glitter_n_gore: (samara)
Some months ago, I learned a new phrase: "l'appel du vide." French. Translates to "the call of the void." What it refers to is that half-mad voice that whispers in your ear when you're standing at the edge of a cliff, and says, "Jump. Do it. You know you want to." You may not be depressed, or an adrenaline junkie, or even having an unusual day for any reason, and I'm not entirely sure everyone gets this feeling. But a good many of us, for some bizarre reason, have that funny little trickster somewhere in our collective unconscious that teases us and makes us wonder if we're quite as sane as we thought. And for horror writers, it's this same tendency that we tease and exploit when we make up our gruesome little stories.

Welcome to Women in Horror Month, 2013! I'm trying to be a little better organized this year, and to that end I've joined a blog chain headed by Diane Dooley (link). The official website for the WiHM movement is here, where you'll find an abundance of links and activities the good folks who run this thing are moderating all over the country. If you're new to this blog--or in any case, if you weren't around last year--Women in Horror Month happens in February (obviously) and examines the role of women in horror: how they're portrayed, the messages female characters send to their audiences, and just the general affect of gender roles on this particular genre. It started out with a heavy focus in film, but as the movement has gotten larger, it's expanded to include television, comics, and literature.

This is where folks like me come in. Last year I took some time asking myself what attracts me to horror, both as a reader and a writer. For 2013, I want to do something different. One of the things I've talked about here and elsewhere on the 'net is how the main element all horror stories need is audience empathy. The goal of horror is to scare you, after all, and the most effective way to do that is to make the audience feel what your characters are feeling. So with that in mind, instead of looking inward at what I've done to make my characters squirm, I'm looking at other works and trying to pinpoint the universal qualities in each of them--that thing that ties the characters to the audience, that brings them all into the same place, and exposes them to the same fears.

Recently I found this essay, written by Joyce Carol Oates in 1993: Reflections on the Grotesque.

There's plenty to savor, naturally, and I'm in awe of Ms. Oates not just because of the visceral beauty she injects into her pieces, but because she managed to garner respect, praise and relevance not just as a writer, but as a female writer of dark fiction. She's a recognized literary master, and proof enough for me that being female, and having an attraction to the macabre, need not get one shoved aside or dismissed in favor of proper "literature."

Now, having said all that, the thing that stands out most to me in the above-linked essay is this:

"One criterion for horror fiction is that we are compelled to read it swiftly, with a rising sense of dread, and so total a suspension of ordinary skepticism, we inhabit the material without question and virtually as its protagonist; we can see no way out except to go forward."

How many times have we watched a horror movie and yelled at the protagonist not to go in the basement or attic, not to investigate that strange noise or smell, not to go out into the woods? The general consensus is that characters in horror are just dumb, and while that's certainly the case sometimes, I'm not so sure it's that simple. And do we really mean it when we holler, "Don't go in there!"? Of course not. We want to see what's in the basement, behind that door, hiding in the woods, buried in the back yard. The only way out is to go forward. The only way off that proverbial cliff is to jump.
glitter_n_gore: (emma)
Hey, we're still here!

Guess that means I should resolve to do something. But first, let's see how I did with my resolution for 2012, that being making a dent in my TBR pile, and also not buying any more books before doing so.

Here's the TBR pile as it stood when I first posted it. The struck-through books are the ones I managed to get to. Oh, and the pile itself is now 86 deep. (I'll update the list itself later.)

So yeah, I failed miserably. I read plenty, but made a lot of additions and checked out lots of things from the library.

Anyway, what do I want to do this year?

Well, I'm staring the MFA program in two weeks, which I'm looking forward to with equal marks and excitement and abject terror, and both my writing output and submitting of things has increased exponentially since the year I resolved to "submit something goddammit". All these are good things, but since they've become regular occurrences I'm not worried about doing anything resolution-wise with them.

One thing I do want to do, however, is minimize the amount of Stuff taking up space in my living quarters. Mainly, old clothes that either don't fit anymore or don't suit my style anymore, and old books that, even if they're great, I don't really need in my collection or don't plan to read again.

