Journal

Writing:

Sometimes feedback takes a while to sink in. It can be a puzzle or in a language foreign to your own way of thinking. This was one of those times when things finally clicked together in my head. Some things which felt like separate problems were really the same thing in the end. So I’ve been editing again, which feels endless, but I really believe the story is better for it.

And more beta reading! I do this whenever I have a little free time, mostly to pay it forward. I always feel a bit guilty for asking other people for feedback, but we all need it. Friends, if you need a beta reader please don’t be shy about pinging me. I will say yes if I have the time, though I have to admit I don’t have as much time as I’d like lately. (But you never know, so please ask!)

Daydreaming:

Sometimes you find a grove accidentally, like  wandering into the subway and someone is busking the same tune that was playing on the radio. This month tuned itself around fairy tales: princess’, queens, kings, other worlds and fairy creatures. It’s still singing in my ears.

It feels important that there are fairy stories in many cultures though their creatures might be called by different names. There’s a shape to these tales that makes them feel mythic in a different way than other stories do. Maybe they tap into something deep and true, or hover like the shadows at the edge of a campfire.  There are rules to the magic, even if you can’t ever understand them: like throwing salt over your shoulder, or begging pardon when you walk past a certain tree. There’s always an dangerous side to the beautiful. A cost for every gift. Wishes with double edges.

What sacrifices would you make for what you want? What is the one thing you couldn’t bear to lose?

And that’s made me think about the stories that we sometimes can’t tell aloud. We tell them in puzzles and codes, and once upon a times, describe the dreamscapes that haunt us as half-remembered things. Stories are never the thing on paper that they are in your head. Maybe storytelling works like a fairy curse: you can’t ever talk about what happened in faerie, only around it.

Or just maybe the heart of some stories don’t want to be known just quite yet, and you have to coax them into the light like a unicorn. Maybe you must be worthy first.

In case you missed it, here are three (true) fairy tales:
The Two Sisters
The Heart In A Box
The Faerie King

Books Read:

  • Tea Princess Chronicles by Casey Blair (Ongoing Serial)
  • A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
  • Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
  • The Girl Who Swallowed the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

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Journal

Writing: 

More edits down for the count!

I went to 4th Street Fantasy for the first time. I hadn’t been away from home on my own since before my daughter was born. I really just wanted to reconnect with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, not wake up at 6am, and take a shower without someone banging on the door. You know. A vacation.

Some quick thoughts:

  • The one track programming is nice, because you get to see everyone and continue the discussion between panels (and everyone will know what you’re talking about)
  • It was small and therefore a little less overwhelming for an introvert like myself.
  • But problematic things can occur when you get a diverse group of people together, and some longtime convention goers dislike the shifting demographics. It was my first time, so some things said made me uncomfortable, but I did not feel unsafe and the safety team was terrific.
  • If you are there alone, there are meal ambassadors that will gather a group for you to join for lunches/dinners, so you never have to eat awkwardly by yourself unless you want to.
  • The panels are more 201 than 101, and there are a lot of really smart people in the room to discuss writing with.

I don’t go to many conventions’s, but this was the first I’ve been to where striking up conversation with most people came easily. I went home buzzing with new ideas for how to make my current and future writing better. It also feels as if it came home with me, because the conversations have continued over Twitter. The world is strange and wonderful this way.

But wow, I think I used up all all my socializing skills for the next oh… year or so and I’m going to curl into an introvert ball for a little while.

Not Writing:

Being a mother can sometimes be really strange. My daughter could be my clone. We look so much alike that my parents call her by my name sometimes. Sometimes I look at her and I’ll forget I’m not watching a video of my childhood, or looking in a mirror.

But life gives you so many messages that you are not enough… If only you had shinier hair, or a better car, or whiter teeth… Sometimes even the people you love will point out your flaws (My dad always makes fun of my nose. My mom thinks my freckles are freakish). But I look at my daughter and think she is perfect, despite the days of rebellion, tantrums, and frustration. She is awesome just as she is, and if she is, then maybe I am too? So maybe I can make peace with my nose and all my imperfections. If I can love her as she is (sticky faced, demanding, stubborn, pain in the butt and all), then I should also be better at loving myself as I am.

If you don’t have people in your life that love you as you are (a mess and all), I want you to know that it’s entirely possible. You have always been enough. You have always been worth loving.

Books Read:

  • Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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Journal

This month. This month! It’s been up and down, and sideways and everywhere. Some of it was day jobbery gone sideways, but that’s resolved. Some of it was just the long slog. I love tinkering with my stories and making them better, but I’ve been running low on steam and needed a bit of a break.

I didn’t read any books this months, but I’ve been beta reading. I think that it takes work to become a better beta reader, just like it takes work to be a better writer. I’ve been experimenting with a new beta reading feedback format based on Jami Gold’s template. So far it’s working out better for me. I appreciate that it has structure and covers most points you’d want addressed in a developmental edits.

And that’s all I’ve got for you today. Do you have anything good to share? I’d love to know, no matter how silly. I could use a little injection of positivity. I think we all could, lately!

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