Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Live!

*Blows the dust off this blog*

I have been busy.

I moved from South Carolina to North Carolina in August in only one week after finding a suitable rental property at the very last minute. The last couple of months have seen me settling in here while taking a couple of huge financial hits in the form of helping my mother put a new roof on her house, new tires on my truck, and setting up utilities and cable here. On top of that, there's been some family drama that I won't go into here. Obviously, writing took a hit and given that I wasn't able to read as much as I'd like, inspiration took a huge hit.

The good news is that for the first time in our relationship, my boyfriend and I are living in the same state and get to see each other at least once per week versus driving five hours and seeing each other only once per month, if that. My son is attending a very good school and won the Principal's Award his first month there and, thus far, he has been thriving here.

This week I returned to my outline and started work on it again. I've found writing and writing-related activities help calm my anxiety levels and allow me to work through the overwhelming stress that's been happening.

In other words, I'll be using this blog again and probably sharing some of my thoughts on world-building and also getting back to the theme of this blog: Why I write.

Also, I'll be back to visiting the Absolute Write forums and probably contributing there again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Oh, I'm a bad blogger. A bad, bad, bad blogger. However, this might actually mean I've been a good writer -- well, good in the sense that I'm actually writing or working on things related to writing, at least.

An idea I had originally written off as impossible a couple of years ago came back with a vengeance. I think I've managed to come up with a way to make the pieces fit mechanically, and when that happened, this block I'd been having over my first planned novel came undone and I've been under a flood of inspiration. Usually when this happens, I start trying to write, and then I get bogged down and barely get out two or more chapters before I run out of steam and start going "Where in the hell am I going with this?" Not this time.

I'm outlining. And I'm not allowing myself to put the proverbial pen to paper until the outline is finished. At first I didn't think this was going to work, but I was wrong. I've managed to outline quite a few chapters and I've discovered where I'm going to have trouble, where I need to up the tension, and where the plot just isn't moving at an interesting pace. I've got no idea when I'll work out all those kinks, but the good news is that so far, using this method of getting ideas out in a hurry without worrying about sentences, prose, dialogue, etc., I still have the inspiration there and I still want to keep at it. Even if I get stuck, I can easily skip ahead and work my way back, or make notes for ideas without having to worry that I'll have to rewrite whole chapters if it doesn't work.

Better yet, I've still got the urge to go back and start writing from chapter one, but I'm making myself finish the outline first. It's like the writing becomes a reward for completing the onerous task of outlining the entire novel. What's more is that while writing, I won't be going in blind. I'll know what's going to happen next, and if I forget what I wanted to have happen in a novel, it'll be right there on paper for me to refer back to. It's a nice feeling to have.

In addition to the outlining I've been doing, I'm also working on world-building. My grand idea is falling into place, and if I do this write, I will have a whole world in which I get to create and play. For me, this means a potentially endless well of ideas and opportunities to weave tales. It reminds me of why I was drawn to writing fiction and fantasy in the first place. I get to create a whole new world and I get to mold it as I see fit. It's fun.

Ahem. I may be a little excited about my breakthrough. Maybe eventually I'll share some of the ideas here. For now, it's back to outlining so I can fix some of the issues I've spotted.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Favorite Lines of Mine

On occasion, I like to open my writing folder and look back over various stories and drabbles I've written over the years. Some of them make me cringe, but there's always one or two that make me go, "Wait, did I write this? It's so good!" It's an excellent exercise for those times when the words just aren't coming so easily and I wonder if I'm losing my ability to create art with words -- not that I think I'm the Van Goh of writing, but I do believe writing is an art.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some snippets that I really liked with you today because I'm too lazy to do a real post.

From an erotic ficlet I wrote based on one of my role-play character's dreams about her lover:

It hurts. He's biting her hard enough to leave a bruise, and she wants more. She wants him to hurt her; she needs him to hurt her. If this wasn't a dream, she tells herself she'd stop him. She wouldn't enjoy this so much if it were real, she says in her head, but deep down she knows it's a lie.

From another little ficlet I wrote a couple of years ago for a different role-play character, who is now retired:

"But torture isn't exactly a great way to gain information. Foldy believes she knows proper application of the various techniques - if there truly is such a thing. However, by using my knowledge of your central nervous system, a few well-placed spells, and a couple of medical instruments, I could get you to confess to some of the worst crimes in history. I could make you turn on your own pack and label your closest friends as monsters. You'd do anything to get me to make the pain go away, even if it meant your own death. You'd tell me everything I'd want to hear, regardless of whether it was true or not."