So my resolution is to Donate Stuff. That'll work, won't it?

Wish me luck, and may everyone have an awesome 2013! Congratulations on making it through another fauxpocalypse.


Last book read: Hilary Duff, Elixir
Currently on: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
So, since I'm not that great at blogging regularly, and since I've noticed that I tend to write faster and more smoothly when I'm doing it longhand, I've decided to use one of my (many, many) notebooks as a Blogging Journal. Meaning, I'll write up blog-style "essays" (That's what we call these things, isn't it?) in one of my black-and-white composition books before typing them up. I don't know whether this will do any good or not, but it's worth a shot.

Anyway.

I've been thinking about the various challenges in writing in different genres. I've blogged before about the challenges in the time-travel plot specifically, and included a few examples in which I thought the subject was handled particularly well.

Another thing I've talked about before is that I read books (and watch movies and television) above all for the characters. I enter fictional worlds to meet new imaginary friends anf follow them on their personal journies. And I still maintain that a compelling cast of characters can make readers overlook a great number of sins like poor setting description, unambitious word choices, or a hackneyed plot.

However, one place attention to detail is absolutely necessary, no matter how great your characters are, is sci-fi. And I'll tell you why: the audience in sci-fi is not reading just for the characters. They will watch you like hawks to make sure you get the science right, in order to make the fiction plausible.

Historical fiction fans are the same way--you must get the history right, or the fiction won't fly.

I mention this because I've been fighting with the details yet again for "Hoppers." One of the great--and one of the damning--things about having a dedicated writers' group to critique you before the thing goes to print, especially when you have a novel with lots of weird technology, parallel universes, and time travel, is your fellow writers/readers will call you out on everything. And I do mean everything:

"Wait, how many alternate universes are there?"

"How does X Character know which world she's going into when she goes through Portal A?"

"Who's in charge of this evil empire anyway?"

"How do they get WiFi down there when the evil empire cut their power off in Chapter 3?"


And so it goes.

Some of these are questions I had in the back of my mind filed under Deal With Later while I was powering through the first draft--others are new things I hadn't thought about before. In either case, I now have to deal with them. Will my theoretical future readers ask all these questions? If they do ask, will it stop them from reading the rest of the book if they decide I have no idea what I'm talking about? Most importantly, can I live with myself if I know these questions need dealing with and decide to ignore them anyway, or should I commit to making this the best possible book I can write, even if that means many more hours of research and revisions?

Ultimately, that last question is one every writer has to answer for herself. Me? I'm doing the research. It'll take time, and I might not enjoy it, but the story will be better for it in the end.
glitter_n_gore: (stargate snark)
As I've started to submit more frequently, and to a greater number of places, I've run into an previously unforeseen quagmire: formatting woes.

Now, I've known for a long time that it's very important to read all submission guidelines carefully, even if you've submitted to a given magazine/publisher/agency before. And if you don't already know this, you need to! Overlooking something in the guidelines can knock your story out of the queue fast as anything. I've worked (briefly) as a slush reader, by the way, and reading submissions that ignore the guidelines can get really annoying. (Block. Text. By which I mean, complete failure to break paragraphs, ever. Please do not be that guy. If the slush reader is mildly dyslexic, like me, you will make them cry. AND they will pass on your story.)

There are certain details I didn't know I'd have to deal with, most of which I fixed by studying Standard Manuscript Format. Most guidelines tell you to use Standard Manuscript Format when submitting your pieces. This read-along example is a HUGE help. Print it out, bookmark it, staple it to the wall next to your computer--whatever you need to do to keep it handy.

Here are a few things I now know to watch out for... )

This is not an extensive list of Do's and Don't's, by the way. Just some of things I found myself tripping over and therefore needed to drill into my own head.
glitter_n_gore: (samara)
Happy February!

As most Americans know, this is Black History Month. As somewhat fewer folks know, it is also Women In Horror Month. With both of those things in mind, I'm compiling a reading list starting with the late L. A. Banks's Minion and Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower--both prolific, black, female authors of speculative fiction, and very successful to boot.

