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
The stars have aligned, Mercury is in retrograde*, and I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo!
I say that because this will be the first year I’ve actually done prep work for a NaNo story – and not ‘I’ve got a character name and an idea’ prep work, I mean ‘names, backgrounds, world-building, and outline’ prep work.
My first NaNo was a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ affair, and since I managed to hit my word count I figured that this was the way to go. However, that story was also a really rough draft, consisting of many odd ramblings (when I’m desperately trying to hit a certain word count it’s almost like the ghost of Charles Dickens possesses me and I can suddenly spend paragraphs describing a lamp – good for word count, but not for content). The subsequent NaNos either had similar ramblings or failed to meet the word count**.
Continue reading NaNoPrepWeek | House Blog
Maybe you’re one of those writers who has no problem sitting down and writing a story from start to finish, or maybe you’re more like me and you get side-tracked multiple times before you can get to the end.
Although it’s romantic to think of yourself as a tortured writer who’s utterly desperate to finish that one big novel you have inside of you – which is so eager to come out, but can’t because you’re too weighed down by the massive ennui you feel just by existing – it’s much more practical to actually finish your darn projects.
Here are few problems that I’ve encountered while trying to finish a story/novel, and what I do to try to keep myself motivated*.
Continue reading How to Blackmail Yourself into Finishing Your Writing | House Blog
Let’s be honest, anything I write today will be overshadowed by the news that Chillers From the Rock is an ebook bestseller on Amazon – and I’m totally okay with that. Woohoo!
In celebration, here’s a horror story that I didn’t finish in time for submission + a tale of how it came to be. And to make it deliberately scarier, I’m posting it late at night!
*Spooky voice* Read more, if you dare….
Continue reading Short Story: The Vicious Ones | Ali House
In late December we launched a new ad for the company as a whole on our website and Youtube, to celebrate the completion of our ten-year anniversary year. A lot of people liked it, and we thank them for their likes and comments, but we wanted to take a second to point out one of the features of the video that had special meaning to us: The Six Lights of Engen.
Despite being started by one person and having a three-person board, Engen Books has always been a company based around a hub of collaboration and creatively. We wanted to express in the video that it was all these great, talented people coming together that made Engen what it is… so we had the Six Lights start separate and then come together as one, exploding into Engen Books.
Who are the Six Light?
Continue reading The Six Lights | Engen Books
Over the past 7+ years, I’ve NaNo’d 6 times. Some times I’ve been successful, some times I haven’t, and one time I failed so spectacularly that I’m almost proud.
Below are some observations I’ve made & lessons I’ve learned:
* * *
Year 1 – 2010
Project Type: New Novel
Project Info: A werewolf-type story
Final Word Count: 52,000
For this one, I started a brand new story on November 1. I think I did a rough outline beforehand, but mostly just character sketches and a very loose plot. After 2 weeks I hit the wall hard, but a few days later I managed to push past it. I ended up reaching a conclusion around the 40,000 mark and thought I was going to fail this task, but then I thought of a way to make the story longer and managed to get over 50,000 words. I also wrote a really cool back-story scene that I’m super happy with.
This was my first year, and I consider it my most successful so far. I was working 2 jobs and rehearsing 2 plays, so I have no idea how I managed to do it. (Actually, that’s a lie – I’m editing that story now and there’s a lot of nonsensical rambling that needs to be cut down – but there’s also some great stuff that I got from the aforementioned rambling. Swings and roundabouts, my friends.)
Aside from being super determined to rock my first year, I learned how to push myself and that I could actually finish a story. It taught me that I could write a full-length novel in less than 3 years. As someone who had trouble focusing on one single project, it was a great confidence boost. Continue reading NaNoWriMo Round 6!