"The confidence with which you said that both frightens and slightly arouses me," Stephen admitted, barely getting his arm up in time to block a slap from Clotho.

Here's something from a novel I'm starting:

Of course it would be just like Devon to do something at the spur of the moment, including commit suicide. That was just the sort of person he was. Act now, think later had been his motto throughout most of his life, whereas I was the type to look thrice before I leapt. That probably explains why I was the honor student to his juvenile delinquent.

And finally, here's something I rediscovered today that I had totally forgotten about. It's over two years old, and I think I'll come back to and turn into a short story.

"Just a second. Stop knocking, will ya'?" He managed to get the zipper up before reaching the door, but his hand stopped short of the doorknob. Whoever or whatever was banging on his door smelled foul. He knew that smell. It was the overwhelming scent of decay and rotted flesh. Zombie? It wouldn't be the first time he'd encountered one, but in his apartment on a Sunday morning with all the fresh meat between wherever this thing had come from and his apartment? It wasn't behaving as a zombie would.

To the right of the door was his old Louisville slugger, which he picked it up. It wasn't as effective as a bullet to the head, but he was certain his clueless neighbors would get a little miffed if he fired off a gun, and telling the police he was defending himself against the undead would win him a one-way trip to the mental ward. He opened the door a crack to see what was there. It was a woman, mid-twenties he guessed, with long dark hair. She wasn't a zombie, but the smell of death and decay clung to her and he noticed she was caked in dirt from head to toe. It was dirt from a grave. Her own scent was underneath the stench. It was pleasant and somehow familiar, but Brian couldn't quite put his finger on it.

"Uh, can I help you?"

"Shower," the woman answered.

Brian scratched his head and opened the door a smidgen wider. "What?"

"Shower," she stepped foward, putting a hand on the door and pushing it open. "You do have one, don't you?"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Still Here

No, I haven't forgotten about this blog. May has been a busier month than expected this year as my son has been playing t-ball and we've had to tend to various end-of-year school activities. With the added stress of a possible move to North Carolina this summer, I've been a little stressed to say the least. Even my LiveJournal has taken a hit. It's not that nothing is happening, it's that too much is happening and what free time I do have has been spent pursuing activities that don't require much brain power, though I think I should look into making sleep a priority if I don't want to fall over dead at some point.

I have been writing here and there. What I have written has been substandard in my opinion, but I hope to turn that around tonight or tomorrow by finishing up a little erotic ficlet based on one of my role-play characters. That is, if I can stop having some computer issues and the weather behaves and doesn't cause a power outage. (I swear Murphy, of Murphy's Law fame, and I are bosom buddies by this point. He likes to crash at my house all the time.)

At any rate, I plan to produce another post before the end of this week. The subject of the post is up for debate at this point, but I hope to keep it in line with the general theme of this blog.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why I Write: I Want Better Heroines

I think this post is rather weak and a bit slow to get to the point, or maybe it misses the point entirely -- I'm a bit too sleep-deprived to tell. I will say that this is part of my process of making myself write something every day without fail, and sometimes the quality just isn't going to be so great. This will teach me to A) get on a better sleep schedule, and B) to keep writing even when it's not so great. Again, this blog isn't just about explaining why I write, it's about keeping myself at the keyboard.

When I was about eight years old, I begged and pleaded my parents to get me Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES. I wanted this game not only because I loved the original Super Mario Bros., but mostly because I knew in this game I would have the opportunity to play as Princess Peach. These were the days before Lara Croft and her awesome polygonal dimensions, and while there was Metroid, you never really noticed Samus was a woman beneath all that armor. I was eager to play as Princess Peach because she wasn't the damsel in distress this time; she was part of the action and was going to help defeat the Big Bad. Not only that, she was going to be doing all her butt-kicking while wearing a pink dress and a tiara. I wasn't ever really into wearing dresses, but I did love the color pink and I was partial to tiaras at the time, so it was a win-win situation for me.