I don't know what else I'm putting in the list yet, but I figure that's a start anyway. (Recommendations are very welcome, by the way!) As [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija is trying to show for the LGBT circuit with the YA Floating Diversity Book Club, there are plenty of options out there. You just have to know where to look.

The issue that we try to bring forward this time of year is the existance of dark, weird, creepy stories written by, about and for women--and I'm not talking about the standard Scream Queen types who always wind up getting rescued by the hero (or not) at the end, usually after losing most of their clothing. I'm talking about real characters, with their own goals and passions, outside of a token appearance as the male hero's trophy or backstory.

There is a huge gender discrepancy not just in characters, but in creators of horror fiction, at least when giving the genre a cursory glance. The recognized "greats" of horror fiction--Stephen King, H. P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Bram Stoker, Peter Straub, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson--are overwhelmingly male, with a few notable excepts such as Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson and Anne Rice.

Even putting this discrepancy aside, horror is still mostly perceived as a man's genre, just as romance is seen as a woman's genre. Neither of which is true, by the way.

Given that perception, I've wondered sometimes what draws certain people to horror. What compels a woman to write, read or watch horror, when so much of it is so gender-biased and uneven? What draws me to it?

Read more... )
glitter_n_gore: (samara)
First, I know I need to update this blog more often--and thank you to those of you who commented on the posts I've let fall by the wayside. I'll try to be better about that in the future!

Second, there are a couple of misconceptions I'd like to clear up about horror writers in general, based on the uninformed comments of a couple coworkers of mine.

1) Horror writers are into blood and gore.

No. Despite the title of this blog, I myself actually dislike blood and gore. It doesn't revolt me as much as it once did, but I don't seek out that kind of thing, in movies or fiction or anything else. One thing I see over and over with people who aren't fans of the genre is this tendency to confuse revulsion with real fear. The goal of the horror writer is not to gross you out. Some of them might do that as well, but the overall goal of the horror story is to scare you. Blood and gore just pokes at your upchuck reflex, which let's be honest, isn't that hard to do.

2) Horror writers don't get scared.

Again, no. This is a slightly different problem, and one that I haven't seen addressed nearly as often as the first. Everyone is afraid of something. Those of us who actively seek out things that scare us don't do it because we aren't bothered by them, but because we're looking for an emotional reaction that we can't get anywhere else. I try to stress this whenever possible: horror is an emotional genre, not a visceral one, regardless of any prejudices to the contrary. The plot, characters, and setting are all important to a horror story, but even more important than those things is the way it makes you feel. So it's not that we don't get scared--our fear thresholds vary just as much as those of other people. It's that we get scared, and scare others, on purpose.

I think I may have more to say on this, but I need to organize my thoughts a little first.
glitter_n_gore: (Default)
I'm reading a book right now called A Mango Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass. The narrator is a thirteen-year-old girl named Mia, for whom numbers, letters and sounds all have colors. This neurological phenomenon is called synesthesia, and it turns up in only about 1 in a thousand people.

Wendy Mass is not one of them. I am.

The descriptive language in the book is rich with detail, and it engages the reader in a lot of sympathy for Mia and her overwhelmingly debilitating condition. The problem is that synesthesia is neither overwhelming nor debilitating. Here's what life is like for Mia: she has a poster of Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies--this is never stated, but I know my macabre children's literature pretty well, and there's only one alphabet book illustrated with the deaths of small children--and says she likes it because it's in black and white for everyone else, but for her it's in color. She has trouble reading because the rainbow-like arrays of letters and words confuse her, and websites with colored texts give her a headache because the words are all "in the wrong color." She's failing math and Spanish because of the colors too, because the word "friend" is one color and "amigo" a completely different color.

What life is like for me: I love foreign languages, and love reading even more. I associate specific colors with letters, numbers, days of the week, and months of the year, but when I look at them written on a page or on a screen I see black and white. I've always hated math, but so do a lot of people. We get through it the same way everyone else gets through a subject we hate--by studying just enough to make it from one test to the next.

