About Me

To photo or not to photo

The book I’m currently reading (Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock) has a great big picture of the author on the back cover. I showed it to my husband and commented, “It would be absolutely mortifying to see a picture of my face displayed like that.”

One of the things that I really like about writing is the anonymity of it. I can hide behind characters, and reveal my innermost thoughts without revealing anything at all. I strive to be, as the author, completely invisible in my novels.

Of course, with setting up an author’s page on Amazon, they ask for a bio and photos.

I wonder, do readers really care what the author looks like?

Personally, I don’t.

Personally, sometimes I wish that I didn’t know what an author looked like.

I’m contemplating whether or not I ought to include that particular bit of info, and hide safely in my anonymity.

About Me

On blogging

I actually really like blogging.

As a teenager, I religiously kept a Livejournal for years, posting something every. single. day. In a different life, I would have transferred those skillz over to a less angsty platform, and made a shot toward becoming a professional blogger.

In a different life.

But 2011 found me living out of a car, and once I saw the world from that angle, I never recovered from it.

Just as well, really, because in interim a number of blogger-culture quirks popped up that make my teeth hurt.

I don’t read many blogs now. A few years ago I enjoyed crafting blogs, until I realized that the quality of the actual crafts was dropping precipitously, while those popular bloggers were publishing how-to books that were teaching sloppy techniques. They didn’t care about the crafts; they cared about monetizing.

I’m enough of an arteest to believe that money comes second to artistic integrity. I won’t try to sell something that I was too lazy to put any effort into.

Sometimes I wonder how many other people care. I wonder how many other people are tired of vapid content generators that are concerned more about page views than connecting with readers. I wonder how many people are like me … if anyone.

I like blogging. I’ll probably start putting more energy into it from now on, simply because I’m tired of hiding who I am for fear of being hurt. I just refuse to be anything other than me, especially for a paycheck.

About Me

On holding pencils

When I was in kindergarten, I was officially diagnosed with ‘holding my pencil wrong.’ The adults fretted that my handwriting would always be crippled, that I’d never be able to write cursive, that I would always be a weirdo for life.

Being a little kid and all, I tried very hard to learn how to hold pencils the ‘right’ way.

The ‘right’ way made my handwriting worse and hurt my hand. I always subconsciously switched back to my wrong way, because it felt so much more natural. The adults practically melted with anxiety over my future.

Finally, in fifth grade my teacher announced that my handwriting was fine, and that I could keep holding my pencils however I wanted. After all, in her experience, if the correction hadn’t been made by that point, then it would likely never happen. Hallelujah, I was free!

In high school, the other teens said it was freaky how I held my pencil. I had a pronounced callous on my pinky finger from the amount of writing I did. My ceramics teacher predicted that I could be a calligrapher, if I wanted. I was proud of how I held pencils.

I write all of my rough drafts by hand. I have my fountain pen, medium nib, my collection of Japanese inks, and a binder stuffed to the gunwales with paper. My current WIP has reached 100 pages, with about 400 words per page in my handwriting. I don’t suffer much hand-fatigue; I can easily hit the 1,000 word mark without any discomfort. The callous on my finger as all but vanished since I quit using ballpoints. I don’t see why everyone made such a fuss when I was a kid.

I am, however, an irreparable weirdo; but I don’t think that has anything to do with how I hold pencils.

About Me

Role Playing

Role playing was the worst thing that I ever did to my writing.

I know how it is to be an introverted fantasy geek, stumbling my way onto forums and finding, much to my delight, that people liked my characters — characters that felt more like me than the real life me, who was too shy to talk much. I’ve loved and lost some actual, real-people friends on those boards, too. I’ve been there. I get it.

And it wreaked absolute havoc on my ability to write.

Role playing is very different from writing a novel. For example, a novel happens entirely in your own head, and even if you chat about it with others in between writing sessions, every single last word is typed by your own hands. There aren’t any surprises. No quick thinking. You can go on and on for pages and pages, god-moding like there’s no tomorrow, and no one will ever complain or defriend you. It’s just you and your OCs.

Role playing, on the other hand, happens one paragraph at a time. Write a paragraph, wait, read what happens next, then respond with another paragraph. Rinse and repeat. Over and over. For hours.

The underlying structure is completely different, but it has an enormous influence on writing style. It kills the flow, and paragraphs become like islands that respond to each other, rather than build upon each other. You can always spot someone who’s heavy into the RP — it shows.

I didn’t dream about being a role playing geek when I was 12. I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write books, not paragraphs. And one day, it hit me really hard that my writing had gone down the toilet. Too many paragraphs responding to paragraphs, and not enough storytelling. I was devastated to realize that my writing had been better at 14 than it was it was at 18.

Goodbye, my fellow fantasy geeks. It was fun.

It took me years to purge it out of my system, to lock the correct mindset back into place. As much fun as it was, I will probably never return to role playing.

Not to mention, I’m, like, in my 30s and married with kids now. It would be a little weird.

