I Am A Serious Writer

Hello, friends. Today in Writing A Book Is Tantamount To An Exorcism, I wanna talk about whatever comes nonsensically out How I Write.

Many times, you will be asked that very question. “How do you write? What’s your writing process? What’s your deal? What the hell is the matter with you?” people will say, or something along one of those lines, and the best way to answer that is by ignoring the Terrified You being held against their will in a small cage inside your head and power through as though Public Persona You knows what they’re doing. Make very declarative answers. Grand, sweeping and often moral statements that you intend to be broadly applied to writers you’ve never met – because that’s what the listener is going to do with it anyway, why fight it. The important thing is that you never, ever admit that every single book was written differently, and if you weren’t a colossal hoarder of self-records, you would have zero memory how it happened, because you woke up sore and in a stupor, your body beaten and broken, and beside you was a bloodied collection of pages, which you quickly threw at a passerby, thereby making them a CP.

I’ve written blog posts before about The Things I Need To Start Writing, which I’ll just quote here because sending you to a post from 2013 is just jarring (for me, no one’s thinking about you) and wow, life changed since then, I mean not specifically then, but in the time since, and this kind of mental scramble is precisely what I was trying to avoid. Thanks for your help.

[I have redacted references to projects you still know nothing about.]

a) Concept – This is one of the most AHA! moments – or at least, the first.

b) First look – This is either the first line of the story/book or a mental movie of the first scene. This one’s interesting because it’s not tethered to a particular point in the process. Sometimes the first line happens several times. Like in the case of rewriting. The thing is, it has to feel like “the one” every time for me to move forward.

c) Music – Yeeees. This is a big one. Again, this one isn’t set in stone, in terms of when this happens. I do not understand people for whom music is not everything. I do not. [ETA: As I’ve said elsewhere, this is about finding a song/usually instrumental that captures the …aura(?) of the story. The tone, fine.]

d) First query – [ETA: Yeah, this where one tests the stakes and the emotional logic flow, I find.]

e) Title – Man, this is another one that has become sort of paramount. Because titles come quickly to me, when one doesn’t, I’m missing something very important to my process. The title is everything. First of all, I keep a lot of “administrative” documents and I HATE them being titled after the main character, unless of course it’s also the title, which has only ever been the case with Keepsake, and even then, it’s not her given name. [ETA: ….AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA]

I need these things.

So. How much of this is still true.

Well for one thing, I’m 3/4 done with a project that’s still named after the main character, if that tells you anything. So Title, you’re not that important to me anymore. We’ve grown apart. It’s not me, it’s you.

Now writing a follow-up (and I am intentionally not saying sequel, yes, because sometimes it’s just a follow-up, kids, and I’m not sure companion book works for me either, if it does still necessarily chronologically follow the first book), a couple things are different from jump.

(a) Concept is locked in. Woot.

(2) You can get surprisingly far into writing without a Query because (i) you are very familiar with the character, due to having already written some of their story, even if they weren’t the main character in the first book, and (%) your First Look for this story might also have appeared in book 1.

But that still leaves Music, and in a follow-up with a different main character, this is still seriously important to me. Namely so that this character, who lives in the same world and concept, doesn’t sound like the first one.

Can we just talk about the things that are different this time around that I’m gonna unnecessarily declare are my new requirements despite that this is not my first or third or fifth rodeo and I should know better?! Thank you.

(F) First Chapter – this isn’t 100% new, but apparently I didn’t do it in 2013, so here we are. Pretty sure First Look evolved into this because before I was writing this book in earnest, I had three first chapters to choose from – one of which was so far from what I’d thought it was gonna be like that I knew I wasn’t ready to actively write it.

(D) Synopsis – homg, this was a game-changer. Allow me to pause here and say: Don’t come into my comments (where no one comes anymore anyway) telling me about how you’ve always written synopses first. That’s great. Good for you. I did not. But my life has undergone some very bandwidth-gobbling transitions, and I genuinely had my first experience of I’m Pretty Sure I’ll Never Write A Full-Length Novel Again Because Who Can Even Do That, so when I was asked for a partial (which I already had because Ease of Flowing Into Second Book) and a synopsis, it was a blessing. As well as an easy, two step process.

Step one:

terror

Aaand step two:

Phew

And of course, now I’ll swear by it, until it doesn’t happen for a future wip, at which point, My Process will change again, and I will die on whatever hill that is.

Because you see, the way in which book writing is like an exorcism is that whatever gets the demon out is the right way to do it. (I don’t know very much about exorcisms.)

I was gonna talk about this whole Every 15k Make A List Of Important Facts/Themes/Plot Points That Mustn’t Get Abandoned thing I’ve also been doing, but this is long and unwieldy and I’ve lost my devotion to it.

nonsense

That’s Where You’ll Fiiiiiiind Meeeee

I’m not saying I’m bidding this blog adieu – SWEAR! – but so much things, guys. Everyday life is getting real for the moment, SO:

If you’re looking for me, you are most likely to find entertainment on my FB author page! (Click it up!)