I do like that someone's decided to write a book with synesthesia as a major theme. What I don't like is it's being portrayed this way, as a problem that interferes with one's daily life to the point that simple things like reading and arithmatic are almost impossible. It's really not that weird. It becomes weird only when you try to explain it someone who doesn't have it. And in my case, I was never met with the kind of narrow-minded animosity that Mia deals with whenever she brings it up. People are more curious and ask me things like what color their name is. I once told a classmate that I "think in colors," and told her a bit about this. She responded by saying she thought in numbers.

The only places I've ever had synesthesia-related trouble is when Dad tried to teach me binary numbers--ones and zeros actually are black and white, so trying to tell me that something like looks like this: 1010001000011100 is actually "nine" is like telling me black is actually red. It doesn't work. But, as usual, when this came up in algebra I did what I usually do--forced myself to memorize it long enough to pass the test. The other place is at work, when we started using color-coded dots for all the days on perishable things like chai tea. Mondays are blue on these stickers, but for me they're red. It's confusing, but all I have to do if I forget which color the stickers are is look them up on the chart on the wall.

There are all kinds of synesthesia. Some people taste sounds, or smell shapes--the possibilities are endless. I'm sure some of them do, in fact, "see" colors rather than just visualizing them, but that's an extreme example, and even more rare than synesthesia on the whole. Let me put it this way: If I say "blue," you picture the color blue, right? You don't actually see it in front of you, but you know what it looks like, you visualize it, you see it in your head. The word "blue" is just a collection of shapes and symbols, or if you hear it, an articulation. It represents a specific color, and you connect that color to the word. The only difference for me is I also connect the color blue to the number 3, the letter B, and Friday. It's really not as complicated as Wendy Mass is making it sound.

Synesthetes are not freaks. There's nothing wrong with us. We don't hallucinate, and we're perfectly capable of functioning from day to day in a "normal" society without any trouble. It might strike others as a strange way to experience the world, but it's really not. We've always experienced the world this way. I can't imagine it being any different.

Now, if anyone's interested in reading a book that handles this phenomenon more deftly and realistically, I advise you to check out Susan Hubbard's The Society of S. The protagonist there is a synesthete, and for her S is blue. (For me it's yellow.) She only spends enough time on it to establish it as a character trait, the same way she talks about her clothing choices and dietary needs. It's also about vampires, and much more interesting and better written. I highly recommend it.
glitter_n_gore: (sleepy hollow)
This is just an observation on my part of the way my brain works. I'm at, not so much a standstill right now, but I'm stuck nonetheless. "Writer's block" operates differently depending on the writer. Since my main project currently has been editing The Carrion Girl, there's not a lot I need to do with the story itself--the plot, characters and major events are there already. I'm just cleaning it up and trying to make it sellable. That's not the problem.

The problem is the five thousand other ideas bopping around in my head begging to be written at the same time. I've seen those things they call 'writing prompts,' designed to get those creative juices flowing, or to just plant an idea that will grow into a larger work. Ideas are never a problem for me. So far, there has never been a moment when there aren't at least three different ideas vying for my attention at any given time.

Right now, I've got about seven. There's The Carrion Girl, of course. Then there's my other WIPs--Dusty, Doppelganger, and Hoppers. So that's four already. Now I have another one about a witch coven living in a suburban neighborhood bordering the coastal wetlands; another that's a modernized re-imagining of my favorite fairy tale, "Sleeping Beauty;" and another that'll probably turn into a series pieced together from the salvageable bits of my trunk novel, Dragon House.

You can't scatter your focus and have the resulting work turn out well. You just can't. You have to give a WIP your energy and attention if you want to make it shine. Which is what I've been trying to do with The Carrion Girl lately--make it shine. If I could only shut off that jabbering muse, this'd be so much easier. A few fellow writers have told they'd love to have this "problem" of mine instead of not being able to think up ideas. Believe me, I don't think this way is easier.

