Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Community Service, or, why I hate myself

To be fair, the title's misleading. I don't *really* hate myself. I just enjoy making it look like I do. And I'm not doing court-ordered community service, either. Just the usual hey, look, I'm not busy enough already planning my less-than-four-month away wedding so hows about I go and volunteer at not one, not two, but THREE new places?

Yeah, I'm insane.

Plus a friend of mine is looking to buy her first house, so I've been busy with that. (I am one of those slimy real estate agents, in case you didn't know-- but I just carry the card, I don't work at it for a living).

Then of course there's all the stuff that five months ago sounded like great ideas to make myself for the wedding that now seem like ideas from Hades itself to actually do.

And last of all is the writing. And last last of all is the blogging.

I'm so close to knocking out a first draft of the mystery I'm working on that it's insane, and yet, I'm spinning my wheels. Mostly because I dread the ginormous amount of work I'll have to do after the first draft is done-- adding subplots and expanding sections-- but I'm looking forward to it, too. I just know how much work it's going to be, and I'm thinking, do I really want to start THAT right now?

So what does this mean? It means I am going to be a whiny, sporadic blogger (here, at least) at best-- until after the wedding. I love you guys (*sniff), and I wouldn't be here, doing this, if it weren't for you. Don't think I don't care-- I Just. Don't. Have. The. Time. And since I don't have any exciting news to share, I don't have much to
say either. However, buck up, chums-- you can still find me at the Archives every Monday, and maybe I'll share some of my other, un-writerly-related adventures here in the meantime.

Also also: to everyone-- I am READING all of your posts, my apologies if I am not commenting on all of them.

Bear with me. You know I'll be back, with a vengeance! :)

Friday, June 11, 2010


I've officially reached an internal milestone, and I'm proud to share it. No, I didn't get an agent. Still workin' on that. Hence the "internal," but I wanted to clear that up up front.

This isn't one of those milestones that you can point to and say, then--right then-- is when it happened. It's more a cumulative one that I've just realized was there.

I figured out why I want to write.

See, before, I just felt this drive--this urge-- this need to write. It made no sense and gave me no reasons. I just had stories in my head and I wanted them on paper.

Or did I?

Once my first novel was done, I was excited to start querying. I, like so many others before and after me, was self-assured that *I* was different. That my first query might land me an agent because isn't that the way it's supposed to happen?

But even when the rejections started pouring in, and then as I realized that that story probably wasn't going anywhere, and then got the idea for and started writing my second novel, I didn't really get why I was doing any of this. What was I expecting to get from this, anyway?

And you know, I didn't figure it out until very recently. I was thinking about, you know, everything and started to ask myself those questions. Why? Was it money? No. My immediate and firm reaction was that I didn't care about the money. Was it fame? No. Not likely to happen anyway, and it's not what's driving me-- at least not the paparazzi kind of fame.

I realized, what it is, is that I want to walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelf. I want to hear people talk about my book and how it's touched them and how they've grown or learned from it. I want my stories to be out there, for people to share with their friends and family. MY words, preserved in time, touching people. I want my books to last.

So yes, I DO want to be published. But it's not for money or fame. Personally, I don't care if people remember my name, so long as they remember my stories.

Have you figured out why you write?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Short Stories

(How has it been over a week since I blogged last? WHOA. Sorry about that, folks).

So I guess you could say that I've ventured into new territory as a writer.

Not that this is unusual, you understand. Since I really started trying to write a little over a year-and-a-half ago, I have written (or am still working on) projects in:

Commercial Fiction
Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
Cozy Mystery

And now I am adding "horror" to that list. I just finished a short horror story, and while it originally came to me as the impetus for a novel, I immediately stopped that firmly in its tracks, and for good reason-- I'm currently still writing two other novels. No need to add a third. And this one was PUSHY. Kept writing itself in my head while I was trying to go to sleep. So I decided to turn it into a short story-- something I could finish quickly and get the story out of my head so it wasn't running circles around my other projects.

And so my evil child short story was born, drafted, and done at about 4,700 words. A little long for a short story, but the anthology press I have my eye on takes up to 7,500.

Anyway, moving on-- my point for today (and possibly this whole week, as you scan your eyes over the barren desert of my blog) is that I don't think in terms of limits for myself as a writer. If I get an idea, I write it. And you know what? It's been incredibly liberating to do so. If you'd asked me a year ago if I could write a story about a black guy that turns white, the answer was no. In June or July when I got the idea, the answer was still no. But when it pestered me until I wrote it out, it was easier than I thought. And it helped me grow so much as a writer. Now, I wouldn't give that story back for anything, even though I originally thought "wouldn't that be great for someone else to write one day."

What writing V taught me though, is that I CAN write things that I think I can't. And the same thing goes for horror. I never would have thought to touch a story like this last year. Now, it's done-- and it creeped me out to write it, but I kinda like it.

In some ways, being an un-agented, un-published author is an advantage. I don't have a name built up as a YA writer, or a high fantasy writer, and therefore an agent, editor, and rabid fans awaiting my next release in that category, and only that category. I'm still just a writer, and I can write whatever I want, whenever I want.

I'm going to embrace my freedom for now and write what takes my fancy.

Have you ever written something that you thought you weren't capable of, or outside your comfort range? Do you stick to one genre?