Friday, September 26, 2014

Something like Flash Fiction...

I know it's been a while...

Check Skullduggery & Madness for the rest of this and feel free to play along if you want to use the first sentence as a prompt. Same rules apply.

A homeless man, belligerent and obese, has set up his refrigerator-box home in the middle of a narrow one-way street.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Descriptions of colour, and a runaway tangent about eggs

Okay, now this is hilarious...

Now I'm curious to go back through old stories/writing and see if I've used any weird food references...

Since I'm not big on physically describing characters, the only story I can think of with (potentially) problematic descriptions is SCARLIGHT, but since I have decided on a pallet of colours for him to see the world in, if I have fallen prey to any food-comparisons, at least finding a substitute will be easy :)

Personally (in that linked article) I was hoping for a description using uncooked egg whites as a comparison... which, I feel, are one of the more disgusting things a person could eat. Actually, eggs in general I find a little creepy.

By the way, did you know that blood can be used as a substitute for eggs? Seriously... this IS going to end up in a story someday... I've been toying with AotD as an appropriate medium...

And yes my head is full of weird facts. This makes me useless at 'proper' small talk, yet it's incredibly useful at driving away people I don't want to have a conversation with.

Really? You want to tell me about the latest celebrity-fad-high-protein-diet you're on? Well, let me tell you an interesting fact about eggs and blood...

Works every time ;)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


“Having perfected our disguise, we spend our lives searching for someone we don’t fool.”

- Robert Brault

I read this quote is a drastically different context, but as soon as it absorbed into my brain, I started thinking about it in terms of writing.

'cause, y'know, I do nerdy things like that...

So what's my disguise and who am I fooling?

Well, I could easily be flippant, but let's go for serious instead.

It's pretty obvious to say, 'every story I've ever written is a piece of my disguise'.

From that statement, it would be simple to assume that my point is, 'I am not my story, and my story is not me, so don't be fooled into thinking I'm writing myself into the story'.

...but that's not what I think about when I consider the second half of that quote.

The reader is certainly the person I don't want to fool, the one I want to see through the disguise, but it's not 'me', the author, hidden away waiting to be found... it's the heart of the story.

Stories are things you can't hang onto. As soon as they're out there, published or otherwise available for others to enjoy, they absorb a life of their own. They inflate with readers' thoughts, emotions, experiences, past, present and future. Readers can put a face, height, tone of voice, etc. onto the characters. They can read between the lines, or skip right over them and enjoy the obvious. Settings, clothes, all the details that fill a world can be imagined or ignored.

The writer has very little influence on the reader's experience. Whether they'll laugh or cry when a particular character dies. Whether they love the ending, or hate it.

BUT, if you think of a painting or sculpture in a museum, sometimes there's a little placard, or a leaflet of information about the piece -> detailing the intention of the artist, noteworthy experiences, preferences. Personal, political, historical, philosophical... any and all of it.

A glimpse at possible reasons behind the 'why'.

So in a way, my blog(s) would be a similar kind of glimpse, a means for a reader to avoid being fooled.

When I ramble about things like voice or colour, nerd-out over strange tangents, vent about art, laugh about silly research on YouTube, and amusing/enlightening comments from CP's and beta-readers...

...that's me seeking out readers who can't be fooled. Those who can see past the storyline, past the characters, the sentences, format, theme, and see the 'why' behind it all. See the heart of the story, the reason I spend uncountable hours writing, researching, editing, and raging myself insane over proper comma usage.

The reason I'm thinking about this? I got a comment back from someone. Someone who didn't have to say anything, or email me at all. Someone who instantly 'got' what I was trying to do.

...and I thought they were all kinds of awesome for it :)

More than hearing that someone enjoyed a story I'd written, it was far more rewarding to hear that they 'got' the story I'd written.

That's a personal connection far beyond what I was expecting, far beyond what I would allow myself to hope for.

That was someone who was not fooled.