By the way, I'm not trying to complain here. I do like that as soon as I'm done with a given project, I have several more that I can pick up immediately and get right to work on. It's important to have backup projects to focus on once you start sending out submissions or finishing up drafts. This is just an observation.
glitter_n_gore: (underworld)
Banned Book Week is always the last week of September. Ish. This year, it began on the 25th and will be over on October 2nd. It always cracks me up the things people decide to "challenge" every year. Although I believe censorship in any form is horribly, incontestably wrong, sometimes the reasoning behind this particular form of censorship is just silly.

I also make it a point to browse the new Banned/Challenged list every year for new books to read, because the ones that upset people tend to be the most interesting.

Let's have a look at this year's contestants, shall we?

Banned books week 2010: the top 10 most challenged titles

You'll notice first off that well over half of these entries are YA novels. And the other ones--The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Color Purple--are time-honored classics. Probably because that's what's hot in the marketplace right now. This is what kids are reading, and it's making their parents all upset. Just a theory. The thing that really gets me about these lists is that, when you sit down and look at the reasoning behind the censorship, it becomes clear that the naysayers haven't actually read the books themselves. Twilight, "sexually explicit?" I don't know whether to laugh or bash my head into the wall. And this ttyl business, right at the top? I'd understand someone wanting to ban it based on it being written entirely in text-speak, but come on! All the ones listing "homosexuality" as the reasoning just make me rage, plain and simple. I suppose portraying non-heteronormative people in a non-negative light is what's going on there, which just proves my point: anyone who tries to get a book banned, for any reason, is a narrow-minded bigot. Period.

Some people claim that books are just words on paper, and there's no reason to stir up this fuss over them. I'm not one of those people. The written word has tremendous power. If it didn't, no one would bother trying to ban books in the first place. Ideas are powerful, scary, dangerous things, and many of them come straight from the pages of powerful, scary, dangerous books. But the thing about banning something is it just makes people all the more anxious to get their hands on it. That's the reason I first read Cather in the Rye, as a matter of fact--because my dad told me not to.

So here's what I'm adding to my To Read list this year: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, My Sister's Keeper, and The Chocolate Wars. What are you doing to celebrate Banned Book Week?
glitter_n_gore: (samara)
Many of you know about the dysfunctional love/hate relationship I have with Twilight. Many more know what a gigantic success that series is, and a trip through any major bookseller will reinforce that success by all the paranormal romantic YA books on prominent display. I've decided to call this trend The Sparkle Phenomenon. If you don't understand that reference, let me direct you to [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's fantastic glossary of all things Twilight: http://cleoland.pbworks.com/Twilight

One of the biggest criticisms directed at Twilight and its successors is the way the female characters are portrayed: they're often bland, weak-willed, and void of personal interests or goals outside of a relationship with some brooding, handsome boy, usually supernaturally inclined in some way, and the boy dictates the terms of the relationship and more in varying degrees of possessiveness and manipulation. The naysayers say these books are antifeminist and put the women's movement back several decades, reigniting the traditional gender roles we've fought so hard against for so long. There's a great essay entitled "YA and Rape Culture" here, which uses as its example Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush--a "romance" starring a fallen angel that sounds frankly horrifying.

To be perfectly honest, I don't mind fiction that upsets or even terrifies me. I'm a fan of dystopias and supernatural horror after all. The disturbing aspect of these books isn't the action that unfolds between the covers, but the reactions of young readers to them. I have no problem separating fact from fiction in these contexts--I have a zero tolerance policy towards controlling jerks in real life--but what worries me is that so many teenagers don't seem to notice that the relationships in these books are neither normal nor healthy, and often wax poetical over how much they wished they had someone just like Edward, or Patch, to come and sweep them off their feet. Here's another essay on that part of the Sparkle Phenomenon: Do Books Teach or Reveal? And another word from Cleolinda on the subject of bad boys in literature: My thoughts on Twilight, let me show you them. (Scroll down to Point no. 2.)