Twenty years later, I still remember the disappointment I felt after playing through the first level as Peach. No, it wasn't because the American version of SMB2 was actually Doki Doki Panic and thus not a Mario game in the truest sense. What really disappointed me was that Princess Peach was the weakest physical character in the game; it took her longer than any of the other characters to pick up objects and toss them, which was a definite disadvantage when going against some monsters. Also, her unique ability was that she could float for a limited period of time, an ability that was almost similar to Luigi's ability to jump really high and have a bit of a hang time (though admittedly not quite as long as Peach's). I wasn't stupid and even at eight years old I was able to understand the message loud and clear: Girls are weaker than boys and not very good at fighting. When Super Mario Bros. 3 came out, Princess Peach once more became the damsel in distress, incapable of defending herself against the monster Bowser.

It was an ugly lesson to learn about gender roles and society's expectations for women, especially for a girl whose favorite activities included butterfly hunting and exploring the woods around her house rather than dressing up and putting on makeup. I've always wondered why it's so hard to find television shows, movies, or books that depict heroines capable of saving their own butts without the need for a parental figure and/or a man to step in and rescue them. This isn't to say there haven't been some amazing fictional heroines out there -- Buffy Summers, Xena, Caitlin Todd, Ziva David, Abby Sciuto, Hermione Granger, Anita Blake, Calliope Reaper-Jones, Riley Jensen, etc. -- but there's still not enough of them I'd say, and some of those names I listed are supporting characters to male leads, or who started out strong and became less so, which brings me back to my point of heroines being seemingly incapable of taking care of themselves without the assistance of a male figure. I have to admit it's one of my biggest pet peeves and one of the reasons I want to write.

I suppose it might sound a bit egotistical to say that one of my biggest motivators for writing is that I want to write the sort of heroine I feel is missing from most media. I'm tired of disappointing books, movies, and shows that promise strong female leads and fail to deliver in one or more ways, and I think I've just come to the conclusion that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Granted, I may lack the skills necessary, but maybe by writing what I want to see I can learn how to better articulate my hopes for heroic female leads on to writers and directors who do have the talent and ability to transfer an idea from dream to reality.

Of course, that won't stop me from writing about women who wield swords, kick bad-guy butt, and still get the man/woman in the end.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I Am Not the Next Neil Gaiman

My goal for writing is not to get published. No, I'm completely serious. Oh sure, eventually, I would like to be published, but I have a whole lot of practice, hard work, and rejection ahead of me before I get to a point where what I write is high enough quality for publication. However, even when I remove the possibility of being a published author from the equation, my desire to write is still there. It doesn't matter if it will never be more than a hobby, I still enjoy writing, including those moments where I'm so frustrated by the cursor flashing on a blank screen that I want to pull my hair out by the roots.

To be blunt, I don't truly believe I have the chops to be the next Stephen King or Nora Roberts. What I do have are loads of ideas and a desire to write the sorts of stories I personally would want to read, and if other people happen to enjoy what I write, then that would be awesome. Writing for myself is fun, but I think I'd derive more pleasure from it if I knew others were enjoying it too. By practicing my prose (and to some extent, writing here) I hope to bring my skill level up to a point where I feel confident enough to share my stories with more than my closest friends. Maybe even other writers.

Perhaps someday I'll see my work on a shelf in some bookstore next to other authors I admire, or perhaps I won't. Whatever does end up happening, I want to be able to at least say that I had fun and that I shared that fun with an audience who loved it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

About This Blog

Hello, my name is Jade and I am a writer. Well, I want to be a writer at any rate, and that's why I'm here. As of this writing, I am twenty-nine years old and I reside in South Carolina with my six year-old son, two dogs, and two cats.

Although I have a LiveJournal, this blog will focus far less on my personal life and more on my writing, specifically why I write. I'll also be using this blog as a place to brainstorm ways to keep writing even when I feel like all I'm turning out is utter garbage. As I get more comfortable, I might discuss what I'm writing beyond more than the vague "high fantasy" or "paranormal."

If you'd like to know more about my life as a single mother and pet owner -- or rather, pet servant, you can hop on over to my LiveJournal, though not all those entries are available for public consumption. However, if you do have a LiveJournal, you can add me there and chances are I'll add you back. I still might make the occaisional life-related post here, but not nearly as much as my journal. I am also going to try to keep my political rantings to a minimum here except where they relate to the reasons I write.