Monday, December 17, 2012


I personify everything. The peices of myself. The elements of my faith. I know this about myself. I thought I knew it well.

Then I had last night's epiphany: I also personify my the form of prose.

Forbidden Ones (Sven Nulis): the journey for self-worth
Immortal Blood (Zero Naken, Arisa Greene, Rio Enroku, Rica Zeo): the quest for purpose
Mage Assassin (which is only a few notes right now): the hardship of leaving one's faith

Which explains why I get attached to certain stories and can't seem to write anything stand-alone. Each series is a journey, not just for my characters, but for me, as well.

That's why I feel the need to get everything just right. Each step is important.

It might be why I've struggled so much with the revision of Bloodline. It's our journey, Sven's and mine, to recollect our intrinsic worth. With that in mind, I have to make it work. I owe it to myself and my people to start this journey right. Sven and I deserve to start this thing with the proper heading. How we reach the end is anyone's guess, but I can make those first steps as graceful as they could ever hope to be.

With this new development in mind, I'm off to chip away at my journies.

Wish me luck! X-3

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Retiring the Vague Outline

I think of my inner artist (a.k.a. The Muse) like my child self, clinging to playtime and the wants of the now, finding wonder in the mundane, loving to gab with friends both solid and ephemeral.

And slowly maturing.

As kids are want to do, my inner artist has grown in the time we've spent playing together. I can see her progress in the way I word a paragraph, in the expansion of my palette of favorite colors, in her acceptance of new methods of play.

The most notable difference, at least for me, is in her requirements concerning structure.

Anyone familiar with my blog knows about the vague outline and its use as my structural method of choice. It chronicles every major step and some of the smaller ones scribbled down in the most direct of details. At first, and for a long time after, it was freeing to know exactly what turn to take next.

Not so much anymore.

Now it feels like a staunch rulebook meant to nosh all the creativity out of the process. So, after being a companion for years, I'm forced to retire the vague outline.

The only hangup is in finding its replacement...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Newbie Woes

So sorry for being silent for so long...I've been dealing with a hard blow.

My test reader finished the draft about a week after I handed it over...and he discovered a major plot issue. The species of plot issue that results in a gut-and-do-over kind of revision. To those who don't have a special project close to their heart, this might not sound like such a horrible thing. But, to me, it felt like I was sending a beloved child to the doctor to have a hunk of abdomen torn out.

I spent the work night afterwards having something akin to a breakdown. I found myself doubting my ability to write. I found myself wondering if my grand little dream was nothing more than delusion. I found myself frantically trying to figure out how to fix what I'd so horribly broken.

Eventually, I'd had my sniffles, let the doubts dribble away, and the duct tape to my problem established itself in my brain. I started to feel like I could do this again. I set about the task of marking up the draft with the red pen for the second time. Now, the tiny notes looked like the dashed lines a plastic surgeon puts on a patient before surgery.

This wasn't a death, just a reconstruction.

I'm feeling better about my project now. I know I can do this if I keep working. I know this story is a good one, and I know I can tell it the way it needs to be told. I owe it to the people in my head. I owe it to myself.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Responsible Thing

For a good portion of my life, I spent my time doing the “responsible” thing. School. Work. Career plan. Good grades. Good behavior. And on it goes.

Then I picked up the pen again.

I feel in love with words all over again, looking forward to sitting in front of the computer tapping away ides instead of dreading the stiff cranking of academia. With that rush of love, I tossed aside the “should” of having a “sensible” career, which I spent the better part of six years trying desperately to achieve. And out the door went as many of the other “shoulds” I’d collected as I could handle leaving behind.

Unfortunately, I tossed too many.

It was recently brought to my attention—forcibly since I’m good with denial—that I can’t sleep worth crap during the morning. (I work 3rd shift at a factory for the sake of the bills.) Now, I’ve known how terrible trying to fight the sun is for a while, but there were so many good things to be had from sleeping in the morning. Cuddles with my love. Dinner with my love. Conversation with my love. And help from the same love in keeping my ass at the desk when it needs to get scribbling done. (Noticing a pattern. X-3 I’m hooked.)

