About Writing

Almost there?

And just like that, the rewrite is done.

Time for more editing and proofreading, LAWL.

The bulk of the hard work is finished, and now I get to sit back and experience my novel from the perspective of a reader rather than a writer, with mostly nitpicky changes rather than anything major. It’ll be fun.


Very shortly, I will start promoting my novel instead of being so darned secretive about it.


About Writing

Most people can’t write

Most people can’t write.

I know, we live in a society where everyone is expected to be hyper-accepting and non-judgmental, blindly praising, “That’s really good!” before ghosting off so you can never be pressed for your real opinion. But I’ve never been able to follow the crowd.

I realized that fact in my Advanced Creative Writing class, when I was surrounded by students who were presumably SERIOUS about writing, had already studied it to some extent, yet who were producing stories that were on par with a regular English student’s. Whaa?

I see it all the time in writing communities now. People will proudly declare, “Writing is my passion!” then not even know how to use a semicolon correctly. Critique wise, one is expected to point out typos in addition to blind praise, and I tend to get a bad name for myself by saying what actually needs to be improved to make the story better. I do it for myself, truthfully, because analyzing others keeps me on my toes with my own writing.

No, writing isn’t your passion. Your passion is feeling special, and you don’t care at all about the agonizing hours of rewriting, coupled with the constant study of grammar, storytelling, and psychology, second-guessing every sentence with intense embarrassment that someone will notice how mediocre it is. You want to be complimented more than you want to be skilled.

Sadly, there are also plenty of people who have the potential to be good, but they are unwilling to set their egos aside to learn how to improve themselves. In the end, they aren’t any different from the others.

Ah, how cruel I am.

You must be asking now, “Can you write?” eager to knock me down a peg after my self-important rant.


I know how to edit mercilessly and handle criticism.

That’s what makes the difference.

About Writing

Why I don’t read contemporary books

I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t read anything that was published this decade, because I’m a cranky bitch who hates everything about modern living … and all that. Hur hur.

I’m not doing this to be an irrational hater, but rather to analytically illustrate what I think is wrong with contemporary literature. At random, I have selected a paragraph out of a book titled, Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, because another blogger linked to it recently (hello!), and I think it serves as a good example of why I have dismissed this decade’s literature all together.

Disclaimer: I have not read this book, cannot review the quality of the story itself, and haven’t the slightest idea of what the writing is like outside of the preview available on Amazon. I have absolutely no opinion on the book itself; my complaint is with contemporary writing practices.

From the sample:

They both turned to look out of the window of the assisted living facility in north London. Issy had installed Joe there when it became clear he was getting too absentminded to live on his own. Issy had hated moving him down south after he’d spent his life in the north, but she needed him close to visit. Joe had grumbled of course but he was going to grumble anyway, moving out of his home to anywhere that wouldn’t let him rise at 5:00 a.m. and start pounding bread dough. So he might as well be grumpy close by, where she could keep an eye on him. After all, it wasn’t as if anyone else was around to do it. And the three bakeries, with their proud, shiny brass handles and old signs proclaiming them to be “electric bakers,” were gone now; fallen prey to the supermarkets and chains that favored cheap white pulp over handcrafted but slightly more expensive loaves.

First, for some unfathomable reason, authors have all decided that they have a raging allergy to commas. Maybe they think it’s more conversational, that commas are outdated and useless, or they simply never learned how to organize a sentence during their schooling; whatever the case, reading feels more like delving into an overgrown forest where one is expected to hack their way through alone. It also makes it significantly harder to read out loud, since being expected to run on and on without any pauses in one long unbroken sentence gives a monotone effect that can be really quite hypnotic … Woah, sorry, got sucked into the wrong dimension there for a moment.

The worst, in my opinion, is something that I think of as “THE TWITTER EFFECT.” You never, ever, not in a million years, see sentences longer than 280 characters (most will stay under 140, which was Twitter’s original cut off point), even in novels. Yes, I know that Moby-Dick was ridiculous for having sentences that spanned more than one page, but that doesn’t mean the answer is to only write short, choppy, status updates in lieu of actual paragraphs. I blame social media.

The longest sentence in the quoted paragraph is 258 characters, including the improperly used semicolon. Four of them are shorter than 100 characters, which accounts for more than half of the sentences in the paragraph.

So, let’s rewrite it. After all, if I’m going to claim that I can do better, I might as well back it up!

They both turned to look out of the window of the assisted living facility in north London, where Issy had installed her grampa Joe after it had become clear that he was getting too absentminded to live on his own. Issy had hated moving him so far from his home, but she had wanted him close by for her to visit, and they had no other family members who were willing to help take care of him. Joe had grumbled, of course, but he was sure to be grouchy anywhere that wouldn’t let him rise at 5:00 a.m. to start pounding dough, so he might as well be grouchy where she could keep an eye on him. The three bakeries of his past, with their proud, shiny, brass handles, and old signs proclaiming them to be “electric bakers”, were gone now, fallen prey to the supermarkets and chains that favored cheap, white pulp over handcrafted, yet slightly more expensive, loaves.

