I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. And it's really weird for me, because it's been such a huge part of my life, every year since I was sixteen. I would never have started seriously writing, the way I do now, if it wasn't for NaNo. I could never have finished my first novel, and I probably wouldn't have tried.
This time five years ago, I was already finished with my fifty thousand words, and on my way to one hundred thousand. But right now, it's just not something that's useful in my life. The deadline doesn't drive me to work harder like it used to, because I know that I can do it. And it seems pointless to write a whole new book when I already have so many in need of revision.
The thing I didn't think about when I decided to take a break from NaNo, though, is the community. Once a year for the past seven years, I've been a part of something, not just during November, but during October and December, too, as we gear up and then wind down. I gave that up. And a part of me really regrets it.
I could start today and still catch up, still get to fifty thousand words. But I'm not going to. I have a story that needs to be finally finished, and if I'm focusing on a word count, I won't be giving it everything it deserves. I won't be making it as great as I know it can be.
So no NaNo. Not now. But I do miss my community this year. NaNWriMo jump-started my writing career, but I think the community, ultimately, is the most important part of it. So I just want to encourage all of you who want to write to do it. Take part. Start now. Who cares if you can't make word count, starting a third of the way in?
A lot of people are not enjoying how November is going so far, and I really get that. So let's just take a break from Political November, and spend some time with Writing November. Write a crappy novel, hang out on the forums, make new friends. It's an amazing experience, and I hope you can all enjoy it, if not this year, then some November soon.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
You are a little girl. You are a little girl, and your mother is dead. Perhaps you are a child so young, you will not remember her when you grow. Perhaps you are on the verge, already, of being a woman. Did she know what torments she doomed you to?
It doesn’t matter. I mean, yeah, I’ve always been curious, but who really cares? She’s dead. Your dad is still alive and kicking, and spoiler alert: he seriously sucks.
Now, to be fair, your mom? She had a pretty messed up last request. Normal dying wishes include, but are not limited to: take good care of our daughter, try to move on, etc., etc. Normal dying wishes do not include “Don’t remarry unless the new chick is as pretty as me.” That’s not cool, lady. I mean, of all the things to make a priority on your deathbed. Seriously?
You aren’t scared to die. You aren’t worried about how sad your husband is going to be, or about how your daughter will grow up motherless. Nope. You just wanna be the prettiest. I mean, who cares? You’ll be dead. That ain’t changing. No point in envying the living.
So. Back to you, little girl. Your mom is dead. Your dad is sad. And you? You’re growing up. And you’re getting pretty. And prettier, and prettier, every single day.
And dear old dad is not enjoying this whole widower thing, but he respects the wishes of the dead, and sadly, your mom was smokin’ hot.
And you, honey, you look just like her.
So one day, you’re just minding your own business, doing whatever princesses do, and your dad comes up to you, and he’s all like, “Hey, kiddo, let’s get hitched.”
This is where things get seriously screwy.
“Um, Dad,” you say, “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”
“Dad,” you say, “there are laws against that.”
“Dad, you changed my diapers. Do you really wanna go down…?”
Well. Daddy’s nothing if not stubborn, and he hasn’t been quite right since Mommy bit the dust. You try a different tactic. The spoiled brat tactic, specifically.
“Dad, I wanna have the prettiest wedding dress ever. I want a dress as bright as the sun, and if I can’t get married in that, I’m not getting married at all. So there.”
And Dad, impossibly, produces one. When you throw a fit about how it isn’t good enough, and demand one the color of the moon instead, he gets that too. And the one that’s all the colors of the sky.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. “Dad,” you say, “you know that donkey that poops the gold that’s the source of all our kingdom’s wealth?”
Your dad does, indeed, know that donkey.
“Well, if you really loved me, you would kill that donkey and make me an outfit out of his skin.”
And amazingly, proving once and for all that incestuous lust is indeed a more powerful force than greed, the old nutcase does it.
