Back To School

Well, for many of us we’ve either been in school for a while now or we’re just starting (like myself… this is my first week back). All sorts of exciting things are happening! 😀

First of all, I’m back with all of my dear friends (including Natalie), and although I admit that the list of my irl friends is short, they’re all very wonderful and inspiring and it’s so great to be back with them.

Secondly, my classes are going really well! I’m more than two weeks ahead in my philosophy reading and I’ve not even had the second day of class in it yet. I’m about a week ahead in my British Writers’ class, but I’ve read a lot of it before so that was unsurprising. I’m taking a course called British Domestic Interiors and what are we reading excerpts of the first week??? What else but Dickens??? 😀

I haven’t had much time for watching things lately, so once again I’m behind on Revenge, but with the rate my schoolwork is going I think I’ll probably catch up this weekend. Natalie and I are probably going to watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Friday because my college is showing it free. I’ve got a massive box of microwave popcorn and it SHALL be utilized!

As far as writing, while it’s slowing down at the moment because of school, it’s not coming to a screeching halt. I’ve come up with a system that lessens the amount of time spent writing voluntarily to virtually zero (unless I’m at least a week ahead in all classes and do not have a paper due within two weeks, in which case I can write while I, idk, do laundry or something) and I only write when I get reviews, follows, reminders from my calendar programmed months ago at strategic times in the semester…. So virtually not very often, especially because posting is going to be at a bare minimum, BUT, it will happen maybe once or twice a month I expect, probably with chapters that are already nearly done.

And God help me if I finish my next chapter of Faithful, because I will then be bombarded. That’s the one that people follow randomly even when I’ve not updated in weeks. *sigh*

Well, that’s all of your update for now. I swear nothing exciting has happened, so don’t feel like I’m holding back. I haven’t even had a chance to get my submission ready for The Cincinnati Review. It’s on my list of things to do this weekend, so we’ll see. It’s a long list.




Writing to Your Audience

All of us have been told at some point in our lives to keep our audience in mind as we write.

And of course in school that made perfect sense. Think about the people you’re writing to, because that’s what the teachers tell you to do. And then when you’re older and your audience is really your professor’s ego, figure out what they’re looking for in a paper and pander to the best of your ability. This seems so obvious, especially to those of us who have had it drilled into our heads through many years of schooling.

What seems less obvious is what I’m about to discuss (at least, it did to me).

When you write novels/novellas/stories/poetry/whatever, you need to write to your audience.


Long ago when I was first writing fan fiction (two years ago) for the purpose of having people read it I couldn’t get ANYONE interested in my baby (and to be honest it’s a bit of a hard sell even now, but it does have readers now that I’ve revamped it). I couldn’t understand why people didn’t like what I was writing, this story I was so obsessed with.

I decided, as a part of a paper I was already writing for my literature class, to write a fan fiction that was more like what I liked to read than what I liked to write, which was the birth of Two Can Play This Game, the rough beginning of my modern fan fiction life. Since then I’ve done dozens of a variety of pieces, but I don’t think about what I want to write, I think about what I want to read.

That was when I really took off in the fan fiction world, but that didn’t really teach me my lesson.

I had a discussion later with my friend, Meg, and the impression I got from something she said to me (I can’t recall the exact words), was that I should think about my commercial value.

Well, as you can imagine, that didn’t sit very well with the artist in me, and I ended up really annoyed by the whole thing, ranting about it the next time I called my mother.

It’s taken me a year of writing and promoting my own novella and novels and marketing to realize what she meant.

Think about your audience. If you’re writing for you and people like you, write something you’d want to read. If you’re writing a children’s book, write what you would have read as a child.

The second you forget your audience is the second you fail to sell a single book or get picked up on a single query. If you find that you’re writing to your audience and you’re still not finding success (a.k.a. rejection letters), you might just not have found your audience yet. This is especially true in all forms of traditional publishing, where getting off the ground is dependent on picking the right agent to send your letter to, or the right literary journal to submit to.

Write to your audience, find your audience, and never forget that if you wouldn’t read it, you might be hard pressed to find someone else to read it, too.