And I, as a writer, am more rich because of it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sadness, and a birthday

Since my writing buddy Sue died in May, honestly, posting on this blog has made me sad. So has checking my blog-related email address. It's also why I haven't posted any flash fiction recently on Skullduggery&Madness.

I'm sad to write a new post and know I'm not ever going to see her name in the comment section below, or have have her 'dress me down' in a long email when she thought I'd missed something, or got it wrong. She's also not going to join in on another flash fiction prompt.

I miss chatting with her on the phone, hearing her New York accent, rough from smoking, her sense of humour, and the way that, even though we wrote in completely different styles/genres, we still had a great time talking about books and writing.

There's been a lot of death in my life over the past few years. Sue was the second death just this year.

I'm still curled-up in grief, for the end of precious lives, and other things.

It would have been Sue's birthday just a few weeks ago.

And today is my birthday.

I'm heading down to the USA to spend the day with a friend, and tomorrow I'm going to hang out with my family watching football and eating turkey.

It will be a good birthday, but I'm still sad. I still miss my writing friend.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone, and if you're watching football, cheer for the Seahawks.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New perspective on old work

I'm a very bad dog-parent. To write a previous post about my dog getting over her fear of water, I actually had to email my mom and ask how old my dog was so I could give the correct number of years. (she's still 50% analog and has all birthdays/ages written on a wall calendar)

Before I gave in and emailed her, I was looking back through my old posts... 'cause I know I've put up a post or two on Eva's birthday with her age and a photo... but for the life of me, I couldn't find any of them.

Maybe I need a new label for 'pets'...?

Anyways, in that search, I unearthed this old post of mine about looking back on old work with a new perspective...

It was interesting, and oddly relevant, since a few weeks ago I was cleaning up my back-up drive, found some old writing files, and re-read Project #5, (AotD) the Northern Fairytale story.

Since the story is only about 1/3 written, and was started as an exercise to give me headspace from TRoRS before heading into my first round of edits, and then I continued to pick away at AotD whenever I was edit-blocked on TRoRS, the story was... quite interesting to re-read. And a good lesson on why multi-tasking is impossible for 98% of human brains (I won't bore you with footnotes, but a lot of research suggests this is true).

There's a lot of good in AotD... certainly more than I could see when I saved the file for the final time and dove into other work.

...but there's also a heck of a lot of things to laugh at. It is an unfinished first draft after all...

The major 'laugh-point' is, because TRoRS switches between past and present tense, I guess whenever I returned to AotD (unfortunately) I carried through with that... often switching within the same scene. Sometimes within the same paragraph. And (embarrassingly) more than a few times in a single sentence.

...fixing it is an amusing (future) prospect to ponder. Though I still do love the Lady of Crows as much as I did the first time she spilled out of my head and onto the keyboard...

I wrote that old post two years ago. While I remember writing it, while I recognize my own 'voice' in the wording (and the self-deprecating humour), I have new perspective. I don't think I agree with it 100% anymore.

More than re-reading an old story after giving it some space, re-visiting an old opinion is infinitely more interesting.

One of the primary things that has always driven me to write is a long history of looking stupid.

...and again, it's not something I'm angry about, or upset about. It's simply one of the building-blocks of who I am.

But it is interesting to compare my attitude in that first old post with this one (written 5 months later), and then this one (written 2 months after that, and yes TRoRS was previously titled BF).

...and in re-reading these few posts, I'm not entirely certain what my perspective on the subject is now...

...but finding lines that make me laugh, or lines of description that take my breath away (figuratively, not because they are Victor Hugo-esque run-on sentences...) in a partially written first-draft story, well, I think that's an amazing thing.

Having a bit of perspective on old work, and being surprised more at the good than the bad, well that certainly speaks volumes, both about my growth as a writer, and as a person.

...and even though it would give me a more objective sense of how far I've come as a writer, I still have zero desire to ever unearth my first piece of 'longish fiction', (melodramatically entitled) "The Burning Cross", written for a Grade 9 Social Studies project.

Somethings are best kept buried, or burned ;)