Only one thing left to do. You throw that donkey skin on your back, you rub some dirt in your face, and you make a run for it.
You, in your donkey suit, you take a job at the castle of a different king. Your coworkers point and laugh. Forget them. You’ve dealt with worse.
Still, it’s hard sometimes. You’re only just a girl. Sometimes, when you have time off, you lock the doors and try on the dresses your daddy gave you. Sure, he’s a disgusting psycho, but he’s the only family you’ve got, and those clothes were pretty. You live in the skin of a dead donkey, hon. Sometimes you just want to look nice again. Like a princess. Like someone loved and taken care of.
And then you find the aviary. Pretty birds. Pretty dresses. No people. It’s such a good place to sneak away to, to feel like you again. You don’t know it’s the prince’s favorite place to hide away, too.
Of course you meet eventually. In a way. You’ve seen him before. Maybe you have a little crush. But you’ve been down this road. You know what you’re doing: nothing. Steer clear. Do not get involved in this crap again.
But the prince. You, honey, are new at this. You walk down a hallway, and then, well, you just chance to peep through a keyhole, you little pervent. And the girl you see, well, she’s smokin’ hot. She’s too smokin’ hot to just walk in on. That would be disrespectful, man.
She’s also so smokin’ hot you, like, can’t function because you’re so busy thinking about how hot she is. You gotta find out who this chick is so you can marry her or something. You ask around, and everyone’s like, “That room? Yeah, man, that’s where the donkey freak lives. I think you’re…confused.”
So you go to your room to waste away and pout, and when your mom asks what’s wrong, you say you need Donkeyskin to make you a cake.
And here you are, Donkeyskin, just minding your own business, and suddenly the prince is asking questions about you. So you make a cake, and you drop your ring in the batter, because, hey, maybe he’s not a creep like your dad, and it would be cool to be a princess again.
Dude finds the ring, and it turns out your fingers are freaking tiny, because we’ve got all this Cinderella crap going on now.
You guys get married. You live happily ever after. Your dad comes to the wedding and you forgive him, of course, because that’s what good girls do. And since this is Perrault, and he’s big with the lessons:
Moral 1: It’s better to endure hardship than neglect your duties. (And this would be the duty not to marry your dad? I guess? What about his duty not to marry you?)
Moral 2: Virtue is good. (Way to go, Donkeyskin. You didn’t try to hook up with your daughter, you didn’t look in people’s keyholes, you are rocking the virtue here.)
Moral 3: Love is more powerful than reason. (Hence the forgiveness for dear old dad?)
Moral 4: Bread and water are totally sufficient for a girl to live on. (Um…what? Are we not gonna talk about how trying to do your daughter is bad? No? Just focus on the diet? ‘Kay then. I guess we’re done here.)
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Hey. So we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming really soon. I'm almost finished with a post about Donkeyskin. But in the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that all of my books are now officially available in Nook format. You can find them over here.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
You all know the drill, right? Standard element in a lot of stories. Chop down the forest with an ax made of glass. Sort out the different kinds of seeds. Empty a lake with a spoon.
This isn't actually a post about folklore. Sorry. I'm here to talk about impossible tasks in real life. That's right: it's another Shameless Self Promotion post. Sorry again. But only kind of.
Today I'm here to talk about the impossible task - the many impossible tasks - of being a writer. See, first you have to sift through all the different words, all the ideas, all the stories, and pick the right ones. Then you have to actually put them on paper, which is harder. They change, see, on the way from your brain to your hand, even when you've got them all thought out just right. It's like sorting out flour and powdered sugar. Like herding cats.
(Someday I will successfully herd my cat. But that's a challenge for another day.)
After you get things on paper, you still have to change the paper, again and again until it comes close, at least, to being the kind of thing you thought in was when it only existed in your head. It's weird, and it's hard. When I'm still in the process of writing, I tend to get scenes and fragments sort of stuck in my head, just running in an endless loop until I finally get down the whole story they belong to, just right. Sometimes it's nice, comforting, having a good scene as a background to your life. Sometimes I put off writing so I can keep a good scene.