Amy and Cleo both raise some great points, and this is what I think folks need to keep in mind when they complain about successful books with bland, weak, or even masochistic female leads: There is no lack of strong females in YA literature. Katnis in The Hunger Games; Lyra Belacqua in His Dark Materials; Tally Youngblood in Uglies; I have many, many issues with PC and Kristen Cast's House of Night series, mainly the juvenile vernacular, but I do appreciate Zoey Redbird's stubborn streak and proactive attitude. The good stuff is out there. My point here is that writers of YA fiction have every right to do whatever they want with their worlds. Their job is to entertain, and as a writer, I'd be pretty pissed if someone told me to change the tone or theme of my work just because they didn't like the ideas some kids might get from it. The problem isn't with the books themselves. It's that the overwhelming majority of YA sales are going towards a certain type of book. If teenagers wanted to read about strong females kicking ass with or without a romantic partner, that's exactly what they'd do. The sales would reflect that--and with The Hunger Games, maybe things are already moving in that direction. But for the moment, they're reading about Mary Sue types falling hopelessly in love with big, strong, superheroes who push them around and tell them what to do. That's what worries me, because I don't understand how something like that became so popular in the first place.

I've always gravitated towards strong characters in fiction. Even if they have issues, such as being antisocial or even psychotic, characters who own their identity and get things done are always my favorites. (I'll be blogging about some of my personal favorites soon, but that's another project for another day.) Twilight lost me at the "lion fell in love with the lamb" line--not so much that I quit reading (to my occasional dismay), but that was the moment I realized I could never relate to Bella as a character. Ever. And I discounted her narration as biased and untrustworthy from then on out. If anyone calls me a "lamb" to my face, you can bet I won't take it as a compliment, and I might just have to prove how wrong they are. However, I was raised to own my identity and not let anyone else tell me who I am. Looking at the essay linked in the second paragraph showed me just how rare that is, because I can't see myself following any of the "rules" outlined about how polite females are supposed to behave. I err on the side of standoffish and bitchy (as my ex-boyfriend knows perhaps a little too well), but considering the alternative, I'm kind of okay with that.

What I'm wondering is just how widespread that mindset is. Obviously someone--many someones, all over the face of the globe--believes so strongly that validation by a man is required for one's self worth that they'll delve into a romantic fantasy with that very plot at the center. I know the teenage years are hell on self-worth, but I honestly don't remember feeling unworthy or "less" than my classmates on account of not having a boyfriend. I had crushes--oh, lordy, did I--but I had plenty of other things to occupy my time than pining over them. I've discovered over the years that I'm better than most with self-esteem, but I'd like to hope I'm not completely unique in this.

Anyone else like to chime in on this? I know I've rambled here, but I've been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering where all the attention given to this "romantic" YA trend comes from.
glitter_n_gore: (emma watson)
For me, that is. I have a coworker who likes to ask "So, are you published yet?" almost every time I see him. He hasn't so much lately (because I told him to quit it) but the reason he asked in the first place is because most non-literary types just don't understand how much time and work this process takes.

With that in mind, I'm going to tell you how it works for me.

First, I have an idea. This can come from any number of different places, because my sources of inspiration are as varied as the stories I come up with: album covers, songs, pictures in magazines, movies, all kinds of things. I usually don't write it down immediately. I let it swirl around in my head for a while--a few weeks at the very least--to decide whether or not it's worth keeping. After that, the idea will either take a more coherent shape, or disappear and go away.

Then I start to write. This isn't as simple a process as you might think. I rarely write a story from beginning to end. I start that way, but inevitably I wind up drawing maps, conducting "interviews" with my characters, drawing up timelines of events--things like that. Once the first draft is done, I print out a copy and go through it with a fine-toothed comb. Then I go through that entire process again and again, until I'm convinced the story is as perfect as I can possibly make it. Most of you already know what a perfectionist I am, so you can imagine this takes a while. The longest I've taken between initial idea and first-draft manuscript is fifteen years. The shortest is one month.

Once I'm happy with the manuscript, I print more copies and show them to a very small, select group of people for outside opinions. (You know who you are.) These people are called "beta readers." Their job is to give their thoughts, undiluted, as harsh as they need to be, on what works and what doesn't. Then they give the manuscripts back to me so I can plug their edits in.

