You know what it’s like when you get an idea for a story and you’re really excited to write it down and bask in the wonder of your genius, but once you start writing you suddenly get stuck and the words don’t sound like they should and the idea’s not really coming across and it isn’t the way you thought it would be and you’re having trouble making that line sound good and you’re not even halfway through but it’s all crumbling in front of you and you don’t know what to do to make it right?
*takes a deep, calming breath*
Normally once I’ve reached this point I would put that particular story aside and work on something else, but the problem is that I don’t want to work on something else. Like a petulant child: I wanna to write this specific story and I want it to be good! Continue reading Wrestling a Story into Submission | House Blog
I’m not going to sugar-coat it. I’m angry. I’m angry about a lot of things these days. It’s a low-level burn that simmers under the surface, boiling over into a rage when the next new terrible thing happens.
A lot of these things I’m angry about are vastly out of my control (*pauses to glare at US politics*). It’s so easy to feel helpless. I can do a little, but it doesn’t feel like much.
So what else is there? What else can I do? I write. I know it won’t change the world, but it helps.
I write tragedy to process grief. I write about equality to see a better world than the one that exists. I write about people overcoming fears and triumphing against evil. I write about hope.
I write about a day when I might not be so angry.
Sometimes I write things that I have no intention of ever showing anyone.
There are random scenes, ideas, and sometimes even full-blown stories that will never see the light of day. They’re all tucked safely away in places where no other soul will find them.
“So why bother writing them?” you ask.
I guess that’s a valid question. I mean, I am the one who brought this whole thing up, so it’s only natural you’re thinking that.
Why would someone waste time writing stories that she never intends to show anyone? Well, it’s a guilty pleasure. As we all know by now, I don’t stick to one genre when I write (I think of it like genre-Pokemon – gotta write ’em all!). I gravitate towards fiction/sci-fi/fantasy, but I’ve been known to dabble in other areas. Sometimes I get the impulse to try a completely different genre, or to mash a bunch together and see what happens. I’ll write tropes; subvert tropes; invent tropes. Nothing’s off limits. I’ll take those crazy ideas and get them down on paper before they run away and the Crazy-Idea Fairy stops coming ’round.
These guilty pleasures are me writing for my own enjoyment. I know this stuff’s not going to fit certain markets, or be good enough to submit, or ‘advance my career’ in any way, but sometimes a writer’s just gotta write. And if I’m pushing or challenging or amusing myself, then it’s worth it.
Not everything you write needs to be literary gold. Or even copper.
I went to a party a few weeks ago. It was a surprise party for someone’s birthday, but it was three weeks after their actual birthday, which meant it was really a surprise. It was also the type of party where I knew most, but not all of the people there, so throughout the night many an introduction was made.
I’m generally awkward when meeting new people (I’m terrible with faces and names), but for some reason the thing that threw me the most was being introduced as “This is Ali, she’s got a novel coming out.” Why would that throw me? Well, after someone says a thing like that, a polite response would be: “So, what’s your book about?”
…um… Continue reading “So, What’s Your Book About?” | House Blog
Whenever a submission call crosses my path, I usually end up with multiple story ideas. This is a good thing, because while some of these ideas work out and get developed into fully-written short stories, others aren’t so lucky.
For Chillers From the Rock, I was about ¾ of the way through a story about a writer selling their soul to the devil, when I realized that I didn’t like it very much and abandoned it. Shortly after that, I had the ideas for The Taste of Copper, based on a story my grandmother told me about living in a remote town in Northern Newfoundland, and The Deal, which came about because I was trying to think of scary concepts and came up with ‘trees’ (so spoooooky!).
My first idea for Flights From the Rock fizzled out after 1.5 pages. I put a lot of work into those pages, but I just wasn’t getting the story I wanted. Even after spending months thinking about it, it wasn’t clear enough. So, I decided to give up and concentrate on a different story.
There are a lot of unfinished stories on my hard-drive. And I mean, A LOT. Continue reading The Stories That Didn’t Make It | House Blog
Gather round, writers both young and old, for I am about to tell a tale that will chill you to your very bones…
Once upon a time there was a writer who had finished the first draft of her novel. She sent it off to her editor, who returned the novel with some notes. Upon reading these notes, the writer realized that there were three big problem areas that she needed to fix – one at the beginning, one near the middle, and one at the end.
The writer wracked her brain for ways to correct the problems. It required a lot of thought, but eventually she came up with fitting solutions and fixed everything that wasn’t working. After those three changes were made, she started going through the rest of the novel, working her way through other, smaller problems.
A few nights later she realized that she was nearing the end of her editing. Soon she would be finished and the novel could be sent off again. However, when she scrolled down to the bottom of her novel, she realized that something was terribly wrong. Continue reading Scary Stories for Writers | House Blog
I don’t know if it’s the darker days or the colder weather, but there’s something about winter that makes me want to crawl under a pile of warm blankets and not emerge until June.
I tend to put off a lot of things during the winter – getting groceries, cleaning, socializing, and sometimes even writing. So, if you’re like me, here are some tips on how to stay productive during those dark and dreary winter months!
Continue reading 4 Ways to Beat the Winter Writing Blahs | House Blog