanks for all the fish, NaNo, but I really think I need a process that fits my life and patterns better.
Right now I’m poking at HabitRPG again, which I wandered away from a few months ago while they worked out some crippling bugs, but is now functional and comes with a mobile app. I’ve been a gamer for the last decade or so (yes, I got started late) and the idea of getting POINTS for doing stuff has gotten wired into my brain pretty well. So now I have Dailies to do on Habit: take my meds, go to my job, go to the gym on certain days, and write 500 words. I have to do those things or imaginary pixel me will lose hit points, oh no! 500 is much lower than the NaNo pace. MUCH lower. But that’s the point where I’m setting the stick for my carrot/stick routine. Because in the Habit column (along with things like “cook real dinner” and “take out trash” and “write blog entry”) there is another “write 500 words.” The first 500 words of any given day go in the Daily requirement, just keeping writer-me healthy. But if I do 1000 words I get to click the one in the other column and earn bonus points. If I do 1500 words in one day I can get a second helping of bonus points. One stick, potentially endless carrots.
Whoops, just summed up the blog post in five words there. I’m a perfectionist with depression; too many sticks just leave me curled up under my desk feeling beaten (the morale does not improve). Just enough of a stick to get me out of inertia, though, and then the potential for rewards as long as I continue the good behavior? Oh. Yes, there we go.
How about you? What motivates you when you’re dragging your feet on a creative endeavor? Any tricks or brain-hacks or tools that work especially well?
Ugh. I am trying to run two competing processes at all times lately: there’s Writer Brain, which keeps going YES GOOD IDEAS WE NEED WORDS WE HAVE CHARACTERS, and there’s Depression Brain, which goes “omg no opening a word processor is an unreasonable amount of effort to ask of anyone, how dare you,” and keeps on clicking the same browser game we’ve been stuck on for the last hour. Sometimes I manage to make a little progress! Yesterday I took some good advice about quick-and-dirty character building and managed to work out some important things about the main character for one of my on-deck projects, and how the action plot ought to intertwine with his personal growth arc. Last night I had an unsettling epiphany about why I’ve been having trouble with female protagonists (as a writer you really can’t afford to be in swooning-early-crush mode with your characters; you need to look at their flaws and look HARD, because that’s where interesting things happen). So there are some flashes of insight in there between the flopped-over-doing-nothing periods.
And I’m hoping NaNo kicks me over to that side of the fence more thoroughly. I’ve signed up. I’ve just put the widget on my sidebar so people can see how I’m doing (accountability helps, I hear). I don’t expect to win, and I’m pretty zen with that. The pace of NaNo is still pretty high for me, and I have a day job and family to visit and ideally kind of a social life. But if it gets me back in the discipline—write every day; keep writing; put the writing first and then screw around AFTER—then it will be a success even if my ending word count is 10k instead of 50k.
…Okay no if I’m honest I would be disappointed with myself if I bailed at only 10. But 20k, maybe. If those words are going somewhere. That would be a good start.
Bring it on, November. I’m ready for you.
Well, here we are again in the back half of October, with the caffeine-and-wild-eyed-determination-fueled juggernaut of NaNoWriMo bearing down on us. I attempt NaNo every year. I never win. I can’t seem to get my speed up high enough, consistently enough, to stay on pace.
It still helps, though. The first draft of Gabriel’s City got a lot of its words down on paper during two different Novembers. I’ve made good starts at a few other things in other years. And generally I love the atmosphere of it; for all that writing is presented as a solitary pursuit, it’s one of the few social activities I am pretty much always up for. Come November, I’ll have some friends to come with me to the local geeky coffeehouse with their laptops, and we’ll sit there together sipping lattes and attacking our keyboards. It’s nice to have somebody there to pace you for wordcount, to keep typing when you stop so that you feel the need to start again, to listen sympathetically when you just want to be writing anything but the scene you’re currently slogging through. Someone to suggest ninjas at the crucial moment.
So right now I’m sifting through ideas and trying to decide what I want to work on this November. I’ve narrowed it down to two, and I’ll probably bounce back and forth between them — my attention span also doesn’t care for NaNo’s single-project tunnel vision. I have a post-apocalyptic survivors’ society and a pretty young man with an anxiety disorder to throw into it. I also have a dusty, magic-infused wasteland city and a bounty hunter coming to town with her lipstick perfect and her shotgun loaded. I have an assortment of Cool Bits I want to throw in to make them fun and self-indulgent to write (and, hopefully, to read).
I have… about a plot and a half to split between the two stories so far. But it’s only October 20! That’s plenty of time. Right?
Bump in the Night is out this week! And there’s a blog tour on! I’m up today, and you can find me over at Sid Love, posting about the horror of a well-placed “yes.” I knew this would have to be my discussion topic pretty much as soon as we got the heads-up to start making plans for a post. I love it so much when characters enthusiastically embrace things that aren’t good for them. >3
In one of those entertaining cases of authorial blind spot, I’ve seen a few reviews now that compare “Resurrection Man” to Frankenstein — one of them even goes so far as to call it “loosely based” on the novel. And now that they point it out I can see it? But I swear it never even crossed my mind while I was writing. Somehow Frankenstein’s monster has never been one of the classic horrors on my radar. But maybe this is a sign that I should fix that.
Tis the season, after all.
Conference starts in four hours. I am in my pajamas with a cat pinning my good arm, wondering what the hell I’m going to wear. I still need to trim down my reading selection to actually fit the length limit. I haven’t reviewed the notes for the diversity panel nearly as thoroughly as I should. Panic is waiting around for me to get to it.
Tonight, though, I will be reading porn aloud in a room full of inebriated people. This is the best profession.
Check it out, my Halloween offering this year is available now! Bump in the Night is a collection of six gay erotic horror stories, including my piece “Resurrection Man,” which is a story about what happens when a necromancer is in love with a man who had a terminal illness. (Spoilers, what happens is sexy and also Not Quite Right.) I am delighted to be part of this anthology, and to have the chance to continue to work with Riptide. The antho releases on October 14 — preorder direct from Riptide for 15% off ebook or paperback!
I feel so ridiculously lucky to have found Riptide and found Rachel, my editor there. For an author, having an editor you really *click* with, someone who gets what you’re trying to do and knows how to push you toward it, is an utter godsend. Since “Resurrection Man” I’ve sent Rachel two longer pieces and gotten one acceptance and one revise/resubmit. And you know? I’m at least as grateful for the R&R. The accepted novel was something I’d put a lot of work into over multiple passes and revision and agonizing, and I really wanted to be able to get it an audience. The R&R novelette was fun, but much sloppier, honestly; much more rushed. I sent it out because I wanted to get something in front of people *sooner*, rather than because it was ready. And I think it probably still could have gotten published in some places. But it wasn’t my best work, and getting called on that was good for me. It’ll make me hold myself to a higher standard, and it’ll help me trust my editor’s judgment on future works, too: she knows when I could be doing better than I am, and she won’t let me get away with half-assing it.
I can’t wait to have more concrete news about the novel. I feel so good about writing this year.