The length is the same, but I combined the seven sentences into four to decrease the choppy effect of countless periods, and enhance the overall flow of the story itself. I used a lot more commas for clear organization, and with any luck, you should be able to read that sucker out loud without stumbling. Give it a shot, and tell me if I’m wrong.

Thusly we have learned: Use commas and think longer thoughts, ’cause I ain’t got nothin’ to read.

I need a rest after writing this post. Whew.

About Writing


I’ve mentioned before that I write all of my rough drafts by hand. One of the benefits of doing this is that ink is permanent, thus effectively neutralizing the urge to edit as I go. My main focus with my rough drafts is getting the story down on paper with as little critical thinking as possible.

I’m a firm believer in the power of editing and let quite a lot slide through in my rough drafts, but every now and then I do write something that’s so bad, it grinds the story to a halt. Sometimes it’s necessary to rewrite as I go, just to keep the story progressing. I average rewriting about five pages out of a hundred, which is more a testament to how forgiving I am than anything else.

Since transcribing onto the computer is an eventual necessity, that’s where I do the bulk of my rewriting. That’s when I start to think, “How can this be better?” I usually end up rewriting about 90%.

Ever since I started cleanly separating the steps of writing and rewriting, I’ve been able to finish books, rather than collecting files of unfinished beginnings.

Tiny frog

The Midnight Window

I recently came across this short story that I originally wrote in 2008. I liked it enough to use it as editing practice, and brought it up-to-date to my current skill level.

He was watching them again.

He found his nose pressed against the cold glass window, his eyes locked on the room beyond, unconsciously counting the rising and falling breaths of each dark lump snuggled warmly in the bed, and he had no memory of how he had gotten there. They were bigger. They always seemed bigger each time he huddled against the side of the house, watching them sleep. He wondered how many years it had been, then found it absurd that he would even still care.

He used to also watch through the window on the other side of the house, gazing at the sleeping woman with some unknown regret pounding at his frozen heart. Used to, that is, until a man appeared next to her in bed, and he realized that his former position was no longer empty. After that, he lost all desire to venture beneath that particular window, and the pain that seared him never flared up again.

Now he spent his time with the small ones, peering at them through the blackness. Sometimes he would stay there all night, unable to tear himself away until the threat of dawn forced him into hiding. Those two sleeping mounds, buried under blankets, contained the last living fragment of him. When he saw them, he felt calm.

The littlest one woke up one night. Her head had lifted from the pillow and she looked toward him, riveting him in place despite his desire to flee. She didn’t seem afraid as she slowly slid out of bed and tiptoed up to the window. He could see her face clearly, and her long blonde hair that flowed down her back over her lacy nightgown. Her familiar blue eyes met his, as she put her hand against the glass, and he felt compelled to press his own hand against the other side. Then she whispered a single word,


Something shot through his insides when he heard her speak, and he found himself floating as a silver mist, terrified that the wind would scatter him across the surrounding forest. It was some time before he found the strength to will himself back to solidity. He learned something crucial about his nature that night, and it gave him the resolve to stay away.

He didn’t know how much time passed before he went back, but the longing had become to much for him to deny. There was a third shape now, much smaller than the others, nestled between them with a tiny fist held up into the air. He knew what it was, and was surprised that he didn’t care. Perhaps he was now too far removed from his humanity to experience that emotion again.

This would be the last time that he would gaze at his children. They had moved forward with the life that he could never share, and it was time for him to let go. He was a vampire now, and didn’t belong in the world of the living. The final threads that kept him chained to the place were broken, and soon he would forget that they had ever existed.

About Writing

Plot twists

I suppose that one of the side effects of taking lots of creative writing classes in the early 2000’s is that I follow a lot of guidelines that have been tossed aside by my contemporaries. With years of contemplation and analysis, I have decided that they are very good ideas indeed, and I kind of wish that more writers thought the same way.

Plot twists that don’t make any sense.

The most egregious example of this is Disney’s Frozen, with the whole, “Hans is secretly evil” thing. His accounting for his actions is that he wanted to be king, but going through with marrying Anna would have given him exactly what he wanted, especially with Elsa running around crazy — come on, it’s not like marrying into an advantageous position never happened historically. Also, wanting to be king is ambitious, but not wrong in and of itself.

The whole, “I’m going to let you die while I laugh evilly” scene is nonsensical and jarring. After all, if the guy is that much of a sociopath, he’d maintain the act right through the very end, and never reveal his true thoughts under any circumstances.

