Sunday, June 26, 2016

Taking Stock: June 2016


❝ after all this time. ❞:

fresh peaches:

Feeling: A little discouraged. Writing was going so smoothly until last week. I have lots of ideas, and high hopes for July, though.
Missing: College. I’ll have a pretty hectic course load next semester, but I’m already excited to get back.
Reading: In the Woods by Tana French, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, To the End of June by Cris Beam, Batman: City of Owls by Scott Snyder, and Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith.
Rereading: Entwined by Heather Dixon. I adore this book.
Wondering: If I’ll ever get to a point where I’m able to produce stories consistently, instead of in twice-a-year spurts.
Watching: The Simpsons. They’re episodes where I identify with Homer way too much.
Knitting: The scarf that will never be finished. Next time I’ll use wider needles.
Journaling: Barely at all this month. Things have been pretty quiet around here. :)
Eating: Fresh peaches.
Craving: More fresh peaches.
Loving: Cassandra Cain, Barbara Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth...basically the entire batfamily. Also that they’re actually called “the batfamily”.

Picture Credits: X, X, X

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Writing Updates 6.22.16

So far, this week has been...interesting. Writing-wise, anyway.

Ghostly WV Story: On hold at the moment. I got about 60 pages in before realizing that the plot makes no sense and I can’t push forward because there’s no logical next point to push forward to. I love it to pieces, but for now I’m letting it stew because, honestly, if I try to continue now I’ll probably end up burning it.


Mermaids & Neverland Short Story: Going well. The third draft’s finished and I’m getting ready for the fourth. At this point I’m SO TIRED and just want to finish things up, which means I’ve got at least four more drafts to go. I’m never satisfied with my own writing style, and plots are tricky for me, but I really hope this one comes together in the end.

Other Short Story: Midway through a first draft. This one has a lot to do with memory and family (at least I hope it does). Also, superheros. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk about it a little more once the first draft’s done.

Other Ideas: I have a backlog of ideas right now, but they’re not necessarily all ones I want to write about. A couple MG contemporaries, something to do with 1920s speakeasy werewolves, something to do with flying ships (because Treasure Planet), more contemporaries….I need a break from dark and broody stories. I’m not in the mood for whimsy, exactly, but something lighter and fun.

What have you been working on this week?

  Picture Credit: X

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ways to Go

new york:

When I was fifteen (give or take a year; I’m terrible at remembering dates and ages) my brother, two of my sisters, and I visited New York City with our grandparents. We took a bus up from DC, stayed for a week, and took a bus back. So far, it’s been my only visit, but I’ve always wanted to go back.

We hit most of the typical tourist destinations, like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Met. We also had lunch in Hell’s Kitchen--I didn’t know about Daredevil then; otherwise I’d probably have keeled over from a fangirling-induced heart attack--and ate hot dogs at Papaya King. I bought my copy of That Was Then, This Is Now from the Strand Bookstore. In our hotel room, my sister and I kept the drapes open all night so we could see the city lights, and as cheesy as it sounds, that’s my favorite memory.

There’s something about big cities that I’ve always loved, and even though I’ve never quite pinned it down I think it has to do with the sense of possibility. You can move somewhere else, somewhere enormous where nobody knows you, and build a new life from scratch. Sure, the reality of that would be nowhere near as romantic as the idea of it, but it’s something I still daydream about. Part of me feels guilty, since “I’m moving to New York to pursue my dreams!” is the most stereotypical pipe dream ever. Usually I can counteract it with a couple replays of “The Boxer”. But another part of me still thinks that one day I might.

Probably not, but you never know.

They’re so many places I want to visit or revisit. I’m not one of those people dead set on leaving their small town for the big city, but I know that I don’t want to stay in one place my entire life. I do want to settle down, but not until I know exactly where to settle down. And who knows where that will be?

What are your dream destinations?

Picture credit: X

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Zombies Bore Me


Near the beginning of Dark Places Libby Day, one of the most likeably unlikeable characters ever, thinks, “Coffee goes great with sudden death,”.  For me it’s “Tea goes great with writing,” because sometimes writing does feel like sudden death. Like when the story you’ve worked on for days suddenly loses all its zest for life and goes belly-up before your very eyes. It’s kind of traumatic.

Well, really, it’s nowhere near as traumatic as sudden death. But exaggerated analogies aside, this just happened to a short story I was working on. One day I was rolling right along, getting out a not-great-but-fairly-passable first draft, and the next I sat down to write and realized that the spark was gone. The story was dead as a doornail, and so was my motivation to finish it.

Since I’m also working on a book-length project, plus another short story (plus, I suddenly have more ideas than I know what to do with), I’m not as upset about this as I usually am. I’m just curious about why this story failed. How come it fell apart so quickly? After thinking about it, I realized it was because this short story was about zombies. And zombies bore me.

I love reading other books about zombies. I LOVE The Walking Dead (both the show and the comics I’ve read). Zombies can be really interesting when other people write about them. But when it comes down to it, they’re just shuffling corpses. On their own, they’re neither especially scary or especially interesting. To make a zombie story work, you need a bit of a unique angle on the mythology, and a compelling story with interesting characters. I had neither.

I was writing your garden-variety apocalypse story, and my zombies were boring. It was nothing I hadn’t read or seen before--slow-moving, unending appetite for human flesh, yada, yada, yada. Maybe it would have worked if my character were better, but on their own they didn't interest me, either. In one way, it’s sort of sad, but in another I feel so liberated. I’ve been trying to write a zombie story for AGES, and now I’ve finally realized that I don’t have to.

So there’s really not much point to this post, other than me realizing they’re certain things I don’t (at least at the moment) have enough of a unique spin on to write about. Also, I don’t have to have a unique spin on everything. Sometimes it’s just enough to enjoy other people’s work.

Is there a certain mythological creature/type of story that you’ve tried to write but just can’t? (Also, if you’re looking for some good zombie books, The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell and The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey are both fantastic.)

Picture credit: X

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Pile: Reading Slumps

Sometimes I miss the days when I could pick up just about any book and enjoy it. The problem with reading a lot is that you start to develop taste. There’s nothing wrong with taste per se, but once you have it you can’t enjoy a book unless it either lives up to your expectations or surpasses them. I’ve read some pretty good books recently, but now I’m having trouble finding new ones.

Plus, they’re certain times when I don’t feel that motivated to read--either because I’m doing a lot of writing and can’t stand the sight of more words, or because I’m having trouble finding stories that interest me. Right now it’s a bit of a combination of both. So here are some of the books I hope to/wish I could read. Hopefully one of them can break me out of the cycle.

Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
My sister has already read this and assures me it’s wonderful. I’ve been a historical-romance mood since I finished Outlander, and I liked the TV series, so I’ve already put this on hold at my library. At the very least I’ll get to imagine Aidan Turner as I read, so there’s really no way this could go wrong.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack
I’m working my way through this one, and so far it’s been...okay. I feel bad because it’s very well-written and has all the elements I usually like in a book--big ensemble cast, lots of complicated relationships, an unexpected style--but so far I’m not wowed by it.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My reread of the series stalled out at this one, and I need to jump back in.

Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
Another hold. When it comes to fairy tales, I’m more of a Brothers Grimm girl--most of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories are very dark and depressing. (I don’t mind the dark; just the depressing.) They’re also a little too moralising for my taste. But this edition is illustrated by Kay Nielsen, one of my favorite artists, so I’m excited to give it a try.

How do you guys deal with book slumps? Do you have any book recommendations?