Monday, June 29, 2015

Writing Excuses Master Class - Build an Entire World? Are You Crazy? (Part 1)

Time to get back in the saddle, and figure out what the next thing to write is.  I think I'm ready to poke at Paranormal Investigations again, and I think this week's writing prompt will help:

Pick your gee-whiz, whatever it may be, and describe it in 150 words from ten different perspectives. Yes, that's 1500 words.

Something tells me this is going to be a long post that I'll need to come back to a few times before it's finished.

Alison (main POV character):  I was certain that I had to be imagining things when I was attacked by a ghost at the coffee house where I work.  I couldn't even be sure it was a ghost, until a group of people told me that that's what she'd been, and that they wanted me to help them protect the world from ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties, et cetera.  I still don't know who exactly they work for, or how, but they seem pretty desperate - obviously, if they're recruiting me. It's not like I see ghosts everywhere, or anything, but now that I know what to look for, it's kind of surprising that not everyone can see them.  It's pretty obvious that something sticks around, if you know what the signs are.  I just need to figure out what I'm- we're- supposed to do about all of it.

Holy crud, 150 words is longer than I thought.  Moving on!

Mattherw: The idea of life after death has been a popular one for people for generations, obviously, and folk tales about the remenants of a person's being, or soul, have engaged people's imaginations for years. Still, even with the kind of preparation fairy tales gives you, it's still jarring to think that the ghost stories are real, and people can stay on this plane (in one way or another) after death. It's even miore disconcerting to realize that ghosts aren't the only creatures out of the story books that are real, much less finding out that you number among them. Being able to create a group that can help protect the living from the undead has been one of the few things that makes all of this make some sort of sense. However, it still doesn't make telling people much easier.

Gramps (Alison's grandfather): Yes, the stories are true. You didn't think that adults told kids those ghost stories just to scare them, did you? Well, we did tell them to scare kids a little - after all, that's part of the fun of being an adult - but we also needed to make sure that kids were warned. Not every kid is going to see a ghost, or a vampire, or whatever. They hide themselves pretty well, and people go through their lives every day without realizing what's truly around them. But maybe one kid in a hundred will see them for what they truly are, and that kid? That's the one we tell the stories for. That kid needs to know what to do when they are face to face with the werewolf. Stories, after all, are just ways to tell you how to defeat the monsters.

That's a good break for this one, I think. I'm still contemplating what exactly my plan for Camp Nanowrimo will be, but I'm pretty sure that at least part of it will be spent back in the land of Paranormal Investigations.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sumnmertime, and the living is...

Not all that easy, at least for me.  It's coming up on Father's Day, which means that there are ads everywhere as people try to convince children that Dad really does need more socks or another tie or more tools.  Naturally, this always makes me think of my own father, which is its own minefield.

On July 4 this year, it will have been 17 years since my father died.  As I'm now 34, it means that he's been gone for half of my life.  He died suddenly, while my mother and I were away visiting family and my brother was working the night shift.  I spoke to him on the phone maybe two days before that, and I remember telling him that I loved him at the end of the call, and being really confused with myself as I did so - that wasn't something my family did.  We didn't say it, because everyone knew that we loved each other.  It was "sappy."  Knowing that those were the last words I ever said to my father has given me some measure of peace, though it does mean that I have an obsessive need to end every phone call with people I love with those words, just in case.

This time of year always makes the memories hit a little harder, even as they've softened around the edges with time.  I feel like Dad died before he got a chance to really know who I was, because I didn't know who I was then.  I was 17, and thoroughly obnoxious and self-centered.  It took a long time for me to become a person I'm proud of, and he missed it.

I'm trying really hard not to just dump my daddy issues into this post - no one needs that.  I'll just say that I would be perfectly content to jump from the end of May straight to the end of July/beginning of August, whenever GenCon happens to be that year.  Until then, I'll be hiding from the great burning ball in the sky and trying to be a person worth remembering, the way Dad was.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Between projects

Well, that didn't take long.  I sent in my initial submission yesterday, and received my rejection notice this morning.  The editors were very kind and provided feedback about my submission, which was wonderful, and I can't argue with their reasoning - they didn't see the humor in the synopsis.  Considering how concerned I was about writing humor, it doesn't surprise me at all.

My problem is that now I don't know what I want to work on.  I do want to go back to Living Memory (the novel the short story I was planning was drawn from), but that story has a tendency to turn dark really easily, and I'm not in a good head-space for that at the moment.  I've got a month until the next Camp NaNoWriMo, and a coworker is throwing out ideas for an anthology with relation to that, so hopefully I'll get some ideas from that.  I may go back to Church of Book - I haven't really looked at that since the end of April, so maybe spending a month away will help get the plot bunnies running again.

Either way, it's time to turn the page and start writing the next one.  So far, all of the rejections I've received have been incredibly kind, which makes me both immensely grateful and extremely nervous, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  In the meantime, it's back to the drawing board.