Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Four “Comforting” Things People Say to Pre-Published Writers (That are NOT)

4. You finished a book! Most people will never manage that!

Yeah, okay. I finished a book. Yay me! It is a big accomplishment, but it’s also one that I hit for the first time when I was 13. I’ve written almost SIX books now. It is hard to see writing additional books as anything but a failure—as in, I’ve written six fucking books that I can’t sell. I’m just piling up rubbish manuscripts, and that doesn’t feel like an accomplishment at all.

3. But writing is its own reward! Don’t think about getting published!

Writing is hard goddamn work. Which doesn’t mean that it can’t be its own reward, but it isn’t something that fills my life with rainbows and sunshine. I do derive great pleasure from perfecting a turn of phrase or making a plot come together just so. Obviously I must enjoy it for its own sake on some level or I wouldn’t still be doing it. And for some people, just writing is their goal. That’s great! But for me, I want to share my writing. And while I do that in various forms already, the biggest way that writers share their work is by publishing. That is my goal.

2. Well, I’ve read your stuff, and it’s so good!

I know, complaining about praise seems churlish. And I do love getting feedback of all kinds on my writing (seriously, I crave it, harsh or kind), and positive feedback can make me feel like a thousand bucks. But in the context of publishing, it’s disheartening. Because if I’m so good, then I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, which means I can’t fix it. And I’ll spend another 14 years doing whatever I’m doing and not getting anywhere with it. And even if I really am good (doubtful), then it just makes it feel unfair (ha, I know, that word) that I haven’t had any luck at all wading through the slush.

1. Yes, agents get tons of queries, but 90% of them are pure crap—can’t follow guidelines, can’t string together a sentence, can’t even spell check! The odds aren’t actually that bad for the good ones.

On first blush, this should be a good thing. I do research agents and their guidelines and requests extensively, and I do spend a lot of time and effort perfecting my query letter. I proofread and edit and still have not ever accidentally sent out one with the wrong name. So I should be ahead of the game! Except I’m not. Which means—oh gods, I must be the 90%. I must not be good at all. Worse, I am one of those delusional people who thinks she is doing okay. But I can’t even beat out the half-trained monkeys sending “To Whom It May Concern” queries about their sparkly teenage vampires. Fuck.

Anyway, I know this is all very complainypants, but I’m in a complainypants space right now. I may or may not have cried myself to sleep last night, as my queries for novel 7 draw to a close and novel 8 continues to refuse to come together. I’m feeling discouraged, and I want to feel uplifted, but it seems that every “inspiring” quote or post is just making me feel worse. I think maybe I need to disconnect from the writing community for a little while, do what I can for this first draft of novel 8, and remember that I do love writing for what it is—and right now, it definitely not is getting read.

Friday, June 26, 2015

#FlashFridayFootage: "Day in the Dog Park"

Congratulations on making it through another week! Or not, depending on how alive you are while reading this. Or whether it's your weekend. But for many of us—huzzah, we survived! Let's celebrate by watching videos on our breaks and fantasizing about all the ice cream we're going to eat. The pinnacle of a good weekend's plans, IMO.

In any case, enjoy this installment of #FlashFridayFootage!

Tweet: Check out this week's #FlashFridayFootage,

Friday, June 19, 2015

#FlashFridayFootage: "Buttons"

Huzzah, Friday again! An extra special Friday for me, since I am taking a half day from the day job and heading out to Denver for a friend's bachelorette party. It should be a Very Good Time and I am quite excited. But first--how could I kick off a good weekend without a little #FlashFridayFootage?

Yep, it feels so good to have this going again, and I hope you enjoy this week's story. Congratulations on surviving another week, and I'll see you next Friday!

(And if videos aren't your thing, you can always catch my flash fiction in print version over at Wattpad.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

#FlashFridayFootage: "The Light at Night"

Yes, you read that title right. After a tiny hiatus, #FlashFridayFootage is making its victorious 2015 comeback! Every Friday, except for the last of the month, will feature a brand new video with a brand new reading of a brand new story. Exciting stuff!

To be honest, one of the delays in bringing back #FlashFridayFootage was that I don't think anyone cares about it. It is a fair bit of work (not even including writing the stories), and I don't get very many views. But I thought about it a lot and decided that I have fun making the videos, so I'll keep doing it for me. And if someone else out there gets a couple minutes of pleasure from them too, that's just icing on the cake!

So feel free to scroll on by if it's not your thing, but if you want to check it out, here is the first 2015 #FlashFridayFootage video!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

In Which I Burden Characters with Terrible Names (Throwback Thursday)

Welcome to another Throwback Thursday! I found this gem of a story saved under simply “story.doc” in an old folder. The date created is September 27, 2005 (my freshman year of college), but I think that is the date I transferred it and that it is even older. In any case, it is pretty terrible. I hereby apologize and promise to never use the name Arlina von Dryke ever again. Ever.

I have zero clue where the rest of the story was going. This is all that there is in the file.
            Arlina flicked a strand of pale red hair back from her face and eyed her opponent warily.  Tall, but so was she; strong, but so was she; tricky and wily, but so was she.  An even match, overall, and the spectators all held their breath in anticipation of the next move.
            “All done now, pretty girl?” Dreyson sneered, his handsome face showing his scorn.
            Let him waste his time giving taunts, Arlina thought fiercely, feinting in to probe his weak side reflexes.  If he worries so much about that, I’ll find a way past his defenses.  Yet for all her inner bravado, Arlina was worried.  So far, Dreyson had evaded her attacks well, and keeping him at bay had been no easy task.
            “Kill her, Drey!” someone shouted from the crowd, which ignited cheers from some and boos from others.
            He’s mine! Arlina cried inwardly, darting under Dreyson’s sudden jab and nailing him in the side of the face.  Stunned that she had managed to place a good blow, Dreyson dropped his shield stance just a hair, which was all the opening Arlina needed.  Before he could recover, she was beating him back, raining blows on him.  In the flurry of attack, she neglected to maintain all of her defense, and Dreyson gave her some good bruises before the bell was finally rung.
            “And the winner is Arlina von Dryke!” declared the overseer.  Arlina gave a small bow, a half-smile quirking her lips.
            “Good fight, Drey,” she told her opponent.
            “I must be having a bad day if I’m getting beat by a girl,” Drey replied ruefully.  “Hey, catch you later for dinner?  I think Kelly is having people over.”
            Arlina shook her head.  “Send him my regrets.  I’ve got to head over and see my parents.”
            “How’re they doing?  Last I heard it wasn’t looking too good.”
            “It’s not, that’s why I’m going over.  I don’t want to, you know; wish I had spent more time with them.”  Arlina shrugged.
            “Well, Kelly will certainly miss seeing you, but I’m sure he’ll understand and admire you for what you are doing,” Dreyson replied, a mischievous smile stealing across his face.
            “Oh, shut up,” Arlina told him sourly.  “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
            She could hear Dreyson’s laughter as she made her way to her car, smiling ruefully.  It was true that she seemed to be able to do no wrong as far as Kelly was concerned.
Was this a contemporary story? Fantasy? Some weird mash-up? One has no idea. One doesn't really want to know, truthfully, because it sucks. Sorry, ghost-of-Nora-past, keep trying!

My scanner is broken, so this throwback photo is going back only so far as Facebook allows. Please enjoy this example of me being almost too willing to make fun of myself. Spring break, sophomore year of college. I was 19—so yeah, a baby. And yet older than I was when I wrote the von Dryke! Yeesh. Now I feel old...

Literally feeding the jokes.