All the passion in the world can’t please the wrong audience.

And with that, a belated Happy Turkey Day to the Americans in the audience!




Someone Should Keep Me Away From Movies (And Tele)

Not only are films and television and distraction from schoolwork, but they make my list of writing projects longer. Example:

I had a bit of time the other day before I went to bed, so I decided to watch the film adaptation of one of my favorite novels of all time: Vanity Fair. LOVELY book, BRILLIANT film, and I have to wonder a bit about why it is that Johnathan Rhys Myers is SO good at playing a petulant spoiled brat. But beyond that, it got me thinking about my passion for Victorian literature.

All right, so it’s not exactly a Victorian novel. It’s a pre-Victorian novel. BUT, it shares a place in my heart with Dickins and Tolstoy, and therefore I include it in that same category.

So as I’m watching this movie, I decide to WRITE A VICTORIAN NOVEL. And when I told Natalie this she was like, “Wait, a novel set in the Victorian era, or written in the Victorian style?”


Seriously, I shouldn’t be allowed to watch ANYTHING. Save me from myself. I beg you. Except don’t, because all my best ideas occur to me when I’m watching stuff.

On a different note, Rhys Ifans was a PERFECT Dobbin. Superb.



Book Covers

Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of us have verbal creativity. Some of us have visual creativity. Some of us are blessed enough to have both.

My creativity is strictly verbal. I realized I was going to have to provide my own book cover when self-publishing and I wanted to run away screaming. Literally, I nearly failed seventh grade art class. My brother, on the other hand, is incredibly creative when it comes to the visual arts. He basically spent grade school doing ridiculously awesome art projects, and he was good at it.

So, the first step for the photo-editing inept was finding images I could use for my novella that weren’t too specific but still relevant. I found some images with blood, a rose covered in blood, some guns, and a picture of a hand taking a picture with a nice camera.

My brother, who hasn’t actually read my novella but is young enough to be able to take my plot description and pick out the least-disturbing pictures chose the rose and the camera, so we made up a cover using Paint.NET, which Smashwords recommended. I have to say, if you’re a photo-editing idiot, it’s actually not to difficult to figure out! With about an hour of fiddling, we came up with a decent first draft. I’ve sent it off to my editor and her friend, who is more artistically inclined than myself by far, to get some input for my second draft.

It’s starting to come together nicely! Now I just need $35 dollars for copyright…. Any volunteers?

How many of you have tried making your own cover? Any recommended software or general tips for those of us making our way in this unfamiliar artistic endeavor?



Where I’m At

Novella: Waiting on help from my brothers on getting a cover ready. Things have been pretty busy around here lately, so artwork has been thus pushed aside.

Novel: Waiting ever so patiently for Natalie to go through my work and cover it with red ink (or red-colored text, as it were). She’s on a family vacation atm, so it’s taking longer than it normally would, but I can live with that.

Collaboration novel: That’s right, E. M. and I are getting our collaboration work adapted to a more publishable context and format now! I’d say within six months or so we’ll be working on our query letter and sending it off to agents. It’s super-exciting to think about how far this project has come since the fall, how fast things have gotten accomplished, and how nice it is that in all the time we’ve been working together we’re still not sick of each other! On the contrary, we keep saying how much we love working together and how we want to do more of it!

Camp NaNo: So, obviously, I’ve already finished my June novel, but E. M. and I are both writing in August. I’ve got my novel all worked out in my brain, but this time I’ve not written a word. (Okay, so I’ve written about a hundred words, but that doesn’t count. It’s a poem I’ve adapted for the novel. Doesn’t count at all.) E. M. and I have decided to race to 50k words, see who’s more on the ball. What does the winner get? I have absolutely no idea, so probably nothing, but the bragging rights will be epic, if nothing else.

I hope everyone’s enjoying their lovely summers and I hope you’re all having a great time with whatever projects are going on in your lives. Speaking of, what projects ARE you working on? I’d love it if you could leave a comment about what you’re up to this summer, whether it’s a writing project, a home improvement project, or a mission to save the world from the apocalypse. Whatever it is, I’m dying to know how it’s going!