If you’re looking to read some of my work, you must away to tNY Press’ Electronic Encyclopedia of Experimental Literature and read an excerpt of my novel! So happy to have a piece of my non-traditional, cross-genre novel out in the ether. Can’t wait to share the whole thing! And also, highkey loving the artwork they paired with my story!

I shall blog gloriously someday/eventually. Until then, take it one day at a time. And know that I love you.

I Keep Saying I’ll Blog

Three Things Which Are True:

(1) I’ll never stop badmouthing George Orwell. *

(2) Never.**

(3) I’ve got work to do. (Wonderful, wonderful work.)

*I’m not saying my sentiments are new to you or this blog. I’m not even saying that’s the best article on the matter, it’s just the easiest one to find that refers to Orwell having reviewed Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. And I’m still indignant.

**As long as 1984 is on required reading lists and any list of well-received, impacting novels, I will continue to do so.

 

In The Meantime

A new Frinterview! is on the way, my friends, I promise. But since I am overwhelmed with the general cool and awesomeness of the subject, I’m not sure when precisely that shall be. And so I want to give you something in the meantime. And I don’t have a video of myself doing Tina’s body roll.

…not sure why someone made that gif go so fast. Aaaanyway.

No, but for real. My friend described this meme – not showed it to me, described it – and I laughed.out.loud. This has nothing to do with growing up listening to old timey radio skits from the likes of Abbott and Costello. (Isn’t there an episode of the Simpsons where Smithers describes the comic strips to Mr. Burns?) Upon actually seeing it and laughing harder still, I knew I could use it as a divining rod to find all of my soul mates. O_O I shall test it here:

i.<3.

An Emblem of the Land I Love

Friends! (Romans, Countrymen!) I have arrived back in Montreal, huZAH! Whew. Girlfriend. I can’t even. And during that three week tornado (I’m not sure that imagery works either but this is what we’ve got right now), someone actually had the audacity to draw attention to this blog! SMH. Guess I’d better justify your love, Tatiana!

What better way to discuss expatriation than spending my first American Independence Day in the United States since 2009!

DSC02084-1

It. Was. Wonderful. July 4th on Zuma Beach in Malibu with my son, my nephew-son, my sis and mumzy. Feeding lifeguards some of our hoagy, watermelon salad and pasta.

Listening to my favorite patriotic performances – Marvin Gaye’s National Anthem, Whitney Houston’s, and Beyonce singing America, the Beautiful at the 2008 Inaugural Concert – and having my son FINALLY learn the words!! He is American!!! ❤

The entire vacation was a marathon reminder of customer service and general niceness from strangers. (Oh, I can’t pretend not to miss that, California.) And eating. Oh, MEXICAN FOOD. Save yourself for me! No matter wheeeere you go…I will find you!

But 4th of July. That just felt wonderful. I love living away and I love coming back. I love standing in a crowd of people at Disneyland (on July 5th but shuddup) and singing along during the extravagant fireworks show, hearing people cheer and gasp and happily celebrate my native country. ::sighs and flower petals::

I love following my wanderlust and knowing, you can always come home. ❤

Behold, Kizzy!

You’re right. So sorry. That title has nothing to do with anything.

More things that are of devastating intrigue to me. The fact that Word 2007 shows what may or may not be an entirely accurate set of editing hours for a document. I have no idea what the parameters or limitations are, but I do know that I have compiled a list of my first draft hours for The Last Life of Avrilis, Cait After Exile and Keepsake. They vary so widely that I’m sure there are unknown variables involved. But I’m also “sure” simply keeping a document open couldn’t attach any hours to the total as I basically do not close them when I’m working on a wip. Or at least they would cancel each other out to some degree, since I do so with all of them. Of course it took me three times as long to write the first draft of Keepsake – which is a novella and therefore half the length of the other two – so [insert deduction that is sage and reasonable].

The point is that I love it. And will continue to admire my list that ultimately amounts to nothing but then why do these things make us so happy? Writers, I mean. Because I assume I’m not the only one amused by the 758.17 hours of Keepsake and 537.75 hours of Cait. I’m not even going to say where Avrilis fell.

And if anyone has any idea why my wordpress reader is suddenly empty even though I’m subscribed to all the same blogs I ever was, please feel free to m’expliquer!

So in summary. Fun – checking out the total editing hours on a document. No fun – losing wordpress reader functionality.

Things That I Have Decided

(1) To apparently disrupt something more delicate than the space/time continuum by changing my blog address to something that will actually make sense three or so years from now – and this only because WordPress had me in a half-nelson before and wouldn’t let me!