But sometimes you get a bad scene, and it follows you everywhere for hours, and it's terrifying. Once, in high school, I nearly started crying in science class because in the back of my head, I'd been watching a character die over and over again for hours.
I got a few weird looks.
And here's the important thing: all of that is just the beginning. The easy stuff. You've gotten the words from your head to your paper. Now you've got to get them to other people. That's the hard part. Because it takes time, and it takes energy, and money, and a certain belief in yourself that can be hard to maintain. Forget emptying the lake with a spoon. This is where you walk into hell to get Persephone's beauty in a box. This is the final test.
And this, this is me asking all of you to be the ants that help sort seeds. This is me asking you to help me level a forest, to help me drain the sea.
I like writing poems, and I love that people like reading them, too. And the blog posts about fairy tales? Well, there are few things I enjoy more in life than screaming into the void about fictional people being idiots.
But I want to do more. I am doing more, actually, and I would love to get to a point where it can be a bigger part of my life.
I write novels. Writing novels has been the main thing I've done with myself, I guess, since I was about sixteen. And I'm not going to send these novels out to agents and publishers and the whole shebang. I love the publishing industry. I mean, I really love it. My big goal in life, since I was eighteen, has been to be a publisher, to have my own small press and to share stories with the world. My own stories, of course, but also everyone else's.
So here's the deal: I currently have three poetry collections out. One without an ISBN, two using ISBNs from Createspace. That means that when I sell a book, Amazon gets money too. And that's kind of where things need to be in my writing career right now. But I don't like it. I think that Amazon is pretty bad for the publishing industry, and I don't want to support that long term.
So as much as I want to write more, to publish more, I'm waiting. ISBNs cost a lot. But once you have them, you're in control. You aren't being published by Createspace or Lulu or whoever. You're really, entirely, being published by you. And that's important to me.
So I'm here, asking you to help me drain the sea. Because it's not the kind of thing you do alone. Help me to become an author and a publisher. Help me to publish my own books, help me to publish other people's books, and help me to achieve the financial security to devote as much time and energy to these things as I can.
I have three books out. Goodbye and Avalanche are available on barnesandnoble.com. And on Amazon, but if you can, I would appreciate you using Barnes and Noble instead. thin is available on Etsy. All three are available for Kindle, but I'm currently in the process of getting Nook versions too, and I'll let you know when that happens. I know a lot of people don't have Nooks, but if you do have any compatible device, the Nook versions will cost you less, and pay me more, than the Kindle versions.
Next, I have a Redbubble account. I haven't entirely gotten the hang of it yet, so it might be kind of lame, but if you want to see something, I'm definitely up for suggestions.
And then there's the big one. Patreon. And this is the simplest one for you guys, by far. It doesn't take a lot. Just a dollar a month, and you'll be helping and supporting me so much.
So here are the links:
Barnes and Noble
And finally, thank you for anything you can do to help. The thing about all the most impossible tasks in folklore is that they are possible, as long as you don't do them alone. And I believe that's true for the real world, too. Together we can do great things.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
One of the poems from my new book, thin. Check out the rest here!
it’s not just a shoe you have to fit
one quick cut at the heel or toe
no, it’s all of you
a whole damn body of too big,
of nothing right, of second place
you cut a thick slab from each side
but it only makes your hips look too wide
but heels are not made of fat—
you’ve cut through bone before
stop eating—you’ll get dizzy and hear
those singing birds
be beautiful as you faint at his feet
cindy, sweetie, you don’t need
to be this way
your stepmother loves you
she never meant to be mean
when she called it a mistake
falling for that boy
who remembered your dress size
but forgot your face
Saturday, October 8, 2016
I always love when Kristin from Tales of Faerie mentions me!