The downside: requiring a 3 hour “nap” before work. Meaning, I could make pages or revise only to succumb to exhaustion the moment I met my goal for the day. So none of my other obligations got the attention I needed to give them.

Thus, under protest, I’m doing the responsible thing and keeping my butt awake until evening when I sleep best.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Coming Out…in a Literary Sense

Although the phrase "coming out" is usually reserved for topics of a more sexual nature, telling the parents who expect their cute baby to become a brain surgeon that said child loves a good word processor more than a scalpel is a demon all its own. No less slavering and vicious, just different.

For those of you who have never met this demon, congratulations on drawing the long straw. For everyone else, as a newly branded member of the fold, you have my condolences.

That shit is scary, and it stings.

As of yesterday, I officially told everyone in my life--at least the ones I felt I needed to tell--that the scientist they'd been expecting to bloom all through my six years of college was, in fact, a writer in disguise. As usual, I saved the hardest for last. Leftover mentality from my test-taking years.

The emotional upheaval and flailing preceding the confession probably won't go down as part of my best moments. But I did it. I made my confession.

Now, I can only speak for myself, but I expected a reaction to my revelation. Acceptance. Rejection. Something. Anything. And being a dramatic sort of soul, I didn't imagine a subtle version. I imagined the sort of acceptance that would make me feel like I could write anything. I also imagined a rejection that sent me to the page eager to burn off the righteous fury boiling through my circulatory system.

I got neither of those things.

For all the tears and angst, I got apathy. And not even the kind that offers up a partial acceptance, a "whatever makes you happy" kind of acceptance. No. The kind I received resonated with an unspoken "so what?" It asked why I thought anyone would care and demanded to know why I felt I had to share. The kind of apathy that leaves a person feeling ashamed for having confided in another.

And it stings, burns all the way down into the most squishy parts.

But it's down with all that painful stuff that you find the answer to that "why" question posed by the apathy. It's the same reason that drew you to follow the path of your dreams. Because you had to.

You shared because you had to share. It's part of the commitment you made to yourself to be who you are. When you share, you introduce your calling. And in doing so, you make it impossible to ignore or overshadow with the more sensible pursuit they'd rather have for you.

So share what you love. Share what drives you, what gets your engine moving. Maybe doing so will inspire someone else to do the same.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Support Structure

There is a plethora of advice out there for new authors concerning the importance of having a support structure. For me, the first thing that always came to mind was writing groups. It seems like every successful author has a writing group attached. And having a bad group is more damaging to a work of art than not having one at all.

But that isn't the sum total of it.

Support on the home front is just as important. If a writer is bombarded with dissent about their talent, their ability to be successful, how worthwhile their writing is, it drains on the creative forces. And let's face it, not everyone is going to be supportive of a fledgling writer. Generally, this lack of support is meant to protect said writer.

"It's good that you have a hobby, but you need to focus on how you're going to pay the bills."
"Writing is something you should worry about when you're older and established."
"The chances you'll make a living doing that is slim."
"Don't you think you should have a backup plan in case this doesn't work?"

Believe me. I've gotten each and every one of those comments. Don't get me wrong. Those comments were made with the best of intentions. But each of them suggests that writing isn't a real job, and the writer couldn't possibly be successful at it, even if it was.

To anyone who has said one of the things above. Quit it.

To anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of one of the things above. Don't listen.

I'm not telling you to quit the job that pays the bills and live out of a friend's basement. I'm telling you not to give up. Keep working. Keep trying. No matter what kind of art fills you with passion. Pursue it, regardless of what else you do with your life, pursue that passion. A person can live quite comfortably on a small budget if he or she is plugged into that power.