(2) I hereby change my tiny big sister descriptor to Jen-the-Twin.  ::dusts hands together::

(3) This is my favorite Donald Glover as Troy breakdown.

I mean, seriously. Is that even acting? I have never been more convinced that an actor was actually crying. <3chu, Donald!

If you thought any of those things would be connected or further explained, I sincerely apologize. You do not yet know me well.

In Which The Jig Is Up

Oh, guilt. You great motivator, you. So I do this thing where I tweet-confess to needing to blog so that someone (inevitably) will encourage me to do so. (Yes, Janelle, you are the muse today! And the swift decline in my kitchen’s pickle population is also your doing.)

{Crickets}

“What’s the quickest, cheapest, easiest way to do something with you?” – “Show us pictures?” – “Anything for my little readers!”

So, basically, my newly-seven-year-old is an MG reading fiend. He’s currently reading the third book the How To Train Your Dragon series and the fact that he finished his first “real” book on his seventh birthday was sort of awesome. As is the fact that he reads on the subway. #NerdLove

“What else, Bethany?”

“[sigh] Oh, things.”

“Riveting.”

“Bite me.”

{Cuddles and kisses!}

ADDENDUM: Okay, I feel like I owe you an explanation. (Mind you, I felt this conviction seconds after initially publishing this post and not before.) I came home with EVERY intention of justifying your love…and then had to fill out the dreaded first day back to school forms that came with getting my little one from the iron claws of that school. And yeah, my brain juices, they are zapped. I’M SO SORRY!

What Country, Friends, Is This?

Is what I did *not* say to the man sitting in the gazebo when we just could not take the pretty anymore and pulled over somewhere in Upstate New York (which turned out to be Gouverneur) to take pictures and prance. I did not let my dork flag fly though it was on the tip of my tongue. I permitted myself to ask the village name only and I’m not the least bit proud of myself. I haven’t decided on an act of contrition yet but I’m starting with self-disappointment and so far, that’s progressing nicely.

I don’t know if I mentioned it lo those two years ago, but if you’ve never visited Gary, Indiana – it’s Mordor. Done. Alternately, it’s the place Neo went to die at the end of the Matrix trilogy. (If that’s a spoiler, you should be ashamed of yourself.) No seriously, wtheck? Did you guys scorch the sky?

HOMG – okay, so between Canada and Ohio, nobody cares about the sanitation of my hiney. (Spell check?) SEAT COVERS, PEOPLE. Get on that.

I just crossed into my fifth state of the day – still the second country but we’re pretty essited. I’m in my Daddy’s hometown right now! The first time I came here, I spent four or so days ALONE driving around by myself, staying in my brother’s apartment and listening to The Killers. Smashing. Makes me wanna go find Jarrick and Theresa. CHICAGO CODE, SHOUT OUT.

Also, hey how bout I keep paying these tolls and then not have money for my son to go to college, huh? How ‘bout that.

 LOOK AT ME, AMERICA!

Extra credit if anyone knows the origin of the title aka the thing I wanted to say but didn’t!

This has been a travel blog, written on the road, posted from the Heartland.

Do You See What I See

Sooo, everyone’s familiar with hypnagogic hallucinations, yes? Yeees. The downside of lucid dreaming is … well all the other stuff that can happen in the same phase of “sleeping”. Like sleep paralysis. Or – as I mentioned – hallucinations. It’s wundebar, believe me. And having head congestion makes those last two pretty much a sure thing for me. In my opinion, no matter how much “sleep” you get during what was for me a stretch of this phenomena, you don’t really feel rested. Of course, it’s not deep sleep and that may be why this is, but also, it brews paranoia about going to sleep that results in muscle tension (again, for me) and knots in my back. #YAY

So anywhom. That was my last week. And this weekend. Splendid, I know. And after I realized what the NECESSARY is for Avrilis’ sequel, I was really hoping to get back to the actual writing. But wow, writing a second book is faaaar more slowgoing. If there weren’t a reason for a sequel, I would not be into it. The world required more, but I wasn’t exactly sure what the more was. The character still needed something, even if it’s turning out she…really can’t have what she needs…because it would require not being from the world she’s from. (Don’t you hate when that happens.) Now that I know what the world needs – although of course not everyone (the little imaginary people who reside therein) would agree – I want to PowerSauce it like the first one! But…that whole A side/B side. Which you’ll recall or read for the first time.

And then, because I had to go through a few posts to find that one and wanted to share this one, too. (This one! This one!) I seriously have to go through old posts periodically and repost them. Because I’m way more narcissistic than you gave me credit for.

In conclusion, we finally got an answer as to why my son watches the special features of every DVD he owns or rents from church. Apparently, he likes to watch parts about how they’re written and made because he maybe wants to make a movie one day. That’s what you call, hop into my mouth…if you want…to live.