But that's the easy part.

Once I have a full manuscript, the hunt begins. I need somewhere to sell the story, and/or someone to sell it for me--i.e. a literary agent. There are a handful of places I look--AgentQuery.com has listings for agents, DuoTrope's Digest has publishers, and The Writer's Market has both, all searchable by genre and word count. I start making my list with those places, then narrow it down by doing a rudimentary background check on Preditors & Editors and AbsoluteWrite.net. Most of these places are in the links list on the right column of this blog.

Then comes the dreaded Query. A query letter is the aspiring writer's version of a resume--you summarize your story in one or two short paragraphs, making it catchy and attention-grabbing like the blurb on the background cover of a book, along with your previous publication credits if you have any. Some people require the first few pages, first chapter, first five chapters of the manuscript as well, and also a "synopsis," which is kind of like a query but much, much worse. The hope with the query is that you'll hook someone who will ask you for a "partial"--a decent-size chunk of the manuscript--and then the full manuscript, and ultimately offer represenation.

What happens after that? Well, you sell books, that's what. Hopefully. Writing the query is as far as I've gotten in this process myself. The only reason for this is I'm still waiting to get exactly one manuscript back from one of my betas. So I haven't actually sent the query anywhere yet, but I have one polished and ready for when that time comes.
glitter_n_gore: (Default)
Hello there!

Most of the folks reading this already know me (I think), but as this is an introductory post, I'll introduce myself: My name is Laurel, alias "Rhoda Nightingale" in most internet places, and I am a writer. I started this blog for the very simple reason that most published authors--and many amateurs, like myself--have them, and since I blog a lot about writing anyhow, I might as well make it official. I also wanted to create a space where my friends and family can keep track of what I'm up to, since I can't make myself do the FaceBook thing no matter how much they nag me. (No offense, I just can't stand the format.) Apparently there's a widget that cross-posts everything here to my Wall, so I'll see if I can figure that out at some point.

So, what am I up to right now, writing wise? I have two prominent WIP's cooking simultaneously--that's "Work In Progress" if you don't know the vernacular--one further along than the other. "The Carrion Girl" began life as a NaNoWriMo experiment, and I liked the result so much I decided to keep it and flesh it out properly. It's still only 50k at the moment, which is on the slim side for a real live novel, so that's why I'm putting it through a second draft. I'm three chapters into that process, and I think I've worked out a way to get rid of the godawful purple prose introduction/prologue thing I opened it with. (You have to start somewhere, right?) The premise is a twenty-something young man is driving his girlfriend home when they get stuck in a traffic jam, then quickly waylaid by zombies. It's not what you think. It takes a sharp left midway through.

Then there's "Doppelganger," which is significantly darker, but just as much fun. This is one is about a young college student who joins a rock band that turns out to be fronted by someone who's not quite human. I wrote an outline for it first, which I almost never do, so it has a very different shape in my mind than most of my projects. I already know exactly where it's going and how it's going to end. That's....unusual for me. It's an odd feeling. But good, I think. My biggest concern with this one is not rushing it, because there's a horror anthology taking submissions until October 31st and I really really really want to send it in, but I don't want to sell it short by trying to churn out something too quickly.

Lastly, I'm on acne medication that's drying me out like whoa--my arms from elbows to wrists are all dry and scaly, an account of getting sunburned in my car of all places. I mention this because it's giving me mad plot bunnies for a novel that I trunked a year or so ago. I showed an early draft of it to a cousin, and she mentioned something that I realized only several months later was absolutely right: I had too many creatures, too many storylines, and too many characters for one book. However, one of those characters is a young girl who's part dragon, and I imagined her with scales on her arms, from elbows to fingertips. She has to wear opera-length gloves to cover them, lest anyone find out her secret. I think I might have a way to write a story just about her. Or maybe do a series. We'll see how that goes.

That'll do for an introductory post, won't it? I'll be back to report my progress later!


--L

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