Prompts And Deadlines

I have been thinking that I need to get back into the swing of things with writing. It’s been too long since I’ve actually produced something new and the truth of the matter is that you can only call it editing when you actually edit something.

I passed my story around a little bit this past week and so far people like it. The thing is that I don’t really trust the opinions of people whom I know and can talk to face to face. But at the same time some of these people have been critical of other things that I have done so I think it balances out.

There is also another matter at hand, I keep setting arbitrary dates in my head and then not making any progress toward actually getting something done. So right here, right now I am going out on the limb and saying that I need to have a completed story, ready to be edited by the fifteenth of August. And I need to actually try and do this by that date. I have a lot of the early edits done and I can hold off on them while I finish getting stuff onto the page.

A lot of the little details have been rapidly evolving. Names has been a big thing because once they’re out there, they’re final. So I settled on Madeleine and Wendy as the names fro the main characters. The other two, the supporting roles, I had a harder time with. It seems that Trey and Beatrix are going to be the names, though.

I also think I need to start doing short prompts. I have a book with some in it and I wrote down some of the ones that interest me most. So I can get back into the swing of writing characters…especially those from my novel (the one I’ve been neglecting since March). I need to get back to those characters because they were the ones I had in my head for over decade and it seems like there might actually be a chance for them to see the light of day now.

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Writer Idea Book

My writing notebook is beginning to look dingy and drab like you would expect that sort of thing to look. I’ve taken to carrying it around every where I go and jotting down more and more things. My new one is to write down any phrase I hear that I like. While I have the ability to use a note app in my phone there’s something that just feels more concrete about the writing notebook and I have, so far, been really good about keeping up with it.

If you’re a writer or you think you might want to start working on something soon—even if you just a have a few ideas bouncing around in your head—a writer’s notebook is the way to go. I go through the things pretty slowly for the most part and the notes I take might not always make sense to everyone. But I have saved more good ideas and preserved them for later because of this system. It’s like a record that I keep, some of the earliest idea books that I have date back to high school.

I used to keep them for nostalgia, joking that they’re to remind me of how bad my ideas used to be. Then I went looking through them and there was some stuff there I could use in Keep Austin Safe that I would have never remembered or considered before I looked in there. To be honest besides the faint glimmers that made it down from the progenitor, I had forgotten the point of most of my old stories. When I looked back at the notes I had, the concepts were well thought out, they were just muddled and badly executed.

So what I am saying to you, and this might be cliché advice (but that’s because it works) is to get a writer’s idea book and keep it near and dear. It will improve your ability to get topics you can use and it will come in handy in keeping your ideas preserved.

Have You Ever Wanted To Rape Someone?

That was the title of a thread I read recently on a forum. The post was a man describing how he almost raped a girl and then was stopped at the last minute by the fact that he really respected her. Though, since he called her a whore a few sentences before that, I think the jury’s still out on that one.

Some of the replies are actually concerned that it was unfair that he didn’t get to have sex that night. One person even says “At least she finished you off some kind of way, that would have sucked.”

The original post on the forum ended by asking other men if they’ve had a similar experience. Other than a few people answering jokingly, no one has said yes I don’t think.

When I read the title I thought it was to grab attention. A lot of guys will admit to kissing a girl who didn’t want them to or trying,  but I would think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who would admit to wanting to rape a woman. That’s entirely different from the kiss thing, in fact I don’t think it’s something inborn in us. Though the person writing this thread thought it was: “It felt so natural, like it was instinct”. Kind of makes me understand why women don’t trust men.

Your reason for not wanting to rape someone shouldn’t have to do with the law if you’re right inside, it should just be because it’s wrong. Because it hurts another person and can ruin their life.

There’s something wrong with anyone who thinks their entitled to someone else’s body. I have a blog I keep for personal topics, ranting, and the like—it’s separate from this with good reason. I try to keep my politics out of here, because that stuff is polarizing. But I think this kind of thing needs to be talked about more often by anyone who has any sort of voice. This shouldn’t hinge on political affiliation, religion, race or even gender. All people should be able to agree that rape is just plain wrong.

The Cosmic Horror Story

As a genre, The Cosmic Horror Story probably isn’t as popular as a lot of others. It’s more a mixture of science fiction, a little mystery and horror. But it’s not horror in the way that there a huge monsters chasing a big breasted protagonist through a darkened house. It’s world ending horror, actual it’s universe ending. Creatures that devour creation and most of the time can’t be defeated only delayed.

There’s an overwhelming air of nihilism and humans as specks of dust on a planet that’s a speck of dust in the great scheme of the universe. It’s also a genre of shadows and insanity and of unimaginable eldritch abominations that literally defy description. H. P. Lovecraft is probably the best known author of the genre and he inspired others like Neil Gaiman and Stephen King further down the line.

When working on my own novel, I realized that there was part of this in my writing. It’s not nearly as strong or lofty a part of the story. But there is times when I notice set pieces from the Cosmic Horror Story that, while used in a different way, will be recognizable to those who know about the Great Old Ones and the mythos that surrounds them.

