Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Happy Endings

I like a happy ending. I know there are plenty of people who prefer other things in their entertainment, but that's what I need in mine. There's plenty of bad stuff going on around us in the real world that I don't want it in my entertainment.

Sure, it's not always realistic and maybe it's naive but I enjoy stories with a happy ending. And I like to enjoy my entertainment. I don't want to get depressed from it.

It's like the G.K. Chesterton quote.

"Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."

I remember the last thing I watched which didn't have a happy ending. I mistakenly confused JK Rowling's adult book, the Casual Vacancy, for her pen name books. BBC did a three episode release of the Casual Vacancy. The whole time I was watching it, I expected there to be a happy ending, that I was watching some cozy mystery. Spoiler alert: there wasn't a happy ending and it wasn't a cozy mystery. And it was really upsetting. 

But now, I'm finding I like to write stories that don't always have a happy ending. Most of them do, because one of my biggest flaws as a writer (that I'm aware of) is that I'm too nice to my favorite characters. But every once in a while, a story sneaks out that has a nasty ending, almost like it was pre-ordained and any other ending would be false. 

I'm not sure what to make of this. I know I would feel betrayed if one of my favorite authors pulled something like that on me. But I'm finding a lot of joy in these twist endings. It's a strange thing for me and I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. So at the moment, I'm trying not to make anything of it and just write whatever comes out. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Juggling Genres

I haven't yet settled into a genre and I'm not really sure I ever will. I like reading and writing too many things and like a lot of writers, I'm not always great at identifying exactly what it is that I'm writing. It's fun, it's interesting, and I'm enjoying it so I don't think too much about it.

But one thing I've definitely identified is my habit of juggling genres. Right now I'm writing a novella (which I fear will turn into a novel) and a short story (that's not even halfway through its plot and over 5k words) from opposite ends of the genre spectrum. Back and forth, back and forth. I spend half an hour here and there, on one then the other. In the background, the parts of my brain that aren't engaged with these stories, I've got those three serials plotting away.

I can't say whether or not this is a healthy way to write. I can't even say if it's effective or if it's killing both stories. I'm not sure I'll ever know. But I can tell when I've been writing too long in one 'genre' or the other. I get bored and antsy and I don't want to write. My last novella took three times longer than it needed to because I'd been dabbling in the same pool too long. But then I remembered the juggling.

I'm not a great multi-tasker but I sure love the juggling. And I wonder just how many other people keep themselves engaged this way. Probably a lot more than I hear about.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

What to do with rejected short stories

Last year, I decided to get into the short story market. Now, short stories aren't something I've ever really focused on until I started finding short stories hidden in each of my series. I wrote a collection of short stories for my series, The Swamp Children, that is called The Swamp Witches. This is where i discovered how much fun they could be.

So I decided to start sending out some shorts into the big, bad world of short story magazines. Soon after, the rejections started rolling in. As expected. But I would write more and resend the old ones until just recently.

I have three short stories that have come back with the feedback that they seemed more like beginnings than short stories. I could definitely understand what the editors meant. I love writing beginnings. It's my favorite, easiest part of each story, so it makes sense that quite a few of my shorts ended up like this.

I didn't want to go back and destroy the shorts because I liked them. I liked the story they told and the worlds I'd created. And now, I finally know what I'm going to do with them. Serialization has become a real thing in the indie book world again and that's where these bad boys are headed. Though a pantser by nature, I know I'm going to have to treat these differently. They'll need to be planned because I can't go back and fiddle with them once they're out and about. But its a new challenge and something different for me to try.

Excited. Now I must finish all the other work I'm in the middle of first... while maintaining good, life-affirming habits. Not sure how this is going to go.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Focus, focus.... FOCUS!

I'm really bad at focusing on more than one thing at a time. Two is roughly possible and three is just something that never happens. Possibly it's a lack of self-discipline. Maybe I'm lazy. It's hard for me to say.

When I was younger, I would go through months-long cycles of focus. I loved reading, drawing and writing. Deep in one cycle, I couldn't make myself give much, if any, attention to the other two. There was no interest there at all. Sometimes this would worry me, what if I stopped reading or drawing or writing altogether??

Now that I'm older, not much else has changed. Of course I have to have some adult focuses in my life now so the cycles I go through aren't as deep as they used to be. I can't be completely consumed with reading to the exclusion of all else.

And I've chosen to make writing my main focus out of the three loves. But even this goes through cycles. I'm trying to train for a marathon (anyone who knows me knows this is highly ridiculous) and I'm struggling with day job issues. Writing has taken a back seat to both of these.

While away on a holiday, when I had scads of time to write and didn't manage much at all, worrying over the state of my marathon training, I realized I needed to refocus. Of course this had led to my running falling off.

Surely other people have trouble focusing too? I couldn't imagine doing any of this with a family or others depending on me. Reading inspirational messages or butt-kicking blogs have helped me maintain some focus and try to recommit but maybe this is a cycle too and I'm just on the upward ride of the ferris wheel.

And then maybe it's like that awesome quote from Zig Ziglar... "People say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing- that's why we recommend it daily."

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Musicians Being Awesome

This one doesn't need an introduction. Just hit the button!

Now, how amazing was that? Talk about versatile with a whole lot of stage presence. I'm sure there's an apt comparison to writing in there somewhere but I won't bother to try and dig it out for you.

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Amaranthine Dowager

What started as a flash piece ballooned into a novelette. Less of a horror than its sister piece, The Locket, The Amaranthine Dowager is nonetheless a gothic story in the same vein. There's a third one planned and eventually they'll be available as a bundle. 

The Dowager lives alone, burdened by a family that isn't hers and an obligation that she never expected. With her husband dead, her life revolves around maintaining his inheritance for its next heir. The only problem is finding the next heir before she's ready to go.

Beautiful Stories with Beautiful Art

I'm down in London for a few weeks and stumbled across this book at Chaos City. I struggle to find the kind of graphic novels and illustrated books I like because it's not a style that's trending. But this, and I think much from the publisher Improper Books, is exactly what I love. Beautiful art that enhances a story.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Locket

I'm trying out a new style. Can't remember what inspired this, but maybe it was the Poe I'd been reading! A Gothic style horror short.

It's available online and I'm working on making it into an audio book as well. That'll probably take SOME time but for now, you can read it!