About Me

Sleepy

WordPress is congratulating me on my blogging streak.

Truth is, I haven’t been sleeping well, and when I’m tired I talk to myself more.

Instead of doing anything useful, I’m just chattering away in my head about nothing in particular, because I can’t think clearly.

Anyway, I did pointless a doodle about my next novel.

So WordPress can love my blogging streak even more.

About Me

Living

In high school I used to fantasize that I’d get Discovered. Everyone would be blown away by the enormity of my talent at such a tender age, and I would be heralded as a teenage prodigy as millions rushed to buy my books. I’d be set for life by the time I graduated.

I wanted it so badly, I wondered how I would ever survive without it.

Obviously, and thankfully, that didn’t happen.

I don’t know if there’s some sort of spiritual plan for everyone, guided by God, the Universe, or anything in particular, but I now know that my talent would have been wasted if I had achieved fame at such a young age. Oh sure, practice and maturity would have improved a few things here and there, but the ideas I played with would have, without a doubt, stagnated.

You just can’t replace the importance of experience.

And if I had been set for life right out of the gate, I wouldn’t have experienced what it means to be alive. My writing wouldn’t have gained any true depth. I would have become trapped rewriting the same fluff over and over with a different title every time. And that would have been that.

Instead I was forced to live outside of my comfortable worlds of fiction. I’ve learned that sometimes the best way to improve talent is not by reading or writing, but by living.

About Me

Secretly

Secretly

I want to explode on the scene.

Blow everyone away with the enormity of my talent.

Declare to the world, “I was born to do this!”

But I’m shy, doubtful, and insecure.

Something like that, happening to someone like me?

Probably not.

But I like to fantasize.

About Me

Terror as an author

I’ll be honest, as a writer, letting someone read my stories is embarrassing.

Asking someone to pay to read them is mortifying.

I can understand why publishing houses became a thing. Hello, I wrote a book. I am now too embarrassed and mortified to distribute it. Ha ha ha.

Seriously, I don’t want to let people know what sort of things go on in my head. That’s why I’m quiet and shy. Just move along; you don’t know me.

But don’t really. I actually do want people to read my books. I’m just scared. What if people don’t like me? What if people do like me? I’m not sure how I’d handle either.

That’s why I’m a writer, I suppose. Fictional worlds are easier to navigate.

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About Me

Stargirl

In real life, I’m a 30-something stay-at-home mom with small children. I always laugh whenever the neighbors call me a hippie, because I’ve been to Earth Haven and I can’t say that I had an ounce in common with anyone there, but that’s the identity I’ve been given: the neighborhood hippie. I guess that the fact that I’ve been to a place called Earth Haven puts me closer to hippy-ism than anyone else around here.

While I get along great with the ex-bikers, sometimes I wish that I had a friend who was another 30-something mom with small children. There are a few of them around here too, but they are, you know, normal.

Sometimes I think that I ought to try being normal too, so they’ll like me and talk to me.

But that would mean leggings, memberships, and shoes.

You haven’t truly lived until you’ve stepped on a dead mouse barefoot. Now that’s a sensation that doesn’t wash away.

And I really like my bright yellow gaucho pants.

Stargirl was required reading in middle school. We all scoffed at it, dismissing it as another one of those human interest novels that our teachers always seemed to think would ease the trials of being a teenager. But now I think back on it and remind myself, being normal doesn’t make you happy. Stargirl tried it, and she was miserable. So there you have it, I had to grow up before I appreciated the message.

Gaucho pants and bare feet forever, even if that leaves me with only ex-bikers and fictional characters to chat with.

The sequel, Love, Stargirl came out after I graduated, so on a lark I decided to read it now as an adult. When the book mentioned someone giving out donuts to trick-or-treaters, it hit me why we didn’t like the original as teens, and it had nothing to do with individualism or peer-pressure: the author just didn’t know crap about Millennials. The Stargirl books are every bit as much of deluded fantasies as the tripe I write, minus the gratuitous Mary Sue-ing.

Because what’s the point in fantasizing if you don’t go all out?

Also, apparently peer-pressure fiction is a recognized genre. I feel bad for teens.

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About Me

Kindle

I vaguely mentioned that I had a baby several months ago, which is the reason why I went from posting new chapters every week to sporadic and infrequent updates. During that time period, here’s what I’ve learned:

It’s easier for me to write a manuscript than it is to upkeep a posting schedule.

Even when everything is already finished and all I have to do is copy and paste once a week, for whatever reason I just can’t stick with it. My brain doesn’t want to brain that way.

On the other hand, my binder stuffed full of lined paper and colorful pens is always within arm’s reach. Ten minutes here, an hour there, sometimes a sentence, other times a few pages, and the next thing I know I’ve gotten a novel written.

After some very serious thought, I’ve decided that I will relocate myself over to Kindle. Publish the whole thing in one go and be over and done with it. Better than being sporadic and inconsistent, wondering when I’ll inevitably flake out.

I will post a few more chapters of Light Eternal here, then leave you on a cliff hanger.