I think that the writing of most Lovecraft works is too rich for the likes of many and while I will admit that his style isn’t very desirable some of the ideas that he came up with are so twisted that they’re awesome to read. When I checked out The Colour Out of Space I was intrigued by the notions that the story presented and the way in which even without anything of substance, Lovecraft can still ramp up the fear.

I once laughed at another other for priding himself on breaking the sanity of creatures. He prided himself a Lovecraft clone and honestly wasn’t fit to wear the mantle. But I have learned to appreciate the idea that mere knowledge may drive a character insane and it’s one of the hallmarks of the genre. Do I think it’s one I’m sure to apply to my own writing? No. I’m not here to pick apart the work of others as if it’s a buffet for me to use. But at the same time there’s nothing wrong with seeing something of the past in your work and paying homage.

Adventures in Erotica

With all the hoopla over Fifty Shades of Grey lately, the erotica market has been either rejoicing or recoiling—that all depends on the side of the fence that you stand on. And while I won’t go into that argument here, for the sake of time and because I have a point I’m going to that doesn’t involve that book, I will say that there is a lot to be said of whether all attention in a certain market is good attention.

Admittedly I have some idea what makes a  market have a niche. I can understand mysteries, science fiction, traditional romance—even though I might not have any interest in those genres. There is something there that can understandably ring true for someone.

I didn’t know what made Erotica fans tick. I couldn’t understand it, whereas pornography has a purpose. I couldn’t see how someone could write something in a literary fashion that fit that niche because, and this is me trying to be blunt without the over-share—who needs hundreds of pages to accomplish that goal?

So I set out to figure out what made Erotica, it’s too hard to ask other writers about the elements of their genre. You’re better off seeing them for yourself and the only way to do that is to read a little bit. I wasn’t prepared to jump into these pieces full scale, I just wanted to dabble in it so that I knew what people were expecting from the genre.

I took the hunt to Amazon to find the highest rated books of the genre and came across Delta of Venus. It’s a collection of short erotic stories by Anais Nin. The title sounded flowery enough, so I cracked open the Kindle preview and read the first chapter or so after the foreword. Let me just tell you there’s going to be spoilers, but you’d be better off reading them before you read the actual text, let alone pay for it.

The basic story I found had a traveling adventure chatting up women and sleeping with them, there wasn’t much detail in these encounters. The book goes quickly into the detailed account of the man’s sexual assault (though they don’t notice most of it) of two young girls, their ages said to be around 12 or 10. It progresses from there to the man’s sexual assault of his own daughter because she’s too beautiful to resist and then into his descent into madness.

Preview over. I’d seen all that I wanted to see. Maybe it’s a matter of taste, but I don’t get a kick out of pedophilia, especially when it’s treated the way the author does. I know there are other books out there that feature it, Lolita being the most obvious candidate. But this struck me in a bad sort from the start of things. It might just be that this is the one genre I have no business near. To be frank I had to write something sexual in the novel and it was the most painstaking thing I have done to date when it comes to writing. But the subject matter was between adults, consenting ones and it was relevant (very relevant actually) to the story. It takes place around 71,000 words into the novel and by that point we care about the characters if we’re ever going to.

Delta just turned me off to the genre (excuse the pun) and I don’t feel the need to pick up another book and try again. 

The Results are in!

A friend of mine, April, got a chance to look over Keep Austin Weird Safe, she seemed to be feeling the vibe I was trying to send out. Also it seems that my editing actually helped a lot of the problems with the earlier editions get ironed out. I want the books to be very short and have an episodic fee. Basically I want to write the hour long science fiction-fantasy drama…but in book form. From what I have planned it shouldn’t take the reader too terribly long to go over all of it.

More than anything I want it to read in a fun, interesting way. From what April told me there’s only a few minor issues here and there, which is what I was had hoped for (I think that it’s the best any author can hope for, everyone makes mistakes).  

I sent the first part of the book to her alone, so the changes I am making to the narrative now effect mostly the later parts. For all she knows the things that I change will have always been this way and since that will be the case we can see how coherent the changes are in action. I will be keeping a few copies of the original write ups without the changes around just in case they fail miserably and need to be dialed back to how they were.

In other news, the big novel (the actual big book I’ve had planned for years now that still, as of yet, has no name) has had a small revision made. It’s basically about to get a whole lot more interesting and all because of a conversation with my best friend. I forget how important bouncing ideas off others can be…

Kickstarter woes

I’ve hit a bit of a speed bump with the Kick Starter plans, I don’t actually know how to tell how much will be needed with all of the editing and with the creation of the book cover and all of it. I’ve come across some horrendous cover designs out there. I’d say that most of what the book needs now is a good pouring over and some details spruced up.

On the technical side of things, I might not format it myself because I want to make sure it’s done precisely and perfectly. Formatting for Kindle and other e-readers can be a bit painstaking and can look dreadful if not done correctly, it can even make your book a pain to read. I want this book to look as professional and be as close to perfect as possible before I release it.

Kick Starter

Thinking of starting up the Kick Starter so that I can really get this thing off the ground. I’m serious and meaning to get this book out there and attempt to sell it and I think that once I push this further out there and the editors paid for I’ll really be going somewhere.

I’m going to enlist the help of a friend and editor, trying to see what we can do now that I’m back in the game.