The worst part is, there isn’t a single ounce of foreshadowing. I know that plenty of people have come up with “epileptic trees” style theories trying to prove there is, but I’ve seen that movie a million times thanks to my little girls, and there isn’t even a calculating look or anything. Rule of thumb: if foreshadowing isn’t immediately obvious the second time around, then it isn’t there.

It’s like the writers didn’t have the slightest clue how it should end, so they randomly threw that in as a drunken late night decision, and it killed the whole movie.

Plot twists must stay in character and make logical sense.

Even if you feel like you’re giving everything away by mentioning that Martha was irrationally jealous five chapters before she runs Jimmy over with a car, remember that the readers aren’t going to know what you’re building up to, but they will feel jilted if they think you’re deliberately jerking them around. Also remember that bragging, “I SAW IT COMING FIRST!” is just as much fun for the readers as being taken completely by surprise.

Or maybe the story will later reveal that Martha was possessed by a demon, and that’s why her actions were suddenly out of character. After all, these are only guidelines.

About Writing

Rules, shmules

I hate those “writing things to avoid” sorts of lists, as I feel that they rather miss the spirit of creativity. After all, slavish devotion to a set of rules will result in limited writing.

Take, for example, the advice to never start with the description of weather. If you say it fast and don’t think too hard, it seems like sound advice. After all, something like, “The sun was shining brightly as Timmy walked down the street” is pretty boring.

But sometimes the weather matters.

The sun was shining brightly, the birds were singing cheerfully, and a cool breeze was playing through the leaves, making it the perfect day to work, Timmy thought as he pulled out his hacksaw and began cutting up the corpse in front of him.

The description of weather is used to deliberately create a juxtaposition with Timmy’s grim work. That’s interesting.

So, if you’re starting with describing the weather just because you don’t know where else to start, then you should probably spend more time brainstorming. However, don’t be afraid of describing the weather if it serves a purpose to enhance the story, no matter what someone on the internet might have said. Whoever wrote those rules was just after page views anyway.

About Writing

Just write

There are a gazillion blogs out there that are all to eager to tell you how to write, but I am not one of them.

My philosophy boils down to: just do it.

Remember, 50 Shades of Grey was a mega fad, despite the rather unnerving tie worn by Mr Grey in the first chapter. Obviously, the world can be forgiving.

So who cares about rules? Just write, rewrite, edit, and nitpick, then let it out into the wild. Maybe something will happen, maybe not. The important part is creating something that you enjoy.

So young – and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark copper colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me shrewdly.
About Writing

Learning how to advertise

I asked myself, how do *I* find new books to read?

By crapshoot, more or less.

Which is rather hard to market toward for advertising.

You see, I don’t turn to blogs or Facebook when I’m in search of the next novel. I browse around at random, sometimes on Amazon, othertimes on Google, until I find something that sounds exciting.

I don’t use Facebook at all, and blogs are something I peruse after I’ve become interested in an author. I highly doubt that I’ll connect with readers on websites that I personally dislike.

I write for myself and people like me: the kind of geeky, anime watching, reclusive introvert, fantasy loving, vaguely hippy-ish, super sappy, sort.

So, I’ve been working very hard on thinking of which sorts of things make me excited about books. I like intriguing descriptions that give a sense of depth and complexity. I skip books that share umpteen reviews and claim to be best-sellers — if a book is desperately trying to tell us how good it is without actually saying anything about itself, then it probably isn’t good at all.

The really hard part is, I haven’t read a book that I’ve truly enjoyed in years.

About Writing, Light Eternal

About Light Eternal


I think that the best way to describe Light Eternal is as a Gnostic romance. Or, as my husband so succinctly put it, I studied up on Gnosticism so I could write trashy fanfiction about it.

I like fantasy romance, and most of my ideas revolve around the simplicity of two people in love. One of my biggest disappointments with the romance genre (and fiction in general) is that very few of them start with marriage, which, in my personal experience, is when I would say the real adventure begins. My novels don’t revolve around the question of “Will they get together?” but rather, “What are they willing to do to stay together?”

I also like magic and larger-than-life characters, so with a touch of amusement I would say that I ascribe to the “One-Punch Man” style of storytelling. The conflict isn’t about how they are going to be strong enough to win, but is instead an almost human interest exploration of what life would be like as the strongest, smartest, etc.

Light Eternal also contains a lot of pagan elements, including soul retrievals and spiritual parasites. The story is about gods and goddesses surrounded by a rich mythology, verging on spiritual fiction. Because there is a strong theme of Light versus Dark, there are a lot of Gothic and horror moments as well.

Finally, it is a novella about trauma, mental health, and dissociation. It illustrates the damage that traumatic events can cause, and the struggle to continue on with life afterward.

It is the best fictional Gnostic romance book out there!

Available for free with Kindle Unlimited